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Chamber supports Maritime Steel loan bid

NEW GLASGOW – The president of the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce has endorsed a local foundry’s application for provincial loan so that it can resume operations.
Burt Langille has sent a letter of support to the province for a $1 million loan or loan guarantee to Maritime Steel and Foundry president Abbas Jafarnia for working capital.
“This company has a long record of providing quality work and meeting their commitments,” Langille said.
“Mr. Jafarnia has drastically improved the business and now has at least one very large sales order that will provide work for over 100 employees for several years.”
Jafarnia has said he submitted a business plan to the province more than two months ago and is still waiting for feedback or approval.
“Maritime Steel is an important business to Pictou County and can provide the community with long term quality jobs and indirect supply opportunities for other local businesses,” Langille said. “We believe the foundry operations complement the other steel and metal fabrication businesses in the County and would create skilled job opportunities to retain employees and attract newcomers to our community.”
Jafarnia outlined an Indian customer, Kirloskar Pneumatic Co. Ltd. in Pune, India, which recently contacted him to produce coupling castings. It’s the latest in a series of prospective orders he has forwarded to the province while asking for an immediate response regarding his loan application.
“We shipped six machined samples and worked on the approval process for nine months,” Jafarnia said. “They finally approved our samples and wish to put (in) orders.”
The first order would be for 50 rear coupler castings, which the company said it needs “in the shortest possible time” as part of a purchase of 200 of the items this year and more in the future. The company said it will consider ordering the same number of front couplers.NEW GLASGOW – The president of the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce has endorsed a local foundry’s application for provincial loan so that it can resume operations.
Burt Langille has sent a letter of support to the province for a $1 million loan or loan guarantee to Maritime Steel and Foundry president Abbas Jafarnia for working capital.
“This company has a long record of providing quality work and meeting their commitments,” Langille said.
“Mr. Jafarnia has drastically improved the business and now has at least one very large sales order that will provide work for over 100 employees for several years.”
Jafarnia has said he submitted a business plan to the province more than two months ago and is still waiting for feedback or approval.
“Maritime Steel is an important business to Pictou County and can provide the community with long term quality jobs and indirect supply opportunities for other local businesses,” Langille said. “We believe the foundry operations complement the other steel and metal fabrication businesses in the County and would create skilled job opportunities to retain employees and attract newcomers to our community.”
Jafarnia outlined an Indian customer, Kirloskar Pneumatic Co. Ltd. in Pune, India, which recently contacted him to produce coupling castings. It’s the latest in a series of prospective orders he has forwarded to the province while asking for an immediate response regarding his loan application.
“We shipped six machined samples and worked on the approval process for nine months,” Jafarnia said. “They finally approved our samples and wish to put (in) orders.”
The first order would be for 50 rear coupler castings, which the company said it needs “in the shortest possible time” as part of a purchase of 200 of the items this year and more in the future. The company said it will consider ordering the same number of front couplers.

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NRHS teacher receives award

ALMA – Mary Alice Ali, a teacher at Northumberland Regional High School, is the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board representative for the 2013 Education Week teaching awards.
Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant and Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Ramona Jennex presented the annual Education Week awards on Earth Day, April 22, to Ali and 20 other teachers and three education partners.
“The Education Week Awards are an ideal opportunity to recognize the outstanding efforts of Nova Scotia’s educators, and all those who work in partnership to ensure the future is bright for the young people of our province,” Grant said.
Recipients from each local of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union were recognized for their efforts in helping students develop the skills and knowledge needed to shape a sustainable future. The ceremony supports this year’s Education Week theme: Teaching for a Sustainable Future.
A Grade 9 math teacher and Race-Culture-Heritage program advisor, Ali was celebrated for how she finds a way to work in messages of social stewardship, global perspective-taking and environmental responsibility into her lessons.
She is also known as a tireless supporter of environmentally sound initiatives and has been successful in extending numerous school-based activities into the broader community.
She acts as advisor to Northumberland’s Environmental Committee, which undertakes initiatives that extend beyond the doors of the classroom. Recently the committee adopted a section of highway next to the school and mobilized the entire school population to help keep the area clean, even securing trash and recycling bins from a local restaurant.
The committee organized a sustainable food day in the fall of 2012, during which local farmers came to the school to educate students about the benefits of eating locally and to offer some of their products for students to taste.
Ali is also responsible for the formation and continued success of the school’s Envirothon team, which competes provincially, nationally and at North American-wide competitions. Preparation for these competitions involves many after-school and lunchtime hours of research and practise to prepare students to compete knowledgeably.
Her reach extends to her fellow staff members as well, offering training and activities during in-service days. She also promotes global perspective-taking and stewardship among students and staff through coordinated, daily, and weekly home-room activities.
Ali’s motto is always act local, think global. Her award reflects how she has succeeded in instilling this same level of commitment in the students, staff, and community around NRHS.

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Hartling conviction appeal rejected

PICTOU – The appeal of a murder conviction by a local man has been rejected.
The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal denied the appeal of Bernard Frederick Hartling of Pictou who was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison for second degree murder.
Hartling was convicted of killing Kenneth McNamara with a sawed-off shotgun on Nov. 14, 2009. He appealed his sentence on the grounds that Justice Arthur J. LeBlanc made errors in his instructions to the jury.
Hartling admitted that he had shot McNamara, but claimed it was in self-defence and the discharge of the gun was an accident.
The jury convicted on the lesser charge of second-degree murder.
Hartling was sentenced on Dec. 5 to 13 years in prison after being found guilty by a jury on Sept. 20. It was the second trial for the murder of Kenneth McNamara, after a mistrial was declared in November 2010.
In a written response by the The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, it concluded that LeBlanc may have made errors, but they did not result in a miscarriage of justice.

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Let fishing season begin, fleet blessed Sunday

The lobster fishing season is ready to start May 1 with the blessing of the fleet.
Rev. Gregory R. Dickson of St. David’s Presbyterian Church in Toney River oversaw this year’s blessing of the fleet at the Toney River Wharf on Sunday.
Sunny skies were plentiful with a cold breeze rolling in off the water posing little threat to spoiling the good weather.
Thirty or so fishers, family members and friends gathered together on the lightly rocking wharf to join Dickson in prayer.
“From the ocean comes life,” Dickson told those in attendance. “In the beginning the spirit of God swept over the waters bringing life to us all. God parted the waters of the Red Sea and thus gave life to Moses and the entire Hebrew nation. In the belly of a giant fish Jonah found life and safety in God. Even Paul, during one of his many missionary missions for Christ, endured a storm-tossed sea before finding safety ashore. So today we gather at this wharf to invoke God’s blessing of these fishing boats and upon those who own and work them for the life they will provide us this season.”
Dickson blessed the fleet with prayer and a reading of Psalm 107, a well-suited passage with a strong nautical theme.

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Food for thought

PICTOU – An advocate for food service for local veterans says he is only guardedly optimistic that it will improve.
Pictou resident Bernie Currie, who has been fighting for a return to home-cooked meals for the veterans, says a decision by the province’s Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs to review the 12 recommendations is a compromise. The recommendations were contained in the report submitted recently to the Pictou County Health Authority by a committee examining the frozen food served residents at the Northumberland Veterans Unit. Currie says the compromise won’t compel the health authority to comply.
“I’m going to be following them very carefully,” Currie said. “I thought I got my message across.”
Currie and health authority CAO Pat Lee appeared before the standing committee last Thursday in Halifax. Pictou East MLA Clarrie MacKinnon was among MLAs from all parties who also attended.
Lee shared results of a report evaluating food at the unit that was released on April 11. It followed the health authority’s decision to begin serving “re-thermalized” meals for dinner and supper last May at Sutherland Harris Memorial Hospital in Pictou, where the Veterans Unit is located, and the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow.
The report recommended enhancing veterans’ mealtime experience in the areas of food temperature, food choices, meal preparation and personal preferences. Measures include serving meals on a hot cart, two options for both lunch and dinner and serving more fresh products.
Recommendations include table cloths and regular table settings, introduction of personal mugs for the veterans, and background music, as well as daily fruit baskets, local and in-season produce, sauces and dressings on the side and a condiments caddy.
“During the process I have been an outspoken opponent of this decision to serve frozen food forever to our veterans,” Currie told the committee. “The final result is really no change from the present situation.”
He once again touched on the irony that inmates at the new correctional facility in Priestville will be served local food.
Currie also scoffed at how the frozen food service has saved the health authority $70,000 at each hospital, which Lee equated to the cost of four hip replacements the saving would allow the hospital to perform.
“Personally I take exception to a concept that requires our vets to sacrifice their comfort to subsidize surgeries,” he said. “Surely, savings can be found elsewhere.”
Recommendations also dealt with more consultation and offering a pamphlet on the food services and removing food items that residents can’t tolerate.

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Vigilance needed for workplace safety

Vigilance about safety in the workplace is of paramount importance to avoid injury and death.
This was the advice from Kyle Buott of the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council to the 50 or so people gathered in Trenton’s Steeltown Park Sunday to commemorate the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job.
In Nova Scotia, 32 people lost their lives in the workplace last year and so far this year, nine people have been killed on the job, he noted.
The occasion was marked by prayers from Rev. Dr. Glen Matheson and remarks from Trenton Mayor Glen MacKinnon and New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan.
Buott said, “When you put profit ahead of people’s rights, only disaster can happen.
“We must be constantly ready to raise our voices in the struggle for justice and to insure that more workers do not suffer the carnage of being killed at work,” he said.
Buott also spoke at some length about the recent tragedy in Bangladesh involving a clothing factory.
Larry Maloney, vice-president of Pictou County Injured Workers Association, commented that in order for safety to truly improve changes need to be made to the accountability programs mandated by the Workers Compensation Board.
“There needs to be a true commitment to safety, not just superficial words. There has to be a true focus. The WCB is responsible for prevention of injuries yet their own stats are skewed to make themselves look good. Experts have stated that the experience rating process undermines health and safety. It increases the under reporting of accidents,” Maloney said. “True prevention happens before an injury.”
Mary Lloyd, president of the Pictou County Injured Workers Association, also pointed to shortcomings in the WCB application of prevention.
“There has to be real, true measures in this province toward prevention, rather than just lip service. That’s all we have right now,” she said.
Maloney and Lloyd both stated that often workers are encouraged to return to work too soon after injury which, on paper, indicates that they are no longer injured. This practice, they said, is a way to fudge numbers and leads to additional injury.
“How can there be prevention when the same employers, every year, drive the accident reports? The same employers year after year are at the top of the accident list in this province.” Lloyd went on to say, “Year after year the same employers, the same mechanism of injury, the same body parts being injured, there’s no prevention then. True prevention would be that when an accident happens there’s a thorough investigation, that the cause is sought out, and remedial action has taken place and that it should never happen again. And that’s when, and only when a return to work should be imparted on a worker.”

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Bed of roses for van de Wiel

Emery van de Wiel of Antigonish won the Rose Bowl and Nicholas Higgs the Junior Cup for the 75th New Glasgow Music Festival.
The presentations were made as part of the Stars of the Festival that took place Sunday afternoon at the deCoste Centre in Pictou.
Awards and cash prizes were handed out during the 75th anniversary event with things coming down to a bit of a nail-biting finish. In the end, van de Wiel walked away with the coveted Rose Bowl and with it the $1,000 scholarship.
“I was happy when Nicholas won the Junior Cup,” van de Wiel commented. “I thought he had the Rose Bowl. To win, it feels good. My heart was beating fast before they even said my name. I think that’s the biggest smile I’ve had on my face in a long time when they actually called my name.”
In addition to his talents as a vocalist, van de Wiel is also accomplished in piano and flute.
Higgs took home the Junior Cup and a $500 scholarship. Winning, he said, felt “pretty good. It’s good to know all the hard work has paid off and I’ll work even harder for provincials.”
The vocalist/pianist has been performing for as long as he can remember and began training at the age of five.
Other awards and scholarships include the following:

MUSICAL THEATRE
►Bernadette Halliday-Smith Memorial Award, $50, awarded to a performer who is not the winner of their classes but who, in the opinion of the adjudicator, demonstrated a joy of performing and the love of music. Donor: Sandra Johnson. Winner: Joel MacNeil. Recommended: Alternate Junior Provincial Music Festival.
►Bernadette Halliday-Smith Memorial Awards, $50 each, awarded to performers in an Elementary and a Junior class who is not the winner of a class but who, in the opinion of the adjudicator, demonstrated a joy of performing and a love of music. Donor: The Trinitarian Choir. Winners: Campbell Hayman and Jesse Hemmings.
►Bernadette Halliday-Smith Memorial Award, $100, awarded to a performer in an Intermediate or Senior class who is not the winner of a class but who, in the opinion of the adjudicator, demonstrated a joy of performing and love of music. Donor: New Glasgow Music Festival. Winner: Michelle Johnson.
►Helen & Esther Lawrence Memorial Trophy and $50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to an outstanding elementary performer. Donor: Ann Hobin. Winners: Megan MacEachern and Noel Fougere.
►Dairy Queen, New Glasgow, Trophy and $50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to an outstanding junior performer Donor: Dr. Caroline Carmichael Chapter, I.O.D.E. Winner: Josée Champoux.
►70th New Glasgow Music Music Festival Trophy and $75 given in memory of Richard Hobin. Awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to an outstanding intermediate performer. Donor: Ann Hobin. Winner: Jamie McCarron. Recommended: Junior Musical Theatre, Provincial Music Festival.
►65th New Glasgow Music Festival Anniversary Trophy and $100 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to an outstanding senior performer. Donor: Ann Hobin. Winner: Sheumais MacLeod. Recommended: Alternate Senior Musical Theatre Provincial Music Festival.
►Gertrude MacLeod Holton Memorial Award, $100, awarded at the discretion of the adjudicator, to an outstanding senior performer. This recipient will usually represent the NGMF at the competitions organized by the Federation of Music Festivals of Nova Scotia. Donor: Rotary Club of Pictou. Winner: Shanice Skinner. Recommended: Senior Musical Theatre, Provincial Music Festival.
►Elizabeth Delaney MacNeil Memorial Trophy and $100 ($50 each) awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to the outstanding duet. Donor: Jessie MacNeil Parkinson. Winners: Laycie Sutherland and Joel MacNeil.

BAND
►Band Award, $200, awarded at the discretion of the adjudicator, to the most promising band of the festival. Donors: Grant Thornton and NGMF. Winners: Redcliff Middle/Bible Hill Jr. High Band.
►70th New Glasgow Music Festival Band Award, $250, awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to the outstanding band of the festival. Donor: New Glasgow Music Festival. Winner: NNEC Concert Band.
►Mary Embree Band Scholarship Awards, $75 each: Each Pictou County school band director will recommend one player to receive this scholarship. This player will be from their bands, be an active participant in the band and the Music Festival, show musical promise, and benefit from attending a summer music camp. Winners: A.G. Baillie Memorial School: Bianca Sangster. New Glasgow Junior High School: Emma Curley. North Nova Education Centre: Cassie Mann. Northumberland Regional High School: Travis MacDonald. West Pictou Consolidated School: Katie Tetrault.
►New Glasgow Music Festival Plaque and $50, donated by North Nova Education Centre Music Auxiliary, and $50 donated by Ann Hobin, in memory of Malcolm Keddy awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to an outstanding senior instrumental or choral ensemble. Donors: North Nova Education Centre Music Auxiliary and Ann Hobin. Winners: Dr. JH Gillis Regional High School Jazz Combo. Recommended: Junior Chamber, Provincial Music Festival.
►New Glasgow Music Festival Plaque and $50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to an outstanding middle school instrumental or choral ensemble. Donor: New Glasgow Junior High School Music Auxiliary, Winner: NGJHS Concert Band.

CHORAL
►$50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving elementary school choir. Donor: Sir Frederick Banting Chapter I.O.D.E. Winner: G. R. Saunders Elementary School Choir.
►Marion Irving Memorial Award, $100 awarded at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving entry in a choral class.Winner: A. G. Baillie Elementary Choir. Recommended: Sister Florine Despres Class, Provincial Music Festival.
►$100 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to the outstanding choir of the festival. Donor: Trinity United Church Choir. Winner: NNEC Jazz Choir. Recommended: Bourret Class, Provincial Music Festival.
►New Glasgow School Music Festival Plaque, donated by the New Glasgow High School Music Auxiliary, and $100 given in memory of Sister Blanche Gillis awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to the outstanding school choir of the festival. Winner: Chedabucto Education Centre Choir. Recommended: Ochterloney Class, Provincial Music Festival.
► $100 in memory of Sister Blanche Gillis awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving school choir. Donor: Pictou District Honour Choir. Winner: NNEC Chamber Choir. Recommended: Cooke Class, Provincial Music Festival.

INSTRUMENTAL
►Instrumental Award, $50 awarded at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving instrumental student. Donor: Sir Frederick Banting Chapter I.O.D.E. Winner: Nicole Corkum.
►Flute Award, $50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving flute player. Donor: First Presbyterian Church Choir, New Glasgow. Winner: Michelle Johnson.
►Northumberland Regional High School Band Auxiliary Award, $100 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to the most promising instrumentalist, who is also a member of a Northumberland Regional High School Band. Winner: Morgan Baillie.
►Instrumental Award, $100 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving instrumental student. Donor: David & Faye Sobey Foundation. Winner: Nathaniel Jenkins. Recommended: Junior Brass, Provincial Music Festival.
►Sister Blanche Gillis Memorial Award, $100 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a senior instrumental student. Donor: New Glasgow Junior High School Music Auxiliary. Winner: Emery van de Wiel. Recommended: Junior Woodwind, Provincial Music Festival.

STRINGS
► String Award, $50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving string student. Donor: Pictou County Community Orchestra. Winner: Sally Lee.
►Jim McInnis Memorial Award, $100 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to an emerging and talented fiddler in a Scottish class. Donor: Pictou East Progressive Conservative Association. Winner: Luke Henderson.
► $100 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a competitor in a Scottish class. Donor: Clan Murray. Winner: Allison Stewart. Recommended: Junior Strings, Provincial Music Festival.
►Mary Benvie Memorial Award, $100 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving string (bowed instrument) player of any age, from northern Nova Scotia, who has achieved a minimum mark of 85 in a sonata, concerto or advanced solo class. Donors: Doris Fraser Hiltz and Robert D. Murray. Winner: Chloe MacLeod.
►Joyce Goodman Memorial Award for Strings, $200 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to an outstanding string player (bowed instrument) who has played advanced level repertoire in at least three classes and who has also competed in a sight reading class, and who shows both musical talent and a joy in music making. Winner: Allison Stewart.

VOICE
►Mima C. Day Memorial Trophy and $50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a promising young singer. Donor: Ann Hobin. Winner: Ryan Myers.
►Voice Award, $50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a promising young singer. Donor: Sir Frederick Banting Chapter I.O.D.E. Winner: Regan Keay.
►Ann (Nan) Roblee Memorial Trophy and $50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a promising young singer with a mezzo/alto/contralto voice. Donor: Ann Hobin. Winner: Leah McPherson.
►Voice Award, $50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving boy or girl, and not necessarily to the winner of a class. The winner must be between 11 and 14 years of age and a resident of Pictou County. Donor: Dr Caroline Carmichael Chapter I.O.D.E. Winner: Jesse Hemmings.
►Voice Awards A & B, $50 each awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a boy and a girl who each gave an outstanding performance of a sacred solo. Donor: St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Choir, New Glasgow. Winners: Nicholas Higgs. Recommended: Junior Voice, Provincial Music Festival. Jennifer Johnson.
►Evelyn MacKay Memorial Award, $50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving boy or girl and not necessarily the winner of a class. Donor: Ladies Aid, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, New Glasgow. Winner: Hayley MacGregor.
►Voice Awards A & B, $50 each awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving boy or girl and not necessarily the winner of a class. The winner should be 16 years of age or younger and from the Antigonish and County area. Donor: The Sisters of Saint Martha, Antigonish. Winners: Alexandria Benson, Cairistiona Matheson.
►Doreen Blenkhorn Memorial Award, $100 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a promising junior singer, who was not necessarily the winner of a class. Donor: Nova Scotia Provincial Chapter, I.O.D.E. Winner: Michelle Johnson.
►$100 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to an outstanding singer of folk songs. Donors: Laureate Kappa Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi and New Glasgow Music Festival. Winner: Sheumais MacLeod.
►Evelyn MacKay Memorial Award, $100 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator to an outstanding young lyric soprano. Donor: New Glasgow Music Festival. Winner: Julie Munro.
►Emma Lee Stewart Memorial Award, $100 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to an outstanding singer and/or composer of a contemporary folk song. Donor: Jim Stewart and Family. Winner: Sheumais MacLeod.
►Jane Sutherland Memorial Award, $125 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving student in a Junior Voice Class. Winner: Laycie Sutherland.
► Susan Fraser Memorial Award, $200 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator to an outstanding senior vocalist who has performed advanced level repertoire in at least three classes. These classes must include: Operatic Solo, Sacred Aria, and Lieder. Donor: John Fraser. Winner: Natalie Mitchell.
►Joyce Goodman Memorial Award for Voice, $200 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to an outstanding student of voice who has sung advanced repertoire in at least three (3) classes and who has competed in a sight reading class, and who shows both musical talent and a joy in making music. Winner: Melanie Pos.
►Margaret Durning Memorial Award, $200 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to an outstanding senior student of voice. Donor: New Glasgow Music Festival. Winner: Anna Bond. Recommended: Senior Voice, Provincial Music Festival.
►Evelyn Adamson Johnstone Memorial Award, $300. awarded, at the discretion of the voice adjudicator, to the most promising Soprano, 16 years of age and over. Donor: Mrs. Lavonne Thompson. Winner: Jennifer Johnson.

PIANO/KEYBOARD
►Piano Award, $25 each awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a promising young pianist(s). Donor: Sir Frederick Banting Chapter, I.O.D.E. Winners: Grace Henshaw and Megan MacEachern.
► Juanita Connors Memorial Trophy and $50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a promising young pianist from Stellarton. Donor: Ann Hobin. Winner: Pierre Aucoin.
►Norma E. Young Scholarship, $50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving male or female student in piano. Winner: Mallory MacDermid.
► Piano Award, $25 each awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving boy or girl, and not necessarily to the winner of a class. The winner must be between 11 and 14 years of age and a resident of Pictou County. Donor: Dr Caroline Carmichael Chapter, I.O.D.E. Winners: Tom MacKenzie and Abbey Stroud.
►Piano Awards A & B, $50 each awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving young pianist, and not necessarily the winner of a class. The winner will be 11 to 16 years of age and from the Antigonish and County area. Donor: The Sisters of Saint Martha, Antigonish. Winners: Juliana Khoury and Annette Diao.
►Heather and Charles Coll Awards A & B, $75 each and keeper trophies Awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a deserving Intermediate boy and Intermediate girl performer on piano. Donors: Heather and Charles Coll. Winners: Nathaniel Jenkins and Caitlyn Sandluck.
►Llaina Donkin Memorial Scholarship, $100 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to an outstanding piano student. Winner: Emery van de Wiel.
►Piano Award, $100 awarded at the discretion of the adjudicator to an outstanding pianist from Antigonish Town or County. Donor: Casket Printing and Publishing. Winner: Annette Diao.
► Piano Awards A & B, $100 each awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to two promising young pianists. Donor: Greenway Claymore Inn, Antigonish. Winners: Julie Munro and Mallory MacDermid.
►Scottie Cameron Memorial Award, $250 each awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator(s) to the Pictou County piano student age 15 to 17 years, who has exhibited exceptional ability and the quality of dedication required to pursue a career in music. In addition, the student must have entered a piano baroque class and a piano sonata class, both at a minimum Grade 8 level of difficulty; and one other piano class, which may be an ensemble class. The combined marks awarded by the adjudicator (including a sight reading class) must total 340 points or more. Winners: Nicholas Higgs, Recommended: Junior Piano, Provincial Music Festival. Natalie Mitchell, Recommended: Alternate, Junior Piano, Provincial Music Festival.

OTHER
►Helen Creighton Folk Song Award and $50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator(s), to the outstanding performance (individual, choir/folk group or instrumental group) of a selection from the Helen Creighton Collection. Donor: Helen Creighton Folklore Society. Winner: Cameron Osgood.
►Bernadette Halliday Memorial Plaque awarded at the discretion of the adjudicator(s) for the best in family music. Donor: The Durning /Alcorn Family. Winner: Walsh Family.
►Guysborough County Awards A, B, C & D, $50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator(s), to four outstanding performers from the schools of Guysborough County. Donor: Municipality of Guysborough County. Winners: Meagan Kettley, Justin MacDonald, Rebecca MacKean and Noo Mohrez.
►Elizabeth J. Stalker Memorial Award, $50 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator(s), to one who is a resident of Pictou County, who has not received any other award this year and, who shows musical talent. Winner: Victoria Straub.
►$100 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator(s), to a deserving participant. Donor: Town of Trenton. Winner: Alex Halliday.
►Sylvia and Duncan Dingle Award, $50 each awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator(s) to a deserving young performer in any discipline. Donors: Sylvia and Duncan Dingle. Winners: Victoria Dunn and Emma Martin.
►The William Sebastian Georgallas Scholarship, $75 and Silver Medal awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a young performer (under 12 years of age) who best exemplifies a joy of performing and a love of music (this young performer does not necessarily have to be a winner of any class at the festival). Winner: Andrew Fraser.
►Ollie Bowen Memorial Award, $50 awarded at the discretion of the adjudicator, to an outstanding performer in either voice or piano. Donor: Melda Bowen MacMillan. Winner: Michelle Johnson.
►Shirley Bent Memorial Award, $100 awarded at the discretion of the adjudicator to an outstanding performer in either voice or piano. Donors: Jan Keefe and Debbie Siddall. Winner: Shanice Skinner. Recommended: Alternate: Junior Voice, Provincial Music Festival.
► Harry Murray Memorial Award, $100 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator(s). Donor: Branch 34 Royal Canadian Legion. Winner: Allison Stewart.
►$100awarded at the discretion of the adjudicator. Donor: Scotsburn Co-operative Services Ltd.Winner: Allison Stewart.
►Chris Mac Karacher Memorial Award, $150 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator(s), to a deserving student in Pictou County. Winner: Luke Henderson.
►Vivian Brand Memorial Scholarship, $150 awarded, at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a senior performer from Pictou County, who has displayed outstanding artistry and musicianship in at least three classes in any discipline. Preference will be given to a graduating high school student. Winner: Shanice Skinner.
► $200 awarded at the discretion of the adjudicator(s), to a senior student, in either voice, piano or instrumental, who shows musical promise. Donor: MacKay Meters. Winner: Jodie Alcorn. Recommended: Alternate, Senior Voice, Provincial Music Festival.
►Fred C Morrison Award, $500 awarded at the discretion of the adjudicator, to a senior vocal, keyboard, or instrumental contestant provided that: the contestant has performed in at least three Senior and/or Open classes, has played at a RCM Grade 8 level or above, has a combined mark (including a Sight Reading class) totalling 340 points or more. Donor: Rotary Club of New Glasgow. Winner: Marcel d’Entremont.
►Participant Award, $50. Donor: Pictou County Progressive Conservative Women’s Association. Winner: Caitlin Kelley.

FESTIVAL AWARDS
A.G. Baillie Recorder Group: $50
Garrett Jenkins, Percussion Award: $50
Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional High School Jazz Combo: $100
Katie Aucoin, Hannah Bryant & Willem Fraser: $25 each
Nicole Ross: $50

SPECIAL PRIZES
►The Junior Cup, $500, its keeper trophy, is donated by Fraser & Hoyt. It is awarded to a competitor, 16 years and under, who in the opinion of the adjudicators, shows most promise and musical ability, having competed in at least six classes, four of which must be in the same discipline, with repertoire at least at a Junior Level. Winner: Nicholas Higgs.
►The Rose Bowl, $1000, its Keeper Trophy, is donated by Harold Renouf. It is awarded to. a solo performer, 18 years and under, who is playing at least advanced level repertoire. The solo competitor will, in the opinion of the adjudicators, show outstanding promise and musical ability, having competed in at least six classes, four of which must be in the same discipline. Winner: Emery van de Wiel.

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Police seek help in robbery investigation

MOUNT WILLIAM – Pictou District RCMP is requesting help from the public in a robbery investigation.
RCMP responded to a call of a robbery at a residence on Munroe Avenue Extension, Mount William, on March 8 at approximately 8:15 p.m. During the course of the investigation it was determined that a masked adult male carrying a hand gun had entered a residence and demanded money.
One of the residents was assaulted by the man and required medical treatment. The male suspect is described as: caucasian, 190 lbs, 5’9” to 5’10”, wearing dark clothing, dark wool hat pulled over his face and white sneakers.
Given the seriousness of this crime the RCMP want to ensure that any and all information is obtained from the public. Should you have any additional information about this crime or can identify the person(s) responsible, call Pictou County District RCMP at 755-4141, or anonymously at Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or submit a Secure Web Tip at http://crimestoppers.ns.ca. Also by a TEXT “TIP202 plus your message to CRIMES (274637)”. If your tip leads to an arrest you could qualify for a cash award between $50.00 and $2,000. Remember Crime Stoppers wants your information not your name.

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Members of six teams presented with awards

NEW GLASGOW – Awards were presented during the Pictou County Female Hockey Association’s fourth annual closing banquet on April 16 at North Nova Education Centre.
During the evening, awards were presented to players from each of the six Pictou County Subway Selects teams for most valuable player for offence, most valuable player for defence, and coaches’ choice. The coaches’ choice award was given in recognition of a player who demonstrated outstanding qualities such as hard work, dedication, team spirit, or sportsmanship.

Atom
Most Valuable Player Offence – Jenna Hickey , Most Valuable Player Offence – Madison Sample
Most Valuable Player Defence – Cassie Clarke, Coaches’ Choice – Emily Hayes

Pee Wee A
Most Valuable Player Offence – Kylie MacKenzie, Most Valuable Player Defence – Brody Paul, Coaches’ Choice – Thea Waller

Pee Wee AA
Most Valuable Player Offence – Sarah MacNeil, Most Valuable Player Defence – Sophia Wornell, Coaches’ Choice – Jenna Landry

Bantam A
Most Valuable Player Offence – Lauren Quann, Most Valuable Player Defence – Gena Cyr, Coaches’ Choice – Selena Denny

Bantam AA
Most Valuable Player Offence – Emilly MacDonald, Most Valuable Player Defence – Annika Mason, Coaches’ Choice – Katelyn Dunn

Midget
Most Valuable Player Offence – Shauna Wright, Most Valuable Player Defence – Isobel Demont, Coaches’ Choice – Keeley MacCuish

The association presented a plaque to Greg Burrows of Pictou County Subway Restaurants in appreciation for his generous sponsorship of the teams.
Four members of the Midget AA team were given rings from Subway Restaurants to mark the end of their careers with the Subway Selects. Next year Alex Henderson, Cassidy Dunbar, Isobel Demont and Shauna Wright will not be eligible to play because they will be overage.

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Nighthawks open season this week

ALMA – The Northumberland Nighthawks began their boys’ schedule this week after one more week of training and participation in a tournament at Saint Mary’s University.
Coach John Rushton said it will be a rebuilding year in a short time, with just two returning players from last year’s roster.
“They’re coming,” he said. “The tournament was really good for us . We’re a very young, inexperienced team but we have some good athletes. In two weeks I think we’ll be with them. They’re starting to understand more of the game.”
The NRHS field was not considered ready last week, which caused postponement of the Nighthawks’ boys’ and girls’ home games on April 16 against their Cobequid Cougars counterparts. The Nighthawks were slated to host the Tigers on Tuesday and visit CEC on Thursday.
The Northumberland girls will host the Royals on May 2.
Both teams will visit Hants East on May 9 before hosting North Nova on May 16.

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Gryphons open with victories

NEW GLASGOW – The North Nova Gryphons are off to a good start in both boys’ and girls’ high school rugby.
Both teams were scheduled to host against the Cobequid Cougars on Tuesday before visiting the Hants East Tigers on Thursday and rounding out their April schedule next Tuesday by hosting the Northumberland Nighthawks in both boys and girls games.
The girls posted two wins last week against the Hants East Tigers and the fledgling Dr. J.H. Gillis Royals to take a 2-0 record into this week’s action.
Caroline Straub scored a try and booted two converts in the Gryphons’ 19-7 victory over the Tigers.
Keeley MacCuish and Cassidy Dunbar also scored.
“Hants East came out and played really well,” Gryphons’ head coach Dougal MacInnis said. “They were tough. They stuck their tackles. It’s nice to have close games because you can take good things away from them.”
The game against Gillis was one-sided as North Nova posted a 93-0 result.
“We have a short time to get ready and the learning curb is steep,” he said. “We did everything we could not to run up the score against Gillis, but there aren’t many things you can do in rugby to avoid that.”
Cole Livingstone scored two tries as the boys won their only game last week by a 20-5 margin against Hants East.
“Overall I was happy with the win,” Gryphons’ head coach Joe MacDonald said. “Everyone got into the game. We’re looking forward to this week’s games.”
Lane Cormier and Patrick Fulgencio added single tries.
Despite the win, MacDonald keeps setting his sights high for the team in an effort to win their third provincial championship in eight years.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Joe MacDonald said. “We didn’t share the ball as a team very much. We had opportunities to keep the ball moving and we didn’t do it.”
May games for the Gryphon girls include visiting CEC on May 9, the Royals on May 13 and the Nighthawks on May 16.
The Gryphon boys’ two games in May are at CEC and Northumberland.

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First Ricky Fraser, and now Ken Reid

I spend a lot of time – too much perhaps – on the internet.
I check sports and news sources on Twitter several times a day, though I don’t send tweets myself. At least not yet. I visit a number of on-line sports sites regularly. Keeping contact with family and friends, in town and out, means plenty of incoming emails and outgoing replies. And, for sure, I have to keep close watch managing my fantasy baseball and hockey teams.
I know, it’s all part of living in this highly-technical age. If we didn’t have a computer, an iPad, a smart phone and dear knows what else, we would be accused of living in the past.
Yet despite our 21st century routines, it never ceases to amaze me how fast information travels nowadays.
Take last Wednesday. The latest edition of The Advocate was barely on the street – and the internet – when I received two emails, both from Toronto.
The first was from Sportsnet’s Ken Reid, the Pictou native and bright young anchor at the sports channel. I had addressed his promising career in that issue and he was writing to say thanks.
“What a surprise in The Advocate today,” he wrote. “Thank you so very much for the kind words in your column. I read The Advocate every Wednesday on-line and was quite caught off guard when I read your column. It brought a smile to my face to read those words from you.”
Not often, when you write about someone in the public spotlight, does he or she bother to take the time to say thank you. If the comments are acceptable, you never hear a thing. If they’re unacceptable, you know who you’ll hear from.
So that afternoon I was surprised too, but also pleased. It just goes to show the character of the young Pictonian. He reads this paper regularly, obviously to keep in contact with his hometown, and the people he knows there. He’s gone off to the big city to further his own career, but he hasn’t forgotten his roots.
Oh yes, he told me something else: he was a die-hard Montreal Expos fan and admits “it wasn’t the same” when the Expos moved to Washington. He cannot cheer for the Nationals.
There was encouraging news, too. “I have slowly become a Jays fan,” he writes, but “the Expos were my first baseball love.”
It was nice of him to take the time to respond.
Then, just a few minutes after his email, another came in from the land of Jays and Leafs. In this case, the writer, another Nova Scotian who strayed from home, didn’t want to be identified. That wasn’t important, he said. He just had a question he’d like answered.
“I enjoy watching him (Ken Reid) on Sportsnet, but I’ve wondered if any other journalist from the Pictou area ever got into the big leagues of Toronto.”
The answer is easy. Yes, there certainly was a journalist who ventured from the county to the big show – and he was a very good one.
It was 50 years ago, though it’s hard to believe it’s been that long. That’s when Ricky Fraser left The Evening News in New Glasgow, where he was sports editor for eight years, and became a very popular reporter in the big and competitive Toronto market.
Just mentioning Ricky’s name brings back good memories.
I’ve often written how long-time sportscaster and high school athletic director John (Brother) MacDonald got me into journalism. Well, taking it one step further, it was Ricky Fraser who opened the door to my newspaper career.
In 1954, Fraser, only 19 years old, arrived in New Glasgow to become sports editor of The News. Just months into his position, he decided to hire stringers at the county’s different high schools to cover school sports. He had gotten to know me while I was working with Brother during the previous baseball season, and he offered me the chance to write sports for New Glasgow High. The rest is history.
Five years later, when I began covering Pictou County for The Chronicle Herald, Ricky and I became competitors, but we also became good friends. In sports, my job was to keep ahead of him, to “scoop him” as we used to say. We didn’t let that affect our friendship.
Then, in 1962, Ricky was offered the sports editor’s job at the Barrie Examiner, in the fast-growing community just north of Toronto. He took the position and never returned to work in Nova Scotia.
A couple years after that, the Examiner promoted Fraser to news editor. He phoned and said the sports editor’s job was mine if I wanted it. I went to Barrie, loved the perks of the job, including having a seat in the press box at Maple Leaf Gardens. It was tempting, no question. In the end, however, I opted to remain in Nova Scotia, a decision I’ve never regretted.
Soon after that, Ricky joined the Globe and Mail. Later still, he worked for the Toronto Sun and Toronto Star.
We met up a few times in Toronto, when I was there for hockey games or other events. Otherwise, our paths seldom crossed. But I kept track through his work.
He was very popular there, particularly with athletes, coaches and officials he covered, as well as with other members of the media. That, more than anything confirmed the fine job he did.
For 30 years, he covered the sports he loved – hockey, boxing and, especially, golf. He was happy, and it showed in his work.
Sadly, Ricky died in 2000. He was just 65.
Now Ken Reid is in Canada’s media capital and, if early signs are a barometer, he is, like Ricky Fraser before him, on the way to big things in the big city.

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WP students learn basics

LYONS BROOK – Students at West Pictou Consolidated School are experiencing the plus factors while learning the basics of movement and co-ordination.
Thanks to instructor Gena Henderson, a Grade 6 teacher, the students are taking part in the Run Jump Throw program being offered to kids.
“It’s a great program,” she says. “We use different apparatus and any kid can use it, which is nice.”
Run Jump Throw is Athletics Canada’s official grass roots program. It’s growing in popularity as more people become exposed to it.
The program is designed to ensure that children learn fundamental running, jumping and throwing movement skills through track and field in order to achieve a strong foundation for success in all other sports and physical activities.
It also helps to prepare them for a lifetime of excellence and diversity in active living.
Athletics Canada offers the program to schools, clubs and communities across the nation.
Henderson is involved in school track and attended an event arranged by Pat Carty with RJT instructors who shared running, jumping and throwing techniques.
She likes how the program is meant to help kids develop the fundamental movements at a young age that will make it fun for them.
“The instructors were great,” she said. “The kids developed an interest in it.”
The program is highly regarded by Sport Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development expert group as a way for children to learn to move efficiently and become active, productive and healthy citizens when they reach adulthood.

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Burnin’ love for Elvis?

Thane Dunn is all shook up to be performing at the deCoste Entertainment Centre in Pictou.
Dunn is an Elvis impersonator who enjoys bringing the Elvis experience to people across the globe.
“I have been playing a lot and enjoying life. I work 24/7 but I love my job,” he says.
Dunn was in the area last May when he performed a show in Antigonish. This will be his first performance in Pictou.
“I’m pretty excited,” he says. “It’s a more intimate and interactive show.”
His performance is June 7 before he sets off for another show in Mabou on June 8.
“It’s nice to be able to play in front of smaller crowds. When I first started that was my audience and now I’m in arenas with more than 1,000 people, so it’s nice to have this chance to connect more with the audience and it keeps me close to home.”
Dunn has been doing a lot of corporate shows across Canada and some in the US during the last year with his new band.
“Our first show together was in Antigonish last year; now we have 50 shows under our belt and it’s like we’ve known each other for a million years.”
That’s also how he feels about people in Pictou County.
“All of the people I meet in Pictou County, it’s like I grew up with them and have known them for so long, there’s that instant connection with everyone.”
He also makes that connection with his audience during his stage show. “I try to connect with the audience and make it feel like they are really experiencing Elvis.”
Dunn never does the same show twice. There are certain popular songs he is always going to perform, however, there are new songs added to each show that Dunn hasn’t performed before from the pool of more than 700 Elvis songs.
“In the past two years because of the Internet I have heard songs that I never even knew existed from Elvis,” says Dunn. “I want to give people a taste of what it was like to see Elvis in his heyday, but it’s not the cookie cutter Elvis tribute show.”
He says he plays songs people know but also some that people may not have heard or popular songs that didn’t make it into the top 20 like Kentucky Rain.
“People go crazy when I play that song, but it wasn’t a big hit.”
He also throws out scarves to the ladies in the crowd during Love Me Tender.
Dunn has won the International World Championship Elvis Re-creator award as well as more recently the World’s Largest Elvis Gospel Contest.
“Because of that we actually did some shows that were strictly gospel,” says Dunn.
That effort and experience is what Dunn says has made everything really pay off in the past couple of years.
“The last two years we have sold out every show we played,” he says. “And I think that’s what sets us apart from the crowd.”
What also sets him apart are the 14 different costumes that are part of the show.
“I have the actual boots Elvis wore in 1972 and a stud that fell off one of his suits that I put on one of my suits.”
For Dunn, Elvis was the world’s greatest entertainer with his stage presence and charisma.
“People would get wrapped up in his shows and the same happens with mine,” says Dunn. “It’s like seeing Elvis in person. I am an actor, singer and perhaps a little bit of a dancer with some choreography. I try to replicate his moves as he did on stage.”
And that includes the hip swing, ladies. But calm down, he’s newly married.
The New Brunswick native practises all of the time so he can portray Elvis on stage in a way that captivates and holds the attention of the crowd, like Elvis did.
“If you don’t do that, you shouldn’t be performing as Elvis,” says Dunn.
He continues to train his voice so that every word, every movement, every look sounds and looks like Elvis.
“Elvis was a master showman,” says Dunn. “He knew when to move and when not to move. My show is probably 75 per cent Elvis and 25 per cent Thane Dunn.”
Anyone who hasn’t seen his show should expect to have a good time.
“Our show is fun,” he says. “From what I hear from people, seeing Elvis was like being at a private party with him and that’s what my show is like. I will make you laugh and cry.”

Win a pair of front row tickets to see Thane Dunn at the deCoste Centre on June 7,
a meet and greet with the artist prior to the show and a pair of 8×10 photos.
E-MAIL:
editor@pictouadvocate.com

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The Debaters host headlining solo show

Comedian Steve Patterson will be wrapping up his 10-day tour of the Maritimes at the deCoste Centre in Pictou on May 12. The tour, titled “This is Not Debatable!” is the comic’s first solo headlining tour.
Patterson may very well be one of the nicest people in Canadian show business. He’s a nice guy, like Santa Claus. He is also quick-witted, a chance taker, yet remarkably clean and this tour will also have him adding comedic songs or “comedy you can clap to” into the mix, which is something he has been wanting to do for some time.
Many may know Patterson from his CBC Radio program ‘The Debaters’ which he has hosted since 2007, while many others will know him from his stand up career. However, very few will know Patterson from his time as a copywriter:
“I wrote an ad for an amusement park that the client thought was a little bit… I thought it was hilarious and they didn’t think it was funny. It was too risqué for them. Basically it was an ad for an amusement park with a 25- year-old roller coaster, at a very family-oriented amusement park. The line that I wrote was ‘Finally: another chance for a middle-aged dad to ride a 25-year-old’, which I thought was great. They had no sense of humour about that,” Patterson said. “I started doing full-time comedy shortly after that.”
Needless to say but still worth saying nonetheless, the switch has been good for Patterson. In the 15-plus years since he got the ad man’s sack, he has performed at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, netted the 2011 Best Male Stand Up Canadian Comedy Award, and has won high praise from Steve Martin.
Along the road to comedy fame and radio fortune, Patterson has been able to tour Canada, Ireland, England, America and Australia where he said he has noticed that globally there are two distinct audience types.
“I find that the audiences in Ireland and Australia are more like Canadians in that you can make fun of stuff in their culture and they’ll laugh along with you,” he said, “whereas when you go into England or the United States they’ll allow their own people to make fun of them but not so much the outsiders. I much prefer the Irish, Australian, Canadian sense of humour to the ‘we’re not going to let some outsider make fun of us’ kind of thing.”
Although similar on the surface, Patterson said there is a bit of a switch between his Debaters hosting duties and delivering an evening’s worth of stand-up. “My job (on the Debaters) is to make sure the people listening from wherever they are have an idea of what’s going on visually. There’s nowhere to hide in radio comedy. Your words have to be funny. You can’t rely on a funny expression or funny accent. You’ve got to have the actual content. I really appreciate it for that.
“With my tour,” Patterson said, “I basically try to say everything that I’m not allowed to say during the Debaters because I have to act as a referee and not step on other people’s material. In my own one-man show I get to say everything that I want to say. It’s sort of another step. It’s like how I got fired from advertising, this is like ‘now I don’t have to hold back at all’ I can say whatever I want to say. It ends up being a little edgier Steve Patterson than people are used to hearing on the radio but it’s still not going to gross people out or anything.”
He explained, “If you can be a good host as well a good headlining comedian you’ve got your bases covered.”
Tickets are available to see Steve Patterson at the deCoste box office.

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Gypsophilia groovin’ at the Square for Music Shapes

Gypsophilia is the band to see if you like to dance.
The band first performed in 2004 at the Halifax Jazz Festival and have been grooving for audiences ever since.
“The Halifax Jazz Festival was the first time we had all actually played together at one time on a stage, it was an exciting moment,” says member Ross Burns.
The seven-piece band became a fan favourite at the show and the members were asked to play again and again.
“People seemed to be really into it and we decided to do another show and it sold out, and then another and that sold out… so we just started playing more regularly.”
The majority of their shows were at clubs that were so over crowded the audience wasn’t able to dance so the band decided to rent a church hall, open a bar and hold a dance party.
“It was great; people actually started coming in with costumes from the 30s,” says Burns.
In 2007, Gypsophilia recorded their first album and began travelling and playing more, which Burns says made them really feel more like a band than a one-of.
“That was kind of our launching pad,” he says.
And they still enjoy the dance party-style of concert so much so that they recently did a swing dance party at a festival in Halifax.
Burns says they don’t necessarily dress in costumes so much as they always try to look sharp.
“That has always been a constant for the band, looking sharp, and I think it really just makes for a special atmosphere.”
Gypsophilia is preparing for a show at Glasgow Square to round off the Music Shapes New Glasgow concert series. They will perform their authentic, eclectic mix of musical genres.
“We borrow a lot of stuff from a lot of places,” says Burns. “We started out playing mostly swing French jazz or gypsy jazz music and have been happily mixing influences in with the jazz like tango, jazz guitar, Brazilian drum, etc., which was really our launching pad. It’s more of an eclectic sound now than it used to be because we are creating our own sound and it’s starting to sound more like us.”
As the band has become more comfortable with their musical abilities and versions of what works and what doesn’t, members are having more fun on stage and bringing more audience participation into the mix.
“We are always keen to engage the audience,” says Burns. “We like audience participation and we like to entertain. It’s great if the audience sings along, claps and dances.”
They also try to get their own sense of humour through to the audience through the music and interaction so that people enjoy the show more and have fun.
“We like to put on a fun, really energetic show with lots of opportunity to get involved, engaged and go on a real musical journey.”
Gypsophilia has performed in New Glasgow before during the Music Nova Scotia Week that was held here, both at venues and the gala event at the John Brother MacDonald Stadium, and are very excited to return.
“It’s fun because we haven’t been to Pictou County under our own steam,” he says. “We are looking forward to it because it’s been such a long time.”
The band is releasing a new seven inch EP in May with a video which is taking them on a North American tour through Eastern US and across Canada, their biggest tour to date.
“We are very excited about what’s coming up for the band,” says Burns.
To sample some tunes visit http://www.gypsophilia.org/.

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Pictou Y closure not good for residents’ health

To the Editor:
I was shocked that, in this day and age when physical fitness is so important, the Y in Pictou is closing. It is my understanding that the YMCA promotes healthy living with exercise. Why then are they closing the Pictou facility? Are they, the executive, not aware that many who attend, pay their dues and work at maintaining a healthy llifestyle through exercise, cannot afford to make the daily trip to New Glasgow? Many who attend do not have access to available transportation.
Many of the clients are teenagers who are spending time developing good habits instead of spending time on their computer, watching TV or simply roaming the streets. These young people do not have the method of transportation to get to New Glasgow.
Then there are the adults who participate in early morning exercise, go home, shower and go to work. They will have to forego this routine because time will not allow them to exercise in the early morning if the have to go to New Glasgow.
We cannot forget the many participants who simply want to exercise while enjoying the camaraderie of the friends they have at the Y.
It is my understanding that some of the machines are in poor working condition. Instead of selling the machines at the old Y, why not refit the Pictou Y with those existing machines? Makes sense to me!
It is apparent to the residents of Pictou that the executive of the YMCA is not concerned with the health and well-being of the people across the causeway.
Perhaps it is time for the PCHA to step in and take a firm stand in favour of the Pictou residents. I am sure they are in favour of keeping the Pictou Y open. In the long run, it will make for healthier people and therefore cut medical costs.
It is sad to think the little satellite YMCA in Pictou is being closed. It is even sadder to realize that those in charge of the YMCA have no concern for the members in Pictou who have given their support for years.
To the executive: Stop and think about the people who will literally have to give up daily exercise only because you have decided the health of the Pictou residents is unimportant.
I am not a member of the Y, but for 48 years, I have been an educator in the town of Pictou. I have always held, along with my colleagues, the mental and physical health of my students as a critical part of their development. Do not take this valuable asset, the Y, away from the residents of the town of Pictou.
Dave MacIntyre said, and I quote from the Evening News, “We have to look at what is best for all of Pictou County moving forward”. I ask, is this really the best for the people of Pictou?
Diane Vaughan
Pictou

Posted in Opinion | 1 Comment

Gov’t continues to fight for veterans

To the Editor:
Our Federal Conservative government committed to maintaining and improving veterans’ benefits and services, and we have done just that.
Our government expanded the Veterans Independence Program, reinstated benefits to Allied veterans and their families, increased the number of Operational Stress Injury clinics to support veterans suffering from mental health illnesses, provided compensation for Agent Orange, created the Community War Memorial Program, and established the Veterans Ombudsman Office.
In fact, since 2006, our government has increased Veterans Affairs Canada’s (VAC) budget by 25 percent. Of this current budget, which exceeds $3.5 billion, over 90 per cent is spent in direct benefits and services for Canada’s veterans and their families.
While changes are occurring within VAC, the same level of service will remain. For some it will be delivered from a different location, such as Service Canada centres. There will be no reductions in case management services and home visits will continue.
Veterans told us they wanted less red tape. Co-ordinated efforts by National Defence and Veterans Affairs have resulted in less required paperwork and faster payments.
Hon. Peter MacKay
Minister of National Defence, Regional Minister
for Nova Scotia

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Take booze business away from NSLC

To the Editor:
This is really laughable – the government-owned monopoly on the booze business (NSLC) putting an ad in the Halifax newspaper to apologize for their most recent case of price gouging. What a sadistic joke!
I hope that the people of Nova Scotia are not going to let them get away with that hypocritical piece of propaganda. Blaming it on a computer error, no less.
This practice of overcharging by NSLC has been going on for over 50 years, and has now reached criminal proportions.
It is long past time to get rid of NSLC, and put the booze business in the hands of the breweries and distilleries for direct sale to the public. This would put some fair pricing and much needed competition in the market place.
N.L. Bushell
River John

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Step up for town instead of pointing finger

To the Editor:
When I ran for elected office I wanted my interaction with residents to be face-to face. The reason for this was, in my opinion, there would be less chance for miscommunication. I now find myself compelled to respond via this forum.
Margo, as a fellow Pictonian, taxpayer and elected municipal representative, I am disturbed by the tone of your letter. Deeply disturbed at your suggestion that Pictou’s elected representatives are doing nothing. As a councillor, I welcome all expressions of concern by residents and applaud positive suggestions and actions that help in keeping Pictou vital. The reality is there are factors, not excuses, over which municipalities have little or no control.
On the topic of Pictou’s historic buildings: As saddened as we are when one is destroyed, private ownership, private enterprise is just that – private. It is not within the scope of town council to issue or deny this type of permit. To quote a past Canadian prime minister, “Government” at any level, “has no place in the bedrooms of the nation.”
On the topic of the Hector Arena: I, too, applaud the seemingly untiring efforts of Craig Clarke. He is a leader, a very successful fundraiser, and I am happy to say Pictou’s own Hector Arena poster boy. But, Margo, you failed to mention the work of the Hector Arena Commission on which sit two of Pictou’s town councillors, all of whom are working very hard to attempt to achieve a financially sustainable rink.
You failed to mention that one of our councillors, Bob Naylor, has sat for five plus years on this commission and given tirelessly of his time. Also failed to mention that the town, under the stewardship of your elected representatives, contributes financially each year to keep our rink open.
On the topic of leadership shown by municipal representatives: I challenge all who express such jadedness with your elected representatives… Stop pointing the gnarled finger and step up for Pictou. You are welcome to attend council meetings, public hearings and/or join an advisory committee, welcome to have a guided tour of Town Office to see people working diligently on your behalf, welcome to shadow any of us for a day and welcome to show leadership by putting your name on the ballot. Since November I have logged 194 hours on behalf of Pictou’s residents.
Shadow Pictou’s mayor, councillors and CAO as we work daily on issues from but not limited to:
1) our aging infrastructure
2) the traffic situation on Veterans Dr. and West River Rd.
3) our ongoing water situation
4) on how to successfully approach the federal and provincial governments for assistance on many projects
5) concerns with our waterfront, marina and tourism
6) our empty storefronts (do you shop on line or at big box stores for a better deal?)
7) on ways to have housing options for residents
Margo, if the purpose of your Open Letter to Council was to vent about changing times, you achieved your purpose. If the purpose of your letter was to effect a positive change, I respectfully suggest to you that you failed. Again to quote: “You know not of what you speak.”
Town council is working to the best of our combined abilities on your behalf. None of us has a magic wand or a pot of gold but we all have a heartfelt concern for our community and for our fellow residents.
Lynn Vigneault, Councillor, Deputy Mayor

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Veterans food battle has not been won

To the Editor:
It is with great interest that I read a newspaper article, “Health Authority Accepts Meal Recommendations.” This leads the public to believe that the battle over rethermalized meals has been won when in fact this is not the case.
Mr. Lee has stated the authority is “looking” at a 50/50 balance of conventional and rethermalized meals. Certainly not a victory for our veterans.
I have a family member residing at the Northumberland Veterans Unit and therefore was invited to attend a meeting at the Unit on April 11. This meeting was conducted by Mr. Pat Lee, CEO Pictou County Health Authority and in my opinion was simply an effort to try to save face. And a poor effort at that.
It must be noted that at the start of this meeting family members were presented with a 35-page report but had not had the opportunity to study this report before the meeting. How convenient for Mr. Lee and the PCHA.
The cover letter for this report states, “The report received the full support of all task force members.” Page 2 of the report lists the Task Force Membership as follows; NVU Veterans, Veterans Families, Royal Canadian Legion (co-chair), Veterans Affairs Canada, PCHA Management (co-chair), PCHA Food Services Management; PCHA Food Services Staff, NVU Staff (3) and External, DHW appointed consultant (Feb. 18, 2013). To my knowledge there was only one family member on this Task Force and this report DID NOT receive his support. Additionally we, the families, are not privileged to have the names of the members and therefore cannot ask them directly if they supported this report. The Task Force appears to be made up mainly of employees of the PCHA and therefore begs the question: How critical can one be of your employer who signs your paycheque, without fear of reprimand? One task force member participated in an earlier taste test and thought the pork he was eating was good when in fact he was eating chicken. Questionable taste buds at best. A representative of Veterans Affairs Canada was on this Task Force however, as there is no Veterans Affairs office in Pictou County, where did this individual come from? Certainly not Ottawa, and how many rehydrated meals did he/she actually eat?
Before rethermalized or precooked, frozen and reheated meals were introduced in May 2012 taste tests were conducted and the PCHA was aware that veterans families were not satisfied with these changes. During the past year the families have fought for a return to fresh in-house cooked meals only to be told the PCHA wasn’t going back. It has taken from November 28, 2012 until March 20, 2013 to conduct a 28-day study and provide a report that proves that what the families said 12 months ago was correct. Yes, Mr. Lee agreed that some changes will be made, however, it will take until September to implement these changes. My, how slow the wheels turn!
And please tell me how are table cloths, regular table settings, personalized mugs and music during meals going to improve the quality of the food served? The report states that sauces/dressings will be provided on the side as well as condiment trays on each table. This is great when many of these veterans have difficulty or are unable to butter their toast.
It is my understanding that the change to rehydrated foods for our veterans resulted in a savings of over $70,000. Veterans Affairs Canada and our veterans are paying for their care which includes proper meals. Are their dollars being utilized for other purposes?
Mr. Bernie Currie, son of deceased veteran Joe Currie and member of the task force, will be appearing and making a presentation to the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs at the Nova Scotia Legislature on April 25. Families of our veterans greatly appreciate Mr. Currie’s efforts on behalf of our veterans and he has our support. I sincerely hope that local media will attend this meeting in order to provide a firsthand report.
The same food is being served to hospital patients, those in long-term care at the Aberdeen Hospital awaiting beds in nursing homes and those in Restorative Care at the Sutherland Harris Memorial Hospital. The only unit under the PCHA that has not been subjected to these new meals is the Addiction Center. Why? This question was asked before and was asked again at the April 11 meeting, however, Mr. Lee beat around the bush but didn’t answer the question.
All the sauces, dressings and gravy cannot mask poor quality food. We must all fight like our veterans did if we want to see change. “It’s a done deal” is not acceptable. Get a copy of the task force report and read the veterans comments regarding the meals served during the 28-day assessment period. Look at the daily waste, as high as 28.9 per cent; doesn’t make the $70,000 budget saving look so good.
Michael LeBlanc
Stellarton

Posted in Opinion | 1 Comment

Pictou Y closure a blow to local residents

To the Editor:
As a new resident to Pictou, in the past four years I’ve seen this poor town in decline.
Businesses are closing and the town looks awfully dismal, especially in the winter months.
Shops and restaurants are closing but none opening.
The golf club is closing, Pictou lodge is on edge whether it will be a go. What’s next?
Generally there is a mix of people in the town, some retired, some getting on fine and some barely scraping by from pay cheque to pay cheque.
Some of the folks with children and/or themselves have been taking advantage of the YMCA in town due to its close proximity and the need for an exercise facility other than school activities.
There’s been a big impact from the media of overweight children due to lack of exercise. Now headlining the news is the Y is shutting their doors in May due to its not supporting itself. In retrospect, I believe its due to the new wellness centre in New Glasgow.
While some people and their family’s can take advantage of this new facility, many cannot. There are many reasons for this, lack of transportation, work schedule, weather conditions and school.
If the Y needs support, the town of Pictou in my opinion, should subsidize the operation of the Y facility so that local folks can take advantage of it. If this means skimming dollars off of other lesser needed organizations and/or what ever, so be it.
The town has little enough for the younger people to be involved in. Yes there are school functions, but they do not apply to everyone.
I believe the local pool would also be closed to the public if it was not owned and operated by the fisheries dept.
To my knowledge, the town has a recreational dept. which does support various organizations.
The new wellness centre’s overall cost to build and operate is out of this world, for which it caters to. (The immediate local residents, the retired and the people with adequate incomes and time travel.)
I truly wonder how long it will last before it becomes a pink elephant.
The money could have been well spent in other more important causes, and there are many.
The wellness centre was constructed for the use of the people of the county. How many county folks do you really think it will be used by, that is long term?
The vast majority of the people that have been using the local YMCA want to keep using it.
If the Y itself cannot make a go of it, the town should purchase the facility and run it themselves.
For the time being, forget about moving the (fisheries museum) from the CN station to a new building, which will never pay for itself.
Somebody with some grey matter upstairs should think this over and reconsider the repercussions of the Y’s closure.
I am sure, Mr. Editor, you will be getting numerous inputs on this matter from people that are against the closure of the YMCA.
At least one time the town should sit back and listen to their tax payers. However, dollar to a donut, the town won’t.
Alan Mackenzie
Pictou

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Pictou resident wonders about town’s future

Open letter to Pictou Town Council:
I have intended to write this letter for a long time. I am one of, I suspect many(?), concerned citizens who question where we are going as a town. More specifically, does council have a “vision” as to what the town will look like in five years, 10 years?
Whereas I appreciate the cosmetic improvements (new paving and signage, removal of condemned houses, initiative to collect garbage), I can’t get a sense of what is our long-term view. Mortimer House gets torn down and the town’s response seems to be: “Perhaps, something better will arise.” Of course, 200+ year-old buildings don’t just arise.
The golf club has been up for sale and I hear no mention of how valuable it might be to retain a golf course within the town. The Lodge is struggling (might not be within town limits but, undeniably, very important for the town). Restaurants (e.g., Tak’s Thai, which attracted people from across the county and beyond) and other businesses close and silence from council.
Whereas it might be argued that the town cannot interfere with private businesses, I would suggest that the town cannot afford not to play some role in securing and retaining these businesses.
We have no tennis courts, we struggle to hold onto our rink, and now we have lost the Y with seemingly no thought to the impact of this loss on our citizens (including youth, seniors and the vehicularly challenged) who may not find it so convenient to get to the Wellness Centre. Can the pool be far behind, despite assurances to the contrary?
Has council considered the future of the Academy, as it fast approaches its 200th anniversary? Has any consideration been given as to what we need to do to protect this essential landmark and vital component of our town? What happens once the anniversary passes and it (the Academy) emerges once again in the sights of the school board?
What exactly is going to constitute our “community” in the future? Perhaps, I have it all wrong and council is actively engaged in discussions about the future of the Shiretown (and surrounding area), and is actively planning a number of initiatives to secure(?) enhance(?) its prospects for the future. If so, I think many of us would welcome hearing about these initiatives and how we can assist to make them happen.
Kudos to those groups and individuals (e.g., Renaissance Committee, tennis group, Craig Clarke and others), who have been working hard to shore up our seemingly diminishing fortunes. At the risk of sounding parochial, I think it is time that we start redirecting our efforts toward reinvigorating our own community, economy, businesses, educational and recreational facilities and, in doing so, instill some optimism for our future. It seems to me that we used to be more than simply a “satellite” location; we actually had “pride of place” and pride in what we had to offer.
Now, I wonder, where are we going? What are our initiatives and where are our initiators?
Margo Watt
Pictou

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Will election bring about change in food with PCHA?

To the Editor:
Well, we are being informed that the 28-day assessment for food quality at the Northumberland Veterans Wing in Pictou has concluded and the decision to remain with the frozen foods is final.
However, a bigger and better oven will be used to keep the foods hotter, table cloths will be provided and music will be piped into the dining area when meals are served. Isn’t that nice?
Are we to assume that this will surely help our veterans determine what they are actually eating?
Prior to the 28-day assessment, I had been informed that a conversation was overheard at one of our local restaurants. An aging member of the Pictou Legion who, by the way, favours the frozen foods, stated that these veterans are all well into their 90s and half of them have dementia so they have no idea what they are eating anyway.
Now it takes a person with a lot of mentality to make a statement like that. I would encourage this member to take all his meals with our veterans from here on in.
Now I am again informed that when PCHA met with the families last week to give them their decision, a distinguished member of the PCHA stated that this $70,000 saving will provide four hip replacements.
Isn’t that just a great way to save for medical procedures? Take from those who have suffered and fought for what we have today?
Now having said that, I wonder what these veterans would have to do to get a bed in our new Pictou County jail where locally grown, warm, home cooked meals will be provided daily by professional chefs. A place where they would get continual supervision 24/7 around the clock with daily recreation and a warm bed with their own TV in their bedroom. A place where they would have full dental and medical benefits, etc, etc, etc.
Our local Pictou West MLA Charlie Parker, Pictou East MLA Clarrie MacKinnon and Justice Minister Ross Landry are all aware of this present situation. So I ask them again: Where is the justification in all of this when, at the same time, their premier is giving hundreds of millions of our tax dollars away to large industries?
Couldn’t this $70,000 have been found somewhere among those millions instead of taking it from the daily needs of our aging veterans?
A provincial election is drawing near and I have taken these concerns to both the Liberal and Conservative candidates. It will be interesting to see what support, if any, will be given to the veterans at Northumberland Veterans Wing with a change of government?
The question remains. Where are we heading in the future? God help us all.

Jim Turple
Councillor Pictou County Municipality

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Halting process prolongs agony

Asking school boards to suspend closures has the look and feel of a quagmire.
But that’s what Education Minister Ramona Jennex would like Nova Scotia’s school boards to do. She has requested Chignecto-Central Regional School Board to halt the outright closure of one school in Bass River and put on hold the reprieve the board has given schools in Maitland, Wentworth and River John.
But asking isn’t getting.
It also begs the questions: Why this and why now?
If the reason for the request is all about punting the school closure process beyond the next provincial election, the tactic may backfire.
School board members have already expressed their shock and frustration with the decision. The province has asked school boards to cut costs. One option boards have to achieve that goal is reducing square footage by closing or replacing schools.
In some cases, the school boards may not be able to make the clock tick backwards. Nor should they try. Closing the elementary school in Bass River makes sense because a school nearby can accommodate the students. That’s the option stakeholders at East Pictou Middle School presented during their assessment process, and one that the board was compelled to defer due to provisions in the Education Act and reconsider over the next year.
The other three schools in the region have been given time – River John Consolidated being one of those given two years – to produce a viable community hub model to fill space and reduce costs.
That will be a daunting task for River John’s school and the area it serves.
Ron Marks, who chairs Chignecto-Central’s financial services committee, pointed to the nearly $600,000 in deferred maintenance costs for the school in River John, as well as the $7 million in deferred repairs in the region. He also said filling space at the River John school won’t necessarily save money if operating costs climb due to increased use.
All that said, River John and area deserve the chance to try. They have opened the door on new ways for schools to serve communities.
One interesting idea has surfaced for money to come from Economic and Rural Development to cover part of the gap between what it costs to operate the school and what the province gives the board under the current funding formula.
Wise people will see the opportunity.
Steve Goodwin

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