Monday, April 30, 2012

Aquaculture Headquarters Moving To Shelburne County

The province is re-locating its aquaculture division to Shelburne County. Fisheries Minister Sterling Belliveau made the announcement today. The move will see 12 positions move to Shelburne County by the end of the year. CAO Kirk Cox says they're pleased to receive the aquaculture headquarters.
"We have been trying to develop that industry over the last few years and we're working with the private sector and other levels of government to do that. So, the fact that it's the Aquaculture Department that is coming to Shelburne, hopefully that signals a real commitment to the industry as well, by the government of Nova Scotia."
Cox says the municipality approached the province when they announced their intentions to move civil service jobs out of Halifax in March. The Nova Scotia government also announced 25 Justice Department jobs would be moved to New Waterford and 22 from the Fisheries Department to the Digby-Clementsport area.

Five Charged After Incident In Bridgewater

Bridgewater Police have charged four youths and an adult after an incident on Dufferin Street. Police say an 18 year-old was chased by a group of people and threatened with a knife. It's not known what caused the confrontation which initially began on King Street. According to police, the victim's vehicle was eventually surrounded and the window smashed out. Various charges have been laid ranging from breach of probation to possession of a dangerous weapon and uttering threats. An 18 year-old male is in police custody and is due in court this week for a show cause hearing.

Chester: Green Light For Streetscape Plan

Chester Council has given a streetscape plan for North Street unanimous approval. The plan is designed to set standards that will shape how the highway 3 corridor will look for commercial and residential properties. However, members of the Chester Municipal Chamber of Commerce aren't happy with some areas of the document pertaining to density. Chamber President Ben Wiper believes the document needs to be tweaked to avoid contradictions in the streetscape plan.

"It's impossible to build an economically viable dwelling unit - say an apartment - with twelve units unless you can go at least three floors high with an apartment. The numbers just don't work. You are losing money, the bank will never lend you money to build something like that because it just doesn't work on paper,"

Warden Allen Webber recognizes there are some issues with the plan.

"It's not only the developer that has an issue with density, the municipality itself is sensitive to the density issue because when you are constructing water, sewer, sidewalks...all those things...the greater the density the more economical it can be done. It's an issue that needs to be addressed. Whether or not they (Chamber of Commerce) are correct it impedes development because of economics the jury is still out on that but we will hear their arguments,"

He says the organization will be given the opportunity to voice their concerns with the municipality's planning advisory committee. The 'PAC' would be able to bring amendments to the plan forward if they determine changes to the plan are valid.

MODL Preparing To Start Road Work

The Municipality of Lunenburg is gearing up to improve their roads. A tender is being finalized this week for groups to bid on maintenance work. The road work is in communities like Auberndale, Conquerall Bank, Hebbville, Italy Cross, Oak Hill, Garden Lots and Pine Grove. The work includes brush cutting, ditching, the supply and placement of concrete aggregates, grading and compaction as well as dust control. The estimated cost is $125,000 a year. The work would start June 1 and last until May 31, 2015.

McGee: Can't Keep Paying For Lunenburg Academy

The deputy mayor in Lunenburg believes the town is presenting a good budget for its residents. However, John McGee has some concerns over how the town will manage the costs associated with maintaining Lunenburg Academy. The town needs to cut about $218,000 from its operating budget in order to pay for the academy. McGee says the building is the fly in the ointment.

"I was concerned that they were picking up on some of the things that they had benefit of being in there and they weren't really valid cuts is the way I was looking at it...and that they were maybe forced cuts or I kept using the word heroic and I'm suggesting that may not be the best thing to cut ourselves to the bone to fund the academy may not be what we want to do here,"

The town is faced with a $177,000 price tag to maintain the academy after it took possession of the historic building at the end of March. Council has yet to approve the budget and will hold public meetings in May. The first meeting will be held on Tuesday at 5:15PM at the town office in Lunenburg.

URB Hearing Postponed For Local School Board

A meeting to review the size of the South Shore Regional School Board has been delayed. It was announced late last week, a meeting scheduled with the province's Utility and Review Board Wednesday has been postponed. It's believed because of a recent amendment to the Education Act. Earlier this month, the province decided to amend the Act to allow the opportunity for smaller school boards. The amendment will require school boards to have at least five members, along with two at-large members representing African Nova Scotian and Mi'kmaq communities. The current minimum is eight. No alternate date has been set yet for a meeting on the South Shore.

Friday, April 27, 2012

LaHave Manor Gets Keys For Evergreen Road Home

In the end, the LaHave Manor Corporation got the home they wanted. The group received keys Thursday to the house on Evergreen Road in Bridgewater, after coming to terms with the town earlier this month. The house sold for $287,000. Chair of the corporation, Elmer Garber, says the home just fits what they are looking for.
"We want our clients to be in a residential setting because, well, they have the same rights as the rest of us to live in peace and quiet. It's a home that is appropriately sized for the number of people that we want to put there and it's a very well-built home, its a high quality home."
The group has some renovations to make inside the home, like installing a residential sprinkler system and converting one bedroom into two. Garber anticipates three residents will be able to move into the home in the next few months.

Tories Demand Resignation from Peterson-Rafuse

Denise Peterson-Rafuse
The minister of Community Services is brushing off a call for her resignation by the Tories. Denise Peterson-Rafuse says the PC's are playing politics over a confidential report on the Talbot House in Cape Breton. The PC's claim Peterson-Rafuse broke the Freedom of Information Act by putting the report on a government website for anyone to read. Peterson-Rafuse says the resignation call is unwarranted.
"They're absolutely ridiculous. They are, what you call, politicizing because they're into the election mode, so they are trying to smear my reputation and there is no basis for it, whatsoever."
The Tories are crying foul because it contains unsubstantiated information and allegations. PC House Leader Chris d'Entremont says action needs to be taken.
"It's time ministers are held accountable to the information that they release. This minister has made a number of glaring mistakes. There has been precedence across Canada that has actually drawn resignation for things less glaring than what the minister has done to this point. So, we'll continue to stand for Nova Scotians and ask for her resignation."
The Chester-St.Margaret's MLA says Premier Darrell Dexter fully supports her.

Businesses Look To Queens County: Mayor

Its proof .. larger businesses are gaining confidence in the consumer market in Queens County.  Thats how District Mayor John Leefe sums it all up.  He says as Kent Building Supplies will soon build a large outlet in Liverpool, more big-name companies may follow.  He says the federal shipbuilding contract will help too.

"We're centrally situation between Yarmouth and Halifax and we're an hour-and-a half from each of those centres and from just about everywhere in the Annapolis Valley. So, yes, we think we're making progress in that area."

Leefe also says the decision by J.D. Irving to set up a big-box Kent supply store resulted from months of negotiations involving the municipality.  It will be located on a six acre parcel of land adjacent to Best Western and the new Queens-Emera Centre.  The facility is expected to open later this year.

Plug Pulled On Homeless Shelter

The operators of this shelter for homeless youth in Yarmouth say it might be forced to close if the province stops covering an operating deficit after March 31. (BRIAN MEDEL / Yarmouth Bureau)
Yarmouth SHYFT
A much-publicized homeless shelter for youth in Yarmouth has been forced to close.  Organizers, staff and clients of "Supportive Housing Youth Focus Team", or SHYFT, campaigned earlier this month against the Dexter government's decision not to cover a monthly operating bill.  Yarmouth Liberal MLA Zach Churchill says the government has also re-negged on a promise to provide an outreach worker for the shelter.  He says that decision jeopardized federal funding in the works.  So now, the shelter has ceased operations.
Churchill says:

"People in the community tributed more than $50,000. to make sure that facility could run and provide a very much needed 24-7 supportive housing model for homeless and at-risk youth. There were thirty-one clients who through there in one winter season and according to the shelter, the success rate has been quite significant."

The "SHYFT" shelter offered clients a permanent address, which is required if they wanted to return to school, as well as assistance applying for a social insurance number or even serving a house arrest sentence.
Zach Churchill says its a real loss for the community.

Gasoline Prices Tumble

If you drive a car or truck, you will receive a nice surprise when you pull into a South Shore gas station today.   After soaring to more than $1.43 two weeks ago, the price of gasoline has dropped by more than 6 cents a litre, literally overnight.  A litre of regular self serve is selling at South Shore pumps now for $1.34.8.  Thats the lowest price for gas around here in close to a month.  The latest fall in prices reflects the lower world price of crude oil.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Shelburne: Fish Farm Ordered to Destroy Salmon

A Shelburne Harbour fish farm has been ordered to kill all of its salmon because a virus previously found there has spread. Fisheries Minister Sterling Belliveau says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency gave the order to Cooke Aquaculture's fish farm in Shelburne. In February, the federal agency ordered the company to kill fish in two pens and quarantine its site after an outbreak of infectious salmon anemia was detected during routine testing. Belliveau says the latest order will result in the deaths of thousands of fish in up to 24 pens. However, Belliveau doesn't believe the virus has spread beyond the site, adding that it hasn't shaken his confidence in the farmed salmon industry.

Chester: Old Stone Bridge is Heritage Property

The Old Stone Bridge in Chester has been designated as a provincial heritage property site. The little bridge has a rich history and is located within the village. Councillor Brad Armstrong says the bridge holds a lot of memories for many people who grew up in the seaside village.

"We always hung out there in early June to watch the gaspereau go up the brook - which they still do. So we would meet there with the boys and watch the fish go up and we would catch 'em for lobster bait mainly. I remember selling them, I think I got a penny a piece for the gaspereau,"

The Old Stone Bridge was officially recognized as a heritage site earlier this month.

VIDEO: School Board Approves 2012-13 Balanced Budget

The South Shore Regional School board has balanced its budget for 2012-13. Board member Judith Sullivan-Corney approved the $72.6-million budget during Wednesday night's meeting. The board will have a revenue reduction of $1.4-million, but will also absorb cost of living increases estimated at $1-million. Sullivan-Corney says balancing the budget was difficult after funding cuts for the second straight year.
"The senior staff have worked very closely with each and every school, and so, we looked at each school and their particular needs and then recommendations were made to the board. So, I think we have been able to really make some good decisions around the budget reductions that we have had to take."
The board balanced their budget a number of ways including:

  • Reduced 20 FTE school based teaching positions 
  • Reduced governance costs 
  • Reduced stipends
  • Reduced travel expenditure
  • Reduced telecommunications expenditure
  • Reduced staff professional development funds 
  • Reduced building maintenance expenditure 
  • Reduced Alternate and Adult Education program expenditure 
  • Revenue generated by the NS International Student Program 
  • Cost savings from changes to two defined benefit pension plans 
  • Cost savings from school closures 
  • Cost savings from transportation route reviews - bus route changes 
  • Cost savings from electricity efficiency projects 
  • Cost savings from staffing cuts made in 2011-12 budget - August 2011 to July 2012 savings.

The board is already preparing for further reductions to its budget in 2013-14.

MODL to Meet with Education Minister Over School Takeover

The Municipality of Lunenburg is getting their day with the Education Minister. Mayor Don Downe confirms a meeting has been scheduled with Ramona Jennex over the Centre Consolidated takeover. Downe sent a letter to the province in March, trying to find a better solution than the municipality taking over the closed school. He says they have already inherited the Blockhouse School and Riverport Community School and can't afford to take over the facility. Downe says the province needs to step up.
"There's an obligation they have in regards to saying they have used our facility, they've had them for 20 years and done nothing more than give them back in a worse condition than we received, plus they never dealt with some of these other issues we've dealt with all along, so its a huge liability."
Downe says he plans to tell the minister the downloading of schools is causing huge financial pressure on council and its residents. The meeting will be held May 22.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Resolute Confirms Downtime at Bowater Mersey

Poor market conditions have forced the parent company of the Bowater Mersey paper mill to schedule two more shutdowns. Resolute Forest Products announced today their paper machines will shutdown from May 6th to 21st and between June 17th to July 2nd. Spokesman Pierre Choquette says the global demand for paper remains weak and is the reason behind the decision. He says the paper market has been struggling for years and it's difficult to predict when it may turn around.

"You know, we've faced, since the past few years sort of a decrease on average of ten percent per year, so we can't predict that this will likely continue although it's hard to say until when and by how much."

It will be the third and fourth time the company has called for downtime since December because of poor market conditions.

More Downtime Expected at Bowater Mersey

Poor market conditions have forced officials at Bowater Mersey to schedule two more temporary shutdowns. The first will take place from May 6th to the 21st while another shutdown is planned between June 17th to July 2nd. It's the fourth time since December the company has called for downtime because global paper markets are saturated. The most recent shutdown was held over a two week stretch in March due to similar market conditions.

NDP Leader Mulcair Coming to South Shore

Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair
The federal leader of the NDP will be on the South Shore this June. Tom Mulcair is the keynote speaker at the Nova Scotia NDP convention at Oak Island in Western Shore. Provincial and federal members are expected to attend the event. Nova Scotia NDP Party President David Walbridge says Mulcair should receive a rousing applause by members.
"I think that they have been, for the most part, quite impressed with his performance since he was elected leader. I think they really see him as a real strong opposition to Stephen Harper as prime minister, and also, as carrying on a lot of the work that Jack Layton did around the environment and the economy."
The conference will allow members to approve a new party constitution, elect a new provincial executive and participate in a pre-election strategy session. The convention will be held June 8-10.

Leashed Dogs Only at Miller Point: Committee Chair

The chair of the Miller Point Peace Park committee is reminding residents the park is not a spot to let your dogs roam off-leash. Carmen Fraser says the committee has created new signage encouraging owners to have their dogs under control while walking in the park. One resident was allegedly bitten by a dog off-leash recently. Fraser says he doesn't want people to be afraid to go to the park.
"We don't want to intimidate and make the users of the park fearful of going to the park, whether they are with their children or adults and with dogs off leash, that is the case."
The new bright yellow sign is expected to be displayed where people won't miss it. If a person is found to have a dog off-leash in the park, they could be charged under the municipality's dog by-law and face up to a $1,000 fine, if convicted.

Lunenburg: Town Projects Hold The Line Budget

The town of Lunenburg is projecting a hold the line budget with no tax increases for residents or commercial tax payers. Council has proposed to cut just over $218-thousand from its operating budget in order to balance the books. The reductions are necessary in order to maintain the tax rate because the town has taken possession of Lunenburg Academy. Mayor Laurence Mawhinney says it took some creative work on behalf on staff to make it work.

"The academy is projected to cost $177,000 during this fiscal year - between now and the end of next March - and that equates to around seven cents on the tax rate. Even with that additional responsibility, the projected budget would still bring us in with tax rates comparable to last year,"

The town seen considerable savings of $42,000 from its snow removal budget which provided a significant boost to their bottom line. Council will hold three public meetings on the budget next month and still need to approve.

Public budget meetings will be held May 1st at 5:15PM, May 8th at Noon and May 15th at 7:00PM

Politics Driving Premier's Ferry Study: Mayor John Leefe

Queens Mayor John Leefe continues 30 years of public service
District of Queens Mayor John Leefe
Determining how to make a ferry service between Yarmouth and Maine work financially is perhaps a good idea, according to the Mayor of the District of Queens.  However, John Leefe agrees with many others who say the setting up of a Blue Ribbon panel ... now the premier smacks of politics.

"There may be an election as early as this fall. So, if this is the case, then it would seem there is a political dimension to this quite apart from the financial dimension that we are all interested in."

Mayor Leefe says Queens County is like most areas in this region.  It has taken a big hit financially since the ferry service ended more than two years ago.  He feels putting political motives for studying the ferry issue ahead of the immediate needs of business and tourism in the area is not a good move!

Lunenburg: Interest Rate Hike on Overdue Tax Bills

A stern message for those who live in Lunenburg and are behind on their tax bill. Town council has approved a motion to increase the annual interest rate on overdue accounts to 24 percent. The rate had been set at 18 percent. Councillor Peter Zwicker says the town is trying to crack down on chronic cases of tardy payment.

"You know, I think there are some taxpayers out there that have the thought that they pay the interest rate and that's OK. Well, we're not a bank, we don't run big profits so if you're not paying your taxes...we have to find that money somewhere else,"

The motion passed by a 4-3 margin. The new interest rate will be applied beginning October 1st.

MODL Acquires Fire Brook Falls in Lower Branch

Councillor Arthur Young describes it as a "jewel in the crown of the municipality's recreational properties." The District of Lunenburg has purchased 38 acres of land known as Fire Brook Falls in Lower Branch. Mayor Don Downe says its a beautiful piece of land.
"It has natural walking trails through it. It is a bit of a hike because it leaves the road and goes up fairly high, it's a good walk, it's a beautiful walk, the falls themselves run about 500 feet long that are absolutely beautiful certainly in the spring and different seasons of the year."
Downe says the municipality purchased the land from the Mailman family for $69,000. He says they have plans to develop a passive, natural park that could be walked and hiked by residents and visitors to the area.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Holy Trinity Church in Dire Need of Repairs

A Bridgewater heritage property is in desperate need of repairs. Town council heard Monday night the Holy Trinity Anglican Church could be in need of more than $250,000 to fix interior and exterior problems with the building. Some of the repairs needed include visible rot in the siding, a rotting beam in the bell tower, a deteriorating foundation wall and many electrical issues. The church has a $3600 grant request into council. Mayor Carroll Publicover says the condition of the heritage property is surprising to learn.
"It goes to show you that you cannot go by the surface veneer when you look at a building, it can look solid, it's a great looking building, who would have ever guessed it had that kind of trouble. I feel badly for them, I do."
Council will take the church's request under consideration during its budget process.

Public Transit Group Exploring Pilot Project for Bus Service

A group advocating for a bus service through Lunenburg County is proposing a three-year pilot project with local municipalities. Barbara Carthew and Jack Schoon with the Citizens for Public Transit presented the option to Bridgewater council Monday night. They spoke about setting up a bus service that would travel through Bridgewater, Municipality of Lunenburg, the town of Lunenburg and Mahone Bay. Carthew says having buses available would be a positive for people in Lunenburg County including seniors.
"That would be a great boon to them because often they have to cancel hospital appointments, etc, etc. Some of the people would be people who are now wanting to go to the community college for upgrading their skills, so they can join the job market. Some of the people are people who are on social assistance or have court appointments and have no means of transportation."
The group is looking at running two 26-passenger buses, with a third as a spare, running fixed routes and schedules around the county. They are hoping to receive 50% funding from the province while the other 50% would be divided between the four municipalities. Bridgewater council referred the matter to senior management staff.

Ferry Issue Studied To Death - Time for Action: MLA Churchill

Former Yarmouth Ferry: The Cat
 There's lots of reaction to Premier Darrell Dexter's plan to study the need for a revised ferry service between Yarmouth and Maine.  The premier has announced a panel of tourism, ferry and business experts will examine whats needed to make the service economically viable.  Yarmouth Liberal MLA Zach Churchill says the issue's been studied to death already.  He says a restored, ferry service is badly needed for the region and the province.  He says: "A ferry is not only viable ... its needed for the economy of southwestern Nova Scotia and the tourism sector across the province. What I would hope is the premier would take immediate action and provide the necessary resources in the economic, rural development and tourism (department) to start restoring the service instead of pushing this off for more people to look at."  Churchill says the Dexter government is simply trying to make itself look good after dropping the ball more than two years ago when it cancelled a subsidy to keep the service operating without first determining the potential impact.

VIDEO: Streetscape Plan Has Support in Chester

Residents of Chester were able to have their say during a public hearing Monday night on a streetscape plan for the Highway 3 corridor. Approximately 30 people attended the meeting to hear details on the plan which encompasses a stretch from Robinson's Corner to Stevens Road. Some of the main concerns centred around density, roof pitches and the exclusion of mobile and mini homes from the central village core area.  Warden Allen Webber thought the meeting went well and says council is much closer to approving the strategy. "Actually, I think we are closer to making a decision on how to move forward then I may have anticipated. I think the four or five meetings our planning staff conducted has really helped make people understand where we are at with this plan. It probably saved us quite a bit of time here this evening," The visionary document has been in the development stage for the past two years and is designed to encourage development but maintain the unique landscape in Chester. Council is expected to get some clarity on a few items before voting on the streetscape plan later this week.

(From left to right: Councillors Cheryl Scott, Brad Armstrong, Sharon Church-Cornelius and Warden Allen Webber)

Bridgewater Councillors Discuss 2012-13 Proposed Budget

It could be a sign of things to come in Bridgewater. Town councillors went over the proposed 2012-13 budget during their meeting Monday night. The figures indicate an operating budget of almost $19.3-million, an increase of over $850,000 from 2011-12. The capital budget would be $2.6-million with the tax rate holding steady at 1.669 per hundred of assessment. Mayor Carroll Publicover says he is pleased with how it looks so far.
"I think its a responsible budget. It doesn't call for a tax increase in either commercial or residential. Fortunately, we did receive some increased revenue from our increased assessment and we will use that wisely and in mostly areas for capital."
Council will hold three more budget meetings with the next one scheduled for April 30 at 6pm. Other meetings will be held May 7 at 6pm and the final debate is scheduled for May 14 at 7pm.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bird Construction Preparing to Start LCLC Build

Proponents of the LCLC could soon see the fruits of their labour. Workers with Bird Construction have started bringing supplies onto the Wentzell Drive site, gearing up to start building the highly anticipated project. Chair Paul Belliveau says Dexter and Brewster workers are finishing up site preparation. He says work is almost ready to begin.
"It feels pretty good because basically this is what we have been working to get to, you know, we still have some things to iron out; we have to get some slate off the site but the day we see some cement poured and some steel going up is going to be a great day because its, you know, we've finally have gotten there."
Plans for the facility include an NHL-size ice surface, a six lane 25 metre pool and library. Belliveau remains optimistic the LCLC will be built before the end of next April.

NS Gov't Wants Yarmouth Ferry Service Restored

The Nova Scotia government is reopening the Yarmouth ferry debate more than two years after it stopped subsidizing the money-losing crossing to Maine. Premier Darrell Dexter says it has appointed a panel of tourism, ferry and business experts to determine what is needed for an economically viable service. A high-speed ferry link between Yarmouth and Maine was discontinued in December 2009 after the NDP said it would no longer subsidize the Bay Ferries Limited operation. The government says the arms-length, independent panel will review existing studies on the crossing and give advice. It says that will help the government make a ``definitive recommendation'' on a ferry service. Dexter says the government wants to see a ferry service return to southwestern Nova Scotia.

Annual Bad Roads Campaign On the Final Few Miles

Its your chance to make a point about that bumpy, pot-filled road in your area that's been driving you crazy for months.  The Canadian Automobile Association's annual Worst Roads campaign for the Atlantic region is underway and you can vote for the nasty road in your area on-line.  Here on the South Shore, the Woodstock Road in Mahone Bay is among the leaders in voting so far.  Gary Howard of CAA says governments tend to watch and listen to whats being said by the campaign.  "Our research keeps telling us the safety of roads, condition of roads, is a top priority of Canadians year after year. So, this allows us to really get the government to listen and they have responded quite well I must say. Most levels of government have very attentive to this."  Voting ends tomorrow. You can cast yours for your favourite or least favorite bad road at

Provincial Money For Tri-Star

A Yarmouth-based company that designs and builds ambulances, mobile clinics and specialty vehicles will receive additional government funding.  Nova Scotia premier Darrell Dexter is expected to announce a provincial funding to Tri-Star Industries during a tour of the facility this afternoon.  Last week, the federal government provided a 195-thousand dollar repayable loan to the company.  Its geared for marketing and promotional development as Tri-Star expands its international markets.  The province is expected to provide a similar amount today.  The money will assist in preparing promotional materials, website development, prototype marketing, trade shows and product demonstrations.

South Shore Teachers Receive Education Week Awards

Warren Dobson
Two local teachers are being recognized for their work in the classroom. Warren Dobson of South Queens Junior High and Greg Millman of Chester Area Middle School were both nominated for awards to celebrate Education Week in Nova Scotia. Dobson says he's flattered by the award, but doesn't know why he was chosen.
"I thought at first they made a mistake, maybe they had it mixed up with somebody else. I'm not an exceptional teacher in my view, I just show up everyday and try and do the best I can like 99% of the rest of the teachers in our school board."
Nominations show people believe both teachers spend countless hours helping students. The two teachers are expected to receive their awards during a ceremony Monday in Halifax.

CUPE Hosts Annual Convention in Yarmouth

CUPE Nova Scotia will host its 49th annual convention beginning today in Yarmouth. The two day convention kicks off this morning with a speech from Premier Darrell Dexter. Among the issues being discussed include pension reform and the latest federal and provincial budgets. Other speakers include CUPE National President Paul Moist and Rick Clarke of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour.

Friday, April 20, 2012

VIDEO: South Shore Residents Protest Education Cuts

Members of the general public were out Friday afternoon to protest education cuts on the South Shore and across the province. NSTU President Alexis Allen urged parents, teachers and students to protest in front of NDP constituency offices to try and evoke change. These people began their protest on King Street in Bridgewater towards NDP member Gary Ramey's office.

Sold Out: Mooseheads Kick Off Semi Final Series

A sold out Metro Centre will greet the Halifax Mooseheads tonight against Rimouski. Over 10,000 moose maniacs are anticipated for game one of the 'Q' semi-final series. Halifax won the season series two games to one while outscoring the Oceanic 10-8. Puck drops at 7pm.

UPDATE: Hebbville Armed Robbery

A 50 year-old Hebbville man is facing numerous charges after an armed robbery a few months ago at a gas station. The alleged incident took place in February at an Irving gas station in Hebbville when a masked man, armed with a gun, walked into the store and demanded money. Michael Maxwell Drennan was arrested earlier this week after Mounties carried out a search warrant at a home in the area. Police say Drennan is accused of stealing approximately $1,000 from the store.  He appeared in Bridgewater court yesterday and will remain in custody until his next court date on Wednesday. Two women were also arrested in connection with the alleged crime but they were released the same day and are not facing charges.

Barrington Man Accused of Injuring Infant

Several charges have been laid against a 24 year old Barrington man. They're in relation to injuries suffered by an infant 5 months ago. Last November, Shelburne RCMP were called to Roseway Hospital to investigate a case of serious injuries to a 23-day-old baby boy. Yesterday, a suspect was arrested without incident at a home in Barrington. Adam Harold Hogg has been charged with Aggravated Assault, Failing to Provide the Necessities of Life, and Criminal Negligence Causing Bodily Harm. He will appear in Shelburne Provincial Court on May 9th.

Inflation and South Shore Gasoline Prices Drop

Canada's annual rate of inflation fell to 1.9 per cent in March, from 2.6 per cent the previous month. Statistics Canada credits large declines in gasoline and food prices compared to the same time last year. However, unless we have long memories, we won't much notice the difference. In fact, it feels like the cost of these and other items are continuing to rise. That's because we paid 0.4 per cent more for most items in March than in February. On a year-over-year basis, however, which is how the inflation rate is measured, Statistics Canada says the growth rate in prices is slowing. Evidence of the decline in gasoline prices is evident today on the South Shore. The price of a litre of regular self service dropped two cents overnight at area pumps. Its selling today for $1.40.9. Thats a 2-cent drop from yesterday.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Halifax, Shelburne men face Drug Charges in Queens

Two men have a court date in June after police seized drugs and money from their vehicle. RCMP in Queens County stopped a vehicle Tuesday night on Highway 103 near Liverpool. Officers found 100 grams of marijuana and over $2700 in their search. A 27-year-old man from Halifax and a 27-year-old man from Shelburne were arrested and charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking. They have since been released and are scheduled to appear in Liverpool Provincial Court June 12th.

MODL to make Funding Decision for Yarmouth Ferry

The Municipality of Lunenburg is contemplating funding towards the Yarmouth ferry. The Nova Scotia International Ferry Partnership has sent a letter to council requesting between $500-$1000 to help the service get re-instated. The Partnership is developing a website asking business leaders to share the financial impact and job losses because of the ferry closure. Councillor Basil Oickle says he thought the group would be asking for more money.
"I'm surprised that its only that much because if that ferry was to be put back there today, I can tell you the spin-off that we would get back with the ferry being here to our residents and what not from that, we wouldn't be long getting our thousand dollars back."
Councillors debated the issue before deciding to send the request to the audit and finance standing committee. The committee will decide what to do and make a recommendation back to council. The website for the business community to explain the ferry's impact is .

South Shore Runner Finishes Boston Marathon

A long distance runner from the South Shore is upbeat after competing and finishing the Boston Marathon. Even though the conditions weren't exactly ideal, Erin Beaudin wanted to give the 42 kilometre marathon a shot. Sweltering heat forced thousands of runners to either withdraw or drop out of the race. However, Beaudin was determined to participate in the marathon regardless of the conditions. "So went without any time expectations, kind of threw the time goal out the window and went out slower than planned. Went through some heat exhaustion at mile sixteen so ended up walk/running it in...I was just happy to finish under those circumstances. It certainly wasn't a best effort but was happy to take in the crowds and spectators along the way," Temperatures in Boston on Monday were hovering around 26 degrees throughout the race. Beaudin lives in Coldbrook and is the CAO of the Municipality of the District of Chester.

South Shore Radiothon Big Success

There's a lot of cheering going on today at the Health Services Foundation of the South Shore. The final total from the Valentine's Day "Gift For the Heart" radiothon on CKBW and Hank-FM is in.
72-thousand and 70 dollars and 76 cents was raised during the 10 hour radiothon. Thats way more than was expected.  The Foundation's Bernadette Jordan says money kept coming in even after the radiothon ended.  This year's final is 21-thousand dollars more than what was raised last year. The money will go toward the purchase of a new Echo cardiac monitor.

Bridgewater Councillor Upset over Rising Education Costs

Its an increase at least one Bridgewater councillor isn't happy with. David Mitchell says he can't understand why the town is contributing $112,000 more than last year towards education in the province. The town's overall contribution is just over $1.7-million. He says it doesn't add up with so many cuts coming to the education system. Mitchell says he wants the government to be more transparent.
"I'd like to know where our money is going. If they want $1.7-million from the town of Bridgewater to go towards education, that's fine. Is 100% of that money going to education or is it going to fund other programs like lunch bags for children?"
Mitchell found out about the increased funding during an information session with council earlier this week.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Court: Online Dating Case Underway in Bridgewater

An 18 year-old Queens County woman believed to be behind an online dating scheme has had her case adjourned until next month. Jessica Boudreau did not appear in court on Wednesday afternoon but was represented by her lawyer. Boudreau is accused of orchestrating an online plot which may have contributed to the death of 19 year-old Brandon Wentzell. Wentzell died on February 6th from a lethal combination of painkillers and vodka. He began mixing drugs and alcohol after a date with his online girlfriend was cancelled at the last minute. In reality, Wentzell's online girlfriend never existed and the relationship was based on a hoax allegedly organized by Boudreau. She is facing a charge of public mischief and is due back in court on May 2nd.

Preliminary Hearing Set for Eisnor

A preliminary hearing will be held this November in the case of a Barss Corner man facing a charge of first degree murder. Forty-nine year old Wayne Paul Eisnor is accused of shooting his estranged wife in a grocery store parking lot in June of 2010 before turning the gun on himself. He was found fit to stand trial in a ruling handed down earlier this month. Eisnor was originally deemed unfit to stand trial but Judge Gregory Lenehan ruled his mental condition had improved significantly since the shooting. The hearing has been scheduled for November 22nd and 23rd.

RCMP Arrest Three People in Gas Station Robbery

RCMP have arrested three people in connection to an armed robbery in Hebbville. Police apprehended a 50-year-old man and 44-year-old woman Wednesday morning at a residence on Fancy Lake Road in Conquerall Mills. A 26-year-old woman was also arrested Wednesday morning at a home on Leary Fraser Road in Dayspring. The arrests are in relation to an armed robbery that occurred on February 24th at a gas-station in Hebbville. It is alleged a man entered the business with a firearm and left with an undisclosed amount of cash. All three people face charges of armed robbery. The investigation is continuing.

MODL Exploring Options on Illegal Dumping

The Municipality of Lunenburg is trying to take a stance on illegal dumping in the community. Mayor Don Downe is hoping to create fines for people convicted of illegally dumping waste and rewards to individuals who help identify people in the act. Downe says options are running out to try and solve the problem.
"We have done the education, we have spent the money on Region 6 for the educating, our solid waste facility spends money on educating people, we go out into the community, but the bottom line is that the communities are still being abused by this issue."
The mayor says there needs to be a deterrent in place, so people think twice about dumping their garbage on other people's property. The matter will go to a standing committee to explore what options the municipality can move ahead with.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mustangs rake in Honours at League Banquet

A good showing for the South Shore Canadian Tire Mustangs at the Major Midget awards banquet. Alex Mann was named the best rookie defenseman while Brennan Bailey and Avery Clarke were named to the second all-star team. Morgan Messenger was named to the league's all-rookie team. The awards were given out recently in Truro.

Bridgewater Police & K9 Unit Called to Parkview School

Bridgewater Police and their K9 Unit were called in to help find a missing student at Parkview Education Centre today. Police received the call from school staff over the noon hour. Constable Will Creamer says police used the opportunity to practice what they call an isolation drill. He says they had all students return to their classrooms for about 25 minutes. Police say they were able to locate the missing student without incident. The isolation drill involved moving students to safe and separate area for a period of time so the dog team could do its work.

New Germany Students Recall Trip to Vimy Ridge

Dana Young, Ben Hannah, Jessica Joudrey and Cody DeLong are four of over 40 students who recently attended the 95th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in Northern France.
 A group of over 40 kids are back from a historic trip overseas. Students from New Germany Rural High School went back to classes Monday after travelling to Vimy Ridge to mark the 95th anniversary of the great battle in Northern France. Grade 12 student Cody DeLong says it was a chance to see the burial grounds of his great uncle.
"It was powering to be right where he was laid to rest, so my family is proud that I was going over and I was proud to finish his trip and make it back home."
The group also travelled to Anne Frank's home in Amsterdam as well as Munich, Germany and London, England. Grade 11 student Dana Young says the home made an impression on her after reading Anne Frank's diary many times growing up.Trip Leader Hester Gibson says the journey gave students a chance to learn more about the past. The students will now collect their many photos and videos taken and make a presentation for a school assignment.

Property Tax Goes Up In Queens Region

Property taxes in Queens County are going up in an effort to cushion the blow of significant revenue losses in the region. Residential, commercial and resource properties will each face a three cent spike per hundred of assessment in their tax bills for the fiscal year 2012-13. Mayor John Leefe called it the most challenging budget since amalgamation in 1996. Leefe says the region has lost $1.2 million in revenue since Nova Scotia Power properties were reassessed over three years ago. He says a $135,000 tax break for Bowater Mersey has also contributed to a difficult year for the municipality. Council passed the tax increase and its budget at a meeting this morning. Its operating budget exceeds $17.6 million dollars while its capital budget has been set at $3.3 million. The Region also approved the second $250,000 installment of its $1-million dollar commitment to the Queens General Hospital Project.

Bawdy House Was Operating In Apartment Building

Police say a woman arrested in connection with running a suspected bawdy house in Bridgewater has a criminal background. Constable Will Creamer says an investigation into the matter had been underway for months before an arrest was made last week.  He says police believe the 30 year-old Halifax woman acted alone in the operation. "At this time there is one person under arrest, there are no other people arrested from this investigation," Creamer says the suspected bawdy house had been operating out of an apartment building but its location hasn't been revealed. The accused is set to appear in court next month.