Thursday, January 31, 2013

House Fire On Riverside Drive

No one is hurt following a Thursday afternoon fire at 176 Riverside Drive.  The blaze started in the garage and quickly spread and got out of control sending black plumes of smoke high into the sky.  Fire Service Platoon Chief Joe Grzelewski says they were unable to save the house and most of its contents. He says now its the job of investigators to find out the cause.. Cold weather was also a factor because of ice build up

LRCA Holds Election

The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority is welcoming back its Chair Bill Bartley.  He was re-elected last night as was Shuniah's Donna Blunt as Vice-Chair.  The LRCA held its monthly meeting last night, where they were told they are getting a 22 thousand dollar grant from the Ministry of Environment for the Mission Marsh's 25th Anniversary.

Hudak Slams Conversion Decision

Tim Hudak says he supports the city in its efforts to keep the Mission Island generating station open.  The Ontario Conservative Leader says it was the first concern of Mayor Keith Hobbs when the two of them met today.  Hudak says it was a "boneheaded" decision by the Liberal government to stop the conversion to natural gas.  He believes the Liberals are simply using the savings from the closure here to help pay for the cancellation of the gas plants in southern Ontario. 

Resolute Opens Sawmill In Atikokan

Richard Garneau
Resolute Forest Products plans on spending 50-million dollars to build a new sawmill in Atikokan. The company expects to open the mill early next year, creating 90 jobs.  President Richard Garneau says the chips produced in Atikokan will be used here at the Thunder Bay mill.  The company hopes to begin construction later this spring.

Thunderwolves To Auction Jerseys Friday

Lakehead University men's hockey team are doing their part to help the local Cancer Centre. Team President Rory Cava says they'll be wearing special jerseys on Friday and fans can bid on them at a silent auction table that will be set up in the lobby of the Fort William Gardens. Money raised will go towards the Northern Cancer Fund.

Kam Nordic Ski Tour Postponed

Organizers with the Kamview Nordic Ski Tour are electing to postpone this weeken'd event. The family friendly cross-country ski race of 5, 15 or 30 kilometres has been postponed by a week from this Saturday to next on February 9th.Organizers are saying due to the extremely cold temperatures forecast for Saturday, we have decided to postpone by one week. They say they want this to be an enjoyable event for all participants, not a lesson in cold weather survival!

Hudson Mill Re-opens In Sioux Lookout

More positive news for the forest industry in northwestern Ontario. Sioux Lookout Mayor Dennis Leney says the Hudson Mill has re-opened. Leney says Buchanan Forest Products hopes to have a full crew of 100-plus people by May or end of June. He stresses the future looks bright for the mill and for the community.

Ornge To Hire New Staff In Thunder Bay

Ornge Air Ambulance is adding additional staff to its Thunder Bay Base. C.E.O. and President, Dr. Andrew McCallum made the announcement today, saying they will add a third team of paramedics dedicated to performing transports on the helicopter. McCallum says the number of people being hired will be 10 and Ornge is looking to increase staff levels through the recruitment and training of additional paramedics.


The Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund's new Executive Director is Brian Davey.  Davey says he's excited to get to work on a number of initiatives that he hopes will boost the number of Aboriginal entrepreneurs in the region.  Davey is replacing Harvey Yesno who went on to become the Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Another Elevator Incident At The Royal Edward Arms

An elevator in the Royal Edward Arms is back up and running after people overloaded it causing it to break twice in the same day.
Last night 6 people, including a pregnant woman, where stuck in the apartment building's back-up elevator.   Fire officials say the whole ordeal lasted about half an hour.  District Social Services Board CAO Bill Bradica says they're going to be cracking down on residents piling into the lone working elevator.  An elevator in the front of the building is still closed and needing repair after a woman fell to her death in October.

Demmings Set To Retire

Steve Demmings
It's the end of an era at the Community Economic Development Commission. CEO Steve Demmings is retiring after six years on the job. Chair of the CEDC Paul Inksetter says it could take several months to find a replacement. Demmings will retire March 22nd.

Volunteer Thunder Bay Bottle Drive A Success

Volunteer Thunder Bay is overwhelmed with the success of their recent bottle drive for flood relief. Spokesperson Deborah Poole-Hofman says they brought in almost 2 thousand dollars in empties. The money will go directly to the City's Disaster Relief Commitee. The deadline to raise money for the victims of the May 28th flood is tomorrow.

Health Minister Gives Cash To Hospital

Ontario's Health Minister is giving the Health Sciences Centre 300 thousand dollars for bariatric care and an unknown amount to the company Regen Med. The program will allow 100 patients with severe obesity to be treated in a medical/behavioural program at the local hospital. Deb Matthews toured the local hospital this afternoon alongside MPP's Bill Mauro and Michael Gravelle.

17 Year Old Takes Joy Ride

A 17 year old man is charged with eight offenses after a police pursuit Tuesday night.  Constable Julie Tilbury says it all started when they saw a white car speeding on May Street.  Officers attempted to stop the vehicle and it struck two parked vehicles in the Bay Street and Water Street area. The car left the scene and the pursuit was called off for public safety.  Officers found the same young man again driving along Marion Street, the car skid into the curb where police pinned the vehicle so that it couldn't move.  Among the charges he faces is taking the family vehicle without permission.

Anna Gibbon Appointed JOP

The City’s first Aboriginal Liaison Anna Gibbon is being appointed an Ontario Justice of the Peace.  The appointment takes effect next Wednesday.  City Clerk John Hannam says they're currently reviewing Gibbon's position.  Hannam thinks it could take several months to find a replacement.

Resolute To Make Announcement

A visit tomorrow to Thunder Bay and Atikokan by the president of Resolute Forest Products.  Richard Garneau is scheduled to make an announcement that Mayor Dennis Brown says in an email will mean jobs and industry for his community.  The nature of the announcement has not been disclosed, but there's speculation in the community that Resolute plans to construct a new sawmill on the site of the former Buchanan owned mill at nearby Sapawe.

Murillo Hall Getting Upgrade

Oliver-Paipoonge is getting 90 thousand dollars from the federal government.   The FedNor funding is being used to replace the heating and cooling system in Murillo Hall.

OPP Recruitment Night

The OPP is looking for Northerners who want to become police officers.  A recruitment information session is being held tonight at the Thunder Bay OPP Detachment in Rosslyn.  Sgt. Darryl Wilson says the region recruits 25 to 30 new officers each year.  Wilson says there will be information to those people just getting started in training to become a police officer and those who already have the credentials.

More Wynne Praise

The number of people excited to work with Ontario's new premier continues to grow.  Dave Canfield is the vice president of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association, and says he's glad that Kathleen Wynne was elected the top spot.  He says she's been very responsive to the concerns of municipal leaders in this region.  Meanwhile, Thunder Bay MPP Bill Mauro is looking forward to working with his new leader Kathleen Wynne.  Mauro took part in a caucus meeting yesterday and calls it very productive.  Mauro says Wynne stressed she will resume the Ontario Legislature on February 19th.

NALS To Be Go Between

Nishnawbe Aski Legal Services is looking into 2 complaints against the local police force.  Executive Director Celina Reitberger says the recent complaints triggered a realization that there needs to be a go between for victims and police. Reitberger says they'll act as a liason.

Relay For Life Ready For Another Year

Organizers with the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay For Life is already getting ready for the June 14th event.  Last night, the organization held a kick off to announce some of the new initiatives for the 12 hour overnight fundraiser.  Spokesperson Kyle VanRavenswaay says its time to rally the troops and get signed up for the event.  Van Ravenswaay hopes they'll be able to make this year bigger and better and beat last year's fundraising goal of 126 thousand dollars.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

OPP Crack Down On Speeders

OPP are cracking down on speeders.  Last week an officer from the Upsala Detachment found a driver going west bound on Highway 17 at an excessive speed.  In the end the Police officer charged the driver for going 55 kilometres an hour over the already 90 kilometre speed limit.  The 44 year old man's vehicle was impounded for seven days, and he was charged with speeding.

Police Aware Of Possible Witness

Thunder Bay Police are reacting to a news report of an unconfirmed eye witness sharing his account of an alleged abduction and sexual assault case.  Police are aware of the release of information from a possible witness to the ongoing investigation.  Police are currently investigating the information and attempting to work with the source to obtain evidence that may be associated to the investigation. The witness has not yet come forward to police.

OPP Respond To 6 Collisions Today

OPP are reminding motorists to use common sense when driving in slippery conditions.  Police have already responded to six motor vehicle collisions so far today.  The first incident occurred on Highway 102 when a west bound van tried to pass a transport but lost control.   Several other accidents were reported on Highway 11/17 today as well.

Norovirus Hard To Track

Health officials in Thunder Bay says it's hard to know if there is a major outbreak of the Norovirus. The District Health Unit says while the virus is widespread in the United States it's not as easily tracked here.  Spokesperson Darlene Binette says  it's not a reportable disease unless it's in a home care facility.    She says that it's possible there is an outbreak in the Bethami Nursing home, but the tests aren't back yet.  The latest confirmed cases were at recent catered function handled by a local deli

Rotary Gives Out Cash

Port Arthur's Rotary Club is dishing out 6 thousand dollars to six local charities.  Members of the club presented the charities with a cheque at an event this afternoon in the City.  Laurie Tulloch says they'll be giving money to Habitat for Humanity for their build on Mary Street.  Tulloch adds they'll also give some money to Leadership Thunder Bay to offset the costs of people taking their leadership courses.  Other charities sharing in the Rotary donation include St. John's Ambulance Youth Summer Camp, the St. James School Youth Program and a youth alcohol prevention program.

Anonymous Releases Essay

Thunder Bay Police have yet to respond to a lengthy internet posting by the group Anonymous.  The essay was released early Tuesday morning on the site Wordpress hours after the hacktivist group said they would release embarrassing information about the local police force.  It's a follow up to last week's video threat demanding more action on a local sexual assault against a First Nation's woman. While the document mocks the police investigation it backs off from spilling any internal information.

Make The Pledge

Thunder Bay's Health Sciences Centre wants men across Northwestern Ontario to get screened for colorectal cancer.  A group of local men will be gathering at the hospital tomorrow to make the pledge to get tested.  Hospital Spokesperson Janine Chiasson says when colon cancer is deteced early, there's a 90 percent chance it can be cured.  The Thunder Bay men will be taking a group picture that will be uploaded to Cance Care Ontario's Facebook page and will join other photos of men from across the province.

2013 Budget Meetings Start Next Weekend

The 2013 budget is expected to be in the hands of City Councillors sometime later this week.  The draft budget is available to the public on Friday afternoon on the City's Website.  City Clerk John Hannam adds the public can also have their say on the budget at 5:30 at City hall this Tuesday.  Council will then review the budget on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week and again on February 12th.

NW LHIN Reappoints Chair

The North West Local Health Integration Network will have a familiar face chairing it's board.  Joy Warkentin was recently reappointed Chair.  She first sat on the LHIN board in 2010.

Rickford Hoping For Good Year

The MP for the Kenora Riding is hoping for a prosperous year, now that the House of Commons is back in action.  Greg Rickford says that a main priority is work on financial transparency and accountability for First Nations leadership.  He adds there's another key focus.  Rickford says they will also continue to work on Canada's Economic Action plan for this year.

New JOP In Dryden Area

The Provincial government has selected a Dryden resident to become the latest Justice of the Peace to the Ontario Court of Justice in the Northwest region.  Danalyn MacKinnon has been appointed to the position, effective February 6th.  MacKinnon will be working primarily in the Dryden area.

Report Says Mining Is A Big Deal For NWO

The Conference Board of Canada says northern Ontario's mining output will expand by 66-percent from 2011 to 2020.  Anja Jeffrey is the Director for the Centre of the North and says Ontario is in a good position to grow.  Jeffrey notes the current setbacks include inadequate or non-existent infrastructure and skilled labour shortages.

Campbell Says Bigs Tests For Waynne

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell is congratulating Kathleen Wynne on winning the top post for the provincial Liberals. Campbell says how she handles the numerous scandals facing the Liberals will serve as important first tests for the Premier-elect. The NDP member says Wynne can't ignore the problems at Queen's Park and must work with the opposition to make the government work. Campbell notes Wynne voted in favour of the controversial bill for teachers, Bill 115. Campbell says MPP's are expected back at Queen's Park on February 19th.

Mac's Robbed-Photo Released

City police are looking for a person who is responsible for an overnight break-in at the Mac's Convenience store on Beverly Street. They say that access to the store was gained by breaking a glass door.  Police say they were alerted by the burglar alarm.  They say a video shows the male taking cigarettes and then leaving. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Teachers College Disciplines Local Principal

The Ontario College of Teachers is disciplining the former Principal of Algonquin Avenue Public School.  In a letter to the College of Teachers, the Lakehead Public School board alleged that Andrea Morency mismanaged money from an Anti-poverty fund and didn't provide proper receipts.  It's also alleged that she used school money to purchase items through a gift registry for a friend's wedding shower.  As part of the disciplinary action, Morency has agreed not work at a teaching job for nine months, and refrain from assuming any financial responsibilities for at least 2 years.

NAN Wants To Work With Wynne

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation is looking forward to working with Premier Designate Kathleen Wynne.  Grand Chief Harvey Yesno wants to see the Premier's Office work with First Nations on resource development investments and establish an agreement on resource revenue sharing.

Flu Outbreak In Nipigon

Thunder Bay's Health Unit is declaring an influenza A outbreak in the Nipigon Hospital's Long Term Care unit.  Admissions, transfers, discharges and social activities at the facility have been cancelled until further notice.  Visitors are restricted to family members and caregivers only.

Hyer First Question Since Tongue Surgery

Today is the first day back for Members of Parliament.  It was also MP Bruce Hyer's first question after his tongue cancer surgery.  Hyer received applause after standing up in the legislature.  The Independent used his question to talk about the Northern Gateway Pipeline.  Hyer is supposed to be resting but he didn't want to give up his speaking time during Question Period.

Sizeable Drug Bust In Fort Hope

Nishnawbe-Aski Police continue to crack down on drug traffickers.  Four people have been arrested after they were caught trying to smuggle drugs into the remote community of Fort Hope.  Police say the arrests stem from four separate investigations.  In total, officers seized 11-thousand dollars worth of marijhuana and over 10-thousand dollars worth of oxycodone.

Police Warn Of Traffic Delays

Thunder Bay Police want to let motorists know there may be traffic delays around City Hall this afternoon.  Idle No More will be walking to and from City Hall starting at 4. Thunder Bay Police, Naps, APS, and OPP will be present to provide a safe environment for the community and participants while traveling along the designated route.

Energy Task Force Continues To Lobby For Power Plant

The City's energy task-force continues to lobby the Provincial Government over plans to close the local generating station.  The group held a meeting today to discuss the next steps after their meeting last week with representatives of the Power Authority and Energy Minister.  Councillor Iain Angus says they're asking local residents to get involved in their plea to keep the plant open.  Angus says if the plant is closed there could be rolling power outages.

Hobbs Likes Wynne Win

Thunder Bay's Mayor Keith Hobbs says Kathleen Wynne's election to Liberal Leader will be beneficial to Northwestern Ontario.  Hobbs says Wynne understands the region like former candidate Glen Murray did.  Hobbs likes that she is up to speed on many of Thunder Bay's issues and says they won't have to educate her.

Con. College CampTV launched

Confederation College now has its own web based radio station. was launched today and students of the Television Broadcast Production Program will be broadcasting on the site.  Students from the Film Production and Multimedia programs will also be producing content for the station.

LU Prof Back From Forestry Conference

A Lakehead University Professor is back from a National Forestry Conference.  The conference focused on getting First Nation and Municipalities involved in managing and using area forests. Dr. Peggy Smith says they've decided to form a national policy network to look at community forestry programs. Smith says they'll continue to work towards creating the network in the coming months.

MTO Happy With Plow Service

The Ministry of Transportation admits there have been a couple of issues this winter, but feels the contractor assigned to plowing area highways is getting the job done.  Transfield Services took over the responsibility of highway maintenance last summer.  Wayne Prystanski is the MTO's operations manager for the northwest, and says the Ministry is so far satisfied.  Several people believe the level of services hasn't been the same.

Gravelle Excited" About Wynne Lead Government

Michael Gravelle says he is willing to serve a Kathleen Wynne government in anyway she sees fit.  The Natural Resources Minister says however he wouldn't mind staying on in cabinet if that's what the premier designate wants.  Gravelle says he is exited about Wynne's victory at the Liberal leadership convention, even though he was supporting Sandra Pupetello.

White Receives Queen's Medal

A Kakabeka Falls woman is now the proud recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal.  Donna White is well known for her volunteer work with World Vision Canada and is responsible for over 200 children being sponsored.  Supporters also say she has raised thousands of dollars for the organization throughout the year. 

Crime Of The Week

CrimeStoppers and the Greenstone O.P.P. are asking for your help in solving a break and enter that occurred at a vacant outpost on upper Laponen Lake. Sometime between September 19th and November 19th last year, some unknown persons went into the Mackay Lake camps and stole approximately 25-hundred worth of goods.  Stolen were the following items: two aluminum boats, oars, anchors, electric water pump, freezer, handcrafted household furniture and a shop vac. Anyone with information about who may be responsible for this theft or the whereabouts of the stolen property is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Mauro Confident In Wynne

Kathleen Wynne
Bill Mauro is expressing confidence that the north is in good hands with Kathleen Wynne leading the province.  The Thunder Bay MPP, who supported Sandra Pupatello in the Liberal leadership race, says Wynne has the broad experience from municipal affairs to education,  to make it work
Mauro says he wasn't surprised by Wynne's victory.