I don’t know who on the Examiner crew wrote the alt text for Philip Moscovitch’s photo above, but I love it (“alt text” is the photo description picked up by screen readers used by visually impaired people):
Philip Moscovitch is a smiling white man with dark hair, a dark beard, and black-framed glasses. He’s wearing a green shirt and brown vest, and behind him is a well-organized bookcase.
That perfectly describes Philip. When I think of Philip, I think both “smiling” and “well-organized.”
See, it’s really, really hard to live successfully as a freelancer, and yet Philip has done so for years, both successfully and with cheerful aplomb. He pieces together jobs from many sources — I don’t know all of his jobs, it’s none of my business, but he’s mentioned at least a half dozen various writing and podcast gigs to me, and there are undoubtedly more.
Here’s a thing about Philip: he’s super nice. That’s not just “nice” as the way you would describe someone as “he’s a nice guy,” although that’s true as well. But when I say Philip is nice, I mean it as he’s nicer than he should be. Anyone working so many disparate jobs on disparate timelines with disparate pay periods has every right to go about life stressed and agitated, with short temper, not suffering fools. But here’s Philip, smiling.
I assume that’s because he’s so well-organized. I can’t manage to juggle my one job, and yet Philip is tossing up and catching bowling pins, torches, hand grenades, bicycles, and whatever else is in the mix, in a skillfully choreographed dance, nothing dropped.
I should probably hire Philip for some time-management lessons.
Here’s another thing about Philip: he always comes in with interesting copy. I always enjoy reading Philip, and readers tell me the same. (Check out his author page.) Philip brings value to the Examiner, and value to readers.
If you value Philip as I do, please help us to continue to hire him by subscribing.
1. Macdonald Bridge bike flyover
“The flyover bicycle bridge planned for the Halifax side of the Macdonald is going to cost nearly double the original estimate,” reports Zane Woodford:
That’s according to a report to Halifax regional council on Tuesday by project manager Ahmed Allahham.
“The 2017 estimate for the changes on the Halifax side (flyover structure plus intersection changes) was approximately $6.5 million,” Allahham wrote.
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2. Amber Fryday
The CABJ was founded in 1996. It’s a network of Black Canadian Journalists whose mission is to increase Black representation in Canadian newsrooms and management positions.
Amber Fryday is from Halifax and is a reporter for Global News. Fryday accepted the position with CABJ about three weeks ago.
Fryday said her first goal in her new role will be to organize J-School Noire.
J-School Noire is a nationwide initiative aimed at getting Black students interested in careers in journalism and news media.
“We’re looking to engage with high school students who may be interested in eventually pursuing a career in journalism and offering them a one-day camp where they’ll have the opportunity to come and speak with journalists, broadcast journalists, and kind of learn the ropes of the day in the life of a journalist,” Fryday said.
“Close to 200,000 Nova Scotia households that heat with oil will be eligible for a new $5,000 federal rebate if they switch from oil to an electric heat pump,” reports Jennifer Henderson:
This rebate, announced on Monday by federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser on behalf of the Natural Resources Minister, is expected to be available early next year.
The grant will piggyback on top of an existing $5,000 rebate offered by the province through EfficiencyOne, the local utility that administers the Canada Greener Homes program.
The Oil to Heat Pump Affordability (OHPA) grant will provide up to $5,000 per household and would cover costs including:
- the purchase and installation of an eligible heat pump;
- electrical upgrades required for the new heat pump; and
- safe removal of the oil tank.
All Canadians households whose income is at or below the Statistics Canada low-income cut off — approximately $53,000 for a household of four — will be eligible to apply.
“Halifax’s Design Advisory Committee has approved a new eight-storey building on Barrington Street,” reports Zane Woodford:
Universal Realty Group proposed to tear down 1190 Barrington St., where its main office is located, and replace it with an eight-storey residential and commercial building.
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Breaking through barriers
Way back when, I was pursuing a long-distance relationship, driving my pickup truck the three-hour stretch of Highway 99 and Interstate 5 between Chico, California and Ashland, Oregon every week, sometimes twice a week.
I got to know those roads, and began exploring the exits. First just getting off to, say, eat lunch at a café in the town of Weed, in the shadow of Mount Shasta, or stopping along the Sacramento River gorge in Dunsmuir.
But as time went on, my side trips became more adventurous, to the point that they became trips in themselves. The three-hour drives morphed into all-day drives, and then multi-day drives. I’d drive the length of Highway 299 through Whiskeytown and over to the coastal redwoods, or loop around Mount Lassen and explore the lava beds. The relationship was shattering in the face of painful forces much greater than me, I was contemplative, and wandering farther and farther afield gave me, if not solace, at least distance.
I fell in love with the high desert — to this day, I find it the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. I drove the roads of far northeastern California and eastern Oregon, from Susanville to Baker City, revelling in the dry heat, the stark, crisp landscape, the solitude. I hiked nearly vertically up the half-mile Albert Rim, the start of the basin and range system. I walked the shore of Goose Lake. I had no purpose, and really no idea what I was doing. I was just a guy with a truck wandering around aimlessly.
Along the way, I started discovering things.
One day, I stumbled upon a sculpture garden atop a ridge facing Mount Shasta, created by a Vietnam vet who dealt with his PTSD through art. It’s a profoundly moving place, one I think about quite often.
And I learned about how the blue green algae scam started with some guy skimming the stuff off the toxic waters of Klamath Lake and bottling it for sale at health food stores across California.
I also found the town of Newell, California, which was the site of the Tule Lake internment camp for Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. The old internment camp buildings are long gone, hauled away to be used as outbuildings on nearby ranches, or burned for firewood, but one has been repurposed as the tiny general store.
I think the Manzanar internmenet camp has gotten a lot more attention both because its ruins are more extant and because it’s closer to Los Angeles and the film industry, but Newell has a particularly compelling story.
The Japanese-Americans kept at Newell were “disloyals” — those who refused to sign loyalty cards because they found the demand insulting — and others who were considered troublesome at other internment camps and moved to Newell. The internees worked on the camp’s farm, or were hired out to nearby farmers.
Just a few miles down the road was Camp Tulelake, an old CCC camp that was converted into a prisoner of war camp for mostly German soldiers. The Germans were also hired out to local farmers, and many ended up staying, marrying the farmer’s daughter and starting their own families.
In the perverse legal vagaries of war, the Japanese-American citizens held at Newell and working nearby farms were not paid the legal minimum wage, but under the terms of the Geneva Conventions, the German enemy soldiers held at Tulelake were required to be paid the legal minimum wage by their farm employers. This led to consternation and revolt at Newell, which in part is why it was the last internment camp to close after the war ended.
Now Newell is home to a migrant labour camp. The residents are Mexican, who are brought up seasonally to work the nearby irrigated farms, and at night they go back to the labour camp, where they live in trailers and watch TV, the camp surrounded by a barbed-wire topped chainlink fence, with access to and from maintained by a guard at a single gate. The evolution of internment camp to labour camp is as plain as day, but no one comments on it.
I had many other discoveries. I learned about Captain Jack and the Modoc War, the last battle of US Army troops against Native Americans, which happened around the lava beds. The racial animus in the area is still palpable, with Native people clustered in a series of reserves along the length of the Klamath River, and an open hostility toward them from white people in extremely politically conservative areas like Klamath Falls. A friend told me that along with the usual taxidermy, an American Legion in Lassen County openly displayed scalps above the bar well into the 1970s, a claim I never confirmed but which I don’t doubt.
And I learned about the water battles along the Klamath River. A series of seven dams on the river severely limited the migration of salmon, which are important both culturally and economically to Native peoples who live along the river. The opposition to removing the dams struck me as mostly a racist response, as even then there didn’t seem to be much purpose for the dams.
I had it in my head to write a book about the Klamath River watershed, collecting together all the historical, sociological, environmental, and political issues of the region. But life intervened, I lost even my nominal connection to Ashland, and so my book project was aborted before a single word was written.
And here I am decades and a continent away.
I can’t tell you how terribly disheartening it was to read last year that Mount Shasta had lost much of its snowcap. The snowcapped peak was a beacon in more ways than I want to relate, but central to all my journeys. And the seemingly endless series of enormous fires sweeping through the area feel like my old stomping grounds have been turned into a hellscape. Honestly, over the past few years I haven’t wanted to return, for fear I can’t stomach the loss.
But last week, there was positive news from the Klamath River.
“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington, D.C., held a final vote Thursday to decide on the removal of four dams on the lower Klamath River,” reports B. ‘Toastie’ Oaster for High Country News:
The vote, which follows the agency’s final environmental impact statement in late August, was unanimous in favor of removal.
After a grueling 20 years of environmental impact statements, scientific studies, negotiations with stakeholders and advocacy from the tribes and their conservationist allies — people who, as Hoopa Valley Tribe Chairman Joe Davis said, “poured their blood, sweat and tears into making this happen” — the vote is the final green light everyone’s been waiting for. With FERC’s laborious approval process now concluded, dam removal can begin, launching what is expected to be the biggest river restoration project in U.S. history.
“The Klamath salmon are coming home,” said Joseph James, the chairman of the Yurok Tribe, in a statement. “The people have earned this victory and with it, we carry on our sacred duty to the fish that have sustained our people since the beginning of time.”
There’s a poetry to salmon. The life of one individual fish is simply to be born, swim downstream to the ocean, live for a few years, then follow some primal urge to use every last bit of energy to swim back up stream to place of birth, spawn, and die. But step back a bit, and collectively the thousands, and historically millions, of fish become a single pulsating life force, like blood beating in the body, back and forth through the veins of rivers and canyons, through the centuries, through whatever momentary political or environmental barrier is in the way.
Oaster gets into the history of the effort to remove the dams, and the details of the demolition and restoration process, which will take several years to complete. But the bottom line is that although three smaller dams will remain, the salmon will return.
It’s something. Maybe not much in context of the broader climatic crisis, but something.
Perhaps I too will one day also be able to break through whatever barrier has stopped me, and return for a visit.
District Boundary Resident Review Panel (Wednesday, 3:30pm, City Hall) — agenda
Regional Centre Community Council (Wednesday, 6pm, online) — agenda
Public information Meeting – Case 24242 (Wednesday, 7pm, Grand Lake Oakfield Fire Department) — application by Sunrose Land Use Consulting to amend the MPS/LUB to allow for the expansion of Ledwidge Lumber and woody biomass technology at 195 Old Post Road, Enfield
Natural Resources and Economic Development (Tuesday, 1pm, One Government Place) — Rural Economic Recovery After COVID-19; with representatives from the Department of Economic Development, Develop NS, and Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities
Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, Province House and online) — Impact of Government Expenses on ER Understaffing; with representatives from the Department of Health and Wellness and Nova Scotia Health
Rossetti-Watson Travel Scholarship Exhibition (Tuesday, 9am, Exhibition room, Medjuck Architecture Building) — presents travel studies by Emily Pyatt (Trondheim/Oslo, Norway), Julia Johnston (southern British Columbia), Peter Lombardi (Rotterdam, Netherlands), and Stefan Gagnier Ruckert (Barcelona, Spain). Opening presentations today at 5:30pm.
Rossetti-Watson Travel Scholarship Exhibition (Wednesday, 9am, Exhibition room, Medjuck Architecture Building) — see above
Spider silk proteins for development of materials and biologic drugs (Wednesday, 4pm, online) — Jan Johansson and Anna Rising from Karolinska Institute will talk
Books by Heart (Wednesday, 7pm, KTS Lecture Hall) — Could books save lives? A conversation between Daniel Brandes and Dr. Gabrielle Horne, MD
In the harbour
05:00: Atlantic Sun, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
10:00: Torm Sublime, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Antwerp, Belgium
16:00: Atlantic Sun sails for New York
Here’s my bookcase: