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Pulling in the right direction

We all know how fast a fire truck can go when it has to, but how fast do you think you could make a fire truck go—without using the gas pedal?
The Pictou County United Way is not only giving you the chance to try it, but they are also making a fun day out of it.
The 2014 Pulling for Change event will put teams in a race—literally—with each other to see who is able to pull a fire truck, all 20,000 pounds of it, a distance of 50 feet, faster than the other teams.
“It’s a new event for us,” said Jessica Smith, executive director of the Pictou County United Way.
“We wanted to do a kick off for our campaign.
“We’re going to have some prizes and trophies,” said Smith.
The awards will go to teams that achieve the fastest time, the best effort and exhibit the best spirit. Teams are encouraged to dress up and have fun with the event.
“We’ve been getting work places getting teams together,” said Smith. “We’ve been getting workplace teams researching how to pull trucks the fastest, too.”
As well as workplace teams, there have been some interest in women’s teams as well.
“If we have enough teams to put together a ladies division we’d love to do that,” Smith said.
The event will be held September 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pictou County Wellness Centre parking lot, Westville Road, and promises fun for the whole family. There will be children’s events organized by Kid’s First family resource centre, and a barbecue fundraiser going on as well.
“Not one person can pull a fire truck by themselves, the same as not one person can change a community themselves,” Smith said.

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Residents oppose process to expand oyster industry

LITTLE HARBOUR – A public hearing last Thursday ran into a phalanx of opposition by residents in and around Little Harbour and Merigomish Harbour to proposed oyster farms in Pictou County.
Officials with the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture hosted public meetings on proposed shellfish aquaculture sites and amendment applications for existing sites along Munroe’s Island, near Caribou Harbour, as well as Merigomish Harbour, and Little Harbour.
While the discussion was far less contentious for the Munroe’s Island applications, some residents around Merigomish Harbour and Little Harbour opposed the restrictions on recreational boating where the new farms would be located, besides those that already exist. Some people didn’t know that oyster harvesting is already being done along their shorelines.
“Most of these sites affect people,” Jeff Chisholm said.
The audience was told the current applications have been pending for some time and the department wants to process them before applying new regulations.
There are two techniques for harvesting the oysters. Bottom bed methods are less intrusive than the off-bottom bag alternative where oysters are grown close to the water’s surface.
The meeting on Wednesday at the Caribou District Fire Hall dealt with one new application and one amendment to an existing operation.
Thursday’s meeting at the Little Harbour Community Centre was supposed to deal with two amendments and six new applications.
Harry Munro suggested Thursday’s meeting had too many lease applications and should have been broken up.
“These should be a series of four or five meetings,” he said.
“The process is broken,” said Phil Caulier, formally from New Glasgow whose family spends its summers in the area. “We get no communication, angst gets building. We want economic development, but we have families who have assets here.”
Brian Langille was among those who suggested the entire application process should stop and be reconsidered.
“You’re not just getting opposition,” he told the panelists. “This is a regulatory train wreck. There is an implicate bias that this is a machine for granting leases.”
Deputy Warden Andy Thompson said the province should have gone beyond the obligatory newspaper advertisements and sent out notices by registered mail to affected residents.
“You need to find a way to engage landowners,” he said. “The meeting here should have happened a year ago.”

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Couple enjoys pilgrimage to Hector Heritage Quay

PICTOU – A couple with a passion for Pictou and the Ship Hector feel at home once again.
Cathy Martinelli-Zaun and Will Bradley once lived in Pennsylvania and now winter in Texas. They have no home and live out of a van they reside in as they travel across the continent.
But it’s Pictou that tugs most on their heartstrings.
“It feels like coming home,” Martinelli-Zaun said.
They first arrived in 1998, when the Ship Hector replica was conceived and returned the follow year to help build it and in 2000 for its official launch. They also were in Pictou when the ship was being rigged and visited the area in 2007.
“We painted the gift shop blue in 2007,” Martinelli-Zaun recalled.
The couple credits Vern Shea to allowing them the opportunity to help build the ship on their first visit in 1998.
“He had us up to his offices, where he took out a lot of pans and blueprints,” Bradley said. “The more he talked about it, the more excited he got and it got us excited. Cathy and I talked about it all winter. We could not get this town out of our heads. There was something about Pictou. There still is.”
The couple arrived in 1999, ready to work on the Hector.
“I said ‘Hi Vern. We’re here,’” Bradley said. “He said, ‘You get some steel-toed shoes.’ We did.”
“We worked right along with the crew,” Martinelli-Zaun. “We were planking and plugging.”
They painted the captain’s door numerous times because someone kept coming up with different colour schemes.
One of their biggest thrills came when Lawrence LeBlanc, who was Pictou’s mayor at the time, made them citizens of the town.
“They came to Pictou. Worked on the Ship Hector and loved every second of it,” LeBlanc said.
This time, with masts only recently replaced and restored and yards being prepared so that the ship can be rigged once again, Cathy and Will share the anticipation and energy associated with caring for the Hector.
“When we came in 1998, all they had was enthusiasm,” Bradley said. “We see everything is poised.”

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County accepts conditional offer for former municipal building

PICTOU – A conditional offer to purchase the former municipal building in Pictou is on the table.
Warden Ronald Baillie of Pictou County Municipal Council confirmed the deal, but did not disclose the buyer, nor the sale price. It has been listed for sale at $75,000.
“We have accepted an offer the building,” he said.
The purchaser placed a lower offer on the building site unseen and was planning to view it this week.
“The plans are to restore it but other than that we don’t know how it will be used,” Baillie said.
The building was once a jail before being converted into municipal office use.
It went on the market after the municipality moved into its current facility near the Pictou Rotary in January 2009.

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Blue skies for blueberries

The blueberry season this year has been good to Richard MacCallum and his blueberries.
With sunny skies earlier in the summer and a little help from some herring nets MacCallum, 12, has been able to pick a fair amount of blueberries to sell at the New Glasgow Farmers Market.
“It’s been pretty good, there’s quite a bit,” said MacCallum who had his table set up on Saturday outside the farmers market despite the rainy weather.
MacCallum and his father purchased five more, high bush blueberry bushes at West River Green houses this year, adding to their collection of bushes they already have making 15 in total.
MacCallum has been growing blueberries for as long as he can remember.
As for pests, he has a few problems. “Raccoons,” said MacCallum.
“They dug up the new plants the day after you planted them,” said his mother, Jackie MacCallum. She says her son gets up at 9 a.m. every morning and picks a couple of pints to bring to the farmers market.
MacCallum attributes the success of the blueberries this year to “the nets put over (the bushes) and it was sunny.” He also shares that his favourite part of growing blueberries is, “making money and eating them.”
The blueberry season runs from the end of July to the end of August, meaning that next week will probably be the last time this year that you can catch MacCallum and his blueberries at the New Glasgow Farmer’s Market.

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Challenge accepted: Advocate reporter takes Ice Bucket Challenge

Some might equate a cold bucket of water dumped over their head as a paralyzing experience.
The paralyzing effect that cold water had is nothing compared to that of having ALS.
Over the last couple weeks I have been seeing videos popping up all over every social media platform imaginable of people dumping a bucket of water over their heads. I can’t lie; I was secretly hoping I wouldn’t be nominated at first because I really didn’t want to dump water over my head. But when my little brother was nominated I knew I had it coming.
I did a little research when I first heard about the challenge though; a little video research that is. I came across two videos that really hit me hard.
One was about a man who was only in his late 20s. He did the ice bucket challenge with humour, but went on afterward to let the whole world know that he had been diagnosed with ALS and was scared out of his mind because he knew what his fate would be. In the video he was crying.
The second video was a man who has ALS and is confined to a wheelchair. He wanted to participate in the ice bucket challenge so, with some help, he was helped up and had the bucket of water poured over his head.
When it came time to do my ice bucket challenge, I was enthused to help raise money for this cause.
I enlisted my younger cousins to help out and suited up in spandex shorts and a tee shirt. After collecting a cooler as my bucket and a bag of ice from the local store, we all went outside and filled the bucket up with the hose. It turned out that two of my younger cousins were nominated as well so they took their turn after me. Sitting on a lawn chair in front of my Nana’s deck, the video began.
Now I have been somewhat polar bear dipping before, if you can call jumping into the Bay of Fundy on a windy day in early May polar bear dipping that is. I have also jumped into a bathtub full of ice when I was a little kid on a hot day, just for fun. But somehow those don’t quite compare to the kind of cold this was. Not to mention that a cooler filled to the top is a bit more than a regular-sized bucket.
Nonetheless, I screamed a little and it was hard to catch my breath from the cold water being doused on me. But I had fun in the end.
Afterward I promptly posted the video to Facebook, and later Twitter and was sure to tag my victims…uh, I mean nominees.
I know that this challenge is not one meant to be fun so much as raise awareness, but that is also what makes it so successful in raising awareness – it’s fun. Who doesn’t like to see something funny happen to a friend, or somebody be a little foolish for a good cause?
Even a lot of high stakes celebrities have been getting in on the action, trying to outdo one another with crazy schemes as to how they can dump water on their head. If you haven’t checked out Bill Gates, Charlie Sheen, and Paul Bissonnette do their challenges yet I would highly recommend it. Alternatively, Josh Ramsay of Marianas Trench took a different approach to the challenge, which I would recommend watching, although I would like to note there is some cursing in the video.
When you think about it, it is amazing the impact of social media these days. A disease that not many people had heard of a few months ago has become a phenomenon for nationwide support and donations.
However, I hope that the message of awareness and the seriousness of this disease are not lost in all of the social media fun. Rather than dumping a bucket of water over your head just because your friends are doing it, or because otherwise you have to donate $100, I would recommend doing the challenge if you like, but donating to the cause anyway.
Serious diseases like Lou Gehrig’s disease are something that has touched everyone’s life in some way, and often times with social media fun like the ALS ice bucket challenge, we forget why we are doing these things.
So now I challenge you, to take the ALS ice bucket challenge. You can dump the water on your head if you like, but I can honestly say that I would rather people do a little research about ALS, and donate to the cause, because it is a worthy one. No one should have to live with this.

Man with ALS taking the challenge:
Younger man with ALS. Video is weird at first, the rest is touching:

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Tour shows daunting challenge to replace pulp mill’s precipitator

ABERCROMBIE POINT – The scope of the job to replace a failed electrostatic precipitator at Northern Pulp was evident during a tour of the mill last week to view the work outside the mill to construct a new one.
Senior project engineer Hugh MacDougall led a tour that included structural steel being set in for a raised cradle for the precipitator on the mill’s west side, high enough for railcars to pass underneath the completed structure.
The work is scheduled to be done by May 2015, while a recent ministerial order from the Department of the Environment mandates that the new precipitator must be up and running by end of May.
“I’m hearing the frustration,” MacDougall said, regarding calls for the province to close the mill until the work is done.
MacDougall rendered that call moot, considering the unit has been ordered but requires customized assembly that in some instances has not started yet. “It’s not like a furnace filter,” he said.
What’s being done now is assembly of the frame to house the precipitator. It will be nearly as high as the pulp mill and trap the particulates in the steam created from the pulping process before the steam is emitted through the stacks.
The new unit will replace the original one that is encased inside the mill and will remain there once it is decommissioned.
Spokesman David MacKenzie said, “The new precipitator will be much larger than the size of the existing precipitator. Most of us don’t have a sense of how large the existing unit is because it is inside the main steam plant building.”
MacKenzie repeated his often-used explanation that plans were in the works to replace the precipitator, which he said began malfunctioning sooner than plant officials thought it would.
Like most items built from scratch, the precipitator project underwent conceptual design and costing phases before parts could be ordered through Clyde-Bergemann, a firm based in Hanover, Md.
Local firms – such as Leil Cranes, Higgins Construction and the MacGregor Machine Shop – are among those retained for the work.
Most of the construction to date is hidden from view, MacKenzie said.
Exterior panels for the box covering the precipitator may also be fashioned in the Maritimes.

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Skills program gets $198,000 in funding

The Summer Street Industries Skills Link program received more than $198,000 to continue next year.
Ten graduates of this year’s program were in attendance for the announcement made Tuesday at Summer Street Industries by Central Nova MP Peter MacKay.
The presentation was made by MacKay, on behalf of the minister of state (social development), Candice Bergen.
“I think it really enhances our overall community,” MacKay said about the program. “This opens doors and creates opportunities.”
The program teaches its students valuable skills such as first aid and WHMIS training, along with more practical knowledge like how to manage money and stick to a budget. After training and classes, the participants are put into work placement at businesses such as Summer Street Industries and Giant Tiger. This year’s participants are getting ready to enter their work placement.
“The funding will just go toward supporting the program,” said Courtney Cameron, Skills Link instructor.
One of the most important things about the program said Cameron is, “the opportunity that it gives someone that doesn’t know where to turn.”
Most of the participants have graduated from high school, and wanted to get into the work force but maybe couldn’t get their foot in the door or didn’t know where to start.
“It’s amazing the difference from the beginning of the program to the end of it,” Cameron said.
The students are proof that it makes a difference not only in their life, job and skills, but it boosts their confidence as well.
“First of all I’ve managed to land a job,” said Rebecca Neville, a Skills Link 2014 participant. “I’ve also become more independent.”
Neville recently landed a job working at the front desk at Summer Street Industries, and credits the program with giving her the confidence to be able to answer phones and direct people with questions.
The most valuable thing she has learned she said is, “Just how to budget and keep control of your money.
“I’ve ended up learning a lot of things. I just think it’s a huge opportunity,” Neville said. “I don’t know where I’d be without it.”
The skills link program held in New Glasgow is one of many similar programs across the country.
MacKay emphasized during his presentation the importance of programs like this.
“I do feel very passionate about this program,” MacKay said. “They will be able to live more independently.
“I think it demonstrates that everyone has something to give.”

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County, two towns ink MOU

The historic step by three local municipalities of formally signing a memorandum of understanding to forge ahead with a governance and shared services study has drawn immediate favour from various sources.
Warden Ronald Baillie on behalf of the Municipality of Pictou County, together with Mayor Barrie MacMillan of New Glasgow and Mayor Joe Hawes of Pictou formally signed the documents during a ceremony Friday at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
Business leaders present at the event were quick to praise the signing. So was Jack Kyte, executive director of the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce which has supported amalgamation and endorsed the previous push to conducted a shared services and governance study among the six local municipalities.
“The Chamber of Commerce fully supports this effort,” he said. “We’re very pleased to hear the municipalities are intending to work with the business community to make Pictou County more business friendly.”
Advocate Printing and Publishing President and CEO Sean Murray, who was appointed to head an action team to seek and secure more business opportunities for the county, endorsed the MOU signing.
“We have a choice,” he said. “We can be on the map or like everyone else.”
Baillie, who chairs the local mayors and warden committee, outlined the urgency of the MOU and the subsequent merging of supporting municipalities into a regional government in time for municipal elections in 2016.
“The Ivany Report, Now or Never, clearly outlines that we as citizens of Nova Scotia need to be open and embrace change in order to move our province forward,” he said.
“The same is true for Pictou County. This MOU is a call to action that will provide a fact-based analysis on the formation of regional government in Pictou County.”
He said the three units agree in a user pay cost recovery model for taxation, that citizens should pay for the services that benefit all citizens and that the MOU signed on Friday does not change the tax rates for the participating municipalities.
MacMillan said his council understands and supports “transformational change in the governance and operations of municipalities within Pictou

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County. Our region needs a hard, hard reset as we work towards building a vibrant and prosperous future for our citizens and businesses as well as ensuring we have a strong quality of place in attracting new citizens and investment to our region.”
Hawes said the co-signers realize understand the conseqneuces of proceeding with the study.
“We know we’re putting ourselves out of business, but we’re doing the right thing for the region,” Hawes said.
“We have a lot of work to do,” MacMillan said. “This is about bringing municipal government up to current requirements.”
Baillie said Stellarton, Trenton and Westville – which have undergone a separate service review – will have the opportunity to participate.
“The MOU document to be signed here this morning has been provided to the Towns of Stellarton, Trenton and Westville for their review, comment and ultimately their participation,” he said. “We encourage and welcome open dialogue regarding a regional commitment.”
Retired businessman Jim MacConnell welcomed the signing and expressed the hope all six units would take part.
“We need to make sure the three others feel welcome to come on board,” he said. “We need them and they need us.”

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Another Abercrombie title for Kevin Scott

It seems I’ve known Kevin Scott almost forever. But, to be a bit more accurate, I’ve known him since the day he was born 37 years ago.
For several reasons.
Kevin’s father, retired school teacher Dave Scott, was born on the same day in 1941 as my sister Barbara at the old Aberdeen Hospital on Stellarton Road. They were roommates for the first few days of their lives – a fact we never let them forget.
As well, Dave has been a very close personal friend of mine for more than 50 years. No complaints there. A guy couldn’t have a better pal than him, even if we don’t see eye-to-eye in either hockey or baseball, real or fantasy.
Another connection: Dave’s wife Kathy and my wife Jane were roommates for three years when they training to be nurses at the Aberdeen Hospital in the 1960s. In fact, Dave and I doubled-dated the two gals the first time we took them out. Following their graduation in 1967, Jane and I married three months later; Kathy and Dave tied the knot eight years later (he always admitted to being rather slow.)
But let’s get back to Kevin.
Two weekends ago, he won the Abercrombie Golf Club’s championship. It wasn’t the first time, either. Or the second, or the third. It was his fourth triumph in the annual event.
That’s a pretty good achievement at any club, maybe moreso on a course as tough as Abercrombie. But he’s certainly played the layout enough times to know all of its fairways and greens.
He’s a good golfer and he knows the sport well. Besides playing in significant events like the Nova Scotia Amateur, he watches a lot of golf on television and, at one time years ago, he worked at the Abercrombie course.
Yet golf wasn’t his first exposure to competitive sports.
While growing up on New Glasgow’s west side, he participated in a number of sports.
In the early years, hockey was the most important one to him. He came up through the New Glasgow minor hockey system with players like Colin White, Jon Sim and Derrick Walser, all of whom went on to careers in professional hockey, White and Sim both becoming Stanley Cup champions.
I don’t think it ever bothered Scott that he didn’t follow his friends into the pro ranks. He was just happy to have been playing the game.
In fact, he was happy at whatever sport he was playing.
Having played three seasons with Sim and five years with White, Kevin had good reason to be thrilled when the Pictonians played on NHL championship clubs.
At the time, Scott told me it was pretty impressive that a community as small as Pictou County produced two Stanley Cup winners. He pointed out that the county was always a good hockey community and the successes by Sim and White would keep hockey at a high level in the county for a long time.
And it wasn’t just hockey that kept Kevin busy in his early years. He also played baseball, basketball, soccer and, of course, golf.
He loved them all. In other words, he was a kid just happy being able to compete.
Like most youngsters, he was on skates at a very young age. But he was nine or 10 before he began swinging golf clubs.
Before he ever played his first round, he knew the Abercrombie layout like the back of his hand. Many times he walked the course, collecting golf balls in bushes, behind trees, wherever wayward shots wound up.
He was still pretty young when he realized he might be able to do well at the sport. That occurred to him after he won an age-group at the provincial level. That, perhaps more than anything, was the trigger that got him started seriously.
In 1995, when he was 18 years old, he made the provincial junior team for the first time, qualifying him to participate in the national tournament in Saint John that summer.
He enjoyed representing Nova Scotia, and it was surely a thrill playing against the best juniors in the country. It was an experience he had again the next year. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the chance to make it three years in a row because of age restrictions. His 20th birthday came just one day too soon to allow him to play in the 1997 championship.
His working days at Abercrombie, under pro Terry White, came while he was studying at St. Francis Xavier University, where he obtained a business degree. He also worked at Eagles Chance Golf Centre, and in Abercrombie’s pro shop with the unofficial title of associate pro.
It was only natural that Kevin thought about a career as a club professional. However, things went in a different direction. He is well established in his position as manager of internal reporting systems at Sobeys head office in Stellarton.
For those of us who knew him from the beginning, we weren’t really surprised that he got into sports, and did well at them.
Dave had been a left-handed pitcher in his baseball days and, at one time, was with Stellarton in the Pictou County Twilight Baseball League.
I’ve often told people about the game in which Dave was wilder than wild, that he walked 12 batters in a single inning. But all this time later – he’s 20 years retired from his teaching job in Stellarton – I will publicly admit for the first time that the story about the 12 walks may have been a wee bit exaggerated. Or was it?
When it comes to Kevin’s golf victories, however, there is no exaggeration that he has now won the Abercrombie club championship for a fourth time. That is a true accounting.

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Midget AAAs win provincial title

STELLARTON – The MacGregor Kinsmen AAA Midget baseball club capped off a remarkable season by winning provincials last weekend.
After returning home from their ninth place finish in the Baseball Canada national championship in Quebec, the MacGregor Kinsmen were eager to prove they were the best Midget AAA team in the province.
On four days rest they opened the provincial tournament with a 11-1 shellacking of Sydney Mines Friday. The MacGregor Kinsmen got off to a slow start on Saturday, losing 9-0 to Hammonds Plains but followed the loss with a 10-1 walloping of West Nova. This put the MacGregor Kinsmen into second place in their division.
In the semifinals on Sunday morning, the MacGregor Kinsmen were matched up with the tournament leaders and hosts from Woodlawn and came out on top of a 5-3 score, putting them into the championship.
Hammonds Plains was the opponent in the title match. The MacGregor Kinsmen came out looking to avenge their earlier drubbing and posted one run in the first to open the scoring and added four more runs in the third en route to a 5-3 win.
Colby Russell was dominant on the mound, keeping the Hammonds Plains batters off balance through six innings. Russell gave up five hits, two earned runs and four walks, while striking out four.
Ryan McPhee sealed the deal in relief.
The win was the final jewel in the rare triple crown of the Midget AAA league as the MacGregor Kinsmen won national eliminations, the league title and provincial championship.

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Now’s the time to pull together

I believe Pictou County has had it too easy for a long time.
Michelin Tire with 1,000 jobs. A call centre that stayed open longer than its original commitment. A pulp mill that has pumped roughly $1.5 billion into the economy over the past 20 years alone (my conservative estimate which is probably low). An amazing group of innovative metal fabricators employing several hundred people, a progressive regional hospital and health foundation. Canada’s leading grocery retailer. MacKay Meters exporting worldwide. Information technology companies like Velsoft and WebBuilders marketing across North America and internationally. We are known for our excellent trucking companies. We have forest related businesses, coal mining, farming and fishing industries and a very active tourism sector. We even have an ocean port, airport, access to an excellent highway and rail service.
I worked in Queens County for 10 years. It is a county with less than half the population of Pictou County and it was dependent on one primary industry, Bowater Mersey Paper Company. The loss of “Mersey” has been hard to swallow and you have to tip your hat to the people in Queens who are fighting back to diversify their economy. I suspect they would look at Pictou County with a certain degree of envy.
Yet to many in our local area and our friends in the big city, Pictou County seems to be on its knees. The announcement that Michelin is closing a tire line, the closure of the Convergys call centre and the community action against Northern Pulp have made headlines across the province and beyond. These are all things that none of us want. But before we wave the white flag, let’s step back and put some things in perspective.
The Michelin plant in Granton is still one of Atlantic Canada’s leading manufacturers and an excellent employer and is committed to Pictou County. Hopefully, Northern Pulp will resolve its environmental issues with a long-term plan for continuing improvements and public involvement. And let’s be optimistic we can find a business to establish here to the benefit of the Convergys employees.
I see these recent events as a wake-up call. Jobs are precious and we need to do whatever we can as a community to preserve the health of our citizens and support a diverse and growing economy. This is worth doing. It is not a time to be pessimistic about Pictou County. We need to pull together more than ever.
Our community and business leaders need to set aside a degree of self-interest and act for the overall good. We need to get our pride back and build on our strengths, of which we have so many.
The best example of leadership I have seen in recent months is that shown by Chief Andrea Paul of the Pictou Landing First Nation. She has a goal to improve her community. She has a long-term perspective and is making very difficult and complicated decisions for her community. She involves her people every step of the way. We can learn from Chief Paul.
The events of recent weeks have branded Pictou County as a bad place to live and work. We all know that is not true.
Let’s find a way to turn this around. The Chamber of Commerce will do what we can to make it happen. How about you?

Jack Kyte is executive director, Pictou County Chamber of Commerce

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Local skill sets tested at Future Link events

MOUNT WILLIAM – Future Links golf remains a reliable way to measure and improve golf kills, Brian Affleck says.
Affleck, who operates the Brian Affleck Golf Academy, hosted a series of Future Links skills competitions in July at part of his skills instruction that he has been operating through the summer and ended last Thursday at Eagles Chance.
The Future Links sessions attracted about 120 young golfers to the three local golf courses: Abercrombie Country Club, Glen Lovat Golf Course and Eagles Chance on the final day on July 31.
Skills tested include driving irons, chipping and putting.
“The skill level is good – the kids are improving very fast,” Affleck said. “It’s about developing and having fun.”
Devin Fraser was among five golfers from Eagles Chance who were named to a list of alternates for the national event.
“I like playing golf,” she said. “It’s fun. I like playing and getting better.”
She said putting is the best part of her game.
The others were Joseph Mason, Keighan DeCoff, Colin MacGillivray and Noah Wilkinson.

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Early letters a foreshadow of today

To the Editor:
There is a daily stream of media “Mill” comments, pictures, letters, etc., so I decided to join in, or to be more precise, to continue what my deceased brother John started while at university, with letters to The Pictou Advocate in 1970.
One statement in one letter hits home very strongly:
“Until people begin to demand more care in the operation of the new industries that promise to inject new life in Nova Scotia’s economy, they could be training clean airomic stability.”
It is distressing to read the response from the Advocate’s columnist, ‘Tillie Thompson,’ a pseudonym, whose real name is not as important as her writing, that the jobs are more critical than some of the negatives associated with industry. How wrong could these comments be – my brother was chastised for being critical of government for being pro industry and which displayed a wanton lack of regard for the environment which they continue to this day.
In 1970 my brother and I purchased a property at Braeshore but unfortunately, my brother died late in 1970 so never came back from the University of Alberta to enjoy Nova Scotia. “Tillie” accused him of being “a from away” whose opinions were not highly valued.
My wife and I continue to appreciate what Nova Scotia, Pictou and Braeshore have to offer. Fortunately, we are only impacted by the “Mill’ air effluent a few days a year but we are never sure what impact Boat Harbour effluent has had on the waters of the Northumberland Strait.
In a perfect world, The Pictou Advocate would acknowledge the 1970 wisdom of John Desborough and strongly criticize the series of governments for their total lack of stewardship of our health, a commodity that is priceless once one no longer enjoys good health especially if it as a result of man-made pollutants.
Dr. Dan Reid tried to raise a red flag about the ‘Mill’ effluent impacts on cancer rates several years ago but also was criticized for daring to threaten jobs because of health issues.
One final comment is, as an engineer, I am not clear on the connection between the much talked about precipitators that remove particulates, AND odour. Do the precipitators remove the offensive odour?
Odour is a pollutant if it is offensive to folks at ground level and is a subjective quality of effluent and not, I suspect, subject to any government regulations or permit to operate.
A lot of work by government and ‘The Mill’ owners is necessary immediately to right the wrongs committed over the past 45-plus years.
Rod Desborough

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Northern Pulp: Why not a more positive approach?

To the Editor:
I have worked in the industrial sector for 40 years, two of those at Scott Maritimes, mostly in the power plant. I then moved on to other ventures in the industrial world mainly focused on engineering and construction of industrial/commercial facilities across Canada.
One of my many responsibilities was working with local authorities to ensure compliance with building codes, fire codes and environmental guidelines.
Throughout my career I became acquainted with many very qualified people in the engineering, insurance and legal sectors of industry and also many skilled tradesmen. Their advice was invaluable in some of the day-to-day decisions I had to make to ensure successful completion of projects.
When I read the letters and advertisements targeting Northern Pulp and hear some of the other media coverage on radio and TV, I wonder were the sources behind them are getting their advice.
The value of the full page ad which discusses the dangers of PM2.5 is questionable. Most people don’t even know what PM2.5 means. Publishing this sort of information will certainly get the attention of some people. The data is recorded by instruments installed in the boiler stacks. The ad gives no indication of concentration or percentage of the total volume for each chemical.
This mixture of hot gasses exits the stacks more than 200 feet above ground. It is dispersed into the atmosphere mixing with fresh air and consequently is diluted.
My response after reading the ad is this: How accurate is this data and what relevance does it have to the level of toxicity at street level in Pictou or on top of Green Hill?
It has been suggested that a proper air quality study be done. That would certainly be of value. My research indicates a proper study would cover a 10 km radius, take more than six months and cost hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars.
It makes sense to support the efforts of Northern Pulp. They have plans for modifications in their September shut down which will reduce emissions from 670 to 500 mg/m3 which is 25 per cent. By any standard, that is a huge improvement. New equipment to be installed in 2015 should again improve these numbers. They are trying to improve the emission levels by working with industry specialists who have experience with the installed equipment and know its design limitations. It would be interesting to see some comments from these specialists published.
Northern Pulp has to have a business plan to operate at a profit. If they are operating at a profit and have a plan to reinvest then there is hope the emissions situation will improve to an acceptable level.
Continuous negative publicity can endanger Northern Pulp’s ability to generate capital for improvements and also their insurability.
I have witnessed operations larger than this mill shut down because they were not profitable.
Every piece of equipment at that site arrived by transport and can leave the same way.
Our forest resources would then go to New Brunswick and we would be left with the skeletal remains of the mill and the toxic mess at Boat Harbour to clean up – with our tax dollars.
Several local doctors have offered comments. It is a normal reaction to respect their advice. They are dealing with the medical residue of a lot of poor management and a lack of accountability by our government.
Although it makes good headlines for the media, without accurate scientific data, their comments are just speculation. They should not be used to instil fear in the local residents.
The air quality can be improved to an acceptable level; it won’t happen overnight.
Those people promoting a quick fix should do some research. Become familiar with the process and how precipitators work; understand the procedure of designing and purchasing new equipment before you advocate solutions that are not practical or possible.
Kent Bingley

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“Duke” recalls Clayton MacLeod

NEW GLASGOW – Clayton MacLeod is being remembered as a deserving inductee into the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame for his more than 50 years as a top-level harness racing driver and trainer.
MacLeod, a native of Murray Siding, near Westville, is being inducted posthumously during ceremonies scheduled for Oct. 18 at the Westville Civic Centre’s auditorium. He died in 2010 in Truro.
“I followed his harness racing all his life,” said Henry “Duke” Johnson, who nominated MacLeod for this year’s induction.
Johnson resides in Markham, Ont. but grew up across Park Street from the Union Race Track, still considered one of the fastest in the Maritimes despite having been reduced to training use.
“In the 40s that was a booming place,” he said.
MacLeod was in his mid-teens when he began riding sulkies and gaining renown throughout North America for his harness racing skills.
“He was very nice, modest and unassuming,” Johnson recalled. “He was one of the top drivers in the Maritimes in his time.”
Meeting MacLeod’s widow, Jean, while accompanied by hall of fame volunteer Barry Trenholm, afforded him a chance to review some of his achievements.
“Barry and I were at their home and it was decided I’d be the one nominating him.”
MacLeod worked at a family business before devoting all his time to his passion for horses and harness racing. He was a member of the United States Trotting Association (USTA) and Standardbred Canada for more than 50 years. He raced at tracks in the U.S. and the Maritimes.
He is widely recognized for his success while driving the celebrate mare, Iola Henley, winning 103 dashes and setting a track record of 207.2 in 1952 in Truro.
He was presented with numerous awards, including one from the Government of Nova Scotia for his contribution to harness racing in 2009.

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MOU signing is one more step

By any measure, last Friday’s formal signing of a memorandum of understanding by three of Pictou County’s municipalities was a milestone event.
It’s one more step on their journey through the process of a governance and organizational review study and completes the stage of discussions that began just days after the province pulled its funding for the study.
Warden Ronald Baillie on behalf of the Municipality of Pictou County, Mayor Barrie MacMillan of New Glasgow and Mayor Joe Hawes of Pictou signed the documents on behalf of their respective municipalities, and it is interesting how they conjoined the real and symbolic features of the event.
The signing took place at the Pictou County Wellness Centre, one of the most sterling, and most recent, examples of co-operation among Pictou County’s six municipalities.
Hawes’s point that he and his two colleagues stand to put themselves “out of business” if there is time enough to approve the study for the next municipal elections in 2016 is telling. It neither understates, nor does it overstate, a certain truth.
There is no going back.
Baillie noted that Municipal Affairs Minister Mark Furey withdrew the province’s matching amount of $150,000 because he saw no evidence of a common vision among the six local municipal councils, or within some councils.
That is another truth – that somehow the towns of Stellarton, Trenton and Westville will review the MOU and decide whether or not to participate in the study.
Sometimes, we’ve seen how these six municipalities can’t live with one another. At no time can they live without one another.
Major legs of our industrial base are missing. Our population is aging and declining. We need the regional vision and bold action MacMillan has so eloquently stated like never before.
MacMillan outlined where working together has improved Pictou County’s prospects. He noted initiatives besides the Wellness Centre, such as the New Glasgow Regional Farmers Market, the Pictou County cruise project, a business development partnership, land-use planning, building inspection services, protection of the East River through storm water–sewer upgrades, a master water agreement with the County, and the sharing of the New Glasgow Fire Department’s HAZMAT team, water rescue and ladder truck that have been contributors “to building a regional vision for regional progress.”
There is much work to do.
We need to tell people what Pictou County has going for it, far and wide. People won’t come here and stay here on their own.
Those who left Pictou County to seek opportunity elsewhere are no more likely to return here than our forebears are to return to the Old World where they came from – unless we go on a mission to where they’re living and give them a reason to return.
It’s one more way that adversity disguises opportunity.

Steve Goodwin

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County wins women’s Div. II title

NEW GLASGOW – Pictou County’s women’s rugby club has completed a worst-to-first chapter in their young history.
After missing the playoffs in their first season last year, Pictou County, led by captain and No. 8 Tanisha Campbell, followed an undefeated seven-game regular season by capturing Rugby Nova Scotia’s Division II women’s championship on Friday with a 12-5 victory over Enfield.
“Last year, we ended up last but this year we continued our momentum after we finished 7-0,” said Laura Vermeulen, who was sidelined during the regular season with a knee injury. “We have some really talented, passionate, dedicated players support one another.”
Pictou County’s team was young and demonstrably hungry with experience from Campbell and others who have played for or will be joining university teams.
“They were good to work with,” coach Darcy MacInnis said. “This could be a turning point in women’s rugby in Pictou County. We worked really hard, and it feels good to win.”
Pictou County were at home to the Truro Saints in their semi-final match and prevailed 56-10 to reach Friday’s final. The locals led 30-5 at the half.
Alyssa Canning dominated in the open field in the first half, while Campbell and scrum-half Rebecca Taylor led a strong second half.
Besides scoring nine tries, Pictou County Jessica Deagle added four converts and a penalty kick.

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Two dead following vehicle crash

PICTOU – Two men have lost their lives following a single-vehicle crash on Central Caribou Road around 10 a.m. today (Sunday).
A third passenger, a woman, had non-life threatening injuries and was taken to hospital.
RCMP say it appeared the vehicle left the road and struck a parked detached trailer unit. The investigation is ongoing.
The crash remains under investigation and the road was closed so traffic analysts could process the scene.

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RCMP seeking help locating missing Pictou woman

Pictou County District RCMP is requesting the public’s assistance in locating a missing person.
Twenty-five year-old Rochelle Gaudet of Pictou was last seen by her family at 10:30 p.m. on August 21, leaving for her shift at a Sobey’s store in Pictou. She failed to show for her shift.
Gaudet is described as having a dark complexion, 5’1′, 110 lbs, with short black hair. She was wearing a red shirt with a purple sweater, blue jeans and black sneakers and driving a red Mazda 3 bearing Nova Scotia licence plate EUP 029.
Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Rochelle Gaudet or her vehicle is asked to contact the Pictou District RCMP at (902) 755-4141 or Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS ( 8477 ), texting TIP202 + your message to ‘CRIMES’ (274637) or by Secure Web Tips at

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Delorey issues order to Northern Pulp

Environment Minister Randy Delorey has issued a Ministerial Order today, Aug. 21, to ensure that Northern Pulp takes measures to reduce air quality emissions that exceed approved limits under the Environment Act.
Premier Stephen McNeil said government has heard the concerns of Pictou County residents and is addressing them.
“They are voicing their concerns because they want a healthy, safe and prosperous Pictou County. We all want the same things,” said McNeil. “This order makes it clear to Northern Pulp what this government expects of the company so we can clean up the air for residents and the industry can continue to prosper.”
The order says Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation is in violation of a term and condition of its approval, by exceeding air quality stack emissions from a recovery boiler. Delorey issued the order to ensure that Northern Pulp takes measures to come into compliance before May 30, 2015.
“This ministerial order outlines several actions that I expect the company to complete between now and next spring,” said Delorey. “This legally binding document commits Northern Pulp to cleaning up its emissions.”
The order states the company has contravened the Environment Act and requires Northern Pulp to:
- ensure an electrostatic precipitator is built, installed and commissioned on the recovery boiler by May 30, 2015, to bring the mill’s air emissions into compliance
- have stack test results submitted directly to the Department of Environment within 30 days of testing (compared to typical 90 days)
- submit a schedule for installing the new precipitator and provide weekly progress reports in writing
- itemize actions to be taken during the September shutdown, and reporting on work done and recommendations made
- do a second set of stack tests on or before Oct. 31, and have results sent to the Department of Environment within 30 days of completing the tests.

Department staff are working on a new industrial approval for January 2015 that will contain stricter limits on air emissions. There will be an opportunity for written public consultation this fall.
The order can be viewed at

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Public parking limited this week at Stellarton RCMP detachment

Public parking at the Stellarton RCMP detachment will be limited this week to the front of the building along North Foord Street, with no overflow parking available.
This will be in place for the remainder of the week while the back parking lot is being re-paved.
Public is reminded that the RCMP counter service in Stellarton is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, but Police services are available 24 hours a day by calling 755-4141 in Stellarton, 485-4333 in Pictou or 911 in an emergency.

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Council adopts MOU with County, Pictou

NEW GLASGOW – Town council has formally agreed to the MOU process with the Municipality of Pictou County and the town of Pictou.
The agreement follows a joint proposal for a memorandum of understanding among the three municipalities earlier this year after the province pulled its share of funding for a study of governance and shared services. The previously promised $150,000 matched the $25,000 committed to Pictou County six municipalities.
The MOU item was among four recommendations from previous in-camera meetings.
Council also agreed to sell a small parcel of land on East River Road, renew its Rotary Park lease agreement and adopted a request for proposal process for Brown and Temperance Street schools.
With regard to Temperance, a stipulation includes a promise not to disturb the school’s chimney, which is a summer dwelling for chimney swifts.
In other business, council agreed to apply the residential tax rate instead of the commercial rate in response to a request by the Pictou County Gymnastics Club, which has pursued locating at the former Pictou County YMCA.
Council also awarded its capital paving tender for 2014-15 to S.W. Weeks Construction. Its offer of $442,218 was the low bid.

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Fisheries pool adds wheelchair, lift

PICTOU – A public indoor swimming pool has added a new dimension to its menu of uses.
The Pictou Fisheries Pool now has an aquatic lift and aquatic wheelchair to allow those with disabilities access to the pool.
The equipment was to be officially dedicated on Tuesday. The goal is to have it available for people to use by late September.
“We’re trying to make it more accessible for people with mobility challenges,” says Michelle Young, Pictou’s Parks and Recreation co-ordinator.
Young referred to the residents of four seniors complexes and the Northumberland Veterans Unit in Pictou, whom the town is focused on getting into the water.
Staff is being trained to better support the need of the physically challenges, include those recovering from strokes.
Partners have made the project possible, Young says.
Central Highlands for the Disabled (CHAD) has offered weekly return trips to the pool at no cost.
Securing the equipment has been made possible through support from the Sutherland and Harris Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Department of Health and Wellness and the Pictou County Health Authority through its community health board fund.

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Hiking and biking with the Hahns

I first met Tom Hahn four and a half years ago. It was at the Land Registration Office in Pictou where he’s property mapping supervisor for the northern part of Nova Scotia. We talked that day about his love for long-distance running, his love for marathons, his love for tackling anything physical.
I got enough information that day to write not one, but three columns for The Advocate, highlighted by the fact he had run the famous Boston Marathon 12 times in the previous 20 years, and that he had some 50 marathons to his credit. He was a good story.
But I knew him – online – since the previous year when, through his long-time New Glasgow buddy Grant Murray, he joined our fantasy baseball and hockey leagues. I quickly took note because he seemed to always be in contention, always knew what he was doing.
The fantasy Tom Hahn has been just as competitive as the marathoner. For instance, last winter he was the champion in our fantasy hockey loop. Now he’s holding down first place in our fantasy baseball circuit. He’s tough to beat, I assure you from my dubious location in the basement. Again, he’s a good story.
Well, now it’s time to revisit him again. This time it’s not just Tom that caught my reportorial interests. It’s him, his wife Mary, and their children, 10-year-old son Aidan and eight-year-old daughter Natasha. Together, the family just vacationed in places like northern New Brunswick and the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. Holiday challenges in the great outdoors.
When the Hahns left their Scotch Hill home, their Dodge Grand Caravan was “packed to the rafters” with an eight-person tent, camping gear, four bikes and the family’s three-year-old shih tzu, Maggie. Maggie wasn’t making the trip; she was being left at a doggie retreat and spa outside Amherst for some rest and relaxation. You can’t do enough for a shih tzu. I know; we have two of them.
Tom and family reached Kouchibouguac national park in New Brunswick to spend their first night in an oTENTik, what Tom described as “a cross between an A-frame cabin and prospector tent mounted on a raised wooden floor.” That evening they biked some of the “fabulous trails” in the park, then sat around a camp fire “telling stories.”
Bright and early the next morning, the foursome set out for Lac Cascapdeia camp ground in Parc National de la Gaspesie, a location where they would spend three nights. What a gorgeous place, said Tom. “Wow, talk about tranquility, the camp ground is in the mountains on a lake, 10 kilometres up a dirt road. Quiet, quiet, quiet and no mosquitoes. All you could hear while laying in your sleeping bag was the sound of loons and owls.”
Next day, it was time for hiking Le Mont-Ernest-Laforce which is “considered the best bang-for-your-buck hike in terms of spectacular views.” It was 4.5 kilometres with extremely challenging uphill grades. Aidan and Natasha, already seasoned hikers, were up for the challenge, despite being pre-teens. That afternoon, upon return, the Hahns visited Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, where they explored Eole Cap-Chat, a wind farm that boasts the tallest vertical-axis wind turbine in the world.
On the fourth day, the family hiked Le Mont-Jacques-Cartier, an 8.3-kilometre journey that’s considered extremely difficult at best, summiting at 4,160 feet above sea level. To put that in perspective, said Tom, “the tallest mountain in Nova Scotia is White Hill in the Cape Breton highlands which is 1,755 feet above sea level.” He said the hike was “tough but fun.”
No resting on this vacation. The following day the four travelled the north coast of the peninsula to Forillon National Park for two nights of camping and exploring. With the evening temperature at 30 degrees, they spent time on the nearby beach. The waves were huge and, among other wildlife, they saw a female moose with her calf alongside the roadway.
The sixth day, the family split up for two different kinds of experiences. Aiden and Tom mountain biked the La Vallee trail, 13 kilometres of “rugged ups and downs.” The two of them loved it. “We loved it so much we did it twice.” Meantime, Natasha and her mother booked an excursion to swim with the seals, which they had seen on the CBC’s Rick Mercer Report. They put on their wet suits and headed off with 20 other brave souls. Natasha said they saw about 500 seals. After their busy day, the family took a 10-kilometre bike ride to the Cap Gaspe lighthouse. Reports indicate all Hahns slept well that night.
The next day, before heading homeward, they stopped at Percé Rock, a huge sheer rock formation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. They took a boat tour around the rock and out to Bonaventure Island where they hiked to the side of the island to see the largest colony of gannets (sea birds) in the world. They were told there were about 120,000 birds. “Quite an experience,” said Tom. That night they reached Sugar Loaf.
During the final day on the road, there was some downhill mountain biking. Natasha being a bit young, stayed with Tom, while Mary and Aidan suited up and had another wonderful experience. Tom explained, “The goal is to come down the mountain without applying your brakes. I don’t think either Aidan or Mary were able to do that.”
Late that night, the Hahns were back in Pictou County – of course not before picking up Maggie who reportedly had a wonderful time at the doggie retreat.
Yes, it’s always interesting checking up on Tom Hahn.
Now if I could only find a way to get my Forever The Jays team up there with his fantasy club. Unfortunately, not every story can end on a positive note.

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