February 2014 will mark the 30th year Nova Scotians have celebrated African Heritage Month. This year’s theme is “Rising Stars – Celebrating Our Youth.” The Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs (ANSA) provides event listings as a service. Check out the ANSA website for its calendar of events, concerts and   functions at: https://ansa.novascotia.ca/events-calendar . Events are subject to change. To update any program or event details, contact ansa_newsletter@gov.ns.ca  or fax 424-7189.

HRM held a successful community engagement event entitled “Mingling Our Voices: Successes and Opportunities” at the Black Cultural Centre back on December 7th, 2013. Over 120 residents of African descent attended the event, met staff from HRM business units and learned about the many services HRM offers. Staff from ten business units set up information booths to provide general information and answer questions from residents. The event was also an opportunity to recognize HRM employees of African Nova Scotian (ANS) descent that have overcome the challenges of systemic barriers and made significant contributions to the municipality. Corey Beals, Division Commander, HRM Fire & Emergency Services (HRMF&ES) and the first ANS to hold that rank, delivered a powerful keynote address during the recognition ceremony. The 12 employees that received recognition were: Cameron  Brown, Diversion Compliance Officer with HRM Transportation & Public Works; Corporal Calvin Byard, Supervisor of the RCMP Preston Detachment; Cedric Ross Williams, Supervisor – Central Region for Halifax Water; Cory Beals, Division Commander HRMF&ES; Crystal Mulder, Branch Supervisor -HRM Libraries; Donald (Don) MacLean, Superintendent with HRM Police; Joseph Colley, Accounts Payable Supervisor with HRM Finance; Marcus James, Community Engagement Liaison with HRM Libraries; Natasha Prest, first female ANS career firefighter with HRMF&ES; Natasha Romkey, Security Advisor with Metro Transit; Theaston Prevost, Service Supervisor with Metro Transit; and Rosella ‘Rosie’ Fraser, Facility Manager at North Preston Community Centre with HRM Community & Recreation Services. The names and titles of these employees will be stitched into a quilt which will be hung in the HRM ANS Affairs Integration Office.

Each winter, trademark “Raising the Roof” toques are sold for $10 each by community and corporate volunteers, as well as on-line 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 4th, 2014 and it marks the 17th Annual Toque Campaign. Since 1998 over $3.5 Million has been raised for long-term solutions to homelessness.  80% percent of net proceeds 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. Please buy a toque.

PJC Land Development (Paul Norwood) has submitted an application for a residential development. The proposal is for a hybrid form of open space design with 215 dwellings proposed for a 215 hectare site. The spine of the development is a proposed public road that connects Circle Drive, Lake Echo to Myra Road, Porters Lake. For more info about this, go to: www.halifax.ca/planning/Case17575Details.html . The HRM Staff report has been filed with the Harbour East Marine Drive Community Council: www.halifax.ca/Commcoun/east/documents/Case17575NaturesRidge.pdf . A public hearing is tentatively booked for Thursday, February 6th at 6:30 PM at O’Connell Drive Elementary School.

Each year the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia hosts the annual Rev. Dr. William P. Oliver Wall of Honour Night at the Black Cultural Centre as recognition and in memory of the works of Rev. Dr. Oliver. He exemplified what it means to be a “community leader”. Members of the Society are invited to send nominations to the Selection Committee for consideration of this annual award. The Night of Honour will be held on Saturday, February 15th, 2014 at 6:30 PM in the Centre at Cherry Brook.

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, go to: www.pch.gc.ca/special/jdn-nfd/index-eng.cfm .  Let’s all proudly display our nation’s Maple Leaf. Be sure to wave our Provincial, Municipal and Community Flags too! Heritage Day is also 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 17th.

Come out and join in the fun of outdoor winter games and activities. Saturday, February 22nd from 10 AM – 2 PM at the Lake & Shore Community Recreation Centre at the Porters Lake Elementary School, 40 Inspiration Drive by Hwy #107 Exit #20. Enjoy snow-shoeing, street hockey, trail-hiking and much more. Free event with free hot chocolate and giveaways! For more information about this recreation promotion, go to: www.facebook.com/TakeTheRoofOffWinter   or https://taketheroofoffwinter.ca/index.php  .

HRM is inviting applications for part-time positions of Recreation Program Instructors. The Recreation Program Instructor leads recreation programs for a variety of age groups at various locations throughout HRM. Individuals would be required to plan and lead various recreation instructional programs such as children’s sports and play programs, adult fitness, craft and wellness programs, as well as various pre-school programs, youth programs and activities. These job opportunities are a perfect way to gain valuable work experience, learn new skills and contribute to the community. Closing date for applications is February 12th, 2014 at 4:00 PM. For more information, go to: www.halifax.ca/rec/ .  Applicants must include the job title and competition number in the subject line of the e-mail that is sent to SEC@halifax.ca .

HRM is now accepting applications for the 2014-2015 Community Grants Program. The deadline for applying is March 31st, 2014. Application forms and program guidebooks are available on-line 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 .

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The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children (NSHCC) has been in existence in its Westphal location for the past 92 years since 1921. The original Home was in Halifax but was destroyed in the 1917 Harbour Explosion. It was developed to provide a shelter for African Nova Scotian children and youth who had no other placement options. After ten years of operating, the NSHCC was forced to launch its first Annual Broadcast for Funds in 1931 as a means to supplement their operations. The Annual Broadcast transitioned from radio to Cable TV and the production grew from a one room studio to the spacious NS Community College, Waterfront campus setting. Unfortunately, this year, as a result of circumstances beyond their control, there was not an Annual Broadcast after 81 years. The NSHCC’s telethon was the oldest fundraising campaign in North America. The inability to hold the broadcast will have a major impact on programming for its residents of the Akoma Family Centre. Funds raised over the past couple of years supplemented their programming and have been utilized to purchase and install 2 new playground units, replace household appliances and provide recreational and cultural activities for the children in their care. On Thursday, February 20th at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, there will be a Fundraiser Dinner as a way to celebrate Akoma and raise funds for their programming. In 2014 they will be celebrating 3 years of existence for the Akoma Family Centre.  The keynote speaker for the dinner is NSHCC Honourary Board Member, Dr. Wayne Adams, C.M., O.N.S., C.C., ECNS, CEO of the Adams Management Group, and V.P. Marketing, Nova ReNew Inc., who will speak on ‘Rising Above Challenges’. Tickets for the dinner are $100.00.  Income tax receipts will be issued for $50 if requested.  We are encouraged to assist them in meeting their financial goal of $10,000.00 by purchasing dinner tickets or providing a donation amount of your choice.

Property Assessment Notices will be mailed out by mid-January. There is now a 31 day official Appeal Period from the date of the mailed notice whereby property owners can review and perhaps refute their appraisals. If you feel it is not assessed properly, then you should contact the NS Municipality Agency – Property Valuation Services Corporation (PVSC) and speak with an Assessment Services representative. The PVSC Assessment 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, as this approach may answer and clear up some questions you may have and hopefully avoid the time and expense of an appeal. If not, you have the right to make a formal written appeal either by letter or fax, which must be received by their office on or before the deadline. Appeals by e-mail are not accepted. For more detailed information please refer to your assessment notice or go to the PVSC Appeal Guide: www.pvsc.ca/site/media/PVSC/Documents/Appeal%20Brochure%20December%202012_final.pdf .  Should you have any further enquiries about property valuation, please refer to their web-site at: www.PVSC.ca  .