Friday, May 31, 2013

Rickford Breaks Silence On Senate Scandal

Kenora MP Greg Rickford believes it's time to move forward.  Rickford says the government want to see the latest Senate scandal taken care of, and hopes they can make the Senate a more accountable part of parliament. The Conservative MP says the Senate has had some disappointing expenditures in the past.

Fatal Fire In Fort Frances Area

There has been a fatal house fire in the Fort Frances area.   OPP say that the blaze happened early this morning in the township of Devlin.   Police say that one occupant of the house died, but they have not identified the victim.   The cause of the fire is not known and police remain at the scene.

Police Search For Charity Thief

It's the lowest of the low when someone steals from a local charity.  This time police are asking for your help in locating  the person responsible for  the theft of an Alzheimer's Society donation box from the Cumberland Street Husky gas station last night just before 10.   Police have issued a picture of someone they'd like to question.

Vienna Bakery Closing Today

It's the end of an era .   After over 50 years at the same Cumberland Street location. Vienna Bakery is closing up shop at the end of today.   Co-owner Betty Krebbs says there there have been a lot of tears shed today by customers who are coming in for the last time.   She says it's possible the bakery will reopen under new ownership, but that won't be known for several weeks.

Half A Million Goes To Oliver Paipoonge

Half a million dollars is going towards Oliver Paipoonge's industrial park.  The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund made the announcement this morning.  Mayor Lucy Kloosterhuis says the money will be put to good use building roads, installing utilities and lighting.  Kloosterhuis says they've already sold one lot in the expanded park.

4 Dead In Ornge Air Crash

Four people are dead following an Ornge air ambulance helicopter crash near Moosonee.  CFB Trenton Search and Rescuers say the crash site was located this morning and all four people on board are confirmed dead.    
The Ornge air ambulance service says two pilots and two paramedics were on board the aircraft, but no patients.  The helicopter crashed shortly after taking off for Attawapiskat.  The Transportation Safety Board has been notified and will be investigating.

Float Plane Crash In Red Lake

Provincial Police say they are searching for 2-people following a float plane crash in Red Lake.  OPP says the plane took off from the waterway of Red Lake last night.  The aircraft was en route to a tourist camp north of the community when it went down 200-metres from shore in the Bruce Channel around 5:30.  OPP believe a man and a woman from the United States were the only two people on board.  The identity of those on board hasn't been confirmed at this time.

It's Graduation Day

Derek Burney
Graduation is taking place for Lakehead University students.    Ceremonies are being held today and tomorrow at the Community Auditorium.   LU President Brian Stevenson says one of the highlights will be the installation of Derek Burney as the new chancellor.   As the ceremonial head of the university he is allowed to confer degrees. Also attending the ceremonies will be former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Sod Turned On New Senior's Facility

Work is set to begin next month on phase two of a huge St. Joseph's Care Group senior's housing project.   The sod was turned on the future long term care facility on Lillie Street this morning.   Executive Director Tracey Buckler is just happy the wait is over.   It will compliment a nearby 130 bed seniors project which is still getting finishing touches put on it.  While the latest building will house over 400 patients, it will not be adding extra beds to the system when it's completed since it will replace three current senior homes in the city.

Police Get Sneaky

City police now have a new way to catch cell phone and seat belt violations by local drivers.   Sgt. Glenn Porter says on Wednesday they put  a plain clothes cop on the sidewalk on Arthur Street relaying violations with a hand held radio to an officer further down who pulled over the vehicles.  About 40 tickets were issued.  Porter says it's a tactic they hope to use on a regular basis.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Woman Recovering After Fire

One person is recovering from suspected smoke inhalation after a fire at a house at 261 South Algoma Street this afternoon .   Fire Platoon Chief Dan Hyvarinen says when they arrived smoke was coming from the upper floor of the home.   He says a woman who was in the house at the time of the fire was taken to hospital as a precaution.  Hyvarinen says there is some smoke and fire damage inside the house.   He says the blaze was started by a kitchen grease fire.

Unifor New Super Union

The super union created by the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union and the Canadian Auto Workers has a new name.  The new name and logo was unveiled this morning.  They'll go by the name Unifor.  The new union will represent over 6-thousand in Thunder Bay and the region.

OPP Report Two Area MVC's

Police are investigating a two vehicle collision at the Chippewa Road/Highway 61 intersection. The mishap occurred yesterday at 3:30 pm. Both drivers were transported to hospital with  injuries which  OPP say are not life threatening.  A 75 year old city resident is charged.   Also yesterday afternoon a 52 year old Thunder Bay man was flown to the Regional Health Sciences Centre as a precaution after the fuel truck he was driving left the road and hit a rock cut 100 kilometres up Highway 527.  Police say a small fuel spill was also cleaned up.

Lighthouse Negotiations Continue

The Friends of Trowbridge Lighthouse are continuing talks with the Federal Government to acquire 10 area lighthouses. The Feds deemed the Thunder Bay Main lighthouse as well as 9 others in the region surplus. Lighthouse Spokesperson Paul Moralee says they've formulated a business plan to operate the lighthouses in one form or another. Moralee says they're going into their second meeting with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans next week.

Fundraiser Saves Dryden Fireworks

There will be Canada Day fireworks this year in Dryden after all.   The city was forced to cancel the event because of budget cutbacks, however a fundraising campaign, lead by Acadia Broadcasting,  helped raised 11 thousand dollars from the community to hold the event.

Child Porn Charges Face Local Man

A Thunder Bay man is due back in court June 7th after appearing this week on kiddie porn charges.   46 year old Michael Payne was charged in January of this year after police say they conducted an online investigation.  They say computer data was seized at the time of the arrest.   Payne faces two charges, possession and distribution of child pornography.

MNR Forest Fire Hazard

The forest fire hazard in Northwestern Ontario remains high.  Heather Pridham with the Ministry of Natural Resources says the wet weather should help a bit.  There are currently two active fires, one in the Dryden District and the other in the Nipigon area.

Proposed New Rules May Impact Tourism

A Ministry of Natural Resources proposal to reduce daily catch limits from four walleye to two for non-resident anglers will hurt camp owners.  So says Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell.  Speaking in the Legislature, Campbell stated the MNR is designed to prevent fish stocks from diminishing.  Campbell is urging the government to review their decision.

Family Memorials Wants To Buy Remco

Thunder Bay's Family Memorials wants to purchase western headstone company Remco.  The two businesses signed a letter of intent recently.  The proposed sale is subject to regulatory approvals.

Local Gallery Up For Premier's Award

The Definitely Superior Art Gallery is getting some recognition again.   The government has selected the local gallery as a finalist for a Premier's Arts Award.    Gallery director David Karasiewicz says this nomination is good for the city because, not only does it raise the profile of the gallery, but of Thunder Bay as well. The ceremony will take place on June 27th in Toronto.

Morgentaler Called A True Canadian Hero

A Thunder Bay feminist says pro-choice people all across Canada are saddened by the death of Henry Morgentaler on Wednesday at the age of 90.  Sara Williamson says he will always be remembered for his strong stand for abortion rights and calls him a true Canadian hero because he saved the lives of many women at great personal sacrifice to himself.  Williamson says the free access to abortions  has benefited women and society.

South Side NDP Still Wait For Candidate

The provincial NDP on the city's south side is still not ready to select a candidate to take on Bill Mauro in the next election.  Robin Rickards of the Thunder Bay-Atikokan Riding Association says there are currently two candidates in the running, school board trustee George Saarinen and Mary Kozorys.  Rickards says two are waiting to be vetted by provincial party officials. Until that happens, no date can be set for a nomination meeting.  

Bishop Reacts Carfeully To Morgentaler's Death

The death of Dr. Henry Morgentaler is being treated with mixed reaction .  He died yesterday at the age of 90. While Morgentaler is lauded by supporters as a hero for the right of women to have abortion on demand,  on the other side of the debate is the Catholic Church.  When asked for his reaction to the news of Mortgentaler's death, local local Bishop Fred Coli searched carefully for words.   Coli says he could never agree with  the doctor's attitude and approach to abortion , but agrees he was definitely a newsmaker in his time.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Anti Wind Turbine Rally Tonight

The Nor'Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection group is rallying in protest of Horizon Wind's project on the Loch Lomond Watershed.   The fundraising event will be held at the Neebing Road house tonight from 5 until 7:30.  Spokesperson Irene Bond says they need to raise anywhere from 5 to 10 thousand dollars to hire an expert.  The expert will be hired to review the company's Renewable Energy Approval document.

Korkola Back In The System

A Thunder Bay man facing child pornography charges is back in the court system.  43 year old George Korkoka failed to show up for a scheduled court appearance earlier this year and had a bench warrant issued for his arrest   Police say that Korkola was finally picked up,  appeared in court this week and is scheduled to be back again on Monday.

Hyer Calls For End Of Confidence Motions

Independent MP Bruce Hyer is calling for an end to motions of confidence in Parliament.  Hyer has introduced a private members bill aimed at restricting the Prime Minister's ability to trigger an election over confidence votes.  Hyer hopes to get support from the opposition parties.

3 F.N.'s Sign Deal With Wisk Air

Three First Nation communities are signing multi-year agreements with Wisk Air Helicopters. The agreements will enable the First Nations communities to participate in helicopter services within their traditional territories, focusing on the Ring of Fire. Marten Falls, Fort Hope and Webequie First Nations all signed agreements with their helicopter company recently.

Campbell Calls For More In Budget

The provincial budget has some room for improvement.  Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell is also urging the government to develop a better relationship with first nation communities in the region so that major projects such as the Ring of Fire and the twinning of the Trans-Canada Highway west of Kenora, can move forward without delay.

Hudak Calls Out Province On MNR

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is against possible increases in Ministry of Natural Resources service fees.  In an interview with our newsroom, Hudak says it doesn't surprise him the Liberals have polled anglers and hunters in the northwest about what service fee increases they might accept.  Hudak says the Ministry of Natural Resources is becoming more and more like the Ministry of Environment.

Mauro Private Member's Bill

Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro is calling on the Government to improve access to testing for Celiac Disease.  Mauro introduced a private member's bill yesterday to expand Ontario's health coverage for the tests.  He introduced a similar bill several years ago.

New Student Trustee At LPSB

The Lakehead Public School Board is welcoming a new student trustee.  Sir Winston Churchill Grade 11 student Logan Turner is the latest teen to step into the gig.  Turner starts his duties on August 1st.

NW LHIN New Board Member

The local health authority is welcoming a new board member.  The North West LHIN's Board of Directors now has nine members with the addition of Cathy Farrell.  Farrell filled the last remaining vacancy on the LHIN board and her three year term started last month.  She's worked in a variety of settings in the child welfare realm.

MNR Fire Hazard Update

The forest fire hazard remains high across the Northwest Region.  A storm system is expected to move into the region bringing the potential for lightning strike caused fires.  Meanwhile, on Monday a fire in Gorham Township required joint fire crews from Lappe Fire and the MNR.  It's been declared out and an investigation is underway by Conservation Officers.

Chamber On Tax Increases

The Chamber of Commerce is worried that business tax ratios are on the rise after City Council made changes to tax rates.  On Monday, Council decided to lower the residential tax rate and increase the business tax.  President Charla Robinson says they understand that the circumstances were special this year and that it had to be done.  Robinson hopes this won't become an ongoing trend.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

HNO Supports Hockey Canada

Hockey Northwestern Ontario is making some rule changes after Hockey Canada decided to eliminate body checking from Peewee hockey. HNO General Manager Trevor Hosanna  says it was the right decision, allowing kids to be safer on the ice. Hosanna says the rule change is effective for the 2013-2014 season.

Flood Relief Cheque Changes

Thunder Bay's Disaster Relief Committee is making headway on negotiations with the Provincial Government over flood claims.  Today's update on the process coincides with the one year anniversary of the flood.  Chair Wayne Fletcher says originally the Province was using the cost of rebuild services in Toronto rather than in Thunder Bay.  Fletcher says residents will now notice an increase on their reimbursement cheques.

Collision At Oliver & Hill Streets

A two vehicle collision at the intersection of Oliver and Hill Street resulted in one woman being sent to the hospital.  District Fire Chief Jerry Olga says both drivers seemed fine after the crash.  A photo of the incident can be seen on our news website.

Fire Hazard Extreme

The Ministry of Natural Resources is reporting the fire hazard across northwestern Ontario is high with pockets of extreme found in the Thunder Bay area.  Rain is expected later this week but the amount of rain and where it will fall is questionable.

Oliver Paipoonge Road Closure

There's a rural road closure today in the community Oliver Paipoonge.  Monteith Road between McCluskey and Boundary Drive is off limits from 8 am this morning until 5 tonight.  Crews are replacing a culvert during the closure.

Residential Tax Rate Going Down

The city's tax policy is changing in favour of residential property owners.   The new rate for the average city ratepayer is going down from 3 and a half per cent to and even 3 per cent much to the delight of Councillor Andrew Foulds who says residential taxpayers deserve a break. Under the new policy, the rate for business owners will go up just by point one per cent.

Whelan Building Renos Approved

The second phase of renovations to the Whelan Building are going ahead, but not all city councilors  like it.   Mark Bentz and Rebecca Johnson say spending the million dollars for renovations  will unfairly benefit a private business.  But the city's Mark Smith says  administration believes it's worth supporting and has the potential to create 240 new jobs.  In the end only Councillor Johnson voted against the renovations.

Virdiramo Opposes Site For Explanded Program

Expanding the alcohol management program by the city's homeless shelter is not sitting well with all city councillors.   Joe Virdiramo says allowing the program to expand to the old EMS building on George Street is only going to make problems in that area of the city worse.   He says it's because there's an overabundance of social services in the area the city may be creating a ghetto.  Shelter House officials made their case for expanding the program to the new facility, but Councillor Virdiramo says another location would be better 

Study Will Prove Program's Success

The head of the city's homeless shelter is claiming a new managed alcohol program is a success...and she plans to prove it. Speaking to city councilors last night  Patty Hajdu of Shelter House says a new  study will show how many emergency services are used by those on the street and how the program is helping to ease the problem.  Hajdu pleaded her case for additional space to help expand the program for destitute alcoholics.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Black Eye For Hospital

Dr. Gordon Porter, CEO Andree Robichaud
The Regional Health Sciences Centre is reporting a breach of patient confidentiality.  500 patient records including MRI images were shared with a doctor who had no authorization to look at them. Hospital President Andree Robichaud calls it a very serious issue and patients will be notified.  Robichaud says the doctor involved has been dealt with but wouldn't say exactly how.

Kasabonika In A State Of Emergency

There's another evacuation of First Nation residents from a northwestern Ontario community.   150 people have been taken from Kasabonika to Hearst and Greenstone because of flooding.  Emergency Management Ontario says the community is currently under a state of emergency because of the situation.

OPP Probe Suspicious Fire

OPP in Greenstone are looking into what they believe was an arson in Geraldton.  They say that an abandoned home in the community may have been torched on the weekend.  No one was hurt in the blaze and no arrests have been made.

No Driving On Closed Roads

City Police say people are not getting the message about driving on closed roads.  Police ticketed 50 people with driving in zones they shouldn't be.  Traffic Sgt. Glenn Porter says that includes Arundel Street.  Eight drivers were also ticketed for speeding in the area of the Golf Links Road construction site.

New Drug Overdose Program

The City's Drug Strategy is launching a new overdose prevention program.  Coordinator Cynthia Olsen says they'll be offering a kit that helps people with substance abuse problems spot the signs of an overdose.  The new kit also comes with a drug that will help reverse an overdose.  Overdose training will start June 5th.

Local Bees Threatened By Parasite

There's a new threat for honey bees in Thunder Bay. A deadly parasite known as the destructor mite has caused the bees to weaken during winter months. The local beekeeper association is offering to replace for free any infected hives that are destroyed to prevent their spread.

Forest Fires Over The Weekend

The forest fire hazard is moderate to high with some areas tipping up into the extreme range.  There were 4-new fires in the northwest region over the weekend.  5-fires continue to burn but no problems are anticipated.