Roundup: Province ordered to pay more for flooding couple’s home, Pictou musician earns big scholarship, avian flu killing seals, flu vaccination bookings open

Pictou County student Amelia Parker recently earned a $3,500 scholarship. Photo: Steve Goodwin

Plus: The pandemic changed the way many people tip — now is it time to end tipping and pay servers fair wages?

After the provincial government expropriated land from Antigonish County couple Kevin Partridge and Jane DeWolf, it did roadwork nearby, redirecting water from Lower South River and repeatedly flooding their home. Then government lawyers spent almost 12 years fighting their efforts to get fair compensation.

But the couple is looking forward to a fresh start now that the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board has ruled in their favour, ordering the province to pay them $784,488.

“They’re not exactly spring chickens,” says lawyer Gavin Giles, whose firm lowered its fees to allow the couple to keep more of the compensation. “Not only did they have the litigation hanging over their heads for the better part of a decade, they had the construction and the flooding that they experienced numerous times. They have been attempting to get the province to be responsible with respect to its construction activities for well over 12 years.”

Drake Lowthers has the story for the Reporter.

Musician earns scholarship
Pictou County fiddler Amelia Parker is one of 11 students across Canada, and the only Nova Scotian, to earn the 2022 MusiCounts Amplify Scholarship. Currently in Grade 11, she plans to study music at Dalhousie University.

Her style is a fusion of Celtic, old time, Québécois, and classical, hence the name of her first album: Intertwined. “I saw a show at my church that inspired me,” she said. “I asked my parents if I could take lessons. I love all the songs and making people happy hearing them.”

Steve Goodwin has more for the Reporter.

Megan Jones

Avian flu killing seals
Dead seals sometimes wash up on beaches, but scientists are seeing more than they expect this year. They believe avian flu is the killer, and they’re worried the government isn’t doing enough to track the disease.

“The reason we want to know what’s happening in seals is because we want to know what’s going on with this virus in general,” says Megan Jones, regional coordinator with the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative. “We know that flu viruses are very good at jumping between species and acquiring mutations as they travel between species … It could become more infectious to people. It could have a bigger effect on birds or seals. We just don’t know unless we’re tracking it and detecting it.”

Janet Whitman investigates for LighthouseNow.

Rethinking tipping
During the peak of the pandemic lockdowns, many people empathized with long-suffering service workers and began tipping more generously. Among them was columnist Pauline Dakin, who is now wondering if tipping is a symptom of a large problem.

“The more relevant question is why don’t restaurants and other service businesses pay their employees a living wage, and just let us all enjoy our slightly more expensive meals without the additional stress of adjudicating the tip?” she says. “Tipping is emblematic of the impact of the pandemic. It’s upset our expectations and public behaviours. It’s also brought issues around how we treat front-line workers into sharper focus.” 

See her column in the latest issue of Unravel Halifax.

Flu vaccination bookings open
Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health is urging people to vaccinate against the flu as soon as possible.

“The best way to limit the spread of influenza is to get vaccinated and continue to use the same healthy habits that we have used during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Robert Strang says in a press release. “By staying up to date on all vaccinations and staying home when sick, we are helping to keep our communities healthy.”

He adds that people can book flu and COVID vaccinations concurrently, and health officials are urging people to get the latest boosters, as a winter pandemic surge looms.

The World Health Organization reports 164,921 confirmed new COVID cases around the globe in the last 24 hours. So far, the disease is known to have killed at least 6,545,561 people, including 45,689 in Canada and 555 Nova Scotians.

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