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Thursday's 8 things you really should know 

Everything there is about Evolve, plus Egg Studios' union talks get weird.


Evolve Festival kicks off today in the Antigonish-ish area of our beautiful province, and you probably haven’t even packed yet, have you? You were planning doing that after work, weren’t you? Luckily enough, our pal Adria Young has compiled a cheat sheet for festival packing that’ll help you avoid stinking, starving and having to bum off a dude named Rave Dave.

One thing you might want to pack is your own drug testing kits, since it turns out Evolve won’t be offering any test kits on site. After the original insurers backed out over Evolve’s proposed drug-testing plan, producer Jonas Colter was able to secure new underwriters late Tuesday. But that new firm still isn’’t comfortable with the free drug testing Colter wanted to offer attendees. It’s an unfortunate ending for a forward-thinking entrepreneur like Colter. Naturally, Kings North MLA John Lohr toes the PC company line by condemning any and all drug use at the festival.

Free drug testing could possibly have meant more drug used this year at Evolve. It definitely would have meant safer drug use. Evolve attendees are now at a much higher risk of overdosing, ingesting harmful chemicals without knowing it, even sexual assault. Moral viewpoints like those from the Conservatives and economic cowardice like that from the insurance companies creates more crime and leads to human suffering. Great job, guys.

Cineplex theatres is planning to reduce soft drink cup sizes countrywide. No, it’s not because carbonated sugar water is more poisonous to your health than whatever’s going to be ingested this weekend at Evolve. The company just wants to make more money. All prices will remain the same, despite the “large” size dropping 12 ounces (from 44 to 32 ounces) and medium-sized “regular” drinks being reduced from 32 to 24 ounces. It’s a bold move that will likely have no impact on sensible customers that just grab a $2 drink from a convenience store on the way to the theatre.

Speaking of diabetes, Dalhousie PhD student Catherine Reeve is training some adorable lab partners to detect changes in blood sugar levels. Reeve is working to train diabetic service dogs, who can sniff out when an owner’s blood sugar drops and follow that up by alerting loved ones or fetching a diabetic kit. Allison Devereaux’s article at CBC contains the healthiest kind of sweets: photos of very handsome puppies being great little buds.

This is Nutella. She is perfect. - ALLISON DEVEREAUX/CBC
  • This is Nutella. She is perfect.
  • Allison Devereaux/CBC

Jamie Baillie wants a public inquiry into Nova Scotia’s mental health system. The opposition leader called on the Liberal Government yesterday during a Province House press conference, asking for “no more whispering in the dark, no more hiding from ourselves.” Actual mental health advocates weren’t so much on board with the idea.

“My concern is that the inquiry is held and the actions are put out there, but nothing happens, that is my concern,” said Stephen Ayer of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia.

“Let’s implement more of the recommendations from that (2012) strategy, rather than reinventing the wheel,” said Shaleen Jones, coordinator with Eating Disorders Nova Scotia.

In the least surprising news of the year, Ray Ivany was named the Halifax Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 person of the year. Ivany is best known as the author of several popular fantasy novels, including the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy, and as the creator of OneNS Coalition (a popular live-action role-playing society). He will be appearing this weekend at Comic-Con.

Egg Studios is taking an…unorthodox approach to contract negotiations with the film technicians who have been locked out of the Halifax production company for the last four months. They want a public debate. Having seen the headline-grabbing attention of a sophisticated media campaign like #NSFilmJobs, both Egg and IATSE Local 849 have launched several websites and social media pages communicating their stances over the past few weeks. Now, Egg president Sara Thomas tells Metro’s Haley Ryan the studio wants to take the discussion public.

“Give them the opportunity to defend or explain their actions or apologize, so maybe there could be some chance that maybe we could move forward,” says Thomas.

Egg has been using non-union crews for their commercial shoots since March. The company has been fighting IATSE’s union certification almost since it was first filed in 2011.

While IATSE won’t be attending, the public “debate” will nevertheless take place July 15, 6:30pm at the NSCC Waterfront campus. “Seating is limited.”

Tangentially related: Halifax Water and CUPE Local 1431 are back at the bargaining table today. Despite HW being a public utility and the strike affecting 300 civic employees, a “media blackout has been mandated.”

+1 Sure Thing
Code for a link: Lebanese Festival kicks off today! Four jam-packed days (and nights) of traditional Lebanese cuisine, music, dance and art. Get your sticky baklava-caked hands on Lebfest's famous zaatar and dance the night away or take a peek into the newly renovated Saint Antonio's Antiochan Orthodox Church. #YALLA

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