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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

St. Patrick's Students Cook With Celeb Chef

Students in the St. Patrick's school cooking club learning from a pro--celebrity chef Chuck Hughes.

The school won a $15,000 grant from the Hellman's Real Food Movement and used the money to makeover their kitchen.

Chef Hughes was in the City today and spent time with the students cooking chicken fingers and guacamole.

He says everywhere he goes in this country in a group of five students, one will become the chef.
Hughes adds when the kids cook together they are talking and sharing lunch but they are also communicating on another level which is a gift for life.

Community School Co-ordinator Krista Turnbull tells CHSJ News the kitchen reno last month would not have been possible without the help of their PALS partner Irving Tissue.

School District Superintendent Zoe Watson says it's fun to stand back and watch the kids in their chef's hats and aprons adding it's a positive day for everybody. 

To learn more about the Hellmann's Real Food Movement grant program, click here 


Rothesay Delivers 2013 Budget

The tax rate will stay at $1.19 for Rothesay's 2013 budget.

Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop tells CHSJ news losing about $100,000 dollars or 25% from the province didn't affect the budget. 

Just under $2 million will be spent to improve roads and sidewalks while half a million will be used to improve storm sewers and drainage. 

The water rate will remain the same but the sewage rate will cost an extra $15 a year due to higher training costs and manhole repairs. The budget also includes the purchase of a new $141,000 truck to plow the streets. 

Rothesay Common will see major improvements with drainage, a stage, washrooms and an ice chiller. 

Recreation upgrades will also include improvements to the Hillside trail and bike lanes. $2 million being spent for design costs towards a multipurpose recreation complex.

Bishop says the $1.19 tax rate includes garbage collection which other towns have to pay for.

PRO Kids Sponsors Recognized

The Mayor hosting a reception to thank the many sponsors of PRO Kids that help children between Grand Bay Westfield, Saint John, Rothesay and Quispamis play in lots of ways.

PRO KIDs chair Kathryn Davison tells CHSJ News the kids on their waiting list have wide ranging interests.

She says dance, cheerleading, guitar and piano lessons are popular in addition to sports.

Davison says PRO kids was placing 200 kids a decade ago and last year they reached 1100 children looking for placement in recreation activities. 

In addition to needing more sponsors and volunteers, Davison says she would love to see PRO Kids manager Tammy Desaulniers get some help even if it was part time.

Federal Minister Strongly Supports West To East Pipeline

The Federal Minister of Natural Resources is in favour of a west to east oil pipeline, saying it's in Canada's national interests.

Joe Oliver, speaking at the Irving Oil Refinery today, says a pipeline to Saint John would provide cheaper crude oil and the port is a critical hub for oil, gas and other resource products.

According to Oliver, 99% of Canadian crude oil exports and 100% of natural gas goes to the United States but we need to diversify our markets by exporting to new locations.The U.S. reportedly will be self sufficient in oil and natural gas production by 2020.

Oliver says Saint John is the perfect supply route for countries like India and this will create employment.

Provincial Healthcare Graded

The provincial healthcare system is getting a grade of "C" from the New Brunswick Health Council in its latest report card, which is the same as last year.

The C-E-O of the Health Council Stephane Robichaud tells CHSJ News the provincial healthcare system is very good at acute care when your life is on the line but less so when it comes to managing chronic conditions and then there's getting in to see your family doctor.

Robichaud says some patients are also waiting longer for some surgeries including hip fractures and knee replacements.

Fire Union President Warns City Is Playing With Fire

The fire department is facing a cut of half a million dollars in next year's budget and the President of the Saint John Firefighters Association is speaking out against that prospect.

Paul Stackhouse says the city appears to be targeting firefighters. He suspects it's because of the recent arbitration decision which gave them raises although it was the city whcih opted for arbitration.

Stackhouse claims the number of firefighters in the city is way below what's required to provide adequate coverage and he has no idea how Fire Chief Kevin Clifford will be able to cut 500 thousand dollars without eliminating more jobs.

Fatality Victim Near Sussex Identified

The 29 year old man who died in a head on collision last weekend on Highway 10 near Sussex has been identified as Jeremiah Greenwood of Waterborough.

The RCMP have determined Greenwood crossed the centre line while going eastbound at Long Creek and crashed into an oncoming car. A mother and her two children were taken to hospital.

Alcohol and not wearing a seat belt are seen as contributing to the collision and Greenwood's death. 

North End Fire Forces People From Their Apartments

Fire crews called out last night around 9:30 to a blaze at 126 Main Street North.

Platoon Chief Peter Saab says the fire began in a ground floor apartment of the large three storey building and was contained there but firefighters had to overcome heavy smoke and flames.

All six apartments in the building were occupied and from 10 to 15 people had to find another place to live for awhile because the electrical system was damaged in the fire but there were no injuries.

(Photo Courtesy Of Doug Epton)

Public Hearing Angers Rothesay Residents

A large group of Rothesay residents walking home furious from Town Hall after losing their fight to stop a by-law that will see a new apartment building at 11-13 Sierra Avenue.

Their objections were heard at a public meeting for a proposed 15 unit, high quality apartment building with 24 parking spaces. The Public Advisory Committee was not in favour of the project but after council heard from both the public and developer it voted to put it through for a final decision with one Councillor against.

Resident Diane Riley says she feels sold out for taxes and council's decision has put "a nail in her coffin." She fears the apartment complex will be too close to their homes, bring too much noise and car headlights will shine in her windows.

Gary Corscadden says the apartments will decrease their property values and create too much traffic on their street that's 1/2 a kilometer long.

Developer Stephen Perry, from Brunswick Enginering and Consulting, explained to council they would build a barrier fence to block any headlights that would bug residents. 

When it comes to worrying about flooding, Perry says they have a storm water management plan and will put in a stormceptor to remove pollutants. 

Perry tells CHSJ news it's unfortunate residents are upset but with other apartments nearby it's not a detriment to the area. He says the building will also create 70 new jobs.

Mayor Bill Bishop tells CHSJ news when the P-A-C voted the proposal down it was because it didn't have answers to noise and flooding issues, which was addressed in the meeting. Bishop admits there was deviation to the municipal plan, but says as things develop the town must have the ability to make changes. He says it's not too much of a deviation, since the area is not zoned as a single family location but as a residential, duplex, multi-housing area. 

The final decision will be made at the next Rothesay council meeting on January 14th.

2013 Budget Could Look Better Than Last Year

Things are now moving along quickly as the Mayor and the rest of Common Council work to cobble together the city's 2013 budget.

A draft budget was discussed which depends on both pension reform and the deferral of pension payments. If both are successful, roughly 4.3 million dollars in funds would be freed up to bring back city services reduced by the previous Council. Mayor Mel Norton tells CHSJ News it's a better picture than last year when many core city services were slashed to the outrage of many Saint Johnners.

The fire department isn't so pleased with a propsed cut of half a million dollars. City Transit would get a 1.2 million dollar boost and roads remain the number one priority. 

City Manager Pat Woods says creating a better city for people is essential, because even the best infrastructure in the world doesn't make Saint John a vibrant, thriving community.

Council meets again Thursday to see whether it's satisfied with a Memorandum of Understanding which outlines the potential future direction of the pension plan. The budget could be finalized as soon as next week.

We do know what you'll be paying for your water next year and it won't be as much as proposed by Saint John Water. There will be an increase of 3.7 per cent, half of what was on the table, and the flat rate will be increasing next year by 36 dollars.