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A Quad Counties farmer says this winter has been especially difficult on the agriculture industry

An Inverness Co. farmer says this winter has been one of the worst he can remember for farmers across the province.

Chris van den Heuval is President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, the Port Hood farmer says the repeated heavy snow falls, combined with the freeze-thaw cycle, has caused a lot of damage to farm buildings.

Van den Heuval tells The Hawk this winter compares to White Juan when you add it all up.

"Maybe not quite with that intensity; but we've been getting (a storm followed by a thaw a couple days later), then back-to-back storms," he says. "I would say it's certainly one of the worst ones in recent history."

Van den Heuval says farmers would like some help from officials with the provincial government to cover their costs.

"Our estimates are $3 million and counting as far as the damage to agriculture buildings," he says. "They're open to looking at it, and our fingers are crossed that they'll be able to help out and do something."

Van den Heuval says provincial officials are hoping to get more data about the damage, so federation members are circulating a survey.

He says they have around 30 responses so far.


StFX officials say they agree with financial accountability legislation, but want tuition cap elimin

An officials at StFX says they understand the reasoning behind new provincial legislation aimed at increasing the financial accountability of universities.

Government officials say they will introduce legislation that will allow them to get a clearer picture of the finances of the province's 10 post-secondary institutions.

Andrew Beckett, the vice-president of finance at StFX, says they've been speaking with provincial officials about these changes, so they don't come as a surprise.

Beckett tells The Hawk the new legislation is a reasonable measure.

"We receive over $30 million from the provincial government," he says. "It's a key part of our funding mechanism, so we recognize the importance of being seen as a valued partner with the province."

Beckett says provincial funding makes up close to 50 per cent of their annual revenue.

A provincial consultation report indicates there will be a $50 million gap between provincial funding and what university officials need within three years.

Beckett says that seems like a likely scenario based on his numbers.

"It points to a fundamental problem with the cost structures and revenue structures associated with universities."

Beckett says personnel costs are their highest expenditure, at 75 per cent.

He says their costs increase anywhere from three-to-five per cent a year, but tuition only increases three per cent due to the tuition cap.

Beckett says he'd like the cap removed, and university officials to have more control to set their own rates.

He says he understands that can't happen without legislation like this coming into place.


Price of gas up slightly

Pump prices have increased slightly.

Members of the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board raised the price of gas 1.3 cents a litre at midnight.

That means the new range for a litre of regular self-serve in the Quad Counties, depending on where you fill up, is between a minimum of $1.07.6 and a maximum of $1.10.5.

The price of diesel went down; it dropped 2.5 cents a litre.

The new diesel range is anywhere between $1.07 and $1.09.8.


RCMP make drug bust in St. Peter's

Police say a teen has been arrested following a drug bust in Richmond Co.

RCMP say officers seized a substantial amount of marijuana, as well as some drug paraphernalia and money, when they searched a home in St. Peter's Wednesday night.

They say residents told them the home was a hangout for selling and using drugs.

Police say they arrested an 18-year-old at the scene; there were seven other people at the home at the time, but they were released when officers determined they didn't have any illegal drugs.

The teen, who has been charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, hasn't had his court date set at this point.


Eskasoni man convicted of assault charges sentenced to prison time

A man from Eskasoni found guilty of two assault charges has been sentenced to time behind bars.

Stephen Misel Googoo, 30, was convicted of assault and assault causing bodily harm after a Nova Scotia Supreme Court trial in Port Hawkesbury.

The court heard Googoo was out for a night of socializing, and went back to a home in Waycobah with his girlfriend and another couple in August; it heard Googoo starting arguing with his partner, and was choking her before he jumped on the woman's sister, who came to help, and broke her leg.

He was the only witness to testify for the defence; the judge in the case said most of his testimony was fabricated.

Googoo was sentenced in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Port Hawkesbury Wednesday; a judge handed him a three-year prison term, and a lifetime firearms ban.


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