Tuesday, March 18, 2014

United Way Gets Help From Hotels

Four local hotels are going to do their part to help out the United Way. The Valhalla Inn, Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel & Suites, Days Inn and Best Western – Crossroads Motor Inn will donate fifty cents from every hotel stay to the charity from now until April 17th. The announcement came today during the United Way's 50th anniversary celebrations in Thunder Bay.

U-Turn Launched By Three Agencies

Three community agencies are rebranding their network to better target local teens. Thunder Bay Counselling Centre, St. Joseph's Care Group and the Children's Centre are behind the U-turn program which will help youth make positive changes in their lives whether it involves mental illness or substance abuse.  The initiative will also include a new social media campaign featuring the Facebook & Twitter hashtag #sharehowUfeel

Pinewood Declares Outbreak In 1 Unit

The Kingfisher Unit of the Pinewood Court long term care home is declaring an outbreak of a stomach illness. Visitors to this unit are limited to family members and caregivers only, so please call for more information.  The Health Unit is urging people to refrain from visiting hospitals and long-term care facilities when feeling unwell.

Sexual Interference Charges Laid

City Police are charging a 57 year old Thunder Bay man with three counts of sexual interference involving a child under the age of 14.  The alleged incident occurred between 1992 and 1996.  Donald Neil Miller was convicted of a similar incident in 2003. Police say the victims in both occurrences attended the Round Lake Bible Camp between 1992 and 1998 when Miller was affiliated with the camp. Miller has been released with a court date of March 21, 2014.

Tablets, Zone Policing & Texting 911 On The Way

City Police are shedding some light on their ongoing initiatives including zone policing, tablets in cruisers and texting 911 service.  Chief JP Levesque says they should have the high tech devices in their vehicles in the next couple of months. The same time frame goes for getting zone policing off the ground which will see specific officers assigned to designated areas of the City. Levesque also updated the Police Board behind closed doors on Tuesday about how long it will be before the area will see texting 911 service.  It comes after the 911 call centre that serves the Metro Vancouver and select surrounding areas of British Columbia will be able to communicate with hearing or speech impaired Canadians using text messages. E-Comm 911, the emergency call centre that serves Metro Vancouver and select surrounding areas is the first emergency call centre in Canada to provide Text with 911.

No Alder For Now

Don't look for the American Coast Guard ice-breaker Alder to be up our way until at least the weekend.  Originally the Alder was supposed to be here on Monday, but Port Authority CEO Tim Heney says that has been delayed indefinetly with a possible appearance on the weekend.  Heney says however, the visit may not include any ice-breaking in the harbour itself.

A Call For More Ice-Breakers

There's a call for more ice-breakers on the Great Lakes from the Canadian Shipowners Association.  President Robert Lewis-Manning says it's critical because, under current conditions,  ships will not be able to navigate the lakes to move their cargo.  He says it's especially serious here in Thunder Bay. Lewis-Manning believes there should be at least one Canadian ice-breaker sent to help break up the Thunder Bay Harbour.

Complaints On The Decline

City Police are seeing a decrease in the number of public complaints they receive. Last year 29 complaints were lodged compared to 2012's 51. Chief JP Levesque says that's in part because they've changed the way they deal with grievances. 5 complaints from 2013 are still continuing.

2013 Police Budget Ran Over

City Police are over their 2013 budget by two percent.  Chief JP Levesque says the extra expenses came from Workplace, Safety and Insurance Board claims, overtime and legal services.  The operating budget for 2013 was approved at just over 35 million dollars.

Event Centre Moves Forward

City Council continues to get a piece of the public's mind when it comes to holding a vote on the event centre. Several organizations came out to ask the City to make the proposed arena a question in the upcoming municipal election. Andy Wolff thinks having a question on the ballot would result in a higher voter turnout.  Meanwhile, Council is moving forward with the third phase of the event centre.  Councillors awarded a 1.4 million dollar contract to BBB Architects.  The company will be in charge of creating a design for the proposed facility.

Greenpeace Slams Resolute On Mt. Royal

Greenpeace is continuing it's public relations battle with Resolute Forest Products. This morning, the environmental group unfurled two banners on the Mount Royal Cross in Montreal. Greenpeace says the action is part of it's campaign against Resolute's operations in the Boreal Forest. It  wants the pulp and paper giant to establish a better balance between it's logging practices and protection of public forests.

Board Won't Comment On Bullying Complaint

The cone of silence is on at the Thunder Bay Catholic District School board.   It follows a report of bullying at a Catholic elementary school in the city.   A family member claims that the board hasn't done anything to help her 13 year old relative deal with the students who pick on her because of her tourette sydrome.    The Board says it can't comment on any one case but that each school is mandated by the provincial government to have a bullying protocol in place.

ROF Framework Almost Ready

The Ring of Fire mining development is getting scrutiny at the Greenstone Expo in the city.  Mines Minister Michael Gravelle was the keynote speaker last night and said the behind the scenes negotiations continue on getting a framework agreement between all parties involved.   Gravelle says while the framework should be signed soon,  out of respect for the process he won't speculate on when that might happen.