Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teenagers Sentenced For Manslaughter

Two teenage girls will have to spend the next three years in custody after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the city death of a 16 year old Sachigo Lake First Nations girl. Defence Lawyer Chris Watkins says that in her judgement, Justice Baig was specific that his client's behavior was the result of outside forces. Watkins says that included a history of an alcohol fueled family life and a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The sentence will only involve one year of secured custody.

UNESCO Recognizes Local Program

A city police program is being recognized by a United Nations organization.  The Diversity In Policing Program is getting props from UNESCO for how it's helping develop bias free policing according to Cathy Woodbeck, the Executive Director of the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association.  Woodbeck believes the program is successful because it involves so many different local groups

Boulevard Yes, Chippewa No

The Health Unit says it's safe to swim at Boulevard Lake but not at Chippewa Park.  Officials have lifted the swimming advisory at Sandy Cove at Boulevard while it remains in place the Chippewa's Main Beach.   It's due to unacceptable levels of e-coli.

Motorcyclist Crashes Not Wearing A Helmet

A 24 year old motorcyclist is in hospital in Winnipeg with serious injuries. Rainy River O.P.P. are investigating the crash that saw the driver of the motorcyle from Edson, Alberta, lose control half a kilometre from Highway 11 in Dawson Township. Provincial Police say the driver was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash at 8:30 on Sunday night. He needed to be airlifted to hospital in Winnipeg.

Campbell Frustrated By Province

There's a new reason why the Liberals have shutdown the region's tourism centres. Kenora-Rainy River M.P.P.  Sarah Campbell says she's been told it's because of an increased use of GPS units that are helping tourists find what they're looking for.  Campbell admits she's been frustrated with the Province in trying to get a legitimate reason. Campbell says her use of GPS in the area often fails to show any landmarks that help travellers.

Dryden Families Fraud Victims

In the region, two Dryden families are out a chunk of money after falling victim to fraudsters. Dryden Police say one couple is out more then one-thousand dollars after the money was removed from their account and transfered to a prepaid Mastercard through online banking. In the second incident, an individual obtained a debit card using personal information, and then took out money from a bank in Montreal.

Duluth Flood Caused $20 Million In Damages

Duluth officials say June's devastating floods caused about $20 million damage to the city's parks. Flooding affected about two-thirds of Duluth's 30 parks. City officials say it's okay for people to continue using the parks while work is under way, but park-goers are urged to be careful.

6 Forest Fires Declared "Out" Yesterday

Some good news on the forest fire front. Six fires in the Kenora, Red Lake and Nipigon districts were declared "out" yesterday. Officials with the Ministry of Natural Resources say three new fires were reported yesterday and seven the day before. Most of the new fires continue to be reported in the Red Lake District. The fire hazard remains "Low" across southern portions of the region and "Moderate" in northern areas.

Girls Sentenced Today For Manslaughter

The two teenage girls who plead guilty to manslaughter in connection with the death of a 16 year old Sachigo Lake First Nation girl, are scheduled to appear in court today for sentencing. The girls had just met the victim who was later found dead on a trail behind the Landmark Inn near Wentworth Crescent.

Kenora Man Charged After Boating Incident

A man has been charged after a boat collision on Lake of the
Woods in Northwestern Ontario. Police say a four-metre power boat sank and had its occupants thrown into the water after a colliding with a second vessel around 4 a.m Sunday. O.P.P. have charged a Kenora man with two counts of impaired operation causing bodily harm.

Border Cats Win Streak At 7

The Thunder Bay Border Cats are officially Hot. They won their 7th game in a row last night, thanks to a pair of wins in a double-header against Mankato. Scores were 8-4 and 5-4. The series concludes tonight at Subway field with Thunder Bay now just 2 games back of Willmar for top spot in the North Division.

Drainage Study Approved

The ripple effects of the May 28th flooding are still being felt. The disaster has forced the city to a have study done of the storm drainage system in the areas affected by the flooding, a study which Engineering Manager Pat Mauro hopes can be expanded in the near future. The cost of the study is expected to run about 300 thousand dollars.

City Now Hosting 550 Evacuees

Thunder Bay is getting set to accept another 250 evacuees from the Sandy Lake First Nation. Mayor Keith Hobbs says that's in addition to the 300 we have already agreed to give shelter to because of a forest fire that's causing a blanket of smoke over their community.  The next group of evacuees will be airlifted here today.

Tuscany Drive Subdivision Approved

A developer in the city is getting his wish. City Council is allowing Robert Zanette to develop about 60 single lots in a subdivision just off of Hilldale Road. Councillor Andrew Foulds was one of the lone voices to vote against the plan because it's a reduction from what was originally proposed years ago.  The proposed subdivision is located on Tuscany Drive.

Horizon Road Deal Renewed

The city is renewing an agreement with the Ontario Realty Corporation which gives Horizon Wind road access to its planned Nor' Wester Wind Farm. City lawyer Nadia Koltun says this approval by city council simply follows through with what has been promised by the city to the developer. While there were objectors in the audience to the road access agreement, councillors did not allow them to speak.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Second Teen Faces Murder Charge

If it wasn't enough of a shocker that a 16 year old is charged with first degree murder at the Whitefish Bay First Nation,  there comes word from police that a 14 year old is also now charged.  It's in connection with the July 22nd death of a 61 year old resident of the community.   Both of the accused boys are also from Whitefish Bay which is located in the Kenora District.

Border Stats Stay Steady

The latest statistics from the Pigeon River Border Crossing show that Thunder Bay residents didn't rush to the States in June.  That's when Canadians were allowed to take advantage of the new duty free limits.  The numbers show that in June officials processed about 3 per cent fewer travellers through Pigeon River, however there was an almost 2 per cent increase in the number of vehicles.

Bentley Expands Loan Program

The provincial government is expanding the Aboriginal Loan Guarantee Program to encourage First Nation and Métis participation in creating energy projects.  Energy Minister Chris Bentley made the announcement this morning at the Prince Arthur Hotel.   He says it will increase from 250 million to 400 million dollars. Bentley says the program is being expanded because it has been very successful so far.

Miles With The Giant Race Gets Certification

Organizers of the Miles With The Giant Marathon have earned Boston Certification with Athletics Canada. The announcement was made today and means anyone running the full marathon, half-marathon, 10 and 5 kilometre events can have their times used as a qualifier for larger races such as the Boston Marathon. Chair Barry Streib says this year's race route will feature some of Thunder Bay's most scenic trails and streets including Lakehead University and Confederation College campuses, Chapples and Centennial Park as well as Boulevard Lake. Early bird race registration ends at midnight tomorrow.

Evacuee Numbers Increase

Thunder Bay is playing a role it's very familiar with. We are hosting 300 evacuees from Sandy Lake because smoke from a forest fire is blanketing their community. City Deputy Fire Chief Greg Hankkio says they'll be here for as long as necessary. The evacuees are being put up in a city hotel.

Drunk Driver Fails To Remain At Scene

A 21 year old man was arrested on North May Street just after 1:00 o'clock this morning. City police say the man was drinking and driving when he got into a single vehicle crash on Simpson Street near the Venice Grill. He then took off running and with the help of witnesses, police were able to track him down on North May Street a short time later. He will appear in court in September facing impaired driving and fleeing the scene charges.

Impaired Driver Took Off From Police

A timely red light is being credited with helping to stop an impaired driver trying to run from police overnight. Police say they spotted a 19 year old man driving eratically on Court Street at approximately 2:00 o'clock this morning. The man drove away from police when they tried to stop him but he got caught up in traffic at a red light on Cumberland and Water Street where police were able to stop him from getting away a second time. The man remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in video court today.

North Spirit Lake Death Investigated

Nishnawbe-Aski Police and the Ontario Provincial Police are now invesitgating the death of a North Spirit Lake First Nation community member. The deceased has been identified as 38 year old Paul Campbell of North Spirit Lake First Nation. A post-mortem examination is scheduled for today here in Thunder Bay. Few details are being released by police.

Sandy Lake Evacuees Head To Thunder Bay

The forest fire situation has now forced 70 people from Sandy Lake First Nation from their homes. Chief Bart Meekis has asked the city of Thunder Bay to serve as a host community. Mayor Keith Hobbs has signed an emergency declaration for the city which has supported similar evacuations over the last few years and is prepared to support additional evacuees if needed. Last year Thunder Bay hosted 350 evacuees and served as a transportation hub during the severe forest fire situation.

Forest Fire Update

There are 66 forest fires now burning here in the northwest district. Officials with the Ministry of Natural Resources say 476 forest fires have started this year burning more than 69,000 hectares of land. Weekend rain has helped the situation in southern parts of the district. The M.N.R. now says the fire hazard is "Low" for the entire region.

Thunder Bay All-Stars Win Provincials

In an all Thunder Bay Battle at the Ontario Senior Little League Championships at Baseball Central, the Thunder Bay All-Stars defeated the Selects 8-5 to earn a berth at the national championships in Regina. The All-Stars rallied for 7 runs in the final two innings to secure the win.

Border Cats Rained Out - Play Pair Tonight

The Thunder Bay Border Cats weren't able to sneak in their game against the Mankato Moondogs yesterday ahead of the rain. The two teams will now play a pair of 7 inning games tonight starting at 6:05 at Subway Field. The Border Cats have won 5 in a row and now have a record of 10-11 in the second half, just 3 games back of first place in the division.

Auld Leaves For Europe

Thunder Bay's Alex Auld is headed to Europe next season. The 31 year old netminder played last season for the Ottawa Senators and now will dawn the jersey of E.C. Salzberg in the Austrian League. Auld has played with 8 different N.H.L. teams.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Drunk Driver Takes Shortcut

No one is hurt following another drunk driving incident. Police say the 19-year-old male driver tried to drive down a footpath to take a shortcut home, but his vehicle left the path and fell down a thirty foot embankment near the Boulevard Lake Dam. The man was charged with impaired driving and possession of narcotics among other charges.

Bordercats Win Fifth Straight

The Thunder Bay Bordercats won their fifth game in a row after a huge win last night. The Cats shutout the Mankato Moondogs 6-0 at Subway Field. The Cats continue their seven game home-stand against the Moondogs at 5:05 tonight at Subway Field.

Firefighters Slightly Injured In House Fire

Two firefighters were slightly injured after a huge fire yesterday afternoon. Firefighters were called to battle a structural fire stemming from the basement of a home on Machar Avenue. Four pumper trucks and more than twenty firefighters from four different stations were used to put out the fire.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Flood Cause Remains A Mystery

It will be several months before we find out what caused the flooding at the city's East End sewage plant. Spokesperson Darrell Matson says it's all part of a consultants study of the May 28th flood which is taking place now and will be explained to city councillors Monday evening. He says the final report isn't expected to be ready for 3 or 4 months.   Included in that report will be finding out what caused a leak in the sewage plant.

Global Sticks Reaches The End

It looks like the end of the line for Global Sticks. The Oliver-Paipoonge company has closed its doors according to Natural Resources Minister Michael Gravelle, whose government has provided millions of dollars to the popsicle stick manufacturer to get it off the ground.  He says it's his understanding they have closed the doors at this time after not being able to find a private sector investor.   A call to the owner, Reggie Nukovic, has not been returned.

City Hiring Freeze Possible

If the city doesn't take any action by the end of the year it will be just over a million dollars in the hole. However that won't happen, according to City Manager Tim Commisso. Commisso says they will look for savings elsewhere if necessary and that includes a hiring freeze.  He is confident however, the city will see a surplus at the end of the year.   The report to city councillors attributes the shortfall, in part, to legal services related to a potential class action lawsuit in connection with the May 28th flood.

Teens Survive Transport Crash

Two teenage girls are out of hospital after they were treated for injuries they sustained in a traffic accident last night.   Police say that it took place at the intersection of Memorial Avenue and the Harbour Expressway around 11 o'clock  when a pick-up truck collided with a transport.  The girl who was driving the pick up is now charged with a red light violation.

O.P.P. Nab Third Suspect

A 24 year old man from Wellington is now in police custody and will appear in court today. He was the third suspect involved in what O.P.P. are calling an attempted break and enter. The apprehension of the suspect proved to be difficult as he fled on foot into the bush near Pays Plat early Wednesday morning. Police picked him up while trying to hitchhike near Jackfish Lake.  He and two others were stopped by Provincial Police who used a spike belt to end the car chase.

Dryden Mill Workers Agree To New Deal

500 Canadian Energy and Paper Workers Union members from Dryden have a new deal. Last night they voted 70 percent in favour of a new 5 year contract. An additional $15.00  a month will be added to the pension contributions, additional meal allowances and a modest wage increase over the next two years were highlited in the deal.

Forest Fire Numbers Down Because Of Rain

Two days of rain is helping to dampen the forest fire numbers here in Northwestern Ontario. Ministry of Natural Resources officials now say they are battling more than 60 forest fires in our region, that's down from 80 on Wednesday. The M.N.R. is keeping an eye on the forecast, saying that the forest fire rating will rise again with sunshine and warm temperatures expected in the days ahead.

Border Cats Win Third Straight

The Thunder Bay Border Cats have now won three in a row. They edged the St. Cloud Rox 11-10 in a wild one at Subway Field last night to improve to 8-11 in the second half. The Border Cats are now 3 1/2 games back of Duluth for top spot in the North division. That series concludes tonight here at home.

Selects Lead The Provincials At 3-0

The Thunder Bay Selects are cruising at the right time. They beat Orleans 8-7 last night in the Ontario Senior Little League Championships being played at Baseball Central. The win gives the Selects a 3-0 record in the 5 team tournament and assures them a spot in the playoffs. Tonight they take on the 2-1 Thunder Bay All-Stars who need a win in order to secure a spot in the 3 team playoffs.

Druery Signs Deal To Go Pro

Lakehead University's Lindsay Druery is graduating from playing basketball for the Thunderwolves to playing professionally in Europe. She will join Lakehead Alum Kathryn Verboom in the German 2 Bundesliga on the TSV Towers Speer/Schifferstadt. Druery, from Smithville, Ontario, says she never dreamed of even being able to play basketball at the university level, let alone professionally. Druery leaves for German in September and will have an opportunity to teach English during her time away from the court.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Charge Laid In Valente Death

A 24 year old inmate of Stony Mountain jail in Manitoba is charged with second degree murder in connection with the death of Thunder Bay's Cosmo Valente last month.  RCMP says Valente died June 25 from a single stab wound he received while he was an inmate.  Charged is Bryon Jacob.  He made a brief court appearance in Winnipeg Thursday.

Funding Concerns Heard

A Harper government cabinet minister is going back to Ottawa with funding suggestions from northwestern Ontario municipal leaders. Minister of State Steven Fletcher says his round table meeting in Kenora showed roads for the Ring of Fire, Airports and the Trans Canada Highway were area funding concerns. The government wants to set up a new infrastructure funding program by 2014.

Good Samaritans Now Need Help

One Thunder Bay family is looking for help in the aftermath of the city flood. Jessica Sharpe and her family opened her home up to East End residents in the immediate aftermath of the flood, offering a hot shower, blankets and even hot food.  Now Sharpe says they don't have the $21,000 needed for repairs and is in need of help herself.  As is her nature, she is asking residents to keep in mind all of the people affected by the devastating flood and not just her family.

Goal Set For Disaster Relief

The City's Disaster Relief Committee is setting its fundraising goal at 5 million dollars. Committee chair Wayne Fletcher says they hope to get that amount raised for the May 28th flood victims by November 30th. He says committee members believe it's a necessary goal .  Fletcher is also reminding you that any donation to disaster relief can be claimed on your taxes.

Highway 61 Revisited

There's a move on to get more publicity for the Canadian portion of Highway 61. City Tourism Manager Paul Pepe is in Duluth this week to make the case for our city becoming a part of the tourism promotions south of the border for the iconic highway's route along Lake Superior.  Pepe says as it is now,  American promotions for the highway do not include Thunder Bay. 

Police Chief Celebrates Anniversary

Thunder Bay's Police Force is celebrating a year with a new Chief. J.P. Levesque was sworn into the position on July 13th last year. Levesque says he has a number of goals for the year to come. Levesque says he spent much of last year dealing with contract negotiations and disciplinary actions.

3 Kilograms Of Cocaine Seized

Two Toronto area men are currently in custody pending an investigation into a cocaine bust. Nipigon O.P.P. say a traffic stop yesterday afternoon resulted in the seizure of 3 kilograms of cocaine. The street value of the drugs seized is approximately $300,000.

16 Year Old Charged With First Degree Murder

A 16 year old is in custody and charged with first-degree murder. Treaty Three and O.P.P. made the arrest Tuesday in connection with the death of 61 year old Charles Minshall of Whitefish Bay First nation. The 16 year old, who can't be named because of age, is also from Whitefish Bay First Nation. Police are not releasing the cause of death, but earlier reports had police responding to gun fire being heard at a local store, where the deceased was found. The 16 year old is to appear in a Kenora court today.

O.P.P. Search For A Third Suspect In Attempted Robbery

O.P.P. are still looking for a third suspect in connection with an attempted store robbery in Schreiber. Provincial Police were alerted just before 4:00 o'clock yesterday morning.  They then spotted the suspect's vehicle west of Nipigon but an attempted stop had to be abandoned because of public safety reasons as the vehicle took off. Later police spotted the same vehicle and used a spike belt to halt the vehicle and three men went running into the bush. Two of them were caught. The third remains at-large with O.P.P. K-9 units being used in the pursuit. O.P.P. are warning travellers not to pick up any hitchhikers in the Schreiber area.