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Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Dogs Win First Pick In The Q League Entry Draft

The Saint John Sea Dogs winning the right to select first overall in this year's Q League Entry Draft.

The Dogs the big winners in the league's draft lottery, a process involving Saint John and the Sherbrooke Phoenix who will select second in the first round.

Dogs GM Darrell Young says having the first pick overall gives the team greater flexibility and there are a few high-end offensive players to choose from.

It's the fourth time the Sea Dogs have owned the first pick.  Defenceman Alex Grant and fellow blueliners Yann Sauve and Simon Despres were also selected in the number one slot in previous years.

The Q League entry draft is coming up in May in Sherbrooke.

New Facility To Make The Best Of Existing Resources, Says Hatfield

Yesterday, a significant funding  boost of $300,000  was announced by the provincial government to the Community Loan Fund to assist with the construction of  a new building on Prince Edward Street. When completed, the 15,000-square-foot Social Enterprise Hub will house the Community Loan Fund, Saint John Learning Exchange, and various emerging small entrepreneurs.

Despite Saint John's high vacancy rate, Randy Hatfield of the Human Development Council explains an accessible, state-of-the art facility is needed in that area.

Hatfield says while there are indeed many properties available in the uptown, many of the vacant units tend to be inaccessible or unsuitable for the needs of so many diverse groups.

The Community Loan Fund is currently working to secure further funding. More details are expected to emerge about the project in the coming months.

Saint John Is Not Alone In Overspending During Winter

The Port City is in the same pickle as hundreds of other North American municipalities that likely overspent this year on clearing and removing snow.

Kevin Rice of Transportation and Environment Services tells CHSJ News they will be speaking to council in May about how much was spent on winter maintenance up to the end of March.

He says some budgets might be overspent and others would be underspent and the City as a whole will put the numbers together to determine where the offsets might be.

Rice remembers a winter a few years back where the City overspent by a million bucks and he expects this winter has been worse than that.

Charges Laid Against Car Prowlers

Charges of mischief, possession of stolen property, obstruction, and a breach of a court order have been laid against a 26 year old caught breaking into cars on Magazine Street.

An 18 year old man and a 19 year old girl are also facing charges in connection with that.

They have a future court appearance on mischief charges.

Alward Government Being Assailed Over Roads

The Alward Government coming under fire again for its winter road maintenance. Provincial Transportation Minister Claude Williams says this winter has been the worst in the last twenty years and you have to deal with the realities associated with that.

Bay du Vin Liberal M-L-A Bill Fraser says he will pass along to Williams the hundreds of reports he has received about the condition of the roads. He argues they have never been in worse shape.

Williams, who says the budget to maintain roads has not been reduced, claims the plows have been out when required and if extra supplies of salt and sand were needed, they were bought. 

He also points out when it's stormy, you can plow a road and an hour later with the drifting, it will be snow covered again.

Investigation Launched Into Washroom Closure At K-V-H-S

The controversy over whether Kennebecasis Valley High violated the Health and Safety Act after a washroom at the school was vandalised continues at a higher level.

The Provincial Education Department will investigate what happened after parent Blair Surette wrote a letter of complaint to Education Minister Marie-Claude Blais. He says just one washroom was made available to the hundreds of boys attending K-V-H-S and the rest were all locked for 2 and a half days.

Surette says that one washroom on the main floor ran out of soap and toilet paper so it got pretty disgusting. He claims the school may have violated the Health and Safety Act. He also tells CHSJ News Blais, herself, has spoken to him directly about the issue. 

Surette says he has lost confidence in the school district because in his words "Someone's not telling the truth".

Positive Changes To Heritage Grant Program

Saint John boats an impressive array of heritage buildings--and preserving those buildings is key to our future.

The City's heritage grant program is changing in a way that could ensure more in a people take advantage of the funds available to do just that. 

Building Inspector Amy Poffenroth explains they've adopted a new funding mix that increases the ratios if you're doing work of a structural nature: from 25% of the eligible cost up to 45%, an increased maximum of $7,500 for a conservation grant, and $750 for a maintenance grant.

There's about $90,000 available in Heritage Grants. Under the new recommended changes, folks who do the work would also be able to access the funds more quickly.

Ice Storm Will Take Chunk From NB Power's Bottom Line

NB Power's finances will be taking another hit because of the second ice storm in the Moncton region and the Premier admits this stormy winter is causing unsettling financial issues.

The clean-up costs for the December ice storm that ravaged the Kennebecasis Valley and Kingston Peninsula in December came to $12-million with 88 thousand restorations.

The most recent storm saw 75,000 restorations with more than 100 crews working on the outages, mostly in the Bouctouche and Shediac areas.

Car Prowlers Nabbed In North End

City Police making three arrests along Magazine Street for car breaks. 

Two men and a woman in their early twenties will be making court appearances. 

Police say they recovered stolen property from the breakins.

Price Of Diesel Taking A Dip

There has been a pretty big price drop with diesel following the weekly setting. In the city, diesel is selling for $1.37.4 a litre after it had been up to $1.46.7. 

Self serve regular has increased slightly to $1.33.9 a litre around town. 

The maximum prices are $1.28.4 a litre for heating oil and a $1.20.4 for propane.

The Y Celebrates Two Tireless Volunteers

Two busy men who believe strongly in giving back receiving the big honours at the 2014 Red Triangle Awards at the Delta tonight.

Daryl Steeves wins the Red Triangle Award and Danny Jardine is the Leader to Watch and both are employees at Horizon Health.

Steeves trains people for marathons and tells CHSJ News we have to get past the idea that ending obesity is as simple as not eating fast food anymore.

He says it's not a small problem with an easy fix adding the solution requires societal change.

Danny Jardine who is a Big Brother who serves with many City board including the United Way and the Greater Saint John Community Foundation.

He tells he felt compelled to get that message out for people to go home tonight and think about what they can do to give back to the community.

The event bringing in over $55,000 for the Y's Strong Kids campaign.