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Clara Hughes visits Port Hawkesbury as part of national bicycle tour

An Olympic medalist cycling around the country to grow awareness around mental health says her journey has been phenomenal so far.

Clara Hughes, who started her 110-day journey in Toronto March 14, was greeted by more than 50 people as she arrived in Port Hawkesbury Thursday afternoon.

Hughes will visit every province and territory in the country before she dismounts her bicycle one final time in Ottawa on Canada Day.

After Thursday afternoon's meet and greet in Port Hawkesbury, Hughes said she's met people from all ages, genders and ethnicities along the way.

"I feel like this ride leaves nobody out," she said. "That means the most to me because it's kind of, I think representative of mental illness - it really discriminates against no one and it affects every one of us."

Hughes said her goal is to not only raise awareness around mental health, but to reduce the stigma around mental illness.

She said it's important to pass her message along to others, especially the younger generation.

"We need to realize that mental illness is not something that you ask for or something you bring upon yourself - it's actually an illness," she said. "People live with it, people get over it, some people live with it and cope and manage with it - I'm one of them."

Hughes will share her story at an event at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre Thursday night; she'll meet with residents of the Port Hawkesbury Nursing Home before leaving for Sydney Friday morning.


Antigonish Co. man charged with possessing, distributing child porn

RCMP say an Antigonish Co. man is facing child porn charges following the search of a home earlier this week.

Police say officers executed a search warrant at a home in Frankville Tuesday.

They say three laptops, an external hard drive and a cell phone were seized during the search.

RCMP say Trevor Jon Austen, 37, was arrested at the scene and charged with possession and distribution of child pornography; he's scheduled to appear in Antigonish Provincial Court Oct. 22.


Climatologist says this winter was colder, stormier than in recent years

A senior climatologist with Environment Canada says the weather this past winter dominated conversations across the country, and for good reason.

David Phillips says not only was this past winter colder than normal, it was also snowier and stormier than in the past few years.

He says the frequency of storms also stood out in his mind, although it was just a fluke that they happened nearly every Wednesday or Thursday.

Phillips tells The Hawk we haven't seen a winter like this in several years.

"We saw statistics which are suggesting that it was probably the second coldest in 61 years, the third snowiest in 45 years," he says. "Clearly you weren't imagining it - you were doing a lot shovelling, plowing and pushing and having to bundle up because conditions were cold."

Phillips says there weren't many large storms, but there was a multitude of smaller ones.

He says we're not as accustomed to seeing winters like the one we just experienced.

"I think we've been seduced in recent years to see the fact that winters aren't what they were as in our youth or what our parents and grandparents told us it was all about."

Phillips says we normally see the grass at least a couple of times throughout the winter in the Maritimes, something that didn't happen this year.


Guysborough Co. lobster fishing season delayed

The start of the lobster fishing season in Guysborough Co. has been delayed.

Fishermen decided to delay the start because of high wind in a vote Wednesday.

The season is now expected to open Monday.


Preliminary hearing continues for head sheriff from Antigonish Co.

A head sheriff from Antigonish Co. facing a pair of charges has had his case adjourned.

Port Hawkesbury RCMP arrested James William Snow in connection with a Nov. 2008 incident in Troy; he's been released from custody.

Police have charged the 59-year-old Cape Jack man with sexual assault and breach of trust.

Snow made his first appearance in the case in July; he elected a Nova Scotia Supreme Court trial by judge and jury.

He started his preliminary hearing in Port Hawkesbury Provincial Court in January; it resumed Wednesday, and is expected to continue May 1.

Snow, who has worked as a sheriff for more than 30 years throughout the province, has been placed on leave.


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