MILLVALE, N.S. — A Nova Scotia town is grieving the loss of a family of six, including four children, whose bodies were discovered Sunday evening following a fire in a travel trailer.

Officers were called to Mountain Road in Millvale, N.S., Sunday at around 6:30 p.m. and members reached the area half an hour later after travelling a back road to the location, RCMP Cpl. Chris Marshall said Monday.

He said when the Mounties arrived, they discovered the bodies inside the nine-metre long trailer.

Robert Sears said in an interview Monday that his 30-year-old son Robert Jorge Sears had died, along with his common law partner, Michelle Robertson, 28, and four children: Madison, 11, Robert Ryder, 8, Jaxson, 4, and Colin, 3.

“He was a great Dad and loved everyone, especially his family,” Sears said of his son, adding that his son had worked for a food services company in the area.

He said the family, who lived in Amherst, N.S., had been at the trailer for a short stay, and he was still awaiting information on what had happened.

It will be up to the fire marshal’s office to establish the cause of the fire, but police say a preliminary investigation suggests it was not suspicious. The medical examiner’s office will be determining the exact cause of death.

The RCMP’s Marshall said the news has been devastating for all those in the area who knew the family.

“It takes a toll on the community at large,” he said. “It’s a difficult circumstance and it’s tragic.”

Millvale is a small community in Cumberland County near Westchester Valley, about 50 kilometres southeast of Amherst and the New Brunswick border. In Amherst, a memorial site with a large photograph of the family was set up Monday in a park.

Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, the local member of the provincial legislature, said the school attended by three of the children, Cumberland North Academy, has been hit hard by news of the deaths.

She said the memorial “is especially needed where there are a lot of children in our community who will need help grieving through this.”

Marshall couldn’t say who owned the trailer but identified it as a nine-metre ultra-lite Passport trailer that was located on a private property. The exterior of the trailer was intact and “it wasn’t like we had to comb through rubble,” he said, in describing the scene.

“It’s our belief at this time it is not a suspicious fire … but we will remain there until the fire marshal’s office has confirmed this is not a criminal incident,” he added.

The time of the fire is unknown, and it’s possible it had occurred during the previous night, he said: “My understanding is the family member who went in to check on them and then called police hadn’t heard from them since the day before.”

Amherst Mayor David Kogon said he can’t recall any time in the past 40 years when his town has had a similar death toll from a

GALLMAN — Cathedral unleashed seven goals on Copiah Academy in a 7-1 win Thursday night. Maddie Verruchi, who had a hat trick against Colonels last season, had another with three goals.

Seniors Izzy Dupre and Gracie Foster each had two goals in the win. Head coach Dennis Hogue said they tried to get seventh-grader Lilly Bertlesen a goal to celebrate her birthday, but her four shots went just wide of the goal.

“They played well together. The last two practices we had built up to this game went well,” Hogue said. “After practice this week, we had a senior meeting. We talked about where this team wants to be. They decided to turn it around by digging deeper and changing their attitude. The last practice was excellent. Everyone was giving all of their efforts. It reflected in the game Thursday night.”

He said the younger players would follow the senior’s lead, and they did Thursday night. As a team, they communicated better and passed the ball better, he said.

Cathedral had 15 shots and scored half of them. He said he was pleased. The only goal scored on Green Wave goalkeeper Meredith Lessley was from a corner kick. Hogue said the ball hit the post and caught Lessley off guard.

“It hit off her hand and went in,” Hogue said. “We didn’t expect (the corner taker) to put the ball at the bar. (Lessley) had a great match. This week we worked on her kicking. She is punting beyond midfield. Now we are kicking the ball closer to midfield. We have turned things around.”

A turnaround

The Green Wave dropped games to Laurel Christian and Laurel last week. This turnaround against district opponent Copiah Academy was a great start to district play, he said.

Cathedral hosts three district opponents next week when they travel to Brookhaven Academy on Tuesday, host ACCS on Wednesday and travel to Parklane on Thursday. As a team, they have changed their attitudes in practice. Players are not complaining about the heat, and they are jogging back in place instead of walking.

His senior players have taken the lead by deciding to hold a morning practice on Labor Day.

“I was super proud of that,” Hogue said. “I have had teams do that quite often where we called a Saturday practice because of a match on Monday. The seniors are starting to realize this is my last chance, and they are thinking about doing whatever they have to do.”

Fort Campbell High School sophomore Xavior Hoover has been a part of the Fort Campbell community for 11 years. but that doesn’t mean he’s a stranger to travel – especially after completing a simulated mission to Mars over the summer.

Xavior gained that opportunity at Advanced Space Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, Alabama, graduating from a weeklong program designed for students passionate about space exploration. The curriculum emphasizes hands-on activities and missions that require teamwork, leadership and problem-solving skills.

“I was actually supposed to go in 2020, but then COVID-19 hit so they delayed it a year,” he said. “That was disappointing, but I just had to deal with it, and finally being there felt amazing. It was so fun, and completely worth the wait.”

Although not typical, having spent his entire school career in the Fort Campbell school system has provided Xavier with support and a great foundation that sparked his passion.

“We could go on and on about how much Fort Campbell’s schools have done for us, but I think the most important thing to us is the stability that we’ve been fortunate enough to have,” Xavior’s father, Sgt. 1st Class Travis Hoover, 101st Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “The counselors, we feel, give that extra effort and care to him.”

Xavior’s love of astronomy comes from learning about the ancient Greeks and Romans, who studied star patterns to drew constellations representing their gods. So it was only a matter of time before he made the trip to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. The facility uses astronaut training techniques and environments to engage students, from simulators using NASA’s technology to sleeping quarters modeled after the International Space Station.

“There’s a lot of hands-on activity too, like a computer where you could actually drive a rover,” he said. “We had an activity where you had to check the weather and make calculations and working with a botanist you had to actually grow your own plant and see results within a week.”

Xavior worked as part of a team with 11 students to overcome various challenges, and the experience allowed him to connect with students from across the country.

“He created a lot of bonds with some of the other crew members that he was with, to the extent that they’re going again this coming year,” said Xavior’s mother Angel Hoover. “He does Boy Scouts, so he does meet kids from other areas but it’s all Middle Tennessee. Now he’s branched out and he’s got friends states and states away, so I think it’s a big opportunity for him to get something other than military life.”

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Xavior’s role on the team primarily fell under mission control, which meant he was responsible for commanding, monitoring and planning operations from the ground.

“I’m actually too tall to be an astronaut,” said Xavior, who stands 6 feet 2 inches. “We were at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Museum, and

Once their feet were planted firmly back on the ground after having reached a comfortable
cruising altitude of about 1,300 feet, twin brother and sister Zoe and Zaire Gryga,
of Norristown, shared their thoughts on their first time ever flying in an airplane.

“It was awesome,” said Zoe. “I want to go again. The turns made me nervous. I thought
I was going to fall out.”

“It was cool,” said Zaire. “My favorite part was when the pilot went up and down.”

The two rising sixth graders at Eisenhower Middle School in Norristown were among
a group of 31 children who took flights inside a single engine airplane flown by pilots
from the EAA Chapter 1250 at KPTW – Heritage Field Airport in Pottstown July 29. Campers also learned about
aviation and aircraft by talking to pilots and aircraft owners. The trip was organized
as part of Janet’s Planet STEAM/Astronaut Academy Summer Camp hosted by Montgomery
County Community College (MCCC).

MCCC’s Cultural Affairs Department hosted Janet’s Planet during the weeks of July
19-23 and July 26-30 for youth ages 7-14. Each day, the campers experienced a new
mission with expert guests from the scientific community, conducted experiments and
learned about science and space.

MCCC collaborates with Janet Ivey to bring these educational, enriching summer camps
to the community’s youth. Janet’s Planet presentations have been a favorite of Montgomery
County Community College’s Young Arts Explorer Series for numerous years as part of the Lively Arts Series.

Ivey, an award-winning science educator, is the creator and CEO of Janet’s Planet, a dynamic series that focuses on science, space, history and exploration. The series,
which aired on 140+ public television stations nationwide, has won 12 Regional Emmys
and five Gracie awards. She also serves as the president of Explore Mars, is an active NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador and serves on the Board of Governors
for the National Space Society.

Ivey said she’s always amazed at how much campers know about space exploration and
science at the beginning of each camp but the focus is on educating children to be
the best version of themselves.

“The best kind of astronauts are kind and compassionate,” she said. “And goodness
and compassion is what makes people great.”

Iain Campbell, program coordinator for MCCC’s Cultural Affairs, praised Ivey’s connections
to the NASA community, by having astronauts and related guests talk to campers virtually.

“Space has so many possibilities and it’s what engages kids’ imaginations,” said Campbell.
“They talk about this being a STEM camp, science, technology, engineering and math,
and it’s all of those things. But it’s also imagination. And getting that collective
want to do something. She’s really great at tapping into that. It’s a lot of hands-on
activities and what educators would call active learning.”

Children who attend the Janet’s Planet Astronaut Academy have the opportunity each
year to visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., for a weeklong experience there. Former campers-turned-volunteers
Alexander Kreitz, 15, of Blue

CENTREVILLE — The Centreville Academy Tigers took advantage of turnovers created by their defense and a strong running game in a 38-16 win over the Bowling Green School Buccaneers Friday night to remain undefeated.

Centreville jumped out to a 16-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and led Bowling Green 24-0 by halftime. The Tigers added another touchdown with just under three minutes left in the third quarter to lead 30-0 before the Buccaneers finally got on the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter.

“We came out and played fast in the first quarter. Then the heat kind of got to us,” Centreville assistant coach Brian Stutzman said. “Overall, I thought we played well. Offensive line blocked well in spots. Our running backs ran the ball hard.”

Stutzman said that junior quarterback Peyton Jones did a good job controlling the game.

“Peyton played okay. We didn’t throw the ball too much tonight,” Stutzman said.

The defense played much better than it did in the Tigers’ season-opening 52-34 win over New Orleans Home School a week earlier.

“Defense created turnovers and (that) helped us early in the game,” Stutzman said.

With both teams going to their second-team players for the fourth quarter, Bowling Green was able to avoid being shut out early in the fourth quarter and managed to outscore Centreville 16-8 in the final 12 minutes.

Centreville Academy (2-0) will travel to Vicksburg to take on St. Aloysius High School on Friday at 7 p.m.

The Government is considering mandatory QR scanning in “high-risk” locations such as bars and restaurants, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

There are no new Covid-19 cases in the community despite the Government remaining cautious after an Australian man visited Wellington last weekend while contagious.

There are 10 cases in managed isolation facilities since the Ministry’s last update yesterday.

The number of active cases in New Zealand is 28 after one previously reported case has now recovered.

A positive case of Covid-19 has been detected in the Newmont’s Granite gold mine 350km north-west of Alice Springs in Australia’s Northern Territory. Health officials have been advised of two contacts who have travelled to New Zealand.

Both contacts are in isolation and are being tested according to the type of contact they had with the case at the mine, the ministry said. One has returned a negative test result already, and the result for the other individual is expected tomorrow.

“New Zealand health officials remain in contact with our Australian counterparts and are closely monitoring the situation,” the ministry said.

Travel bubble announcement expected

With the Government due to make a call on resuming the transtasman travel bubble, hopes are now pinned on the run of no new community cases continuing.

This morning the Prime Minister gave a strong indication the Government would go ahead with resuming the transtasman travel bubble with all states with the exception of New South Wales, where community Covid cases have continued to surge over recent days.

Victoria today reported no new cases in the community while Queensland reported two, including a miner who was a close contact of an infected Northern Territory worker and had travelled back home not knowing they had contracted the virus. NSW recorded 18 new cases of community transmission.

Cabinet is meeting today to see if the transtasman travel bubble pause, which is due to expire at midnight tomorrow, will be recommenced.

That decision will be reviewed tomorrow, the ministry said.

There are now multiple cases and outbreaks in Australia in differing stages of containment and the health risk for New Zealand in response to these cases is increasing, the ministry said.

Anyone who was in Australia from June 21 and is now in New Zealand should be checking the growing number of locations of interest.

People waiting in line to be tested for Covid-19 at Hataitai Park in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell
People waiting in line to be tested for Covid-19 at Hataitai Park in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Yesterday there were 754 tests processed in the Greater Wellington region and there is still capacity at pop-up sites, community testing centres, and at GPs and medical centres this afternoon and tomorrow.

Anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms is encouraged to be tested.

Covid-infected Australian tourist

In the meantime, all eyes are on test results from the close contacts of a Covid-infected Australian tourist who travelled to Wellington for a weekend break.

He was considered infectious while in the capital, testing positive a day after returning home to Sydney. His partner, who travelled to New Zealand

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s chief of staff, Jordan Elsbury, has spent the last three days in Washington, D.C., meeting with government leaders about the problems at Hilltop Village Apartments.

The Northwest Jacksonville apartment community has been the subject of several News4Jax I-TEAM stories after we uncovered a mice infestation in all of the 14 buildings on the property.

As a result of our initial story in April, the mayor’s office ordered code enforcement inspect all 200 apartments. We’ve now learned inspectors have returned to the property every week and have issued 556 violations since May 4. The mayor’s public affairs office said that 132 of those have been corrected by the property owner and that the landlord has been issued $35,250 in paying citations at this time.


Elsbury has met this week with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, both of whom have already sent letters to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, requesting action to hold the landlord responsible, and have called on HUD to do more to force the owner to correct unsafe living conditions.

The I-TEAM learned HUD was supposed to inspect the property in 2017 but never did. An inspection was not conducted until the I-TEAM and Rubio’s office asked why it had been missed.

Hilltop Village is owned by S.P. Hilltop LLC, which owns 11 other HUD communities in Jacksonville. The owner receives payments from the federal government as part of a contract with HUD to provide affordable housing to low-income earning families. As part of that deal, the owner is supposed to provide safe, decent living conditions for the tenants. HUD is required to ensure that is being done by, among other things, inspecting the property. Despite the missed inspection in 2017, the owner still received $5.7 million in HUD payments.


After we exposed the mice infestation, a HUD spokesperson told the I-TEAM last month that the property management company responsible for maintaining Hilltop Village had allocated $111,986 for exterior exclusions of pests entering the 14 property buildings and have signed contracts that also include an additional commitment of up to $144,000 for interior exclusion.

Yet, it does not appear those pest control measures are working. We have received several calls, emails and texts from tenants who tell us their apartments are still infested with mice. We wanted answers from the Jacksonville HUD Office. It’s supervisor is Alesia Scott-Ford.

“’You really caught me off guard, and I’m not in a position to answer these questions,” she told me when I asked her if HUD is going to continue to send payments to Hilltop Village’s owner.

We spoke to her before she appeared at an unrelated news conference at City Hall.


“HUD is doing everything possible to ensure that families are living in a safe, decent and comfortable environment,” she told me.

When I asked her about the missed HUD inspection in 2017, she said, “I can’t. I’m not allowed to speak

The scene on a pleasant May evening was similar to hundreds of games at the Warren Little League fields over nearly seven decades. Matt Harris, the coach of the Twins, addressed his team of 8, 9, 10 and 11-year-olds in the dugout after a rousing win over the Pirates.

“That was a good win!” Harris told them. “You see what happens when we swing the bat? We were swinging at the right pitches and had excellent baserunning today. I’m really proud of that. We did a much better job this week. Now you know you can beat those guys. We’ll do it again next week!”

Harris gave the game ball — a Little League tradition — to Brayden Lowe, in his fifth year of baseball at Warren Little League, for his pitching, defense at first base and hitting. Watching behind the fence was his father, William Lowe, who played on the same fields for years during his childhood.

Warren Little League Twins' assistant coach Josh Terhune comforts a player after a strike-out during a game against the Pirates on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at the Warren Little League fields in Indianapolis, Ind. Warren Little League, which goes back at least 60 years, is ending after this season. The baseball fields, located on Brookville Road, will be torn out and used for football.

“This was my pastime growing up,” Lowe said. “Saturday baseball games. We’d hang out at the ballgames all today, go the concession stands, hanging with friends. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. I’m sad to see it go. I’m going to miss it when it’s gone.”

The Lowes, like generations of other families in Warren Township, have called the baseball fields on East Brookville Road home for almost seven decades, dating to 1954. That time is coming to an end, however. The league announced in April this would be the final season at the location along Brookville Road as it will merge with Irvington Little League and play its games there.

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The future of the Warren Little League location is still in doubt. But there will not be games here anymore. And while there has been a dwindling number of participants in the league to necessitate a change, there is still a sense of something lost when these fields are not hosting baseball games on a spring evening or a Saturday afternoon.

“The biggest loss is that loss of community,” Harris said. “It’s not a big community anymore. But a lot of us have been coaching the same group of kids for years. We might have a chance to do that when we merge with Irvington. But a lot of these kids will stop playing or they will go elsewhere. You’re not in the same place anymore so you won’t have that sense of community. For those of us who have been out here as players and coaches for 30-plus years, it’s really sad.”

Travel ball takes bite out of community-based little leagues

Chris Chaffin met his wife, Jennifer Limbach, at the Warren Little League fields in the 1980s. A photo of Jennifer’s uncle, Chris Limbach, used to hang at the facility. Chris, a lefty, pitched at the fields as a kid before going on

PORTLAND, Ore., June 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Nearly 500 travel and tourism professionals — ranging from tour guides and outfitters to regional destination marketing organizations, chambers of commerce, lodging establishments to wineries and microbreweries — will gather virtually tomorrow for Oregon’s annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism to reflect on the impacts of COVID-19 and wildfires, gain valuable insights and tools to amplify tourism businesses and destinations, and set the stage for a statewide economic recovery.

The pandemic and stay home orders impacted traditional tourism related businesses such as restaurants and lodging immediately during the spring and summer of 2020, which are prime travel months for many communities in Oregon. These communities felt the impact in other indirect spending from retail shops, coffee and grocery stores, outdoor guides and outfitters and wineries and small locally owned Oregon companies, which all make up the tourism economy. The most recent Dean Runyan Associates 2020 Economic Impact Report shows total direct travel spending in Oregon declined to $6.5 billion, the lowest since 2003.

This spring, in response to industry needs, Travel Oregon released a suite of investments totaling $4.5 million to provide direct economic recovery investments through grants and direct investments to each tourism region of the state.

The latest in this suite of economic recovery investments by Travel Oregon includes a statewide advertising campaign, Welcome to Oregon Again, designed to promote in-state travel, support local tourism businesses, and keep Oregonians traveling locally. Welcome to Oregon Again launched on June 1 and prioritizes safe travel, responsible recreation and local business support throughout the summer season.

“I am so proud of how each of us in Oregon’s travel and tourism industry, from every corner of the state have shown up, cared deeply and supported one another in these trying times,” said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon. “We continue to actively listen to the needs of Oregonians, communities and businesses to be as responsive as possible. And I am excited to build on that information and lessons learned from this last year to chart our strategy going forward.”

To continue supporting economic recovery efforts as the state reopens to travel, Travel Oregon is first launching the agency’s Rebuild Strategic Plan on July 1, 2021. This plan includes current activities in support of the state’s economic recovery and places equity and inclusion at the forefront of its strategic vision.

The second, longer-term effort is the Transformational Plan. To further develop this plan, the agency will seek input and guidance from the people and communities at the heart of the tourism industry to develop a roadmap that will extend to 2025. The plan will serve Oregon’s entire travel and tourism industry based on the priorities set by these community stakeholders. Already, stakeholders have expressed a need for additional grants and funding resources, as well as marketing and promotion as priorities.

About Travel Oregon The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, works to enhance visitors’ experiences by providing information, resources and trip

ELIZABETH, NJ — On May 25, students and families of Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy were made aware of the death of a fellow student through a letter sent by Principal Michael Ojeda. 

Kevin Issac Goldsmith passed away the day prior at the Children Hospital of Philadelphia after complications with his Leukemia treatment. Kevin was a junior at the high school, known for being a student who was always willing to lend a hand. He had a love for music, playing many instruments including the guitar. His passion for baseball led him to playing for many teams across the City of Elizabeth and Union County, participating for many travel clubs and teams. 

“While we mourn his loss, we take solace in the example he set and the spirit of friendship he shared with all of us,” said Principal Ojeda in a letter sent to the parents and teachers. “We honor his memory by living out the best virtues that he embodied and extending care and grace to our fellow students, staff, and families.” 

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Kevin’s father Joel set up a GoFundMe page, asking for people to help cover funeral expenses and any unpaid medical bills. At the time of publishing, the page had raised over $23,000- almost five times the original goal of $5,000. 

Many of those who donated to the fundraiser shared their memories of Kevin to the page. One of the top donations was from a group of people who called themselves School 27 Family. The group also expressed the fond memories they shared with Kevin. 

“Kevin walked the halls of School 27 proudly with his baseball bag hanging on his back. He smiled bright and always greeted his friends and his teachers. He made us laugh all the time and blessed us often with his musical talent. We were lucky to have him as a part of our family. We pray for his family and hope that they find solace knowing what a wonderful young man he was. He meant so much to us. May he rest in eternal peace.” 

Former teachers and other educators also donated to the GoFundMe page and shared their memories of having Kevin in their classroom. One teacher shared the memories she had along with her donation. 

“It is with heartfelt condolences that I write this loving tribute on behalf of your beloved son, Kevin. As a student, Kevin left a lasting impression on this educator. Seems like only yesterday that Kevin and I would be discussing his baseball stats or favorite rock bands of the ’70s and ’80s,” the teacher wrote. “Kevin was also a huge hit when he played the guitar at our talent show rocking a new hairstyle! Kevin was a true gentleman who was compassionate and kind. Kevin lived a life with purpose and passion,” she concluded.

Kevin is survived by his loving parents