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Alberta

The Gift You Don’t Even Know You Didn’t Need…

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A Jesse Roads & Friends Merry Christmas
– the gift you don’t even know you didn’t need…

“Probably not the worst Christmas special…
– Jesse Roads

Well friends I am beyond excited to share with you the gift you don’t even know you didn’t need… I had the idea to do some sort of a Christmas special for quite some time now. I felt like it was more important than ever this year. With such a lack of joy and camaraderie among the masses (especially within the arts community due to cancellation after cancellation wreaking havoc on all of our mental health) it was clear that I could, at the very least hit my Rolodex and reach out to some of my buds.

Unlike many of my peers and fellow performers, I have been blessed with a production team and the ability to create some amazing content throughout this crazy wild global pandemic, from songs to streams and the start of a movie, so much has come from this. I feel a sense of responsibility to not let that go to waste and to do everything I can to grow as an artist while contributing to society’s wellbeing somehow. Well it’s Christmas! Why not get at it and spread a little festive cheer for the season. I love Christmas, always have.

Turns out some of my buds love it too! I am so very thankful to the performers that were able to jump on board with this project. All of which did so out of the kindness of their own hearts. I even managed to somehow get Clayton Bellamy of the Road Hammers to say yes! From the likes of Randi Boulton to Curtis Labelle and Devin Cooper the special is stacked!

The show is free of charge to watch and enjoy. All we ask is that you spread a little kindness wherever and however you can. Thats it. Be kind with purpose, on purpose. Click below for the show, don’t forget to like and subscribe!

 

Jack Semple BB King Tribute concert showcases one of Canada’s finest guitarists

Jesse was born in the city of Lethbridge and raised to his teen years in the southern Alberta farming communities of Raymond and Fin Castle, AB. Jesse's early inspirations include the hypnotic sounds of big-name artists such as Jimi Hendrix, The Black Crowes, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, City and Colour, Jack Johnson, Guns 'N' Roses, and Pink Floyd. Jesse is a Blues/Rock/folk/Indie performer who has done his fair share of "paying his dues" opening and touring with such acts as: The Lazys, One Bad Son, Doc Walker, The Odds, The Northern Pikes, The Grapes Of Wrath, Monster Truck, The Age Of Electric, The Wild, Holly McNarland, Econoline Crush, Coal Creek Boys, Wild T & The Spirit, Cara Luft, Carson Cole, Clayton Bellamy (of The Road Hammers), Tupelo Honey, Retrograde, The Smalls, and Mcquaig to name just a few. In 2015 Jesse was awarded the title "Master of Blues Folk Rock" for the 6th Annual Black American Music Awards. Jesse is known for his funky heavy jam style guitar. Big riffs, an impressive vocal sound all his own and the ability to captivate the crowd with ease. His fans have coined the term "no string solo" as he can be consistently found ripping strings off the guitar like they aren't supposed to be there in the first place.

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Alberta

Alberta premier defends new rules on in-person learning, no mask mandates in schools

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By Dean Bennett and Colette Derworiz

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is defending new rules ordering schools to provide in-person learning during the current wave of viral illnesses, saying a clear, measured response is crucial for students and parents.

“We need a normal school environment for our children, and we need to make sure that the classrooms stay open to be able to support our parents,” Smith said at a news conference in Medicine Hat on Friday.

“That’s why we made the decision that we did — to give that clear direction.”

Her comments came a day after she announced regulatory changes saying school boards must provide in-person learning. Schools also can’t require students to wear masks in school or be forced to take classes online.

The changes take effect immediately.

“Anyone is welcome to wear a mask if they feel that that is the right choice for them, but we should not be forcing parents to mask their kids, and we shouldn’t be denying education to kids who turn up without a mask,” Smith said.

She has said mask rules and toggling from online to in-person learning adversely affected the mental health, development and education of students during the COVID-19 pandemic and strained parents scrambling to make child-care arrangements when schools shut down.

That’s over, Smith said.

“We’re just not going to normalize these kind of extreme measures every single respiratory virus season,” she said.

School boards have been asking for more direction as a slew of seasonal respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses, along with some COVID-19 cases, have led to high classroom absentee rates and have jammed children’s hospitals.

In Edmonton, Trisha Estabrooks, board chair for Edmonton Public Schools, said the decision provided the clarity that the board was seeking.

“All Albertans now understand that it’s not within the jurisdiction, and nor should it ever have been within the jurisdiction of individual school boards, to make decisions that belong to health officials,” said Estabrooks.

She said the province has made it clear that any future public health order would supersede the new rules.

The in-person learning change applies to grades 1-12 in all school settings, including public, separate, francophone, public charter and independent schools.

The masking change applies to those same grades and schools, but also to early childhood services.

The Opposition NDP criticized the new rules, saying it’s unrealistic to force schools to be all things to all students while also handling a wave of viral illnesses and not providing additional supports to do it.

Jason Schilling, head of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, said the government needs to work with school boards to figure out how to make this work.

“You have schools that are struggling to staff the building, (they) can’t get substitute teachers, teachers are sick, they’re covering each other’s classes, principals are covering the classes,” Schilling said in an interview.

“And then to say if you go online, you are to still offer the same programming in person — we just don’t have the people to do that.”

Wing Li, communications director for public education advocacy organization, Support our Students, said it will be difficult for schools to offer hybrid learning without any additional resources.

“There are no teachers,” Li said in an interview. “Pivoting online was mostly due to staffing shortages, which is worse now three years in.”

Li said online learning is challenging for students but, when temporary and supported, can keep schools and communities safe from spreading illness.

“This is a quite aggressive use of the Education Act to enshrine an ideology,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2022

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Alberta

Don’t have a cow: Senator’s legen-dairy speech draws metaphor from bovine caper

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OTTAWA — Haven’t you herd? A dramatic tale of 20 escaped cows, nine cowboys and a drone recently unfolded in St-Sévère, Que., and it behooved a Canadian senator to milk it for all it was worth.

Prompting priceless reactions of surprise from her colleagues, Sen. Julie Miville-Dechêne recounted the story of the bovine fugitives in the Senate chamber this week — and attempted to make a moo-ving point about politics.

“Honourable senators, usually, when we do tributes here, it is to recognize the achievements of our fellow citizens,” Miville-Dechêne began in French, having chosen to wear a white blouse with black spots for the occasion.

“However, today, I want to express my amused admiration for a remarkably determined herd of cows.”

On a day when senators paid tribute to a late Alberta pastor, the crash of a luxury steamer off the coast of Newfoundland in 1918 and environmental negotiators at the recent climate talks in Egypt, senators seated near Miville-Dechêne seemed udderly taken aback by the lighter fare — but there are no reports that they had beef with what she was saying.

Miville-Dechêne’s storytelling touched on the highlights of the cows’ evasion of authorities after a summer jailbreak — from their wont to jump fences like deer to a local official’s entreaty that she would not go running after cattle in a dress and high heels.

The climax of her narrative came as nine cowboys — eight on horseback, one with a drone — arrived from the western festival in nearby St-Tite, Que., north of Trois-Rivières, and nearly nabbed the vagabonds before they fled through a cornfield.

“They are still on the run, hiding in the woods by day and grazing by night,” said Miville-Dechêne, with a note of pride and perhaps a hint of fromage. 

She neglected to mention the reported costs of the twilight vandalism, which locals say has cost at least $20,000.

But Miville-Dechêne did save some of her praise for the humans in the story, congratulating the municipal general manager, Marie-Andrée Cadorette, for her “dogged determination,” and commending the would-be wranglers for stepping up when every government department and police force in Quebec said there was nothing they could do. 

“There is a political lesson in there somewhere,” said the former journalist.

Miville-Dechêne ended on what could perhaps be interpreted as a butchered metaphor about non-partisanship: “Finally, I would like to confess my unbridled admiration for these cows that have found freedom and are still out there, frolicking about. While we overcomplicate things, these cows are learning to jump fences.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2022.

Marie-Danielle Smith, The Canadian Press

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