Roundup: 50 new COVID cases, donation for Pictou military museum, vandal damages Liverpool bridge, Cape Breton fire departments face cash crunch

Don Mitchell getting the Silver Star from U.S. Gen. Mark Clark in February 1944.

Plus: Commando to city builder — recalling a prominent Halifax architect’s service with an elite Second World War unit

Public health teams continue to investigate, as this week’s COVID-19 case count keeps ticking up, with an unexpected surge in cases in the Western and Northern zones. Nova Scotia tallied 50 new cases yesterday: 20 in the Western Zone, 20 in the Northern, eight in the Central, and two in the Eastern. There are 213 known active cases in the province.

Health officials also announced two more school exposures yesterday.

Premier Tim Houston and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, are scheduled to webcast an update today at noon.

J.D. (Don) Mitchell, at right, getting ready for parachute jump training at Fort William Henry Harrison near Helena, Montana in 1942.

Commando to city builder
In peacetime, Haligonians would know Don Mitchell as architect who shaped their city, the name behind the prominent Fowler Bauld & Mitchell firm. But few know that before that, he was an elite commando, taking the fight behind Nazi lines during the Second World War.

He served in the First Special Service Force, a joint Canadian-American unit whose exploits inspired Hollywood movies like The Devil’s Bridgade and Inglorious Basterds.

“The First Special Service Force is very important from an historical perspective because it is the genesis of all special service forces,” says Ken Hynes, curator at the Army Museum. “It was the only time the Canadian and American army formed a combined unit.”

As Remembrance Day approaches, we return to our archives for this Ryan Van Horne story looking back at Mitchell’s remarkable service.

Cape Breton fire departments face cash crunch
Volunteer fire departments in Richmond County are asking their municipal government to reconsider their funding, and councillors are open to the idea.

“We’ve long known that multiple fire departments within Richmond County will not be able to survive long-term given the current financial model for funding,” says Councillor Michael Diggdon. “Expectations of insurance rate increases this coming year are a serious concern for already cash-strapped departments. There was also interest in looking into possible further bulk buying options in order to save costs.”

Jake Boudrot has the story for The Reporter.

Vandal damages Liverpool bridge
Officials from the Queens Rails to Trails Association are considering installing security cameras after a vandal broke boards and damaged Liverpool’s Trestle Trail Bridge, which spans the Mersey River.

The damage wasn’t serious and a volunteer repaired it within days, says association president Brian Hatt. “We’re spreading the word around to everyone to keep their eyes open on the bridge to try and deter other incidents,” he adds.

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Pictou museum celebrates donation
The Pictou County Military Museum recently acquired a collection of rare First World War medals, courtesy of Westville’s Sinnis family.

The medals belonged to Sgt. George Wood Sinnis, who earned them on the Western Front during the First World War, serving with the 23rd Canadian Field Artillery. He was a member of the Second Battalion of the Pictou Highlanders.

Steve Goodwin has more for The Pictou Advocate.

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