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Monday, December 23, 2013

NB Power Appeals For Patience

NB Power urging its customers for patience as they grapple with the negative effects of heavy ice-laden tree branches hitting power lines leaving thousands without power.

The utility taking to Twitter to let people know that crews will be working through Christmas to restore power.

They expect power will be restored by late tomorrow or Christmas day but some folks won't have power for four days.

Under normal conditions, NB Power would get help from its counterparts in other provinces but the massive weather system stretches from Nova Scotia to Ontario so those crews are stretched too.

Some Success Getting Lights Back In The City

Saint John Energy successful in restoring power to parts of the uptown and the West side earlier tonight.

On the heels of that, the lights are still off in parts of the west side following back to back transformer explosions earlier tonight on Lancaster Street and Duke street west.

Over 54,500 In the Dark Due To Ice Storm

Many will be behind in the baking and other Christmas prep thanks to a massive ice storm

In the Sussex cluster, NB Power reports over 8000 are in the dark in places like Norton, Cambridge-Narrows, Havelock and Sussex Corner.

One of the biggest outages has thousands of homes and businesses in Hampton, Kingston, Quispamsis, Grand Bay-Westfield and Rothesay without power.

Hundreds in Fredericton Junction, Oromocto and Hoyt are off the grid too.

140 outages are impacting more than 11,000 people in the St. Stephen cluster which includes folks in Harvey, Lepreau, Blacks Harbour and St. George.

UPDATE: Massive Outage Leaves Many Cold

They just can't get ahead of it. 

A whopping 50,900 people in this province are in the dark tonight after an ice storm leads to a massive power outage.

That includes over 17,000 in the Rothesay cluster which includes Quispamsis, Hampton, Grand Bay-Westfield.

Another huge outage is impacting thousands of people in Harvey, Lepreau, Oromocto, St. George, St. Andrew's and Black's Harbour.

To get the latest numbers, click

City Crews On Alert For The Storm

The City assuring us their crews will be out in force tonight and overnight working to keep streets safe during the storm.

They suggest motorists avoid travelling during the storm

In a release, they tell us major arteries, highway connections and emergency routes will be cleared constantly during the storm.

Crews are also preparing for the rain and melting snow.

The City also reminding pedestrians to be careful when out walking on sidewalks which could be slushy and slippery.

For more on the City's Winter Management Plan, click here

Many In The Dark In The Port City

Saint John Energy crews are dealing with a slew of power outages as well including Manchester Avenue, Manawagonish Road and Sand Cove Road.

The Dever road and Westfield road are also impacted.

It also includes parts of Millidgeville and in the Uptown, the power is out on Union, King, Canterbury, Charlotte, Prince William and Water Street.

Lorneville road has a partial outage along with Martinon to Ketepec Road.

In East Saint John, they are reporting an outage on the Golden Grove Road.

First Steps Housing Wrapping Gifts For Donations

A local business and non-profit teaming up so you can do good while doing your last-minute Christmas shopping. 

Staff and volunteers from First Steps Housing are at Handworks Gallery wrapping gifts for donations that will go towards buying boots, coats and more for young mothers and their children. Executive Director Sharon Amirault tells CHSJ News the holiday season can be one of the most difficult times of the year for those who use their facility and this initiative will make things easier for them.

Amirault says they have raised almost $700 so far. They will be at the store located at 12 King Street today and tomorrow wrapping gifts.

Saint Johners Are Without Power Too

Saint John is not immune to the provincial power problems.

Saint John Energy now reporting a power outage impacting Manchester Avenue, Manawagonish Road, Sand Cove Road and surrounding area.

The Lorneville Road also has a partial outage and the lights are out from Martinon to Ketepec Road and areas in between.

All of these outages the result of ice building up on tree branches causing them to hit power lines.


Over 18,000 In The Dark Now

Over 18,000 people are in the dark across the province with a huge chunk of them in southern New Brunswick.

The numbers have been climbing since about 11 this morning when it was only 10,000.

People are without electricity in many communities including Grand Bay-Westfield, Quispamsis, Rothesay, Clifton Royal, Blacks Harbour, Fredericton Junction, St. George and St. Stephen.

We are also hearing about an outage impacting the Manowagonish Road area of West Saint John.

To see the latest numbers, click here

Wires Are Down In Many Locations

Crews are responding to wires down in the North end on Visart street and there are also 5 wires down on the Dever road.

Earlier crews responded to a transformer fire on the Lorneville road and there are branches down on the Loch Lomond Road on the way to the airport.

SJFD Keeping An Eye On A Fluoride Spill

City fire crews along with the Hazmat unit responding to a small spill of fluoride at the Spruce Lake Treatment Plant.

It happened as a contractor was filling the tank.

The Saint John Fire Department and the City’s Safety Manager were called and began a clean up procedure.

The fire department remains on the scene monitoring the situation.

RCMP Investigating Camp Break-Ins And Thefts

Reports of buildings and camps being broken into in the rural area between Coles Island and Havelock have been rolling in over the past three months.

Police are looking into the break & enters and thefts where in most cases, rifles and other valuables were stolen from the properties. These incidents mostly happening along Route 112 and the South Canaan Road. 

The RCMP reminding property owners from the area to remove anything valuable from their camps when possible and that firearms must be secured in accordance with federal regulations.

Anyone with information about these incidents is being asked to contact Sussex RCMP at 506-433-7700 or Crime Stoppers at or 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

UPDATE: Some Flights Cancelled, Some On Time

That family member or friend flying in or out today at the Saint John Airport may find their flight is delayed or cancelled.

A few flights from Toronto, Montreal and Halifax  are cancelled today while others for later this afternoon are on time.

It's a good idea to check ahead before heading to the airport today.

You can do that by clicking here 

The Saint John Airport tweeting they are having difficulty with updating flight information on their website.   You can also check the status of your flight here

Man Wanted For Assault With Weapon Arrested

Police tracking down a man wanted for beating another man with a steel pipe in Salisbury.

Andrew Stephen Rees being arrested for assault with a weapon after police received several tips from the public. RCMP had issued a call for information about his whereabouts but warned the public not to approach the 27-year old as he was considered dangerous.

Rees is being held in custody and will be appearing in court.

More Than 10,000 Without Power

For over 10,000 people mainly in southern New Brunswick, it might be best to go out shopping because you can't do much without electricity.

Those people without power are in a slew of communities including Pennfield, St. Stephen, St. George, Kingston, Bloomfield, Grand Bay-Westfield, Rothesay and Quispamsis.

According to NB Power's website, people in those places can expect to get their power back sometime between Noon and 6pm tonight.

To see the latest numbers, click here

Flouride Spill On West Side

The fire department called to the water treatment plant on Ocean Westway after getting a report about a flouride spill outside the building after a line broke. Flouride is acidic. 

Common Council has to be make a decision early next year whether to continue flouridating city water. Saint John and Oromocto are the only two muncipalities in the province continuing to do so.

Saint John M-P Expects More Money For "Y"

The "Y" still needs to raise a lot of money to pay for construction of its new building in the north end because the contributions from the federal and provincial government cover under half of the cost. 

Saint John M-P Rodney Weston tells CHSJ News he has no doubt it will be done and he expects more financial commitments will be forthcoming in the next little while.

Weston says the "Y" has a special bond with Saint Johnners and there's a realy good group of people backing the project.

City Buses Getting Long In The Tooth

More money next year in the 2014 city budget for Saint John Transit but there will only be enough to cover higher costs of operating. 

City Transit buses are older than the national average, 11.6 years compared to 7 and a half to 8 years. Common Councillor Donna Reardon argues Saint John has been playing catchup after some budgetary neglect.

Reardon says they would prefer to have the average age of a bus in the city be 8 and a half to 9 years because it costs more money to keep older buses on the road.

Donnie Snook's Lawyer Speaks Out

The lawyer for disgraced former Common Councillor Donnie Snook is is talking about what the past year has been like for him. Dennis Boyle represented Snook beginning shortly after his arrest January 9th until he was sentenced on the last of the child sexual abuse charges earlier this month. 

Boyle says, for him, it was all consuming but it's also been a hard time for the whole community to try to deal with this and a lot of people were hurt. He's hoping the healing can now begin.

Boyle has praise for how the police acted and treated Snook as well as the jail staff in Saint John and Dalhousie.

Concern Over 2014 City Budget

The 2014 city budget comes before Common Council tonight amid concerns over million dollar increases for the police and fire department. 

Mayor Mel Norton is worried over increasing wage costs at a time when the tax base went down.

West Side Councillor Greg Norton wonders about the city's long term financial sustainability. 

Finance Commissioner Greg Yeomans telling councillors wages and benefits account for 50 million dollars or 34 per cent of the city's budget but do not include police. Councillor 

David Merrithew, who chairs the city's Finance Committee, pulls no punches when he says the wage increases given in the past are not sustainable anymore. 

Common Councillor Susan Fullerton points out a reduction in the city's tax rate from $1.78.5 down to $1.78 would cost 300 thousand dollars or two-fifths of one per cent of the total budget which she doesn't consider that big a deal and a reduction of one cent would cost $600 thousand or four-fifths of one per cent.

More Freezing Rain On The Way

Tree branches and power lines are sagging because of 24 hours of freezing rain which has caused widespread power outages in the southern part of the province. 

Jeremy March of Environment Canada telling CHSJ News we're not out of the woods yet with more freezing rain expected tonight until the system winds down after midnight but Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are looking much better.

March estimates the Saint John area has received 15 millimeters of freezing rain. 

As of 11:00 this morning, more than 45 hundred customers are without power in the Saint John area, most of whom are in Rothesay but also in Quispamsis, Grand Bay-Westfield, Upper Golden Grove, Queenstown, Long Reach, Bloomfield, the Kingston Peninsula and Clifton Royal. 

In the St. Stephen area, there are more than 36 hundred homes and businesses without electricity, mostly in Pennfield, St. George, Utopia and St. Stephen itself. NB Power says some people without electricity may not get their service restored until around 6 tonight.

Another Rexton Court Proceeding

A 36-year-old woman from Elsipogtog First Nation has been arrested after journalists and technicians complained in October their vehicles and equipment had been confiscated while they were attempting to work.

The items were returned later the same day.

The woman was arrested and later released on conditions...she's expected to appear in court on February 26.

RCMP are investigating possible charges of mischief and intimidation....and they're not ruling out further charges.

In a separate incident,  a 50 year old man from Bannon was arrested after cash and meth pills were seized at his home. 

He's scheduled to appear in court in January.