StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin (left) and Vice President Academics, Dr. Kevin Wamsley present the Honourable Laurie Halfpenny-MacQuarrie with an Honorary Doctorate degree.

ANTIGONISH: Officials with StFX University handed out 124 formal reprimands, including four one-term suspensions following disciplinary actions against students failing to adhere to the university’s COVID-19 pandemic plan during the fall semester.

Between Aug. 15 and Oct. 8, the Office of Student Life received, investigated and adjudicated 210 reports involving 357 students which included violations of failing to self-isolate, on and off-campus gatherings exceeding maximums, not physical distancing, and not wearing a mask on campus.

In addition to the cases adjudicated formally, 145 student cases were informally resolved through the Office of Student Life.

Elizabeth Yeo, vice president students, indicated of the 210 reports, 62 students were found responsible, with 180 students taking responsibility, while 115 students were found, after investigation, not responsible – and 21 reports were incidents that occurred off-campus.

The university also handed out 10 formal disciplinary probation notices, 24 formal residence probation notices, 30 fines ranging from $200 to $500, and 56 community service and/or educational sanctions.

Additional outcomes included formal warnings and smaller fines.

JUDIQUE: A local group received assurances from the province they will be included in an extended funding phase for a project to bring better internet service to more parts of Nova Scotia.

On Nov. 23, Develop Nova Scotia announced it invested $193 million under the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative to expand Internet access in the province.

Develop Nova Scotia called the announcement “a series of scope expansions to existing contracts,” which they expect will provide access to an additional 6,700 homes and businesses.

In Zone 3, the Eastern Strait/Guysborough area, Develop Nova Scotia said 1,342 homes and businesses will be covered by Bell Canada. In Zone 10, rural Cape Breton, Develop Nova Scotia said 2,241 users will be impacted by Bell’s work.

The group called the announcement a “step forward.”

Members of the Strait Richmond Healthcare Foundation accepted a $100,000 donation from Clearwater Seafoods at the lobster holding facility in Cap Auguet on November 23.

ARICHAT: Clearwater Seafoods is giving $100,000 towards a major renovation project at the Strait-Richmond Hospital.

Businessman Joe Shannon has been helping spearhead the fundraising effort over the past two years to help pay for the $1.3 construction project at the Evanston health care facility.

Shannon recalls that after he spoke with Clearwater’s Colin MacDonald, the company agreed to the donation on behalf of its employees.

The renovations are a partnership between the NSHA and the Strait-Richmond Health Care Foundation and will cost approximately $1.3 million. Nova Scotia Health is contributing $650,000 to the project, while the foundation has, so far, raised $960,547.60 from corporate and private donations.

In addition to Clearwater, Shannon added that the Royal Bank of Canada will donate $200,000, the Bank of Nova Scotia $100,000 and the Bank of Montreal $100,000.

Graduating student and X-Ring recipient Tania Tesson from Paris, France was ecstatic to receive her ring.

ANTIGONISH: Nine days before their annual X-Ring ceremony, officials with StFX University made the decision to transition to a virtual format.

In a media release, Murray Kyte, vice president of advancement, indicated with the rate of COVID-19 infection increasing and the public health situation rapidly evolving throughout the province, they aren’t going to take any chances by hosting a large gathering on Dec. 3.

Although it’s not the celebration the university had envisioned for their students who will receive X-Rings in 2020, due to public health and StFX health protocols, only a small stage party, socially distanced, were permitted in the MacKay Room.

X-Ring recipients picked up their rings in the morning from four different locations on campus, allowing students to retrieve their rings in a safe manner.

StFX planned to host an in-person X-Ring ceremony – claiming their collective efforts to date were allowing them to proceed with face-to-face interactions – albeit a very different ceremony.

The university was planning on using several venues across campus to ensure proper social distancing and adhere to provincial public gathering limits, and had even requested guests to not travel to Antigonish at all.

After serving 19-years as the MP for Cape Breton-Canso, 63-year-old Rodger Cuzner announced on April 26, 2019 in his hometown of Glace Bay that he would be stepping away from politics and won’t be re-offering in the upcoming federal election.

OTTAWA: Following a 20-year political career, a former Liberal MP recently started his new job representing his fellow Canadians south of the border.

A release from the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs on Oct. 30 confirmed Rodger Cuzner was appointed Consulate General in Boston, replacing David Alward.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared the announcement and congratulated Cuzner via his Twitter account.

The 64-year-old Cuzner served six terms as MP for Bras d’Or Cape Breton, which later became Cape Breton-Canso. The Glace Bay native first entered federal politics in 2000 and went on to serve five consecutive terms before deciding not to re-offer in the 2019 election.

Cuzner said the consulate general serves Canadians living abroad, while also playing a role in connecting Canadian and American businesses.

Cuzner will be providing government services to Canadians throughout the New England states – Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

He advised that may be something as simple as helping someone vote in a Canadian election, to something a little more complex as working alongside representatives with the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., to administer foreign policy directives from government officials.

This railway crossing located on Brierly Brook Road in Antigonish County was one of four that have recently been tampered with.

ANTIGONISH COUNTY: The RCMP reminded the public to exercise caution at railway crossings after four incidents in Antigonish County where the lighting at the crossings were tampered with.

Antigonish RCMP responded to three incidents of railway crossings being tampered with in various parts of Antigonish County on Dec. 9. Two days later, the RCMP responded to a fourth incident of a railway crossing being tampered with, this time in Monastery.

The affected railway crossings were in James River, on Brierly Brook Road, at Linwood Road and Grovenor Road intersection in Linwood Station, and along with where Highway 4 meets Highway 16 in Monastery.

While the Antigonish RCMP continues to investigate, the RCMP would like to remind the public to exercise caution when approaching railway crossings at intersections with public roadways.

Pictured at the announcement on Dec. 10 in Antigonish are Central Nova MP Sean Fraser and Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher.

ANTIGONISH: The Town of Antigonish is one step closer to becoming net-zero.

A release from Natural Resources Canada on Dec. 10, announced 12 new level-2 electric vehicle (EV) chargers will be installed in the Town of Antigonish to provide residents with more options to charge their vehicles.

Natural Resources Canada provided $495,000 in funding to Saint John Energy to build 99 EV fast-chargers across the Maritimes to encourage increased adoption of zero-emission vehicles.

Central Nova MP Sean Fraser said $60,000 has been provided to Antigonish to invest in infrastructure that will encourage the use of electric vehicles in communities across Canada.

The Town of Antigonish is also contributing $47,955 to the project.

Laurie Boucher, the town’s mayor, said their Municipal Planning Strategy reaffirmed their commitment to take significant steps to become a more sustainable and environmentally responsible community.

The 12 new charging stations coming to Antigonish will be the newest free-to-the-public stations made available for electric vehicles.

The free, town-owned chargers will be installed at six locations throughout the town and each location will feature two charging stations at Chisholm Park, the People’s Place Library, Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional High School, Antigonish Education Centre, the Sydney Street parking lot, and at Club 60.

GUYSBOROUGH: To help fight the spread of COVID-19, councillors in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) approved changes at two long-term care facilities in the community.

Warden Vernon Pitts said the Milford Haven Home for Special Care in Guysborough and the Canso Seaside Manor would begin bi-weekly COVID-19 testing of all staff and visitors.

Council voted unanimously on the operational changes, with the warden noting that they want to start as soon as possible.

He also said staff members at both locations will revert to wearing scrubs while at work, which they will need to change into and out of on the premises to reduce the risk of infection. They instituted this practice back in March during the first wave of the pandemic, however it was discontinued over the summer following the easing of provincial COVID-19 restrictions.