(Published in the January 27th, 2010 edition of the Sackville Tribune-Post.)

As a kid, local indie musician Julie Doiron was on the field hockey team and the softball team and the high school soccer team.

“I used to play squash, but that’s not really a team sport,” she said. “It’s more of an individual game.”

Doiron also considers swimming a very big part of her life.

“I want to swim across the Northumberland Strait. I know that’s been done, and I would love to try it.”

Doiron said she’d also like to do the Sackville triathlon within the next two years.

“I love playing sports, but I don’t do it that much,” she said. “But I would like to start. As I get older, I guess I’m realizing that it’s actually pretty fun.”

The Sackville native has been chosen to represent New Brunswick at the Vancouver Winter Olympics next month.

Doiron, currently on tour, said being able to perform at the Olympics is a great opportunity.

“It’s going to be super cool.”

She will be performing at least three or four shows, she added.

“I’m (also) doing a Neil Young tribute night.”

Doiron said she hopes to score some tickets for a sporting event while she is there.

“I guess it would be fun to see anything – but I’d really like to see a hockey game.”

Among the list of other New Brunswick performers going to Vancouver are David Myles, DJ Bones, Edith Butler, Grand Theft Bus, Jessica Rhaye, Matt Anderson, Measha Brueggergosman, Ode A l’Acadie, Radio Radio, Ryan LeBlanc, Samantha Robichaud and The Olympic Symphonium.

(Published in the January 27th, 2010 edition of the Sackville Tribune-Post.)

Nancy Swift recommends trying curling if you’re looking for a way to get to know people in a community.

“When you go out on that ice, all anybody cares about – and everybody out there is the same way – they just want to have some fun,” Swift said. “They want to stay warm and they want to learn the game.”

Swift is one of the organizers for this year’s local Curl for Cancer event, which is to be held at the Sackville Curling Club on Saturday, Feb. 6 starting at 8 a.m.

This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the Sackville event.

“I think it’s quite a thing for a little town like this to have 20 years of an event like that. We’ve raised a fair amount of money,” Swift said. “We’ve been so well-supported.”

Over 30 teams have signed up for the tournament so far, she said.

“We hate to turn anybody away. We turn ourselves inside out not to turn anybody away.”

Each individual player or team has a pledge sheet and they all raise their own money.

“It all goes to Curl for Cancer. We pay for nothing out of that money to sponsor the event. All the money, every cent, goes to the Canadian Cancer Society. Everything is donated.”

So far, the committee has never had to turn down any teams – and they don’t plan to start.

“You can’t just say, ‘No, I’m sorry. You just can’t curl.’ They just want to donate and curl for the cause,” Swift said. “So, we don’t know (how many curlers will participate) until the very end.”

Even those who don’t know a rock from a broom are encouraged to take part in the fundraiser, she said.

“We have experts there – seasoned experts – who will show them what they have to do or guide them.”

Tape is sometimes applied to the shoes of novice players to help them slide, Swift explained.

“We do stress safety, but we’re geared for that for sure.”

Spectators and children are also welcome, she added.

“I think it’s important that kids realize that you have to put back into the community.”

As per tradition, there will be refreshments, food and local entertainment at the event as well as a guest speaker, she said.

“Usually, we have someone who is a survivor or that cancer has touched one way or another. It touches so many people.”

This year’s guest speaker is Jack Stewart, the chief scientific officer for BioProspecting NB, Inc., a local drug discovery and development company conducting research into new cancer treatments.

“Community events such as the Curl for Cancer achieve so much. First, they raise money for research into solving the cancer mystery. Second, they build and renew community,” Stewart said. “Third, they are a hell-of-a lot of fun.”

Last year’s Curl for Cancer event raised $16,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.


Curling Terminology

For those of us who don’t follow curling, there are a lot of terms that might be unfamiliar. Here are a few basic terms to know.
bonspiel – a curling tournament
delivery – the act of throwing a rock
end – a division of time in a game; like a period in hockey
house – the round scoring area
skip – the player who calls the ice and determines the strategy
sweeping – using a brush to polish the ice in an effort to alter the action of the rock

Photo by Jillianne Hamilton

The autopsy results for a male victim involved in a fiery collision on Tuesday are expected to be released later this week.

RCMP investigators have several leads as to the identity of the man; however, they are awaiting further details before officially identifying the victim.

“Results are due tomorrow afternoon or Friday morning,” said District 4 RCMP officer Sgt. Paul Ouellette, who added the autopsy will be conducted tomorrow in St. John.

Around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, local emergency personnel were called to the scene of the fire after a vehicle struck a fuel tank beside the town of Sackville’s public works garage, located in the industrial park. The fire burned for more than an hour and cut off electricity to several businesses in the area as it burned through electrical wires.

Rolling black clouds of smoke could be seen from miles away in every direction.

The vehicle was traveling east on Crescent Street and didn’t make the turn, Ouellette said.
“Then the vehicle drove straight into one of the fuel tanks. I’m not going to speculate right now why that happened.”

The RCMP used information they gathered from the charred vehicle to track down the owner, he said.
“Based on that, we know there is a gentleman from Sackville who is missing. We presume that it was him that was in the vehicle.”

Dental records will be used to confirm the identity of the victim, he said.
“We’re not prepared to release the name in the meantime.”

Sackville Fire Chief Craig Bowser said 28 to 30 firefighters responded to the fire.
“It took about an hour to knock it down until it was safe for us to move in closer,” he said.

The public works building wasn’t damaged in the fire, he said.
“There was significant damage to the gasoline tank that was hit and ruptured and the diesel tank next to it. It sustained some heat damage.”

The fire department responded to the call in under four minutes and was not impeded by the traffic caused by industrial park employees evacuating the area, Bowser said.
“That’s a very good response time for a volunteer fire department.”

(This article was written and published on the Tribune-Post website on January 20, 2010.)

Two Standalone Photos

January 20, 2010

This photo was published as a standalone in the
January 13 2010 issue of the Sackville Tribune-Post.


This photo was published as a standalone in the
January 20, 2010 edition.

This article appeared in the January 13th, 2010 edition of the Sackville Tribune-Post.


Sackville pharmacist George Murray, shown here giving a seasonal flu shot, is one of the first pharmacists in
New Brunswick to be certified to prescribe and alter medications and immunize patients. (Hamilton)

Local residents can now have their prescriptions refilled easier, thanks to changes that went into effect recently under the New Brunswick Pharmacy Act.

George Murray, a pharmacist at Tantramar Pharmacy, is one of the province’s first accredited pharmacists permitted to alter or refill prescriptions, administer vaccines and prescribe medications in an emergency.

Murray took a two-day training session in Moncton before applying for his licence.

“The first day was an injection how-to and there was a 15-hour online course as well that had to be completed before the hands-on training.”

Murray also did CPR training.

Accredited pharmacists can now administer most types of vaccines, including those for H1N1 and seasonal flu, Murray said.

“The timing was good with the H1N1 outbreak. More people are scrambling for people who have the ability to provide immunization.”

Certified pharmacists can now also refill most prescriptions, Murray said.

“It’s to help continue the care of people who’ve already been diagnosed and are on existing treatment that are either having difficulty getting to physicians or have run out temporarily or need an extension.”

Accredited pharmacists can also alter prescriptions as well.

“If a doctor has written something – like a strength that doesn’t exist – we can change it without having to go back to the doctor,” he said.

“We can change capsules to tablets and those kinds of things. It’s mostly a continuation of therapy.”

These new privileges are not meant to replace physician care, Murray said.

“It’s not an independent venture. We want to work with doctors and make sure what we’re doing fits in with the care they’re giving as well.”

It’s all about patient care and accessibility, Murray said.

“Pharmacies and pharmacists are accessible through the week. It allows people more flexibility and access to get treatment when they need it.”

Murray has 50 seasonal flu shots for adults available at the Tantramar Pharmacy. People wishing to get one of these vaccines are instructed to call the pharmacy and make an appointment.

“It’s not too late for seasonal flu shots,” he said.

The amendment to the New Brunswick Pharmacy Act came into effect in October 2008. New Brunswick was the second province in Canada to initiate these changes. Alberta pharmacists were given these types of privileges in 2006.

This article appeared in the January 13th, 2010 edition of the Sackville Tribune-Post.


Clean-up has begun in the storm-battered village of Port Elgin.

Thirty-six buildings in total were damaged during the winter storm that struck last Saturday, said Terry Murphy, the Emergency Measures Organization co-ordinator for the community.

“We just had a ballpark figure of approximately $750,000 – damage to homes and streets. That’s not counting the cost of this whole operation for contractors to clear streets and stuff like that.”

The estimate wasn’t done by professionals, he added.

“This was just done by firemen, going door-to-door, ‘What have you lost?’, ‘How’s your basement?’, ‘How’s your electrical panel?'”

Heavy snow turned to rain and caused massive flooding throughout the night, battering homes and cottages. Flooded basements damaged furnaces, hot water heaters, washing machines and furniture.

A report of the damage was sent to the EMO in Fredericton last Wednesday, Murphy said.

“They’ll decide whether there’s going to be financial assistance plan put in place.”

The Fredericton EMO will then send their officials to assess the damage in the community and decide how much financial aid they can provide.

“It’s not going to be 100 per cent recovery,” Murphy said. “People are going to take losses.”

Port Elgin Mayor Judy Scott asked Murphy last year if he would spearhead a community project to organize an emergency plan for a flood or a chemical spill.

The committee involved the fire chief, village residents and local nursing home employees.

The committee was planning on running a “table top exercise” – a disaster simulation – this month, he said.

“On Saturday night, we had our table top exercise.”

Murphy was very impressed at how well the community members worked together in the face of a crisis.

“There wasn’t one person who didn’t know what they were doing and everybody co-operated,” he said. “We didn’t lose any lives. We were very fortunate.”

People from surrounding communities were eager to help when their neighbours were in need, Murphy said.

“People came in with boats at midnight to help us. People came in with their tractors. It was just phenomenal how people came up to the plate and took their turn at bat.”

Despite all the work that’s been accomplished to date, there’s still much to be done in the community, Murphy said. Wells have to be tested and wiring has to be checked.

“Now it’s time to clean up.”

Port Elgin isn’t usually prone to flooding, he said. The wind conditions and the high tide combined, creating a “perfect storm.”

“The wind drove the water in so fast and so hard. At 9:30, (residents) were walking on the streets and at 10:30, they were knee deep in water,” he said.

There were 16 buildings in Indian Point affected by the floods, including a permanent residence, Murphy said. He estimated the damage to be about $1.3 million.

“There are quite a few cottages destroyed totally.”

Baie Verte and surrounding communities were also subjected to flooding.

Unfortunately, Canadian homes are not eligible for flood insurance, said a local insurance broker. Commercial buildings, however, are eligible – but it comes with a hefty price tag.


Preparing For a Flood (Sidebar)

If you live in a flood prone area, the Emergency Measures Organization of New Brunswick recommends you have these items on hand in case of emergency:

  • At least 2L of water per day for each member of your family. Include small bottles that can be carried in case you need to leave your home.
  • At least 2L of water per day for cooking and cleaning
  • Non-perishable food items like canned food, energy bars and dried food.
  • Manual can opener
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Candles and waterproof matches (or matches in a waterproof container)
  • Money
  • First aid kit
  • Medications for all family members
  • Emergency contact information
  • Copies of important family documents (in a waterproof container)
  • A change of clothes and footwear for each household member
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each household member
  • Toilet paper and other personal care supplies, such as moist towelettes
  • Safety gloves
  • Basic tools (hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, work gloves, etc.)

Daniel Goguen, an EMO co-ordinator for the Moncton area, also suggests watching media reports for weather warnings and removing valuables from your basement.
“If the electricity is affected, turn it off,” Goguen said.
Outdoor items such as lawn chairs and ornaments should be brought inside before a flood as they can cause injuries. Fill your bathtub and sinks with water as your water supply may become contaminated during a flood.
EMO recommends having enough supplies to sustain you and your family for 72 hours.

This article appeared in the Tribune-Post on January 13th, 2010. The photo below was taken by Tribune reporter Katie Tower.


Sackville firefighters responded to a flue fire call on Sunday morning at 17 Hillcrest Avenue.

Fortunately, said Deputy Fire Chief Mike Green, the fire caused minimal damage.

“Basically, we just dropped the weight down (the flue) to take the blockage out so the smoke could get out,” he said. “Everything else seemed to be fine after that.”

The homeowner was advised to have her flue checked, Green said.

“They just told her to not use her wood furnace until she has it checked and cleaned.”

To avoid flue fires, Green recommends not using wet or damp wood.

“If they’re using dry wood, usually they don’t have too much trouble.”

Fire Chief Craig Bowser suggests people also make sure there isn’t a buildup of creosote in their chimney liners.

“They need to make sure they’re cleaned once a year.”

Depending on how often the fireplace is used, it may also need to be cleaned out a second time, Bowser said.

“Even then, people still need to monitor them.”

Click image to see a larger view – and check out who got both cover stories!

(While at the Sackville Tribune-Post, I got to write a weekly column called Instant Intern. This one appeared in the January 13 edition.)


When I was in the ninth grade, I job shadowed my aunt for a day. She works in administration at Mount Allison University, here in Sackville.
I didn’t see much of the town, just the inside of her office and a little bit of the campus. I don’t remember much about that day, honestly – as it was seven-ish years ago. Before last Wednesday, that was my only experience with this town.

My name is Jillianne Hamilton and I’m an intern at the Sackville Tribune-Post. I’m a second-year Journalism student at Holland College in Charlottetown. I’m originally from Five Islands, Nova Scotia – yes, a community smaller than this one.

Before I arrived in Sackville – two days late because of poor road conditions – a friend of mine who attends Mount A suggested I bring lots of sweaters and dress in layers.

I understand now.

I chose Sackville for my internship placement because I’d heard nothing but lovely things about the town. I also wanted to try my hand at a weekly newspaper since I was at a daily last year in Truro, N.S.

After my first few interviews for the Tribune, I quickly discovered something about the locals that I never found in Truro or Charlottetown.

In this business, you will regularly come across people who are too busy to be interviewed or stand for a photo – or they just don’t like reporters.

“Those sensationalists just look for the scandal in everything.”

Sackville citizens, as far as I can see, genuinely care about their local newspaper. People seem eager to help out with a story or a photo and don’t mind when an intern stammers out a question. I don’t feel like I’m being ridiculed or judged when my words sound less than graceful. (I like to think I write better than I speak.)

And that’s refreshing.

If you care to drop me a line – feedback, criticism or a story idea – feel free to e-mail me at jill@jillianne-hamilton.com.