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Friday, December 31, 2010

Red Cross Working To Be More Prepared For Disasters In The New Year

2010 was a significant year for natural disasters, according to the Canadian Red Cross. Bill Lawlor, director of disaster management for Atlantic Canada, tells CHSJ News the Red Cross is working to build its network of disaster volunteers to be better prepared in the new year.
 He says the bottom line is while they increase there preparedness efforts they also encourage individuals to be ready as well.
Lawlor says people can help out by having an emergency supply kit and an emergency plan in case they need to quickly evacuate their home.

MADD Canada Warns Against Drinking And Driving

Remember if you're out celebrating the new year not to drink and drive. Rick McNulty, spokesperson for the Saint John Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, tells CHSJ News there are always other options.

He says Operation Red Nose is an excellent program and you can use #TAXI on your phone which will connect you to the nearest taxi.

A recent poll by the Canadian Automobile Association shows roughly 25 per cent of the population admits to drinking and driving, even though 98 per cent say driving while drunk is unacceptable.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Former Saint John Mayor Dies

A former MLA and Saint John Mayor has died.

Eric Teed was the Mayor of Saint John from 1960 to 1964.

Teed was also a lawyer, and founded Saint John's first legal aid clinic.

He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1987.

Both Mayor Ivan Court and Premier David Alward have offered their condolences to the family.

Celebrate New Year's Eve On The Boardwalk

If you're looking for something to do on New Year's Eve, you might want to consider heading down to the boardwalk. 

Spokesperson Amy Stewart tells us the free concerts begin at 8:00 with six performances including the Playdates, the Brent Mason Band and Monday Night Symphony. 

A skating rink will be set up behind the stage again this year for those who bring their skates. 

Stewart says the Sea Dogs will also be making an appearance after their game to hand out noise makers and hats before the fireworks begin at midnight.

Number of House Fire Deaths Rises

The number of people dying in house fires in Atlantic Canada has gone up 206 per-cent this year according to the Canadian Red Cross. 

Bill Lawlor, director of disaster management for Atlantic Canada, tells CHSJ News house fires are often caused by old space heaters, plugged chimneys or wood-burning furnaces that haven't been used in awhile.

Thirty-three people died in residential fires in Atlantic Canada this year, 10 of them in New Brunswick.

Mayor Ivan Court Says City Achieved Alot In 2010 With A Tough Year Ahead

Mayor Ivan Court views saving the Princess of Acadia ferry service between Saint John and Digby as one of the big achievements for the year.

The Mayor tells CHSJ News the ferry service got a reprieve from the federal government for a few years but he wants something more permanent including a new ship being built down the road.

Court says the Princess of Acadia is good for the local economy with 100 jobs and 13 to 14 million dollars in wages.

Court says the city got a boost from 16 million dollars in stimulus money from the provincial and federal government which will not be available next year.

The big challenge in 2011, according to the Mayor, is fixing the city pension plan.

Seadogs To Raise Money For Flood Relief

The Seadogs will be doing their part tomorrow night to help the victims of flooding in Charlotte County.

The Seadog Foundation will match dollar for dollar donations made by the fans who will be at the Station to see the Rivalry Cup game against Moncton.

Seadogs President Wayne Long tells CHSJ News the goal is to raise at least 10 thousand dollars.

Long expects the game to be sold out and those people who can't make it can still donate at Bank of Nova Scotia branches or the Charlotte County Credit Union. Something like a hundred homes or so were flooded.

New Year Will See Higher Gas Prices

Gas prices in the city taking a jump after the weekly setting.

Self serve regular is now up to $1.10.5 a litre, a rise of almost 3 cents.

Diesel rose by just over 2 cents a litre to stand at $1.17.3.

Heating oil is also more expensive being listed at $1.03 a litre, an increase of just over 2 cents.

Not Guilty Verdict In Saint John Murder Trial Being Appealed

The acquittal in late November of 28 year old Crystal Dawn McKenzie on a charge of second degree murder in the stabbing death of her common law husband is being appealed by the prosecution.

29 year old Patrick Thomas was stabbed to death on Alma Street last March. The jury was told the relationship was abusive and McKenzie was dragged along the street by her hair before she got her hands on a knife and stabbed Thomas in the area of his collarbone.

The jury of 9 women and 3 men was told of a stormy relationship but the prosecution maintains McKenzie took things too far.

More Than Half The Ski Runs Are Open At Poley

With all the snow, ski and snowboard lovers are flocking to the slopes. If the weather co-operates, this can be a big time of the year for ski hills.

Poley Mountain General Manager Bill Anderson tells CHSJ News 18 of 30 runs were open to the public yesterday. He says that's great for this time of year considering the weather.

Anderson says Poley will continue to make snow until mid-February.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Police Force Faces Budget Challenges

Saint John Police Chief Bill Reid says budget challenges are ahead but that won't stop the force from delivering top notch service.

City Hall has capped the force's budget to a 1 percent increase per year for the next two years.

Reid tells CHSJ News it's a juggling act but he's up for the challenge.

He says citizens will not notice any overt changes to the quality of their police service and all public safety needs will be met.

Quispamsis and Rothesay To Talk About Amalgamation In New Year

Both Quispamsis and Rothesay are willing to meet for exploratory amalgamation talks but Quispamsis councillor Daryl Bishop is still lukewarm to the idea.

He tells CHSJ News tax rates usually go up when you amalgamate.

He estimates there would be a 13 cent tax increase if the towns were to merge at this time.

However, he concedes that amalgamation will probably happen sometime down the road.

Local Band Holds Fundraiser

In the spirit of the holidays, a fundraiser is being held tonight to support Ronan Boyd, a nine year old with aggressive liver cancer. 

Chuck Teed is a family friend who says his band decided to have the fundraiser to help cover the cost of Ronan's treatment. 

Teed's band, The Penny Blacks, will be performing along with Jessica Rhaye and Richard Kidd. 

Teed says there will also be a 50/50 draw and a live auction. 

The fundraiser starts at 7pm.

City Closer Than You Think To Treating All Of Its Raw Sewage

There is light at the end of the tunnel and the day is not that far off when all of the sewage generated in the city will be treated.

So says Paul Groody, the head of Municipal Operations, who points out 98 per cent of raw sewage in the north end, 76 per cent on the west side and 43 per cent out east is already being treated.

Groody acknowledges alot of taxpayer dollars have been spent but, on the other hand, these systems will last for the next hundred years.

He goes on to say Saint John will be in a better position to comply with stricter federal wastewater regulations that are coming down the pike than Moncton, Halifax and St. John's.

Collision On Highway 7

There was a big traffic backup this morning along Highway 7 for half an hour or so on the west side following two separate collisions involving a Ford pickup, a garbage truck and car.

The car smashed into the rear of the garbage truck by the Ocean Westway exit.

One woman was taken to hospital.

Weather Blamed For Highway Death Outside St. George

Poor road conditions caused by Monday's winter storm being blamed for the death of a 71 year old woman from Manchester, New Hampshire along Highway 1 west of St. George.

The RCMP say she died in a collision after going out of control  because of the slippery road conditions at the time.

Her name is not being released until her family has been properly notified.

Early Morning Fire Under Police Investigation

Firefighters were called out early this morning to a blaze in a vacant house at 1050 Sandy Point Road.

District Chief Joe Armstrong says the job of putting it out was made more difficult because there are no hydrants in that area and conditions were slippery with the cold temperature and wind chill.

Armstrong says the cause appears to be suspicious and is being investigated by both the fire department and city police.

Deputy Mayor Confident Province Will Play Ball On City Pension Plan

The Chair of the city's Finance Committee says Common Council needs the province's permission to include a one year pension deferral in this year's budget. 

Stephen Chase tells CHSJ News the timeline is a concern but council is confident the provincial government will agree to the deferral which would allow the pension plan payments to be made over 25 years instead of 15 years.

Mayor Ivan Court points out Saint John is not the only city in the province asking for pension help. The Province had to inject an estimated 325 million dollars into its own plan.

Premier Maintains Energy Has Not Been Put On Shelf

Premier Alward denies the Energy Minister and his staff are sitting idly by awaiting a report early next year from a recently appointed energy commission.

In a year end interview with CHSJ News, Alward says department staffers are providing support to the commission.

Alward also says he believes in the concept of the energy hub here in Saint John but thinks there is a great opportunity for the province, as a whole, to become an energy hub with our strategic location between the New England market and Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
N-B Power is still gathering additonal information requested by the Prime Minister on delays with the Point Lepreau upgrade. Alward says the main priority is getting the upgrade back on schedule.

School District 8 Happy About 2010 But Apprehensive Going Into 2011

The chair of the District 8 Education council thinks 2010 was a good year.

Rob Fowler tells CHSJ News one of the reasons is the improvements in assessments scores. Fowler credits the Great Math Attack initiative for that.

Fowler adds 2011 will be challenging for education given the cuts required by the province to try to find savings. Education Minister Jody Carr wants to keep those cuts from the classroom but Fowler admits that will be difficult and it's likely programs will be cut.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Police Chief Reports Good Year

An exciting year for city police - that from Police Chief Bill Reid on 2010.

Reid says 2010 marked the successful continuation of the Intelligence Lead Community Policing Model, which began back in 2009, as well as the good news of police getting a new headquarters in 2012.

He tells CHSJ News they're up for the challenges of the new year.

The police force will only see a 1 percent annual increase to their budget for the next two years.

Rothesay Looks At Recreation In 2011

A new field house or arena could be coming to Rothesay in 2011.

Mayor Bill Bishop tells CHSJ News the recreation council will be making a presentation to council in the new year.

Other projects he's looking forward to in the new year include the completion of several watermains and several new housing developments.

Residents Concerned For Future Of Park

 It will be the end of next year before the city gets a new municipal plan to guide future development over the next 25 years.

The thrust of the new plan will be to build upward and not outward.

David Thompson of the Friends of Rockwood Park tells CHSJ News allowing development to take place along Sandy Point Road adjacent to the park goes against the grain.

Mayor Ivan Court takes issue with that allegation saying, if anything, the city is pumping millions of dollars into the park to enhance and bring it up to a higher standard.

Plaza Not Responsible For Rate Increase

Spending on roads, police, fire and major projects like Peel Plaza, has nothing to do with what you're charged for water in the city.

So says City Manager Pat Woods who wants to clear up what he calls a misconception following a lot of discussion and grumbling over the 19 per cent rise in water rates over the next two years.

Woods says spending on major projects and spending on water are two separate areas with two separate budgets, so even if there was no Peel Plaza, water rates would still go up.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Traffic Changes On Lower West Side To Improve Driver Safety

Changes are being made to traffic patterns on the lower west side. The Head of Municipal Operations Paul Groody says there is a problem with insufficient sight lines for drivers.

As for drivers speeding along Duke Street West.......Groody says that's not a problem.

City staff did recommend to Common Council on street parking be banned on the south side of Duke Street West between Champlain Street and City Line as the traffic approaches City Line.

Another recommendation was to turn Lancaster Street between Duke West and Guildford into a one way street south.

Another December Storm Batters Region

A major snowstorm which moved up the U.S. eastern seaboard is now hammering our region.

Jeremy March is with Environment Canada and he expects the worst of the snowfall will occur this morning with a total of 20 centimeters expected. He says there will be a bit of a break later on but the stormy conditions will resume after that with precipitation lingering until late tonight.

He also warns there will be high winds gisting at times to 70 or 75 kilometers an hour.

Power outages have been reported from St. Stephen through Sussex and up through Fredericton.

Common Council"s 2011 Budget Will Assume Provincial Approval Of Pension Plan Changes

Common Council will table its budget next month with the assumption the province will allow the city to defer pension payments for a year.

Mayor Ivan Court tells CHSJ News he believes the deferral will be allowed because it won't cost the province any extra money.

Premier David Alward was non-commital when asked whether the new government will go along with what the city is requesting. Court says Council is seeking a meeting with the Premier to present the case for the deferral.

 Both Court and Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase, who don't agree on much of anything, concur the city will be facing a fiscal crisis if the province doesn't play ball.

 The Saint John Police Association is urging the M-L-A's to say no. If the provincial government does not grant the city's request, Common Council would be looking at as 13 cent increase on the tax rate unless there are cuts in city services.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Freezing Drizzle Warning For Saint John

If you're out and about today to catch some Boxing Day sales, best drive slow. 

There is a freezing drizzle warning in effect for greater Saint John. 

Police patrolling last night in Rothesay and Quispamsis are reporting slippery road conditions and caution drivers to drive carefully.

HAM Radio Operators Want Exemption

With the possibility of new provincial legislation banning the use of communication devices while driving, HAM radio operators are looking for an exemption.

Director of EMO for Quispamsis Brian Shanks tells CHSJ News a lot of operators are well-trained when using the system in the vehicle.

He says HAM radio operators play an integral role during emergency situations and he fears the legislation will reduce the number of enthusiasts.

Harbour Passage Open Again

Harbour Passage is open again if you feel the need to get outside and burn off some holiday sweets.

The passage has been closed since the spring due to construction on the Harbour Bridge.

Mayor Ivan Court tells CHSJ News even though people have complained about the closure, it's necessary because of falling debris. 

Harbour Passage will close again this spring when construction on the bridge resumes.

Killen Welcomes New Councillor

Carl Killen, newly elected MLA for Saint John Harbour, was on hand to wish Norton well in his new position.

Killen tells CHSJ News Ward 3 is one of the most politically aware and politically active wards in the city.

Killen says he will continue to collaborate with his friends at council whenever he gets the chance.

City Swears In New Councillor

People living in Ward 3 officially have a new city councillor.

Mel Norton was sworn in Christmas Eve and takes over the seat left vacant by Carl Killen's election as the MLA for Saint John Harbour.

Norton says, despite the challenges, he's excited to get started.

Norton says some of the major issues facing the ward are poverty and making people feel connected to the rest of the city.

Local Rink In Running For Major Prize

Saint John might become Hockeyville.

Mike Armstrong of Kraft tells CHSJ News a single nomination has the Lord Beaverbrook Arena in the running for the $100,000 prize.

Armstrong says in the past communities that didn't win end up getting local support for their hockey facilities.

For more information, click here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Premier's Christmas Wish

With the big day just one sleep away - we decided to find out what our new Premier wants for Christmas.

Alward tells us his Christmas wish is to spend some quality family time. 

The Premier also says New Brunswickers should take some to reflect upon how blessed we are as a province.

Water Dispute Could Go To Court

The Mayor of Rothesay says if a dispute with the City of Saint John over providing water to K Park residents isn't cleared could go to court.

The city is accusing the town of backing out of the deal meaning it will now cost them more.

Bill Bishop tells CHSJ News his town has a concern over quality given the frequency of boil water orders.

Bishop adds he understand Mayor Court's frustration to a degree but,he points out the pipeline from the Saint John to K Park did not cost the city a cent because the former Village of Renforth paid for it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pocologan Girl Loses Car and Nearly Her Life In Flooding

The flooding at Bonny River has cost an 18 year old woman from Pocologan big time. When the flooding first began, her car was washed away and she scrambled to the roof to be rescued. He stepdad, Wayne Babineau tells CHSJ News she now finds herself without a vehicle but having to find someway to get to school in St. Andrews.

He says it's heartbreaking to see her at this time of year.
Babineau adds she's lucky not to have been washed away herself.

He calls the men who rescued his stepdaughter from the roof of her car heroes in his book adding they spent about 45 minutes in the water.
Just in time for automotive shop located outside Saint John is going to help out the Babineau family and fix their damaged car free of charge. They want to remain anonymous.

Disaster Assistance Claims Can Be Filed Tomorrow And Monday

More people will seeking help from the province for damage to the homes and businesses from flooding and storm surge.
Over 700 people have applied for the Province's disaster assistance plan.
EMO's Andy Morton tells us with this program they want to cover the essentials to try and get people back to a normal life as quickly as possible.

He says the program will look after structural damage such as taking out flooding drywall, replacing insulaton and electrical panels.
Service New Brunswick's toll free line and website will be operating tomorrow and on the 27th from 8:30am to 2pm to process claims.
To apply for the disaster financial assistance plan, call 1-888-298-8555 or click here

A Study Will Examine Adding Roundabouts In The City

Saint John is one city where you do not find roundabouts but that could change depending on a study that will be carried out. Roundabouts are designed to quicken the flow of traffic and ease congestion. There has been talk of having one at Simms Corner if it is ever reconfigured. Common Councillor Peter McGuire lives on the west side and has been pressing to get the project off the ground.

McGuire says he doesn't care if it's traffic lights or a roundabout as long as it gets fixed.
The Saint John West Business Association wants a roundabout but city staff have been less than enthused.

600 Apply For Disaster Assistance After Flooding

600 individuals and business owners reporting flood damage to their properties to the Provincial government.

Public Safety Minister Robert Trevors is encouraging anyone whose home or business was impacted by recent flooding to let them know.

Trevors says health and safety inspection teams are in place in St. George, St. Stephen, McAdam, Fredericton and in the Nashwaak&Keswick Valleys helping people who have registered for help. He adds more personnel will be added over the coming days.

EMO issuing 25 cheques so far to victims applying for the disaster financial assistance program.  Service New Brunswick will continue to process advanced payments through the holidays and deliver to satellite offices for pick-up.

For more information call 1-888-298-8555 or click here.

Gas Prices Up Slightly

A slight increase in gas prices after the weekly setting.........Self serve regular around town rising by under a cent to 107.8 and diesel is now a bit higher as well at 115.2. Heating oil rose by almost a cent and is listed at just under $1.01 a litre.

Man Hit By Vehicle On The West Side

The fire department reporting one man was struck by a car last night on Manawagonish Road. He was taken to hospital to be treated for any injuries and recover.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

ACOA Gives $300K For Improvements To Rockwood Park

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is stepping up to the plate and giving the city more than 300 thousand dollars to help pay the cost of upgrading Rockwood Park. Mayor Ivan Court tells CHSJ News the city wants to clean up the duck pond but that by no means will be the end of the improvements.
He says in Phase 4 they will see improvements made to the trailer park with space for bigger trailers and more tents.

Work is also planned to enable people in wheelchairs to make their way around Lily Lake if they so desire, green up the park entrance and update the public gardens.

City Mulls Over Request To Improve Drainage Outside of Glen Falls

Common Council is being asked to spend 10 million dollars next year to improve drainage in several areas around town and less the risk of flooding which is now happening in places outside of Glen Falls. Councillor Bill Farren says homes on the west side have been flooded during severe storms and people are frustrated.
Farren says he can't imagine anything worse than having your basement flooded especially with sewage.

The head of Municipal Operations, Paul Groody estimates it will take three years to tackle the flooding issues facing the city.

Weston Can't Committ To More Money For Clean Drinking Water

Saint John's top man in Ottawa is not ready to say more funding is coming to ensure safe, clean drinking water in the city.
The city's finance commissioner says they can only contribute 10 per cent of the estimated 225 millon dollar cost.

Rodney Weston tells CHSJ News it's a concern to him as a politician and also as a resident in this city.

Weston says getting clean, safe drinking water for Saint John will be achieved through collaboration of all 3 levels of government and more discussion is needed.

Provincial Cheques Cut For Flood Victims

Provincial dollars already making their way to victims of flooding in the Charlotte County area.  Premier David Alward says a few cheques have been issued with more on the way.

He tells CHSJ News federal and provincial money will help but it won't be a magic bullet.

When asked if the military was close to being called in, Alward says they were in the loop but local contractors and the DOT had everything under control.

Free Well Testing Being Offered To Flood Victims

The province is offering free well water testing for those affected by the recent floods and rains.

Private well owners directly affected by flood waters or municipal homeowners whose plumbing was compromised are eligible for the testing.

Even though water can be used if it is brought to a roiling boil for at least one minute and then stored in clean containers, homeowners are being urged by health authorities not to use any well water until it has been disinfected and tested.

If there is any suspicion that the water has been contaminated by such things as furnace oil, gasoline or agricultural chemicals, the Department of the Environment should be contacted.

10 days after the water has receded in your area, your well should be chlorinated and then flushed with a water sample being taken seven days later for analysis.

Quispamsis Councillor Resigns

There will be a vacancy on Quispamsis Town Council. Councillor Gerry Maher is stepping down.

Maher tells CHSJ News he came to council with two major agendas.......... Increase the amount of ice time available and to push for amalgamation.

He will be going back into private business but will be following amalgamation talks very closely. His resignation is effective this Friday.

Maher ran for the Mayoralty in Saint John many years ago but lost to Elsie Wayne.

Tax Rate Remains Steady In Quispamsis

No jump in the tax rate for Quispamsis.

The town will be holding its tax rate steady at $1.21 per 100 dollars of assessment for next year.

Town Council passed the 2011 budget which sits at 19.7 million dollars.

Councillor Daryl Bishop is Chairman of the Finance Committee and he tells CHSJ News it's a feather in the cap to be able to keep the tax rate level.

 Police and fire each will be receiving about a 6 percent increase to their budgets.

Sewer rates will be going up by 12 dollars to 368 dollars a year but water rates will remain the same.

Rothesay And Quispamsis Contribute To Flood Relief In Charlotte County

Rothesay Council has voted to contribute 5 thousand dollars for flood relief in Charlotte County but the vote was not unanimous.

Scott Cochrane, who chairs the town's finance committee, along with Pat Gallagher Jette voted against. Both cited precedent despite saying it is a worthy cause. Gallagher Jette pointed out the town has its own unresolved flooding problem in Oakville Acres.

A few years ago, town council approved giving 25 thousand dollars after the tsunami in Asia.

Deputy Mayor Blair MacDonald put forward the initiative saying the flood victims are just 45 minutes down the road and, in his view, are neighbours in need of help.

Quispamsis town council also voted to contribute 5 thousand dollars with no one being opposed.

Tax Rate In Rothesay To Go Down Next Year

The tax rate in Rothesay next year is being lowered by 2 cents to $1.19 per 100 dollars worth of assessment. It's the third year in a row that the tax rate has gone down.

A 4.4 per cent increase in the tax base left the town with an extra million dollars despite a slight drop in the unconditional grant from the province.

Mayor Bill Bishop says the town is planning to introduce curbside recycling in the latter part of next year, possibly by July.

The town's contribution to police and fire services in the Valley is up by 5 per cent and 3.5 million dollars is earmarked to renovate the Rothesay Arena and for work at the Arthur Miller Fields.
The Mayor adds the town is also looking at building a mini arena that would be used by the younger children.
The typical household in Rothesay will be charged 675 dollars for water and sewage services next year which is a rise of 112 dollars.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Environment Canada Warning of Storm Surges

Environment Canada is warning those living between Miamichi and Bouctouche of a storm surge. 

Environment Canada is predicting a storm surge of between 2.6 - 3.0 metres along the eastern provincial coast.

Environment Canada says people in low-lying areas should be prepared to move to higher ground as well as evacuating on short notice.

District emergency operations centres have been activated in Miramichi, Bathurst, Dieppe and Caraquet.

No Charges to Be Laid In Death of St. Stephen Teen

No charges are being laid in the death of 18 year old Matt Haley, a former St. Stephen High School student killed in an ATV accident just days before his graduation.

A 17 year old classmate who survived the crash will not be charged. 

The Crown Prosecutor has determined that there is insufficient evidence to go ahead with any charges.

New Councillor Did Want to Weigh In On Water Rate Debate

The new Councillor for Ward 3 is disappointed but, not too upset he didn't get to weigh in on the water rate increase at Common council.
Mel Norton tells CHSJ News there will be many opporotunities for him to discuss issues and vote in January.

He says he would have liked to take part in the discussion and vote.
Norton says in the campaign water came up as the #1 livability factor for people considering moving here and for those who are living here on whether or not to stay.

Norton will be sworn as the Ward 3 councillor this Friday at 10am at city hall.

Mayor Concedes Pension Plan Woes Causing Grief As Common Council Deliberates Over Next Year's Budget

The only crisis the city is facing is a pension crisis.........So says Mayor Ivan Court who tells CHSJ News if it weren't for the pension plan's woes, the city would have had its budget signed, sealed and delivered by now and it would be balanced.

Common Council won't have the budget ready until next month and is awaiting word from the province on whether it will be given some slack on its financial obligations to the pension plan over the next year.

It wants to defer paying into the pension plan for a year.

You Can Help Flood Victims At The Liquor Store

When your picking up your Christmas hooch this week, you can also make a donation to flood relief.

The Red Cross is launching a province-wide appeal for donations to help the hundreds forced from their homes by flooding last week in St. Stephen, St. George and Fredericton areas.
You can make donations starting today at all 47 NB Liquor corporate stores.
Staff at the stores are collecting donations from 9am to 10pm until Thursday and from 9am to 5pm on Christmas Eve.  The Red Cross is providing supplies and helping to manage comfort stations in Fredericton, Oromocto, Burtts Corner, St. George and Bonny River.

Quispamsis And Rothesay Reveal 2011 Budgets Tonight

Quispamsis presenting its 2011 budget tonight and Mayor Murray Driscoll says it should be smooth sailing.
He tells CHSJ News despite some new wrinkles like the 1 percent reduction in the provincial unconditional grant and the property assessment freeze, the town is well-managed.

He says those are always concerned and he says they know money is tight and there is a job ahead for government.
Tonight's council meeting goes at 7 o'clock at Quispamsis Town Hall. Rothesay Council will also be releasing its budget for next year at a special meeting in the town hall. It gets underway at 8:00.

Chase Thinks Norton Should Have Voted

Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase says Councillor-Elect Mel Norton has been disrespected.
Chase says the vote on the water rate hike should have been done after Norton has been sworn-in so that Norton could have input on the file.

Chase tells CHSJ News Norton has said publicly that clean drinking water is an important issue to him.
He says Norton was hearing a lot of concerns about water and Chase adds he has to live with this for the remainder of his term.
Chase says the vote should have been pushed to the New Year.

Offers Of Assistance Present New Challenge In Charlotte County

Offers of help continue to pour into Charlotte County in the wake of last week's flash flooding.  
St Stephen town administrator John Ferguson tells CHSJ News it's a matter of now trying to coordinate that assistance to make sure it reaches as many of those needing help as possible.
Meantime - Ferguson says town crews have had a chance to rest up and all equipment is ready to respond to any new storm that may hit the area.

Fundraising Breakfast For Flood Relief A Big Success

Over 500 people got up early for a fundraising breakfast to support the flood victims of Charlotte County.
The event put together very quickly last week by the Delta and Brunswick Square.
General Manager Paulette Hicks tells CHSJ News this turnout is what she was hoping for.
Hicks says when putting the event together they kept in mind that people are busy but, they want the people affecting by flooding to know that people here care about them.

Saint John MP Rodney Weston says the community has empathy for the people of Charlotte county over the devastation at this time of year.  Weston worked for Cooke Aquaculture and he says they have really stepped up to help their own employees and others. The final numbers are still coming in but the event brought in at least $10, 000 for the Charlotte County Relief Fund.

Shortlived Crime Spree Ends With Arrest In North End

A 30 year old man is in the lockup this morning facing several charges after a hit and run, breakin and an attempt to elude police.

They tell CHSJ News there was a hit and run reported close to 12:30 this morning on Rothesay Road at the bridge followed a few minutes later by a breakin at the Torryburn Irving.

Police then spotted the car they were looking for on Metcalf Street. The driver took off but his damaged vehicle broke down before he could get back on the highway.

It's believed all the incidents are connected.

Increased Water Rates Approved Overwhelmingly By Common Council

Common Council approving new water rates for 2011 but not without objections from Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase.

The new rates mean an 8.3 per cent increase next year and 11.1 per cent rise in 2012 for both metered and flat rate

He charges the new rates go back on promises made to the public.

Chase says jacking up rates is not the way to get the city clean drinking water, instead suggesting the city should be asking the province to allow the city to use it's capital budget for operations or to look at long term borrowing.

The Deouty Mayor was the only nay vote around the Council horseshoe.