Friday, March 30, 2012

Municipal Elections: Chester to Introduce Evoting

Chester will move towards evoting when residents head to the polls during municipal elections this fall. Residents will be able to vote over the phone or by computer for the advance poll only. Warden Allen Webber says the municipality is very traditional and council wanted to maintain the paper ballot in some capacity. "As much as we like to be forward thinking, we are also very traditional in this municipality. The older population is used to going to the polls - we may reduce the number of polls in future years, but its unlikely it will be anything we will completely eliminate," Webber says the ultimate goal is to increase voter turnout and he hopes the change will appeal to younger voters.

Mawhinney: Schools Need More Maintenance Funds

The South Shore Regional School Board will hand the keys to Lunenburg Academy back to the town at the end of the month. Town staff and school board officials have completed a walk through of the historic building in an effort to survey the condition of the facility. Mayor Laurence Mawhinney says the building will need some maintenance work and during council this week, had some sharp criticism for past provincial governments. He says regardless of the political stripe - school boards have been grossly under funded to keep up maintenance at schools across the province. "The monies being provided to look after the 27 or 28 buildings operated by the school board in Lunenburg county was just not adequate to keep them in a state that was going to carry them forward. Anyone who owns a home and looks after it properly knows you have to do maintenance every year. That was not happening at our school properties - the academy is but one,"  Mawhinney stresses he's not blaming the Regional School Board. However, with a number of new schools opening across the province - he's is hoping the trend will be reversed. The 117 year-old Academy, owned by the Town, housed grades one through twelve until 1965 when a new high school was built. It was home to elementary students up until this month when the new Bluenose Academy opened in Lunenburg.

Gasoline Prices Rise Again

The price of regular gasoline at South Shore pumps has taken another overnight jump. A litre of self serve regular is selling today for $1.43.5.  Thats a little over 3.5 cents more than yesterday.  The increase, granted by the Utilities & Review Board, follows a similar increase in New Brunswick yesterday.

Common Ground: Changes to "Race Week" Pub Nights

Some noise complaints have forced the Municipality of Chester and organizers of "Race Week" to find some common ground. The traditional pub nights at the Yatch Club will continue, however, live music will be shut down at 1AM. The change was in response to numerous concerns raised by people who reside near the Yatch Club. Chester Council made the decision during their meeting on Thursday. Randy Stevens is Commodore of the facility. "It works for both parities, it works for us as the Yatch Club and it works for the Municipality. We are an integral part of the community as I mentioned to council and we certainly want to make everybody as happy as we can - I think it was a good compromise," The organization will still allow guests to remain on the property until 2AM as normal. Warden Allen Webber also thought it was a fair decision as well."The neighbors that live in the area have a legitimate concern with the noise. We found a compromise but we need the live music shut down at 1 o'clock. They can keep the bar open and they will be some noise associated with that but it's a reasonable compromise," Chester Race Week is held August 15-18.

Queens County Woman Charged with Public Mischief

An 18 year-old Queens County woman charged with public mischief will appear in court next month in relation to the death of the Brandon Wentzell.  The 19 year-old died February 5th from a lethal combination of the painkiller Dilaudid and vodka. Charges were laid following an extensive police investigation surrounding a bogus relationship between Wentzell and a girl named Clarissa. Their relationship was built through an online dating website, however, the girl never existed and the relationship was a hoax. It's believed the women charged was behind the hoax. The pair had made numerous attempts to meet but each time their date was cancelled at the last minute. The last time a meeting was supposed to happen was Super Bowl Sunday. Later that night, Wentzell began drinking and taking drugs. Soon after his death, Wentzell's mother received multiple text messages from someone claiming to be Clarissa's mother. The texts stated Clarissa had committed suicide after learning of Brandon's death. That led Bridgewater police to expand their investigation. The woman accused of being behind the hoax will enter a plea to the charges on April 18th in Bridgewater.

Changes in Mandatory Hemelt Use at Lunenburg Arena

Helmets will be mandatory next year for anyone under the age of 12 who is skating at the Lunenburg Arena. The age is being bumped up by two years. Town of Lunenburg councillor Jamie Myra says it's a safety issue and a proactive change. "We've always said that there has been times at public skate or at other times over there where we were surprised nothings ever happened and to my knowledge there really hasn't been any incident that has brought this forward. We just felt we should be proactive and put this into place,"  Myra says he would not be surprised to see helmet use mandatory for all ages at the arena down the road. The town will promote the change more in the fall in hopes it will give skaters time to buy some head gear if they don't already own a helmet.