Blogs

Meet Alberta's Ethics Commissioner

Alberta’s new Ethics Commissioner is a former judge with a reputation for accomplishing anything to which she sets her mind.  “A friend of my parents who was a social worker told them that I was going to grow up a juvenile delinquent because I was the only child of a mother who worked,” says Marguerite Trussler. “She fought a lot of battles in the ’70s against discrimination. But I always had that role model that women could do anything.” After getting her law degree at...

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She's Ensuring No Soldier is Forgotten

Maureen Bianchini Purvis was 12 years old when her mother died of breast cancer. In the final stages of her illness, the war veteran made a dying request of her daughter. “I was crying,” remembers Purvis. “And she said, ‘Please, Maureen. I don’t want you to cry when I’m gone. I just want you to remember me on Armistice Day.’ “That first November upon her passing, I took my poppy and went out to her gravesite at Beechmount Cemetery...

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Harsch Has Blueprint for Better Care for Seniors

Dawn Harsch tells the story of a pivotal moment when she was a nursing student and working as a psychiatric aide in the dementia ward at Alberta Hospital. The conditions were austere – concrete floors and walls, run-down furniture, six-bed wards separated by a curtain, and one bathroom.  Many of the residents she met had lived there for years. One, in particular, she will never forget. “He seemed lonely,” says Harsch. “So I struck up a conversation with him.  He asked me if I knew who Emilia Earhart (the first female pilot to fly solo across the...

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Taphorn Brought Elvis to Westlock County

When Trudy Taphorn grabs onto something, she tends to grab on hard. An example is when she accepted two registered collies as payment from a Saskatchewan couple  for training their horses. She thought the dogs would make good family pets. Then a friend took her to a dog show. “I was there for 15 minutes and I couldn’t believe this world existed without me in it,” says Taphorn. “I started showing in 1987 and in 1989, I was awarded top breeder of collies in Canada.” The owner of...

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Bringing the City Closer to the Farm

Tam Andersen spends a lot of time at work on her knees. It helps her to see through the eyes of the children who come to visit. She knows that kids learn when they’re having fun. “I had a little fellow the other day,” smiles Andersen. “Jason arrived with his mom in tow and he’s like, ‘mom, I love this place!’ At age 7, we completely hit the mark with him.” Andersen is a pioneer in agri-tourism in Alberta. Her Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm...

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Meet K Division's New Deputy Commish

Marianne Ryan felt deprived as a child. She loved being active outdoors — on the tractor and being with her father — but growing up on a farm meant less time for sports and other activities because she had to get home right after school to do chores. In hindsight, it may have been the best experience for her chosen career. “We worked really hard in some really hot summer days in southern Ontario,” says the top officer of Alberta’s RCMP. “I think it brought to light for me the importance of teamwork and that, if we all pitch in, we can...

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Meet the new CEO of Alberta Health Services

When she was in junior kindergarten, Vickie Kaminski wanted to be a nurse or a teaching nun. This was not surprising; in the 1950s, women were still limited in their career choices. In high school, she loved sciences and helping people, so nursing turned out to be a good choice. But, there were early indications that the new President and CEO of Alberta Health Services would not have a traditional career. “I don't think leaders have to be...

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Hollo Helps People find the Artists Inside Them

If hindsight is 20/20, for Wendy Hollo, it goes back to her grade 8 class in the very small town of Spanish, Ontario. She was one of just two people who passed that year. “Probably most of the people in the class would have had a developmental disability or mental health issue,” says Hollo. “There would be some woman who would walk past our house in the ditch instead of walking on the road. Clearly she had something diagnosable, but it was seen as a little quirk and she did just fine. Nobody labelled her....

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Leading Cancer Researcher's Move a Coup for the U of A

She’s an attractive, 35-year-old who exudes enthusiasm with the occasional giggle. So it’s no surprise that when the accomplished scientist is asked to speak about her work in cancer research at international conferences, first impressions lead some colleagues to underestimate what she brings to the table. But attitudes change as soon as Dr. Lynne Postovit talks about her work. “I do think it’s an advantage,” says the cell biologist. “I...

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Entrepreneur Carrie Langevin Celebrates Aboriginal Culture

As a child, Carrie Langevin learned about the healing properties of native plants from her grandmother, who also loved making remedies. What wasn’t shared was any sense of pride in the aboriginal culture. It was something not to be talked about. Aboriginal pride is now a prime motivator for Langevin. She and her husband, Darrell, own Mother Earth Essentials, a unique line of 68 different organic products like teas, soaps, lotions, bath products and essential oils made with traditional healing plants grown in Alberta. The products are sold through their Edmonton...

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