Monday, November 19, 2012


10,000 in Fredericton 'vulnerably housed,' committee says


City considers zoning changes to encourage more affordable housing


(as published by CBCNB News, November 19, 2012)
The chair of Fredericton's affordable housing committee says about 10,000 people in the capital city are "vulnerably housed."
That represents almost a fifth of the population, said Mike O'Brien.
"I don't think people quite grasp how significant it is," he said. "We're a prosperous city. A lot of it is hidden."
The need for affordable housing in Fredericton is 'significant,' according to the affordable housing committee.The need for affordable housing in Fredericton is 'significant,' according to the affordable housing committee. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)
There are the "visible" homeless — the estimated 300 to 400 people who are living on the street or in shelters, said O'Brien.
But there are also those who are "couch surfing," staying with friends or relatives, and those who are living in overcrowded or unsafe conditions.
Many of them are the "working poor," including those who are just starting out in a career such as nursing or policing and have to spend more than 30 per cent of their income on rent, said O'Brien.
Others have well-paying jobs, but are suddenly faced with huge medical expenses, or they have mental health issues and nowhere to turn with scaled back services, he said.
The city's affordable housing committee and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation held a public meeting at City Hall on Monday to discuss the challenge of affordable housing.
"We've had some great successes in the past three or four years," said O'Brien. "Our committee's advocacy, working with partners and social agencies, et cetera, has built a lot of new affordable housing rental units in the city. But it's nowhere near enough to cover the need."
Between 250 and 400 families are on the waiting list for affordable housing, he said.
Nine more people joined the search for affordable housing last Thursday, when their apartment building was condemned. They are temporarily being put up in a Howard Johnson's hotel.
"There's no silver bullet solution," said O'Brien.
But the solutions will have to be community-based, with MPs, MLAs, ministers, city council and community members working together, he said.

Density bonus considered

Mayor Brad Woodside said the city has the highest rents and lowest availability of apartments in the province.
The City is now considering zoning changes to encourage more affordable housing units, he said.
One idea is to allow developers leeway in the current regulations that limit the number of units to the size of the building, said Woodside.
Under the proposed density bonus, "they will be able to build up to 20 per cent more units on the same property, if they make them affordable housing units," he said.
Putting more units on a parcel of land would make the units more affordable.
Another change could be to the number of parking spaces required for apartment buildings, since renters in affordable housing may not have vehicles, said Woodside.
The mayor will also be joining other municipal officials in Ottawa this week to try and push for long-term funding for affordable housing.
As it stands, the federal government provides funding for affordable housing, which is matched by the provincial government. But the funding is allocated in three-year increments, said Pat Pitre, the portfolio management officer for the housing program delivery with the provincial Department of Social Development.
"We really need a long-term plan for 20 years, guarantee the … so that we can work with a developers for long-range planning," he said.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012



DUREPOS DAY IN FREDERICTON


By Bill Hunt, Daily Gleaner, hunt.bill@daily,gleaner.com, September 25, 2012

It was Tuesday on most calendars yesterday.

In Fredericton, it was Dave Durepos Day.

Mayor Brad Woodside read a proclamation from the steps of City Hall on Tuesday officially declaring the day in honour of the five-time Paralympic basketball player and three-time Paralympic gold medallist.

Durepos, 44, was wearing his latest — and last — Paralympic gold, a medal he picked up in London, England, a couple of weeks ago as he and his mates on the Canadian team capped an unbeaten Paralympics with a 64-58 victory over Australia in the gold-medal match.

“I just love bringing stuff like this back home,” he said, as he fingered the gold medal dangling from around his neck.

Durepos became the first New Brunswicker to earn a gold medal in the Olympics or Paralympics when he captained the Canadian team to Paralympic gold in 2000 in Sydney, Australia.

The one he earned in London on Sept. 8 was his third, to go with one silver. “No better way to finish than on top with the gold medal,” said Durepos, who said Frederictonians “were just as much a part of this gold medal as everyone on the team, because you guys have supported me my entire career.”

It’s a career that is coming to a close, at least on the Paralympic stage. “I’m old, man,” he said, explaining his decision to pack it in. “It’s a bittersweet feeling. It means not as much travel with my extended family, which is my basketball crew. But an athlete always knows when it’s time to retire. For me, it’s just time. To go out on top ... what a way to go out.”

Durepos wondered if he could get away without putting money in the parking meter on his day. “You’ve done a tremendous amount at the provincial level, at the local level and encouraging and being a mentor to so many people,” said Woodside. “So giving you a Day and a couple of parking tickets is the least we can do,” he said, chuckling.Woodside was glad to proclaim the day, “to get together to welcome home a hero.”

“Dave Durepos is an exceptional individual who has gone above and beyond for the betterment of himself, his team and his sport,” said Woodside. “He is an inspiration to us both on and off the court.”

“It’s a great honour to be able to come home to this,” said the New Maryland native. “Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, has always been a great supporter of wheelchair basketball.”

It dawned on Durepos that his Paralympic career would end up tinged in gold about three minutes into the fourth quarter of the gold-medal game against the Aussies, the team that dethroned Canada in the 2008 games in Beijing.

“We were just pulling away,” he said. “They seemed to try to do everything and bring everything at us, and it wasn’t working. At that point in time, I got the guys on the bench (together) and there were a bunch of cameras. And I said, ‘When that buzzer goes off, make sure you throw your warmup (jacket) up in the air and we get a good ‘capture the moment.’ ”

There have been many such moments for Durepos over his 18-year career with Team Canada. The former team captain — they won gold on his watch in 2000 — has been called the best three-point shooter in the world in wheelchair basketball. He believes he still is. “That’s my specialty, that’s what I do,” he said.

He demonstrated that one more time in London, ringing up a game-high 18 points in a little more than 16 minutes in a 68-42 win over Colombia in a preliminary game and hitting on four of five three-pointers.

“When the coach came to me, I was there, and I was ready, and it felt fabulous,” he said.

But like everyone else in Paralympic basketball circles, he marvelled at the effort turned in by Canadian teammate Patrick Anderson of Fergus, Ont., who routinely turned in triple-doubles in leading Canada to gold.

“I’m telling you, I’m glad he’s Canadian,” said Durepos, grinning. “Without him, I don’t think we would have been able to win. Not only is he a scoring machine, but he had a triple-double pretty much every single game. He knew how to use his teammates and we knew how to use him.”

Durepos said he “might play one or two more years” for Team Canada in international competition, but he and his wife Sarah, a former Canadian Paralympic athlete in her own right, are turning more to coaching. They’ll be the coaches for New Brunswick at the 2015 Canada Games.

CELEBRATED WAR ARTIST BRUNO BOBAK REMEMBERED

By Kate Wallace, Telegraph-Journal, September 25, 2012

Bruno Bobak’s final work is a good-sized floral oil painting.

His son, Alex Bobak, found it last week in his father’s home studio, in Fredericton, when he went to air out the second-story bedroom of the thick smells of oil paint and turpentine.

“I was really interested to see there was a completed painting on his easel,” he said from Fredericton. “I guess it indicates that right up to the very end he was still quietly going up to that studio for half an hour or an hour or whatever he could muster. He literally worked right until the last day.”

Bronislaw (Bruno) Josephus Bobak died Monday at the Saint John Regional Hospital. He was 88.

Born in Wawelowska, Poland, in 1923, he immigrated to Canada as a boy. His artistic career had auspicious beginnings; his first teacher was Arthur Lismer, at Saturday art classes he took as a teenager in Toronto.The Group of Seven member emphasized interpreting nature, instead of copying it, and using big, bold brushes rather than the formalized, academic way of working.

“That’s really the beginning of that whole program I got involved in,” Bobak told the Telegraph-Journal in 2011. “I was hooked from then on.”

In the seven decades since, Bobak has had a national career that includes hundreds of group shows and dozens of one-man exhibitions, in Canada and abroad. His work is in many public and private collections, including The Canada Council Art Bank, the Canadian War Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada. He has received numerous awards, honours and distinctions, including membership in the Royal Canadian Academy and honorary university degrees.

That’s the resumé. What friends, family and colleagues talk about when they talk about Bruno Bobak is an unpretentious, compulsively creative man with a dry wit who loved nothing more than casting a fly-line on the Miramichi.

Bobak was also half of one of Canada’s most famous husband-and-wife painting couples. In 1944, the year after he joined the army, he won a Canadian Army art competition. Molly Lamb, his future wife, took second place, but it was not until 1945, when she became an official war artist, the year after he had joined the program, that they met.

Forced to share studio space in London, he was initially irked by her presence. On Dec. 10, 1945 they were married.

The Canadian War Museum, in Ottawa, has 130 Bruno Bobak paintings and drawings in its permanent collection. “That work shows a commitment to art that probably wouldn’t have come so quickly if it hadn’t been for the war,” said Laura Brandon, historian, art and war, at the museum. “He used to say that being a war artist saved his life,” as most of his platoon died on D-Day.

There were 32 official war artists. Only Molly Bobak and Alex Colville survive.

After the war, the Bobaks returned to Canada, living in a Toronto apartment building owned by Group of Seven member Lawren Harris.

They lived in Ottawa and Vancouver before moving to Fredericton in 1960 when he was appointed artist-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick. In 1962, he became director of the university’ art centre, a position he held until retiring in 1986. The Bobaks promptly became prime movers in the city’s – and the province’s – artistic life.

Brandon said that Bobak, like other war artists, helped create the next generation of Canadian artists, and the recovery of post-war Canadian art in general.

“They were interested in other artists, they were interested in Canadian art, they were interested in future generations,” she said. “I think they valued what they had as a result of what they had been through. It was palpable in the way they conducted their lives and how they contributed on all sorts of different levels to the cultural fabric of their locality, their province and their nation.”

Inge Pataki, Bobak’s Fredericton gallerist since 1976 and a longtime friend, met him the week she arrived in Fredericton from her native Germany. “He really, truly brought something special to the city,” she said.Bobak arrived bearing a basket of vegetables from his garden.

“He was so easygoing. He was so relaxed,” she said.Later, when she learned about the “serious part” of his artistic career, she was awed by his talent.

“We always called him a renaissance man,” she said. “He reminded me of painters in Europe in the early part of the 20th century, artists who were not just painting.”Bobak made pieces of furniture, silk-screened his own neckties, and even built houses.

One time, he covered the ceiling of his dining room in gold foil he collected from Peter Jackson cigarette packages.

He was a great gardener and a skilled cook celebrated for his hospitality. Costume parties were not just for Halloween. “There was a certain standard,” Pataki said. “It was expected that you be creative and come up with something amazing.”

One time Molly Bobak donned a blue swimsuit and a sash, like a contestant in a beauty pageant. Bruno had printed “Miss Fit” on her sash. He once made a dress of see-through plastic for himself, protecting his modesty with a bra and slip.

To Pataki’s daughter, Germaine Pataki, who now runs the gallery, the Bobaks were like grandparents. “He made the craziest Christmas presents,” she said, including toys or artworks decorated with his signature animal, the marmot.

It was Bobak who came up with the name Gallery 78, from the Patakis’ house number on Brunswick Street.

As much as he loved art, he was sustained equally by salmon fishing. Alex Bobak said that catching fish had become secondary, that the natural beauty and contemplative side of angling had become the primary draw for his father. “He indulged it to the nth degree,” he said. “He’d go fishing when there was no chance in hell of catching anything.”

This summer was a bad one for salmon, but Bobak was on the river just the same, driving a 26-foot canoe, refusing, as ever, to don a life jacket. Alex Bobak had bought him a high-tech one as a Christmas gift. It was never used. “I guess I’m going to inherit that in mint condition,” he said.

Bobak is survived by Molly, Alex, his daughter, Anny Scoones, of British Columbia, and Alex’s daughter, Julia.

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery invites the public to stop by to sign a book of condolences and view a selection of Bobak’s works it has put on display. The tribute reflects the vitality, variety, rigour, honesty and splendour of Bobak’s work.

“He wanted to make New Brunswick and Canada a better place,” Bernard Riordon, executive director and CEO of the gallery, said. “And he did that with great style.”


UNB VARSITY REDS WILL MEET RUSSIANS IN 40TH ANNIVERSARY SHOWDOWN

The City of Fredericton and the UNB Varsity Reds announced today that the UNB hockey program will play a two-game series against Team Russia - a team made up of all-stars from the MHL (Russia’s equivalent of the Canadian Hockey League) in the 8th annual Peterbilt New Brunswick Pete Kelly Challenge.  The games will take place December 30th at Harbour Station in Saint John at 3pm and on December 31st at 4pm in the Aitken University Centre.

The two game series will cap off a combination of the 40th anniversary of the most famous hockey series of all time - the 1972 Canada-Russia Hockey Summit - along with the annual Montreal Canadians vs. Russian Red Army games on New Year’s Eve. 

This will be the third annual trip to North American for Team Russia and prior to playing the V-Reds they will play two games against NCAA Providence College Friars and the NCAA RPI Red Hawks prior to making the trek to New Brunswick. It will be UNB’s first international experience against a Russian team although they have had several players play in various international hockey events.

Earlier this month, Roger Shannon, sport tourism manager for the City of Fredericton and long-time general manager for the Varsity Reds hockey team, along with V-Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall travelled to Russia for the 2012 World Junior Club Championship in Omsk, Russia.  While in Russia, they were the guests of Alexander Medvedev – President of the Russian Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and Dimitry Efimov - the Managing Director of the MHL (Russian Junior Hockey League) and the lead organizer for the Junior Club World Cup. Mr. Efimov will be the co-ordinator for Team Russian along with Scott MacPherson – a former NHL scout and NCAA/ pro hockey coach who now is a consultant with Mr. Medvedev. Other guests at the World Cup included NHL Hall of Famer and hockey legend Phil Esposito, former NHL referee Paul Stewart and Rene Fasel, Director of the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Coach MacDougall is excited about the opportunity to play Team Russia. “It could very well be one of the greatest lifetime experiences of their hockey careers for our players and fans – playing Russia on Dec.31 on the anniversary of the 72 series.”

The Varsity Reds men’s hockey program, four time CIS national champions and a perennial national contender, is pleased to add a truly international flavor to the annual Peterbilt New Brunswick Pete Kelly Challenge and hope to have a sell-out crowd for this special commemorative event. 

Tickets are now on sale at both Harbour Station ($17 and $15) and at the Aitken Centre ($15 adults and $10 children 12 and under).

Friday, August 24, 2012


U20 LOYALISTS N.B. RUGBY CHAMPS

BY THE DAILY GLEANER

AUGUST 24 2012

The Fredericton Loyalists U20 men’s rugby team is this year’s provincial champion after defeating the Saint John Trojans 13-5 in a hard-fought final Wednesday night at Hazen White Field in Saint John.

The Loyalists opened the scoring with a penalty kick from man of the match Ryan Vokey. Fredericton then scored a try through a quick tap penalty taken by James Mitchell, who moved the ball to Brandon Courtney.

Courtney touched it down under the posts making an easy conversion for Vokey for a 10-0 halftime lead.

The Trojans got back in the game 15 minutes into the second half when they capitalized on an errant pass by the Loyalists and broke away for a 50-metre run resulting in a try by Joe MacKay. The convert was missed.

Ten minutes later, Vokey booted another penalty to hike the Loyalists’ lead to 13-5.

The final 15 minutes was back and forth with both teams playing hard until the final whistle. But there was no more scoring and Loyalists captain James Mitchell accepted the U20 provincial Thorpe Cup from Trojans club president Peter Fitzgerald.

The provincial senior women’s champion will be decided Saturday in Moncton.

The Fredericton Lady Loyalists will take on the Moncton Black Tide at 11 a.m. at Bernice MacNaughton High School.

The Loyalists struggled a bit during the regular season, finishing in third place, but moved on the finals by virtue of a 24-3 road win over the Saint John Trojans last weekend.

Moncton finished in first, and moved on to the final by defeating the Saint John Irish 36-10. Moncton narrowly defeated the Loyalists in each of their two regular-season matchups, by a four-point differential in the first, and by one point courtesy of a penalty kick scored on the last play of the match in their last encounter.

COPS RESCUE MEN IN RIVER

 
 BY STEPHEN LLEWELLYN LLEWELLYN.STEPHEN@DAILYGLEANER.COM

AUGUST 22 2012

Potential tragedy was averted Sunday evening when two Fredericton Police Force officers plunged into the St. John River to rescue two men whose canoe had overturned.

A third police officer who was part of the rescue mission remained on shore on the north side of the river during the incident, which occurred under the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge at about 8:20 p.m.

Only one of the men in the canoe was wearing a life-jacket.

Const. Mike Cook swam about 30-40 metres to the overturned canoe wearing a life-jacket from a police car while Const. Aaron Frizzell swam half way out with a tow rope.

Both men went in the water after removing most of their equipment and some of their uniform, said Frizzell.

Const. Jeff MacLaggan remained on shore ready to assist with the rope.

A nearby boater was spotted and summoned to provide assistance to police. Both men, one aged 58 and the other 32, were placed on board and brought to shore without incident.

The Fredericton fire marine unit was also on scene and returned one of the officers to shore and also returned the canoe in question to Carleton Park, police reported. No one was injured in the incident.

Frizzell, a 10-year veteran, rejected the suggestion he and his fellow officers are heroes.

“I wouldn’t say that at all, actually ... I guess it was something we signed up for,” he said in an interview Monday afternoon.

“Anyone else that would have got there, be it the firefighters or anyone else, would have done the same thing ... We just did what we were supposed to do.”

Frizzell said there was no time to be afraid when they arrived.

“It happened all so quick,” he said.

“It was really just brainstorming about how we were going to get these two out.”

Frizzell said he’s strong swimmer.

“I went almost a little further than half way with the expectations of him (Cook) taking one to me and me going the rest of the way in and doing both of them that way,” he said.

“It just so happened that a boat was coming and the other officer that was with us, Jeff MacLaggan, notice and started yelling for the boat.”

He said the water was warm and the river current wasn’t strong.

“At that point, they were not talking to us a whole lot, but I don’t believe they were in the water very long,” said Frizzell.

“I remember one of them saying he felt they were in the water about 20 minutes before we actually got there.”

He said warmth of the water and the fact the sun was still up helped a lot in the rescue.

The officer also praised the people in the second boat who noticed assistance was needed.

PEOPLE WERE DEFACING OUR COMMUNITY

BY LAVERNE STEWART STEWART.LAVERNE@DAILYGLEANER.COM

AUGUST 23 2012

In the heat of the mid-day, artists from St. Mary’s First Nation are creating massive mosaics under the Two Nations Crossing overpass.

Once there were swastikas, demonic symbols, racist words and other hate-filled things spray-painted there.

Angie Beek was bothered by what she saw. She suggested something needed to be done about it. Others such as Elsie Paul agreed.

“It was shameful. People were defacing our community. It was unpleasant. We have the entertainment centre here and a lot of people coming through this area and this is what they had to see. It just wasn’t nice,” said Paul.

Beek asked the St. Mary’s First Nations community planner, Allan Polchies Jr., if money could be provided for art supplies and to pay local artists. St. Mary’s First Nation has a summer program that provides funding for beautification projects. The overpass was viewed as something that needed attention, he said.

“I thought since we have great artists in the community, we should get the kids involved and do an art mural on that concrete to showcase our artists and get young people involved so they would take ownership of it so there would be no more graffiti there,” Polchies said.

St. Mary’s First Nation and St. Mary’s Entertainment Centre donated $2,000, so far, for art supplies and stipends for the artists, he said.

The money made it possible for artists April Paul, Tom Sappier and Beek to work with the community’s youths and other volunteers to paint a much better picture here. The racist graffiti has been wiped clean with a fresh coat of white paint.

When the work began, Elsie Paul said, there was a concern that someone would return to tag the walls with more graffiti. That hasn’t happened.

Over top of the clean canvass is the work of several artists. For two weeks they have been there. Using small brushes, they are painstakingly applying colourful acrylic paint to the corrugated, concrete walls. The artists are working all day and into the evening to finish.

April Paul, who teaches native art at both of the city’s high schools, said she is really enjoying this project despite having to work with carpel tunnel syndrome and tendonitis.

“We need it. I teach all of the kids around here. I am hoping when the kids see me they know not to do the graffiti here because they all respect me.”

April Paul said she expects to continue her work here over the next two weeks. Now the walls have images of a dream catcher, a canoe, turtles, arrow heads, eagles, feathers and fiddleheads which honour and represent Maliseet heritage and culture.

Sappier is working on the opposite side of the overpass. He is also using a small artist’s brush to create a massive eagle and other images. The work he is doing is all coming to him intuitively, he said.

“It’s a chance to have some fun. I think it will take me another four days.”

As they work, cars slow down and watch what they’re doing. Some drivers smile and wave. Others give a thumbs up to indicate their approval and appreciation of what’s happening. The project is being embraced by both those who live there and visitors.

“People have been dropping by with coffee and pop. They have offered to come and help us paint. They seem to like it. We are hoping that no one comes and tags over this,” said Beek.

When the murals are finished, there’s a plan to bring benches and large pots of flowers. This is reason to celebrate the creation of something beautiful, said Elsie Paul.

“Maybe we’ll have a little block party here,” she said.

 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


FREDERICTON NATIVE RETURNS TO TAKE CENTRE STAGE

AUGUST 23 2012

Alicia Toner said she’s always been a fan of the Charlottetown Festival.

This year, instead of taking it in as a member of the audience, the Fredericton native is up on stage.

Held from June into September in Charlottetown, the festival features professional musical theatre, including Anne of Green Gables - The Musical and Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash.

Toner is one of eight featured artists in the Johnny Cash production and plays Prissy Andrews in Anne of Green Gables.

“It’s been wonderful,” she said recently from P.E.I.

“I love being back in the Maritimes for the summer. I love the Island, I love the festival. It’s been busy, but it’s been great.”

She’s seen the production of Anne of Green Gables numerous times before and said at first it was surreal performing it.

“But it’s been wonderful and the audience members appreciate theatre and music,” she said.

She said the Johnny Cash production has also been well received.

She described the show as mostly a celebration of his music, not the story of his life.

“There isn’t one particular Johnny Cash. We kind of all take on the role and pay tribute to him,” she said.

And her favourite song?

“It would have to be I Still Miss Someone,” she said.

“It’s a beautiful song and the lyrics are great. I get to sing it every night with my co-worker Ben Kunder. It just hits me.”

Toner left Fredericton after graduating from high school to attend Sheridan College in Ontario for music theatre. That was more than seven years ago. She’s now based in Toronto and travels wherever shows take her, such as Calgary, Edmonton and throughout Ontario.

She said this is her first time back in the Maritimes.

“It’s exciting to be back,” she said.

She said many of her family members have been able to come see her perform.

“That’s one of the wonderful things,” she said.

“All of my family and friends who live in the Fredericton area can finally come and see me perform.”

She said the festival feels like one big family.

“It really has been one of the best experiences I’ve had thus far in my career,” she said.

The workload for the festival has evolved over the summer. It started as eight hours per day of rehearsals for six days a week.

Once the shows are open, she said, she had a bit more free time, but she was also in workshops creating a new Canadian musical, which is a traditional part of the festival.

Since that’s finished, she’s doing eight shows a week.

“We have a little bit more time to breathe,” she said while laughing.

While the schedule can be strenuous, they can handle it, she said.

“We’re in P.E.I., it’s not too hard,” she said.

The ingredients for keeping her voice in top shape over that many performances? Getting enough sleep, not partying too often and lots of water, she said.

She still loves her career choice, but at times it can be hard not knowing where the next job will be, Toner said.

“I love travelling, and I love the job, so it’s great. I get to do what I love,” she said.

She’s heading back to Toronto after the festival, and she has another show lined up for January in Winnipeg.

The Charlottetown Festival runs until Sept. 29.

“I think everyone over in Fredericton should just come over for the shows. The Island is just going crazy for them,” she said.

“If you’ve ever loved anything about Johnny Cash, you’ll love this show. It’s worth the bridge toll to get over here.”

 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


BLIND WOMAN WARNS OF PIGEON POOP EXPOSURE DANGER

CBCNB NEWS POSTED AUGUST 20 2012



A young woman in Fredericton is singing on the street to call attention to the disease that made her blind.

Erica Richards lost her sight last year after developing cryptococcal meningitis.

Cryptococcal meningitis is a potentially fatal swelling of the membranes surrounding the brain. The disease is caused by fungus that it lives in the guts of pigeons and other birds, such as chickens.

People can breathe it in if they're exposed to pigeon droppings.

The 24-year-old was living in a house that had a pile of pigeon feces in the attic, and she also had a compromised immune system from chemotherapy .

"A reverse migraine — I needed light, I needed sound. I needed neck massages. Couldn't lay down, couldn't sit up. Couldn't eat. I was vomiting. And then I started having double vision, quadruple vision, then seizures. And then I ended up in hospital," she describes as her symptoms.

Richards sings to supplement her $135 a month disability payment.

Kevin Forward is an infectious disease specialist who teaches at Dalhousie Medical School in Halifax.

"I think it's pretty common sense. Move to avoid being in a situation where there are a lot of pigeon droppings, particularly if you're disturbing them, cleaning them up, sweeping them," Forward said.

"Those kind of situations should certainly be avoided. But if you're in the park that has some pigeons around, I think the risk is infinitely small."

Pigeons are part of the urban landscape, but they are known to carry a long list of disease-causing organisms — such as Chlamydia and Salmonella.

That, along with complaints about them damaging roofs, led Fredericton to add pigeons to the city's animal control bylaw last year.

Property owners are now prohibited from spreading feed or anything else that would attract pigeons.

Richards wants to make sure people know the risk of coming into contact with pigeon feces.

"To draw attention, to raise awareness so people will ask questions, so they will know what the symptoms are," Richards said. "So that way, they can be warned ahead of time, before what happened to me happens to them."

Next month, she'll be going to a school sponsored by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to finish high school and to get matched with a seeing-eye dog.

She hopes to go on to study law.

Thursday, August 16, 2012




ROYALS FIELD DIAMOND TO GET BUZZARD’S NAME

By Stephen Llewellyn


The front diamond at the Royals Field in Marysville is being named after Fredericton baseball great William “Billy the Buzzard” Saunders.

Council-in-committee unanimously approved the name change at a meeting Monday.

The honour must still be ratified at a full meeting of council on Aug. 27.

In an interview Tuesday, Saunders said he was moved by the recognition.

“I’m flabbergasted,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it, I’m extremely pleased about it.”

Saunders baseball career is almost too long to list. He was a member of the 1965 Fredericton Junior Vikings at the Nationals in Regina, Sask. He played on three provincial senior championship teams from 1967 to 1977, and was head coach of the Marysville Royals from 1979 to 1985, winning three provincial and three Atlantic titles.

Saunders coached the Marysville royals to gold at the Canadian Senior Championship in 1981, a first ever for a New Brunswick senior team.

He won a second senior national championship as assistant coach with the Saint John Dodgers in 1983.

He was instrumental in the formation of the New Brunswick Junior Baseball League, and he has coached at the minor and junior level since 1987, winning eight provincial championships.

Saunders coached the 2011 Canada Games baseball team and was inducted into the New Brunswick Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993 and the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 1996

He’s almost as famous off the field as he was on, but it still involved baseball.

As chair of the Marysville recreation committee in 1972, he was instrumental in having a recreational building constructed on the first base side of Royals Field.

As part of the Marysville 150th Year Celebration, he’s chair of the committee organizing a baseball reunion for everyone who has played senior baseball in New Brunswick which is being hosted in Fredericton from Sept. 28-29.

Saunders still lives only a baseball’s throw from Royal Field in Marysville.

“I spent all my life on that hill from the time I could walk up there,” he said.

The 66-year-old said he loves his home town of Marysville, and he frequently goes to the field to watch kids play baseball.

“It’s a real honour,” he said. “I’ve had a few honours in my life and this is probably just as important, outside of my marriage and my kids.

“I’m at a loss for words. I don’t know what to say.”

He said he got his nickname of Buzzard on a trip to see a game of baseball at Fenway Park many years ago from his brother-in-law.

“It’s something that just stuck,” said Saunders.

“The whole province knows it. Some people don’t even know my real name.”