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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hayes & Other Victims File Class-Action Suit Against The City

A class-action lawsuit has been launched against the city today by the alleged victims of former Saint John police officer Kenneth Estabrooks.

According to documents filed today by Bobby Hayes, he and other people were sexually assaulted by Estabrooks for decades while--according to the statement of claim--the City and the SJPD ignored the fact that Estabrooks was a predator. Since then, it says the city has demonstrated a "callous disregard and complete lack of care for the Plaintiff and Class Members."

Further, the statement of claims says the abuse caused Hayes and the other victims anxiety, PTSD, depression, loss of income earning ability, psychological injuries and more. Hayes and the other victims are asking for the city to apologize and for compensation and damages.

According to Haye's solictor, John McKiggan, the case could take years to resolve depending on how the city responds--and in similar class-action suits against the Catholic Church, requested damages have been as much as $15 million.

Province Invests In Website To Help First Nation Youth

The province investing $45,000 to help develop an interactive web-based support system for First Nation students.

It's called PSE Helper. The site links students with the information and resources they need to make informed post-secondary education decisions.

It also provides information about gettings scholarships and bursaries and monitors and reports on student and career events around the province.

To learn more about the program,  click here

Highway Winter Maintenance Program: Cuts Or No Cuts?

Things heating up in the Legislature with talk about highway safety during the winter. MLA of Miramichi-Bay du Vin Bill Fraser asking how the province plans to keep people safe with cuts to the highway winter maintenance program. 

 CUPE also accusing the government of cutting 9 million dollars from the winter management program. The President of local 1190 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees is warning there will be 55 fewer pieces of equipment to get rid of the snow with 70 fewer operators.

Transportation Minister Claude Williams firing back saying the facts are wrong. He says
the appropriate equipment will be bought as needed.  

"We don't want to reduce the level of service that we provide on road and highways during the winter." When it comes to salt and sand he says, "We purchased the same level, the same quantity, the same amount as last year."

How Will The Gov't Help Laid Off Potash Workers?

With the announcement that more than a hundred PotashCorp employees will clocking out for the last time at the end of March, Caraquet MLA Hédard Albert wondering if affected workers will get any help from the government.

Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Jody Carr says transition services have been provided to the employees. He says there will be variety of ways the government ensures affected employees are helped with their future plans, including looking at options of re-training, vacancies within the market and looking at support for retirement options.

The General Manager for PotashCorp in New Brunswick Stewart Brown says grim market conditions are the reason for the layoffs.

MLA Pays Tribute To Four Teens Killed In Crash

Four teenagers killed in a car crash remembered as being popular, active and athletic.

MLA for Shediac-Cap-Pelé Victor Boudreau says 18-year old Justin Léger, Sebastien Léger, and Justin Brown graduated from high school last June, and 17-year old Luc Arsenault would have graduated this year. They died over the weekend after their car struck a culvert and went off the road in Notre-Dame.

Boudreau says four future leaders of the community have been lost. He says the support of the people of Cap-Pelé in the aftermath of the tragedy has made an incredible difference for the families.

More than 1500 people attending their funeral on Tuesday.

New Funding Approved For Health Research

The provincial government has announced it's investing $2.4 million for increased health research in New Brunswick. 

Premier David Alward saying the investment will help the province's bioscience sector  and build new partnerships with federal granting councils.

The Department of Economic Development  is contributing $2 million, while the Department of Health is contributing $400,000.

Norton Rides Along With Cops For A Night

Just call him Officer Greg.

Common Councillor Greg Norton joined members of the Saint John Police Department for a ride-along Friday night to get a sense of what officers have to deal with on a daily basis. Norton tells CHSJ News it's a challenge to get enough officers to cover the calls for service that come in--and it often takes more than one officer to deal with things like domestic disputes or potentially dangerous situations.

Norton says the ride-along was definitely an eye-opener for him as council enters its budget deliberations--and also for him as a member of the Board of Police Commissioners.

Tax Base Revenue Declines In Saint John

Saint John will have the dubious distinction of losing the most amount of tax revenue next year of any municipality in the province, 572 thousand dollars, despite receiving a million more dollars in funding from the province.

Quispamsis is getting 147 thousand dollars less in provincial grant money but its tax base is rising by 98 thousand dollars. Rothesay will receive 96 thousand dollars less from the province but revenue from its tax base will be 173 thousand dollars higher. 

Hampton is also getting 82 thousand dollars less in provincial money and its tax base will grow by 84 thousand dollars. Provincial grant money for Sussex is going down by 29 thousand dollars with a 62 thousand dollar rise in the town's tax base. 

Grand Bay Westfield will be getting 12 thousand dollars more in funding from the provincial government next year and its tax base will grow by 114 thousand dollars. 

By contrast to Saint John, Moncton saw its provincial funding cut by 1.9 million dollars but its tax base grew by 5.7 million.

Firefighters Rescue Kitty In Unlikely Place

You've heard of fire stations having Dalmation dogs, but....a cat?

Firefighters working on some equipment at the KV Fire Station last night were surprised to find a little grey cat snuggled into a bin of clothing.

A spokesperson from the department says the cat looks like it belongs to someone, and it's not fully grown. They're hoping the owners will come forward and claim the kitty. In the meantime it'll be staying at the fire station.

If the fire-kitty belongs to you, contact KV Fire at 848-6601.

Saint John Drug Dealer Sent To Prison

A three year prison sentence handed a 54 year old Saint John man, Charles Micheal Flecknell. 

He pleaded guilty to charges of possessing cocaine and marijuana for the purpose of trafficking along with possessing the proceeds of crime. 

Flecknell was arrested late last week in a takedown on St. James Street following a month long drug investigation by the Street Crime Unit.

Warning About Cuts To Snow Plowing On Provincial Highways

A warning from the Canadian Union of Public Employees, representing highway workers in the province speaking out about 9 million dollars in cuts to the winter maintenance program and snow plowing.

The President of CUPE local 1190, Andy Hardy claims the Transportation Department will be making do with 55 fewer pieces of equipment to plow the roads. He warns it will take longer to get around to plowing some of the rural roads.

In addition to less snow removal equipment, Hardy charges there will be 70 fewer operators as well as further reductions in the sand and salt budgets but, at the same time, 6.2 million has gone to a consulting firm in Quebec.

Quispamsis Mayor Frustrated With Grant Reduction

Another year, another cutback in provincial grant money for the town of Quispamsis. 

Like last year, the town is seeing a reduction is their Community Funding and Equalization Grant to the tune of more than $147,000 this time around and Mayor Murray Driscoll says that is frustrating.

He says the residents are the only source of revenue for Quispamsis, and the town is mindful of how much money they have to shell out. Driscoll says the reduction means councillors will have to sharpen their pencils and figure out how do the best with the tax dollars they have.

The town getting more than $425,000 in funding this year. No word yet on what, if any, impact this will have on taxes.

Police Chief Speaks Out On Bomb Hoax

Police Chief Bill Reid is warning would-be hoaxsters that wasting police time is a dangerous business, after a series of bomb threats at schools across Canada were found to have originated online.

Reid tells CHSJ News the culprit in last Thursday's scare at Simonds High definitely was not perpetrated by someone in the Saint John area-- but that isn't stopping investigators from looking into the case.

The caller claimed to have weapons and to have planted a bomb in the school, but police found nothing on the site. Investigators have found a number of similar calls have been made across the country via the internet.

Reid says there's no link with the suspicious package that caused a disruption at UNB for much of Monday afternoon.