News

1.Dead Wrong Extra: Corey Tuma’s ever-changing witness account

The Four Star Motel.

Each day this week, Tim Bousquet will publish one Dead Wrong Extra, exploring an angle into Glen Assoun’s story that didn’t make it to the Uncover: Dead Wrong podcast series.

Today, Tim Bousquet writes about one witness whose story he couldn’t include in the podcast. That’s Corey Tuma. Tuma who worked as the front desk clerk at the Four Star Motel, where Glen Assoun was living with Brenda Way.

Assoun had an alibi for the night Brenda Way was murdered. He was with Ann Morse in her apartment on Lahey Road. Morse backed up Assoun’s alibi. When Halifax Regional Police started focusing on Assoun as a suspect, Cst. Dave MacDonald threatened Morse with jail time for accessory to murder but she wouldn’t change her story.

They needed a new witness and found Corey Tuma.

Tuma gave three statements, including his testimony at trial in June 1999. Tuma was drinking heavily the night before he testified. In 2012, Tuma signed an affidavit for Glen’s lawyer Sean MacDonald. Tuma recalls that day in court:

I was trying to remember the times and dates in the statements the police and prosecutors had given me to review the day before,” Corey said in his 2012 affidavit. “The truth was that I thought that I remembered Brenda showing up Saturday night November 11, 1995 at some point between 10 pm and 1:00 am. Glen was definitely not at the Four Star at any time between 9:00 pm on Saturday night November 11, 1995 or 1:00 am on Sunday morning November 12, or after. I am not even sure that Glen was there Saturday November 11, 1995 at all. My testimony at trial was not at all accurate.

Had I not been suffering the after effects of my drinking binge when I testified at Glen’s trial I may have been able to communicate my uncertainty to the jury,” Corey continued. “My trial testimony that Glen was at the Four Star that night (Saturday night November 11, 1995 to Sunday morning November 12, 1995) is not reliable and I am not at all comfortable having the court rely on me for the evidence that I gave.

Click here to read Bousquet’s entire Dead Wrong Extra. And click here to listen to the entire Uncover podcast.

Oh,  and if you don’t subscribe already, this is a good time to sign up. Click here to subscribe.

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2. Hand sanitizer package looks like children’s food pouch

On Friday evening, Child Safety Link and the IWK Regional Poison Centre shared this alert for parents and guardians of young children. Photo: Twitter

Well, someone didn’t do their research before creating this.

There’s a package of hand sanitizer being marketed for young kids and it looks very similar to packages of food, often applesauce or yogurt, marketed to those same kids. My kid used to eat these apple sauces.

Yvette d’Entremont talks with Chantal Walsh, health promotion specialist with Child Safety Link, injury prevention program at the IWK Health Centre, who says they first learned about the products last week. They’ve since informed the IWK Poison Control Centre and have been sharing an alert over social media. These products have been found at Walmart locations in Halifax. Says Walsh:

It (accidental ingestion) can happen in a split second with a normal product, with a general product that’s just there, so something like this that looks so similar to something that children are used to being given and eating is just very alarming.

There is enough of a quantity in this particular package to harm a child, to cause serious toxicity and toxic effect.

Walsh says they’d like to see these products removed from store shelves. The Examiner reached out to Walmart Canada, but didn’t get a response back by the time the article was published.

Click here to read d’Entremont’s full story.

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3. Doppelsprache

Andreas Popp interviews his partner Eva Herman about her new book, “Germany’s total failure.” Photo: wissensmanufaktur.net

Joan Baxter reports the latest on two people who were named in an article alleging that right-wing conspiracy-theorists and “doomsday prophets” were luring Germans to Cape Breton to set up a colony of “like-minded” people

Those two people are Andreas Popp and Eva Herman, who have issued official statements denouncing the article as a “defamation campaign.” They’re also threatening legal action against Der Spiegel, which published the article, and any media outlets that spread the story.

Popp and Hermam, who is a former television presenter in Germany, addressed the allegations, including in a statement the Halifax Examiner published in its entirety (you can read that here).

The Halifax Examiner reached out to Popp asking if he or Herman had ever spoken for or at an event of the, anti-immigration AfD (Alternative fuer Deutschland) political party. According to DW (Germany’s international public broadcaster), that group appeals to the “right-wing extremist fringe” with some of its leaders promote “neo-Nazi ideas” and use “Neo-Nazi language.” Baxter reports:

Popp replied by email:

The AfD is a right-wing party! We do not support the AfD or any other political party. Neither my partner nor I have ever appeared at an event that was either relataed to the AfD or organized by the AfD.

In March 2015, the progressive German publication Taz reported that local AfD officials organized an “Alternative Knowledge” congress in the town of Witten, in the province of North Rhine-Westphalia, and that Popp was a speaker at the event. His name appears on the official invitation for the event.

One of Popp’s colleagues at Knowledge Creation, Rico Albrecht, was a speaker at the 2017 and 2018 Alternative Knowledge congresses. Albrecht is the “scientific leader” of Knowledge Creation.

Click here to read the article.

This article is for subscribers. Please subscribe here.

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4. Councillor writes about racist incidents in Dartmouth

Sam Austin

Yesterday, Sam Austin, councillor for District 5, shared his newsletter, which included stories about recent racist acts in Dartmouth.

In one case, the word noose was spray painted on a power pole outside the home of a person of colour. Austin says the graffiti was removed, Halifax Regional Police were called and they’re investigating.

In another incident, Austin writes that a family who had a Black Lives Matter sign in their window “received a hateful letter in the mail objecting to their sign and expressing truly despicable sentiments about Black Nova Scotians.”

Writes Austin:

I’m sharing all of this today because it’s important to recognize that racism hasn’t gone away and to let people know what’s going on in our community. It’s easy to not be aware of how prevalent overt racism still is if you look like me. Before I was elected, it wasn’t part of my life – none of my friends, family or work colleagues expressed racist sentiments. Being elected changed that because Council periodically receives racist correspondence. It’s impossible to underestimate the flaws that still exist in our society in elected office because reminders arrive somewhat regularly in letters, and emails.

We should all be aware that racism hasn’t gone away. That’s why I’m writing this. It’s not just Trump, it’s not a rural problem, it exists right here in Dartmouth. We can’t turn a blind eye. If you see overtly racist signs or actions in our community please report them. If someone you know expresses racist sentiments call them out on it. Racism isn’t innate, it’s learned. It needs to be socially unacceptable.

This was spray painted on a power pole in front of the Dartmouth home of a person of colour. Photo: Sam Austin

The Facebook group Hello Dartmouth shared the newsletter, adding they are “often criticized for posting non joyful posts.” That group shares lots of good news, but clearly some people don’t want to hear the reality of what’s happening in their community.

In New Glasgow, several streets and buildings were spray painted with racist graffiti. Reports CTV:

Const. Ken MacDonald said today the black-coloured graffiti portrayed racists words and images, although he declined to say what exactly was painted.

The messages were found on the Frederick Street building, the Temperance Street parking lot entrance, a Washington Street sidewalk, as well as on Brother and Ann Streets.

Police say they believe the graffiti was painted sometime between Friday and Sunday morning.

And just over a week ago, a family who were at a beach in Chester Basin say they were threatened by teenagers who were dangling a noose at them.

Greg Dean and Cyndi Rafuse told Shaina Luck at CBC they took  their two sons away for a family camping vacation and were swimming at a public beach when two males in a blue truck approached them. One was holding a noose. Dean says he and his son were the only people of colour at the beach. Dean told CBC, “That’s a direct threat to my colour, the colour of my skin. Who I am as a person, it has nothing to do with me. That was a threat because I am a Black man, a visible Black man.”

Dean says they called RCMP but were told, “Being racist is not a crime.”

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5. Snowbirds will soon fly again

Three months after a crash in Kamloops killed Captain Jennifer Casey, the Snowbirds can fly again. Karin Larsen with CBC reports that the planes were grounded, but will return to home base in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and will start flying again over the next couple of weeks. Their 2020 air demonstration tour has been cancelled, though.

Casey was the public information officer with the Snowbirds. She was killed when one of the CT-114 Tutor jets crashed into the front yard of a house in Kamloops on May 17. Casey also worked as a journalist at News 95.7 in Halifax.

David Lavalle, a spokesman for the RCAF, tells Larsen the investigation into the Kamloops crash was ongoing and pilots were taking a refresher course before flying the jets again. Lavalle says:

Because the operational pause was in effect for so long, the pilots haven’t flown since May. So they have to get back in the aircraft and do some flying to get their currencies back up.

Then they’re going to go out to Kamloops to bring the aircraft there back home to Moose Jaw. And from there, they’re going to focus on getting back to full operations and training for next season.

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Views

1. Life during 14-day quarantine

Lindsay Beaver is from Halifax, but spent the last five years working as a musician in Texas. She returned to Nova Scotia August 7 and did two weeks of self-isolation. Photo: Lindsay Beaver

Lindsay Beaver just wrapped up her 14-day quarantine on August 22. Beaver is from Halifax, but has spent the last five years working as a musician in Texas on an O1 visa. She was supposed to be touring in the spring and summer, but all of those shows were cancelled. But as the COVID-19 crisis ramped up in that state, Beaver and her partner, Brad Stivers, decided to head back to Nova Scotia.

They arrived home on August 7. I saw a comment Beaver made about her experience on a Facebook discussion about a woman from B.C. who was charge for not self-isolating. That woman went to the Route 19 Brewing Tap and Grill in Inverness, which then had to close down (they are open for business again). I talked to Beaver last night about their quarantine, how they kept busy, and their plans now.

I came back because there’s not a whole lot of work right now. Our industry was the first to shut down, so we decided to head home and feel a little safer, a little more comfortable. I had savings and I couldn’t burn through any more. As a musician, I can’t legally work [in the United States] outside the music business.

The pair packed up their touring van and hitched their car to a trailer on the back. They had their two dogs with them. They drove four-and-a-half days from where they lived outside of Austin, Texas to Halifax. Beaver says they slept in the van and stayed away from people as much as they could.

Before they left Austin, Beaver says they planned how they’d spend those two weeks in quarantine.

In fact, it was part of the decision to come back. I was going to find the right way to do it.

The lake near where Lindsay Beaver and her partner, Brad Stivers, spent their two-week self-isolation.

Beaver contacted her aunt who had a camper that was available and set up in her one-acre backyard on a lake. Beaver says she and Stivers never were in contact with anyone and they made the best of their time. She says where they lived outside of Austin was more of a remote area, so they are used to not being surrounded by too many people.

Being a musician, it was kind of nice in a way. You’re sitting by a lake and I feel refreshed. As hard as it was to leave, we didn’t get too bored. We cooked meals, did some recording, I did some live streaming of videos.

I can imagine if you were quarantining in an apartment and couldn’t leave, that would be difficult. I was lucky. I didn’t get too bored. I know this backyard pretty well.

Beaver says they never left the yard in two weeks and they got phone calls from the RCMP and provincial public health officials. She says an RCMP officer came for a visit. (All of the rules for those coming into Canada are posted here.)

You know what the rules are coming in then that’s how it has to be. I can’t understand why you would want to put anyone at risk, even if you don’t have it or you’re asymptomatic, I don’t understand why you can’t wait a couple of weeks to be sure. I didn’t want to end up being the person that was, ‘Oh, it was all my fault.’ I don’t know why anyone would want to put themselves in that position. They are very clear about it. Super, duper clear.

Brad Stivers and Lindsay Beaver spent their self-isolation working on music. Photo: Lindsay Beaver

Stivers brought a meat smoker from Texas, so once they finished their two weeks, they hosted a party with family and friends.

I’ve been gone a nice time, so it’s was nice to see everybody.

Now that she’s out, she plans on writing, recording, and maybe finding some gigs in the city.

I understand it’s hard when you’re away from everything, but again you don’t want to be the patient that brought it in and got everyone sick. Think of somebody else for a second.

To the people coming in, make sure you have all your paperwork in order, why you’re here. From my experience, and I can’t speak for everybody, they did a really good job of tracking us. I think people could feel ease. I feel better about it.

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Noticed

It takes a lot of work to put this sunflower maze together, so you have to pay to get the pictures. Photo: Suzanne Rent

On Sunday, I went to the Dakeyne Farm in Mount Denson, between Windsor and Hantsport. Each summer, the farm owners grow a huge field of sunflowers, about four acres, with tens of thousands of seeds, and turn it into a sunflower maze. They charge admission and as you can imagine it’s a great place to take photos. Lots of selfies being taken here! I was reading their list of frequently asked questions on their website, many to do with the bees (there are lots of bees there), but apparently the number one question they get asked is if someone can just take a photo of the sunflowers without paying the admission price. Some people expect farmers to work for exposure, too.

Here’s the owners’ answer from the website:

No. Sorry… I know it’s just a picture for you.. and yes.. I know it’s a beautiful one to be had… But for us… it’s not “just a picture”… that picture is a whole summer’s worth of work. We work hard as a family, from May- October, out in the elements, be it baking in the hot sun, or soaking in a surprise downpour to share that view with you. Don’t we deserve a little more than a photo we will never see? We charge an admission fee to cover the cost of running the field, as well as to pay for insurance, and those fabulously well-cleaned porta potties. We also have an ‘easy’ path just for people who just want to snap a photo. If you like the view enough to save it in a photo.. please support the local family who created it for you.. this way we can do it all again next year.. and maybe if there is a little extra.. support two little girls in their 4h dreams.

This year because of COVID-19, the owners changed their scheduling and you have to book an appointment to visit the maze. Admission is based on 1.5 hours in the field, so it’s $10 for adults, $5 for kids under 12, and kids under 3 get in for free. If you want to stay longer than 1.5 hours, you have to pay an additional $5.

A lot of work goes into projects like this: The planting, the maintaining, the harvesting, and more. So, to anyone asking anyone, including farmers, to do their job for free, would YOU do your job for free?

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Government

City

Tuesday

Special Regional Centre Community Council (Tuesday, 6pm) — virtual meeting; agenda here.

Wednesday

Special Community Design Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 11:30am) — virtual meeting; agenda here.

Special Heritage Advisory Committee — (Wednesday, 3pm) — virtual meeting; agenda here.

Special Halifax and West Community Council (Wednesday, 6pm) — virtual meeting; agenda here.

Province

Tuesday

Human Resources (Tuesday, 10am) — teleconference; agency, board, and commission appointments. More info here.

Wednesday

No meetings.


In the harbour

05:00: MOL Mission, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Dubai
05:30: Siem Confucius, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
07:00: Princess, anchor handling vessel, arrives at Irving Oil from sea
10:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
12:30: Princess moves to Pier 9
13:30: MSC Brianna, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Sines, Portugal
16:00: CSL Tacoma, bulker, sails from National Gypsum for sea
16:00: Quebec Express, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Hamburg, Germany
18:00: Princess sails for sea


Footnotes

Last week, I started a new job as the chapter director for Shelter Movers Nova Scotia. Shelter Movers is a volunteer national organization that provides free moving services for women and children fleeing domestic violence. There are chapters across Canada, including in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. The Nova Scotia chapter opened June 2019 and moved its first client July 1.

Now, the chapter is expanding to the South Shore, making it the first rural expansion in the country and the first stage of a provincewide expansion. Last year, I started work on a project called Not Without Us, which looked at the situations of women with disabilities who experienced domestic violence. I went across Nova Scotia to hear their stories, as well as those from staff from transition houses, and other services. These agencies do incredible work, but there’s still a lack of resources in rural areas. Shelter Movers provides a service that helps anyone who wants to leave, but doesn’t want to leave their belongings behind (we even help move pets and find them foster homes, if needed).

Yvette d’Entremont wrote a story about Shelter Movers Nova Scotia. Click here to read that. 

If you want to know more, send me an email to suzanne@sheltermovers.com.

Please subscribe, or drop us a donation. Thanks!

Suzanne Rent

Suzanne Rent is a writer, editor, and researcher. You can follow her on Twitter @Suzanne_Rent

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  1. Re piece on Snowbirds in the air once more. So few people mention the disconnect between these semi-military exercises and our need — especially since the wake-up call of COVID — to keep the air free of unessential traffic.The recent death, by the way, was not the first involving this show.

    Today, here in Gros Morne, NL, I spotted the first jet stream in months.

  2. Just so the RCMP can be corrected, what that family experienced was a racially based hate crime. The very much IS against the law. Whoever at the RCMP gave them the response they reported getting needs to be educated. If a gun was welded or an axe waved it would be considered a tangible threat. A noise is no different.