Wordle and the forgotten art of delayed gratification


News

1. As and after Gina Goulet was murdered, RCMP made repeated mistakes pursuing the killer

Tim Bousquet and Jennifer Henderson dive deep into Gina Goulet’s death to paint a harrowing picture of what happened that morning, and what mistakes allowed the killer to reach her door.

On the morning of April 19, 2020, Amelia Butler was texting her mother, Goulet, to offer to do her grocery shopping for her. The benign chat became abruptly sombre when Goulet, a denturist who lived near Shubenacadie, texted back to say she’d heard about a killer on the loose in Portapique. Not only that, but she knew him.

Gina:
Gabriel- Denturist that wanted me to work for him. He’s running loose with a gun.
Portapique area, he has a place.

Amelia:
Holy Shit, that’s him!!!!!
I have been seeing it all over the news. He shot someone and lit a bunch of stuff on fire.

Gina:
I know John Lilly [a fellow denturist] called Raquel and said- John just called we are to be careful he doesn’t contact us and no comments to reporters.
He knows where I live. Fuck, I hope they catch him.

Amelia:
That’s crazy. I can’t believe that

Gina:
Me either! It makes me nervous
He’s at large

Amelia :
You will be fine where you are at, there’s no way he could get that far without being caught.

The story of Gina Goulet’s death, as reported on by Bousquet and Henderson this morning, is a tragic story that shows what have become recurring themes as more documents are released through the Mass Casualty Commission, revealing more and more of what happened that weekend:

  • The families of victims not only lost loved ones under excruciating circumstances, but the communication with the RCMP in the aftermath of the tragedy left many families feeling helpless and frustrated.
  • Crime scenes were not thoroughly investigated.
  • RCMP managers failed to accurately communicate the whereabouts of the killer to the dozens of officers giving chase throughout Sunday morning.

Click here to read the full story.

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2. Masks will stay in schools

Two young girls wearing blacks masks

This item was written by Zane Woodford.

Masks will stay in schools until at least May 20, the province announced Wednesday morning.

On March 21, when the province did away with all other COVID-19 restrictions, it opted to keep masks in schools until mid-April after eight of the province’s leading pediatric doctors urged the government to make the move. In a news release on Wednesday, Education Minister Becky Druhan said anyone coming into a school or a school bus will need to continue wearing a mask.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve worked with Public Health to keep kids in schools,” Druhan said. “Our approach has allowed us to keep schools open for most of the year and allowed our students to continue in-person learning. I know it hasn’t been easy, but I’d like to thank the teachers, staff, students and families for their hard work and commitment to children’s learning and well-being.”

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3. HRM budget finalized: property tax increase will fund climate action

A stone building is seen on a sunny winter's day. There's no snow on the ground. The symmetrical building has a tall spire in the centre with a clock, and two big dormers on either side. There are also a series of three smaller dormers on each side of the central tower. The photo is taken from the right of the building.

Halifax City Hall on Tuesday, December 14, 2021. Photo: Zane Woodford

Halifax councillors voted to finalize the municipalities budget Tuesday, Zane Woodford reports. 

The approved budget is $1.1 billion. Council had come close to finalizing the budget last month, but voted to add millions from its budget adjustment list, including spending on the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, more city planning staff, and free transit this summer.

But I’m sure what everyone will be talking about is the tax increase.

The average property tax bill, residential and commercial, is going up 4.6%. It accounts for rising property values, and means an increase of $94 on a home with the average taxable assessment of $270,000. Almost two-thirds of the tax raise will pay for climate action, like electric buses and fleet vehicles, and building retrofits.

In the months leading up to the budget vote, council has been pushing for more accountability from the city’s managers on what they’re doing to implement HalifACT 2050, HRM’s climate change action plan. The plan, approved in 2020, has been underfunded from the start. In December, the Examiner reported the municipality wasn’t on track to meet its climate targets, with staff saying Halifax would blow its carbon budget for the next 30 years by 2028.

Still, not everyone was on board. Three councillors voted against the budget, including Coun. Trish Purdy, who previously argued Halifax is powerless to affect the global climate crisis.

“This is not the right time,” she told council yesterday, noting the rise in inflation and increasing concerns over affordability in Nova Scotia. “I remember back in November feeling that this proposed tax increase was tone deaf to the needs of many of our residents and small business owners. If that was even remotely true then, it is certainly even more so now.”

Coun. Shawn Cleary, who voted to approve the budget, thought otherwise.

“It’s business as usual as a civilization that has gotten us ourselves into this awful mess in the first place,” Cleary said of the climate crisis. “We opted to press the snooze button over and over and over on this issue. And now the science is screaming loud and clear.”

You can read Zane Woodford’s full breakdown of the tax increase and budget vote here.

On a side note, I was listening to 95.7 in the car yesterday, and Cleary was being absolutely lambasted by listeners calling in to Todd Veinotte’s show. Multiple callers ripped into Cleary for being elitist, tone deaf, “disgusting,” and ignorant of the will of his constituents. There was a lot of emotion, a lot of anger, a lot of personal attacks. What about? I had no idea. I listened for 10-15 minutes, but couldn’t figure out what anyone was talking about before I got out of the car.

So I did a quick search and found Cleary had been on Veinotte’s show Monday, discussing the budget and the possibility of raising property taxes to pay for climate action. I listened to a bit of that discussion. I won’t go into it too much. Cleary came off pompous and insulting, saying he didn’t listen to the show and people were wrong to oppose climate action just because it was hard on their wallets. Veinotte stoked the fire and said Cleary was disparaging anyone who disagreed with him. There were some comparisons to flat-earthers, right wing extremism, and such, yada yada. Then yesterday, Veinotte gave his listeners an hour, almost free of interruption or interjection on his part, to vent about how much they hated Cleary.

It was a mess.

I get it. Wages are the only thing in this province (including the sea level) that don’t seem to be going up. Every time I fill my tank or buy broccoli, I cry a little. And housing’s already crazy enough; should we really make it more expensive right now? These are valid issues, and Cleary was pretty dismissive. Not great tact for a man trying to convince people to willingly make more financial sacrifices for the health of the planet.

But can we stop squabbling about elitism and left and right and just do something, anything, to shift the way we live in a world that we’re changing at breakneck speed? Maybe this budget is going about it the wrong way, we can debate that, but Christ. You might think the timing couldn’t be worse, affordability and inflation being what they are, but did you read the UN’s latest report? Will the timing ever be better? Not likely. How we pay to fight this issue is a worthwhile question. If we pay, isn’t. Pay now or pay later, but interest will accrue fast. Put the bullshit aside.

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4. North Preston residents want apology for emergency alert that sent out “false information”

I was at a restaurant in Halifax Friday evening, catching up with the in-laws, when a blaring alarm interrupted conversation across the room. It was accompanied by an emergency alert; chances are you got it too, which read:

Two recent shootings occurred in East Preston and North Preston. Two black males were seen running into a wooded area behind Brian Street in East Preston and are believed to be armed. All residents are to lock their doors and shelter in place. Do not approach suspects and if seen call 9-1-1 immediately. For updates go to RCMP NS Twitter or Facebook.

Police tweeted updates through the evening ⁠— maybe it’s in my best interest to get back on that app ⁠— including one posted a minute after the emergency alert. It said a suspect had already been arrested in a shooting reported in East Preston. The tweet made no mention of North Preston. And locals of the community quickly took to social media to say they hadn’t heard any gunfire.

That’s because — despite what the emergency alert had told us — there was no shooting in North Preston Friday night.

On Monday, Matthew Byard interviewed Archy Beals, the former PC MLA candidate for the area, who was one of the locals who posted online that evening. From what he was hearing, he wrote, “no shots were fired in North Preston as was reported by the police in the emergency alert.”

Obviously, Beals was concerned such a serious warning had been sent out with false information. But others posted they were upset North Preston had been lumped in with a shooting that not only took place in a different place, but occurred far closer to East Preston’s border with the predominantly white community of Lake Echo, which received no mention in the alert.

Google Maps image of Cherrybrook, North Preston, and East Preston (highlighted in green). Gunshots were reported Friday on Brian Street in East Preston and on Bell Street (both highlighted in red) in Lake Echo. A suspect was arrested on Cherrybrook Road (highlighted in red) in Cherrybrook).

Google Maps image of Cherrybrook, North Preston, and East Preston (highlighted in green). Gunshots were reported Friday on Brian Street in East Preston and on Bell Street (both highlighted in red) in Lake Echo. A suspect was arrested on Cherrybrook Road (highlighted in red) in Cherrybrook). Photo: Google Maps.

The mistake raised the ire of other political figures in the area, including former MLA Wayne Adams and current Preston MLA Angela Simmonds, who issued a statement saying she was requesting a meeting with Justice Minister Brad Johns “to emphasize the importance of accurate emergency alerts” and ask “what concrete action he is taking on gun violence in this Province.”

In the midst of the Mass Casualty Commission, and the discussion about how RCMP relayed information to the public during the deadliest shooting in modern Canadian history, the ability of police to alert the public quickly and accurately is under intense scrutiny right now. This won’t help.

In the following days, RCMP issued a statement updating the situation ⁠— police had released two suspects without charges and the investigation is ongoing ⁠— but it made no mention of any shootings in North Preston. Nor did it clarify if or how the emergency alert had contained false information.

Now Beals wants answers. And an apology.

Read the whole story in Matthew Byard’s full report.

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5. From the NS Health Committee: Omicron rages on, continues to overburden health care system

A bald man in a suit and wearing a mask stands at a microphone

Dr Todd Hatchette, Chief of Microbiology Lab, NS Health. Photo: Jennifer Henderson

Despite our return to life without public health restrictions, COVID rages on, and there’s no relief in sight for hospitals, their staff, or the backlog of 27,000 patients waiting for non-urgent, elective surgeries (which have been postponed for the second week in a row). That’s what Jennifer Henderson reports this morning:

There are currently 577 health care workers off the job because they have COVID-19 or someone in their immediate family has been infected. Dr. Todd Hatchette, the chief of the microbiology lab for Nova Scotia Health, told the health committee at the Nova Scotia Legislature on Tuesday that this could be “the new normal” for several weeks.

“The continuing spread is ongoing and I am not sure we have peaked yet,” said Hatchette. “Unless we can stop community spread, we are going to see continuing cases, which will put pressure on the health system — both in the number of people who are admitted and the number of people who are absent because they or someone in their family has COVID.”

He’s asking Nova Scotians to continue wearing masks indoors and to get booster shots to slow the spread and ease COVID’s burden on the healthcare system.

Read Henderson’s full article to see what Nova Scotia Health is predicting and planning to tackle the surgery backlog, deal with staffing issues, and give the healthcare system some much-needed relief.

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6. Pro prophylactic: advocates urge province to make contraceptives free for all

A colourful photo of various methods of birth control, including condoms, pills, and IUDs

Photo: Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition/Unsplash

Yesterday, Nova Scotia’s Standing Health Committee met, and the focus was access to birth control and sexual health services. Yvette d’Entremont has the story on what the committee heard, what they’re considering, and why advocates were urging the province to make contraception free and widely available.

One of the advocates who addressed the Standing Health Committee was Examiner contributor Martha Paynter, who’s also a registered nurse working in reproductive health care. Along with d’Entremont’s report, the Examiner’s published an editorial from Paynter, wherein she outlines her argument in detail. Here’s a paragraph from her commentary:

I work in frontline sexual health service provision, in community advocacy, and in sexual health research and education. From my perspective, an achievable, efficient and effective approach to address persistent barriers to reproductive health equity in Nova Scotia would be to offer universal access to no-cost birth control options. Providing free contraception results in significant cost savings and improvements in population health. Governments save over $7 for every dollar invested in contraception.

Whatever your politics, it’s an opinion worth exploring beyond what I’ve included in this short snippet. Read the whole thing here and see what Nova Scotians might gain by paying for universal access to contraception.

Click here to read d’Entremont’s report.

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7. Acadian, francophone group rallying to support French first-language education bill

A red, white, and blue sign that says Le Conseil scolaire acadien provincial

Photo: Yvette d’Entremont

“A group representing Nova Scotia’s Acadian and francophone parents is holding a rally outside the legislature on Wednesday to support French first-language education and to urge MLAs to support a Liberal private member’s bill,” writes Yvette d’Entremont this morning.

d’Entremont spoke with Caroline Arsenault, president of the FPANE (Acadian parents federation of Nova Scotia) about why the group is rallying today.

“We’re often not very loud about our needs as a community and as an education system,” Arsenault told the Examiner.

“This is a chance for us to remind everyone what it is that makes our (French first language) school system special, why it needs protection, why we need to uphold it, and what it is that Nova Scotia can do to protect and preserve this education system.”

The provincial Liberal Party has consulted with the province’s Acadian school board (Conseil scolaire acadien provincial – CSAP) to create the Acadian and Francophone Education Act, which MLA Ronnie Leblanc introduced in the Nova Scotia Legislature Tuesday. The legislation would address Acadian concerns about the erosion of French language services in the province’s education centre. Concerns that began in 2014 when the Department of Education abolished its Acadian and French Language Services branch and amalgamated it with second language services.

The rally will take place outside Province House between 3pm and 4:30pm today.

You can read d’Entremont’s story here.

In other, unrelated French-language education news, Labour, Skills, and Immigration Minister Jill Balser announced yesterday a mediator has been appointed to settle a strike at Université Sainte-Anne. In a media release Tuesday, the Minister said Michelle Flaherty, a former associate professor of law at the University of Ottawa, will come in to mediate the conflict between the university and the Association des professeurs, professeures et bibliothécaires de l’Université Sainte-Anne.

Faculty went on strike at the beginning of March, shortly after the province brought in a mediator to end a faculty strike at Acadia University in Wolfville.

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Views

Waiting for Wordle

A row of coloured blocks from the online game, Wordle

Image: Wordle

Like almost everyone else in the English-speaking world, I’ve become a Wordle addict during the pandemic. I came to it somewhat late, about a month ago. But I’ve rarely missed a day since then.

Every morning, I wake up, open my phone, try to guess a five-letter word in six tries, and compare my efforts with my girlfriend and my roommate. 

There’s been a lot written about the appeal of this simple little game. It’s straightforward, free, void of ads, and simply designed. It’s social, or at least as social as an online game can be. Like I do with my girlfriend and roommate, people share their efforts, tips, and frustrations on social media, complaining about the difficulty of that day’s word or basking in their two-guess triumph. And a social etiquette has emerged, a refreshing sportsmanship, where people don’t spoil the answer for the day online.

All these things add to Wordle’s unique quality. But for me, there’s one thing I enjoy most about it:

It comes out once a day.

In this internet age of endless content, instant gratification, and immediately available info, Wordle makes you wait. Along with the lack of ads or paywall, it flies in the face of everything the web offers.

I was thinking about this the other day after doing the Wordle at 6am. I’d have to wait an entire day before I could play another five minutes.

As a kid, I used to read the movie reviews in the Chronicle Herald every Friday. I loved reading what people thought about movies that I’d been anticipating seeing, hearing if they were any good or if there were any hidden gems worth checking out. The paper would come in the morning, I’d scour the Arts section before my dad grabbed the crossword (Wordle’s grandfather) and beg to see one of the new films that weekend. Then I’d have to wait another week.

Fridays also meant 30 Rock was taped on our DVR. And I’d get to watch when I came home after a long day of school. I’d lost that with shows once binge-watching entered the picture.

I still get excited for things I have to wait for: trips, parties, big news, etc. But delayed gratification has been removed from so much of my daily life as the digital world has continued to accelerate and connect everything. Phone scrolling and binge-watching have become the equivalent of eating the whole box of Oreos in one day, every day. 

Wordle’s made me remember the simple joy of patience and slowing down.

I wonder if this is something we’ll start to see actively pushed. Lots of TV shows now stream episodes once a week, instead of releasing full seasons all at once. It can be painful when you want to know what happens next. But 12 hours of TV is its own kind of pain.

In Wolfville, where I live, the town is a member of Cittaslow International, an organization that encourages quality of life and sustainability by encouraging businesses and residents to slow down, focusing on a slower pace of life to encourage personal connection to the place. They call it the slow city movement.

It’s not like living life in moderation is new advice. But it took a stupid online game to make me realize it’s possible to live life online moderately. Maybe there’ll be a “slow internet” movement soon. The attention economy won’t drive it, but we as individuals can make it happen in our own lives every day.

I know this much: the day I can do the Wordle as much as I want is the day it loses its meaning and I get sick of it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go think of the word I’ll start the next game with. WAITS, maybe? I don’t know, but I have over 12 hours to come up with something. 

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Noticed

The in-laws are in town from St. John’s, so I’ve been getting my share of Newfoundland news this week.

Just like here, the new fiscal year started on the rock this month — though they got a half hour jump on us — and with it, came a new provincial budget. Also just like here, affordability and cost of living are on everyone’s minds. Say what you will about our budget, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can breathe a sigh of financial relief this year, in spite of rising gas, food, rent, anything-but-air prices. The NL government has got their back:

Newfoundland and Labrador government graphic showing how a family with an annual income of $16,000 can save $13,270 in the province's new budget.

Photo: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

Just when I was ready to pack my bags and move to this oasis of affordability, some Newfoundlanders with keen, critical eyes and minds — by which I mean, eyes that can see and brains that can process basic information — found some holes in the province’s graphic. 

Despite the province’s claims, the new budget won’t actually save over 80% of a low-income family’s annual earnings. Nor is it likely a family taking in $16,000 per annum would spend $1,000 on physical activity to save $87, or have money left over after rent and food to take advantage of child care savings.

These numbers don’t add up. It’s glaringly obvious and the province has walked it back, though Premier Andrew Furey has refused to apologize after being pressured to in the House of Assembly. It’s hard out there for almost everyone right now and this just feels like a brazen slap in the face.

But not all government releases are so blatantly misleading. This has been your daily reminder that news releases aren’t news.

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Government

City

Wednesday

No meetings

Thursday

Appeals Standing Committee (Thursday, 10am, City Hall) — agenda here

Regional Watersheds Advisory Board (Thursday, 5pm, online) — agenda here

Province

Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, Province House) — Population Growth Marketing Campaign, with representatives from Labour, Skills and Immigration, and Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage


On campus

Dalhousie

Wednesday

Thesis Defence, Physiology and Biophysics (Wednesday, 9:30am, Room 3H, Tupper Building and online) — Griffin Beach will defend “Insights into the Origin of the CNS: Early Development of Aminergic Neurons in Molluscs”

Propriety and protest: Getting Dressed in 1896 (Wednesday, 7:30pm, Dunn Theatre) — Historical Dress Showcase 2022 by the Fourth-year students of the Fountain School’s Costume Studies Program. $15/10

The final decade of the nineteenth century saw significant social and technological changes that affected both the construction and consumption of clothing. Many women found greater freedom in a growing variety of athletic and leisurely pursuits, and in the exciting new garments that went with them. Likewise, new styles of business attire reflected expanding opportunities for women in the workforce and at colleges and universities. However, daily life for many women was still governed by strict dress etiquette: longstanding rules that were sometimes helpful and practical, but at other times suffocating and difficult to conform to. Propriety and Protest will explore a wide variety of clothing from 1896, examining the tension between innovation and tradition that marked the era.

Thursday

PhD Defence, Nursing (Thursday, 11am, online) — Jennifer Lane will defend “Working Through Stigma: A Constructivist Grounded Theory of Delivering Health Services to 2SLGBTQ Populations in Nova Scotia”

How To Handle Microaggressions In The Workplace (Thursday, 1pm, online) — register here for webinar with Camille Dundas and Sean Mauricette

The micro in microaggressions is a bit of a misnomer. Because when you experience one, it doesn’t feel very micro. In fact, it can feel like death by a thousand cuts. It might be one of the reasons an astonishingly low number of Black employees (3%) say they would want to return to the office full time. Any marginalized group can experience microaggressions; in this one-hour webinar, racial equity educators Camille Dundas and Sean Mauricette will help us understand:

– Where microaggressions come from

– How to recognize a microaggression

– How to speak up when you observe one

– How to cope when you experience one

– How to respond when you’ve committed one


In the harbour

Sorry, we don’t have ship listings today.


Footnotes

It’s a broken record worth playing: stay off the black rocks at Peggy’s Cove. I can’t imagine what that family is going through.


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