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School brawl sends student to hospital

ALMA – One student was taken to hospital and three students were taken away by police on Tuesday after a fight at Northumberland Regional High School.
Chignecto-Central Regional Regional School spokesperson Debbie Buott-Matheson said the fight occurred before the bell rang for classes to begin for the day.
“It did involve a number of students and staff contacted police and EMS,” she said. “One student was taken to hospital and three students were taken away by police.”
There were no details at the time regarding further action by police.
Pictou County RCMP Sgt. Kevin Dunlevy confirmed that three students were arrested and that the investigation is ongoing.

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NSCAD New Glasgow artists in residence Desnoyers and Hajna to present opening exhibit on October 30

NEW GLASGOW, NS, October 29, 2014….NSCAD-New Glasgow Artists in Residence Jason Desnoyers and Karolina-Anna Hajna will present their Opening Exhibit tomorrow, October 30 beginning at 7:00 pm in the Community Residency Studio behind the New Glasgow Library. The artists will present a selection of their recent works as well as deliver a brief talk which will explain their art and introduce them to the community. A special ribbon cutting and presentation regarding a joint sponsorship of a kiln for the studio will also be included in the event.

“We are delighted to welcome Jason and Karolina to New Glasgow and we look forward to their contributions to our region as well as towards seeing the development of their works,” says New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan. “The NSCAD-New Glasgow Community Residency continues to enrich our community and each year its impact grows. It is exciting to have these professional young artists and NSCAD graduates in our town and we have been fortunate to have such a breadth and scope of disciplines represented over the past several years. The program has created a legacy that is making its mark in a meaningful and lasting way. We invite citizens from across Pictou County as well as visitors to the area to come out for what promises to be an outstanding exhibit of professional art.”

Jason Desnoyers was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. Jason’s interest in ceramic art began while attending Concordia University and later earned his BFA in ceramics at NSCAD University in 2013. He is currently attending the Artist in Residence program at Medalta Potteries, in Medicine Hat, Alberta. In relation to ceramics, Jason focuses on a technical background, which he believes is needed to produce a coherent body of work. A concentration in certain ceramic creative techniques (including throwing, slab building and mold making) are currently the main focus in his work. There is a belief that by concentrating on all these processes, Jason will create a more developed sense of creative potential. Jason follows certain principles while creating his art. While the forms he creates must be functional, more so than sculptural, Jason’s passion is to find a new contemporary model that pushes new boundaries in form and style.

Karolina-Anna Hajna is a ceramic artist originally from Vancouver, British Columbia. She moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia four years ago to major in Ceramics at NSCAD. After completing her BFA this past year she traveled to Denmark to take part in Project Network, a residency at Guldagergaard, The International Ceramic Research Center. There she got to live and work with other emerging artists from all over the world, and create a body of work inspired by Danish city maps. Much of her work is inspired by history, light, tiny objects, and geometric shapes. Her past works ranges from jewelry to lanterns to large installations. While in New Glasgow, she hopes to learn more about its history and the community that has grown around it.

Geralyn MacDonald, New Glasgow’s Director of Community Economic Development adds, “We are looking forward to welcoming guests to the studio and having them meet Jason and Karolina. This is an opportunity for our community to welcome our artists in residence, to show their support for the residency program and also to enjoy a high calibre art show.”

“The enthusiasm for this incredible program between the Town of New Glasgow and NSCAD University is at an all-time high,” says Sharon Blanchard, Director of NSCAD Extended Studies. “We are thrilled to be moving into our fifth year and I believe our Resident Artists are bar none. Their commitment to their professional practice and community engagement is already being experienced. I can’t wait to see what will transpire in the months to come. We are very proud of this partnership and to bring NSCAD to communities outside of Metro.”

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Books of remembrance for fallen soldiers

The Town of New Glasgow is inviting members of the community to send a message of sympathy to the families of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and WO Patrice Vincent by writing in two leather bound books of remembrance which will be sent to the families of the fallen soldiers. The books will be available for signing and/or messages by any resident of Pictou County or anyone visiting the area who wishes to sign the books, at the front desk of the New Glasgow Town Hall at 111 Provost Street, New Glasgow, from 8:30am until 4:30 pm daily until Thursday, November 6, starting tomorrow, Thursday morning, October 30.

New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan says, “We wanted to do something tangible to show ongoing support and comfort to the families of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and WO Patrice Vincent. Canadians from all communities across the nation are sharing in this great sorrow and we wanted our community to show that we continue to think of the families during this time of unspeakable loss. It is also a small way that we can show our solidarity and commitment towards maintaining our strong Canadian values of dignity, freedom, peace, social justice and respect. Anyone from Pictou County or tourists visiting are welcome to add a message of condolence. The commitment and dedication of our military to serve and protect Canada and its people must be honoured and always remembered.”

“Last week we experienced a direct attack on Canadian democracy, freedom and security,” adds the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and MP for Central Nova. “Canadians join together in honour of WO Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo who gave their lives after two senseless attacks on Canadian soil. Let us link arms with their family and friends. We stand together to condemn the acts of violence that occurred. These tragic events strengthen our commitment to peace, freedom and the rule of law – both at home and abroad. We give thanks to all who have served and are serving.”

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Nighthawks’ boys advance; senior girls host Div. II finals

ALMA – The Northumberland Nighthawks have advanced to this week’s Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation’s Division II provincial senior high school boys soccer championship.
The Nighthawks got two goals from Reilly Fortune and one each from Keigan Rauh, Cole MacIsaac and Jacob Read as they defeated Yarmouth 5-0 on Saturday in a qualifying match at the NRHS field in Alma.
While the boys have advanced, it has yet to be determined who their opponents will be in preliminary games this week.
Meanwhile, the NRHS girls are preparing to host this week’s Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation’s Division II provincial female soccer championship by defeating the North Nova Gryphons 2-1 last Thursday in an exhibition match.
The game allowed both teams to get a run and to rehearse some set plays in anticipation of upcoming playoff games.
NRHS used three goalkeepers in the game as Hannah Mertin, Lexie Trevors and Sarah-Wynn-Baudoux combined for seven saves.
Emily Mertin scored in the first half on a low drive to the far post to open the scoring. She was set up on a great ball switched from the right side by Olivia Fraser, while Olivia MacDonald also picked up an assist on the play.
Midway through the second half Mertin struck again on the half volley this time as Haley Smith served in a great cross after a ball played up from the back by sweeper Lauren Hale.
Once again, the Nighthawk defenders played a strong game until NNEC halved the lead with 13 minutes to go in the game.
Kelsey Robson, Leisha Dennis, Gaby Beland, and Alex Kampa-Plouffe held tight to deny any further damage. Amy Elliott and Danielle McDonald had some great runs up front.
The teams also practiced a shootout at the conclusion to again prepare for playoffs. NRHS converted eight of their 10 penalty kicks while NNEC found the back of the net five times.
The Nighthawks will host the championship on Friday and Saturday in Alma.
The other three competing schools are Central Kings Gators who have won three of the past four banners and will be the clear team to beat, defeating Amherst 5-0 in qualifiers and having won the Western Regional.
Capital Region champs, Millwood Knights from Sackville, won two years ago and will be another tough opponent. They defeated the Yarmouth Vikings to win their qualifier.
Northeast Kings Titans from Canning defeated the Hants East Tigers 1-0 in and Glace Bay Panthers 3-1 in their qualifying round.
They won the sixth annual Dexter Vint 3-D Memorial Soccer tournament hosted by NRHS in September.

Schedule:
Friday
Northumberland Regional vs Central Kings at noon
Opening Ceremonies
NKEC vs Millwood at 2:30 p.m.

Saturday
Bronze Medal Game 10 a.m.
Championship Game at noon

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Crushers post two wins to widen division lead

The Pictou County Weeks Crushers have widened their division lead in the MHL.
The Crushers head into this week’s games at home on Thursday against the Valley Wildcats and away on Saturday against the Yarmouth Mariners with a five-point lead in the Eastlink Division.
They established the lead after defeating the Amherst Ramblers 6-3 last Thursday at the Pictou County Wellness Centre and pulling out a 5-4 shootout victory last Saturday over the host Truro Bearcats.
Ryan Caswell scored twice for the Crushers, who outshot Truro 43-27 and had the only two shots in overtime.
Evan Morrison and Mike Lyle also scored for the Crushers.
Truro took the lead three times in the game, but it was the Bearcats who needed to tie the game to force overtime.
On Thursday, the Ramblers took a 3-1 lead with two goals in the second period, but the Crushers scored five unanswered goals in the third period to take control of the game.
Caswell’s goal in the first period was followed in the third period with goals by Evan Morrison, Cole Murphy, Matt Cox, Willie MacDonald and Luc Poirier.
The Crushers previously won two of their three games against Meek Division teams. They defeated the Dieppe Commandoes 5-4 on Oct. 16 at the Wellness Centre before the host Woodstock Slammers dismantled them by a 9-1 scored on Oct. 17. The Crushers recovered the next day with a 4-3 victory against the host St. Stephen County Aces.
Lyle scored the winning goal for the Crushers against Dieppe. Garrett Lambke and Ethan Marsh each added one goal and one assists, while Cole Murphy and Josh Renaud also scored. The teams were tied 4-4 entering the third period.
In Woodstock, the Crushers trailed 2-1 after the first period when Murphy scored late in the period.
The Slammers scored three times in the second period to take command of the game and outshot the Crushers 44-29.
In St. Stephen, the Crushers outshot the Aces 31-19 but needed Daniel Walsh’s goal midway through the third period to win it. Justin MacDonald, Murphy and Lambke also scored for the Crushers.

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Help Line in crisis mode over funding, volunteers

NEW GLASGOW – Help Line of Pictou County is in need of funding and is especially concerned over its dwindling list of volunteers.
“We are reaching a crisis here as far as volunteers,” executive director Arlis MacCallum said. “We’re constantly recruiting volunteers.”
Help Line is a referral service that directs callers to resources that include food, clothing and shelter. It also refers those in need to fuel service, such as the Pictou County Fuel Fund. It is also there for those who need a listening ear, MacCallum said.
“We’ve been in Pictou County for 32 years, providing a unique and valuable service,” she said. “We’re coming into our busy season because of services providers, such as the Fuel Fund, and with Christmas approaching there is an ongoing increase in calls for food.”
Help Line gets funding from several local sources that include the United Way of Pictou County.
Its annual Breakfast with Santa takes place from 9 a.m. to noon on December 6 at Summer Street Industries.
“Our financial challenges are also ongoing,” MacCallum said. “We don’t get any government funding. I wouldn’t want to think what would happen if we had to hang up our phones. It would be devastating to the county.”
Training is provided and phone line operators are generally asked to volunteer for two four-hour shifts a month, and MacCallum has tried to allay misconceptions about the amount of experience they need with the tools in place for crisis calls.
Training is provided
“Not every call is a crisis call,” she said.
Help Line answered more than 5,500 calls last year during the hours it currently maintains which are 2 to 10 p.m. daily.
Those interested can call Help Line at 902-755-5790 to become a line volunteer.

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Martin leads snooker, 9-ball regional stats

NEW GLASGOW – Billy Martin continues to lead the latest snooker rankings after the first of four round-robin tours for the Northern Nova Scotia Region.
The first tour will end on Friday and the second one will begin on Saturday at the Century Snooker Club in New Glasgow.
The present top-four rankings show Martin in first place ahead of Jeff Gillen, Don Latter and Peter Borden.
“Our region has only 17 actively competing players so we have room for a lot more in the next three tours,” Martin said.
The second Cue Sports Nova Scotia, Northern Region, Open 9-ball, double knockout satellite tour will also be on Saturday at Century Snooker Club.
Martin leads those rankings ahead of John Baker, Nick Kaiser, Gillen, Chris Simmons, Greg Quinn, Chris Kemp, Kris Dunbar, Shawn Fequet, William Holmes, Archie Best, Borden and Jody Turner.
Members from other regions of the province, such as Halifax, Cape Breton and Yarmouth, are also permitted to play in the tour on Saturday and some have indicated they are coming to play.
Pool fans are welcome to come and watch this incredibly good competition and can play if they wish to join in on the action.

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Big things celebrated by small businesses

NEW GLASGOW – Across Canada it is Small business month, but from October 19 to the 25, entrepreneurs’ also celebrated Small Business Week.
Small businesses gathered at The Dock to celebrate these occasions on October 22, and network with other local business owners at the same time.
“Refresh and rejuvenate is a great theme,” said Suzanne McKean Makin, of McKean’s Flowers. She and her husband, Tom Makin, were some of the presenters that were featured during the get-together that was put together by the Town of New Glasgow and the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce.
The night began on a somber note when New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan addressed the day’s tragedies in Ottawa and had the room observe a moment of silence. MacMillan then continued on to address the crowd about business in Pictou County.
“Doing business today is not easy and we all recognize that, but Pictou County is known far and wide for our strong history of entrepreneurship and business innovation. Please keep up the great work!” he said.
The evening also featured other small business owners Melissa Neumann of In Mint Consignment Boutique in New Glasgow, and Rob Roy of Webbuilders Group in New Glasgow, give presentations. They outlined each business and shared things they do to expand their business, and how others can take advantage of these things.
“The business community needs to celebrate our successes which, in turn, will help inspire our entrepreneurs’ to do better, or to inspire others to become entrepreneurs’,” said Jim Fitt, CEO of Velsoft, and president of the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce.
The event was not only a mixer, but a video premier as well when Yvette Turnbull of Pictou County and owner of Ocean Fire Production Services showed her new short film about business in Pictou County.
The video featured three of the region’s entrepreneurs who have succeeded in export and/or innovative product delivery: Jim Fitt, president, Velsoft: Scott MacEachern, president, Stark International; and Christina Fletcher, co-owner of the restaurant Get Stuffed Healthy.
“What I would like for people to walk away from tonight with, is a recognition that our community is very supportive of entrepreneurs’ and that, in particular, I would like to heed the theme of this year, which is to re-energize you business, you’ve got to sometimes till your business to re-energize it,” said Fitt.

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Selects in Subway Cup’s four finals

It was a banner weekend for female hockey at the Subway Cup.
The Pictou County Selects send all four of its teams to division finals and won one of them in the Atom Division during the action that began on Friday and ended on Sunday at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
“It was awesome,” Josie Dunn of the Atom Selection said.
“It was very exciting,” teammate Erin MacNeil added.
“We played well,” Ava Gennoe said. “This is the second year. We won last year too.”
Tournament chairman Dave MacNeil said he appreciated those who helped him with the 23-team tournament’s organization and the positive responses he received from visiting teams.
“We’re getting lots of great comments regarding our volunteers and officials – and the kids are having fun,” MacNeil said. “We had a great crew to organize the weekend program. It made it easy for everyone.”
MacNeil said the size of Pictou County Female Hockey – with its 150 players and two teams in each of the atom, peewee, bantam and midget divisions – is well reflected by the success local teams have achieved.
“All four of our teams in the tournament were in the finals,” he said. “It reflects well on the program.”
The Atom Selects won the five games they played, including a 5-0 victory over the Annapolis Valley team in the division final on Sunday.
Their other wins were by scores of 5-1 over Antigonish and 5-0 over Cape Breton West on Friday and by scores of 6-1 over Valley and 5-0 over Chebucto TASA on Saturday.
Dartmouth defeated the Peewee Selects 3-2 on Sunday to take their division. The Selects defeated Dartmouth 4-1 and Valley 3-2 on Friday and outscored TASA 3- on Saturday in their other game.
Eight teams contested the Bantam Division, which the Valley team captured with a 2- decision over the host Selects.
The Selects shut out Cole Harbour 4-0 and Miramichi, N.B. 1-0 and edged Glace Bay 2-1. Their only loss was a 1-0 result against Kings County.
There were six teams in the Midget Division, where Boston Pizza nipped the Selects 2-1 on Sunday in the championship game.
East Hants posted a 1-0 victory over the Selects, who won their other three games.
They posted three shutouts, defeating Moncton 4-0, Fundy 5-0 and East Hants 1-0 in their semifinal showdown earlier on Sunday.
Each team was guaranteed three games over the weekend schedule.

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Perfect wife for someone like me

Jane wasn’t a sports fan, certainly not in the true sense. She didn’t have a favourite hockey team, or a baseball or football team to call her own. She never considered entering a fantasy sports league when they became popular on the Internet and in our household.
Yet for 47 years, she was surrounded by sports talk at the dinner table, sports channels blaring on the television every morning and every evening, sports magazines arriving in the mailbox every other day. She was a sports widow most evenings and on weekends, whenever games and other sports activities were being held anywhere within reach of our Dartmouth home.
She was the perfect wife for someone like me.
When I went to British Columbia for two weeks to cover the Canada Summer Games back in 1973, she was home alone, caring for a four-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter, all the while nursing full time at the Dartmouth General Hospital.
When I spent three weeks in Montreal at the 1976 Summer Olympics, she was back in Colby Village with a seven-year-old, a four-year-old and a four-month old baby. And oh yes, as always, caring for sick and injured patients at the Dartmouth General.
When I went off to Grey Cup games in places like Hamilton, Toronto and Montreal, or to the World Series south of the border, Stanley Cup games in several cities, NHL meetings and Montreal Expos games in Montreal year after year, you know who was home with the children and working at the hospital.
When my routine was going to the office five days a week, coming home for a quick supper, then taking off for hockey games, basketball games and whatever other events were taking place, one parent remained at home to look after the young ones.
No, she didn’t always stay home alone when she wasn’t working. She liked to attend harness racing events at Sackville Downs, go to a Saturday afternoon football game in Wolfville or Antigonish and, above all else, attend university basketball, especially the CIAU championships when they were at the Metro Centre.
Heck, she even went to some hockey games, particularly Nova Scotia Voyageurs games in the 1970s, thanks to Montreal Canadiens officials Sam Pollock and Floyd Curry who made sure she was well looked after. She may not have appreciated the finer things happening on the ice, but she liked being there with me.
I remember one night when the Voyageurs played to a scoreless overtime tie with an American Hockey League opponent. It may have been a 0-0 game on the scoreboard, but there was plenty of exciting action that night. On the drive home, however, Jane remarked that it wasn’t much of a game, since there were no goals scored.
Another Voyageurs game I remember she attended was a contest in which a bench-clearing brawl erupted, the benches emptying and every player, including goaltenders, getting into the fistic confrontation. Hockey fans know that kind of scenario: everyone in the stands jumps to their feet, others are rushing back from the canteens to see the punch-out. And Jane? She found it the ideal chance to go out to the washroom. She came back and excitedly said she had the facilities all to herself.
Like the great mother she was, though, she attended our children’s hockey, ringette, softball, baseball and golf events – if she wasn’t on duty at the hospital. She loved seeing Gavin, Charlotte and Graham having a good time.
As I said, she was the perfect better half for a sports-writing husband.
As the years went by, her limited interest in sports switched to the next generation – our grandchildren. She started following Claire and Anna to the rinks, to the soccer fields and swimming pools, loving to see everything they did. Yes, a perfect grandmother, too.
Sadly, life itself isn’t always perfect. In fact, at times it’s downright unfair.
A year ago this week, Jane and I were in Toronto attending our son Gavin’s wedding. Jane didn’t feel well, but kept that to herself, not wanting to spoil the occasion for the rest of us. Two days after we returned to Dartmouth, she became a patient in the hospital where she had cared for so many others for so long. For the next 12 months, she was in and out of hospital.
Last week she got her final wish – that our two shih tzu dogs, George (Burns) and Gracie (Allen) be on the bed with her when she passed away. She got a welcomed bonus: they stayed there, at her side, for her last three hours.
I remember so many nights, while I watched hockey or baseball on the TV in the living room, she would be in the next room, sewing and quilting, making something for someone else. While I was being frustrated by another Maple Leafs loss or a Blue Jays defeat, she was so happy enjoying her own pastime. Every once in a while, she’d call out to see if my guys were winning or losing, if I was pleased with the game. Yes, again, thinking of someone other than herself.
She may not have been a sports fan per se, but she could certainly name the key players on many sports teams, or tell you the scores from the previous night.
She never lost what was a wonderful sense of humour, a characteristic she maintained on good days and bad days.
In her last weeks, when more and more medications arrived at home to keep her comfortable, and I stumbled over the pronouncement of another drug, her quip became familiar: “If that was the name of a hockey player, you’d be able to pronounce it.”
It’s often said that behind every successful man there’s a strong woman. For this old sports writer, for sure, that was the case.

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Taxpayers’ pockets only so deep

To the Editor:
We have all heard the words or statement that Ships Start Here. Over the last several days, we have also heard that the federal government is going to cut back on the contract to five from eight. So with everything that is happening in this great country of ours, I am not sure just what to think any more.
And then we have the ferry service from Yarmouth to Portland that is deep in debt. In the startup of the service, they were given $21 million for five years I believe and it was gone in the first few days of operating. Now they are looking for another $5 million plus more money for winter storage. And now the McNeil Government is asking for a business plan. In my way of thinking (that) should have been there in the first place. For the NDP Government shut the other ferry service down for it was costing to much too operate.
Did the McNeil Government not understand that? Mr. McNeil did make the statement that he was elected to office to run the province and he would do it his way. I am not sure just how deep he thinks the taxpayer pockets are for I put my hand in my pocket the other day to get money to pay a bill and guess what? I found a hole. So I guess that’s where my tax dollars are going to pay for the Yarmouth ferry along with other government spending. And that folks also applies to your tax dollars.
Loyd Murray
New Glasgow

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Musicians to host novel concert to assist palliative care service

NEW GLASGOW – Give Back – a musical benefit for palliative care in Pictou County – will take place Sunday, Nov. 2 at the Celtic Circle.
Musicians Shaun McLean and Ross McVicar will be joined by Murika Izzard, a yoga practitioner and licensed yoga instructor. Soprano Breanna Conrad will also perform at the event.
“Murika has great flexibility, so I feel if we can blend that style and movement with music it will be very interesting.”
McLean said much of the music will come from the CD he and McVicar did called Songs for a New Revolution.
“Basically, the program is a fusion of gospel, jazz and some country music,” McLean said.
Both McLean and McVicar have seen the benefits of palliative care and felt they would like to do something to help the local society.
“Ross and I decided we should do something,” McLean said. “There are a lot of needy organizations but for me, palliative care is one group I know myself what it meant to me. It’s a way to give back.”
McVicar recalled his father’s last days in Cape Breton, where he comes from, and how palliative care would have been a comfort for him.
“If this palliative care facility had existed in 1986 in Glace Bay, my father would have had a much gentler death,” he said.
Dr. Gerald Farrell, medical director of palliative care at the Aberdeen Hospital, said he welcomes the show.
“I think it’s amazing when people come forth and fundraise for palliative care,” he said. “It tells us our service is valued and this will help the program become stronger and add services. The funds will enhance services in the community.”
Tickets are $20 each and are available at the door or can be purchased at Big Al’s convenience store or the White Lotus in New Glasgow or from palliative care board members and volunteers, including Eric Arbuckle at 902 755-2339.
‘Shaun and Ross Give Back’, A Musical Benefit for Palliative Care’, with other guest performers begins at 4 p.m.

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Residents, government must say no to blasting at Pioneer Coal site

To the Editor:
For years, the residents of Evansville have dealt with particulate matter on their property, with no help from the local government and the minister of Environment. If you feel we are being protected from all that harms us, think again. These smaller particles of dirt and coal dust can get deep into our lungs and can cause or aggravate health problems. There are no ways to expel them through coughing, as they are laying there for life, and I hope they do not cause issues in the future to anyone. If this happens, who is to be held accountable? Pioneer Coal who is running the strip mine or the provincial government who allows it to continue?
Human health effects will only become more apparent as coal mining companies operate. As coal is moved from the pit to the surface, the mining gets dirtier and more disruptive, and the exposure opportunities increase for the residents. Strip mining as well as open pit mining is a very dirty operation and the health of residents living around the perimeter should be a priority that our government should address as a health emergency, especially those who live in Evansville, as this area is the closest to the operation.
People who live near a mining operation are especially at risk, due to the exposure of blowing dust from uncovered piles of rock and dirt, and piles of crushed or pulverized coal. Unless precautions are taken, wind can whip coal dust from shipping facilities, and trucks that carry it to the power plant, which in turn causes a health risk to those who live around that area.
The results of this dust are felt from the mining facility in Stellarton all the way to Nova Scotia Power.
While reading the Air Quality Health Index, which everyone who has access to a computer should take the time to do, there are different ranges that it falls into. The scale goes from 1 to 10+, which I am sure you have all heard about this on occasions on our weather channel in big cities, telling people with breathing issues to stay indoors, when the index is 7 to 10+. Air quality index is a tool to protect your health. It is a scale that measures the outdoor air in relation to health risks. It takes into account ground level ozone,’ particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide.
These pollutants may come from local sources or may blow in the wind. Research has shown these three pollutants can harm human health. The air quality index does not measure the effects of pollens, dust, odour or humidity on health. This index measures smaller particles that are more hazardous to health.
Much of the particulate matter cannot be seen by the human eye until there is evidence of it over surfaces on your property. I am sure those who live on the perimeter of Pioneer Coal or the power plant have seen this on too many occasions to count. By the time you have seen it, you have most certainly breathed amounts into your lungs. Young children are included in the most sensitive groups on a per-body-weight basis, they tend to inhale relatively more air than adults. Their elevated metabolic rate and young defence systems make them more susceptible to air pollution. Residents who are otherwise healthy will have the following symptoms: irritated eyes, increase mucus production in the nose and throat, coughing, difficulty breathing especially during exercise. If you take notice of these heath issues, ask yourself do you suffer from these, or do you know anyone who is suffering as well.
As production continues at the Stellarton strip mine, it is evident that health and air quality are a primary issue. We depend on our elected officials in our town to help protect their residents, as well as our Department of Health and the Environment Department. This is the reason they have their jobs, to serve and protect their residents against harm.
They have to say no blasting at the Pioneer site; protect your citizens at all costs. We need our representatives to ensure that we have healthy air to breath and a healthy life for us, but moreso for our children.
Patty (MacKay) Lloyd
Evansville

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Shootings test Canada’s values

Something changed in Canada last week.
Two deaths of military personnel on Oct. 20 near Montreal and on Oct. 22 in Ottawa are being examined to gauge how Canadians’ safety has been compromised. They appear to be separate acts, but the attack last Wednesday on the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill has drawn greater attention from Canadians and those responsible for keeping us safe.
People in Pictou County felt the ripples. Virtually the whole country did. People, who might have been in Ottawa when a lone gunman fatally shot a reservist and ended up dead in Parliament’s Hall of Honour, were not there.
Military bases here and elsewhere raised their alerts levels or took extra precautions.
Vigils took place at cenotaphs in New Glasgow and across Canada.
These shootings have forced Canadians to ask hard questions. They should.
When a man is willing to die trying to assail the heart of our democracy, it ought to give us pause.
We can start by describing for ourselves what really happened and how it truly affects what Canada stands for.
We can reduce this process to what is beyond debate. What happened near Montreal and in Ottawa are crimes first, no matter what else they might be. Criminal acts require criminal investigations. The personnel are there to do that.
We have come to know in a special way some of the heroes. We will never know all of them. Some of them were there then. Some of them have not even begun to engage in this matter, but will help us find our way through this crisis.
A long-missing decorum that replaced dysfunction in Parliament last week was welcome, but it came at great cost.
And that’s the dilemma. Is it more difficult to define ourselves – and by extension define Canada – when the going is easy or when the going is tough?
Some people say we should have let these two dead shooters go to other countries if they wanted to, but a country worth its salt does not export its problems. It deals with them. And it knows what it means to be safe – and free.
Others will recall a time when many of our soldiers donned the blue berets as they joined United Nations Peacekeeping forces. Canada was once a broker. Now it appears it’s a target.
There are more marginalized, disenfranchised Canadians where these two assailants came from. The fact that they’re getting hope from terrorists elsewhere and not from their fellow Canadians and our institutions is troubling.
It comes down to this: Canada needs to know and show what its values are – even to those who don’t have any.

Steve Goodwin

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Minglewood ready to rock

Canadian music icon Matt Minglewood will be the featured performer at the seventh annual Reason for Hope Fundraiser on Saturday, November 1.
Minglewood, who this year is celebrating 50 years of entertaining audiences, is certainly no stranger to Pictou County. From his early days with The Rockin Saints and Moon Minglewood and the Universal Power Matt up to today, he has released a dozen albums and has been honoured by both the ECMA and Mapleblues Society’s with “Lifetime Achievement Awards”. He also has three Gold Albums, an honorary doctorate from the University College of Cape Breton, two ECMAs and an Entertainer of the Year Award from the Maple Blues Society to his credit.
The seventh annual Reason for Hope Fundraising Concert will be held at Glasgow Square Theatre. This year’s fundraiser, running 3:30-8 p.m., will be held in cabaret format.
Since its inception in 2007, the Reason for Hope Society has raised $40,000 for cancer related initiatives. Past benefiting groups and organizations include: The Canadian Cancer Society’s Lodge That Gives, Aberdeen Hospital Oncology Department, Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Funds raised at this year’s event will be targeted towards metastatic breast cancer research at the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute in Moncton, NB.
Also appearing along with Minglewood will be Pictou County’s own Doris Mason who recently released her long awaited CD “Lovesongs & Lullabies.” Minglewood and Mason have shared the stage on numerous occasions as members of the much loved Cape Breton Summertime Review.
Completing the lineup will be Toronto-based New Glasgow native Mary Stewart. She is the daughter of Reason for Hope founder, the late Emma Lee Stewart. She is in the process of releasing her third CD scheduled for release in 2015.
The event will also feature a silent auction and door prizes. Tickets are $25 in advance and are available at Glasgow Square and H&R Music, New Glasgow. Doors open at 3 p.m.

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deCoste welcoming Spinney Brothers

If you’re a bluegrass fan whose inner Bill Monroe has been going hungry, then prepare to feast on some top-notch mountain music from the Spinney Brothers.
Twenty years into their professional careers, the band is touring and promoting their latest album, Tried & True, and will be at the deCoste Centre in Pictou on Saturday, November 1.
Ever on the quest for new songs and soon to be classics Rick Spinney, the group’s banjoist, spoke to the Advocate while in Nashville to discuss the Spinney Brother’s roots and growth.
“We were raised on country music,” Spinney said of he and his guitar playing brother Allan. “Classic country music. I think the comparison to the two (bluegrass and country) in the early years was certainly closer than it is now. Our mom was very much a big country music fan and when we made a journey to the West Coast to B.C. in 1984 or 85 – that’s where we were first introduced to bluegrass music as we know it. We worked out there in the cider mills and our dad had some old bluegrass tapes in the pickup truck and that was really our first introduction to traditional bluegrass music.”
Already fans of ’60s country artists like George Jones, Marty Robbins, and Merle Haggard the brothers added early bluegrassers like Flatt and Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers, “and of course Bill Monroe – the father of bluegrass music,” to the mix.
Spinney said they were still able to build a solid foundation and were avid listeners of a radio program that catered to and served up a lot of bluegrass.
“Bluegrass is kind of a unique entity in the form,” Spinney said. “Each instrument kind of takes its own solo throughout the course of the song. There’s a lot of things going on with instruments with a lot of lead picking that highlight each individual. That’s kind of unique in the music itself. There’s not a lot of other forms of music that actually allow that to happen throughout the songs.”
Broadening the bluegrass sound can be a delicate thing, Spinney said. Traditionalists may only be willing to accept a certain few instruments and while the man himself, Bill Monroe, experimented in the day with snare drums and electric guitars, the experiment was a short lived one.
“It’s a very hardcore traditional audience and they don’t want the music to waver too far from it’s original introduction,” Spinney said. “I think the ideal form in a bluegrass band would be guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and bass.”
Although the fiddle does often appear on Spinney Brothers albums, and they hold a great deal of respect for the instrument, the band tours as a four piece, with foundations being laid by and leads being traded by banjo, guitar, mandolin and bass.
Seeking new material can also be a challenge, Spinney said, but a necessary one for the music to continue growing. He and his brother write material themselves and each have a self-penned track on Tried & True, but they also reach out to songwriters whose work they respect.
“All music genres need new music to grow,” Spinney said. “Bluegrass especially because it is so steeped in tradition a lot of people will know the standard tunes. It’s really good to bring new music to the market. Our material for the last four or five years, we’ve really tried to emphasize on original material, or new material that hasn’t been recorded yet. That’s so important for the growth of the music.”
Selecting new material, Spinney said, is a checklist of flavour, suitable tempos, playability, and audience please-ability but to narrow things down and short list the songs they have to add to the overall flow and experience of the album.
The challenge is a fruitful one for the group as while many things may have changed around it there seems to be a consistent and even growing market for the smokey, southern sounds.

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It’s pumpkin time

Googly eyes, feathers and antenna ears may be a strange sight any other time of the year, but when it comes to pumpkin decorating, these items are all the rage.
Children of all ages got together at the Stellarton Fire Hall recently for pumpkin decoration and a costume swap, organized by the Pictou County United Way.
“We’ve always wanted to do more than just fundraising activities,” said organizer Ellen Fanning, resource development co-ordinator for the Pictou County United Way.
The event had about 35 children pre-register, with more than 40 attending over all to decorate pumpkins.
The decoration table was complete with plastic eyes, ears, noses and mouths to attach to pumpkins as well as paint, feathers, pipe cleaners and stickers.
“There’s some really creative children here,” said Fanning looking around at the tables of pumpkins. Although this is the first year the United Way has held the event, organizers are hoping that they can hold something similar next year as well.
The event also featured a costume swap to help parents accommodate growing children with costumes that fit while giving their old too small costumes to a good cause.
“It’s a reality that children grow quickly; it;s nice to be able to come and pick a costume,” said Fanning.

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Houston draws McNeil’s ire, presses Boat Harbour issue

WESTVILLE – Pictou East MLA Tim Houston says he will keep the pressure on the government to clean up Boat Harbour.
The Progressive Conservative MLA says Premier Stephen McNeil’s “intimidation tactics” will not keep him from standing up for his constituents.
Houston rose on a point of order on Thursday to ask McNeil to withdraw his remarks suggesting Pictou County constituents are asking too much of his government, including a remedy to the Boat Harbour facility in Pictou Landing that treats effluent from Northern Pulp at Abercrombie Point.
McNeil responded that his government is committed to cleaning up Boat Harbour. He said he understood why the Pictou Landing First Nation blocked a road after an effluent leak last spring because of promises not kept by previous Tory governments.
“Time after time, members from Pictou (County) stand up in this House asking us to cut this tax, cut that tax, fix that classroom, clean up Boat Harbour, fix the mill,” McNeil said. “They can’t have it both ways.”
McNeil’s comments came after Houston asked him to intervene to ensure people representing various viewpoints in Pictou County would be heard with respect to cleaning up Boat Harbour.
Houston said Environment Minister Randy Delorey rejected a name he suggested to add to the Boat Harbour clean-up committee.
“The people of Pictou County absolutely do have the right to expect lower taxes, decent classrooms for their children and for the government to ensure a balance between economic development and a safe environment. That is precisely why they voted PC,” said Houston.
“I regularly speak with my constituents. I follow up on their behalf in this house, which is my right, my privilege and my obligation. The premier is trying to silence the people who don’t agree with him. I will not be intimidated and will continue to be a voice for Pictou East in Halifax.”

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Sink or Swim competition getting promising response

PICTOU – People have responded well to a campaign to encourage new businesses to open in Pictou, Luke Young says.
The president of the Pictou Business and Marketing Society says he is impressed with the response to the society’s offer to groups to develop business opportunities around Pictou.
“We have a good number of applications,” he said. “The goal is to get one business started. As long as we get a business that meets the criteria, I think it will be exciting.”
The “Sink or Swim” competition is a partnership between among businesses around the community to launch a new business in town. Local businesses have agreed to pool their resources to make this project a reality. They are contributing in-kind products and services to a prize package worth $10,000.
The application deadline passes on Oct. 15.
Components of the package include hardware, graphic design and printing, rental space, spa services, computer and web services and legal services. These items would ordinarily represent large and challenging expenses for a business just starting out.
People interested in participating in this event were asked to provide a business plan summary of their idea. A panel of five judges – distinguished and experienced business leaders from the community – was given the task of evaluating the applications.
The winner is scheduled to be announced on Nov. 6 in the Murray Room at the deCoste Entertainment Centre.

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Trenton, Westville veto MOU

During a Trenton council meeting October 21, Mayor Glen MacKinnon read a public statement about the MOU.
“Trenton is and always was willing to be a partner on the study of regional governance which our advisors tell us, is a necessary prerequisite along with a plebiscite,” began the statement.
They also outlined that the decision was based on meetings with the town solicitor, council discussions, as well as the public consultation that was held, and answers given from the towns who founded the document in regards to questions that the town of Trenton had raised.
“Council has decided that this document is not in the best interest of the citizens of Trenton.”
On Monday evening, Westville Mayor Roger MacKay made a similar announcement.
“Council has decided that we will not be signing the MOU at this time,” said MacKay.
Out of the three towns presented with the MOU Stellarton was the only to accept.

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Cruise passengers sample several area attractions

PICTOU – Passengers once again disembarked and sampled attractions in Pictou, New Glasgow and Stellarton during the Pearl Sea’s second stop in Pictou.
Town officials welcomed the passengers at about 8:30 a.m. last Thursday as they left Pier C to board buses that took them to Glasgow Square. The ship docked earlier than expected, when visits to some ports on its itinerary were cancelled, and departed early Friday morning.
The visit was rescheduled twice from its original Oct. 25 date due to local weather conditions.
The passengers did not appear to mind the raw weather and were greeted by vendors from the New Glasgow Farmers Market, as well as Creative Pictou County and several local musicians.
New Glasgow Town Crier Jim Stewart, dressed in full town crier regalia, was joined by members of councils from New Glasgow, Pictou and the Municipality of the County of Pictou. Entertainment was provided by fiddler Amelia Parker and singer/songwriter John Spyder Macdonald, accompanied by John Meir.
Geralyn MacDonald and Kim Dickson, who organized the excursion to New Glasgow, praised the teamwork of town staff.
“The cruise director told me this is an excursion that the passengers would remember and one that provided a special and warm welcome,” said MacDonald, who co-chairs the Pictou County Cruise Committee with Michelle Young of Pictou. “The Pearl Seas representative was very appreciative of our community’s ability and willingness to still offer a special fall event even though they were not able to get to our port on market day.”
Dickson said several passengers not only expressed their delight with the event, but also their sympathy and concern with Wednesday’s attacks in Ottawa.
“The vendors, artists, performers, town crier and piper contributed more than presenting amazing products and talents,” Dickson said. “They were also ambassadors for our region. And that is priceless.”
Passengers also visited the Pictou waterfront, including the Hector Heritage Quay, and the Museum of Industry in Stellarton.
“We had an excellent guide at the museum,” said Cathy Herman, who accompanied her husband Keith Herman on the bus trip. They travelled from Colorado to board the Pearl Seas.
“It was fantastic,” Young said. “In general, the number one comment was friendly people over and over and over. The passengers had a good portion of time in Pictou. There were a lot of shopping bags going back onboard with them.”
One Ambassatours bus drove passengers around Pictou to see some of the older heritage buildings, including McCulloch House and Heritage Centre.

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County Council weighs options for 12 districts

PICTOU – Pictou County Municipal Council will process responses from members as it moves from 14 to 12 districts.
Council examined two options for the districts on Monday at a committee-of-the-whole meeting. It follows council’s earlier agreement to present a rural map with 12 districts to the province’s Utility and Review Board.
The review is required to factor in where the number of voters have risen in some districts and fallen in others.
The two maps feature one district, most of it already located in District 9, with a voter total of 1,157. Another has more than 1,400 voters depending on how the map is drawn.
Eight of the new districts are either identical or similar on both maps. The four districts with widely differing boundaries appear in areas farther inland and father south in the county.
Coun. Robert Parker opposes how the boundary between two new districts would be West River, severing the village of Durham.
“I don’t like Durham split in the middle,” he said.
Coun. David Parker questioned splitting Alma and Green Hill and suggested using the top of Green Hill as a boundary between residents who gravitate toward either Alma or Durham.
Despite the suggested changes, consensus favours what is called Option One, which has a smaller area around Thorburn and keeps the East River Valley communities together.
Council will need to approve a set of boundaries and tender an application to the UARB for 12 district and council members and its reasons and propose how it would alter the boundaries.
The process included five public meetings, plus mailings and hits on the county’s web site that produced few responses. But most of them supported reducing the number of districts.
The meeting also dealt with the municipal fiscal review mandated by the previous NDP government in 2009.
Council members agreed to study information gathered and attend a public meeting on the matter scheduled for Tuesday in Truro.
The process currently includes a steering committee and working group with sub-committees studying roads, revenue options, non-financial supports and external expenditure pressures.
Council has until Dec. 15 to reply to the review and agreed to meet before that to further discuss the matter.
Two concerns were raised, one being a road review that might offload more costs onto rural municipalities for repairing roads.
The other concern is a proposal to introduce a provincial property tax to help municipalities pay corrections, education and other contributions.

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Pulp mill endures doubt in effort to cut emissions

PICTOU – Cecile Vigneault said she wanted to learn more about Northern Pulp.
She and others got that chance last Thursday during the second open house in as many days pulp mill officials hosted at the deCoste Entertainment Centre.
The first noon to 9 p.m. event took place the previous day at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
It was part of Northern Pulp’s public consultation program to gain public input for its industrial approval from the Department of the Environment. The approval was last renewed on 2011 and is up for renewal on Jan. 30, 2015.
Those wishing to respond can also do so by email or through a link to a form on Northern Pulp’s web site.
Deadline for public comments related to the mill is Nov. 7.
“I’m here to learn,” she said. “I’ve got mixed emotions. I don’t understand the Northern Pulp operation. I think it would help people with mixed emotions.”
Vigneault said she would like an opportunity to tour the mill and was told that could be arranged.
The public consultation coincides with work to install a new recovery boiler precipitator that Northern Pulp expects to complete by next May at a cost of $21 million.
The province has given the pulp mill to that time to improve its emissions and reduce the accompanying particulates.
David Kerr, vice-president of operations for Paper Excellence, which bought the pulp mill in 2011, was among company personnel on hand to explain the pulp mill and the repairs being done that include replacing the precipitator. The construction for the precipitator is being done from scratch and so far it is on time and on budget, he said.
“It’s a long process,” he said. “You first need to realize there is a problem. It was discovered after we purchased the mill. It was working OK and it was in compliance. You first see if it’s something operational or something systemic. We started once we knew it was not an operational issue.”
Kerr said it’s at least a two-year process to replace the precipitator but at the end of it the mill will be well below what they have been and well within compliance in terms of emissions and particulates contained in them.
“The (original) precipitator was at the end of its life,” he said. “Eventually we had to replace it. If the company knew this sooner after we purchased the mill, we would have started sooner.”
Loch Broom resident Pam MacDonald picketed the meeting in front of the deCoste Centre on Thursday because said she is not reassured by the process and is upset with the delays in getting the work done to reduce emissions.
She said she talked to David Davis, who came out to talk to her and said it wouldn’t be a good idea for her to bring in photos contained on her picket sign comparing clear days and days when the emissions are being blown her way.
“I said it’s a snow job,” she said. “It should be shut down. Why should I be paying taxes when I can’t go out in my yard? If I’m not getting it Pictou’s getting it. It’s always somewhere. I don’t think the government is doing its job.”
Kerr said Paper Excellence bought the pulp mill because its Asian customers like the product being shipped to them.
“We totally believe there is a future for this mill,” he said. “You look at where you sell your product. The market is really Asia-based and they love our pulp (mostly spruce), especially black spruce. That is the best wood to make pulp.”

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Centenarian celebrates with family and friends

While it’s fair to say most people get a birthday card or two when that time of year rolls around, not too many can say they’ve received one from the prime minister or Her Majesty the Queen.
Brooks Henderson can.
Henderson shared his 100th birthday with family and friends last Saturday at the Munroe Avenue Baptist Church and while he was very much the star of the day, he did receive a share of notable guests including Pictou Centre MLA Pat Dunn, Central Nova MP and Minister of Justice and Attorney General Peter MacKay, as well as New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan.
In addition to the usual round of cards and well wishes, Henderson received congratulatory messages from Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Premier Stephen McNeil, the Governor General, as well as a plaque from the Town of New Glasgow showing the old Brown School which Henderson kept running for 30 years or more.
“I never expected anything like that!” Henderson said of the top-level greetings.
Now living at Glen Haven Manor, Henderson was born in New Glasgow but lived for a time in Tatamagouche when he moved in with his grandparents at the age of 8. He moved back to New Glasgow as an adult and has been a resident ever since.
He said he was always a worker, but put in his largest stint at the Brown School.
“I was there 30 years,” Henderson said. “I looked after the furnace and the classrooms, the whole thing like that. All that work that had to be done.”
Off the clock, Henderson said he used to play cards now and again but gave it a pass when his eyesight began to diminish. But he still gets a bit of exercise in every week.
“We have exercises over there (at the Glen Haven),” Henderson said. “All the old people over there, we just sit in a chair and do what (the trainer) tells you to do. That’s about all, there’s nothing more physical like that. We do that a few times a week.”
Henderson said his life is pretty good and things in general seem to be doing well.
The biggest change he’s witnessed?
“The whole shebang?,” Henderson asked. “Everything’s changed, but the biggest thing that ever happened was when we got that medical bill passed in the House of Commons. All the medical expenses paid for like that. That’s the biggest thing that I think ever happened to Canadians. You don’t hear much about it today but I can remember when that happened, and it’s a great thing. That was something. There’s been a lot of changes but I don’t think there’s any changes that compare to that.”
In all, about 200 people stopped by the church Saturday to say their hellos and happy birthdays, many of them faces he hadn’t seen for some time.
Henderson has three children, one grandchild, and four great-grandchildren.

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Collecting …for a cause

On a night when many children fill up on candy and other sweet treats, students at Northumberland Regional High School are filling up their treat bags with canned goods.
“On Halloween night our group of youth, rather than collecting candy for Halloween – which is kind of the status quo – we go out and collect food bank donations for the Pictou County food bank,” said Madalyn Nielsen, co-head of NRHS Free the Children group.
This is the sixth year that the program has taken place at NRHS, spearheaded by the school’s Free the Children group. Free the Children is an organization, created by brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger, that is focused on children’s rights and it helps children in need using youth empowerment internationally.
The campaign, previously known as Halloween for Hunger, has changed its name to We Scare Hunger.
“We have approximately 15 to 20 members of the club, but it’s open to the whole school,” said Nielsen about the event. The group is hoping to gather a lot of participants to help cover more ground.
Last year, the group raised well over a hundred cans as well as several reusable bags full of non-perishable foods.
“Seeing so much hunger in the world, and poverty, being able to participate in something that is so normal – like going out and collecting candy – is something we do since we are young. And being able to do that and do it for the greater good, instead of just yourself, it’s really rewarding,” said Kelsey Robson, the other co-head of the NRHS Free the Children group.
Members from the group, which ranges from grades nine to 12, will be canvassing areas toward Pictou, Scotsburn, Stellarton and Westville for non perishable items.
“We want them to be ready,” said Nielsen.
The students are hoping that some members of the community will have non perishable items set aside to donate to the cause. If you are looking to donate but a student does not make it to your door on Halloween night, Nielsen and Robson encourage people to drop donations off to the food bank itself.
“It’s amazing seeing all of the non-perishable food items that we have collected and seeing the food bank take it and how appreciative they are of it. And I’m sure the families that receive this food are extremely grateful,” said Nielsen. “It’s just amazing that we are just 15 and 16 and we can make such a huge difference doing something so simple.”

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