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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