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School board officials offer counselling at local school following hold-and-secure

Officials with the Strait Regional School Board say they will provide counselling to students, staff members and parents and guardians at a local school.

RCMP say they had a report of gunfire in the area of Cape Breton Highlands Education Centre/Academy at roughly 2:15 p.m. Thursday.

Officials at the northern Inverness Co. school, which is home to roughly 320 students in grades primary to 12, implemented a hold-and-secure procedure as a precaution; hold-and-secure restricts access to and from a building.

Police say the shots came from two hunters, they weren't fired at the school, and there were no threats made.

Students were sent home at roughly 5 p.m.

School board officials say counselling services will be available at the school Friday afternoon as well as Monday, after students return to the school following a provincial in-service.


Fire chief petitions for twinning of Hwy. 104 to Antigonish

A fire chief in Pictou Co. says he's renewing his call for more twinning on Hwy. 104 after another deadly crash.

Joe MacDonald with the Barney's River Volunteer Fire Dept. says there have been 14 fatal crashes on the 37-kilometre stretch that runs from Sutherland's River to Antigonish since 2009.

He says there have roughly 145 other crashes in that time.

A 37-year-old man from Sheet Harbour died in the latest fatal crash when a pick-up truck and tractor trailer collided in Marshy Hope Oct. 17.

MacDonald tells The Hawk provincial officials need to consider twinning that particular stretch of highway.

"One is too many," he says. "Fourteen is a lot too many."

MacDonald says provincial officials have said a safety audit will be done on that stretch of highway in the next few months.

He says there are other safety measures that could be put in place in the meantime.

"More rumble strips, more alerts (that tell you to) pay attention, fasten your seatbelt," he says. "Maybe some flashing lights (to indicate) that you're entering a dangerous zone."

MacDonald says he has started an online petition addressed to both provincial and federal officials to ask them to twin Hwy. 104 from Sutherland's River to Antigonish.

It has gained nearly 3,500 signatures so far.

You can see it here.


Chamber officials present small business awards

Members of the Antigonish Chamber of Commerce have honoured their own.

Chamber officials presented their 2014 Small Business Week awards at a gala at the St. Andrews Community Centre Thursday.

Kevin and Bonnie DeCoste, the owners and operators of DeCoste Electrical and Ventilation, received the Ian Spencer- Excellence in Business award.

After, Bonnie DeCoste told The Hawk the award is recognition of great employees and customers.

"It's a good opportunity for us to be able to thank our customers that we've been very much supported by over the last 30 years," he said. "(It's) a good opportunity to thank the staff that have been very supportive, and have really built the company over the last 30 years."

The company, which was established in 1985, has 15 employees.

Sarah England of Queen Bead won the Young Entrepreneur award, the Outstanding Customer Service award went to Emma Peters from the Tall and Small Cafe, and Sacred Temple Tattoo and Design won the Emerging Business award.


Students dismissed after reports of shots fired near Cape Breton Highlands Education Centre Academy

Strait Regional School Board officials say students at the Cape Breton Highlands Education Centre Academy have been dismissed.

They say students who do not usually travel home by bus have been transported by bus to Capers Gas Station where parents or guardians can meet them.

School officials say there was a report of shots fired in the vicinity of the school.

They say the school was in hold-and-secure mode as a precaution.

RCMP Sgt. Al LeBlanc tells The Hawk police believe the gunfire came from nearby hunters on ATV's.

He says there were no shots fired at the school and no threats were made.


Officials say they hope new hire at Strait Richmond stays for the long term

Officials with the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority say they hope a full time doctor hired to staff the Strait Richmond Hospital's ER will remain in the area long-term.

GASHA'S Vice President of Medicine says the physician will start full time at the Evanston hospital December 1.

Dr. Jeremy Hillyard says the physician already works in the area and has been covering shifts on a part-time basis.

Hillyard tells The Hawk the goal is to have the doctor remain in the area for a while.

"There's no end date to the contract," he says. "So we're hoping he'll be staying long term."

Hillyard says the physician will work exclusively in the emergency department.

The ER at the hospital has been closed several times over the past few months due to physician unavailability.

Hillyard says closures are still possible before the new hire begins full time, but officials are working to prevent that.

"I'm hoping it won't be too bad in November," he says. "The same individual is going to be doing two days a week starting the first of November."

Hillyard says GASHA officials are always working to recruit more physicians to the area.

He says officials want to thank the public for their patience during the closures, and other local doctors for filling in when possible.


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