New Glasgow Regional Police responded to a three vehicle collision sending a 45-year-old female to hospital.
Today, September 9, 2015 at approximately 1:30 p.m., New Glasgow Regional Police, EHS and New Glasgow Fire Department and New Glasgow Public Works attended the scene of a motor vehicle collision involving three vehicles on Provost Street in New Glasgow.
Preliminary investigation determined that a Chevrolet truck collided with a Mazda SUV which caused a chain reaction forcing the Mazda to collide with a Chevrolet SUV.
Provost Street was closed to traffic for approximately 45 minutes.
New Glasgow Regional Police continue to investigate the cause of the collision.
NEW GLASGOW – Lynn Langille has returned for a visit to Pictou County with gold medals her team won in recent dragon boat races.
Langille, a police officer in Toronto who grew up in New Glasgow, is home visiting family and friends after helping her team – the Police Crime Waves – win 200-metre, 500-metre, 1,000-metre and 2,000-metre races in its division at the International Dragon Boat Federation World Championships contested from Aug. 19 to 23 in Welland, Ont.
The team competed in the Women’s Senior B Division for those aged 50-59. The team had 26 members, while 20 paddlers in a given event.
They won their 200-metre sprint in 52 seconds, their 500-metre race in two minutes, eight seconds, their 1,000-metre race in 4:22 and their 2,000-metre race in 8:54.
It’s the first time Canada has hosted the event.
“We worked really hard,” Langille said. “Every one of the races was a personal best for us.”
Langille worked out through the winter in Toronto before taking on more intense training in April in Florida.
The international championships take place in odd years. Langille competed in the 2011 championships in Tampa, Fla. and the 2013 championships in Hungary.
ABERCROMBIE – Kevin Scott says he will cherish the opportunity to play the Canadian men’s mid-amateur golf championship on his own course.
Garrett Rank of Elmira, Ont. won the event on Friday, but Scott was the only player among five from Pictou County who entered the event to survive the cut on Wednesday and completed his 72 holes with a 71 on Friday to tie for 12th place.
“I was pretty happy with it,” Scott said, regarding his final 18-hole score. “It was a nice way to finish off the tournament. It exceeded my expectations for sure, and we lucked out with the weather big-time.”
Scott followed an opening-round 74 on Aug. 25 with a 76 on Wednesday. That gave him a two-day total of 10-over-par 150, but the cutoff line moved to Plus-15 by the end of the day to allow him two more days of golf.
“There wasn’t anything out there I wasn’t used to,” he said before he knew he made the cut on Wednesday. “It kinda comes and goes. I had a few bad swings today.”
Scott had another 74 on Thursday that included a one-over-par front nine.
He birdied the third and eighth holes but missed an even-par front nine with a bogey on the ninth hole. His tee shot landed in heavy rough that was left to grow taller for the championship. His iron shot flew to the back apron and his four-foot par attempt lipped the cup. He bogeyed 13, 16 and 17 coming in but a solid approach put on 18 helped him end the day with a par.
Scott birdied the front nine on Friday to improve to one over par and parred every hole on the back nine.
Daniel Fanning of Scotsburn had rounds of 78 and 79 on the first two days and missed the cut by two strokes.
Host tournament committee chairman Mike MacDonald said he’s encouraged by the positive comments about the course, which was stretched to its back tees and played at Par-70, one less than usual.
“The old course put up a great fight,” he said. “Everyone thought it was too short for a national event, but the course is a good challenge.”
MacDonald praised the volunteers who assisted with hosting the event, although Malcolm Hutt was among those who took it as a personal opportunity to profile the club. He said it’s a chance for the club to showcase itself between now and 2019 when it celebrates its centennial by hosting the Nova Scotia men’s amateur championship.
“They put a call out for members – after all it’s our club,” Malcolm Hutt said. “It’s nice to see how a golf tournament like this is run. I think it all came together well.”
Rank toyed with a possible course record before carding a 65 on his opening day on Aug. 25. He took a four-stroke lead into the final day when he carded a 69 to win by seven strokes over Dave Bunker of Woodbridge, Ont. Michel Landry of Saint John, N.B. was third.
Rank’s win gives him an exemption for next year’s RBC Canadian Open tournament.
Rank was also a member of the first-place team from Ontario. Nova Scotia was second and New Brunswick was third.
NEW GLASGOW – Seinneadair (Shay-een-ah-dah-r) – a Gaelic word for songsters – is a multi-age young persons’ choir program open to anyone, male or female, ages 8 years and up.
Choir director, Monica George Punke, said, “The benefits of a good choir program apply to all ages from childhood through adolescence to adulthood. To learn to sing well is something that you can carry with you for the rest of your life. Besides, it’s just great fun.”
The only requirements for belonging to Seinneadair, Punke continued, ”are a love of singing, a commitment to learning about music and how to best use your voice, and wanting to meet new people and make more friends. The group’s motto – sticking with the Gaelic – is Seinn an t-oran or Sing the Song – and that’s what we learn to do.”
Seinneadair meets every Tuesday, beginning September 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Lower Hall, St. George’s Anglican Church, Temperance Street, New Glasgow. A place can be reserved for you by either calling Monica George Punke at 902 752- 1297, or showing up at a rehearsal.
“Singing,” said George Punke, “is without a doubt the most widely used means of artistic expression because it is one of the most positive forms of human expression. It supports physical, mental and social health, as well as individual development in the same areas. It enables young people of different ages and abilities to come together successfully to create something special in the arts.”
She noted, “There is nothing more thrilling than sharing your singing with a large and appreciative audience.”
To reserve a place in the choir, call 902-752-1297 or email George Punke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: This is the next article in a monthly feature titled Hometown Heroes. On the first Wednesday of each month, we will highlight the achievements of someone who has Pictou County roots. Suggestions for future columns may be directed to Jackie Jardine, editor, by email at email@example.com, or by phone, 902-485-8014.
NEW GLASGOW – Church and education have been guideposts for Aretha Borden-Davis.
They have filled her life with duty and achievement in her early years in Pictou County and where she and her family live in Detroit’s inner-city.
The family enjoys the time spent each summer in Pictou County and took time this summer to reconnect with loved ones and friends – and take in events that took place in conjunction with the recent New Glasgow Black Gala Homecoming.
“Every summer, we get home,” she said. “I enjoy coming home.”
Borden-Davis grew up in New Glasgow and graduated from New Glasgow High School in 1986.
She didn’t compete in varsity sports but did play noon-hour intramural volleyball, sang in the Second United Baptist Church choir and played the bagpipes and chanter.
She graduated from Acadia University with a degree in sociology in 1989 and had thoughts of ministry. That prompted her to pursue theology at Acadia Divinity College, where she earned a masters degree in 1992.
Church commissions were not granted to women then, so she turned her sights toward education and studied part-time to earn an education degree, first at Acadia and later at the University of Windsor. When the University of Windsor would not accept her credits from Acadia, she opted for its one-year program and graduated in 2000.
It was during this time that she met her future husband, Sherwyn Davis, who is from Detroit.
She has been teaching multiple subjects to first-grade students for the past 15 years at a small school in Highland Park, a small city within Greater Detroit. She was named 2013 Teacher of the Year in Detroit.
It meant suspending her dreams of church ministry, but she has demonstrated a passion for teaching.
“It wasn’t what I studied for but I have enjoyed my teaching career,” she said.
Borden-Davis said growing up with her dad, Sparky Paris, and her mother, Ruth, provided a solid foundation for her.
“People saw my dad as a hard worker with a work ethic, being honest and living a life of treating people with respect, while mom has been a caregiver in the community,” she said.
Besides school on weekdays, Borden-Davis has begun operating a tutoring program called Stepping Stones to Success, which was featured recently on Detroit television.
“It’s cutting edge,” she said.
SCOTCH HILL – Two residents with an active sport and recreational regime are participating in three events at this year’s 55+Games in Pictou County.
Cathy Hardy and Sandra Melanfont have registered for the five-kilometre run, the Nordic walk and cycling race during the Games, which are taking place from Sept. 17 to 19.
“I think it’s nice to have representation from Pictou County,” she said. “We have lovely facilities and it’s a wonderful way to showcase them.”
The cycling event is a special one for Hardy, who was presented with a bike upon her retirement from teaching at Scotsburn Elementary School two years ago.
“I’ve done Nordic walking before, but I got a bike when I retired from teaching,” she said. “That was a fabulous gift.”
Hardy and Malenfont are active throughout the week during group sessions based at the Gammon Centre in Scotsburn.
They gather on Wednesdays for bike rides along various roads and trails in the area, do hour-long exercises at the centre on Thursdays and gather for kayaking on Fridays.
“We like to stay busy,” Hardy said.
Melanfont is an avid kayaker but is also a strong runner, having completed the Johnny Miles half marathon in June.
“That was fun,” she said.
Melanfont retired from teaching four years ago and is enjoying the extra time she has to be active.
“Retirement is a wonderful time to play,” she said. “I feel like a child. We’ve had more laughs exercising together. I started running four years ago, although I’ve walked for years and biked my whole life.”
Melanfont said she’s glad the Games are in Pictou County and is looking forward to enjoying the atmosphere from the more than 700 people who have registered for them.
“I think it’s wonderful they’re here,” she said. “It’s not about competition. I don’t think it’s about competition at all. There’s enough variety of activities that there is something for everyone.”
To the Editor:
The Pictou County Military Museum’s Board of Directors would like to say a “sincere thank you” to all the following organizations and people who made the third Canadian Veterans and Military Awareness day a complete success. Without these individuals and groups it would not even be possible to host the event. All volunteers and participants went beyond the call the duty.
Most important to all the military veterans who attended; all military and cadet units, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Westville Police Force and Westville Public Works Department; the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia; media outlets; DEANS tourist association; graphic designer Stephen MacDonald; Tim Hortons, Jim Shaw; Sobeys Westside, Stellarton, Aberdeen Mall; Scotsburn Co-Op; Big 8; Foodland; Atlantic Superstore; The Salvation Army Westville Corps; St. Paul’s Church; Westville Heritage Group; the towns of Westville, New Glasgow, Stellarton, Trenton, Pictou and the Municipality of Pictou County.
A very special thank you goes out to Dave Avery, Robert Dawe, Gerald Jones, David Joyce and Pearl Joyce.
Founder/ President – Pictou County Military Museum
To the Editor:
Not that long ago Premier Stephen McNeil proclaimed his government to be the most open and transparent government in history.
Newsflash: saying something is so, doesn’t make it so.
The reality is that the McNeil Liberals are not really that open or transparent.
The Liberals frequently use their majority to prevent important topics from being heard at legislative committees and regularly call all-night House sittings to push legislation through under cover of darkness. Not open. Not transparent.
But just how far will Premier McNeil go to keep scrutiny at bay?
Well, the Province hasn’t had a permanent ombudsman for 20 months. Maybe it is because Premier McNeil just hasn’t bothered to appoint one or maybe, as is widely rumoured, it is because he plans to use his majority to ‘restructure’ the Office of the Ombudsman and strip it of its independence, possibly by merging it with the FOIPOP Review Office.
Stripping the ombudsman of its independence could prejudice the delivery of what is, sadly, a well-used service: last year 2,260 matters where brought to the ombudsman; including 603 youth in care and custody concerns and 23 allegations of wrongdoing under “whistleblower” legislation.
There is no place for politics in these matters. The ombudsman must remain independent; otherwise, you have the fox minding the hens. Imagine the ombudsman reporting to the Minister of Justice on youth in care complaints. It can’t happen. They must remain independent.
By even hinting at fooling around with the structure of the Office of the Ombudsman the premier is showing us how he really feels about being “open” and “transparent”. It is a big “not!”
MLA, Pictou East
To the Editor:
There are times in every government’s term in office when a particular situation cries out for strong leadership. The case of the closing of the River John School, I believe, is clearly one of those situations and has the potential to make or break the MacNeil Liberal government.
One might say ‘So what? Another group of parents is upset that their local school is closing, they’re not the first and most certainly won’t be the last’. The difference this time is the context.
The Ivany report is, when all is said and done, only words. There is a crying need in this province today for somebody to provide the leadership and transform those words into action. The best person to do this is our premier.
Mr. Premier, please seize the opportunity to use the River John community as a test case for a whole new vision on survivability of our rural communities. Yes, this is first and foremost about children, parents, education and school boards. Beyond that, it is about much more and you will never find a better community than River John to try a new and innovative approach to rural development.
Please help forge a strong partnership between provincial government departments, the school board, municipal governments and the community of River John to show the way, not only to keep some smaller schools open but also to provide government and private services for the whole of the population. Community and economic growth will most likely, follow.
A small investment provincially, along with municipal contributions and more willingness from a rather mean-spirited school board could be the beginning of a very good thing, not just for River John, but for many rural communities in our province.
Please show that leadership, Mr. Premier, and help to start turning the words of the Ivany report into progressive action. The time is NOW, let’s seize the opportunity.
Robert Parker, councillor
Municipality of the
County of Pictou
To give one’s energy time and talent without expecting anything in return is the essence of volunteering.
People are volunteering without thanks, without needing it or wanting it, every minute of every day in this community and across Canada.
Sometimes, some people are rewarded, and we have this opportunity to give our thanks for what they’ve done and continue to do.
Matt Gunning recently received the Ecology Action Centre’s Bubby Mooers award, which is presented in memory of Clarence (Bubby) Mooers, a wood folk artist from Queen’s County, N.S.
The award cited Gunning’s ongoing work and keen perspective over the two years since he and others established the Clean the Mill Facebook page. The decision to launch the page reflected what they felt was a need to focus on making sure Northern Pulp clean up itself, continue to be a vital employer and be a better corporate citizen. It has done so. To what degree remains not totally certain. The commissioning phase for the new electrostatic precipitator designed to trap more particulates and reduce the acrid, ugly plume that was a familiar experience last year may not be complete, but one needs only to look around, listen and notice the air pollution talk has subsided.
Things are better. Gunning is being thanked for doing his part to make them better.
Matt Miller, formerly from Green Hill, was also cited by the EAC, taking second place for its Tooker Gomberg Award. Miller is EAC’s forestry program co-ordinator and has long been an advocate for better forestry practices.
The Kinsmen and Kinettes clubs of Pictou County have been volunteering to help others in a big way for years. The Hal and Elspeth Rogers National Service Award they received recently at the National Kinsmen Convention in Brandon, Man. is not their first recognition, but is worthy of high praise.
The award is presented to one club in the country for its service, specifically, for their annual Christmas for families in need project where members provide Christmas gifts and meals that might otherwise be denied to needy families.
Most of the club members participate in the project, which totalled more than 300 volunteer hours for the Kinsmen and Kinettes involved.
To receive this award once is noteworthy, but this is the second time the local club has been so recognized.
Club members are first to stay they didn’t join for that reason. They don’t work for awards. But sooner or later, people and groups feel compelled to thank those who have done much to make society better.
Matt Gunning, Matt Miller and the Kinsmen and Kinettes of Pictou County have demonstrated how essential community work is in a caring society. Now they have been thanked for it.
Steve GoodwinPosted in Opinion | Leave a comment
The Pictou County District RCMP and the United Way of Pictou County are partnering for this year’s RCMP Friends of The Force Ball.
This is the second RCMP Ball to be held in as many years and is a fundraising event that gives back to the community by supporting local charities. Last year’s beneficiary, Pictou County Roots for Youth, received nearly $12,000 raised through the event. This year the RCMP has partnered with the United Way who will be the beneficiary.
RCMP District Commander, Staff Sgt. Steve Halliday says he couldn’t be happier to be supporting the United Way of Picotu County.
“When we sat down this year to discuss the charity we would support, it just made perfect sense. The United Way supports so many service groups and charities across Pictou County, we felt we could positively impact and reach a number of charities through this one amazing organization of volunteers”, said Halliday.
“This event is an opportunity for the RCMP to give something back to our community and is a way for us to get together with members of our local area to socialize and say thanks for their support of the RCMP.”
Jessica Smith, executive director of the United Way of Pictou County, is excited to be a part of the event. “We have been working closely with the RCMP members and staff over the past few months, helping to plan and organize things. We are honoured the RCMP have chosen to support our local United Way and to be a part of this amazing evening,” she said.
The Friends of The Force Ball will be held at the Pictou County Wellness Center on September 12 beginning at 6 p.m. The event will host over 170 guests who will experience a number of RCMP traditions, followed by a formal dinner and dance with live entertainment. It will also include a silent auction and all proceeds raised will go to the United Way. There are a limited number of seats available and anyone who may be interested in attending this gala event can contact the local RCMP detachment in Stellarton to arrange for tickets.
WESTVILLE – The 39th Annual Jimmy Hawboldt-Fred Lays Memorial Road Races will once again be on the minds of local runners when they take place on Labour Day.
For many years runners of all ages have come out to participate and celebrate this long-standing event that features a one-mile race starting at 9:30 a.m. and a five-mile race starting at 10 a.m.
The races start and finish in front of the civic building.
Registration starts at 9 a.m. in the civic building’s multi-purpose room. There will be refreshments served at 11 a.m. and awards presentations at 11:30 a.m.
The organizing committee is calling for something new to add some community spirit, co-organizer Andrea MacEachern said.
“We are asking the citizens of the town to come out and decorate a water station along the race route,” she said. “They can decorate the station in any theme they want. I have seen this done in Lake Ainslie during a marathon and thought what a great way for the community to be a part of something, to show support to the runners and bring such a sense of belonging, of welcoming.”
Each family or individual wishing to organize a water station can call the recreation office of Westville or Andrea MacEachern to register. Water and cups will be provided.
A judge will drive the route and pick a winner. The winner of the water station will receive a prize from the Hawboldt-Lays Race Committee.
“The race has been such a success because of the volunteers, support from the Town of Westville and the people who participate and the spectators,” MacEachern said.
The race courses include a circuit for the one-mile race along Queen Street, Drummond Road, Foxbrook Road, Purvis Street and Queen Street.
Those interested can contact MacEachern at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sally O’Neill at email@example.com for more information and to register a water station.
Labour Day promises to be a good time in Westville this year with a fundraiser for the Westville skate park taking over the Acadia Park Gazebo from 2 to 8 p.m.
The free concert will play host to a barbecue, raffle prizes and a bottle collection to raise funds for the Westville skate park committee, a group of teens hoping to raise enough money to build a new skate park in the town.
Featuring a lineup of local talent, those attending can expect to see Tommy Arsenault, Leah and Kyle Samson, Layne Greene, Stone House, Sore Loser, Heavy Early, The Marty McFly’s as well as Machete. DJ Friendly Neighbor will be playing some tunes between sets as well to keep the fun going. A long list of sponsors are stepping forward to help out with the event including local skateboarding companies Reem Wheels, Crystal Clear Skate and Apparel and Black Belt Machete.
The event is officially hosted by the Westville skate park Committee and the Town of Westville with help from local volunteer Kenneth Cunningham, organizer of the event.
“It’s a group of 15 year olds leading it,” said Cunningham about the committee. “I think it’s incredible that it’s a group of young people.”
The Annual Parkinson’s SuperWalk will be taking place September 12 at Northumberland Regional High School in Alma.
The walk serves not only to raise funds to support the treatment and research of the disease but also to help raise awareness and understanding of it.
While Parkinson’s does have a few well known and unfortunate faces in its clutches there is still much that the average person may not know about the disease.
Murray MacDonald, himself coping with Parkinsonism – a condition closely related to Parkinson’s but much quicker to manifest – will be taking part in the upcoming walk.
MacDonald, 57, has been coping with the symptoms of Parkinsonism since June 2, 1999. He can narrow it down to the exact day, the exact minute, because his life with the disease began as the result of an injury, or rather, an attack.
“I had it since one of my co-workers got intoxicated and speared me in the eye with a finger,” MacDonald said. “The symptoms were instantaneous. I never lost the use of my eye but it’s extremely painful. If you’ve never drank a slushie really quick, I’ve got that behind the eye seven days a week.”
MacDonald said his symptoms include a permanent, icy cold sensation behind the eye. His legs never quite do what he wants them to do when he wants them to do it and he also experiences an unending charley horse sensation on top of it.
“They just calm down a little bit and you tolerate them with high levels of medication,” MacDonald said.
“Those are the main symptoms. I’ve had them all since I got stuck in the eye.”
The incident, MacDonald said, is comparable to what caused the symptoms to manifest in boxer Muhammad Ali.
MacDonald said his brain is no longer capable of creating the chemical needed to signal limbs to move; instead he has to take medication every three hours to do the job, but that also leaves him “sickly” and the medications are pricey as well.
While MacDonald has been coping with Parkisonism since 1999 his actual diagnosis came much later – just two years ago. He chalks that delay up to not regularly seeing the same doctor, instead relying on outpatient doctors with little familiarity of his medical history. He feels it’s likely that if he had seen one doctor regularly his condition would have been uncovered much sooner.
MacDonald has two sisters in nursing and he said he’s read everything they’ve given him regarding Parkinson’s and is especially hopeful that a recently funded project in the United States to map the human brain will yield some beneficial results.
For him, the biggest thing most people don’t understand about Parkinson’s is what they don’t see.
“You look healthy on the outside but… Every minute of the day you feel like you’re going to fall down, every minute,” MacDonald said. “When you stand up you’re fighting not falling down. When someone with Parkinson’s is trying to navigate in a crowd it’s kind of tough.”
The disease, MacDonald said, affects the whole body and is tricky to diagnosis as it can appear to be a number of other conditions.
MacDonald said he has about a seven-minute window of walking around time while his pain level on a scale of 1 to 10 is “a new 10 every day” and material goals no longer hold any meaning.
“I don’t dwell on it,” MacDonald said. “You just get up and you have to get through your day. It’s a struggle, whatever you do. Stand up, sit down… thank God for the VON.”
The VON visits MacDonald three times a week and his family, including his young daughter Alannah, support him on a daily basis. The monthly Parkinson’s support group has also been a source of strength for him.
“They are really good, these ladies,” MacDonald said. “They’re unbelievably gracious with their time. Their husbands died from Parkinson’s and they continued to help. They’re real heroes.”
The 25th Annual Parkinson’s SuperWalk will take place at
2 p.m. with registration at 1 p.m.
RIVER JOHN – Parents of students no longer attending River John Consolidated School have directed their focus toward busing them to other schools.
With classes resuming on Thursday, the River Johners Unite for Rural Communities committee has helped to get the bussing issues resolved through a series of meetings that included committee meetings last Thursday and Sunday in River John, as well as a meeting with officials with the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board.
The committee’s next weekly meeting is on Thursday.
David Allan and Cindy Langille co-chair the committee. Allan was at the school board office for the meeting with superintendent Gary Adams, which Langille did not attend. Besides bussing, Allan said the prospects of reopening the school next year were discussed.
“We’d like to go back to the board to find some other way to open the school, but he’s not ready to do anything on that,” Allan said.
“It comes down to what’s past is past, but no one is ready to go away.”
Allan said Friday’s meeting also included discussion on how to cut the travel time as much as possible for students and reduce the number of instances where parents will need to drive their children to school or to bus stops on established routes.
Langille chaired Sunday’s committee meeting in Allan’s absence and acknowledged Adams is dealing with the bussing issues.
“Most bussing (issues) were regarding courtesy bussing,” she said. “The parents of the River John students were told they had the option of choosing from any of the schools (grade appropriate) for their child to attend regardless of catchment area.”
Parents are facing bussing challenges if they choose a school outside the catchment area of the school they were planning to send their children. For example, a student in Seafoam is to be bussed to West Pictou Consolidated School, but children would have to be driven to River John if their parents want them to attend school in Scotsburn.
Meanwhile, River Johners Unite is sending invitations to the community to attend its Scholarship Education Centre on Thursday and Friday at the River John School building. Activities have been planned from 8:30 a.m. until noon both days.
“If parents are thinking of alternatives to teach their children in their own community we want to discuss those options,” Langille said.
These developments follow a protest at Education Minister Karen Casey’s constituency office on Aug. 24 in Truro. Casey said she met with several of the protesters for about an hour in her office before addressing the group outside.
“It gave them an opportunity to come into a private meeting to share their concerns,” she said. “It was a very respectful meeting. They presented a number of questions. They have been looking for answers. I said I would address the questions raised.”
Casey said she would review the discourse that eventually led to the board’s decision to close the school in River John. She said the review will extend two years from when the original motion was introduced to close the River John school to the board’s decision to defeat a motion reconsider it last June.
“I’m looking at what transpired,” she said.
She said school reviews and closures, as well as the hub model being considered, are made at the board level and their decision is final. She said that is what hub model supporters wanted and the Education Act reflects that.
“I have to respect the legislation and what Nova Scotians wanted,” she said.
She said the McNeil government inherited a hub model that lacked criteria and process that the government eventually provided.
“No one could define the hub model,” she said. “There are examples of services operating within school buildings. We firmly believe the hub model can work.”
I never forgot the afternoon, 34 years ago in 1981, when I was sitting at my desk in The Chronicle Herald newsroom, writing a political column for the next day’s editorial page. I was writing it, yes, on a typewriter, the type of old-fashioned contraption I had been using since my fingers were introduced to a keyboard way back in 1951.
I remember that day like it was just last week. One of the fellows from the composing room parked an awkward-looking machine alongside my desk. It was called a computer and it was so large it stood there on four wheels, daring me to take a closer look. It was all mine, my colleague informed me, and just like that he picked up my trusty old typewriter and walked away with it.
I remember I sat there quietly for a few minutes, thinking to myself, they’ll realize they’ve made a mistake and I’ll get my typewriter back. How wrong I was. I never saw the typewriter again. Who knows, it may have fallen into that huge hole where the new world trade centre is rising up where the Herald building used to be.
That was my introduction to computers. Thirty-four years later, in this modern era of emails, tweets and other versions of what is called the social media, you never know, when you write an article, where it will be seen and read.
A few weeks ago, in my column reliving the Nova Scotia intermediate baseball championship that the Stellarton Keith’s won 50 years ago, I made mention of umpire Danny Dorrington.
Not long after, I received an email from a local reader and a Facebook message from someone in Newfoundland, both asking the identical thing: Didn’t I mean “Danky” Dorrington, rather than “Danny” Dorrington? No, I didn’t. I meant Danny.
For the record, there were two Pictou County-born cousins, Frank (Danky) Dorrington and Danny Dorrington, distinctly different people. Danky, as we knew him best, was a hall of fame hockey player who spent much of his life in Newfoundland. Danny stuck to his Pictou County roots, where he played hockey and baseball, and umpired ball for four decades.
Anyone who didn’t live in the county long, or is too young to remember the golden days of the 1950s and ’60s, it might be hard to separate Danky from Danny. Or Danny from Danky.
We can’t do it by age, however. If they were alive today, Danky would be 82, Danny would be 82. We can’t differentiate by personalities, either. Danky was a real good guy in sports and out of sports, one of my favourites. Danny, too, was a real good guy, one of my favourites as well. No wonder it could be confusing to those who didn’t know them.
Danky starred with the junior Northside Franklyns in Cape Breton, one of the province’s legendary teams. He was an outstanding senior player, playing for various clubs, beginning with the Trenton Scotias. He had a huge season with the Amherst Ramblers in the Nova Scotia senior circuit before moving to Corner Brook. There, he became one of Newfoundland’s favourite players of all time.
Danny was 14 when he moved from hockey on the East River to an organized team. On a grammar school team from Lourdes, he helped win a provincial championship his first year. That was another club that became legendary. He played senior, climaxed by a season with the Stellarton Royals when they won the APC league and provincial titles.
Danny’s umpiring started, not in baseball but in softball. And it happened unexpectedly. He had gone to Trenton one evening to see a game when the Steeltown had two teams in the senior league, the Scotias and Aces. There was a problem: no umpire showed up. Danny volunteered, did a great job, and wound up calling balls and strikes for four decades.
As I mentioned in my earlier Keith’s column, Danny and I had some run-ins. On the field, they may have looked serious; in reality, they were more on a humorous level. I was coaching first base for Stellarton, had several arguments with Danny, who would quickly toss me out of games. Afterwards, we joked about it and, quite often, I’d drive him home. It was all in fun.
Danky and Danny Dorrington were among scores of hockey, baseball and softball players of the time who were great to be around. There was a lot of great local talent in those days, and there was really no need to import players to make the sports enjoyable to watch.
It’s been 50 years since I was involved with the baseball Keiths, and 60 years since I covered senior softball in Trenton and Thorburn for The Evening News. Oh how the time seems to have passed too quickly.
Life, though, goes on and, after such a long time, we lose our favourites, one by one. It’s hard to fathom when it happens, hard to realize such friends are gone forever.
Danny went first, losing a battle with cancer in March 2002. He was just 69. It had been less than three years since I spent several hours with him, chatting about the highlights of his career and life. We laughed hard and often that day, enjoying our memories of the long-ago times.
Danky had another 11 years. He and Angie would have spent them in their adopted Corner Brook, but when their mentally-challenged son was placed in a group home in New Glasgow, they came back.
Two years ago, I did a column for the Advocate to mark Danky’s 80th birthday. Within days, I learned the great athlete, inducted into three sports hall of fames, was hit with Alzheimer’s. In another month, he lost that awful struggle.
The two cousins had much in common besides almost similar names. Neither will be forgotten anytime soon by those of us who were fortunate to be around them.
PICTOU – Pumping gas is slowly creeping back to normal at local gas bars.
A shortage of product hit Halifax last week and soon crept to Pictou County and other parts of the province.
Wilson Fuels vice-president Dave Collins said things should return to normal within the week. He attributed the shortage to supplies of incompatible fuel in two ocean tankers that arrived in Halifax last week before a third tanker arrived.
Higher turnover of product caused the shortages to surface in Halifax before the rest of the province, he said.
“We flip over our product (in Halifax and area) in 36 hours, whereas in rural areas it’s over 10 days,” he said.
Some gas bars ran out of regular gasoline but had premium gas. Others went dry of all product.
Gas bars in West Pictou were among those that went dry: in River John, Lyons Brook and another outlet near Pictou on the Sunrise Trail.
Motorists began lining up Sunday afternoon at the Irving outlet in Pictou that had gas before it went dry. Some of them sensed that shortage would last and pumped gas into cans as well as their vehicles’ tanks.
PICTOU – A group formed to monitor Northern Pulp’s environmental impact on Pictou County is continuing its work despite a recent award it has received, Matt Gunning says.
The Ecology Action Centre recently presented the Bubby Mooer Award to recognize his efforts on behalf of the Clean the Mill group that established a Facebook page in the summer of 2013 in the wake of rising air pollution from the mill.
Gunning, who is a realtor and operates a car dealership in Pictou, said they started the page with former Pictou resident Paul Gregory in order to summon support for cleaning up the mill.
“Although there is only one name on this award it’s pretty obvious that this is and has always been a group effort,” he said after accepting the award. “A lot of people had to leave their comfort zones to express their concerns. If there is, or if there is ever going to be, an improvement in our local environmental conditions, it will be because of how the community spoke up together and demanded change.”
He said the community, more than corporate or government responses, has spurred the change and is wary of recent tests showing improvement in the pulp mill’s emissions since its restart after being shut down for much of the spring to finish installing an electrostatic precipitator.
“There’s much more work ahead,” he said, while noting the mill’s opposition to points – such as reducing its fresh water use and limiting chemicals in their wastewater effluent – that are included in the province’s industrial approval for the mill.
“We have proven that Pictou County can stand up for ourselves and we’ve shown we can do it in creative, informed and peaceful ways.”
Learning how to create bobbin lace some 20 odd years ago, Donna Bullerwell never believed she would end up teaching it, let alone organizing the first Maritime Lace Day.
Maritime Lace Day took place on Saturday at the Caribou River Community Hall with some 15 lace makers in attendance from across the Maritimes.
“There are bobbin lace makers from Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick,” explains Bullerwell. “We got together for the day to share information, have a social time and make some lace.”
It was a small event this year, but Bullerwell believes by word of mouth it will grow next year.
“No one else is making lace in Pictou County,” she says. “I want to promote the art of lace making and there are so few of us that it feels like we are making lace in isolation.”
The idea is to boost morale and provide support for other lace makers and to see the enthusiasm from those in attendance.
Bullerwell took bobbin lace classes in Dartmouth to learn the trade and quickly became very good at it.
She remains a member of the Seaspray Lace Guild which operates in the Halifax Regional Municipality, where the idea for Maritime Lace Day began.
“The idea had been discussed for three to five years now, but never seemed to work out and finally they (members of the Seaspray Lace Guild) asked me to organize it.”
She says the purpose is to share their works and have that social time together because it can be lonely. She recalls moving to the Pictou area in the early 2000s and not knowing anyone else who created bobbin lace.
Bullerwell happened to run into a woman in Pictou one day who took the bobbin lace class with her in Dartmouth and that was when things changed. From there grew the Straight Lacers, a lace-making group of four women who meet weekly at Bullerwell’s home.
Bobbin lace-making is a very time consuming, involved process and Bullerwell says anyone still creating the art is doing it for the love of it.
“Scottish people would have considered it very frivolous,” she says. “It was very popular in many European countries, often made in orphanages or Catholic schools.”
When Bullerwell and Janice Hamilton started the Straight Lacers, it was just the two of them supporting each other in their work, but 12 years ago, Bullerwell hosted a bobbin lace class at the Scotsburn Community Centre and from there came one more lover of the art, Melinda McDowell.
“About four years ago, I met a woman from Brule who bought bobbins because she thought they were so beautiful but she never imagined she would ever learn to make bobbin lace,” she recalls.
That was Cindy Clark who is the fourth member of the group.
“Bobbin lace is not for everyone,” explains Bullerwell. “It involves a lot of complicated handwork and is an awful lot to remember.”
Bullerwell was introduced to bobbin lace while in Portugal with her husband; she purchased two pieces of art from a woman working on a park bench. Years later she discovered it was bobbin lace and that was what prompted her to take the course in Dartmouth.
“I’m not a mass producer of bobbin lace,” she explains. “I would rather teach someone because I love teaching it.”
Maritime Lace Day is not Bullerwell’s first kick at the can, so to speak, in terms of organizing artistic events. She was the driving force behind Artisans in Action as well as Fiber Arts Day.
For anyone wanting to see what bobbin lace looks like, the Straight Lacers will have an exhibit at the Pictou North Colchester Exhibition.
“I will be there every day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and I can do demonstrations of how to make bobbin lace,” she says. “It’s really a great way to satisfy creativity and it’s good for the mind.”
Bullerwell is open to teaching bobbin lace for anyone interested; email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Margot Walker at 902-461-7547. Walker is with the Seaspray Lace Guild- email@example.com or seaspraylaceguild.wordpress.com.
PICTOU – The MOU Steering Committee has released the first workplan and study as part of the MOU on municipal reform for Pictou County.
In part, this first workplan and study relates to the size and associated costs of a proposed new council and was completed by consultants with Grant Thornton LLP. The consultants reviewed municipalities of similar size from Ontario, Quebec and Alberta and recommends a council made up of 10 councillors and a mayor elected at large.
The proposed electoral district boundaries map is now available for public input and a series of public consultation open houses have been scheduled. The proposed electoral districts are in line with the recommendations from the Grant Thornton report as well as ensuring the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board electoral representation rules are met.
“We encourage citizens from the participating municipal units to come out and see the first set of recommendations because the input of our citizens is critical to the implementation and success of any regional governance structure for Pictou County,” said Jack Lewis, councillor from the Town of New Glasgow and member of the MOU Steering Committee.
The committee has scheduled a number of public consultation sessions in the format of open houses for the following:
• Thursday, Sept. 3 – Pictou County Wellness Centre – Advocate Room, 10 to 11:30 a.m., 2 to 3:30 p.m., and again
7 to 8:30 p.m.
• Sept. 9 – deCoste Centre – Murray Room, 10-11:30 a.m., 2-3:30 p.m., and 7-8:30 p.m.
• Sept. 10 – Pictou County Wellness Centre – Advocate Room, 10 to 11:30 a.m.,
2 to 3:30 p.m., and 7 to 8:30 p.m.
• Sept. 15 – NSCC Stellarton – Cafeteria, 7-8:30 p.m.
• Sept. 22 –Thorburn Fire Hall, 28 Marsh Road, Thorburn, 10 to 11:30 a.m., 2 to 3:30 p.m., and 7 to 8:30 p.m.
The UARB Conditional Application which includes the Grant Thornton Governance Report and the proposed electoral boundaries map are all available through the www.onepictoucounty.ca website and the participating municipal units’ websites as well as printed copies are available for pick-up at the local participating municipal offices.
Friday marked the end of an era in Pictou County with Convergys fading into the sunset and bolting its doors shut.
A group of former Convergys call centre employees – many who had been let go in May – stood outside to greet the staggered waves of exiting and now themselves former Convergys workers.
In terms of atmosphere, it was something closer to a barbecue or a reunion rather than a wake. Gone were notions of Aftercall, Aux codes, stats, metrics, AMPs, CAPs, SOPs, or Cerf. Instead, all that was left were memories of time well spent among friends and colleagues.
Cindy Hayden, who marked the occasion with a sign reading “paroled” hanging from her neck – a nod to the affectionate term ‘ex-con’ used to describe past Convergys employees – said she had been with the company for 11 ½ years and, given the long delayed end of the company’s presence in the county, was happy to survive through to the end.
“I’m very grateful, to be honest with you,” Hayden said. “We did stay open another 11 months so I was able to get my car paid off… I’m grateful for the other 11 months of employment.”
Hayden said in the months that follow her parting ways with CVG she will have to be “choosy” about her next job citing some physical limitations – limitations that made CVG a perfect fit for her.
“I was blessed to have that job,” Hayden said, attempting and failing to hold back tears. “This is a tight, close-knit family. It’s like losing your family.”
The tight community found within the mostly gray surroundings is what Charlene Walsh, an employee of 13 ½ years, will remember most as well.
“The friendships I’ve made and kept over the years is unbelievable,” Walsh said. “The Convergys community, we’ll always be known as the CVG community regardless of if we’re here or not.”
For Arlene MacKenzie, an employee of 14 years, the story is the same. “The friends that I made over the years were what kept me going the entire time,” said MacKenzie. “It’s not the easiest job to do but with such good friends and the support of everyone else …”
MacKenzie survived not only the final waves of redundancy but the ebbs of more than a decade’s worth of employee turnover.
“I started off with Microsoft,” MacKenzie said, “the very first training class. There’s only two of us left – October 29, 2001. I’ve been here since the beginning and I went down with the ship.”
Brenda MacDonald, after four years with the company, said she was grateful to make it through to the end. She said she has no plans for what’s next, at least not for the winter. But she enjoyed her time with Convergys.
“I enjoyed coming to work,” MacDonald said. “ I’m going to miss a lot of people. It’s great to see all these former people back here today, too.”
The MacKenzies, Barb and Robert, were two such former employees on hand to welcome the survivors. The couple were let go in May after three and half years and five years respectively. Robert, in fact, had marked his five-year anniversary with the company just weeks before exiting.
“The writing was on the wall,” Barb said.
“We knew it was coming,” Robert added, “(but) we thought it would be December of this year.”
Still, the MacKenzies, like most of the others, choose to remember the good over the bad and described their former aislemates as “second to none.”
Rebecca Murray, a nine-year veteran of the company and now former manager on duty, summed the day up as “mixed emotions” but already has her next move plotted and will be enrolling at the Nova Scotia Community College in September to study medical office administration. Her Convergys-supplied knowledge of medical terminology will come in handy.
Anne Cameron, based on the good-natured but bittersweet ribbing of her peers, appeared to be luckiest of the bunch and was able to segue into retirement. She spent 13 years as a customer service agent with the company and just clocked that milestone the Monday prior.
“I had excellent co-workers,” Cameron said. “I’ve had no problems. I was just happy to get a full time job for the last 13 years, great benefits, weekends off, decent pay. What more could I ask for in a small little town like Pictou County?”
Many now will be left to wonder if it’s too much to ask for it twice.
Star Wars The Force Awakens is coming on December 18, and hype is at an all-time high. You probably know about the new Star Wars movies, but you might not know all of it.
Starting off with the biggest things, Mark Hamil, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels and Harrison Ford will all reprise their roles. In the new cast, we’ll see the villains be the “Knights of Ren”. Their leader Kylo Ren will be played by Adam Driver (Girls) and he has a lightsaber with a cross guard. Other villains include leader of the “First Order”, General Hux played by Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina) and Captain Phasma played by Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones).
On the new heroes side, we even know who our next Jedi will be. Finn played by John Boyega (Attack of the Block) will be wielding a blue lightsaber and possibly fighting Kylo Ren. Rey, played by Daisy Ridley (Mr. Selfridge) is also a good guy, not much is known about her character though. Also, a pilot in the resistance, Poe Dameron played by Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina).
The movie is set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, and will be the first in a new trilogy. Not much is known about the plot, but we do know the movie will be directed by J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Lost). It will feature new planets, and is rumoured to be returning to Hoth, a popular planet from The Empire Strikes Back.
What we do know about the plot: Luke is off on some unknown planet in hiding. The First Order and Resistance are the new Empire and Rebel Alliance. The Knights of Ren are not Sith, but work with the First Order. Also, Poe will be hired by Leia to find Finn, for unknown reasons.
Star Wars The Force Awakens will begin a new trilogy of Star Wars movies made by Disney.
A Pictou County-raised singer and songwriter is making a bit of a splash online.
Dylan Holton, or more accurately, Hotlon’s song “Daisy A Day” has been featured in a viral wedding video that has cropped up on all parts of the Internet, including infotainment site BuzzFeed.
The video features Jenn Carter and Solomon Chau, a newly married couple from Toronto. The video began making the rounds last month when Chau lost his ongoing battle with liver cancer. The couple had rushed their wedding date following Chau’s diagnosis in December and married this past April. Chau passed on August 17 which, in bitter irony, had been the couple’s original wedding date.
Holton said he was asked by Jason Wilton of the Toronto-based Boundless Productions for permission to use his song earlier this year and the singer was moved by what was then the couple’s already touching story.
“This is the reason I do what I do,” Holton said. “Music is so powerful. It’s like that saying, ‘When words fail, music speaks.’ Jenn can hold onto this song forever and have it as a piece of Solomon that remains in her heart forever. Their lives coming together shows the world what true love really is.”
Holton wrote the song during his time with the cruise ship circuit and said the song is about the brief conversations and connections he shared with the travellers he met. The meaning of the song, for him, has changed now.
“I always felt there was a stronger connection and meaning to the song and I could never pinpoint it,” Holton said. “’Daisy A Day’ has a whole new meaning after this story with Jenn and Solomon. They brought the meaning of this song to a whole new level not just for me but for millions.”
It’s Jenn and Solomon’s heartbreaking love story that have given this video legs, however, Holton said he is proud to be part of it if it helps bring some comfort to the couple’s family.
“The healing process in life is so important,” Holton said. “This song, like many others out there, are healing mechanisms for our lives. If one person was healed through a lyric I sang or an emotion I portrayed on stage, then I’ve done my job. The fact this song has reached millions is overwhelming. I just hope my music continues to help others. It’s why I do what I do.”
Those interested in viewing the video, if it hasn’t already appeared in your newsfeed or timeline, can find it on Vimeo.com, by searching for Jenn and Soloman Chau, or through Holton’s website dylanholton.com.
For Pictou County artist Casey Fulton, painting is a breaking down of the boundary between fine art and the world of fantasy.
Fulton draws inspiration from fantasy worlds such as the video games World of Warcraft or Legend of Zelda and the animation stylings of 1981′s Heavy Metal. His works are by times dark yet reckless, other times bright, strict and precise. Freer-formed painted sections can be shepherded by tight, controlled borders while elsewhere on the canvas line-drawing has been given a chance to play via a more liberating brushstroke.
“Sometimes I’ll just start with paint and go all over the canvas,” Fulton said. “But eventually I’m going to bring line drawing into it. I might outline the brushstrokes with pen before I go any further or I may go in and draw something with a pen that never would have taken shape with a brush. I don’t always start with a pen but typically that’s the best way to go.”
Even Fulton’s most seemingly abstract pieces are infused with a sense of narrative, which may or may not be readily apparent.
“I really like to leave it open to interpretation,” Fulton said. “Rather than have a specific narrative that you have to figure out I really like to put the tools forward and people can piece it together for themselves. How people choose to direct that narrative is much more loose than how it would go in a novel.”
Anthropomorphism – the giving of human or life-like traits to otherwise nonhuman or nonliving items – is a regular fixture in Fulton’s works and something he feels helps drive the narrative. One of his more recent pieces, a two-canvas work consisting of a skeleton overflowing from its own borders – and the canvas itself for that matter – exemplifies his quasi-living narrative stance.
“The line for me really blurs between fine art and fantasy,” Fulton said of the piece. “This really reminds me of the skeleton you’d see at the beginning of a dungeon. You go into a video game and you see a skeleton leaning against the wall and says ‘do not enter’ or ‘beware’; that’s what this is like.”
The piece, Fulton said, didn’t quite look complete leading him to add something of a companion piece to it. The result is similar to a later-day comic book cell.
In other works, Fulton allows background and subject matter to merge, with a nod to Austrian artist Gustav Klimt and still other times his works will be primarily spray paint under the control of well-defined paint-pens.
Fulton, who is also a classical pianist and a student of Bishops University in Quebec, said music is also an influencing force on his artworks.
“The biggest influence that comes between the two is not so much seeing what is already there but the potential for dialogue between the two,” Fulton said. “You see people mixing mediums all the time or slapping ideas together that are very different. It can be very tasteful or distasteful depending on how you execute it. But I think it’s more about finding meaningful links between the two.”
Becoming a member of the Trinitarians choir might be something to consider if you enjoy singing.
The Trinitarians, entering their 15th year as an amateur choir, are looking for new members.
“The choir is made up mostly of seniors,” explains Richard Skidmore, Trinitarians president. “The members are people from Pictou County who like to sing. They range in age from thirties to people in their eighties. We even have people who travel from Antigonish to join us.”
The choir meets September to June at Trinity United Church in New Glasgow on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
“We are not affiliated with the Trinity United Church,” explains Skidmore. “The church allows us to use the space for practice and it’s not always easy to find a place that holds up to 70 people.”
Members are asked to commit to either a half year or a full year when joining the choir.
“Some members go from September to Christmas and spend their winters in the south and some members join after Christmas or for the full year. Weekly attendance is expected.”
Skidmore says they understand that people have appointments and vacations but weekly attendance is requested.
Aside from weekly practice, there are sometimes outside activities throughout the year such as funerals for former choir members, and social activities.
“We used to perform in seniors’ homes and go on trips, but it’s difficult when you have so many members.”
There is a fee to be a member of the choir. The cost is $75 for half a year, $125 for the full year and members must wear a uniform of a long sleeve white blouse or dress shirt, black pants or skirt and a red tartan vest.
“That money goes toward weekly lessons at practice from our teaching conductor, Monica George-Punke; the accompanist, Sandy Johnson; the music used including the audio files for members to use at home and the hall rentals,” explains Skidmore. “Monica teaches us how to read music and follow a score.”
Knowing how to read music is not a requirement for joining the choir, adds Skidmore. “You have to be able to sing. We give you a test, to sing Happy Birthday or Jingle Bells and if you can sing in tune and on pitch, you’re in. You need to have good enough eyesight to read the words also.”
The choir performs two shows a year, one at Christmas time and one at the end of the choir year in June.
“Our Christmas concert is typically in Stellarton at the Sharon St. John United Church because they have good space to fit the choir and the audience,” he says. “Our June concert is typically at Trinity United Church in New Glasgow.”
The choir also provides a health benefit for members.
“We are an amateur choir so we don’t have a professional goal, but we want to improve and get better with singing. It provides a social time as well as a learning time too.”
Skidmore notes that singing can benefit seniors by helping to improve brain functionality and quality of life by increasing self-confidence and improving interaction with other people in a social setting. It is also good for reducing anxiety and incidences of depression.
“For some members, it’s the only time they see other people.”
And the singing isn’t bad either.
“We’re not a bunch of hobbled old people and screetchy voices,” says Skidmore. “We sing four parts and we often do sectionals. In the choir there are many members with music training. Sometimes we use some talented members to do a sectional. We are very good to encourage members.”
Skidmore says new members are welcome at any point during the year. The first practice will be on September 3 at Trinity United Church at 10 a.m. For more information phone Skidmore at 902-752-5632 or Monica George-Punke at 902-752-1297.