Posts Tagged ‘headlines’

Last Edmonton Headlines

Good morning, Edmonton. This is indeed the last time you and I will discuss the news of the day here in Headlines at the edmontonian. Let’s hope there’s some juicy news to dig into.

It’s almost always funny, in a sad kind of way, that when governments announce they are going to tackle a problem or get tough on something, it’s a problem that’s had previous attempts to do just that. Edmonton’s recent worries over violent crime is just one of those issues. So, hopefully this is the time everyone follows through on plans and recommendations.

Meanwhile…Edmonton Police are teaming up with other agencies for a new kind of patrol…an action team!

On the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, an Edmonton firefighter who went to New York with the Red Cross is trying to remember the triumph of the human spirit he saw in the days after the Word Trade Centre towers fell.

The City of Edmonton is trying to entice filmmakers to shoot here. Though, not with a grant or tax break, or deals if they are locals or use local crews. I don’t think it’s a great idea to move $5-million from the financial stabilization fund when you’re running a deficit.

“Are people supposed to park on the next block? It’s insanity.” Really? Parking one block away is the end of the world?

(more…)


September 8 Edmonton Headlines

Good Thursday morning to you, Edmonton.

It’s nice to see that taking the LRT is such a good option that you can’t get a parking spot at Century Park station. More transit please!

An Old Strathcona parking lot looks to lose just over half of its parking spots. Tie that into some transit tweaks, including bus lanes on 99 Street, and I think you’d be just fine.

Is Edmonton forgetting its fallen soldiers? Or is this weekend, the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks on the U.S. just taking people to other events?

*****

Guys, I keep telling you, if we’re going to talk about important issues our government department is working on you send the e-mails to JordanFan789@hotmail.com.

*****

In the “Does not bode well for the future of the oilsands” category; Nobel Peace Prize winners are lining up in protest of the Keystone XL pipeline which would take oil from Alberta to the Texas coast.

If you want more, and stable, funding for education in Alberta, the opposition Liberals and NDP have ways for you to voice that opinion.

Meanwhile…in the crowded classrooms…more students enrolled in Edmonton schools, which means both the Public and Catholic boards can hire a few extra teachers

Alberta is going to offer more surgeries to obese people to combat the many health problems associated with being so overweight. Also, some more food and exercise education in schools.

A judge in Calgary says the war on drugs is one that cannot be won, so our best hope is to keep casualties to a minimum.

While smoking is down across the country, more Albertans are taking up the habit, especially teens.

*****

Go Caps Go!

(And FC Edmonton is headed to the playoffs in their first year.)


September 7 Edmonton Headlines

Good morning, Edmonton.

Jaywalkers better (not) step right off. The Edmonton Police Service is cracking down on jaywalkers. Glad to see they are targeting drivers who could could hit pedestrians crossing legally, in the same campaign.

Oh, they’re not. Damn, dirty pedestrians! (I recognize that schools are nearby some areas in this campaign, but I’m going somewhere with my anti-car attitude.)

But a number of councillors say it’s not fair to people who live near bus routes and usually park there.” Can we make a deal? No parking ban on bus routes during winter if bus drivers are allowed to push stopped cars out of bus stops.

Wow. I am really seeing why Edmonton’s got such an image as a car-city. Our municipal government seems to encourage it while discouraging taking the bus or walking around.

Speaking of transit…one person is believed to have cost the ETS $29,000 by selling counterfeit bus passes. I will not make a joke about how this will cause another hike in transit fares.

/rant  (more…)


September 6 Edmonton Headlines

Good morning, Edmonton, and welcome back to the work week.

How do you commute to work? Is speed your choice? Cost? Convenience? (There’s also a video.)

Here are some updates on Edmonton’s transportation network.

All this commuting stuff comes with the end of the Journal’s summer series on the suburbs. Living on the Edge looked at everything from commuting, to density, shopping, churches, who’s moving to the ‘burbs, and what’s working well out there.

If you followed the series at all, or are about to dive into it, there’s a survey you can fill out. I’d suggest filling out the survey if you appreciate long-form, in-depth reporting like Living on the Edge.

*****

Wow. Could it really be?

Could the old Esso (Imperial Oil) lot at the corner of Whyte Avenue and 105 Street finally be moving toward sale? After more than a decade is the contaminated land finally going to be ready for new development? It’s a miracle!

And it’s a good reason why the City of Edmonton needs more and tougher rules for contaminated lots, or “brownfields,” and owners who would let properties sit vacant for more than a couple of years. (This one has sat empty and dirty for 13 years.)

*****

Edmonton Police are going to start using black and white cruisers.

Alberta festivals, including a couple of Edmonton big ones, are getting some federal funding.

News on new beers after the jump. (more…)


September 2 Edmonton Headlines

Good Friday to you, Edmonton. Ready for the long weekend?

The City released a short update on what City Council did this week. The three and four paragraph stories are great for you and me to get a glimpse at what our elected officials are talking about, and it’s bad news for newsrooms that put out the same length, or shorter stories.

That Council Roundup is an example of media and public relations skipping the middleman of newsrooms. There are a few in Edmonton (and every city) that write very little on City Hall. When they write very little they are often doing no more than what we see from the City itself in this Roundup; a few quick notes on what was on the agenda and what happened. Newsrooms are going to have to add some depth and perspective to their stories or risk people skipping them and just checking on the official Roundup.

*****

I like the gusto of outgoing Premier Ed Stelmach. He says his Conservative caucus is willing to give Edmonton money for a downtown arena, but it’s a decision that he won’t have to give final approval to. Well played.

Speaking of Stelmach…capital region municipalities want to build a better integrated transit system and he doesn’t think that’s a good idea. I take back my kudos. There’s also a consideration for an outer ring road for Calgary?! Geez. I hope Alison Redford or Doug Horner become the next premier and move on some highs-speed rail.

Calgary prosecutors will look at whether a trio of Edmonton police officers went too far during the arrest of an Edmonton shop owner. His own store’s surveillance video will be part of the evidence they can look at.

Surely the irony of attacking the Edmonton salon which produced a domestic violence ad is lost on the vandals. If you want to do something productive to show you don’t think domestic violence is a good way to sell a business, boycott the place or donate to the Bad Ad Fund.

We’ll probably be paying more for water, but it’s not clear if that will be on tax bills or EPCOR bills. Meanwhile…at EPCOR Tower…that utility is already going to try to boost fees for sewer and and drinking water. Of course, they are mulling the decision.

*****

Minimum wage went up with the new month. And it really is a minimum (even more so for those in jobs serving alcohol).

*****

Lloyd Robertson anchored his last national newscast last evening.


A Look Back: Headlines (jeff)

(As we wind down our days at the edmontonianwe’ll be looking back at some of our favorite posts, stories, items, etc from the last 2+ years. Feel free to submit your own.)

For almost our whole existence we’ve been doing a daily post called Headlines. It’s a curation/roundup/collection of Edmonton news. With lots of capital region and Alberta, and other bits of news, in there too.

The idea for our Headlines came from Sally, with inspiration from a few online chats Sally and I had at my previous blog, the morning posts at BlogTO and the Torontoist, and the idea I already look at lots of news.

It’s changed just a little over the two+ years I’ve been writing the posts (and Sally has stepped in whenever needed). We first collected all of the stories (with less emphasis on crime and stories lacking context) and placed most of the links under the newsroom’s title. I shifted away from that to try and dissuade anyone from avoiding stories from a newsroom they weren’t a fan of (still with less emphasis on minor crime stories and those without detail or context).

The rest has remained pretty much the same. Lots and lots of Edmonton, from as many sources as possible,  usually a photo (sometimes it was even relevant), and an invitation to talk about what’s going on.

I will often focus on a story that’s big in the news, or I think deserves more than just a sentence and a link. While I would never deny the stuff that got more “ink” included my own thoughts and opinions, it was always for stories I really did think we should be talking about.

Sometimes that also included the newsrooms and the way stories were presented. While some of my earlier Headlines posts didn’t always contain the most constructive criticism of newsrooms, I hope that most of the time I was offering good information to you on what goes into news production, what Edmonton’s newsrooms are up to, where I think they could better communicate with the audience, how they could maximize resources, and why context and explanation are always going to be more important than a splashy headline, sexy photo, and puns.

With just a few more days of Headlines left, I hope to be able to stay off the soapbox. And Mack’s got a good list of other similiar curation-style posts you can find in Edmonton’s Internet.


Hang Up and Drive Headlines

I guess, more accurately, that headline should “Hang up, put down the sandwich, don’t do your hair and makeup, shave before you get into the car, stop tweeting on your iPad and drive.” Yes, Alberta’s new distracted driving law takes effect today. It’s a $172 ticket, so keep your eyes on the road.

Alberta is not the first province to have this kind of law.

*****

Edmonton councillors will talk about the community revitalization levy (CRL) in October. This is the tax zone that’s supposed to help fund the downtown arena downtown revitalization projects. I hope it goes through and we finally see something productive happen on 104 Street, at 109 Street, at the old Canada Post property, with LRT expansion, and…what? That stuff is already happening?

Are you sure? I mean, how can it happen without an arena?

Speaking of LRT…Engineering design is to begin on Edmonton’s expanding LRT system.

Edmonton’s deficit for the year is improving.

One community in each of Edmonton’s five police divisions is going to get a little more policing. This is part of a new crime reduction strategy from the Edmonton Police Service. The EPS, by the way, is stretched thin trying to solve this year’s extra homicides.

I’m a little boggled on this one. Three Edmonton newsrooms (the Sun, CTV, and CHED/iNews) have a story today on a fatality report being released. Yet, CBC had it two weeks ago. Just a strange delay.

*****

This school year will be the first for public education in Morinville. Which sounds really weird when I read that back. (Today is the first day of school for most students.)

A new way to move patients through the University Hospital faster will likely be applied at other hospitals after successful wait time reductions. We’re also performing more surgeries in Alberta.

Being the start of a new month all the monthly magazines are out with new issues. Alberta Venture’s got a look at the Slave Lake fire.

*****

The photocopiers were flying, more textbooks are likely to be required, and more online links will be provides, because the University of Alberta’s getting out of its copyright agreement with Access Copyright. (Also, check out that new Gateway website! They’ve also got a refresher on top U of A summer stories.)

U of A students are depressed, not getting exercise, and not eating enough fruits and vegetables. But they’re not doing as many drugs as you may think.

The U of A’s Faculty of Arts is cutting some language classes to save money.

*****

Libraries are not just “warehouses for books” anymore.

And that library story probably has a tie-in to this one about Blockbuster closing their remaining Canadian stories. (Locally, you can still find movies at Videodrome and The Movie Studio.)

 


August 31 Edmonton Headlines

Old and new co-exist for just a little bit.

Good morning, Edmonton. We were so close to making it to September before really having to think about fall…but that morning chill is reality.

Edmonton’s city council wants a little more time for the municipal election and spending rules for third-party advertisers (like Envision Edmonton campaigning to keep the City Centre Airport open, during the 2010 election).

I’m yet to be won over by the idea of Edmonton’s open boundary school system, so I agree with the sentiment of kids going to their local school.

Pregnant homeless women have a new service just for them at Boyle Street.

We were just talking about naming things around the city the other day, and now a stretch of train tracks is getting a new name.

Edmonton’s Alley of Light should be among our first moves to beautify, and occupy, the many unused and forgotten spaces around out city.

An Edmonton author is set to release her new book this weekend. Yay for Edmonton writers!

*****

Nobody likes how the Alberta government is protecting our province’s rivers. Except maybe the Alberta government. And people who own water licenses.

*****

Hey, companies and businesses, jump into social media already.


August 30 Edmonton Headlines

I stumbled upon this dance floor at Churchill Square last night. Downtown is not dead!

Good morning Edmonton. I’ve got to say, I’m totally into this summer weather we’ve been having lately. It feels so good.

You know, you’d think people creating ads would take some time to think about what they were doing. But, I guess, some businesses still have to learn about social media the hard way. And by “hard way” I mean doing something that’s not all that thought out and being lambasted by people far and wide.

Hey, advertising doesn’t always work. Sometimes things get lost in translation or execution; that’s totally fair. And if something falls flat, or offends, you can apologize and explain that it wasn’t your intention. Then everyone can move on.

But then, you get businesses like Fluid Salon, which doesn’t really apologize, blames the rest of us for not “getting” their “art” and not doing enough to end domestic violence (again, you and me, not them) and you can’t help but wonder what is going on…

Also, I don’t think I saw the “media” talking about boycotting your salon so much as regular people.

*****

Sidenote: This is a good example of news and objectivity. Newsrooms are covering the story, but their headlines offer items like “a campaign for a local hair salon is raising eyebrows”  and “ad being called ‘disgusting.'” That leaves a lot of room to say glorifying domestic violence might not offend everyone, or shouldn’t. By way of clarifying that point I offer a fake headline of  “Certain neighbours don’t like new condo plan” which is a totally acceptable place for objectivity because it’s going to be a subjective decision-making process.

If newsrooms, and the humans working in them, expressed that this was unacceptable (which I think they’re doing by non-objectively choosing to cover the story) they’d be saying to the audience that they are a part of the community and want the best for Edmonton. That’s not to say you can’t get the salon owner’s take on the ads and issue.

A couple of journalists did express actual human emotions about the ads on Twitter (and in opiniony places like blogs), but we need to see that become part of news coverage. Your audience knows you’re humans, knows you have reactions and emotions, and it’s ok to show that. It might even make stories better. Leaving room for people who might welcome domestic violence in ads, or who don’t think the moon landing happened, doesn’t make you fair and balanced, it lets down your audience.

Balancing that journalism criticism, is this story from Fish Griwkowsky in the Journal. He’s writing about local filmmaker Trevor Anderson and it says at the end of the story that the two know each other and work together. That doesn’t make the story about Anderson’s new movie any less interesting. More of this please!

I promise to keep the journalism discussions at a minimum in the rest of today’s Headlines.  (more…)


August 29 Edmonton Headlines

Good morning, Edmonton!

When school resumes in the Edmonton Public School Board, junk food will not be back in class. Jamie Oliver would be so proud.

Perhaps talking about Edmonton being a big city will be the way to get Edmonton Transit to create some late-night, or 24-hour transit. It’s overdue, so let’s make it happen!

It sort of feels like Mayor Mandel has given up on his “no more crap architecture” stance when quoted about the Royal Alberta Museum designs. People have been panning the four choices for our new museum since they were unveiled by the provincial government. I’ll admit I don’t mind one of them, but nothing is really wowing me.

Cynical folks would say Mandel is backing off criticizing because he wants the provincial government to find $100-million for a downtown arena. But, hey, he could just like the designs.

Speaking of the downtown arena… “…if the same amount of money that might go into pro sports facilities could be spent on something else with a bigger impact, that’s where the money should go.”

$100-million could go a long way toward a lot of things.

Question: How can everybody love downtown without a downtown arena? Do these people hate nice things?!

Alright, before I get all riled up about the downtown arena, let’s move on. (more…)


August 26 Edmonton Headlines

Good Friday to you, Edmonton.

Do you want government money to go into the downtown arena proposal?

If your answer is “no” then I guess you hate downtown Edmonton.

The new idea from City Hall is to tax the entire downtown area to help pay off loans and construction costs of the Oilers’ new home, as well as help put some money into a few other downtown projects. It would also take away nearly a quarter-of-a-billion dollars in provincial education money (giving it to downtown projects), and potentially raise taxes across the city because extra tax revenue in this giant CRL (community revitalization levy) area would be dedicated to downtown projects and couldn’t cover any other items in the City budget.

I like downtown Edmonton. I think it’s coming along nicely. Don’t make me a bad guy for not wanting to pay Daryl Katz for an arena, City of Edmonton.

Never before had $15 sparked such anger, such fury. When the provincial government announced it was going to charge municipalities for license plate information searches done on a vehicle pulled over for a moving infraction, or a parked car breaking the rules, municipalities, including Edmonton, and police forces, couldn’t believe it. They fought, they pouted, they got their way.

My hunch is that oil prices went up enough this year to allow the provincial government to drop this fee to future budget debates. But, then, I can be really cynical.

Also, if the Alberta government really needs the $15, they should just tack it on to provincial traffic fines.

We aren’t done yet! (more…)


August 25 Edmonton Headlines

High Level Bridge relfectionGood morning, Edmonton! Quite the busy day here, so let’s get right to things.

There’s a double-edged effect to revitalizing a business zone. Owners can charge more for rent and smaller, local, business can’t always afford to rent, and you get left with chain stores that sap the area of character. Building and property owners need to take more responsibility if they want to be part of character neighbourhoods, heritage districts, and promote local industries.

When if the downtown arena gets built I wonder what the spin-off costs to the City of Edmonton (and you and me as taxpayers) might be with Rexall Place and Northlands. There are costs there that are not part of the proposed $450-million arena pricetag.

Speaking of the downtown arena…it’s kind of tied into the entire downtown plan now. So, I guess, you either like the downtown arena getting a bunch of government cash or you hate downtown Edmonton.

Edmonton’s got the shortest commute (by a few minutes) in Canada’s largest cities. Startling: 85% of drivers have never stepped on a bus, streetcar, or train to get to work. That seems an almost impossible number to believe. People taking transit to work are riding buses and the like for about 44 minutes, compared to the Edmonton drive time of 23 minutes. BUT! Drivers are far more cranky about their commute.

Speaking of commuting to work…It was not your imagination, the Whitemud was worse than usual Wednesday morning.

Now that you’ve commuted to your office, let’s keep going.  (more…)


August 24 Edmonton Headlines

 Good day, Edmonton.  

Yes, yes, yes! I’ve been saying Edmonton needs 24-hour transit. That Toronto would be used as a model is even better, since that’s the model I see working. It’s a few routes running on reduced scheduled through the overnight hours (1:30-5:30 in Edmonton). If 6-12 routes, and possibly the LRT, ran every 30 or 60 minutes you could cross most of the city and provide a real transit option to shift workers, people heading across town to medical appointments (my orthodontist was across town and it was a pain to get there early on ETS), and offer a choice to people drinking that’s not their own vehicle or a cab (which becomes an issue with large nightlife districts like Whyte and Jasper Avenues).

Ben Henderson, today I’m glad to have voted for you.

Now, if the rest of council, and ETS administration can just follow this great, and long, long overdue, idea, we’re all set.

As the City prepares to build out our LRT system, the mayor is considering shifting some road construction money into the southeast LRT line. Might I suggest holding back on one or two new developments on the edge of city limits to try and encourage in-fill development that doesn’t require brand new roads and sewers?

High school students who may still be unfamiliar with Edmonton, and Canada, can get help adjusting to a new life.

Have some fruit growing on your property? Get that fruit rescued!

*****

Jack Layton is now lying-in-state in Ottawa, prior to a state funeral in Toronto on Saturday.

*****

This summer’s massive Slave Lake (area) fire is going to be investigated. It’s been 10 years since an official investigation into a wildfire in Alberta. The hope is that looking at conditions around the time of the fire, and how it spread, could help prevent another such fire doing so much damage.

Speaking of emergencies…the provincial government’s emergency alert system, which handles everything from tornados to Amber Alerts, is making the digital switch. Be sure to bookmark the site or subscribe to its RSS, become a fan on Facebook, and follow on Twitter. You’ll still hear alerts broadcast over television and radio (they cut into the regular programming) but you’re also likely to be online or using your smartphone when something goes down.

Soon all of southern Alberta will belong to the humans!

An Alberta woman is suing the provincial government for accidentally releasing their identities. They had changed identities to flee a violent relationship. Since that mistake, she claims to have received strange phones calls and had attempted break-ins. Whether those claims are true or not, she probably deserved another new identity, not just an apology.

*****

A new book, written by a local author, is going to help the Little Warriors organization. $1 from each book sold will go to the group that helps young victims of sexual abuse.

If you were at the Edmonton International Airport Monday night, you might have measles. So, you get to stay home for a couple of weeks, on order of Edmonton’s Medical Officer of Health.

Speaking of being on the lookout…if you spot a gold Chevy Cavalier, with the first three license plate digits being NVU, you could have some information police want in catching jewelery store robbers.

Do you volunteer? Do you find you’re volunteering less time these days?

 


Loving, Hopeful, and Optimistic Headlines

Jack Layton posterGood morning Edmonton.

I can’t get over the outpouring of grief I’m seeing for NDP leader Jack Layton. I knew the guy was liked, clearly the NDP won people over in the last election – possibly engaging with voters who never voted before – but statements and status updates from people I’ve never known to say anything publicly about politics are what really choked me up. (That, and Layton’s final letter to Canadians.)

And to see people gathering at Toronto City Hall, where Layton was a councillor for many years, and Parliament Hill you know why he will receive a rarely offered state funeral.

This is probably one of the better obits you’ll read on Jack Layton, from the Toronto Star. It gives quite a full history of his work.

There will be a candlelight vigil for Jack Layton at the Alberta Legislature Wednesday night. His state funeral will take place this Saturday, in Toronto. You can express your condolences online.

Now we’ll talk about regular Edmonton news. Because the more we know about what’s going on, the more educated we can be. The more informed we are, the better decisions we can make. And when we make good decisions we can do what needs to be done. Not what we want to be done, what needs to get done for the whole community. Whether you agree with Jack Layton’s politics and policies (or mine) we can all try to make things a little better. (more…)


August 22 Edmonton Headlines

Good morning, Edmonton. How’s that Fringe hangover treating you?

Stepping outside of Edmonton for a moment, some of the biggest stories you’ll see today aren’t really centered here.

Libya appears to have joined the ranks of other North Africa and Middle Eastern nations in protesting, and overthrowing, dictatorial governmenta plane crash in northern Canada killed 12 people and injured three others

And NDP leader Jack Layton died this morning. He took the opposition party to new heights in the last election, building on years of momentum, to land New Democrats as the Official Opposition in the House of Commons, earlier beat Prostate cancer, but a new cancer took his life today. This is one of those times I saw a headline about a public figure dying and felt sad. Layton did a lot for cities, and for those in need of help. I think politics in Canada (and so many more places) may be headed for more engaged citizens, and Layton’s NDP came through in the last election as an example of what can happen when new ideas are given a chance.

From Layton’s final letter to Canadians:

“More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better.”

Political stripes aside, Layton was part of a new inspiration in politics. That is a trend that should not –  cannot – end today.

Back to more localish news now.
(more…)


August 19 Edmonton Headlines

Look at the difference in road top. Smooth!

Welcome to the end of the week, Edmonton.

Since the daily news media loves talking about crime, building it up to levels not actually seen here (or in most cities, for that matter) the Edmonton Police Service is hitting YouTube with new videos to talk about crime officers are seeing on a regular basis. This is great. Not that it won’t come with a little bias from the EPS, but that it helps force the crime debate to get real.

The City of Edmonton is changing things up for snow removal this winter. Neighbourhoods will continue to be bladed with 5cm of snowpack (down from 10cm in previous winters), there will be parking bans on bus route (and elsewhere if it really snows), and you’ll be able to see when your neighbourhood will be cleared on a new website.

*****

Now, this could just be like the last provincial election when news media were predicting a breakthrough for the Alberta Liberals, but I’m getting the sense from coverage of the Progressive Conservative leadership race that Gary Mar and Alison Redford are the frontrunners. Ted Morton didn’t even get a mention in this story from Medicine Hat’s debate. Sounds like the Mothership really is down.

While some may say Mar’s idea of private healthcare gets shot down on principle alone and won’t get a fair discussion, I say talk about how many more doctors and medical staff you’ll hire before you create two levels of care. If you don’t hire more staff, buy more diagnostic machines, and open more clinics, you aren’t creating more healthcare space, you’re simply splitting it in two.

If you can’t make it out to the leadership debates, you can hit up videos on the Edmonton Journal’s website which will answer some frequently asked questions.

Meanwhile…outgoing PC leader and premier Ed Stelmach seems determined to find a way to throw in $100-million for Edmonton’s downtown arena. This, after PC leadership candidates asked him to stop announcing projects that are going to cost them money, or have to be pulled back off the table by them.

*****

The Alberta government is worried about environmentalists. Oh, did I say Alberta government? I mean oil and energy executives.

Do any of these designs for the new Royal Alberta Museum (to be built behind City Hall, beside the CN Tower) float your boat? I don’t mind the first one from EllisDon, but none are blowing me away.

Alberta won’t be getting its own police force for at least 20 years. The RCMP’s getting a contract renewal.

*****

Excellent commentary from Vue Weekly on suicide. Too often mental illness is hushed up, but we need more mental health and mental illness awareness, not less. It gets extra points for going after the news media and police policies of not reporting openly on suicides. If there’s a fear of others copying that, why do murders and violent crimes not get the same silence?

Spinning off that, PC leadership candidate Rick Orman wants to have more treatment of mental illness and addiction in our jail system.

*****

A dentist is offering free treatments to people without dental insurance.

We are falling very much in love with our smartphones and tablets. I wonder if the CRTC can stay relevant in the digital age.


August 18 Edmonton Headlines

Good morning, Edmonton. Let’s ignore that slight chill in the air and keep our minds focused on summer. Though, we can hear the gears grinding to life over at the Long John Index.

Edmonton’s streets have been safer this year (so far).

Building housing and neighbourhoods around LRT stations would go a long way toward densifying communities within the Henday’s boundaries, and increase transit usage. The City just has to get it right this time. (Though, to be fair, Clareview isn’t that bad.)

Edmonton’s got a little star power involved in the Boyle Renassaince project. Not sure yet if that means a higher contract price, but it could be worth the camera appeal that Mike Holmes will bring to affordable housing and the revitalization project.

Some days I have to take a deep breath before diving into the crime stories to see if there’s anything that speaks to trends, and information that might add more value to the Edmonton conversation. Most days it just seems like “…journalists believe that the world gets better if you remind people that the world is broken every day.”

We’re a terrible city – Crime can be frightening, but put it into context, tell people what they can do about, offer solutions.

Murder at the Max – an inmate at the Edmonton Institution (a prison at northeast city limits) is dead after a fight. Nobody’s been charged with murder, but it sounds like the headline writer here knows it’s coming.

Axe Attack” – Maybe.

Knives, shanks, and slashing throats with paper – I like to think this story is about how a crackdown on knives, and concealed weapons, cannot be the only measure taken to combat violent crime in Edmonton. (Prevention of crime, and the causes of crime – like homelessness, drugs, and gangs – are way more important. And court sentences are something the federal government may be asked to look at.) Though, I could be wrong and that story could just be about knives.

Are all the bleeding leads done? Good. (more…)


August 17 Edmonton Headlines


Good morning, Edmonton. It’s time for newsrooms to slow down.

We’ve been talking a lot more about news and content creation in the last few weeks. And I think everything we want to see; balanced crime stories, in-depth reporting, accurate stories can be achieved if newsrooms embrace the lack of deadlines the Internet provides and slow down.

Fearmongering crime stories could disappear if newsrooms worked the stats, thought about whether they were terrified to walk the streets (and if they aren’t, refused to let people sensationalize the stories), considered the causes of crime, sought prevention options, and demanded more of politicians and police than tough-on-crime announcements.

Then, a front page screaming about murder becomes a story about how homelessness has actually been one of issues behind Edmonton’s 2011 homicide rate, and perhaps looks at what’s been done to house more people (and improve their mental health or addictions), and the pressure on civic leaders is to improve the safety of Edmonton’s homeless, push harder for provincial dollars in housing, mental illness and healthcare, and addiction treatment. Then politicians cannot get away with telling the cameras they will “clean up the streets” (whatever that means).

The race to get the story into the news machine first damages everyone involved. It hurts the credibility of the media outlets who commonly treat factual inaccuracies as no big deal, and it fails the citizens who trust these outlets for information that shapes their reactions to the world around them. Reporting the news is a tremendous responsibility, and not just a game of  ‘who had what story first.’

Yesterday there was a story from CBC about a strip club opening in Old Strathcona. That’s not going to happen. It sounds like paperwork and City bureaucracy are to blame. But if the owners of X Bar (a strip club) didn’t want to apply for a new strip club, how did that become the story? By going too fast.

Slowing down, and getting reaction from the bar owners and City staff on the license applications, we could have a story about how the process to get a strip club works (if there was another level of paperwork involved), or – better yet in my opinion – how a bar location that keeps closing in failure keeps re-opening. That last one spins into a question for the City of Edmonton, Old Strathcona Business Association, and commercial property owners in the area; what are they doing to preserve the neighbourhood as heritage and boutique?

CTV strip club Google Alert(Side note on that strip club story: CTV followed – we’ve talked all about that lately too. Then changed the story when it turned out the southside strip club wasn’t happening. You can see a Google Alert above, since they changed the story on the same URL. Kudos to CBC for creating a new item on their website for the second story, ensuring an Internet trail. Newsrooms need to learn to deal with the mistakes, not wipe them out, or they won’t get better. It also helps folks, like me, find out what you’ve been up to beyond the last day or so.)

Update: Even if the City approved a strip club in the bar location, and the renovations happen to have been something extra the operators were thinking about seeking and the extra paperwork and delays dissuaded them, then the stories missed a step in confirming with the bar and building owners what was coming to Whyte. The permit would have just been the first step of working on the story, not the story itself.

The Journal had a story about a Fort McMurray man who went to Los Angeles to get brain surgery. Doctors told him to get the surgery and he went. Waiting an extra day would have taken one part of the story from “Another guy probably had the surgery covered by Alberta Health Services, I want it too.” to “Why the heck are Albertans forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a surgery they can’t have done in Canada?”

(Side note to that last link; not sure why the CBC felt they should leave in the Journal’s line about the other guy who might have received coverage. The Journal’s follow-up said he did, and the CBC story didn’t need to mention it, or could have included the chased-down fact.)

All of the slow down links above take you to an editorial from The Walrus, a fantastic Canadian magazine, that states speedy news is like a regular diet of fast food, and calls for a “slow news” movement. Similar to the slow food movement it would be a shift to deep, thorough, important information instead of churning out bits of information here and there. Just because there’s information in a story doesn’t mean it’s helping or is teaching us anything about the world we live in.

All that, and I’ve only given you a couple of today’s stories. More ahead. (more…)


August 16 Edmonton Headlines

(This is not the spill site, but just another road crew fixing up the city.)

There goes the neighbourhood: Old Strathcona is getting a strip club.

I think we may be seeing the official passing of the torch from Whyte Avenue to 124 Street as the place to go for boutique shops. Although the strip club may have hand-roasted coffee and gourmet food, so I guess we should just see how this plays out…

Before I get accused of being all NIMBY on X Bar (that’s its name) I will note that this bar location falls outside of my neighbourhood (East Whyte) and my community league (Strathcona Centre). I just don’t understand how this fits into the idea that Old Strathcona should have some heritage appeal. It’s got designation as a historical neighbourhood, there are still plenty of great boutique shops and restaurants, it’s home to the Fringe and year-round theatres. I know there are plenty of bars but that seemed to be settling down, moving toward more pubs and gastro-pubs, and away from cheap shots.

The City appeared to make an attempt to reign in the number of bars it was going to license in the area, it designated Whyte Avenue itself as a venue to help keep a lid on problems, there’s been a team of City, police, and liquor licensing staff working with bar owners, and Jasper Avenue’s giant bars have shifted some partying from the southside. Jasper neighbours and businesses are trying to learn from the mistakes of Whyte Avenue of a few years ago.

I guess I’m more upset with a giant bar than I am it being a strip club. It just sends me a signal the City of Edmonton cares more about money from business licenses and property taxes than building and maintaining neighbourhoods that work and make sense. Sure, that means a little government intervention, but every single decision, rule, bylaw, and law from government is intervention in the free market and public choice.

Keep your clothes on, there’s more Edmonton news ahead. (more…)


August 15 Edmonton Headlines

Welcome back from the weekend, Edmonton. From the absolute craziness of my neighbourhood I trust you were at the Fringe.

So quickly after announcing a late-night transit option for Whyte Avenue, the plan is off. Geez. (Another wrinkle to the plan: would cab drivers have given up Whyte and Jasper to sit at Southgate?)

Now, I wasn’t a huge fan of the shuttle from Whyte, through the university, to Southgate, but it was going to be a start for overnight transit. With this delay the City of Edmonton and Edmonton Transit System just needs to stop screwing around and offer 6-10 bus routes that run between 1am and 6am.

You run current routes like the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and LRT – routes that cross large portions of the city – with security along for the ride and you offer drinkers an option to get home safe, students more options at evening or before-class work, sleepy shift workers a chance to ride the bus, and actually become a world-class city. I do not accept the idea this would cost outrageous amounts of money.

Coming up…things I would spend outrageous amounts of money on. (Or just more news.) (more…)


August 12 Edmonton Headlines

Look, leaf, I don't know what kind of orders you're getting from the tree, but I demand you get back up there.

Welcome to the end of the week, Edmonton.

Edmonton Police are going to try and bust people for carrying knives and concealed weapons. This is one of the enforcement steps following a crime announcement from the chief and mayor. The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is also sending more officers into the five most violent neighbourhoods in each police division.

But you probably woke up as terrified as ever, just like the Edmonton Sun thought.

(While I agree a lot of long-term plans, especially if they involve buzzwordy task forces and work groups, are more political than practical, can we at least give the new police chief a week or two on the latest plans?)

By the way, Sun staff, our homicide rate is not “skyrocketing.” You can see here and here that our homicide rate is fairly steady, declining for the most part in the last few decades (as is the general trend across Canada). So, unless an increase of 0.4 homicides (per 100,000 people) in the most recent decade is a huge jump to you, things are not as terrifying as you may think.

Countering that claim like that I feel like a certain website that was set up to counter newsrooms’ fearmongering crime claims

Also, I prefer to call it a homicide rate, not murder rate, because not all of the deaths are going to result in murder charges (either 1st degree murder or 2nd degree murder) and some of them may result in no charges at all (self-defense, police shootings are two examples).

Alright, that’s enough media crime yammer, let’s see what else is going on in Edmonton. I don’t believe it’s just crime and death. (more…)


August 11 Edmonton Headlines

We sure are!

Good Thursday to you, Edmonton.

The police chief and mayor revealed a little more detail on where Edmonton is going in new crime-fighting and crime prevention programs. They’ll need help from the provincial government to fund some of the ideas. They could probably also use some help from the courts and parole systems to ensure the worst, and repeat, offenders don’t get out as often as they sometimes do. But crime prevention is really going to be the long-term key.

Among the items: more social workers and social assistance, more enforcement in high-risk neighbourhoods, trying to get tougher laws, or punishments, for knives and “edged weapons,” domestic violence awareness.

It all sounds good, but money and the actual projects and help will have to come through for anything to improve beyond our current state. (And, a reminder, we are currently seeing decreases in crime right across the country. Mack’s got a new look at some homicide numbers too.)

Just a quick, cynical, side note: If the mayor wants money, because that’s what help from the provincial government will be tied to, for programs both provincially and city-run, would he be willing to give up the downtown arena $100-million request? That kind of money could get a lot of people off the street, build-up mental health treatment, increase social assistance, and create crime prevention activities and programs.

A unanimous city council vote on a sports stadium? I guess that’s what happens when the city isn’t paying and the new stadium is privately financed.

Duncan Kinney has been crunching the numbers on Edmonton’s deal, because it doesn’t sound like anything is working or making lots of people happy with the current plan.

Arena-free from here on out (today anyway). (more…)


August 10 Edmonton Headlines

This was the scene Tuesday at 9pm. So bright!

While this column spins its way around the downtown arena quite a bit, municipalities do get the worst deal when it comes to taxes. Provincial governments, which have power over municipalities like Edmonton, should think about changing the tax rules to allow cities and towns to tax more than property.

Police want you to be on the lookout for an older Chevy Suburban after a shooting in south Mill Woods. The two guys shot are known to police and aren’t talking. No crime should go unpunished, and no crime is more important than another to the victims. But this kind of crime, a shooting that happened in public, is one that justifiably leaves people upset and scared.

We should hear more from the police chief today on new plans to take on violent crime, but the largest way to solve such problems lies outside of policing with social agencies, housing, mental health, and addictions treatment, community groups, and school and recreation resources.

Here’s a good example of a couple of guys who used sports to get university educations.

While there’s going to be a need to involve all kinds of other groups in keeping our city as safe as possible, police budgets are not going to get smaller in the near future.

Five years after a man was shot by Edmonton police the case is still in the courts in appeals and reviews.

Alright, that’s where we’re starting today, but next we’re heading to Whyte Avenue. (more…)


August 9 Edmonton Headlines

Our saviour.

Let’s start Tuesday with the good old downtown arena, shall we.

The Mayor says the City of Edmonton is negotiating a downtown arena deal in good faith and would hope the other side – the Katz Group and Oilers – is doing the same. The question arises after a story last week about Enoch as a possible back-up location for the Oilers. The Mayor also wonders what impact the Katz Group’s PR offer to MLAs will have on a request for $100-million in provincial government money.

Daryl Katz might need a few “No Men” around these arena planning meetings.

Also, wouldn’t it be funny, at least a little, if the City of Edmonton just said “You know what, enjoy Enoch.”

Come on, it would be hilarious.

Not hilarious: that “revitalizing downtown” almost always includes mega-projects.

*****

I threw in an update to Monday’s Headlines shortly after posting, but the update from the chief of the Edmonton Police Service yesterday was to wait for Wednesday.

But, any plan will need help from everyone. I’d also like to see more 24-hour (or at least 18 or-so hours) opportunities for libraries, school and after school programs, recreation, community centres, and things that can generally occupy kid and teen minds and time. That, more police on the streets (on the actual street, not another 3oo officers or anything), increased police, social worker, and mental health treatment in schools, greater resources for mental illness and addiction, and housing-first plans for the homeless and I think we’d be on track for a city everybody could agree on as safe.

But I fear we might just see more police hired.

Monday afternoon in south Mill Woods didn’t pass by quietly. A drive-by shooting, in the Knottwood portion of the neighbourhood, has put two young men in hospital. This is not a random shooting, and the victims aren’t sharing any details about who might have opened fire on them with police.

As an update to some talk we had yesterday on a crime blog, here’s Adam’s follow-up.

The man convicted of beating Edmonton bus driver Tom Bregg is looking to appeal his “dangerous offender” status. That status puts him in prison without a set release date. Though, one story says he’s filed that appeal and another says it’s just in the works. That means we’ll likely be waiting some time before this gets to the Alberta Court of Appeal.

It might take some time to wind through the courts, but it’s going to have to get to that before we know if Edmonton Police made the right call on releasing the name and photo of an HIV-positive 17-year-old, accused of not disclosing her status to sexual partners – which is a crime in Canada. But we will have to wait for the court case before knowing who is a victim of what and if there are changes to how police may act in a future case.

*****

It’s long, long overdue to try some late-night transit on Whyte Avenue, and Edmonton in general. A bit strange that Southgate becomes this cab drop-off. We should just run 6-12 bus routes through the overnight that allow people to be transported to other busy hubs and neighbourhoods. Will this just shift problems to Southgate where bus-loads of people try to get cabs? Why is the Edmonton Transit System so scared of all-night transit?

A fatal fire at an Old Strathcona senior’s home will push back others waiting to get into seniors housing.

Edmonton, and Canadian, soldiers continue to come home as the military mission in Afghanistan winds down.

The University of Alberta is offering a new certificate in aboriginal sport and recreation.