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Saturday, March 31, 2012

MP Says Budget is Good News

The federal budget is in line with protecting social programs, balancing the budget, finding efficiencies in government, and boosting the economy--that from John Williamson, the MP for Southwest New Brunswick. He says the best way to achieve those mandates is to keep taxes low and debt down.

CHSJ News asked Williamson if he's heard any concerns over changes to the age requirements for Old Age Security. He tells us its such a long-range time-frame that a lot of the backlash has quieted down. The changes won't be phased in until 2023-2029--and the demographic who was most concerned were people currently on the edge of retirement.
Regarding another high-profile decision--to phase out the penny--Williamson said he's heard mostly positive feedback.

Drugs & Ruckus in Rothesay

A quantity of marijuana was seized after a traffic stop on the Gondola Point arterial. The Rothesay Police pulled over a man driving with a female passenger, and noticed there appeared to be marijuana laying on the floor of the car. Both were arrested and the car was searched. The woman admitted to owning the drugs and was booked for possession of a controlled substance, then released.

Police also responded to a call from the McDonald's on Hampton Road, where some young men were causing a ruckus by screaming and swearing inside the restaurant. They were trespassed from the restaurant and taken home to be dealt with by their parents.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Greater Saint John Ready For Earth Hour 2012

The global movement to create awareness about climate change is coming up tomorrow night.

Earth Hour will be observed in 135 countries worldwide as people switch off their lights for 60 minutes.

Saint John Energy's VP of Engineering and Operations Darin Lamont tells CHSJ News it's important to take part at 8:30 tonight.

Lamont says you should take part between 8:30 and 9:30pm tomorrow in order to help reduce energy consumption.

He says Saint John on average is turning off the equivalent of 36,000 lights during Earth Hour adding on Monday morning they will examine the numbers to see how it went this year.

For more info, click here

City Solicitor Testifies "Untold Hours" Were Lost In Dealing With Ferguson

City Solicitor John Nugent continuing his testimony at the defamation trial of former Common Councilor John Ferguson.

He says the board had gotten outside advice there was no conflict of interest from receiving advice from staff about the pension, even if they sat on the board.

Nugent told the court that "untold hours" were lost from dealing with Ferguson.  He adds the timing was not great as Ferguson's issues were coming at a time when council was dealing with the controversial LNG tax deal.

Testimony will continue at the Court of Queen's Bench on Tuesday.

Losier Seeks Re-Election In Grand Bay-Westfield

The longtime mayor of Grand Bay-Westfield aims to stay put.
Grace Losier is seeking her fifth term this spring.

She tells CHSJ News one of her goals if re-elected would be to have all of the assets in place in order to grow Colonel Nase Boulevard.

She says one of those goals would be a new primary school adding it's the number one priority of the District Education Council and they support their efforts to achieve that goal.

She says they are looking forward to discussions with the province about regional service delivery boards and how it will impact the town.

Intelligent Communities Forum Has High Praise For Saint John

The Co-Founder of the Intelligent Communities Forum says Saint John is well deserving of its most recent designation.

The city was recently named one of the top 7 intelligent communities.

Louis Zacharilla tells CHSJ News it's great to see such a big focus on educating children and how the city looks at it as something that is expected of everyone.

He also gives credit to the city for building an ecosystem for entrepreneurs which will lead to less reliance on federal and provincial funding.

West Side Common Councillor Running Again

The city is going through tough financial times at the moment but Common Councillor Peter McGuire says, despite that, he's running for re-election.

McGuire sits on the city's clean drinking water committee and remains hopeful that huge project will come to pass in spite of both the provincial and federal governments tightening their belts.

McGuire tells CHSJ News people on the west side have told him their number one concern is the state of the roads but they also want to see their neighbourhoods green.
He also says they're concerned about the city as a whole and growth on the west side. McGuire tells us he wants to see more work done on Main Street West and Fairville Boulevard.

City Solicitor Expresses Anger At Being Likened To Martha Stewart

The defamation trial of former Common Councillor John Ferguson hears how angry and outraged City Solicitor John Nugent was at what he calls sensational assertions that were left hanging without any proof being offered to back them up.

Nugent testifies his anger was ratcheted up when Ferguson compared accepting legal advice from him to Martha Stewart whom everyone knew had been charged with illegal insider stock trading.

He was already incredibly offended at Ferguson claiming senior city staff were blocking him from getting outside advice on the pension plan which Nugent maintains was not the case because that was an option given to Common Council.

Nugent also telling the jury he found it puzzling Ferguson would not identify who was giving him legal advice referring to it only as Canadian Corporate Legal Counsel.

John Ferguson Defamation Trial

Fundy Royal M-P Defends Pension Changes

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says the Harper government is looking to the future with a budget that cuts 5.2-billion dollars in annual spending, eliminates more than 19-thousand public service jobs and promises to balance the books by 2016 at the latest. 

As expected, the government will raise the eligibility age for old age security from 65 to 67 but won't begin phasing in the change until 2023. 

Fundy Royal M-P Rob Moore tells CHSJ News the change recognises the reality there will be more and more retirees down the road. Moore says right now four workers are contributing for every retiree and in 20 years that will be down to 2 people working for every person who's retired and the average life sapan of men has risen to over 80.
Flaherty also announcing the mint will stop producing pennies this fall  since it costs 1.6 cents to make one.

Trial Ordered For East Side Man In Motel Robbery

A trial has been ordered for an Ellerdale Street man charged with robbing the Park Plaza Motel on Rothesay Avenue February 27th.

The same motel had been robbed on February 8th. 

25 year old Corey William Landry will remain jailed until his trial on August 8th. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 3 years in prison.

The court ordered a ban on reporting of any of the evidence from the bail hearing until Landry stands trial.

City By-Laws Get Reviewed As Part Of Municipal Development

The nitty-gritty of the new municipal is now under the microscope as PlanSJ is looking for input and feedback on its zoning by-laws.

Senior planner Mark Reade tells CHSJ News the by-laws help shape the city into the vision laid out in the municipal plan.

For example, the uptown area will see an increase in its mix of use such as more ground-level retail.

He says things can always change as the municipal is a living document but expects most of the work to be finalized by early 2013.

To give your feedback to the new zoning by-laws, click here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ward 4 Candiate Says City Is In Shambles

He works for the province and lives in Glen Falls but Mark Leblanc is willing to make tough choices if elected to common council.
Ward 4 candidate  Mark Leblanc tells CHSJ News the City of Saint John is in shambles.

He says the current state is not any one council's fault adding it goes back years and years.

Leblanc has four main priorities for Saint John which are Emergency Services, Roads, Leisure Services and clean drinking water.

Clark To Re-Offer In Quispam

Quispamsis councillor Gary Clark is hoping to be back in Landing Court as of May 14th.

He tells CHSJ News the constituents he talks to and council itself are pleased the town's council was able to reduce taxes.

He says the qplex is a great addition to the town, recreation is going well so for the most part things in the community are positive.

Clark says he offered his name for council in the first place because he wants to give back to the community where he has lived for more than 30 years.

Common Council Plans To Vote Again On Pension Payment

Common Council will be trying again to put through a 800-thousand dollar pension payment in order to avoid interest charges.

Councillors Bill Farren and Patty Higgins voted down making the payment at the last council meeting but Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase tells CHSJ News a special meeting of council might be called in order to redo the vote.

Chase says Councillor Chris Titus was left early during the last meeting and did not vote on the issue.

He says if Titus votes in favour of making the payment and all others vote the same as before, there will be enough votes to approve the payment and avoid the extra charges.

The meeting is being called for by the Finance Commissioner and Chase says a redo can be had if the matter is important enough

The meeting is tentatively set for Monday.

CME Says Controlling Provincial Spending Is The Right Call

The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters are giving a thumbs up to the province's budget.

VP of the CME for New Brunswick David Plante tells CHSJ News it was important for the province to get it's fiscal house in order by cutting spending before focusing on the economy.

He says there is no silver bullet and there is still work to be done to deal with a 183-million dollar deficit.

Coalition For Pay Equity In Province Underwhelmed

The Alward Government has allocated 6.4 million dollars in the provincial budget for pay equity. How that money will be used hasn't been spelled out.

6.4 million might sound like a lot but Vallie Stearns, who chairs the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity, is underwhelmed when you consider there are likley more than 20 thousand workers, perhaps as many as 25 thousand, who would be in line for wage adjustments.

In fact, Stearns says it would amount to a coffee a day for those workers affected if the money was just divided up among all the workers who are eligible for wage adjustments.
The Coalition is now waiting for the government to finish up and release its job evaluations for pay equity which, she complains, have been delayed.

A Mixed Bag With Gas Prices

You might be paying more for gas after the weekly setting depending what you fill up with.
Self serve regular has increased by over 2 cents and is now at $1.36.8 a litre in the city.

 Diesel, meantime, is being sold for $1.38.4 a litre in the city, a drop of over a cent. 

Heating oil is also a bit cheaper at $1.22.2 a litre and propane is now listed at $1.05.5.

Premier Says Province Has Plans To Raise Revenues

Premier David Alward says the province does have plans to raise revenues despite criticisms that the budget was mostly focused on government cuts.

Alward tells CHSJ News a few methods were identified during this speech -- such as raising the property transaction tax and bringing in a 100-million dollars through non-renewable resource royalties.

He says taxes will also be going up for the largest financial institutions which will bring in 5-million dollars but will keep us competitive with the rest of the country.

Alward says he will be making a innovation strategy announcement in the coming days that will generate 2 million dollars for the province.

NDP Leader Finds The Budget Vague

The Leader of the Provincial NDP says the Alward government's second budget lacks clarity.

Dominic Cardy says Finance Minister Blaine Higgs has not been clear on the impact of cutting 4500 government jobs to front-line services.

He tells CHSJ News they want to see the province get rid of corporate welfare which he calls a wildly expensive failure adding this government is one of few that think it works.

He adds the government thinks it can spend its way out of an an economic by throwing money in the hands of corporations who often disappear to other provinces or countries.

Cardy adds there is no focus on the environment in this budget adding Efficiency NB has won international awards yet it's budget gets cut.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yeomans Blames Deficit on Stock Market

Hindsight is 20/20: that from former finance commissioner Greg Yeomans, who testified at the John Ferguson trial not even the most prudent financial advice could have predicted 2008's stock market crash and subsequent recession.

Yeomans reminded the court that 2008 was one of the worst economic downturns on this planet in 80 years. He said the pension plan experienced a 28.6% investment loss, and that's what created the currently precarious fiscal situation.

He said Saint John isn't alone in its position, hower; last year, Montreal had to put $607 million  into their plan, up from $130 million in 2005, and Regina is similarly strapped. That being said, he  he doesn't believe the city can go bankrupt, because the province would step in under the Municipalities Act.

After Yeoman's testimony, the final witness for pension board lawyer Barry Morrison's took to the stand. City solicitor John Nugent bea trustee of the pension plan in 2003.

Nugent testified integrity is the cornerstone of his professional life, because communications between lawyer and client are sacrosanct. But, said Nugent, that's the code of conduct people should hold themselves to anyway.

Nugent says he wasn't concerned even once he realized the number of disability pensions the board was awarding was significantly higher than the industry standard. He said he didn't worry because he felt confident that all the information had been shared with him, and the board worked to clarify the definition of disability.

The FSL Hamburg Arrives In Saint John

A tanker that picked up three people stranded in waters near Cape Sale Island on Monday night has arrived in Saint John.  The FSL Hamburg has arrived in port this afternoon.

Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says law enforcement agencies have yet to determine if a sailboat carrying nine people off the coast of Nova Scotia was involved in human smuggling.   Three people have made refugee claims.
One man pulled from the yacht was pronounced dead in hospital in Yarmouth, N.S.,  where two other men were being treated for their injuries.

Dairytown School Needs Votes In Contest

Sussex Elementary is one of 10 finalists and the only one from this province in the Majesta Trees of Knowledge Competition. 

The winning school will be identified through an online voting process that starts today and runs until May 2nd.
While students can't vote, parents and the greater community can.

Principal Doug Bobbitt is encouraging people to vote daily for the school's applicaton on the Trees of Knowledge website.
If the school wins, they get a $20,000 grant for an outdoor classroom and one lucky voter will win $10,000 dollars just for taking part.

To find the link and vote now, click here

Big Spending Cuts Expected In Federal Budget

The Harper government brings down its budget tomorrow and it's being reported seven billion dollars will be slashed from discretionary spending.

That raises the question of whether spending on infrastructure projects will be scaled back as well.

Saint John M-P Rodney Weston tells CHSJ News that won't happen.  He warns any government that neglects infrastructure will find it will pay for it down the road.

Safe drinking water is the city's top priority and will require big funding help from both the provincial and federal governments.

After examining the 80-billion-dollar discretionary spending envelope, officials found 7.5 per cent in savings or seven billion dollars.

Mayor Finishes Up Gruelling Cross Examination

Mayor Ivan Court clashed with the lawyer for John Ferguson at the former Common Councillor's trial for defamation.

Court admonished Gillis to show him some respect as Mayor and member of Common Council. Gillis was pressing Court on whether he had an obligation to the taxpayer in 2003 to make changes to the city's pension plan.

Court told the jury the city received actuarial advice in 2006 not to make any changes because the plan was in good shape but then the financial collapse happened in 2008. Court also rejects the suggestion of any mismanagement on the part of the Pension Board.

Ferguson's lawyer, Rod Gillis told Court the only people who are losing are the taxpayers but the Mayor disagreed with the suggestion that the pension plans financial woes will drive the city into bankruptcy.

Court admits he was never comfortable with the early retirement buyouts but told the jury Ferguson went down a dangerous road and was reckless.

Fire Call In South End

City fire crews called out around 9:45 last night to a small fire at the corner of Duke and Carmarthen Streets.

John Ferguson Defamation Trial

Armed Robber Sought

City Police releasing a description of the suspect they're looking for in the armed holdup of Sandy's Convenience on Sandy Point Road Sunday afternoon around 5:00.
He's described as white, standing from 5 feet 8 to 5 feet 9 with an average build.

At the time of the holdup, he was wearing a black jacket and beige hoodie with a black ball cap, jeans, black shoes and light coloured gloves.

BOT Wants More Details On Investments From Provincial Budget

The Saint John Board of Trade is giving the provincial budget a cautious thumbs up.

BOT Chair John Warrington says he would give the budget a grade of B.

He tells CHSJ News he gives credit to the government for not raising taxes as it would have been an easy way out but more detail was needed on strategic spending and the 10 million dollars being put into Invest NB.

He adds it's important to know how the province is going to grow our economy at a faster pace.

He says cutting expenses can only take us so far.

Don't Panic If You See Commotion At Lepreau

No need to head for the hills if you see a lot of emergency vehicles and commotion around Point Lepreau on your morning commute.

The generation station is holding a drill to check the reliability of its communications and responses in case of a nuclear emergency. There's no risk to personnel or anyone in the neighborhood.

The provincial and federal governments, NB Power and several other agencies will be testing radio communications and response times.

Court Calls Councillors' Votes "Outrageous"

Mayor Ivan Court is taken aback over penalties and interest costs being added on to a recent pension deficit payment.

Court tells CHSJ News the fact that Councillors Farren and Higgins voted against making the payment as requested indicates they aren't overly concerned with what taxpayers want. 

He says when someone comes to your door asking for your debts, you better pay up, adding that Farren has been "disruptive" over pension issues for the past 4 year.

For his part, Farren said his vote was protest against what he called the "pension fiasco". The Mayor said he hopes the next council will have a different attitude.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mayor Gets Heat For Icy Analogy

Mayor Ivan Court got some heat Tuesday at the Court of Queen's Bench over a certain icy analogy he used to describe the city's pension problems.

The Mayor was under cross examination by defence lawyer Rod Gillis in the ongoing defamation trial of a former city councillor. Gillis reminded Court he once referred to the city of Saint John's pension problems as an iceberg. He asked,  "Are you a student of history, Mayor Court?" 

 "Then surely the implications of your iceberg analogy are not lost on you, given the 100th anniversary that is soon coming up?" The centennial anniversary of the Titanic's sinking is April 14. 

When Gillis tried to suggest Court was part of the crew on the ship steering toward that iceberg, Court testily replied, “I wasn't on any crew! I was a common councillor representing the taxpayers of the city of Saint John.”

CFIB Praises Alward Budget For Its Restraint

Praise for the Alward government budget from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Atlantic Vice-President Leanne Hachey tells CHSJ News they were expecting the worst but pleasantly surprised to see government's going to do the hard work themselves in an effort to fix our financial problems.

She says they have to give the government full props for doing the tough work of finding efficiencies within government and restraining spending big time.

Hachey adds for the second year in a row the government has come in with spending increases that our less than inflation which is unheard of and the road less traveled for provincial governments.

Lacey Applauds Tories For Protecting Taxpayers

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says the Alward government was right for choosing to protect the interests of taxpayers against special interests demanding the province tax more and spend more.

The CTF applauding the government for not raising personal income taxes, HST or general corporate income taxes.

Atlantic Director Kevin Lacey tells CHSJ News the government’s commitment to take action on the huge pension deficit is a difficult, but necessary reform. 

Double Taxation To Be Reduced In 2013

Good news for those who own apartment buildings or a second home - reforming the property tax system was one of the elements in the province's 2012-2013 budget.

Finance Minister Blaine Higgs says there will be a gradual reduction in the property tax rate of apartments, second homes, and cottages as well as a drop in the provincial business property tax rate.

The changes will be phased in over 4 years beginning in 2013.

Budget Spending Includes $6.4 Million For Pay Equity

Provincial Finance Minister Blaine Higgs making a variety of spending announcements as part of the new budget.
Higgs says they includes $10.3 million for affordable housing and $10 million for Invest NB to foster economic growth.

It also includes 9.8 million for nursing home renovations and replacements and 6.4 million for pay equity which was met with applause in the legislature.

They also include $5 million for primary health care and $3.6 million for early learning and childcare which includes enhancing childcare affordability for low income famillies and $3 million dollars for special care homes.

Provincial Budget Being Unveiled In Fredericton

The Provincial government is tabling an $8.2-billion budget with a $183-million deficit forecast for 2012-13 and a provincial debt expected to hit $10.8 billion by the end of March 2013.

But the budget is forecasting the net debt to hit $10.8 billion by the end of March 2013.

The government will reduce the number of public sector jobs by 1,500 by attrition for each of the next three years, saving about $86 million annually by 2014-15.

Finance Minister Blaine Higgs says the government will spend an extra $6.4 million this year in salaries to address pay equity.

There's no change in personal income taxes, but the tax on buying a home doubles to 0.5 per cent on June 1, which is expected to generate another $7 million a year.

Hoyt Runs In Ward 1

Ward 1 candidate Ed Hoyt wants a seat on council after 12 years of being on the outside looking in and because he's tired of the status quo like the rest of Saint John.

Hoyt is taking a chance on municipal politics after an unsuccessful attempt provincially in the last election.
He tells CHSJ News he has experience with all three levels of government.

He says the biggest hurdle the City has to conquer is the pension crisis adding it has thirty other issues but they won't get addressed because of it.

Deputy Mayor Worried About Signals Being Sent to Superintendent Of Pensions

Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase is worried about the message council is sending to the Superintendent of Pensions by not making an 800-thousand dollar deficit payment.

Councillors Bill Farren and Patty Higgins voted down making the payment.

He tells CHSJ News it doesn't send a good impression as the city is trying to get pension reform approved.

He's afraid the superintendent will view council as not being resolved in settling the pension woes.

Mayor Ivan Court also voicing his displeasure via his Twitter account, calling the actions of Councillors Farren and Higgins as outrageous.

Emotional Testimony Marks Mayor's Appearance At Defamation Trial

Mayor Ivan Court became quite emotional while testifying at the defamation trial of former Common Councillor John Ferguson.
Court's voice began cracking when he spoke of the late Pension Board trustee Kevin Estabrooks writing his own eulogy 7 weeks before dying to make clear he didn't do anything wrong or steal any money.
Court says, to him, that's defamatory because to destroy someone's name is defamation since nothing is more important than your good name.
He also testified Ferguson's accusations hurt people with so much animosity at Council, you could sometimes cut it with a knife but no proof of gross negligence on the part of the Pension Board was ever offered.
Court believes Ferguson's real problem was that he just didn't like city management for some reason.

HDC Puts a Human Face on Homelessness

The stories of people who are homeless need to be heard--so says from Kathryn Asher, a researcher the at Human Development Council. She helped prepare HDC annual report card on homelessness.

Asher says they collected a lot of data from the province and other organizations, but in the end it was the personal element that was most important.

She tells CHSJ News about the importance of wraparound services for people who are trying to get on their feet with literally nothing to start with, including food, clothing, and employment opportunities.n

To see the  video testimonials from people who have lived in the city's shelters and received other assistance programming, go to

Ferguson Defamation Trial

Naked Man Apprehended In The Uptown

A quiet night reported by City Police but one thing happened which was a bit out of the ordinary considering the frigid temperatures.

A man was picked up after being seen running naked along Union Street. 

Police then had to find some clothes for him to wear.

Stephen Chase Not Re-Offering

Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase's name will not be on the ballot in the upcoming municipal election.

He tells CHSJ News he is moving on to other things and wants to pass the torch after being on council after 14 years.

He says one of the things he is looking forward to is walking through places like Rockwood Park and not worry about where funding is going to come from.

City Not Making Error-Related Pension Payment

The city will be on the hook for interest and penalties for deciding to not make good on a 800-thousand pension payment miscalculation.

Councillors Bill Farren and Patty Higgins voted against making the payment which was part of a 2011 deficit payment.  Council need two-thirds of council to approve it.

Bill Farren says he voted against the payment as a sort of protest against the pension board, which to him seems to operate by their own rules.

[CLIP]...arm's length group (14 secs)

As for criticism that his vote downloaded additional costs to the taxpayer, Farren would only say he doesn't think the interest is very high and the public is footing the bill either way.

The payment was suppose to be made by the end of the month.

Minister Doesn't Slam Door On More Powerful Imaging Unit

The Health Minister is downplaying any suggestion politics are involved in a decision to move forward with a less powerful M-R-I machine for the Regional Hospital.
Madeleine Dube says it's about providing a standard level of service to all New Brunswickers.
But -- Dube says her department will monitor ongoing upgrades to units that are available and she's not closing the door to upgrading the Regional to the higher powered unit at some point in the future.
The Alward government is taking heat for refusing a million dollar donation from the Regional Hospital Foundation to upgrade the new M-R-I machine to the more powerful unit.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Belyea Calls Ferguson's Facts "Out to Lunch"

Completely out to lunch and completely wrong—that was Constable Andrew Belyea's testimony about John Ferguson's claim disability tacked 5.9 million dollars onto the pension plan.

Defence lawyer Rod Gillis argued  Belyea didn't even look at  a slide-show Ferguson presented in council, which he says  explained the figure. Belyea responded, “I didn't need to bother--all the numbers he was starting with were wrong in the first place.”

Belyea called Ferguson's information, “non-factual facts,” saying Ferguson should have asked about disability pensions during a presentation by Kevin Estabrooks--rather than lashing out a few months later with bogus information. But the court saw a video that indicated the mayor prohibited questions after that presentation.

Common Council Tonight

Fuel Load Underway At Lepreau

Employees at Point Lepreau began loading the first of more than 4500 new fuel bundles back into the reactor on Saturday.
Kathleen Duguay of NB Power tells CHSJ News this is an important milestone in the refurbishment.

She says it's a very complex task because the workers need to ensure it's the fuel bundle has been inspected and it's the going in the right sequence inside the reactor.

Each fuel bundle is about the size of fire log and weighs about 22 kilograms.
The reactor is due to be restarted this fall.

Local NDP'er Says Mulcair Will Be Able To Take On The Bullies

The NDP candidate for Saint John in the last federal election, Rob Moir isn't saying whether he supported the new NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.

Having said that, Rob Moir tells CHSJ News Mulcair is the type of scrappy personality who'll be able to duke it out with the Prime Minister and the Conservative Party's attack machine.

Moir says the worry that Mulcair will change the policy direction of the NDP is unfounded because the leader has to pay attention to what the party members want.

Moir believes the Harper Government is vulnerable on the bread and butter economic issues of how families are getting by these days and the environment.

Ferguson Defamation Trial Coverage Continues

Marigolds On Main Looking To Honour Those Who Give Back

Marigolds on Main is all about children and learning.

That's why organiser Barry Ogden tells CHSJ News two people who help children in the city will be honoured with the Marigold award.

He says the names of deserving nominees can be passed on to him at Saint John High.

They also have another couple of projects on the go......To get more trees planted in the city and have more families growing their own food in community gardens which would be healthier and less expensive.

Protestors Mourn Cuts to Public Services

A mock funeral was recently held in King Square--for public services in the city of Saint John. Over a hundred citizens attended to protest cuts to the bus services, which have eliminated some routes people need to get to work.

Community activist Tammy Calvin tells CHSJ News it takes her upwards of an hour to take transit from her home to the grocery store out East. She says there's no shopping in the North End, and she finds herself waiting around for ages at Place 400. The trip, she says, can take more than an hour altogether.

Calvin says there's going to be ongoing actions to protest the cuts--and people should be angry, because these are essential services.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Working To Shorten Waitlist

Big Brothers Big Sisters in Saint John reaching the half way point in their goal to get 100 men signed up as big brothers in one year.
Public Relations Officer Deanna Gamble says it's an effort to reduce the 88 names of boys on their waiting list.

Gamble tells CHSJ News for those who want to become a Big Brother the process includes an interview so their caseworkers can get to know who you are.

She says the interview looks at your interests and behaviour and it also includes a background check and a vulnerable sector check to protect yourself and to protect their children.

53 big brothers have been matched with little brothers so far but, Gamble says their waiting list is still growing for boys and girls.
For more info, click here

Pension Board Accused Of Not Answering Questions About City's Pension Plan

The lawyer for former Common Councillor John Ferguson is accusing the Pension Board of not being transparent and not having a good communications policy despite its claims to the contrary.

Rod Gillis points out questions from Ferguson about the city's pension plan raised in 2006 were never answered. Pension Board lawyer Hugh Wright testified he reviewed those questions in 2009 and told the jury they were not inappropriate.

Despite that, he maintains the extended meaning or understanding of what Ferguson was saying is defamatory.

The jury has been told of a letter Ivan Court wrote in 2007 when he was a Common Councillor before becoming Mayor the following year. In the letter, Court warns proceeding with the lawsuit against Ferguson would set a dangerous precedent and questions what would be gained.

Common Councillor and former Pension Board trustee, Chris Titus also wrote a letter saying questions were being raised about the city's pension plan with good intentions but without a full understanding of the facts.