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Injured workers group rails against WCB regime

NEW GLASGOW – The Pictou County Injured Workers Association raised their objections regarding Workers’ Compensation Board Monday at a picket at the constituency office of Minister of Justice and Pictou Centre MLA Ross Landry.
Association president Mary Lloyd says the group has brought numerous issues of concern to the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) and to the Department of Labour and Advanced Education on the failure of the WCB to adhere to its legislative responsibilities.
“We have done all we can from within the workplace safety and insurance system to address these serious concerns but there is no willingness on the part of the system or government to change the status quo,” Lloyd says. “It is unfortunate that we must take these issues to a public forum in order to be addressed.”
Issues of concern include unfunded liability that the group says stood at $390 million in 2006 and at $667 million in 2011, as well as WCB’s failure to collect enough revenue to cover the costs of claims, to ensure employers bring back workers injured on their worksites and make decisions according to the WCB Act.
The group contends the WCB appears to make decisions based on corporate performance targets rather than its legislated criteria.
Lloyd said the current government is complacent about the failure of WCB to abide by its governing statute.
“You’re asking us to undo what they created,” Landry replied, while producing a pie chart showing the three years of NDP government after 89 years Liberal governments and 53 years of Progressive Conservative governments.
“(The association is) saying we’re not undoing their mess fast enough,” Landry said. “The foundation of this problem doesn’t lie with this government.”
Landry also cited the example of how his constituency office staff has helped secure pensions for nearly 40 TrentonWorks employees laid off from the former railcar plant.

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Students to remain at MacLeod school

RIVERTON – Uncertainty remains over the fate of Highland Consolidated Middle School in Westville.
More than 100 HCMS students, parents and other stakeholders attended the latest public information session hosted by the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board Dec. 4 at the Dr. W.A. MacLeod Elementary School in Riverton to update them on the school that has been idle since an odour prompted the board to close the school and move its students while the odour’s cause was investigated.
They also heard the board’s decision to keep the middle school students at MacLeod for the rest of the school year.
Chignecto-Central superintendent Gary Clarke shared a presentation that included a likely cause of the odour and an estimated cost for repairs to eliminate it. Clarke said the repairs would cost at least $1.5 million, money the board does not have and which either the board or the province may not want to allocate if the repairs don’t solve the problem at the 47-year-old school. There has been $300,000 already spent on the investigation.
“Our focus at CCRSB has, and will always be, the health and safety of Highland Consolidated Middle School students and staff,” he said. “The investigation has shown us that there are some serious issues at the school that would need to be addressed before the school population could return.”
Clarke also outlined two roof replacements in 2011 and 2012 while pointing to the roof as the primary source of the odour, which is more noticeable in the top floor classrooms.
Herb Steeves, the school board’s director of operations services, said what it’s dealing with at HCMS is unique.
“We’ve never had an issue like we had here,” he said.
Repairs would include sealing pathways around the roof, repairing and replacing plumbing, improving classroom ventilation and getting rid of mould where it is found.
But Clarke said he doesn’t know all that will solve the problem.
“I need to know what $1.5 million is going to give us,” he said.
“Open it in September; spend what you need,” said Westville councilor Charlie Sutherland.
“It’s not what we want to hear,” Westville Mayor Roger MacKay said. “We want our students back where they belong.”
Deputy Warden Andy Thompson was among those who suggested locating the HCMS students elsewhere, either at the MacLeod school or at Northumberland Regional High School.
“We have to utilize the buildings we have,” Thompson said.
Jackie Morrisey was among parents who asked for more clarity and more frequent updates on the school board’s work on the HCMS file.
“They have a lot of work to do to bring comfort to parents and kids,” she said.
The school board heard Clarke’s presentation last Wednesday at its monthly committee-of-the-whole meeting, and its members asked what options exist if the students don’t return to HCMS.
“We have to find out all the options available that will be in the best interests of the students, teachers, parents and the town of Westville,” said Ron Marks, who represents Stellarton and Westville on the school board.
Marks said he hopes a decision can be made by mid-February on the fate of HCMS. Repairs on HCMS would need to start then for classes to resume there in September, he said.
“I’d hope we’ll have some plans we can make decisions on by then,” he said.

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7.75 million reasons to smile: Wellness Centre surpasses goal: $7.75 million raised

A four-day celebration weekend showcased what the Pictou County Wellness Centre was designed to offer.
And on Sunday evening, officials announced that Pictonians have 7.75 million reasons to smile.
“On behalf of the campaign cabinet, we are proud to share with you, our valued donors, that through your generosity, we have successfully raised a phenomenal $7.75 million,” co-chair Murray Hill told a group of donors Sunday night. The news was met with applause and enthusiasm from the crowd gathered prior to the Celebrating Pictou County gala.
“There’s something for everyone here,” Wellness Centre General Manager Mike Adam said Thursday during official opening ceremonies prior to the fifth home game for the Pictou County Jr. A Crushers in the new facility.
Besides those two events, the program featured two games played by the Pictou County Weeks Major Midgets who, with the Crushers, are the main hockey rink’s major tenants.
Both male and female hockey teams from Northumberland Regional High School and North Nova Education Centre played back-to-back games Friday, while figure skating and sledge hockey were also featured.
The annual walk and run in support of juvenile diabetes formed part of Sunday’s program.
The final event was the donor reception in the centre’s conference room and a celebration gala with black pads covering the main rink’s ice surface Sunday evening.
Campaign cabinet co-chairmen Dr. John Hamm and Murray Hill cited Sobeys’ $3.4 million in land and in-kind support for the project, as well as the expertise provided by project manager Joe Fiander and chief engineer Aaron Bryant.
“The centre is here because it was the right thing to do and we knew it,” Hill said, while announcing the community fundraising campaign total.
“This project is more than a fundraising effort; it is an investment in Pictou County. We’re already seeing the impact it has on the health and wellness of our community with programming in full swing. It has rapidly become, and will continue to be, a focal point in this community.”
“It’s with no small measure of pride that we’re able to reiterate that this phenomenal complex was delivered on time, and on budget,” Hamm said. “By being on budget, we’ve been able to add some enhancements to make it more enjoyable to be in but also to make it one of the most energy efficient complexes of its type in Canada. Constructing this to meet building codes would provide an energy rating of 100; the building we’re in is actually rated at 160. That means less ongoing expense for our municipalities.”
The $38 facility was also made possible with $11 million contributions from the federal and provincial governments, and $9 million from the municipal governments.
“Today’s generations have achieved a great legacy for Pictou County for years to come,” Hamm said.
The Pictou County Wellness Centre Building Authority Inc. along with the campaign team also recognized project manager Joe Fiander from Sobeys, and lead engineer Aaron Bryant from Crombie REIT for their significant contributions. They also recognized communications and fundraising manager Nicole LeBlanc, as well as both campaign co-chairs.
The evening gala supported the United Way of Pictou County, the Pictou County Fuel Fund and the two local food banks.
“This project has energized our entire region and I look forward to many gatherings, meetings and sporting events at this incredible facility, said Defence Minister Peter MacKay, recognizing the federal financial support.
“Facilities like the Pictou County Wellness Centre will help get people moving and create vibrant communities across Nova Scotia,” said Pictou West MLA Charlie Parker.
“The addition of the Wellness Centre to our community has greatly enhanced our ability to provide healthy lifestyle options and has added a core piece to our complement of quality recreational assets,” said Warden Ronald Baillie, on behalf of Pictou County’s six municipalities. It “will be a significant recruitment asset for our major employers in attracting and keeping skilled professionals to the area and is a source of great community pride.”

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Contact us for two tickets to the next Crushers home game!

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Lost county resident safely located

SUTHERLANDS RIVER – Just after 4 p.m. Saturday, Pictou District RCMP received a call from a 19-year-old Sutherlands River man who stated he was lost in the woods. The man described that he started walking from Sutherlands River toward New Glasgow when he got lost.
RCMP contacted the Pictou County Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) and Thorburn Fire Dept. to assist with the search. A significant number of GSAR volunteers (approx 20) attended the location to assist with the search.
The lost person was located by the Thorburn Fire Dept. at approximately 6:10 p.m. and was taken to the Aberdeen Hospital by Emergency Health Services with non-life threatening injuries.
The RCMP would like to thank the Pictou County Ground Search and Rescue and Thorburn Fire Dept volunteers for their assistance in locating this person.

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No-fee parking in downtown New Glasgow

NEW GLASGOW – Downtown shoppers will be delighted with an early Christmas gift from the town: no fee for parking.
Town Council voted at the Committee of the Whole meeting on December 4 to eliminate the fee for metered parking in the downtown for the month of December. There will be no charge for parking at meters and any money that happens to be put in the meters for the rest of the month will be given to the Pictou County Fuel Fund.
Council was quick to respond to feedback from the community that the residents would appreciate the opportunity to park downtown at no charge for the Christmas season. Council sees this as an opportunity to encourage residents to shop local, to make it a welcoming shopping experience for visitors and if any funds are collected to give this to a worthy cause.
Traffic Authority Chief Delaney Chisholm says he hopes the downtown community will support this goodwill gesture from the Town of New Glasgow and that the business community will ensure on their own that the parking spots are left open for shoppers and that employees and business owners will park in the free parking lots as opposed to at prime metered spots.
If citizens decide they want to make a convenient contribution to the Fuel Fund, they can drop their change into the meters and it will be collected by the town’s bylaw officer and officially presented to the Fuel Fund. Please be advised illegal parking violations such as parking in a handicapped zone, parking too close to a fire hydrant or intersection etc will still be ticketed.

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Stellarton agrees to water study

The Town of Stellarton is taking part in a research project to find solutions to its drinking water problems.
The project is being conducted in response to data that shows the town’s drinking water exceeds the limits set for disinfection byproducts that could cause cancer.
At a press conference late Wednesday afternoon, town officials answered questions about carcinogenic disinfection byproducts in their water that are exceeding the limits set by Environment Canada.
Dr. Margaret Walsh, associate professor at Dalhousie University, reassured the group, “The water here in Stellarton is safe to drink.”
Read the full story in the December 12 edition of The Advocate.

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Nova Scotia sports suffers huge loss

I lost a dear old friend last week when beloved sports journalist Pat Connolly died in Dartmouth.
So did many, many others. So did the Nova Scotia sports scene that he served so very, very well.
I remember it was in the mid-1950s, at a Stellarton Albions game in the old Halifax and District Baseball League, that I first met Pat. I was in my early teens, he was already a decade into his outstanding career.
We were introduced by a mutual friend, New Glasgow athletic director and sportscaster John (Brother) MacDonald. At the time, I was in my first real job, working as Brother’s scorekeeper during his broadcasts of Albions games on radio station CKEC. It was noticeable, even to my young eyes, that Brother and Pat, both of proud Cape Breton stock, had a very high regard for each other.
As my own career developed, Pat and I crossed paths often as he visited Pictou County for baseball, hockey or boxing. He always admired sports in the county.
After I moved to Halifax-Dartmouth in 1969, we saw each other almost daily, in hockey arenas, on ball diamonds, in gymnasiums, at press conferences, anywhere sports were happening.
A friendship grew.
He always seemed pleased to see me, always sported a huge smile, always offered encouraging words. Through the years, I never heard him say a bad thing about anyone, never saw him angry.
He was a great sportscaster, a great sportswriter, a great public address announcer, a great chairman of the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame selection committee, a great husband, father and grandfather. Truly, he was a great and kind human being.
How good was he at play-by-play?
With the voice he had, and his knowledge of hockey, I’d rate him at the top with the late Foster Hewitt, long-time voice of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the late Danny Gallivan, icon broadcaster of the Montreal Canadiens.
How good was he at a typewriter?
In the 1980s, when I was editor of Sportsweek, a Chronicle Herald supplement, one of the first things and best things I did was hire Pat to write a weekly article. His contributions were so well done that I seldom had to make changes to his copy. Editors love to have writers who submit such quality copy.
How good was he as a public address announcer?
For about a decade of Halifax Mooseheads games, until retiring three years ago, every fan who entered the Halifax Metro Centre welcomed his professional work behind the microphone. He was so good, at those and other events, that the press box in the building is named in his honour.
How good was he chairing the hall of fame selection committee?
For some 20 years, he did such a wonderful job that the hall’s annual inductions have become one of the finest events on the provincial sports calendar. As committee chair, his efforts were instrumental in getting the most deserving people and teams into the hall.
Connolly became an icon at whatever he did because he had such a deep passion for sports, particularly hockey.
He was surrounded by sports growing up. His father was secretary manager of Sydney’s trotting park, raced horses and was into all sports. An uncle was secretary-treasurer of the Maritime Amateur Hockey Association and a sports fanatic.
Pat once told me he tried all the sports as a youngster, but never did well at any. He realized if he was going to have a life around athletes, he’d have to take a different route.
Well, he sure found it.
He managed minor sports teams, served as secretary of Sydney’s minor hockey organization, did anything that had to be done to help sports in his hometown – and he did all that before he was 15. In high school, he wrote sports for the Cape Breton Post.
Hoping to advance in radio sports, he got to do play-by-play broadcasts of the Sydney Millionaires of the Maritime Big Four Hockey League.
He was on his way.
Perhaps his biggest break was when he was chosen to replace Danny Gallivan, his idol, at CJCH in Halifax. Pat’s arrival in the provincial capital coincided with the start of the Halifax Atlantics in the Maritime Major league. He had the team’s broadcasting job as they won two league championships.
Pat later worked at CBC Halifax, working on television with personalities like Don Tremaine, Rube Hornstein and Max Ferguson. After a time in Ontario, he returned to metro, joined CFDR in Dartmouth, and covered 22 years of American Hockey League action.
In 1999, Pat received a richly deserved reward – induction into the provincial hall of fame that he helped for so long. Always humble, his reaction when told of his selection was that it was “a tremendous honour which I will accept proudly and with great humility.”
So how will Pat Connolly’s tremendous run in sports be kept alive?
Earlier this year, Pat, already losing a battle with cancer, made a decision to write a book, but he wanted someone else to do the writing. He turned to Joel Jacobson, a former Chronicle Herald colleague of mine and another close friend of both Pat and myself. Joel, always an extraordinary worker and volunteer in the community, gladly accepted the challenge.
For Joel, the past few months were filled with many, many hours of interviewing Pat. By mid-November, most of Joel’s research was completed. Then came the grim news. Pat’s condition worsened rapidly and, just a week after the last interview session, he died.
The positive news is that Joel will finish the book, with some changes. So I’m certain the Pat Connolly story will be beautifully told.
In his last days, Pat was telling family and friends that his “wonderful life” was nearing the final whistle. Now the game is over – and we’re left to experience the heart-breaking loss.

Hugh Townsend, a New Glasgow native and Nova Scotia sports journalist for almost 60 years, can be reached by email at ght1967@gmail.com

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Wilson, McIsaac help Truro to bantam provincial crown

LYONS BROOK – Maynard Wilson feels he has a future in football.
The towering Grade 8 student at West Pictou Consolidated School and fellow West Pictou student Cole McIsaac received individual awards last Wednesday after helping the Truro Bantam Freightliners to the Nova Scotia Minor Football championship the previous weekend in Lantz.
“It’s great,” Wilson said. “I’ve never got to a provincial championship in any sport. It was awesome. Cole and I got a lot of attention because we’re the only guys in Pictou County playing football. I was pretty proud with what I did.”
Wilson is an offensive lineman, and McIsaac proved his versatility while playing a number of positions for the team.
“Maynard’s only going to get bigger,” West Pictou principal Chris Boulter said of Wilson, who already weighs 240 pounds and stands 6’ 3” tall.
Wilson was named the team’s most improved offensive player, while McIsaac was a 3-D Award winner.
“I’ve been big all my life,” Wilson said. “It’s hasn’t bothered me.”
While McIsaac has been playing football since he was seven, this was Wilson’s first year on the grassy gridiron.
McIsaac and his father were willing to make sure he could get to games in Truro.
“They always told me I should play football because of my size,” Wilson said. “Cole’s dad was willing to drive me there, so I said I’d try it. I was told right off that I’d be a lineman. Now it’s my favourite sport.”
Wilson is still learning the game, but he gained enough knowledge and technique in his first season to show real promise.
“It was hard at first,” he said. “I was not in shape. I didn’t know anything about football, but I eventually learned enough about what linemen need to know.”
The season started slowly for the whole team, as it did for Wilson. They lost four games, including three in a row, before going on a tear.
“I guess we came together as a team and figured it out,” Wilson said.
Wilson hopes to play football with the Cobequid Cougars in Truro, if he can arrange it.

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Mason earns volunteer award

NEW GLASGOW – Cathy Mason says she’s elated to have been named the 2012 recipient of the Jim Thompson Award.
The award goes to the Canadian Special Olympics Volunteer of the Year and was presented to her at the Special Olympics Festival in Toronto last Thursday
Named in memory of Jim Thompson, a founding partner of TSN and a long time friend to Special Olympics, the award is presented to a volunteer who has contributed significantly to the movement, and who best exemplifies the spirit, philosophy, and goals of the organization.
“I was thrilled and very honored to receive the Jim Thompson award and thrilled to have Dr. Frank Hayden be the one to present me with this award along with the wife of the late Jim Thompson,” Mason said.
Mason has demonstrated exceptional dedication as a Special Olympics volunteer for two decades.
She has been a coach with Team Nova Scotia at four national games, as mission staff with Team Nova Scotia at three national games, with Team Canada’s floor hockey team in 2009 and Team Canada’s power lifting team in 2011.
Mason will be attending the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea this January as mission staff for Team Canada’s cross-country ski team.
Besides her more than 18 years of coaching, Mason has been regional co-ordinator for Special Olympics Pictou County.
She was cited for her strong leadership, spirit and enthusiasm while recruiting many athletes, coaches, committee members and volunteers who in turn have touched the lives of thousands in her community and province.
“On behalf of the committee members, athletes, coaches and volunteers, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to Cathy on this very deserving honour,” said Terry Richardson, Treasurer, Special Olympics Pictou County.
“We are very proud to see that her many achievements and outstanding dedication to Special Olympics will be recognized and celebrated in this way.”

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Wellness Centre hosts official opening

The Pictou County Weeks Crushers junior hockey game against the Amherst Ramblers Thursday will include the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the Pictou County Wellness Centre at 6:30 p.m.
The centre has been open for two weeks, and the Crushers game with the Ramblers will be their fifth in the new facility.
“We are excited to have the official ribbon cutting ceremony prior to our game,” say Weeks director of off-ice operations Terry Curley. “As a major tenant in the building we see this as the perfect fit and the perfect time to celebrate this impressive new facility with our loyal fans and residents of Pictou County.”
A highlight of the pre-game ceremony will be a video produced by the Advocate that will depict the journey of the Wellness Centre from vision to reality.
The video will show the building of the centre from the sod turning to key passing and flag raising ceremony on Nov. 19, along with some additional footage of the past two weeks, featuring local residents.
The video will be projected from the rafters of the main arena on to the ice surface.
A surprise guest, who will be sure to please all fans but especially the younger ones, is also scheduled.
Besides honoured guests, there will be giveaways, including 2013 Crusher calendars, players cards, mini sticks, a T-shirts toss and a chance to shoot to win $1,000 or a new Mazda car.
Some giveaways will be on a first come basis so residents and fans are being encouraged to come early for the on-ice ceremony and prize opportunities.
There are a variety of demonstrations and free activities happening throughout the week.
There will be hockey games of all levels, a sledge hockey demo and a demonstration presented by the Mariposa Figure Skating Club.
Several important fundraising events are also taking place.
The Pictou County Help Line Breakfast with Santa fundraiser will be from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday and on Sunday there is the Walk/Run for Juvenile Diabetes at 9:30 a.m.
A gala reception and dinner will take place Sunday starting at 6 p.m., followed by an East Coast Kitchen Party with all net proceeds going to the United Way, the Pictou County Fuel Fund and the local food banks.
The YMCA will have free activities on Saturday and there will be a number of free skates. On Sunday the public is invited to a Health & Wellness Fair, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Y gymnasium.
Those interested can visit www.pcwellnesscentre.ca for more information.

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Crushers begin crucial home stand

The Pictou County Weeks Crushers begin a crucial three-game home stand Thursday as part of the four-day grand opening gala weekend at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
The Crushers will host the Amherst Ramblers Thursday at 7 p.m. after on-ice ceremonies and a ribbon cutting slated to start at 6:30 p.m. and will host the Bridgewater Lumberjacks at 7 p.m. Saturday in their other MHL game this week.
That game will be part of a doubleheader, with a Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League interlocking game between the Pictou County Weeks Major Midgets and Fredericton Canadiens preceding the Crushers’ game at 3:30 p.m.
Friday’s slate includes a boys’ high school hockey game between Northumberland and North Nova at 5:30 p.m., and a girls’ game between North Nova and Northumberland at 7:30 p.m.
Pictou County female hockey games will start at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on the centre’s second ice surface.
The Crushers will complete their December slate of games against Eastlink Division rivals by hosting the Metro Shipbuilders on Dec. 13 and visiting the Yarmouth Mariners on Dec. 14.
The games represent a chance for the Crushers to gain some ground on the teams ahead of them in the division standings. They trail the Ramblers by five points and have played three more games.
The Crushers split their two games last week, defeating the visiting Campbellton Tigers 5-3 last Thursday at the Wellness Centre and losing 5-3 to the Ramblers last Saturday in Amherst.
The Crushers got some welcome offence from Brandon Parsons, who scored three goals against the Tigers, and never trailed in the game.
Parsons’ first two goals gave the Crushers a 2-0 lead in the first period, while Garrett Holmes’ goals gave them a 3-1 lead after the first period.
Bruce Hornbrook and Parsons scored as the Crushers traded goals with the Tigers in the second period.
The Crushers outshot the Tigers 41-30.
The Ramblers never lost the lead Saturday, while the Crushers kept it close with goals by Tyler Doyle, Evan MacEachern and Brennan Bailey.
The Ramblers’ fifth goal was into an empty net.
Meanwhile, the Weeks Major Midgets split their weekend games in Sydney, losing 8-3 Saturday and winning 4-2 Sunday against the Cape Breton Tradesmen.
Pictou County led 2-1 after the first period on Saturday on goals by Ryan Camp and Cole Livingstone but was outscored 4-1 in the second period despite Connor MacLaughlin’s goal.
The Tradesmen added three goals in the third period and outshot Pictou County 48-26.
Craig Murray and Jarvis Mattatall gave Pictou County a 2-0 lead after one period Sunday, while Livingstone made it 3-1 in the second period and camp added an empty-net goal with two seconds left in the third period.
The Tradesmen enjoyed a 50-23 edge in shots.

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A Christmas Serenade returns

An annual tradition continues at Glasgow Square Theatre on December 15 with “A Christmas Serenade” featuring Pictou County’s own Doris Mason & Friends.
Tickets are now on sale for this holiday performance, which also features some of the best treasures the New Glasgow and area music community has to offer, including the Mason Sisters, The Alcorn family, Mary Stewart, The Wildkat Blues Band, North Nova Jazz Choir and more.
With the wide wealth of talent on stage, the genres will spread across the entire musical spectrum, from jazz and blues, to pop and gospel.
Doris Mason is a world class talent, based in Pictou County and has performed with numerous acts over the years. She has also toured the entire globe as musical director of the internationally acclaimed Drum, had her works performed by Symphony Nova Scotia and also starred in the production Dream a Little Dream.
Mason says “Christmas Serenade” promises to be an evening of spirit, music and fun for the holidays. Glasgow Square will offer complimentary hot apple cider during the performance.
Tickets are $15 each, $10 for students/seniors plus applicable fees, and are available at Glasgow Square Box Office, Big Al’s Convenience, through www.ticketpro.ca or by calling 1-888-311-9090.

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Faber Drive, Victoria Duffield headline Trenton show

Four years have passed since Faber Drive graced the stage in Pictou County, but they are set to return this month for an all- ages show unlike any Trenton has ever seen.
Trenton resident Walter Smith, a New Glasgow Regional Police Officer, spends his spare time dabbling in shows and promotion and after being contacted, decided to jump on board to bring the Faber Drive tour to town.
“I was contacted by a promoter for the show with SRO Entertainment that had a tour coming through the area,” explains Smith. “I thought it would be nice to have the kids in the area see a show of this calibre without having the added costs of travelling to Halifax.”
Faber Drive has teamed up with Victoria Duffield to headline the tour with opening acts, Fighting for Ithaca, Courage My Love and Kreesha Turner as part of the national Lost in Paradise Tour.
“It’s a good opportunity for youth in the county to see an all-ages show,” says Smith.
The only problem Smith faced when trying to bring the show here was the venue.
Originally, Smith had wanted to hold the show at the Nova Scotia Community College gymnasium, however, the school will be closed for its Christmas break and Smith went to what he felt was the next best thing, Trenton Middle School.
Trenton Middle School can hold up to 800 people in the gymnasium for the show which will be standing room only.
“I am from Trenton so I was familiar with the staff and thought it would make a good venue because it has a good stage,” he says.
Smith will also be making a donation back to the school for hosting the concert.
“I will be donating at least $500 but I am hoping it will be much more than that.”
The show is slated for December 22 at 7:30 p.m., doors opening at 7 p.m.
Tickets for the show are $34.50 and are available at all Needs locations in the county as well as by phone at 1-866-999-8687.
“I think this is really exciting for the kids,” says Smith. “Especially those that go to Trenton Middle School because they are able to see this kind of show at their own school. I’m pleased to be able to bring that opportunity here.”
The show is all-ages, so alcohol is not permitted, and the music as Smith says, will appeal to a large age group.
“It’s a very reasonable price for this kind of show and it saves the cost of gas, hotel, food whatever else might be involved with travelling to Halifax for the show. I’m sure everyone will enjoy the show.”

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Lynda Koile celebrates first published book

Local author Lynda Koile unveiled her first published book recently in Glasgow Square’s Greenroom.
The book, a colour-filled children’s read, is entitled The God Who Gave Christmas and is a bit of a behind the scenes backstory to Christmas.
“It’s a very light hearted thing where Jesus and God get together and decide to come to the Earth and carry out the plan of redemption,” Koile explained. “It covers Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.”
Although this is Koile’s first time published, the author says she’s been telling scripture-based yarns for quite some time. “When my children were young I would tell them stories, and I tried often to use stories from the Bible. I’d try to trick them. I’d tell them a story and they’d catch on and say ‘oh yeah, that’s David and Goliath’”, she said, “I’d make it so they were more like everyday life characters. I was trying to familiarize them with Bible stories. It was kind of my style. When I was teaching in Sunday School I would pick up on the same thing.”
Koile said this story-telling approach allows her to add a touch of humanity to what can be seen as a stern subject. “It gives (the reader) the emotions of God the Father. The image of God people have is sometimes very stark and cold but (in the book) when He’s talking about His Son having to die He closes both His eyes.
“I write things very quickly. The idea will come to me and it will happen very quickly,” Koile said, however she noted that readying the book and laying it out for publication “wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.”
Koile’s book also features the artwork of local artist Kathy Spears and the soft watercolours, Koile said, help cushion the blow for the young readers without diluting the message.
The God Who Gave Christmas is available both as a conventional book or as an ebook and it can be purchased online from Amazon, Barns and Noble, West Bow Press or by contacting the author at lyndakole@yahoo.ca.

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Gunning for a holiday tradition

“Daddy’s really sick about what Santa did this year,
He didn’t eat the milk and cookies, but he drank all Daddy’s beer.”
Anyone living in Pictou County is familiar with this Dave Gunning’s Christmas song Daddy’s Beer.
Gunning wrote the song in 2004 when George Canyon asked him to accompany him on a Christmas tour.
“He challenged me to write some Christmas songs and I wanted to have a country feel to them because I wanted to be able to have his audience relate,” explains Gunning.
“When I took the song to rehearsal, the guys in his (Canyon’s) band just loved it, especially the steel guitar. It just came to life and the crowd went crazy every time we played it.”
As they toured across Western Canada, the local radio stations were flooded with requests for the song and Gunning says when they returned for a show at the Rebecca Cohn in Halifax, they recorded the song live and mixed and mastered it on the tour bus.
“I sent an mp3 file to the office in Toronto and it was played across Canada,” he says.
Since then, the song has grown in popularity, re-recorded by a number of artists which spurred Gunning’s interest to write more Christmas songs as it was a means of staying near home during the holidays.
“If I hadn’t recorded these Christmas albums, I wouldn’t be able to book shows locally, and that means I would more than likely be away from home during the holidays.”
Gunning’s annual Christmas show at the deCoste Centre will take place December 17 and is sure to be a hit.
“I look forward to the Christmas show at home,” he says. “I try to go out there and tell some stories and have fun. I will do some stuff from my new album No More Pennies, but more than half will be Christmas songs.”
Gunning’s favourite Christmas song, and one he recorded, is titled Christmas Bells and was adapted from an old Henry Longfellow poem written during the American Civil War.
“It’s an incredible poem,” says Gunning. “I first heard it on a piece of KFC promotional material called Christmas with the Colonel. I had fun arranging it and I think it’s very timely. Longfellow was an incredible writer, he must have really been inspired.”
One of Gunning’s favourite original songs, of course, is Daddy’s Beer, but he is also very fond of Merry Christmas Lonely Cowboy.
The Christmas show is a treat for Gunning, being able to be home during the holidays – especially this year since his fall was wrapped up in the No More Pennies copyright issue with the Canadian Mint. And on Boxing Day he leaves for a three-week tour of Australia.
“I’m just so happy to be home,” he says. “The fall was so crazy – I put 9,000 km on my car in 14 days. I probably won’t get on David Suzuki’s Christmas card list this year.”
Gunning was sleepless for about two weeks in the fall when he released his new album with the image of the penny throughout the artwork and was told he had to pay $1,200 in royalties and would have to change the album artwork for the following reprints.
“Once the media and the public found out, the Mint was pretty quick to reverse its decision,” says Gunning. “I was standing up and everyone was right there standing with me. It was an incredible feeling to have that support.”
He recently dropped off approximately 500 pounds of pennies to the ScotiaBank West Side to roll which, along with his $1,200 donation and ScotiaBank’s match, will be donated to the IWK. The grand total is $6,287.66.
Anyone wanting to get their Dave Gunning fix should do so at the annual Christmas concert as his schedule only gets busier in the new year with trips to Ireland, the US and beyond.
Tickets for the December 17 show are available at the deCoste Centre box office or website.

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Hometown Hero: Macdonald enjoying career in food industry

Editor’s note: This is the next article in a monthly feature titled Hometown Heroes. On the first Wednesday of each month, we will highlight the achievements of someone who has Pictou County roots. Suggestions for future columns may be directed to Jackie Jardine, editor, 485-8014.

NEW GLASGOW – Graeme Macdonald doesn’t return home as often as he used to, but he still welcomes the opportunity when he can.
Son of retired judge and author Clyde Macdonald, Graeme and his family of four live in Oakville, Ont. while he pursues a rewarding career in food sales with Maple Leaf Foods.
“I don’t get home very often, with four kids,” he says. “I try to get home for every second book launch my dad does.”
Graeme Macdonald was home last summer for the launch of his dad’s latest chronicling of local court cases and expounded on the road he has taken to the profession for which he has such a passion.
Macdonald grew up in New Glasgow and graduated from New Glasgow High School.
He earned a commerce degree from Mount Allison University and achieved a Masters in business administration degree, specializing in international marketing, at Saint Mary’s University.
After studies at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, he saw a fork in the road ahead of him.
He chose Maple Leaf “eleven years ago, almost to the day.”
He’s made several moves within the company.
“I thought it would be a good place to start a career,” he said. “I always wanted to get into the packaged goods industry. It’s always been interesting to me, ever since university and before that.
Macdonald said he is enjoying his work with the company.
Maple Leaf is a fantastic company, with lots of different opportunities. I was interested in the marketing end. Now I’m in sales.”

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What goes up, must come down

To the Editor:
High blood pressure affects almost 30 per cent of Nova Scotians. This number is higher, reaching close to 70 per cent in people with diabetes.
Higher rates can be found in older Canadians, persons with diabetes or kidney disease and persons of Aboriginal, African, Hispanic and South Asia descent. People who are overweight and those with a family history of high blood pressure are also at risk for developing high blood pressure.
High blood pressure can reduce the ability of oxygen and nutrients to reach important organs in the body. Many people do not experience symptoms of high blood pressure and therefore are not always aware of the problem. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked by a health-care professional.
Monitoring your blood pressure can help prevent stroke, heart attack and kidney failure.
Doctors Nova Scotia encourages you to know your numbers. Adopting a healthy lifestyle built around physical activity and a healthy diet can help you manage your blood pressure. Managing stress, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol and losing weight also makes a difference.
As a doctor I encourage you to have your blood pressure checked regularly and to track your numbers at each visit. Nova Scotia has introduced the My Blood Pressure Card to help patients document their blood pressure numbers. The wallet size card makes it easy and helps you to share your blood pressure results with your doctor. Remember, you’re the most important member of your health care team, get started today.
For more information, visit www.gov.ns.ca/bloodpressure.
John Finley,
President Doctors Nova Scotia

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CCD pleased with recent Supreme Court rulings

To the Editor:
This summer I was appointed to the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD). One of the interesting things that the Council does is to intervene in court cases on important social issues affecting Canadians living with disabilities.
I think Pictou County readers might be interested in Moore and Carter, two of the most recent such cases where the CCD has an interest. The Moore case concerns the disability rights of special needs students in our public schools while the Carter case is struggling with the issues surrounding assisted suicide. Firstly, let’s look at Moore.
On November 9, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) handed down a landmark decision on disability rights and supporting the position advanced by the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD). The Moore case says that students with disabilities are entitled to receive the accommodation measures they need to access and benefit from the service of public education. In this regard, the Court said that adequate special education is not ‘a dispensable luxury’. The Court acknowledged that such measures serve as ‘the ramp that provides access to the statutory commitment to education made to all children in British Columbia.’
The Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities (NSLEO) is an affiliate of CCD so we are very enthused over the decision. Of course, this Supreme Court of Canada decision on adequate special education now applies to education here in Nova Scotia’s schools too.
The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) intervened in the B.C. Court of Appeal and the SCC. CCD challenged the lower court rulings which said that to get accommodation, persons with disabilities must show that they have been treated worse than other persons with disabilities. CCD argued that requiring this kind of comparison, which can lead to a race to the bottom, is unnecessary and inappropriate. CCD’s position is that when an exclusionary barrier is identified, the next step is to provide accommodation to remove the barrier.
CCD’s argument relied on a long line of human rights cases that say that the right to nondiscrimination means that service providers and others must take positive steps to accommodate and remove barriers to provide access for persons with disabilities. CCD is pleased that the SCC agreed with this approach.
Further information on this case is posted on our CCD website at:

http://www.ccdonline.ca/en/publications/chairpersons-update/2012/Special

The Carter case deals with another controversial social issue, assisted suicide, in which CCD hopes to intervene on behalf of Canadians with disabilities as the case winds its way through our nation’s court system. Without doubt it, too, will find its way to our Supreme Court. I’ll write again in a few days on that one.
Ralph Ferguson, Pictou
Member
Council of Canadians with Disabilities, Let Abilities Work Partnership Society

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Cancer Society provides hope to the hopeless

To the Editor:
I have been in a seven-year battle with cancer. In 2005, I was diagnosed and I wasn’t given much hope for survival. I attended Relay For Life in 2006 and took part in the survivor’s lap by wheelchair.
During the winter of 2008, my oncologist told me I needed radiation treatment in Halifax. I would require daily treatment for 18 days. I live in Thorburn and both my husband and I are living on pensions. I couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel. We are not experienced city drivers. How would I get the daily radiation treatment I needed to fight my cancer?
The Canadian Cancer Society’s Lodge That Gives provided a place for me to stay overnight and three meals a day. The Lodge is just steps away from the cancer centre. I was able to meet other cancer patients who were going through the same thing.
If not for The Lodge That Gives I would not have been able to have the radiation treatment, which has helped prolong my life. I’ve seen my oldest grandson graduate high school and I’ve been able to treasure special moments with my family.
I was eligible for the provincial Boarding, Transportation and Ostomy program, which paid for my ostomy supplies and for my shuttle service between The Lodge and my home.
I have been involved with Relay For Life since 2006 and I will continue to support it because I know how I was helped and how other people in Pictou County have been helped.
In 2012, my team reached a milestone: we have raised over $108,000 since we started in 2006.
I didn’t know much about the Canadian Cancer Society until after my diagnosis. Now I know that cancer patients in Pictou County and beyond are helped through important cancer research and programs.
Did you know the Canadian Cancer Society is the largest national charitable funder of cancer research in the country? The Society supports children with cancer through Camp Goodtime, a summer camp for kids who have survived cancer or are in active treatment. The Society offers emotional, informational and practical support through the Cancer Information Service, CancerConnection, the wig and prostheses program and much more.
This past April I learned I am cancer free. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, I want you to know there is hope! I also want you to know that the Canadian Cancer Society is doing good work to help cancer patients in Nova Scotia.
Marilyn deCoste
Thorburn

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Site remediation at foundry would be costly

To the Editor:
I have been reading with interest, the various letters to the editor composed by both Mr. Lloyd Murray, and Mr. Lloyd MacKay (something about that name must endow one with a backbone).
I have also been scanning the religiosity pages of The Advocate, and have seen very little support for Mr. Jafarnia. It appears that concept of, “I was a stranger, in a strange land….” has been thrown out with the bathwater.
However, there is a bright side to New Glasgow’s effete council, and the other levels of government driving Maritime Steel out of business: the site remediation!
Anyone who has been paying attention will know that it will cost millions upon millions of dollars to clean up the area where Maritime Steel is located, and provide Mayor MacMillan with his green space. (I hope the taxpayers of New Glasgow are up to it.)
That, though, is not my main point. No politician whether municipal, provincial, or federal would DARE to fund that cleanup without first cleaning up Boat Harbour, which has been at the front of the line for a VERY LONG TIME.
So thank you Mayor MacMillan. You and your council have done a great service to the environment of Pictou County.
Elizabeth Baillie
Timberlea, Toney River, Cape John

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Photos bring back memories for reader from Ontario

To the Editor:
Let me start by saying how much I enjoy The Advocate and look forward to it each week. No interruptions allowed when I’m reading my “Paper from Home!”
In the publication dated October 31 and a couple of weeks prior to that, there were pictures of some ladies from the Hillside Girls group. These brought back many fond memories.
Mrs. Flora Murphy taught me to crochet when I was a member in the 50s. I still have a couple of crochet pattern books she gave me and I still crochet!
I moved from Hillside in 1959 but it is still “home” to me.
Hope everyone keeps up the good work for another 70 years and longer.
Catherine (Cahoon) Hackney
Mississauga, ON

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Health authority food is missing the mark

To the Editor:
Pictou County Health Authority and Nutrition: You are what you eat!
How can one expect people with health concerns to regain their health with the food that they are being served at the Aberdeen Hospital and the Restorative Care Unit? And then think about our dear veterans in the Northumberland Veterans Unit… this is now their home.
The food provided, I feel certain, does not follow the Canada Food Guide and I doubt if much of the food served is even Canadian. Fresh fruit and vegetables is a rarity. There is so much talk about eating healthy, quality foods as well as promoting eating local.
One person was served a fruit cup. Their comment was that it was not very good. I looked at the label that said made in China.
The food for the most part is shipped in frozen and reheated on special carts. The vegetables are often undercooked such that the carrots are rubbery and are difficult to pierce with a fork. Roast beef has been served that I could not cut with a knife nor could my friend who was visiting at the time. It was next to impossible to chew and was spit out. The food is often cold; who wants to eat a cold meal? Peach drink for breakfast is not juice and who enjoys tea that is not hot? Then what about hardboiled eggs that you could bounce and the tough scrambled that are being served at the Aberdeen Hospital?
I was speaking with a veteran who said, “The food in the trenches was better than the slop we get here.” This is very sad.
This is just a glimpse of my thoughts concerning what the Pictou County Health Authority is doing to meet dietary needs. Hippocrates – the father of medicine – stated, “Let your food be your medicine, and let your medicine be your food.”
There needs to be change!
Brenda Sterling-Goodwin
New Glasgow

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Why no places for seniors to park?

To the Editor:
Two questions that need to be addressed:
I have heard many times over the question from seniors, “Why are there no spaces within our parking lots marked especially for our senior citizens?” Many seniors – though not handicapped – do find it difficult to walk a fair distance to enter the malls, for various reasons. We do have spaces for other groups such as ‘moms with young children’, ‘expectant ladies’, as we certainly should, but none for seniors. Why?
Second question: When a person or couple drive into a space marked ‘handicapped’, with the handicap sign hanging on their rear-view mirror and proceed to exit their car and walk to the mall or stores, they often receive strange looks bordering on nasty stares, from folks nearby. They hear remarks such as, “She doesn’t look handicapped’ or ‘They sure look like walking a bit would be good for what ails those guys.”
Have these people never heard of cardio-vascular diseases or other ailments not easily detected by the naked eyes? A little common sense should tell these people that normal, considerate humans (seniors or not) do not take the spaces designated for the handicapped person. Incidentally the handicapped sign should be displayed only when parked not when driving around our beautiful county, and only when the handicapped person is in the vehicle.
So please folks, show some consideration for those who aren’t as fortunate as ourselves. Remember the adage, “There but for the Grace of God go I.”
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Lola Patterson
55+ Club, New Glasgow

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A time to reach election mode

The Dexter government has dropped enough hints that they’re gearing up for an election within a year.
Premier Darrell Dexter has tried out talking points within his party and for public scrutiny to establish its achievements since forming government in 2009.
He did it Sunday in Stellarton as the NDP hosted a combined nomination meeting to name the MLAs representing Pictou County’s three ridings as its standard bearers: Charlie Parker in Pictou West, Ross Landry in Pictou Centre and Clarrie MacKinnon in Pictou East.
He’ll need every bit of good news he can get for his government to win another majority.
One could call it the Obama syndrome, describing an electorate and a leader who set such unattainable goals that the U.S. president was bound to disappoint his supporters.
Barack Obama took a hit but emerged with largely the same support – and in some ways more support due to the way his campaign targeted voting groups.
By contrast, the Dexter campaign three years ago rode a desire for change among voters to score big in rural Nova Scotia. That will be hard for his party to repeat, with at least six seats at play. Also, if there are any cracks in NDP support in HRM, we’re in for a free-for-all in the next election.
The Dexter government has made some good choices and some bad ones.
It has sunk big money to create jobs in shipbuilding, the pulp and paper industry and wind power. Much of it came to Pictou County, including its high stakes in the DSTN wind turbine plant in Trenton.
It has invested heavily in infrastructure, whether it is paving or chip sealing roads in a big way, or in Monday’s announced $4.3 million commitment to address flooding concerns in Stellarton.
But the government has disappointed people, alienating the entire southwest of the province shortly after taking power by ending its Yarmouth to Maine ferry subsidy.
Taxes are high, but this government has made life easier for seniors to stay home or accept long-term care with less financial penalty.
It’s a mystery where the NDP’s newfound support in 2009 will go in the next election. The party is counting on those who came to them last time to stay with them next time.
For that to be so uncertain so close to an election is fascinating.

Steve Goodwin

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