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Monday, October 5, 2009

Minister Says The Province Isn't Looking to Increase Taxes

[Post Secondary Education Minister Donald Arseneault, and Finance Minister Greg Byrne----Photo by Dave Briggs]

Finance Minister Greg Byrne says the provincial government is not looking to increase taxes to create a balanced budget.

Byrne says the province is not looking to reverse one of the key pillars of it's platform for economic transformation.
Byrne tells CHSJ News, it's important to take the public consultations to rural areas, rather than just the bigger cities to find out how the public wants to deal with the upcoming budget.
As of right now the province is looking at a $741 million dollar deficit in the 2010-2011 budget.

Public Wants More Money For Education

Fair wages to educational support staff is an issue residents voiced during the provincial pre-budget consultation meeting.

Teacher assistant Lisa Bolton says more funding needs to be put into teacher assistants, library assistants, and intervention workers to assure children receive a quality education.
Bolton says it's hard for teacher assistants to even survive on their hours and wages.
She says this province cannot become self sufficient if those helping teach the youth continue to get paid just over $16 thousand dollars a year.

Province Will Establish Toll-Free Line Regarding Radiology Tests

The Province will get an external firm to review some radiology exams and they will establish a toll-free information line for the public.

Regional Health Authority A says a quality review over the summer of ultrasounds, chest X-rays, mammographies and other tests done by the unnamed radiologist over the last three years raised concerns about some of them. The radiologist works at a number of hospitals including Grand Falls General and Hotel-Dieu Saint-Joseph de Saint-Quentin.
Independent specialists will conduct the review covering about 30-thousand examinations.

Healthy Minister Mary Schryer says patient safety is paramount and the department of health will be support every effort to respond to this matter.
The toll-free number is 1-877-795-3785 and will be activated tomorrow.

Saint John Airport Master Plan

(Airport CEO Bernie Leblanc - file photo)

Plenty of paper-work for the Saint John Airport over the next the next nine months. They have begun the process of updating it's master plan. That requires they authority to look twenty years down the road and give an estimate on passenger traffic and land development. With close to 400-acres, there is plenty to go around but President and CEO Bernie Leblanc tells CHSJ News, it's not as simple as putting up the ""For Sale Sign""

They currently have a 50-year lease with Ottawa but they are permitted to develop the land on their own or with a partner. Leblanc adds they hope to have the final proposal put together by June.

Industrial Accident in Charlotte County

If you heard about an industrial accident last Friday in Charlotte County, so did we and here is what we can tell you. One man is at the Regional in serious condition after St. George RCMP were called to a barge near a salmon cage around one o'clock. Officer's confirm the man is from the Charlotte County area but no name is being released. Worksafe NB tells CHSJ News, they are investigating an industrial accident in Charlotte County that happened on Friday afternoon but no other details at this point.

An official does tell us how-ever it is vital when working with equipment to hoist heavy materials, that they equipment is working properly and is inspected on a regular basis.

New Energy Saving Tool Being Piloted in Saint John

Efficiency NB has released a new tool for to help municipalities re-invest energy savings into building upgrades--and--Saint John will be the test pilot. The city's energy manager, Samir Yammine tells CHSJ news they will include a city arena and either the Canada Games Aquatic Centre or City Market in the pilot study.

Yammine says energy accounts for about 20 per cent of the city's total operating costs. He says he is meeting with provincial officials later this week to get more information and Efficiency NB will host a training workshop in Quispamsis near the end of the month.

Pre-Budget Consultation Meeting Tonight

The first of five pre-budget consultations goes tonight in Saint John. Residents are invited to share their opinions on what the final wording of the document should look like. Minister of Finance Greg Byrne and Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Donald Arseneault will be on hand.

The meeting gets started at seven o'clock in the lecture theater of the Community College. The Graham Government will hand it's budget down in December and not in the spring which has raised the suspicion of the opposistion Conservatives. Premier Graham has responded with the Conservatives have been calling for a fiscal update and this takes that one step further.

Run for the Cure Raises Nearly $200,000

(Photo Courtesy of Deborah MacDonald)

Sunday's Run for the Cure has raised $193,000 for cancer research. Spokesperson Hiadee Goldie, tells CHSJ news the money will be used for promoting cancer awareness and finding a cure in Atlantic Canada.

Goldie says this is the first in nine years that it rained on the day of the event--but--adds it didn't dampen anyone's spirit. About two thousand people turned out for yesterday's run.

Tips for Keeping Black Bears Out of Your Back Yard

The Department of Natural Resources is offering some tips to homeowners who may be getting unwelcome visits from wildlife. There have been a number of reports of bears, foxes and coyotes near homes in the Saint John and Fredericton areas. Bear management biologist, Kevin Craig, says homeowners need to realize that black bears are wild animals and demand respect.

Autumn is when black bears are most active in the province as they search for food to prepare for the winter ahead. Craig says if a bear comes in a yard, don't panic, just back away slowly and keep pets indoors. He says best way to avoid bear problems is by storing garbage in bear-proof containers or indoors, keeping garbage cans and BBQ areas clean and removing bird feeders at night.

Free Online Course for Employers Preparing for H1N1

A new course for employers on how to prevent the H1N1 flu virus at work is now being offered by Safety Services Canada. The free online course outlines the legal obligations regarding H1N1 flu prevention in the workplace.

President, Jackie Norman says the course focuses on staff training and estimating the risk of H1N1 exposure for specific jobs. The course is available until the end of the month and can be found at:

Universities Get Funding for New Research Technicians

(Dr. Liuchen Chang, Professor of Electrical Engineering and his Research Associate Dr. Gene Guo with their patented power converter for small-scale wind energy generation, such as farms and other industrial facilities. Photo Courtesy of The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation)

Two Universities in the province will be able to hire six new professional research technicians thanks to funding from the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation. The foundation has awarded 437 thousand dollars to support a variety of commercially driven research projects. Research ranges from power converters for wind turbines, to paper that conducts electricity, and powerful antioxidants from shrimp oil.

UNB is on the recieving end of 370 thousand dollars for five new hires, while the University of Moncton is getting 67 thousand dollars to hire one new research technician.

Fire Leaves Six Homeless

Six people are homeless after a fire near Rogersville yesterday morning. The Canadian Red Cross says two adults were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation but their four children escaped the fire without injury.

The family has lost all of their belongings in the blaze, which destroyed their home about 10 kilometres southeast of Rogersville. The couple and their children - ranging in age from six to 12 - are staying with nearby relatives. No word on the cause of the fire.

Provincial Liberal Government Enters Fourth Year in Power

(File Photo of Premier Shawn Graham)

With three years of being Premier under his belt, Shawn Graham is looking at his governments accomplishments before heading into the final year of his four year mandate. Graham says he is proud of how much his government has accomplished over the past three years, even despite the economic downturn.

He says this province is becoming stronger in terms of jobs, the economy, health care, and education and post secondary systems. Graham says despite everything his Liberal government has accomplished, a lot more needs to be done to ensure self sufficiency by 2026.

Hampton a Finalist in National Competition

The Annual Communities in Bloom Challenge has placed Hampton in its top rankings again this year. The town received a 5 Bloom rating and a special mention for Lovingly Tended Flower Beds in the 2009 small community challenge. Communities in Bloom is a national organization dedicated to the promotion of green spaces in urban settings.

The organization notes such things as high school students spending time preparing flower beds, contributes to the towns success.

Neighbourhood Walk

The rich history of Saint John can be explored by residents for free this week. A series of three walking tours will have locals discovering the social and architectural history of the buildings and the neighbourhood in the proposed Peel Plaza area. The walking tours will be hosted by retired school teacher Joan Pearce and Harold E. Wright. The first tour will be Wednesday at the corner of Germain and Union.

A full family friendly tour of the neighbourhood will be held on Sunday, October 18th at 2:00 o'clock.