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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Province Rolls Out New Pension Model

The Alward government announcing a new pension model for the province and already has three public sector unions and one in the private sector ready to make the switch.

The new model is intended to make pensions more sustainable and avoid large unfunded liabilities. Susan Rowland, who was a member of the task force that developed the model, says it would mean slightly higher premiums.

She says for employees the increase premiums will range from 1.2 and 2.8 per cent.    She calls them modest increases and a good tradeoff for the kind of security this model with deliver.

Premier David Alward says the new model will also be used for members of the legislature.

Highway 7 Reopened To All Traffic

RCMP are allowing traffic to move again on Highway 7.
It was closed for several hours today after a fatal collision near Petersville Hill.

Head On Crash Kills One On Highway 7

It appears alcohol is a factor in a deadly head-on crash over the lunch hour on Highway 7 near the Petersville Hill.
RCMP Sgt. Rick Bernard tells CHSJ News the call came about 12:20 involving a car and an NB Power Truck.

He says it appears from the evidence that the automobile would have swerved into the oncoming lane hitting the truck head-on.

Bernard tells us there appears to be a picture of a loved one on the keychain of the deceased driver who's keys were still in the ignition.

He expects the highway will be closed to traffic for at least two hours as there is a lot of debris on the highway.
A detour is in place on Highway 7 sending motorists off the roadway at Welsford and in the 
other direction from Geary.

Detour In Place On Highway 7

Highway 7 is closed to traffic after a collision near Petersville Hill.

Traffic is being rerouted at Geary and at Welsford.

Hampton Man Facing Fines For Failing To File

A Hampton businessman pleading guilty on Tuesday to three counts for not filing his company's tax returns.
Daniel Darren Langille also pleading guilty to two charges of failing to comply with a court order to file income tax returns stemming from a previous conviction.

The charges relate to his company--Langille’s Plumbing and Heating.

He faces a total of $7,000 in fines and has until December 18th to pay up or face jail time.

Collision Forces Highway Closure

Highway 7 is closed to traffic is both directions after a collision near Petersville hill.

Medical School Gets $500K Donation

Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick receiving $500 thousand dollars from Great West, London and Canada Life Insurance.

Rob Gillis of Great West Life tells CHSJ news they see this donation having a great impact here in the Maritimes and across the country.

He says this is the business they work in as health insurers.

Dr. John Steeves says the money will be used to recruit a specialist in Occupational Medicine.
He says when someone gets sick from a workplace injury, this type of specialist assists in their rapid return.
Dr. Steeves says it's significant because its the first endowed chair in Canada for occupational medicine.

Proposed City Pension Changes Running Out Of Time To Be Passed

Even though the new Common Council has passed proposed changes to the city's pension plan that had been agreed to by the previous Council, there's a big question mark over whether there's enough time to get them approved by the province during the current session of the Legislature.

City Solicitor John Nugent concedes the proposal to suspend indexing for current retirees is unprecedented and will require the Provincial Pension Benefits Act to be amended.

City Finance Commissioner Greg Yeomans warns another 4 million dollars may still have to be cut from this year's budget despite Common Council approving the draft changes last night.

Mayor Mel Norton says if the proposed changes are not approved by the province in the next week and a half, the city will have to start all over again in the fall.

Federal Finance Minister Says EI Fears Are Premature

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says seasonal workers here in the province have nothing to worry about when it comes to changes to the Employment Insurance program.

New rules will require workers to accept lower wages and possibly commute further if a job opportunity arises.

Flaherty says people are jumping the gun as to what effect the changes will have and there will be regional considerations as to how the program is applied.

He says the fears and criticisms are due in part to fear mongering by the Opposition.

One International Airport For Province Won't Take Off

Former Mayor and now Councillor at Large Shirley McAlary doesn't think the idea of having one international airport for the province in Moncton will fly. 

The idea is being floated by David Ganong of Ganong Brothers Chocolate in St. Stephen. 

McAlary worked at Air Canada for 26 years and came under criticism as Mayor by suggesting there should be an international airport in Sussex. She still stands by that many years later.
McAlary says times have since changed because of improvements made to the airports in Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton. 

Just The Slightest Of Changes With Gas Prices

Gas prices around town are virtually the same as they were just last night but at least you won't be paying anymore. 

Self Serve regular has dropped from $1.26.8 a litre to $1.26.7 and diesel has gone from $1.28.4 to $1.28.3 a litre. 

Heating oil is down to $1.12.4 a litre with propane at 97.8 cents a litre.

Common Council Blindsided On Proposed Pension Changes

Common Councillors were taken by surprise in finding out they had to approve the changes to the city's pension plan they thought had been approved by the previous Council at its last meeting prior to the municipal election and sent on to the provincial government for its approval. 

The councillors were told they had to pass those draft changes by this morning or risk having to cut another 4 million dollars from the city budget. 

Councillor Susan Fullerton doesn't like a gun being put to her head but said she would vote in favour while holding her nose. Two of the other new councillors, John McKenzie and Susan Reardon also said they were not comfortable with having to make a snap decision on such an important issue.

Those changes will require the Pension Benefits Act to be amended and there is doubt that can happen before the current sitting of the Legislature ends early next month.

Despite that, Council voted unanimously to approve the draft changes and send them along to Fredericton.  

City Wants More Control Of Its Pension Plan

Just two days after being sworn in, Common Council will ask the province to repeal the City of Saint John Pension Act. 

This would mean the city would not have to go through the time consuming process of asking M-L-A's to approve any changes to the pension plan because it would fall under a municipal bylaw.

Mayor Mel Norton says Premier David Alward is on board with this and it can be done during the current sitting of the Legislature.
City Manager Pat Woods says the city is now at the mercy of the Provincial Legislative agenda with many trap doors that can derail any changes approved by Common Council.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

SWN Resources Suspends Exploration Plans

SWN Resources is suspending shale gas exploration in the province after a delay in receiving permits.
Tom Alexander says they are working with the province on getting permits but made the call on exploration due to time constraints with contractors.
He tells CHSJ News it's disappointing because they would like to get the work done but they have lots to do.

He says they can still work with the province on other matters such as how the new royalty plan will work.
Alexander says they are very interested in how the government's public consultation tour on shale gas will go.

Qplex Gets Award

The Qplex is one-of-a-kind in Atlantic Canada....and it's being recognized for its eco-friendly design on the national level.

The popular recreation complex was designed to adhere to a gold standard energy conservation and sustainability. It has a geothermal heat recovery system, an electric Zamboni, motion-sensored lighting, and three water collection systems used for the rink ice and topping up the pool.

All those features went into earning the Qplex a 2012 Environment Award.

New Councillors Speak Out

Newly-minted common Councillors John MacKenzie and Donna Reardon being welcomed to the horseshoe....MacKenzie says he takes the responsibility seriously and takes it as a honour Ward 2 elected him as a representative.

Reardon offering a ray of optimism against those who think the city's problems are unsolvable, saying it's out of the greatest challenges and adversity that good ideas often come.

The new council holding its first special meeting tonight dealing with pension reforms.

Liberal Candidate Brian Gallant Meets With SJ Voters

A new approach--that's the slogan for Liberal candidate Brian Gallant. Gallant visiting Saint John to speak to voters and hear their views on policy. Gallant tells CHSJ News he's talking to voters in 55 ridings in 55 days and the economy is a top issue.

He says contained in the issue of economic develop is education, job creation, and attracting new citizens to the province.

Gallant taking notes on citizen's concerns during an open discussion of issues like education, healthcare, and immigration.

Province Proposes 12 Regional Service Commissions

The Province introducing the Regional Services Delivery Act that would see the creation of 12 regional service commissions by next January.

Under the proposed legislation, it would see the creation of a  commission for each region governed by a board of directors that includes the mayor of every municipality and rural community along with representatives from the local service districts.

It would also allow for and encourage communities to collaborate on additional voluntary services.

Region 8 would include Sussex, Norton and Kars.

Region 9 is made up of 14 communities including Grand Bay-Westfield, Kingston, Quispamsis, Rothesay, Saint John and St. Martin's.

Hampton is in Region 9 but is requesting to be in Region 8.

For more information, click here

St. Martin's Hosts Showcase On Saturday

Free admission, free parking and free food might draw you to the St. Martin's Showcase on Saturday.
The village hosting the event as a way of bringing the businesses, services and attractions all together.
Jackie Bartlett of the St. Martin's and District Chamber of Commerce tells CHSJ News the event has been growing since inception three years ago.

She says you go kayaking and visit the restaurants and they had locals last year suprised at what you can do in St. Martin's that they were not aware of.

The event will feature many exhibitors including the Fundy Trail Parking and one lucky person will win the door prize of 25 pounds of lobster.
The event runs from 10am to 5pm on Saturday at the Four Seasons complex in St. Martin's.

Two Campbell Drive Collisions Injure One

Police in Rothesay responding to two collisions on Campbell Drive at the Fire Station this morning and one of them sent a woman in her 30's to hospital.

Rothesay Regional Police want to remind motorists that drivers heading eastbound going straight through the intersection have the right of way.

The two collisions about 40 minutes apart are being looked into and if violations are found charges may be laid.

Princess of Acadia Sailings Cancelled

Bay Ferries telling CHSJ News that all sailings of the Princess of Acadia are cancelled for tomorrow and service will resume on Friday at noon leaving from Saint John.

Bumper Year For NB Liquor

Some positive news for NB Liqour--the corporation achieving the largest ever net income in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

The net income totaling $164.1 million with a $500,000 dollar reduction in operating expenses.

The resulting showing wine and spirit sales are up, and beer sales marginally down--which might be corrected by the lower beer prices being rolled out over the summer.

There are 47 corporate outlets and 73 private agency stores in the province.

Two Schools Closing At 10am

Inglewood School and Westfield School will be closing at 10:00 a.m. this morning due to a power outage in the area.

Buses will arrive at 10:00 a.m. as well to deliver students home.

Reported Abduction Turned Out Not To Be

Police departments in the area were searching high and low for a stripper who had been performing in Saint John and who had been reported abducted. 

It turned out not to be an abduction at all. 

She was eventually found safe and sound at a hotel in St. Andrews and we are told was there of her own free will.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sea Dogs Announce Contest Winners

The Sea Dogs announcing the winners of their “Paint the Town Blue” contest where they asked fans to decorate their homes and businesses to support the team.

 The Facebook photos on the Dogs page with the most likes win the top prizes and in the home category it goes to Andrea Kane who gets a flex package for next season. 
Steve’s Renovations also gets a season flex pass for first  prize in the business category.

Ernie Arsenault came in second in the home category and Peice O' Cake Custom Creations was second in the Business Category.   They both get a 10-voucher flex package.
In third place, Sam White and Key Industries came in third place winning a $50 gift card for the Sea Dogs store.

To see the announcement on Sea Dogs Tv, Click here

Heavy Equipment Thief Nabbed

Some light-fingered thieves of heavy equipment getting nabbed---On April 10th, 2012 police received a complaint of a theft from a local construction company that some tools and equipment had gone missing with a total cost of over 10-thousand dollars.

RRPF Major Crime Unit conducted an investigation and as a result, 31 year-old Henry Podniewicz was arrested and charged with Theft Over $5000. He pleaded guilt and will be sentenced on June 26th. Charges are pending against a second person. Police were able to recover some of the equipment.

Hampton Could Be BBQ Town

Hampton could be hosting a giant BBQ for 5000 people featuring Hedley if they can get enough votes in a national contest.

The President's Choice BBQ Town winner also gets $25,000 for a local nutrition program.
Allan Lindsay of Loblaw Companies Limited tells CHSJ News says Hampton has a great location for the BBQ in the town's pavilion.

He says the community involvement was strong on all the entries and highlighted a project where 250 community volunteers built a playground.

The 20 finalists from across the country also include Fredericton and Charlottetown.
To vote for Hampton, click here

Uptown Man Found Guilty In Highway Death

A King Street East man is looking at a minimum of 3 years in prison after being found guilty of impaired driving causing death.

30 year old Jordan Sullivan was charged after a two car collision along the Airport Arterial in March of 2011 which killed 50 year old Sheila Bayers. Her car was stopped or almost stopped when Sullivan, who was going the wrong way, slammed into her. 

The court heard he had both marijuana and alcohol in his system and was over the legal limit. The force of impact was such that Bayers was ejected from her car even though she had her seatbelt on. Her car was driven back more than 14 metres.

Shirley Reminisces About Teenage Mel

Saint John really is a small world--at the swearing in of Mayor Mel Norton last night, former mayor and current common councillor Shirley McAlary sharing a story showing just how funny life can be.

McAlary says 20 years ago when she was running for common council she was teamed up in a co-op program with a certain go-getting teenager. His name was Mel Norton and he shadowed her for a day on the campaign trail, sharing long the way that he someday hoped to get into law and then politics.

McAlary says afterward she took the young Mel to McDonald's for a hamburger and a coke. She congratulated Mel on the fact he managed to achieve his goals and become Mayor of the "greatest city in Canada."

Nominations Needed By June 25

Do you know a person or organization that should be nominated for the Provincial Human Rights Award?

The deadline for nominations is June 25.

The Provincial Human Rights Commission establishing the award to recognize achievement or leadership on a volunteer basis by people and organizations in the promoting of equality and human rights in the province.

The award was founded in 1988 to mark the 40th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it's handed out every year on September 15th--New Brunswick Human Rights Day.

Previous winners include the Town of Hampton.

Information about the nomination process is available by calling 1-888-471-2233 or click

Two Men & Two Women Facing Firearms Charges

The City Police Major Crime Unit conducting a search in the South end finding weapons.

Two 20 year old men and two woman, 18 and 20 years old, face a number of firearms charges after officers seized a sawed off shotgun with ammunition and a knife from a home on Charlotte street.

20 year old Jordon Cromwell was released on conditions and is due back in court next month.

Saint John Officially Welcomes New Mayor & Council

A new era in Saint John's political history being officially ushered in with the swearing in of Mayor Mel Norton and the new Common Council.

Norton tells CHSJ News the former council's legacy was marked by good intentions that got bogged down by challenges. He says those will only be addressed through a new, cooperative leadership of which he hopes to set an example

Shelley Rinehart also getting sworn in as deputy mayor. She echoes Norton's point about working together, saying the first thing to do is for council to get to know one another and figure out how best to address the big issues.

The first meeting of the new council is on June 4th. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

NBers Weigh In On Oil And Gas Exploration

NB is OK with oil and gas, not so much fracking--that finding from an independent study by the University of Moncton and UNB.

Out of the 604 New Brunswickers polled, 2 out of 3 felt oil and gas should be an important part of our economy. But according to chair Dr Roger Oulette, some conditions apply--for example, whatever exploration is done should be subject to appropriate regulations so our wildlife and water supplies are protected.

Oulette is the chair of a forum discussing these issues in Moncton from June 3-5. It's being held at the Delta Bousejour. To learn more about the research and see a full copy of the survey results, click here

Man Gets Hand Caught in Forklift

A workplace accident at Lorneville Mechanical around 3:40 Monday afternoon....police and fire officials responding to a call than a man had got his finger jammed in a forklift.

The workers managed to free his hand before rescue arrived. According to early reports he was transported to hospital by ambulance.

NB Power Hires Expert For Reactor Restart

The provincial utility is preparing for the end of the refurbishment and the restart of the reactor at Point Lepreau scheduled for this fall.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission recently concluded the Emergency Response Team performance requirements have been met based on a protocol set out last summer.

NB Power also announcing they are bringing in some expertise for the final phase of restarting the reactor.

Paul Pasquet of Canadian Nuclear Partners has been providing support to the refurbishment project for a year.
The utility says in a release that Pasquet has done this before at a multi-plant site in Ontario.

Norton's Redneck Raceway Kicks Into High Gear

There's an old joke: "if you've totaled every car you've ever owned, you might be a redneck..." And  are rednecks aplenty coming out to the Redneck Racing in Norton. It's a major stock car event that draws crowds of up to 3500 people.

Driver and organizer Mark Muir tells CHSJ News the Redneck Races aren't for lightweights: the drivers drive hard, and they drive to win on a regulation-sized track.

The next event takes place on June 23 in Norton. The address is 982 Route 124. For more information, contact Mark or Tammy Muir at 506-839-1805

Another Brother Act To Be Sworn In At City Hall

It will be a family affair in the council chambers tonight when Saint John's new brother duo are sworn in as Mayor and Councillor with a little help from their Dad.    Melrose Norton will give the prayer at tonight's ceremony where his son Mel will become Mayor and his son Greg will become a councillor representing Ward 1.

Mel Norton will be given the oath of office by Justice B. Richard Bell.

The new councillors will then be given the oath and the new crew around the horseshoe include a few familliar faces in Bill Farren, Donnie Snook and Shirley McAlary.   The newbies are David Merrithew, Susan Fullerton, Ray Strowbridge, John McKenzie, Dr. Shelley Rinehart, Donna Reardon and Greg Norton.

The election of Deputy Mayor, widely expected to be Shelley Rinehart,  will take place and the new Mayor will give his first address followed by remarks from the councillors.

Trial Starts For Uptown Man In Highway Death

A 30 year old King Street East man is standing trial on charges of impaired driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death. 

Jordan Sullivan was charged after a 2 car collision in March of 2011 along the Airport Arterial which killed 50 year old Sheila Bayers. 

The prosecution entered 26 photos as evidence as the trial got started. 

Ronald Bridges of St. Martins, who was passed by one of the cars that was going the wrong way, testified it was dark, foggy and raining at the time. Bridges told the court he was making his way back to St. Martins and decided to stay under the speed limit because of the weather conditions. 

The trial is expected to finish up tomorrow.

Will Bigger Mean Better With Larger School District

The chair of the District 8 Education Council wants a meeting with School Districts 6 and 10 as soon as possible to talk about the impending amalgamation into one. 

Rob Fowler tells CHSJ News most of the stress and strain is in the front offices but that should have no effect on students with most of the stress and strain behind the scenes.
The Superintendent of School District 8, Micheal Butler says there will be well defined zones in the larger district and maybe students will be allowed to transfer to a school that's one zone over from where they live.

KVHS Loses Nail Biter At Reach For The Top

Close but no cigar........The Kennebecasis Valley High School Reach for the Top team made it into the quarter finals at the 2012 National Championships before losing to Burnaby North, B-C. 

K-V-H-S coach Jason Thorne tells CHSJ News the match was tied until the final question.

K-V-H-S was the two time defending National Champion and Thorne predicts the team is young and will be even stronger next year because of what they've been through.

New Cruise Terminal Taking Shape

The newly-named Diamond Jubilee Cruise Ship Terminal is getting closer to completion.

Port President and CEO Jim Quinn tells CHSJ News the new terminal is going to be up and running in a few months --and welcoming passengers from an exciting new cruise provider.

He tells us on September 5th the first call will be from a Disney Cruise ship.

The terminal was dubbed in honour of the recent royal visit and a bust of her royal highness will be displayed inside.

Car Crash In Chance Harbour

One man taken to hospital after a single vehicle crash yesterday afternoon on Route 790 in Chance Harbour.

The Musquash Fire Department telling us a car went off the road, struck a parked vehicle and finished up on its side in a yard. 

The driver was treated by paramedics before being transported to the Regional Hospital.

(Photo Courtesy Of Lt Paul Poirier)

A Warning For Provincial Taxpayers About Lepreau

The recent spill of 300 litres of heavy water at the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant when a valve was opened when it shouldn't have been is the latest setback in a project that has been plagued by difficulties.

Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility questions whether the cost is worth it telling us not only is the refurbishment far over budget but the provincial government has not determined how much it will cost to build a permanent site to store the radioactive waste for thousands of years. 

After the refurbishment and commissioning activities at the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant are complete, NB Power will still need the approval of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission prior to restarting the reactor which is still scheduled for the fall.

The Commission had expressed concern over the spill of less than 6 litres of heavy water back in December which forced the evacuation of the plant.

New Common Council To Be Sworn In

The new Common Council will be sworn in tonight at 7:00 at City Hall. The new Councillors will also be electing a Deputy Mayor, likely to be Shelley Rinehart who captured the most votes running at large. 

Mel Norton will also be delivering his first address as Mayor. 

Tammy Calvin of One Change is hoping the new Council will continue efforts at rejuvenating the old North End despite the well publicised budget constraints. She would like to be more convenient recycling for a start.

Calvin tells CHSJ News she feels there is a stigma associated with being a so-called priority neighbourhood. 

Calvin concedes there are alot of boarded up buildings in that part of town but believes at least a few of them have the potential to be saved from demolition. 

The fire and police departments are concerned about a recent spate of fires that have been set on purpose in abandoned buildings. Three families were recently left homeless after a case of arson on Victoria Street.

KVHS Advances At Reach For The Top

The Kennebecasis Valley High School Reach for the Top team finishing up the round robin portion of the 2012 National Championships in fourth place.

K-V-H-S is the two-time defending National Champion. Thirteen teams from across Canada are participating in this year’s event. 

This is the sixth straight year the school has finished in the top 4 in the round robin.  By virtue of this top 4 ranking, K-V-H-S has received a bye into the quarter-finals.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Grass Fires a Problem

With summer almost here it's time to be careful about outdoor fires. Fire Investigator Mark Wilson tells CHSJ News people often aren't aware of the potential problems when they start a blaze, thinking they can control it no matter what. Actually, he says, factors like high winds and the type of fuel being used can make things unpredictable.

There used to be controlled burning allowed in the city but it's no longer allowed as the fire department found too many were getting out of control, as happened in Red Head last month when a man accidentally burned down his garage and part of his home.

Social Opportunity for Alzheimers Patients

Alzheimer's Disease and dementia are isolating illnesses--and that isolation can speed the progress of the disease. But a new concept here in Saint John is giving people with the disease a chance to socialize. The Alzheimer's Cafe gives people and their caregivers a chance to socialize in a non-judgemental environment. The idea started in the Netherlands and has become popular all over the world.

The last cafe of the season is coming up Sunday May 27th at St. Mark's on Dexter Drive on the West side. It runs from 2-4pm and including a speaker on falls, food and entertainment.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sea Dogs Fans Welcome The Team Home

A small but enthusiastic crowd on hand at the Saint John Airport to welcome home the Sea Dogs.

The Dogs coming up short in repeating as Memorial Cup champs.

Coach Gerard Gallant tells CHSJ News its really nice to see the fans there to greet them.

He says it's disappointing that they lost but they are proud of the team.

Centre Zack Phillips hails from Fredericton and tells us this year's Mem Cup was a good competition just like it was last year.

He tells us he's been with most of these guys for the last 3 years and it will kinda sad leaving them but he couldn't ask for a better three years.

Coach Gallant says Saint John is pretty fortunate to have this kind of a hockey team.

Generic Drugs Will Soon Cost Less in NB

Generic drugs will soon be getting considerably cheaper: starting June 1, the NB Government will start capping prices at 40% of brand prices. According to health Minister Madelaine Dube, NBers are paying more than other Canadians. Previously NBers could be paying as much as 50 to 70% of the price of brand-name medications.

The plan is projected to save the province $10 million dollars in the first 10 months after it's put into action. Some of that money will be used to improve the existing services and make them more accessible.

Doctor Shortage Needs To Be Addressed

New Brunswickers desperately need more doctors--that from Donald Craig of the New Brunswick Medical Education Trust. Craig tells CHSJ News with more and more doctors retiring and moving elsewhere the quality of patient care is suffering.

He says as many as 7 to 10 thousand Saint Johners don't have a family doctor, and provincially that figure could be as high as 10% of the populaton. He says the new med program at UNBSJ is a positive step because it will attract new doctors and specialists to the community.