Local News & Sports
Nelson Mandela honoured
Premier David Alward has expressed his sympathies on behalf of all New Brunswickers upon news of the death of "one of the greatest leaders in our time," Nelson Mandela. The anti-apartheid hero and former South African president died at his Johannesburg home on Thursday at the age of 95. Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Mandela was one of the giants of our time, adding that "the world has lost one of its great moral leaders and statesmen." Harper is expected to attend Mandela's funeral next week.
Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
It's been 24 years since the Montreal Massacre, in which 14 female engineering students were gunned down at Ecole Polytechnique. The day, marked nationally, now honours all women who've died from violence. A service in Riverview begins at 6:30 at the Dan Bohan Centre. It wraps up with a candlelight vigil and laying of roses at the monument nearby at Casely Park.
Finished with seismic testing
Looks like the end to shale gas exploration in New Brunswick -- for now, anyway. SWN Resources Canada says it has completed it's seismic testing in the province. The presence of SWN's thumper trucks resulted in almost daily protests and dozens of arrests in Kent County, including a nasty confrontation between RCMP and Mi'kmaq warriors in Rexton back in October.
A longtime Moncton city councillor wants to run provincially for the Brian Gallant Liberals. Brian Hicks will seek the nomination in Moncton-Northwest for the 2014 election. Hicks has spent 14 years on city council representing Ward Three.
The loss of a direct flight to Newfoundland is very disappointing to staff at Greater Moncton International Airport. Quebec-based PASCAN Aviation has announced that because of low numbers it's pulling the plug on its five-day-a-week flight between Moncton and St.John's. The last flight will be next Friday. Airport communications specialist Julie Pondant says two months just wasn't long enough for travellers to catch on to the new option, and they believe it would've become a viable route. She says the airport will continue to search for an airline that's interested in establishing a Newfoundland route.
RCMP have charged a 71-year-old suspended priest from Aldouane, New Brunswick with indecent assault (three counts), gross indecency (four), and sexual assault (one) dating back to the 1970s and early '80s in Shediac, Rosaireville and Collette. Yvon Arsenault is due in court in Moncton on the 27th of January for election and plea. The allegations involve four male victims under the age of 18 at the time. Police have been investigating this for a year, and believe there may have been other incidents. Information can be reported to the Codiac detachment at 857-2400.
A crash in Cocagne has claimed the life of a 68-year-old man. R-C-M-P say Adelard Leblanc of Cocagne died at the scene when the vehicle he was driving slid off Route Five-35 in poor conditions Wednesday morning around six. There were no passengers in his vehicle.
CUPE has filed a complaint to the Labour and Employment Board. The union says the Alward government's planned pension changes are illegal and violate the Public Service Labour Relations Act. They say the government is not allowed to make changes -- ie. pension changes -- to their collective agreements after the union locals each filed what is called "a notice to bargain" to begin negotiating contract renewals. The five presidents of the locals were joined by CUPE New Brunswick President Danny Legere at a press conference in Fredericton on Thursday.
Another dreary fiscal update from New Brunswick finance minister Blaine Higgs. Higgs says a revenue shortfall of $173-million in the second quarter has resulted in another $38-million being tacked onto the deficit -- now projected to be $538-million. And this is despite the government reducing spending in that quarter by $113-million. In her report Thursday, Auditor General Kim MacPherson says the government's efforts to control spending are noteworthy, but they're not enough and revenues need to be increased. Meantime, Higgs is preparing to schedule a pre-budget consultation tour to meet with stakeholders. As well, the government's Taxpayers FIRST website, which takes suggestions on how to slay the deficit, has now received 34,000 visits.
New Brunswick's auditor general has found the Department of Social Development lacking when it comes to making sure that foster home standards are being met. In her annual report, Kim MacPherson says a sample of foster family files they tested found only two of 20 files contained all of the required documentation for approving a foster family. With regard to monitoring of approved foster homes, she found annual reviews are not always completed as required by the standards. She also notes changes in the monthly foster care rates since 1996 have not kept pace with inflation. New Brunswick had 531 foster families as of March 2012. At any given time, more than 1,100 children are in foster care.
Greater Moncton's unemployment rate has dropped a little. The jobless rate for November here is 7.7 per cent, compared with an even eight for October. Now, the year-over-year comparison is a different story, with the current rate eight-10ths of a point higher than the 6.9 in November of 2012. Expanding the range -- the New Brunswick unemployment rate now sits at 9.7 per cent, down four-10ths of a point from the month before. The national jobless rate held steady at 6.9.
Stuff a Bus!
For the fourth year, we'll be Stuffing a Bus in the name of giving children-in-need a better Christmas. This Saturday at the parking lot of the Sobeys on Vaughan Harvey Boulevard, Moncton's Rock Station C103 will be accepting donations of new toys -- enough to fill a Stock Transportation bus -- which will then be distributed by the Salvation Army. We'll be there from 9:00 to 2:00.
This year's Sue Stultz Turkey Drive in Moncton seeks to collect 3,663 frozen turkeys for Christmas dinners for families in need. Donations will be accepted from now 'til Friday the 13th at the fire station on St.George Boulevard -- 10:00 'til 7:00 daily. Distribution later will be handled by Food Depot Alimentaire ( suestultzturkeydrive.com ).
Our Moncton Wildcats have a home-game this Sunday against the Victoriaville Tigres -- a 4:00 faceoff at Moncton Coliseum. The Wildcats also play on the road on Friday night against Acadie-Bathurst. The 'Cats enter the weekend at 13-17-0-2. ( QMJHL )
Meantime, in the Maritime Junior Hockey League, the Dieppe Commandos (17-5-2-0) hope to get back to their winning ways this Saturday night. They'll host the Woodstock Slammers at 7:30 at Arthur-J-LeBlanc Centre. Dieppe's last outing was a 4-3 overtime to the visiting Campbellton Tigers. It snapped a five-game win streak. Also this weekend in junior-A hockey, the Amherst Ramblers (15-9-0-1) host Truro Saturday night at 7:00. Amherst is coming off of a 4-3 loss by shootout in Pictou County (to the Weeks Crushers) on Thursday night. ( MHL )
In the New Brunswick Junior Hockey League, the junior-B Hotel Shediac Predators (8-5-0) have a pair of road games -- Friday night in Cocagne against the Kent Koyotes (10-5-0), followed up by a trip to Grand Lake on Saturday evening. Meantime, the Moncton Vitos continue to set the pace, improving to 15-0-0 with a 10-0 win at home over Kent on Thursday night. The Vitos are idle this weekend. ( Hockeyscene )
It's another crossover weekend for the NB-PEI and NS major midget AAA hockey leagues. The Moncton Mark's Work Wearhouse Flyers head to northeastern Nova Scotia for both of their games -- Saturday night versus the Cape Breton Tradesmen in New Waterford, and then Sunday afternoon in Port Hood against Cape Breton West Islanders. Moncton enters the weekend at 13-5-0.
The standings are airtight entering weekend play in the North East Senior Hockey League! The Memramcook Acadiens (4-3-0) play twice, hosting Lameque (5-2-0) at 8:15 Friday night, then visiting Bouctouche (3-4-2) Sunday evening at 6:45. Meantime, the Cap-Pele Pecheurs (4-2-1) will play their first game in two weeks when they visit Lameque Sunday afternoon. Looking at the overall standings, just three points separate first-place from sixth. ( NESHL )
The Moncton Miracles' travels continue with two more games in Ontario this weekend. The struggling Miracles will visit Brampton Friday night and Windsor on Sunday afternoon. Moncton enters the weekend at 2-9, having lost six straight. They sit third out of four in the Atlantic Conference and eighth out of nine overall. ( NBL ).