Roundup: Calls for more respect for service dogs, fishery debris litters shoreline, gov rejects bid to improve C.B. cell service, COVID variants raise concern

Krista Cook and service dog Raven. Photo: Submitted

Plus: Pushed out — a Brazilian immigrant shares her experiences trying to build a new life in Nova Scotia

Service dogs and their owners need more respect, says Krista Cook.

The Pictou County woman has a young Great Dane named Raven that she has been training to become a full-fledged service dog to help her cope with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“He is my life, my emotional animal support,” she said. “When we’re out in the public, we’re connected. He knows my anxiety levels before I do and he uses his actions to change the situation. He’ll try to pull my sleeve to get me away.”

But often, other people will ignore the vest that shows Raven is a working animal, and bring their dogs up to him in public, distracting him from his work. “It’s not people being jerks,” Cook says. “They just don’t know how to act with my dog … I attract all kinds of stuff I don’t want because he’s marked (wearing vest). If they laugh as if their dog is not doing a thing wrong, that’s when I get angry.”

Steve Goodwin has the story for the Pictou Advocate.

Fishery debris litters coast
Participants in a recent World Oceans Day clean-up in Lunenburg County bagged various pieces of construction-related debris along the shoreline, but old fishing lines and gear accounted for most of the trash.

Volunteer Gavin Cameron says removing a 20-metre double-braided line embedded in the sand was the biggest challenge. “We just crossed the shoreline and picked up whatever we could find,” he adds. “It included that big, sticky, gross line. There’s usually one item that’s hard to get.”

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

In each issue of Unravel Halifax, Marianne Simon interviews fellow immigrants about their experiences.

“Not newcomer friendly”
When Brazilian Laura Campos (not her real name) and her husband were searching for a better quality of life and a safe place to live, Canada seemed the best choice, so they immigrated in 2017. They arrived first in Toronto, where the shocking cost of living quickly depleted their savings.

Thinking a smaller city would be cheaper, they then moved to Halifax.

Instead, they’ve discovered a city just as expensive as Toronto, but with fewer job prospects, even as employers claim there’s a labour shortage.

“The job market is not newcomer friendly,” Campos says. “The province says it needs more workers, but has serious problems concerning the necessary infrastructure to support the new immigrants. Also, the locals see immigrants as threats to their own job opportunities.”

She shares her story with Marianne Simon in the latest issue of Unravel Halifax.

COVID variants raise concern
Eliminating protections like masking is prolonging the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing the death toll, say World Health Organization officials.

“The epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection remains unpredictable as the virus continues to evolve through sustained transmission,” says a recent WHO statement. “The trajectory of viral evolution and the characteristics of emerging variants of the virus remain uncertain and unpredictable, and, in the absence of the adoption of PHSM (public health safety measures) aiming at reducing transmission, the resulting selective pressure on the virus increases the probability of new, fitter variants emerging.”

WHO reports 980,691 confirmed new cases of COVID worldwide in the last 24 hours, nearly double yesterday’s count. Last week, Premier Tim Houston ended most remaining COVID-19 protections in Nova Scotia and stopped sharing weekly epidemiologic reports, so it’s impossible to get an accurate picture of the disease’s current spread in the province.

So far, COVID is known to have killed at least 6,353,692 people, including 41,932 in Canada and 451 Nova Scotians.

Government rejects broadband bid
The federal government has denied a request for funding from a group consisting of Cape Breton municipalities and First Nations communities looking to improve cellular and internet service on the island.

“I know it’s an issue that continues to come up in every region,” says Inverness CAO Keith MacDonald. “This has been relayed to council as one of our regional issues, so we’ll have to continue to look at potential options.”

Jake Boudrot has more for the Reporter.

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