Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Low Income Seniors Get Help With Water Bills

Thunder Bay City Council is looking at increasing the low income seniors water bill rebate program.  They decided at Tuesday night's meeting to increase the program from 100 to 200 dollars per eligible applicant.  Councillor Andrew Foulds voted in favour of the move.  The program helps offset the cost of water bills and the increase still needs to be ratified in the 2013 budget in March.

Tipping Fees Concern Rydholm

City Council continues to plug along in its attempts to pass the 2013 budget.  They reviewed the solid waste department's budget Tuesday night.  City Councillor Linda Rydholm was concerned about a six percent increase in landfill tipping fees and raised the issue to Infrastructure Manager Darryl Matson.  Matson says the tipping fee will help them pay for future projects.  Council also examined the water department which also saw their budget increase 7 percent.

Boys & Girls Club Wants Help

E.D. Albert Aiello 

The Boys and Girls Club wants Council to exempt them from property taxes.  Executive Director Albert Aiello says they were always considered tax exempt and only recently found out from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation they weren't.  The club is looking at a tax bill of just under 10 thousand dollars a year.  They are also facing a 28-thousand dollar bill for back taxes.  City Council is asking staff to look into how they can help the club.

Council Hears From Public

City Council is getting an earful from the public on their thoughts on the 2013 budget.  The Lakehead Canoe Club is speaking to Councillors this evening ask for the dredging of Boulevard Lake to be included in the fiscal document.  Meanwhile, City Finance Manager Carol Busch talked about what the draft budget would mean for the average home owner.  Busch says if the budget is passed as is property taxes would go up $89 dollars, and water & sewer bills would go up $55 dollars.  City lawmakers have set three days aside to review the draft budget before sending it for a final vote in March.

More Local Foods In Public Institutions

The Health Unit, City, and Federation of Agriculture are meeting this week to discuss how they can use local food in public care institutions.  The 2 day workshop wraps up Wednesday and is being put on by a 100-thousand dollar grant from the Province.  The end goal is to serve local produce in daycares, schools, hospitals and long term care homes.

Wynne Makes Pledges For North

Kathleen Wynne says northern Ontario is on her radar.   The premier-designate says that she is setting up a northern Ontario cabinet committee and she promises to hold a full cabinet meeting in the north within a month of her swearing in.   Wynne also promises to continue having northern and regional representation in her new cabinet.

LU Students & Staff Back In Centennial

Lakehead University students and staff  are being welcomed back into the Centennial Building after fire alarms were pulled this afternoon.  School Spokesperson Toby Goodfellow says discarded cigarette butts fell into a grate catching little pieces of paper on fire.  The smoke then traveled up the exhaust system and into the building.  The building was evacuated this afternoon while fire fighters went room to room to find the cause of the smoke.

Cancer Centre Gets New Toy

Thunder Bay's Regional Cancer Care Centre is getting a new high tech toy.  They've recently installed a new radiation therapy that will be available to cancer patients across the region.  The complex project is now underway at the Health Sciences Centre.

Double Fire Calls

No major fire to report at Lakehead University after crews were called to a report of smoke in the Centennial Building during the noon hour. The source of  the smoke turned out to discarded cigarette butts.  At around the same time there was a gas leak at Western Supplies on Tungsten. No one was injured when a fork lift operator struck a gas line. The situation was under control in less than half hour.

Dryden's Money Woes Continue

A major blow for the City of Dryden. The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation has reassessed the value of Domtar's operations in Dryden and the new figure has come in at 14-million dollars. That's a 72-percent drop in assessed value from the previous 50-million. Dryden Mayor Craig Nuttall says they will have to go back to the drawing board with the 2013 municipal budget. The city had been hoping for an assessment in the range of 36-million dollars.

Lowerys Sponsors SportsDome

Just call it the Lowery's SportsDome.   The locally owned office supply company has entered into a deal for naming rights to the facility. General Manager Brian Tsubouchi says it's time to raise the dome's profile. The naming agreement runs for 5 years.

Crime Stoppers Sets New Record For Tips

Thunder Bay and District Crime Stoppers are boasting about a record number of tips coming in for the month of January. Coordinator Jason Disher says they received 87 tips via phone or the internet for the month, the highest they've seen since the program started 27 years ago. Disher says they received tips from the public about robberies, homicides, wanted people and other crimes throughout January.

Sergerie Named O.U.A. Athlete Of The Week

Lakehead University men's hockey team captain Adam Sergerie has been named the O.U.A. male athlete of the week. Sergerie tallied four goals and two assists in a pair of wins for the Thunderwolves over the weekend against Waterloo.