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Monday, April 16, 2012

New Tax Credits Can Save You Some Cash

There are some new tax credits this year that you may not be aware of -- that helpful hint from Ann LaFrance with Bren Tax.

She tells CHSJ News there is now an art credit worth 5-hundred dollars per child and can be applied to activities and ballet.

She says other credits people can miss include co-payments to insurance companies, eyeglasses, prescriptions, and dental.

There is also a disability tax credit for those with a long term illness.  If a child is sick, you can also get more child tax benefit.

Cronyism & "Crowbar Hotel" Featured at Ferguson Trial

You blew your chance investigate the pension board. That from lawyer Barry Morrison cross-examining John Ferguson. Ferguson has testified trustee David Gould privately told him the pension board's activities resembled drinking and driving.

Morrison said if Gould did make the comments, "he must have been pretty stupid to admit criminal and civil liability. He wasn't just heading to the crow bar hotel himself, he was sending eleven other people there with him” Ferguson says he saw the drinking and driving comparison as a flippant response and he didn't need to tell council because they already knew the problems.

The pension board lawyer also alluded to cronyism on Ferguson's part, asking, “You and Common Councillor Bill Farren were good buddies, weren't you?” Morrison suggested Ferguson only supported certain motions because of his friendship with Farren even when he knew they made no sense.

Wash and Cook Fiddleheads Thoroughly

The Chief Medical Officer of health wants you to make sure you wash your fiddleheads and cook them long enough.

Dr. Eilish Cleary tells CHSJ News it is unknown exactly what causes this temporary illness caused by fiddleheads but, Health Canada believes that it is most likely the result of an unidentified natural toxin present in the fiddlehead.

Cleary adds symptoms of illness appear within 30 minutes to 12 hours of eating raw or undercooked fiddleheads and typically last for less than 24 hours but may last as long as three days. 
Symptoms may include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and headaches.

Fiddleheads can be boiled for 15 minutes or steamed for 10 to 12 minutes and the water used for boiling or steaming fiddleheads should be thrown out as it may contain the toxin.

For more more info: Click here

Old West Side Co-Op Building Demolished

The Old West Side Co-Op building on Fairville Boulevard has been knocked down to make way for a new business-Princess Auto.

New Citizen Excited To Vote

Meanwhile, Alexy Guerrero will be a first time voter in the upcoming election.

She tells CHSJ News she is from Columbia and received her citizenship back in January.

She is looking forward to exercising her right as a new citizen and wants to elect someone who will work for the community.

She says voting will help get her involved in the community.

Priority Neighbourhood Voters Will Get Help On Election Day

The Saint John Votes committee wants residents in the priority neighbourhoods to come out and vote in the upcoming municipal election.

Brenda Murphy is the Chair of SJ Votes and she tells CHSJ News elected officials may not give those neighbourhoods the attention it deserves if the turnout is low.

She says voter turnout improves in those neighbourhoods, it sends a strong message that residents are engaged and want to see public officials respond to their needs.

SJ Votes will help get people out to the ballot box by helping arrange transportation and child care on election day.

She says full details will be released in the coming weeks.

Saint Johner Nabs ECMA for Best Gospel

At the ECMAS, local boy Mike Biggar scoring Gospel Recording of the Year for his Christmas record, The Season, which came out last year.

Biggar tells CHSJ News he loves his hometown and it's a privilege to represent Saint John in the music scene. He cites Chris Cummings (who does a duet with Biggar on his next record) and Dean Brody as some of his favourite local country stars, although he's also a fan of Journey and Foreigner.

Biggar is working on a country album with his band, The Big Country Breakfast to be released in June. He says he's glad the ECMAs have rolled out a country music showcase because country is such a big part of life in the Maritimes.

For more information on Mike Biggar's music, visit his site here.

Greenthumbs Can Prepare Now

The green thumbs in greater Saint Johner are itching to get planting now that spring has sprung but it's a little early for that.

Peter Cantley is the Vice-President of Floral and Gardening for the Loblaw group--parent company for the Superstore and Save Easy.  He tells CHSJ News there are things eager gardeners can do now.

He says as soon as you can get on your lawn without leaving a footprint due to moisture, gardeners can start with light raking to get the grass to stand up and remove debris.

He says often people use this time of year to enhance the soil by mixing manure and compost into their flower beds to get them ready for planting.

Ferguson Tells Court Pension Board Prompted Him To Move Away

Former Common Councillor John Ferguson has begun to be cross examined at his defamation trial.

Ferguson told the court he knew it was a long shot when he ran for Mayor in 2008 but felt a weight being lifted off his shoulders when he lost because of the pension plan's financial problems. 

The court was also told the Pension Board put a lien on Ferguson's home in the city and that's why he and his wife decided to move away. He's now the Town Manager in St. Stephen.

The lawyer for the Pension Board began his cross examination of Ferguson by questioning him about his math skills, asking him to multiply 52 times 11 and accused him of craving attention.

Lawyer Barry Morrison questioned Ferguson about the Free Ferguson tee shirt making the rounds and about rallies being held in his support. Ferguson testified he has no knowledge of either and denies being a publicity hound.

He also told the court no one asked him to serve on the Pension Board. Morrison accused Ferguson of wanting to set up a shadow pension board.

National Volunteer Appreciation Week

Volunteers getting some love for their hard work: April 15-21 is national volunteer appreciation week.

Eileen McLaughlin of the Saint John Volunteer Center tells CHSJ News it doesn't take much to show your appreciation--simply a letter of appreciation can say a lot.

Various organizations are holding luncheons and awards ceremonies to mark the observance. According to McLaughlin, tens of thousands of New Brunswickers give back to the community as volunteers.

Manley To Speak At CMHA Fundraiser

Olympic silver medalist Elizabeth Manley will detail her battle with depression at the "A Day In Her Shoes" fundraiser.

Dawn O'Dell, Executive Director for the Saint John chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association, tells CHSJ News the event is working to erase that stigma still attached to mental illness.

She says since it began 5 years ago they have met many people in the community who have come forward seeking assistance with mental health so it is working to break down those barriers.

"A Day In Her Shoes" is coming up May 9th in the Market Square atrium.
For more info, click here

John Ferguson Defamation Trial

Warning To Drivers About Delays

Starting today, there will be traffic delays at the Fox Farm Road Overpass. This is in the area of Exit 133, which is the exit to and from Rothesay. 

Barrier walls will be removed from the overpass and replaced, with work scheduled to conclude on June 15th of this year.

Construction will be taking place from Monday through Saturday.

Mulcair Speaks Out On Pipeline Idea

Construction of a pipeline to bring oil from Alberta to Saint John getting the thumbs up from Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair who made a stop in the city over the weekend to speak to the provincial party's convention. 

Mulcair says right now people in this part of the country are paying more than they should for oil and we're losing out on tens of thousands of jobs.
On the other hand,Mulcair has come out against hydraulic fracturing which comes with shale gas exploration.

The Conservation Council of New Brunswick is opposed to the idea of the pipeline.

Alward Government Accused Of Bowing To Wishes Of Big Business

It's no secret Enbridge Gas is not happy with proposed changes to the natural gas regulations being proposed by the Alward Government which has been seeking public feedback. 

Enbridge General Manager Dave Charleson tells CHSJ News it appears the province is caving in to the demands of the big users.
Both Ganongs and J-D Irving have been saying what they pay for natural gas places them at a competitive disadvantage.

While conceding the price of natural gas is too high for his liking, Charleson points out they're still paying less than if they had to use oil.

Rothesay Makes Commitment To Curbside Recycling

Rothesay wants to institute curbside recycling next year.

Mayor Bill Bishop concedes the province isn't willing just yet to fully fund it but he tells CHSJ News the cost isn't much money than it is now.

Bishop claims it would be better for the environment because more people, especially seniors, would likely get into recycling if it were made more convenient.

Town Councillor Scott Cochrane is reluctant to make a firm commitment now because he doesn't want to tie the hands of the incoming Council.