Halifax Citizen: Skills for success

Winners of the 2015 HRSB Regional Skills Competition at Carpenter Millwright Trades College, first place Chandler Slater from CP Allen, third place Tyler Slaunwhite from Halifax West and second place Matthew Devoe, also from Halifax West photographed with Shane Butler, Regional Manager of the Carpenters Union (Atlantic Canada Regional Council). (L-R)
Winners of the 2015 HRSB Regional Skills Competition at Carpenter Millwright Trades College, first place Chandler Slater from CP Allen, third place Tyler Slaunwhite from Halifax West and second place Matthew Devoe, also from Halifax West photographed with Shane Butler, Regional Manager of the Carpenters Union (Atlantic Canada Regional Council). (L-R)

High school students from Halifax Regional School Board put their carpentry skills to the test during the 2015 HRSB Regional Skills Competition in Lower Sackville last month.

“We’re really excited to have seven schools represented from all over HRM,” says Bev Young, director of Carpenter Millwright Trades College (CMTC). Up from four schools in 2014, the 11 students arrived at CMTC for 7:30 a.m. and were given a blueprint, tasked with building a garden shed using materials donated by Atlantic Canada Regional Council.

HRSB high schools students, representing seven schools, competed in the 2015 HRSB Regional Skills Competition at Carpenter Millwright Trades College. First place CP Allen student Chandler Slater and second place Matthew Devoe, from Halifax West will go to the provincial competition later this year. Third place was awarded to Tyler Slaunwhite, from Halifax West.
HRSB high schools students, representing seven schools, competed in the 2015 HRSB Regional Skills Competition at Carpenter Millwright Trades College. First place CP Allen student Chandler Slater and second place Matthew Devoe, from Halifax West will go to the provincial competition later this year. Third place was awarded to Tyler Slaunwhite, from Halifax West.

“The roof rafters are a little bit tricky, but I have them under control now,” says Zack Harnish, a Grade 11 student from Cole Harbour High School.

It’s Harnish’s first year in the competition and he says he expects to have the roof on by end of day. “I built a lot of stuff like this with my dad and my grandfather,” says Harnish.

“3:30 p.m. is tools down,” says Young. She says while some will be close to completion, they don’t expect the students to finish.

The structure is similar to last year’s dog house, but four feet taller. The scaled-up challenge was chosen to give finalists an advantage at provincials and nationals.

“For those who move onto provincials, they’ll likely do a dog house … they’ll have an advantage because they will have already encountered something bigger,” explains Young. “If they go to nationals, he or she has to build a shed or playhouse, bigger than this, so we said lets give them the scope of what they’re to expect at a national level … and see how they rise to the challenge.”

Returning competitor, Donovan Linfield from Eastern Shore District High School says he prefers the garden shed project. “It’s more up to your height, so you’re not bent over.”

HRSB Regional Skills Competition at Carpenter Millwright Trades College, first place Chandler Slater from CP Allen will go onto represent HRSB in the provincial carpentry skills competition later this  year.
HRSB Regional Skills Competition at Carpenter Millwright Trades College, first place Chandler Slater from CP Allen will go onto represent HRSB in the provincial carpentry skills competition later this year.

Key competition factors include accuracy, measurements, neatness and safety. “All big factors, but end of the day, the main objective is to give an experience of competition and showing off their skills; learning where they can improve; and the carrot of course, is moving onto the provincial competition,” says Young.

“A skills competition is really not a test, even though it feels like one,” says instructor and judge, Elliott Boudreau. “You’re leaving with a lot more knowledge and skills than you came here with.”

Read the full story in the Community Herald.

Community Herald: Mother seeks community support for son

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Noah and his friends having a giggle fest in CP Allen Learning Centre with Tristan Dunn (clockwise from top), Tara Weston, Noah Isenor, Noah’s best buddy Brady Gerrior and CP Allen High School student and services department head Lauren Emanuel. (Cyndi Sweeney)

‘It takes a village.’ A phrase often describing support by the greater community in helping a child. Local mom Tara Weston is reaching out to her community: a last effort to keep her son’s wheelchair lift van and pay his remaining medical bills.

Her goal is to crowdfund $5 from 5,000 people, to raise a total of $25,000 in support of Noah’s journey.

“I’m just trying to put myself in a positive mindset. If 5,000 people gave $5, we’d have Noah’s van,” says Weston, who recently had to sell their family home to keep Noah’s fundamental transportation.

“If we can’t raise the money … and we lose this van, Noah basically has no access within the community anymore,” she says.

Noah has stage five spastic quadriplegia and cerebral palsy, he is legally blind and is speech impaired. Soon he will undergo his 38th surgery at the IWK.

Despite Noah’s many surgeries and daily seizures, his smile is full of joy and “he has chocolate eyes that melt your heart,” says Lauren Emanuel, student and services department head at CP Allen High School.

“They’re having a giggle-fest today,” says Jenny-Kate Hadley, vice principal at CP Allen. Noah and his friends sit laughing around their classroom table. “Noah is so engaged with the students,” says Emanuel.

Weston says the family has spent close to $220,000 over the past 15 years and his ongoing nursing and attendant needs have been assessed in excess of $7,600 per month. “We’ve great health care coverage here in Canada, but between insurance and provincial health coverage, it doesn’t cover all his medical expenses,” says Weston, leaving $3,800 each month not covered.

The family recently moved to an apartment in Bedford, from their family home specially designed for people with special needs.

“We couldn’t afford a house and a van, so we had to choose what Noah needed. We thought, it doesn’t matter where we live, if Noah had a good quality of life and can get around in the community … he’ll be happy.”

Having exhausted every avenue of financial help, from non-profit, government, friends and family, Weston says $5 from 5,000 is literally their last resort. With more than 400,000 people living in HRM, it’s a goal she says she hopes is attainable for Noah.

Read more on Noah’s Journey  in the Community Herald.

*Note: Since last week the family has raised $1,256 in donations and are now hoping to raise $23,000.

To donate, go to www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/noah-s-journey/201524 or find the link by visiting Noah’s Journey on Facebook.

Bedford-Sackville Observer: The power of sunflower

Beneath their “labour of love,” a 25 foot off-grid solar sunflower at Farmer’s Best along Bedford Highway, Sunflower Solar partners Keith Crews, Steven Weagle and Kirsten Weagle want Nova Scotians to know solar power has never been more accessible. (Cyndi Sweeney)
Beneath their “labour of love,” a 25 foot off-grid solar sunflower at Farmer’s Best along Bedford Highway, Sunflower Solar partners Keith Crews, Steven Weagle and Kirsten Weagle want Nova Scotians to know solar power has never been more accessible. (Cyndi Sweeney)

 “With our heat pump, we went down about 35 per cent on our power bill by just changing the water heater,” says Steven Weagle, president of Sunflower Solar.

Spring is not quite here, but meander around a bend on the Bedford Highway and a 25-foot sunflower is in full bloom at Farmer’s Best market. The off-grid solar beacon of sunshine was recently installed by Sunflower Solar and together the two businesses are cooperatively marketing solar energy to Nova Scotians.

“Solar has never been more affordable than it is now … we’re a little bit behind in Canada, but we’re catching up,” says Kirsten Weagle, one of four partners at Sunflower Solar Inc.

“Solar is totally modular so just about anything is possible from a homeowner or even a commercial business perspective,” says Weagle.

Originally from Lower Sackville, Weagle says he loves technology and being hands-on with innovating solar power. He says the sunflower project took about a year and a half and is a labour of love and a progression from engineering solar-powered hot dog vending carts in Ontario and Nova Scotia.

Read how solar power can reduce your household energy bills here.

For more info on solar energy visit www.sunflowersolar.ca and for solar energy solutions and rebates information visit www.efficiencyns.ca/energy-solutions/solar.