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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Man Who Caught Baby Receives Award

[Chair of the Police Commission David Emerson Presenting James Blagdon with Award----Photo by Melissa O'Rourke]

The man who caught a baby falling from a third storey window says he's ready for things to get back to normal.James Blagdon says he was surprised by the amount of media attention he received after catching the falling baby on Victoria Street in the North End near the end of June.Blagdon says he was in the right place at the right time, but it's time to move on.
Blagdon was awarded the Certificate of Merit from the Board of Police Commissioners last night for making a life saving attempt.Brian Norwood received a Letter of Accommodation for his part in the rescue, as ran upstairs to try and warn the parents of the child.The baby boy did bump his head on the sidewalk, but is doing fine.

City Hires Recruiting Firm

The city has hired a recruiting firm to find the next City Manager. Common council approved hiring Robertson Surette at last night's council meeting. Partner, Anna-Marie Stuart says her firm could be looking for candidates by this summer.

The city solicitor is still in the middle of looking into whether or not the city can hire staff on five-year contracts, rather than permanently. Former City Manager Terry Totten retired from his position last month with a hefty severance package that included half a million dollars and a juicy pension plan. Robertson Surrette's fee is 28 percent of the first year's compensation for the winning candidate and an additional 8 per cent for administrative fees.

Bell Aliant to Bring Fibre Optic Technology to Saint John and Fredericton

The provincial government is partnering with Bell Aliant, to be the first in Canada to launch a fibre optic network directly to homes in an entire city. Bell Aliant is investing 60 million dollars in FibreOP--the most advanced fibre optic technology available. President and CEO, Karen Sheriff says they will deliver the best broadband experience to 70 thousand homes and businesses in both Saint John and Fredericton by mid 2010.

The province is contributing one million dollars to the project--and--renewing a contract with the company. In return, Premier Shawn Graham says Bell Aliant will award 3 million dollars in project-related contracts to local businesses. No word on what the cost of the fibre optic network will be for customers.

Strange Act of Vandalism

With today's's hard to believe anyone can afford to waste it. Sussex RCMP continue their search for someone who threw oil on the windshield of another vehicle over the weekend. It was along Route 114 in Penobsquis when a green Dodge pick-up truck flashed it's lights at an on-coming car which stopped to see what was going on.

Someone in the rear of the truck then threw the oil at the car. It couldn't be driven because the slick couldn't be cleaned off with windshield washer fluid. No one was hurt.

Tough Places in Saint John to Drive

The Traffic Unit of the Saint John Police Force has just completed a three year study. It shows the three highest collission area's in the metro are Kanes Corner, Loch Lomond Road and Rothesay Avenue. Sargeant Jeff LaFrance heads up the Traffic Division and tells CHSJ News, defensive driving is the key to getting the number of accidents with injuries down.

To try and correct the problem....the traffic unit will conduct educational and enforcement strategy in these area's to try and reduce the number of accidents.

Plenty of Rain in the Past Three Weeks

So just how much rain has Greater Saint John been soaked with over the past three weeks? With three days of sunshine in the forecast this week, we can look back and see just how miserable things have been. Since the 15th of last month, 135 millimeters has fallen since this past Sunday with the average being just over 60 millimeters. Evironment Canada Meteorologist Claude Cote tells CHSJ News, he has been doing this for awhile and can't remember this soggy of a start to the summer season.

If the rain-fall amount didn't depress you.....this probuably will.........we haven't seen a full day of sunshine since June.17th.

Major Crime Still Working on Found Body

Finger-print analysis will be used by the Major Crime Unit as they continue to try and identify a body. It was discovered in a creek in East Saint John last weekend by River-Valley Ground Search and Rescue who were on a training missing. Officers indicate they are pretty sure who the man is but want to be 100% positive before making an announcement to the public and the family.

No foul play is suspected.

Premier's Report on Proposed LNG Terminal

There is no mincing of words from Premiers Graham's office concerning the proposed LNG Terminal in Maine. Graham has completed and sent in a report on the Downeast LNG draft environmental impact statement. It says the project would have major impacts on the lives of those who live and work on Head Harbour Passage and Passamaquoddy Bay. The environment would be negatively affected, tourism- and environmental-based economy would suffer and the safety and security of the region could be compromised.

Graham will share the report with Prime Minister Harper in light of Ottawa's opposition to LNG vessel traffic through Head Harbour Passage.

Upgrade for NB Southern Railway

$18 million dollars from Fredericton and Ottawa are being invested for improvements to the New Brunswick Southern Railway. The company will provide the remainder of the funding for the project which is expected to create 35-40 jobs. The money will be used to replace, upgrade and improve the ties, steel rail, rail bed and bridges and upgrade the railway's terminals in Saint John and McAdam.

There will also be an upgrade to the mainline track from Saint John West to the border and from McAdam to St. Stephen.

South End Building Getting a New Look

A new look is coming to one of the oldest buildings in the South End. After months of negotiations, Commercial Properties has purchased the old Brunswicker on Sydney Street. A spokes-person for the company tells CHSJ News, they plan to renovate the building and lease it as office space.

They have a few tenants in mind but no word on who at this point. They hope to get renovations started at the end of the summer but no word on when they will be finished.

More Canadian Soldiers are Dead

[Compliments of the Canadian Press]

Two Canadian soldiers have been killed along with a coalition soldier in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. The Canadians have been identified as 38-year-old Master Cpl. Pat Audet and 25-year-old Cpl. Martin Joannette. Three other Canadians were hurt.

Four Canadians on the Afghanistan mission have now died in as many days - six in less than a month. The latest deaths brings to 124 the total number of Canadian soldiers who have died as part of the mission since it began in 2002.

First Phase of Work Finished

Work has come to a halt on the One Mile Interchange but a spokesperson with the Department of Transportation tells CHSJ News, the project is being conducted in phases and the grading job of the first phase is complete. Phase 2 will be go to tender soon and should bring in lots of jobs.

The project will give truck traffic going to the industrial parks direct access to Bayside Drive, rather than driving through the city. The job is on course to be finished by the fall of 2011.

Loacl Artist has Nice Memories of Jackson

With a memorial Service planned in Los Angeles this afternoon to say goodbye to Michael Jackson, a Saint John man has fond memories of the King of Pop. Norm Jackson saw Michael perform 40 years ago with his brothers on the Ed Sullivan and walked away thinking this kid is something special. Jackson tells CHSJ News, like most people, he was shocked when he heard the news about Jackson being dead.

Jackson says being able to see Michael perform forty years ago is a nice memory to have of a talented man.

Harbour Clean Up Costs Balloon

The city is facing huge cost over-runs for Harbour Clean Up. The originally 80 million dollar project is now about 19 million dollars over budget. The city is writing a letter to the Federal and Provincial governments asking for more money--on top of the one-third funding they already gave Saint John. Acting City Manager Pat Woods says he doesn't want to end up using money for harbour clean up that would have been for clean drinking water projects.

Whether the province and the feds come on board with more money or not, the city is responsible for any cost over runs for the harbour clean up project. Mayor Ivan Court says regardless the work will get done, perhaps in phases over a longer time.

Provincial Funding for Canada Games Stadium Renovations?

Mayor Ivan Court says funding for the Canada Games Stadium is not far off. During last night's council meeting Court said good news was coming. Chair of the Acadian Games, Michel Côté, says they need the work to be finished by next summer because the UNBSJ facility is the only location where the track and field competition can be held.

The city is waiting for a provincial commitment to help fund the six-million-dollar renovations. Both the city and the federal government have said they are on board.

Saint John Transit Aims to Boost Ridership

Saint John Transit is hoping to increase ridership by half a million people by 2011 with longer hours, new bus routes and more frequent runs. One of the changes to take effect mid-July is direct service to the hospitals and UNB from the East and West side shopping malls. General Manager Frank McCarey says they plan to raise 200 thousand dollars of the additional cost for service through increased ridership.

There will be three main lines running from McAllister Mall to the hospital, Lancaster Mall to the Hospital and McAllister Mall to Lancaster Mall. Park ‘N Ride will also become available for suburban communities.

Latimore Lake to Get Park N Ride

Latimore Lake will soon be getting three city transit stops every morning and three return trips in the evening. The community began receiving one return run daily in 2007. President of the Latimore Lake Community Association Odette McGrath is a long-time advocate for adequate bus transportation to her area. She says the changes will benefit everyone from the young to the old.

As part of city transit changes, park n ride lots will also be built in Latimore Lake, Golden Grove and Lorneville.