Roundup: COVID update, Pictou Co. faces firefighting funding crunch, paying tribute to women seafarers, gov spending $4.7M on transit

Aileen Meagher (left) at the 1936 Olympics. Photo: Olympics Canada

Nova Scotia has 171 known active cases of COVID-19, with 17 new cases and 28 recoveries reported in the latest government update. Health officials say there continues to be “limited community spread” in the Central Zone, where nine of the new cases occurred.

There are 17 people hospitalized in Nova Scotia COVID units, including seven in ICU.

“It is nice to see Nova Scotians getting back to doing some of the things we had to pause during lockdown, but we need to stay vigilant,” Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, says in a press release. “As excited as we are to see friends and loved ones again, please remember to keep the gatherings outdoors, keep your groups small and consistent, maintain distance between groups, get tested often, and practise good public health protocols like masking and washing your hands.”

Funding for rural fire stations
Pictou County’s council has voted for a motion that will see 12 local departments chip in $90,000 to cover a funding shortfall at five smaller stations.

A recent report presented to council suggests the cash crunch isn’t likely to go away: “We have a structural problem, not a financial problem, with too many departments and excess equipment within Pictou County … Fixing that structure will allow proper funding of all departments.”

Raissa Tetanish reports for The Pictou Advocate.

Aileen Meagher

Local history: The Flying Schoolmarm
Today few Nova Scotians recall Aileen Meagher, but she was once one of the province’s most acclaimed athletes.

Meagher was born in Alberta in 1919, but grew up in Halifax. She graduated from Sacred Heart School and then Dalhousie, becoming a teacher. During her studies, she developed a passion for running, joining the track team and setting distances in the 100- and 200-yard dashes. (This was, incidentally, at a time when many disapproved of female athletes.)

At the 1934 British Empire Games (forerunners of the Commonwealth Games), she rocketed to national stardom, winning a gold medal in the 600-yard relay, and silver medals in the 440-yard relay and 220-yard sprint. Sportswriters dubbed her “The Flying Schoolmarm.”

Learn more about her trailblazing career and her experiences at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin (which Hitler had hoped would showcase Nazi superiority) in this new Halifax Magazine post by Dorothy Grant.

Funds for transit
The provincial government is spending $4.7 million to improve access to public transportation across Nova Scotia, funding 25 projects around the province through the Community Transportation Assistance Program and the Public Transit Assistance Program.

The executive director of Antigonish Community Transit (ACT) says the money is badly needed.

“It’s absolutely incredible—we couldn’t do what we do without this,” says Madonna van Vonderen. “It’s crucial to being able to make sure that people can get to where they need to go when they need to.”

Drake Lowthers has the story for The Reporter.

Photo: Submitted

Paying tribute to women seafarers
Inbal Newman, the artist-in-residence at the Lunenburg School of Arts and an avid sailor, recently created an exhibition of hand-stitched flags honouring unsung female seafarers.

While sailing on a schooner in New York years ago, Newman first learned about the tradition of a captain’s personal ensign. Ship flags indicate information across long distances and the captain’s ensign signifies the captain’s origins, and were usually hand-sewn by a loved one.

“It made me think: Where are the personal ensigns for all the women captains and seafarers forgotten or often left out of history, and for women seafarers today?” says Newman. “And who would lovingly sew personal endsigns for them?”

Gayle Wilson has more for LighthouseNow.

Need to know
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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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