Aquinian, Canada, Fredericton, New Brunswick, News, Profile, Sports, St. Thomas University, Students

Athlete of the month looks forward to playoffs

Kelty Apperson said it’s a special feeling to be named St. Thomas University Coastal Graphics Athlete of the Month for January.

“It’s always nice to be recognized for the hard work,” she said. “But I only received this award due to my team. They are always pushing me to be improving, so their support has allowed me to find success on the ice.”

Apperson, a fourth-year student and captain of the women’s hockey team is second in the Atlantic University Sport scoring race with 22 points.

Full story here.

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Aquinian, Fredericton, New Brunswick, News, Profile, Sports, St. Thomas University, Students

Provincial and STU records broken

Two Tommies got-off to a record-breaking start this season at the 2015 Gagetown Indoor Track and Field Meet Nov. 28.

Jonathon Gionet broke the New Brunswick shot put record with a 14.86 meter throw, while Sarah Hickman broke St. Thomas University’s record in the 60 and 200 meters race.

Gionet, a fourth-year student from Bathurst beat the 21-year-old former record of 14.85 meters. This was also a personal-best performance for Gionet that earned him the 2015 Atlantic University Sport title.

Full story here.

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Aquinian, Canada, Fredericton, New Brunswick, News, Profile, Sports, St. Thomas University, Students

Lauren Henman named athlete of the month

Lauren Henman said that it’s a huge honour for her to have been chosen as October’s Coors Light Athlete of the Month.

“I owe all of my success so far this season to my team and coaches,” she said. “I’m just really happy we’re doing so well this year.”

In October, Henman averaged one point per game with four goals and one assist in five regular season games. She is leading the team in scoring and is second in the conference with seven points.

Full story here.

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Local business, Minto, New Brunswick, Profile

Queen of Minto’s castle refuses to give up

Pauline Johnson, owner of medieval-themed pub La-Kassa-We in Minto, says that her dreams of owning a castle are slowly coming true.

Johnson, who has dedicated the last two and a half years to designing and building the castle-replica restaurant in her hometown, said that she remembers telling a friend as a teenage that she would someday own a castle.

“Sometimes you just jokingly say things like that,” she said. “I think if it’s something that stays in your subconscious all these year, you tend to build those things.”

La-Kassa-We, which has yet to open officially, was crafted entirely by hand by Johnson, her father and friends. The building resembles a castle of the 1800s, featuring hand-painted designs by Fredericton-based muralist Ron Sajack. The inside is furnished with logs from Johnson’s father’s property, real rock from a gravel pit in Minto, and locally and personally-made items that have a style which Johnson refers to as being “stuck between the Flinstones and the Munsters.”

“People need a place like this,” she said. “It’s depicted in the 1800s because back then it was a very simple-living kind of way and that’s what I wanted to bring back… I believe in things that are from the earth. People had longevity [back then]. Now, I question that. I’m trying to keep my place as natural as possible to keep my patrons as healthy as possible and hopefully they have longevity, as well as I, to enjoy this place. This place is built out of heart.”

La-Kassa-We’s menu items are simple and not necessarily medievally-themed themselves. What inspired Johnson’s menu is the different foods she has tasted while travelling and playing music since she was 14, and the fact that she does not believe in foods cooked with grease.

“There’s no deep-fryers in my kitchen. You’re going to get Cornish hens, ribs, homemade baked beans and baguettes and things like that,” she said. “Your tummy’s just going to be full. It’s good healthy food.”

Johnson said that she has experience some struggles during the two years she’s been building the nearly-finished restaurant. Recently, La-Kassa-We fell victim to a series of thefts from local business in the village. She said that $2500-worth of cooking equipment was stolen, but she has chosen to move on and look beyond it all.

“The truth will come out someday, and if it doesn’t, so be it,” she said. “I don’t want to see that fear and disappointment inflicted onto this castle.”

To make a positive situation out of a negative one and do greater good for the community, Johnson hosted a meeting to organize a neighbourhood watch committee after the thefts and has hosted weekly jam sessions at the pub.

“This place really does belong to the community… If it can be used in a positive way – which it always will be, because I won’t allow any negativity to inflict this place – then so be it, because the people in this town need to be a aware of things go around in their town.”

Alton Morell, a close friend and supporter of Johnson, says that she has done nothing but good for the small village and its surrounding areas.

“Pauline has created something beautiful during hard times,” he said. “She puts a smile on everyone’s face and she has forced us to talk about important issues. She’s a true persevering leader and her business is a staple of that.”

Despite the setbacks, Johnson said that she will not give up and that the “little kicks in the pants” only force her to keep going. She plans to finally get her castle open for business very soon and make a landmark out of it that will promote growth in the community.

“Yeah, it’s been a bit of a struggle,” she said. “But we’re built with a big heart and so much strength and courage. We just need to dig deep inside because it’s there. If you truly believe in your idea, you truly believe that it’s good for the animal kingdom and humanity… how can it be wrong?”

Originally written for a class at St. Thomas University.

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Aquinian, Fredericton, News, Profile, Sports, St. Thomas University

Coach of the year at STU

Meghan MacAfee was voted by her peers as Coach of the Year at the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association women’s rugby banquet.

“I was really happy to get (the award) because it was voted by the other coaches in our league which was really, really, kind and generous of them,” MacAfee said. “We hear a lot from the teams we play that we play hard rugby, they always know it’s going to be a good game… When it comes down to it, from the start of the game, I’m on the sidelines. It’s the girls who really made that impression.”

MacAfee, who has been head coach of the St. Thomas University’s women’s rugby team for the last two years, successfully lead the women Tommies to an ACAA silver-medal finish both years. Despite the loss, the team went to this year’s championship game in first place, being undefeated before losing to the UNB Varsity Reds.

Full story here.

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New Brunswick, News, Politics, Profile, St. Thomas University

The Powers that Be: Diversifying the Conversation with David Coon

David Coon, NB Green Party leader, told a class at St. Thomas University on Tuesday afternoon that he is confident in his ability to contribute to change in the province.

“I can make a change – I believe that. I can certainly make a change in the discourse that’s going on, and I think we’ll have some influence on at least the government’s side.”

Coon won the vote in the provincial election as the first Green Party seat to ever be elected into the legislature in September. He has kicked off his role as MLA for Fredericton South by proposing a bill to lower the voting age to 16.

“By lowering the voting age to 16, you get a much higher level of youth engagement,” he said. “When you’re 16/17, you’re still in a much more stable environment: you’re at home, you’re in high school, so you’ve got the family… the evidence does suggest that if you begin voting at 16/17, it does lead to much more of a life-long engagement than if you don’t.”

“I think it’s possible,” Coon confirmed, but added that it depends partly on the amount of pressure that’s brought to bear from outside the legislature on the government.

The bill, if passed, would see 16-year olds given the right to cast a ballot in the next provincial election, which will be held in 2018.

Coon also spoke on Tuesday about his first experiences in the legislature, comparing the offices to high school.

“Trying to get an office,” he laughed. “With the others parties saying ‘Well, we don’t want him here, we don’t want him there,’ for this reason, that reason – it was just crazy! In fact, high school’s better than that.”

“The first day I sat there on the floor of the legislature – that was pretty cool. And then quickly realizing I was by myself. So, I sat in the front row being a leader of the third party, and the Conservatives here and the Liberals across, and I thought, ‘Boy… if there was ever an incentive to ensure more Green MLAs are elected next time, it’s this!’”

Coon’s ironic feelings of being back in high school and being alienated among the powers that be have an interesting relation in terms of who his target audience is with this new bill proposal. One might wonder if he feels as though he can now identify more with the youth in the province – a group who so many consider to be ignored. Either way, Coon and the Green Party are making a number of initiatives to get them involved and change the conversation, such as posting notes and videos on social media.

“It’s using it effectively to do that,” he stressed. “I think you have to be clever about that, but it’s not sufficient or a substitute. It doesn’t replace everything else.”

Coon says his plan is to get to them directly by going out and actually speaking to them and integrating his plans within their own communities.

“I’m trying to be present and engaged in our middle schools, high schools, and university campuses routinely. The MLA should not be special guest, but should be a regular landscape.”

Coon wants to work towards this as he believes youth engagement would be fundamental for creating change, transformative change. “When you’re younger, you’re more wide open, you’re in a stage of life where you’re thinking about things, thinking about learning things, and I think there’s an openness to talk about anything. We have to start talking that way if we want to make the kinds of changes we need to deal.”

Diversifying the narrative of the political realm in NB is something that Coon aims to do, even in a system he sees as dangerously broken. He believes this to be an alienating disenchantment of the province, one that is no longer engaged or contributing to solutions. He wants to be a new voice, and he’s more than ready to make a change.

Though he’s weary as to whether the change wants to make will be fundamental or not, he is hopeful that it will be a step in that direction – perhaps creating an interesting election for 2018. But for now, Coon just wants to focus on the present.

“Other fundamental change can happen politically outside of elections around engagement. Our democracy needs to function every day, not just every four years.”

Originally written for a class at St. Thomas University.

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