Tuesday, December 31, 2013

CTF Spreads Tax Change Info

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is spreading the word about changes to the employment insurance and Canadian Pension Plan taxes in Ontario. Spokesperson Candice Malcolm says it means taxpayers will keep less of their pay cheques after New Years Day. Malcolm adds the maximum employee share of EI taxes will go up 23 dollars in 2014, while the employer's share will go up to 31 dollars.

Health Unit Urges Immunization

The Health Unit is urging people to get a flu shot if they haven't already.    It comes in the wake of reports that a second person in the district has now died due to the H1N1 virus.   The Health Unit reported the first death a week and a half ago and says it was a person under the age of 65, the same as this latest reported death.

Record Breaking Cold Hits City

The cold weather is breaking records.   In Thunder Bay this morning a record low of minus 33 from 1946 and 1967 was shattered  when the low hit minus 39.   It's the second morning in a row the city  broke a record low temperature.  Yesterday the city broke a record from 1982 when the temperature hit minus 36.7

Siemieniuk Looks In Crystal Ball

The Lakehead Public School Board is looking forward to taking on new initiatives in the New Year.  Director of Education Cathi Siemieniuk says they'll be reviewing some of their programs.  That includes a parent engagement initiative that will see two way digital communication with all stakeholders.  Siemieniuk says they also will tackle creating a new Strategic Action Plan.

Gravelle Rings In New Year

Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle wants to see some movement on the Ring of Fire in the New Year. Gravelle says they've made a good start with the establishment of the development corporation but notes more needs to be done. 2013 saw Cliffs' Natural Resources pull out of their mining project in the Ring of Fire.

FWHP Family Frolic Back

Fort William Historical Park is back for another New Years Eve with it's Family Frolic tonight. Spokesperson Marty Mascarin says they expect a great turnout despite the cold weather. Mascarin says they'll have plenty of warm up areas set up around the park.

Chief Wants Pot Laws Repealed

Thunder Bay's Police Chief is reiterating his stance on decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana.  J-P Levesque says handing out tickets rather than charges would help clear up the back log of cases in the local court system. Levesque says the backlog of court cases is a national police issue and hopes the Federal Government will consider allowing police to ticket people for small offences rather than charge them.

Monday, December 30, 2013

SUV Driver Collides Into Bus

City Police are charging the driver of an SUV that collided into a City bus this morning. Traffic Sgt. Glenn Porter says the incident happened in the area of Squier Street around 10:30. The driver of the SUV slided into the bus. A man on the bus was transported to the hospital to be treated for a seizure that was triggered by the collision. Porter says the cold weather has created slippery driving conditions and notes they've dealt with several fender benders as a result.

Wesley Sentenced

A Cat Lake First Nation man is being sentenced to eight years plus time served in relation to the death of 65 year old Adam Yellowhead.  Joseph Wesley's lawyer Christopher Watkins is pleased with the judge's sentencing. Wesley will also be prohibited for lifefrom owning any weapons.

Chamber Looks Forward To Election Season

2014 brings with it an upcoming municipal election. Chamber of Commerce President Charla Robinson says they'll actively seek out candidates and talk to them about where they stand on business issues. Robinson feels infrastructure will be the top municipal election concern.

Police Warn Snowmobilers

Police say this pic of the Kam
River was taken Saturday
Police say despite the frigid temperatures there are still patches of open water on the Kam River.   They say that special care should be taken by snowmobilers who are travelling on or near the river noting that fast moving currents are preventing the formation of ice on all parts of the Kam.

Shelter House Cold Program Running

Shelter House's cold weather program is now in operation. Executive Director Patty Hajdu says they've been touring the streets at night looking for individuals that may need their help. Hajdu says they always welcome help from the community whether it be donations of hats, mittens and scarves or cash to help run the program.

Local Woman Vies For Miss Universe Canada

2014 promises to be an exciting year for Thunder Bay's Nerissa McRury.    She's the Thunder Bay national finalist for Miss Universe Canada.   McRury says, as part of the contest, she is trying to raise 20 thousand dollars  through a calendar she has produced  for Operation Smile a charity that helps children with facial deformities.  McRury will be competing in May in Toronto and the winner there will go to Russia to for the Miss Universe contest. She says she's excited to be taking part.

Rae To Continue ROF Work In 2014

The Ring of Fire mining development won't be anywhere close to up and running in the New Year but several key initiatives could be wrapped up in 2014.  That's according to Bob Rae the Matawa First Nations Chief Negotiator with the province.  Rae says they're are several areas he'll be focusing on getting a framework in place on construction, broadband services and infrastructure for First Nation communities. Rae also wants to see the environmental practices in place in respect to any mining activity in the Ring.

Back In The Deep Freeze

Extreme cold temperatures are going to ring in the new year in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario.   Environment Canada's Desjanelle Matthews says we are currently in the grip of a deep freeze which will see wind chill values in the minus 40 range much of the week. She say we may get a break by Friday.  Matthews says the extreme cold is spread over a wide area of the province from the Manitoba border up to James Bay and into the lower Great Lakes.

Sudden Death In Vermillion Bay

A Christmas day death in Vermillion Bay is being investigated by the police.   They say it was a sudden death and that it was not due to foul play, however further information isn't being released, such as the sex of the victim or the the results of Friday's post mortem.

Hobbs Set To Run For Re-Election

Mayor Keith Hobbs is running for re-election in the 2014 municipal election.  Hobbs says he's not done leading at the city level and would like to try one more term.    He believes this term of council has gone very well and he wants to keep the momentum going.   Thursday is the first day candidates can complete the municipal election nomination process.

Tennis Coming Back

Tennis enthusiasts won't have to wait until the snow clears away to enjoy some local action.  Robert Casavamp is President with the Neebing Fire and Rescue Association and says there will be matches for the public to watch and take part in at the tennis courts across from the Valhalla, after some maintenance. Casavamp says the public is welcome to come play.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Harvey Yesno Looks Back On 2013

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Harvey Yesno says 2013 was a significant year for first nation influence on the economy. With contributions mainly being provided at the community level Yesno says he would like to see the Provincial and Federal Government more involved in the New Year.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

How Do You Communicate

A new study finds that a large number of Ontarians are moving away from talking with one another. The Harris-Decima study finds that fifty-percent of the province expect most of their communications to come through text or social media in 2014. Forty percent believe most in-person interactions will be replaced with mobile apps in the next five years.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Robbery

Thunder Bay Police are asking for the public's support in finding a caucasian male who is believed to be involved in the robbery of an Arthur Street Mac's Milk Christmas Day. He is approximately six feet tall, was wearing a blue/grey DC sweater and had tan gloves on. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers or Thunder Bay Police.

Labour Negotiations Across NWO

20 local personal support workers with the Red Cross Care program head back to work today. Their union the SEIU announced that the strike was over on their website Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, more labour unrest in the region....Unifor is applying for conciliation this week after talks with Dryden's Revera Home Health Care broke down on Monday. The health care workers last contract expired June 1st and the two sides met numerous times since October in an attempt to reach a new Collective Agreement covering the 35 Personal Support Workers. Unifor will also resume conciliated talks with Revera in mid-January for over 25 office and client services staff based in Thunder Bay who are seeking their first contract.

Stabbing At Mall

A 19 year old man is recovering from two stab wounds to the leg after an incident at the Intercity Mall yesterday afternoon.  Police received the call about an altercation that occurred in the mall between a group of young people.  Officers found two accused males in the parking lot of the CLE grounds a short time later, both individuals are facing several charges.

Budget Meeting Coming To T.Bay

Northwestern Ontario residents will get their opportunity to provide input into the provincial budget. A legislative committee plans to hold a pre-budget hearing in Thunder Bay in the middle of next month. Those wishing to make a presentation, must contact the clerk of the committee by January 9th.

Campbell Opposed To Gas Tax Increase

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell is strongly opposing a provincial plan to raise the gas tax to 10-cents to pay for public transportation expansion in southern Ontario. Campbell notes the move would be a slap in the face to northerners. Campbell says the extra 8-cents a litre that the province has charged since the implementation of the HST should be going to public transportation across the province.

Levesque Talks Courthouse Funding Issues

Thunder Bay's Police Chief JP Levesque is going to be bringing a 36.5 million dollar budget to City Council in the New Year.  Levesque says one of the issues they continue to struggle with is a need for more funding for officers posted to the new court house.  They currently receive 522-thousand dollars for the positions but it costs over a million dollars to provide that security.  Levesque says they'll continue to ask the Province for a bigger share in funding.

ROF Priority For Gravelle

Thunder Bay Superior North MPP Michael Gravelle is reflecting on 2013. Gravelle says he understands that Cliff's announcement that they were ceasing their work on the mining project will be one of the biggest events in 2013. He feels the development isn't dead in the water and will move forward in 2013.

Hyer Reflects On 2013

There's no doubt in MP Bruce Hyer's mind what the highlight of 2013 has been. Hyer says as the year winds down it's his health issues which stand out. Hyer says his move to the Green Party is the other highlight from this year.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Police Look For Suspect In Stabbing

Thunder Bay Police had a violent Christmas night to deal with. They responded to a stabbing at just after 9:15 at the Royal Edward Arms on May Street.  They say the accused had run off just before  officers arrived.. A 21 year old Thunder Bay man was taken to Thunder Bay Health Sciences Centre with non-life threatening injuries where he was treated and released.  They say this appears to be an isolated event, at this time Police are currently seeking a 29 year old Thunder Bay man in relation to this stabbing.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Ornge Heli Out of Service

An Ornge Helicopter that struck some trees just south of Kakabeka Falls this past weekend continues to be worked on. Ornge Spokesperson Steve Robinson says nothing will be left to chance. Robinson adds that its still too early to tell when the helicopter will be ready for use.

Mac's Christmas Robbery

This morning at 01:11 am Thunder Bay Police responded to a robbery at the Mac's Mart located at 745 Simpson St. An investigation revealed that a lone man had entered the store armed with a knife demanding money from the cashier. He then fled in a small blue four door car with an undisclosed amount of money. The clerk was not injured.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Charges Laid In November Auto Pedestrian Collision

Police are also charging a driver in a November auto-pedestrian collision on Robertson Street. Sgt. Glenn Porter says a 26 year old man was jay walking across the street. The pedestrian remains in hospital with serious injuries and for that reason a charge has yet to be laid. The driver of the vehicle has been charged with driving a vehicle without a clear view to the front of the vehicle.

Bus Driver Charged

Police are charging a City Transit driver with careless driving in connection with an auto pedestrian collision that occurred on Algoma Street on December 12th. Audrey Kahkonen was crossing Algoma St at the intersection of Waverley St when she was struck by a southbound bus. She remains in hospital in serious condition.

EC Calls For Snow For Christmas

It looks like the weather will be cooperative for Christmas. Environment Canada Meteorologist Marieve Giguere says an Alberta Clipper will hit the region just in time bringing some snow. Giguere adds that temperatures are expected to cool off after the holiday season.

Hobbs Calls For Help For Operation Smile

Mayor Keith Hobbs and Thunder Bay's Miss Universe Finalist Nerissa McRury, are raising local awareness for Operation Smile. The program provides free medical assistance for children with dental issues or facial deformities. Hobbs says you can help support the program by purchasing a Charmed Children's Charity Calender.

OPP Warn About Scam

The OPP's Anti-Rackets Branch is warning people of a new computer threat being used to scam people out of their money. "Ransomware" is popping up on screens across Ontario and falsely accusing users of accessing child pornography or other file-sharing sites, they then inform the user that their computer has been locked and need to pay a fee to access it again. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has received over twenty-eight hundred reports from people receiving these pop up messages.

NOVA Awards Going On 2nd Year

The Northwestern Ontario Visionary Awards are going to be held January 18th.  Shift, Thunder Bay's Young Professional Network is one of the organizations behind the awards and Spokesperson Keith Anderson says he's pleased they've had 72 nominations. The NOVA top 20 under 40 celebrates area residents who have accomplished great things in their community.

Christmas Memories

It's Christmas time and we've asked several prominent Thunder Bay figures about their favourite Christmas memories. Thunder Bay Superior North MPP Michael Gravelle says most of his fond Christmas memories revolve around his family but notes this year is going to be really special since he's finished his cancer treatments. Gravelle says he gets a kick out of his family members and friends feeling his new hair after going through cancer treatments. Meanwhile, Lakehead Public School Board Director of Education Catherine Siemieniuk says her memories revolve around her Mother who was a teacher at Murillo's school house number 4. Semineuk says it was extra special to receive a Christmas orange during the celebrations at the school.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tip Lines Seeing More Action

The city's Crime Stoppers program is getting more calls this year than they have in the past decade. Crime Stoppers Coordinator Jason Disher says people are using all mediums to report incidents including e-mail and text message. There have been 839 tips this year. January marks Crime Stopper Prevention Month.

Different Drug Charge

OPP are correcting some of the charges they announced against a Longlac man and woman. Last week they charged the 27 year old and 38 year old with a variety of drug related offences but are now changing one of the charges for both individuals to trafficking meth. The two have since been released with conditions.

Lawyer Talks Road Conditions

A Toronto lawyer says governments have a legal duty to keep the roads under their jurisdiction in a reasonable state of repair. Troy Lehman says the number of cases heading to court over poor roads in the winter is increasing. In some cases, it's about monitoring the roadways. Lehman warns any lawsuit must show road conditions played a part in an accident and that the governments responsible failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the hazardous condition.

Hyer's Fave Christmas Memory

It's the holidays and we've been speaking to prominent local residents about what their fondest Christmas memories are. For Green Party MP Bruce Hyer its the Christmas Eve in 1975 when he had just arrived as a new Canadian immigrant. Hyer says as a result, that Christmas Eve was spent with a couple whose daughter, just hours before, gave birth to a baby in a cabin by the railroad tracks.

NOMA Wants More Say

Northwestern Ontario needs more of a say on it's future development. That's the feeling of the president of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal
Association. Dave Canfield says he'd like to see this region have more autonomy and less influence from Queen's Park. Canfield says ideally this region should have more control over infrastructure and training as it pertains to industries such as mining and forestry.

Health Care Reception Today

The City is playing host to over 100 health care professionals and students at a special reception today at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.  Organizer Cheryl Armstrong says they want to make a good impression on health care students home for the holidays.  Armstrong adds the reception is a chance for the professionals and the students to mingle and talk about working in Thunder Bay.

Costarter Announces Grants

Five technology companies are receiving fifteen-thousand dollar investments from Co-starter. The Co-starter Program is the regions first of its kind and helps companies with start up costs. The five will work from January to March at the Innovation Centre at the Confederation College campus.

Warning For Snowmobilers

The OPP and the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs are reminding snow machine enthusiasts to use caution when out on frozen bodies of water. The groups say that with some areas freezing faster then usual riders may be given the impression that all lakes are safe to ride on. The OPP suggest riders carry ice picks and wear buoyant snowmobile suits if they do cross over ice.

City's Snow Removal More Than Expected

This years snow removal budget is reportedly operating at a 700-thousand dollars overage. Councillor Rebecca Johnson says although the difference is significant, predicting what a snow removal budget should be is almost as difficult as predicting the weather. Johnson adds that if this figure does throw the budget off as a whole the city may need to dip into its reserves.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Experience Magazine

The city is releasing their 2014 on-line and print Experience Magazine outlining the spots to be in Thunder Bay. Paul Pepe is Manager of Tourism and says the magazine remains the top resource guide for tourists and locals. Online versions can be downloaded at www.visitthunderbay.com

Flight Issues

The ice storm currently hitting Southern Ontario is taking a toll on incoming and outgoing flights to/from the region. Roughly a dozen flights are being affected at the Thunder Bay Airport with nearly all flights to Toronto experiencing delays. Porter's 5:00 flight to the Billy Bishop airport in Toronto has been cancelled.

Thunder Bay's Newest Firefighters

Thunder Bay Fire and Rescue is welcoming eight new members after their New Recruit Graduation that took place yesterday afternoon. The event also recognized some of the city's longer serving firefighters, with twenty receiving Long Service Awards. Being presented with badges are: Darrec Folino, Stefan Moreira, Glenn Lorentz, Tyler Reinelt, Derek Stajkowski, Michael Carli, Cory Prevost, Greg Pettypiece.