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Northern exposure

Barry Harrison loves what he does for a living, so much so that he volunteered his time and lent his services to an area in desperate need.
Harrison is a veterinarian in Pictou County and he, along with friend Ed MacMillan, a veterinarian in Truro, travelled to Pangnirtung, Nunavut to spay, neuter, de-worm and vaccinate dogs.
“It has been almost 10 years since Pangnirtung has had a veterinarian,” explains Harrison. “There are a lot of free-roaming dogs and the only means of population control is to euthanize the dogs.”
So a group of residents in the Pangnirtung area formed a humane society of sorts and raised funds to bring in the two vets.
“A friend of my wife and I lives there and works as a nutritionist, so she asked us to come,” says Harrison.
The group raised close to $5,000 which paid for the vets’ flights to Ottawa and all of the supplies and materials they required. First Air donated the flights from Ottawa to Pangnirtung.
“I stayed with my friend, and Ed was housed with another friend and our dinners were donated by a local hotel with a chef from Quebec,” explains Harrison. “The food was amazing.”
The men travelled from April 20 through 27. While there, the vets spayed and neutered 51 dogs and vaccinated and de-wormed 70.
“The closest vet to them is in Iqaluit, which is an hour flight away, and not many people will fly their dogs out,” he says. “So our goal is to spay and neuter the dogs so we can help cut down on the number of dogs euthanized and cut down on a lot of unwanted puppies.”
This was Harrison’s first time up north.
“It was beautiful. The community is on Baffin Island and the town is surrounded by mountains. In the mornings it could get down to minus 20 but it would warm up to close to freezing,” says Harrison.
The community is used to visitors, according to Harrison, because of its national park office with a cliff seen in a James Bond movie, the Spy Who Loved Me. But it was all new to Harrison.
“There were a lot of snow mobiles,” he says. “That is their main form of transportation; they do have vehicles, but in the winter they mostly use snow mobiles and qamutik (a sled), and ATVs in the summer.”
All supplies are shipped in during the summer months as well so when produce is flown in during the winter, the prices are far above what we pay here.
“There are two stores in the town that sell food,” he says. “Peppers are $26.96 per kilo and a can of Coke is $3.89. Certain necessities like milk are subsidized so they are about twice what we pay here.”
Harrison also set his sights on polar bear fur.
“Primarily the Inuit fish and hunt,” says Harrison. “They have to have a tag to hunt polar bear, but they can fish as much as they want.”
He found the community, located approximately 45 km south of the Arctic Circle, very welcoming and friendly.
“My favourite part was meeting all of the people.”
When Harrison and MacMillan were not working, they would spend their time exploring, or going into the schools to discuss animal safety.
“We did a talk on dog bite prevention which is a big concern.”
Harrison wants to return to continue his work with the animals.
“This community doesn’t have access to services like we do, they are pretty limited. This was such a great experience and I am pretty sure I’m going back next year.”

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Big Brothers Big Sisters uses Facebook for how-to video

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County is hoping their new Facebook video will go viral.
The non-profit organization recently started a new fundraising campaign called Big Bucks. Participants can register a number, put it on a twoonie and place it in a box at a participating vendor for the chance to win the 50/50 draw that will take place weekly.
Because the fundraiser is something that hasn’t been done in the area before, they are creating a video for Facebook to help walk people through the process.
“We were approached about making the video because some people thought it might be beneficial,” says Margie Grant-Walsh, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County. “We are going to make it as simple and easy as possible.”
The video will show a Big Brothers Big Sisters employee going through the process of registering a number at a vendor and putting the number on the twoonie.
“Some people have been having a bit of a hard time wrapping their heads around the campaign. You can hear it on the radio and read it in the paper, but until you see it, it can be a bit difficult to understand.”
Grant-Walsh says the agency has received a few phone calls with questions.
“It’s like with any new fundraising venture, because it’s totally new there are going to be questions.”
The link is currently on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County Facebook page for viewing.
The Big Bucks Campaign began last week.
“A lot of people are excited and have taken part,” says Grant Walsh. “A lot of people have taken part in the extended play as well, where you pay $104 and are entered in the draw every week for a year.”
To see the video, check out their Facebook page.

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Strength in numbers

NEW GLASGOW – At 9:30 on Friday morning, more than 1,500 middle school students and hundreds of invited guests will converge on the Pictou County Wellness Centre within minutes of each other. If all goes to plan, they will all be seated in about 25 minutes, thanks to the help of in excess of 200 volunteers.
Strong Song: A Celebration of Youth and Change is an initiative of the YMCA of Pictou County with its sights set on enhancing youth engagement. Half of the 200 volunteers are students from senior high school classes from the three local high schools. The other half are adult volunteers associated with the Y and employees from several of the companies sponsoring the event.
“Empire and Crombie REIT are very much part of the Pictou County community. Our employees were pleased to have the opportunity to volunteer for such an important event,” says Cheryl Fraser, a new YMCA board member and chief talent officer at Crombie.
Employees from Crombie, Empire, the Sobeys family and Advocate Printing will be among the 100 adults who will team up with youth volunteers to host the middle school students and special guests.
“It is great to have so many volunteers from various sectors of our community take an active role in the delivery of the program and for them to be teamed up with our many incredible young volunteers,” says Dave MacIntyre, CEO of the Y.
“This is a level playing field. If anything, the younger volunteers have the upper hand and they will be able to demonstrate the leadership qualities that many of them already have.”
Volunteers will assist in ushering the 1,500 students off buses and into the stadium, supporting performers, guests and sponsors, and ensuring that the energy level of the event is continuously high. Co-ordination of the buses has been a big component of the organization of the day. Cathy MacRitchie, one of the YMCA volunteers and an employee of Sobeys, has been in close communication with the school board to ensure the arrival and dismissal of students runs smoothly.
“It took a while to visualize the original proposal, with over 1,500 children getting off 33 school buses in 15 minutes,” says MacRitchie.
“We’ve adjusted things a bit, and now we are spreading it over about 25 minutes with our super volunteers working in teams of four to unload each bus and get the kids safely seated in the arena.”
“It is exciting that over half of the volunteers are youth in leadership programs at the high schools, or as part of the YMCA leadership initiative,” adds Fraser.
“I am relatively new to the community and thrilled to be involved in the team helping to recruit the volunteers. I have been able to meet many wonderful people in the community,” she adds.
While there will be more than 100 youth volunteers, the founding members of the Y Youth Leadership team will have additional responsibilities and a moment in the spotlight on stage during the event and at the after-party.
“I was introduced to the Y youth leadership program by my leadership teacher at my high school (NNEC) and I have enjoyed my experience. It has helped me gain a voice and allow me to lend a hand in helping shape my community,” says Hadeel El-zubeidi who has been involved with the youth leadership program from the first.
“Having the opportunity and privilege to be involved in a type of program that makes this possible is amazing. Personally, I would love to see my contribution to this program lead and influence other kids into becoming future volunteers and leaders and they, too, can later on help inspire other kids to do the same. (This) helps create a positive cycle for other generations to come,” says Hadeel.
“As our community moves forward and positions ourselves for sustainability and success we are becoming ever more mindful of the role that youth has to play in these ultimate goals,” say Crystal Murray, a YMCA board member who has taken a leading role in the planning of the event.
“What I am learning through my own experience with the Y and as a parent of teenagers, is that kids want opportunities where they can step outside of the box. Sometimes these opportunities exist and other times maybe we as a community need to create innovative ways to allow them to shine.”

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Lobster Carnival continuing

The Pictou Lobster Carnival is still looking for volunteers and funds in order to make this year’s event a go.
A group of concerned citizens gathered for the second time at the Maritime Oddfellow’s Home last week to discuss the financial issues the carnival committee is facing.
At the previous meeting, the committee announced they were running a deficit of approximately $18,000 which they have to recover before moving forward with this year’s event.
Brian Burton, committee chair says, “I think it was a positive meeting. There was a lot of discussion on fundraising and we have some new groups taking on some of the events.”
Michelle Davey of the Northumberland Fisheries Museum told the group she may have secured a sponsor for all of the fishing-related events.
“I can’t say who it is until it’s official, but at this time we have a verbal commitment. I am hoping within the next few days we can let people know,” she says.
Davey says the last meeting had 35-40 people in attendance. “There were a lot of suggestions and a lot of new faces, which is good.”
Discussion centred around whether the beer garden should take place this year.
“The beer garden usually takes in a lot of money and this year we have cut back on the cost with local bands, so it’s even more of a homecoming,” says Burton.
The committee pays the Albion Boxing Club to run the beer garden, and discussion centred on having volunteers, however, Burton admits it’s a lot of work and volunteers would have to have experience working with a crowd that size.
Sunday’s Run for the Lobster is of no cost to the committee and is a big draw, as is the Sunday entertainment.
“We already have the sound system in place and we have been in contact with someone who is coming home from Nashville and willing to perform free of charge,” explains Burton.
Another meeting will be taking place this Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Maritime Oddfellows Home Community Room for the annual general meeting.
The focus will be on fundraising and solidifying events that should continue and those that should, perhaps, fall to the wayside this year.
“I have been receiving a lot of inquiries about how local fishing families can support or sponsor some of the fishing events,” explains Davey. “That is just in the discussion phase, but perhaps what we need is to go back to how it used to be, the whole reason the carnival was started.”
A fundraising barbecue will take place at Sobeys on Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and a dance is planned for June 7 at the Palace.

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Below decks re-creations depict life on Ship Hector

PICTOU – The ship may look the same outside, but it’s about to assume a new dimension below decks.
The Hector Heritage Quay will open May 25 and shortly after that work will start on a series of displays built to scale to illustrate living conditions during the arduous voyage its passengers endured before arriving in Pictou in 1773.
“We need to show the community we’re doing new stuff,” said Anne Emmett, who chairs the Hector Quay Society that operates the facilities.
Work will start in mid-June, take all summer and be constructed in sections before each one is carried below decks. It means visitors will see some of the displays as they are completed.
“It will be built and taken down piece by piece,” Emmett said.
Who will construct the displays has not been determined, but a local artist has completed intricate shadow-box models with side and end views that accurately show what the end product will look like.
Scott MacConnell, a professional theatrical designer who has lived in Waterside for the past 12 years, is also a volunteer at the quay.
“He’s so talented,” Emmett said. “There will be backlighting. Everything will look totally authentic. You won’t see any screws or nails. The detail is unreal. It’s going to be wonderful to see the finished product.”
Original barrels, rough-hewn wood treatment and wool blankets are being factored into the displays.
Work on the ship’s exterior has also been scheduled.
Its rigging is being taken down in June for inspection.

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Pictou Y continues fundraising efforts

The group formed to keep the gym facility in Pictou open is still working hard at making that dream a reality.
The facility closed on May 15 and the group is looking at ways to raise funds to purchase the equipment inside as well as continue to use the space, rented from the Stella Maris Catholic Church.
The Stella Maris church is looking for a business plan from the group, a formal organized group to deal with and a revenue stream.
“With that in place Stella Maris Parish is open to working with the group,” explains David Porter, a committee member.
The YMCA of Pictou County had an estimated cost of $19,500 for the equipment inside. The group offered $12,000.
“(The) YMCA needs a show of commitment in order to release the equipment. For that to happen there is an urgent need for money,” says Porter.
The core group of members has been created and the push for funds is on. Members are working on a business plan and recruiting members for the facility.
“From the last meeting $120 was raised; the initial amount of $1,000 would be a good start,” says Porter.
The next meeting will be Friday at 7 p.m. at the Maritime Oddfellows Community Room.
Contact Ken Paquet at 485-6994 to donate. For those interested in being a member, contact Garth Beer-Eligh at 485-6124.

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Honoured for bravery

NEW GLASGOW – Feelings of gratitude filled the board room Saturday at the New Glasgow Police Service station for the presentation of Canadian Bravery awards.
“I feel pretty good,” said Jamie Jardine, the resident of Westville who was the subject of a successful rescue that led to the awards. “I can remember some of it, but it’s been two years.”
Later, Jardine had to wipe away tears as the events of July 5, 2011 were recalled while New Glasgow Police Const. Anthony Thomas and New Glasgow resident Donald Gunton received the Royal Canadian Humane Association’s Canada Bravery Awards.
Scotsburn resident Barbara Smith also received a certificate. “I didn’t think I needed recognition,” she said. “I’m just glad he’s here.”
The rescue occurred when Smith was waiting for the light to turn on Riverside Drive after stopping at a bank nearby.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who presented the pins and certificates, cited Smith’s “keen sense of awareness that something unusual was happening.”
Smith described what she called a “clanking” noise and noticed what turned out to be Jardine and his wheelchair that had fallen from the Samson trail into the East River near the George Street Bridge.
“All I could see was his arm. It was scary,” she said.
Smith saw a police car driven by Thomas and told him what she saw. Thomas drove around to where the trail passes through Rotary Park and met Gunton. They found Jardine strapped to his motorized wheelchair almost completely submerged in the river.
A rock kept the wheelchair from falling deeper into the rising tide in the river.
With no rope available, both Thomas and Gunton entered the river to keep Jardine’s face above water. The water was up to Thomas’s chest as he lifted the chair up. Gunton followed in and both propped up the chair until Jardine was able to free himself from his seatbelt; he was taken to the shoreline to await the arrival of an ambulance.
Several passers-by arrived to assist while EHS staff placed Jardine in a chair stretcher tied with ropes to pull him to safety and transport him to hospital.
He suffered a fractured skull, compression fractures of his cervical vertebrae and lacerations.

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Pictou County Cruisers’ Show n’ Shine weekend

Derek Brown, left, and Shawn Crooks are ready for the fourth annual Pictou County Cruisers’
Show n’ Shine which takes place Saturday, May 25. The Show n’ Shine is a fundraiser for the Pictou County Prostate Cancer Support Association. This year, the event is being moved from the parking lot of the New Glasgow Farmer’s Market to Dalhousie Street in front of the fire hall. Registration is 9-11 a.m. and the show runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aside from the bikes, vendors will be set up and there will be a show by the Hub City Stunters beginning at 1 p.m. On Sunday, the annual Awareness Ride will take place with the funds raised from that event going to the Pictou County Relay for Life. The ride begins in Pictou in the RCMP Station parking lot. Bikers ride through the towns for just under one hour, ending at the Little Harbour Community Centre for a meal and camaraderie. Registration begins at 12 p.m. and the ride will depart Pictou at 1 p.m. (Harvie photos)

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A need for leaders to lead

Readers may recognize below quotes from a recently published letter of Councillor Naylor. That letter provided me with an easy way to display a view of municipal government and the roles of town councils and town councillors that I believe is likely shared by most municipal councillors in Nova Scotia.
Indeed, I would have shared that view when I served on Council in the 1980s and 90s. But in the years since, as I’ve studied and thought about community development, I’ve come to believe that it’s an outdated view that does not serve our communities well in dealing with significant, serious issues that we face in these modern times.
Early on in his letter, the councillor states, ” …and we didn’t cause the problems nor can we fix most of them.” I wonder if he read and thought about what he wrote before sending it? Now, I may think and be tempted to write, Yes, town council’s neglect did cause these problems and they could still fix most of them. But I won’t. Instead, I want to think and write about the prior letters to which he was referring.
When I read and reread those letters, I get the impression that their authors are people who care deeply about Pictou and are very concerned by the direction in which the town is headed and its future. I’m quite sure the authors understand that council members cannot wave a wand to fill all our vacant stores, change the birthrate to fill our schools or our demography to lessen our proportion of seniors. That is not what they are asking. I think everyone understands that in this game, we all must play the cards we are dealt. The authors seem to be just asking our Council members to be community leaders who will lead the community to develop a plan to deal with and turn around the current deteriorating circumstances in which we now find ourselves.
No organization can progress without leadership and in Pictou, our mayor and councillors are our elected leaders. There are no other leaders in Pictou with a mandate from the people to deal with their concerns so without their leadership, it won’t get done. Is it too much to ask or expect our elected leaders to lead?
But here’s the problem as I see it. The councillor talks about his plans to replace our 110-year-old sewer and water pipes and systems at an incredible cost; his plan to clean up sewage in Pictou Harbour and install a new sewage treatment plant at a cost of $9 million and his very lengthy all-encompassing plan to solve all our drinking water problems at a cost of $7 million. But those are not his problems.
Those are all problems that properly belong to and are the responsibility of our incorporated municipal corporation led by its highly paid town CAO, Scott Conrod and his staff. That is who should be doing that planning, not our council. Town council’s planning responsibility with regard to its corporation is to set the town’s direction, objectives, priorities and budgets for the corporate body and its CAO. Council should then periodically oversee the work and accomplishments of the corporation’s CAO and staff and reset or adjust town objectives, priorities and budgets accordingly.
But I find that in Nova Scotia, our small town mayors and councillors (including Pictou’s) get themselves too deeply involved in the work of their CAO and staff (streets and water and stuff) to the point where they neglect the community leadership that their voters want and expect them to give to the non-incorporated parts of the community.
And it’s not that they don’t see the same problems we do. As the councillor points out, he and the other council members live here too and are aware of the vacant stores, the dwindling youth population as they move to Alberta seeking work and the “demographic time bomb” when that is coupled with a growing population of seniors. He says “our town is in transition” and he believes “our people and their talent and energy will survive and prosper in a new way.”
But I don’t believe that will just happen by itself without community leadership. I believe that God helps those who help themselves and yes, occasionally someone may win a lottery, but generally those who sit back and do nothing will reap nothing.
However, I think he’s right in saying, “We can organize and create a ‘thousand points of light’ to make our town better.” That’s what we need our town leaders to do – to lead that organization. The rest is not rocket science.
If you have fewer youth and more seniors in town, you must plan to fill and support the business sector with stores and businesses that cater to and are of keen interest to seniors. And if your business street is vacant, then you need a plan to help and encourage seniors to shop there, perhaps by having a shuttle bus to transport them to and from home. Such a vehicle could be acquired co-operatively by our merchants and businesses and have costs of a driver and operation covered by a small local transit fare.
If too many youth are moving away to find work, then you need to retain them by involving them in a plan to develop and support their dreams and initiatives here in the local area. Well thought out and led community plans and organization is the only way we’ll ever get that ‘thousand points of light’.
But we need our mandated leaders involved. These are the community leaders whose vote counts show that they can champion and draw in significant support to get needed local plans completed, accepted and implemented. However, if we continue to do nothing then nothing is exactly what we will achieve.
I say, let’s decide what is missing that we need here in Pictou and then begin to put together and implement a plan to get that. Nothing is impossible if we believe in ourselves and are willing to work together as a community to develop it for the town and our people.

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Two vehicle collision

Pictou County District RCMP are currently investigating a two-vehicle collision that occurred near exit 23 on Highway 104 at approximately 1:30 p.m. this afternoon.
Preliminary investigation has determined that a private contractor was repainting fog lines in the eastbound lane when a small car traveling eastbound in the same lane struck the rear of the safety warning vehicle following the contractor.
The driver of the warning truck and the driver of the small car were both taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. There were no other occupants in either vehicle. Police are continuing to investigate the cause of the collision and are being assisted by the Eastern Traffic Services Collision re-constructionist.

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Roller derby growing sport in county, Maritimes

It’s time to get your knees bruised and your shins skinned.
The Highland Derby Dolls Roller Derby League is looking for new members.
The team started up about a year ago in the county with interested females wanting to learn the sport and bring it to Pictou County.
“It’s been doing really well,” says member Brenda Jones. “We are about 14 members strong, but we are always looking for more.”
The gals have been practicing at the Nova Scotia Community College gymnasium on Tuesdays from 7 to 9 p.m., however, new floors are being put in so the group recently tried out the John Brother MacDonald Stadium in hopes of using it for the summer months.
“We are hoping to be able to return there in the fall because they have been so great,” says Jones.
Aside from practice, the Derby Dolls have hosted a bake sale at the Highland Square Mall where they not only raised funds but also awareness of the sport, garnering two more team members.
“It was great to get out there,” she says. “We also travelled to Fredericton for a derby clinic conducted by a woman in Maine and now we are working on skills testing so that we can start having matches.”
Once the derby dolls are certified, they can participate in match ups with other teams in the Maritimes, from the Annapolis Valley area, Cape Breton, Halifax, two in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and a few in New Brunswick. There may also be a team starting up in the Amherst area.
“The sport is growing quite a bit,” says Jones. “Each team needs 14 to 20 players and our hope is that we can continue to grow the sport here. We are going to be doing some outdoor practices this summer which we hope will get people interested.”
The Derby Dolls have plans of travelling the Maritimes watching and helping out at other bouts in order to help with the understanding and learning of the sport as well as the rules.
“One thing we are in desperate need of is referees,” says Jones, “and non-skating officials, people to work the penalty box and keep score. We need at least four referees, without these people, the game wouldn’t take place.”
Referees are required to learn the handbook of rules and complete testing in order to be certified.
“We just want people to come out and watch us practice. If you like it you can try on the gear to see what fits, because everything has to be ordered online.”
Team members must be 19 years of age or older.
“We will be doing a fundraising car wash and a barbecue this summer as well, so we hope people come out to support us and see what we are all about.”
For more information about the Highland Derby Dolls visit their Facebook Page or email: hddolls@hotmail.com

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Ferguson submits testimony backing equal opportunities

PICTOU – A proponent of equal opportunity has criticized recent federal cuts to community-based programs and services for people with disabilities.
Ralph Ferguson says he’s concerned with the federal Conservatives’ decision to phase out Service Canada core funding over the next two years.
“Understandably, that is requiring us to adjust by changing our operations,” Ferguson said on May 7 in a written presentation sent to the Nova Scotia Standing Committee on Community Services.
Ferguson is a member of the Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities (NSLEO), which he said has worked for more than 30 years to ensure the province is a place “in which people with disabilities can live, learn and work with dignity in their home and communities.”
He said more than 20 Nova Scotians have been identified as disabled, while disabled people around the province cannot secure affordable and accessible housing, technical aids, affordable and accessible transportation, or adequate home care support that is accessible enough to meet their living needs.
He is looking for funding to offset federal reductions to disability groups that NSLEO hopes to include in its board structure.
“People with disabilities all too often live in poverty because they cannot access the support they need to obtain and maintain meaningful employment,” he said. “Persons with disabilities are 50 per cent more likely to live in poverty.”
Ferguson described how the NSLEO has been reduced to one staff person and closed its office and called the organization a catalyst.
“We have a very small budget,” he said. “We thus cannot do the heavy lifting that our problems call for. So our successes . . . come from initiatives that act like catalysts to help overcome the barriers to inclusion in our society.”
Ferguson outlined 12 NSLEO initiatives that include raising scholarship funds for students with disabilities while managing the Provincial Access Awareness program.
The group is also a member of the provinces poverty reduction strategy, promoted public and member disability education, works with the province to provide wheelchairs and conducts information sharing sessions throughout the year.
It has worked to generate 14 accessible community-based transportation services, such Central Highlands Association for the Disabled (CHAD).
Since 2008, the NSLEO has strived to work partnership with 20 other disability groups to speak with one voice. The work includes composing an annual position paper to recommend improvements.
NSLEO also led a committee consisting of emergency response professionals, government representatives and various community partners in the development of an information program.
The group is a provincial affiliate with the Canadian Council on Disabilities to reach consensus over more than 10 years on wording for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006. NSLEO introduced two of the treaty’s delegates – both from Nova Scotia, including then Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay.
“NSLEO continues to seek ways to promote provisions laid down in that international treaty,” Ferguson said.
NSLEO is also a founder of the Accessible Nova Scotia committee, now led by the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS).
It took part in public forums in 2008 to create a positive aging strategy in the province.

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CIB considering community garden

The New Glasgow Communities in Bloom committee met recently to plan for the upcoming season. Lesley Anne Sobey has concluded her term as co-chair and was acknowledged for her stellar leadership, endless hours of devotion and for her support and understanding of the full scope of the CIB program. The committee was very appreciative of her many years of contribution.
The committee welcomed Tabitha Coleman, who is well known for her interest in environmental stewardship, to the committee. Councillors Jack Lewis and Trudy Vince also joined the committee as town council reps with Lewis assuming the role as chair. Kim Dickson has moved from co-chair to past chair. Other members are Margie Beck, Patti Long, Zelda Crossman, Cheryl Young and Jannine Howell along with town horticulturalist Chelsea Baird and Sherman Knight.
An overview was provided of projects completed by the CIB Committee, the town and the community in 2012 that included volunteer plantings, acquisition of tulips for the spring season, a partnership with NGDC to enhance beautification in the downtown, the Community CIB awards, Bloomer of the Week recognitions, Most Festive Awards, sponsorships and donations from the private sector of flower beds, workshops at the Farmers Market and more. The committee agreed that a community garden would be an asset to New Glasgow and they would be supportive of it. Several other community groups have expressed interest in leading this idea.
Coleman spoke on Plant a Row For Your Community. This is a program to encourage communities to plant, grow and harvest an extra row of vegetables, fruits and herbs to help the less fortunate. For information contact: irene.vihant@pcha.nshealth.ca or call 752-7600 ext 3335.
The Go Clean Get Green Community Litter Pick up campaign was again a huge success. The citizens of Pictou County were applauded by the committee for protecting and caring about the environment. More than 7.09 tonnes of litter was picked up – a big increase over last year’s numbers.
Other business included a review of sponsorship categories and opportunities, ideas for signature tree/ shrub and tree planting challenge, a strategic planning session to update the long term CIB plan and a review of short-term priorities.
New Glasgow has been a participant in Communities in Bloom since 2003 and has been a provincial and national winner in several categories. CIB volunteers aren’t just hard-working gardeners. They’re also educators in a variety of areas of expertise. Our goals and vision are to help transform our town and community into a lively, beautiful and sustainable place to live, play, visit and do business for present and future generations to follow. Beautification, community growth and environmental stewardship are essential for the betterment of all.
Communities in Bloom is a template for improvement and many great efforts by community organizations, residents, businesses and the municipality have garnered us recognition provincially and nationally.

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NRHS students enjoy experience at Tim Horton Camp

The opportunity to attend the Tim Horton Children’s Camp in Tatamagouche is an experience like no other.
Students across Atlantic Canada have the chance to experience what camp life is like thanks to the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation.
Students from Northumberland Regional High School – 66 to be exact – shared this experience recently.
“From September to May we bring schools into the camp to take part in a 50 hour program, which is outside of our core programming during the summer and March Break,” explains Dorothy Cousins, general manager of the Tim Horton Children’s Camp in Tatamagouche. “In one year we put through approximately 3,000 children and youth and 2,000 of those are from schools in Atlantic Canada.”
The students attend for two nights and three days and take part in the full programming including the adventure course with the rock climbing wall, high ropes, archery, biking, music, stop motion computer programs and much more.
“The only thing we can’t offer at this time are the summer water activities like boating, swimming and kayaking because of the weather,” explains Cousins.
All of the activities are meant to be fun, but also serve a learning purpose.
“The activities are designed to develop skills, overcome fears, become more self confident and be part of a team,” explains Cousins. “The goal is to have the children and youth leave being more caring, responsible and motivated.”
Since the camp opened in 1988, it has serviced schools and youth from across Canada and the US.
“There are five camps in Canada and one in the US,” says Cousins. “We are hoping to open another one in Manitoba in 2015 and our sponsorship program has grown over the years which allows us to focus on providing this opportunity to children and youth who wouldn’t have this chance.”
The camp provides the food, lodging, transportation and programming at no cost to the schools.
“We applied last year and within three weeks heard back that we were approved,” explains Karen Berezowski, Yoga 11 instructor at NRHS.
For the summer attendees, each Tim Horton store owner has two applications per store that they deliver to local schools and organizations for children to attend. Sixty per cent of attendees are from Atlantic Canada and the remaining 40 are from across North America.
“At the camp, youth and children learn to set goals and become more confident,” says Cousins. “They try things they have never done before that helps to boost their self esteem; that is why we enjoy having students attend the camp.”
Cousins says, it is incredible how much of a change they can see in the students from the time they arrive to when they leave.
“It’s amazing because we are able to help youth in our own region. It’s very rewarding to see the changes taking place in such a short time and know that you are making a positive impact and seeing the desired outcome.”
Cousins has worked at the camp for 15 years and says she is continually amazed by the youth that walk through the doors.
“Children between 9 and 12 attend the camp in the summer and at 13, they have the opportunity to reapply to come back for leadership programming over the next five years and when they complete the programming they receive financial assistance for education. It’s not just a 10-day experience for youth, it’s lasting.”
Youth can also return as counsellors at the camp.
All of the summer and school programming is paid for through Camp Day at Tim Horton’s locations as well as the fundraising box inside each store.
“Last year Camp Day raised $10 million and the restaurant owners give all of their profits in coffee sales for the day to the camp,” explains Cousins. “The first Camp Day was in 1986 when the restaurant owners rallied to raise funds to build the camp here.”
Since 1975, more than 180,000 children have attended camp at a cost of approximately $1,000 each plus transportation costs.
Berezowski says, “The Tim Horton Foundation program mirrors our Yoga 11 program by promoting physical activity, environmental consciousness, responsibility and leadership. The students have gone rock climbing, done the high ropes swing, learned outdoor survival skills, gone mountain biking and participated in yoga practices.”
Berezowski says the students had an amazing time. “The biggest thing I have noticed is how well run this camp is. It’s a world-class organization for kids and it’s right in our back yard at no cost. It’s so important to have these community partners with all of the struggling families. Attending this camp could be the only chance children get to go to camp,” she says.
The students were thrilled to attend. “This is my second time here,” says Skylar Cameron. “It’s an opportunity for us to try new things like rock climbing. I think I liked that the best. It’s also good because we get to know each other better and have fun together outside of a school setting. The counsellors are really nice and there’s something for everyone.”
Valerie Clark adds, “I like it a lot, especially the biking. You get to learn more about yourself and the people you go to school with, too. It helps create better friendships. It’s a way to be good to yourself and be physically active.”

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Lyme Disease common in county

Lyme Disease is fairly common in Pictou County, especially around the Merigomish area according to Dr. Kathryn Finlayson of the New Glasgow Veterinary Clinic.
“We have seen dogs come in that have had Lyme Disease,” she says, “but we have been fortunate enough to be able to test them and treat them early.”
According to Finlayson, there have been a few cases of dogs being tested and showing positive results for Lyme this year, and last year one dog had to be euthanized because of it, however, it was an older dog that was suspected of having had Lyme Disease for a number of years.
“We have seen a lot of ticks lately, especially in the Merigomish area, but of the dogs we have tested and treated, they are all doing well.”
For a tick to transfer Lyme Disease to a dog, it must first carry the disease, and must then attach itself to the dog and feed on it in order for the dog to contract Lyme.
For pet owners, it is important to look for certain signs such as a fever and shifting lameness in different legs.
“There are a variety of symptoms that can occur,” says Finlayson, “but it is more often seen in young and old dogs because their immune system is weaker.”
The faster the animal is treated, the better.
“We suggest for anyone who is out with their dog a lot to check the animal and themselves often. The best thing to do is vaccinate the animal because sometimes we can miss ticks.”
The vaccine is annual with a booster shot a month after the first.
It is best to wear light coloured clothing and keep your pants tucked into your socks, use spray and make sure to check not only your pet, but yourself as well.
“June and in the fall are the times we most often see ticks,” says Finlayson. “But of the cases we have confirmed diagnosis this year, they have all been treated.”

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Autism walk set for June 15

STELLARTON – June 15 will be a family day of fun in Stellarton as the Pictou County Children with Autism Association hosts its second annual Walk the Walk fundraiser.
The walk will be part of nine walks taking place across the province through Autism Nova Scotia.
“The walk started five years ago in Halifax and our group used to hold one in April during Autism Awareness Month, but the weather was often unfavorable and we think it led to fewer people attending,” explains Colin Wood, organizer. “We heard about Walk the Walk and decided to do it for the first time in Pictou County last year and we had incredible success, it surpassed our expectations.”
More than 200 people registered to walk the one km walk last year beginning at G.R. Saunders School, raising just under $1,200.
“We are hoping for bigger and better this year,” says Wood.
Wood has a son Connor, 10, who has Autism and he joined the support group for its monthly meetings.
“It’s for parents of children with Autism to discuss various challenges with raising a child on the Autism spectrum and make parents aware of the services out there as well as provide activities for kids to play and socialize.”
The walk is the group’s primary fundraiser as well as awareness campaign.
“We will have bouncy houses there, balloon animals, face painting, carnival games, a silent auction and a barbecue. These are all things people can see from a distance so it draws people over and we are able to reach that many more people.”
The event after the walk is open to any families that would like to attend with a free-will donation.
“If you want to register for the walk you can do so on our website at http://www.walkthewalkforautism.ca/stellarton. Or you can just show up. And the best part is that all of the funds stay here in Pictou County and benefit children and families you see in your community every day.”
Items such as prizes for the games and items for the event are mostly donated, so the event is of little cost to the group aside from the rental of the bouncy houses which as Wood says, is great visual awareness.
“And the kids love it. Our underlying theme is to raise awareness of the effects of Autism on families.”
Registration for the walk on June 15 will take place at 9:45 a.m. at G.R. Saunders School.
“It’s a fun family day,” he says.
For more information on the walk visit the website.

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Rookie to drive Rollie’s entry

PICTOU – Rollie MacDonald has a rookie to drive his 2013 entry in the Maritime Pro Stock Tour.
Denver Foran of Edmonton has been trying out MacDonald’s car since arriving earlier this spring to prepare for the tour’s opening race on Sunday at Scotia SpeedWorld.
“I can’t wait for the first race,” Foran said Thursday while working on MacDonald’s car. The Pro Stock Tour is really professional, the way it’s set up. The competition is a lot higher here. There’s a lot more cars to race against.”
Foran is just 16 but he’s been racing various vehicles since he started driving go-karts when he was five.
“He keeps me young, MacDonald said. “We’d had the car out at Scotia SpeedWorld and hope to get there two more times this week. He’s been as fast as any of the rookies there. The car’s running good but he hasn’t seen any traffic yet. He listens well, so hopefully it will be a good year.”
The tour has a dozen dates, including three at Riverside International Speedway in James River on June 15, July 20 and Sept. 7.
“I’m pretty excited about Riverside,” he said.
Scotia SpeedWorld has three other dates: June 22, Aug. 10 and the season’s final date on Sept. 14.
Petty International Raceway in River Glade, N.B. also has three dates on June 1, June 29 and Aug. 24.
The other venues are Speedway 660 in Geary, N.B. and Oyster Bed Speedway in Oyster Bed Bridge, P.E.I.

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Sports pages found from the late 1940s

A young fellow who’s showing interest in journalism recently asked how many columns I’ve written in my newspaper career. I couldn’t give him an answer because I simply don’t know.
However, because I’ve been indexing my columns in recent years, I was able to tell him that, since June 1996, I’m approaching my 1,686th offering. That includes my last years at The Chronicle Herald, six years writing for the New Glasgow News, and these past nine years writing in The Advocate.
The young guy’s question was followed by another, a bit more complicated. Where do I find enough subjects to produce so many columns? I gave him a fairly extensive list, and he seemed impressed.
Yet despite all the sources a columnist uses to produce topics on a regular basis, there always seems to be a new one.
Take last week.
My wife Jane and I were visiting good friends Jean and Donnie Murray in New Glasgow. They’ve been living in the same house since the early 1960s, and their home is much older still. Right now, there’s considerable renovation work going on.
In order to have a shower built in their bathroom, the old flooring was torn up. Years ago, contractors and owners used various methods to make a floor warmer and quieter. So when the old flooring was pulled up, there underneath were old newspapers and other periodicals dated 1947 and 1948, obviously the period when the flooring was installed.
Needless to say, the old newspapers – including copies of The Evening News – were badly yellowed by their decades under the flooring. They were so worn that, even turning the pages with extreme care, they were coming to pieces.
But, wow, did I have a great time checking the content on the sports pages. The papers were from about the same time that I was taking greater interest in local sports, and greater interest in newspapers in general.
There were yellowed copies of The Halifax Herald, as it was called then, and there were a few issues of The Standard, a weekly publication from Montreal that found its way into many homes in Pictou County as elsewhere.
It was the issues of The Evening News, however, that really grabbed my attention. I wanted to see the local content.
There was one issue from February 1948 in which the headline across the sports page – there was only one sports page in each paper – featured an APC Senior Hockey League playoff game at Stellarton Memorial Rink between the New Glasgow Comets and Stellarton Royals. The game was won by Stellarton, 3-2, with all the goals in the first period.
The noticeable thing about the story – and other stories – was that first names were seldom used. This particular report said “defenceman T. Higgins pretty much stole the show” with a goal and an assist. That was Tommy Higgins, who I watched for years after that. The article further said “playing honours for the Comets “went to Hunter and Legere.” Again no first names, but I recognized them as being Hymie Hunter and Al Legere.
There were quite a few other names – last names only – that I recognized. Stellarton’s goalie was Frankie Prozenor and playing were such guys as Arnie Baudoux, Leo Fahey, Mel Gadd, Porgy and Stan MacDougall.
There was an advertisement at the bottom of the page promoting the next game in the series that night. It, too, was at Stellarton Memorial Rink. Reserved seating was 85 cents, rush tickets 55 cents. The ad said “tickets may be reserved by phoning 1768.”
There was an article on the ladies bowling league at the Vee-Eight Lanes in New Glasgow. It said “Miss V. Currie” in the anchor position for Zellers had the top triple of 287. “Miss Currie’s pin-spilling feat,” it reported, “placed her in a tie for the highest three-string total posted in league play during the current season.”
A brief story reported, “In a hotly-contested game at Bluenose Curling Club between two rinks of the Fifty Club, Owen Fraser’s rink defeated a rink skipped by J.A. Larsen. A unique feature of the game was that it was a seven-ender.”
In another yellowed copy of The Evening News, Cecil Brown, secretary of the APC Hockey League, “disclosed” that Tic Williams of the Pictou Maripacs was the leading scorer in the four-team circuit. He was followed (first names added here) by Hymie Hunter, Allie Morrison, Leo Fahey, Mark Babineau and Stan MacDougall.
It was obvious the Second World War hadn’t been over for long.
In one hockey game story, it was reported that “Fraser Campbell, the Royals’ blonde-haired centreman who fought with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders in the Normandy invasion on D-Day, opened the scoring. Campbell sank the tally on a pass from Stan MacDougall.”
Another hockey story caught my eye because of the way it was written. It reported, “A brief interlude of fighting enlivened the action when centreman Fahey of the Royals and Hymie Hunter staged a slugging contest. Play stopped and referees and players alike stood by while the pair squared off like a brace of bantam roosters. They didn’t hurt each other and they were finally pried apart. They each got a stretch in the pokey.”
From the same story: “All in all, the game was one of the better ones seen this season. It was rough – a little too rough at times.
The only casualty was Shorty Aikens who crashed into the screen net at the end of the rink and will be x-rayed today to determine the possibility of a facial fracture.”
Yes, it was fun scanning the old papers, even as the decaying newsprint deteriorated in our hands. Not often can you read game reports six and a half decades after the fact.

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NNEC athletes medal at national meet

NEW GLASGOW – Two members of North Nova Education Centre’s male track and field team won medals at the 2013 Nike High School Grand Prix track meet last weekend in Toronto.
Allister Mason and Ryan Washburn won gold medals, while Peter MacIntosh took home a silver medal. Mason won the 110-metre hurdles in 16.3 seconds while Washburn won his 800-metre race in 2:08:40.
They also earned medals in their 400-metre race when Washburn placed second and Mason wound up in third place. Teammate Blair Dewtie was 12th.
MacIntosh won his silver medal in the high jump.
Nearly 300 high school athletes took part in the event, which invited one female team and one male team from each province.
North Nova sent the male team, while the female entry was representing Cole Harbour.
Ian MacDonald was sixth in his 800-metre race, while Mason was seventh in the final 100-metre dash.
MacDonald was 11th and Michael Graham was 12th in the 1,500.

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Nighthawk athletes win events

STELLARTON – Athletes from Northumberland Regional High School turned in good results last Thursday during the first day of the district high school track and field meet at Pioneer Coal Field.
Grade 8 student Tatum McLean placed first in junior high girls shot put with a heave of 9.91 metres, while Paige MacDonald from Thorburn Consolidated was second with a 7.44 distance.
McLean is considered one of the promising local athletes in field events, based on the distances she records at her age. She also won the junior girls discus throw.
The regional meet will be at Pioneer field from May 23 to 25.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if she won both shot and discus at regionals,” said Keith Melanson, her grandfather who has rekindled a career in high school track and field that goes back more than 40 years when he was coaching at East Pictou Rural High School. “She’s a good athlete.”
NRHS’s Katie Jennings won the intermediate girls shot put event with an 8.62-metre result.
McCayla Cullen of NRHS was first in senior girls long jump, triple jump and high jump, while Taylor Martell of North Nova Education Centre won the senior girls shot put event.
Maynard Wilson of West Pictou Consolidated won the junior boys shot put and discus throw and Martell won the senior girls discus throw.
In other field events, Kaelan Schmidt of East Pictou Middle won the intermediate boys high jump, triple jump and long jump, while Kelyn Palmer of Thorburn Consolidated won intermediate girls javelin, Tyler Swain of Highland Consolidated Middle School won the junior boys javelin, Lexie Trevors of West Pictou won the junior girls javelin and Robbie Jones of NRHS won the senior boys shot put and javelin throw.
Meanwhile, Liam Taylor of Northumberland won the intermediate boys 100-metre dash and the 200 race.
Alyssa MacNeil of North Nova Education Centre won the intermediate girls 100m sprint and 200 metre race.
Noah MacKean of West Pictou Consolidated won the junior boys 100m race, while Olivia Pretty of River John Consolidated was first in the junior girls 100m race and won her long jump event.
Robin Simpson of East Pictou finished ahead of Pretty and Katelyn Dunn of NGJHS in the junior girls 200, while Heather Beaton of NRHS won the senior girls 200.
In 400-metre races, Maddy Murray of Pictou Academy won the intermediate girls event, while MacKean won the junior boys event.
Beaton also won the senior girls 400.
Jordan Wheeler of NRHS won the intermediate boys 800 metre race, while Tyler Green of Highland Consolidated Middle School won the junior boys event.
Jordan Landry of NGJHS won intermediate girls hurdles and 800-metre races, while Kaitlin Kelly of NGJHS won the junior girls 800.
Scott Langille of New Glasgow Junior High won the intermediate boys 1,500-metre race, while Peter Corbin of Thorburn Consolidated won the junior boys category.
Pictou Academy’s Laurie Quann won the junior girls race. Quann was also first in junior girls high jump.
Heidi MacDonald of North Nova was first, Jenna MacDonald of North Nova was second in both of their senior girls 800 and 1,500 races. Jenna was first and Heidi second in their 3,000 race.
Langille won the intermediate boys 3,000-metre race, while Jessica Zentner of North Nova won intermediate girls,
Corbin won junior boys and Quann won junior girls.
In hurdles, Landry won in intermediate girls and Pretty won in junior girls.
Northumberland won in intermediate girls and Highland won junior girls in 4×100 relays. West Pictou won junior boys and NGJHS won junior girls in 4×400 relays.

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ReverbNation, Jubilee team up to find opening act

NEW GLASGOW – The New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee is taking submissions for the opening slot of this year’s festival.
This is being done through international online music hub ReverbNation, an online platform for marketing and promoting bands and shows, connecting music fans with music and artists the world over or in their backyard. The platform has over 2.4 million users worldwide and 30 million visitors every month.
Jubilee Executive Director Carlton Munroe says ReverbNation has become the online tool of choice for countless musicians locally and regionally, “ReverbNation seemed like a logical fit when the company approached the Jubilee about joining forces in search of an act to fill a slot at the festival.”
ReverbNation works with other festivals such as Vans Warped Tour, Hangout Music Festival and Iceland Airwaves in offering a playing slot.
To get the opening spot at The Jubilee, ReverbNation artist submissions will be shortlisted and presented to Jubilee fans via Facebook. Fans will be able to view videos and “like” the video of the artist they would most like to see on the Jubilee main stage. The five artists with the most likes will then be considered by the Jubilee programming team and selected to play the opening spot on August 2 and will also perform on the Late Stage.
Selection criteria includes originality, draw, video performance, marketability, songwriting, arrangement and social media response. To submit, artists must either have or build a profile on ReverbNation.com. Deadline for submissions is June 22. Fans can get ready to weigh in by joining the Jubilee’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/JubileeNG.
Already, nearly 200 submissions from all over North America and overseas have been received.
The New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee takes place August 2-4. This award-winning festival is celebrating its 18th year in 2013.


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Amazing Grace docudrama using Hector Quay backdrop

PICTOU – Partners at the Hector Heritage Quay are bracing for a buzz of downtown activity later this month when a film crew arrives to shoot parts of a docudrama about a slave ship captain whose life was transformed by faith.
Amazing Grace deals with the ship’s captain, John Newton, and will be filmed by award-winning director John Jackman. It will utilize the Ship Hector and parts of the quay during location shooting May 19 to 24.
“It should be busy,” said society chairperson Anne Emmett. “There is going to be a lot of activity in town.”
Quay society members were approached last fall about location shooting at the Hector site.
The film crew will need to work around one obstacle. Renovations below the Hector’s decks will likely provide the backdrops the filmmakers would welcome, but the work to re-create aspects of life for the ship’s passengers who were transported to Pictou in 1773 will not start until after the crew’s time here.
Some of the backdrops displayed in the quay building will substitute for below-deck shooting, Emmett said. “They’re so realistic and so well done.”
Emmett hopes the film crew likes what it sees. None of the crew has actually seen the Hector and quay except through other visual aids. “They haven’t been to the site,” she said. “They have no idea what they’ll be seeing.”
Amazing Grace’s story line depicts Newton’s life at sea from being pressed into naval service to becoming a slave ship captain. A catharsis leads to Newton’s conversion to life as a pastor in rural England, and to writing the hymn Amazing Grace.
Besides the film’s cast members, up to 50 extras are being sought.
The film is a co-production of the Christian History Institute and Comenius Foundation, with a limited release in about 20 selected theatres in different regions scheduled for early 2014.

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Lobster Inspirations

Art 2 Sea Studio-Gallery is putting out a call to all artists and aspiring artists.
The gallery is looking to host an art show during the first two weeks of July called Lobster Inspirations.
“We are going to have the art show and sale run through the lobster festival weekend and we are hoping that people will be inspired to create art around the lobster theme various mediums,” explains St. Clair Prest.
Prest is one of eight people in the area who pool their money to rent the space at the old foundry as a studio and gallery.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be a lobster, just something related to a lobster like the boats going out or traps,” says Prest.
Mediums can include but are not limited to sculpture pieces, folk art, pottery, stained glass, paintings, rug hooking and knitting.
“It can be any form of medium,” says Prest. “When we were telling people about the show, we were told of someone who uses bleached, cleaned lobster shells to create things. We just want people to think about lobster and the lobster festival, since it is so important to our area.”
All pieces must be delivered to the gallery on Front Street by June 29. “The pieces will all be put on display and up for sale. If we sell the piece, the money goes to the artist and we take 15 per cent for providing the space,” explains Prest.
Prest says the idea is meant to honour the Pictou Lobster Carnival as well as give people an opportunity to display their work in a gallery setting, something some artists may not have access to.
“We live by the sea and have an active lobster industry. This allows us to support the lobster festival artistically as well as provide another attraction for people to see.”
The show is open to anyone wishing to have their work displayed, anyone inspired by the lobster. “You don’t have to be a professional artist to be involved,” says Prest.
The gallery is open days Tuesday through Sunday, although evening hours will be determined for carnival weekend.
“The lobster festival usually brings in about 8,000 to 10,000 people to the town and not all of them enjoy going to the beer garden or on the amusement rides,” says Prest. “There will be other art on display as well. One of our main objectives is to encourage and show as much art as we can in Pictou and Pictou County. We are trying to make this area thought of as an artistic community.”
The gallery and show is for everyone. It’s not geared toward a certain age or income bracket.
“It’s everyday stuff,” says Prest. “We need to get people thinking about local art… spend a little more and support local.”
The gallery is also hosting an art show in June featuring local student artists.
“It encourages people working and taking lessons and gets the art out there,” says Prest. “It is all about making art available to the community. We are seeing more local cafes and restaurants showcasing artists as well as the deCoste, the hospital and a new gallery has opened in New Glasgow at the Celtic Circle. It’s wonderful.”
To enter a piece in the Lobster Inspirations show that will run July 2 through 15, visit Art 2 Sea Studio-Gallery between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

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Meal presentation was never at issue

To the Editor:
I want to remind everyone that the issue with Northumberland Veterans Wing in Pictou was all to do with home cooked meals being replaced with re-heated frozen foods. Not once was the presentation of meals ever an issue.
Almost a year ago, veterans’ families were first given a taste test and all opposed the re-heated frozen foods.
Then, we Pictou County councillors got involved and we were invited to a taste test which, we who attended were amazed with the quality and taste of what was prepared and served for us. Remembering that only within one week I discovered that we, as council members, were duped with that sampling.
Then and only then was a 28-day assessment on the food quality suggested and it started the first week of 2013 and finalized February 6 2013. It was not until the end of March that the result was made public and recommendations accepted by PCHA to improve food presentation. My question is: Where did food presentation ever become a problem, especially over the food itself?
On Thursday April 25, myself, Doey MacDonald, Mike LeBlanc and Bernie Currie appeared before the standing committee at Province House where Mr. Currie presented his case for eliminating re-heated frozen foods to our veterans. At question period that same afternoon, Liberal leader Stephen MacNeil questioned the premier about the frozen foods being served in Pictou and why cuts were made to the veteran meal allowances. The premier responded that this is the Health Authority’s decision and when they make decisions they don’t always inform government of their result and he knew nothing of this situation.
His concluding remarks were that now government has been made aware, they will review and support all recommendations. But again these recommendations are for the presentation of these appalling re-heated frozen foods.
The premier’s remarks of not knowing has me puzzled as I have previously questioned our MLA about what he was doing concerning the vets’ meals and I was informed by our MLA’s assistant that Mr. Parker was well aware of the situation and was working on this matter behind closed doors.
Now I have to question, which door was the premier behind as he knew nothing about it?
It is now my understanding that the Justice minister and MLAs believe that the families of our veterans are satisfied with the meal service. Wow! And to think that these individuals are running our government.
Jim Turple
Hardwood Hill

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Letter writer was correct: town needs clear vision

To the Editor:
I, too, believe that the letter from Dr. Margo Watt was thoughtful and sincere.
The Town of Pictou is truly lovely with its many very old buildings and the beautiful harbour with such an interesting history.
I hesitated to write this letter because my family is ‘from away’; however, in relation to the question posed by Dr. Watt, I feel somewhat confident that I can speak to the question. Does the town council have a vision for the future?
There are so many historic villages throughout Canada that the town could reference and study. Sherbrooke Village, Louisbourg in Cape Breton and Kings Landing in New Brunswick are just a few in our vicinity. If one were to consider the Town of Pictou as a future historic village to be developed, it would not be difficult to imagine. I had the pleasure of working at Upper Canada Village in Ontario. We visited other historic villages so that we could compare and contrast our village to others.
I am not suggesting that the whole town be developed in a similar manner, but some variations could be considered.
We need to preserve, not demolish heritage properties.
Creating a ‘living’ village might be a way to sustain such properties.
I have admired the ‘Hector’ and buildings around it have been supported and encouraged to grow by local citizens. Another project initiated by local citizens is new tennis courts. Local citizens have spear-headed other projects, like preserving the ‘Y’, or other projects unknown to everyone. Which part, if any, does the town council play in any of these?
Dr. Watt gives full credit to all the people involved in these projects but her question about the town council’s vision was unanswered by Ms. Vigneault. Instead, Ms. Vigneault, an elected member of the council, attacked Dr. Watt on a cruel, personal level. Ms. Vigneault’s reference to the very old, tired quote from the former prime minister P.E. Trudeau was, in my opinion, irrelevant and silly.
Of course the council could consider helping a business that might initiate the addition of more life to the town. Of course the council could be involved in partnering with others, to purchase heritage buildings in order to preserve such buildings for the future.
All of these considerations must be done after formulating a vision and plan. All Dr. Watt asked was whether such a vision and plan existed. Ms. Vigneault, as an elected town official, should have thanked Dr. Watt for her concern and offered to meet with her regarding her concerns.
If there is such a vision it should be revealed to the citizens. No vision will be totally successful or tally unsuccessful. Planning is essential and co-operation vital.
Elected officials have a responsibility to the public that elected them. They must be approachable and not paranoid about their own performance.
In my opinion, Dr. Watt deserves an apology from Ms. Vigneault, who should remember that she is an elected official.
Judith Corman
Pictou

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