Friday, August 31, 2012

Autopsy Reveals Death As Homocide

Thunder Bay Police say the death of 65 year old Adam Yellowhead is a homicide. His body was found on Wednesday in a wooded area on Field Street. Police are seeking the assistance of the public in solving this crime.People can contact the Criminal Investigation Branch or Crimestoppers. The investigation is continuing. 

Peter Mrowiec Passes Away In Plane Crash

The Juab County Sheriff's Office confirm 58 year old Thunder Bay Lawyer Peter Mrowiec died in a plane crash Thursday in central Utah. Sheriff Aldon Orme says bad weather was a factor in the crash that killed Mrowiec and his instructor. Mrowiec had purchased the plane and hired an instructor to log some flight hours on the aircraft. Orme says it's unclear if Mrowiec was the one flying the plane at the time of the accident.

LU Baseball Team Recruits

Lakehead University has it's latest recruit for the baseball team.  They've picked a local player and graduate of Superior College.  Taylor MacAski will be studying Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism at LU and plays outfield and pitcher.

MNR Reports More Fires

While four new fires have been confirmed in the Northwest region, there's some good news to report.  Currently there are no fires posing a threat to people or property.  The new fires are small in size and are being managed.  The warmer weather forecast for this weekend will likely reduce the number of lightning caused fires.

Local Police Don't Get Bankable Sick Days

The President of the Thunder Bay Police Association is clearing the air over claims City Police are allowed to bank their sick days for future use.  Greg Stephenson says that's not the case and local police haven't been able to do that since the late 80's.  Stephenson is reacting to the Premier asking area municipalities to remove bankable sick time from future contracts.  Stephenson says if Dalton McGuinty wants to find savings he can look to his own back yard and claw back MPP pensions.

Bortuzzo Signs 2 way Deal With Pens

Thunder Bay's Robert Bortuzzo has re-signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The defenceman signed a 1 year, 2 way deal with the club for $525,000 U.S.

Port's Crane First Lift

Thunder Bay's Port Authority is full of pride today as it watches it's new mobile harbour crane lift cargo off a boat from the Netherlands.  CEO Tim Heney says the crane is lifting heavy wind turbines that are destined for a wind farm in the Western United States.  It's the crane's inaugral lift.

Presiding Coroner Revealed

Ontario's Chief Coroner is making moves leading up to the beginning of a joint inquest into the deaths of seven Aboriginal Youth who died while attending school in Thunder Bay.  The inquest is scheduled to begin in the Spring of next year.  Dr. Andrew McCallum appointed Thunder Bay and Hamilton's Assistant Crown Attorney's as the coroner's counsel. Dr. David Eden will be the Presiding Coroner.

Northern Policy Institute Launched

The Provincial Government is launching the Northern Policy Institute.  NPI Special Advisor, Lakehead University's President Dr. Brian Stevenson says they're looking to set up their office and hire staff within the next six to eight months.  Stevenson adds they're hiring a search consultant to look for the organizations first CEO.  One of the guiding principles of the institute is to provide Northern Ontario input on Provincial Government policies.

6'4" Forward Added To Women's basketball Team

The Lakehead University Thunderwolves women's basketball team have added some much needed size up front. They announced 6-foot-4 forward, Sarah Barclay will be joining the team from Brandon, Manitoba. The engineering student will join six recruits to L.U.'s club this season.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mobility Market Expansion?

Tbay Tel isn't commenting on rumours they may have competition in the local mobility market.  Bell Mobility has said they're looking to expand its retail operations into the Thunder Bay area but an official open date has not yet been set.  T.Bay Tel Spokesperson Barry Streib says they're focusing on their current customers.  A media spokesperson for Virgin Mobile says they haven't made any announcements saying they will be setting up a shop in Thunder Bay this fall.

OPP Find Grow Op In Atikokan

OPP are charging two 54 year old Atikokan men with producing marijuana, possession of pot and morphine and several firearm offences. During a joint forces investigation, police observed two men tending to a grow op of marijuana in the area of Turtle River Road. As a result of the investigation, a search warrant was obtained and additional evidence was seized from a residence in Atikokan. Robert Kozar and Kevin Leblanc will be in Fort Frances Provincial Court on September 17th.

Busy July For Border Agents

It was a busy July for Canada Border Service Agents at Pigeon River.  On Canada Day agents noticed a U.S. resident acting nervous. They searched him and found a small bag of marijuana. Another search of his vehicle turned up 16 dosages of magic mushrooms. The drugs were seized, he was arrested for smuggling and the car was released after he paid 660 dollars.  In another incident, a Canadian man told agents he bought a pool cue in the States for just over 75 dollars. After some investigation the man admitted he altered his invoice and he really paid 451 dollars for the cue. The man was fined 211 dollars. Border Services says had he properly declared the pool cue, he would only have paid around sixty dollars in taxes.

Salvation Army Employee Book Launch

A Salvation Army Thrift Store employee who published his own book is launching it Saturday at the store he works at on Red River Road.  Ernest Grundy says his book is about his daily struggle with mental illness.  Grundy says he spent most of his life savings on publishing the book.

Commisso On Flood Relief Fund

City Manager Tim Commisso says fundraising for flood relief is his number one priority for the next couple of months.   He is urging fellow residents to open their giant hearts to raise the 4-million dollars that's needed to help in the wake of the May 28th flood.   Commisso says the Safe Home program alone cost the city nearly 3-million dollars just to clean-up homes flooded in the disaster. To date the flood fund committee has raised almost 900-thousand dollars. 

OPP Long Weekend Blitz

Say goodbye to summer and hello to fall.  The Ontario Provincial Police want to remind everyone to be careful this Labour Day long weekend.  OPP will be patrolling this weekend looking for distracted drivers, those not wearing their seat belts and impaired driving.  OPP Sgt. Shelley Garr says unfortunately ten people have died this year on roads in the Northwest, compared to 13 last year.

Post Mortem Exam Friday

A post mortem exam is taking place Friday on the body of a 65 year old man who was found dead in a wooded area off of Field Street.  Police Constable Julie Tilbury says they hope to get the results from the Thunder Bay Coroner sometime Friday.  The scene where the body was found Wednesday will be secured by police until the results of the exam are received.

T.Bay Marathon New Competitor

Thunder Bay's Marathon, Miles with the Giant is quickly approaching.  The Board of Directors are excited elite athlete Thomas Omwenga will be taking part in the marathon on September 23rd.  Directors hope he will be able to set a new speed record for their event.  Omwenga will face 2011 Thunder Bay Marathon champion and fellow Kenyan Gilbert Kiptoo.

No West Nile Cases In N.W.O.

No concerns in Northwestern Ontario, but the West Nile virus is hitting southern Ontario hard. Health officials say 82 people, all in Southern Ontario, have been infected. Public Health Ontario says the virus has been identified in northwestern Ontario, but no one here has contracted the mosquito-born illness.

Accident On Waterloo Street

Everyone walked away with no injuries following a motor vehicle collision Thursday morning.  Police and ambulance were called to North Waterloo and East Vickers Street just in front of the Tim Horton's.  Two vehicles were involved in a collision. A grey Suzuki Twist and a black Chevy truck collided with each other.  There were no injuries, there is no word on any charges.

Bear Sighting Near Grandview

City Police are investigating a bear sighting in the Current River area area early this morning. Police were called to the area near Hudson Avenue by multiple witnesses but the bear had vacated the area by the time police arrived.

Man Arrested For Mac's Robbery

Thunder Bay Police are charging a 32 year old man with the robbery of the Balsam Street Mac's Convenience Store on Monday night.  Constable Julie Tilbury says they picked the man up Wednesday night in a Northside residence. The man is charged with Robbery and Breach of Recognizance.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Loonie Days For Flood Fund Kicks Off Friday

A variety of businesses are taking part in loonie days for disaster relief this long weekend.  Flood Fund Program Manager Kari Chiappetta says it's vital people come out and donate a loonie when they're shopping at local businesses.  You can donate a dollar this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at all Metro, Quality Market stores, Walmart, Old Navy, Chatters Salon and a variety of other businesses.

Lac des Illes Mine Strike Vote

Workers at the Lac des Illes mine could go on strike in September.  The United Steel Workers Union held a strike vote recently with 94 percent of employees voting in favour of labour action.  USW Spokesperson Herb Daniher says there have been some stumbling points in negotiations including bringing a work safety advisor back into the company.  A provincial mediator will sit down with the employer and the union for three days of negotiation at the beginning of September.

Body Found Behind Lakehead Motors

Thunder Bay Police have identified the 65 year old man who was found dead this morning in the Intercity area.  Just before 9:00 a.m. people walking in the wooded area at the end of Field Street came across the body and went to a nearby business to alert police.  Detectives are now awaiting the result of a post mortem to determine the cause of the death.

Ornge Air Ambulance Service In T.Bay Back To Normal

Ornge's helicopter air ambulance service is back to running out of its Thunder Bay base.  It was moved to Moosonee and Kenora on a temporary basis due to a pilot shortage but Thunder Bay MPP Bill Mauro says the organization has been able to rectify the matter.  Mauro says Ornge has struggled in the past with recruiting helicopter pilots and it's an ongoing problem.

Dryden Donates To T.Bay Flood Fund

Dryden Council has responded to an appeal for assistance issued by Thunder Bay. The Lakehead is still reeling from a major flood in May and a group has been formed to raise 5-million dollars to help those affected by the water damage. Dryden Council has agreed to donate 1-thousand dollars to the cause. The province will match that funding.

College Teachers Reach Agreement

Confederation College teachers won't be going on strike this fall. Ontario's 24 colleges today reached a tentative agreement with their faculty. It's a two year deal that starts in September and expires in August 2014. The deal includes no changes to benefits and freezes faculty

Kia Gives Vehicle To Crimestoppers

Thunder Bay Crimestoppers has a new vehicle thanks to Performance Kia.  The business donated the vehicle to the organization this morning.  Crimestoppers Coordinator Jason Disher says he'll be driving the vehicle around for the next three years.  Disher says it will come in handy since he's following up on tips from Thunder Bay, Nipigon, Red Rock, Schreiber, Terrace Bay, Marathon, Manitouwadge and Greenstone. 

Neebing Avenue Closed

Neebing Avenue will be closed until early October as city crews work on road and watermain construction. Neebing Avenue has been closed this week between Gore Street and Walsh Street and will remain closed for at least another five weeks. Gore Street and Walsh Street remain open as detour routes. Other access roads including Rosslyn Road and Broadway Avenue remain open. There will be local access to the area from Mary Street, Francis Street and Frederica Street.

Rafferty Puzzled By Boundary Map

A possible redraw of federal ridings in Northwestern Ontario has the M.P. for Thunder Bay-Rainy River scratching his head. The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario proposes Lake of the Woods township be a part of the Kenora riding. John Rafferty is confused as to why it has to be moved out of his riding. Rafferty intends to voice his opposition at upcoming meetings this fall.

Forest Fire Season Not Over Yet

 A reminder the fire season in Northwestern Ontario isn't over yet. The Ministry of Natural Resources says it reponded to 6 new blazes in the region, including two more in the Kenora area. One was located near Minaki while the other was just South of Kenora on Lake of the Woods. The M.N.R. says all the new fires were the result of lightning strikes over the past few days. With warmer conditions expected over the next few days, fire crews are expecting to see more activity.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Police Release Mac's Robbery Photos

Police are releasing photos from Monday night's Mac's convenience store robbery on Balsam Street. Just before 10:00 p.m. a man walked into the store and told the cashier he had a weapon and wanted money.  Police are looking for a 45 year old white man that's six feet tall with a heavy build and a goatee.

School Bus Schedules Online

Parents and Guardians of students in Thunder Bay are now able to check online for their kids bus schedules. Student Transportation Services Spokesperson David Carrol says you can access the information by logging onto their web page and clicking on parent portal. You need the student's Ontario education number and birthdate to access information. Click here for a link to the website.

Northern Ontario Won't Lose Seats

The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission is going to be holding a public meeting in Thunder Bay in two months time.  It comes after they announced there would be no changes made to Northern Ontario's 10 electoral districts.  Thunder Bay Superior North MP Bruce Hyer says we need to have strong representation at the local meeting.  Hyer is also welcoming the idea of Manitouwadge joining the Thunder Bay Superior North riding.

Beach Advisories In Place At Boulevard

Thunder Bay's Health Unit is placing three of Boulevard Lake's beaches under swimming advisories.   There are high levels of e-coli at the main beach, Sunnyside and Sandycove beach. 

NAPS & OPP Sign Agreement

Ron van Straalen & Claude Chum

OPP and Nishnawbe-Aski Police continue to work together. The two police forces signed a 3 year operational agreement today. NAPS Chief Claude Chum says it replaces expired protocols. The agreement lays out protocols dealing with sharing equipment and services. It also provides guidelines on culturally appropriate policing for First Nations.

College Faculty Collective Agreement Set To Expire

Ontario's College Faculty Collective Agreement is set to expire on Friday.  The Ontario Public Service Employees Union and the Province are in negotiations over the new contract but if one isn't reached a strike vote is set for September 10th.  Confederation College President Jim Madder says he hopes the two sides continue to talk. Madder says if a faculty strike occurs the school will stay open but classes won't resume.

Conservatory Set To Re-Open

Safety netting and new plants are on the menu to help open the conservatory.  Council passed a motion last night that will see the city run facility re-opened to the public in a couple of months at a cost of 76-thousand dollars.  Councillor Ken Boshcoff believes the number of visitors to the venue just aren't there.

ETFO Rally At Government Building

Upset teachers are sending a message today outside of Mini Queen's Park on James Street.   The rally is being held alongside a protest happening at Queen's Park in Toronto.  President of the local chapter of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, Ellen Chambers says they're not just upset with the McGuinty government over legislation to impose a two year contract, but with the Conservatives as well. Chambers says people need to know that it's not the wage freeze that's bothersome to teachers but the unwillingness to negotiate that has them upset.

Mac's Robbery

Police are looking to the public for assistance in solving another Mac's convenience store robbery overnight. City police say the robbery occurred at the Balsam Street location just before 10:00 o'clock when a white man, approximately 40 years old walked into the store and indicated that he had a weapon demanding cash from the lone woman who was working. He then ran from the scene in an unknown direction.  Police are asking for the public's help with any information about this robbery to call them or Crime Stoppers.

City To Buy Radar Signs For Dawson Rd.

City council is buying radar signage to be installed on Dawson Road. Lawmakers voted to spend $33,000 out of the 2013 budget to purchase the signs that indicate your speed. Council felt it was a community safety issue and the signs should be visible on Dawson Road in a couple of months.

New Speed Limit On Oliver At Golf Links

City Council is moving forward with a speed reduction on Oliver Road. Lawmakers voted in favour of reducing the speed limit from 60 to 50 kilometres an hour last night. The new speed limit will be in effect from the intersection at Golf Links Road.

Watch Out For Bears

City police are warning you about the potential dangers of bears wandering into the city. Police were alerted to the presence of a bear last night on James Street at approximately 8:00 o'clock. They kept an eye on the animal until it vacated the area. Unconfirmed reports had a young bear in a wooded area near Castlegreen at approximately 7:00 o'clock last night. In another instance, an adult bear was spotted on Wardrope Avenue during rush hour. Police are reminding you to use caution when in the presence of wild animals.

Road Work Today

The City is warning motorists about a road closure today. John St. Road between Chercover Drive and Biloski Road will be closed from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or until work is complete. The reason for the closure is to install a new residential sewer and water connection.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Council Hears Flood Fundraising Update

There's only a couple of months left for the Disaster Relief Committee to raise 5 million dollars.  Chair Wayne Fletcher says they've raised almost 900 thousand dollars so far and they've got a long way to go.  Fletcher says they have to raise 5 million dollars because that's what the community needs to recover after the May 28th flood.  The deadline for fundraising is the end of November.

Virdiramo Talks AMO Conference

The City has hammered out a deal with the Provincial Government to create point people in Thunder Bay to deal with the city's Mining Readiness Plan.
Councillor Joe Virdiramo says seven provincial ministers have appointed designated senior staff members as a point of contact for input and support.
The City made the request at the recent Association of Municipalities of Ontario Conference in Ottawa.  The City also asked Minister of Health Deb Matthew to consider matching funding for RegenMed's sustainability plan.

Friendship Centre Program Renewed

A program run through local Native Friendship Centres is being renewed by the Federal Government. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister John Duncan says the Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth program will be offered for another year. The program encourages youth to get involved in cultural development, community engagement and leadership programs. Duncan says the program gives aboriginal youth the skills they need to enter the workforce.

NOSM Classes Start

64 student doctors start classes today at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine at both the Lakehead University Campus and in Sudbury at Laurentian University.  Just under half of those students are here in Thunder Bay earning their 4-year undergraduate degree.  Acting Dean, Dr. Bill McCready says the application process hopes to identify potential future doctors who will remain here in Northern Ontario.

Rib Fest Deemed A Success

Organizers of this year's Rib Fest are simply astonished.   They were hoping for roughly 25-hundred people per day for the three day event being held in the city's downtown Port Arthur site.  But as Donna Lee Morettin says the numbers went far beyond that as 25-thousand people attended the event.  Morettin says Rib Fest will definitely be back for a second year and that the Canadian Diabetes Association benefited the most.