SAD NEWS – But Not Unexpected
When it came, after a few days of warning, the message was sad enough to erase all doubt about the short-term future of university sports in Canada: “It is not currently feasible . . . for USports to be able to offer fall championships.”
Immediately affected by the Monday announcement from President Clint Hamilton were seven sports: women’s field hockey, men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s soccer and of course, football which, thanks basically to the Vanier Cup-champion Calgary Dinos, stands as the highest-profile sport in Canada West universities these days.
Until this week, there was some hope that a five-game schedule – down from the accustomed eight-game slate — could be managed.
After the prompt and understandable responses of sadness and regret for coaches, athletes, trainers and fans tied to 56 programs in four jurisdictions (Quebec is not included at this point), the almost-automatic second response took the form of a question: with arrangements now in place to protect existing scholarships, how will high school seniors and ambitious young men in provincial junior leagues such as the Prairie Conference be affected?
Obviously, prospects who aimed at university careers had their plans put on hold for at least one year. Unless they’re absolute standouts, rookies at the post-secondary level will sand in longer lineups before playing junior in Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg or Saskatoon.
John Paton, executive director of Alberta Sports Athletic Association which oversees high school competition in dozens of categories, said it is not known when classes will resume; negotiations are in almost-constant evolution. Negotiations on scheduling and other essentials will remain unsettled for weeks at least. Many meetings are taking place each week “and some more often than once a week.
“We aren’t moving as fast as the universities did,” he added, confirming that the university decision was “not unexpected.”
One major obstacle was (and is) inter-provincial travel. Saskatchewan has already said visits by out-of-province teams will not be approved ungil the problems of isolation and physical distancing can be handled safely.
As the post-coronavirus world starts to assume some new shape, the ASAA continues to welcome input from every provincial sports organization. Alberta Basketball, for example, has already recommended starting the 2021 season at the normal starting time in late August or early September. Some see it the best way to put the challenging COVID-19 days well into the past.
Decisions on the start of scheduled play and the length of seasons at the high school level are sure to be guided by federal regulation and Alberta Health Services expertise, said Paton said, cautious about any potential “level of higher risk.”.
Prairie Football Conference spokesmen are equally unsettled in their outlook. Crossing the provincial lines that mark Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba is essential for all teams in that league. Some time ago, one observer suggested that the encouraging coronavirus picture in British Columbia might allow early-fall exhibition meetings between adjacent Alberta and B.C., but those conversations have apparently been put in hold.
Football Alberta spokespersons were not available for comment.
Empowered, Happy and Healthy
Michelle lost a kidney to cancer 20 years ago. Her blood pressure has been challenging to keep in a healthy range since. A busy life with little focus on healthy got her in trouble. In late December 2020, she ended up in emergency with extremely high blood pressure in the 200/150 range and a blood sugar of 25. She was very sick. She had a second similar episode in January. At that time, she was let go from her job. This turned out to be the best thing that happened as she now had time to focus on her health.
The RDPCN family nurse recommended she attend Diabetes the Basics as well as providing her with ongoing one-to-one support for several months. She also got connected to a weight management program, supervised exercise and Heartwise.
Fast forward to 18 months, she has decreased her clothing size from 20 to 14. Her blood sugar is now 7 and her blood pressure is in the range of 138/95. Great improvements!
She is back to work. She walks about an hour per day and she feels amazing! She has used the portion control plate to help improve her eating habits. She is eating way better and enjoying it. One thing she could not give up was Pepsi. She used to have at least 3 cans per day. Now she uses Diet Pepsi in much smaller volumes, but she cannot get by without some Pepsi. Long-lasting insulin and using the Libre sensor have been great tools to help her live healthily. She feels very empowered, happy and healthy!!
Learn more about the Red Deer Primary Care Network. Click here.
Red Deer Recovery Community will offer hope for residents from Central Alberta and around the world
Central Albertans won’t be the only ones paying close attention to the official opening of the Red Deer Recovery Community next month. According to Marshall Smith, Chief of Staff to Premier Danielle Smith, jurisdictions from across North America will be looking to the Red Deer Recovery Community for potential answers to their own issues. Red Deer Recovery Community will be the first of 11 the province is opening over the coming months.
Cities across North America and beyond have been battling an addictions crisis, and losing. As the number of homeless people and the number of fatal overdoses continues to rise, cities are looking for new solutions. After years of slipping further behind, Alberta has decided on a new approach to recovery and Marshall Smith has been leading the charge.
Smith is a recovering addict himself. A political organizer from BC, he once worked for former Premier Gordon Campbell. His own crisis started with alcohol, then moved to cocaine dependency before he eventually succumbed to methamphetamine use. The successful political operative found himself without work and living on the street for over four years. Eventually he benefited from a 35 day stay in a publicly funded recovery centre in BC.
Former Alberta Premier Jason Kenney brought Smith to Alberta to head up the UCP’s addictions and recovery file. His personal experiences and incredible comeback story are at the heart of Alberta’s new approach.
While the success of recovery programs vary, Marshall Smith and Dr. Christina Basedow of the Edgewood Health Network (operators of Red Deer Recovery Community) say with the right treatment and the right amount of time, they expect a very high rate of successful recoveries. Smith says the province won’t give up on patients, even if some have to go through more than once.
The Recovery Community is central to this new approach, but patients who will be able to stay for up to a year, will need somewhere to go when they leave. This week the province also announced the Bridge Healing Transitional Accommodation Program in Edmonton. This “second stage” housing will ensure former addicts have a place to stay upon leaving addiction treatment centres. This will be their home in the critical days following treatment when they need to reestablish their lives by finding work or educational opportunities.
Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston feels the 75 bed Recovery Community will be transformation for Central Alberta. Mayor Johnston says all Central Albertans will play an important role in helping former addicts when they leave the Recovery Community.
Construction of the Red Deer Recovery Community is all but complete.
Thursday, municipal and provincial politicians toured the facility and were introduced to the operators of the new facility. Dr Christina Basedow, Western VP of Edgewood Health Network teamed up with Nicholas Milliken, Alberta’s Mental Health and Addiction Minister, to take questions about operations.
Premier Danielle Smith made the trip to Central Alberta to offer support for the project and see the facility first hand.
Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston and Premier Danielle Smith listen to Chief of Staff Marshall Smith
In the days leading up to an official opening expected in February, Edgewood Health Network is finalizing the admission process which will see the first batch of up to 75 people suffering addictions moving into single and double occupied rooms.
The new 75-bed facility, will begin accepting residents battling addictions in February. Those residents will stay for up to a full year accessing medications, programming and developing life skills.
In the meantime the province expects a recovery industry will be developing in Red Deer including second stage housing opportunities and counselling.
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