Monday, March 28, 2011

Budget boosted for external lawyers

The City of Thunder Bay is boosting the budget for hiring lawyers.  City Solicitor Rosalie Evans will now have the opportunity to hire external legal counsel at a rate of 500 dollars per hour.  The previous budget for lawyers outside of the city payroll was 300 dollars per hour.

City hires auditor

The City of Thunder Bay is hiring BDO Canada to audit its books.  The five year contract comes in at 215-thousand dollars.  The accounting firm will also audit the books of outside boards and agencies the City is a member of.  The District Services Board and Thunder Bay Hydro are the only exceptions which are able to hire their own auditor.

Survey like living in T.BAY

The latest "civic survey" is painting a mostly positive picture of Thunder Bay.  According to the IPSOS REID survey people like living in the City.  86 percent of people are satisfied with city services, with many saying they receive good value for their tax dollars.  Residents also rated the quality of life in the City very high at 87 percent. The two areas that are cited as in need of improvement are road maintenance and the police service.  Seven out of 10 people polled believe that the city is relatively safe, and six in ten feel safe walking in their own neighbourhood after dark.  500 interviews were completed among residents 18 years of age and older.

Council adds more to investments

Thunder Bay City Council is investing more money into it's ONE Equity Fund. The city plans to transfer about 4 million dollars from bonds to its equity fund. The move came after a presentation on the city's 105 million dollars in investments. In 2010 the city earned 4.7 million dollars in interest.

OPP investigate fatal accident

A Thunder Bay man has succumbed to injuries sustained in a single vehicle crash on Umex Mine Road in Pickle Lake. OPP say the incident occurred on March 16th and involved a tractor trailer unit, carrying a bulldozer and large metal conatainer. Police say the tractor trailer unit slid into an intersection and jacknifed while striking a snow bank. The driver was transported to Thunder Bay Hospital with serious injuries. Police say the man, 58-year-old Thomas Dufault, was released from Hospital on March 24th, but later died.

Hobbs takes dispute with Herman public

The conflict between the city police chief and the mayor has become explosive. Keith Hobbs says Chief Bob Herman has lodged a complaint with the province's Civilian Police Commission about the mayor's conduct at Police Service Board meetings. Hobbs says he's going public because the chief forced his hand. Hobbs says the complaint against him alleges he released confidential information about what went on at closed door sessions at the board. Chief Herman is reviewing the mayor's statement and is expected to make a comment on Tuesday.

Tbay Hydro rates change

The Ontario Energy Board has approved an increase for Thunder Bay Hydro.  The local utility will see its rates go up 2.9 percent.  Spokesperson Vanda Wall says that extra 3 dollars a month will be offset by the Clean Energy Benefit.  The CEB will mean an extra ten dollars off our monthly bills.  The rate changes will take effect May 1st.

New Green Party Candidate

Thunder Bay Superior North has a green party candidate in place.  At first it was released that Lynn Palmer would carry the green colours; but Palmer has since decided to walk away from the nomination because of personal commitments.  The new candidate is Scot Kyle.

Police investigate Hodder area robbery

A woman was robbed on Hodder Avenue Monday morning.  Thunder Bay police say a man carrying a knife approached her in a parking lot just before 10:30 in the morning.  The 20 year old suspect fled with the victim's purse.  Police describe the man as 5 foot 8, wearing a grey hoodie, blue jeans and large sunglasses.

Earth Hour fizzles in Thunder Bay

It appears Earth Hour in Thunder Bay passed mostly unnoticed. Thunder Bay Hydro says it didn't show any reduced usage Saturday night when customers were asked to do so. Derek Tessier of EcoSuperior says awareness is most important in this case.  Tessier says the fact usage didn't go up from last year that is also a good sign

Hobbs to discuss "serious policing matter".

Mayor Keith Hobbs is holding an afternoon news conference in his office to make what is being termed "an important announcement" on a "serious policing matter". There's no further information. Our newsroom is staffing it.

Aldo Ruberto tired of waterfront negativity

One city councillor is fed up with the negativity that surrounds the waterfront project. Aldo Ruberto spoke with our newsroom today and says some people in Thunder Bay are failing to see the big picture.  The project is over budget, but by condensing it, it will bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue to the city sooner and will also create jobs and other spin offs sooner rather than later.  Ruberto says a small group of nay sayers seem to dominate the spot light and are surrounding good news stories in Thunder Bay with a cloud of negativity.

Think tank scores local schools

It's a mixed bag for Thunder Bay's elementary schools. The Fraser Institute ranks half of them at above or at the provincial average; the other half falls below. Spokesperson Michael Thomas says the rankings alert officials that something needs to be done. Vance Chapman school saw it's rankings slide from already below the provincial average at 3.7 to 1.7. Claude E. Garton also saw their marks decline this year. St. Francis, St. Paul and St. Thomas Aquinas all scored marks higher than the provincial average.

Green Party joins Thunder Bay Rainy River Race

The Green Party has announced its Candidate for Thunder Bay Rainy River. Former Research Scientist Ed Shields will be representing the Greens and says with science based jobs in our future Parliament is in need of someone with his expertise.   Shields says Thunder Bay has great potential for jobs in the bio technology industry.

No injuries after morning fire

No one was hurt in an early morning fire on the south side.  Crews responded to the blaze just after 4 o'clock in the basement of an apartment complex in the 100 block of Cumming Street.  The cause is under investigation.