Tuesday's 9 things we're talking about

Evolve overdoses, bridge closures and Pluto flybys

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VIA SHANDON MARTIN ON INSTAGRAM.

1
Way to be a buzzkill, HRM. The Macdonald Bridge is now closed on Friday evenings (starting this weekend) due to the Big Lift. Previously the massive re-decking project was previously only closing the harbour bridge Sunday through Thursday, from 7pm to 5:30am. Now bridge traffic will be cut off six nights a week for the foreseeable future. Plan your weekend accordingly.

Bus routes normally crossing the MacDonald will detour over the MacKay. The Halifax Transit shuttle that’s in service now will be extended to Friday evenings as well, but not until August 24.

From our comment section:

“The HHB bought four buses at 150k per. As of today, July 13, two of these buses are out of service. Waited 30 minutes to get across the bridge at 7:30 this morning, lots of people waiting. The people who are working on or as support for these shuttles are generally hostile to any comment or criticism, and don't care about us because we are ‘non-revenue producers.’ If everyone who took that shuttle drove a car across instead, there would be more traffic and those clowns would be out of a job..” —Peter Wardrope

2
Looks like the Dartmouth Sportsplex will get its $22-million makeover. Metro’s Stephanie Taylor reports the city is moving ahead with the plan to revitalize the aging community centre. Halifax Regional Municipality is now searching for a design consultant for the undertaking, which the city has budgeted $2.4 million for.

3
We went to Pluto this morning! NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft passed within 7,800 miles of the former planet at 8:49am AST this morning. Pluto was still the tenth planet in our solar system when New Horizons launched in January of 2006. Images from the milestone event won’t be transmitted to Earth for at least several more hours (with some data taking a year to get back), what with the 4.8 billion kilometres in between the spacecraft and home.

4
Equally historic: it’s National French Fry Day in Florencevilve-Bristol, New Brunswick. “McCain Day” would probably be too on the nose.

"There's a lot of misconceptions about french fries,” Calla Farn of McCain Foods tells CTV.

5
Is it okay to bury your pet in the backyard? Metropolitan Regional Housing Authority doesn’t think so, but that didn’t stop tenant Charlene Meisner from burying her dead cat Raspberry (who fell several stories out of a window) behind the Gordon B. Isnor Manor. The Housing Authority and Department of Community Services ask tenants to take their dead pets to a vet instead of disposing of them on property. Currently, the authorities are planning to exhume Raspberry but haven’t yet found the corpse. “They’ve been looking,” Meisner tells CBC. “The grave’s not marked, so it would be hard.”

6
Steve Craig wants council to hold off on approving some pricey snow-clearing tenders until after an external review of winter operations has been completed later this summer. Craig also isn’t happy to see an increase of $6 million for the annual snow-clearing service when he tried—and failed—to increase the snow budget himself back in the spring. The contracts will be discussed tomorrow at City Hall.

7
Drug testing kits wouldn’t have helped with the overdoses and medical emergencies caused by this year’s Evolve Festival, says one Antigonish doctor. Maureen Allen, director of emergency services at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, tells CBC the concert-goers who came in over last weekend weren’t sick because of drug impurities.

“I feel very strongly that a harm reduction philosophy is a good philosophy, but it's really taken out of context," she said. "There's this sense of safety that if they just screened these drugs for impurities that we're going to make the rave safe — that's inaccurate."

Allen says 16 patients between 17 and 32 came into the hospital last weekend with problems caused by ingesting multiple drugs. RCMP say seven people were charged with trafficking, 12 with possession for the purpose of trafficking and 10 with regular, old-fashioned possession. Paramedics also reported to Allen that several people refused assistance on site because they wanted to stay at Evolve. Yesterday, festival organizer Jonas Colter said there were only a handful of overdoses this year and claimed 2015’s Evolve was the safest yet.

8
It’s by-election day in Nova Scotia. Voters in three provincial ridings will head to the polls today in Dartmouth South, Cape Breton Centre and Sydney-Whitney Pier to replace deceased Liberal MLA Allan Rowe and retired NDP MLAs Gordie Gosse and Frank Corbett. It will be the first major challenge of the Stephen McNeil government since its landslide election in 2013.

9
Hotel swimming pools are harder to sneak into than you think. In a quest to find the best pools to cool down in, Jessica Flower rounded up a handy guide to places to work on your butterfly stroke, and summer glow, without dunking a single toe in a natural body of water. Break out your L.L.Bean tote bag and hit the decks this afternoon.

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