Nova Scotian health officials reported 15 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, the biggest one-day increase since December. There are now 63 known active cases in the province. Eight new cases are in the Central Zone, six are in the Eastern, and one is in the Western. So far, the disease has killed 67 people in the province.

“As we’ve seen in other provinces, the situation can change rapidly,” Premier Iain Rankin says in a press release. “As we are seeing an increase in cases it is important that Nova Scotians get tested for COVID-19. Testing is key to detecting cases early on and limiting the spread of the virus.”

Nova Scotian labs completed tests on April 18, and 345,194 since December.

As of April 18, health-care workers have dispensed 207,563 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Nova Scotia, with 32,496 people getting the second shot that completes inoculation.

Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang are scheduled to webcast an update today at 1 p.m.

Photo: CNS

More vaccination opportunities
The government also announced yesterday that people age 60 and older can now book appointments at clinics offering the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

“Most community clinics and participating pharmacies have available appointments for this age group,” says the press release. “More appointments are being added continuously to new and existing clinics.”

Health officials also say that some AstraZeneca vaccine appointments remain available for people aged 55 to 64.

Pictou County party leads to gun charges
On April 18, Pictou County RCMP received a complaint that a man pointed a gun at a woman during a Cape John house party, before fleeing by car.

As they investigated, police found a crashed car nearby on Hwy. 104. They found guns and ammo in the car, and took the driver—who suffered minor injuries—into custody.

Callan Kenneth Merrey of Amherst is charged with pointing a firearm, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, public mischief, and operating a motor vehicle with prohibited.

The Pictou Advocate reports.

Jacob Fillmore

Activists demand clearcut halt
Despite the recommendations of the Lahey Report and warnings from experts worldwide, Nova Scotia continues to clear cut its forests. Activist Jacob Fillmore is on a hunger strike as he demands a halt to the destructive practice, and last week, supporters occupied Lands and Forestry Department offices around the province in a show of solidarity.

“We’ve largely been ignored,” says Patrick Yancey, one of the protestors at the Whycocomagh office. “Now time is up and the crises are here, so we are switching to non-violent direct action, civil disobedience, as a last resort … Premier Rankin won the Liberal leadership race on a platform of addressing these crises. However, he also just gutted his own Biodiversity Act as soon as lobbyists complained.”

Jake Boudrot has more for The Reporter.

Upgrades coming to Ross Farm Museum
The Municipality of Chester is giving Ross Farm Museum $100,000 to improve its trails and create outdoor learning spaces.

“This space will be a round platform adorned by large ash hoops indicating the interaction humans have with the natural world and the shared skills that Mi’Kmaw and European societies have applied to Nova Scotia’s forests,” says museum executive director Peter Cullen. The site “will be developed to allow workshops, presentations, musical and artistic events to take place for up to 20 participants at a time.”

Keith Corcoran has details for LighthouseNow.

Letters from the past
Some 40 years ago, Bruce Bishop acquired a handful of letters written in the 1920s by a honeymooning newlywed. He tucked them away without even opening them. When the pandemic hit, he finally took the time to read them, and they became the catalyst for his new novel.

Unconventional Daughters is a historical family saga set predominately in Yarmouth. The story focuses on Eva Carroll, a young woman who marries her stepfather—a union which is especially scandalous in the 1920s. When Eva’s two aunts return to Canada to reunite with her mother, family secrets come to light.

Bishop extensively researched the novel, with historical events and the real family behind those letters inspiring the story.

“It gave me a chance to kind of brag about my hometown, but also to find out more about it,” says Bishop. “It’s mostly a great history. But just like any period of time, there’s some parts of the history that I found about the town that weren’t so nice, too.”

Darrell Roberts interviews Bishop for Halifax Magazine.

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