An update!

May 2, 2010

Well, I’m officially finished Journalism at Holland College. Two internships completed successfully. Graduation is slated for May 21st.

I made an update to my résumé on this blog, as I’m now working for Apple as a technical support advisor. I’m in training for three weeks before I get to don the headset.

A bunch more of my articles and reviews have been published at TalentEgg‘s LAUNCH. Choose from any of the links below to check them out.

(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.

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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

Two Standalone Photos

January 20, 2010

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

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

Photo courtesy of Nick Murray, Sport PEI

“The water was dirty and it was cold,” said Barbara McNeill of Summerside, of the water of the English Channel. “But after you’re in it for a few hours, your body adjusts to the temperature.”

It was McNeill’s third attempt at swimming from Dover, England to Cap Griz Nez, France, a 34-km distance. A storm greeted McNeill before France’s coast was within sight.

“The thing about the Channel is you never know what’s ahead of you. That’s why it’s such a challenge,” McNeill said. “A lot of it is mental determination.”

(You can read the rest of this article in the third issue of Island sports and entertainment magazine, The Updater. This story was a challenge for me because I know little about sports but I learned a lot in the process. Interviews include swimmer Barbara McNeill, Nick Murray of Sport P.E.I., boxing expert Wilf McCluskey and the museum’s portrait artist, Wayne Wright.)

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.)

NSCC student Laura Martin, 21, fills out the Know The Score quiz while learning about problem gambling. Hamilton photo.

NSCC student Laura Martin, 21, fills out the Know The Score quiz while learning about problem gambling. Hamilton photo.

TRURO – Like some of his peers college student Caleb Clyke occasionally gambles a few dollars while playing cards with his friends on the weekend.

He sometimes plays online poker, too, but not usually for money.

At Nova Scotia Community College yesterday, Clyke, 20, took a quiz on problem gambling and learned about some of the risks involved.

“Gambling is very addictive,” he said.

Educational assistant student Laura Martin also took the quiz even though she chooses not to gamble.

“It wastes money that could go towards my education or my dream of owning a horse,” she said.

The quiz was part of an interactive problem gambling awareness program called Know The Score designed by an Ontario-based non-profit organization committed to problem gambling prevention. The program was successfully piloted in 2001 in Ontario and has since appeared in other Canadian provinces.

NSCC students were enticed to take part in exchange for a chance at winning a $1,500 scholarship award.

“By completing the quiz, we hope to make students aware of local services for help with gambling-related problems and suggest ways they can limit the risk of developing a gambling problem,” explained project coordinator Kathleen Baldwin.

Gambling is not a way to make money and young people need to understand that, she said.

Student council and diversity committee chairman Ashley Brown, 35, said the quizzes made for a unique way of teaching students. “By filling them out, they may learn a few things about themselves or some of their friends,” he said.

Brown said he gambles with friends on occasion. “Knowing the score and knowing your limits makes it a lot easier to know when to call it quits,” he said.

By having this type of display set up at school, it shows students that money is important, Brown said.

“We want our students to realize that by damaging their credit and, by using their credit card, they’re accumulating debt.”

The gambling presentation will be set up in the NSCC residence dining hall today from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

(Published in the March 24, 2009 issue of the Truro Daily News.)

jh-rocket

Impressive goaltending and hometown spirit helped the P.E.I. Rocket defeat the Halifax Mooseheads 7-5 last night at the Civic Centre.

The Rocket defeated the Mooseheads last Sunday 6-4 in Charlottetown and the Mooseheads returned to the Civic Centre with vengeance, antlers waving.
Loyal P.E.I. hockey fans filled the stands and cheered at every goal that skimmed across the ice and into the Mooseheads’ net with ease.

Rocket goalie Evan Mosher had a puck flying his way 45 times during the game but deflected almost every shot effortlessly. The Rocket took 33 shots on the Mooseheads net in total.

Simon Ollson, 19, is the Swede with speed. He scored the first goal of the game in the first period, a goal in the second period and grabbed an assist in the second and third period.

“It’s always nice to win,” he said after the game.

Ollson said he wish the Rocket could’ve won in a better way.

“We didn’t play very good for 60 minutes. We just scored on our chances.”

The team let the Mooseheads get in too many goals, Ollson said.

“We let them get into the game too much. We should have won earlier. I dunno, better defence.”

Halifax played well, he added.

“They circluated the puck well. Got to the nets, got a lot of shots. They just couldn’t get the puck in.”

Joël Champagne, 19, scored two goals as well, one in the first period and one in the third period. He also had three assists.

The Mooseheads got a five-minute penalty for fighting during the second period. Gabriel O’Connor and of the Mooseheads and Jason Legault of the Rocket both received a penalty in the third period.

Hockey fan Katelyn Arnold, 16, was thrilled that her team won the game but couldn’t choose a favourite player.

“I don’t have a favourite. I like them all.”

The Rocket is scheduled to play the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles tomorrow evening at the Charlottetown Civic Centre.

Dead zones in the ocean will have a major impact on the fisheries industry, says an aquaculture student.

Trisha Lewis, 20, is a student at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro and the daughter of a Five Islands fisherman.

Oceanic dead zones are caused by human-made chemicals, like certain fertilizers, entering the water systems. These particular ocean areas are low in oxygen and have become inhabitable by many species of fish.

All living species need oxygen to live, said Lewis.

“When there is a lack of oxygen, living species may no longer be supported. In areas where there is a decreased oxygen, many fish may be faced with hypoxia.”

Hypoxia is a lack of oxygen in the fish’s tissues. This can be lethal if the species doesn’t find a way to get the oxygen it needs, she said.

“Hypoxia can lead to death very quickly and it is very stressful for the fish, which means the immune system will also become weak and the fish will be more susceptible to disease.”

The oceans are affected by a decrease in fish and also an increase in organic matter settling on the bottom of the areas with decreased oxygen.

“If dead zones are created, many aquatic species will no longer be able to live in those areas and be forced to go to other areas of the ocean which do have an adequate supply of oxygen,” Lewis said.

These dead zones can have a huge impact on the fishing industry if something isn’t done soon, she said.

“Since these dead zones are usually along coastal areas, fish will begin to move into deeper waters.”

Many people fish for recreation along the coast and many fish for a living, she said.

“If the fish are forced to move, the fishermen may see a decrease in their catch which directly affects their pocket book as well as the supply of fish for people to eat.”

Central Northumberland Strait Fisherman’s Association president Mike McGeoghegan is troubled by the issue.

“It is a concern,” he said.

McGeoghegan, a commercial lobster and crab fisherman, said it doesn’t take much to upset the environmental balance.

“The ecosystem is very fragile.”

However, he’s skeptical about these types of reports and the science community.

“Our voices are not heard very well,” he said.

These dead zones – and other oceanic anomalies – could be better understood by the scientific community by working closer with people who are impacted by them most, he said.

“When you’ve been out on the water, you learn a few things.”

(Published in the March 12, 2009 issue of The Surveyor.)

Twenty-one-year-old mountain climbers fall to their deaths in the French Alps

The weather likely wasn’t a factor in the recent death of a young mountain climber, says a climbing enthusiast.

Substitute teacher Chris Ferguson made the comment following the recent deaths of two young mountain climbers in the French Alps.

Ferguson lives in British Columbia and has over 15 years of mountain-climbing experience. He has climbed in Alaska, the Yukon, the Rockies, Wyoming, Nevada, California and British Columbia.

Ferguson said he’s likely summitted about 200 mountains.

“This, however, tells you nothing about skill and real experience when it comes to climbing. I’ve also spent probably hundreds of days climbing where getting to a summit was never the point.”

Mountain climbing features several different categories: ice, rock, mixed, big-wall, alpine/mountaineering and bouldering.

The range of ability in each of these is exceptionally broad, Ferguson said.

“Many of the world’s elite climbers do things on par with world record holder Olympians and dedicate their lives as much or more. Some climbing types are very safe while others have very serious consequences.”

Rob Gauntlett set a record in 2007 when he became the youngest British climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Randy Campbell, an outdoor leadership instructor in the Sport and Leisure Management program at Holland College, said Gauntlett’s climbing training would have been extensive.

I don’t believe that Mount Everest is an incredibly technical mountain, but being that it is the tallest in the world, it is huge challenge.”

Gauntlett’s age would have been an asset while climbing Everest, Ferguson said.

“Young legs and heart would be an advantage. Too young and you might have a harder time carrying some of the weight required to move up the mountain, although that can be minimized through the use of sherpas.”

Between April 2007 and October 2008, Gauntlett and John Hooper, his climbing partner for Everest, traveled from the North to the South Pole to help raise awareness of climate change. They traveled using skis, dog sled, yacht and bicycle.

In January, the bodies of Gauntlett and a climbing companion were found in the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc area of the French Alps. The two climbers fell while ice climbing. Gauntlett and his partner were 21.

They were on a route called the Gervasutti Couloir,  Ferguson said.

“A couloir is a 45-50 degree gash up the side of a mountain, usually filled with snow and or ice.”

This particular couloirs was flat enough to ski, Ferguson said.

“Other climbers found them accidentally, so I do not think the weather was a factor.”

Ferguson said it’s hard to say what exactly went wrong during the climb.

Fatigue and poor decisions are almost always involved.”

Mount Everest was first summitted by Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese sherpa, in 1953.

The record-holder for youngest person to climb Everest is held by Temba Tsheri of Nepal who reached the summit at age 16 and lost five fingers to frostbite. 

(Published in the February 26, 2009 edition of The Surveyor.)