Roundup: Another COVID record, N.S. gov spends $10M on biz grants, Pictou Co. driver faces many charges after fleeing police, South Shore hockey prospect ranked high

Premier Tim Houston (left) ended the mask mandate but Dr. Robert Strang urges Nova Scotians to continue wearing them. Photo: CNS

Christmas past and present — columnist Marianne Simon shares holiday memories from her native India

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 count continues its dramatic climb, with health officials announcing 476 new cases on Sunday and 426 new cases on Saturday. It’s unknown how many cases are currently active in the province; the government hasn’t released that figure since Dec. 10, claiming a data-entry backlog.

Investigations believe that St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish is the source of this outbreak, as many attendees at recent X-ring celebrations (both school-sanctioned and off-site) flouted masking and distancing rules. Enforcement officials recently fined the university and its student union $11,622 each for public health violations. Jake Boudrot has more for The Reporter.

With many businesses again reeling, during what owners expected to be their holiday busy season, Premier Tim Houston has announced plans to spend $10 million on support grants for operations such as restaurants, bars, gyms, performing arts venues, and recreational facilities. The owners will be eligible for one-time grants of up to $7,500.

“Public health restrictions are necessary to help keep Nova Scotians safe,” Premier Tim Houston says in a press release. “But we also know these restrictions will have a significant impact on many businesses during what would typically be a busy time of year. That’s why we need to support our business sector and position ourselves for recovery as quickly as possible.”

Multiple charges for Pictou Co. driver
A Pictou County driver faces multiple charges after fleeing a police attempt to pull him over on Dec. 15. Police tracked the 27-year-old man down the next day, and he appeared in court on Dec. 17 to answer charges of dangerous driving, flight from police, possession of stolen property, two counts of operation of a motor vehicle while prohibited, two counts of failing to comply with probation order, driving without insurance, operating an unregistered vehicle, and other Motor Vehicle Act offences.

The Pictou Advocate has details.

Marianne Simon

Holidays past and present
Christmas was already one of Marianne Simon’s favourite holidays when she immigrated from India to Halifax. The holiday is widely celebrated in the state of Kerala, where she lived for many years.

Halifax Christmases are a new experience though — in some ways very different, in other ways a poignant reminder of friends and family half a world away.

“Preparations for Christmas start weeks ahead,” she recalls. “Churches, streets, and homes are decorated. Every home used to have a nativity scene in a small thatched hut. Stars, made of bamboo strips and multi-coloured tissue paper, and lit by electric light bulbs, were very popular. I remember as a young girl, spending hours with my dad, siblings, and cousins making stars of different sizes. Cutting and shaping bamboo strips and tying them with thin wire to form the framework for stars seemed like really big projects. And it was fun! I miss those happy, creative moments.”

A couple of years ago, just before her first Christmas morning in Halifax, she wrote this essay, looking back at holidays past and ahead to new Canadian celebrations.

South Shore hockey prospect ranked high
Bridgewater’s Luke Woodworth, currently a forward with the Drummondville Voltigeurs in the Quebec junior league, is poised for the next step in his hockey journey, with scouts recently flagging him as a prospect to watch in the upcoming NHL draft. Experts expect a team to claim him in the fourth, fifth, or sixth round.

“It was special to be ranked,” the 17-year-old says. “At the end of the day you want to go [be drafted] as high as possible, and I’m hoping to improve on that.”

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

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