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Monday, October 26, 2009

Second Wave of Swine Flu is Expected

Officials are bracing for a second wave of pandemic influenza to hit the Province even though numbers have been low to this point. Several communities across the country have seen an increase in the amount of cases in recent days as well. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eilish Cleary says with the increase in cases, anyone in the second half of their pregnancy is asked to step forward and roll up their sleeve.

Dr. Cleary is urging everyone to check the toll free line and GNB website on a daily basis for when a vaccination shot will be available in your area.

No Decision On Political Future

Saint John Fundy M-L-A Stuart Jamieson is setting the record straight - Jamieson tells CHSJ News he hasn't made any decision on whether to re-offer in next year's provincial election.

Jamieson who serves as Tourism Minister in the Graham government says he's still considering his options at this point - and - hasn't made any kind of decision on his political future.

Update on Road Closures----New for Monday, Oct.26th/2009....New for 2pm:

Water levels have been dropping since early Monday morning. The City of Saint John’s Municipal Operations have reopened several roadways to traffic:

• Rothesay Avenue between Tim and Todd Streets (one lane in each direction);

• Rothesay Road underpass (to Rothesay Avenue);

• Exit from Westbound McKay Highway to Rothesay Avenue; and

• Ashburn Road between Foster Thurston and Rothesay Road.

McAllister Drive remains closed between Majors Brook and Golden Grove, as due a number of streets in the Glen Falls area. Garbage pickup will take place in the Glen Falls area on Tuesday, if road conditions permit.

The Saint John Police Force is watching over flooded neighbourhoods. Officers will continue to issue tickets to motorists ignoring or driving around barricades.

Province Invests In NB Heart Centre

The provincial government is giving the Heart Centre at the Regional Hospital $150 thousand dollars for telemetry machinery.

Medical Director of the Heart Centre Dr. Vernon Paddock says the equipment will be used to monitor patients heart rhythms after a procedure.
Dr. Paddock says the province has increased the cardiac surgery budget by $3 million dollars to help ease the waiting period for patients. He says he doesn't know the exact amount of time patients have on the list, but says it's longer than he would like.

Health Minister on Immunization Shots

[Health Minister Mary Schryer----File Photo]
The Health Minister is recommending New Brunswickers protect themselves from the H1N1 virus by getting a vaccination shot.

Mary Schryer says getting the shot is a personal choice, but it is recommended by the Department of Health, as well as taking other precautions.
Schryer says people need to continue thoroughly washing their hands, and coughing or sneezing into their sleeves to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus.
Schryer says she has not received her shot yet, because she is not apart of a priority group. She says she got her seasonal flu shot, and will wait her turn for swine flu immunization.

More Doctors Calling the Province Home

Finding a doctor in this Province is getting a lot easier according to officials with the Provincial Department of Health. In a news release, officials say 144 more physicians are practising in the Province now than in October of 06. Also, more than 40 doctors have committed to starting practices in the province between now and March 31 of next year. Officials also indicate the net annual increases in physicians during the last two fiscal years have been the largest annual increases since 1994.

Since the fall of 2006, there has been a net increase of 67 family practitioners and 77 specialists. Currently, there are more than 1,500 doctors practising in the province - 735 family practitioners and 778 specialists.

Estimates on Road Damage are Rolling In

Estimates are rolling in as to what the final cost will be to fix things up following the weekend rain storm. Officials with the Department of Transportation say in the area's east of Saint John, there is for now $600,000 dollars in damage including eight large road side culverts which have been washed away. Several shoulders of roads and driveways are gone and plenty of area's are down to a single lane of traffic.

Spokes-person Andrew Holland tells CHSJ News, the financial number could increase as reports continue to roll in. The Eight culverts that were lost won't be replaced until the summer because of environmental regulations.

Saint John Lancaster MLA Will Re-Offer

The head count continues by the Provincial Liberal party with an they enter the final year of their current mandate. Saint John East MLA Roly MacIntyre is out. But -- Saint John Lancaster MLA Able Leblanc is re-offering and tells CHSJ News, it won't be easy to replace his colleagues who have indicated they won't be re-offering.
No word on who will take MacIntyre's spot.

David Alward Speaks About Point Lepreau

The debate rages on over who should pay for the cost over-runs for the refit at Point Lepreau. Energy Minister Jack Keir is looking for Ottawa to asume the cost over-run with Atomic Energy of Canada saying the timeline was never attainable. Conservative leader David Alward doesn't disagree but tells CHSJ News, Minister Keir has to assume some of the responsibility as well.
Alward says it's ludicrous to ask rate-payers to shoulder responsibility for this file and the Graham Government has to bring Ottawa and AECL to the table.

What Will Replace Rally of Hope

The finishing touches are being put on the new event that will replace Rally of Hope. The final one was held back on June.21st where a record $1.6 million was raised for a renovation of the NeoNatal Intensive Care Unit. Executive Director of the Regional Hospital Foundation Tim Cameron tells CHSJ News, they are very excited about this new venture.

Cameron despite what you might have heard or been told......the hospital home lottery is not the replacement for the Rally.

Council of Canadians Want Changes

The National Spokesperson for the Council of Canadians says municipalities need to start making initiatives that keep resources in house rather than focusing only on exportation. Maude Barlow tells CHSJ News, cities need to create conditions for when a company wants to move in, rather than letting them set up shop with no strings attached.

Barlow adds the economy cannot be based on market projections and profit but rather on people.

Local Businessman to Be Honored

A long time member of the business community in Greater Saint John will be honored next month. The Saint John Board of Trade has announced Gerry Pond is this years winner of the “Chair’s Award” to be presented at the 25th annual Outstanding Business Achievement Awards dinner. First handed out in 1993 the award recognizes a company or individual for work in their business which has made a signifigant impact to the economic progress of the the community.

Pond's list of achievements include years in the telecom and IT world. The award will be handed out on the 25th of next month at the Trade and Convention Center.

Provincial Consumers Ride Out the Recession

If retail sales are any indication, New Brunswick has weathered the global recession much better than those in Canada. The latest report card by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council shows retail sales, excluding gasoline, climbed 1.3 per cent in this province in the first half of 2009. Nationally, retail sales, fell 2.8 per cent in the same time period. Senior Economist, David Chaundy, tells CHSJ news the Atlantic region has seen fewer full-time job losses and stronger wage growth.

While some forecasters see national consumer spending picking up into 2010, Chaundy says growth will be modest by historical standards.

Winter Parking Ban Up for Discussion

If the Commissioner of Municipal Operations gets his way, anyone who parks their vehicle on a city street overnight during the winter will be ticketed or towed. Paul Groody is recommending common council accept a new winter management plan for street and sidewalk snow clearing. In the report, there are plans for Winter Parking Restrictions.

If approved by council, Saint John residents will be banned from parking overnight on nearly all city streets from November 15th to April 15th. Only four areas will be exempt from the out-right overnight parking ban: Wright Street, Old North End, Lower West and South Central Peninsula. The issue will be up fro discussion during tonight's common council meeting.

H1N1 Flu Vaccination Program Kicks into High Gear Today

The Health Department starts it's biggest-ever immunization program today for key target groups in the province. Health-care workers, along with aboriginals, children, and people with chronic conditions, will begin getting their H1N1 flu shots today. Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Paul Van Buynder, says they will also begin school vaccination programs today.

H1N1 vaccinations were first handed out on Thursday to some health-care workers who will administer the vaccine to the public. The general public will be able to get a pandemic flu shot in about 2-3 weeks.

Deer Hunting Season Kicks Off

Over the next two weeks, don't be suprised if you hear the crackle of gun-fire in certain areas of the Province. Deer hunting season gets started today and Cade Libby with the Department of Natural Resources tells CHSJ News, it goes with-out saying to make sure you wear hunters orange but it's also vital that hunters identify their target before pulling the trigger.

Deer hunting season in this part of the Province runs until the 21st of next month in the northern half it finishes on November.8th. Last year 7,780 deer were shot by hunters.

Roads Still Closed Due to Flooding

(McAllister Place Mall--Photo By Sean Crowley)

About 116 mm of rain fell in the area over the weekend and several homes and streets from Saint John to Sussex just couldn't handle how fast the rain was falling. Foster Thurston Drive in Drury Cove, Rothesay Avenue under the train bridge, and parts of Ashburn lake Road, McAllister Drive and Golden Grove Road are still under water. Part of the problem is leaves are covering a lot of the sewer drains which is backing things up.

Also, fire crews were called to the City Road Bakery yesterday around noon over concern the roof was going to collapse from too much water collecting on the building. The drains were plugged on the roof and fire crews had to pump the water off in order to prevent the roof from caving in.

Scott Avenue Residents Face Bumpy Road

A new problem is on the horizon for residents on Scott Avenue. It was just a few weeks ago that Rothesay Council pulled it's application to purchase the four mixed income apartment buildings on the street off the table but CHSJ News has learned, one of the buildings is up for bids at a public auction today in Sussex. The assessed owner is listed as Kenneth and Helen Griffin and an apartment building and lot at 10 Scott Avenue is just one of several properties listed under their name.
Another interesting point is at the bottom of the listing, it says the Provincial Tax Commissioner was made aware of the properties sale on the 16th of last month. Griffin is quoted as saying he had no interest in selling the property to the town.

Weekend Rain Wreaks Havoc

Heavy rainfall over the weekend is still having an impact on roads throughout Greater Saint John. Andrew Holland with the Department of Transportation tells CHSJ news there are road closures from Saint John to Sussex--including Route 121 from Guthrie Road to Route 845 in Sussex--and-- the Belleville Farm, Carsonville and Scribner Roads.

Holland says district crews from Saint John are assessing damage and trying to get traffic back to normal