Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dew Drop Inn Serves Easter Dinner

The Dew Drop Inn will be feeding the needy this weekend. They will be serving Easter dinner this afternoon for about 300 people. Dinner is being served at 2:30 today.

First Nations Save Energy

First Nations communities in Northwestern Ontario have a chance to save energy through a new program. The "saveOnenergy Aboriginal Conservation Program" is offered by the Ontario Power Authority and First Nations Engineering Services. Director of First Nations and Métis Relations with the OPA Hilary Thatcher encourages communities to get involved. Thatcher thinks First Nations from across the region should apply for the program.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lakehead University Skiers Win Big

Lakehead University's Men and Women Nordic Ski teams are Overall Team Champions at the Canadian Varsity Cross Country Championships in Whistler B.C. Coach Adam Kates is very proud of his skiers. Kates says the program will continue to grow in coming years.

Canfield Backs Government Budget

Kenora Mayor Dave Canfield says the government is doing the right thing by investing more money into aboriginal communities. Speaking about the federal budget, Canfield says the government is addressing some pressing issues. Canfield says the funding for skills training is very important in the region with the mining and forestry sector expected to boom.

Last Year For Daffodils

This is the last year you can buy daffodils to support the Canadian Cancer Society's Daffodil Campaign. Starting next year, pins will be available for a small donation. Sioux Lookout Branch President Lisa Husak says 100-percent of the proceeds go to cancer care programs. Husak says the reason they won't be giving out daffodils anymore is due to cost and transportation factors.

Friday, March 29, 2013

St. John Ambulance Hosting Food Drive

St. John Ambulance will have two empty ambulances to fill with food for the "Fill an Ambulance/Feed the Hungry Food Drive" on Saturday. They are gathering non-perishable food items in support of the St. Thomas Anglican Church Food Bank. You can bring your donations to the Metro on Arthur street between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. tomorrow.

Madder Disappointed With Government

The president of Confederation College is a bit disappointed with the provincial government's new restriction on tuition hikes. Tuition increases will now be capped at three-percent, down from five-percent. Jim Madder says this means things like programming decisions will take more time. Madder says the average tuition for a student is 2500-dollars, so three percent is around 75-dollars.

Canadian Fur Selling High

Canada's fur industry is experiencing something it hasn't seen in a long time. Furs are being sold off, in some cases, at record-breaking prices. President of the Rainy River Fur Trappers Council, Brian Love, says that can only bode well for their future. Love says increased interest in Canadian furs from the Pacific Rim countries is partly responsible for the high prices.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vehicle Fire Closes Highway

OPP were forced to close Highway 102 this afternoon because of a tractor trailor fire.  They say it happened at  Alppila Road in Kaministiquia..  No one was injured.  Conmee and Oliver Paipoonge Fire Departments responded as well.

Mulcair To Visit Thunder Bay

A stop in Northwestern Ontario for the leader of the Opposition Party. Tom Mulcair will be in Thunder Bay on Tuesday to tour the Bombardier Plant, as well as meet with Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Harvey Yesno and the Port Authority. Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell and Thunder Bay MP John Rafferty will join Mulcair in his visits.

Robichaud Tops Local Sunshine List

Once again the head of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre tops the local Sunshine List of those publicly paid workers that made more than 100 thousand dollars last year.   Andree Robichaud was paid 389 thousand dollars in 2012 making her the highest paid public servant in the city.  Lakehead University has the highest number of employees who made over 100 thousand dollars last year. President Brian Stevenson tops that list after making 360 thousand dollars.  He is followed by about 270 more administrators, professors and associate professors who raked in more than 100 k in 2012.  The City of Thunder Bay Manager Tim Commisso tops the city list making 227 thousand dollars in 2012.   Police Chief J-P Levesque made 200 thousand dollars. You can view the entire list by following this LINK

Bentz Wants To See Commitee Costs

City Councillor Mark Bentz is looking forward to finding out the costs associated with Thunder Bay's various committees.  Bentz says he likes having special committees set up to look at specific issues but notes the City should also look at finding savings.  A report on the topic should come back before City Council this fall.

Police Service Members Honoured

It's a big night for 16 city police service members.  They are being honoured for their long service.   The Exemplary Service Awards are being handed out at the Valhalla Inn.  There are three categories. The first for 20 years of service, the second for  30 and 40 years of service and the third honour goes to civilian employees.

Long Weekend Bring Seat Belt Blitz

Buckle up.  OPP are using this Easter long weekend to watch for motorists who fail to use their seat belts.  Constable Anne McCoy says it's an ongoing problem they've identified in the Rainy River area.  OPP says there have been eight deaths on provincial highways related to a person not wearing a seat belt this year.

Fort Frances Mayor Opposed To Tolls

The mayor of Fort Frances is no fan of tolls being set up on northern Ontario highways.  Premier Kathleen Wynne suggests it might help municipalities cover the costs to replace roads and bridges.  Roy Avis doesn't see it as a viable solution.  Avis says earmarking a share of stumpage fees from the wood being hauled along area roads might be a better option.

NAPS Fights For Funding

The Nishnawbe Aski Police service is in a crisis.   Interim Police Chief Bob Herman says the problem is simple, the federal government isn't funding the service properly,  and as of next week, 11 positions will be lost.  Herman hopes the Feds will come to the table and negotiate in good faith.  Herman says he's been working to try to keep the service operational, but says the days of band aid solutions must end.

Algoma Open

 Algoma Street is now open to traffic.  It was closed yesterday to both lanes of traffic while crews worked on repairing a section of road.  A sewer backed up causing a stretch of Algoma near Camelot and River Street to be closed.

Virdiramo Envisions Waterfront Book

One city councillor wants a coffee table book produced on the new Thunder Bay waterfront.  Joe Virdiramo believes there should be something to commemorate such a huge legacy project.  He thinks it should include all the successes and failures that went into having the 58 million dollar project become a reality. Staff at City Hall will be reporting back on the idea at a future council meeting.

LU Hockey Welcomes New Coach

Lakehead University and the Thunderwolves hockey team have a new Head Coach.  Bill McDonald replaces Mike Busniuk, who had been at the Wolves’ helm on an interim basis since taking over for Joel Scherban early this past season.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Teachers Anxious To Volunteer

There is relief now that public elementary school teachers are again volunteering for extracurricular activities.  David Pineau organizes school sports in Thunder Bay and says there's plenty of activities in store and believes  it should be no problem to salvage the year for many activities. Pineau says he's had calls from teachers who are anxious to get started.

Rafferty Sides With Revolting MPs

Some Conservative MP's in Ottawa are revolting and Thunder Bay NDP MP John Rafferty is on their side.  The MPs are upset with how short a leash the Prime Minister's office has them on and Rafferty says he's not surprised.    Rafferty agrees that it's limiting the MPs ability to represent their ridings

Sewer Work Forces Street Closure

The city is conducting sewer work on Algoma Street and that's forcing a road closure for at least two days, maybe longer.  Officials say Algoma between River Street and Camelot will be closed to all traffic for that time.  

City Says Fewer Pothole Calls

City crews are working to fill potholes as fast as they can find them.  Over at City Hall roads boss Brad Adams is coordinating it all.  He says crews are telling him it's an average year for potholes and he says there have been fewer calls to complain about them.  Adams says you can report potholes by calling 625-2195 or report it online at this LINK

Con College To Host DFC Residence

Confederation College will be hosting the new residences for Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School.  President Jim Madder says they're happy to help by building the facility on the corner of Edward and Williams Streets.  The building is expected to house 150 beds for students and another 50 for families visiting from the remote north.
DFC New Residence  on PhotoPeach

Foul Play Ruled Out

OPP don't suspect foul play in the death of 33 year old Erik Legarde.  The Geraldton man was reported missing and then later found dead on a bush trail.  Police say results from the post mortem don't point to foul play.

T.Bay Inflation Rate Rises

Statistics Canada is out with its latest inflation rate figures.  Thunder Bay's rate in February was 0.9 percent up from January's 0.3%.  Canada's national annual inflation rate was 1.2 per cent.

Safeway Fundraiser Kick Off

Thunder Bay's Safeway Stores continue to raise awareness and money for Special Olympics and Easter Seals.  Easter Seals Spokesperson Rhonda Harrison says they'll be using their share of the money to send kids to camp.  During the month of April, Northwestern Ontario Safeway stores will be asking customers to donate two dollars towards the charities in return you'll receive 5 bonus air miles points.

College Gets Cash For Mental Health

College and university students in Thunder Bay will have better access to mental health supports.  The Provincial Government has announced over 900-thousand-dollars in funding over a three-year-period.  Confederation College will design a "northern relevant" website for students and staff, improve counseling services and programs and create a peer support network.

Wonky Fridge To Blame For Empire Fire

Fire officials are revealing the cause of a fire at an Empire Avenue home.  A malfunctioning fridge was the culprit of yesterday afternoon's blaze.  The fire was put out quickly but the home sustained major fire, heat and smoke damage.  No one was home at the time the fire started.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Shipping Season Underway

The first ship of the season is now in port.   The John B. Aird arrived this morning and docked at Viterra elevators to load up on grain.  Also arriving today were the Algoma Montrealais and the Ojibway.   The first ocean going vessels of the season are expected this weekend.

Land Sale Approved For Taxes

City Hall is one step closer to collecting some outstanding taxes.  Councillors have approved the sale of lands whose owners have not paid their taxes for three years.   During the process treasurer Carol Busch told city lawmakers our track record for collection is pretty good, above the provincial average. The total taxes that are outstanding are 900 thousand dollars.

Fire Hits South Side Home

No injuries to report after a house fire on the city's south side.   It happened on the 400 block of Empire Avenue just after 3 o'clock this afternoon.  Neighbour Tony Rapino says that the owners weren't home at the time.  He says they had just finished purchasing it and were renovating.  The cause of the fire is not known

Greenstone Ready For Boom Says Mayor

The mayor of Greenstone can't contain himself these days.  Ron Beaulieu believes the economy of the community is about to get red hot with the Ring of Fire mining project.  So hot, says Beaulieu,  he's expecting a population explosion.  He believes some wards could triple in size as the result of the mining boom.   Beaulieu says the challenge  now is to make preparations to make sure there are the services in place to handle such growth. 

Norman Dam Body Identified

Kenora OPP are releasing the name of the man who was found dead in the Norman Dam earlier this month.  Constable Dave Cain says 40 year old Thomas Szirony's body was found at the intake of the dam on March 7th.  Szirony was first reported missing from Vancouver in December of last year.

Raise The Rent

VIP's are coming together to call friends and family to Raise the Rent. It is the annual fundraiser in support of the city's homeless shelter. Several VIP's from the community will come together and attempt to raise their goal of $625, the average rent for a one bedroom apartment. If they fail, they may have to spend the night in the homeless shelter themselves. All proceeds go to help the Shelter House and their efforts to help the homeless and starving in Thunder Bay.

Mauro & Police Union Reach Deal

City Police Officer Jim Mauro is dropping his lawsuit against the Police Association.  His lawyer, Chris Watkins says they reached a deal with the police union.  The settlement was launched because Mauro felt he was wrongfully removed from his union bargaining position.  Both sides have agreed to not go into exact details of the settlement.

No Room For Laundry

Residents of several Thunder Bay apartments will have to go without washing their clothes for a while, as their washing machines and driers were pried open and damaged by an unknown person. The police request anyone with information come forward, and remind tenants to be mindful of who they let in.

The incidents from this weekend occurred at:

- 1800 block of East Walsh Street
- 900 block of South Syndicate Avenue
- 600 block of Kingsway Avenue
- 2800 block of Redwood Avenue
- 200 block of Banning Street

NDP Upset Over FedNor Cuts

Federal New Democrats are bashing the federal government over its lack of acknowledgement of northern Ontario in the recent budget.  MP Charlie Angus says the only reference of the region came in a passing reference related to economic development in southern Ontario.  The NDP are also critical of the 10 per cent cut to FedNor's budget.

Robbi Weldon Brings In More Awards

The Provincial Government is celebrating Ontario's top amateur athletes and coaches in both national and international arenas.  Thunder Bay's Robbi Weldon is taking home the Female Athlete with a Disability of the Year award for her Para-Cycling competitions.

CPAWS Calls For More ROF Consultation

Environmental approvals for the development of the Ring of Fire are running into difficulty.  The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society is teaming up with First Nations asking for a mediation on how Cliffs Resources plans to develop the project.  Director of Conservation Planning Anna Baggio says there needs to be more public hearings. Baggio says they are hoping that someone can take a look at the entire region and figure out what needs to be done in the long-term.

Cost of Dryden Mobility Revealed

It's the number many people have been waiting to hear.  The City of Dryden will get around 4-million dollars from the sale of Dryden Mobility to Tbaytel.  Financial Advisor Paul Heayn says this still results in a large chunk of debt.  Heayn says Dryden received about 4.3 million for the sale of landline and internet services, which doesn't dip into the red as much.

EDC Gets New Face

There is a new face on the board of the city's Economic Development Corporation.   City councillors voted to appoint Barbara Courte to the position.  Courte is the owner of Cobra Drilling. 

City Management Gets Raise

Management at City Hall is getting a raise.   Councillors voted to give the them a one and three quarter per cent increase retroactive to January the first of this year.   It is considered to be within the salary increases given to unionized staff in the corporation.

Extra Waterfront Spending Approved

The city is dipping into the  reserves for an extra 600 thousand dollars to complete phase one of the waterfront project.  It wasn't without a fuss being made by some councillors, like Rebecca Johnson who says she was promised there wouldn't be any need to spend more money.
Johnson says she's upset that there is really no choice but for council to spend the extra money.

Katherine Dugmore Dies

Former city Waterfront Manager Katherine Dugmore is dead.   Her passing was announced before Monday evening's city council meeting by Councillor Mark Bentz who acknowledged her work on Prince Arthur's Landing.     Dugmore had been battling cancer for some time and took a leave of absence in 2011 to have it treated.   She returned to work for a short while about a year ago before taking time off again.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Extra Waterfront Spending Approved

The city is dipping into the  reserves for an extra 600 thousand dollars to complete phase one of the waterfront project.  It wasn't without a fuss being made by some councillors, like Rebecca Johnson who says she was promised there wouldn't be any need to spend more money.
Johnson says she's upset that there is really no choice but for council to spend the extra money.

Katherine Dugmore Dies

Former city Waterfront Manager Katherine Dugmore is dead.   Her passing was announced before this evening's city council meeting by Councillor Mark Bentz who acknowledged her work on Prince Arthur's Landing.     Dugmore had been battling cancer for some time and took a leave of absence in 2011 to have it treated.   She returned to work for a short while about a year ago before taking time off again.


Thunder Bay police say they have nothing to do with a new video which at first glance appears to be another offering by the Internet group Anonymous.  While the video references a sexual assault case in Edmonton, it attempts to draw attention to what is thought to be a pro police rally April first in the city and what is termed a "fake Anonymous" gathering April 5th and 6th.

LU Gets A New Research Chair

Lakehead University is getting another Canada Research Chair position. Pauline Sameshima is the new Research Chair for arts. She says its a great opportunity for herself and the University. Sameshima says she will be working with her counterparts nationally and the local arts community.

Disaster Relief Update Postponed

City Council is going to hear an update from the Disaster Relief Committee in two weeks.  It was originally supposed to take place tonight.    Chair Wayne Fletcher says it appears they'll be able to pay out all of the flood claims.  Fletcher says they still have to process another 60 claim forms but expects money to flow in a couple of weeks.

Collaboration Against Violence

Today, eight child welfare and violence against women agencies are coming together to sign an agreement to combine their efforts to end violence against women and children. The groups, including Dilico Anishinabek Family Care signed a similar agreement back in 2003, but it has been amended and changed significantly since then.

Grow Green Expo

Greenstone is in the city this week to talk up its role in the emerging mining industry.  The community is hosting "Grow Greenstone" expo at the Victoria Inn this week as away to attract skilled labourers to their community.  The expo will provide businesses from across Canada a chance to network with community and mining industry officials.