Roundup: Houston takes office, COVID update, Pictou County fighter debuts, plaudits for frontline health-care workers, work continues on co-op campground

Tim Houston takes the oath of office. Photo: CNS

Tim Houston took office as Nova Scotia’s new premier yesterday, as Lt.-Gov. Arthur J. LeBlanc swore in his cabinet in a ceremony at the Halifax Convention Centre.

The premier will also serve be president of the Executive Council, the Minister of Trade and the minister responsible for Intergovernmental Affairs, and the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness.

Joining him around the cabinet table are seven women and 11 men, a group which includes no people of colour.

Karla MacFarlane. Photo: CNS
  • Allan MacMaster: deputy premier and Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, the Minister of Gaelic Affairs, and the minister responsible for Labour Relations.
  • Michelle Thompson: Minister of Health and Wellness, also overseeing the new Office of Health Care Professionals Recruitment.
  • Brian Comer: Responsible for the Office of Mental Health and Addictions, also the minister responsible for Youth and Communications Nova Scotia.
  • Barbara Adams: Leads the new Department of Seniors and Long-term Care.
  • Karla MacFarlane: Minister of Community Services and minister responsible for the Status of Women and the Office of L’nu Affairs.
  • Jill Balser: Minister of Labour Skills and Immigration responsible for Apprenticeship.
  • Brian Wong: Heads the Department of Advanced Education.
  • Becky Druhan: Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.
  • Pat Dunn: Minister of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage (including Tourism Nova Scotia), and responsible for African Nova Scotian Affairs, the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives, and the Voluntary Sector.
  • Susan Corkum-Greek: Minister of Economic Development.
  • Greg Morrow: Agriculture minister.
  • Steve Craig: Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
  • Brad Johns: Minister of Justice and Attorney General, also responsible for Elections Nova Scotia, the Human Rights Commission, and the Accessibility Act.
  • John Lohr: Minister for the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing, also oversees the Emergency Management Office and Military Relations.
  • Kim Masland: Responsible for the Department of Public Works, formerly Transportation and Active Transit.
  • Tory Rushton: Minister of the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables, combining the former departments of Lands and Forestry and Energy and Mines.
  • Tim Halman: Responsible for Environment and Climate Change, also Chair of Treasury Board.
  • Colton LeBlanc: Leads the Public Service Commission, Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services, and Acadian Affairs and Francophonie.

COVID update
Nova Scotia has 65 known active cases of COVID-19, with three new cases and seven recoveries reported in the latest government update. The new cases are all in the Central Zone (two travel-related, one close contact of a previously reported case).

Premier Houston is scheduled to make an announcement about “health-care leadership and next steps” today at 10:30 a.m.

Plaudits for frontline health-care workers
Peace by Chocolate’s Peace on Earth Society and the Nursing Homes of Nova Scotia Association have teamed up to launch the Hero Bar. The new chocolate bar is marketed as a tribute to frontline health-care workers, with some of the revenues going to support the association and fund a bursary for students studying continuing care at NSCC.

“The reason why we wanted to do this is to celebrate the role nursing homes in Nova Scotia do to show respect for our elders and to those who provide their care,” says Peace by Chocolate founder Tareq Hadhad. “Also for all of those ordinary people in the nursing homes, who on a daily basis are doing extraordinary things during these unprecedented times.”

Drake Lowthers has more for The Reporter.

Steven Rector (left) vs. Cohen Simpson

Pictou County fighter debuts
At just 18 years old, New Glasgow jiu-jitsu fighter Steven Rector has made his pro mixed martial arts debut, recently taking on Cohen Simpson at the Hector Arena.

He lost by submission, but losses aren’t uncommon for nascent fighters, and he plans to stick with the sport.

“What I love about it most would be the family; I mean this club for sure is based off that,” he says. “I think what it does mentally and physically is mind blowing. You see transformations of people, body and mind, they’re like completely different people—I know I am from when I first started a few years ago.”

Steve Goodwin interviews him for The Pictou Advocate.

Work continues on co-op campground
Despite red tape aplenty, the Medway Community Forest Cooperative’s plans are inching forward for a tents-only campground near Stave Lake in Annapolis County, adjacent to the Tobeatic Wilderness Area and Kejimjkujik National Park.

“We are chipping away at it. It’s been a slow process,” says organizer Jennika Hunsinger, explaining that licensing Crown land for an eco-tourism business means trailblazing in new bureaucratic territory. “There are a lot of approvals to do so, but we are nearly there.”

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

Mary Mohammed. Photo: Submitted

Mary Mohammed’s lifetime of kindness
Twenty years ago, Mary Mohammed’s cinnamon buns were a weekend rite for many locals, with the long lines at the Brewery Market just part of the experience.

The business began in her kitchen, with friends and neighbours demanding more of her baked goods. And that’s almost where the business ended, as the clamour brought a government inspector around.

“He told me if I continued to sell anything made from my kitchen without a licence, I would be fined $200 or go to jail!” Mary recalls.

These days, she’s retired (mostly), devoting her energies to her Little Free Library. Dorothy Grant catches up with her in this Halifax Magazine post, originally published February 2021.

Need to know
Know a community group, good cause, or inspiring local story we should share? Email the editor.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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