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Monday, January 31, 2011

A Sweet Visit To St.Stephen

Your school or hockey team can take a sweet trip to St. Stephen any time of the year.
The Chocolate Museum offers groups tour all year round and open for the season on March 1st.
Manager Sarah Goulding tells CHSJ News when you come in you are greeting by a tray of chocolate.

Goulding says the Ganong Brothers have several firsts to their credit including creating the first chocolate bar and the first heart-shaped box which was put for Christmas not Valentine's Day.
For more info,go to www.chocolatemuseum.ca

Man Faces Charges For Driving While Drinking And Suspended

RCMP responding to a disturbance in Sussex yesterday discovering a pickup stuck in a snowbank.
A 27 year old man from Apohaqui was arguing with two women outside the truck.

The man failed the Breathalyzer blowing over twice the legal limit. Police later learning he was also suspended from driving.
He was held until he was sober and is due in court at a later date.

Deadline Approaching To File For Disaster Assistance

If you registered damage to your home from the December storm's, the deadline to submit your form is coming on Friday.
All completed application forms must sent to the Provincial Emergency Measures Organization to apply for financial assistance.

Over 1,700 people have registered their damages with all properties being inspected. Of the 400 people submitting their applications for financial assistance, about one-third of the claims have been settled.
Adjusters continue to assess damages and examine claims and the provincial government is asking for patience as this process takes time.


If you need help completing the forms, call the Emergency Measures Organization at 1-800-561-4034.

Common Councillor Comes Out In Support Of Redeveloping Part Of Lower West Side

The city wants to focus time and money on redeveloping Market Place West down by the port on the lower west side. The street takes a hammering from the big transports coming off the Princess of Acadia.

Common Councillor Chris Titus grew up there and says the fundamentals are in place for redevelopment with the squares, the ball field and the Carleton Community Centre with a playground already there so the city doesn't have to start from scratch.

The plans also would see new sidewalks. Titus says there is potential to attract new people to the neighbourhood.

City Police Investigate Shots Being Fired

City police were called to the lower west side last night after getting a report of shots being fire.

They arrested a man and woman. The man remains behind bars awaiting an appearance in court later today on a firearms charge.

Early this morning, police seized another firearm from a vehicle in the same section of the city that had been stopped for a breathalyser.

Mayor Plans To Seek Another Term

Saint John M-P Rodney Weston says he will be seeking your vote if there is a federal election this spring or summer as expected.

Even though it's some time off yet, Mayor Ivan Court tells CHSJ News he plans to seek another term when the next municipal election rolls around.

While acknowledging not everyone will agrees with the decisions he has made, Court says Saint John has to move forward or else this will be an old city for a long time.

He believes this will be a good year despite budgets being under pressure both for Saint John and the provincial government.

 His optimism is based, in part, on the number of inquiries being received by his office from businesses wanting to set up shop in the city.

Enterprise Saint John Says Raise For G-M Was Justified

A big bone of contention between Enterprise Saint John and some members of Common Council was the 21 thousand dollar raise given to General Manager Steve Carson at a time of belt tightening around City Hall.

Tony Goguen, who chairs Enterprise Saint John, tells CHSJ News that raise was in the works for sometime even though the optics were bad.

Goguen says Carson had not undergone an external salary review for 17 years and it was determined by an independent human resources consultant that he was being underpaid for the job he was doing.

Goguen does admit, in hundsight, Council should have been part of those discussions before the decision was made.






Open House On Shale Gas Exploration Generates Huge Interest

Hundreds of people turning out on the weekend in Sussex to hear about shale gas exploration. The big concern is what effect this will have on groundwater supplies.

While saying the number one priority is water, Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup tells CHSJ News the potential benefits for the provincial economy are huge with millions of dollars in royalties possible.

The big concern is with the hydraulic fracturing process in which water laced with chemicals and sediment is pumped into the ground to break up the shale.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Enterprise Saint John Holds Wellness Meetings

Enterprise Saint John teaming up with the Board of Trade and the Heart and Stroke Foundation for a workshop focusing on wellness at work.



Gina O'Rourke-Mackay tells CHSJ News part 1 was held last Monday.


She says they have a packed house with over 20 employers and she says the response is positive from a wide variety of industry who already have some wellness programs in place at their offices.


For more information on the workshop, you can email Gina O'Rourke-MacKay at gorourke@enterprisesj.com, call her at 648-4648 or visit their website at www.enterprisesj.com

Saint John MP Holds Pre-Budget Meetings

Saint John MP Rodney Weston and Senator John Wallace having a sit down with social, economic, and community groups in the city as part of the federal government's pre-budget consultations.

Weston tells CHSJ News the Prime Minister wants input from all communities as the federal budget shifts away from stimulus spending and it's certainly not lip service.

He says common themes gathered from the meetings include the need to reduce duplicity in service delivery, improve access to capital for small businesses, and more spending on infrastructure.

History Being Recorded



The first day of the Saint John 225 City Stories project goes today.

The idea is to have citizens share a story or memories about the Port City -- scribes will take it down and the tale will be uploaded to the City Stories website.

The event goes today from 10am to 12pm at the West Branch Library at Lancaster Mall.

You can also participate online at http://www.saintjohn225.com/

Friday, January 28, 2011

City Crews Keeping Up With Snow Removal

City crews will be plugging away at removing some of the snow piling up around the city.

Urban Services Manager Kevin Carson tells CHSJ News the night shift completed significant snow push back and the day and night shift are confident most of the trouble spots will be cleared up today.
Municipal Operations managers in charge of snow removal tour the South-Central Peninsula regularly to determine if a full snow removal operation is required.

For more information on the Winter Management Plan and the Snow Ban system, visit saintjohn.ca/winter or call 658-4455.  To learn if there is a Snow Ban in effect, call 658-4040.

Premier Gets Support In His Call For Reforming Local Government

While saying he won't force amalgamations, the Premier is making noises about reforming how local governments work.

If not outright mergers, that leaves more regionalisation of government services which is something Mayor Ivan Court has been advocating for sometime claiming the current system of funding cities is broken.

Court says he could see regionalisation taking place with police, fire and municipal operations.

Common Councillor Patty Higgins offers a bleak assessment of the city's financial position saying it's on the edge of a rope.

Milestone Reached By Red Cross With Helping Flood Victims

The Canadian Red Cross has passed the halfway mark giving out emergency relief following the December flooding in the southwestern and central part of the province with 645 thousand dollars donated.

 More than 200 thousand dollars of help in the form or gift cards and vouchers has been distributed to 143 households in just the last two weeks.

Dan Bedell of the Red Cross tells CHSJ News fuel cards were donated by Irving Oil because paying for gas is a big deal. The Red Cross is also helping out with their power bills and replacing small appliances. Bedell says the power bills can be astronomical when you have industrial pumps, dehumidifiers and heaters running 24/7 for days on end.

Two-thirds of the aid thus far has gone to 91 households in Charlotte County with a third given out to 52 householders along a 150 kilometer stretch from Woodstock to Gagetown.



Another Winter Storm Cleanup Is Underway

A miserable day of driving and walking in the third major winter storm in less than three weeks with 15 centimeters on the ground by early last night when it was all said and done. The Saint John area has received 10 centimeters more snow this winter than normal so far. There will be many parts of the city this morning where people will be walking on the roads.

Police had to assist as a number of vehicles were off the road or stuck on Garden Street and on Foster Thurston Drive.

The weather resulting in countless delays and cancellations and even impacting the "Q" League schedule.
The Sea Dogs game set for last night in Moncton had to be postponed until tonight.

Saint John Transit kept their buses on the roads but they did run a little behind schedule in the weather.
Elsewhere in the province, In the village of Notre-Dame, the snow was too much for the community centre's huge roof which gave way but no one was inside the building at the time. City buses were pulled off the roads in Moncton and Acadian Lines suspended some of its inter-city bus travel.

Several vehicles, including transport trucks, were off the road along the Trans-Canada Highway

You Will Be Paying More For Milk Soon

The price of milk will be rising by 5 cents a litre as of February 1st. That translates into a 2.7 per cent increase.

Robert Goggin who's the general manager of the New Brunswick Farm Products Commission, tells CHSJ News how much you will be paying at the store depends where you do your shopping because the retail prices will vary.

Goggin, who points out there was no price increase last year, blames the increase on inflation which has been driven primarily by a rise in fuel prices over the past year.
Prices under the School Milk Programme will not go up thanks to a 1.3 million dollar subsidy paid for by processors and producers. There have been complaints about milk prices being higher in New Brunswick than they are in other provinces.      

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nothing Concrete With Porter Airlines Coming To Saint John


With WestJet flying to coop from the Saint John airport, rumours are swirling that Porter Airlines will be swooping in.

Spokesperson Brad Cicero tells CHSJ News they have spoken with the Saint John Airport and are exploring their options.

He says if service was to come to Saint John, it could happen as early as the spring.

Porter Airlines began offering flights out of Moncton this past summer.

City Has No Jurisdiction on Wage and Benefit Cuts Says Police Association

The rift between the Saint John Police Association and the city over pension reforms continues. 

The association claims the city has no authority to cut wages or slash benefits as that authority lies with the Saint John Board of Police Commissioners.

Association President Jamie Hachey tells CHSJ News they're willing to take legal action over this issue.

Hachey says the association accepts with a heavy heart other changes to the pension recommended by the city, such as changing the retirement age of new hires to sixty and using the best five consecutive years of service to calculate pension payments instead of three.

Group Argues Lepreau License Hearing Should Be Here

A hearing on extending the operating license for Point Lepreau is being held in Ottawa and not in the province where it operates. That move is raising the ire of the Province's Conservation Council who argue the hearing is not routine but serious given the on-going refurbishment.


Matt Abbott tells CHSJ News it seems the deck is stacked against the groups who wants these concerns about Lepreau to be aired in a public setting.
He says the people of the province need good information and a place to express their views in order to be a part of a positive energy future in the province.

Police Still Looking For Suspect In 2009 Robbery

Crime Stoppers and Sussex RCMP are looking for the person who committed an armed robbery in the fall of 2009.
About 2:30am on September 21st 2009, a masked man entered the Ultramar corner store on Main street armed with a hammer.


He pointed it at the clerk and demanded money from the till along cigarettes and lottery tickets.
The man is described as in his mid-20's, about 6 feet tall speaking english with a deep voice.
He has a thin build, dark complexion and brown eyes.

His face was covered by what may be a child's sweater and he took off on foot heading east on Main street.  If you have any information, click here to reach Crimestoppers or call 1-800-222-TIPS.

Mayor Meets With Westjet To Hear Why Airline Is Leaving

The reason Westjet decided to leave Saint John was because it was losing money due to the fact it didn't have aircraft small enough to make the run financially viable.

So says Mayor Ivan Court who met with the airline before the announcement was made. Porter Airlines has been mentioned as a possibility to move in and the Mayor doesn't disagree.

He says Porter is flying into Toronto with very cheap flights and he says you see advertisements where they are taking up the areas where service is slack.

Court says he suggested Westjet combine Saint John and Fredericton on its flight to Toronto but he was told the rising cost of fuel ruled that option out.





Small Business Owners In Saint John Less Confident These Days

Uncertainty about the provincial finances and a strong Canadian dollar are two factors in the slipping confidence of small business owners in New Brunswick.

It's down to 64.4 per cent last month compared to 69.3 per cent across the country according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
Saint John Board Of Trade President Imelda Gilman tells CHSJ News it comes down to the local level too.

She says it's the time of the year where municipalities are doing their budgets and we are still waiting to find what happen with the City of Saint John's tax rate.

Gilman adds this province is export-driven and a strong Canadian dollar may play a role in how small business owners are feeling right now.









City Budget Being Finalized

Finalizing the city budget is a few weeks away -- that from Mayor Ivan Court.

He tells CHSJ News council still needs to hear from a few groups about how they'll work with their new budgets before they sign off on the city's finances.

He says they will be focusing on the priorities, what they have to do now and what can they delay to make sure they can have a balanced budget.

Court says the tax line will be held and says council managed to drop the tax rate by 1 cent in their first two years.

He says safe drinking water is still council's number one priority.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Councillor Wants PALS-inspired Program At Community Centres


Councillor Donnie Snook wants community centres around the city to offer some new programming.

Snook says a program based on the PALS program, which has businesses sponor schools and tutor students, should be adopted.

He says the goals of such a program is to help youths in priority neighbourhoods realize their full potential and centres could ask private companies to volunteer their time to help youths with after school tutoring and mentoring.

The city will be doing a feasability study. 

Snook hopes a pilot project can be ready by the end of the year.

Two Flood Relief Benefits Raise Thousands

Two fundraising events for flood victims in the province a great success.

Market Square the scene of a telethon raising about 19 thousand dollars in cash donations with more to come from online and text donations.

Meanwhile, a Flood Relief Benefit Concert at the Eastern Charlotte County Lions Club in Pennfield raising about 10 thousand dollars.

Organizer Paul Evans tells CHSJ News they were seperate events but had the same goals.

You can still contribute to the cause -- a texting campaign called the “Flood Relief Textathon”, where a $5 donation can be made by texting “REDCROSS” or “ROUGE” to the number 30333 goes until days end Jan. 10.

Recovery Efforts Continue

The province says the recovery process continues for homeowners affected by flood waters last month.

More than 11-hundred people have called to register their damages and Public Safety Minster Robert Trevors says inspectors have made it out to most of the homes.

However, about 100 residents are still being housed in hotels or by host families.

January 14th is the deadline to register damages.  Doing so allows you to apply for Disaster Financical Assistance and the deadline for that is February 4th.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rothesay Police Make Arrest In Car Break-Ins

Details are scarce but Rothesay police say they have 1 person in custody connected to a rash of vehicle break-ins in Rothesay last night.

Police say the person is connected to previous car break-ins over the past few months.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lily Lake Is Not Safe For Skating

The City of Saint John is advising everyone that Lily Lake is not safe for skating.
You are asked to stay off the ice until the ice surface is officially opened by City officials.

For more information, contact Leisure Services at 658-2908.

Upper Floor Development Will Be Part Of New Municipal Plan For City

Part of the new municipal plan involves developing the upper floors of buildings in the uptown in a bid to boost the population of the city centre.

This has been talked about for years but nothing has happened. Urban strategist Mark Reid tells CHSJ News there will have to be changes with some flexibility and softening of the building code.

Building owners complain one major impediment to developing the upper floors is the cost of installing elevators.
 
Reid says you don't need to build huge high rises like you see in such cities as Toronto. He maintains buildings that are five stories high work very well as a way to increase population.

You Can Influence The Conversation With The Premier

The Saint John Board of Trade and the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce teaming up to give anyone the chance to ask the Premier a question.
By going to the Board of Trade website you can submit a question for David Alward that will be asked during the State of the Province Address in Fredericton on the 27th.

BOT President Imelda Gilman tells CHSJ News they encourage their members, the business community and everyone to get involved and post a question.  She says the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce will be posting all those questions on their website, shortlist them and on the day of the event have people vote on the questions they would like the Premier to be asked.  To submit a question, click here

Saint John Woman Sentenced To Prison In Death Of Her Friend

Emotions run high at another sentencing in a Saint John courtroom.

19 year old Erika Simms of Loch Lomond Road has been handed 3 years in prison with a 5 year ban on driving for impaired driving causing the death of her friend, 19 year old Chad Simon. He was killed on New Year's day of last year when her car speeding along Sand Cove Road went out of control and collided with a hydro pole.

Simms had consumed alcohol, marijuana and cocaine before getting behind the wheel. She was speeding at 91 kilometers an hour in a 50 kilometer an hour zone.

Chad's mother, Cynthia broke down in tears several times reading her victim impact statement to the court telling Judge Bill McCarroll she has a hole in her heart and not a day goes by she doesn't feel haunted and tormented calling Chad the glue that held her family together.

The 3 year sentence was a joint recommendation from the prosecution and defense. While accepting the recommendation, Judge McCarroll says two families have been devastated.

More People Were Working Last Month

A nice drop in the unemployment rate in the City last month.
It was 6.3 per cent last month down from 7.0 in November.
Provincially, it went down as well from 10.3 in November to 9.4 last month.
Across the country, the rate is unchanged from November at 7.6 per cent.

An additional 22 thousand jobs in December were enough to keep pace with an increase in the size of the labour force.

Construction Of West Side Metal Shredder Not Expected For A Few Weeks Yet

There seems to be some confusion about when construction will begin on a metal shredder at port property on the lower West Side.

There was a report it would start Monday but a spokesperson for American Iron and Metal tells CHSJ News the company is still waiting for final approval from the province and she doesn't expect construction to get underway until mid February.

Stephen Campbell, who chairs the Board of Directors, at the port tells CHSJ News this won't be as disruptive to the neighbourhood as people fear. In fact, he describes the operation as "cutting edge" and predicts it will revitalise the area.

The Environment Department wants the company to take on an independent noise consultant and monitor the air quality.



Saint John Is Losing West Jet

WestJet is pulling out of Saint John.

The president and CEO of the Saint John Airport Authority, Bernard Leblanc says the airline told him just before Christmas that it would not be back in May to offer its seasonal service to Toronto.

LeBlanc says traffic was down about 20 per cent last year over previous years.

The airline began offering flights to Toronto from May to October in 2007.

The loss of WestJet means Saint John now has two carriers........ Air Canada Jazz and during the winter, Sunwing.

Saint John Board of Trade president Imelda Gilman calls the news ``disappointing.''



Market Square Telethon Tomorrow To Aid Flood Victims

A 12-hour telethon coming up tomorrow at Market Square and other locations to help flood relief efforts began with two Fundy High students. The performers include Gene O'Connor, Steve Waylon, Devin Cook and Ryan Leblanc.

A live webcast can be found at http://www.bellaliant.net/.

Organizer Paul Evans tells CHSJ News he learned about Justin Gosse and Jonathan Barrieau of St. George hosting their own fundraiser in Pennfield through his wife.

Bell Aliant is donating $10,000 to the cause and will be providing the webcast at http://www.bellaliant.net/.

You can donate $5 automatically by texting "REDCROSS" to 30333.

For more info on tomorrow's telethon which begins at 10am, go to our website...country94.ca and click news.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

About 80 Sobey's Employees Off The Job In St. Stephen

The clean up continues at the Sobey's store in St. Stephen after last month's severe flooding. 80 employees are off the job while work continues to prepare the store for re-opening. Cynthia Thompson of Sobey's corporate office tells CHSJ News the damage to the store is extensive.
She says one point there was between one to two feet of water in the store and now they are looking at a refurbishment and clean-up that will require some time.
Thompson says they expect it will take six to eight weeks for the work to be completed.

Driver Dristraction May Be A Factor In Pennfield Man's Death

RCMP continue to look into the circumstances of a two vehicle collision on Highway 1 at Bethel on Tuesday that killed a Pennfield man.
The investigation showing the 19-year-old Jeremy Kenneth Dougan was texting just prior to the crash which may have distracted him while driving.
He was not wearing a seatbelt and partially ejected from the vehicle suffering serious head injuries.
Two women from St. Andrews in the second vehicle were also hurt and taken to hospital.

Bathurst Mom Angry No Charges Will Be Laid Against Bus Company

The provincial government is coming under criticism on bus safety for students.

Isabelle Hains, whose son was one of the students who died in a bus crash almost 3 years ago outside Bathurst, is angry a Sackville bus company will not be charged for taking students to Nova Scotia on a charter with bald tires.

Hains also wants Provincial Education Minister Jody Carr to ensure the drivers who are taking students around to various events are professional drivers and not just volunteers.

Hains is complaining laws, policies, rules and regulations can be violated and no one is held accountable.

Teen Dies In Workplace Accident

An investigation is underway into the death of a teenager at a Wal-Mart in Grand Falls.

Police Chief Real Michaud says it appears the 17-year-old boy was killed by an electrical shock from an extension cord.


The teen was buffing the floor in the automotive department at the time of the incident.
Police say they are investigating the death along with health and safety officials.
An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow in Saint John.

Fire Destroys Business Outside Sussex

A machine shop in Penobsquis has been gutted by fire.

The RCMP in Sussex say they don't suspect foul play. The fire began in the rear of Sussex Electric Motor Service.

The fire marshall will investigate to determine a cause.
 
The business was owned by Carl and Sharon Graham and its loss is being described as a big blow to the community.

Gas Prices Down A Bit

Drivers around town will be getting a bit of a price break if you have to fill up today.

Gas prices have fallen a bit after the weekly setting. Self serve regular is going for $1.09.5 in the city, a decrease of a cent a litre.

Diesel is at $1.15.5. That's a drop of almost 2 cents a litre and heating oil is also cheaper at $1.01.5 a litre.

Good Response From People In Province On How To Tackle Deficit

New Brunswickers apparently have something to say about how to deal with the province's gloomy financial picture.

Finance Minister Blaine Higgs tells CHSJ News response to his department's web survey has been strong with over a thousand responses.

Higgs says a number of people are in favor of cuts to spending while just under half of respondents indicate they believe it will be necessary for a combination of spending cuts and increased taxes to deal with the deficit.

A series of public consultations is also set to begin later this month. Higgs is scheduled to deliver his first budget in late March.

NDP Leadership Candidate Makes His Pitch In Saint John

A leadership candidate for the provincial N-D-P Pierre Cyr making Saint John the first stop in his tour of the province.

Cyr tells CHSJ News former leader Roger Duguay did a great job putting the New Democrats back on track but there's still a lot of work to be done with better organisation and more riding associations.

He expects the party will win more than one seat in the 2014 provincial election.

Dominic Cardy, who was the N-D-P campaign director in the September election, is also running for leadership.

The party will select a new leader on April 16th.

Chief Says Five New Officers Won't Break Police Budget

Some people, including Common Councillor Bruce Court, are wondering how the Saint John Police Department can afford to hire the 5 new officers sworn in this week.

The city force has been asked by Common Council to hold its budget increases to 1 per cent this year and next.

Chief Bill Reid says the spending for the new recruits is already built in.

Reid says they have be aware of the budget constraints bu, they will be doing more hiring as older officers retire.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sea Dogs Raise Over $16,000 For Flood Victims

Over 16-thousand dollars going to Charlotte County relief efforts thanks to the Sea Dogs and their fans.

A fundraising held at the Dog's December 1st game saw fans give 7-thousand dollars. The Sea Dogs Foundation matched up to 5-thousand, and the team donated an additional 4-thousand dollars.
About 100 homes were lost to flood waters month after heavy rainfall in the Charlotte Country area.

Small Business Confidence Down In The Province

The confidence level of small businesses in New Brunswick is down compared to last month and the rest of the country.
The index is down 3 points from 67.7 to 64.4 when compared to last month. The national average sits at 69.3.
Andreea Bourgeois with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business tells CHSJ News 60 percent of business owners are concerned with tax and regulatory costs.


She says small business owners are looking ahead and they see another increase in the minimum wage which increases all employment costs.
She says possible tax increases as well as the dire state of the province's finances weighs heavily on the small business owner.

Five New Officers Join The City Force

Five new Saint John police officers are officially sworn in after a city hall ceremony today.
Mayor Ivan Court emphasized the importance of respect in policing.
Constable Dan Olde Damink tells CHSJ News spent 10 weeks doing on the job training last summer as part of his course.
He says he was with a coach officer doing everything a police officer does. He adds the training tests you because at the academy it's all actors and not real life.


Chief Bill Reid says it's a proud moment when as a chief he can invite new people to invigorate the force. The other four new constables are Benjamin MacLeod, Christopher McCutcheon, Pamela MacInnis and Scott Prentice.

Province Will Be Left With Lepreau Tab Warns Liberal Energy Critic

A warning from the Provincial Liberals about who's going to pay for the cost overruns with the refurbishment of the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant.

Energy critic Brian Kenney says if you listen closely to what National Revenue Minister Keith Ashfield is saying, the province is going to be left with a huge tab to pick up.

Premier David Alward has been stressing since coming into office of the need to work with the Harper Government on this issue.

The Premier and Prime Minister met and talked about it when Harper was in Saint John in late November to announce removal of the tolls from the Harbour Bridge and we were told before the Christmas break he was seeking more information.

Splash Pad Ready For June

An update on the revitalization of Rainbow Park.

Bernie Morrison with the Department of Leisure Services says the splash pad will be ready in June.

The splash pad at Flemming Court will also be ready at the same time.

As for the winter season, the park will be flooded in the next few days to allow skating beginning next week.

Liberals Warn Province Could Be Left Holding An Expensive Bag

A warning from the Provincial Liberals about who's going to pay for the cost overruns with the refurbishment of the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant.

Energy critic Brian Kenney says if you listen closely to what National Revenue Minister Keith Ashfield is saying, the province is going to be left with a huge tab of at least a billion dollars and its time to play hardball.

Premier David Alward has been stressing since coming into office of the need to work with the Harper Government on this issue. The Premier and Prime Minister met talked about it when Harper was in Saint John in late November to announce removal of the tolls from the Harbour Bridge and we were told before the Christmas break was seeking more information.

Kenny says the federal crown agency, Atomic Energy of Canada has failed to live up to its side of the bargain.

Fatality Outside St. George

A 19 year old Pennfield area man is dead after a head on collision yesterday afternoon between two cars along Highway 1 at Bethel in the vicinity of Ozzie's takeout.

His name has not been released. The RCMP say road conditions were good at the time.

A woman and her daughter from St. Andrews were in the other car and they did not suffer serious injuries.

An autopsy will be carried out and both cars will be examined to see if there were any mechanical problems.

Another Vacant Building In City On Fire

It appears another vacant building has been set on fire.......The latest blaze is at an old barn on Sandy Point Road.

Meantime, the cause of yesterday morning's fire at a back shed attached to an apartment house on Clarendon Street is also considered suspicious and police are investigating.

Saint John Transit Looking At A Budget Shortfall Of Almost A Million Dollars

A projected budget shortfall of 945-thousand dollars led Saint John Transit to hike fares and cut service levels to a number of routes.

Riders will be paying about 10% more. Adults now have to pay 2.75 for a ride while an adult monthly pass will be rising from 65 to 70 dollars.

Saint John Transit General Manager Frank McCarey tells CHSJ News certain routes like Martinon, Crescent Valley and South End will see a reduction in service as well.

The increase in cash fares is already in effect while the jump to the pass and punch cards will not happen until the first of February. The Transit commission is also hoping for an increase to ridership by 3 percent.

New City Police Officers To Be Sworn In

Five new police officers will be sworn in today at City Hall.

The ceremony to introduce to five new constables gets underway in the council chambers at 11:30 this morning.

Chief Bill Reid will host the event with Mayor Ivan Court on hand as well.
 
Councillor Bruce Court wonders how new police officers can be brought on board when the department will be limited to a 1 per cent budget increase this year and next.

Former Common Councillor Will Sponsor Changes To City Pension Plan

Former Common Councillor turned M-L-A for Saint John Harbour Carl Killen will be sponsoring the legislative changes necessary for the city to reform its pension plan.

The city is asking the province for permission to delay pension payments for a year and to schedule the payments over 25 years instead of over 15.

The Saint John Police Association is asking the M-L-A's to vote against. Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase, who chairs the city's finance committee, warns there will be a fiscal crisis if the changes are not given the go ahead with the prospect of a 13 cent increase in the tax rate if no services are cut.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

East Side Man Gets 20 Years In Prison

It was standing room only in the Sydney Street courtroom for the sentencing of 30 year old Jason Getson of Martha Avenue in the stabbing death last May of his estranged wife, 28 year old Melanie Davis in the parking lot of a Rothesay Avenue tanning salon. Prosecutor Jim McAvity called it brutal and senseless. Mr. Justice Hugh McLellen described the killing as a nightmare and horror for Melanie's parents that words can't convey. The judge accepted a joint submission from the defense and prosecution that Getson, who receives an automatic sentence of life in prison, serve 20 years before being eligible for parole. McAvity calls it the worst murder he has ever prosecuted.

He says with 26 different stab wounds Davis was essentially killed twice, once by having her throat slit and once by having the knife go through her heart.

After sentencing, some people in the courtroom were yelling insults at Getson as he was being led away. When he smirked at them, there were outbursts of anger. Defense lawyer Rod MacDonald told the court Getson lost it when Davis made clear to him their marraige was finally over. The court heard Davis was not only stabbed 26 times but Getson also kicked and punched her while she lay in a pool of blood outside the tanning salon. Getson bought a pair of hunting knives just two days before the savage attack.

Deadline Approaches For National Contest Featuring A Saint Johner

The founder of the Joshua group in Saint John is hearing lots of good feedback on his nomination as a Champion of Change.
Bobby Hayes helps city kids struggling with poverty a chance to spend time with other kids, feeds them when needed and gets them a present on their birthday which otherwise would not happen.

Hayes tells CHSJ News the nomination came from his sister and another woman who works with him.

He says they believe the work he does is a great things and Hayes agrees saying it's not about him but the kids and they are worth voting for.
Should he win, Hayes would get another $25,000 for the Joshua Group, he already won $10,000 by making the top ten.
The deadline to vote for Bobby Hayes as a Champion of Change is coming up on January 10th.  To find the link to vote, click here

Alward Government To Help Famillies With Winter Heating Costs

The Alward government resurrecting the Home Energy Assistance Program last fall and is expected to help 55,000 people in the province.
The $100 benefit is available to help low-income families cope with high-energy prices.
The one-time payment will go to those who have incomes up to and including $28,000 in 2009 and cheques will be begin going out this month.
You can apply on the Department of Finance website or by calling 1-800-669-7070.
Forms are also available at Service New Brunswick outlets.
For more info click here

15 People Displaced After North End Fire

About 15 people forced to flee after a fire in an apartment building in this north end early this morning.
The call came in for the blaze around 3:30 this morning at 3 Clarendon Street was contained mostly to a stairwell and the back of the three-storey building. Fire officials are looking into the cause.

Some tenants hope to be allowed back in the building today but others may be out for some time.  Canadian Red Cross volunteers are arranging a play to stay, food and clothing for seven adults and three children from three apartments in the building.

Former Mayor Laid To Rest Today

A former Mayor, M-L-A and Common Councillor Eric Teed will be remembered at a funeral service at noon today before he's laid to rest. The funeral service will be held at Trinity Anglican Church. Teed was 34 when he became the youngest Mayor in the history of the city in 1960 and then he also served on Common Council from 2001 to 2004 as well as being an M-L-A from 1970 to 1974.

Teed called for higher density housing in the area south of City Road saying it was the only way you were going to increase the population in the city core. That appears to be the thrust of the new municipal plan.

Cause Of Early Morning Fire Being Investigated

There were no injuries after a fire early this morning at 3 Clarendon Street off Douglas Avenue. It began at the back end of the apartment house and was reported shortly after 3:30. The tenants managed to leave the building but some people will have to find other accomodation for a while. There's no word on a cause.

Murderer To Be Sentenced Today At Sydney Street Courthouse

A 30 year old east side man is scheduled to be sentenced today for murdering his estranged wife brutally last May.

Jason Getson of Martha Avenue pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the stabbing death of 28 year old Melanie Davis who was handcuffed and stabbed 25 times. She was living on Douglas Avenue at the time.

The two were travelling along Rothesay Avenue in the same car on the morning of May 10th when it pulled into a parking lot of a tanning salon where she was attacked and died a short time later at the Regional Hospital.

The court was told when Getson entered the guilty plea that she thought they were going to see a marraige mediator. The knife used in the savage attack was never recovered.

Coast Guard Property Beside Market Square To Be Developed This Year

Mayor Ivan Court is looking beyond the pension crisis and whether the province is going to give the city some slack when it comes to its contributions this year.

Councillor Gary Sullivan wants his former colleague, now the M-L-A for Saint John Harbour Carl Killen to formally introduce the proposed changes in the Legislature.

The Mayor tells CHSJ News a deal is about to be signed which will finally see a long awaited development take place adjacent to Market Square.The Hardman Group proposed a few years ago to build a hotel and condos.

There will also be public hearings scheduled on applications to expand McAllister Place and permit a new shopping centre on Fairville Boulevard.



Common Councillor Calling For More Ward Meetings

Common Councillor Donnie Snook wants to increase the number of ward meetings in his jurisdiction.

Snook tells CHSJ News Ward 3 is spread out among the city and he wants to give everybody the opportunity to attend those meetings.

Snook says three out of the five priority neighbourhoods in Saint John are in his ward and access to transportation can be a key issue in those areas.

Snook will be making a motion at tonight's council meeting, which kicks off at city hall at 6 o'clock.