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Friday, November 30, 2012

The City's Core Services Are Graded

The results of a core services review being rolled out to Common Council as part of the 2013 budget process.

The Mayor and councillors are learning the fire department has a high level of staffing but response times are below the industry standard. 

One possible explanation is that the city's land area is so large. Council has been told it might be a good idea not to respond to medical calls in the rural outskirts of the city.

Council has also been told City Police have a high level of staffing as compared to other cities because of employing fewer civilian employees. Todd MacDonald of Performance Concepts Consulting credits intelligence led policing for reducing the severity of crime in the city and having a good record in clearing cases.

He also describes Saint John Transit as operating more efficiently than bus service in other cities, at a lower cost and with a higher ridership but that could be adversely affected by a rate hike.

Carrie Underwood Concert Sells Out

Carrie Underwood tickets must be a very popular Christmas gift is greater Saint John.

The show sold out in less than two hours this morning.

The American Idol winner will thrill local fans when her show hits Harbour Station on April 2nd.

It's her second appearance in the City.

Rothesay & Quispam Prepare To Find Savings

Two towns near Saint John will do without a substantial amount of money in 2013 due to changes in provincial grant allocation.

Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop tells CHSJ News a loss of $99 thousand and a lower than expected assessment rate will mean tightening in their upcoming budget. 

He says this reduction may mean they have to re-evaluate certain projects including roadwork.

Quispamsis gets a substantial cut of over $240 thousand dollars and Mayor Murray Driscoll says it's new info so they will have to look at it carefully.

He says most of their funding comes from taxation so they will now have to examine what goes into the budget.

Driscoll says his town's budget will be ready for a vote in December while Bishop says Rothesay is finalizing their budget and it will come up at their next meeting on the 10th.

Local Teacher Recieves Prime Minister's Award For Excellence

One of Saint John's most tireless teachers is getting a nod from the top level of government.

Janet Towers of the Saint John Y Early Learning Center received the Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. Towers tells CHSJ News the integrated program is great for the kids, because younger students get to team up with slightly older ones for classes like music and gym.

Towers says they're working toward implementing similar programs in Waterloo Village, Glen Falls, and Hazen White Saint Francis.

Romero House Food Drive Continues at Ritchie's

The 6th annual Romero House food drive at Ritchie's continue today on Rothesay Avenue. 

Non-perishable food donations are being accepted until 8pm tonight, and 8am to 8pm Saturday and Sunday.

The food drive continues until December 8th.

New Road To Handle Oversized Loads For Port

It's going to be easier for trucks with oversized loads to get to port property on the west side -- Provincial Transportation Minister Claude Williams says a new access road is being built in the area where the Harbour Bridge toll booths once stood.
Williams says it's a cooperative effort with the Port Authority that will help to promote trade and economic development opportunities for the port and province as a whole.
Total cost of the project is approximately $240,000 and the province  is sharing the cost on a 50/50 basis with the Port Authority.
Work is underway and is scheduled for completion by the end of December -- it involves relocation of some lighting - medians - and - storm sewers.

Example of oversized load at port

Two Vehicle Collision Sends One To Hospital

One person was taken to hospital after a two vehicle collision around 7:30 this morning along Douglas Avenue. 

One lane was blocked for a while as peat moss had to be put down on the road because of a fuel leak.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Food Drive Underway In East Saint John

Romero House serves up hot meals to 400 people each day and now the soup kitchen is asking for your help with its 6th Annual Christmas Food Drive.

Romero House founder Carolyn McNulty tells CHSJ News the fundraiser is absolutely essential to what they do every day.

The 6th Annual Christmas Food Drive for Romero House is happening in the parking lot next to Ritchie's on Rothesay Avenue until December 8th.

You can drop off donations any day between 6am and 8pm during the week and from 8 to 8 on weekends.

Saint John Changing Its Image

Saint John isn't just a blue collar industrial town any more, and Discover Saint John wants to make sure people know that. 

Ross Jefferson of Discover Saint John telling Common Council the city has made a lot of strides in the past decade and we should be showing that off.

Jefferson says boosting the image of Saint John has broader implications than simply attracting tourist dollars......It also encourages people to live and invest here.

Discover Saint John is looking to market the city as a tourist destination with a great arts and cultural scene as well as natural beauty.

Outlying Communities Feel The Pinch

There are some significant funding cuts for some of the outlying communities in addition to the big 3 cities.

Quispamsis sees a funding reduction of more than $240,000 dollars next year while Rothesay is out nearly $100,000 in grant money next year.

St. Stephen sees a reduction of more than 160,000 dollars while the town of Hampton will be working with $85,000 fewer dollars in 2013.

Search Called Off For Missing Man

The active ground search for a missing 20 year old man from Sackville has been called off. 

Christopher Metallic of Sackville was last seen during the early morning hours of November 25th. Searchers have looked in a number of areas but have not been able to find him.

Christopher Metallic is described as aboriginal, 6 feet tall, 180 lbs, with short dark black hair and wears glasses. He was last seen wearing a shiny bright blue sweater and jeans.

Body Of Saint John Woman Discovered

The RCMP have confirmed the human remains found in a tent in the woods near the Penniac Bridge, north of Fredericton, are of a 56 year old local woman. 

Hikers first discovered the body along with personal items on November 24th.

Using dental and medical records, the woman has been identified as Susan Lynn Burnside from Saint John. She had lost touch with her family and was considered to be a transient with no fixed address. She was never reported missing to police.

How she died and how long the human remains were in the tent are still unknown. The RCMP say there are no obvious signs of foul play.

Saint John To Get Less Money From Province

A financial hit for the three largest cities under a new municipal funding model announced by the provincial government. 

Saint John will receive about 350 thousand dollars less while Fredericton gets 1.3 million fewer dollars next year. 

Local Government Minister Bruce Fitch says those cities can absorb the change because of increases in their tax bases.

Provincial NDP leader Dominic Cardy is calling the Alward Government's new municipal funding model an attack on the largest cities in the province and a step backward.

Cardy tells CHSJ News cities and towns in the province should have greater powers to fix their own problems and not be stifled by the province and its bureaucrats.

M.A.D.D. Canada Responds To Operation Red Nose Ending

The President of the Saint John Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving calls the end of Operation Red Nose a shame.

The program had volunteers pick people up at holiday gatherings driving them and their vehicles home.

Raylene Wallace tells CHSJ News both M.A.D.D. and Operation Red Nose have the same goals in keeping everyone safe.

She says it's definitely a disappointment that the service will not be available this year.

Wallace says they will still be focusing on the Red Ribbon campaign and encouraging motorists to call 911 when they see a drunk driver on the roads.

The annual M.A.D.D. Red Ribbon Tree lighting is coming up December 7th in Kings Square.

School Board Responds On Bus Incident

The school district in Saint John responding to a story we ran Tuesday about a student being kicked off a bus leaving Quispamsis Middle School.

Superintendent Zoe Watson tells CHSJ News if a student needed to be removed from a bus while the bus was in the yard they would be taken into the school and a parent would be called.

Watson goes on to say a student would not be removed from a bus while it's completing its run to or from school.

She adds she cannot go into the specifics of this case.

No Seismic Price Change For Gas

You won't see that much of a change with gas prices if you have to fill up.

Self serve regular was being sold in the city early this morning for $1.22.4 a litre with diesel up a bit at $1.37.1.

There's Room At The Top At Irving Shipbuilding

Irving Shipbuilding is on the lookout for a new company President.

In a brief e-mailed statement, Mary Keith of J-D Irving says Steve Durrell is no longer working with the shipbuilder but is not spelling out the reason or reasons behind his departure after more than 27 years with the company.

She does say a replacement is being sought but Ross Langley who's vice chairman of Irving Shipbuilding, will take over in the interim. 

Last year Ottawa announced that the Irving shipyard would receive the lion's share of its $35-billion federal shipbuilding procurement project.

Under the deal, the shipyard won the right to bid on $25 billion worth of combat vessels.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Leonard Praises Shale Gas Potential

The Energy Minister says the Province has enough shale gas reserves to supply the province for years.

Craig Leonard says 15 trillion cubic feet of gas is enough to heat every home in the province for the next 630 years.

He adds an oil and natural gas blueprint will be released in the spring.

Listeners React To Loss Of Murphyville

It's with a sense of sadness that the community bids goodbye to Murphyville...our listeners sharing their thoughts on the loss of the Christmas landmark

Mark: Saint Johners should have stepped up. That really sucks.

Tanya:  We cant blame this family or the community.The community wanted to help but it's too late. Thank you to Lou Murphy for all he did for Milford.

Andrea: Maybe it's time to start a new west side tradition somewhere!

Will: I used to go there every year since I was 1, it's a horrible thing that its being dismantled

Louise: It is sad to think a piece of our community will be gone but I can understand where the family is coming from. This must have been a very difficult decision for them

Donnie Coholan is the son of the current proprietor and he's making things very clear: There is no saving Murphyville and this discussion should be closed. My family respects all your concerns and they wish it could last forever.

Join the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.

Neutered Cats Lead To More Adoptions, Says SPCA

The SPCA is hoping Operation Catnip will lead to more adoptions.

As we reported earlier this week, the new spay and neuter program will partner with PEI's Veterinary College and other institutions to fix 35 shelter cats for a discount.

Trisha Osbourne Parker is on the board of directors for the SPCA, and she tells CHSJ news this is a substantial discount for the shelter. She says when people come in looking to adopt, the cats that are spayed and neutered are adopted the quickest. Parker says it costs around $350 to spay a cat.

 She says they've been in talks with the dean of UPEI since the summer, who toured the neighborhood and saw firsthand how many cats roam our streets.   Parker hopes the initiative will reduce our cat population and crosses her fingers that the program will return next year.

Uptown Spaces Provide More Tax Revenue

It turns out some uptown in Saint John offer more tax revenue than your big box stores.

Former Ward 2 candidate Morgan Lanigan tells CHSJ News those stores come in offering the city more options but they don't bring in a lot of tax revenue.

He says on a per acre basis the Wal-Marts in Saint John bring in far less than a Centrebeam which brings in $335 thou

Lanigan says Walmart generates 49-thousand dollars per acre in taxes while the vacant Bargain Shop on King Street brings in $118 thousand per acre.   IT company Centerbeam also on King Street brings in $335 thousand per acre in tax revenue for the City   For more info, click here

McAlary: It's Impossible To Close Down The Pension Plan

Common Councillor Shirley McAlary agrees with what seems to be the prevailing opinion at City Hall: that the Shared Risk model is the way of the future for  Saint John's pension plan. 

McAlary tells CHSJ News  folding the plan is nearly impossible because it would be far more costly in the long run. 

McAlary says the decision ultimately rests with council, but there's a slim chance of another solution being found considering council has been wrestling with the pension issue for months.

Winter Biking Not For The Faint Of Heart

The nippy November temperatures are driving a lot of people indoors; however, that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. With a few easy steps you can keep biking to work even after the snow flies, according to Luke Tudor, one of the "Bike Guys" at Alternatives.

For snowy days, mountain-bike style tires provide extra traction. Companies also manufacture studded bike tires for use in icy conditions.

Keeping your bike clean of salt, properly lubricated, and dry will also reduce wear and tear on the parts, while layers of Gore-Tex and thermal clothing will ensure you're not an icicle by the end of your commute. Tudor tells CHSJ News maintenance and warm clothing are essential for anyone attempting to bike through the winter months.

Taxpayers Federation Confident Alward Government Can Cut Deficit

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is worried the throne speech did not contain anything specifically about lowering the provincial government's deficit but did promise a five year plan on health care.

The Atlantic Director of the Taxpayers Federation, Kevin Lacey tells CHSJ News that's a must because spending on health care takes up from 40 to 50 per cent of the provincial budget and he believes health care costs can be cut without jeopardising standards of care.

Lacey also warns raising the H-S-T would cost average families in the province a thousand dollars a year which they can't afford right now.

He concedes unemployment will likely go up with a reduction in spending by the province but he calls that "a necessary evil" to get the job done.

Stabbing Victim's Name Released

Bradley Saia
City police releasing the name of the teenager who was stabbed and died during a home invasion earlier this month.

18-year-old Andrew Jonathan (AJ) Dennison was from lower west Saint John and was transported to the Saint John Regional Hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

There's now a Canada wide warrant for the arrest of 21-year-old Bradley Saia in connection with the home invasion.

Police remind you not to approach Saia, but to call the Saint John Police Force at 506-648-3333 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) with any information.

Police were called to 348 Prince Street West on November 3rd to a home invasion where two young men were found stabbed.

Memorial Service To Be Held For Motorcylist

A memorial service will take place this afternoon at 3:30 from Trinity Anglican Church for 57 year old Mike Patterson who was killed in a motorcycle crash last Sunday. 

Patterson leaves behind two sons as well as his parents. 

The crash happened near a turn on Milford Road. No other vehicles were involved.

Bullying Canada Still Has Head Above Water But Just Barely

The long term future of a national anti-bullying organization in Fredericton is still up in the air.

Rob Frenette, the co-executive director of Bullying Canada warned last month, without more financial support, the organisation would have to close down by the end of this month.

Since then, there has been a $10,000 donation from an Alberta company and a few hundred dollars in other donations from around the Maritimes but Frenette acknowledges that won't be enough to keep operating over the long term. 

He and his co-executive director will probably have to go back to being volunteers within two or three months.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dr Jim Parrott Hospitalized For Surgery

Renowned heart surgeon Dr. Jim Parrott underwent quadruple bypass surgery at the Saint John Regional Hospital, missing today's throne speech because of the surgery.

Provincial Health Minister Hugh Flemming said he was asked by Parrott's wife to inform members of the legislature that their lone Independent member was undergoing surgery. 

Dr. Parrott was elected in 2010 as the Conservative M-L-A in the riding of Fundy-River Valley but was ejected from the party's caucus in September due to clashes over healthcare. He got into trouble for suggesting his own government wasn't listening to doctors when drawing up health care policy.

Flemming said Dr. Parrott had completed his surgery but couldn't comment further on his condition.

'Murphyville' Will No Longer Be An Xmas Tradition

A beloved Saint John landmark and Christmas tradition won't be lighting up this year or ever again.

Christmas icon 'Murphyville' will no longer be maintained by Donald Coholan.

Karen Bethune tells CHSJ news every Christmas Eve since the 1960's she's gone to see the holiday display and now takes her own kids there. She says she's disappointed it will be gone, but understands it's a lot to take care of. 

Bethune says her late uncle donated a picture of the Agony in the Garden in memory of his wife, and she was contacted by the Coholan's to see if she would like it back.

The display was built over 40 years ago by the late M-L-A Lou Murphy. Bethune remembers going to church with Murphy and says Murphyville is a legacy to a great man.

A Facebook page called "Save Murphyville" has since been created, where people can share their memories and show support.

Libs Still Against Shale Gas

With the third session of the 57th provincial Legislature kicking off today, Liberal Energy and Environment critic Chris Collins says he's looking forward to spirited discussions on shale gas.

Collins says a moratorium is necessary until legislation that protects the environment is put into place. 

The Liberals say they've been clear from the start........They want strong regulations that take into account research from around the globe. 

There were both pro-shale gas and anti-shale gas demonstrations held outside the Legislature.

Rita MacNeil Gives Special Christmas Concert Tonight

Two legendary Canadian performers are coming to the Imperial Theatre tonight.

Rita MacNeil and Frank Mills will be performing at the Imperial in a concert titled “Sharing Christmas”.

They'll perform both classic material from both their repertoires in addition to a number of songs performed together. MacNeil is known for her strong vocals, while Frank Mills is a renowned composer and pianist.

Tickets are $65 and available at the Imperial Theater Box Office at 24 Kings Square. Call 1-800-323-7469 for more details.

Cats Get Early Christmas Present

With winter now upon us, stray cats in the city don't have it easy.

In response to the influx of unwanted cats in city shelters, Councillor Susan Fullerton is spearheading a spay and neuter program called Operation Catnip which "nips" the problem in the bud.

Operation Catnip will partner with the P-E-I Vet's College and other institutions to spay and neuter 30 cats in the shelter before Christmas at a discounted rate. Fullerton hopes it will become an ongoing initiative.

Making Parking Easier

Parking in Saint John is a lot clearer.

The Uptown is covered in fresh, new parking signs that now clearly indicate where you can and can't park throughout the month. The 600+ signs replace the 6 year old ones that only stated where you can't park.

City traffic engineer Tim O'Reilly tells CHSJ news the new signs will make parking rules easier to understand in hopes of issuing less tickets. He says they have received many complaints that the old signs were clear as mud.

2 hour parking on certain uptown streets change from one side to the other side halfway through the month.

The parking commission says $17,000 was set aside in the 2012 capital budget to install them.

Union Reps Speak Out on Pension Situation

With the startling news the city's pension deficit is actually sitting at 345.5 million dollars, New Brunswick Police Association Vice-President Jamie Hachey tells CHSJ News the city clearly needs to consider switching to the shared risk model.

Hachey says the Task Force brings a lot of expertise to the table and council needs to do its due diligence when it comes to weighing the information.

Paul Stackhouse of the Firefighter's Association agrees, saying he's glad the Task Force is assisting. Both Hachey and Stackhouse held off on further comments before next week's vote.

The unions and Common Council need to agree on any changes to the pension plan before they can be adopted.

The Trades Are Being Revitalised In High Schools

With an aging population, skilled trades instruction is becoming more of a necessity in our local high schools.

That, according to the Coordinator of Technology & Skilled Trades for Anglophone South Moira Sherwood who says it has become crystal clear there is a need for skilled trades people across the province.

She warns the shortages will only get worse with an aging population and more boomers retiring.

Sherwood says some courses like carpentry and cabinet making can use the hours spent in a classroom towards hours in an apprenticeship.

"Q" League Commissioner Not Happy With Lockout

The "Q" League Commissioner stopping off in Saint John and says there are no plans for expansion. Gilles Courteau says 18 teams are are enough.

He acknowledges the league is getting more exposure because of the NHL lockout but on the other hand it's not good for the game in general.

Courteau also says not having the NHL is hampering the further of development of players like Jonathon Huberdeau of the Sea Dogs who would otherwise be in the NHL.

He's suggesting there could be more junior hockey shown on national television if the NHL season gets cancelled in its entirety.

KV Mom Irate Her Son Was Kicked Off His Bus

It's a cold day for a long walk and even worse without gloves or a hat. That was the case for a 13-year-old Quispamsis Middle School student who was kicked off the bus yesterday and walked almost an hour home.

Nick Sewell-Boudreau's mother Nicole Boudreau was not informed by anyone at the school.

She tells CHSJ News in her experience her son can't leave the school unless signed out by a parent or guardian indicating the time and where he's going.

She says the school just allowed him to leave and when speaking with the school board this morning the person she talked to referred to the incident being 18 to 24 hours ago. Boudreau takes that too mean if her son was kidnapped or grabbed yesterday that no one cares.

Boudreau tells us she is baffled and can't believe she wasn't informed by the school that her son was kicked off the bus.

Our newsroom has left a message with the Anglophone South School District.

"The Worst Situation Saint John Has Ever Faced"

Saint John's financial situation is even worse than many of us may have thought.

Susan Rowland, Chair of the Pension Task Force, explained last night at Common Council that the pension deficit is actually $345.5 million, which paints a very different picture than the $195.9 million estimated in the f
inancial report the city filed earlier this year with the Superintendent of Pensions.

In light of the re-calculation, the Pension Task Force is strongly advocating the switch to a shared risk model, which in broad terms means city employees pay more and the city less. 

Mayor Mel Norton tells CHSJ News the Shared Risk Model might be far less expensive than the current payment, but getting the funding in anything approaching reasonable shape would still be a long process. Common Councillor John MacKenzie referred to the shared risk model as "the best of the worst."

Councillor Susan Fullerton disagrees, saying the shared risk model places too much of a burden on taxpayers who are not members of the plan. Further complicating matters is the need to have all unions on board before the transition could, in theory, proceed.

Council will take a week to reflect and receive input before voting on the next step Monday.

Monday, November 26, 2012

NB Power Aims To Reduce 1 Billion In Debt

NB Power is looking at a number of ways to slash a billion dollars in debt.

NB Power's President telling a Saint John business audience it plans to do that in a number of ways including pilot programs and smart thermostats.

Gaetan Thomas says their rates forecast is based on an escalation factor, which is close to what is expected for the next 3 to 5 years.

He adds no one can predict oil prices 10 years down the road, which makes Point Lepreau valuable it's more predictable and less volatile.

The cost of energy shifts dramatically with 6 to 9 cents per kilowatt hour in non peak times versus 20 cents a kilowatt hour in peak times.

3 Arrested From Norton Irving Smash & Grab

A man from Sussex and a young man from Kars appearing in court today facing charges of break and enter along with theft.

The RCMP say three people were arrested in connection with a smash and grab at the Norton Irving yesterday.

Police say there was an attempt to pry open a side door but when that didn't work, they smashed the front glass door and stole several items.

Smell Of Sulphur On Sunday From Refinery

A significant release of sulphur at the Irving Oil Refinery causing concern among people who live in Champlain Heights.

Gordon Dalzell of the Clean Air Coalition lives in the area, and noticed a strong smell just before 11 am yesterday. 

 He tells CHSJ news both the Provincial Environment Department and Irving Oil confirmed there was an air pollution incident. He was told the refinery was loading a large tank too quickly and the fumes were blowing into the air.

Dalzell says he was informed by D.O.E. that it's looking into the matter adding the air quality monitor at Champlain Height school went off for a good 10 minutes which is unusual.

Our newsroom has placed called to both the Department of Environment and Irving Oil on the matter.

Former Mayor Supports New True Growth Initiative

Lots of talk from Mayor Mel Norton about True Growth 2.0 and the expanding economic horizons of our so-called "renaissance city", but the concept behind True Growth started with former Mayor Norm McFarlane.

McFarlane championed similar development principles during his 2004-2008 term, and he tells CHSJ News he supports Norton but warns PlanSJ might be a bit too restrictive.

McFarlane says Norton is bang on with his notion that Saint Johnners need to stop taking such a negative attitude about the city, because it only hinders our development.

Grand Bay-Westfield Mayor Enthused About New Economic Development Plan

The proposed economic development plan for the region comes before Grand Bay-Westfield town Council tonight.

Mayor Grace Losier was on hand for the launch and is gung ho about it producing the desired results. She was Mayor when then Saint John Mayor Norm McFarlane launched the true growth strategy.

Losier says it's all about making the core strong because everyone in the region then benefits.

Warm Winter Weather Expected

Looks like we're in for a warm winter!

Dayna Vettese from the Weather Network tells CHSJ news the temperature and precipitation will be above normal, with more snow and rain expected in Saint John.

She says normally our winter daily highs are minus 1 and nightly lows are in the minus teens. We can expect more than 180 cm of snow and 200 mm of rain. Vettese says the warmer weather comes from storm tracks that are expected to go over the Atlantic provinces.

When it comes to big snow storms, she says they're hard to predict but we'll have some cold spells.

Two Men In Court For Accosting Women In Parks

Another court appearace for 27 year old Nathan Dean, who's charged with confronting a jogger on one of the trails at Rockwood Park October 3rd while armed with a knife.

He will stand trial January 14th with one day being set aside for testimony. In the meantime, he stays in jail.

A 33 year old Saint John man also appearing in court to be sentenced for accosting a 48 year old woman at the Irving Nature Park.  

Ronald Parsons was sentenced to 6 months to be served in the community with conditions. The court was told he ran off when the woman took action in response to being assaulted.  

Parsons has been ordered to stay out of the nature park and take counselling for mental health.

When In Doubt, Call The Cops

A passing driver on the 119 arterial in the K-V being credited by Rothesay Regional Police after calling them about a man who was wandering along the highway in just his pajamas. 

As it turns out, the man lives in Quispamsis and is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. 

Police say he managed to leave his home without other family members being aware but is back safe and sound having suffering no lasting effects from the cold.

Pension Task Force To Report Tonight

We should find out tonight what changes will be needed to fix the city's financially strapped pension plan as Common Council will be hearing the the pension task force on what changes have to be made to stop the financial bleeding with the city's pension plan. 

The next phase of true growth will also come up for approval complete with presentations from Enterprise Saint John and Waterfront Development. Deputy Mayor Shelly Rinehart wants to get a new comprehensive economic development plan started sooner rather than later. 

Enterprise Saint John and Waterfront Development are also scheduled to give presentations. 

Also on the agenda is the water budget.........Councillors have already been given the recommendation water rates go up next year by 7.4 per cent.

Provincial NDP Say Time Has Come For Public Auto Insurance

Now that it has been revealed drivers in the province have been overcharged for their auto insurance to the tune of 71 million dollars, provincial NDP leader Dominic Cardy says it's time to revisit the 2004 report given to then Premier Bernard Lord on moving to the public system. 

Cardy tells CHSJ News average annual premiums would drop by 20 per cent to just under a thousand dollars and the province would make a couple of million dollars profit each year and the province would make a couple of million dollars profit each year.

Cardy argues public auto systems don't discriminate based on age or gender but set rates according to your driving record.

He charges both the Liberals and Conservatives depend on campaign contributions from the insurance industry and, as such, don't want to rock the boat.

Helicopter Presence Causes Concern Over Water Supply

A group of people, who live by the Loch Lomond water supply, want Common Council to ensure the safety of their water after they've spotted numerous helicopters flying over the lakes.

Dr. Paula Tippett has written a letter to Council concerned these helicopters are carrying geo surveying equipment that could be exploring the possiblity of fracking for shale gas.

Tippett tells CHSJ news the aircraft have been flying over the lakes daily for a couple of weeks. She says the government has told her they're just landing at the airport but Tippett wants to make sure councillors will protect the water supply from any harm.

Council is scheduled to address the letter tonight.