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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

City Files Papers For Pension Reform

The city presses on for changes to the pension plan -- the city has filed papers to the province, asking permission to delay topping up it's employee pension fund.

According to a release from the mayor's office, the province has identified additional options for the city to consider and will continue to discuss the issue.

The proposed changes to the plans will be finalized and submitted for the fall session of the Legislature and in time for the city's budget deliberations. 

The city's is currently facing a pension deficit of about 129-million dollars.

Summer Cruise Season Kicks Off

The uptown a beehive of activity today with the port welcoming the first cruise ship of the season.

The Carnival Glory setting up anchor and bringing with it 3500 passengers.

Tourism Minister Trevor Holder tells CHSJ News it's exciting to kick off the season and the  economic spin-offs of the cruise industry are being felt beyond the Saint John area.

He says businesses in Alma extended their tourism season by 3 weeks last year thanks to cruise ship visitors.

The 2011 season will bring 71 ships and over 200-thousand visitors to the city.

The Saint John Port Authority also kicking off a new tradition for the first ship of every season --  Port Chair Stephen Campbell giving the captain of the Carnival Glory a small telescope. 

A Testy Truck Debate Around The Horseshoe

The purchase of over 900-thousand dollars worth of vehicles has been approved by council but not before some heated debate around the horseshoe.
The trucks are replacing 10-year old vehicles used in snow-removal and in the city's sewage department.

Councilor Farren, Higgins, and Court expressed concern over the price tag and and whether it would be better to keep repairing the current trucks.
But David Logan with the city says the vehicles they are replacing are high-use vehicles that deliver critical services like snow removal.

He says the problem is it takes almost a year to build these trucks if they wait for the trucks to be out of service or unsafe then they are without a vehicle for nearly a year.
Logan says the money will be coming out of a reserve fund in the Fleet Replacement Program.

No Bail For A City Man Accused In A Drunk-Driving Death

Bail has been denied a 35 year old Wright Street man who's charged with impaired driving causing death. Vincent Eric Reid was sent back to jail until his next court appearance June 21st at which time he is expected to enter pleas.
Reid is looking at five charges including impaired driving causing the death of Gerald Troy Bridges, who was in his 30's during the Victoria Day long weekend. Three of the other charges are for impaired driving causing bodily harm.
Reid was charged after two trucks collided head on along Golden Grove Road in the early morning hours of that Sunday.

Mail Volumes Are Down In Saint John But, No Walkouts Yet

Saint John is not the site of the rotating Canada Post walkouts yet but, a union spokesperson says when and if that happens, they will not get a lot of notice.
Wally Moore of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers tells CHSJ News the walkouts in other centres are impacting the Saint John operation.

Moore tells us that the company announced mail volumes are down in Saint John and as a result they have begun reducing hours for part-time staff.
He says the workers are in high spirits and they know what they are fighting for..a just collective agreement.

Moncton workers were off the job at midnight last night but, staff will be returning to work tonight.    Moore add talks continue between the company and the union but, the latest offer from the union was rejected.

Lack Of A Seatbelt A Factor In Deadly Sussex-Area Crash

Police say the lack of a seatbelt is a factor in the death of a Sussex woman yesterday in a two-vehicle collision.

It took place on a straight stretch of Route 10 in Kierstead Mountain when a westbound car being driven by a 48-year-old woman crossed the center line and struck an eastbound truck driven by a 58-year-old woman from Long Creek and both vehicles caught fire. 

The driver of the car was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene. The driver of the truck was taken to hospital with minor injuries while a 24-year-old man who was a passenger in the truck was not hurt.   An autopsy is being performed on the woman today and her name will not be released until her family is notified.

Effort To Attract Visitors To City Will Be Expanded

The Saint John Destination Marketing Organization giving Common Council it's first update since taking over the city's tourism duties six months ago.

Councillors have been told a big summer campaign is lined up.

Executive Director Ross Jefferson says traditionally, the focus was on selling the city to visitors already in the city but now is marketing outside Saint John.

He says they'll be targeting fellow New Brunswickers because 47 percent of the local tourism business is from the province itself.

Jefferson adds the campaign will be a combination of online, print, radio, magazine, and TV ads.

Big Day For K-V-H-S Reach For The Top Team

The Kennebecasis Valley High Reach for the Top team will be getting a hero's welcome this morning.

The championship trivia team will be honoured with a special school assembly for winning the national title in Toronto last week.

Some dignitaries will be in attendance, including Quispamsis MLA and provincial Finance Minister Blaine Higgs.

This was K-V’s second consecutive National Reach title and only the 3rd by a New Brunswick team in the 45-year history of the event.

The event gets underway 10:00 at K-V-H-S.

East Saint John Being Cleaned Up Today

More than 500 Irving Oil refinery employees will putting on the work gloves and boots today to help out the environment.

Irving Oil is having its 11th Annual Operation Clean-Up today.

Areas around the east Saint John will be cleaned up, including Westmorland, Grandview Avenue, and the Little River Reservoir.

The event coincides with Canadian Environment Week kicking off at 9am and going until 11am.