Monday, February 3, 2014

Public Art Sparks Debate

The City's public art is stirring up conversations around the Council table again.  Several Councillors expressed concerns over the cost of artwork at the new transit building.  Councillor Rebecca Johnson says if you want to have a nice looking City your going to have to pay.  The debate stemmed from the minutes of the Clean Green and Beautiful Committee which in the end city lawmakers approved.

Fitzgerald Street Fire

A Fitzgerald street home is gutted after a blaze broke out Monday afternoon. Platoon Chief Joe Grzelewski says the home is going to be a complete loss. The roof of the home collapsed. Grzelewski says they plan to talk to the homeowner later today and doesn't appear he was home at the time the fire started.

Police Probe Debit Card Frauds

City police are looking into a recent rash of debit card fraud.   Spokesperson Julie Tilbury says it appears a number of people had their accounts hacked.   Tilbury says it appears that funds have been withdrawn from ATM locations in the United States  however she can't get more specific about where these people may have shopped.   She says that they are still in the early stages of the investigation and they expect more calls to come in.   For now police are asking you to call your bank or credit union  if you you think you may be a victim.  

Bearskin Mourns Loss Of Pioneer

The City is mourning the death of a prominent local businessman.  Harvey Friesen passed away suddenly on Sunday in Palm Springs, California at the age of 65.  Friesen was well known in Thunder Bay as President of Bearskin Airlines, which he co-owned with his brother Cliff.  Despite selling Bearkin in 2011 to Exchange Income Corporation, the Friesen brothers continued to run the airline.


There's a new Executive Director at the Ontario Native Women's Association.  Erin Corston is filling the spot left behind by Betty Kennedy.  Kennedy is staying in the organization and will lead the newly established Ontario Native Women’s Charitable Foundation.

Corpus Christie Tops

The Fraser Institute is releasing its Elementary Schools report card.  Report Card Co-Author Peter Cowley says there have been some significant improvements among schools in Thunder Bay but notes one noticeable difference.  The top ranked elementary school was Corpus Christie with 7.7 out of 10.

WDO Looks At T.Bay Recycling

It's not bad, but it could be better.  Ontario Waste Diversion says in 2012, Thunder Bay residents recycled about 19-percent of all residential waste that would have ended up in the landfill.  OWD Chief Executive Officer Michael Scott says it's not surprising to see.  Scott says increased education and development of depots for such things as electronic equipment can help drive up the numbers.

Domtar Disappointed

Domtar says efforts to keep its Dryden mill competitive have suffered a setback.  The company is reacting to a Council decision to increase the large industrial tax rate from 853-thousand dollars to nearly 2-million dollars.  The company calls the move disappointing.

Hebert Likes Solid Waste Plan

City Councillor Larry Hebert likes the proposed Solid Waste Management plan.  Hebert is excited about finding a new way to deal with the tonnes of cardboard businesses are looking to get rid of.  The plan will be brought to City Council tonight for discussion and will come up for a final vote in the Spring.

Updates On BMX & Tunnel

City Council is going to deal with a couple of dormant issues at their meeting tonight. The Parks Division will tell councillors about the state of the BMX racing complex.  Organizers with the group had asked for the City's help in creating a new training centre, but have since stated that they're happy with the improvements that have been made to their current location.  Meanwhile, staff will also update council on concerns over the Expressway tunnel in the area of Hinton Avenue and County Boulevard.  It was originally thought that the tunnel was a factor in break-ins to homes in the Grandview area, but police have since confirmed their isn't a link to those crimes and the tunnel.

LU Scavenger Hunt Starts Today

Lakehead, along with twenty other Ontario universities are launching an online scavenger hunt today. Student Ambassador Erica Sawula says students can really benefit from taking part.   Each university will submit one clue throughout the month that has to do with research currently happening at the school.

Hobbs Wants Cuts To Budget

Mayor Keith Hobbs would like to make some cuts to the 2014 budget.  Hobbs says he has his eye on sustainable grants that are given to community groups.  Hobbs would like to see a lower tax levy than the proposed 2.1 percent.

NOSM Vacancies

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is looking to fill a couple of openings on their Aboriginal Reference Group.  They are looking for an aboriginal youth and an aboriginal health-care professional. Volunteers provide insight, direction and guidance to the Dean over a three year term.