Tuesday, May 31, 2011

True North's Chipman makes Thunder Bay inquiries

Don't rule out Thunder Bay as being a possible future home of an AHL Franchise.   City Manager Tim Commisso says he spoke to  Manitoba Moose owner and True North's Mark Chipman about three weeks ago and  Chipman appeared very interested in Thunder Bay.  He says that Chipman's group sees "synergies" with Thunder Bay, especially it's proximity to Winnipeg.  However, Commisso couldn't guarantee Chipman when, or even if, a new Multi-Plex arena would be built here.

Influential Women honoured

Thunder Bay's Marija Harp is one of three local women who are award winners for being influential women in the north.  Other award winners were Levina Collins of Nipigon and Lakehead University's Nancy Luckai.

MNR sends more people to Alberta

The Ministry of Natural Resources is sending more personnel to the forest fire fight in Alberta.  Another 102-fire staff are expected to leave Wednesday; replacing some of those who have been in the western province for the past two weeks.  85 of the 190 Ontario personnel now in Alberta are expected to return later this week.

One year of smoke free play areas

It's been one year of smoke free parks and beaches in Thunder Bay.  Northwest Tobacco Control Spokesperson Dan DePeuter says so far no charges have been laid.  The by-law prohibits smoking within 10 metres of any playground equipment or beach areas.

Thunder Pride flag flies over City Hall

The rainbow flag is flying high over Thunder Bay's City Hall.  The flag raising ceremony kicked off a week of gay and alternative lifestyle events in the city.  Spokesperson Tom Boland says the week long event will help raise awareness with the region's youth. Boland says it's a celebration of diversity.

Gadhafi's running out of time

Moammar Gadhafi's rope continues to fray, that's the opinion of Lakehead University Political Science expert Laure Paquette.  She says Gadhafi has asked for a truce to stop NATO Bombing but rebels have already rejected it because it would take away their biggest advantage.  Paquette says it's taking longer than anyone expected but it does appear that the end is near for Gadhafi.

Black liquor to go green

Black liquor could soon become green thanks to a 180 thousand dollar grant from the provincial government. The money is coming through Thunder Bay's Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio Economy.  CRIBE is giving the money to Thesis Chemistry of Cambridge.  It's so the company can produce environmentally friendly versions of the gooey solution which is the by-product of the paper producing process.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Council signs onto economic development project

The City will be using 200-thousand dollars in provincial funds to carry out a regional economic development project.  The pilot project was part of the Province's 2010 budget and two brain storming sessions will be held in Thunder Bay on June 13th and 14th.  Council signed onto the project at Monday night's meeting.

Multi-Plex process rolls along

City Councillors are weighing their options for funding a proposed Multi-Plex.  Council was given its funding options at Monday night's meeting which include public funding, private and public funding and strictly private funding.  Administration is recommending the City apply for Federal Government funding under the P3 Canada federal grant program.  The public will have their say at a series of public meetings later this week.

Public encouraged to comment on strat plan

The public has until June 10th to comment on the city's strategic plan. A final draft of the plan was presented to council Monday night. The public can receive copies of the strategic plan at City Hall, Thunder Bay public libraries or on the City's website.

Waterfront Hotel and Condos discussed

The group developing the condominiums on the waterfront will be ready to start selling them in October.  The developers made a presentation to City Council Monday night.  Joe Bova says they've had over 80 people show an interest in buying one of the units in the two condos.  Construction could begin in January.  Although the name of the hotel chain has yet to be announced, the developers are looking for a height extension of about four feet.  The hotel would be 26.3 metres high.  Bova says they should be able to announce the name of the hotelier by September.

Council talks Waterfront parking

The Prince Arthur Landing is going to require over 900 parking spaces once the waterfront work is complete.  Councillor Andrew Foulds wanted to know if 900 spaces would be able to accommodate any future growth on the waterfront.  Consultant Alun Lloyd says he's confident there will be enough spaces for any future development, noting the Pearl Street parking lot could be expanded.  Council received a first report on parking along the waterfront at Monday night's meeting.

Beardy slams OPP commendations

The head of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation says a decision to reward some OPP officers last week sends a wrong message to First Nations.  One award was for exemplary performance in the Pikangikum First Nation dispute last year and the other, a bravery award for the officer who shot a First Nations woman in Kenora.  Grand Chief Stan Beardy calls the commendations glorified and unnecessary.

Cash or credit card only please

The Red Cross is encouraging financial donations only in response to the flooding in Quebec and Manitoba along with the wildfires in Alberta.   The organization says response teams are working with authorities to provide emergency help including food and shelter,  and it's only through financial donations that the work is possible.

Wind farm debate hits FWFN

The proposed Horizon Wind Farm project comes up for discussion on the Fort William First Nation Monday evening. Community member Wyatt Bannon says the open house on the project is not enough for him and for others. He says two hours of listening to concerns can hardly be considered consulting with the public. Bannon says he'd like to see the June 6th deadline for voicing concerns extended

Thunder Bay police investigating sexual assault

An alleged sexual assault has city police looking for more potential victims. Staff Sergeant Don Lewis says a 46 year old man who runs a modelling business is charged with assaulting a 23 year old woman.  Lewis says they hope any other potential victims who may have modeled with him come forward. Charged is Luc Paul Despres of Thunder Bay.

Boys and Girls club hurt by crime

Police are looking through surveillance video to find the culprits who broke into the Thunder Bay Boys and Girls club on the weekend. Executive Director Albert Aiello hopes it wasn't done by teens who use the facility. He says the club feels hurt and saddened by the crime which saw two flat screen TVs and two gaming systems stolen. Aiello doesn't know how they can replace the stolen and damaged items

CMHC forecast looks good for Thunder Bay

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is forecasting a strong year for Thunder Bay.  Analyst Warren Philp says we should see a 22 percent increase in total starts this year due mainly to an increase in multi family dwellings.  Philp says there has been a demand for condos in Thunder Bay for the past couple decades that hasn't been met yet.  Philp says the resale market should stay strong as well.  

Local video stores not on the selling block

The Blockbuster video stores in Thunder Bay are not being sold.    They are not on the list of 146 Blockbuster locations  in Canada that are being closed.   It was released by the receiver Grant Thornton.  The targeted stores will be sold to make the video rental chain more attractive on the market.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Good deed saves citizen

City police would like to thank the citizen that performed a good deed. A 65 year old man suffered a heart attack while traveling eastbound on Francis street then collided with two parked cars. A citizen who witnessed the accident performed CPR on the man before paramedics arrived on the scene. The man is now in Thunder Bay hospital and is currently in ICU. There were no other injuries.

Break in at boys and girls club

Police are reviewing video footage from a break in that occurred this morning around 5 AM at the Boys and Girls Club on 270 Windsor st. Two males in their teens broke into an insecure door on the west side of the building and stole 2 big screen televisions, an Xbox 360 and Ninento Wii game consoles. Police are asking anyone with information to come forward.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Animal bite prevention week

The Thunder Bay Health Unit wants to make sure you are safe around animals. Spokesperson Darlene Binette says many people are bitten each year, and some are not reported. Animal Bite prevention week runs from May 28th to June 3rd, and aims to give people ways to be safe with animals.

Friday, May 27, 2011

North Shore Communities get cash

North Shore communities are benefiting from 686-thousand dollars in provincial funding.  The money is going to Nipigon, Red Rock, Schreiber, and Rossport's aging water treatment systems.   Thunder Bay Superior North MPP Michael Gravelle made the announcement on Friday.

Kashechewan illegal booze

A shipment of illegal booze didn't make it to someone in the remote community of Kashechewan First Nation.  Nishnawbe-Aski Police assisted Band Council to seize nearly 13-thousand dollars worth of alcohol at the Kashechewan Airport.  Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Crimestoppers or Nishnawbe-Aski Police.  Kashechewan is a dry community.

Gas tax money goes to transit

Thunder Bay is on the receiving end of provincial funding.  Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro says they're giving the city two million dollars from the gas tax fund.  The money will be used to improve the city's transit service.

LHIN doles out cash

The North West Local Health Integration Network is providing a total of 3.6-million dollars to 13 Northern Hospitals for upgrades. Over 300 thousand dollars is going towards the Thunder Bay Health Sciences Centre. The Meno-Ya-Win Health Centre in Sioux Lookout is cashing-in with nearly 420-thousand dollars in funding. The Dryden Regional Health Centre is getting than 222-grand. The Margaret Cochenour Memorial Hospital in Red Lake will see just over 206-thousand dollars.

Commissioner talks OPP

Building relations is the focus right now for the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.  Chris Lewis has been on the job for nine months now and says working with area Municipalities is his primary goal.  Speaking in Dryden, Lewis says he also wants to strengthen the OPP's relationship with the media.  Lewis adds the biggest challenge facing OPP in 2011 is staffing, as they are losing 400-people this year.

OPP ceremony in Dryden

A number of OPP officers across Northwestern Ontario were honoured recently at a special ceremony in Dryden.  5-civilian staff and 4-officers were thanked for 20-years of service.  OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis says 14  officers received Commendation for their work during an incident in Pikangikum last June.  200-people forced their way into the police station, causing extensive damage and disabling power and telephone service.  The incident resulted in a lengthy and tension filled stand-off.

Domtar Fire Update

More details are being released on Wednesday night's fire at the Dryden Domtar Mill.  Domtar Spokesperson Bonny Skene says the fire occurred on the roof of one of the buildings where construction work related to the turbine installation project was taking place earlier in the day.  No one was injured and damage was minimal.  A full investigation is underway.

Police make drug bust in Attawapitskat

Over 13 thousand dollars worth of illegal drugs has been seized at a Northern First Nation.  Members of the Combined Forces Organized Crime Unit made the bust in Attawapitskat Wednesday.  Police also found almost 5 thousand dollars worth of cash and arrested a 43 year old man.

Gas and Dash not rising in Thunder Bay

Gas and Dashers are on rise in Canada except in Thunder Bay.  City Police Spokesperson Chris Adams says people filling up and driving away without paying does happen here but so far there has been no increase as the costs sky rockets.  Adams says it happened 4 times last month.

Multicultural Association gets funding

Thunder Bay's Multicultural Association is getting over 37-thousand dollars.  The money will be used to provide the "My Town" program.  That program is a series of youth workshops.

Youth Dragon Boat festival hits Boulevard Lake

Over 400 kids will be competing in today's Youth Dragon Boat Festival.  It's the 11th year for the event and Spokesperson Volker Kromm says people should cheer on the teens at Boulevard Lake.  Races start at 10 am and wrap up around 2:30.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Health unit wants dog bites to stop

The Thunder Bay Health Unit wants to make sure you are safe around animals. Spokesperson Darlene Binette says many people are bitten each year, and some are not reported. Animal Bite prevention week runs from May 28th to June 3rd, and aims to give people ways to be safe with animals.

Graduation day for LU Friday and Saturday

23 hundred students will be graduating from Lakehead University this weekend. Convocation starts Friday and Registrar Brenda Winter says it will include grads from a variety of programs. 26 hundred degrees will be handed out.

Incident raises trespassing issues

CP Rail is using an electrical accident in Northwestern Ontario to show the consequences of trespassing. Spokesperson Mike LoVecchio says people should be aware that entering railway property presents a terrible risk.  A 10 year old girl received a jolt after touching an electric cable located on CP property in Terrace Bay.

Rickford has full plate

Greg Rickford's plate has suddenly become extremely full. The Kenora Conservative MP has been appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Secretary to Canadian Northern Economic Development and Secretary for FedNor. Rickford says overall he's pleased with the selection of Parliamentary Assistants.

Local road boards get cash

Northwestern Ontario's local road boards will be sharing 25 million dollars in provincial funds. Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro says the money will be used to fix rural roads across the region.  The funding is part of the 2011 budget.  Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle made the announcement on Thursday.

Raffery/Hyer overlooked for shadow cabinet

Thunder Bay MP John Rafferty isn't upset about being overlooked in the new 39 member NDP shadow cabinet. He says it will give him more freedom to focus on his riding.  Rafferty adds  he didn't even want to be considered for a deputy critics position.   His NDP counterpart in Thunder Bay, Bruce Hyer, was also not chosen for a shadow cabinet position.

Local solar projects get thumbs up

Several solar energy projects in Thunder Bay now have the green light from the provincial government.   They include solar panels for the Port Authority Building and Westgate High School.  It's part of a government program where the province pays for power generated through green energy

Thunder Bay gets a Target

Target will be coming to Thunder Bay.  The American department store chain plans to convert the current Zellers store in the Intercity Mall.  Still no word on what will happen to the other Zellers locations in the city.  The company announced it's plan for the stores that will open in 2013.

Study calls for more north side parking

The city now knows how it can handle parking issues at Marina Park after the waterfront development is complete. Development Services Manager Mark Smith says a new parking study shows how the city can add 900 new spaces by expanding the Pearl Street Parking lot.   The study lands on the laps of councillors Monday evening.

Three funding options for Multi-Plex

City councillors are getting a chance to decide how a proposed new multi-plex centre will be funded. The three options involve either public funding, private and public funding and thirdly, strictly private funding.  They will debate the proposals Monday night.

Local Bombardier workers have new rep

Thunder Bay's Bombardier workers have a new union rep.  Dominic Pasqualino is taking over for Paul Pugh who stepped down after 12 years at the helm of CAW local 1075.  Pasqualino says he has big shoes to fill and hopes to continue to promote the plant.

Explosion causes small scare

A small explosion created a bit of a scene at the Mission Island Scrap Yard this morning.  Officials say just after 9 this morning a propane tank exploded after it was put into a shredder.  No one was hurt and the small fire was out before fire crews arrived.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thunder Bay business honoured

A Thunder Bay business is being recognized as an outstanding employer.  Toromont CAT is being honoured by the province for their dedication of training new, skilled workers. Toromont, along with fifteen other businesses across the province will receive the Minister's Award for Apprenticeship Training come June.

Nipigon gets new OPP detachment

Construction on the new OPP detachment in Nipigon is now underway.  The new facility is being built as part of a promise made by the Province to upgrade or replace OPP facilities.  The new building has evidence vaults, seven holding cells, a fingerprint room and many other features. The construction of the detachment will create 50 jobs for construction workers and trades people.

MOE's clean up order upheld

The Ministry of the Environment gets to keep the heat on Superior Fine Papers in Thunder Bay. Ministry spokesperson Lisa Brygidyr says the Environmental Review Tribunal has upheld a clean up order the ministry issued to the paper mill almost 2 years ago. Brygidyr says there were 4 major concerns including a lagoon inspection and maintaining electricity to the site.

Mauro announces funds for Atikokan

Atikokan is getting help to improve its sewage treatment system. The province is providing the town with 700-hundred thousand dollars towards the upgrade of its plant and sewage pumping stations. Total cost of the project is slightly more than a million dollars. Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro made the announcement on Wednesday.

Alzheimer Society likes new Silver Advisory

A new program to help find missing seniors with dementia is being applauded by the head of the local Alzheimer's Society. Alison Denton says the Silver Advisory program would likely be similar to a system called the Amber Alert that is used to find missing children.