1. Trout Point Lodge sues Frank Magazine
The owners of Trout Point Lodge in East Kemptville, Yarmouth County, are suing the owners and staff of Frank magazine for commercial copyright infringement, misappropriation of personality, and violation of the Cyber-safety Act.
Even though there’s an irony in seeing Frank owner Parker Rudderham sued under the terms of the cyber-bullying act—the gazillionaire Rudderham has himself cited the act in his suit against a Cape Breton woman and her son for tweeting—I cringe whenever I see a media outlet sued. The merits of any particular case aside (I don’t know enough about the Trout Point Lodge case to say anything intelligent about it), bringing the law into it has a deleterious effect on press freedom, as we all begin to check ourselves a bit more and normal responsible caution slips further into fearful self-censorship.
2. Andre Denny trial postponed
An eight-week trial for the man accused of killing Raymond Taavel was scheduled to begin yesterday, but Denny has fired his lawyer, and so the trial will happen later this fall.
3. Protected bike lane
Halifax’s first protected bike lane—separated from car traffic by some sort of barrier—is proposed by Dalhousie University, reports Hilary Beaumont. This article is behind the Examiner’s pay wall, and so available only to paid subscribers. To purchase a subscription, click here.
4. Ships Might Start Here One Day
Irving’s having a big to-do today. Expect free advertising for the billionaire-owned company on the front pages tomorrow.
5. Cross returned
The King’s College altar cross has been returned, and the returner was given $200 reward money.
6. Playground built, commenters irate
Metro reporter Ruth Davenport covers the opening of a new playground at Ecole Grosvenor-Wentworth Park School, which was financed in large part by donations from parents. These are the kind of stories daily reporters often have to do, and Davenport brings good will and cheer to it, so good on her. But dear dog, the comments, sigh. “Another G-D French Immersion school wasting the taxpayers money teaching kids how not to be skillful in the language they will actually need; English,” says the very first commenter. “I live near a school, Admiral Westphal, which got a new set this summer as well,” reads another. “Problem is it’s in no way of the caliber of this set. I wonder if because this playground is located in the southend of Halifax, it received a heck of a lot more taxpayers money to build than a school in Westphal (Dartmouth).” Besides being simply ill-informed—evidently they couldn’t bother to read the article—there’s a YouTube quality to the commenters, hatred for hatred’s sake. What is wrong with people?
7. Wild Kingdom
Kentville firefighters try to help a woodpecker hit by a car, but the bird will have none of it.
CTV has cool videos of humpback whales playing and jumping around and such.
1. If everyone were paid less, we’d all be rich
The Chronicle Herald gets on the union-busting bandwagon. Let’s all race to the bottom: More tax cuts for the rich, pay cuts for working people. It takes a certain value system to view that as a sensible pathway to economic development.
District 7 & 8 Planning Advisory Committee (7pm, St. Mary’s Boat Club)—Earlier this summer, Dino Capital withdrew its proposal for two apartment buildings of seven and nine storeys for Wellington Street, just off Inglis Street across from Saint Mary’s University. Now, the company has filed a new application, this time for buildings of eight and 10 storeys. Tonight’s meeting is just the public information part of the process; expect this development to be very contentious.
No public meetings.
Orientation week for new students continues at all local universities.
I’m fascinated by roadside memorials. Because I never saw them in the US before around the late 1980s, I’m pretty sure they have their origins in Mexico. At any event, and this is a true story, the first time I saw them was when I travelled through Mexico in 1988. I was taking a bus from Morelia to Zihuatenejo—the stereotypical Mexican bus ride, chickens and goats in the aisle, farmers holding the straps, standing. As the bus was rising into the mountains on a curvy road, I thought I was being the ugly American, worried the driver was going way too fast for the winding road. But I looked back and saw the farmers and other passengers also with looks of fright and concern on their faces. At that moment we were on a tight S turn. Off the road, maybe 100 feet down the embankment, there was a burned-out bus, just like the one I was riding in, lying on its side. There were about two dozen crosses poking out of and near the bus, memorials to victims of the recent crash.
It’s possible that I simply had never noticed them before, but in the next few years I started seeing roadside crosses pop up in the US, first in California, then elsewhere.
A few years later, there was a horrible drunk driving accident in Chico, the town I lived in. The drunk driver was killed, as were two young men driving in the vehicle the drunk driver hit. The friends and family of all three men set up roadside crosses at the intersection, but the loved ones of the two men objected to the cross being erected for the drunk driver, and they kept tearing it down. I’m not sure how that situation was resolved, or if it was resolved, but everything about it broke my heart.
For myself, the actual place of death has no special importance for remembrance of the ones I’ve lost—I prefer to remember our time together alive—but I fully respect the heartfelt need for loved ones to memorialize the deceased in ways that matter to them. A few months after the drunk driving accident, a friend of mine fell asleep while driving to her home in the foothills, driving straight through a T-intersection into the rocks on the other side, and died instantly. Her children put a non-religious memorial at the intersection, simple rocks and a few hand-written inscriptions. When I’m back in town, sometimes I stop and look at the memorial. Through the years it has weathered a bit, and probably before too long it’ll be unrecognizable. The loss to her children, however, will last their lifetimes. I wonder where they are now.
The importance of roadside memorials to people was brought home to me when I worked as a reporter in rural Arkansas. Three high schoolers were killed on prom night when their vehicle crashed on a remote highway. I drove the 25 miles out to the high school in the sticks and talked to whoever I could. Everyone there was understandably reserved, and I’m just not the “interview the bereaved” kind of reporter, so I let them deal with their grief on their own terms and drove another 15 miles out to the site of the crash. There, a gigantic cross, 30 feet high, had been erected. The cross was an extreme expression even for that deeply religious community. A few years later I would see a similar expression outside Bathurst, New Brunswick, at the site where seven high school basketball players died in a crash on an icy highway; that memorial includes a basketball hoop. If there’s anything worse than the death of children, I don’t know what it is.
And now I see the roadside memorials everywhere. I saw six or seven yesterday, just on the drive from Saint John to Halifax. There are several along Cobequid Pass, and two right together, not far from the toll plaza; what’s that was about? There’s another off Highway 102 near Stewiacke, off to the right, and I wondered if the guy who cuts the roadside grass gets off his tractor and takes a weed-whacker to the cross, or how does that work?
And now, there’s a roadside memorial at the intersection I walk through every day, near my house, where a woman in a motorized wheelchair was struck and killed while crossing the street this spring. I’m surprised I haven’t met her family; they come by every few weeks and freshen up the memorial. I’ve seen the same at another memorial on Pleasant Street near the Woodside Beverage Room, where a teenage girl was killed a couple of years ago; on Mother’s Day this year, her mother left a card. A few kilometres down the road, at the crosswalk by the refinery, “Dad Miss U” is scribbled on a cross where a man was killed while crossing the street. On Portland Street, where Mary Elizabeth Chaulk was killed in 2005 while walking to work, the roadside cross has become a landmark: just watch the passing pedestrians stop and reflect at the site, and look into the windows of the passing cars and catch the eyes of the drivers. Almost to a person they recognize the site as, well, as significant. In the other direction from my house, on Windmill Road, there’s a
“ghost bike” erected to the memory of Johanna Dean, who was killed when a truck drove over her as she rode her bicycle through the intersection of Albro Lake Road. Just a few steps away, a second memorial has been erected this week in honour of Daniel Pellerin, who was stabbed to death in the parking lot of Farrel Hall Friday night. Four blocks up Albro Lake Road, at Victoria Road, a memorial to Allen Carpenter, a pedestrian killed while crossing the street, is nailed to a telephone pole. Another half-kilometre up the hill, at Woodland Drive near MicMac Boulevard, there’s a small memorial to Merlin Glenn Myers, killed by “an impaired driver” in 1983, reads an inscription on the cross (so maybe my Mexican-origins theory is wrong?).
Is there a point to all this? I don’t know. People die, and people dying unexpectedly especially moves their loved ones. It’s worth noting that a heck of a lot of people die on highways, as pedestrians, as drivers, as bicyclists, whatever. Our roads are death corridors. Be careful.
But more than that, are the roadside memorials re-claiming death as a part of life that’s been sanitized and removed from us? Recently I was tramping around old graveyards, and I realized that back in the day a cemetery was connected to each church, perhaps a statement about the cycle of life and death, and the role the church community plays in dealing with unbearable loss and the impossible chore of continuance. I’m not a church-goer, so I have no idea how the religious deal with death nowadays, but I’m not aware of many modern cemeteries actually attached to the place of worship. Now, you drive to the cemetery, out in the suburbs usually, to visit your deceased loved ones for a private ceremony, just you and the tombstone. There’s no longer the public acknowledgement of death, the in-your-face recognition of loss every Sunday while you join your faith community. While we all die alone, for the living, death is what binds us. Maybe the roadside memorials are an attempt to bring back the community recognition of death, and the loss that entails.
In the harbour
(click on vessel names for pictures and more information about the ships)
Toledo, vehicle carrier, Southampton to Autoport
Zim San Francisco, container ship, New York to Pier 41
Oceanex Sanderling, con-ro, St John’s to Pier 42
Energy Pride, oil/chemical tanker, Houston to anchor
CSL Tacoma, bulker, Carbonera Muelle, Colombia to National Gypsum
Sheldon MacLeod is starting a new afternoon (2-6pm) talk show on News 95.7, and I’ll be a weekly guest, starting today, at 3pm. Halifax city council returns from summer break next week, so today I’ll be discussing what issues council will face this fall. That also will be the subject of a post here in the Examiner, to be published later this morning.