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Edmonton

Hockey, basketball and volleyball gone from the U of A’s fall and winter to-do lists

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4 minute read

At almost any time in memory, Wednesday’s decision to remove hockey, basketball and volleyball from the University of Alberta’s fall and winter to-do lists would be considered a major surprise.

This year, I suspect fans and athletes should have been at least partially prepared for it. Blame the pandemic. That’s easy.

Explain that sponsorship money has dried up and every available penny must be saved to keep professors employed and students involved. That’s easy, too. Some are sure to suggest that there are deep political motives in this move to move beyond the Bears and Pandas for one year. Maybe. Maybe not. Rightly or wrongly, political movements are seen in every action these days.

If additional explanations are required, Alberta’s UCP government is sure to be singled out as cause number three; they inherited an entity in severe financial difficulty, ensuring that some budget cuts would be made as soon as possible after the NDP lost political control of the province.

This, of course, occurred well before the coronavirus crisis created overwhelming proof that sport, certainly in Canada, is something of an after-thought at all levels of society. As this is written, every professional sport is being exposed on a daily basis as a means for millionaires and billionaires to fatten their bankrolls. If timely political statements are necessary, fine; they’ll be made, but no rational soul would dare to suggest that sport has actual relevance in this time of incoherent arguments and twisted responses.

In one old scribbler’s opinion, good news ultimately will develop, almost as a result of the disappearance of the Bears and Pandas for at least one season. A move so dramatic at a level so vital is sure to create deep thought.

Which is where university sport fits in the puzzle. These organizations are the home of undoubted brilliance. In many ways, they create the model for all amateurs and low-profile professionals to follow. One day, perhaps soon, this world-wide rash of social, physical and emotional misery will be behind us. Then, cohorts of tough and committed leaders across the entire spectrum of athletics will have to step up. They will be obligated to contribute time and effort in a search for the best possible ways to ensure excellence in scholastics, citizenship and competition.

Now, looking back for even a few years, it’s essential to remember that amateur sports were being painfully slammed by financial necessities before COVID-19’s destructive arrival.

Athletic directors at U of A and MacEwan University have spoken of rising costs in tones that sometimes sounded almost desperate. I’m sure the same applies to the University of Calgary.

Similar words have been heard commonly in discussion with coaches and athletic directors at Alberta colleges. NAIT and Concordia leaders know the topic extremely well. So do alumni members working to keep hockey alive in the storied atmosphere of Camrose’s Augustana campus of the U of A.

In a lifetime of hearing old adages, one has stuck out since childhood:

“It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn.”

This corner hopes the dawn comes quickly.

All is Well in Soccer – So Far

Alberta

Alleged bank robber flees into Edmonton home and takes hostages, police say

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EDMONTON — Police in Edmonton say a suspect who fled the scene of a bank robbery entered a home and is holding hostages.

A police tactical team remains outside the home on the city’s north side this evening.

Police are asking people to stay away from the area.

They say in a news release that the bank robbery happened several blocks away and that the suspect went into a home they say was “not associated to him.”

Police say he remains inside the home with an “unconfirmed number of hostages.”

The news release adds that police would provide more information later this evening.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Monday, Nov. 29, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Two Million Dollar Drug Bust in Edmonton

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News Release from ALERT (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team)

Project Elk concludes with eight arrests, millions in drugs and assets seized

A two-year cross-Canada drug trafficking investigation has concluded with eight Edmonton suspects facing charges. ALERT seized roughly $2 million in drugs, cash, and proceeds of crime.

Project Elk was a lengthy investigation into an Edmonton-based drug trafficking network that was involved in drug importation. Eight suspects were arrested and charged in October 2021 with offences ranging from drug and firearms related, to conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, to commission of an offence for a criminal organization.

The suspects are scheduled to make their initial court appearances on November 25, 2021.

“Project Elk will prove to be significant disruption to drug markets in Edmonton and other communities in northern Alberta. The negative impacts of drug trafficking are multi-faceted and connect back to societal harms such as gang-related violence, theft, property crimes, and healthcare implications,” said Inspector Kevin Berge, ALERT Edmonton.

ALERT Edmonton’s organized crime team spearheaded the investigation in November 2019, and Project Elk also involved the assistance of the Edmonton Police Service, and specialized RCMP units from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario.

In August 2020, ALERT intercepted a six-kilogram cocaine shipment that originated in Toronto. The seizure precipitated a series of search warrant executions in which six homes in the Edmonton were searched and one home in Strathcona County.

Project Elk resulted in the seizure of:

  • Five firearms;
  • 10 kilograms of cocaine;
  • 17 kilograms of a cocaine buffing agent;
  • 4.7 kilograms of meth;
  • 2.9 kilograms of cannabis; and
  • $135,000 cash.

In addition, ALERT seized roughly $200,000 in offence related property, including three vehicles, jewelry, diamond rings, and Rolex watches.

“The drug trade doesn’t pay in the end. If you’re not shot, you’re ending up in jail, and you’re only hurting the people around you. It’s not the glamourous lifestyle that is fictionalized for the sake of TV and movies,” said Berge.

A total of 35 criminal charges have been laid against:

  • Tyshawn Walters, 29-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Kashane Walters, 34-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Kariyawasam Kariyawasam, 39-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Tyree Malcolm, 28-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Levi Collinge, a 39-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Boris Derpich, 43-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Stacey Sharpe, 35-year-old woman from Edmonton; and
  • Trevor Bellows, 31-year-old man from Edmonton.

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

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