Looking back at August - good, bad and otherwise

September 1, 2017 - 3:42pm

Only three weeks remain of what’s been another eventful summer in central Alberta.

Here is some food for thought on what went down in August.

1) The month began with news of the bovine variety – and no, there isn’t really a section on that in journalism school.

2) Did you know the longest recreational trail in the world runs through central Alberta?  The Trans Canada Trail actually stretches through Blackfalds, Lacombe, Ponoka, Innisfail and Red Deer – including Bower Ponds.

3) How about those Pride Crosswalks which taxpayers did not pay for, eh? Aren't they just fabulous?

4)  Speaking of – this quote from Central Alberta Pride Society Chair Serge Gingras puts in the simplest of terms why we have Pride events -- including crosswalks -- in the first place: “People who have that kind of opinion about us have never experienced discrimination or been treated unfairly and they don’t know what it feels like or what it means until they are treated unfairly. It takes a long time for some people to change and some people will never change, but by in large, the community is very supportive. It’s a minority of people who are negative towards us."

5) Contrary to popular belief, statistics show supervised consumption sites actually save lives, decrease crime and increase local safety. Hopefully everyone who has an opinion or questions on the matter made it out to one of the nine information sessions held this month by Turning Point and the Red Deer Coalition on the Opioid Crisis.

6) The Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre is a sight to behold from the highway – and it’s going to be stunning when the interior is finished. This $88 million facility has many bells and whistles. If you missed our coverage from the media tour in August, check it out HERE.

7) Derek Fildebrandt claimed to have done nothing wrong when renting out his taxpayer-funded Edmonton home on AirBnB, but being the Opposition’s Finance Critic and the former Alberta Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, he really should’ve seen the backlash coming from $36 billion away.

8) I’m pretty spoiled being from BC – if you’ve ever had the chance to drive around the province, you’ll know it’s absolutely stunning from sea to sky. However, Alberta – for all its fields and straight roads for hundreds of kilometres – doesn’t usually get its due. On a trip this month to Drumheller, the foothills of the badlands dazzled me once again.

9) So the UCP are not allowed in Calgary’s Pride Parade on September 3 (with good reason), the UCP make a big deal out of it, then Jason Kenney rejects k.d. lang’s invite to meet with her and talk LGBTQ+ issues because he’s busy on September 3. If he really is busy, fair enough, but I'd hope he actually meets with her in the future.

10) If you ever get an opportunity to chat up City Historian Michael Dawe, take it. Each time him and I talk, I learn at least one new thing about our city. Did you know Red Deer’s flag turned 40-years-old in August?

11) The folks behind the Access for All barrier-free playscape now up at Mattie McCullough deserve a heaping of praise – starting with the kids who first approached administration. If you don’t know the story, click here – then go test drive the new playground.

12) A spectacle was made in August over the unveiling of what’s now known as Capstone at Riverlands (and Canada 150 Square). First, I think the name is something that will have to (and will) grow on people. The city should continue to grow and bounce back after a year of declining population. I’m not a fan of Riverlands in its current state – and that’s not a knock on the businesses there. I mean the ugly empty dusty space next to Carnival Cinemas. Capstone at Riverlands – once developed A LONG time from now – will be an incredible part of our city.

13) The number of trees down in the Gaetz Lake Sanctuary is incredible. The Wishart Trail reopened in August after the June 20 windstorm, so I checked it out, and the number of new sightlines and spots where there’s no longer a tree canopy is almost depressing. That storm really did a number.

14) Uber is coming – and it’s way too early to tell how that’s going to work out in Red Deer. There’s positive and negative feedback to be found about Uber on the interwebz. I would say if you’re going to use Uber -- just like you would in a taxi -- be responsible.

15) Thus far, Red Deerians have backed up their words when it comes to urging the province to fund hospital expansion for our city. Another big opportunity to do so is imminent. Make your voices heard September 10 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at the Memorial Centre parking lot.

16) My hat is off to Tymmarah Sheculski, the City of Red Deer’s Human Resources Specialist for Diversity and Inclusion, for being named to the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination.

17) While we’re all dry-heaving after the news that came out about our local Carl’s Jr. location, let’s take a moment to recognize the staff who did the right thing by becoming whistleblowers. A lot is made of being a rat, and some people don’t say anything out of fear for repercussions. Once the situation is sorted out, don’t further punish the good staff who work there.

18) City council decided in August which specific points it wants to advocate for when it comes to the legalization of marijuana, which takes effect July 1, 2018. Which ones do you agree and disagree with?

19) It was very hot that day, but my favourite moment from August was standing outside the Legion singing O’ Canada with a group of local members and organizers from the Invictus Games. The Games’ official flag stopped in Red Deer on its cross-Canada tour, which made for the memorable moment. Check out the Invictus Games and what they’re all about next month on TV airing from Toronto.

20) For the life of me, I cannot understand why phone books are still printed, or at least why they go out to every home in the city. I understand there are some people who aren’t as technologically savvy, but at least have a system where people who really need one can sign up. Phone books are egregiously outdated and largely useless.

21) A CP report surfaced last week stating Omar Khadr is seeking, among other things, accommodations in the Red Deer area so he can attend RDC’s highly-touted nursing program. While it is puzzling on some level why he would pick Alberta of all places to live, learn, work and play, the one thought I keep coming back to is that he’s a Canadian with a checkered past now seemingly trying to become a productive member of society. More common sense is needed with the threats that are regularly made on social media against Khadr’s life.

Love is love y’all. Let’s chat again at the end of September.

The Hall Way
By Josh Hall
A recent walk on the reopened Wishart Trail through the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary revealed the damage and new sightlines caused by the June 20 windstorm
A recent walk on the reopened Wishart Trail through the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary revealed the damage and new sightlines caused by the June 20 windstorm rdnewsNOW / Josh Hall
A recent walk on the reopened Wishart Trail through the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary revealed the damage and new sightlines caused by the June 20 windstorm
A recent walk on the reopened Wishart Trail through the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary revealed the damage and new sightlines caused by the June 20 windstorm rdnewsNOW / Josh Hall
A recent walk on the reopened Wishart Trail through the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary revealed the damage and new sightlines caused by the June 20 windstorm
A recent walk on the reopened Wishart Trail through the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary revealed the damage and new sightlines caused by the June 20 windstorm rdnewsNOW / Josh Hall
For the second year, the community celebrated rainbow crosswalks ahead of Central Alberta Pride Week
For the second year, the community celebrated rainbow crosswalks ahead of Central Alberta Pride Week rdnewsNOW / Josh Hall

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