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Monday, January 6, 2014

City Prepping For The Big Freeze Overnight

It's only rain and freezing conditions but it could make for some very dangerous driving in the City.

That is why city crews are clearing catch basins to allow for the inevitable flooding that comes with warm temps and rain.

Kevin Rice of Transportation and Environment Services tells CHSJ News they will also be out in force salting and sanding once the temperature drops.

He says their crews have been working around the clock since December 15th and they consider this another storm event because it has a major impact on their operations.

Rice says it tough to remove that layer of anchor ice on some roads because it's hard on the equipment and the weather doesn't stay warm long enough for salt to do the trick.

City Market Re-Opens Tomorrow

The City market will re-open at 730 tomorrow morning and resume regular business hours.

All four floors of the City Market Tower including the Infusion Tea Room and Howard's Convenience will remain closed as contractors continue to evaluate and repair damage caused by a heating line rupture early this morning.

The rupture caused significant water damage to the north side of the first, second and third floors of the City Market Tower damaging the Tower’s electrical system.

CIBC Robber Pleads Guilty

Kenneth Joseph Johnston changing his plea to guilty in court.  

He is accused in the brazen daylight robbery of the CIBC branch at King and Germain on October 3rd of last year.

He is accused of threatening a bank teller with violence for some cash and with possession of marijuana.

A trial was set to begin today but Johnston changed his plea and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 4th.

Driscoll On Budget And Shale Gas

 Mayor Murray Driscoll concedes it will be a challenge to maintain the town's tax rate in this year's budget which will be unveiled tomorrow night. 

The town will be receiving 147 thousand fewer dollars from the provincial government this year. Common Council has endorsed shale gas development but Driscoll tells CHSJ News the town is in a different position.

Driscoll says he can't take a chance of it with over 6000 wells in the town.

Driscoll says townspeople enjoy some of the best water in the province.

A New Take On The Estabrooks Scandal

Politic leverage and a high-powered lawyer...... not police ineptitude......were the key factors that allowed disgraced former Saint John Police Officer Ken Estabrooks to continue his abuses against children for so long....that's the theory being put forward by blogger and amateur historian Ron Jack. 

Jack tells CHSJ News he's done some digging into council minutes and other documents....and found the council of the day was intimidated by Estabrooks and his lawyer Rodman E. Logan.

He says know Mr. Estabrooks knew what he was doing saying he brought a gun to a knife fight and he was intimidating city council.

Jack says pinning all the blame for the continuation of Estabrook's abuses on then-police chief Eric Ferguson overly simplifies the complex political game Estabrooks was playing.

Former Liberal Will Accept NDP Nom Tonight

It's an election year and this is how you can tell.......

Former Liberal Cabinet Minister Kelly Lamrock will accept the NDP nomination for the Fredericton South riding tonight.

Lamrock joined the NDP last February after serving two terms as a Liberal MLA.

The meeting begins at 7pm in the Charlotte Street Arts Centre auditorium at 732 Charlotte Street.

3100 Off The Grid

From 1000 to 500 and now 3100.   That is how many NB Power customers are off the grid in the province.

Hundreds do not have power in Fredericton, Rusagonis, Grand Bay-Westfield, Pennfield, Belleisle Creek and Jemseg. 

NB Power tweeting that they expect to see more outages in the coming weeks as ice on trees melts and trees begin to stand back up causing them to hit power lines.

Walking And Driving May Be Slippery Today

Rain on snow covered or snow-packed roads are making for a messy drive in some spots today.    

And if that's not enough, there is water pooling on the roads that are clear and flooding may become an issue.

Ice is also falling from trees, homes and buildings onto vehicles and people as the temperature goes up.   

Be very careful where you are walking and driving today.

The RCMP tweeting a warning that Highway 7 between Oromocto and Saint John is very slippery and they recommend motorists slow down and drive with extreme caution.

City police are blocking traffic on Foster Thurston Drive after a three car pile up and some other stuck vehicles due to the greasy conditions.

Electrical Problem Closes City Market Today

The City Market is closed today due to a heating line rupture on the third floor.

The rupture caused water damage to all three floors on the north side of the City Market tower compromising the electrical system and the fire suppression system for the entire building.

Contractors are evaluating the situation.

Lights Coming Back In Quispam

The lights are coming back in Quispamsis.   

Earlier this morning, over 1000 homes and businesses were without power but, it's now down to 35

NB Power is reporting 528 are off the grid across the province.

More than 200 are without power in Pennfield.

Tanya Shand's Death A Shock For The Community

The murder of 33-year-old Tanya Shand last year sent shockwaves throughout the community and has made a lasting impact on the local police department.

That's according to Rothesay Regional Police Chief Stephen McIntyre who tells CHSJ News a lot of resources have since been poured into increasing domestic violence education and awareness in the K-V.

He says the officers are well trained on how to respond to intimate partner violence calls.

He says as a officer you don't go and handle the quick fix for the incident in front of you.  

He says you also looks for signs that this may have happened in the past and for any signs the victim might be in danger in the future.

Shand was killed by her common-law partner last May.

Saint John M-P Defends Plan To Pay For Water Treatment

City water rates will have to go up anyway but Saint John M-P Rodney Weston tells CHSJ News they will rise by half as much because of the funding help from the provincial and federal governments. 

The Council of Canadians is warning Saint Johnners will wind up regretting the public-private partnership as other cities, including Paris, France, have. 

Weston says no one is arguing that the status quo is acceptable and the city can't afford to pay the entire shot with the price tag being 230 million dollars.

The only water treatment being done now are screens to keep the eels and tree branches out and chlorination to disinfect.

Weston adds, when it's all said and done, Saint John will have among the best water treatment and waste water treatment systems you'll find anywhere.

Common Council To Start 2014 on Controversial Note

Common Council is being asked to get a report on how much it would cost to have the the city policed by the RCMP.

The initiative comes from Councillor David Merrithew, who chairs the city's Finance Committee, and points out City Police will cost a million more dollars this year and that kind of increase is unsustainable over time because it will take money away from roads, recreation and water. He also points out wages and benefits take up 82 per cent of the policing budget.

Bob Davidson of the Saint John Police Association argues provincial figures show the Mounties would cost from 10 to 26 per cent more and says, it's no coincidence this is being brought up at a time when contract negotiations are being conducted. He's denouncing the move as "anti-union".