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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bus Route Changes In Effect Due To Road Work

Saint John Transit telling us about changes to their routes due to uptown construction.

Due to work on Waterloo street, Route 1 will be using City road to Garden street before heading to the west side.

Route 2 heading east will be using Brunswick Drive instead of Waterloo Street.   This change for Route 2 will be in effect until at least 9pm.

Canada Is In Good Economic Shape When Compared To The Rest Of The World

Scotiabank's Chief Economist Warren Jestin delivering some good news in this era of economic doom and gloom.

Speaking at a Board of Trade Luncheon, Jestin tells CHSJ News Canada is in a much better spot economically than our neighbours down south.

When compared to the U.S., he says we have record employment levels and our housing market is in pretty good shape. 
However, growth will be slow in New Brunswick and the rest of Canada because of the downturn in the U.S. 

Jestin also echoes statements made by the Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney recently -- that we should be looking towards emerging markets in Asia and Latin America.

Saint John Prepares For Lots Of Rain

Saint John is going to get really wet tonight and tomorrow with 60 millimetres of rain forecast and strong winds so the City is preparing for potential flooding.

Municipal Operations will be monitoring the weather and clearing and maintaining drainage paths.
You are asked to check eaves troughs and drainage swales, as well as catch basins or ditches on or near their property for debris.

Residents are advised to use caution when driving and to observe barricades and road closures.
Police will be monitoring any flooded roads and taking measures including enforcement to ensure compliance with barricades and traffic signs .

Saint John Water will be monitoring water quality at Latimer Lake and Spruce Lake.
Crews are also doing maintenance work in advance of the rain to ensure wastewater pumping stations and wastewater treatment facilities are prepared for heavy rain.

For more info, click here

Baby Born At Carmarthen Street Home

A good ending for what could have been a scary situation for a new born baby.

At around noon today, emergency crews arrived at 237 Carmarthen Street to find that a baby had just been born.

The baby was not breathing but crews managed to clear the airway.

Both mother and child are doing fine in hospital.

Over 60 Job Changes Will Impact The Horizon Health Network

Communities like Minto and Blacks Harbour will be feeling the impact of more than 60 job changes at the Horizon Health Network.
The cost-saving initiatives includes moving lab testing from some health centres to the nearest regional hospital and scheduling surgery time more effectively between Christmas and March.
CEO Don Peters says every impacted employee can be re-deployed through the Horizon Health Network.
The Vice-President of Clinical Services Nancy Savage says at the Regional hospital cuts were avoided at the transitional care unit by not filling positions.

Savage tells they were able to hold onto several vacancies which accomodated the new staffing model.
CEO Don Peters adds they are not immune from the impact of the growing provincial deficit especially since hey are the biggest part of the government budget. 
They expect these initiatives will save 4.2 million dollars.

INITIATIVE: Transitional Care Units for Patients

The reassignment of Alternative Level of Care patients, those patients who are waiting for an alternate setting of care such as a nursing home, to designated units, as well as a newly designed care model to ensure the specialized care needs of these patients are met.

INITIATIVE: Laboratory Services

Since the amalgamation of the four Regional Health Authorities in 2008, Horizon has been operating 12 laboratories throughout the region. The 12 laboratories are situated in most hospitals within Horizon and the Tobique Valley Community Health Centre in Plaster Rock and Queens North Community Health Centre in Minto. The two Community Health Centre laboratories have very little volume and are expensive to operate.

As a result, the Tobique Valley and Queens North Community Health Centres will continue to hold public blood collection clinics and to collect laboratory specimens, however testing of all specimens will now be completed at the nearest regional hospital.

This is a change to internal processes and will not affect services to patients or their healthcare. These changes will not affect the hours of operation of the public blood collection clinics or specimen drop off or the waiting time for blood results.

In addition, over the past six months all testing for specialized tests such as Allergies, Vitamin D and Hemochromotosis, an iron metabolism disorder have been centralized. This change has resulted in more efficient use of human and fiscal resources with no impact to patient care.

INITIATIVE: Community Health Centres (CHCs)– Change in Hours of Operation
Horizon had conducted a review earlier this year of all community health centres. This review was done to evaluate costs while continuing to ensure appropriate and affordable primary health care access. It was determined that some CHCs had a low volume of visitors at night and on weekends, and efficiencies would be found by standardizing hours of operation. Visits to these centres were as low as one to two visits during evening and overnight hours.

As a result of this review, the hours of operation will be changing as of November 21st at Tobique Valley Community Health Centre, McAdam Health Centre, Harvey Health Centre, and Fundy Health Centre.

Tobique Valley Community Health Centre, McAdam Community Health Centre, and Harvey Community Health Centre, will transition from 24/7 to a 12 hour community health centre. The new hours of operation will be Monday to Friday from 8 am to 8 pm. They will be closed on weekends. The walk-in clinic service at Tobique Valley Health Centre (Plaster Rock) will remain available during operational hours once the changes have been implemented.
Fundy Community Health Centre will continue to offer services Monday to Friday from 8 am to 8 pm, but will reduce its hours on Saturday and Sunday to 8 am to 4 pm.

INITIATIVE: Queens North Community Health Centre Inpatient Beds

Queens North Community Health Centre (Minto) will not re-open their palliative care beds.  The community will continue to access palliative care services at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital, Oromocto Public Hospital and the Extra Mural Program.

INITIATIVE: Paid Parking at the Miramichi Regional Hospital

Paid parking for both public and staff at the Miramichi Regional Hospital will be implemented in the spring of 2012.  The Miramichi Regional Hospital is the only regional hospital in Horizon without paid parking. All funds generated from this initiative will be reinvested back into the Miramichi Regional Hospital and its property.

Revenue will provide financial support to current and special patient care programs as well as the purchase of medical equipment.  It will also be used for the maintenance and upgrading of the Hospital’s parking areas, which are 15 years old and require an expansion to meet the increased demand for public and staff parking.

INITIATIVE: Food Services Operational Review

Horizon Health Network is conducting a Food Services Operational Review in order to determine areas in which it may increase efficiencies and regionalize best practices.  

The review is expected to be completed this year at which time evaluation will take place and recommendations will be considered.

INITIATIVE: Effective scheduling of surgical time between Christmas and March

In collaboration with the surgery programs Horizon will work with staff to enable the most efficient and effective scheduling during Christmas and March break periods. Savings from this initiative will help to ensure service delivery can be maintained throughout the remainder of the year.  Emergency surgery services will be maintained.

2011 Cruise Ship Season Falls Short of 2010 Record

The 2011 cruise season is being called a success despite falling a little short on the number of visitors when compared to last year.

Port CEO Jim Quinn tells CHSJ News the numbers this year would have been the same as last year if it wasn't for 5 cancellations due to inclement weather.
About 190-thousand passengers filled the city streets but he says next year will be very exciting -- so far 76 ships are on the docket with 9 of those from the Disney Cruise Line.

2010 was the most successful year for the Port with over 200-thousand visitors.

The 2011 season ends with a triple ship visit next Tuesday.

Province Will Review French Immersion

The provincial government wants to find out if french immersion should be changed.  

A review will be carried out by a task force co-chaired by former provincial cabinet ministers James Lockyer and Elvy Robichaud and they want to hear from parents who now can enrol their children in French immersion in Grade 3 or Grade 6. 

The task force will be holding public hearings across the province from November 1st to December 14th to hear whether the current entry points should be changed in time for the 2012 school year.  
The findings and recommendations will be handed over to the province early next year.

Long Awaited Energy Plan Unveiled

NB Power is going to be put back together again into one company.........That's part of the Alward government's long term energy blueprint complete with a list of 20 action items for the next three years.
They also include a review of the natural gas distribution model to achieve lower rates........a strengthened and more transparent regulatory oversight system on rates.........the creation of a public energy increased commitment to renewable energy along with a new focus on energy efficiency and better managing energy demand. 

The goal, according to Energy Minister Craig Leonard, is for the province to get at least 75 per cent of its electricity from more stable-priced, clean, renewable or emission-free sources, including nuclear energy from Point Lepreau by 2020.

Saint John Energy Offers Efficiency Kits To Customers

Saint John's utility is trying to help its customers save a little money just for the H.E.C.K. of it.   For the third year in a row, the company is offering it's home energy conservation kits to the first 2000 customers that register.
Marta Kelly of Saint John Energy tells CHSJ News the kits include a universal wall plate thermometer and an energy-efficient power bar.

She says they are trying to give their customers the tools to be more energy efficient and
if they use the items in the kits they will be able to reduce their power bill.
On November 5th, the customers receiving kits can pick them up at the Saint John energry garage on the West side.
For more info, click here

New Cruise Ship In Port Today

Even though we're reaching the home stretch of the cruise ship season, some special occasions are still being celebrated.

A new cruise line is being welcomed to the city today. Oceania Cruises' Regatta, with a capacity of over 680 passengers, is arriving at noon.

Another cruise line also had its inaugural visit yesterday.

The last day of the cruise season will be October 25th and that will see three ships docked.

Car Rolls Over By Airport Arterial

Police are looking into what caused a vehicle to go off the road and roll over by the airport arterial late yesterday afternoon.
The accident occurring around 5:30 and traffic was slowed down with police on the scene for a few hours investigating.

They say 2 women were in the vehicle and were taken to hospital for treatment of their injuries. 

There's no word on any charges. It is unknown right now if drugs or alcohol played a factor in the crash.

Loss of Morna Heights School Would Hurt City Coffers

Mayor Ivan Court says the loss of Morna Heights school would also mean the loss of big dollars for the city.

Court spoke at the first of 3 public presentations by the District 8 Education Council on the proposal to close down Morna Heights, Inglewood, and Grand Bay Primary.

He says a new school built in Grand-Bay Westifeld would draw people to that area while the city continues to bleed tax-payers.

He says a declining city population has already cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in gas tax revenue and the city would have to raise taxes in order to make up the revenue.

Another meeting is scheduled at Grand-Bay Primary tonight at 7:30pm and then the following night at Inglewood.  More public meetings will also be held next month.

Exercise For LNG Facility Today

Canaport LNG will be conducting an emergency response exercise all day today
Emergency vehicles and personnel will be seen at Canaport LNG and on the Red Head Road throughout the day.

The purpose of this exercise is to test Canaport LNG’s emergency plans and response.

Normal operations at the terminal will not be impacted by the exercise.