Edmonton’s connection to the defection of Baltimore Orioles’ superstar Jose Iglesias
Here’s the simplest possible message for all and any who are bothered by the realization that the real world has interfered with the world of sport, so often described with great accuracy as “the world’s playpen” — it has happened before and surely will happen again.
For many, the most dismal example of politics destroying a major sports event is the 1936 Olympics, when Adolf Hitler’s prejudices were on open display. Memory of the brilliant sprinting by Black American Jesse Owens during those Games stands as civilized society’s best-known antidote to such critics of what now is identified as “social justice.”
In some ways Alberta is central to this debate: strong statements were made in support of Black Lives Master by players in the anti-Covid bubble designed to keep them healthy enough in Edmonton to complete the NHL’s first-ever late summer Stanley Cup playoffs at Rexall Place.
The international response, pro and con, will continue for some time, close observers predict.
“…. (Castro) was really angry. He was loud.”
It surprised me during the weekend to recall that a hubbub, but smaller, touched international baseball in 2008, when 18-year-old Cuban infielder Jose Iglesias defected from his national team during the world junior baseball championships in Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River Valley. The memory was triggered by coincidence: Iglesias showed on television as a member of the Baltimore Orioles in a series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
That world championship was one of several conducted in Edmonton by a group of volunteers headed by the late alderman, Ron Hayter. There was immediate evidence that the shortstop with excellent defensive skills was important in his nation: Premier Fidel Castro called personally to object..
Longtime Edmonton resident Don Clark of Edmonton has spoken often of the experience. He wound up taking a long-distance call initially intended for Hayter.
“I only got on the phone because Ron wasn’t around,” Clark said. “At first, I didn’t know who I was talking to, but soon it got pretty clear. There was nothing any of us could do. They were gone.”
Smiling at the discomfort of that distant moment, Clark recalled the sound of Premier Castro’s voice.
“There’s no doubt he was really angry. He was loud.”
Years later, in an interview with a Detroit newspaper, Iglesias explained the departure from team headquarters on the University of Alberta campus. During a stretch of about two hours when the team was not under direct supervision, “We just got up and walked out.”
At the time, Iglesias spoke no English.
“It was tough. Really tough. I had no family. No friends. I just wanted to do what I loved: play baseball.”
He signed a big-league deal with the Boston Red Sox in 2009 and made the all-rookie team before signing his current $3-million one-year deal with Baltimore. He also played with the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers. With Detroit, he signed long-term contract for about $6 million a year.
Major League Baseball lists 32 active players as defectors from Cuba, including promising Toronto outfielder Lourdes Gurriel, New York Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman and other stars.
Read more of John’s stories here.
UFA announces Farm & Ranch Supply story in Gasoline Alley along with historic $28 million patronage membership dividend
UFA Announces $28 Million Patronage Dividend
UFA shared big news today announcing a historic patronage dividend of $28 million back to its membership and fully opening two new locations in Saskatchewan!
One of the primary benefits to being a co-operative member is patronage, and this year’s patronage dividend is truly significant. We have expanded our patronage program to reward our membership by paying on more categories of purchases. More products our members use daily on their farm, ranch, or for their business now earn them patronage rewards. We are proud to grow and deliver patronage consistently. At UFA, members can count on their co-operative and on patronage.
Scott Bolton, President and CEO, UFA
We believe good business is rooted in investing in good relationships and consistently rewarding our membership with a growing patronage dividend demonstrates our commitment. We take great pride in our patronage program. As owners of UFA, our success is truly our members’ reward.
Kevin Hoppins, Board Chair, UFA.
In addition to the $28 million patronage announcement, UFA shared that it officially opened its doors in Weyburn and Yorkton. These sites are part of the expansion of UFA’s petroleum business into key markets in central and eastern Saskatchewan.
We believe in the value of giving our members and customers choice. People living in or nearby these communities now have another option of where to spend their hard-earned dollars. Expanding our network is part of a concerted strategy to grow from an Alberta-focused fuel and agribusiness co-operative to a western-Canadian leader.
Scott Bolton, President and CEO, UFA
Meet the Weyburn and Yorkton Petroleum Agents
Features of the new UFA petroleum locations:
Gasoline and Clear and Dyed Diesel
DEF at the pump and UFA, Shell and Chevron branded lubricant products
High-speed pumps and wide lanes
State-of-the-art warehouse and office
Dieselex® Gold. UFA is pleased to offer its exclusive diesel offering to Saskatchewan. This top-tier premium product is engineered to enhance fuel efficiency, reduce maintenance, and increase power.
UFA is the exclusive distributor of Dieselex® Gold
UFA also announced Dunmore and Saskatoon as the next locations in UFA’s expansion strategy
UFA is committed to investing in our network and bringing our unique product selection to new locations throughout Western Canada. The regions around Dunmore, Alberta, and Weyburn, Yorkton and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and the other markets selected for additional locations are key marketsin Western Canada’s agribusiness and industrial economy. The expansion project will provide significant investment throughout Western Canada and UFA looks forward to serving the local communities where the new petroleum sites will be located. Along with looking at new investment opportunities, we believe it is essential to give back to rural communities we serve, ensuring they thrive well into the future.
Don Smith, Vice President, Petroleum and Innovation, UFA.
Weyburn UFA Petroleum Agency
With new $6,000 grant and $4,000 tax credit, Province making adoption far more affordable for Alberta families
Making adoption more affordable
Alberta’s government is increasing subsidies, tax breaks and benefits so that more children can find their forever homes.
Budget 2023 includes $4 million per year in new funding over the next three years to make adoption more affordable. These new initiatives follow up on the commitment by Premier Danielle Smith to make adoption less arduous for Alberta families.
If the Financial Statutes Amendment Act, 2023 passes, the new $4-million package to make adoption more affordable for Albertans will cover the cost of dental, vision and other supplemental health benefits for children adopted in Alberta – regardless of whether they were adopted from the government system or through a private, licensed agency in the province. Alberta will become the first and only province to do this.
This funding support, which would take effect this fall, will help remove medical cost barriers to adoption, especially for children with specialized medical needs.
“We are following through on our commitment to make adoption more affordable for Albertans who are starting or growing their families. If a child can find a loving and stable home sooner – that’s good news for everyone, and most importantly, for the child. That is why we want to help reduce adoption expenses, so that more children can find their forever families.”
In addition to covering the costs of supplementary health benefits, the provincial adoption expenses tax credit amount would be increased by almost $4,000, to $18,210 from $14,365, to help cover the costs of adoption, matching the federal tax credit. This can be claimed by families adopting locally or internationally, and will be retroactive to Jan 1. The increased credit will be available to Albertans when they file their 2023 taxes in spring 2024.
“Adoption shouldn’t create a financial burden for parents starting or growing their families. These new measures will make it easier for a child who needs a home to become part of a family.”
About 5,000 adopted children in Alberta who have already found their forever family and future adopted children will be eligible for these benefits.
If the legislation passes, the cost of private adoption through licensed adoption agencies in Alberta will be subsidized by $6,000 for families that earn less than $180,000. The subsidy would help reduce the cost of adoption by 40 to 50 per cent.
“We are very pleased to see these additional supports for adoptive families through licensed adoption agencies. These new supports mean there is one less barrier for couples experiencing fertility loss and hoping to form a family through adoption. It also means less financial stress for families looking to adopt a child with medical or complex needs.”
“I think it’s fantastic for adoptive families and children to be supported this way. This initiative shows government is behind families and wants to help children in government care find permanent loving homes.”
“As an adoptive parent myself, I know first-hand the expenses and red tape and long processes that prospective parents face when considering adoption. These new supports mean more Albertans can welcome a child into their home, and together, they can build their forever family.”
Budget 2023 secures Alberta’s future by transforming the health-care system to meet people’s needs, supporting Albertans with the high cost of living, keeping our communities safe and driving the economy with more jobs, quality education and continued diversification.
- The number of approved adoptive families for children in government care has dropped by more than half – the lowest number of adoptive families in decades.
- Typically, there are about 100 approved families at any given time but there are only about 30 now.
- Currently, 27 children and youth are waiting to be matched with a loving, permanent home. Most of these children are over the age of seven, have special needs or are part of a sibling group.
- The government covers the costs associated with adopting a child in government care but fees to adopt a child internationally can range between $10,000 and $40,000, while fees through an agency can range between $11,000 and $15,000.
- Children’s Services launched an adoption recruitment campaign in early March focused on adopting children in government care.
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