Friday, December 31, 2010

Seat belt law turns 35

Ontario's seat belt law is turning 35. The law went into effect January 1st, 1976. Ontario was the first province to make it mandatory to buckle up and since then it's estimated seat belt use has saved more than 8,000 lives. OPP Traffic Sergeant Ken Mantey says fastening your seat belt is the most important thing you can do when you get into a motor vehicle. Nearly 93% of all Ontarians use seat belts; that's up from just 17% when the law came into effect. Mantey says he's perplexed by  those who still don't take the simple precaution.

Police beefing up New Year's patrols

City police will be out in force this New Year's Eve.   32 extra officers are being deployed this evening.  There's also additional support staff to handle extra files and other administrative work.   Plans are to heavily patrol both downtown cores. 

Food delivery prepares for rush

New Years Eve is one of the busiest nights of the year for the food delivery business. Local eateries are gearing up by getting huge quantities of ingredients ready and calling in extra staff. Papa Piccolino's Pizza owner David Falvo says it's a good idea to order early and that he's expecting about double the normal business. Golden Bakery owner Angelo Perna also suggests planning ahead and ordering much earlier in the day if you know you'll want food at a certain time.

Cabbies set for busy New Year's

If you are out partying Friday night  and plan to get a cab ride home, call well head of when you plan to leave. Dennis LeBeau of Roach's Taxi says New Year's is always busy.   He says the wait times for a cab will be about an hour.   LeBeau says they'll have all 42 taxi's on the street New Year's Eve.

Snow rings in 2011

It's going to be a snowy start to the new year. Meteorologist Alyssa Young says a second Colorado low is about to bear down on us. She says depending on how intense the ice pellets are, we could get 10 to 15 cm by New Years Day. Meantime to our west Atikokan, Fort Frances and Dryden have been getting hit with up to 15 cm and up to 20 cm more is expected.

Police save drunk from himself

A city snowplow operator has a story to tell today.  Police say he was working overnight on Court Street near John when a man walked in front of his machine and wouldn't let him pass.  They say the man was drunk and wanted to be run over.   The man spent the night in police custody

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wind farm debate tops local news

2010 was another busy news year in Thunder Bay.  There was no escaping the wind farm debate at city council. The proposal to build wind turbines on the Nor' Wester escarpment caused a major stir and was felt by our newsroom to be the top story in Thunder bay for this year. Keith Hobbs victory in the mayor's race came in second.

Hoad says it's about time for new warning labels

A local health official says he is relieved warning labels on cigarette packages will finally be bigger and more graphic. The Health Unit's Simon Hoad says the government's decision to change the warnings should have been done sooner.  Hoad says the newer images are necessary because the older ones aren't as effective anymore.

Adam Leon's legal saga continues

A law enforcement official in Thunder Bay says Adam Leon could be returning here soon.
Thunder Bay RCMP Detachment Commander Norman Roy says Leon will be released from federal jail today in the States and will next appear in U-S immigration court.  At that time he says a judge will determine whether he should be deported to Canada or not.   As well there is an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Thunder Bay.  Leon is the Confederation College student who took a Cessna from the college flying school and flew it illegally in American airspace.

Injuries in snow machine accident

One man is hurt following an early morning snowmobiling mishap in Shuniah Township Thursday.   OPP say it was a collision between two snow machines on West Loon Lake.   They say one of the victims may have sustained two broken legs. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Citizen's arrest attempt

A local man got more than he bargained for when he tried to make a citizen's arrest last night on East Empire Street. The 22 year old chased two people after he saw them break into his truck. He caught up to one of them--a teenage girl--but quickly backed off when her male accomplice pulled out a knife. The two suspects then ran into a laneway. The K-9 unit was called into to track the pair; no arrests have been made. Thunder Bay Police say making a citizens arrest can be risky and that it's often better to call 911 and just keep an eye on the suspects.

Operation Red Nose wraps up

Operation Red Nose has wrapped up for the year. While the exact numbers are still being calculated, Honourary Chair Ken Boschcoff calls this year's program a success. He says there was an increase in sponsorships, volunteers, kilometers traveled and rides given. Boshcoff says he hopes community groups consider partnering with the program next year to help offer more rides and expand the service. The program currently isn't able to run on New Year's Eve. However, Boshcoff says it's only the second year for the program and New Year's Eve service is something they'd like to offer in the future once more volunteer support is in place.

Future health pros look to work here

It appears local students studying in the health profession want to work in Thunder Bay. Many of them were at a city reception held just for them. A common theme appeared to be the desire of many students there to find work at home after their studies are complete. It was the 10th annual affair

Hunt continues for robbery suspect

Police are still looking for  the person responsible for Tuesday's robbery at Jenzen's Pharmacy in Westfort.  They say A man wearing a mask and armed with a knife and syringe, entered the store and demanded oxy's and morphine.  He ran off and hasn't been seen since.

Surveillance cam follows drunk driver

City police have a man in the cells this morning who gave them a bit of a video show overnight.   They say the man was spotted on the Eye on the Street surveillance system getting out of a south side bar drunk and getting in his vehicle.  Officials followed him on video for about 5 minutes as he returned to the bar, relieved himself and was taken into custody.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Stevenson Getting Down to Business

2011 is going to be a pivotal year for Brian Stevenson. The new president of Lakehead University says he has a number personal goals. Developing an international strategy and establishing scholarships for aboriginal students are a few of Stevenson's goals he would like to see started by this time next year. Stevenson says there were no surprises when he arrived to take on the new position this year and that he is ready to make positive changes for the school and the community.

2010 Successful for Crime Stoppers

Thunder Bay's Crime Stoppers program is reporting another successful year. Constable Jerry Tabucci says they've received over 700 tips in 2010 with over 1400 dollars worth of awards for tips being given out. Tabucci says even though tips declined from 2009 they're still pleased with the program.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Boxing Day Madness

Thunder Bay experienced one of its busiest boxing days in recent years with hundreds of customers flocking to Future Shop, Wal-Mart and the Intercity area. The most popular of items being sold were electronics specifically big screen T.V's, but the most surprising item flying off the shelves were frying pans some that were price reduced up to 100 dollars. One associate store manager said this year it seems shoppers are taking advantage of the economic downturn and are buying more for themselves.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Tree Disposal

Christmas Tree chipping sites are open starting December 26. City Spokesperson Jason Scherband says there are five locations on both the North and South sides of Thunder Bay. Trees are brought from recycling locations to composting sites at which they are shredded up and turned into soil and compost that is offered back to residents in the spring. You must take all ornaments, tinsel and plastic tree bags off of the tree to have it chipped.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Kettles stuffed this year

The work put in by volunteers for the Thunder Bay Christmas Kettle Campaign is paying off. Over 147 thousand dollars was raised in this year's campaign: a new record. The Salvation Army's Major Mervyn Halverson says he's grateful for the generosity of city residents. The money will go towards the charity's food bank and other programs as well, such as mobile feeding and anti-bullying education.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Accused is from Mexico

More is now known about a man charged in connection with a weekend traffic death. Christian Emhir Hernandez, who's charged with impaired driving causing death, has been living in Thunder Bay for 6 years. He was a Mexican citizen according to his lawyer Chris Watkins. Watkins says his client came to Canada to work as a structural engineer at Bombardier. Watkins couldn't confirm that the car involved in the weekend incident  may have had Mexican plates only to say it was insured in Mexico. The concern of prosecutors is that if Hernandez is released he'll escape to Mexico and because Canada has no extradition treaty with that country he could avoid a trial. However Watkins says he plans to fight that saying Hernadez has family and roots in Thunder Bay. Hernadez will be in court again on January 12th

Nice weather for Holidays

We can expect nice weather over the holiday weekend.  Giant News Meterologist Bill Laidlaw says temperatures will reach minus five and we'll have plenty of sunshine. Winds are expected to pick up on Boxing Day. Snowfall could come by Wednesday.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Terrace Bay Pulp Holiday Downtime

Terrace Bay's Buchanan Pulp Mill is taking some down time during the holiday season.  Spokesperson Yves Fricot says the mill is doing good, but notes there are some areas of improvement.  Fricot says in 2011 they hope to improve conditions in the mill's woodlands operation. Fricot notes both of the mill's lenders have paid a visit and they're happy with the operation.

Bill Mauro New Years Resolutions

Thunder Bay has weathered the economic storm.  That's the message of Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro.  Mauro says there will be plenty of financial activity in the New Year with plenty of construction work.  Mauro adds in 2011 he will start to push harder for a Northern Ontario Law School.

Wrapping paper not recyclable

After your done ripping into your presents today; don't forget to throw out the wrapping paper. City Spokesperson Jason Scherband says the colourful wrap isn't recyclable. Scherband notes garbage and recycling pick up will resume as normal on Monday because the holidays fell on the weekend.

Tree Chipping Sites open on Boxing Day

You can get rid of your Christmas Tree for free.  Ten chipping sites are open in the City starting Boxing Day.  City Spokesperson Jason Scherband says the trees must not have any tinsel or ornaments on them when you drop them off.  Drop off sites are as follows: Brent Park, Country Park Tennis Court, Grandview Arena, John Jumbo Gardens and the Strathcona Golf Course.  On the south side it's Delaney Arena, Kinsmen Northwood Centre, Lakehead Labour Centre and Westfort Playing Field.

Drunk driving victims remembered

The OPP are warning party goers to not drink and drive. On the anniversary of Debbie Dawe's death to a drunk driver, OPP held their memorial RIDE check in front of the MTO building on James Street. Sgt. Ken Mantey says the message is simple, they don't want any more victims of drinking and driving because it's 100 per cent preventable.  Both OPP and city police will be out in force this holiday weekend.

Hay looks into the future

There will be some unfinished business for Fire Chief John Hay in 2011. Hay hopes the year will finally see an end to the on-going contract hassles with the Firefighters Association. Hay says 2010 will go down as a benchmark year for the service because of their involvement with the G-8 summit

OPP remind public to drive carefully

The OPP are reminding the motoring public to take it easy on area highways this winter.  Constable Carol Michtics says people need to modify their driving habits to ensure you have additional time to arrive at your destination in case road and weather conditions make it hard to travel.  Michtics says you should ensure your gas tank is full, take time to clear your windows and lights, and carry warm clothing and boots in case of an emergency.  Michtics recommends calling for road conditions before heading out on the road.  The MTO's road conditions hotline is 1-800-268-4686.

Crimestoppers happy with tips received

Thunder Bay's Crimestoppers program is reporting another successful year. Constable Jerry Tabucci says they've received over 700 tips in 2010. Tabucci says even though tips declined from 2009 they're still pleased with the program. Almost 15 thousand dollars was spent on rewards.

New tix act called a facade

A Thunder Bay based tour producer calls the McGuinty governments new Ticket Speculation Act a facade. The law is designed to prevent the reselling of event ticket. However, Mark Zurevinsky says there is no way the province will be able stop that.  He says for the government to try to circumvent the sale of tickets is an impossible feat, he calls the act a facade.  Zurevinsky says the law of supply and demand will always rule the world of ticket scalping.

Airport's are bustling with traffic

 It's a busy time at the Thunder Bay Airport.  Manager Scott McFadden says people should arrive early to avoid a rushed feeling. McFadden adds wrapped presents packed in your suitcase might be opened during a search.

College to recruit foreign students

Confederation College's enrollment has jumped 10 percent in 2010. President Pat Lang says it's been a good year for the college. Lang adds they plan to recruit students from China and India in the New Year.  Lang adds in 2011 they will implement their new strategic plan.

Vinet heads KDMA

The Kenora District Municipal Association has appointed Phil Vinet as its new President. The Red Lake mayor replaces Gary Parkes, who was defeated in the Machin Municipal election this Fall.

Dryden Mayor lends a helping hand

A Dryden senior is praising the quick thinking of Dryden's Mayor.  After having a water metre installed at her home she noticed it was leaking water into her basement.  Martha Dunn says she didn't know who to call on the weekend so she called Craig Nuttall.  Nuttall called around and found someone from the company to fix the leak and then later stopped by to see how the situation worked out.  A private company is in the process of installing water metres throughout Dryden.

NW LHIN provides money for seniors

As many as 35 seniors in the Kenora and Rainy River Districts will be able to remain in their homes thanks to funding from the Northwest Local Health Integration Network.  The money is targeted at supportive housing services for seniors.  Laura Kokochinski is the CEO of the LHIN's and says its all part of their Aging at Home strategy.  Kevin Queen is the CAO of the Pinecrest Home for the Aged and says they will be getting
240 thousand dollars to expand their Home Support Services.

Con College gets cash

Confederation College is going to expand two of it's apprenticeship program. 10 students this fall in the Culinary management program will benefit from 185-thousand dollars in Provincial funding. The Instrumentation Engineering program will see 189-thousand dollars from the government.

Bombardier contract still hot topic

It's local politics.  That's the feeling of Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro when it comes to the Bombardier TTC contract.  Recently former cabinet minister David Caplan made comments in favour of scrapping the deal; but Mauro says as an MPP he's allowed to do that.  Mauro says Caplan is doing what he thinks is best for Toronto and it's no different from him standing up for Thunder Bay.  Mauro says he's going to continue to fight for the Bombardier contract.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kakabeka Falls woman wins cash

Just in time for Christmas, a Kakabeka Falls woman is 250-thousand dollars richer.  The 36 year old mom of three won the cash by playing an instant win game.  Monique Dixon says she'll use the money to pay her bills.

Accused remains behind bars

A first appearance in court today for a city man charged in a weekend traffic death.   25 year old Christian Hernandez remains in custody following a video appearance in a Thunder Bay court room Wednesday morning.  Hernandez is charged with Impaired Driving Causing Death and Failing to Stop at the Scene of an Accident in connection with the weekend death of 45 year old Richard Carmichael.  He was struck by a vehicle on High Street.   Hernandez appears in court again on Friday.

Search for 14 year old called off

It will be a Merry Christmas for a Thunder Bay family.  Police have called off the search for a 14 year old boy.  Jordan Jeffrey Connell was reported missing yesterday and returned home.

Heney pumped about laker purchases

The top man in the Thunder Bay Port Authority says it proves the St. Lawrence Seaway is here to stay. Tim Heney says the decision by Algoma Central to buy 4 new lake freighters from China is a significant shot in the arm for the system. He calls it excellent news and shows the removal of the 25 per cent seaway duty is having an impact. He adds, the purchase shows a lot of faith in the seaway system.

Toys for Tots Campaign reaches its goal

It's another success for Thunder Bay Firefighters Toys for Tots Campaign. The Charity raised over 137 thousand dollars for the Christmas Cheer fund. Chair Bob Vander Ploeg says they raised about 5 thousand more than last year which was a big surprise. Vander Ploeg hopes people will now turn their attention to the other charities and help them reach their goals.

Another one rides the bus

The mayor and two city councillors took the city bus today. Keith Hobbs says it's his way of helping to boost ridership on city buses and not to suggest numbers are down. He says it's also his own personal way to find out how the transit system works since he hasn't ridden a bus in years. Hobbs was joined by Councillors Hebert and Virdiramo.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

L-U prez ready for 2011

The new president of Lakehead University says 2010 brought no surprises. Summing up this year, Brian Stevenson says it was exciting to get his dream job, saying it's been something he's been trained to do.  Stevenson says he's got a number of goals that he'd like to see started including attracting more international students and reviving the law school proposal.

Rickford is election ready

The MP for Kenora doesn't think there's any need for an election yet.  But Greg Rickford says he'll be ready to hit the campaign trail in the new year if necessary. Rickford says while an election is on the mind of the opposition parties, its not a sure thing just yet.  There's been widespread speculation the election could come as soon as this spring, after the government delivers its annual budget.

Rafferty on the year that was

Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP John Rafferty is looking on 2010 with some regret. He says it was a tough year for many people in the riding.   The NDP member says his goal in 2011 will be to try and make life more affordable for those people.

Gravelle recaps 2010

Michael Gravelle is hoping 2011 won't be as rocky as some spots in 2010 were. The Northern Development and Forestry Minister had to help promote the new Forest Tenure system, one which doesn't have strong support within the industry.  Gravelle says the Ring of Fire development is what he plans to focus on in 2011, an election year.

Union gas bills going down

Good news for people who heat their home with natural gas.  Spokesperson Kerry Dudley Tatsu says the Ontario Energy Board approved a decrease of about 2.3 cents per cubic metre.  That means local union gas bills will be cut a dollar a year.

Port closes January 6th

Thunder Bay's shipping season is coming to a close in two weeks time.  C.E.O. Tim Heney says 2010 was a mix of good and bad.  Heney notes grain shipments were down while potash and coal shipments were up.  The Thunder Bay port will be closed on January 6th.