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Monday, March 31, 2014

28,000 Still Without Power

Approximately 28,000 NB Power customers are still in the dark as a result of windy, icy conditions throughout the province.

Most of those outages are in the Bouctouche, Shediac, and Moncton areas, but there are over 500 in Oak Bay and about 200 in Cedar Camp and Anagance as well.

The utility says it's staffing its contact centre with  extra agents to respond to calls throughout the night. 

NB Power agents have already answered 3,100 storm calls.

Over 33,000 Without Power

More than 33,000 NB Power customers are without power tonight thanks the freezing rain, ice pellets and snow making tree branches hit power lines.

That number includes over 14,000 in the Moncton cluster or more than 8000 in the Shediac region.

Over 200 are in the dark in the Kingston Peninsula and over 100 are off the grid in St. Martin's.

The Government Is Not Choosing The Y Over Affordable Housing

Saint John Portland MLA Trevor Holder says the new Y going up in the North end is not being built at the expense of affordable housing for the 60 families that used to live there.

Holder tells CHSJ News there is one approved project that is taking longer to get started but it will happen on Churchill Boulevard.

He says it's scheduled to be constructed across the street from the new Y and both projects will compliment each other.

Holder adds the original Cresvent Valley re-development plan created by those who live there includes affordable housing but also employment counseling and a daycare which the new Y facility will provide.   

He says the families displaced when their old homes were torn down were placed in homes but have the option to move back once the new building opens on Churchill Boulevard. 

Runaway Found

A 14-year-old boy who was believed to have run away from a home in Saint Stephen has been found safe.

The RCMP thank the public for their assistance.

No More Ambulance Fees

It always feels like insult to injury to get hit with an ambulance fee after a traumatic event.

Fortunately, starting tomorrow), the fee will be waived if you don't have private health insurance.

You'll simply fill out a form and return it to Ambulance New Brunswick to have the fee lifted.

If you do have coverage, you'll continue to submit claims through your insurance provider.

Nominations Open Today For Local By-Elections

Nominations open today for 14 municipal and rural byelections--and elections in three newly-formed communities.

Locally, there are positions open in Minto, New Maryland, Moncton and an election in the newly-formed community of Hanwell.

Nominations close on April 17. For a link to the nomination form, go to the Elections New Brunswick website.

Daffodil Month Starts Tomorrow

It's a nice thought...a cheerful Spring flower in midst of wintry weather.

April is Daffodil month and the Health Minister thinks its a good time to increase your awareness about the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer.

Ted Flemming says he commends the Canadian Cancer Society for the work it's doing to eradicate cancer and to enhance the quality of life of those living with the disease.

As a symbol of hope and courage, the Canadian Cancer Society will be distributing daffodil pins throughout April.

NB Power Expecting More Outages

The freezing rain and widespread power outages may be causing some to experience flashbacks to the Christmas ice storm.

With over 26,000 homes in the dark across the province, Meghan Gerrish of NB Power tells CHSJ News the weather is causing many ice-covered trees to fall into power lines and 150 workers are currently trying to restore power with additional help on the way.

However Gerrish says the weather is not helping restoration efforts, with freezing rain and high winds pummeling crews and she says they expect there will be more outages as the day progresses. She says it's hard to say at this point when the lights will back on for the affected homes. 

The Rothesay cluster experiencing 157 outages mostly in St. Martins, while Moncton and Shediac are experiencing about 8000 outages each. Click here for updates on the outages.

26,000 In The Dark Today

NB Power is reporting more than 157 homes and businesses are without electricity in the Rothesay region with most of the outages in St. Martins.

In much worse in the other areas with 26,000 homes and businesses are without power across the province including nearly 8000 people in Shediac and in Moncton.

Reopening Closed Roads

All roads that were closed this morning due to flooding have been reopened to traff.

Caution signage has been installed near the underpass on Rothesay Avenue.

City crews will keep an eye on the road conditions.  

To report flooding on streets or in catch basins call 658-4455.

Horizon Health Still Wants Standing In Perry Inquest

It looks like Horizon Health still wants to call and cross-examine witnesses at the inquest into the death of Serena Perry at the Regional Hospital more than two years ago.

Last week, provincial Health Minister Ted Flemming asked Horizon Health to drop its application so the inquest could proceed as quickly as possible for the benefit of the family. 

Lawyer for the Perry family John Gillis says they are in the dark when it comes to negotiations, however, he says the Perry family wants to see answers sooner rather than later. There could be new developments later in the week depending on talks that are now underway.

The coroner's inquest into Perry's death was originally scheduled to begin on March 17 but was postponed.

April 1st Means A Social Assistance Increase

Social assistance rates go up tomorrow by 3 per cent for everyone but those who are single and available to work.

Social Development Minister Madeleine Dube says the increase helps about 20,000 households in the province.

As part of their plan to reform social assistance, the government plans to invest over a million dollar beginning this fall in four ways.

They include increasing the allowable assests limits for life insurance, prepaid funeral and business assets for all clients and applicants and putting a youth services program in place with a new rate and benefits structure for teens between the ages of 16 and 18.

The Department of Social Development invests nearly $250 million in programs and services for social assistance clients and that can include health services, employment training and fuel assistance.

Ending Of Health Accord With Federal Government Prompts Speculation

Fears are being expressed about what effect the expiration of the 2004  Health Accord today will have on the quality healthcare. 

The New Brunswick Health Coalition claims the province will lose more than 700 million dollars in federal funding over the next ten years. 

The Vice-President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees in the province, Danny Legere tells CHSJ News it appears the Harper and Alward Governments are singing from the same hymn sheet with the desire for more privatisation. Legere predicts we're moving closer to a two tiered healthcare system.

Starting tomorrow, ambulance fees for those people without insurance coverage will be waived and Horizon Health has been accreditated with commendation for the next four years by Accreditation Canada which views the doctors, staff members and volunteers at Horizon as strengths.

Schools Closing Early

The kids are coming home early today.
Schools are closing early today in the Hampton and Saint John education centre with elementary school closing at 1145 followed by Middle and High schools at 1230 and 100pm. 

 Samuel de Champlain school in Saint John and the school in Quispamsis will close 2 hours early today.

Provincial Cabinet Minister Scoffs At Liberal Policy Forum

Provincial Tourism, Culture and Heritage Minister Trevor Holder says he finds it rich the provincial Liberals would come to his riding over the weekend to hold a policy forum on economic development when they haven't presented any policies that would benefit the economy of Saint John. He calls them the party of no. 

Holder charges Provincial Liberal leader Brian Gallant has managed to avoid saying what he stands for and how he would spur economic growth but the M-L-A for Dieppe Centre, Roger Melanson, who co-chaired the policy forum at the university, defends what the Liberals are doing and how they're going about it. He maintains Gallant wants policies to be developed that are founded on solid fact based evidence.

The Liberals plan to unveil all of their proposals they'll be campaigning on after holding a policy convention in Fredericton on April 26th.



New Brunswick Economy Won't Be Turned Around Overnight

It's going to take from 10 to 15 years to turn around the provincial economy and thinking it can be done in four years is unrealistic. That message was given to the Liberal Party's policy forum on economic development that was held in Saint John over the weekend by Yves Bourgeois who teaches regional and urban economics at the university.

He tells CHSJ News the province should be looking to extract more value from our natural resources instead of just exporting them. Bourgeois points to forestry as an example where value added products could be made. He also talks about producing high end furniture and biomass fuel. 

Bourgeois points to Singapore, which was one of the poorest countries in Asia at one time but took the long view on developing its economy and is now the most prosperous.   

Bourgeois says the continuing debate over bilingualism is silly because the more languages you know in a global economy, the better. He advocates the teaching of Spanish starting in grade 3 which would be an asset later on to take advantage of economic opportunities in Latin and South America.   

Street Closures Because Of Flooding

The Saint John area receiving almost 50 millimeters of rain yesterday. 

Parts of Rothesay Avenue including the underpass at Rothesay Road, are closed because of flooding caused by almost 50 millimeters of rain as well as Ashburn Lake Road, Westmorland Road from McAllister Drive to Consumers Drive, a portion of Golden Grove Road in Glen Falls including Simpson Drive and Todd Street along with a small section at the end of Dominion Park Road.

NB Power is reporting more than 500 homes and businesses are without electricity in the Rothesay region with most of the outages in St. Martins and the Kingston Peninsula. Power is not expected to be fully restored for everyone until late tonight.

Public Warned To Watch Out For Unsafe Ice Conditions

The Saint John Fire Department warning you to watch out for one of the dangers spring-like temperatures bring. 

Division Chief Mark Wilson says frozen rivers and lakes start opening up in the middle during this time of year and may be unsafe. Wilson says you can tell how strong the ice is by looking at the colour. While clear-blue is the strongest type of ice, opaque white is about half that strength and grey ice is the weakest and is very dangerous.

Meantime, River Watch warning those of you who live along streams, rivers and other bodies of water to be on the lookout for moving ice and ice-jams as they could cause flooding.

60% Of Sexual Assaults Go Unreported

Many victims of sexual assault blame themselves, especially if they were drinking at the time, or the aggressor was someone with whom they're in a relationship--but Sexual Assault Crisis Center worker Lorraine Whalley tells CHSJ News people need to realize they're not to blame.

Further, it's important to report it if you're sexually assaulted--because currently, it's impossible to say how many New Brunswickers experience sexual violence because 60% of assaults are not reported to police.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Canada.

For more information click here or here

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Report Shows High Return On Investment For Colleges

You often hear people say education is the key to success, and a recent study is backing up that statement. 

The report analyzing data from four Atlantic Canadian community colleges revealing for every dollar a student puts into college, they get four dollars back in higher future earnings. 

New Brunswick Community College President Marilyn Luscombe tells CHSJ News they looked at the impact of student productivity including how much savings are generated. 

She says there's a strong correlation between having a post-secondary education and the reduction in social spending on health care, the criminal justice system and income assistance.

The study also showing Atlantic colleges inject about $4.7-billion of income into the economy every year. Click here to see the full report, released by the Atlantic Provinces Community College Consortium.

Sluggish Start To Province's Maple Syrup Season

A not-so-sweet season so far for the province's maple syrup producers. 

Yvon Poitras of the New Brunswick Maple Syrup Association tells CHSJ News the season usually begins in mid-March, however it's been at a standstill because everything is frozen up and not moving due to the long, cold winter we've had here in the province.

The sap will flow when the weather is around five degrees during the day and minus five at night, and though they've lost some time, Poitras says they are hoping for a late season this year.

A typical maple syrup season is from four to eight weeks.

Freezing Rain And Rainfall Warnings In Effect

Over 50 millimeters of rain could fall over Saint John and surrounding areas from now until Monday evening, as a low pressure system sweeps through the province.

Environment Canada issuing rain and freezing rain warnings for the Port City and meteorologist Stephen Hatt tells CHSJ News stormy conditions will continue until approximately mid-week. He says the storm system will start to pull away on Tuesday, but we will still be seeing some flurries from the system during that day.

The freezing rain is going to continue for the rest of the day, and will change to rain this evening and overnight. That will turn back to freezing rain and ice pellets during the day tomorrow according to Hatt. Police in both Saint John and the Kennebecasis Valley warning road conditions are very bad right now and urging drivers to be careful.

The Fredericton area is under snowfall and winter storm warnings with up to 40 centimetres of snow expected.

Lots Of Ideas Emerge From Policy Form On Economic Development

The New Brunswick economy is headed in the wrong direction......That's what the Provincial Liberal Party's policy forum at U-N-B Saint John on urban economic development was told by Larry Hachey, former President of the Saint John Board of Trade. 

Hachey tells CHSJ News when it comes to growing the provincial economy and creating jobs, it's time provincial governments stopped trying to hit what he calls "home runs" with big job announcements when 80 per cent of the job growth in New Brunswick comes from small companies.

He says we need a Premier to be market driven, who looks at possibilities. The policy forum was also told New Brunswick needs a culture change where we start selling ourselves better to outsiders and stop selling ourselves short.

Hachey says the province should be aggressively attempting to attract business immigrants who will set up shop here and we need to be looking at best economic practices from elsewhere.

Liberal Leader A No Show At His Party's Forum On Economic Development

If the provincial economy and how to turn it around is going to be the big issue in the next provincial election, some people might find it odd that the Liberal party's policy forum on urban economic development was held without Provincial Party Leader Brian Gallant. 

Instead, Dieppe Centre M-L-A Roger Melanson served as co-chair and tells CHSJ News Gallant will be well informed of what was said and the ideas that were put forward.

Melanson says one idea that stuck out for him was the need to ditch short term solutions to spur growth and come up with a long term economic plan that would span from 10 to 15 years.

Highway Rollover Sends Man To Hospital

A rollover on Highway 1 sending the driver to hospital. 

Platoon Chief Barry Oickle of the Saint John Fire Department says the incident happened westbound, near exit 128 just before 6:30 this morning. 

When emergency crews arrived at the scene, they found the vehicle on its side and a man trapped inside, and they had to cut off the roof in order to rescue him. 

His injuries are not thought to be serious.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

WATCH: Freedom Of The City Parade On King

The Freedom of the City parade marching down King Street in uptown Saint John on a mild, sunny Saturday afternoon. 

More than 45 Saint John Reserve Force soldiers taking part in the event this year.

Financial Woes Could Take A Toll On Your Teeth

Being stuck in a bad financial situation could mean more trips to the dentist.

A new survey shows Canadians are more stressed out about money than work, family or health and many of us are taking out that stress on our pearly whites. Of those surveyed, 30-percent reported grinding their teeth while sleeping.

Almost half of those people found out they were grinding their teeth during a dentist appointment while only 14-percent of people caught themselves doing it.

Seven percent of respondents reporting jaw pain and two percent going to see a doctor with headaches before being diagnosed.

Voting Open For CAA's Worst Roads Campaign

Whether it's riddled with potholes, covered in cracks or too narrow for comfort, the CAA wants to hear about those roads drivers dread. 

Voting is now open for Atlantic Canada's Worst Roads campaign, and the association's Gary Howard says the point is to draw attention to those bad roads that desperately need fixing up. Howard says Rothesay Avenue in Saint John, which was named the seventh worst road last year, is still a work in progress but stands out as one of the shining example of investment in roadways.

He says over the past couple of years the City of Saint John has dedicated more resources to infrastructure, repair and maintenance in terms of roadways than in its history.

Cape John Road in River John, Nova Scotia getting the dubious distinction of being named the Worst Road in Atlantic Canada last year, with Hanwell Road in Fredericton coming in second.

Click here for more details and to vote.

Earth Hour Is Coming Up Tonight

Have you made a plan yet for Earth Hour? It's coming up tonight between 8:30 and 9:30.

Again this year, more than 680 employees of the City of Saint John are taking part in the global movement to raise awareness of the overuse of energy in modern society.

In the past, major landmarks around the world have gone dark to bring attention to Earth Hour. The first Earth Hour was celebrated in Sydney Australia on March 31st 2007 involving 2.2 million people.

It has since grown to include 7000 cities and 152 countries.

Environment Canada Issues Freezing Rain Warning

In like a lion out like a lamb doesn't exactly describe this March, with a special weather statement saying Saint Johners are in for another couple messy days just a few days after a major blizzard battered the region. 

Environment Canada issuing a freezing rain warning, due to a low pressure system that's developing over the southeastern U-S. The freezing rain is going to start tomorrow morning and continue throughout the day, between 20 to 25 millimetres will fall over a time period of up to 12 hours, allowing for substantial ice build up. 

Other areas in the province are under a snowfall warning, including Fredericton and Southern York County which could see up to 20 centimetres of snow.

Friday, March 28, 2014

There Is A Link Between Cancer and Obesity

It's Nutrition Month and the province is reminding you of the link between obesity and cancer.

Over 34 per cent of adults are overweight in the province and 25 per cent are obese when compared to the national average.

Dr. Rejean Savoie of the New Brunswick Cancer Network says research clearly show being overweight or obese increases a person's risk of cancer.

He says it's estimated that 30 to 40 per cent of all cancer cases could be prevented by addressing the risk factors of poor diet, unhealthy body weight and a lack of physical activity.

Health Minister Ted Flemming says since March is Nutrition Month it's an excellent opportunity to New Brunswickers that being overweight or obese increases the risk of cancer. 

To learn more, click here

Broken Pipes Likely Cause For Ship Sinking

The cause of a sinking ship in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia appears to be broken pipes.

The Canadian Coast Guard found two broken pipes in the engine room of the Cape Rouge.

Senior Response Officer, Keith Laidlaw, says the pipes likely froze and split due to the cold temperatures. 

He says the accomodation area and engine room of the ship are covered in oil and needs to be cleaned out.

Laidlaw says they're cleaning up the excess oil because there is potential the vessel could sink again and they don't want to leave it as a pollution threat for the future.

He expects the Coast Guard to be on scene for at least another week.

Point Lepreau Cost Overruns Up For Discussion Again

Fundy the Isles Liberal MLA Rick Doucet is attacking what he calls an irresponsible decision to launch the refurbishment of the Point Lepreau nuclear generating station without making a provision for cost overruns.

Energy Minister Craig Leonard says the nuclear power plant provides obvious benefits to people in New Brunswick

Doucet says it's unfair for New Brunswickers to be saddled with that huge financial burden.

Military Parade Uptown Tomorrow

More than 45 Saint John Reserve Force soldiers will march down King Street tomorrow.

It's the Freedom of the City Parade, a custom older than Saint John itself. Second lieutenant Adair Howe tells CHSJ News it's a sign of good faith between the city and the military.

Afterward, the troops will meet with city representatives, delegates, and the pubic a the Barrack Green Armory. The parade starts at 1pm at the top of king.

Smoking A Major Problem In NB

The provincial government is investing $60,000 in the New Brunswick Anti-Tobacco Coalition.

Their goal is to help tobacco users quit smoking and dipping. They're particularly concerned about the 20 to 24 age group.

In this province, the number of people smoking in that age group is the second highest in Canada.

The Anti-Tobacco Coalition offers workshops on topics like e-cigarettes, third-hand smoke, and hookahs and also helps local event planners in organize smoke-free outdoor events.

Strangers and Friends Help Slain Woman's Kids

Saint Johners have huge hearts when it comes to helping the sick, injured and those who suffer a loss.

It's no surprise that complete strangers are banding together to help a murdered City woman's children.

Connie Mullin tells CHSJ News she didn't know Cindy Irving but heard her nephew Treffery was trying to get home.

She says he needed to be home adding within 24 hours they raised the money for his flight and he's home now in Saint John.

Mullin is part of a group raising money for Irving's children who range in age from 10 to 20 years old.

Cindy Irving's funeral is this afternoon at Forest Hills Baptist Church.

To make a donation, click here

Sunday Will Be Messy

A special weather statement says we're in for some messy conditions on Sunday and Monday.

Environment Canada says a low pressure system approaching from the U.S. East Coast will bring a mix of rain, ice pellets and freezing rain early on Sunday.

It will change to rain later in the day and it as it moves away on Monday it could change to snow before ending late in the day.

Two Teens Nabbed For Stealing From Unlocked Vehicles

Kennebacasis Regional Police, formerly known as Rothesay Regional Police before the name change, making arrests in a recent rash of thefts from vehicles that had been left unlocked.

On March 23rd and 26th, numerous people in Quispamsis and Rothesay called Police to report that prowlers were out and about on their properties and stealing from their vehicles.

Two teenaged boys, 16 and 17, have been arrested with some of what was stolen recovered. The pair will be appearing Youth Court and cannot be identified.

Gone Fishing

Never a dull moment for police in the city.

Officers got a call early last night about a very intoxicated man stumbling in the Hickey road area, talking to himself and carrying a fishing rod.

The officers found him and took him home.

It turns out while his wife was busy doing laundry, the man decided he was going to go fishing in a nearby creek.

Storm Used As Cover For Theft

City Police are now poring over the surveillance video from Fundy Coins and Collectables on King Street after a window was smashed out and a large quantity of antique banknotes stolen. 

This happened during Wednesday's storm with the whiteout conditions and zero visibility. At first, it was thought the storm has caused the window to break before the theft was discovered.

City Man Facing Child Rape Charges In The U.S.

City police, the Mounties and U.S. Marshals teaming up to arrest a Saint John man wanted for sexually assaulting a child.

An online report says 61 year old William Meehan was arrested by the RCMP for crimes in Georgia beginning in 2010.

He was arrested on the 17th and appeared in court the next day waiving his right to a bail hearing.   He's being held in police custody.

Saint John police worked with the RCMP Integrated Border Enforcement team and the United States Federal Marshal Service in making the arrest.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

TransCanada Hosts Public Consultations In Ontario

There is a sense of concern for the environment following public consultations in Thunder Bay for the proposed Energy East pipeline.

Several presentations were made Wednesday evening including one from Paul Berger who is with Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet.

Berger says the group has a few objections.

He says they have three main points opposing the pipeline being they know it will leak, that aboriginal territory be respected and they are very concerned about the climate change that will come with that.

He adds that the current pipeline is not designed to see a conversion into carrying oil instead of gas which is included in the proposal.

Bordertown RCMP Looking For Missing Teen

The Mounties in Bordertown are looking for some help finding a teen who may have run away.

14 year old Michael Peter O'Neil was last seen in St. Stephen yesterday  when he left his home early in the morning.

O'Neil is 5 foot 4 inches tall weighs 158 pounds with brown hair.

He may be wearing a black Duck Dynasty t-shirt, ripped jeans and blue sneakers.

If you have any info on where O'Neil might be call the St. Stephen RCMP at 506-466-7030 or 1-888-506-7267.

NB Company Expands To Scotland

Cooke Aquaculture has signed a deal to buy Meridian Salmon Farms..... Meridian is a salmon farmer with assets on Shetland, the Orkney Islands, and the mainland of Scotland.

Cooke is Charlotte County's biggest employer....they'll have 25-hundred employees after the acquisition.

The Numbers Of Those Without Power Keeps Changing

It's a see-saw of numbers when it comes to power outages around the Province today.

It's been as a high as 1800 and as low as 933.

It's down to 171 now.

You Can Give Blood Again

You can go and give blood today in Saint John and Moncton now that the storm is over.

Cancellations across the Maritimes resulted in a lost opportunity to collect approximately 390 blood donations.

At 405 University Avenue, you can donate today from 4-8pm and tomorrow from 11am to 3pm. 

To book an appointment to give blood, click here

Man Trashes Cell Phone Kiosk

Maybe he wasn't happy about his bill.

City police confirm a man seriously lost his temper at a cell phone kiosk at McAllister Place around noon.

Apparently, the 35-year-old man went into the store at the mall, assaulted another customer and did some damage to the store before taking off.

Officers were still at the scene at 1pm. 

 The victim also left.    City police are also looking into the matter. 

Before And After In Blizzard 2014

The door to our studios at 58 King Street at 4pm on Wednesday and today at 10am.

Woman Disputes Claim Of No Cutbacks In Plowing

A woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, and lives along Route 101 at Clarendon is taking issue with Transportation Minister Claude Williams who claims there have been no cutbacks this winter in highway plowing. 

She tells CHSJ News about being shocked after talking to one of the plow operators and was told there are just so many drivers and they're exhausted.

She says its very apparent to her the nearby highway is not being plowed to the same degree it once was, pointing out her husband had to driver on the other side of the road at 6 in the morning for 5 kilometers to reach the main highway in order to make it to work.


Lights Out For Many

More than 1800 people remain off the grid following the blizzard.

That includes Clifton Royal and over 200 homes impacted in Brown's Flat.

Outages are also reported in Grand Manan, Belleisle Creek and Shediac Bridge .