Pumpkins: A growing concern - NovaScotia

Young growers such as Jeff Reid, 34, of Waterville are now taking their place in the winner’s circle. Reid’s 1,202-pound pumpkin took first place at the 2007 Windsor pumpkin festival weigh-off.

While most people would be happy just to grow a giant pumpkin in their garden, Reid is taking it to the next level by sharing the knowledge he has been cultivating for the last seven years.

As a founding member of Annapolis Valley Giant Vegetable Growers, which now boasts 93 members, Reid helps organize a pumpkin weigh-off at his workplace, Glad Gardens Family Farm Market & Greenhouses in Waterville, Kings County.

Growing big pumpkins is a delicate balance between weather conditions, genetics and a healthy dose of luck. Yes, there is a secret, and Reid is happy to share that secret with anyone serious about getting involved in the hobby.
Ontario health minister devastated yet hopeful after trip to Attawapiskat
Eric Hoskins travelled on Wednesday to Attawapiskat, where dozens of youth have tried to kill themselves over the past few months.

Ontario’s health minister says his visit to a remote First Nations community in the midst of a suicide crisis was just as devastating as the years he spent as a doctor in war zones around the world.

Eric Hoskins travelled on Wednesday to Attawapiskat, where dozens of youth have tried to kill themselves over the past few months.

In addition to a three-hour meeting with community leaders, he also sat down for a few hours with dozens of young people, all of whom have been touched by suicide, including friends and family members either killing themselves or trying to.

Among those in attendance were children around the same age as the nine-year-old who was part of what officials called a suicide pact by 13 young people on the reserve earlier this week.

“It’s deeply upsetting that when you have children that young that are in such pain or have lost hope — that they’re turning to that kind of consideration,” said Hoskins, who spent years in war-ravaged countries with his wife, Samantha Nutt, after they founded an organization to help children affected by conflict.

“It just demonstrates just how serious this situation is and how important action is.”

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Dawgfather plans city council run

The feisty Reddick — better known as hotdog vendor the Dawgfather — has announced he plans to run for a seat on Halifax regional council next fall.

“I decided to run after listening time and time again to students complaining about the problems they are having with affordable student housing,” he said.

He said he wants to form a coalition of like-minded candidates to run for seats on council in next October’s election.

The only issues he plans for his election platform are helping students and giving ratepayers a break.

He said students generate $2.7 billion a year of the city’s GDP.

Reddick took on the city in 2004 when officials tried to move him off his spot at Dalhousie when it was decided that preapproved vending spots would go to the highest bidder.
Halifax police charge black union leader with assault at protest despite contradicting video

Halifax police are on the defensive after the arrest of a union executive Tuesday was caught on videotape, drawing criticism from an MLA.

Jason MacLean, a vice-president with the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union, was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer Tuesday as protesters surrounded Premier Stephen McNeil’s vehicle. MacLean was held for about two hours before being released on a promise to appear in court at a later date.

Video of the arrest, which is posted online, shows MacLean standing toe to toe with a police officer as law officials tried to move protesters blocking the premier’s vehicle. He appears to be bumped from behind into a police officer and is then spun around, pushed to the ground and handcuffed. […]

MacLean, who said he believes the charges will be dropped, must stay 25 metres away from Province House. He said he thinks police focused on him for two reasons.

“I believe, one, I’m targeted as a leader in this union and, two, I’m targeted as a black man making noise,” he said. “We know what Nova Scotia is all about — it’s a racist province.”

In a news release, Halifax Regional Police said that “a number of officers and protesters were on the street in close proximity to each other when one of the officers observed what he thought was an assault on another officer.” […]

‘Merchant of death’ faces trial

A former Soviet military officer with command of four languages, Bout is known as the “Merchant of Death,” the nickname long used by American and international officials to describe his suspected prominence in the illicit arms trade. He has been banned from international travel for violating United Nations arms embargos, targeted by a U.S. asset freeze and he inspired the role of the fictitious arms trafficker played by Nicolas Cage in the 2005 action film, Lord of War.

Bout, 44, eluded arrest until U.S. narcotics agents lured him to Thailand in a 2008 sting operation, charging him with conspiring to sell anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons to undercover informants posing as South American terrorists. Protesting his innocence, Bout was extradited to New York in November after enduring a gruelling, two-year limbo in a Bangkok prison while the U.S. and Russia squared off in a diplomatic tug-of-war.

“There are powerful people in Russia who are quite frankly worried that he might spill his guts,” said Michael Braun, a former Drug Enforcement Administration chief of operations who led the Bout investigation.

Sergei Markov, a Russian lawmaker and member of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia party, agreed: “They want to extract information from him.”
First day of April brings tomfoolery to Parliament Hill
Mulcair wasn't alone in his tomfoolery on Parliament Hill.

Once a year, the fools on the Hill let their hair down and this April 1, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair appeared poised to do the real thing.

Mulcair posted a photo on the social media site Twitter showing his signature bearded face covered in shaving cream, a straight razor hovering over the lather.

“Why not?” said the caption, capturing the sense of fatalism in the air as Mulcair faces a leadership review at next week’s NDP convention in Edmonton.

Mulcair wasn’t alone in his tomfoolery on Parliament Hill.

Rona Ambrose, the interim leader of the Conservative party, posted a fake Airbnb ad offering to rent out Stornoway, the official residence of the Opposition leader.

And Environment Minister Catherine McKenna shared a phoney announcement in her name saying grazing goats would now crop Parliament’s lawns as part of the Liberal government’s green plan.

April Fools’ Day pranks, always a peril for the news business, have caught out political reporters in the past. But some news outlets also like to get in on the fun themselves.

The Huffington Post planted a fake story on its website touting a new Justin Trudeau designer line: “a collection of pre-rolled white shirts designed by the prime minister himself for the ‘modern man who wears his feminism on his sleeve’.”
Veterans in Halifax protest planned cuts

John Labelle, a 72-year-old veteran who served 38 years in the Canadian navy, cited a litany of complaints about pension clawbacks and changes to the New Veterans Charter.

“It’s been misleading on many issues and it needs to be more up front and support veterans and their families… . I’d like to tell the prime minister of Canada to treat our veterans as national heroes … and to allow democracy to reign in the House of Commons.”

Zwicker, a member of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, said the federal government’s support for the military doesn’t extend to those who are wounded or become ill.

“They support the troops, but they don’t support them when they’re broken,” he said. “It’s a case of, ’What have you done for me lately?’ Once you’re broken, you’re treated like a piece of dollar store garbage and thrown right off the shelf.”

The protesters, some of them wearing rows of military medals, shared the public square known as the Grand Parade with dozens of Occupy Nova Scotia activists.