News

1. Health care

Premier Stephen McNeil. Photo: Halifax Examiner

Writes Stephen Kimber:

“I want to assure you that I’ve heard you, and I’ve listened,” McNeil said of the health care crisis on election night. “We have a plan, and the opposition parties have a plan, and we can work together to make it better.” So much for working together. With the opposition. Or, more importantly, with Nova Scotians.

Click here to read “Health care crisis? Check. Leadership to solve it? Another question…”

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2. Racist graffiti

“On Friday, racist graffiti was discovered defacing St. Catherine’s Elementary School in Halifax’s West End,” reports El Jones:

Tina Roberts-Jeffers, who has two children attending the school in the fall, saw the graffiti when she met another mother for a playdate in the school’s playground.

“When I first saw it I just thought, why?  Why here?  Why would someone do this at an elementary school?” said Roberts-Jeffers.

It’s shocking, not because I am unaware that racism continues to exist in our society, but because here it is so plain and clear, written in large letters on the doorstep, doors, and windows of my children’s school. 

Racist graffiti has been found on election signs in North Preston, in Africville, on a wall in downtown Halifax, on the Dalhousie campus, spray painted on the East Antigonish Education Centre, and on the hood of Lance Sparks’ car, among other incidents.

The graffiti on St. Catherine’s is particularly disturbing because of the number of families and young children who use the playground and fields, including many families from the nearby military base.

Click here to read “Racist graffiti at St. Catherine’s Elementary School.”

3. A violent cannabis dispensary-related attack

Farm Assists is in the basement of this Porters Lake building; a residence is above, in the main floor as seen from the highway. Photo: Google Street View

On July 16, a couple living in a residence above the Farm Assists cannabis dispensary in Porters Lake were violently attacked, apparently in the mistaken assumption that they were managers of the dispensary below.

The building at 5108 Highway 7 is a tiny structure (see photo above). The residence is the main floor as seen from the highway, and Farm Assists is in the basement, which is separately accessed from a door opening onto a parking lot.

The attack is detailed in an application by the RCMP for a search warrant related to the incident. I’m redacting the victims’ names in the account below; note also that the RCMP mistakenly place the residence and Farm Assists in Lake Echo instead of Porters Lake. Wrote RCMP Constable Marc MacMullin in the search warrant application:

On July 16th Cole Harbour RCMP responded to a complaint of a home invasion in Lake Echo. According to the victim [the woman] her and [the man] were in bed asleep when 2 masked people dressed all in black broke into the residence while they were sleeping and began to beat them with a baseball bat. The suspects bound both victims with black duct tape and threw them in a closet. During the assault the suspects shoved a handgun into their mouths and demanded access to the marihuana dispensary downstairs. The suspects continued to assault and threaten the two victims and at one point the suspects poured liquid bleach on them. Both victims sustained injuries and chemical burns in the attack. The suspects can be seen on video surveillance loading a handgun and carrying a baseball bat as they enter the residence. Later a suspect can be seen leaving and returning with an acetylene torch. The suspects threatened to burn the victims if they didn’t provide access to the marihuana dispensary. The victims pleaded that they were not associated with the business and it was a completely separate business owned by Chris Enns. After about two hours of beating, threatening and torturing the victims the suspects fled the scene.

Footage from a video surveillance cameras on the property showed both suspects wearing all black. One, wrote MacMullin, was wearing black sneakers with white soles, “a tight fitting face mask that covers his entire head with only a single opening for the eyes,” black Nike track pants, and “a pair of black gloves with a distinct white or silver logo on the top of the hand.” The second suspect was also wearing all black, albeit there wasn’t much detail that could be gleaned from the video, besides sneakers that appeared to be the Sketchers brand.

That night, Global News reported that “police say the business [Farm Assists] was not the target of the robbery,” but the application for a search warrant clearly contradicts that statement. While the victims weren’t associated with Farm Assists, the suspects clearly intended to rob Farm Assists.

Instead of the expected Farm Assists loot, the suspects took a handful of items of little value from the residence above the business: a purple “Roots” kit bag, bank cards and credit cards, about $1,000 in cash, gift cards, and a “small blue marihauna bong.”

But the story doesn’t end there.

The next morning, July 17, two men robbed an employee in the parking lot of the Sipekne’katik Entertainment Centre, a casino in Hammonds Plains. An RCMP release relates the dramatic events of the morning:

At approximately 9:45 a.m. this morning, two masked men, one armed with a firearm, got out of a vehicle in a business parking lot on Hammonds Plains Rd. in Hammonds Plains. They approached an employee contracted by the business and pointed a firearm at the employee and demanded money. The employee turned over a sum of money and the suspects fled in a vehicle.

Halifax District RCMP responded immediately and got a description of the suspect vehicle. The vehicle was seen by both RCMP and Halifax Regional Police driving recklessly on several streets and shortly after was found in a ditch on Hwy 102 near Exit 3b and Hammonds Plains Rd. The driver was arrested at the collision scene. The passenger fled the scene and was pursued by the Halifax Regional Police K-9 Unit. During this time, residents were asked to stay inside their homes for safety reasons. The suspect was tracked and located in the backyard of a home where he was arrested.

Twenty-seven-year-old Matthew Leslie Grimm and 23-year-old Austin Michael Mitton were arrested on a staggering variety of charges.

After Grimm and Mitton were arrested, the RCMP obtained a warrant to search the car that had crashed on the highway. In the car, they found a small pistol, “a tight fitting black face mask with a single opening for the eyes,” a bleach-soaked towel, and “a single black glove with a distinct white logo.”

Constable MacMullin put two and two together: “From viewing the security footage, I believe the items recovered from the vehicle are the items worn by our suspects in the home invasion.”

With that, MacMullin obtained a search warrant for Grimm’s mother’s house in Dartmouth, where Grimm had been staying. In a report back to the court, MacMullin wrote that at the Grimm house police found a “daily sales invoice for Farm Assists,” a car-mounted GPS system, a “gray hoodie with what appears to be a bleach stain,” black sneakers, and some hand-written notes.

RCMP Cpl. Dal Hutchinson tells me that as of this morning the investigation into the home invasion above the Farm Assists dispensary in Porters Lake is still open and no charges have been laid.

4. Booted

Suburban city councillor experiences the evils of downtown:

Really?!? This is what happens when you’re 5min late getting back to your car after dinner? pic.twitter.com/sMIqhF80cs

— Lisa Blackburn Councillor D-14 (@newsbag) August 11, 2018


Government

City

Monday

No public meetings today.

Tuesday

City Council (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — an extra $16.5 million for the Forum renovation, the Green Network Plan, and the Gottingen Street transit lane, among other matters.

Province

No public meetings this week.


On campus

Dalhousie

Monday

No public events.

Tuesday

Thesis Defence, Psychology and Neuroscience (Tuesday, 9:30am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Michael Lawrence will defend his thesis, “Developing and Validating a​​ Combined Attention Systems Test​.”

Thesis Defence, Molecular Biology (Tuesday, 9:30am, Room C264, Collaborative Health Education Building) — Michael McPhee will defend his thesis, “An investigation of phosphoregulation and the role of CTP:phosphocholine cytidylyltransferase alpha in promoting ras-induced malignant transformation of intestinal epithelial cells.”


In the harbour

5am: Horizon Star, offshore supply ship, arrives at Pier 9 from the offshore
5am: Alexandra, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
6am: Atlantic Star, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
6am: Bomar Rebecca, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
8am: Maasdam, cruise ship with up to 1,510 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Bar Harbor
4:30pm: Bomar Rebecca, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for sea
4:30pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
5:30pm: Maasdam, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Sydney
6pm: Alexandra, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Dubai


Footnotes

Too much death and destruction.

Tim Bousquet

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. So yet another violent robbery at a cannabis dispensary. These establishments are not legal nor will they ever be. Allowing them to operate is putting lives at risk. The police have made it clear that responding to events at these so called dispensaries will also result in charges to the victims. Two innocent victims badly injured. They could have been killed. The only option I can see is to shut them down now before somebody gets killed.

    1. My doctor is wonderful and is of retirement age. Last year I had a chance to switch to another, younger doctor but decided to stay with the one I have. I fear that in several years I may regret that decision and have to leave Nova Scotia in order to access healthcare. I am approaching the age when age-related health issues arise.

      Fortunately, we did switch my son and daughter to the other doctor. I just hope she does not decide to move away.

    2. Removing a violent criminal’s target does not stop him (Its always a him) from being a violent criminal, it just forces him to redirect his violence to another target. Pot sellers, legal or not have been dealing with violent robberies since forever.

      1. Fascinatingly, once you account for socioeconomic factors (which mostly relate to absolute status rather than actual wealth), the number one predictor of crime is age – and it turns out the age-crime rate graph looks exactly like the age-testosterone graph.

        One of the best ways to prevent crime is to separate criminals from society until they are 30 or so – of course there will be those who persist past that age, but the majority of people who commit crimes in their teens and twenties will be harmless later in life.

        1. If you google the robber and find that he’d already killed a 15 yo and committed lots of other crimes your hypothesis makes sense. He shouldn’t be out of jail til 40+.