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Friday, April 3, 2009

City Management Get Wage Freeze



Some city managers are feeling a bit blind-sided by a sudden wage freeze for this year and next. Management normally receive an annual increase of 2.9 per cent--but--City Manager Terry Totton tells CHSJ news given the current economic situation a freeze on raises was the right thing to do.

Totton says management knew it would happen eventually but not until next year. When the province put a wage freeze on civil servants, officials indicated municipal governments should follow suit. Totton says  they were worried if council did not implement the wage freeze the province would cut funding to the city.

Number of Workers Who Believe Injuries Inevitable Still High



Globally, work kills more people than wars--and--an Ipsos-Reid survey conducted in last February shows 57% of New Brunswicker's believe workplace injuries are inevitable. WorkSafe NB's President and CEO, Doug Stanley, says those numbers are troubling.

Those numbers are, however, down from previous years. An Ipsos-Reid survey conducted in 2005 found that 69% of New Brunswick residents believed getting hurt on the job was inevitable. Stanley, says there is a long way to go to change social attitudes. WorkSafeNB has hired additional health and safety officers to better enforce compliance.

Fire Update



Fire crews have successfully knocked down a blaze at Dion Auto Body shop on Loch Lomand Road. Fire crews blocked off the road between Churchland and Owens Road to tackle the fire with worries about explosions from propane and saline tanks. The call came in just after 2pm and spread to two buildings. Crews are still on scene cleaning up. No one was injured and no word on the cause at this point.

Meanwhile, crews made quick work of a chimney fire at 2 Clarkhill Crescent that broke out just before three o'clock.

EMO Issues River Watch Advisory



The provincial Emergency Measures Organization is advising those who live or work along rivers to pay close attention to water level increases and ice movement over the weekend. Plenty of rain is expected over the next couple of days causing water levels along the Saint John River to rise, leading to possible ice-jams.

EMO says ice is forecast to move into the Simonds/Hartland area on Saturday evening, and into Perth-Andover on Sunday evening. The next River Watch advisory will be issued on Sunday.

Fire Crew Tackle Two Blazes



Fire crews are battling a blaze at Dion Auto Body shop at 3442 Loch Lomand Road. Fire crews have blocked off the road between Churchland and Owens Road as they tackle the blaze with worries about explosions from propane and Selene tanks. The call came in just after 2pm and has spread to two buildings. Crews have the blaze under control.

Meanwhile, crews have been called to a chimney fire at 2 Clarkhill Crescent where there is plenty of smoke in the area.

Participation Rate for Poverty Reduction Plan High



More than two thousand New Brunswick residents have participated in public meetings to help develop a province-wide poverty reduction plan. Social Development Minister Mary Schryer says they had a great participation rate.

Bringing the pieces together will develop a high-quality plan by the end of the year to reduce and prevent poverty. The dialogue phase was completed earlier this week in Fredericton with the last of 16 public sessions held across the province including Saint John. New Brunswickers also contributed by sharing their thoughts online, or by submitting briefs and letters.

Top Doc At Regional Health Authority Questions Blood Move



Some more weight being added to the calls for the Canadian Blood Services Agency to reverse its decision to close the Saint John blood distribution center and move it to Halifax.
The Chief of Staff for the Region B Health Authority -- Dr Tom Barry -- says the impending closure will put at risk the health -- and -- perhaps the lives of some patients in the province.
Barry wonders what will happen if weather problems lead to problems for transporting the blood when needed -- and -- he's asking the blood agency to reconsider its decision.

East End Shopping Mall Getting Multi-Million Dollar Facelift



The owners of the McAllister Place Mall have plans to modernize Saint Johners shopping experience.
Cadillac Fairview has announced a 12 million dollar renovation is in the works at the regional shopping center.
Construction will begin this May and is scheduled for completion in early 2010 with work being carried out in stages over an 8-month period.
Some of the new features will include new flooring and ceiling treatments, sky lights, upgraded washrooms, and a renovated food court with new seating areas and 35 per cent more seats.

Municipalities Getting Double The Federal Cash




(Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson making gas tax announcement - photo by Gary MacDonald)

Municipal politicians are smiling today -- the federal government has come through with double the amount of gas tax revenue to help with infrastructure projects.
Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson says it's in response to the needs of municipalities.
Thompson says the federal government has also cut the red tape so the money is in the bank now rather than municipalities having to wait at least three months for the cash to flow -- he says it's part of Ottawa's plan to help stimulate the economy.

Oromocto Residents Warned About Suspicious Phone Calls



A warning today for residents living in the Model Town from RCMP about a false telephone survey.
Someone received a call from a woman who said they were conducting a survey for the Department of Public Safety.
The caller was asking questions about the women who lived in the home, whether they were over or under 18 and if they were a visible minority and other personal questions.
The Department of Public Safety has confirmed it is not conducting any telephone surveys.
If you do receive a call of this nature, your asked to call the RCMP at 357-4300 or call Crime-Stoppers.

Westjet Resumes Service Next Month




Officials at the Saint John Airport are counting down the days until Westjet resumes flights.
The air carrier will begin it's third seasonal schedule on May.15th.
Airport president Bernard Leblanc says they continue to meet with WestJet on a consistent basis to make their business case for year round flights but no word on when or if that will happen. 

Parties Join Ranks On Blood Services Relocation



news-blood services.jpg

(Blood Services location on University Avenue - file photo)

It's unanimous that both Provincial political parties in the Legislature will fight to keep the Canadian Blood Services office in Saint John.
News came out this week that CBS is looking to move this distribution center to Halifax.
Conservative Health Critic Margaret Ann Blaney tells CHSJ News, she is happy about the vote to work together but she still doesn't trust Health Minister Murphy.
Blaney says given the fact the Minister knew about this for close to a year and never said anything makes her suspicious about how sincere he is to reversing this decision.

Fire Victims Trying To Help One Another



It will be at least next week before we know what sparked a fire that ripped through a North End building this morning.
City Crews were called to 349 Main Street to find black smoke rolling from underneath the roof.
Nick London is one of the tenants that escaped with his life and tells CHSJ News, everyone in the building is trying to look after one another.
London says he was awakened out of a sound sleep by his son crawling into his bed and someone pounding on the door.

Fire in the North End



Fire crews are battling a blaze in the North End at this hour. They were called to 349 Main Street just before six o'clock to find black smoke and flames coming from the roof. Crews are cracking up the roof to get at the flames and see if they can hose down the source of the flames.

No word on any injuries but City Police and Fire Crews are going through the building making sure everyone is out of harms way.

Rainfall Warning Raising Tensions



A slow thaw of ice and snow along the St. John River has been a welcome sight for thousands in recent weeks, but tensions could rise over the next 24 hours. This as a heavy rainfall warning has been issued by Environment Canada. Emergency Measures has issued several updates on the ice flow and river level in recent days with nothing major to report and their next update is expected this afternoon and that is sure to change. Up to 30 millimeters of water is expected.

Heavy flooding last spring forced several people from their homes causing millions of dollars in damage.