Forget the war – let’s get married

MEMBER STORY – Neil Everton & Halina St James

A chance encounter in the Jordanian desert during the first Gulf War led to a lot of changes for a couple who, for the last 25 years, have called Tantallon their home.

“I was on assignment for the BBC,” says Neil Everton. “I had no idea that I was about to meet a red-head who would become my wife and take me to a new life in Canada.”

The red-head was Halina St James – on assignment for the CBC. Halina’s regular beat had been covering politics with the CBC’s bureau in Ottawa.

On one memorable day she survived a crash in a small plane with NDP leader Ed Broadbent.

Off the political beat, she covered Olympic Games in Atlanta, Barcelona and Norway.

A few years after moving to Tantallon they quit journalism and set up a company to help people overcome the fear of speaking in public or being interviewed by the media.

Halina had been shot at in the Romanian Revolution. Neil had been arrested as a spy by Russian soldiers in Afghanistan. But a bigger threat came in 2012. Halina had a stroke and lost the power of speech. Halina worked hard to get her voice back… singing her ABCs and re-learning how to write.

She made a complete recovery – and celebrated by delivering a speech in Newfoundland.

She has just published her fourth book and launched a new online training program for speakers.

“Nova Scotia has been our sanctuary,” says Halina. “We couldn’t live anywhere else.”

Halina with CBC correspondent Joe Schlesinger in the burning oilfields of Kuwait. And (above) racing with CTV anchor Lloyd Robertson to beat a deadline at the Barcelona Olympics.

We want your stories!

What is your experience living in Nova Scotia? Have you lived or traveled to an exotic location? Perhaps you have a surprising hobby? Or you’ve met famous people as part of your job? We are looking for members to share (or nominate a friend to share) their story at an upcoming monthly meeting of the Association and/or in the monthly newsletter. Email for more information.

Healthy Gut – Healthy Brain

Professor Tara Perrot (right) and dietitian Edie Shaw-Ewald talked at our September meeting about the connection between a healthy gut and a healthy brain.

Tara is a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie University. She explained how it is important to think of our body holistically. The brain and gut talk back and forth to each other, and what we eat influences how strong or weak is the communication path.

Edie Shaw-Ewald, registered Dietitian at the Tantallon Superstore, talked about our diets and which foods are best for brain health.

We heard that many experts consider the Mediterranean Diet and Dash Diet as the overall healthiest way of eating, lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. By taking research from both diets, scientists were able to pull the key ingredients that specifically targeted brain health and combined the results into what is called the MIND Diet.

The MIND Diet focuses specifically on brain health, and is designed to prevent dementia and loss of brain function as you age.

To learn more, click here to view a PDF of the presentation!

It’s Media Literacy Week!

Break the fake: four tips to help you tell what’s true online

Do you feel like you don’t know who to trust on mainstream or social media? It can be tough to tell what’s true and what’s “fake news” just by looking at a headline.

And how do you know if the people making claims online can be trusted? Are they independent voices, or just peddling a product or pushing a conspiracy theory?

Media Literacy Week starts on October 7. With that in mind, here are four quick and easy steps to find out the truth and share good information. Sometimes you only have to do one of these things:

Tip # 1: Use Fact-Checking Tools

Sometimes a single search can break the fake, if a professional fact-checker like Snopes has already done the work for you.

The site has a search tool where you plug in a couple of keywords and discover if the item has been flagged as fake.

Or you can use MLW’s custom fact check search tool . Put the title or keywords in the simple search box.If no reliable fact-checker has covered the topic yet, move on to Tip # 2 – Find the Source or Tip # 3 – Check Other Sources.

Tip # 2 Find the Source

Because it’s so easy to copy and share things online, it’s important to find out where something originally came from before you decide whether or not to trust it.

The easiest way to find the source is usually to follow links that will lead you to the original story.

In social media like Facebook or Twitter, the link is usually at the end or bottom of thepost.

Tip # 3 Verify the Source

Whether you’re looking at a website, a photo or video, or a news story, what really matters is whether or not the people who originally created it are trustworthy. If the source isn’t reliable you have no reason to believe their information.

To find out if a source is reliable, ask three questions:

1 – Do they really exist?
“About Us” pages and profiles are easy to fake, so use a search engine or Wikipedia to research the credentials of the source.

Some social networks, like Twitter and Instagram, verify users by putting a blue check mark next to their name. This does not mean they’re necessarily a reliable source, but it does mean that they are who they say they are.

2 – Are they who they say they are?
It’s easy to pretend to be someone else online, so once you know the source really exists, you need to find out if what you’re looking at really came from them.

3 – Are they trustworthy?
For sources of general information, like newspapers, find out if they have a process for making sure they’re giving you good information.

For more specialized sources, find out whether they’re experts or authorities.

Tip # 4 Check Other Sources
The News tab is better than the main Google search for this step. While not every source that’s included is perfectly reliable, they are all news outlets that really exist.

MLW’s custom news search, searches ten Canadian and international sources of reliable news.

Make sure to take at least one of these steps to double-check before you share anything you see online, every time. Because only you can break the fake.


About Media Literacy Week

Media Literacy Week is an annual national campaign hosted by MediaSmarts and the Canadian Teachers Federation to promote digital and media literacy, with activities and events taking place in classrooms, libraries, museums and community groups from coast to coast.

October Newsletter

Our October newsletter is now available! Click the cover image below to view or download.

  • We’re looking for volunteers
  • Ten foods for a healthy brain
  • Reusable bag campaign back for second year
  • NEW feature! Members share their stories
  • Upcoming events, local info and much more!