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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Put NB People First Hold Town Hall Meeting

   (Panel Members at Last Night's Town Hall Meeting)
                 (Photo by Jim Hennessy)

""The sale of NB Power must be stopped"" That was the sentiment of 120 people who gathered at Kennebecasis Valley High School last night. It was for the first of two Town Hall meetings being hosted by Put NB People First this week. One of the invited guests was President of the Saint John District Labour Council Ron OldField. He tells CHSJ News, even when the Liberals roll out the ""revamped"" proposal this morning, it's a non-starter for his organization.

The over two hour meeting included comments from NDP Leader Roger Dugay, Green Party Boss Jack McDougall, Conservative MLA Jeanott Volpe and Bethany Thorne Dykstra, President of the Put NB People First. The Green Party says it will unveil it's energy strategy later today.

Rothesay Conservative Comes Out to Listen

  (Rothesay Conservative MLA
        Margaret Ann Blaney)

Margaret Ann Blaney, the Conservative MLA for Rothesay was also at the meeting. She tells CHSJ News, she finds it hard to believe that even though they were invited, MLA's Mary Schryer, Jack Keir or Premier Graham were a no show. Blaney adds it's disturbing to her the first Memorandum of Understanding took ten months to put together but the re-vamped proposal apparently only took days.

According to reports, the new MOU shows N-B Power would remain owned by the Province and the power and distribution systems are no longer for sale. The sale price drops from 4.75 to 3.2 billion dollars.

A Saint John Street could be featured on new edition of Monopoly

Vote often for Saint John is the message a local man wants to get out.
One street in our city could be part of the new Canadian edition of the classic boardgame.
Graeme Weir tells CHSJ News that he put together a Facebook group because Saint John is almost dead last in the voting.
To vote..go to and to join Weir's Facebook group go to

Body found in burned vehicle

RCMP responded to a vehicle fire in Sackville today after a vehicle hit a gas pump at the town's public works building.

A fire broke out and the Sackville Fire Department was able to extinguish the blaze.
A body was discovered in the burned vehicle.
The RCMP’s Forensic Identification Section will assist in identifying the body and an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

Moore is thrilled and honoured to be appointed a Cabinet minister

(Fundy Royal MP Rob Moore)
(file photo)

Fundy Royal MP Rob Moore is being rewarding for years of service to Harper government.
In today's cabinet shuffle, the 35-year-old has been appointed to the portfolio of Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism.
Moore tells CHSJ News he is pleased and honoured to be asked to fill this role.
He thinks it's a natural fit because small business and tourism is relevant in his riding, in the province and across the country.
Moore says he was thrilled to have his wife Melinda and one of his daughters on hand for the announcement in Ottawa today.

Rothesay Happy with Moore's Appointment

Accolades continue to roll in for Minister of state Small Business and Tourism Rob Moore. Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop tells CHSJ News, this is a wonderful stepping stone for a man with plenty of character.

Bishop adds the more cabiner ministers in Greater Saint John can only mean good things for the area.

City Hall Sends Congratulations to Minister Moore

Mayor Ivan Court and council are also extending congratulations to Minister Moore on his appointment. Court tells CHSJ News, as a member of team Saint John, any improvement in his standing is a plus for all.

Court adds Minister Moore has a good relationship with Prime Minister Harper and is hoping that translates into good things for Greater Saint John.

16-year-old found guilty of second degree murder in man's death

A sixteen year old girl has been found guilty of second degree murder in the death of a Damascus man last summer. The verdict was handed down today at the Sydney Street Court House after 15 hours of deliberation by the jury.
78-year old Frank Tonge was stabbed to death in his home last June and the prosecution claimed the stabbing was planned and premedatated while the victim argued she acted in self defence.
Victim impact statements and a pre-sentence report will be prepared before sentencing takes place on the 19th of next month.

Promotion for the Riding of Fundy Royal

(Fundy Royal MP Rob Moore)
           (File Photo)

It's a milestone day for the riding of Fundy Royal. It's MP Rob Moore has been appointed to a cabinet post, one of ten in Prime Minister Harper's shuffle today. Moore takes on the portfolio of Minister of State Small Business and Tourism replacing Diane Ablonczy. Jean Pierre Blackburn takes over the Veterans Affairs post from Southwest MP Greg Thompson who stepped down over the weekend.

Also, Fredericton MP Keith Ashfield is the new Minister of National Revenue replacing Blackburn.

Theft in Brunswick Square

Three leather coats were stolen yesterday afternoon from Frank's Furs in Brunswick Square.The jackets were hanging on a rack near the door when there was a commotion.

City Police say a man described as being in his twenties and wearing a red hat took the jackets off the rack and ran.

Reaction to City Budget

Common Council's reluctance to lower the city's tax rate this year doesn't surprise Brian Stone of Citizens for Fair Taxation. Stone tells CHSJ News, the political will just isn't there.

Stone says they will soon have to make the effort to get a handle on making changes to the city's deficit laden pension plan.

Funding from Ottawa for Loch Lomond Villa

       (Loch Lomond Villa CEO Cindy Donovan)
                 (Photo by Jim Hennessy)

Funding for a first in the Province has landed at the Loch Lomond Villa. Saint John MP Rodney Weston presented staff today with a check for $24,400 dollars for it's lamp-lighter program. Weston says this set-up will take advantage of the skills seniors have developed over the years.

Under the program, seniors will have a chance to teach music, art, dance, english clases and organize social events in the community.

Radio Station Renovations Week Three

No Amalagamation In the K-V

(Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop)
(File Photo)

Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop is looking to put a long standing arguement to rest once and for all. Ammalgamation is a non-starter as far as he is concerned. Bishop tells CHSJ News, some people, including Quispamsis Councilor Gerry Maher have been saying his town and Quispamsis should co-operate, which he feels they do very nicely. Bishop knows the request by both councils to cut the fire budget by $100,000 dollars is another issue to fan the ammalgamation flame but is confident a resolution will be found. As for the future of the Kennebecasis library, talks are on-going about the proposed expansion and he expects a solution isn't far down the road.

City Budget Approved

(Common Councillor Carl Killen)
(File Photo)

It's official----the city's tax rate is staying the same at nearly $1.79. After discussions last night, Council approved the 2010 budget, with Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase, and Councillor Patty Higgins being the only votes against. There was talk about possibly decreasing the tax rate. Councillor Carl Killen says council could cut the rate in half if it wanted to but that would be irresponsible. Killen says a tight budget has stretched all city departments to the limit and discussions around it shouldn't be about reducing the tax rate---it should be how to supply the best quality service.

City Pension Fund

The new City Manager is trying to clear the air about the recent reports surrounding the pension fund. Pat Woods says the $10 million dollars is an estimate of what the city may have to pay on the fund, it's not as if there is an invoice. Woods says if it turns out the payment is less than that then the city can't get that money back. The city manager says even though there is legislation in place that prevents a deferral, there are also rules in place about changing the benefits structure. He says either way a change is going to have to take place. Woods says what the city is asking for is a bit of time to try to find a solution to the pension problem. He says by September a plan will be ready to present in the Legislature.

New City Manager Appointed

(Common Councillor Bill Farren)
(File Photo)

No surprises as Common Council welcomes Pat Woods as the new city manager. After a nation wide search by the recruiting firm Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette, Woods emerged as the strongest candidate.
Woods has been employed by the city for 25 years and has previously served as Deputy City Manager and Common Clerk. The change goes into effect immediately, and Woods will serve in the position for the next 5 years. Councillor Bill Farren says he knows Woods will do a good job as City Manager but thinks the city should have hired outside of City Hall.

New Municipal Plan For Saint John

It has been a work in progress for the past year and now City officials are ready to roll out it's plan for the future. Work on a new municipal plan is ready to get started and Deputy Commissioner of Planning Jacqueline Hamilton tells CHSJ News, with the current plan close to 40 years old, it is time to start laying out the frame-work for the next 25 years as to what the city will look like.
There is plenty of room for public consultation with several interactive style meetings. There will be a store-front shop for people to drop in as well to look at some of the idea's and give their own. It will be set up in Brunswick Square leading into the pedway. The city has hired ADI Limited and Urban Strategies to work on the plan at a cost of over $650,000 dollars. Council will have final say on the plan which it hopes to finalize by 2012.

Fires In the City

City Fire crews were called to 23 Clarendon Street off Douglas Avenue last night after smoke was seen coming from a second storey apartment. The fire began in the kitchen. There were no injuries but a dog was rescued from the building which had to be ventilated. Earlier, a small fire was put out at the rear of York Point which caused minor damage. It was determined work was being done with a torch which inadvertantly caused the fire to start. One person was taken to hospital after two vehicles collided near Market Square.