Columns and Letters

Column: Dirt Road Rant - Wishing you all the best!

July 21, 2021

-by John Gillis

    There’s an election coming. Well, at least one provincially and perhaps before long, likely a federal one too. If that’s news to you and you are on social media, or any media for that matter, here’s a suggestion that we can hopefully follow – be kind to one another. That’s something that seems more rare these days. Sure, people have rights and responsibilities and we have a democracy fortunately. People have to be held to account, but we are all human. We all make mistakes. Seeing some of the meanness going around – do we really need to be that unkind?
    Need to cheer up? Hey, there are more live music performances to attend throughout the county, so let’s hope our COVID numbers stay low and these variants don’t mushroom into something more so people can get out and attend live shows and events. Also, a reminder to those of us who haven’t yet checked out the Hands Dancing members art show at Inverness County Centre for the Arts – please do so before the end of July. You won’t be disappointed by the depth of artistic talent that abounds in Inverness County!
    Speaking of which, Inverness County sadly lost one of its dedicated public servants last week - a man who did much for arts, culture, heritage, recreation, and tourism in our county prior to his retirement – a kind and articulate gentleman named John Cotton. My condolences to his family, as I am one of those people who have many fond memories of John as he was a key player along with a team of others and dedicated volunteers who helped build much of the arts, culture, recreation, and tourism infrastructure that exists here today. Gone too soon!
    Congratulations again to all the graduates in Inverness County! I had the opportunity to attend the grand march for Dalbrae Academy graduates, which took place last Friday evening in Mabou. It was beautiful to see the graduates celebrate their achievement, to be with their parents, teachers, supporters, and community as they marched, celebrated, gave thanks, spoke, and listened to music while having fun dressing to the nines! I know many of you are in party mode since it’s summer and we’re hopefully coming out of this COVID pandemic into some type of new normal, but be careful partying and careful especially on our roads and highways. Best wishes for your future endeavours this summer, into the fall and beyond!
    Over this past month, Oran readers had the opportunity to hear about several efforts to keep the beautiful Inverness beach clean...from Cabot, from community development groups, from teachers and school administrative workers, dedicated young students and from other individuals who are doing their best keeping the beach clean from garbage and the debris that unfortunately washes up in many places onshore these days. How disappointing to see that last weekend people left a tremendous amount of garbage on the beach after partying and not cleaning up after themselves. You will see photos of this sent in by concerned citizens this week in The Oran and it’s a good reminder of the diligence that it takes to maintain a lovely beach.
    Unfortunately, we see similar problems on many of our roadsides and in our neighbourhoods. Please, make a small effort at least and keep your garbage in your cars until you get home...don’t throw it out roadside! Take some pride in our beautiful province; our beautiful Cape Breton Island. Prince Edward Island does and at least when I visited there last, I was deeply impressed on how they kept their roadsides and communities much cleaner than we seem to do here in Nova Scotia. We can do better!
     Finally, whether you are religious or not, let’s say a prayer for and give a moment of silence for Arleen MacNeil and her family and friends. She was the lone survivor of the terrible and tragic McDonald’s murders in Sydney River, Cape Breton in the 1990s. Arleen passed away at age 46 this week. Sadly, Arleen was only 20 years of age when much of her future and her life was robbed from her during that horrific event. She suffered the injuries of the shooting and yet, despite all that happened to her, according to those who knew her, she stayed very positive in her outlook. Let’s hope there’s an afterlife – given the unfairness of what someone like Arleen had to suffer for nothing other than being a dedicated worker and a young woman out in the world trying to earn an honest living.

















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The Inverness Oran
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