Friday, September 30, 2011

ONA CCAC reach deal

The Ontario Nurses Association has reached a tentative deal with the Northwest Community Care Access Centre.  The agreement was reached early Friday morning after a marathon mediation session.  The collective agreement covers the eighty eight employees working in Northwestern Ontario.  Details of the agreement are confidential until ratified, a series of ratification meetings are being held across the province Friday night.

New website launches

Thunder Bay's two school boards have patnered with a number of community groups to launch a mental health website.  Children's Centre Executive Director Tom Walter says the site will give our young people a place to go to get mental health help if they need it.  You can visit the website can be seen at

Transit talk on Monday

City lawmakers are going to get an earful about transit routes at their weekly meeting Monday night.  A report rationalizing routes from a ridership and operating perspective is being presented.  The Master Transit Plan will also be discussed.

Research Community continues to grow

Thunder Bay's research community continues to grow.  Lakehead University and Regional Research Institute have added Doctor Mitchell Albert as the first ever Research chair.  TBRRI CEO Michael Power says they've also added Scott Gillis to commercialize our home grown innovations.  Power says by bringing in these two individual it continues to send the message that Thunder Bay is only looking for the best as it moves forward. 

Teens threatened at knife point

A young man and women were threatened at knife point on Thursday by three other teens.  Police say a teen male and female were approached behind Churchill High school.  The three young men asked for cigarettes and then money.  The victims were not harmed.

ATU applies for conciliator

The Amalgamated Transit Union is asking the Labour Board to provide a conciliator for their negotiations with HAGI transit.  Local Union Spokesperson Charlie Brown doesn't feel HAGI is bargaining in good faith.  Brown says they won't go on strike until they give conciliated talks a try.

City gets another funding request

A local First Nation program could be without funding soon if City Council doesn't chip in. Currently, the Neighbourhood Capacity Building Project receives funding from the Urban Aboriginal Strategy which is set to expire in March. A request for three years of funding for after school programs is being made to council.

Matawa Chiefs have concerns

Matawa Chiefs are concerned about the Environmental Assessment process that's being used to determine the impacts of two projects in their territory.  The Chiefs feel a joint review panel would provide a safeguard for their lands.  The First Nations are concerned with Cliffs Chromite project and Noront Eagle's Nest project.

Kenora hunter mauled by bear

A moose hunter was attacked by a black bear in the bush north of Kenora. The Ministry of Natural Resources confirms the attack took place this past Monday near Chase Lake, just south of Woodland Caribou Park. MNR Spokesperson Leo Heyens says the hunter managed to fire an arrow at it but was still mauled. Heyens says parts of the bear have been sent away for testing to find out what kind of condition the animal was in.

Chamber and Council get survey results back

The Chamber of Commerce is pleased with the results they've received from the provincial election candidates.  President Harold Wilson says they've asked the local candidates how they'll help business.  Wilson encourages the public to check out the results on their website at Meanwhile, almost all of the provincal election candidates returned City Council's survey.  The only hold out was PC Candidate Fred Gilbert.  Questions ranged from establishing an Aboriginal Affairs office in the city, to building the Multiplex.

October is Child Abuse Prevention Month

A program aimed at teaching parents how to handle heated situations with their kids is reaching out to the community.  Child Welfare Spokesperson Susan Verrill says the Triple P program is training several agencies to help parents.  October is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Verrill hopes the program will help put an end to those type of situations.

Run for the Cure set for Sunday

One of the top charity events of the year is taking place Sunday morning in Thunder Bay and right across Canada.  It's the CIBC Run for the Cure.  Money raised goes towards breast cancer research.  The event takes place at Fort William Stadium starting at 9 o'clock with closing ceremonies at 11 am.

Local woman in Seth Rogan movie

Thunder Bay's Marie Avgeropoulos is back on the screen, this time in Seth Rogan's 50/50 which opens at Silver City today.  The movie is a comedy about a young man with cancer. Watch for Avgeropoulos  in the bar scene with Rogan and co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  

Credit Union strike O-V-E-R

A four week strike at the Northern Lights Credit union is over after over a dozen workers voted to accept a new contract. They are members of Communication, Energy and Paperworkers union.

Sawmill auctioned for scrap

It's another sign of the region's slagging forest industry.  Today is the second and final day for an auction that will sell off the assets of Buchanan's Northern Sawmill in Thunder Bay. Everything at the waterfront mill is being sold for scrap to anyone that's interested.  The money will be used to pay off secured creditors who were left unpaid when the  sawmill went to a financial abyss.

Hyer to push for Via service

The move is on to get Via Rail service back through Thunder Bay.  MP Bruce Hyer has re-introduced his motion to restore passenger rail service to the area.   It's been about 20 years since the Mulroney government axed the service to save money

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Zellers lets employees know their fate

Zellers employees are being told they'll be out of a job in nine months time.  The lay off notices impact the workers at the Arthur Street Zellers, and at County Fair.  Spokesperson Tiffany Bourre says they're offering their employees a comprehensive career transition program.  Bourre believes the employees will be able to find work with the incoming Target stores and Walmart.

Border Cats name new Field Boss

The Thunder Bay Border Cats have a new field manager.  The team has announced Andy Judkins will take over for Mike Steed.  Judkins helped the Rochester Honkers earn the North Division title back in 2010 and is currently an assistant coach at Central Arizona College.

City transit clears up human rights case

The Ontario Human Rights Commission has cleared a 2009 case against Thunder Bay Transit.  Manager Brad Loroff says the complaint had to do with calling out stops for the visually impaired; which they have since dealt with.  Loroff notes they were in the process of implementing the new system before the complaint was made.

Hyer hoping to have his bill revived

A recent report on the cost of inaction on climate change is giving Thunder Bay MP Bruce Hyer hope for a revival of his Climate Change bill.  Hyer says his bill which was scrapped by the Conservative dominated Senate has to be accepted following the release of the Nation Round Table on Economy and Environment report which predicted inaction could cost 5 billion dollars a year by 2020 and up to 43 billion a year by 2050.  Hyer says his bill will be reintroduced by NDP MP Megan Leslie.

Windy weather causing outages

The strong winds are wreaking havoc on Thunder Bay Hydro.  Official says trees and wet leaves on the lines have caused several minor outages in the city, none affecting more than 25 customers.  Officials say these types of outages are common in weather like this and crews will be working hard to restore power.

More needs to be done to stop violence

The Ontario Native Women's Association is calling on the Harper Government to do more for aboriginal women.  Spokesperson Lorene Rego says violence against First Nations women is a growing issue and the current form of anti-violence programs are not working.  The sixth annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil will be held at noon on Tuesday at Hillcrest Park.  There are seventy cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women in Ontario and most of those are from the bigger city centres like Thunder Bay.

Math marks mean more work

The Lakehead Public School Board feels more work needs to be done to improve Grade six math scores. Superintendent of Education Sherri-Lynne Pharand says the latest Education Quality Accountability Office results show room for improvement.  The Catholic School Board is also implementing more programs to help boost scores in Grade nine applied math.  Both boards met the provincial average in math scores.

God's Lake Resources will release statement Monday

The KI First Nation is evicting God's Lake Resources and Ed Ludwig for trespassing.  The band says the company is trespassing on sacred land and must cease all operations by today.  The company President Ed Ludwig says God's Lake Resources will release a statement Monday.

Rafferty isn't putting any stock in a border fence

New talk of building a fence on the Canadian US Border is being called rhetoric by Thunder Bay Rainy River MP John Rafferty.  Rafferty says the call from the US Customs and Border Protection Agency is likely just political rattling. He says it would cost millions of dollars to build and in some areas including most of the border in his riding building a fence isn't even possible.  Rafferty says he doesn't think that is the kind of relationship our countries have.

Dominion Curling Club Championships coming to Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay will be hosting the 2013 Dominion Curling Club Championships.  According to the Dominion Curling website the 24 team national tournament will take place at the Fort William Curling Club and include both men's and women's club teams from across Canada.  Each team will have to qualify at regional tournaments earlier in the season.

Another announcement delay

There is another delay in announcing the name of the new hotel for the Waterfront.  The developers were to have lifted the wraps off by now, but a waterfront official confirms City Manager Tim Commisso's quote that the announcement is now likely in November.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Canadian Curling Championship coming to town

A national curling championship is coming to Thunder Bay.  The Fort William Curling Club will announce the championship Friday that will take place in 2013 and will see 24 teams converge on Thunder Bay.  We'll have more details Friday. 

Break and Enter on Cornwall Street

A Thunder Bay man is charged with a number of break and enter related offences after being picked up by local police.  A Cornwall Street resident told police she had her apartment broken into just after 2 in the morning Tuesday.  The same man tried to break in again later in the evening when police took him into custody.  29 year old Michael Don Lebar is charged with 2 counts of Break and Enter to Commit an Indictable Offence of Assault with a Weapon.

New School for remote community

The Federal Government has opened a new school in North Spirit Lake.  The community of 400 is now home to a four classroom facility that accommodates 96 students from kindergarten to grade 9.  It took over 14 million dollars to build the school.

Transit Plan October 4th

Thunder Bay Transit is looking for public input on the transit plan. Manager Brad Loroff says they are hosting a pair of meetings at the CLE Coliseum building October 4th to get public input.

Advance Polls at College and University

Confederation College and Lakehead University students don't have far to go to vote in the upcoming provincial election.  Elections Ontario has set up advance polls at both campuses, and Federation of Students of Ontario Spokesperson Sandy Hudson says it's good they're accomodating the youth vote. It's the first time in Ontario's history advance polls will be set up on almost all college and university campuses.

Car crash leads to drug charge

A 31 year old woman travelling from Ottawa to Thunder Bay is in trouble with the law after crashing her car into a rock cut.  Nipigon OPP responded to the crash and found the driver with a large cooler containing just over 8 pounds of marijuana.  The woman was arrested for possession for the purpose of trafficking, she will appear in court in December.

Transit experiencing delays

The construction on several area roads are causing City buses to be behind schedule.  Certain routes are experiencing delays, and the City is asking you to adjust your departure time.

Brown talks Atikokan Forest Products

Any hopes of reopening the shuttered Atikokan Forest Products mill appears to be dashed with an auction underway to sell its equipment. Mayor Dennis Brown says he would have liked to see more support from the province to get the mill restarted. A Montreal company was interested in the mill, but backed out after they failed to secure an adequate wood supply from the province.

CCAC workers could be on strike soon

There could be pickets in front of Northwest Community Care Access Centre sites across northwestern Ontario next week. The 88-members of the Ontario Nurses Association have joined with their counterparts at nine other CCAC's to support strike action October 3 to back contract demands.  The workers provide health and home care services to the seniors in their own home.  Mediated talks are planned for today and tomorrow.

DSSAB axes 9 jobs

A surprise shakeup at the District Social Services Administration Board. CAO Melissa Harrison says that 9 jobs are gone as part of the agency's re-organization. She says however there will be about 10 other positions posted which the laid off workers will be allowed to apply for.   Harrison adds, the changes are designed to help cut down on the red tape some clients have to go through.

Police nab youngster

A 14 year old boy is in police custody and 2 more teens are being sought after an overnight incident on the 100 block of Madeline.  Police say just before 3 this morning the trio were spotted trying to steal things from vehicles.  Police managed to nab the one suspect, but the others took off. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thunder Bay Superior North Candidates let loose

It was a marked contrast to the Thunder Bay Atikokan debate from Monday night when the 4 candidates for the North riding slugged it out at the Community Auditorium. Incumbent Liberal MPP Michael Gravelle found himself under attack early on a number of issues, from the economy to mining. PC Candidate Anthony Leblanc repeatedly said the Liberals have forgotten the North and its time for a change to a government that cares about the North. NDP Candidate Steve Mantis says the Liberal government has failed to provide proper consultation with First Nations Communities in matters like mining and the far north act. Green Party Candidate Scott Kyle says tackling the drug problem needs to start with Pharmaceutical companies. Other issues that were discussed included education, health care, injured workers and economic development.

Fire Season still on

The fire season is slowly starting to wind down in northwestern Ontario.  There are still 38 blazes listed as active today.  Five are under control and two other are being held.  The other 31 are being observed, with no active fire activity noted.  In the meantime, fire crews are starting to pack up their gear, including hose lines and bring it back to their respective fire bases in the region.  With the recent warm weather, the fire hazard has climbed into the moderate range across the region.

Mill parts up for sale

An auction of equipment from the former Atikokan Forest Products Mill is expected to go today. A company had expressed interest in buying the mill, but was unable to secure a wood supply from the province. The mill, which has been shuttered for the past three years, was placed into receivership at the beginning of the year.

Northern Transmission Line

Providing badly needed clean power to First Nation communities in the Far North.  That is the purpose of a new partnership between New Osnaburgh First Nation and Saugeen First Nation.  The two have formed Sagatay Transmission L.P. to move forward with a new power line from Ignace to Pickle Lake.  The 250-million dollar, 300-kilometre line is the first phase in a two-phase project that needs to be signed-off by the Ontario Power Authority.  The agreement will ensure treaty rights and the traditional way of life will be protected and that jobs and investment will be created.  The proposed project will follow along Highway 599 and will ensure that environmental and social impacts are minimized.

KI First Nation upset with mining company

Its like deja-vu all over again for the Big Trout Lake First Nation.  The band is upset that the mining company God's Lake Resources has started some exploration work in K.I.'s traditional land use area. Band Spokesperson John Cutfeet says the Provincial Government continues to ignore concerns.  Cutfeet says to add insult to injury, the exploration work is being done on an old burial site.

Healthy Provincial Candidates

The Heart and Stroke Foundation says health care needs to become a bigger election issue.  Spokesperson Wendy Savoy says they have talked to all the candidates in Northwestern Ontario and says the main party's support their proposals to create a healthier population.  Savoy says their proposals include more healthier food education, and more funding for physical education in the schools.

College home to international students

Confederation College has 63 international students taking part in their courses this year. Spokesperson Miriam Wall says they hail from sixteen different countries including Brazil, China, India, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia. Wall notes most of the students are taking the aerospace engineering program.

NAN working with Feds on governance model

Nishnawbe Aski Nation continues to work with the Federal Government on forming a First Nation's government model.  NAN Spokesperson Ben Cheechoo says talks should pick up now that there's a Majority Federal Government.  Cheechoo says it will take years to implement a government model for First Nations.

Joint meeting between F.W. and T.Bay

A joint meeting is being held between Fort William First Nation and City Council.  City Manager Tim Commisso says they're going to make joint council meetings a regular occurance.  The meeting will be held on Tuesday night at the First Nation's Community Centre.

City departments merge

Changes are on the way for several city departments.  The City's Emergency Services department will also look after Fire and the Superior North Emergency Medical Service.  Transportation and Works will merge with the Parks Department.

RFDA food drive this weekend

The Regional Food Distribution Association is holding it's annual food drive this weekend. Executive Director Volker Kromm says once again all the local grocery stores are participating and the goal is to gather 15 tons of food

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hay talks about master fire plan

Thunder Bay's Fire Chief updated Council and the public about some of the upcoming issues facing the department.  Chief John Hay says they will be consulting the public about the possibility of relocating the Brown Street Station to the area of Neebing Avenue and Rosslyn Road. Other priorities include increasing staff levels and rebuilding the Neebing Fire Station. The Chief's speech was a first report and the master fire plan will be examined more closely in November.