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Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Fire Marshal Appointed

The new provincial fire marshal is from Darling's Island and went to Hampton High.

Doug Browne takes over for Norman Thibodeau who retired after a 33 year career including two as the provincial fire marshal.

After high school, Browne joined the Canadian Armed Forces and studied at the Royal Military College where he received a degree in mechanical engineering.

He is currently completing a masters' degree in disaster and emergency management through Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C.

NS Sexual Assault Trial Wrapping Up

The sexual assault trial involving a Halifax man is entering it's final stages.

Both sides in the case presented their closing arguments this afternoon in the high profile Supreme Court trial in Bridgewater.

John Leonard MacKean is facing two charges including sexual assault and another relating to prostitution.

MacKean denies the boy was chained up when he visited the cabin on September 20, 2012.

MacKean also testified he would have helped the 16 year old if he knew the boy was being held against his will.

However, the 64 year old admitted to touching the teenagers genitals while he was at the cabin in Upper Chelsea to get a massage.

The Crown has submitted DNA evidence that matches MacKean.

The defence argues the case comes down to credibility of witnesses and whether the victim was telling the truth while under oath due to varying versions of his story.

The jury will begin it's deliberations after it gets instructions from the judge tomorrow morning.

Which Of These Bills Is Counterfeit?

Getting some cash out of the ATM for the weekend? As you count it, make sure you take a close look at those bills--because fakes can be harder to spot than you might think.

Allan Paquet of the Bank of Canada was on hand at the Fraud Prevention expo at Market Square. He tells CHSJ News the new polymer bills are harder to fake, but not impossible.

The time-tested way to check a bill is to hold it up to a light source, like a window--here are images imbedded in the bill that won't be there if it's fake. As well, the new bills have raised ink around the number of the bill's denomination.

As for the above bills--the ten on the bottom is the fake one, although it's only apparent when you hold it up to a light source and compare its texture with the genuine bill, above.

Weston Says New Finance Minister Knows The Needs Of Saint John

Saint John MP Rodney Weston says he is saddened by Jim Flaherty's departure as Federal Finance Minister. Weston says Flaherty had a real affinity for Saint John but his replacement, Joe Oliver also knows what the local economic needs are.

Weston says Oliver has been to Saint John several times in his previous job as Natural Resources Minister when he spoke in favour of the proposed Energy East pipeline.

Questions Over Credibility Of Shale Gas Findings

The academics with the New Brunswick Energy Institute are credible but Provincial Green Party leader David Coon doesn't think the institute itself has any credibility in the eyes of the public. This, as the Institute launches a study into the impact of shale gas exploration on groundwater so whether its findings will carry any weight with New Brunswickers or change any minds remains to be seen.

The Energy Institute is a creation of the Alward Government and its reputation took a hit with the well publicised resignation of Professor Louis LaPierre over his academic qualifications.  

A preliminary report from the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. on the effect of shale gas exploration on groundwater is expected later this year.

Team Canada Alone At 8 and 1 After Draw 15

After Draw 15 at the Ford World Women's Curling Championships, Canada is alone at 8 and 1 in the standings.

Korea beat the US 8-6,  Russia downed Switzerland 8-5, Germany beat Latvia 6-4 and Sweden soundedly defeating China 10 to 5.

Russia, Switzerland and Sweden are all 8 and 2, Korea is 7 and 3 while China sits at 6 and 4.

Today,  Scotland takes on the US while Canada plays China and tonight the Homan rink takes on Sweden.

MacKean Testifying At His Bridgewater Trial

A 64 year old Halifax man charged with sexual assault is testifying today during his Supreme Court trial in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.

John Leonard MacKean says he would have helped the teenage boy who was chained up and blindfolded if he had known he was being held against his will.

MacKean is accused of paying to perform sexual acts on the boy while he was chained up and blindfolded.

However, the 64 year old denies those charges and says he was duped into going to the cabin by Wayne Cunningham.

Cunningham was one of the main figures in the kidnapping and confinement of the 16 year old in Upper Chelsea.

MacKean also stated he never discussed paying to perform sexual acts on the boy.

The crown will have an opportunity to question MacKean later today.

A 12 member jury is expected to begin its deliberations later today or tomorrow.

Gas Prices Are Down Again But Not By Much

A bit of a price break for drivers after the weekly setting.

Self serve regular is selling in the city for $1.34.3 a litre, down by just half a cent a litre.

Diesel will cost you less at $1.46.7 a litre. The maximum price has gone down by two cents a litre.

The maximum price for heating oil has also dropped by almost 2 cents a litre to stand at $1.29.3 and there has been another big drop in the maximum price of propane. We're talking just over 4 and a half cents a litre to $1.20.4.