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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Big $ To Help The Joshua Group

A City union making life easier for some local kids and the charity that helps them.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is presenting a $10,000.00 cheque to Bobby Hayes and the Joshua Group.
Members of Local 502 raising the money in a motorcycle rally.

Fire At Lawrence Station Landfill Causes Temporary Shutdown

A fire at the Hemlock Knoll Sanitary Landfill in Lawrence Station temporarily slowing things down yesterday.

General Manager Dan Harrington tells CHSJ News the fire occurred early yesterday morning at waste disposal area and lasted for a few hours.

He says the landfill stayed open a few extra hours to make up for the downtime.

No one was hurt and the cause of the fire is still unknown.

However, Harrington believes chemicals may have mixed together in the landfill.

Celebrating Adult Learners

A celebration of learning for adults at Fisher Lakes being hosted by the Saint John Learning Exchange and Vibrant Communities Saint John.
The event featuring a healthy bbq, yoga, zumba and a clothesline of success.
Saint John Learning Exchange Executive Director Christina Fowler tells CHSJ News that was a way for all the learners to talk about what they are most proud of.

She it's something in the life of a learner that they hold dear and she adds it will be put in a scrapbook and videotaped for use on the various websites of community partners.
The Saint John Community Loan Fund, the Power Up Program and Community Mental Health learners also taking part.  Fowler says based on the good turnout for the first time event they plan to do it every year now.

City Man Facing Child Pornography Charge

A 51-year-old man living on Wentworth Street facing a charge of possession of child pornography after a police search on Tuesday.

The charges resulting from a joint investigating involving City police, Toronto Police Service and RCMP.

The man has been released on a promise to appear in court on August 17th.

Apartment Vacancies Getting A Little Tighter

If you're looking for an apartment - you may have noticed the choices have become a little slimmer.

Canada Mortgage and Housing reports the apartment vacancy rate here in the city was sitting at 4-percent in April -- down from 4.6-percent in the same month last year.

The federal housing agency also says the average rent for a two bedroom apartment was 653-dollars in April -- an increase of 9-dollars from the same period a year ago.

Moncton is reporting similar decreases in its apartment vacancy rate while rents in the hub city are also on the increase.

Community Foundation Turns 35

The Greater Saint John Community Foundation celebrating it's 35th birthday and giving out 230 thousand dollars in grants to community organizations.

Board Chair Stephen Willis tells CHSJ News there are many unsung heroes in the Saint John area who deserve to be recognized.

Some of the organizations receiving grants include the NB Youth Orchestra, Kids Help Phone, and the Devine Mercy Catholic Church.

The Foundation also giving out a 30 thousand dollar grant to the city's Teen Pregnancy Committee in honour of the milestone.

Committee Chair Penny Higdon says the money will go to help create awareness.  She says they plan to try and reach teens through outlets that they already use, like Facebook.

In 2009, Saint John had the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the province, with 42 girls out of every 1000 becoming pregnant.

Campaign Seeks To Stop Hunger

With more than 18 thousand people in New Brunswick using food banks every month, a campaign is taking place in the city to help make hunger disappear.

Mark Taylor with Campbells Canada was one of the people collecting donations beside a stack of 3,600 soup cans today.

He tells CHSJ News Saint John is a great city, but unfortunately hunger is still an issue. 

He says their goal is to raise 25 thousand items for local food banks and as much money as possible.

Taylor says similar campaigns are taking place in Bedford, Nova Scotia, and Saint John's, Newfoundland.

To get involved you can follow this link.

Citizens Group Disappointed With Latest On Morna Heights School

The River Road Community Alliance is disappointed School District 8 is moving ahead with plans to consider building a new elementary school in Grand Bay and close Morna Heights but Christian Goldie remains optimistic they can do a good job selling the merits of the school when public meetings are held in the fall.
The District Education Council was told a new school would save the school district over 330 thousand dollars and consolidation of the students in one larger school would be better for them with the ideal elementary school housing from 200 to 400 students. Goldie says he doubts those claims.

District 8 Education Council members were also told long term repairs to Morna Heights School will cost an estimated 620 thousand dollars.

Shelter Overwhelmed By Cats

The Saint John SPCA Animal Rescue shelter is being overwhelmed by stray cats to such a degree that healthy animals may have to be euthanised unless they're adopted. Executive Director Kari Poore tells CHSJ News adoptions of cats are being made easier and cheaper.
Poore says they are holding adoption fairs and they are reducing the fee so all the spayed and neutered cats are available by donations only.

Adoptions have been slowing down.  This Saturday there will be a pet adoption fair at Pet Corral West from 10am until 5pm with 20 to 30 cats on hand from the shelter.

More Sights And Sounds From The 2011 Marigolds On Main

14th Annual Marigolds On Main Event Underway In The North End

Main Street North buzzing with activity as hundreds of students, parents and volunteers began the annual planting of marigolds.
The Marigolds On Main campaign began 14 years ago and has grown to include 55 sites and over 2 million of the little orange flowers.

Founder Barry Ogden tells CHSJ News the kids love the whole process from growing the plants in the classroom to putting them in the ground.

He says they have kids and parents coming back for the event that are not in school anymore and he adds this program is part of the curriculum and it's hands-on learning.
Debbie Cooper of the Boys and Girls Club and Jim Irving of the PALS program receiving plaques recognizing their support of Marigolds On Main and local kids over the years.

Farm Tractor Overturns

The fire department getting a call from New North Road after a farm tractor overturned.

The operator was pinned underneath but we're told sustained just minor injuries.

Meanwhile, one man is under arrest and cooling his heels in jail after a pursuit which began in the city and ended in Quispamsis. We're told alcohol was involved.

Self Serve Is Down But Diesel Is Up

There has been a change with gas prices after the weekly setting.

The maximum price for self serve regular has dropped by two cents a litre but the max for diesel has gone up by almost two cents.

Propane is virtually the same being listed at $1.13.2 a litre.

Liberals Question How High The Cost Of Bridge Upgrades Will Go

As we begin to deal with more construction related delays on the Harbour Bridge -- the Opposition Liberals are still sounding the alarm over the final cost of upgrades now underway.

Transportation critic Rick Doucette says there are no guarantees in place that Ottawa will shoulder any of the costs.

Transportation Minister Claude Williams announced yesterday phase 2 of the upgrades to the eastbound lanes will begin immediately and be spread over two construction seasons while tenders for demolition of the toll plaza will go out by the end of this month. That work is expected to be completed by the fall.

Marigolds To Be Planted Today

On your way to work this morning remember, today is Marigolds On Main Day in the North end.

School kids, city staff and volunteers will be planting marigolds beginning at 8am.

East and westbound inside lanes on Main Street will be closed to traffic from 8am to 3pm and the entire westbound lane will be closed from 9am to 12pm.

Students from Centennial, Princess Elizabeth, Lorne and Millidgeville schools will take part in the 14th annual Marigolds On Main event. 

The Saint John Port Authority with help from the Grade 3 and 4 classes at St. John the Baptist-King Edward school is also taking part by planting 800 marigolds at the Marco Cruise Terminal this afternoon.

Rollback of M-L-A Pensions Gets Thumbs Up

Both the provincial NDP and the People's Alliance of New Brunswick are applauding the provincial government for introducing legislation to lower MLA pensions retroactively to 2008.

Spokesperson for the People's Alliance Bill Brewer tells CHSJ News he's surprised that the issue is on the frontburner so soon.

Meanwhile, NDP leader Dominic Cardy says his party has been the catalyst for this change. He calls the
 M-L-A pensions super sized.

Cardy is hoping the legislation, which will roll back pension payouts from about 30-thousand dollars a year to 20-thousand, doesn't get stalled in the legislature. The People's Alliance party still believes M-L-A salaries should be set by an independent panel.

School District 8 Makes "Difficult" Cuts

School District 8 has cut over 2 million dollars to meet the provincial government's two per cent reduction target.

School Superintendent Susan Tipper tells CHSJ News the number of classroom teachers is not being reduced and more teaching assistants will be hired. All other departments, we are told, have to tighten their belts.

Tipper concedes there is no flexibility for emergencies and virtually no money to repair computers. 900 students have laptops.

Administrative costs are being reduced along with travel, communications devices and energy. The lights and computers will all be shut off after office hours. Tipper says you would be amazed at how much money you can save by that one simple step.

Closure Of Morna Heights School Still On Table But Not Done Deal

School District 8 is moving ahead to at least look at building a new elementary school in Grand Bay that would result in the closure of three other schools including Morna Heights.

Rob Fowler, who chairs the District 8 Education Council, tells CHSJ News alot of questions will have to be answered and nothing is etched in stone.

The District Education Council was told a new school would save the school district over 330 thousand dollars and consolidation of the students in one larger school would be better for them.

Concerns include the school that would close being the heart of the local community and whether there will be a continuation of service for special needs students.

Fowler says he wants to hear from as many people in the affected communities as possible with public consultation likely by late September or early October.

District 8 Education Council members were told long term repairs to Morna Heights School will cost an estimated 620 thousand dollars.

School District 6 Says No To Province

The District 6 Education Council turning down a request from the province to form a K.V. Elementary School Advisory Committee.

The DEC passing a motion keep fix K-Park Elementary School and building a new elementary school in Quispamsis as the top priorities.

Chair Roger Nesbitt won't go so far as to say the request was a slap in the face. John Oxley of the K-Park Parents Group says discussions about the K-Park renovation have been going on for ten years now.

The motion passing unanimously and a letter will sent to the Department of Education.

Dick Daigle of the K-Park Parents Group is pleased with the DEC's move and its discusssions with Education Minister Jody Carr. The group has met twice with the Minister and will be meeting with him again.

Many Ideas On Developing Colonel Nase Blvd

A hotel, a restaurant, and a gas bar are among suggestions for the development of Colonel Nase Boulevard in Grand Bay-Westfield.

When paving of the new road between Route 7 and River Valley Drive is finished in September, the town will have access to 440 acres of commercial property.

Mayor Grace Losier tells CHSJ News the community supports future development in the area.

Losier says development doesn't happen overnight but she thinks once one business sets up shop on Colonel Nase Boulevard, others will follow.