Roundup: COVID update, ‘stupidity’ causes Queens Co. forest fire, free deliveries support local biz, students from across Canada arrive at StFX

Photo: Lois Legge

As of yesterday, Aug. 27, Nova Scotia has five active cases of COVID-19. Public health officials didn’t identify any new cases in their latest media update. So far, the province has had 73,145 negative test results, 1,081 known cases of COVID-19, and 65 deaths.

Photo: Greenfield VFD.

Illegal campfire sparks blaze
Moyal Conrad, chief of the Greenfield Volunteer Fire Department, cites “stupidity” as the cause of a recent forest fire in Labelle, Queens County.

While a province-wide burn ban was in effect, someone had a fire in a barrel and dumped the smouldering ashes on the ground nearby. Conrad believes they narrowly avoided disaster. When his crew arrived, flames were two metres high and licking at the crown of bone-dry trees. “It had potential to grow,” he says. “We got lucky this time.” See Keith Corcoran’s story for LighthouseNow.

Free delivery pilot project successful
Local businesses made some 1,050 free deliveries in Colchester, Pictou, and East Hants counties over three months, the outcome of a pilot project to help them reach customers during the pandemic lockdown. A group of Truro area business leaders came up with the idea to tap the buy-local movement.

When the lockdown began, many business operators laid off workers, but then the orders rolled in. “They didn’t anticipate the demand,” explains Jenn Martin, executive director of the Downtown Truro Partnership. “That was great because it meant a loyal customer base but… when it came to delivery, the business owner just couldn’t facilitate that.” Raissa Tetanish reports for Hub Now.

Students returning to StFX campus
St. Francis Xavier University is one of the few post-secondary schools in Nova Scotia that will have largely in-person classes this fall. As students from across the country arrive in Antigonish, school administrators continue to promise that they’re taking precautions to fight the spread of COVID-19 (which strikingly contrasts with their insistence that students waive their right to sue if they get sick—T.J.A.).

Elizabeth Yeo

Vice-president Elizabeth Yeo says the university is monitoring 370 self-isolating students on campus, while another 400 self-isolate off campus.

“We are so excited to welcome students back to our beautiful campus,” she adds. “We understand the severity of the virus and the potential threat it poses to our wonderful community… by bringing back our student body but we are prepared.” Drake Lowthers has the story for The Reporter.

Healing in Nova Scotia’s wilderness
For many Nova Scotians, pandemic staycations have offered a chance to discover (or rediscover) the province’s forests, rugged coastlines, and untamed spaces. And they’re discovering what writer Lois Legge knew all along: this province’s wilderness is sacred, ecologically important but also nourishing to the soul.

“When my father and mother were sick, I sometimes walked in wilderness,” she recalls. “When they died, last May and July, I went back to the woods. Silence and scenery help when people you love can’t speak or understand. Watch swallows feed their babies on Cole Harbour Salt Marsh Trail and you can forget for a little while. Climb hills over Musquodoboit Valley and the colour green quiets… That’s what people crave: places to think, or stop thinking, in times of loss or chaos, confusion, or constant conversation. That’s worth a fight.”

For more, see Legge’s warm, evocative essay “Cathedrals of calm,” originally published in Halifax Magazine in July 2017.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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