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Alberta

This is how a Local Musician is giving back to her Community

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Kate Stevens is a local Calgarian and Bishop Carroll High School Alumni making a splash in the Canadian music industry with her original music and community investment initiatives. A talented singer-songwriter, she plays the ukulele, piano and guitar and writes all of her own music. 

Growing up in a musical household, Kate’s passion for music began at an early age and stayed with her all through her school years, eventually landing her in the music program at Bishop Carroll High School in Southwest Calgary. The education structure at BCHS allowed Kate to focus strongly on her love of music and develop as a young artist, impressively recording an entire studio album during her senior year. She also sang in choir and vocal jazz groups, building lasting connections within her high school and across the Calgary music community. 

Just 20 years old, Kate graduated from BCHS in 2017, the same year she released her debut EP, Handmade Rumors. Since graduation, things have been crazy for Kate. From bringing home YYC Music Awards Female Artist of the Year in 2018 to 4 nominations at the 2019 YYC Music Awards, releasing another single and launching the Youth Musicians of Music Mile Alliance (YOMOMMA) to help nurture young musicians in Calgary, busy is an understatement. However, despite her exciting rise and packed schedule, Kate remains deeply invested in her community, and recently launched a new initiative to give back to the BCHS program that helped her get her own start. Using funds from a recent licensing agreement for one of her songs, she has elected to sponsor an annual scholarship for a BCHS vocal student in their final year. 

“I was lucky to attend Bishop Carroll High School, “says Kate, “the incredible music program there helped me to develop as an artist, and I would like to give financial support to future musicians.” At $250 dollars a year, the scholarship will be awarded by the BCHS Choir Director to a student who shows exemplary leadership skills and wants to pursue music after graduation. Having been on the receiving end of scholarships throughout her own high school career, Kate is aware of the positive impact these types of grants can have on the lives of developing youth, and wanted to be a part of the process that helps young musicians chase their dreams. “If I can support someone in this industry and really encourage the idea that music is important, then I’ve done my job.” 

Currently, all of Kate’s upcoming performances have been cancelled as a result of COVID-19. Although she misses interacting with crowds and performing on stage, she remains optimistic and excited for the future. To hear her music and read more about her story, visit https://www.katestevensmusic.com.

Check out WeMaple video in partnership with Calgary Arts Development featuring Kate Stevens here.

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

Alberta

Alberta researcher gets award for COVID-19 mask innovation

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Salt that crystallizes with sharp edges is the killer ingredient in the development of a reusable mask because any COVID-19 droplets that land on it would be quickly destroyed, says a researcher who is being recognized for her innovation.

Ilaria Rubino, a recent PhD graduate from the department of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Alberta, said a mostly salt and water solution that coats the first or middle layer of the mask would dissolve droplets before they can penetrate the face covering.

As the liquid from the droplets evaporates, the salt crystals grow back as spiky weapons, damaging the bacteria or virus within five minutes, Rubino said.

“We know that after the pathogens are collected in the mask, they can survive. Our goal was to develop a technology that is able to inactivate the pathogens upon contact so that we can make the mask as effective as possible.”

Rubino, who collaborated with a researcher at Georgia State University in Atlanta to advance the project she started five years ago, was recognized Tuesday with an innovation award from Mitacs. The Canadian not-for-profit organization receives funding from the federal government, most provinces and Yukon to honour researchers from academic institutions.

The reusable, non-washable mask is made of a type of polypropylene, a plastic used in surgical masks, and could be safely worn and handled multiple times without being decontaminated, Rubino said.

The idea is to replace surgical masks often worn by health-care workers who must dispose of them in a few hours, she said, adding the technology could potentially be used for N-95 respirators.

The salt-coated mask is expected to be available commercially next year after regulatory approval. It could also be used to stop the spread of other infectious illnesses, such as influenza, Rubino said.

Dr. Catherine Clase, an epidemiologist and associate professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, said the “exciting” technology would have multiple benefits.

Clase, who is a member of the Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials in the engineering department at McMaster, said there wasn’t much research in personal protective equipment when Rubino began her work.

“It’s going to decrease the footprint for making and distributing and then disposing of every mask,” she said, adding that the mask could also address any supply issues.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recently recommended homemade masks consist of at least three layers, with a middle, removable layer constructed from a non-woven, washable polypropylene fabric to improve filtration.

Conor Ruzycki, an aerosol scientist in the University of Alberta’s mechanical engineering department, said Rubino’s innovation adds to more recent research on masks as COVID-19 cases rise and shortages of face coverings in the health-care system could again become a problem.

Ruzycki, who works in a lab to evaluate infiltration efficiencies of different materials for masks and respirators, is also a member of a physician-led Alberta group Masks4Canada, which is calling for stricter pandemic measures, including a provincewide policy on mandatory masks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta nurses reject government’s call to delay bargaining for new deal

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s nurses union says the province’s health delivery agency has rejected a call for a settlement similar to one reached with nurses in Saskatchewan that would have provided stability during the COVID-19 pandemic.

United Nurses of Alberta says in a news release it called on Alberta Health Services to quickly negotiate a contract “in order to achieve labour peace, stabilize the Alberta workforce, and focus on responding to the pandemic.”

But the union says AHS negotiators wanted to delay bargaining, a demand it says it rejected because the agency refused to halt the elimination nursing positions through attrition during COVID-19 and wouldn’t promise to end rollbacks when negotiations resume.

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release Monday that the union was seeking a seven per cent pay increase, and that both sides had been negotiating a delay in bargaining until March 31 due to the increasing demands of COVID-19.

The Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations said earlier Monday that it had reached agreements with its nurses, although details weren’t being released until the deals are ratified by both sides.

Toews says that Alberta’s nurses are compensated approximately 8.1 per cent more than their western Canadian peers.

“I am disappointed that a deal could not be reached — delaying bargaining would have provided much needed stability for the health-care system as we continue to focus on the pandemic and keeping Albertans safe,” the minister said in the government’s release.

UNA president Heather Smith said in the union’s news release that the negotiations team couldn’t agree to pause negotiations until March 31, and that the next scheduled bargaining dates are Dec. 14 and 15.

“Clearly AHS and this government are more intent on pursing their agenda of rollbacks and reducing the workforce, even during a pandemic, than assuring a stable workforce to respond to the needs of Albertans,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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november, 2020

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