Athletes play hard, but Special Olympics about friendship

For many athletes the Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games are more than an athletic competition. They are a dream come true.

James McDonald is playing basketball for Nova Scotia at the national event being held in Antigonish this week.

“I joined in 2016,” he said Wednesday. “I build a lot of friendships here and I just really enjoy playing basketball with my friends.

“I never thought two years ago that I’d be here playing with teams [from] across [Canada].”

It is the second time the national event has been held in Nova Scotia.

It’s hard to recognize Antigonish, a town of 4,000. It is packed with more than 1,000 athletes, 200 coaches and thousands of fans from all across the country.

A quarter of the town’s population is volunteering at the event. 

There is competition in athletics, basketball, bocce, golf, rhythmic gymnastics, powerlifting, soccer, softball and swimming. 

To compete in the games, athletes must qualify at local and provincial levels.

In the stands, basketball player Lennie Porter watched Nova Scotia play.

His team, representing New Brunswick, was due to play next.

“I’m here to play basketball … we are going to go out and play and hopefully we can do our best to win. I’m so pumped to be here.”

Lennie Porter gets ready to play basketball for Team New Brunswick. (Steve Lawrence/CBC News)

John Hodgin, Porter’s coach, said the athletes look forward to the competition every year.

“It just means the world to them,” he said. “They get to go out and have fun. The whole spotlight’s on them and that’s what they love.”

Parents agree. The stands near the track are packed with fans with signs and T-shirts supporting their province and athletes.

Brenda Fraser and her family are watching their children compete in four events for Nova Scotia.

“They’re so hyped, they’ve been hyped the last few months” she said. “We’re watching our kids do their personal best. The friends they’re meeting — the teams are fantastic.”

An athlete receives her medal for the 10-kilometre run. (Jenny Cowley/CBC)

Shelly Latta is cheering on her daughter, Emily, who competes for Nova Scotia in athletics.

“It’s an absolutely awesome community. Emily didn’t really have a place in regular sports so we got involved with the Special Olympics. It’s an awesome extended family.” 

Athletes can receive medals in their events, but that’s not the main objective.

“My favourite part is playing with my friends, making new friends and really enjoying the sport,” says McDonald,

Brenda Fraser and her family look at track and field. (Steve Lawrence/CBC News)

It’s the camaraderie that impresses Sports Minister Kirsty Duncan.

“The teams are playing, and playing hard, against each other, but they’re also cheering on when someone makes a good shot.”

Duncan announced plans this week for the federal government to invest $16 million over five years to support the Special Olympics. She hopes it will change the public perception of people with an intellectual disability. 

“When those athletes marched into the arena, the sound was deafening,” she said. “They are champions when they arrived here. They have won the right to [represent] their provinces and territories, and I want all the athletes to know the whole country is cheering them on.” 

Porter’s family is cheering him on from their home in New Brunswick. For them, he has a message.

“Hi Mom and Dad. I love you guys back home. I’m going to make you guys so proud.”

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Danny MacKillop returns home to Cape Breton a changed man

It’s been a whirlwind seven months for a man from Reserve Mines, Cape Breton.

Since he returned money he found in a banking machine to its rightful owner in November, Danny MacKillop’s life has changed completely.

He went from living on the streets of Toronto addicted to drugs and alcohol to living a clean life in rehab in Vancouver.

Dozens of family and friends greeted him at the JA Douglas McCurdy airport in Sydney.

Mary MacKillop, Danny MacKillop and Danny’s daughter, Danielle Lee. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

He embraced his mom and his 22 year-old daughter. It’s his first time home in 12 years.

MacKillop said he was nervous and overwhelmed.

“Trying to look around and see who was who,” said MacKillop. “Then finally seeing my mom and daughter and the rest of the family, it was, you know, brought tears to my eyes. It’s been a long time.”

Many have followed his powerful story since his act of honesty and kindness moved his life in a new direction.

After his mother, Mary MacKillop, learned Danny was alive from a Facebook post about Danny having returning the money, she went to Toronto to find him.

That reunion prompted Danny to start rehab at the Together We Can Addiction and Recovery Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver.

Danny MacKillop with his mother Mary MacKillop. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

Now he’s been sober for six months. Amid her happy tears, Mark MacKillop is thrilled to have him home for a visit.

“Spend some time together, some quality time,” she said. “And that’s about it. Just haven’t seen him — the real him — in 18 years.”

Hugged by many relatives and friends, Danny had to take a second to let it all sink it.

“It’s very emotional, I mean I haven’t seen these people in a long time,” he said.

“And for the longest time I gave up hope that I’d even see them again, you know, I was just prepared to die out there on the streets.”

Reconnecting with family

But life had other plans for him and now he’s looking forward to his time home

“Just the reconnection with my daughter and mom and just the rest of the family,” he said.

Todd MacDougall grew up with Danny. He started a GoFundMe campaign in the winter to raise money for Danny to get dental work.

MacKillop arrived home with MacDougall and his family.

“Danny actually sat in the seat ahead of me and he was with an elderly lady and just to see the smile on Danny’s face interacting with other people,” said MacDougall. “It’s been 10 years since I seen the guy — so it’s good to see him for sure.

“I know Danny was pretty nervous coming off the plane, considering the fact of what happened,” said MacDougall. “So to see everyone here was pretty amazing.”

For a long time I thought all the bad things I’d done that nobody even liked me anymore, but now that I’m getting clean and sober I realized it was the other way around, that I had pushed everyone else away– Danny MacKillop

MacKillop said he was surprised by the number of people at the airport and is buoyed by their support.

“Makes me definitely feel wanted, makes it all worthwhile,” said MacKillop.

“You know, for a long time, I thought all the bad things I’d done that nobody even liked me anymore, but now that I’m getting clean and sober I realized it was the other way around, that I had pushed everyone else away.”

Baseball has always been a passion for MacKillop. He’s returned to it in his recovery.

While home, he’ll be taking part in the Jason Simmons memorial ball tournament with MacDougall and other friends this weekend in Glace Bay.

It’s all part of getting to know life in a new way.

After his two-week visit he’ll head back to the rehab centre in Vancouver for another six months.

For now, he plans to enjoy Cape Breton.

“To be coming back is truly special,” said MacKillop. “It just shows people that recovery truly is possible.”

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How a photographer is providing a rare glimpse into Canada's ocean wonders

A Fredericton-based photojournalist is travelling around Atlantic Canada, documenting the spectacular sea life off the coast in an effort bring attention to the perils facing ocean health.

Nick Hawkins is a conservation photographer whose work has been published around the world. 

“He is all about bringing photography and storytelling together to tell that conservation narrative and to give people those images to say, you know, what we have is special and we need to make sure that we’re protecting it and managing it for sustainable use,” said Shannon Arnold, marine policy co-ordinator at the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax.

Blue sharks are easily recognized by their slender, sleek, bright blue bodies and large pectoral fins. (Nick Hawkins)

The federal government has promised to protect 10 per cent of Canada’s coastal waters by 2020. The EAC and other members of the non-governmental organization Sea Blue Canada plan to hold the government to its word.

Arnold said blue sharks are the number one shark caught as bycatch in Canada’s commercial fisheries. (Nick Hawkins)

Recently Hawkins slipped into the water, on behalf of the EAC, about 20 kilometres east of Halifax to get a close-up look at the blue shark — one of the most bountiful and beautiful sharks in Canadian waters.

“It was absolutely incredible. They have the most amazing blue colouration on their body and these beautiful swimming movements. It was a really special experience for me,” he told CBC’s Maritime Noon

The large, flat, peculiar-looking ocean sunfish can weigh as much as 1,000 kilograms and are the boniest fish in the world. (Nick Hawkins)

Blue sharks are easily recognized by their slender, sleek, bright blue bodies and large pectoral fins. They often reach nearly four metres in length. They’re found in temperate waters in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

Arnold said blue sharks are the No. 1 shark caught as bycatch in Canada’s commercial fisheries — especially in the longline swordfishing industry.  

Ocean sunfish spend much of their life in the dark part of the ocean below 200 metres, but they are often seen basking at the surface where they are sometimes mistaken for sharks. (Nick Hawkins)

In 2014, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans estimated 8,000 blue sharks are caught as bycatch in Canadian waters every year.

Arnold said of sharks caught as bycatch, about 30 per cent die after they’re released. 

“Most of them are put back. Some of them are alive some of them are dead but way more sharks than swordfish are caught in that fishery,” said Arnold. 

The sleek, bright blue sharks are just a few of the incredible creatures Arnold is hoping to show the public with this project.  

“It’s hard to connect with what’s under the water,” said Arnold. 

“Most people never really get to see what’s just under the waves and there’s some gorgeous, gorgeous stuff under there, you know, beautiful corals and seagrass beds and kelp. You’ve got seals and you’ve got sharks and you’ve got all sorts of amazing fish in the intertidal zone.” 

Blue sharks are found in temperate waters in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. (Nick Hawkins)

As for Hawkins, he said he felt relatively at ease during the three or four hours he spent swimming with and photographing blue sharks — after getting to know them a bit.

“Once we were in there it was just amazing how curious the animals are,” he said. 

“At first it may have been a bit intimidating when they come right at you to kind of check you out, but once you were in the water with them for 20 or 30 minutes you realized how gentle, curious and intelligent they are.”

Hawkins said he felt relatively at ease during the three or four hours he spent swimming with and photographing blue sharks. (Nick Hawkins)

He credits the knowledge of Capt. Art Gaetan of Blue Shark charters for that.

“It’s really important when you’re in the water with sharks in general is just to remain very, very calm and confident,” Hawkins said.

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Former SMU groundskeeper facing new sexual assault charge involving a 4th woman

A former Saint Mary’s University groundskeeper already on trial for sexual assault now faces another sexual assault charge in connection with a fourth woman.

The charges laid against Matthew Percy on Wednesday are connected to an incident alleged to have happened in 2013, according to police.

Percy returns to Halifax provincial court Friday to resume trial on one of three sexual assault charges, involving three separate complainants. 

Halifax Regional Police wouldn’t say exactly where the alleged sexual assault happened in late November 2013. Const. John MacLeod says the complainant alleges she knew the man she says assaulted her.

“What we’re releasing is at a residence in Halifax,” said Const. John MacLeod. “We’re just trying to respect the privacy of the victim.”

The latest charges against Percy, 35, include sexual assault causing bodily harm, choking to overcome resistance and assault.

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Canada's 2nd-oldest military airfield celebrates 100 years of aviation history

Three days of celebrations began Wednesday to mark 12 Wing Shearwater’s 100th anniversary.

Along with the historic theme, Maj. Bill Thomey, president of the organizing committee, says he hopes the events will encourage more local engagement with the airfield, a landmark on the eastern shore of Halifax harbour.

“We invite the public to come out, see the aircraft, touch the aircraft and monuments, the history that we’ve had here for 100 years,” he told CBC’s Information Morning on Wednesday.

12 Wing Shearwater is the second-oldest military airfield in Canada, behind only CFB Borden.

Defence cutbacks in the 1990s saw the Canadian Forces close Shearwater as a separate base and merge it with CFB Halifax.

However, in 2007 the Department of Defence began to convert Shearwater into a heliport facility, closing runways. With the retirement of the Sea King helicopters, its 406 Squadron now trains pilots, air combat officers and maintenance technicians on the new CH-148 Cyclone helicopters.

Pilots of ‘flying boats,’ aircraft capable of landing on the water, are shown at the Shearwater airbase when it first was established. (Submitted by 12 Wing Shearwater)

Crowds flocked to Shearwater in the 1970s and 1980s for the Nova Scotia International Air Show, which saw aircraft and flight demonstrations from across Canada, the United States and Europe. In 2004, the airshow moved to the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

When the airfield was established in 1918, it wasn’t even a Canadian operation, Thomey said.

“During World War 1, the Canadian government didn’t have its own air service,” he said.

So it asked the American government for help in starting a flying base here, he said. Lt. Cmdr Richard Byrd, who was later known for his polar explorations, came up with some personnel and about a dozen “flying boats.”

“They established a small air base,” Thomey said, “and started patrols out of Shearwater in 1918. The flying boats were planes that landed on water.” 

A Canadian military Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone conducts test flights with HMCS Montreal in Halifax harbour. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

That’s the way it stayed in Shearwater for a number of years.

But starting in the 1920s, with the creation of a Canadian Air Force, “it was a time of rebirth a time of renewal,” Thomey said. “Of course, with World War II, everything kind of expanded from there.”

In the last decade or so, the federal government has reinvested in Shearwater, he said.

“The Cyclone helicopters have arrived and we are starting the transition from Sea King to Cyclone,” he said. 

Wednesday, he said, also marked the 55th anniversary of the first Sea King arriving at Shearwater.

The centenary is attracting current and past Royal Canadian Air Force members. “There are members coming from all over the world for this,” Thomey said.

Lt. Cmdr Richard Byrd, who led the establishment of Shearwater air base in 1918, is shown in the centre with his dog. (Submitted by 12 Wing Shearwater)

On Thursday there will be a dedication parade for the Shearwater Aviation Park. The park will have three historical aircraft — a CT-133 Silver Star, a TBM Avenger and a CH-124 Sea King. It will also include monuments on the history of Shearwater’s squadrons.

That will be followed by a gala dinner at the Halifax Convention Centre where air force personnel, historians and community leaders will speak about how Shearwater evolved over the past 100 years.

Family Day is on Friday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be a Cyclone on display, and air crew and technicians will be on site to answer questions.

Symphony Nova Scotia is performing a free concert Friday at 7 p.m. with images and films of Shearwater’s past, playing music with a military theme.

More information on the celebrations can be found at shearwater100.com.

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LAssociation des administratrices et administrateurs des écoles publiques en place à compter du 1er août


REMARQUE : Une liste des membres du conseil intérimaire est présentée après le communiqué.


À compter du 1er août, les directeurs, les directeurs adjoints et d’autres leaders en éducation qui travaillent dans les centres régionaux pour l’éducation et au Conseil scolaire acadien provincial font partie de la nouvelle Association des administratrices et administrateurs des écoles publiques.

Il s’agit d’un réseau professionnel officiel dans lequel les directeurs, les directeurs adjoints et les autres leaders en éducation pourront appuyer l’excellence en matière d’enseignement, d’apprentissage et de leadership en classe pour mieux aider les élèves et à leurs familles, ainsi que le personnel. Ils pourront également cerner leurs propres besoins en matière de développement du leadership et faire des plans pour répondre à ces besoins.

Un conseil intérimaire formé de 13 membres est actuellement en place. Les membres du premier conseil permanent seront élus par les membres de l’Association lors de son assemblée générale annuelle à l’automne.

Les centres régionaux pour l’éducation et le Conseil scolaire acadien provincial ont signalé qu’environ trois pour cent (24 sur 711) des directeurs et directeurs adjoints ont présenté une demande de retour en classe.

Le Syndicat des enseignants de la Nouvelle-Écosse offrira des services à l’Association, en vertu d’un contrat d’affiliation qui sera préparé.


POUR DIFFUSION :

     L’Association des administratrices et administrateurs des

écoles publiques est officiellement en place à compter

d’aujourd’hui (1er août).

     Il s’agit d’un réseau professionnel officiel dans lequel

les directeurs, les directeurs adjoints et les autres leaders en

éducation pourront appuyer l’excellence en matière

d’enseignement, d’apprentissage et de leadership en classe pour

mieux aider les élèves et à leurs familles, ainsi que le

personnel.

     Ils pourront également cerner leurs propres besoins en

matière de développement du leadership et faire des plans pour

répondre à ces besoins.

     L’Association sera gérée par un conseil intérimaire formé

de 13 membres jusqu’à sa première assemblée générale annuelle à

l’automne, où un conseil permanent sera élu par les membres.

Source: Release

Read more

LAssociation des administratrices et administrateurs des écoles publiques en place à compter du 1er août


REMARQUE : Une liste des membres du conseil intérimaire est présentée après le communiqué.


À compter du 1er août, les directeurs, les directeurs adjoints et d’autres leaders en éducation qui travaillent dans les centres régionaux pour l’éducation et au Conseil scolaire acadien provincial font partie de la nouvelle Association des administratrices et administrateurs des écoles publiques.

Il s’agit d’un réseau professionnel officiel dans lequel les directeurs, les directeurs adjoints et les autres leaders en éducation pourront appuyer l’excellence en matière d’enseignement, d’apprentissage et de leadership en classe pour mieux aider les élèves et à leurs familles, ainsi que le personnel. Ils pourront également cerner leurs propres besoins en matière de développement du leadership et faire des plans pour répondre à ces besoins.

Un conseil intérimaire formé de 13 membres est actuellement en place. Les membres du premier conseil permanent seront élus par les membres de l’Association lors de son assemblée générale annuelle à l’automne.

Les centres régionaux pour l’éducation et le Conseil scolaire acadien provincial ont signalé qu’environ trois pour cent (24 sur 711) des directeurs et directeurs adjoints ont présenté une demande de retour en classe.

Le Syndicat des enseignants de la Nouvelle-Écosse offrira des services à l’Association, en vertu d’un contrat d’affiliation qui sera préparé.


POUR DIFFUSION :

     L’Association des administratrices et administrateurs des

écoles publiques est officiellement en place à compter

d’aujourd’hui (1er août).

     Il s’agit d’un réseau professionnel officiel dans lequel

les directeurs, les directeurs adjoints et les autres leaders en

éducation pourront appuyer l’excellence en matière

d’enseignement, d’apprentissage et de leadership en classe pour

mieux aider les élèves et à leurs familles, ainsi que le

personnel.

     Ils pourront également cerner leurs propres besoins en

matière de développement du leadership et faire des plans pour

répondre à ces besoins.

     L’Association sera gérée par un conseil intérimaire formé

de 13 membres jusqu’à sa première assemblée générale annuelle à

l’automne, où un conseil permanent sera élu par les membres.

Source: Release

Read more
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