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Visitor restrictions in place at the Aberdeen Hospital

NEW GLASGOW – The Pictou County Health Authority is advising the public that visitor restrictions are in place at the Aberdeen Hospital.
Visitors are not permitted on the hospital’s Medicine and Surgery inpatient units, located on the fourth floor, and the Alternate Level of Care (ALC) inpatient unit on the fifth floor.
These restrictions are in place to limit the spread of a gastrointestinal illness. Restrictions are a precautionary measure and continue until further notice.
The public is reminded not to visit the hospital if they are sick or live with others who are sick.
For information on how to prevent and control infection visit

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County digs out after winter storm

PICTOU – Crews and residents in Pictou County got busy today digging out from the first major snowstorm of the season.
Total snowfall was on the low side of the 15 to 20 centimetres of the white stuff predicted for the area, but the winds that sometimes reached gale force caused considerable drifting and near white-out conditions for most of the day.
Nearly all institutions either closed early in the day or never opened on Tuesday. Schools in Pictou County and throughout the region were closed and remained closed today.
The winds increased around dawn and the snow arrived at around 7 a.m. Police were already advising motorists to stay home if they didn’t need to travel.
The Pictou Causeway section of Highway 106 closed around 9:30 a.m., the first of several portions of 100 Series roads that were shut down on Tuesday.
Some vehicles were reported off roads, including one in a deep ditch in Sylvester.
Visibility remained poor throughout the day as the snow turned to ice pellets and covered the ground, buildings and motor vehicles with a thick glaze.
Many roads in Pictou County, including side streets in its towns, remained unplowed until late in the day.
The snowfall was lighter along the Atlantic Coast and heavier toward northern Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Maritimers can expect more snowfall over the next week from storm systems crossing the continent.

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Mariposa skaters join N.S. Canada Games team

Three members of the Mariposa East Figure Skating Centre are thrilled to be selected to represent Nova Scotia at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
Jillian Matlock of Stellarton, Hana Mamura of Antigonish and Brandon Bent of New Glasgow are members of the club who will compete at the Games next month in Prince George, B.C.
Matlock and Bent are among nine Pictou County athletes going to the Games.
The others are judo athletes Megan Constable of New Glasgow and Cody Angevine, Maddy Fitt and Marshall Fitt of Merigomish; women’s hockey player Taylor Perry of Trenton and freestyle skiers Calum Michael Shaw and Scott Williston.
The Mariposa members constitute three of the six competitive free skaters on Nova Scotia’s team, to go with a dance team. They each won gold medals at Nova Scotia Sectionals to earn their spots on the province’s pre-Canada Games Team.
That also allowed them to represent the province at the Canadian Challenge, where they had to place in top two and achieve a level of scores to join the team.
The Mariposa skaters are even more ecstatic that their coach, 1987 gold medalist Angela Coady Pennington, will accompany them to the 2015 Games.
“It would be so weird if she wasn’t going,” said Matlock, 13, who is competing in pre-novice freestyle. “I’m really excited to be going. I’ve never been to B.C. but I love to travel. I’m really happy to represent the province and that three skaters from our club are competing.”
Mamura, 17, is an accomplished track and field athlete, as well as a skater. She is competing in the novice women’s division, while Bent is in the novice men’s category.
“It’s been a goal of mine to go to the Games,” said Mamura, who like Matlock began the Canskate program when she was three and started competing when she was seven. “I went to clinics four years ago, so this is really exciting for me.”
Bent has been skating since he was 10.
“I enjoy skating every day,” he said. “It’s a great thing to be going to the Games.”
Pennington won her gold medal in ice dancing with her partner Glenn MacCara in Sydney. Nova Scotia has not won an ice dancing gold medal since then. They first competed at the Games in 1983 in Quebec.
“I’m really excited for the kids who have made the team,” she said. “The Canada Games are such a unique experience, with the people you meet and the athletes from different sports.”
Skaters she has coached have gone to the previous five Winter Games, including Gena (Waller) Henderson in 1995 in Grand Prairie, Alta.
Nova Scotia’s Games team gathered on Saturday in Halifax to celebrate those who will represent the province at the Games.
The 2015 Games will take place in Prince George, B.C., from Feb. 13 to March 1, and will host more than 2,400 athletes competing in 19 sports across 17 venues.
The Canada Games are celebrated every two years, alternating between summer and winter. They are considered crucial in developing Canada’s young athletes and producing the next generation of national, international and Olympic champions.

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Scotians extend winning streak

TRENTON – The Pictou County Scotians will try to keep their winning streak going this week.
After winning three games last week, the Scotians continue their bid to gain ground on the first place Glace Bay Miners in the Nova Scotia Senior Hockey League’s Sid Rowe Division when they visit the Valley Maple Leafs today in Windsor and host the Cole Harbour Colts on Saturday in Trenton in two rescheduled games.
The game on Saturday is a special one as the Scotians use the unusual home date to lend its support for Pictou County Minor Hockey. Ceremonies at 5 p.m. will precede the schedule faceoff for the game at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s a good opportunity for the community,” Scotians’ head coach Chris Stewart said.
Scotians’ executive member Walter Smith said it’s a chance for the franchise to engage with minor hockey in the county.
All kids affiliated with Pictou County Miner Hockey will be admitted free to the Scotians’ game.
“It’s a way for the Scotians to say thank you,” Smith said. “We see this is an opportunity to have a good relationship with minor hockey because these players will someday be our future players and fans.”
The Scotians will be idle on Sunday, giving up their customary home night due to the Super Bowl Game.
Their next home game will be on Feb. 8 and is a crucial affair against the Miners, their last regular-season meeting and the last chance the Scotians have to close the Miners division lead in a head-on battle.
The Scotians are solidly in second place in the division, 10 points behind the Miners while having played four fewer games.
The Scotians began last week with a 4-3 overtime victory over the host Cumberland County Blues on Wednesday in Springhill before a convincing 9-4 romp over the Strait Pirates on Friday in Port Hawkesbury.
Brandon Verge scored twice and Craig Matheson added another goal for the Scotians, but it was Matthew Oldfield’s goal in overtime that won the game.
After a scoreless first period, the Scotians held a 2-1 lead heading into the third period. They outshot the Blues 39-37.
At Port Hawkesbury, the Pirates led 1-0 after the first period, but the Scotians outscored them 5-1 in the second period and 4-2 in the third to complete the rout while outshooting them 37-21.
Lucas Eshleman with two goals and one assist, Brandon MacKenzie with two goals and Verge with a goal and three assists led the Scotians.
Riley Cameron, and Ryan MacEachern added a goal and two assists each, while Oldfield and Ryan MacDonald also scored.
The Scotians completed their sweep with a 7-5 victory over the Valley Maple Leafs on Sunday in Trenton.
Verge’s two goals and two assists and a goal and three assists by Oldfield led the win for the Scotians, who trailed 2-0 after one period and 4-3 after two before scoring four straight goals in the third – the last two by Verge.
Cameron, Craig Matheson, Mitchell Warner and MacEachern also scored.
“We put together a pretty good effort,” Stewart said. “We’ll take it game by game. With the math it’s possible to finish first ahead of Glace Bay. We’ll see what we can do.”
Verge now has 26 goals and 29 assists for 55 points to put him sixth in the individual point standings.

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Ship Hector curling cashspiel maintains strong support

NEW GLASGOW – The annual Ship Hector Cashspiel continues to hold a strong appeal for curling teams throughout Pictou County and elsewhere.
The annual 56-team draw ended on Sunday at the Bluenose Curling Club with Bill Hennigar’s Nova Scotia Curling Association team capturing the 42nd annual event with a narrow 5-4 victory over Nick Deagle’s team from Bridgewater.
“We continue to attract teams,” cashspiel co-chairman Larry Romain said. “We had a team once again from Ste-Pierre and Miquelon and each year we’re still able to fill a 56-team draw and have a waiting list. People come here and they want to come back.”
Romain noted a team of past women’s champions skipped by Colleen Pinkney of Truro, along with mate Wendy Currie, Shelley MacNutt and Susan Creelman, who were among the teams at this year’s event.
He was also relieved that the weather co-operated. On one occasion, the customary Sunday finals in Pictou County’s four rinks were cancelled due to a heavy snowstorm.
“It’s the first time I can remember that we didn’t have to slog through snow,” he said.
Deagle tied the championship game with two in the seventh end before Hennigar counted one in the eighth end to win it.
Among other games at the Bluenose Club, John Thompson’s Westville club won the Bluenose trophy with a 6-5 victory over the Jeff Morse team from CFB Halifax.
Andrea Rushton’s team from Lakeshore club defeated the Bill Milberry team from Bluenose to win the Jack Pink trophy.
New Caledonian Curling club in Pictou hosted three finals. Dave Clarke’s Bluenose team won the New Caledonian trophy, while Pinkney won the Heritage final and Shane Carson of Dartmouth defeated New Caledonian’s Robbie MacDonald in the Tweed final.
Stellar Curling Club hosted two finals, with Tanya Phillips’ team from CFB Halifax defeating the Kris Terrio team from Lakeshore to win the Stellar trophy. Pat Williams’ New Caledonian team won the County final against Bill Winter of Lakeshore.
In Westville, Greg Hicks’ team from Highlander defeated the Don McCuspic team from Strait Area club to win the Westville trophy.
Tracy Dobson of CFB Halifax won the Tartan trophy with a win over Kevin Smith’s Stellar club team, while Krista MacEachern’s team defeated Owen McCarron’s foursome in the battle of Highlander teams to win the Gordon Fraser trophy.
The Ship Hector Cashpiel is curled each year at the clubs in New Glasgow, Pictou, Stellarton and Westville.
The Ship Hector championship match rotates among the clubs.

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West Side visits North End Saturday for broomball match

NEW GLASGOW – Broomball Game Day arrives on Saturday at 7 p.m. when the West Side All-Stars face off against the North End All-Stars during the fifth annual Jean MacLeod-Proudfoot Memorial Broomball Challenge at the North End Recreation Centre’s outdoor ice palace.
A large crowd of friends, family and community is expected to witness the match.
At a special kick-off social and dance last Saturday at the West Side Community Centre, team rosters for the challenge were unveiled and introduced by their respective coaches Bob Curley of the West Side and Clyde Fraser of the North End, with lots of fanfare and friendly chirping.
A popular feature of the evening was the announcement of the honorary captains for each team.
In recognition and appreciation for their outstanding contribution to their respective community centres, Margie MacDonald for the North End Centre, as well as Ruth MacDonald and her late husband Mac for the West Side Centre were so honoured.
Previously, honorary captains have been the founding executive of North End Recreation Centre, namely John Boutilier, Jean McCara, Vic Langille, George McKay and late Bill Hamilton and last year the late Joe MacGillivray.
The West Side Community Centre took the opportunity to honour Phyllis and the late Dr. John Williston in 2013 and last year recognized Isabelle McLean.
Margie MacDonald previously served as president of North End Centre and for 10 years has also done all the facility bookings as well as hosting the weekly seniors card parties.
The combined fund-raising efforts of the broomball players through pledges are approaching the $100,000 mark since the inaugural challenge in 2011.
Several community businesses and organizations have been among those who have supported the event.
The proceeds have enabled significant capital improvements at both recreation centres that benefit the whole community.

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Students warm up to making CDs for Fuel Fund

A school project at North Nova Education Centre has turned into something a little more after students of an audio engineering class came together to create the CD Family and Friends for Fuel.
The CD, which is $10, will see proceeds go toward the Pictou County Fuel Fund.
“In early November, Mr. (Andrew) Alcorn brought up the idea,” said Carleigh Halliday, a student in the class and producer of the project. Because they had already done projects involving the school’s music program that benefitted the fuel fund, the class chose to have the CD benefit the same program.
“There’s a couple of people from around the community – like J.P. Cormier is on there and there’s a group from St.FX that’s on there and Janice Alcorn who’s a teacher here – and other than those people it’s just students from around the school,” said Halliday about the talent on the CD.
When picking talent for the album, Halliday sourced outside of the class and gathered different performers from all over the school to help out with the recording.
“It’s just a bunch of different people,” Halliday said, mentioning that there is also a wide range of music genres on the CD as well.
The project was proposed to the class in early November and despite having a winter break in the middle, the students had it ready to go this month.
“We finally finished it the Friday before last,” Halliday said. The final product features cover art from Shelby Morrison, who is in the class. The packaged CDs are available at the main office of NNEC as well as in the music room or by contacting one of the students in the class. Approximately 200 copies have been made.

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New Leaf’s Bob Whitman feted before retirement

For Bob Whitman, a retirement celebration was just another chance to be with people he has enjoyed working with in Pictou County.
Whitman is officially retiring on Friday from his work as a champion at New Leaf, a men’s intervention program based in Westville that he has been associated with for 30 years.
“It wasn’t just myself,” he said, pointing to the work by many people who saw a need for such an agency in Pictou County and founded the program in 1986.
“It’s hard to believe it’s 30 years, but it’s certainly been a rewarding circumstance,” he said.
Whitman was working in the fields of drug dependency and crisis intervention, as well as with the John Howard Society, as the movement gained momentum to find a way to address domestic violence against women in Pictou County.
He recalled how the work to form New Leaf and establish a board of directors coincided with a transition house model for abused women that was also gaining support in the county.
“They realized someone had to do something for men who were abusing women,” he said. “The work doesn’t stop.”
He recalled how New Leaf began at Trinity United Church before moving to the former West Side School and eventually to its present location in Westville.
Whitman said he was glad to help the mature men who became new Leaf clients, but he said his career is not entirely fulfilled.
“My only regret is that I was not able to get working with young men,” he said. “When you consider today’s events involving young men in the province, there’s a big gap there.”
Fred Popowich, who emceed the formal portion of the celebrations on Thursday, noted how Whitman worked away at the New Leaf model until it became the funded service it is today.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay also expressed appreciation for the work Whitman did when MacKay was Crown prosecutor, before he entered politics in 1997.
MacKay alluded to the challenges New Leaf faced to help men overcome their abusive traits.
“We could fill this building several times with the lives you have impacted, the lives you have saved,” MacKay told Whitman. “You have an enormous heart, to do what you have done, because you have had your heart broken again and again.”
MacKay also noted Whitman’s perennial Santa Claus-like beard and his personality that allows him to fit naturally into the role of the giving elf.
“We know your work as Santa will continue, and continue the house calls,” he said.

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Care at emergency room unacceptable

To the Editor:
I wish to first acknowledge and thank the many employees and healthcare workers at the Aberdeen Hospital who, often under difficult circumstances, have a deep personal commitment to providing good and even exceptional health care in a professional, caring and competent manner.
However, this is sometimes not the case. A very negative experience in the hospital’s Emergency Department has compelled me to share our experience and express my deep concerns about the deplorable conditions and poor level of health care we received.
Our son, daughter-in-law and 15-month-old grandson arrived home for visit from Whitehorse, YT. Their visit was much shorter than usual since our grandson was only recently recovered from a hospitalization for a serious viral infection which left him severely immunocompromised.
Unfortunately while here, our grandson tripped and fell, injuring his leg. Unable to weightbear without pain, his parents took him to the Emergency Department of the hospital. Finding a crowded waiting room with many obviously ill persons, they decided to return early the next a.m. After a sleepless night for all our family due to our little grandson’s leg discomfort, we returned to the Emergency Department waiting area at 6:50 a.m., where two persons also waited. We saw dirty floors and walls, grungy, shabby and disrepaired seating and dingy lighting. My daughter-in-law refused to even sit down in this area.
Eventually registered at 7:25 a.m., we were called into the triage room at 7:45 a.m. and received what we felt was a very incomplete and unprofessional assessment by the triage nurse. No vital signs, inspection of examination or pain assessment of our grandson’s leg were done but we were directed to go back to the waiting room. Our concerns about his fragile immunity and request to wait in an area away from coughing, vomiting patients were dismissed.
A family clergy friend who was leaving the treatment area of the Emergency Department said “there’s at least five people on stretchers in the hall – you’re in for a long wait.” Indeed, by 8:15 a.m. the waiting room was full and no one had been admitted inside for actual care. Thus, at 8:25 a.m. we made the decision to see our family physician and arrived to another full waiting room at the medical clinic. We were informed that apparently now physicians do not see family members who are residing out of province. Frustrated, I asked the clinic staff what our options were and was told “the Aberdeen Walk In Clinic (opens at 5 p.m.) or the Aberdeen Emergency.” Concluding that these were not acceptable options, we headed to St. Martha’s Hospital (Antigonish County).
We arrived at SMH Emergency Department at 9:25 a.m. and were welcomed into this bright, sparkling clean hospital, registered by 9:27 a.m., had an excellent and complete assessment by the triage RN (who was very professional and listened to all our concerns, weighed our grandson, took his vital signs and a full history and gently examined his leg), directed into a clean, well equipped room in the inner Emergency Department; again were well assessed by the emergency physician and had an X-ray all by 9:40 a.m.!
By 10 a.m. the ER physician saw us again, explaining that the X-rays surprisingly showed a leg fracture. By 10:20 a.m. our grandson had had a second series of X-rays, by 11:45 a.m. the ER physician had expertly applied a cast, by 12:15 p.m. we had received cast care/pain management instructions from the RN and by 1 p.m. we were home in New Glasgow! This is exactly how the system should function.
The SMH Emergency had patients, both ambulatory and on stretchers in the waiting areas as well, but the manner and process of handling these patients was smooth and efficient compared to our experience at the Aberdeen.
Our son and daughter-in-law, who have accessed health care from Hawaii to Prague, likened the experience to “1st world” (SMH) versus “3rd world” (AH).
Since then I have spoken with numerous friends, neighbours and former colleagues, many who are PCHA employees, all of whom described similar or worse personal experiences (over the past 18 years, but particularly in the last two years) in the hospital Emergency Department and other nursing units.
The 2014 Accreditation Canada Team (News Release April 16, 2014) did not see the real issues and problems at this facility, nor to our knowledge did they conduct spontaneous interviews with the HCW or public consumers. I and no one I know have ever been asked for feedback on health care received at the Aberdeen.
So, what exactly is the problem? Clearly there are several serious and fundamental issues which need to be immediately addressed and prioritized by the hospital administration. I suggest:
1. Immediate improvements to the physical structure – thorough cleaning and painting, improved lighting and furniture replacement within the Emergency Department in particular. Waiving this off to the long awaited renovation is not an option.
2. An immediate review of the Standards of Care with all staff and persons who are specifically accountable/responsible for ensuring that these standards are met consistently at a high level.
3. Immediate implementation of a dual or tandem simultaneous care system for emergency patients – one that handles life threatening emergencies, one that handles non-life threatening situations that still require emergency treatment. This system is utilized effectively in many healthcare facilities in Canada and the USA.
4. Most important, a hospital wide Culture of Excellence must be established and maintained. Professional, caring, client/family centered and competent behaviour should be role modeled by every healthcare employee in the Aberdeen. This begins with administration and unit managers providing an environment which values, recognizes, fosters, nurtures, acknowledges and ensures that such behaviour occurs. I believe that these and additional changes will make positive improvements in the conditions and healthcare at the Aberdeen Hospital.
I urge all healthcare consumers to provide feedback on their experiences in any healthcare facility.
Linda J. Hale, BN RN MEd
New Glasgow
Ret’d Public Health nurse/manager and former nurse educator

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Haitians have a right to fair elections

To the Editor:
The Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network is a network of groups and individuals who are working in solidarity with people struggling for social justice and environmental protection in Latin America, the Caribbean and in our own region. We are writing to express our support for the popular movement in Haiti, which has been pushing for the resignation of President Martelly, and for a process to begin that will result in the holding of long delayed elections.
Many protesters have also called for better living conditions and the end of the occupation of their country by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Thousands of people have taken to the streets of several cities in Haiti on many occasions in the past few months to make the strength of their convictions known. MINUSTAH, the police and other officials have reacted with violence, resulting in many injuries and the deaths of at least six protesters. Many protesters have also been arrested.
We are particularly concerned about Canada’s role in robbing Haitians of their democratic rights. We feel the Canadian government was instrumental in the fraudulent election of President Martelly. Canada has also played a significant role in MINUSTAH over the years. MINUSTAH was installed in Haiti shortly after the 2004 coup against President Jean Bertrand Aristide. Aristide and his party, Fanmi Lavalas, had won landslide victories in elections in 2000. The whole of Haiti’s government was removed from power during the coup. We are convinced by very credible evidence that this illegal ouster was planned and carried out by France, Canada and the United States. A paramilitary force, probably backed by the US, and members of the small Haitian elite also played their part.
As do Canadians, Haitians have a right to self-determination, including the right to participate in free and fair elections. We call on the Canadian government to reverse the democracy-trampling policy that has existed since before the 2004 coup, through both Liberal and Conservative governments.
Catherine Hughes, River John
On behalf of The Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network

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Cancellation of Phase 3 construction at Riverview ARC facility is wrong

To the Editor:
Our thoughts remain with the family, staff and residents touched by December’s death at Valley View. Whatever the circumstances of that tragedy, we must learn from it and move forward to ensure that people get the support they need in the appropriate care environment.
Appropriate care environments are not one-size fits all. Yet, by cancelling Phase 3 of the renovations at Riverview Adult Residential Care Facility, Minister Bernard is saying they are.
With her new “roadmap” in hand, the minister has cancelled this needed project despite taxpayers having already invested heavily into the project.
Whatever your political stripe, we all want to ensure that people are in the appropriate type of care environment that meets their needs. The minister’s cancellation of phase 3 is moving us further from this and is wrong:
1. A one-size fits all strategy doesn’t work. People’s needs are different and therefore the structure of home each individual requires varies. We must offer everyone the appropriate level of care they deserve.
2. We desperately need the beds that Phase 3 would have added. Patients and families are being short-changed daily. To add insult to injury, it costs taxpayers up to $1,000 a day to care for these patients in hospital beds while they wait for a spot to open in a care facility.
3. Breaking signed construction contracts can be expensive. We don’t have millions to throw away with nothing in return.
The minister’s roadmap can be implemented moving forward without effecting on-going projects. We shouldn’t make a U-turn on a road unless we want to go back where we came from.
This is the same case with Riverview, if the minister continues to go backwards this province will never move forward.
Tim Houston
MLA for Pictou East

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Restorative justice a better option than incarceration in many cases

To the Editor:
There is lots of talk about our new state-of-the-art jail here in Pictou County and certainly I would like to thank Ross Landry, our former NDP member, for seeing it came to Pictou County against a lot of opposition.
I am glad we did get the jail but not for the sake of filling it with young and older offenders who, in many cases, have not been given the opportunity for alternative justice like our restorative justice which we are hearing since the Dalhousie University dental problem.
I have not followed our courts on matters of justice but since we have had this exposure on restorative justice it sure opened my eyes to say the least. Our Criminal Code was amended in 1996 to encourage the use of community-based sentencing. All available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in the circumstances should be considered for all offenders as per the law amendment.
The Supreme Court of Canada rejected the view that a restorative approach is a more lenient approach to crime and that a sentence focusing on restorative justice is a lighter sentence.
Why are we not referring more to restorative justice? Why are we not hearing from our legal community and why are our former judges and lawyers not saying anything as our criminal code has been changed since 1996? Why are we taking the most expensive legal routes when our government wants to get their costs down and restorative justice was one of the real suggestions to cut costs?
Just last week one young man was sentenced to two years in jail, first in Burnside and then back here to our new jail when it opens in February. Yes, he was never in trouble prior to his convictions and yes, I do not know all the facts but the sentence sounded severe to me when restorative justice may have been the best route to follow.
Jails can ruin a young person’s life and set them on a wrong course when there might be a more humane way to handle the case.
Yes of all the Western countries, Canada incarcerates the most youth – yes, even more per capital than the USA. Just imagine!
I certainly believe in forgiveness and restoration and they are viewed as fundamental to how we should respond to human wrongdoing.
We, as a community, should speak up now including our Council of Churches. Our Federal Minister of Justice the Honorable Peter MacKay must act as well and if our legal community is not up to speed on restorative justice, seminars and training must be implemented as soon as possible. Our provincial justice minister must act as well!
Yes, for those who have been sentenced you can still apply for restorative justice after you have received your sentence.
When you attend the open house for our new jail, give some thought as to how many will be jailed that really did not have to be jailed and would another type of justice like restorative justice have worked so much better?
Lloyd MacKay
New Glasgow

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Fleur casts lasting light

To say Fleur Mainville lived a full life is an understatement, and it’s only a partial measure of her contributions to life in Pictou County and beyond.
The bounty of tributes that have been paid to her since her death last Wednesday helps us to appreciate all the more how much richer we are for having lived and shared her art and personal qualities amongst us.
Fleur lived a full life in her 37 years. Few can say that in 37 years or twice that many.
Many of us remember what potential she had as an artist in her youth.
It takes a perspective like that John Spyder Macdonald shared regarding her superb singing voice from a young age, not only her skills as a violinist. Fleur had long ago established herself as someone who explored the vastness and depths of her talent, someone who long ago reached her maturity as a musician.
Audiences realized that. So did her many students.
It bears repeating that one of Canada’s outstanding features is how unique our finest musicians are. They cannot be pigeon-holed because their music spans more than one musical genre
Fleur Mainville also had that Canadian musical uniqueness.
A tune as simple and popular as the Orange Blossom Special is a case in point. One would likely need to go to Nashville to hear it played in its original form, but we had the opportunity hear it played in a special way by Fleur, right here.
Besides Fleur’s contributions to music, there were the other gifts she shared with the wider community. She was in her element with people, and it showed in her function as manager of the New Glasgow Farmers Market when it was open through the spring, summer and fall.
It was most appropriate for the reception on Sunday and her funeral to take place at the deCoste Entertainment Centre, where she so often performed.
The lineups that at times extended to the main entrance on Sunday represent the heart-felt feelings of gratitude for Fleur and sympathy for her loved ones. The background music shared by the many artists who knew her and felt compelled and honoured to be there was especially welcome.
At times like this, it is never easy to assess the sense of loss and change. Fleur was such a magnificent example of a giving person, including from her first encounter with the illness that later came back and took from us her natural life and all it has meant to us.
This is one of those times when we can console ourselves by realizing the wonderful example she set for us and how she lives through us in the way we follow that example.
There lies the eternal peace.

Steve Goodwin

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School’s UN seminar focuses on equality

PICTOU – Students had an opportunity to share ideas to combat bullying and champion equality last Wednesday during the annual Celtic Family – Henderson Paris United Nations Seminar at Pictou Academy.
The event featured Grade 7 and 8 students from the host McCulloch School in Pictou, as well as students from middle schools around Pictou County.
“I think it’s been a good experience,” said Victoria Straub, a student at New Glasgow Academy. “I met lots of neat people.”
They heard from Paris, a local municipal councillor and activist who, for 20 years led the Marathon of Hope, as well as Celtic Family of Schools supervisor Ron Turnbull, Vivian Farrell on behalf of the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board and Gail Clarke on behalf of Amnesty International.
Students also did an exercise to acquaint one another, worked in groups to produce videos and conducted some school planning before signing a declaration.
“It was fun,” said Riley Redmond, a McCulloch student who co-emceed the seminar. “I liked doing the recording.”
Turnbull reminded the audience that the UN is marking its 70th anniversary since members countries signed charter at a conference in 1945 and noted some of the vaccination and other services its agencies provide.
Farrell said the students are continuing the work of others to treat others with respect so that they can live their lives without fear.
Paris noted the first United Nations Day celebrated in 1948. He also shared his experience during the four years he served on the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission from 2010 to 2013.
“I thought I knew a lot about human rights, but I learned a whole lot more,” he said. “There is still more work for agencies like these to do.”
Paris also paid tribute to human rights activists Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela whose memories he said the world needs to uphold through succeeding generations.
“It was really fun,” said Amelia Fraser, a student at Dr. W.A. MacLeod School. “I didn’t realize the importance of the UN. My eyes were opened.”
Clarke noted the 141 countries in the world that torture people.
“Governments torture people to make them talk, to keep them quiet, for punishment and just for fun,” she said. “Amnesty International works for those viewed through media reports and those who are ignored in the world.”
She said the agency has called on law courts in all countries to stop admitting evidence extracted from torture.

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Diversity at its finest

PICTOU – It takes courage to stand in front of a group of people and speak your mind, and perhaps even more to tell others that they can speak theirs as well.
Dr. Thomas McCulloch Junior High School hosted the annual Celtic Family-Henderson Paris United Nations Seminar for middle schools in the Pictou County area on the January 21.
Just two days before, Shy Polley and Kelsey Benoit of Northumberland Regional High School were asked to speak not just because of their great message but because they live it.
The friends met at a counselling and support group. Benoit, who has suffered from depression and Shy, who had come out as transgendered, used their experience and the friendship that came from it to gain a strong sense of self acceptance and love.
During their talk to middle school students at the conference they shared similar messages and stories about their personal struggles to get where they are today.
“Learn how to love and accept yourself,” said Benoit.
Both speakers encouraged the audience to accept diversity and differences as well as themselves.
“I think its going to make a huge difference,” Benoit said about the conference; the pair shared that there was no such thing when they had been in middle school.
“This is a really big bunch of kids to be proud of,” said Polley, “because they took the time to come here and make a change.”
This year is the first time the McCulloch School has hosted the event, which moves from school to school each year with the goal to promote awareness of discrimination as well as to bring the students together to hear everyone’s ideas of how this can be done.
“It’s an opportunity for students to hear each other’s voice and that everyone has their own story, and that by listening to those stories we can understand, accept and have a better world,” said Starr Pettipas, vice-principal of McCulloch Junior High School and Pictou Academy.
During the afternoon session, the students in attendance heard from guest speakers, as well as took part in an activity asking how to promote and support equality in schools and communities, sharing their groups’ thoughts out loud at the end. A video was also shown and the signing of a declaration finished off the day.
“Hopefully, today gave them an opportunity to voice or have their voice be heard,” said Pettipas. “Every individual has a voice and everyone can make a difference.”

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Needs store closing, paving way to raze MacInnis building

STELLARTON – A long-awaited page may have finally turned on the MacInnis building.
The adjacent Needs convenience store on Foord Street is closing, which would allow the building it occupies and the building that served as a cinema and bowling alley to be demolished.
The store, which is franchised through Sobeys Inc., will close Feb. 8. No demolition date has been set yet, Sobeys Atlantic spokesperson Shauna Selig said.
“There have been ongoing conversations,” she said.
She said the intention is for the five employees at the store to relocate to other Needs outlets.
“We’re working with other locations to place them,” she said. “HR is working with them on appropriate opportunities.”
Selig could not respond to what future function the property would have once the buildings are razed but noted the Needs outlet that is closing was the location for the original Sobeys grocery store.
She said there are no plans to establish another Needs outlet because there is already an outlet at a Fast Fuel gas bar near the Foord Street roundabout, as well as the supermarket downtown.
The MacInnis building is named for Donald MacInnis, who tried to clean up the building after it was cited with a series of orders under dangerous and unsightly premises bylaws.
It was to be taken down several years ago until an engineer’s inspection revealed a common wall between both buildings.
The Needs building could be demolished on its own but, to tear down the MacInnis building, both structures would need to be demolished together.
Sobeys owns the Needs store but has not purchased the MacInnis building, Selig said.
She said there are currently no plans regarding the future of the Needs site.
Charles McKeigan is the franchisee for the Needs store on Foord Street and also owns the Fast Fuel Location on Foord Street next to Sobeys Head Office.
McKeigan was not immediately available for comment.

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County business leadership, successes showcased in Progress Magazine

NEW GLASGOW – Entrepreneurial leadership and business acumen are two strengths that Pictou County’s business sector has demonstrated for generations.
That continuing story as well as new examples of innovation and exporting in the global marketplace is being shared to a worldwide audience through Progress magazine, a leading business publication that will reach 100,000 readers across Atlantic Canada as well as international distribution through 50 embassies around the world.
The most recent edition of the publication features an eight-page colour supplement on Pictou County that highlights many of the region’s business success stories.
“The project was a three-way partnership among the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, the towns of New Glasgow, Pictou, and the Municipality of the County of Pictou, the business community and Progress magazine,” explains Jack Kyte, executive director, Pictou County Chamber of Commerce.
“It is a good feeling to be able to showcase our county in a positive way. We are not unlike most rural areas of Nova Scotia which face economic challenges. But when you work on a magazine feature like this one, you soon realize we have a lot more positives than negatives. Several local businesses supported the project by purchasing advertising in this issue to help us tell our story, a Team Pictou County effort all the way.”
The municipalities along with the chamber will have an additional 500 copies at their disposal for business marketing purposes and they are confident this new promotional strategy will spark interest in the assets that Pictou County has to offer.
“Putting this supplement together and having the opportunity to work with many different business leaders from the region was very worthwhile,” says Frank MacFarlane, business development officer for the Town of New Glasgow and the Municipality of the County of Pictou.
“Early on in the process, it became abundantly clear to me that Pictou County is perfectly positioned for the retention and expansion of the local economy. There are so many inspirational stories out there and many more to be told. We have a strong business sector, innovative entrepreneurs, great lifestyle opportunities and tremendous potential for business growth as a region. I am looking forward to using the supplement as a tool to attract investment to Pictou County.”
Businesses featured in the supplement include Sobeys Inc., Stright MacKay, Lismore Sheep Farm, Grohmann Knives, Velsoft, MacKay Meters and Wear Well Garments. Others like Michelin, Northern Pulp, DSME Trenton are also referenced and highlighted through interviews with Kyte, MacFarlane and Jim Fitt, president of the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce.
” We’re devoted to chronicling those stories and revealing key insights for our readers. Being originally from Pictou, I am keenly aware of what a great place Pictou County is to live and do business. Today there’s a new attitude and a new optimism evident throughout the county and Progress Magazine is thrilled to have the opportunity to tell this exciting story of transformation,” adds Luke Naylor, associate publisher of Progress Magazine.

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Kinsmen and Kinettes present donation from New Glasgow

NEW GLASGOW – The New Glasgow Kinsmen and Kinettes Christmas Needy Families project is the beneficiary of funds from the Town of New Glasgow through proceeds from its parking meters for the month of December.
New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan says, “Town Council was very pleased to offer this donation to the Christmas Kinsmen and Kinettes Needy Families Project on behalf of the citizens of New Glasgow. We thank the group for their community leadership and for their role in leading this important project for those in need. ”
A cheque for $2283.83 was formally presented recently to Kinsmen representatives by MacMillan.
“Christmas can be a most difficult time for many families, especially during today’s economic climate and it is important for us as a community to support each other. New Glasgow and Pictou County are well known as a caring and generous community with great community spirit,” MacMillan says.
Dr. Ray Wagg, a member of the New Glasgow Kinsmen & Kinettes Needy Families Committee, says the club was very pleased to receive this significant donation and that it was a great boost to the project.
Town Council authorizes free parking during December annually to offer support to the business community and in turn to use the funds collected towards worthwhile community causes.

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“Only one Fleur …”

I first met Fleur a few years ago. Until then I only knew of her. After that, I couldn’t remember not knowing Fleur.
It was Mother’s Day and she was playing a banquet at Pictou Lodge. She had nothing to promote at the time but granted an interview anyway. Her biggest talking point was how she’d met her husband Andrew during cancer treatments and how uninterested her mother was in that equally life changing event at the time.
When it came time to take a picture to run with the story I thought the whole fiddle thing was a bit “overdone” and “too obvious” and after scanning the Lodge for a silly prop to serve as a stand-in and finding a shortage of playin’ spoons, we settled on a photo of noted fiddler Fleur Mainville at the piano – an image that seemed inexplicably funny to us.
Later, when her album ‘Once’ was due to be released, she confided off the record that it was likely to be her last album. Recording is costly, promoting and touring draining, so while she agreed ‘Fleur Mainville: One Nation Under a Bow’ was a great title for a follow up, it never materialized.
Once, in Nashville, on tour, and on a day off, Fleur did what every Canadian dreams of – being noticed by an American. She’d found herself wandering Music Row, looking for a laundromat, when a man barrelled out of a music shop.
“Are you Flair Mannel?” he asked and after she accepted that she was indeed Flair Mannel he proceeded to ask her to autograph his chintzy blue fiddle – likely the closest one to the door when he chased after her.
It would take American television and a name change to grant most people that sort of recognition.
We’re many things here in Pictou County but one thing we’re not good at is seeing what we have – until, that is, others see that we have it.
We had a certain accessibility to Fleur that meant her playing at the Jubilee was almost a given, playing at nearly any summer event was quite likely but mention her casually to a fiddler from outside the county and you’d might as well have told them you’d just had lunch with Leonard Cohen or that Neil Young owes you money.
There was more to her than all this, of course, and that’s the hardest part of her passing. It is beyond unfair that someone whose only wish in life was to have a family should be taken from it so soon after piecing it together.
There are more than enough fiddlers around – swing a guitar and you’ll hit one – but there was only one Fleur.

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Slow food gets voice at multi-course meal

PICTOU – A couple living in Meadowville shared a passion for slow food last week in Pictou.
David Hachey and his wife Christine Whelan-Hachey hosted a “Get to know slow food” meal and video presentation on Thursday at Stone Soup Café as a way to spread the slow food message.
It was an opportunity to combine a multi-faceted lunch for those who attended with video presentations that underscore the values of the slow food movement.
Slow food began in Italy in 1986 as a way to counter the advancement of fast food and to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourage farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of local ecosystems.
“We got involved with slow food and decided to go farther afield,” David said.
The result Thursday was a comparison of raw oysters grown by Charles and Nancy Purdy of Bay Enterprises Limited in Malagash and those grown by Philip Docker of ShanDaph Aquaculture on Big Island.
The oysters’ texture was identical, but Docker’s had less salinity due to the different interaction of salt and fresh water.
“The Northumberland Strait is a wonderful place for oysters,” Purdy said.
Camille Davidson and her partner Barry Randle also prepared biscuits with and without gluten to go with a serving of borscht, a usually beetroot-based soup popular in Central and Eastern Europe.
One of the videos came from the Hachey’s recent trip to a slow food exposition at the Salone del Gusto e Terra Madre fair in Italy.
Exotic cheeses, mackerel and other fish, and bottles of Polish meade were among food items exhibited.
The movement has more than 100,000 members like the Hacheys in some 150 countries.

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River John school supporters soldier on with Hub proposal

RIVER JOHN – It has been another grueling week for those trying to keep River John Consolidated School open.
Members of the River John Save our School (SOS) committee attended four meetings in four days last week from Tuesday to Friday in an effort to make their case for a community hub model that would save the school.
After a meeting on Jan. 20 to report once again to local citizens on progress made with its hub school proposal, the committee had its monthly meeting with the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board’s staff and elected members of its operational and educational services committees on Wednesday. That was followed by a special board meeting on Thursday to discuss staffing levels for the River John school, as well as those in Maitland and Wentworth that are also facing closure.
Sheree Fitch represented the SOS committee at the final meeting on Friday with Education Minister Karen Casey in an effort to reinforce its case for the hub model.
“I see a real spirit rising in River John,” Fitch said.
“We started with a team of a few and became a team of many – parents, community members and others. We are already in hub mode. We want to do what we can to keep the school open. We want the board to know how this school benefits students and the community. The small schools that work, you want to have everywhere. River John (school) works. We have everything covered. We have all the curriculums matched.”
Fitch said she was encouraged when school board superintendent Gary Clarke recommended at its regular meeting on Jan. 13 for the board to extend its vote on the hub model by two months beyond its intended March deadline.
She said Casey’s input, including her request for Chignecto-Central to give River John an extra year to prepare its hub model proposal – even though the board refused to – has also been encouraging.
“I truly think the education minister wants our hub model to succeed,” she said. “The board basically has three choices – close the school, or extend the deadline a year, or rescind the closure.”
A scholarship discovery centre and make space community initiative are among ingredients contained in the hub proposal, she said. The community’s heritage in terms of fishing, farming and shipbuilding will also be edified.
She noted the support from Michael Harvey of Harvey Architecture in Halifax, who has provided pro bono design work for the group. She said Harvey’s response to her online plea for such services underscores the support the project is receiving.
“The more we don’t know and the more we reach out to people, the more help we get,” she said.
Besides the school, the SOS committee has sought to market River John as the entry point into Pictou County from along the Northumberland Shore.
At the Wednesday meeting, the SOS group was given a 45-page document instructing the group on how to prepare its case for the hub model.
The group learned at the Thursday meeting that River John’s teaching staff will face dispersal based on the board’s decision to close the school. Should the school remain open, those teachers can have their jobs back at the school, Fitch said.
Fitch said Casey’s comments on Friday were reassuring. She made the case for River John undergoing another review under the new process Casey introduced.
Fitch said she was surprised with the meeting’s format. Instead of one-on-one meetings between Casey and each school representative, Clarke and board chairperson Trudy Thompson also sat in on the meeting.
“She listened really well,” Fitch said. “We said to her that the parameters the board has given us are set up for failure. It was adversarial. We can make our case for the school under the new process.”

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Group protests inaction after picket’s injuries

TRENTON – Members of the Hillside Environmental Watch Group hope a picket at the main entrance to the Nova Scotia Power plant in Trenton on Saturday will help spur more action in the wake of an injury to a group member.
Group spokesman Peter Boyles said he’s glad to see New Glasgow Police Service reviewing the incident involving Carol Fortune, who he said was struck by a pickup truck entering the plant where the group was picketing last fall.
He said the police have received images from group members of the incident and have interviewed more recently people who apparently witnessed the events. But he wonders why the police have taken a heightened interest.
“It’s a flawed investigation,” he said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
Boyles said he chased after the truck whose drivers allegedly struck Fortune, who he said suffered a concussion when her head hit the ground.
“It’s always been (protesting) NSP. Now it’s justice for Carol,” Boyles said in reference to the decade-long protest by the group over fly ash emitted from the coal-fired generating station’s stacks.
“You could hear her head hit the pavement,” he said.
In times past, he said the group has tried to keep vehicles of all kinds from entering the Power Plant Road that they picket periodically throughout the calendar year. This time they let most vehicles through, with the exception of NSP and related vehicles.
Police were on site Saturday in case any undue incidents occurred, something that also annoyed Boyles.
“When have we ever had a non-peaceful demonstration in 10 years?” he said.
“It’s never happened in 10 years.”

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Investigation re-opened after discovery of new evidence

Carol Fortune was never big on medicine; now she takes up to six Advil or Tylenol a day to manage headaches and pain in her neck.
Fortune is a member of The Hillside Trenton Environmental Watch Association which can be seen, from time to time, picketing in front of Nova Scotia Power in Trenton. Fortune was among pickets in November when she said she was hit by a service truck heading into NSP that just continued driving after she had been knocked down.
New Glasgow Regional Police had previously closed the case, but due to new evidence and information they have decided to re-open the investigation.
“Part of him hit me because I could feel it,” said Fortune. “And then I was on the ground.”
When Fortune fell, several of those who were there said they could hear her head hit the pavement as she fell backwards. Witnesses said that a pickup truck driver that was waiting to get into Nova Scotia Power became frustrated with the protest and zoomed past the line up and on to the shoulder of the road where Fortune was just stepping off a crosswalk.
An ambulance was called and Fortune was checked out by EMTs at the scene; she opted to be taken to the hospital with her husband rather than in the ambulance.
Fortune said the first doctor she saw that evening asked her about her eyes and if they usually looked like that, and eventually sent her home with instructions to come back if she felt any worse. The next day, Fortune was diagnosed with a concussion.
“I never got rid of my headaches,” said Fortune. “My neck too, my neck is sore.”
At the scene of the accident, group members say witness names and accounts were taken by an officer from New Glasgow Regional Police Service and photos were offered up from Fortune’s friends who managed to get shots of the truck and the tire tracks, also surrounded by a scattering of pink peppermints which Fortune often carries in her pocket.
Fortune, upset by the turmoil, decided to press charges against the driver and a formal police investigation began.
“I had to sign a paper at the police station so they could get my medical reports,” said Fortune.
When she went to see the doctor a second time, Fortune said she informed those at the police station again, but she said they never instructed her when to come in to have the second set of papers—saying she had a concussion—signed for the case.
On January 16, Fortune received a call letting her know that there were still six interviews left to conduct and she would hear back about the case soon.
Three witnesses attended a meeting of the group on January 21, noting that they had not yet been contacted to give their account. One of them, Fortune’s grandson, said he was unable to contact the police officer a number of times and the officer did not attend an appointment they had set to take his witness account.
“(Last) Monday they said there would be no charges,” said Fortune of the news she received on January 19.
When contacted, the New Glasgow Regional Police issued the following comment: “The New Glasgow Regional Police conducted an investigation and in accordance with the Crown there will be no charges laid.” They also cited that a lack of evidence was the reason for the decision.
That was last week.
Now, with this new evidence, the case is re-opened.
Monday, the group protested outside the police station wielding “Justice for Carol” placards. Group leader Peter Boyles said, “As far as we’re concerned, they re-opened a case that shouldn’t even have been closed.”
“I asked (the officer) if that was him walking on the sidewalk and I hit him, if he was allowed to do this,” said Fortune. “He didn’t answer.”

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Mainville remembered as bold, generous artist

Friends and colleagues throughout Pictou County are paying tribute to Fleur Mainville’s personal qualities and shining artistry.
“There’s a void we will not be able to fill – that will be an empty space for a long time,” fellow musician John Spyder Macdonald said upon learning of Mainville’s passing on Wednesday after a long battle with cancer at the age of 37.
“I guess we all knew the prognosis, but when it comes it’s a shock,” Macdonald said. “The whole of Pictou County and beyond feels it. It’s so sad when it’s someone so young with a young family. You play with them so many years and you never think they won’t be there.”
Macdonald touched on the first time he and Mainville performed at a concert in Cape Breton when she was a 14-year-old violin student.
“Her music teacher said she wanted to play,” he said. “I got her to sing a song. She was a great singer and, the more she sang, it was just great. She was always smiling.”
More recently, Macdonald said he enjoyed performing during the annual Summer Sounds concerts at the deCoste Entertainment Centre in Pictou and he marveled at how she would bring some of her music students with her to the concerts.
“We were always on the same night,” he said. “She was such a vibrant person, so giving.”
Macdonald recalled a time when his agent at the time secured an engagement with an Atlantic theme at the National Art Gallery in Ottawa. He got Mainville and local singer/songwriter Dave Gunning to accompany him.
East Coast FM vice-president and general manager Mike Freeman said Mainville’s example of generosity with her time and her music will be a lasting one. He spoke of the regular show Mainville had on the radio station and the times she collaborated with morning host Anne MacGregor.
“The entire staff is devastated with her passing,” he said. “Things will live on with her students and her music.”
MacGregor, who hosted a special edition of East Coast Road Trip on the weekend said, “Fleur always shined a light on others so we’re doing that for her. She would sometimes join me on the show. An hour would go by in a minute. We were very blessed to have her.”
Dane Grant, bagpiper, recalls first meeting Mainville at the home of a fellow musician who he shared the stage with in The Whiskey Mountain Band.
He heard her play the fiddle and says he knew she was going to be a great addition to the band. “And I heard her say, ‘Wow, this is going to be … awesome’!” Grant said of the meeting.
The band would later morph into Celtic rock band MacKeel which had a lot of success in the 1990s.
Grant, who has been away from Pictou County for about 20 years but recently purchased a summer home here said, “From what I have seen on Facebook the young woman I knew has grown up to be a major part of the community and I regret that I did not get to know the woman she grew into. It is quite a loss.”
The musician’s presence and generosity with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County will also be missed since she and her husband, Andrew, were both ‘bigs’.
Margie Grant-Walsh, executive director said, “I have been working in the non-profit sector for the past 28 years and when I met Fleur in her early 20s, I had never known someone so young to be so caring and giving to her community. We see many volunteers come through our doors but there is only ONE Fleur. ”
Grant-Walsh referred to the well-loved musician as a ‘treasure.’
“At 37 years of age, the mother of two adopted children was courageous beyond. Fleur was a volunteer to many, a supporter to all and for someone so young, she contributed so much to so many. There was not one single person in this community whose life she did not touch, so although today we cry, we also surround ourselves in the love that she left as her legacy.”
New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan called Mainville “a community champion and ambassador” for New Glasgow, Pictou County and Nova Scotia.
As the New Glasgow Farmer’s Market manager, she supported the community in many ways, he said.
“From fostering young talent, to supporting local producers and artisans, to helping others in need, Fleur was known far and wide for her professionalism, talent, kindness and generosity.”
Justice Minister Peter MacKay also contributed a tweet after hearing of Mainville’s passing.
“Too soon,” he said. “A rare flower our cherished Fleur Mainville is in Heaven (tonight.) She will be missed and mourned by multitudes.”

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Rhythm of life

The rhythm of culture and life echoed through the halls of Nova Scotia Community College, Pictou Campus, on Monday.
Dr. Henry Bishop, a renowned percussionist and African Djembé drummer, taught his audience about African drumming and the significance and healing that comes from the instrument.
“Our hearts are our internal drum, and that connects our race,” said Bishop in his talk. Bishop is a NSCAD graduate and the first African Nova Scotian man to obtain a degree in graphic design and child psychology. He also holds an honorary doctorate in fine arts at NSCAD, as well as an honorary diploma in education at NSCC, where he teaches African Canadian Studies at the Dartmouth and Halifax campuses. Bishop is also a published author.
Through his journey of learning African drumming and teaching the art to many people of all walks of life, Bishop has learned a lot about diversity and took his time to share the spirituality of drumming and how it connects us.
“Today was more about connecting with a diverse audience and giving the drum its proper spot in the musical instruments of the world,” said Bishop. During the presentation he spoke of his experiences teaching African drumming to children with autism, prison inmates, and people with many different medical ailments and from different walks of life. Many times the beat of a drum was related back to the beat of a heart, emphasizing that drumming is in all of us. He also shared some of the different beats of African drumming.
“It’s considered a revered instrument in the African continent, not so much around other places of the world. So I’m trying to raise the bar so to speak on the value of drumming to our society,” Bishop said.
Deanna Mohamed, the coordinator of African Canadian student services found the connection to drummer was strong at NSCC when they decided to have last year’s convocational procession lead in by Bishop and some other drummers. After this she received a lot of feedback from students about it and wanted to have Bishop back to the campus.
“What he does touches the spirit of all of us,” said Pictou Campus principal David Freckelton.

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