Roundup: Report highlights growing housing crunch, COVID costs climb, South Shore theatre company debuts, Pictou monument for fallen air force officer

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor Christine Fader (left) is one of many Haligonians embracing combat sports and mixed martial arts. Photo: Bruce Murray

Plus: Strong bodies, clear minds, and supportive communities — meet the people embracing Halifax’s fastest-growing sport

Nova Scotia’s affordable-housing crisis continues unabated, with a recent study identifying 483 unhoused people, including 64 children, in Cape Breton and Antigonish and Guysborough counties.

“We need the action and to do something about it,” says Lilla Roy, principal investigator for the survey. “We need to make sure what we do really targets the people and the needs of the groups we identified. We know over 30 per cent are under the age of 30, so you’re not going to fix by offering only seniors’ programs. We know that over 50 per cent are reported to be living with either mental illness or addiction issues, so we need supportive housing options.”

Adam McNamara has more for the Reporter.

COVID costs climb
COVID-19 continues to sap Nova Scotia’s health-care system. In her weekly pandemic update, researcher Dr. Tara Moriarty tweets that Nova Scotian hospitals are jammed, operating at 15 per cent over capacity, with pandemic hospitalizations costing the province $1 million per day.

World Health Organization officials report 989,766 confirmed new COVID cases around the globe in the last 24 hours. So far, COVID is known to have killed at least 6,373,739 people, including 42,148 in Canada and 463 Nova Scotians.

Christine Fader. Photo: Bruce Murray

Standing alone, together
Christine Fader, an instructor at Halifax Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on Kempt Road and an International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation gold medallist, turned to her sport after a relationship breakup at age 32. She fell in love immediately. 

“It looks like brute strength, but there’s so much strategy,” she explains. “You need to be three or four steps ahead.” 

But more than the combat, the community is what matters. “The No. 1 thing you have to be is a good partner,” she says. “Learn to communicate. You have to be able to give and take feedback. Life skills. I love getting to teach, impacting young people’s lives, showing them they can do things they didn’t know were possible — that when you do something physically hard, it translates in other areas.” 

Chris Benjamin talks with her in the latest issue of Unravel Halifax.  

Monument for fallen air force officer
Hundreds of people gathered at New Glasgow’s Carmichael Park last month for the unveiling of a monument memorializing Capt. Brenden MacDonald of the Royal Canadian Air Force. From Pictou County, MacDonald and five others died in April 2020 when their helicopter crashed during a mission near Greece.

“Having a monument in honour of Brenden means so much to me and our three sons,” widow Amanda MacDonald says in a statement. “It gives us another place to go to instill rituals in our lives as we continue to remember him. The memorial monument can give others the opportunity to never forget, to share stories, to share memories, to laugh, and to cry. Brenden is genuinely missed and loved by so many.”

Steve Goodwin has the story for the Pictou Advocate.

South Shore theatre company debuts
The new South Shore Summer Theatre is set to raise the curtain on its inaugural production, Jesus Christ Superstar. The brother-and-sister team of Shane and Jerri Southcott, who have a long history in theatre dating back more than 30 years to their work in Ontario, are spearheading the new group.

“Being a part of a theatre, we have always found that kids develop life-long relationships and camaraderie that you would normally get in competitive sports,” said Jerri. “Everybody wins in this kind of an environment. There are no winners or losers.”

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

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