Thursday, September 30, 2010

NAPS seizes more Oxy

Nishnawbe-Aski Police continue to intercept illegal shipments of OxyContin. They say recent seizures took place in 3 northern First Nations communities. They confiscated over 46 thousand dollars worth of the highly addictive opiate. In total, 3 people are facing charges.

Rafferty introduces FASD bill

MP John Rafferty has introduced his second Private Members' Bill on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The Thunder Bay Rainy River MP is calling on the Federal Government to develop a national strategy on the issue.  The bill, C-569 will not be debated before the next election.

Kaszicky named Ring of Fire Coordinator

The new Ring of Fire Coordinator feels she has a good working relationship with area first nations.  Dr. Christine Kaszicky was the assistant deputy minister of Northern Development and Mines; during the time members of KI First Nation were sent to jail over a mining dispute.  Kaszicky says she's learned from that incident.  Kaszicky starts her new job on October 25th and will spend her time between Toronto and the North.  An office with a director and some staff will be set up in Thunder Bay.

McGuinty says Far North Act a good balance

Premier Dalton McGuinty is defending his government's Far North Act. Numerous groups including business and First Nations organizations are condemning it. However McGuinty believes there will be ways to work around any concerns.  McGuinty says the act is the way to balance development and conservation in the north.

McGuinty defends choice of co-ordinator

Premier McGuinty's choice for Ring of Fire co-ordinator is getting some heat. There is concern that as Assistant Deputy Minister at the Mines Ministry, Christine Kaszycki, was there when KI First Nations protesters were jailed. McGuinty calls it a learning experience for her. McGuinty says Kaszycki has the qualifications for the position.

McGuinty speaks at NOMA Conferece

Premier Dalton McGuinty spent his time in Thunder Bay promoting the Ring of Fire. McGuinty says there's great potential in the region's far north. The Premier also announced that Dr. Christine Kaszycki is the new Coordinator for the chromite deposit initiative. Meanwhile, Progressive Conservative Critic Randy Hillier is surprised by the appointment saying he thought they were going to hire someone from the outside and fresh. Hillier is critical of the fact that Kaszycki was an Assistant Deputy Minister in the Ministery of Northern Development and Mines.

Accused killers make second court appearance

Two teenage girls charged with second degree murder are due back in court in one month. It's in connection with the city's 4th homicide of the year, the beating death of a 16 year old girl from Sachigo Lake. Her body was found in a wooded area behind Wentworth Crescent on September 24th..   The accused 14 and 15 year olds, made a brief appearance in Youth Court in Thunder Bay Thursday. Their case was put over until October 28th.

Northern Communities need to re think economic development

Northwestern Ontario communities need to rethink the way they carry out economic development.  Brock Dickinson is an economic development consultant and spoke at the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association Conference.  Dickinson says Northern communities need to revamp their economic development skills since most of their tools and programs are decades old. The fall NOMA conference wraps up Friday afternoon.

NOMA fall conference underway

The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association's fall conference is underway in Thunder Bay.  Premier Dalton McGuinty will be speaking to the crowd in a few hours.  NOMA President Anne Krassilowski says they've asked McGuinty to attend their meetings two times in the last four terms of government.  Krassilowski adds his visit today is a sign of his committment to hearing their concerns.  McGuinty will be the lunch hour speaker at the NOMA conference today, he'll also be speaking to residents this afternoon applying for the Northern Ontario Energy Credit.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bishop agrees with government appeal

The Harper government says it will appeal a court ruling that struck down Canada's prostitution laws.   An Ontario judge ruled the laws unconstitutional.  Thunder Bay Bishop Fred Colli says he is in favour of the appeal saying prostitution is unacceptable.

Health official calls for bedbug standard

There's a call for a province wide standard to deal with bedbugs. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit isn't legally required to keep track of the problem. Spokesperson Chris Bevridge says he'd like all health units to work off the same page on the issue. He says as an example,  Toronto Public Health is actively involved in the problem there. While we're not seeing that kind of infestation here, Bevridge says it shows there is a need for uniform guidelines. He hopes that's one of the outcomes of a so called "bedbug summit" being held in Toronto.

McGuinty visits Thunder Bay

Premier Dalton McGuinty will be touching down in Northwestern Ontario Thursday. McGuinty will be making a speech at the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association Conference.  His talk is scheduled for noon on Thursday at the Airlane Travelodge Hotel.

City not immune to bedbugs

A local pest control expert says Thunder Bay isn't escaping the bedbug problem in North America. Robert Hamlin of Nor West Pest Control says the critters returned in just the last five years and the numbers have increase 100 per cent. Hamlin says hotels in the city are in good shape, but says bedbugs are part of the industry. Overall, he says the problem is not bad at all.

She's a hunter and a hero

A 448 pound black bear had no chance against a 17 year old girl armed with a bow. Jessica Olmstead of Battle Creek Michigan killed the massive Bruin recently while hunting with her dad near Hornepayne. Olmstead spoke with our newsroom and says it was a special moment for her to be able to come to such a beautiful place with her dad.  Olmstead says just before dark she spotted a bear club playing nearby her tree stand, when out of no where he big bear chased the cub.  The high school student says the cub was chased up the tree when her kill shot saved it from becoming the big bears dinner.   It was Olmstead's first big game kill.

Crime Prevention Council started

Thunder Bay's Crime Prevention Council is starting to recruit members.  The City held a launch for the council today and Dr. Irvin Waller was the key speaker. Waller addressed the recent murders in the city and says the council needs to review the incidents and look for specific areas where the City could have done a better job.  Waller notes the audit will show areas where there could have been intervention by police, schools, family, or other service provider.  A program coordinator will be hired this fall, and the council's first meeting will be held in mid-December.  Mayor Lynn Peterson says they've set a goal of reducing the City's crime rate by fifty percent over the next ten years. Peterson adds they'll most likely need 100 thousand dollars in funding for crime prevention programs and the council.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mauro on seniors tax credit

Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro is defending his government's decision to implement the HST. The NDP have launched a campaign calling on the Provincial Government to exempt energy from the HST.  Mauro says the NDP's numbers weren't accurate and only told half of the story.  The government announced a tax exemption today for Seniors for their energy costs.

OPP investigate murder in Fort Hope

OPP are investigating a murder in Fort Hope First Nation.  Police were called out to the community north of Sioux Lookout on Monday.  The deceased is 38 year old James Wasawa. 27 year old William Oskineegish is in custody, and has been charged with second degree murder, and breach of probation.  He'll be in Thunder Bay court on October 4th.

Breast screening program tests thousands

The Regional Cancer Centre is celebrating a milestone.  It's operated the Breast Screening Program in Northwestern Ontario for 20 years.    Cancer Care Director Alison McMullen says over 32 thousand women have been given mammograms, but more needs to be done.McMullen says the goal is to have 90 per cent of women screened by 2020.

OPP honor local police officers

Several Thunder Bay Police Officers are being honored by the Ontario Provincial Police.  Det. Sgt. Ken Davis and Det. Constable Justin Dubuc won the Officer of the Year Award.  Constable James Laton of the Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau also was honored as an officer of the year.

NOSM back to bargaining table Thursday

 The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is going back to the bargaining table with its OPSEU union employees.  Another round of talks are scheduled for Thursday and Friday in Sudbury.  Meanwhile, a Lakehead University Student is holding her own protest because she's frustrated with NOSM picketers at the school's entrances.  The rally is being held at the campus' Balmoral Street entrance at 1 on Friday.

Hotel and Condominiums start in June

The City of Thunder Bay is just weeks away from signing the waterfront development agreement for the proposed Hotel and Condominiums. Developer Gisele Mac Donald says they're on track.  Meanwhile, Councillor Larry Hebert says they'll be starting the project much earlier than expected.  The start date for the construction is June 30th, 2011.  Council approved the changes to the development agreement at their meeting Monday night.

ER is at a gridlock

Thunder Bay's Health Sciences Center is experiencing patient gridlock.  The emergency department is overwhelmed with in patients waiting for care in another part of the hospital. Alternate level care patients; those who are too sick to stay at home but don't need to be in the hospital are taking up beds that are needed for other patients.  Hospital CEO Ron Saddington says this crisis will mean an increase in wait times in the ER.

Tony Villeneuve Memorial Auto Rally is a success

The Auto Rally brought in just over 61 thousand dollars for lung cancer research at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.  Thirty one teams took in the 380 rally organizers are very happy with the results.  Terri Hrkac says they passed last years total by over a thousand dollars.

More details about Mofia in Thunder Bay have surfaced

More details surrounding the mafia cell reportedly operating in Thunder Bay has come out. The National Post says information from investigations in Italy say the Ndrangheta has ramped up recruitment in Thunder Bay and is planning on becoming active again. The probe says members from Thunder Bay met with the organizations top boss Giuseppe Commisso recently in Siderno Italy. The reports say prosecutors have named several members in Thunder Bay ranging from 53 to 73 years old. All were born in Siderno and at this point are not facing charges. Recorded discussion with Commisso say the Thunder Bay Chapter has done nothing for decades but want to become active in the community again.  Thunder Bay police are investigating the reports and spokesperson Chris Adams says considering the secretive nature of the Ndrangheta it isn't surprising they have been able to keep a low profile.  Adams also says this is the first large scale overseas crime organization to be found operating in Thunder Bay.

Monday, September 27, 2010

LRCA requires more funds

Thunder Bay could be paying more money to the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority in 2011.  the authority is asking council for almost an extra 176 thousand dollars, and administration is recommending putting that figure into the 2011 budget.   They money is to offset the costs associated with the failed attempt to build a new facility on Fort William Road.  The remaining funds are to be used for maintenance and capital expenditures for the old facility.  414 thousand dollars will be considered for next years budget for the LRCA.

Crime Prevention Council

Thunder Bay's innaugral Crime Prevention Council is going to hit the ground running. They'll conduct a crime audit to identify the city's problem areas. 30 thousand dollars was allocated for the council in 2010. The 25 member group is made up of city council members, the public, and a variety of service providers. The exact people and organizations on the board have yet to be finalized. 

Harbourfront condo design unveilled

Thunder Bay City Council got its first look at the design plans for the proposed condo and hotel planned for the Prince Arthur waterfront. Two seven story condos housing 51 suites are to be built, all boasting lake views. Re Solve Spokesperson Giselle Mac Donald says they don't have a hard price attached to the units, but they could cost around 300 dollars per square foot.  The hotel will be four star and offer a heated parking garage. The name of the hotel chain will be finalized in the near future. Hotel Developer Jo Bova says the hotel once it is built will provide 300 jobs. Meanwhile, City Council voted in favour of changes to the waterfront development agreement.

Two men to face murder trial

The Richard Quimet murder trial is expected to take place next year. The two men charged in the case, Eric Lindstrom and Christopher Gregorchuk, were ordered to stand trial on charges of second degree murder. That followed a preliminary hearing on the matter. The two will also have to face a charge of performing an indignity to a human body. Police discovered Quimet's body off of Highway 527. They say the 36 year old was the victim of a fatal assault. The two accused will be back in court next month so a date can be set for a pre-trial hearing.

15 thousand dollars needed to keep gym open

15 thousand dollars is needed to keep the Underground Gym running until March of next year.  Representatives from the charity spoke to Thunder Bay City Council Monday night imploring them for funding.  Councillor Rebecca Johnson says since 2003 the City has provided the charity with 110 thousand dollars.  Council has directed administration to come back with a series of funding solutions by October 18th.

Mauro hearing postponed

A high profile Thunder Bay Police officer is having his hearing date pushed back.   Sergeant Jim Mauro is facing 2 counts of misconduct under the Police Services Act.   The hearing was to have been held next week, but has now been moved to the week of November 9th.

Hobbs gets key endorsement

Keith Hobbs is getting a major boost in his goal of becoming mayor. The Thunder Bay District Labour Council is endorsing Hobbs for the city's top political job. Council President Melanie Kelso says it was based on his performance at the recent debate.

LU student's condition improves

A Lakehead University Student who was assaulted on a city street last week is doing better.  Police say his condition has been upgraded from critical to fair.   Police are still trying to find those involved in the incident.   They say the victim was assaulted by what are believed to have been 5 other LU students. 

Big research grant for LU

Lakehead University is taking another step to becoming a top research institution in the country.  It's received a 1.8 million dollar health research grant to study end of life care in First Nations communities.  President Brian Stevenson  calls the 5 year study exciting. 

RFDA food drive this weekend

The annual Food Drive to stock the shelves of food banks in the region takes place this weekend. The Regional Food Distribution Association is conducting the drive. Chair Larry Brigham says the need is critical. Grocery stores from Dryden to Thunder Bay to Nipigon are taking part.

Another drug bust in Thunder Bay

City police made another drug bust. Officers searched a house on McTavish Saturday morning and seized almost 9 thousand dollars in cash and a small amount of drugs. Four people were arrested and are facing drug related charges.

Latest murder victim beaten to death

The 16 year old victim died a vicious death according to City Police.  They say she was beaten to death.  The girl from Sachigo Lake was found just off a trail behind Wentworth Crescent early last week.  Two girls aged 14 and 15 are facing 2nd degree murder charges in connection and will appear in court September 30th.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Crime prevention breakfast

The city is inviting interested members of the public to a breakfast this Wednesday to learn more about the Thunder Bay Crime Prevention Council.

Dr. Irvin Waller from the University of Ottawa will be the keynote speaker. Waller specializes in the area of crime reduction.

Seating is limited; anyone interested in attending can register by calling 625-2895 by 4pm Monday.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sports Hall of fame honours new class of inductees

Four athletes and two builders were honoured Saturday night as the 2010 class of the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame were inducted. Curling superstar Al Hackner earned his spot with a career littered with accomplishments high lighted with his winning shot in the 1982 World Championships. Greg Johnson played 13 years in the NHL, including 3 years as Captain of the Nashville Predators and won silver with team Canada at the 1994 Olympics. Jay Miron became a legend in the world of BMX biking, winning 6 world championships and a total of 9 X-games medals in his career. David Walker rounded out the athletes and is another athlete who was very successful on the world stage. Walker scored 60 top ten finishes on the World circuit of Ski Ballet and placed third at the 1989 and 1991 World Championships. On the Builder side George Gwozdecky coached the University of Denver to two NCAA titles and two Penrose Awards as top coach in the country. Rounding out this years inductees is a man who many say was long overdue to enter the Hall Fred Bragnalo. A veteran of the Second World War, Bragnalo has a long history of involvement in Thunder Bay sports and is one of the founding fathers of the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of fame. Bragnalo says he is honoured to be chosen and is very happy to see how the Hall has grown.

School trustee retires

Bill Mokomela is retiring from the Lakehead District School Board after 33 years. Mokomela helped resolve a teachers strike in his first term as trustee in 1974 and to shepherd the district through a difficult period of school closures in the 1990’s. He says he'll be spending more time with his wife and grandchildren.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Respiratory illness outbreak

Officials at the Health Unit and Dawson Court have declared an outbreak of respiratory illness in three resident care areas. Admissions, transfers and discharges have been cancelled in those areas until further notice. Relatives and friends are encouraged to call the facility for more information.

Injuries in traffic accident

The Trans Canada Highway west of Nipigon is now open.  It follows a traffic accident that involved two cars Friday morning.    OPP say it was a head on collision.   The drivers of both vehicles were taken to the Regional Health Sciences Centre.  Their injuries are not considered serious.

City aquires south core properties

The city has plans for some recent property it's acquired.  It says the plan is part of the revitalization of the downtown south core.   The property that's now under city ownership includes, the former West Hotel on Simpson street and a hall beside it.   Along with that the city has ownership of the former Inntowner Hotel on Brodie street and two properties on Donald Street.

Underground gym needs cash

The Underground Gym is looking for operating funds from the City of Thunder Bay.  The group provides a place for needy kids and teens to work out, play and learn to box free of charge.  Representatives from the gym will be making a deputation and funding request at Monday night's council meeting.

Hyer reveals H2O spending

Thunder Bay MP Bruce Hyer says bottled water is being used too much by federal government departments.   Hyer studied the issue for the NDP and found that almost 2 and a half million dollars has been spent on bottled water in the last fiscal year.   Hyer says it could be even more, because last year, seven government departments and agencies stopped tracking how much they spent on bottled water.

Pat Lang announces retirement

The President of Confederation College has announced she plans to retire this summer. Pat Lang will officially step down in July, 2011.  A national search for a replacement will get underway as soon as possible. Lang was appointed president in 2000.

62 million dollar contract awarded

A 62 million dollar contract for the expansion of highway 11/17 is going to Bot Construction.  The project will be providing 400 construction jobs. A 14 kilometre section from west of MacKenzie Station Road to Birch Beach Road will be expanded to four lanes. The project is expected to get underway immediately and could take several years to complete.