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Ship Hector on the move

The Ship Hector was on the move bright and early this morning.
A handful of volunteers gathered on the dock in Pictou to turn the ship so her bow is pointing inland, in preparation for more work to be done.
The ship was also moved a bit closer toward Caladh Avenue.
Additional hull inspection as well as maintenance is expected to be carried out over the next few days.
(Jardine photo)

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Canadian mid-amateur raises Abercrombie’s profile

ABERCROMBIE – Hosting the Canadian men’s mid-amateur golf championship is a boost for Abercrombie Country Club, Mike MacDonald says.
“I feel great about it,” said MacDonald, who chairs the host committee for the event that began on Tuesday and ends on Friday. “We’ve hosted several national events and we’re looking forward to this one.”
More than 150 golfers, including several from the host club, are competing in the mid-amateur. It is considered the Golf Canada’s premiere competition for amateur golfers over 25.
“Golf Canada is looking forward to returning a national championship to Nova Scotia,” said tournament director Russell Mackay. “It is always a pleasure to bring competitions to golf fans across the entire country. The course is in great shape and will provide our competitors with an excellent challenge.”
Abercrombie is known for its picturesque woodlands and tight fairways on many of its 18 holes and well-groomed greens.
Throughout its 96 years, Abercrombie has accumulated a wealth of history and has hosted a number of championships at both the provincial and national levels, Mackay noted.
“I love coming east,” he said. “The golf courses are great and I look forward to the personalities you meet here.”
MacDonald said hosting the mid-amateur is a way for the club to gear up for its centennial celebrations in 2019 that include hosting the Nova Scotia men’s amateur championship.
A field of 152 golfers will have arrived for a practice round on Monday and 72 holes of golf over the next four days. After the first 36 holes on Tuesday and Wednesday, the field will be reduced to the low-70 competitors and ties.
The local list includes Kevin Scott and Greg LeBlanc of New Glasgow, Daniel Fanning of Scotsburn, Bruce Horne of Little Harbour and Jamie Aitken of Caribou.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Scott said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing to play a national event on your home course.”
Scott said his game has been good lately and he’s not intimidated by driving off the back tees.
“That’s where I’ve played most of my games,” he said. “It won’t make a huge difference.”
Contenders include defending champion Garrett Rank from Elmira, Ont. and Graham Cooke of Hudson, Que., who won the first edition of the event in 1987 and followed the performance with six subsequent victories, including three-in-a-row between 2000 and 2002.
Introduced in 2006, the Mid-Master division will be contested by competitors over 40. Darren Shaw of Stoney Creek, Ont., will return to defend his title following his seven-stroke victory in 2014.
The course plays at Par-71 but will be reduced to Par-70 by playing the 17th hole as a Par-4.

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Municipalities file conditional application for voluntary amalgamation

PICTOU – The Municipality of Pictou County and Towns of New Glasgow, Stellarton and Pictou have filed a conditional application to voluntarily amalgamate with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.
The application is required prior to August 31 in order to meet 2016 municipal elections. Approval of the application will be subject to the outcome of public consultation including a plebiscite and the municipalities meeting six preconditions detailed within a November 10, 2014 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The conditional application cites three reasons for merger. The first being a response to the Report of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy wherein recommendations are made to accelerate municipal reform. The second relates to a perceived need for one elected leadership to provide for a stronger voice targeting improvements in the local economy, social conditions and streamlined decision making. The third states an updated organizational structure including a longer term prioritized municipal infrastructure and related financing plan, harmonized land use controls along with the attraction and siting of new commercial and industrial enterprise, as being required to address economic growth and current day demographic trends.
The application is being filed with a related governance study recently completed by consultants from Grant Thornton LLP. The Grant Thornton report compares the participating Pictou County municipal units to similar municipalities located in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta and makes recommendations on the size of a new Council, together with related costs. The application notes that several other studies are to be filed with the Utility and Review Board including reports on proposed polling districts, human resources, as well as detailed cost and taxation projections.
Work plans of the MOU Steering Committee call for engagement of the public throughout the process as draft reports and studies become available. The first of this type of engagement is starting with public discussion on proposed polling districts of a new municipality. Public meetings in this regard have been scheduled over the next three weeks.
Debi Wadden, councillor with the Municipality of Pictou County, is urging citizens to… “come out and provide input on the proposed municipal polling districts and to participate in upcoming sessions on other municipal topics. We truly need the public views on these important matters for Pictou County’s future.”
The complete conditional application and related exhibits can be retrieved on September 1, 2015 from the MOU website www.onepictoucounty.ca. or by contacting one of the participating municipal offices. There are also a number of social media tools available: www.facebook.com/1pictoucounty, twitter @onepictoucounty and Instagram – One Pictou County.

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Police in Pictou County seize drugs during search

August 27, 2015, Pictou County, Nova Scotia . . .On Thursday, August 27 at approximately 9 a.m., the Pictou County Integrated Street Crime Enforcement Unit (PCISCEU), with assistance from the Pictou County District RCMP, executed a search warrant at a residence on MacKay Rd. A 77-year-old male was arrested at the scene without incident. Police seized 20 marihuana plants in various stages of growth and a quantity of marihuana.

The accused was released from custody and will appear in Pictou Provincial Court on November 23, 2015 to face charges of Production and Possession of Marihuana under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

The investigation is continuing.

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Ennis concert Sunday at community centre

MERIGOMISH – Ennis has been scheduled for a performance on Sunday at the Merigomish Schoolhouse Community Centre.
The group is based in Newfoundland and Labrador and features the siblings Maureen and Karen Ennis, who have recorded a number of CDs.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the concert at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at the Sunday Market and Café from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. A cash bar and snacks are available.
The duo is also performing at the Pictou Lodge Resort today starting at 8 p.m. today.

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Lyme is a possibility

To the Editor:
It is time the idea that Lyme is rare in Nova Scotia changes. Nova Scotia is endemic for black legged ticks with areas of higher concentration… areas of Pictou County being one of them.
Recently, I was in contact with someone who has Lyme disease. He was bitten by a tick. He now has numerous health concerns which point toward being infected as a result of a tick bite. The tick was sent to the researcher in New Brunswick for testing, it was positive. Yet, his doctor told him he had a one in a million chance of having Lyme… Wrong answer. It is more reasonable to think that if you were bitten by a tick positive for the Lyme bacteria that you would have a 50 per cent chance of being infected. The doctor will not even consider the possibility of Lyme.
There are still doctors referring to Lyme as ‘the flavour of the day’. It is time Lyme was taken seriously so people can receive treatment in Canada rather than being forced to go south of the border for help, or if they can’t afford that – remain sick.
The chance of being struck by lightning is one in a million. The chances of being bitten by a tick is much greater and thus so is the chance of acquiring a vector borne disease. The number of ticks has increased this year, for New Brunswick they are seeing a 100 per cent increase, I feel certain it is the same for Nova Scotia, although tick populations in Nova Scotia are not being monitored.
Lyme is called the great impostor as it mimics so many other conditions and should be part of a differential diagnosis when looking for an answer to one’s health concern. Some of the conditions Lyme mimics are: Alzheimer’s disease, early ALS, arthritis, ADD and ADHD, autism, Bell’s palsy, brain tumour, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, headaches (severe), juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, memory impairment, MS, optic neuritis, Parkinsonism, psychiatric disorders like bipolar and depression, Raynaud’s syndrome, seizure disorders, sleep disorders, thyroid disease, Tourette’s syndrome, urticaria and vertigo.
Testing from the USA is viewed as being flawed even though the labs have certification. Lyme is a clinical diagnosis that can be supported by test results. A negative test does not mean you do not have Lyme.
Please be aware and take this threat seriously. Education is key!
Brenda Sterling-Goodwin
New Glasgow

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No way to treat future leaders

To the Editor:
So they are going to close River John Consolidated School – a solid, clean building – and ship the students wherever they can find room for them. What happens when receiving schools can no longer accommodate the number of students? Will they then build a new school? What a waste! There is already a rumour that a receiving school has a mould problem.
Also, a certain high school has an overcrowding problem and it is unable to provide seating for several students in a math class, which is necessary for future university studies. The students were left to study by other means, for example: the Internet. When the students needed help, there wasn’t any. Are rural students considered half-wits, without any aspirations for higher learning? This is no way to treat our future leaders!
D.J. Sutherland
River John

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Turnbull, Saulnier to join CWHL’s Calgary Inferno

STELLARTON – Blayre Turnbull has officially turned a page in her hockey career.
Turnbull, who is from Stellarton, will join the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League in September after being drafted in the fourth round of the league’s entry draft on Sunday.
She said she’s elated to have been chosen by the Inferno and to have Jill Saulnier join her on the team.
“I’m excited about it,” she said. “When we signed up for the draft, we both thought Calgary was the best fit for us and then they picked us. It’s a great setup because a bunch of the girls on the Calgary team are on the national program, and the (women’s hockey) training centre is in Calgary.”
Saulnier, who is from Halifax, was selected by Calgary in the third round, while Turnbull was chosen in the fourth round. She said she welcomes the chance for her and Turnbull to be teammates.
“We grew up together and have known each other for years,” she said.
Turnbull completed four seasons of women’s NCAA hockey with the Wisconsin Badgers.
She completed her time with 15 goals and 21 assists in 35 regular season games in 2014-15.
Saulnier completed four seasons of women’s NCAA hockey at Cornell University. In 125 regular-season games, she amassed 80 goals and 115 assists for 195 points.
Turnbull and Saulnier will leave in mid-September and in the meantime have been teaching at a hockey conditioning camp for novice, atom, peewee and bantam-aged girls at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
“Having Jill and Blayre has been a great experience or the kids,” said Craig Clarke, who is directing the camp.
Saulnier finishes up today, while Turnbull is available all week.

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Rock Legend Goodwyn in Square’s fall lineup

NEW GLASGOW – One of the true rock and roll legends of the East Coast will be part of the fall lineup at Glasgow Square.
The Myles Goodwyn Band, fronted by long time April Wine leader Myles Goodwyn, will perform an up close and personal show on November 17.
Goodwyn is a founding member of the legendary April Wine, and inductee of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame along with the group. He has been a professional singer, songwriter, musician and music publisher for more than 45 years. His songs, distinct vocals and musicianship have been the backbone of the group over the course of its history, during which they have sold more than 20 million recordings worldwide.
Although Goodwyn will continue to perform with April Wine this year, he will also be taking some time to perform a few shows with his new band, The Myles Goodwyn Band (MGB). The new group consists of Goodwyn on lead vocal and guitars, Warren Robert on guitar, Chris Mitchell on bass, Dave Champagne on piano and Mike Carroll on drums. All members of this new group, including Myles, are from the Maritimes. MGB will be performing select songs written by Goodwyn and recorded by April Wine. In MGB, these songs will be re-imagined with very different, progressive arrangements and will feature the innovative talents of these remarkable musicians. The band will also be performing material from Goodwyn’s 1988 self-titled solo album as well as material from the upcoming blues record “Myles Goodwyn and Friends of the Blues”.
“Myles Goodwyn is arguably the most accomplished rock and roll musician ever to come out of the Maritimes,” says Carlton Munroe, Program and Events manager for the Town of New Glasgow. “He will be taking his extensive and historic songbook to the stage in a once in a lifetime performance to the intimate confines of Glasgow Square.”
Tickets are available at Glasgow Square box office.

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Downtown bike track draws raves

NEW GLASGOW – Organizers hope to build on what they consider a successful debut for a Bicycle Nova Scotia race day in New Glasgow’s downtown.
The Pictou County Cycle bicycle club hosted the inaugural Critz of Fury races during the time when the course was blocked off from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The course included Archimedes, Jury, Provost and George streets with a start and finish at the corner of Archmedes and Forbes streets.
“Everybody who was there loved it,” said club member Clint Snell. “I think we would have had better attendance if we weren’t so late getting the race on the (BNS) calendar this year and if the weather was better, but with more time and people liking the course we expect more people next year.”
Snell said the plan is to make it a fixture event on the sports calendar in downtown New Glasgow, while continuing to draw on the expertise provided by Terry Curley from the Johnny Miles running events organization.
“Terry helped with logistics, and the Town of New Glasgow and the police were unbelievable,” Snell said.
Among events, Tim Shaw placed second in his Men’s C race and followed that by racing in the Men’s A and B combined race, where he was seventh.
Fellow Pictou County Cycle entrant Shawn Noftall was fourth and Snell was eighth.
Shea was just returning home from mountain bike races in Quebec.
“He’s going to be something else in a few years,” Snell said.
Among women’s Cindy Fraser placed second and Jennifer Baudoux was third in their race.
The Pictou County Cycle bicycle club is open to riders aged 10 years and older who are interested in road biking, mountain biking or both disciplines.
The registration fee is $35, which includes a BNS membership and access to weekly group rides.
Beginner rides are provided to allow novices to meet new cyclists of similar skill level and learn technique and fitness from cycling veterans.
The club also helps experienced cyclists to demonstrate their skills, while becoming better connected with the sport.

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NSCAD residents treated to artists’ show, farewell

NEW GLASGOW – Two artists were saluted for their skills during a closing art exhibit and reception last Thursday at the studio where they worked in New Glasgow.
Karolina Hahna of Vancouver and Jason Desnoyer from Montreal were NSCAD-New Glasgow artists-in-residence for 2014-15 and displayed their work in the New Glasgow Community Art Room for fellow artists and other citizens to admire during the two-hour event.
Mayor Barrie MacMillan, saluted the artists’ contributions. “Jason and Karolina have made their mark right from the beginning of their tenure with us during New Glasgow Culture Days last September and this impact continued to evolve and grow through their presence and leadership at Art at Night, as vendors at the New Glasgow Farmers Market and as outstanding mentors and role models to our young artists through the New Glasgow Community Art Room program,” he said.
MacMillan said they have inspired budding young artists and have been ambassadors for their school and the community.
“You have been an inspiration to aspiring artists and a source of pride to our community,” he said. “We appreciate greatly your enterprise, your creativity, your work ethic, your collaboration and team work approach as well as your imagination and talents.
Desnoyers said smaller communities are ideal for artists to work out their creativity and was glad to work in New Glasgow.
“This is one of the jump points to have a year to work on your art,” he said. “There’s nothing else like it.”
Hahna said she had no idea she would learn and achieve so much through the residency program.
“It’s become so much more,” she said. “I love this community – you’re so involved in the arts.”
NSCAD has not committed to continuing the residency partnership with New Glasgow. While it deliberates, the studio will still have an arts function with local artists working there.

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Veterans not served well by current gov’t

To the Editor:
We all like to hear a good joke from time to time. Well folks, the last eleven years have been one very good one, all given to us under the Harper government.
Now just to name a few there was Fantino as the minister for veterans affairs that closed down most all the offices for Veterans Affairs, and then there was the millions of dollars that he talked about was spread over eight years and not the one year that he said. And to make matters worse, he never served a day in the services. And then we have Mr. Peter MacKay serving as minister for National Defence. And as far as I can see or make out, all he ever did was jet set around the globe for picture ops.
And then, of course, we have the Mike Duffy affair and what an affair that is. Just one cover up after another. And of course Harper knew nothing about it. We have all heard stories in our life time and I would say that is a big one. For I, like many others, do not believe Harper did not know about it – after all, it did take place in his office.
Now getting back to veterans affairs … Myself, as a veteran, I can tell you that under the Tory government, having been sprayed with Agent Orange while serving in Camp Gagetown; I have been turned down three times for benefits and if and when I need to see or speak to a veterans caseworker I have to travel to Halifax. So when it comes to the Tories looking after veterans, we are all forgotten. For they do not remember that we were the ones that served this county, our Canada, and were proud of it and was very glad to do it. And would do it again. So in closing I will be voting anybody but Conservative.
Loyd Murray
New Glasgow

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Stay strong River John

To the Editor:
As a citizen of a rural community, I am dismayed and upset that our school board representatives, which are elected officials by voters like myself, have refused to hold a special meeting in regards to the reconsideration motion of the River John Hub school project.
Do our school board members have that much power that they control all the decisions made in regards to rural schools or is it just a few who hold the power? As a concerned citizen of River John, I find their disinterest devastating!
Rural communities in Nova Scotia seem to be going by the wayside. What has been printed in our newspapers over the last number of months is, “we must work together to maintain the rural communities as they are vital to this province”. What is happening to rural Nova Scotia communities is the total opposite! We are not walking the talk. Rural Nova Scotians need help to support, maintain and allow communities such as ours to grow. When you lose a school, you lose not only a community but community spirit as well. We were not given a chance to demonstrate what our HUB project would achieve. Was our committee set up to fail right from the start? I say yes.
The representatives from our school and community worked so hard to develop a HUB model to meet the ridiculous requirements set by the board.
$173,000.00 a year plus $560,000 for repairs. What community in Nova Scotia could come up with that amount. Our committee went above and beyond what the Chignecto Regional School Board requested and the majority turned a deaf ear! Listen up elected members, we are not giving up, we are not going away.

B.L. MacLeod
River John, N.S.

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No evidence of Crime in Duffy topic

To the Editor:
My problem with the media coverage of the Duffy topic is that all the voices assume Duffy is guilty where my law school training tells me that he is innocent until proven guilty. Although he admits to having done the acts (the required actus reus element of a crime), to date, I have seen no evidence of his having done so with knowledge that what he was doing was wrong (the required mens rea element of a crime). So while I, too, do not like what I see, I see no evidence of a crime.
In fact, the picture I see is of a man working very hard to perform what he believed he was supposed to be doing and what our prime minister appointed him to do. Quite correctly, in my view, Duffy and his lawyer are making absolutely no attempt to hide or cover up his acts because they believe at the time what he did was neither a crime nor seen as a crime.
When the $90,000 was repaid, it was not because Duffy, Novak, Wright, Harper or anyone thought there was a crime. It was not because they or anyone thought Duffy an inappropriate senator to represent PEI. Duffy always wore his PEI domicile on his sleeve. His weekly Friday evening banter with ATV News anchor Steve Murphy to keep us all informed of government goings on in Ottawa and always concluding with his “wink for Mom” left no one in any doubt that his feet remained firmly planted in the red mud of PEI. It was because they correctly judged $90,000 to be so much that the voting public would disapprove making it a political embarrassment for the Prime Minister and his Conservative Party.
I do not think our senators should be affiliated with political parties or engaged in any partisan activities. Justin Trudeau, in my opinion, wisely removed senators from his party. The senators’ job is to provide provincial balance to Canadian legislation while they give it sober second thought. I’d like to see senators selected and appointed to perform this very important task by the MLAs of the province they represent through a non-partisan, secret ballot process.
Ralph Ferguson
Pictou

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Election: What if nobody cared?

It seemed like a good idea at the time — calling an election with the longest campaign period since the days of horse-and-buggies when your party has far more money than the opposition to hammer away at them with 11 weeks of attack ads.
But if there’s anyone in the country who might be looking for a do-over, it must be Conservative leader Stephen Harper, whose campaign has been dogged by new revelations in the Duffy trial, contradictory and non-answers about the affair from Harper himself, and the intervention of a foul-mouthed supporter sharing his views on the national media.
While it’s fun for political junkies to make light of all this, it’s unlikely it’ll have much of an effect on how we cast our ballots on October 19.
Many observers are saying little of what’s happening now really matters. Once summer vacations end and the kids are back in school, Canadians will start paying attention to the election. There will be no real harm done by the long campaign, as there will still be six weeks before voting day, longer than the minimum electoral period of 36 days.
But the opposite could happen, too. While the election may not be top-of-mind right now, the attack ads and news coverage might cause some Canadians, whose interest in voting has been in decline in recent years, to tune out entirely and ignore issues that deserve attention.
Ask Canadians — outside of an election period — what issue is most important to them and they’ll tell you it’s health care.
The delivery of health care is a provincial responsibility. Harper will be the first to remind you of that. That doesn’t mean the federal government doesn’t, and shouldn’t, play an important role in improving a system so many of us hold so close to our hearts.
The Conservatives are quick to remind us that federal spending on health care is higher than it’s ever been, and that’s true. But the federal share of public spending on health care is at its lowest level since medicare was introduced in the late 1950s. The government talks about “the escalator,” something that previously existed only in shopping malls, that gives the provinces and territories three per cent more to spend on health care every year. While many governments, including Nova Scotia’s, have put the brakes on runaway health spending in recent years, three per cent isn’t enough to keep up. To add insult to injury, the federal health grant is now handed out strictly on a per capita basis, so that younger, predominantly-urban provinces like Ontario and Alberta get more than they used to, and smaller provinces with aging populations living mostly in rural areas, like Nova Scotia, get less.
Harper has refused to meet with his fellow first ministers to talk about health, or anything else. Of course, it’s just one example of a vastly-reduced federal role in health issues. The editorial in the current issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal notes that the Harper government has “dithered on public health measures of glaringly obvious benefit, such as tobacco control and asbestos elimination; ignored and disbanded expert advisory panels on health issues; weakened the authority of the public health agency; muzzled scientists; eliminated the long form census, the best source of information on regional disparities relevant to health; and eroded research support.” It goes on to say that the “biggest, most complex problems in the health care system cannot be solved without federal leadership.”
You won’t find much about health care on the Conservatives’ website, but sadly, there isn’t a whole lot more from the other parties either.
Perhaps it’s early days, and they’ve all decided that health care is too important an issue to talk about while many of us are still taking the kids to the beach or sipping drinks on the patio. But if the leaders and their candidates don’t start talking about their plans for improving health care soon, you shouldn’t be shy about asking them.

Dave Stephens is an editor, LighthouseNOW

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Donation to ER from police agencies gets creative

NEW GLASGOW – Kay Desborough is the type of person who takes matters into her own hands. Where there’s a need, she steps forward.
Desborough has been one of the organizers behind a group of about two dozen quilters and sewers who get together in Little Harbour to make colourful pillowcases for the Women and Children’s Unit at the Aberdeen hospital.
She was delivering 50 more pillowcases to the hospital when a casual conversation with Susan Malcolm of the Aberdeen Health Foundation made her aware that because of infection control policy, the hospital’s Emergency Room (ER) would no longer have a selection of books and toys for children in the waiting room. Malcolm had been wondering about putting together some items that could be given to the children to keep as their own.
While Desborough could understand concerns about patient safety she, too, could not imagine what it would be like for children and families at such a time. She knew how simple items such as a colouring book could preoccupy children and make a visit to the ER less stressful.
Malcolm recalls with a chuckle, “Before she was back in Pictou I’m sure she had this all organized.”
Desborough called Const. John Kennedy from the Adopt-A-Library program, and before Malcolm knew it she had a message from Kennedy saying he had books, a bookshelf and a treasure chest full of items such as cards, crayons and notepads.
The Adopt-A-Library program works with partners in the community to empower children through literacy and prevent crime and delinquency. Its home is the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library headquarters in New Glasgow.
“The goal is to fight crime one book at a time and to do that we try and get as many books into the hands of as many children as we can utilizing the local police agencies to do this,” says Kennedy.
“Over the years across Nova Scotia we have handed out in excess of over 500,000 books with the help of people like Kay Desborough as well as police agencies across the province. Being able to provide these items to the Aberdeen Health Foundation is a wonderful way to further our mission and help families who have to spend time at the hospital.”
This donation to the Aberdeen Health Foundation for the emergency room is on behalf of the police agencies of Pictou County: the Pictou County District RCMP, New Glasgow and Westville police, and it will be a welcome surprise for families in the ER.
For more information visit aberdeenhealthfoundation.ca.

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Canadian mid-amateur raises Abercrombie club profile

ABERCROMBIE – Hosting the Canadian men’s mid-amateur golf championship is a boost for Abercrombie Country Club, Mike MacDonald says.
“I feel great about it,” said MacDonald, who chairs the host committee for the event that began on Tuesday and ends on Friday. “We’ve hosted several national events and we’re looking forward to this one.”
More than 150 golfers, including several from the host club, are competing in the mid-amateur. It is considered the Golf Canada’s premiere competition for amateur golfers over 25.
“Golf Canada is looking forward to returning a national championship to Nova Scotia,” said tournament director Russell Mackay. “It is always a pleasure to bring competitions to golf fans across the entire country. The course is in great shape and will provide our competitors with an excellent challenge.”
Abercrombie is known for its picturesque woodlands and tight fairways on many of its 18 holes and well-groomed greens.
Throughout its 96 years, Abercrombie has accumulated a wealth of history and has hosted a number of championships at both the provincial and national levels, Mackay noted.
“I love coming east,” he said. “The golf courses are great and I look forward to the personalities you meet here.”
MacDonald said hosting the mid-amateur is a way for the club to gear up for its centennial celebrations in 2019 that include hosting the Nova Scotia men’s amateur championship.
A field of 152 golfers will have arrived for a practice round on Monday and 72 holes of golf over the next four days. After the first 36 holes on Tuesday and Wednesday, the field will be reduced to the low-70 competitors and ties.
The local list includes Kevin Scott and Greg LeBlanc of New Glasgow, Daniel Fanning of Scotsburn, Bruce Horne of Little Harbour and Jamie Aitken of Caribou.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Scott said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing to play a national event on your home course.”
Scott said his game has been good lately and he’s not intimidated by driving off the back tees.
“That’s where I’ve played most of my games,” he said. “It won’t make a huge difference.”
Contenders include defending champion Garrett Rank from Elmira, Ont. and Graham Cooke of Hudson, Que., who won the first edition of the event in 1987 and followed the performance with six subsequent victories, including three-in-a-row between 2000 and 2002.
Introduced in 2006, the Mid-Master division will be contested by competitors over 40. Darren Shaw of Stoney Creek, Ont., will return to defend his title following his seven-stroke victory in 2014.
The course plays at Par-71 but will be reduced to Par-70 by playing the 17th hole as a Par-4.

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‘Did you used to be Hugh Townsend?’

When your picture is in a newspaper almost every day for more than 30 years, there’s a better than average chance there will be people out there who recognize you, even if you have never met.
I know. It’s happened to me many times.
My wife used to give me a friendly heads-up not to complain loudly to waiters or waitresses in a restaurant or beverage room, even if something was wrong with my meal. She’d say the same thing if we were in Costco, Sobeys or other establishments where there are lots of people around.
“Someone may recognize you,” she would say in all seriousness.
And she was right. Numerous times people have come up to me and, without apology, ask the question one way or another. “Are you Hugh Townsend?” or “Are you the sportswriter?”
The best one, Jane told me at the time, was the day we were eating at a restaurant in the Annapolis Valley.
I was about to have my first taste of the butterscotch pie in front of me, when an elderly man approached, reaching our table only after struggling along slowly with his cane.
The question came loud and clear: “Did you used to be Hugh Townsend?”
Fortunately, I recovered quickly and was able to make a sensible response: “Yes, and I still am.”
Often, when someone really knows who they’re talking to, the stranger will make their pitch without any introduction.
Just a week or so ago, a man wearing a New York Yankees cap – yes, he was pretty elderly looking, too – pushed his loaded grocery cart in my direction as I was heading towards the checkout in Costco.
He said he recognized my photo “from the paper” and knew I was “from New Glasgow and had gone to New Glasgow High School.”
Guess what he wanted to know?
“Did you cover the great New Glasgow track team” when it won the Canadian junior track and field championship in Calgary?
Oh my heavens. That track win happened in 1937. I wasn’t even born. Holy smokes, I wasn’t born until 1938.
Had I been in Calgary to write about that big New Glasgow success story, I would now have been in the newspaper business for at least 78 years.
Anyway, I explained the situation the best way I could, and was released of further embarrassment when it was my turn to pay for my purchases.
Later, I thought, I always loved hearing about that track and field conquest. New Glasgow High, my alma mater, was the best team in the country. How many times can we say that?
The unique thing about that team, I’ve often mentioned, is the fact it remains the only team from any sport from New Glasgow to be inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame.
That honour was bestowed 35 long years ago. So don’t pat the hall of fame on the back. I still get very upset when I think that no New Glasgow hockey team has been so rewarded.
The NGHS team was coached by a young fellow named Harold Smith. He was from Dartmouth and had recorded an outstanding personal record in road running. Team members included field star Bill Moore, track whiz Vernon MacDonald, and relay speedsters Murray McLeod, Herb Mills, John McCormick and Bob MacDonald. The only one I ever got to know personally was MacDonald, who was a prominent lawyer in town when I began in the newspaper business.
Smith was so confident about his team that the previous year he was already saying it could win the national title.
Most listeners simply laughed at his prediction.
After taking the Maritime championship at the Acadia Relays in Wolfville, Smith’s hopes were very much realized out west. The green and white took top honours, capturing eight first place finishes and six second place awards. They were so good there seemed to be no stopping them.
How big a story was it back in Nova Scotia? The Halifax Chronicle, as it was known in those days, seldom carried a sports story on its front page. In this case, however, the NGHS victory was indeed on page one.
The first time I wrote a story about the track success I had to go to the Public Archives of Nova Scotia to find articles on the 1937 triumph. Even then it wasn’t that extensive.
No, I wasn’t born when the Calgary story unfolded. But, in looking back at the brief conversation I had with that Costco shopper, I was amazed there was anybody around with interest in the 1937 championship.
My chat with the old fellow was cut off prematurely. Later, I wondered who he might have been. I was sorry I hadn’t found out more detail.
Maybe one of the athletes was a relative. Heck, since Harold Smith had come from Dartmouth, maybe he was the connection. I guess I’ll never know.
In the meantime, I can truthfully say that I used to be Hugh Townsend, the sportswriter – and that, thanks to The Advocate, I still am.

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Crews working to enhance Acadia Park trail network

WESTVILLE – Members of the group Friends of Acadia Park were joined by town and provincial staff members on Saturday for a work day to improve the park and enhance its trail system.
It’s part of the work being done to connect Westville to Stellarton as part of the ambitious Trans-Canada Trail system.
Westville Recreation co-ordinator Sally O’Neil said it’s a challenge she welcomes to try and get the project done. She saluted the town’s public works department for preparing the site for Saturday’s work day. She also noted the agreement achieved with Pioneer Coal to access its land, especially a stretch along Drummond Road.
“I’m thrilled with the turnout,” she said.
“It was set up for us to utilize our volunteers in the best possible way. This is a really nice way to connect Acadia Park and prepare a Westville trail for cyclists, walkers and runners and cross country skiers.”
She said the trails in Acadia Park represent a series of trails to connect communities across the country. Currently, the Trans-Canada Trail website shows more than 1,000 communities will have been connected to a trail network 24,000 kilometres long.

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Skateboard fundraising still going strong

A small, diligent group has been working since November to raise money to build a skateboard park for Westville.
Heading the fundraising charge, along with help from the town’s recreation co-ordinator, Sally O’Neill, is Angela Taylor, the mother of one of the original group of teenaged boys who bravely stood before council and pitched the idea late last year.
This past weekend, the latest fundraiser at The Whitetail in Westville brought in about $500 plus funds from a silent auction. So far, to raise funds for the cause, there has been a dance and a ball tournament as well as the Whitetail event with many other events in the works.
“I’m going to try to get another ball tournament going,” said Taylor.
For now, the next immediate fundraiser for the cause will be an outdoor concert featuring local skateboarding companies and bands who, on their own initiative, came together to help out Taylor in collecting money for a place for county skateboarders to call their own.
The concert fundraiser is set for September 7, Labour Day, as of now, with more details and updates to come.
“Even if everyone donates a dollar…” suggested Taylor who has also set up a go fund me page for the cause. You can find the page here: http://www.gofundme.com/4v8z8za3rc.
I’d like to have more people on board,” said Taylor who is hoping to get as many people to help with fundraising as she can.
“It would be nice to get some other parents.”
She is encouraging anyone interested to get in contact through the town office or other means such as the go fund me page to share fundraising ideas that they may have.
“I want to see them have somewhere to hangout,” she said. “I’m not going to stop helping until they do it.”
The Town of Westville was unavailable for comment as of press time.

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MacKenzie secures bikes for burn camp

NEW GLASGOW – Philip MacKenzie says he’s glad to have had an opportunity to once again help out Atlantic Burn Camp for burn injured children.
MacKenzie recently returned from the summer camp in Baddeck after securing 20 bicycles – 12 of them new and eight of them used – for kids to enjoy at the camp. He raised the money to purchase the bikes, which were given to the burn camp in memory of Oakley Bagley, who was nine years old when he died in a house fire last April in Port Hawkesbury.
The bikes are of different sizes, some for children aged seven to 10, some preteen and the rest adult size.
“It was about an even number of each,” he said. “It felt good to be able to go.”
Nick and Linda Davis, who operate the camp, drove to New Glasgow and picked up the bikes.
“I can’t say enough (good things) about those two individuals,” he said.
It’s the second time MacKenzie has been able to help the campers in a big way.
In 2013, MacKenzie amassed 25 guitars and 25 cases, while Kevin MacIntosh donated 25 foot stands.
MacKenzie visited the camp and provided guitar lessons. Eight violins and cases were also provided, but someone who can teach fiddling is still being sought.
He attended the camp last year but was limited in what he could do while he was recovering from a shattered left shoulder.
Campers took a liking to the guitar, and just five remain at the camp. In contrast, the bikes are staying at the camp for future burn children.
MacKenzie said he marvels at how the staff gets up at 5 a.m. to prepare the day’s activities for the campers. The camp also has a full-time nurse and night watchman on site all the time.

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Exhibition alters program for 2015

PICTOU – Two major changes are in store for the 2015 Pictou-North Colchester Exhibition.
Motocross racing events that generally occupy prime time on the exhibition’s schedule will precede it on Sept. 6. The actual exhibition runs Sept. 9 to 13.
Barrel racing has been added to the schedule, but it will shorten the light horse competitions.
Pictou-North Colchester Exhibition president Jack Ferguson said the new date for the Motocross races will alleviate a conflict with the exhibition’s dates and preserves the races as a fundraiser for it.
“We couldn’t get them (during the exhibition) because they would be away, but we decided to use the event as a fundraiser,” he said.
The races will be at the usual location on the exhibition grounds and will start with practice runs at 11 a.m.
Races will start at noon, and there is one practice and two races for four age divisions: four to seven, seven to nine, nine to 12 and 12 and up. Trophies for first, second and third will be awarded after the final race.
The other major change pertains to adding the Maritime Barrel Racing Association races this year. It’s one of a series of points events for the 30-year-old organization.
The PNCE is providing the Hector Arena venue to replace the Antigonish Arena, whose renovations forced cancellation of the Eastern Nova Scotia exhibition this year.
“To accommodate them we had to make a major change,” Ferguson said.
The light horse show that normally occupies the arena is ending at noon on Sept. 11 to allow for preparations for the barrel racing that evening, as well as the following two days.
“We hope we can have an attraction that people will want to come to,” he said. “We also hope for good weather.”

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Motorcyclists giving back

Last Tuesday, you may have thought you heard thunder rolling through town and towards Linacy, but the hot, sunny evening in fact played host to a motorcycle event that began at the Linacy fire hall and moved to the Scotia Glen camp.
Camp Connect is a camp for burn victims of all ages to do just that, make connections with each other and have fun while doing it. The camp has been taking place at the Scotia Glen location since 2000 and volunteers from the Pictou County Firefighters Association as well as other organizations help run the camp and make sure campers are having fun.
After Linacy firefighter Steve Stewart rolled into camp one day on his motorcycle to volunteer, he gained a lot of interest from campers over the bike.
Stewart decided to make the fascination into something a bit bigger and gather more bikers to accompany him to the camp and offer rides and the opportunity for campers to see all the different bikes.
“When I come down to help with the dance I usually take my bike and all of the kids’ started crawling all over it,” said Stewart.
About 47 bikes arrived at the camp last year, with several more that trickled in as prize draws got underway.
“Last year they were just ecstatic,” said Dave Collier, director of the Firefighter Burn Treatment Society and director of the camp.
“Some of the so called big mean bikers became little kids themselves.”
Some of the participants in the ride came from as far as Ontario to support the cause. A donation bucket for the camp was also passed around with different clubs donating larger amounts and challenging other bike clubs to do the same.
“It’s very emotional for the kids and the riders,” Stewart said.

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Northern Pulp files appeal of IA approval terms

ABERCROMBIE POINT – Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation has filed an appeal of the province’s industrial approval to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
The company filed its appeal of the approval decision letter received from then Environment Minister Randy Delorey on July 9.
In a statement released last Friday, general manager Bruce Chapman cited Section 138 of the Environment Act to indicate the filing is a formal part of the industrial approval appeal process.
“Northern Pulp’s primary objective is to achieve through dialogue with government and First Nations an industrial approval which allows us to meet our environmental responsibility, therefore making any court process unnecessary,” Chapman said.
“This is a unique time for Pictou County, and for Nova Scotia as a whole, in that Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation has owners who are committed to a long term environmentally responsible, viable operation in the province.”
The deadline for appeals to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on Northern Pulp’s industrial approval was Aug. 24. Northern Pulp and Pictou Landing First Nations have filed appeals.
Delorey’s decision included eight changes to the terms and conditions of the industrial approval. Seven changes were administrative and maintained the department’s environmental performance objectives for the mill. Six of the administrative changes became effective immediately.
Limits on air emissions remained the same, almost 80 per cent lower than the previous approval based on the new electrostatic precipitator the company installed during a plant shutdown last spring.
Test results posted by the Department of Environment last Friday from testing completed July 24, by Stantec Consulting Ltd., the first since the new precipitator began its commissioning in June, indicate a nearly 80 per cent improvement over the mill’s test results in April.
Environment Minister Andrew Younger said the figures show the precipitator is working as expected.
“We’re pleased to see such positive results so early in the commissioning phase of the new precipitator,” he said. “This is an important milestone in our work to ensure a cleaner operating mill, and to ensure we support Nova Scotians in their desire for an environmentally healthy and prosperous Pictou County.”
All the other stack test results were also below the limits set, including the power boiler which was slightly above the approved limit in April.
The company has also expressed concern over more stringent limits on ground water and waste water volumes contained in the industrial approval.

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Rotary reformation delayed

The tender is still out for redesigning the entrance to Pictou.
After more than four years of working on the redesign, council and the province have agreed upon a design that is currently awaiting approval from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.
Mayor Joe Hawes says in the redesign, the soccer field will be filled in, however, the size of the soccer field is not regulation size. No provincial tournaments can be hosted using that field and there are still soccer fields behind the Dr. Thomas McCulloch Junior High School and Pictou Elementary School.
Some residents have voiced their concerns regarding the redesign.
Hawes says, “There are always going to be people for and against any changes, no different than any other place. Change doesn’t come easy. When this is done, access to downtown and traffic flow will be easier.”
These proposed changes will allow for more commercial land at the entrance to town. What those businesses will be is yet to be determined, although there has been lots of talk about a gas station.
“These are future issues we don’t have answers to yet,” explains Hawes.
“We have eight and a half acres for commercial development and any development on that land has a much larger square footage.”
The larger area lends itself to different commercial businesses not already in town which Hawes says is a good thing for the town.
“This won’t take away from the downtown businesses; we care about the downtown and we want to see it get bigger. Everything we did in terms of the design and signage, we did with the businesses in downtown and there was no opposition. I think it’s a change for the better.”
As for the rumours regarding a gas bar, Hawes says that is all they are.
“They are just rumours. No one has bought any land right now.”
Once the design is approved, the land will go up for sale and the park between Sobeys and the tourist bureau will be repositioned.
Hawes notes that the sale agreement for that parcel of land will dictate the purchaser will be responsible for relocating the airplane.
He says all design work was done by a professional engineer and had to be agreed upon by the town and province.
“This is the best design,” he says.
Incorrect information supplied by the town to The Advocate last week indicated paving would begin on Veteran’s Drive. In fact, the work is for water line replacement only. There were three bids for the work and C.F. Construction had the lowest bid.

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