Provincial environmental officials are testing water samples from Grand and Fish lakes (near Wellington and Enfield) looking for two types of toxins that blue-green algae produces. They believe that’s the cause of the contamination that killed a dog, sickened several people, and prompted an emergency alert early yesterday morning.

According to a government press release, the samples will go to a private laboratory to test for pesticides, organic and inorganic materials, and petroleum hydrocarbons. A specialist is also testing a sludge sample from the lake bottom.

Officials tell people with wells that are 30 metres or less deep and are located within 60 metres of Grand Lake to not use the water for drinking, bathing, or cooking. People also shouldn’t boat or swim on the lake, or let their pets near the water.

Dr. Robert Strang. Photo: CNS

COVID update
Nova Scotia has 147 known active cases of COVID-19, with 15 new cases and 31 recoveries reported in the latest government update. Health officials say there continues to be community spread in the Central Zone, which has 12 of the new cases.

There are 10 people hospitalized in Nova Scotian COVID units, including six in ICU.

The government says health-care workers have dispensed 663,840 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the province, with 46,630 Nova Scotians getting the second shot that completes inoculation. The federal government recently announced that Canada is getting seven million doses of the Moderna vaccine before the end of June.

“I am hopeful that this will allow us to move through our vaccine rollout plan quicker than we had anticipated,” Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, says in a press release. “Getting two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine is crucial to reach maximum protection.”

So far, COVID-19 has killed 88 Nova Scotians and 25,873 people across Canada.

A press conference with Strang and Premier Iain Rankin is scheduled for 1 p.m. this afternoon.

A member of the RCMP wearing a defaced Canadian flag. Photo: YouTube

Some RCMP still flouting uniform rules
After a report earlier this week about members of the RCMP on the South Shore ignoring the order to stop wearing a non-regulation badge showing a defaced Canadian flag, a spokesperson says she doesn’t know how widespread the defiance of orders is.

“The patch is not an approved part of or addition to the RCMP uniform,” Cpl. Lisa Croteau says. “I can’t confirm which detachment may have members still wearing the patch but we are working with detachments throughout the division.”

The Reporter has the latest on the story.

Remembering Jim Gogan
Friends and colleagues are mourning Jim Gogan, the influential businessman and philanthropist who spent 35 years in senior management with Empire Co. (owners of the Sobeys grocery chain). He died last week at age 83.

“I thought he would live forever,” says Frank Sobey, who worked with him throughout his career. “I’ve known Jim for over 40 years. He became my boss and mentor … Sobeys and Empire would not be where they are today were it not for Jim’s influence. He added a great dimension to the lives of the many he met and all who knew him.”

Steve Goodwin has more for The Pictou Advocate.

Sherrie Kearney. Photo: Submitted

Sewing their colours
At Maritime Tartan, Sherrie and Dale Kearney make and sell a variety of Nova Scotian themed textile products. When COVID-19 arrived, they quickly shifted the small business based in their North End Halifax home to meet the demand for masks.

It could have been a lucrative transition, but they decided profit wasn’t what really mattered. “We like to help people,” Dale says. “When this all started, we thought about it and said, ‘Well, there’s going to be some people needing help, they’re going to need help with food banks and stuff like that.'”

They made and sold almost 23,000 masks, bringing in about $29,600, which they’ve donated to 22 different charities, including local shelters, Legions, community centers, Christmas Daddies, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Ameeta Vohra reports for Halifax Magazine.

NSLC letter worries breweries
Many Nova Scotian brewers are concerned after a recent letter from NSLC that appeared to be a warning that the Crown-owned retailer was about to stop carrying their products.

NSLC spokesperson Beverly Ware says it’s all a mix-up.

“The letter was not a notice to de-list their products,” she says. “This correspondence was designed to let producers know that their products are currently under-performing and may require additional support to raise awareness with our customers.” She adds a promise that NSLC won’t de-list any local beers until 2022.

Andrew Tanner, one of the founders of Saltbox Brewing in Mahone Bay, believes that if local beer is underperforming in the market, NSLC should look at its own policies.

“I don’t think they’re moving fast enough to correct that shelf space issue,” he says. “Local beer is selling faster than the big brands of the world in the NSLC, so that should give them enough data to find more shelf space for local producers.”

Kevin McBain has more for LighthouseNow.

Need to know
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Halifax Magazine