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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Former City Manager Fails To Name Defamatory Statements

Totten getting cross examined by defence lawyer Rod Gillis in the defamation lawsuit against Ferguson.

Former city manager Terry Totten failing to identify any defamatory statements made about the pension board by former city councillor John Ferguson during a presentation to council.

Gillis also asked Totten as to why he never brought up possible solutions to the city's pension problems during his time on the pension board or as city manger, such as removing indexing, putting caps back in, and going from a defined benefits plan to a defined contribution plan.

Totten says he never brought up those concerns, as either a pension trustee or city manager, because he believed council would never make such drastic changes and the pension plan needed to stay competitive.

Totten resumes his testimony tomorrow at 9 at the Court of Queen's Bench.

The Premier Shuffles Blaney To Energy

Margaret-Ann Blaney will leave her post as environment minister to become energy minister, taking over for Craig Leonard.    Leonard will lead the newly created Department of Government Services.

In January, the Opposition Liberals called for Leonard to be removed from energy after he said he would no longer comment on natural gas issues because it could be perceived as a conflict of interest.

Leonard's sister recently became a lobbyist for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and before that she was a civil servant helping the province develop shale gas regulations.
At the time, the premier's office said Leonard was not in a conflict as energy minister.

Mel Norton Takes A Run At The Big Chair

It's offical...Saint John's newest councillor is going for the big chair and will run for mayor.

Mel Norton tells CHSJ News the biggest factor in making the decision was incredible support from the community from calls and emails to social media.

He says he also recognizes Saint John is at a tipping point having come through a number of rough events but with those challenges come opporotunities.

Norton adds he doesn't expect any tension on Monday night adding he has a lot of respect for Mayor Ivan Court who loves this community and works hard for it.

Accused Robber Back In Court

Another court appearance for a 25 year old man who's facing a charge of robbing the Park Plaza Motel on Rothesay Avenue last Monday night. 

Corey William David Landry of Ellerdale Street is also charged with possession of cocaine.

Landry will remain in jail until his next court appearance on March 29th.

Canport LNG Project To Provide 50 Jobs

Canaport LNG aims to become more efficient and reduce its environmental footprint by expanding it's boil off gas compression system.

The 43 million dollar project will reduce the amount of boil-off gas sent to flare, resulting in the reduction of the Terminal’s emissions.

Spokesperson Kate Shannon tells CHSJ News is expected to create approximately 50 jobs for local contractors.

She says some of the work will begin in April and run throughout the summer.

SNC-Lavalin is managing the project on behalf of Canaport LNG.

Stem Cell Transplant Lab Officially Opens

The 2011 Give Campaign comes full circle with the official opening of the Stem Cell Transplantation Laboratory.

700-thousand was raised to equip the lab, which is the only one in New Brunswick and will allow cancer patients to say in the province.

Transplantation Director Dr. Terrance Commeau says in the near future, the lab has the potential to treat other illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis
He says expanded treatment should occur in about 3 years.

Rinehart Mulls Over A Municipal Run

A Saint John business leader is considering running for councillor at large in the May 14th municipal vote.

Shelley Rinehart works at UNB Saint John and is a former Enterprise Saint John president.

She tells CHSJ News it's hard to comment on the current challenges facing common council from the outside.

She says Saint John is facing some challenges and it will take time and hard work to get back to being the vibrant city that it was.

Rinehart says she'll be making her mind up over the next two weeks.

Totten Describes Allegations About Pension Board As "Bull"

Former City Manager Terry Totten is calling allegations made by former Common Councillor John Ferguson as defamatory and much more.

Totten testified he thought Ferguson was making the allegations because he had aspirations for higher office but called his charges factually incorrect, over the top and "bull something".

Totten told the jury Ferguson's allegations were defamatory because they gave the impression the Pension Board was trying to deceive Common Council and the public
The former City Manager says he has no knowledge of anyone getting a disability pension because they didn't get along with their boss and there was no one on the Pension Board laughing at Common Council and the taxpayer.
Totten does concede there was a breakdown in communication between city staff and Council saying he found it disheartening to see trust undermined.

Harvey Highway Closed After Transport Spills Wood Chips

Traffic is being re-routed, after the trailer carrying wood chips, spilled it's contents onto a local barber shop and completely blocking traffic on Route 3.

NB Power says power was shut off in the Harvey and Lake George areas so broken poles can be replaced that were taken out by the big rig.

They expect power to be turned back on by 1 this afternoon.

ESJ Has Full Slate Of Projects For 2012

 Enterprise Saint John facing a full stack of projects this year.

In a presentation to Common Council, ESJ President Tony Gogan says one of its biggest projects is to help Saint John companies cash in on the Irving shipbuilding contract.

He tells CHSJ News they want to maximize the opporotunities for Saint John companies with respect to the 25 billion dollar shipbuilding contract.
He says Irving Shipbuilding and the Atlantic Canada Opporotunities Agency started information sessions last week on how to become supplies for that.

He says other major irons in the fire include finalizing plans for a downstream manufacturing opportunity with the Atlantic Potash Corp and to encourage development in the Tucker Park Knowledge Cluster.

Simonds High Grad Dies In Ontario

A young Saint Johnner who had been studying at the Royal Military College in Kingston with a desire to join the Air Force has been identified as the cadet whose body was recovered from Lake Ontario in Kingston.

Mathieu LeClair graduated from Simonds High in 2009. 

He was reported missing earlier this week foul play is not suspected, accordingf to the military.

Two Fires Under Investigation

There are a couple of fires from early last night, the causes of which are being investigated. 

The first fire was a small one reported on the outside of the second floor of a building at 111 Metcalf Street.

The more serious fire extensively damaged the rear of a building on Jacks Road in Lorneville.

Two people have been forced to find somewhere else to live for the next while.

Gas Costing Alot More

The impact of the rising price of oil on world markets is now being felt by drivers in Saint John who are seeing significant increases in gas prices after the weekly setting. 

Self serve regular is now up to $1.33.6 a litre in the city, an increase of almost 3 cents.......Diesel is at $1.40.9 and that's a rise of over 3 cents. 

Heating oil also going up by more than 3 cents a litre to $1.25.6 while propane is a bit less expensive with a listed price of $1.01.3 a litre.