Roundup: Antigonish councils approve merger amid protests, Liverpool celebrates First Nations, COVID uncertainty continues, New Glasgow driver charged

The Let Antigonish Decide group has been demanding a plebiscite on the merger of the area's town and county governments. Photo: Drake Lowthers

Plus: How a Nova Scotian transformed nursing and opened a door for women in the military

As protestors thronged outside and chants of “Let us vote” echoed through the chambers, Antigonish’s town and county councils held special sessions last week to pass motions calling on the provincial government to consolidate them into one municipal government.

Outcry grew heated, with police removing local opponent Jack Sullivan (who chaired a committee exploring amalgamation 20 years ago). “If you’re not up for the job, resign,” he shouted at the councillors voting for the merger.

Warden Owen McCarron insists citizens had sufficient opportunity to weigh in.

“We listened and heard many different opinions throughout the engagement process,” he says in a press release. “The mayor, myself, and members of both councils heard from residents on both sides, as well as those who just wanted to ensure we had community interest at the heart of our decision.”

Drake Lowthers has more for the Reporter.

Dancer Jr. Julian. Photo: Larocque Photography

Liverpool celebrates First Nations
Recent Treaty Day events in Liverpool drew crowds for two days of dancing, music, and cultural displays.

“It was a huge turnout,” says organizer Michelle Roy. “Everyone was respectful and we all learned … We learn every time we come together and we were able to laugh, share dance and some of our culture with everyone as well.”

Kevin McBain has the story for LighthouseNow.

COVID uncertainty continues
As winter approaches, COVID-19 continues to strain health-care systems and overburden the workers on the front lines, cautions a recent statement from the World Health Organization.

Even though we’re into the third year of the pandemic, there remains “considerable uncertainties as to the further trajectory of the virus,” adds the statement. “Many health systems remain under pressure because of other health emergencies and competing health priorities, in addition to the challenges posed by COVID-19.”

The World Health Organization reports 294,250 confirmed new COVID cases around the globe in the last 24 hours. So far, the disease is known to have killed at least 6,553,936 people, including 46,025 in Canada and 572 Nova Scotians.

New Glasgow driver charged
A 42-year-old Pictou County man faces multiple charges after a driver hit a pickup truck in New Glasgow on Oct. 19, then fled.

Police say public tips helped them catch the suspect, who’s charged with impaired driving, driving without insurance, and failure to stop at the scene of a collision.

“Driving … while impaired, whether by drugs or alcohol, puts an increased risk of a potential cause of serious injury and or death to others,” New Glasgow Regional Police spokesman Ken Macdonald says in a press release. ”Impaired driving unfortunately occurs at any day of the week and at all times of the day.”

The Pictou Advocate reports.

Margaret MacDonald. Photo: Parks Canada

Saving lives and creating opportunities
Born in Pictou County in 1873, Margaret MacDonald would go on to become one of the most influential women in 20th-century nursing in Canada, transforming standards, introducing professionalism, and carving out a place for women in the male-dominated military.

In a recent Unravel Halifax local history post, Dorothy Grant shares MacDonald’s story, including the pivotal moment during the First World War, when she became matron-in-chief of a group that would eventually include 3,000 nurses.

“The first woman in the British Empire to earn the title … MacDonald’s experience and leadership skills served her well,” Grant writes. “While illness claimed some of her nurses, the vast majority made it through the war, performing nobly. And when those nurses came home, many found that their service now gave them the skills and experience to pursue new opportunities.”

Read more.

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