Friday, April 30, 2010

Low level of Dog Lake no concern for OPG

A trip to Dog Lake will help prove how dry the weather has been. Ontario Power Generation monitors the lake level there. Spokesperson Ted Gruetzner says it's about half a metre lower than average and just less than a metre lower then it was last year. He says however, there's no concern it will cause any power problems for OPG generators on the Dog River.

Free waste week coming up

If there was any time to get rid of that junk in your house and yard its from May 2-9. The city is allowing you to use the Mapleward Road waste facility for free for those 7 days . Spokesperson Jason Sherband says it's become very popular. He says the facility averages about 900 vehicles a day. Sherband recommends going early in the morning to avoid the long lines. Meantime police will be monitoring vehicles going to the landfill to make sure all loads are properly covered

Outdoor fires now permitted in the northwest

The outdoor fire ban in Northwestern Ontario is over. Reagan Breeze of the Ministry of Natural Resources says that the Restricted Fire Zone has been lifted. He says the rain that we've received has helped to reduce the fire hazard in the entire district.  It means that camp fires for cooking and warmth are now allowed.

Huge changes proposed to forest licencing

The McGuinty government is proposing sweeping changes to the way wood cutting licences are awarded. Effectively the big forestry giants would have their current licences scrapped and they'd have to start over. Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle admits the moves are bold putting all firms, large and small, on an equal footing. The biggest difference would be the creation of Local Forest Management Corporations that would control the system in each region. Public hearings on the proposed changes start in Thunder Bay May the 18th.

Father and son arrested after donut shop brawl

One man has been sent to Winnipeg for treatment after a fight with a father son duo. Police say the 21 year old victim received a serious wound to his arm during a fight at a south side donut shop last night. A 41 year man and his 18 year old son are facing several charges and police say alcohol may have been involved.

Businesses take part in Spring Up to Clean Up

Businesses across Thunder Bay were out picking up garbage and litter around their buildings. It's all part of the 14th annual Spring Up to Clean Up program. Councillor Andrew Foulds says picking up litter goes a long way in making the city more attractive to visitors. Eco Superior's Karen Copeland says everyone is encouraged to help clean up the community throughout the month of May.

Pot bust lands one man in jail

A special package has landed a Thunder Bay man in jail. The 23 year old was arrested after police intercepted a package containing 3 pounds of marijuana and a pound of hash. The Combined Forces Organized Crime Unit made the arrest after the package was delivered.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cyclotron building may be in jeopardy

Officials with the Regional Research Institute hope they don't have to scale back their plans for a new building on the hospital grounds. The proposed 25 million dollar facility would house a new cyclotron that would produce medical isotopes. Institute chair, Keith Jobbitt says federal funding for the project may not come through.  He says they may instead have to use an existing building like the Health Sciences Centre or the Munro Street facility.  Jobbitt says they will continue to pursue the funding from the feds.

Slain constable to receive another honour

The Current River Bridge on Highway 11-17 is going to be named after a police officer who died in the line of duty. Saturday officials will dedicate the bridge to the memory of City Police Constable John Kusznier. He died in a shooting in the parking lot of a north side hotel 30 years ago. The ceremony will take place at the Terry Fox Lookout at 11 am.

New study says school food program works

The Lakehead Public School Board is touting the success of a program aimed at helping Aboriginal students. The Neighbourhood Capacity Building Project helps make sure the students are fed and are exposed to native culture. Organizer Tammy Bobyk says a new study shows it's working and has an influence on student success which can be directly linked to academic success.

Fatal accident leads to charge

A Thunder Bay man is now facing a charge in connection to Wednesday's fatal traffic accident on Red River Road. Spokesperson Chris Adams says that's were a pick up and a motorbike collided resulting in the death of the motorcycle driver, 37 year old Darren Dolph.  Police have charged the 49 year old pick up truck driver with careless driving. Adams says no further charges are expected.

Cheques on the way for some northern residents

Some residents of Northern Ontario will soon qualify for a cheque to take the sting out of higher energy costs. Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle says the money will start coming after the law is passed.  The cheques will range from 130 dollars for individuals to 200 dollars for families. The credit is designed for low and middle income people and families.

Walk to help Easter Seals

On the charity beat, the Dawson Road Safeway store is hosting an Easter Seals fundraising walk Saturday morning. Rhonda Harrison of Easter Seals says there is no financial goal set because it's only the first year of the event. The walk starts at 11:30 until 12:30.  The cost to enter is 10 dollars

Fourth mayoralty candidate emerges

A city truck driver wants to be the next mayor of Thunder Bay. 53 year old Brian Kwasny is a life long resident of the city and understands he has a low profile, but he believes that can be an advantage because it will keep him open minded. Kwasny says the current city council has been doing things backwards. He becomes the 4th candidate in this mayors race. The other three are Lynn Peterson, Keith Hobbs and Jeff Irwin.

Rydholm seeking another council term

Linda Rydholm doesn't believe her work on city council is finished. The Neebing Ward councillor says she will be seeking another term in the October municipal election. She sites the Big Thunder Wind Farm as one of the issues she wants to tackle, saying the complexities of the project have to be resolved.  She is the second registered candidate in that ward, the other is former councillor Gary Shchepanik.

Lack of waterfall causes tourism concern

There's concern tourism will suffer in Kakabeka if the main attraction isn't there. The famous falls have been reduced to a trickle because of the lack of precipitation over the winter. The Past President of the Kakabeka Business Association, Marlis Dudzinski, says there will be a big impact. She says businesses may have to advertise more and feature other outdoor attractions like ATV and motorcycle trails.

Greenstone turns to online voting

In the same week Thunder Bay said no to online voting another local municipality is setting a precedent. Greenstone council voted to implement telephone and internet voting for the upcoming municipal elections. Mayor Michael Power says it will cost 40 thousand dollars which is cheaper than the old mail in ballot system.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

National Day of Mourning draws more each year

The annual National Day of Mourning for workplace deaths continues to gain popularity in Thunder Bay. About 250 people showed up for Wednesdays ceremony outside the Labour Centre. Labour Council President Melanie Kelso says more and more people are realizing the importance of the day knowing that it could be them that could someday be killed or injured on the job.  Kelso says the day will continue to go recognized until workplace injuries and deaths stop.

New forest fire in the Thunder Bay District

Relief is still days away for the parched forests of Northwestern Ontario. Debbie MacLean of the Ministry of Natural Resources says that one new fire was reported in the Thunder Bay district 15 kilometres north of the city in the Surprise Lake area.  She says it's a 3 hectare blaze with nothing valuable threatened but they consider it a fire of concern and crews continue to attack it.  MacLean says the fire hazard remains high to extreme

Motorcycle collision leaves one man dead

One man is dead after a fatal collision in the North downtown. Spokesperson Chris Adams says it took place on Red River Road at the entrance to the Heart of the Harbour Parkade just before 7:30 between a Motorcycle and a pickup truck. The 37 year old driver of the motorbike died at the Health Sciences Centre. He is identified as Darren Dolph of Thunder Bay. Police closed a stretch of Red River Road for several hours, to gather evidence.

Multi-Plex meeting dates set

The dates have now been set for the two public meetings on the proposed multi-plex arena. City Manager Tim Commisso says that's where study results will be presented and the public will be allowed to comment. He says the meeting will be divided into three segments. The first will be the displays, the second a presentation from the city on the Phase One study and the third part will be an open forum for public comment. The meetings will take place May 6th at the Da Vinci Centre and May 13th at the Italian Hall on Algoma Street.

Get ready to Run N' Roll

The M-S Society of Thunder is back with its' annual Run N' Roll Half Marathon. Organizer Hal Lightwood says it will be taking place July 18th. Once again it will be held on Lakeshore Drive in the municipality of Shuniah and it's open to runners and inline skaters. Lightwood says they hope to attract 200 particpants with a goal of raising 14 thousand dollars.

Ride for Dad set for next month

The annual Bell Motorcycle Ride for Dad happens on June 19th. The proceeds from the event go towards the fight against prostate cancer. Organizer Tere McDonald feels the event has done quite a bit to raise awareness.   In the past 5 years men have become more open about discussing the disease. It's hoped that about 300 riders will take part. Pictured: Glenn Craig, Kerri Spooner and Tere McDonald.

Fundraising begins for Ronald McDonald House

McDonald's Restaurants in Thunder Bay and Northern Ontario are raising money for a new Ronald McDonald House in Toronto. Thunder Bay's Kathy Bukovy says that facility is important for northerners because families from here stay there when their children get cancer treatment.  She says one-third of those people who stay at Ronald McDonald House are from Northern Ontario. Bukovy says they hope to raise 1 million dollars for the cause through customer contributions and fundraisers.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

ATV bylaw passes in Oliver-Paipoonge

Owners of All Terrain Vehicles in Oliver-Paipoonge can now legally do what they've been doing all along. Mayor Lucy Kloosterhuis says they can ride their vehicles on the community roads after council voted in favour of a new bylaw on the practice. Kloosterhuis says the law also sets out rules that ATV owners must follow in the rural township.

Tuchenhagen ponders his political future

McKellar Ward residents may not see Robert Tuchenhagens' name on the election ballot in October. The city councillor is seriously considering not running for another term. He says he's not happy with the current council.   He thinks it's time for the community to have an opportunity to vote for new people who won't be preoccupied with their re-election bids and be able to get some substantive work done.  Tuchenhagen plans to make an official announcement in the coming weeks.

AP program growing in the city

More and more students in Thunder Bay are being convinced to join the Advanced Placement program. The Ontario Director Lynda Robinson is visiting the city and says the program is growing slowly here. However she can't compare our particpation rate with the rest of the province.  She says some schools have only one AP program while others have seven, adding it's like comparing apples and oranges. Under the AP program,  high school exam results are recognized by all universities in Ontario.

Cats sign four

The Thunder Bay Borders Cats are still not finished signing players for the 2010 Northwoods League season. Joining the club are second baseman Evan Mistich and outfielder Jay Laurienzo. As well pitchers Matt White and Freddy Lewis are also signed on. The first pitch at Port Arthur Stadium will be June 2nd against the Duluth Huskies.

Raynard court case resolved

Jake Raynards' life isn't on hold anymore. The 30 year old gay man was severely beaten in Thunder Bay last October in what his family said was a hate crime. However in the course of the police investigation Raynard himself faced 3 assault and weapons related charges. Raynard says in court this week the issues were resolved.    He says the 2 weapons charges were withdrawn and he plead guilty to assault and was given an absolute discharge.   Raynard received community support after the attack which included a rally at Waverly Park.

OPP issue hitchhiker advisory

The OPP are warning drivers not to pick up hitchhikers in the Jellicoe area. They say there was a single car accident on Highway 11 this morning and the occupants of the vehicle walked away from it. They believe it's possible they may be trying to catch a ride with anyone they can flag down.

Fire Rangers battle brush fire on Mount McKay

Mount McKay was the site of another spring forest fire. Fire Ranger crews had trouble getting to the blaze and a helicopter with a Bambi bucket was called in until crews were able to get to it. One hectare was burned before the fire was put out.

Firefighter hurt in garage fire

A Thunder Bay Firefighter ended up in hospital after battling a garage fire yesterday. Crews responded to the blaze on Toms road just before 7 o'clock and found the garage engulfed in flames. 5 pumper trucks responded and the fire was quickly brought under control. The owner was checked for smoke inhalation and the garage was a complete loss.

Woman robbed at knife point

Thunder Bay police are on the lookout for two men wanted in connection with an armed robbery. Police say a woman was robbed at knife point last night just before midnight in the park by Lambton Place. The men made off with her purse and luckily she wasn't hurt.

Here's how councillors voted on e-voting

City councillors voted 8-5 against allowing the internet and phone voting in the next's how the final count went Monday night.
Against-Mark Bentz, Joe Virdiramo, Trevor Giertuga, Linda Rydholm, Larry Hebert, Brian McKinnon, Frank Pullia and Lynn Peterson.
For-Iain Angus, Andrew Foulds, Robert Tuchenhagen, Aldo Ruberto and Rebecca Johnson,

Monday, April 26, 2010

Council turns down e-voting

There will be no internet or phone voting in the upcoming municipal election. Councillors have voted 8-5 against the proposal. Trevor Giertuga was one of the 8 to turn thumbs down to the idea. Giertuga says he's not convinced all the security issues have been answered. For Mayor Lynn Peterson it's a question of security as well saying she is not comfortable with voters names, PIN numbers and other private information being in a data base that would be susceptible to hackers.

Consortium re-brands itself

The Thunder Bay Oil Sands Consortium is no more.  In its place is a new company called Thunder Bay Metal Fabricators Association.   Speaking to city councillors on Monday evening board member Paul Peterson said the name change is designed to show the firm is doing more than just getting contracts for city firms from the Alberta oil sands. He denies the change had anything to do with the negative environmental publicity the oil sands have received recently.   Peterson says that includes seizing new markets where they can find them including the so called Ring of Fire chromite deposit 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.

Former trustee eyes City Council

Former Public School trustee is looking to jump into city politics. Beatrice Metzler has declared her intention to run as a canadidate for City Council in the October municipal election. She will be running for councillor-at-large. Metzler says her priorities will be a diversified economy for the city, a safe community and fair taxation.

Shear Heaven to close

After 31 years Shear Heaven is closing its doors. Owner Aldo Ruberto says he is retiring from the hairstyling business. He says it's been quite a ride and has learned a lot from being in business for so long. Ruberto says he considered moving the salon to a new location, but decided to retire instead and focus on being a full time city councillor. The last day of business for Shear Heaven will be Friday. Ruberto says he has found jobs for all his 11 stylists.

Rafferty pension bill could go to committee

Thunder Bay MP John Rafferty is optimistic about his private members bill. He says the bill is designed to add protection to workers pensions by moving them from unsecured status to secured status. He says 4 million Canadians stand to benefit from the bill if it's passed. Rafferty says after debate on the bill today, it appears all parties, including the Conservatives, are interested taking it to the committee stage.

Thunder Bay police have busy weekend

City police had to deal with a couple of incidents over the weekend. Saturday a man walked into the south downtown salon and assaulted a receptionist before making off with her purse. No has been arrested and police continue to investigate. Then yesterday two people were arrested after the discovery of a grow op. Officers responded to a call on Keith Street early yesterday morning and saw marijuana plants in the residence when they arrived. A search found 40 plants and a man and woman were arrested and charged.

Rural cemetery vandalized

Officials at the Lappe Cemetery are cleaning up the mess after a weekend of vandalism. OPP report that several headstones were overturned , ornaments damaged and garbage thrown around. Also over the weekend, no one was home after fire engulfed a house on Highway 11/17 east of Shabaqua. The cause is under investigation.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Wesway project gets extended

Employees at Wesway services in Thunder Bay are celebrating. The non profit organization provides care to those people who are close to death. It was taking part in a special pilot project that provided those services to seniors living in communities throughout the Thunder Bay district. The provincial funding was to have run out at the end of last month. However officials have received word the funding will be extended another year.

No major controversy expected at City Hall

City councillors should be getting a break from any controversy Monday night. They won't have to deal with wind farms, bus depots or subdivision expansions. Instead they will hear a presentation from the Thunder Bay Oil Sands Consortium. Thats the group that tries to secure contracts for local businesses from the Alberta oil sands project. Also on the agenda, councillors will be asked to approve a policy on Violence in the Workplace as part of the changes to the provinces Occupational Health and Safety Legislation

Snowbirds making a return visit next month

The Snowbirds are coming back to Thunder Bay. The Armed Forces precision flying team will entertain us May 26th. It will be part of Confederation Colleges' Aviation day according to organizer Paul de Oude. He says they'll perform a fly-by and not a full aerobatic show. The fly by will take place over the airport and city during the lunch hour and last about half an hour

Young soldier injured in Afghanistan back home

A bottle of scotch and some Pink Floyd. That's how Master Corporal Chris Drewes wants to relax now that he is back home in Thunder Bay. Drewes was injured in Afghanistan in the same roadside bomb blast that killed fellow soldier Private Tyler William Todd. The 24 year old Drewes doesn't consider himself a hero. He says if anyone should have that tag, it's Private Todd. Right now he is recovering from a shrapnel wound to his shoulder. He says he does have limited use of it. Drewes was welcomed at the airport by family and friends Friday afternoon.

Two hurt in John St. fire

Two people are hurt following a fire this afternoon at 960 John St. The fire is believed to have originated in a top floor bedroom of the semi-detached home. District Fire chief David Grant says one of the injured had smoke inhalation trying to put out the fire the other suffered a cut hand breaking a window.  Four people were in the house at the time the blaze broke out.  The cause of the fire was undetermined at the time

Local MPP's the target of attack ads

MPP Michael Gravelle denies accusations he and fellow MPP Bill Mauro are cutting frontline healthcare. The attack ads are aimed at the McGuinty governments' decision to cut professional allowances to pharmacies. Gravelle says the whole story isn't told, saying its about cutting the cost of generic drugs. He calls it a pretty tough battle that's going on, but believes the decision is in the best interests of Ontarians who are paying more than they should for generic drugs.   Gravelle says government grants to the pharmacies will help offset the losses they incur. Meantime, Mauro says he won't comment on the attack campaign.

Report targets suicide prevention

Youth leaders in the city say they are encouraged by a report on preventing youth suicide. The report was compiled after workshops with local high school students. Spokesperson Debbie Sault says the community should pay attention to this report because youth need support from adults, but many adults are terrified of the topic and they won't talk about youth suicide or don't know how to respond. Some of the recommendations in the report include, having more activities available for youth and having more access to professional help.

Thunder Bay's inflation rate drops

Thunder Bay saw a small drop in the inflation rate last month. Our rate was 0.8 percent in March down from February's 1.1. It was the same story nationally where the rate went from 1.6 to 1.4. The core inflation rate saw an even bigger drop from 2.1 to 1.7 last month.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Replica handgun leads to weapons charges

Police say a 26 year old city man is facing weapons related charges following an incident at the OLG Casino this week. Police say staff noticed a man who appeared to be carrying a handgun. It turns out it was a replica, however a subsequent search of his home turned up pocket knives, a metal pipe and a razor blade.

TBSO names its new conductor

The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra now has its new Music Director. Arthur Post becomes the 8th conductor to lead the orchestra in its 50 year history. Post says he's looking forward to his new role saying that in his short time in the city this season he noted the TBSO has a group of magnificant muscians who are also exceptional people.  Post will make his first appearance as conductor October 14th when the orchestra performs at the Community Auditorium.

ATV vote Monday in Oliver-Paipoonge

The Township of Oliver-Paipoonge may be about to allow ATV's on community roads. Mayor Lucy Kloosterhuis says on Monday council will be voting on the issue. She says it's just a matter of convenience for the rural residents. She says alot of them have ATV's and would like to get from point A to point B in the municipality. Kloosterhuis says the vote will follow a presentation by the Thunder Bay Police on highway traffic laws as they apply to ATV's

LU prof stranded because of volcanic ash

A Lakehead University professor is stranded in London, England because of the ash from that volcano in Iceland. Peter Hollings just happens to be a geology professor and one who specializes in volcanoes, an irony not lost on him. He says he is staying with family and so it hasn't been unpleasant. He says there are some people questioning whether officials reacted in haste in grounding all air traffic. Hollings says he was surprised by the blanket ban but admits officials had to err on the side of safety. Hollings says he hopes to be back in Thunder Bay on the weekend and teaching by Monday.

Restricted fire zone in place

The dry conditions in northwestern Ontario have forced the hand of the Ministry of Natural Resources. Fire information officer Deb MacLean says a restricted fire zone is now in place. It affects the Thunder Bay, Fort Frances and Kenora districts as well as parts of the Sioux Lookout and Red Lake districts. Maclean says not to let the cool weather fool you, the conditions are ripe for forest fires.