Allie MacDonald

“Lionel Desmond’s terminal trajectory had numerous places where various government agencies touched his life.”

Nova Scotia Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Matt Bowes on January 10 announcing his recommendation of an inquiry into the deaths of Lionel Desmond and members of Desmond’s family

“My grandparents moved out of the community, and that was a contributing factor.”

Marble Mountain resident Kate MacLean on January 10 reacting to the loss of power and phone services in the area during the holidays

“It’s like having raised a child from birth and then having to pass that child over.”

Lisa Boudreau on January 10 after Boudreau’s Fuels of Arichat was sold to Sullivan Fuels

“I’d been begging for a rabbit for a while, and then one day I came home from school and my dad surprised me with one and his name was Oreo.”

Khelsea Welsh, 11 of Antigonish County, on January 10 recalling the origins of her rabbit colony of 32

Rev. Hughie D. MacDonald

“I think I might call myself a people person because I love the people. I always reached out when I could.”

Fr. Hughie D. MacDonald on January 17 recalling his 66 years as a parish priest, mostly serving communities in the Strait area

“We’d all be very proud to see a sign, welcome to Unama’ki because that’s our home. That’s where we’re from.”

We’koqma’q Chief Rod Googoo on January 17 supporting the proposal to add the word “Unama’ki” to the “Welcome to Cape Breton” sign at the Canso Causeway

“Sexual abuse, harassment, rape, these things happen in all communities, but they can be pushed very far into the shadows.”

Pamela Rubin, sexualized trauma therapist with the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre, on January 20 describing a permanent sexualized trauma therapy program at the Strait Area Women’s Place in Port Hawkesbury

“The girls I work with are good at their jobs.”

Samantha MacEachern, one of the four young lifeguards with the Inverness County Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service who were awarded medals of bravery for their actions during two separate incidents at Inverness County beaches on July 22, 2017

“The last storm we had, the surge we had, the waves weren’t even breaking at the breakwater, they were breaking in the harbour.”

Rod Samson, chair of a sub-committee of the Little Anse Social Action Centre committee dedicated to dealing with the deteriorating breakwater in the community on January 24 describing a severe storm surge

“We did enough traveling in the past.”

Richmond Municipal Councillor Gilbert Boucher on January 31 during a debate over which municipal officials should attend provincial and federal conferences

“For me, I think they just want to control who goes and who doesn’t go, it’s not about being fiscally responsible.”

Richmond Municipal Councillor Alvin Martell on January 31 after his request to attend municipal conferences was turned down by council

“It’s been a long history of not knowing about my history.”

Lorraine Reddick, co-chair of Zone 7 for the African Heritage Month committee on February 7 during the first ever flag-raising in Antigonish of the African Nova Scotian flag

“I don’t think we’ve been there. I think we’ve talked the talk, but we only talk about it in Sydney.”

Cape Breton University President David Dingwall on February 7 about the university’s need to reach out to communities in the Strait area

“In a way, it may demonstrate to the municipality that they need to wake up and smell the coffee.”

Kitchen Rackets founder Greg Silver on February 7 after learning the St. Peter’s Music Camp on the Canal did not receive municipal funding

“After the summit, I went to a local establishment for lunch and about 10 of the girls were there. They were waving and smiling at one another. This is how community is built.”

Jennifer MacDonnell, one of the facilitators of the “Hearts on Fire Girls’ Summit” on February 14, describing the success of the event held to get young girls moving while celebrating themselves and each other

“What’s the point of being called Canada’s ocean playground if you can’t get to the playground?”

Nadine Hunt, a member of the West Mabou Beach Committee, on February 14 opposing possible plans by Cabot Golf to develop an area around the beach

Kent MacIntyre

“There’s absolutely wonderful communities, and man, they are committed to going forward.”

Incoming Richmond County Chief Administrative Officer Kent MacIntyre on February 21 describing the task ahead of him

“Who’s going to save those schools now?”

Nicole Baden-Clay, one of the organizers of a protest in Antigonish, asking on February 28 how communities will fight to keep schools open without their school boards

“Some people are making the tough decision as to whether to fill their prescription or fill their oil tank.”

Cape Breton-Canso MP Rodger Cuzner on March 7 reacting to the federal budget which called for an advisory council into the implementation of a national pharmacare program

“My goal is to be able to educate and motivate people to get involved with this, to start a new chapter for themselves…”

Louisdale native Jake Boudreau on March 7, who was the first person in Nova Scotia to work with “e-NABLE,” a worldwide network of volunteers who use 3D printers to create prosthetic hands and arms

“Eventually, Leeside’s fundraising is going to run out, and realistically, I can’t do all this myself.”

Strait Area Women’s Place women’s services facilitator Mary Elizabeth Cameron on March 14 describing their funding challenges

“Certainly vandalism is upsetting and I think what makes it even doubly upsetting to people in this community is that the community park was built in a day by the people who live in the Town of Port Hawkesbury and people that live near the Town of Port Hawkesbury.”

Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton on March 14 reacting to vandalism to the community park

“It’s great to get a person to come to an area but you want to keep them in area, so the people can make it their home and become part of the community as well.”

Nova Scotia Health Authority Eastern Zone spokesperson Greg Boone on March 21 about the prospect of a new physician locating in Richmond County

“When the rules change halfway through the game, it’s not good for anyone.”

Guysborough Warden Vernon Pitts on March 21 describing his opposition to proposed changes to the Municipal Government Act

“When I was 15 I did Oliver at Theatre Antigonish, and that was when I realized that I like to play different characters. It was the first time I felt I could actually do this professionally.”

Allie MacDonald of Port Hawkesbury on March 21 after winning a 2018 Canadian Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her work on CTV detective series Cardinal

“[It was] so cool and sad at the same time how such a harmless creature just washed up along the beach.”

First year NSCC Strait Area Campus natural resources environmental technology student Celine Martell on March 28 reacting to the site of a deceased whale which washed up in Richmond County

Amanda Mombourquette

“I think we’re really turning a corner and changing the narrative on doing business in Cape Breton and I think that’s the whole purpose of this event.”

Strait Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Amanda Mombourquette on March 28 talking about the annual State of the Strait Region Business Update

“That was another side of the man people really appreciated, his empathy and ability to sympathize and console many, many families in the area when they had to use his services.”

Former Richmond Municipal Councillor and long-time friend, Clair Rankin on April 4 after the death of St. Peter’s businessman Alexander Morrison

“He’s always doing something for the community in some form. We could use more people like him.”

St. Peter’s Lions Club president Kelvin Digout on Apri. 4 after Richard Landry was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from the office of the Governor General

“One of the issues here with Port Hawkesbury is that we’ve got essentially a rural highway coming right into town and then straight into an urban environment with driveways, traffic lights, businesses, schools, and restaurants.”

Greg Zwicker, a senior planner with WSP Canada Inc. who worked with the Town of Port Hawkesbury and the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal on designing the streetscape portion of the Destination Reeves Street project, on April 11

“When I thought of how I could honour the Marthas, I thought of their story as a journey.”

Artist Anna Syperek on April 11 during the official opening of Shannex Parkland, the new home of the Sisters of St. Martha

Todd Googoo

“When I was around 11 or 12 years old, me and my brother heard that there were people in our reserve making music, so we started making our own.”

We’koq ma’q’s Todd Googoo, who raps under the name SHiFT FROM THA 902, on April 11 as he prepared to release a new album and start a tour of Atlantic Canada

“It’s kind of cool to see her as the empowering woman who is in charge of a bunch of men.”

Student Gabrielle Jenkins on April 18 during the annual Techsplorer event at the NSCC Strait Area Campus, a program that aims to help high school-age girls build confidence while exploring new careers

“I was writing a bunch of songs while I was down and out. I couldn’t work for six months, I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t do much, but my musical memory stayed with me.”

Andre Pettipas of Antigonish County rock trio Andre Pettipas & The Giants on April 18 describing how he formed the popular band a few years ago

“Not only was she a credit to the Mi’kmaw race, but she was a credit to the human race.”

We’koqma’q First Nation Chief Rod Googoo on April 25 reacting to the death of Potlotek First Nation elder Lillian Marshall

Eleanor Beaton

“I want women to think bigger about what’s possible for them, and about the need that we have for women to take more action, to really pursue their agenda and to have a stronger voice.”

Eleanor Beaton of Fierce Feminine Leadership on April 25 talking about a series of Wonder Women talks hosted by the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce

“What is wrong with him? Does he realize what he is about to do?”

Rebecca Mesay, president-elect of the StFX student union, on May 2 accusing another student of sexual assault in a letter to The Xavierian Weekly

“I’ve never seen good wood go to the biomass plant.”

Andrew Fedora, Port Hawkesbury Paper’s leader in sustainability and outreach, on May 2 making a presentation to Richmond Municipal Council about their forestry practices

“I couldn’t get them to leave the building.”

We’koqma’q band councillor Steven Googoo on May 2 describing the success of the Youth Eagle program which was designed to empower young people while encouraging them to engage with their community

“These are not criminals obviously by any means. They’re just people that need help, and that’s what we’re there for.”

Port Hawkesbury RCMP Staff Sergeant Greg Redl on May 9 detailing the high number of mental health related calls police have to respond to in their coverage area

“Suddenly, the front of our car dipped in and water started to come up over the hood. My husband was quick to act and opened the windows before it was too late. It started to submerge so fast; everything just happened so fast. I don’t even remember unbuckling my seatbelt.”

Marilyn Clements of New Victoria on May 9 recalling an incident on Loch Lomond Road during which their car was caught in a flood

“We lost two fisherman.”

Duncan Sutherland, a long-time employee of Ceilidh Fisherman’s Co-op on May 16 after two lobster fishermen died when their boat capsized off Port Hood

“There’s days that our emergency department is so blocked that we’re taking these specialists and trying to find a place in the corner for them.”

Strait-Richmond Hospital facility manager Cathy Chisholm on May 16 describing the many needs at the Evanston facility

“A little depot inside somebody’s business is not typically how these loans are done.”

Dan Bedell, communications director, Atlantic with the Canadian Red Cross on May 23 explaining changes to the Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) service in Port Hawkesbury

“There were so many people there that we hadn’t seen in such a long time.”

Fleur-de-Lis Seniors’ Club member Debbie Samson on May 23 about the “Around the Dinner Table” pilot project to combat social isolation among senior citizens

“It’s controlled chaos, but it’s at least all based off what I can do.”

Highland Bike Shop owner Matthieu Fraser on May 23 describing his new business in Port Hawkesbury

“After the election, [my father] indicated that it was probably best to destroy and get rid of all our election signs, to which I told him, ‘not just yet.’”

Former Strait area MLA Michel Samson on May 30 after a tribute dinner for the former provincial cabinet minister who was defeated in the 2017 provincial election

“It just blows my mind that we were able to pull this off.”

Celtic Air Service vice-president Damian MacInnis on June 6 after the Port Hawkesbury Airport hosted a successful Atlantic Canada International Air Show

“Imagine the spin-offs when you have that many people gainfully employed, and making good money. Even in Port Hawkesbury, people will come and buy cars and furniture, or by things for their children.”

We’koqma’q Chief Rod Googoo on June 6 after a federal government funding announcement of $1 million for the First Nation community’s aquaculture operation

Dr. Carl Marshall

“My family is from the reservation, and my father is a chief there. It’s definitely influenced part of me wanting to do this, because growing up I didn’t see any Mi’kmaw doctors.”

Dr. Carl Marshall, formerly of Potlotek, on June 6 talking about his decision to move back to Atlantic Canada after years spent studying and working in Ontario

“We need cardiologists, we got bowel problems, we got kidney problems, we got liver problems, circulation problems, all kinds of problems and we need different services from when we had young kids.”

Atlantic Corporation Ltd. president Joe Shannon on June 13 during a public meeting explaining the need for community fundraising to help finance renovations to Strait-Richmond Hospital

“Once you’re here, you don’t want to go anywhere.”

Jackie Tormis of Port Hawkesbury on January 20 about her decision to stay in Cape Breton after arriving from the Philippines in January of 2016

“Last week, I signed a document looking at a formal vote of non-competence thinking it would be a signal to the warden that now, rather than November, was the time for change.”

Inverness municipal councillor Jim Mustard on June 27 after an unsuccessful vote to remove Betty Ann MacQuarrie as Inverness Warden

Betty Ann MacQuarrie

“I am the only female on council, but I don’t think that’s an issue.”

Inverness Warden Betty Ann MacQuarrie on June 27 after narrowly surviving a non-confidence vote