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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

RCMP Assisting With Evacuations Due To Forest Fires

The Mounties are helping fire departments in Petitcodiac and Kedgwick coordinate the evacuation of some homes due to forest fires.

A fire was reported in Petitcodiac about 2:30 today. 

Some residents are being asked to leave their homes for their safety. 
Traffic is also being diverted from the area and road blocks have been set up.

A second fire was reported in Kedgwick about 3:40 and some homes are being evacuated and traffic is being diverted from those roads.

Corporal Chantal Farrah says the RCMP are asking for people to stay away from both areas for their safety and to allow firefighters to do their work

Access to the areas will only be permitted once firefighters determine that it's safe.

Cops Investigate Complaints Of By-election Violations

Police are looking into two alleged violations of the Municipal Elections Act during the advance polls for the Ward 3 by-election. 

Paul Harpelle of Elections NB tells CHSJ News there were complaints of a campaign sign being too close to a polling station during advance voting day and pieces of photocopied paper being found in King's Square without the name of the printer and publisher on the page. But these complaints won't have any effect on the election itself. Harpelle says so-called sign wars often creep up into these political events, and the election will continue as per norm. 

Voters go to the polls on Monday, May 13th to elect a new city councillor to replace Donnie Snook.

Two Men In Court After Alleged East Side Assault

Two men have been released on conditions after an alleged assault last night on Bayside Drive.

Sylvio Saulnier is charged with 3 counts including assault with a bat and possessing a machete after the incident,which caused a major police presence to be called to the East Side street.

His roommate, Randy Ryan, also appeared in court in connection with the incident.

Both men were ordered to have no contact with the victims and are expected to enter a plea on June 18th.

A 28 year old woman and a 35 year old woman also face charges in the incident.

Council Of Canadians Bringing Healthcare Campaign To City

A new deal for healthcare........That's what the Council of Canadians claims is needed but unlikely to happen given Prime Minister Harper's inclinations. 

The Council's healthcare campaigner Adrienne Silnicki, who'll be speaking in the city, tells CHSJ News Prime Minister Harper keeps talking about alternative methods of healthcare delivery which is really a parallel public-private system but they don't achieve the promised results.

Silnicki warns the cuts we're now seeing in provincial healthcare are just the tip of the iceberg if the Prime Minister goes ahead with cutting 36 billion dollars in transfer payments for health a couple of years from now.

She says that translates into enough funding for 11 hospitals as well as 30 health care centres and clinics.

Silnicki will be delivering a public talk on all this at the Church of St. Andrew and St. David on Germain Street tomorrow night at 6.

Pension Coalition NB Comes Out Swinging

Despite public meetings on the shared risk model for the provincial pension plan, the retirees and the Alward Government couldn't be further away from reaching agreement. 

The Pension Coalition is accusing the province of trying to divide and conquer by giving the impression that the retirees are greedy by not agreeing to changes. The Coalition's Clifford Kennedy calls this unethical telling CHSJ News the retirees, when they were working, agreed not to accept wage increases so they could have secured and guaranteed pensions.

Kennedy charges the government claims the provincial pension plan is running a billion dollar deficit but it's own records from March of last year shows a 141 million dollar surplus.

He adds when the province's pension task force was announced, it was supposed to deal with private pension plans and nothing was said, at the time, about public pensions and the Premier gave no indication the shared risk model would apply to the retirees as well as those provincial government employees still working. .

A Change At The Top Of The Board Of Trade

The Saint John Board of Trade has a new chair for the next year. He's Eric Poirier of Bell Aliant who's taking over from Larry Hachey. 

Poirier tells CHSJ News the business climate will be toughgoing for the foreseeable future but the people he talks to are optimistic about the future.

He promises more focus on small businesses since they make up 80 per cent of the Board's membership.
Poirier says more french will be spoken at Board of Trade events because with more than 6 thousand francophones in the area and almost 20 thousand people who are bilingual, this is an economic advantage.

Outgoing chair Larry Hachey told the annual meeting, the relationship between the Board of Trade and City Hall is much better now than it was a year ago when Saint John's reputation was taking a hit and it appeared as if the city has lost its mojo.

Two Men & Two Women Taken Into Custody After A Bayside Drive Fight

Four people face charges after a fight involving weapons on Bayside Drive.

Early last night, officers responded to the East Side arresting two men and two women.

Two women, 28 and 35 years old, face charges of causing a disturbance and have been released pending a future court date. 

A man in his 40's is looking at charges of assault, damage&mischief and possession of a weapon while a 38 year old man faces two charges of possession of weapon and assault with a weapon.

The two men remain in custody before a court appearance.

Province Invests In Homeport Study

"We're moving to the next stage."   

That from Tourism Minister Trevor Holder at the announcement Dillon Consulting will receive about fifty-thousand dollars to explore Saint John as a homeport for cruise ships.  

The announcement this morning at the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal.

Holder tells CHSJ News the cruise industry is celebrating 25 years because people said 'why not' instead of 'why can't we'.

He says we have a great product here in Saint John and across the Fundy region so now we have to figure out how to take it to the next level.

Holder says he believes the Bay of Fundy product is so world class that getting on a boat in Saint John will be very appealing to the Boston/New York market.

The results of the study are expected in late summer or early fall.

Mayor Mel Norton Heads West

Mayor Mel Norton is offering further details on his upcoming trip to Calgary.

The trip hasthe aim of enticing big oil producers to ship their product to the Port City, and is being financed by the travel budget of the mayor's office.

Energy Minister Craig Leonard and Port representatives will also be attending the meetings, which will include a stop at the Calgary-based Irving Oil office. Norton says he and the province have informed Irving of their plans and consulted with them about which producers they should meet.

Norton says we are currently in the midst of so-called open season, the period when oil producers look to fill the pipelines that could ultimately make their way to Saint John. 

That period typically lasts 60 days from mid-April to mid June; as a result, Norton says he hopes to forge some connections, and secure some commitments in short order.

At the end of May the Mayor will travel to Ottawa with MP Rodney Weston to meet with federal politicians who might support bringing the West-East oil pipeline to Saint John. At the same time, they plan to consult with bureaucrats from P3 Canada to get a sense of the progress on the city's application for water funding.

More Revelations About Watered Down Chemo Medication

More details being revealed about the watered down chemotherapy drugs given 186 cancer patients at the Regional Hospital. 

An organization that arranged a contract with a company that supplied the diluted chemotherapy drugs has told a legislative committee in Ontario the labels on the drugs didn't accurately describe their contents. 

Officials from Medbuy, which arranged the contract between Marchese Hospital Solutions and the hospitals, say the company should have provided exact specifications on its labels. They told a legislative committee the pharmacist overseeing the production of the saline-and-drug mixtures should have accounted for the extra saline in the bags.

Extra saline in the bags effectively watered down the prescribed drug concentrations by up to 20 per cent.  

The committee has heard the drug mixture Marchese Hospital Solutions produced was completely different from the one the hospitals thought they were buying and was not misadministered as suggested by Marchese.

Two Fires Now Under Police Investigation

Two suspicious fires being investigated by both City Police and the fire department.

One was reported just before midnight at 6 Stillview Court in Red Head and was confined to the basement. The other one on Orange Street started when some garbage was lit and caused minor fire damage to a nearby building. 

The fire department also had to quell what's described to us as a large brush and grass fire on Partridge Island. The firefighters along with their equipment had to be taken there by the Coast Guard on a Zodiac boat.