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Monday, December 10, 2012

Police Chief Maintains Violent Crime Isn't Increasing

Police Chief Bill Reid wants Saint Johners to know despite the buzz on the streets, Saint John isn't a dangerous place to live and work. 

He tells CHSJ News a lot of the violent crime we've been seeing are actually just isolated incidents, because we really don't have much in the way of gang activity or turf wars. He says the "one off" crimes are by nature hard to predict.

Still, Reid points out there's been only one murder in 2012 despite a number of suspicious deaths.

Man Sentenced In Brutal North End Death

A 51 year old man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison, minus remand time of almost a year, for killing a 70 year old man in the north end almost a year ago and then setting him on fire.

Stephen Wallace Martin, who has a long criminal record with 35 convictions, 17 for violence, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a brutal attack on Robert Ryan in December of 2011. Ryan's body was found after a fire in his home at 374 Mount Pleasant Avenue North. Martin had been staying there after his release from prison. 

Mr. Justice Hugh McLellen accepted the joint recommendation from the defense and prosecution. 

The court was told Martin had been abusing crack cocaine in the days leading to Ryan's death. He will have to serve half of the sentence before being eligible for parole. 

Martin addressed Ryan's family saying he was sorry for what happened but two of the family members then stormed out of the courtroom. Ryan was beaten to death and then set on fire.

The court was told by the defense that Martin had been abused growing up and lost his temper when he woke up and found Ryan touching him inappropriately. Ryan, though, was described in victim impact statements as kind, thoughtful and generous, who helped people out financially and had an aversion to violence.

Slick Roads Lead To A Few Collisions

Slippery roads in Saint John keeping the fire, police and ambulance services busy today with collisions around the city.

Two crackups on Samuel Davis Drive has police busy directing traffic and one vehicle struck a police cruiser.

One motorist did a 360 turn on the causeway but managed to get out if it allright.
Crews were involved in a rescue on the Peninsula where a woman was trapped in her vehicle.

Our listeners telling us Highway 7 was slick earlier along with roads in Prince of Wales and Musquash.

Homeowners Get LED Light Makeover

Efficiency NB and Saint John Energy teaming up to "Re-Light Saint John" with energy-saving LED Lights.

Tracey Somers of Efficiency NB tells CHSJ News at their first stop today, 200 Mount Pleasant Avenue, they replaced 10 strings of lights.

She says they estimate the homeowners will save $60 this season and potentially $600 if the lights last about 10 years.

Two more homes on Loch Lomond Road and then Chapel Street on the west side will also get the lighting makeover today.

Sentencing Hearing For Martin Today

A 50 year old man is back in court today regarding the death of 70 year old Robert Ryan last December at his Mount Pleasant Avenue North home.

Stephen Wallace Martin plead guilty to manslaughter in court last month.

Ryan's body was found December 20th after a fire at his home.   He died from blunt force trauma to the head and had a broken jaw, two black eyes and other injuries.

Victim impact statements and a pre-sentence report are due to read in court today.

West Side School To Get Visit From A Celebrity Chef

A celebrity chef is coming to town tomorrow and his destination is St. Patrick's School on the west side. Chuck Hughes of the Food Network is coming with a 15 thousand dollar grant as part of the real food campaign.

Hughes tells CHSJ News his mission is to get families and young people to eat less processed foods which use the cheapest ingredients and more fruits and vegetables.

Hughes says the more young people know about real food, the better they enjoy it and sometimes parents are a barrier when they automatically assume their children won't like a certain food. 

He adds there's nothing wrong with chicken fingers but why do they have to be fried.

Fatal Collision Near Sussex

A 29 year old man from Waterborough was killed over the weekend in a highway collision near Sussex. 

The RCMP say alcohol and not wearing a seat belt were factors in the fatality which occurred on Highway 10 in Long Creek when a vehicle travelling east crossed the centre line and hit an oncoming car.

Four other people were injured and taken to hospital including a mother and her two children.

Be Prepared For A Weird Day Of Weather

Snow, freezing rain and then alot of rain coming our way today.

Jean-Marc Couturier of Environment Canada tells CHSJ News you can expect a burst of snow beginning around 9 this morning which will last from two to three hours with 5 centimeters expected in Saint John and up to ten the further inland you are. The worst of the weather is expected around lunchtime.

This will be followed by some freezing rain and then from 30 to 40 millimeters of rain through tonight with gusty winds.

Couturier says the temperature will be rising to 12 degrees tonight but all that rain will wash away the snow.

Homes Getting A Surprise Lighting Makeover

Some Saint John houses are going to get a holiday makeover.

Efficiency NB and Saint John Energy will surprise and decorate three Saint John homes with LED holiday lighting makeovers this morning to promote the benefits of LED holiday lights which are more energy efficient.

The randomly chosen homes are on Mount Pleasant Avenue out east, Loch Lomond Road and Chapel Street.

Resurrecting Spring Cleanup Won't Be Cheap

Reinstating spring cleanup in the city will cost an estimated 380 thousand dollars next year. That word being delivered in response to a request from Common Council last month about what it would take to bring it back. 

The head of Municipal Operations, Kevin Rice is not staking out a position one way or the other. 

He does say if Council decides to go with it, Rice is recommending it be held later in the year. 

Council is also being told there have been savings this year in solid waste management and even though spring cleanup was popular, some homeowners abused the programme.

Changes Coming At Community Centres And Arenas

It looks like the Somerset Community Centre will be closing down once the new YM-YWCA is up and running in Crescent Valley. 

Discussions are underway according to Parks Manager Micheal Hugenholtz who says community organisations will be taking over the day to day running of community centres.

Hugenholtz says these agreements will spell out what the city expects in terms of programming and hours of operation so taxpayers get value for their money.

There will also be changes coming in what arenas in the city offer during the day, Monday through Friday, because of a lack of demand.

Common Council To Get Draft City Budget Tonight

City Manager Pat Woods will be presenting Common Council with a draft budget for next year and has already said he will not be recommending an increase in the tax rate. 

Common Councillor David Merrithew says it should not be just about cutting back. He would like to see more money spent on roads, vacant and dangerous buildings along with City Transit.

Merrithew also says there are alot of little fixes that could be done to save the city money and he would be disappointed if they weren't followed up on in 2013.

Councillor at Large Shirley McAlary would like more money allocated for roads but also would like the City Manager investigate whether it would be cheaper for some city operations to be moved out of the City Hall building.

Port Welcomes New Road Construction

A new road being constructed on the West side near the Harbour Bridge will be good news for truckers, the Port of Saint John and the Province.

Capt John McCann, VP of Operations at the Port, tells CHSJ News longer loads do not currently have access to the Port.

He says the tolls booths served as a natural barrier that stopped traffic but when the highway was restructured the road was raised up and wide loads cannot go up and make the turn on the new highway system.

McCann says eastbound trucks must drive to Lorneville and turn around but under Phase 2 of the project next year, the fixed medians will be moved allowing the eastbound trucks to swing right in.