Roundup: 715K vaccines dispensed, hate crime victimizes ‘whole community,’ fishery tensions continue despite deal, exploring the ‘botanical medicine cabinet’

Premier Iain Rankin. Photo: Communications N.S.

Nova Scotia has 92 known active cases of COVID-19, with eight new cases and 13 recoveries reported in the latest government update. Five of the new cases are in the Central Zone, where health officials say there continues to be limited community spread.

There are five people hospitalized in Nova Scotian COVID units, four of whom are in ICU.

“As we work our way through the reopening plan … it is important to remember to continue to get tested for COVID-19 and get vaccinated as soon as you can,” Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, says in a press release. “Many of our new cases are among people who are not vaccinated, or who got the virus within two weeks of their first dose, before the vaccine has taken effect.”

According to figures from the provincial government, Nova Scotian health-care workers have dispensed 715,070 doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of June 15, with 58,854 people getting the second dose that completes inoculation.

Strang and Premier Iain Rankin are scheduled to webcast an update today at 3 p.m.

Robert Zed

Government accelerates reopening plan
In Tuesday’s media update, Rankin announced a speed-up of the province’s reopening plan, advancing the date to open the border and rejoin the Atlantic bubble (now June 23). The change comes after a coterie of wealthy business owners wrote a public letter urging him to be less cautious.

Nova Scotia Business Alliance spokesman Robert Zed says they’re now getting what they want.

“We have heard from many, many members, all of whom are delighted their voice was heard and they have had an impact on the decision,” he says. “Our focus is on the safety of our citizens and the reactivation of our economy.”

But the group doesn’t represent everyone.

Kurt Bulger, co-owner of the Jennifer’s of Nova Scotia gift shop on Spring Garden Road, urges the government not to risk another lockdown by acting too quickly. “They’ve got to take a very careful, phased in, cautious approach to it as far as I’m concerned because we can’t get this wrong,” he says. “If we get this wrong, it’s bye bye for a lot of businesses.”

Janet Whitman reports for Halifax Magazine.

Lunenburg County men await trial on hate crime charges
Two Lunenburg County men will appear in court later this month to answer charges of inciting and promoting hate. The men were teens last summer when the incident occurred, so media aren’t allowed to name them.

A biracial Halifax couple, Greg Dean and Cyndi Rafuse, visited Hutt Lake in Lunenburg County with their two children. Rafuse says two people got out of a Ford Ranger at the Lower Grant Road beach, stared at her and Dean, and “later they began swinging a homemade noose and passing it back and forth.”

In an interview days later, Dean described the incident as “a direct threat … because I am a Black man, a visible Black man.”

Elizabeth Simons, the deputy director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, believes such incidents have broad implications. “It’s not just the victims being victimized,” she says. “It’s the whole community that’s victimized.”

Keith Corcoran has more for LighthouseNow.

Fishery tensions continue despite deal
An interim deal with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has brought calm for now, but the peace is uneasy as First Nations fishers exercise their treaty-protected right to harvest lobster in Cape Breton’s waters.

“I would say there’s tensions,” says DFO official Noel d’Entremont. “We will continue to have a presence in the St. Peter’s Bay area to monitor all fisheries taking place … We’re working in collaboration with the RCMP.”

The DFO recently returned 196 traps that it seized last fall from Mi’kmaw livelihood harvesters, after striking a deal with Potlotek First Nation. the fishers have agreed to set a maximum of 700 traps, and will be allowed to sell their catch.

Jake Boudrot has the story for The Reporter.

Exploring the botanical medicine cabinet
It’s important to take care and be well informed, but if you know where to look, you can find healing herbs all around you.

“Go outside and walk around in your backyard, and you’ll be fascinated—amazed, even—at the plethora of common plants that you may know as weeds, but which in fact have virtues as healing herbs,” says gardening columnist Jodi DeLong. “Take for example, broad-leafed plantain, a ubiquitous plant that grows just about anywhere … it is a valuable plant with a number of purposes. I have a jar of plantain cream, made by a friend who runs a small business, which I use on insect bites, assorted cuts and scrapes from gardening, and other injuries. It’s also useful as a sunscreen and a paw protector for dogs in winter—all this from a lowly ‘weed.'”

Learn more in her latest East Coast Living column

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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