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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cuts Coming to School District 6



Budget cuts are in the air for School District 6.
Superintendent Zoe Watson says she isn't sure the full extent of programs, or resources that are on the chopping block---and she says it's never easy to make those decisions.

Watson says one program that will be greatly reduced is the mentoring of young teachers. Previously teachers beginning their careers would take an afternoon to shadow a more seasoned teacher---and would receive feedback on issues that are not taught in university.
Other cuts include librarians, and intervention workers.

School District 8 Facing "Several" Layoffs



School District 8 is considering cutting out all summer programs, slashing the number of school bus routes and reducing the number of library assistants. All this is in anticipation of an expected one million dollar cut in the districts 2009-2010 budget. Director of Finance and Administration, Chris Toole tells CHSJ News there are several layoffs on the way--but-- he doesn't know the exact number until the province announces the official budget. Toole says the districts declining enrollment alone has meant 180 thousand dollars less in provincial funding this year.  The total 2008-2009 budget was 90.5 million dollars.

Library Assistant at Forest Hills Elementary School, Alice Hayward says she expects half of the 10 existing library assistant positions in the district will be eliminated--and--that will hurt students.

Meanwhile, Chair of the District 8 Education Council, Rob Fowler tells CHSJ news he is confident staff can come back with a spending plan for the upcoming school year that will have the smallest impact on students. Fowler says the danger in reducing the number of library assistants is that students may not be able to find resources because the library could become too disorganized.

Graham Promoting "Smart" Province



New Brunswick is in the international spotlight -- this time in the I-T sector with Fredericton and Moncton finalists for the honour of the world's most intelligent community.
The distinction is awarded by the Intelligent Community Forum at New York University based on efforts to make a city a so called "smart" technological community -- and -- Premier Graham tells CHSJ News it's a real feather in our cap to gain international attention.
He also says it's an excellent opportunity to promote New Brunswick as Canada's "smart" and technologically friendly province.
Graham is in New York to support the bids -- and -- is travelling with eight provincial I-T companies looking for new trade opportunities in the Big Apple during the two day trip.

Founder of Radio Television News Directors Association Passes



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(Bill Hutton - photo courtesy RTNDA)

The founder and first president of the Radio and Television News Directors Association of Canada has passed away.
Bill Hutton began his career in radio news in Moncton and here in Saint John -- he also served as a reporter for the St Croix Courier in St Stephen -- he moved on to positions with broadcasters in Toronto - Vancouver - Ottawa - Brampton - and - London, England.
The Moncton native passed away today in a Halifax hospital at the age of 83.
A funeral service will be held in Burnt Church on Saturday.

Four People Charged in Human Smuggling Ring



Four people have been charged in relation to a human smuggling operation from St. Stephen into the United States. 43 year old Savita Singh of St. Stephen and 71 year old Vaughn McLuskey of Fredericton were arrested in New Brunswick while Ontario residents Mohammed Habib-Yusef, 53, and Ravindra Hariprasad, 36, were arrested in Scarborough, ON.

RCMP say more charges may be laid as they investigate two migrants from Guyana that the group was allegedly attempting to smuggle across the US border. All four of those arrested face charges of criminal conspiracy to violate immigration laws, and will appear in St. Stephen court May 14.

Man Charged With Numerous Counts After Standoff



A 30-year city man is undergoing a five day psychiatric assessment after being charged in connection with a standoff on the west side last night.
Jeremy A'Hearn was arrested after police stormed a Fundy Drive home to end a four hour standoff.
A'Hearn is facing various weapons charges -- possession of stolen property -- and -- assaulting a police officer.
He's due back in court next Tuesday.

Student Debt Relief Program



Some lucky graduates may be able to have the weight of student loans lifted off their shoulders.
Applications are being accepted for the Timely Completion Benefit--where students who have graduated their post secondary education programs in a timely manner, and have loans in excess of $26 thousand dollars can have their debt forgiven.
Students who have completed an undergraduate, certificate, or diploma program at any publicly funded school may be eligible.
There is also a second tuition freeze in place for New Brunswick post secondary education institutes for next year.

More Money to Build Up the Population



This Province has one of the oldest populations in the country and officials in Fredericton are trying to correct that. Over four million dollars has been set aside to go toward a variety of priorities for the Population Growth Secretariat.

The five new initiatives include streamlining processing times for applicants to the Provincial Nominee Program, retain more young people and promote the province worldwide.


Police Forces Getting More Cash



Police agencies across the country including this province, are getting some cash from Ottawa to help with several projects.  $8.8 million dollars has been set aside for fighting organized crime, attract new recruits, regional policing and put in place a unit for new safe communities and neighborhood legislation.

The cash will be spread across three projects over the new four years with $6.2 million towards organized crime, $240,000 to find new recruits and the proposed new unit for neighborhoods will be provided with over two million dollars.

Camping Season set to Kick-Off



If plans for the up-coming Long Weekend include camping you will be happy to hear this. Eight of the Provincial Parks will be open starting Friday, the only one waiting until the 22nd is the park in Herring Cove.   

Because of the heavy snowfalls over the winter, conditions in the parks may vary. Some services may be limited due to snow or wet and muddy conditions. You should call ahead to make reservations if you plan to go camping.

RCMP Kept Busy



Alarm bells were going off like crazy for RCMP in Grand Bay Westfield earlier this morning. They spotted a vehicle driving with no lights on just after two o'clock along River-Valley Drive. When they pulled over the 93 Voyager, the driver didn't have a license and officers found illegal liquor and tobacco in the vehicle. No word on charges or a court date.

Sussex RCMP have someone trying to get their kicks out of vandalizing property. Two mailboxes were destroyed by fireworks last weekend. The first call was to a home in Norton last Saturday and officers were also called to a home in Riverbank for the same kind of damage. No word in the incidents are related and no suspects. 

Changes Coming to West Side Lights



It seems like yesterday the lights went up, and already changes are in the works. The traffic lights at the upper exit of the Lancaster Mall, and Harding Street are in the hands of the city planning department.

Councilor Bill Farren says the plan is to have the exits align, so there can be a flashing green light for one of them. Farren says residents find the lights confusing the way it is and something needs to be done before an accident happens.

LBR Shut Down for Several Months



Don't expect to see alot of activity at the Lord BeaverBrook Rink following the weekend of the 23rd. Work to replace the concrete floor, piping under the floor and brine system will begin on the 25th. Rink Manager Dave Nicholson tells CHSJ News, this work will shut down the arena for close to four months. It's hoped the new concrete will be laid by September so they can make sure it can be frozen in time for October and the new hockey season.

Nicholson says the ball hockey league that normally plays out of the LBR every summer has found space at the Peter Murray Arena. 


Open House at Rothesay High Tonight



Rothesay High School will host an open house between 7-9pm tonight. Town officials will outline the changes they have proposed for their Municipal Plan. Mayor Bill Bishop tells CHSJ News, it is an informal meeting.

Bishop says the biggest change would be along their section of Millenium Drive. They hope to designate it as a ""Green Area"" which would allow residential and commercial properties to develop there.   

West-Side Stand-Off



One man is in custody after keeping City Police at bay for close to four hours last night. Officers arrived at a home on Fundy Drive West just after eight o'clock, armed with a warrant. When they tried to get into the house, they were met with some resistance and the Emergency Tactical Squad had to be called in for back-up.

Tear gas was jettisoned into the home and just before 12:30am, officers took one man into custody. All of the charges are still being ironed out but several are of a serious nature. None of the officers were hurt and major Crime is expected to release a statement later today.