The Tantramar Family Resource Centre now has a home at 94 Willow Lane.
TFRC’s early childhood and development co-director Sharon Hachey said having a physical space for the resource centre will allow for growth in terms of resources.
“Our goal of having a physical space is to have more visibility in town, to get more people talking about some of our goals and how they can contribute to it, whether through volunteering or financially.”
Although the space is small, it will allow for parents to drop in and also offer other services, Hachey said.
“The services will be contingent on different project funding and different partnerships with other agencies.”
For instance, the resource centre currently partners with the VON to deliver a prenatal program for parents, she said.
“There’s also an opportunity there to do a Rock ‘n’ Talk, which is a program for parents and their new babies.”
The family resource centre can also provide a washroom downtown for parents who have little ones, she said.
“It’s a small need, but it’s a need, especially if you’re trying to train them.”
For more info on the TFRC, visit http://www.tantramarfamily.ca or call 939-TFRC (8372).

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(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.

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

A new post of mine has been published at the myUsearch blog. I really enjoyed writing this article. I included a lot of my own personal experiences and it was just nice to write a good old-fashioned college article again. Click the link below to give it a read:

10 Tips For College Freshmen

Also, WordPress (which I usually strive to recommend to other bloggers as a great place to host a blog) has deactivated Kill Jill Goes To College because they seem to think the blog is meant for selling affiliate links and promoting other websites.

Gee. Last year, Kill Jill was named Blog of the Day by WordPress. Now it’s deactivated. How ironic.

So, if someone at WordPress is reading this post, I ask that you reinstate Kill Jill. I’m a poor college student who, yes, makes a few bucks from some small ads. I’ve been getting a lot of visitors lately because of a giveaway I’m doing with HP. That’s probably why your people think I’m up to no good. I ask you to reactivate my blog because I did nothing wrong. Thanks.

TRURO – Roxanne Beavers of Lower Onslow said she’d like to nurse her seven-month-old son for at least a year.
Medically, she’s golden. But statistically, she’s going against the grain.
Many moms are choosing to stop nursing their babies sooner than they perhaps should, despite increasing breastfeeding rates for 20 years.
A recent survey by Maternity Experiences Study Group, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada, showed 90 per cent of women planned to breastfeed their babies longer than six months – but only 14 per cent of those women actually did so.
“A lot will depend on work, and a lot will depend on him,” Beavers said, referring to her son Oliver.
Many women have to stop breastfeeding earlier than planned for health reasons, too.
“Usually it’s a physical as opposed to an emotional choice,” Beavers said.
Communities – and hospitals in particular – need to be more supportive of breastfeeding, Beavers said. A ‘nurse-in’ was staged in February at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax after a woman was told to “cover up” while breastfeeding her baby.
Beavers said she tries to cover up in public while nursing but wishes she didn’t have to worry about not exposing anything.
“But what does it matter? It’s food – the original fast food.”
Workplaces, too, need to be more supportive of breastfeeding and allow mothers to pump milk at work.
“Pumping will keep your supply up,” said Beavers, 32. “If you’re only nursing a few times a day, I think it’s harder to keep going.”
Janet MacNeil, mother to eight-month-old Georgia, said the statistics of women breastfeeding long-term are discouraging but she understands why some women can’t do it.
“Some people have to go back to work or they just feel the baby is ready to move on,” said MacNeil, 35.
The Onslow Mountain resident said starting out nursing can be daunting. “If you make it to six weeks, you’re doing good.”
Kathie Sutherland, a parent educator and co-ordinator at Maggie’s Place in Truro, suggests more support groups and more information for new mothers are the keys to improving duration rates.
“The goal is that every baby be breastfed, exclusively for six months, and continue breastfeeding for two years, as the World Health Organization recommends,” said Sutherland.
She cites negative connotations and myths about breastfeeding as some possible reasons why women choose not to breastfeed long-term.
“In North America and western cultures, that’s not the norm,” she said. “There’s still lots to be done to inform people and to advocate for babies and mothers.”
The health benefits of long-term breastfeeding can do wonders for a baby, Sutherland added.
“The longer babies are breastfed, the stronger those benefits are and the longer they last.”
But the health benefits of breastfeeding don’t only benefit baby – but mom, too.
“Many people think of breastfeeding as being hard on a woman’s body but while you’re breastfeeding, you absorb calcium and other nutrients very efficiently,” Sutherland commented. “Most women don’t know about these things.”
Unfortunately, Sutherland said, the longer you breastfeed your baby, the less community support you’ll probably get.
“The challenges of breastfeeding change as the baby gets older.”
Maggie’s Place is a support centre for families with young children and babies. The next breastfeeding support group at Maggie’s Place is scheduled for Monday, May 4 at 10-11:30 a.m. For more information on breastfeeding, visit the La Leche League of Canada’s website at http://www.lllc.ca.

(This was published in the April 13, 2009 edition of the Truro Daily News.)

See no evil

April 10, 2009

maggie-blind-dog3

Dog doing fine after eye removal surgery and wandering away from home late last year

NOEL – It’s been a few months since Maggie the blind dog wandered away from her home at Foggy Hollow Farm in Noel, Nova Scotia.
The 14-year-old Boston Bull Terrier returned after 11 days, weighing five kilograms underweight. Maggie was treated at the Truro Veterinary Hospital by Dr. Gwen Mowbray-Cashen.
‘The Grand Old Lady of Foggy Hollow’, as owner Marjorie Densmore affectionately nicknamed her, still resides at her owners’ commercial flower farm.
Maggie rules the roost at Foggy Hollow but had both eyes removed because of an ulcer on one and the risk of ulcer to the other.
“She is now sightless,” Densmore said. “There was no sight before – they were just there.”
Densmore, a continuing care assistant at the Mira Nursing Home in Truro, still doesn’t know where Maggie wandered off to that day.
“Can you ask a dog?” she said with a laugh. “I know she was on the farm because the farm is 240 acres.”
While missing, Maggie bumped her head and damaged one of her eyes, causing a painful ulcer. She bumped it again after her return.
“She cried and cried,” Densmore said. “It was horrible.”
However, despite being blind and 14 (98 in dog years), Maggie is still a lady with a mind of her own.
“If she doesn’t want to do anything, she certainly won’t do it,” Densmore said with a snicker. “That part of her hasn’t changed.”
The only difference Densmore sees is Maggie’s unwillingness to lead with a leash. She plans to take her to a dog trainer and see if this problem can be fixed.
“If she won’t lead, that’s fine. She’s still the Grand Old Lady,” she added. “She can sit up on the couch and look pretty.”
Maggie’s determination, headstrong attitude and zest for life seems to be what’s keeping the old blind dog going.
“You make the decision – do you put her down or do you keep her?” Densmore commented. “And after her coming through so much, you don’t put her down. You do (your) best.”
Densmore has put a lot of money into Maggie’s health but knows she made the right decision.
“Would I do it again? Yes,” Densmore said firmly. “As far as the amount of money… If you sat back and thought how much in your head is she worth to you? Not in your pocketbook.”

(This story was written for the Truro Daily News but never made it to print.)

Jeanette Muriel Brown has experienced ‘some good times, some bad times’ during her 100 years

Jeanette Muriel Brown wishes she could turn back the clock.

Brown, who celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday, became a wife at 16 and a mother at 17.

“I couldn’t get back to school because I had to look after the children,” said Brown, who lives at Wynn Park Villa in Truro.

She was determined to get her high school diploma, however, and finally did at the age of 63.

“If I can do it at 63, (kids) should be able to do it at 18.”

Brown was born in Truro in 1909, three years before the Titanic sunk and five years before the First World War began.

She doesn’t remember much about Truro from her childhood since she moved to Cape Breton when she was about seven. She later lived in the United States for many years, married her first husband Charles Paris, had three children and managed a successful co-op store in Hartford, Conn.

“We went to the various stores and we sold the stuff to them as we bought it. We didn’t make a profit,” Brown explained. “That’s not what it was all about. It was about helping the people.”

Brown also moved back and forth between the U.S. and Truro during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

“The only thing I can remember from the Depression is that we all had to tighten our belts. You couldn’t spend what you didn’t have.”

During the Second World War, Brown worked in an ammunition factory in Montreal.

“I worked there for two years as an inspector,” she said. “I inspected the casings.”

Brown married her second husband, Lewis Brown, in 1958 (he died in 2002) and moved back to Truro for good about 30 years ago. Unfortunately, some of the same problems she witnessed in her younger years regarding people of her race was still evident.

“I was so surprised when I came back home and found that it had not changed as far as black people were concerned. I didn’t see them (being offered) jobs. I still don’t.”

Besides her three children (two of whom have died), Brown has nine grandchildren and said she can’t count how many great-grandchildren she has.

“But my great-great-grandchildren, I think I have 15 of them,” she said. “I’m happy I’m at this age and I can see some of my great-great-grandchildren.”

She reflected on reaching the century milestone.

“Let’s just say it’s been half-and-half,” said Brown, who was surrounded by friends and family at a birthday party at the fire hall in Truro. “Some good times, some bad times.”

Good genes is one of the keys to Brown’s longevity. Her mother died at 92 and her grandfather was in his 90s.

Brown cites hard work and common sense as two other important ingredients to leading a good life.

“I was taught to do what you have to do with what you’ve got.”

(This was published in the April 8, 2009 issue of the Truro Daily News.)

TRURO – Local residents raised a record-breaking amount of money for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Association of Colchester last weekend.
The three-day event, which included a bowling tournament at the Bowlacade in Bible Hill, raked in a whopping $86,500. This represented a 28 per cent increase from the $62,000 raised last year.
“Our goal was $75,000 and we thought that was a pretty ambitious goal for these economic times,” said executive director Michelle Misener. “They just blew the doors off of our goal. We’re thrilled.
“People generally dig really deep and they understand that everybody is really struggling, trying to handle these difficult times.
“It’s the regular everyday people that really doll you up and give big.”
About 130 teams took part in the bowling tournament this year.
“We had a lot more teams than we ever had so that was a big factor in it,” Misener said.
“So, more teams mean, obviously, more money.”
Everybody had a lot of fun and enjoyed themselves, said Misener.
“I’d really like to thank everybody who came out and bowled and who supported and who sponsored.”
The money will go towards various programs run by Big Brothers Big Sisters including an in-school mentoring program, a scholarship and a self-esteem fund which finances programs for kids who couldn’t afford it otherwise.
“If they want to take music lessons or something along those lines, we’ll fund that for them,” Misener explained.
Everybody had a lot of fun and enjoyed themselves, said Misener.
“I’d really like to thank everybody who came out and bowled and who supported and who sponsored.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a charitable organization that offers programs and assistance for school-age children. Its next major fundraiser locally is a golf tournament on Friday, June 26 at the Mountain Golf and Country Club in Truro.

(This was published in the March 31, 2009 issue of the Truro Daily News.)