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YEAR IN REVIEW PART 1: Tri-County Vanguard looks back at January to June 2019 in southwestern N.S.

Tri-County Vanguard 2019 Year in Review.
Tri-County Vanguard 2019 Year in Review. - FILE PHOTO

A look back at some of the events and people that made news in southwestern N.S. during January to June 2019. 


JANUARY 2019

FERRY SERVICE
While there was still much to do and sort out before ferry service between Yarmouth, N.S., and Bar Harbor, Maine, was finalized, the lease agreement between Bay Ferries and the City of Portland had expired. Bay Ferries had been sailing its Cat ferry between Yarmouth and Portland from 2016 to 2018, but the company wanted to make Bar Harbor the vessel’s American port of call for the ferry service between Nova Scotia and Maine. Until Dec. 31, 2018, Bay Ferries still had an option to continue for the 2019 season in Portland. 
“We’re very appreciative to the City of Portland, who worked with us through the fall and extended the (lease) option date on several occasions on our request,” said Mark MacDonald, president and CEO of Bay Ferries. The company had sailed in and out of Bar Harbor during the company’s earlier period of running the ferry service between Nova Scotian and Maine (from 1997 to 2009). Bay Ferries wanted to return to Bar Harbor in order to tap into a robust tourism market and to reduce operating costs with a shorter sailing distance and less fuel consumption. (Note: Due to the work that had to be done in Bar Harbor, there ended up being no sailing season in 2019.)


HORRIBLE CRIME
The RCMP arrested five people – one youth and four adults – in connection with what the RCMP called a “serious assault” committed on a 17-year-old teenage girl in Yarmouth on the evening of Jan. 4. According to police, the victim had been driven to several locations and had been beaten by multiple individuals, with the assaults starting in the vehicle itself. The girl eventually was able to flee from her captors and ran into the Your Winners World convenience store on Route 3 in Yarmouth, where staff at the store was able to call 911 for help. The girl was transported to the hospital. When she entered the store just before 8 p.m., the RCMP said the victim was bleeding and had several injuries to her face and hands. She was screaming as she ran into the store seeking help. Charges laid against those arrested included aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, uttering threats and forciable confinement. During the course of the year, three people were sentenced for their involvement in the crime. The cases of two others remain before the court. The family and victim have been disappointed with the sentencings, as no one has been sentenced to jail time for the crime, but instead received conditional sentencings to be served in the community. One person received a sentence of time served for the time they spent in custody prior to being sentenced.

RELATED: Family feels let down by the justice system 


A FIRST
In a Jan. 14 cabinet shuffle, South Shore-St. Margaret’s MP Bernadette Jordan was appointed minister of the new portfolio of rural economic development, becoming the first female MP representing a Nova Scotia riding to serve as a federal minister. The official announcement from Ottawa of Jordan’s appointment said she would “oversee the creation of a rural development strategy  to spur economic growth and create good, middle class jobs in rural Canada.”
Among other things, the announcement said, Jordan would “also take action to bring high-speed internet to more rural households and businesses.” On Twitter, Jordan said she was honoured to get the appointment “and have the privilege of working with, and on behalf of, rural Canadians across the country.” 


A vehicle crashed through Clarence's Shopping Mart/Foodland in Saulnierville on Jan. 25. There was a lot of damage but fortunately no injuries. DARLENE DOWELL PHOTO
A vehicle crashed through Clarence's Shopping Mart/Foodland in Saulnierville on Jan. 25. There was a lot of damage but fortunately no injuries. DARLENE DOWELL PHOTO

'A MIRACLE NO ONE GOT HURT'
No one was injured when a vehicle crashed through the front glass doors of Clarence’s Shopping Mart/Foodland in Saulnierville, an incident one witness likened to something you might see in a movie. “It’s a miracle no one got hurt,” said Darlene Dowell. “It was pretty scary.”
She was in the store when it happened – just after 3 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25  – and watched as the vehicle finally came to a stop at the back of the store. People rushed over to check on those inside the vehicle. The elderly male driver and his wife were examined by paramedics and found to be okay. A family member later posted on Facebook that they were taken to hospital for observation. The store was closed for the rest of the day and the next, re-opening Sunday, Jan. 27. 
The store owner said he was grateful no one was injured in the incident. The RCMP investigated but, given the age of the driver, no charges would be laid, a police spokesman said. Writing on Facebook, a member of the driver’s family said while the elderly man still had his licence, following this incident he no longer would drive. READ THE STORY HERE.


A rally to show support and give thanks to the four Yarmouth fire dispatchers took place outside the Yarmouth town hall on Jan. 19. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
A rally to show support and give thanks to the four Yarmouth fire dispatchers took place outside the Yarmouth town hall on Jan. 19. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

FIRE DISPATCH SWITCH
The Town of Yarmouth was making the switch to Digby dispatch for its fire dispatch services, with the change taking effect Jan. 30. Yarmouth town council voted for the change following a committee of the whole meeting Jan. 23. The town said the move to Digby dispatch would cost it around $5,600 (or less) annually, compared to the net cost of $160,000 it had spent on its dispatch services in 2018. The cost of the service provided by Digby would be based on call volume. The move meant all fire departments in Yarmouth County would now receive their dispatch services from Digby. The municipalities of Argyle and Yarmouth had made their switchovers earlier in January.
In April 2018, the Town of Yarmouth had first given notice that it was looking to outsource fire dispatch services and lay off its four dispatchers. The town’s position was that it was paying a disproportionately high percentage of the cost of the service, which was used by two-dozen fire departments in southwestern Nova Scotia. In a Jan. 23 news release, the town said efforts to find a “fair and effective cost-sharing model were exhausted.” 

RELATED: Farewell event held for Yarmouth fire dispatchers


NO RADIATION UNIT

The review’s results were shared with health care staff, the hospital foundation, municipal leaders and other community stakeholders on Jan. 30 by Dr. Drew Bethune, the medical director of Nova Scotia Cancer Care, and provincial Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey.
After much exploration, consideration and deliberation, it had been decided a radiation therapy unit for cancer patients would not be housed at the Yarmouth hospital. But the plan was to implement other measures to lessen the financial, mental and travel burdens and stress facing patients when having to access cancer care outside their community.

The unit would have cost about $20 million, not including the cost of keeping it operational, but Dr. Bethune said cost was not the overriding factor in the decision. It was more a matter of making the best use of resources, putting them where they could be used most efficiently and effectively, helping the most people possible.
For instance, Dr. Bethune said the demographics for western Nova Scotia indicated there wouldn’t be enough patients in this region to fully occupy a radiation unit. There was also concern over staffing and not be able to offer the same state-of-the-art treatment to patients as in Halifax.
So the decision was made to try to help cancer patients in the region in other ways, including psychological support, better co-ordination of appointments, enhanced use of telemedicine and better solutions regarding transportation and accommodations. Also, it was hoped advances in radiotherapy technology would result in fewer appointments for people, thus reducing the amount of travel required. READ THE STORY HERE


BARTON DECISION
The former Barton school would be used for affordable housing and not a community centre. The Municipality of Digby’s decision The decision – announced during a contentious Municipality of Digby council meeting on Jan. 28 – was based on a scoring process whereby each councillor graded the proposals put forward by two non-profit groups: the St. Mary’s Bay Community Center and Compass Nova Scotia Cooperative Homes Ltd. A spokesman for the community centre group said they had much planned for the former school and that they felt “betrayed” by the municipality’s decision.
Digby Warden Jimmy MacAlpine said he knew the group was disappointed, given the time and effort they had put into their proposal, but he noted that the scoring gap between the two projects was significant. He also cited a recent study that had found there was a big need for affordable housing in the Digby area. READ THE STORY HERE


FEBRUARY 2019

HONOURS
In recognition of her investiture into the Order of Canada in the fall of 2018, Elizabeth Cromwell was honoured in early February 2019 in Shelburne County as part of a kickoff event for African Heritage Month at the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown. Cromwell was a founding member of the centre. “If I could use one word to describe Elizabeth, it would be inspiring,” said Shelburne Warden Penny Smith. “For more than 20 years she has been tireless and determined to see her dream and this beautiful centre become a reality and has not allowed anyone or anything to stop her from telling the story that is now being told to the world, so congratulations, Dr. Cromwell, for this much deserved honour.”
Cromwell was presented with a plaque from the five municipal units in Shelburne County, as well as a letter of congratulations on behalf of Tony Ince, minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs. Cromwell was the second person from Shelburne County invested into the Order of Canada. The first was the late Marion Robertson in 1993. (NOTE: Cromwell has since passed away. She died Oct. 2, 2019, at the age of 75.)


COURT SAYS PAY UP
A decision from the Federal Court ordering MV Farley Mowat owner Tracey Donald Dodds to pay the Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund (SOPF) damages and interest totalling $867,158.57 was being called “a win for Canadians.” That assessment came from David Côté, legal counsel for SOPF. “Generally, the administrator of the SOPF is happy with the result,” Côté said. “It’s good that the court upheld the polluter pay principle.”
The Farley Mowat was first abandoned in Shelburne harbour in September 2014 and remained for nearly three years. It was removed in July 2017 by way of a contract issued by the Canadian Coast Guard. The vessel was deemed a pollution risk for the area’s marine environment. “Ultimately,” Côté said, “people are happy that this particular vessel is gone, but there’s a lot more out there.” He described the Farley Mowat as “typical of the type of derelict and abandoned vessels that litter the coast.” READ THE STORY HERE


TORY FERRY COURT CASE
The province’s Progressive Conservative party was taking the Liberal government to court in an effort to get the Stephen McNeil government to release more financial details about Bay Ferries’ contract for the ferry service between Nova Scotia and Maine. More specifically, the PCs wanted the government to share details about the management fees paid to the private ferry service operator. PC Leader Tim Houston said they decided to go to court after the government’s decision not to release the figures even though the province’s privacy commissioner had said this information should be made public. The government said it would put Bay Ferries at a disadvantage if such information was made available to its competitors. The government said the amount of money spent on the N.S.-Maine ferry service was made public and that management fees made up a portion of that amount. 


GOOD MOMENTUM
Discussions were taking place about how to increase the availability of affordable housing in the tri-counties and those involved in the effort said they felt good about the direction they were headed in. This work was part of the follow-up to a study that examined housing in a major section of western Nova Scotia, including Yarmouth, Digby and Shelburne counties.
Like others involved in the initiative, Earl J. Mielke, program manager with Housing Nova Scotia, acknowledged it was a challenge, but he said he was encouraged by the various groups and agencies involved, including municipal units. “We’re kind of bringing all the tools together, trying to accomplish what the affordable housing groups here have been trying to get off the ground for some time,” Mielke said. “It’s taking a little bit of time, but the momentum seems to be going quite well right now.”  READ THE STORY HERE


The new Shelburne Primary Health Care Centre. KATHY JOHNSON
The new Shelburne Primary Health Care Centre. KATHY JOHNSON
The new Shelburne Primary Health Care Centre. KATHY JOHNSON

NEW CLINIC
There was reason to celebrate the new primary health-care centre in Sandy Point, which already had attracted one primary health-care provider to the area and had just upped Shelburne’s game for physician recruitment. An open house was held at the $3-million facility on Feb. 12.
The centre is “a lot bigger, nicer and more suited to our needs,” said Dr. John Keeler. “The other space wasn’t meant to be clinic and office space. It was just a wing of a hospital, so it was very difficult for administration staff to get people signed in, the sightlines weren’t very good ... This is a space specifically for a collaborative practice. It’s a lot better for staff, providers and patients. It’s more efficient.” Jodi Ybarra, health services manager for Roseway Hospital, said while it had taken longer than initially hoped to build the clinic, “we knew we had to get this right for our providers, their patients and the community.” READ THE STORY HERE


CELEBRATING MAUD
The 2019 honouree for Heritage Day in Nova Scotia was Maud Lewis and, to help mark the occasion, various activities were planned, notably at branches of the Western Counties Regional Library and at the Yarmouth branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Library activities included several screenings of the film Maudie starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke.
Elsewhere, Hal Theriault would talk about his play about Lewis. Meanwhile, the AGNS was planning to hold an event where participants in a “show-and-tell” circle would get to share personal stories related to meeting Maud Lewis or being inspired by her. The Municipality of Digby had a Heritage Day display set up at its administration office in honour of Lewis and people were invited to stop by and check it out. 


Yarmouth Mariners owner Mitch Bonnar presented the pink #10 jersey to Sandy Dennis, as her husband Ken looked on. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
Yarmouth Mariners owner Mitch Bonnar presented the pink #10 jersey to Sandy Dennis, as her husband Ken looked on. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

A SAD LOSS
Community, compassion and courage: Sandy Dennis had them all. Dennis – a Yarmouth town councillor who had inspired many with her community spirit and her desire to help others, even while battling cancer – passed away Feb. 20. 

For the past year-and-a-half, Dennis had been active with the Western Nova Scotia Cancer Support Network and had served on the steering committee of the region’s cancer care review. So significant was her contribution that when the province’s health minister and the head of Cancer Care Nova Scotia came to Yarmouth in January to explain the outcome of the review, they made a point of visiting Dennis at her home and talking about it with her as well.

Dennis had first been elected to town council in 2012 and was re-elected in 2016. She also had owned and operated a downtown business – Sandy’s Gifts – for more than two decades. She was very public about her cancer.

Despite the pain she was going through, she never stopped advocating for the community and its residents. READ THE STORY HERE


COUGAR SIGHTING?
Lindsay Trask of Tiddville, Digby County, was nervous about walking beneath the trees on her property after shooting a video of what many people believed were cougars walking through the woods near her home. Trask was watching a movie the evening of Feb. 21 when her black lab started barking. When she spotted several tawny creatures with long tails making their way through the snow about 100 metres away, she scrambled to turn her phone’s camera on. Trask informed the Department of Natural Resources of the sighting and showed them the video, although DNR didn’t think the animals were cougars.
But Andrew Hebda, zoologist at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, wasn’t so sure. After seeing the video and photos of paw prints that Trask had taken, Hebdo ruled out bobcat or lynx because of the long tail. Looking at a footprint image, he found it was much larger than a housecat’s. He also said the palm pad impression was not that of a domestic cat. He suggested the animals Trask caught on camera could have been a mother cougar with her kittens. He said there was no reason cougars couldn’t be in the region. READ THE STORY HERE


MARCH 2019

Garian Construction employees Stan Ellis and Logan d’Entremont work at ripping off a sill at the Rodd Colony Harbor Inn. All windows in the facility are being replaced, along with many other renovations this year.
Garian Construction employees Stan Ellis and Logan d’Entremont work at ripping off a sill at the Rodd Colony Harbor Inn. All windows in the facility are being replaced, along with many other renovations this year.

BIG RENOVATIONS
The owner of the biggest hotel in Yarmouth was investing close to $7 million in renovations to two local properties and looking to hire at least 50 people over the next two years.
Mark Rodd, president of Rodd Hotels and Resorts, said the investment in their Grand Hotel and Colony Harbour Inn was due in great part to the ferry service between Yarmouth and Maine. “That ferry is so crucial to our business,” he said. He recalled the impact on the local economy when the Nova Scotia-Maine ferry link was cut for four years. The loss of the service had prompted the Rodd company to close the Colony in early 2011. Other accommodation businesses also had struggled after the loss of the ferry.
Since the resumption of ferry service in 2014 – first with the Nova Star for two years, more recently with Bay Ferries’ Cat – the Yarmouth area’s atmosphere and economy had changed considerably. But Rodd said the benefits of getting the ferry back were not limited to this end of the province. He said he hoped those who were against the ferry would consider how the service had positively impacted areas well beyond southwestern Nova Scotia. READ THE STORY HERE


BROADBAND PROJECT
The Municipality of Shelburne was hoping to get the go-ahead from Develop Nova Scotia to start work on phases 3 and 4 of their Fibre to the Home (FTTH) broadband project in 2019 through a proposed pre-application process to the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust. With the formal application process for funding to the trust not expected to start until early 2020, the municipality was concerned that waiting that long not only would delay the project but that ultimately it would end up costing more money. In a letter to Develop Nova Scotia, Shelburne Warden Penny Smith said the municipality was proposing and requesting the approval for submission of a pre-application document outlining the scope of the project along with other required documentation.
“We have a relatively short window of opportunity to take advantage of if we are to move our project forward this year,” she wrote. The four-phase project had started in 2016. Phase 2 was ready to go. Phases 3 and 4 “are the really big components” of the project, said Tom MacEwan, the municipality’s CAO. 


SAYING FAREWELL TO FORMER DIGBY MAYOR
Saying farewell to Frank Mackintosh, Digby’s longest-serving mayor. After the passing of his friend Frank Mackintosh, who had spent 20 years as mayor of Digby – and was also a former town council colleague – the town’s current mayor, Ben Cleveland, offered some thoughts, saying Mackintosh cared deeply about his community. Mackintosh died March 2 at the age of 83.
“Frank served as mayor and councillor for 27 years,” Cleveland said in a Facebook post. “He was passionate about Digby ... even after retiring he would offer advice, guidance, and challenge me, along (with) other councillors, on issues he felt were important to the community. On behalf of council, staff and the residents of Digby, I wish to extend condolences to the Mackintosh family.” Born in Halifax, Mackintosh joined the navy and started his career at HMCS Cornwallis. He met his future wife, Marilyn, during this time and decided Digby would become his home. He became a Digby town councillor in 1979 and became mayor six years later. In an interview, Cleveland said Mackintosh “came across sometimes as hard-nosed, but deep down he was very kind.” READ THE STORY HERE


ROSEWAY 'KEY' LOCATION
During a presentation by health officials to Shelburne municipal council, Janet Knox, president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Health Authority, said there were no plans to close Roseway Hospital, agreeing with council that the hospital “is a very pivotal resource that’s here” and a “key” location geographically for ER services in the province. The emergency department at Roseway say frequent closures in 2019 due to lack of physician availability. Knox said the NSHA was trying to staff 34 ERs across the province and “that’s what the challenge is ... We have to change the whole service delivery, I truly believe, and then use the resources that we have to support where they need to be.”
It used to be that family physicians would help keep the local ER open, but this had changed in recent years. “I think the answer,” Knox said, “is we identify the key ER places in the province – this is one of them – and we develop a team” that would be able to go around and staff ERs where needed. “We aren’t there yet,” she said. There are things the NSHA had no control over, she said, including doctors. “We don’t pay doctors. We can’t tell doctors they have to work in the ER. We can’t tell them where to go.” READ THE STORY HERE


HEALTH-CARE CHALLENGES DISCUSSED
What does Digby need as far as health care is concerned? How to address the challenges? These were two of the big questions discussed during an event in March organized by the Digby and Area Health Coalition.
The participants included Dr. Tim Holland, president of Doctors Nova Scotia, who said today’s training programs do not support doctors with a knowledge base to feel comfortable coming into a rural community and, as a result, they quickly get burned out. His prescription: having the Nova Scotia Health Authority hire six doctors for the Digby area to come and build a practice as a team, with a six-year commitment for the doctors to stay.
Dr. Norah Mogan spoke of the success Liverpool had experienced with a similar model, saying they had been successful in recruiting and retaining doctors. The session ended with the tough takeaway that, with the aging population, there needs to be a solution, and fast. READ THE STORY HERE


The spectacle of a burning wind turbine in West Pubnico could be seen for miles around the afternoon of March 15. Frankie Crowell Photo
The spectacle of a burning wind turbine in West Pubnico could be seen for miles around the afternoon of March 15. Frankie Crowell Photo
The spectacle of a burning wind turbine in West Pubnico could be seen for miles around the afternoon of March 15. Frankie Crowell Photo

WIND TURBINE FIRE
With large chunks of burning nacelle components and melting fibreglass blades falling from more than 80 metres above, there wasn’t much the West Pubnico Fire Department could do when a wind turbine fire was reported the afternoon on Friday, March 15.
“We couldn’t get close enough and we wouldn’t be able to throw water that high anyway,” said Gordon Amiro, the West Pubnico fire chief. Anything that was burnable in the nacelle – the large, bus-shaped structure at the top of the tower – along with the blades, was destroyed, Amiro said. The nacelle houses the generation equipment, gearbox, electronics, the unit’s transformer and other internals.
Amiro said he was glad the blaze hadn’t happened in August. “The burning gear that was falling down was landing in the bush,” he said. “The ground was wet and it was raining. That was a plus.” The cause of the fire was not known at the time. READ THE STORY HERE


FERRY TERMINAL RENOVATIONS
The provincial government said $8.5 million was the expected cost to renovate the ferry terminal in Bar Harbor to accommodate the Nova Scotia-Maine ferry service. That cost was in addition to $13.8 million the province had budgeted to operate the service in 2019. It was also higher than original cost estimates for bringing the terminal facility up to snuff.
Correspondence from Bay Ferries to Bar Harbor town council in the summer of 2018 had put the cost at around $3 million US, although it was said that was never a firm figure. “Some of the numbers that were quoted in the past, there’s a bit of confusion in American dollars versus Canadian dollars. This ($8.5 million) is Canadian dollars,” said Lloyd Hines, Nova Scotia’s minister of transportation and infrastructure renewal. “There’s a significant amount of work to be done.”
Diane Saurette, executive director of finance for TIR, acknowledged $8.5 million was a “significant number,” but she said the province felt going to Bar Harbor was the right move for the service. For the previous three years, Bay Ferries’ Cat had sailed between Yarmouth and Portland. Among other things, the move to Bar Harbor would lower operational costs for the ferry, given the shorter sailing distance. POST NOTE: The ferry never did sail during 2019 due to the ongoing work in Bar Harbor that was not completed in time. 


APPRECIATED DONATION
A $9,000 donation from the 100+ Women Who Care of Shelburne County would enable Barrington Ground Search and Rescue to put the final touches on their new mobile command centre, said Sarah Clarke, the search team’s vice-president.
“We started in 2018 replacing one of our buses with a mobile command centre, so it’s a trailer that can be towed by any truck, is more versatile and responsive and makes it easier for members to be able to participate in bringing equipment to different locations, so that needs to be finished off,” Clarke said. “Once that’s finished off, we can get into some training.”
She said Barrington Ground Search and Rescue had an aging membership. “We’re starting to see a lot of knowledge retiring and stepping away, “ she said. “We have more and more people my age in there, but we don’t have yet that really serious experience some of these folks who are retiring have, so we need to work at building that up.” 


APRIL 2019

SPECIAL VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION
An April tradition in Nova Scotia is the various events that pay tribute to volunteers, including the provincial awards ceremony in Halifax, where the recipients for 2019 included the Little family of Yarmouth County – Jeff and Erika and their children Emma and Alex – who were presented with the special award for volunteer family of the year.
The Littles had been living in the Yarmouth area for 11 years and during this time they had more than made their mark in serving the local community. Upon their arrival in 2008, they took to volunteering as a way to meet people. They have been involved in a variety of organizations and have supported various causes. Asked why they volunteered as a family, the Littles said giving back not only benefits the community but also gave them the chance to connect with each other and have fun. READ THE STORY HERE

The Littles of Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia's volunteer family of the year for 2019: from left Alex, Erika, Jeff and Emma. They received their award Monday, April 1, at the provincial volunteer awards ceremony in Halifax, where Jeff also received the representative volunteer award for the Municipality of Yarmouth.
The Littles of Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia's volunteer family of the year for 2019: from left Alex, Erika, Jeff and Emma. They received their award Monday, April 1, at the provincial volunteer awards ceremony in Halifax, where Jeff also received the representative volunteer award for the Municipality of Yarmouth.
The Littles of Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia's volunteer family of the year for 2019: from left Alex, Erika, Jeff and Emma. They received their award Monday, April 1, at the provincial volunteer awards ceremony in Halifax, where Jeff also received the representative volunteer award for the Municipality of Yarmouth.

ORGAN DONATION BILL
Under new legislation tabled in April, everyone in Nova Scotia would be a presumed organ and tissue donor. Currently, Nova Scotians must indicate whether they want to be a donor when receiving or renewing their MSI health card. Under the new legislation, a person would have to opt out of donations, which would be a first in North America. The Liberal government said the presumed donor change would give patients waiting for a transplant a better chance to get one sooner, no matter where they live in Nova Scotia, by increasing available organs and tissues.
“I literally would not be here if it wasn’t for organ donation and organ donors,” said Cindy Ryan, an organ recipient from Pictou County, who spoke at a news conference.
It would be a while, however, before the new bill became law. The government first would conduct a public education campaign regarding the legislation and look to ensure that supports for clinical teams around the province, particularly in rural areas, were put in place. READ THE STORY HERE


BRING BACK FORMER RIDINGS
The Nova Scotia Electoral Boundaries Commission, in a final report issued in mid-April, recommended the Acadian electoral districts of Clare and Argyle, along with the ridings of Shelburne County and Queens County, be restored, and that new lines be drawn for Digby and Annapolis.
The report proposed increasing the number of seats in the legislature from 51 to 55, which would include the creation of two additional seats for Halifax Regional Municipality and the restoration of the Acadian electoral district of Richmond, as well as the African Nova Scotian district of Preston.
Until 2012, Argyle, Clare, Richmond and Preston were protected ridings. “These are now referred to as exceptional electoral districts,” the commission said in its report. “We feel justified in restoring these as exceptional electoral districts as our terms of reference allows for the creation of such districts.” 


NEW HOTEL ANNOUNCED
Construction of a hotel on the Acadia First Nation’s Yarmouth reserve would begin in 2019, with an opening targeted for July 2020, according to an April 2019 announcement on the Acadia First Nation’s Facebook page. The Tru by Hilton facility would have “approximately 82 rooms,” according to the announcement.
“We are very pleased to have been selected by Hilton Hotels for this franchise,” said the announcement, authorized by Acadia First Nation Chief Deborah Robinson. “Not only will this hotel create income for our First Nation and employment for our band members, it will also contribute to the general economy of the county of Yarmouth and the province of Nova Scotia.”
News of the hotel project came as other accommodations development was taking place, notably with Rodd Hotels and Resorts investing close to $7 million in renovations to their Yarmouth properties. The Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Tourism Association said it was very pleased to see a resurgence of investment in the area’s accommodation sector. READ THE STORY HERE


A procession of fire trucks made its way from Digby to the Brighton-Barton Fire Department fire hall on April 17 in honour of fire chief Cliff Surrett who died earlier in April. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
A procession of fire trucks made its way from Digby to the Brighton-Barton Fire Department fire hall on April 17 in honour of fire chief Cliff Surrett who died earlier in April. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

FIRE CHIEF TRIBUTE
Fire trucks had always been a big part of Cliff Surett’s life – he’d spent more than 40 years in the fire service, including 30 as chief of the Brighton & Barton Volunteer Fire Department – so it was fitting that on April 17, as family, friends and firefighters gathered at the Brighton-Barton fire hall for a celebration of Surett’s life, he would be taken there in firefighting style.
Surett had passed away April 5 at the age of 68. Twelve days later, a procession of 18 fire trucks and other vehicles from different Digby County fire departments, with firefighters on board, escorted Surett’s ashes to the ceremony. Except for the sounds of engines, there was a respectful silence as the trucks made their way to the Brighton-Barton fire hall.
“Cliff had a big heart and would have given the shirt off his back to anybody in need,” his obituary said. Digby Warden Jimmy MacAlpine said Surett’s successor would have big boots to fill. “I’m quite sure everybody involved with the fire department is feeling this loss,” MacAlpine said. READ THE STORY HERE


The Yarmouth Mariners are the 2018-2019 MHL Canadian Tire Cup League Champions. TREVOR MCNALLY PHOTO
The Yarmouth Mariners are the 2018-2019 MHL Canadian Tire Cup League Champions. TREVOR MCNALLY PHOTO
The Yarmouth Mariners are the 2018-2019 MHL Canadian Tire Cup League Champions. TREVOR MCNALLY PHOTO

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS
The Yarmouth Mariners captured the Maritime Junior A hockey championship by defeating the Campbellton Tigers in four straight games in the MHL’s best-of-seven final. The Mariners clinched the title with a 7-6 overtime victory in Campbellton, with Connor Peveril scoring the winning goal. It was the Mariners’ second sweep of the 2019 post-season, the Yarmouth club having defeated Truro in four straight games in the first playoff round (the division semifinal.) The Mariners then had defeated South Shore in six games in the division final to earn a berth in the MHL final. The Mariners were welcomed home as heroes after their title-clinching, Game 4 win over the Tigers in New Brunswick, when they brought home the league's Canadian Tire Cup. Like others on the Yarmouth squad, head coach Laurie Barron was moved by how fans came out to greet them upon their return. “Seeing everyone here, that’s one of the things that makes it so great, all of the fan support that we’ve got,” he said.
READ: Yarmouth Mariners are MHL Canadian Tire Cup champions after sweeping Campbellton Tigers in league final

READ: A CHAMPIONSHIP HOMECOMING: Plenty of excitement as Yarmouth Mariners bring home MHL league title and cup back home

The Yarmouth Mariners celebrate their MHL Canadian Tire Cup league championship in Campbellton on April 19. TREVOR MCNALLY PHOTO
The Yarmouth Mariners celebrate their MHL Canadian Tire Cup league championship in Campbellton on April 19. TREVOR MCNALLY PHOTO
The Yarmouth Mariners celebrate their MHL Canadian Tire Cup league championship in Campbellton on April 19. TREVOR MCNALLY PHOTO

NEW ENVIRONMENT MINISTER
Clare-Digby MLA Gordon Wilson was sworn in as province’s new environment minister. He stopped short of calling himself an environmentalist but said he “understands the environment quite well.” The MLA for Clare-Digby succeeded Margaret Miller in the environment portfolio. Premier Stephen McNeil appointed Wilson to the position after Miller resigned from the cabinet post to focus on her constituency work and to recover from recent arm surgery. The Hants East MLA previously had announced she would not reoffer in the next provincial election.
McNeil said he was proud of what Miller accomplished in her role and that Wilson had proven to be a worthy candidate to take over from her, pointing to his work as caucus chairman and on different legislative committees. “Gordon has demonstrated his capacity to handle difficult files and this file, like many, will have many moving parts,” the premier said.


DOCTORS: WHY LEAVING? CHALLENGES?
Why were doctors leaving? Among the challenges: low pay, work conditions, burnout were described in a Tri-County Vanguard story.
While the Nova Scotia Health Authority said physician recruitment and retention remained a top priority, the lack of doctors was a growing concern for people in southwestern Nova Scotia. Some physicians were leaving the region. Others were retiring. ER closures in Shelburne and Digby due to the unavailability of doctors were common.
Low pay, work conditions and burnout were cited as some of the challenges in recruiting and retaining doctors. The region’s aging population – the fact that elderly people tend to have more health problems, thus requiring more of a doctor’s time and attention – was a factor too.
Other considerations included the lack of regular air service in the region, particularly for physicians with relatives in other countries. Dr. Tim Holland, president of Doctors Nova Scotia, said the physicians who were here deserved credit.
“I don’t know how they’re making it work, but they’re keeping the system running,” he said. “Their ability to work in such difficult circumstances is just inspiring. Hopefully we get this problem solved before those amazing physicians who are holding up the fort burn out.” READ THE STORY HERE


ANESTHESIOLOGIST CONCERNS
Family doctors weren’t the only medical professionals in short supply. At the Yarmouth Regional Hospital, a lack of anesthesiologists was a concern. As of late April, there was only one full-time anesthesiologist at the Yarmouth hospital. The Nova Scotia Health Authority was trying to fill three vacant positions.
The situation had prompted the authority to send letters to expectant mothers cautioning them that beyond the month of May there may be times when some women would have to travel to a different hospital to give birth. The health authority was working hard to secure coverage beyond May, but it also said it needed a backup plan just in case. The plan involved women possibly giving birth in Kentville, Bridgewater or Halifax. Health authority spokesman Fraser Mooney said the Yarmouth hospital had been fortunate to have a number of locum (visiting anesthesiologists) who were helping the hospital maintain services for its patients.
As it turned out, no expectant mothers were turned away from the hospital as coverage was secured in the months leading up to the hiring and recruitment of other anesthesiologists.


MAY 2019

IMMIGRATION RED TAPE
Riverside Lobster International Inc., a thriving lobster-processing business in Meteghan River, said it was grappling with red tape to bring in permanent immigrant workers. Frank Anderson, the company’s corporate affairs officer, said they were battling an aging demographic, which tied in with a low birthrate and a lack of local workers.
“Making immigrants permanent residents under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot is the right thing to do,” he said. At the time he was interviewed, Riverside had close to 300 employees. In May, the company was approved for 10 per cent of their workforce through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, a federal government program. “If they gave us 20 per cent, that would mean an extra 30 people,” Anderson said. “I’m usually short 35 a day.” He said a lot of thought and care had gone into making new arrivals feel welcome and to encourage them to stay. For instance, Riverside had brought six trailers from Alberta for housing four single people each, in addition to buying houses, duplexes and a motel.  Riverside also had a committee to help integrate families into the community. The company had stopped expansions because of the worker shortage, Anderson said.
 


Students from Shelburne Regional High School and some community members participating in a May 3 walk aimed at drawing attention to clearcutting and climate change issues. KATHY JOHNSON PHOTO
Students from Shelburne Regional High School and some community members participating in a May 3 walk aimed at drawing attention to clearcutting and climate change issues. KATHY JOHNSON PHOTO

CLIMATE CHANGE WALKOUT
Students in southwestern Nova Scotia were among young people across Canada who held protests calling for government action on climate change. About two-dozen students from Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School staged a walkout and made their way from the school to the town hall. Tyrus Williams-Penney, a Grade 12 student at YCMHS, spoke of the urgency of the matter. “Every time someone talks about climate change they say in 10 years this is going to happen, in 20 years this is going to happen,” he said. “We need to do something now.”
Meanwhile, on the same day as the Yarmouth event – Friday, May 3 – Grade 9 students at Shelburne Regional High School held a walkout to raise awareness about climate change and clearcutting. The students were joined by some residents as they marched from SRHS to the Shelburne Community Centre. They got plenty of toots from motorists as they chanted “stop the chop,” a reference to clearcutting. The school strike for climate is an international movement inspired by the efforts of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.  READ THE STORY HERE


CMA bid committee members celebrate the news that the Acadian region of southwest Nova Scotia will host the Congrès mondial acadien in 2024. Left to right: Amy Paradis, communications officer for the Municipality of Clare, Natalie Robichaud, executive director of la Société acadienne de Clare, Gwen LeBlanc, economic development, employability and innovation officer for CDÉNÉ, Adrien Comeau, assistant for la Société acadienne de Clare. CONTRIBUTED
CMA bid committee members celebrate the news that the Acadian region of southwest Nova Scotia will host the Congrès mondial acadien in 2024. Left to right: Amy Paradis, communications officer for the Municipality of Clare, Natalie Robichaud, executive director of la Société acadienne de Clare, Gwen LeBlanc, economic development, employability and innovation officer for CDÉNÉ, Adrien Comeau, assistant for la Société acadienne de Clare. CONTRIBUTED

BIG CELEBRATION TO COME
The official announcement came in May that the Congrès mondial acadien 2024 (CMA2024), an international gathering that celebrates Acadian culture, would be held in southwestern Nova Scotia. Members of the Société Nationale de l’Acadie board of directors decided on the bid put forward by Clare and Argyle to host the event, which is held every five years. “The municipalities of Clare and Argyle showed us an Acadie that is dynamic, proud and overflowing with ideas,” said Louise Imbeault, president of the SNA. “We are confident that the organization of the CMA 2024 is in good hands.”
Natalie Robichaud, member of the southwest Nova Scotia bid committee, said it was a dream come true. “Our bid committee is overjoyed ... You’re all invited to come live your Acadie in our wonderful and welcoming region. We’re going to have a great time.” Imbeault said the SNA had a difficult choice to make, given the quality of the two bids (Clare/Argyle and the Baie-des-Chaleurs region of New Brunswick and Gaspésie). Nova Scotia hosted the CMA in 2004 and many activities were held in the municipalities of Clare and Argyle as part of that year’s congrès. READ THE STORY HERE


CATCHES DOWN
Landings looked to be down as lobster fishermen in southwestern Nova Scotia were getting ready to wrap up their 2018-19 season.
After a five-day weather delay back in late November 2018, the season for LFAs 33 and 34 had opened Dec. 1 with a record opening shore price of $7 a pound. The price had climbed to $9 by mid-December and had peaked at $11 in April. It was expected to close at $7.
Bernie Berry, president of the Coldwater Lobster Association, said if it ended up being a decent season overall, it would be mostly because of the price. Catches appeared to be down, according to what fishermen had been reporting. “The price was very good on the shore and I think that tended to offset the decrease in the catch,” Berry said. “Anecdotally, it sounds like the catch is going to be off by 15 to 18 per cent.” Weather-wise, the season had been “very harsh,” he said. It was an observation shared by Kevin Ross, president of the Brazil Rock 33/34 Lobster Association. “It’s been hard weather,” Ross said. “The water’s cold. Everything’s late this year. There’s been mostly low catches pretty well everywhere.” On a positive note, both Berry and Ross said fishermen were seeing good signs of stock recruitment in their catches. 


A  blaze destroyed a building at 212 Main Street in Yarmouth. The overnight blaze started late Tuesday night, May 21. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
A blaze destroyed a building at 212 Main Street in Yarmouth. The overnight blaze started late Tuesday night, May 21. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

'WE DIDN'T HAVE A CHANCE'
A ferocious blaze destroyed a building on Yarmouth’s Main Street. The fire started late in the evening on Tuesday, May 21 and burned overnight into the early hours of Wednesday, May 22. Yarmouth Fire Department Platoon Chief Hank Nickerson said there was little firefighters could do to save the structure at 212 Main St, located at the corner of Main and Horton streets.
Nickerson said the fire appeared to have started in the basement, where it was fully involved when firefighters arrived on the scene. An exact cause was not known. Flames could first be seen breaking through the rear of the building, as smoke billowed out the front of the structure – from under the eaves and from windows and doors, pushed by the wind to fill the skyline. Often times the smoke was so thick the building itself was not even visible. It didn't take long for the building to become fully engulfed.
An occupant who was in an upstairs section of the building got out safely before the fire had spread, Nickerson said at the scene. The man, who  rented an upstairs apartmentm, was not injured but lost his belongings and was very shaken up and upset. 
The building housed a long-time local business called Ceramic Village. READ THE STORY HERE


 Willem Dafoe, left, and Robert Pattinson star in The Lighthouse.
Willem Dafoe, left, and Robert Pattinson star in The Lighthouse.


LIGHTHOUSE WINNER AT CANNES
The Lighthouse movie that had been filmed in Yarmouth in 2018 not only was getting rave reviews since it premiered at Cannes, but the picture also picked up a major award at the prestigious film festival. The Lighthouse won a Cannes Film Festival critics’ award for best movie in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week. The honour came from the International Federation of Film Critics.
The reviews and accolades offered a glimpse of what people could expect when the movie opened in theatres, although it was not known yet when most people would get to see it.
The world premiere of The Lighthouse – starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson – had taken place May 19 in Cannes. The buzz, which had been building prior to the film’s debut, had since intensified. Within days, the film held an approval rating of 100 per cent on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 19 reviews with an average rating of nine out of 10. LIGHTHOUSE FILM GETTING RAVE REVIEWS


MARINE TERMINAL REHABILITATION
Rehabilitation of the Shelburne Marine Terminal was topping the capital budget priority list for the Town of Shelburne for the 2019-20 fiscal year. The town had earmarked $800,000 of the $1.47-million capital budget for repairing the aging infrastructure, contingent on external funding.
The port “probably requires close to $2 million worth of work,” said Mayor Karen Mattatall. “We’ve been trying to find external funding for the port for years, but to date none of the programs available are programs the port would qualify for.” By identifying the project as a priority and soliciting letters of support from local businesses and neighbouring municipal units, Mayor Mattatall said the town hoped this would strengthen their case for external funding.
“We hope to move forward this year,” she said. “The sooner the better. Part of the wharf is not usable now. It has to be barricaded off and that reduces the opportunity for people to lease or use it.” 


Steve Berry reacts with a celebratory pump of his fist after he was sworn in as Yarmouth's newest town councillor on May 22. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
Steve Berry reacts with a celebratory pump of his fist after he was sworn in as Yarmouth's newest town councillor on May 22. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

NEW COUNCILLOR
Yarmouth town council’s newest member, Steve Berry, was sworn in at the town hall on Wednesday, May 22, four days after he won a byelection, topping a field of four candidates who were vying to fill the seat left vacant after the passing of Sandy Dennis. There now were two Berrys on town council, although they aren’t related. Don Berry had become the first black member of Yarmouth town council in the municipal election of 2016. Steve Berry became council’s youngest member.
Among those at the swearing-in ceremony were proud members of his family, along with friends and co-workers. “We’re thrilled to have him at the table,” said Mayor Pam Mood. Addressing Berry, she said, “I’m glad you put your name on the ballot. I’m proud of how you went through that whole process ... On behalf of council, we are truly excited for what’s ahead. There’s so much we can learn from each other and I am looking forward to that.” READ THE STORY HERE


MORATORIUM CALLS
The Municipality of Digby added its voice to the call for a moratorium on all further oil and gas exploration off Nova Scotia, pending a full and independent public inquiry into the pros and cons of offshore petroleum exploration.
Digby municipal council made the decision in May after considering a presentation by Marilyn Keddy on behalf of the Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia, who had addressed council in April. In an interview, Keddy said support for a public inquiry was growing.
“What we’re hoping, once we have a few more municipal units on side, we will hold a press conference and will use that to put pressure on both levels of government to get moving on this full public inquiry,” Keddy said.


Alyssa LeBlanc of Yarmouth County appeared on MasterChef Canada. CTV PHOTO
Alyssa LeBlanc of Yarmouth County appeared on MasterChef Canada. CTV PHOTO

MASTERCHEF LOCAL CONNECTION
Yarmouth County’s Alyssa LeBlanc had to turn in her white apron, but she had made a lasting impression during her time competing on CTV’s MasterChef Canada. Said the judges after she was eliminated from the competition: “Your indomitable spirit and your beaming smile will be missed in this kitchen.”
LeBlanc was visibly emotional when told her journey on the show was ending. “I just want to thank everybody involved with this,” she said. “I never thought I’d set foot in this kitchen.” At another point in the same episode, she said she was proud of what she’d accomplished. “I walked into the MasterChef kitchen not really knowing what to do with my life, but I know what I want to do with my life now. I’m walking out with fire in me, ready to fulfil my dream of working in this industry.”
LeBlanc had become a fan favourite back home, many people tuning in each week to see how she was doing. On her Facebook page, she expressed thanks for all the support, describing the whole experience as “a dream come true.” 
For her fans back home in Yarmouth County, one of their highlights of LeBlanc's experience was when she introduced the judges to rappie pie. The MasterChef Canada competition was eventually won by Jennifer Crawford of Kingston, Nova Scotia. READ THE STORY ABOUT ALYSSA HERE
 


JUNE 2019

June 6 heavy rainfall in Yarmouth County. Many sections of the main road through Wedgeport were water logged. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
June 6 heavy rainfall in Yarmouth County. Many sections of the main road through Wedgeport were water logged. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

BIG SOAKING
To say it rained in southwestern Nova Scotia on Thursday, June 6, would have been an understatement. Indeed, so much rain fell that day that some parts of the region received more rain over a seven-hour period than normally falls during the entire month of June.
The highest reported rainfall was in East Quinan, which got 126 millimetres, said Cindy Day, chief meteorologist at SaltWire Network. Shelburne and Yarmouth counties saw the most rain, getting in upwards of about 100 mm, depending on the location.
According to Environment Canada, in the town of Yarmouth 70.2 mm was recorded. In the town of Shelburne it was 79.7 mm. The relentless downpour led to flooded basements, flooded roads, drenched sports fields, even some sections of roads being washed out. In Wedgeport, for instance, many sections of the main road were flooded. The village’s school suffered some flooding too, resulting in the cancellation of classes on June 7 and 10. READ THE STORY HERE


A ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day was held at the Wedgeport Legion Branch 155 on June 6. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
A ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day was held at the Wedgeport Legion Branch 155 on June 6. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
A ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day was held at the Wedgeport Legion Branch 155 on June 6. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

75th ANNIVERSARY D-DAY

Before the June 6 ceremony, André Boudreau sprinkled some sand from Juno Beach inside the Wedgeport Legion. Boudreau, secretary of Branch 155 of the Royal Canadian Legion, wanted those who came to a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day to know that despite the geographical separation, they were actually closer to Normandy, France than they may have thought. Of course, no one’s thoughts were far from June 6, 1944 – and the days and weeks that followed – when the Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy from the air and sea in what was the greatest battle of the Second World War. Codenamed Operation Overlord, the Allied landings marked the start of a campaign to liberate northwest Europe from German occupation. It was a successful battle, but it was also a costly one. More than 5,000 Canadians alone died during the campaign with another 13,000, approximately, from this country wounded.

“French people know how much they owe to Canadian soldiers,” said Robert-Yves Mazerolle, the honorary consul of France in Halifax who was present for the ceremony. “They actually made it possible to live in a peaceful country where democratic principles prevail.” READ THE STORY HERE


FERRY SEASON DELAYED
Bay Ferries said the ongoing work at the ferry terminal in Bar Harbor would delay the start of the 2019 Cat sailing season. The season had been scheduled to start June 21. “It is now anticipated that the earliest date on which any service could commence is in the mid-summer,” Bay Ferries said in a press release issued June 7. “All reservations prior to July 7, 2019, will be cancelled and passengers will be re-routed, subject to customer wishes, to MV Fundy Rose (Bay Ferries’ Digby-Saint John ferry).”
In an interview, Bay Ferries CEO Mark MacDonald confirmed they did not anticipate the Cat season starting before “mid-summer.” He described the ferry situation as “a complicated project, with many moving pieces, but everyone involved is working hard to start the service as soon as we possibly can this year.”
Bay Ferries had last sailed to Bar Harbor in 2009. More recently, The Cat had sailed between Yarmouth and Portland, but, for a number of reasons, the company had decided to make Bar Harbor the vessel’s U.S. port of call. In March 2019, the Nova Scotia government had announced that renovating the ferry terminal in Bar Harbor would cost $8.5 million, with the province and Bay Ferries footing the bill. READ THE STORY HERE Post note: There was no ferry service in 2019. 


MAKING FOOD AFFORDABLE
June marked the start of an initiative to bring fresh and affordable vegetables and fruit to neighbourhoods in the Digby area that had limited access to healthy food. A launch of the Fresh Food Box was held June 15. The plan was that, beginning later in the month, there would be a 21-week pilot with deliveries of fresh produce to the communities of downtown Digby, Weymouth, Bear River and the Digby Islands. These communities were chosen because they had a higher proportion of people who often struggle with food access, including seniors, immigrants, single parents and low-income families. Another consideration was proximity and access to a grocery store.
The produce packs would be sold at an affordable price and would be delivered every two weeks via community partners in each area. “By bringing fresh, affordable produce to our communities, Fresh Food Box will reduce some of the inequities endured, particularly for those whose communities are considered remote from town centres,” said spokesperson for the project. 


Digby Mayor Ben Cleveland presents Charles Haliburton with the Joe Casey Humanitarian Award. CONTRIBUTED
Digby Mayor Ben Cleveland presents Charles Haliburton with the Joe Casey Humanitarian Award. CONTRIBUTED

HUMANITARIAN AWARD
Since moving to Digby a half-century earlier to open a law practice, Charles Haliburton had served his community in a professional and volunteer capacity. In appreciation of his efforts and contributions, Haliburton received the Joe Casey Humanitarian Award.
After moving to Digby in the early 1960s, Haliburton quickly became involved in the affairs of the town. He was a member of Digby town council in the mid-1960s and, about a decade later, served as mayor. He also had served as the area’s MP.
Among other things, Haliburton had been involved in the Digby Curling Club, the Royal Western Nova Scotia Yacht Club and the Admiral Digby Library and Historical Society, local minor hockey, Grace United Church and King Solomon Masonic Lodge. Since 2011, the Joe Casey Humanitarian Award has been presented to someone who has made a significant contribution to the betterment of the Town of Digby. READ THE STORY HERE


D'ENTREMONT WINS NOMINATION
After serving as an MLA for 16 years, Chris d’Entremont was leaving provincial politics and moving to the federal scene. On the weekend of June 21-22, Conservatives in West Nova chose d’Entremont to represent them in the 2019 federal election.
D’Entremont was selected after the votes were tallied following a series of nomination meetings (in Yarmouth, Cornwallis and Berwick). Hannah Dawson-Murphy and Dan Mullen also had been seeking the Conservative candidacy for West Nova. Specific numbers were not announced, only that d’Entremont was the winner.
First elected in 2003 as MLA for the riding of Argyle, d’Entremont had been re-elected in the Nova Scotia general elections of 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2017. Since 2013 – after electoral boundary changes – he had represented the constituency of Argyle-Barrington. He would remain MLA until July 31. While in government, d’Entremont had held various cabinet portfolios. He did eventually go on to win the West Nova seat in the federal October election. 


MARINERS CENTRE EXPANSION
The bases were loaded for a proposed major expansion of the Mariners Centre in Yarmouth. On June 26, the Municipality of Yarmouth became the last of the three Yarmouth County municipal units to adopt a resolution for the project. The Town of Yarmouth and Municipality of Argyle also were on board as funding partners.
The plan was to begin an application process for provincial and federal funding for the bulk (up to $28 million) of the money required for the $40-million expansion. The town and municipality of Yarmouth are co-owners of the Mariners Centre and the Municipality of Argyle provides annual funding to support the facility’s operation.
The three local units had committed to funding up to $12 million to cover their 30 per cent share of the Mariners Centre expansion. The proportion of operational and capital municipal funding for the expansion would be based on a blended formula of population, uniform assessment and equal shares resulting in the following percentages: Town of Yarmouth, 28.77 per cent; Municipality of Argyle, 32.43 per cent; Municipality of Yarmouth, 38.80 per cent. The plan was to update the formula every five years, upon the availability of new census population data. 


The Hendawi family celebrate graduation from Shelburne Regional High School for brothers Ahmad, Mohamad and Said. They are picture here with their parents Wadah and Raghdaa and their sister Shahed. CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY
The Hendawi family celebrate graduation from Shelburne Regional High School for brothers Ahmad, Mohamad and Said. They are picture here with their parents Wadah and Raghdaa and their sister Shahed. CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

FROM BOMBS TO GRADUATION
Among the students graduating from Shelburne Regional High School in 2019 were the Hendawi brothers from Syria, whose family had arrived in Shelburne three-and-a-half years earlier after fleeing their war-torn homeland.
On June 27, 20-year-old Said, 19-year-old Mohamad and 17-year-old Ahmad joined fellow SRHS students to receive diplomas during the school’s graduation ceremony. “We will always remember it,” Said said. “It was emotional for us to hear our names being called, one after each other, to receive our diplomas. I think our parents and sister were more excited than we were.”
School counsellor Amanda Rankin had high praise for the three brothers, describing them as “highly motivated, hard-working young men ... They came a long way as students, and the teachers enjoyed helping them. They had a lot of energy and positivity.” Principal Tara Goulden echoed Rankin’s sentiments. “It was wonderful watching them cross the stage (on graduation day) ... Ahmad, Mohamad and Said were a big part of our school, and they’ll be missed.” The brothers, meanwhile, wanted the school administration, teachers and community to know how much the Hendawi family appreciated them all.  READ THE STORY HERE


A unique house building project by JD Composites Inc. The house in Meteghan River, Digby County, was built using recycled plastic bottles.
A unique house building project by JD Composites Inc. The house in Meteghan River, Digby County, was built using recycled plastic bottles.
A unique house building project by JD Composites Inc. The house in Meteghan River, Digby County, was built using recycled plastic bottles.

RECYCLED BOTTLES HOUSE
How’s this for a recycling project? Joel German and David Saulnier – business partners in JD Composites Inc. – had constructed in Meteghan River the first-ever home built out of 100 per cent recycled standard plastic bottles using PET (polyethylene terephthalate) core foam green technology.
It was estimated that 612,000 plastic bottles (give or take 15,000) had been manufactured into panels used in the construction of the 2,000-square-foot home. “There are four major companies building this material in the world and they’ve told me that we’re the only people on planet earth that have done this so far,” Saulnier said.
The big reveal for the house took place June 24, but prior to that, word was out about what JD Composites was doing and it was generating a lot of interest and curiosity. Asked what they hoped would be the biggest takeaway from their project, German said, “We hope to start something bigger than what this is. Yes, this is a house, but the ideology behind all of this, we are helping to create a better market for recycling, for pop bottles, water bottles.” 
To say their project went viral would be an understatement. News of the house was reported throughout the world.  READ THE STORY HERE


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YEAR IN REVIEW PART 2: Tri-County Vanguard looks back at July to December 2019 in southwestern N.S.

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