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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Evaluation Tool For Adoption And Foster Applicants

A new model to evaluate people who want to foster or adopt a child being rolled out across the province.

Structured Analysis Family Evaluation, or SAFE, is a tool that makes it easier for social workers to do home studies more efficiently and in a more consistent way.

Social Development Minister Madeleine Dubé says the home study process is critical in making sure children in care are placed with people who will act in the child's best interest and with their safety and well-being in mind.

The new tool is expected to be fully implemented by next year.

Dual Deaths Ruled Murder-Suicide

The RCMP's Major Crimes Unit has completed its investigation into the deaths of two people in Kedgwick.

The bodies of 64-year-old Raoul Leclair and 65-year-old Nicole Leclair, both of Kedgwick, were discovered outside their home on September 1.

Police have determined that both died of gunshot wounds and they died as a result of a murder-suicide. As such, no charges will be laid.

New Draft Zoning Bylaw To Be Presented Tonight

The city’s new draft zoning bylaw, ZoneSJ, is being presented at tonight’s common council meeting.

The fall is a testing period for the draft bylaw, which will mean many public, industry and agency specific reviews, as well as third party professional planning reviews of the proposed community standards.

 Public open houses are scheduled for October 30 through to November 7 in each ward where citizens can learn about the proposed changes.  Saint John residents will receive a postcard in the mail this week with details of the open houses.

 Information, maps and guides of the draft zoning bylaw, as well as the complete draft bylaw document, are all available online

Anti-Poverty Rally Tomorrow In King Square

Poverty is, unfortunately, a topic close to the hearts of many Saint Johners in these economic times.

A rally is being held at lunch time in the uptown tomorrow for the Eradication of Poverty. Sponsored by the Human Development Council and the Saint John and area chapter of KAIROS, it's going to feature music and facts on poverty in our community, and how people can change that.

The rally starts at 12:10 in King Square.

Pedway System Gets Some Upgrades

Thousands of Saint Johners that work uptown and use the pedway every day may not appreciate what a unique and helpful system it is.

The City will be doing some work on the Chipman Hill pedway including using smaller panes of glass in case they crash or leak.

Finance Commissioner Greg Yeomans says the pedway's indoor access to the major hotels is used a when marketing for conferences and other events.

He says he thinks we may have to look beyond it's link to city hall and the convenience.

Upgrades will extend the pedway system's life expectency, which is over 30 years old now, to 75 years.

Mounties Warn Against Leaving Garbage On Crown Land

Crime Stoppers along with the Department of Natural Resources looking for some help finding out who dumping garbage on crown lands.

It's an offence to leave garbage, construction material or vehicles on crown lands.  

Anyone convicted can face a minimum fine of the $500 for a first offence and you may also have to return the land to its orginal state.

The Mounties also pointing out that this activity can be harmful to wildlife and a risk for forest fires.
If it's happening near water, it can become a environmental problem.

If you know anyone dumping illegally on crown land, contact Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Barlow Points Out Water Woes

It's hard to believe in a water-rich country like Canada but we are a planet running out of clean water.

That from Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians.

Barlow tells CHSJ News you can find water but it may not be in good shape.

She says it's been polluted, mismanaged or displaced.

A study by the Royal Bank says the demand for water will outstrip supply by 40 per cent by the year 2030 which Barlow says means people will die along with entire ecosystems.

She says we need to turn our heads around and stop taking water for granted.

2013 Cruise Ship Season Winding Down

The first day of the short work week is extra busy with two cruise ships in town.

The Caribbean Princess and the Norwegian Dawn are visiting the City with the potential for an extra 5300 people uptown.

The Brilliance of the Seas visits tomorrow and the Queen Mary 2 returns on Saturday.

There are 10 days left in the 2013 cruise ship season.

Fire Guts Home In Fredericton Area

There were no injuries but five members of an extended family are without a place to live after a pre-dawn fire gutted their bungalow in Upper Gagetown, about 30 kilometres east of Fredericton. 

The fire at 1172 Route 102 was reported around 4:00 this morning. There's no word on how it got started. The Red Cross was called in to provide some personal belongings.

A couple, their adult daughter and two grandchildren are staying with relatives in the community for the time being while awaiting an assessment from the insurance adjusters.

At Least One Mayor Is Optimistic About Regional Commissions

The Regional Service Commissions are not operating as they were intended. The big question is whether they are dysfunctional, as some people claim, or are just experiencing growing pains. 

Grand Bay-Westfield Mayor Grace Losier who chairs the Fundy Regional Service Commission tells CHSJ News representatives from the local service districts who are on the Commissions need more authority to make decisions. 

As it stands now now, everything discussed at the commision must go back to the local service districts for a vote by everyone. Losier claims that just creates division as evidenced by the proposals for regional funding of arenas in her town and Sussex.

Losier says it will be up to the province to change things for the better and stop being the mayor of the local service districts.

While admitting the road is bumpy right now, she's optimistic things will work out in the end once there's a better understanding of what the Regional Service Commissions are supposed to accomplish.

Seniors Protest Nursing Cuts In Province

Show me a plan, if there is one, to ensure New Brunswick doesn't have a critical shortage of nurses down the road because of retirements. That plea coming from the President of the New Brunswick Nurses Union, Marilyn Quinn. 

She tells CHSJ News the assumption should not be made that nursing grads who settle elsewhere will come back to the province, especially if they put down roots. Quinn says nursing jobs are going unfilled at the present time on top of the cuts already made. 

The New Brunswick Senior Citizens Federation is now publicly speaking out against the nursing cuts, arguing there are other areas of healthcare where money could be saved. 

Quinn says all the cutting is accomplishing is more stress in the workplace which will lead to senior nurses retiring sooner than they might as well as prompting new graduates to leave the province.

More Details On What ZoneSJ Will Mean For You

Less urban sprawl, better-quality developments, an expanded parking exemption area in the uptown, and more freedom for homeowners to add to their property are just some of the ideas included in the new draft zoning bylaw, ZoneSJ. The new plan was presented at last night's meeting of common council.

Taxpayers will have a chance to weigh in on the new draft zoning by-law from October 30 to November 7th at a series of public meetings, where individuals and businesses are encouraged to bring specific questions about how the new plan will effect them.

For more details on ZoneSJ, click here

For zone maps, click here 

Prescription Monitoring Program Could Be Coming Soon

While many provinces have a Prescription Monitoring program in place to battle prescription drug abuse, no such program currently exists here in New Brunswick, and the Executive Director of the provincial Pharmacists Association wants to see that change.

Paul Blanchard says there has been a lot of talk about implementing a drug information system where pharmacists and doctors can see all the medications patients are have been prescribed, and from what he understands it may be coming in the next budget.

Blanchard says because we don't have this type of electronic system in the province, it's very important people make their doctors and pharmacists aware of all the medication they are taking.