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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Blueberry Shortcake Is Luring Blood Donors To Millidgeville

The Blueberry clinic rolls on at Canadian Blood Services in Millidgeville.
Until Friday, anyone donating blood gets blueberry shortcake.
Jennifer Pade tells CHSJ News the turnout is good so far.
She says quite a few donors have been coming in and she says they always have room for more.

Walk-ins are always welcome and they are about 70 per cent booked so far with room on Thursday and Friday.
Pade says for the first time donors, it's only takes about an hour but, you need to bring some identification with you. 
The clinic continues tomorrow from 11am to 8pm and on Friday from 11am to 2:30pm.
To book an appointment:  click here

Securities Commission Penalizes Real Estate Deals

The New Brunswick Securities Commission hitting Villabar Real Estate Inc. in the pocketbook for not complying with the Securities Act.

Villabar admitting to not disclosing sales commissions that were paid out for deals completed in the province.

Villabar will pay 55-thousand dollars as part of a settlement agreement.

Police Looking For Public's Help In Robbery Case

City police releasing some details on the man who robbed the Somerset Pub last night.

Police say the suspect is 5'4" - 5'6", and about 150 lbs.  He was wearing a camouflage jacket and mask.

If you have any information, you can call Crimestoppers at 1 800 222 TIPS. 

Aquarium Opens Tomorrow

The Fundy Discovery Aquarium in St. Andrews opening it's doors tomorrow after a year's worth of construction.  

Jim Cornall with the Aquarium tells CHSJ News things aren't 100 per cent complete yet, but they'll be opening the doors so people can enjoy what is there.

Cornall says the difference between the new Aquarium and the old one is night and day.  

He says this one has a wet lab, extra touch pools, bigger tanks, and a 220 seat theatre. 

NDP Blasts Provincial Minister For Lack of Reports

Provincial NDP Leader Dominic Cardy with some harsh criticism of Finance Minister Blaine Higgs.

Cardy is blasting Higgs for his inability to receive monthly financial reports from government departments.

He tells CHSJ News the Finance Minister needs to play hardball and declare if the numbers don't come in, cabinet ministers will have to resign.

He says Higgs is not being an effective minister if he can't wrangle up the numbers.

Health Minister Says Now Is The Time To Get A Handle On Costs

As the Alward Government tries to cut back on its spending, provincial Health Minister Madelaine Dube may face the biggest challenge.

She joins the long list of health ministers who have tried to rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare which has far exceeded inflation for as far back as anyone can remember. Dube concedes the year to year increases in healthcare costs are not sustainable.

She tells CHSJ News the focus will be on better access to primary health care, lowering the cost of generic drugs and strategic deployment of new technology so the province gets the best bang for its buck.

Sussex and Rothesay Area Homes Still Without Power

Over 1000 people in Rothesay and Sussex still can't shower and do laundry after more than three days with power.
NB Power spokesperson Melissa Morton tells CHSJ News on Monday morning crews were dealing with over 1000 incidents involving 57,000 customers.

She says they have made significant progress over the last couple of days with the remaining outages primarily in outlying areas.  Morton adds crews do use a number of priorities when trying to restore power including whether or not the outage involves safety concerns such as a fire.
For the latest update, click here

City's Business Reputation On The Line, Port Says

With no immediate end in sight as to whether power lines will be going up through the west side in order to power a metal shredder, President of the Saint John Port Authority Jim Quinn says the fallout from the controversy could affect more than just the shredder.

Quinn says he has already received calls from people who do business at the port or those trying to attract businesses to Saint John -- they're worried that investors will view the city as a tough place to do business.

Quinn tells CHSJ News the longer it drags out, the more damaging it will be.

The Province Issues Warning About Food Safety After Power Outages

The Province wants you to be very careful dealing with the spoiled food following the widespread power outages after Tropical Storm Irene.

Dr. Denis Allard, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Of Health says New Brunswickers need to be careful about consuming frozen or refrigerated foods if they have been without power for any extended period of time.
 If you have no power, do not open your freezer or fridge unless it is absolutely necessary. If the door remains closed, a full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours without electricity. These products can be refrozen if ice crystals are still present. All perishable food in a refrigerator without electricity for more than 24 hours should be thrown out.
Food Safety Tips After Power Outages and Flooding:

- All perishable goods affected by flooding should be thrown out.
- Commercially-canned food properly identified by labels, containers which show no leaks, swelling or rusting at joints or edges should be thoroughly washed and dried.
- Vacuum-packed foods pose a special hazard due to dried waste material inside crevices and covers. They should be discarded.
- Home preserves, meats, fish or dairy products should be discarded as unsafe if they have been affected by flood water.
- When in doubt, throw it out.

Never use flooded appliances unless you contact a qualified service technician before the appliance is put back into service. Appliances that have been affected by flood water should be cleaned as follows:

- Ensure electrical power is turned off.
- Clean the unit thoroughly with a detergent solution, rinse with clean water, then wash with a solution containing one-half cup of household bleach or similar product in nine litres (two gallons) of water.
- Allow to dry with door kept open.

Number Of People Without Power Dropping

It's another frustrating morning for many without electricity but the number is dwindling.

 NB Power, as of early this morning, reports more than 11 hundred customers provincewide are still in the dark with most of those being in the southern part of the province.

There are still more than 700 customers in the Rothesay area without electricity. This includes Grand Bay-Westfield and the Kingston Peninsula. There are still over 300 in the Sussex area waiting to have their power restored.

For the latest on the outages: go to and click news.

Robbery At North End Pub

City Police investigating a robbery which took place at the Somserset Pub on Churchill Boulevard around midnight.

The robber was wearing a mask and appeared to have a gun.

The suspect got away with an undisclosed amount of money and no one was injured.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

EMO Happy With Response To Irene

The city's Emergency Management Office is happy with the response to Tropical Storm Irene. 

Acting Fire Chief Kevin Clifford tells CHSJ News people are generally prepared for power outages, and the warmer weather means they're not as big of a deal.

Clifford says the biggest challenge is keeping people away from the shore near Saints Rest beach and Redhead Road. 
He says people want to be as close as they can, which is a problem when there is a risk of being swept away.

Movie Tax Credit Correction

A correction to information we reported earlier today concerning the controversial tax credit for the proposed movie on the Bathurst van crash.

We reported Culture Minister Trevor Holder was pointing the finger at the previous Liberal government for granting the credit - in fact - Holder didn't make that statement and CHSJ News apologizes for the error.

A government official tells us the tax credit was contained in the previous year's budget - it was given to encourage the use of local talent and people - it wasn't based on judging of the movie content.

Even though the tax credit was granted - the government official says it's up to the producers to move forward with the project and claim it.

The Alward government axed the tax credit program in its first budget introduced earlier this year.

Removal Of Harbour Bridge Toll Plaza To Start This Week

The end of the toll plaza on the Saint John Harbour Bridge begins this week.
Transportation minister Claude Williams tells CHSJ News the process of removing it will take about two months.

The tender for the removal goes to Galbraith Construction at a cost of more than $700,000.

The province says no changes are expected in the flow of traffic.

RCMP Investigate Possible Peninsula Stabbing

Sussex RCMP looking into a possible stabbing on the Peninsula over the weekend.

RCMP and paramedics responding to Route 845 on Saturday night where two men were found with minor stab wounds.

Both men refused to be treated in hospital and no charges have been laid at this time.

Deputy Mayor Disputes Savings On In-House Garbage Pick-Up

However, Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase questioning the amount of savings that the city could reap from going in-house on garbage pick-up.

He tells CHSJ News he received an analysis by the current contractor and their numbers show that costs could go up as high as 600-thousand dollars.

Director of Municipal Operations Paul Groody says he stands by his numbers but is willing to talk to the contractor to compare details.

City Could Save Millions With In-House Trash Pick-Up

If the city takes their garbage collection completely in-house, the savings will be substantial according to the Director of Municipal Operations Paul Groody.

He says about 1.3 million dollars will be saved over 5 years, even after factoring in the costs of buying equipment necessary for the switchover.

In terms of yearly operational savings once the transition is complete, Groody says it would be about half a million dollars.

The city currently uses a mixed system, with about a third of city trash being picked up by contractors.

Bathurst Moms Ask For Investigation Of Tax Credit

The provincial auditor general and her federal counterpart have been asked to investigate the granting of a 250 thousand dollar tax credit to the makers of a proposed movie on the Bathurst High van crash.

The request was made by the mothers of three of seven boys killed when the school's basketball team was returning from a game in January 2008. One of the moms is Isabelle Hains who tells CHSJ News the families have been left out in the cold.

Dream Street Pictures of Fredericton and C-B-C Television are planning a movie on how the Bathurst Phantoms were able to win a provincial championship a year after the crash.
The mothers say they believe the tax credit was given without consideration to the sensitivities of the parents.

Over 9000 New Brunswickers Still Without Juice

NB Power crews are still working to get more than 9000 customers back on the grid.
The lights are still out in Fredericton, Rothesay, St. Stephen, Sussex, Moncton and Grand Falls.

The utility pointing out their crews are facing challenges in terms of geography and poor road conditions and because of this restoration times will vary.

For the latest on the outages, click here

Local Blood Donors To Get Something Extra

Local people eating local blueberries helping local hospital patients.

That's what is happening at Canadian Blood Services in Saint John during Blueberry Shortcake week.

Everyone that comes in to donate during this week's clinic can enjoy the summer treat.

The clinic runs from 11am to 2:30pm today, Wednesday and Friday and from 11am to 8pm on Thursday at 405 University Avenue.  Saint Johners are encouraged to book an appointment call 1-888-2-Donate.

Still No Decision On Metal Shredder Expansion

An environmental impact assessment will not be conducted on the above ground power line proposal for a west side metal shredder.

Mayor Ivan Court tells CHSJ News it doesn't meet the requirements according to Environment Minister Margaret-Ann Blaney.

Court says the city, NB Power, and American Iron and Metal are still trying to find deal that will please everyone and he is unsure when a deal will be reached.

Members of Save the Westside Coastline, who oppose the power lines going through their property, showing up at council chambers to learn the fate of the project but were told that the issue would not be coming up during the council session.

Spokesperson Wendy Cyr tells CHSJ News she is still hopeful that the lines will be buried and their properties will be protected. She feels her group presented a convincing case at last week's public meeting as to the legitimate dangers and concerns of the project.

The group was not around when Court told reporters that the E-I-A will not be happening.

Thousands Are Still Without Power After Storm

There are still alot of people around the province still without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

As of early this morning, more than 87 hundred customers were still without any electricity provincewide including almost 3 thousand in the Rothesay district which includes Grand Bay-Westfield, just over a thousand in the Sussex area and more than 42 hundred in Fredericton.

 For the latest on the power outages and to see video and picture highlights of Irene's impact, go to and click news.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Beaches and Park Accessible Again

West side beaches and parks are accessible again...City police and the fire department lifting restrictions to Saint's Rest and McLaren's beach.

The road to the Irving Nature Park has been cleared of debris and is accessible once again.
All barricades have been removed from the area including on Red Head Road at the dyke.

Earlier today, the fire department expressing concern that people were not heading warnings to avoid the high surf and might get washed away.

Effect of Post-Tropical Storm Irene At Saints Rest Beach

Photo courtesy of Joseph Comeau

Real Estate Sales Expected To Rebound

Saint John Real Estate Board president Jason Stephen says it's a buyer's market with a record number of homes listed for sale in the greater Saint John area -- but -- sales in July were down 19-percent compared to July of last year.

Despite a sluggish summer - Stephen says sales should soon improve.

He tells CHSJ News the fall traditionally brings more interested buyers and with some mortgage rates increasing while housing prices remain steady -- we should see an increase in traffic and sales.

The Power And Ferry Service Slowing Being Restored

About 80 NB Power crews are busily trying to restore power to more than 25,000 homes and businesses in the province still without power after Post Tropical Storm Irene.

Most of the outages are centered are in Moncton, Fredericton and Rothesay and the result of high winds and rain causing tree branches to make contact with the lines.

The utility tells CHSJ News because of so many individuals incidents, restoration times will vary.    For the latest on power outages, click here

The Department of Transportation telling CHSJ News both ferries are operating at Gondola Point and the Belleisle Ferry is back in service.

Man Injured In Sussex Rollover

Paramedics, Sussex Fire and RCMP responding to a rollover on Main Street on Saturday where a 27-year-old man was injured.

The driver, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
A 25-year-old man, a passenger in the vehicle, was treated in hospital and released.

The Mounties believe alcohol and speed are factors in the crash.

City Being Pressed to Form Oversight Committee

The restoration of 1671 Sandy Point Road is very much on the minds these days of the Friends of Rockwood Park.

They want the property to be restored to its natural state and also be part of a citizen's advisory committee they would like to see formed to oversee the project.

David Thompson of the Friends of Rockwood Park and the Conservation Council tells CHSJ News tons of rock and rubble were illegally dumped by the city and a wetland was filled in which is also a violation.

According to Thompson, that drain pipe carries runoff from the street, including street salt, and he argues it's degrading Harrigan Lake.

Blind Hockey Player Stops In SJ

A blind hockey player making a stop in the port city as he travels from Halifax to Toronto on inline-skates.  

Mark DeMontis making the trek to raise funds for Courage Canada, an organization he created so visually impaired Canadians can learn to play hockey. 

In 2009, DeMontis raised 60 thousand dollars inline-skating from Toronto to Vancouver.

He says the second tour is to raise money for additional programs.

DeMontis tells CHSJ News people's initial reaction to what he's doing is shock, but once they hear his story and how passionate he is about blind hockey, there's nothing but support.

DeMontis lost his sight at 17 after being diagnosed with Lebers Optic Neuropathy.  

He left Halifax August 13th and is scheduled to arrive in Toronto mid-October.

For more information or to read DeMontis' blog visit

Over 45,000 Still In The Dark

The Belleisle Ferry is back in service but both ferries at Gondola Point along with the Peninsula Princess are off their runs because of the high winds.

Both the Caribbean Princess and Carnival Glory cruise ships due to arrive at the port tomorrow have cancelled their trips.

NB Power crews are making progress restoring power across the province. Over 45,000 homes and businsses are still in the dark.

That number includes over 8900 people in Rothesay, Quispamsis and Grand Bay-Westfield and more than 3700 in Sussex.

Saint John Energy is not reporting any large outages.

Winds from post tropical storm Irene should begin diminishing this afternoon.

Stay Away From The Beach

Access to Saints Rest and McLarens beaches is being restricted until the winds diminish. Sand Cove Road has been closed at the beach and there is no access to the Irving Nature Park. The end of Sea Street is also barricaded to prevent people from getting to the beach there.

The Fire Department is concerned people are ignoring the warnings about the dangers of the high surf and someone could be washed away. For the protection of everyone, the beach is closed until further notice.

Barricades are in place and Police will be around until the beach is reopened. A crew from the Fire Department also remains on standby at Saints Rest Beach.

We're told by the city Red Head Road is closed at the dyke while crews take away the debris which piled up from the high winds overnight and this morning.

Irene Leaves Fallen Trees And High Waves

Tree down on Amberdale in Rothesay
Two trees down on Southwood Drive in Quispamsis

Dragon Boat Festival Raises Big Bucks

Another successful dragon boat festival has been held with more than 217 thousand dollars and counting raised. More than a thousand people took part this year. The money raised will be used to buy new invasive spine surgical equipment.

Tree Branches And Fallen Tree In King Square

Decision Coming Tonight On Metal Shredder Expansion

Common Councillor Peter McGuire wants the province to do a full environmental impact assessment on what powering the expansion of a west side metal shredder would mean for nearby homeowners. 

At a public meeting last Wednesday several people raised concerns about possible health and environmental risks associated with the project. 

McGuire says the city must take every step to ensure public safety and a full impact assessment should be done on the proposed high voltage, above-ground transmission lines before moving forward.

The issue will be discussed tonight at Common Council when the fate of the project will be decided.

Saint John Area Battered By High Winds From Hurricane

Those high winds which are gusting up to more than 80 kilometers an hour are wreaking damage in the Saint John area with downed power lines on Sherbrooke Street, at Coral Lane and along Sand Cove Road where a tree fell damaging a car.

A tree also fell across the road near the Co-Op just off Westfield Road as you make your way to Grand Bay-Westfield and another one came down on Watson Street at King Street West. In the Valley, a couple of trees blew over on Southwood Drive in Quispamsis.

Acting District Chief Kevin Clinic says fire crews and police were called to Saint's Rest Beach to move people away after the waves crested and washed over onto the parking lot. Barricades have also been set up at the end of Sea Street at Bayshore and at the Red Head breakwater.

Highway 121 between Norton and Apohaqui had to be closed to traffic because of a couple of hydro poles that have blown over. NB Power is reporting more than 33 thousand customers across the province are without power including over 51 hundred in the Rothesay District which includes Grand Bay-Westfield.

We have been told by the Department of Transportation that both ferries at Gondola Point are off their runs along with the one at Belle Isle and the Peninsula Princess because of the high winds. The Princess of Acadia's run has also been cancelled.

Stephen Hatt of the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Dartmouth tells CHSJ News it could get even windier before starting to die down this afternoon. By tonight, the winds are expected to be light.

CUPE Supports Elected Health Authorities

The Canadian Union of Public Employees coming out in favour of having at least half the members of the Regional Health Authorities elected instead of appointed.

The President of the New Brunswick Council of Hospital Unions Norma Robinson says that will prevent any cronyism but she questions the wording the legislation which states the C-E-O of the Health Authority will report directly to the Health Minister.

 She fears the will of the board members could be bypassed if the C-E-O makes an end run directly to the Minister.

Alward Government Urged To Cancel Tax Credit For Movie

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is pressing the provincial government to cancel a 250 thousand dollar tax credit granted to Dream Street Pictures to make a television movie about the aftermath of the Bathurst van crash in which 7 high school basketball players and the coach's wife were killed.

The Federation's Atlantic Director Kevin Lacey tells CHSJ News two of the mothers of students who died complain they haven't been consulted. He also points out it was the Alward government that decided to axe the NB Film agency in the first place because it wasn't achieving the results that were hoped for.

The Taxpayers Federation made its request in a letter sent to the provincial Minister of Wellness, Culture and Sport Trevor Holder.

A Message Delivered To Students Who Are Bullied

As the new school year approaches, a national charity is reminding parents and students that help is available when it comes to schoolyard bullying.

Rob Frenette of Anti-Bullying Canada tells CHSJ News

they are working to fund scholarships for those to address and tackle the bullying problem.

He says as a charitable organization they can no longer lobby government but, the Minister of Education has put together a committee that is looking at legislation to prevent bullying.

Frenette says his group is now focused on community education and will leave the fight for legislation to others groups.

For more information: visit

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tropical Storm Irene Heads North Packing Strong Winds And Rain

Tropical Storm Irene is currently 80 kilometres east of Albany, New York with wind speeds of 95 kilometres per hour travelling north northeast at 43 kilometres an hour.

Tropical storm warnings remain in effect for the fundy coastlines of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Rainfall warnings remain in effect for most of this province and parts of Quebec while wind warnings are in effect for most of the Maritimes.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre reports Irene's wind field is enormous with Yarmouth, Nova Scotia experiencing a wind gust of 93 kilometres an hour earlier today. Parts of South Western New Brunswick have already been soaked with more than 50 millimetres of rain.

For more informaton on what to expect from Tropical Storm Irene tonight and tomorrow, click here

Irene Update, Tropical Storm Brings High Winds

Hurricane Irene is now Tropical Storm Irene, but forecasters say the storm is still large and brings the threat of high winds to southern NB. 

Chris Fogarty is a meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Centre. 

He says heavy wind is expected to whip through Saint John tonight, and the area will see bursts of heavy rain.

Fogarty maintains the midnight hour will be the time to watch. 

He says the wind combined with high tide could cause storm surge or flooding issues.

Fogarty says Irene is not just an overnight event. 

He says winds will continue to blow tomorrow, even if it's under sunny skies.

Irene Weakening, SJ To See Wind

Hurricane Irene continues to weaken as it pounds the mid-Atlantic states.

But the storm has cut power to almost two million homes and businesses between North Carolina and New Jersey.

A rain, wind and tropical storm warning is in effect for the city and surrounding area.

Chris Fogarty is a meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Centre and says Saint John will see some of the action.

He says the northwestern part of the province will get the heaviest rainfall, but Saint John and the rest of Southern NB will receive the brunt of the wind.

Fogarty says Saint John could also face surge flooding if the worst of the wind arrives just after midnight, coinciding with high tide.

Fish Feeding Down To A Science

An automated feeder making life easier for salmon farmers at the Charlie Cove fish farm near St. Andrew's. 

Chuck Brown with Cooke Aquaculture says an underwater camera allows feed technicians to see what's going on beneath the surface. 

He says they're trained to identify signs, like the fish slowing down, to know when to stop.

Brown says the technology means farmers waste less feed in the long run and save money, and it also means there's no excess in the environment.

Rothesay Gets Low-Cost "IOU"

Rothesay will save 100 thousand dollars in interest payments thanks to a low-cost loan from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Mayor Bill Bishop tells CHSJ News the 3.5 million dollar loan is being used to upgrade the town's drinking water supply. 

It will see water connected to part of K-Park and a section of vacant land that could supply water to roughly 700 new homes.

Bishop says the project is practically done, but the low-cost loan will save the town money while paying off the bill.

Stem Cell Lab On The Way

The Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation hopes to have their new stem cell lab up and running in 6 months time.

Foundation President and CEO Tim Cameron tells CHSJ News their campaign to raise 680 thousand dollars is unprecedented in that the majority of donations have been from individuals. 

He says about 70 per cent of the money they've raised so far has been from individuals as opposed to corporations.

Cameron says the Foundation had a much better mail campaign this year than normal as well.

He says despite being about 150 thousand dollars short of their goal, some of the equipment for the new lab has already been ordered.

Liberals Not Sole Cause Of Debt, Boudreau Says

Interim Liberal Leader Victor Boudreau says the increase of the provincial debt by a billion dollars cannot be placed solely on the shoulders of the former Graham government.

He tells CHSJ News they got hit by the worst financial crisis in 70 years, and the Liberal government was spending money in order to stimulate the economy, much like the federal government.

He says a Liberal government would have balanced the books by growing the economy and managing spending.

But he says the Alward government acts as if the economy is non-existent.

Tree Vandals in Rothesay

Someone with a not-so-green thumb uprooting two-year-old trees in Rothesay.

Constable Henderson tells CHSJ News the trees line the Hampton Road near Rothesay High School.

She says police found one of them snapped in two and another completely uprooted on the sidewalk.

Henderson says she doesn't know who did it but reckons it wasn't the weather.

She says the town has indicated it will cost 800 dollars to replace each tree.

Police sticking the uprooted one back in the ground in hopes will come back on its own.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Irene Bringing Heavy Wind To SJ

Meteorologists are predicting heavy winds for Saint John when hurricane Irene reaches Atlantic Canada.

Chris Fogarty is a meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Centre and says wind warnings will go out for the southwestern part of the province later today.

Tropical storm warnings are expected to go out tomorrow morning when the rain starts.

Fogarty says northwestern NB will see the heaviest rainfall, but Saint John will feel the brunt of the wind.

He says gusts could reach up to 120 kilometers per hour, and that kind of wind can break tree branches and cause power outages.

Fogarty says Saint John could also face surge flooding if the worst of the wind arrives just after midnight, coinciding with high tide.