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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is Canaport Off-Line

There are reports to our news-room this afternoon the Canaport LNG Terminal has been shut down. Our news-room has placed two calls into the facility but at this point, no confirmation or denial. The terminal was the scene of an incident on Saturday when just around noon when there was a release of vapor and LNG into the safety release flare system.

It lasted for about ten minutes and no one was hurt.

Operation Impact Update

It was a busier than normal weekend for police forces around the province and country. They were taking part in Operation Impact.....a campaign to make the roads in this country the safest in the world. In the Kennebecasis Valley....Sargeant Evan Scott tells CHSJ News, they nabbed one impaired driver and handed out 20 tickets for various violations. RCMP tell us they had 75 check-stops in this region set-up and stopped 16,000 vehicles.

All of the numbers haven't been added up but to this point they charged 18 people with drunk driving and there were over 200 tickets handed out for various charges. Sargeant Jeff LaFrance with the City Police Department tells CHSJ News, he won't have the final numbers until tomorrow.

Two of Greater Saint John Torch Runners are Found

A huge honor has been bestowed on a pair of runners from Saint John. Ellen Steeves of Rothesay and Alex Coffin have been chosen as two of the Olympic Torcher-Bearers when it comes through Greater Saint John next month. Coffin didn't apply for the duty he was nominated and tells CHSJ News, this is a dream come true.

Ellen Steeves lives and works for the Town of Rothesay. We contacted City Hall to see if the full list of names has been released and a spokes-person tells us they are under embargo by order of the Vancouver Olympic Committee. The torch will run through Greater Saint John on November.24th.

Woman is Charged After Filing False Report

Remember back in August when a woman from Noonan told RCMP she was abducted and forced to drive to Ontario. We have an update on that story today. 44-year old Marcia Simmons has been charged with public mischief with the intent to mislead police.

She will appear in Provincial Court November 2 to enter a plea.

Heart Doctor Has Nothing Concrete at This Time

By next week, we should have a yay or nay from a former heart surgeon concerning his political future. It was just a few weeks ago that Dr. Jim Parrot was spotted at the Conservative Policy Convention in Moncton and when asked why he was there by CHSJ News, Parrot told us he is giving some serious thought to offering in next falls Provincial Election.

The latest from Parrot is he is in the process of filling out some paper-work and moving forward.

Dog in Rothesay Shot Through the Neck

A family in Rothesay has plenty to be thankful for over the Long weekend after their dog was shot. Rothesay Regional Police say they were called to a home on Kallers Hill around 7:30pm Saturday night to find the animal had been shot through the neck. Amazingly, the animal was still alive and rushed to a vet and is recovering from it's wound.

Sargeant Mike Dixon tells CHSJ News, with deer hunting season just around the corner and small game underway, it's important hunters know what their target is before they fire their weapon.

Missing Man from Hampton

A man who went missing from a special care home in Hampton has been found safe.

Harold Newell went missing just after four this morning and the 81-year old suffers from Alzheimer's Disease.

Sussex Mine Closing for Two Months

It's never a good time to be out of work but this close to Christmas always hurts a little extra. This is the scenario for 80 potash mine workers as the Potash Corporation of Sussex has announced it's mine is closing for two month. General Manager Frank Fracchia tells CHSJ News, high product inventories has forced the move.

Fracchia adds this move will also impact several contractors who work at the mine.

Report Card for Francophone Schools

The report cards are in for Francophone Schools around the Province and the numbers show plenty of promise. In Grade 2, 72 per cent of francophone students are reaching or exceeding the oral reading standard and 73 per cent have achieved the objective in reading comprehension. In reading comprehension, outcomes are similar to those in 2008, with an increase of 10 percentage points since 2006. Education Minister Roland Hache says they continue to work toward the 2013 literacy target of 90 per cent of students reaching or exceeding the appropriate literacy level.

In math, 64 per cent of Grade 5 students, 58 per cent of Grade 8 students, and 53 per cent of Grade 11 students attained or exceeded the standard. In science and technology, 65 per cent of Grade 5 students reached or exceeded the standard. Report cards will be sent home with students in the coming days.

More People Using Local Food Bank

A report by the Salvation Army says the economic downturn has forced more Canadians to turn to food banks and that food is going out as quickly as it comes in. President of Saint John's North End Food Bank, Victor Boudreau, tells CHSJ news use is definitely up but in this case, so are donations.

Boudreau says about 1,000 people use the North End Food bank--most of which are single men. That's up from about 800 people six months ago.

Job Market Slows in New Brunswick

The latest job market outlook shows conditions aren't very rosy in this province. The Canadian Job Market Report by says new jobs in the fourth quarter of the year declined in every Canadian province except for Quebec and Saskatchewan.

Job postings in this province tumbled 17.2 percent between August and September this year--and--the year over year job posting rate fell sharply, down 16.4 percentage points in September. That approaches the lowest point seen so far in the current recession.

Details on Canaport LNG Accidental Vapor Release

(File Photo of Canaport LNG Facility)

We have a few more details today about an incident that happened at the Canaport LNG Terminal on Saturday afternoon. It was during a planned maintenance procedure around noon time when there was a release of vapor and LNG into the safety release flare system. The vapor cloud and large flare lasted for about ten minutes and no one was hurt but employees were sent to the nearest safety areas as a pre-caution. There were no vessels berthed at the time and the all clear was given just over an hour later.

Officials are in the process of conducting a root cause analysis to see where improvements can be made to make sure incidents like this don’t happen again.

Unemployed Union Works Head to Provincial Capital

Unionized unemployed labourer's protesting against out of Province workers at Canaport LNG are taking their fight to Fredericton. They will be on the steps of the Legislature when the fall session gets started on the 17th of next month. Shawn McAdam speaks on behalf of several men from different unions and tells CHSJ News, they don't want to lose their jobs.

C.L.A.C is the Christian Labourers Association of Canada and the protestors are upset people from that organization have been hired to work on the third storage tank at the LNG facility. McAdam adds the protests will continue leading up to their demonstration at the Legislature next month.

Liberals Gear Up for Next Year's Provincial Election

Now that some of the Federal Election talk has cooled down, it won't be long before we are smack in the middle of a Provincial Vote. September.27th is the day we go to the polls and the Graham Government continues to prepare. We know that Saint John East MLA Roly MacIntyre is stepping down from his post and Premier Graham tells CHSJ News, he won't be easy to replace. There is still no word on who the replacement candidate will be for Roly.

Energy Minister Jack Keir has confirmed to our news-room he will re-offer in the fall and Premier Graham adds they are always on the look-out for women interested in a political life.

Final Budget Consultation to be Held Tonight

With less than two months before the Graham Government hands down its budget, the last of five pre-budget consultation meetings takes place tonight in Fredericton. Finance Minister Greg Byrne and Post Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arsenault will be on hand. Both were in Saint John last week and Minister Byrne tells CHSJ News, it's important to take the public consultations to rural areas to find out how the public wants to deal with the upcoming budget.

As of right now the province is looking at a $741 million dollar deficit for the 2010-2011 budget. Tonight’s meeting gets started at seven o’clock.

Saint John Mayor Confident Tax Rate Won't Rise

The city manager will be providing the mayor and council with the prospective numbers for Saint John's year end budget tonight. Mayor Ivan Court says the goal is to maintain, or lower, the tax rate for next year.

Court says he is going to be optimistic about holding the tax rate. He says between the operating and capital budgets, all of the projects the city plans on having completed by years-end fall within the two. The year end numbers are up for discussion at tonight's council meeting.

City Staff Seek Upgrades to Spruce Lake Water Treatment Facility

Common Council will be asked for early approval on a 1.3 million dollar project dueing tonight's council meeting. Commissioner of Muncipal Operations Paul Groody is asking council to give upgrades to the Spruce Lake Water Treatment Facility early approval. The project is a top priority in the citys 2010 Water and Sewerage Utility Capital Program. Upgrades include replacing two pumps, and installing a back up diesel generator---at a cost of more than one million dollars.The design cost has a price tag of $220 thousand dollars, and the city will be hiring Dillon Consulting Limited to oversee that phase.

This will be up for discussion at tonight's council meeting getting underway at 6:30.