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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ferguson Doesn't Back Down At Defamation Trial

Former Common Councillor John Ferguson testifies at his defamation trial about the infamous conversation he had with a Pension Board member about disability after the Mayor's breakfast at the City Market.

Ferguson says he asked David Gould, the former President of the outside workers union and then Pension Board trustee about the high expense of disability. Ferguson told the jury Gould explained when workers who were on sick leave and approaching retirement, they were boarded. He asked if it was illegal and Gould told him it was but compared it to drinking and driving but people do it everyday.
Ferguson also testified Common Council didn't know what to do about the pension plan's deficit in 2005 and it was always suggested taxpayers would have to pay but he did not have confidence in senior city staff who were on the Pension Board because of the conflict of interest and their own admission of not being experts on pensions.

Ferguson revealed he got legal advice from lawyer Arthur Doyle, who specialises in securities, and also heard from the President of the Saint John Construction Association Pat Darrah.
 It was after what they told him that Ferguson made the statement about there being damning evidence of gross negligence which he still stands buy. He also stands by his claim the Pension Board walked away from recovering money through the misapplication of disability and Common Council simply didn't have enough information.

Nominations Fast And Furious At Elections NB

Expect a flurry of activity at the Elections NB office as the deadline for nominations approaches in the May vote.

Paul Harpelle tells CHSJ News they have over 800 nominations so far in the province and over the last few days, hundreds have been filed.

He adds back in 2008, over 300 nominations were filed in the last two days adding a lot of people wait until the last moment in order to size up the competition.

The deadline is tomorrow afternoon 2pm.

Biggar May Bring Home ECMA Hardware

A Saint John entertainer will be busy with several performances around Moncton for this weekend's East Coast Music Awards.

Mike Biggar tells CHSJ News he is nominated in the Gospel Recording of the Year category.

He says it's for his Christmas record "The Season" that came out last year.

He tells us he is unveiling his new band the Big Country Breakfast at some of the performances this weekend and performing with Matt Anderson.

Tonight at 6, Biggar takes the stage at the Music New Brunswick showcase at the Tide and Bore.  At 9 tonight, he plays the ECMA members lounge in the Delta.

Tomorrow night, Mike Biggar and the Big Country Breakfast play the Country music showcase at the Manhattan.

Dental Society Say Province Is Stalling Contract Talks

The New Brunswick Dental Society is firing back at the Social Development Minister.

Sue Stutlz recently put the blame on dentists for holding up services for the poor due to stalled contract negotiations between dentists and province -- people on social assistance get subsidized dental care but dentists says reimbursement rates need to go up due to increase costs.

Dental Society President Dr. Kent Orlando tells CHSJ News the 70 percent reimbursement rate is unsustainable and they want the rate to increase to 85 percent.

He says the group has been trying to negotiate new contract for over a year and it is up to the province to figure out what it wants to provide to its clients.  He says it's the government that is stalling the process.

He adds no dentist wants to see a patient in pain and while there is no contract at the moment, dental work is being done.  However, payments are handled between the province and the client.

Fullerton Running In Ward 2

She's not political but she's so frustrated and furious she's running in Ward 2 to make a difference.

Business owner Susan Fullerton tells CHSJ News the City must immediately cancel spending on public art.

She says the City is spending its money like drunken sailors adding if you can't afford to buy bread and milk then you can't afford to buy art.

Fullerton says common council needs to have a backbone adding she doesn't think people really understand the level of mess that Saint John is in.

Campaign Launched To Remake Playground In Rothesay

A new playground at Rothesay Elementary School won't come cheap.

The estimated cost exceeds 626 thousand dollars for what is being called a natural playground that bears a striking resemblance to a park.

Amanda Fowlie of the Playground Committee tells CHSJ News there are more benefits for the children with such a setting which allows them to better use their imaginations. She's also making the claim it will reduce or even eliminate bullying.

Fowlie says the goal is to make it a community playground but she concedes there is not a lot of funding available from School District 6 because of the tight budgets these days.
She has been told by Rothesay Town Council to first approach Rothesay M-L-A and cabinet minister Margaret Ann Blaney to see what she has to say.

John Ferguson Defamation Trial

Entrace And Parking At Regional Hospital To Return to Original Locations

With the completion of the new emergency department, the main entrance and the parking lot at the Regional Hospital will be returning to its old locations.

The entrance will now be located off Tucker Park Road and the parking lot will also be returning to the front of the main entrance.

The change over will be finalized on April 15th.

Drivers Who Have To Fill Up Get A Price Break

For a change, there has been a drop in gas prices after the weekly setting. 

Self serve regular in the city is now being sold for $1.38.3 a litre, a drop of just over one and a half cents but diesel has gone down by over two cents a litre to an even $1.36. 

Heating oil also declining by a couple of cents to $1.19.4 a litre and the listed price for propane is virtually unchanged at $1.04.8 a litre.

Anti-Homophobic Policies Needed In Schools

While bullying at school has been in the spotlight lately, a specific kind of bullying also needs to be dealt with according to one educator.

Shawn Corey is the co-founder of Pride in Education, which is calling for anti-homophobic policies and education programs to be adopted in New Brunswick Schools.

He says regular anti-bullying initiatives just don't cut it because suicide is the leading cause of death for sexual-minority youth and they are 7 times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers.

He believes the issue of anti-gay bullying needs to be addressed specifically and School District 10 is the only one in the province to formally adopt anti-homophobia policy.
Corey gave a presentation to the the District 8 Education Council -- it will be writing a letter to the Minister of Education supporting such policies if adopted.