All the News Tuesdays

A quick round-up of the most talked about stories of the last week.


Andy Wells Comes Out of Nowhere with “Yuppie Bling” Comment; Council Apparently Agrees with Him.

The city was contemplating buying two electric cars. Because they don’t need gas and require less maintenance (cost savings!), and don’t contribute to climate change (planet saving!). As with any environmental initiative, an aging white male politician (who likely doesn’t understand the simple science of climate change) wants to shoot it down. The only twist this time is who that politician is: former St. John’s mayor (1997-2008) Andy Wells, who came out of nowhere urging the city to reconsider. He called electric cars “yuppie bling,” and wrote a letter to The Telegram calling climate change a myth.

Seems St. John’s City Council agree with Wells, as they have officially rejected the idea of buying 2 electric cars. The vote was 8-2, and yet weeks ago, only Wally Collins was opposed to the idea.

Future Shop Closed its Doors and Even the Employees Didn’t See It Coming

A sign appeared on the doors of Future Shop, telling people if they want electronics, then head over the Best Buy across the street. That’s not a surprising suggestion, since Best Buy have owned Future Shop since 2001 (hence the price matching not being a big deal for them to offer). Consumers are shocked, but employees moreso: they were given little if any notice. The St. John’s Future Shop location is but one of 66 across the country that will be shuddering up by April. 65 more will be converted into Best Buys. Spokespeople for Best Buy are saying most Future Shops are driving distance to a Best Buy, so, they’re redundant. Closing Future Shops will save Best Buy the cost of about 1,500 jobs.

Former Government Worker Comes Forward about Her Complaints of Sexual Harassment Being Ignored

Valerie Penton is a former policy analyst at the Confederation Building. She quit her job because of repeated sexual harassment by the same man, who went so far as to abuse his job by accessing her personal information. This harassment and blatant breach of her privacy left her feeling victimized, unsafe, unprotected, and disregarded by her employer – Human Resources, and even the minister of her department (Joan Shea) did nothing about it when she went to them. With no proper investigation or interviews, it was decided she was not the victim of harassment, and was told by someone in human resources the man was harmless.  After insinuations pursuing it further wouldn’t be great for her career, and being offered flyers for one-day conflict resolution seminars, she quit. She now lives in another province. The man still works at the Confederation Building. Premier Paul Davis, then Services NL Minister, has also been said to have been no help to her when she asked him – given his background as a police officer – to look into her situation. She was told new protocols were put into place to prevent such breaches of personal information in the future, but her feeling unsafe and violated is said to have not been addressed.

Food at MUN Poisoning People

An inspection of a dining hall at Memorial University revealed that equipment in two areas weren’t maintaining adequate temperatures to ward off bacteria-based food poisoning.

City Council Tries To Explain Why the Historical Quinnipiac Home Had be Bulldozed 

Many people were shocked and dismayed to see the 130 year old home on Winter Avenue destroyed last week, and screamed bloody murder at city council. Council’s response to the public outcry was essentially that it wasn’t their place to intervene: the previous owner wanted to sell it to someone who wanted to destroy it, and heritage protection would have impeded that sale. The previous owner of the building in fact came to city council worried that if the City of St. John’s Heritage Advisory Committee assigned the property any sort of protection from demolition on account of its significant heritage, he or she would not be able to sell the property: they finally had a buyer, but only if the buyer could bulldoze it. Interfering with the sale made too many councillors feel uncomfortable. So the house wasn’t given designation. And down it went. The developer expressed no remorse: certain councillors, according to Dave Lane’s blog,  “began trying to contact the developer to learn what their plans were, and to ask if [someone] could at least take photos of the interior before it is destroyed. Some people were hoping to perhaps salvage some of the unique interior elements and woodwork, and others began discussion plausible options to retrofit and modernize the house or provide other incentives to leave the structure standing. No response came. On Monday morning, just one week after we learned the news of the permit, someone noticed an excavator on the property. They knew right away what was happening.”

Death of a Patient on Suicide Watch at Waterford Leads 3 Staff Being Fired 

An investigation into the death of a patient on suicide watch at the Waterford has revealed that there were indeed some established policies and procedures ignored in this case. A press release from Eastern Health expressed both apology and a declaration, “We will not tolerate disregard for established protocols. Three individuals are no longer in the employ of Eastern Health.” In a case like this patient’s, the patient is put on a watch so there is manual surveillance every 15, 30, or 60 minutes, as prescribed by a psychiatrist. In this case, the surveillance never took place as it should have.

CBC Cutting More Jobs in Atlantic Canada

Another 24 CBC positions in Atlantic Canada will be cut this spring as part of a nationwide 15 million dollar cut. 7 of those positions will be employees in Newfoundland & Labrador, specifically from St. John’s. A spokesperson for CBC claims there’ll be no changes to radio programming, but TV newscasts in NL will be cut back to 60 minutes, as they shift focus to digital and mobile content delivery.

Cover Your Garbage Rule is Back

As of This morning, one must cover their garbage again for the spring and summer with a net.

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