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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

CEO Of Canadian Blood Services Says Safety Concerns Are Unwarranted

The CEO of Canadian Blood Services writing an open letter to all New Brunswick to clarify what he calls misconceptions about the consequences of moving its production lab from Saint John to Darthmouth.

Dr. Graham Sher (Sheer) tells CHSJ News one of the biggest falsehoods is the idea that there will be a shortage of blood in the city.

He says two-thirds of all blood in Canada is already stored at hospitals and CBS will also keep an inventory of blood products in the city.

He adds there will be no preferential treatment to hospitals in Halifax simply because the production site is closer.

Child Poverty Rate Down, Youth Unemployment Up

14,000 children in this province lives in poverty. That alarming statistic based on 2009 is actually a bit lower than the previous year.
Human Development Council Executive Director Randy Hatfield tells CHSJ News the 2009 information may not reflect what is happening now.

He says looking at more current data this province has some serious issues with both social assistance caseloads and food back usage up.

He says they were struck by the level of youth unemployment with 18.34 per cent of 15 to 24 year olds unemployed.  That stat does not include students.

Transport Has Jacknifed Near Pennfield

It's a mess on the highway near Pennfield after a transport jackknifed.
Traffic is moving in one direction only and police are asking cars to pull over to the side of the road to allow the plows to get through.

One driver says the roads are barely plowed in white-out conditions.

No City Buses After 6pm Due To Weather

Saint John Transit telling our newsroom that all buses will be off the road by 6pm due to the weather.

Liberals Say Province Missed Chance To Save Money On Bridge Snow Removal

The provincial Liberals are not happy with the province's 11th hour decision to have the Department of Transportation handle snow removal from the Harbour Bridge.

Transportation Critic Rick Doucette tells CHSJ News the work could have been more cost effective if they had negotiated earlier with a contractor.

Doucette could not provide a figure as to how much could have been saved but says snow removal should have been planned for during the original negotiations with the feds.

Province Will Handle Snow Removal On Harbour Bridge

The Department of Transportation will do the winter maintenance for the Saint John Harbour Bridge.

The question of who will clear the snow and ice off the bridge was left in the air after the province took ownership of the bridge from Ottawa.

Transportation Minister Claude Williams says it will cost the province 275-thousand dollars and two other options were looked at : getting the city to do it or to outsource it to contractor.
The two plows that were used by the Saint John Harbour Bridge authority will be used by the Department of Transportation to plow the bridge.

The DOT will use the two plows that were used by the Saint John Harbour Bridge Authority.

The Worst Is Yet To Come With Today's Storm

The worst is not over yet with heavy snowfall this afternoon and this evening.
Environment Canada Meterologist Claude Cote tells CHSJ News between 5 and 10 centimetres on the ground in Greater Saint John.

Some flights in and out of the Saint John Airport are delayed or cancelled.
It would be wise to check ahead first before making the trek out there today.

St. Stephen and Sussex RCMP warning that road conditions are very poor and travel is not recommended.
The Mounties responding to numerous reports of vehicles going off the road or colliding with other vehicles in extremely slippery conditions.

New Polling About Attitudes On Abortion

Abortion remains a controversial issue for most people in the province and the region as a whole according to the latest polling done by Environics. 

More than 11 hundred abortions were performed in the province in 2009. Peter Ryan of New Brunswick Right to Life tells CHSJ News 69 per cent of the respondents in Atlantic Canada want to see some legal limits and women are more opposed to abortion than men. 92 per cent are against abortions based on gender.

Ryan says the polling has found only 20 per cent support unrestricted public funding of abortion but the politicians aren't listening.

He accuses them of being held hostage by a vocal minority.

Storm Warning Closes Schools

Get ready for our first visit from Old Man Winter today even though it's not officially winter yet.

Schools have been shut down for the day in Districts 6, 8 and 10 along with the Community College in St. Andrews.
Kim Petrash of Environment Canada tells CHSJ News how much snow you get will depend on where you are with up to 20 centimeters inland and anywhere from 10 to 15 along parts of the coast where 15 millimters of rain is being forecast. 

The storm will be at its most intense this afternoon and is expected to clear out after midnight with above freezing temperatures on the way for tomorrow and Friday.

CFIB Applauds City For Leadership In Pension Issues

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is giving the city a pat on the back for trying to reign it's pension deficit.

President and CEO Catherine Swift tells CHSJ News with the city suspending indexing and removing overtime pay from pensionable earning, along with the province taking a closer look at public sector pensions, things are moving in the right direction.

She says generous pensions, the sheer number of baby-boomers and early retirement options have all come together make pension plans simply unaffordable.

She adds it's not a question fairness but a matter of affordability.

Strong Smell Turns Out Not To Be Natural Gas

Alot of calls coming into the fire department yesterday afternoon from people who live in the area from Pokiok Road to University Avenue and smelled something strange in the air.

District Chief Joe Armstrong says they thought it was the smell of natural gas but that's not what it turned out to be.

There was the release of a sulphur product from Irving Pulp and Paper into the atmosphere for about 3 minutes.

The smell eventually dissipated. The Provincial Environment Department was notified.

Housing Starts To Remain Sluggish Next Year

Next year will not be a good one for new housing starts in the province. That forecast is coming from the Altus Group and its chief economist Peter Norman.

Norman tells CHSJ News he doesn't expect to see activity picking up until mid to late 2013 when the economy is expected to be stronger.

He also says the large number of homes for sale in Saint John also tends to depress new housing starts but this area's status as an energy hub bodes well for the long term future.