Linked Header

Friday, February 17, 2012

Former Finance Commissioner "Bewildered" By Ferguson's Actions

Former finance commissioner and pension trustee Andrew Beckett putting in more hours on the witness stand.

He's testifying in the defamation lawsuit filed by the city's pension board against former city councillor John Ferguson.

Beckett told the jury that Ferguson never expressed concerns or questions about the handling of the pension plan during several closed door meetings, including one with a legal advisor hired to look into that very issue.

He was bewildered at Ferguson's insistence that questions he had about the plan were never  answered despite having access to pension reports.

Beckett also testified the pension board was looking out for the good of beneficiaries, even going so far as to ask the Superintendent of Pensions to order the city to make payments it had missed.

Beckett will return to the stand Monday morning at 9.

Coon Calls Lepreau License Renewal "Predictable"

The Province's Conservation Council calls the renewal of Point Lepreau's operating license "predictable".

David Coon tells CHSJ News the generating station didn't need a renewal since this process is really just an extension of their existing license.

He says they are not treating this reconstructed rebuilt reactor like anything new which it is.

Coon says they believe the Commission as the national regulator has treated the Lepreau refurbishment like a maintenance outage and as a result the licensing like a formality.

Commission Renews Point Lepreau's Operating License

After a two day public hearing, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission announcing today its decision to renew the operating license issued to NB Power for its Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station for the period between today until June 30th, 2017.

With the decision, the commission revokes the previous operating license and grants NB Power permission to proceed with fuel reload and restart of the reactor.

Irving Agrees To Post As Museum's President

Wellness, Culture and Sport Minister Trevor Holder announcing John Irving is the new president of the New Brunswick Museum accepting a 3-year term earlier this month.

Holder says because of his extensive involvement in heritage-related activities, Irving's leadership will prove invaluable.

Some of the new and re-appointed board members include Blair Borgerson and Richard Burpee of Saint John and former Lieutenant Governor Herménégilde Chiasson.

The province providing 1.2 million dollars to fix up the Douglas Avenue location of the Museum and for other projects.

Rates At Uptown Parking Meters To Increase

It's going to cost you more to use a parking meter in the uptown. The rates will be rising from $1.75 an hour to 2 dollars.

Uptown Saint John General Manager Peter Asimakos tells CHSJ News he doesn't think it keep people away but he calls it "a necessary evil" as the city searches for ways to boost its revenue.

The fines for violations are also going up by 5 dollars but Asimakos points out the rates are not rising in the more than 30 off street parking lots in the uptown area.
He also maintains the rates in Saint John are competitive with other cities around the province as well as Nova Scotia and parkers are not being gouged.

Gillis Says Ferguson Trial Getting Bogged Down

This morning's defamation proceedings against embattled former city councilor John Ferguson getting mired down in quicksand--that according to Ferguson's lawyer, Rod Gillis.

Gillis tells CHSJ News that examining email exchanges, council minutes, and other documents doesn't amount to a hill of beans, because it all comes down to what Ferguson actually said.

The court did see a clip from a 2005 council meeting in which Ferguson likened the pension board's proceedings to Martha Stewart's 2004 legal woes, as well as saying senior legal counsel told him the board had committed gross negligence.

Pension board lawyer Barry Morrison arguing that Ferguson's allegations were false.

Horizon Health Network Not Commenting On Safety Concerns

Horizon Health Network remaining tight-lipped as police investigate the suspicious death of a female patient earlier this week.

Horizon spokesperson Sonya Green-Haché would not comment as to whether families or patients have brought up concerns about safety or if there has been changes to hospital security.

She says the hospital is co-operating with police during its investigation and everything is business as usual for staff and visitors.

Building Evacuated In South End

(Photo courtesy Joe Comeau)
Falling bricks causing the evacuation of a building in the 100-block of Carmarthen Street last night.
Fire and police were called just after the supper hour when bricks fell from the building.
Residents were evacuated until a city building inspector arrived - checked the premises and gave the all clear.
The area in front of the building remained blocked overnight as a precaution.

Cuts Extinguishing Hope for Fire Fighters

Get our firefighters back to work--that from Paul Stackhouse of the Fire Fighter's Association. He tells CHSJ news that, in light of expected cuts to the city budget, they're paying people overtime to man the trucks. 

 He doesn't understand why they can't just bring back some of the 12 holiday relief firefighters who are currently laid off, instead of spending double on overtime.

Stackhouse says at this time of year, they'd normally have 28-32 people working--and the city has let the firefighters down. He says the expected cuts make it a sad day for the city of Saint John.

Salty Awards a Huge Hit

Local tweeps, facebookers and bloggers shut off their computers last night in favour of a a glam gala at the Saint John Ale House. The Salty Awards honour the city's the best and brightest users of social media. 

Sea dogs forward Jonathan Huberdeau was fan favourite for Twitter Person of the Year. Under the username @JonnyHuby11, the young hockey star tweets to almost 16-thousand followers about his life on the ice. 

Huberdeau tells CHSJ news the award was a sweet score.

Piece of Cake Custom Creations, Hemmings House, and others also got nods in categories including Best Blog, Best Facebook Page, and Hottest Youtube.

Check out Jonathan Huberdeau on Twitter at!/jonnyhuby11

Hemmings House's Salty-winning Save the Paramount video is can be watched at

Dogs Set For A Big Game Tonight

All eyes will be on Harbour Station tonight when the Seas Dog game with the Quebec Rempart airs on tv.

Dogs President Wayne Long tells CHSJ News the CHL broadcasts games every Friday night and he calls this game a marquee matchup with two of the best teams in the country.

He says it has Gerald Gallant and Patrick Roy and it's certainly a clash of the titans with two of the best teams in the country.

It's also Country 94 night where fans are encouraged to wear their cowboy boots and cowboy hats and some of our station's personalities will be on hand at the game. The puck drops at 8pm at Harbour Station.

Former City Finance Commissioner Continues Testimony In Trial

Former city finance commissioner and pension board trustee Andrew Beckett with more testimony in the John Ferguson defamation case.

He says the pension board made a presentation to common council about the plan's deficit but Ferguson did not ask any questions or raise any concerns.

Beckett adds the pension board grappled with the difficulty of defining and changing what constituted a total and permanent disability as well as dealing with the unusually high number of claims.

Beckett told the jury he sympathized with the board's medical advisor but trusted his judgement.  He says if the advisor ruled that an employee was permanently disabled, the board would approve the claim.

Beckett is back on the stand today.