Roundup: 18 COVID cases reclassified as variant, musician brings new life to former church, Pictou Co. traffic stop leads to multiple charges, alcohol-free haven for university students

Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. Photo: Tourism N.S.

Nova Scotia has 42 known active cases of COVID-19, with two new cases (one in the Central Zone, the other in the Eastern) reported in the latest government update.

Dr. Robert Strang. Photo: CNS

Unrelated to the new cases, health officials have reclassified 18 previously identified cases as the U.K. variant. There have be 41 known cases of the U.K. variant in the province, and 10 cases of the South African variant.

“While we’re seeing more variant cases being identified in the province, it’s important to understand that most of these cases are related to travel and they are strictly adhering to the public health measures,” Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, says in a press release.

Nova Scotian labs completed 2,154 tests on Apr. 13, and 334,053 since October.

As of Apr. 13, provincial health-care workers have dispensed 169,851 doses of COVID-19, with 31,583 Nova getting the second dose that completes inoculation.

Musician brings new life to former church
Canadian-Hungarian organ virtuoso Xaver Varnus bought the Pilgrim United Church in Brooklyn (Queens Co.) last fall with the aim of turning it into a concert hall, and now he’s raising money to fund the transformation.

So far he’s raised almost $8,000 for the project. He’s already installed a massive pipe organ, but there’s much more to do.

“[The] exterior was regularly battered by storms,” he says. “One of the understandable, but aesthetically awful, architectural solutions of the ’50s and ’60s in Eastern Canada was that the churches began to be covered with white vinyl siding instead of wood. These covers are ugly and not timeless. It is my big dream to restore this beautiful building in its original form.”

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

Photo: Tourism N.S.

Exporting Nova Scotian culture
The Royal Nova Scotian International Tattoo returns in a virtual format for 2021.

Usually, the event brings civilian and military acts from around the world to Nova Scotia. This year, the event will export the province’s acts to the world.

“They’ll get a deeper appreciation of Nova Scotia,” says Scott Long, managing director and executive producer. “That’s really what the theme is about this year, and hopefully our audiences outside of Nova Scotia will get a better look into the province. We also would like to be able to engage expat Nova Scotians who live in other parts of the world and aren’t able to get home this summer or haven’t been able to get home for a long time due to restrictions surrounding the pandemic. We want to put together a show that will make people feel like they’ve come to Nova Scotia for the night, even though that is not possible at this time.”

Ameeta Vohra has the story for Halifax Magazine.

Traffic stop leads to charges
A Pictou County man faces multiple charges after fleeing when police tried to pull him over on Hwy. 104. When RCMP caught him, they found weapons, illegal drugs, and tools (pry bars, drills, and a circular saw) in the vehicle.

Thirty-one-year-old Jeremy Christopher Lalonde-Drake of Central West River is charged with possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, flight from police, Possession of break-In instruments, breach of probation (two counts) and failure to comply with release conditions (four counts).

The Pictou Advocate reports.

Alcohol-free haven for students
For university students, it’s just about impossible to go out for an evening with friends and avoid alcohol. At St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, a new space aims to give students a night out without the pressure to imbibe.

The Bloomfield Hub comes after seeing the success of such spaces at other schools.

“It’s based off a piece of framework from those pieces of research and kind of with the Ronald MacDonald Houses, where people can just go in and take what they need from the program,” says student facilitator Fiona Beaton “The space is also utilized to curb the isolation that people are feeling.”

Drake Lowthers has more for The Reporter.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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