Roundup: Another COVID death, protesting police response to domestic violence, reconsidering our streets, Hard Honey creates a buzz

It’s been two weeks since Nova Scotia has had a positive test for COVID-19, but yesterday provincial officials announced another pandemic-related death. “A female in her 60s with underlying medical conditions died several weeks ago in the eastern zone,” says the government press release. “Her death has been under investigation since then to determine if COVID-19 was a factor. She was not a resident of a long-term care home.”

Reconsidering Main Street
As the pandemic changes the way we work, live, and play, communities are reconsidering the role of their central streets. Is infrastructure designed for a commuter lifestyle still serving people’s needs when they’re working at home and spending much of their leisure time in their immediate neighbourhoods?

“In almost every small community, their main street turns into the highway, so there are lots of issues with through-traffic and safety and noise … lack of sidewalks in some cases,” says urban planner David Paterson. “We just really wanted to recognize a growing urgency within small communities to improve their walkability, especially with an aging population and the needs of accessibility.”

Paterson co-authored the Nova Scotia Main Street Initiative. The Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities commissioned the report to advise communities on how to become better, safer places to get around. See Jake Boudrot’s story in The Reporter.

Photo: Heather Brimicombe

Police failing domestic violence victims, say protesters
Members of the Black Lives Matter movement recently gathered in New Glasgow to protest how the town’s police department responds to domestic violence. “Too many women fall victims of domestic violence,” says activist Angela Bowden. “Women don’t come forward … because they fear they won’t be believed, they fear they won’t be taken seriously, and they fear repercussion.” Heather Brimicombe reports for the Pictou Advocate.

New business crafts ancient beverage
It’s hard to imagine a worse time than a pandemic for Chelsie Ross and Corey Robinson to launch their new business. They’re the owners of Hard Honey, a new mead producer in Tatamagouche. “It definitely has come with some challenges,” Ross says. “When we did our business plan, our grand opening wasn’t supposed to be like this… We had some hesitation but we decided to [launch] and we just went for it.”

Photo: Facebook

Before the pandemic, they hoped to promote the launch by sharing their product at festivals and events around the province. “But business has still been really good,” Ross says. “I think more than ever, people are supporting local. And we’re seeing lots of people from outside the village too.” Raissa Tetanish reports for Hub Now.

First created some 9,000 years ago, mead is one of the world’s oldest beverages and enjoying new popularity, thanks to the exploding appeal of craft beverages. Meet other local mead producers in these recent stories from Halifax Magazine and East Coast Living.

The case for provincial transit
If you live anywhere in Nova Scotia except the densest urban areas, a car is a necessity. “Maritime Bus Service only serves a small slice of the province,” I wrote in Halifax Magazine in 2017. “Shuttle vans serve some of the remainder (but anyone who has spent four hours crammed in a mini-van with seven strangers can tell you it’s not an ideal mode). Service is infrequent. These aren’t the kind of transit services you can rely on to run a couple of errands or get you home late at night.”

But imagine if we had reliable, accessible European-style transit that served the whole province. Rural Nova Scotia would be a more attractive (and cheaper) place to live. Workers would have more mobility, allowing them to pursue more opportunities. There would be less wear and tear on roads. Air pollution would drop. In these editorials from 2017, I explore the advantages of provincial transit and how we could make it happen. (Spoiler: It’s easier than the naysayers admit).

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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