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Alberta

They Took Over Their Business Just Before COVID-19 – Here’s How They Survived

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Prairie Grounds Coffee House, a local coffee shop in Langdon, Alberta, is making strides in order to serve the local community that has rallied around them during the shutdown caused by COVID-19. Lana and Jesse Seddon took over the local coffee house on March 1, 2020 and were open for just two weeks before they made the decision to shut the doors and switch to curbside pickup and local delivery. Prairie Grounds has built a website that not only has their own goods but incorporates other local businesses that specialize in both retail and baked items.

Prairie Grounds Coffee House Owners Lana and Jesse Seddon

Lana Seddon says the decision to close was made in an effort to protect the community as well as the staff at Prairie Grounds Coffee House. “We’ve just all tried to keep open communication and let each other know what we’re comfortable with, even opening up with stage one of [Alberta’s] relaunch plan.”

Seddon worked at Prairie Grounds when it was operated by the previous owners, and says that familiarity with the shop and its regulars has helped the business to continue to operate without being open for customers to dine in. Their business has remained open because of their close relationship with the community and continued support from local patrons. “[The community] is really rallying around us and they want to see us succeed,” she says, “there are people who have lost their jobs and been laid off, but they still come a few times a week just to support us.”

With phase one of Alberta’s relaunch plan now in effect, Prairie Grounds has made the decision to open up, but has put in place further safety restrictions in order to guarantee the continued well being of the community. “Just because the province says you can open up, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to,” says Seddon, “it’s your own personal decision and the level of comfort you and your family have with where you want to go and how much you want to be out.” 

Prairie Grounds Coffee House still isn’t allowing anyone to dine in and only permits five customers inside at a time, but Seddon says that many people are continuing to opt for the delivery and curbside pick-up options. With people being used to the current business practice, Seddon says they may consider keeping it when they are able to fully reopen again.

Even though the current state of Prairie Grounds Coffee House was not a part of the Seddon’s business plan, Lana says that she and their staff are prepared for this new “business as usual” and will continue to serve the community as best as possible during these uncertain times. 

For more information on Prairie Grounds Coffee House and how to support local, visit https://prairiegrounds.square.site/

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

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Alberta

Alberta legislation would set up independent agency to investigate police complaints

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The Alberta government has introduced legislation aimed at making police forces more accountable and responsive to the communities they serve.

The Police Amendment Act introduced Thursday would establish an independent agency called the Police Review Commission to receive complaints, carry out investigations and conduct disciplinary hearings to do away with the idea of police investigating police.

Mike Ellis, the minister of public safety and emergency services, said the province has been consulting with Albertans since 2018 to come up with the first major overhaul of the Police Act in 34 years.

“One thing that came up consistently was the need to change how complaints against the police are investigated to end the system of police investigating police,” Ellis said.

“The legislation answers those long-lasting calls to reform the public complaints process by establishing an independent agency to handle complaints against police.”

The Alberta Serious Response Team will continue to handle all cases involving death or serious injuries, as well as serious and sensitive allegations involving all police services. Its mandate would be expanded to include peace officers employed by provincial organizations as well as community peace officers at the municipal level.

The legislation would also require all jurisdictions with a population above 15,000 currently policed by the RCMP to establish civilian bodies to oversee policing priorities.

The United Conservative Party government is deciding next steps following the release of a third-party analysis last year of a proposal to create a provincial police force instead of using the RCMP in rural areas and some smaller communities.

“No decisions have been made regarding the provincial police service,” Ellis said. “This is about ensuring that the rural municipalities have a say at the table under our current model which is the RCMP, who is the current provincial police service provider.”

Ellis said it could be another 18 months before the Police Review Commission is up and running. He said negotiations are underway with the RCMP to see how they would fit in under civilian oversight.

“Right now K-Division has expressed they’re supportive of this, however, we’re still having discussions with Public Safety Canada because it still falls technically under the RCMP in Ottawa,” he said.

“We’re going to continue to negotiate with the RCMP because we believe the independent body is the right approach and we can continue going down that path.”

The proposed changes would also require police to develop diversity and inclusion plans to reflect the diverse and distinct communities they serve and to better understand local community needs.

The Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police supports the changes.

“Changes to update our Police Act are long overdue,” said Calgary Police Chief Mark Neufeld, president of the association in a statement.

“We have advocated for several years that the act needs reform to bring it more in line with the realities of the modern police workplace,”

Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee said the changes “will provide an additional layer of public transparency” that will benefit both the public and police.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2022.

— By Bill Graveland in Calgary

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Alberta

TC Energy shuts down Keystone pipeline system after leak in Nebraska

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CALGARY — TC Energy Corp. says it has shut down its Keystone pipeline after a leak in Nebraska.

The company says it has mobilized people and equipment in response to a confirmed release of oil into a creek, about 32 kilometres south of Steele City, Neb.

TC Energy says an emergency shutdown and response was initiated Wednesday night after a pressure drop in the system was detected.

It says the affected segment of the pipeline has been isolated and booms have been deployed to prevent the leaked oil from moving downstream.

The Keystone pipeline system stretches 4,324 kilometres and helps move Canadian and U.S. crude oil to markets around North America.

TC Energy says the system remains shutdown as its crews respond and work to contain and recover the oil.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP)

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