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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blaney on Doctor Wage Freeze




[Opposition Health Critic Margaret Ann Blaney------File Photo]

Opposition Health Critic Margaret Ann Blaney tells CHSJ News, the move to extend a civil service wage freeze to doctors will hurt recruiting and retaining doctors in the province.

Blaney says Health Minister Mike Murphy showed up to the legislature with a heavy handed approach, and basically implied if doctors do not accept the terms, they will look at legislation.

Proposal to Change Animal Cruelty Laws



Oromocto MLA Jody Carr is proposing a new bill to the legislature to hand out stiffer penalties to those found guilty of animal abuse in the province.
The bill being pushed will give judges the power to hand out a maximum provincial fine of $100 thousand dollars and/ or 18 months of prison time.
Carr tells CHSJ News, this bill should send a strong message.

Right now anyone charged under the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act can only receive a maximum fine of $570 dollars.
Carr says animal cruelty is often linked to community safety and domestic violence, which is another reason it is important for government to act on the matter.

Update on Subway Resaurant Robbery



Police are closing the books on a reported armed robbery at a Subway Restaurant on the west side earlier this month.
Information Officer Sgt. Pat Bonner tells CHSJ News, it wasn't an armed robbery at all, but appears several employees planned to take some money and report it as one.
Two young offenders are being charged with mischief, theft and leading police into a false investigation, and an adult is facing charges of theft and damage.

New Credit Card Regulations



Changes to how people apply for credit cards may help reduce debt through education.
From now on new regulations require credit card applications and contracts feature a box that outlines interest rates, grace periods, and fees.
On monthly statements there will be information on how long it would take a card holder to pay off a balance only making the minimum payments.
The President of Credit Counseling Services of Atlantic Canada John Eisner says that little piece of plastic can get consumers in a lot of financial trouble if not used properly.

Budget Estimates from the Department of Health



Health Minister Mike Murphy is presenting the budget estimates for the Department of Health in the legislature today.
Some of the highlights include an additional $67 million dollars being budgeted for capital construction projects and equipment, and $2.5 million for developing the provincial trauma system.
This year's budget also has funding for 25 new physician positions, and funding for an English medical school.
Murphy says this years account spending will be more than $2.3 billion dollars----a record breaking figure.

Port Meeting in Belgium



Representatives of the Saint John Port are in Belgium promoting Atlantic Canada as an entry point for foreign shipments.
Andrew Dixon with the Saint John Port tells CHSJ News, the real value of a conference like this is speaking with officials with international shipping companies face to face.

Breakbulk cargo is not shipped in containers, like potash, limestone, or paper pulp.
Dixon says Saint John is an important breakbulk port for the region, and for years has concentrated on forest products.

He says this conference will likely open up more shipments coming in from the South American, and European market.

Missing Man is Found



A happy ending to a missing person case. RCMP say a man from Grand Manan has been found after he went missing at the first of the month. 52-year old Ritchie Wilson left the island and he did not tell his family where he was going.

RCMP says he has made contact with his family and is safe in Quebec.


Fire Fighters on the West-Side



Don't be surprised if your coming past Moosehead Breweries and see members of the Saint John Fire Department. Brewery officials are letting the department use the fermentation vessels so they can conduct a tank top rescue simulation.

This is part of their on-going readiness training. They exercise is expected to last until just after one o'clock.

Blood Task Force is Ready for Meeting



A show down could be weeks away between the Provincial Blood Task Force and Canadian Blood Services. The group is looking to convince CBS to keep it's distribution center in Saint John and thwart a proposal to move it to Halifax. Rothesay Conservative MLA Margaret Ann Blaney tells CHSJ News, they don't want to tip their hand, but they are ready to present a rock solid case as to why the center should stay on University Avenue.

Blaney says they hope to meet with CBS Officials on the 15th and 16th of next month but have not heard back on whether those dates are good.

Energy and Utilities Board Hearing Underway



The Energy and Utilities Board has begun its public investigation into NB Power's 3 per cent rate hike that came into effect on April first. Vice President of Transmission and Distribution, Darren Murphy says the decision was made in the context of the global economic crisis.

The rate hike came after the EUB approved a 5.9 per cent increase for NB Power in 2007. A report must be submitted to Energy Minister Jack Keir by June 30th on the justification of the increase.

Should cab Drivers Deliver Booze



Do you think it's o.k. for cab's to deliver alcohol? The question is out there with a trial is set to begin in Nova Scotia next month. A local delivery company is considering challenging a law that makes it illegal to deliver alcohol after one of it's drivers was charged. The owner of Vets Taxi Gerry Lowe tells CHSJ News, this is a big portion of a cab companies revenue.

We have contacted City Police and they tell us they are looking into whether there is any law on the books in this city or province that prohibits cabs or delivery companies from bringing alcohol to anyone. 


New Look for the Cherry Brook Zoo



The ribbon will be cut on a new Awareness and Discovery Center at the Cherry Brook Zoo later today. The purpose of the new exhibit is to educate about the poaching of endangered species and of course, bring more people to the facility for extra revenue. Director Linda Collrin tells CHSJ News, the new set-up wouldn't be possible with-out the help of several venues.

Several dignitaries will be on hand for the ribbon cutting which gets underway at 11:30am. 


Open House Tonight in Quispamsis



If you live in Quispamsis, a reminder that tonight is your chance to get a look at the draft traffic calming policy. Director of Engineering Gary Losier tells CHSJ News, the specifications in this plan are unique to Quispamsis.

Losier says what they have now on paper is just a draft and this open house is so residents can provide them with feed-back to fill in the gaps so to speak. Tonight's session gets started at 7:30pm at the Town Hall.

Energy and Utilities Hearing Today



Remember that three per cent rate hike NB Power instituted back on April.1st? It goes under the spotlight today as the Energy and Utilities Board gets started with a hearing, under recommendation by the Energy Minister, to see if the hike is justified.  E.U.B. spokes-person Dave Young tells CHSJ News, they have been working on this file since the end of April.

No word on how long the hearing will take but two days have been set aside. Things gets started this morning at 9:30am at the Delta.


Forest Fire in East Saint John



3 acres of wooded area has been charred in East Saint John after a forest fire yesterday afternoon. Fire Crews were called to the area just before one o'clock to find heavy flames and black smoke rolling from a wooded area behind Simonds High School near Heatherway. Crews were having a tough times containing the fire due to the heavy winds. Department of Natural Resources crews were called in to evaluate the scene but no water-bombers were needed.

Fire-fighters remained on the scene till eleven last night stamping out hot spots. Still no word on what sparked the fire.