Students were welcomed back to StFX University and Antigonish last August.

CAPE BRETON: A leading German magazine, Der Spiegel, caused a bit of an uproar after reporting that prominent Nazi sympathizers and right-wing extremists were establishing a new radical colony in Cape Breton.

Citing documents the German weekly news magazine obtained, the article indicates far-right populist Eva Herman and Andreas Popp, as well as Frank Eckhardt – a local real estate professional – were spearheading the initiative.

However, Herman and Popp denied being associated with Eckhardt – who Der Spiegel identifies as a Reichsbuerger – an individual who challenges the legitimacy of the modern German state that arose after the Nazi defeat.

It also stated the knowledge factory operates as the “Institute for Economic Research and Social Policy” and invites individuals to Cape Breton about four weeks a year for seminars.

The seminars have taken place at various locations across Cape Breton, including the Dundee Resort & Golf Club. It also connected Cape Breton Real Solutions to the Neo Nazi group.

A statement from the Dundee Resort said the seminars were booked with an understanding that they were to promote land use in Cape Breton.

This sign outside St. Peter’s, belonging to a local business, was defaced.

BRIDGEWATER: A former resident of Potlotek First Nation eluded authorities for six days after a police officer was stabbed.

Law enforcement officials hunted for Tobias Charles Doucette after a 13-year-veteran Bridgewater Police Service officer, Sgt. Matt Bennett, was stabbed in the neck, allegedly by Doucette, while the policeman was investigating a domestic dispute.

According to radio communications obtained by The Reporter’s sister paper LighthouseNOW, Bennett managed enough energy to radio for an ambulance and to communicate a warning to officers about a man with a knife on the loose.

He also called for more officers and a police dog to respond. Doucette, who police identified as the suspect, ran away and avoided detection. After the July 20 stabbing of Bennett, public pleas went out for Doucette to turn himself, including from his home community of Potlotek.

Doucette remained at large while officers from the Bridgewater Police Service, neighbouring Lunenburg district RCMP, specialized units and the Department of National Defence, tried to track him down.

Finally, in the early hours of July 26, Doucette was in custody.

Tobias Charles Doucette

ANTIGONISH: A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was finalized at StFX University in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the introduction of a liability waiver by university officials as an element of their return-to-campus plan, students and community members alike raised concerns as it protected the university against legal action in the event of a COVID-19-related illness or death.

Addressing the concerns of the campus community, university officials held a series of town hall events and representatives from both sides signed off on the MOU.

Sarah Elliott, the president of the StFX Students Union, indicates the MOU helps address the concerns raised by presenting both university and student responsibilities in one package.

Elliott explained the MOU doesn’t replace the waiver, which students were required to sign before they could return to campus in September – it puts all the information students need in one place, so they know what they’re agreeing to before they sign the waiver.

In a letter to the StFX community, president and vice chancellor Andrew Hakin advised the school’s board of governors determined the waiver and protocols were needed, but also they should have done a better job of engaging students before sending out the waiver.

HALIFAX: An aquaculture development in Inverness County was a recipient of funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

On August 9, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, ACOA announced it was investing in Indigenous businesses in Atlantic Canada including $1,000,000 for WFN Fish Farm Ltd. in We’koqma’q First Nation to expand the fish processing operation to increase production, improve productivity, and expand its product offerings, along with creating new sales channel opportunities.

HALIFAX: The company that owns a hotel in Port Hastings is also the new owner of a resort in Guysborough County.

The province announced that it sold Liscombe Lodge Resort and Conference Centre to Hearthstone Hospitality Limited.

According to the province, Hearthstone Hospitality will invest $1 million in upgrades and offer employment to all current employees.

Hearthstone Hospitality paid $450,000 for the resort and the sale closed August 1. Hearthstone operates three hotels in Nova Scotia, including Port Hastings.

The resort will continue its current use and operations until at least October 2022, the province noted.

Michelle Demers-Kennedy

FRAMBOISE: A man from Richmond County convicted in the death of his mother was granted full parole.

Merlin Demers-Kennedy, who is now 37, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in relation to the strangulation death of his 57-year-old mother, Michele Demers-Kennedy – who was last seen alive on May 3, 2013 and was reported missing nine-days later, on Mother’s Day.

Demers-Kennedy admitted to strangling his mother with a rope and burying her body. Her remains were discovered in a burial site in a wooded area off North Framboise Road in May 2015.

Demers-Kennedy wrapped his mother in construction plastic and sprayed it with Pine Sol, so there wouldn’t be any interference from wildlife. He would later assist the police in re-locating the remains.

Initially charged with second degree murder, Demers-Kennedy plead guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced in June 2015 to 10-years in prison – with credit for time spent in remand. His sentence amounted to seven years, nine months and 21-days.

PORT HAWKESBURY: After a four-year hiatus, the former mayor, re-entered the political fray.

On August 14, former Port Hawkesbury Mayor Billy Joe MacLean issued a public statement that he would not run in the municipal election. In the statement, MacLean said he considered running and expressed his frustration with the direction of the town.

Specifically, the former mayor is taking issue with what he called “a severe lack of transparency with the towns’ taxpayers,” the first example of which was the management contract for the local airport. MacLean said he was denied access to the new agreement.

MacLean also pointed to what he termed the “unethical distribution of taxpayers’ hard-earned money,” and as an example pointed to infrastructure provided for a new dog-grooming establishment.

The former mayor then called the reconfiguration of Reeves Street “a big mistake” which he said led to disputes over its financial viability and impact on safety. Again MacLean claimed that he was denied access to the project files.

Billy Joe MacLean

INVERNESS: A local craft brewer announced that its taproom and restaurant re-opened following a closure triggered by the threat of a possible COVID-19 exposure.

Route 19 Brewing closed Aug. 10 for a thorough sanitization of their facility after it was discovered a 38-year-old women from British Columbia had visited the taproom without self-isolating.

Following an investigation by the Inverness District RCMP, after receiving a complaint, the customer was charged with a $1,000 fine under Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act, and was also required to be administered a COVID-19 test, which came back negative.

The brewery was told it wasn’t required to close as it was not a confirmed case of COVID-19, however the situation left the workers feeling unsafe. The closure affected about 40 employees including, kitchen and cleaning crews, bartenders, waiters, and waitresses.

Customers who were in the Route 19 taproom during the time of the individuals visit were advised they were not required to self-isolate but rather should continue to monitor themselves for any symptoms and call 811 if any of the symptoms develop.

Route 19 announced the negative test result via their social media channels Aug. 14 and re-opened for regular service after a five-day closure.

Route 19 Brewing was closed for five-days after a 38-year-old British Columbia woman failed to self-isolate once entering the province from outside the Atlantic Bubble.

CANOE LAKE: Following a vigorous week-long search spearheaded by the Cape Breton Mi’kmaq community itself, the missing Indigenous teen who disappeared from her foster home was located by police.

At approximately 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 21, the RCMP Air Services reported a fire in an isolated location in the Canoe Lake area.

RCMP officers on the ground made their way to the area, and at 1 a.m., they located the missing girl and the man she was believed to be with.

Both were taken into police custody without incident and transported out of the wooded area. The youth was released, while the man remains in custody and the investigation is ongoing.

Community members, including the family of the 14-year-old girl who had been missing for nine-days, the chief of We’koqma’q First Nation and the president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada all criticized the RCMP for failing to issue an Amber Alert.

RCMP issued a localized emergency alert on Aug. 20 for Mary (Molly) Martin, a member of the We’koqma’q Fist Nation, who disappeared from her foster home in Eskasoni at around 4 p.m. on Aug. 13.

Seven-days after going missing, the alert notified residents of the communities east of the Mira River to be on the lookout for the 14-year-old who was believed to be with 47-year-old Darcy Doyle, of Mira Gut, who used to be her foster father.

RCMP said on the afternoon of Aug. 20, aerial and ground searches combed the Canoe Lake area after finding a campsite and a green ATV belonging to Martin and Doyle, and suggested the two were believed to be travelling on foot in the dense and heavily wooded area.

The pair were identified on video surveillance at a service station in Catalone, both on Aug. 13 and 14, and they also were sighted in the Forchu area of eastern Richmond County.

In Martin’s home community of We’koqma’q, the chief and council offered a $5,000 reward for information bringing the teenager home—as part of their own search efforts—which consisted of upwards of 40 volunteer searchers, including assistance from the We’koqma’q Wild Hogs ATV Club, the Eskasoni ATV Club and an individual from Guysborough County.

Authorities searched for 47-year-old Darcy Doyle last month, who was with his former foster daughter.

ANTIGONISH: As StFX University prepared to welcome students back to campus and the Antigonish community, the school hosted three student information sessions.

Officials with the university provided an overview of what students can expect relating to arriving on campus including the province’s mandatory COVID-19 testing for students outside the Atlantic Bubble.

Elizabeth Yeo, vice president of students, said StFX monitored 370 self-isolating students on-campus in residences, while another 400 self-isolated off-campus.

Students required to self-isolate for the 14-days once arriving back in Antigonish, had to undergo three COVID-19 tests during their isolation, to ensure they weren’t asymptomatic and to limit the potential spread.

On Aug. 21, the Aux Gymnasium and the Loney Lounge inside the Amelia Saputo Centre was transformed into an on-campus testing centre. According to De Leebeeck, the university also offered mobile testing inside residences as well.

Yeo indicated for the 370 self-isolating students living on-campus, they were delivered three meals to their door per day, and those living off-campus were be assigned a support person.

A representative with the students union explained a normal orientation week is out the window in 2020, however what used to be a week-long celebration, has almost morphed into a now three-week transition into university life.

After completing their isolation, students received green wristbands, which acted as an all-access to the university’s buildings, classrooms and facilities.

Students who live inside the Atlantic Bubble and will living on-campus were not required to self-isolate, and returned to StFX on Sept. 13, once people in self-isolation were no longer required to quarantine.