To the Editor:
Once again, the fine folks of Pictou County have rallied around one of their fellow residents. Many of you are aware of Craig Aucoin and Lloyd MacLean’s upcoming bicycle trip across Canada.
This is such a wonderful experience for them.
Craig will be raising money for three Canadian charities – the CNIB, the YMCA and the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Recently, my son Jonas and I decided to help them reach their goal of raising monies to make this trip possible. We decided to make an Easter basket and sell tickets.
We were very pleased with all the donations given to us for the basket from Pictou businesses and also to experience the enthusiasm of the donors as they supported this exciting endeavour. Kathy MacLean, Pictou, was the lucky winner.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who donated items, those who helped sell the tickets, those who allowed us to sell the tickets at their place of business and to all those who supported Craig Gives Back to Back so generously. A total of $1,036 was raised!
It has been an interesting month for the Advocate family of newspapers, and we’re just halfway through it.
The Advocate newspaper published in Pictou was a finalist for both Newspapers Atlantic and Canadian Community Newspaper Association awards last weekend and the weekend before. This newspaper placed second in two editorial categories for CCNA awards presented on May 5 in Ottawa and was a finalist for two other Newspapers Atlantic awards handed out last Saturday in Halifax. While this newspaper did not win, others in the Advocate family did.
It underscores how the Advocate brand has grown and keeps growing, that Advocate is more than a newspaper in Pictou.
Its monthly Hub Now in Truro earned an award that was accepted by editor Jeff Gill, who once was a reporter at the Pictou newspaper. The St. Croix Courier in St. Stephen, N.B. received several awards. The Enfield Weekly Press was also a finalist.
Meanwhile, Rick and Anne Cluett from The Reporter in Port Hawkesbury were honoured for their years of contribution to the newspaper and Advocate Publisher Leith Orr received a Newspapers Atlantic president’s award.
It’s no coincidence for readers to see how often the singular and plural use of community and newspaper appears here. Our newspapers provide a voice and a sounding board for the communities they serve and the people who read them.
Our survival depends on how well we do that, in a world where social media has achieved both a godlike and diabolical profile at the same time. Perhaps we can’t compete with that, but we know community newspapers and rural communities face a common threat because of this, which is why we need each other and need to work together to flourish anew.
The Atlantic Community Newspapers group, under its Newspapers Atlantic logo, isn’t staking the future of community newspapers on the success of what is being called the Georgetown Conference this fall. But it comes pretty close. The group has sought to examine rural communities in Georgetown, P.E.I. , Oct. 2 to 4 and determine what can reverse the flow of people and prosperity away from them – and how community newspapers can help.
It will be a fascinating experience for those who attend. It has the potential to reinforce community newspapers’ relevance in a changing world.
It’s a goal Advocate newspapers constantly strive for in the areas they serve: in Pictou County as well as St. Stephen, N.B., Port Hawkesbury, Enfield, Truro and Pictou.
The deCoste Centre in Pictou has presented in excess of 3,000 shows over three decades.
The list is long and diverse, ranging from magicians to international headliners. Maybe you remember some of these: k.d. lang, Mamas & Papas, Freddy Fender, Tiny Tim, Rita MacNeil, The Rankins, Wilf Carter, Stompin’ Tom, Moe Koffman, Tommy Hunter, Great Big Sea, Mr. Dress-up, Stuart MacLean, John McDermott, Kitty Wells, Chinese Acrobats, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Sharon, Lois and Bram, Jane Siberry, Red Green, Natalie MacMaster, the Cape Breton Summertime Revue…
John Meir has steered the ship practically since the beginning, and his creative vision has made an impact on a generation of arts consumers in northeastern Nova Scotia. Along with Board chairman Wayne MacGillivray, who has been at the helm for 32 years, the deCoste could not have had a more dedicated leadership team.
Over the years, Meir’s many roles have ranged from the daily operations of the centre to booking the talent to consultant to emerging arts organizations and dressing as a pirate to meet tourists and promote the centre’s events. For many artists, he has done much more than booking them to play the deCoste. He has managed and coached artists like Terry Kelly, the Barra MacNeils, Natalie MacMaster, Shirley Montague and, of course, Dave Gunning, through the early hurdles in their careers. Most show nights Meir spent operating the lighting console, and thus the name for the shows.
From graduations to Rotary plays, concerts to weddings, the deCoste Centre has touched the lives of many. It is a true community arts centre, a place where you can see your children and neighbours perform on stage one day and international stars the next. Acclaimed artists from Pictou County like Dave Gunning and George Canyon consider the deCoste their home stage and the place they cut their teeth.
Economically, the centre has been a major asset for the tourism industry and businesses of the region. Recent research by an external consultant found that every dollar spent on admission at the deCoste triggers $40 of other spending in the community. In the summer season studied, $72,000 was spent, resulting in just under $2.9 million being spent in the local economy.
In December, Meir decided to step back and initiate the transition to new creative direction at the centre. He continues to volunteer his time there mentoring the new creative director, Troy Greencorn.
“The centre has been such a major part of my life for three decades, it is a natural impulse to head there almost every day. It is a part of my family, as are my co-workers: Darlene, Nancy, Teresa and Al. I am proud of the past and excited about the future. Appreciation for the arts continues to grow in the county. I want the centre to thrive for 30 more years,” stated Meir.
To build a show in his honour, organizers reached out to many of the artists who have performed over the last couple of decades. They got such a strong response that a second show has been created.
These shows will mark a chapter in the history for the arts in Pictou County and surrounding areas. Tickets are $40 for each show, or $65 for a ticket covering both nights. Tickets are available at the deCoste box office, online at www.decostecentre.ca or by phone at 485-8848.
“Any one of these artists would command the ticket price on their own, but instead patrons will get to see nine performances each night, a tremendous value. We want the community to celebrate with us and recognize John for his many years of service. All funds raised will go towards funding youth-focused events and programming at the deCoste. Board and staff are developing a youth strategy that will see concerts, drama and music workshops and even a youth film festival over the next two years.” says Darlene MacDonald, general manager.
To build a show in John Meir’s honour, organizers reached out to many of the artists who performed at the deCoste over the last couple decades. They got such a strong response that a second show has been created:
Night 1 – June 12
Celebrating Summer Sounds
Songs from “Christie”
Evans and Doherty
The Barra MacNeils
Night 2 – June 13
Ardyth and Jennifer
Celebrating Summer Sounds
Spyder Macdonald – Salt Water in Your Socks
Local artists Alycia Putnam, Ann and Bruce Holton, Lloyd MacLean and others will also take the stage over these two nights. The team is also working on tribute segments to Stompin’ Tom and Rita MacNeil. Further information will be announced in the near future.Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
LYONS BROOK – A couple living in Lyons Brook is counting on good timing to start a local microbrewery.
Karl and Rebecca Whiffen have been working to establish Uncle Leo’s Brewery, a microbrewery that they hope to open this spring.
“It’s really exploded in the last couple of years,” Rebecca says.
“It’s a good time to be in it, so I think it’s good for Pictou County and for Lyons Brook. It’s one more thing to attract people.”
They plan to use a craft beer recipe that is produced in smaller batches with fresh ingredients and no preservatives. It takes two weeks to prepare the beer from maturity in barrels to bottling it.
The plant is expected to open in mid-June.
“That’s what we’re hoping for,” Rebecca says.
The two products the Whiffens will produce are actually red and Indian pale ales. They plan to alternate the batches, depending on what’s in demand.
The couple broke ground in April 2012 on the brewery barn they’ve built beside their home in Lyons Brook. The exterior was completed last fall, but they’re still working on getting the retail portion ready.
The beer will be fermented in 10-gallon U.S. barrels and sold in six-packs featuring 650 milliliter-sized bottles and 1.89 liter jugs equal to a refillable six-pack. There will also be rentals for 19.5 liter kegs.
Taste testing and tours will also be offered for groups of up to 10 at a time.
The Whiffen’s quest to start a brewery has been a long one, and its name harkens back to when Karl grew up in Southern Harbour, N.L., an isolated community connected by one road at the head of Placentia Bay.
Karl’s uncle Leo Whiffen operated a store and made his own beer.
“It’s Karl’s idea but it’s always been a goal for us,” Rebecca says.
“When he started brewing beer, it was always a natural progression to open a micro brewery.”
Some microbreweries employ more people, and the Whiffens welcome the prospects of more of them starting up in the county while they work on their own to grow their business.
“It’s one of those industries where the more, the merrier, because people like the variety,” Rebecca says.
“For now it’s Karl and I but if it gets larger we could employ up to 20 people.”
The New Glasgow Music Festival is celebrating its 75th anniversary in style.
For the past two years, organizers have been working on a 75th Anniversary Gala concert at the deCoste Entertainment Centre.
“We had done something like this for the 50th anniversary, but not to this scale,” explains Sharon Macdonald, president of the festival. “It is also the 50th anniversary of our Rose Bowl award so we decided to combine the events and do a walk through time.”
The concert will feature past performers of the New Glasgow Music Festival, one of the longest running music festivals in the country.
“We wanted to both celebrate and recognize some of the people who have gone through the festival because this county is amazing for talent,” explains Macdonald.
The concert is about reflecting on past festivals and will feature a duet from two competitors in the first and second music festival held in New Glasgow.
“Doris Hiltz and Robert Murray who performed in the music festival in 1938 and 1939 will be doing a duet,” she says. “They were quite young when they first performed and are both such avid supporters of the festival; in fact this is the first time Robert has not been on the committee and Doris has been the secretary at so many festivals. They just continue to give back.”
The concert at the deCoste will be hosted by Doris Mason and Janice Alcorn, both former recipients of the Rose Bowl. Performers will span the 75 years of the festival up to the current year.
“So many of our performers have gone on to do very well in music and there were just so many to choose from that we will be having a chorus as well as an orchestra.”
Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served during the intermission.
“It will be a phenomenal night of fun and incredible music,” says Macdonald. “We are very excited. We are the only music festival in northeastern Nova Scotia so we are expecting people not just from Pictou County to attend and we are expecting to sell-out, so get your tickets soon.”
The concert will take place on May 25 at 7 p.m.
“It will be nice to reflect on the wonderful music heritage we have and it is just amazing to see how music can affect a child’s life. It’s such an asset that provides self-esteem, confidence and a good work ethic.”
The concert is a fundraiser for the music festival.
“We are very fortunate to be supported so much by the community and it’s important to us and we attribute our good standing to that support.”
PICTOU – It has been a banner year for newspapers in the Advocate family.
Advocate member newspapers in five communities either won or were nominated for awards in 10 categories during the annual Newspapers Atlantic awards gala that ended the organization’s annual conference on Saturday in Halifax. They include:
►ACNA General Excellence: winner, St. Stephen Saint Croix Courier
► Outstanding photographer: nomination, Vern Faulkner, St. Stephen Saint Croix Courier
►Best Cartoon: nomination, Robert Denton, The Advocate, Pictou
►Best Christmas Issue: winner, St. Stephen Saint Croix Courier
►Best Community Service: nomination, The Advocate, Pictou
►Best Graphically Designed Ad: nomination, Gail Flaherty, St. Stephen Saint Croix Courier
►Best In House Promotion: nomination, Laura Thompson, Enfield Weekly Press
►Best Page Design: nomination, Abby Cameron, Fall River Laker
►Best Photo Essay: winner, Jeff Gill, Hub Now, Truro
►Best Special Section: winner, St. Stephen Saint Croix Courier; and nomination, St. Stephen Courier Weekend
►Best Sports Photo: nomination, Brian Mumford, St. Stephen Saint Croix Courier
►Advocate Publisher Leith Orr also received a Newspapers Atlantic president’s award for dedication and excellence in the community newspaper industry.
“I want to compliment our staff on the excellent job they did, but not just on the awards banquet,” Orr said. “They do it with every news story, every photo… bringing our readers the best community newspaper on a weekly basis. And I’d like to thank our staff for taking the time to enter because it does take a lot of extra effort on behalf of our staff to get all of their submissions together to enter.”
The Advocate in Pictou was also among 11 community newspapers across the country to receive blue ribbon awards during the 2013 Canadian Community Newspapers Association’s awards May 5 in Ottawa.
The Advocate was second in the Class 2221 – Best Holiday Edition category, while Advocate editor Jackie Jardine was runner-up for the Stephen Shaw Memorial Award in the Class 2011 – Best News Story.
“I am incredibly proud of our team here at The Advocate – not just for our efforts with regard to the awards but for the stories we write and the people we connect with locally every day,” Jardine said.
“I know it may sound trite to say, ‘It’s an honour just to be nominated,’ but in this case it is so true. The 2013 Newspapers Canada competition had more than 250 non-daily publications from coast-to-coast submit 2,222 entries, and Newspapers Atlantic represent more than 70 newspapers. So to have our work stand out and be recognized by a group of our peers is humbling.”
The Newspapers Atlantic conference takes place each year. Besides the awards gala, the event includes an AGM as well as workshops and presentations.
The waters will be a bit safer for local fishermen after the Maritime Fishermen’s Union Local 4 purchased 40 personal flotation devices for fishermen across Antigonish and Pictou counties.
The fishermen and representatives from the MFU Local 4, Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia and the Worker’s Compensation Board of Nova Scotia gathered at the Lismore wharf to distribute the PFDs during Occupational Safety and Health Week.
“MFU executives attended a minister’s conference in February and the focus was on safety,” explains Ruth Innis, Nova Scotia staff of the MFU. “At our AGM in April, we decided to use some of our funds to purchase 40 PFDs at a cost of about $160 a piece.”
Recently, the Department of Labour made PFDs mandatory for fishermen and the MFU made the decision to help fishermen be compliant with the regulations.
“All members got PFDs before setting day on April 29,” says Innis.
There were seven lives lost at sea in Nova Scotia since January, so safety is a big concern.
“The conference took place before the mishap of the Miss Ally, but every accident on the water brings safety to the forefront,” says Dustin MacInnis, vice-president of the MFU Local 4. “There was a young guy in December that went overboard in Pubnico and perhaps that is what brought the issue of safety to the forefront.”
MacInnis says many of the fishermen have jumped on board because PFDs are made more comfortably and quite a bit smaller than they used to be.
“They are more compact and fishermen can still work while wearing them, which was an issue before,” explains MacInnis.
Stewart Franck, executive director of the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia, agrees with the implementation of the PFD legislature.
“The Worker’s Compensation Board has determined that fishermen are 19 times more likely to suffer a fatality than any other occupation. We lose approximately five to six fishermen every year at sea in Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia has half of all fishing related fatalities that occur nationally. I think this number can be drastically reduced if we do risk assessments and wear PFDs.”
Franck says regular checks and inspections of the fishing vessel and wearing PFDs are going to help the chances of fishermen’s survival.
The distribution of PFDs by the MFU Local 4 is significant in Frank’s eyes.
“I am ecstatic, because this is a big step in creating awareness and sending a message to the rest of the province that we can do this if we all get on board and follow the legislature. We can get these fishermen home safely.”
John Simpson has been a fisherman his entire life, fishing herring, lobster, mackerel, scallops and crab; he says this legislation is a good thing and so are the PFDs.
“It’s especially important during setting and landing days where there are a lot of inexperienced fishermen out, and it can help in extreme weather,” he says. “Working the last 15 years across the province, I have seen a lot of people doing stupid things so having the PFDs is a good thing because there are a lot of dangers and opportunities to go overboard.”
Simpson notes the sleek design won’t make work more complicated.
“As a boat owner, it’s my responsibility for my crew and the people on my boat so they have to wear them and it’s one more way for them to stay safe.”
Stuart MacLean is the CEO of the Worker’s Compensation Board of Nova Scotia and he says the leadership that MFU Local 4 has shown is incredible.
“A PFD is more than a life vest, it’s a commitment to health and safety. The fishing sector is very traditional and if we want things to be different we have to think differently.”
MacLean notes how industries like construction have embraced safety. “All injuries are preventable and we need to do more, be better. It’s difficult to be a trailblazer and take the first step so I applaud MFU Local 4.”
There have been more fatalities in Pictou County in relation to fishing than there were during the Westray mining disaster.
“We can’t have that, we can’t have 50 per cent of the deaths in Canada.”
Clarrie MacKinnon, MLA for Pictou East says, “Since 2009 we lost 26 lives in Nova Scotia. We can actually do something to save some of those lives.”
Gordon Beaton, president of the MFU Local 4 ended the celebration with, “This job is not worth dying for.”
The sun has been shining and the bikes glistening in preparation for the fourth annual Pictou County Cruisers’ Show n’ Shine.
The Show n’ Shine is a fundraiser for the Pictou County Prostate Cancer Support Association.
This year the event is being moved from the parking lot of the New Glasgow Farmer’s Market to Dalhousie Street in front of the fire hall.
“We had a change of venue this year,” explains Shawn Crooks, PCC president. “The Downtown Development Association has helped out with our venue the past few years and really went to bat for us this year to find a new location.”
The Show n’ Shine will take place May 25 with registration beginning at 9 a.m. and the show running at 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“It is $5 to enter a bike and $2 a head to get in,” explains Crooks. “There are awards for four different categories of bikes and they are voted on by the people.”
There will also be a barbecue and all funds raised throughout the day will go toward the PCPCSA. Last year, the event brought in approximately $1,200 for the association.
“It’s nice to see everything come together,” says Crooks. “It’s a fun day for the family.”
Aside from the bikes, there are vendors set up as well as a show by the Hub City Stunters beginning at 1 p.m.
“The Hub City Stunters are based in Moncton, New Brunswick and is made up of riders from across the Maritimes,” says Crooks. “It’s quite a show to see when they do cat walks and different tricks. They make it look so easy.”
On Sunday, May 26, the annual Awareness Ride will take place with the funds raised from that event going to the Pictou County Relay for Life.
The awareness ride begins in Pictou in the RCMP Station parking lot. Bikers ride through the towns for just under one hour, ending at the Little Harbour Community Centre for a meal and camaraderie.
“There’s no cost, but we just kind of pass a hat around and collect funds at the Awareness Ride.”
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month which is what the Awareness Ride is promoting and has been promoting for the last four years.
Registration for the ride begins at 12 p.m. and the ride will depart Pictou at 1 p.m.
As president of the club, Crooks fears this may be one of the last years for the event as declining membership is making it more and more difficult to organize.
“We need the support of the people to help put it on and we need people to come out. The older members are slowly fading away and the younger ones don’t seem to be as involved. But we are always looking for new members, men, women, as long as you are a bike enthusiast.”
For more information phone Shawn Crooks at 759-6620.
PLYMOUTH – A young entrepreneur is bullish about Pictou County’s economic prospects.
Nick MacGregor says the county’s base of large and small businesses gives it a potential that most rural areas of Canada don’t have. It just needs to get the message out.
“We have to get more aggressive about presenting ourselves as a place for businesses,” he said. “We have the most talented workforce of any place in the country. We have some good businesses of a larger size and small- to medium-sized businesses. We’re really fortunate in Pictou County to have the opportunities we have.”
MacGregor is a third-generation member of the family-owned MacGregor’s Custom Machine and Welding with operations in Plymouth and MacLellan’s Brook. He is also among delegates to the Georgetown Conference designed to re-define local rural economies from Oct. 3 to 5 in Georgetown. P.E.I.
“I’m excited about it,” he said. “I hope to share ideas with people with the same rural challenges we have.”
One of the main attractions for MacGregor is the list of guest speakers, such as Cumberland County industrialist John Bragg, who is co-chairing the event with three other people from around the Atlantic Provinces.
“John Bragg is a perfect example of how the rural economy can thrive,” he said. “People like him give people like me inspiration. He had opportunities and challenges and knew how to adapt.”
MacGregor is also among the newest members named to the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors and feels that will tweak his perspective on what he hopes to get out of the conference.
“It’s a good sounding board and a great opportunity to consult the board about issues I should be talking about when I get there,” he said.
Conference topics include the business of rural communities, opinions about redefining rural, rural community builders’ circles, challenges to the rural community and the practice and process of rural community sustainability.
ALMA – Local Ground Search and Rescue personnel introduced new equipment to rescue people with challenges when they go missing.
Local members Bob Rosborough, Karen Sutherland and Robin Hughes shared and demonstrated the equipment for about 50 people who gathered on Friday at Alma Fire Fall.
The equipment features a radio transmitter to find those wearing a plastic wrist band with a battery the device can track. People of all ages with autism or dementia issues are the usual clients.
Besides the wrist band the clients, their caregivers also receive special cell phones that can only dial 911.
Rosborough said all searches using the equipment have been successful so far, and the average rescue time is 17 minutes from getting a 911 call to the police determining if Ground Search and Rescue needs to be called.
The tracking devices can detect people up to one-mile away, although a hill or any other high obstacle may shorten their range.
“If we can zero in on the spot, with the equipment we have we can find clients very quickly,” Rosborough said.
No clients in Pictou County have begun wearing the wrist bands yet, but it has a list of some 80 Nova Scotians who have them and might be passing through Pictou County and somehow gets lost or disoriented.
“If you’re under water, we’ll find you,” Hughes said.
Of the 70 Ground Search and Rescue members in Pictou County, 17 have been trained to use the tracking device. The plan is to purchase three of the devices at $4,500 each
The wrist band costs $300, with an added $25 monthly fee for battery replacement and other items.
A caregiver needs to be designated to make sure the band is working right.
Fishermen across the Maritimes who tied up their boats to protest low prices paid for their catches are now back on the water.
The low price they are receiving this season forced them to put a halt to fishing – for at least a few days.
“Our fishermen believe that five dollars (a pound) is a fair price for lobster,” says Ronnie Heighton, president of the Northumberland Fisherman’s Association.
Fishermen in the Gulf region tied up their boats on Thursday and did not fish on Saturday, the day before Mother’s Day, which is traditionally a huge day for them. They are back in the water now, as of Monday morning.
A meeting in Antigonish Monday night with approximately 500 fishermen in attendance saw a vote of 196-52 for going back to the water.
Heighton addressed a group of approximately 250 fishermen at the Caribou wharf last Thursday regarding the low price of lobster and what it is doing to the fishermen.
“We have a hell of a good turnout and it’s great to see the support and finally be able to be organized on something.”
The hope is that by refusing to fish, the fishermen can strike a deal with the buyers for $5 a pound.
“This is a good solid message,” says Dan MacDougall of the Gulf Bonafide Fishermen’s Association. “There is no line drawn in the sand. We know $5 is a fair price and we got that last year and the prices seemed high in the beginning of the season, but they just keep going down.”
The fishermen in attendance were set on not settling for anything less than $5 a pound as it just helps them break even.
“We’ve got to stick together here,” says Heighton. “Check your buyers and make sure they are doing the best they can for you.”
Local buyers were invited to the protest, yet only one was in attendance.
“None of us want to be here,” says MacDougall. “But we are taking a stand for our future. We need to have a price set before we start setting traps.”
MacDougall told the crowd that this is not just a problem this year; it’s been ongoing over the last few years and the issue needs to be back in the hands of the fishermen.
The crowd was riled, asking where the politicians were and what their plans were to help.
Heighton says, “We can’t make any money with the price they are offering us. It’s hard to be a lobster fisherman.”
He says in 1984, to purchase a lobster boat would cost 10,000 pounds of canner lobster; today that same boat costs 125,000 to 150,000 pounds.
“The price in 1984 was $2 to $3 a pound for lobster, not much less than it is today. We are also paying more now for a litre of fuel than we were for a gallon back then.”
Heighton says every cent the fishermen make goes right back into their community and the $1 less a pound for lobster equates to $35 to $37 million less money for the fishermen.
“They are reaching into our pockets,” says Heighton. “At $5 a pound we just break even.”
The goal for Heighton is to strengthen the occupation and take a stand to make things better.
“We are very happy with the turnout because normally with fishermen it’s not easy to get a consensus; but it seems we all want this bad enough,” says Gordon Beaton, president of Maritime Fisherman’s Union Local 4.
“The local market is important to us and we don’t want to lose it. It’s not the customer’s problem, it’s somewhere in between. We come in and get $4 on the dock and see it for $8 a pound in the grocery store or $25 out west. It doesn’t cost that much to ship it; we want our part of it.”
Graham Ferguson has been fishing in Caribou for 27 years and says he has never seen a price this low. “It means zero income,” says Ferguson. “We are not looking to get rich, but we would like to make a living. The price isn’t even covering the cost of gear and at this point we refuse to do it.”
Ferguson says he is ready to write the season off if the price of lobster doesn’t go up.
“I feel sorry for the younger guys because they have more bills to pay and new boats to look after. We are hoping this will make their future brighter.”
Ferguson doesn’t think this is going to take place over night. “There’s an oversupply of lobster and yet there are still some areas in Canada that haven’t been able to get lobster by Mother’s Day for the past couple of years.”
Fisherman Ryan Fleurry adds, “Clearwater is recording record profits and we can’t get $5 a pound, there’s no way.”
Sterling Belliveau, Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture minister, told the group Monday night that he has been in contact with his counterparts in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick and suggested a meeting to determine whether a panel can be established to make recommendations regarding pricing. They will meet this week.
Belliveau also said the province is looking into how to better promote Nova Scotia lobster to national and global markets.
The wheels are still in motion to stop the closure of the only gym in Pictou.
Last month, the YMCA of Pictou County announced it would be closing its satellite facility in Pictou as of today, May 15.
The doors are now closed, but residents in the town are working every angle to get it back up and running.
On Monday night, approximately 50 people gathered, including some new faces, to discuss options.
“Right now we need to focus on how to pay for the equipment and keep the building,” explains David Porter, an interested citizen leading the group.
“Nothing has been decided yet. We have another meeting with Dave MacIntyre (CEO of the YMCA of Pictou County),” says Porter. “He says they are very flexible and want to work with us. The quote we were given to purchase the equipment is $19,500, we felt that was a little too high so we are preparing to make a counter offer.”
The group is also meeting with the Stella Maris Catholic Church in Pictou, the owner of the building, to discuss the exact cost of rent, insurance and any other possible costs.
“We also need to figure out ownership,” says Porter. “We discussed a co-op structure, but we need capital and we need a business plan, which we are looking into as we speak.”
Porter says, “We are not sure what is going to happen on Thursday. We had a very short timeline and to pull off what we have and gotten as far as we have is no minor miracle. But we are looking for a financial commitment from the people.”
He says they did look at the books for the YMCA and it is still quite difficult to determine an exact number for the deficit.
The group will meet tonight, May 15, to ask for the public’s assistance in terms capital.
“This is a large undertaking and not a large window of time. It’s an amazing feat and the fact this many people showed up is promising. But now we have to start doing something and putting our money where our mouth is. It’s a huge leap of faith going into this because there are a lot of unknowns. Everyone seems interested and wants to see the facility remain open, but it is a financial commitment and it can be scary, but this is what has to happen.”
The meeting will take place in the community room at the Maritime Oddfellows Home at
7 p.m. tonight.
Velsoft Training Materials Inc., of New Glasgow took home the award for Exporter of the Year at the 29th annual Export Achievement Awards today, May 14, in Halifax.
“Finally I think there is something immense behind the fact that we have proven, without a doubt, that you can live right here in Nova Scotia and work anywhere in the world,” said Jim Fitt, founder and CEO of Velsoft Training Materials Inc.
Since its inception in 1998, Velsoft’s training materials and technology have been used by more than 10,000 companies in 162 countries. With more than 99 per cent of annual sales outside the province, and 45 per cent of annual revenue from exports outside of North America, Velsoft has built a diverse portfolio. Its customers include Microsoft, NASA, the U.S. Air Force, Pfizer, United Nations, Dell Computers, Lockheed Martin, Hilton International and the Executive Office of the President of the United States of America.
The Nova Scotia Export Achievement Awards celebrate and recognize excellence in the province’s export community.
“One of the ways we can grow our economy and help Nova Scotia prosper is to encourage local companies to export and compete outside our borders,” said Graham Steele, minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. “Each of this year’s award recipients is contributing to Nova Scotia’s success by exporting their products to markets around the world, and I congratulate them on this important achievement.”
Eight other Nova Scotia companies were also honoured:
- Larch Wood Canada, Margaree
- Marcato Digital Solutions, Sydney
- Phoenix Agritech (Canada) Ltd., Truro
- Terra Beata Cranberry Farm, Lunenburg
- Cotter’s Ocean Products Inc., Lockeport
- Van Meekeren Farms, Kentville
- Novatec Braids Ltd., Yarmouth
- CGI Information and Managements Systems, Halifax
The Export Achievement Awards are presented by Nova Scotia Business Inc., and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
NEW GLASGOW – One person was injured in an electrical fire that forced an evacuation of the Highland Square Mall.
The injured person who suffered smoke inhalation was taken by ambulance to the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow.
New Glasgow Regional Police and two fire trucks and an equipment vehicle from the New Glasgow Fire Department, as well as EHS, responded to the call at 8:50 a.m.
“They come here and they put your mind at ease,” said Brian Dobson, the Highland Square’s senior property manager. “We appreciate what they do.”
The entire building was quickly evacuated after two loud bangs could be heard down the mall from an electrical panel arcing. The fire from it was soon put out and damage was limited to the electrical room located at the back west corner of the mall.
“It was under control very quickly,” fire chief Doug Dort said.
Dort could not immediately name a cause of the fire aside from the electrical panel blowing and causing the power outage.
Nova Scotia Power crew were brought in to restore power to the western half the mall affected by the blow out.
The Wal-Mart store beside the mall was unaffected and not evacuated.
The mall has since reopened.
STELLARTON – The Stellarton Albions are hoping continuity among a host of contemporary players will produce a successful baseball season.
The Bantam AA Albions are getting ready for the 2013 season that includes membership in Baseball Nova Scotia’s Bluenose League.
“We’re going to be strong,” coach Kent Mason said. “We’re a big hitting team and we’re good defensively and have strong starting pitching. A lot of the players have been together from when they were five years old, so they know each other. They’ve been together so long that they know their strengths.”
The Albions took some time last Wednesday on the outside grounds at the Sobey Soccer Complex as Mason threw some batting practice for those players who showed up. The Albions expected to be on their home diamond today at the nearby A.N. Sample Field. The team also worked out for the past month and a half at the indoor complex.
“We were killing time before we could get on the field,” Mason said. “It’s been wet but when we saw the sunshine we took advantage.”
The Albions play all their home games at the Sample Field.
They’re preparing for the season by participating in the Nova Scotia Selects tournament in Bridgewater. The regular season scheduled has not been issued yet, but the Albions expect to play during the first weekend in June.
A league meeting has been scheduled for May 20 in Halifax. Important changes to league operations will be discussed at the meeting. Coaching clinics have already taken place on Saturday and Sunday in Antigonish.
Baseball is ramping up in a number of divisions. The MacGregor Kinsmen baseball program will be fielding two AAA baseball teams in Pictou County. Besides the Junior AAA team that will compete in a P.E.I. league this year, the Midget AAAs will return to the playing field.
The Midget AAAs have returned with a new head coach Ryan Thibeau, who is from the Yarmouth baseball program and now works as a fire inspector for the Town of Truro. The team will be in the Baseball Nova Scotia Bluenose League this summer.
The Junior AAAs are new this summer, with two new coaches, Scott Fisher and Brad Skinner, who bring several years of baseball experience and have been part of the Midget AAAs for the past number of years.
SCOTSBURN – Dave MacLennan hopes he can achieve a qualifying time at this year’s Blue Nose Marathon for the 2014 BAA Marathon in Boston.
MacLennan will be 50 when the Boston date arrives, which will place him in a different category and required a slower qualifying time.
The Blue Nose run will start at 8 a.m. on May 19. Its route includes crossing the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge, parts of North End and South End Halifax, as well as roads around Lake Banook and Lake Micmac in Dartmouth.
MacLennan was runner-up in a time of two hours, 49 minutes and 18 seconds at the 2012 Blue Nose Marathon to Mike MacKinnon of Miscouche, P.E.I., but he has won the race before.
He was sixth at the inaugural marathon in 2008, won the race in 2:36:06 in 2009 and was second to Greg Wieczorek of Halifax in 2010.
MacLennan is also a perennial contender for the Johnny Miles Marathon and plans to contest it again this year during the running event weekend in June. He won the 2012 marathon in a chip time of 2:46:31. It was his second straight win and the ninth time he has won the marathon, eclipsing the win total of eight by Bob Russell.
NEW GLASGOW – The North Nova Scotia Gryphons have fired the first salvo in its effort to claim a new rugby trophy being contested by male high school teams this spring.
The host Gryphons defeated the Northumberland Nighthawks 59-0 on April 30 in both their male and female matches, with the male teams contesting the trophy for the first time after it was formally introduced before their game.
The trophy is intended to be presented to the top male high school team in Pictou County at the end of each spring season. It will be presented after the teams’ second meeting when the Nighthawks host the Gryphons in Alma on May 16.
The club is considering a similar trophy for the local female teams once funds can be raised for it.
Cole Livingstone led North Nova’s win with three tries, while Dave Barker had two and Scott Graham, Nelson Williams, Daniel Forrest and Carson Dunbar each had one try
Ryan Camp had four conversions and Mark Vokey added three.
“It was a frustrating game,” Northumberland coach John Rushton said. “We played better in the first half against North Nova, but I was disappointed with how we let up in the second half.”
The North Nova girls romped to a 58-5 victory over the Nighthawks on April 30 in their only game last week.
Tori MacCuish, Keeley MacCuish, Marie LeBlanc and Rosalee Skinner each scored two tries, while Shelby F. MacDonald and Brianna Jobe added one try apiece. Paige Clarke added four converts.
Isobel DeMont scored Northumberland’s try.
North Nova’s boys won twice before losing their cross over match to host Three Oaks on Saturday during the annual David R. Voye tournament in Summerside, P.E.I.
Livingstone scored two tries in North Nova’s opening 24-0 victory over Saint John High School. Camp had a try and a conversion, while Vokey added a try.
Camp’s penalty kick was the only points in the Gryphons’ next match, a 3-0 victory over Montague, P.E.I.
North Nova went 1-2 in their three games last weekend at the Three Oaks tournament, losing to Horton and Three Oaks before defeating a team from Saint John, N.B.
“It was a good experience and gave us a chance to give everyone lots of playing time,” Gryphons’ coach Dougal MacInnis said.
The Northumberland boys went 0-3 at the tournament, but Rushton felt it was a good learning experience for the team.
The remaining schedule includes North Nova’s male and female teams in Truro to play their Cobequid counterparts on Thursday, while North Nova will visit the Dr. J.H. Gillis Royals in Antigonish on Thursday.
Both of North Nova’s teams will visit their Northumberland opponents in Alma on May 16 to complete the regular season.
Northumberland’s teams visit Hants East on Thursday.
Semifinal playoffs will feature the first seed hosting the fourth seed and the second seed hosting the third seed in both male and female divisions on May 21, with the winners contesting their respective championships on May 23 at the home of the higher seed.
NEW GLASGOW – Three members of the boys’ track and field team from North Nova Education Centre in New Glasgow that will represent Nova Scotia in the 2013 Nike High School Grand Prix invitational track and field meet this week in Toronto say they’re looking forward to the event.
Sam Cameron, Ryan Washburn and Spencer MacDonald will be among athletes from across Canada taking part in the meet from Thursday through Sunday at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium.
Cole Harbour District High School girls’ team is also representing the province.
Track and field events include: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m run, 110m hurdles (boys), 100m hurdles (girls), long jump, high jump, shot-put, and the 4 x 100m cross-provincial relay.
“It’s exciting,” says Cameron, who is taking part in triple and long jump events.
“There’s going to be a lot of skill,” says Washburn, who is entered in the 400 and 800 metre distances. “It’s not just this school. It’s provincial teams. It’s a more experienced camp.”
MacDonald says the event will help North Nova’s track and field athletes prepare for the high school meets coming up later.
“It’s surreal,” he says. “We’ve been looking forward to this for a couple of months. It’s going to be competitive, but we’re all looking forward to the provincials back here.”
The teams will test their skills against athletes from all 12 provinces and territories.
The NNEC track team is one of 24 teams across Canada selected to compete.
More than 280 high school track and field student athletes from across the country have been selected for the event that is entering its second year.
One male and one female high school level team from 12 provinces and territories have been selected based on merits of sportsmanship, excellence in sport, dedication to academics and school spirit. Participants will attend social events throughout the weekend, including Nike athlete panels, sightseeing tours of Toronto and an awards banquet.
Each team member had to raise $650 from community donations and fundraising events and they were able to meet that financial requirement.
North Nova’s team will skip the district track and field meet that’s taking place today and Friday at the Pioneer Coal track and field facility in Stellarton.
The team has been given a bye to the Northumberland Regional meet slated for May 26 and 27 at the same facility.
The provincial finals will take place the following week at the Beazley Field in Dartmouth.
STELLARTON – A highly respected Canadian national team member has returned to Pictou County to share his vast knowledge and passion for volleyball.
Rod Walsh impressed upon more than two dozen coaches and young players of varying ages on the need to work long and hard to acquire the skills and take them to the top level possible for them during a volleyball clinic at the G.R. Saunders Elementary School in Stellarton.
Walsh grew up in Merigomish. His volleyball career spans nearly 40 years from playing for long-time head coach Keith Melanson, who organized the clinic, and advancing through university level and eight years on Canada’s national team as an international caliber setter.
The national team came closest to qualifying for the Summer Olympics in 1984. Since then he has been playing on Canada’s national master’s team.
He talked the game, demonstrated the training involved over many years and instilled the fun that comes from performing well in a sport the youth love taking part in.
He shared some of the most basic exercises to train and loosen up for volleyball practices and matches.
“It never felt like work for me because I wanted to be the best,” he said.
Walsh recalled how he resolved to become the best setter possible when he discovered he would only be a reasonably good middle player after he saw how much taller the spikers were that he was competing against.
He came to that realization despite being a Canadian university All-Canadian at one school – Dalhousie University – as a middle player and at another – University of Calgary – as a setter.
He recalled how he got cut from the Canadian junior national team twice before earning his spot on the senior national team.
“I was so fortunate to change to a setter at the national team,” he said. “I took a look at the other players and I knew I would not be a middle player.”
Walsh still lives in Calgary and operates the Precision Volleyball Academy that specializes in training and developing elite male and female volleyball players. The academy’s goal has been to provide top-quality training and skill development for Under-13 to Under-18 players.
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Melanson coaches the Northumberland Nighthawks’ senior varsity female volleyball team that includes Grade 10 student Arianna Gammon and Grade 9 student Jamie Crocket.
“It was so much fun,” she said. “It was awesome. I’ve thought about it, how there’s so much hard work to get there.”
Crocket aspires to play university volleyball and says she appreciated what Walsh shared during the instruction and pick-up games that followed.
“I learned a lot about different movements,” she said. “It makes the game a lot easier. It’s really a team sport off the court and on the court, but I feel closest to my volleyball team when we’re on the court.”
Although volleyball is a fall sport in high school, Melanson has been striving in recent years to give local players the opportunity to play the sport year-round.
He hopes to get the outdoor court at NRHS repaired enough to organize beach volleyball programs this summer.
To the Editor:
Reference the observations of Michael LeBlanc in his letter posted May 1, 2013.
Some might wonder about my persistence in writing letters to the editor on this topic. The answer to that question is simple. I support the veterans and strongly believe they are being wrongly done by!
One cannot help but wonder why the CEO and board members of the PCHA are determined to continue serving these disgusting, reheated meals to the vets in the NVU. Obviously taking the objectionable course they have taken is motivated by a desire to please some entity (other than the veterans) or the public who are incensed about the quality of meals being served. Is it because they made the decision in the first instance and are so arrogant as to take the attitude of ignoring the complaints of the vets, their families and the unwashed masses who disagree? Or, does the Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act provide some insight in regard to their decisions?
It is a matter of public record that the CEO of the PCHA earned a $218,422 for the fiscal year ending 31 March 2012. The doctor on the board earned just over one-quarter million and eight other board members were paid over $100,000 for the same period. Hmmm… with this kind of annual compensation on the line, perhaps it is no wonder budget restraints/reduction, related to veteran’s care, trump “doing the right thing”.
Who signs the paycheques for these people? The CEO and board members are accountable to someone, but obviously that someone is not holding them accountable; or, is in total agreement with the unfortunate decisions they are making.
West Kelowna, BC
To the Editor:
In response to “Assembly line meals for veterans a disgrace” I would again like to clarify a few points concerning this important matter. I was taken aback and very disappointed when I heard of the decision by the Government of Nova Scotia to serve frozen meals at the Northumberland Veterans Unit. Food services are delivered by the local health authority, whose mandate is legislated by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness. I have visited the veterans unit several times, including during meal time, and spoke with our veterans, staff, family members and health authority. I wrote the Nova Scotia Health minister asking for the continuation of fresh meals prepared on site. I ask why Pictou County’s NDP MLAs have been silent on this issue?
I applaud the efforts of the locally formed committee to restore quality food service to our veterans.
I would like to reassure everyone this change was not the result of any interruption to services or benefits administered by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). Since 2006, our federal conservative government has increased VACs budget by 25 per cent. Of this current budget, which exceeds $3.5 billion, the focus is on direct benefits and services for Canada’s veterans and their families.
Our federal Conservative government will continue to support those who have sacrificed so much in service to Canada and Canadians.
MP for Central Nova
To the Editor:
Vector transmitted disease is a growing problem in the world. Lyme (Borellia) is just one of these; May is the month that is focused on bringing awareness of Lyme. There are protests and events planned in various countries around the world.
Nova Scotia is endemic for blacklegged ticks that can carry Lyme disease. There are several areas in Pictou County noted for having Lyme disease. The ticks can be found anywhere and thus there is risk everywhere in our locality.
Lyme is called the great impostor and can mimic many conditions. Some of the conditions include early Alzheimer’s disease, early ALS, arthritis, ADD and ADHD, autism, Bell’s palsy, brain tumour, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, headaches (severe), Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, lupus, memory impairment, MS, optic neuritis, Parkinsons, psychiatric disorders like bipolar and depression, Raynaud’s syndrome, seizure disorders, sleep disorders, thyroid disease, Tourette’s syndrome, urticaria and vertigo.
There is a need for education for everyone. The general population needs information for protecting themselves and doctors need up-to-date information for diagnosing and treating Lyme. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that the diagnosis of Lyme disease be based on clinical grounds relying on an assessment of signs, symptoms and patients’ history and whether the patient has been in an area known to have ticks. Physicians are advised not to rely solely on diagnostic tests, since there may be false negative results.
It is important to become educated. On Wednesday, May 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pictou County Wellness Centre there will be a free Lyme disease information meeting with guest speaker Dr. E. Murakami, president and founder of the Murakami Center for Lyme Research, Education and Assistance Society. All are welcome.
Education is key!
To the Editor:
This year, 2013, will mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, which started on the 25th of June 1950, and ended on the 27th of July 1953. It is commonly referred to as the forgotten war, because it is not as widely recognized as many other wars, such as the First and Second World Wars.
The Korean War is also often referred to as a conflict, rather than a war, trivializing the brutal nature of what was, in our opinion, truly a war. Korean veterans have had to fight for veterans benefits that they deserved, and in our opinion, there is not enough awareness of the Korean War.
The Memorial Club will be honouring the veterans of the Korean War in Yarmouth County, on this, the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, and we hope that other communities will plan similar events.
To all Korean veterans, the Memorial Club loves you and will always be there for you.
Executive member of the Yarmouth High School Memorial Club
To the Editor:
As another provincial election looms the issue of health care is raised once again. As usual, the government defends its failed system as it limps along infusing more and more cash that never seems to translate to services at the community level. Concurrently, the political opposition vaguely vows changes, without putting forth a credible plan to actually do so.
I believe we should hold to account those who represent us, or who hope to do so. The current health delivery system is bloated with bureaucracy and inefficiency and increasingly fails to meet community needs. All too often it seems the priority is to ensure organizational self-interest at the expense of community.
Some years ago Children’s Aid Societies and similar agencies servicing every community in Nova Scotia were eliminated by government. All the community boards were disbanded and all executive management positions eliminated. At the time those organizations collectively were viewed by many as expensive, ineffective, inconsistent, bureaucratic and so out of touch with community as to be feared and loathed. Following dissolution of all community boards, services were delivered directly by the Dept. of Community Services – a bold and innovative move demonstrating courageous leadership. As a result, there is now delivery of uniform family services throughout Nova Scotia.
After nearly a decade, a good working model of direct government service delivery is well established in family services. So, why not in health care? Is it not equally important to government and community to have uniform health services that are efficient and effective?
Across the province for decades now we have witnessed a tiresome failure of every district health authority to meet their budgets without slashing services that are the very essence of their existence. Beds were closed, nurses and doctor positions were left vacant, emergency services reduced, and meal menus compromised. Employee collective agreements nickeled and dimed our most valued front line hospital workers. And all this while budgets ballooned and services diminished.
Never though, it seems, was the health authority bureaucracy targeted.
I believe now’s the time. The current district health authority bureaucracy is where the problem lies. It is unsustainable and must change. The question is: Who will do it, and when? Hopefully the Dept. of Health will demonstrate leadership now and change the structure – perhaps eliminated it altogether as with CAS, maybe phase it out over time, or amalgamate now to rationalize economic and geographic areas rather than silly county boundaries that have no relevance.
Change could be introduced immediately here in the northern region by amalgamating Pictou, GASHA, Colchester and Cumberland into one sensible management unit. One talented CEO backed by a small group of senior leadership representing the four regions could generate tens of millions of dollars in immediate savings and find efficiencies by rationalizing services and avoiding duplication. Staff sharing could reduce community burden caused by vacant positions.
Imagine eliminating three CEOs, dozens of vice-presidents, untold numbers of public relations flacks and other management support positions just here on the North Shore. Clearly the move would free up massive resources to help meet the needs of the community. And I’d bet it would not generate one single negative response at the community level or diminish health care.
Good public relations would be restored. Hospitals need to be respectful and respected partners with communities and when respect is eroded, hospitals fail at their primary job. When conflict arises between minor budget items and the best interests of the community, and bureaucrats impose their will on the people, we all lose.
We are currently viewing how Pictou County Healthy Authority’s CEO, Pat Lee, demonstrates how powerful bureaucrats act when petty financial management becomes the priority at the expense of community values and common sense. His determination to feed frozen, assembly line meals to veterans every day for the rest of their lives is an example of his failure to respect and value his most vulnerable patients, their families and community values.
As public outrage builds over the frozen dinners flap, another sad story emerges from Mr Lee’s hospital. This time it’s about mishandling valuable personal property belonging to former patients. Reports reveal that priceless, personal wartime artifacts went missing including medals, honours and decorations once cherished and proudly worn at public functions by a brave soldier. These items are still in the hospital’s possession years after they were “found.” It is tragic the hospital failed to ensure these treasures were kept safe and secure at the time their owner called the hospital his home. It was carelessness that they were not immediately and respectfully and appropriately returned to family afterward.
I believe a unique, new model of health care delivery must be shaped, one that is sensitive to community needs and our ability to pay. Nova Scotia’s tiny, aging population of under a million residents cannot sustain the current system of regional fiefdoms that are bloated with highly paid executive staff. I hope we can rationalize health care delivery now and make it efficient, effective, affordable and sensitive to community needs once again.
To the Editor:
Vaccines save lives and prevent disease. April 20-27 is World Immunization Week, a time to remind readers of the importance of immunizing you and your loved ones.
One hundred years ago, infectious diseases were the leading cause of death worldwide. In Canada, they now cause less than 5 per cent of all deaths thanks to immunization programs across the country. It has been said that immunization has saved more lives in Canada in the last 50 years than any other health intervention. Immunization is the single most cost effective health investment, making it a cornerstone in the effort to promote health.
Vaccines are safe and effective. Immunization protects individuals and communities by preventing the spread of disease. As more people are immunized, the risk of disease is reduced for everyone.
We encourage parents and grandparents to get immunized for Pertussis (whooping cough) to help protect infants and young children around them.
Parents should make sure their children participate in the immunization clinics offered in the schools by Public Health Services.
Nova Scotians have access to a number of vaccines free of charge. The recommended vaccination schedule for children and adults can be found on the Department of Health and Wellness website at www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/cdpc/immunization.asp. Visit Immunize Canada’s website www.immunize.ca.
The whole community benefits when we all get immunized. Contact your family doctor, nurse practitioner or Public Health Services to learn more about immunizations that will benefit your family.
Public Health Nurses
Pictou County Health Authority