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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ferguson Gets Grilled Over Council Presentation

Pension Board Lawyer Barry Morrison taking defendant John Ferguson to task over his three main assertions during a presentation to common council about problems with the pension board.

Morrison says Ferguson never had any documentation about independent pension advice being never provided, that the early retirement plan cost the pension plan far more than what was reported, and that there were errors in the city's financial statements.

Ferguson testified that motions being struck down on looking for advice would be his proof, there were discrepancies in the 2003 to 2005 financial statements, and a document from then city finance commissioner Andrew Beckett showed that the retirement packages cost 2.2 million dollars.

But Morrison countered and said that council at the time were only discussing the 2005 financial statements and there was no number to compare the 2.2 million dollar cost to.

Morrison also asked if it ever occured to Ferguson to mend fences with senior staff memebers in order to get to the root of any pension issues.

Ferguson testifed that if he had to do it all over again, he would but with greater resolve.

Ferguson returns to the stand tomorrow morning at 9 at the court of queens bench

Ordained Minister and Business Owner Wants To Be Mayor

The 33 year old business owner running for mayor thinks Saint John's pension crisis needs to be dealt with first.

Matthew Thompson tells CHSJ News part of the solution is finding ways to keep the pension going.

He says we must deal with the pension deficit that gives an immediate resolution and there are still ideas that haven't been explored.

Thompson is an ordained minister who owns two businesses including a construction company.

Body Of Missing Blacks Harbour Fisherman Found

Foul play is not suspected in the death of a 50 year old Blacks Harbour man who didn't come home from a fishing trip.

Last night about 10:30, St. George RCMP received a report of a sport fisherman who failed to return home.

Ralph Bradley Ramsey had left his home early in the morning to go fishing in the Bonny River area.

The Mounties found his body about 120 metres from his truck next to a canoe.
An autopsy has been ordered.

Coastal Transport To Provide Fundy Isles Ferry Service

The province announcing a 15 year agreement worth more than 13 million dollars with Coastal Transport of Saint John to operate and maintain the ferries serving the Fundy Isles including Deer Island.

Transportation Minister Claude Williams says at Deer Island, Coastal Transport will taking on most of the employees adding efforts will be made to reassign remaining staff with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Coastal Transport already operates the Grand Manan and White Head ferries under the Fundy Isles Ferry Service with the company taking over the ferry service officially as of May 28th.

A new $4.7-million ferry is expected to be in operation for Deer Island in 2014.

Rinehart Opens Campaign HQ

Councillor-at-large candidate Shelley Rinehart opening up her campaign headquarters in Brunswick Square today.

She tells CHSJ News the fiscal sustainability of the city is paramount and there are two key things that have to be dealt with: our debt and find other sources of revenue.

She says she won't promises she cannot keep and the city has to live within its means.

An Empty Storefront On King Street Is A Concern

At the end of next month, Pictures Plus on King Street will be joining the Bargain Shop as empty storefronts.

Uptown Saint John General Manager Peter Asimakos tells CHSJ News they are looking for options for that building as they focus on the area surrounding King Square.

He says it'll take a bit of an effort to to work with the landlord and explore possible uses at least for the ground floor adding a vacant space of that size is a concern.

As for the municipal election, Asimakos hopes the new council is full of people with diverse backgrounds.

Ferguson Facing Many Accusations At Trial

Former Common Councillor John Ferguson has been accused of acting with reckless disregard of the truth by Pension Board lawyer Barry Morrison with his criticisms of how the city's pension plan was being administered.

Ferguson told the jury he stands by his statements and events have proven him to be correct. Morrison accused him of attacking Pension Board trustees but Ferguson claims he made no accusations against the Pension Board but wanted senior city staff members, who were on the board, to step back from giving advice to Common Council about the pension plan.

Morrison also accused Ferguson of having an agenda which he denied.

Morrison and Ferguson clashed frequently during the cross examination about what exactly the former Common Councillor understood about the city's pension plan when he was raising his concerns.

Morrison is accusing Ferguson of wanting to portray himself as the saviour of Saint John taxpayers who would uncover wrong doing on the part of the Pension Board. Ferguson disagreed with that characterisation but added he felt we were in a bad way and was seeking solutions to the pension shortfall.

Collision Between Car And Bike In Valley

Rothesay Regional Police are investigating a collision between a bicyclist and car on Millenium Drive last night.

They report a group of four cyclists were travelling on Millennium Drive when a car travelling in the same direction pulled out to pass them.

 One of the bikes was hit causing the cyclist driving behind him to fall. The victim suffered injuries to his face, legs, arms and hip.

Police are reminding drivers to make every effort to accommodate bicyclists when they are on the road but bicyclists should be wearing all proper safety equipment and reflective clothing when riding at night.

John Ferguson Defamation Trial

Police In K-V Warn Of New Drug

A new designer drug called “Bath salts” has made an appearance in the Kennebecasis Valley. 

That word from Rothesay Regional Police who warn the drug is highly addictive and the dangers are very similar to those of methamphetamine.

Users become agitated, suffer from paranoia, hallucinations, chest pains, suicidal thoughts, psychosis, self-mutilation,  eventually excited delirium and perhaps even cardiac arrest.
More than 800 pills were seized after a drug raid on Golden Grove Road. They were analysed by Health Canada and found to contain the stimulant "bath salts".

Home Invasion And Robbery

City Police are investigating a home invasion and robbery which took place at an undisclosed location on the west side late last night. 

There were no injuries and police emphasise it's an isolated incident.