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Police confirm human skull found in former school

Police have confirmed the discovery of a human skull in a former school in New Glasgow.
The New Glasgow Regional Police Major Crimes Unit (MCU) and New Glasgow Regional Police Forensic Unit are investigating the discovery, which came about at approximately 4:50 p.m. Wednesday when construction workers involved in demolition at the former Temperance Street School came upon possible human remains inside the school.
Preliminary investigation has revealed that the human remains have been described as that of a human skull.
The New Glasgow Regional Police Major Crimes Unit and Forensic Unit have secured the scene and continue to investigate in conjunction with the Nova Scotia Medical Examiners Service Office.

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Traffic changes to accommodate Jubilee

The 20th annual New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee this weekend will mean some traffic changes for the downtown area of New Glasgow, to accommodate preparations and events associated with the event.
The Glasgow Square parking is closed as of today, July 30, until Monday, August 3 at 4 a.m. On Friday, the Goodman parking lot behind Goodman building and the free parking gravel lots across from Wranglers and Bridgeview Square will be closed at 8 a.m. and remain closed until early Monday morning. Also as of 8 a.m. on Friday, Riverside Parkway as well as Dalhousie Street, from the corner of Provost and George Street to Riverside Parkway, will be closed until Monday at 4 a.m. There will still be free parking available behind Bridgeview Square, and near the Farmers Market dome for market customers and others on Saturday morning. There will be access to MacLean Street from Glasgow Street for all three days.
Throughout the Jubilee weekend, the George Street Bridge will be reduced to two lanes. Motorists are also reminded of the four-way stop entering and exiting the downtown core via the George Street Bridge and to proceed with caution. There will be local access to Crabby J’s Marina until 6 p.m. on Friday, and until 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
To accommodate the Children’s Jubilee, Jubilee Youth Stage and Blues in the Park, (these events take place in Carmichael Park) Terrace Street to Bell Street will be close from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and also closed from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

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Free to see at the Jubilee

NEW GLASGOW – There will be plenty of free to see events at this year’s Riverfront Jubilee, including a special tribute at this year’s Song Writer’s Circle.
The Jubilee Songwriters Circle is taking a new form this year. Pictou County lost one of its most prized musical treasures in Fleur Mainville this past year. Mainville performed on countless Jubilee stages, first as part of the groundbreaking celtic rock band MacKeel and then as a dynamic performer on her own.
This year, the Jubilee will join with her family as they prepare to launch the charity ‘Flowers From Fleur’ – which will focus on helping children who might not otherwise be able to afford to attend music and/or art lessons. This initiative came from a wish the fiddler had to provide an opportunity for inclusion for all, and her husband Andrew Heighton is now following through to make it happen.
The Jubilee’s ‘Flowers From Fleur’ performance will be held Saturday at the Celtic Circle Cultural Centre on Forbes Street, hosted by longtime friend and musical collaborator, former Pictou County-based musician Steven Bowers.
Bowers, who now lives in Edmonton, Alta., is a multiple Music NS and ECMA nominee from his time in Nova Scotia, and often called on Mainville to collaborate with him both on stage and in studio.
A number of Mainville’s friends are coming together to showcase their songs for this special cause, including Doris Mason, Christina Martin, Keith Mullins, Carmel Mikol, Ashley George, Jim Dorie and others. Admission is a voluntary donation at the door, with all proceeds going to the ‘Flowers From Fleur Fund’.
All of the free-to-see events include:

Children’s Jubilee, featuring the Little Ditties and Sunshine Sue
Music and fun for the whole family!
Saturday, 12:00 p.m., Carmichael Park

Songwriter’s Circle – Flowers for Fleur
Admission at the door: Voluntary donation to ‘Flowers from Fleur’
Saturday, 1pm, Celtic Circle Cultural Centre (195 Forbes St, New Glasgow)

Blues in the Park
Carmichael Park will again be the setting for the annual free blues concert series to gear up for an amazing night at the Jubilee Main Stage featuring the legendary Steve Earle and the Dukes. The acts are:
3pm: Pictou County’s “Leah and Kyle Sampson Blues Duo”
4pm: Calgary’s “Dylan Mac’s Blues Attack”
5pm: Pictou County’s “All In Good Time”

The Jubilee will also be hosting the Jubilee Late Night Stages which is the last music party of the night, and will once again be held at Acro Lounge and Eatery, 60 Archimedes St, New Glasgow. This year performers include:
Friday: Roxy & The Underground Soul Sound &Neon Dreams
Saturday: Christine Campbell Band & Universal Soul
Sunday: The Fourth Well & DJ TLee and Technikyla

Doors open at 10 pm, and music starts at midnight, with admission at $10.

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Possible human remains found in old school

New Glasgow Regional Police Major Crimes Unit (MCU) and New Glasgow Regional Police Forensic Unit are investigating possible human remains that were found in an old school.
At approximately 4:50 p.m. on Wednesday, construction workers involved in demolition at the former Temperance Street School at 334 Temperance Street came upon possible human remains inside the school and immediately called police.
The New Glasgow Regional Police Major Crimes Unit and Forensic Unit have secured the scene and continue to investigate.

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He never forgot his county roots

Most of us can remember our first day in school, our first trip to the movies without parents tagging along, the Christmas we found our first hockey sweater under the tree.
I have that kind of recollection of my first night at a boxing card. It was in 1948, at the new Memorial Rink in Stellarton.
I had just turned 10 years of age, and I went with my father, who enjoyed the fights just as much as hockey and baseball.
I can still remember being excited when I saw the boxing ring in the middle of arena, right where the hockey games had been played a few months earlier. I remember how the smoke under the ring lights got thicker and thicker as the night went on.
I remember, too, the enthusiastic applause from the spectators when a small local fighter was introduced in the ring. It wasn’t the main event; it was what they called the undercard. There were even louder cheers when it was announced the young fighter with the big leather gloves was from Westville. That fighter, just 15 years old, was Jackie Hayden.
Yes, my first boxing card was the same night one of Pictou County’s finest fighters was making his professional debut. He got the decision against a fellow named Chalmers Stewart. Jackie was from a family who didn’t have much money and he was happy to get about 10 bucks to buy some needed clothing.
Well, the years certainly have passed since then. Hayden stepped into the ring a total of 94 times in his career, winning 73 bouts, gaining six draws and losing only 15 fights. It was two years after his first fight that he was given a chance to appear in a main event. Harry Trainor, a New Glasgow barber, was promoting fight cards in those days and, when Hayden won, Trainor gave him about $100. It wasn’t a great deal, but years later, Jackie said he didn’t mind taking what was offered because he had sneaked into Trainor-promoted cards several times without paying, and he felt he owed the man something.
There are so many stories that can be told about Jackie Hayden, a wonderful man who died in his long-adopted Los Angeles earlier this month. He was 82 years old.
Hayden, who became the Maritime lightweight champion in an era when boxing was big, had his greatest battles with Halifax’s Richard (Kid) Howard, the Canadian champion. The two met five times, three of the fights with Howard’s title on the line. Jackie was good enough to beat Howard – and he did it twice. Both wins, however, came in non-title fights. Howard was noted for being better when his championship was on the line. That’s when he scored three victories against his opponent from Pictou County, two of them by knockouts.
One of the fortunate things I gained in my long newspaper career was a lifetime friendship with Jackie Hayden. Yes, he was a very fine competitor every time he stepped through the ropes, but he was an even finer person in life itself. I was fortunate, too, to see many of Jackie’s ring appearances, including all five battles with Howard. That rivalry between two dedicated and determined Nova Scotians was one of the best I ever witnessed. When I learned of his death, the other evening, it wasn’t his fights that came to mind first. Rather, I thought about that friendship we had even though we lived so many thousands of kilometers apart.
It was never a surprise when my phone would ring at home in the evening and the excited voice on the other end offered a big hello, asking how I was. It happened many times through the years, and it was never a problem identifying Jackie’s greeting.
He would always ask how I was, how my wife and family were, how things were in my life. And, I must add, he would also ask what was happening back home in Pictou County. He never forgot his roots.
I find it difficult to realize it was almost 50 years since he and his wife, the former Barbara Kaizer of New Glasgow, moved to Los Angeles. They had been married in 1956 when Jackie was 23. I knew Barbara before I got to know Jackie well; she and I lived in the same neighbourhood and went to the same schools.
Nova Scotians and Canadians never forgot about the lightweight from the old mining town, despite his decades away from his birthplace. Neither did the people responsible for selecting inductees into halls of fame. Jackie was honored by three such bodies, the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame, the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame and the Canadian Hall of Fame.
Jackie and Barbara came home many times through the years, including a visit in 1998 when he had a grand time at a boxing reunion at the Pictou County Hall of Fame. That was one of the several times I had the opportunity to chat with my old pal other than on the phone. He was a happy man as we discussed what the boxing game did for him and his life. He told me he didn’t make a huge amount of money from it, but he gained many, many friends. And he was always the kind of person who ranked friends ahead of money any day.
How did he sum up his career in the fight game? “I’m glad I did it,” he said back then. “It opened so many doors in the fight industry in Los Angeles. It opened doors at work. Every time I put my career down on a resume, they’d call me in to talk about the boxing and then give me a job.”
When I first read of Jackie’s death the other night, I noticed they included a comment Hayden made to me during one of our conversations. I think it’s worth mentioning once again here. Jackie was telling me why he got into the fight game so young. “The bigger guys were picking on me,” he said, and “I had to learn to defend myself. Once I started in the boxing, the big guys didn’t bother me too much after that.”
It’s going to be hard to realize Jackie Hayden is gone. It’s going to be hard, too, to know there will be no more phone calls from L.A., no more queries about home.

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The book writing bug has hit home

I seem to find myself surrounded by book authors these days. So much so, it’s almost like an epidemic. But, unlike most epidemics, this one’s a positive thing.
You see, I’ve caught the bug.
After a decade-long delay, I am finally writing my memoirs, highlighting a newspaper career that has passed the 60-year mark.
It’s not my first attempt.
During 2004 and 2005, when my career was at the half-century pole with the homestretch still ahead, I spent hundreds of hours writing my memories. That effort produced 170,000 words in 64 chapters. Not surprisingly, the manuscript was rejected by the province’s biggest publisher, mainly because of its excessive length.
The script landed on a bookshelf in my office, where it collected dust for 10 years.
Then the epidemic hit.
All around me, media friends, a retired professor and experienced authors were doing their thing. In my own mind, I wondered if I should revive my earlier effort. In the opinion of others, I was being urged to get on with it.
I’ll tell you about these writers.
Joel Jacobson, a close friend and former colleague at The Chronicle Herald, wrote Pat Connolly’s biography when Pat became ill, then died before the book became a reality. Joel had interviewed the iconic sportscaster over a period of months, then Nimbus Publishing produced “The Life and Times of Pat Connolly.”
Dr. Mike MacMillan, an across-the-hall neighbour in our Dartmouth apartment complex, had a 42-year teaching career, including 12 years as dean of education at Saint Mary’s University. He was fascinated with the notion of how people chose their careers. The result was a self-produced book, “Niches: Where Do You Fit in a Crazy World?” After viewing my unpublished manuscript, Mike encouraged me many times to get my memoirs into print.
Ken Reid, the talented young anchor at Sportsnet, son of former MLA Dr. Dan Reid of Pictou, has been a hockey card fanatic all his life, a passion that resulted in his writing a book, “Hockey Card Stories.” Ken interviewed dozens of hockey players to turn out a truly interesting book. Since then, he and I have been corresponding by email. So good to see a Pictonian like him doing so well in the country’s largest media market.
Frank Cameron, my old New Glasgow schoolmate of many moons ago, who went on to an outstanding career in radio and television, came out with his book of memoirs earlier this year. I reviewed his “I Owe It All to Rock & Roll” in my column in April. I started thinking: if Frank can do it, maybe I can do it, too.
Burton Russell, a Kentville native and long-time high school English teacher, was the first Nova Scotia author I got to know well. Burton, whose sports passion centred on hockey and baseball, has written several excellent books on Nova Scotia’s history in the two sports. Starting in the 1970s, he sent me copies of his works, all cherished additions to my sports library. For his efforts, Burton was recently inducted into the new Maritime Sports Hall of Fame. Good for him.
That’s five of the six authors I want to mention. The sixth I purposely left for last, thinking of the old saying, “save the best for last.”
The former Marcia Campbell, who grew up in Pictou Landing, was the final inspiration I needed, the person who, more than anyone else, got my manuscript off the shelf and back to my attention.
Marcia and I were classmates for three years at New Glasgow High and, in our final year, 1955-56, she was editor-in-chief of the school yearbook. I wrote sports articles for the yearbook, so perhaps I could take the liberty of calling her my “first boss.”
After graduation, she became a teacher and married Jim Davey and, after a few years abroad, they settled in Rhode Island. She and Jim attended class reunions in New Glasgow, where my wife Jane and I spent time with them, becoming closer friends. We continued to keep in touch by email, Christmas cards and other ways.
Six years ago, Jim passed away after a battle with cancer. Last year, Jane died following a one-year battle with the disease.
Marcia, who loves writing fiction, became a book author after Jim’s death, and has been very prolific, turning out five novels, including such titles as “Priest,” “Camille’s Fond Embrace” and “Chevy Blues.”
Not only have Marcia’s writing talents impressed me, she has been wonderful in offering suggestions, publishing hints and valued advice for my pending book. That girl from the Landing tells me, once I get published, I will be “overjoyed to see my work and name in lights.”
Marcia is the key to it all. Without her, the manuscript would still be a dust collector. With her ongoing encouragement, however, how could I not get on with the job?
This being a sports column, I should point out, in high school, Marcia tried her luck at bowling, though she wouldn’t recall her average for me. She was also an ardent fan of many other sports.
With Marcia’s suggestions, I’m working at reducing the original manuscript by 50 per cent or more and, who knows – besides her – perhaps I, too, will be able to attach “author” to my resume.

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Fitz OF Fury racing set for Aug. 2

SCOTSBURN – Members of the Pictou County Cycle team are poised to continue their success in Bicycle Nova Scotia’s summer series of races as they prepare to tackle the Fitz of Fury race on Saturday at Fitzpatrick Mountain near Scotsburn.
Three male and female adult divisions and up to three youth divisions are in play for the races that start and finish behind the Scotsburn Elementary School.
It’s the fourth race in the BNS series.
“Nothing brings success like success,” said Andrew Parsons, one of the recent division winners for Pictou County Cycle. “People want to join the team, so it’s increasing.”
Tim Shea of Pictou won the Under-17 division at the most recent series races on July 12 at the Keppoch site, near James River, Anti. Co. Shea will compete in the same division in Scotsburn, while his brother Evan is in the U-15 division.
Nolan Chisholm and Noah Langille from Scotsburn are also in the U-15 division.
Parsons and Jeremy Henderson are among adults racing.
Parsons, who is a coach with the Pictou County Cycle team, won the Men’s C division at Keppoch, while Ryan MacDonald from Alma won the Men’s A division.
Jennifer Baudoux was third in Female B, while Thomas Baudoux was third in U-17.
The Keppoch site attracted bikers from a half dozen bike shops from Nova Scotia and P.E.I.

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Jason Sanford sets sights on two more tournaments

DURHAM – The summer remains busy for Jason Sanford.
The catcher from Durham had barely returned home with a gold medal from the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto before flying to join his teammates on the Ontario-based Hill United Chiefs Thursday for the U.S. Amateur Softball Association’s men’s championship tournament that started on Thursday and ended on Sunday.
He is also on a team from Canada that is playing at the annual International Softball Congress (ISC) world tournament that is being played from Aug. 9 to 16 in South Bend, Ind.
During his brief time at home, Sanford said he was pleased to win the gold medal after having been on the gold medal team at the world championship earlier this summer in Saskatchewan prior to the Games.
“It’s pretty special,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll get another crack at the Pan Ams. I feel pretty lucky to be part of that. It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime thing and winning both events in Canada is extra special.”
Sanford said he’s holding up physically to the summer full of tournaments.
“It’s been a little different,” he said. “I’m fine, ready to grind out the last month and a half of the season.”
The Amateur Softball Association is a volunteer, non-profit organization based in Oklahoma City. Its history dates from 1933.
The ISC dates from 1958 and is allied with the ASA.

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Ryan MacDonald retains Olympic title

MELMERBY BEACH – It was another triumph for Ryan MacDonald at the Melmerby Triathlon’s Olympic event.
MacDonald, 25, retained his title on Sunday by surging to a four-minute lead in the swim and holding his own in the cycling and running disciplines to capture the 2015 edition of the Olympic triathlon in two hours, 10 minutes and 14 seconds. It was his first triathlon of the year.
The New Glasgow resident said he appreciated the competition in this year’s race.
Cliff Worden-Rogers of Antigonish was second in 2:12:20, while Kevin Conley of Halifax was third in 2:18:09.
“It was good, more competitive this year,” he said. “I had more competition at the end.”
A strong swimmer, MacDonald was out of the water in 20 minutes, seven seconds. He lost just eight seconds on the bike to Worden-Rogers and two minutes, 12 seconds during the run.
MacDonald said he liked the running course that started at the bike exchange in Little Harbour and proceeds past the Melmerby change house before doubling back to the finish line.
“You never know where you are until the turn for the run, and that’s when I saw Cliff passing me as I was finishing,” he said. “I haven’t done any other triathlons, but this is home. I don’t have to go so far for a triathlon.”
Shawn Noftall of New Glasgow was fourth, while Hugh Munroe of Merigomish was fifth, Kevin Tulloch of New Glasgow was eighth and John Tetreault of Pictou was ninth.
Terese Chisholm of Antigonish was sixth overall and first female finisher in 2:30:02, while Emily Morton of New Glasgow was second female and 12th overall in 2:39.11.
Chisholm and Morton followed MacDonald out of the water in 20:59, while Chisholm was just two seconds behind Morton after the cycling course and gained nine minutes in the run.
“Tuckered out,” Morton said after she finished. “It was a good race. I was strong out of the water and did well on the bike. I’ve been working on my running.”
Thirty-four triathletes completed the Olympic course.
Meanwhile, Troy Bond of Truro was the first of 41 finishers in the spring triathlon, while Cory Fraser of Merigomish was fifth overall and top local finisher.
Marla Reid of New Glasgow was second female, first local female and 14th overall.
Ryan Hutchinson of Enfield won the Super Sprint, while Bailey Fraser of Merigomish was fourth among 19 finishers.
Casey Spence of New Glasgow was first, Jane MacLean of Glen Haven was second, Jacinthe Bennett was third and Gloria Stewart was fourth and the only ones to complete the try-a-tri race.
In the Olympic team event, swimmer Terry Curley, biker Clint Snell and runner Kevin Waller combined to win the event ahead of four other teams.
Paul Butler swam and ran with Craig Lorge to give their team second place.
Dwayne Murphy, Shalyn Murphy and Katie Tetreault teamed up for third place
Butler said he appreciated the calm swimming conditions.
“I had a great swim,” Butler said. “It was a great day for racing and nice to have some glass (calm water). It was rough the previous three days. The wind started picking up at the end of the swim, but I feel great.”
Swimmer Madison Baudoux, cyclist Thomas Baudoux and runner Sally MacKinnon combined to win the sprint team event.
Second place went to swimmer Dean Sangster, cyclist Royce Williston and runner Beth Williston, while swimmer and Boston resident Alan Grant – formerly from New Glasgow – his sister-in-law and cyclist Liz Grant and his wife and runner Cynthia Grant combined for third place.

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Fans can help Holton win competition

Pictou County singer-songwriter Dylan Holton has been named a finalist in the 2015 Music Competition.
The contest will be judged by a number of big names including Robert Smith of the Cure, Sinead O’Connor, Rosanne Cash, Darryl McDaniels of Run DMC, and Ray Wylie Hubbard and will see winners receive mentoring from well-placed individuals from major recording labels.
The contest began with hundreds of applicants across 12 categories and, as of late last week, sees just 13 finalists in Holton’s category of Folk/Singer-Songwriter. The contest now enters two phases – one that will be judged by the celebrity panel and a second called FANdemonium which is separate from the judging panel and is calculated by a strictly fan driven daily vote.
“I’d be truly blessed with this opportunity of winning a spot in the competition and I just want the county and province to know if my music ever made it to the next level I’d always give back to Nova Scotia as much as possible,” Holton said. “I love and miss this place way too much.”
Holton is understandably pleased to find himself shortlisted among a tight pack of international peers.
“It’s like a small version of bliss that you eventually hope to experience on a larger scale,” Holton said. “Just like every business, idea or song in the early stages, it has to start small. Being noticed within the talents of the final 13 songs and artists from all over the world is extremely rewarding. The goal is to have as many people as possible hear your words and I feel this competition is another stepping stone in doing so.”
The singer-songwriter is equally pleased to know his music will be heard by music heavyweights and journalists from Rolling Stone, Billboard and the Hollywood Reporter.
Holton said he learned of the contest through his sister and saw it as an opportunity to share his music with a new audience.
“I looked into it and let it marinate for a few weeks before applying,” Holton said. “There’s hesitation when entering big competitions because of the fees associated with them. I rarely apply to competitions with fees but it goes to show your music does get listened to and it could benefit your career.”
Holton opted to enter his single, ‘Weight of the World,’ which he released in January off his album Jar of Sunshine.
“I wanted to enter a song that has been recently released,” Holton said. “One that’s been getting some attention but most importantly one that has a lot of personal meaning. When I sat down to record this song in studio with my producer in Los Angeles, there was just something special about it. I love all the songs on my unreleased album but ‘Weight of the World’ was a song I felt could really do something, not just for myself but for people as well.”
The song, for Holton, is about coming through a rough patch in life and taking on the challenges that life offers, set to his trademark sunny, sandy sound.
“When I was facing a rough time in my life I felt like there were no answers to explain the emotions I was experiencing. When I told myself that’s the weight of the world, I was reminded that some things in life we can’t change. When I realized there was nothing to do to change the past, that’s when I started dealing with my emotions and building a strong foundation for myself to keep moving forward. I think it’s important to remind everyone about the brighter side of life when things seem dark.”
Fan voting ends August 24. Fans can vote in Dylan Holton’s category at and clicking on the Folk/Singer-Songwriter link.

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Rock, funk and blues… Carson Downey Band promises to deliver

The Carson Downey Band will be performing Sunday night at this year’s Riverfront Jubilee. To most, especially those who have seen the festival line up, this statement is fact. To hear it direct from Carson Downey, however, it’s almost a warning.
“First of all, all of New Glasgow look out,” the frontman said, “cos Carson Downey is coming to town! And if you want to catch him the Jubilee is the place to be, Sunday at 9 o’clock. So if you want some rock, funk and blues come on in and I’ll put some on ya, you feel me?”
Downey, the titular powerhouse vocalist and guitarist of the group, frequently draws comparisons to heavyweight fighters and with his pumped up, WWE pre-match style soundbites like the one above it’s easy to see why. But then he’s also laid back, and some might say ‘chill’, and graciously used a short studio break to take an interview with The Advocate.
“Me and the boys are finishing up a new CD right now,” Downey explained. “We’re putting some final touches on some certain things and I’m probably releasing it in September.”
It’s been awhile since the Carson Downey Band has released a studio album and Downey said that came down to some issues with his label, and sorting out the resulting fallout from that. Fueled with studio adrenalin, however, Downey didn’t seem terribly concerned by the past and instead explained the challenges of capturing the spirit of the heavy and lively three piece in the studio.
“Sometimes I look at that,” said Downey, “and a song needs to be loaded up just a bit but that you can play it as a three piece. You’ve got to overdub, maybe put another guitar on or do something you think works for that song but still works for a three piece. It’s very challenging.”
As for retaining the band’s spontaneous combustion sizzle, it’s a matter of communication and keeping things as live in the studio as possible.
“I’ll tell you how I do it,” Downey said. “I tell the guys I’m in the studio with, I tell the guy that’s producing, I want the same fire that I have when I’m playing. That’s got to come straight off the floor. It’s all three off us just belting it out and going where we feel in that moment.”
Aside from the band’s signature heavy but funky blues and rock sound, another part of the band’s package is Downey’s main guitar, a quarter-speckled Strat that’s been his sidekick for sometime.
“I got that guitar when I was 13,” Downey said, “and this guitar is heavy, like a Les Paul, and it was killing my shoulder. I was just learning how to play at the time and I went to my buddy’s place and I said ‘man, can we lighten this sucker up a bit?’ So we got the old time drill, the one that you screw in by hand, and we just started drilling holes all through the guitar.”
Downey said he was disgusted by the look of their efforts and left the guitar with his friend who, by the morning, had ventured to the woods for some hardwood, refilled the holes and capped them with quarters.
“I couldn’t believe when I got back how nice the guitar was,” Downey said. “I could not believe it.”
“It didn’t do anything for it,” he added. “It’s still heavy.”
Despite performing a surgery that would make most guitar lovers cringe, Downey credits the instrument with keeping him on track.
“It paid off in the long run,” Downey said. “I kept myself out of trouble, just focused on learning the guitar. I never thought I’d see the day where I’d be talking to guys like you, going out and playing big concerts and all that.”
Instead, Downey learned all he could from players like Johnny Winter, BB King and Buddy Guy as well as “heavy tone guys” like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Healey and Jeff Beck. The fruits of these labours include a tour of Greenland.
“I went up there and, the first thing I got to tell you is, it is cold. I played with a few other bands up there, all I know is up there in Greenland they really enjoyed what we was doing… it was wonderful. Pretty amazing, besides almost getting froze. It’s just, I mean, it was so cold it would make your nose bleed.”
And sharing the bill with guys like Steve Earle… “You know what? I met him in the late ’70s and this will be the first time in a long time that I’ll be on the same stage as him. So that’s another beautiful thing. I can’t wait, it’s been a while.”
As for returning to the Jubilee, Downey said it was “wonderful” but left these words of warning.
“You just tell New Glasgow: look out.”

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More questions than aswers about school decision

To the Editor:
First off I would like to say I have nothing against Tatamagouche getting a new elementary school. I hear they need it badly. I have many friends and relatives living in Tatamagouche and several of my grandchildren graduated from North Colchester High.
What I question is, why did they do a lot of repairs to the high school a few years ago and are now building a Primary to 12 school? Couldn’t they have used that money to repair the River John School instead? Poor planning!
What’s to become of the old high school in Tatamagouche?
As to the question of one school board member being unable to vote, why? Who was it? Why were they unaware they could have voted by e-mail? Did no board member know that and could have told this person that?
I know we’re likely beating a dead issue, but this is going to resonate for a long time.
Alice Sutherland
River John

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Fisheries reps opposed to all petroleum development in Gulf

The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of Natural Resources
The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment:

Dear Ministers:
As fisheries representatives active in all parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, we are writing to inform you that we will oppose any petroleum development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence without prior consultation and a thorough understanding of the impacts to our seafood industry.
Given that exploratory drilling has been downgraded to a simple “screening exercise,” which does not necessitate consultation with existing users, we demand that the Old Harry prospect be put to a full review panel as is warranted by public concern under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA).
As industry representatives, we would also like to remind the federal government that the Gulf of St. Lawrence is a common body of water and that spills occurring in one area cannot be contained by provincial delineations.
While the seabed and the water column may be jurisdictionally different, we would expect that the Environmental Assessment Act, the Oceans Act, the Fisheries Act, and the Species at Risk Act should prevail. In all these acts, it is acknowledged that water moves, that stocks are shared, and that there exists ministerial authority.
Since you are the respective Federal Ministers for the National Energy Board, The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and the Fisheries Act, we would expect that you uphold your responsibilities and evaluate the impacts of each phase of the oil and gas development on commercial fisheries in the entirety of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
In the absence of objective scientific evidence stating that oil and gas activities in the Gulf of St. Lawrence poses no real risks to our eco-system and to our renewable resources, all hydrocarbon exploration activities, including seismic testing, should be suspended.
Marilyn Clark
Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association, for all respective organizations icluding:

Peter Noseworthy, A-SPANS;
Greg Egilsson, Nova Scotia Herring Federation;
Leonard Leblanc, Gulf Nova Scotia Coalition;
Christian Brun, Maritime Fishermen’s Union;
Melanie Sonnenberg, Eastern Fishermen’s Federation;
Ian Macpherson, PEI Fishermen’s Association;
Dennis King, PEI Seafood Processors Association;
Anne Worth, PEI Aquaculture Alliance;
Jean Lanteigne (FRAPP), Fédération Régional Acadienne des Pêcheurs Professionnels;
Jerry Amirault, Maritime Lobster Processor’s Association;
Rodney Taker, Magdalen Island Inshore Fishermen’s Association;
Leonard Poirier, Alliance des Pêcheurs Professionnels
du Québec;
Reginald Cotton, Association des Capitaines Propriétaire
de la Gaspésie;
Daniel Debois, Crabiers
de la Gaspésie;
André Boucher, Regroupement des Pêcheurs Professionnels du Nord
de la Gaspésie;
Paul Nadeau, Association des Pêcheurs de la Basse Côte Nord;
Marcel Cormier, Fédération des Pêcheurs Semi-Outuriers
du Québec;
Troy Jerome, Nutewistoq M’igmawei Mawiomi Secretariat;
Pierre Chevrier, RPPUM – Iles de la Madeleine

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Premier has the power to change situations in River John and at the mental health unit

To the Editor:
The McNeil Liberals want you to believe that they can’t help the people in River John nor those requiring the services of the Aberdeen’s mental health unit. The premier says that these are issues for the school and health boards, not him.
I don’t agree.
First, the job of the school board is to educate children. The innovative, well thought-out hub school model advanced for River John extends well beyond the school board. The premier is wrong to squeeze this concept into the traditional mandate of the board. Instead, it is a perfect example of something that the premier should be instructing his ministers of Business, Education, Immigration and even Municipal Affairs to collectively sit down and evaluate. For him to throw his hands up and say it is not his issue is sad. The premier should make it his issue. I know I would.
Second, this is no time to hide behind the Health Board and dismiss the closure of the Aberdeen mental health unit as a simple board level HR issue. People are suffering. People are afraid. As arguably the most powerful politician in the province, the premier should demand that this unit be kept open because it can be kept open. With a stroke of a pen he could ensure that the positions are filled immediately through locums or otherwise.
I imagine that the premier may feel overwhelmed but we don’t have time for (nor deserve) can kicking and finger pointing. We need leadership and solutions.
There are clearly defined, immediate steps the premier could take on both of these issues. If he wants, I will address them for him. He just has to call 902-695-3582.
Tim Houston
MLA for Pictou East

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Time is of the essence to talk about mental health in Pictou County

To Honourable Leo A. Glavine, Minister of Health:
As you are aware, I wrote to you many months ago and have been working diligently and tirelessly since last November to meet with the appropriate people within the Department of Health and stake holders to lobby on behalf of myself and thousands of others to see changes in the Emergency Room at the Aberdeen Hospital, recognizing that now is an excellent opportunity to make those very important changes with the expansion that is happening.
I am writing to you as a business leader in the community, as family member of those that have suffered with mental illness, and as someone who has had my own bouts with clinical depression. I am not speaking as a current director on the Board of the Nova Scotia Schizophrenia Society, as the past president of Canadian Mental Health Association or for any other community group of which I belong.
As you know, I have met with many stake holders who have felt the concerns being raised were legitimate and even assured that the Department of Health were well aware of the issues. I met with groups that were even keen on receiving a proposal to assist with the infrastructure with the new Emergency Department at the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow, but I have been told several times by people within the system that the “train had already left the station” to which I have been replying “until the ground has been broken, there is still time.”
I have been given reassurances that the voices of many have been heard. I was even asked to be part of a focus group that was doing a study in March. I came away from all of the meetings feeling invigorated and hopeful that we were being heard. Additionally, after being given a tour of the Garrison Center at the IWK it left me feeling even more optimistic about what this could and should look like across our province. Treating and helping those and their families cope with their mental illness so that they can learn to live their lives to the fullest in their respective communities.
To recap publicly, my concerns that I have shared on behalf of others while quoting the Dr. John Ross report, throughout the entire report there are clear references that apply to mental health treatment. Second to last page at the top as it related to the ER, it states: “Safe and secure area for mental health assessment and treatment”. The four improvements that need to be dealt with relating to the ER are: 1. Proper triage in the ER 2. Designated safe and secure space (that doesn’t mean a dingy dark room for those already suffering) 3. On call 24/7 access to those trained to deal with those suffering with mental illness 4. Proper discharge planning.
I had heard months ago that the Short Stay Unit was closing and the services would be transferred to Truro. I had some concerns with that then, but am even more concerned about the alarm it has raised in Pictou County. This is what I have been trying to communicate on behalf of others behind the scenes and have been reassuring people that we were being heard. I’m not convinced of that right now.
Mine, along with many other’s, phones and emails are coming in non-stop, where I believe it is appropriate to now use the words “panic in Pictou County”. We need better access to service, not less.
We all have more questions than answers right now. We need transparency. We need to know the action plan. We need to continue to take steps forward in mental health, not take steps backwards. We are in a day and age where people have started talking more about mental health/illness in an effort to reduce stigma and how it affects all of us directly or indirectly.
I have been saying for months, time is of the essence to have this discussion. The time is to address this with the rising tension in Pictou County, is NOW. The stories that are being told about what has happened to individuals and families should sadden you and this government. It should impact on the re-structuring of the ER in Pictou County and could lead the way for any other hospitals across the Province.
The entire ER concept is based on moving all patients out of ER within a maximum of a 24-hour time period. The Aberdeen has the potential to extend its centres of excellence past orthopedic and palliative care to mental health. The ER traffic or even the Short Stay Unit would likely look a lot different if people were not self-medicating for untreated or unsupported issues. The lack of quality mental health support is a drain on our health system, is harmful to the quality of life of Nova Scotian’s, is an education issue and is an economic development issue.
I, along with many others, look forward to your immediate response to this very critical issue that we are facing in Pictou County right now. With all due respect Minister Glavine, you have the power to ease the minds of the Pictou County people, and the people in this province.
Sherry Blinkhorn

• cc Deputy Minister Dr. Peter W. Vaughan
• cc Patricia Murray, Advisor to the Deputy Minister
• cc Ken Scott, Director of Mental Health
• cc Greg Purvis, Director PC Mental Health
• cc Starr Dobston, Mental Health Foundation, NS
• cc Pamela Magee, CMHA-NS
• Pictou County MLAs
• cc media

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The chronic truth about Lyme disease

To the Editor:
It has been said that Lyme disease is rare in Canada and according to the Infectious Disease Society of America, which Canada follows, it is ‘hard to catch and easy to cure’. If Lyme is diagnosed in the early stages a relatively short course of antibiotics will resolve the infection, but unfortunately, early diagnosis is not the norm so for many, Lyme becomes a chronic infection.
The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society argues that Lyme disease is not rare. Its spread is assisted by rodents, birds and deer. Lyme disease can be found in an unpredictable distribution around the world accompanied by other tick-borne co-infections that may complicate the clinical presentation. Many people who have been labelled in the past with various conditions are now finding what they have is chronic Lyme as the new science moves forward.
The Lyme spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, IDSA is rare or nonexistent, and the concept of chronic Lyme disease rests on ‘faith-based’ opinion rather than ‘evidence-based’ science.
A substantial body of evidence from peer-reviewed scientific studies of tick-borne diseases supports the viewpoint of ILADS.
Chronic infection with Lyme disease is accepted as fact for companion animals and reservoir species so it would seem unlikely that people don’t have chronic infection!
Lyme disease is one of the fastest growing and least recognized diseases in the country and is difficult to diagnose as it can mimic so many other conditions. Some of the conditions Lyme mimics are: early 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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA recently released that over the past two decades, the number of reported cases has risen and this year the rise is 320 per cent in several northeastern counties. What about us Canadians north of the border? It is important to know how to protect yourself because if you are one of the unfortunate ones who end up with chronic Lyme there is no help in Canada at this time. We hope putting Bill C-442 into action will change this.
There is no ‘gold standard’ testing in Canada for Lyme and it is important to remember that Lyme is a clinical diagnosis.
Lyme disease is a controversial illness, and the existence of chronic Lyme disease induced by persistent infection with the Lyme spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, is the subject of continued debate.

Continued on page 7
Continued from page 6

Pictou County has areas that are endemic for Lyme disease. Follow the guidelines for appropriate dress, repellents and inspection of yourself, your children and your pets. In Shelburne County at one veterinary clinic, about 60 per cent of dogs test positive for Lyme disease or other tick-borne disease. There are dogs testing positive across the province. If the dogs can get Lyme, so can people.
A Lyme petition has been formulated to help raise awareness about tick borne diseases in the province in the hope to ensure that those bitten receive a proper, and timely, diagnosis and treatment – in Nova Scotia!
The petition has been distributed to all MLA constituency offices and can be found in various other areas throughout the province. We would like as many signatures as possible on the petition prior to the fall sitting of the Nova Scotia Legislature.
The following people were involved with the formulation of the petition and also have copies available for signing: Rob Murray (, Paula Isenor, Heather Rolfe-Reid (, Brenda Sterling-Goodwin (, Donna West, Lynn McCarron ( and Donna Lugar (
Be aware and protect yourself. Education is key!
Brenda Sterling-Goodwin
New Glasgow

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Mental health issues don’t take a vacation

To the Editor:
On July 15, my monthly legislature report was published in The Advocate. I used it as an opportunity to raise awareness about the growing crisis in mental health services in Nova Scotia, particularly in rural areas.
A week earlier, the Progressive Conservative Party held a press conference and called on the Liberal government to launch a public inquiry into the mental health system in Nova Scotia. A public inquiry would examine every aspect of our mental health system and offer real solutions to what we are facing and not simply look for a bandaid solution. It would also ensure that the findings and recommendations would be made available to the public. This would enable Nova Scotians affected by mental health issues and their families to hold the government accountable for how mental health services are provided in our province.
One in five Nova Scotians will suffer from some form of mental illness in their life, such as: depression, neuroses, personality disorders, addictions and schizophrenia. There are a growing number of individuals speaking up about the gaps in mental health services, it is obvious that small changes and quick fixes are not the solution.
Mental health makes up only 3.55 per cent of the provincial health budget. Waitlists published by the Department of Health and Wellness show that proper access to mental health services is an ongoing problem. As wait times increase, the chances of mental health issues escalating into emergencies increase, as well further taxing the health services in our emergency rooms.
Nova Scotia has a higher ratio of psychiatrists per capita than the national average, yet there is a substantial shortage of psychiatrists outside of the Halifax area, leaving rural Nova Scotians at a significant disadvantage when it comes to getting help with mental health issues. The situation is about to get worse with the announcement of the closure of the mental health unit at the Aberdeen Hospital. Even a temporary closure is unacceptable.
Mental health issues do not take a vacation or a temporary break. Services are needed 365 days of the year. Pictou County residents deserve better from our minister of Health and our healthcare department.
Karla MacFarlane, MLA
Pictou West

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Central Nova holds intearest

All that remains to call this a federal election campaign is for someone to drop the writ.
Candidates in the Central Nova riding have been chosen by the Conservative, NDP, Liberal and Green parties. An Oct. 19 date for the actual vote looms, and in the meantime there is an exhaustive battle for support.
It is considered a wide open race, and sitting Central Nova MP Peter MacKay’s decision not to reoffer in the riding is not the only reason why. MacKay won overwhelming support by voters in 2011, so resigning on that level was a surprise. But it was considered a possibility for some time since then. The reasons were many but for MacKay family has come first, for now. Where and when he returns to political life is not news now.
What is news is the list of candidates to succeed him.
Three of them have been away from the riding for varying lengths of time.
Fred DeLorey will carry the Conservative colours. He is a relative unknown in Pictou County, where so many of the votes are, but he appears to have the most sophisticated political machine and the vote spread MacKay achieved four years ago that gives him a head start. He is challenged by a governing party that has lost its lustre and much of its team. MacKay is among more than 30 Conservative MPs, including several key cabinet ministers, who are on the sidelines this time.
Ross Landry has won the NDP nomination, with impeccable timing, resembling his rise in provincial politics in 2009. He became the Central Nova MLA, barely, when the provincial NDP party was on the rise and went down with the NDP government in 2013. The federal NDPs have momentum on their side, thanks to a breakthrough in Alberta and the diligent work by party leader Tom Mulcair. How that translates into votes in Central Nova is another matter.
Sean Fraser has won the Liberal nomination in Central Nova. At 31, he is the youngest candidate. That makes him similar to Justin Trudeau, who is barely in his 40s and has been branded since becoming Liberal leader as a saviour by his party and “not ready” by the opposition. Fraser has already demonstrated how comfortable he is in his new role and has the potential to offer the biggest surprise in Central Nova. A reversal by the Grits in their sagging fortunes nationally would help.
Because the riding is considered wide open, Green Party candidate David Hachey is also viewing victory as a possibility. He was the first of the four candidates to be nominated and is hoping to secure the support the federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May could not achieve during the brief time she resided in Pictou County.
These are interesting times and this riding will certainly be one to watch come election time.

Steve Goodwin

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Waterside park user hopes for more work to be done at site

WATERSIDE – A local resident said he hopes work continues to improve Waterside.
Charlie Clarke, who has been fascinated with the park and the land formations that have created it over his life, says he was disturbed with the state of the park until the province recently began repairs to make it safer and more attractive to visitors.
He said he encountered officials with the Department of Natural Resources recently when he began questioning the park’s condition and nailing panels to cover rotted holes in the boardwalk leading to the beach.
He said he has enjoyed walking the beach over the years from the time he grew up on Caribou Island.
“I walked the beach and the way my legs are now I especially like walking the beaches,” he said. “I’m just trying to help out. I saw planks in the boardwalk that badly needed replacing. It’s a very busy place.”
Clarke said he also saw change rooms that had not been cleaned before the park would normally open in the spring. A sign from the road in Waterside into the park went up on July 17, he said. A directional sign to direct traffic from the Sunrise Trail was also recently placed.
A grader smoothed out the main road into the park last week, while a tanker trailer was towed in on Friday to water down the road to prevent dust.
Clarke credited Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane for raising concerns that prompted the recent work, but she said Clarke merits the credit for his attentiveness.
She said the park and areas around it are also special to her.
“Charlie Clarke played a big role in spurring this along,” she said. “We have five provincial parks in Pictou West and I was pretty disappointed with what I saw at the Waterside Park. It’s not what it used to be when I grew up.”
MacFarlane said the government needs to put more money and employment into the park network and start getting them ready by late April or early May.
“It’s not a big expense to ensure parks are kept up,” she said. “When you have local citizens who are more concerned with this than the government, it raises a red flag.”
Clarke said land has been reclaimed from the sea since a causeway was built to connect Caribou Island with the mainland. He said he marvels at the variety of plant life and wildlife that has flourished there over the years.
Two sets of sand dunes show how the beach has migrated farther from its original location closer to the park road.

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A trip to remember

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a part of a new segment featuring fundraising campaigns in Pictou County that use the online platform of to raise money for a variety of different causes. If you know of a campaign that you would like to have featured in this series email

With a passion for helping others and a desire to spread her passion around the world, J’Shai Gordon, who some may know as Tay-tay, was thrilled to sign up for a geography field course during her studies at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.
It is her dream opportunity.
The dream quickly turned to uncertainty rather than excitement though when she realized she needed $4,000 to be able to go on the trip.
“I’ve always been interested in helping and going overseas, so I figured this course would be perfect for me,” said the former New Glasgow resident, currently residing in Halifax while attending university.
To help her efforts in producing the necessary funds for the field class, Gordon has taken to the popular crowd sourcing funding website On her fundraising page, detailed information about Gordon and the project is also included. Currently she has $200 of her $4,000 goal raised. To help Gordon visit her page here:
For the experience, Gordon would be spending September to November in class, learning about different environmental issues. In November, the class is scheduled to take a two-week trip to Gambia where they will soak in the culture and experience, while also studying the ways the country is dealing with climate change and how it is growing its environmental tourism sector, along with other environmental related topics.
“The experience alone will be amazing,” she said.
As a student in junior high and high schools, Gordon was involved in the global spirits committee as well as the Welcoming International Newcomers (WIN) team. In her final year of high school, Gordon was also the ambassador of International students at North Nova Education Centre, each of these experiences furthering her interest in the world of International relations and studies.
“I’ve gone overseas before but never for a project like this,” said Gordon about the trip that will involve about 14 students and two professors.
Even though her degree is not yet, Gordon is looking to the future and hoping that this opportunity will help her get a similar type of hands on job in the international development sector, possibly with a non governmental organization.
“I think it will be interesting to bring back knowledge about how they do things and how that would reflect here as well,” said Gordon.

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Pictou nearing completion of water upgrades project

PICTOU – “This is the realization of a dream.”
Those were the words Pictou Mayor Joe Hawes used recently to describe the announcement of funding for the ongoing water upgrades in the town.
“When I first became mayor, three elections ago, it was all about water, water, water. Now we have the funding for the water treatment plant that will make the water clear and tasteless (referring to chlorine),” he says.
Both the province and the federal government have committed up to more than $1.6 million each for the more than $5 million water treatment facility project, the final phase of the two-phase project, making the town’s contribution $1.6 million.
The first part of the project focused on replacing some wells and connecting the water sources as well as an ultra-violet disinfecting system and monitoring equipment, among other things. This final phase will see the realization of a much-needed water treatment plant that will move all the water in one direction to be disinfected before being sent out to the homes.
“With this project, we have the potential for development in close-range county areas for example,” notes Hawes.
Central Nova MP Peter MacKay, while making the funding announcement at the deCoste Centre noted, “It’s finally happening for Mayor Hawes. It’s been a long and winding road, or a long and winding water pipe.”
MacKay reminisced about a meeting he had with council many years ago where they handed him a bottle of brown water telling him it came from the taps.
“It was undrinkable,” he said, adding it is because of the direct ground water source and low pressure mixed with the high levels of chlorine (introduced after Walkerton) that cause manganese to form in the wells and fall off as sediment in the water.
“Phase two of the water treatment plant will remove the iron and manganese in the water and reduce the intermittent pressure.
“It’s wonderful to see Pictou being transformed,” MacKay said.
Pam Eyking, MLA for Victoria-The Lakes, announced the provincial third of the funding. She sympathized with the town noting her water source comes from a well and she understands the importance of these disinfecting systems and clean, potable water.
“Through my own research, high levels of manganese can cause health problems so I am glad to see this project come to fruition.”
Hawes says these upgrades have been ongoing since 2009.
“We now have six town employees who are certified operators of the treatment plant,” he says. “This is the start of the solution to a big problem.”
The project is very large and town CAO Scott Conrod notes it can take one and a half to two years before residents begin to see any changes.
Town engineer Jim Chisholm believes the water treatment plant will be constructed near Division Road, somewhere in the vicinity of the new elementary school.
“The treatment plant itself will take three and a half to four million and the rest of that money will go toward pressure zones and booster stations,” explains Chisholm.
Tenders are currently out for the design of the water treatment plant and after that will come tenders for the actual construction, although Conrod notes the town is unsure at this point where their third of the funding will come from adding, it could be long-term borrowing.
“People will see changes immediately once (the treatment plant) is up and running. We are hoping to use a biological process to disinfect the water instead of chemicals,” notes Chisholm.
“We are piloting the biological process now.”

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And the Central Nova candidates are …Landry, Fraser and DeLorey win nomination meetings

Things are beginning to take shape for the upcoming federal election, with the weekend election of three new candidates for Central Nova.
After Peter MacKay announced he was stepping down from the position he had long held as Central Nova MP, and Liberal candidate David MacLeod withdrew from the race the same day, the contest was wide open for newcomers and seasoned politicians alike.
Here are the results:

The nomination meeting for the New Democratic Party was held Sunday afternoon at the Plymouth fire hall welcoming in a crowd big enough to fill the hall.
Pictou County native Ross Landry won the nomination.
“I’m excited, very honoured, and pleased,” said Landry after the result was announced.
Fellow candidate Katherine Reed graciously put forth a motion of complete support behind Landry after the winner was announced.
Among the issues Landry said he plans to look into are Bill C-51, economy, jobs and the environment.
David Parker, riding president, and guest speaker Peter Stoffer, MLA for Sackville-Eastern Shore, gave remarks prior to the vote.
Each candidate also spoke prior to the election. Reed of the Antigonish area, noted that she was ready for the challenge even before Peter MacKay had stepped down. She said she was slightly sad that she would not have the opportunity to debate him.

A victorious, exuberant Sean Fraser asked for Liberals to join him in a campaign to win the federal riding of Central Nova.
Fraser defeated Janet Becigneul, his only opponent, to win the riding’s nomination for the Liberals in front of a bulging crowd at Summer Street on Sunday.
He called on the support of all the delegates who attended to join him in the federal election campaign, whose poll date has been set for Oct. 19.
“Everyone is welcome, everyone is valued, everyone is needed,” he said after accepting the nomination.
The economy and how young people can come home and stay home were points Fraser said he wants to emphasize as he campaigns throughout the riding.
“I look forward to serving Central Nova in Ottawa, not serving Ottawa in Central Nova,” he said. “I love working with people.”
Becigneul said she enjoyed the experience of campaigning and wished Fraser well.
“I’m very excited for Sean,” she said. “I look forward to working with him if he wants me to. To be faced with not running, I’m glad I did it. Lots of good energy has been stirred up.”

Fred DeLorey will be the Conservative nominee in the election.
The Conservative party held their nomination meeting on Friday night in Stellarton at Sharon Saint John Church.
DeLorey originally from Antigonish, defeated Jim Ryan of Pictou County.
“Our plan is to start right away,” said DeLorey about the upcoming campaign he will now be running. “I’m very excited about this opportunity.”
He noted that things he will be focusing on due to the concerns he had been hearing at doors would be jobs, economy as well as security.
Media were not allowed during the proceedings of the Conservative meeting, and were instead asked to return after the speeches and ballots were cast. Media were permitted to the entire nomination meetings for Liberal and New NDP candidates.
When Central Nova Conservative riding association president Rob Wolf was contacted Monday morning about the media ban, the concern was referred to Cory Hann, director of communications, Conservative Party of Canada.
“We allowed media to cover both the results and any candidate speeches following the results. The voting process, where only members are allowed to vote, and the candidate addresses to the membership are both members-only events,” was his reply.
An email from Hann Monday afternoon said: “Prior to the meeting there was no request for media to attend, so no discussion whether to change the rules and allow them to attend during the members-only portions took place. If media did want to attend, that request would have been needed to be made prior to when the meeting began, as the rules make clear there is a process for granting approval.”

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Crisis in the community

Imagine your entire world crashing down around you. You feel out of control and are beginning to panic. Your heart beats hard and fast and your mind races. But there’s nothing wrong.
For every five people you know, one of them is likely to develop anxiety or another mental illness at some point in their life.
With the recent temporary closure of the Aberdeen Hospital’s mental health unit, a public outcry has erupted and many people have become concerned for the community.
People affected by the closure are speaking up to raise awareness of the importance of the unit and their experiences in the mental health unit and system in Pictou County.
Brenda Dicks has been looking out for her father for 31 years. Her father has both paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He has been in and out of the Aberdeen’s mental health unit several times because of his mental illnesses.
Upon hearing about the closure of the mental health unit, Dicks was concerned not only for the impact on her family but the community as well. She wrote an emotional message on Facebook that gained her notoriety among the public and politicians in the province.
“It’s devastating,” said Dicks.
For her family, when her father goes through an episode they must take him to the mental health unit as they are not always equipped to handle his needs.
“For a family like us… it’s mandatory because I can’t stop working,” said Dicks.
She is not the only one concerned.
Rachel Davey has dealt with the unit herself as a patient.
“It feels much more like a rural health care system than it should be,” said Davey. “It’s under-staffed, there’s not enough care for the number of people that require it.”
Going through the mental health system in the county, Davey noted that she never had a consistent doctor to look after her mental health needs over the 10 years she had been seeking help, therefore making it difficult for her to find medication that worked for her.
“Every time I’ve been there it’s always felt like bare bones, we-just-need-to-keep-these-people-alive, not-make-them-better situation,” noted Davey.
Another county resident who has been through the local mental health system, who wished to remain anonymous, shared Davey’s sentiments.
“You pretty well have to have a gun in your mouth before they’ll do anything to help you,” they said.
“It’s not a problem with the doctors not caring… it’s a problem with not having enough of them,” said Davey who had noticed the issue when she has gone to the unit.
She sees the situation as something the community needs to address. “It’s not a problem with the people who work here, it’s not a problem with the people that need care, it’s a problem with professionals not wanting to stay here, and we need to address why.”
“Nobody is looking at why it is happening though,” added the anonymous patient. “As everything, everybody freaks out right away and nobody takes a second to step back and look at the real issue.”
According to representatives of the hospital, the understaffing issue began in May and since then they have lost several positions. Currently they have three registered nurse positions and as of August 1 there will also be a licensed practical nurse position available.
“We’ve had two full-time psychiatrists, one of which is still here until the middle of August but we had the loss of those two over a relatively short period of time,” said Dr. Theresa Vienneau, clinical lead in psychiatry at the hospital.
“We’ll continue to recruit as we have been doing for the past few months… we have been partnering with our partners across the northern zone to mitigate any negative impact that this closure will have on our patients and their families.”
Earlier this year a New Glasgow psychiatrist was charged with assault after a December 2014 incident at an East River Road outpatient facility. The hospital declined to offer any comment on whether this incident had an affect on the closure of the mental health unit.
The unit will face closure officially as of August 3. Hospital representatives assure that staff have been working to help find solutions so as to keep in mind support systems such as families when relocating patients.
For now, the steps that they are taking to ensure needs are met are as follows: “We have plans to enhance our crisis response service here, locally through our emergency department, so we encourage people, if you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, to continue to present to your local emergency department… and we will be able to respond to anyone requires that level of service.”
Our out patients service will contine to operate business as usual.”

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A message of hope: Advocates meet to discuss future of mental health services in county

STELLARTON – Several community-based and provincial organizations participated in a gathering on Friday to discuss the future of mental health in Pictou County.
With 15 people in attendance at the meeting, organizer Sherri Blinkhorn, a local real estate agent and mental health advocate, Starr Dobson, president & CEO of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, and Pamela Magee of the Canadian Mental Health Association were thrilled with the community participation.
“This was an opportunity to bring organizations together,” said Dobson about the meeting.
Participants discussed how they can provide hope for those affected by the closure of the short stay unit in the Aberdeen Hospital.
“The shared goal is to find a way to provide hope,” Dobson said.
The meeting was closed to those other than community organizations and representatives of different perspectives. The organizers shared that they intentionally did not invite government or the Nova Scotia Health Authority because they wanted to have open discussions among the community representatives.
Community representation spanned a broad range of agencies, organizations, groups and community members including: first voice mental health advocates and family members, Autism Pictou County, Pictou County Women’s Centre, New Leaf, NS Youth Mental Health Directory/Advocacy, Pictou County Helpline, Pictou County Senior Safety, Family Support Groups, Pictou County Big Brothers Big Sisters, New Glasgow Regional Police, the Canadian Mental Health Association (NS Division), the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia and the the Aberdeen Health Foundation.
“I think it’s a sign of hope that so many people want to collaborate,” Magee added. Organizers said everyone involved was very engaged and striving to see a better community.
“A lot of it is questions and starting that discourse and dialogue,” Magee said, about where to turn. According to Dobson, one of the next immediate steps will be to make a resource list of what help and assistance is available in Pictou County, and to make that available to the public as a resource.
The three echoed that one of the elements that came up in the meeting was the fear of the unknown.
“How do we get better access and better care?” said Blinkhorn, noting another topic discussed.
“The county is stronger than one unit at the hospital,” said Dobson.
Blinkhorn said, “The unit at the Aberdeen Hospital provides a security net for residents who struggle daily with mental health issues. There is also a lack of community-based supports and services for families and those experiencing and/or living with mental health issues to access. That is why we wanted to bring together as many community organizations as possible so that we can be proactive and brainstorm solutions.”
The group came up with several strategies to move forward and will continue to meet to explore solutions.

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Sunken harbour ship raises local interest

PICTOU – Discovery of a sunken ship during an underwater mapping project is prompting people to find out more about it.
Rob MacKay, a local diving enthusiast, was accompanied by a crew last Friday that took measurements to document what matches the dimensions of a wooden steamer called the Dieuze that was anchored in Pictou Harbour when it burned to the waterline and sank in 1925.
An article in The Pictou Advocate described how a Captain John Gray from Granton tried in vain to extinguish the fire and that the ship was built at a shipyard in Montreal. The article, dated October 2, 1925, described the fire as “one of the most spectacular fires ever seen in Pictou County.”
Various aspects point to the ship being the Dieuze, MacKay said.
“It’s an impressive wreck. I’m sure in the next few days we’ll have it narrowed down,” he said. “The way it’s looking it’s this ship. There are very few ships in Pictou County with two propellers.”
MacKay said contacting Gray’s family members may reveal photos or other evidence pointing to the Dieuze.
Discussion has increased since an underwater mapping project revealed the remains of the ship in Pictou Harbour.
A crew with the Canadian Hydrographic Service for Fisheries and Oceans Canada has been mapping the harbour and related waterways since late June. The crew’s work is scheduled to end on Aug. 18.
Engineering project supervisor Jon Griffin said better technology has allowed the crew to find the ship, but that has only added to the mystery.
Former Pictou mayor Lawrence LeBlanc said he’s surprised to know there is a ship in the harbour and is trying to gather information.
“I used to work for the hydrographic service and it’s got me baffled,” he said. “I’m not going to stop until I do find out. I’ve heard a lot of possibilities but I’m a strange bird. I want the facts.”
LeBlanc said the ship’s bell will identify the ship if divers find it.
Much of the discussion centres on the Phantom Ship fable, which in more recent years has been linked with the Pictou Lobster Carnival.
Ken Corbett, who was recently honoured for 25 years of volunteering for the event, described the most recent link the carnival had with the Phantom Ship with a burning ship re-enactment in 2009 to mark the 75th anniversary of the carnival’s introduction in 1934.
Hay was put on a barge and a set of vertical and horizontal bars were placed on it to look like a mast and yard arm.
Corbett said he would like to know if the sunken ship can be identified. He said he’s surprised how the ship could go undetected for so long.
“It’s quite intriguing,” he said. “Maybe the tides are flushing better or the currents are changing to expose it more. You never know until you bring up some material what kind of vessel it is.”

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