1. Halifax council
Matters considered by Halifax council yesterday: sidewalk cafes, changes to garbage policies, new library administrator, bike lane on University Avenue. I’ll have a full report published later today.
Coptic Pope Tawadros II is in town.
3. Medical marijuana
Continuing the War Against People Harming No One, cops invaded the home of medical marijuana user Terry Woods and arrested him, and he’s been dragged through the justice system for nearly two years, causing who knows how much stress, mental anguish, and financial loss. And just like that, the crown drops the charges.
4. Fraud allegations
West Hants county CAO Cheryl Chislett, who is out on medical leave since being charged with domestic assault, has been accused of “financial irregularities,” the Register/Advertiser reports. The irregularities were discovered when county staff were preparing for an audit by accounting firm Deloitte. “In the process of conducting the audit, management identified unusual financial transactions made by the CAO that may be fraudulent in nature,” Deloitte representative Derrick Dempster told the Hants County council:
Deloitte conducted a “limited scope forensic investigation” into the suspected anomalies that were brought to their attention by West Hants staff.
According to the report, there is $11,315 in expenditures that were allegedly incurred by the CAO in the 2014 fiscal year “that did not appear to be related to municipal business.” An additional $9,931 was listed as the payout of vacation time to the CAO that was “not in accordance with the municipality’s personnel policy.”
With small staffs and limited resources, small communities are ripe for the picking by unethical administrators. A few years ago, Melissa Young, the accounts receivable clerk in Bridgetown, “misappropriated” $113,000 from the town, prompting the entire town council to resign and requiring the province to step in to save the town. Frank Anderson defrauded the South West Shore Development Agency, and Rhonda Kelly, the former executive director of the Cumberland Regional Development Authority, now stands accused of fraud.
I’m not saying fraud doesn’t happen in the big city. It does, likely far more than we’re aware of. But the effects aren’t nearly so devastating. The city of Halifax can sweep a $400,000 loss in the concert scandal under the rug and carry on with business much as before, but the town of Bridgetown was actually destroyed by a relatively small-scale $113,000 graft in the accounting office.
Small communities have to be super-vigilant about who they hire to run their governments and government agencies. Ahem.
A contractor accidentally ripped into a gas line on Gaston Road in Dartmouth yesterday morning, prompting the evacuation of 550 properties in the area. Yesterday afternoon, another contractor “dug up something suspicious” on Fergusons Cove Road, near DND’s Degaussing Facility, causing 30 people to be evacuated from their homes. The suspicious object turned out to be an “old unexploded ordnance.” The incident was taken so seriously that the Coast Guard ship Earl Grey was brought in to keep vessels out of a one-kilometre clear zone around the site. Both evacuations have ended.
6. Wild Kingdom
A “large angry snapping turtle” was walking along busy Main Street in Cole Harbour yesterday, which was excuse enough for a pun-filled Metro article.
1. Yeah Armageddon!
Marilla Stephenson has yet another column proselytizing for fracking, still without mentioning climate change. Given Chronicle Herald columnists’ track record, I’m starting to wonder if Stephenson owns a drilling machine or such.
2. Body-mounted cameras
Paul Schneidereit says it’s time for all police departments, including Halifax’s, to put cameras on police officers.
Heritage Advisory Committee (3pm, City Hall)—There is an application for a seven-storey condo building at the corner of Victoria Road and Ochterloney Street in Dartmouth, the site where an auto parts business stood until last year. Immediately next door to the proposed building, at 99 Ochterloney Street, is the Henry Eliot House, built in 1875 by famed Dartmouth architect Henry Eliot for his son, Alfred. The elder Eliot was also the Dartmouth Town Clerk. The younger Eliot lived in the house until his death, in 1879. The house itself is valued architecturally.
The condo plan calls for preserving the Henry Eliot House by wrapping the new building behind it. This plan was rejected last year by the Heritage Advisory Committee, which said the building was of inappropriate scale for the neighbourhood. That rejection, however, was overridden by the Harbour East Community Council. Now, in order for the development to proceed, the back portion of 99 Ochterloney, which is now a gravel parking lot, has to be “delisted” from the Heritage rolls. Likely, the committee will refuse to delist the property, and that refusal will again be overridden by the community council.
Public accounts (9am, Province House)—The Bluenose 2 restoration project will be examined. This should be great fun.
Corruption and Ukraine (12:30pm, Lord Dalhousie Room, Henry Hicks Building)—a talk by Don Bowser, who is an expert on corruption.
Chemistry lecture (1:30pm, Chemistry 226)—Peng Zhang, from the department of chemistry, will talk on “X-ray spectroscopy of metal nano structures.”
I’m still looking into the history of the minimum wage in Nova Scotia, and hope to swing by the legislative library, where that history is kept. But in the meanwhile, here’s an interesting read: the Labour Gazette of 1939. Or at least the text from it.
In the harbour
(click on vessel names for pictures and more information about the ships)
The Celebrity Summit had a strange incident in 2006. As the website Castles of the Seas explains:
A man named Bob Gvicious fell off the ship (how this is possible when you behave normally on the outer decks keeps surprising me) and plunged into the water during a Caribbean cruise. Instead of drowning, the 55 year old man from Virginia managed to swim a staggering 19 hours untill he reached the shore at Cayo Lobos, some 3 miles of the coast of Fajardo, Puerto Rico. At least we can say he is a very sportive man, surviving an ordeal like this.
The police department is looking to buy 14 sedans, vans, and SUVs, the mix to be determined. But, says the tender document, all the vehicles are to be “unmarked.”