• Canadian Blood Services is holding a blood donor clinic in Burnside on Friday, February 17 in the RSA cafeteria at 50 Garland Ave. The hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and anyone interested in donating can call 1-888-2DONATE to make an appointment.
• SimplyCast has had a busy month with no less than three announcements by the company. The latest notice outlined the release of its most extensive software upgrade to date, Version 7, which allows marketing messages to be broadcast on up to 13 channels and designed to work seamlessly on tablet computers. The company also recently announced Sara Rahimi of Dalhousie University, Layton Mason of St. Mary's University and Alisha Ross of Barrington Municipal High School, as its 2011 SimplyCast scholarship winners. The three awards, the SimplyCast Ritchie scholarship, the SimplyCast Scobey scholarship and the SimplyCast Jutla scholarship are awarded annually to high school or university/college students and are based on academic achievement, community citizenship, and Equals6 network participation. And finally, SimplyCast has partnered with Dalhousie University's Corporate Residency MBA Program, bringing MBA student Jennifer Jackson on board as acting director of international business for her corporate residency. Jackson will work closely with the entire SimplyCast team as she heads up the global expansion of the SimplyCast brand and its all-in-one marketing platform. The eight-month corporate residency will provide the quality of work experience that will benefit both student and employer.
• Nova Physiotherapy unveiled its new 3D running analysis system at the recent Health Expo, the only one of its kind east of Toronto. It will have plenty of opportunity to roll out the new technology thanks to the opening of its third location. Joining the Timberlea and Burnside locations is Bedford South, located at 540 Southgate Dr. The cherry on top of another successful year for Nova Physiotherapy was the announcement it had won the Consumer Choice Award for physiotherapy for the second year in a row.
• Business park companies were well represented when the Halifax Chamber of Commerce handed out its Halifax Business Awards last month. Among the honourees were: Jean-Paul Deveau of Acadian Seaplants, who was chosen Business Person of the Year; Miller Tirecraft and Farnell Packaging, which took silver and bronze respectively in the Business of the Year category; Acadian Seaplants took home silver in the International Business of the Year category; and GreenGym walked away with the bronze in the Small Business of the Year category.
• The consumer trend of buying locally grown or produced foods and services appears to have no interest for Halifax Regional Council. After a relatively short debate on the idea of including a buy local clause in its purchasing policies, council rejected the idea. The issue recently came to the public's attention when Burnside's Intelivote Systems Inc. lost a contract to supply the online voting component of the upcoming municipal elections. After filling that role in the last two municipal elections, this year's contract went to Scytl Secure Electronic Voting, a Spanish company looking to expand into the North American market. Intelivote has questioned the process that led to the awarding of the contract, unsure of how a first-time bidder could score so well in the tender evaluation despite Intelivote's greater knowledge of exactly what's involved in providing this service to Council's exact standards. Intelivote has state that the loss of the contract might impact the company's survival, which means the cost of awarding the contract must now factor in increased unemployment and reduced tax revenues.
• By the time you're reading this, Metro Transit will likely be fully into its first strike in many years. The transit authority walked away for the negotiating table on the last day of January after the Amalgamated Transit Union said no to the company's latest offer and instead put forward a counter-proposal. Metro Transit similarly rejected the Union's position and ended negotiations. Previously, union members had voted 98.4 per cent in favour of backing their contract demands with a strike.
• Meanwhile, the city has put some additional pressure on Metro Transit when Mayor Peter Kelly and Councillors Gloria McCluskey and Jerry Blumenthal threw their support behind a private petition calling for HRM residents aged 65 and older to be allowed free Metro Transit rides one day a week during off-peak hours. The idea was earlier denied by the transit service as being too costly, although McCluskey points out there are other jurisdictions in the region that already offer this service. Blumenthal contends the service would cost Metro Transit very little since "buses are half empty between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m." The petition was started by 83-year-old Dartmouth resident, Lorne Perry. He got the idea from Ottawa where the system allows seniors to ride free all day Wednesday and after noon on Mondays and Fridays. The goal is to collect at least 1,000 signatures on the petition by the end of March, at which time Blumenthal will present it to Council. The petition is being circulated throughout the metro area and is also available online at www.seniortransit.ca and at www.peterkelly.ca.
• Saab Microwave Canada has secured a $450,000 contract to provide training on the new fire control system for the Navy's frigates.
• Cherubini is now moving ahead with plans to construct its new plant in Burnside instead of on Pleasant Street in Dartmouth. The company is completing the acquisition of land on Wilkinson Avenue in the Logistics Park area of Burnside.
• CUPE Nova Scotia is backing Premier Darrell Dexter's opposition to Ottawa's move to unilaterally impose a revised health care equalization payment strategy. CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh says the federal government's own Parliamentary Budget Officer believes the proposed health transfer plan could cost the provinces a whopping $31 billion.
• Councillor Jim Smith, on behalf of the Public Good Society and community sponsors, recently unveiled the first Community Van located in urban HRM. The Public Good Society will make the van available, through an application process, primarily to non-profit groups in North Dartmouth. The van is an opportunity for local groups to enhance their activities, lower their transportation costs and provide additional services to their group members.
• ADP Canada, a provider of human resources, payroll and benefits solutions, has entered into a partnership with Eastern College to bring on-the-job experience to Halifax-based students. The program will see 11 Eastern College students placed in co-op work terms at ADP's Burnside office following a competitive hiring process. Working with ADP Customer Service Representatives, the students will be in a position to develop relationships with businesses across Canada and assist them in finding solutions to meet a variety of business needs. After completing the six-week placement, which includes one week of formalized training, the students will return to school to complete their program. Upon completion, students may be offered a full-time position at ADP.
• Global Maritimes is leaving Burnside and will relocate in September to a new studio on Gottingen Street in Halifax's north end. The new studio will be located in the former Palooka's gym.
In other business park news:
• Dartmouth Crossing: Two Eastern Passage men were arrested on January 20 when they were observed by officers assigned to the HRP/RCMP Integrated General Investigation Section's Break and Enter Unit loading a pick-up truck with items from a business in Dartmouth Crossing. Officers followed the pair before arresting them without incident and recovering a quantity of stolen items. Officers then returned to the business where a 28-year-old man was also arrested. The first two men each face charges of theft over $5,000 and possession of stolen property over $5,000. The third man faces a charge of theft over $5,000. All three men are scheduled to appear in Dartmouth Provincial Court this month.
• Woodside: DSME Trenton (DSTN) and Seaforth Energy have entered into a training and production partnership that will see Seaforth train DSTN personnel to manufacture wind turbine blades. The partnership will result in DSTN having the ability to manufacture wind turbine blades for Seaforth Energy's AOC 15/50, a 50kw wind turbine made in Nova Scotia and sold both domestically and internationally. This will create jobs and facilitate growth at Seaforth Energy's manufacturing plant in Woodside. Seaforth is poised to start exporting more AOC 15/50s to markets all over the world and local partnerships are one way it's expanding production capacity to meet increased sales.
• Woodside: Innovacorp has announced the winners in its provincial I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition, a competition to find and support high potential Nova Scotia knowledge-based businesses. Winners in each zone are:
• Zone 1 (Cumberland, Colchester, Pictou, Antigonish and Guysborough counties)
1st Place: Water Drills International Inc., New Glasgow
2nd Place: znanja, New Glasgow
• Zone 2 (Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne and Yarmouth counties)
1st Place: Ventgrid Inc., Chester
2nd Place: Van Dyk Specialty Freezing Innovations, Caledonia
• Zone 3 (Digby, Annapolis, Kings and Hants counties)
1st Place: The Bait Savour, Meteghan Centre
2nd Place: Nova Ergonomic Tool Technologies Inc., Comeauville
• Zone 4 (Halifax Regional Municipality)
1st Place: DeNovaMed Inc., Halifax
2nd Place: BIKE Scientific, Halifax
• Zone 5 (Victoria, Cape Breton, Inverness and Richmond counties)
1st Place: J&K Scientific Inc., Edwardsville
2nd Place: GoVenture World Inc., Sydney