Thursday, January 31, 2013

Announcement For Atikokan Today

Today could be a big day for the community of Atikokan.

Resolute Forest Products President Richard Garneau will be in Thunder Bay and Atikokan to make a major announcement.

The nature of the announcement has not been disclosed, but Mayor Dennis Brown says it means jobs and an industry for his town.

There is speculation in the community that Resolute plans to construct a new sawmill on the site of the former Buchanan owned mill at nearby Sapawe.

New Doctor Expected This Summer

There some good news on the horizon in the efforts to attract new physicians to the Rainy River District.

Physician recruiter Todd Hamilton says he's made dozens of contacts with first-year medical students and current physicians since coming on board last fall.

Hamilton says at least one doctor could be coming to the area later this summer.

Hamilton says there's also interest being expressed by a U.S. doctor with connects to the area.

DSSAB Receives New Money

The Rainy River District Social Services Administrative Board has received some extra funds for children services.

CAO Dan McCormick says it amounts to about $1.4 million dollars.

McCormick says its the result of a restructuring and redistribution of funds to the DSSAB's by the provincial government.

McCormick says they're now working on criteria how the new funds will be dispersed

Local Broadcaster Honoured

The news director of 93.1 The Border is being recognized with a Diamond Jubilee medal.

Randy Thoms will be among residents in the Rainy River district to receive medals at a ceremony in Fort Frances next month.

The event is being hosted by Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP John Rafferty.

Thoms, who's also worked in Kenora, Thunder Bay and New Brunswick, celebrates 30 years in the radio and television broadcast industry this year.

Wynne Talks With Teachers

Incoming premier Kathleen Wynne says she'll meet again with the heads of Ontario's teachers' unions who are still angry over having had contracts imposed on them.

Wynne says she had a good meeting Tuesday night with the heads of the public elementary and secondary teachers' unions as well as their counterparts from the Catholic and French systems who actually signed contracts.

Wynne says a return of extracurricular activities was part of the conversation, but there's no agreement yet to get after-class clubs and sports running again.

Mauro Looks Forward To Wynne's Leadership

Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro is looking forward to working with his new leader.

Mauro took part in Tuesday's caucus meeting and calls it productive.

Mauro says Wynne stressed a resumption of the Ontario Legislature on February 19.

FEDNOR Funding To Area

More FEDNOR funding for northwestern Ontario.

The town of Rainy River is receiving over $379 thousand to replacing aging water mains.

The Lake of the Woods township is getting 20 thousand dollars to make upgrades to its community hall.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

RRFDC Working On New Diversity Plan

The Rainy River Future Development Corporation is working on a new plan aimed at further diversifying the region's economy.

It's a three year initiative that would earmark $275-thousand dollars a year on various projects.

The Corporation's Geoff Gillon says they're now looking for government support to the plan..

Some of the targeted areas mining, transportation, tourism, bio-energy and agribusiness, as well as supporting the forest industry.

Fort Mayors Receives Diamond Jubilee Award

Fort Frances Mayor Roy Avis is the latest recipient of a Queen Elizabeth the Second Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Avis is receiving the medal for dedicated service to his peers, the community and Canada.

But unlike previous recipients, there was no formal presentation.

Avis received the notice, a certificate and the medal through the mail.

Treaty Three Officers Recognized

Four members of Treaty 3 Police Service are also donning new Diamond Jubilee Medals today.

Constable Mitchell Boulette and Justin Booth, Retired Police Chief Brian Rupert, and the late Joe Red Thunderboy received their medals at a ceremony yesterday in Kenora.

Three other officers received OPP Commissioner's Letters of Appreciation while six were recognized for reaching 20 years of service.

Seniors Group Recognized

A Fort Frances area seniors group is being recognized for its work.

Seniors and Law Enforcement Together is being honoured by Safe Communities Rainy Rainy for its significant contributions and commitment to community safety.

Chair of Safe Communities Linda Plumridge says the organization has done things in so many areas that the decision to recognize SALT was unanimous.

The group was presented a plaque at its meeting Tuesday.

Rafferty Looking For Dollars For Small Town Canada

Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP John Rafferty wants to bring some financial help to municipalities trying to fix up aging infrastructure.

Rafferty says he plans to introduce a motion in the House of Commons sometime in February that address the needs of small communities.

Rafferty is hoping something can be put in place for next year's federal budget.

Year-Round Permiting For Business Supported

The Ministry of Natural Resources is supporting a call for a year-round permitting system for open-air burning in the Rainy River district.

Area municipal leaders gave approval to the concept at their meeting on the weekend.

The idea arose after an early start to last year's forest fire season forced several municipalities to impose fire bans.

Currently, permits are only needed between April and October.

Marnie Brown of the MNR says extending the need for burning permits allows for greater control of burning outside the normal forest fire season.

Relay For Life Gives Back

Riverside Foundation for Health Care is benefiting from a partnership between the Canadian Cancer Society and the Fort Frances Relay for Life committee.

The committee handed over a cheque for over $32-thousand to Riverside towards the new digital mammography unit.

Co-chair of the Relay Duane Cridland says its great to give back to the community.

The agreement with the Society allows for anything over the Relay's budget to be directed to local cancer-related initiatives.

Natives Protest Near Border

Native people in the Rainy River district continue to voice their concern with the Harper government.

Several joined in protest in Fort Frances Monday near the Canada-U.S border.

Sarah Mainville says government doesn't seem to be budging from its agenda, so the protests will continue.

The demonstration was part of a Global Day of Action promoted by the Idle No More Movement

Steps To Fill Council Vacancy Underway

Fort Frances council has started the process toward filling the vacancy resulting from the recent death of Sharon Tibbs.

Council has officially declare the seat vacant and will begin seeking interest from people wanting to take over.

Mayor Roy Avis says making a council appointment make sense.

Applications for the position will be accepted until the end of February.

Committee Vacancies Filled

Mayor Roy Avis has filled some of the committee positions formerly held by the late councillor Sharon Tibbs

Among them, the role of deputy mayor.

That will now fall to the chair of the committee of the whole rotating every four months.

The current chair is Councillor Andrew Hallikas

Area Liberals Support Wynne

The selection of Kathleen Wynne as the Liberals newest leader and Ontario's next premier is being greeted with enthusiasm by Liberals in Kenora-Rainy River.

Anthony Leek, president of the Liberal Riding Association, expects a relationship he built with the premier-elect before the conference to become stronger.

Leek noted her mention of the Rainy River district in her speech Saturday and at her media conference yesterday.

Snowarama Fundraising Totals

The numbers were down a little at this past weekend's Snowarama in Atikokan.

A total of 55 sledders took part in the fundraiser for Easter Seals, raising about $17-thousand.

There's was also an event in Sioux Lookout where 48 snowmobilers collected about $9-thousand.

The money is used to help children with physical disabilities and their families across northwestern Ontario.

Woman Killed In Accident

A 61-year-old old woman has died following an accident Tuesday morning at Couchiching First Nation.

Treaty 3 Police says the unnamed woman was struck by a truck in the area of the Health Access Centre.

She was taken to LaVerendrye Hospital where he succumbed to her injuries.

Treaty 3 Police continue to investigate.

Camp Break-In Investigated

OPP are looking into a number of break-ins to camps located on Lake of the Woods.

Most have occurred in the Holmstroms Marsh area.

Police says they began to be notified of break-ins on the weekend, but believe many took place several weeks ago.

At this time, they're trying to determine exactly what was taken.

Drug Charges In Rainy River District

A number of drug investigations in the Rainy River district.

A 38-year-old man from Couchiching First Nation was in court yesterday on a trafficking charges following an investigation in early December.

A 38-year-old woman from Big Grassy appears in court next month on possession charges stemming from another December investigation.

And a 25-year-old man from Rainy River First Nations was in court last week after being arrested possessing Hydromoph Contin.

Thunder Bay Woman Returns As LHIN Chair

A Thunder Bay woman has been reappointed chair of the North West Local Health Integration Network.

Joy Warkentin has been board chair since August of 2011.

She was appointed to the board by the province in 2010.

Coventry Starts Drilling

Coventry Resources has started a drilling program on its properties in the Rainy River district.

It's targeting potential gold and base metal deposits previously identified on lands to the west of Barwick.

The company says drilling will continue for the next three months with assay results available within six to eight weeks afterwards.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bus Cancellations For Tuesday January 29

Here is a list of all bus cancellations.

IR301 AKQ    Lynne Miles    Iron Range
IR302 ASH    Herman Rodrigues    Iron Range
IR304 ATW    Stacy Bragg    Iron Range
IR305 BUTTERFLY    Holly Bruyere    Iron Range
IR306 DSH     Nancy Allan    Iron Range
IR307 LAMB (RP-PM)    Lyndon Hughes    Iron Range
IR308 MIS    Karen Kellar     Iron Range
IR309 RCS    Kurt Miller    Iron Range
IR311 TE    Ella Wall    Iron Range
IR312 TNC (RP-AM)    Roman Mlynarski    Iron Range
IR313 TNE    Judy  Leigetfalvy    Iron Range
IR314 WFS    Max Gavel    Iron Range
Seine River F.N. Handicap bus
Seine River F.N. to Mine Centre Ted Menson
Seine River F.N. to Fort Frances High School
Red Gut F.N. to Mine Centre Dwayne Morrison
Red Gut F.N. to Fort Frances Mike Morrison
SM235 DSE    Shane McDonald    Shane McDonald

DB100 ANH     Jane Peterson    Dimit Buslines
DB101 BN    Tracy Mose    Dimit Buslines

DB103 CLE    Karen Borger    Dimit Buslines
DB104 CN    Bradley Shoemaker    Dimit Buslines
DB105 ECE    Harrold Boven     Dimit Buslines
DB106 ENS    Kyla Hartlin    Dimit Buslines
DB107 ESS    Gwen Dimit    Dimit Buslines
DB108 LION     Evelyn Martin    Dimit Buslines
DB109 OWL    Brenda Hunsperger    Dimit Buslines
DB111  SCE    Jody Jolicouer     Dimit Buslines
DB112 SFN    Aleata Jerry    Dimit Buslines
Stanjikoming First Nation 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter Plowing Watched By MTO

OPP photo
The Ministry of Transportation says it's keeping a close eye on contractors to ensure their meeting the requirements of plowing and sanding of highways in the Rainy River District.

Some people have complained about the condition of roads this winter.

Speaking to area municipal reps on the weekend, Wayne Prystanski, MTO's operations manager for the northwest, says the Ministry has heard them too and conducts ongoing audits to ensure the company is meeting the requirements for snow plowing.

Transfield Services took over the responsibility of highway maintenance for this area just last summer.

Prystanski says there have been a few issues identified, but for the most part of the company is doing fairly well considering the changing weather conditions faced this winter

Lack Of Judge Hurting Justice System

The head of the Rainy River District Law Society says lawyers and their clients are seeing first hand the effects of having no resident judge in the Ontario Court of Justice in the district.

The former judge relocated last spring to southern Ontario with judges now travelling to the district from elsewhere.

At the weekend's municipal meeting, Barb Morgan cited several examples where cases have been impacted.

Morgan suggests an ad-hoc committee being formed to further press demands for a permanent judge be appointed to the district.

RRDMA Elects Executive

Rainy River Mayor Deb Ewald is back as president of the Rainy River District Municipal Association.

She was returned at the Association's annual meeting in Barwick.

Ross Donaldson, Reeve of LaVallee was selected vice-president.

Fort Frances councillor Andrew Hallikas will continue to serve as a vice-president to the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association.

Council Gets Options To Fill Vacancy

Fort Frances town councillors could begin looking tonight at how to fill a vacancy on council created by the recent death of Sharon Tibbs.

A report on the table tonight looks at how council could fill the seat.

The Municipal Act allows for appointments or a by-election.

Council must make a decision before March 29

Albanese Steps Down As Health Unit Chair

A Fort Frances councillor is no longer chair of the Northwestern Health Unit's board of directors.

John Albanese has opted not to seek another term after serving as chair for the past eight years.

Julie Roy of Kenora takes over the position.

Albanese remains as a board member.

Idle No More Protests Continue

More "Idle No More'' protests today.

Demonstrations are planned for both Fort Frances near the border later today and at Onegaming as part of a Global Day of Action.

Aboriginals across the country still want to ensure Prime Minister Harper knows they're still looking for government action, despite last week's end of a hunger protest by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence.

Falls Ambulance Service Wanting To Hire

International Falls Ambulance service is looking to bolster its ranks

Fire Chief Jerry Jenson, who overseas the department, wants to create two-three crews with two on during the day and one at night.

Jenson says it would improve on the existing schedule.

Jenson says adding two more full time paramedics would also face the department money.

NWO Left Out Off Committee

Northwestern Ontario's municipalities say they're being left out in the cold over the Endangered Species Act.

The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association has been excluded from being a part of a panel that will advice the Ministry of Natural Resources how to improve the act.

Vice President and Kenora Mayor Dave Canfield says its disappointing.

Canfield says NOMA will push for meetings with the MNR and nature groups to offer their opinion.

Funding Available To Participate In Environmental Assessment

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has set up a fund to assist in the public participation process of an environmental assessment of Rainy River Resources gold project north of Barwick.

More than $122-thousand will be set aside for individuals or groups to access.

The company is proposing an open pit mine with the potential of an underground operation at a later date.

More Temperature Records For District

Another temperature set by the cold weather last Thursday.

Atikokan's  low of minus 38.9 C was just two-tens of degree lower than the previous mark set in 1987.

Fort Frances Man Appears In New Commercials

Roy Tighe photo
Watch for a Fort Frances man to be back on television.

Roy Tighe will soon star in commercials for Wells Fargo and Bradesco Insurance.

You may not recognize him.

Shooting of the insurance commercial took place last week with Tighe wearing special effects to make him an old man.

Tighe last appeared in a 2011 ad for Mazda.

Unemployment Down In Koochiching County

The unemployment rate in Koochiching County has dropped.

Last month's rate of 8.6 per cent is about half a per cent lower than November's figure with about one hundred new people finding employment.

But its almost a full percent higher than in the same period in 2011.

ALAG Releases Plan

The Assisted Living Action Group has a new strategic plan it hopes will accomplish it's goal of an assisted living facility in the Rainy River district.

It outlines a number of objectives they hope to achieve in the next three years.

Riverside Health Care Facilities V-P Lori Maki, who sits on the committee, says they're also seeking some seed money from the Northwest Local Health Integration Network.

The group has already identified five potential sites, three in Emo and two in Fort Frances, with the aim of narrowing its preferred located by the summer.

Idle No More Explains Intent

Organizers of Idle No More movement in the Rainy River District are explaining the reasons behind their cause.

They held a teach-in Sunday at the Sunset Country Metis Hall in Fort Frances.

Sarah Mainville says they're aim was to explain the movement and the issues at the fore-front, hoping to attract the attention of both aboriginal and non-aboriginals.

The event will include presentations on the legislation and its impacts, First Nations across Canada have been opposed to.

UNFC Celebrates 40th Year

The United Native Friendship Centre is celebrating 40 years in Fort Frances.

An open house last Wednesday kicked off the anniversaries celebrations.

Executive Director Sheila McMahon says the Centre offers many social program, but still remains true to its objective of being a gathering site for many users.

The Centre initially started by volunteers with an office on Scott Street.

It's since grown with several locations and 40 staff delivering 40 programs to people of all walks of life.

Wilde Name Artist Of The Year

An Atikokan musician has been named Artist of the Year by an on-line podcast.

Sunday Wilde is the first recipient of the Vocal Vibes award.

The award and the podcast were created by singer songwriter Cindy O'Neil to elevate Canadian indie artists.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bus Cancellations for Thursday January 24

Here is a list of bus cancellations for Thursday January 24

IR302  ASH    Herman Rodrigues    Iron Range
IR304  ATW    Stacy Bragg    Iron Range
IR305  BUTTERFLY    Holly Bruyere    Iron Range
IR306  DSH     Nancy Allan    Iron Range
IR307  LAMB (RP-PM)    Lyndon Hughes    Iron Range
IR308  MIS    Karen Kellar     Iron Range
IR311  TE    Ella Wall    Iron Range
IR312  TNC (RP-AM)    Roman Mlynarski    Iron Range
IR313  TNE    Judy  Leigetfalvy    Iron Range
IR314  WFS    Max Gavel    Iron Range
IR300  AJN    Shirley Thompson    Iron Range
IR301  AKQ    Lynne Miles    Iron Range
IR303  ATK    William Zerebeski    Iron Range
IR309  RCS    Kurt Miller    Iron Range
IR310  SDP    Eileen Cross     Iron Range
FK225 NFE    Les Fraser     Fred Kropelin
SM235 DSE    Shane McDonald    Shane McDonald
DB108 LION     Evelyn Martin    Dimit Buslines
DB109 OWL    Brenda Hunsperger    Dimit Buslines
BN245 STN    Bruce Neilson     Bruce Nielson
Seine River First Nation to Mine Centre    Ted Menson
Red Gut to Mine Centre - Dwayne Morrison
Seine River First Nation Handicap  - Ringo Whitecrow
Seine River First Nation to Fort Frances High School
Rainy River First Nation High School bus - Viola Medicine
Rainy River First Nation to Our Lady of the Way - Berla Horton
Manitou Rapids to Donald Young - Trisha Bombay
Stanjikoming - Brian Weish  
All Couchiching First Nations buses not running
Aboriginal Headstart Bus in Fort Frances

All Independent School District 361 Schools in International Falls are closed due to today's cold weather

The Head Start school in the Falls is also closed

High School Sports Expected To Return

Some high school sports might be coming back.

Local board officials say they'll release more details later, but the principal of the high school in Kenora says boys and girls hockey, boys basketball, girls volleyball and curling at schools with the Rainy Rainy River District School Board and the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board will resume by the end of the month.

Clinton Bruetsch says teams will be run by volunteers.

Bruetsch says they won't be competing for provincial titles because teachers are required for those events and area teachers have not yet commited to returning to extra-curricular activities.

Teachers stopped their involvement at the beginning of December in protest over provincial legislation that imposed

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Liqour Outlet Concerns

File photo
Some business owners in International Falls are concerned with plans by owners of the Super One grocery chain to open an off-sale liquor outlet.

It would be located in the International Mall.

Phil Paulbeck of nearby International Discount Liquor, worries about the impact to his store.

Jim Leinum of The Jug Liquors doesn't think the city can sustain another liquor store.

Council is delaying a decision on Super One's license application until it gets a legal opinion.

Groups Wants To Continue Concerts

Two International Falls groups want to continue a summer music concert at the Irvin N. Anderson amphitheater.

Falls Rotary Club and Backus Auditorium stepped forward after hearing talk the concerts may not continue.

Ward Merrill of Backus sees them helping build the economy.

Mike Ward of Rotary says the event has also become a major fundraiser for them, raising over 80-thousand dollars for local projects.

Mayor Bob Anderson says he's not opposed to a group taking over, but would like a detailed budget before moving forward if the city is asked to be a lead.

Assisted Living Projects In Spotlight

A couple of Assisted Living projects in our area are in the spotlight today.

Members of the Assisted Living Action Group will be releasing today details of a strategic plan aimed at getting a facility constructed in the Fort Frances area.

While in International Falls, the Good Samaritan Society will hold a public meeting on its project currently underway.

That meeting will take place at the Society beginning at 7 p.m.

Weather Record

Wednesday's cold weather has set a new temperature record in Fort Frances.

Our low of minus 35.8 C broke the old mark of minus 34 C set back in 2011.

Atikokan was much colder at minus 37.1 C, but fell short of a 1975 mark of minus 38.3 C

Canadian Comedian To Co-Host Local Awards

There will be some real comic flare to the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce Business Awards this year.

Canadian comedian Kenny Robinson will serve both as co-host and the night's entertainment.

Chamber Manager Annely Armstrong says it makes the event even more special.

Robinson has also been in several movies and televisions shows, and a co-host of the Gemini Awards.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bus Delays

Here is a list of bus delays for Tuesday January 22

The following bus is running 10 minutes late
Couchiching First Nations to St. Francis School

The following buses are running two hours late

DB100 ANH     Jane Peterson    Dimit Buslines
DB101   BN    Tracy Mose    Dimit Buslines
DB102  BP    Vic Alberts     Dimit Buslines
DB103  CLE    Karen Borger    Dimit Buslines
DB104  CN    Bradley Shoemaker    Dimit Buslines
DB105  ECE    Harrold Boven     Dimit Buslines
DB106 ENS    Kyla Hartlin    Dimit Buslines
DB107  ESS    Gwen Dimit    Dimit Buslines
DB108  LION     Evelyn Martin    Dimit Buslines
DB109  OWL    Brenda Hunsperger    Dimit Buslines
DB110  RFH    Bernice Kornelsen    Dimit Buslines
DB111  SCE    Jody Jolicouer     Dimit Buslines
DB112  SFN    Aleata Jerry    Dimit Buslines
Mine Centre Elementary   Ted Menson
KF205  ESE    Ken Fisher    Ken Fisher
FK225 NFE    Les Fraser     Fred Kropelin
SM235  DSE    Shane McDonald    Shane McDonald
IR302  ASH    Herman Rodrigues    Iron Range
Rainy River First Nations to Stratton
RRFN 820 Patricia Bombay
IR304 ATW    Stacy Bragg    Iron Range
IR305 BUTTERFLY    Holly Bruyere    Iron Range
IR306 DSH     Nancy Allan    Iron Range
IR307 LAMB (RP-PM)    Lyndon Hughes    Iron Range
IR308 MIS    Karen Kellar     Iron Range
IR311 TE    Ella Wall    Iron Range
IR312 TNC (RP-AM)    Roman Mlynarski    Iron Range
IR313 TNE    Judy  Leigetfalvy    Iron Range
IR314 WFS    Max Gavel    Iron Range
NFN830 NWE    Nora Bullas     Northwest Bay
NFN831 NWS    Glenda Belluz     Northwest Bay
Red Gut Bay to Mine Centre bus
Rainy River First Nations Secondary Bus

The following buses are not running. 
Stankijominking First Nation
Red Gut to Fort Frances
IR300 AJN    Shirley Thompson    Iron Range
IR301 AKQ    Lynne Miles    Iron Range
IR303   ATK    William Zerebeski    Iron Range
IR309 RCS    Kurt Miller    Iron Range
IR310 SDP    Eileen Cross     Iron Range
GF200 CLS    Greg Ferris    Greg Ferris

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Public Meetings On Sturgeon Creek School Wrap Up

A committee reviewing Sturgeon Creek Public School in Barwick is expected to present its final recommendations to the Rainy River District School Board next month.

The committee held its final public meeting last night.

Many presenters want the school kept open citing the academic achievements and its importance to the surrounding community.

Other are worried of long-bus rides for students if they're required to attend school elsewhere.

The committee will meet next week before presenting its recommendation to the board at its February meeting.

Teachers Get Local Support

Local teachers seem to be getting plenty of support.

Most respondents to a question posed on our Facebook page side with teachers in their labour dispute with the province.

Some place blame on the shoulders of the Liberal government and Bill 115.

Native Protests Planned For Today

Possible traffic delays on the Trans-Canada in northwestern Ontario.

First Nations protests are planned for the Kenora area where demonstrators intend to halt all commercial traffic near the Ontario-Manitoba border later this afternoon.

A similar protest is also planned in the Nipigon area, east of Thunder Bay.

Problem Identified At 52 Canadian Rink

Another problem with a rink ice plant has been identified at the Memorial Sports Centre in Fort Frances.

An ammonia leak from a condenser in the 52 Canadians Rink was discovered over the Christmas holidays.

Community Services Manager Jason Kabel says the company that made repairs say the arena good to use the rest of the season.

Kabel says they'll budget for a more permanent fix later this year.

Kabel says the part is different from one they had to replace in the Ice for Kids Arena last year.

OPP Commissioner Defends Force

Ontario's top police officer says provincial police are handling Idle No More protests and blockades with discretion, refusing to take what he calls ``unnecessary, aggressive action.''

OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis posted a video message on YouTube, responding to criticism of what some perceive as a failure by Police to act.

He says police have a framework for dealing with aboriginal incidents.

OPP were slammed by an Ontario judge recently for not enforcing an injunction right away to end an aboriginal protests in southern Ontario.

Here is the full video