Thursday, May 17, 2012

Jennex: Former Board Members Can Re-Offer

Education Minister Ramona Jennex says she has no problems with former board members running in the October elections. Jennex fired the 12-member board last November after a scathing report from Deloitte Inc. revealed frequent violations by the board of its own by-laws, persistent cases of conflict of interest and too much focus on individual agendas. Members including Karen Reinhardt, Herb Seymour and Butch MacLeod have indicated they intend to run again while others remain undecided or don't plan to run. Jennex says she isn't concerned about former members getting re-elected.

She says every person has the democratic right to run in municipal, board, or provincial elections.

Chester: No Tax Hikes Included In Budget

There won't be any new tax hikes this year for residents and businesses in the municipality of Chester. Council passed their operating and capital budgets during their regular meeting this morning. The residential tax rate was set at $0.64 per $100 of assessment while commercial rates will hold steady at $1.54 per $100 of assessment. In a release, Warden Allen Webber says economic and environmental sustainability remains a priority for council and staff in hopes of promoting growth in the area. He says an example would be the large-scale wind project at the Kaizer Meadow Landfill site. The $5.5 million dollar project will be fully owned by the municipality. Other projects include fixing up the wharf in Chester Basin, constructing several sidewalks and putting a focus on health and well being initiatives. Overall, the municipality will feature an operation budget of just over $22 million dollars.

NSP Petition Turned Away

An online petition that opposes Nova Scotia Power's rate increases was turned down today in the legislature.  Roughly 30,000 signatures were gathered from social media websites. The NDP government blocked the petition based on a rule that prohibits tabling electronic petitions. Opposition Liberal leader Stephen McNeil says the rule is out dated.

McNeil adds that support for the petition grows everyday. Last week Nova Scotia Power asked its customers to pay six per cent more for electricity over the next two years. A utilities and review board hearing will be held on the request this fall.

Court: Preliminary Hearing Set In Chester Basin Murder

A preliminary hearing for a teenager accused of killing his mother in Chester Basin will begin in January. Five days have been set aside for the hearing involving 18 year-old John (Jack) Buckley. He has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second degree murder in the death of Victoria Brauns-Buckley. The woman's body was found at her home on the Borgels Point Road on March 2nd, however its not known how she died. A preliminary hearing is used to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial. The hearing will begin on January 16th in Bridgewater.

Group Urges Minister About Rural Education Strategy

Paul Bennett
A group of individuals are looking to change the way the province deals with rural education. The Small Schools Delegation met with Education Minister Ramona Jennex Tuesday to discuss their study called "Schools at the Centre: A Revitalization Strategy for Rural Communities." The group has asked for a moratorium on school reviews and closures during the proposed process. Chair Paul Bennett says change needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Bennett says Jennex seemed positive about the study but would need time to look over the document.