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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sussex and Fredericton Hit Hardest By Power Outages

There are still many people without electricity around the province. 

As of 8:00 this morning, nearly 900 hundred NB Power customers remain in the dark, including 215 in Sussex and more than 5 hundred in Fredericton.

Emergency Meeting Works Out More Details At City Hall

An emergency meeting of council has hammered out some details of the long-term disability payments that have become a bone of contention between city hall and unionized groups including fire and police.

The debate has held up adopting the Shared Risk model for the city's pension plan and thus voting on the 2013 operating budget.

Terms include twenty four month coverage at one hundred percent employer pay, and a two year own occupation clause and any occupation until age 65. They've also agreed to collaborate on a cost sharing plan.

The unions still need to sign the memorandum of understanding. Calls placed to union reps have not yet been returned.

Coming Rain May Wash Away Our Snow

Our pretty snowfall may get washed away as a new weather system moves into the region in time for the weekend.

Environment Canada issuing a special weather statement saying the southern half of the province can expect 25 millimetres of rain  starting this afternoon with most of it falling tonight.

This new system is coming in from New England and will bring snow for northern parts of the province if you're heading that way.

Coastal areas can expect wind gusts to 80 kilometres an hour tonight with the winds becoming light Saturday afternoon.

For more info, click

Latest On Power Outages Throughout NB

It's not much of a Winter Wonderland for the NB Power customers still out of power. About 1800 are still in the dark due mainly due to frozen tree branches falling on the power lines.

430 homes and business are without lights in Fredericton and it's a similar story with 172 in Rothesay, nearly 510 in Sussex, and over 498 in Wodstock still without electricity.

In a tweet, NB Power says the number of outages now is half of what it was this morning and they thank their crews for all their hard work restoring power in the region after yesterday's storm.

Mayans Fear The World Ends Tomorrow

In the busy lead up to Christmas, you may have forgotten that the world is supposed to end tomorrow.

According to the Mayan calender, the world should end on December 21st.

Dan Riskin of Discovery Channel's Daily Planet tells CHSJ he can pinpoint an exact time everything will stop.

He tells us it will happen in a few 3 billion years and it will happen because the suns expands and engulfs the earth so there is nothing to worry about for tomorrow. Riskin adds to be on the safe side Daily Planet is doing a special about the supposed Mayan apocalypse.

The special is called End of the World 2012 and it premieres tonight at 8 on the Discovery Channel. 

For more info, call here

Christmas Via Cape Breton Tonight

Saint John is Canada's most Irish City....and nothing says a Celtic Christmas like Cape Breton’s Barra MacNeils.

The Barra MacNeils take to the stage at the Imperial tonight for a performance featuring classic holiday songs and traditional favourites.

For more info, click here

Under 1900 Without Juice Now

Just under 1900 are still in the dark due mainly due to frozen tree branches falling on the power lines.

360 homes and business are without lights in Fredericton and it's a similar story with 181 in Rothesay, nearly 600 in Sussex, and over 500 in Woodstock still without electricity.

In a tweet, NB Power says the number of outages now is half of what it was this morning and they thank their crews for all their hard work restoring power in the region after yesterday's storm.

To keep an eye on the outages, click here

A Ship In Port Is Loading Live Cattle For Russia

You may have noticed a different looking ship at Pier 3 on the West side this week. 

The Orient 1 is loading 2300 head of cattle from the Maritimes, Quebec and the US.  

The cows are destined for Russia and the loading process begin yesterday and continues today and tomorrow.

The ship stick outs as it's blue and white and has special air vents on the deck to release gas from the animals and bring in fresh air.

The Port telling CHSJ News a few thousand pigs came through a few years ago and earlier this decade they had some cows destined for the Caribbean on specialized containers.

City Does A Good Job Plowing The Snow But At A Cost

Common Council has been told the city more than meets acceptable standards for snow plowing but does so by paying a fair bit of overtime.

Todd MacDonald of Performance Concepts Consulting says that could be reduced considerably by more evenly dividing snow clearing resources between day and night, thereby saving the city some money. He says right now there are disproportionately more resources used during the daytime hours.

MacDonald says Saint John responds early to storms, depending largely on the weather forecast, whereas some other cities wait until 5 centimeters of snow is on the ground before getting the plows out.

The Lights Are Coming On For Some

NB Power crews are making progress is restoring power to just over 3800 people without electricity.

Over 600 people are without juice in Dairytown, 270 homes in Rothesay are impacted and more than 900 do not have power in Woodstock.

29 outages in the Fredericton area mean more than 1500 homes and businesses are still without power.

To see the current list of outages province wide, click here

Snowfall Totals For Saint John And Elsewhere

Environment Canada tells CHSJ News we wound up with 7 centimeters of snow but the Weather Network is saying it was more like 11 centimeters.

Fredericton got 20 centimeters with 35 in the higher elevations.....15 centimeters at Poley Mountain and 16 centimeters in Moncton.

Gas Prices Increase

The price of gas is a bit more expensive after the weekly setting by a couple of cents a litre. 

Self serve regular will now cost you $1.19.1 in the city with diesel at $1.35.6 a litre.

Heating oil is also up a bit at $1.14.3 but propane is down slightly with a maximum price of 93.1 cents.

Power Outages Caused By Storm

NB Power crews were hard at it all night long but they did have alot to do with more than 43 hundred businesses and homes around the province still without electricity this morning in the aftermath of yesterday's storm.

As of 11:00 this morning , there were 15 outages affecting almost 300 customers in the Rothesay region which includes the Kingston Peninsula and the area around Grand Bay-Westfield.......30 outages in the Sussex area affecting  almost 13 hundred customers........9 outages in St. Stephen affecting 115 customers and over 15 hundred customers in Fredericton are without electricity because of 29 outages.

No City Budget Yet; Mayor Says Progress Is Being Made

Nearly 6 hours after the projected 5pm start time of the open meeting, Common Council announced it is making incremental progress toward finalizing the city's 2013 operating budget. 

It looks more unlikely, however, the budget vote will happen before the New Year. 

The city has managed to sign off on a Memorandum of Understanding on a revamped pension plan but it still waiting for the unionized groups to agree to it as well.

 Mayor Mel Norton tells CHSJ News the long term disability plan is a complicated issue that goes far beyond what is usually discussed in committee of the whole.

It's likely another special meeting will be held to finalize the budget over the coming days. If that's unsuccessful before January 1st, the city will be on the hook for payments as outlined under the current pension situation.

Port City Gets A Pre-Winter Pounding

Fender-benders, crackups and serious collisions the theme of a fierce late fall storm that gave Saint John a winter shocker it wasn't expecting.

Road conditions from Sussex to Stephen were not a treat yesterday with a long list of collisions between Noon and 6pm. 

Highway 1 Westbound was briefly closed to traffic near the Fox Farm exit after a few transports got stuck in the area.  

Many big rigs got stuck or jackknifed throughout the day.

One tractor trailer could be seen sliding down Retail Drive sideways on the Costo hill while other vehicles drove around it.
One City police officer said people were driving like it was July.

A few delays were reported in and out of the Saint John Airport.

Some parents expressed frustration that schools were not closed saying road conditions were too dangerous for the schoolbuses.

All MLA's Support Pipeline Construction

They are all in favour of this one.

MLA's of all political stripes unanimously passing a motion stating their support for the construction of a pipeline to ship western crude oil to Eastern Canada.

Support is growing for a proposal that could see a pipeline carry oil from Alberta to the Irving Oil Refinery.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver toured the refinery last week stating his government's support for a pipeline project. 

Premier David Alward says the government is working towards a future where the Province helps drive the national economy as one of the country's energy powerhouses.