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Percy Paris lauded for ringside prowess

NEW GLASGOW – Boxer Percy Paris is being remembered as a good person, a competitive boxer and highly regarded ring official.
Paris died Dec. 4. He was 85.
He was part of a boxing family that included his brother Sparky, who also boxed and later trained numerous local boxers.
Percy Paris had been in failing health and made one of his infrequent return trips home for an open house to honour Sparky Paris’s retirement from 60 years in the refuse business.
“He was a good man,” Sparky said. “He was a good boxer, one of the best boxers I ever saw. He wouldn’t give in. He was hard to hit. If he was hit, he’d hit you harder.”
Boxing as a featherweight and lightweight, Percy Paris began his boxing career in 1945 by winning a four-round bout to technical knockout in New Glasgow.
He ended it by battling to a draw with his brother Keith in 1960 in Clark’s Harbour, N.S. and amassed a record of 20 wins against 14 losses and two draws.
Percy followed his pro debut with three straight losses – all by knockout – to Richard (Kid) Howard in 1946. He lost two subsequent 10-round decisions to Howard after he recorded seven straight wins.
“They were well matched,” Courtney Malcolm recalled. “Percy was a super guy and from a fine family.

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County in motion for a cure

The 11th Annual Pictou County Run/Walk to Cure Juvenile Diabetes has been termed a resounding success for 2012, taking in more than $17,000 this year.
It also marked a change of location. After spending nine years on the Jitney Trail in Pictou the Run/Walk moved to the Pictou County Wellness Centre and Pioneer Coal Track Facility. A matter of circumstances and scheduling allowed it to coincide with the Wellness Centre’s grand opening activities.
Race director Crystal Murray noted the Run/Walk and the Wellness Centre made a good fit.
“There is a synergy between wellness and juvenile diabetes research and we found that we were really good partners for each other,” she said. “Because the Wellness Centre was opening we thought ‘You know what, it would be a really nice thing to do the run (there) this year.’ We’re not sure if we’re going to continue to hold the event there. We just thought this year with the grand opening celebrations that we would hold it there this year.”
Murray also noted that there was an increase in participants, even in light of the usual family commitments that occur this time of year.
Another change in this year’s run was to not time the runners in an effort to make it a non-competitive event.
“We decided this year to bring it back to a fun run,” she said, “We did have time keepers last year but we decided to bring the Run/Walk back to more of a community event. Another thing too is it cuts our costs down. Where we’re a fund raiser I think we have to be the most efficient that we can be. It allows more money to come back into the event and I think people appreciate that.”
Murray and her husband Sean Murray started the run 11 years ago and have been part of it ever since.
Inspired by their son Ben being diagnosed with juvenile diabetes they were originally set to take part in an event in Halifax
“We thought ‘We really should be doing this in our own community,’” Crystal said.
“We’ve made some good friends, the parents and the kids. We’ve seen a lot of these kids grow up,” she said, “When we started out they were just babies and now they’re teenagers. And we’ve seen some of the challenges they’ve had too. There’s a lot more to diabetes than just checking your sugar and taking your insulin. I think we all understand why we’re doing this.”

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Major Midgets making themselves at home

Playing in the Pictou County Wellness Centre is making a difference for the Pictou County Weeks Major Midgets.
While it hasn’t shown up as wins yet, head coach Dave MacIntyre says the players will benefit from playing in their new home rink.
“It’s been very good; the kids all love it,” he said of the team’s facilities. “I wish I had this facility when I was their age because it would have made a difference, having a place like this year-round, and I hope it makes a difference for some of them.”
Pictou County played its first two games in the Wellness Centre, losing 6-1 Saturday on the main rink to the Fredericton Canadiens and 5-3 Sunday to the Miramichi Rivermen on the auxiliary surface.
The Canadiens led 2-1 after one period and scored twice in each period to defeat Pictou County.
Cody Johnston scored for the hosts, who were outshot 44-17 and took 12 of 19 penalties.
Pictou County fared better Sunday, although the Rivermen led 2-1 after one period and 4-2 after two periods.
Rivermen penalties allowed Pictou County to press the attack late in the game, but there was only Ryan Camp’s power-play goal to show for the opportunity.
Johnston and Mark Vokey also scored for Pictou County.
“We had a good game,” MacIntyre said. “We deserved to win but we needed the goaltending and we didn’t get it. The guys worked hard. It’s the first time in a while we outplayed a team and didn’t make it.”
Pictou County has two tough games this weekend, visiting the Halifax Titans Saturday and hosting the Dartmouth Major Midgets at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Pictou County will also host Dartmouth on Dec. 20 and will complete their December schedule by visiting the Cape Breton West Islanders Dec. 29 and hosting them Dec. 30.
The locals remain in seventh place, two points ahead of the South Shore Mustangs and three points behind Cole Harbour.

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Crushers stretch home-ice streak

New digs at the Pictou County Wellness Centre are growing on the Pictou County Weeks Crushers.
The Crushers kept their winning streak on their new home ice intact last Thursday by outlasting the Amherst Ramblers 6-5 in a Maritime Hockey League game that completed the first of four days of events during the Wellness Centre’s gala weekend.
“It’s a different style of game; we’re adapting to it,” Crushers’ head coach and general manager Jason Malone said, referring to the regulation NHL-sized ice surface that appears to be serving the Crushers’ rather small but swift roster well.
The Crushers twice had three-goal leads but were never out of reach of the Ramblers.
Brandon Parsons’ second goal of the night early in the third period gave the Crushers a 6-3 lead, but the Ramblers made it close with their fifth goal with 56 seconds remaining and their net empty in favour of a sixth attacker.
Parsons, who scored on an early power play to give the Crushers a 1-0 lead, has shown a hard, quick release that has helped him to eight goals this season. He tallied three times in the Crushers’ 5-3 victory over the Campbellton Tigers in their previous home game.
“We’re happy with the way he’s produced,” Malone said. “He’s making the most of his opportunity.”
The Ramblers tied the game before the period ended, while Nick Parker and Garrett Holmes gave the Crushers a 3-1 lead early in the second period.
The Ramblers crashed the net for two goals in the second period, but goals by Tyler Doyle and Evan Gunn helped the Crushers to a 5-3 lead after two periods.
An apparent power-play goal by the Ramblers was disallowed due to goaltender interference late in the third period.
“I thought we did a lot of good things,” Malone said. “It’s indicative of the way things go that we were up 6-3 and hit two goal posts and took a penalty. I think the game should have been 7-3.”
The Ramblers outshot the Crushers 37-29, including 17-10 in the second period.
The Crushers victory over Amherst, coupled with their 6-3 triumph on Saturday against the Bridgewater Lumberjacks kept them within striking distance of the third-place Ramblers in the Eastlink Division and kept their unbeaten record intact at the Wellness Centre.
As in Thursday’s game Parsons scored two goals and they were the first and last ones tallied by the Crushers.
His first one lifted the Crushers into a 1-1 tie in the first period, while his second goal capped a four-goal rally in the third period. He now has 10 goals this season, including seven in his last four games.
Holmes, Andrew Graham, Jordan McInnis, Parker and Corey Bennett also scored.
The Crushers outshot the Lumberjacks 29-26, including 15-7 in the third period.

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Barra MacNeils returning for annual Christmas show

Together for Christmas, that’s what it’s all about for the Barra MacNeils.
Even though they are on the road for the 37 days of Christmas, they always make sure to return home to their parents’ house on Christmas day to have an old-fashioned Cape Breton Christmas.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the Barra MacNeils’ first album release. To celebrate, they are on a cross-country tour and have released two albums, The Barra MacNeils with Symphony Nova Scotia and Celtic Colour Sessions which includes tracks with Ron Hines, Old Man Luedecke, the Black Family from Ireland and Matt Minglewood.
“This was the first time we had worked with Matt Minglewood, a childhood hero of ours, and it was great,” says Stewart MacNeil of the Barra MacNeils. “He just wowed us.”
The album features their very first French recording as well as a couple of Gaelic songs.
The family is currently making their way through Ontario, preparing for a show in Toronto at the Roy Thomson Hall with Meaghan Smith, Alan Doyle, Jimmy Rankin and David Myles; they will be returning to the province for a Christmas show at the deCoste Entertainment Centre on December 19.
“I must say the weather is much better this year than two years ago,” says MacNeil. “There was a big snow storm when we were making our way through Ontario and we had to spend the night with our tour bus parked in a Wal-Mart parking lot.”
Every other year, the Barra MacNeils tour coast to coast to delight fans with their bi-annual Christmas performances and MacNeil says the tour is going swimmingly so far.
“It’s great; there are a lot of people that have made this show part of their family Christmas tradition and we have seen children come to the shows over the years that have grown and are bringing their own children. That is very special for us.”
MacNeil says the deCoste Centre also holds sentimental value for the group.
“The deCoste was one of the first theatre shows we did,” explains MacNeil. “The deCoste has done so much over the years to develop live entertainment and it is truly a special place. Pictou should be proud to have it.”
The Barra MacNeils Christmas tour is steeped in the culture of the Cape Breton holidays and as MacNeil says, it was once described as taking you from a midnight mass to a Cape Breton kitchen party on Boxing Day with upbeat moments interspersed with reflective ones.
“Lucy does a rendition of O Holy Night that is just stunning,” says MacNeil. “It is one of our biggest songs of the night, it’s just incredible.”
The show also includes stories of Christmases past and acappella tunes from the group’s two Christmas albums.
“There are a lot of elements in the show that make it what it is and it’s fun for us, although hectic, because it’s good to be able to return to places and recognize people in the crowd.
There are two songs that MacNeil enjoys performing immensely, On the Very First Christmas written by his uncle Hector MacKenzie and Christmas Together.
MacNeil says the group is very excited to return to Pictou.
“We have played the deCoste Centre many times over the years and we have some returning fans, but there are still a lot of people in Pictou County who haven’t seen us,” he says. “We have footage from our tour two years ago on our website www.barramacneils.com or our Facebook site to keep up with this year’s tour.”

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Gunning’s Penny Drive raises $6,287.66 for the IWK hospital

Dave Gunning’s Penny Drive was a huge success, seeing $6,287.66 raised for the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.
With the release of his 10th album No More Pennies in September, Gunning embarked on a “Penny Drive”, collecting pennies at his Atlantic Canadian performances throughout the fall.
To support the effort, employees at the Scotiabank on New Glasgow’s West Side offered to roll the pennies and match the funds up to $5,000.
“Thanks so much to Karen MacNeil and everyone at the Scotiabank at the West Side Shopping Centre in New Glasgow,” said Gunning last week at the cheque presentation.
“Their kind offer to roll up all the pennies and then match the donation was incredible. I would not have been able to do this without them. Thanks also to all of the supporters who stood up for this cause and brought pennies to my shows throughout Atlantic Canada and beyond. What started out scary in the beginning with the Canadian Mint coming after me ended up as a positive story.”
Gunning has seven more Maritime performances leading up to Christmas including December 17 at the deCoste Entertainment Centre in Pictou.

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POWs ate better meals than local veterans

To the Editor:
I am seldom inspired to write repeatedly to the paper, but offer the following with the hope that Veteran’s Affairs Canada, the PCHA, and anyone else involved in this 28-day study of the meals for veterans, will see the current situation for the disgrace that it is.
Enemy combatants (Heer, Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe, Waffen SS) held in Canada as prisoners of war during WW II, ate far better meals than are currently being provided our Vets in Pictou. I reckon most Canadians would respond to this statement with comments like: “Preposterous!, Outrageous! Scandalous! That simply cannot be true.“
Not so quick! Long ago, I read that German soldiers were treated well in Canadian POW camps. Some cursory research on the topic has provided me every reason to believe the above comparison is true. By way of example, the quote below was taken from a website documenting the history of WW II Camp 30 at Bowmanville, Ontario:
“Life inside the camp is far from what most people would expect inside a prisoner of war camp. The daily menu was far above what was considered normal in the Bowmanville area at that time. A sample meal plan consisted of potato salad, ham, macaroni, roast beef, potatoes, and roast pork. Also, since they were still receiving their regular pay they also were able to purchase items from the camp canteen including cigarettes, cigars, scissors, matches, writing tablets, pens, toothpaste, toothbrush, razor blades and shaving soap.”
R.J. Henderson, a competent researcher in Saskatchewan, made me privy to a July 7th, 1945 Order signed by the Quartermaster General of the Canadian Army, that unequivocally established that (prior to that date) German prisoners of war were being fed the same rations as were the internment camp administrative staff and the guards! Mr. Henderson wrote a book on the topic: German Prisoners of War In Canada And Their Artifacts – A Guide for Historians, Research and Collectors – C.M.V Madsen & R.J. Henderson.
At page 88 of that book, there exists some very telling comments on the circumstances of the day. I take the liberty of quoting briefly from that page:
“During the war, Canadian authorities, hoping for reciprocal treatment towards Canadian prisoners of war in German custody, had kept rations artificially high for German POWs. Interred Germans received many food items denied or strictly rationed to Canadian civilians such as butter, sugar and meat.“
At war‘s end, Canadian policy reduced rations for German prisoners, ostensibly because the need for reciprocity had ceased. Below is another quote from Henderson’s book which references the rations provided prisoners at Camp 23 following the ration reduction:
“Nonetheless, in June 1945, the spokesman for Camp 23 assured the Red Cross that “the quantities of food issued previously were much too large; the steaks served at the Sunday meals were so big they could not eat them all”.
I have a photocopy of the 1945 reduced Scale of Rations and the Quartermaster General’s Order and am therefore confident in stating that (even under reduced rations) the Germans were provided fresh meat (beef, mutton, pork, sweet pickled ham and fish) along with potatoes and fresh vegetables, sugar, spices, milk, macaroni. So at the end of the war, when things were not quite so good for the enemy prisoners, it would seem they still ate better than our veterans in Pictou are today.
Maybe the people who decided to provide cheaper, frozen, tasteless meals to our few surviving heroes of WW II would like to chew on the information provided above. I think there are perhaps a lot of people who would (figuratively speaking) delight in shoving it down their disrespectful, ungrateful throats.
Copies of this letter have been forwarded direct to the Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada and the Minister of National Defence.
Jim Hislop
West Kelowna, BC

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Gift giving ideas for some on your list

To the Editor:
After spending time in the Pictou Restorative Care Unit and learning of OT tools (occupational therapy) that can make things easier in activities of daily living, I wanted to share them as they would make great gifts.
Make life easier with a reacher grabber, sock aid, long-handled shoehorn and others.
Looking for a gift for someone who is challenged by limitations due to chronic illness, disability, and aging or with difficulty reaching or grabbing things from high and low places.
The reacher grabber is a favourite item among patients who are restricted from bending after surgery. There are several styles but all are light weight, handheld devices with a grabber on the end. They are usually 2-3 feet long and can pick up a pencil, Kleenex, sock and other clothing quite easily. They can be found in stores that sell rehab equipment with less expensive ones in dollar stores, department stores and others.
The sock aid helps when it is difficult to bend. Slip your sock over the sock aid with the heel of the sock against the hard plastic side of the sock aid. Drop the sock aid to the floor and slide your foot inside the sock aid while pulling on the strap with both hands until the sock is fully on your foot and the sock aid pops loose. Use the reacher or long-handled shoehorn to adjust your socks and/or to take them off.
Long-handled shoehorns can be used to put on / take off your shoes. When putting on your shoe, use a reacher to hold the top part of your shoe, including the tongue and slide your foot in while using the shoehorn at the heel.
When taking off your shoe use the end of your reacher to push your shoes off.
There are other assistive devices such as grab bars, non-slip mats and tub, shower seats and more. Add these to your list of great useful gifts!
Brenda Sterling-Goodwin
New Glasgow

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Healthy eating plus physical activity equals A+

the Editor:
Physical activity and healthy eating provide a vital foundation for healthy growth and development.
Given that children and youth spend a significant part of their day at school, there are many opportunities for schools to improve health outcomes for students. Schools play a vital role in influencing our youth’s decisions. They provide an ideal setting to establish and promote healthy eating and physical activity in children and youth. Schools can provide access to healthy foods and physical activity opportunities, quality daily physical education and support for active transportation, education and peer modeling.
It’s not just about health. It’s also about academic success. Physical education has been shown to improve school performance, even when less time is spent by children on other school subjects. Nutrition programs such as school breakfast programs can improve nutrition in children and academic performance.
Doctors know that school board members play a central role in establishing high-level policies, programs and services that support healthy eating and increase physical activity levels in the school community. They must understand this connection and create policies and environments that give kids the advantages they deserve. Doctors Nova Scotia encourages school board members and candidates to take action and implement healthy change.
For more information, visit http://www.hpclearinghouse.ca/alliance/Add_it_up.asp.
John Finley, President
Doctors Nova Scotia
www.doctorsns.com

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Businesses are closing:Just where do the jobs start?

To the Editor:
After reading this morning’s paper, I am not sure just what to think any more.
We have heard in the past ‘Jobs start here’ and ‘Ships start here’. But now we have two more businesses closing: M&M Meats putting six people out of work and then there is Nova Forge closing and putting another 32 out of a job in February.
So that brings a total of 38 pay cheques out of the community.
And than there is Maritime Steel that is still closing. So I ask once again, where are the so-called jobs that start here?
It looks likely to me that jobs leave here, not jobs start here.
And no one can be sure what is happening at Trenton’s DSTN plant, for there is never an update from their office.
So what does all this mean? It looks like to me that more workers will be leaving to find jobs and work elsewhere.
So I guess the action plan by the feds and the ‘Jobs Start Here’ by the NDP government is just a saying put out by the way of ads by our two governments.
Loyd Murray
New Glasgow

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Mad about MADD

To the Editor:
I have had enough of the road blocks by the local police and RCMP pushing MADD’s propaganda on us. Let it be clear I do not believe in drunk driving, but I do feel we have the right to have a glass of wine or a beer with our dinner.
It seems these people from MADD will not stop until this very simple pleasure and right we have is taken away from us. So please do not stop us at your road blocks; some of us are busy trying to promote freedom and democracy not take it away.
Andrew Fraser
Pictou Landing

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Angry words for “ignorant” drivers

To the Editor:
This is an open letter to the RCMP and drivers of Pictou:
Can you please be more effective at slowing people down in the residential areas of Pictou? There are drivers absolutely flying down my street every day from stop sign to stop sign. I really have seen enough at this point.
I’ve called in licence plates, given dirty looks, shaken my fist… nothing works. Perhaps we need to look at speed limits, speed bumps even closing off certain roads.
I live on a narrow street with barely 100 feet between houses across the road and regularly see drivers spinning their tires half way down the block only to slam on the brakes to make the stop. I mean really, are you a complete and total idiot? You sure look like one when you’re driving your car like that.
Is it the “young punks”, as one canvassing ex-council member suggested during his campaign on my block? It’s not just the “young punks”. I’ve seen all manner of people driving as though they’re being chased by satan itself. What does it take to slow these fools down?
It’s strikingly clear that civic (hint) pride is not a key focal emotion for them; I would say that they are dangerously anti-social. This morning alone before 10 a.m., three cars have rifled their way down our short block; it’s the same every day! After dark is even worse.
I can see your licence plates from my living room, I can even make a video for the RCMP from my chesterfield.
Final words of advice: Racing between stop signs is rough on your car, burns more gas and grates on the nerves. Slow the hell down you ignorant fools before you kill somebody’s child or smash through someone’s front room.
I know loud cars are annoying, but cars being driven by individuals with no regard for the rules of the road, the laws of physics or the lives of others should be targeted and systematically pulled from our streets.
Sincerely angered!
Trevor Stanley
Pictou

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New centre,new dreams

The Pictou County Wellness Centre has completed its official launch.
Now it’s time for the new facility to reach its full potential, and the four-day gala celebrations that ended Sunday demonstrates what events it can accommodate.
The Wellness Centre includes two NHL-size ice surfaces, a six-lane, 25-metre swimming pool, a warm water pool for therapeutic and recreational activities, a fitness centre, multi-purpose community and conference space, a walking track and a regulation-size gymnasium.
The centre’s celebrations included sport and recreation events and a donor reception. The gala dinner on the main rink floor Sunday was a precursor to what kind of convention business it can host.
People are still getting used to the place. Sight lines in the hockey rinks are different because of the regulation protective netting surrounding the ice surfaces. The ice has been soft sometimes. Balancing the air-to-air exchange system and ice temperature is a work in progress. But people seeing the place for the first time marvel at it.
The Wellness Centre is more than a gleaming new facility. It is more than the most recent evidence of how Pictou County residents and businesses unite behind a common cause. It is a statement. It is a fundamental example of where Pictou County needs to go, and that there is no turning back.
It is also a paradox. The Wellness Centre is something that, in one perspective, stands on its own merits and, in another one, is simply a piece of a larger puzzle Pictou County needs to assemble to move ahead.
Kudos have gone out to members of the campaign cabinet and staff and to those who designed and drove the centre’s construction.
One needs the likes of project manager Joe Fiander and chief engineer Aaron Bryant to deliver such a masterpiece on time and on budget.
It is also energized by the community-minded vision and comportment of cabinet co-chairmen Dr. John Hamm and Murray Hill – and by the consummate professionalism of communications and fundraising manager Nicole LeBlanc.
Hundreds of people of all ages are enjoying the facility now, but its future success will be measured by a generation as enthusiastic about the Pictou County Wellness Centre as this one is to allow it to flourish, to benefit people mentally and physically as a place where they listen, learn, share and grow.
That is a real opportunity worth cherishing.

Steve Goodwin

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Community unites for worthy cause

To the Editor:
The staff at Grant Thornton would like to thank everyone who helped raise 1,969 pounds of food for the Pictou County Food Bank.
It could not have been done without the great support from the following members of the community and their staff: Town of Trenton, Webbuilders Group, RBC – New Glasgow Branch, I Matheson & Company Ltd, Empire Theatres Ltd, Scotia McLeod – Chabassol/Bugden Group, Investors Group, Mac Mac and Mac Law Offices, Foord St. Tobacco Shop, Dr. Patricia Craig, Glen Haven Manor, Pictou Mutual Insurance Company, Wear Well Garments Ltd, Swiss Chalet, New Glasgow Veterinary Clinic, Highland Optical Ltd, BF Archibald Construction Ltd, Pictou County Excavators, Dr. Theresa Vienneau, Cowan St. Dental, Robert Walsh, Keith Boudreau.
It was great to see the community come together for a worthy cause at this time of year.
Nathan MacLeod
Grant Thornton LLP, Chartered Accountants
New Glasgow

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Pictou Garden Club has great year

To the Editor:
The Pictou Garden Club sends out an invitation to come and join in their fun and fellowship. Members from Pictou and surrounding area continued to carry out their mission to joyfully explore, gladly promote and actively share all aspects of gardening this past year.
Each September winning Junior Gardener students from grades 2-5 of the Pictou Elementary School are presented with awards and plants donated by Sobeys. The club organizes the project and judges their gardens as well as encourages participants to enter the Pictou North Colchester Exhibition flower competition.
Proudfoots Home Hardware and the club worked together and were fortunate enough to win a tree planting contest. The club members, Proudfoot’s staff and the Town of Pictou planted trees throughout the town having one planted by Rick Hansen.
The members made their annual financial donation to the food bank rather than exchange gifts. Other community projects include planting/pruning at the Veteran’s Wing, holding a pruning workshop at the Oddfellows Home, plantings at the Scammell Garden as well as enjoying their annual Christmas tree decorating.
Each year during the long weekend in May the members donate plants to their annual plant sale from their gardens and from those kind enough to share. Proceeds from this sale are donated to the Town of Pictou toward the cost of the hanging baskets. This year $1,500 was raised.
In June the club took part in the Pictou Renaissance Society yard sale donating not only their plants but their great baking with the profits divided between the two groups.
Dr. Thomas McCulloch Junior High school students sought out the expertise of the club to help them work on the planters at the school. It is hopeful that they will continue to beautify their school with further plantings.
This September the club took on the responsibility of looking after the flower section at the Pictou North Colchester Exhibition as well as entering nearly one hundred plant and vegetable entries. Prize money helps provide the annual bursaries donated to students at Pictou Academy and Northumberland Regional High.
The Pictou club hosted the Eastern District #7 Fall Rally in October with positive feedback from the seven clubs which confirmed they had a great time again in Pictou.
The major project in contributing to downtown beautification this year was the addition of two walkways into the Scammell Garden.
But, we are not all work and no play! Each year we have garden tours in June and July closing with delightful food and fellowship. Members and their guests get together in August and December for pot lucks which are always very enjoyable. Periodically road trips lead to places like PEI with plans for more in the future.
Regular meetings are held at the Oddfellows Community Room at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday each month. Members are from the town of Pictou, Saltsprings, Marshsville, Caribou Island, Caribou River, Braeshore, Poplar Hill, Lyons Brook, etc. which confirms all are welcome.
Pictou Garden Club executive members Novelle Crosby, president; Karen Hicks, vice-president; Angie Burrell, secretary; and Beth Henderson, treasurer, invite you to Come Grow With Us!
Beth Henderson
Three Brooks

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Planters, mufflers, noise highlight council agenda

Residents are still upset by the number of planters at the Church and Water streets entrance to the downtown.
Council heard complaints yet again that the planters were ‘overkill’ with some even referencing caskets.
Council was presented with a draft of the noise bylaw, and requested amendments pertaining to loud mufflers and decibel levels for industry as well. Council requested a section on nuisance pertaining to mufflers and in general be included in the bylaw for enforcement purposes. The new draft will be brought back to council.
The issue surrounding the Pictou North Colchester Exhibition and ATV/off road vehicles was once again brought up at council.
Council recommended there be only one event held on the exhibition grounds per year, not running more than four consecutive days under certain stipulations, including filling the mud bogging pit after the event.
The issue has been ongoing in council since at least 2010 with residents in the area complaining of the noise and dirt associated with the events.
There is also a question as to whether the events are causing damage to the ground and water in the form of pollution with a well head a short distance from the event location.
Council will vote on the bylaw at its next scheduled meeting.

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Funding found for flood victims

LOWER MOUNT THOM – Stewart Cornelius can still remember what it was like to wake up to a natural calamity this fall.
It was dawn when he looked out the window and saw a ravine filled with water between his home and Route 4 and his driveway washed out from a sudden and heavy rainstorm that struck Pictou County in September.
“It was 6:30 and I just woke up and saw this body of water 16 feet high and 80 feet wide,” he said. “It’s amazing, the power of the water coming through there.”
Cornelius and his wife Tammy moved there a year ago.
“The basement in the house never flooded,” he said.
Since then, the Corneliuses have been limited to walking between their property and the road. Their paved driveway is too narrow for motor vehicles and the water course under it needs to be replaced.
A larger pipe for the brook and a restored driveway would work, but they’d like a bridge.
They are among residents in Colchester and Pictou counties who may be eligible for the help they need to repair their homes and businesses after flooding caused by the rain.
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker, who is also the MLA for Pictou West, announced on Friday $2.2 million in financial assistance to cover uninsurable damage caused by the flooding.
“We are introducing a disaster financial assistance plan to help families, small business owners and communities begin to recover,” Parker said. “This flooding has created great difficulty for some families, and we don’t want them to have to try to deal with the problems alone.”
The program includes basic recovery assistance to those affected by floods from heavy rain.
“Our community has sustained a fair amount of damage from flooding,” said Cornelius. “The creation of this financial assistance plan is what many in Pictou County need to continue with their normal lives.”
Until recently, disaster financial assistance was capped at $50,000. The province has increased the maximum assistance to $80,000 for people and small businesses and $200,000 for not-for-profit organizations. The new cap applies to current and future disaster assistance claims.
Repair work already done does not disqualify applicants. Claims information and application forms are available at emo.gov.ns.ca and at Access Nova Scotia centres. The deadline to apply is Feb. 8.
Not everyone at the announcement at the West River Fire Hall was able to celebrate.
Floyd Cock of the Jitney Trail Committee learned that work they’ve done to repair a similar breach caused by the flooding won’t qualify because it isn’t property the committee members own. Natural Resources owns the trail and must be consulted for repairs, he said.

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Food banks benefit from Grant Thornton food drive

What does 1,969 pounds of food look like? A merry Christmas for the Pictou County Food Bank.
Each year around this time, senior managers from Grant Thornton offices across Atlantic Canada meet in Halifax for an Atlantic Conference.
“We usually do something collectively for the holidays that tends to benefit only the Halifax region,” explains Nathan MacLeod, one of the four senior managers at the New Glasgow Grant Thornton office. “This year we decided to do something beforehand so it benefited each community.”
This year, the offices divided into groups based on province and it turned into a competition of sorts to see which province could come out on top.
“As a province we decided to collect food for the local food bank because it was something that had a direct correlation for each office and each community,” says MacLeod.
MacLeod says they were keen to support the food bank because it would make a huge difference in the community especially this time of year when money tends to get tough.
Just in the county, Grant Thornton raised 1,969 pounds of food for the food bank.
“We never did this before so we didn’t know what a reasonable goal was so we had hoped to raise one tonne across the province,” he explains. “But we raised almost that here in Pictou County.”
The provincial total for food was 8,300 pounds.
“We were shocked,” says MacLeod. “We got a hold of our contacts and clients to see if anyone was interested in taking part, then we went around to the various businesses and individuals and picked up the items.”
The collection took place over a very short period of time, approximately two weeks and the outcome was incredible.
“We were so surprised, first by the willingness of people to take part and by the amount of food we brought in, especially with all of the other food drives that take place this time of year.”
Grant Thornton won’t know until next week which province came out on top, but he is very proud of Pictou County.
“This is a pretty good testament to the charitable giving aspect of the county. We just want to thank everyone that helped us get there, because we wouldn’t have had these results if it weren’t for them.”

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Finance minister: Balanced budget

STELLARTON – Forces beyond the Dexter government’s control will determine whether it can present a balanced budget next spring, Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald says.
During a presentation Monday at the latest business breakfast hosted by the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, MacDonald outlined some things the government has done to control spending and cited federal transfer payments and offshore royalties among items that will have a bearing on its plan to balance the books in 2013-14.
MacDonald, who replaced Graham Steele as finance minister when he resigned earlier this year to sit as an MLA, used much of the information Steele shared during his province-wide consultations to assess what the government is doing about past spending practices as she travels around the province.
Ensuring an accuracy cost of infrastructure projects, such as the planned expansion of the emergency and pharmacy departments at the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow is partly responsible for the project’s delays, she said.
MacDonald alluded to the construction costs for the new health centre in Truro that nearly doubled before it was completed.
“We’re trying to avoid that,” she said.
MacDonald touched on new programs, such as the recent introduction of collaborative care centres that she said are delivering better service and utilizing doctors and other health care professionals more efficiently.
She said construction of a new school in New Glasgow and money for a study leading to a possible new school in Trenton will control costs better under the new regime.
MacDonald also said the government’s huge investments in Irving Shipbuilding, DSTN in Trenton and the Port Hawkesbury pulp mill are complicated and will be reflected on the books over time, not in one year.
“Every investment is different,” she said.
MacDonald expects to learn federal figures for Nova Scotia in a week or so, while offshore revenues remain uncertain despite investment and exploration announced by BP and Shell.
Annual offshore royalties peaked at $451 million in 2008-09 and are now at $27 million, she said.
Despite those challenges, Nova Scotia has achieved favourable interest rates while continuing on a path to reduce the province’s net debt in relation to GDP toward 30 per cent.
She reviews the three keys to balancing the books in Nova Scotia. Besides raising revenue and controlling spending, growing the economy is crucial, she said.
So is the creation of good jobs, she said, noting that 53 per cent of taxes filed have taxable income below $30,000 a year.
“We have to address the fact we have too many people at or near minimum wage,” she said.
Although university funding has been reduced by three per cent, MacDonald noted a $25 million innovation fund established for them.

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Town council inches closer to backing governance study

STELLARTON – Town council may join a municipal governance study after all.
Coun. George Megeney, who has opposed the study, indicated his support for it and the town’s $25,000 share during council’s regular meeting Monday.
The province has pledged to match the cost of the study based on contributions of $25,000 each from the six local municipalities, but the process stalled when Stellarton and Westville balked at paying that much for it. Stellarton’s official position was that it would pay its share based on tax assessment, meaning its share would be less than half that amount. Westville council said it couldn’t afford it and wanted to spend the money on town needs.
“I think we should look at $25,000 in the next budget,” Megeney said.
Coun. Denise Taylor raised the governance study issue Monday night as part of business from previous meetings. She pointed out that council had agreed to defer the matter to after this fall’s municipal elections and referred to correspondence from the province, media coverage and the Pictou Council Chamber of Commerce’s support for a study.
Mayor Joe Gennoe dismissed the Chamber’s support for the study, saying the chamber represents barely 10 per cent of local businesses and has never had more than 15 per cent of businesses among its membership.
He also discounted about 100 names contained on a petition presented by Coun. Ken Francis and supporting Stellarton’s endorsement of the study.
“I don’t think we should be afraid,” Francis said. “We need to have open minds. We can’t say this is the first or last time we have this discussion.”
Francis disputed Gennoe’s charge that Stellarton would have to amalgamate if a study recommended it.
“No one is saying that,” he said.
Megeney initially rebuked the study’s merits, saying people didn’t vote for him to waste time on it.
“We don’t need to give away what we’ve gained,” he said.
“How do you know if it’s good for Stellarton – we don’t know,” Taylor retorted, while referring to past overtures regarding possible amalgamation of the local municipalities. “Things have changed.”
The discussion spilled over into council’s regular open forum.
Fred Vienneau, a resident who attended the meeting, criticized Gennoe’s claim that a governance study would tear the town apart.
“There’s nobody going to tear the heart out of Stellarton if I have anything to do with it,” he said.
“Amalgamation is only a word. I’m not for amalgamation or against it. I’m for a study.”

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Sports shop moving to Wellness Centre

Dave Wilson has been in the sporting goods industry for the past 25 years and is making a move he has never made before.
Wilson is owner/operator of Sports Excellence on Provost Street in New Glasgow and he is preparing to close up the shop and move into the Pictou County Wellness Centre to provide pro shop services under the name Pro Sport Pro Shop.
“I wanted to offer a specialty hockey business and the Wellness Centre seemed to be the perfect fit,” says Wilson. “I will be focusing on hockey and swim wear and accessories to start as well as team sales.”
Wilson’s pro shop will be located in the hallway between the two arenas, where the change rooms are located and will be approximately 500 square feet.
“I am very excited about the move,” he says. “It is a bit smaller but it is a great location and there is always the possibility to expand in the future.”
Wilson will be offering hockey skate sharpening, full skate repair, hockey gear and custom hockey skate fitting.
“We will have a machine that will customize the skate to any foot and will break the skate in about 70 per cent. It can also expand the skate to fit a wider foot,” explains Wilson.
He will also be offering hockey accessories like tape, pucks, laces, water bottles and swim wear, goggles, ear and nose plugs and pool footwear.
Wilson has all of his new stock ready and waiting for the location to be ready which he expects to be somewhere around mid to late December. That means everything at Sports Excellence is marked at 60 to 70 per cent off for items like downhill ski gear, outer wear, snow board equipment, footwear, soccer and golf cleats which will no longer be offered after the move.
“We are hoping the location will be very busy,” says Wilson. “There are about 350 minor hockey kids in Pictou County that will go through the two sheets of ice in the facility in one week during the peak season and it’s the best pool facility in Northern Nova Scotia. There is a brand new YMCA facility and gymnasium in terms of core athletics in the centre so we are very positive that it will transfer into sales.”

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CIBC commitment quadruples: Original $25,000 donation boosted by $75,000

CIBC has announced an increase in their donation of $75,000 for a total of $100,000 to support the Pictou County Wellness Centre and the residents of Pictou County who will use its services.
In December of last year cabinet members were proud to announce a generous $25,000 donation from CIBC.
“We were thrilled to hear this news,” said Murray Hill, campaign co-chair.
“This is an absolutely incredible investment in our community, and we’re so pleased to see CIBC continue to commit to this project and support it in such a substantial manner.”
This announcement was made prior to a free skate, organized as part of the grand opening events for the Wellness Centre on Saturday.
“The Pictou County Wellness Centre is an important part of the community and I am proud that CIBC is doing its part to support this great project,” said Howard Anderson, CIBC Wood Gundy.
Last year it was announced that the Wall of Honour, the setting where all donor names are housed in the lobby of the centre, would be named in honour of CIBC Wood Gundy.
The Pictou County Wellness Centre opened its door to the public on Monday, November 19. A grand opening weekend of activities was held December 6-9 that featured several hockey games, a figure skating club ice show, sledge hockey demos, a wellness fair and the annual Juvenile Diabetes Walk/Run. It was capped off Sunday night with a gala event which served as a fundraiser for four local charities.

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Just a ‘shaving off’ Movember team’s goal

Well, here we are Pictou County. December. The time of the year when Movember moustaches are discarded like the dying autumn leaves of a hardwood tree.
It’s been quite a ride, especially for Movember rookie Norman Lord of Little Harbour.
Lord, along with his son Curtis, teamed up this year with Curtis doing a traditional Movember beard grow while Norman broke ground with a reverse-Movember, offering up his beard of 41 years to the cause of men’s health.
It was a solid effort for the Lords and although the $1,500 they raised wasn’t quite the $5,000 they had their eyes on, it’s a respectable finish nonetheless. All the same, for the cause and for some new found reasons picked up along the way, Norman and Curtis Lord were shaved Saturday morning by Jessie and Jennifer at the Cat’s Meow in Westville.
“At $1,500 we were certainly short of what we originally hoped to get,” Lord said, “but every dollar helps and it is for a good cause. Some people contributed funds just to see the beard come off and I figured if they contributed I can’t just say no because we didn’t quite get to our goal.
“This has built into a few other things that have kind of come along,” Lord explained. “My kids have never seen me without the beard and it’s been 41 years since I’ve had it on.”
He chuckled, “Now mind you I would think that in January I’ll start to let it grow again and, well, maybe I’m lazy but I’m not going to get up every morning and start shaving. I haven’t done that for 41 years, why start now?”
If indeed the beard returns, Lord said it will come back as it was, as a full beard. Although a shaved face is a blank canvas for beard possibilities, Lord knows what works for him, as it served him well over the last 41 years. “It feels comfortable on my face.”
Lord says he has been recognized a few times in the run-up to the big shave and enjoyed the encouragement and support people have given him.
“It was fun, letting people know what the cause was and it was nice to see people recognise the need and contribute to it.”

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MacKinnon’s outreach program reaches milestone

Pictou East MLA Clarrie MacKinnon began a program of Community Office Days in 2006 and this week he and constituents will celebrate the one hundredth.
“When I first became MLA, staying in touch with constituents required innovation” stated the MLA. “In a creative spirit it all began.”
Pictou East is dotted with villages and rural communities. The Community Office Day program has involved 22 different community halls and has contributed $10,000 in revenue over the past six years.
Over the past few years, average visitation at Community Office Days is between 20 and 30 constituents. This Friday’s attendance is likely to be higher. It is being held at St. Ann’s Hall in Thorburn from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a special holiday reception from 2 to 5 p.m.

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Injured workers group rails against WCB regime

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

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