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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Break-In at Scotiabank on Westmoreland Road

A break in occurring at Scotiabank on Westmoreland Road around 7:30 this morning.

Two men were spotted on security footage doing something to the key pad of the ATM.

The suspects fled when the alarm went off. Police responding to the scene saw that the door to the bank had been pried open.

Anyone who saw anything suspicious around the bank this morning are asked to contact police.

911 Hoax Lands Mispec Teen in Hot Water

Don't fool around and make false emergency calls.

That message from the RCMP after an extensive search in Mispec was prompted by a hoax. A teenager who claimed to be wounded at a camp is now facing a charge of making a false 9-1-1 call. 

Corporal George Parisella tells us this is no joke, and that 911 is only to be used for emergencies.

The RCMP say the youth called 9-1-1 and sounded very agitated when he claimed to have injured himself while cutting wood and was not able to give clear directions to where he was.
The teenager was eventually located none the worse for wear in a camp off West Beach Road.

Air Miles Will Now Have Expiry Date

Air Miles is imposing an expiry date on reward miles starting today. It says participants in the Air Miles reward program will be required to use their existing miles before December 31st, 2016. 

Reward miles earned after New Year's Eve will only be valid for five years after they're first posted. 

Until now, the miles never carried an expiration date.

Zoning By-Law Will Be Reviewed, says PlanSJ

Passage of the city's new municipal plan next month is only the first step to charting a new direction in future development around town. 

A comprehensive review of the zoning bylaw will be undertaken along with other initiatives, including the recreation master plan and Fairvale Boulevard corridor study, says Jaqueline Hamilton of PlanSJ.

Hamilton says the current zoning regulations are outdated and she's promising extensive public consultation before a new bylaw is ready for approval by Common Council in the summer of 2013.

Compensation for Agent Orange Victims at CFB Gagetown

The federal government has decided to approve more payouts under the compensation program for those people affected by the spraying of Agent Orange at C-F-B Gagetown.

The Canadian Press has learned approximately 30 people will now receive payments for exposure to the defoliant in the 1960s.

They were eligible for funds but filed an application too late.

Government sources say the rules were reviewed after it received several complaints when a number of families went public with their bureaucratic battles.

City Zoning Bylaws Are "Outdated"

Once the new municipal plan is adopted by Common Council, city staff will ten embark on a comprehensive review of the zoning bylaw. 

Jacqueline Hamilton of Plan SJ calls the current zoning regulations "outdated" and in need of revamping to coincide with the new municipal plan that will be the roadmap for future development over the next generation.

Hamilton says the plan calls for the new zoning bylaw to be ready for approval by the summer of 2013. She also promises there will be extensive public consultation. 

While the new zoning bylaw is being drawn up, work will be done on a master plan for recreation and future commercial development along the Golden Mile on the west side.

Fire on Raymond Road

A blaze that started in a shed early this morning in French Village has proved costly.

Rothesay fire officials getting the call around 2:45am. Once they got to the address on Raymond Road they found a shed ablaze. The shed, containing a number of ATVs, snowmobiles and motorcycles, was a write-off.

Although no one was hurt, the damage is estimated to be around $20,000 dollars. Fire officials are looking into what caused the blaze.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Province Told To Turn Off The Tap

The provincial government has been on an unprecendented spending binge over the last four years........That charge being levelled by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation which says the time has come to cut spending. 

The Federation's Atlantic Director Kevin Lacey tells CHSJ News the government can also do something else to reduce the ocean of red ink and that is sell some assets such as NB Liquor. 

Lacey says in just the past four years, the number of provincial government employees earning 100 thousand dollars a year or more has doubled and spending has increased by 1.7 billion dollars.

Police Warn Against Making False Emergency Calls

An extensive search in Mispec was prompted by a hoax and a teenager who claimed to be wounded at a camp is facing a charge of making a false 9-1-1 call.  

The RCMP say the youth called 9-1-1 and sounded very agitated when he claimed to have injured himself while cutting wood and was not able to give clear directions to where he was. 
Various emergency personnel began a search including Emergency Medical Technicians, City Police, Saint John Fire and the Department of Public Safety's Off Road Vehicle Enforcement Unit .
The teenager was eventually located safe and sound in a camp off West Beach Road, in Mispec through the use of G-P-S coordinates and satellite imaging. 

Police quickly determined the boy was not actually injured at all.

Chimney Fire Extinguished

There was an early morning chimney fire on Route 820, Baxter’s Corner.  

When crews from the Simonds Fire Department responded around 6:00, they found there were hot embers coming from the chimney.  

Fire crews quickly extinguished the fire.  The home had to be ventilated. No one was injured.

Homeowners are being advised not to burn their Christmas wrapping paper in the fireplace because it can can chimney fires.

Hitch Hiker Charged With Attempted Robbery

A 20 year old man from St. Stephen, Bradley James Johnson has been charged after being arrested by the RCMP in St. George after an attempted robbery on Highway 1 near Seeley's Cove Road in Pennfield Wednesday afternoon.

Police say a man picked up a hitch hiker and then had a weapon pulled on him and was ordered to hand over his money. A struggle reportedly ensued but the driver was eventually able to pull off the road and managed to push the hitch hiker out of his vehicle.

No one was seriously injured.

Saint John MP Says We Can Keep Control in P3 Deals

Saint John MP Rodney Weston says the city does not need to fear losing control of it's water in a public-private partnership.

The city is currently exploring P3 deals in order to pay for costly upgrades to our drinking water infrastructure.

Weston tells CHSJ News the city is in the driver's seat as far as how much control it can give to the private sector.

He says we can build our own model and there are private partners out there willing to play by our rules.

He adds there is a stigma attached to P3 deals but discussions with various city councillors seem to indicate they are coming around on the issue.

Joshua Group Founder Will Press On To Find Home

The search continues for the Joshua Group as it looks for a place to call home.

Founder Bobby Hayes was hoping to get his hands on an old provincial building on Paradise Row but the province has sold the building.

Hayes tells CHSJ News he wasn't surprised that the building was sold but he is still disappointed.

He says the group does not need a large or extravagant building and he will press on to find a place for the children.

The Joshua Group provides activities and support for underprivileged children.

MLA Margaret Ann-Blaney has worked with Hayes on the project  but she says the building on Paradise Row would have required costly upgrades in order to be a suitable place.

Former Liberal Cabinet Minister Launching Leadership Campaign

Former Liberal Health Minister Mike Murphy will be officially launching his campaign for leadership of the provincial Liberal party.

The launch will take place Thursday, January 5th, 2012, at 11:00 a.m., at the Christ-Roi Golden Age Club in Moncton.

Murphy served under the Graham Government in 2006 but resigned from cabinet in 2010.

Belledune mayor and dairy farmer Nick Duivenvoorden is the only other declared candidate in the Liberal leadership race.

Year End Interview With Premier David Alward

Premier Dismisses Criticism Over Industrial Energy Policies

Premier Alward is deflecting criticism of his government's new energy pricing and policies for heavy industrial users.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling the new energy pricing and surplus power purchase plans nothing short of corporate welfare at the expense of average New Brunswickers.
But -- in a year end interview with CHSJ News -- the Premier says it will help keep large companies competitive avoiding the loss of heavy industrial customers for N-B Power -- and -- that will help to keep power rates stable for New Brunswickers.
Alward also says his government is changing policies for business investment to make the process more open and accountable.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Taxes To Go Up January 1st.

If you're working, more money will be taken out of your pay cheque for employment insurance and Canada Pension in the new year. The increase will amount to 323 dollars a year for employees and employers.

The Atlantic Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Kevin Lacey calls that one of the single largest increases since 2002 and tells CHSJ News, the Harper Government claims the programme is now underfunded but there were actually huge surpluses in years gone by but the federal governments of the day managed to spend that money.
Lacey likens any increase in payroll taxes to a job killer at a time when the provincial economy is in such a fragile state.

Mixed Income Housing Is Key To Ending Poverty

Improvements on housing and slight declines in the rate for seniors and kids sound good when it comes to eradicating poverty in Saint John. But, Human Development Council Executive Director Randy Hatfield tells CHSJ News says there is still a lot of work ahead in 2012 and beyond.

He favours mixed income housing like the St. Andrew the Abbey project and the new announcement for Churchill Boulevard.

He says the biggest hurdle in housing is the price adding the current provincial and federal governments housing agreements in place are not as generous as they need to be in order to prompt private sector involvement.

As for a tiny dip in the numbers for child and senior poverty, Hatfield says you have to be very careful with stats on poverty when the numbers relate to money because of other factors at play including education and literacy.

Most New Year Resolutions Focus On Health

A new survey finds past failures are not stopping Canadians from making New Year’s resolutions. The survey for Sun Life Financial finds almost eight-in-ten Canadians are making resolutions for 2012.

Sun Life Financial Senior Vice-President Kevin Strain says the vast majority are focusing on their health, such as losing weight or eating better.  

But Strain adds only 25 percent of people have kept their resolutions in the past.
The Ipsos survey also found almost one-third of Canadians have resolved to pay down debt in 2012.

Regular Self-Serve Goes Up

Gas prices taking a small jump at the pumps today -- regular self serve has gone up to $1.25 at litre, although most stations are selling it for $1.22 a litre.

Diesel also going up to $1.35 a litre but most places sell it for a few cents lower.

Meanwhile, furnace oil taking a slight bump to $1.14 a litre while propane going down a few cents to $1.10 a litre.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Drug Dealer Pleads Guilty

Guilty pleas from a Charlotte Street man charged with two counts of dealing in cocaine.

Trevor Garland is scheduled to be back in court for sentencing on January 30th. In the meantime, a presentence report will be prepared for the judge.

The prosecution says Garland is looking at more than 2 years in prison. 

The court was told he was a target in the street level crackdown on cocaine trafficking and was nabbed in November after selling small amounts of the drug to undercover police.

Court Appearance In Death Of Elderly Man

A 50 year old man arrested by City Police in the slaying of an elderly man has made a brief appearance in court before being sent back to jail. 

Stephen Wallace Martin was remanded to January 5th when he'll be back before a judge. 

Martin was arrested after a warrant was issued for his arrest following the discovery by firefighters of the body of Robert Ryan at 374 Mount Pleasant Avenue North on December 20th. 

Police have not disclosed how he died.

Pay Equity Fundraising Rolls On

 The Provincial coalition for pay equity bringing in over $50,000 for 65 per cent of their fundraising goal.
The group is trying to raise $80,000 in order to eliminate what they call one of the root causes for poverty among women: pay inequity.
Louise Imbeault tells CHSJ News the fundraising is necessary as they no longer get any government funding.

She says for the last two years the government decided any organization that is looking for changes in laws would no longer get any funding.

The fundraising campaign began in late November and Imbeault tells us they hope to reach their goal sometime in January.

Grand Bay-Westfield Becoming Community Of Choice

 2011 was a moumental year in Grand Bay-Westfield........That from Mayor Grace Losier.

She says they had good growth with housing starts up 20 per cent from the year before.
Losier tells CHSJ News after speaking to some real estate agents it would appear that for some Grand Bay-Westfield is the community of choice.

Losier says the new housing, when it's built in the town, should be cheaper than in the Kennebecasis Valley and that will enhance its attractiveness.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Boxing Day Sales Off to Good Start

With some retailers cutting prices now that Christmas is over, shoppers throughout the area have been packing stores hunting for bargains.

Shoppers lined up at 80 Consumers Drive, East Saint John at 6am to take advantage of Future Shop's Boxing Day sales on electronics.

Some retailers report the lines outside stores appeared a bit thinner than previous years -- but the Retail Council of Canada estimates there will be a three per cent increase in retail sales this Christmas compared to last year.

Photo Credit: Mark McGraw

Funding Clean Drinking Water a Priority, Says Weston

Saint John MP Rodney Weston says 2011 was full of highlights for him.

He tells CHSJ News two stand out in his mind -- the honour of being re-elected and the tolls coming off the Harbour Bridge.

He says there were also several affordable housing starts that he is very happy about because it was one of his key campaign platforms.

Looking ahead to 2012, Weston says his key commitments are moving ahead on funding for clean drinking water and more affordable housing.

Q-Plex an Accomplishment for 2011, Says Driscoll

Quispamsis Mayor Driscoll is singling out the completion and opening of the Q-Plex as one of his favorite accomplishments of 2011.

Driscoll tells CHSJ News the 24 million dollar project even came in $50,000  under budget. He says that over 100,000 people have used the facilities, and over 40,000 used the pool for swimming this past summer.

He's also proud of the KV Fields opening up.

As for 2012, he says roads will be a major focus as 16 of them are slated for work in the summer.

Saint John Transit Finalizes Cuts

Saint John Transit has officially reduced its services by 14,000 hours and eliminated 8 driver positions.

Local 1182 president Tom Mcgraw says the cuts this week are part of the larger culture of belt-tightening here in the city, which includes the pension deficit, as well as problems with our roads and water.

McGraw says he's heard from a lot of disappointed bus users. He and other unionized transit workers started a Facebook group to protest the cuts which has well over 1,000 members. He says it's a shame that low income people will be the ones most effected.

The link to the Facebook group, Save Our Bus Saint John, is!/groups/SaveOurBusSJ/

Monday, December 26, 2011

2012 Will Be A Big Year for Rothesay, Says Mayor

Mayor Bill Bishop says 2012 will be a big year for the town of Rothesay.

He says major projects are in store which includes solving the flooding issues at Oakville Acres by cooperating with Quispamsis. He says that both towns have the money in their budgets to resolve that issue.

Quispamsis is moving a lift station so Rothesay can build a retention pond.

As for 2011, he says a lot was accomplished, such as the $9 million water line from Grove Avenue to Dunedin Road and completion of the Renforth Wharf.

2011 a Tight Year for Business, says BOT

President of the Saint John Board of Trade Imelda Gilman says 2011 was a tight year for business in the city.

She says most companies were looking efficiencies in order to ride out the tough economic times and it's unfortunate that some big projects, like the development of the Coast Guard site, fell through.

For 2012, the BOT will focus on the energy and advance manufacturing sector, developing our health and sciences cluster

Car Hits House on West Side

No one was injured after a two-vehicle accident on the west side that sent a parked car careening into a house.

Police responding to the call shortly after 7pm. Slippery  driving conditions caused one car to lose control and strike a parked vehicle. It hit the side of the house at 38 Catherwood Street.

Police did not say whether speed was a factor.

Jack Layton Named Newsmaker of the Year

Jack Layton has been named Canada's Newsmaker of the Year--by a long shot. The late NDP leader receiving the accolade by one of the largest margins in the 65-year history of the Canadian Press poll at 90 per cent.  

Canadian Press Ottawa correspondent Stephanie Levitz tells CHSJ that Layton's landslide in the poll didn't come as a surprise to people in the media, since he was unequivocally the person who consistently made the most headlines nationwide.

Layton, who died of cancer in August, has been credited with leading the NDP to the most successful result in the party's history, winning 103 seats, enough to form Canada's Official Opposition.

Spread Out Holiday Cheer, Advises Counsellor

Now that Christmas is over, it's normal to feel a little let down. The post holiday blues are a common phenomena, says Judy Urqhart of Gentle Path Counseling. She tells CHSJ news that people should try to spread out their holiday cheer and this of Christmas as a season--not just one day.

Planning activities throughout the long cold months can help you beat the post-holiday let-down. Seeking the support of faith communities, family and friends is also important to feeling good all winter long.

Gentle Path offers counseling at locations in Saint John and Hampton Road.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fire on Waterloo Street

A fire early this morning on Waterloo Street.

Saint John fire department responding to the call shortly after one o'clock. The blaze starting in the basement of the three-storey wood building--fire crews worked to make sure it didn't spread into the adjoining home.

The two people living there have been displaced. No one was home at the time of the fire.

Vigil For Scott Taylor Held in Loyalist Plaza

Family, friends and supporters of Scott Taylor gathering for a vigil at Loyalist Plaza. About 20 people lit candles and hoped for the safe return of the 23 year old Rothesay man.

Sharon Bradley-Munn, a relative of Scott Taylor, tells CHSJ news that the family is keeping the faith and hoping that the young man will come home.

Taylor, who hasn't been seen since December 2nd, was acquitted in 2008 of second degree murder after a robbery attempt at his home. Bradley-Munn states that she believes there could be a connection.

Bank Robbery in the North End

A robbery taking place at the ScotiaBank on Main Street North.

According to early reports, a man with a bag over his head walked into the bank around 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon, showed a teller a note, and made off with some money.

Police were searching the area for the suspect.

No one was hurt.

Murder Suspect Found

The Saint John Police force got their man.

The police arresting 50-year-old Stephen Wallace Martin in the city's uptown yesterday. There had been a Canada-wide warrant issued for Martin in connection with the death of Robert Ryan.

Ryan's body was found earlier this week in a fire on Mount Pleasant Avenue.

Martin remains in police custody.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Bank Robbery In North End

Police investigating a robbery at the Scotia Bank on Main Street North.

According to early reports, a man walked into the bank around 4 o'clock, showed a teller a note, and made off with some money.

There are also reports that he wore a bag over his head.

Police are combing the area for the suspect and police have shut down Harbour Passage.

No one was hurt.

House Fire on Glen Road

Fire crews knocking down a house fire at 203 Glen Road earlier this afternoon.

The call coming in around 1:30pm.

There is some damage to the first floor and the owner is being assisted by the Red Cross for a place to stay.

Dogs were in the house but none were hurt.

No word yet on a cause and no reports of injuries.

Reduced Bus Access For Methadone Patients Will Cost Us More In the Long Run

Julie Dingwell with AIDS Saint John says the province will have a high price to pay for reducing bus access for patients getting methadone treatment.

Bus passes used to get to clinics will now only be good for 18 months.

Dingwell tells CHSJ News it was a cost saving measure by the province but it will cost us more in the long run because treatment will be curtailed and patients will relapse.

She says it's about 5-thousand dollars a year to treat someone at the clinic while an untreated person could cost us 45-thousand dollars in healthcare and legal costs.

She adds someone kicking their drug habit after only 18 months of treatment is very unlikely.

Many Struggle Emotionally Over The Holidays

If you're feeling blue around the holidays, don't feel like you're the only one. Especially for people who have lost loved ones, Christmas is hardly the most wonderful time of year. With all the pressure leading up to the season and constant hype on TV and in the malls, the actual day can be a downer for some people.

Judy Urqhart, the director of Gentle Path Counselling, says you shouldn't be afraid to lean on other people if you're feeling depressed.

She says the people she sees who do well are connected to a faith community and that have the support of family and friends.

If you don't have those resources, Urqhart recommends plenty of activities out of the house, exercise, and spreading out fun activities throughout the winter months.

Sussex Robber User Spray Can As A Weapon

Dairytown RCMP looking for a robber that used a can of aerosol spray as a weapon at a gas station.

About 4:15 yesterday afternoon a man came into the the Petro-Canada gas station on Main Street in Sussex demanding money.

He used the aerosol can as a weapon and left with some money but no one was hurt.
The man left in a dark coloured car.  He is described as about 5 foot 10, slim with short brown hair, a moustache and a scruffy beard.  He was wearing jeans and a blue or grey hooded shirt.

If you have any info, contact RCMP at 506-832-5566 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Watermain Break Leaves Tenants Without Water

With all the things you have to do today, imagine how not having any water would complicate your life.
That's the case for the tenants at the highrise apartment building at 411 Ellerdale Street in East Saint John.

A watermain break was discovered late yesterday afternoon behind the building and the water had to be shut off to the entire building.
A caller to our newsroom telling CHSJ News she was concerned about the tenants which include a lot of seniors not having any water two days before Christmas.

A spokesperson for the building's owner Greenwin Inc. tells us the location of the watermain break was located this morning and the contractor tells them the work should be completed by the end of day.

Police Urge Caution On Saint John Streets

Saint John Police are warning the roads are extremely slippery today.

A few centimetres of snow and temperatures hovering around the freezing mark leading to several fender-benders in the last hour.

Police are urging caution to motorists today and asking them to slow down in slippery conditions.

Fresh Snow Making For A Slick Drive

Be careful out there.    Some freshly falling snow creating greasy roads in Saint John and the outskirts.

Crown street is backed up as the transports are spinning their wheels.

Road warriors letting us know it's slippery on the Foster Thurston road also slick on the Kierstead road over west and in parts of the KV.

Up to 7 centimetres of snow will be on the ground before its end overnight.

Liberals Blast Alward Government For Cuts To Methadone Patients

Cuts to bus passes for methadone patients could lead to some serious consequences -- that from Social Development critic Bernard LeBlanc.

The Alward government making changes to bus passes used by patients so they can reach treatment centres  -- they will now only have access to the pass for 18 months rather than the duration of the treatment.  Those already pass the 18 month mark will see their pass expire after May 1st.

LeBlanc says reducing access to transportation could do serious harm to the course of their treatment and the province is attacking vulnerable New Brunswickers.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Death In North End Fire Now A Homicide Case

City police ruling the body found at the fire at 374 Mount Pleasant Avenue North on Tuesday as a homicide victim.

70 year old Robert Ryan was killed but police have not released the cause of death.

A Canada-wide warrant has been released for 50 year old Stephen Wallace Martin.  He is described as 6 foot 2 inches tall and 170 pounds with short salt and pepper hair and glasses.  He is considered armed and dangerous.

You are being asked to call city police or Crimestoppers if you have any information and the numbers are 648-3333 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Kids Sell Duct Tape Wallets for Classmate with Leukemia

A tale of heartwarming generosity from some kids at Island View School.

Principal Mark Blucher tells CHSJ that Matthew and Thomas Watson, age 8, started the idea of selling handmade duct tape wallets to help a friend in need. All the proceeds from the wallets go to a classmate diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.

The wallets come in a range of cool colours and styles, from leopard print and camo to traditional silver duct tape. So far the kids have raised several hundred dollars. They're even talking about expanding the pint-sized business to sell them outside of the school.

Vigil To Be Held For Missing Rothesay Man

The friends and family of Scott Taylor holding a vigil for the missing Rothesay man tomorrow night in Loyalist Plaza.

Supporters are invited to bring candles and make posters.

23-year-old Taylor hasn't been seen since December 2nd. Police looking for tips about the Taylor's 2004 light green Cadillac SRX--if you saw that vehicle between December 2nd and 5th, contact police or Crimestoppers.

The vigil takes place at 6:30.

Rothesay and Quispamsis Say No To Congestion Tax

The idea of a congestion tax charged to residents of Rothesay and other out-of-towners who drive into Saint John for work going over like a lead balloon with Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop.

The idea was recently brought up by Councillor Donnie Snook and Bishop tells CHSJ News it's not Rothesay's responsibility to help Saint John with it's budget woes bu he wishes the city the best of luck.

He says one problem the city has is the new bus garage and it's hefty property tax.

Quispamsis Mayor Murray Driscoll also gives a big thumbs down to the congestion tax.

Provincial Summer Job Applications Now Available

Even though it's the holiday season, the province is already looking ahead to the summer months.

Applications are now available for students looking for summer jobs with the provincial government. 

The provincially funded program provides summer jobs in government department and agencies, municipal and First Nation offices, and non-profit agencies. 

Also, students looking to start a summer business can obtain an interest free loan of up to 3-thousand dollars.

To find out where applications are or for more information, click here.