Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 count is holding steady at five active cases, according to the latest update from the provincial government. So far, Nova Scotia has had 75,144 negative test results, 1,083 known COVID-19 cases, and 65 deaths. 

Houston focuses on health care
On a recent swing through Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative leader Tim Houston highlighted health care as key to the party’s plans to gain ground on the island in the next election. “If you look back even to the 2017 election, access to health care, access to mental health services, how we treat our seniors—those were issues in that campaign,” he says. “And… there’s been no improvement on any of those fronts.”

Dr. Trevor Boudreau, the recently named PC candidate for Richmond, will be at the vanguard of those efforts. Although if Tory-then-independent MLA Alanna Paon re-offers, he may face a tough fight. “I made a difficult decision to remove [Paon] from caucus,” Houston says. “You always look at those things and wonder how people will vote.” See Jake Boudrot’s story in The Reporter.

Sharing Nova Scotia’s artistic voices
Truro’s Visual Voice Fine Art gallery is highlighting a variety of Nova Scotian artistic talents with two new exhibitions.

Inside the Box: 4x4x4 is an eclectic show of small pieces by Nova Scotia Potters Guild members who had to reference the number “four” while keeping to the limit of 4″x4″x4″ dimensions. “The result is an interesting mix of functional ceramics and sculpture,” says a media preview. “Subject matters include nature, poetry, the mystical, social commentary, the witty, and the funny.”

Herbaria: A Show of Botanical Art features works by members of the Botanical Artists of Nova Scotia Association. Botanical art takes the form of realistic drawing that includes scientific illustration to show an understanding of the structure and nature of plants. For more details, see this recent report from Hub Now.

Photo: Zack Metcalfe

Where the King of Hemlocks grows
For the last few years, environmental writer Zack Metcalfe has been on a quest to find Nova Scotia’s oldest tree. This summer, the search lead him and botanist Alain Belliveau to an isolated island on Sporting Lake in Digby County.

“Alain has surveyed such hemlock groves for over a decade, professionally and recreationally, and has a keen eye for their eldest trees,” recalls Metcalfe. “Some, he said later, were truly old—a few perhaps in excess of 500 years. The forest itself, he explained, has probably persisted on this island, relatively undisturbed, for some 5,000–6,000 years.”

These ancient trees are a bittersweet discovery, though. The site is infested with Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA), an invasive bug that will probably kill them (and almost all other Nova Scotian hemlocks) soon.

“Mortality is very nearly 100%, and the insect is indiscriminate,” explains Metcalfe “HWA was found to have infested southern Nova Scotia in 2017, and was discovered more recently on Sporting Lake Island, threatening to do what loggers and fires and climatic change had failed to do for thousands of years: scour this sacred place clean.” Learn more in his latest Halifax Magazine column.

Back to walking
For local groups that encourage kids to walk to school, the pandemic lockdown took away a beloved part of their daily routine. With classes now about to resume, they’re eager to lace up their walking shoes again. “For my son Thomas, it’s about starting the day with friends,” says parent Jennifer Cameron. “He looks forward to the walk, even though he’s shy.”

But it’s not as simple as just pushing kids out the door. Local drivers are aggressive and often ignore crosswalk laws, so the groups form adult-supervised “walking school buses” and teach kids safety skills.

“We are part of a larger movement, one that spans Halifax, the province, and Canada,” says organizer and writer Chris Benjamin. Walking school buses “are part of an effort to pushback against obesity and car dependency.” He shares more in this Our Children story.

Need to know
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