Thursday, February 28, 2013

Traffic Mishap Sends 4 To Hospital

A two vehicle collision on the city's south side has sent 4 people to hospital.   Police say the accident took place on James Street between Walsh and Mary before 3 o'clock this afternoon.   It was between a min-van and a car.   The condition of the accident victims is not known.

Pre-Budget Meetings Held

A series of pre-budget meetings are being held leading up to the unveiling of the 2013 fiscal document.  Today, Thunder Bay residents took part in a consultation session held in Sault Ste. Marie via video-conference.  You can submit your opinion to the Provincial Government by mail, email or fax.

Officer Charged In Off Duty Incident

An off duty Thunder Bay Police officer is facing a charge of assault in connection with what they say was an altercation with a 12 year old youth at the Neebing Arena last month.  Deputy Police Chief Andy Hay says it was the Sudbury police that laid the charge against Constable Steven Oster after being requested to investigate by our police chief.  Oster is to appear in court March 19th. 

Fedeli Re-Introduces Forest Revitalization Act

Progressive Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli is hoping for all party support for his re-introduced forest industry act.  Fedeli says the proposed legislation would amend the Building Code to allow for wood frame buildings to be up to six stories high instead of the current four. The bill had passed two readings before it Parliament was put on hold by the Liberal Government.

Campbell Says North Is Alienated

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell says the provincial Throne Speech doesn't do anything to address northern alienation.  Campbell spoke recently in the Ontario Legislature, saying the speech really doesn't have anything specific to help this region.  Campbell is asking the government to form an all-party Northern Committee, rather than just a northern caucus made up of Liberal M.P.P.'s. 

Rafferty Calls Defection A Shock

The NDP is facing the embarrassment of an MP defecting to another party. Quebec MP Claude Patry is making the move to the Bloc Quebecois over the French language issue. Thunder Bay MP John Rafferty says the NDP caucus gets along well so he believes Patry could have been lured by outside influences and it may be nothing more than the Bloc poaching an MP. Rafferty says the move was a bit of a shock to him.

City Water Quality Excellent

Thunder Bay's water quality is getting good marks in the annual report card conducted by the City. The results were released earlier today and will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment.  Plant Superintendent for Bare Point Water Treatment Plant Don Kmill says our water quality is excellent.  The annual report details the test results from more than 2-thousand samples that are tested for potential contamination.

City Bus Courier A Possibility

 The City is looking into using environmentally friendly courier service such as bikes, electric vehicles, and even public transit.  Supply Management Manager Dan Munshaw says it's still in the early stages and it would be up to the businesses if they wanted to deliver packages via bus.  Munshaw says they're asking for any businesses that are interested to contact them and pitch their ideas. The initiative is a way to help reduce the City's carbon footprint.

72 Year Old Passes Away After Collision

OPP say 72 year old James Gray is the man who died yesterday after his SUV collided with a west bound pick up truck on Highway 11/17.  The accident saw both vehicles sustain extensive damage and closed the highway near Mapleward Road for several hours.  The driver of the truck was also transported to the hospital with less serious injuries.

Lock It Or Lose It

Thunder Bay OPP are dealing with a rash of break, enter and thefts in Shuniah.  Sometime between February 24th and 25th someone broke into several unlocked vehicles near Fisherman's Point Road.  Items stolen from inside the vehicle’s included, cash, a bank card, sunglasses, cigarettes, and keys.  At one point, someone also tried to steal an idling vehicle; they reversed the vehicle and struck a rock at the end of the driveway.  Police say someone also broke into unoccupied cottages and stole a TV and booze.  OPP are reminding you to lock your vehicles.

Ivall Found Guilty Of Murder

The 2nd degree murder trial of Kenneth Ivall is over in Kenora...for now. Ivall was found guilty of 2nd degree murder in the death of Ed Wilson on March 21st 2009. Sentencing will not be handed down until June 14th. Defense Lawyer Chris Watkins says he has been advising Ivall to appeal a guilty verdict.

Energy Task Force Meeting With OPA

The City's Energy Task Force is sitting down again today with the Ontario Power Authority and the Minister of Energy.  They continue to discuss the fate of the Mission Island Power Plant.  The meeting is taking place in Toronto.

Bluesfest Snags Big Names

Big musical acts are headed to the city for the upcoming Bluesfest.  Kim Mitchell, Great Big Sea, the Los Lonely Boys, Los Lobos and Collective Soul are just some of names people will be able to enjoy at this year's annual event which organizer Trevor Hurtig admits has more rock acts. The Blues Festival takes place July 5th, 6th and 7th at the Marina.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Highway 11/17 Closed At Mapleward Road

OPP are confirming one person is dead at a fatal two vehicle collision this afternoon on Highway 11/17 at Mapleward Road. That section of highway is closed while Police investigate.OPP are expected to release more information shortly.  City firefighters assisted.  Fire Captain Mark Zigman says his crew rescued one of the drivers.  Police are asking that motorists use the alternate route of Highway 11/17 west on Arthur Street to Highway 130. 

Great Lakes Legislation Re-Introduced

The Provincial Government wants to protect the Great Lakes and is hoping for all party support on its re-introduced legislation.  Thunder Bay Superior North MPP Michael Gravelle says if the legislation passes; a council will be created to identify priorities.  Debate on the re-introduced act will happen in the coming weeks.

OFAH Worries About Sea Lamprey

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters are worried Sea Lamprey will get into Lake Superior's Black Bay.   The province is considering removing a Dam on the Black Sturgeon River, which flows into Black Bay as away to allow walleye, sturgeon and coaster brook trout to migrate to their historical spawning areas upstream.  OFAH Spokesperson Dawn Sucee says removing the damn will let the invasive species in as well.  Sucee would like the MNR to consider a different method for improving spawning.

LU Hires New Vice Provost

Lakehead University's new Vice-Provost for Aboriginal Initiatives is Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux. Vice President of Academic's Rod Hanley says she'll be the lead advisor for aboriginal initiatives.  She starts her new job on July 1st.

Virdiramo Calls Good Roads Productive

Thunder Bay's Good Roads Delegation is fresh from lobbying Provincial Cabinet Ministers in Toronto.  Councillor Joe Virdiramo says it was a productive conference and says the Mining Readiness Strategy was well received.  The delegation also spoke with Health Minister Deb Matthews about the critical shortage of long-term care beds.  They also spoke to new Energy Minister Bob Chiareli about keeping the Mission Island Power plant open beyond 2013.

Mauro Talks Highway Clearing

The Tories and N-D-P say Ontario's highways are not being cleared of snow as fast as they should be and say this sometimes leads to fatal results.  Liberal M.P.P. Bill Mauro says he too has some concerns about how highways are plowed following a snowstorm in his riding of Thunder Bay-Atikokan. Mauro says he's written the Ministry of Transportation on many occasions expressing concern for his constituents driving on Northern Ontario highways.

OFIA Holding AGM

The Ontario Forest Industries Association is painting a rosey picture heading into its Annual General Meeting.  Three new members will be introduced today, all from northwestern Ontario.  Jamie Lim is president of the OFIA and suggests there is a lot of promise in the forest sector.  Lim says they are looking forward to meeting with the province's new Natural Resources Minister, David Orazietti today at their AGM. 

Sleeping Giant Sprints

The clock is ticking on the registration for the third annual RBC Sleeping Giant Sprints, a sudden elimination racing competition hosted by the Kamview Nordic Centre. Event spokesperson Marianne Steward summarizes the event as a high speed dash for cash. While all men's postitions have been filled, registration is still open for the women's division. Every sprint completed by athletes will earn them cash, starting with ten dollars and eventually reaching the grand prize of $320.

$2.85 Million Technology Plan Approved

The Lakehead Public School Board aims to keep up with technology. At last night's meeting, members of the board approved a $2.85 million plan over the next three years to upgrade technology available to students in the classroom.

NOMA Talks With Murray About Roads

Infastructure minister Glen Murray is ready to work with Northwestern Ontario.  Murray says he had some good meetings with the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association this week.  Murray says that his ministries do have funding ready to go to twin parts of highway 17 and 11.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Former Bookkeeper Sentenced

38 year old Kerry Wirkkunen is going jail for 15 months.   The former bookkeeper with a contracting company in the city was convicted of theft in connection with the disappearance of more than 200 thousand dollars.   She was sentenced in a Thunder Bay courtroom today by Justice Bruce Fitzpatrick. 

Conmee Gets 1.2 Million From Province

Conmee is getting an extra 1.2 million dollars from the Provincial Government's Disaster Relief fund.  Mayor Kevin Holland says they now have 2 million dollars from the province to repair their roads and bridges from the May 28th flood.  Holland says they want to start construction this spring and have it finished by the fall.  The funding announcement was made during the Ontario Good Roads Conference in Toronto this week. 

Investment Watchdog In T.Bay Wednesday

The province's investment watchdog is in the City tomorrow to talk about fraud.  The Ontario Securities Commission is holding a "Protect Your Money" seminar at the Valhalla Inn Wednesday from 5 until 7.  Spokesperson Eleanor Farrell says you should remember buyer beware.  Farrell adds if someone calls you up out of the blue and tries to sell you an investment you should also be wary.

Shuniah Home Destroyed In Fire

A home in Shuniah Township is totally destroyed after a pre-dawn blaze tore through it early this morning. Fire Chief Blair Arthur says the two people inside the Green Point Road area home managed to make it out unharmed. The cause of the fire isn't known , but Arthur believes it was accidental

Animal Services Cutting Fees

Thunder Bay's Animal Services is cutting its adoption fees for cats and dogs this March.  Spokesperson Jody Kondrat says it's because they anticipate the amount of animals they care for will go up in the spring.  The fees usually are in the 200 dollar range but for March only will be dropped down to 50 dollars.

Local Grocery Store Closing

Northwood Foods is closing its doors after the mall management didn't renew their lease.  Officials with the locally owned independent grocery store say the ownership at the Northwood Park Plaza is looking at other options for the space.   The last day of operations will be July 7th. Is Now Online

Don Bernosky and Mary Hayes
Confederation College is teaming up with to launch an online job bank. Spokesperson Mary Hayes describes the service as a dating site for jobs.   Hayes says it's taken a year to create the website and notes it will help match employers with future employees.

Jury Roll Recommendations Out

A report on ensuring proper aboriginal representation on provincial jury rolls is out and it includes 17 key recommendations. Former Supreme Court of Justice Frank Iacobucci released his report in Thunder Bay today after meeting with people from 32 First Nation Communities, and Aboriginal Leadership. Key goals include providing cultural training for government officials working in the justice system who have contact with First Nations people and creating a First Nation advisory group to the Attorney General.

High School Sports May Soon Return

High School sports in Thunder Bay could start back up again before March Break but it will depend on volunteer teachers and students willing to participate.  Activities Director Dave Pineau says he held a meeting yesterday with members of the Triple-S Double-A and feels they can still piece together a Winter schedule and hopefully have a full Spring season of athletics for high school students.

No Changes To Electoral Boundaries

No changes to the federal ridings of Kenora and Thunder Bay-Rainy River are being recommended in the final report of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission. The report was tabled in the House of Commons yesterday. The Commission had proposed moving Lake of the Woods township from Thunder Bay-Rainy River to Kenora. But its report, the Commission states that after public hearings, it's assumption the area had stronger ties to Kenora than Thunder Bay or Fort Frances was mistaken.

Kenora Murder Trial Winding Down

The jury is expected to begin deliberations today in the second degree murder trial
of Kenneth Ivall.  Justice Terrance Platana has been working on his final charge to the jury for the past four days and will present his instructions this morning.  This after the crown and the defense presented their final arguments last week in the eight week long trial. Ken Ivall has been charged in connection to the death of Ed Wilson the early morning hours of March 21st, 2009. His co-accused, Angela Duchesne pleaded guilty to manslaughter midway through the trial.

Future In Farming?

Thunder Bay's economic future could lie in farming.  That's the opinion of Food Activist Wayne Roberts who toured area farms yesterday and spoke with local residents this morning.  Roberts says this area has rich farming land and will be heavily relied on when global warming takes effect in Southern Ontario.  Meanwhile, City Council received a report last night claiming area public institutions including themselves spend 6.4 million dollars on food a year and how they could redirect some of that money to local farmers.

Concealing Body Charges Laid

Provincial Police are now charging a 34 year old Manitouwadge woman with concealing the body of a child. O.P.P. say the charges stem from an investigation that started on March 1st, 2011 when they attended the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre in response to a woman having been admitted to hospital under unusual circumstances. The woman is to appear in provincial court on March 27th. Meanwhile O.P.P. are still seeking further information from the public but are not commenting further about the case as it is now before the courts.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Council Approves Letter

City Council feels Tbay Tel has met its obligations to consult the public in relation to installing a cell phone tower on Wardrope Avenue. The City is sending the Federal Government a letter saying the company did its job in talking to the public about their proposed antenna.  Councillor Trevor Giertuga was the only one to vote against sending the letter to the Feds.

Boys & Girls Club Tax Report Coming

City Staff will be coming back to Council with funding options for the Boys & Girls Club and it's property tax problem.  Council voted in favour Monday of studying funding options for the group including using money from the City's Charitable Rebate Program.  Councillor Iain Angus says they need more information before they can make a decision on whether to help the club out.  The charity is facing taxes for the first time since the Municipal Property Tax Corporation didn't exempt their new Windsor Street property.

Eat Local

City Council is chewing the fat after receiving a report on local food production.  The report claims the City, school boards, University and College spend 6.4 million dollars on food annually and if they increase buying local food by 2 percent it would put 83-thousand dollars in local farmers bank accounts.  The report investigates how the public sector could use more local food in their cafeterias instead of buying produce from other parts of Ontario.

UAS Wants City Funding For 2013

City Council is considering funding the Urban Aboriginal Strategy for another year.  The group spoke to Councillors Monday night and asked for 90-thousand dollars in financial support.  UAS Spokesperson Frances Wesley says they would be devastated if they didn't get the cash.  City staff will be bringing back a report on funding the organization at a future meeting.

LU Students Involved In Sit In

A group of Lakehead University students are protesting changes to the curriculum at the new Northern Ontario Law School.  Spokesperson Sebastian Murdock Gibson says they're upset the school has decided to drop an aboriginal learning program.  The four students are camping out outside of the President's Office at LU.

Arson Cause Of Weekend Fire

City fire inspectors are now certain that the weekend fire on Finlayson was deliberatly set.   Eric Nordlund says they went through the burned out shell and determined it was vandalism arson.  Nordlund says that a flammable liquid was poured on the main floor of the vacant house.   Meantime Nordlund says there is nothing to connect this fire to the one the week before on Cumming Street.

Teachers Ponder Return To Extra Activities

Local public high school teachers appear ready to get back to reviving extra curricular activities.  Paul Caccamo of the teachers union says it's the result of what he calls positive developments with the new Liberal government, but  he warns not to expect a full  return to activities as some may still harbour some resentments. Caccamo says it's still up to individual teachers whether to participate or not.

City First For Violence Against Women

Thunder Bay is directly named in a new Statistics Canada report that is out today concerning violence against women. Executive Director Debbie Zweep of the Faye Peterson Transition House says it shows the number of violent crimes against women in this city is the worst in the country.   She says it matches what her women's shelter is seeing.  Zweep is trying to work with her colleagues and make a formal presentation in front of city council in the very near subject.

Cataract Surgeries On Hold

Cataract surgeries at the Regional Hospital are postponed until April the first. Officials say it's because the facility performed more surgeries that they were funded for so they must wait until the new government year to begin the cycle again. So far this fiscal year there have been almost 18 hundred and 20 cataract surgeries , almost 40 more than they were allowed by government funding.

OSISKO Nears Study Completion

Osisko Mining is preparing to complete a key document on its gold project near Atikokan. President Sean Roosen says they're about 85 per cent complete on a feasibility study. Roosen says the document could be complete within the next six months.

Mayor Seeks Financial Help

The town of Fort Frances is seeking some financial help from the province to offset the tax rebate to Resolute Forest Products. Mayor Roy Avis intends to broach the idea with Municipal Affairs Minister Linda Jeffrey while they're at the joint meeting of Ontario Good Road Association and the Rural Ontario Municipalities Association meetings in Toronto this week.

Food for Thought

The City of Thunder Bay, in partnership with the District Health unit and the local Federation of Agriculture will be hosting a talk about everyone's favourite subject; food. World famous "food activist" Wayne Roberts tonight from 7 pm to 9 pm in the Baggage Arts Building at Prince Arthur's Landing.

Man Charged With Stunt Driving

O.P.P. In Dryden are charging a 22 year old Manitoba man with stunt driving. He was caught doing 50 kilometres an hour over the posted speed limit on Highway 17 in Machin Township. The vehicle has been impounded for a mandatory seven days and the man is facing a court appearance in Dryden to answer to the charges.

Hackner Falls Short In Senior Finals

The "Iceman" fell just short. Al Hackner's Thunder Bay rink lost 6-4 to Bruce Munro of Idylwilde in the final of the Northern Ontario Senior Men's Curling Championship yesterday in Geraldton. Munro now moves on to represent Northern Ontario at nationals next month in P.E.I.