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Inaugural Mashup Weekend launches entrepreneurial spirit across NS

BRIDGEWATER – More than 50 aspiring entrepreneurs from across the province spent their weekend transforming ideas to potential businesses in Bridgewater, Yarmouth and Kentville as part of the inaugural Mashup Weekend hosted by Mashup Lab.
“The Ivany Report clearly stated that we need to grow the startup community across the province and build a culture of entrepreneurship,” said Andrew Button, founder and CEO of Mashup Lab.
“This past weekend, we brought together over 50 aspiring entrepreneurs, paired them with over 30 mentors and coaches across three sites and watched magic happen. We’ve seen several business ideas undergo the transformation from concept to reality over the course of 54 hours. This is a great example of Nova Scotians choosing now!”
In Yarmouth, more han 20 youth brought energy and ideas to life at NSCC Burridge Campus, exploring a number of business ideas including: a sustainable seafood retail shop, a holistic healing centre and youth-focused tech training.
Natalie Comeau, a NSCC Business Administration student from Clare said, “It’s been an excellent weekend. I learned a lot about myself and about what I plan to do in the future. This weekend we built a business plan for establishing a fresh fish market in downtown Yarmouth.”
In Kentville, Karl Downton, a firefighter from the Annapolis Valley took part in Mashup Weekend at NSCC Kingstec Campus and used the weekend to explore options for expanding his firefighter-focused clothing line, Smoke Eater Style. “This weekend opened my eyes to a much larger market,” he said. “I started eyeing just a Nova Scotia market, but as a result of advice this weekend, I’m thinking global.”

About Mashup Lab
Mashup Lab is a series of events and mentorship programs that activate and amplify startup communities in rural Atlantic Canada. We identify entrepreneurial talent and help bring business ideas to life.

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Miners capture Midget B Division at Keith MacLean Memorial event

THORBURN – The Westville Miners earned a banner by capturing the Midget B Division on Sunday during the fourth annual Keith MacLean Memorial Tournament at the Ivor MacDonald Memorial Rink.
The Miners downed the Sackville Flyers 6-2 in the championship game in front of a capacity crowd.
Friday night, Westville was on fire, shutting down Thorburn with an 8-0 victory.
Goals were scored by Brendan MacIntosh, Christian MacLeod, Dawson Clow, Brad Russell, Justin Sinnis, Kyle Sinclair, Carson Creed and John Tait. Assists went to Tony McGuigan, Creed, Nathan Snell, Alex Keating, John Tait, Connor Gladney, Clow, Tyler Lewis and Aric Deno.
Adam Smith recorded the shutout in goal.
On Saturday, Sackville squeaked by the Miners 2-1. Creed recorded the Miners’ lone goal, assisted by William MacGillivray and Gladney.
Later on Saturday, Tait notched both goals and Smith recorded his second shutout as Westville defeated Eastern Shore 2-0. Sinclair, Deno and Clow picked up assists.
In the championship game on Sunday, MacIntosh collected a hat trick, Deno buried one flying down the wing and Lewis netted a pair of goals, including the game winner with a beauty top corner slap shot from the point.
Sinnis picked up three assists, Tait followed with two assists, and MacGillivray set up the sixth goal. Bradley Ward-Hale played a strong game in goal.

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Kin members grace Bluenose for games, fun time together

NEW GLASGOW – The New Glasgow Kinsmen and Kinettes had the rare opportunity to do something for themselves on Saturday with a just-for-fun zone curling bonspiel at the Bluenose Curling Club.
The afternoon involved members from clubs in the northern zone, Cape Breton, and P.E.I. and was a way for members to get together, have a bit of fun, and maybe even swap some ideas.
“It’s a fun event,” local organizer and past president Frank Proudfoot said. “It’s not competitive, it’s mostly based on family and being social.”
Proudfoot said the other draw is to talk to other clubs and find out what sort of projects they’re getting involved with.
“It’s just to get together and bring the group closer together,” Proudfoot said.
An idea New Glasgow shared with other clubs is their successful trivia nights, which Proudfoot said is an idea other clubs expressed an interest in getting behind.
Another big topic was that of recruitment.
“All the clubs are suffering a little bit in membership,” Proudfoot said. “It’s just with the times. It’s a way of showing that people can combine their community service with having fun at the same time.”
Anyone over the age of 19 with an interest in joining can get in touch, and the club currently has members of all ages.
The duty of hosting the event will shift from club to club each year, while the actual activity is up to the hosting group. Some clubs favour darts, others golf.
“A lot of the members are curlers,” Proudfoot explained. “No skill level is really required so everybody can participant. It’s not like golf.”
A little rock throwing and ice sweeping represents a well-earned day of fun for the Kinsmen and Kinettes before they gear up to help out a number of local families in need this Christmas.
“We don’t know their names, but we know their sizes and their ages, buy them presents, wrap them,” Proudfoot said. “As a club we spend about $30,000. And part of that is we buy them Christmas dinner. Those are feel-good projects.”

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Albions pound out big victories

NEW GLASGOW – It was another promising night of victories for Albion boxers
All but one of the members of the Albion Amateur Boxing Club won their bouts on an 11-bout card that included provincial championship matches.
“It was a good card,” Albion head coach Jim Worthen said. “We had a good performance from all our boxers.
Dawson Bowes won the main event, a unanimous decision over Blake Shaw from Newfoundland in a light-heavyweight bout that was deemed the fight of the day.
The card opened with an exhibition strawweight bout between Albion boxers Zack Vaughan and Hudson Cameron, while Albion club’s Kage MacDonald also boxed a bantamweight exhibition against Mason MacPherson of Twin Cities club.
Jake Parker of Berwick defeated Tyler Johnson of Tri Town club in their strawweight match.
Austin Levi of Albion Club defeated Dustin Dunn of Pegasus club in a welterweight bout before intermission.
Jacob Craig defeated Avery Gale of Sydney in a strawweight bout and Thomas Foster of Tri Town defeated Tamimi Jorche of Twin Cities in their welterweight bout in other first-half matches.
Two other Albion boxers were in the final five bouts following intermission.
Aaron Christianson of Ring 73 club in Glace Bay won the novice lightweight championship with a narrow unanimous decision over Dawson Fraser of the Albion club.
Cameron MacDonald of the Albion club won a well-earned decision against fellow welterweight Brandon Callahan of Newfoundland.
Two other welterweight bouts were featured.
Josh Jay of Berwick defeated San Prince of Sydney, while Devin Sanford hung on to defeat Jonathan Sinclair of Ring 73 in provincial championship tiffs.
The latter bout featured fighters with no head gear, in accordance to new rules not requiring it for senior boxers.
Albion club’s Michael Jordan, a heavyweight, was scheduled for the card’s main event, but it was cancelled when his opponent was not available.
The card is the second last for Albion boxers until the end of the calendar year.
Some of them on Saturday’s card could get another look on a card on Dec. 13 in Glace Bay that will help determine what Nova Scotia boxers will attended national championships in January in Quebec.
“We have Dawson Bowes, Dawson Fraser and Austin Levy who are progressing well but may need more experience,” Worthen said. “We could advance these guys or season them for another year. They might be competitive but they’d run into boxers at the national championships with a lot more experience. We have to make that decision.”
After the card, the club will close for the holiday break and resume training on Jan. 7.

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Scotians set to host Pirates

TRENTON – The Pictou County Aecon Scotians will host the Strait Pirates at 7 p.m. on Sunday in Trenton in their lone Nova Scotia Hockey League game this week.
It will be a chance for the Scotians to avenge a previous home-ice loss to the Pirates and stretch their current winning streak.
Since the Pirates defeated the Scotians 5-4 on Nov. 2, the Scotians have won five straight games, including a 7-4 victory on Friday in Antigonish over the Bulldogs and a 5-3 victory on Sunday at home against the Sackville Blazers.
In Antigonish, the Scotians outshot the Bulldogs 35-19 and scored four goals in the second period to take a 5-2 lead.
Lucas Eshleman scored twice, while single goals were added by Bradley MacEachern, Cameron Riley, Brandon Verge, Mitchell Warner and Jordan Yochoff.
Verge collected two goals and two assists on Sunday, but the Scotians needed third-period goals by Brendan Duff and MacEachern to snap a 3-3 tie against the Blazers.
Warner also scored for the Scotians, who were outshot 42-40.
Goaltender Mitchell Donlevy got both wins.
The Scotians remain in second place in the league’s Sid Rowe Division with 21 points, five more than the Pirates and five fewer than the first-place Glace Bay Miners, who have played four more games.
Verge leads the Scotians with 30 points based on 13 goals and 17 assists in 14 games.
Eshleman has 18 goals and eight assists for 26 points.

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Best of them all was Gordie Howe

Most of the time when I’m selecting subjects for this column, I concentrate on Pictou County people and topics, or matters with at least some county connection. I’ve been known, however, to make a few exceptions, and one of those occasions is now.
The item I refer to is the declining health of Mr. Hockey, almost as well-known as Gordie Howe. He’s 86 years old now – wow, that’s hard to believe – and has suffered a massive stroke, followed by a second stroke just over a week ago.
“Not doing well at all” and “condition heading in the wrong direction” were two disturbing quotes from family members as I sat down to write.
You can probably understand that, during six decades in the newspaper business, I’ve met many of the greatest athletes of our generation. Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Sandy Koufax, Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky and Muhammad Ali only touch the surface of my have-met list. Heck, I can even add Pete Rose to the lineup. Yet I don’t think I would rank any of them higher on a personal scale than the several times I chatted with old number 9. I especially have great memories of talking to Mantle, Orr and Gretzky, all personable people in my mind. But Howe was tops with me – in more ways than one.
The best hockey player ever? I always maintained that the three best were Howe, Gretzky and Orr – in that order. And despite Don Cherry’s insistence that Orr was better than any of them.
Although I became a life-long Toronto Maple Leafs fan before my age even got into double figures – that’s going back to the late 1940s – I nonetheless considered Gordie Howe my favourite player (a tad ahead of then Leafs captain Teeder Kennedy).
I wasn’t the only Howe fan in our house, either. My grandmother – my mother’s mother – spent the last 15 years of her life with us and she was always talking about Howe. We chatted about him often. Sometimes, in looking back, I often wondered if Nannie, as we called her, was a “Howe fan” only to keep in the good books of her only grandson.
Yet I never forgot the family joke about the Saturday night when our minister and wife visited our home. They socialized with my parents for the evening, while Nannie pulled her chair up in front of the television set – no big screens in those times – and watched the game closely.
Howe and the Wings were playing Toronto that night and, yes, she watched Mr. Hockey intently. When the game ended, she got up and started off to bed. The minister asked, “Did you enjoy the game, Nannie?” She replied, rather sharply, “What I could hear of it.” Yes, I really think she was a Howe admirer.
My first meeting with Howe was at the Detroit Red Wings training camp in the early 1960s. I made a tour of all the NHL camps that fall, not a hard thing to do in those days of only six teams.
I had an agenda of what I wanted to do at the camps that September – to interview Nova Scotians for my newspaper. For example, there was Sydney’s Junior Hanna working out with the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal, Sydney’s Al MacNeil seeking a defence position with the Chicago Blackhawks in St. Catharines, and Thorburn’s own Lowell MacDonald practising with the Detroit Red Wings camp in Detroit.
That was the year Pictou County’s top player was with the Wings and was in the midst of a contract dispute with manager Sid Abel. Seeing me arrive at the camp, Lowell decided he would return home with me when I left Detroit. Despite that unexpected development, I was there long enough to have a great interview with Howe.
There were subsequent meetings with Mr. Hockey through the years, including when he made several visits to functions in Halifax. I always found him willing to sit down and chat, and he always said he remembered me from previous get-togethers. A classy guy, no question.
Over the years, I often made a point of getting photos of myself with celebrities I interviewed, and Howe was certainly included in that list. In fact, among my collection is a photo of myself and Howe at that Detroit training camp. I also have a photo of our older son Gavin sitting on Orr’s knee, and one of our other son Graham on Gretzky’s lap. Yes, all of my top three.
But back to Mr. Hockey.
What a fabulous career he had, with so many unimaginable feats, records that should stand forever. Just think of the fact he played in the NHL and the rival WHA for a total of 34 seasons. Many players retire before they’re even 34 years old.
And don’t overlook this fact: Howe played in the NHL in five different decades, appearing in his first game way back in 1946-47, and playing his final league game in 1979-80. It’s hard to visualize any other player matching that accomplishment.
What fabulous statistics Howe compiled: 1,700 games in the NHL, 800-plus goals, four Stanley Cup championships, six most valuable player awards, six scoring titles. The list could easily go on.
He’s a hockey legend if there ever was a hockey legend.
Don’t get me wrong. I surely appreciate what Orr did. No defenceman will ever come close – and he did it despite having his career cut short by injury. And Gretzky’s numbers and other achievements would fascinate even people who don’t know the difference between the red line and blue line. He was phenomenal.
But no matter what, I still say the best of them all was Howe.

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Expressions of hope for Pictou received by councillor

To the Editor:
I received these emails recently and want to pass on their expressions of hope for the town.
First: After speaking with many “international” people lately, I have come to the conclusion that Pictou’s challenges are no different than those of many other countries. The problem that communities face is global. Millions of young people have left Poland and Ireland and many other European countries. There is no work, so the communities are greatly diminished – just like Pictou and Liverpool and Yarmouth and many other communities in Atlantic Canada. If anyone can solve this problem they will win a Nobel Prize, because finding the solution is not an easy task.
Having said that, I have had visitors here this past summer – their first visit to the town – and they loved the town. The town has a future – just that it will be very different than that of the past. I see it perhaps evolving into a quaint little “Cape Cod-type” of community, maybe.
And another writes: I think particularly when the pulp mill issue is resolved, whatever form that takes, we will be wide open for people who are looking for peace and quiet in a beautiful harbour town. A friend is extremely interested in relocating here – after just one visit. Sometimes we don’t see the forest for the trees. I have great optimism about our future.
So let’s get the POSITIVE vibe going: Positively Pictou.
Bob Naylor
Pictou

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Reader says taxpayers’ dollars being wasted on MOU

To the Editor:
New research by a Western University professor shows that amalgamation does not reduce the size of Municipal Government.
In 1985, the Harris Government campaigned in Ontario to slash the provincial cost through massive municipal government restructuring by $250,000,000.00 in taxpayer’s savings, decreasing the number of municipalities in Ontario from 850 to 445 and 23 percent of elected officials, they now have more people in government positions (and this in the computer age where jobs are being cut in the public sector as computers are replacing many employees.)
Amalgamation did not reduce the size of municipal government. Timothy Cobban, Political Science professor collected Statistics Canada numbers for 15 years, before and after amalgamation. Results show the municipal public sector costs expanded at a faster rate than in the decade before amalgamation. From 1981 to 1996 Municipal Governments grew by 23.9 percent adding 39,191 jobs. Post amalgamation from 1996 to 2011 Municipal Governments grew by 38.8 percent adding 104,200 jobs. In 1981 the Ontario government spent under $200,000,000.00 on local government salaries and by 2011 they spent over $750,000,000.00.
In 1990 there were 15.8 municipal workers per 1000 residents and after amalgamation there were 20.9 workers per 1000 residents.
The merging of municipalities creates jobs in urban areas, e.g. full time firefighters which would have been volunteers prior to amalgamation. Typically when rural areas merge into a city, full time departments are created which develops pressure on these services, as residents in one area will understandably demand comparable services.
Amalgamation also increases wages by the merging of Collective agreements as the Provincial Government is downloading Provincial responsibilities onto the municipalities.
Before amalgamation 3.4 percent of Ontario Municipal Government workers were employed in Social Services. Post amalgamation the number doubled to 7.8 percent. Numbers also increased in areas unaffected by downloading, including Administrative roles such as clerks, treasurers and other various workers.
The bigger government grows the less connected it becomes to its constituents. Small governments are the most efficient. Bureaucracy by nature grows unless the people fight it. After the Ontario amalgamation of Municipal Governments, statistics show that 43 percent of all Municipal employees in Canada work in Ontario with only 38 percent of Canadian population. The structure has now become bottom heavy.
Andrew Sanction of University of Western Ontario did a review of amalgamation in New Brunswick, Ontario and Nova Scotia and failed to find the expected cost savings. Since 1990, Municipal amalgamations outside Canada have occurred only in New Zealand, the States of Victoria and Tasmania in Australia, a few local authorities in England and post apartheid in South Africa. Ironically if anything, pressure in the U.S.A. has been for municipal secession (withdrawal) not municipal amalgamation. In the early 1990’s there was a movement on Staten Island to have it recede from New York City but the plan was blocked by the State Assembly.
There was a very strong movement for secession in Los Angeles County which produced a landmark document for the study of municipal secession. It is believed that under smaller governments you receive fairer taxes and better services.
Amalgamation is a threat to an efficient and democratic community and in Ontario amalgamation resulted in some of the highest land assessments found anywhere in the world.
In conclusion, I hope I have given the residents of Pictou County something to think about when it comes to leaving your elected officials in charge of your autonomy.
Ed Cormier
Stellarton

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N.S. woodland owners raise concerns over Northern Pulp

To the Editor:
The Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners is concerned about the current situation at the Northern Pulp mill in Abercrombie, N.S., and the negative impact its emissions are having on Pictou County residents, the environment, and the local tourism industry. We’re also concerned about the negative effects a potential mill closure would have on the more than 30,000 Nova Scotians who own family woodlots.
The news has been full of negative reports, several of which have indicated that the mill is well over what is deemed to be acceptable pollution standards. Frustrated citizens have finally demanded action. For its part, the mill is intending to install new emission controls in May of 2015; however, for some, that isn’t soon enough.
In the broader picture, the government-commissioned Ivany Report stated that our provincial economy is “on the brink of an extended period of decline”—that if we don’t make the recommended changes, our economy will continue to worsen. In fact, over the last year, Nova Scotia has lost more than 9,000 jobs. The situation has been dire in the forestry sector. Since the collapse of the U.S. housing market in 2006, forestry workers have lost roughly 50 per cent of their jobs and many mills have closed permanently, including Bowater Mersey, which severely impacted western Nova Scotia.
A perfect storm of circumstances over the last 10 years has spelled disaster for the forestry industry and the rural economy, which directly impacts individual woodlot owners. Fortunately in recent years, the forest industry has been experiencing a slow but sustained recovery. In 2013, small private woodlots supplied more than 60 per cent of the wood fibre consumed by Nova Scotia’s forestry industry.
Collectively, woodlot owners are the largest majority owner of the provincial forest resource, and we stand to lose a great deal if Northern Pulp shuts down. Many of our members own family woodlots that have been passed down through generations. They harvest forest products each year as a way to help sustain their rural way of life. Family-held woodlots are the base of the forest-products supply chain and the lack of a pulpwood market severely impacts a woodlot owners’ ability to improve their woodlots and practice sustainable forest management.
In Nova Scotia, Northern Pulp plays a major role in the supply chain and is interconnected with our many sawmills, harvesting and silviculture contractors, truckers, woodlot owners and many small businesses that service this sector. Currently, 65 per cent of Northern Pulp’s annual harvest is sold to and supplies roughly one-third of our provincial sawmill requirements. Northern Pulp in turn buys back over $80 million dollars worth of sawmill chips and hog fuel produced as a byproduct from our sawmills.
With few market alternatives for sawmill chips, DNR has estimated that at least 3,500 jobs in trucking, harvesting and sawmilling could be affected if Northern Pulp closes. Those job losses won’t only affect Pictou County but will likely be spread across rural communities, where sawmills and forestry provide significant employment.
We share the concerns of our fellow Nova Scotians and urge Northern Pulp and our provincial government to work toward a solution of the mill’s current problems—one that respects our citizens personal health, the environment, preserves jobs and maintains markets now available to producers of pulpwood, chips and other forms of wood fibre.
The Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners is a non-profit organization providing forest management, certification and extension services for private woodlot owners. Through a volunteer board of directors, it supports woodlot owners in sustainable forestry through education, demonstration and co-operation with industry, government and other stakeholders.
John MacDougall
Executive Director, Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners
Stewiacke

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New campaign for those with IBD

To the Editor:
As co-ordinator of the Pictou County Crohn’s and Colitis affiliate, I would like to inform the public that November is Awareness Month for these inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is embarking on a new national awareness and fundraising campaign so we can learn more and do all we can to help make these painful, debilitating diseases stop. This new campaign is called “Make It Stop. For Life.” The goal is to inspire all Canadians to find ways that they, too, can help in this endeavour.
Statistics, I know, can be very boring. However, I have found some of the recent numbers quite troubling, to say the least, and feel they should be shared with you. One out of every 150 Canadians has these diseases, and the Atlantic Provinces, in particular, has among the highest rates.
More than 10,200 new cases are diagnosed each year in Canada, and a fact that is perplexing is that new families moving to Canada are seeing Crohn’s and Colitis occur for the first time, often within the first generation and that we, in the Northern Hemisphere, have a high incidence of IBD, whereas it is almost unheard of in the Southern Hemisphere. Strange, isn’t it?
As anyone with Crohn’s and Colitis will tell you, these diseases exist “Behind Closed Doors” because people affected experience urgent and frequent bowel movements. Besides the diarrhea, other symptoms such as abdominal pain, internal bleeding, fistulas, fatigue and in almost half the cases, surgery will occur. Longstanding Crohn’s and Colitis also sharply increases risk of colon cancer.
Crohn’s and Colitis can strike at any age, but the effects on the youth can be devastating. The incidence of C and C has been on the rise since 2001 and significantly so, in children under 10. In fact, the number of those under 10 with Crohn’s has almost doubled in the last 20 years. Many suffer in silence because of the stigma and a lack of awareness and empathy.
This letter appears to be quite a “downer” in its tone, but our group feels it is important for the Pictou County people to know that we are working hard to help in this cause and that you will know why we are selling tickets on gift baskets and having prize bingo, etc. We are all volunteers and all money raised go toward helping to find a cause and cure for these diseases. Thank you Pictou County!
Mike Hollis
County co-ordinator
Pictou County Crohn’s and Colitis affiliate

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November is Crohn’s, Colitis Awareness month

To the Editor:
There are many things that we talk about: the weather, how cold it is and the flu. But very few of us ever talk about a health problem called Crohn’s and Colitis. It is one that we should be talking about.
Did you know that Nova Scotia has one of the highest (rates) in Canada and it is now showing up in children as young as four and five years old? Having said that, did you know that November is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness month? So now is the time to talk about it.
There is a group here in Pictou County that does fund raising to help find a cure, for at this time there is no know cure or for that matter the cause of it or how it gets started. As a group, we hold prize bingos and sell tickets on items like Christmas baskets, light houses, wishing wells and nativity sets, under the leadership of Mike Hollis.
I, for one, know a lot about Crohn’s for I live with it on a daily bases for my dear wife has it. For us, that means she has to watch what she eats. As well, we have two bathrooms and one has to be free at all times. Her treatment is every seven weeks at a clinic in Truro with a drug called Remicade to the cost of several thousand dollars.
Yes folks, that is just a small part of it. So speak about it, for after, all this is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness month, and please help us in our fund raising to help find a cure.
Loyd Murray
New Glasgow

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Time to give thanks to staff at Northumberland Veterans Unit

To the Editor:
As a frequent visitor to the Veterans Unit in Pictou, I feel it’s time to try to express my sincere appreciation to all those who contribute to the daily care of all the residents. I have seen often how the staff shows nothing but respect and loving care to each of them.
Any given day I choose to visit, I do so with no reservations as I know when I enter the door I will be welcomed with smiles from the staff and made to feel at ease. I’ve seen how they treat the residents like their own grandparents, right from the doctor who is prompt to react to any causes for concern, the nurses who know how to administer to their many needs, the recreation director who is so jovial with them, the therapists who work daily with them, the kitchen staff who will try always to find something for everyone to enjoy; the building is immaculate because of the cleaning staff; the laundry is ready, fresh and folded and all the volunteers who are so steadfast with giving their time.
I believe that all these folks as a group should know what a wonderful job they do on a daily basis and how much all the smiles and hugs mean to “all” of us.
Thank you.
Adelaide A. MacDonald
Merigomish

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French has plus factors

Few subjects inspire more robust debate among Canadians than French language.
Some feel Canada ceased to be the same country when the Official Languages Act was adopted. Others feel its adoption was an important measure of how the country has evolved into one of the most preferred places in the world to live.
Language was at play once again last week as parents attended an information session at the A.G. Baillie Memorial School in New Glasgow, where Early French Immersion will be introduced next September. Other regions have had it. Some Pictou County schools have offered Middle French Immersion Integrated French, but in 10 months, EFI will be here. It will be in just the one school and in many circumstances parents will be required to drive their children to assess EFI classes. But for them, and the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, it’s a start.
As Valerie LeBlanc Dunn explained, this is a huge opportunity for the children taking EFI. The possibilities for rewarding careers for those who speak French proficiently are compelling ones. They exist here, across Canada and throughout the French-speaking world. It does not stop at the door of provincial or federal bureaucracies, whose staff must be proficient in both official languages.
Canada’s ability to demonstrate its largesse toward poorer countries depends on the ability of its agents to speak English well among English-speaking countries – such Commonwealth ones in Africa – and French-speaking ones – such as Haiti. We could be doing a better job helping poorer countries. Language is one of the ways the job gets done.
There is something else we need to think about. Despite the fact that Canadians whose origins are either English or French is declining as a percentage of the county’s total population, the Official Languages Act remains vital and the advantages of speaking both English and French have the potential to increase.
Here’s one way to ensure that and to support the two languages well into the future.
Right now, New Brunswick is Canada’s only officially bilingual province. It is also one of the four original provinces to join Confederation in 1867. The others were Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario.
Canada’s 150th birthday is coming in 2017. What if the Original Four agreed to provide a gift by becoming officially bilingual – all of them?
Perhaps the gesture would be unnecessary, or too expensive.
The point is we don’t know that, which is why it’s worth a discussion between now then. We have nothing to lose, and Early French Immersion next September is one more reason why we ought to have that discussion.
Nation-building is that easy.

Steve Goodwin

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Alert the Medic thrilled to play for hometown crowd

After eight years of touring, three albums, and several Jubilee appearances, one could almost think that Alert the Medic members are over “the hometown show”. One would be wrong.
“It’s definitely an emotional rush,” said AtM vocalist Ryan MacDonald.
“It’s our home and to be able to come back to that and see our family and friends, in the area that we grew up – that’s really important for us to be able to do that. Glasgow Square and Pictou County in general have been super supportive of us. It’s rewarding for us to come back and play, it really means a lot.”
The last time AtM took the stage at Glasgow Square was at this year’s Jubilee, an event which saw a bit of their inner teenager gush with well-earned fanboy delight when “The Phantom Moves” producer and former Our Lady Peace guitarist Mike Turner (now of Crash Karma) joined them on stage.
“It was like one of the top five things ever! He was a hero,” said MacDonald.
“He still is but growing up he was a big influence on us. That was the music that came down through the pipeline, we were big fans of Our Lady Peace so for him to come out and play ‘Starseed’ with us was ridiculous. Hearing that first guitar riff he played was surreal. It meant more to us than most people could fathom.”
This time around the band will be rolling into Glasgow Square on their own, the low-slung Gibsons and overdriven tube amps exchanged at the door for acoustic guitars and DI-boxes.
“With acoustic guitars it’s a challenge for us because there’s nowhere to hide,” MacDonald said.
“When you’re playing acoustic guitar and there’s just four instruments you have to play well. We’re going to have to practise a lot! It’s going to be fun though. Our process here is reworking some of these songs and basically seeing what new colours and what new shapes, soundscapes we can get out of these songs.”
“(Some songs) take on a new persona,” MacDonald said.
That’s really the process for the band; it’s not so much stripping the song back to its ‘roots’ as such as it is a ‘re-colouring’ or ‘re-shaping’ of the songs. The songs may have gone through many phases before arriving at the sound heard on disc but MacDonald said the band doesn’t have any special “formula” when it comes to songwriting and songcraft.
“It’s different every time,” the singer said.
“Sometimes it starts on acoustic guitar, sometimes it stays on acoustic guitar. Sometimes it moves to electric guitar, sometimes you play a riff or a melody and think, ‘I wonder what this sounds like on piano…’ and move it over there. You have to try all the different sounds just to see what you get. Sometimes we add too much and you have to pull it back. You have to know when to stop sometimes, too.”
When songs get too “coloured” or too overworked, too overproduced they often get cast aside but some will get a ground up rebuild rather than stripping back the layers of sonic “paint”. “A Day at the Downs”, an as of yet unreleased track that may see some day light in the near future, MacDonald suggested could be an example of the too much paint theory. As the band were working the song it kept getting bigger to the point where producer Turner granted them clearance to indulge in full on, rock out silliness with the instruction to “play it like you’re in the basement!”
Regardless of the instrument in hand, MacDonald said the group is willing to let the songs do what they want to do rather than force a sound or dictate a particular approach. They’re known to rock, and they’re open to more ‘organic’ flavours, so long as the song is willing to follow.
Alert the Medic will be re-shaping and re-colouring the songs you’ve come to know and love this Saturday, Nov. 29, at Glasgow Square at 8 p.m.

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Orchestra marking 26th season with concert

The Pictou County Community Orchestra opens their 26th season with a concert in New Glasgow.
The event will take place this Saturday, Nov. 29, at the Celtic Circle Cultural Centre, Forbes Street, at 3 p.m. Tickets – priced at $10 each, family $25 – are available from orchestra members, or at the door.
Conductor Ken Henderson will lead the orchestra through a program including Overture in Bb (J.C. Bach), Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on ‘Greensleeves’, seasonal favourites The Christmas Song (Mel Torme) and March of the Toys (from ‘Babes in Toyland’ by Victor Herbert) and more. Special guest Andrew Alcorn is the featured soloist on a performance of Carnival of Venice (J.B. Arban).
Sharing the stage with the PCCO will be the St. James Brass Quintet from Antigonish. A special treat will be a performance of Serenata for Stroh-Viol and String Orchestra (arr. K. Henderson). The Stroh-viol is a rare instrument used in the earliest days of the recording industry. Few of these instruments remain in existence, let alone are heard in concert.
The Pictou County Community Orchestra welcomes players of all ages and levels of experience, and includes members from Pictou, Antigonish and Colchester Counties. When not presenting concerts, the orchestra rehearses at the Westville Recreation Building on Drummond Road, usually on Sundays at 3 p.m. For more information, contact Lloyd MacLean (902-396-6731) or Allister Fraser (902-752-0754).

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Sing Joy! concert to feature Vivaldi’s Gloria

STELLARTON – The annual Sing Joy! Concert will feature Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria, one of the most popular choral works of all time.
The concert – always associated with the first Sunday of Advent – will take place on Nov. 30 at 4 p.m., at Sharon St. John United Church in Stellarton.
An Italian composer, Vivaldi composed Gloria, a 12-movement mass, in 1708. It will be the featured work when the Halifax Camerata Singers join forces with the Pictou County youth choir, Seinneadair, and the community choir, The Trinitarians, in the annual concert.
Leading Seinneadair and the Trinitarians will be artistic director Monica George Punke, with Sandra Johnson as accompanist.
“(Gloria) is packed full of tuneful vitality,” says Punke. “It has a dramatic quality that undoubtedly delighted the original Venetians who heard it as much as it delights us today. And, it is such a great opportunity for our young people to sing this work with such a distinguished choir and conductor.”
Jeff Joudrey will direct the Halifax Camerata Singers with Lynette Wahlstrom on piano.
Tickets are on sale now from local choir members, at H&R Music, New Glasgow and Pictou Pharmasave, or by calling 902-752-1297. Admission is for adults $15, seniors $12 and students $7. Advanced ticket purchase is highly recommended.
Sing Joy! is a blend of musical styles and periods loosely gathered around a unifying theme. In addition to the Gloria, which will be sung by the Camerata Singers and the young people of Seinneadair, both choirs will sing a grouping of carols and other seasonal songs on their own.
Joining them, with their own special blend of material will be the adults of the Trinitarians. To conclude the concert, all three choirs will join together to present Mark Hayes’ arrangement of Christmas texts called Sing Joy!
Sing Joy! is also a blend of ages. From the very youngest of the choristers in Seinneadair, through the ages represented by the Halifax Camerata Singers to the more mature, but young at heart, Trinitarians, there is a span of at least 80 years. It is intergenerational music making at its best, Punke says.
Sing Joy! also involves the audience. There are always a couple of carols for everyone to sing.

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Early French Immersion being offered

NEW GLASGOW – Early French Immersion is being offered to Pictou County students to complement courses in the language already offered.
More than 30 people gathered for a presentation last Wednesday at A.G. Baillie Memorial Elementary School in New Glasgow led by Valerie LeBlanc Dunn, French co-ordinator for the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board.
Pictou County Schools are located in the Celtic Family of Schools, which offer Integrated French and Middle Immersion French, but it’s the only one of the four families of schools that does not offer Early French Immersion (EFI).
Numbers in the French programs vary, but the board and staff have managed to keep them operating, Dunn said.
“We’ve kept programs going but it has been a lot of hard work,” she said. She cited one example of combining grades in order to achieve the minimum number of students required to continue offering the class.
Currently, Northumberland Regional High School offers Integrated French, as well as Dr. W.A. MacLeod School.
Both NRHS and North Nova Education Centre are fed students from Middle Immersion – Northumberland from West Pictou Consolidated and North Nova from A.G. Baillie and F.H. MacDonald Elementary School in Sutherlands River.
Last week’s meeting included a discussion of the benefits of French as a second language, optional French programs in the region and the timeline for introducing EFI in September 2015 at A.G. Baillie.
The meeting was part of a sequence that started with a discussion to implement EFI in September and for Dunn and Turnbull to discuss it.
Brochures and posters were distributed and a media launch took place earlier in November.
Registration forms were distributed at last weeks meeting
“It’s starting here,” said Ron Turnbull, supervisor for the Celtic Family of Schools. “We’ll go forward from here.”
Core French is already offered as a compulsory program in Grades 4 through 9 and as an elective as enrolment permits in Grades 10 to 12.
The other programs like EFI are optional, but both Dunn and Turnbull see starting EFI at A.G. Baillie is critical for teaching the language and attracting more families to Pictou County.
“It will be good for the county to get the program,” Turnbull said. “It’s a high drawing card. We have families with kids in the program who moved here and we didn’t have it. They are choosing Truro.”
Dunn also shared the benefits of learning French as a second language because Canada is officially bilingual, the federal government is the country’s largest employer and needs bilingual employees and French is widely spoken throughout the world and is one of the easiest languages for English-speaking people to learn.
Twenty students are needed to start a new program like EFI and have it continue.

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Students receive certificates for medicine, martial arts

NEW GLASGOW – Students of traditional medicine and martial arts courses received diplomas on Monday in New Glasgow.
Former Pictou County resident Calvin Crichton, who now lives in B.C., returned to present awards to New Glasgow resident and martial arts teacher Bruce Fleming in the areas of teacher and third dan equivalent in martial arts.
Five others received certificates for their work in traditional Japanese medicine: Joy Cumminger of Denver, N.S.; Ann Marie Coady of Blue Mountain; Karen MacGregor, Garden of Eden; Jane Gallant, Pictou Landing and Yiling Lin of Antigonish.
Crichton said it was an opportunity to connect the common history of medicine and martial arts from the Far East. “It was passed on for many years to students in Ontario and then to me and then to them,” Crichton said. “It’s a very powerful voice from Japan speaking to this community.”
Coady says the work in medicine from the Far East has altered her perspective of western medical practices.
“I always had a traditional western view,” she said. “Now I look at it from the east.”
MacGregor said the learning experience was important to her.
“It’s not so much the certificate but what we learned to get it was life-changing,” she said.
The five women have been studying classical Japanese medicine called Isshinho (one conscious method) for more than a decade, more recently in New Glasgow and before that in the Garden of Eden Community Centre while Crichton was a Presbyterian Church minister for nine years. Other points he served are in East River St. Mary’s and Blue Mountain.
A special project grant through the Presbyterian Church of Canada helped the group with supplies and training.
“It came after we were well along with the program but it really helped,” Crichton said.
Isshinho has been influenced by Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years and encompasses acupuncture, acupressure and shiatsu therapy, topical and oral herbal medicine and detoxification baths.
While the actual program was taught over four years, Crichton was teaching them components of Chinese and Japanese medicine for several years before the formal program began.
“It’s life changing,” Crichton said. “It gives them all the ability to work in the health community with all the legitimacy they need.”
Fleming’s achievements are in classical Japanese Samurai martial arts called Daito Ryu Aiki Bujuto, which date back 900 years. Its origins date from the convergence of several martial art disciplines and included expertise in jujutsu (empty hand self-defence) as well as weaponry, horsemanship and strategy. Non-martial arts were also valued, such as calligraphy, poetry, healing arts and ethics.
Fleming has achieved his standing in arts that he and Crichton teach and that have been taught in the Gyoten dojo, or school that will mark 25 years next May.
Tests Fleming took recently in Ontario earned him the rank of full teacher.
“Martial arts is always challenging,” he said. “But it gives me confidence to feel at peace.”

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Westville approves skate park

Good news for Westville teenagers came forth in council Monday evening when a group of teenage boys received approval to begin a Westville skateboard park.
The project was proposed and approved to use half of the tennis courts in Victoria Park to create the space.
The idea was sparked in the spring time when an incident led to the boys working with town CAO Kelly Rice to put together the presentation for council.
“As you know, this group came together as a result of all of us making a bad decision by being around the Highland Consolidated Middle School when we shouldn’t have been there,” said Youth Committee member Billy Hoare during the presentation. “We are hopeful that we can take a bad decision and turn it into a very positive effort on our part to create a great place for all the youth of Westvillle to benefit from.”
Members of the youth committee who are spearheading the group include, Hoare, Adre Ward, Colby MacKay, Riley Goodwin, MacKenzie Brown, Gavin Dooley, Matthew Martin, Seth Marcipont, Jacob MacDonald and Dustin Maybe.
The group also agreed that once approved they would take responsibility for funding the project. During the presentation they were able to give council a price range for the project which, based on the 6,400 square foot space they have to work with, they estimate will be $75,000 to $100,000.
Currently, those who enjoy skateboarding either have to commute to another town to use a skate park or, as they say they now do, skateboard along Main Street, or other available spaces, which are much more dangerous.
“I am really impressed with your presentation,” said Coun. Lynn MacDonald as the group, ranging in age from 13 to 16 years old, finished speaking.
“I like your aggressive timetable,” noted Coun. Bernie Murphy, referring to the goal to have the project completed by June 2015.
The group plans to raise the money with fundraisers such as dances, bottle drives and possibly even hockey or ball tournaments. Now they have gained approval for the project, they will begin funding discussions; they will also be seeking grants and similar sources of funding to supplement the fundraising.
“We’re going to do some continued correspondence,” said Rice assuring there will be updates for the community along the way.

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McCulloch Centre hosts multi-cultural Christmas

PICTOU – Christmas with a multi-cultural theme is being featured this year at the McCulloch Heritage Centre in Pictou.
Members of the Multi-cultural Association of Pictou County began trimming parts of the centre’s exhibit area on Nov. 15 for a display that will last until Jan. 9.
Heritage Centre director Michelle Davey approached the group regarding the display, said Doug Walsh, the association’s communications officer.
“We talked to Michelle, who talked about the Multi-cultural Association having a display at the museum,” he said. “It’s another chance to promote the association.”
The theme is a Christmas tree with decorations from different countries, with various items from different countries.
There will also be different versions of Santa Claus, such as St. Nicholas Day which will be observed in Germany on Dec. 6.
“There are different traditions,” Walsh said. “We’ll blend cultures represented in Pictou County. It’s a real mix of cultures from elsewhere and here in the county.”
The multi-cultural display will complement one already presented at McCulloch House.
The Pictou County Genealogical and Heritage Society helped with decorations based on what would have been used around two centuries ago.
The house was open one weekend and will be showcased on Dec. 5 to coincide with Pictou’s Christmas light-up event.

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Lodge staff enjoys experience at Devour! food film fest

BRAESHORE – Pictou Lodge has benefited from taking part in a recent film-food festival in Nova Scotia.
General manager Wes Surett and chef Thomas Carey were among five representatives from the lodge and one of more than 50 teams that attended the annual five-day Devour! The Food Film Fest in Wolfville, N.S. that ended on Nov. 16 with awards presentations.
Devour! The Food Film Fest is an international festival that combines cinema, food and wine culture. This year marked its fourth edition.
Filmmakers from across Canada, the U.S. and Taiwan were winners of the four Golden Tine Awards presented at the festival.
“This year we had an exceptionally robust program with films from around the world,” said Michael Howell, executive director of Devour
“We are delighted we were able to attract such a high calibre of culinary films. Each of the award winners should be very proud of their achievements.”
Pictou Lodge also composed a film to help showcase the culinary options it has to offer at its facilities in Braeshore that face Pictou Island.
“It’s gaining momentum,” Surett said. “It’s a hard event to get into. It’s a hard one to crack. We put together our application with a film that had Thomas chatting about local food.”
The application was almost a year in the making, Surett said.
“We got word in August that we were in,” Surett said. “There was a fight with the kitchen crew over who would go.”
Surett and Thomas ended up attending, as well as the Lodge’s pastry chef and two kitchen staff.
Few events can match the opportunity to showcase the lodge like the Devour event can, Surett said.
“It’s good exposure for Pictou Lodge as a real foodie destination,” he said.
“The province is promoting culinary as an attraction, and it was great to speak to folks about Pictou Lodge. There are people in Halifax who don’t see Pictou Lodge as a tourist destination.”

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Friendships stand the test of time

Some friendships have a life span, but true friendships last a lifetime.
Nothing could be truer for the women of a small card and social circle in New Glasgow.
For approximately 60 years – despite some members coming and going through the years – these women have managed to stick together through it all.
“We started just the young ones in the neighbourhood,” said Betty Wilson, a longtime member.
Many years ago, mothers from the same neighbourhood decided to get together to play cards some nights of the week. And the friendships grew from there.
“We’ve lost a few and gained a few in the years,” said Muriel MacDougall.
The women now host their regular card parties, a few of them get together for a morning coffee klatch and of course, the celebration of their birthdays at Hebel’s Restaurant in New Glasgow.
Beginning in the same neighbourhood, all the women would look after each other’s children, host card nights, and of course always be there for one another in times of need. Even after most of them moved out of the neighbourhood the socializing continued.
Their children consider other women in the club practically family.
“Everybody looked out for everybody else’s kids,” said Joan MacDougall.
The group would even get together and make pickles when it came that time of the year.
As for what has changed over the years Wilson puts it best: “We don’t have to worry about putting kids to bed first.”
The women are as lively as they ever have been, holding get-togethers on Christmas and Valentine’s Day as well as even donning costumes in the past for their Halloween parties. As most of the women are widowers, they have their best friends and family to celebrate with each holiday.
“I attribute it to the fact that we never gossip, malicious gossip,” said Muriel about the longstanding friendships.
It is clear by sitting in a room with some of these women that they were the best of friends as they reminisced back to watching each other’s children, day trips, and recent celebrations.
“We used to go on day trips,” said Muriel about past adventures. The women would pile into Joan’s van and visit places all over the province for lunch and do some sightseeing along the way.
“The van was easy because it was a seven-passenger van,” said Joan.
“We used to call it the senior bus,” laughed Wilson.
As well as day trips some of the members have taken trips to Jamaica and an Alaskan cruise together.
“It’s the long friendships,” said Gerry Porter about her favourite part of the group as they sat in their usual coffee klatch spots in Ellie Hundscheid’s living room.
“It’s been the best card club I ever heard of,” said Wilson.
If you frequent Hebel’s Restaurant on Stellarton Road, or just happen to stop in on the right night you may see the group celebrating a birthday or other occasion. They have made this their go-to restaurant, after much searching around.
Each birthday, as well as New Years and some other events like their Christmas gift exchange, the women will all pile into the restaurant, order a drink, and start passing around birthday cards for whoever they are celebrating that evening.
After all these years, they are still having fun, and proving that lasting friendships are worth celebrating.
Their relationship and all they share are perhaps best put in the words of Muriel’s son: “You don’t know how lucky you are.”

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Pictou Elementary receives series of outdoor benches

PICTOU – Students and staff at Pictou Elementary School are enjoying recently installed environmentally friendly benches that have been installed around the school grounds.
The sturdy, rough-hewn wood benches built by local craftsman Ward Brubaker are located on concrete pads around the playgrounds and elsewhere in the school yard. They were installed about three weeks ago.
Brubaker is known for blending nature with urban settings, and the school’s home and school association raised funds for the project. Students’ parents and other members of the community also contributed to the project through their ongoing fundraising efforts.
“It was an initiative we discussed at a staff meeting,” said Katie Hampton, who teaches at the school.
The benches provide a quiet place for children to sit or a meeting place to chat with a friend.
The project stemmed from a view of benches Brubaker built for part of the Cape to Cape Trail that passes through Pictou County.
Part of the wood came from recent windfalls of healthy trees.
The association is looking forward to its next project to create a nature-friendly outdoor classroom.

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It’s all in the Game(s)

A group organizing the 2015 55-Plus Games Pictou County is hosting is well along with its planning.
At its latest meeting last week at the Pictou County Wellness Centre, the organizing committee co-chaired by Coun. Nancy Dicks from New Glasgow and Deputy Warden Andy Thompson shared progress over the year it has met leading to the Games that will take place at the Wellness Centre and various county venues from Sept. 17 to 19, 2015.
Bob MacLeod, who represents the Nova Scotia 55-Plus Games Society on the committee, said he’s impressed with the progress and detail the committee has attended to so far.
“I have sat on these before, and they’re well organized,” MacLeod said.
He said the committee is well-funded and has a task sheet with dates to help them get ready to host the Games.
“It’s about trying to get seniors active and leading to a better lifestyle,” he said.
Those who register for the Games can take part in as many events as they have time for, and they will have the first opportunity to represent Nova Scotia at the Canadian 55-Plus Games.
To date, the Municipality of Pictou County and the town of New Glasgow have each allocated $5,000, and the $10,000 total has been matched by the province’s seniors department.
Sub-committees have been struck for marketing communities, sponsorship, volunteers, transportation, finances, opening and closing ceremonies, hospitality and a banquet.
Dicks and Thompson said hosting the Games is an opportunity to showcase Pictou County’s athletic and recreational infrastructure, especially the Wellness Centre, knowing that some local people have never been in the building since it opened.
“This is an opportunity to showcase this facility and all our facilities,” Thompson said.
Dicks also emphasized the activities are leisure ones, as well as sport activities.
The committee also includes recreation directors Cindy Fraser from the county and Norma MacLeod from New Glasgow, as well as Rae Gunn from Active Pictou County.
MacLeod said facilities in Pictou County are being identified for accessibility. Besides the Wellness Centre, they include the Scott Weeks Sport Complex in Parkdale, Branch 34 of the Royal Canadian Legion in New Glasgow, Heather Bowling Lanes, Plymouth Community Centre, Westside Tennis Courts and Abercrombie Country Club.
Summer and winter sports are being considered that include men’s and women’s hockey, curling and soccer.
“It’s not just about fastest or highest, she said. “If people have not competed in 30 or40 years or have never been active, they can participate.”
MacLeod said the group also hopes the Games will provide momentum for having similar events for locals each fall.
Kim Dickson, New Glasgow’s director of marketing and communications, said the Games offer an opportunity to profile what Pictou County has to offer seniors. She said local seniors are responding to that opportunity.
“You can see there is a lot of interest in promoting the county for seniors,” she said. “It’s important that seniors are welcome and can have a vibrant, active, healthy lifestyle here.”

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Tiny houses and villages for view at SPCA fundraiser

A Christmas house tour of a different kind is taking place for the fourth year in a row at the Carmichael Stewart House museum in New Glasgow.
The tour, which will feature a massive collection of tiny Christmas houses, will be on display with tickets costing $5 each and all proceeds of the event going toward the Pictou County SPCA.
The Christmas house tour is taking place Saturday, Nov. 29 and Sunday, Nov. 30 from 1 to 4 p.m. each day.
There will also be a bake sale and a craft sale at the event, along with a light luncheon.
The display is a conglomeration of the collection of Jane Mullaly and a couple of other individuals who have been collecting for the miniature village for more than 20 years. The collection includes tiny recreations of the Whoville village from the popular Christmas classic How the Grinch stole Christmas, and even a tiny animal shelter.
“It’s massive, massive – there’s thousands of them,” said Agnes Leavitt, SPCA branch manager about the collection.
”It takes you hours to see half of what’s there.”

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