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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

No Guns Drawn In East Saint John

No guns drawn in a heated dispute that did involve City police today.

Constable Veino tells CHSJ News they were assisting in a dispute between 4 people in a yard on the Loch Lomond Road.

No one was hurt and a youth was arrested on a unrelated matter.

Board's “Bad Reputation” Debated at Ferguson Trial

“I don't deal with people with bad reputations, ” testified Vaino Keelman. Keelman is an investment consultant and partner at Ontario-based API Financing. He was called to the stand at the defamation trial of former city councillor John Ferguson to discuss the investment performance analytics his firm performed for the city's pension board from 2002 to the present.

Keelman testified that since he was first retained, the investment policies and goals of the Saint John Pension board were entirely in line with national standards, and its investment decisions were not contrary to API's advice. When asked by pension board lawyer Barry Morrison how the performance of the SJ pension board from 2002-2007 compared to boards elsewhere, Keelman responded glowingly: “It was fantastic. The pension board is a group of astute people who spend a lot of time looking into their investment affairs. They're not an easy audience for me or anyone else.”

Asked whether API makes a habit of dealing with clients with poor reputations, he stated, “If we don't have a sterling reputation, we could be sued for errors and omissions. We turn down business from people with bad reputations.” Keelman said API continued to work with the pension board even after Mr Ferguson's comments allegedly defamed its reputation, adding he knew nothing of the remarks.

Later on, former pension board trustee Fred Slipp was called for further cross-examination. Lawyer Rod Gillis attempted to show that Slipp and his fellow trustees failed to nip the unfunded liability in the bud. He also suggested they were lax in deciding who deserved disability pensions. Slippp described the fallout from Ferguson's 2006 comment that “any attempt to push the issue under the carpet wouldn't last forever.” He told the court, “I had a number of people come up to me and ask me what the pension plan was pushing under the rug. I tried to tell them [it] wasn't trying to sweep anything under the rug—but they didn't seem to understand that.”

Sea Dogs Riding High With Wins and NHL Signings

The Saint John Sea Dogs are riding high winning their last two home games before a long road stretch starts Friday to finish the regular season.
President Wayne Long tells CHSJ News the weekend wins capped a great week with Charlie Coyle and Danick Gauthier getting NHL deals.

He says the team is hanging on to first place in a battle with Shawinigan to clinch the Jean Rougeau Trophy for regular season champs adding the team is enjoying its time in the sun.

Longs add they are looking forward to a long and deep playoff run.   The team first home playoff game on March 23rd will be broadcast coast to coast on Sportsnet.   Tickets for the playoffs go on sale on Saturday.  For more info, click here

Kidney Donations Needed

Tomorrow is World Kidney Day and the Kidney Foundation says the theme for this year is organ donation.

Atlantic Director Tim Fox tells CHSJ News donations have not been increasing while the number of patients needing transplants has been going up.
He say across the country, there are 3-thousand people waiting for a transplant and only a handful are done in the province every year.

He believes people are still hesitant when it comes to talking about death and donating organs.

The Saint John chapter will be hosting a breakfast tomorrow morning at 7:30 at the Trade and Convention Centre.  To purchase tickets, call 506 634 0519.

Saint John Board Of Trade Wants Province To Buy Updated MRI's

The Saint John Board of Trade urging the Premier to make use of a 1 million dollar donation offered by the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation to buy a 3T MRI.

The province plans to buy a less-modern machine and BOT President Imelda Gilman tells CHSJ News one of her group's commitments is to grow the healthcare sector.

She says an outdated piece of equipment is a step backwards and the community has spent a lot of time and effort to raise the money.  She says it should be used on something it wants.

She adds the BOT has met with Dr. John Whalen, the head of diagnostic imaging at the Regional, and he says there are no additional costs to operating a 3T MRI.

Who Wanted To Silence A Common Councillor On Pension Deficit

A member of the city's pension board continuing to be cross examined at the defamation trial of former Common Councillor John Ferguson.

Pension Board trustee Fred Slipp was asked by lawyer Rod Gillis "Who was trying to silence Ferguson" to which Slipp replied  " I don't know".

Slipp was also asked by Gillis whether Ferguson made any direct reference to fraud in his statements about the city's pension plan. Slipp testified there was no direct reference, only the innuendo. 

As to the comparison to the pension problems in San Diego where there was an investigation of fraud, Slipp conceded he didn't know what was happening there until he was told by the former finance commissioner Andrew Beckett.

Gillis is suggesting the Pension Board isn't all that transparent, asking Slipp whether the members of the public can attend its meetings to which Slipp replied "No".

As for all the stories that were circulating about the pension plan's rising deficit, Slipp told the jury everyone has their own perspective.

Pay Equity Promoted with "Soup for Solidarity"

Will pay equity be part of the provincial government when it's unveiled later this month.? That's the question being asked by workers in childcare, home-care, at transition houses, and in group homes who are hoping for wage adjustments. 

The Saint John committee of the Coalition for Pay Equity will try to raise awareness with "Soup for Solidarity" at Centenary Queen Square United Church on Wentworth Street. Coalition Vice-President Elizabeth Blaney tells CHSJ News there's growing skepticism.

"We fear that there hasn't been any talk about this in the budget--suggesting that pay equity isn't a priority, and according to the Finance Minister the budget is all about priorities," says Blaney.

Blaney points out it's mostly women doing these jobs, and the big question should be why they aren't being fully remunerated.

Women Get Help with Personal Finance Skills

Whether you're a woman taking care of elderly relatives or saving for your first home, good personal finance skills are important. A new program called I'm Worth It from the NB Securities Commission is teaching women more about managing their money.

Education Coordinator Marissa Rignanesi says the program is useful to women of all ages and walks of life, because statistics show that many women lack a full understanding of how to make the most of their personal finances.

The free program, which includes interactive worksheets and an online money management guide, is available for download tomorrow.The release coincides with International Women's Day, which is observed on March 8th.

Get your copy of the I'm Worth It materials at 

Police Busy Overnight

A woman in her twenties was taken to hospital after a car struck the median along the causeway, flipping over and winding up on its roof while traveling westbound. The fire department reports the driver had to be cut from the car. 

And another woman getting into trouble after she reportedly confronted some students from the Middle East who happened to be in Brunswick Square at the time.

Trees in Trouble on Crown Land

Talk about paving paradise to put up a parking lot....the Conservation Council offering scathing criticism of a proposed move to sacrifice conservation measures on crown land in order to provide a temporary wood supply.

David Coon of the conservation council tells CHSJ News the way things are now is working well in these areas. Currently, some cutting is already allowed--you're simply not allowed to clear cut. The proposed measures would allow clear-cutting to happen.

45 groups have signed on to protest the proposed changes, and urge concerned citizens to contact Minister of Natural Resources Bruce Northrup. 

To let the Minister know what you think of the plan, contact or visit the Conservation Council's website at

Missing Saint John Woman Found Out Of Province

The mystery has ended with a 20 year old Broad Street woman being located in Toronto. Casey Lloyd who's known by family and friends as "Cassie" became a mom just six months ago.

She was reported missing February 20th after visiting her own mother  in Crescent Valley.

CHSJ News found out she had been found when one of our reporters happened to be in a convenience store in the south end when the missing poster was being taken down.

 A man, believed to be her father, confirmed she was no longer was missing but wouldn't elaborate about what happened.