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If you were a total stranger to this part of the world, you might be asking, where and what is Thorburn? Wikipedia, the much-used online information site that bills itself as “the free encyclopedia,” gives us a brief undated explanation of the Pictou County community. “The small rural Nova Scotia town,” it says, “has a […]

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I was very fortunate to have met Hilton McCully from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Hilton had taught school on Pictou Island 1944-46 and provided me with old newspaper clipping from that era. The following is taken in part from an article written by Roland H. Sherwood for The Pictou Advocate 1952 and is entitled, Lobster Fisherman […]

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By Dr. Jock Murray During this Covid-19 pandemic, Nova Scotians have become aware of the importance of public health concepts and the role of public health professionals. They are the ones we look to for advice, in hopes that their decisions and recommendations will keep us safe. Nova Scotia’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Robert […]

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There’s an old saying that first impressions are lasting impressions, particularly in situations like meeting someone for the first time. I wasn’t very old — probably early in elementary school — the first time my mother gave that valuable advice about living in this world. Whatever the timing, I’ve carried her useful lesson with me […]

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A guide to the frozen treat of summer It wouldn’t be summer without an ice cream in hand, melting down your arm on a scorching hot day. Nowadays there are so many choices of what to put in your bowl or cone. Do you choose ice cream, gelato, sorbet or sherbet? Let Sobeys dietitians breakdown […]

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One day last week, Facebook alerted me that it was Bill MacCulloch’s birthday. Oh yes, he had another one. Actually, the message said it was William MacCulloch’s big day. But to anybody in New Glasgow — better make that Pictou County — he’s simply Bill. If you don’t know who I mean, you haven’t been […]

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For an understandable reason, I doubt there’s anyone in Pictou County who remembers the day Harry Trainor arrived in New Glasgow with razors and clippers in his luggage. It was 100 years ago. He had lived in the town previously, coming from Charlottetown with his family at the age of five. After attending St. John’s […]

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By Dr. T. Jock Murray and Janet Murray For The Advocate In a previous column I talked about the opportunities to reform the health care system in the post Covid-19 pandemic. We have to focus on the determinants of health. The medical care model concentrates on better health outcomes for the individual, but the determinants […]

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Dr. T. Jock Murray and Janet Murray “All the lonely people, Where do they all come from?” — Eleanor Rigby, by Paul McCartney ^ When former prime minister Theresa May of Great Britain appointed a Minister of Loneliness, she said it was recognizing one of the greatest public health challenges of our age. If you […]

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I’m never surprised when someone asks how I continually come up with subjects to write about. I guess that’s to be expected since I’ve written thousands of sports columns through the years. Seldom, though, do things unfold the way they did last Thursday morning. It was my day to write and, as I enjoyed the […]

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By Dr. T. Jock Murray For The Advocate I was concerned when I saw Janet with tears running down her face. We were in a music store in Charleston and she was standing by a wall of CDs and earphones. She explained that she was listening to Martha Argerich playing Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto and […]

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Tell me something — honestly. After three months of no live hockey, no live basketball, no live baseball on that big screen in your living room or den, how have you been spending your evening hours? I’ve posed that question more than once to Dave Scott, my dear friend and retired school teacher in New […]

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By Dr. T. Jock Murray Everyone seems to agree that everything will be different following the COVID-19 pandemic. All aspects of the health care system changed during the pandemic, exposing areas of excellence and areas of deficiency. What might be different as we get back to the “new normal”? Personal responsibility We learned that a […]

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I still haven’t forgotten how it began 70 years ago this month. I had just turned 12 and was in my last weeks of grade six at Acadia Street School in New Glasgow. The annual move to the family cottage at Rustico Beach wasn’t far away. It was in early June that I changed my […]

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By Dr. T. Jock Murray Healthy elderly people are often asked their secret. Actually, the key to a long and healthy life with an active mind is not a secret. There is solid evidence for the answer. The good news is the answer is available to you at no cost. And the earlier you begin, […]

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Those of us ancient enough to remember the Stellarton Albions and their nine seasons in the Halifax and District Baseball League during the 1950s have been given another reason to mourn. Joe Fulghum, one of the finest talents ever to play baseball for a Pictou County team, passed away last week at his home in […]

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Right now, I wouldn’t bet a wooden nickle — or a roll of extinct pennies — that Halifax will get its Canadian Football League franchise onto the field. To be frank, I doubt the Schooners will ever sail. A failed launch occurred before — almost four decades ago. And, under the circumstances, there’s no reason […]

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The Canadian Celiac Association estimates that about one percent of the Canadian population is living with celiac disease. Celiac disease is an auto-immune disease in which a protein called gluten damages the small intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients. The only treatment for this disease is a gluten-free diet for life. A gluten-free diet means avoiding […]

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Alvin MacLean arrived on Pictou Island with his entrance into this world in 1929. Born on Pictou Island, he was one of five children born to J. Hector MacLean “Long John” and wife Maggie. Alvin attended the little one-room school on the island and grew up in the company of a little girl named Lois […]

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My interest in the Mackie family — the one whose patriarch was the history-making hockey defenceman Irvine (Tiger) Mackie — began a very, very long time ago. Actually, it was before I was old enough to attend school. It had its beginning in the 1943-44 season. I was five years of age and my dad […]

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Medicine during my career (Part 1) By Dr. T. Jock Murray For The Advocate The Good (?) Old Days When I entered medical school in 1958, it seemed an exciting time to become a physician. There were new vaccines, dramatic surgeries, psychiatric drugs, early pacemakers, and the first kidney transplants. The concept of a randomized […]

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By Dr. Jock Murray Special to The Advocate It is not surprising that national leaders sometimes get incapacitated while in office. Many are older and subject to all the ills we all encounter. Some also have personality characteristics that make them prone to other stresses. It is a rich field of study. Intelligence agencies in […]

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My parents’ generation used to have a saying that was quite common in conversations back in the post-war years. A specific person, they would suggest, “comes of a good stock.” It was a way of describing someone from a family of distinct character. It was meant as a meaningful compliment. I thought of it recently. […]

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Evidently I haven’t been alone among newspaper columnists. My former colleague John DeMont at The Chronicle Herald was explaining last week how the COVID-19 virus, followed by the mass murders in northern Nova Scotia, delayed other subjects he planned to write about. I had similar issues. After 66 years of never missng a week without […]

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I never met Heidi Stevenson, the RCMP officer who was one of the victims of the devastating murder rampage that shocked all of us two Sunday mornings ago. Members of my family and her family know each other, however. Our daughter Charlotte and Heidi’s husband Dean were among a group of friends who attended school […]

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By Dr. T. Jock Murray In recent months we all have become familiar with the terms quarantine, isolation, and social distancing. With all the advances in medicine in the last century, our major protection in the face of a pandemic such as the influenza outbreaks in 1957, 1968, 2009 and the current COVID-19 is the […]

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By Dr. T. Jock Murray In a TV interview the disgraced former FOX News commentator Bill O’Reilly showed little concern for those dying in the Covid-19 pandemic, saying, “They were on their last legs anyway.” He was referring to a greater risk in older people, even though many with the disease and dying are under […]

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By Dr. T. Jock Murray When Dr. John Stewart (1848-1933) set up surgical practice in Pictou in 1878 he was already well known because of his association with the most famous surgeon in the world at the time, Dr. Joseph Lister. Lister brought the concept of antisepsis to medicine, saving millions of lives that would […]

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You’re likely spending more time preparing meals at home during this time of social distancing. So, why not use this opportunity to explore new flavours, try new recipes, learn a new cooking skill or find new ways to use kitchen staples? Let our Sobeys dietitian team help you navigate the grocery aisles, recommend staples and […]

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So how am I doing six weeks into staying the blazes home? I’d say, under the circumstances, as good as can be expected. But thanks for asking. I do wonder, though, is there anything normal these days? It’s late April, usually the best time of the year to be alive. The weather warms and the […]

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Editor’s Note: April 1 marked the first week Hugh Townsend hadn’t written anything for a newspaper in 66 years — 3,431 weeks to be exact. He has been writing for The Advocate for 16 years, having written more than 832 columns. While our regular columnists are on temporary hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hugh offers […]

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By Dr. T. Jock Murray Special to The Advocate When President Trump touted hydrochloroquine, a malaria treatment, for COVID-19, as possibly “one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine,” he was referring to a small open trial of 20 patients in France who showed some decrease in viral load in their nasal […]

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By Dr. T. Jock Murray Special to The Advocate The pandemic of influenza in 1918-1919, known as the Spanish flu, killed 40-50 million people worldwide. Nova Scotia had a low rate of deaths compared to other areas in North America and it is important to look at the factors that may have helped, and the […]

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Did you know that March was Nutrition Month? This year the theme was “More Than Food” and what better way to celebrate than talking about the about Canada’s Food Guide! This practical tool helps Canadians create balance at every meal. Canada’s Food Guide describes not only what Canadians should eat, but how we should eat, […]

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ASK THE MONEY LADY, I have eight years until I would like to retire, but I still have a lot of debt.  I know I probably don’t have enough saved and I’m worried about the future.  Any suggestions? Sincerely,   Mark XXXX (Wanting to Retire!) Dear Wanting to Retire! Most of us, regardless of need, want […]

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Through good times and not so good times, I’ve been around sports for an awfully long period. They were a big part of my life growing up, they became an even larger thing through my decades in the newspaper business, and they haven’t slowed down a bit well beyond a normal retirement age. I’ve seen […]

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Jack with his wife Mary Rankin raised a family of nine children on Pictou Island during the 1900s. There was Laura, Duncan, Dolina, Annie Mae, Lauchie, Vernie, Florence, Joan and one granddaughter Lorina. The three Rankin boys, Lauchie, Vernie and Duncan married their Island sweethearts. Duncan married Verna who was the daughter of Billie and […]

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Our mouths are a fairly busy part of our physiology… the CEO of tremendous daily responsibilities. In Ayurvedic medicine, the mouth is considered a reflection on the general health of our entire body. Also, it’sconsidered a kind of gateway to treat and maintain wellness. Home to billions of microorganisms, according to Ayurvedic medicine our mouths […]

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How, then, to reconcile the uncomfortable realities of modern mining with those of climate change, environmental integrity and the rights of Canadians to health and natural beauty? It’s a messy maze at best, but Jamie Kneen of MiningWatch Canada, a coalition of sorts concerned with the shortcomings of Canadian mining nationally and abroad, had plenty […]

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“What I see commonly in dogs and cats is arthritis. So, increasing blood flow is really beneficial for the circulation and with that brings anti-inflammatory properties – and pain relief.” Sharlene McInnes is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) consultant and veterinary acupuncturist, based in Wellington, New Zealand. She specializes in the field of holistic animal […]

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Minor hockey excitement doesn’t get much more intense than it was this past weekend at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. For good reason. The 2020 Hockey Nova Scotia female provincial championships were being decided in the side-by-side Sobeys and Bell Aliant arenas. With both granddaughters participating in the three-day event, I knew what the atmosphere […]

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ASK THE MONEY LADY, I have a TFSA but am unsure what the real benefit is to having it.  If I have RSPs, why do I need it? Sincerely,    John XXXX (Straight-Shooter!) Dear Straight-Shooter! Great question!  A TFSA or Tax Free Savings Account was first introduced in 2009 for Canadians to create an investment […]

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It is a known fact that those of us who lived on Pictou Island during earlier years had our own Florence Nightingale. I had always known her as Margaret Jack, wife of Jack (Happy) MacDonald. Margaret was born in 1897 to Charles and Ann MacCallum of Pictou Island. Her ambition as like many young girls […]

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About 370 million years ago, when Nova Scotia was in the act of mountain building, our planet’s tumultuous crust permitted the escape of two elements which, to this day, are found concentrated together in our province’s bedrock. These were arsenic and gold which, eons later, would be respectively shunned and sought by a curious primate, […]

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You should know that, while writing this, I’m very freezing. I had too much faith in public buildings and their ability to combat the coldest couple days of the year. My legs and shoulders are signaling their slow surrender and I’m in no way enjoying it. Please understand I’m a fan of neither cold nor […]

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When you spend your lifetime in sports journalism, you encounter a huge number of people — watching them, interviewing them, writing about them. I know it well. Quite a number of years ago, I determined that I had met literally thousands of athletes, coaches, officials and others involved in the sports world in various ways. […]

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At its core…finding the right practitioner for your wellness treatment – whatever that treatment may be – is a lot like finding that perfect hairdresser…. Or mechanic. The same basics concepts apply. You need to check certain criteria boxes before you become involved in this new, dynamic and deeply personal relationship: Are they reputable? Are […]

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My brother-in-law Scott, son to late Ernest and Hazel Falconer was raised on Caribou Island. His home was on a farm that was situated along the south portion of Caribou Island. Their long driveway protruded through the woods and connected onto Caribou Island’s only dirt road. Scott calls to mind when the Caribou Island School […]

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ASK THE MONEY LADY, I attended one of your seminars and was telling my daughter about how she should save more this year.  I was wondering if you had any other tips for saving.  Dawn Dear Dawn – Future Saver! There are many ways that you can save every day.  Thanks so much for asking […]

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Carbon dioxide (CO2) comes up a lot these days, in politics, in media, and increasingly in daily life, a trend I hope continues as the urgency of global warming overwhelms our inaction, but just how we perceive this CO2 and its climatic counterweight, oxygen, is very nuanced, and very important. CO2 is not merely a […]