Cheers & Jeers

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These birds scrounge for seeds in a rare bare patch. 

Cheers: An ice specialist with the Canadian Coast Guard in the Maritimes says that despite the lingering winter, cool temperatures and heavy snow cover across the region, there is still a chance the spring lobster season might start on time May 1. Anyone travelling across the Confederation Bridge will see that the Northumberland Strait is mostly open water. The ice along the north shore looks heavy but is mostly shell ice with snow cover, which would easily break up. A couple days of westerly or southerly winds would soon clear the ice out of the strait and gulf and allow lobster boats to set traps April 30 – maybe.

Cheers: To the efforts of nature and wildlife groups in the Maritimes which are trying to assist numerous species of migratory birds. Birds returning to the Maritimes this spring are in deep trouble. The harsh winter has left a thick blanket of snow on the ground preventing birds, like woodcocks and robins, from finding food. The Sierra Club doesn’t usually encourage feeding wild birds but this is an unusual and critical situation. For example, The Hope for Wildlife Society, a bird and animal rescue centre in Seaforth, N.S., has been purchasing a lot of insects, worms, fish, etc. to feed birds in distress. There is no time to spare.

Cheers: To the City of Charlottetown which will open its April 13 monthly meeting with a poem, as part the Canada-wide Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge in celebration of National Poetry Month. The project encourages municipal councils across Canada to take a few minutes at the beginning of their council meetings to recognize poets in their communities. Charlottetown poet Jane Ledwell will read “Horse in a Rut,” a poem which offers an unusual take on historic Charlottetown from the vantage point of a horse. A report suggests that Mayor Clifford Lee is considering ending the meeting with a limerick starting: “There once was a great mayor from the Island . . .”

 Jeers: To VISA Canada which is throwing cold water on an end-of-school tradition by predicting that Canadian prom goers are expected to hold back their spending this year. The start of spring usually signals the start of preparations for prom season. A new national survey conducted by VISA showed that planned prom spending is down 37 per cent: Canadian households with teenagers plan to spend an average of $508 on this year’s prom, down from $804 last year. Parents will spend more on daughters ($424) than sons ($278). Families in the Prairie provinces plan to spend the most ($670); Ontarians plan to spend the least ($420).  Islanders are somewhere in the middle.

Cheers: Despite the deep snow still blanketing much of the province, the sports angling season will open as usual April 15. The opening of trout fishing has been an important day for generations of Islanders, says Brad Potter, Manager of Fish and Wildlife programs for the Department of Agriculture and Forestry. "After a long winter, opening day provides the perfect reason to enjoy a day outdoors fishing with friends and family." Safety is an important concern this year as many bays, rivers and ponds are still ice covered. Deep snows will make walking difficult so snowshoes may help anglers access some trout fishing spots.  

Cheers: To Claire Martin, scientist, climatologist and former CBC national forecaster, who will seek the Green Party nomination for the riding of North Vancouver. Islanders and millions of Canadians have watched Claire for years provide late night weather with her certain flair and humour. They also enjoyed her banter with news host Peter Mansbridge, especially her British diction of calling him ‘Pete-tah.’

Organizations: VISA, Islanders, Department of Agriculture and Forestry CBC Green Party

Geographic location: North Vancouver

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