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Small town, small batches

PICTOU COUNTY – A local company, Nova Scotia Spirit Company, has launched the province’s first locally produced rum, gin, and vodka in the sub $30 category at the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission stores.
“Coming from Cape Breton and having cut my teeth working in local Halifax pubs, I knew people want a quality local product but at a reasonable price point. That is why Nova Scotia Spirit Co. products were born – local and affordable,” says Evan MacEachern, general manager of the Nova Scotia Spirit Co.
Based in Pictou County, the small company wanted their brand to pay homage to the history and culture of their location. They found that answer on the building’s front door on day, in a local job poster: Commercial lobster fishermen from Balantyne’s Cove Antigonish County is looking to hire a helper for the summer. Basic requirements: sober, alert, willing to learn.
“We were racking our brains to come up with names for our products then one morning this job ad shows up, posted on our door. It was perfect; really spoke to the hardworking culture that Nova Scotia was built on.”
Nova Scotia Spirit Co. later found out that it was for local fishermen Keith Adam’s.
Nova Scotia Spirit Co. is a Nova Scotia company based in Pictou County. Currently proud to be the regions fastest growing distillery, their aim is to bring world class spirits to Nova Scotian’s at an affordable price.

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Christmas cheer with cards

Tis the season to spread a little good cheer, and a local woman is hoping to do just that.
Nicole LeBlanc is building on a greeting card project she began last year. With lots of help from the community, her colleagues and friends, the project was a tremendous hit.
But LeBlanc is quick to deflect credit for the project’s success.
“I just really want to help enable others to share the Christmas spirit,” she said.
Last year, LeBlanc collected Christmas cards in honour of her grandmother Evelyn, who was in palliative care then passed away shortly before Christmas. LeBlanc explained that at the foot of her grandmother’s hospital bed was a bulletin board where she would pin photos and cards. “She looked at it all day long – instead of at the TV.” LeBlanc was inspired by this.
The collected cards were then dropped off to those in palliative care in the Aberdeen Hospital, as well as to those on a few other floors. More than 325 cards were sent last year, bringing smiles to the faces of both the senders and the receivers.
Cards were also dropped off at the nursing stations on other floors and given to other healthcare professionals.
This year, LeBlanc’s grandfather Burt is in hospital. “I want to honour him and honour my grandmother by collecting cards again.”
Cards will be dropped off anonymously around Pictou County at the Aberdeen Hospital, to the local nursing homes, the Life Shelter and – “I’m open to any suggestions of local places,” LeBlanc offered.

How it works:
1. Grab some extra cards, leftover cards or make cards (“I received a few coloured pictures from kids last year and it was the sweetest thing.”).
2. Collect cards from friends or family who you think would like to donate.
3. Give them to LeBlanc already filled out (Write your own messages like ‘Someone is thinking of you this holiday season’, etc.) or provide blank cards and LeBlanc will round up some elves and have them fill them out.
4. Arrange with LeBlanc to pick them up or drop them off yourself. The Advocate office on George Street in Pictou is a drop-off location; or mail to Nicole LeBlanc, PO Box 256 Trenton, NS, B0K 1S0.
“The people who champion (the project) are the ones who donate the cards,” LeBlanc encouraged.
For additional information, search out the project on Facebook at Spreading Christmas Cheer in Pictou County through cards. LeBlanc is hoping to have all of the cards collected by December 9 for distribution.

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Locals recognized at tourism summit

HALIFAX – The Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) hosted the Crystal Tourism Awards of Excellence on November 24 as the grand finale to the 38th Annual Tourism Summit – We Are Tourism.
During the awards presentation, eight Crystal Tourism Awards were presented to organizations and individuals who have excelled in their particular category. A local organization was among the award winners. The Pictou County Cruise Ship Committee and the owner/operator of Birchwood Campground & Cabins received awards.
Winners were:
· Pictou County Cruise Ship Committee – Tourism Champion Award
· Restaurants for Change – Nova Scotia – Community Service Award
· Big Spruce Brewing, Cape Breton – Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award
· Ski Wentworth – Human Resource Leadership Award
· The Lumberjack AXEperience, Barrington – Tourism Innovator Award
· Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 – Ambassador Award
· Glynn Williams, proprietor, Authentic Seacoast Company – Tourism Person of the Year Award
· Hanspeter Stutz, owner, Grand Pré Winery – Alastair & Frances Campbell Tourism Achievement Award
Also presented during the awards ceremony were the 2015 Pineapple Awards – a celebration of the industry’s pride in service and of the individuals who go above and beyond to enrich a visitor’s stay in Nova Scotia. Throughout the year, visitors complete Pineapple Award Nominations located in hundreds of establishments throughout the province. This year’s winner are:

· Roger O’Donnell, owner and operator of Birchwood Campground & Cabins in Pictou
· Trish Julien with the Cambridge Suites Hotel in Halifax
· Jacqueline Belliveau with the Visitor Information Centre in Lunenburg

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41 years and still going strong …

Sunday will mark the 41st telethon of the Pictou County Christmas Fund.
Thanks to those involved in all aspects of the organization as well as those who work behind the scenes and the entertainers who perform, families in Pictou County will have a Christmas dinner.
The annual telethon will take place Sunday at the deCoste Entertainment Centre in Pictou, from 1 to 7 p.m. Everyone is invited to visit and enjoy the entertainment and atmosphere.
Entertainment this year includes the following:
Ashley George and Hayley MacLeod. George has been performing and writing songs since he was 9 years old. He has released several albums and is in the midst of production for a new acoustic album expected to be released in early 2016. MacLeod was originally a student of Fleur Mainville’s before she earned a music education degree from Acadia University. George and MacLeod have been performing together since the Summer of 2015.
Aldo Orsi and Jesse Hemmings. Orsi, of Rockfield, is 18 and a first year psychology student at Dalhousie University. Hemmings, of Merigomish, is 16 and in Grade 11 at North Nova Education Centre. The boys grew up singing in both Pictou District Honour Choir and Seinneadair with Monica George Punke. This year at New Glasgow Music Festival, they were awarded Outstanding Duet of the Festival for their top marks in both Musical Theatre and Folk. Hemmings won the Junior Cup. They love to perform and recently finished work on “The Only Game in Town,” a feature length comedy filmed this summer on the North Shore.
Christina Martin is a multi-award winning Canadian singer-songwriter whose style has been described as an effortless union between Americana and rock with pop sensibility. She has been touring her highly acclaimed new album, It’ll Be Alright, since February to audiences in Canada, United Kingdom and mainland Europe. The album recently garnered Martin five 2015 Nova Scotia Music Award Nominations, including Entertainer of the Year, SOCAN Songwriter of the Year, and Pop Recording of the year.
Dylan Holton is a singer songwriter and musician from Pictou County who uses his powerful voice to share his passion for music and his experiences in love, loss and life. He displays heart warming energy in every performance.
His first album, “Welcome to the Real World” was released in early 2013 and led to a cruise ship tour opportunity headlining his own show through the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexican Riviera, Hawaii and Alaska.
Holton’s first single, “Weight of the World”, was featured in the Top 10 East Coast Canadian Countdown for 10 consecutive weeks, topping the chart at #1 in July 2015. It won honorable mention in the 2015 Unsigned Only International Music Competition.
His second single, “Daisy A Day”, is featured in a wedding video by Boundless Productions touching on the inspiring story of Jenn and Solomon Chau. Holton’s third single, “Yes She Does”, won the Songwriter Universe “Best Song of The Month” Contest for September 2015.
Holton signed a record deal in the summer of 2014 with producer Bill Bell (Jason Mraz, Tom Cochrane, Jimmy Rankin) in Los Angeles, Calif. He released his first professional album in September.
Jon Raven’s energy and commanding vocal ability shine through his infectious rock Americana sound. His knack for melody and stick-in-your-head hooks stem from a lifetime of diverse influences and experiences. He’s originally from Pictou County and spent time living in Nashville.
Surviving a rare form of childhood cancer, Raven’s life began to take on a magical purpose. Knowing that there was so much to live for became the catalyst to reach for his dreams. He spent years polishing and culling his unique crossover style and sound. He drifts with skilled precision from heart-wrenching laments to upbeat spirit rockers that awaken the primal being hiding inside you. His songs come from a passion for life and reveal tender lyrics penned with his heart clearly on his sleeve.
Pat Spaulding is an East Coast acoustic musician, calling Pictou County his home. He writes most of his songs about life in the county. His passionate performances of his original material earned him a spot on the main stage at the 2015 Lobster Carnival and looks forward to this years Christmas fund performance as a way to help give back to the community that supports and inspires his song writing.
Children from the Pictou Landing First Nation School Choir are also currently eagerly practising for the big day.
For anyone who cannot make it to the show, it is aired on East Coast FM and EastLink TV live for people to phone in their pledges.

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Kanokai club hosts championships

NEW GLASGOW – Kanokai Judo Club of New Glasgow is hosting its annual tournament on Saturday.
The tournament will take place at the North Nova Education Centre gym.
Kanokai head coach Cindy Fraser said the tournament is a critical one, doubling as a Judo Nova Scotia Championship event co-hosted by the club and Judo Nova Scotia.
“We’re looking forward to the tournament,” she said. “While we have Judo Nova Scotia championships here, athletes from other provinces will also be here.”
The Kanokai club currently trains on the second level of the Pictou County Gymnastics Club building, the former home for the Pictou County YMCA.

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Scotians make big statement, meet Pirates, host Maple Leafs

TRENTON – The Pictou County Scotians are making opposing Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League teams take notice.
The Scotians will visit the Strait Pirates on Friday before hosting the Valley Maple Leafs on Sunday at 7 p.m. in Trenton in their next action.
The games follow the Scotians’ weekend sweep that included a 5-4 victory over the host Glace Bay Miners and a 4-1 triumph on Sunday in Trenton over the East Hants Penguins.
Three goals in the third period and outstanding goaltending from Brandon MacDonald helped the Scotians to defeat the Miners at the Glace Bay BayPlex on Saturday.
Matt Papineau scored twice for Pictou County, while single goals came from the sticks of Riley Cameron, Ryan MacDonald and Brad MacEachern.
Brandon MacDonald made 46 saves for the Scotians, who were outshot 50-31.
The Scotians trailed 3-2 before their third-period rally. The Miners’ fourth goal came with just 20 seconds left.
On Sunday, the Scotians took an early 2-0 lead on goals by James Murphy and Christopher Brooker and never looked back.
The Penguins’ goal came later in the first period, while the Scotians padded their lead on goals by Bradley MacEachern in the second period and Joshua Hartley in the third.
The Scotians outshot the Penguins 36-32.
The two victories gave the Scotians a winning record with nine wins against seven losses to solidify their second place position in the league’s Sid Rowe Division standings. They trail the first-place Miners by 10 points and lead the third-place Pirates by seven points.

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Crushers test Caps, Wildcats

WESTVILLE ROAD – The Pictou County Weeks continue to hold a narrow lead in the MHL’s Eastlink Division as they prepare for two more games this week.
The Crushers will host the Summerside Western Capitals on Thursday at the Pictou County Wellness Centre and will visit the Valley Wildcats on Saturday.
They hung onto first place in their division partly on the strength of a 4-3 shootout victory over the Wildcats last Thursday at the Wellness Centre and lead the Valley by one point entering this week’s action. They are three points ahead of the third-place Truro Bearcats.
Cole Murphy was the only scorer in the shootout and gave the crushers the win.
The Crushers took the lead three times in the game. Mike Lyle gave them a 1-0 lead before the Wildcats tied it in the first period.
Michael Dill gave them a 2-1 lead before the Wildcats once again drew even and Regan Spears put the Crushers ahead 3-2 in the third period before the Wildcats tied the game and forced extra time.
The Crushers outshot the Valley 29-28.
The Wildcats took the first four penalties in the game and five out of seven in total. But the Crushers had to kill a penalty in the overtime period.
The win offset the Crushers’ 3-1 loss to the Capitals on Saturday in Summerside.
Spears scored the lone goal for the Crushers who trailed 2-1 after the first period and through a scoreless second frame. They outshot the Caps 29-26.
Murphy continues to lead the Crushers in points with 29.

This week’s Chase the Ace draw at the Wellness Centre will be about $4,000. Diane Wilsack chose the six of diamonds.

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County teams made 1965 a great year

I confess I’m just a kid of 77, but I can look back on almost seven decades of sports in Pictou County. Great hockey teams. Great baseball clubs. Great softball achievements. Great athletes, both local and imported.
I confess, too, that one of the primary reasons I continually get delight in reminiscing about county teams is the number of championships and near championships that local clubs enjoyed in “the old days.” Take it from me, those years when we were young must now carry that undesirable time line. To today’s generation, the 1950s and ’60s are, indeed, the old days. But, lest we forget how enjoyable that period was, they were also good days, and they are certainly worthy of remembering after such a long time.
I recall a lot of occasions when I watched county clubs become champions of their leagues, their province and, yes, the Maritimes. Those kinds of triumphs are what fond memories are made of. Winning, anytime, is more fun than losing. Just ask an old Toronto Maple Leafs devotee like me.
Personally, if I go back as far as my mind will allow, I can still recall the 1944-45 hockey season in which the New Glasgow Bombers, under coach Foster Dickson, brought glory to the town in those final weeks of the Second World War. Granted, I was a bit shy of my seventh birthday attending the games with my father, as the Bombers captured the APC League and added Nova Scotia and Maritime titles. No New Glasgow club had reached such a level in nearly four decades.
Jumping ahead a few years, to the early 1950s, I was in my early teens when the Stellarton Albions, coached by Bill Brooks, won consecutive Halifax and District Baseball League championships in 1951, 1952 and 1953, the only club to capture three titles in a row in that high-level circuit.
Baseball fans lucky enough to have witnessed those conquests can’t possibly forget the excitement. It was a wonderful baseball era in our province.
Not long after the Albions, summertime dramas unfolded in Trenton when the senior softball Scotias, with Bink Almon as manager, had a tremendous few years, drawing huge crowds to the steeltown’s north end field, where the home team first dominated play at the senior B level, then became the best senior A club in the Maritimes. Again, sports followers had much to cheer about.
There was another major chapter added to Pictou County’s sports lore later on – in the calendar year of 1965, to be exact. Yes, if you observe the date, it was exactly half a century ago.
What made that a special year? The fact Pictou County teams won championships in senior hockey, intermediate baseball and junior softball. The hockey win came first, but I won’t repeat the details because I did that just two weeks ago. The team was the 1964-65 New Glasgow Rangers that won the Nova Scotia and Maritime senior titles and were inducted into the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame a couple weekends ago. That club, as I wrote earlier, was deep in talent and deserved every bit of applause it received.
Not to be forgotten, there were two other winning teams that year. In baseball, the spotlight was on the Stellarton Keiths, members of the Twilight Senior Baseball League. I remember the club well because I was its president and first base coach. Much of the behind-the-scenes work was done by manager Doug Hoare and Sterling Bain, and it was a pleasure being involved.
Lonnie Reekie was the playing coach, Lyle Carter was brought over from Brookfield, and personnel included George Bushulak, Bert Dalling, Gun Mason, John Ryan, Sammy Turnbull, Ernie Hafey, Stew and Johnny Young, Keith Battist, Bobby Fanning, Frankie MacDonald and Bain. After finishing first, the Keiths ousted the Westville Miners and Antigonish Bulldogs for league honours. Then the Great Village Braves and Springhill Fencebusters were victims as Stellarton added the Nova Scotia title.
The other winning Pictou County team that year? How can Pictonians ever forget? It was the Thorburn Junior Mohawks, the club that in 1965 was seeking the Nova Scotia and Maritime titles for a third straight summer.
Under old softball star Tommy Forsyth and manager Bobby MacDougall, the Mohawk dynasty had started in 1963. The cast of youngsters represented arguably the strongest junior team ever assembled in the county. There were Gordie MacKinnon and Allan MacLaughlin, both standouts when pitching and when batting. Add to them Sammy MacDougall, Donnie Bowden, Mason Johnstone, Hilliard MacDonald, Mel Smith, Steve MacDonald, Francis Kiley, Johnny Kyle, John Vance and Don Fraser.
The 1963 Mohawks set the mark for the following seasons. The road to their initial provincial title went through Trenton, Antigonish, Liverpool and Westmount. Then they whipped the P.E.I. champions, West Prince, to gain the tri-province crown.
Not much changed when Thorburn defended their honours in 1964. The Nova Scotia repeat occurred when they beat Trenton, Antigonish, Point Edward and Sheet Harbour. To win the Maritime title, they again disposed of West Prince. So in 1965, after New Glasgow won senior hockey and Stellarton won in baseball, the Mohawks had one target in mind – domination for a third consecutive season. Nothing else was on their minds, just doing what they had done the two previous years. They weren’t to be denied.
Trenton fell victim for a third time, then the Mohawks took care of opponents from Canso, Newport Station and Point Edward. The Nova Scotia championship was theirs again. To defend the Maritime prize, they again faced Geary, the champs from New Brunswick. Again, no problem. The back-to-back-to-back titles were theirs.
Yes, the Rangers, Keiths and Mohawks made it a year to remember.

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Memorial tourney gets lift

PICTOU – Hosting the Teresa Gallant Memorial Hockey Tournament in the fall is paying off for Pictou Minor Hockey, president Mary K. Tooke says.
The tournament was moved to November after several recent late-winter cancellations when hockey teams were immersed in playoff games.
“It’s been a great weekend,” Tooke said. “Teams were involved in playoffs and could not commit to the tournament when it used to be scheduled. This is a much better time for it.”
The result has been some exciting hockey for the Pictou Maripacs, host teams in both the Midget A and Bantam divisions for the tournament that began on Friday and ended on Sunday.
“We got good crowds, especially when the Pictou teams were playing,” Tooke said.
Tooke noted registration has passed 160 and is up slightly from last season.
“We’re trying to rejuvenate the program,” she said.
The Midget A Maripacs dropped a 4-2 decision to the Bedford Blues in the championship game to conclude the tournament on Sunday.
The Pacs trailed 1-0 through one period and 3-0 early in the second period before Keil MacDonald scored for Pictou.
Tim Shea narrowed the gap to 3-2 in the third period, but the Blues clinched the division with a late goal.
The Maripacs met the Blues after they won two and tied one in the preliminary games and edged the Antigonish Bulldogs 3-2 in overtime in their cross-over match.
Spencer Nichol was the hero with the overtime winner.
The Pacs trailed 1-0 through one period and got goals from Logan LeBlanc and Robbie Tetreault as the teams entered the third period in the 2-2 tie.
The Maripacs let a 3-2 lead in the second period slip away before settling for a 3-3 tie with the Blues in their first game on Saturday. Tetreault, Keighan Malloy and Connor Skrynsky scored Pictou’s goals.
MacDonald collected one goal and three assists and Nichol added a goal and two assists in the Maripacs’ 6-0 victory over the East Hants Penguins. Shea, Luc Corbin, Tetreault and Malloy also scored.
MacDonald’s three goals and two assists led the Maripacs’ 10-1 romp against the Thunder from Lancaster, N.B. in their first game on Friday.
Tetreault added two goals, while Skrynsky, LeBlanc, Dante Flannigan, Tyler MacLennan and Nichol also scored.
The Blues advanced to meet the Maripacs after shutting out the West Hants Warriors 3-0.

The Maripacs split their first two games, outscoring Acadia 6-4 on Friday and dropping a 5-4 decision to the Bedford Blues, but dropped a 5-3 decision to the Halifax Hawks.
Jake Murray’s two goals and two assists led the Maripacs’ win. Ethan Dewar, Burke Murray, Kaleb Clarke and Justin MacLennan notched single goals.
The Pacs trailed 2-1 after the first period but took a 4-3 lead into the third period.
Against Bedford, the Maripacs tied the game three times, but the Blues took a two-goal lead in the second period and outlasted Pictou.
Burke Murray, Dewar, MacLennan and Jake Murray scored for the Maripacs.
Clarke, Edward Roberts and Blake Murray scored for Pictou against the Hawks.
The Dartmouth Whalers downed the Hawks 5-2 in the Bantam B championship game.

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Refugee Sponsorship: Sharing the Journey

Reflecting upon how the “typical Canadian” came to be such, we are reminded that many of our ancestors, whether recent or far-removed by time, came to this country fleeing persecution, searching for a safe place to call home. Perhaps we share more with the waves of refugees sweeping into Europe than we realize.
CAiRN (Communities Assisting Refugees Now!) is a refugee sponsorship project arising out of Pictou United Church which has quickly expanded its membership into the wider community. Founded through an ad hoc committee exploring the possibility since early spring, the effort was fully endorsed by the congregation in early October, and has held two formal meetings since that time. November 18th’s meeting gathered twice as many as the initial gathering, with approximately half of those attending coming from beyond the congregation, ranging from the curious to the committed, many expressing profound gratitude that someone is doing something in response to the world’s greatest refugee crisis since World War II.
Through the Blended Visa Office Referred Program representing travel-ready refugees from a multitude of nations, and under the auspices of Sponsorship Agreement Holder the United Church of Canada, CAiRN is making application to sponsor a refugee family of three or four persons, including at least one child. In this case, the federal government provides six months of social assistance level funding and MSI coverage is assured, leaving the sponsoring organization to raise $27,000, of which CAiRN has already secured just over $14,000 through corporate, organizational and private donation.
While financial support is critical, there is much other work to be done. Six sub-committees have been formed: Application & Paperwork; Community Awareness, Support & Networking; Accommodations & Household Needs; Finance & Fundraising; Welcome & Settlement; Clothing & Personal Needs. All are welcome to join our sponsorship journey through serving on a sub-committee, planning and/or supporting fundraising events, making a financial donation, offering gifts in kind, spreading the word, being neighbourly once the family arrives. There is a place for anyone and everyone who chooses to perpetuate Canada’s legacy as one of the world’s top three refugee resettlement countries.
Pictou’s professional community has been quick to respond with legal, medical and dental services already pledged. Local organizations, Summer Street and the Salvation Army Thrift Shop, have been quick to promise clothing for the new arrivals and the Caribou Women’s Institute has committed to holding a community shower to benefit the family.
There are those who are nervous of welcoming refugees into our communities. If we hearken back once again to our local heritage, consider for a moment the suspicious light in which the “traitorous” Scots were held by their British oppressors, and the fine Canadian citizens that have been the legacy of these refugees of yore.
Submitted by Ruth Mackay

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Culture of entitlement, no appreciation

To the Editor:
The owners of Northern Pulp (Paper Excellence / Asia Pulp & Paper) have assumed a culture of entitlement. They think they are entitled to our money, our air and our water. They seem to believe we should make great health, environmental and ‘property use’ sacrifices for the sake of jobs (and their profits of course).
So, instead of thanking the Nova Scotia taxpayers for bailing them out in a time of need, they puff out their chests and brag about how great they are. The fact is simple: the community made things happen.
Do you think Northern Pulp’s owners would have made any improvements without public pressure, government order, and our hard earned tax dollars? Neither do I.
Remember that Northern Pulp operated their facility at record breaking production levels for years with non-functioning filtration equipment. And bragged about that, too. Yet, NP continues to show zero appreciation for the sacrifices made by area residents.
Also remember that Northern Pulp just received another government Directive for failing emissions tests on the power boiler. Do you think that the improvements that are going to be required on that equipment will be made by NP without public pressure, a government order, or government money? Neither do I. Otherwise, the improvements would have already been made.
Northern Pulp’s stories come from the good end of the pipe. The stories are much different at the other end.
Dave Gunning
Lyons Brook

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County already valued refuge

People in Pictou County are used to going the extra mile.
We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.
That’s why we will some day look back fondly and reverently on our part in rescuing some of the 25,000 mainly Syrian refugees Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged Canada will welcome by year’s end. Not every community is able or willing to do what Pictou County is about to do, in the same way that not every country commands the largesse Canada is demonstrating.
Time and again, people in Pictou County saw a problem and sought to address it, saw something going well that people here wanted to do better.
The result has been operations that address urgent needs when people decided not to wait for someone else, especially governments, to do the job. The list is a long one and has augmented work by service and church groups. It includes Pictou County Help Line, Pictou County Fuel Fund, CHAD, LORDA, Let Abilities Work, Tearmann House, Life Shelter, Life Centre, Roots House and local food banks.
That is why the Syrian refugee program will succeed. We don’t know yet if the year-end deadline will be met, but groups big and small are getting ready. They have met on behalf of churches in New Glasgow, Pictou, Scotsburn and elsewhere. Various communities throughout Nova Scotia are matching their compassion with competence.
There are several reasons why Canada is admitting 25,000 Syrian refugees.
First, so many groups have volunteered. They realize those being transported here have been displaced for years. They understand that we can’t wait. Any resolution to the four-year-old conflict within Syria won’t come in time for the thousands of Syrians who had a better chance of survival by leaving the country – by land or sea.
Second, it’s what countries with any kind of civility and courage are compelled to do. Canadians cannot wipe their consciences clean with this mission, not with a history that includes abuse of Aboriginals, rejection of Jews when we had a chance to prevent their one-way trip to Nazi death camps. But it’s a start.
A third reason is momentum. We have come too far with this project to unnecessarily delay or abandon it. By the day, every facet of this mission is coming together. There is no second chance to get it done, let alone get it done right.
What is not being discussed much is how this project will be evaluated, because there will be more refugee missions after this one – from the Middle East or somewhere. Short of restoring failed states, the need is seemingly endless.
Our abiding legacy in Pictou County is that some of us did our part to help others when they needed it.

Steve Goodwin

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Residents ‘dig’ results from summer event

PICTOU – Non-evidence in archaeology is still evidence – although Darryl Kelman appreciates that it’s not quite as “fun”.
Last Sunday Kelman, of Kelman Heritage Consulting, revealed the findings of the dig he led on the grounds of the McCulloch House in Pictou this past June. That dig, part of the province-wide Archaeology Day, sought to find the exact location and perhaps some artifacts from the so-called Log College – the first educational facility present in the Town of Pictou.
The Log College was built by Thomas McCulloch on his property and is seen now as the first step towards Pictou Academy. The building was built in the early 1800s, however, it was burnt to the ground not long after, likely as a result of criminal activity, he says. While a revered figure in the town’s history today, the Thomas McCulloch of yore had his share of enemies.
With the burning of the Log College and its subsequent replacements, Kelman noted that there is a “history of burning schools in Pictou.”
Historical records show that the Log College was built near the northwest corner of the McCulloch house or, in layman’s terms, behind it and to the left. The exact location beyond this, however, has been lost to history.
The facility served between 30 and 40 students and McCulloch attempted to obtain government support in its rebuilding and even raised £100 through public fundraising but the school was never rebuilt, as such. Instead the first of many buildings to be known as the Pictou Academy was built in 1816.
Last Sunday, a few of the local residents who took part in June’s dig, as well as Dr. Mikael Haller of the St. Francis Xavier University Anthropology department, and recent grad student Meghann Livingston, shared memories of the swampy Nova Scotian morning and equally Nova Scotian balmy afternoon, and of an eager youngster who took the rather unscientific approach of digging for relics from the bottom of a drilling hole rather than slowly and methodically stripping back layers of soil in hopes for treasures from years gone past.
The question on everyone’s minds, however, was: Was their effort worth it? And the answer to that, unfortunately, is inconclusive.
The dig did uncover a fair bit of charcoal, which is exactly what the archaeologists were hoping to find. But Kelman noted that the presence of charcoal in and of itself does not confirm that their dig spot was the location of the Log College but no charcoal would, for the most part, rule the location out.
The most exciting discovery from the dig is a small, thin piece of slate about an inch and a half or four centimetres long. The piece of slate appeared to be broken off a larger piece but was notable as it had one clean edge and the piece was tapered on that edge. Kelman said he suspects this piece of slate was used as a writing tablet which leads him to believe the dig was “in the right ballpark.”
The slate created a small divide among those in attendance. One man offered the alternative theory that it may have been a chip off an old slate roof shingle while others offered that the piece’s tapered edge was consistent with old writing tablets which would have been tapered along the side and framed with wood.
Kelman said he was hopeful to be able to return to Pictou in 2016 to conduct another dig on the property. If so, Kelman said he would like to have a smaller, but more thorough dig.

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Shaking things up for 11th year

This year’s signature event for the Canadian Cancer Society, the Relay for Life, is getting a revamp in Pictou County.
After just celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the organizing committee has decided to shake things up for the county’s 11th year of the fundraiser.
Next year’s relay has been set to take place on Saturday, June 11, 2016 and rather than taking place at the Parkdale track as it has since it began in Pictou County, this year’s Relay for Life will be hosted at Glasgow Square and will be six hours long rather than 12.
“It’s going to be more intimate because it’s all together,” said Vicki Moore, leadership chair for the planning committee of Pictou County Relay for life.
The event will be hosted both inside and outside with things like the survivors ceremony taking place inside while there will be a route or track to walk outside.
“This is a way to reinvent it,” said Susan Kaiser-Mingo, district co-ordinator for the northeast region.
She said that this location will be easier for participants to hear what’s going on as sometimes the size of the Parkdale track would make it difficult to hear at the other end.
She also noted that for the survivors who may still be undergoing treatment, a slightly smaller track would be easier to walk.
“We want to get our survivors more involved,” said Moore about not only the big day itself but they would like to hold more events for survivors leading up to the relay.
Kaiser-Mingo noted that if any teams have questions about the changes they can contact her at 902-752-2694.
Since it started in Pictou County 10 years ago, the local Relay for Life has been one of the top fundraisers in Nova Scotia. Over the last 10 years, Pictou County has raised $1,340,000, which goes toward things like Cancer Connection, The Lodge that Gives, Camp Good Time and Cancer Info Services.

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Retailer reveals ‘Super’ surprise

NEW GLASGOW – Some grocery shoppers enjoyed a real treat last Tuesday at the Atlantic Superstore in New Glasgow when they got to the cashier and were told their groceries were free.
“It was part of a promotion we did for three weeks called Market Moments,” explains Trevor MacInnis, assistant manager at Atlantic Superstore New Glasgow. “There were 100 locations throughout Canada selected to give free groceries.”
MacInnis says it was not only a surprise to the customers, but to the staff as well.
“Our manager knew, but we didn’t know until (it happened). Whoever was in line-up at the time of the announcement at the cash was roped off…”
The song Celebration by Kool and the Gang started playing and the store manager got up on a ladder, dressed as a Christmas elf, and told the customers about the Market Moments program and what the store has been doing over the last three weeks before making the announcement that their groceries would be free.
“On Halloween we had staff hand out candy at the Aberdeen Hospital and on Remembrance Day we gave nibbler and fruit and veggie trays to veterans,” explains MacInnis. “This was such a big surprise, we were excited to do it. Last year only a few stores did it (free groceries) but this year it was expanded massively. It’s fun for us.”
After the announcement, confetti cannons went off around the cash area.
“Some people were teary-eyed. One woman told us she taught retail at (one of the high schools) and she tells her students that Superstore is one of the best for customer service and she was videoing the whole thing so she could show her students. Then we had another man tell us that the man in front of him in line had five children and his grocery order was close to $500 and when they made the announcement he was so grateful because he said he didn’t know how he was going to pay his power bill this month.”
Ashlee Farrell was one of the customers who was surprised by the holiday gesture.
“It was an amazing feeling to be told you just got free groceries! Being so close to Christmas it was a great gift to receive and be part of.”
Farrell had no idea this would be happening. She was making a quick stop in to pick up a few items while her daughter was at dance lessons.
“There was a lot of clapping and very happy people.”
MacInnis says there were a couple of full orders of groceries.
As for whether they will do it again next year, random stores are chosen so they never know.
“When we do Market Moments, we try to do as much as we can, like give away coupons and spin the wheel for prizes and free grocery items.”
Market Moments ended November 18.
“The whole (idea) is just to give back to the customer and appreciate them for their loyalty. We even had our district manager here passing out roses to the women.”

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Help Line’s Breakfast with Santa runs Dec. 5

NEW GLASGOW – Organizers of Pictou County Help Line’s fourth annual breakfast with Santa hope for another banner event.
This year’s edition of the pancake and sausage breakfast is slated for Saturday, Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to noon at Summer Street, with all proceeds going to the local agency that provides confidential, telephone-based service. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased by calling 755-5790.
“Last year we had an excellent crowd, so I encourage people to buy their tickets in advance,” said Arlis MacCallum, executive director.
Santa’s visit will be a major part of the morning’s activities that include face painting, cookie decorating and colouring.
“Santa will be there and a photographer will take pictures with Santa,” MacCallum said. “It costs $5 but it’s not just for kids. Everyone is welcome for breakfast and everyone is invited to get their picture taken with Santa, no matter what age they are.”
MacCallum said proceeds from the breakfast are crucial to keep the agency operating before it closes next May.
Besides being a navigator and listening ear, Pictou County Help Line is also a referral agency for such organizations as the Pictou County Fuel Fund, Pictou West Food Bank and St. Vincent de Paul Societies.
“It’s been an excellent fund-raiser,” she said of the breakfast. “This time it’s extremely important, with Help Line closing. We need the support to continue our services to the end of May.”

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National recognition for local manager

NEW GLASGOW – A local fast food manager has earned recognition from her restaurant’s national office.
Michelle Corcoran from the New Glasgow McDonald’s has received a 2015 Outstanding Manager of the Year Award from McDonald’s Canada.
Corcoran, who has been a McDonald’s restaurant manager for four years, was recognized as an integral member of the business due to her contribution to building sales, guest satisfaction, staff training and development, co-ordination of local marketing programs and local restaurant operations.
“I am very honoured,” said Corcoran. “I love my job and enjoy interacting with our guests every day. I’m also proud to work with a great team who continues to deliver the very best, top-quality service.”
Corcoran has been working with McDonald’s Canada for 34 years, starting in St. John’s. She joined the New Glasgow restaurant as a second assistant in 2000 and worked her way up to manager. She is respected by her team and knows many guests by first-name.
“Michelle is a dedicated leader who always goes above and beyond to provide the quality service our guests expect and deserve from McDonald’s,” said McDonald’s Franchisee Larry Swenson.
“She is an integral part of our team and our community. This award is extremely well deserved and I am very proud of her.”
The Outstanding Manager of the Year Award is one of McDonald’s Canada’s top honours and is presented to select restaurant managers across the country for consistent, outstanding performance.

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Enclosed farmers market building to open Saturday

NEW GLASGOW – The enclosed year-round home for the New Glasgow Farmers Market will open on Saturday.
Construction of the new heated facility has been ongoing for the past several months and is advanced enough to accommodate vendors and winterize the domed structure that has been the market’s seasonal home.
Original plans called for the new building to be available by the end of October, but the market remained open in the dome to keep continuity before the new building was available.
“It’s about getting them into the new building where it’s warmer,” said Geralyn MacDonald, New Glasgow’s director of community economic development.
“There’s still work to be done around the building.”
The farmers’ market has operated each Saturday through the spring and summer and most of the fall and now has room for the same number of vendors in the new building who have occupied the dome.
The market will open as usual at 8:30 a.m. and close at noon through the holiday season until December 19 for what comprises a soft opening for it in the new building.
“We’re so excited,” market manager Kristi Russell said.
A grand opening of the winter market has been slated for January 9 in conjunction with the town’s Chill Out event. Business hours will be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Russell said one goal for the winter market is to bring in groups to conduct workshops on gardening and other topics.
Another grand opening for the summer market is scheduled for May 23, when regular open hours will return.
“That’s when we’ll experience the full effect of the expansion,” Russell said, referring to the opportunity for more vendors in both the new building and the dome, as well as grounds adjacent to them.
“We’ve had a waiting list of vendors, so by then there will be a lot more opportunity for local producers.”
Federal and provincial funding is also being sought for plans by the town and the farmers’ market group to redesign the parking lot used by market customers and provide overflow parking across the street from the market.

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Continued closure a disappointment

The community continues to be concerned about the closure of the Aberdeen Hospital’s short stay mental health unit.
The unit closed temporarily in July and concerns were raised that after three months, the unit is not yet open.
“The closure of the Aberdeen Hospital’s Mental Health inpatient unit in early August was the result of the unavailability of sufficient nursing and psychiatry staff, which made it impossible to provide safe, effective inpatient care,” a press release from the Nova Scotia Health Authority states.
The press release also states that the health authority has been making efforts to recruit new staff with no luck so far.
“I’m disappointed the mental health unit is still temporarily closed, but I’m hopeful it is being addressed. I understand the ER has extra staff on hand to help with mental health emergencies,” said Starr Dobson, president and CEO of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.
The health authority’s press release states that new temporary mental health nursing positions in the emergency department have been helping improve care that patients are receiving, as well as a new crisis clinician that has been hired.
“Residents of Pictou County need to know their community advocates are leading the charge to improve local mental health services. There is support and there is hope. That has not changed,” Dobson added.
Local resident Brenda Dicks, whose father has been a patient of the mental health system for some time, said she is ‘disappointed’ that the unit is still closed.
“Clearly the three months was just lip service to quiet us down; they have no plans to re-open it,” Dicks said.
“It’s just sad.”
“During the past 13 weeks, seven patients required voluntary admission to an adult mental health unit (which is what the Aberdeen Hospital’s mental health inpatient unit is for); four were admitted to neighbouring hospitals, three elsewhere in Nova Scotia,” says the NSHA release.Pictou Centre MLA Pat Dunn, in whose riding the hospital is located said, “I am very worried and disappointed that this unit has not reopened. I have personally discussed with the Minister of Health the importance of acquiring the essential personnel as quickly as possible so the unit can reopen and address the needs of patients in the county.”
Calls to the Aberdeen Hospital for further information on the closure have not been returned.

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Scotsburn prepares for refugee family

You could hear the willingness and thought put into each of the answers given during discussion time as each group huddled over their table, putting themselves in someone else’s shoes.
The idea of sponsoring a refugee family seemed to be accepted whole heartedly during an information meeting at the Scotsburn fire hall Monday evening.
Speakers Alta Munro and Mary Corbett, both from Communities Assisting Refugees Now (CAiRN), hosted discussion for the session and answered any questions residents had about the group that is run by Pictou United Church but open to anyone of any denomination.
Having been working on this project for some time now, CAiRN has already raised more than $14,000 of the $27,000 needed to bring in a family of three to four.
The pair asked five questions to get the participants thinking in a different mindset. The questions included: What significant losses does one experience becoming a refugee? As a refugee, what is your greatest hope or need in settlement? What does our community have to offer a refugee family? What are challenges in welcoming a refugee family and how can we address them? And finally, when would you know you’ve found a home?
CAiRN is hoping to take some of the answers given and use them as suggestions for things they should address for the family they will be sponsoring.
For those who wanted to become involved in or help out with CAiRN and their cause, the group is welcoming help on any of their committees: finance and funding, welcome and settlement, accommodations and household needs, clothing and personal needs, application and paperwork as well as community awareness, support and networking.
“We always need help fundraising,” said Munro. “There may be people that may not even do anything until after the family comes.”
The next meeting for CAiRN will be held December 17 at Pictou United Church at 7 p.m.
“I had a sense of immediate general interest and desire,” said Corbett about the feel of the room. “To see this number here already speaks of community and commitments.”

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Ready to embrace refugees

“No act of kindness is ever too small.”
These words of wisdom from Crystal Murray, director at Advocate Media, opened an information session on refugee sponsorship Monday night at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
Close to 100 people gathered to learn more about helping to bring a refugee family to the area. The room was packed and organizers had to bring in extra chairs. Still, others stood on the sidelines to hear from panelists and community members.
The demographic of the audience was as varied as the communities represented – both urban and rural. There were people from several different county churches and denominations as well as councillors, working professionals and retirees. All were interested in learning how to support a refugee family.
“In Pictou County, we excel when we work together,” Murray lauded.
Representatives from Pictou County Refuge and CAiRN (Communities Assisting Refugees Now) – two groups working to bring refugee families to the county – spoke about their ongoing efforts.
Sarah MacIntosh with Pictou County Refuge, through Trinity United Church, explained the group is working through the church to simplify the visa process with the United Church of Canada, as is CAiRN.
She said refugees are termed ‘travel ready’ through this process and are in refugee camps waiting to be relocated. The federal government provides six months of financial assistance as well as medical coverage.
“There are 12 million refugees in Syria alone and more than half of those numbers are children,” noted MacIntosh. Members of Trinity United Church heard the numbers and wanted to do something because they could.
The group is in the initial stages at this point, and is looking for volunteers; CAiRN has been meeting since the spring through Pictou United Church.
“How quickly this is growing is truly heart warming,” said CAiRN’s Ruth Mackay. “Our feeling is that this is a community effort, not a church-based effort.”
Mackay explained as a group, they decided on looking for a family of three to four people with at least one child so the parents can support one another and the children will help with integrating into the community. “A small community can be a welcoming host to a family.”
The groups must raise $27,000 to bring one family of four to Pictou County and with government funding, that will help the family settle over the period of one year.
“We’ve passed the halfway mark with $16,000 raised,” she said. “The community has responded in spades.” Already, the group has had medical and legal professionals volunteer their services.
Mackay says the response they have received so far has been varied, however, most has been very positive. “People are concerned but most people have said, ‘Thank goodness somebody is doing something about this’,” she said.
Nanda Shirke with the Multicultural Association of Pictou County feels this is the true calling of the association.
Many community members attending the session had questions for the panelists such as how many families will come to Pictou County?
MacIntosh said that’s difficult to answer since the federal government’s plan continues to change regarding the 25,000 refugees that will be entered into Canada. The refugees will not necessarily be from Syria and will be chosen based on a profile provided by the government.
Another resident questioned how many other efforts are taking place.
Mackay noted residents in Antigonish are raising funds for three families with a total of 12 people, and have hit their financial target. Sherbrooke is ready to receive a family from the Congo, but she is not aware of any other efforts in the area.
A question was raised about education on culture and customs and Shirke said MCAPC is ready to assist.
Jim McKenna and Sylvia Dingle expressed concerns that the two groups were not fundraising together. MacIntosh noted the groups haven’t ruled out fundraising together and are keeping the lines of communication open. “This is not a turf war,” she said.
MacIntosh outlined the government’s five-step plan and said, “It would be great if we can grow Pictou County’s numbers, but we are creating a fresh start for these families and they may move on after the year,” explained MacIntosh.
Mackay added, “It’s about what we can do for the family, not what the family can do for us.”
From the audience, Amanda Hill noted it is important for everyone to be cheerleaders for the county and the cause and help get the rest of the community involved. Trinity United Church’s Rev. Donna Tourneur added, “The success of an endeavour like this will depend on the support of the community.”
Pictou’s Luke Young added, “The numbers in Canada are 25,000 people. On a Pictou County scale that’s 30 to 40 people… we need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, ‘What am I going to do in my community?’”
Henderson Paris, New Glasgow, commented, “I’ve lived here all of my life and … and I’m so glad Pictou County has changed and has become a more inclusive community. We need to extend the right hand of fellowship however we can.”
Another community member noted the issues in the media about security: “Security is our problem, if we ostracize them, that’s the way they’ll go… If we welcome them into the community there will be no security problems.”
For more information or to volunteer, check out the CAiRN and upcoming Pictou County Refuge Facebook pages.

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Police arrest man, seize bath salts and firearms after search

STELLARTON – Police arrested a man, seized MDPV (commonly known as “bath salts”) and several long-barrelled hunting rifles with ammunition after executing a search warrant at a home on Pleasant Street.
On November 19 at approximately 10:30 p.m., the Pictou County Integrated Street Crime Enforcement Unit (PCISCEU), with assistance from the Stellarton Police Service, searched a Pictou County home and took the 34-year-old man into custody.
He is charged with:
• Possession of a controlled substance
• Illegal possession of a firearm
• Careless use of a firearm
• Two counts of failing to comply with conditions of an undertaking
• Two counts of possession of a firearm contrary to a prohibition order

The accused is in custody and will appear in Pictou Provincial Court for a bail hearing on Monday at 11 a.m. The investigation is continuing.

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Arrest outside of Westville pub investigated

WESTVILLE – The province’s independent Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) has commenced an investigation into the arrest of a 22-year-old man outside of Acropole Pizza on Main Sreet just before midnight on November 10.
At that time, police had been called to respond to an altercation involving several people outside that establishment. Members of both the Stellarton and Westville police departments responded.
After their arrival, the man was arrested and originally placed in a police vehicle. He was later removed from that vehicle to be moved to another. At that time an altercation took place, with the male subsequently lodged in the other car and taken into custody for the night.
Medical advice the next morning did not detect any serious injury. However, it was learned this week that the male suffered a broken wrist at some point in the evening.
As a result of the injury, which may have arisen from the actions of police, the matter was reported to SiRT on November 18, at which time SiRT began its investigation.
Anyone who may have witnessed the incident is asked to contact SiRT, toll free, at 1-855-450-2010.
The Serious Incident Response Team is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia, whether or not there is an allegation of wrongdoing. Investigations are under the direction and control of independent civilian director Ron MacDonald.

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National Addictions Awareness Week: Addiction Matters theme of week

The stigma often associated with addiction, more times than not, creates a barrier for people seeking help.
November 15 through 21 is National Addictions Awareness Week and this year’s theme is ‘Addiction Matters’, drawing attention to substance abuse as a chronic health issue that impacts individuals, families and communities across Canada.
“Each year we highlight addictions awareness during the third week of November,” explains Ashlie Cormier, prevention and health promotion specialist with Mental Health and Addictions with the Nova Scotia Health Authority. “The past few years our emphasis has been on stigma… there is so much shame associated with addiction. It is not a moral failing, it’s a mental illness.”
Addiction has many causes, including life experiences, a genetic predisposition and sometimes, it is unknown; however, addiction is preventable and treatable and long-term recovery is attainable and sustainable.
Cormier says many people are not aware of the services Mental Health and Addictions offers to loved ones of those suffering from addictions.
“For family and friends who don’t know what to do… we have an excellent program.” Cormier, notes it is one of the most promising evidence-based programs which teaches healthier ways to cope with addictions and help their loved ones seek treatment.
Reading material for family and friends teaches alternative ways to helping loved ones with addictions. “A lot of people don’t know this service exists and it’s one of our most valuable pieces of work we do.”
Cormier says there is always hope of recovery and no one should ever give up.
“Addictions are similar to other chronic disabilities that affect our overall quality of life. When we look after others we don’t look after ourselves and the stigma associated with addictions can carry over to the family where they don’t tell people about it and lose ties with society or they do tell people and are kept at a distance. Families face the same isolation, fear and stigma as those with addictions.”
Gambling is often not seen as an addiction, but is one that is very prevalent throughout Canada.
“Often times (gambling) is not viewed the same way because it’s not a substance, but it changes the brain the same way a substance does,” explains Cormier.
“In Pictou County and Nova Scotia, alcohol is the number one issue (in terms of addictions) but those with gambling (addictions) have a higher risk of suicide because people often lose everything.”
Aside from alcohol, cannabis is growing as the second highest addiction locally as well as opiates; nicotine is actually decreasing.
“Nicotine is highly addictive, just as addictive as cocaine and the numbers of addiction (to nicotine) have been decreasing but they are still high,” explains Cormier who notes a lot of the decrease is because of new regulations like smoke-free public places, increase in price and the ban on smoking in vehicles with children.
“We offer individual and group programs and therapies with specially trained people to deal with addictions. We also have specific programming for women and youth.”
Mental Health and Addictions Services have integrated into one unit, making these health issues, which are often linked, easier to access.
“We are launching a new phone number and intake process in January to decrease wait times,” notes Cormier. “We have two sites, our community-based services at 690 East River Road in New Glasgow and the inpatient unit in Pictou, the detox centre. We also offer addiction education programs at the inpatient unit and that is where our research team is located.”
Cormier says these programs have helped people make positive changes in their lives.
“The hardest part is getting through the door. Most people don’t know the services we offer and that they are free… every time someone goes for treatment, they learn something new. Relapse can happen, but we want people to know that it happens and to never give up. It takes most people two and a half to three tries before they make changes that have a lasting impact. This is a community issue.”
Cormier says throughout the week Mental Health and Addictions Services will be travelling to local high schools and the Nova Scotia Community College to raise awareness about addiction and the services and supports available. The community is also encouraged to participate in a day of conversation about why addiction matters on Thursday.
“Whether it is over coffee with a friend, or during supper with your family, have a conversation about this important issue. If we want to change the future of addiction, we need to continue to have a dialogue about it.”

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Santa’s coming to town to visit with pets

Santa Claus is coming to town on Saturday and he’ll be here to raise funds for the SPCA in Granton.
He will be at Global Pet Foods New Glasgow on Saturday, Nov. 21, to take photos with the pets of Pictou County.
Santa will be in the store from 10 a.m. until noon taking photos with pets based on donations. The proceeds raised will go to the Pictou County SPCA.
The donations will go to help five kittens in particular – Minnie, Morgan, Ricky, Madison and Star. The kittens, and their mom, were found abandoned by a woman while taking a walk in the woods. The kittens have been staying at the Pictou County SPCA since October 7, waiting for their fur-ever homes.

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