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With minimal COVID-19 cases being reported throughout the summertime, Public Health regulations relaxing and vaccinations steadily on the rise, Nova Scotians once again began to live life and try to rebound from the economic hardships. But, that reprieve was short-lived as by the end of the year, the pandemic took the spotlight again, as a new wave of the Coronavirus swept across the province. Here's a look at some of the top stories that appeared in the Valley Journal-Advertiser from July to December 2021. JULY West Hants RCMP were • investigating after ‘Save the Lake' signs were lit on fire in Windsor and Falmouth. The signs were installed by residents opposed to the DFO ministerial order that resulted in the draining of Lake Pisiquid. An Annapolis-Valley • based businessman, Mark Johnston, the owner and medical director of True North Clinical Research and True North Psychological Services, was so moved by Brett King's summertime cycling fundraiser in memory of his mother that he agreed to match up to $10,000 in donations made. Landyn Toney, a 12-yearold • boy from the Annapolis Valley First Nation in Cambridge, walked 157 kilometres to raise awareness of Canada's residential school system and the impact it had and continues to have on the country's Indigenous communities. Throughout the summer, a number of unmarked graves of children who died while attending residential schools across the country were unearthed, sparking Toney's walk. Hantsport firefighters • and residents stopped by the fire station one last time as demolition crews began dismantling it July 6. A new, modernized station was to be built at the same Oak Street site. A second ‘Love the Lake' • rally was held in Windsor as residents, business owners, farmers and recreational users tried to express their desire to see Lake Pisiquid returned. The pandemic didn't • deter Hantsport's Glenn Deering from expanding his business. The café owner purchased the former town hall building from West Hants Regional Municipality and announced plans to expand the Barking Bean Café. The new location on Main Street was operational by December. A summertime storm • kept Annapolis Valley firefighters busy and resulted in an evacuation after a propane tank was struck by lightning. The July 21 incident occurred in New Minas, resulting in residents of Aalders Avenue and shoppers at area businesses — Walmart, Mark's Work Wearhouse and Sport Chek — having to evacuate while the fire department got things under control. As the sewage stench • issues in Hants Border were resolving, residents of New Minas were beginning to complain about the smell from their sewage lagoons. The County of Kings launched a multi-million-dollar project to rectify the odour emanating from the regional sewage treatment plant at the end of Jones Road. Andrew Zebian, a rookie • Town of Kentville councillor, was concerned after receiving a confidential report that outlined alleged 'abusive and disrespectful' behaviour and highlighted a toxic work environment for the municipality's employees. Threatened with a lawsuit if he spoke publicly about the allegations contained in the report, Zebian took to social media to let residents know what a former CAO wrote in 2020 about the relationship between council and staff. Several homes and businesses • in Windsor, in particular, those located on Stannus Street and low-lying areas, were flooded following a fastmoving thunderstorm. Gabrielle Breault and • her husband, Peter AustinSmith, co-own Petite Patrie Chocolate in Kentville — and opened a storefront on July 2. The specialty chocolate factory, which is a bean-to-bar operation, was doing brisk business, with the owners already pondering expansion. The chocolate is created using sustainable, high-end cocoa beans. Using the same technology • as Google Street View, photographer Paul Illsley managed to capture Kentville's Ravine Trail's beauty and produce an online virtual tour, making it accessible to all. Melanie and Jake Eelman • purchased a 21-acre property in Port Williams and transformed it into Beausoleil Farmstead — a farm stay accommodation that featured a winery, cidery and boutique. Shelter Movers Nova • Scotia expanded its ability to help those in need by opening a branch in the Annapolis Valley. The first move they made involved helping Chrysalis House move into its new space. Shelter Movers generally help move individuals out of situations where violence An employee with Avondale Construction saved an office chair from the rubble as crews worked to demolish the Hantsport fire hall, which was built in 1961. A new fire station is currently under construction. is present and into a shelter or other living arrangement. Chrysalis House helps women and children leave violent situations. Demonstrators rallied • outside Kings Hants MP Kody Blois' Wolfville office demanding action on the climate crisis. AUGUST Letter writing campaigns • were underway, some urging no more delays to the twinning of Highway 101 near Windsor and requesting Bernadette Jordan, the federal minister responsible for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Coast Guard, to ease back the March ministerial order that resulted in the draining of Lake Pisiquid. Those in favour of seeing the Avon River returned to its natural state also began writing letters to share their views. John Smith was acclaimed • as West Hants' new councillor for District 9: Falmouth. He replaced Richard Murphy, who resigned earlier in the year. The Hantsport Baptist • Church congregation officially opened its new, fully accessible community hall and named it after the late Dorothy Olivia (McKinnon) Wellwood — a single mother who arrived in Hantsport in the 1950s and went on to become a beloved school teacher, musician and church member. An Indigenous man was • speaking up after an elder, who had been camped out near Windsor's controversial causeway since 2020, was allegedly yelled at by a truck driver and told to ‘go home.' Zacc Paul said the water protectors had continuously had insults and racist remarks hurled at them by passersby since they set up camp. The caretakers of the • Charles Macdonald Concrete House in Centreville were requesting financial help from the government as the century-old building required extensive repairs to keep it functioning as a museum for years to come. The designated heritage property is considered a work of art and sculpture, akin to the Maud Lewis House. After 10 years of fundraising, • Chrysalis House, a shelter that offers a safe environment and outreach services for women and their children who have experienced violence and abuse, finally opened its new facility in Kentville. The Nova Scotia provincial • election saw Progressive Conservative leader Tim Houston defeat Liberal Iain Rankin to form the new government. Elected locally were PC Melissa Sheehy-Richard (Hants West), Liberal Keith Irving (Kings South), PC John Lohr (Kings North), and PC Chris Palmer (Kings West). Wolfville residents were • concerned over silt and sediment build-up at Pond View Park, requesting it be dredged to save the pond and the habitat that is frequented by turtles, frogs, muskrats, and great blue herons. A barricaded road had • residents of Harbourville up in arms. Due to a damaged culvert, barricades were installed along Russia Road in 2020. Then, in 2021, a large rock berm completely blocking the road was laid, resulting in 12-kilometres of detours for area residents. That sparked concerns over emergency response times. SEPTEMBER Windsor's Terry Fox Run • was once again a virtual affair due to the ongoing pandemic, with participants pledging to run or walk to raise funds for cancer research. In 2020, the Windsor location raised $27,000 — more than any prior year. The second overdose awareness • vigil was held in Windsor's Victoria Park in hopes of educating more people on naloxone and normalizing having a naloxone kit handy in case of an overdose. Organizers said it should be as common as having a first aid kit in your house. Kody Blois, MP for KingsHants, • was returned to his seat in Ottawa, for his second term in parliament. Gerrish & Gray opened • in downtown Windsor to fanfare. In the months leading up to the restaurant opening, countless people would stop by to see the restoration work and renovations occurring at the old building. The owners, Conrad Mullins and Ben Bennett, wanted to ensure some of the historic aspects — like the windows dating back to the early 1900s — were retained. A driver who struck two • homes in Windsor with her car, dealing considerable damage to one of them, was arrested by police for impaired driving. Nova Scotia announced • that equalization payments traditionally made to municipal units would be doubling in size in the fall to help offset the rising costs associated with maintaining services. The announcement was made in Windsor. Kings Hants MP Kody • Blois (Liberal) and Hants West MLA Melissa SheehyRichard (PC) met following the two summertime elections, both vowing to work towards common goals, which included settling the Avon River causeway file. Open Arms' Inn from the • Cold, a shelter in Kentville, was damaged following a sewage flood. Many of the items at the shelter, located in the basement of a church, were destroyed. Community members and business owners rallied to help replace the items, including mattresses, bedding and hygiene products. While attending an emergency preparedness day at the Vaughan fire hall Aug. 28, Danielle Paul, 11, laughed as she completed a fire drill challenge that saw participants race to get dressed in bunker gear and compare their times with other participants. OCTOBER Essentially English Bakery • and Café, owned by Kate Lander, who emigrated to Canada in the 1980s, opened in Hantsport, offering visitors a taste of home. The Halls Harbour Community • Development Association was hard at work planning a project to protect the Bay of Fundy coastal community from the climate crisis. The Utilities and Review • Board granted the New Minas Water Commission permission to issue water conservation orders when required, and to suspend accounts if they don't heed the order. The Portal Youth Outreach • Association opened its first transitional youth house in Kentville, announcing plans to open houses in Windsor and Middleton. The houses will provide youth who are homeless or who are at risk of homelessness with stability and supports to help them get on their feet. Avon View High School • students in Windsor left school to protest, urging staff to take action to address sexual assaults that they allege are happening at school. Multiple summary offence • tickets were issued following a raucous Acadia homecoming weekend. The university's administration said they were disappointed by the unruly behaviour. Windsor Elms Village's • $1-million energy retrofit project, which featured a solar array at the long-term care home in Falmouth, was celebrated. The Elms' CAO Susan MacDougall said the deep energy project was good for their residents and staff, the planet and the home's bottom line. NOVEMBER A pro wrestler with Hants • County roots, Lil' Blay, also known as Cody Brown, was making a name for himself. He recently trained in Mexico in the Lucha Libre style and was heading back to Windsor in November to headline a North Pro Canadian Wrestling show. Windsor West Hants • Caremongers were once again looking to spread some joy over the Christmas holiday. Not only were they preparing about 130 food boxes, which contained all the fixings for Christmas plus extras to enjoy, they created about two dozen reverse advent calendars for seniors. The calendars, intended for seniors without family nearby, featured a small present to unwrap each day in December leading up to Christmas. Windsor firefighters designed • a new insignia to better reflect the department's rich history and pride in service to others. The new logo, which also appears on their flag, was officially unveiled in November. Valley Regional Hospital • Foundation (VRHF) was looking to raise $50,000 through the Harvest for Health virtual cooking series, with the funds going towards the group's $1.5-million campaign to replace a CT scanner at the Kentville-based hospital. DECEMBER The grand unveiling of • Mi'kmaq artist Alan Syliboy's mural ‘Little Thunder and the Stone Canoe' occurred outside the Kings County Museum in Kentville Dec. 10. The mural represented another step on the town's journey toward reconciliation and better inclusion of the First Nations community. Residents and historians • were up in arms over West Hants council looking to sell the former pool site in Windsor to a developer, noting the land, intended for community use, was located next to the Fort Edward National Historic Site and should be transformed into a museum or an attraction that people can enjoy. Rob Davis, a Grade 8 • West Hants Middle School science and math teacher, received a 2021 Teaching Excellence in STEM certificate of achievement from the federal government. Three-quarters of the old • Nova Scotia Textiles Ltd. mill, located prominently along Highway 101 in Windsor, was demolished. The community had hoped the developer might be able to salvage the historic, but run-down, building. Hantsport's Lana Shay • went ‘through hell' battling multiple myeloma, but she's now in remission. She shared her journey to wellness in hopes of helping others and inspiring them to take an interest in how their health is being managed. Sixteen-year-old Carmen • Peng, of Wolfville, will soon be performing at Carnegie Hall. Peng landed the prestigious performance after winning first place in the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition in 2020. She's due to perform in June. Hants County fisherman • Darren Porter received the 2021 Visionary Award from the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment. The award recognized “his outstanding volunteer efforts as an unwavering champion for the Bay of Fundy.” A Hants County mother • and her four children were displaced three days before Christmas after a fire tore through the RV she was renting. The community quickly rallied to help the family gather immediate necessities, like clothing and food. A wicked wind storm • over the Christmas holiday resulted in considerable damage to the trusses that were being installed on the new Hantsport Fire Department station on Oak Street.