Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Moonias Inquest Coming To A Close

Coroner Dr. David Eden
Closing arguments brought an end to the Coroner's inquest into the death of 27 year old Bruce Moonias. The jury heard that 53 shots were fired the night Moonias died after an encounter with police.  Presiding Coroner Dr. David Evans charged the jury with making a decision in the death of Moonias.  The jury is expected back with a set of recommendations by one o'clock tomorrow afternoon.

Rob Ford Admits To Smoking Crack

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is admitting publicly that he has smoked crack cocaine.  Many news sources covered an impromptu press conference today where he said “Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine.”  He told reporters that he probably tried it during one of his drunken stupors over a year ago. He also reiterated that he is not an addict.

Wood Bill Comes Up This Week

Vic Fedeli
A significant forestry industry bill is set to be debated in the Ontario Legislature this week. Bill 13 would amend the Ontario Building Code to allow for wood frame construction to be used in mid-rise buildings up to 6-stories, instead of the current four stories. Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli is bringing forward the bill for second reading on Thursday and he maintains the change is needed to boost the Northern forest industry, and create jobs and growth. Fedeli calls it a win-win solution. He says it helps northern Ontario by providing jobs, and it helps southern Ontario meet targets to reduce urban sprawl and reduce construction costs. Fedeli adds that wood-frame construction can reduce the carbon footprint and increase the energy efficiencies of mid-rise buildings.

Communities Meet To Make EDO Plan

12 First Nation communities are working together to create a economic development plan.  The Robinson Superior communities are meeting this week in Thunder Bay to brainstorm.  Spokesperson Catherine Banning says it's going to take some time to create the plan over the next six months.  A consultant will be visiting all of the communities to get their feedback on what they would like to see in the plan.

RFDA Sees Usage Decline But More Food Needed

The number of people going to the food bank is on decline however those who do use it are needing more food more often.  That's one of the findings of Ontario Association of Food Banks "HungerCount 2013" report.  The Regional Food Distribution Association is included in the document and Executive Director Volker Kromm says they're following the same provincial trend.  Kromm says people who have been able to find employment have been replaced with others who have fallen on hard times.

LU Gets New Teepee

Lakehead University is getting a new teepee thanks to a generous donation.  It was donated after recent damage to the current teepee located on the University's ceremonial grounds.  The new teepee will be installed in the spring.

Re-Store Closed

Officials at Habitat for Humanity say the Re-Store is going to be closed today and possibly longer.     A major water line is being put through the Squire Street facility and it means an inconvenience for customers until it's complete.   They encourage anyone to call ahead of time before making a trip to the store.

Parade Of Lights Coming Soon

The Thunder Bay Police Association subscribes to the old adage "if it isn't broke don't fix it."  Their Parade of Lights is going into its 15th year and Parade Coordinator Greg Stephenson says they haven't changed much over the years. Money raised from the event goes towards Autism Ontario, George Jeffery Children's Centre, Special Olympics Ontario and the Thunder Bay Therapeutic Riding Association.  The parade is set for December 7th at 7 pm.  The route goes from Manitoulin Transport, over the Main Street Bridge, down the Harbour Expressway until it turns to head north on Memorial Avenue to Queen Street.  It will then follow Fort William Road to Water Street.

Power Restored

Over a thousand Hydro customers were without power Monday evening following an outage on the south side.  Thunder Bay Hydro say a pole was found on fire south of the Harbour Expressway near Innovation Drive causing the large power outage.  The outage affected customers in the College Park and Northwood area. Most of Westfort was also without power for parts of Monday night.  Power was restored around 11:30.

Water Financial Plan Passes

The City's water system financial plan is calling for our water rates to increase over the next couple of years. The plan was presented to Council Monday with staff saying  operating revenue is  expected to increase but not as much as they had hoped since water use is on the decline.  Councillor Joe Virdiramo noted promoting conservation has come back to bite them with higher water rates.  Council approved the financial plan and is submitting it to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

At Large Debate Postponed

City Council is going to have to wait two weeks to discuss Councillor Ken Boshcoff's suggestion to move to an At-Large Council system.  Boschoff wants a question posed to the voting public asking if they would support having councilors elected at large.  The issue is being postponed until the November 18th meeting.

Council Round Up

The City is putting money aside in the 2015 budget to maintain the Heath Park and Widnall Pools.   A replacement strategy for the Dease Pool is also going to be included in the budget as well.  A petition with 48 signatures in support of Dease was presented to Council Monday night.   Meanwhile, A public meeting looking into how the City can offer more events where streets are open to people and closed to cars is going to be held Tuesday night.  It's part of a partnership between the City, EcoSuperior and 8-80 Cities.  An open house being held Tuesday night at the Italian Cultural Centre.  Reps from 8-80 cities spoke to Council Monday night.

Bare Point Marina Spending Approved

The City is spending 1.2 million dollars on repairs to the Bare Point Watermain.  The work is going to Nadin Contracting.  Council approved the contract at it's meeting Monday night.

City Hopes DSSAB Will Have Change Of Heart

Council is asking the Social Services Board to keep running a homemaking program for the City.  The program helps feed, bath, and dress 34 clients who rely on the extra help in their lives. The board plans to stop providing the program as of December 31st but the City is hoping they'll either change their mind or continue to provide the program for another six months while the City negotiates with the local health authority over who else can help the City run the program.

Council Supports Provincial Draft Plan

Common Voice's Energy Task Force is responding to the provincial government's North of Dryden regional electricity plan.  Thunder Bay Council is showing their support of the plan. Council will share their feelings on the plan with the CEO of the Ontario Power Authority and Minister of Energy.