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Monday, November 26, 2012

NB Power Aims To Reduce 1 Billion In Debt

NB Power is looking at a number of ways to slash a billion dollars in debt.

NB Power's President telling a Saint John business audience it plans to do that in a number of ways including pilot programs and smart thermostats.

Gaetan Thomas says their rates forecast is based on an escalation factor, which is close to what is expected for the next 3 to 5 years.

He adds no one can predict oil prices 10 years down the road, which makes Point Lepreau valuable it's more predictable and less volatile.

The cost of energy shifts dramatically with 6 to 9 cents per kilowatt hour in non peak times versus 20 cents a kilowatt hour in peak times.

3 Arrested From Norton Irving Smash & Grab

A man from Sussex and a young man from Kars appearing in court today facing charges of break and enter along with theft.

The RCMP say three people were arrested in connection with a smash and grab at the Norton Irving yesterday.

Police say there was an attempt to pry open a side door but when that didn't work, they smashed the front glass door and stole several items.

Smell Of Sulphur On Sunday From Refinery

A significant release of sulphur at the Irving Oil Refinery causing concern among people who live in Champlain Heights.

Gordon Dalzell of the Clean Air Coalition lives in the area, and noticed a strong smell just before 11 am yesterday. 

 He tells CHSJ news both the Provincial Environment Department and Irving Oil confirmed there was an air pollution incident. He was told the refinery was loading a large tank too quickly and the fumes were blowing into the air.

Dalzell says he was informed by D.O.E. that it's looking into the matter adding the air quality monitor at Champlain Height school went off for a good 10 minutes which is unusual.

Our newsroom has placed called to both the Department of Environment and Irving Oil on the matter.

Former Mayor Supports New True Growth Initiative

Lots of talk from Mayor Mel Norton about True Growth 2.0 and the expanding economic horizons of our so-called "renaissance city", but the concept behind True Growth started with former Mayor Norm McFarlane.

McFarlane championed similar development principles during his 2004-2008 term, and he tells CHSJ News he supports Norton but warns PlanSJ might be a bit too restrictive.

McFarlane says Norton is bang on with his notion that Saint Johnners need to stop taking such a negative attitude about the city, because it only hinders our development.

Grand Bay-Westfield Mayor Enthused About New Economic Development Plan

The proposed economic development plan for the region comes before Grand Bay-Westfield town Council tonight.

Mayor Grace Losier was on hand for the launch and is gung ho about it producing the desired results. She was Mayor when then Saint John Mayor Norm McFarlane launched the true growth strategy.

Losier says it's all about making the core strong because everyone in the region then benefits.

Warm Winter Weather Expected

Looks like we're in for a warm winter!

Dayna Vettese from the Weather Network tells CHSJ news the temperature and precipitation will be above normal, with more snow and rain expected in Saint John.

She says normally our winter daily highs are minus 1 and nightly lows are in the minus teens. We can expect more than 180 cm of snow and 200 mm of rain. Vettese says the warmer weather comes from storm tracks that are expected to go over the Atlantic provinces.

When it comes to big snow storms, she says they're hard to predict but we'll have some cold spells.

Two Men In Court For Accosting Women In Parks

Another court appearace for 27 year old Nathan Dean, who's charged with confronting a jogger on one of the trails at Rockwood Park October 3rd while armed with a knife.

He will stand trial January 14th with one day being set aside for testimony. In the meantime, he stays in jail.

A 33 year old Saint John man also appearing in court to be sentenced for accosting a 48 year old woman at the Irving Nature Park.  

Ronald Parsons was sentenced to 6 months to be served in the community with conditions. The court was told he ran off when the woman took action in response to being assaulted.  

Parsons has been ordered to stay out of the nature park and take counselling for mental health.

When In Doubt, Call The Cops

A passing driver on the 119 arterial in the K-V being credited by Rothesay Regional Police after calling them about a man who was wandering along the highway in just his pajamas. 

As it turns out, the man lives in Quispamsis and is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. 

Police say he managed to leave his home without other family members being aware but is back safe and sound having suffering no lasting effects from the cold.

Pension Task Force To Report Tonight

We should find out tonight what changes will be needed to fix the city's financially strapped pension plan as Common Council will be hearing the the pension task force on what changes have to be made to stop the financial bleeding with the city's pension plan. 

The next phase of true growth will also come up for approval complete with presentations from Enterprise Saint John and Waterfront Development. Deputy Mayor Shelly Rinehart wants to get a new comprehensive economic development plan started sooner rather than later. 

Enterprise Saint John and Waterfront Development are also scheduled to give presentations. 

Also on the agenda is the water budget.........Councillors have already been given the recommendation water rates go up next year by 7.4 per cent.

Provincial NDP Say Time Has Come For Public Auto Insurance

Now that it has been revealed drivers in the province have been overcharged for their auto insurance to the tune of 71 million dollars, provincial NDP leader Dominic Cardy says it's time to revisit the 2004 report given to then Premier Bernard Lord on moving to the public system. 

Cardy tells CHSJ News average annual premiums would drop by 20 per cent to just under a thousand dollars and the province would make a couple of million dollars profit each year and the province would make a couple of million dollars profit each year.

Cardy argues public auto systems don't discriminate based on age or gender but set rates according to your driving record.

He charges both the Liberals and Conservatives depend on campaign contributions from the insurance industry and, as such, don't want to rock the boat.

Helicopter Presence Causes Concern Over Water Supply

A group of people, who live by the Loch Lomond water supply, want Common Council to ensure the safety of their water after they've spotted numerous helicopters flying over the lakes.

Dr. Paula Tippett has written a letter to Council concerned these helicopters are carrying geo surveying equipment that could be exploring the possiblity of fracking for shale gas.

Tippett tells CHSJ news the aircraft have been flying over the lakes daily for a couple of weeks. She says the government has told her they're just landing at the airport but Tippett wants to make sure councillors will protect the water supply from any harm.

Council is scheduled to address the letter tonight.

Two Highway Crashes And Motorcyclist Is Killed

It looked alot worse than it turned out to be, at least for the driver as a truck careened off Highway One near the Department of Transportation garage at Musquash shortly after 5 yesterday afternoon. 

The U-Haul was motoring eastbound when it broke through the guard rail, hit a highway exit sign and overturned in a ditch. The driver sustained just minor injuries. 

As Musquash volunteer firefighters responded to this crash, a car travelling westbound also left the highway and landed upright in a ditch but the driver wasn't injured.

Earlier in the afternoon, a motorcycle crashed on Milford Road with a 57 year old man transported to hospital where he later died.

(Photo courtesy of Lt. Andrew Sanojca)