Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fundraiser nets record amount

The 18th annual Great Billboard Rescue has raised a record amount of money for the United Way. 30 teams spent time on scissor lifts Thursday calling for donations. The result was almost 130 thousand dollars in pledges That's the highest ever raised in the 18 years of the event.

Ontario's top doc is wrong: Freitag

An opponent of the proposed Nor' Wester Mountains wind farm disagrees with the provinces Chief Medical Officer of Health. Margot Freitag says Ontarios top doctor is wrong when she concludes there are no adverse health effects from wind turbines. Freitag says Dr. Arlene King is only saying what the premier wants her to say. She says her group knew Dr. King would come out with that exact finding and that it's a political and not a health agenda Freitag says other studies clearly show wind turbines do cause health problems.

Gravelle touts rebate

You can bank on a northern Ontario energy rebate if you're deemed low or middle income.  The McGuinty Government passed the rebate legislation on Thursday.  Minister of Northern Development Michael Gravelle says the legislation is here to stay.  Single Northerners could see up to 130 dollars, while families and single parents will get up to 200 dollars.

Rafferty critical of EI office closures

Service Canada has announced plans to close several Employment Insurance Claim processing sites in Northern Ontario. The sites deemed for closure by 2014 include Thunder Bay, Kenora, Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay and Timmins. Thunder Bay MP John Rafferty isn't happy with the cuts.   He says at a time when EI filings are at or near record levels the Harper government is closing up shop in some of the hardest hit communities.  Rafferty says it's beyond poor judgement.  The move is meant to centralize services bringing the number of offices in the province down from 24 to 6.

Government passes energy rebate legislation

The provincial government has the passed legislation having to do with the Northern Ontario energy credit.  Government Spokesperson Alicia Johnston says low and middle income residents will receive an application form in the mail this August.  Single Northerners could see up to 130 dollars, while families and single parents will get up to 200 dollars.

Beady slams boreal agreement

Grand Chief Stan Beardy is angy again. This time the leader of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation is upset the recent Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement was written without input from NAN. It's a deal reached between forest products companies and environmentalists in Canada to protect the Boreal Forest. Beardy says it treats his nation like a stakeholder rather than a government. He says his people have never given up the treaty right they have been given to govern themselves. Beardy says NAN will continue to take all legal means to make sure their rights are protected

Forest fire hazard high

The forest fire hazard is currently listed as high to extreme in parts of Northwestern Ontario.  Ministry of Natural Resources Information Officer Debbie McLean says despite the hot dry weather; there won't be a restricted fire zone.  To date fire crews have responded to 206 fires.  In 2009 crews were called out to 109 fires.  McLean notes they would like people use propane cookers for their shore lunches instead of fire.

City politicians do their funding homework

Preparations are underway by city politicians to bring key issues to the attention of senior government leaders over the summer. Councillor Joe Virdiramo heads the city committee that is preparing a list of priorities for the Ontario Municipal Association meeting in August. He says if the city doesn't raise the bar on certain issues then the government won't provide the money we need to deal with the critical problems that face the city. Virdiramo says the top priority for funding will be the detox beds that the police chief has been asking for. Other issues include the Northern Growth Plan, the Endangered Species Act and highway safety.

Get it on-your life jacket that is

Before you head out on the water, "get it on".  The Ontario Provincial Police, Ministry of Natural Resources and Thunder Bay Health Unit are behind a new campaign geared at fishermen who do not wear life jackets.  Outdoor Writer Gord Ellis says there's no excuse for not putting on a personal floatation device.  Ellis notes that fishermen spend lots of money on the latest equipment, that it seems silly to be concerned about a 200 dollar pfd.  Last year two people in Northwestern Ontario drowned in area lakes.

Local athletes give students a thrill

The kids at Nor' wester View School are a little fitter today. They got a chance to meet some local athletes Thursday as part of a day to promote physical activity. Star curler Krista McCarville was there to teach students about the sport and promote it a little. She was hoping to increase enrollment in the Little Rock and Junior curling programs at the school.    Olympic gold medalist Haley Irwin was also there.   She loves to see how excited the kids are to see the gold medal and to hold it.  Irwin also gave props to the local schools for helping students follow the Vancouver games.

Careless drivers get caught by City police

Not paying attention cost a few Thunder Bay drivers some money yesterday. City police were cracking down on people running the new four-way stop at the intersection of Donald and Brodie Streets by city hall. Yesterday officers handed out 15 tickets for various offences and in one case a driver was caught running the stop sign while taking on his cell phone. 

Couchiching chief stands firm

There is no backing down for Chief Chuck McPherson of the Couchiching First Nation. Plans are in place for the band members to set up a toll booth tomorrow on the Trans Canada Highway that runs through the community near Fort Frances. Chief McPherson says he's taking a lot of heat for his position, but says it's a matter of principle.   He insisists the band has not received fair compensation from the federal government for building the highway through the reserve.  McPherson says he is prepared to go to jail for his stand.

Car found in Neebing River

Thunder Bay Police are investigating after a vehicle was discovered in the Neeing River behind the Delaney Arena. It was originally called into the fire department as a water rescue, but when crews arrived no one was found in the car. Police say the vehicle was reported stolen last night.