Wednesday's 9 things to read while everyone else is on vacation

Update on Rainmen, Portland Place fire, unconcerned bears.

via Faren McD on Instagram.

A consortium of Halifax business owners and entrepreneurs will back the Rainmen’s replacement. Jonathan Briggins reports that the city’s new basketball team should be announced next week. The Halifax Wooden Monkeys? The Halifax Freds? Only time will tell.

The number of prison deaths in Nova Scotia are “disturbing” says Canada’s corrections watchdog. CBC’s Catharine Tunney reports that inmate deaths at Nova Scotia’s federal penitentiaries are the highest they’ve been in at least five years—with two deaths at the Nova Institution for Women and one at the Springhill Institution so far in 2015. Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers tells Tunney that the deaths are “raising some red flags.”

“Really disturbing is two of those deaths involved women who died at the Nova Correctional Institute and last year we had no women die in custody.”

Lots more from CBC here.

The Conservatives kicked out Repentigny, Quebec candidate Buddy Ford because he was charged and pled guilty to possessing one single joint in 2011. This came days before Stephen Harper hammered against marijuana reform at a “press conference” yesterday in Markham, Ontario.

Apparently it's that part of the campaign where candidates emerge to step down over past “scandals,” (if you can call them that). The NDP have lost Morgan Wheeldon in Kings-Hants over some pro-Palestine comments he left on Facebook a year ago, while another Conservative candidate in Montreal was removed after having promoted the NDP online in the last year. There was also that dude who was only running as an art project. Notes BJ Siekierski at iPolitics: “It seems the Tories have expended more energy vetting spectators at campaign events than they have screening actual candidates.”

The switch to clear bags is so far, so good says Metro’s Stephanie Taylor, who reports the first week-and-a-half of garbage collection has compliance rates of 80 percent. The real test, REgroup general manager Alan Abraham says, will come in the fall when all those students need to learn the new rules.

Another 13,000 HRM households will be switched over to community mailboxes on Monday, and the Herald’s Brett Bundale looks at some of the issues around the American-made contraptions. A reminder: community mailboxes suck.

Hey, remember that fire that destroyed 5426 Portland Place last September in a giant cloud of smoke visible all over the north end? The one that destroyed the properties of several local businesses and forced more than 20 neighbours to evacuate their homes for a couple weeks? Remember how Halifax Fire deemed it as suspicious and turned the potential arson case over to police to investigate? The investigation concluded back in February due to lack of evidence, says Cst. Stacey Opalka with HRP. A lack of evidence probably shouldn't be surprising, given that the entire structure was obliterated.

So far just 170 people have completed the online survey from HRM about the future of the St. Patrick’s High School site on Quinpool Road, but that’s pretty damn good, says the city’s manager of urban design. “The content’s pretty interesting. This is not a standard ‘answer five questions in five minutes’ type of survey,” Jacob Ritchie tells Metro’s Haley Ryan. Residents can take the online survey until Friday.

“‘Completely unconcerned’ black bear spotted in Cambridge

“’It was completely unconcerned about anything. The neighbour’s garage was open, my garage was open; there was no indication of any interest. He just kept right on walking.’

Perry said the bear was mature, but it was hard to estimate it’s size.

‘It wasn’t a big fat bear, but it was a good adult bear.’”

Dalhousie University has spent nearly $650,000 because of the Class of 2015 DDS Gentlemen’s Facebook scandal. CBC’s Jennifer Henderson outlines some of the costs, including $244,669 on public relations experts, and $118,000 on outside legal help.

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