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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

MBS Strikers Called To Mediation

After nearly three months of strike action at MBS Radio in Saint John, the two sides have been called to a meeting by a federal mediator. The meeting will take place  September 13 in Halifax.

The last time the two sides met was on June 19, less than a week before employees at those 3 stations walked off the job. The bargaining committee is seeking a fair first agreement for the seven striking members.

No MMA In Saint John Until At Least 2013

Mixed martial arts fans aren't going to like this news...there's not much chance that a MMA event will be hosted in Saint John before next year.

David Nicholson of the LBR tells CHSJ News he has nothing at all against the sport, but they're putting the ice in the rink soon and it will be April 2013 before they can consider non-ice events again.

There had been an MMA event booked at the rink for later this month, but as the legal snafu about the sport has continued, the LBR has opted to re-book the date for a different event.

Provinces Wants To Reduce Property Tax Rates For Some

The province says it will reduce property tax rates for businesses and people owning rental properties and cottages. 
Local Government Minister Bruce Fitch says other proposed changes include protection against large spikes in assessments. Fitch says he expects apartment dwellers will benefit from a reduction in the provincial tax on rental properties. 

Willy Scholten of the New Brunswick Apartment Owners Association says it's to early to say if that will mean lower rents.

He says up until this point property taxes represent 50 per cent of their expenses so if the tax rates are being decreased that should have an impact on rents.

Fitch says a new cost-sharing model will ensure the cost of R-C-M-P services is also shared more fairly. The changes require new legislation, which is expected during the next session of the legislature.

All-Ages Venue Raises Big Bucks For SPCA

Spotlight is a brand-new all-ages venue in the South End...and the young people behind it have already organized a successful fundraiser for the SPCA. Spotlight's Dustin Melvin tells CHSJ News their 12 hour fundraiser which included live music and fire dancers managed to raise nearly $4000 for the beleaguered organization and brought out the community in the process.

Spotlight intends to host art installations, live music, a recording studio, and a wide range of other events for kids of all ages.

To visit their Facebook group, click here

VIDEO: Hospital Home Lottery Opens Its Doors

The doors are open to your new dream home.

The Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation announcing the launch of their fifth annual Hospital Home Lottery.

The new 3,000 square feet home is located in Rothesay and worth over $775,000. Tim Cameron, CEO of the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation, tells CHSJ news they hope to raise more than a million dollars to support programing and equipment. He says a lot of the money is saved for when doctors need a specific piece of equipment, but the funds have also supported stem cell transportation programs, lab equipment to speed up investigations of infections, and for heart lung machines.

Patrick Oland, Chair of Hospital Foundation Saint John Regional, tells CHSJ news they believe this years house and prizes are better than ever. He says every year they want to learn more of what people want to win.

Tim Cameron suggests getting tickets early since they sold out within six weeks last year.

To find information on prizes and tickets for the Hospital Home Lottery, click here.

Some Think Refurbishing North End Center Is Irresponsible

The North End Community center might be in Susan Fullerton's Ward...but that doesn't mean she supports the city committing to Phase 1 of a 3 million dollar refurbishment project.

 Fullerton tells CHSJ News it's a worthwhile project, but seeing as the city hasn't even started on the next budget it's foolhardy to go ahead and commit the money.

Fullerton says there are worthwhile projects all over the city including the center, but she ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility and she's sticking to that.

City Police Officer Launches Court Appeal

An appeal has been filed in the New Brunswick Court of Appeal to overturn the guilty verdict in the trial of City Police officer Chris Messer.

Constable Messer was found guilty of engaging in threatening conduct and common assault after his house on Westfield Road was broken into.

Mr. Justice Hugh McLellen found Messer guilty based on his own testimony because his accusers lacked credibility.

Even without the appeal, Police Chief Bill Reid says a long legal process still remains even after the verdict to determine whether Messer will remain with the Saint John Police Department. He has been released from jail pending the outcome of his appeal.

Messer's lawyer, Brian Munro says several grounds are being cited to the Court of Appeal for overturning the verdicts.

Homeless Women's Shelter Gets Federal Money

The homeless shelter for women on Waterloo Street, Coverdale Centre is receiving 35 thousand dollars in funding from the federal government.

Coverdale Director Crystal Scott says there has been an increase in the number of homeless women seeking help.

More than 80 women came to the shelter last year and she also notices they appear to be getting younger.

Scott warns there's alot of addiction on the streets and it's a tough slog transitioning women who are homeless to independent living and they need alot of continual support along the way.

Coverdale will try to help women even if they're not ready to give up their addictions but they can only stay at the shelter for up to 90 days.

Scott does say there have been success stories with women who have been on the streets getting back on their feet again and reconnecting with their children who had been taken into care.

West Side Walmart Not Opening Today

Contrary to some media reports, the new Walmart location at Lancaster Mall is not opening today.

CHSJ News has confirmed with the management of Lancaster Mall that while workers have been in and out of the doors, the new location is still being prepared for its grand opening.

A spokesperson from Walmart could open confirm the store will open sometime this fall: no specific date has been set.

Regionalisation A Hot Topic At Forum

Liberal leadership candidates Nick Duivenvoorden, Brian Gallant and Michael Murphy gathering at the Delta last night to engage with voters and get across their platforms on hot button issues like healthcare and jobs.  Another major issue is the prospect of greater regionalisation. The candidates tell CHSJ news what they've been hearing from voters--and what they don't want to see.

Nick Duivenvoorden tells CHSJ News the province should take a laissez-faire approach, like a priest officiating a marriage: help the municipalities make the decisions, then bow out.

But Mike Murphy sees regionalisation as "massively undemocratic" because the representatives wouldn't be elected but would have a budget taxed by the province.

Brian Gallant says people he's talked to are concerned about losing their regional identities and how representation would work on the ground.
Gallant is a lawyer and president of the Kent South Liberal Association, Murphy was formerly MLA for Moncton North and a cabinet minister under Shawn Graham, and Duivenvoorden was formerly mayor of Belldune. The election is next month.

West Siders Voice Concerns About Roads, Water & Fire

By popular vote, roads, fire, and water are all areas that need improvement according to Saint Johner's on the west side.

The first ward meeting on the west side had people who discuss and vote on where to focus the 2013 city budget.

Don Leamen and Michael Costello both said the issues that were brought to light were no surprise to them.

Todd MacDonald leads the study group Performance Concepts, hired by the city to conduct the survey. He tells CHSJ news the results were clear.......People want to make sure they're getting good value for every dollar spent.

Ward 1 Councillors Greg Norton and Bill Farren both agreed seeing fire protection as a budget concern was a surprise but now the difficult part is focusing and finding what specific changes need to be made.

Farren says he saw a couple differences from what people wanted from when he ran for council. He said when campaigning door to door, people were concerned about safe drinking water and better recreation, whereas at the meeting, roads and the fire department were more prominent.

Norton says the survey provides an unbiased approach to the future budget.

The next ward meeting is tonight at Lorne Middle School starting at 6:00.

Messer Is Suspended Without Pay

Chris Messer is in jail and suspended without pay.

The Saint John police officer was convicted last week of engaging in threatening conduct and common assault after a break-in at his home.

Police Chief Bill Reid says police officers and civllians have the right to assist in their own investigation.

But, he adds to go and act on your own outside of that network is inappropriate and the judge has obviously commented on that.

Reid says the incident is very unfortunate and something they take very seriously. 

Fire Fighters Honour Their Own

City fire fighters parading last night to honour their own killed in the line of duty - and - those emergency personnel who fell victim to the terrorist attacks in the U-S eleven years ago yesterday.
Local fire fighters were joined by others from around the province and Nova Scotia for last night's parade and memorial service at the fire fighters monument in King's Square.