The Weeks Junior A Crushers will honour the women and men of the Pictou County Firefighters Association at their first home playoff game against the Amherst Ramblers on Thursday, March 13 at 7 p.m. at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
The Pictou County Firefighters Association is comprised of 22 fire departments, several industrial brigades and more than 600 dedicated volunteers who provide fire and emergency services to the residents of Pictou County. These dedicated volunteers, on call 24 hours a day seven days a week, respond not only to fire situations but a vast array of emergencies ranging from motor vehicles accidents to water and ice rescue to assisting during natural disasters.
Countless hours are devoted to training, so these services can be provided in the safest most efficient means possible.
Fund raising for new equipment, maintaining older equipment and supporting programs such as fire safety and prevention are only a few of the tasks that take place weekly in the fire halls throughout the county.
Wade Taylor, president of the Weeks Jr A Crushers, is pleased to be able to recognize the fire service volunteers. “The men and women who serve Pictou County as firefighters are tremendous assets to our community and they unselfishly invest their time in making Pictou County a safer place to live. These are extremely dedicated individuals who go about their duties in a professional and humble manner and organizationally we felt it very appropriate to recognize their efforts and provide a venue where our fans can show their appreciation.”
Jim Roper, president of the Pictou County Firefighters Association states, “The Pictou County Firefighters Association would like to thank the Weeks Hockey Organization for the recognition of the volunteer firefighters here in the county. Being honoured by a group that understands what practice and team work are all about is definitely special.”
The Weeks Jr A Crushers begin their playoffs starting Thursday, March 13 at the Pictou County Wellness Centre at 7 p.m. The next home game will be Tuesday, March 18.
Advance tickets can be purchased by phoning 485-7326 or at Big Al’s Convenience, Woody’s Variety or the Tartan Blade Barbershop.
Be sure to follow @weekscrushers on twitter for up to date information and giveaways. We also have a fan page on Facebook which has up to date in game photos and information. You can also go to www.weekscrushershockey.com for all things Crushers!
“On behalf of the Pictou Advocate, I would like to offer a sincere apology for publishing the editorial cartoon containing the swastika, on March 5th. I recognize that the use of the swastika was insensitive, and whether intended to or not, represents the atrocities of genocide faced by millions of innocent people in the Second World War. While I can’t reverse the regrettable decision to publish this cartoon, I offer my commitment to ensure the Pictou Advocate continues as a forum of debate and opinion within respectful boundaries.”
The PublisherPosted in Articles | Leave a comment
The rarity of interviewing someone with such an amazing story was not lost on me when I interviewed blues singer Candye Kane.
Kane is being brought in to perform at Glasgow Square on March 9 for the Pictou County Blues Society.
Currently, Kane lives with her children in San Diego, where she moved in 1986 to give them a better life than her upbringing in East Los Angeles.
“I was always a singer, I sang as a little tiny girl,” says Kane. “I was lucky enough to be born into a family where my biological father was in prison for embezzlement and my mother was a bit crazy, teaching me how to shoplift at the age of 9. I used to sing to get positive attention from people.”
Kane recalls her mother taking her to the library quite often because she had a love of books, but Kane wasn’t the type of girl to sit in the corner and be quiet and read.
“I would always sing on the steps of the library. I knew I wanted to be a singer, but I had a baby at 17 so now there was another person to feed.”
That was back in the 80s, a time where being a sexual being, especially for a career, was a novelty.
“It got me off of welfare and gave me confidence,” says Kane referring to her earlier career. “It was welfare and food stamps by day, hard drug use and nude modeling by night, while at the same time yodeling and moshing alongside groundbreaking punk bands like the Circle Jerks, X and FEAR in Hollywood’s underground music scene.”
Kane appeared on the covers of magazines including Hustler and High Society.
“It gave me a unique sense of self and ironically, a greater understanding of feminism.”
As Kane notes, many of the blues women that paved the way for her were no strangers to the dark side of life.
“Being a woman with a strong sexual character was not new to the blues,” she says. “There were a lot of songs written about turning tricks on the side… Blues women are proud of their size and their femininity… I was a large-sized blues sexual singer from the ghetto and that (the music) gave me an outlet.”
Kane says living through rough times is something she looks back on fondly.
“Having that experience did help me get to where I am today,” she says. “It gave me that confidence, and helped give me a financial base. In the early 80s when I was posing for the pages of Hustler, the money was indispensable. I would come home from New York, Hawaii, Canada, where I was a stripper, and had the money to hire a band and go into the studio and make my own cassettes (back in the day).”
That allowed Kane an advantage over other like-minded musicians peddling their music on the boardwalk.
“It gave me that advantage at a time when I really needed it and at the same time gave me a big hurdle to overcome because I feel like a lot of women shied away from my show because they thought it was vulgar or over sexualized, which is a shame because it is really an empowering show.”
Empowering it is; Kane was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2007 for which she believes she was prepared.
“I knew I had an immense sense of power welled up inside of me and that I could overcome this adversity like I had all of the others; this was just a puddle in the road for me.”
Now Kane’s show is a unique journey because she has the ability to act as a mirror for the audience and reflect their inner power through song and life experience.
“There’s something hugely empowering when you overcome something like that on your own and I like to let people know they have that power inside of them to overcome. And I hope women don’t shy away from my show.”
Kane created a CD, The Power in YOU, which she says is filled with empowering songs. She donates these CDs to cancer treatment centres or people she meets who have just lost someone to cancer or are currently undergoing treatment for cancer.
In 1999, Kane wrote ‘Toughest Girl Alive’ which has now become her anthem and a tool to help her get through.
This will be her first time in Nova Scotia and she is looking forward to the experience. “I’m happy to come anywhere people want to see me… I feel lucky to be able to come up and be inspiring to an audience in Nova Scotia and allow people to leave with inspiration.”
Kane will be accompanied by guitarist Laura Chavez whom Kane was introduced to through Canadian guitarist Sue Foley.
“Laura is humbled in her playing, she is always tasteful, she never plays too much or too little. She came into my life two months before I was diagnosed with cancer and she has been an amazing friend, she came right when I needed her, that was no mistake,” says Kane.
Kane will perform March 9 at 4 p.m. at Glasgow Square with special guest Doris Mason. Proceeds are going to the Blues in the School program.
Music Shapes New Glasgow is back with a bang.
The 2014 lineup was launched last week at Baked Café and this year’s four-week concert series is no disappointment.
The launch included performances by Kim Wempe and Ria Mae as an introduction to their Songwriter’s Circle at Glasgow Square Friday night as well as for the Music Shapes New Glasgow series.
The Music Shapes New Glasgow Series features two prominent venues in town, the Celtic Circle and Glasgow Square. Carmel Mikol helped program the two performances at the Celtic Circle while Carlton Munroe organized the Glasgow Square performances.
“This is the fourth year for Music Shapes New Glasgow, which runs every spring, and is a collaboration between the Celtic Circle and Glasgow Square,” explains Mikol. “This first show to kick off this season will be a Celtic-themed night featuring Fleur Mainville and Cassie and Maggie MacDonald, a traditional sister group.
“That will be a night of contemporary and traditional fiddle music,” explains Mikol, “on March 29 at 8 p.m.”
The next concert will take place April 12, after a one-week hiatus to accommodate the East Coast Music Awards.
“This is a wonderful collaboration,” says Munroe. “We are really excited about this year’s lineup and the first show at Glasgow Square on April 12 will be a women in blues theme featuring ECMA and Music Nova Scotia award winner Kim Wempe and her full band along with the Full Circle Blues Band.”
The third show on April 19 at Glasgow Square will be Music Nova Scotia’s Entertainers of the Year, Three Sheet with ECMA winner Ria Mae for a pop/hip hop night. This is Mae’s first performance in New Glasgow, however, Three Sheet is no stranger having performed at the 2011 New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee.
Closing out the series on April 26 will be Alan Jefferies and The Modern Grass.
The Music Shapes New Glasgow series has also teamed up with Baked Café so any evening there is a Music Shapes New Glasgow concert, ticket holders can go to Baked for a lunch meal and receive a free dessert upon presentation of the ticket.
The goal for this year’s lineup was to get a mix of genres and use the venues to their full potential.
“The goal was to bring new stuff to the area,” says Mikol, “because the town has the Jubilee, it’s used to seeing a lot of different kinds of music.”
Mikol is no stranger to the Music Shapes series, however, this year she will not be gracing the stage. “I am really excited about the lineup, it’s such a high quality of artist and each theme night is top quality.”
Munroe shares the sentiment. “At the Square, this is one of the things we have really involved ourselves in the last four years and with the ECMA nomination this is really just one part of why we are receiving that recognition. The series also highlights the amenities of both the Celtic Circle and the Square. It’s a great partnership and we are excited to be involved again and excited about the lineup.”
Wempe, of Antigonish, is excited to play in this series, fresh off of an Australian tour. “It’s so close to home, it’s nice to just come to New Glasgow, I have a lot of friends here.”
Wempe says her style is very much a down-south-US-inspired-Americana-roots-blues feel. Her new album Coalition was released in September with a more rootsy, pop blues feel which she will be sampling during her performance.
Ria Mae is excited to make this her first New Glasgow performing experience.
“It’s cool I will have my full band, my bass player is in Three Sheet so there will be some collaboration. I’m glad to have my first performance here in this venue (Glasgow Square).”
Her show will be high energy but still rootsy pop. During her performances, Vanessa Furlong of Three Sheet usually raps some of Mae’s verses for a more hip hop fusion feel.
For more information on Music Shapes New Glasgow follow their Facebook page and for tickets visit Glasgow Square, Baked Café or any Ticketpro outlet.
TRENTON – The North Nova Gryphons are hoping to win their way to the provincial male high school hockey championships.
The Gryphons stood one win away when they were slated to host the Cobequid Cougars on Tuesday in Trenton in the second game of their best-of-three Northumberland Region final series.
The series winner will represent the region at the Division I Provincials being hosted by the Sir John A. Macdonald Flames.
Darryl Wheadon assisted on Ryan MacDonald’s two power-play goals as the Gryphons took control of the series on Sunday in Truro when they defeated the Cougars 2-1 in the first game.
Joel MacLean back stopped the Gryphons to the victory, while MacDonald followed a scoreless first period with the game’s first goal in the second period.
CEC tied the game midway through the third period, but the Gryphons capitalized on MacDonald’s second power-play goal of the game with 1:19 remaining.
Jacob Pentz and Craig Murray also had assists.
The Gryphons outshot the Cougars 27-23.
North Nova advanced to meet the Cougars after ousting the Dr. J.H. Gillis Royals in straight games in their best-of-three series.
The Gryphons took the second game with a 3-2 double-overtime victory last Thursday in front of a large crowd in Trenton.
The Royals opened the scoring and Chris Brooker tied it for the Gryphons to end the first period.
Carson Dunbar and Cody Haas assisted.
The Royals scored the only goal of the middle frame with 27 seconds remaining before the break.
The Gryphons made good on a power-play opportunity with a goal by Pentz assisted by John David Coffin and MacDonald.
The first five-minute overtime period saw the Gryphons carry the play but neither team could find the back of the net.
The second overtime period nearly went the distance until Wheadon’s snap shot won the game with 23 seconds left.
Wheadon scored three goals as the Gryphons defeated the Royals 5-3 in the series opener on Feb. 24 in Antigonish.
The Royals had a two-goal lead until Wheadon put NNEC on the board with 26 seconds remaining in the first period. Murray evened the game with 1.4 seconds left in the period.
The Royals went ahead 3-2 early in the second but the Gryphons tied it again on Wheadon’s second goal of the game with only 21 seconds remaining in the second frame.
Wheadon scored his third goal midway through the third and Cody Haas added the insurance marker.
Pentz and Craig Murray each had two assists, while single assists went to Haas, Luke Grant, Kirklin Murray and Ryan Chabassol.
TRENTON – The Pictou County Scotians have seized control of their destiny.
The Scotians defeated the Strait Pirates 7-2 on Sunday in Trenton to take a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven Sid Rowe Division semifinal series in the Nova Junior Hockey League.
It’s the first time the Scotians have led the series and it gives them two chances to advance to the next round with a win in the sixth game of the series on Friday in Port Hawkesbury or on Sunday, if necessary, in the seventh game in Trenton.
The Scotians achieved the position after a 5-4 double-overtime victory last Friday in Port Hawkesbury and despite a 4-1 loss in the third game of the series last Wednesday in Trenton.
“It feels pretty good, especially after our game on Friday,” Scotians’ head coach Chris Stewart said. “Our guys played with some confidence after winning in double overtime on Friday. We have a lot of experience in the dressing room.”
Stewart welcomed a rare practice on Wednesday and the five-day span between games to rest and prepare for Friday’s game in Port Hawkesbury.
“It gives us an opportunity to work on a few things,” he said.
The series winner will meet the Glace Bay Miners in the division championship. The Miners completed a series sweep with a 3-0 victory on Sunday in Antigonish.
The Pirates outshot the Scotians 32-26 on Sunday, but the Scotians led 2-1 after the first period, made it 4-1 in the second period and tallied three more times in the third.
Brandon Verge collected two goals and one assists, while four other Scotians had two-point nights.
Bradley MacEachern, Andrew Kennedy and Jake Rankin each had one goal and one assist.
Lucas Eshleman and Steven MacNeil each had two assists, while Brandon MacKenzie and Cole Livingstone got the other goals.
Jason Thorpe scored in the second overtime to give the Scotians’ their victory in Port Hawkesbury.
Eshleman recorded a goal and three assists, while Verge added a goal and two assists.
MacNeil and Kennedy also scored.
The Pirates led 3-0 after the first period and 4-1 early in the second period, but the Scotians tied the game on three straight power-play goals before the period ended.
MacKenzie gave the Scotains a 1-0 lead early in last Wednesday’s game, but the Pirates tied the game in the first period and took a 2-1 lead into the third.
WESTVILLE – Another chapter has been added to the glorious annals of local grammar school hockey.
The G.R. Saunders Skyhawks of Stellarton defeated the Walter Duggan Mavericks of Westville 3-2 in double overtime on Thursday to capture the Pictou County Grammar School Hockey League championship for 2013-14.
Ryan Green’s second goal of the game with the teams icing four players aside clinched the win for the Skyhawks. It also redeemed their narrow loss to the Trenton Trojans on Feb. 24 at the G.R. gym in the championship game of the West Pictou Raptors invitational boys’ basketball tournament.
Lucas Canning recorded the other Skyhawks goal.
More than 200 fans rimmed the ice surface, graced the mezzanine and filled the bleachers to more than half capacity.
Large crowds are common for Grammar School finals due to the exciting hockey the opposing teams generate, and Thursday’s game continued the trend.
The Skyhawks and Mavs were tied 2-2 through regulation and a five-minute overtime period when the teams played five aside.
PICTOU – Members of the Pictou Minor Hockey Association’s executive hope fundraising will help the group balance its books.
Association president Steve MacCarthy and vice-president Shane Sponagle have provided a plan to secure funds to coincide with revenues the association receives through registration.
“We need to have a culture of fundraising,” MacCarthy said. “Registration does not cover the cost, but we don’t want to raise registration fees.”
Registration is up slightly from last season at 174 players, an increase of seven players. That includes some over-age midget players signed up this season.
A letter has been sent out to parents of children signed with the association’s 13 teams explaining the financial difficulties it is experiencing.
“The basic math no longer works,” Sponagle said. “It costs minor hockey more for ice rentals, insurance, Hockey Nova Scotia registration and coaching clinics than it takes in from registration (including the money draw tickets).”
For the past number of years, Sponagle said the Hector Arena Commission has been carrying a debt owing from Pictou Minor Hockey.
“This year however, due to their own financial situation they are not able to carry us,” he said. “The reality is, by carrying the previous year’s debt over to the next season they are just allowing us to never catch up on what we owe. Pictou Minor Hockey needs to be financially viable and without raising registrations, which we feel we can’t do; the only other option is fundraising.”
As a result, the association has started a Vesey Seed fundraising campaign and is launching a 50-50 draw designed to raise $12,500.
That could cover off a deficit of nearly $8,700 that the group is carrying, according to its latest financial statement.
The group budgeted receipts of $78,883.35 from registration and net proceeds of $1,765.95 from hosting the annual Adam Larade Memorial tournament.
Ice bills, in some cases more than $15,000 a month, total nearly $68,000 and represents the association’s biggest expense. Insurance and HNS registration costs more than $13,000.
Referee clinics cost nearly $2,000 and coaching clinics cost more than $2,300.
The figures don’t factor in the money coaches and executives take out of their own pockets for items.
“Our goal this year is to try and end the season with a zero balance,” Sponagle said. “Coming up short year over year is a vicious, unsustainable circle and we have to break it.”
MacCarthy said some teams get two hours of ice time a week, while others get an extra half hour each week.
Registration fees range from $380 for IP or first-year novice players up to $590 a player, depending on the age group. There is also a family discount.
MacCarthy and Sponagle said the association can thrive if everyone pitches in.
Each minor hockey player will have books of 20 tickets to sell for the 50-50 draw that will split the projected $25,000 raised.
“We want to start next season without carrying debt, which would be the first time in years,” MacCarthy said.
Sponagle plans to take over as president next season. “If we have a culture of fundraising, we can cover our costs without raising registration.”
The association’s annual general meeting will be next fall, and both MacCarthy and Sponagle are looking for a good turnout.
The drive is on to make New Glasgow Academy not only an in-classroom learning space, but an outdoor fun space with opportunity for learning.
David Whittemore and his wife Jackie are the chairs of the New Glasgow Academy Campaign, raising funds to increase the size of the gymnasium, expand the music rooms, add 225 square feet to the multicultural meeting room, create a natural outdoor recreational area, purchase new music instruments and sports uniforms and art supplies for the new school.
“Our ultimate goal is to raise $200,000 to make these additions happen,” says Whittemore. “Right now we have raised just over $68,900, or approximately 35 per cent of our target which is good.”
Whittemore expects in the next couple of weeks there will be a few announcements from local groups in terms of donations that will help bring them to approximately half of their target goal.
“We have ourselves a two-year time frame to raise these funds, but we have to have $100,000 by September to pay for the footprint items like the expansions, structural changes. The Town of New Glasgow committed $200,000 and our commitment for the foot print items is that $100,000 with the additional $100,000 for the natural outdoor recreation area, musical instruments, art projects and sport uniforms.”
He says the musical instruments alone will cost $42,000.
“Most traditional schools have one piece of equipment and 400 students to share that equipment, and that just doesn’t work. So we wanted to go with a natural play area that includes an outdoor space for classroom activities as well as sitting places and slides built into the hills so the children don’t fall off and break and arm,” like his daughter did.
“The community has been broken down into different divisions and we have people campaigning in each division,” says Whittemore.
The committee is working on other fundraisers.
“We have the Chase the Ace fundraiser every Sunday at the flea market,” explains Tammy MacLaren of the fundraising committee. “The winner has to be there to get the prize and they automatically win 20 per cent of the pot from that week and if they choose the Ace of Spades, they win the remaining 30 per cent of the pot from that week.”
Whittemore adds, “We have had a lot of support from management of the flea market and the vendors.”
MacLaren is heading up the Winterlicious fundraiser in March. “It’s a three-course meal at the Bistro which seats 38 people. They have made a special menu and we are selling tickets for the meal.”
Winterlicious takes place March 20 at 7 p.m. at a cost of $60 per ticket.
“If all goes well we will be looking at another similar event,” says MacLaren. “The Bistro has been great.”
Whittemore says thus far for Winterlicious, 60 per cent of the tickets have been sold.
Also coming up is All That Jazz, an evening of live jazz entertainment on April 5 at North Nova Education Centre. Tickets are $20 and include wine and cheese and a silent auction.
“The schools are also hosting their own fundraisers like the spring fling at New Glasgow Junior High School on April 26.”
The hope is that the campaign will be wrapped up this fall.
For information regarding fundraising events visit the Facebook site for New Glasgow Academy Campaign or phone Whittemore at 752-0591 or email email@example.com. For information on Winterlicious email MacLaren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
STELLARTON – They’re the Sears girls – some of them worked at Sears and some are friends of those who worked at Sears.
Some of them are actually guests. Some of them, like Alice Roddick, have moved back home and others have been dining together for more than 20 years at the Pantry Kitchen in Stellarton.
All of them are able to smile through the sadness they feel about dining at the family restaurant for the last time.
Pantry Kitchen closed on Friday due to owner Larry MacGregor’s decision to focus on his growing catering business.
“We’re sure going to miss it,” Isabel Fraser said. “The food’s delicious and the service is fantastic.”
Eileen Collie has returned home after having lived in Ontario. She and Alice Roddick mentioned coming for breakfast before the restaurant began opening at 11 a.m.
“I loved it here,” Collie said.
“We’re really going to miss it,” Roddick said.
“I live in Stellarton and the location’s great,” Jean Symonds said. “So is the service. Everyone’s so friendly.”
“Good food and nice girls,” Marg Smith added.
MacGregor has put in long hours operating the restaurant and the catering service, but the crunch came as the restaurant exacted most of his time and energy while the catering was generating most of his revenue.
“It was getting harder to maintain both,” he said. “We were putting a lot of hours in. It wasn’t an easy decision. We’ve had such good customers and we’re going to miss that, but my passion is for catering.”
MacGregor said closing the restaurant will allow him to devote more time to catering, beyond the nearby locations where he has catered, such as the Museum of Industry, Nova Scotia Community College and the Holiday Inn Express.
For the time being, the catering service will utilize the restaurant site due to its central location, he said.
He’s catered to groups of 10 up to more than 300 people.
“Transporting hot food is a challenge, especially in winter, but we’ve worked that out,” he said.
MacGregor is optimistic about the catering business in Pictou County and meeting clients’ requests.
“There’s always a need for it,” he said. “There will always be a little competition and that’s not a bad thing.”
MOUNT WILLIAM – The Pictou County Weeks Crushers will host the Amherst Ramblers on Thursday in their last regular-season MHL game.
The game will start at 7 p.m. at the Pictou County Wellness Centre, with the Crushers consigned to finishing second in the Maritime Hockey League’s East Link Division standings behind the leading Truro Bearcats.
The Crushers trail the Bearcats by two points, but the Bearcats will play two road games this week against the Bridgewater Lumberjacks on Friday and the Valley Wildcats on Saturday.
The Crushers could not close the gap on the Bearcats despite three wins in three nights last week. They edged the Campbellton Tigers 3-2 on Saturday at the Wellness Centre after defeating the Wildcats 4-2 at home and downing the host Lumberjacks 5-1 on Friday.
Garret Holmes assisted on David Stephens’ goal in the first period and Nick Parker’s winning goal in the third period.
Tanner McCabe also scored for the Crushers, who outshot the Tigers 31-25 – including 16-7 in the third period.
The Crusher led the Wildcats 2-0 after one period on Thursday on goals by Evan Carmody and Stephen MacInnis but needed goals by Mitchell Shewfelt and Brandon Parsons in the third period to win it. They outshot the Wildcats 42-30, including 21-8 in the final frame.
Parker’s two goals in the third period blew open a close game in Bridgewater. John Mullally gave the Crushers a 1-0 lead in the first period, while Stephens and Mullally widened the lead in the second period.
Pictou County outshot the Lumberjacks 22-17.
Parker’s 33 goals and 31 assists puts him in fourth place in the league’s individual scoring race with 64 points, four points out of the lead.
Holmes had 14 goals and 38 assists for 52 points, while Mitchell Deruelle and JP Harvey each have 20 goals and 28 assists.
It’s often argued that good guys don’t win, whether it’s in sports, business or life itself. But I say don’t believe it for a moment.
Good guys do finish first.
That thought came to mind during the recent Winter Olympics when Kevin Dineen coached the Canadian women’s hockey team to gold in Sochi, and Ken Babcock guided the Canadian men to gold as well. Dineen and Babcock are good guys. They proved you don’t have to be loud-mouthed like Don Cherry or John Tortorella to succeed behind a bench.
But, hey, you don’t have to look beyond Pictou County to realize that.
One of the finest hockey teams ever assembled in the county was the 1972-73 New Glasgow Bombers, a junior team that posted one of the best records you’ll find anywhere. That’s over 40 years ago now, but the team’s legacy remains. Don’t take my word for it; check the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame and the statistics will confirm the dominance that long-ago team possessed.
The coach, if you don’t recall, was Fraser MacLean and, I can definitely assure you, he has always been a good guy. One of the best. And don’t overlook the fact his coaching played a very major role in the 1972-73 Bombers’ story.
I can go back further to tell you about him. We were classmates at New Glasgow High School – remember that place? – and we graduated together in the spring of 1956. I hate to admit it, but that’s almost 58 years ago. Talk about time flying!
The young Fraser MacLean of the mid-1950s was already a leader, displaying many high qualities. Among other things, he was president of the students council that year. He was also captain of the school’s hockey team.
I dug out my old high school yearbook the other day and his profile said in part: “Fraser has shown himself to have those qualities that make leaders.” It also said, “The respect in which he has been held throughout the school is as much due to his modesty and willingness to serve as anything else.”
MacLean went to St. Francis Xavier University the following year, then joined his father in the family’s Pepsi Cola bottling business, MacLeans Beverages, where he once again showed high-level leadership.
That was the MacLean who, in his mid-30s, became a very good hockey coach.
The Bombers’ performance in ’72-73 was overwhelming. The club won what was then the Metro Valley Junior Hockey League, it won the Nova Scotia championship, and it won the Maritime championship. In the process, the team’s league and playoff record combined was 51-11-3, while outscoring opponents by a huge 415-180 margin.
Fraser MacLean’s coaching had much to do with those teenagers posting those phenomenal numbers. So where did his hockey story begin?
Surprisingly, he became a good hockey player – a defenceman – despite a limited background. He was of minor hockey age at a time when New Glasgow didn’t have a rink. The old Arena downtown was gone, the Stadium had not yet been built. So he and his neighbourhood pals in the south end played the game on ponds near Eastern Woodworkers off East River Road.
The only indoor hockey he had before his teenage years was at Stellarton Memorial Rink. He was 13 when the Stadium opened, and he quickly joined the bantam league that was operated by the Rotary Club. He advanced to play four years of high school hockey under John (Brother) MacDonald. He would be the first to say that Brother’s guidance had a lot to do with his own leadership development.
When he went to X in 1956, he tried out for the powerful hockey club there – and made it. He played the first two games of the season and then, at practice, a hard slapshot caught him right below the eye. His hockey career ended then and there.
Years went by before he returned as a coach. He was a member of the Rotary Club and coaches were needed in the minor hockey program. Fraser volunteered, and became coach of the travelling bantam team. A couple years later he moved up to the midget level.
It was in 1969-70 that the Junior Bombers joined the Northumberland Junior B League and MacLean was made head coach. The first season under his direction? The Bombers were league champions. In provincial playdowns, the club had become so popular that crowds well over 2,000 packed the Stadium.
Two years after that, the Bombers moved to the Metro Valley circuit, the forerunner of what is now the Maritime Junior A league, and MacLean coached with then car dealer Lou Kiley. It was in what was only the team’s second season in the league that the 1972-73 powerhouse made headlines.
In refreshing my memories of MacLean’s team the other day, I found a column I wrote in 2002 about the coach. In it, I said the Bombers of 1972-73 “were the finest junior hockey club in Pictou County in the past 50 years.” I wrote at the time that you’d have to go back to the Trenton Scotias of the early 1950s to find a comparable club.
The last time I interviewed MacLean about the Bombers’ championship run, he pointed out that the team’s fans – so loyal that winter – never saw the club lose a game at home. Heck, when you only lose 11 times out of 65, you don’t lose many games anywhere.
The coach’s own thoughts on that club?
I loved this comment he made to me: “That was by far the highlight of my career. It couldn’t be any better than that. We won everything.”
As in other aspects of his life, Fraser MacLean proved beyond doubt that, yes, good guys do win.
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, 485-8014.
NEW GLASGOW – Mark Dickson remembers his Pictou County roots and is glad to share tales of discovery that have affected his life.
The retired dentist who grew up in Pictou County and lives in Springhill says he enjoys telling the stories of messages in a bottle he retrieved during a trip with his wife Donna and nephew Lucas Sangster last July to the side of Vancouver Island facing the Pacific Ocean.
Sangster is from Amherst and plays with the Pictou County Weeks Major Midgets.
“I was totally shocked,” he said. “We were walking out of a theatre and were planning a fishing trip to Nootka Sound (a water passage that separates Nootka Island from Vancouver Island).”
Dickson noticed a message in a bottle where he was fishing. The series of letters were fairly wet when Lucas took them out of the plastic pop bottle and dried on the dashboard of the vehicle they were driving.
“I thought the trip couldn’t get any better; then this happened,” he said.
“I dried the letters out and everyone got a kick out of it.”
Then Dickson set out replying to the letter writers, knowing the authors were aged eight and seven and from Denman Island on the inland side of Vancouver Island, but not knowing how long the letters and bottle had been in the water.
“I honestly thought the letters had been put in the water a few days before,” he said.
“I wrote each of them a letter, as if they were seven years old. I talked about tooth ferries because of my profession and addressed them on separate paper.”
He received replies that indicated the bottle was in the water for 15 years because they were now 22 years old.
One of the girls who wrote the letters has since responded and they’ve had a phone conversation.
Dickson is still awaiting the second reply.
“I’m so glad I went,” he said.
He still gets back to Pictou County to visit family and friends.
“I like to get back,” he said. “There’s no place like home.”
Fishing in the Pacific is no accident for Dickson who enjoys the outdoors.
“I love to snowmobile,” he said. “In the summer I go on motorcycles. I’m outdoors a lot.”
To the Editor:
Over the past month, members of two volunteer organizations in Pictou County have had the opportunity to experience this feeling first-hand. Pictou County Crime Prevention and Pictou County Crime Stoppers have undertaken a major fundraiser to help with the programs we offer through our organizations. Both organizations operate under the same mandate which is to create, develop and maintain safer communities.
Crime Prevention offers a wide variety of programs to Seniors which include Vial of Life, Elder Abuse, Cons and Frauds, Home Security, Safe Driving Programs, Computer Use and Safe Practices, as well as many others. Seniors can call Jan at the office phone 755-2886 and she will answer your questions or direct you to the proper agency or personnel to handle your concerns.
Crime Stoppers works closely with police agencies and departments as well as the RCMP to help solve cases in our communities. We ask the public to phone tips to our organization if you see or hear of illegal activities going on in your community. We guarantee total anonymity in our program as you are given a tipster number when you call in your tip and that is the only way you will ever be known. You must make all the contacts using only that number as your identification because we have no personal information about you. Our premise is that crime does not happen in a vacuum and there are often other people who know about these criminal activities. We would hope that these conscientious citizens would be willing to make an anonymous call to make or keep their community safer. The process is simple. Call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) and report your tip. Your tip could be the missing piece of the puzzle the police are trying to solve.
During the past month, we have visited as many businesses, stores, professionals, trades people, car dealerships, newspapers, artists and individuals to ask for donations for our Spring Basket. The response has been overwhelming! Our reception has been so warm and welcoming and everyone has given us the opportunity to explain how our volunteer organizations in our district (which is one of 12 in the province) carry out our programs. Such programs are active in every province in Canada and in 150 countries in the world.
Our very heartfelt thanks go out to these wonderful people who have supported us in such a generous way. You will never know how valuable that support is to us as our expenses have increased with less support from provincial levels. Pictou County has always had the reputation of being a very generous and supportive community and the success of our canvassing has reaffirmed that old adage.
The Spring Basket tickets will be on sale in the very near future but donations are still being accepted at 755-2886 and will be picked up by simply making a call. Please watch for our volunteers in various venues selling our tickets as well as the volunteers themselves selling to friends and family.
Once again, thank you Pictou County for your caring and generosity. If you would like to see us in action, we meet the third Monday of every month at the New Glasgow Police Station and welcome new members at any time. You would never regret finding out what we are all about and why we are so passionate about what we do. Our county is truly blessed with a benevolent spirit which always comes through in times of need. Kudos to all of you. Draw will take place April 16 at NG Police Station at 12 p.m.
Jan Keefe, Pictou County Crime Prevention
Margie MacDonald, Pictou County Crime Stoppers
To the Editor:
On Feb. 17, my magic bag went on fire in my bed. It burned the duvet, duvet cover, bottom sheet, mattress cover and pj bottoms.
Without going into any more detail, some people are suggesting that the public should know that the Magic bag has the potential to smoke, or/and go on fire.
I goggled Magic Bag/Fire and lots of information on it.
To the Editor:
I feel I must respond to Mr. Pettipas’ letter on Surviving in the Town of Pictou since we all perceive things in different ways and one of his comments on nothing to do in the town made me go through The Advocate and take a look at what there was to do.
Here are just a few things that I came across in our weekly local paper to attend for the week: card games, curling, guest speakers at the library and kids programs, jam sessions at our local legion as well as bingo, trivia at Carvers, music at Bia, Jam for Jimmy at the Tavern, plays, karaoke, preteen dance, rug hooking class, pool game, hockey games and ball hockey, free skates, free swims at our local rink and pool, yoga classes, book clubs, specials at our local restaurants, and church services and all this is just for this week.
Maybe we do not have our bowling alley but then let’s not forget these places that we do have to attend for all different ages: deCoste Center, Seniors Club, Legion, Youth Center, Curling Club, Hector Arena, Pictou Pool, True Potential Gym, library, just to name a few at this time of year.
We should all focus on some of the positives that we have in our community and also get out and support them.
Yes, I agree that maybe our downtown core doesn’t have what we would all like it to have but personally, I think it is the sign of times and so hard to compete with online shopping and our out of county and country shopping, with so many of us looking to get the most from our money. Even our local mall will be losing three more stores very soon.
Our town still has some very important businesses but we have to support our local businesses in order to keep them and also since we expect them to support us when the time comes for asking for donations and assisting with community events.
And support comes in other areas also such as some of our volunteer committees that are always looking for help. You mention about the decline of the Exhibition and Carnival and to my knowledge, the Pictou Exhibition is going stronger over the last many years by the look of the attendance, although last year it wasn’t held due to repairs to the rink which, by the way, our community came together as one and raised a good portion of the money for the repairs. Our Lobster Carnival is still one of the oldest festivals in Canada and one that we all are proud of but now with so many festivals happening in Pictou County over the summer months and outside of the county numbers might be down, but they are working very hard towards this year’s 80th anniversary and are always looking for new members to come on board, get involved and share ideas.
Many people do head West to work, especially during the winter months, but that is not just Pictou it is all of Eastern Canada. Pictou County is fortunate to have Sobeys head office here employing thousands of people in various jobs and Michelin Tire is another big employer and as well as several others and also here in our little town having the renowned Grohmann Knives and also the Pictou Advocate is a feather in our cap and both to be very proud of, along with several others in our community.
I believe that we should focus on our positives and not the negatives and realize it is not just the town of Pictou that is feeling the effects of the modern day changes. If you love your town… get out, support, get involved, be proud of what we have and not what we had and give credit and thanks to our volunteers and officials who give their best because they believe.
Mr. Pettipas, maybe you should attend the next council meeting or Lobster Carnival or Exhibition meeting, they can always use people that have a love for the town and its community and only want the best which is what I believe your concerns are, but you just have to look a bit deeper.
One can be excused for viewing Pictou County as a signpost swinging in opposite ways in the same wind.
Three days after learning a dormant electronics plant could be about to morph into a source for managed cannabis production, we’re knocked flat by news that Michelin is cutting half the workforce at its Granton facility.
Tires made at the plant are not selling, so the company will drop its production and leave the remaining workers there to produce rubber, tire membranes and some high-performance car tires.
It could have been worse. A less compassionate, resourceful and visionary company could have closed the place. We’ve become far to used to that. Nova Forge, TrentonWorks, Maritime Steel come to mind.
Firms have closed and are sometimes replaced by smaller employers. TrentonWorks once employed more than 2,000 people while building railcars and its DSTN replacement won’t employ nearly that many when it does hit stride.
Things balance out.
Regulated cannabis factories represent an emerging industry. By and large there is a high demand for Michelin’s products. One troubling trend is that the new jobs tend to lack the wages and benefits of the lost ones.
Reduced spending power is one way to measure Pictou County’s general decline.
It does not have to be this way. Michelin’s job losses are not the end of the world. They represent a call to action.
The report on the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy presented by commission chairman Ray Ivany compels us to act.
Pictou County Municipal Council agreed, as evidenced during its regular meeting on Monday when it called for an emergency roundtable to thrash out ideas that will help the area find its way ahead.
Michelin has offered a community development program to help establish new small business jobs in the area through low-interest loans and startup advice. That is hardly a sign of abandonment or reason for despair.
This news has also reminded us to follow through on the good vibrations that resonated through the Georgetown conference on rural economic development last fall in P.E.I. The Ivany report also called on us to work together as people, governments, groups and businesses.
Entrepreneurship was commonly used as a tonic for our rural economic woes. Let us seize on that.
It was once said the assembly line was the beginning and the end of imagination, all at the same time.
The truth is, we’re about to learn that imagination well applied has no end.
LYONS BROOK – Grade 6 students at West Pictou Consolidated School have completed their Olympic journey.
Gena Henderson, a multi-sport enthusiast who enjoyed the Olympics, teaches the class of 22 and imparted on them an appreciation of what it takes to reach the Olympics.
“I liked it,” she said. “It was a great bunch of kids to do this with.”
The hard sun did little to counter the blustery winds in front of the school last week as the students took part in a variation of biathlon, one of Winter Olympics’ most mentally and physically demanding of Olympic disciplines that combines skiing and shooting.
The students plied the ground on snowshoes – walking forwards and backwards and jumping up and down – and tossed bean bags into a box.
On Thursday, Henderson led the students up Route 376 to a road where an outdoor rink was available for them to enjoy a game of curling by using milk cartons.
The students also played a game of snowshoe hockey.
They were divided into five teams, their respective teams named and tallied up points for gold, silver and bronze medals.
Maple leaf shaped cookies were given to each student after they came back inside. They had already designed team emblems on posters, and part of their work was to complete biographies on their chosen Canadian athletes.
Friday’s school day was completed with a class assembly to end the weekly session of presentations and awards in connection with PEBS (Positive, Effective Behaviour Strategies).
Henderson had the opportunity of taking part in the Canada Games twice, once as a figure skater and the second time as a coach. She was able to share those experiences with her students as well as teach them about new sports.
“We used newspaper articles about the Olympics for reading and writing and we also did math with the scores and talked about scores and judging,” she explains.
“We did curling and snow shoes hockey and we used sleds to mock the skeleton and aerials in a relay format,” says Henderson. “They had a lot of fun.”
During the competition, students were judged on time and grace, just like the Winter Olympic athletes.
Most of the students watched the Winter Olympics, some for the first time, and thanks to their teacher, learned a lot.
Brody Bowering says he knew a lot about the Olympics before the two-week mini course, but he “learned a little bit more.”
Bowering’s favourite Winter Olympic sport is, “well it’s tough to pick just one, but I guess I would have to say hockey.”
He says the in-class material really helped him understand more about the Winter Olympics as well as the athletes.
Logan Barnes agreed. “I knew about the Winter Olympics and watched them before, but I learned a little bit more about the Olympics and the athletes.”
Barnes’ favourite Winter Olympic sport is hockey.
Brianna Lyons admits, “I didn’t know a whole lot about the Olympics before we learned about it in class, but I learned about the skeleton and different sports I didn’t know about, and athletes. We picked one athlete and got to explore them. It really helped me understand the Olympics a lot.”
Felicity Mitchell says she definitely learned some new stuff in class. “I learned a lot about snowboarding,” she says admitting her favourite Winter Olympic sport is figure skating.
Julia Voica also enjoys figure skating and says before learning about the Winter Olympics in class she didn’t know much about it.
“I learned the difference between the skeleton, luge and bobsled.”
Abby Lochead was an avid Winter Olympic watcher and her teacher helped her learn about the athletes and the sports.
“My favourite Winter Olympic sports are figure skating and hockey.”
Olympic medalist Clara Hughes is asking people to talk, specifically about mental health.
Hughes is embarking on a 110-day ride across Canada, Clara’s Big Ride, covering 12,000 km in every province and territory hitting 95 communities to discuss the cause of mental health at the grassroots level.
Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk will begin March 14 in Toronto and head east with a stop in New Glasgow on April 16.
“Clara will be arriving at some point off the highway in the afternoon of April 16 and she will be taking part in a speaking event at 7 p.m. at the Wellness Centre that night,” explains Maureen Jones, manager of Mental Health Services community initiatives with the Pictou County Health Authority.
Jones was contacted by Bell regarding hosting an event in the community as New Glasgow was identified as a possible stopping place for Hughes during her cross-Canada bike tour.
“Part of the plan includes Clara stopping in various communities in Nova Scotia and we were asked if we were willing to be one of the communities and plan an event,” explains Jones. “So we set up a partnership with the local Pictou County Mental Illness Family Support Group and the Department of Mental Health Services, both of which will be co-sponsoring the event entitled Pictou County Voices for Mental Health.”
The event on April 16 will include emcee Starr Dobson, as well as keynote speaker Clara Hughes and entertainment by George Canyon, Dave Gunning, Karen Corbin and youth band The Third Step. There will also be a presentation by lawyer Tim Daley.
“Doors for the event will open at 6 p.m. and it will run from 7 p.m. to about 9:15 p.m.”
Jones is pleased to be able to be part of such a momentous event in the community.
“It’s an awareness raiser for sure,” she says. “The primary motivation is to draw attention to the issue of mental health and help get rid of some of the stigma that still surrounds mental health. Clara Hughes is lending her name to a very big cause and showing people it’s not something to be ashamed of and that it’s okay to seek help.”
Jones says in her line of work, this is an absolutely unbelievable opportunity.
“This is fantastic – a once in a lifetime opportunity to have someone of this caliber speak to the issue of mental health.”
Jones says the support they have received from the community in putting this event on has been incredible.
“There seems to be a lot of interest and we have received numerous donations for raffle and door prizes,” she says.
Jones says there will also be pledge sheets at local businesses to sign and show that you are a champion for mental health and that it is something worthy of your support and respect, just as much as other health issues.
“We have had a number of signatures already and what we are going to do is gather them in a decorated binder and present them to Clara during the event.”
Mental health is not a stranger to Pictou County and in fact, Jones says there is always an issue trying to meet the need for those requiring mental health services, and being able to offer the wide range of services to those in need.
“All of the proceeds raised at the event will stay in Pictou County and we have decided to put them towards a new program through the Department of Mental Health Services and the Pictou County Mental Illness Family Support Group called Families Matter in Mental Health which begins on March 19. It is an 11-week program to help support the families of those suffering from mental illness.”
Tickets for the event are $25 and will go on sale soon, including March 14 and 15 at the Pictou County Wellness Centre and then at other locations.
“I can’t wait to ride to communities in every corner of the country, meeting Canadians where they live and talking to them about how together we can make a real and positive difference in the nation’s mental health,” said Hughes in a press release. “Mental illness directly impacts one in five Canadians and affects all of us in some way.”
Hughes is expected to finish her ride on Canada Day in Ottawa.
Visit www.Bell.ca/ClarasBig-Ride or follow at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk or on Twitter at @Bell_LetsTalk.
“One of the things that is important about this event is that is raises awareness of the services and supports for mental health in our area,” says Jones. “We will have a mini mental health fair set up at the event with displays from all of the different agencies detailing their services so that people get a good sense of all of the services available to them in Pictou County and how to access them.”
The Pictou Youth Centre is closed again.
This time it wasn’t vandalism that caused the building to close, but a crack in the water boiler sitting above the men’s washroom in the youth centre that began leaking last Tuesday evening.
“The water boiler cracked and it leaked down into the youth centre, causing a lot of damage,” says Dave Porter, spokesman for the Pictou Youth Centre.
“There was a drain nearby which helped, but the ceiling is gone and you can see the leak continuing to come through.”
The building is owned by the Town of Pictou and the repair will be very costly, so Porter is hoping that the youth will step up and help out with the costs.
“The town helped them by providing the space to use for the youth centre so it only makes sense that they help the town in return.”
Porter says at this point, it is unclear what happens next.
“The boiler needs to be replaced but we don’t know when that will happen because money is tight, so we are looking for a new spot to go until that gets fixed,” he says.
Porter says there was no damage to the furniture inside, including the pool table and the mini ramp, however, the youth centre now has 30 days to dismantle the ramp or find new insurance to cover the liability associated with it.
“We are looking at other companies and contacting other spaces that run skate board ramps, but with the centre not open and not being able to use the ramp, there’s not really any point to that right now.”
The issue now becomes, where will the youth go?
There is no space large enough to accommodate what the youth have in the facility at this time.
“But even if they just had a place to go and sit down, hang out with each other,” explains Porter.
This unfortunate incident will definitely put a wrench in plans the youth had for community projects including a partnership with EastLink TV where the youth would put together a program detailing community efforts.
“We are still going ahead with the youth forum in the fall,” says Porter.
“Right now it is more difficult to communicate because we don’t have that casual interaction, but we put the call out to the youth to meet with them and give them an opportunity to step up and really take over and help out the town.”
Porter says the kids will likely be out doing some fundraising which will fall back on the community, so he is asking for the community’s support.
“I hope people will be receptive to the kids. We understand everybody is fundraising but we just ask the people in town to have patience with the kids. I also want to thank the community because this community just keeps giving. It’s an amazing source of pride to know that I live in a community like that.”
If you would like to help out or have a space for the youth to meet, contact David Porter by phone at 754-2128 or by email at email@example.com.
WESTVILLE – There remains strong sentiment to return students to an idle school in Westville.
More than a dozen people addressed the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board’s most recent public meeting on Monday at Walter Duggan Elementary School and repeated their contention that Highland Consolidated Middle School in Westville should reopen.
HCMS students have been attending Dr. W.A. MacLeod School in Riverton, and the province has allocated $3.75 million to renovate the school the students occupy suitable for middle school-aged education.
Monday’s meeting is the last one scheduled before the school board decides the Westville school’s fate. The board has until the end of March to decide but it will likely do so at its next regular meeting on March 19 in Truro.
The former high school in Westville was built in 1965. It has been closed for nearly two years due to complaints about odour. An examination of HCMS concluded the repairs would cost $1.5 million but was given no guarantee it would alleviate the odour problems.
An impact assessment review committee chaired by Gina Fagan met six times, including a public meeting in November. Its overview reported that all academic needs are being met but many activities are unavailable until the renovations are done.
Fagan said the committee’s decision to accept the school board’s recommendation to keep the HCMS students at the MacLeod school is based on the provincial funding for improvements. Should that work not take place, the committee advocated remediating the school in Westville to allow the students to return there as soon as possible.
Many speakers questioned spending more money at MacLeod than it would cost to repair HCMS.
Westville Mayor Roger MacKay noted the 70 per cent of 250 respondents who indicated support for returning the students to Westville.
“The board is constantly referring to HCMS as an unhealthy environment,” he said. “We cannot understand how it can justify spending an extra $2 million when it isn’t necessary.”
Kevin Waller said the school board needs to account for going against public opinion.
“I don’t have a whole lot of confidence in the school board,” he said. “We don’t have a whole lot of alternatives.”
Bernie Murphy said the board “has tried to convince the public through fear that HCMS can’t be repaired.”
Maurice Campbell was among speakers who said HCMS needs to fix a sewer problem and a cleaning so it could reopen next September and challenged Stellarton-Westville school board representative Ron Marks to speak.
“I said I want HCMS to open,” Marks responded. “I need someone to tell me that the school will be safe before we make a decision.”
“What we do helps the community and enhances health care; it’s about making patient’s lives better right here in our community,” said Susan Malcolm of the Aberdeen Health Foundation, speaking at the AGM last week.
The meeting was hosted at the Pictou County Wellness Centre with guest speaker Murray Hill.
Hill, who has chaired the Pictou County Health Authority for the past 12 years and the Provincial Council of Health Authority Chairs, said, “When we strip away all else, health matters most.”
According to Hill, last year Canada spent $211 billion on health care – up 2.6 per cent from the previous year.
“That means we are spending just shy of $6,000 for every Canadian, 30 per cent of that is going to hospitals, 16 per cent to drugs and 30 per cent to physicians.”
In Hill’s eyes, Canada does not have a free health care system. It is funded 70 per cent by the public and 30 per cent privately.
“We spend most of our money fixing sick people. Our focus is on healing the sick rather than maintaining wellness. We need to get much better at focusing on the wellness side,” he said.
From 2001 to 2012, 17 of the 18 counties in Nova Scotia saw a decline in residents aged 50 and under; 11 of those communities saw at least a 20 per cent decrease, and this is a problem.
“Residents in Nova Scotia have the shortest life span of all Canadians and Pictou County residents have the shortest lifespan in Nova Scotia,” stated Hill. “Health care needs in Northern Nova Scotia are distinct; what works elsewhere will not likely work here. We need to customize health care afforded to our residents.”
Preventative chronic disease is also making this generation the first to live a shorter lifespan than their parents.
“Nova Scotia spends half of our tax dollars provincially on health care.” That reflects the $7.5 million that was removed from local health care services over the last four years by the government.
But Hill says there are plans to help the local health authority function more smoothly.
The plans are contained in a 275-page report available on the Pictou County Health Authority’s website for viewing, the master program master plan.
“My point is that we just entered 2014, we are six years away from the time we had in mind when we developed the plan and the time to start to move forward is now,” he noted. “We have already made strides with the rebuilding of the emergency department and the pharmacy as well as moving the lab collection services and offices off the Aberdeen site.”
And, he says, this forward thinking needs to continue. There are plans in the report that allow for a new structure on the grounds where the former nurses residence stood.
“We have provisions for something to be built there and the bricks and mortar are in place.”
Hill says this report will serve all residents in Pictou County and their needs. It is a four phase project that is currently in phase one.
“I just want to thank the foundation for doing such a fantastic job and providing funding for equipment and services for us. There are very few communities that have the support we do here and we appreciate that.”
Susan Green is incoming chair, taking over for Wade Taylor.
In 2013, the AHF provided more than $1 million in enhancements to health care in Pictou County, making the total since 1986 more than $15 million.
This past year, they put $108,000 in women’s and children’s health; $184,000 in central sterilization; $247,000 in diagnostic imaging; $388,000 in surgery; $2,500 in the Dr. Johnnie Miles Williston Education Fund; $4,995 in Sandbar Mental Health Endowment; $4,000 to Bain Langley Palliative Care Education Endowment; $8,000 in Palliative Care Unit Endowment; $13,707 for Children’s Aid Society Endowment; $35,000 for AHF Education Fund and $73,635 in specified donations. The Children’s Aid Society Endowment, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County, Pictou County’s Women’s Centre and Youth Health Centres will also receive support. The Legacy Fund will go towards supporting the natural outdoor play space at New Glasgow Academy.
The Roots for Youth Society is preparing to talk about youth homelessness and work toward finding solutions.
On Thursday, March 6, a roundtable discussion will be held 1-3 p.m. at the Life Center in New Glasgow to address these issues and work toward finding solutions to help the youth in our community. This call to action is to engage the public and spread the word on what needs to be accomplished.
David Porter, executive director of Roots for Youth Society says, “The challenge our community faces in addressing youth homelessness is that it is faceless and wants to remain so. The deeper crisis of homelessness is rooted in issues of youth violence, family breakdown, abuse, mental illness and affordable housing. On top of this are all the personal issues and struggles that an individual may be experiencing along with the self-doubt and embarrassment that accompany it.”
The Society ensures that youth have a supported living environment to carry them from crisis today to accomplishment tomorrow. Without Roots House, youth lose support for self-esteem, life skills development and feelings of belonging and acceptance do not exist. “If these factors are left unchecked, youth will be forced to live in decreasingly unhealthy situations.”
Artisans in Action will not be taking place this year. It had become something many people looked forward to in the Town of Pictou to kick off the tourist season.
This would have been the sixth year for the event which showcased local artists in various downtown businesses.
“I think there will be people looking for it, but for us it was starting to become a bit of a challenge,” explains Donna Bullerwell, co-organizer.
Bullerwell used to do a fibre arts day at the McCulloch Heritage Centre, which she had been doing for seven years. She was approached by Linda MacDonald from Rags to Rugs to see about extending it.
“We conceived the whole thing in an hour,” says Bullerwell. “She (MacDonald) represented the businesses and I represented the artists.”
Originally, Bullerwell says the goal was simply to attract foot traffic back to downtown Pictou.
“We wanted businesses to adopt artists’ work for a week to increase foot traffic in downtown Pictou and to highlight the local artists,” she says. “The first year was good and the second year was even better, but the third year was not so great because we had a lot of businesses gone.”
That’s when Artisans in Action moved to the Hector Quay area.
“But that was not our intention, to sit at the Quay; we wanted people to walk around and see what Pictou had to offer.”
It also became a challenge money wise when grants to cover the cost of advertising were coming in six months after the event, and the cost being swallowed up by Bullerwell and MacDonald.
“We just couldn’t run it in the hole,” she says. “It also takes a lot of time and effort to organize the event and promote local artists and local businesses, which were disappearing.”
Bullerwell says a number of positives came out of Artisans in Action, like businesses wanting to keep artists’ work in their stores.
“Every year we tried to be a little bigger and a little better and we were building up for this year, organizing more sessions with artists. But to do that we needed more funding which brought us into grant writing and that just took too much time. We were starting to stretch ourselves too thin,” she says.
That’s not to say that if someone else wanted to take over the event, that they couldn’t make it happen. “We would love to help someone out if they were willing to take it over,” says Bullerwell.
In the meantime, Bullerwell is hoping to have artist demonstrations every Sunday at the McCulloch Heritage Centre throughout the tourist season.
Isaac Fraser is as happy as can be, especially since he got his new Rifton Pacer.
Fraser was diagnosed with a type of congenital muscular dystrophy called dystroglycanopathy, a very rare form of MD.
Fraser, who is one and a half, will eventually require a wheelchair and numerous community groups and organizations have taken it upon themselves to help him get it.
“Overall, he’s doing very well,” says mother Sarah MacKinnon. “He’s rolling lots and he got a new Rifton Pacer gait trainer so he is loving that.”
The gait trainer allows Fraser to use his leg muscles and get around while still being supported.
“A couple of families at Christmas put their money together and instead of buying him toys, they got him the gait trainer,” says MacKinnon. “He really enjoys it.”
An article in The Advocate was mentioned to a woman in Calgary who contacted MacKinnon because her son has the same condition. From there, MacKinnon was put in touch with a doctor in California who had MacKinnon put on an international registry and that’s where she met a woman from Atlanta, Georgia who has helped her significantly.
“It has been such a big help to me to be able to talk to someone whose child has the same condition,” she says. “It really helped me push for what I think Isaac needs next which is why he has the gait trainer. I never would have known about it if it wasn’t for the woman in Atlanta.”
MacKinnon and her new friend speak almost daily and share information on what has worked and what hasn’t worked in terms of treatment options and therapies.
Tyler MacLean, a Grade 2 student at Scotsburn Elementary School, started a pop tab campaign at the school to get Fraser a wheelchair and MacKinnon thinks they are very close to their goal.
Scotsburn Elementary has collected 425,454 pop tabs and 16,385 were collected by a single class in one month.
Fraser’s grandmother, Jean MacDonald, works at Scotsburn Elementary and she says people keep bringing in tabs for her.
Pictou Elementary School is also collecting tabs, where Fraser’s great aunt June Hill works, as has Pictou Academy, McCulloch Junior High School and the Pictou Youth Centre.
The tabs have been collected and placed in a FanTABulous garden at the front entrance of Scotsburn Elementary so everyone can see.
“We had no idea the pop tabs were going to come in so quickly, it’s crazy,” says MacDonald. “A lot of people have been dropping them off. Everyone who donates gets a flower for the garden.”
MacKinnon says they receive $0.50 per pound of pop tabs and it takes 3,400 tabs to make a pound.
“We just take them to the local bottle depot.”
Fraser’s first chair, which he will get when he is around 3 years old, will be a transfer chair and MacKinnon believes they may already have enough tabs for this.
“I’m hoping with the gait trainer he will learn to walk some, but we never know what the future holds, so it’s a relief to know that we have that money when we need it.”
In fact, MacKinnon says she didn’t even get a chance to look into funding options through the province for a chair because of the outpouring of community support. When he needs a power chair it will cost in the vicinity of $12,000 and she will require funding assistance at that point.
Every six months, Fraser sees a neurologist at the IWK as well as physical training every two weeks and speech therapy every week. They are going to be starting an activity board and learning sign language to communicate.
But in the meantime, Fraser requires a feeding tube to make sure he is getting the proper nutrients because he is having trouble swallowing.
MacKinnon is taken aback by the community support.
“There’s no question he’ll get his wheelchair before he needs it and maybe then we can help someone else get one,” says MacKinnon.
“Our next step right now is to count the pop tabs and see what we have, if we have too many then we can donate them to help someone else. We’re just so lucky to have all of this support for Isaac; he has everything he needs and all of the opportunity to reach great potential. A lot of new doors have opened for us that we didn’t have before.”
And Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane is going to mention Tyler MacLean’s efforts in the House.
“Thanks to the community we’re where we need to be with Isaac. There’s nothing he’s missing out on.”
For anyone looking to donate the tabs, MacDonald asks you hold off because, “We are going to run out of room at the school,” she laughs.