Provincial government to help bring pandas to Calgary Zoo

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The Alberta government is providing $10 million to help with the expansion at the Calgary Zoo, a move that will bring a family of four pandas to the city in 2018.
Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Tourism and Culture told reporters the investment will help diversify the economy, and focus on the creation of new jobs and new opportunities for all Albertans.
The four animals will move into a renovated exhibit on the west side of St. George’s Island, which once housed the zoo’s animals and is now home to the zoo’s rhinoceros.
The pandas will be spending five years in the city, and they are projected to increase the zoo’s annual economic impact from the current $79 million to more than $95 million.
– Anthony Cierniawsky

Province of Alberta Puts More Money Toward Youth in Government Care

A new part of the Alberta Jobs Plan is to increase the living allowance for the Advancing Futures Bursary, a bursary given to youth coming out of government care and enrolling in post secondary.

Since the Bursary started in 2004, the money has already helped 1,000 students graduate with a degree, or a diploma in their field.

The Alberta government is providing an increase of 723 hundred thousand dollars towards helping the 517 students who will receive the bursary this year.

Funding has been increased for individual students, as well as students with children.

  • Emi Horne

Calgary School Recieves Massive Donation

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Automotive students from Calgary’s Father Lacombe High school were excited and very grateful after receiving 50,000 worth of new tools and equipment from the Calgary Motor Dealers Association.

The CMDA representatives delivered the donation to the shop meeting the students and seeing how they were going to use all the new equipment.

One student said “It was like opening presents on Christmas morning” while another added the donation was so helpful because “When the program first started [they] were missing a lot of key tools”.

Father Lacombe is the first of six Calgary Catholic schools that will be receiving new equipment from the donation.

  • Emi Horne, SAIT Newsfile.

Free tax-filing services to help Albertans

Paying the bills

The Government is reminding eligible parents to file a tax return to receive the new Alberta Child Benefit and also that free tax clinics are available throughout Alberta to help.

Community organizations throughout Alberta are hosting free tax clinics to prepare returns for eligible lower-income taxpayers. The Canada Revenue Agency’s website has more information about these clinics. The tax-filing deadline is April 30.

All families earning less than $41,220 per year in net income, including those receiving AISH and Income Support, are eligible to receive the new ACB. The maximum annual benefit is $1,100 for families with one child, up to $2,750 for families with four or more children.

To qualify, families must file a 2015 tax return, have lived in Alberta for at least one month, have at least one child under the age of 18, and meet the income requirements.

Once fully implemented, 235,000 children in 130,000 lower-income families will receive a total of $195 million in annual benefits from the new ACB. The first payments will go out in August.

STI’s on the rise in Alberta

The rates of gonorrhea and infectious syphilis have spiked dramatically in the province over the past year, and the Alberta government is taking action to raise awareness.

Cases of gonorrhea in 2015 are up 80 per cent from 2014, and cases of infectious syphilis in 2015 doubled from 2014.

Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services (AHS) are working together to raise awareness of the outbreak, the risks of anonymous sexual encounters, the importance of testing, and safe sex practices.

AHS has expanded STI clinic hours in Edmonton and Calgary, increased outreach testing in Edmonton in collaboration with agencies serving Indigenous and MSM populations, and reached out to physicians to increase STI testing for clients that are sexually active.

Alberta Works Week Begins

Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir kicked off Alberta Works Week this morning in Calgary at an already bustling support centre.

The province is hosting over 60 different workshops and seminars in the hopes of helping those out of work land a new job.

But, many who’ve been laid off in the province have already been taking advantage of these services for a while.

Sabir hopes these events will see bigger numbers attending this year considering our current economical situation.

“This time around, they are much more needed and that’s why they’re planned all across the province,” he said. “We want Albertans to know that their government is standing with them.”

First Court Appearance for Freihaut

Lisa Freihaut remains behind bars after her first court appearance on a charge of second-degree murder in the death of her mother.

Freihaut appeared before a Lethbridge judge this morning via closed-circuit television from the Calgary Remand Centre.

Police have said they found the body of Irene Carter in her Lethbridge home in January — four days after they believe the 78-year-old woman died.

Freihaut was arrested last Friday, weeks after she had made a public plea for information on her mother’s death.

Her next court date is May 6th.