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Alberta

“A Really Special Place” – Why the Wild Rose Motocross Track is One of a Kind

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This summer, as you wander between the breweries and activity centers located in southeast Calgary, pause for a moment – if you listen closely, you may hear the distant rumble of motocross engines as bikes of all sizes careen over jumps and around corners at the Wild Rose Motocross Track.

Located just off Blackfoot Trail in Southeast Calgary, the 88-acre park is backed by the Calgary skyline, a prime piece of land located just minutes from downtown. Founded in the 1960’s as the Blackfoot Motorcycle Park, the track has deep roots in the city of Calgary, and according to WRMA board member David Pinkman, “Few sagas can compete with the wild west history of Calgary’s Wild Rose Motocross Association and its hard-core motocross lovers.” 


Photo Credit Eden Schell 

In 1984, The Wild Rose Motocross Association (WRMA) was officially formed, and the Blackfoot Motorcycle Park became the Wild Rose. Acting as a major host for a number of national motocross events since the 70’s and nurturing some of Canada’s best professional riders to date, Pinkman argues the “course of Canadian motocross history may not have been the same but for this unique piece of dirt and hills.”

With 7 tracks available including the full-sized Main, East and Hill Tracks, as well as the Extreme Beginner, Mini, Pee Wee, and Enduro Tracks, Wild Rose welcomes riders of all ages and skill levels. “This is the only track of its kind in Canada,” says Michelle McCarthy, newest member of the WRMA board, “It’s right in the centre of the city; it’s got 3 big bike tracks, the smaller tracks and the enduro park. This is a really special place.”
Whether it be your first time on a bike or the day you’re finally going to clear that 15-foot tabletop, the track encourages everyone to come out and ride. “People want to see new riders,” says McCarthy, “they want to see the community flourish. Plus, dirt biking is really, really fun,” she laughs.  


Photo Credit Eden Schell 

Like countless other Canadian businesses, the Wild Rose Track has taken a hit due to COVID-19, with day pass riders and memberships being significantly down. Open year round – weather permitting – the track normally sees up to 30,000 visits per year. However, due to the pandemic, numbers are currently far lower as the park operates within capacity limits. 

As a recreational park on city property, track management wanted to set an example for taking action to reduce the spread of COVID-19, responding rapidly to Alberta Government guidelines by implementing a number of new precautions and preventative measures. This includes constructing wash stations at every track, implementing paperless transactions and COVID-19 symptom screening upon entry to the park, as well as establishing an online scheduling system to limit the number of riders at the track at one time.  

In the midst of the new normal, the park remains committed to growing and supporting the motocross community in Calgary and beyond, staying on top of updates that will allow them to return to racing and regular operation as soon as possible. While all spring and summer race series have been cancelled by COVID-19, the WRMA is actively monitoring pandemic updates with the goal of hosting a successful race series this coming fall. 

To learn more about the Wild Rose Motocross Association, visit https://www.wildrosemx.com.

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

Alberta

Alberta long-term care residents remain priority in looming slowdown of COVID vaccine

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says residents in long-term care and supportive living facilities will remain the priority as the province grapples with a looming slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine supply.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says health officials may also have to rebook vaccination appointments for those getting the required second dose.

Hinshaw made the announcement just hours after the federal government said there will be no shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week and reduced shipments for about three weeks after that.

The slowdown is due to Pfizer retrofitting its Belgium-based plant in order to ramp up production down the road.

Hinshaw says Alberta has 456 new cases of COVID-19, with 740 patients in hospital.

There are 119 patients in intensive care and 1,463 people have died.

“This is frustrating, but the factory issues in Belgium are out of our control,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said in a release Tuesday.

“We will continue to use what we have to protect as many Albertans as possible. And we will continue to inform Albertans of any changes to our vaccination plans.”

Alberta recently finished giving first doses of vaccine to all residents in its 357 long-term care and supportive living facilities.

“These are absolutely the highest-risk locations, and people who live in these facilities are the most vulnerable to severe outcomes,” Hinshaw told a virtual news conference.

“Two-thirds of all our (COVID-19) deaths have been in long-term care and supportive living facilities.”

Alberta has given 90,000 first doses of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to those in the high priority cohort: those in the care homes and front-line health-care workers.

Canada was to get more than 417,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and next, but will now get just over 171,000 this week and nothing the following week.  Both vaccines require two doses weeks apart for full effectiveness.

The delay has also forced the province to put off implementing the next phase of priority cases: Indigenous seniors over 65 and other seniors 75 and older.

Alberta remains under strict lockdown measures, which include a ban on indoor gatherings. Bars, restaurants and lounges can offer takeout or pickup service only. Retailers are limited to 15 per cent customer capacity, while entertainment venues like casinos and movie theatres remain shuttered.

The province relaxed some measure slightly on Monday. Outdoor gatherings can have 10 people maximum. Personal care services, like hair salons, manicure and pedicure salons and tattoo shops, can open by appointment only.

Hinshaw said it’s not clear when further restrictions can be lifted.

“Our health system is still under severe strain,” she said.

“This continues to impact our ability to deliver care, not only for COVID-19 but all the other health needs Albertans have.”

There were 11,096 active COVID cases Tuesday, about half the number recorded at its peak in mid-December.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Central Alberta man sentenced to 18 years on 26 charges following child porn bust

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RED DEER, Alta. — A central Alberta man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison following what is being called one of the largest child pornography busts in the province.

The man can’t be named due to a publication ban to protect the identity of his victims, some of whom were sexually assaulted by him.

He pleaded guilty in October 2019 to 26 charges, while more than 50 counts were dropped.

Court in Red Deer, Alta., heard that the man’s victims were between two and 10 years old.

During the police investigation, members of Alberta’s internet Child Exploitation Unit seized more than 180,000 images of child pornography from the man’s digital devices and more than 27,000 videos.

During sentencing, provincial court Judge Jim Hunter called the 36-year-old man’s actions deplorable.

“The offences are extremely grave. Each time the files are viewed, the child is revictimized. The potential for revictimizations are immense,” Hunter said Tuesday.

“His moral culpability is very high. His collection was vast and extremely well organized — close to the highest numbers ever dealt with in Alberta.”

The man was initially charged in January 2019 following a tip from the Queensland Police Service in Australia.

Hunter said the man knew the legal and moral wrongfulness of his actions.

“He not only made child pornography, he traded and distributed it. I acknowledge (the accused) has a number of mental illnesses including pedophilia disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, but not enough to mitigate the sentence.”

The man was also given a 10-year long-term supervision order and banned for life from owning weapons and firearms. He must also register as a sex offender and submit his DNA.

After seeking a sentence of 20 years, Crown prosecutor Carolyn Ayre said she is satisfied with the judge’s ruling. (rdnewsNow)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021 

The Canadian Press

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