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Ike Murray easily county’s top bowler

Maybe it’s because I bowled so much myself when I lived in Pictou County. Or because I spent so much time hanging around the Heather Lanes when they were on New Glasgow’s west side. Regardless, there’s one question that I’ve been asked frequently since that time.
Who did I consider the best bowler in the county?
As I’ve premised on each occasion, what an easy question to answer. That’s because, in my opinion at least, there’s just one person who deserves such a label.
It’s Ike Murray.
As far as I’m concerned, there’s no need to suggest anyone else, male or female, from any time frame. The Trenton native belongs at the top of the list, so far in front of any others that it’s a one-horse race by the one-time horse owner.
Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of fine bowlers in the county, especially when the sport was at its height in popularity in the 1950s and into the ’60s. Names I suggest include Dave Grant, Jimmy Morrison, Ikie Uhren, Gibby Hiscott, Garnie Wamback, John Toney and Frank Sommerville. On the ladies side there were ones like Gladys Morrison, Etta Forrestall, Mary Sloan, Alva Roy and Janet Watters. More could be mentioned.
But when you roll out the statistics, it’s easy to designate Ike Murray as “best in bowling.” Nobody else accumulated high scores and championships like he did.
I doubt, too, that anybody will match his achievements going forward.
When Ike competed at the old Vee-Eight Lanes on Archimedes Street, he bowled on four Nova Scotia championship teams. Later, when he owned his own alleys in Oromocto, N.B., he was on seven New Brunswick championship teams, including five in a row at one stage. Not to be overlooked, there were a bunch of Maritime championship wins, as well.
Twice he represented Nova Scotia at the world candlepin championships in Boston and, on one of those occasions, he was among 1,000 or so bowlers and had the third best average. Yes, he was that good.
There are too many outstanding numbers in his portfolio to mention them all, but I’ll point out a few to show what I mean.
He once bowled a 183 single, and a 443 triple. If you know candlepin bowling, you know how impressive those totals were.
And check out these two performances: He once recorded a 100 string without a mark, meaning he had 10 consecutive 10s; as well, he once bowled a game with 10 consecutive spares for a 178 single. Those certainly aren’t easy things to do.
In the old Main Street League at the Vee-Eight Lanes – the best league in the county, and one of the best in the province, for years – he had the highest average for 12 consecutive years. Even hockey’s greatest, Wayne Gretzky, didn’t collect scoring titles like that.
I could go on and on reciting Murray’s achievements, but I think you can see where this is going.
His career, which started in the late 1940s and went on into the 1980s, got him inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame, only the second bowler so honoured. The other was Halifax’s bowling legend, Wilbert Martel. Ike was also given a pew in the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame, and a place on the Sports Wall of Frame in Fredericton.
Murray accomplished so much that you’d think he never did anything in his life outside bowling lanes.
Well think again.
At the beginning, he worked at the Trenton car works; then he operated a grocery business in Hillside, at the lower end of Trenton; he later operated a bowling alley in Dartmouth and, in Oromocto, he owned his own bowling lanes. Those were his money-making jobs.
When he wasn’t at work, he was president of the New Brunswick Men’s Bowling Association, and he served as president of the Maritime Men’s Senior Bowling Association.
And, it should be noted, his sports involvement went far beyond the bowling community.
He managed the Trenton Scotias junior hockey team when it had its finest years. He held the same position with the New Glasgow Rangers in senior hockey. And he was a dominate figure in softball when he managed the Trenton Scotias senior team, also during its finest seasons. Oh yes, he was a horse owner and raced horses in Canada and the United States.
Ike wasn’t going to stay away from the county forever, so when his days in bowling finally concluded a few years ago, he and his wife returned and, now 87 years young, he lives on New Glasgow’s west side.
Through the years, I always loved sitting down with Ike, chatting about bowling or any of the other sports in which he was involved.
He was always a winner, always a gentleman, in my books. Yet he was always quick to reflect credit to others, to the people around him.
As he said to me once when I asked him how he accomplished so much on the lanes, he emphasized the view that no one ever did it alone in bowling, that it was a team sport in which the whole team had to share in any winning or any glory.
He told me often that practice was the key to success, that he used to bowl, even by himself, anytime he had some spare time.
I did a lot of bowling myself through the 1960s era, spending so much time at the Heather Lanes that news contacts in the county used to track me down there. Despite all that time on the lanes, I can truthfully say that I never came anywhere close to Murray’s level.
Oh, I once bowled a 400 game and, I have to say, that’s a thrill for any bowler. But Ike? He bowled so many 400 games that he was never able to say exactly how many.
So you see why I consider him number one.

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Tennis courts under construction

PICTOU – Three years ago, a small group of Pictou residents decided they wanted a tennis court once again in the town.
Now after years of planning, organizing and raising funds, the courts are under construction in Broidy Park.
“They are prepping the ground and taking off the top soil,” explains Rob McDowell, president of the Highland Tennis Association. “Next they will fill it in with different grades of gravel.”
The project began in 2010 with the formation of the Highland Tennis Association, a group of seven volunteers.
“The organization wants to work toward a broader goal resurrecting the tennis culture in Pictou County,” says McDowell.
The same company that built the new tennis court in New Glasgow, Maritime Tennis based in New Glasgow, is also working on this tennis court which will share the US Open colours – blue and green.
“We considered the same style as the one in New Glasgow but we were concerned about how it might hold up in our climate, so we went with the tried and true asphalt based courts.”
McDowell says the construction process takes five weeks from start to finish and is expected to be complete by mid-October at which time the court will be open for people to try out for approximately three weeks until it has to be closed for the winter.
“There will be 10-foot fencing around and they are hoping to put the colours on this fall, but if it’s a damp October it won’t be until the spring,” he says.
The dream has finally come to fruition and McDowell says the association is thrilled.
“We are excited. We had hoped it would be earlier, but we had some delays and it is being built now, that’s all that matters,” he says. “It’s also nice that it will be all local contractors being used. It’s quite a show piece for Broidy Park, the hub area for people to congregate. It’s a great thing.”
The organization is still seeking funding for the project and would be grateful for any donations for which charitable tax receipts are offered.

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Crushers take Commandos in OT

The Weeks Jr. A Crushers posted a 6-5 win Saturday night, after facing off against the Dieppe Commandos in an away game.
Dieppe scored two goals in the first period answered by the Crushers’ two goals.
The first goal scored by the Crushers during the first period was by David Stephens assisted by Jordan McInnis and Rory Graham and the second was scored during a power play by Brandon Parsons assisted by Brett Doiron and Nick Parker.
The second period remained close between the teams as both posted goals again, making it a three-three tie with the Crusher’s goal from Evan MacEachern assisted by Stephens and Mitchell Deruelle.
The third period was action packed with the tie continuing as both teams scored two more goals, the Crushers’ goals coming from Doiron assisted by McInnis and the second from Deruelle in a power play assisted by Stephens.
The final period of the game remained close for the MHL teams, going into overtime. The Crushers came out ahead with the winning goal at 1:42 of overtime by Stephens, assisted by Deruelle.
The Crushers’ next hockey action will be take place this Thursday, September 19, when they face off against Yarmouth.

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Albion club charts 25th season

TRENTON – Athletes are rounding into form at the Albion Amateur Boxing Club.
The Albion Boxing Club began its 2013-14 season which will mark its 25th anniversary, with workouts that started on Sept. 3 and will proceed through next June.
“We’re seeing who’s ready and what their weight is,” Albion head coach Jim Worthen said.
The club members total about 25, although 16 have shown up so far.
Among them are Shania MacPhee, Brady MacDonald and Keegan Hughes, who are getting in shape to compete at the national junior championships this fall in Quebec City.
All of the boxers at the gym last week were going through rigourous workouts either shadow boxing, working on the punching bags, skipping rope, or taking their turns sparring in the ring.
The club has already received some good news after learning they finally have a home venue to host cards. Both Northumberland Regional High School in Alma and North Nova Education Centre in New Glasgow will accommodate cards, subject to their availability.
Worthen said the gesture will make it a lot easier for the club to host cards that will help the club mark its silver anniversary.
A card at either school could take place later in the fall.
“Now we know we have a venue and that’s really good news,” he said.
Cards are already being lined up elsewhere.
There is no confirmation which club boxers will compete on the cards, but the club is looking forward to them.
They are scheduled for Sept. 28 in Middleton and Oct. 5 in Liverpool.
“We could be busy,” Worthen said.
The club trains each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 6:15 to 8:15 p.m. in the Trenton Youth Centre building on Main Street from September through June and usually closes for the summer.

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Telling stories

ECMA award winning country artist and PEI based singer-songwriter Meaghan Blanchard will be performing at the deCoste Centre in Pictou on September 24 in support of her third album, She’s Gonna Fly.
Joining her will be UK banjoist Dan Walsh who was paired with the artist through the Music PEI Artist Exchange Program.
“They pair up two musicians,” Blanchard explained, “one from the East Coast of Canada and one from the UK. Dan Walsh is coming over here for a week tour of the Maritimes and in the fall of 2014 I’ll be going to the UK to do the same thing. I think it’s going to be great. I can’t wait to meet him. It’s like a blind date!”
Blanchard picked up song writing early in her life, when she was 11 or 12. “I don’t know what it would be like to just be a singer. You really put yourself out there with your own stories. I think it would be really nice in some regards but I think artists have this innate need to tell stories and express themselves. I’d be a different person I think. I’d be more uptight. I think I’d just be unhappy I guess, like I wasn’t participating in this way of living.”
The artist explained, “I feel most connected to this world and people in this world when I write a song about something I’m connected with. The title track ‘She’s Gonna Fly’, for example: I explain that as a song for women who go through so much and don’t really say anything about it and I know lots of women in my life that are like that. It’s just amazing when I hear someone I don’t know telling me their personal story because I wrote this song and it’s like I wrote it for them. It’s my therapy too.”
Of the 12 songs on the album, Blanchard penned 10 while the remaining pair are from Seth Livengood, a Georgian songwriter whose work she became familiar with while recording the album in Athens, Georgia.
For most people if Athens, Georgia rings a bell at all it is most likely due to it being the place of origin for the bands REM and the B52s. Blanchard would be the first to admit that on paper, Athens does seem like an odd place to record a country album but doing so allowed her to work with John Keane who has produced albums for the B52s, REM and Cowboy Junkies, among others.
“I raised money two years ago to go to the Memphis Folk Alliance. I just went on a whim wanting to be around music people. I just wanted to meet people,” Blanchard said, “I wasn’t looking for a record producer but that’s what I found. I ended up being introduced to John Keane just through someone who had seen me at a songwriter circle and John and I just hit it off. It’s funny how things work out.”
Blanchard will be performing songs from She’s Gonna Fly and will be accompanied by UK banjoist Dan Walsh on September 24 at the deCoste Centre.

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Kaeshammer opening deCoste’s fall season

PICTOU–Michael Kaeshammer opens the deCoste Centre fall season on Thursday, September 19, at 8 p.m.
Kaeshammer is a gifted singer and songwriter, a highly trained technician and interpreter and an incendiary piano player. But also, on stage and off, he’s a consummate host.
The boogie-woogie pianist best known as a must-see live act reaffirms his true colours in concert: he loves R&B, particularly if there’s a New Orleans roll to the beat. Pop often takes the centre stage, while jazz rarely gets forgotten for long.
Kaeshammer talent for piano, vocals and stage talk brings a young Harry Connick Jr. to mind… “The jazz man from Toronto mixed in boogie-woogie from New Orleans, reggae from the legendary Peter Tosh and enough pop influences to think that just maybe he spent some time listening to his countrymen in Barenaked Ladies when he was growing up,” says Mark Bialczak, The Syracuse Post.
Kaeshammer’s performances, on record and on stage, are an invitation to join the party. He doesn’t play at you. He plays with you.
Tickets are on sale at the deCoste Centre box office.

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Monkey Junk kicking off Blues Society’s fall season

The Pictou County Blues Society kicks off its fall season with Ottawa-based jazz trio Monkey Junk.
Monkey Junk has been performing for five years, releasing two albums with their swamp, R&B, soul mix that has won them 15 Maple Blues Awards between 2008 and 2013, a Blues Music Award (USA) for best new artist debut in 2010 as well as a Canadian Independent Music Award the same year for Blues Album of the Year as well as a Juno Award in 2012 for Best Album of the Year. They are touring their third album Frequencies.
Monkey Junk is playing their only Nova Scotia show this fall at the White Tail Pub and Grill in Westville on September 20.
Matt Sobb, drummer says, “Last time we played the White Tail, we walked in and our poster was on the wall in between posters for Dave’s on the Bowl and Canadian Playboys and when we walked inside there were deer heads on the wall. We were like, what did we get ourselves into? But it turned out to be one of our best shows. It was quite the first impression but a great night with high energy and we are hoping for the same.”
“The East Coast Blues Society is having its first year of holding auditions in two categories and the winners will be sponsored to attend the International Blues Challenge held in Memphis each year, representing Nova Scotia,” explains Katie MacDonald of the Pictou County Blues Society. “Our 50/50 draw will also go in the kitty with the raffle to send the artists to Monkey Junk. We will have our own raffle as well for the book ‘A Portrait of Blues in Canada’.
“We have another item as well to raffle, a full size hand woven hammock from the Yucatan Peninsula. We’ll hold the raffles until our spring show in 2014 when we will draw the winners.”
As MacDonald says, this is going to be a great kick off to the fall season.
Tickets are $18 in advance at The White Lotus and H&R Music or $20 at the door.

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Thanks to Empire Theatres for continued support

To the Editor:
Special Olympics Pictou County would like to take this time to extend our deep thanks and gratitude to Empire Theatres and their employees for their generous support through the years.
Empire Theatres supported Special Olympics with donations to our Casino Night Fundraisers as well as with free passes from time to time of which our athletes have been the true beneficiaries.
As Empire Theatres winds down its operations, Special Olympics Pictou County thank you for your tremendous support to our community. We wish one and all the very best.
Lesley Anne Sobey
Chair, Public Relations
Co-Chair, Fundraising
Special Olympics Pictou County

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October marks breast cancer awareness month

To the Editor:
October is going to be an important month for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation for two reasons. Not only will we mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but Nova Scotians will also be going to the polls to elect our next government.
CBCF has a mandate to work with governments on behalf of our stakeholders. We’ve been fortunate over the years to collaborate with many political parties to advocate and educate Nova Scotians about early detection, treatment, and life after breast cancer.
What we have accomplished together cumulatively is worth celebrating. Under the leadership and vision of Dr. Judy Caines, director of the Nova Scotia Breast Screening Program, and together with the provincial government, we have a breast screening program other provinces yearn to have.
Here, screening begins at age 40; women can call one toll-free number to book their visit at any clinic; wait times are reasonable; digital mammography machines are in place throughout the province; and every woman has access to the same screening technology – regardless of where they live.
But it doesn’t end there. Following the election, we’ll continue to work with government and the other parties to protect the screening program we’ve all helped build. We need to ensure this level of access remains in place so that women who are being screened – and those who have yet to do so – can continue to benefit.
As Nova Scotians, we need to ensure that advances we have made for women in the area of breast screening remain part of our health care system’s fabric and that we continue to lead by example.
Jane Parsons, CEO
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Atlantic Region

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Appointment of new medical officer of health brings hope for change

To the Editor:
The appointment of Dr. Ryan Sommers as the new Medical Officer of Health for the Northern Region brings hope for change. Among other things, he is to provide leadership in the area of health policy, chronic disease and preventive medicine. As he transitions from physician to bureaucrat, let us hope he carries with him a passion for community health and the resolve to work towards change.
Among the neglected, chronic healthcare issues facing him are these:
•Cancer rates in Nova Scotia are higher than in any other Canadian province, and have been for years. In 2013 there will be 6,100 new cancer cases diagnosed here. Statscan shows that Pictou County is the cancer hot spot in Nova Scotia. Families therefore need to know the cause of such frightening statistics and what the provincial government plans to do about it.
•Air pollution significantly undermines the health of Nova Scotians and drains the provincial treasury. In 2008, the Canadian Medical Association published a comprehensive study on air quality in Canada. It shows that air pollution will cause the death of 82 Nova Scotians in 2015. It will put 315 of our citizens in hospital, send 4,054 to hospital emergency departments and a further 22,254 will visit their doctor for complaints relating to air pollution. The cost to Nova Scotia’s economy from air pollution is estimated at nearly $250 million- for one year! Long-term stats show there will be a steady increase of more than 70 per cent in the number of deaths between 2008 and 2031.
•In Pictou County, a local committee of activists are determined to clean up pollution from the Pictou paper mill that at times blankets the air of Pictou County and spills over into Colchester and Cumberland. Over the last few months, some 3,000 families registered with the committee’s Internet site showing their support for cleaning up mill pollution. The provincial government this year provided massive funding to the mill to, among other things, increase their production capacity.
•Nova Scotia is the province with the highest rate of diabetes, more than 25 per cent higher than the national average.
•Nova Scotia has the highest rate of heart disease, a leading cause of death and disability.
•Nova Scotia is second only to Newfoundland with 22.7 per cent of citizens suffering from arthritis.
•Nova Scotia is second only to Saskatchewan with 9.6 per cent of citizens suffering from asthma.
•Nova Scotia scores third worst in the country behind New Brunswick and PEI for rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
•Nova Scotia has the second highest rate of visits to the family doctor at 81.6 per cent.
•The only province with worse rates than Nova Scotia for high blood pressure – the silent killer – is Newfoundland. Our rate is nearly 30 per cent higher than the national average, a rate that has increased more than 10 per cent in the last five years.
•With respect to mental health, Nova Scotia has the highest rate of mood disorders of any province in Canada.
The evidence seems compelling and urgent and suggests long-term failure by those responsible for community health. While we all share responsibility for our personal health, we can no longer ignore significant public health issues, or to be told once again that our negative life-style choices explain everything.
My hope is that Dr. Sommers has the courage to tackle tough issues head-on and that he will work directly with communities to identify local problems and find solutions.
Graham Johnston
East Earltown

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Where do those tax dollars go?

To the Editor:
With the province of Nova Scotia having the highest tax in Canada, we have all talked about it around the coffee shops. But have we talked about the reasons that we have high taxes?
There are a number of reasons that we have high taxes. One of the reasons at the top of the list is the population is less than one million people. And then there is the industries that are not here any more.
Trenton car works, Sydney Steel Mills and rail lines that have closed down or moved out of the province, that is just a few. So if we take the tax base from all of these, that leaves us to pay the taxes. And that brings one to ask: Where do these tax dollars go and what do they pay for?
Well folks, the tax dollar goes to pay for services that we have all come to rely on.
Just to name a few… health care, road ways, police service for the province, schools, nursing homes for seniors and our education system.
Now, just what would happen if we take that tax system away by cutting taxes? The question well be: Where will the money come from to pay for all of these services?
Well, according to the PC party, that will happen if they win the election on their very first day in office. And if that happens are we ever in big trouble.
Now please do not get me wrong for I do not like paying taxes. But I do know what the taxes go to pay for. And if we lose these services we sure are in big trouble. For taxes have been around since the beginning of time.
For it tells us that in the Bible for the people in those days had to go and be taxed once a year. So the paying of taxes has not changed over the passing of time. But the services that they pay for have changed.
Lloyd Murray
New Glasgow

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School, election mean busy time

To The Editor:
Our schools opened last Thursday for another year, so that means that there are school children walking to and from their schools. As well, school buses are back on the road ways again. So drivers take care and slow down in school zones and watch for the stop and starting of school buses, for it is up to us as drivers to keep and make sure that our road ways are safe.
But now it would seem that we have another problem, for we now have a provincial election to deal with. And that means the road ways and streets and lawns will have signs as another distraction to deal with while driving on our streets and road ways. So for the next month, we better get back to the basics of good driving and keep our children safe, for they are the future leaders of this great country of ours.
PS: The stay-at-home moms and dads – just when they thought they would have some time to themselves to catch up on house work and yard work, they now will have to answer the phone with calls from the promise makers and story tellers, as well as attend to the door to talk to a candidate. Oh well, that’s the way life is. Thank you and have a great day for it will be all over in 30 days folks.
Lloyd Murray
New Glasgow

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Behaviour in Legislature can sometimes mimic bullying

To the Editor:
Yesterday was “Pink Day” (anti-bullying) in some of Nova Scotia’s public schools.
Today (Sept. 13) on CBC radio, Graham Steele is on record as attributing his decision to leave politics, in large part, to the dysfunctional nature of the Legislature.
What he described as the norm for behavior in the Legislature is bullying.
The dishonest twisting of words and manipulative behavior he described as typical of our legislators sounds to me like the behaviors of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder.
Nothing productive is possible in such an atmosphere.
I would encourage every Nova Scotian to convey to all candidates in the upcoming election that their “top concern” is a functional legislature.
Without a functional legislature, nothing of value will emerge with regard to the economy, health care, education, or anything else.
The sad and tragic Rehtaeh Parsons case seems to have finally galvanized public opinion and governmental response into a loud “Enough!! We must do better!!”
Is it possible that Graham Steele’s damning but honest remarks about the dysfunction in our Legislature could have a similar effect?
Could his condemnations galvanize public disgust and legislators’ discouragement into some meaningful reform?
Could we ever hope/ expect/ require that our legislators operate at a level that we are now insisting upon from our five year olds?
If we could, wouldn’t that bode well for the economy, health care, education, and all governmental matters?
A way this could be done – with no time lost and at no extra cost to the taxpayer – would be for all members of the newly constituted Legislative Assembly to submit themselves to the “sensitivity training” that the government occasionally mandates for other professionals, often on the slimmest and most absurd of grounds.
Patricia VanZoost
Kentville

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Election poses huge questions

Let the Election Games begin.
Premier Darrell Dexter has called an election and at this point it will be miraculous for the his NDP government to win reelection, or the historic majority it achieved in 2009.
Polls suggest the NDP are solidly in second place and closing the gap on the Stephen McNeil-led Liberals, who have enjoyed a wide lead for more than a year.
Issues point to a tough road ahead for the NDP. So do riding-by-riding prospects. The NDP made history by forming government in Nova Scotia for the first time in 2009 on the strength of an electorate seeking change and with high expectations. The bar was set high.
Name the file – tourism, forestry, fisheries, finance, education, justice, labour and health – and there is debate over how well this government has handled them. Past governments may have done better, but some of them have done much worse. We’ll see how well voters remember.
Tourism is not enjoying a good year. Entry point numbers are down slightly. But turning Yarmouth’s gateway into land’s end took away an entry point and started the government’s tumble in popularity. The hospitality sector in Pictou County and elsewhere is still feeling the pain.
Clear-cutting forests, embracing more aquaculture, late address of key justice files, questionable labour deals and insufficient funding of health care and education have hurt the government because it won’t get enough credit for the good things it has done to balance the budget during a global economic downturn and with diminished revenues from offshore oil and gas revenues that are poised for recovery.
South Shore constituencies are among a host of rural ridings the NDP could lose.
All three Pictou County constituencies appear to be in play. The government will also be hard-pressed to replace the MLAs on its team who are not reoffering. It’s a generally impressive list.
The NDP’s fate hinges on two other factors. Polls show more than 40 per cent of voters remain undecided, so the government needs most of them.
Four years ago, there was an NDP trend that allowed them to form majority government. There is no trend line favouring either the Liberals or Progressive Conservatives.
McNeil needs to convince voters that the Liberals’ popularity in the polls is more than a mile wide and inch deep. There is no certainty that the Liberals can gain enough ground at the NDP’s expense to even form a minority government.
More of those seats are historically PC leaning and would bleed to the Tories. But with seven seats at the government’s dissolution – and no signs of tracking upward in a way they enjoyed under John Hamm in 1999 – a Tory victory is the biggest of these three long shots.
Whatever party forms government will need to learn all over again how to play with others.
Steve Goodwin

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Events continue to support Juvenile Diabetes Research

PICTOU – Organizers of the Pictou County Walk to Cure Diabetes will be directing participants to the Walk event in Truro this year.
After more than 11 years of hosting the fundraising walk in Pictou, organizers have decided that it was time for a change.
“After more than 10 years of planning the Walk in Pictou County I know that it is time for a change. There is a lot of planning that goes into the Walk every year and our family decided it was best to combine our efforts with the energy of the Walk team in Truro and concentrate on the growth of the run event that was added to the fundraising plan several years ago,” says Crystal Murray.
This year participants are being invited to attend the Walk at Victoria Park in Truro on Sept. 22.
“We welcome all of our family and friends in Pictou County to join us in Truro this year. We have a fun day planned with kids activities, music, a barbecue and prize draws,” says Erin Scanlan Cock who grew up in Pictou and now lives in Truro with her husband and two girls. Cock participated in several Pictou Walks before organizing a fundraising walk in Truro.
The Pictou County Walk to Cure Diabetes has been recognized as one of the most successful community walks in Canada for many years. It has raised more than $200,000 since the first event at Trenton Park.
“When we started the Walk in our community, our son with diabetes was very young. He is now 17. There have been a number of improvements … But we still have to work towards the ultimate cure and diabetes prevention. We still need help,” says Murray.
There may be opportunity to bring the walk back to Pictou County, but for now Murray is grateful that Truro organizers are welcoming faithful participants.
“The change of scenery in Truro will give us the opportunity to re-evaluate our fundraising plans and goals.”
A 5 and 10 K run for JRDF will take place Sept. 29 on the Jitney Trail, with registration starting at 8 a.m. at Bia Maithe pub, which also hosts the post-event celebration. The run begins at 9:30 a.m.

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Molly’s Carnival of Rainbows set for Saturday

Saturday will mark a time that family can spend together, laughing, playing and enjoying one another’s company.
It’s the ninth annual Molly’s Carnival of Rainbows.
Jodi MacIvor and her family started the day nine years ago to remember MacIvor’s daughter Molly, whose sole was lost in a tragic accident.
The Carnival of Rainbows is a way to keep her memory alive.
“At the end of the day, when it’s all over, it’s a way to remember her birthday, which is the same as mine, September 16,” explains MacIvor. “She would have been 11.”
The Carnival of Rainbows takes place 1 to 5 p.m. at North Nova Education Centre. “It’s donation at the door and all games are free,” explains MacIvor.
The event will include 20 games – all homemade – like mini put, egg hunt, bowling and hockey shot to name a few.
“There will also be a bouncy house, face painting, cotton candy and a barbecue,” she says.
“It’s meant as a day to remember Molly and help celebrate her life but also help other families come together and enjoy each other, put all other worries aside. We forget sometimes how important the little things are in life. It’s important for us to help people remember that.”
All of the funds raised during the carnival are donated to the IWK Children’s Hospital as well as a local charity; this year the local organization is the Pictou County Roots for Youth Society.
“We try to spread it around and give to a different local charity each year,” says MacIvor. “Since it started we have donated $35,000 to the IWK and close to $20,000 to local charities.”
The goal is to see more people come out and take part in the event.
“The last couple of years the donations have leveled off, but the numbers are increasing. We are happy with the turnout and money is not the most important part; the thing for us is to see the families come out and have fun,” says MacIvor. “However, the more money we raise the more families we can help.”
The Carnival of Rainbows helps MacIvor remember Molly and leave her legacy.
“For me, people will know Molly. And I will see how many smiles that this brings to children’s faces and the families.”
The event will take place at NNEC, using the main entrance and following the signs to the gymnasium.

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Y swim lessons triple in number

The YMCA of Pictou County has been open for approximately 10 months now in the new Pictou County Wellness Centre and the move has proved to be a beneficial one.
Mike Thompson, director of aquatics at the YMCA of Pictou County, says the swim lessons have jumped from approximately 200 swimmers to 635 and growing.
“At the old location we had about 200 registered swimmers and now that we are at the Wellness Centre we have 635 registered swimmers and we are continuing to receive phone calls every day from people looking to register their children,” he says.
“So we are looking at other options so that we can continue to accommodate the growing need.”
Since swim registration has almost tripled, the Y is looking at training more people and hiring more instructors.
“We have increased our lesson times from two hours to three hours five days a week, Monday to Thursday and Saturdays.
“We like to keep Fridays open so that if there are any cancellations and weather conditions in the winter we have a cancellation day to fall back on.”
If the surge in registration continues, Thompson says it is possible they may consider offering some adult classes during the days to ease the load, however, that will be assessed in the winter.
“We have swimmers registered from six months old to 16 years old,” says Thompson. “And we have had an increase in adult swim registration as well; we currently have 25 adult swimmers registered and all swimmers vary in abilities.”
Thompson believes the high demand and increased registration is due mostly to the additional space at the Wellness Centre.
“I think the additional space allows us to accommodate more swimmers because now we can have a variety of activities going on at the same time. We can have lessons going on and lane swims, people soaking in the hot tub or sauna all at the same time.”
Thompson says the Y is looking at accommodating more registration so don’t be deterred by the numbers.
“There are still some people who haven’t seen our space yet and we invite them to come and check it out, see what we have to offer,” says Thompson. “Things are going quite well with the aquatics and we have come a long way from where we once were and I think that shows the quality that we have. People are coming back for more and catching on.”
The YMCA is also looking at enticing more people to take part in the aquafitness classes, which are not just for women, and more youth to get involved in swimming.
“The youth could really be our up and coming staff down the road,” he says. “Right now we are looking into funding and grants for more instruction to keep the classes at a reduced cost. Anyone certified or wanting to get certified can contact us for further information on becoming an instructor.”

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Sweet girl sells sweet treats to help breakfast program

A New Glasgow girl is showing generosity and selflessness have no age limits.
Courtney MacLaren, who turns 7 on the 19th, is doing everything she can to help out the A.G. Baillie Breakfast program.
Last year around this time, on her birthday, she invited her entire class plus others – more than 38 kids – to her birthday party. She requested no gifts, but she would be accepting a box of cereal for the breakfast program.
Her mom, Tammy said, “She certainly did not need more gifts from her classmates. We talked about the SPCA, food bank and breakfast program and we let her think about it. She chose the breakfast program.”
Her classmates brought 46-plus boxes of cereal to her birthday party which Courtney was happy to give to the school’s breakfast program.
“I have always worked at the A.G. Baillie Breakfast Program and since Courtney started school two years ago she has always helped me,” Tammy explained.
All spring and summer long, Courtney thought about other ways to help out, and decided on a lemonade stand. She set up on the deck of the family home one weekend and her mom had a yard sale to help draw in thirsty patrons.
“Courtney had a great day. She offered lemonade, iced tea and cookies. Even the rain did not put her out, at one point she was sitting with an umbrella wondering when more people were going to come.”
Later that day when all the money was counted, Courtney succeeded in raising $74 – and she quickly said wanted to donate it to the Breakfast Program.
“I praised her for that kind gesture,” her mom said.
“I wanted everyone to know what a sweet child she is so I posted the picture on Facebook with what her plans were for the money. Our cousin from Whitehorse saw this on Facebook and said she was sending her $26 so that Courtney could present a $100 bill to the school.”
In fact, Tammy laughs, “It will actually be $106 since my dad threw in $6 for a glass of lemonade which he is yet to get!”

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Youth surprise mom with generosity

Isaac was just shy of his first birthday when he was diagnosed with congenital muscular dystrophy.
“We noticed he was falling behind in his milestones,” explains mother Sarah MacKinnon. “He wasn’t rolling over or sitting up and the pediatrician noticed he had a small head circumference. He wasn’t thriving.”
He is currently one year old.
“Right now, we are working with the geneticists as to how Isaac inherited congenital muscular dystrophy because there is no family history of it on either side,” says MacKinnon.
MD takes various forms as well and involves various severities, and at this point in time, it’s difficult to judge which it will be.
“All we know is that one of his chromosomes is similar to that found in other children with congenital muscular dystrophy, but they also found a variant.”
MacKinnon says they travel to the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax a couple of times a month for testing and Isaac is also going through physiotherapy.
“We go to physio every two weeks but, like I say, the prognosis is really unknown because there are so many types,” she says. “We don’t know if he will walk and if he does whether he will lose that ability later on. He is gaining strength and can sit up on his own for a bit so we hope for the best but prepare for whatever (happens).”
It has all been a learning process.
“At first we were in shock, then we accepted it and educated ourselves as much as possible. We signed up with Muscular Dystrophy Canada but we haven’t met anyone else with congenital muscular dystrophy because there are no other babies in Nova Scotia that have it. ”
It has been difficult for MacKinnon, having just returned to work, but she says her employer has been fantastic accommodating for Isaac’s appointments.
“Other children with Isaac’s type of MD often have eyesight troubles so we get that checked as well, but so far his MRI has come back and it looks good. He’s definitely behind other children his age physically and developmentally, but he is definitely making progress.”
Just last week, MacKinnon learned that there are others in the community wanting to help out.
“I mentioned at Isaac’s birthday party that we were going to start collecting pop tabs in case he needs a wheelchair at some point, and if he doesn’t then we can donate the tabs to someone who does need one,” explains MacKinnon. “Then I found out that word got around and the Pictou Youth Centre is collecting the tabs to help out.”
MacKinnon plans on taking Isaac to the youth centre to meet the youth, because she is thrilled that they want to help.
“They (the youth centre) wanted to put a face to MD and the tab collection. It’s just amazing because it’s an overwhelming thing to have a child that you don’t know what the future holds and you hope the world for them, but it turns your world upside down. It’s fantastic to have that support in the community. It’s wonderful to know that people want to help to give him the best life he can have.”
Congenital MD is a less common form often diagnosed before the age of two. MacKinnon’s goal is to continue learning and to get involved.
“We want to be involved and help raise money to find a cure,” she says. “It’s one big learning process for me and my family and friends but my biggest fear is for his future. I just wish I knew more, but we take it one day at a time.”
The youth centre is open from 3:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 3:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday to drop off cans or pop tabs.

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She sells sea glass from the seashore…

She’s only 10 years old, but Keely Stevenson already has her own business, makes her own money and has her own profile on Etsy.
When most kids her age were enjoying their summer vacations chilling with friends, hanging out at the mall or sunbathing on the beach, Keely was working.
Keely makes one-of-a-kind jewelry out of sea glass she finds while beachcombing. White, green, brown and the rare blue bits of glass in all shapes and sizes are hunted for, picked up and then expertly crafted by hand into pendants, bracelets, anklets and more.
Chatting comfortably in the living room of her family home in Stellarton, Keely says she got into jewelry making by happenstance, but quickly learned she was carrying on a family tradition.
“I had copper wire from a science fair project and I … took a piece of sea glass and wrapped the wire around it. Then my aunt Tara walked in and said, ‘That’s what I used to do’. So she gave me all of her materials.”
That included tools, wire and sea glass.
“The first piece I made was with a rare olive green piece of glass and yellow and purple wire,” she recalls.
That first delicate creation led to many more – so many that her aunt helped her put them up for sale on Internet. A search of KeelysSeaJewels on Etsy will reveal a variety of intricate, colourful and delicate sea glass jewelry pieces created by hand by the talented pre-teen. Her Etsy profile reads: “Natural sea glass pendants creatively wrapped in colourful wire. Direct from the beaches of the Northumberland Strait…”
Keely has also been busy selling her wares at the New Glasgow Farmer’s Market this summer. While she was shy at first about turning from jewelry designer and crafter to jewelry saleswoman, she quickly hit her stride and is now planning another appearance at the farmer’s market on October 19.
Finding the glass for her creations is not difficult. Aside from the volumes of pieces given to her by family members, friends and friends of friends, Keely has her own extensive collection of sea glass accumulated over countless hours spent on the beach while visiting her grandparents.
“Whenever I’m on the beach I always have my head down, unless I’m in the water. But that’s unlikely – I’m always in the water – unless it’s storming,” she smiles.
Keely has been collecting her own pieces of sea glass ever since she can remember and has what she says must be “hundreds of pieces” in her bedroom. She has colourful bits of sea glass in jars, baskets, flower vases and other assorted containers all over her bedroom.
Her favourite pieces are the frosted blue ones.
And while only having been in business since the spring, word of Keely’s talents and the beauty of her creations has rolled through the county like the waves to the shore. She has colourful pieces that have gone to Kenya, Texas, Florida and England – and all points in between.
Jewelry making has intrigued the 10-year-old so much that she is considering making it part of her future career plans.
“I’m not sure what I want to do when I finish school,” says the G.R. Saunders Elementary School student, “but I would like to keep making jewelry.
Catch KeelysSeaJewels at the farmer’s market in New Glasgow next month.

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Tickled PINK

Stand Up. Speak Out. Stop Bullying. Together: that is Chignecto-Central Regional School Board’s message to students in the board’s district.
As the incidences of bullying and bullying-related deaths are on the rise, the school board has rolled out a new anti-bullying campaign to help remind students they are not alone.
At the official launch of the campaign in Milford at Riverside Education Centre, Makayla Lynn performed Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours to remind students that they can be themselves and show their true colours.
The initiative focuses on the root causes of bullying – the breakdown of relationships between people.
Trudy Thompson, CCRSB board chair says, “Stand Up. Speak Out was developed with the tenets of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) at its heart. Through SEL comes the understanding that people’s negative actions – like bullying – result because relationships have broken down, because we’ve lost or never learned positive ways to interact with people when we feel angry or upset. To address bullying in all its forms we need to acknowledge these challenges and work together to learn better ways of coping.”
Students, parents, guardians and community members will also have access to handbooks as part of the initiative, developed in partnership with Dr. John LeBlanc, associate professor, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie Medical School and director of the Canadian Prevention Science Cluster (Atlantic). The handbooks are based on the SEL practices. A video featuring CCRSB students, telling their own stories, was also developed for use in schools and offices.
“We are here to start a conversation about bullying and what causes it,” says Thompson. “We can all make a difference and take action against bullying in all forms.”
Scott Milner, director of Education Services for CCRSB says, “The basic idea behind Stand Up Speak Out is that we all have a role to play to address bullying, that we all can make a difference in our own and someone else’s lives. But we can’t do this alone. To make a real change we have to come together as a system. That means students, staff, parents, guardians and the communities in which our schools and offices operate. If an adult or a student sees or hears about acts of bullying, they have to speak out and tell someone… silence isn’t the answer. Only by asking for help – for ourselves or for another person – can help actually be put in place. It seems like a simple concept, but it’s a big challenge and one we have to overcome.”
In conjunction with the initiative, the CCRSB Code of Conduct has also been re-written, to be implemented later this fall, to include behaviours and actions that will not be accepted in schools as well as the consequences that could result from violating this code.
“Obviously there have to be consequences for negative behaviours like bullying,” said Milner.
“Depending on the violation, though, the first consequence may not be suspension. The first consequence may be a restorative option that brings both parties involved in the incident together, to discuss what happened and why. The goal is that a relationship can be forged or preserved so that both parties can move forward positively.”
For more information visit CCRSB Facebook page or Twitter and to view the handbook visit www.ccrsb.ca.

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Battle over, fight won. But what’s next?

“We won,” said Jon Visser, “but what does that mean?”
Last week, Visser’s mother Faye received word that a precedent making settlement had been reached entitling them to $102,539.99 owed to the family by the provincial government for damages to their Sutherlands River home as a result of road construction in 2011.
Although on paper the settlement reads like a win, the Vissers aren’t celebrating (or hiring a contractor) just yet. With news of the settlement also comes an 86-page report and the news that the government has until September 30 to appeal.
And that’s a worrisome thought.
Should the Vissers receive the $102,539 it will, at best, only just cover the physical damages to the home. Grey areas and doubts arise however as those figures, the Vissers said, were based on an assessment from 2011. Damages may be worse, costs may be higher, and there may be interest to consider – all of which is cause for concern if not caution.
“My family’s life has been in limbo for three years,” said Faye. “If they appeal are we back into limbo again? It could be another year (before a settlement is reached).”
Prior to April of 2011, the Visser’s property was a quiet, peaceful place somewhere off the TCH 104 where Faye and the late Johannes (John) Visser lived, raised their children and later raised three-pound tea-cup Yorkshire terriers.
It is now a house at the bottom of the Exit 27 ramp with a driveway viewed by many confused motorists as an ideal place to turn and get back on the highway or as a sort of rest stop.
It is also a home with a cracked chimney and foundation, with a stone fireplace wall damp to the touch in places, and with stairs and mouldings chewed by terrified Yorkies.
During the day conversation is frequently muted by the steady stream of TransCanada traffic. At night, silence is drowned out by the hum of generators from multiple 18-wheelers parked nearby.
People regularly knock on the door to ask for directions to the Merb, Merigomish, or elsewhere. “It’s not that we mind,” said Jon, “but it’s a nuisance that we never had before.”
During the lengthy construction period, the Visser home was under a steady siege of dust, vibrations and noise which hit the 120 decibels mark, they said. As a point of reference, the average stadium rock concert will only hit 115 decibels and even 90 decibels can cause hearing damage. It was the dust, the Vissers said, that made them give up on tending to their gardens, the vibrations which caused the damages to the home, and the noise that made it additionally unbearable.
During that same span of time Faye’s husband John was diagnosed with, and succumbed to, prostate cancer and was confined to a hospital bed in the house. It’s a time Faye describes as “a nightmare.”
“He was so concerned about what was going to happen. He knew his time was short. It was extremely stressful for all of us,” Faye said.
“(If the settlement was reached sooner) he would have been able to see that there was justice and that Mom was going to be OK,” said Jon.
Greater than any dollar amount, if the settlement does hold the Vissers can finally enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that they were within their rights all along.
“What we thought is what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong, and if you’re wrong step up to the plate,” Faye said. “If you read the 86-page report they knew they were in the wrong from the start.”

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Hector Homecoming

The Hector Heritage Quay was certifiably the most happening spot in Pictou last weekend as the site held its annual Hector Homecoming Event.
The celebration acknowledges the arrival of the original Ship Hector, on September 15, 1773. Sunday marked the 240th anniversary of the ship’s arrival.
The current Ship Hector was launched in 2000.
“The weekend’s been great,” said Anne Emmett, president of the Hector Quay Society. “We’ve had great weather today. We started Thursday night with a reception for the sponsors and participants of the golf tournament which was here on site. And then Friday we had the golf tournament in the rain which was fine, it went well. All 20 teams participated. Some were fortified perhaps by the refreshments on some of the holes. But it was a very, very good turnout.”
For many, the biggest hit of the weekend was the ‘soft opening’ of the new Below Decks exhibit onboard the Hector. The new stacks of tight bunk beds give visitors a sense of just how cramped the voyage across the Atlantic would have been.
“It had a great response,” said Emmett. “People have been below decks before but have never really seen it authentically reproduced as it has been now. It’s amazing, people are coming back up the stairs just blown away by what they see, and it’s only half finished.”
Sunday evening saw the weekend capped with music provided by Jimmy Sweeney, John Spyder Macdonald, Fleur Mainville, and Alycia Putnam.
Although the weekend is an open house, it is also an opportunity for the Quay to fundraise and create a bit of awareness.
“We get people on the site locally who’ve never been on the site, which is why we offer free admission,” said Emmett. “It encourages people to come on the site which they might not normally do and learn exactly what we have here which is so important. There were a lot of kids here Sunday night. People bring their children to hear the music and that’s what we aim for – to get as many people involved as possible. The kids you see here tonight are the future stake holders in this site and probably future board members.”

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New Glasgow man charged with possession of marijuana

A New Glasgow man has been arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.
On Wednesday, the Pictou County Integrated Street Crime Enforcement Unit (PCISCEU) executed search warrant at a residence on Pine Street, New Glasgow.
The A 36-year-old from New Glasgow was arrested. A quantity of cannabis marijuana was seized. He has been released from custody and will appear in Pictou Provincial Court in relation to Controlled Drugs and Substance Act on November 4.

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SPCA to host Bark in the Park

The SPCA of Pictou County is giving you a chance to strut your stuff, and your dog too at their Bark in the Park event.
Bark in the Park is a signature SPCA event that will be taking place across the province on September 14, and the local SPCA branch is asking local residents to come out, have fun and support a good cause.
The event includes a dog fashion show, dog jog or walk and a dog talent show.
“Pre-registration is required for those three events,” explains Agnes Leavitt, interim shelter manager. “All we ask is that the participants raise $50 through pledges to take part and children can take part as well.”
No experience is required, it’s just a fun day for all ages to come out and celebrate animals.
The day will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Trenton Park with a $5 admission fee, $3 for children and family rates available.
“We will have a barbecue, a bake and craft sale, the two km dog jog, a pet fashion show, agility demos and much more,” explains Leavitt.
There will also be entertainment including Fleur Mainville, Matt Kenny Band, False Pretense, Tate’s Hill and Nova Sound. There will also be children’s activities including face painting and bouncy houses.
“Good Dog Works will be there as well as St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dogs and Dar’s Dog Grooming, but we are always looking for more vendors,” she says.
This is the first time the local SPCA has hosted an event of this magnitude and it will be one of their larger fundraising efforts this year.
“All of the money raised stays in Pictou County too,” says Leavitt. “Currently we have 75 cats and four dogs that need a home.”
Leavitt says there is a widespread problem of overpopulation of cats across the country which has lead to the increase in cats at shelters.
“Cats are more easily discarded and they tend to multiply,” she says. “We also do not get any government funding, so all of our funds for operating are from donor dollars. That’s what keeps us open and we are always in need of funds, all of which stay here in Pictou County.”
To register for one of the events visit http://www.spcans.ca/events/comacesefsitemap/bark-in-the-park/pictou-county-branch.html or phone 396-3595 during open hours, Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday 1 to 3 p.m. at which time adoptions can also be done.
“We have a new offsite adoption program at Pictou County Pets at the Highland Square Mall,” explains Leavitt. “It has been very successful and we have been able to place 15 cats so far and they are open during mall hours.”

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