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Downtown Revitalization is not “THE” issue for our new city council. There are other more pressing issues.

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Downtown revitalization was a key issue in the 1980 Red Deer municipal election that saw Bob McGhee become our mayor.

Downtown revitalization was a key issue in the 1992 Red Deer municipal election that saw Gail Surkan become our mayor.

Downtown revitalization was a key issue in the 2004 Red Deer municipal election that saw Morris Flewwelling become our mayor.

Downtown revitalization was a key issue in the 2013 Red Deer municipal election that saw Tara Veer become our mayor.

Downtown revitalization was a key issue in the 2021 Red Deer municipal election that saw Ken Johnston become our mayor.

Downtown revitalization has always been “a” key issue in Red Deer but it is not “the” key issue in Red Deer.

There have been many ideas for revitalizing the downtown. From tax freezes, tax holidays, grants for store front restorations, pedestrian walkways, patios, one- way streets, free parking, river lands, pedestrian bridge, even a canal and they all cost money.

Parkland Mall use to be the powerhouse destination point for central Alberta and some of their taxes went to pay for many of the downtown revitalization incentives. Now the malls could use some help. Anyone?

I used to work out of an office downtown, but I still felt alienated from the downtown culture, and it all became clear in one incident. I was leaving a store on Ross Street and as I stepped out the door I was bowled over by a bicyclist. My pants were torn, my leg was cut but no one spoke to me, but the staff fussed over the bicyclist by name. I got up leaned the bicycle against the parking meter and left, amazed that nobody even asked if I was okay.

I remember a business owner saying that every time the city invests in the downtown my rent goes up. The landlords benefit the most. Another talked about how losing parking stalls hurt his business, another spoke of walk-in traffic increases theft more than sales.

Councilor Frank Wong retired from city council this year citing “Unresolvable issues” and I think that the downtown is one of them. Perhaps it is time to think bigger picture.

Capstone, for example, even after all these decades and the hundreds of millions spent moving the public yards, burying services, aligning roads and promoting this 23-acre futuristic miracle neighbourhood, won’t save the downtown for such simple reasons as most pedestrians won’t cross Taylor Drive.

We have spent decades developing 30 Avenue, shopping centres, plans for 5 high schools, 2 Aquatic Centres, Pickleball courts, new firehall, walkways and playgrounds so let us make 30 Avenue the new Ross Street.

We have new shopping destinations on Gaetz south and I see they are currently upgrading storefronts without taxpayers money, shouldn’t the landlords downtown pay for their updating.

So, after voting a dozen times municipally talking about downtown revitalization, perhaps it is time to rethink the way forward.

Perhaps there is more to Red Deer than downtown? Perhaps the powers that be could expand their circle of influence?

Remember there are other key subjects that need attention, stagnant population growth, no high school for the 30% population living north of the river, crumbling infrastructure in older neighbourhoods, gangs and homeless stealing in neighbourhoods, and the mere fact that Red Deer continues to have the poorest air quality in Alberta, and Alberta has the poorest air quality in Canada. The list goes on.

So perhaps the new council will look outwards too and address other issues, like they do on downtown revitalization, too.

Just saying.

Garfield Marks

Political editor/writer and retired oilfield supervisor

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Bruce Dowbiggin

Are We Ready For A Russian To Become NHL’s Top Goal Scorer?

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With the grinding war in Ukraine showing no signs of ceasing and Biden-led sanctions doing nothing tangible to deter Vladimir Putin, Russia’s image in the West has rarely been this low. So now might be a good time to ask if the NHL is prepared for a Russian to become the greatest goal scorer in league history.

As the league prepares for its annual draft on Thursday/ Friday, the top pick in the 2004 Draft is showing every sign that he will pass the game’s greatest Canadians in goal scoring. Going into 2022-23, the 36-year-old Capitals star is just 21 goals behind the immortal Gordie Howe in second place and 114 back of Wayne Gretzky, the Prometheus of NHL scoring.

  1. Wayne Gretzky. 894

2. Gordie Howe 801

3. Alex Ovechkin 780

Given good health Ovechkin will surpass Howe next season and probably leave Gretzky in his wake in four seasons. Even in a time of peace it will be interesting to see the public reaction in Canada and the U.S. to Ovechkin’s passing No. 99. While the No.1 pick in 2005, Sidney Crosby, has had a squeaky clean image, The Great Eight has been a little salty for some folks.

He plays a game Howe would love, dispensing devastating hits as well as brilliant goals. His gap-toothed sneer has not always endeared him to many. Nor has his proximity to Putin himself. In November 2017, Ovechkin started a movement called PutinTeam in support of Putin during the 2018 Russian presidential election .

In recent times he’s sought to have a foot in both camps. “I don’t know what’s happening out there. I know it’s a hard situation, but it is what it is. You know, I play here, and this is my second home. I don’t want to fight between two countries, because it’s going to be a mess.”

Too late on that front, Alex. Putin’s naked aggression and Biden’s desire to unseat him (he’s endorsed assassination) have put the West on the brink of a war with nuclear potential. Few can say where the conflict is headed, except that it’s highly unlikely the West will be surrendering its sons to the battlefield when NATO runs out of Ukrainians willing to die.

One thing is certain. As we point out in our book Inexact Science: the 6 Most Compelling Drafts in NHL History, Ovechkin put an end to the bias against Russians at the top of the NHL draft. While there had been Russian Hall of Fame selections in the middle to lower rounds of the draft (Sergei Fedorov, Pavel Bure, Sergei Zubov) Ovechkin’s No. 1 overall was considered a risk at the time. He changed the equation.

It began in 2004, when the Capitals selected Russian phenom Alex Ovechkin, maybe the greatest pure goal scorer the NHL has seen. A number one pick who has lived up to the billing of “generational player,” Ovechkin maybe would have been even more widely hailed as that “Next One” had he developed under the intense hockey media spotlight of Canada, or North America in general.

Never before had an international player earned the kind of accolades Ovechkin received leading up to his draft year. After all, he was only the second Russian ever to go that high on draft day. But the fact he wasn’t a Canadian kid may have tempered the headlines around “Ovie” and made some fans skeptical about his supposed wizardry. 

He wasn’t helped by how easily a stacked Team Canada had handled him and his Russians in the World Juniors of 2004 and 2005. In retrospect, “The Great 8” was actually undersold as a generational legend. But all of this made his majestic rookie season as a 20-year-old in 2005–06 more of a revelation than it would have been otherwise.

CAA agent J.P. Barry says that some resistance remains. “Even with Russian players, we’ve seen a hesitance in the past. A few teams have said to me, “Sorry, we just don’t draft Russians. End of story.” I know of several teams that did make that an internal memo. Some even said, “We can’t take a Euro in the first three rounds!” I don’t think there’s any team that could say any of that anymore, though. Way back when, however, there were these unwritten internal policies that were just silly. 

There was definitely a period there where teams didn’t want to touch Russians, because they didn’t feel that they could get them to come over. Sometimes they were teams impacted by something negative that happened in the past and let it change their course of action.”

If Ovechkin didn’t entirely smash the Russian stereotype then his countryman Evgeni Malkin, selected right behind Ovechkin in the 2004 draft, sealed the deal. (Ironically the two were rivals for a long time, only reconciling in recent years). Lifetime, Malkin has 444 goals and 702 assists in an injury-riddled career.

To the NHL’s credit, it hasn’t banned or sanctioned its Russian stars as some have done. The country’s teams are banned from international soccer and hockey tournaments and the Paralympics. Russian tennis players Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev (the top-2 ranked Russian male players) were barred from participating at Wimbledon. Many Russian artists have seen their concerts cancelled.

For now Ovechkin is walking a tight rope. He’s called for peace without mentioning Russia or Ukraine directly. In May 2022, he reiterated his support for Putin, as well as retaining the Russian president on his Instagram profile photo. Much depends on the progress of the war, and how much Canada and the U.S. are drawn into the combat.

The best advice is probably to keep his head down and his politics to himself if he wants to be celebrated for passing Howe and Gretzky.

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). The best-selling author was nominated for the BBN Business Book award of 2020 for Personal Account with Tony Comper. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. His new book with his son Evan Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History is now available on http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

 

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John Stossel

John Stossel on US Independence Day – Does The Constitution Need To Be Amended?

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From StosselTV

Happy #July4th, when we celebrate our independence and the Constitution.
Should we change the Constitution?
We asked people like Glenn Beck, Dave Rubin, and Jeffrey A. Tucker.
But some of the most interesting answers came from strangers on the street.

John Stossel created Stossel TV to explain liberty and free markets to young people. Prior to Stossel TV he hosted a show on Fox Business and co-anchored ABC’s primetime newsmagazine show, 20/20.

Stossel’s economic programs have been adapted into teaching kits by a non-profit organization, “Stossel in the Classroom.” High school teachers in American public schools now use the videos to help educate their students on economics and economic freedom. They are seen by more than 12 million students every year.

Stossel has received 19 Emmy Awards and has been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club. Other honors include the George Polk Award for Outstanding Local Reporting and the George Foster Peabody Award.

———— To make sure you see the new weekly video from Stossel TV, sign up here: https://www.johnstossel.com/#subscribe ————

 

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july, 2022

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