This camping season, ‘Ranger Google’ might be campers port-of-call at some Nova Scotia provincial parks. We asked how this will affect your camping experience.
Nova Scotia will see seven of 20 provincial parks move to self-service, including two parks located within Halifax Regional Municipality. We had a few questions around how this will affect campers and glampers alike. Here’s what we found out…
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.
“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.”
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.”
‘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.
“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.
The Sackville Junior Badminton Club rallies hard to give Nova Scotia competitive badminton a national presence.
“Badminton is a small community,” says Karen Stadnyk, SBC club founder. “It started in Sackville, but we’re an HRM-wide program with members coming from Halifax, Hammonds Plains, Bedford, Dartmouth, Tantallon … and even Truro,” she says.
SBC formed about seven years ago in Sackville, but today only one of it’s 45 members comes from Sackville and practices are held at CP Allen, Citadel High School and Waverley Memorial.
There’s a photo tribute being snapped in several provinces across Canada by a photographer who discovered it’s not about trying to teach an old dog new tricks, but rather, looking them in the eyes and revealing soulful evidence of long lives lived, just beyond a decade.
A graduate of NSCAD, Toronto-based photographer Pete Thorne returned to Halifax in early January to photograph portraitures of elderly dogs from all over Nova Scotia for his Old Faithful Project, a collection of images and stories being published by HarperCollins later this year.
Thorne says he became inspired after photographing his grandmother on her 100th birthday and decided elderly subjects had much to reveal. Thorne began focusing on elderly dogs, initially unclear where the journey would lead him.
“I noticed how distinct older dog’s faces were compared to more youthful ones, and I realized that older dogs are often passed over in favour of younger, cuter puppies,” says Thorne. “It became clear they were the ones that needed more attention, not less.”
It’s almost that birthday time of year again. Think it’ll be hard to top our Master Chef Party. Anyone looking to recreate this amazing soiree, Paige and Peacock Event Design can put together complete decor packs including How-to’s/Party Bags/Menu’s for reasonable rates: https://www.facebook.com/paigeandpeacock
I divulge…I’ve finally conceded to the addictive nature of reality TV. I blame the foodie in me…and my daughter, who spent an afternoon over Christmas holiday watching a MasterChef omnibus. We were hooked.
“Can I have a MasterChef birthday?” she inquired, knowing perfectly well I would rise to the challenge.
Friends who know me, know I’m party-crazed, theme-obsessed and committed to raising the bar when it comes to kids parties. From down-to-earth camp parties to glamorous spa spectacular, and even a splashy mermaid party complete with custom-made tails, there is no theme too challenging — even a party that involves nine kids (plus a few adults) creating chaos in the kitchen.
Here’s the highlights from our MasterChef 12th birthday party, in partnership with my fabulous sister, owner of Paige and Peacock Event Designs, recently launching its children’s party division ‘Petit Fours @ Paige and…