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Craftsman turns hobby into career

LYONS BROOK – Bill Sinclair has almost made a career out of a hobby of making canvas-covered canoes.
His yard may fill with snow and the winter temperatures may drop unmercifully, but in his heated shop it is serene.
There he has forms to make canoes that can be 15, 16, 16.5 or 17.5 feet long – with a 32- to 34-inch beam and applying a method that has been used for more than a century. They’re ribbed with wood steamed and bent to fashion the canoe’s ribs and exterior before the canvas covering is stretched and painted.
Sinclair’s fee is $100 a foot.
Making these canoes is meticulous work. He’s currently working a 15-foot canoe.
But Sinclair loves it, working on the craft while listening to classic music, from Antonio Vivaldi to Sergei Rachmaninoff.
“It’s very labour-intensive,” he said. “I really enjoy it. I stand back and look at it and I can say, ‘I built that.’ There’s a great deal of satisfaction.”
He also has forms for making smaller sleds for pulling kids and toboggans for coasting.
“It’s just a diversion,” he said. “I put the canoe aside and work on a toboggan or sleds for one- or two-year-olds.”
Canoes are lightweight, narrow boats usually pointed at both ends and propelled by one or more paddlers. Paddlers usually sit in the canoe, though some kneel in them while they paddle.
Sinclair has repaired canoes with a ‘Y’ stern, meaning it’s squared to accommodate a small boat motor, but he doesn’t build them.
Slats generally constitute the canoes’ seats, although some people prefer a more substantial wicker variety.
Word of mouth has been enough to keep Sinclair busy.
“Two people from Germany came in once and looked microscopically at one of the canoes I was building,” he said.
Wood and canvas canoes are considered the direct descendant of birch bark canoes. Although similar to bark canoes in the use of ribs, planking and a waterproof covering, what distinguishes Sinclair’s craft is their method of construction is completely different.
Wood and canvas canoes are built by bending ribs over a solid mold. The molds Sinclair has feature metal bands to indicate where each rib is located. When Sinclair fastens the planking, the metal bands allow him to clinch the brass canoe tacks so that the planking is fastening snug to the rib.
The mold is then removed before the decks, thwarts and seats are installed.
Canvas is stretched tightly over the hull, and fastened only along the gunwales and the stems.
After that, filler is applied to the weave to make the canoes more durable and keep them watertight. This is followed by the sanding and five coats of paint.
Sinclair has built canoes and sleds for groups to raffle off to raise funds, including the Ship Hector Quay and a hospital in Halifax.

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Tony Addis retiring in July

STELLARTON – Town council is beginning its search for a new town engineer.
The move comes after being informed by current town engineer Tony Addis that he is retiring, effective July 17.
“We’ve accepted (his decision to retire) with regret, but at the same time we’re glad for him,” Mayor Joe Gennoe said.
Council also agreed to invite applications to replace Addis by the early spring. The town plans to advertise nationally, Gennoe said.
“We’d like to have a replacement by April 1 to shadow him for at least three months,” he said.
He did not say if the town engineering position’s job description would change, only that the advertising would include terms of reference.
The news came during a planning meeting on Monday. The matter was dealt with in order to begin the process immediately to find a replacement.
In other business, the date for the next Stellarton Memorial Rink Commission meeting was set for 5 p.m. on Feb. 5. Committee-of-the-whole meeting is Feb. 3 at 5 p.m.
Council committed its $2,500 share for the host committee for the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities’ annual spring meeting that will take place from May 7 to 9 at the Pictou county Wellness Centre.
Council also approved $1,000 for a heritage conference taking place in Pictou County this year.

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Prestigious appointment for Pictou Academy grad

DUBLIN, IRELAND – A graduate of Pictou Academy is getting international attention following an academic appointment this week.
Professor Chris Morash has been appointed as the Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing at Trinity College Dublin. The professorship is named in honour of one of Ireland’s greatest poets and Nobel Laureate who had a long standing relationship with Trinity.
Morash’s appointment was announced at a special event in the Long Room in Trinity College on Monday, January 20.
“This is a seminal appointment in Irish academia and will act as a form of legacy to Seamus Heaney’s significant contribution to Irish writing and literary studies. The professorship was established in the last year of the great poet’s life and he had expressed delight at his association with it. We hope to fulfill the aspirations for the role that we discussed with him at the time, and build on Trinity’s extraordinary literary tradition with significant impact for writing in Ireland and internationally,” said Dr Patrick Prendergast, provost of Trinity.
Morash, was formerly Professor of English at NUI Maynooth where he also set up the Centre for Media Studies. He has published widely on Irish writing.
“I grew up in Pictou, graduated from Pictou Academy in 1981, and it was the teachers there – notably Dolores McGillivray – who first sparked my interest in literature,” Morash said.
“Given the pressures on the Academy in this era of consolidation, an education from Pictou Academy can equip a person for just about anything – including, in my case, a leading job in Irish Studies in Ireland.
Morash noted, “The profound transformations of culture that have taken place globally over the past couple of decades make it imperative that we find new ways to understand and to assert the value of Irish literature. The creation of this post is an assertion of that value. I look forward to contributing to the challenge of giving it substance.”
A press release from Trinity College says the new position was established with the philanthropic support of a number of benefactors, most notably Dr. Mark Pigott, KBE, and Dr. Martin Naughton, chair of Glen Dimplex.
”Through the philanthropy of these donors this important professorship has been made possible. We are very appreciative of their generosity and vision in supporting the new appointment,” said Prendergast.
Associate Professor Eve Patten, Head of Trinity’s School of English, welcomed Morash to his new post. “This is a poignant occasion but a happy one, too. The school has always played a leading role in the development of Irish literary studies, and the appointment of the Seamus Heaney Professor will consolidate our commitment to Irish writing and literary life as a whole. We are delighted to have Chris join us – he is a scholar of outstanding international reputation and a tremendous addition to Trinity College.”
On the occasion of the announcement of his appointment, Professor Morash also launched his new book, Mapping Irish Theatre: Theories of Space and Place, which he co-authored with Shaun Richards and is published by Cambridge University Press. Mapping Irish Theatre makes the argument that for the past century, Irish theatre has depended upon a ‘sense of place’ that is rapidly fading, compelling Irish theatre practitioners to find new ways to connect with Irish audiences. One of Ireland’s most acclaimed new theatre directors, Louise Lowe of ANU Productions, will formally launch the book.
The School of English, one of the oldest in the world, founded the first ever Chair of English Literature in 1867. Many major Irish writers over the centuries have attended Trinity – including Jonathan Swift, Oliver Goldsmith, Edmund Burke, Bram Stoker, J.M. Synge, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, William Trevor, Sebastian Barry, Deirdre Madden and Anne Enright.
Since 1990, Morash has worked at NUI Maynooth, where he founded the Centre for Media Studies, and was subsequently appointed Professor of English. He was elected to Membership of the Royal Irish Academy in 2007, and has chaired the Compliance Committee of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland since 2009.
Morash’s parents, Rose and Howard Morash, still live in Pictou and his sister, Patricia, lives just beyond Scotsburn.
“As someone who works with students, I think it’s important that teachers are acknowledged for the impact that they have had,” Morash wrote in an email to The Advocate.
“I can still remember the point during an English class in the Academy with Dolores McGillivray that I thought I might want study literature at university; or, earlier, the point in Art McDonald’s history class in junior high when I first got a sense of what it meant to do research. I believe in thanks where thanks is due.”

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Intro to chess at New Glasgow Library

The New Glasgow Regional Library will be inviting Don Bidgood to host an informal, introductory discussion on the game of chess on Wednesday, January 29 at 7 p.m. The talk will serve to gauge public interest in forming a chess club at the facility.
“I gather there have been expressions of interest from at least 17 people, which is a good start,” the Halifax-based Bidgood said. “It may take them a while to get it off the ground because one thing the library has to do is acquire chess sets.”
Bidgood indicated he may be able to help locate sets, but that is a bridge to cross at a later date.
“My role in anything going on in Pictou County,” he continued, “is to help get things started and be a contact person. (Once up and running) I’ll have to step aside and let someone local get involved.”
The focus of Bidgood’s talk “will be ‘why play chess,’” Bidgood said. “Studies have shown that mental stimulation for older people may stave off the nasties like Alzhiemer’s disease. That’s a very good reason for keeping alive and active mentally.”
For the young, Bidgood said, there are studies which suggest there is an overlap between the thinking skills involved in chess and mathematics. For these reasons, as well as the fun and social element, chess makes an excellent activity for young people.
Born in London, England and raised for most part just outside of Brighton, Don Bidgood is a lifelong and avid chess player, with a self-estimated 75 years of experience playing the game. Bidgood said he taught himself to play chess at the age of seven and later became active with the game in high school, played during his time in the Korean War as a member of the Royal Air Force, and even played the game in the Arctic while involved in a PHD program.
Bidgood said he would label himself a causal player during those years, but began playing more post-retirement when he joined an informal chess club. From there, he and a fellow chess player were contacted by a local library to help set up a chess club for children. That was 17 years ago and Bidgood said that the club is doing better than ever.
“If anything it’s expanded. Prior to the founding, there was very little in the way of continuous chess teaching of the game at school,” Bidgood said. Typically, he said, chess clubs would crop up in schools at the suggestion of a teacher who played the game and fade out as they moved to a different school.
Although, it is perhaps safe to call Bidgood a chess expert, or chesspert as the case may be, there is one thing he is not. “Somewhere somebody referred to me as a ‘guru’,” he said.
“I have checked that in the dictionary and the last thing I am is having any sort of religious or meditative side so that would not apply to me. It has a definite connotation.”
If you are a person of any age with an interest in learning or relearning the game of chess from a real chess gu-… expert, you are welcomed to attend Don Bidgood’s talk at the New Glasgow Library next Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m.

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Local pharmacies get last batch of flu shots

PICTOU – Pharmacies in Pictou County received another supply of flu vaccine, but it’s running out fast.
The pharmacies picked up more vaccine last Thursday from the Department of Health and Wellness office in New Glasgow, but much of the supply was for those whose names were placed on waiting lists.
Dr. Ryan Sommers, manager of health for Colchester, Cumberland and Pictou County Health Authorities, confirmed on Monday the delivery of vaccine for family physician immunizers last Thursday and for pharmacies on Thursday and Friday.
“Demand for the vaccine has been high in the PCHA area,” he said. “We have been able to redistribute vaccines among the other DHAs (CEHHA and CHA) to the PCHA immunizers.”
Public Health has also organized clinics to vaccinate those under five years old.
Dave Fulmore at Fulmore’s Pharmachoice in Pictou said the demand for flu shots from drug stores reflects how effective it has been during the first winter of having pharmacies help the province get as many Nova Scotians as possible inoculated.
“It’s been very successful,” he said.
More Nova Scotians than ever have been vaccinated for the H1N1 strain of flu that the doses have been prepared for, which Fulmore says speaks to the wise decision the department made to get pharmacies to help distribute the doses.
Sommers previously noted what effective partners pharmacies have been because of their flexibility. They’re open for longer hours than other clinics, and they can transfer vaccine to where it’s most needed.
“I like to think it’s because pharmacies are doing it,” Fulmore said. “We’re hoping pharmacies are able to do more. We’re poised to help the system.”
Pharmacies received about 20,000 doses across the province, but demand for them at pharmacies far exceeded supply.
For instance, Fulmore said most of the doses Pharmachoice received last week were already spoken for.
At Pictou Pharmasave, pharmacist Mallory Weir said there were 10 doses of vaccine left.
Pharmacist Chris MacLean at Fulton’s Pharmacy in River John said the store received 170 shots.
“I’m happy with it,” he said. “We still have shots available. We did a bunch in the fall and people are starting to come in again. They’re still encouraging people to get inoculated.”
Supplies at other pharmacies have been reduced, with less than 10 doses at Lawtons in New Glasgow and about a dozen at Poulains in Stellarton, at press time.
Nova Scotia has the highest rate of influenza vaccination in Canada, Sommers noted. About 48 per cent of the population has had the opportunity to receive the vaccine.

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Textiles and cell phones dominate testimony

Testimony in the trial of Christopher Alexander Falconer in the first degree murder of Amber Kirwan continued with a textile specialist taking the stand this morning.
Dr. Steven Pitts, of the RCMP National Centre of Forensic Services in Edmonton, Alberta is a forensic chemist specializing in textile fabrics and fibers.
Pitts took the stand, literally, choosing to the stand for the duration of his questioning from the Crown and the defence, which is how it is done in Alberta.
In his first report, Pitts went over the examination of a black piece of cloth found in the camper trailer at 976 Hardwood Hill Road, comparing it to the sweater found with Kirwan’s body to determine if they were one and the same.
Pitts examined both pieces visually, microscopically, with infrared spectrocity and bright field techniques.
“The piece of cloth had dimensional design and construction characteristics which were indistinguishable from the sweater,” said Pitts. “If you just looked at the fiber you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart.”
Both the fabric and the sweater are knit fabrics which could be physically matched.
“It (the piece of fabric) originated from and at one point was attached to the sweater,” said Pitts. “The physical characteristics are so overwhelmingly similar that it is not possible to suggest (the fabric) came from another source.”
In the second report, Pitts examined the blue blanket that was found on the bed in the camper trailer and compared it with two tapings of fibers from the black tank top from the Chev Impala.
“Tapings are when the sticky side of the tape is applied to the surface of a fabric in order to recover foreign fabrics,” explained Pitts. “The purpose is to determine forensically the significance of the fibers on the tank top and whether they originated from the blanket.”
Pitts examined the entire blanket and took cut-out portions from the blanket for the fiber analysis. “The blanket was generally in good condition, there were fibers, insulation, paper and other debris on it and there was extensive pilling on the surface as well as small holes in the blanket and some markings which I attributed to the police investigators.”
Pitts said the main portion of the blanket had a matted or fuzzy surface, meaning the blanket had been damaged.
“It was made of blue polyester and blue acrylic fibers,” he said.
Pitts took 10 blues fibers from both pieces of taping and examined them.
“The majority of the fibers, the blue colour is indistinguishable from those on the blanket,” he said, meaning they are a match because the colour and structure characteristics were indistinguishable from the blue fibers on the blanket.
The second piece of taping had approximately 80 fibers, 10 of which were selected at random for analysis. Two of those polyester fibers’ colour and structure characteristics were different from the blanket while the remaining eight were indistinguishable.
“Textiles are mass produced and some argue that the wide distribution results in a lot of sources that could supply the fibers,” explained Pitts. He went on to describe a study of 263 samples that compared them all to each other and found three comparisons that were a random or coincidental match.
“It’s possible two blue polyester fibers taken at random from different sources could be indistinguishable, but that would be very rare,” he said.
During cross examination, Defence Mike Taylor questioned whether wearing a sweater of a similar fabric and the tank top at the same time could transfer fibers.
“Yes,” Pitts said, “it can be true, but there can be a problem with persistence or whether the fibers would stay there.”
Taylor noted that there is nothing that could indicate when the fibers were transferred to the tank top or how long they had been there.
Peter Landers, a radio frequency engineer with Bell Mobility in Halifax, was another Crown witness. He explained how cell phone towers work, noting that a cell phone will search until it finds the best signal in the area which is usually the closest tower. From there, all signals in Nova Scotia are routed to Halifax and equipment there splits the traffic either to Bell or to Telus, depending on the carrier as they share the same cell phone towers.
Falconer’s text message and cell phone records for October 8 to October 15, 2011 had been submitted into evidence and since he was using a Telus phone, Bell can locate which towers Falconer’s phone bounced off when he sent and received text messages or phone calls.
Pictou County towers that Falconer used during that time period include the Pictou tower located near the PEI ferry in Caribou, the Sutherland’s Bog tower which covers New Glasgow from the west side, Fraser’s Mountain tower which covers New Glasgow from the east side, the New Glasgow tower which strictly covers downtown New Glasgow and MacGregor’s Mountain tower near Stellarton.
The Pictou tower covers a large area including the town, toward the Caribou ferry and around that way and out toward Truro as far as Brookland.
“Depending where you are in New Glasgow, you can be using the Fraser’s Mountain tower, the New Glasgow tower or the Sutherland’s Bog tower because the Fraser’s Mountain and Sutherland’s Bog towers have coverage pockets in the New Glasgow area,” explained Landers. The Heathbell area is serviced by the Pictou tower, although a secondary tower in Piedmont has coverage pockets in Heathbell.
During cross examination, Taylor questioned the accuracy of pinpointing where someone is when they send or receive a text message.
“You generally know where a text message was sent from if you are in the New Glasgow are because it is a smaller coverage area, but bigger site areas that are much larger like MacGregor’s Mountain are more difficult to pinpoint the exact location because it services a larger area,” said Landers.
Taylor added, “So plotting the movement of a cell phone is subject to a wide variance.”
Landers agreed and noted there is an overlap between some towers.
The final witness on the stand was Robert Aboumitri, and intelligence analyst with the RCMP in Windsor, Ont.
Aboumitri is a communications data analyst and an expert in the analysis and interpretation of cell phone locations and movement during communications.
In November 2013, Aboumitri became involved in this investigation when one of the investigating officers called his office.
He received the cell phone records of Falconer, cell site information, text message content, who texted who and when, what cell sites were activated and information for the people attached to the cell phones.
In his analysis, Aboumitri uses Google Earth to plot and make a visual animation of a person’s cell phone usage during a certain time period.
“It’s not an accurate movement because I don’t know the roads this person took, but I do know the towers that were used when sending and receiving text messages and phone calls which allow for inferences for the area the cell tower includes,” said Aboumitri.
He analyzes what cell sites or towers were used in chronological order and makes inferences on the movement. He then uses a program which allows him to plot cell sites and input information from the cell phone company to track the movement.
The text messages Aboumitri examined began on October 8, 2011.
October 8, 2011 11:04 p.m. Falconer received a text from Jerricka Ebrahim on the New Glasgow cell site.
October 8, 2011 11:40 p.m. a text was received from the Fraser’s Mountain cell site.
October 8, 2011 11:46 p.m. a text was sent from the MacGregor’s Mountain cell site.
October 8, 2011 a series of text messages from Ebrahim came in to Falconer’s phone from MacGregor’s Mountain cell site into the early morning hours of October 9, 2011.
October 9, 2011 1:46 a.m. Falconer sent a text to Tiffany Robson from the New Glasgow tower.
The next message either sent or received was from the Sutherland’s Bog cell site, the next from the same site and then on October 9, 2011 2:07 a.m. a text was received from the Pictou cell site.
“Even though he chose not to answer these text messages, the texts were still received and that puts him (Falconer) in a certain place at a certain time,” said Aboumitri.
At 2:23 a.m. and 2:50 a.m. on October 9, 2011 two text messages were received from Robson from the Piedmont tower.
“It is impossible to physically make that trip (from Pictou to Piedmont) in 16 minutes, so it’s highly likely the user activated a pocket of coverage from Piedmont.
The next phone usage was at 5:05 a.m. to Ebrahim from the Pictou site.
“This is significant because the Pictou site picked up the cell and the user signifies in a text where he is, so this just verifies that he is at his dad’s house in the Pictou cell area.”
Text messages continued between Falconer and Ebrahim from 5:07 and 5:09 a.m. from the Pictou cell site.
“This signifies that the cell user remained within the Pictou coverage area for the remainder of the evening,” said Aboumitri. “I cannot ascertain with a high level of certainty exactly where the user was, but I can determine the general location.”
On October 9, 2011 the cell phone user (Falconer) was bouncing off of the New Glasgow tower shortly after midnight and his movement to Pictou occurred around 2 a.m. The next text message indicates that Falconer was at his father’s house around 4 a.m. and was back in the Sutherland’s Bog area by 10:30 a.m. on October 9, 2011.
“The inference I can make is that the pocket of coverage picks up the Piedmont site in the Pictou site,” he said. “The site coverage is consistent with the location the body (of Kirwan) was found, the stepsister’s house, the father’s house and where the clothing was found.”
During cross examination, Taylor questioned the accuracy of pinpointing the location of a cell user because of the tower coverage area and how Aboumitri obtained this information.
All of the information on the cell towers Aboumitri had was obtained through the cell phone companies, Bell and Telus.
Taylor also brought up the fact that when Aboumitri said it was impossible to travel from the Pictou area to the Piedmont area in 16 minutes, he was judging that based on the speed limit.
Aboumitri noted that even though he picked up the Piedmont signal, it’s highly unlikely he was there because of that distance and time.
Aboumitri was the last Crown witness to be called. Now it is the defence’s opportunity to call any witnesses, although Taylor has not yet indicated whether that will take place.
Trial proceedings have been cancelled for tomorrow due to the incumbent weather and the Crown anticipates it will be able to close its case by Thursday morning.

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Jury hears Falconer’s voice in taped phone conversations

Christopher Alexander Falconer’s step sister Alice Meier took the stand on day 10 of testimony in the first degree murder trial of Falconer in the death of 19-year-old Amber Kirwan.
Meier resides at 976 Hardwood Hill Road with her two children. Her property, at the time of Kirwan’s disappearance on October 8, 2011, consisted of a mini home and a camper trailer.
Meier noted that the camper trailer is not often used, aside from storage for herself and her mother.
“I sold the camper after the search by (police) officers,” she told the court. “(The camper) was on Heathbell (Road) for awhile, my mother was living in it until my grandmother sold her home so we took it to my place, that was about a year after I moved there.”
Meier has lived at 976 Hardwood Hill Road for approximately five years.
Meier recalled her mother marrying Scott Falconer Jr., Falconer’s father, when she was about two or three years old; Falconer would have been the same age as Meier. They lived in a log house on Healthbell Road, which is next to the house Scott Falconer currently resides in.
Falconer and Meier were 12 or 13 years old when their parents split up and Meier lived with her mother in the log house until she was about 20.
Meier met her ex-husband, Michael Snell, when she was 18 and married at 20. They separated when Meier was 25 and that is when she moved back to Hardwood Hill.
Falconer and Meier remained close after the separation, but they lost touch after a while.
“We renewed contact when he was in a halfway house in Truro,” said Meier. “He would come over and sometimes he stayed at the house.”
There was a time when Meier asked him to stay because she was scared of her ex husband and ex boyfriend.
To her knowledge, Meier does not recall Falconer ever sleeping in the trailer; he slept mostly on the couch, and the camper was never cleaned.
Meier also knows Nathan Goodall, the man who found the clothing belonging to Kirwan.
“My dog always runs over to his house.”
On the weekend of Thanksgiving 2011, Meier was dating her current boyfriend Roger Irving, and they visited Deno Miller and his girlfriend Lori Johnston at Johnston’s cottage in Caribou.
“We went with my two girls and spent the night on Saturday (October 8, 2011).”
Meier drove her car to the cottage and they arrived around supper time on October 8. That evening, they went for a walk on the beach then put the girls to bed and had some drinks until about 1 or 2 a.m. when Meier and Irving went to bed.
On October 9, 2011, Meier said, “We had breakfast and then we went down to the beach and I called or texted Chris (Falconer) to bring some beer down for Deno because he and Lori were staying a few more nights.”
When Falconer arrived, Meier noted that he was with Owen Rafuse, but she couldn’t see what he was driving because they were at the fire pit in the back of the cottage.
“I don’t know what he was driving, but he typically drove the silver Impala,” she said.
She also said that she could not remember what Falconer was wearing that day, but that he usually wore white or black tank tops.
“The window on the silver Impala was off the track so Chris put plastic on the window,” she said. “It was like that for as long as I can remember.”
When Falconer arrived, Meier recalls giving him a hug.
The Crown presented the text messages between Meier and Falconer from that day to the court.
They began at 9:25 a.m. on October 9.
October 9, 2011 9:25 a.m. from Falconer to Meier: Hey girl, I was at your place last night, I got some stuff in the trailer. I’ll be back to get it tonight.
October 9, 2011 10:06 a.m. from Meier to Falconer: K, you can leave them, whatever it is, there if you don’t have a place for them.
October 9, 2011 10:07 a.m. from Falconer to Meier: Just my pipe, laptop and things in the trailer, not the mini home.
October 9, 2011 10:09 a.m. from Meier to Falconer: When I go home do you want me to take it in and put it somewhere safe?
October 9, 2011 10:10 a.m. from Falconer to Meier: No, I gotta go to dad’s at 4 (p.m.), thank you though, just letting you know is all.
Meier noted that she did not know Falconer would be at her house that night when she was not home, but that it happened sometimes.
Meier was introduced to Falconer’s friend Rosalee Dean who lives in New Glasgow on Vale Road. She said that she and Dean often texted.
The Crown showed Meier text messages between Falconer and Dean from October 9, 2011.
October 9, 2011 9:27 a.m. from Dean to Falconer: Hey doll, sorry I fell asleep. Good morning, how was your night doll?
October 9, 2011 9:28 a.m. from Falconer to Dean: About to try to get some sleep, how was your night?
October 9, 2011 9L30 a.m. from Falconer to Dean: Took Jerricka and her friends around 12, waited for Jaz to call at 11, she didn’t… so I drove around, stayed the night at Alice’s.
October 9, 2011 9:32 a.m. from Dean to Falconer: Cool, is that where you are now?
October 9, 2011 9:33 a.m. from Falconer to Dean: Yeah cool eh? Lol, ttyl.
October 9, 2011 10:55 a.m. from Falconer to Dean: Remember the smoke I said I had for us a couple weeks ago? I lost it in the car? I found it at Dad’s at 4 (a.m.) last night, came in handy after my adventure…
During cross examination, Meier noted that it wasn’t often that Falconer went into the camper, but she wouldn’t be surprised if he did and he knew he didn’t need her permission to stay at her mini home.
Mike Taylor, defence, noted that the camper isn’t locked and anyone could conceivably go up and walk in; there was a two by four against the door to hold it closed.
“Chris wouldn’t have known I was away that weekend,” she said.
Next on the stand was Vince MacNamara, captain, security intelligence officer at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Burnside.
MacNamara noted that Falconer was admitted to the institution on November 10, 2011. A risk assessment was conducted and some phone conversations were intercepted.
“The request was admitted on November 15 and the deputy signed off on it the same day,” explained MacNamara regarding the monitoring of Falconer’s calls.
The first call Falconer made was shortly after 9 a.m. on November 16, 2011 to Sue Kelly and Scott Falconer.
During the conversation, Falconer informed Kelly that he was being transferred to the ‘pen’ and that he needed her to send his belongings.
“No more than five or six boxes and no more than 50 pounds per box,” he said.
He then asked Kelly, “How did you break the news to Dad?”
Kelly told him that he should tell his father he is being transferred and his reply was, “It’s gonna be pretty hurtful.”
Kelly asked, “Are they charging you with this?,” referring to the murder of Kirwan. She then told Falconer that he could tell her anything.
Falconer said, “I know I can talk to you, but I don’t know about the phone… No word from Tiff (Tiffany Robson)?”
Kelly replied, “No, not a thing.”
Falconer said, “Yeah I probably figure she was done… I don’t know what it is, every time I was with her…”
Kelly noted that Falconer’s friend Fred (Rosalee Dean) wouldn’t let him down.
Then Chris Falconer and Scott Falconer discussed the motor in a car and a television.
“That was always meant for you and Sue,” said Falconer discussing the TV. “That was always meant to be a gift for you and Sue… I’d love for you to come see me… even if it’s just you and Fred.”
The Falconer said, “This Amber one, her step sister or something… they’re quite upset.”
Then he began talking about the Marriott’s, an alleged crime family in the Halifax area.
Kelly asked Falconer if they were charging him again with the murder and he said, “No, but they’re trying… From what they’re saying, this whole thing doesn’t look very good. It’ll probably take me 10 years to get back where I was…”
The Falconer told Kelly, “I was thinking I’m just gonna plead guilty to everything.”
Kelly said, “Don’t plead guilty, it don’t matter if it’s fast, don’t plead guilty, it never goes away… you can handle the stress, don’t worry about that.”
Then Falconer said, “This feels like home to me,” referring to jail.
His father asked how he would plead to the parole violations and he said that he had no choice but to plead guilty to those.
“Don’t plead guilty to murder,” said Scott Falconer. “You didn’t do it, we believe you didn’t do it… You must have been with someone that night?”
“No, nobody,” said Falconer. “When you go see Fred tell her I miss her and I’m sorry for hurting her.”
The second phone call to Kelly and Scott Falconer from Falconer was made the next day, November 17.
Falconer asked about his grandparents and then his father asked him how he heard about something.
Falconer said, “In here… there are a lot of rumours going around… they don’t like what happened before with me and my co-accused… Fraser… I haven’t been told nothing by anyone…”
Falconer’s father asked him how he was getting along in Burnside.
Falconer said, “The first day they arrested me, that night was okay, but since I woke up the next day… it’s poor nutrition, not big portions… my back is really sore.”
Scott Falconer pleaded with Falconer yet again not to plead guilty.
“Some people figured I did it,” said Falconer.
Scott Falconer replied, “Yeah, but some people think it wasn’t you… I figure… they couldn’t find anything in the car otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten it back.”
Then they discussed the police searching around Meier’s house and how she was put out for two weeks while they searched.
Falconer asked his father to call Dorchester Penitentiary to see if they could come visit that weekend as he was to be transferred the next day.
Talking about Robson to Scott Falconer, Falconer said, “(She would) say I don’t want to lose you, then again she never stopped talking to her ex boyfriend…”
Before ending the call, Falconer said to Kelly, “They must have everyone bugged. Remember when I went to your place to get some tools then they asked you what kind of tools?”
There was no cross examination, although Justice Nick Scaravelli cautioned the jury to use only the evidence presented in this case to determine if the accused is guilty, not to worry about the words co-accused and parole that came up.
The last witness on the stand was Const. Ryan Leil with New Glasgow Regional Police Service.
He became involved in the missing persons case of Amber Kirwan on October 26, 2011 when he was asked to do an audio interview with Falconer.
Leil spoke to Falconer’s father to find out where he was and tracked him down in New Glasgow.
“I told him he was not under arrest and that we just wanted him to come and answer some questions,” said Leil.
The interview began at 11:14 a.m., Falconer told Leil he was living out of his father’s house on Heathbell Road.
Falconer said he did not become aware of the missing Amber Kirwan until his girlfriend told him about it.
“My girlfriend told me there was a missing girl case and the police were there looking for me, that they wanted to talk to me,” he said.
Falconer noted that he and Robson were trying to build a relationship, but that he wasn’t sure if she was done with her old boyfriend.
When asked if he knew why he was there for questioning, Falconer said, “I figured as much, with my history… I know it’s just 12 years ago… I’m always suspected by association.”
When he was asked if he had anything to do with the disappearance of Kirwan, Falconer replied, “No I did not.”
When asked why they should be believe him Falconer said, “I didn’t do it… it’s not my thing… kidnapping’s not my thing, I’m trying to stay away from the past… I’m trying to straighten up… I just like sitting home and having a beer.”
Leil said, “What’s not your thing, going to the bar is not your thing? You mentioned kidnapping.”
“Going to the bars and taking girls home. I’ve never had a one night stand, it’s not my thing. Tiff (Robson) is the first girl I slept with…”
Falconer said that he never met Kirwan and that there would be no reason to find his DNA on anything pertaining to the case.
When questioned again how he first heard about the case, Falconer said, “I can’t remember… I hang around with Fred, Tiffany and Jasmine (Lawrence)… I heard it from one of them.”
As for his whereabouts on Thanksgiving weekend, Falconer was quite fuzzy on the details.
“I went to Dad’s place on Sunday or Monday. I had a few beers with a couple friends,” said Falconer. “That night (Sunday) I was with Tiff, went to my sister’s place, she wasn’t home, so I slept a bit and went to Dad’s.”
Monday morning he figured he went to Fred’s (Rosalee Dean) because he did that every Monday to take her to the bank to cash a cheque.
He said sometimes he stays at his father’s and sometimes at Dean’s house, but he couldn’t remember which that weekend.
“That was three weeks ago, the last two weeks I’ve been staying at Jasmine’s.”
He tried to call his father to confirm the night he stayed there but there was no answer. He then agreed to a polygraph if need be.
On May 16, 2012, Leil picked up Jerricka Ebrahim, one of Falconer’s lovers, from the adult high school for another statement.
“We advised her that Falconer was arrested that day for the murder of Amber Kirwan and she stated crying and holding her face, shaking. She was visibly upset,” said Leil. “To my knowledge, she didn’t call police to give that statement.
During cross examination, Taylor pointed out that Falconer was not under arrest during the interview and he could have left at any time or refused to take part in the interview.
There are three more Crown witnesses anticipated for the trial, not including any possible witnesses that Taylor may call.
Taylor notes that the phone records are difficult because they create “certain problem given the content… it certainly didn’t help the defence.”
Taylor noted that Falconer had a great deal of concern for his parents during the investigation.
He also agreed that there were text messages to the effect that Falconer was at the trailer that night.
“There are several ways to look at that,” said Taylor. “The jury needs to decide the significance.”
He also noted that if the camper is unlocked, that means that conceivably, it can be accessed by anyone in the area.
As for the evidence presented today, Taylor said it was more problematic than helpful as it stands right now.
Bill Gorman, Crown, noted that for witnesses remaining, Dean is not one of them.
“We are not going to be calling Rosalee Dean as a witness. Ultimately, we have to determine how best to present the case in a powerful, comprehensive and meaningful way and we made those evaluations and decisions.”
Gorman also says the text messages speak for themselves.
Next on the agenda for the Crown is Dr. Stephen Pitts, textile and fiber expert as well as an expert on cell phone evidence such as data and towers and the technology plotting the movement of cell phone usage and transmissions.

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Falconer’s girlfriends give intimate testimony

The testimony during the ninth day of the Christopher Alexander Falconer first degree murder trial detailed Falconer’s illicit relationships with a number of women.
Falconer is accused of killing Amber Kirwan in the fall of 2011.
First on the stand this morning was Candace Jordan, a friend of Tiffany Robson who was one of Falconer’s girlfriends.
Jordan testified to the whereabouts of Robson on October 8, 2011.
“We were at Gail Langille’s, my best friend, having drinks with Tiffany and a couple of other friends around 7 or 8 p.m.,” she said.
Robson didn’t arrive until close to 9 p.m. and was dropped off at the party.
“We were all going to Dooly’s in New Glasgow,” she said noting they took a cab around 11 p.m. or 12 a.m.
“There was a huge line up, we waited almost 30 minutes to get in,” with herself, Langille and Robson.
They left Dooly’s around 1 or 2 a.m. for Acropole where they waited for a cab to take them home.
“It was really hard to get a cab that night and Tiffany came with me to my house.”
In the morning when Jordan woke up, Robson was on the computer, on Facebook trying to get a hold of Falconer for a drive home. She ended up taking a taxi.
“When he (Falconer) dropped her off, he was driving the Chev Impala,” said Jordan. “I haven’t seen him drive anything but that car.”
During cross examination, Jordan noted that she had seen some plastic over the driver’s side window in a photo of the vehicle, but that she had never noticed it before.
“I remember seeing something wrong with the window when it was parked in Rosalee Dean’s driveway on Vale Road, but I couldn’t say what window,” she said.
Tiffany Robson was next on the stand.
Robson, 21, met Falconer in 2010 at a party at her house.
“We texted a lot, we were basically just friends,” she told the court.
Robson recalled texting back and forth with Falconer for a bit and then not talking after she got pregnant, with someone else’s child. After the child was born, they began talking again.
“We were friends until October 18, 2011 when we became boyfriend and girlfriend,” she said. “We hung out almost every day.”
Prior to October 18, the relationship was very little about sex according to Robson, although she admits it did happen a few times. “We would watch a movie in his car sometimes and drive to the beach or drink a little,” she recalled.
Robson was also introduced to Falconer’s family: his father Scott Falconer, step mother Sue Kelly and step sister Alice Meier. She noted that Meier lived close to Falconer and that she had been to both their residences before October 18, 2011.
She knew of Rosalee Dean, Jerricka Ebrahim, Jasmine Lawrence and Owen Rafuse through Falconer, but admits she did not know that he was having sexual relations with the other girls.
“He admitted that in a letter when he was arrested on his parole violation and Jerricka told me,” she said. “It didn’t really bother me.”
Robson said that her sister did not want Falconer at her house, which is why they would watch movies on his lap top in his vehicle.
“To my knowledge he basically lived in his car and was couch surfing, staying from place to place,” she said. “He kept his stuff in his car and in his father’s garage; he had boxes in his trunk.”
Robson detailed the plastic and duct tape that covered the Impala’s driver’ side window because it was broken and wouldn’t go up.
She also noted what Falconer was often seen wearing: “Tank tops, or beaters, sweaters and jeans. The tank tops were green, black and white.”
After being shown a photo of a black tank top found in Falconer’s Chev Impala, she noted that it was the same size and looked like the ones he wore.
Although Falconer drove the Impala often, Robson said he also had access to a blue car that belonged to his grandfather.
On October 8, 2011 Robson was preparing for a party at Langille’s house on Trenton Road.
“I arrived around 8:30 (p.m.).”
Falconer drover Robson to the party form her Beech Street, Trenton residence.
“He was coming to see me and I told him he had to drive me to Gail’s,” she recalled.
There was a long line up to get into Dooly’s and she remembers not staying long.
“We walked in and there were too many people to move, I didn’t stay long,” she said.
Then Robson and her friends Jordan and Langille went to Acropole to catch a taxi.
“We (Jordan and Robson) took a taxi to Candace’s house.”
Robson did not see Falconer again that night, although she attempted to contact him through text messages.
At 12:08 a.m. she sent him a text stating, ‘I’m drunk, love you sexy.’
She received a reply at 1:46 a.m. that said ‘Hey’.
At 1:55 a.m. she texted him asking then tried to get a response for an hour.
He finally responded to her text at 9:23 a.m. on October 9, 2011 saying, “Hay Babe” and going on about finding a toy to play with and how she must have been bored.
At 11:32 a.m. he texted Robson again asking if she was awake yet, when she responded at 12:12 p.m. with ‘just got up now, I don’t go out to find a play friend, I just want you and no one else’ she did not get a reply.
That evening she looked at an apartment on Ross Street in New Glasgow, which she then moved into on October 15, 2011.
On October 15, 2011, Falconer asked her to take a drive with him to his father’s house and help him clean out his car around lunch.
“There was a bunch of junk in the back seat of the car, garbage and he was organizing the trunk.”
Robson noted cleaning up a lot of raw spaghetti that had fallen out on the floor and other garbage.
“There was clothing in the car, in the trunk and towels. He moved his clothing from the trunk to the garage.”
Robson put the items in a Sobeys bag and left it on the back seat of the car.
While cleaning the vehicle, two police officers showed up at Falconer’s father’s house in a big black truck, asking if there had been any suspicious vehicles.
“He directed them to his parents and we continued cleaning the car.”
Shortly thereafter, the officers left and Falconer and Robson left, on their way to Owen Rafuse’s house.
“He stopped the car and went back to his parents’ house and got something from the garage; it looked like white plastic and (he) put it in the trunk,” she said. “I thought it was unusual.”
Then they took off in the opposite direction of the number of police cars on Heathbell Road.
“I figured they were searching for Amber,” said Robson.
Neither of them talked about the police presence on Heathbell Road and Robson said Falconer seemed normal.
That evening, Falconer was supposed to help Robson move to her new apartment, but he dropped her off early and said he would come back.
“He didn’t; I was mad.”
At 7:47 p.m. that day she received a text message from Falconer saying “Hay Tiff, I know it’s been rough with us… but I’m leaving town and I don’t know if I’ll be back… I love you, bye,” and he asked her not to respond. The text was sent from Jasmine Lawrence’s phone.
Robson responded a number of times begging him not to go and telling him that if he loved her he wouldn’t leave and wanting to see him now.
“I figured he didn’t want to see me again,” she said.
This was the first time that he had ever mentioned leaving town.
Three days later, Robson received a phone message from him, but since she caouldn’t call out, she went to Big Al’s to check her message and Falconer was waiting for her there.
“We got in his car and went back to my apartment,” she said and they made up.
From then on she saw him pretty much every day.
Toward the end of October, she noted his heart was racing one night while he was lying in bed and he told her he was sick.
When they were at the New Glasgow Library using the computers, she walked over to see what Falconer was doing on Facebook and he immediately closed his window.
“He wouldn’t let me see what he was doing on Facebook so I got pissed off and left,” she recalled. “I went out and sat in the car (Impala). I wouldn’t talk to him. He got in the car and he said that he didn’t want me to know that he tried to commit suicide with Tylenol 3, I figured it was when his heart was racing.”
She noted that Falconer often had a supply of Tylenol 3 and about three weeks ago she relayed this information to police, because she read in the news that codeine was found in Kirwan’s body.
“It set something off in my head. Before I read it in the paper, I didn’t think it was important.”
During cross examination, Mike Taylor questioned whether Robson was really okay with Falconer seeing other women.
“I didn’t like it,” she said, noting they would often fight about that.
Then she said that Falconer drove her to her party on October 8, 2011 in a blue car.
“You were texting some of your other friends saying some disparaging things about Chris not showing up,” said Taylor.
While waiting for Falconer to drive her to her party, she texted Jordan saying she was going to f***ing kill him because she was not going to make it before 9 p.m.
He also brought up the bag of garbage and how it wasn’t unusual to throw it out somewhere in a ditch.
She was also questioned about the incident at the library.
“We were both on Facebook at the library two or three different times and he would always close out his Facebook when I would go over; the last time I walked out, the other two times I went back to my computer. I assumed he was talking to someone else on Facebook.”
Taylor responded regarding the suicide attempt, “So you stopped being mad at him and instead felt sorry for him.”
She agreed and said she didn’t know when this was to have taken place because Falconer did not give her any details.
“I assumed it was the night his heart was racing and he was throwing up.”
The next person on the stand was Virginia Clark-Druhan, a parole officer supervisor with Corrections Canada at the Dartmouth parole office.
Clark-Druhan noted the first time she met Falconer would have been June, 2010 and she met with him a couple of times after that, filling in for his regular parole officer. July 2011 would have been the last time she had contact with him directly because his supervision was transferred to Truro in August 2011.
A post-it with Clark-Druhan’s name and office number were found in Falconer’s vehicle.
The last woman to take the stand was Falconer’s friend and former lover, Jasmine Lawrence.
She met Falconer through a family friend, Owen Rafuse, shortly after he received weekend visits on parole.
“I knew him for more than a year (by October 2011),” said Lawrence. “He was my best friend… He did just about everything for me, from grocery shopping to taking my daughter for visits.”
Lawrence recalled the first night she met Falconer was at a bar and she told him she was taking him home that night.
“He offered to buy me a drink and said I was the first girl he ever bought a drink for,” she said. After the bar they went back to Rafuse’s house and had sex. They would see each other every day or every other day and would always have sex for seven to nine months.
“We had a little break because I had gotten pregnant and there was some disagreement between Chris and me,” she said. “At the time I didn’t hear from him, then I tracked him down on Facebook and now we are just friends.”
Lawrence was emotional when she told the court that the baby she was carrying was Falconer’s, and that she had lost the baby.
On October 8, 2011 it was nearing Lawrence’s birthday and she was excited that she could party the weekend before and after because her child was with her grandmother one weekend and its father the following.
She left her grandmother’s house and went to the Co-Op Gas Bar to wait for a taxi to go to her friend Nicole MacDonald’s house.
“I went to Tommy and Becky MacDonald’s house because I didn’t have Nicole’s address so I used their phone.”
She arrived at Nicole MacDonald’s house around 10 or 11 p.m. and they went to Dooly’s arriving around 11:30 p.m.
“I remember not wanting to be there because there were too many people there that I didn’t know.”
Then Lawrence and her friends went to Wrangler’s and then on to Glasgow Pub or as she referred to it, ‘Pick a Pig’.
While she was heading to the Co-Op Gas Bar for her taxi, Falconer pulled up behind her remarking, “I recognize your blonde hair and fat ass anywhere.”
She said, “He asked if I needed a drive… We parked over at the stadium (John Brother MacDonald) to smoke a joint in his car,” she said. “It was my marijuana.”
That was in the grey Chev Impala.
On October 9, 2011, Lawrence tried to phone Falconer but he did not answer, although she received a call back. “He showed up a little bit later.”
He then drove her to Rosalee Dean’s house for some cleaning supplies and to Stellarton before dropping her off at her new apartment so she could clean before moving in.
“Chris asked me to go to Thanksgiving (dinner) with him but for some reason I didn’t go.”
Then on October 15, 2011 from Lawrence’s phone, Falconer texted Robson telling her that he was leaving town and that he probably would not be returning.
Taylor had no cross examination for Lawrence.
“The day went as expected,” he said. “I had a good idea of what the witnesses were going to testify. I had a few issues I wanted to get at, specifics about contact some of these witnesses had with Christopher Falconer and what he was doing at certain times.”
Taylor noted that having someone’s personal life drawn out like that is often a concern, but that he didn’t feel it would play into the decision of the jury.
“It’s certainly uncomfortable for some witnesses. When you question the relationship among three, four, five people, you may wonder if animosity has crept in.”
Taylor confirmed the mention of the blue car in today’s proceedings but he is not sure if it will come up again. As for the bag Robson filled with garbage in the vehicle Taylor said, “I think clearly, that is not the bag with the tank top in it; there were two bags and they were described completely differently.”
Crown Bill Gorman also felt the day went well.
“Today went according to plan, the evidence generated by the witnesses was as expected.”
Gorman said that ultimately he cannot say how the witnesses are feeling, but he imagines the testimony was uncomfortable for some, having to share intimate details with a room full of people.
Gorman also noted that Robson contacted his office after reading about the opening statements made in the trial regarding the codeine in Kirwan’s system.
“We had a follow-up interview done with police immediately upon receiving that information from Miss Robson and they took an audio/video statement, and as soon as we had our hands on that he put it in the defence’s hands.”
Gorman noted this is typical of witnesses to remember something and understand how it might impact an investigation or prosecution.
“You have heard us talk every day about links in the chain of evidence and it’s fair to say there were a couple more links in the chain today and the chain is getting longer,” said Crown Patrick Young. “It is significant that (Falconer) had access to Tylenol 3 with codeine.
As for the phone records, Gorman notes there was a period when many people were trying to make contact with Falconer and were not able to reach him in the early morning hours of October 9, 2011.
“The day they were out by his (Falconer’s) parent’s place after the police had been notified of clothing in the area, to have the accused send a text message that he is leaving town a couple hours after spending time with Tiffany Robson with plans to see her again that evening is significant,” said Young.

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Scotsburn Dairy divesting its fluid milk activities to focus on expanding ice cream business

SCOTSBURN – Scotsburn Co-operative Services Limited today announced it has an agreement with Saputo Inc. that will see the largest dairy processor in Canada acquire Scotsburn’s fluid milk activities, including the facilities in Sydney, Nova Scotia, and Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the fluid milk distribution network in Atlantic Canada.
“This wasn’t an easy decision to make, as fluid milk has been a core part of Scotsburn’s business since the mid 1960s,” added Ettinger.
“Where it has become more difficult for regional players to remain competitive in Atlantic Canada, this transaction will accelerate Scotsburn’s growth strategy on ice cream. Our milk business will realize its full potential and be positioned for success as part of Saputo – a company with an efficient processing and distribution network for fluid milk across Canada.”
The purchase price of the Saputo transaction is $61 million in cash, which excludes about $8 million of working capital items. Specific details will be communicated to Scotsburn Co-operative members directly in advance of a vote on the agreement, which is expected later this month. Closing of the transaction is subject to satisfaction of relevant regulatory approvals, which includes approval from the Competition Bureau of Canada.
Scotsburn and Saputo will be working closely with the employees of the fluid milk business to ensure a smooth transition. Final closing of the transaction is expected to occur around March 2014.
“By changing our business model, Scotsburn is acting on a tremendous opportunity to build on our growth as a leading ice cream producer and supplier across Canada,” said Doug Ettinger, president and Chief Executive Officer of Scotsburn.
“Increasing Scotsburn’s focus on ice cream also opens the door to growth throughout North America. This is good news for Scotsburn shareholders as this direction will result in strong returns for our co-operative members here in Atlantic Canada.”

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DNA evidence links Falconer, Kirwan

DNA evidence has now created a link between Amber Kirwan and Christopher Alexander Falconer, the accused in the murder of Kirwan between October 8, 2011 and November 5, 2011.
One piece of evidence, a black tank top found in Falconer’s vehicle contains DNA of both Kirwan and Falconer.
Thomas Suzanski, DNA expert in Halifax, discussed DNA as the genetic material in a double strand – half from the mother and half from the father – during Falconer’s Supreme Court trial Thursday in Pictou.
DNA, identical in every cell throughout the body from blood, semen, saliva, urine, hair, teeth and bone to tissue and epithelial cells, differs from person to person, he said.
During analysis of exhibits containing DNA, Suzanski identifies biological material and prepares it for DNA testing, developing a profile of known and unknown samples and comparing the known with the unknown. Through comparison, Suzanski determines how common a DNA profile is in a population using one of four key databases.
“I would never say exactly that an individual is a match, but I would provide the frequency of which that DNA typing profile appears in a population.”
Over the course of the investigation, Suzanski examined 253 items for testing, generating a number of reports.
The first on November 14, 2011 examined the sweater found at the outdoor scene (the sweater believed to belong to Kirwan, found with her body), leggings found at the outdoor scene, a tooth brush belonging to Kirwan as the known sample, a baseball cap found from an outdoor scene and earrings found with the leggings.
Hair found on the leggings could not be analyzed as there was no root or epithelial sheath. There was also a mix of DNA on the leggings which could not be interpreted because there was either not enough DNA or the two DNAs were competing.
The baseball cap, from which hair and blood were found, was worn by a male, but no DNA was extracted and there was no DNA found on the toothbrush belonging to Kirwan.
In the second report dated February 21, 2012, they examined evidence included a piece of black cloth from the camper trailer at 976 Hardwood Hill Road, fingernails from Kirwan’s body taken during autopsy, fingernail debris from Kirwan, as well as vaginal, anal, rectal, mouth and vulva swabs, duct tape from the sweater found on Kirwan’s body, a towel found on Kirwan, a knife belonging to Falconer, a swab of the living room wall, floor, kitchen chair, duct tape from the floor and duct tape from the counter of the camper trailer as well as a known sample of Kirwan’s DNA for comparison.
“Some hairs found on the black cloth were deemed unsuitable for testing,” noted Suzanski. Although he noted that a number of cuttings were taken from the cloth for DNA testing.
The fingernail clippings showed a presumptive positive for blood using a Hemastix test, however, a more direct test did not generate a finding of blood.
“The vaginal swab was a positive presumptive test for semen, but no DNA was extracted,” he said. This was the same for all three vaginal swabs as well as the rectal, vulva and anal swabs.
“We couldn’t get a male DNA typing profile.”
DNA found on the piece of black cloth came back of mixed origin, meaning there was both male and female DNA on it. The female DNA matched that of Amber Kirwan with a 1 in 1.4 trillion chance that it could be someone else’s DNA.
“That is very strong evidence that there is an association. That means it is not very common in the population, hardly anybody has that (DNA) profile,” said Suzanski, noting there are 35 million people in Canada and seven billion worldwide.
On the towel tested, DNA came from at least two individuals with at least one being a male. There was no DNA match for the male, noted as Male 1, but Kirwan’s DNA was not found on that particular spot on the towel.
On another spot on the towel, DNA came back of mixed origin, meaning there were at least two types of it on the towel with at least one belonging to a male, that DNA was described as Male 2, as it did not match the previous male DNA sample. The remainder of the DNA on that part of the towel was uninterpretable.
The knife was also tested for DNA, both the blade and the handle, and neither met the minimum requirements for DNA testing.
DNA found in hair on a piece of duct tape found on the camper floor was a match to Kirwan, with a 1 in 1.4 trillion chance it was someone else’s. There was also a trace component of DNA on the duct tape that could not be determined.
The duct tape found on the camper counter was also found to be a match to Kirwan with the same ratio as above.
In the third report from Suzanski, the knife blade belonging to Falconer, the swab from the living room wall, the two swabs from the transition strip in the camper, the floor swab and the kitchen chair swab were examined.
On re-examination of the knife blade, there was DNA belonging to at least three individuals, with at least one of them being a male.
The remaining swabs were inconclusive for DNA, or not meaningful as in there was no DNA found.
The fourth report analyzed a syringe found in the ditch near the grave site. A number of areas on the syringe were tested and a positive presumptive blood test came back for the inside of the syringe near the head. This DNA belonged to a Male 3, meaning there was no match to the DNA of Kirwan, Male 1 or Male 2.
On April 24, 2012, the black cloth from the camper was examined again as well as a piece of duct tape found on the sweater that was buried with Kirwan, a towel found on Kirwan’s body, the duct tape from the camper floor and from the camper counter, the syringe as well as the black tank top found in Falconer’s Chev Impala, a bandana from the Impala, a bottle from the vehicle, Falconer’s boots and two bottles from the residence as well as a cigarette butt from Mason Campbell.
The towel contained Kirwan’s DNA as well as DNA belonging to Male 2.
The duct tape also contained Kirwan’s DNA.
On the bottle from the residence, there were three possible contributors of DNA, none of which could be determined and there was not enough DNA evidence on the outside of the bottle for testing. The same goes for the mouth piece of the bottle and the inside of the bottle cap.
Campbell’s DNA was not a match to any of the items examined.
Suzanski filed another report from June 4, 2012 where he examined the black tank top from the Impala again.
A number of areas were cut out for testing and all came back with a positive presumptive screening for blood.
The tank top had DNA of mixed origin, at least two individuals with one male and one female. The female DNA matched that of Kirwan.
Two other spots tested on the tank top came back with the same results, although the male DNA could not be determined. One section came back with insufficient DNA.
One spot indicated there was mixed origin of at least three individuals with at least one male.
On August 1, 2012, Suzanski examined the black cloth from the camper as well as the towel found on Kirwan’s body, the sweater found on her body, the duct tape from the camper floor and counter as well as a known sample from Falconer for comparison.
DNA from the towel indicated Male 1 and Male 3 were not donors.
The bandana found in Falconer’s Impala was examined and came back with DNA from two individuals, male and female, with a 1 in 50,000 chance it was someone other than Falconer’s DNA.
He also examined the duct tape from the sweater again, the tank top from the Impala, the towel form the camper, hair from the headboard in the camper bedroom and the bed frame, a shirt from Kirwan, clumps of Kleenex found in the Impala and hair from the outside passenger window of the Impala.
The Kleenex came back with a positive presumptive test for semen although no DNA could be extracted and partial DNA was found on the towel from the camper, one of which matches Kirwan. Three hairs from the headboard of the camper were also a match to Kirwan.
The next report was the analysis of a shoe found on Ross Street in New Glasgow and the black tank top from the Impala.
Inside the sole of the top layer of the shoe was DNA from three individuals, at least one of them being male. There was a 1 in 1.4 trillion chance the female donor was someone other than Kirwan, meaning it was a significant match.
DNA on the black tank top on the inside back collar was matched to Falconer with a 1 in 1.1 trillion chance it was someone else’s DNA. That is the first piece of DNA evidence linking Falconer to Kirwan.
On October 21, 2013 a blanket from the Impala, hair from tape in the Impala, hair from plastic on the Impala window, a swab of Kirwan’s wrists and neck and hair found on the floor mat in the impala, the trunk, passenger door interior, driver’s side and plastic bag in the vehicle were examined.
“The hairs for the most part were not suitable for testing,” said Suzanski.
During cross examination, Defence Mike Taylor discussed how DNA is transferred asking, if by simply touching something, can DNA be transferred?
“I can’t remember getting a profile from a brief touching. I’m not going to say it hasn’t happened,” said Suzanski.
Taylor questioned who decides what exhibits are analyzed.
“There’s a lot of debate over which exhibits should go in and some people don’t always agree,” said Suzanski. “It’s not a one-time thing; analyzing exhibits is an ongoing process. In this case, there was a lot of re-examination. I encourage the police to talk directly to the evidence recovery unit so they understand exactly what they are looking for.”
The black tank top from the Impala had been examined on four different occasions.
“The first examination there were no useful profiles,” said Suzanski. “I myself indicated I wanted this exhibit to be re-examined the second time because it seemed to be there was a chance we might be able to pick up a profile. In one area I saw some peaks (DNA) that I could compare to the known sample of Kirwan.”
The third time there was insufficient DNA and the fourth time Falconer’s DNA was discovered.
“There were at least three individuals’ DNA on the tank top,” he said. “All I can say is there was no meaningful comparison that I can form (pertaining to the third DNA sample).”
The more individuals that contribute DNA to an exhibit, the more difficult it is to interpret the DNA, according to Suzanski.
Taylor made it quite clear that the third individual’s DNA could not have come from Falconer or Kirwan, meaning there was a third person that left DNA on the tank top.
“The fact is, the DNA from another person could mean a third or fourth person out there that should be looked at,” said Taylor.
Suzanski noted it is impossible to determine how or when DNA was transferred to an exhibit.
“There was no DNA evidence of Christopher Falconer found near the body, at the Hardwood Hill camper or during the autopsy. The only exhibit we are aware of DNA matching Amber Kirwan is on the tank top found in the Chev Impala,” said Taylor.
Males 1, 2 and 3 were excluded from being Falconer or Campbell.
Taylor noted that the DNA evidence found on the tank top is up to the jury to decide its importance.
“I pointed out the DNA was there from at least three people and we heard from an expert that there could have been more than that… the real question is where did the DNA come from and who placed it there? It could lead to the conclusion that someone else was involved. It is significant that there was no DNA of Christopher Falconer’s in the Hardwood Hill camper or at the grave site. There has been a lot of significant issues in terms of the evidence so far, the DNA that was found, whose was it, and whose wasn’t it? Mr. Falconer’s DNA was not found at several locations from where evidence was acquired and Miss Kirwan’s NA was not found where it would be expected to be found. (The DNA in the Impala) was found in a bag, wrapped up nice in the back seat of the car.”
Crown Bill Gorman noted that yet again, this is another link in the chain of evidence.
“There are a number of significant links in the chain and they can’t be looked at in isolation… Amber Kirwan’s DNA was all over the camper based upon test results we received from Thomas Suzanski; there doesn’t seem to be any of Christopher Falconer’s DNA there.”
He said evidence established the presence of Kirwan’s DNA and Falconer’s DNA on an item found in a car known to be driven by Falconer.
“Ultimately, the evidence you hear is circumstantial, but there is also real evidence being given throughout the trial. We believe we have prosecuted the case against the accused, Christopher Falconer, and will proceed with that prosecution.”
Earlier in the morning, Deno Miller took the stand attesting to some of Falconer’s whereabouts on Sunday, October 9, 2011.
Miller was spending the weekend at his former girlfriend Lori Johnston’s cottage in Caribou Island.
Falconer’s step-sister Alice Meier and her boyfriend Roger Irving attended the cottage with Meier’s two daughters on the afternoon of October 8.
They had all spent the night at the cottage and on Sunday, Miller and Johnston decided they wanted more beer so, according to Miller, Meier called Falconer to bring it to them.
“Alice and Roger were going home that afternoon, but we were going to spend another night so we wanted more beer,” he said.
Around 1 p.m., Miller says Falconer arrived with a 24 case of beer.
“That was the first time I ever met him,” said Miller. “There was another guy with him.”
Miller never saw the vehicle Falconer was driving because they were in the back of the cottage at the fire pit.
The trial will resume tomorrow with Falconer’s former lovers taking the stand.

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One of Falconer’s girlfriends testifies he asked her to lie to police

Lori Campbell, toxicologist, returned to the stand this morning in the first degree murder trial of Christopher Falconer.
He is charged with the first degree murder of Amber Kirwan in 2011.
Campbell testified that she assessed the blood and urine from Amber Kirwan’s body, taken during autopsy.
She noted that the total opioids in her system could not be determined due to a lack of femoral blood from the leg. Campbell said she was not able to break up the conjugated drugs in the system, the ones that bound together before excretion from the body, because the blood sample was not large enough.
Ethyl alcohol naturally occurs in the body as decomposition takes place, making it equally as difficult to determine the amount of alcohol in the system at the time of death.
Campbell was also responsible for examining Kirwan’s gastric contents, or stomach contents.
Codeine and acetaminophen were found in the gastric contents, 40 micro grams of codeine per ml and 313 micro grams of acetaminophen. This combination can be found in Tylenol 1, 2, 3 and 4 with codeine -all but Tylenol 1 requiring a prescription.
Morphine was the only drug found in the blood and urine but not in the stomach which, she said, is to be expected as morphine is created through the liver breaking down the codeine and acetaminophen.
“The route administered could have been oral in this case,” noted Campbell.
There were no pill bits found in the stomach contents which means it could have broken down before death.
Campbell also examined the Dasani water bottle with a clear odourless substance and the Fanta bottle, both taken from the camper trailer at 976 Hardwood Hill Road.
The Dasani water bottle came back positive for trace amounts of codeine and acetaminophen.
“There was no indication of a tablet having dissolved in the water bottle and there were only trace amounts found, which indicate the water was used to wash down the pills,” explained Campbell; this may have been the result of backwash.
The Fanta bottle was clear of any drugs.
Two syringes were also taken from the scene at Hardwood Hill, one having shown positive for having contained the drug Benzocaine, found in Anbesol or used to cut cocaine, and the other for hydromorphone, also known as dilaudid. Neither of those substances were detected in Kirwan’s body.
Finally, Campbell examined the pill bottle seized from Christopher Falconer’s vehicle. It contained a layer of white powder which was analyzed as codeine, acetaminophen and caffeine. This combination can be found in a number of prescription medications including Tylenol 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Caffeine was also found in Kirwan’s blood and urine.
During cross examination, defence lawyer Mike Taylor noted that the numbers are extremely unreliable regarding the amount of codeine in Kirwan’s system because of postmortem redistribution.
“There is no suggestion whatsoever, that this case was an overdose.”
Crown Bill Gorman said the toxicologist’s testimony is another “link in the chain… We are confident the jury will come to the right decision.”
Taylor also noted that there was no way to determine who would have ingested the pills in the bottle.
Next on the stand was an emotional Jerricka Ebrahim.
Ebrahim said she and Falconer were “friends with benefits” and they met at Rosalee Dean’s house in the summer of 2011.
Ebrahim would see Falconer on average every other day, including Thanksgiving weekend in 2011.
She had plans to go out that night with some friends and have a couple of drinks.
Around supper time on October 8, Ebrahim testified that Falconer picked she and her kids up to take the children to the baby sitter’s in Stellarton.
“He was driving a grey Chev Impala,” the same vehicle the police seized and searched.
During that afternoon, Ebrahim asked if Falconer had enough money to split on a 24-case of beer to which he texted back, ‘If you feed me I can.’
“He usually wore shots and a beater, a man’s tank top, usually black, army green or grey.
Ebrahim said she was aware there was a girl missing, Kirwan, and said she recalled the day her body was found.
“A friend texted me and told me they found a body. I was with Chris (Falconer) at my place.”
She recalled telling Falconer and thinking it was odd that he grabbed his stuff and said that he had to go do something. “He didn’t say where he was going or why.”
He had to return later that day to drive Ebrahim to the baby sitter’s to pick up her children.
Ebrahim recalls asking Falconer if he knew Mason Campbell, Kirwan’s boyfriend, and he said no.
Between when Falconer was arrested and Kirwan’s body was found, Ebrahim told Falconer that the police had been asking questions.
“I thought it was about his parole, but he told me that if the cops came back to lie for him and say he was with me,” she said. “I told him I would lie to the police because I really liked him.”
On October 8, 2011, Ebrahim saw Falconer when he drove her to the baby sitter’s and again around 8 or 9 p.m. when he came over for a couple shots.
She went to Glasgow Pub with her friends and didn’t feel well so walked home.
Earlier in the evening, Ebrahim had texted Falconer ‘Did you wanna f**k tonight?’ To which he replied, ‘I’m a little down to be honest’ but said he wanted to watch a movie with her.
She was really drunk and had been smoking marijuana.
At 12:10 a.m. she told him she was locking the door and to stay at his wonderful girlfriend’s house.
She said she was upset because she had ditched her friends for him and he ditched her.
On October 9 at 5:05 a.m. he sent a text apologizing saying, ‘Sorry to make you wait, something came up. I’m at Dad’s now.’
She saw him later that afternoon when he took her to the baby sitter’s just before noon.
During cross examination, Mike Taylor questioned Ebrahim’s memory in regards to everything that took place on October 8, 2011.
During the investigation, Ebrahim spoke to police a number of times with two recorded statements – one on November 10, 2011 and one in May 2012.
Taylor brought up the fact that Ebrahim and Rosalee Dean used to be good friends but by May 2012, they were no longer friends. He questioned if it was because Falconer was dating Dean, Jasmine Lawrence, Tiffany Robson and Ebrahim.
“I didn’t really like that,” she said.
When she was questioned by police in May, Ebrahim claims the police told her they have evidence linking Falconer to Amber Kirwan’s murder. At that time she was also told that if she had any information she wasn’t telling police that it was an offence.
That was when she told police that Falconer asked her to tell police he was with her.
“I told them I had lied about being with Chris that Saturday night,” she said.
Falconer was arrested in November 2011 and Ebrahim remained in contact off and on with Falconer through letters.
Then Falconer’s stepmother gave Ebrahim a hard time, according to Taylor, who referred to a ‘blow up’ between the two.
“She gave me a hard time about not contacting Chris; I told her that I wasn’t going to send him any more letters,” she said.
Taylor reminded her that on a video statement she, in fact, told Falconer’s stepmother to ‘go f**k youself’.
“She told me I couldn’t (keep) writing him and stuff.”
Ebrahim then received a letter from Falconer sticking up for his stepmother and telling Ebrahim that she shouldn’t speak to her that way.
Taylor noted that it was a mere two to three weeks later and Ebrahim was called in to the police station to give another statement, that she claimed she was unaware of.
“Why would you wait six months to tell the police that Chris asked you to lie for him?” he questioned.
“I thought I would get in trouble for not telling,” she replied.
Taylor went on to point out a number of inaccuracies in Ebrahim’s statements.
“The truth is you don’t have a good recollection of what went on that night (October 8) do you?” he asked, alluding to the fact she was admittedly quite drunk.
“I remember parts,” she said.
Taylor brought up the fact that she could not remember who she went to the bar with and had to be reminded by some friends; in fact, she spoke to one of her friends before giving her statement to police in May.
She also said she didn’t know if she had seen Falconer on October 9, however, in her statement in May, her mother reminded her that Chris dropped her off at her mother’s house for Thanksgiving dinner with a blonde woman in the car.
She also could not remember when Falconer asked her to lie for him, and noted that he did not mention a date in which he wanted her to provide an alibi for him.
“I thought it was for his parole because he was drinking,” she said.
Taylor asked Ebrahim if she had questioned Falconer on his involvement in Kirwan’s murder and she said that he was shocked she asked.
Crown Patrick Young said that Ebrahim, “did well. It’s not surprising there are gaps in her memory, she smoked some marijuana that night. But there are text messages that corroborate her story… it indicates that Falconer was near her apartment in downtown New Glasgow an hour before Kirwan went missing and by his own admission put himself in Heathbell the next morning.”
He noted that she was doing her best to recall traumatic events from two years ago.
“The text messages help fill in the gap of human memory… the text messages are preserved for eternity. From the time she (Ebrahim) came back home to when she woke up, he (Falconer) was not there.”
Taylor said that his line of questioning was a natural progression as there were a number of inconsistencies in her testimony.
“The jury has to determine (Ebrahim’s) overall reliability, or credibility in relation to key evidence. It is significant that there was a falling out (with Falconer’s stepmother) and (Ebrahim) goes to police, ‘By the way he asked me to give him an alibi’. It’s suspicious.”

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‘Big’ show with Bigger Brighter Lights at Glasgow Square

It’s a big week for Bigger Brighter Lights fans. That’s right, Lighties, not only has BBL officially released ‘Crazy’ as a single today (assuming you read this on Wednesday) but they are also currently on a mini-tour with New Brunswick group The Playdates and will be performing at Glasgow Square this Friday, January 17.
BBLer Nate Fleming slips into full-on fan mode when talking about the co-headlining (“it’s literally to the point where we’re going to flip a coin each night to see who’s going to close”) Playdates.
“They’re most likely going to be one of the big acts this year out of Canada,” Fleming said. “They’ve won multiple NB Music Awards for their music. This last year things have just been blowing up. Their new album is going to be doing excellent. They’re going to be huge.”
Fleming’s predictions are backed by the Playdates already having a number of songs crack the Canadian Top 100 as well has a pack of videos which have been very well received.
As of 2014, Bigger Brighter Lights is a year and half into their new era, having rebranded from Above All Else in 2012. It’s a risky move for any established band or brand to swap monikers but Fleming feels the group has been able to both reap the benefits of the previous group’s successes and the possibilities of the new group’s clean slate.
“We’re a totally different monster than Above All Else was,” Fleming said. “Above All Else was us coming up through our teen years, learning the ropes the hard way, sleeping on the bus in the middle of the road crossing Canada. We had to earn it. Now we feel like we’re pretty seasoned and our live show is stadium-ready. Right now we’d like to open for a larger act, then become that larger act.”
Fleming continued, “We’re still utilizing our old successes. We’re still enjoying some of the successes. We’re just trying to challenge ourselves and push the envelope and play bigger shows. As an independent artist you have to make sure you maintain your work ethic. We love playing music. At the end of the day that’s what it is to us. If we have the opportunity to make a career out of it that’s what we’ll do. It doesn’t really feel like work but we’re going to keep plugging away. If you’re an independent artist and you’re not going to put the work into it you’re not really going to get anything (out of it).”
The year is looking to be one of change for BBL and if one could excuse the wording the group is chasing larger, more luminous goals.
The current main goal is getting the group a showcase spot during Canadian Music Week “at any cost” and they are currently awaiting the go-ahead funding from MuchFact to make a video for standalone single ‘Crazy’. The game, it appears, has been stepped up.
Perhaps the biggest, brightest light on the band’s horizon is a new album they are hoping to release late this year. The album, Fleming said, will be at least partly fan-funded through pledgemusic.com. This album will be the first to use an outside producer, which is something the group is very excited about.
“We’re not allowed to release details yet about who it is but we’re in talks with some big name, high profile producers in Canada,” Fleming said. He said the chance to work with an established producer is key in helping to refine their sounds and indicated that if things work out as planned the group will be recording in either Montreal, Toronto, or possibly Vancouver.
“We’re also rebranding our sound a little bit. People will have to stay tuned until later in 2014 to hear it. We’re going to be tweaking our sound to stand out just slightly out of the regular top 40. We want a sound absolutely distinct when you hear it,” Fleming said.
“We’ve done genre changes for years: 2007 we were considered a screamo band; 2008 we made the switch over to pop rock. Now since BBL has hit the scene we’ve been called dance-rock. We want to take a collaboration of everything we’ve all ready owned and practise that craft add a few new elements that are going to surprise people.”
Sounds like you’d better catch them while you still can. Maybe at Glasgow Square, say on Friday January 17…

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Blues Society bringing Shrimp Daddy to town

The Pictou County Blues Society has done it again. The group’s first offering of 2014 is none other than Shrimp Daddy and the Sharpshooters.
Mike Reid, Shrimp Daddy, hails from Montreal but is currently living in Halifax with his wife.
“My wife and I came down last summer for the Harvest Festival in New Brunswick and fell in love with the countryside (in Atlantic Canada) and the whole way of life. We made some friends while at the festival and I started talking to my guitarist about doing a CD together (he was living in Nova Scotia).”
That’s when Reid and his wife talked about their dream of retiring in the Maritimes and thought, why not now. They rented their home in Toronto and made their way to Eastern Passage.
The plan is to stay for two years, then go back and sell their house, hopefully returning to the area to stay.
“We just throw caution to the wind,” he laughs. “Then that album we were discussing turned into a band and it’s going great.”
Reid started out later in life, learning the ins and outs of the harmonica and has really developed his own style.
“I have more of an original style; it’s a mix of West Coast swing mixed with jazz and Chicago Blues… but it’s all electrified. It’s quiet original, but very similar to one of my big inspirations, William Clarke.”
Reid has always been a lover of the blues style. Growing up in Montreal, he listened to a lot of East Coast music and country from his father and mixed it with his mother’s favourite, French folk, which he says is very similar to Irish folk music.
“The blues has always, for some reason, just hit me, especially the harmonica. I was in Toronto and I went to see my brother-in-law’s band play one night and all of a sudden, this guy from the audience got up and started to play the harmonica. It was the first time I had heard electrified harmonica live and it was amazing. The next day I went out and bought a harmonica and made it my New Year’s resolution to learn to play.”
Reid notes that was in 2000, a bit later in life, so he had some catching up to do, but a year or two later he decided to begin singing along with the harmonica and started his own band.
“I was very lucky because a lot of people helped me along the way,” says Reid. “My dad used to always say to me when I was a kid, ‘If you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life’. I love performing and being up on stage… When you love something it’s not work.”
The way Reid looks at it, looking back to when he first started and comparing that to now, he has come a long way, but says he still has a way to go.
“I am nowhere near where I expect to be in a few year’s time. It’s something where you are always learning. You have an accumulation of knowledge and licks and that makes it easier. It’s like speaking and that’s when I feel you truly make your mark as a master, when you play your instrument and are able to get your point across as if you were speaking it. It comes from your heart, your mind.”
So that helps Reid with new material as do the stages of learning. As he puts it, “I assume harmonica is like any other instrument where you begin to learn some licks and become saturated in those same licks and there’s a need to learn more, then something happens and it opens you up and you’ve gone to another level.”
This performance on January 18 at the White Tail Pub and Grill will be Shrimp Daddy and the Sharpshooters’ first performance in the county.
“I am really looking forward to it. I have a few friends who have played in the Pictou area at the White Tail venue and they really enjoyed it,” he says. “It’s nice to have a society like the Pictou County Blues Society who are wonderful, out there promoting and taking that incentive. It’s a lot of burden off of the artist and it’s very appreciated.”
Shrimp Daddy and the Sharpshooters’ album Messin’ With My System is currently available and Reid’s talents have garnered him the Maple Blues Award for best new artist in 2011 as well as the semi-finalist in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee last year.
Proceeds from the Pictou County Blues Society’s presentation of Shrimp Daddy and the Sharpshooters will go toward Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County.

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Korean War veterans to receive medals

WESTVILLE – Korean War veterans who did not receive special medals last year are scheduled to receive them in a ceremony this year.
Vincent Joyce, curator and founder of the Pictou County Military Museum, is working with the Korean government and federal agencies to secure a list of veterans who live in and around Pictou County and would be receiving the medals.
The Department of Veterans Affairs office in Dartmouth provided Joyce with the name of Susan Ahn, executive secretary of the Consulate General for the Republic of Korea (South Korea). That allowed Joyce to plan for another presentation ceremony at a date to be announced at the Westville Civic centre’s gymnasium, where the previous presentations took place last July.
Medals will be presented to living Korean war veterans.
Joyce is working with Ahn to make sure those missing from the list of recipients at last year’s event will be included for the next ceremony.
“We’re working to have another event as soon as possible,” Joyce said. “We’re trying to make sure we don’t miss anyone.”
The profile of veterans who served in the Korean War is being raised to acknowledge the contention that they weren’t honoured to the same degree in past years as those who served in the two World Wars. The change also reflects the dwindling number of living veterans from those wars, leaving a considerable number who served in Korean in the early 1950s.
The war ensued in 1950 after the 38th parallel became the political and military divide between the communist government in the north and a right-wing government in the south.
Tracts of land were gained and lost on both sides before the conflict became a stalemate and ended with an armistice in 1953 that includes a demilitarized zone along the border.
Joyce also acknowledged the gestures made by management at DSTN since the wind tower plant in Trenton opened several years ago.
The result has been several events that include dinner and entertainment events DSTN has hosted in Pictou and Halifax.
“They wanted to honour the Korean veterans,” Joyce said.
The event for the veterans last year in Halifax featured live entertainment in the form of a Korean theatre event. It was followed by a dinner.
The presentation of certificates that took place on July 27 at the Westville Civic Centre featured Justice Minister – and former Defence Minister – Peter MacKay, as well as Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Canada’s Chief of Staff before his retirement.
More than 20 veterans – all from Pictou County – received certificates.
“The veterans were very honoured,” Joyce said. “The gym was packed with family and friends and people who wanted to come.”
He noted that management at DSTN who have transferred from the Daewoo company base in South Korea have frequently visited the military museum to see artifacts and learn who from Pictou County served in the Korean War.
Joyce is asking those who have not been contacted to call 396-2194 in order to register.

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Fundraising … is real team work for family

Having a husband who is a type one diabetic, and three young sons who may be susceptible to the disease, Melanie Ryan wanted to show support in a big way.
The New Glasgow-based Ryan is committed to raising $6,000 for Team Diabetes which will allow her to take part in a run in Edinburgh, Scotland to raise awareness for the disease.
Ryan said she sees and deals with the effects of the disease on her husband every day. Although it is a fairly wide spread disease, especially in Nova Scotia, she said there are still many misconceptions about it. She cites her husband, a family friend’s young daughter, and a desire to inform as being her motivating factors.
Ryan explained that Team Diabetes will be taking part in six global events – Reykjavik, Iceland; Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii; Athens, Greece; Edinburgh, Scotland; Machu Picchu, Peru; and Madrid, Spain – and said that she choose Edinburgh as it represents something of a missed opportunity.
“When I was going to St. FX,” she said, “my art professor said ‘You really have a gift with art,’ and said that I could transfer to Edinburgh University. At the same time my husband had transferred to St. FX so we could be together. We weren’t married yet, but I had a decision to make and I chose to stay at St. FX.”
Ryan said that she has wanted to take part in Team Diabetes for about 10 years. “But when I saw the pamphlet and saw that it had Edinburgh on it, I really felt, ‘Okay, it’s time for me to do this’.”
Currently, Ryan is near $2,000 towards the $6,000 goal and she has been taking on various fundraising efforts since last year. Those efforts include a bagging day at Superstore and Sobeys, as well as a family fun day at Trenton Park. Even bigger efforts are on the horizon.
Ryan will be holding a fashion show at the Highland Square Mall over the March Break. Participants in the show, she said, must pledge or raise $20 to take part. A $40 pledge will earn models free hair styling for the event from the Head Shoppe.
On January 25, from 8 to 9:30 p.m., Ryan will be holding a silent auction and night of entertainment at Summer Street Industries in New Glasgow. Items up for bid currently include a night’s stay at the Holiday Inn, and a piece of art from area artist Dawn MacNutt which is valued at $4,000. The majority of the offerings will be either from local artists or local shops, and entertainment will also be locally sourced.
“I want to support local artists,” Ryan said. “I have a passion about local art.”
Tickets for this event are available at Big Al’s in New Glasgow.
Fundraising for Team Diabetes has become a bit of a family affair for Ryan with her 10-year old son Liam getting in on the action. The younger Ryan is a budding photographer and will be selling some of his photographs. His works are currently on display at Get Stuffed Healthy in downtown New Glasgow.
Ryan said the deadline for her fundraising efforts is March 25. She is supported in her goal by the Thorburn Student Council, Head Shoppe, Trinity Inspections, Medicine Shop, Empire Theatre, artist Dawn MacNutt, and the Holiday Inn.
Those wishing to contribute may do so by using the pledge option at www.teamdiabetes.ca, and searching for Melanie Ryan.

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High demand anticipated for flu shots

NEW GLASGOW – What appears to be an average flu season has nonetheless prompted health professionals to encourage more people to take preventative measures that include getting flu shots.
Dr. Ryan Sommers, a family physician who is medical officer of health for the Colchester-East Hants, Cumberland and Pictou County district health authorities, described several ways that influenza can be prevented and the variety of ways that flu is being tracked.
“The normal spike in flu is from December to April,” he says. “It peaks after the holidays.”
Authorities are paying the most attention to the H1N1 strain of flu viruses that was the most common cause of flu in people in 2009. Seven deaths in Nova Scotia were attributed to it that year.
Canada-wide, there is an average of 20,000 hospitalizations due to flu and an average of 4,000 flu-related deaths each year.
Symptoms include coughing, fever, headache, muscle and joint pain and extreme fatigue. The flu can cause underlying medical conditions to become worse.
Two flu-related deaths in Nova Scotia were confirmed last week, including a 42-year-old woman from Pictou County and a 52-year-old man in Colchester-East Hants, both with underlying health conditions.
Swabs are taken from people who may have flu, while data also includes lab-confirmed cases of flu.
People who have not been vaccinated for flu or who have not renewed them this winter are being encouraged to do so at hospital, walk-in clinics and collaborative emergency centres (CECs).
Pharmacists have also been enlisted to administer the flu shots because pharmacies generally have longer hours than health institutions, he says.
Physicians and pharmacies also try to shift their stocks of the vaccine to wherever the demand is highest.
“Vaccine is the safest, most effective way to prevent influenza,” Sommers says.
Deaths from flu are more likely in the elderly and people whose health is already compromised by maladies related to their bodies’ respiratory systems. But H1N1 is targeting other specific groups, he says.
“We are finding that H1N1 impacts younger people, up to the age of five and from 20 to 64,” he says. “That’s the big thing this year.”
Besides getting vaccinated, preventative measures also include paying even greater attention to hygiene and advising people with respiratory symptoms to stay home. They can also call the 811 provincial health hot line for more advice.
More than half of emergency room visits involve people with flu-like symptoms, he says.
Sommers also anticipated more demand for flu shots over the weekend in the wake of one recent death in Alberta attributed to the H1N1 virus.
The vaccine for the health authorities Sommers oversees is being distributed equally among them.
Information about flu is contained on a link regarding seasonal influenza on the Department of Health and Wellness web site.

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Gryphons win Gators tourney

NEW GLASGOW – The North Nova Gryphons had a tournament in their sights last weekend in Coldbrook.
The focus paid off as the Gryphon boys went undefeated in three basketball games to capture the six-team Central Kings Festival hosted by the Central Kings Gators.
The Gryphons are having a more competitive season, head coach Paul Taylor says.
“Presently we’re 6-9 overall,” he said, while not counting a recent tournament in Amherst.
“We’ve played four tournaments and a few exhibition games.”
The three wins in Coldbrook lifted the Gryphons to 9-9.
Tournament most valuable player Campbell DeMont’s 18 points led the Gryphons’ 74-52 victory over Antigonish East in the championship game on Saturday. Henry Munro added 13 points and Liam Spears had 10.
DeMont netted 32 points as the Gryphons opened the tournament with a 63-58 victory over the host Gators, answering a 72-44 loss to the Gators in December.
Daniel Johnson added 16 points and rookie Jalen Johnson collected nine points.
DeMont had 18 points and Conner MacGillivray recorded 17 points in the Gryphons’ 77-51 victory over Bridgewater.
It was the Gryphons’ first tournament win in two years and the team’s last road trip of the season.
The Gryphons were 2-2 in the Parkview Holiday Hoop Fest on Dec 20 and 21 in Bridgewater.
They defeated North Queens 74-27 and Memorial 77-55 while losing 72-44 to the Gators and 72-62 to Pugwash.
“Our final game against Pugwash was probably our best game in the last two years,” Taylor said. “We were down 10 points at half and we came back in the second half to lead by 12. A number of bad bounces, turnovers and timely three-point shooting by Pugwash helped them seal the win.”
Campbell DeMont is leading the charge for the Gryphons this season, while rookies Jalen Johnson and J.C. McRae are also doing well.
DeMont led the Gryphons’ scoring with 14 points against the Gators and 27 points against Memorial. He also had 15 against Pugwash.

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Crushers test Ramblers, Truro

MOUNT WILLIAM – Two games against Eastlink Division rivals highlighted the Pictou County Weeks Crushers’ MHL schedule this week.
The Crushers, who hosted the Yarmouth Mariners last Thursday and visited the Summerside Western Capitals on Saturday, will host the Amherst Ramblers this Thursday at the Pictou County Wellness Centre and will test the Truro Bearcats on Saturday in Truro.
The Mariners dominated the Crushers like few teams have this season en route to a 6-2 victory.
They led 2-0 after the first period and snapped a 2-2 tie with four unanswered goals in the third period while outshooting the Crushers 38-24.
Nick Parker kept his offence going by assisting on both Crushers goals scored by Rory Graham and Garret Holmes.
The Crushers followed on Saturday with a 3-0 loss in Summerside.
Each team took 37 shots in the game, but the Capitals scored once in the second period and twice in the third to win it.
The results shrank the Crushers’ once comfortable lead in the Eastlink Division to four points over the Bearcats and Mariners.
The Crushers completed their roster changes before the Jan. 10 deadline passed by acquiring defenceman Harrison Wood from the Capitals on Jan. 6. They also retained the services of Jamie Cooley as an assistant coach.
Like Crushers head coach and general manager Jason Malone, Cooley is from Prince Edward Island and moved recently to Pictou County. His coaching resume includes four years on the coaching staff with the University of Prince Edward Panthers.
“He’ll be a fresh face for our players and someone who can help the team for years to come,” Malone said.
After this week’s games, the Crushers will have three games in three nights next week as they host the Valley Wildcats on Jan. 23 before visiting the Mariners on Jan. 24 and the Wildcats on Jan. 25.
The Crushers will close the month by hosting Dieppe Commandos in a make-up game on Jan. 29 and the Woodstock Slammers on Jan. 30.

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MacLeod-Proudfoot event goes Jan. 25

NEW GLASGOW – The fourth annual Jean MacLeod-Proudfoot Broomball Competition is gearing up and competition is stiff this year.
The broomball competition takes place between the Westside Community Centre and the North End Rec Centre.
It is scheduled this year for the Westside Community Centre on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. If there is inclement weather, it will start at the Pictou County Wellness Centre at 8 p.m.
Jean MacLeod-Proudfoot wanted to get the adults in the area out and volunteering and gets credit for the idea.
“It is for adults over 30 years to raise funds but also to get volunteerism,” explains Frank Proudfoot, volunteer. “Every year each centre recognizes someone for the wall of fame. This year, we at the Westside Community Centre are honoring James D. MacLeod.”
MacLeod was an insurance agent and in 1934, a child fell through the ice of the East River while playing on it, and decided there needed to be a spot for children to play and skate that was safe. MacLeod had the land where the Westside Community Centre is located, donated and started the rink and the centre.
“James D. MacLeod’s daughter Jean MacLeod-Proudfoot, was the woman who the competition was named after and her sister Isabel McLean is accepting on her behalf.”
The North End Rec Centre is honoring Joe MacGillivray, one of the founding members of the North End Rec Centre, who helped fundraise to get the centre built and coached a number of recreational sports for the youth. Accepting on his behalf are his wife Jean MacGillivray and son Joe MacGillivray Jr.
“The Westside and Northend have always been natural rivals, we played hockey against each other in school so we thought that since that natural rivalry is there, we could get together and have fun,” explains Proudfoot, “but once we get out there, it gets competitive.”
The competition alternates between the Westside Community Centre and the North End Rec Centre. It is being hosted at the Westside Community Centre this year because of the newly renovated centre.
“We were surprised with the enthusiasm, we thought it would just be the players out, but we get a big crowd out of all ages because of the history and now the event is expanding with the children’s broomball game and the demonstration with the Tatamagouche World All Star broomball team against the Rotary Club of New Glasgow.”
The event has become the main fundraising source for both centres and has raised more than $55,000 over the last three years.
“This year we are incorporating a door to door campaign on the Westside in support of the competition,” says Proudfoot. “Our goal this year is to raise more than $20,000.
During the kick off pub at the Westside Community Centre, any funds raised at that event, not including pledges, will be matched by the Scotiabank.
The kick off pub is where the recognition awards are given out as well as the announcement of the rosters and distribution of the pledge sheets and as Proudfoot says, to reignite the rivalry.
“The centre that raises the most funds receives $500 from the Rotary Club of New Glasgow as well as $500 in furniture from Chediac’s Brand Source. There is also a plaque up for grabs,” which Proudfoot says the Westside has won the past three years.

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Academy girls win Guysborough tourney

PICTOU – The Pictou Academy Pitbulls went undefeated to bring home the championship banner from the Guysborough Invitational female high school basketball tournament on Saturday.
PA turned in a gritty performance in the championship game, outscoring the defending champion Cape Breton Highlands Academy Huskies 26-24 in a final marked by airtight defence and aggressive play.
The Academy led after every quarter except the first, limiting CBHA to a single point in the second quarter to take a 14-11 lead to the half.
Foul trouble forced the Pitbulls to switch to a zone defence in the second half, which was equally effective in muzzling the Huskies.
Ainsley Cameron’s strong work on the defensive glass earned her Player of the Game honours.
Earlier that day, PA nipped the Huskies 32-28 in a game that was eerily similar to the final.
Defence again led the way for the Pitbulls, resulting in a 19-14 lead after three quarters.
The game opened up in the fourth quarter, but PA was able to match the Huskies offensive production to protect the lead and top the Huskies 32-28.
Emma Rose was chosen Player of the Game for her clutch baskets down the stretch.
In Saturday’s other game, PA rolled to a 38-16 win over the host Guysborough Academy Blue Eagles. Kyra Grealey led PA with 12 points to collect the Player of the Game award.
In Friday’s action, PA defeated Ecole Beauport 42-11 after taking an early lead and never looking back. Madeline MacKinnon’s strong offensive play garnered the Player of the Game award.
The Pitbulls travel to Truro to meet the Cobequid Education Centre JV Cougars today at 4 p.m. and return to their home court the next night to host Northumberland Regional High School JV Nighthawks at 7 p.m.

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Royals win; Nighthawks come close

WESTVILLE – The Dr. J.H. Gillis Royals captured the eighth annual Danny Dorrington Memorial male high school hockey tournament with a 4-3 victory over Kings-Edgehill in double overtime on Sunday at the Westville Miners Sports Centre.
The host Northumberland Nighthawks came close, losing just one game during the preliminary round, but were unable to reach the cross-over matches on Saturday.
“We were really close,” Nighthawks’ head coach Kenny Lockhart said.
The Nighthawks trailed 2-0 entering the third period of a game they had to win against Par-En-Bas on Saturday but rallied for two goals period and pressured the opposing goal for the winner in the final minute before settling for a 2-2 tie.
Brandon Bell scored as the Nighthawks opened on Friday with a 1-1 tie against Dalbrae.
Josh Langille, who earned all-star honours and was also named the tournament’s top defenceman, scored Northumberland’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss later Friday to North East King.
The short-staffed North Nova Gryphons lost its three games at the tournament and also did not advance to the cross-over matches. The Gryphons had five players out of the lineup.
The Royals were outshot 49-25 but scored a power-play goal in the second overtime period to win the tournament.
The teams had four skaters aside in the first overtime and three aside in the second overtime until Kings-Edgehill was assessed a penalty in front of their goal.
Kings-Edgehill edged the Royals 1-0 in their previous tournament meeting on Friday.
The Royals advanced to the championship with a 3-2 victory over the Dalbrae Dragons, while Kings-Edgehill outscored Par-En-Bas 7-5 to advance.
The Royals opened their quest for the tournament championship on Friday by shutting out the Gryphons 5-0. Chris Brooker was the game’s most valuable player for North Nova.
The Gryphons followed later on Friday with a 4-2 loss against the Dartmouth High Spartans.
Connor MacDougall assisted on both Gryphon goals by Darryl Wheadon. Single assists went to Jacob Pentz and Brandyn Benjamin.
On Saturday morning, the Gryphons played Kings Edgehill and took another 5-0 loss. Jacob Pentz was awarded the MVP honours.
The Gryphons next home game is Saturday at the Trenton Arena against SAERC of Port Hawkesbury. Game time is 6 p.m.
On Sunday, the Gryphons will travel to Port Hood for a 4 p.m. game against the Dalbrae Dragons at the Al MacInnis Arena.

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Warm up to winter with free hot soup

PICTOU – The Council of Five Churches is coming together to feed the masses this winter season.
“It’s really a re-starting of a project that at one time took place at the Stella Maris in town as a soup luncheon, and then at the First Presbyterian Church in the hall,” explains Pictou United Church minister Mary Beth Moriarity.
“Both of those soup luncheons came to a natural end so we have been meeting as a council of the five churches to work closer and with input from the congregations, this was what we decided to do.”
The Council of Five Churches is also involved in the community garden project as well as a coffeehouse project for youth.
Moriarity is hoping that with all five churches involved, the soup luncheon will be able to continue.
“At this point, we are looking at just doing it in the winter months, but we will assess the need and maybe if there is a need there, we can look at doing something else in the summer,” she explains.
The luncheon is every Thursday at the First Presbyterian Church Hall from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It is offered free of charge and is open to everyone.
“It’s not just for those who are hungry, it’s for anyone who wants to come out and socialize,” she says.
The council is hoping for donations of either food or money to help get the luncheon going. It will include a homemade soup, rolls, tea and coffee as well as a sweet, although that may change depending on attendance and need.
“We have already had some members of the congregation ask how they can help and all donations will be gratefully received,” says Moriarity. “We are also very fortunate that the First Presbyterian Church has done this before so we can draw on their experience and with the five churches involved we can all help out as needed.”
The first luncheon took place last Thursday and will continue weekly.
“Often, churches are criticized because they are asking for money or they have big buildings and don’t do anything with them, but in this community the churches are all trying to do something to be vital and active in the community in the Town of Pictou,” she says.
“The history within the Pictou churches has not always been one of co-operation; we are being intentional about changing that and working closer together.”
For more information on the soup luncheon phone 485-9118, the First Presbyterian Church Hall during the hours of the luncheon on Thursdays.

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Council hears plea for decision to ban Gulf oil, gas exploration

PICTOU – County Council is reserving its decision on whether or not to support a moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Andy Thompson who, in his capacity as deputy warden, chairs the committee-of-the-whole that met on Monday, told a group that addressed council in support of the moratorium that council will hear from members of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).
“We want to hear both sides,” Thompson said. “That’s the responsible thing to do.”
Three people presented before council: Mary Gorman on behalf of the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition, Greg Egilsson, president of the Gulf Nova Scotia Herring Federation and Trudy Watts, president of the Sunrise Trail Community Development Co-operative.
Gorman said her group wants a moratorium on oil and gas exploration that already exists along the George’s Bank. The two areas represent 12 per cent of Canada’s east coast, she said.
“The oil industry already has unfettered access to 88 per cent of our East Coast waters,” she said.
She said the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, where the area affected by the BP eruption is larger than the Gulf of St. Lawrence, demonstrates that the oil industry lacks the knowledge to mitigate oil spills and that drilling, fisheries and tourism cannot co-exist.
“Our gulf already has more co-existence than it can handle,” she said, pointing higher acidity in the water that is impeding lobsters’ ability to form their shells among things already affecting a $3 billion export business from fishing.
Egilsson said herring overwinter where oil drilling would take place along an area called Old Harry in the Laurentian Channel, which Gorman noted has the highest concentration of krill in the North Atlantic, a vital food source at the bottom of the marine food chain.
He said there is still no herring fishery in Prince William Sound, Alaska decades after the Exxon Valdez ran aground and spilled oil that killed wildlife and riddled shorelines.
Egilsson said the noise associated with seismic testing for fossil fuel deposits cause harm to lobsters, the way thunder does.
“One clap of thunder reduces lobster catches by half in a week,” he said.
Watts said three times the oil collected from 2012 along the Gulf of Mexico was collected in 2013, along with high incidence of deformed shellfish and a myriad of illness affecting people.

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Enfield resident busy raising funds for local girl with Lyme disease

Pat Healey has raised $160 so far for Chelsey Livingstone-Rector through two online sim iRacing series through his sponsor GoTire HRM.
It’s because of the 12-year-old Kenzieville girl, who has Lyme disease, that he doesn’t give up in his races the way he used to, hoping that things may change and he could get the finish he needs to raise money for Livingstone-Rector.
He first met her at the East Hants Sportsplex last summer at a car show. A reporter for the Enfield Weekly Press and The Laker, Healey heard her story after noticing her name on Darren Wallage’s car.
“I met her this past summer when she was down with Darren Wallage who was showing off his car at the East Hants Sportsplex,” he said. “I did a story myself for our paper and it struck me that someone as young as her shouldn’t have to go through that, so I wanted to do something. I talked to GoTire, Scott and Elizabeth (MacRae) about sponsoring me. They’re on board and it all started from just meeting her that one day.”
GoTire HRM gives Healey $10 for each of his Top 12 finishes in the CORT Indy Car series and Top 15 finishes in the Maritime iRacing League Late Model Series.
Livingstone-Rector returned from a specialist in June in New York and will be returning in June 2014, so long as the winter goes well and she doesn’t have to go sooner. With few options for specialists north of the border she has to go to the United States, which is costly for her family, who are currently paying $800 to $1,000 monthly for her medications.
Healey said he had no idea how much he would raise through the two racing series he’s involved with, guessing when he started that he may have been around $100 at this point. He understands $160 is a small portion of what the family needs, but said he’s glad he can help her in any way.
The series continues year-round. He hopes to have more Top 12 and 15 finishes to help Livingstone-Rector in the near future.

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Dunn leads plea to address spreading of Lyme disease

NEW GLASGOW – Pictou Centre MLA Pat Dunn has been joined by his colleagues in the legislature calling on the government and health professionals to acknowledge Lyme disease as a health threat.
Dunn’s address last fall was followed by responses from Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan and acting NDP leader Maureen MacDonald.
Dunn named Pictou County among areas in Nova Scotia where he said people who are active outdoors have been conscious blacklegged ticks. They carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease and have been told to use preventative measures that include wearing light-coloured clothing, pulling socks over pant legs, wearing pants and long sleeved shirts and spraying clothing.
“Too many Nova Scotians are unaware of the dangers associated with tick bites and it is not well communicated when spikes occur in the blacklegged tick population,” he said, while noting the 150 confirmed cases of Lyme disease over the past 10 years in Nova Scotia and 50 cased reported in 2012.
“I would like to see the government take a proactive approach to notifying the public about the possible dangers. I am sure most, if not all, members of this House would agree with a proactive approach,” he said.
Dunn cited a cousin and his pet Labrador retriever among those who he says have contracted Lyme disease to underscore the lack of treatment among doctors to help patients fully recover from Lyme disease.
“There have been many cases of people infected by Lyme disease in this province that I had the opportunity to talk to, and it seems wherever they go there are no answers. In fact, the answers are there’s something else wrong with you,” he said.
Dunn said his cousin received a tick bite while camping in Ontario. Her family was frustrated with the medical community’s response to her symptoms, he said.
“This young lady was told it was all in her head, that she was having some mental problems, and she was sent to a psychiatrist to have that diagnosed,” he said.
Dunn found ticks on his dog’s neck area in September 2010. A tick was eventually sent to a lab in Saskatchewan.
“This was in September,” he said. “I didn’t hear anything, so I assumed everything was okay. The following May I received a letter stating that the tick that was taken from the neck of my pet was carrying Lyme disease.”
Regan, whose constituency includes Bedford, N.S., recalled the numerous times the subject of Lyme disease and ticks came up while she was canvassing in her neighbourhood in 2009.
She has encountered constituents who dismiss the likelihood of Lyme in patients despite the symptoms that point to the disease.
“I’m not convinced that all doctors, all GPs, are getting . . . the message on Lyme disease, and that is a concern,” she said.
Regan sent a letter last August asking the Atlantic Provinces’ four health ministers at the time to include Lyme disease on the agenda next time they meet.
She said she was prompted to write the letter after learning about a motion adopted in New Brunswick’s legislature recognizing that Lyme disease is a public health concern.
MacDonald said she discussed the prevalence and severity of Lyme disease while she was minister of Health and Wellness.
She noted someone she knows who has recovered after being treated immediately when she recognized signs of a tick bite.
“What I understand is that the difficulty, of course, is if you do not identify that you have been bitten and your symptoms go untreated for some considerable period of time, the impact can be quite dramatic,” she said.
“I think it is very important that we continue to communicate with physicians and with members of the public with respect to where blacklegged ticks have been identified.”

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