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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Province Mum On Harbour Bridge and One Mile Interchange

The province remaining pretty quiet about possible financial fallout regarding the company doing work on both the Harbour Bridge and the One Mile Interchange.

Concreate USL has been put in receivership.

Premier David Alward not sticking around after an announcement to answer questions but Saint John Portland MLA Trevor Holder says the government takes infrastructure very seriously and it will work closely with the Department of Transportation to make sure everything is in place.

The DOT says it has security bonds in place for both projects and Concreate USL will continue its work on time.

More Frustration Over Animal Control In The City

Another person is Saint John is struggling with the City's response to injured or abandoned pets since their contract with SPCA Animal Rescue ended on March 1st.

Mary Beth Heighton says she sent emails to the Mayor and councillors after she found an abandoned black kitten on Thornborough Avenue and both the City and SPCA Animal Rescue League turned her away.

She tells CHSJ News she finds it ridiculous the City would spend money on statues for Peel Plaza Park while it's not providing animal control services.

She wants the City to give that $200,000 to the SPCA Animal Rescue League so things can go back to the way they were adding the costs also include medical care and getting the animals spayed or neutered.

Heighton tells us an employee from SPCA Animal Rescue is fostering the black kitten she found.
The City telling us recently their By-Law enforcement office is looking after animal control and they are looking for an affordable solution that addresses safety concerns.

Global Container Service Coming To The Port

It's been more than 25 years but the Saint John Port Authority is once again welcoming a global container service.

The Port has a deal with the Mediterranean Shipping Company, the second largest container shipping line in the world.

Port President and CEO Jim Quinn tells CHSJ News it's too early to put a dollar amount to what this deal means for the province.

But he says the gains will be significant as it will give shippers and receivers access to a global market.

The service will be available beginning in May.

Day #2 Of Spring Is A Scorcher

The second day of Spring certainly rocks in Greater Saint John.

The mercury rising to 26 degrees in Grand Bay-Westfied and Hampton and it feels like 28 on the Kingston Peninsula.

It's feels like 27 degrees in the humidex in Saint John while in St. Stephen it feels like 28 degrees.

Ferguson Gets Support From His St Stephen Employer

As the John Ferguson defamation trial nears the end of its fifth week - Ferguson is getting a show of support from his current employer - the town of St Stephen.
Council has approved a paid six week leave of absence for Ferguson who is the town's chief administrative officer.
The decision angered at least one woman attending the meeting - she wants to know why Ferguson is being while in court.
Councillor Robert Tinker says council knew the court date was looming when Ferguson was hired - he says it's a matter of principle - had this come up after the hiring - the outcome would have been different.
Meantime - Mayor Jed Purcell is unsure if the paid leave will be extended beyond the six weeks.

Some March Uptown To Eliminate Racism

People of all cultures and faiths gathering in King Square today to mark the International Day to Eliminate Racism.

Crowds gathered holding bunches of balloons and wearing T-shirts promoting racial diversity.

The march making its way from the park to Market Square where students read from Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech was read in different languages.

Organizer Sheri MacAuley tells CHSJ News it's about sending a positive message to the community.  She says it's a great celebration of diversity in our city and it also sends a message that we are breaking barriers.

The lunch hour for some uptown high schools was re-arranged so that students could attend.

Candidate For Common Council To Hold Town Hall Meetings

One of the candidates for Common Council in Ward 1 on the west side plans to hold 8 town hall meetings during the course of the campaign.

Blake Armstrong tells CHSJ News he wants to let the voters know what he's all about as well as finding out their wants and needs. 

Armstrong says the big complaint he hears from people on the west side about the city thus far is how dysfunctional it appears to be.
His first town hall meeting will be held tomorrow night, 7:00 at the Denis Morris community centre.

Aids Saint John Has More Money To Work With

Aids Saint John getting a financial boost to the tune of more than 220 thousand dollars from the federal government. 

Dr. Leslie Jeffrey chairs the board at Aids Saint John and says while there has been progress on the medical front, the same can't be said socially with sufferers facing discrimination and stigmatisation.
Dr. Jeffrey says they do alot of one on one work to get people reconnected with the social supports they need because of being ostracised and that's what alot of this new money will be used for.

Saint John M-P Rodney Weston says there are 65 thousand people across the country suffering from HIV/AIDS.

Police Commission Mum On Wheter It Will Support Police Union On Legal Action

The Saint John Police Commission being tight lipped as to whether it will support the police union in a possible lawsuit against Common Council.

The union was looking for support from the commission as it believes the city is violating the Police Act by making a one million dollar budget cut.

Commission Chair Chirs Waldschutz says a letter was sent to the union a few days ago but he has yet to hear a response.

He says he will not comment on the issue until the union acknowledges that it has received the letter.

A message was left for the police union to see if they got the letter but so far no response.

Want to Be on Common Council?

Are you thinking of running for Common Council? There's an open house tonight in the City Hall that could give you the information you need as we approach the May 14 municipal election.

It starts at 6:30 and will include presentations by Elections New Brunswick, the province, and city staff. It will be followed by an open house which will run until 8:30.

Man Trapped In Crane Rescued

The Harvey Volunteer Fire Department using the jaws of life to extricate a Nackawic area man who became trapped beneath a piece of train rail.

He was using a crane to load the rails from a tractor trailer to a boxcar when an apparent mechanical failure occurred.

The operator, who was working alone, was pinned to the controls of the crane by a piece of rail.

He suffered serious injuries and is now in hospital.

Constable Belyea Testifies at Ferguson Trial

“I could give my six year old son some crayons and he would come up with better numbers than John Ferguson” --that from Constable Andrew Belyea, testifying at the former city councillor's defamation trial. Belyea said that as a police officer, he's got a pretty thick skin—but he was offended by Ferguson's accusations of secrets, innuendo and mismanagement on the board.

He said he's an honest man and he didn't appreciate Ferguson painting a picture of him and his fellow trustees as criminals.

Meanwhile, defence lawyer Rod Gillis said Belyea should've been worrying about the pension deficit rather than getting offended over emails. He also cross-examined pension administrator Andrea Cain,  raising his eyebrows at the fact McInnis Cooper listed hundreds of recommendations to the board in a report that cost $50,000, but Ferguson never saw it.

Former Provincial Cabinet Minister Looks To Human Rights Commission For Redress

A former M-L-A and provincial cabinet minister is appealing to the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission over a cut to his pension.
Jeannot Volpe is complaining his pension was cut by one third when the Alward Government, under pressure from the public, reversed a 2008 decision that increased pensions for members of the legislature. 

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation estimated Volpe was receiving over 63 thousand dollars a year when he began receiving his pension in 2010.   
Volpe argues the changes don't affect civil servants and the politicians shouldn't be treated any differently.

Walmart Sentenced In Worker's Death

A 120 thousand dollar fine imposed on Walmart after the retail giant pleaded guilty to three workplace safety charges in the death of a teenage worker in the northern part of the province early last year.
Walmart was charged under the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a 17-year-old employee at a store in Grand Falls, Patrick Desjardins was electrocuted early in January of 2011. 

He was using a floor buffer on a wet floor in a garage at the time.

WorkSafe NB concluded Desjardins was using an inappropriate floor polisher which had a faulty extension cord when he was electrocuted.

Court Comfortable With Saint John's Liveability

From 78 to 59th on the top 190 best cities to live in Canada is an improvement for Saint John according to the Mayor.
Ivan Court says it looks like we are a city on the move.

He tells CHSJ News he noticed Moncton dropped from 11 to 18th and he congratulates Fredericton for making the top 10 at #7.

Court says Saint John scored quite well on affordable housing and active transportation and the City also increased its population.

To learn more about the study, click here

Network Helps People Break Cycle of Homelessness

A new network of community partners is giving support to the city's homelessness. Called the STAR Network, it's based on a program already running out of Fredericton. Organizer Josh Smith says the Star Network brings together a number of resources that already exist in the community.

According to research, people transitioning from being homeless into having their own homes tend to fail within 18 months. Only with mentorship and a support network can people leave the cycle of poverty behind.

The network help participants with housing, furniture, meal preparation, and financial literary. It has already secured employment for one young woman who will soon be ready to move into her own apartment.

Quispamsis School Gets Visit From Rick Mercer

Lakefield Elementary School getting major kudos and a visit from national funnyman Rick Mercer.

The school will be featured in a segment on the Rick Mercer Report for winning the the elementary school category for the Spread The Net Student Challenge.

The school raised 16-thousand dollars for malaria nets in Africa.

Mercer tells CHSJ News being from the Maritimes, it's great to see a school from Atlantic Canada get national recognition 

He says for a school of 500 students to get the win, it says a lot about the spirit of the community.

The segment which will air on the Rick Mercer Report on April 3rd.