Friday, August 24, 2012



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.



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.



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


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



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


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.”


By Lauren Bird August 16 2012

Jacqueline Wilt was on her way to have blood work done at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital when she noticed a dog in distress in a vehicle in the hospital parking lot.

“I’m a dog lover, so that was the first thing, I always notice dogs,” she said.

The small pooch had been left in a car on the 32 C day, with only about an inch of the driver’s side window open.

“His eyes were bulging, his tongue was hanging off onto one side, he was drooling saliva — the whole bit. And he was jumping at the window like he wanted out big time,” Wilt said.

She said she looked around for the owner of the vehicle but then noticed the doors were left unlocked.

“At first, I wasn’t sure what I should do, but when they were unlocked I thought, ‘Oh, he shouldn’t stay in there.’ ”

She opened the door, called over a couple of passersby who happened to have some water, and took care of the dog.

“When I leaned in the heat was just like opening your oven at home when you’ve got something baking. The heat was so hot and I held his little body and his body was really hot,” she said.

She took him in the shade and gave him some water. When he cooled down, the real estate agent left her card and a note on the front seat of the vehicle notifying the owner that she had taken the dog to the lobby.

The director of education and training at the Fredericton SPCA said the shelter has received several calls this summer about animals left in hot vehicles.

“We’re trying to raise awareness on the issue. The temperature can be anywhere from 10 degrees hotter (in a parked car),” Lee Ann Haggerty.

She said leaving the windows down won’t do much to cool pets. Even 10-15 minutes can be severely damaging or even fatal to an animal. Still, she doesn’t recommend civilians remove the creatures from vehicles.

“If anybody sees a dog or any animal that seems to be in distress in a parked car on a hot day, they should contact the authorities that are able handle those types of situations,” Haggerty said.

The New Brunswick SPCA and the police are authorized to go into a vehicle. Haggerty also suggested civilians try and find the owner by going to the public address system in the store or building where the car is parked.

“We wouldn’t advise people to take measures into their own hands because you need to protect yourself, the animal might react or also, (there is) the legality of going into somebody’s vehicle,” she said.

Wilt did ask staff at the hospital’s front desk to page the driver using the driver’s licence plate number, but they refused. In order not to miss her appointment, she asked a hospital volunteer to watch the dog while she went back to her car to grab her purse.

She saw a man standing by the car and asked him if it was his dog.

“He wasn’t too impressed. I said, ‘I have your dog. It’s in the cool lobby in the hospital.’ And I said it was just really too hot to be in that car.”

The man collected his dog without saying much and went back to the parking lot, she said.

It seems, however, the man learned his lesson. As Wilt was leaving, she saw the car was still in the parking lot, but the man and his dog were sitting under a tree.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fredericton businessman killed in Philippines

Harry Joseph Doyle, 62, shot at beach resort

Posted: Aug 14, 2012 4:13 PM AT

A Fredericton businessman was shot and killed in the Philippines over the weekend.

Harry Joseph Doyle, 62, died of multiple gunshot wounds at a beach resort in Surigao City on Sunday.

Police in the Philippines say he was approached by two men, who apparently asked for food.

Doyle reportedly pushed one of the men and the other man drew a pistol and fired at Doyle several times, police said.

The two suspects fled and police are investigating.

Doyle's Facebook page lists Surigao City as where he lives.

He had moved to the Philippines about seven or eight years ago, but still owns several properties in Fredericton.


By Bruce Hallihan;; August 09, 2012

Matt Stairs spent 19 years in major league baseball, but hockey has always been his favourite sport.
“I would have traded eight, nine, 10 years of my major league baseball career to play one game in the NHL,” Stairs said while lacing up his skates for the Boston Bruins Alumni team last winter.

Back in the mid-1980s, Stairs was a high-scoring forward for the Fredericton High School Black Kats, good enough to play for the inaugural Team Atlantic U17 team with future NHLers Everett Sanipass and Cam Russell. Knee injuries led Stairs to ripping fastballs instead of slapping pucks, but his passion for hockey has never waned.

So Stairs said “it was pretty much a no-brainer” when FHS athletic director Jeff Currie asked him if he’d like to take over as head coach of the Black Kats.

The position opened up July 17 when Tim Smith, who guided the Kats to four straight provincial AAA hockey titles, became an assistant to Troy Ryan’s St. Thomas University Tommies.

When Stairs caught wind of that, he emailed Currie, who was visiting family in Cape Breton. Currie, coincidentally, had planned to call Stairs when he returned home.“I called him the next morning and we had a really good conversation about it,” Currie said. “I told him, ‘Right now it’s yours to accept or decline.’”

Stairs, who lives in Bangor, Me, but will be moving back to Fredericton in the fall, spent four seasons as an assistant coach for John Bapst Memorial School and the last three seasons for Bangor High School.
So he’s not a coaching neophyte.

“I think it will be a good thing for our program, for sure, to have someone like Matt step in,” Currie said. “He played there and to give back to the program at some point is something he always wanted to do. When I met with him (Tuesday), I got a real good vibe. He’s really keen.”

“You battle with the midget AAA program for players, but both levels are great and both have their benefits,” Stairs said. “If you want to represent your school, then FHS is the way to go. To represent your school is an honour. You wear the FHS crest with pride whether you’re playing against Leo Hayes or Oromocto — wherever.

“Whatever decision the kids make, they can’t go wrong,” Stairs said, then added with a chuckle, “Hopefully they make the decision to come out and play for the Black Kats.”

Regardless of who’s on the team, Stairs said his message will be the same.“I’ll tell them, ‘You act professional and you don’t get outworked.” If you’re going to work to be the first guy on the puck and you’re the hardest-working team, if you lose, you can accept it. But if you’re being lazy and half-assing it, well, that’s when the conditioning will kick in.”

With the Maine hockey programs, Stairs was the offensive coach and designed plays for the special teams.
“I had a good relationship with the kids and it will be the same way with FHS,” he said. “I have fun. I’m a happy-go-lucky person in practice. I’ll scrimmage with them, I’ll take slapshots, I’ll do drills. I’ll do whatever.

“I don’t want kids to come to the rink and say, ‘Oh, god, we’ve got Sgt. Slaughter today.’ It’s high school. I understand there’s going to be mistakes and you’re going to have brain cramps once in a while, which is fine. I had them. I still do.”
Currie has been a coach with the Kats for 14 seasons, so he’d like to stay involved with the program, which Stairs said is a given.

“I’ve got all those connections with coaches and doing scheduling and tournaments,” Currie said. “The first year is a transition year, so I’m going to take a lot of that stuff off his plate so the focus is more on the coaching aspect of it.”
Currie has given Stairs free rein to seek more coaches.

“I’m not going to come in and move people out,” Stairs said. The more the merrier. If you have eight sets of eyes it’s better than having one or two coaches. I’m looking for experienced coaches to help out.”

While Stairs wants to continue the Kats’ winning tradition, he’ll be doing so out of a new home. The Kats move from the LBR to the Grant Harvey Centre this season.

“I’m stepping in to a tough era — with them being four-time provincial champions — but it’s also a new era with the new complex. It’s going to be awesome.”
Stairs will be moving to Fredericton when the hockey season starts and commuting between here and Bangor at least until soccer season ends for youngest daughter Chandler.

“I’m committed to this,” Stairs said. “(Wife) Lisa said, ‘You’ve always wanted to do this’ and I’ve been given the opportunity to do it. I’m excited for what lies ahead.”


“It is our feeling that this is a good investment for the City of Fredericton to acquire the property,” said Mayor Brad Woodside after the meeting. “We will be going out forthwith with a call for proposals for a new hotel development and feel very confident that we, in fact, will have a hotel.”

Council thought it had a hotel developer all lined up for the land adjacent to the convention centre a couple of years ago.

“The call for proposals went out quite some time ago for the hotel property, which included the DiGiacinto property which the city acquired,” said Woodside.

A developer conditionally bought three more properties on Queen Street for $800,000 from Gardiner Realty Ltd. to have enough space to build the hotel, said Woodside. But the developer decided to build a hotel on Bishop Drive, said the mayor.

“We spoke to Gardiner,” he said. “He is willing to give up the property.” Those properties are located at 618, 620 and 624 Queen St.

Woodside said the city can afford the $800,000 despite the tough economic times and will be repaid when a developer builds a hotel there. “This money that is being spent tonight will be flipped back very quickly,” he said. “The city is spending the money on our line of credit. We’re not borrowing.”

Woodside said council is still convinced there’s a market for a hotel in the east end despite the development of several new hotels in other parts of the city in recent years.

“Everything that we did was contingent on the package and that was the convention centre, the parking structure, and, of course, the hotel,” he said. “We’re missing that one piece of the puzzle.”

Woodside said the city has already been in contact with the other two developers that responded to the first request for proposals for the site. “There’s also other interest that’s coming forward,” he said.

The mayor congratulated council for having the foresight to make the investment. “It could sit there empty for quite some time (if the land is not acquired),” he said. “That’s not acceptable to us, it’s not acceptable to the people of Fredericton and the business community. “We are going to see that that property is filled in.”

In the meantime, city staff has beautified the empty lot adjacent to the convention centre with sod and trees.