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Delorey issues order to Northern Pulp

Environment Minister Randy Delorey has issued a Ministerial Order today, Aug. 21, to ensure that Northern Pulp takes measures to reduce air quality emissions that exceed approved limits under the Environment Act.
Premier Stephen McNeil said government has heard the concerns of Pictou County residents and is addressing them.
“They are voicing their concerns because they want a healthy, safe and prosperous Pictou County. We all want the same things,” said McNeil. “This order makes it clear to Northern Pulp what this government expects of the company so we can clean up the air for residents and the industry can continue to prosper.”
The order says Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation is in violation of a term and condition of its approval, by exceeding air quality stack emissions from a recovery boiler. Delorey issued the order to ensure that Northern Pulp takes measures to come into compliance before May 30, 2015.
“This ministerial order outlines several actions that I expect the company to complete between now and next spring,” said Delorey. “This legally binding document commits Northern Pulp to cleaning up its emissions.”
The order states the company has contravened the Environment Act and requires Northern Pulp to:
- ensure an electrostatic precipitator is built, installed and commissioned on the recovery boiler by May 30, 2015, to bring the mill’s air emissions into compliance
- have stack test results submitted directly to the Department of Environment within 30 days of testing (compared to typical 90 days)
- submit a schedule for installing the new precipitator and provide weekly progress reports in writing
- itemize actions to be taken during the September shutdown, and reporting on work done and recommendations made
- do a second set of stack tests on or before Oct. 31, and have results sent to the Department of Environment within 30 days of completing the tests.

Department staff are working on a new industrial approval for January 2015 that will contain stricter limits on air emissions. There will be an opportunity for written public consultation this fall.
The order can be viewed at

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Public parking limited this week at Stellarton RCMP detachment

Public parking at the Stellarton RCMP detachment will be limited this week to the front of the building along North Foord Street, with no overflow parking available.
This will be in place for the remainder of the week while the back parking lot is being re-paved.
Public is reminded that the RCMP counter service in Stellarton is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, but Police services are available 24 hours a day by calling 755-4141 in Stellarton, 485-4333 in Pictou or 911 in an emergency.

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Council adopts MOU with County, Pictou

NEW GLASGOW – Town council has formally agreed to the MOU process with the Municipality of Pictou County and the town of Pictou.
The agreement follows a joint proposal for a memorandum of understanding among the three municipalities earlier this year after the province pulled its share of funding for a study of governance and shared services. The previously promised $150,000 matched the $25,000 committed to Pictou County six municipalities.
The MOU item was among four recommendations from previous in-camera meetings.
Council also agreed to sell a small parcel of land on East River Road, renew its Rotary Park lease agreement and adopted a request for proposal process for Brown and Temperance Street schools.
With regard to Temperance, a stipulation includes a promise not to disturb the school’s chimney, which is a summer dwelling for chimney swifts.
In other business, council agreed to apply the residential tax rate instead of the commercial rate in response to a request by the Pictou County Gymnastics Club, which has pursued locating at the former Pictou County YMCA.
Council also awarded its capital paving tender for 2014-15 to S.W. Weeks Construction. Its offer of $442,218 was the low bid.

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Fisheries pool adds wheelchair, lift

PICTOU – A public indoor swimming pool has added a new dimension to its menu of uses.
The Pictou Fisheries Pool now has an aquatic lift and aquatic wheelchair to allow those with disabilities access to the pool.
The equipment was to be officially dedicated on Tuesday. The goal is to have it available for people to use by late September.
“We’re trying to make it more accessible for people with mobility challenges,” says Michelle Young, Pictou’s Parks and Recreation co-ordinator.
Young referred to the residents of four seniors complexes and the Northumberland Veterans Unit in Pictou, whom the town is focused on getting into the water.
Staff is being trained to better support the need of the physically challenges, include those recovering from strokes.
Partners have made the project possible, Young says.
Central Highlands for the Disabled (CHAD) has offered weekly return trips to the pool at no cost.
Securing the equipment has been made possible through support from the Sutherland and Harris Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Department of Health and Wellness and the Pictou County Health Authority through its community health board fund.

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Hiking and biking with the Hahns

I first met Tom Hahn four and a half years ago. It was at the Land Registration Office in Pictou where he’s property mapping supervisor for the northern part of Nova Scotia. We talked that day about his love for long-distance running, his love for marathons, his love for tackling anything physical.
I got enough information that day to write not one, but three columns for The Advocate, highlighted by the fact he had run the famous Boston Marathon 12 times in the previous 20 years, and that he had some 50 marathons to his credit. He was a good story.
But I knew him – online – since the previous year when, through his long-time New Glasgow buddy Grant Murray, he joined our fantasy baseball and hockey leagues. I quickly took note because he seemed to always be in contention, always knew what he was doing.
The fantasy Tom Hahn has been just as competitive as the marathoner. For instance, last winter he was the champion in our fantasy hockey loop. Now he’s holding down first place in our fantasy baseball circuit. He’s tough to beat, I assure you from my dubious location in the basement. Again, he’s a good story.
Well, now it’s time to revisit him again. This time it’s not just Tom that caught my reportorial interests. It’s him, his wife Mary, and their children, 10-year-old son Aidan and eight-year-old daughter Natasha. Together, the family just vacationed in places like northern New Brunswick and the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. Holiday challenges in the great outdoors.
When the Hahns left their Scotch Hill home, their Dodge Grand Caravan was “packed to the rafters” with an eight-person tent, camping gear, four bikes and the family’s three-year-old shih tzu, Maggie. Maggie wasn’t making the trip; she was being left at a doggie retreat and spa outside Amherst for some rest and relaxation. You can’t do enough for a shih tzu. I know; we have two of them.
Tom and family reached Kouchibouguac national park in New Brunswick to spend their first night in an oTENTik, what Tom described as “a cross between an A-frame cabin and prospector tent mounted on a raised wooden floor.” That evening they biked some of the “fabulous trails” in the park, then sat around a camp fire “telling stories.”
Bright and early the next morning, the foursome set out for Lac Cascapdeia camp ground in Parc National de la Gaspesie, a location where they would spend three nights. What a gorgeous place, said Tom. “Wow, talk about tranquility, the camp ground is in the mountains on a lake, 10 kilometres up a dirt road. Quiet, quiet, quiet and no mosquitoes. All you could hear while laying in your sleeping bag was the sound of loons and owls.”
Next day, it was time for hiking Le Mont-Ernest-Laforce which is “considered the best bang-for-your-buck hike in terms of spectacular views.” It was 4.5 kilometres with extremely challenging uphill grades. Aidan and Natasha, already seasoned hikers, were up for the challenge, despite being pre-teens. That afternoon, upon return, the Hahns visited Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, where they explored Eole Cap-Chat, a wind farm that boasts the tallest vertical-axis wind turbine in the world.
On the fourth day, the family hiked Le Mont-Jacques-Cartier, an 8.3-kilometre journey that’s considered extremely difficult at best, summiting at 4,160 feet above sea level. To put that in perspective, said Tom, “the tallest mountain in Nova Scotia is White Hill in the Cape Breton highlands which is 1,755 feet above sea level.” He said the hike was “tough but fun.”
No resting on this vacation. The following day the four travelled the north coast of the peninsula to Forillon National Park for two nights of camping and exploring. With the evening temperature at 30 degrees, they spent time on the nearby beach. The waves were huge and, among other wildlife, they saw a female moose with her calf alongside the roadway.
The sixth day, the family split up for two different kinds of experiences. Aiden and Tom mountain biked the La Vallee trail, 13 kilometres of “rugged ups and downs.” The two of them loved it. “We loved it so much we did it twice.” Meantime, Natasha and her mother booked an excursion to swim with the seals, which they had seen on the CBC’s Rick Mercer Report. They put on their wet suits and headed off with 20 other brave souls. Natasha said they saw about 500 seals. After their busy day, the family took a 10-kilometre bike ride to the Cap Gaspe lighthouse. Reports indicate all Hahns slept well that night.
The next day, before heading homeward, they stopped at Percé Rock, a huge sheer rock formation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. They took a boat tour around the rock and out to Bonaventure Island where they hiked to the side of the island to see the largest colony of gannets (sea birds) in the world. They were told there were about 120,000 birds. “Quite an experience,” said Tom. That night they reached Sugar Loaf.
During the final day on the road, there was some downhill mountain biking. Natasha being a bit young, stayed with Tom, while Mary and Aidan suited up and had another wonderful experience. Tom explained, “The goal is to come down the mountain without applying your brakes. I don’t think either Aidan or Mary were able to do that.”
Late that night, the Hahns were back in Pictou County – of course not before picking up Maggie who reportedly had a wonderful time at the doggie retreat.
Yes, it’s always interesting checking up on Tom Hahn.
Now if I could only find a way to get my Forever The Jays team up there with his fantasy club. Unfortunately, not every story can end on a positive note.

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Haley cites Olympic Gold among coaching highlights

WESTVILLE – Lisa (Jordan) Haley says she welcomes the honour of being inducted into the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame.
Haley will join Cathy Mason and the late Roy Bennett in the builder category during inductions that will take place on Oct. 18 at the Westville Civic Centre’s auditorium.
“Growing up as a kid in Pictou County, I remember how much of my life revolved around playing sports,” she said. “I chose my academic and professional careers because I loved sports, in every form. I love watching sports on television, I love playing sports, and I have especially loved coaching sports. That has been the most rewarding of all, because you soon realize the impact you have on the players is huge, and some would say, even bigger than the influence their parents have on them.
Haley said she has enjoyed her hockey coaching career and has not expected Hall of Fame or other rewards for it.
“I’ve always centred my life around sports because I simply love it, and not once have ever thought about doing it for anything beyond that, so now, to be recognized in this way, it comes as a surprise,” she said. “I am really looking forward to the induction and plan to make a special trip home to be there in person. October is a challenging month for anyone involved in hockey to be away from their team, but this is very important to me. “
She said women’s Olympic hockey gold last winter in Sochi, Russia is an obvious highlight, as well as having been a part of two world championship teams with Hockey Canada, one with the National team in 2012, and one with the U-18 National Team in 2010.
It means she has a championship ring from all three possible women’s events in hockey.
Haley’s suggestion to juggle some forward lines helped Canada wipe out a 2-0 deficit late in the third period to tie the game in regulation and win it 3-2 in overtime against the U.S.
“I saw that our team was not generating much offensively and so I gave (head coach Kevin Dineen) a couple of new line combinations to try, and he did (I credit him for taking my feedback), and soon after we scored our first goal,” she said. “Whether fate was on our side regardless of the changes, I guess we will never know. We are all just happy with the result and nobody cares who gets the credit.”
She also cited all four AUS Championships she won while coaching Saint Mary’s University’s women’s varsity team in 1998, 2003, 2004, and 2010.
Haley and her twin sister Lesley Jordan were among Pictou County players who participated on Nova Scotia’s team in the first Canada Winter Games involving female hockey in 1991.
She scored the tying and winning goals for Nova Scotia’s team in its only victory of the tournament against the host P.E.I. team in the round-robin.
She played five seasons at Concordia and was rookie of the year in 1991-92.

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Rangers open AGR league playoff hunt

TRENTON – An abbreviated regular season for the Trenton Rangers in the AGR Fastball League has finally given way to a round of playoffs.
The Rangers ended the regular with a 9-1 record by winning a game scheduled for Aug. 12 in Trenton by forfeiture over St. Andrew’s. They had not played either the St. Andrew’s Flyers or the Whycocomagh Warriors all season and were scheduled to open their playoffs by hosting Whycocomagh on Tuesday in Trenton.
The Rangers were scheduled to travel to Heatherton today if they won on Tuesday.
Once seeding of the remaining teams is determined, the remaining league playoff games are being scheduled to be played on Friday and Saturday in Pomquet, with Sunday a rain day.
The Rangers had the top winning percentage but ended up fourth, with Heatherton awarded first place on the basis of more wins from their 10-5 record.
Both the Guysborough Broadhorns and Arisaig Blues ended with 9-7 marks.
Mike Wolfe pitched a 5-0 record and Rangers teammate Pat Laffin was 3-0.
Jason Sanford and Aaron Cameron each had two home runs, while Sanford also drove in eight runs.

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Richardson second in Sportsman final

JAMES RIVER – Dale Richardson of Stellarton took second place in the NAPA Sportsman Series Highland Building Centres 100 race at Riverside International Speedway on Sunday.
Richardson’s performance in the event was part of the Ron MacGillivray Chev Buick GMC 150 on the Maritime Pro Stock tour that had been scheduled for Friday.
The feature had been re-scheduled from the spring, but was washed out on both Friday and Saturday nights before taking place on Sunday.
The wait was worth it for NASCAR Canadian Tires Series regular J.R. Fitzpatrick of Ayr, Ont., who went wire to wire and secured the win while substituting for fellow series competitor Jason Hathaway of Appin, Ont.
Dylan Blenkhorn of Truro was second place, followed by Donald Chisholm of Antigonish, Jonathan Hicken of Brudenell, P.E.I. and Cole Butcher of Porter’s Lake, N.S. to round out the top five.
George Koszkulics of Little Harbour was gone after a crash through 103 laps and was officially 15th. It was the fifth of seven cautions during the feature.
Colby Smith, who won the Sportsman feature, drove Pictou’s Rollie MacDonald’s car to 18th while completing 101 laps.

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Love confirmed at Fenway Park

NEW GLASGOW – A couple’s adoration for the Boston Red Sox compelled them to marry at Fenway Park.
Jason Rorison and Heather Fougere on July 31 celebrated the first anniversary of their marriage at the famed asymmetrical baseball shrine, confirming their love for each other and the baseball team.
Fougere is originally from St. Peter’s. They live in the house Rorison grew up in on Munroe Avenue.
They met at Convergys in 2002 before starting new careers four years ago at the Michelin tire plant in Granton.
“I was taking a call one day (at Convergys), heard the name Rorison and thought what an odd name,” Fougere said. “It was him.”
In one way they are opposites. Rorison grew up playing baseball and still plays lob ball. He also got acquainted with martial arts and has been practising jujitsu for 15 years. He politely says his wife is not athletic.
“She can’t run or throw.”
But when it comes to the Red Sox and their love for each other, they are equals.
Red Sox memorabilia adorn Rorison’s homestead – banners, a framed commemoration of Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary celebrations in 2012 and photos of the great slugger Ted Williams during his prime and near the end of his 19-year career with the Hose.
“I was a Red Sox fan from before the 1986 disaster,” Rorison said. He was referring to a fielding error in the sixth game of the World Series that allowed the New York Mets to tie the series before winning the deciding game.
The Red Sox had not won a World Series since 1918 and had not played in a World Series since 1967.
They both say their relationship was strong and true without marriage. In the back of Fougere’s mind was the thought they should marry before their 13-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter are grown up, and they were prodding them to do so.
Then it happened.
“We got engaged in 2009 and I threw an idea at him about going south (to be married),” Fougere said. “We had no intention of going south. We put it off. We never thought of marriage; it wouldn’t have changed our relationship. It was more about the kids.”
They had already gone many times to see Red Sox at Fenway Park, and Fougere went on line looking for home game dates.
“I went on the web site and saw they do weddings,” Fougere said. “It cost $3,000 for two hours anywhere in the stands, but not on the field.”
On game days, 11 a.m. was the latest time a wedding was permitted. They booked 3 p.m. on an off day, when the Red Sox were not playing,.
They arrived on July 30, and saw the last game of a series with the Toronto Blue Jays, and also attended the first game of the following series on Aug. 1 with the New York Yankees.
They stayed at a new hotel across the street from Fenway, so they could walk to the games – and to the wedding in their formal attire.
It was a small wedding party – bride and groom, bridesmaid and best man. Their children were ring bearers, and a close friend of Fougere’s gave her away.
A platform near Section 32 down the left field line was used for the wedding.
The wedding couple limited the nuptials to a precious few minutes, allowing them more time to tour the ballpark and get photos taken at crucial vantage points, such as a short aisle between the rows of choice seats located on top of the high left field wall called the Green Monster.
“We went with the express option,” Fougere said.
“It went perfect,” Rorison said.
One photo shows Rorison holding his arched bride along Yawkey Way, outside Fenway.
“Everything was right there,” Fougere said. “Everything went well. We didn’t want it to be formal. We wanted it to be fun. We had the most fun watching the Sox beat the Yankees.”
They even got a home run ball hit in batting practice by “Big Poppy”, the nickname for veteran Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.

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A passion: in words

Writing is therapeutic for Mary Sheehan; but it is also a way to let out her story, her memories of a career and passion.
“I’ve always enjoyed writing,” said Sheehan. “All my life I’ve been writing.”
When she graduated from New Glasgow High School, Sheehan wanted to go to medical school, but was unable to. She recalls her father telling her that if she made it through nursing school and still wanted to be a doctor, they would find a way for her to do it.
Sheehan never ended up at medical school though—at the Aberdeen School of Nursing she found her passion and her gift: nursing.
Sheehan has recently released a book about her experiences in the 50s at the Aberdeen School of Nursing, and other parts of her life that she felt were necessary to include in her story.
“The book itself is my experiences as a nurse, all the things that happened,” said Sheehan. She also included parts about her childhood in Tatamagouche in the book.
“There’s quite a bit about Tatamagouche in the book, a lot about New Glasgow, too,” said Sheehan.
The book has most everything from first experiences, such as when she found out she would have to sleep in a big room with all the other nursing students, to lessons on life she learned along the way.
Sheehan took a hiatus in her career to raise her children, but eventually returned to her calling.
“After I finished training, and had my children, and when my doctor found out that I was playing with dinky toys, he said I think its time to come back to work, so I went back to work,” said Sheehan.
A particular patient, who introduced Sheehan—a music lover — to Freddy Gardner’s music, inspired the title of the book, When Freddie Gardner Played.
The pair would spend the free time Sheehan had at work listening to records and talking about music.
“He kind of played his role in the business world down and focused on my gift as a nurse,” said Sheehan. As a parting gift, the day he was released from the hospital, the patient left the Freddie Gardner Album for Sheehan, who still has it.
Sheehan began writing the book over four or five years as a sort of therapy after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. It truly began to take shape when she was introduced to Jennifer Hatt, a New Glasgow author and owner of her own publishing company, Marechal Media Inc.
The pair met through a mutual friend and Sheehan became the first author besides Hatt to put out a book with the company.
“I met Mary and read her script and it was a beautiful story,” said Hatt, who admits that while reading the script she laughed and cried along with the story.
“I enjoyed it a great deal,” said Hatt. “I found it interesting to see the process (of putting out a book) from the other side.”
Hatt also helped Sheehan convert her story into a polished piece of writing with a little bit of editing help. She was also responsible for the cover design, which she had made by John Ashton.
As for the story itself, Hatt was happy to have the chance to help Sheehan into the world.
“It’s her story and she owns it, there’s no apologies, there’s no regrets, it’s just a very honest, very heartfelt memory,” said Hatt.
Sheehan herself is overjoyed, “It’s my dream come true.”

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Shakespeare on Pictou County stage

Literary fans, theatre aficionados and entertainment junkies: Shakespeare in the park is here, and for a good cause.
After directing the Monty Python-style play last school year at North Nova Education Centre, substitute teacher Donny Kitson saw nothing but potential in the kids of North Nova.
A former NNEC, and theatre student, Kitson was surprised at the lack of solid continuing community for kids who are interested in theatre, rather than music or sports.
“When I came back there was a void,” said Kitson, “There’s a community for music without a doubt; there’s not as much of a community for theatre.”
Recalling his former student days, he put things into action getting students to hold coffee houses, and a theatre club.
While directing last year’s play, Kitson came to the idea that a summer Shakespeare play would be perfect and began mentally casting.
“They were all gung ho, they thought it was a great idea,” said Kitson about when he finally told the students about the play.
The students, who range from grades nine to this year’s high school graduates, will be performing Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night—a play many of them had never heard of and none of them had read previous to play rehearsals.
“We have varying levels of experience,” Kitson said.
The play will open August 23 and run from 7 to 9 p.m., with all proceeds raised going to Roots for youth, the local youth shelter.
“Once I talked to them it’s kind of the perfect fit,” said Kitson. “The majority of their staff is volunteer.”
For admission to the play there will be a suggested donation of five dollars that will go directly to the charity.
As for the play itself, Kitson assures that Shakespeare buff or not, it will not be difficult to understand the plot, and it is humourous to boot.
“I tried to make it very full of life and as silly as possible,” said Kitson, who had to cut down the play a bit to an abridged form to keep it under two hours.
As for the play itself, although opening night has not passed Kitson is thinking toward the future.
“It is something I’m considering making a regular thing.” He said, “I think it would be sort of a feather in the cap of the town.”

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Youth at Summer Sounds centre stage

PICTOU—The Festival of Summer Sounds has a youth-themed format this week and presents three young performers making their mark in the industry.
Dylan Guthro was brought up in a musical household. He picked up his first guitar at the age of four and has since toured with his dad, the internationally renowned Bruce Guthro, as far afield as the prestigious Tonder Festival in Denmark and as close to home as the Stan Rogers Folk Festival.
Breah MacKinnon has been charming audiences across the Maritimes since the release of her debut album, Where The Days Went in the fall of 2012.The CD earned her a nomination in the Best New Artist category at Nova Scotia Music Week, 2013. The record was also nominated for an East Coast Music Award as Rising Star Recording in 2012 and has received outstanding reviews.
Sheumais MacLeod has appeared in numerous musical theatre productions and has recorded his debut CD. His background in music festival has gained him a loyal following of fans.
These three performers take the stage today, August 20. On Thursday they will be joined by the winner and runner of the Sound of Youth music competition held in June – Third Step and Joel MacNeil & Jenna Duggan.
Tickets are available at the deCoste Box office or on line.

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Pollution allowance: double standard

To the Editor:
It’s been decided!
The pulp mill is allowed to continue polluting many times the allowable limit. No stop work order. No fines.
Does this mean we are now allowed to smoke in public places? Allowed to burn our garbage – plastics and all? Allowed to let sewage seep into the ditch?
Can we now shut down the Department of Environment and save money?
Alexander and
Bunny MacKenzie
Pictou Landing

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Close the mill, for health purposes

To the Editor:
Health care… Just what is health care anyway? For by the way of the newspapers, TV and radio ads, we are told about how to eat the right foods that will keep us healthy and how we should exercise to keep our body in good shape.
With all that being said, just where do we go with Northern Pulp drowning us with heavy smog that one can hardly breath and then we have Nova Scotia Power plant spurring fly ash all over us. So just what are we to think?
We have hundreds of people in the county affected by the smog and pollution that comes out of the stacks at the Northern Pulp mill that is 78 per cent higher than is allowed by the government regulations. So I ask again: What about health care?
The way I see it, the cost for health care is greater than shutting the mill down and fixing it to protect the people’s health. And as far as the jobs: What comes first – a person’s health or a job? For if we do not have healthy people what good is the mill anyway or the spinoffs that go with it?
The Environment minister and Health minister can tell us that there is no harm to our health. Well let them come and walk a day in my shoes when I can hardly breathe from the smell and pollution; and I am not the only one of hundreds that are suffering from the toxic fumes. When you stop and think about it, do they really care about any of us here in Pictou County other than when we vote and pay our taxes? And yes, we will be voting again, if we live.
So I say again it is time to shut the mill down and fix the problem.
Loyd Murray
New Glasgow

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Branding would give focus to town

To the Editor:
A few thoughts on downtown Pictou:
Our town population has been falling steadily for many years and we are now down to around 3,000 people. We don’t have enough people to have any other kind of downtown other than the one we have now.
Also, look at the rotary area where we have a Sobey’s store, a Tim Hortons, a Subway and a liquor store. That is the downtown for most small communities.
Also remember people are shopping online and also travelling to Halifax and New England to shop. This is also why New Glasgow’s downtown is not busy and the Highland Mall has several empty store fronts.
I think we are very lucky to have the downtown we have. The old post office and the Stanley Hotel will probably both be torn down. If those two buildings were gone, we would generally have a strong lineup of good buildings and businesses.
Imagine that we actually built a brand new street along the waterfront not that many years ago with the Ship Hector, Fisheries Museum, a marina and fine new restaurants, plus a new RCMP office. This is part of the downtown.
There are a ton of homes being renovated or that have already been renovated in the town which signifies people feel Pictou is a great place to live and invest in.
I have a good friend who lives in Halifax and works closely with the business community. This friend believes Pictou has so many positives that we could easily and successfully brand the town.
This branding gives focus and draws attention to our town. Also, the branding tells town employees and town council what they should be concentrating on to continually be making Pictou a better place to live.
Bob Naylor

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Dept. Natural Resources doesn’t get its own ‘community forest’ concept

To the Editor:
When Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released its Natural Resources Strategy in 2011, there was some reason to be optimistic.
According to the government’s website: “The Path We Share, A Natural Resources Strategy for Nova Scotia 2011-2020 is a 10-year plan for Nova Scotia’s natural resources that provides for positive change. It sets a clear direction for where we want to be in the future to ensure Nova Scotia’s natural resources (specifically, biodiversity, forests, geological resources and parks) are sustained for our collective economic, environmental and social benefit.”
The plan has 23 goals including research, education, habitat protection, recreation, shared stewardship, and an ecosystems approach to sustainability.
You can imagine our disappointment and dismay when, after two years of discussions, we received a rather terse rejection of our proposal for a community forest project on a small parcel of Crown land that borders that of our Society, a society that is dedicated to re-storying the human relationship with the forest.
To that point, we had been rather optimistic about the plan we were putting forward. We felt that we were providing the Crown with a unique opportunity, which would bring citizens back into relationship with Crown land. We felt that our proposal better supported the province’s Natural Resources Strategy than any other we were aware of, and that our vision for including the community in the opportunities that would emerge fit well with the goals of the Ivany Report.
The proposal requested an initial one- to three-year period with which FRS would conduct the observation, analysis, and community input necessary to develop what we proposed as the “MacKay Brook Community Forest and Ethical Land Relationship Plan.”
We anticipated the plan would provide for extractive and/or non-extractive activities on the land, all of which would have to be consistent with Nova Scotia’s new Natural Resources Strategy, applicable legislation, and the deep ecology values that are at the core of Friends of Redtail Society (FRS). We asserted that this initial phase of one to three years would be just the beginning of our vision, which was to create a 250–300 year plan for this forest.
The proposal went on to outline the variety of land uses that would be explored in the planning and assessment phase. These included habitat protection; recreational, social, educational, and research opportunities; as well as timber and non-timber opportunities.
We made it clear that the maintenance of healthy living systems would be the standard by which all decisions would be adjudicated, and that our approach would be holistic, meaning that we regarded the flora, fauna, air, water and soil as stakeholders, and the principle partners in the plan. To our knowledge this land-centred (rather than human-centred) starting point is a unique approach.
Naturally, we wondered if our proposal had even been read, since the rejection letter totally mischaracterized what had been proposed.
The most telling part of the response is here:
“The new Government has made a commitment to improve the economic viability of the Province…. Using our Crown lands in a sustainable way to promote economic and social benefits is part of that plan. At present the Government is working to address a significant fibre shortage being experienced by Port Hawkesbury Paper (PHP). The wood on the Crown lands you have identified are within the PHP license and are needed to meet fibre requirements.”
From this it was obvious to us that the industrial bias of the department had precluded any fair assessment of our goal of using the small Crown block to promote economic and social benefits for our community.
We are disappointed to have it so clearly confirmed in black and white that our Crown land has been hijacked by industrial forestry, aided and abetted by the DNR.
Equally disappointing is the confirmation that the other forest values spoken of in the DNR strategy – recreational, educational, and social – are merely window dressing. The primary requirement of Nova Scotia’s forests is to produce fibre – fibre must be ceaselessly liquidated.
Nova Scotians deserve a much better understanding and appreciation of the forest by those that have been entrusted with its care.
We remain entirely committed to achieving our goal – to remove this land from industrial forestry.
This land is of particular interest and concern because it borders the brook, and rises to an elevation higher than that of FRS land, meaning our land is down stream from whatever occurs there, and making it very central to the watershed.
Our view is that the small size of the parcel and distance from PHP lower its value and significance to the other parties, and surely these 300 acres, a good portion of which is grown-over blueberry patches and pasture spruce, cannot be critical to PHP’s fibre needs. This piece is however, very critical to FRS and the surrounding community as a new way forward in our relationship with the forest and land in general.
Tom Miller, Chair
Friends of Redtail Society for the Board of Directors

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Farmers Market to be location of Lyme Disease awareness table on Saturday

To the Editor:
National Farmers’ Market Week was marked from August 3 – 9 this year.
People gather together on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon from mid-May through to October at the New Glasgow Farmers Market located at the Riverfront Dome at 115 Jury Street. It is a place to celebrate our local agriculture, wonderful fresh food and baking as well as local artisans and craft people.
There is also a community table available for different groups to help bring exposure to different events or causes. On August 23 there will be a Lyme Disease Awareness table with information available.
It still amazes me when I find people who have not heard of or who have not been to the market. Fresh picked vegetables are the best, in my opinion. The locally grown meat is not to be missed. Someone asked why it was so different from the grocery story; someone said they did not like the hamburg from the Farmers Market because it tasted too much like steak; to me that is a good thing.
Farmers markets support small family farms, boost the local economy, create local business and employment opportunities and promote diverse, sustainable farming operations across the country.
More Nova Scotia residents need to review the way they purchase products and change their habits so their money can help grow the local economy.
During the month of September there is a 50 per cent Local Food Club, a month-long initiative to increase consumption and purchasing of local foods in Nova Scotia.
On Sunday August 31, the New Glasgow Farmers Market will be hosting the second Community Dinner featuring ‘local’ food prepared by The Kilted Chef. I feel it will be an unforgettable meal. Tickets are limited and are available at the NGFM.
It is important to think about what you are eating and to remember ‘You are what you eat.”
Brenda Sterling-Goodwin
New Glasgow

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Annual Walk of Hope in September raises awareness of, funds for, ovarian cancer

To the Editor:
Twelve years ago, I was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer, metastasized to my lungs, and have had the privilege of fairly good health and being involved as a volunteer with Ovarian Cancer Canada – the only organization solely devoted to research, education, awareness and support for this cancer. I have battled breast cancer twice, as a result of the BRCA1 gene which is associated with these cancers.
Ovarian cancer is the most fatal women’s cancer and approximately 2,600 Canadian women (approx. 75 in N.S.) are diagnosed every year. There is NO early detection test (unlike breast and prostate) for ovarian cancer, and with signs and symptoms that can be vague and often misdiagnosed, ovarian cancer is not found until late stages. A woman diagnosed in late stages has a five- year survival rate of less than 30 per cent. Yet when ovarian cancer is detected early, survival rates increase to 90 per cent.
The best chance for early discovery is for women to be educated about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and to be aware of changes in their bodies. This disease requires women to be proactive and knowledgeable on the facts and risks of ovarian cancer.
Learn more about ovarian cancer at or calling toll free 1-866-825- 0788, also offering support (ask for a free You Are Not Alone kit to those newly diagnosed )
• Swelling or bloating of the abdomen
• Pelvic discomfort or heaviness
• Back or abdominal pain
• Fatigue
• Gas, nausea, indigestion
• Change in bowel habits
• Emptying your bladder frequently
• Menstrual irregularities
• Weight loss or weight gain

Other symptoms…
• Mass or “lump” in your pelvis that you can feel
• Feeling full
• Pain with intercourse
• Vaginal bleeding

If you have one or more of these symptoms and these symptoms persist for three weeks or longer, see your health practitioner immediately.
Our biggest national fundraiser is the Walk of Hope on September 7 in 45 communities across Canada, with three of those in Nova Scotia. Please join me as I will be walking at the new location this year on the Halifax waterfront. See (to register or sponsor someone) or call 1-877-413-7970.
Pat McDonald
summer Melmerby resident

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County needs MOU solution

It was an interesting question: what reaction has there been to the memorandum of understanding?
The reference was to the MOU agreed to in principle by the Municipality of Pictou County and the towns of New Glasgow and Pictou.
None was the reply.
What are people talking about?
They’re talking about the pulp mill. It’s obscuring everything else. When a plume overwhelms otherwise idyllic settings Pictou County has become known for and revisits fears for the environment and people’s health, it’s difficult to ignore.
The two subjects are at opposite extremes in terms of what has been most on our minds lately, but they have at least two things in common. What most people don’t know about either of them is a lot, and both deserve more real thought than they have received.
One of the by-products of the outrage over the emissions from Northern Pulp that, even from an aging pulp mill with suspect energy use have been extraordinary in recent times, is that we as citizens need to know more than what anyone in government or the pulp mill operators are telling us about what those emissions contain, and their potential harm.
The public pressure is at ground level, where health concerns have merit and a tourism industry in the immediate area faces utter ruin. It has generated what a reasonable person would conclude is some movement and little action.
Northern Pulp has announced measures to reduce the emissions during a scheduled shutdown of the mill in September, before a scheduled replacement of a precipitator next spring. The government has been a third party in all of this. What people have seen from this government is a spectator, or an apologist – not a referee.
The government has behaved that way with regard to local municipal discussions over a study to examine shared services and governance options. Matched provincial funding for the study was pulled when a successful conclusion to the process appeared unlikely. It was prophetic. Pictou County, New Glasgow and Pictou have gone one way. Stellarton, Trenton and Westville countered with its own review process. Somehow, these two paths are supposed to meet somewhere. But we’ve been over this ground before.
That brings us to a third point. The prolonged inaction over air emissions have driven people to protest.
The local municipal shared services and governance study process has delivered a worse result: public indifference. People are saying or thinking that we have been over this ground before.
The MOU discussions among municipalities in these two divergent camps may bear a good harvest, but it can’t come soon enough.
In areas of mass purchasing, planning, recreation, infrastructure and general policy making, we need to see a way forward now. The meter has expired. It’s time to pull out and drive to our destination.
Steve Goodwin

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Facebook group plans concert while Northern Pulp starts tests

PICTOU – An outdoor concert is being planned for Sept. 9 along Pictou’s waterfront while using emissions from a pulp mill as its backdrop.
Matt Gunning, part of a group who established a Facebook page to protest the mill last year and whose brother – singer and songwriter Dave Gunning – is organizing the event, says the concert will send a vital message.
“We have to show Pictou County can do some amazing things when we put our minds to it,” he said.
Notice of the ‘Clear the Air’ Concert on the Waterfront featuring local and some of Atlantic Canada’s “biggest” artists surfaced over the weekend and came as membership on the Facebook page reached 5,000.
“It’s as much a thank you and appreciation to the town,” he said. “For us it never was about closing the mill.”
He said the stage setting will be one that accommodates the most spectators possible and be open to Pictou Harbour.
“The stage will set itself,” he said. “I think people will be impressed with how big the list will be.”
Meanwhile, Northern Pulp spokesman David MacKenzie confirmed the start up of testing at the mill after having contracted Stantec, an environmental consulting firm, to conduct a week-long series of tests.
Stantec’s technicians were expected to arrive on the site later Monday, he said.
“When we do the full round of regulatory testing it is a week-long process for three Stantec technicians.
Tests are taken at four locations: recovery boiler, power boiler, dissolving tank and lime kiln, so the testing gear needs to be moved around and set up at all the locations.
The regulatory protocol is that three repeat tests lasting two hours each are taken at each of the 4 sample locations.
“The emissions’ testing is done according to regulatory requirements of our approval to operate and a pre-test plan submitted and approved by Nova Scotia Environment,” he said. “The report is filed by Northern Pulp with regulatory authorities for review.”

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Council adds caveat to wind setback

PICTOU – County Council’s financial services committee has recommended a planning advisory committee proposal to include a rider to a new 1,000-metre wind setback.
Coun. Robert Parker supported the recommendation to increase the setback distance from 600 metres to 1,000 metres. But he opposed a clause recommended by the PAC to allow for shorter setbacks if nearby residents agreed with them.
His amendment to remove the clause was defeated. He called it an incentive for wind power companies to offer residents money for a reduced easement that would “set neighbour against neighbour.”
His remarks came with an audience that included residents who live close to initial test wind towers still operating on Fitzpatrick Mountain.
“If we agreed to 1,000 metres, let it be 1,000 metres,” he added. “This appears to be an opening to be bought off.”
Coun. Leonard Fraser agreed. “I’m not in favour of buying distance.”
Deputy Warden Andy Thompson opposed the amendment, saying it empowers people to consider those options.
“Having the means to negotiate is not an impediment,” he said. “It’s not buying people off. It’s empowering people.”
Coun. David Parker called the latest proposal a balance between increasing the distance from what it was, while not accepting a 1,500-metre setback.
“It’s not perfect, but it is a significant improvement,” he said. “If we go with a 1,500-metre distance, if you look at the map (of Pictou County), we’d put ourselves out of the wind business.”
Several steps remain for the recommendation before it becomes binding.
County CAO Brian Cullen outlined a scenario that includes first reading of the document at council’s next regular meeting on Sept. 2, followed by a public hearing after notice of the hearing has been advertised and its consideration after second reading in October.
Provincial approval would follow if council adopts it.
Cullen also cautioned that a majority of eight council members would need to support the resolution, regardless of how many are absent.

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Heatherbells band: Half a century of sounds

The sound is unforgettable, a major part of Scottish culture, and can be heard at most any parade.
Pipe bands are a longstanding tradition.
For the Heatherbell Pipes and Drums it has been a 50-year tradition.
Beginning in 1964, the band was female only, with age ranges from nine to 18. In 2005, the band began allowing males to join as well.
“In conjunction with the deCoste summer concert series Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, there’s usually a pipe band on the deck,” said Nathan Smith, one of the band managers.
“Historically, Thursday night’s Heatherbells have joined Na Gaisgich, the adult band from here,” said Smith. “With it being the 50th anniversary, we thought it would be good exposure to have the Heatherbells only and also give us a chance to announce the upcoming 50th anniversary convert in November.”
The concert to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the pipe and drum band is going to be held on November 9, at the deCoste Centre. The concert, which is being held on Veteran’s Week, is also meant as a tribute to veterans and legionnaires who have helped support the band over the years.
Tickets for the anniversary concert will be available at the deCoste box office.
For the 50th anniversary, the managers of the band are also looking to put something special together. They are seeking former Heatherbell members who may still play the pipes, or sing or were just in the band previously to give them the opportunity to celebrate the band and contribute to the concert if they wish.
“We only have a handful right now,” said Smith. “We’re constantly looking for more.”
The band has a Facebook group called, Heatherbell Pipes and Drums 50th Anniversary, that any former members can ‘like’ and get in contact with in regards to the concert. The group also welcomes those who are looking for information on the concert as well.
“Years ago, there was a waiting list to get into the band,” said Smith, attesting to the fact that there are many ex Heatherbells around Pictou County.
Today, the band is holding strong at about 20 members, and hoping to recruit more during their registration on September 9 at the Dr. Thomas McCulloch School in Pictou.
“We’ve had an incredible summer,” said Suzanne MacKenzie, the other band manager. The band this year has played in its usual parades and events, but also had the privilege to play for members of the royal family when they touched down in Pictou County earlier this year.
“They’re just an amazing group,” MacKenzie said.

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Pictou Council passes budget

Monday evening, the Town of Pictou Council passed its 2015 budget.
With a good sized crowd looking on from the gallery, the Town of Pictou reviewed the new budget for the upcoming year, revealing some new taxing systems and some cuts to other areas.
A new flat tax for curb side garbage collection was implemented, which is set on a user-based system rather than a property assessment system. The new flat tax will not apply to commercial building owners or to apartment buildings containing more than three units, as they are not under the town’s waste collection.
In the presentation, it was outlined that 85 per cent of the taxable properties in town are residential, which will help with the deficit, but council is hoping that the commercial-to-residential ratio will improve.
A fire hydrant area rating was also put into effect, which taxes residents for the growing expense the town faces of renting the fire hydrants from Pictou water utility, the owner. The rental charge in total for the town is expected to be $178,000 in 2015, going to an estimated $182,000 in 2016. Those previously exempt from taxes – such as churches and school buildings – will have to pay this tax as well.
The new taxes were implemented to help make up for the $72,000 deficit this year that the town faced. This deficit, according to CAO Scott Conrod, was because of three major factors:
►snow removal
►RCMP policing costs
► one-time tax sales
The snow removal in the 2014 budget was originally set at $95,000, but with the long winter and a heavy snowfall, it ran over budget, reaching $323,000.
The RCMP costs were brought on by the request to the town, by residents, to hire another police officer to ensure 24-hour policing in town, as well as unexpected overtime.
Parts of the budget were also cut, such as a $20,000 reduction from the fire department, which in the past had been to replace equipment, which the fire department now has.
Town council members assured those with questions about the new taxing systems that they had looked at each individual line of the budget to see where things could be reduced before implementing the systems.

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Tupperware triumph

Angela Rae and Heidi Guitard are party experts.
But their idea of a good party may not be the same as most.
The pair has been in Tupperware sales for a few years and have been busy hosting parties and networking over social media to reach something they never thought was possible before their Tupperware journey began.
This year, Rae will be taking a trip to Disneyland with her family, all because two years ago she decided to follow her cousin’s advice and throw a party; it was a party that only two people attended.
It was then that Rae decided she was going to prove people wrong and make something of herself with this.
“I didn’t want to prove my husband right that you know, there’s no way this could go,” said Rae, who is now a star director for her team, the Tupper Bees.
Rae and Guitard just returned from the Annual Tupperware Jubilee in Florida, but in the next few months Rae will be headed to Orlando for director training, an all-expenses paid Disney trip for her family she earned through Tupperware, and the pair will be attending a Leadership summit in Orlando after that.
They will also be hosting an event at the Holiday Inn, Stellarton, on August 23, to reveal the fall and holiday collections of Tupperware. Doors open at 6:30, the event runs 7-9 p.m. RSVP at Or contact Guitard or Rae on the Tupperware website.
Both women attribute the job for their new found confidence. “I think everyone’s that way when they have a goal that you’re working towards: you see the results and, number one it makes you work harder, but it gives you pride,” said Guitard.
This year at their first Tupperware Jubilee, the pair swept up a list of prizes. “We had little clips on and our ribbons were touching the floor,” Guitard said smiling.
Guitard and Rae each won many awards.
The Jubilee took place from August 7-9 in Orlando. The three days covered recognition, training and meeting their Tupperware family—friends that they had made through Tupperware but perhaps have never met in person.
“I think it was at that time that I realized that you really can do anything,” Rae said.

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Mountain retreat sold

SCOTSBURN – A resort on Fitzpatrick Mountain has been sold and will reopen as the Smith Rock Chalets this November.
The retreat, previously known as the Stonehame Chalets, has been a popular travel destination for locals and tourists alike, providing a unique country style getaway since 1996.
The new owners have made it clear that it will be their top priority to carry on the award-winning tradition envisioned by Don Gunn Sr.
“We believe it’s important to honour the family tradition the chalets are rooted in,” said Cathy Smith Ura, owner of Smith Rock Chalets. “Not only will it be a place for families, but the community as well – we want to make our space accessible to everyone.”
Smith is a native of the Scotsburn community and long-time friend of the Gunn family. Brother-in-law and general manager, David Steeves of Pictou, will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the business, along with a dedicated team of local residents.
“We would like to say how pleased we are to hear that Larry and Cathy Ura and their family have purchased the Stonehame property and that it will be brought back to life,” Jeff Gunn said on behalf of the Gunn family. “For us, it was the end of a chapter in our lives and we are just so excited that the view from Fitzpatrick Mountain will continue to be shared.
“We feel it is fitting that Larry and Cathy will be the new owners,” he said. “Not only were they some of our most loyal and supportive customers, but their family is from the community of Scotsburn and we have known them all for many years. We wish them well in this new undertaking and look forward to the spirit of Fitzpatrick Mountain living on and contributing to the local economy once again.”
Over the next few months, the property will be undergoing renovations and upgrades for the November reopening. More extensive alterations are expected to take approximately 18 months to complete.
The goal is to add a new exercise facility, sauna, hot tub and bar throughout the facility.
A grand reopening party is expected to take place sometime in December, with details to follow at a later date.

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