Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Event Centre Open House draws big crowds

It's a question of location not of if its needed when you ask the resident of Thunder Bay about the proposed Events Centre.  Residents had a chance to learn more about the facility at Wednesday night's public open house and the question of, if it should be built got a resounding yes from most of those in attendance.  The big question centred on where it should be built with the majority of support going to either Innova Business Park or the Waterfront.  The consultation team will present an initial report to council March 12th.                    


LU BBall Coach getting national attention

The head coach of the Lakehead Thunderwolves Men's Basketball team is becoming a national celebrity.  Scott Morrison was at the centre of a feature story on the Wolves on the Score Sports Network and most recently was the topic of a story in a PEI newspaper article.  Athletics Director Tom Warden says Morrison has done an amazing job with the program, taking it to number 2 in the entire country. 

Its RRSP deadline day

If you didn't make your 2011 RRSP contributions yet then you have until the end of the day.  Blake Cameron of Scotia McLeod says if you head to your financial institution today you might as well make your 2012 contributions as well.  He says the sooner the better because it gets your money working for you sooner.

McGuinty to visit Thunder Bay

Premier Dalton McGuinty is coming to town. His press secretary says McGuinty is scheduled to tour the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute on Thursday.  It's not clear if he will be making an announcement or not.   He is also scheduled to visit the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, however that is reported to be a private tour. 

Cliff's Natural Resources Open House Thursday

Cliff's Natural Resources is holding an open house Thursday night on it's proposed Chromite Project in the Ring of Fire. A consulting company that is helping Cliff's with the Province's Environmental Assessment process will be fielding questions at the event. The open house is from 4 until 8 Thursday at the Travelodge Airlane Hotel. A similar open house is being held next Wednesday night in Geraldton.

MNR big game draws online

The Ministry of Natural Resources hopes they can teach old dog's new tricks.  Hunters can now apply for big game draws for moose, deer and elk online.  Spokesperson John Cooper says mostly the MNR's new automated and online systems for licensing have proven popular.  Draws can be entered online on the Ministry website, through the telephone licensing hotline, and at Service Ontario sites.

City to talk about crossing guards

City Council is going to consider posting a school crossing guard at Woodcrest and Longbow Crescent. Councillor Trevor Giertuga wants a guard to be established at that location as a pilot project until the end of the 2012 school year.  There have been safety complaints from parents in that area.

Council gives out green awards

Thunder Bay City Council is going to openly praise those businesses in our City who actively try to be environmentally friendly. The City is honouring four local institutions in it's 2011 Municipal Green Awards. The Regional Health Sciences Centre, Superior Collegiate, OLG Casino and a French Catholic School are all being honoured. The awards will be handed out at Monday night's council meeting.

Teen girls learn healthy eating habits

Ecole Gron Morgan students are learning about healthy eating habits.  Thunder Bay's Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization is helping teach 20 pre-teen students about active living as away to battle eating disorders.  The program is for Grade 7 and 8 girls, and Vice Principal Jo-Anne Giertuga says they want to expand the program in the future.

Events Centre Open House

Thunder Bay's proposed Event's Centre will be in the spotlight Wednesday night.  An open house is taking place this afternoon from 3 to 9 at the Italian Cultural Centre.  The consulting team will be providing a presentation that will include concept designs for each of the three sites.

Government building trashed

Police are looking for two men they believe are involved in a break and enter at the James Street Government Building last night.  Just after 9:30 Police responded to a call of three men doing damage to the building including breaking large windows and office equipment.  Police have a 29 year old man in custody and are still looking for the other two.  The offices in the building suffered 10 to 15-thousand dollars in damage to computers, TVs, furniture and other office equipment.

Storm no more

It looks like the snow storm we were expecting today has fizzled.  Environment Canada Spokesperson Rob Kuhn says we can expect 2-4 centimeters of snow.  Kuhn adds we will also see strong gusting winds that will blow around existing snow.

Shuniah house fire

A clothes dryer was the cause of a fire at a Birch Beach Road home Tuesday. The home owner smelt smoke and went to the basement to find the clothes dryer on fire in the utility room. Shuniah Fire & Emergency Services managed to keep the fire to the utility room with some smoke damage to the rest of the house. Both occupants and their baby escaped the fire without injuries.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hyer defends leadership hopefuls over attendance

The NDP Leadership hopefuls are taking some heat for going against some of former leader Jack Layton's words.  During the 2011 Federal Leaders Debate, Layton famously blasted Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff for missing votes in the House of Commons, saying most Canadians, if they don't show up for work, they don't get a promotion.  Meanwhile 5 sitting MP's vying for the leadership have the worst attendance record in the government.  MP Bruce Hyer says they may not be in the house but they are working hard. Hyer says they are learning what people are thinking across the country and that is very important for a leader to know.   Hyer says Ignatieff would intentionally leave so he didn't have to vote on contentious issues.

City's water once again exceeds standards

The City's water quality is looking pretty good.  The City's Environment Manager Kerri Marshall says the city has released the annual water quality report and we came in at or above every provincial standard.  More information can be found on the city's website.

Modified pen flare can shoot a bullet

Thunder Bay police have a new worry. Monday night they seized a pen sized emergency signal flare which was modified to shoot a .22 calibre bullet. Sgt. Rino Belcamino is issuing a warning about the safety of the device. He says not only is it dangerous to the person it's being pointed at, but people who modify it are risking their own safety. Belcamino says police are starting to see such converted devices more and more.

Guilty plea ends trial

A guilty plea to manslaughter means a murder trial in Thunder Bay is over before it began. A Fort Hope man is going to jail for 7 years in connection with the stabbing death of James Waswa in that community in 2010. The plea by William Oskineegish in a Thunder Bay courtroom puts an abrupt end to the trial that was to have started this week. The judge in the case accepted a joint recommendation by the prosecution and the defence on the matter. Immediately after the proceedings were over, there was a moving moment when the mother of the victim, hugged Oskineegish as a sign of forgiveness.

NDP motion calls for Northern Committee

John Vanthof says the NDP is not out to give Southern Ontario less of a voice, he's out to give Northern Ontario a stronger voice. The Timiskaming-Cochrane MPP has table Legislation to create a new Legislative Committee made up of Northern MPP's. Vanthof says the committee would have the power to examine legislation and make recommendations to the Government.

Osisko spending more $

The Hammond Reef gold project near Atikokan will get a lot of attention by Osisko Mining this year.  President Sean Roosen says the company will spend 59-million dollars this year on reserve development, exploration and feasibility studies.  He says they're aiming to have a feasilibty study completed by the end of the year.

Ignace Political Drama

A political drama is brewing in Ignace. Council will hold a special meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss what to do with the Mayor's seat. Lee Kennard submitted a resignation letter to the municipal clerk on January 27th but he decided to withdraw that letter 5-days later. Council declared the office of the Mayor vacant on February 6th, sparking a debate on whether Kennard should return as Mayor. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing says Council handled the situation correctly. Several options now lie on the table including holding a by-election, appointing a councilor as Mayor or appointing Lee Kennard as Mayor.

NAN on education motion

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation is applauding the Federal Government's unanimous vote to improve aboriginal education.  The N-D-P motion calls on the government to put First Nations schools on an equal footing with provincial schools, but is vague on details.  The motion is named after a former youth leader from Attawapiskat First Nation.

Klusterhuis anticipates Global Sticks return

The Mayor of Oliver Paipoonge is happy to hear news that Global Sticks is set to reopen again.  Lucy Klusterhuis says the business is important to her community.  Layoffs were announced at the plant back in October. 

RMG call centre linked to scandal

There's a Thunder Bay connection to the robo calls scandal on Parliament Hill.  The RCMP is probing allegations that voters in dozens of ridings were either misled or discouraged from casting their ballots.  The Responsive Marketing Group call centre in Thunder Bay is linked to some of the calls.  The RCMP have not returned our calls.

Illegal weapon found at mall

Police found an illegal weapon after paying a visit to the Intercity Mall yesterday to investigate a shoplifting incident.  While searching the man, police found a small pen like tool.  They put the modified flare gun down and it fired a .22 calibre round off into the air.  No one was injured and the man is going to be charged with several weapons charges.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hotel project approved

There's a new hotel coming to Thunder Bay. It didn't take a lot of arm twisting for city councillors to approve the re-zoning for a new hotel to be located on property in front of the Superstore on the Harbour Expressway. A representative of Thompson Centres told councillors Monday night it will be a Marriott Town Place Suites hotel worth about 18 million dollars. Construction is expected to start in April. The project comes with another component which would include a Harvey's Restaurant and construction on that portion could start as early as the summer.

Thunder Bay Principal gets provincial award

A big honour for a local principal.  The Learning Partnership is pegging Johnathon Kakegamic of Franklin Cramarty School as one of Canada's Outstanding Principals for the year.  Kakegamic will receive an honourary Aboriginal Award for his leadership.  The award will be given to Kakegamic Tuesday in Toronto.  As part of the award the 41 principals from across Canada will take part in a week long leadership training program in Toronto.

Ski operators happy with snow

There is at least one industry that is happy with the snow.  Ward Bond of Loch Lomond Ski Hill says its great for skiing.  Bond says this amount of snow will just help keep all the area ski centres going longer.

Police investigating assault

Thunder Bay are investigating after a 27 year old woman was assaulted at the Landmark Inn.  The woman was found in the lobby yesterday morning and officers arrested a 29 year old man who is now facing charges.  The woman was taken to hospital but has since been released.

Outdoor show does well

Calling it a good sign for local businesses, Nancy Milani of the Chamber of Commerce says the weekend outdoor show attracted close to 16 thousand people and calls it a good sign for local businesses.  She hopes to keep the momentum going into next year.

More snow possible this week

Weather forecasters are saying we received up to 18 centimetres of snow in Sunday's storm.  Meteorologist Jeff Coulson says it depends on where you live. He says the airport officially recorded 12 centimetres while some of Environment Canada's volunteer observers in the outlying areas recorded  to 18 centimetres.  Coulson says another system is being tracked in the United States that could bring us more snow on Wednesday.

Big plowing job ahead

City streets are now being plowed after yesterday's snowstorm. City Road's manager Brad Adams says it's in full swing with all the main routes finished. He says they're now moving onto the side streets. Sidewalks are also being plowed.  Adams says all streets should be completed in three days with all sidewalks opened in five days.

Two people vying for Dryden seat

It's early but the Dryden Council by-election is in full swing. Former Councilor Gwen Kurz has declared her candidacy and says she's gained some useful skills during her time away from Council Chambers.  Former Police Chief Shayne MacKinnon is also in the running and he is banking on his experience. One Council seat is available and the mail-in vote is May 14th.

Doctor woes in Rainy River

The Mayor of Rainy River is headed to Toronto this week looking for help in her community's search for more doctors.Mayor Deb Ewald says the meeting comes as the community's lone doctor has announced plans to end his practice this April.Ewald says she was hoping to meet directly with Health Minister Deb Matthews in Toronto, but instead has a session with her Parliamentary Assistant.

The digging out begins

It's clean up time.  The last 24 hours have brought us our first snowstorm of the winter season.   All highways in the region are open .  Highway 527 was the only roadway closed because of the storm but has since re-opened.   City Transit buses were hauled off the streets during the height of the storm last night and are running this morning, but manager Brad Loroff says expect some delays.  Police were asking people to stay off the roads so the plows could do their job.  Major roadways have been plowed overnight, but many side streets are not.   As for schools.....all school buses  are cancelled for the day.   Rural schools are schools are open for working parents who want to leave their child at school for the day.   The Thunder Bay Christian School is also closed.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Police recommend you stay off the roads

Both Thunder Bay city police and the OPP are asking people to stay off the roads and highways if they don't have to travel. So far no highways have been closed but the OPP say that visibility and snow covered roads are a concern. City police say they want people to stay off the roads until the city crews have an opportunity to plow them Meantime a decision on school busing will be made early in the morning.

Snowfall Warning in Effect

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for the area. 10 to 15 centimeters are expected today, snow falling heavy at times. Wind becoming east at 30 km/h in the morning and blowing snow in the afternoon.

Kirby Wants Change to Safe Streets Act

A Kenora lawyer isn't giving up his crusade to get some changes made to the federal government's Safe Streets Act. Peter Kirby says he's worried that the act will result in more people going to jail. Kirby has launched a petition asking for changes to the criminal code.

MP Rickford Says Diversification is Key

The population in northwestern Ontario needs a kick-start and Member of Parliament Greg Rickford believes diversification is the key. Rickford admits the downturn in the forest sector has taken its toll on the region, but he believes the federal government has a role in turning that trend around. The most recent census showed the population in the Kenora District shrank by 11 percent, largely due to the decline in the forest industry.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Another leadership hopeful visits

The latest candidate for the NDP Leadership says he thinks our local MP's shouldn't have been punished for voting in favour of abolishing the gun Registry.  Martin Singh says its all about democracy.  He thinks both Bruce Hyer and John Rafferty have clearly been representing their constituents and shouldn't be punished for that.   Singh hosted a meet and greet Friday.

Quiet Council Meeting on tap

Don't expect much in the way of fireworks at Monday night's council meeting.  With 5 Councillors and Mayor Keith Hobbs in Southern Ontario for the annual Good Roads Conference, debate could be pretty light Monday night.  Its a thin agenda with only a couple of items on tap. Councillors will be asked to send a letter to the Governments of Canada and the U.S. in opposition of proposed ballast water regulation on ocean liners.  The letter will state the regulations are unenforceable because there isn't technology that meets the standards.  There will also be a presentation from Roxy's Lounge who is looking to purchase a portion of the Court and Lisgar Street road allowance.

Toy gun causes scene on south side

Two 15 year old boys now know it's not wise to play in public with toy guns. Police say they pointed an air pistol at a school bus driver at May and Leith Streets this afternoon.  Both of them were arrested at gun point by police and have been returned to their parents.  Charges may be laid.

Grann verdict in March

Toni Grann will find out her fate next month.  The judge in her breach of trust trial has set March 11th as the day she will hand down a verdict in the case. It follows the final submissions of both the prosecution and the defense Friday.   The 43 year old city police constable is charged with 11 counts involving falsified local records in the Ontario Sex Offender Registry. 

"Courageous" woman's life celebrated

It's a day to remember for those who knew Dusty Miller. The former Mayor, who died last week at the age of 82, was memorialized at a public service at the Community Auditorium. Councillor Ken Boshcoff represented the city and gave a heartfelt eulogy, saying she will be remembered as a "gutsy, courageous, creative, intelligent and social person who fought for what she believed in." On hand for the service were politicians and former politicians along with friends and family

                               Councillor Ken Boshcoff remembers Dusty Miller

Multi-Plex open house coming next week

The Public will have a chance to learn a lot more about the feasibility study being done on the proposed Multi-Plex.  The city will be hosting an open house next Wednesday and will have 3 initial designs to show case.  Lead Consultant Conrad Boychuk says residents will get an overview of where the project is at this point and also will learn more about what a facility like this will look like and what its business plan would be.  Boychuk says they will come back to the public in April with the best design configuration for each of the proposed sites complete with costing. 

Roberto taking in ROMA OGRA

City Councillor Aldo Roberto will be just one of Thunder Bay's representatives at this week's Ontario Municipalities conference. Roberto says they are meeting with seven ministers to talk about a variety of issues. The City has meetings set up with the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, and the Minister of Health and Long Term Care as well as others.

Canada Games Display at Archives

It's been over 30 years since Thunder Bay held the 1981 Canada Games.  The City wants you to relive it again by paying the City Archives a visit.  Spokesperson Matt Szybalski says they've dug up photos and documents from the event.  The display can be seen at the archive building from now until well into the summer.

NAPS nabs drugs

The Nishnawbe Aski Police teamed up with the Webequie First Nation Peacekeepers to get drugs off their streets.  NAN searched the Webequie airport and seized nine thousand dollars of Oxycodone.  A 25 year old woman is charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and breach of probation.

Treaty Three Police get medals

Canada's Governor General will be handing out two medals of bravery to members of the Treaty Three Police Service. Constables George McNeil and Kris Miclash will be in Ottawa today to receive their commendations. The two officers were involved with an armed gunman on the Grassy Narrows First Nation in May of 2007. They were credited with risking their lives to subdue the intoxicated man, who had been firing shots from a pump action rifle.

Sandy Lake School Fire

The Ontario Fire Marshall is investigating the Sandy Lake First Nation school fire as an arson.  The fire at Thomas Fiddler Memorial School caused extensive damage but no cost estimate is available yet.  The investigation is continuing.

Red Lake death investigation closed

Red Lake OPP have closed the book on a death investigation.  46-year-old Bertha Quill of Pikangikum was found outside near Howey Street last July unconscious and unresponsive.  She was transported to Hospital in Thunder Bay where she succumbed to her injuries.  Detective Inspector David Hillman says Quill died of natural causes and no further criminal investigation is needed.