Roundup: 24K still powerless, COVID keeps spreading, Pictou Co. program trains young firefighters, N.S. touts green hydrogen potential, Lunenburg hosts autumn concert series

The Verona Quartet performs in Lunenburg on Oct. 16. Photo: Submitted

Plus: The truth about the so-called worker shortage

Nine days after Fiona hit the province, about 24,500 customers remain without Nova Scotia Power service, as of 8:45 a.m.

Last week, utility spokespeople promise that most people would have their power back by Sept. 30. With that deadline now passed, the utility is offering few specifics about when it will complete repairs.

“We understand how extremely difficult it has been for you,” tweets Nova Scotia Power. “Please know that we have not forgotten about you, and we continue to work to restore your power as soon as possible.”

For many, those reassurances are ringing hollow, though.

“Having … customer-care reps sitting in an office with power and heat, telling those of us without power for 200+ hours to ‘just hang in there,’ is beyond condescending,” tweets customer Melanie MacKay-Newcombe. “Kudos to the lines crews who are putting in the long hours, but NS Power needs to do better.”

Lars Osberg

The truth about the so-called worker shortage
Lately, the news is full of stories about businesses struggling to find workers. But those stories neglect to mention is that the jobs in question are often ones no one would work except out of desperation: customer-service jobs with erratic hours and constant abuse from the public, or backbreaking manual labour at farms and fish plants, all for minimum wage.

Lars Osberg, an economics professor at Dalhousie, has a different perspective on the labour shortage. 

“For some people in the real world, it’s actually quite a good thing that there is scarcity of workers and employers have to try harder to make their jobs attractive,” he says. “From the point of view of the vast majority of the population who depend on rising wages to pay their bills, a labour shortage is good news … A labour-shortage economy transfers power from employers to workers.” 

Phil Moscovitch reports for Unravel Halifax.

COVID keeps spreading
The World Health Organization reports 325,602 confirmed new COVID cases around the globe in the last 24 hours. So far, COVID is known to have killed at least 6,522,600 people, including 44,992 in Canada and 544 Nova Scotians.

Adèle Poirier

Studying green hydrogen potential
The Houston government is taking a close look at schemes to produce low-environmental-impact hydrogen fuel in Nova Scotia.

“While we know that there is great global demand for green hydrogen, we would like to understand more about the value proposition for major hydrogen development projects, as well as labour and training needs, supply chain capacity/capabilities, and more,” natural-resources department spokesperson Adèle Poirier says in an email. “The study is not for any one project or facility in particular. The information it pulls together will help us support and develop this promising industry.”

Jake Boudrot has the story for the Reporter.

Pictou County trains young firefighters
Students in grades 10 to 12 who are interested in becoming firefighters can now earn academic credit for completing Pictou County’s cadet training program.

It’s the latest attempt to address an ongoing shortage of volunteers.

“Recruitment and retention is very difficult,” says Evan Hale, Pictou County’s director of emergency services. “Fire departments started back when folks worked in their communities, they were basically your farmers and mill workers, and at a time when it was easier to maintain the volunteer structure. Now, people are busier with things like school, work, and families. All our stations are struggling through recruitment and retention.”

Raissa Tetanish reports for the Pictou Advocate.

Angela Hewitt. Photos: James Katz

Lunenburg hosts concert series
The return of the Verona Quartet on Oct. 16 is among the season’s highlights of the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance’s recently announced fall concert schedule.

The 13-date series includes a particular treat for aspiring pianists on Oct. 29, as Angela Hewitt hosts a masterclass.

“This three-hour class on Oct. 29 will have 30 seats available to the general public, providing the lucky few the chance to be a part of it all and watch this master of the piano guide, challenge, and work with the participating artists,” says LighthouseNow.

Read more.

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