Roundup: COVID update, Antigonish woman charged with attempted murder, MHL season on hold, Liverpool welcomes call centre

Plus: Just keep paddling — a latecomer to competitive canoeing, Halifax’s Bret Himmelman is making waves and aiming for an Olympic berth

COVID-19 continues to spread across Nova Scotia, with 837 new cases reported in yesterday’s update, plus 1,145 on Saturday.

Health officials estimate the province has about 6,615 active cases, but there’s uncertainty about that figure, because Premier Tim Houston’s government stopped widespread testing, saying that the pervasiveness of the omicron strain requires focusing testing on vulnerable areas like hospitals. That means many cases in the general population are are now going unreported.

On Friday, health officials confirmed Nova Scotia’s latest pandemic death: a woman in her 80s from the Central Zone — the 112th Nova Scotian that COVID has killed.

“I want to extend my deepest condolences,” Houston says in a press release. “We need to protect everyone from this virus. Please get vaccinated and get your booster shot as soon as you can, get tested if you feel unwell, and follow public health measures.”

Antigonish woman charged after stabbing
On Jan. 3, someone stabbed a 21-year-old man in the stomach during a fracas between two groups at a bar on College Street in Antigonish.

“The victim suffered serious injuries,” says RCMP spokesman Chris Marshall. “However, it is my understanding he is now stable.”

Thirty-year-old Cassandra Jane Desmond appeared in court on Jan. 5 to answer a charge of attempted murder. She was released with various conditions and is scheduled to return on Jan. 26 .

Jake Boudrot has more for The Reporter.

In 2018, Bret Himmelman (right), made the jump to Team Canada. Photo: Balint Vekassy

Just keep paddling
Bret Himmelman was 15 when grandfather dropped him off at the canoeing club for the first time, hoping the sport would help him build strength for hockey and lacrosse.

Most of the paddlers around him started the sport years earlier. “I was the same age as a lot of my teammates, but I had very, very different goals,” recalls Himmelman. “A goal in my first couple of weeks was: let’s get out to this dock without spinning around in circles.”

After many dunks in icy lakes, he came to love and excel at the sport, and is now a world-class competitor, aiming for a spot with Team Canada at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

He tells Janet Whitman about it in the new issue of Unravel Halifax. See the story here, and sign up here for a free (in Nova Scotia) subscription to the print edition.

Maritime Hockey League season on hold
With COVID raging across the region, the Maritime Hockey League season is again on hold, with officials aiming to resume play in February. It’s another blow for the Junior A players who compete in the league in the hopes of moving on to professional careers.

“It’s a tough one,” says Pictou County general manager Willie MacDonald. “I feel for the kids the most. Whether the players are 16 or 20, it’s disappointing.”

The Pictou Advocate has the story.

Liverpool welcomes call centre
Global Empire Corporation, which runs the Lifeline medical alert service, has signed a five-year lease on a call centre in Liverpool. The company used to operate entirely from its Edmonton headquarters, but moved operations abroad, looking for places where workers expect lower pay. It has 10 call centres worldwide, with about 3,000 workers.

Management plans to hire 100 to 120 people in Liverpool.

“Over the last few years … there has been a need to have domestic call centres,” says president Moe Nashman. “I have always had an itch and an obligation to open up a call centre in the country where I was born and raised.”

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

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