We’re number 60!

Mike Fleury takes out a loan.

According to a new study from the Educational Policy Institute, Nova Scotia offers the least affordable university education in North America. That’s right, folks, out of 60 states and provinces we finished…60th! In addition to finishing last, study authors Alex Usher and Kim Steele said that Nova Scotia was last by “some considerable distance.” A low median income in our region, high tuition costs and relatively few student grants all contributed to Nova Scotia’s poor showing in the study. Not to be deterred, Dalhousie University followed the news this week by proposing more tuition hikes for law, medical, dentistry and international students. Dig deep, kids. Dig reaaaally deep.

Helter shelter

At their weekly Tuesday night session, city council got into a debate over the effectiveness of Viacom Outdoor, a company that currently sells advertising in bus shelters across the city (maybe they’ve been reading past installments of On Patrol?). Dartmouth Councillor Bill Karsten criticized the company for not doing a satisfactory or timely job on reporting graffiti or attending to broken glass in municipal bus shelters. The issue came up during discussion about a new 15-year contract that the city is currently negotiating with Viacom. The new agreement could potentially shift even more bus shelter responsibilities over to Viacom—the 15-year contract would make Viacom wholly responsible for maintenance in municipal bus shelters, further diminishing the city’s role in shelter upkeep.

Bloomfield blooms again

In other council news, the city received a 628-name petition asking that community programs at the north end Bloomfield Centre be allowed to continue. Last summer, the Centre was partially closed after problems with air quality and the physical state of the building. Council is asking for community feedback about the building before formally deciding the fate of the historic centre; a decision is expected to come sometime next month.

Peter knows all

Foreign Affairs Minister (and down-homey Nova Scotia boy) Peter MacKay showed off his soothsaying skills at the Atlantic Mayors’ Congress last week, announcing that, “We’re going to win the Commonwealth bid.” Really? What else is floating around in the crystal ball? “Then we’re going to get a CFL franchise and it’s going to be shared between Moncton and Halifax,” said MacKay, speaking at city hall last Friday. Gosh, we had no idea all of this was already in the bag…we thought we were still waiting to find out how much money the provincial and federal government would contribute to the Commonwealth Games bid process, so that the city could finally tell us how much money Metro residents will be expected to shell out for the big event. Oh well. Guess it doesn’t matter. We’re gonna win!

Election detection

Just when you thought all of the sexy fun of elections were behind you, Rodney MacDonald has one more to cram down your democratically active throat. On June 27, residents living in the provincial riding of Halifax Citadel will be asked take a break from lemonade and sunbathing and hopscotch and such to vote for a new MLA, a seat that has been lacking a rep since Liberal Danny Graham resigned on October 5, 2005.

Bite back with news tips: michaelf@thecoast.ca

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