Thursday, July 05, 2012

HAZLETT HEADING TO QUEENS


BY LAUREN BIRD

BIRD.LAUREN@DAILYGLEANER.COM

04 JULY 2012

Recent Fredericton High School graduate Emily Hazlett will be heading off to Kingston, Ont., at the end of next month. She’ll be claiming a $14,000 scholarship to play for the Queen’s University Gaels women’s basketball team.

“It’s always been my dream, at least hoping that I would get seen by coaches and have people want me to go to a good university and play,” Hazlett said.

The 5-foot-6 point guard has been working toward this dream for at least a few years, said her high school coach, Rick Cotter.

“She’s worked in trying to perfect herself and her game; she’s played on several provincial teams, in national championships. Her work ethic is outstanding and when she came to practice she really brought a very competitive spirit to practice, which as part of her leadership as a point guard,” Cotter said.

Hazlett was courted by several schools over the last year including the University of New Brunswick, Acadia University, Cape Breton University and Dalhousie University. And though both her parents, Mark and Leanne played for UNB, in the end, Queen’s was the perfect fit.

She was born in Kingston and much of her family is there. Even her uncle and cousin played on the school’s football team.

“I always kind of wanted to get away and get out on my own,” she said.

It’s her work ethic, said Cotter, which has come to determine her success.

“Emily has been driven to play (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) basketball for a few years now. She’s really put a lot of effort into learning her position — she plays probably one of the most important positions on the floor. She has grown and taken major strides as a floor leader for our team. She’s really grown and matured as an individual also,” Cotter said.

In the off season, Hazlett played with the New Brunswick under-15 and -17 provincial teams to keep her skills sharp. She travelled around the province nearly every weekend and competed in national tournaments in Montreal and Winnipeg.

Hazlett led the FHS Lady Black Kats to a provincial championship this year, stopping the Riverview High School Royals from winning a fourth straight title. She was the team’s MVP in Grade 11 and 12, and was named the New Brunswick All-Star for 2011-2012.

In a news release announcing her intent to play for the Gaels, the women’s basketball coach, Dave Wilson, said “her winning attitude, competitive drive, and relentless work ethic, will ensure her success at Queen’s.”

But her commitment to the game lies in something much deeper than her hopes for success.

“It’s kind of just like the way I feel out on the court, I would say unstoppable, but obviously I’m not,” she said. “I just love playing and having been a part of the basketball community and it’s kind of just a part of me I guess.”

The Gaels finished fourth last season with a 12-10 record in the East division of the Ontario University Athletics conference. The squad fell in the quarterfinal to Ryerson University .

Queen’s has one conference title to their name, winning the OUA championship in 2001.



BLUE DOOR MAKES TOP RESTAURANT LIST


BY LAUREN BIRD
BIRD.LAUREN@DAILYGLEANER.COM
04 JULY 2012

Four Fredericton restaurants have been recognized for their quality dining experiences in two national publications.

The Blue Door will be listed in Maclean’s magazine as one of the best restaurants in Canada.

Owner Chris Black said he never expected it.

“It was kind of out of the blue. They called during lunch and I half thought it was the magazine calling to try and sell me a subscription during lunch. I’m a little short with salespeople in the middle of lunch, but when they said we were on this list I was happy to take that call,” he said.

Black doesn’t know when the list will be published, but hopes it will be over the summer to catch the attention of tourists.

Three other capital restaurants have made the Where to Eat in Canada guide’s 42nd edition. The guide marked Chez Riz, The Palate and Dimitri’s as the must-eats in the city.

“It’s something that you cannot try to get in. You’re picked and a lot of people read it, so I guess it’s awesome,” said The Palate’s owner and operator, Ken Roberts.

The Palate has operated for more than 10 years at its Queen Street location, a feat not easily done in Fredericton, according to Where to Eat in Canada.

“You have to work hard at it,” Roberts said. “For two years I starved. Banks wouldn’t even look at me. I basically lived there upwards of 60 or 70 hours a week.”

Much of the restaurant’s success comes from knowing its market.

“The biggest thing in Fredericton is consistency and service, and I met a chef, who’s now my business partner, Boris Müller ... and he brought a European sort of flair to it. It’s quality, not quantity. There’s a big demand for that in this city.”

Roberts said the restaurant aims at keeping meals consistent.

“And Dimitris, he rocks at that. He’s been here forever and he hasn’t changed his menu,” Roberts said.

There are certain items on the Palate menu that can’t be removed, Roberts said, because customers may come for that specific dish.

It’s also not Chez Riz’s first time in the guide.

“Six years in a row I am in this book. That’s a very good thing for me. I’m proud of this,” said owner and operator Rizwan-Ul-Haq.

The guide points to Chez Riz’s lamb karahi as the best on the menu.

“It is very good because we get the lamb fresh from the farm and we cook it very well. Our recipe is very good, this recipe is made by me and the lamb is very tender, too,” he said.

The owners of Dimitri’s couldn’t be reached.



Wednesday, July 04, 2012


PLAN FOR THE FUTURE

THE DAILY GLEANER
EDITORIAL
04 JULY 2012

We don’t want to be another Saint John.

While some might imagine a host of examples to illustrate that statement, what we mean is this: we don’t want the same messes the City of Saint John has had to deal with when it comes to employee pensions.

That’s why our city council is serious about fighting the current pension deficit and troubles that may come as the years roll on. We applaud council’s attention to this issue, sooner rather than later, because later could be disastrous.

The world market turmoil of the last four years gave the city pension plan a deficit of $37.5 million. That has since been whittled down to $31.6 million.

Last year, the city implemented what some would describe as unpopular measures to help address the deficit, namely the elimination of overtime in the calculation of pensionable earnings, and a cap on annual cost-of-living adjustments.

But that was not enough, because there’s more trouble around the corner.

“The changes made to the pension plan are working as planned for the short-term, although there are challenges ahead,” said Coun. Mike O’Brien, the new chairman of the City of Fredericton’s superannuation board. “The plan is not out of the woods.’’

It’s not just a shaky market that might put a dent in the most well-laid plans. It’s a growing population of pensioners taking money from the plan, and a lesser amount of money going into the plan.

The precarious balance is about to tip as baby boomers move to retirement, and those on pensions live longer — and neither of those issues has anything to do with unpredictable world markets.

“We will start to see the impact of these challenges, especially the low interest rates, impacting the pension plan most likely for the 2012 valuation of the plan,” said Coun. O’Brien. “This means in addition to the deficit that we just put a plan in place to address, we will need to start planning to make further changes in 2013.”

The goal is a proactive strategy to provide long-term stability to the city pension plan, something the City of Saint John does not enjoy at the moment.

Saint John has had a pension deficit for 10 years, and it’s shocking compared to ours— $193 million as of earlier this year.

One of the reasons for the mess is the way it was set up decades ago. Fredericton’s council can change its own pension parameters, but Saint John could not. It had to petition the provincial legislature to tweak its plan, which has been a cumbersome and time-consuming process that is about to change.

But with a large deficit long before the recession of 2008 hit, it’s clear there were not the same controls, safety measures and speedy responses the plan obviously needed.

Saint John is an excellent example of how a pension deficit can quickly spin out of control. We’re pleased that’s not the case here in Fredericton.

We encourage city council to continue to pursue this path of vigilance and oversight. Indeed, we do not want to be another Saint John.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


Fredericton North Rotary Club and the City of Fredericton jointly announce new additions at Royals Field in Honour of Bob Kenny


 Fredericton, NB, (June 29, 2012) - The Fredericton North Rotary Club, in conjunction with the City of Fredericton are pleased to announce funding for the construction of new dugouts at historic Royals Field and dedicate them in honour of Fredericton resident Bob Kenny.

In the fall of this year, after the baseball season has concluded, the construction of the new dugouts will start thanks to generous grants from the Toronto Blue Jays, the Fredericton North Rotary Club, Grant Thornton and the City of Fredericton.

Kenny is a long time resident who is well known for his contributions and fundraising activities in Fredericton. 

In the fall of this year, after the baseball season has concluded, the construction of the new dugouts will start thanks to generous grants from the Toronto Blue Jays, the Fredericton North Rotary Club, Grant Thornton and the City of Fredericton.
Kenny is a long time resident who is well known for his contributions and fundraising activities in Fredericton. 

On hand for the announcement was Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside, former Toronto Blue Jays and World Series hero Joe Carter, Deputy Chair of TD Bank Group and former New Brunswick Premier, Frank McKenna and Bob Kenny. Also present were representatives of Grant Thornton, Jays Care Foundation, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Fredericton North Rotary Club and TD Bank Group.

“Widely considered the most historic field in the province, having just celebrated its 100th anniversary, we are excited that this necessary refurbishment will be complete and ready in time for the 2013 season,” said Mayor Woodside.  “I would like to add a special thank you to Joe Carter for attending and, of course, the corporate community for stepping up to the plate to fund this project.”

“Bob Kenny has worked tirelessly over the last forty years in supporting a wide range of community service organizations in Fredericton,” said Frank McKenna. “Bob has always been very passionate about baseball and I can think of no better tribute to him and his legacy than renaming the dugouts at Royal Field in his honour.”


MORE WORK NEEDED TO STABILIZE CITY PENSION FUND

BY HEATHER MCLAUGHLIN


03 JULY 2012


The new chairman of the City of Fredericton’s superannuation board says more measures will have to be put into place to stabilize the pension account and continue to diminish its unfunded liability.

Coun. Mike O’Brien was appointed to chair the board at its June meeting.

“Even though we’ve put ‘stop gap’ measures in place to address the current situation, we will be working towards a long-term sustainable pension plan strategy for not only current employees but for the next generation to come. We realize pensions are important to employees and want to make sure we have a reasonable long-term sustainable plan that is affordable, can withstand significant market fluctuations,” O’Brien said.

Fredericton’s pension fund shortfall was largely created by the 2008 financial market downturn which created a $37.5 million deficit.

Negotiations and discussions with employees spanned two years, and changes to the plan, to address the immediate short term challenges, were introduced in 2011. Those changes included hikes to employee and employer contributions coupled with benefit reductions to claw back the deficit over 15 years, O’Brien said.

Both the city and its workers agreed to pay an extra 0.9 per cent in contributions. The definition of pensionable earnings was altered to exclude overtime earnings. The indexation of the pension — which provides for annual inflationary hikes in pensions — was reduced to two-thirds of the change in the annual consumer price index.

“The good news is that the $37.5 million deficit the city had to address has decreased to $31.6 million in 2011,” O’Brien said.

“The changes made to the pension plan are working as planned for the short-term, although there are challenges ahead. The plan is not out of the woods,” he said.

Over the years lower interest rates mean lower returns on investment and increased liability. An aging work force where fewer employees are paying into the pension plan compared to the number of retirees drawing benefits is going to mean less money coming into the plan compared with the dollars flowing out.

“People are living longer, therefore the pension plan is paying retirees for a longer period of time,” O’Brien said.

“We will start to see the impact of these challenges, especially the low interest rates, impacting the pension plan most likely for the 2012 valuation of the plan. This means in addition to the deficit that we just put a plan in place to address, we will need to start planning to make further changes in 2013,” he said.

For the city’s superannuation board, creating a long-term sustainable plan for the pension account is going to have to take place, O’Brien said.

“All stakeholders will be engaged along the way. It is my hope that any new short term measures would be part of the upcoming 2013 or 2014 budget discussions, and that a new long-term sustainable strategy will be formulated and implemented soon after,” O’Brien said.

Recently city council took another step to limit city and employee contributions in 2012 and in future years for those employees who are unfairly contributing earnings to the fund that they can never draw out.

City council approved the amendment to the Fredericton Superannuation Fund bylaw at a recent council meeting.

Under the federal Income Tax Act, there is a cap on the amount of pension funds a person can receive.

“Employees earning above the Income Tax Act pension cap are making contributions to the plan on the portion of their earnings for which they cannot receive a pension. The (superannuation) board recommended that council address this fairness issue by amending the plan bylaw,” says the report handed to city councillors on the bylaw amendment.

“This means that both the city and employee pension contributions in 2012 and future years will be capped at the earnings producing the Income Tax Act pension limit in that year,” the report stated.

The change doesn’t impact the amount of pension that plan members get, only the contributions over and above the maximum pension identified under the federal pension law.

Council also switched out a member of the Fredericton superannuation board. Coun. Dan Keenan will replace Coun. David Kelly as a member.


WORKING TABLES HERE AT HOME KEEPS DJ NASTY NAZ HUMBLE

EXCERPTS FROM INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY LAUREN BIRD

DAILY GLEANER

02 JULY 2012

Well-known Fredericton artist DJ Nasty Naz has been around the world performing with big names like Justin Beiber, P. Diddy, Sean Kingston and more. He also owns local restaurant Caribbean Flavas with his family. Most recently, he’s been working with Celine Dion’s producers and cooked for Prince Charles. He spoke with The Daily Gleaner this week.

•••

Q: How does someone who has their MBA go on to become P. Diddy’s DJ and own a restaurant?

A: I came here on scholarship from Trinidad. That’s where I was born and raised. I turned down the scholarship because I was living the island life in Trinidad. Every day we would go to the beach and chill out and I said, “Well, let me try it and see what it’s like living in Canada,” because Canada is Toronto right? That’s the only place until I realized, “Oh, it’s New Brunswick.”

I came here and within the first week I fell in love — with the place at least. The place is so gorgeous … From my point of view, the people here were so inviting to me as a Caribbean international student … So when I was going to school at (the University of New Brunswick) I did a course called, New Venture, Creation, Entrepreneurship and one of the projects was to create a productive service for New Brunswick. So I came up with this international, diverse, ethnic restaurant in a predominantly white market. My professor didn’t think it was a good idea and me gave me a C+.

•••

Q: So how did you get the restaurant started?

A: I called up my parents. They were in Trinidad at the time. Both my sisters were here studying, one at St. Thomas University, one at UNB. I said, “Mom and dad I have this brilliant idea of how to start up a restaurant and basically it’s an ethnic restaurant and it will fly.”

So they were kind of hesitant … But I got friends and family to come and paint pictures on the walls and murals and all that stuff and now we’ve won best restaurant in New Brunswick and stuff like that.

•••

Q: How did you get into DJing?

A: I used to DJ back in Trinidad, for a major radio station out there and when I came here, to Fredericton, I wanted to continue my DJing skills so I was doing stuff at clubs and all that stuff. They’ve never really seen my style where I’m hyping on the microphone and I’m getting people to put their hands up and dance and stuff. General DJs, they just get up on stage and just kind of push play right?

With me I have turn tables and I’m mixing and I’m mashing up songs and people, they haven’t seen that before. So continuing here, then I realized they weren’t very receptive as how they should have been with my skills. So other people had been noticing me.

•••

Q: Who noticed you and how?

A: For instance, Alicia Keys, her management team saw me do a show in Toronto. They said, “Hey, you’re really good at what you’re doing. Why don’t you come up to New York, we’ll talk some business.”

All these other artists started calling me and say, “Hey, we notice your doing stuff in Canada. Why not come talk to us so when we’re ready for shows we can just call upon you on a night’s notice.” So that’s what would happen with me and these artists, people like Snoop Dogg, when they would be in town I would be DJing and they would be like, “Hey we’re hungry but the only thing to eat is poutine, where can we get some good soul food?” I’m like, “Hey, I just happen to own a restaurant with my family.”

•••

Q: You mentioned you’ve been working with Celin Dion’s producers; how did that happen?

A: Basically, they looked at my website and said, “Oh you did stuff with Justin Beiber, you did stuff with the Black Eyed Peas, you did stuff with Akon. What have you done with them?” And basically it’s this ongoing resume that they’re looking at. They’re reading my website and everything I’ve done with them, I’m auditioning pretty much. It’s been two months now that I’ve been doing this. I fly back and forth to Quebec, fly back to Montreal every week or so. When I got the call I thought it was a joke.

•••

Q: What do you have coming up?

A: I’m in Toronto for Canada Day, then I fly back to Montreal to go back in the studio again with them and then I go to Vancouver to play with Carly Rae Jepson. So it’s Carly Rae, then Jonas Brothers. I’m on there and then One Republic is after me. Then I fly back to Quebec and then I come back to Fredericton.

•••

Q: You’ve performed in front of thousands of people, what does that feel like?

A: It’s amazing. I was out in Australia or New Zealand. We had 300,000 people, biggest show I’ve ever done in my life. I’m on the big screens and I’m the only one on stage with (Sean) Kingston. I’d say put your hands up hand, everybody would put their hands up and it was literally a sea, just think of the biggest wave you’ve ever seen in your life. I’m like, “I say Nasty, you say Naz” and everybody says your name in unison, you know what I mean … And then you can be humble enough to come back on a plane and rock a show for 60 people at Harvey High.

•••

Q: Do you see yourself staying in Fredericton?

A: Yes, I do see myself staying in Fredericton, because, obviously, my family is here, the business is here. We’re doing well, we’re happy and another major thing for me… it keeps me humble. If you Google Justin Beiber and Ferrari, it was me who gave him the Ferrari to drive … When I’m in Fredericton, I’m serving tables. It keeps you at a grounded level.





RICHARD IS A GOOD CHOICE TO REVIEW THE POLICE

THE DAILY GLEANER

EDITORIAL

29 JUNE 2012

Fredericton city council could not have picked a better person to review how the capital’s police force handled the controversial Charles LeBlanc criminal libel case.

Former New Brunswick ombudsman and child youth advocate Bernard Richard will take three months to look into how the decision was made by police to raid LeBlanc’s Westmorland Street residence and seize a computer, a camera and other items on Jan. 19.

Richard held a number of high profile cabinet portfolios in the former Mckenna government and afterwards.

But he is best known as the man who looked after our most vulnerable citizens and we feel better knowing he is on this job.

In 2007 the Daily Gleaner named him newsmaker of the year. He dealt with some of the province’s most disturbing cases including: prison death of 19-year-old Ashley Smith; the death of two-year-old Juli-Anna St. Peters of Canterbury from a perforated bowel; and the first-degree murder of a baby just a few minutes old in St. Stephen in 2009.

He took on issues such as French immersion, mental health services for youth, First Nations youth, a hospital safe haven for newborns, youth at risk, youth with special needs and youth in the court system.

He retired in 2011.

LeBlanc, a blogger and media gadfly, has had several run ins with the Fredericton police, ranging from riding his bicycle on the sidewalk without a helmet to loudly protesting outside the police station with a megaphone.

But it was his online derogatory comments about a police officer that triggered the raid and the unusual charge of criminal libel.

The Crown prosecutor subsequently threw that charge out because it has failed other constitutional challenges.

Society demands that all police forces be held accountable for their actions.

The police have limited resources and as irritating as LeBlanc can be at times, someone decided he needed to be charged with all the court and lawyer time that involves rather than proceeding with a civil libel case.

Wisely, police Chief Barry MacKnight decided the police could not investigate themselves.

By appointing someone of Richard’s standing, the city instantly gained credibility and we don’t expect to hear any cries of cover up.

Richard will look into process and procedures used by police as they relate to the administration of criminal files, the police force and the good government of the municipality.

He can decide who to talk to and from whom to receive written submissions. Richard’s mandate says he will “make any recommendations which the investigators may deem appropriate and advisable in the public interest and as a result of the review.”

We eagerly look forward to his report.