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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Doctors and Province Find Some Middle Ground

After months of arguing.....the Provincial Medical Society and the Graham Government have reached a settlement in principle in their dispute over a threatened wage freeze. In a joint statement, both parties are encouraged by what has been achieved since a decision was made to adjourn a court hearing last week.

The doctors launched legal action after the government threatened to impose a two-year wage freeze. That came after the medical society reached a tentative agreement with the province that was never implemented, but was ratified by the doctors. Both sides have agreed not to speak about the settlement until papers have been prepared and put in place which could take close to a month.

Noon Hour Blaze Hits Duke Street Apartment Building

Fire in Uptown Saint John

(Fire Crews Snuffing Out Flames)
Photo by Jim Hennessy

Nobody hurt after fire ripped through a two-storey apartment building at the corner of Duke and Sydney Street just after twelve this afternoon. Corey Harris lives on the second floor and was just getting up to start his day. He smelled the smoke and banged on all the doors on his way out of the building and saved a kitten as well.
District Fire Chief Gerry Morris says heavy smoke was rolling from the 164 Duke when they arrived. Most of the heavy damage appears to be sustained to the first floor apartment. No word yet on what sparked the blaze.

Province Conducting Gaming Study

New Brunswickers are being asked for their input on gambling and related issues in a telephone survey. MarketQuest Research Group will be randomly selecting a sample of 28 hundred residents over the age of 19. The study is apart of a committment by the province to examine gambling habits of New Brunswickers, and issues relating to problem gambling. No word on whether or not the timing of survey has anything to do with the government sanctioned casino opening it's doors in Moncton next spring.

2nd Annual Home Lottery Begins

The second annual hospital home lottery is officially underway. The home again this year is located in Drury Cove and is worth over $750,000 dollars. It will be awarded fully furnished, decorated and landscaped. Executive Director of the Regional Hospital Foundation Tim Cameron says this is an amazing home:
Last year, close to 15,000 people viewed the Dream Home with the eventual winner selling it on KiJiJi for a hefy profit. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at one hundred dollars apiece or three for $250. All of the money raised will support priority programs at the Regional Hospital, Provincial Heart Center and MindCare.

Gagetown Says No To Wildlife Fence Changes

[CFB Gagetown Crest-----File Photo]
With no operational or training requirements for additional gates, Base Gagetown officials are not sold on the idea of making access routes through moose fencing on Highway Seven. The Provincial All Terrain Vehicle Association has proposed the idea to the Department of Transportation which says it will not happen. Captain James Donovan tells CHSJ News, there have been close calls with ATV's in the past:

Most if not all of the wildlife fencing along Highway Seven runs parallel with Base Gagetown property.

Province Invests in Eco-Projects in St. Andrews

[Enivornment Minister Rick Miles-----File Photo]

The province is kicking in over $150 thousand dollars through the Environmental Trust Fund to 11 projects in St. Andrews.
Environment Minister Rick Miles says investing into the environmentally friendly projects will make communities healthy places to live, and will drive economic growth.
Quoddy Futures is receiving $20 thousand dollars to monitor and improve water quality in the St. Croix Estuary, and an additional $15 thousand dollars to involve the public and ecotourism operators in developing activities to protect the ecosystem.

DOT Says The Work Has Been Done

A caller to our newsroom is asking why a hole in the moose fencing along Highway 7 hasn't been fixed? A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation tells CHSJ News, official word from the district engineers is the work has been done. He adds the repairs were carried out several weeks ago when the breaks were first brought to their attention.

He says it's possible it is a new break and the Department of Transportation relys on residents to be the eyes and ears on the highways when it comes to things like this.

Suspicious Fire

One woman has been taken into custody for suspected arson following a fire at 4 Wentworth Street this morning. The woman entered a fire station around 9:30am to report the fire at her home and apparently claimed to have lit it herself.
Fire crews found burnt paper, lighters and other material in an apartment but there was no damage to the actual building.

Mayor of St. Stephen Unconcerned by Litigation Against New Employee

St. Stephen Mayor Jed Purcell says the town knew about the lawsuit against John Ferguson before hiring him to be their new Chief Administrative Officer. Purcell says it has nothing to do with Ferguson being able to perform the job.

Purcell says he has one hundred percent faith that Ferguson can carry out his new duties.

Former City Councilor Surfaces

(Former common councilor John Ferguson at his new seat around the St Stephen town council table last night - photo by Kim Hall)

A former Saint John city councilor has re-surfaced in the Town of St. Stephen. John Ferguson has been hired as the town's Chief Administrative Officer. Ferguson you'll remember fell out of favor at City Hall after allegations of making slanderous comments about the pension board which resulted in an on-going lawsuit against him. Ferguson tells CHSJ News, he doesn't suspect the Town has an issue with hiring someone currently in litigation with another municipality and it never came up during the interview.

Ferguson adds he can't talk about the on-going court case with City Hall which is still in the discovery process. The new job in St. Stephen will pay Ferguson $75,000 dollars a year which he will start next week on the 28th.

Three Men Arrested for Assaulting Police

Three young men are facing charges after a scuffle with city police last night. Staff Sgt. Don Cooper tells CHSJ news officers received a call about men acting drunk and disorderly around 7:30pm yesterday evening on MacLaren Blvd. The men allegedly came at police and one of the officers was knocked to the ground.
Staff Sgt. Cooper says the men--ages 18 and 19--will appear in court at a later date for assaulting a peace officer. One man is still in custody until he sobers up later this morning.
Meanwhile, police are looking into a stabbing on the West Side around 9:30pm last night. Police say one man suffered minor injuries after being stabbed in the hand on Suffolk Street. No arrests have been made.

Highway Crash Sends One to Hospital

One woman remains in hospital in serious condition after a crash on the MacKay Highway yesterday around 5pm. The collision between a car and a motorcycle left the highway near the Rothesay Avenue exit grid-locked during the supper time rush.

Police tell us the woman driving the motorcycle has suffered a broken collar bone, chipped vertebrae and sliced spleen. She is recovering at the Regional.

New Banners for Uptown

Uptown Saint John is adding a new twist to promote the variety of cultural heritage in the uptown. Sixty new district banners will be displayed to identify two character areas. The first is the cultural district which includes much of the Trinity Royal Preservation Area and a Market District which includes the area around the Market.
The Cultural Area highlights the blend of heritage arts and entertainment while the Market District is focused on promoting the Market as a jewel in the uptown.

Funding Announcement Planned for Sussex

Fundy Royal MP Rob Moore has a late appointment in the Village of Sussex Corner tonight. A funding announcement will be made at the Village Office at seven o'clock.
It is cash for the nation trails coalition and Sussex ATV Club.

NBCC to Offer Free Courses

Good news for adults looking to upgrade their school studies. Starting October 19th, free academic upgrade courses will be offered at New Brunswick Community College campuses.

The programs will include a comprehensive orientation, email and telephone support and evening tutorial sessions. A spokesperson for the Department of Education tells CHSJ News, any adult aiming to improve their skills to find a better job is able to take part in the courses---but space is limited.