Roundup: 5 more COVID deaths, vax coming for young kids, Banfield testifies today at shooting inquiry, funds for tree planting, remembering a N.S. football booster

McLeod Bethel-Thompson and the Toronto Argonauts take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Acadia University on Saturday. Photo: Geoff Robins/CFL

Plus: First Nations trailblazer and Halifax Pride ambassador Tuma Young shares a unique perspective

Nova Scotian children between the ages of six months and four years will be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in early August, the provincial government announced yesterday.

“We know that many parents of young children have been anticipating this day for quite some time, and we are pleased to see that there’s such a great interest to get some of the youngest Nova Scotians vaccinated,” Dr. Shelley Deeks, Nova Scotia’s deputy chief medical officer of health, says in a press release. “Some do experience severe illness, especially those with underlying medical conditions.”

COVID has killed at least five more Nova Scotians since the last government update. The official death toll for the pandemic now stands at 456 Nova Scotians, 41,932 people in Canada, and 6,356,812 victims worldwide. The World Health Organization reports 1,014,731 confirmed new cases of the disease around the globe in the last 24 hours.

Tuma Young. Photo: Submitted

“The totality of who we are”
From the Malagawatch First Nations community in Inverness County, Tuma Young is a fitting choice to be this year’s Halifax Pride ambassador.

The long-time activist and community organizer says Native people have always been part of Pride, but how that involvement looks is shifting.

“Over the last 25 years, there’s been a stronger, much more cultural, component to it,” Young says. “In the last 20 years, we brought our who we are as L’nu and First Nations people. Where previously thought if you were going to be gay, you had to give up your indigeneity or if you were Indigenous, you couldn’t be gay. We’ve now said ‘No, this is who we are and in order for us to live our authentic lives, we bring the totality of who we are to where we go.'”

Ameeta Vohra has more for Unravel Halifax.

Banfield testifies at shooting inquiry
Lisa Banfield is scheduled to testify today at the hearings investigating the 2020 mass shooting. The common-law wife of the killer will only face questions from the commission’s lawyer, not from lawyers representing the victims’ families. Commissioners say the move is meant to shield Banfield, who endured years of abuse, from further trauma.

Lawyers from Patterson Law, which is representing most of the victims’ families in the proceedings, say their clients “are not confident that commission counsel will elicit all relevant evidence” and the decision “has significantly undermined the legitimacy of the process and our clients’ confidence in the commissioners’ independence.”

Janet Whitman has the story for the Reporter.

Government money for tree-planting program
The provincial government is spending $12,500 on a program to plant 25 trees in Lunenburg, which should cover about half the total cost.

“Lunenburg has a pretty good urban forest as it happens but there’s always opportunity for enhancement,” Mayor Matt Risser says. “Trees are a vital piece of core infrastructure; they help with stormwater, they help extend the life of asphalt … Trees are inherently valuable.”

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

J.I. Albrecht. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Remembering a Nova Scotian football booster
Tomorrow afternoon, Acadia University will host a regular season Canadian Football League match, as the Toronto Argonauts take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The absence of an Atlantic team has long been a gap in the CFL, and columnist Hugh Townsend believes that the late J.I. Albrecht, who helmed the failed attempt to launch a team in Halifax in the 1980s, would delight in this sign of progress.

“He fell in love with the province, so much so that, even when his main mission failed, he hung around, creating a university football program at University College of Cape Breton, writing sports columns for newspapers … and even managing a radio station,” Townsend recalls. “Anything to stay here.”

Read Townsend’s latest in the Pictou Advocate.

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