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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Timepiece is Back

It's been dried out, sanded, painted and reinforced and now the Market Square Timepiece is standing proud once again. The statue, built by local artist John Hooper in 1983, needed some major repairs.

Cultural affairs officer Bernard Cormier tells CHSJ News it was regularly scheduled maintenance that needs to happen every 14 years as the statue is constantly exposed to the elements. The word was undertaken by woodworker Darren Byers, original concept designer Jack Massey, and Kathy Hooper-- the wife of the Late John Hooper, who helped paint the statue along with her daughter Sue.

The restoration is almost complete and timepiece is looking visibly brighter and refreshed just in time for cruise ship season. The only remaining step is replacing the famous figures at their places on the bench.

Irving Oil Refinery Reaches Safety Milestone

Since it began operations in 1960, the Irving Oil Refinery achieving 365 days without a lost time injury.
That means Refinery employees have exceeded 3.5 million workforce hours without a LTI making the Refinery an industry leader in safety performance. 
General Manager Mark Sherman tells CHSJ News they are following these practices so people can return to their loved ones everyday in the same condition as they went to work.

He says it's unacceptable to hurt people just because they are going work.   He says its cultural shift not only for Irving Oil but for society in general when years ago it was common for people to be injured or even to see fatalities at work.

Sherman says the results are because of a shift in thinking where safety becomes a core value and factors into everything.

Blaney Cites Personal Reasons For Resignation

Citing personal reasons, a longtime Rothesay MLA is leaving the political fray to lead Effiency NB.

Margaret-Ann Blaney will resign as Energy Minister on the 25th and begin her new job early next month.
She tells CHSJ News she is now a single mom and needs to give more time to her family.

She says she didn't feel she was doing justice to being a good mom or in her work.

Blaney tells us politics was the career of choice for her adding she loved it and will miss it a lot.

Radio Employees Vote for Strike Mandate

A feudal system--that's what chief negotiator Dan Oldfield calls Maritime Broadcasting, with its employees voting unanimously for a strike mandate. They cite salaries capped at $28,500 dollars and mandatory unpaid work time as stumbling blocks. 

Oldfield says the offers they've received have been insulting and the broadcasting company has shown no respect for its staff.

MBS is in a legal strike position at of June 1. If a collective agreement is not reached Oldfield says all 3 MBS-owned stations in Saint John will have to outsource their broadcasts from elsewhere.

President and CEO Of YMCA Visits Saint John

The President and CEO of YMCA Canada making a visit to the Port City.

Scott Haldane speaking at the annual general meeting for the Saint John YM-YWCA and he tells CHSJ News his goal is to grow people's understanding of what the Y actually does.

He says that lack of identity can be problematic when raising money as people are unsure what their money is going to.

He says they're trying to position the Y as more of a cause -- which is strengthing the foundation of the community -- than an institution.

Liberals Says Blaney's Appointment Is A Broken Promise

The interim Liberal Leader says he knew something was up because Margaret-Ann Blaney has only been in the legislature a few times this session.

Victor Boudreau says Blaney's appointment to Efficiency NB is another broken election promise as David Alward said he would hold competitions to find the best person for the job.

Boudreau tells CHSJ News says Provincial NDP Leader Dominic Cardy should be put his money where his mouth is and run in the upcoming by-election in Rothesay instead of making comments on Facebook and Twitter.

Boudreau says Craig Leonard and Bruce Fitch will share the responsibilities for the Department of Energy.

Crime Reduction Must Address Drug Problems, Says Weir

High praise for the Saint John Police force from Elizabeth Weir. She's currently a researcher in residence at UNB looking into crime prevention strategies. Weir says when you deal effectively with drug use, a drop in crime will follow--and that means increasing access to methadone and offering services to the families of drug abusers.

Weir declined to comment on whether budget cuts to the police force have had a effect effect on their performance.

Drop-In Centre At Stone Church Has Closed

A lack of funding, at least for the time being, is forcing the Saint John Chaplaincy Office, which operates a drop-in centre and noonhour meals at the Stone Church, to close.

Fern Bennett is a board member and tells CHSJ News an average of about a hundred people were getting meals, Monday through Friday but according to Bennett, what's really sad is the loss of community because the drop-in centre was a place people who are already having a tough time could find a safe haven.

She's hoping the closure is only temporary and those people in the city, who can afford to, will step up to the plate and help with funding.

NB Trying New Strategies to Stamp Out Bullying

New Brunswick getting a nod from a national anti-bullying organization for its new comprehensive strategy to deal with bullying. Rob Frenette of Bullying Canada says new anti-bullying coordinators will help schools develop better policies to deal with bullying.

Under the new policy all incidents of bullying will need to be reported to the superintendent, which was not previously the case.

Frenette says while it's a positive step stamping out bullying remains a complex issue.

Blaney Will Resign As Energy Minister

Margaret Ann Blaney is leaving politics to lead Efficiency NB.     The premier announcing that Blaney will resign as Energy Minister on the 25th.   She will take over as President and CEO of Efficiency NB on June 4th.

Blaney has been largely absent from the political scene since becoming Energy Minister earlier this year in a minor shuffle.
Prior to that, she was the Environment Minister.    She has been in political life since 1999.

Blaney's exit will necessitate a byelection in Rothesay to fill the seat.

Roofing Work Gets A Bit Too Hot

Roofing work was being done when a fire broke out on the second floor of a three storey building at 49 Adelaide Street. 

District Chief Joe Armstrong says the fire didn't spread from an outside wall on the second floor and the lone person inside left the building safely. 

A short time later they were called to the intersection of Somerset Street and Paradise Row where a man was hit by a car and taken to hospital with what turned out to be minor injuries.
Earlier in the day, a car left Loch Lomand Road by the Irving Oil Refinery but the driver wasn't injured.

Fundy Linen Employees Hold Protest Over Possible Job Losses

Fundy Linen employees making some noise over possible job losses -- about 25 of them protesting outside of St. Joseph's hospital because Horizon Health Network wants to use disposable linen instead of reusable ones.

Union president Gisele St. Pierre tells CHSJ News the employees plan to protest once a week at various locations, including city hall.

The provincial health department has the final say but no word yet on date.  Such a change would put 19 people out of work in Saint John.

She says the union is also trying to arrange meetings with the both the Environment and Health minister.

McAlary Wants Finances To Be The Early Focus

Councillor-At-Large Shirley McAlary is thrilled to be back in council chambers.

McAlary previously served as mayor of Saint John.

McAlary tells CHSJ News her focus right away will be the city budget, which includes dealing with the beleaguered pension plan.

She believes the first 9 months of the new council's term should be focused on city coffers. 
She adds the city should have adequate services given our operating budget is 144 million dollars.

SJ Chief Talks About Decriminalizing Drugs

Police, academics, and volunteers gathering to discuss drug abuse in Saint John at a panel called Drugs in the City. Police Chief Bill Reid talked about the benefits of intelligence-led policing, which analyses future risks to fight crime. Reid tells CHSJ News there's a lot of evidence to support crime will be reduced if we moved toward decriminalizing certain types of drug use--especially marijuana.

But, Reid said, he's not sure of the time frame and he's also not sure whether more serious steps like safe injection sites are right for Saint John. Other speakers included Bioethics professor Dr Tim Christie and Don McPherson, Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition.