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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Another Change In The Works For Municipal Pension Plans

There has already been a major change with the city's pension plan by going with the shared risk model but another big change is in the offing according to Mayor Mel Norton who says it could mean Saint John paying off its pension deficit in 10 years time instead of 15.

Norton tells CHSJ News municipalities around the province could merge all of their individual pension plans into one large plan sometime in 2014.

Norton says having one big plan would offer more protection, lower administration costs and with more money to invest generate larger returns. 

New Initiative To Hire Grads & Help Businesses

The provincial government is enticing local employers to hire new university grads.

Called the "One-Job Pledge," businesses that qualify will receive a one-year wage incentive when they hire a permanent, full-time employee who graduated from a post-secondary school within the past four years. The initiative would mean a minimum salary of $14 an hour while the business will get 70% of the salary reimbursed to a maximum of $10 an hour for 52 weeks.

Enterprise Saint John CEO Steve Carson says both businesses and students will benefit and grow from the program.

Year 2 For Feburary Fork Off Starts Tomorrow

The 2nd annual February Fork Off begins tomorrow with more than 20 uptown restaurants and eateries taking part.

Saint John's winter restaurant week is your chance to sample the fare of many uptown eateries in a $30 dinner, $20 lunch or $10 Fork plate.

Paula Radwan of the Taste of Egypt tells CHSJ News when they first opened last fall things were a little slow.

She says Saint John is a little conservative and this in a new cuisine for a lot of people but once people try it and like it they are very loyal people.

For more info on Uptown Saint John's February Fork Off which runs the 4th to the 10th, click here

Pat McCaffrey Will Not Run For Ward 3 Councillor Spot

With a spot for a Ward 3 Councillor around the horseshoe at Coom Council open and a by-election set for spring, many people are curious if previous candidates will run again.

Pat McCaffrey, the runner-up to current Ward 3 Councillor Donna Reardon and former Councillor Donnie Snook, tells CHSJ news he will not be seeking a seat on Council.

McCaffrey, who's retired from the Canadian Forces, says he believes Common Council is already doing a tremendous job and he doesn't believe he can offer anything that would be better than what they're doing. He says this Council has tackled many big issues that concerned him, like dealing with the pension plan in their first year and setting priorities like roads and water.

He's says they're on the right path, disciplined, have a vision and are all showing great leadership. McCaffrey feels Saint John has a great future in their hands.

Chris Belyea, another past candidate who followed McCaffrey in votes, hasn't yet decided if he'll run this year.
Graeme Stewart-Robertson says he still needs to think it over. Other candidates who ran in Ward 3 last year include Albert Vincent and Allan Leslie.

Basketball Popularity Growing In Saint John

The popularity of basketball in Saint John has grown an incredible amount over the past 3 years.

That's according to David Cooper, coach of the Saint John Mill Rats. He says local kids are being scouted and getting full scholarships to play in Canada and the United States. Cooper calls it an exciting time, where there's a lot of chances for kids as young as 14 to play in showcases across the states. He says Saint John will always be a hockey town, but basketball gives kids another popular option.

Mill Rats GM Ian McCarthy adds a lot of people who never thought they were basketball fans have become one after they see a live game.

Blankets To Help The Homeless

Warmth is coming to those who need it most.

Bee Green Removal's "Blanket Of Hope" has spent the past month collecting over 30 blankets for the homeless. Organizer Brandi Green tells CHSJ news that's double the amount of blankets they collected last year.

They'll drive out with the Romero Mobile Unit tomorrow at 7pm to pass out the blankets.

Green says both her and fiance knew what it was like to live on the streets, and a warm blanket is a tremendous help.

Power Is Back For Many, 100 Still Without

Power is back for a lot more people in the region today.

NB Power reporting just over 100 people in Rothesay are without juice as of 2 pm, that's a very different number from the 5,000 in the dark yesterday.

NB Power says everything should be restored today, and it's been years since they've seen a storm with such magnitude.

The power company says they've hired extra crews and been working around the clock to fix up power lines since Thursday's storm, restoring power to over 100,000 customers.

To get the latest update, click here.

One Accident Caused By Snow

The snow - so far - not causing too many problems on the roads.

In Rothesay, 6 people being sent to hospital with minor injuries after slippery roads caused a two vehicle accident. It happened around 3:30 am on Campbell Drive near the fire station and Marr Road.

No other accidents have been reported overnight. We're expected to get as much as 10 cm of snow by this afternoon.