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Around Red Deer June 12th…..

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11:37 am – Heads up Sylvan Lake drivers! Some Road Closures throughout town today. Read More.

10:42 am – Red Deer County construction crews are busy with numerous capital projects this year. Here’s the breakdown.

10:36 am – Red Deer RCMP are searching for 35 year old Quentin Lee Strawberry, who is wanted on warrants for armed robbery with a firearm, assault with a weapon and forcible confinement. Read More.

For more local news, click here!

10:17 am – Have you seen 37 year old Michael James Ginter? RCMP would like to confirm his well-being. Read More.

10:09 am – Red Deer students are among an estimated 33,000 in Alberta that take public transit to school, that will benefit from provincial funding being obtained through an Act to Reduce School Fees. Read More.

10:00 am – National Blood Donor Week is typically a time to celebrate donors across the country. This year, however, Canadian Blood Services is focused on a critical need for blood donations and is urging Canadians to make an appointment right away to donate before July 1. Here’s how you can help.

For more local news, click here!

9:38 am – Good news to report regarding a missing Red Deer woman. Mounties say Sherry Lynn Wahobin has now been located and RCMP are thanking the public for their assistance.

9:28 am – Lacombe County Council has approved a new policy regarding the use of surveillance cameras in the County office and at shop facilities. Find out what else happened at Council on June 8th!

9:18 am – St. Elizabeth Seton School is inviting you to their Father’s Day Fun Run this upcoming Sunday, June 18th at Kin Kanyon to raise money for a new school playground. Read More.

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9:00 am – A small business resource centre in Olds will benefit from nearly $60,00 in provincial funding announced on Sunday. Read More.

8:47 am – Three people are facing forcible confinement and weapons charges after Mounties conducted a search warrant at a Didsbury residence June 8th. Read More.

8:29 am – A 29 year old Maskwacis man is dead after a single vehicle rollover in Wetaskiwin County on June 8th. Read More.

For more local news, click here!

8:21 am –  Lots of fun events at Red Deer’s Hunting Hills High School this week. It’s the school’s Last Week Bash, so there will be activities such as a dunk tank, slip and slide, freezies, food trucks and dress up. Meanwhile, the Kiwanis Gallery in the lower level of the Downtown Public Library will be the site this week for an Art Exhibit from Lindsay Thurber students. The show will feature the work of this year’s IB and AP Art graduates.

8:08 am – After 10 months of hitting the books hard, Kindergarten students at École Our Lady of the Rosary School in Sylvan Lake will have their graduation ceremonies today! Elsewhere in the Red Deer Catholic Regional School District, Grade 9 students at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School in Red Deer will get a visit from officials with Careers – the next Generation today. The students will get information on various occupations, employability skills, high school opportunities and career paths.

7:55 am – Some road closures for local drivers to be aware of in south Red Deer today. Read More.

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Alberta

Alberta RCMP investigating after far-right groups confront anti-racism rally-goers

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RED DEER, Alta. — RCMP in Alberta say they are investigating after an anti-racism rally in Red Deer turned violent on the weekend.

News footage from CityTV Edmonton shows counter-protesters shoving demonstrators who had gathered to denounce racism, but no RCMP officers are seen intervening.

Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu says violence and threats of violence are unacceptable and he has urged the RCMP’s commanding officer in Alberta to get to the bottom of what happened.

Madu says the Mounties have told him they weren’t there for the initial confrontation because protest organizers changed the location of the rally at the last minute.

Kisha Daniels, a co-founder of Black and Indigenous Alliance AB says the RCMP was well-aware of the location change, which was made in response to threats from white supremacist groups.

Daniels says she had been planning to speak at the rally about education and anti-blackness, but the event was interrupted by Yellow Vesters, Soldiers of Odin and other groups honking their horns, blaring sirens and yelling.

She calls what happened traumatizing and says so far the RCMP has not reached out, even though she has footage and other information to contribute to any investigation.

RCMP said in a news release Monday that there was a disturbance as the anti-racism groups were setting up the rally on Sunday.

“Red Deer RCMP were aware of the planned demonstration and had prepared to have adequate resources and specially equipped officers at the event to handle any potential risks to public safety,” the news release said.

“After arriving on scene, members became aware of the alleged assault, were able to de-escalate the situation between the two groups, and spoke with the victim.”

The RCMP said a “second incident,” which they did not explain in the news release, was brought to their attention a day later and they are asking any witnesses to come forward.

“The Red Deer RCMP take this matter very seriously,” Supt. Gerald Grobmeier said in a statement.

“The role of the RCMP at demonstrations is to keep the peace and allow individuals their democratic right to gather. The matter remains under investigation.”

By Lauren Krugel in Calgary

This report by The Canadian Press was first published September 22, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Your event has been CANCELLED

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Your Event Has Been Cancelled

By Ilan Cooley

The live event industry is in serious trouble. It was the first sector to go dark due to the pandemic, and it is expected to be the last to be allowed back to work.

The people behind the scenes of your favourite events are the mavericks and risk takers you likely don’t know about. They create the events that make you smile until your face hurts, cheer until you lose your voice, and dance until you can’t stand up. They make the magic that fills your social feeds, and the moments that live in your memories.

You may have gotten an email saying “your event has been cancelled” – they lost their livelihood.

“People don’t understand how bullseye targeted this virus was at our industry,” says Jon Beckett, owner of Production World. “It was a 100% bullseye. You couldn’t hit it more dead centre. It’s not like it hurt us – it took it away. People don’t understand that until you talk to them about your industry.”

Production World Staff

Beckett’s company used to employ 50 people. Having lost more than 200 events so far, they have laid off 35 people. Their 25,000 square foot warehouse contains almost seven million dollars worth of staging, lighting and other production equipment.

“We have to house that inventory,” he says. “It is not like we can sell it.”

Similarly, Fort Saskatchewan based Superior Show Service has two separate warehouses full of rental items nobody currently needs, plus tax bills and insurance due. As a 35-year-old family-run event rental company, they cater to tradeshows and large events. Some of the 35 staff they laid off in March have been hired back after accessing relief programs, but with more than 80 events already cancelled, owner Chris Sisson worries about the future.

“It feels like the carpet kicked out from under you,” he says. “I’ve always been able to provide for a great number of families, not just my own, and today I have no idea how to provide for my own. I have been in this industry my entire life, and now I have no idea what to do. It is truly humbling and dumbfounding.”

Chris Sisson of Superior Show Service

Event promoter Mike Andersson prefers not to dwell on what has been lost, instead focusing on building something consumers will want to come back to when it is over. He knows how to manage complex logistics and bring large groups of people together. Even when faced with severe restrictions for events, his company, Trixstar, was busy creating pandemic proof event manifestos, and blue-sky concepts for safe gatherings.

“When everything came crashing down we were putting up material about what events look like after this, and showing some optimism,” he says. “It is important to get people together and to celebrate.” He admits there are good days and bad days. “It is a rollercoaster of emotions,” he says. “Obviously we feel terrible. It affects us, but it affects so many companies. From the security companies, to the ticketing companies, to the tent company, to the production company – all those people are affected.”

Event photographer Dale MacMillan also worries about the people behind the scenes. He has lost more than 100 days of shooting for professional sporting events, large music events, festivals and fairs, which makes up about 60% of his income, and he knows others are in the same situation.

Dale MacMilon takes event photos like this shot of Trixstar

“There’s a guy sitting out there with probably a quarter section of land and he’s probably got 5500 porta potties that are out at ten to 20 events throughout the month, and he is affected tremendously,” says MacMillan. “I see some of the guys that are usually in the business of trucking the machinery to set up the fairs and festivals that are delivering for Amazon now. I look at all of those people who work the booths to break plates. They are not working at all. How else is a guy who owns a plate breaking booth going to get any other business?”

Even artists like Clayton Bellamy are wondering how to pay their bills. As a successful singer/songwriter and member of Canada’s top country band, The Road Hammers, he wishes the gold records on his wall represented a decent living, but admits there is no money to be made without touring. With up to 90% of his income derived from live shows, and almost no revenue from music streaming, he says he will do whatever it takes to feed his family.

“Obviously I have kids and that comes first before anything,” he says. “The main thing to do is to find work.” He also knows lack of touring impacts others. “Our band employs a lot of people. It is not just me on the stage – it is the tour manager, and the person in the office answering the phones at the management company, and the manager. We help employ 50 people. If you think about the industry as a whole, there are a lot of people relying on that trickle-down.”

Clayton Bellamy

Beckett says the model for live events has changed forever.

“If we are going to collapse, then we are going to give it all we can. Right now, we are optimistic that we can somehow find ways to juggle.”

Production World is streaming virtual events to online audiences, and delivering reimagined AHS compliant live events with a mobile stage, video wall, and in-car audio for things like graduations, weddings, movies, drive in music events, and even funerals. They are retrofitting churches for virtual services, and recording content to deliver music and sermons to parishioners.

Sisson suggests his industry should collaborate with government and other industry professionals to develop a plan, like doing events by the hour to control occupancy counts, disinfecting surfaces, contact tracing and testing, and utilizing existing technologies like temperature checks and facial recognition.

“I will be ashamed of our industry if we cannot have something that is approved and a way to conduct ourselves by October,” he says. “At the end of the day there are a lot of livelihoods that need to get looked after.”

MacMillan says the advice his parents gave him to plan for a rainy day was valid. He will get creative with other revenue sources and try to take advantage of programs and subsidies.

“If it helps you along one more month, it is one more month that you can make it until things open up again.”

Bellamy tries to keep his mental health in check by maintaining a rigorous schedule of practicing, writing, and working on existing projects. He plans to finish a new record so he can hit the ground running when touring resumes.

“Right now, I have no income,” he says. “I don’t have a safety net. I don’t have a plan B.”

He says if people want to support their favourite artists they should buy music and merchandise directly, like and share posts and music on social media, and send a letter to the government to help change laws that impact fair pay for artists’ streaming rights.

A return to “normal” is a long way off, and no matter when life starts to feel unrestricted again the world will be altered, and things will be different. Behind the scenes, the event industry not just trying to reinvent itself, it is fighting for survival.

“People don’t think about the human side of it and all that goes into it and all the different companies that come together to produce an event,” says Anderson. “Nobody in the entertainment industry is making a dollar right now. Everyone has to figure out how to survive this, and survive it together. So, my optimism is, I think a lot of companies are going to survive this because they are working together. They are going to support each other once we come out the other side.”

On September 22nd Canadian event industry technicians, suppliers and venues from across the country will Light Up Live events in red to raise awareness for the live event industry – which is still dark.

www.ilancooley.com

Read more on Todayville.

 

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september, 2020

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