Roundup: No new COVID deaths as hospitalizations dip, emergency crews battle wildfires, gov commits $9M to Pictou Cultural Hub, NSCC Foundation secures big donation

As the hot, dry summer continues, Nova Scotia's forest-fire risk remains high. Photo: DNR

Plus: How a band called the Harbour Sharks sparked a summer of music and exploration

There’s been a dip in the number of people hospitalized in Nova Scotia due to COVID-19, according to the latest numbers from the provincial government. Health officials are reporting 54 new admissions from July 16 to Aug. 1, with 41 COVID victims still hospitalized (including eight in ICU) as of Aug. 2.

The province isn’t reporting any new COVID deaths, making this the first week since January without an uptick. So far, COVID is known to have killed at least 6,381,643 people worldwide, including 42,447 in Canada and 468 Nova Scotians.

Fire “human caused”
As the heatwave continues, emergency crews around the province are scrambling to extinguish wildfires before the province faces a major conflagration. One of the latest blazes, which firefighters say was human caused, was on an island on Hirtle Lake in Lunenburg County.

Fearing the flames would spread to the mainland, firefighters from nine different departments joined forestry officials in gruelling conditions. “We had to haul hose and portable pumps out there,” says Hemford Fire Chief Collin Hunter, noting the island is “rocky, rough, (with) weeds up to your waist.”

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

The summer of music
On a hot summer day much like this in 1999, a friend and I were walking down Spring Garden Road, when the funk-rock sounds of a band called the Harbour Sharks pulled us into the subterranean Tickle Trunk bar.

That happy discovery kicked off a summer of exploration, and an enduring love affair with Halifax an its music scene, which I write about in the latest issue of Unravel Halifax: “We ventured all over. Sometimes the bars were packed, sometimes they were deserted. But there was always local talent or a touring act on hand. It seemed we could go out any time, day or night, and find a live show. We saw the legendary Dutch Mason and Carson Downey at Bearly’s, Jimmy Swift and Dr. Yellowfever at the Attic, 54-40 and Bif Naked at the Marquee, and countless others that are now lost to the mists of time.” 

Read more.

Funding for Cultural Hub
The municipal, provincial, and federal governments are promising to spend $9 million for the proposed Pictou Cultural Hub, a project that would see a renovation of the deCoste arts centre, plus a new home for the local library.

“These are the things that make a real difference in real communities,” says area MP Sean Fraser. “It’s going to create jobs in the short run. This is the kind of thing that is going to provide dividends for years to come. This is a big day for our community.”

Steve Goodwin has the story for the Pictou Advocate.

Big donation to NSCC Foundation
When Cape Breton businesswoman Margaret Mary Cook passed away recently, she bequeathed $2 million to the NSCC Foundation, to fund student awards at the college’s Port Hawkesbury campus.

“She was modest and never lost sight of her simple background,” says husband David Cook. “The donation that Margaret has made to NSCC’s Strait area campus is meant to help students who require financial assistance to fulfill their ambitions.”

Drake Lowthers has more for the Reporter.

Spread the word
Know a community group, good cause, or inspiring local story we should share? Email the editor.

The Roundup is taking a summer break; look for our next edition on Aug. 11.

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