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Monday, April 27, 2009

The City is Pushing Ahead with Changes to the Civic Pension Plan



City employees are back to the drawing board after efforts were thwarted to have common council rescind a previous motion to make serious changes to the pension plan.  The four unions had hoped council would strike a working committee to hash out some solutions to the troubled plan before going to the legislature. Council has instead referred the request to its actuarial firm Morneau Sobeco. Councilor Chris Titus says his first responsibility is to tax payers.

Canadian Union of Public Employees national rep, James Stanley says council won't succeed in getting changes at the legislature without their support. The proposed pension changes could save $70 million.

Workers Killed And Injured On Job To Be Remembered



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A noon time gathering on the waterfront tomorrow will mark the annual "Day of Mourning" to remember workers injured and killed on the job.
The latest stats show 11-people were killed on the job in this province last year while just over 12-thousand were injured -- and -- Saint John District Labour Council President Ron Oldfield tells CHSJ News that's unacceptable.
He says more education is needed for both employers and employees.
The ceremony is scheduled to begin at noon in Pugsley Park on Water Street.

Conservative M-L-A Warns Of More Ferry Cuts




(Saint John Portland M-L-A Trevor Holder - photo courtesy of CNB)

Saint John Portland Conservative M-L-A Trevor Holder is suggesting it's a hollow victory -- Holder is referring to the agreement reached with residents in Belleisle and Gagetown to keep those ferries plying the river waters on a seasonal basis.
The deal will see the residents form an ownership group which will contract private operators -- and -- Holder tells CHSJ News it appears the Premier isn't closing the door on more of the same in the next budget by refusing to deny the possibility exists.
But -- Holder says the ferries are part of the provincial transportation system -- and -- his party remains committed to returning the ferries to provincial ownership if it assumes power after the next election.

Partnerships Formed to Promote Local Lobster



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[From Left to Right: President of Moosehead Breweries Andrew Oland, Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet, and Regional Vice President of Operations for the Superstore Mike Doucette]

The marriage between two Maritime favourites is becoming official.
Fisheries Minister Rick Doucett announced today in Dipper Harbour that Atlantic Superstore and Moosehead Breweries joined a partnership for a lobster promotion for the province. Rick Doucett tells tide news this is the first step to boost the lobster industry.

Doucett says starting May 1st until the end of July if you purchase a specially marked 12 packed of Mooseheads Clancy 's Amber Ale you will receive a coupon for 5$ dollars off the price of live or cooked lobster from Atlantic Superstores.

Moosehead on Promotion



Joel Levesque with Moosehead tells CHSJ News, the fishing community has always supported Moosehead, and when the Department of Fisheries asked about the promotion they couldn't say no.
Levesque says lobster is an important revenue generator in Atlantic Canada, and in this economy anything they can do to help sell more lobster they will do.

The promotion begins on Friday, and will be running until the end of July in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI.

Construction at the Regional Hospital



Construction work will prevent people from being dropped off or picked up at the Emergency Room doors at the Regional Hospital starting tomorrow.
Excavation work tomorrow until the end of the week will have the roadway in front of the ER closed to everyone except emergency vehicles.
Regional Health Authority B says the ER will still be open 24 hours a day, and no services will be disrupted.

Drugs Destined to Montreal Seized



Several hundred pounds of marijuana destined for Montreal is now in the possession of the RCMP after executing a warrant on Friday in Salmon Creek.
RCMP seized nearly 600 plants, and 20 pounds of dried marijuana at a residence at arrested two adults from Montreal.
55 year Milan Beneda will be in custody in Sussex until his bail hearing Thursday, and his 45 year old girlfriend Barbara Meres was released on strict conditions.
They are both looking at cultivation of marijuana, and possession for the purpose of trafficking charges.

Assault at Dorchester



An incident at Dorchester Penitentiary is the cause of one inmate remaining in the hospital.
Around 3 pm yesterday afternoon an inmate was assaulted and transferred to a nearby health care facility.
Correctional Service Canada is looking into the assault to help prevent future incidents, and says employee and public safety are it's top priority.

Some Interest In Operating Ferries




(Belleisle Bay ferry - file photo)

There are at least three contractors showing an interest in operating the Belleisle and Gagetown ferries.
The provincial government plans to hand over the two ferry services to community led groups in both areas once all they have all legal documentation in place.
Transportation Minister Denis Landry says former M-L-A Eric Allaby will quarterback the transition process.
Meantime -- Landry says the province will continue to operate the ferries until the transition is complete -- but -- both services will only operate between 6 in the morning and 11 in the evening beginning Friday.

Port Pushing For Federal And Provincial Funds



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(Cruise ship dockside in the harbour - photo courtesy SJ Port Authority)

The port authority is calling on the provincial and federal governments to come through with funding to help with expansion of docking facilities to handle larger cruise ships.
Port chair Stephen Campbell says the precedent has already been set with the St Lawrence Seaway area getting over 150-million dollars in combined federal and provincial funding last year -- and -- their passenger volume is about half of our head count.
The port authority is also looking for federal money to help upgrade west side piers -- and -- it thinks Ottawa should assume harbour dredging costs -- right now dredging represents a large chunk of the port's expenses and a user fee will be implemented to recover those costs.

Funeral Planned for Unknown Infant



A funeral is planned for the unknown baby boy found in a snowbank earlier this month in Salisbury.
The RCMP continue it's search for any information about the boy, and have received several tips but none have led officers any closer to finding out the identity of the infant found on the Taylor Road on April 4th.
The public service will be held in the chapel at the Chartersville Funeral Home in Dieppe on Friday at 11am.
The service will be non-denominational, and the funeral home is covering all costs. Any funds donated by the public will be going toward the cost of a tombstone.

Marijuana Growers Face A Judge



Two people are facing a bail hearing in Hampton this morning after the RCMP broke up a major marijuana grow operation in Salmon Creek Friday.
RCMP say the operation was very sophisticated, and the two accused are from Montreal.
More details are expected to be known later in the day.

What Does the Future Hold for the Paramount Theater



Lots of talk is being generated through a Face Book Group about a landmark building in the uptown. The Paramount Theater has been vacant for close to five years now and Michael McDonald has started asking questions about what could be done with the facility. The answer from most is to transform it into a multi-purpose arts facility. Paul Daeres is owner of the building and tells CHSJ News, the building is still in good shape.

Daeres says he knows nothing about the theater business and anyone interested in buying or leasing the building for any type of project should give him a call.


Broadcaster and Politician is Gone



A former broadcaster and politician is being remembered fondly today. Art Gould passed away over the weekend at the age of 95. Gould was first elected to council in Saint John in 1964 and was appointed to the mayors chair in 1966. Gould was instrumental in making the amalgamation of Lancaster and Simonds happen and in 1967 became Mayor of the newly formed Saint John.

Gould's political life spanned 22 years and he is also best remembered for his weather reports on CHSJ Television that began back in 1957 and ran until 1974. Visiting is at Brennans on Paradise Row with the funeral set to go on Wednesday at 1:30pm. 


Record Setting Day in Saint John



Whether you were gardening, out for a walk or just sitting soaking up some of the sun did it in record fashion. Environment Canada reports we set a new record for the day-time high temperature which settled in at 19.4 Celsius.

That breaks the previous mark of 18.7 set back in 1985.

Conference is Deemed a Success



It's was a very productive weekend according to Grand Bay-Westfield Mayor Grace Losier. She was part of a weekend brainstorming session where they generated ideas for regional cooperation in Greater Saint John. Losier tells CHSJ News, we will hopefully see some of the ideas brought up this weekend put into action.

Losier says she is thrilled to see such a large turnout and the participation of so many was their largest success seeing the economic, environmental and social communities represented.

Mayor Court Says Education is the Key



Mayor Ivan Court says there are jobs available for graduating students and tells CHSJ News, students with an arts degree in hand will be in demand.

Mayor Court adds an arts degree is a step to something else and not what it was 20 years ago when it could stand alone.

Premier Says the Job Market is Good



It's that time of year when university students prepare to dawn caps and gowns and look at their job prospects but for the class of 2009, the grim economic situation is becoming a factor in their job hunt. Premier Shawn Graham tells CHSJ News, we're certainly feeling the woes caused by economic fallout in the U-S.

Graham says he believes the economic situation south of the border has not yet hit rock bottom.

Man Falls and Vehicle Destroyed



A 38-year old man is nursing two broken wrists after a fall from some scaffolding in East Saint John last night. The call for help came in just before eight o'clock at 885 Bayside Drive. He was taken to the Regional and then sent home to rest. Still no word on how the man fell and Worksafe NB will be on the site later today to try and piece together what happened.

Also, officers found a stolen vehicle moments after it was reported gone. It was just after eleven o'clock that a 93 Ford Tempo was lighting up the night sky at the corner of Sydney and Mecklenburg. The vehicle has been destroyed by the flames and Major Crime has been called in.