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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

NB Liquor Raises Thousands For Flood Victims

Good news for flood victims in Perth-Andover -- almost 50-thousand dollars being donated to NB Liquor stores during a donation run last week.

The money will go towards the Red Cross.

NB Liquor stores will be accepting donations until April 15th.

Meanwhile, Public Safety Minister Robert Trevors says the recovery process is moving along quickly. 

He says nearly 200 hundred assistance applications have been recorded and he says payments for disaster assistance should be going out soon.

For more information on the assistance program, call Service New Brunswick at 1-888-298-8555.

Gambling Comments Raised at Defamation Trial

Minister of Finance Blaine Higgs' recent comments about a so-called double-or-nothing investment strategy by the city's pension board being cited in the defamation trial of John Ferguson.

Under cross examination by defence lawyer Rod Gillis, city solicitor John Nugent called the minister's comments badly misinformed. Nugent said the investment strategies under his watch were always responsible. One of John Ferguson's allegedly defamatory comments was that the board acted like desperate gamblers.

Nugent became a pension board trustee in 2003. Gillis made much of Nugent's declared conflict of interest, because he calculated Nugent's pension at $1.7 million dollars. Nugent said he had no idea whether that was true because he hadn't calculated it.

Closure of Saint John Immigration Office Not Confirmed

Meanwhile, Saint John MP Rodney Weston says nothing has been confirmed as far as the immigration office moving to Moncton.

He says the spending plans of the department should be revealed in a few weeks and there will be cuts as per the new federal budget.

Weston adds any changes made will not affect the ability of immigrants to come to Saint John and believes immigration is a key part of Saint John's future.

Cruise Ship Passengers To Volunteer at Romero House

Most of us don't want to be voluntold to take part in anything but there is a new movement taking shape where people are voluntouring by choice.
It's combining volunteering and tourism and it's going to be happening in Saint John this summer.
Beth Kelly Hatt of Aquila Tours tells CHSJ News they will be partnering with Crystal Cruises this summer to offer cruise guests volunteering opporotunities at Romero House.

She says 6 to 8 passengers will go to Romero House and Aquila Tours will provide transportation back and forth.
Hatt adds both Aquila Tours and Romero House are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year.

Red Triangle Awards Coming Up Tonight

A pair of well-known Port City ladies will get some recognition tonight at the Saint John Y's Red Triangle Awards Gala.

Former Senator Ermine Cohen is the winner of the Red Triangle Award for her years of service to the community in many roles.

Stephany Peterson of UNB Saint John and Market Square is the 2012 Leader to Watch Award.

The event gets underway at 5:30 tonight at the Trade and Convention Centre.

Front-Line Police Services Could Be Restored If Non-Police Jobs Are Cut

The Saint John Police Association says well over a million dollars can be saved if city police eliminates several non-police positions and uses staff already available at city hall.

The positions include Chief Administration Officer, Director of Finance, and IT personnel.

Association spokesperson Bob Davidson says recent cuts to the front-line is unacceptable, especially when those positions can be handled by staff at city hall.

He says more money can also be saved if the Staff Sergeant rank was eliminated, which would get rid of 4 positions and save half a million dollars.

City Solicitor Describes Accusations At Defamation Trial As Surreal and Nonsense

He must be living in the 4th dimension........That description at the defamation trial from City Solicitor and Pension Board trustee John Nugent about claims that were made about the Pension Board by former Common Councillor John Ferguson.

Nugent was asked about the specific claims and testified he was not aware of any city employees getting disability pensions because they didn't get along with the bosses....He had no knowledge of anyone getting a disability pension without the proper documentation and he was not aware of any workplace culture problem at City Hall.
Nugent told the defamation trial he was floored by the allegation of illegality by the Pension Board based on a conversation Ferguson said he had with one of the trustees. Nugent told the court that's as serious a charge as you can make because it would take a majority of pension board members to improperly approve disability pensions.
He told the jury the accusations would be laughable if it wasn't so serious.

Perth Andover Pets Get Helping Paw

As recently-flooded Perth Andover struggles to get back to normal, some animal-lovers stepping in to take care of supplies for the village's pets. Global Pet Foods, based out of Saint John and Fredericton, has worked with volunteers and suppliers to donate thousands of dollars worth of non-perishable cat and dog food. It's currently being distributed it at the Emergency Flood Center.

Global Pet Foods CEO Jeff Kelly says pets can fall by the wayside in crisis situations, as people struggle to take care of their own needs and rebuild their homes.

Kelly says the donated food will be enough to feed over 100 pets.

Blow to Development as Immigration Center Shut

An alarm being sounded about the closure of the federal immigration office in our city – councilor at large candidate John Campbell tells CHSJ News it’s a blow to our future development:

He says with the Port and UNBSJ trying to attract foreign students and new immigrants, the center is particularly important.

Immigration services are apparently being consolidated in Moncton – a move Campbell says should be meeting with solid opposition from the community and Common Council.

Water Problem Plagues Village Near Saint John

The people who live in Blacks Harbour are living under a do not consume water order. 

Mayor Terry James says one water sample has been taken which was clear. Another one will be taken today. There has to be two consecutive clear samples.
The water became discoloured after some work was done last weekend.

John Ferguson Defamation Trial

Rothesay Mayor Wants Another Term

Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop is running for re-election and made it official by filing his nomination papers with Elections NB. 

In Quispamsis, there will be a race for the Mayoralty. Incumbant Murray Driscoll is being challenged by Beth Fitzpatrick.

Police Chief Quiet On Union's Allegations

Police Chief Bill Reid not saying much in regards to the union's allegations.

He says it's a labour relation issue.

He adds it's obvious that the union is upset with council, the police board, and management but he will let the proper process take its course.

Union Says Police Woes Tied To Lack of Communication From Chief

The police union is once again sounding the alarm over communication problems between them and police management, particularly the Chief of Police.

In a presentation to the Board of Police Commissioners, the union says communications have broken down and are akin to how the force was ran back in 1918.

Union spokesperson Bob Davidson tells CHSJ News it's the root cause of current legal woes between certain officers and the force.

The various cases range from maternity rights and benefits to promotions.

He says while the Saint John Police Force may be one of the best forces in the country, its morale is very low.

The union also making recommendations on how to save the force more money and restore more front-line services -- such as cutting several non-police positions and the Staff Sergeant rank.

Commission Chairman Chris Waldschutz says all recommendations will be looked at by the commission.