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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Local Tech Companies Get Major Investment Dollars

Three emerging Saint John tech companies getting 1.75 million dollars worth of investment money from a venture fund.

Enovex Technology Ltd. develops gas separation materials and received 1.1 million dollars.

CEO Scott Walton tells CHSJ News the support he got from fellow New Brunswick investors and entrepreneurs was critical to his company landing the investment dollars.

He says people from other countries are envious of the kind of advisors that New Brunswick entrepreneurs get access to.

He adds Saint John is a hidden jewel for the tech industry as we have the ideas and the people to make it grow.

Spinzo Corporation secured 400-thousand dollars to launch it's e-commerce platform and MedRunner Health Solutions Inc. received 250-thousand dollars to develop and deploy electronic prescription solutions.

Police Are Looking For Man In Attempted Robbery

City police still in the hunt of a man who tried to rob a Millidge Avenue store earlier today.

Just before 1pm police got the call of a man in his 20's demanding cash at the Friendly's convenience store with a weapon and then taking off when the clerk refused to give him any.

The canine unit was brought in and a search continues in the area.

Police Arrest Couple After 12 Uptown Car Break-Ins

A man and a woman in their 20's are facing charges after more than a dozen thefts from vehicles uptown.
The pair arrested yesterday after a series of thefts from cars uptown including three parked on Duke Street, Queen Square and Horsfield street on Monday.

Sgt. Glen Hayward tells CHSJ News the thefts began on the weekend.
27-year-old James Ewart made a court appearance yesterday and is being held in custody before another date with a judge on Thursday.

His 23-year-old girlfriend who also faces charges was released on strict conditions.

Former Provincial Cabinet Minister Contemplating Leadership Run

Former Provincial Cabinet Minister Kelly Lamrock calls himself a prospective Liberal leadership candidate while maintaining he hasn't made up his mind yet whether or not to run.

Lamrock has released some proposals to create jobs including a "One More Job" summit to help each of the province's 26 thousand small businesses add one more job.

Lamrock tells CHSJ News the previous Liberal Government, of which he was a member, got into trouble when it did such things as reducing taxes on the rich when it didn't make any financial sense to do so and attempting to sell NB Power, a public utility.

Despite that, Lamrock says he's proud of the role he played in reducing poverty and raising the literacy rate to 90 per cent from the lowest in the country.

Police Association Says Too Many Tax Dollars Are Leaving Saint John

The city is having a tough time finalising its 2012 budget and there's growing controversy over proposed cuts. Bob Davidson of the Saint John Police Association points out 17 million dollars in tax money collected in the city is taken out by the province.

He points out while taxpayers in the city, Rothesay and Quispamsis pay the full cost of policing, other commmunities such as Grand Bay-Westfield and Hampton along with the local service districts are subsidised by the province.

Davidson calls that insulting to the people who foot the entire bill and should be stopped.

Weston Hosts Pre-Budget Consultations

The Saint John MP is hearing from regional mayors and businesses to get their input on what should or shouldn't be included in the federal budget.
Rodney Weston says one clear message he's hearing is that no one wants any cuts to program funding at ACOA.

Weston tells us the efficiencies government must find in this budget will not impact the water project for Saint John.

He says the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance have said that governments are always going to invest in infrastructure and he says that's something they have always worked to ensure.

Weston expects job cuts at the federal level as the government can't continue to grow the way it has.

Traffic Lights Down On Busy City Street

The traffic lights at one of the busier spots for traffic in the city ...... Rothesay Avenue and Russell Street........ are out of commission until further notice because of a traffic accident which took place over the weekend. 

The city tells us extensive repairs are needed so there's no word on when they'll be back working again.

For the interim, there's a stop sign at Russell Street to make clear the drivers travelling down Rothesay Avenue have the right of way.

The city also advising drivers to avoid that area if they can.

Firefighters Union Packs Council Chambers

Meanwhile, the council chambers were packed with over 50 firefighters. 

They were there to oppose cuts to the fire budget that will result in the loss of a truck and 8 to 24 employees.

Paul Stackhouse is the President of the Fire Fighters Association.  He believes the delay on the budget is due in part to the publicity the firefighters union has been causing over the cuts.

He hopes council will reconsider the cuts after the union spelled out the risks like longer response times.

Stackhouse says the union will continue to raise awareness on this issue and are planning another rally when council meets on Saturday.

City Budget Delayed Again

Common Council deciding once again to not approve the 2012 budget.

Council had planned to approve the budget in a special public meeting last night but left city hall after the private portion of the meeting wrapped up.

Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase tells CHSJ News council was still not ready to sign off on a 143 million dollar budget or an alternate one that is short 9 million dollars based on the province not approving pension reforms.

He says the city manager outlined a series of program cuts, like to ballparks and skating rinks, but council wanted more time to determine what the right course of action is.

He adds he wanted to have an open session of council last night so that the public could see where potential cuts would be.

Council will be holding another private meeting this Saturday morning at 9 at city hall.