Doug Leigh says he welcomes the opportunity each year to work with Mariposa Figure Skating Club members in Pictou County.
The internationally-renowned coach at the club’s base in Barrie, Ont. was teaching Mariposa club skaters for the third time last week during a summer camp at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
It’s part of the relationship formed after the Heather Figure Skating Club decided in 2011 to become a satellite site for the Mariposa club that has been operating since 1973.
“It’s always great working with people who are trying to be the best they want to be,” he said. “You plant the seed and seal the dream.”
Leigh has coached at six Olympic Games and 26 world championships. Skaters he has coached include Brian Orser, Elvis Stoyko and Jennifer Robinson.
He said he appreciates the relationship the two groups have established.
Two morning sessions preceded private lessons Leigh offered to skaters on Thursday.
“I like the relationship,” he said. “You see people who really care about what they’re doing.”
Local coach Angela Coady said it’s important to place value on opportunities to work with coaches as accomplished as Leigh is.
“It’s great for the skaters and the coaches,” she said. “When you can learn from the best, you have to take advantage of that.”
NEW GLASGOW – Witnessing the talent and passion of soccer in Europe has a local coach calling for the sport’s organizers to raise the game’s standard to provide more benefits to its players.
Coach Mark Brennan says the Highland Region’s XFC Under-16 female team that he accompanied on a trip to Europe has learned valuable lessons about how to derive more from participating in sports at a high level.
The team included eight players from Pictou County: Rebecca MacKenzie, T-Anna Fraser, Season Brennan, Caroline Straub, Jamie Crocket, Payton Ruiz, Randi Fraser and Jennifer Cooke.
The team was based in Volkenburg, Holland between Aug. 3 and 13, where the country borders Belgium and Germany.
Local teams need to strive for the family atmosphere demonstrated by each soccer club the local team visited, he said. They also have to allow players to move beyond their age group to allow them to play with teammates with similar skill levels.
“If we want to move ahead we have to become a soccer family,” he said. “We all have to get on the same program. Coaches have to put players first, not hold them back just so they can win a provincial championship.”
Brennan said growing up in Scotland – where he said he played mostly rugby and some soccer and cricket – exposed him to the club model that the team experienced in Europe.
He said he hopes more local male and female teams get a chance to sample the skill and intensity offered to the U-16 female team.
The contingent noticed how each club had a club house, with a restaurant and bar and other amenities
“We want them to go to the next level,” he said.
Brennan said it was remarkable how teams controlled the ball, such as in the first game between the XFC team and Beerschot, a Belgian team, which won 1-0.
“It was a fantastic game,” he said. “Some of the girls played the game of their lives.”
The XFC team lost 2-0 to Standard Liege, another Belgian team, in their second game.
“Their ball movement was so superior, but we had girls who could play on their team.”
Their other two games were against Dutch teams, which he said at every level were highly technical and stressed passing.
“The ball was on the ground all the time,” he said.
Part of the secret was the low-cut grass turf that allowed passes to roll true, he said.
The local team was also fortunate to sit behind the goal at one end of the soccer field for one of the games involving a Dutch team, he said.
“It was so loud,” he said. “We got a real feeling of the passion for the game in other parts of the world.”
The trip was as much a cultural journey as it was a sports experience.
“We got to see things we’d never seen before,” Straub said.
Visits to the dwelling in Amsterdam where Anne Frank’s family hid for several years during the Second World War before the Nazis detained them – and to the city’s Red Light district – stood out, he said. So did a trip to a U.S. military cemetery.
“Anne Frank’s hiding place had a real connection,” he said. “The girls on our team were about the same age and read her diary. The cemetery is where 8,000 Americans are buried and even though they weren’t Canadian, the girls could appreciate that their freedom came at a cost.”
The team’s guide, a retired school teacher, arranged the trip to the Red Light district.
“It shows you what can certainly happen if you go down the wrong path,” Fraser said.
Having just opened in the spring, the Margaret George Art Gallery in the Celtic Circle is broaching its third art show.
The inaugural show featured 11 local artists and there were 20 artists in the second show, including some international artists.
“The Margaret George Art Gallery has two rooms, gallery one upstairs which is always changing and gallery two which is downstairs and features themed work or solo shows,” explains co-founder Joan Krawczyk.
The current show in gallery two is ‘It’s From Here’ featuring Bill Roff, Marianne Joyce Collins, Watson Inglis, Denise Lynch, Gordon MacDonald, Peggi Thayer, Margaret Nicholson, Joan Krawczyk, Lorraine Endicott and Carolyn Vienneau.
“Gordon MacDonald is currently working on a 10-foot high painting of the Ship Hector,” explains Krawczyk, “and Lorraine Endicott creates many small works that everyone has room for.”
Krawczyk says that Jaye Ouelette is also featured in the gallery quite often.
“We are helping artists show their work but also helping to market them out of province as well,” says Krawczyk.
All works of art in the gallery are for sale during open hours, Saturday and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. or by appointment by phoning 755-8972.
Upcoming shows at the gallery include a show from Jimy Sloan in September, Ellen MacDonald in October, an affordable art show in November and December with most works under $400, a photo exhibit by Steve MacLean, an anti-bullying exhibit next April and May entitled Stand Up and Speak Out and Gordon MacDonald in June and July.
“We try to organize our exhibits a year in advance,” says Janine Howell, co-founder of the gallery.
Krawczyk adds, “We are thrilled with the response from people who have been in; it’s absolutely thrilling. There are several hundred people in for weddings who also see the art. It’s exposure most artists could never get.”
The Celtic Circle is also married with the Forbes Street Presenters Society which is a non-profit society running the last two years working on community projects.
“We work on projects that tie in all of the towns. We are also trying to develop an inventory of all of the arts in the area including musicians, performers, dancers, artists, etc.,” says Krawczyk.
“Anyone with a project, youth, seniors, whatever the project we will try to help.”
Howell adds, “We are a bit of an art depo, you can come in and discuss art and see where you fit in.”
The Celtic Circle is also looking to offer a lecture series to the community relating to art.
“We will also have Sean Bridges moving in doing workshops with technology. He runs an Internet radio station here that plays a lot of local and indy artists and will be hosting youth computer building workshops,” explains Krawczyk. “They will learn to program their own game, build apps and build their own computer.”
They are also looking at having a Lan Party, where the youth will come in and play a computer game against others in the room.
“It encourages kids to get out of their rooms and socialize with other children that share the same interests,” says Krawczyk.
“We are basically trying to stimulate the economy and create a hub, a place where new ideas are coming out.”
The Celtic Circle is also looking at creating a fringe film festival .
“We are into any and everything,” laughs Krawczyk.
Local actor Amanda Jefferson-Gillis is looking to cast six enthusiastic teen actors in a stage production of Gary L. Blackwood’s award-winning play, “The Goose Girl”.
The play is an adaptation of the Grimm Brothers’ fairytale of the same title but offers a more humorous and witty retelling of the fable.
Rehearsals will begin in September and will continue throughout the fall, leading to performances in mid to late November. Cast members will be expected to attend two to three rehearsals a week and must be willing to commit the necessary time and energy to the production.
Youth aged 13-18 who are interested in auditioning for a role or who are interested in working behind the scenes are invited to attend a workshop on Thursday, August 29 at Glasgow Square beginning at 1 p.m. The workshop will provide an opportunity to learn more about the project, play some theatre games, and read excerpts from the play to facilitate casting. Participants are not expected to present an audition monologue.
To register for the workshop or express interest in participating in the project contact Jefferson-Gillis at email@example.com or call 752-6824.
MERIGOMISH – A member of the group trying to prevent oil exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is upset, but not surprised, bids for exploration are being sought during an environmental assessment process.
Mary Gorman of Save Our Seas and Shores says the decision earlier this year by oil and gas regulators in Newfoundland and Labrador to call for bids to explore parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence several months before an environmental assessment has concluded contravenes the federal environment commissioner’s request for them to wait. She noted that the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board was warned earlier this year to make sure the assessments were finished before offering undersea land parcels.
By waiting, she said companies would know what kind of measures would be required for the environment while exploring and drilling in marine habitat.
“It is obvious that the board has no intention whatsoever to say no to this development or they wouldn’t be issuing a call for bids before the completion of the SEA,” she said.
“This is what happens when unelected offshore provincial boards are given dual powers as both regulators of development and protectors of the environment. Inevitably, they cast environmental protection aside.”
There has been an ongoing strategic environmental assessment of the area since it was ordered in 2011. It is designed to update previous studies to see how fragile that part of the Gulf is to oil and gas development and recommend ways to avoid damaging the ecosystem in the wake of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The process would include a draft report being issued, followed by six weeks of public feedback and a final report in the fall.
Members of Save Our Shores and the St. Lawrence Coalition have sought a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf, similar to one already in effect around George’s Bank fishing grounds in the Gulf of Maine between Nova Scotia and New England. They say the board has its priorities backwards.
Coalition spokesman Sylvain Archambault wondered what political or industrial pressure was placed on the board to speed up the call for bids.
Coalition members are also criticizing what it calls unrealistic oil spill simulations the exploration company Corridor Resources is using around the Gulf area known as Old Harry, where test drilling has been centred.
It also cites how the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has also criticized the spill simulations the company has given the petroleum board since Dec. 2011.
NEW GLASGOW – Town council has scheduled a hearing prior to its Sept. 16 meeting to consider an amendment to its development agreement regarding the former YMCA property on South Frederick Street.
Coun. Troy MacCulloch introduced a notice of motion pertaining to the amendment that would either be a sub-division or consolidation of the land where the former Y building is located.
The notice was among a series of motions and notices of motions council dealt with at its most recent meeting on Aug. 19.
Council adopted an off-highway vehicles bylaw, as well as a land use bylaw amendment concerning signage provisions. It also approved a not-substantial amendment to a development agreement to a property on Stellarton Road and a four-unit development agreement with Sylvics Forestry on Abercrombie Road.
Motions to amend agreements concerning a proposed expansion by Twin Rivers Park Ltd. of its trailer Park on High Street were tabled.
In other planning matters, council approved the appointment of Mike Thompson as a building inspector and Jeff Turnbull as a planner and development officer.
Council also approved a resolution asking the province’s Law Reform Commission to examine the merits of municipal candidates with serious criminal records being permitted to run for election.
It is among a series of resolutions forwarded to a Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities committee that will consider which ones will be brought forward for consideration at its annual convention in November in Halifax.
Council also heard that a tree sculpture commemorating Canada’s participation in the Battle of Vimy Ridge cannot be repaired due to insect infestation. It was proposed to move it from its original location on East River Road to Carmichael Park.
SCOTSBURN – The decision by Scotsburn Dairy to expand its ice cream business reflects the growing domestic and global demand for its products, president and CEO Doug Ettinger says.
The Dexter Government announced last Friday that it is helping the Scotsburn-based dairy company expand its Truro facility.
The province is lending Scotsburn $5.5 million as part of the company’s $10-million initial-phase expansion. The loan is payable over 15 years and allows the company to earn up to $480,000 in forgiveness, based on the jobs it creates.
A $2-million capital equipment incentive will also help Scotsburn buy new novelty ice cream machines that Ettinger says are key to the company’s mission to capture more market share.
The province expects the expansion to create 40 new jobs and protect more than 500 jobs in Nova Scotia.
“Over the past 10 years, Scotsburn Dairy has been aggressively pursuing new customers and markets for the premium ice cream products we make,” Ettinger said. “This financial assistance will allow us to continue to grow and create value-added jobs.”
He said the expansion will not affect Scotsburn’s milk production facility in Stellarton, while the company’s head office remains in Scotsburn.
Novelty ice cream products include those not on a cone or in a carton, such as ice cream sandwiches and popsicles and other products on a stick.
The equipment for Scotsburn’s expansion is coming from Denmark, Ettinger said.
“It’s all about innovation,” he said. “It will allow us to grow our business. We’re pretty strong in Canada but we’re looking for more global markets. Ten or 12 years ago, (novelties) were a pretty small part of our production, Now it’s half our business and a growing category.”
The province expects Scotsburn’s increased workforce to earn nearly $35 million in annual payroll and derive $17 million in direct tax revenue over five years.
Scotsburn Dairy Group is considered the largest locally-owned dairy processor and distributor, and the leading manufacturer of ice cream and frozen novelties in Atlantic Canada.
Scotsburn produces private label products for major retail customers that are distributed across Canada and internationally.
PICTOU – Five young members of the Clan Thompson Pipe Band have come home with a bounty of medals and awards from competitions.
Drummer Luke Henderson and pipers Clare Henderson, Brady Webb, Brittany MacFarlane and Robert Caldwell all earned the awards.
Webb said he welcomed the awards he received, including two plaques, but he was more grateful just to be able to be there.
“I just enjoyed being there playing,” he said.
MacFarlane also received special awards besides the medals she earned. They included Piper of the Day at the Highland Games in Antigonish.
“I want to keep playing, for sure,” she said.
Pipe band member Madelyn Evans Langlois teaches the piping students, who play classic and piobaireachd tunes.
It’s Luke Henderson’s first year and he also won awards during the competitions that the band attended in P.E.I., Moncton, Pugwash, Antigonish and Fredericton.
The band always welcomes new members. Contact Langlois in Stellarton for details on how to join.
MACKAY’S CORNER – A local author says she felt compelled to write a sequel to her first book.
Mona MacDonald says friends suggested she write her latest work, Anchored in Time II. She says it was a way of continuing the subject matter contained in her first book: Anchored in Time Part I.
The work will be celebrated during a book launch that has been scheduled for Saturday at the Toney River Community Centre from 6 to 9 p.m.
“I wrote it partly in response to requests from some friends but also because I personally felt that I had not quite completed my initial goal in my first book,” she said. “I realized that there were still stories to be told and recorded.”
This led to MacDonald interviewing more than 100 people of the older generation, as well as the following two generations.
A special section at the beginning of the book focuses on the fishermen of the area, with coloured pictures that highlight their boats.
The book features 335 pages and about 900 pictures, which she describes as “a large but very rewarding task.”
“My primary intent on publishing this sequel is to help preserve the history of life along the shores of the Northumberland Strait, in particular, Seafoam and Toney River – branching out on either side to Melville and Caribou River,” she said. “I see Anchored in Time II as an anchor to our past, written to preserve the stories of our people and their contributions to our community. It is my wish that the memories and pictures recorded in the book will help our young children appreciate all that has gone on before them, so that they cherish the past as they look to their future.”
MacDonald says the content reflects the changing times each decade brings to people’s lives.
She cites the example of the 1960s, 70s and 80s during the years of harvesting Irish Moss.
“Most families became familiar with the process of collecting the moss off the shores or by boat, and it became a profitable time for young and old alike,” she said.
Another similarity she noted in the book was the strong role grandparents played in the lives of the younger set.
“Fishing and farming were the main occupations, and hard work was generally looked upon as a way of life,” she said. “The church was a major focus of family life, as was the rural one-room schoolhouse. Through it all, music remained at the forefront of community life, as it does to this day.”
During the book launch, the Thursday Night Players will entertain with old time fiddle music, and anyone with an instrument is being invited to join the jam session. Lunch will be ongoing throughout the evening.
Xander Martin is young in years, but old in wisdom.
The seven-year-old from Scotsburn is entering Grade 2 at Scotsburn Elementary school and aside from being a keen learner he is a lover of all things nature.
Martin found out toward the end of July, after hearing machinery outside of his house, that trees were being cut down on a piece of property behind where he lives.
“I wanted to do something,” he says. “I wanted to do something to try to stop them.”
After discussions with his parents, David and Alena Martin, as well as family friends, Martin decided to organize a bottle drive.
“Mom’s friend suggested I do a bottle drive,” he says. “I was worried about the animals’ habitat being lost and the animals dying.”
The bottle drive began on July 29 with an event page on Facebook and ended this past Saturday, August 24.
“My goal is to raise $645 with the hope that I can raise $700,” says Martin.
As of last Wednesday, he was at $652 with loads of bottles still coming in.
“I thought it was for the pipeline at first,” he recalls. “I looked at the map but it wasn’t for the pipeline. I really like animals and I grew up around here. There are lots of animals in our back yard, and we go hiking and see a blue heron’s nest near the blueberries and there are porcupines and bunnies. There is also a beaver’s dam.”
The funds Martin is raising through the bottle drive are going toward three different organizations, the Pictou County SPCA, the Friends of Redtail Society and Hope for Wildlife Society in Seaforth, NS.
“I chose those ones because we donated blankets to the SPCA and there were just kittens there and we watch Hope for Wildlife. I like cats and all animals – even wild ones,” says the dog and frog owner.
“He reads nature books all the time,” says Martin’s mother, Alena.
“We go to the library every week and he brings home a new encyclopedia on animals.”
Organizing the bottle drive has allowed Martin to feel a little better about the trees being cut down.
“I was upset at first, but unsure because I didn’t really know a whole lot (about why it was happening). I talked to Mommy and Daddy about it. I felt a little better when I was doing something, but still sad that they had already started.
“I hope this makes a change,” he says.
When Martin returns to school, he would like to organize another event for the students to work on together.
“I am excited to go back and tell my friends what I did, teach them about what I have learned. I will never forget what it’s like to help people and animals. I have learned a lot from this.”
This is the first time Martin has rallied his troops for a cause, but he is certain it will not be the last.
“I put a lot of work into it,” he laughs.
He will be visiting Hope for Wildlife Society to donate their share of the funds during their open house and will be meeting with the SPCA of Pictou County and the Friends of Redtail Society this week.
“His dad and I are extremely proud of him,” says Alena. “The best part is seeing how much he has learned from it. He learned that just because he is a seven-year-old kid, he can still do something and can inspire even adults to do great things. We are proud of him and his sister Cameron, five, who has helped out.”
This was one of the best summers of Erik Kowalski’s life.
The 18-year-old Trenton resident completed an exchange with the sea cadets in Britain for 20 days this past April.
Kowalski, chief petty officer second class and senior drill instructor, has been involved in the RCSCC 87 Admiral Murray Sea Cadets for the past six years, going into his seventh. He just graduated from North Nova Education Centre in June.
He was one of 12 cadets from across Canada to be accepted into the exchange with Britain.
“I was applying for summer camp positions with the sea cadets when it was suggested that I apply for the exchange in the UK,” explains Kowalski. “I didn’t think much of it after I applied until about a month before when I heard that I was accepted. It is open to anyone who has been in the cadets for a few years and has a good service record.”
Kowalski had been overseas before with school, but this was his first time with the cadets.
“I met one of the cadets from Newfoundland coming and we flew to Toronto together where we met the other 10 cadets,” he says. “We spent a day or two there getting to know each other and sightseeing, then we flew to Heathrow airport in London.”
Once the cadets landed in England, they toured the area and took a small bus to Poole where they met the crew and officers as well as the remaining 12 cadets from the UK.
“We spent two weeks on the T.S. Royalist, a tall ship, sailing the channels,” says Kowalski.
The day they were supposed to set out on their two-week journey, the weather was rainy which delayed them so they received an additional day of training.
“We left Poole and were supposed to go to Isle of Wight but it was a unanimous vote to go to France, so 11 and a half hours later we made it. After a half hour, most of the cadets were hanging over the edge of the boat, but after the initial crossing our seasickness was gone.”
While in France they did a bit of sightseeing but also some shore side training.
Kowalski is trained in gunnery, which he says is the least sea-based trade, so he was quite out of place at first.
“Gunnery is more ceremonial and not as relevant in the navy now so there are only a few of us left in the province and across Canada,” says Kowalski.
On their sea travels, they visited the Pegasus Bridge, the first to be liberated during the Normandy invasion, Cannes in France which Kowalski enjoyed because he was one of three cadets who could translate the French, and Honfleur.
“Honfleur was my favourite,” he says. “It was nice and quiet with a great beach. It was a beautiful area.”
“I always wanted to go into the navy or the army, in Canada or Britain,” he says. “We got to tour the HMS Defender which is a gorgeous vessel. If I end up in the British navy I want to be commissioned on that ship.”
He was able to hone his leadership skills, working with cadets on his level and learned more about the sea-faring trades.
As for his experience, Kowalski says it will definitely help him with his choice of careers and believes the cadets have also provided him with insight.
“It’s an amazing program (sea cadets) for people to get into. I think people maybe think that it costs a lot of money, but all of the opportunities, joining, the uniform – it is all free,” he says. “I have never paid a cent, in fact I get training bonuses when I go to camp or when I went overseas, which eliminates the money worries. It provides stronger leadership skills as well.”
Kowalski says the cadet program is the best thing anyone can get involved in.
“It takes one night of training per week, Tuesdays, at the New Glasgow Armories from 6:45 to 9 p.m. and the opportunities are endless. You make friends for life and all you have to do is be positive and be a Canadian citizen between 12 and 18 years old.”
The sea cadets allowed him to face one of his biggest fears, heights.
“On the ship in the UK I volunteered for yardsman, which is the guy that climbs up the mast to untie the sails. Being up there and seeing the scenery from such a high point, it was a great view and I got over my fear of heights.”
He also keeps in contact with the friends he made overseas and at camp over the years.
“My hope is to get more students interested in cadets and get more numbers,” he says. “Drop in if you are interested, our first day back is September 10 and there is no requirement to join.”
Local 4-H groups are celebrating 100 years in Canada during the annual 4-H days this September with an alumni component.
Three original members of the Saltsprings 4-H club are excited to possibly be taking part in the event.
John Proudfoot, now 97, was a member of the Saltsprings 4-H when he was just a boy, maybe 9 or 10 years old. “It was way back,” he recalls. “I was in the poultry end.”
Proudfoot says he has fond memories of 4-H, although sometimes it’s difficult to recall them.
“We usually went to Pictou for the yearly exhibition for one thing,” he says. “Most of the members in the club would go and take their hens for the poultry portion.”
Proudfoot says it was busy times back then with various groups within the 4-H including poultry, calves and much more.
Betty Lou Scott, on the organizing committee for the 100th anniversary celebrations, says in fact, “There was a tractor club in the Bayview area, just for tractors and a club in Toney River called the Sociable Sewers.”
Proudfoot was involved in 4-H for quite some time, while he was attending school and continued to contribute to the club which has named him an honorary member of the Saltsprings 4-H club.
Elaine MacLean, now 93, was also involved in the Saltsprings 4-H group as a founding member.
“I was probably about 12 (then) and I just turned 93,” she says. “I don’t remember much, but I remember I had two sets of hens and roosters at home and I had to look after them. I took them to the exhibition with Freddie and we had to get judged down there, I know we did well…(because) at the exhibition, we got word that we had to go to Halifax for the exhibition.”
MacLean and her team mate were put up in dorms in Halifax.
“I was very nervous at that young age,” recalls MacLean. “There was a big banquet at the end of it at a hotel… it was beautiful. There was a big dinner and prizes were give out that night.”
MacLean says once she finished school, her participation with the 4-H group stopped but she looks back fondly on those memories.
“I think at that age, there was not much for young people to be into and I liked animals and had hens at home,” she says. “I was always an animal lover, I helped with farm work at home and on my grandparents’ farm. And once I got married we got into that kind of work as well.”
Back in those days, MacLean recalls having to walk a lot. Friends were those that lived close, so she wasn’t able to keep in touch with other 4-H members because there weren’t a lot of means to do so.
She is hoping to attend the upcoming 4-H Days 100th anniversary celebrations on September 7 and 8.
During the celebrations this year, alumni are invited to come back to attend the competitions, and the cake decorating competition has been opened to the general public.
“We are inviting the public to bring decorated cakes in Sunday morning (September before 10 a.m. and people can donate to vote for their favourite cake,” explains Scott.
“Also, there is no admission fee and the competitions are free as well, but we will be accepting donations at the door.”
NEW GLASGOW – Complimenting the first phase of the downtown revitalization project for New Glasgow, the marina expansion project has been completed and officially opened.
The project was opened alongside the official unveiling of the new way finding kiosks located throughout the downtown core.
“The expansion and upgrades at the New Glasgow marina promote tourism and recreational industries, attracting more people to the downtown core,” said MP Peter MacKay.
Funding for the $132,100 marina expansion and the kiosk project was cost shared, with $55,050 coming from the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund through Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency for the construction of the floating docks, gangways, concrete anchors and way finding kiosks. An additional $14,550 was provided provincially through Nova Scotia Economic and Rural Development and Tourism and the Town of New Glasgow investing $63,000.
“Revitalizing New Glasgow’s downtown will benefit residents, help keep visitors coming back again and again,” said Justice Minister Ross Landry.
Previously, the marina had 66 docks which held approximately 30 boats; the expansion has added 11 new docks allowing for 12 more vessels. It meant more boats on the river during the New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee: 28 boats last year to 42 this year, seven of which came from PEI.
“This expansion will encourage economic activity and enhance the downtown where the community gathers,’ explained Barrie MacMillan, New Glasgow mayor. “It (the expansion) has improved the quality of life and experience for New Glasgow residents, businesses and visitors.”
The three way finding stations include geographically-oriented kiosks offering visual instructions to help visitors navigate to various destinations in the area. One is located at the marina, one on Provost Street and the other on Archimedes Street.
PICTOU – Pictou has approved its town budget, after months of deliberation.
The balanced budget will run through the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014 with an operating budget of $5,804,235.
The tax rate will remain the same this year at $1.86 residential and $4.39 commercial generating $3.7 million for the town.
The town is spending $2.37 million in capital projects including $80,175 for the gateway enhancement, which includes signage and beautification at the ‘V’ on Church and Water streets and $55,000 toward the West River Road realignment which has already taken place.
Pictou also has to foot the $22,000 bill for relocating the utility poles on Church Street that are owned by Aliant and Nova Scotia Power.
“The town has to pay the unappreciated cost for the movement of the poles,” explains Mayor Joe Hawes. “Originally they wanted us to pay close to $70,000 even though when the work was done in New Glasgow, they didn’t have to pay for it.”
Hawes says he is pleased, however, to offer the same tax rate to residents.
“Although the taxes will go up because of assessment and water rate increases, we are able to hold the rate even with the continuous down loading from the government on the municipalities.”
Hawes says the increase is not a big increase, but it will be an increase.
Council also approved an agreement with the Town of New Glasgow regarding a municipal development official and a municipal building official to replace the former Pictou County Shared Services which is no longer in operation.
The agreement with New Glasgow will begin on September 3.
ABERCROMBIE POINT – Pictou County’s MLAs are looking for solutions to the ongoing air pollution emitted from stacks at the Northern Pulp mill.
They met with mill officials, including Northern Pulp board chairman John Hamm. The meeting was set up by Energy and Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker, who also represents Pictou West in the Dexter government. Pictou East MLA Clarrie MacKinnon and Justice Minister Ross Landry, MLA Pictou Centre, also attended.
Parker said he asked for the meeting to update the company’s progress in devising a plan to reduce air emissions that at times cause the familiar plume that drags over the land and water.
He is also responding to the growing public response to a Facebook page set up by Pictou residents Matt Gunning and Paul Gregory calling on Northern Pulp to clean up the emissions.
Parker also arranged a meeting for Gunning and Gregory with Department of Environment officials at its Granton office.
“Everyone recognizes we have a problem,” Parker said.
While the pulp mill is in Parker’s constituency, the treatment plant for the mill’s byproducts at Boat Harbour is in MacKinnon’s riding. MacKinnon wants independent monitoring of the air emissions.
“I think if we had independent monitoring we’d have a better system in place,” he said.
“We don’t have an issue with that,” said Hamm, who joined the MLAs outside the plant before the meeting was convened.
Hamm reasoned that high humidity and high winds prevent the plume from rising into the atmosphere. He said the mill’s workers endure the same emissions problems as everyone in the county.
“The people who work here live here,” he said. “Improvements have been made, but there’s more to be done and we’re working with governments to get it done.”
The Adopt a Library literacy program is preparing to ship out its largest shipment of books to date.
“We have about three quarters of a million dollars in books that we are moving out in one week,” explains Const. John Kennedy, creator of the Adopt a Library program.
“This is the first time we have been able to make a delivery to all nine regional libraries at the same time as well as to the second Adopt a Library warehouse in Cape Breton.”
This is a province-wide project that has been in the works for two years now that Kennedy says has finally come together.
“We received free books from Coteau Publishing in Regina for the first time,” he says. “They initiated this two years ago and asked if we would be interested in some free books, but we had to located a trucking company to transport the books for us. Canadian Freight Ways and Connors Transfer brought the books here and volunteers helped unload and sort them.”
The books are now being delivered around the province with assistance from the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library and RCMP with local policing agencies which have worked together across the province to get these books “out of the warehouse and into the hands of children.”
The shipment contains approximately 80,000 books worth approximately $700,000.
Eric Stackhouse, PARL chief librarian, is keen to receive this shipment. “For some it may seem strange for public libraries to be giving books away, but for me it’s all about children having books in their hands and in their homes. If they don’t have books around them, the chances of them reading are nil, as simple as that. I see every day the power that reading has to transform lives and we all need to do as much as we can to help that happen.”
The books are being delivered August 26-29 in Bridgetown, Yarmouth, Hebbville, Truro, Amherst, Dartmouth, Mulgrave and Florence, Cape Breton to a second Adopt a library warehouse.
The Adopt a Library program began 17 years ago at the New Glasgow Library and has been province-wide for 14 years.
“The program is now in every library in the province, in all group homes in Nova Scotia, in all correctional facilities in Nova Scotia and more than 100 schools as well as in other provinces and countries,” says Kennedy.
“Pictou County is the birthplace of a global program and the people in Pictou County drive this program forward.”
Aside from the donated books, the remainder of the books are purchased which Gord Hankin, national chairman and book obtainer says, “is great for the publishers and for us because we are recycling the books in a different way. All of these books have been sent to a distributor and either not sold or were over stock and would have been destroyed.
“It’s amazing the number of children in Nova Scotia that don’t own their own book. But this program takes a lot of volunteer work and we have essentially no budget, aside from the drive we do at Walmart and funding from the Scotiabank.”
The program is also sponsored in kind by businesses like Connors Transfer, Canadian Freight Ways, Central Nova Subaru, Coldwell Banker and Custom Springs and Welding.
“We need corporate sponsors on board so that we can really make this fly,” says Hankin. “It’s a program that works.”
Kennedy agrees. “There is a direct correlation between literacy and crime.”
The time has come to do more than just a letter writing campaign.
Dwight MacDonald is assembling the masses to fight to keep what he calls one of the last historical icons in Pictou – the Pictou Golf Course.
The Lions Club of Pictou sold the golf course five years ago to a group of three people who wanted to build condominiums; two of those people are no longer involved and the third has passed away.
“The golf course was in operation until this summer,” says MacDonald. “Now it is grown over and it needs help.”
According to MacDonald, the property has been in arrears for the past three years on property tax amounting to $88,000 and his fear is that if the property goes up for sale in auction, it may be lost for good.
“This place shouldn’t be anything else but a golf course,” he told the group of more than 40 people that gathered at the Pictou Golf Course on Saturday for a ‘Save the Pictou Golf Course’ meeting.
“It can be made into a fantastic little nine-hole course, but it needs a lot of work.”
His goal is to form a small committee that can work toward purchasing the property from the estate of the former owner. They are currently asking $600,000 but MacDonald says it was purchase for $444,000 from the Pictou Lions Club.
“There is a local who has expressed interest in purchasing the land so if we can set up a meeting with a small committee perhaps we can start there,” he says.
If that fails, MacDonald wants to begin a fundraising campaign with members paying dues that would go toward the purchase of the property, as well as attempting to obtain corporate sponsors.
“I would offer my services for labour and upkeep of the grounds for free,” he says.
A figure of $120,000 was thrown out as the amount it would take to run the course each year, so MacDonald figures $2 million is what is needed to get the golf course back to its former glory.
“This is a big job, and this is just the first step, but we at least have to try,” he says.
Residents questioned where the MLA and councillors were and why “the NDP government just gave Inverness money for their club.”
MacDonald says he spoke with MLA Charlie Parker and a business plan showing that the course will make money is required before funding is considered.
“We have to have a good membership and stuff going on to make this a success.”
But MacDonald and the group feel it can be done.
“I lived here for 50 years and spent my summers here for 50 years. When the Norway House was being torn down, I complained about it, but I went home and did nothing. This time, I am doing something. The Pictou Golf Club is more than 100 years old and it has to be saved. There are 70 to 80 kids this summer not golfing and the seniors aren’t getting their exercise because they aren’t golfing.”
The group is being solidified and is currently looking at options to go about either acquiring the property or helping someone re-open the course.
They will be meeting again within the next couple of weeks to update people on the progress, after a meeting is held with the local interested buyer. Anyone interested is welcome to come out and share ideas of how to save the Pictou Golf Club.
To the Editor:
There have been numerous reports of people leaving their dogs unattended in a locked vehicle on hot days, resulting in dogs’ death from the heat. Is this the way to treat our loves ones? I hope not!
There have been reports of people leaving their small children inside of locked cars in hot, humid weather. These people have been charged with child abuse and neglect. Shouldn’t people treating their dogs in the same manner? Be charged with animal neglect and abuse?
Some people treat their dogs almost like a human, part of their family. The old saying “Dogs are man’s best friends”… Who would treat a family member or a best friend by abusing them and causing them undue pain and suffering? Isn’t locking your beloved dog in a sweltering hot car for an extended period of time abuse? In fact, even a minute is too long.
It has been said that dogs will give their lives to save their masters’; why can’t people do everything possible to protect their dogs’ lives? Do they not care, or do they forget? They think that the dog will be OK under such conditions. Dogs cannot and should not be left alone in locked vehicles on hot days. Plain and simple. Why can’t the owners understand that? Why do people still do that, allowing their dogs to die!
As responsible dog owners, we must put their health and well-being ahead of everything else.
Over the past three decades, I (we) have had a large number of dogs; we keep each one in the house. Each one has/had their own individual fans; keep them cooled down by spraying them lightly with the hose or by wiping them down; lots of fresh, cool water to drink. We walk our dogs early in the morning and late in the evening when it is coolest.
If we do have to travel with the dogs in the car, we make sure that one of us can remain in the car with the dog(s) and have the air conditioning on, and we try to park either in the shade or under a tree. We take a leash to walk them in the shade and fresh, cool water and a clean bowl to drink from.
To the Editor:
In 2011 the Pictou County Regional Health Authority announced that rethermalized food would be replacing fresh food for the Veterans at the Northumberland Veterans Unit. After an onslaught of continuous adverse publicity, the Pictou County Regional Health Authority proudly announced, over a year later, that they were rescinding and would commence hiring staff and begin serving fresh food within a two-month period. Three months later staff changes have not been met, three vets have passed away (the rest are in their high 80s and 90s), the CEO of the Health Authority, whose income was over $200,000 when the thermalized food appeared, has received more than a $6,000 annual raise.
Justice? Fair play? Compassion? Consideration? Follow-through? There is none.
Time to pick up your pens, voice your anger and begin another onslaught. An election is imminent. Voice your thoughts to anyone who solicits your support and cast your ballot with our veterans in mind.
Kathleen Crober, volunteer
Northumberland Veterans Unit
To the Editor:
On July 18 we received a call from the New Glasgow Bloom Committee asking us to attend the gala awards meeting on July24 as we were nominated for an award. Now I must tell you what a great time and meeting it was.
We got to meet many of our friends as well as the mayor and council members. The music by Fleur Mainville and Ray Stewart was wonderful. And what a great voice Jim Stewart the town crier has. Mayor Barrie MacMillan had a great welcome for everyone. The art exhibit was just wonderful to see. Kimberly Dickson the MC for the night was never lost for words, what a great job. And a very good power point presentation on CIB was given on a large screen showing a cross section of homes in New Glasgow with ours being one of them.
We are very proud and pleased that we received the Magic Touch award for our property and home and that was a surprise to us for we do not do it for the award but for the beauty of the town. We are very proud of our town and street for there are many properties on our street that are very neat and well kept.
We say a big thank you to the bloom committee members for a job well done. May we always keep our town nice and neat and clean and beautiful.
To the Editor:
I have been made aware of an email that has been sent to numerous Pictonian business people and politicians. One statement has caused some consternation: “One study showed that healthy mussels brought into the area and placed into the Pictou Harbour developed leukemia within six months.”
I have been approached by several people who received this email, asking me about the validity of that statement.
This study was referred to a few years ago as a “secret” or “hidden” study! In truth, it was one of the most publicized stories in the local media, radio and print, given front page prominence. The study was even presented at an international ocean science conference in San Francisco. Eminent marine scientist Dr. Reinisch from the Woods Hole Marine Laboratory Institute, Ma., USA, and a scientist from Brazil came to Pictou to learn more about this trail-blazing study!
The three-year Pictou Harbour Biomarker Study (1999-2000) was a research project carried out under the supervision of well-respected marine biologist Dr. Sylvie St-Jeans, Ph.D., with DFO, Moncton, at the time. The study’s overall objective was to develop “a bioindicator to be used in the assessment of Marine Environmental Health (MEH)” in Pictou Harbour.
Three thousand from Malagash were equally divided among 24 cages and deployed at 12 different sites, two cages per site, within Pictou Harbour. One of the sites for the caged mussels was near the discharge pipe outflow for the Town of Pictou’s untreated, raw sewage.
Now for the “inconvenient truth” – that site, the raw sewage discharge site, was the one that had mussels that developed cancerous growths! The devil is in the details!
For how many decades has hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage spewed from the Town of Pictou, polluting and degrading Pictou Harbour?
Also, the harbour floor off the old Pictou Shipyards has been identified as an “environmental” hotspot.
FACTS – we have to work with facts if we are to identify and solve our serious environmental issues.
RR 2, Trenton
To the Editor:
Over two months have passed since Health Minister Dave Wilson travelled to Pictou and announced that fresh food would be returning to our 20 veterans at the Northumberland Veteran’s Unit. It was a day of celebration as the various politicians walked around patting themselves on the back for the good thing they were doing. Their goal was within two months but we hoped it would be sooner. Well where is it?
Two months have passed and still nothing has happened! Why the lag? One response was that a new menu needed to be developed. If one was really committed to change, then reintroduce the old menu and work on making it better. The priority should be fresh food – now, not later. These veterans could have been eating fresh food within days, instead the majority of their meals to date rethermalized food. Simply shameful.
Another government response to this issue will be that we do not understand the processes involved in making this change. These things take time, an employee had to be hired for the kitchen, a committee set up, a new menu devised, etc. Push all those excuses aside and make it happen. Fresh food for veterans NOW!
Our veterans made many sacrifices for this country. It is now our duty to show gratitude for their sacrifices and provide them with the best care available.
Please contact your local MLA, the Health minister and CEO of PCHA Pat Lee and let them know that their excuses are not acceptable. If “they” cannot get the job done there are others that can.
With this in mind, election time is fast approaching. Regardless of which party you support, please vote. But remember: Veterans of Pictou are still eating re-thermalized food. So when candidates come to your door looking for your support, please mention the veterans and your disgust at how they continue to be treated. Maybe each candidate’s headquarters should order some re-thermalized food for their election night celebration. If re-thermalized swill is still “good enough” for our beloved veterans to eat then certainly it is more than adequate for electoral candidates. Think about it.
We all have a voice, if we choose to use it. Fresh food for veterans NOW! No sad excuses.
To the Editor:
After a year-long battle by veterans families, friends volunteers and the general public it appeared that the NDP Government and the Pictou County Health Authority (PCHA) could no longer stand the heat and decided to take action.
On June 11, 2013, at a hastily called meeting at the Northumberland Veterans Unit, in front of veterans, their families, veterans Unit Staff and of course the invited media it was announced that ”100 percent home cooked meals” would be returned to our veterans at the NVU. Needless to say, MLAs Landry, Parker, MacKinnon and Health Minister Wilson took a lot of credit for this welcome announcement.
On June 20, 2013 I personally wrote a Thank You letter which appeared in our local papers. Let me quote a short paragraph: “Last but not least thank you to the Department of Health and the Pictou County Health Authority for hearing our battle cry. You have admitted you made a serious mistake and now you have done the right thing, and for that we are all very grateful.”
I honestly felt this would be my last letter on this issue but boy was I wrong. What happened? Was this simply an effort to quiet the troops?
At the June 11 meeting, we were informed that it would take two months to implement the changes. A new cook had to be hired, staffing schedules rearranged, new menus prepared and fresh food sourced. Ten weeks has passed and some improvements have been noted, however, our beloved veterans continue to be fed a steady diet of re-thermalized foods.
In the past 10 weeks, at least 14 vacant positions have been posted on the PCHA job site; not one for a cook. Why? The March 31, 2013 financial report for the PCHA reveals the CEO, Pat Lee received a pay increase of $6,106. Some employees earning over $100,000 received increases of up to seven percent. And this while they force our veterans to continue eating what can only be classed as 1950s-era TV dinners.
Remember the popular song by the Rankins “We Rise Again”? Well it is time we all rise again and again turn the heat on the PCHA and our elected MLAs as well as Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson.
We want action, not promises.
Michael D. LeBlanc
To the Editor:
Congratulations to the Pictou Landing First Nations students for the educational film they produced on Boat Harbour.
I certainly look forward to seeing the film and especially seeing the interest of the First Nation youth who never had a chance to see the beauty of Boat Harbour and to use it like we did prior to the industrial pollution. If the pollution never happened, this First Nation location would have been one of the finest in Canada and you must also look at the impact it had on one of the finest beaches in Nova Scotia – the Light House Beach.
All the best to the youth of the First Nation and just never allow what happened to happen again. Stand up for your rights as you are the future and remember, “Idle no more.”
As a former active member of the Pictou Landing Pollution Committee, we certainly worked long, hard hours and did what we would to stop this terrible tragedy and we try to ensure proper safety measures were taken prior to the mill ever being built.
Even the aerators that were installed at Boat Harbour came as suggestions from our committee with the knowledge we obtained from outside sources.
We were pioneer fighters of industrial polluters in Atlantic Canada and even leaders in that field. We sure would have liked to have had the First Nation community involved with our Pollution Committee. However, it was not to be as the provincial government lied to the elders and shows them a couple sewage abatement plants in NS and NB and the elders believed the government was telling the truth. The elders were very upset and much to their sorrow we have this pollution today. We, as a committee, did not share the elders’ trust of governments.
Companies in the 60s could do what they wanted and governments backed them as we never had pollution rules in place. We had the Conservatives in power during this tragedy at Boat Harbour; however, it is only fair to mention that I personally contacted the federal Liberals who were in power federally and I also contacted the provincial Liberals and we received absolutely no help nor any suggestions. The NDP were not an item in the 60s, yet they did have great volunteers.
Some of the present day provincial government departments came about because of our involvement in this pollution problem.
I am sure the young people today would be upset to learn that Canada in the 60s was not up to date on pollution matters as they should have been. They just would not help us and we had to get help from Washington DC and this information was of great help to our pollution committee. It put us at great advantage in dealing with the governments.
The amount of valuable information we received in the end from our American friends was passed on to the new government formed departments or used by existing ones.
We sent one of our members to meet one of Ralph Nader’s legal team visiting Halifax and he advised us that companies are not human as people think and you sue them on their bottom line. In the end, we had the approval to sue and the company started to co-operate.
It was really hard work with the Pictou Landing Pollution Committee and we got branded as trouble makers, etc. In some cases, it hurt possible job placements in the 60s. From start to finish it is a great story and today you would get the Order of Canada for doing far less.
Certainly, if we can be of any help for the rest of the story just let us know.
BROADWAY – RCMP have charged two drivers for stunting on Highway 104 on Saturday.
Shortly after 8:30 a.m., Eastern Traffic Services were conducting speed enforcement on Highway 104 in Broadway and observed a vehicle travelling at 156 km/h in a 100 km/h zone. A 22- year-old male from Antigonish was charged under the Motor Vehicle Act for stunting.
Just before 2 p.m., a 19-year-old male from Halifax was also charged with stunting on Hwy 104 in Linacy, travelling at 158km/h in a 100km/h zone.
Both drivers have been immediately suspended from driving for a minimum period of one week. Their vehicles were seized and impounded for one week. Upon conviction, the drivers could also face a fine of $2412.41 and an automatic six points will be assigned to their driver’s record.
“Speeds in these elevated ranges have the potential to cause collisions with devastating results, not only to those in the speeding vehicles but to other travelers and pedestrians. By detecting and removing these speed threats from our highways, RCMP have sent a clear safety message and have likely saved lives,” says Cpl. Mark Kellock, RCMP Eastern Traffic Services.