Welcome to Weekend File, where you’ll find links to all the articles you might have missed since Sunday, December 26. Jump to sections in this article:
Sunday, December 26
Tim Bousquet had the Boxing Day two-day new case count for COVID. There was no other data available that day.
Monday, December 27
Another day, another several hundred new cases of COVID-19 in the province.
Tuesday, December 28
1. Nova Scotia schools to reopen with in-person classes on Jan. 10; 561 new cases of COVID-19 announced on Tuesday, Dec. 28
Education Minister Becky Druhan announced that schools across the province would open for in-person classes on January 10, saying, “the best place for students is in school where they have continued access to learning and the supports and services they need for their emotional and mental well-being.” Tim Bousquet had more, plus all the new case counts and other details.
Wednesday, December 29
Jennifer Henderson got the price tag for the delay on the Muskrat Falls project as the information was finally made public by Nova Scotia Power on Christmas Eve; the utility was forced to disclose the amount by the Utility and Review Board.
Martha Paynter, a registered nurse and chair of Wellness Within, had this op-ed on how we can all work together to get through this latest stage of the pandemic when human resources are stretched. Her advice? “Test yourself. Test your neighbour. Test their kid. If you are in a high-risk group, report positive results to Public Health. Talk to your contacts. Get every vaccine and booster on offer. Look out for each other.”
3. Morning File: At this time of crises, we need Public Health data more than ever
Tim Bousquet has been asking Public Health for detailed data on COVID-19 in Nova Scotia since the beginning of the pandemic. This time, he asked the specifics around hospitalization. More data helps inform our decisions. As Bousquet wrote: “I’m not saying that Nova Scotia won’t face the same sort of hospitalization challenges other jurisdictions have faced. Rather, I’m saying we just don’t know. There’s isn’t enough information to make an informed prognosis.”
Philip Moscovitch had part 2 of his series on bike-share programs. In this story, Moscovitch looked at who most commonly uses bike shares — “kinetic elites” — and what can be done to make the programs more equitable and accessible.
Another update on COVID-19, new case counts, and hospitalization figures. Tim Bousquet had all of that. He never gets a break!
Thursday, December 30
1. Morning File: Prepping Halifax for climate change will not come cheap
Philip Moscovitch had some thoughts on an article that outlined the costs of preparing Halifax’s infrastructure for the destruction of climate change. But he added, “what do you think not doing anything about it will cost?” Plus, he had a fun bit on celebrities and pinball machines.
Tara Thorne rounded up clips of some of her episodes of The Tideline from 2021. Highlights included Erin Costelo, Mo Kenney, the creatives behind The Crevice and Fat Juliet, Zuppa Theatre, Christy Ann Conlin, Deborah Young, Gus the Gopher Tortoise, Jane Kansas, Bretten Hannam, Stephanie Domet, Vinessa Antoine, Steve Murphy, and Hello City.
3. Nova Scotia COVID-19 update, Dec. 30: 25 people in hospital with the disease, 511 new cases; booster vaccination program to be expanded
As the new case counts continued to be in the hundreds, the province announced it would expand its booster program, opening up appointments for Nova Scotians over the age of 30 to book their third shots.
Friday, December 31
1. “We need accountability”: Nova Scotia has set ambitious climate change goals, but concrete action is elusive
Jennifer Henderson reviewed how the province did in 2021 to reach its climate change goals. There was a backlash against a tax hike by HRM that would help the city be more energy efficient. Elsewhere, there wasn’t much movement on the Lahey Report. Still, two megaprojects — Pieridae Energy’s LNG terminal and Alton Natural Gas Storage — were abandoned by their proponents. Henderson had a full assessment.
2. Morning File: Grab your skates and let’s take one last lap around 2021
The ice was fantastic in Nova Scotia over the Christmas holidays. Ethan Lycan-Lang laced up his own skates for a few runs, and shared photos from the online community group Nor’Easter Natural Ice that showed how other Nova Scotians were enjoying the cold days on frozen lakes and ponds.
Zane Woodford had the details on an outbreak of COVID at the Burnside jail. Thirty-one prisoners tested positive for the virus, as did several staff members. Officials said no one was in hospital because of the virus.
4. Controversial Cape Breton land seller Frank Eckhardt arrested for the second time in just two weeks, this time on a slew of weapons charges
For the second time in a month, police arrested Frank Eckhardt, a controversial land seller and survivalist who advertises his advisory services to German-speaking “new settlers” in Cape Breton. Joan Baxter, who’s been covering this story on German-speaking non-residents buying land on the island, had the report on Eckhardt’s arrest.
No rest for Tim Bousquet even on New Year’s Eve. He had the COVID update for the last day of a year many people couldn’t wait to give the boot.
Sunday, January 2
We didn’t start off 2022 with any decrease in new case counts of COVID-19. Tim Bousquet had the details that were available on this holiday weekend.
Monday, January 3
1. 1,020 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Nova Scotia on Monday, Jan. 3; the province’s hospitalization numbers don’t make sense
At the first COVID briefing for 2022, Premier Tim Houston and chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang had details on new cases. But there also was some confusion over the hospitalization data. Tim Bousquet tried to figure that out in this update.
Tuesday, January 4
1. Morning File: Let’s not screw it up for this baby
Little Roman Dube was born at 12:03am on January 1, making him the first baby born in Nova Scotia in 2022. In the first Morning File of the year, Tim Bousquet wrote a welcome for Roman, and promised we’d all do our best for him in today’s scary world.
Zane Woodford had an update on the COVID outbreak at the Burnside jail where nearly one-third of the prisoners have the virus. Woodford learned there are still no hospitalizations, no cases in the women’s unit, and no cases in other provincial jails, and the number of staff positive or isolating is still reported as “several.”
Zane Woodford reported on a story in which a Halifax woman says she was sexually assaulted by two police officers as a girl in the 1990s, and even after one of them impregnated her years later, complaints about the abuse went nowhere. Those allegations are contained in a notice of action filed in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in December.
4. 1,020 new cases of COVID-19 and new hospital outbreaks announced in Nova Scotia on Tuesday, Jan. 4
Another day with 1,020 new cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. Tim Bousquet had the update, which included details on vaccinations, hospital outbreaks, and jail outbreaks.
Wednesday, January 5
1. Morning File: Housing: party for a few, crisis for the rest
The Economist recently published an article on the housing crisis and featured Halifax in the story. The reporter seemed to confuse what happens in Halifax with what happens in Nova Scotia. But Philip Moscovitch also learned the magazine also seemed more concerned about how the housing crisis would affect people with money.
2. NSTU survey: “overwhelming majority” of teachers and school specialists say in-person learning currently unsafe
Yvette d’Entremont reported on the results of a survey completed by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) that found that 83.9% of the 4,418 teachers and school specialists who responded said in-person learning is “not currently safe.” Teachers said they wanted more protective measures such as contact tracing, priority boosters, rapid tests, and medical-grade masks to make schools safer.
Iain Rankin shared on Wednesday that he was stepping down as the leader of the provincial Liberal party, saying the decision was the “best path forward.” Yvette d’Entremont had the story with reactions from Premier Tim Houston and NDP leader Gary Burrill.
4. In-person classes delayed one week in Nova Scotia; changes to isolation requirements; today’s new case count is 842
After starting the week saying schools would be heading back to class on January 10, Premier Tim Houston announced learning would head online for another week. Tim Bousquet had those details, plus the new case counts, and other COVID-19 updates.
Thursday, January 6
1. “It’s extremely stressful:” Union for early childhood educators says COVID-19 public health measures endanger workers and children
Yvette d’Entremont continued her coverage of COVID-19 and education workers. This time, she spoke with Margot Nickerson, an early childhood educator and president of CUPE Local 4745, which represents ECEs, who told d’Entremont her colleagues are dealing with a lot of stress in their workplaces. Nickerson said ECEs want proper protections for workers and children.
Matthew Byard is back with his Black News File, which includes stories he wrote in December, plus news on Sharon Davis-Murdoch, who was recently named to the Order of Canada, the retirement of Judge Corrine Sparks, and how the federal government is honouring boxer George Dixon as a person of national historic significance.
3. Morning File: Talkin’ Blue Monday on a Thursday
Ethan Lycan-Lang looks at the “science” behind the made-up day of Blue Monday, supposedly the most depressing day of the year. And a group are building a virtual replica of Halifax through the video game of Minecraft. Interesting or a colossal waste of time? Read and then make your decision.
Tara Thorne chatted with Duane Jones, founder of Art Pays Me, about his journey from failed accounting student to his successful line of Halifax streetwear. Oh, they also talk about the series finale of Insecure, and whether Issa’s choice was the right one.
5. Accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl and later fathering her child, former Halifax cop Brian Johnston is expected to resign as pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Truro
Matthew Byard had this story about Brian Johnston, who is expected to step down as Pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Truro after the Halifax Examiner reported on a pending lawsuit against the Halifax Regional Police in which he is implicated.
Friday, January 7
Last week, Suzanne Rent was looking at stock photos of women spinning in fields. She’s never done that and wondered what else marketing, advertising, and social media get wrong about women and their lives. So, she put a call out to the Women of Twitter and they responded with all sorts of hilarious and insightful thoughts.
Zane Woodford had the latest news on those modular units the HRM is placing in the parking lot at Centennial Pool. According to a staff report heading to Halifax regional council this Tuesday, the modular units won’t be ready for another couple of months. The units for the Dartmouth site, however, will be ready “within days of the date of this report.”