Dick Wagner–who played stunning lead-guitar in the seventies for the likes of Aerosmith, Lou Reed, and Alice Cooper–died today in Phoenix at the age of 71. He had been hospitalized after contracting a lung infection following heart surgery in early July.

I was crazy about Wagner’s guitar playing before I even knew who he was. As a hired gun, he played on those awesome Alice Cooper albums like School’s OutBillion Dollar Babies, and Muscle of Love when Cooper’s lead-guitarist Glenn Buxton was too drug-addled to get it right.

At the Pride flag-raising ceremony held at Vancouver City Hall on July 28, Stewart Gonzales, a two-spirited member of the Musqeam and Squamish First Nations, conducted a blessing by singing the Coast Salish national anthem.

Here is a brief clip of his powerful performance.

He also took the opportunity to speak about the ongoing struggles that aboriginal two-spirited (LGBT) people continue to face in communities across North America.

Last weekend, Vancouver Aquarium CEO John Nightingale said that his facility tried without success to buy an orca in the late 1990s.

This came after Bjossa's partner, Finna, died in 1997.

"When the male killer whale died, we spent a year trying to find a companion for Bjossa, and we couldn't anywhere in the world," Nightingale said at a July 26 special park board meeting on captivity of cetaceans. "We would have tried to buy one if we could."

The comment arose in a question-and-answer session with Vision Vancouver commissioner Aaron Japser. (See video above.)

Nightingale said that Russians weren't capturing wild orcas at that time, so there weren't any killer whales available.

We've found the perfect protest anthem for community gardeners in the Arbutus corridor seeking to keep their kale out of the clutches of Canadian Pacific Railway.

The lyrics to "In Da Garden", by someone named Gabriel, start out like so:

Go go go go go
Go CP, It's your railway,
We going to garden like its our railway
We going to eat brocolli like its our railway
and you know we don't give a **** it's not your railway!

For 43 years, the Jewish Museum and Archives of B.C. has preserved and shared the history of the Jewish community in the province.

Now the museum hopes to post more of this history online. It's launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, with the goal of raising $18,000 by September 19 to build a new website.

B.C.’s premier has issued a statement in support of Israel as it continues its offensive against Hamas and the Gaza Strip.

In a July 27 statement posted on the website of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), Christy Clark states that “Israel has a right to defend itself”.

Here is the statement presented in its entirety:

The current conflict in Israel and Gaza is of great concern to anyone who believes in democracy and human rights.

The first night of the 2014 Honda Celebration of Light was a relatively smooth one for the Vancouver Police Department.

Not surprisingly, there were hundreds of police interactions involving liquor, but a lot less than there were the previous year.

According to VPD statistics, on the July 26 fireworks night there were 239 liquor pour outs, 48 liquor seizures, and one arrest for intoxication in public.

That’s way down from the same evening last year.

Greenpeace is taking on a children's toy that has been used in Science World and Vancouver Art Gallery exhibits.

At issue is Lego's affiliation with Shell. Greenpeace is calling for the Lego Group to end its participation in Shell's global advertising deal.

A special set of Lego features the Shell logo on its toys.

Greenpeace argues that Shell is building brand loyalty among children, who are the next generation of consumers. The Vancouver-founded environmental organization is concerned that Shell is using Lego to counter its controversial Arctic drilling plans.

Conservative MP Jim Hillyer's biography on his website doesn't say anything about abortion.

But the first-term politician from Lethbridge clearly has a problem with women retaining the right to choose if they want to give birth.

Vancouver Centre Liberal MP Hedy Fry tweeted this photo from a survey that Hillyer is conducting.

There are two questions.

1. Do you agree with Jim Hillyer that our government should not use your tax dollars to pay for abortions in other countries?

2. Do you agree with Jim Hillyer that abortion is NOT a human right?

"Yet another male Conservative MP telling women what they can/can't do with their bodies... all on taxpayers' dollars," Fry noted in her tweet.

The Vancouver Police Department has busted a second marijuana dispensary for not playing by the rules.

Today (July 24) Jim’s Weed Lounge at 882 East Hastings joined Weeds Glass and Gifts at 2580 Kingsway as the only dispensaries raided by police in all of 2014.

Meanwhile, more than 40 similar storefronts selling marijuana continue to operate in Vancouver.

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