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Early morning crash leads to injuries, charges in Pictou County

Pictou District RCMP are investigating a two-vehicle collision that occurred in Abercrombie this morning.

At approximately 7:30 a.m. RCMP, EHS and the Abercrombie Fire Department responded to the collision on the off-ramp from Exit 2 for Highway 106 and the Granton Abercrombie Road.  Preliminary investigation determined that a Dodge Ram pick-up truck driven by a 52-year-old man from British Columbia illegally entered the south bound off-ramp for Highway 106 and collided with a Toyota Echo that was exiting the highway.  The driver of the Toyota Echo, a 57-year-old Pictou County man, was transported to the Aberdeen Hospital by EHS with non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the pick-up truck was not hurt.

The off ramp for the highway was closed for approximately 50 minutes while the investigation was conducted and vehicles were removed from the scene.

Police have charged the BC man with Making a Prohibited Turn at an Exit Ramp under the Motor Vehicle Act. The investigation is continuing.

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Whalen says there will be no tax increase on books

HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative MLA for Pictou West Karla MacFarlane is relieved that the Liberal government has finally chosen to reject a tax on books.

Today, the Minister of Finance, Diana Whalen addressed the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. She confirmed that she will not be increasing tax on literacy.

“Adding a tax to books would have caused hardship for families, authors and illustrators,” MacFarlane said.  “I am pleased their voices were finally heard by the Liberal government.”

In February, MacFarlane wrote a letter to Minister Whalen asking her to reject Laurel Broten’s recommendation to increase the cost of books by applying the provincial portion of the HST to them.

“I would like to thank the hard working advocates who fought to keep the HST off books,” said MacFarlane. “Without a tax on books, we will be able to better promote literacy and encourage reading in this province.”

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Miners end Scotians’ playoff destiny

TRENTON – The Pictou County Aecon Scotians’ quest for a Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League championship has ended.

The Glace Bay Miners bolted to a 3-0 lead in the first period and outlasted the Scotians 4-3 on Tuesday in Glace Bay to win their best-of-seven Sid Rowe Division final series four games to one.

Brandon Verge, the league’s leading scorer and among several members who played their last game for the Scotians, scored one goal and assisted on two others on Tuesday. Lucas Eshleman and Austin Donlevy also scored.

The Miners’ 4-1 win disguised a nail-biting series. They won all their games by one goal, three of them in overtime and two of them in double overtime – and ended up outscoring the Scotians 19-18.

Tuesday’s game was the fourth in as many nights for the two teams as the league scrambled to catch up with its playoff schedule due to recent weather events.

It took more than a week between the teams’ first and second games, and just when the Scotians seized the opportunity to strike back in their quest for a league championship with the third and fourth games at home, it began slipping away on Sunday.

The Scotians answered an earlier 2-1 double-overtime victory by the Miners in Glace Bay on March 14 by tying the series with a 4-1 triumph last Saturday in Glace Bay and sat poised to take advantage of two home games on Sunday and Monday in Trenton.

But the Miners took a 2-1 lead in the series on Sunday in Trenton with a 7-6 overtime triumph despite twice squandering two-goal leads and widened their lead to three games to one with their third overtime win of the series – a 5-4 triumph in double overtime on Monday.

Verge scored a shorthanded goal in the first period and a power-play goal in the third to help the Scotians tie the series on Saturday.

Eshleman and Riley Cameron also scored for the Scotians, who led 2-1 after one period and 3-1 after two periods.

Shots were 40-35 in favour of the Miners.

Sunday’s game was a thriller for the ample crowd on hand that included a few Miners fans.

Donlevy’s goal gave the Scotians a 1-1 tie through one period.

The Miners took a 3-1 lead in the second period, but the Scotians managed three goals in less than three minutes before the period ended to take a 4-3 lead.

Cameron, Brandon MacKenzie and Jordan Yochoff scored the Scotians’ goals.

The Miners pressed in the third period, in which they outshot the Scotians 17-8, and tallied three times in less than three minutes  to take a 6-4 lead.

But the Scotians showed their resilience once again when Brendan Duff scored with 52 seconds left in regulation time and Verge tied the game with one second remaining.

The Miners won the game less than three minutes into overtime and ended up outshooting the Scotians 40-29.

Monday’s game was equally pulsating.

Craig Matheson and Duff scored for the Scotians in the first period that ended in a 2-2 tie.

Matheson and Eshleman gave the Scotians a 4-2 lead in the third period, but the Miners completed a two-goal rally with the tying goal with 39 seconds left and won the game barely five minutes into the second overtime period.

The Miners outshot the Scotians 58-35.

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New library step forward

A new library in Pictou will be welcome.

To have one in some way near the deCoste Entertainment Centre is an adventure.

Either way, Sunday’s announcement of partnership funding by ACOA to discern the potential for a new Pictou library in some way connected to the centre represents one more step toward bringing the library experience into the 21st century.

Pictou’s library is among six in Pictou County operated under the auspices of the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library (PARL). The others are in the towns of New Glasgow, Stellarton, Trenton and Westville, as well as River John.

PARL’s chief librarian, Eric Stackhouse, referred to the improvements made to library service at newer locations in Antigonish, River John and Westville as examples of how the agency has been funded to upgrade its services and make libraries gathering places and learning places.

Sally Fraser, who represents Pictou County Municipal County on the PARL board of directors, called the announcement in Pictou a game-changer. It’s a chance to continue the work that led to the new home for Antigonish’s library, which has earned awards and strong endorsements since it opened.

In the minds of Stackhouse and the board, this is an opportunity for Pictou to have its turn and for its library staff to provide more services, more effectively for today’s needs.

The deCoste Centre is an equal partner and an equal beneficiary to this mission. It has been a place to hear and see some of the finest art around. It has hosted major concerts. It has shown how it can be a pleasing place to present solo acts and symphony orchestras. It has also secured in Troy Greencorn an artistic director who is already making a difference.

Symphony Nova Scotia is returning in April after a long absence, and it will not be just a performance. It will be a chance to engage with the public in a unique way, such as performing shows for smaller groups – young and old – and conduct a workshop for band students.

Every year, the Rotary Club of Pictou presents a musical at the deCoste, and this year’s edition will be The Music Man. With a large cast and the history the musical commands, anticipation for the performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday is electric.

In a new way, the deCoste can be a gathering place. A combined entertainment centre and library can be a gathering place.

We don’t know what kind of new home the Pictou library will occupy. We do know it needs one, and this collaboration between PARL and the deCoste has the potential to be something special, something for our time and for all time.


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Jr. A Crushers fire Malone, exit early

The Pictou County Weeks Crushers are out.
The Crushers’ 2014-15 season ended in the first playoff round with a 6-3 loss to the host Truro Bearcats on Monday as they dropped their best-of-seven Eastlink Division semifinal series in the MHL playoffs in six games.
The Crushers’ ousting ended a roller-coaster ride for them this month as they limped into the playoffs with four straight losses – the last two to Truro – rode an opening 9-1 romp over the Bearcats and endured three straight one-sided defeats against the Bearcats that prompted them to dismiss head coach and general manager Jason Malone.
Crushers’ club president Wade Sullivan announced on Friday morning that Malone was being relieved of all duties effective immediately.
The board’s decision came after a 7-0 loss to the Truro Bearcats last Thursday in Truro that left the Crushers facing elimination.
The Bearcats followed their series opening loss on March 12 at the Pictou County Wellness Centre with a 7-2 victory on March 14 in Truro and a 5-2 triumph on March 17 at the Wellness Centre before Thursday’s win.
“Jason is a good coach; his technical knowledge is excellent,” Sullivan said in a press release. “We just needed to make a change. As they say, you can’t fire a team.”
The Crushers responded last Saturday with another rout like their first win, this time by an 8-1 margin before more than 1,000 fans at the Wellness Centre, to get back into the series.
Assistant coach Chad McDavid was given charge of the bench and was joined by assistant coach James Cooley.
“It was an emotional game,” McDavid said after Saturday’s win.
Much like the previous games, Saturday’s match was close early before the eventual winning team pulled away.
Cole Murphy and Daniel Walsh, who had two goals and two assists in the game, gave the Crushers an early 2-0 lead before Colby Lanceleve collected Truro’s only goal late in the first period.
Stephen MacInnis and Mike Lyle increased the Crushers’ lead to 4-1 in the second period, while Garrett Lambke, Walsh, Ryan Caswell and Ethan Marsh completed the scoring in the third.
The Crushers outshot the Bearcats 34-29, but they could not follow up with a win on Monday in an effort to force a deciding game today.
Mike Lyle tied the game 1-1 for the Crushers in the first period and Luc Poirier drew the Crushers even at 2-2 in the second period. But the Bearcats broke it open with three straight goals in the third period before Walsh added the Crushers’ third goal.
The Bearcats’ sixth goal was into an empty net with 23 seconds remaining. They outshot the Crushers in every period, and 35-24 over the game.

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Steelers split March Break division hockey finals

TRENTON – Two host teams split verdicts in division championship games at the 2015 March Break minor hockey tournament in Trenton.
The Eastern Shore Mariners defeated the Steelers 5-3 on Thursday in the Bantam C Division’s championship game to end the competitive portion of the tournament.
Jacob Roper led the Steelers with one goal and one assist, while Michael Trefry and Carter Hatfield also scored.
The Mariners tied 7-7 with Trenton earlier Thursday in the round-robin portion of the division schedule.
Roper led Trenton with four goals and one assists, while Thomas Lennon, Kylie MacKenzie and Hatfield got the other goals.
Both teams entered the game after having won their previous two games.
Roper scored twice and added on assist in the Steelers’ 5-2 victory over the Brookfield Elks.
Dominic Raniowski, Hatfield and MacKenzie also scored.
Roper scored three goals, Trefry added two and Hatfield contributed a goal and three assists in the Steelers’ 11-3 victory over the Glace Bay Miners.
MacKenzie, Brennan Moss, Lennon and Ryan Farrell chipped in with a goal apiece.
The Mariners won their other games by scores of 9-1 over the Miners and 5-0 over the Elks.
The Bantam Division games were played on Wednesday and Thursday despite the most recent blizzard.
Atom C and Peewee C Division games were played on March 16 and 17.
Dawson MacKay scored twice, while Kirk Turnbull and Gage Connors also scored as Trenton won the Atom C Division with a 4-2 victory over the Thorburn Golden Hawks.
Dawson Burns recorded both goals for the Hawks.
The Steelers’ reversed the outcome of the teams’ previous match to open the schedule when Burns’ four goals and one assist led the Hawks’ 6-4 victory over the Steelers.
Garrett Williams added one goal and one assist for the Hawks, Chace Roberts also scored.
MacKay netted three goals and Turnbull got the other for the Steelers.
In other Atom C games, MacKay fired five goals, Turnbull added three and Josh MacDonald notched a single in Trenton’s 9-5 win over Brookfield.
Evan Charlton and MacKay scored for Trenton in a later 2-2 tie with Brookfield.
The Hawks won their other two games, with Roberts scoring twice and assisting on the other goal by Carter Dauphinee in a 3-1 victory over Brookfield.
Burns contributed seven goals and Roberts, Williams, Dauphineee and Joel McKay got the others in the Hawks’ 11-3 win over the Tatamagouche Titans.
The Middleton Mustangs won the Peewee C Division with a 6-2 victory over the Westville Miners.
Forrest Link and Jacob Greene scored Westville’s goals.
Christopher Avery scored twice and added an assist, while Austin Pettipas added a goal and an assist and Mitchell Jardine also scored in Westville’s 4-3 victory over Middleton in preliminary action.
Jacob Greene and Cole Greene scored twice each and Link added a goal and an assist, in Westville’s 5-0 win over the host Steelers.
Trenton also dropped matches to Middleton and TASA. James Rankin scored twice and Keefe Farrell once in the Steelers’ 4-3 loss to TASA.
Novice Division games were scheduled over three days starting on Friday. Results are not recorded for novice games.

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Savoy right there with Konchalski

Just how good a basketball coach was Carolyn Savoy during her long and wonderful career with the Dalhousie Tigers women’s team?
Without hesitation, I’d put her right up there at the top with Steve Konchalski, the legendary bench boss with the St. Francis Xavier X-Men men’s team.
She was that good.
When it comes to success on the hardwood, Savoy and Konchalski had a lot of things in common. Winning games and championships was synonymous with each of them.
Pictou County sports fans who love their hoops may be more familiar with Konchalski because of the proximity to Antigonish and things Xavier. But they couldn’t travel to the cathedral town too often without knowing about Savoy, even if she was always on the visitors’ side.
Normally I don’t write about the death of someone not attached to the Pictou area, but I felt I couldn’t let Savoy’s passing last week go without attention. Basketball across Nova Scotia – Pictou County included – has been the better because of her involvement, as it is with Konchalski’s presence. They’ve both been icons in the sport, and they’ve both helped the game well beyond their respective campuses.
As I said, Pictonians are quite knowledgeable about Konchalski’s 40-year stay with the X-Men, including the outstanding victory totals his teams have achieved through the years. For fans in the county who have been watching the game for a long time, there is the memory that Savoy began her coaching days in Antigonish.
Pictonians don’t need to be told that, early in 2009-10, Steve established a Canadian record for men’s basketball when he registered his 735th victory. Or that he pushed his impressive total to 848 wins by the end of this season, more than 100 victories ahead of any other men’s coach.
The Konchalski arithmetic is, indeed, eye-opening. That 848 figure is almost hard to believe. Imagine winning that many times, let alone even coaching that many games. But told on. Savoy was right there with Coach K. In fact, her victory total is even a little bit better. When she completed a 39-year career, she had coached AUS teams to no less than 858 victories. She had started coaching at X, of course, where she spent seven seasons, then went on to 32 campaigns with Dalhousie.
That’s why I suggest Steve and Carolyn were certainly equals when it came to winning.
The Konchalski achievements include many other impressive ones, and so did Savoy’s. For instance, the one that always stands out in my mind is the streak in which her teams won 49 consecutive regular season games. Think about that one for a moment. Quite a feat, eh?
The first goal for any university basketball team – coach or players – is getting into the playoffs. Again, Konchalski and Savoy made it a habit.   The highlight of Konchalski’s coaching years was probably in 2000 and 2001 when the X-Men won their back-to-back CIS national championships. But it’s hard not to consider the fact he got his teams into the post-season 38 consecutive times. That’s another total that’s hard to comprehend.
Savoy, too, was busy adding to her resume. I’m awed by the fact she coached her Tigers to no less than 11 AUS conference titles and five Atlantic playoff championships. Not many teams, in any sport, collect that many crowns. Well, maybe the Montreal Canadiens.
Konchalski, whose experiences have included many on the international stage with Canadian teams, has been given a lot of honours, all of which were definitely deserved. But don’t overlook Savoy’s awards, either. One that stands out is the fact she was chosen coach of the year in the Atlantic conference five times. From a provincial perspective, Konchalski’s and Savoy’s career accomplishments didn’t go unnoticed. How could they? Steve was inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame in 2007, and Carolyn joined him four years later.
When Savoy became a hall of fame inductee, she was quoted in the induction night program as saying she found it “extremely rewarding” that 16 of her athletes had been named all-Canadians and five became members of Canada’s national team.
She, indeed, took pride in developing young people beyond basketball. She said at that time, “I’m not a maker of basketball players, but a maker of people.”
That was Carolyn Savoy, one of the most dedicated coaches I got to know through my newspaper career. It was always a pleasure to meet up with her, and chat about sports and matters beyond sports. You didn’t have to spend much time in her presence to see what made her tick. Sure, basketball was her game, but people were her biggest interest.
I’ve been in the metro area for 46 years, a long run that has given me many, many opportunities to get to know our sports personalities, the athletes, coaches, officials and executives among them. If I was pressured to name my favourite top 10, I’m sure Carolyn Savoy would be among them.
I’ve tried to mention the most significant achievements in the Carolyn Savoy story. It’s not an easy task when someone has done so much. The gal who obtained a doctorate in sports psychology from the University of Tennessee, all the way to her retirement five years ago, could have written quite a book on her career. There were so many good moments.
But going back almost a year now, her story turned from successes to sadness, from the gyms to hospitals.
Less than a year ago she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In fact, the first time I heard the news was almost the same day I initially knew my own wife Jane wouldn’t beat her cancer. Carolyn coached for 39 years; Jane nursed for 38 years. Carolyn was 67 when she lost her battle; Jane was 68 when she died in October.
There’s one thing I know for sure: It’s a tough life when the people you love and respect are taken from us much too soon.


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Flag Day contest offered at MOI

STELLARTON – The Museum of Industry has provided students in Pictou County with an opportunity to participate in Nova Scotia’s first-ever Heritage Day flag competition.

The museum hosted a display through March Break and the display remains in the museum’s main foyer for the competition, which is open to students in Nova Scotia from Grades Primary to 12. It’s among the many places in the province displaying items for the competition.

It’s an opportunity for students to enter a contest and demonstrate what Nova Scotia heritage means to them and to share their vision of the province’s heritage.

The competition is a way to give students of all ages the opportunity to help inspire the creation of a new Heritage Day flag, which will be unveiled during the 2016 celebrations.

Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Tony Ince announced the contest on Feb. 6, at the provincial launch held at Province House.

“Nova Scotia Heritage Day is giving us an opportunity to celebrate our collective cultural heritage and the contributions of all Nova Scotians,” said Ince. “Engaging Nova Scotia’s students again is fitting because they seized the opportunity to name the holiday and suggest honourees so we know they will provide us with great ideas for a symbol of this new holiday.”

Nova Scotia Heritage Day falls on the third Monday in February each year. For the next seven years, the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage will work with communities to commemorate Nova Scotia Heritage Day and recognize its upcoming honourees.

To enter, students are being encouraged to create a design that reflects what they think and feel about heritage. Winning submissions have a chance to win a prize and will be used as inspiration for the flag’s official design.

• Contest is open to all students in Nova Scotia P-12
• All students may enter a flag design
• One entry per student
• All designs should:
• be colourful, using no more than five (5) colours
• come from a standard color set
• use meaningful symbolism: images, colours, or patterns should relate to Heritage Day
• be distinctive, avoid duplication of existing flags
• Flag submissions must be original and in colour on letter- size paper (8.5” X 11”)
• Deadline for flag submission is June 1, 2015
• A selection panel will review the submissions. One or more flags could be used to inspire the design for the official Nova Scotia Heritage Day Flag.Flag designs may be subject to design modifications.

Please complete the registration and consent forms and mail with your flag to:
Communities, Culture
and Heritage – Flag Contest
1741 Brunswick Street, 3rd Floor
P.O. Box 456 STN Central
Halifax, NS B3J 2R5

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NSCC tourism students embark on trip to Peru

STELLARTON – It may be something of a sweeping, or at least drifting, generalization to say that this winter has been enough to make anyone want to run away.

A handful of tourism management students at the NSCC will soon be so fortunate.

Rankin MacMaster, an educator with the Nova Scotia Community College, said that 10 students from the Dartmouth, Kentville, and Stellarton campuses will be taking part in an educational getaway to Peru.

Of the 10 students six are from the Stellarton location.

Previously, students have visited Tanzania, Spain, Belize and Ireland for International Destination Development.

Far more than a scenic vacation, this trip actually represents the culmination of two years of hard work and fund-raising.

“The students have been fund-raising for this since they arrived on campus pretty much,” MacMaster said. “They do a six month co-op program in first year and second year. They have to hit a minimum number of hours in the industry. This is an extra credit because we finish up our courses around April 23 and they take off April 27.”

The participating students have taken part in volunteer efforts for two Sobey’s corporate Christmas parties, volunteered during an event honouring Peter MacKay, held bake sales, operated a pub, and will be holding a silent auction which will end in a very big way with a dance at the Stellarton Legion on Saturday.

Items in the auction have a total value of $8,000 and range from a tattoo to box seating at the Tattoo. Other items include a host of hotel stays, Via Rail tickets to Montreal, jewelry, pizza, and premium Scotch.

“I am looking forward to a bit of culture shock when we land in Arequipa in April, and just being immersed in the whole environment,” said tourism student Teale Joyce. “I hope to improve on my Spanish skills while we are travelling, and hope I can continue developing a more global perspective of the tourism industry, and international relations.”

Joyce also looks forward to seeing first-hand the colourful Andean style of clothing, hearing both Spanish and Quechua spoken, and taking in the country’s culture and history.

“Peru definitely stands out for me as a one-of-a-kind destination,” she said. “I have been nothing short of ecstatic since it was announced as the location for our International Learning Program this past fall.”

MacMaster said the students have already devised a self imposed code of ethics for the trip – a set of values and expected behaviours in regards to culture as well as their fellow travellers.

Peru, MacMaster said, offers a certain level of “authenticity” to visitors. Students will be taking Spanish lessons at a private school, studying local architecture, as well as visiting bird sanctuaries. However, the highlight for many will be the formally lost city of Machu Picchu.

“I am very much excited to visit, and explore, the worldfamous ruins of Machu Picchu, as well as the Sacred Valley of the Incas,” Joyce said. “I am also looking forward to staying in a variety of small hotels, hostels and with local families. It will be interesting to try Peruvian cuisine as well.”

Local cuisine, as it happens, includes Guinea pig which is something of a delicacy.

The wish to visit Machu Picchu actually resulted in the trip expanding to 16 days from seven, partly due to the distance from Arequipa and the time required to get used to the altitude.

“It’s important for students to have these types of experiences because they’re going to come back and into this profession having experience that they’ll keep with themselves for years,” MacMaster said.

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Time to break a leg for ‘The Music Man’

PICTOU – It has been a rush in more ways than one to prepare for this week’s presentation of the Music Man.

Director Don Hill says the recent bad stretch of weather has altered rehearsal plans and general preparations for the high Broadway musical that takes place at the deCoste Entertainment Centre on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Hill is also a member of the Rotary Club of Pictou that presents a musical that represents its major fund-raiser each year.

But he says the cast and crew have made up for lost time, partly due to the overwhelming enthusiasm they’ve shown for this year’s production.

“We’ve had a high level of response to the play,” Hill said. “There’s a lot of personal attachment to the musical, mostly from the movie. Some plays have great hit songs that don’t resonate the way these do. We’re facing winter challenges, as everyone else is. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re on track. We have a great cast and we’re so lucky as a club for the people who come forward.”

Selecting the play last fall was followed by auditions in November and casting and initial rehearsals at West Pictou Consolidated School before the crew moved to the deCoste Centre more recently.

“It’s always great to hit the deCoste and occupy the real space,” Hill said. “It always tightens up around opening night.”

The Music Man was first performed in 1957 and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

The story surrounds a con man named Harold Hill, originally played by Robert Preston, who poses as a youth band organizer to sell band instruments and uniforms to the naive townsfolk in the fictitious community of River City.

Trouble in River City is among the musical’s favourite songs and is laced with a brisk patter that this year’s lead Jim Proudfoot has mastered, Hill said.

The story takes a turn as Harold meets the prim librarian Marian – played this year by Amanda Hill – who sees through him, and risks being caught as he tries to win her love.

The musical enjoyed a five year run of nearly 1,400 performances. Preston also played the male lead in the movie released in 1962.

Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. each evening.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for children 12 and under.

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The only Game in Town

It’s hard to believe it if you looked out a window lately but some day, it will be summer again and when that cherished season returns a brand new film is scheduled to go into production.

That film, “The Only Game in Town,” will be produced by River John film company Simple Films and will draw on local talent.

Stuart Cresswell, the film’s writer and producer, explained that the movie will centre around a teenage boy with Aspergers and an uncanny gift at solitaire.

“It’s basically about him falling in love with a girl who’s totally out of his reach and his friends realizing that this skill he has with solitaire could actually make him money,” Cresswell said. “It’s a matter of him getting control back of his life. It’s a comedy, a feel good comedy.”

The film has been in development for some time now.

“It’s a script that I’ve had bouncing around for eight or nine years and finally got the time to nail it down,” Cresswell said. “The best way to proceed with that was to see if it worked with young people.”

Cresswell said he has been work shopping the movie with young actors for a year or so and this process confirmed for him that story did indeed work.

“I always said I would never do the film unless there was a really good, strong cast,” Cresswell said. “We have probably got the main young people nailed down but there are 30 speaking parts and most of those are young people’s parts. We’ll be holding one more workshop on April 2 and that will be the last chance that young people in the area get to deal with it in an informal way and stake their claim to get major roles in the film.”

The movie will also require “an awful lot of extras” as most of the story is set in a school environment.

Although Cresswell has secured professional camera and sound crews as well as a number of professionals for key production roles, he said there is still opportunity for people interested in the behind the camera side of movie making.

For directorial duties Cresswell tapped a Trailer Park Boys alum. Cory Bowles, who grew up in the Truro area, fit the self-imposed mandate of using talent from the North Shore of Nova Scotia but also seemed to be a perfect fit for the story and potential cast.

“I’ve met Cory several times at various film gatherings and we got on quite well,” Cresswell said. “Cory was the first person I thought of. I sent him the details of the film, he loved it. He has that sort of energy and that sort of charisma that will help energize young people, but he’s also experienced behind the camera. He’s more than qualified to be the right person for our film.”

Actors interested in taking part in the role are advised to attend the April 2 workshop at River John Consolidated, but Cresswell said those unable to do so can contact info@simplefilms. com to express interest.

And there is yet another way to get involved in the film. Simple Films will be exploring crowd funding options for this production and currently has an active pledge campaign at www.onlygameintownfilm. com. This pledge offers items ranging from DVD of the movie, playing cards, invitation to a film screening, set visits, a signed script and even a speaking role in the movie.

“We’ve never done this before,” Cresswell explained. “We didn’t really want to fund the film on that basis. But having said that we thought we’d give it a try because any extra raised helps us to make the film even better.”

Monies raised through this process, Cresswell said, can be used for post production or marketing costs.

“It’s been quite a surprise how well it’s taking off,” Cresswell said.

“The Only Game in Town” is scheduled to go into production this July.

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Jackson hopes he’s part of musical talent search

The CBC’s annual search for fresh musical talent, Searchlight, will begin on March 30, and among the tuneful hopefuls is Pictou County’s own Glen Jackson.

This year will be the third year for Jackson (or Glen W. Jackson as he is listed on the contest’s site) to be taking part in the competition, which will see him stacked against other up and comers for the chance to win $20,000 worth of gear from Yamaha Canada and a “highprofile music showcase” courtesy of the CBC.

Jackson said the contest has grown steadily since his first entry, when he estimates about 40 people had entered regionally, while last year that ballooned to 300 entrants. With that steep rise in competition Jackson has stepped up his game.

“The first year was me at home with my guitar and a decent USB microphone, (and) just two tracks,” Jackson said. “Last year was with Gord Stensrud at Sea Level Sound, it was the first one I recorded with Gord and the first one in any sort of studio environment. That was Nothing’s Harder than Goodbye.”

That song can still be heard via his CBC Searchlight profile.

This year’s entry, Fall, was also recorded at Hopewell’s Sea Level Sound, but this year included the addition of musicians Andrew Gillis and Jay MacFarlane on bass and guitars respectively and that collaboration extended into songwriting as well.

“It started with jam sessions with them,” Jackson said. “Andrew and Jay and I had probably about a month or two of jams back in November and December and this was one of the tracks that came out of it. We had a few others but this was the strongest one. It kind of came out all at once. I have recordings from that first night where I just started saying a lot of the same lyrics that are in the song now actually. Jay started the riff and Andrew and him worked at the music… It was the first time I’d done that, pull something out with other people and I think it turned out pretty well.”

That jam with its writing session and rehearsal style had the added effect of translating into quick and orderly recording session.

“The three of us went in, planned it out, planned out the structure, adjusted everything, and Gord, Jay, and Andrew put together a bridge which was kind of funny because I thought it needed a bridge too,” Jackson said. “I had really simple lyrics in mind and it kind of all fit together. It only took two nights, a couple hours of time, and we were done (but) of course Gord puts in a lot more time after that.”

The collaboration, both in writing and recording, gives ‘Fall’ a slight mellow, downtrodden laid-backness of the Red Hot Chili Pepper variety – not so much the Californian band’s funk-rap sensibilities but as in their chunky, bluesy grooves.

In all, Jackson described this collaborative approach as “very different” from how he usually writes, which is usually more of a solitary effort sometimes taking months of thoughts and other times coming quite quick.

“Sometimes something comes out lyrically and it works mostly or all the way and those are usually my favourite songs,” Jackson said.

Outside of the CBC’s Searchlight contest Jackson has some plans to package his music together, perhaps in an EP format in the not so terribly distant future – an effort that could likely benefit from $20,000 of quality musical equipment.

Deadline for song submissions is March 29, with public voting opening up on March 30.

Twenty-five songs from each region will move on to a second vote on April 21. The final round of votes will begin on May 5 with the contest’s winner declared on May 15.

Voting, entrants, and additional information for the contest can be found at music.cbc. ca/cbcsearchlight.

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The view from behind the ticket book

It’s a heart pounding moment. You see the red and blue lights flashing behind your car telling you to pull over. Maybe you were speeding a little bit, or maybe it was something else…either way no one really wants to get stopped by the RCMP.

But life on the other side of the lights and sirens is no less heart pounding.

On a Friday night when a lot of people are getting ready for the weekend some RCMP officers are just suiting up for their shift, as was the case on March 6th when I joined Const. Bryce Haight in the cruiser to get a taste of what it’s like on the job.

To begin, we suited up in soft body armor for protection and Haight showed me some of the weapons that he carries with him while on patrol. A Taser as well as a rifle that travels in the car for those that have taken special training and a handgun that is on a hip mount.

Next we headed out to the car where Haight showed me all of the equipment that is installed in one of their cars. A computer was stuck between the two front seats to help the officer keep track of information for calls they have been dispatched to as well as to catch up on work on a slow night out since they can pull up cases they have been working on, on the smaller computer. The computer also aids officers as a GPS so they can easily find any address they are dispatched to.

Mounted on the dashboard is a radar box that allows the officer to get the speed of cars in front of and behind them, a handy tool for traffic stops. In some cars there are even cameras in the back seat of the cruiser with a small video screen in the front that folds up into the roof of the car. For ticket printing there is even a small printer on the passenger side dash to allow officers to print out tickets as they issue them.

As we set out we stopped at Tim Horton’s drive through to get some coffee to help out on the late night cruise. On the way into the Tim’s parking lot Haight spotted an expired registration sticker and flagged down the attention of the driver to give him a warning that it needed to be updated.

After coffee and a quick phone call to the supervisor we were off, driving down the back roads of the county. While driving Const. Haight had to pull off the road to take a call from a family member of someone he had dealt with the week before, to help give them guidance in their situation.

This was a small reminder that officers must deal with more than just handing out charges, but what comes after as well.

Continuing the drive we went down a few back roads and came across some snowmobile trails, where Haight said he likes to keep an eye out for impaired drivers or other misuse.

There was then a call on the radio from the Guysbourough County detachment asking for assistance. We listened to the scene unfold over the radio and Haight expressed how sometimes he wishes he could be there to help when he hears about things going on elsewhere.

Through out the night we answered one call of a false 911 dialed by a child, and was told about some stories about being an officer in the RCMP by Haight, about the fact that he used to be a school officer at NRHS, and how immersed into the community the jobs allows you to become.

This night turned out to be a very slow night, but every night is certainly not the same for the officers of the RCMP or any local police force, they never know what may happen in any given shift.

My shift ended at 10 p.m. but Const. Haight’s shift went much later. The night was a reminder, from expired registration sticker to the false call that sometimes RCMP really do, do it all, and that they are involved in the community in many ways. From stopping if you get a flat tire to make sure everything is okay, to looking out for the safety of snowmobilers, they really are there to watch out for us, no matter how upset we may get when they give us that speeding ticket.

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Pictou family connects treasure to Nazi plane

PICTOU – Residents of Pictou are slowly strengthening their claim that a tiny medal object handed down to them came from a Nazi warplane that crashed in Scotland.

Rob Snow, who lives in the east end of town toward Braeshore, says he’s convinced what his great uncle, John MacCreadie, retrieved and forwarded to his family with letters and numbers stamped on it came from a one-seater Messerschmitt fighter plane flown by Adolf Hitler’s second-in-command Rudolph Hess that crashed in 1941 in Scotland during the Second World War.

Hess parachuted out of the plane to safety and was later captured, and the flight and his motives for flying over Scotland has remained a mystery.

But Snow suspects MacCreadie, who was a member of the British Home Guard at the crash site took the item that measures about four centimeters long as a souvenir and mailed it to his grandmother.

Rob Snow is convinced a tiny medal object with letters and numbers came from a German fighter plane that crashed in Scotland during the Second World War


“He couldn’t take anything big, but it’s part of history from the war,” Snow said. “We haven’t researched it too much. We just take my great uncle’s word for it.”

Snow has photos he says connects his great uncle to the crash site. Family photos show him in military attire when he was younger and civilian clothes when he was older. He said facial features when he was older are remarkably similar to a helmeted soldier pictured in a photo taken at the crash scene.

The Snow family has numerous photos and news paper clippings, as well as a letter from the British War Museum they received in 1980 that points to the piece of medal being part of the plan that crashed.

Snow said the letter answered questions his parents had when they visited the museum. In part, the letter assets that the “piece is very likely, indeed probably, from Hess’s plane, but we cannot say with absolute certainty.”

“(The museum) didn’t have much information,” Snow said. “They thought it might be something off the plane’s instrument panel.”

Snow said he is not interested at present to give it away, although he said a nephew is interested in it.

“I’d give it to a family member,” he said. “If it doesn’t stay in the family I think it should be for public viewing, not in a private collection.”

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Future Shop closure surprises community

NEW GLASGOW – Future Shop’s physical presence in Pictou County ended on Friday.

While the company says it looks forward to serving local customers on line, it left staff and both provincial and municipal politicians wondering about the future.

“The announcement of the closure of Future Shop came as a surprise to our community and is one that causes concern,” New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan said in a statement. “Future Shop attracted customers from across northeastern Nova Scotia and it will be a loss to our region. Any amount of job losses matter and we empathize with those employees and their families who are being impacted.”

The company confirmed the closure and Future Shop employees were informed of the store’s closure in mid-week. Customers looking for savings before the store closed on Friday evening found many shelves empty to indicate that stock was already removed from the display area.

It also closed an outlet in New Minas.

Future Shop communications manager Elliott Chunj said in a press release that the retailer recently evaluated its real estate in the province of Nova Scotia and decided to close its New Glasgow store.

As part of our normal business rhythms, we regularly review our real estate footprint in every market across Canada,” he said. “The company evaluates square footage, market conditions, and proximity to other Future Shop stores.”

Regular full-time and parttime employees will be paid severance in compliance with provincial legislation, he said. ‘We will also offer our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to assist with the transition,” he said.

Pictou Centre MLA Pat Dunn, whose constituency includes New Glasgow, expressed concern over mounting job losses and the Future Shop closure.

“This is yet another blow to our community,” he said. “These are tough times for families in our region. Jobs are hard to come by and talented people are being forced to move away. Something has to be done.”

He noted recent Statistics Canada figures reporting that the North Shore of Nova Scotia lost 4,400 jobs over the last year and the unemployment rate increased to 12.6 per cent. Dunn said it’s well past time for the Liberal government to respond to the rural employment crisis in Nova Scotia.

“A competent government would see these ongoing closures as a spur to take immediate action,” Dunn said.

MacMillan acknowledged what a reality on-line shopping has become but the success of niche retailers despite that trend.

“That is why many of our Pictou County-owned and operated businesses have strong long standing traditions and success,” he said. “A balance of small to medium businesses with larger retail outlets is ideal and we are certainly pleased with the upcoming opening of Michael’s at the Highland Square Mall as well as the enhancements made to the Canadian Tire store by the new franchise owner.”

He called the closure another reminder for Pictou County and the province to work together in the face of global competition.

“We must remember we are no longer competing with neighbouring communities. We are competing globally and must be strategic and collaborative.”

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The community spirt of an outdoor rink

For some it’s the rebirth of spring, the warm breezes of summer, or the slower, cooler pace of autumn but for others winter is their season and with winter comes ice, and with ice comes play.

While there are many rinks to choose from in the county there are many more outdoor surfaces and for what they lack in distant but encouraging deep fried smells and dull yet enviable Zamboni drives they more than make up for in communal spirit, a science of freshness, and raw primitive fun.

Just off the Sunrise Trail the MacInnis family has a naturally occurring rink, known elsewhere throughout the year as something called a “pond”- a small body of unfrozen ice. “The rink is in its third season and is used primarily for shinny hockey,” family patriarch Robbie MacInnis said. “We have no safety concerns as we control how deep it gets. Currently the pond is knee high and once the ice freezes it is quite thick.”

MacInnis said his pond-rink is mostly obstacle free, with the exception of reeds which once frozen are sheared away by shovel blades.

“Then we flood the pond with the hose to make it smooth,” MacInnis said. “We can make the rink bigger by this process but bigger also means more shovelling after snowfalls.”

The rink, MacInnis said, is close enough to the family home that supplying the spot with power for lights, or a hose for resurfacing is easy and in lieu of bleachers or penalty boxes rink side amenities include a bench and a fire pit.

“Once cleared and up and running,” MacInnis said, “we can’t keep the boys off it. Quite a bit of work but worth it watching them play.”

The Hughes family in Churchville are relative newcomers to the world of rink ownership but have taken to the role in earnest.

“We had a big tarp so we thought we’d try!” said Paige Hughes of her backyard arena’s origins.

“My brother and my husband, they put a tarp down and then they just lined it with a wooden frame and nailed it to the tarp. It probably took three days,” Hughes said. “They would come out and flood it just enough that it would cover the whole rink and then wait for it to freeze and then do it again.”

As with paint, thin layers of ice seem to work best as they dry faster and seem to be stronger.

Snow fall or a change in temperature will see Hughes’ husband out tending to maintenance on the ice, either to scrape it clean or to give it a quick resurfacing with the hose.

“It freezes really smoothly. It’s super smooth because the temperatures have been so cold,” Hughes said.

Having a rink so close to home means the couple’s children are getting their first taste of skating, and occasionally ice sledding.

“Neither of our children know how to skate and we thought if we had ice in our yard maybe they’d go out skating on it,” Hughes said. “My youngest one he’s just learning to move on skates. My older one wants to play hockey.”

New Glasgow’s Westside, meanwhile, was into the outdoor rink scene so long before it was cool it was actually cool for the first time. Found on the grounds of the Westside Community Centre on Lavinia Street, the rink has been a popular winter hangout for generations of Westsiders.

“I believe it was created in 1937 with an expansion completed in 1969,” said Jason Patriquin with the WSC. “We are coming up on our 80th skating season in 2016. The Town has done a terrific job of renovating the building in recent years. The Westside Board also raises a lot of funds to provide services at the centre, with great fundraisers like Frank Proudfoot leading the way and of course a very generous public.”

As for maintenance it’s understandably a bit more intensive than a backyard sheet but like home ice it is 100% volunteer powered.

“Without them it would be difficult to have our facilities,” Patriquin said. We have an excellent crew of at least twentyfive guys who come back year after year, that clear and flood the ice on a daily basis. Some guys like Jeff Burrows have been volunteering for over a decade. We also receive a lot of help from local companies like S.W. Weeks and Lim Cement Contracting Ltd.”

Safety, Patriquin said, is a top concern for the WSCC board and its volunteers throughout the year. While the rink itself is as popular as ever the skating season has been reduced since its 1937 debut but nontheless still offers a few months of icy fun.

Not to be outdone New Glasgow’s North End Rec Centre on the eastside also has an outdoor rink. Two, in fact.

The smaller of the two rinks, enclosed and with a cement curve fully around the edge, is meant for the younger kids in the crowd and is seeing its second winter while the larger rink is for the older, more hockey styled skater.

“After school people have been on them constantly,” said the NERC’s Arthur Tate. “On the weekends its anything from ten o’clock in the morning to eleven o’clock at night, they’re going. We used to come in at 8 o’clock to flood it, well they’re just looking to start at that hour.”

Tate said the rink has a number of common sense safety rules, such as wearing a helmet at all times, and those who use the ice are good at self-policing and looking after their wellbeing.

It will take the large rink five full days and the smaller rink three and half days to flood with the surfaces being topped off three times a day. After that its about an hour and a half to resurface them.

Tate said that it will take about 45 minutes to clean the larger rink, 20 for the junior and volunteers will use two snowblowers when the snow hits. The NERC is looking at acquiring a single, larger snowblower to cut down on the work.

The actual amount of useable time for the rink will depend on weather but in general the rink will come to life in early January.

“It’s kind of hard to get workers to put it together around Christmas,” Tate said. “It’s always too warm before Christmas. But we start right after New Years and as long as the weather’s holding we’re good.”

In fact as long as the weather holds, they’re all good.

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Young students thrilled with dog sled field trip

PICTOU – Some 20 students at Pictou Elementary School recently enjoyed dog sledding during a field trip to Colchester County.

The students were accompanied by five parents and several teachers on a school bus that took the group to the home of the sled dogs near Kemptown.

“It was an awesome experience,” said Donna Beaton, a teacher in Grade 3 and 4 classes who helped organize the trip. “I think the children will remember it forever. The parents were just as thrilled. I’d go back in a heartbeat.”

The passengers boarded the bus on Feb. 13 despite less than ideal weather conditions, but the weather was never a threat to the group’s plans for the students to take turns on short sled rides.

“Having read about the weather and possible blizzard conditions, all that brought it into perspective for the kids,” Beaton said.

Beaton said she found the dogs fascinating, in the way they were so communal and dedicated to pulling sleds when the time came for it.

“When the dogs were brought out there was so much noise and they were so exuberant,” she said. “But as soon as they pulled away there was complete silence.”

Planning for the trip began in earnest after the Christmas Break as an agreeable cost for the trip was reached: $20 for each student and about a 10-minute sled ride.

The rides usually last 30 minutes but the shorter rides kept the cost down and ensured each student had a turn, Beaton said.

The Pictou Home and School and the Rotary Club of Pictou contributed to the project, Beaton said.

Once it was determined that the Home and School could pay for the sled rides, the group decided to use the club’s $200 contribution to buy books to replace the older ones about dog sledding at the school.

The trip was timed with the annual Iditarod dog races that take place each March in Alaska.

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The many treasures of Long Point

Although there are many treasures of the sea, you don’t have to be Ariel the mermaid to find them.

Alana, 8, Makayla, 9, and Emma, 4, MacKinnon of Toney River are practically experts at finding them.

Last fall, the sisters were signed up for a table at a school craft fair, and from there Long Point Treasures was born. The trio has since been crafting homemade jewelry out of beach glass and beads. But they do not stop at jewelry: canvas art, necklaces, wine charms, key chains and bracelets all fall under their skill set, too. At not even 10 years old, they are making a profit at their new found hobby.

“I think making them is the funest part,” said Makayla, with Alana agreeing that choosing the order of the glass and beads is fun to do. The sisters make all the jewelry themselves with a little help from their parents. Some of their most used tools are wire cutters, needle nose pliers, a drill and a tool that helps bend the wire.

“Making sure you don’t bust the glass when you drill it,” said Alana about the part that she finds hardest, while Makayla said it was bending the wires through the earring hooks.

Although customers wearing their jewelry may be great advertisement and catch people’s eye, it seems that the girls wearing their own pieces attract a lot of attention as well.

“My friend was like, ‘Seriously?! Are you joking?’” said Makayla, about their work. “We wear our earrings sometimes to school and my friend likes to look at the earrings.”

“My friend was like ‘Wow!’” said Alana.

So far, after only being in business for a few months, the girls have managed to put on displays at craft fairs in the River John School, Caribou Hall and Toney River hall, as well as the Olde Foundry Christmas craft fair. Their mom, Caroline, even has a couple of pieces on her as well because co-workers are interested to see what the girls have created.

“They say good job and nice earrings,” Makayla said, about some of the compliments they receive on their creations. “When we wear them around town we get a lot of comments.”

Out of all the things they make her favourites are the bracelets. For Alana, it’s all about the Christmas tree canvas art, and Emma’s favourite thing to make is the earrings.

The sea glass, from small beaches on the North Shore, isn’t only making its way around the county, but the girls’ creations are beginning to travel.

“One person bought a pair of earrings and sent them to her friend in Pennsylvania,” said Makayla. That they know of so far, their creations have been sent to Pennsylvania, Alberta and they even have a few people from Florida liking their Facebook page since their grandmother wears some of their jewelry when she is there, generating interest in the crafts even in another country.

The girls have been collecting beach glass for a while now and have amassed a large collection, with a little help from their baby sitter, who let them take some pieces that she had as well.

“We found a lot of beach glass at the cottage,” said Alana, referring to their cottage in Cape John. The girls carry small baggies with them as they hunt for the hidden treasures.

They even have a few tips for those just starting out collecting beach glass.

“You have to have lots of practice,” said Makayla. “There’s small little rows of rocks, you have to squish around those.”

“You really can’t rush,” added Alana. They note that green and brown pieces are the most common to find and sometimes you can discover a really big piece, such as a bottom of a coke bottle that they once found.

“We also find shells, we find a lot of pieces of plates,” said Alana.“We don’t really use them for earrings but if it’s small we might use it as a necklace charm,” said Makayla.

At their house the sisters have a box full of beach glass, which they have spent a lot of time sorting, with baggies holding a certain colour and size to keep them organized.

These girls are pretty sensible with the money they make with the small business as well. All of their profit from making jewelry goes right to the bank and is put away in a savings account for their college education.

Find information and photos of the creations at their Facebook page named Long Point Treasures – Sea Glass Treasures and Jewelry. They also have a newly set up email account to go with their Facebook presence. You can contact them at longpointtreasures@gmail.com.

The three also have great sales pitching skills as well. “It’s not made by machine… buy it!” said Alana.

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Plans to start to build new Pictou library

PICTOU – The quest to build a new Pictou Library has officially begun.

The Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library is receiving a $55,000 federal contribution, through ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund (ICF), to lead the project.

It will complement $30,000 in provincial fundings, while the town of Pictou and the Municipality of Pictou County are each providing $7,500 toward the project.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay announced the funding at the deCoste Entertainment Centre on Sunday. The Pictou- Antigonish Regional Library and the deCoste Entertainment Centre have enhanced the area’s access to arts and entertainment, and now they will have an opportunity to enhance literacy- based programming, and provide a central location where people can come together to gain new skills and share ideas,” he said.

The project is a joint effort combining Pictou, the rural municipality, the Pictou- Antigonish Regional Library (PARL) and the deCoste Entertainment Centre to provide an architectural design for a shared-use space attached to the centre that is located in downtown Pictou.

The process will include indepth consultations with communities and stakeholders to create what PARL chief librarian Eric Stackhouse called a state-of-the-art facility to move the Pictou Library from its current location. It will also include the required design work, cost estimates and a long-term operational plan.

Stackhouse said the concept for Pictou’s library will be PARL’s next test to achieve a user-friendly library environment after the award-winning facility built in Antigonish.

“I think it shows what communities want for their libraries in the 21st century,” he said. Coun. Cam Beaton, who represents Pictou on the PARL board, lauded the combined efforts of the town and county to join forces with PARL and the deCoste Centre.

“It’s exciting to think we can take the same approach in Pictou and the Pictou area,” he said.

“While this first step involves architectural and engineering work, it will be the public participation that will drive the project forward,” said Sally Fraser, county council’s PARL board representative. “We know it can be done. We have many examples to draw on in our library region – River John, Westville, New Glasgow and Antigonish to name a few.” Regional library service in Pictou County began in 1951, while PARL was established in 1964.

The deCoste Centre opened in 1982.

Bradley Jardine, who chairs the centre’s board, said the collaboration with PARL dovetails with the course the centre has charted for the next three decades to become a more vibrant community attraction. He touched on the questions of whether a library can be build beside the centre, whether the community wants it there and what benefits both organizations will achieve by working together.

“These are all questions that this study can and will address,” he said.

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Group plans picket to protest Bill C-51

WESTVILLE – Bill C-51-will restrict public dissent,Drew Garvie says.

The federal Conservatives say the bill’s provisions areneeded to combat terrorism.

But Garvie, who is a member of the Communist Party of
Canada, told a gathering of nearly 20 people in Westville on Sunday that the bill will give security agencies extraordinary powers and limit civil disobedience and peaceful protest if it is passed.

He said a picket is being planned for 3 p.m. on Saturday in front of Justice Minister Peter MacKay’s to protest the bill.

An hour-long presentation at Sunday’s gathering preceded about a half hour of discussion among those present.

The bill would increase the powers of CSIS, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, but Garvie says he and his party also oppose measures in the bill that they feel infringe on civil liberties.

“We feel expanding the power of CSIS is very dangerous,” he said. “Bill C-51 needs to be stopped.”

Besides protests the party has organized while the bills proceeds over the next several weeks toward its adoption, Garvie noted other numerous groups concerned with parts of the bill, that include the Quebec government and the Canadian Bar Association.

MacKay fielded questions about the bill and the session in Westville during another function on Sunday. He said the bill responds to a global terrorist threat that has spread to Canada, but he disputed fears the bill will reduce civil liberties and the right to protest.

“There is nothing in this bill that will prevent peaceful protest,” he said.

But Garvie referred to how harshly law enforcement agencies tried to halt protests at the G-20 summit in 2010 in Toronto and the more recent university student protests in Quebec as reasons to fear how the bill will be applied.

“It calls into question whether we have the right to dissent,” he said. “Things can be made illegal very quickly.”

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Crushers face early exit, fire Malone

The Pictou County Weeks Crushers have dismissed head coach and general manager Jason Malone.
Crushers’ club president Wade Sullivan announced this morning that Malone has been relieved of all duties effective immediately.
The board’s decision came after a 7-0 loss to the Truro Bearcats on Thursday in Truro that left the Crushers facing elimination in their best-of-seven Eastlink Division semifinal series in the MHL playoffs.
The Bearcats followed a 9-1 series opening loss to the Crushers on March 12 at the Pictou County Wellness Centre with a 7-2 victory on March 14 in Truro and a 7-2 triumph last Tuesday at the Wellness Centre before Thursday’s lopsided win.
“Jason is a good coach; his technical knowledge is excellent,” Sullivan said in a press release. “We just needed to make a change. As they say, you can’t fire a team.”
The next game in the series will be at the Wellness Centre on Saturday at 7 p.m., with assistant coach Chad McDavid taking charge of the bench. McDavid will be assisted by assistant coach James Cooley.
McDavid is optimistic the Crushers can turn the series around.
“We have a proud bunch of hockey players in that room,” he said. “One game at a time they’ll find a way to get back on track and back into this series.”
Sullivan said he hopes fans will respond to Crushers’ precarious position and support the team “…as they are up against the wall and will really benefit from a strong show of support.”

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Shift Rural 2015 conference brings hope

As I’m driving home from Halifax, I can barely contain my excitement and hope! I’ve just spent two days experiencing people trying to bridge a gap between rural residents and urban planning in a way that honours the needs and wants of both parties. All of the events  held for Shift Rural 2015 were free and open to the public. What an opportunity!

All of the meetings and presentations were held in Halifax  and put on by Dalhousie’s Student Planning Conference.

On Friday: Beyond the Status Quo, I arrived midway through the day after leaving classes myself at lunchtime to attend the conference. I had missed three initial meetings: The Ivany Report – Planning: Doing and Reactions to the Ivany Report, The Big Lie: The Politics of Rural/Urban Issues, and Community Innovation.

After my arrival, I found it interesting to hear from members of King’s County planning;  their presentation was refreshing. Two men, with two different outlooks are dealing with common issues within rural planning. They asked for new and creative suggestions and plan to use the input from the workshop towards the process. There’s an idea – ‘Let’s ask the people what they think’ … and they got a lot of answers from a broad spectrum of people.

The second day of the conference was amazing. ‘A Call for Change’ started with a reminder of what community means and how to bring together or link to create a community that we value.

Kate Oland,  a librarian in Baddeck, and farmer in Middle River, gave a wonderful address about Small Rural – Ingredients for Success – Community Hubs. She spoke of the Hub Library project she is a part of. Her points were valid: Rural dwellers suffer from urbanization, standardization, centralization, specialization, compartmentalization and lack of consultation.  Her information about what she’s done with her library hub was excellent. She spoke of it being an integration of many different services to involve all people within the community. They have a youth hangout, after-school program, tourist information center, mental health services, and more available through the Hub and so far it’s been working for them.   She spoke of being chronically underfunded, but people will help if you ask them. She’s created an area for openness and inclusivity. Key points were that educating children where they live should be the priority (lots of mention about the River John School Hub being proposed and the work of their community rallying together; Sheree Fitch’s name was mentioned a lot over the two-day conference). The main problem is: “The unique needs of small communities don’t meet urbanized standards.” She suggested the urban planners in the audience challenge their assumptions.

The keynote speaker for Saturday’s event was Zita Cobb (president of Shorefast Foundation). She returned to Fogo Island off Nfld, after many years of working in California’s tech industry, to invest in the creation of local innovative social enterprises. She is working to create a balance that works for rural citizens that allows for growth. She  went briefly over the three pillars of sustainability: People, Profit and Planet. She preached about building better companies with integrity and a conscience. She ended the talk with a photo on the screen behind her of a giant, healthy cauliflower. She used it to illustrate the idea of Nova Scotia as a whole community, and rural communities within that are the small florets. She explained that if you keep making it impossible for the small florets to survive they will die and go away. And if that happens to all of the small florets, that what you have left is a very unhealthy looking cauliflower.

The remainder of the day had  interesting talks regarding:  re-imaging existing resources; rural infrastructure; mini-lectures on building resilient youth. Many suggestions were of mirroring the community college style of hands-on learning by mimicking the idea of work placements to learn things from locals.

The day’s discussions ended with a review that left us all with the understanding of what it might take to make the SHIFT happen.  We were all encouraged, no matter our education level or social background, to create a vision for ourselves what we wanted our province to look like with the idea of ‘quality of place’. An end to centralization was spoken of, and a look at uniqueness as an asset was suggested.

I left this conference feeling hope. I watched and listened. I saw a large group of people gather and noticed about 85 per cent of the people there were urban planning students and faculty of the Dalhousie University, others were there representing industry. There were only a handful of us rural dwellers there. In my heart what I heard was a bunch of city folks extending an olive branch. The students and faculty representing the conference organization had some real interest in bridging the gap between having the access of urban and honouring the value of rural. I felt a connection and understanding. It was as though instead of being told what we could do, someone was asking us what we wanted and needed – and that is what gave me hope. When someone is interested in your needs, it usually means they recognize your value, and so my blind hope is that the sophisticated urban culture is starting to realize the honest country folk actually know a thing or two.


Sara MacKay was born and raised in Loch Broom (Sylvester), and currently lives in New Glasgow. She is currently a student at the Pictou Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College.

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Town council hears need for equipment

STELLARTON – Stronger equipment would help the town remove snow more effectively, Bob Funke says.

The town engineer suggested heavier trucks with wing blades to complement front blades would widen streets and help remove snow more quickly.

He was speaking on March 2 during the monthly Council I meeting.

Funke was responding to questions by Coun. Simon Lawand, who felt town crews have been doing a good job removing snow but wondered what help the public works department’s future needs might be.

Funke said a grader blade applies more downward pressure that can remove more of the hard ice that has built up on many of the town’s streets.

The town could budget money to rent graders without having to buy them, he said.

Tandem axle trucks can haul more snow away and the current single axle ones, while wing blades could push back snow more to widen streets and open up intersections. He said some of the truck plows are already old and over time could be replaced with the new trucks versatile enough for year-round use.

“It’s just an exceptional (winter),” Funk said, noting six major snow storms in February and extreme temperature changes that have made it impossible to do things like popularly plowing back intersections.

“I’ve been in the snow business for 35 years and the number of (flash) freezes this winter is unusual,” he said. “The equipment has worked well. It’s just not up to the winter we’ve had. We can hope this is not a bell weather of climate change to come.”

Funke also addressed the order in which streets are plowed, starting with main arteries and working toward clearing all the town’s streets.

He said plow operators are given a priority list to follow. He sometimes operators are used to a certain protocol that can lead to problems if the list is not followed.

“You have to do it in a pattern or you end up missing streets,” he said.

The discussion followed a report on the snow removal budget by Brenda MacKay, who is contracted to financial work for the town, and who is projecting snow removal expenses to exceed the town’s expenses last winter by more than $30,000.

The town could end up spending $172,000 by the end of March, compared to $141,000 a year ago. The town budgeted $150,000 this winter.

Besides the high snowfall, she said higher labour costs are driving up the expenses further beyond what was budgeted.

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A long way from curling on the river

The curling world comes to Nova Scotia next week with the men’s championship being staged at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax. What a wonderful treat it will be for curlers and curling enthusiasts in this part of the country to be able to watch teams from a dozen countries in the sport’s biggest event.
Pictou County has a long history in the game so many Pictonians will surely be heading to the provincial capital to view some of the action firsthand.
I always find it fascinating to realize that curlers have been tossing rocks in the county for almost two centuries, that the game began locally almost two decades before the first curling rink was built.
According to sports historians, the first curling matches in this part of Nova Scotia were staged on the frozen waters of the East River. I’m sure those pioneers with brooms in hand would have loved the icy winter of 2014-15.
To get the dates correct, I turned to an information-filled book that has been on my bookshelf for more than 50 years, About New Glasgow, written in 1962 by James M. Cameron, the long-time New Glasgow newspaper publisher and radio station owner. Cameron devoted only one page to curling, but it brought out the kind of things I was looking for.
He explained that Scottish immigrants brought the sport to Pictou County as far back as 1830. That means it won’t be long before curling folks in the area will have a good reason to stage a bicentennial celebration of some sort.
What was initially called the New Glasgow Curling Club began in 1853 and Cameron wrote that the club, which changed its name to Bluenose in 1869, was “the oldest continuing institution in New Glasgow other than churches,” the third oldest curling club in Nova Scotia, and the 16th oldest in Canada. That’s really quite a distinction.
Cameron quoted R.B. Stewart, then a Bluenose club historian, with this: “The building of indoor rinks stimulated interest in the game all over the province, and produced in the club some splendid players, successful in many provincial matches and reaching a climax by capturing for four successive winters, 1881, 1882, 1883 and 1884, the Governor General’s Cup, open to all granite playing clubs of Canada.” That, too, was quite a feat.
My own personal memory of the Bluenose Curling Club was the rink on North Provost Street, just a block north of New Glasgow’s downtown. Actually, my first awareness of the club was probably in January 1948. I was only nine years of age at the time and it certainly wasn’t a curling match that caught my childhood attention that day.
We had just gotten home from church on that bitterly cold Sunday when the phone rang and my father hustled out of the house in quite a hurry. His automobile dealership, located next door to the curling club, was ablaze. The fire levelled his garage and spread to the north end of the curling rink. The sight of that major fire, black smoke billowing over the downtown, has been on my mind all my life. It was a scary scene for a youngster.
The garage was rebuilt and the curling rink was repaired and play continued at that location for another couple of decades. That’s where, when I got into the newspaper business, I saw my first bonspiels, my first championship events, my first introduction to shouts of “hurry, hurry, hurry” and “hard, hard.” Some things never change.
Lorne Harris was probably the best Bluenose curler at that time, but later on, Ragner Kamp, Rod McCarron, Vic Langille and Haylett Clarke were pretty darn good – good enough to experience a Canadian Brier, in fact. Incidentally, Harris as well as the Kamp rink, were later inducted into the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame, a pretty accurate measurement of their talent.
And so, next week, the international curling spotlight will be on Halifax and what should be more than a week of exciting matches.
It was easy getting psyched up for the worlds, thanks to the great drama that took place in Calgary during this year’s recent Tim Hortons Brier. The Team Canada victory produced a lot of exciting moments, especially after Pat Simmons became the skip in a position switch with John Morris part way into the round-robin and the team went on a terrific roll.
The gold medal win against reigning Olympic champion Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario had to be the most tense curling showdown in a long, long time. I confess I watched far more curling that week than I have for years.
Simmons, Morris, second Carter Rycroft and lead Nolan Thiessen will undoubtedly be the crowd favourite at Scotiabank Centre. The fun will begin quickly with Canada facing the United States in the opening draw.
The 12-country lineup is Canada, United States, Scotland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, China, Italy and Japan. It would be tough to rank the dozen in advance. That adds to the expectations.
There have been a great number of major sports events at Scotiabank Centre – still better known as the Metro Centre to most Nova Scotians.
From 17 seasons of minor professional hockey to the popular junior Halifax Mooseheads, from 26 years of national college basketball championships to last weekend’s national college hockey tournament, to the many other attractions through the years, the 10,000-seat facility has had a lot to offer. This world curling showdown should rank right up there with some of the best.
I just wonder what those Scottish immigrants who curled on the East River would think if they were able to see what’s about to take place.

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Westville club earns McLellan Cup

WESTVILLE – Three teams from host Westville Curling Club secured the McLellan Cup last Wednesday by defeating three visiting teams from the Northumberland Community Curling Club in Pugwash by a combined score of 46-27.
The Westville teams skipped by Ivan Millen, John Thompson and Jason LeBlanc earned the right to accept a challenge in Moncton today, with a chance to keep the cup and head to New Caledonian Curling Club in Pictou on March 25 for the final match of the 109th season of the McLellan Cup.
The McLellan Cup is considered the longest continuously contested sport event in North America. Westville has been a perennial challenger for the cup, while New Caledonian is returning this year after a long absence.
Westville jumped out to an early lead in all three games against Pugwash, whose curlers eventually adjusted to the ice and allow all three games to produce “some fantastic shot making,” said LeBlanc, who is the McLellan Cup’s trustee and treasurer.
Millen’s Westville foursome that also included Terry Manning, Bob Matheson and Johnny Jones outscored Lou White’s team from Pugwash 16-6. It was a close match early before Millen’s team pulled away in the later ends.
Thompson tied Dave Hill 12-12 in an exciting back-and-forth game with Thompson making his last shot of the game to tie. Ron Dickson, Gary Perrin and Bernie Delaney rounded out his team.
LeBlanc got an early start and doubled the score on Reuben Green 18-9. He was able to maintain that lead thanks to precision shot making by Bob MacLeod and Frank Elsworth. Colin MacEachern also made timely shots to set up scoring opportunities.

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