Roundup: Scientists on alert as avian flu infects seals, Bridgewater loses $50K as accessibility effort fizzles, police mum on New Glasgow shooting, global COVID counts climb

Scientists report that avian flu is killing growing numbers of seals in nearby Maine and Quebec. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Plus: Nova Scotia’s film scene bounces back from funding uncertainty and pandemic turmoil

An unusual number of dead seals are washing up on beaches in nearby Quebec and Maine.

Scientists say avian flu, transmitted from seagulls to the marine mammals, is likely to blame. They add it’s bound to arrive in the Maritimes next (if it’s not here already) and they want federal officials to do more 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 the Reporter.

South Shore accessibility project fizzles
In May, the provincial government sent a $50,000 grant to help Bridgewater plan an accessible playground and splash pad in a local park, but the town is returning the money unused.

“The Generations’ Active Park project was planned based on staff doing the detailed design work required to determine the servicing and grading requirements, as well as developing the tendering documents for design implementation,” say planner Eric Lindsay, planning and development services manager Nick Brown, and grants co-ordinator Emily Kathan in a recent memo to town council. “Due to internal resource constraints and evolving priorities, staff are not able to complete the detailed design work.”

Keith Corcoran reports for LightouseNow.

Fateh Ahmed

Nova Scotian film scene bounces back
This summer, a welcome reminder of normal pre-pandemic life returned to Nova Scotia: film crews, shooting everything from local indie productions to major international shows and movies at sites around the province.

Fateh Ahmed, owner of Core Film Productions in Halifax, credits the industry’s uptick to more reliable and predictable funding from the provincial government. His latest project, which wrapped in early June, is the federal-government funded documentary Working While Black.  

“I’d like to see more inclusive and diverse producers and directors come out of this, more union members that will help facilitate the pathway into this vibrant industry,” he says. “Halifax is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada for immigrants, and we all have something to contribute.” 

Go behind the scenes with Bruce Bishop in his new Unravel Halifax cover story.

Police mum on Pictou County shooting
Police say a Sept. 16 shooting in New Glasgow was “an isolated one and there was no immediate safety concerns to the public.” Investigators say they learned of the incident after a man with a gunshot wound showed up in hospital; police later visited a home on Abercrombie Road.

They haven’t announced any arrests, or revealed if the shooting was deliberate or accidental.

The Pictou Advocate has the story.

COVID update
The World Health Organization reports 388,016 confirmed new COVID cases around the globe in the last 24 hours. So far, COVID is known to have killed at least 6,503,894 people, including 44,740 in Canada and 522 Nova Scotians.

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