Creating a village in our communities A strong social network makes a difference in living a long, happy life

It’s no secret our society has moved away from face-to-face contact. With the arrival of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, we’ve become accustomed to interacting with people digitally rather than in person.

I’m no different. I work from home and often keep in touch with people through Facebook, texting, and emailing. For the most part, I’m okay with my alone time. But I crave in-person contact and feel more satisfied when I actually see my friends and family.

Continue reading Creating a village in our communities A strong social network makes a difference in living a long, happy life

Creeping bellflower spotted everywhere This pretty purple flower is actually a noxious weed

Letter to the Editor:

On many walks through my neighbourhood (Alberta Avenue), I see an abundance of the creeping bellflower plant, either in clumps in back alleys, or displayed with pride in people’s front yard gardens.

The City of Edmonton has designated this plant as a noxious weed.

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Improve your barbecuing skills this summer Fire up the grill and try these delicious suggestions

One of the best things about summer is firing up the barbecue and eating outdoors.

Bryan Goulet, executive chef at Creative Quality Catering & Bistro, and Sierra Bilton, Rat Creek Press writer, offered some tips and favourite recipes for this barbecuing season.

Continue reading Improve your barbecuing skills this summer Fire up the grill and try these delicious suggestions

Infill growing pains Increasing density in mature neighbourhoods

Growing pains. Children have them. Families too. And so does our city. According to the city census, Edmonton’s population grew by 7.4 per cent between 2012 and 2014. More people means more housing is needed. By 2018, city council wants 25 per cent of new housing to be infill in mature neighbourhoods.

Infill is less expensive as infrastructure and services are already in place. It reduces commutes, saving on transportation infrastructure and pollution. It also saves farmland from being eaten up.

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Reap the benefits of green communities Embracing the healing and restorative power of nature

The West Nile virus worries me. Not because of the one in a million chance I might get infected, but because we don’t need another excuse to demonize the outdoors.

Ours is the first society that spends the majority of its time indoors. According to studies, the average North American spends less than two hours per day outside. Compared to our climate-controlled, sealed and sanitized homes, we have developed the attitude that nature is uncomfortable, disorderly, unsanitized and potentially dangerous. Possibly true.

Continue reading Reap the benefits of green communities Embracing the healing and restorative power of nature

Making a difference to at-risk youth Two men bring different methods when working with youth

Meet Sean Dunster and Sebastian Barrera.

Both help at-risk youth. Dunster’s approach is through wrestling and motivational presentations, Barrera’s through community development and public art.

Dunster’s path into wrestling took many twists and turns. “I was always a misfit because of my size, so I called my pro wrestling character Massive Damage.” He trained for football, then bodybuilding, until a pro wrestler recognized that Dunster’s frame and athleticism was perfect for the ring.

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Supporting inner-city youth for 23 years Crystal Kids has results with mentoring and harm reduction

A basketball game is starting in the Crystal Kids Youth Centre’s gym and a staff member is designating positions with six boys.

The focused and friendly energy highlights a core premise of Crystal Kids: to provide positive mentoring and individual engagement with youth. The centre’s approach is flexible within a programmed structure.

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Camp organizers seek a spark of funding Local theatre camp unsure of what the future holds

A theatre camp dedicated to providing affordable and accessible arts education to youth is uncertain of the future. Spark! ran the first two weeks of July with students ranging from ages 7-14.

Unable to secure grant funding, organizers were forced to rely on donations and charge a fee for each student. This meant the camp is difficult to justify for students coming from low-income families. Chris dela Cruz, founder of Spark!, explained, “These kids are not normally afforded opportunities to be exposed to performance art as it can be an expensive activity.”

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There is no golden rule for creativity Shima Aisha Robinson talks about art and poetry

The best poets throw out the rule book and speak plainly to you with electric words they pull from their veins of consciousness and then pour like lightning into the reader’s bones. Shima Aisha Robinson’s electric first book of poetry, Horn, will soon be available in a second printing. 

Few acts are more courageous and electric than truth. Autobiographical poetry, as Robinson defines her work, is thought and truth aloud on the page. “My book is about personal experience, friends and family, all the major themes, love and pain and [it also] explores politics. I tried to choose the most potent poems that communicated the issues.”

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Tales of a wartime photo: what happened here Men walk down Alberta Avenue supporting of the war effort

This 1942 photo of army recruits walking down 118 Avenue is a good representation of popular culture in Edmonton during the Second World War.

The Pearl Harbour attack had occurred on Dec. 7, 1941. Lesser known is the heavy loss of Canadian troops during the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong beginning Dec. 8, 1941. The brief but disastrous Dieppe raid on Aug. 19, 1942, was devastating. Of the 4,963 Canadians who left England for the operation, only 2,210 returned, with several wounded.

Continue reading Tales of a wartime photo: what happened here Men walk down Alberta Avenue supporting of the war effort