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A trip of a lifetime!


8 minute read

by Glenn Kubish

Russia has tugged at me for a long time.

As a boy in a house with a Bible and an Edmonton Journal subscription, I followed the acts of a small number of characters in the bigger world: the Apostles, the NHL stars, and Russian and American politicians. My young imagination was peopled by, basically, St. Paul, Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr and Ken Dryden, with room for Nixon, Ford, Brehznev, Gromyko, Chernenko, and, later, Reagan, Andropov, and Gorby.

In international play, Kharlamov represented the Soviet Union at 11 World Championships, winning 8 gold medals, 2 silvers and 1 bronze. He participated in three Olympics, 1972, 1976 and 1980, finishing with two gold medals and a silver, and participated in the 1972 Summit Series against Canada.

The Canada-Russia hockey series in 1972 captivated us. We watched games in assembly in the school gym on giant TVs that sat on wheeled legs. After school, when a friend in net made a great save during a road hockey game on 67 St, someone would invariably yell “Tretiak!” It was the highest compliment. Indoors, we spent hours and hours playing Coleco table hockey. My friend across the lane, Brucey Straka, spray-painted red a squad of plastic players. We replayed the 1972 series until some time in late 1979. Valery Kharlamov was unstoppable down the left wing groove.

Boris Spassky playing Bobby Fischer in chess made its way to me in northeast Edmonton. I had a stamp collection and there was a Pushkin stamp.

Vasily Alekseyev was a Soviet super heavyweight lifter. He won 2 Olympic gold medals and set 80 world records. He died in 2011 at 69.

On TV, the Russians were larger than life. Think Vasily Alekseyev. And artistic. Think Rodnina and Zaitsev. There were Russian judges, shorthand for Cold War intrigue. And Boris and Natasha. Le Carre. And Robert Ludlum. Bony M’s Rasputin.

Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) was a Marxist revolutionary, theorist, and Soviet politician.

We studied the Russian Revolution in social studies. Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky. Ice pick. Mexico. We drank Black Russians. Vodka and coffee liqueur, if I remember right. Purges. Five year plans. Collectivized farms.

Flying ????????

As an undergraduate, I took a year-long Soviet politics course with Professor Max Mote. I learned there were academics who considered themselves Kremlinologists. And those words, just the exotic sound of those words: Kremlin. Pravda. Izvestia. Aeroflot. GUM. And the Gulag Archipelago. We studied the theory of mutual assured destruction and then went to drink at Dewey’s. I read Jonathan Schell’s The Fate of the Earth in New Yorker instalments while sitting in Rutherford South Library. Connery and Daniela Bianchi in Bond.

99 Luftballons is an anti-war protest song by the German band Nena released in 1983.

It’s all over and I’m standing pretty.  Nena, too. I have no way of proving this, but I believe I have listened to 99 Red Balloons more than anyone else in northeast Edmonton. I have always tried to chase down, to name the something that is out there. It was all clear on the dance floor at Crackerjacks.

Karenia, as I kinda picture her.

Then the literature found me. And I lost myself in it. I lost stanines, too. Instead of reading Lipsey, Purvis, Sparks and Steiner, I read Tolstoy, Chekov, Pushkin and Turgenev. This country of beautiful, suffering people, what was it? This Karenina, this Vronsky, these peasants, these trains, this passion, these fathers and children, this sense that happiness is not among the goods to be achieved on earth. Then the writings of the dissidents. Solzhenitsyn was a beacon.

Somehow I got a lapel pin from the Moscow Olympics.

Snowden, of course, ended up in a Russian airport.

Pushkin above – Shelagh right

This year, I made it to Russia. Shelagh and I attended the Winter Bike Congress in Moscow earlier this month. We took a train in through the dark from the Sheremetyevo airport and emerged on Tverskaya Street, a river of light and traffic and the sound was tires on slush. Horns blared. Women in mink coats walked the sidewalks. Black BMW 7 series coupes flew by. Light standards were adorned with LED displays in the shape of giant goblets. Workers chipped ice.

Shelagh on Tverskaya

We saw a lot. We saw Red Square. The metro station announcements: “This is Park Kultury.” Unlike Manhattan, people looked at each other. Tulips and roses at the foot of the towering Pushkin statue. We walked through the GUM store and we walked past Gucci and Manolo Blahnik and Valentino and even Levi’s. Nothing to lose but our chains, I thought. We ate deer heart and drank vodka at LavkaLavka. We walked to LavkaLavka, remembering to walk past the Rachmaninoff statue on the way. It snowed snowflakes. Crews shovelled. A young boy carried with two hands a big piece of ice. We met remarkable people. We rode bicycles on closed streets with thousands of others. People above waved from bridges.

And, oh, yeah, we go rounded merrily in the cold. Whirrrrr!

It wasn’t that I was home. It was precisely not home. But I did meet a lot of myself there.
(Glenn Kubish is a former print and TV journalist. We’d like to thank Glenn and his wife Shelagh for letting us publish this wonderful story and congratulations on your amazing trip to Russia!  The Todayville Team)

By Glenn Kubish

I live in Edmonton.
I ride a bicycle.
I play a guitar.
I like coffee.
I am married to Shelagh.
I like to read.
I try write short sentences.
I blog at
I tweet at @kub64



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Central Alberta

Evaluation Assistant – Part-time Casual

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Evaluation Assistant – Part-time Casual

The Evaluation Assistant will be part of the Evaluation Team at the Red Deer Primary Care Network (RDPCN) working under the direct supervision of the Evaluator. The main responsibilities include data collection, data entry, as well as supporting both analysis and reporting for a broad spectrum of RDPCN programs and services. The successful candidate should be competent at working both independently and in a team environment; accurately managing data, and contributing to high quality reports and other deliverables.

Key Strengths of Candidates;

  • Bachelor degree in social sciences or health-related area
  • Experience in applied research or evaluation, quantitative and/or qualitative (minimum 2
  • years preferred)
  • Excellent command of Microsoft Excel, Word, Power Point and Outlook
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Detail orientated and organized
  • Able to work flexible hours with some evenings
  • and/or weekends.
  • This position is part-time casual, with varying hours

Act now. APPLY

Submit your curriculum vitae to [email protected] (with “Evaluation Assistant” in the subject line), or by fax to 403.342.9502. A full job description can be found at

Closing date: April 19, 2021 or until a successful candidate is found. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

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City of Red Deer

City will identify potential locations for new homeless shelter by early May

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red deer city hall

From the City of Red Deer

Council supports interim shelter, directs administration to find alternative location

City Council has resolved to support the continuation of an interim shelter and directed administration to find a new location in collaboration with the Province and service providers.

“We have a responsibility to look after our most vulnerable citizens in a responsible manner, with the interests of the wider community in mind as well,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “Without a permanent integrated homeless shelter in place, infrastructure we have been advocating the Province for years to complete, it is no surprise that the public is frustrated, the service providers are frustrated and the vulnerable themselves are frustrated. There are significant consequences in the community for having temporary and insufficient solutions to very complex social challenges, but I am hopeful the preliminary direction Council gave today will help will bridge the gap for vulnerable citizens, the service providers, and our business community and community in general until a more permanent solution can be put into place.”

Within four weeks, administration will bring back options for a new interim shelter location for Council to consider. To ensure the proper processes take place for the relocation, administration will also bring forward a recommendation to extend the operations at the current temporary shelter site at Cannery Row.

“Although we are proceeding with exploration of potential new interim sites, we will most likely need Council to approve an extension of the Cannery Row site until the new location is up and running. When we come back in four weeks, we will bring timing, costs and procedural requirements to make the move to a new site,” said City Manager Allan Seabrooke.

At this time, the Cannery Row site has guaranteed Provincial funding until March 31, 2022. The City will work with the Province and Safe Harbour to secure proper funding for a new temporary location.

“During discussions, Council was made aware of the funding agreement in place, and recognizes there could be financial requirements from The City to move and operate the interim shelter in its new location,” said Seabrooke. “We will gather as much information as possible to allow Council to make an informed decision, including potential operating and capital costs, which will require Council approval.”

“City Council’s resolutions tonight aim to balance the needs of Red Deer’s vulnerable population, surrounding properties and the community as a whole. However, despite our best efforts, Safe Harbour and the Province of Alberta may still select their own site, as long as it is zoned for public service,” said Seabrooke.

The interim shelter is expected to support the community’s vulnerable population until a permanent shelter is operational. On February 7, 2020, the Province committed to $7 million in its 2020 Capital Plan for a purpose built integrated emergency shelter in Red Deer. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Province of Alberta and The City of Red Deer was finalized in February 2021 to establish a general high-level understanding related to the provincially managed project to meet the current and future needs in Red Deer. Specifics about location, timing and operational details have not yet been determined by the provincial government.

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