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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Scottish Festival Opens With Salute To Afghan Vets



A Scottish festival this weekend kicks off with a different kind of event -- the festival will honor our local military units and Afghan vets.
Organizer John Campbell tells CHSJ News the parents of Private David Greenslade who was killed in the Afghan conflict two years ago will be the honorary clan chiefs for the event.
Campbell says they will also be raising money for the David Greenslade bursary for children of fallen soldiers.
The event is set to begin tomorrow night at eight at the Chinese Commerce Center on Coburg Street -- there is no admission.

Women Being Encouraged to Join the Trades



With billions of dollars in proposed energy and industrial investments on the table for Saint John companies are being encouraged to turn to women to help fill the skilled trades shortage. Women are dramatically under-represented in the skilled trades at a time when the province is facing a significant shortage in that area.  In 2006, women represented only three per cent of the total apprenticeship registration in the province. Executive Director of the Saint John Construction Association, Pat Darrah, tells CHSJ News the apprenticeship seats are there for women who want them.

Darrah says they have seen more women entering the construction industry in the last two years than they have ever seen.

Health Minister Defends Silence



Health Minister Mike Murphy is defending his silence over word the Canadian Blood Services plans to move the blood distribution system out of our city to Halifax. Murphy says he learned of the plans during a confidential meeting and could do little until the news became public.

Murphy has faced stiff criticism for keeping the plans secret for the past 9 months--but--he says there is still plenty of time to have the decision reversed.

Business Group Joins Chorus Of Concern



The Board of Trade is sounding its concern about the loss of the Canadian Blood Services distribution center on University Avenue.
Board Chair Dr Michael Barry says it will impact on the ability to provide the best health care especially in areas like oncology - surgery - and - trauma.
Barry says the Board wants the provincial and federal governments to work with the Blood Services agency to come up with a quick solution to the issue.

Mayor Confident Canadian Blood Services Decision Can be Reversed



Mayor Ivan Court says he is optimistic the decision regarding the closure of the Canadian Blood Services distribution centre in Saint John can be reversed. Court met with Health Minister Mike Murphy today.

Court says he is confident both Murphy and MP Rodney Weston will fight to save the 17 jobs at the Saint John centre and keep blood donations from being transported to Nova Scotia.


Pharmaceutical Company Donates Money for Trust Fund



There is now another incentive to attract and retain medical professionals in Saint John. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Canada has donated half a million dollars to the New Brunswick Medical Education Trust. The endowment will fund an annual bursary for medical students. President and CEO, Mark Jones, says the bursary will allow more students to train at home instead of going off to university elsewhere and never coming back.

Jones says he hopes the donation will inspire other contributions to grow the Trust Fund across the province.


Opposition Tangles With Murphy Over Blood Center




(Health Minister Mike Murphy - file photo)

The Opposition Tories are hammering Health Minister Mike Murphy over word the Canadian Blood Services plans to move the blood distribution system out of our city to Halifax.
The Tories say Murphy did nothing after learning of the plan a year ago -- but -- the Minister says there is still lots of time to fight the fight -- Murphy says we have almost three years before the lock goes on the door at the University Avenue facility.
The move will mean 17-jobs will also be lost locally -- the Legislature is expected to vote on a joint motion later this afternoon calling on the Canadian Blood Services to reverse its decision.

Bank Boss Says TD Holding Its Own



The president and C-E-O of the TD Bank Financial Group says his bank is weathering the recession better than most.
Ed Clark told the bank's annual meeting of shareholders at the Trade and Convention Center this morning -- the institution's loan holdings grew last year and the bank is stepping in to pick up the slack left by foreign banks and lenders who have bailed out.
Clark says he's cautiously optimistic about his bank's results in the coming year but is predicting the year will be full of even more challenges -- and -- he says he doesn't see the recession easing until well into 2010.
It's the first time in the bank's 154-year history it has held the annual meeting here in New Brunswick.

Reaction from Conservation Council



No surprise from the Conservation Council that use of the co-fuel has been approved. Spokes-person David Thompson tells CHSJ News, the only new fuels that should be explored are those that are renewable.

Thompson adds this is another huge expense that rate-payers are baring the brunt for.

NB Power Given Approval



The environmental impact assessment application by NB Power to continue using co-fire petroleum coke and heavy fuel oil at the Coleson Cove generating station has been approved by the Department of Environment.

During testing, which started in March of last year, results showed that emission levels are favorable, existing environmental technology is working well, and there has been no detrimental effect on existing equipment as a result of burning the new fuel blend.

Busy Morning for City Police



A two vehicle accident and a naked man in the North End so far are the highlights for the day shift of the City Police Department. Officers were called to the Ashburn lake Road near Strescon just after 10:30am to find one of it's cruiser and another vehicle had been in an accident. No injuries and the traffic department is trying to figure out what happened.

Then some real excitement in the North End Just after ten o'clock. A man, naked as the day he brought into the world, rolled through the drive-through of a local coffee shop and placed his order. When he pulled up to the window, the girls working were not impressed and called police. No word at this point on any charges. 

Study Kicks off Tonight



UNB Saint John will launch a major study on the immigrant experience in Saint John tonight. UNBSJ has partnered with Enterprise Saint John and the Atlantic Metropolis Project to undertake the year-long study to be led by Dr. Greg Marquis. UNBSJ's urban researcher Kurt Peacock says the study is meant to examine how recent immigrants to Saint John can be fully welcomed.

A reception will be held at the University’s Grand Hall on Charlotte Street at five o'clock to help build cultural awareness in the city and introduce the study to the community.

Uptown Building Looking for an Owner



It may be awhile yet before an owner is found for the old Brunswicker building in the South End. The building houses the Atlantica Centre for the Arts but was turned over to the Federal Public Works department for disposal or sale after the Department of National Defense deemed it surplus. John Irving with Commercial Properties tells CHSJ News, they have put a bid in on the property but the final approval of sale continues to be a work in process.

Irving says it is a beautiful historic building that should be preserved but needs work. 

A Dozen By-Elections



Time is running short if your thinking about throwing your hat into the municipal political ring. With several vacant seats to fill, the Local Government office has announced nominations for the upcoming municipal by-election will close on the 17th at two in the afternoon.

There are twelve by-election's around the province set for May.11th including St. Stephen, Blacks Harbour, Balmoral, Alma and Nackawic. You can get more information and find nomination papers at

Rodents in District Eight School



A deer mice problem at Loch Lomond Elementary appears to be under control. Four of the rodent's and their droppings were discovered in the schools portable class-rooms the week following March Break. Douglas Walker is the Regional Director with the Saint John Branch of the Provincial Health Protection unit and tells CHSJ News, air circulation in the buildings should be improved now that the air ducts were cleaned out.

Walker adds a local pest control company is checking it's traps on a weekly basis and his team will be back for a follow up inspection in two weeks.


Latest Gas Price Schedule is In



The Energy and Utilities Board has released it's weekly price schedule and not alot of damage to report. There is a percentage points increase in the price for gasoline which comes in at 85.1 cents. Most stations in the metro are selling a litre for 85.5.

Diesel is up just over a penny at 94.9 and furnace oil is at 73.4 which is close to a two cent increase.

Assault Sends One To Hospital



One person was taken to the Regional earlier this morning after an assault in the North End. Not alot of details at this point as City Police continue to interview witnesses and try to piece together what happened around 1:30am.

Officer's are also trying to figure out who lit and threw a smoke bomb into the elevator at Simonds High School yesterday. They along with city fire crews arrived to find a good portion of the building full of smoke. The building was evacuated just after one o'clock and two women were treated for breathing problems.

TD Bank Financial Group Meeting



This is day two of the three day TD Bank Financial Group conference in Saint John. The annual general meeting will be held today with officials discussing the state of the world economy and providing accountability to shareholders for it's stewardship. TD Deputy Chair Frank McKenna tells CHSJ News, some hard number crunching is involved in this process.

This marks the first time in the companies 154 year history, it's annual general meeting has been held in this Province which is expected to inject one million dollars into the local economy.