December 31, 2018 8:00 am
Updated: December 31, 2018 6:04 pm

Nova Scotia’s top news stories of 2018: January to June

WATCH: On the last day of the year we’re taking a look at the lighter side of life in 2018. Shelley Steeves provides a look back at some of the adorably odd and slightly off the wall stories from the past year.

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A lot happened in Nova Scotia in 2018.

The controversial removal of a renowned Halifax statue, the eventual resolution to a high-profile murder trial, as well as several other stories all had Nova Scotians talking.

Here are some of the top stories the province saw during the first six months of the year. (You can find the the top stories from July to December here).

Cornwallis statue taken down

Crews from Halifax Regional Municipality wrapped the statue in yellow straps before lifting it onto a flatbed truck.

Reynold Gregor/Global News

The beginning of 2018 saw a resolution to an age-old debate.

Amid mounting pressure from the Indigenous community and the public, the controversial statue of Halifax founder Edward Cornwallis was removed from a downtown park at the end of January. Halifax Regional Council voted 12-4 in favour of temporarily placing the bronze figure in a storage unit until a decision was made on its long-term future.

WATCH: Halifax city unveils Cornwallis committee

Cornwallis has been a disputed figure for decades, with some viewing him as a heroic founder but others remembering him as the leader who issued a bounty on the scalps of Mi’kmaqs.

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A committee has been formed to help determine what should be done with the statue. The Special Advisory Committee on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History met for the first time in October and told council they want to be a two-group partnership, rather than the one tasked by the Halifax Regional Municipality.

READ MORE: Controversial Cornwallis statue removed from Halifax park

Halifax bottle collector struck and killed

Wray Elias Hart, 62, was a well-known figure in downtown Halifax.

Julien Caesar /Facebook

He was a fixture of downtown Halifax and a man adored by many.

But Wray Elias Hart’s life was cut short after he was struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver. MBA student Dennis Patterson was charged with impaired driving causing death, criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death, and driving with a blood alcohol level of over 80 milligrams.

WATCH: Man facing additional charge after Halifax bottle collector struck by vehicle

Wray Hart could often be seen outside the old library on Spring Garden Road, or pushing a shopping cart piled high with recyclables.

There was an outpouring of support in the days following Wray’s death, with almost $9,000 raised through a GoFundMe campaign for his funeral arrangements.

READ MORE: Man charged with drunk driving in death of Halifax bottle collector facing additional charge

February

Glaze report fallout 

Avis Glaze, a school administration consultant, releases her report with recommendations to improve Nova Scotia’s education administrative system, in Halifax on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew VaughanSpecial Ins

A report that laid out 22 recommendations on how to improve classroom conditions resulted in the province’s teachers union voting in favour of an illegal strike mandate in February.

The report from education consultant Avis Glaze recommended dissolving seven of the province’s eight school boards and put in place a single “aligned model.” It also recommended the removal of 1,000 principals, vice principals and supervisors from the union.

Glaze’s report was met with immediate backlash, with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) pulling out of the province’s council to improve classroom conditions, as well as voting 93 per cent in favour of an illegal strike mandate.

WATCH: Nova Scotia teachers vote yes for illegal strike action

The union claimed government did not consult them prior to Glaze releasing her report.

In March, the province passed its sweeping education reform bill only a week after it was introduced. The legislation dissolved the seven school boards and replaced them with a 15-member provincial advisory council, while keeping local school advisory councils in place along with board administrations.

READ MORE: N.S. Teachers Union pulls out of provincial council on improving classroom conditions

Halifax police help deliver baby girl 

Halifax Regional Police Const. Hannah Burridge and Const. Kali MacDonald pose with the baby they helped deliver.

Halifax Regional Police

It was a morning shift to remember for Hannah Burridge and Kali MacDonald.

The Halifax Regional Police constables, who at the time had only been partners for a few months, responded to a call on Feb. 19 of a woman who was going into labour.

WATCH: Halifax police constables help deliver baby girl

Just 24 minutes after paramedics and Const. MacDonald, who has previous experience as a paramedic, arrived, the baby girl was born.

Both the mother and baby were taken to the hospital, where the officers had the chance to meet up with the family.

“It was a good shift, one I’ll remember for my whole career,” MacDonald said.

READ MORE: ‘Yesterday was a good shift’: Halifax police help deliver baby girl

March

Halifax seaman guilty of sexual assault 

FILE – Accused Master Seaman Daniel Cooper, right, arrives for his standing court martial case.

The Canadian Press/Ted Pritchard

Halifax-based Master Seaman Daniel Cooper was sentenced to 22 months in prison after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a subordinate.

Cooper had pleaded not guilty to the charges in relation to an incident aboard HMCS Athabaskan while the navy destroyer was visiting Spain in 2015.

READ MORE: Halifax-based sailor found guilty of sexual assault, sentenced to 22 months

In addition to the jail sentence and dismissal from the forces, the 30-year-old was demoted to the rank of ordinary seaman and must submit a DNA sample and register as a sex offender for the next 20 years.

Cooper was sentenced on March 12.

Disappearance of Karen Mackenzie

Karen Lee MacKenzie is seen in these undated handout photographs.

Provided/ Halifax Regional Police

A 40-year-old man was charged in connection with the disappearance of a woman from Dartmouth.

Owen Patrick Nelson was charged with interfering with human remains, assault and two counts breach of probation in connection with the disappearance of Karen Lee MacKenzie.

WATCH: Man charged in connection with disappearance of Karen MacKenzie

Court documents obtained by Global News revealed that Nelson allegedly assaulted MacKenzie and misled police, resulting in his arrest.

Investigators have still released few details about the case.

READ MORE: Man charged in connection to disappearance of Dartmouth woman appears in court

April

Justice for Johnston

File – Nicholas Butcher arrives at provincial court in Halifax on Tuesday, April 12, 2016.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

On April 28, 36-year-old Nicholas Butcher was convicted of second-degree murder in the violent death of popular Halifax yoga instructor Kristen Johnston.

Johnston, 32, who was originally from Montreal, was found dead in the bedroom of her home on Purcells Cove Road on March 26, 2016. Butcher’s trial lasted more than three weeks.

WATCH: Butcher to serve at least 15 years

Butcher is appealing the conviction, citing that Justice Joshua Arnold erred in allowing evidence of bad character and hearsay statements.

READ MORE: Nicholas Butcher found guilty of second-degree murder in Kristin Johnston’s death

Souvannarath sentenced to life 

Lindsay Souvannarath arrives at provincial court in Halifax on Friday, March 6, 2015.

The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan

An American woman who was a part of a three-person plot to commit mass murder at a Halifax mall was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for a decade.

Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath, 26, along with James Gamble and Randall Shepherd, were a part of a conspiracy to go on a Valentine’s Day shooting rampage at the Halifax Shopping Centre in 2015.

WATCH: U.S. woman gets life sentence for Halifax mall plot

The sentence was handed down on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings, which Souvannarath, and Gamble cited in chat log messages as inspiration for their mass murder plan.

READ MORE: U.S. woman sentenced to life in prison in Valentine’s Day shooting plot at Halifax mall

May

Controversial Halifax cabbie faces more charges

Bassam Al-Rawi appears in Halifax Provincial Court in February 2018.

Jeff Harper/Metro Halifax

A Halifax cab driver who was controversially acquitted in 2017 was charged with a second count of sexual assault in May.

Bassam Al-Rawi, 42, was charged in May 2015 after a Halifax Regional Police officer found a young woman passed out and naked from the waist in the back of his cab.

He was acquitted in March 2017, when Judge Gregory Lenehan stated, “Clearly, a drunk can consent,” sparking public outrage and groups calling for Lenehan’s removal as a trial judge.

WATCH: Halifax taxi driver’s acquittal sparks questions surrounding sexual assault cases

Details of the latest charges against Al-Rawi remain concealed under a publication ban.

READ MORE: Halifax cab driver acquitted of sexual assault faces second charge

Suspicious south-end fire 

The building on Inglis Street went up in flames as a result of the suspicious fire.

Dave Squires/ Global News

A fire in Halifax’s south end that forced 25 from people from their homes and destroyed a historic heritage building was deemed suspicious.

The fire at 5450 Inglis Street was reported just before 2:30 a.m. on May 9. It didn’t take long for crews to deem the fire suspicious and hand the investigation over to police.

A part of the building had to be torn down due to extensive damage, and police have not released details on charges.

June

Bedsore death sparks criminal investigation 

Nursing home resident Chrissy Dunnington died of an infection caused by an untreated pressure injury.

Courtesy: Elizabeth Deveau

The death of a long-term care resident as a result of a bedsore sparked a police investigation into whether her death was the result of criminal negligence by staff at the home.

Chrissy Dunnington was 38 was she was moved Parkstone Enhanced Care in 2016. She was born with spina bifida and had special needs requiring continuous care. Despite the diagnosis, Chrissy’s family said she was “healthy in every other way” before moving into Parkstone and had “a tremendous number of questions” about how she got the injury that resulted in her death.

WATCH: Severe bedsores identified as widespread issue in N.S. long-term care facilities

Chrissy’s death sparked the province’s Department of Health to have all nursing homes report the number of bedsores and their severity in their facilities. They identified 152 bedsores in stage three and four — the most severe cases — in the province.

The province also said it would adopt a new provincial standard for wound care in their facilities and new methods of collecting data.

READ MORE: Halifax police investigate death of long-term care resident who had bedsore infection

‘Queer café’ offers open space for LQBTQ+ community

Glitter Bean Café is designed to offer a queer-friendly community space.

Dave Squires/Global News

A new cafe for members of the queer community opened in Halifax in June.

Former baristas of the Smiling Goat Organic Espresso Bar opened the Gliter Bean Café, with the purpose of offering a queer-friendly community space for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

WATCH: Former Halifax cafe to serve as queer community space

The idea for the cafe stemmed from the baristas themselves, with 90 per cent of the employees at the cafe identifying as queer. They said the community space was needed, which was a sentiment echoed by customers on opening day.

But the opening came amid an ongoing legal battle, one in which the cafe’s baristas have accused their former employer of not paying them fully.

READ MORE: ‘It’s good to be back’: Glitter Bean Cafe opens at former Smiling Goat location

With files from The Canadian Press and Global Halifax staff.

Follow @GlobalGraeme 

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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