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Monday, October 29, 2012

Future of SJ Transit Hangs In The Balance

If you can't get a bus to work or school on time due to the transit cuts, you'll be interested in what's happening at common council tonight. Depending on whether a motion by Councillor Donnie Snook is passed there could be either more cuts, or restored service.

Amalgamated transit union president Tom McGraw tells CHSJ News the public isn't going to stand for any more cuts.

If it goes through the motion will give $1 million additional dollars to Saint John Transit. Listen in for more details.

Environment Canada Gives Rainy Details On Sandy

We'll start to feel the effects of category 1 hurricane Sandy at midnight tonight, that's according to Environment Canada meteorologist Claude Cote.

Cote tells CHSJ news our drizzle early tonight will turn into rain at midnight. From early Tuesday morning to late Wednesday Greater Saint John will experience brisk winds gusting up to 75 km/hour and a total of 50 millimetres of rain. He says one area of concern in the province is by St. George and St. Stephen, where rain could exceed 50 millimetres.

Cote says rain will be heavy at times, and we could have thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon. He adds we've seen worse storms this time of year, but we still need to be prepared for it.

Since there's a full moon tonight, Cote says we'll have rough seas and high water levels.

He finishes by saying these weather conditions can change at any moment.

Big News For Carrie Underwood Fans

Saint John is about to get "Blown Away", and it's not because of Hurricane Sandy.

The country superstar has announced Saint John has been added to her 2013 "Blown Away" tour.

Carrie will be playing at Harbour Station on April 2nd, with Hunter Hayes as a special guest.

The addition brings her North American tour to over 100 shows. Proceeds of her concerts here in Canada will also be donated to the Canadian Red Cross.

Carrie and Brad Paisley will co-host the 46th Annual CMA's later this week.

Saint John is the only location in the Maritimes for her North American Tour.
Tickets go on sale November 16th at Harbour Station.

City Prepares For Sandy

The city is getting ready for Sandy's heavy rain and wind tonight and tomorrow.

City crews are clearing and maintaining drainage paths and preparing barricades to be used in case of flooding. They're advising if you live in low-lying areas or if your home is susceptible to flooding you should prepare for floods.

They're also advising you to clear eaves troughs, catch basins and ditches, secure or store outdoor furniture and be careful on the roads.

An East-West Highway Through Maine Is Not Dead

On the heels of the opening of the Route 1 Gateway project, leaders on both sides of the border are talking about the East-West Highway.

It would cut across Maine linking up with New Brunswick.

Maine Governor Paul Lepage says the idea is farther ahead now than it was a decade ago and says there is talk of more engineering work next year. 

Premier David Alward says the project is supported on this side of the border adding the Saint John business community is a strong advocate for it to be done.

Common Councillor Wants Action By City On Flooding Threat

Ward 4 Common Councillor Ray Strowbridge wants to know what the city plans to do to ease the threat of flooding in Glen Falls. 

Strowbridge tells CHSJ News the ditches have to be clear to allow for the water not to build up and right now they're getting clogged up with debris, grass and trees because they haven't been dredged for a couple of years.

Strowbridge wants to find out if building another holding pond for the excess water is a good idea.

Province Keeping A Close Eye On Vaccine Supply

New Brunswick Health officials say they're keeping a close eye on vaccine supplies in the province.

This comes after Health Canada issued a recommendation not to use the influenza vaccine Agriflu made by Novartis, after discoveries of clumping of particles in the vaccine in Europe.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eilish Cleary says some of the influenza vaccine distributed in the province was Agriflu, but she hasn't received reports of health problems or clumping particles from it. Cleary adds people who've had the influenza vaccine shouldn't be unduly concerned.

Around 50,000 doses of Agriflu have been distributed across the province.

Influenza clinics will continue using the vaccine Fluviral.

Sandy Causing Last Cruise Ship To Stay An Extra Night

Hurricane Sandy disrupting the sailing schedule of our last cruise ship.

The Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas, which is now docked at Port Saint John, is staying an extra night in Port City due to the storm. It will now leave tomorrow afternoon at 4 o'clock.

The Brilliance of the Seas is our 74th and last cruise ship of the season.

Three People Hurt In Highway Crash

The Simonds Fire Department responding last night to a single vehicle accident on Route 820, Baxter’s Corner.  

Three people were taken to hospital with injuries. 

The highway was closed for a short time while the vehicle was removed from the scene. 

Fancy Restaurant Meals At A Big Discount This Week

If your idea of fine dining is peanut butter and jam, here's a chance for you to try some great restaurants on the cheap. Today until November 4th is Chop Chop week, in which uptown restaurants offer special deals like a 3 course meal for 30 bucks. 

Happinez Wine Bar owner Peter Smit tells CHSJ News it's a chance to try something different, especially with all the new restaurants that have opened up uptown in the past few years.

To read about all the mouthwatering meals you could order for Chop Chop, click here

Higgs Calls Workplace Wellness Crucial

The connection between wellness and work has never been more visible in the 21st century office.

Some employers are providing incentives for gym memberships and more.

Finance Minister Blaine Higgs tells CHSJ News by focusing on wellness they aim to reduce the burden on healthcare facilities.

He says it reduces absenteeism and people are more productive at work so it's a crucial item.

Higgs says that is the idea behind Dorothy Shephard's new portfolio Healthy and Inclusive Communities.

NDP Charges Alward Government With Killing Small Business

Provincial NDP leader Dominic Cardy charges small businesses in the province are suffering death by a thousand cuts because of all of the regulations along with fees and other charges imposed by the Alward Government so it doesn't have to raise taxes.

 Cardy tells CHSJ News these are really disguised taxes because they amount to the same thing and he has been told they amount to more than 12 hundred dollars a year.

As for the charge that New Democrats are tax happy, Cardy points out it was an NDP government in Manitoba that got rid of the small business tax altogether.

He earlier called for a jobs tax credit which would be on offer to all businesses that create employment instead of government incentives being available to some companies but not to others. Cardy says trying to pick winners and losers has largely been abandoned by governments elsewhere.

Mayor Determined To Change Image Of Common Council

One of Mayor Mel Norton's goals is to change how Saint Johnners view Common Council  because he thinks it is huring the city.

For as far back as anyone can remember, Common Council has been referred to by some in the city as "Comedy Council". 

The Mayor wants it to be seen as the "Classy Council" by being respectful to eachother, respectful to city staff, doesn't shout down someone they disagree with or belittle anyone.

Norton says he was impressed by how well the Councillors worked with eachother during the meetings on what the city's priorities should be.

City Hall Inside Workers Have New Contract

The city has negotiated a new three year contract agreement with its inside workers, members of Cupe local 486. 

They will receive no pay increases in the first two years of the deal but then will get a 2.9 per cent hike in the third year. 

Common Council is being told the wage freeze in the first two years will save the city an estimated 900 thousand dollars and also help control the rising pension deficit.