Friday, February 26, 2010

Councillors ponder Research Institute request

The Thunder Bay Regional Research Institutes' funding request comes before city councillors Monday. City administration is recommending that a capital account of 1 and a half million dollars be estabished for two major projects over the next three years. Also councillors will be asked to approve a contract worth over 660 thousand dollars to fix up the Duke Street water pumping station.

Demolition contract will pave the way for new courthouse

City councillors will be one step closer Monday to having a new courthouse build on the city's south side. They're being asked to approve the contract for the demolition of the Brodie Street bus terminal and the former King's Stereo Building. The contract is worth over 260 thousand dollars. The two buildings must come down to make way for the new consolidated courthouse.

Research Institute gets millions

The Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute is 6.4 million dollars richer. The Institute has been awarded the money from the McGuinty government and it will cover the operating costs in conducting new research. Scott Potts is the Institutes' Chief Operating Officer and says the research surrounds medical imaging devices and how to improve them.   Potts adds the money will be spread over five years

Students give input on provincial curriculum

There are about 40 grade 11 students in the city who have some added academic savvy. They were part of a province wide forum looking at how to improve the high school civics program. Local organizer Donna Flasza says the students are now able to give feedback on it.   The local students participated with students in London, Ottawa, Sudbury and Toronto.

HST will cause ticket prices to rise at the Community Auditorium

The coming Harmonized Sales Tax is already having an impact on a local business. The Community Auditorium has seen tickets prices increase by 8 percent for events happening beyond July 1st. General Manager says the increase isn't going to sit well with customers. Halverson says the HST will also increase rental prices and could see a lot of customers go elsewhere.

Gas Flare system begins testing at Thunder Bay Landfill

You may notice a large flame at the city's landfill when you drive down Mapleward road this weekend. The city's half of a methane generating station is beginning final testing. Project Engineer Tom McConnell says large flames will be visible at the site, but are completely harmless to the public. McConnell says this facility will be joined with a methane generator being constructed by Thunder Bay Hydro.

Pic Mobert protests HST on the Trans Canada

The Trans-Canada Highway is back to normal now after Pic Mobert First Nation was slowed traffic to a crawl Thursday. It was because the members of the band were protesting the upcoming Harmonized Sales Tax. They're worried that the tax will be an extra burden on their community adding to costs of heat and hydro. OPP were on hand to make sure that drivers slowed down while going through the protest area.

Thunderwolves take on Guelph at the Gardens

The Lakehead Thunderwolves will try to close out there second round series with the Guelph Gryphons tonight at the Gardens. The Wolves hold a one nothing series lead after scoring a 4-3 overtime win Wednesday night, puck drop is at 7:30 pm. Meanwhile a couple Thunderwolves will be boosted but some recognition from the OUA today. Fifth year senior Scott Dobben is on this year's Second All-star Team, Mark Soares is the OUA's Most Sportsmanlike Player and Victor Anilane is on this year's All Rookie Squad.

Haley Irwin wins Gold

Haley Irwin is bringing some Gold back to Thunder Bay. Irwin and the rest of the Canadian women's hockey team pulled off a 2-0 win over the US last night to win their 3rd straight Olympic Gold. She was held off the scoresheet last night but Irwin finished her first games with 4 goals and an assist. Marie-Philip Poulin scored both the Canadian goals and Shannon Szabados made 28 saves for the shutout.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mayor and councillors lobby ministers

Mayor Lynn Peterson is expressing confidence local issues were heard by some key government ministers. The Mayor and three councillors were in Toronto this week at a conference and took time to button-hole some cabinet ministers. That included Corrections minister Rick Barolucci who was told about the need for more detox beds in the city.  Aboriginal Affairs minister Chris Bentley was also asked to locate a ministry office in Thunder Bay.

Firefighters' death recognized as work related

Sixteen years after his death a Thunder Bay firefighter has now been recognized as dying in the line of duty. Glenn Adduono died of leukemia but it was only recently the provinces Workplace Safety Board awarded compensation to his family for it. Eric Nordlund of the local Professional Firefighters Association says its a significant step.   The Association presented the Adduono family with a memorial medal to recognize the occasion.

Neebing gets marketing money

The Municipality of Neebing is getting money to market itself. Over 14 and a half thousand provincial taxpayer dollars will be used by officials to sell the community to new investors. The plan will include an inventory update of industrial and commercial land available and the development of a community profile posting on the internet.

Sustainability conference opens today

Community and First Nation groups from across northern Ontario have gathered in Thunder Bay today to discuss the sustainability of their communities.Conference co-chair Alexander Boulet says delegates are examining the issues affecting the north's ability to deliver the basic needs to area residents.   Boulet says they're hoping the event will be a way of growing a network that can share ideas on an on-going basis.

Another illegal cigaratte bust in Northerwestern Ontario

Another massive illegal cigarette bust in Northwestern Ontario. Greenstone OPP seized almost 700 thousand illegal cigarettes after a routine traffic stop in Longlac yesterday evening. 47 year old Scott Smith of Sylvan Lake Alberta was arrested in the bust.

Local video appears on the Ellen DeGeneres show

Matt Popowich is making the news again, but unfortunately for the director of the My Hometown Video, this time it was a little less glamorous. After getting international attention for the music video, Ellen DeGeneres featured a video showing Matt falling off a wind mill. Popowich says he's happy because anyone who sees the video can then go on to see his other videos like My Hometown.

Friends of Big Thunder make submission

The clock is winding down for submissions to the government for proposals on the idled Big Thunder Sports Park. Paul DeGiacomo of the Friends of Big Thunder says his group has sent in a suggestion which includes participation with some private partners. Included in the Friends proposal is to keep the nordic section of the park operating year round. The deadline for submissions is Monday, March 1st, at 5 pm.

Thunder Bay OPP are taking drunk drivers off the roads

Thunder Bay OPP are taking drunk drivers off the roads. Officers pulled over a truck on the Expressway near Red River Road yesterday and smelled alcohol and handed the 71 year old driver a 3 day suspension. Later in the day officers pulled over another impaired driver who was found to be over twice the legal limit. He will appear in court in April.

Thunder Bay Police are looking for three muggers

Thunder Bay Police are looking for three men in relation to a robbery that happened over the weekend. Officers say a 16 year old was robbed around 9:15 Saturday morning in the Victoria Avenue, Brodie Street area. The three suspects grabbed the teen an robbed him of cash and personal items. Detailed descriptions of the muggers can be found at the Thunder Bay Police website.

Thunder Bay Police crack down on speeders

Thunder Bay police were out in full force this week targeting speeders. Sergeant Glen Porter says the crack down is part of an ongoing traffic managment plan. Porter says officers have been focussing on problematic areas and since the blitz began last week over 230 speeding tickets have been handed out. He says warm temperatures generally see speeds increase in the City.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

College president pleased with vote result

Faculty at Ontario's 24 colleges have accepted what the colleges called their final contract offer. The Ontario Labour Relations Board confirming that almost 51 and a half per cent accepted the offer in a vote across the province. Confederation College president Pat Lang is glad there will be no strike. Lang says in this day and age 5.9 per cent over three years is a fair contract

Waterloo man will now be sentenced in May

It will now be May 13th before 47-year-old Peter Fonteece will know his fate. The Waterloo man was in a Thunder Bay courtroom on Thursday to face a possible jail term in connection with the death of his wife in a city motel room a year ago. However the judge postponed sentencing. Fonteece was convicted of criminal negligence causing death. The crown says his failure to call for help after his wife Yanisa took 40 sleeping pills warrants jail.

Alex Auld put on waivers

Thunder Bays' Alex Auld has found himself in limbo again. The 29 year old goalie has been placed on waivers by the Dallas Stars. NHL clubs have until noon on Thursday to claim Auld. If that doesn't happen the Stars can keep him on their roster or send him to the minors. Auld is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July the first. He is making 1 million dollars for this current season. The Stars were able to make the move with the aquisition of Kari Lehtonen from Atlanta.

Conference addresses First Nations housing

Leaders from 11 northern tribal councils and more than 80 aboriginal communities are in Thunder Bay this week to share expertise and ideas on northern housing. The 8th annual First Nations housing conference is taking place at the Valhalla Inn. Organizer Richard Habinski says the gathering is designed to address issues related to housing in those communties. The conference wraps up Thursday.

Peng You pitches venture on Dragons' Den

A Thunder Bay businessman went on the TV show the Dragons Den to get support his venture. Peng You pitched his plan to mix martial arts learning and Chinese cooking. Under his plan he will come to your house or party and teach Tai Chi and cook at meal. He recently went on the popular program hoping to get one of the investors to back the idea. That program will air on Wednesday March 3rd. He was not allowed to tell us the results.

Quality Market's BYOB program has successful first year

Year one was a huge success for Quality Market's Bring Your Own Bag program. Co-owner David Stezenko says the program was created after the big chains started charging more for plastic bags so they decided to encourage customers to use reusable bags and donating money to local charities. The first year of the program raised almost 11,000 dollars for the Health Science's Centre, Camp Quality and the RFDA. This year the three charities are Eagle's Cry Life Centre, Shelter House and Habitat for Humanity.

Castlegreen looking for more $$$$$

The Castlegreen Housing Co-op is looking to the federal government for more funding. General Manager Sharon McKinnon says they just completed over a quarter million dollars of  patio doors improvements and now they have applied to Canada Mortgage and Housing for additional funds.   McKinnon says the money would go towards new windows and fuses boxes.

Peter Fonteece is in a Thunder Bay court room today.

The man who watched his wife commit suicide in a Thunder Bay Motel is in court today to find out how much time he will spend in jail. The Crown prosecution wants jail time for 47 year old Peter Fonteece who sat by while his severly depressed wife took 40 sleeping pills and died. Fonteece pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death in December. The body of 38-year-old Yanisa Fonteece was discovered in a Super 8 Motel room after her husband phoned 9-1-1 a year ago.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pat Lang returns to high school

The president of Confederation College went back to high school on Tuesday. Pat Lang was at Thunder Bay's Superior Collegiate to become principal for a day. Lang says it was to meet students who might be considering chosing Con College as a post secondary option. She said it was also to gain insight into the current high school experience. Lang accompanied principal Wayne Fletcher for the day.

Quit smoking promotion draws record participation

It appears that Thunder Bay smokers are driven to quit. The District Health Unit says its quit smoking promotion has attracted a record number of smokers. Almost 700 have registered in the contest with only five days left to enter. Participants are eligible to win a Ford SUV, a vacation or MasterCard gift cards.

Waterfront hotel project proving popular

The request for proposals to build a new hotel at Prince Arthurs Landing is only a week old and already there's been action. Developer Giselle MacDonald, of the Resolve Group, says there's been a significant amount of interest shown by hotel chains in North America that want to become part of the waterfront project adding,  they've received five or six expressions of interest.   MacDonald says the bid process will end on April 30th

Sleeping Giant Loppet set to go

Organizers are hoping to attract 800 to 1000 participants to this years edition of the Sleeping Giant Loppet (formerly the Sibley Ski Tour).   It will be taking place March 6th at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.  Cross country skiiers can choose from the 8 km mini loppet to the 50 km free technique which will see the fastest male and female participants win $1000 each.   This year the honour of bib #1 has been given to two people who have skied every year since the event began in 1978, Ron Lappage and Guy Latimer.

Hyer wants to bring back Via Rail

The move is on again to bring back passenger rail service to Thunder Bay. MP Bruce Hyer plans to introduce a private members motion on the issue when parliament resumes. Hyer says the time is right to restore the service saying it would reduce greenhouse gases, suppliment dwindling bus service and increase tourism.  Hyer hopes his motion brings attention to the issue.  It's been two decades since Via Rail service has come through Thunder Bay

PAGH closer to the wrecking ball

Officials at the Health Sciences Centre hope they will soon be one step closer to tearing down the old Port Arthur General. Spokesperson Scott Potts says they've issued a formal request for companies to submit demolition bids. Once that happens, Potts says other options can be reviewed.  That includes selling the land, developing it with another partner or keeping it for potential future uses.   The building has sat idle since the new hospital opened six years ago.

Valerie Pringle to speak on mental health

TV personality Valerie Pringle is coming to Thunder Bay next month. She is being invited to speak on the topic of mental health because her daughter Catherine was diagnosed with panic and anxiety disorder six years ago. She's expected to discuss some of the stigmas associated with those living with mental health and addictions. The event will be held at the Valhalla Inn March 22nd at 7 pm.

City set to compensate marina users

The City is trying to minimize the impact the Prince Arthur Landing construction is having on Marina users. Parks Manager Paul Fayrick says the work on waterfront development will definately impact the marina next season. Fayrick says boat owners who choose not to use the marina this year will have their 2011 fees waived by the city.

School bussing contracts up for renewal

School bussing contracts are being reviewed by both school boards in the city. Last night the Catholic Board renewed it's annual contracts at a cost of just over 5 million dollars. Spokesperson David Carroll says thats thats a 260 thousand dollars decrease from last year. He attributes that to lower fuel costs. The Public school board reviews it's bussing contract tonight

Thunder Bay councillors have short meeting

There are no bleary eyed city councillors this today.   They managed to make quick work of a short agenda last night getting home in time to watch the Olympics.    It did make for a light moment when some councillors decided to declare conflicts of interest on some rezoning issues starting with Iain Angus, which then moved on to Mark Bentz and then Larry Hebert. Councillors did manage to pass two minor rezoning amendments.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Kennel cough forces restrictions at the Humane Society

The Thunder Bay Humane Society has suspended all dog adoptions, and implimented other strict controls. It follows the discovery of the kennel cough virus among some of the dogs. Director Deb Cooper says it may take some time to get it under control as they treat the affected animals. She predicts anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks. Cooper says that local vets are even asking dog owners to keep their pets out of the dog parks under the virus goes away.

First ever local food conference planned

For the first time ever Thunder Bay will be hosting a food conference. It will be headed up by local public health nutritionist Catherine Schwartz Mendez. She says the purpose is to strenghten the local food system. The conference will take place March 3rd and 4th at Lakehead University

City probing voting by internet and phone

Don't be surprised to see internet voting in time for this years municipal election in Thunder Bay. City Clerk John Hannam says a formal request is being issued this week for companies to come back to the city with proposals for all types of remote voting. He says that could including voting by internet, phone and even mail. Hannam says the deadline for submissions will be the end of March and he hopes to present councillors with some proposals shortly after that. Hannam says the purpose is to increase voter turnout.

Rural man charged with assaulting a police officer

A Marks Township man is charged after a city OPP officer was assaulted on the weekend. Police say the 24 year old was trying to stop the officer from arresting a man for impaired operation of a snowmachine. The incident orginated when police responded to complaints of a loud party in Conmee Township early Sunday morning at around 1 o'clock. The officer was not hurt.

Thunder Bay left out of northern hospital hearings

Thunder Bay is not included in a series of 12 public hearings on the future of rural and northern hospitals being put on by the Ontario Health Coalition.  The Coalition says those hospitals are under threat by the governing Liberals. The group says small hospitals are closing across the province and the work of a government panel set up to review health care in rural and northern communities has been shrouded in mystery.

Weekend hydro outage lasts about 2 1/2 hours

About 10 thousand Thunder Bay Hydro customers have something to talk about today. They were left in the dark for a period on Saturday night. Spokesperson Eileen Dias says a line problem from Hydro One caused the outage. She says about 6 thousand customers were back on service within an hour, the rest were back about an hour and a half later.

A new research lab is coming to Thunder Bay

Lakehead University is getting over half a million dollars to build a new research lab. It's being done in partnership with a private company. Northern Development minister Michael Gravelle says the lab will study LED lights and ways to improve the technology.  The money comes from the provinces Northern Heritage Fund

Friday, February 19, 2010

Money for off reserve native housing

The Matawa First Nations are getting over 3 million dollars for off reserve housing units. The funding will allow Matawa to either build new houses or to buy exisiting homes. It's part of a 7 million dollar pool of taxpayers dollars that is being spread among native non profit housing agencies in Thunder Bay, Red Lake and Kenora.

City gets funds for green transportation study

The province is giving the city of Thunder Bay almost 40 thousand dollars towards a transportation study. MPP Bill Mauro says the study will help to improve on green transportation choices for citizens. Its to support municipalities who are encouraging the public to use public transportation more than they do now. Mauro says it will be up to the city to decide which direction they would like to take the study

More cash for health research

Around 250 thousand dollars is going to the Health Sciences Centre and the District Health Unit for two new research studies. Doctor Rhonda Crocker Ellacot says the study at the regional will focus on patient falls.
The regional is getting 220 thousand dollars for the two

Honorary Indian released

A local author is hoping people will get a better understanding of themselves from her first book. Sandi Boucher wrote Honorary Indian as an autobiography to tell of the trials she has overcome and pass on a few life lessons she has learned.  Boucher also wants to share the gifts and traditions of First Nations people.  It tells of her struggles after the early death of her first child and how that profoundly changed her life and how she thinks.

Wind turbine debate rages on

Tonight the group that is against the wind farm on the Nor' Wester Mountains is holding a meeting at the ATAC building at Lakehead University. They'll present two speakers who will back their health fears about the wind turbines. Meantime, the public relations firm that represents the wind turbine developers, Firedog Communications, is allowing local media to interview a British scientist. Geoff Leventhall has written a book that debunks the so called "Wind Turbine Syndrome"

Keith Hobbs on the verge of mayoral announcement

It appears that Lynn Peterson may have a challenger for the mayors chair. Keith Hobbs of the city police has indicated on his Facebook page that he will be retiring next month. Once that's made official he says he'll be in a position to make his intentions on running for mayor known. There is already a Facebook site dedicated to the cause and the website has been tracking his support.

Students will be rocking the Gardens at the Cavendish Cup

Were just over a month away from Cavendish Cup and the city is already gearing up. The Thunderwolves announced a new program aimed at getting more students into the stands. LUSU president Dave Grad says LUSU has partnered with SUCCI, the Thunderwolves, RBC and the Keg to provide affordable tickets to students.  Thunderwolves Executive Director Jason Mallon says having more students at the games will bring the atmosphere in the Gardens over the top.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Neebing Fire Station saga continues

The Neebing Fire Station is now in a new temporary home. The Thunder Bay Fire Service has moved the crews, equipment and trucks into the MNR Fire Centre on West Arthur Street. The Neebing Station on the 20th Side Road was closed February 10th for health and safety reasons when mould was found. Officials have no idea how long it may take to fix the problem

Injured girl flown to Winnipeg

A three year old child, who has serious injuries police deem suspicious in nature, has been moved to a Winnipeg hospital. Police spokesperson Chris Adams says she was taken there for further treatment. Meantime Adams says interviews are still being conducted to find out what happened to the youngster.  Police say the incident took place at a home on Candy Mountain Road in Oliver-Paipoonge on Tuesday

Summer festival highlights centennial

The building that is home to the Hoito Restaurant, the Finlandia Club, is celebrating it's 100th anniversary. The Bay and Agoma Business Association wants to recognize the occasion. President Norm Sponchia says they will begin with decorating the area. As well there will be a summer festival where Bay street will be closed to showcase the Finnish culture.

T-Dot man fined for illegal hunting

A Toronto man is 35 hundred dollars lighter after he was convicted of illegal hunting. He was with a hunting party north of Thunder Bay in October when the incident occurred. The Ministry of Natural Resources says the man shot two deer without a hunting licence and then left them in the bush. In addition to the fine he is not allowed to hunt in Ontario for one year.

Geraldton couple victims of fatal crash

Two Geraldton residents have been identified as the victims of Wednesday's fatal accident on the Trans Canada Highway between Vermillion Bay and Kenora.
64 year old Raymond Buhr and 62 year old Joanne Buhr were in a vehicle that collided with a transport truck.
Highway 17 was closed for most of the afternoon and was reopened four hours later after debris had been removed from the roadway.

Salvation Army kicks off tents for Haiti

The Salvation Army is launching a new fundraising program for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Thunder Bays' Major Mervyn Halvorson says when you donate, the money will go towards the purchase of tents to help shelter homeless families. You can make your donations at either of the Thrift Stores in the city.

OFL prez calls for hydro relief

The Ontario Federation of Labour kicked off its Communities that work, campaign in Thunder Bay. Newley elected president Sid Ryan says the North is one of the hardest hit areas in the province and needs more support from the McGuinty Government. Ryan says the energy rate needs to be subsidizes like in southern Ontario. Ryan says a lower industrial energy rate would go a long way to create jobs in Northern Ontario.

New cable channel is only for the Olympics

Shaw Cable TV customers shouldn't get too used to having CFTO broadcasting on channel 23. A spokesperson at the Shaw call centre says the Toronto channel will only be around until the Olympics are finished. The local TV station cut its ties with CTV last week. Without the CFTO feed, cable customers wouldn't have been able to watch Canadians compete in the Olympics

The investigation around an injuried three year old girl continues

A three year old girl from Oliver Paipoonge remains in serious conditiion in hospital after an incident at her home on Tuesday. Police spokesperson Chris Adams says the girl was taken to the Health Sciences Centre with head injuries. He says the investigation is continuing as police interview family members to find out how she was injured in what they have termed suspicious circumstances.

Thunder Bay Hydro is warning the public about a new scam

Thunder Bay Hydro is concerned about a telemarketing campaign that may be hitting the city. Spokesperson Eileen Dias says customers have complained about it saying the caller is trying to sell a so called energy saver device costing hundreds of dollars. Dias says the utility has asked Thunder Bay Police to investigate

Council approves water rate hikes in this year's budget

You could be paying more on your water bill soon. City Council adopted a new rate structure for our water bills that will see the average household pay an extra five percent. Homes that use a lot of water could pay as much as 30 percent more. The new rate will come into effect once this year's budget comes into effect.

Thunder Bay police make a drug bust worth almost 20,000 dollars.

Thunder Bay police have taken almost 20 thousand dollars worth of illegal drugs off the streets. A Toronto man was arrested Tuesday after a traffic stop on the south side of town. Officers searched his vehicle and a nearby hotel and found the drugs along with 5 thousand dollars cash.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Candidate to run on Aboriginal ticket

There is a new name on the list of candidates running for an at-large seat in this falls municipal election. Cindy Crowe is running openly as an Aboriginal candidate with the specific purpose of bringing First Nations concerns to the council table.

Local dog Best in Breed

Two Thunder Bay dog owners have something to brag about. The Great Dane owned by Renee Russo and Lori Spicer is the Best in Breed at the Westminister Dog Show in New York. It is considered one of the most prestigious dog shows in the world.

Tidy Trays taking off

A Thunder Bay businessman is on the verge of having his product go international. Dan Cheal of Dream Big Innovations, invented a plastic sanitary tray cover for high chairs called Tidy Trays. Right now it's only available in Canada, but Cheal says that is about to change as he has found a distributor in the UK. He says there's also interest in the product in the United States.

Golf courses to stay in city hands

There is little interest on City Council to the idea of selling any of the three city run golf courses. During last nights' budget deliberations councillors turned down a proposal to study whether at least two of the three courses should be put on the selling block. Instead they voted to increase green fees, memberships and golf cart rentals. Councillors were also told the operating deficit for all three courses was 236 thousand dollars.

Bus fare increases on the horizon

It appears riding the bus will be costing you more. City councillors have given preliminary approval to a fare increase in this years budget. The rate increase would see a 20 ride pass increase four dollars to 35 dollars, while a monthly pass would go up to 69 dollars and 50 cents. The discounted monthly pass would go up fifty cents to $57.50.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Northwest LHIN is looking for a new CEO.

The Organization that coordinates health care funding in the Northwest Region is looking for a new CEO. The chair of the board of the local health intigration network has announced the immediate resignation of Gwen DuBios-Wing. Adding she is moving to pursue new professional endevours. Laura Kokocinski is filling as the interim CEO until permanent replacement can be found.

Thunder Bay was action packed for the Family Day long weekend

Families in the city are back into the weekday routine today following the long weekend dedicated to them. There was no shortage of things to do. There were events at the Sportsdome, Old Fort William and the Current River and McIntyre Recreational Centres. Hundreds of people showed up to the events.

Assualts plague city over long weekend

City police are recovering from a busy and sometimes violent long weekend. They say they had to deal with a wide assortment of occurances which included an assualt and domestic assaults. In at least two cases there were injuries. In one incident they say a woman was choked by her partner and in another the man was stabbed. Police are also on the lookout for two men wanted in connection with a Sunday morning assault that landed one man in the Regional Hopsital with minor injuries. In all over 60 people had to be locked up in police cells over the weekend.

Golf courses and staff levels will take centre stage at council meeting

City councillors meet tonight to discuss the budget. Top of mind for some councillors is the ownership of the city golf courses. At least two councillors, Larry Hebert and Rebecca Johnson have questions about the city's involvement in the golf business. Also tonight don't be surprised to find councillors talking about city staff levels.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Area First Nations are now in the helicopter charter business

The Matawa First Nations and Great Slave Helicopters are now partners. The company from the Northwest Territories has signed an agreement with the six First Nations communities to provide charter services. Chief Roy Moonias of the Neskantaga First Nation says its a good business venture. As part of the agreement Matawa will own 51 per cent of the Charter service

Beer Store smashed

Yet another Beer Store is damaged as the result of a break in. Police say that a stolen van was used to smash through the window of the Beer Store on West Gore street early Friday morning. No one was hurt and there are no suspects. Police are still investigating.

Fire Service urges families review fire plan

The Thunder Bay Fire Service wants families to review their household fire plans. They say that Family Day is an ideal time to go over what to do in case of a fire. Tips include:
-Installing a smoke alarm on every floor of the home and outside bedrooms.
-Discuss the home fire escape plan with the family
-Choose a meeting place outside where everyone can gather.

Local man awaits government approval for huge mining project

A Thunder Bay man is one step closer to a setting up a huge iron ore processing plant in Atikokan. Henry Wetelainens' company, Bending Lake Iron, has received 335 million dollars in loan guarantees from New York investments banks for the project. All that is left is for the provincial government to give him approval to lease some land in Atikokan. During construction it could provide 700 jobs, with about 200 permanent jobs when the plant is up and running.

Final suspect caught

Thunder Bay Police have now have the final suspect they were looking for in connection with an abduction and assualt. Emilio John Bisignano was taken into custody on Wednesday night at a city residence. The indicident took place last month at a north side motel. Five others have already been taken into custody in connection with the same incident.

Website designed to attract worldwide investors

A new website is up and running designed to attract businesses to Northern Ontario. It's supposd to spread the message that the north is open for business to investors from all over the world. Councillor Rebecca Johnson helped to kick off the launch of the site. She says it's important to be a part of this very important initiative. The website can be viewed at

Officials still looking for Neebing firehall solution

There is still no indication where crews from the Neebing fire station might set up shop until their firehall can reopen. It's been closed due to a mould problem. Right now the crews have been relocated to the James Street fire station until a temporary hall can be opened so the response times for Neebing residents can be kept reasonable.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Red Cross official praises city for Haitian relief

There's praise for Thunder Bay residents and their support for Haitian earthquake relief. Ron Kelusky the Director General of the Ontario zone of the Canadian Red Cross, says residents have raised at least a quarter of a million dollars. Its estimated that with online donations the local donations could be as high as half a million dollars

Students produce anti-racism video

In the wake of the My Home Town video success students at McKellar Park School have their own video to brag about. They have entered a video for a national anti racism competition. The submission is called Underneath it All and is one of 53 finalists in the competition and the only local entry.

Organizers fundraising for the Special Olympics

There’s a call going out to the community to help with the Ontario Special Olympics Winter games. Those games are being held in Thunder Bay next year. Organizers have launched an adopt an athlete program. A 500 dollar donation will enable the sponsor to track an athlete through the games. Once the games are done the sponsor will be given a picture, a thank you card and a plaque. The fundraising goal is 300 thousand dollars or half the event budget.

Teachers vote too close to call

Teachers at Confederation College in Thunder Bay have longer to wait. They completed voting yesterday on the province's latest contract offer, but the results are too close to call. Teachers voted yesterday 51-per-cent in favour of the deal. However, the union says there are 300 mail-in ballots still to be counted.
Results may not be known for 10 days or more.  The teachers had set a strike date of next Wednesday.

Warkentin fills spot on LHIN board

There is a new member on the board of directors of the North West Local Health Integration Network. Joy Warkentin will be serving for a three year term. It means there are no more vacancies on the board. The North West LHIN is responsible for the allocation taxpayer dollars from the provincial government to health care institutions in the north west region.

Mould problem closes fire station

Thunder Bay firefighters are dealing with a different type of emergency. The Neebing Fire station has been closed because of a mould problem. Thunder Bay Fire and Rescue says that the building has been closed because of health and safety reasons. Until the problem is resolved crews and equipment from the station have been moved to the James Street Station.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

LU has a new president

The new president of Lakehead University is Brian Stevenson. He comes from the University of Winnipeg and officially takes over from Fred Gilbert on August the first. Stevenson has no illusions about what his biggest challenge will be, getting a handle on the budget.
The 52 year old Stevenson becomes the sixth president in LU's history.

A very short escape

It was a short lived escape for a prisoner along the north shore of Lake Superior this week. OPP say a prisoner in leg irons managed to escape custody from the detachment in Schrieber. It turns out he went to a nearby house and went into the garage where he was spotted by the homes' owner. A short time later he was back in police custody.

Mining concerns raised

A First Nations mining blockade in northern Ontario could end as early as next week.They are hoping a new agreement is accepted by the Ontario government and the mining companies. Marten Falls First Nation Chief Elijah Moonias has now met with government and industry reps to complain . His concerns include speeding up construction of a new airport, and the end to the use of frozen lakes as landing strips.

Councillors see new video sensation

The most talked about video in Thunder Bay made it to the floor of city council this week. Councillors got their own personal look at Jordan Burnell's My Home Town. It was played at the beginning of the meeting. None of the councillors commented on it. There have been almost 200 thousand views since it was posted on YouTube on Thursday.

Thunder Bay now on Google Street View

Talk about putting Thunder Bay on the map. Our city is now one of the 150 new Canadian communities that have now made it to Google Earth's Street View. It allows you to actually get a 360 degree ground level look at the street you live on as if you were walking along it. Up until now it was only the major Canadian cities that were a part of the service.

Huge parking worries for the south core

Concerns about parking are still on the minds of south side merchants. The head of the Victoria Avenue Business Improvement Area, Bob Hupka, says that the new courthouse and social services buildings will eliminate a substational number of sparking spots. Hupka believes the parking issue could prove to be the death knell for some south downtown businesses.

City tax increase a certainty

If the city budget stays the way it is, taxes for the average homeowner in Thunder Bay will go up about 45 dollars a year. The budget increase for this year is pegged at 2.7 per cent. Last night several groups presented their funding requests to councillors. The Children's Aid Society is hoping for 65 thousand taxpayers dollars to help with its operations.

Med school a boost for the economy

A study commissioned by the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, not surprisingly, says the Med school has been a bonus for the north. The study shows the impact of the school makes on the northern economy to be in the range of 62 to 87 million dollars a year. It adds the benefits are spread to other communities, not just where the school campuses are located in Thunder Bay and Sudbury

Thunder romantic city

Thunder Bay has made it as one of the top 20 romantic cities in the country number 13 to be exact right behind Ottawa at number 12. The number 1 romantic city in Canada is...Saskatoon. How did we make the on the top 20 list? looked at sales of romance novels, books on sex and relationships -- and sales of Michael Buble albums.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Robbery suspect turns himself in

City police have a 23 year old man in custody in connection with an armed robbery on the city's south side. They say that the man turned himself into police Monday night. At around 4 am Monday police say a man wearing a mask and armed with a knife robbed the store of some cigarettes. No one was hurt.

Cops nab break in suspect

City police hope they have stopped the vehicle break in spree around the Fort William Gardens. They say that on Friday night they set up a surveillance operation in the area. A male was seen trying to enter several vehicles in a parking lot resulting in an arrest. During the investigation they found that several vehicles in the area were broken into.

Fort William First Nation votes in favour of settlement

It's a done deal as a majority of Fort William First Nation residents have voted in favour of a proposal that will see the reserve receive 3.5 million dollars.Band members voted in favour of the settlement for the Loch Lomond Pipeline claim.Chief Peter Collins says band members will now have to decide whether they want to use a portion of the money to pay back-taxes owing Thunder Bay for the AbitibiBowater sawmill property

There's hope for Big Thunder yet

Could the glory days of Big Thunder be on their way back? The world class ski jumps at the provincially owned facility have been sitting idle for years, but now comes word that the province has put out a call for interested parties to submit letters of intent to help develop the property. The park was once a hub of activity as it was on the world cup ski jumping circuit and it also hosted the World Nordic Championships in 1995.

Waterfront is overbudget

Thunder Bay city councillors have now voted to add 2.2 million dollars for phase one of the city's waterfront development. The money will come from phase two of the project, which has yet to get underway. However the approval did not come before councillors questioned waterfront manager Katherine Dugmore for hours about reasons for the over 5 million dollars in cost overruns.

Local singer blown away by video's popularity

The accolades are still pouring in for Thunder Bay's Jordan Burnell and his My Home Town video. It's already received 155 thousand views on You Tube. Burnell says he can't believe how the popularity has just exploded. Burnell says he's received reaction to the video from ex Thunder Bayites all over North America.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Modest increase in housing starts

The new year is starting out slowly for housing starts in Thunder Bay. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reports there were four starts last month...that is up only slightly from the two at the same time last year. CMHC's Warren Philp admits its a modest start, but in keeping with the ten year average. Philp says the creation of some new subdivisions in the city holds promised for additional housing starts this year.

Weekend robbery concerns cabbies

Cab drivers in the city are on edge after a weekend robbery. Early Saturday morning police say a Roach's Taxi driver picked up two male passengers in the Westfort Area. The two sat in the back seat and they asked to be taken to the Limbrick street area. When they got there the driver had a sharped edged object placed at the back of his neck and was robbed of an undetermined amount of money. The driver was shaken but not hurt. The culprits ran away and are still at large.

My Home Town causes sensation

The good fortune continues for Thunder Bay's Jordan Burnell. His music video My Home Town remains an internet sensation. The rap song has garnered 140 thousand views since it was posted on Thursday. The song is about Burnell's pride in Thunder Bay and all the things the city is about and what it offers.

Waterfront project over budget

Waterfront manager Katherine Dugmore has now updated city councillors on the waterfront development. She says the project at Prince Arthur's Landing has run 5 million dollars over budget. 2.2 million of that will have to be taken from phase two of the project. Dugmore says it's too early to say what buget cuts will be necessary to make up for that 2.2 million dollar shortfall for phase two.

Police probe bat attack and armed robbery

One man is in custody and another is being sought after a baseball bat attack Sunday afternoon. Police say a male victim says he was assaulted and then pushed down some stairs. Then early Monday morning a male, his face covered with a balaclava, and carrying a knife entered a north May street convenience store and stole some items. No one was hurt.

Haitian relief dollars still coming in

Thunder Bay residents continue to give generously to the efforts for Haitian earthquake relief. Red Cross Spokesperson Rob Zuback says since the appeal went out over 150 thousand dollars has been collected through various means.
Zuback says that Thunder Bay residents have raised about 33 per cent of the total raised in northern Ontario.

PARO gets Trillium grant

Getting women more meaningful job placements is one of the goals of a local government funded project. The PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise has received a 330 thousand dollar grant from the Trillium Foundation. PARO's Executive Director Rosalind Lockyer says the various projects will be funded for three years with the goal of getting women their own businesses

Friday, February 5, 2010

Jobless rate drops in the city

Good news on the jobless front in the city. There were fewer people looking for work in Thunder Bay in January. The unemployment rate in the city was 7.6 per cent. Statistics Canada says that was a drop from 8.1 per cent in December. Across the country the rate dropped slightly to 8.3 per cent.

OPP Sergeant faces trial

The tragic traffic death of an 18 year old city girl will now be the subject of a criminal trial. Following a four day preliminary hearing OPP Sergeant Darryl Storey has been committed to stand trial in connection with the December 2008 death of Jasime Veneruzzo. The accident took place at the intersection of Highway 11/17 and Twin City Crossroads. Storey is facing charges of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death. The trial will start June 1st.

Poor sales still plague charity raffle

Habitat for Humanity is still struggling to get people to purchase its Family Day lottery tickets. CEO Diane Mitchell says they have now sold just over 6 thousand tickets meaning they are over the halfway mark. Mitchell says tickets for the lottery will be available until just prior to draw time at the Sportsdome on Family Day. The grand prize is 100 thousand dollars.

L-R-C-A to close Cascades for three weeks

The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority is closing the Cascades Conservation Area for at least three weeks. Officials say its to clean up damage caused by last September's wind storm. The closure will take place starting February the 16th. The clean up will involve removing blown down trees and others which are in danger of falling.

Thunder Bay man has Oscar dreams

The students at Confederation Colleges' film class are buzzing these days. A graduate of that class is now basking in the light of an Academy Award nomination. Trent Opaloch was the cinematographer on the sci-fi flick District 9. The movie is up for best picture along with three other awards. The Thunder Bay born Opaloch is hoping it will open up new opportunities

Minister says health care spending is priority

Watch for health care spending to continue trumping many other provincial budget requests. That's essentially the suggestion from Finance Minister Dwight Duncan after he completed another set of pre-budget talks in Thunder Bay Thursday. In addition to health care, the forest industry and social spending were topics discussed behind closed doors with interested parties.

Gull Bay Chief pulls out of talks with O-P-G

The chief of Gull Bay First Nation says an O-P-G offer to compensate for historic flooding damage is so low it's ``morally repugnant.''Wilfred King says he broke off talks with Ontario Power Generation because the offer was less than other Lake Nipigon bands have received from the utility.So far, O-P-G has reached financial settlements with four of the six aboriginal communities located around the lake's shoreline.

Kids playground at Victoriaville forced out due to noise complaints

The city man who operates a business called Fun-Tastic Castles is upset with management at the Victoriaville Centre. Ken Jones had his giant inflatable kids castle set up at the city run mall since November. However noise complaints by some mall merchants got him kicked out. He says he had an agreement with management to run until April.
Jones says he had already booked some birthday parties and now he doesn't know what will happen. Mall managment did not return our call.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pat Lang backs college offer

The president of Confederation College says contingency plans are in the works if college teachers in the province go on strike. However Pat Lang says she hopes teachers will vote in favour of the colleges' final offer when its presented to them February 10th. Lang calls it a good and very reasonable offer.

Fire cause undetermined

The Ontario Fire Marshal's office is confirming what has been suspected all along. The cause of last weeks big fire on Simpson Street will go down as undetermined. Rolf Waffler says theres just too much damage to be able to come to a firm conclusion on exactly what happened. The fire completely destroyed the two story building which was once was home to a city nightclub.

Potential mine stirs excitement

The Chamber of Commerce is pumped about the prospects the future holds for the region in mining. It comes with the recent revelation that a huge chromite deposit is located in an area 500 kilometres north of the city in a mineralized area known as the Ring of Fire. The excitement built up with a speech Wednesday by the president of KWG resources, the company that wants to build a mine in the region.

Local Toyota dealer ready for the big fix

Thunder Bay's Toyota dealership is ready to begin fixing the accelerator pedals on any recalled vehicles. Wayne Toyota will be extending it's hours if necessary to deal with the problem. The issue has lead to a massive recall of certain Toyota vehicles across North America.

V-B Cook sold

A Thunder Bay company has new owners today. V-B Cook Engineering has been purchased by Genivar Income Fund. V-B Cook has 110 employees, none of which are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the deal.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Health Unit talks second hand smoke and pets

The District Health Unit is kicking off a pets and second hand smoke campaign. Spokesperson Susan Trevisan says it's a different way of getting smokers to consider the consquences of their habit. One local pet store owner says she has seen an increase in pet cancers and believes it can be attributed to second hand smoke.

Soccer fundraiser is back

The annual Kicks for Cancer fundraiser is set to take place next month. The 24 hour soccer marathon raises money to help local victims of cancer and their families. Kicks for Cancer takes place at the Sportsdome March 6th and 7th.

Witness request

There's a call for any witnesses to a car pedestrian accident Sunday night. City police say that at around 8:40 pm a collision took place on the 400 block of Arthur Street between a pedestrian and a grey Toyota. The pedestrian suffered non life threatening injuries. Police are looking for any information from any witnesses.