Roundup: Baseball player recounts relentless harassment, COVID update, Christmas campaign kicks off, South Shore farmer claims pumpkin prize

Ellie MacAulay. Photo: Submitted

Plus: Treat the problem, not the symptoms — the real solution to shoplifting

Ellie MacAulay heard all the catcalls, insults, and putdowns: demands that she go play softball with the girls and leave baseball to the boys.

“I don’t think I was old enough to fully understand,” says the 20-year-old, who recalls parents and coaches being “really mean” and screaming at her. “It always seemed to happen more if I did well.”

While the harassment she faced as a child is always in the back of her mind, she’s now a star with the St. Francis Xavier University team, recently completing her second season. “They treat me respectfully,” MacAulay says. “It is not about me being a girl.”

Corey LeBlanc interviews her for the Reporter.

Krista Dunn. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The real solution to shoplifting
When shoplifting increases, retailers tighten security, which usually means greater scrutiny for their most vulnerable customers.

Krista Dunn, housing manager at YWCA Halifax, has worked with people living in poverty and at the margins, and has been supervising staff who do the same for 17 years. She says that approach to shoplifting takes a heavy toll on people living in poverty, whether they shoplift or not. “They’re followed around, harassed, criminalized,” she says. 

And the result of that security theatre?

Susan Ayles is a program manager at the Elizabeth Fry Society in Dartmouth, and has been working with shoplifters for 30 years. “It’s not that poor people are the only ones who shoplift,” she says. “They are the ones who tend to get caught. It’s who gets policed: poor folks, folks of colour, folks in marginalized communities, addicted folks.” 

In his latest Unravel Halifax feature, Chris Benjamin explores the problem, and real solutions.

COVID update
The World Health Organization reports 79,137 confirmed new COVID cases around the globe in the last 24 hours. So far, the disease is known to have killed at least 6,567,552 people, including 46,389 in Canada and 588 Nova Scotians.

Jeremy Zwicker. Photo: Submitted

Good gourd!
Lunenburg County farmer Jeremy Zwicker recently claimed a pair of prizes at the annual Great Howard Dill Pumpkin Classic. He took the award for prettiest pumpkin and the silver ribbon for heaviest squash, with his entry weighing in at about 454 kg.

Growing giant gourds, something he started doing a decade ago, involves “a lot of work and a lot of water,” he says, noting changing environmental conditions can cause gourds to grow too fast and be ruined. “They’ve got a mind of their own, the giant pumpkins.”

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Christmas campaign kicks off
Operation Christmas Child has begun its annual appeal for donations. The yearly campaign sends gifts, books, and necessities like toothpaste to impoverished children worldwide. Jim Swain, a pastor in New Glasgow, is among the many volunteers who support the program.

“I have a passion for children,” he says. ”Some have no parents, no toys. Some have homes with mud floors.”

Steve Goodwin has more for the Pictou Advocate.

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