Friday, November 30, 2012

OSSTF Upset Over Westgate Tiger Tip-Off

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation is speaking out after the Public School Board cancelled the Westgate Tiger Tip-off basketball tournament.  The board said the tournament was cancelled because they didn't feel there was enough supervision from support staff.  Union Rep Paul Caccamo says his members put over 200 hours to prepare the tournament and were willing to give more over the weekend.  Caccamo says he didn't hear from the school about their concerns about supervision.

Council Tackles Several Issues Monday

There could be a new school safety zone after Monday night's City Council meeting.  Council will consider implementing a 40 km/hr speed zone on Georgina Avenue from Mary Street to Frederica Avenue.  School safety zones would also be set up at Rockwood Avenue from 65 metres south of Whitney Street to 35 metres south of Windsor Street and Wishart Crescent from Windemere Avenue to Clarkson Street.  Meanwhile, Council is looking at improving drainage in the areas of Oliver and Highgate Roads.  City staff is recommending spending 125-thousand dollars towards drainage improvements including new ditching on the south side of Oliver Road and new culverts along half of Highgate Road.  Finally, Council is considering making a bid for the next Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities conference.  Council will decide tonight whether or not to officially throw the City's hat into the conference hosting ring.

B-Ball Tournament Cancelled

The Tiger Tip-off basketball tournament is cancelled and teachers' job action is being blamed. Ian MacRae, Superintendant of Education and former Principal at Westgate says he was forced to pull the plug on the tournament last night after the first round of games were played. MacRae says there were indeed enough coaches, but not enough support staff to ensure the students particpating would be supervised appropriately on school grounds.

Christmas Cheer Fund Sets Goal At 160-Thousand

The Christmas Cheer campaign is underway with a goal of 160 thousand dollars. Chair Linda Gambee says this year the need in the community is bigger than ever. The organization faced a funding shortfall last year and in order to balance their books this year they had to eliminate stew from the Christmas grocery hampers.

Eye See Eye Learn

The Eye See Eye Learn program is reaching out to Thunder Bay's surrounding communities. The Ontario Association of Optometrists pilot program just started. It will see a local optometrist travel to the surrounding communities and provide free eye exams and glasses to school children. The program already exists in the City and now it will include Red Rock, Nipigon, Schreiber, Terrace Bay, Marathon, Geraldton and Manitouwadge.

CAA Reminds You To Drive Safe

While the official start to winter is a few weeks away, it's good to always be prepared. The Canadian Auto Association has some safety tips to help everyone stay safe on the roads. Spokesperson Korey Kennedy says it's important to keep an emergency kit. Kennedy also stresses the importance of making sure snow and ice is completely scraped off the vehicle.

Rickford On Residential School Ceremony

Shining light on an unfortunate past. Kenora MP Greg Rickford hosted a dedication ceremony on Wednesday to commemorate the legacy of Indian Residental Schools, which featured a stained glass window being installed in Center Block on Parliment Hill. Rickford says that it's a move forward for Aboriginal people who were affected by the residential schools. Rickford adds that it had some personal significance to him, considering he was part of negotiations and the signing of the Residential Schools Agreement.

Levesque Proud Of Diamond Jubilee Award

Thunder Bay's Police Chief JP Levesque says he's proud to receive a Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal. Levesque says he's elated to receive the award and was shocked when MP Bruce Hyer's office called to tell him he was receiving the medal. Levesque says he's probably receiving the award for his years with the police force.

Hyer Hands Out 30 Jubilee Medals Today

30 of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medals are being handed out today at a special ceremony this afternoon at the Prince Arthur Hotel. Independent MP Bruce Hyer will be handing them out to well deserving city and area residents who were chosen by a non-partisan group after nominations were submitted. Hyer says the award recipients are from all walks of life who have made outstanding contributions to our community.

ETFO Ready For A Strike

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario is threatening strike action starting in December.  Teachers have until the end of December to reach a contract agreement or the Minister of Education will force a contract on the union.  Local President Ellen Chambers says they're left with no other options unless the Provincial Government calls them back to the bargaining table.  The ETFO has promised to give parents 72 hours notice before any strike, which will affect operations in each public elementary school throughout Ontario.

Basketball Teams At Home This Weekend

The Lakehead University men's and women's basketball teams are back at the friendly confines of the L.U. Thunderdome tonight and tomorrow. The Thunderwolves welcome the Laurentian Voyageurs at 6:00 and 8:00 o'clock tonight. At 1-4, the men's team has struggled defensively and Head Coach Scott Morrison says he's looking for a good showing tonight and tomorrow to end the first half. The Thunderwolves will host the York Lions in a double-header tomorrow night with games at 6:00 and 8:00 o'clock as well.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

55 Year Old Man's Death Not Foul Play

 OPP are continuing their investigation into the death of a man at a residence at the Elizabeth Street Manor in Fort Frances.  Police are ruling out foul play in the cause of death.  Dead is 55 year old Derek Pollard.

NAPS Continue To Investigate Fatal Fire

The cause of death in a fatal house fire in New Osnaburgh First Nation is pending toxicology reports.  A post mortem exam was conducted at the Kenora Hospital on Sunday, the I.D. of the deceased cannot be officially confirmed until the return of DNA testing.  Due to the extent of fire, the Ontario Fire Marshall is unable to determine the exact cause of the fire.  Nishnawbe Aski Police are continuing their investigation of the event that occured last week.

Missing Teen Found

Thunder Bay Police are thanking the public for helping them find a missing 15 year old girl.  Orlanda Chickekoo was reported missing Wednesday and found safe Thursday.

Trans Support Collective On Federal Bill

The head of Thunder Bay's Transgender Support Collective hopes the Federal Government will do the right thing and pass a private member's bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against transgendered residents. Transgender Collective Organizer Aiden Kivisto says whether or not the Federal Government passes the bill it's still a positive step in the right direction. MPs are currently studying the bill; if the bill clears this hurdle it will head back to the Commons, where it must pass two more key votes.

Flood Relief Fund At Almost 1.2 Million

After 6 months of fundraising the Disaster Relief Committee has raised almost 1.2 million dollars for victims of the May 28th flood.  Spokesperson Wayne Fletcher says they're pleased with the amount raised so far but notes the goal is still 5 million dollars.  Fundraising will continue until January 31st.

Warm Weather On The Way

Cold weather is about to give way to above average temperatures as we head towards the weekend. Environment Canada's Geoff Coulson says a warm front in advance of system coming in from the prairies is expected to give us highs of plus 4 and plus 2 on Saturday and Sunday. Coulson says the warm air associated with this system is coming up from the southern United States.

Rafferty Meeting With Resolute

More answers about Resolute Forest Products future in Fort Frances could come tonight.  Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP John Rafferty says he and MPP Sarah Campbell will be sitting down with company president Richard Garneau in Toronto.  Rafferty says he also hopes to pose a number of questions forwarded to him by mill workers, including one pertaining to a suspected offer to buy the plant.

World AIDS Day

Thunder Bay's local AIDS group is marking World AIDS day Friday. The actual awareness day is December 1st, but the local group will be holding their public event Friday morning at the Victoria Inn. Spokesperson Bob Manson says they want to keep spreading the word in Northwestern Ontario that AIDS is a preventable disease. Manson adds a huge number of Thunder Bay residents are involved with fighting AIDS and HIV in Africa.

Shelter House Kicks Off Fundraising Season

Thunder Bay's Shelter House is looking to raise 200-thousand dollars in the month of December for it's Christmas fundraising campaign.  Executive Director Patty Hajdu says that's a slight increase from the previous year's fundraising goal.  To donate to Shelter House phone them, drop off money in person or by mail or stop by any TD Canada Trust location.

Three Hurt In Accident

Police say charges are pending after three people were sent to hospital following a two vehicle collision at the intersection of Secord Street and Dufferin just after 10:00 o'clock this morning.It's alleged that a car on Dufferin drove into the intersection before it was safe to do so and struck a van that was southbound on Secord Street. The two female occupants of the van were taken by ambulance to hospital with minor injuries. The male driver of the car was also taken to hospital by a friend to be checked out.

Back To Square One

Public high school teachers and the Lakehead District School Board are being forced back into bargaining by the provincial government. It comes after the Ministry of Education rejected the tentative settlement reached last week between the two sides. Director of Education Cathi Siemieiuk says teachers jobs actions are back on. She calls it part of the negotiating process and they will manage things as they can.

Accident Slows Traffic On Water Street

A three vehicle accident is forcing traffic southbound on Water Street to be closed. The accident occurred at around 7:00 o'clock this morning. Water Street is closed between Park Avenue and Pearl Street as fire trucks have it blocked off while they tend to the occupants. An ambulance was also called to the scene as was city police. More details are expected later in the day.

High School Teachers Set To Resume Job Action

Any talk of labour peace by local high school teachers could be pre-mature. Public high school teachers may be about to continue with their job action. This after a Lakehead District Public School Board release stated the Ontario Secondary Teachers Federation was re-instating job sanctions immediately.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Westfort Fire Station Seeks Approval

City Council is being asked to approve the fire department's suggestion for a new Westfort Fire Station on West Frederica Street. The new site if approved would replace the old Brown Street Fire Station that can no longer accommodate the fire fighters and their equipment.

Missing 15 Year Old Girl

Thunder Bay Police are asking for the public's help in finding a missing 15 year old girl.  Orlanda Chickekoo was last seen leaving her guardians Lansdowne Court residence just after noon today. She is described as 5 feet five inches tall and weighing 125 lbs with long dark hair. She was wearing an army green t-shirt, a black hoodie, a black jacket, dark jeans and white sneakers with a pink design. There is a ongoing concern regarding her health and welfare, therefore investigators are urging anyone who has seen her to contact the Thunder Bay Police.

WSIB Head Pays TBay A Visit

The head of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board says it's an ongoing process to fix the WSIB.  Elizabeth Witmer spoke at the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce meeting Wednesday and says they continue to modernize their programs.  Witmer says they will continue to keep in contact with Northern communities about ongoing changes to the WSIB.

Arthur Street Accident Update

Thunder Bay Police are charging a 66 year old man with careless driving, driving while suspended and failing to wear a seat belt after a 3 car pile up on Arthur Street Saturday night.  Police say the collision took place when a blue Ford Focus crossed the center line of Arthur Street and hit an approaching grey Mazda sedan. Another approaching vehicle then struck the Mazda a second time in the curb lane.  Had the 66 year old's vehicle been salvageable, it would have been
impounded for seven days as a consequence of driving while under suspension.

Sudden Death Fort Frances

Fort Frances OPP are investigating the sudden death of a man inside the Elizabeth Street Manor on Tuesday. The OPP Forensic Identification Unit is helping the Regional Coroner confirm the identity of the man and determine the cause of death. A post mortem exam will take place today at the Kenora Hospital.

Not Many People Disobeying Calendar Parking

The City's Parking Authority says most people have been following the calendar parking rules since last Friday's snowfall. Manager James Coady says there are a few that park on the wrong side of the road and they get ticketed. Coady says they'll be paying extra attention to parking areas in congested residential neighbourhoods and school areas. Calendar parking is used to allow snow plows to clear the road and snow banks.

Habib Happy With Lower Taxes

The President of Habib Architects is pleased the City has decided to lower the taxes on his Victoria Avenue property. Ahsanul Habib says it was one of the conditions that was required before a low income housing project could move forward. Habib notes the next step is to formalize an agreement for the 21 unit building with the local Social Services Board. Construction should start sometime in February or March.

Ontario Provides $ For Mental Health Workers

The Provincial Government is investing 375 thousand dollars annually for mental health and addictions workers in Ring of Fire communities. These workers will provide counselling, individual and group therapy, crisis intervention and other health services. Over 80 new workers have been hired, which will help almost four thousand aboriginal children and young people.

Fort Chamber On Resolute

The president of the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce is trying to reassure his members the community will make it through the idling of operations at Resolute Forest Products. At the Chamber's annual meeting Tuesday night Mark Caron aknowleged the move will have a huge impact but tried to remain positive repeating several times...we will get through this. 

Have You Seen This Yellow Jeep?

Thunder Bay Police are looking for more information about what lead to a collision at the intersection of River and Algoma Street. A yellow jeep was going westbound on River Street when it suddenly went out of control and struck a pole. A witness then saw the vehicle back up, and then hit the pole a second time. Traffic Sergeant Glenn Porter says they just want to know what went wrong. The law requires you to file a report with the police in any accident that results in injury, or damage over a thousand dollars. If anyone witnessed the event, or know the vehicle in question they are asked to call the police.

Fort Frances Budget Draft Delayed

The town of Fort Frances is delaying bringing forward a draft budget for council to review. C.A.O. Mark McCaig says the idling announcement at Resolute Forest Products have to be taken into account in next years budget. A draft budget is usually presented in early January. It will now come to council at the end of February.

Warmer Weather Coming

Arctic air coming across from the prairies are to blame for this morning's cold temperatures. Environment Canada's Geoff Coulson says normal temperatures for this time of year are highs of -3 and lows of -12 but it feels a lot cooler than that around the region. Coulson says there is good news in the forecast as a developing storm system across the prairies will bring a warm front to the region producing highs of 5 and 6 for Saturday and Sunday.

Horse Put Down After Collision With Car

Provincial Police are reporting a car accident this morning on Highway 11-17 in the area of Wing Road and McFarland Road. Police say the car hit a horse that was on the highway. A 44 year old woman was taken to hospital by ambulance with minor injuries. Police say the horse did suffer injuries and officers had to put it down. O.P.P. had to close the highway for a short time while they investigated and removed the car from a ditch.

Councillors Wiser On Infrastructure Needs

City councillors are now prepared for some big decisions they'll have to make going into the new budget process. Councillor Ken Boshcoff says they were briefed yesterday by the city manager on what the needs will be when it comes to sewers, roads and other infrastructure. Now it's in the hands of his colleagues to set priorities. Boshcoff says his priorities are taking care of some long standing issues and staying ahead of any crisis.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Angus Speaks In Support Of Events Centre

One of the city's most seasoned politicians is putting his support behind the proposed events centre. Iain Angus voted to move the process into phase three and accepting the downtown north core as the site. Below is Councillor Angus' entire speech.

United Way Predicts Shortfall

The United Way is again facing a fundraising challenge. Organizers predict they will be 95 thousand dollars short of the 2.6 million dollar goal. Chair Carol Busch says she is not panicking yet. Busch is confident they will meet their goal.  

Tsubouchi To Retire As Centre CEO

The George Jeffery Children's Centre is looking for a new Chief Executive Officer.  It comes with the announced retirement of Eiji Tsubouchi.  His last day on the job will be March 31st.  Tsubouchi has guided the organization through a lot during his tenure of over a decade, including the construction of it's new building on Brock Street.

Bentz Calls It An Exercise In Planning

Northwood Councillor Mark Bentz is one of the majority on council who support taking the event centre project to the next stage.  He calls it an exercise in planning.  Below is Councillor Bentz's entire speech.

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McKinnon Gives His Events Centre View

Councillor Brian McKinnon is a staunch supporter of keeping the events centre dream alive. He says it's the same message he is getting from the public.  Below is Councillor McKinnon's entire speech to council.

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Virdiramo Makes His Events Centre Pitch

City Councillor Joe Virdiramo is supporting the downtown location for the proposed events centre. Last night he voted to move to the next stage of the process. Below is his entire speech to council.

Giertuga's Speech On The Events Centre

One of the most solid supporters of the new events centre is Councillor Trevor Giertuga.  He says it's been on his radar for a long time.  Below is Councillor Giertuga's entire speech to city council last night.

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Weather Warning

Travellers heading East will want to take note of a special weather statement issued by Environment Canada. Wawa is included in the statement that warns about snow bands hitting the area today. 2 to 5 centimetres of snow are expected this afternoon with another 5 to 10 centimetres in the forecast for tonight.

Events Centre Speech From Ken Boshcoff

Supporting the next stage of the events centre process is a no-brainer for City Councillor Ken Boshcoff. Boshcoff says it's one of the components of making this a vibrant community to live in for our youth. Below is Councillor Boschoff's entire speech to council.

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Dryden Man Charged With Luring A Minor

A 19 year old Dryden man is facing charges after he tried to lure a minor online. Dryden Police say that the investigation involves incidents from 2010 and 2011, which were recently reported. The man is charged with contacting a person under 14 years old with regards to luring, and one count of invitation to sexual touching.

Councillors To Consider Infrastructure Priorities

City councillors are going to get the lowdown on what the city's infrastructure needs will be in the future. Manager Tim Commisso is making a presentation to them tonight.  While councillors will not be making any decisions they will be asked to consider what their priorities will be.

Councillor Foulds Speech To Council

One of the biggest supporters of the proposed events centre and its north downtown location is Councillor Andrew Foulds. He says it's the right thing to do. Below is Councillor Foulds entire speech.

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