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Alberta

Olds teacher receives the Alberta Mathematics Educator Award

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From Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools

A math teacher at Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools has recently won a provincial math award.

Monica Andrew, Math Lead Teacher at Holy Trinity Catholic School in Olds was recently awarded the Alberta Mathematics Educator Award through the Alberta Math Council.  This award was in response to her passion for education, her dedication to math education by supporting all teachers in her school, and for organizing and running a school-wide Breakfast Program each morning.

“Monica exemplifies true passion for math education and this award is well-deserved,” said President Dave Martin, of the Alberta Math Council.

“Monica is such a worthy recipient of this award. She is a true leader with her drive, passion for children’s learning and exemplary sense of teamwork. Monica uses innovative teaching methods to engage every child and models best practices to our teachers. I am very proud of her, but even more I am very proud to be working alongside her,” said Principal, Ken Meraw, at Holy Trinity Catholic School.

This award is presented annually to either a Kindergarten to Grade 6 teacher, or a Grade 7-12 teacher who have made exceptional contributions to professional development of teachers at the school, local, provincial or national levels and who have demonstrated leadership in encouraging the continuing enhancement of teaching, learning and understanding of mathematics in Alberta.

For more information about the award, please visit: http://www.mathteachers.ab.ca/alberta-mathematics-educator-award.html

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools serves over 10,310 students in 21 schools in Red Deer, Sylvan Lake, Rocky Mountain House, Innisfail, Blackfalds and Olds. It also supports the learning of over 600 students in a Home Education Program. The Division is committed to serving children and parents with a complete offering of learning opportunities delivered within the context of Catholic teachings and within the means of the Division.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Calgary company begins human clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate

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CALGARY — Human clinical trials have begun in Toronto for a proposed COVID-19 vaccine made by a Canadian company.

Providence Therapeutics of Calgary says 60 subjects will be monitored for 13 months, with the first results expected next month.

The group of healthy volunteers aged 18 to 65 have been divided into four groups of 15. Three of the groups will get three different dose levels, while a fourth group gets a placebo.

Pending regulatory approval, the company’s CEO Brad Sorenson says a larger Phase 2 trial may start in May with seniors, younger subjects and pregnant people.

Providence uses messenger RNA technology for a product it calls PTX-COVID19-B.

Sorenson says if successful, the vaccine could be released by the end of the year.

“We are thrilled to begin human clinical trials of PTX-COVID19-B. Having a made-in-Canada solution to address the global COVID-19 pandemic will augment the reliability of vaccine supply for Canadians, contribute to the global vaccine supply and position a Canadian company on the global stage as a contributor to the solution,” Sorenson said Tuesday in a release.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

‘Stories the numbers tell’: Critics ask why Alberta sat on coal contamination data

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EDMONTON — Critics are asking why Alberta Environment has been sitting on years worth of data about pollution from coal mines while the government considers a dramatic expansion of the industry.

“It raises some important questions about our ability to trust what’s going on,” said New Democrat environment critic Marlin Schmidt. “The fact (Alberta Environment) hasn’t reported publicly is extremely concerning.”

On Monday, The Canadian Press reported on analysis of coal mine contamination in the Gregg and McLeod Rivers and Luscar Creek near Jasper, Alta., dating back to the 1990s. It found toxic levels of selenium many times over the amount considered safe for aquatic life. 

The Gregg and Luscar Creek mines closed in the early 2000s. Selenium levels from both declined, at best, only gradually over more than 15 years of remediation.

In the case of the Cheviot mine on the McLeod River, levels gradually grew between 2005 and 2017. The operation closed last June. 

The data also shows the provincial government knew about the levels for at least 15 years and did not report anything after 2006. The information was available in raw form, but Schmidt said it isn’t enough to simply collect information.

“There are numbers and then there are the numbers that the stories tell. That’s the piece that’s missing.”

The New Democrats were in power for four of those years. Schmidt said sitting on the information is worse now because Alberta is going through a wrenching debate over the present government’s plans to expand the industry by opening up the Rocky Mountains to open-pit, mountaintop coal mines — an option that did not exist under the NDP. 

“This data’s relevance is more important now,” he said.

Alberta Environment has pointed out that the raw data has always been public. Spokesman John Muir promised the province would soon release its own report on water downstream of coal mines. 

Lack of action shows that monitoring often promised by industry and government as new projects are considered isn’t enough, said Katie Morrison of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

“On those rivers we’re seeing that monitoring hasn’t been enough to actually control selenium. We just continue to promise monitoring. We didn’t see action to bring those selenium numbers down.”

A 2006 provincial report found that selenium was already harming fish. As well, a 2005 published study co-authored by provincial scientists found rainbow trout were suffering facial and skeletal deformities from selenium. 

The province has recently sold about 1.4 million hectares of coal exploration leases. Hundreds of drill sites and kilometres of new roads have already been permitted on previously unmined mountainsides. One new coal mine, Benga Mining’s Grassy Mountain project in the Crowsnest Pass in southwestern Alberta, is before a joint federal-provincial review. 

The information on the old coal mines shows what’s at issue for new ones, said Morrison. 

“Those stakes are really high. (Selenium release) has been happening other places and they have not been able to get the selenium under control.”

Benga says a new method should allow the mine to treat 99 per cent of its selenium. As well, the mine has been designed to minimize contact between water and selenium-bearing rocks, the company says.  

Morrison said that treatment is still unproven. She said if its efficiency falls to even 90 per cent, selenium levels in nearby streams will cross thresholds safe for aquatic life. 

Morrison said her group produced expert testimony at the Benga hearings suggesting the company doesn’t have a convincing long-term plan for controlling selenium long into the future. 

“We have not seen that technology work at the scale that we’ll need it to or with the amount of selenium we’re likely to see.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021

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Bob Weber, The Canadian Press

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