Changes in school closure proceedures

By MNN. Last updated: 2014-04-24 07:58:49

The McNeil Government is changing the review process for school closures.

School boards will be required to develop a long-range regional plan for schools that includes groups of schools identified for review. A local review committee would then conduct reviews and determine the best solution with the help of an independent facilitator.

Education Minister Karen Casey says these reports and recommendations would be prepared by the committee...not school board staff. School boards would still be responsible for the final decision on closures. Casey says the changes will put more emphasis on planning and collaboration with parents and communities.

Gun violence

By MNN. Last updated: 2014-04-24 07:58:29

Halifax was the worst city in the country in 2012 when it came to gun violence.

Statistics Canada released a report yesterday on crime stats in 2012 showing Halifax had the most violent crimes involving guns of any Canadian city. There were 56 shootings and 12 murders. Eight of those homicides involved guns. Last year there were 53 shootings and two gun killings. So far this year, 8 shootings and one gun-related homicide.

The Chronicle Herald reports Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais says the rate of gun violence has been dropping...but gun violence is still one of the top priorities for his officers. Police are targeting people involved in the gun culture, particularly males between 14 and 28 who feel the need to carry guns for intimidation. Bl;aid also said parents need to talk to their children, grandchildren and even nephews about not carrying guns.

The Chief says the majority of the gun violence involves people who know each other through gang and other related criminal activities...but there are instances when innocent bystanders are also the victims.

Unusual legal manouver in child porn case

By MNN. Last updated: 2014-04-24 07:58:10

The lawyers for the two teens facing child porn charges in the Rehtaeh Parsons case want a crown prosecutor to testify about why charges were laid.

Defence lawyer Ian Hutchinson filed a subpoena to have Crown Attorney Craig Botterill testify about the prosecution's policy at the time of the incident. That policy was that if a youth took a sexual picture of another youth of a similiar age then charges wouldn't proceed. In his application, Hutchinson states that the policy was changed a few days after Parson's death last year...and if it hadn't been changed, then the child porn charges would not have been filed against the two teens.

A lawyer for the attorney general is trying to quash the supoena and the judge reserved decision until next Wednesday.

Car-ped

By MNN. Last updated: 2014-04-24 07:57:38

An 8 year old student at Ian Forsyth Elementary in Dartmouth wasn't badly hurt yesterday morning when he was struck by a vehicle in the school's parking lot.

A 36 year old woman was backing into a space around 8:30 when the boy ran out from a grassy embankment and was hit. The boy was taken to the IWK, treated for minor injuries and released. No charges will be laid.

Changes to business loans program

By MNN. Last updated: 2014-04-24 07:57:23

A controversial business loans program is being replaced. A new funding board would replace cabinet's role in handing out economic development money...and there won't be anymore outright grants to businesses.

Economic Development Minister Michel Samson says the legislation he introduced yesterday would create the Invest Nova Scotia Board to replace the Jobs Fund. While the board would remove cabinet's role in giving out funding, the Treasury and Policy Board would still have power to confirm whether there's enough money available for a project.

Premier Stephen McNeil says the new funding board would not be handing out grants. Instead there'll be tax incentives, equity investments or crown land contributions...but no outright grants.

New corporation to run convention centre

By MNN. Last updated: 2014-04-24 07:56:35

The McNeil Government is changing the new convention centre will be managed.

Econmiomic Development Minister Michel Samson has introduced the Halifax Convention Centre Act which calls for the city and province to establish a corporation to manage and operate the facility, taking over from Trade Centre Ltd. The two levels of government would jointly appoint a ten member board to oversee the strategic direction for the convention centre.

The new corporation would have to report to both levels of government with audited financial statements annually. There would also have to be a report on the effectiveness of the convention centre's operations every five years.

More money for Family Resource Centres

By MNN. Last updated: 2014-04-24 07:56:07

The province says it will be spending an additional two-million dollars annually to improve family resource centres. Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard says the money will split equally among 26 centres. They offer programs for parents, young children and families....things such as pre-natal support, child development and parenting programs.

Interim board to take over control of Provincial Exhibition

By MNN. Last updated: 2014-04-24 07:54:09

An interim board will replace the commission that runs the Provincial Exhibition and a track in Truro.

Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell says the board will be headed by Bible Hill businessman Bruce Kennedy. It will work while an audit is completed of the heavily-indebted Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition. That's expected in July before the annual exhibition the next month. Colwell says the Board will start the hiring process for a permanent general manager in the coming weeks.

The McNeil Government foreclosed on a loan to the Commission in February and took over the assets.

Pilot project for drug addicts facing criminal charges

By MNN. Last updated: 2014-04-24 07:53:35

The McNeil Government is allowing some judges in the Valley to use new sentencing options to help drug addicts who commit crimes get treatment and avoid jail time. The one year pilot project, introduced in Kentville yesterday, is the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada.

People charged with some offences in Kings County could be referred to a court-monitored drug treatment program by their lawyer, the Crown, or others including themselves. To be eligible, the accussed must plead guilty to the offence and be in a treatment program before they return to court for sentencing. The court then monitors their progress and to graduate from it, participants must be drug-free for at least three months and be involved in their community. Some crimes would not be eligible...such as violence or drug trafficking.

Emera finalizes funding for the Maritime Link

By MNN. Last updated: 2014-04-24 07:52:59

Emera says it has now secured financing of the $1.3 billion dollars it needs for the Maritime Link.

CEO Chris Huskilson says they got a good deal because of the federal loan guarantee by the Harper Government. It allowed Emera to get a triple A credit rating. Huskilson says that will reduce financing costs by $325 million over the life of the project. Construction has already started on the Link in Cape Breton.

SPORTS

By MNN. Last updated: 2014-04-24 07:51:18

Jonathan Drouin scored twice and assisted on the other three goals as the Mooseheads clipped the Foreurs 5-4 and tied their series at two games apiece. Philippe Gadoury had a goal and two assists. Other Halifax goals by Andrew Ryan and Nikolaj Ehlers. Game five is back at the Metro Centre Saturday evening.

NHL playoffs....the Blue Jackets shocked the Penguins 4-3 in overtime to tie that series at two games each. The Blackhawks also needed overtime to beat the Blues 4-3 and tie their series at two apiece. Dallas and the Ducks are also tied at two each after the Stars 4-2 win.

Blue Jays pitchers were pounded as they blew a five run lead and lost 10-8 to the Orioles in Toronto. The Red Sox downed the Yankees 5-1 at Fenway.

News stories from 2014-04-23.