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Resident continues to question the need for a Wellness Centre

To The Editor:
There are times I have to stop and wonder just what is going on in this town and county of ours?
And that folks, has to do with the Pictou County Wellness Center.
For I am not sure that we really needed it in the first place. For we do have a good number of rinks in the towns and county.
And we now have the Warden of Pictou County, Mr. Baillie, saying what a great move it was for the Town of New Glasgow to close the John Brother MacDonald Stadium in New Glasgow. So that all their revenue can go to the Wellness Centre, for something that most of us did not want in the first place.
There are and still are a lot of unanswered questions that go along with the centre.
And with it already being in debt. Now with the New Glasgow Stadium closing, the taxpayer of New Glasgow will be subsidizing all teams that used to use the New Glasgow John Brother MacDonald arena.
And another thing: There is no public transportation in the County. So just how are the folks to get to this Wellness Centre that do not have the means to get there?
Somewhere along the way a lot of bad decisions have been made by not conferring with the taxpayer and general public.
And may I ask in closing just who were the leaders that passed this project in the first place?
For all the towns have their own rinks and they operate very well.
So if it is not broken why fix it?
Now what do the rinks do? Which ones want to close next? Furthermore the population of Pictou County did not need this size of Centre.
Loyd Murray
New Glasgow

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Rural economies deserve a chance

Our future depends on many things.
A buoyant economy is one of them.
And one of the balancing acts we need to achieve is how to allow our economic engines to hum with a fuel mixture that allows our rural and urban communities to contribute in equal measure.
They aren’t doing that now, and that is why people connected with the community newspaper industry are organizing the Georgetown Conference in Georgetown, P.E.I.
Community newspapers have weathered the recent global economic downturn better than dailies, but they are vulnerable to a shrinking rural economic base. The Georgetown Conference scheduled for October is designed to reverse that trend.
It will do so with the combined wisdom of those who attend from all four Atlantic Provinces. One of them is from Pictou County, Nick MacGregor. At 22, he is already a driving force – a walking, talking succession plan – for MacGregor Custom Machine and Welding. They’ll be listening to him in Georgetown.
And why Georgetown? It’s not because it’s unique. It’s because it’s so similar to other communities facing the loss of key industries and rising average age.
Atlantic Canada’s 70 community newspapers are counting on combining the collective energy and vision of the delegates and conference leaders who attend to inject new life into rural communities – and community newspapers.
So, there’s a lot riding on the success of this conference – and, perhaps, future ones.
There is also a template we all can work from – the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.
Nearly 60 years ago, few could have contemplated that one of many picturesque communities that dot Nova Scotia could be the pulse of peace in the world. Through the combined focus on a goal of peace by businessmen like Cyrus Eaton, philosophers like Bertrand Russell and scientists like Albert Einstein, a manifesto on nuclear disarmament found its voice in Pugwash.
These conferences were giving peace a chance long before late Beatle John Lennon coined the phrase.
Since then, nuclear weapons testing has been reduced and no nuclear weapons have been used in combat.
So it follows, rural communities are well on their way to recovery if the Georgetown Conference is even a fraction as successful as the Pugwash conferences have been.
It’s one of those times to cast off the cloak of adversity so we all can see the opportunity.
Steve Goodwin

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Local tenor at N.S. Tattoo

MERIGOMISH – A local tenor says he’s looking forward to performing at this year’s Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo.
Marcel d’Entremont, who grew up in Merigomish and has completed a music degree at Acadia University, will be among singers on this year’s cast at the Tattoo from June 30 to July 7 at the Halifax Metro Centre.
He has an opening performance and a closing hymn with other voices and solo portions. Besides the hymn, music will include excerpts from the musicals Brigadoon and West Side Story.
He’s still surprised how he got to join this year’s cast, even though it happened through a member of the event’s organizers, Walter Kemp.
“I don’t know why Walter asked he’s never heard me sing,” d’Entremont said.
Now 22, d’Entremont competed for 16 years at the New Glasgow Music Festival and four years at the Halifax Music Festival.
He graduated from North Nova Education Centre in 2009, spent two years at Mount Allison University and transferred to Acadia University for the last two years of his degree in music with a major in local performance that he received this spring.
Originally a baritone, d’Entremont had several lead musical roles at Mount Allison, while his roles as a tenor at Acadia became more diverse with a musical performed every semester.
“I have been working on a more difficult repertoire since pushing to tenor,” he said.
This summer, d’Entremont is working in Wolfville and expects to be home briefly in late August before beginning a Masters degree in vocal performance at the University of Toronto.

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Hundreds Walk the Walk for autism

STELLARTON – Organizers were surprised and grateful for the groundswell of support on Saturday for the annual Walk the Walk for autism.
More than $30,000 was raised, before expenses, from donations and proceeds from sales and a silent auction during the annual fundraising campaign hosted by the Pictou County Children with Autism Association’s organizing committee. At least 500 people took part in the walk through downtown Stellarton.
“We’ve done extremely well,” says Trevor Kearley who, with his wife Allison, is among members of the local group that organized the events.
“We had 200 people last year, so this year we’ve really stepped it up.”
Activities centred around the gym at G.R. Saunders Elementary School as people registered and picked up the nearly 200 special green T-shirts to lead the walk.
Children bearing a special banner led the parade of walkers behind a police escort on hand to encourage walkers to stay on sidewalks as the procession passed along Allan Avenue, Foord Street, Jubilee Avenue and Park Street to the bus stop where youngsters in the parade rushed to the school field.
Games, face painting and other activities were set up in the gym, while the school’s main lobby was filled with various silent auction items.
The association describes as its main goal to support the local community and those wishing to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder, a complex neurologically based developmental disability.
Its brochure says the symptoms appear in the first two years of a child’s life, while boys are up to four times more likely to contract the disability than girls.
Besides the walk and fun time at the school, the group hosted a Christmas party last year.

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Community shares passion

Pictou County residents are passionate about re-defining what it means to live in rural Atlantic Canada.
More than 60 people attended a meeting last week to discuss the Georgetown Conference, taking place in Georgetown, PEI October 3 through 5.
The conference is a means of resetting the discussion on rural Atlantic Canada and re-defining rural. There will be 250 doers and producers as delegates at the conference – one of which is Pictou County’s Nick MacGregor, one of the first local candidates chosen for the conference.
The concept came from Eastern Graphic newspaper publisher Paul MacNeil who was frustrated when a fish plant in his area was closing and government had one year to come up with an action plan for the employees. Their result: a job fair.
“The government is incapable of making tough decisions and thinking outside the box,” explains Mike Kierstead, one of the organizers and guest speaker at the meeting in Stellarton.
Kierstead is executive director of Newspapers Atlantic which stepped up to help organize The Georgetown Conference. The concept is simple: host a conference for rural Atlantic Canadians to come together to celebrate successes and search for solutions to the issues communities face.
MacGregor, 23, from MacLellan’s Brook, grew up in his family’s business, MacGregor’s Machining.
“Since I graduated from community college, I have been interested in developing Pictou County. I see a few things that hinder our growth and I want the county to progress. We have a lot of industry and sustainable industry, but there are also a number of issues we are facing, like the fact that we need to attract and retain youth. It saddens me because I know there are businesses in the area struggling to fill jobs and there are many people in need of jobs,” says MacGregor. “We have an opportunity as a county to think globally and grow in a global market.”
The crowd agreed with what MacGregor had to say, as well as his comment that, “there is a lot of negativity around Pictou County. We all need to work on celebrating our victories in business and other aspects.”
MacGregor believes there are a lot of positive things taking place in the county, but they need to be communicated outward.
When asked about his views on amalgamation, MacGregor was to the point. “I think amalgamation is a great thing… if we unite as one we can create efficiencies.”
Burt Langille, current president of the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, agreed that Pictou County is a great place to live, but felt overall, it needs to treat its immigrants better. “We need new blood in the community,” he says. “How can we get the money to stay in our community?”
MacGregor said the answer lies in buying and supporting local, a strong movement growing in momentum daily.
“We have to promote what we have and make it available. We need to make a road map and make sure that our services and products are known,” says MacGregor.
The majority of the comments from the crowd were positive, in support of the conference, but one man, from England who immigrated to the county felt more needs to be done.
“It’s beautiful (in Pictou County) and friendly, but there are a lot of bloody problems here… we have to have people willing to stand up and speak to those issues. We have a town (Pictou) that’s dying (from pollution and stores closing) we have to have the guts to deal with these problems.”
MacGregor wholeheartedly agreed, however, he simply stated, “I am going to learn and share.”
A lot of people felt one meeting wasn’t enough and that more people need to continue to gather to share ideas and thoughts before MacGregor attends the conference, which will be aired on C-Span and EastLink TV.
Sarah Taylor commented from the crowd, “I am in the real estate industry and what I am seeing is scary. We are down 20 per cent from June of last year… what I see is not a lot of industry and a lot of negativity… I want to have a job in 20 years.”
Dave Freckelton, principal of the Nova Scotia Community College Pictou Campus added, “We need to look at the four pillars… cultural, social, environmental and economic. They are all interdependent… Young people with no work experience are good enough to go to Alberta and be plucked for a job off the street, but here, they’re not good enough, they need three to five years experience. The population in Pictou County is declining, there are 1,000 fewer students enrolled in schools in Pictou County now than compared to 2004. If we don’t find a way to keep people here and give them a reason to stay…”
There are still approximately 100 spots left for the Georgetown Conference. Interested parties can apply online to be a delegate at There you will find the co-chairs as well as guest speakers and their stories.
More meetings regarding the Georgetown Conference will be taking place before the October event.
“There are amazing things going on in this province, and this is a chance to be able to bring some of those ideas back to Pictou County,” says MacGregor. “We need to work together to move forward together as a county and as a region.”
This is our town, our region, our province and we can make the changes needed to re-define rural Atlantic Canada. If you would like to take part in any further discussion regarding the Georgetown Conference email Advocate editor Jackie Jardine at

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Gillis enjoys heart-y celebration

PICTOU – Rebecca Gillis says she hopes more people will consider organ donations.
Gillis was the focal point of attention on Sunday at the Pictou Fire Hall for a one-year anniversary of her own heart transplant operation.
“It’s been lots of fun here,” she said of the dozens of people who showed up for the event. “It feels really good. It makes me feel very proud of myself and very much supported.”
What made it even more special was that her best friend Cassie Pierce, who’s formerly from Pictou and now living in Truro, spent the weekend with her and helped her at the reception table where they shared information on organ donation and other items to promote it. They’ve known each other since Grade 2.
Handouts included information on the importance of donations, noting that 120 Nova Scotians are waiting for organ transplants and many more are awaiting tissue transplants, as well as how people can become donors.
“I’d like people to get to know how important organ donation is because you can save someone’s life,” Gillis said.
Gillis turns 16 this summer but said she would prefer a celebration on the anniversary of her good fortune.
Information was also provided through the Legacy of Life initiative through the Nova Scotia organ and tissue donation program.

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School students learning how to grow vegetables

LYONS BROOK – Students at West Pictou Consolidated School have been learning how to grow produce in box gardens set up behind the school.
More than 20 students in Grades 3 to 5 take part in the program organized by Grade 4 English teacher Sarah Dickie.
“They enjoy it, she says. “We plant some things to be ready by the end of the school year, while some things will be ready in the fall.”
June’s damp, cool weather has not stopped the adults and children from filling the plots with a variety of plants.
Lettuce and other crops are already established for picking soon, while turnips and later varieties will be harvested in the fall.
The students were busy last Friday digging holes for young tomato plants and learning how to grow seed potatoes in cages filled with alternating layers of straw and soil.
It’s the second year for the program, which is designed to introduce students to domestic gardening and help them appreciate the work and rewards from it.
The box gardens were built in what was a staging area between the gym and the new library that was created recently in space that had been used for industrial arts.
Pole beans and sunflowers have also been planted along a mesh fence that surrounds the area.

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Fundraisers helping Carnival get back on the right track

All signs point to the Pictou Lobster Carnival being back on track.
A fundraiser held recently at the Palace Theatre in Pictou, raised $2,468.75. But the community support doesn’t stop there.
Tickets were being sold for a Father’s Day draw and coming up this weekend, on June 22 will be a family fun day with proceeds going toward the lobster carnival.
Myrna McMullen of Treasures of Distinction has teamed up with Brent Minshull of Carver’s to organize the event.
“The Lobster Carnival needed help,” says McMullen. “Brent and I had been discussing doing something big for a long time, like a grand opening of sorts. But we heard about the Lobster Carnival and decided to host the day of family fun.”
During the day, all funds from any coffee or tea sold at Carver’s will go to the Lobster Carnival and 15 per cent of all sales at Treasures of Distinction will go to the carnival fund.
“There will be a silent auction with items donated from vendors in my store and we will have donation boxes set up,” explains McMullen.
The children’s events are all free and include tug of war, face painting, water balloons and three-legged races.
“There will also be entertainment from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. including Kent Vodden, Bruce and Ann Holton, Jamie MacDonald, George Spaulding, Glen Jackson and Pat Spaulding,” says McMullen.
A pancake breakfast will run 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the New Horizons and a barbecue from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All events will take place on the Pictou Waterfront next to Carver’s.
“All of the proceeds from the breakfast and barbecue will go to the Lobster Carnival as well and we will be selling lemonade.”
The carnival is an event most residents can’t miss.
“It’s big for Pictou and well known everywhere,” says McMullen. “People come from all over the place. It’s a wonderful weekend and anything we can do to help out.”
There will be some surprises throughout the day and attendance from the Pictou County District RCMP.
“Come out and enjoy the day, have a wonderful time and support your community.”
On June 28, there will be a ham and salad supper with funds going toward the carnival. The $10 plate includes ham, potato salad, roll and a dessert. Delivery is available if necessary. For orders call Shawn at 485-5260.

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Thousands endure heat during 2013 Miles races

NEW GLASGOW – More than 2,000 runners once again took part during an unusually sunny and warm Johnny Miles Running Event Weekend.
The searing sun and high UV index, especially on Sunday, dehydrated many runners who have been used to the recent few weeks of cool, damp weather.
“I think everything went pretty well, considering the adversities we had,” said Terry Curley who, with his wife Carol, are race directors.
Curley was referring to the altered route for the 10-K half and full marathons that utilized the Trenton connector and Main Street through Trenton to New Glasgow. It was needed once it was known the Stellarton Road portion of the established course was not available.
“It was a tough day on the course,” he said. “There were some issues with runners related to dehydration, but we did everything we could to make it a safe day. We had water where runners needed it and trained staff on standby so there were no serious incidents.”
A recreation and athletic staple for 38 years, the weekend program produced a new champion for the full marathon event that was first run in 1975.
Michael Vargo of Halifax won the race while celebrating his 26th birthday, clocking a pace-setting chip time of 2:59: 49.
Nine-time champion Dave MacLennan led most of the way but ended up fourth in 2:57:19, the last runner to finish in less than three hours.
Old nemesis of MacLennan – Leo MacCosham and Scott Clark of Summerside, P.E.I. – finished behind Vargo.
Colin Shannon of New Glasgow won the half marathon in 1:18:36, while Kevin Tulloch of New Glasgow was ninth in 1:14:54.
Lorraine Young of Raleigh, N.C. was second overall and top female finisher, while Abbey Shaw of New Glasgow was 22nd overall, second female finisher and top local.
The Trenton loop created a 10.5-K race that was won by Ian Henman of Dartmouth. Gerald Green of Stellarton was seventh and top local.
Gabriel Quenneville of Antigonish won the 5-K race, while Zach MacDonald of Ardness was second.
Tim MacKenzie of Pictou was ninth.
Ryan Washburn of New Glasgow won the 5-K student challenge, while Ethan MacDonald of New Glasgow was fourth, Sam Cameron of New Glasgow was seventh and Marshall Fitt of Merigomish was ninth.
A trio of award recipients was honoured before the start of Sunday’s races: Dr. John Williston Memorial Award winner Brian Haines, Verna Van Bommel Memorial Award winner Lori Atta and Danny MacLeod Memorial Award winner Jonessa MacNeil.
Atta completed the 10.5-K run, while MacNeil completed the 5-K after doing it for the first time last year. Haines also completed the 10-K.
A moment of silence took place before the races Sunday in memory of those killed in the bombing attack near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April.
There were no incidents, although there was an increased presence of police in uniform.

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VICTORY for veterans

“It is a large day in Pictou County,” said Charlie Parker, MLA Pictou West.
Parker was speaking at the Northumberland Veteran’s Unit with Minister of Health and Wellness David Wilson.
“I am here to announce that the veterans will once again receive home-cooked meals,” smiled Wilson.
The announcement, which was made in the packed sunroom of the Pictou facility, was followed by loud applause, cheers and sighs of relief around the room from family members and veterans alike.
An audit and evaluation took place after Wilson’s office began receiving complaints and concerns almost immediately after the Pictou County Health Authority made the switch to re-thermalized foods from mostly fresh, home-cooked meals for the veterans.
One of the 12 recommendations was a balance of frozen and fresh foods based on preferences, however, the Health Authority and the Department of Health and Wellness opted for 100 per cent home-cooked meals.
Before the introduction of re-thermalizaiton, the veterans were receiving 35 per cent of their meals frozen; after the change that number increased to 65 per cent as a cost saving measure, saving the health authority approximately $70,000 annually.
As CEO for the PCHA, Pat Lee stated, these changes will not take place immediately.
“We have to create a menu and find our food sources and staffing,” explains Lee. “This was a joint decision with the Department of Health and Wellness… but we need volunteers to help with the menu. When we first met with the families in April, we asked for volunteers to help us improve the menu and we had one volunteer. That was a clear message to us that this decision was not well received.”
The changes will be made effective for the Northumberland Veterans Unit only, not the Aberdeen Hospital.
“We underestimated the reaction to this change,” says Lee.
Bernie Currie, a champion for the cause, was “delighted” with the news.
“I couldn’t just walk away after my father died,” he says. “I wanted to be a continued voice and I have to thank those who were on board. It just shows what people can do when there is an unjust cause.”
These sentiments were echoed by County Councillor Jim Turple as well as Michael LeBlanc, the son-in-law of a veteran residing at the Unit.
New Glasgow resident Tammy MacLaren, who also joined the fight for the veterans, looked around fresh fruits, cheeses and crackers brought in for the festivities and said, “Look at these colours and textures here. That’s what it’s all about.”
Veteran Burton Sears, a smile running ear to ear, summed up the announcement simply. “I’m pretty happy.”

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Fire on High Street in Pictou

A venerable home on High Street in Pictou was badly damaged this afternoon in a fire that ripped through the building’s attic. Smoke could be seen seeping through the building’s roof as Pictou fire fighters responded to the fire shortly after 1 p.m. Flames began raging from roof as it fed on the intense heat and moderate west winds. Fire fighters began scaling the inside steps and an outside ladder in an effort to get at the source of the blaze and bring it under control. The 1850s vintage home is owned by Wade and Renee Weatherbee, who live elsewhere. A daughter living in the single dwelling was not home at the time. A dog caged in the yard and a parrot inside were taken away and placed with neighbours across the street.

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Sobeys reaches agreement to acquire Canada Safeway

Wednesday was an historic day for the Sobeys companies as Sobeys Inc. has reached an agreement to acquire the assets of Canada Safeway.
While still subject to regulatory approval, the acquisition will include: 213 full-service grocery retail locations across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northern Ontario; fuel locations; in-store pharmacies; manufacturing facilities (private label and milk/fruit/vegetable/bakery/cheese); liquor stores and distribution/warehouse facilities.
The acquisition strengthens Sobeys existing retail food business and positions them as a leading grocer in Western Canada and #1 in the Alberta market.
Wednesday marked the beginning of a process of regulatory approval that is anticipated to be completed in the fall.

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Help us become number 1!

The Pictou County Chamber of Commerce is once again hosting its Best of Pictou County Peoples Choice Awards.
From now until June 20, visit and nominate your favourites in 22 categories. You may nominate a business in one or all of the categories, but you can only submit one nomination form per email address.
Help us make the grade by nominating The Advocate in the Best Media/Advertising category.
The categories are:
Best Accommodations
Best Automotive
Best Bar/Lounge/Pub
Best Building/Hardware Store
Best Coffee Shop
Best Arts/Entertainment Venue
Best Family Dining
Best Fast Food Establishment
Best Festival/Tourist Attraction
Best Fine Dining
Best Financial Service
Best Florist/Garden Centre
Best Grocery Store
Best Hair/Barber/Day Spa/Tanning
Best Media/Advertising
Best Office Supply/Print/Copy Centre
Best Pizza
Best Real Estate
Best Specialty Retailer:
Best Specialty Healthcare Service Provider
Best Sports/Recreation Facility
Best Travel Agency

Nominations (voting) are open until to 4 p.m. Thursday, June 20. Nominations will be tabulated, and the top three in each category will be announced Friday, June 21. The event takes place at Pictou Lodge on Thursday, June 27.

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Jonessa MacNeil gratified to receive Danny MacLeod Inspirational Award

Jonessa MacNeil says she is glad she is receiving this year’s Danny MacLeod Inspirational Award.
The award is presented to an individual who overcomes a significant life challenge to participate in Johnny Miles Running Event Weekend event and helps to inspire others.
MacNeil is taking part in the 5-K this year.
“I’m glad I’m receiving the award,” she said. “I remember Danny when he was a town councillor. He was really kind.
MacNeil’s name was put forward for consideration for the award because of the moving story that was submitted by Carol Forbes.
The story recounted events surrounding her death (for 12 minutes) due to head injuries she sustained in 2000, as well as her courageous recovery that included resuming working and her decision to walk the five-kilometre route last year and her plans to do it again this year.
“This is truly an inspiration to all and for that reason we feel you are the perfect fit for this award,” race directors Terry and Carol Curley stated in their notification to MacNeil.
MacNeil will join Brian Haines and Lori Atta for presentations before Sunday’s races.
Mayor Barrie MacMillan and a representative from the Johnny Miles Running Event Weekend committee will officially present the awards to the three recipients in the New Glasgow Town Council Chambers on Monday, June 17 at 6:30 p.m.

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Lori Atta ecstatic to receive Verna Van Bommell Award

Lori Atta says she is thrilled to receive the Verna Van Bommel Community Award.
The award is presented to an individual who makes a significant contribution to their community either by volunteering or by role modeling an active, healthy lifestyle.
Atta has achieved those goals on both counts.
“I was thrilled to hear that I had been awarded the Verna Van Bommel award, she said. “Running is a fairly new hobby of mine. I started running in the spring of 2010 and this will be my fourth Johnny Miles Marathon.
Atta says she grew up as an obese, very inactive child and struggled with her weight for more than 30 years.
“After I lost the weight I have played an active role in the YMCA and community to help educate those who struggle with their weight as well,” she said. “I am not the best runner, nor am I the fastest runner, but that’s not what running means to me. Each time I run or complete another Johnny Miles, it’s a reminder of how far I’ve come and how anything really is possible. Whether you run, walk, bike, swim or dance, find something to make you feel alive.”
Atta has been cited for being instrumental for the past number of years in training and motivating runners through her work at the Y and by being a role model and a coach – all the while overcoming her own personal challenges with weight (by losing more than 100 pounds) and in turn having become a highly sought after personal trainer.
Atta’s award is among three being presented during the pre-race announcements at the start of the races on Sunday.

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Haines shocked, grateful to receive Williston award

Brian Haines says he had no idea he would be receiving an award for something he says he truly enjoys.
Haines is this year’s recipient of the Dr. Johnny Miles Williston Character Award that is presented “to an individual who makes a significant contribution to the Johnny Miles Running Event Weekend years after year.”
Haines has emceed the kids run that takes place each Saturday.
He also helps with set up and tear down of the site, has emceed the awards on Saturday and on Sunday and in the last few years has done this while managing to compete in the 10 km event.
“I thought it was an update and then I saw this (letter of tribute),” he said. “It was quite a shock.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of events, but this is a special one, one of the most fun events I’ve been a part of, and it’s so professionally run. So many people share in this award.”
Haines was saluted as “a true fan of the event” in the way he has promoted the running event weekend in the community whenever the chance arises and for the significant contribution he has made to many other community events.
Haines will be honoured with the award before Sunday races, while formal presentations by Mayor Barrie MacMillan will take place next Monday starting at 6:30 p.m. at the New Glasgow Town Hall.
Haines will be joined by two other award recipients.
Lori Atta is receiving this year’s Verna Van Bommel Award, while Jonessa MacNeil is being presented with the 2013 Danny MacLeod Inspirational Award.

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Hafey’s induction comes at long last

For boxing fans in Pictou County and beyond, it was definitely welcome news that came out of the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame news conference in Halifax on Monday afternoon.
That Stellarton’s Lawrence Hafey will be among the inductees at the hall’s 2013 ceremonies is something that’s been awaited for a long time.
I’m certainly among those who applaud the decision.
I’ve advocated for years that Hafey deserved a pew in the Nova Scotia hall for his 20-year career in the boxing ring. In my roles as a sports columnist and a member of the provincial hall’s selection committee, I tried repeatedly to explain his case for induction.
He was on the ballot in 2007, the year after that, and the year after that. He was there again in 2011 and in 2012. Each time he missed the cut. The past two years, especially, he missed out by the slimmest of margins.
My arguments – in writing and at the selection committee table – kept falling on deaf ears. I was frustrated that it wasn’t to be. Like former New Glasgow hockey star Nelson Wilson, who still hasn’t been selected – a longstanding bee in my bonnet — Hafey was kept on the outside looking in.
The calibre of nominations this year – clearly the best I’ve seen in a decade of selecting inductees – made me think this wasn’t going to be Hafey’s year either. But make no mistake, I’m extremely pleased I was wrong. To paraphrase boxer Rocky Graziano’s comment in the old 1950s movie, somebody up there liked him. Consequently, Hafey passed the scrutiny tests. At long last.
His induction also means he will finally join his younger brother Art in the hall. Art, who came within one victory of a world championship, was inducted in 1980. Though they became fighters at the same time in the early 1960s, the younger Hafey received his hall of fame credentials 33 years sooner than Lawrence. Quite a time gap.
We can forget that now. The Hafeys will stand side by side once more.
Lawrence and Art pulled on the gloves initially when Donnie MacIsaac, a Trenton car works employee, opened a gym in Hillside. Lawrence was 10 years old, Art just eight.
I was in Pictou County when the two worked their way up through amateur ranks, and I was fortunate to watch many of their early fights. Both displayed potential almost from the beginning. I wasn’t a bit surprised when they turned pro.
No need to review Art’s highlights; it’s Lawrence’s turn to receive applause.
If there was one thing holding back Lawrence’s induction, it was his won-lost record, a line that inevitably stands out in a fighter’s portfolio. Lawrence, who fought in lightweight, welterweight and middleweight classifications, wasn’t one of those boxers who won regularly. His record has quite a few defeats and that seemed to arise whenever the selection committee was at work.
Officially, Lawrence had 74 pro bouts. There were 48 victories, three draws. But you couldn’t ignore the 23 losses.
I always considered the quality of fighters he confronted. He was one of those guys who never avoided a fight, regardless of how good opponents were. He climbed into the ring with some of the best. Maybe he lost almost two dozen times, but most were close losses.
Usually it’s the custom to highlight an athlete’s wins, not losses. In Lawrence’s case, however, it seems the losses tell the story.
His first significant setback was in 1970 to Canadian lightweight champion Al Ford, a westerner who was then ranked 10th in the world. In the 12-round title bout in New Glasgow, Hafey lost a decision. If there was a time when Lawrence questioned his abilities, it came after the Ford fight. For a spell, he wasn’t very active.
Then, in 1974, he opposed former world champion Bruno Arcari in Italy. Lawrence didn’t beat Arcari, but he did well enough that his career turned upwards. In 1973 and ’74, he went on a streak when, in 15 bouts, he won 14 and got a draw in the other.
In 1975, he faced Halifax’s Dave Downey for the Canadian middleweight championship. It was a 12-rounder and a brawl. When it ended, the decision went to Lawrence, one of his most memorable nights.
Seven months later, he faced Clyde Gray, one of the best fighters ever produced in the province. Gray put two titles on the line – his Canadian and British Commonwealth welterweight championships. Gray, as impressive as ever, stopped him on a TKO in round eight.
Hafey returned to action three months after the Gray fight, this time defending his middleweight crown in Montreal against Fernand Marcotte. Hafey lost by another TKO, this one in the ninth round.
In 1978, he opposed Johnny Summerhays at the Halifax Metro Centre and lost a 10-round decision. In 1979, he returned to the Metro Centre to battle Olympian Chris Clarke. He wasn’t supposed to have a chance, but went the distance before losing on points.
His last fight was in Montreal in 1981, two decades after his amateur debut.
When I joined the hall of fame’s selection committee 10 years ago, Lawrence was one of the athletes I believed should be in the shrine.
I found colleagues quick to underline the number of losses on his record. I remained determined because I saw a lot of those defeats, defeats resulting from the high calibre of fighters he faced, defeats that were often very close. I thought of how, with a break here and there, his won-lost figures would have been much better.
Now I’m just happy that a good guy – from a good Pictou County family – has been given a decision he justly earned. From now on, it’s Lawrence Hafey, hall of famer.

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Crushers eye MHL weekend draft

NEW GLASGOW – The puck has not dropped yet, but the Pictou County Weeks Crushers are already anticipating a banner 2013-14 MHL season.
The Crushers are hosting the Maritime Hockey League’s annual entry draft this weekend at the Pictou County Wellness Centre and are looking at other ways to shore up a roster that has lost just five players who have completed their junior eligibility.
“We have a good core returning, and the players feel we have a good core,” Crushers coach and general manager Jason Malone said. “We weren’t where we wanted to be when the season ended and we’re motivated to do better next season.”
Malone said he accepts responsibility for finishing fourth and having to play the extra initial playoff round before losing in seven games to the Truro Bearcats after taking the series lead.
The Crushers have already taken one territorial pick, Lane Cormier, whom they feel will help them if he’s on the roster.
Cormier was also drafted by the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“Cormier is old-school and plays a tough, skilled brand of hockey,” Malone said. “He’s developed well and shown he’s a big-time player.”
The Crushers surrendered their first-round draft pick to get goaltender Brandon Thibeau last season, but they have two picks in the second round and three in the third round.
Malone has not ruled out trading up for a first-round pick, especially if it means yielding some of the twelve 20-year-old players on their roster. MHL rules allow just nine 20-year-olds.
The five parting players are Corey Bennett, Jordan Moore, Devan Gunn, Cody Squires and Andrew Darrigo.
“This is by far the best returning group in my three years with the Crushers,” Malone said. “It’s very exciting for us because we’re anticipating a good run next season.”

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Mason, MacDonald top athletes

NEW GLASGOW – Track and field and hockey were well represented among 2013 athletic awards presented to North Nova Education Centre students.
Allister Mason was named male athlete of the year and Heidi MacDonald was named female athlete of the year among non-academic sport awards presented on June 4 in the school’s presentation room.
Both athletes excelled in track and field, with MacDonald being named the most valuable player for both the school’s track and field and varsity female basketball teams. She was also the outstanding female athlete in cross-country.
Mason and Ryan Washburn shared the MVP and leadership honours in track and field, while Mason was also the varsity male hockey team’s top defenceman.
The decision Mason and Craig Murray made to play hockey for North Nova during their graduating year proved beneficial, although they were denied the team’s goal of winning a provincial championship.
Murray received the Danny McInnis Memorial Bursary and Award that’s presented to a member of the varsity male hockey team.
Murray and Tommy Hayman also received the coach’s award in table tennis.
Washburn also received the male hockey team’s coach’s award, while Scott Graham was named the team’s top forward and Sam Cameron was named the team’s MVP.
Among other awards, female athletes Jenna MacDonald and Kaitlyn Higgins and male athletes Cameron and Washburn each received the Neil MacKinnon True Grit Award presented to male and female athletes at NNEC “who best personify those qualities of a team player, competitor, role model and leader both on and off the field.
“They illustrate the highest ideals of a true athlete and good person.”
The award was established in 2012.
Certificates for NNEC’s representatives to the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation spring luncheon were officially presented to female athlete Shelby Park, male athlete Scott Graham and coach Dave Robertson.
Park was the female volleyball team’s MVP and was co-MVP with Taryn Roy in female softball, while Graham earned the coach’s award in snowboarding and the hustle award in male soccer.
Graham was also the male field lacrosse team’s MVP.
Chase Cameron and Evan Sharpe were joint top special athlete award winners.
The Unsung Gryphon Award for combined athletics and selfless service was presented to Jordan Cromwell.

Girls Basketball: Top Defense – Jamie McCarron, MVP – Heidi MacDonald, Top Offensive Player – Alyson Fulton, Most Improved – Maddie McGuire
Boys Basketball: Co-MVPs – Campbell Demont, Rene Amit, Coach’s Award – Garrett Rivers, MIP – Henry Munro
Girls Hockey: MVP – Cassidy Dunbar, Coach’s Award – Kourtney Barker, Top Defence – Kaitlyn Higgins, Unsung Hero – Tracey Denny
Top NNEC Golfers – Devan MacDonald, Jeremy Henderson
Ski Team: MVP Senior Girls – Haley Tibbetts, Kennedy MacKinnon, MVP senior boys – Gerry Holle
Boys Hockey: MVP – Sam Cameron, Coach’s Award – Ryan Washburn, Top Forward- Scott Graham, Top Defense – Allister Mason
JV Girls Soccer: MVP – Tori MacCuish, Coach’s Choice Award – Paige Turnbull, Bob Kennaley Memorial Award for Dedication – Keeley MacCuish
JV Boys Basketball: Hustle Award – Neil Greene, MVP – Neilson Williams, MIP – Peter MacIntosh, Coach’s Award – Jake MacKinnon
JV Girls Basketball: Top Defense – Hailey Conley, Hustle – Brianna Job, Coach’s Award – Summer Borden, MVP – Hannah Williams
Snowboarding: Rider of the Year Male – Colin Brewer, Coach’s Award – Scott Graham, Team MVP – Kylie Allan
Frisbee Awards: Leadership and Commitment Male – Sam Cameron, Most Funmanship Female – Kelsey Greenidge
Girls Soccer: MVP– Randi Fraser, Coach’s Award – Kaitlyn Higgins, Rookie of the Year – Alyson Fulton
Girls Volleyball: MVP – Shelby Park, Coach’s Award – Ryan Bell, Rookie of the Year – Hannah Williams
Cross-Country: Outstanding Senior Male – Ryan Washburn, Outstanding Senior Female – Heidi MacDonald, Outstanding Senior Achievement and Commitment – Jenna MacDonald, Outstanding Junior Achievement – Jessica Zentner
Track and Field: Top Male MVP and Leadership – Ryan Washburn and Allister Mason, MVP Female – Jenna MacDonald, Top Rookie Award – Jessica Zentner
Baseball: Rookie Award – Blair Dewtie, Top Pitcher – Cory Baird, MVP – Tommy Hayman
Girls Rugby: Most Valuable Back – Maria LeBlanc, Rookie of the Year Back – Caroline Straub, Most Valuable Forward – Tori MacCuish, Rookie of the Year Forward –Paige Clarke
Boys Soccer: Hustle Award – Scott Graham, Rookie of the Year – Jack Casey, Coach’s Award – Luke Turnbull, MVP – Sam Cameron
Boys Rugby: MVP – Cole Livingstone, Rookie of the Year – Chris Cole, Coach’s Award for Leadership – Brett Rogers, Coach’s Award for Most Improved – Travis Leil
Girls Softball: Co-MVP – Taryn Roy, Shelby Park, Top Hitter – Brooke Mailman, Most Dedicated – Katie MacPhee
Badminton Award: Coach’s Awards – Hadeel El-Zubeidi, Canny Tung
Curling Awards: Most Improved – Sara Livingstone, Jesse Hale
Lacrosse Awards: MVP – Scott Graham, Top Rookie – Dylan James

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MacIsaac, MacNeill set athletic pace

PICTOU – Kayla MacIsaac was named female athlete of the year and Cain MacNeill was named male athlete of the year on June 4 during Pictou Academy’s annual non-academic awards presentations in the school auditorium.
MacIsaac was the varsity female soccer team’s most valuable player along with Samara Hartling, and was named top female in badminton with Paige Mattie and Breagh MacMillan.
MacNeil was co-MVP with Ryan MacDonald on the varsity male soccer team and the male hockey team’s MVP.
Among other individual awards, Kathleen MacCallum and Tyler Stright received the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation’s exemplary participation awards, while baseball and hockey coach Doug Read earned the NSSAF’s outstanding service award.
Stright was named the school’s top golfer, while Maddy Murray was deemed its top track and field athlete.
Kyra Grealey earned the L.G. (Bud) White Award presented annually to a member of the Academy’s boys or girls basketball team “in recognition of their contribution to the life of the school and community.”
The award was donated by Anse MacDonald of New Glasgow and awarded for the first time this year in memory of White, who was a long-serving teacher and coach at Pictou Academy.
Grealey was named the female soccer team’s most improved player, while most improved player awards also went to Zack Thomson for male soccer team and Bryden Hawes for the hockey team.
Shaun Kelly was named the MVP and Ethan MacCallum the most improved player on the school’s baseball team.
In basketball, Madeline MacKinnon was named MVP and Emma Rose most improved on the female team, while Craig Sutherland was named MVP and Zack Thomson most improved on the male team.

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Hundreds join district school meet

Results 9 & 10 yr olds
60 M Girls: 1st Taylor Cromwell / F.H.MacDonald, 2nd Jenna Hickey / Walter Duggan, 3rd Alexandra Morrison / A.G.Baillie
60 M Boys; 1st Place Cody LeBlanc / A.G.Baillie, 2nd Jacob Greene / Walter Duggan, 3rd Scott Long / A.G.Baillie
80 M Girls: 1st Emma Bernon / Walter Duggan, 2nd Kilti MacLaren / A.G.Baillie, 3rd Kelsey Hann / Walter Duggan
80 Boys: 1st Jansen Langille / Thorburn, 2nd Cody LeBlance / A.G.Baillie, 3rd Scott Long / A.G.Baillie
100 M Girls: 1st Tayler Cromwell / F.H.MacDonald, 2nd Alexandra Morrison / A.G.Bailli, 3rd Madelyn McMillan / Acadia and Temperance
100 M Boys: 1st John Luke Taylor / G.R. Saunders, 2nd Nick Horne / Walter Duggan, 3rd Kyle Reim / Walter Duggan
400 M Girls: 1st Emma Bernon / Walter Duggan, 2nd Ashley Livingston / Thorburn, 3rd Evan Wornell / A.G.Baillie
400 M Boys: 1st John Luke Taylor / G.R.Saunders, 2nd Ethan MacDonald / A.G.Baillie and Ethan Pratt / Pictou Landing, 3rd Al Van Zyl / A.G.Baillie
800 M Girl: 1st Sophia Gerrior / Walter Dugga, 2nd Evan Wornell / A.G.Baillie, 3rd Mylan Briand / Pictou Elem
800 M Boys: 1st Ethan MacDonald / A.G.Baillie, 2nd Ali Van Zyl / A.G.Baillie, 3rd Cole Green / Walter Duggan
Girls Softball Throw: 1st Lily Wright / Walter Duggan, 2nd Ashley Livingston / Thorburn, 3rd Kennedy Miller / F.H.MacDonald
Boys Softball Throw: 1st Noah Budai / A.G.Baillie & Ben O’Neil / A.G.Baillie, 2nd Braydon Killen / A.G.Baillie, 3rd Jacoby Beadle / Pictou Landing
Girls Long Jump: 1st Nicole Robertson / Scotsburn, 2nd Gracie MacKay / Walter Duggan, 3rd Kalei Grant / West Pictou
Boys Long Jump: 1st Nick Horne / Walter Duggan, 2nd Ben O’Neill / A.G.Baillie, 3rd Ethan Pratt / Pictou Landing
Girls High Jump: 1st Madelyn McMillan / Acadia & Temperance, 2nd Sarah Lowe / Walter Duggan, 3rd Raegan MacDonald / F.H. MacDonald
Boys High Jump: 1st Kyle White / Thorburn, 2nd Logan Kirwan / F.H.MacDonald, 3rd Scott Long / A.G.Baillie
Girls 4 X 100 m Relay: 1st Walter Duggan, 2nd F.H.MacDonald, 3rd Acadia & Temperance
Boys 4 X 100 m Relay: 1st Walter Duggan, 2nd G.R.Saunder, 3rd A.G.Baillie

Results 11 & 12 yr olds
80 M Girls: 1st Julie Ryan / Walter Duggan, 2nd Kaelyn Vint / Walter Duggan, 3rd Caedda Kimberly / F.H. MacDonald
80 M Boys: 1st Hayden Butler / Thorburn, 2nd Ben Turnbull / Trenton, 3rd Patrick Viray / F.H.MacDonald
100 M Girls: 1st Aliyah Fraser / A.G.Baillie, 2nd Halle Denny / G.R.Saunder, 3rd Lauren MacLeod / Thorburn
100 M Boys: 1st Tyler Watters / G.R.Saunders, 2nd Muin Herney / Trenton, 3rd Teagan Rhude / F.H.MacDonald
200 M Girls: 1st Aliyah Fraser / A.G.Baillie, 2nd Jillian Matlock / G.R.Saunders, 3rd Page MacDonald / Trenton
200 M Boys: 1st Matt Chediac / A.G.Baillie, 2nd Jarrod Francis / F.H.MacDonald, 3rd Eric Ferguson / G.R.Saunders
400 M Girls: 1st Mariah Linehan / A.G.Baillie, 2nd Lindsey MacDonald / F.H.MacDonald, 3rd Jeanna English / Pictou Elem.
400 M Boys: 1st Max Van Zyl / A.G.Baillie, 2nd Glen Cox / West Pictou, 3rd Aaron Day / A.G.Baillie
800 M Girls: 1st Hannah Fraser / G.R.Saunders, 2nd Victoria Straub / A.G.Baillie, 3rd Beth McNeill / West Pictou
800 M Boys: 1st Max Van Zyl / A.G.Bailli, 2nd Glen Cox / West Pictou, 3rd Duncan Cameron / Walter Duggan
Girls Soft Ball: 1st Taylor MacKenzie / Walter Duggan, 2nd Mariah Linehan / A.G.Bailli, 3rd Carley MacDonald / F.H. MacDonald
Boys Softball: 1st Brett Corbin / A.G.Baillie, 2nd Liam Fraser / West Pictou & Luke MacLeod/ Walter Duggan, 3rd Adam MacDonald / Thorburn
Girls High Jump: 1st Atlanta Bezanson / West Pictou, 2nd Ally Davidson / G.R.Saunders, 3rd Hayley Earle / A.G.Baillie
Boys High Jump: 1st Brett Corbin / A.G.Baillie, 2nd Tyler Watters / G.R.Saunders, 3rd Ethan Fraser / F.H.MacDonald
Girls Long Jump: 1st Atlanta Bezanson / West Pictou, 2nd Maria Holle / A.G.Baillie, 3rd Jayden MacEachern / A.G.Baillie
Boys Long Jump: 1st Luc Corbin / A.G.Baillie, 2nd Duncan Cameron / Walter Duggan, 3rd Dylan Wagner / A.G.Baillie
Girls 4 X 100 M Relay: 1st A.G.Baillie, 2nd G.R.Saunders, 3rd Walter Duggan
Boys 4 X 100 M Relay: 1st G.R.Saunders, 2nd A.G.Baillie, 3rd Walter Duggan

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Autism Support Group helps families dealing with autism

Seven years ago, Rachel and Adam Casey didn’t know much about autism.
When their son Aydon was about a year and a half old, they began noticing abnormalities in his speech.
“He had a lot of one-words, but he wasn’t starting to put words together or make sentences,” says Rachel.
“He actually started to digress with some of the words he had; he had lost some,” added Adam.
The Caseys started out with hearing tests because Aydon wouldn’t respond when his name was called and loud noises didn’t startle him.
“But we found out his hearing was fine,” says Adam.
“We had gone to the doctor but he knew so many one-words that they weren’t really concerned,” adds Rachel.
Adam’s sister was finishing her degree in early intervention and noticed a few things about Aydon that made her think he had autism.
“She explained there were different levels of autism. We had a stereotype ourselves and didn’t know how wide the range really was,” says Adam.
“He was still very active outside and had motor function, but his social skills were lacking and a lot of the time he would play off to the side by himself.”
Rachel says he began to withdraw from his grandparents and that was when they knew he had autism.
“We took different avenues than most people,” she says. “We referred ourselves with the help of early intervention because there wasn’t a pediatrician at the hospital at that time. After some time with early intervention, we referred ourselves to mental health for the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule.”
That is a two-prong test, the first deals with questionnaires going back to Rachel’s pregnancy.
“Aydon met all of his milestones on time or early and that was part of the questionnaire,” she explains.
“The second part was with a specialist, testing for different characteristics while about five other professionals looked on and it was videotaped and it took a week for diagnosis.”
“We consider Aydon to be high functioning; at the moment it’s mostly speech and some social and behavioral issues,” says Adam.
Once they received the diagnosis, the Caseys say they were relieved.
“He was getting on three and a half at that time and we pretty much knew what it was,” says Rachel. “We never thought it was the end of the world. We weren’t losing him. We were upset some things we may have planned may not turn out the way we expected, but we were relieved.”
The diagnosis was a relief to the family, but it also meant they had new ways to approach situations.
“He likes schedule, but he’s not strict on it. He likes to keep busy,” she says.
Adam adds, “When he was younger, playing outside he would tend to wander off but he has gotten out of that because he understands there are boundaries. One morning we woke up and found the door open and Aydon was missing. But we found him in the van playing with a toy.”
Situations like that can happen from time to time and being a parent of a child with autism can get trying, having no one that you can turn to that really understands. Their family members are all in the county and took training and educated themselves, but sometimes it’s nice to talk with people in the same situation. That is why the Caseys joined the Pictou County Children with Autism Association.
“It’s nice to have other people to talk to because they have children that are older and maybe have ideas and things they have tried that we haven’t,” says Rachel.
“It’s kind of like a support group for parents but also a group that wants to raise awareness,” adds Adam.
The families in the group meet regularly so the children can interact and become close. Rachel says they are like family.
“I think Aydon has benefitted because it’s another group of kids he can interact with,” says Adam.
Aydon is now in school and enjoying his time there.
“We kept him out of school for the first year, because we learned of changes the government was making to early intensive behavioral intervention,” says Rachel, regarding funding opportunities.
“The program was only available to children not in school so we felt it was best to keep him out of school for a year,” says Adam.
So for the year leading up to Grade Primary, Aydon met with an early interventionist for 15 hours a week for six months then five hours a week to help transition him into school.
“For us that was a big deal because it helped Aydon get ready for school,” says Adam.
Rachel adds, “In that one year, his speech came a long way, he can put five-word sentences together now.”
He is also starting to read and becoming more social at school.
The Pictou County Children with Autism Association is open to anyone in the county that has a child with autism.
“It’s nice to have that group of friends you can call or email when you need help or need to talk,” says Adam.
Rachel laughs, “It’s nice too if Aydon is having a bad day and having a melt-down in front of everyone, we knew we wouldn’t be judged. It’s nice to have that comfort,” as opposed to it happening at a grocery store where people don’t understand.
“We don’t sweat the small stuff anymore,” says Rachel.
“There are a lot of stereotypes around kids with autism, but they’re like everyone else. They want to be accepted. More children are being diagnosed with autism and I think the public should educate themselves. At this point, if you don’t know someone with autism, you will. They are very productive people and can do amazing things in the community.”
The Pictou County Children with Autism Association is hosting a Walk the Walk for Autism and fun family day on June 15. Registration begins at 9:45 a.m. and the fun runs through 2 p.m. at the G.R. Saunders School in Stellarton.
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Meals on wheels

Pictou County’s new and long awaited mobile restaurant is finally ready to hit the streets and if there was only one hyphenated-word to describe Amby’s Eats’ owner and chef Paul Heighton it is excited–to-the-max-liquid-metal-overjoy.
“I’ve been waiting about two months. It’s finally here and I can’t wait to get going,” said the Stellarton native Heighton.
“It’s been a long time coming. It showed up here last Tuesday at 7 a.m. and I’ve been in it ever since. It was awesome. It was at Exit 21 at the Irving and as I was coming up on the highway I could see it. I was staring at it in awe.”
Heighton said he was so distracted by the beauty of his glistening black truck he nearly missed his exit. Let it be so noted: he’s excited.
Although there were some delays in acquiring his truck – which contains four sinks, two full size fridges, a mini fridge, a four-burner stove top, an oven, a griddle, a smoker and a two basket fryer – the wait just made Heighton even more, you guessed it, excited.
“It’s an average size little restaurant. It’s on par with what most restaurants would have. Cooking equipment-wise, it’s pretty awesome,” he said.
Heighton said he will have an extra pair of hands in the kitchen in the form of his friend, Michael MacNeil.
Currently Amby’s Eats will be serving downtown New Glasgow from Glasgow Square Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday beginning at 11 a.m. in addition to serving at the New Glasgow Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.
Heighton said he is working on obtaining a vending licence and location for Stellarton, which he said he will serve on Wednesdays.
He is also already booked into Relay for Life, Dragon Boat, Canada Day in both New Glasgow and Westville, as well as the Riverfront Jubilee.
“I’m open to any other town if they’ll have me.”
While Amby’s Eats officially opens this week, Heighton debuted his breakfast and brunch menu at the Farmers Market this past Saturday. One can safely assume he was too excited not to.
“Saturday was an awesome little start. A mini start I guess. I was thoroughly impressed and happy with the people that came out in the rain,” Heighton said.
“I served about 45 people Saturday morning in a monsoon. It was pretty good. Everybody came out in the rain to try it. It was good to get in it and work a few of the bugs out.”
Heighton said one of his breakfast sandwiches, which is made of peanut butter and raspberry jam topped with bacon and his specially made breakfast sausage generated some interest.
“It’s savory and sweet and a little salty,” he said, “People were a little hesitant to try it but most of them liked it.”
His dinner menu will consist of four different burgers, Jamaican Jerk pulled pork, arancini, chicken tacos, fish tacos, and maple apple quinoa salad.
“I’m ready to get downtown and go at it,” Heighton said.
“I’m super excited to get going. I just can’t wait to feed people the food I’ve been thinking about forever. Getting it down to these few things was really hard, it’s like choosing your favourite kids!”

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Pictou Weekend Market open this weekend

The 19th Pictou Weekend Market will be opening this Saturday, June 15. As in previous years it will be open Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., until September 15.
The market will be under new management this year with Ann McGee taking the reins from Joyce Battist.
“This year is my year to learn how everything works,” said McGee. “And with Joyce here… she’s been extremely valuable to me to make sure things get done when they need to get done. She’s been doing it for 18 years and she knows it in and out.”
Her first year in charge this year will be McGee’s sixth year as a vendor and she will continue selling her candles and soap products.
McGee said that the Weekend Market differs from some of the other markets in that it is a crafters market rather than a farmers market. Vendors are also able to set up their booths for the season rather than tear down and set up each weekend. This is beneficial she said as 31 of the market’s 35 booths are comprised of permanent vendors.
“It’s a very nice venue for me,” McGee said. “It’s a very nice venue for a lot of the vendors here as well because we see a lot of different people.”
McGee said historically the market is popular with tourists as well as locals. “There’s not a lot that I want to change, per se,” McGee said. “Maybe refine the vendors that we have in so that we are completely a crafters market. I also would like to, down the road, be able to provide an opportunity for people who are just starting out in their craft to come into a secure and supportive environment to see how they would do in a retail setting. Not everyone has that opportunity. I’d like to extend that to at least one new vendor per year.”

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Mezzo-soprano pursues studies, singing career

STELLARTON – Anna Bond is balancing her singing career on a knife edge.
She wants to stretch her mezzo-soprano voice as far as she can while advancing her post-secondary studies and ultimately teach voice to others.
Now 22, Bond is coming off first place honours in senior voice achieved at the provincial music festival on May 31 in Liverpool. She also won at the 75th New Glasgow Music Festival.
Her provincial success qualifies her for the national festival in Waterloo, Ont., Aug. 6-11.
In between is the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers Association competition July 5 in Halifax. Ironically, she will represent New Brunswick at the event, due to her having attended Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B.
“It’s nice to know I can make it this far on my voice,” she says. “I’ve always felt it was something within me.”
Bond was almost born to sing. “I just had a feeling I wanted to sing when I was really young,” she says.
Her stunning countenance and her voice makes her a natural to perform the great mezzo lead parts like Georges Bizet’s Carmen, which she adores.
“My dream role would be Carmen,” she says. “The aria from Carmen is one of my performance pieces. What a fun character!”
Because of her affinity for roles like Carmen, Bond says she understands how important it is to be able to both sing and act the part.
After graduating from high school, Bond completed a music degree with a major in voice and a minor in English at Mount Allison. During the summer, she provided guided on-campus tours for prospective students, although this year she’s working at the Museum of Industry in Stellarton.
“It became like a second home to me after growing up in New Glasgow,” she says. “It’s so small that you get individual attention.”
Her next goals include a Masters degree in vocal performance and opera from McGill, a two-year commitment.
Almost completely lost in Bond’s quest for more achievement on stage and in school is the choice she made to find her voice and forsake her tuba. She played the instrument during a previous appearance at the national music festival in 2009 but made the choice for voice when she entered Mount A.
“My mom has been my biggest supporter, for lessons and driving me to competitions,” she says.
Bond reserves special praise for her teachers and accompanists, such as Vivi Chediac, Jennifer Grout and Jane Miller, who taught her piano and theory and accompanied her at the recent provincial competition.
“You need to sing in a healthy way so that you don’t hurt your voice, and the right teacher helps you with that,” she says.
Bond has not ruled out a doctorate in musical arts.
“I’m not sure whether it would be school or university age but I want to teach,” she says. “But right now, I’d like to perform, to go as far as I can with my performance.”

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