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Monday, February 17, 2014

Mike McGraw Remembered

Former Mayor Norm McFarlane had lunch with Mike McGraw last week.

McFarlane tells CHSJ News they were friends for over 30 years having met in Lancaster Minor Hockey and they later collaborated on election campaigns.

He calls McGraw a very close friend who he asked McGraw to run his political campaigns adding they had lunch together last week.

McFarlane says his strength was working behind the scenes adding he always wanted to help the people who could make a difference.

New Brunswick PC Party President Jason Stephen calls McGraw a bridge builder adding he was just made a lifetime member of the Saint John Lancaster riding at the party's AGM
last fall. 

A funeral Mass will be held this Friday morning at St. Peter's Church on Clarendon Street beginning at 11:00.

Stephen also said McGraw always had good advice and he had a profound impact on this city.

Fundraising Goal Set For Strong Kids Campaign

The YMCA hoping to raise $135,000 so kids from cash-strapped families can participate in their programs. 

Y Chairman Dean Mullin tells CHSJ News the Strong Kids Campaign raises funds to allow those who may not otherwise have the opportunity, do the kinds of things other kids may take for granted, like spend a week at summer camp.

The fundraising goal for this year's campaign being announced with the help of some children at the Y's Fitness Centre. Kent Building Supplies putting a dent in that goal, with a donation of $5000. If you'd like to donate to the campaign, you can visit the Y's website by clicking here.

Questions About NB Drug Plan? You Can Get Answers

If you've got questions about the New Brunswick Drug Plan, you could soon have them answered via a toll-free number.

New Brunswickers are encouraged to call the toll-free number to discuss the plan and how it could affect them and their families---especially since on May 1, New Brunswickers can receive coverage on a voluntary basis.

The information line is being operated by Medavie Blue Cross The  between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

The number to call is 1-855-540-7325.

EY Gives Time and Money To The Saint John Y

EY is doing a lot for the Y. The company, formerly known as Ernst and Young, will contribute $135,000 to the Y's Capital Campaign.

EY's Managing Partner for Atlantic Canada Jim Lutes tells CHSJ News he thinks the money is a big part of their commitment but so is the time and energy they will give to the Y. He says they have a national program called Entrepreneur of the Year trying to find the next generation of entrepreneurs.

A room on the 2nd floor of the new Y facility will be named the EY Community and Employment Centre.

Seal Impersonates Littlest Hobo On Highway 1

A well-traveled seal definitely turned some heads on the highway during yesterday's blizzard.

A driver on Highway 1 Eastbound near Peticodiac reported seeing the grey marine mammal making its way down the side of the road around 2:30pm yesterday.

Gateway Operations Communications officer Emily Richard  tells CHSJ News the seal was found a significant distance from any water--and the nearest body of water is a lake. Richard says they followed its belly marks and it appeared the animal came up via the lake and lost its bearings.
It's not known what made the animal stray so far inland.

Department of Natural Resources officials wrapped the fuzzy grey guy in a sling and transported him or her to safety.

It's thought the seal was then released back to its natural habitat.

Over $30K To SJ Theatre Company For Upgrades

New lighting, sound and projection equipment is on its way to the Saint John Theatre Company, with the feds footing the bill. 

Saint John M-P Rodney Weston making the announcement on behalf of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages Minister Shelly Glober that more than $30,000 is being given to the local company for infrastructure upgrades at the BMO Studio Theatre on Princess Street.

Executive Director Stephen Tobias tells CHSJ News the upgrades will mean the company will have more flexibility when it comes to presenting certain types of productions including film series and dance theaters because they won't need to rent out equipment to put them on.

Tobias says they plan to have the new sound, lighting and projection equipment up and running by the end of March. They are also buying a screen and a hundred chairs for uptown space.

Sea Dogs Mourn McGraw's Passing

The Sea Dogs announcing the sudden passing of Vice-President Mike McGraw on Sunday.

He was with the club since it's first season in 2005.

Dogs President Wayne Long calls McGraw one of the finest men he has ever met and an important part of the Sea Dogs organization.

Long goes on to say he was a great friend and true community leader.

McGraw was also a well-known Conservative with ties to former Mayors Norm McFarlane and Elsie Wayne. 

He was also instrumental in the renovation of the Red Rose Tea building. 

Visitation for Mike McGraw is on Thursday from 2-4pm and 7-9pm at Brenan's on the West side and the funeral is at St. Peter's on Friday at 11am.

Warning From Fire Department

You should make sure the vents in your home to the outside have been cleared of all the snow we got on the weekend if you use a wood pellets or propane stove. That word coming from Divisional Fire Chief Mark Wilson who warns unburned gases will be released back into your home if the vents are clogged with snow.

Fredericton Man Facing a Murder Charge

Fredericton Police releasing a few more details about a fatal stabbing on the city's South Side. 

They were called early Sunday to Angelview Drive where they found a 24 year old man in critical condition who later died. 

An arrest was made some six hours later outside the city. A charge of second degree murder has been laid against 34 year old Kelvin Colburn Constant of Fredericton.

The victim has been identified as Christian Mauric Grueso.

Students Rarely Repeat Grades in Anglophone South

Premier David Alward and provincial NDP leader Dominic Cardy disagree over whether there's a no fail policy at schools in the province. Cardy says there is and it should be done away with but the Premier says there isn't. 

The Superintendent of the Anglophone South School District Zoe Watson tells CHSJ News rarely is a student held back but when it does happen, it's a major decision involving principals as well as parents while others advance even though they may not have passed.

Watson says there's plenty of research that shows having students repeat grades is not in their best interests but there's growing concern in the province about the literacy skills of high school grads being subpar.

Parking Ban Tonight

An overnight snow parking ban has been declared for the South/Central Peninsula effective 11pm this evening through to 7am tomorrow morning. This means there is no on-street parking allowed anywhere in the South/Central Peninsula area.  Any vehicles remaining on-street after 11 pm when a snow ban has been declared WILL BE TOWED at the owner's risk and expense.

Six Parking Commission snow ban parking lots have been cleared for use by on-street parking residents beginning at 6 pm tonight at:
•             the corner of Princess Street and Charlotte Street
•             King Street East
•             Peters Street
•             Carmarthen Street/Vineyard Church and
•             Mecklenburg Street at Wentworth Street
•             the corner of Charlotte and Queen Streets at Key Industries (entrance on Queen Street)

Vehicles must be removed from all snow ban parking lots by 7 am Monday through Friday and by noon on weekends. Vehicles remaining in the lots after these times may be towed at the owner's risk and expense.

The Carleton-Sewell Parking Garage offers a $5.00 overnight parking rate for nights when a snow ban is declared.  This rate is valid only between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. the following morning.   Regular parking rates will be charged before and after these hours.

Loss Of Energy Efficiency Program Leaves Many Wondering Why

"Boneheaded".........That's the reaction of Provincial Green Party leader David Coon on the decision to stop the Efficiency NB program which offers homeowners financial incentives to make their houses more energy efficient. 

Coon tells CHSJ News the evidence is clear it doesn't get done without the incentives to help pay for the upgrades.

He says 30 thousand families in the province have taken advantage of the program with their energy bills going down, on average, by 25 per cent which translate into savings of 30 million dollars.

Coon says it has also spurred 300 million dollars worth of economic development in the province over the past six years.

Rothesay Resident Concerned About Rail Safety

A concerned resident whose property borders railway tracks in Rothesay putting his name in to join a committee dealing with rail safety.

Jim Crosby says two major issues of concern are the close proximity of rail lines to homes in the town and the size of the trains. He tells CHSJ News if a two-mile long train derailed in the valley its impact would be extremely widespread and moving the train would take days.

After getting a larger-than-expected level of interest from the community, Rothesay council passing a motion to increase the size of the committee from 6-8 residents to a maximum of 13.

Cherry Brook Zoo Is Up Against It Financially

Cherry Brook Zoo, describing its financial situation being at a crossroads, is pleading for help from the city which allocated 60 thousand dollars in funding this year. 

The zoo is asking for another 40 thousand or services in kind to reduce its operating costs. 

Even though he supports the zoo, Common Councillor Bill Farren doesn't think the city can afford it but as for the idea from fellow Councillor John MacKenzie for the zoo to become a regional service along with such facilities as Harbour Station and the Imperial Theatre, Farren sees that as a possible solution if the outlying municipalities agree.

Among the problems that have financially drained the zoo include a new roof on one of the buildings, a vet's bill for a sick tiger and vandals destroying the 10 thousand dollar sign at the main entrance          

East Side Fire

City firefighters had to open up a wall and ceiling to put out a fire in a home at 32 McNaughton Drive on the east side shortly before 9 last night. 

Divisional Chief Mark Wilson says the initial call was about what appeared to be a minor electrical problem but quickly discovered a more serious situation.

Wilson says they found the fire was speading along a wall beam after opening up a wall and ceiling.

It was determined the fire was caused by an overheated light in the ceiling.