Welcome to Weekend File, where you’ll find links to all the articles you might have missed last week. Jump to sections in this article:
Saturday, December 11
1. Strang: StFX outbreak now numbers 114 cases, but high vaccination coverage is limiting severity
Cases from that outbreak in the Eastern Zone started spreading to the Central Zone. But as Tim Bousquet reported, chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang said vaccinations are working. Strang said: “And if we look at the hundreds, if not upwards of 2000 people who were exposed, the fact that we now have 115 cases actually shows you that there’s still a very good protection from the vaccine.
Sunday, December 12
1. Health care, health care, health care: Tim Houston’s 2022 to-do list
Premier Tim Houston made some big promises about fixing health care when he was on the campaign trail in the summer. Now he has to deliver. Stephen Kimber looked at the good news and the bad news.
Monday, December 13
1. Morning File: Assessing the StFX COVID outbreak: it’s not so much the students who are at most risk, but the elderly and immunocompromised the outbreak could spread to
Tim Bousquet wrote about the “wily and opportunistic” virus and how it’s playing out after that outbreak in Antigonish. No one is happy with the rules, but as Bousquet wrote, “this is what pandemic control is all about: preventing the spread of the virus so as to limit its ability to get to the most vulnerable among us.”
2. Halifax Regional Police request $2-million budget increase
Zane Woodford returned after a stint teaching journalism. And he really knocked out the stories this week. First, he had this report on a a request Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella brought to the Board of Police Commissioners this week asking for an increase in the policing budget. Kinsella said the force was in “dire straits.”
3. Halifax tenders for police service study to examine dual HRP-RCMP model
More on the police beat: Woodford reported on a motion brought to council by Coun. Tony Mancini looking for a “review of the current model of delivering policing services in Halifax Regional Municipality.” As Woodford reported, Mancini said it wasn’t an “anti-RCMP thing,” but the councillor for Harbourview-Burnside-Dartmouth East said it was time to review the 25-year arrangement.
4. The Omicron variant is now in Nova Scotia and new Public Health restrictions are imposed, but even with the large number of cases associated with the StFX outbreak, there are fewer people in hospital with the disease
The most recent outbreak of COVID made its way to Dalhousie as that university announced six students living in dorms tested positive for the virus. And Omicron is here, as Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang said the province confirmed there were 40 recent cases of the variant.
Tuesday, December 14
1. 97% of Halifax employees fully vaccinated against COVID-19
Zane Woodford reported that fewer than 145 out of about 4,000 employees of Halifax Regional Municipality are still unvaccinated. A spokesperson with the city said those employees could start facing “employment consequences” on Thursday.
2. Corey Rogers’ mother disappointed with Nova Scotia Police Review Board decision
“That kind of upset me,” Jeannette Rogers said about the decision by the Nova Scotia Police Board to clear Halifax Regional Police Cst. Ryan Morris of all wrongdoing. Morris was the officer who arrested her son, Corey, would died in his cell at police headquarters in June 2016. Zane Woodford had that story.
3. “There’s no need to panic right now”
Yvette d’Entremont interviewed Halifax-based epidemiologist Kevin Wilson who had advice for Nova Scotians on what mask to wear in public, and to focus on gathering numbers, not how you should serve your hors d’oeuvres. Wilson also told d’Entremont, “we’re in a much better place than we were this time last year.”
4. Morning File: Living on the streets can kill
Philip Moscovitch looked at how being forced out of their homes had deadly consequences for too many people. And also a fascinating bit on how Tippi Hendren played a critical role in the establishment of Vietnamese-owned nail salons in North America.
5. Kayla Borden testifies in first day of Nova Scotia Police Board appeal
Matthew Byard was at the first day of Kayla Borden’s appeal hearing where Borden herself testified about that night in July 2020 when she was pulled over and arrested while driving from Bedford to her home in Dartmouth. Borden recalled being “upset” and “humiliated” when she was put in handcuffs, adding she had “no clue” why she was in that predicament.
6. So far, 344 cases of COVID are tied to the StFX outbreak; 127 new cases announced province-wide on Tuesday, Dec. 14
Tim Bousquet had the first COVID update of the week with the three-day new case count. Fortunately, the number of people in hospital remained small.
7. Bedford property gets heritage designation despite history of problematic owners
A historic house on Bedford Highway had two previous owners who were both supporters of the US Confederacy. Zane Woodford reported on a heritage meeting held by council in which they voted to give the house heritage designation. But not everyone was pleased with the decision, including one councillor and the house’s current owner.
8. Borden’s lawyer, board chair debate line of questioning around systemic racism during constable’s testimony
Devin Maxwell, Kayla Borden’s lawyer, and Jean McKenna, chair of the Nova Scotia Police Review Board, sparred over Maxwell’s line of questioning during Day 2 of Borden’s appealing hearing. Matthew Byard reported on what happened.
Wednesday, December 15
1. “Epic failure” and “cancel culture”: It’s been quite a week for Halifax policing
El Jones followed Kayla Borden’s appeal hearing earlier this week, as well as the Board of Police Commissioners meeting on Monday. Jones shared her thoughts on both, including those on police training and police who apparently don’t understand colour or gender (of cars, that is.)
2. “We cannot imagine two locations less suited for extractive projects such as gold mining”
Joan Baxter reported on the Nova Scotia Salmon Association’s 26-page statement to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) in which the NSSA outlines its concerns about a proposed gold mine at Beaver Dam.
3. Traffic calming, West End Mall redevelopment, and more: Halifax council round-up
In this week’s Woodford Report, Zane Woodford looked at what happened at council on Tuesday, including news about a new development with housing for the city’s west end, and concerns about a new traffic calming policy that Coun. Shawn Cleary said would end up killing more people.
4. Morning File: To cut or not to cut: What to do with Nova Scotia’s forests
In his Views section this week, Ethan Lycan-Lang looked at concerns about cutting of Nova Scotia’s forests and what biologists, activists, WestFor, Forest Nova Scotia, and the Lahey Report all had to say. Lycan-Lang said, “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that, if we can hold up Lahey for three years (and counting), we can hold up cutting on Crown land for a little while, too.”
5. 178 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Nova Scotia on Wednesday, Dec. 15; schools to go on holiday early
The midweek new case numbers went up as the province announced the holiday break would start early for students across Nova Scotia.
6. Cst. Andrew Joudrey testifies about his training in diversity, traffic stops at third day of Kayla Borden appeal hearing
Matthew Byard continued his coverage of the appeal hearing at the Nova Scotia Police Review Board. This time, the board heard from Cst. Andrew Joudrey who was at the traffic stop where Kayla Borden was wrongly arrested. Borden’s lawyer, Devin Maxwell, questioned Joudrey about his training in traffic stops and diversity.
Thursday, December 16
1. Halifax climate plan only 20% on track, 14% funded
Zane Woodford was at the Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday where HRM staff presented a progress report on the first year of HalifACT. And the report wasn’t very good. Thirty of the 46 actions have been started and of those, only seven are on track and five are adequately resourced.
2. The Tideline, Episode 58: Halifax Holidaze Playlist
Tara Thorne put together a special episode of The Tideline with a dozen holiday tunes all performed by local artists. This show goes well with nog and chocolate.
3. Morning File: And just like that, women continue to be judged on their appearance
After seeing some Hollywood stars get slagged on social media for their aging appearances, Suzanne Rent wrote about how women can’t win when it comes to their looks.
4. 287 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Nova Scotia on Thursday, Dec. 16
The numbers just kept increasing this week. Fortunately, there were no new cases in the Eastern Zone, where Antigonish is located, or at Parkland Antigonish. We take our good news where we can find it.
Friday, December 17
1. Northern Pulp mill plans “best in class” or best in BS?
Joan Baxter waded through the 126-page “registration document” Northern Pulp submitted on December 7 to begin the Class II environmental assessment process. And as she found, that document used the term “best in class” 10 times. Baxter looked at those claims, but also examined the “organization with best-in-class culture” that also claims to be building relationships based on “trust and transparency.”
2. Morning File: Nova Scotia’s one millionth customer gets a bag of donairs and a cheap (for them) house, but what do the rest of us get?
Besides a record number of new COVID cases for a day, Nova Scotia reached another milestone: its one millionth resident. What does that really mean, though? Tim Bousquet had some thoughts: “Sure, the tax base will increase, but if we don’t raise taxes to help the most needy, what have we really gained? If the number of jobs increases but wages decrease, we’re worse off, not better.”
3. Dr. Tam: If Omicron replaces Delta, number of new cases could “inundate” health care system
Yvette d’Entremont reported on a briefing on Friday afternoon where Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health, said if the Omicron variant becomes predominant, it could have a “much stronger and faster” resurgence than any the country has experienced before.
4. Halifax councillors to consider an extra $7.5 million for new sidewalks
In his final council story for the week, Zane Woodford wrote about council’s request for more money to build more sidewalks in the municipality. At council’s budget committee on Friday, Coun. Kathryn Morse said there is currently a backlog of 600 sidewalks requests.
4. Recipe for sweet family memories: One doughnut thief, three aunts, and decades of stories
Yvette d’Entremont shared this essay about solving the mystery of an infamous doughnut heist in her family, and how that led her down a memory lane of unearthing sweet recipes and the stories behind them.
5. 394 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Nova Scotia; Strang: “Omicron is pushing us to our limits,” Public Health is overwhelmed, and some people are going to have to “self-manage” their illness
“We’re in a tough situation and will be for a while.” Those were from Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang on Friday at the day’s COVID briefing. Omicron is in Nova Scotia and the province saw a record number of new cases. You could sense Nova Scotians’ collective frustration as they were told they’d have to follow new rules.
6. Staff and advocates rally to save emergency shelter set to close this month
Leslie Amminson and Ethan Lycan-Lang reported on a rally in Halifax organized by staff from the Mi’kmaw Friendship Centre’s emergency shelter. That shelter is set to close at the end of this month, leaving fewer options for people who are homeless. Staff said they suspect the closure is connected with their attempts to unionize.
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