Monday, March 31, 2014

Another Child Porn Bust

City police are continuing their efforts to discourage the possession and distribution of child porn on the Internet.  They say  23 year old Roger Constantin is due back in court on April 22nd to answer to charges related to kiddie porn after they started a peer to peer file sharing investigation.   It ended last week with a raid on a home on the 500 block of Hodder Avenue.

Shannon Takes A Message To Ottawa

Thunder Bay disabled rights lawyer Dave Shannon is taking his message to Ottawa.   Shannon is making a presentation to a committee in the nation's capital about expanding election access for disabled people beyond the ballot box and to the campaign level to meetings and debates and even campaign offices.  Shannon says a lot of these places and events have too many barriers to allow disabled voters in.

No Cause For Strand Ave. Fire

The cause of last week's fire at 514 Strand Avenue remains up in the air.   A city fire investigator says what they know for sure is that the blaze began in the kitchen area, close to the stove and fridge late Friday afternoon.   The occupant of the house is in a Toronto hospital burn unit recovering.

The NDP Walk Out Of Q-P

Andrea Horwath
The provincial NDP is showing its passive aggressive side.   Leader Andrea Horwath and her members walked out of the legislature during question period this morning because Premier Kathleen Wynne was not there to answer questions about the growing gas plant scandal.   Premier Wynne is in Sault Ste. Marie to make an announcement.  Meantime, There's no backing down for opposition leader Tim Hudak who says he will not be withdrawing his comments linking the premier to deleted emails in the gas plant scandal.  Hudak says Premier Wynne is making the wrong choice by threatening legal action against him over focusing on creating jobs in the province.

LUSU Will Not Protest Tuition Hikes

The president of the Lakehead University Student Union says not to expect a student protest over increased tuition fees.  The board of governors has increased fees an average of 3 per cent, but LUSU President Ian Kaufman says they decided against any uprising even though it's the 8th increase in a row.  Instead the university has agreed to consider 5 proposals and requests from LUSU.  The top recommendation is an independent review of the university's books

Freezing Rain Warning For T.Bay

Environment Canada says we're not going to get as much snow as they first thought.  Meteorologist Ria Alsen says we'll still have 2 to 4 centimetres of snowfall which will then turn into freezing rain.  Alsen adds the freezing rain should stop sometime Tuesday.  Colder temperatures are also being called for Tuesday night and into the rest of the work week.

LU Tuition Fee Increase

Lakehead University's student union is expected to meet with some of the school's higher ups about an approval of increased tuition costs. L-U Board of Governor's President Cameron Clark says it's important to be in communications with the group.  The board of governor's approved a tuition increase averaging out to 3-percent.

Unifor Local Leader Concerned

There is some concern that, what was a soon to be private members bill that would have Canadian content rulings placed on public transit vehicle purchases, will fall through.  Union President of the local Bombardier Plant Dominic Pasqualino says he is optimistic however fears that some jobs could head south.

Walking Distances Pondered

More High school students in Thunder Bay may be walking to school as the Lakehead District School Board considers expanding its allowable walking distance. David Wright is the board's Superintendent of Business and says the details have yet to be mapped out. Currently students living within a 1.6 kilometre radius of their school have to walk.

MNR Fire Season Starts Tuesday

Believe it or not forest fire season officially starts this week. Fire information officer Deb McLean with the ministry of natural resources says says it might be awhile before fire activity picks up in the Northwest. McLean says the MNR will prepare for the season as normal, noting activity picked up quickly after a slow start back in 2012. The forest fire season officially begins on Tuesday.

LU Employees Top Sunshine List

The annual sunshine list is out and it's shining brightly over Lakehead University.   There are about 275 employees at LU who are on the list of those provincial public servants who made more than 100 thousand dollars last year.   A close second is the city of Thunder Bay with about 250 on that list including firefighters and city police constables.   Over at the hospital the number is about 80 in including CEO Andree Robichaud who made 385 thousand dollars.   The highest paid person on that list in Thunder Bay is Dr. Lois Hutchinson at St. Joseph's Care Group at 405 thousand dollars.  The list can be found at this LINK

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Polar Plunge

Yesterdays Polar Plunge saw over 200 participants take part to support the Special Olympics community. It even featured Acadia Broadcasting's Damian and AJ.

Added Duties For Valhalla GM

Valhalla Inn General Manager Mary McLellan will have some added responsibilities. Airline Hotels has purchased an Ambassador Hotel and Conference Centre in Kingston. McLellan will operate both locations while living in Thunder Bay.

Lakehead University Increases Tuition

The Lakehead University Board of Governors is approving a 3-percent tuition hike. Board President Cameron Clark says the increase is in line with a provincial framework. The province doesn't allow an increase of more than 3-percent per year over a 4 year term. Clark says it shouldn't come as a surprise if other schools across Ontario increase their tuition rates as well. The 3-percent jump will come in to affect in the Fall. It is an average however, students in Graduate Professional Programs could see an increase of up to 5-percent.

TBSO Season Launch

The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra is announcing its 2014-2015 season. Music Director Arthur Post will lead the orchestra. The season is called Trade the Ordinary for Fantasy: A Season of Music Inspired by Timeless Tales.

Winter Storm On The Way

Thunder Bay could be facing at least one more winter storm before the spring weather kicks in. Meteorologist Rob Kuhn says a nasty storm could roll in overnight tonight. Kuhn says the mix of incoming cold air and the current mild air will cause for lots of snow, ice pellets and possibly rain for Monday. He adds that there is the potential for up to 30cm's of snow to fall depending on the conditions.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Kitchen Fire Being Investigated

The Ontario Fire Marshall's Office is coming to Thunder Bay to investigate a Friday afternoon fire. It took place at a Strand Avenue home in a kitchen. Although damages were not severe burns sustained from a lone male occupant inside the home were serious. His condition is being listed as good to fair.

Comedy Tour Hits Thunder Bay

The Rank & Vile comedy tour is making a stop in Thunder Bay tonight. Darren Frost and Kenny Robinson are performing two shows at the Dragon's Den. Frost says he thinks Thunder Bay comedy goers will be able to handle a more mature show. Frost calls it Canada's dirtiest stand up tour.

L-U Recognizes Athletes

Lakehead University is hosting its annual athletics awards gala this afternoon. Sports Director Hugh Mullally says they want to shine a spotlight on the university's great competitors. The gala is being held at the Port Arthur Collegiate Institute auditorium. It will include honours for rookie's of the year, athletes of the year and volunteer recognition.

Friday, March 28, 2014

More Rocket Cars From Bombardier Plant

The Thunder Bay Bombardier plant is receiving a contract for 60 more Rocket Cars for the TTC. Union President Dominic Pasqualino says that the contract serves a dual purpose, both providing work for employees while buying some time until the next contract. Pasqualino says he hopes this is one of many more between Bombardier and the TTC in what has been a long working relationship.

Charges Laid In Double Fatal

A 27 year old Thunder Bay man is charged in connection with last weekend's double traffic fatality.  OPP Sgt. Jim Graham says they have laid three charges against Tyler Boily, Impaired Driving Causing Death, Criminal Negligence Causing Death and Dangerous Driving Causing Death.  Boily is now in custody until his bail hearing.   The charges come on the same day that a double funeral was held for the victims of that collision on Highway 61 early Saturday morning.

More Students May Have To Walk

The Lakehead District School Board is considering expanding its current walking boundaries for students. As it stands students living within a 1.6-kilometre radius must walk to school. David Wright is Superintendent of Business and says no exact numbers have been put forth just yet. He does note that average weather temperatures and snowfall are also taken into consideration. Wright says trustees are putting the idea forward to promote a healthy and active lifestyle among students.

Thunder Bay Among Top Cities Not To Move To

Thunder Bay is coming in as one of Immigroup's worst Canadian cities to immigrate to. The group recently released the list that placed Thunder Bay in eighth. General Manager Cassandra Johnstone says the city's distance and unemployment played a role in the ranking. She did clarify however that reports of the city's Aboriginal population playing a role in the ranking was not necessarily true. She says that the report looked at the city's poverty levels which coincidentally includes many Aboriginal's. Toronto came in as the country's worst city to immigrate to.

New Country Radio For The Lakehead

email-signature-countryThunder Bay has a new country music station.    Acadia broadcasting as made a format switch in the city and Country 105 went on the air as of noon today.  Station Manager Brent Preston calls it an exciting time for country music fans in the city.  The switchover also means a new morning show with John Ongaro, Gen Block and Bryan Graham.

LU Battlefield Tourism Launched

Lakehead University is launching its Battlefield Tourism course at Memorial Park today. Professor Harvey Lemelin says there are eleven students involved many of which have a close ties to World War One. The course includes a trip to Europe to visit some key battlegrounds from the Great War from April 25th to May 5th.

Missing Teen Found

Kenora OPP are reporting they've found 17 year old Chantal Cameron.   The teen was reported missing on March 22nd in the early morning hours when she didn't return to her place of employment.  Police found her in the City of Kenora on Thursday night.

College Offers Peterborough Based Program

Confederation College is teaming up with Fleming College to offer a Geographic Information System program.  Thunder Bay students will be able to take the Peterborough based course at their home campus here in the City.  Students in Peterborough will take the course at the same time as the Thunder Bay students and will interact with them through technology.

Safeway Beans Recalled

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is recalling Safeway brand bean products because they contain mustard which isn't written on the label.  People with allergies to mustard shouldn't eat those products. The beans were sold in Northern Ontario, B.C., Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Seafood Products Recalled In Ontario

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is warning of a recall of Prolimer and Waterfront Bistro brand fish and seafood products because they may contain mustard.  The items were sold in Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Jacob Found Not Guilty

A Summer Beaver man can rest easy now that a jury in Thunder Bay has found him not guilty of manslaughter.   The aquittal of 35 year old Kesley Jacob comes after a nearly 2 week trial in connection to  the death of  53 year old Barney Beaver at the Victoria Inn in December of 2011.   His lawyer George Joseph says his client is too emotional for words.

Dryden Man Dies In Crash

OPP in Dryden are investigating a collision that killed 24-year old Taylor Gardiner of Dryden this morning on Highway 17. The accident involved a commercial vehicle and a passenger vehicle and took place just outside of Aaron Provincial Park around 7am.. The driver of the other vehicle was not injured.

Mauro Appeals Exhausted

It's the end of the line for Jim Mauro and his legal battle with the city Police Service.   The former sergeant was given a temporary demotion to constable after being found guilty of discreditable conduct.   However police spokesperson Chris Adams says all of the officer's appeals have been unsuccessful. Mauro himself declined to comment to our newsroom on the issue which originated in 2009.

Man Fined Over Smoke Alarm

A 24 year old man is charged with arson and mischief in connection with a recent fire on West Frederica Street and is also being convicted of additional charges in Provincial Offences Court.  The fire department charged the man with two counts of disabling a smoke alarm and he was convicted recently on both counts.  He's been fined 2-thousand dollars.

Tbaytel Gives Cash

Tbaytel is giving money to a variety of sports groups in Northwestern Ontario.  The Fort Frances Border Skating Club is getting 5-thousand dollars to purchase a new sound system for the Fort Frances Memorial Sports Centre.  The Thunder Bay Synchro Club, local Diving Club, Chapleau Splash Pad, Rainy River Baseball Diamond, and Dryden's Soccer Park will also get 2-thousand dollars.

Chris Hadfield To Visit The City

One of Canada's most famous sons is coming to Thunder Bay.   Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield is going to speak at the Community Auditorium on June the 4th.    He will talk to school students during the day and will hold his main speech that evening.   Tickets for the evening event are 55 dollars each while school students will be asked to pay 8 dollars.

Missing Teenager Found

City police are calling off a search for a missing 13 year old boy.  They found Logan Stang sometime yesterday. Police are thanking the public for their help in finding him.

Some Concern For Pipeline

There is a sense of concern for the environment following public consultations in Thunder Bay for the proposed energy east pipeline. Several presentations were made Wednesday evening including one from Paul Berger who is with Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet. Berger says the group has a few objections. He adds that the current pipeline is not designed to see a conversion into carrying oil instead of gas which is included in the proposal.

Snowfall Warning In Place

Environment Canada's snowfall warning continues for the Thunder Bay area.  Overnight we received about 2-4 centimeters of snow and Meteorologist David Rogers says another 10 to 15 centimeters is on the way. Rogers adds we will have warmer weather on the weekend with a chance of rain or more snow on Sunday.

Icebreakers Expected Today

Spring icebreaking is expected to begin in Thunder Bay today. American icebreakers the Katmai Bay and Morro Bay will help with the harbour breakout into Friday. The Alder is expected to arrive on Saturday.

Winter Road Maintenance Raised Again

The provincial government is still refusing to say how much contractors have been fined for failing to meet winter road maintenance standards.  In the Ontario Legislature, NDP critic John Vantof asked the Transportation Minister who is at fault for the state of roads in the north this winter the ministry or the contractors.  Transportation Minister Glen Murray did says the government spent 10 million dollars more this year to put 50 additional snow plows on the road. There are renewed calls for the province to release the amount private contractors have been fined for failing to meet winter road maintenance standards.

Officer Faces Traffic Charge

A city police officer is charged with a red light violation after the marked cruiser he was driving collided with another vehicle Friday night.   The incident happened on Waterloo and Victoria.   Police say the cruiser was operating with its emergency lights flashing at the time and the driver is required to stop completely stop before proceeding.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New ROF Agreement Signed

Another step is being taken in making sure First Nations concerns are heard in the Ring of Fire negotiations.   Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle says the province and Matawa First Nations have signed an agreement to move forward with a negotiating process on a regional approach in the development of the giant mining project.

Mauro Bill Dies With Appointment

The appointment of Bill Mauro to the provincial cabinet effectively kills his private members bill on new Canadian content rules for mass transit vehicles.   In answering his first question in the legislature as municipal affairs minister, Mauro said someone else will have bring it forward because ministers aren't allowed to introduce Private Members Bills.  The NDP believe Mauro's answer amounts to the Wynne government refusing to make a commitment to Canadian content.

Canfield Happy With Mauro Appointment

The appointment of Bill Mauro as the new Ontario minister of municipal affairs is getting a thumbs up from the president of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association.   Dave Canfield believes with Michael Gravelle also in cabinet it gives our region a leg up at Queen's Park. Canfield says he's had a long political relationship with Mauro and believes they will work well together.

Still Frozen Pipes In The City

There are still close to 70 homes in Thunder Bay waiting to have frozen pipes thawed out by city workers.  Spokesperson Tony Santos says that they are getting to the houses at quick as they can, but the wait could still be a couple of weeks.   Santos says that so far this year there have been about 670 frozen pipe complaints to the city.   He says it's becoming more manageable with the rising temperatures.

Hobbs Livid Over Salary Comments

Mayor Keith Hobbs is taking exception to statements made to our newsroom by Councillor Ken Boshcoff.   Boshcoff commented on what he sees as the gap between the mayor's 90 thousand dollar salary  last year and what councillors make,  saying they both have essentially have the same hours.  Hobb calls it political grandstanding claiming he makes less than other mayors in similar size cities.   The mayor says he's also cut his travel budget for the fourth straight year.

Nurses Get Deal

Thunder Bay's Public Health Nurses are announcing they've reached a deal with their employer the health unit.  The 58 nurses reached the tentative agreement yesterday with the assistance of a conciliator.  Details of the agreement are confidential until ratified by both parties.  The nurses union is currently making arrangements for its members to meet to hear details of the agreement and to hold a ratification vote.

New Group Supports City

A new group is being formed to support the city's stand on the proposed events centre.  It's being organized by city resident Jason Susin who says that over 1 thousand residents have recently joined the rapidly growing online group Citizens For A Waterfront Event Centre. Susin is hoping to hold a recruitment rally in the near future.

Energy East Meeting Tonight

Thunder Bay is one of several stops on a cross province tour by the Ontario Energy Board which is holding community consultations on the proposed Energy East Pipeline project.  They'll be at the Airlane Hotel for a community discussion forum starting at 6:30 tonight. The Energy East Project would use the existing natural gas pipeline to ship crude oil from Alberta to eastern Canada.

NDP Call For Cheaper ATM Fees

The NDP is pushing for limits to the fees Canadians pay to use their credit card and debit cards. Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP John Rafferty says fees now in place are impacting both consumers and businesses. Rafferty says it includes capping the fees paid to use debit cards at competing ATMs and banks at 50 cents a transaction.

Snow Storm On The Way

Brace yourself for more snow.  There's a snow storm moving into Northwestern Ontario.  Environment Canada Meteorologist Mark Schuster says the snowfall will start tonight and continue into Thursday.  The worst case scenario sees us getting about 15 to 20 cm of snow and the best case scenario 10 cm.  The storm is coming in from the Central US and is slow moving.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mauro Named To Municipal Affairs

A surprise out of Queens Park.   Bill Mauro is the new provincial minister for municipal affairs and housing.  He was named to the post by Premier Kathleen Wynne as part of a wider cabinet shuffle triggered by the resignation of Linda Jeffrey from municipal affairs.   Mauro says the appointment was a surprise to him but he is excited to take on the challenge and that he knows he has a steep learning curve.

Man Pleads Guilty To Child Luring

A 27 year old Thunder Bay man is pleading guilty to charges stemming from a police sting operation last month.   Matthew Lovering was charged with child luring and failing to comply with a court order after undercover detectives responded to an on-line ad on Kijiji.   The ad asked for young boys between the ages of 6 and 13 to model for photographs.    An original charge of Invitation to Sexual Touching was dropped by the Crown.    He is back in court on May 6th.   According to the prosecution, Lovering faces a mandatory minimum 1 year in jail for the offences.

Mask Making Nurses

Lakehead University's nursing students are learning about caring for others by making masks. Students partnered up recently and poured plaster on each others faces to create masks. It helped the students since they had to trust their partner to cover their mouth and nose for a brief moment.