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John Short on Edmonton’s baseball debate

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Once again, Edmonton’s city council, the Edmonton Prospects and a 20-member group identified only as an organization headed by Randy Gregg are locked in a debate over the future of Re/Max Field. Will it be a baseball stadium for much longer or will it become a clearing house for any number of civic events – enough of them, ultimately, to force the stadium and baseball out of the Saskatchewan River Valley?

It is well known that Prospects leader Pat Cassidy was not popular with many on council. He said many times that the city did not live up to its agreements. There were counter-charges that Cassidy could be irregular in his payment schedule.

It is equally well known that Gregg’s status as a former member of the Stanley Cup-winning Edmonton Oilers provides some level of automatic approval from  politicians and common citizens, especially those who understand the social and economic values of a successful sports organization.

Gregg elected to conduct all or most of his negotiations outside of the public view, as is his right. Council often evaded questions from media members and the public, using the aged logic that business arrangements are designed for privacy, although in this case public funds and the ultimate use of a well-known public facility were (and are) at issue.

Superficially at least, the differences between the competing platforms are obvious. Cassidy applied last year for a five-year agreement which he said would allow more time to develop the Prospects and the Western Canadian Baseball League as a big step up from the status once described by a prominent local reporter as “insignificant.”

Much of the newcomers’ bid, apparently, was tied to opening Re/Max Field numerous times in addition to baseball. His point, a valid one, is that using such a facility for only 40 games or so each season is wasteful. Cassidy responded that his group does quite a bit to occupy Re/Max and has continued to fill as many dates as possible.

There is reason to believe Gregg’s group might have been granted control of Re/Max Field last year. But they didn’t have a baseball team, and they still don’t have one that exists in a recognized interprovincial league. WCBL president Kevin Kvame has stayed up to date on the negotiations. He said this week that there has been no formal conversation with the Gregg group about possibly entering the WCBL.

During the last few years, virtually every serious public debate about Edmonton baseball has been tied to the forlorn hope that the Pacific Coast League, a Triple-A organization where the Edmonton Trappers were once a welcome member, would welcome this community back under the Organized Baseball umbrella.

Lawyer Sol Rolinger engaged about two years ago in meetings with PCL president Branch Rickey Junior and some league officials. He told a meeting that a franchise (probably Fresno, California) would be available for a few million dollars and the PCL would only require a 35,000- to 45,000-seat baseball facility to reopen the doors to Good Old Ourtown.

Those days, obviously, are in the past.

What made the proposal most attractive for a lot of Edmontonians was the possibility that the new park would be placed on the site of the now-avoided Northlands Coliseum, which became valueless as soon as Darryl Katz completed his deal to house the Oilers in the palatial Rogers Centre downtown.

Speculation grew that such a move would leave several acres available for development in the river valley almost immediately.

It is well known that land developers, year after year, are among the major contributors to election campaigns.

Could our sports history be … history?

 

Community

‘Back to normal:’ Alberta to lift all remaining COVID-19 public health restrictions

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EDMONTON — Alberta will lift its remaining COVID-19 health restrictions on July 1, becoming the first province or territory in Canada to do so.

Premier Jason Kenney says 70.2 per cent of Albertans aged 12 and over have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

He says that means it’s safe to return to normal after the vaccines take full effect in two weeks.

Alberta has administered about 3.6 million vaccine doses and almost one-quarter of those eligible have had the required two shots.

Some doctors have said the province needs to get more second doses administered to be fully protected against the Delta variant.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro says people who received their first dose in May are now eligible to book their second doses.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Mission Update: A behind the scenes look at Alberta’s Army Reservists

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Submitted by: Canadian Forces Liaison Council

Join us for an informative webinar on June 23rd with guest speaker Colonel Mike Vernon, CD/Commander of 41 Canadian Brigade Group. 

Learn more and register for Mission Update Part 1: A behind the senes look at Alberta’s Army Reservists:

 

A behind the scenes look at who reservists are, what they do, and how the Alberta Reserve is preparing and training to support our communities and country when we need them most. 

Numerous Alberta businesses employ individuals who are members of the Reserve Force. When Alberta faces a disaster – the Covid-19 Pandemic, fires, floods – reservists are asked to respond to the call and assist in the survival and support of our communities. Responding to these calls often pulls reservists away from their regular employment.

Reservists are skilled and talented people who are part-time “citizen soldiers”, sailors and airmen/airwomen. In addition to their military responsibilities, they also work full time in the civilian workforce. They enhance corporate culture, small and large businesses, with the experience they have attained in the military. As a candidate for a position they have a well-earned skill set that goes above and beyond another candidate for the same role. If you already employ a Reservist, you know the benefits they bring to the workplace with both hard and soft skills.

The Canadian Armed Forces provide Reservists with world class training to develop key skills which form not only the foundations of an valuable Reservist but also a highly qualified employee. Employers benefit from their core skills and abilities such as leadership, teamwork, discipline, initiative, determination, problem solving, and the ability to work under pressure.

When you employ a Reservist, they bring their learnings from the military to your organization. In turn, they also contribute their workplace expertise when serving in the military. It’s a win-win for both the organization and the Canadian Armed Forces. Reservists who serve help to provide a safe environment for businesses to thrive and is one of the very reasons many people are proud of our serving members.

The Basics

Reservists are members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) who train and serve with the CAF on a part-time basis. They typically serve on weekday evenings and weekends. From time to time Reservists attend military courses and training that lasts one or two weeks and occasionally longer durations. Reservists have the opportunity to volunteer to serve on domestic and international operations on a full-time basis augmenting the regular component of the CAF. Through floods, fires or ice storms, Reservists are there to help and to keep communities and businesses operating. Their training provides both domestic response and international support – when you employ a Reservist, you in turn, are serving your country.

 

What is the With Glowing Hearts Initiative?

The With Glowing Hearts – Reservist Support Initiative is an HR program to attract and retain talented employees. The Canadian Armed Forces has trained over 25,000 Reservists who bring exceptional qualifications to an organization or business. Consider the Reserves as a talent pool to source potential employees to support company goals and initiatives. The initiative provides guidance and tools to support both Employers and Reservists and the good work they do together. Employing a Reservist is good for business and it makes your work, and workplace, better – With Glowing Hearts, we stand together supporting our community and country.

How does the program work?

It’s simple – like any other HR initiative, the program becomes an offering to attract employees. For example, a company may already have a maternity leave policy in place, growth programs for leadership, or even policies for internships. The With Glowing Hearts – Reservist Support Initiative creates a “reserve-friendly” culture for an organization to attract, and keep, experienced and valued employees. The turnkey program assets can be used to create awareness through communication channels of choice.

What does the program include?

The program consists of the following elements:

  1. Reservists 101: What Reservists offer Employers
  2. “With Glowing Hearts” Reservist support customized certificate for Employers
  3. “With Glowing Hearts” Employer/Reservist Recognition stickers
  4. “With Glowing Hearts” Customized employer support icon (online use)
  5. HR & FAQS: Q&A for employing Reservists
  6. Military Leave Policy (MLP): Examples of MLP for small and large businesses

What’s next?

How can I find out more information for my business?

Employers Supporting Reservists – Canadian Forces Liaison Council

Visit the website: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/benefits-military/supporting-reservists-employers.html

#WithGlowingHearts thanks employers who support Reservists

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