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Monday, April 29, 2013

Bandstand To Be Restored: Will Be Working Music Venue This Summer

The King Square Bandstand has been out of commission for decades; however, that iconic piece of Saint John's cultural history will soon  receive a new lease on life. 

Common Council heard tonight that an anonymous donor will provide over $100,000 worth of upgrades to the bandstand, making it into a working music venue by the end of this summer.

The anonymous offer came through former Saint John Mayor Norm MacFarlane, whom the nameless philanthropist approached  looking for his help working with common council. He tells CHSJ News the huge project will start immediately.

The work will include installing new supports and flooring on the second level, cleaning and restoring the copper roof, installing a granite slab and ladder for access to the second level, painting, sandblasting and cleaning the structure and fittings, and upgrading all the electrical and lighting hookups. For some years only the pigeon population has been able to access the second floor of the bandstand due to its aging, delicate condition.

The work will be done by Avant Garde Construction, the same company who recently performed the major renovations on the Algonquin Hotel in Saint Andrews. Owner Patrick Sohy says the company is performing historical research to make sure the color scheme and the fountain are as close as possible to the original.

The bandstand was originally donated to the city by the City Coronet Band in 1908.

Mayor Mel Norton hailed the restoration as a true indicator of Saint John's status as a so-called "Renaissance City," saying a major celebration would be in order when the work is completed. The Mayor is currently soliciting suggestions from the public for the proposed grand opening celebration via his Facebook page.

Arrests On Sandy Point Road

A little excitement tonight for some folks who live along Sandy Point Road when the police showed up.

Two men taken into custody after 7 near the Sandi's convenience for being in possession of a stolen vehicle--a grey van.

The men, described as adults, have a court appearance in the morning.

Brian Gallant Will Be Sworn In On Tuesday

When Brian Gallant takes his seat in the legislature, he wants to see the tone shift from hostile to civil. The Liberal Leader won the by-election in the riding of Kent on April 15th, and he will be sworn in tomorrow.

He says main issues that affect the province at the moment are the economy and unemployment, and that the Liberals will be bringing a constructive approach to the legislature by coming up with solutions to problems and idea when the house sits. 

Gallant also says he'll be pressing the government on shale gas exploration and changes to federal employment insurance.

SJ Board of Trade Retail Forum Launching Speaker Series for Saint John Retailers

If you're a business owner or someone with a dream of opening your own store, you can get some tips on how to be successful with a speaker series targeted towards Saint John retailers.

Kiera Fraser, owner of Je Suis Prest and co-chair of the SJ Board of Trade Retail Forum tells CHSJ News that realtor Bob McVicar will be sharing some of his tips on how to draw in customers, create clean and effective merchandise presentations and bring in cash.

This event is the first of three in the Retail Rules series. For more information and to register, click here.

Horizon CEO Says Independent Patient Advocate Is Not Their Decision

As a local mom Monica McNally works to get an independent advocate for patients in our hospitals,  Horizon Health CEO John McGarry tells CHSJ News whether or not to install such an independent authority is not their decision to make.

He tells CHSJ News Horizon respects McNally's right to voice her concerns, but now that Horizon has passed on her request to Health Minister Ted Flemming it is out of the corporation's hands.

McGarry admits hospitals are seen as uncomfortable and unhealthy places, and agitators like Mrs. McNally will put on pressure to change that.

Man Charged with Stabbing A Bus Driver Due In Court Today

A stabbing last month left an intercity bus driver in hospital undergoing surgery for multiple wounds, and today the Dalhousie man charged with the attack is due in court in Grand Falls. 

27-year-old Ryan Jason Hickey is being charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault. Police say the attack happened when the driver pulled into the parking lot of a gas station in Perth-Andover. 

Two RCMP officers who happened to be inside the station were flagged down.

Fundy Baykeeper Calls Cooke Aquaculture CEO's Statement Shocking and Scandalous

For the Fundy Baykeeper, the half million dollar fine that Kelly Cove Salmon has to shell out for using an illegal pesticide in salmon farms, is a bittersweet victory. 

Matthew Abbott tells CHSJ News that while he's appreciative of the work Environment Canada enforcement did to bring the case to light, he admits it's frustrating that one of the biggest companies in the province used the products in the first place.

Glen Cooke, the CEO of Cooke Aquaculture, which owns Kelly Cove Salmon, released a statement after-the-fact where he said he questions the allegations, but wanted to avoid a drawn-out court case. You can read Cooke's statement here. Abbott says they're contradicting themselves, since they plead guilty.

West Side Woman Still Missing

The Major Crime Unit of the City police force has been looking for a missing West side woman for a week now.

45 year old Yeonhee Choi was reported missing after leaving her home on Prince Street last Monday at 6am.

She takes medication but did not take it with her. 

Police have been searching an area around Prince Street and the lower west side with help from patrol members and the K-9 unit. The Korean community of Saint John is also involved in the search.

Choi is Korean,  5'4" tall with short dark hair and pierced ears.

She was last seen wearing a black or brown leather jacket, black tights, black boots, a dark or black knit style sweater and may be carrying a black knapsack.

If you have any info call 648-3333 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

NB Liquor Reporting More Sales And Higher Earnings

Things are looking a bit better for NB Liquor. 

Total sales for the fourth quarter which ended March 31st were $78.8 million, an increase of $1.6 million or 2.1 per cent from the same time a year earlier. 

Net earnings totalled $31.4 million, an increase of $1.1 million or 3.6 per cent, primarily because of an increase in sales. 

The sale of hard liquor increased by more than 5 per cent or $1 million. Wine sales were up by $1.5 million which is a rise of more than 10 per cent but beer sales declined by a million dollars or 2.3 per cent.

Survey Shows How Young People In City Differ From Adults

Young people in Saint John see the issues facing the city differently than adults do judging from the grades given the city in a Vital Signs survey. 

One such issue is the environment and how much we recycle and compost.The teens say we could be doing a far better job with more recycling and composting whereas adults look at the same issue and say yes, but look at how far we have come.

Sara Mudge of the Vital Signs Committee tells CHSJ News young people also feel the need to leave after high school and not because there are no jobs but to achieve self fulfillment with experiences they don't feel are here for them locally. That's different from larger centres like Halifax, Victoria and Calgary.

Mudge says many of the students grew up with the PALS programme and know what it's like to go to school hungry. She says that's why they talked about the need to provide free meals to those people in poverty.

Water Disruption In Quispamsis

The folks who live in Terrace View Park in Quispamsis will have to make do without water. 

CHSJ News told there has been a water break. The water will be shut off until it's fixed and we don't have any word on how long that's going to take.

Van Fire Along Highway One

The Musquash Fire Dept telling us shortly before 7 this morning about a van that's on fire along Highway 1 just before the Musquash exit. 

The area should be cleared up soon but drivers are being asked to slow down.

(Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Noddin)

Young People Have Their Say On The State Of Saint John

The city of Saint John getting a report card with the grades coming from a group of high school students.

The teens graded eight components of life in the city and the results were compiled into what is now the Youth Vital Signs Report.

The highest grade, a C+, went to Arts & Recreation. Health & Wellness, Belonging & Community, Employment & Education and Transportation received a C, Crime & Safety and Environment received a C-, and the lowest grade, a D, went to Homelessness & Poverty.

To improve that mark, the young people identified a need for the creation of a youth shelter and options for free meals. They were positive, however, about their futures in the city, as 67% said the right schools and training opportunities are available in Saint John region for them to get the education and training they want.

59% of those surveyed also say Saint John is a great place to be a young person.

West Side Parents Say They've Had Enough

Parents on the lower west side are about ready to launch a new campaign at taking their neighbourhood back. 

Rhoda Welshman of the Lower Westians tells CHSJ News the Red Shirt Committee will voluntarily patrol the playground at the Carleton Community Centre and hopefully will expand beyond that onto the streets.

Welshman says parents finally got fed up with worrying about what kind of trouble their kids might get into when outside whether it was getting into fights, drugs or even falling on a discarded needle.

She says they're working with the community police officer on this campaign.

Warning About Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease, which you get from deer ticks, is in the Saint John area and spreading because of climate change. That warning from Hampton town Councillor Bob Doucet who chairs the Regional Deer Committee. 

Doucet can speak from first hand experience having come down with Lyme Disease a few years ago while working as a surveyer for the province. He barely could function and has been on medication. 

His condition has gotten better but whether he'll ever be cured is an open question. Doucet says he used to be able to play hockey but can't anymore and he knows of other people in the area who have been similarly infected.

Doucet says he wants people in the region to be aware after years of denial about there even being Lyme Disease in the province.

Retired Doctor Says Healthcare Must Be Redone

The Independent M-L-A for Fundy-River Valley says there has to be a long term plan to revamp healthcare in the province because the fiscal situation demands it. 

Dr. Jim Parrot tells CHSJ News the dispute between doctors and the provincial government with a threatened lawsuit is just a small part of a larger problem.

Dr. Parrot warns if this dispute does go to court, there may not be a resolution by the time the next provincial election rolls around.