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Thursday, December 27, 2012

City Crews Trying To Keep Up With Storm

In a release, the City of Saint John tells CHSJ News all crews and equipment are working to keep City streets and sidewalks safe for motorists and pedestrians.

They ask everyone to keep the conditions in mind and slow down and if possible avoid travelling the roads during the worst parts of the storm.

An additional 15 centimetres of snow and ice pellets are possible before it changes to rain late tonight.    That rain will not end until tomorrow afternoon.

Nearly 2600 Without Lights In Bordertown

NB Power reporting 7 outages impacting  nearly 2600 homes and businesses in St. Stephen today.

Last week's snowstorm and rainstorm wreaked havoc with tree branches hitting lines and knocking out power to 10,000 customers mostly in Fredericton, Woodstock, St. Stephen, Oromocto and Sussex.

Crews were still working on Saturday to restore power to some areas.

Transit Buses Are Running But With Delays

Saint John Transit buses are running in today's storm but passengers should expect delays due to the weather. 

Collision On Hwy 1 Westbound Near Lorneville

Crews responding to a collision on highway 1 Westbound on the ramp near the King William Road exit. A truck hauling a trailer hit an SUV.

Airbags have deployed.   A Road Warrior calling us and urging motorists out and about today to turn their headlights on.

Quispam Offers Tree Mulching Into January

Are you itching to get that Christmas tree out of your house?

The Town of Quispamsis offering its residents tree mulching services.

The two drop off locations are 11 Recreation Centre Road (the lower parking lot by the recreation centre) and 18 Municipal Drive (parking lot by the Walter Jewett ballfield).

Trees must be dropped off by January 14th.

YSJ Reports Flight Delays & Cancellations

If you are supposed to fly today, check ahead as the weather here and in Ontario and Quebec is impacting the schedule at the Saint John Airport.

Two flights from Toronto are cancelled and later this afternoon flights from Montreal and Toronto are delayed.

Another two flights leaving for Montreal today and tonight are cancelled while one to Toronto is cancelled.

To see the list yourself, click here

RRPD Reflect On 2012

The Rothesay Regional police categorizing 2012 as a great year from both a law enforcement and community relations standpoint.

Constable Krystal Daley tells CHSJ News the force is especially proud of its Senior's Police Academy and its increased presence on social media which means the community has more chances to get actively involved in law enforcement.

She tells CHSJ News they are developing new partnerships and looking to expand some of the projects in 2013 and hoping to offer their services to a greater percentage of the population.

She adds Rothesay was voted one of the safest communities in Canada which shows they're doing something right.

SUV Flips On Golden Grove Road

Amazingly no one is hurt after an SUV rolled over at Golden Grove Road and John T. McMillan Avenue.

The SUV flipped landing on its roof in a brook.   Everyone inside the vehicle was able to get out.

Light Snow Falling Uptown

The snow is falling in Saint John as a winter storm warning is in effect for our region.

We are looking at up to 10 centimetres of the white stuff today mixed with ice pellets. Strong wind gusts will be blowing that snow around.

Another 10 centimetres of heavy snow mixed with ice pellets is expected tonight in strong winds before it changes to rain after midnight.

The rain will wrap up tomorrow afternoon.

Common Council Decides On Long Term Disability

New long term disability will be sought for city employees from Great West Life as part of the revamping of the city's pension plan under the shared risk model. 

Common Council has agreed the city will pay 100 per cent of the coverage for two years which Councillor Donnie Snook says he can't accept, calling it ridiculous. He says a 50/50 split would have been acceptable for him to support. 

Finance Commissioner Greg Yeomans says there are 64 city employees on long term disability, at the moment, whose status will not change until they reach the age of 65 and the city will pick up that cost as well which is estimated at 1.9 million dollars.

Councillor Susan Fullerton voted against, saying there was too much of a rush and that kind of haste usually costs you more money in the end. She argues there are still too many unanswered questions.

Councillor Bill Farren voted in favour although he didn't necessarily disagree with Snook. Farren says city taxpayers will have to swallow full cost of long term disability for 24 months in order to get the pension issue out of the way once and for all.

Fellow west side Councillor Greg Norton voted in favour, saying the alternative would have cost much more money.

A Winter Storm Watch Issued

A nasty winter storm is moving into our region this morning with 5 centimeters of snow and ice pellets expected during the day with another 10 to 15 tonight. 

Ming Szeto of Environment Canada tells CHSJ News the snow will begin around mid morning and be mixed with ice pellets this afternoon. There will be alot of blowing snow that will reduce visability because of winds gusting up to 80 kilometers an hour.

Szeto says the heaviest amount of snow will fall later this afternoon into tonight before changing to periods of rain tomorrow.

Y Prez Describes 2012 As Phenomenal

2012 was a very busy year between designing a new North end facility and still running their many programs in the city.

President and CEO Shilo Boucher tells CHSJ News they were able to help 15,000 people this year.

She says Y volunteers donated 14,000 hours and their donors helped 3,000 families through the strong kids program.

Back in the spring, the Y released the new design for their future home in the Crescent Valley. 

 Construction on the new building it set to begin next year with an opening in 2014.

University Will Help Grow Saint John Economy

The Vice-President in charge of U-N-B Saint John, Dr. Robert MacKinnon warns it would be a mistake not to view higher education as a significant engine for future economic growth in the region.

Dr. MacKinnon points to the research being done at the university's Canadian Rivers Institute and in health care with Dalhousie University. He maintains that research is just at the beginning foundational level with much more to come.

Dr. MacKinnon says that's one reason why there has been so much focus placed on enhancing the Tucker Park campus by the Regional Hospital.

Local Economy Being Bolstered By Small High Tech Companies

Most Saint Johnners might be surprised to learn there are a hundred or so I-C-T companies in the city employing more than 3 thousand people. 

It even came as an eyeopener for the President of the Saint John Board of Trade Imelda Gilman during a business tour organised earlier this year for politicians to get the lay of the land when it came to the local economy.

She calls it exciting that many of these companies are working away under the radar in the uptown historic buildings to not only build up their own businesses but also offering support to start ups and developing technology for other parts of the economy.

Gilman sees I-C-T being a key cluster for economic growth in the future.


Special Meeting Today Of Common Council

"The pension anchor is sinking to the bottom of the Bay of Fundy".......So says Mayor Mel Norton who tells CHSJ News many millions of dollars will be freed up now that the shared risk model for the city pension plan has been agreed to and a huge weight has been lifted off the shoulders of Common Council. 

The Mayor says 5 million dollars will be spent on roads in the city which is seen as the right amount to start rebuilding to bring them up to where they should be.

Norton says there will also be more money next year for transit, recreation and water. 

Meantime, long term disability will be the focus of a special meeting of Common Council this morning at 10:00. The cost of long term disability is not part of the shared risk model.