Heather and Tony Sampson from Dundee were this year’s donors of the Nova Scotia tree for Boston.

LOUISDALE: The only mobile unit of its kind in Canada went on the road.

The Medicine Shoppe pharmacist Michael Hatt visited communities around the four counties in a mobile flu clinic from which he administered flu vaccinations.

Hatt said he got the inspiration from American chain Rite Aid which used ambulances during the first wave of COVID-19. Other than larger vehicles being used in other provinces, this is the only flu clinic of its kind in Canada, he said.

The mobile clinic’s first visit was to Louisdale on Oct. 28, with plans to go to Mulgrave, Havre Boucher, Auld’s Cove, Judique, West Bay Road, and Port Hood, as well as clinics in and around Port Hawkesbury. He said the response was great, with between 80-100 people vaccinated on the first day.

Hatt said the mobile clinic targeted businesses within Port Hawkesbury and communities without “easy pharmacy access.”

The pharmacist said he purchased the decommissioned ambulance from a used car lot in the Annapolis Valley a few years ago. Fortunately, it has a wheelchair lift, power, heat, and everything Hatt needs.

The Medicine Shoppe pharmacist Michael Hatt hit the road in November with his mobile flu clinic.

MEMBERTOU: Clearwater Seafoods Incorporated, one of the largest fully-integrated seafood companies in North America, is now owned by a coalition of local Mi’kmaq First Nations including Paqtntkek, We’koqma’q, and Potlotek.

A coalition of Mi’kmaq communities along with their business partner, Premium Brands Holdings Corporation, acquired the largest holder of shellfish licenses in Canada and one of the world’s leading seafood companies.

The details of this commercial acquisition included the coalition of participating Mi’kmaq communities from across Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, owning 50 per cent of Clearwater Seafoods, and 100 per cent of all Canadian Clearwater licenses.

Membertou Chief Terry Paul wanted to make it understood that this commercial acquisition is separate from both their moderate livelihood fishery and their commercial inshore fishery operations – and they are proud participants in all sectors of the fishery.

Drew Muller

PORT HAWKESBURY: After waiting for six months, graduates of the NSCC Strait Area Campus finally received a proper celebration of their accomplishments.

The Class of 2020 was honoured in a virtual convocation ceremony that included Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil, NSCC President Don Bureaux and 15 campus valedictorians, with special appearances by celebrated alum Neon Dreams and Ria Mae.

Upon graduating high school, Strait Area Campus valedictorian Drew Muller enrolled in the Natural Resources Environmental Technology program. She said the curriculum at NSCC was far more in-depth than any competing university, and that, combined with being close to home and offering small class sizes, made it her top choice.

Believing that knowledge is power, Muller is currently completing her Bachelor of Engineering Technology at Cape Breton University and is deciding whether to pursue her masters in environmental studies, or travel to James Cook University in Australia where she has been accepted on an Excellence Scholarship in Marine Biology.

The virtual convocation created the first opportunity to come together as a full NSCC community with friends, family and supporters to recognize and celebrate the Class of 2020 for their achievements and the tremendous work they invested to realize their hopes, dreams and goals.

The tree from Richmond County makes its way across the Canso Causeway yesterday, before heading to Halifax.

HALIFAX: Nova Scotia sent some love to Boston, by way of Cape Breton.

The Tree for Boston is the annual gift Nova Scotia sends to Boston to thank the city for sending aid after the Halifax Explosion in 1917. Heather and Tony Sampson from Dundee were this year’s tree donors.

A 45- foot white spruce travelled from Grand Anse to Boston Common, where it was lit in December.

Nova Scotia dedicated this tree to health care workers to honour both Boston’s response after the Halifax Explosion and those who are working on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tree for Boston is the province’s annual thank you to Boston for sending medical personnel and supplies to Nova Scotia within hours of the Halifax Explosion in 1917. The explosion devastated north-end Halifax, killed nearly 2,000 people and left thousands more injured and homeless.

Before departing for Halifax, then eventually to Boston, the tree visited East Richmond Education Centre in St. Peter’s and Felix Marchand Education Centre in Louisdale.

Cassidy Jean Bernard

PORT HAWKESBURY: An eight-week trial was set for the person accused of killing Cassidy Bernard.

Dwight Austin Isadore, 21, of Wagmatcook was charged with the second-degree murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his children.

He made comments questioning the charges in response to Justice Robin Gogan, after she advised the accused his judge and jury trial was to be scheduled for eight-weeks starting in January 2022.

Bernard, a 22-year-old mother of six-month-old infant twins at the time, was found dead inside her We’koqma’q First Nation home on Oct. 24, 2018. Her daughters Mya and Paisley were found severely dehydrated but ultimately unharmed.

Isadore also faces two charges of child endangerment.

Crown Attorney Shane Russell told the Supreme Court that charges laid against Isadore came as a result of a “Mr. Big” undercover investigation by the RCMP.

The Supreme Court heard from Isadore’s defence that their intention is to question the evidence obtained from the police operation and will be responsible for “a significant portion” of the eight-week trial – noting there is over a week’s worth of recordings of Isadore from the sting that would need to be heard by the court.

Isadore’s judge and jury trial is set to run from Jan. 17 to Mar. 11, 2021.

WE’KOQMA’Q FIRST NATION: The chief of a local First Nations band said her council is actively pursuing a land claim with the neighbours in the village of Whycocomagh.

Chief Annie Bernard-Daisley, of We’koqma’q First Nation, said their land claim has been a top priority for years, and was the hot topic of discussion at a community meeting held on Nov. 4.

Hosting a community public meeting acted as a direct means of communication between the council and their community members which allowed them fto ask questions and voice what they knew about the land claim issue, she said.

She said about six-years-ago, the band switched lawyers and their lawyer, Bryna Hatt, has been actively pursuing this claim. Their counsel is calculating the loss of use of the land – after getting it accepted to being part of the equation.

Negotiations are “active” according to Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada with We’koqma’q First Nation seeking a settlement and to acquire proper title to the land.

A 400-square-foot store opened in the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation store in Port Hawkesbury.

HALIFAX: A brand new Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) cannabis outlet opened in Port Hawkesbury.

NSLC spokesperson Beverley Ware said the 400-square-foot store offers approximately 200 of their “most popular products.”

After announcing their decision to open a cannabis store in the town in February, Ware said the NSLC issued a Request for Proposals last summer. The latest Strait area outlet is a prefabricated unit that was added into the current NSLC store.

To fit the new outlet, Ware said staff in Port Hawkesbury had to move around shelves and inventory, and it can now be found in the back right-hand corner that formerly housed the “Bottle Your Wine” section.

Unlike the store in Antigonish, which opened two years ago, this is a smaller operation.

Although it will be smaller, Ware said their statistics show there is a demand for the in-store experience.

WE’KOQMA’Q FIRST NATION: The leader of a local First Nations community says as chief, council and the community, they fully support a moderate livelihood fishery and will begin setting traps next season.

Chief Annie Bernard-Daisley, of We’koqma’q First Nation advised they would have participated this season, except resources were scarce.

Chief Bernard-Daisley explained they just weren’t fully prepared to fish a moderate livelihood last season; it took two-weeks to obtain their moderate livelihood tags, which was expedited from the routine four.

We’koqma’q will devise their own moderate livelihood plan based on their community’s ideas and input to be ready to set traps a year from now, she added.

We’koqma’q will join Potlotek and Membertou First Nations in fishing their moderate livelihood out of St. Peter’s Bay.

PORT HAWKESBURY: After weeks of uncertainty and speculation between lawyers and the Department of Justice on the reason for additional delays, new dates were officially selected to resume the Desmond Fatality Inquiry.

The fatality inquiry looking into why retired Cpl. Lionel Desmond killed his mother, his wife, and his 10-year-old daughter before taking his own life, finished hearing the first round of witness testimony in March – just before COVID-19 delayed the second round of testimony.

The inquiry will resume evidentiary hearings on Feb. 16, 2021, and these hearings will be re-located to Port Hawkesbury at the Justice Centre to abide by COVID-19 physical-distancing guidelines.

ST. PETER’S: The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) took more action against First Nation fishermen exercising their treaty rights to fish for a moderate livelihood out of St. Peter’s Bay.

On Nov. 22, DFO boats were seen in Lennox Passage hauling traps and throwing out lobsters.

The federal minister of fisheries indicated she had concerns surrounding the sustainability of lobster fishing in St. Peter’s Bay – where Potlotek First Nation established their own rights-based fishery on Oct. 1.

Jordan suggested when certain fishing activities are clearly unsustainable, fishery officers have a responsibility to preserve Canada’s coastal areas and resources.

Chief Wilbert Marshall of Potlotek First Nation said his band had less than 800 traps in the water, after DFO officials “unjustly seized” approximately 150 of their traps late-October, while a neighbouring band, Eskasoni, which is also harvesting in the waters, has approximately 400.

Despite not sharing the same concerns as the federal minister of fisheries on the overfishing in St. Peter’s Bay, Marshall encouraged moderate livelihood fishers to disperse throughout the waters of Unama’ki (Cape Breton).

HALIFAX: To protect the health and safety of seniors in long-term care, six Regional Care Units were established across the province, including Antigonish.

The provincial government budgeted up to $6.2 million for this initiative, which will see a unit set up at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital. Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) spokesperson Brendan Elliot told The Reporter this is a way to reduce and manage the spread of the virus among long-term care residents.

Elliot said the regional care units for the Eastern Zone is located at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital and the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.

These units offer long-term care and have dedicated staff. They have access to specialized resources like occupational health, and infection prevention and control experts.

EVANSTON: Renovations are taking place at the Strait-Richmond Hospital.

On Nov. 10, the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) issued a press release confirming that work on the 15-bed facility was underway.

NSHA site lead Rose MacIsaac said after starting planning in 2018 and going through various designs and reviews, the tender closed in the spring and was awarded to Brilun Construction of Sydney.

The work includes renovations to the emergency department, laboratory and specimen collection, as well as the registration area. The registration area at the main entrance will be renovated to accommodate registration for admitting, lab services and diagnostic imaging (X-ray). All registration for lab and diagnostic imaging (X-ray) appointments will take place there.

The old lab space will be renovated to include updated lab space, as well as two ambulatory care rooms. Currently, patients who need ambulatory care are seen in the emergency department so the renovations will provide a dedicated space for visiting specialists to hold clinics and see patients.

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.

Pictured is one of the Emergency Health Services vans that will be going to certain regions of the province.

GUYSBOROUGH: Councillors in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) called for a meeting with representatives with Emergency Health Services (EHS).

At their regular municipal council meeting on Nov. 18, Janet Peitzsche, the municipality’s deputy warden, told her fellow councillors that in September, a patient with appendicitis waited seven hours at the Eastern Memorial Hospital in Canso for an EHS ambulance to transfer to Antigonish. During the wait, the appendix burst resulting in a prolonged recovery time after surgery.

Vernon Pitts, Guysborough’s warden, said following the meeting the complaint is concerning and they’ve had similar concerns in the past.

Municipal councillors passed a motion requesting EHS officials come to a future meeting to answer their questions, and to once again discuss the long-standing issues around service in the municipality.