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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crews Respond To East Side Fire

Saint John Fire Crews making short work of a fire east saint john today.
The call came before 4:30 at 475 Michael Crescent at the Kincaide apartments.
Fire investigators have been called in and there is no word yet on a cause.

One Arrest in RCMP Child Pornography Investigation

That huge RCMP investigation into child pornography which includes an 18-year-old Grand Bay-Westfield man has led to a single charge against a Moncton man.

51-year-old Douglas Hugh Stewart was in a Moncton court this morning and faces one count of possession of child pornography.
He'll be back in court on Monday.
Yesterday police conducting searches in four locations seizing millions of images of child sexual abuse.
Three of the men arrested are released on strict conditions and will appear in court at a later date.

No Threat At Simond High

A false alarm at Simonds High today after a bomb threat was called in to the East Side school.  Just after 1:30 this afternoon, the Fire department resonding to evacuate all students and teachers.  
Sargeant Pat Bonner tells CHSJ News their officers did a search of the school and found nothing.

Arrogance Warping Judgement Of Federal Party Leaders

We will likely be having a May election because the federal party leaders have been too clever by half, allowing their pride get in the way of their better judgements as they tried to out bluff eachother. That judgement being rendered by Don Desserud, a political science professor at U-N-B Saint John.

Having said that, Desserud tells CHSJ News Saint John M-P Rodney Weston is a strong candidate who has done a competent job while not being flamboyant.

Desserud predicts voter turnout will be even lower than the last federal election and he believes public cynicism will increase.

Rodney Weston may have the same old foe in a spring vote, Former Saint John MP Paul Zed is hosting a news conference this morning.

Earlier this week, he told CHSJ News he was reflecting on his decision to run again or not.

Number Of Schools Under Review

The number of schools across the province is undergoing a review -- Finance Minister Blaine Higgs says a number of the 321-schools are at less than 60-percent of their capacity.

Higgs says another factor is the changing face of our population - so - he wants to see a long term plan developed to make sure we have the right number of schools in the right locations.

The government is also going to look at various ways of better using the space in the schools.

Higgs says the review will include trying to determine if there are more efficient administrative systems available for the school system.

City Police Seize Drugs And Cash From Organized Criminal Network

An Organized Criminal Network serving the Fundy Region is a little worse off today after a huge seizure of cocaine, marijuana and $70,000 dollars in cash.
The arrests occurring yesterday on the Sandy Point Road and earlier this month in the north end and on Highway 1 as part of "Operation Palace" a 8 month investigation involving the Street Crime Units of the Saint John Police Force and the Rothesay Regional Police.  Sgt. John Wilcox says it's obvious the city has a drug problem.
He says it's a serious problem they are looking at and he says the Police chief that drugs are the root of most of the crime we have.

Ryan Francis plead guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking of cocaine, marijuana and for having $43,000 in cash determined to be property obtained by crime.
In court today, 27-year-old Christopher Taylor and 25-year-old Ashley Rigby of Saint John are both facing charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine and crack cocaine and possession of property obtained by crime.

City Might Contract Its Counselling Services Out Of Province

The city is looking at signing a deal to provide counselling services for its employees out of province instead of using a local non-profit agency, Gentle Path Counselling Services.

The issue of the contract going out of province is expected to come before Common Council Monday night.

 Gentle Path has been operating in Saint John for the past 13 years and its Executive Director Judy Urqhuart tells CHSJ News awarding the contract to a big out of province company flies in the face of rhetoric about the non-profits in the city being so important.

Urqhuart says the province earlier contracted counselling services for its employees out of province and the loss of the city's contract would be a huge blow.

Fire At Liquor Store In Hampton

Hampton Fire crews were called out to a fire in the town's liquor store.

They found the loading dock to the NB liquor store fully involved and quickly extinguished the blaze before it could spread to the rest of the mall.

The smoke had to be cleared out of the mall before employees and shoppers could go back in.

No one was hurt and the fire is still under investigation. Crews from the K-V and Nauwigewauk Fire helped out.

(Photo courtesy of Lisa Hatfield)

It's Getting More Expensive To Drive

Drivers in the city getting hit again with yet another increase in the price of gas, the second in two days.

The first increase resulted from higher taxation in the provincial budget and now the pump price has gone up again after the weekly setting.

 Self serve regular is now $1.23.4 a litre around town and diesel has increased to $1.35.7.

 Heating oil is up as well by over a cent a litre to $1.19.3.

Zed Looking At Running In Federal Election

With the growing possibility of a federal election this spring, former Saint John Liberal M-P Paul Zed is contemplating a return to politics.

Zed tells CHSJ News there are a lot of factors to consider both on a personal and professional level but there are also nagging issues at the local, regional and national levels.
Zed has also been singled out in a recent Globe and Mail article as a potential "next king of the Atlantic" if he makes a successful return to politics. He expects to make a final decision within the next couple of days.
Zed adds he has been receiving positive feedback locally. Saint John M-P Rodney Weston, who defeated Zed in the last federal election in 2008, has already told us he plans to seek re-election.

Poor Say They Got Nothing From Budget

The provincial budget puts nothing in the plates of the poor.........That, coming from the Common Front for Social Justice. It's co-chair Linda McCaustlin tells CHSJ News with the price of groceries expected to rise by 5 per cent next month, it's going to be harder for the poor to get by.

McCaustlin says the basic social assistance rate for a single person considered employable amounts to just over 64 hundred dollars a year. A couple with two children have to make do with just under 10 thousand 900 dollars and a person, certified as being disabled, receives only 537 dollars a month.  

She also points out the usage of food banks has gone up by 18 per cent in the last two years and warns the poor can't belt tighten anymore because their stomachs are already touching their backbones.