February 2013 will mark the 29th year Nova Scotians have celebrated African Heritage Month in this province. The African Heritage Month Information Network – a partnership of community organizations have collaborated to help ensure the promotion and awareness of events and activities in HRM and  province-wide. The Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs (ANSA) provides event listings as a service. Be sure to check out the ANSA website for its African Heritage Month calendar for more program details on upcoming events, concerts and other special functions at: www.gov.ns.ca/ansa/AHM2013.asp . Events are subject to change. To submit or update events, contact ansa_newsletter@gov.ns.ca .


Annually the NS Black Cultural Centre (BCC) awards this prestigious distinction to a few deserving individuals from the Nova Scotian Black Community who exemplify community service and leadership. The event will be on  Saturday, February 9th, 6:30 PM at the BCC, at 10 Cherry Brook Road. This function is open to the general public. Admission is a free-will donation. For information, call 434-6223.


There will be a photographic exhibit entitled “Description Position As Desired / Exploring African Canadian Identity” at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, 1055 Marginal Road in Halifax from January 22nd to March 30th.. Explore the topic of Black identity in Canada in the context of immigration and multi-culturalism. “Position As Desired” is a new temporary exhibition that presents 26 photographic works from the Wedge Collection, ranging from rare vintage portraits of the first African immigrants to Canada, to contemporary works by four emerging artists documenting the experiences of African Canadians. The exhibition also features a local component, incorporating works produced by African Nova Scotian artists that express personal interpretations of African Canadian identities. General Museum admission will be charged. Take a guided tour of the exhibition or explore on your own time! Public programming is planned for youth and adults. Check www.pier21.ca often for details. All are welcome to the opening reception on Friday, February 8th at 5:30 p.m. which will feature commentary from exhibition curator Kenneth Montague.


Not many people realize that the Federal Government has proclaimed February 15th as National Flag of Canada Day. In 1965, 48 years ago, the old Red Ensign Flag with the British Union Jack was replaced with the Red Maple Leaf. If you want to know more about our flag’s history and some other related trivia, then go to: www.pch.gc.ca/special/jdn-nfd/index-eng.cfm . Let’s all proudly display our nations’ Maple Leaf. Be sure to wave our Provincial, Municipal and Community Flags too !  As well, Heritage Day is rapidly approaching. The third Monday in February each year is set aside for communities to celebrate local, provincial and national heritage. The date this year is February 18th.


The Old School Gathering Place Co-operative in Musquodoboit Harbour has applied for Municipal Heritage Status for their facility. A public hearing will be held at Regional Council on February 19th, to determine whether or not it should become a municipal registered site. For more information on the HRM Heritage Advisory Committee report, go to :  www.halifax.ca/boardscom/hac/documents/heritage121212.PDF .


Each winter, trademark “Raising the Roof” toques are sold for $10 each by community and corporate volunteers, as well as online at www.raisingtheroof.org , giving Canadians an easy, fun way to support long-term solutions to homelessness. The toque campaign is a high-profile national fund-and-awareness initiative. Toque Tuesday will be on February 5th, 2013 and it marks the 16th Annual Toque Campaign. Since 1998 over $3.5 Million has been raised for long-term solutions to homelessness.  80% of net proceeds from the Toque Campaign benefit grassroots community partner agencies that help homeless people in cities and towns across Canada. The remaining 20% supports Raising the Roof’s national homeless initiatives, such as; Youthworks and Child & Family Homelessness. So please buy a toque.


HRM is now accepting applications for the 2013-2014 Community Grants Program. The deadline for applying is March 31st, 2013. Application forms and program guidebooks are available online at www.halifax.ca/grants  by calling 311 or from one of HRM’s Citizen Contact Centres.  The HRM Community Grants Program is a centralized program that provides annual cash grants to registered non-profit organizations and charities located throughout HRM. There are two types of grants: (1) a project grant of up to $5,000 and (2) a capital grant of up to $25,000.  Grants are one-time and project-specific within the following funding sectors:  Environment; Recreation & Leisure; Affordable & Supportive Housing; Emergency Assistance; Neighborhood Safety; Community History; Community Diversity; and Arts & Crafts. For information see: www.halifax.ca/boardscom/bccgrants/CommunityGrantsProgram.html


For the 34th consecutive year, Recreation Nova Scotia (RNS) is pleased to present the “Lucky Duck Lotto ” – an easy, risk-free ticket sales fundraising program designed to help schools, sports clubs, community groups and other non-profit groups and organizations raise monies for their own programs and activities. Last year more than 150 schools, clubs and community groups participated. Tickets are $1 each and come in books of ten. 70 cents of every $1 ticket sold remains with the ticket sellers. The Campaign runs through to March 22nd, 2013 . Ticket Draws: March 29th 2013. First Prize: $3,000 cash. Second Prize: $500 cash. Third Prize: Weekend Get-Away for Two. Plus 7 additional draws for $100 each. Groups that sell a minimum of 500 tickets will have their names entered into a draw for a $75.00 cash prize. If your group is interested in participating, please contact John Glynn-Morris at 425-1128 ext 2 or download information from their website: www.recreationns.ns.ca/luckyduck . Groups that wish to order tickets are asked to complete a Contract “A“ form and return by fax – 422-8201, mail (address below) or email to: jglynn-morris@recreationns.ns.ca . The Contract “A“ form is available for download from their website along with campaign posters. A seller’s kit, tickets, ticket control sheets, selling tips and posters will be sent out to participating groups upon sign up.  Reserve your tickets now! If you have any questions, please contact Recreation Nova Scotia, 5516 Spring Garden Rd, Suite 309, Halifax, NS B3J 1G6.


HRM will have a host of summer employment opportunities for students. Please check out their Recreation & Youth web-sites for more details. Jobs will be posted by mid-February at www.halifax/rec  and  www.hrmyouth.ca .


Just a reminder that the official Appeal Period for Property Assessments ends on Thursday, February 14th at midnight. Property owners can review and perhaps refute their appraisals. Contact the NS Municipality Agency – Property Valuation Services Corporation (PVSC). Their office is located at Park Place Two, 238-A Brownlow Avenue, Suite 200, Dartmouth, NS, B3B 2B4. Telephone: 720-7872 or Fax:  720-7873 or Toll-Free: 1-800-667-5727. Property owners are encouraged to call and talk to an Assessor, prior to appealing an assessment. Perhaps this approach may answer and clear up some questions that you may have, hopefully avoiding the time of an appeal. If not, you have the right to make a formal appeal, (in writing) either by letter or fax which must be received by their office on, or before the deadline date. Appeals by e-mail are not accepted. For more information, please refer to your assessment notice or go to PVSC Appeal Guide for more details at :www.pvsc.ca/assessment-information/appeal-information/appeal-brochure  If you should have any further enquiries about property valuation, please refer to their web-site at: www.PVSC.ca.


The highly anticipated Lake Echo Watershed Report is expected to be released and reviewed by the Halifax Watershed Advisory Board on February 20th.  To see the report, go to the HRM Boards & Committees agenda site at www.halifax.ca/boardscom/hhcwab/Agendas.html . The Porters Lake Watershed study is supposed to be ready the following month. Both of these reports will help provide some insight on how future development ought to occur, but also provide some advice on how to deal with lingering environmental problems that have been going on for years. I will be having community open-house meetings to present the consultant’s findings and recommendations.


The seventh annual Camp Courage will be held from July 7th – 14th.  It is a free awesome opportunity for young women ( ages 15 – 19 ) to learn about non-traditional professions with police, fire, and paramedic services as possible future career choices. There are only 24 spots available. To apply, they need to write an essay on how to improve someone else’s life that is less fortunate or on how they can improve their community, instead of paying cash they do what they say in their essay. The essay deadline is March 1st, 2013.  For more information go to their website www.campcourage.ca   or contact  HRM Firefighter Andréa Speranza – Camp Courage, Executive Director at  onestop@eastlink.ca  .