Linked Header

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

EMO Issues Severe Weather Warning

A severe weather warning for the southeastern part of the province is being issued by the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization.

EMO spokesperson Karl Wilmot tells CHSJ News heavy rain and strong winds are expected for Moncton and Kent County as well as storm surges for the southern Acadian coastline.

He says Saint John and Fredericton will get some of the action in the form of some wet weather.

He adds any areas that usually suffer from localized flooding should take precautions.

He says the weather should calm down by Thursday.


Woodstock Man Suffers Injuries After Fire

A Woodstock man suffering burns and smoke inhalation after a fire in his mobile home.

The Red Cross helping him find somewhere to stay right now as well as providing food and clothing . He was the only person living in the mobile home on Poulin Drive.

Woodstock Fire Chief Ricky Nicholson says the blaze on Monday was quickly contained but caused extensive smoke damage.

Sentencing Delayed For Ellerdale Street Store Robber

The sentencing of 27 year old Kent Joseph LeBlanc has been pushed to next month -- LeBlanc was suppose to receive his sentence today after pleading guilty to robbing a convenience store on Ellerdale Street last month.

A pre-sentencing report is being prepared and he will learn his fate on November 4th.

LeBlanc robbed the store with a knife while concealing his face with a mask.

He lived across the street from the store.

Anti-Shale Gas Group Gives Website A Thumbs Down

The province's new website on shale gas and it's potential benefits is getting a big thumbs down from the the Penniac Anti-Shale Gas Organization.

Spokesperson Armand Paul tells CHSJ News there is no avenue on the site to have a debate or honest discussion about shale gas.

He says the site basically recycles the same half-truths the government has been peddling and it never talks about the negative impacts of the shale gas industry.

Indexing Of City Pensions Could Be Casualty Of Financial Downturn

The provincial government won't approve any changes to the city's pension plan unless the liabilities are reduced. So says Common Councillor Bruce Court who also sits on the pension board.

Court says one change could be to eliminate indexing of city pensions to the cost of living which would save the city 75 million dollars.

He adds indexing was fine and dandy when the pension plan was running a surplus but that's no longer the case as the losses mount with the downturn in the stock market.

We're Not Composting As Much As We Used To

Composting has been on the decline over the last few years in the Saint John region.

Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase, who served at one time as the city's rep on the pension board, is puzzled by the drop. Chase says he would expect the totals to keep rising as the programme matures but such has not been the case.

Brenda McCallum of the Fundy Region Solid Waste Commission says the best year was in 2008. She also points out the amount of garbage has also declined but recycling totals are way up.

VitalSigns 2011 Shows A Slight Poverty Dip

VitalSigns 2011 releasing it's annual check-up on Greater Saint John showing decreases in the poverty rate among seniors and children.
The Human Development Council's Randy Hatfield tells CHSJ News the numbers show that some of these measures and indicators are very stubborn.
He says over the last five or six years there are gentle slopes in the these rates which means to really changes things we have to focus.

VitalSigns displays data in ten indicators including housing and transportation, work, belonging and leadership, safety, health and wellness.
Doug MacDonald of the Greater Saint John Community Foundation says they will be using news methods to get the information out to the public.

He says they will be using Twitter and Facebook to post some of the report's excerpts and soliciting comments through social media more than they have in previous years.

To check out the report yourself, click here

Waste Commission Changing Fees To Get Yard Waste Out Of Landfill

The Fundy Region Solid Waste Commission will be cracking down on yard waste getting mixed in with garbage by hitting haulers where it hurts their pocketbooks. 

The Commission's Brenda McCallum says they will double the 108 dollars a ton tipping fee for garbage if there is yard waste, meaning leaves, twigs, branches and weeds mixed in.

Leaves in black bags won't be picked up and the Commission is trying to get the solid orange bags out of stores as well. 

The tipping fee for compost is only 28 dollars a ton.

City Shocked By Latest Projected Losses In Its Pension Plan

The city's pension plan continues to bleed money with estimated losses this year alone at 30 to 40 million dollars. That word has recently been delivered by the city's actuary.

Common Councillor Chris Titus pulls no punches on how serious an issue this has turned into. He calls it a crisis with those who have to be part of the pension plan don't appear to be listening. 

Titus is even suggesting the plan may have to be stripped bare and rebuilt.
Councillor Bruce Court says the system is broken and with the latest projected losses, the city will be looking at 14 or 15 million dollars in cuts next year if the tax rate doesn't go up.

Hiring Freeze At City Hall

Common Council is pushing for a hiring freeze at City Hall until next year's budget is finalised. 

City Manager Pat Woods warns there could be exceptions to the rule and there has to be some latitude.

Councillor Chris Titus began with a specific request of the Police Commission to institute a hiring freeze and it was fellow Councillor Patty Higgins who suggested it to be expanded to all departments.

The Police Commission meets tomorrow night.