Sunday, May 9, 2021



May 5 2021


BIRTHDAY WISH COMES TRUE: To help celebrate her 91st birthday, Anna Ryan hoped to go for a drive in one of the trucks from the Town of Mulgrave Volunteer Fire Department fleet. Her wish came true on April 25, when veteran Chief Michael Breen took her for a trip around the community in the department’s new pumper truck. Ryan and her family has a rich history with the local fire service; she was an auxiliary member of the department for more than 40 years, while her late husband – Eric – was a long-time firefighter, who was made an honorary member in his retirement. See more about Ryan’s memorable birthday celebration – and the fire service’s new vehicle – in this week's edition.

Photo Credit: Contributed

Province gives conditional approval to Marine Drive realignment
GOLDBORO – Pieridae Energy Ltd. has received conditional approval for its proposed realignment of Marine Drive (Highway 316) for its planned Goldboro LNG project.

Retired CRA employee volunteers to help others file tax returns
SHEET HARBOUR – A desire to help people and a love of numbers led retired Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employee and Sheet Harbour resident Jack Marshall to help others file their taxes for the past 12 years.

Mulgrave holds tax rates
MULGRAVE – In a year when there isn’t much good news, the Town of Mulgrave has delivered a bright spot to residents; for the second year in a row, tax rates will go unchanged at $1.23/$100 of assessment for residential customers, and $4.52/$100 of assessment for commercial properties.


April 28 2021


BOAT LOST, CREW RESCUED: Millan Boyd is captain of the fishing boat My Buddy, which was lost on the April 19 – the first day of the lobster season in LFA 31B – in waters off Whitehead, Guysborough County.

Photo Credit: Fallon Conway-Boyd

Rescue at sea: Community effort saves fishing crew, supports those impacted by sinking of My Buddy
WHITEHEAD, GUYS. CO. – “We are all just thankful that everybody made it out. Boats can be replaced, and gear can be replaced, but lives can’t,” Fallon Conway-Boyd said after her husband Millan Boyd’s boat sank on the first day of the lobster fishing season in Whitehead, Guysborough County.

St. Mary’s explores switching libraries
ST. MARY’S – Mired in a funding dispute with Eastern Counties Regional Library (ECRL), council for the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s is now shopping for a potential new partner, the neighbouring Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library (PARL), to run the cutback-saddled Sherbrooke branch, The Journal has learned.

Whale sanctuary prompts concerns about traffic
WINE HARBOUR – Three residents of this tiny St. Mary’s community are expressing new concerns about an international effort to make a home for as many eight beluga whales in their coastal waters and want local council to intervene.


April 21 2021


GETTING OUTSIDE: Amy Allingham of Sheet Harbour enjoyed an excursion to the Lions Playground with her sons, two-year-old Wyatt and 14-month-old Ashton, despite some dreary weather on Monday (April 19). “Every day the weather is good we are out – because the boys love the outdoors and going for walks,” Allingham, who is expecting a daughter in mid-May, said.

Photo Credit: Janice Christie

Outrage grows over library cutbacks
ST. MARY’S – Riding a crest of local outrage, Nova Scotia’s former privacy and information watchdog Dulcie McCallum is calling major cutbacks to Sherbrooke Library’s opening times nothing less than “an attack on children and poor people.”

Canso stakeholders respond to health services report
CANSO – The Canso Stakeholder Working Group – with members from the Canso and Area Development Association, Eastern Memorial Hospital (EMH) staff and physicians – met with Nova Scotia Health (NSH) representatives and Mary Jane Hampton, via Zoom on April 12, to provide feedback and further discuss a preliminary report on a health services model for EMH in Canso and Guysborough Memorial Hospital (GMH).

St. Mary’s CAO MacDonald to retire
ST. MARY’S – The only chief administrative officer St. Mary’s has ever known has an ample collection of fond memories – and few worries – as he prepares to explore the world of life after work.


April 14 2021


ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVE TO WIN—AGAINST COVID-19: Kaye Williams of Guysborough receives the Moderna vaccine at the Chedabucto Lifestyle Complex in Guysborough from experienced pharmacist Alison Myers. Read Kaye's vaccination story in this week's edition.

Photo Credit: Lois Ann Dort

MODG offers $100,000 incentive for doctor recruits
GUYSBOROUGH – The emergency dept. closed sign has been posted at Guysborough Memorial Hospital with increasing frequency in recent months, and the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) announced April 7 that it is prepared to make a bold move to reverse that trend; a move that puts hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.

Fair or fowl
MULGRAVE – If you have ever attended a Town of Mulgrave council meeting you’ve likely heard about chickens.

Ship of dreams
ST. MARY’s – The chance to christen the new Country Harbour ferry, connecting the municipal districts of St. Mary’s and Guysborough, is bringing history alive for hundreds of school children and renewing community hopes for smooth sailing ahead.


April 7 2021


ICY EASTER: Julia Desmond poses for an Easter Sunday photo in less than springlike conditions. In Upper Big Tracadie, one of the results of a weekend storm that swept across the region was a heavy coat of ice that weighed down trees and power lines. Some communities experienced power outages that lasted 36 hours.

Photo Credit: Tara Lee Reddick

Status quo for St. Mary’s ratepayers
ST. MARY’S – Council in the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s has approved its budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year, one highlighted by no tax increases and a multi-million-dollar surplus.

Easter ice storm knocks out power for 36 hours
BOYLSTON – “It won’t happen again,” is what Shelley McGee-Wilson said of her less than perfect preparation for the ice storm that hit parts of Guysborough County Easter weekend.

Vaccines not yet available in St. Mary’s
ST. MARY’S – As pharmacies and clinics mobilize across the province this week to vaccinate residents against COVID-19, St. Mary’s residents will have to travel out of district to receive their shots, according to the most recent booking information from the province.


March 31 2021


SUGAR BUSH: Gary Simpson monitors sap production at the Lazy Maple Lodge in North Ogden, Guysborough County. The Simpson family has been tapping trees and making maple syrup in these woods for more than 30 years.

Photo Credit: Lois Ann Dort

Allegations of racism at CECGA
GUYSBOROUGH – Earlier this month, a student from Chedabucto Education Centre / Guysborough Academy (CECGA) posted a note to social media stating that, although she was not Black or a person of colour, she had seen her friends face racism at the school. The post specifically highlights the bystander problem, alleging that some students made fun of other ethnicities, while other students and teachers heard the comments and ignored them.

How sweet it is
NORTH OGDEN – The sun’s out, the snow is melting and the sap is running fast in North Ogden, Guysborough County.

Lawton’s fully booked for first round of vaccinations
SHEET HARBOUR – Residents were quick to answer the call put out by Lawton’s Sheet Harbour pharmacist, Tanya Smiley, on March 25 for those 75 and over to book appointments for their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.


March 24 2021


NURSING HOME VACCINATIONS: Milford Haven Home for Special Care CCA Marianne Hendsbee receives her COVID-19 vaccination from RN Sarabjit Kaur, director of care, during a recent immunization clinic at the Guysborough facility. Since late February, staff members have been getting vaccinated, while residents have been receiving their first dose since March 15. Designated caregivers were scheduled to receive their vaccinations during a two-day clinic this week, which was coordinated by the Health Association of Nova Scotia (HANS) and the Guysborough Pharmacy.

Photo Credit: Contributed

Boylston fire deemed suspicious
BOYLSTON – An unoccupied mini home on Reddys Hill, near Boylston, Guysborough County was damaged by fire on the night of March 17. An RCMP news release on March 18 stated that, “The fire is believed to be suspicious and the investigation is ongoing.”

MODG raises taxes to help offset lost revenues
GUYSBOROUGH – “No council likes to put up taxes,” Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) Warden Vernon Pitts said March 17, after council approved a $0.06 increase in taxes across the board in its 2021-2022 budget.

Residents frustrated with lab booking system
GUYSBOROUGH – It’s been four months since Nova Scotia Health (NSH) implemented the new lab appointment booking system and, according to some patients in the Guysborough area, the kinks haven’t been worked out yet.


March 17 2021


MOVING THROUGH MARCH BREAK: The Walk for the Soul event – sponsored by the Municipality of the District of Guysborough recreation department and the Guysborough and Area Community Health Board was held Sunday (March 14) at Boylston Park. The event brought out almost 20 participants – of all ages – for a walk around Priest Island. More photos in this week's edition.

Photo Credit: Lois Ann Dort

Libraries close over March break
GUYSBOROUGH – “They should be open and providing programming for our kids. They are out of school for that week. It’s a lost opportunity for the library. There’s a lack of leadership there – there’s a definite lack of leadership.”

Library board seeks more money for same service
ST. MARY’S – The Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s is calling on the province to “investigate” Eastern Counties Regional Library’s (ECRL) recent request that the municipality pay $10,000 more per year for the same level of service, effective April 6.

Consultant proposes ‘flexible coverage model’ for local hospitals
GUYSBOROUGH – The communities of Guysborough and Canso got a look at health care consultant Mary Jane Hampton’s proposed health services delivery model for Eastern Memorial Hospital (EMH) in Canso and Guysborough Memorial Hospital (GMH) in Guysborough last week.


March 10 2021


PHARMACY ROLLOUT: The first COVID-19 vaccinations in a pharmacy in Nova Scotia took place Tuesday, March 9, at the Guardian Pharmacy in Spryfield. Jeanne Henneberry rolled up her sleeve and then gave a thumbs up. Vaccine clinics at various sites across the province, including Antigonish, will be operational the week of March 15 for those aged 80 and above.

Photo Credit: Communications Nova Scotia

‘We’ve got a site!’
PORT HILFORD – With an agreement in principle to purchase more than 100 acres of prime coastline near Wine Harbour, the Whale Sanctuary Project (WSP) took a giant leap forward last week in its plan to establish North America’s first wild refuge for formerly captive belugas.

Daycare for Guysborough?
GUYSBOROUGH – The community of Guysborough has a lot of great selling points for families looking for a rural lifestyle – pre-primary to Grade 12 education, full-service hospital, easy access to nature, reasonable house prices and a vibrant arts community – but it’s the thing Guysborough doesn’t have that can make or break the decision to settle in the area for some families.

Fitch Report released
GUYSBOROUGH – After calls from provincial opposition parties, the paramedics union and the public, the Fitch Report on the state and best practices for the Emergency Health Services (EHS) was released on March 8.


March 3 2021


RESTORATION: Craftsmen Allan MacKeen (left) and Keith Laybolt with one of the windows built in Historic Sherbrooke Village’s wood shop for the Exhibit Centre, part of a recently completed $1-million renovation project.

Photo Credit: Contributed

Sherbrooke Village completes $1M reno
SHERBROOKE – It’s taken eight months and a million dollars, but Historic Sherbrooke Village has managed to paint the town red … and green … and brown … and, indeed, every restoration colour the living museum can conjure to bring tourists back in a post-pandemic world.

Government and locals at odds about fate of 100-year-old shipwreck
DRUM HEAD – Almost 100 years ago, the steamer Scotia caught fire and sank off the shores of Drum Head, Guysborough County, while hauling $75,000 worth of cargo from Halifax to Boylston, Guysborough County.

Feds move to address polluting shipwreck
MARIE JOSEPH – The long and fateful sojourn of MV Caruso, beached below the highway outside this tiny St. Mary’s community, is coming to an end one way or the other.


February 24 2021


VACCINE ROLLOUT: Shelley Stewart, an ICU nurse, receives her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 from Public Health LPN Amanda MacDonald-Venedam Monday morning (Feb. 22) at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital. It was the first of six days of scheduled vaccination clinics – three this week and three next week – at the Antigonish hospital. Provincial health officials say the plan is to vaccinate 550 people each week, including Phase 0 hospital staff from St. Martha’s and the surrounding areas, long-term care healthcare workers, paramedics, designated first medical responders and First Nation healthcare workers.

Photo Credit: Nova Scotia Health Authority

Families share impacts of tragedy
PORT HAWKESBURY – Cassandra Desmond, Lionel Desmond’s sister, wrapped up her testimony at the Desmond Fatality Inquiry last Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 16, when she spoke about the day Lionel killed their mother, Brenda; his wife, Shanna and their 10-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, at a home in Upper Big Tracadie.

MODG concerned about library service
GUYSBOROUGH – What should have been a routine point on the monthly Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) council meeting agenda, a report on the recent Eastern Counties Regional Library (ECRL) library board meeting, spurred a long discussion about the fate of the libraries in Canso and Guysborough.

Mulgrave program casts a wide net to reduce food insecurity during pandemic
MULGRAVE – One might say it was an ambitious plan, to create a meal delivery service to support older, vulnerable adults in Guysborough County experiencing challenges related to food security during the pandemic. Given that the county is geographically large and has a population of whom half are more than the age of 55, the idea took some planning to get off the ground. But with government funding – from the federal New Horizon Program, N.S. Dept. of Communities, Culture and Heritage Program and N.S. Department of Seniors – the board of directors of the Mulgrave and Area Medical Centre and a project advisory committee got Community Food Connections on the road delivering meals free of charge to the kitchens of more than 160 program participants.


February 17 2021


HEARTS FOR HELPERS: The new Hearts in the Park display in Sherbrooke honours those who have been helping during Covid-19. It’s near one of the entrances to the new accessible public garden, which was completed last year with financial support from the province through the Village’s Rural Institute for Cultural Heritage and Environmental Sustainability (RICHES) and an $8,000 grant from Accessibility Nova Scotia. Heart builders from left to right: Keith and Heather Laybolt, Brennon MacKay, Shannon O’Connell, Andy MacKay, Dana O’Connell (lead on park project), and Patricia MacKay. Story in this week's edition.

Photo Credit: Contributed

Family members’ testimony begins
PORT HAWKESBURY – “When I read this, I hear my brother’s cry for help.” Lionel Desmond’s sister Cassandra reflected on reading her brother’s words from a 2015 document as she spoke at the Desmond Fatality Inquiry at the Port Hawkesbury courthouse Tuesday, Feb. 16. In the letter – part of an application to Veterans Affairs for disability benefits – Lionel Desmond wrote about head injuries he sustained in military service and his search for help.

St. Mary’s forestry facing collapse
ST. MARY’S – The forest industry – which once employed hundreds of men and women across this lightly populated, densely wooded district – is collapsing under the weight of government policy, market turbulence and public opinion, say local operators.

Rankin readies to become 29th premier
GUYSBOROUGH – In less than a month, Iain Rankin will become the 29th Premier of Nova Scotia and, at age 37, the second youngest in the province’s history – the youngest was Rodney MacDonald, who became premier at age 34.


February 10 2021


SNOW HERO: Even though school was cancelled Monday (Feb. 8) – in the aftermath of a winter storm that blanketed the province, including the Sheet Harbour area – seven-year-old Kayson Boutilier kept busy, continuing his tradition of shoveling the doorsteps of senior neighbours. One of those grateful recipients is Helen Walsh, who says the youngster – often accompanied by his brother, Brady – shovels for her and other widows, including Diane Hiltz and Muriel Chittick. Kayson’s mother – Erin – says he loves waking up on storm days, so he can get to work shovelling out his neighbours.

Photo Credit: Helen Walsh

Funding supports Canso Seafoods expansion
CANSO – The Canso Seafoods plant addition should be up and running in April, increasing production and expanding the product line, with funding support from the province and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

MODG still only unit with dedicated African Nova Scotian seat
GUYSBOROUGH – “It just seemed like the right thing to do,” says Lloyd Hines, who sits as the MLA for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie, but was a councillor in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) in 1994, when council applied to the Utility and Review Board (UARB) to create a seat to represent the Black communities in the municipality.

Addition to protected islands helps realize vision for Eastern Shore
SHERBROOKE – With protected status granted to 20 more sites across the province last week, one community leader here sees hope for what he calls the “sanctuary of the enlightened,” provided government continues to listen to its constituents.


February 3 2021


CROSSING THE BORDER FOR TREATMENT: Dale Pye, diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in May 2020, has a life-saving treatment waiting for him in Boston. His daughter, Shelly, will accompany him on the two-month excursion. His family and community are raising funds to help cover their expenses on this journey. From left Dale Pye, his grandson Jackson and daughters Shelly and Melissa (Jackson's mother).

Photo Credit: Wendy Pye

Atlantic Gold faces environmental charges
ST. MARY – Atlantic Gold, which intends to “mitigate any risks” associated with operating an open pit mine in the ecologically sensitive St. Mary’s River valley, has been arraigned on 32 counts of violating Nova Scotia’s Environment Act.

Family raising funds to send father to Boston for cancer treatments
PORT DUFFERIN – Diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in May 2020 – in the midst of the isolation period of the COVID-19 pandemic – 59-year-old Dale Pye of Port Dufferin is fighting a very aggressive and fast-growing type of cancer.

SMRA wants feds to back off Atlantic salmon
ST. MARY’S – With almost exquisite irony, the St. Mary’s River Association (SMRA) has joined other conservation groups in eastern Canada to oppose a federal effort that could formally list their cherished Atlantic salmon as a protected “species at risk.”


January 27 2021


LOOKING FOR ANSWERS: Derek LeBlanc, EHS regional manager for ground operations, addressed questions – via video link – from MODG council during its regular monthly meeting on Jan. 20.

Photo Credit: Lois Ann Dort

MODG unhappy with EHS answers
GUYSBOROUGH – Three times wasn’t the charm, so the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) invited representatives from ambulance provider Emergency Health Services (EHS) – Derek LeBlanc and Phil Stewart – to council, once again, to answer questions about the provision of service in the area.

Country Harbour ferry out of service until May
COUNTRY HARBOUR – Better now than during the summer is the general reaction from people in the Country Harbour area when it was announced last week (Jan. 20) that the Country Harbour ferry would continue to be out of service – due to mechanical problems – until May, when a new ferry comes into service.

Freedom of Information response ‘unacceptable’ – warden
GUYSBOROUGH – Last week (Jan. 21) the government relaunched its Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) online portal, https://iaprequest.novascotia.ca.


January 20 2021


LET FREEDOM RING: Grade 5 students at Chedabucto Education Centre celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday (Jan. 18). Here, special guest Constable Nathan Sparks of the RCMP recites King Jr.'s history-making I Have a Dream speech.

Photo Credit: Contributed

MODG sells nursing homes
GUYSBOROUGH – As of 1:01 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) was out of the nursing home business. That’s when a deal to sell Milford Haven Home for Special Care in Guysborough and Seaside Manor in Canso to GEM Health Care Group closed.

Spaceport plans delayed
CANSO – Maritime Launch Services (MLS) will not get liftoff as early as the company had hoped.

Special election boosts whales
ST. MARY’S – Riding a groundswell of support for a whale-friendly environment, and with just a hint of déjà vu, James Harpell became the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s newest council member Saturday night [Jan. 16].

St. Mary’s finances in the black
ST. MARY’S – Rural decline may be taking the stuffing out of public finances across Nova Scotia, but the Municipality of the District of Saint Mary’s is the picture of health thanks to sound financial management, says Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald.


January 13 2021


Community members gathered with District 2 Councillor David Hendsbee of the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), highway employees and engineer Michael Balsom in October to discuss safety concerns regarding Atkins Point Road in Harrigan Cove. Work has been done to prevent vehicles from sliding into the Atlantic Ocean.

Photo Credit: Contributed

Plans for Cochrane Hill mine delayed
ST. MARY’S – Atlantic Gold Corporation has delayed the opening of its Cochrane Hill mine by as much as three years, putting the controversial facility at the bottom of its list of immediate priorities.

Residents call for urgent action on unsafe road
HARRIGAN COVE – Atkins Point Road is a secondary road in Harrigan Cove with 30 residents in 16 homes. Initially a loop connected by a bridge, it has been barricaded by DOT since 2015 due to the breakdown of the abutment at either end.

Local ER closures increasing
GUYSBOROUGH – While the world has been bracing for a health care crisis due to COVID-19, Nova Scotia has been coming to grips with a health care crisis in the ER.


January 6 2021


SPLASH TO THE FUTURE: A pair of 11-year-old friends from Canso made a splash to start 2021. Grade 6 students Marlee Rhynold (left) and Taylor Boudreau participated in a polar bear dip for the first time on New Year's Day. Although COVID-19 health guidelines forced adjustments to these chilly gatherings across the province - especially when it came to the number of people who could participate, and with social distancing in mind - many, like Marlee and Taylor, were able to continue the tradition. See more photos in this week's edition.

Photo Credit: Melissa Richards

From trash to gas: Green things happening at landfill
The saying goes that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. In this case, trash is gas and that, in turn, is power – of the electric kind.

Bringing back the Belmont
A couple from Guysborough County has brought the iconic Belmont Resort and Golf Course back to life, if only virtually.

Mulgrave still waiting for action on dangerous intersection
MULGRAVE – The intersection in Aulds Cove linking Highway 344 to the Trans-Canada Highway has been a safety concern for many years, especially for the Town of Mulgrave; it’s the chief means of egress from the community.