Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Housing Co-Op Considered In Atikokan

A solution to address the need for seniors apartments in Atikokan will be explored today.

Seniors are being asked for input into a not-for profit housing corporation to oversee development and management of a multi-

Garry McKinnon of the Atikokan Economic Development Corporation says it stems from talks with seniors and others on how to fund the project.

McKinnon says because options are limited, a housing co-op is seen as a home grown solution.
unit facility.

The meeting at the Corporation's office goes at 2 p.m.

Osisko Scales Back Spending

Osisko Mining is cutting back on spending at its Hammond Reef gold project near Atikokan.

The company's looking at a $3.5 million reduction to its planned budget in light of falling gold prices.

Permitting and Environmental Impact Assessment work is currently taking place, but Osisko says any decision to proceed further won't be made until a final feasibility report is issued later this year.

Mayor See Some Hope On MPAC Concerns

There appears to be a hint of optimism from a coalition of northern Ontario mayors concerned with how the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation's has mill properties in their communities.

The group, which included Fort Frances Mayor Roy Avis, met with the province's Deputy Finance Minister yesterday in Toronto.

Dryden Mayor Craig Nuttall says the government agreed to continue dialogue on how to help communities impacted.

Friday, Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced his Ministry would re-visit MPAC's decisions.

PC Plan For Northern Ontario Promoted

Ontario's Progressive Conservatives are promising to create new employment in northern Ontario.

It's part of their plan for the region, leader Tim Hudak says has focus on the mining and forestry sectors.

It includes permitting at least ten new mines and initiatives to strengthen the mining and forestry industries Hudak says will bring them back to being number one in Canada.

Hudak also wants to bring more of the decision making for northern Ontario back to northerners.

Youth Jobs Money Revealed

The Ontario intends to spend $300 million over the next two years to fight youth unemployment.

It's the latest sneak peak at Thursday's budget -- and appears to be part of an effort to gain the support of the New Democrats.

Relay For Life Nets Big Dollars

Organizers of the Koochiching County Relay for Life in International Falls are calling its a "perfect day."

Over $21-thousand was raised by eight teams of walkers who took part in Saturday's event at Rainy River Community College in support of the American Cancer Society.

The eight-hour event was capped with a special luminary ceremony and a few quiet laps to honour and remember those who have walked and battled the journey of Cancer.

Canada Day Cash Lottery Early Bird Winner

A Rainy River woman is the winner of Riverside Foundation for Health Care's early bird prize in its Canada Day Cash Lottery.

Ella Bernie won the fishing package courtesy of Manitou Weather Station Fishing Lodge.

The winning ticket was drawn during Saturday's Business and Community Expo.

Atikokan Makes Plea For Canoe

It doesn't appear Atikokan will be getting the Centennial Canoe.

The Neebing Voyageur Brigade in Thunder Bay is in control of it and it's spokesperson Bob Slusar doesn't believe his fellow members will agree to let it go.

Atikokan Mayor Dennis Brown made an impassioned plea to Thunder Bay council last night to have to canoe moved his community for display.

The canoe was used by an Ontario team of paddlers, four from Atikokan, that competed in a cross-country race commemorating Canada's 100th birthday in 1967.

Jail and Bail Next Week

A number of "celebrity" criminals are seeking for your support in bailing them out jail next week.

The Voyageur Lion's Club is staging its first ever Jail and Bail May 11 at Canadian Tire in Fort Frances.

Chair Diana Lynn Laroque says each participants has been instructed to raise at least $300 that will be used by the club around the community.

They'll then be arrested and brought before a trial judge to face their charge, using their bail money to get out of jail.

The person who raises the most will be recognized with the Top Convict award.

Not Word From Minister On Hunting And Fishing Fee Hikes

Ontario's Natural Resources Minister isn't saying much about possible fee hikes coming for hunters and anglers in this week's provincial budget.

The Ministry has been polling outdoor enthusiasts in the northwest about service fee hikes they might accept.

But David Orazietti isn't revealing his hand.

Orazietti says if there are increases, they won't happen without input.

Question Of The Week

Should the province consider raising the cost of hunting and fishing licenses?

Let us know on our website, 931theborder.ca.

In response to last week's question, 59 per cent of respondents don't think Fort Frances council did enough on the budget to keep the tax increase to a minimum.

Rail Safety Week

Ontario has the worst record in the country for pedestrians being struck by trains -- and there's a big push on this week to turn that around.

This is national Public-Rail Safety Week.

Operation Lifesaver's Mike Regimbal says the goal is to keep you alive.

So far this year, at least eight people in the province were struck and killed by trains.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Fires Under Investigation

There's been a rash of suspicious fires in the west end of the Rainy River district.

One of them at the Pineview Mennonite Church in Chapple Township on April 18 completely destroyed the building.

A vacant home that had been converted to a hunting camp on Tait Road in Chapple township was also torched five days earlier.

Another home on Marr Road in Morley Township was found Thursday with burn marks on an exterior wall.

OPP and the Ontario Fire Marshall's Office are investigating.

Leek Back For Liberals

Liberals have selected their candidate for the next provincial election in Kenora-Rainy River.

Emo township councillor Anthony Leek who's also president of the riding association, was unopposed in his bid for the candidacy.

He feels the riding needs a member who can works with others in finding solutions than just pointing fingers.

Leek also ran for the Liberals in 2011, finishing a distant third.

He says the party is in a better position to take the riding having built up its membership and finances and strengthen its executive board with representation across the riding since.

Kenora Mayor Elected NOMA President

A familiar face is back at the helm of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association.

Kenora Mayor Dave Canfield is replacing O'Connor Township Mayor Ron Nelson as president.

Canfield was also president of the region's municipal lobby group in 1998 and 1999.

New NOACC President

The Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce has a new president.

Michael Nitz was elected to the post at their meeting in Dryden on the weekend.

Nitz has served as past president of the Nipigon Chamber and Thunder Bay's NOACC representative.

Visitor Restrictions Lifted

Visitor restrictions at Rainy River Health Centre have been lifted.

The restrictions had been put in place on April 21 because of an outbreak of gastroenteritis.

The hospital says it was able to lift the measures after encountering no new cases for a period time.

A mild respiratory outbreak is still in effect at Rainycrest Long Term Care in Fort Frances.

Lots On Sale Today

The town of Fort Frances will begin a sale of lots in the Huffman School subdivision today.

The 16 lots will go on as first-come first-serve basis after the town attracted just one potential purchaser to a lottery last Thursday.

Those interest can visit the Civic Centre beginning at 8:30 a.m. or contact town planner Faye Flatt.

Council has stated it wants at least five lots sold before issuing a contract for the project.

Atikokan Seeks Centennial Canoe

Centennial Voyageur Canoe Race 1967
Atikokan wants to get its hands on the Ontario Centennial Canoe.

The canoe was used as part of a cross-country paddle involving teams representing other provinces and territories in 1967.

It's currently being stored under a tarp at the Fort William Historical Park in Thunder Bay.

Atikokan Mayor Dennis Brown says it deserves a place in his community given that four of the ten paddlers for the Ontario team were from Atikokan.

A contingent will be pressing its case before Thunder Bay city council tonight.

Business Expo A Success

Chamber photo
The Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce is hailing its Business and Community Expo a success.

President Mark Caron says attendance during the weekend event was strong.

Nearly 60 exhibitors were on display.

A performance from Canadian comedian Don Kelly, who's hails originally from Onegaming First Nation, was among the highlights.

Mining Study Released

Northwestern Ontario's budding mining sector is expected to create 10-thousand full-time jobs over the next decade, generating $1.7 billion in overall economic revenue each year.

That according to a new report released at the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association Conference in Thunder Bay.

However, the report points to issues of energy, housing and aging infrastructure as areas to address to prepare for the boom.

The forecast is based on 10 new mines or major expansions, including Rainy River Resources' gold project near Barwick.

Little Response To Housing Lot Lottery

3D model of subdivision - supplied
The town of Fort Frances is revising plans how it will sell off lots in the planned Huffman School subdivision.

A lottery Thursday night was scrapped after just one potential developer showed up.

Chief Administrative Officer Mark McCaig believes there's still interest in the lots and that those interested are uncomfortable with coming out in a public way.

McCaig says the lots will now be sold off on a first-come first-served basis, beginning Monday morning.

MPAC Criticized By Area Mayors

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation is failing to win any friends at the regional municipal conference.

President Antoni Wisniowski spoke to mayors and reeves Thursday in Thunder Bay.

He says he understands their frustration with MPAC's recent assessment of mill properties.

Some municipal leaders call Wisniowski's speech a standard prepared presentation.

Loyie Honoured

Ont. Attorney General's Office photo
Recognition for the head of the Rainy River District Victims Services Program.

Peggy Loyie is a recipient of the province's Victim Services Award of Distinction.

Loyie was cited for her 25 years in victim services, and her work with several area groups including youth and Aboriginal survivors of residential schools.

Loyie was presented the award Thursday in a ceremony in Toronto.

Hydro Outage Planned

Hydro One is planning a lengthy outage.

The Utility says it will be turning the power off for about three and a half hours on Sunday May 5th to conduct maintenance and equipment upgrades.

It will start at noon that day.

Most residents between the towns of Fort Frances and Rainy River and the Morson area will be impacted.

Emo is not.

Missing Health Reports Questioned

Ontario's Health Ministry is taking another hit.

Progressive Conservatives are demanded to know why annual reports on the province's public drug plan have been missing for five years.

The government is required by law to issue a report each year, but the most recent one available on the ministry's website is from 2008.

Health Minister Deb Matthews is promising to find out why the reports are delayed.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Budget Talks Continue In Minnesota

Several budget bills are making their way through the Minnesota Legislature.

The Senate has approved an $11-billion budget for state health and assistance programs.

The Senate also put through its education budget that provides funding for all-day kindergarten.

The State House has backed a higher education financing package that freezes undergraduate tuition at public colleges for two years and steers $150-million more for programming.

Relay For Life In International Falls

Relay for Life in International Falls goes indoors this weekend.

Ten teams will walk around Rainy River Community College tomorrow in support of the American Cancer Society.

Chair Laurie Humbert admits its a departure from past outdoor events at Smokey Bear Park, but feels the College will serve as a suitable location.

The eight-hour event starts at 2 p.m. tomorrow with an outdoor 5K run taking place in the morning at 9 a.m.

Registration for the run takes place at the College at 8 a.m.

MPP Wants Provincial Help For First Nations

The MPP for Kenora-Rainy River is calling on the premier to address the social conditions in First Nation communities.

Sarah Campbell says it's not right that these communities have to declare a state of emergency to get  attention from the government.

Last week, the remote community of Neskataga First Nation declared a state of emergency over a rash of suicides and ongoing problems with prescription drug abuse.

Supreme Court Denies Request To Hear Appeal

The Supreme Court of Canada won't be hearing Pikangikum First Nation's lawsuit against a former Indian Affairs Minister and MP for Kenora-Rainy River.

Pikangikum accused Bob Nault of "misfeasance'' for imposing third-party management on the reserve more than a decade ago.

The band also claimed Nault withheld millions of dollars for infrastructure projects until it dropped its legal challenge.

The band appealed to the Supreme Court after the initial trial judge dismissed the case with appeals courts also siding with Nault.

New NOMA Executive Director

The region's municipal lobby group has a new executive director.

Kristen Oliver takes on the job for the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association May 6.

She's a former policy assistant to former Thunder Bay Mayor Lynn Peterson and currently president of the organization Leadership Thunder Bay.

Protection For Cellphone Users Proposed

The provincial Liberals are making another attempt to bring in new rules protect consumers from cellphone bill shock.

Consumer Services Minister Tracy MacCharles says the proposed legislation would make it easier to understand the costs and terms of cellphone services.

The Liberals introduced a similar bill a year ago, but it died when the legislature was prorogued last fall.

International Falls Businesses Recognized

Two International Falls businesses have been recognized for their entrepreneurial success.

Wagner Construction and Swanky Sweet Pea earned Joel Labovitz awards at a ceremony in Duluth Wednesday.

Swanty Sweet Pea, a wholesale supplier of dessert-inspired bath and body products, received the "micro" award.

Wagner Construction earned the "Mature" award.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Benefit Planned For Fort Frances Man

A Fort Frances man is recovering from an operation in Winnipeg to deal with a heart problem.

31 year-old Nathan Degagne had a device surgically implanted to maintain blood flow.

He had been on medication since a virus 16 years ago developed into the health problem.

The operation took place on the weekend and Degagne tells CFOB-News that he now feels the best he's ever felt in years.

He and his family must now stay close to hospital in Winnipeg and is on the list for a heart transplant.

In Fort Frances, family and friends are working on holding a benefit to help offset Degagne's expenses.

The event is planned for May 4 at the Couchiching First Nation multipurpose facility.

NOMA Begins

Municipal leaders from across the northwest are in Thunder Bay for the annual meeting of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association.

President Ron Nelson says a visit today from the president of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation is being eyed with great interest.

Nelson says a reassessments of properties have caused headaches for many municipal councils.

Anglers Charged In MNR Enforcement Blitz

Several anglers are paying the price for violating Ontario's fishing regulations.

Seventy charges and 150 warnings were issued by Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officers during an enforcement blitz on Rainy River during the first part of April.

Many of the charges related to fishing without a licence, possessing walleye over a prohibited length and importing live bait from Minnesota into Ontario.

Shrine Circus Returns

It's time for the Shrine Circus once again.

Borderland Shrine Club hosts two shows May 8 at the Memorial Sports Centre.

Event co-chair Harvey Hudson says the Circus raises money for Shriner's children's hospitals.

Advance tickets are available at Canada Safeway at $12.00 each while kids under 4 go for free.

Beat the Band

A challenge of a different kind in this fundraiser.

A 5K Run and walk and a kid's 1K will be held May 4 to raise money for the Fort Frances High School's track team and band.

Track team coach Natasha Shack says the goal is to beat the band that will play at the Sorting Gap Marina while the event takes place.

Registration forms are available at Energy Fitness, the high school or online at northlandrunner.com.

Province To Keep Experimental Lakes Open

The Ontario government says it has found common ground with the federal government and other partners to keep the Experimental Lakes near Kenora open.

The province says it will provide operating support and work toward an agreement so the "important science'' conducted can continue.

The remote region of 58 pristine lakes has been used since the late 1960s for groundbreaking freshwater studies.

It became the subject of controversy when Ottawa announced last year that it was closing the area to save $2 million annually.

Subdivision Public Meeting Attracts Few

Only five people took advantage of meeting Tuesday night to go over the planned subdivision at the former Huffman School property in Fort Frances.

A lottery for the lots goes tonight at 7 p.m. at the Civic Centre.

Council has indicated it wants at least five lots secured for sale before proceeding with the project.

Town officials says if there are still lots available after the lottery, they will still accept purchasers on a first come first serve basis by the time council meets to review the project at its May 13th meeting.

Festival Results From Wednesday April 24

The Rainy River District Festival of the Performing Arts has come to an end.

Taylor Shouldice capped yesterday's final performances in vocal with six first place finishes.

The festival's highlight show will take place May 5th at the Townshend Theatre.

Here are the winners from yesterday.

Classroom Choruses, Kindergarten (English)
FIRST:  Robert Moore School Early Learning Class (Director, Karen Peltomaki)

Massed Junior Choir - Grades 4 to 6 (English)
FIRST:   St. Francis Junior Choir, Grades 4 to 6 (Director, Ken Brown)

Solo Test Pieces, Grade 9
FIRST:  Taylor Shouldice

Secular Solo, 15 and 16 years
FIRST:  Sarah Gall

Secular Solo, Examination Courses, Grade 9
FIRST:  Taylor Shouldice
SECOND:  Kennedy Latimer

Traditional Folk Song, 15 and 16 years
FIRST:  Kenzie Godin
SECOND:  Danielle Pearce

Traditional Folk Song, 17 and 18 years
FIRST:  Natasha Peters

Traditional Folk Song, Examination Courses, Grade 9
FIRST:  Kennedy Latimer

Sacred Solo, Examination Courses, Grade 9
FIRST:  Taylor Shouldice

Musical Theatre, Solo, 15 and 16 years
FIRST:  Kenzie Godin
SECOND:  Taylor Shouldice

Quick Study, Solo, Grade 9
FIRST:  Taylor Shouldice

Contemporary Solo, 15 and 16 years
FIRST:  Taylor Shouldice
SECOND:  Sarah Gall

Contemporary Solo, 17 and 18 years
FIRST:  Kennedy Latimer
SECOND:  Ericka Tymkin

Contemporary Solo, 19 years and over
FIRST:  Kenneth Brown

Vocal Duet, 16 to 18 years
FIRST:  Kennedy Latimer and Taylor Shouldice

Professional Ensemble, Open
FIRST:  Renée Martin-Brown and Kenneth Brown

The following are two of Tuesday's classes previously not available.

Musical Theatre, Solo, 13 and 14 years
FIRST:  Emma Dykstra
SECOND:  McKenna Begin

Vocal Duet, 13 to 15 years
FIRST:  Jillian Armstrong and Emma Dykstra
SECOND:  Loney and Martina Morrisseau

Some Caught Driving While Using Cellphones

Some motorists are failing to head the warnings.

Ontario Provincial Police have wrapped up a distracted driving campaign.

Sergeant Shelley Garr says police nabbed 15 motorists in northwestern Ontario found using their cell phones while driving.

The campaign ran last week.

Garr says the numbers could have been higher had it not been for snow storms that kept many motorists off the roads.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cocaine Seized In Traffic Stop

OPP in Kenora are sitting on a sizable seizure of cocaine.

Seven kilos of the contraband, worth an estimated $750 thousand, were discovered after officers stopped a speeding vehicle on the Trans Canada Highway in the community Monday.

A 26 year old man from Pickering is charged.

Ranier Wants Rail Crossing Monitored

The city of Ranier wants to arm itself with some video evidence it can use against CN Rail.

Mayor Dennis Wagner claims CN is willfully breaking a State statue by consistently blocking a crossing in his city for more than 10 minutes.

Wagner is asking Koochiching County to set up a camera to document the problem.

Wagner says CN Rail sent fourteen trains through two weeks ago, that blocked the crossing for the better part of an hour.

LCBO Workers Prepare For Strike May 17

Liqour stores in Ontario could be shutdown at the start of the May long weekend.

Unionized workers with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario say they're prepared to walk off the job May 17 if they can't get a new contract.

The employees' four-year contract ended March 31 and the union says "very little progress'' has been made at the bargaining table.

More Home Care Dollars Promised

The Ontario government intends to spend $185 million more this year to improve home care services for seniors.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says patients who require "complex'' treatment will wait an average of five days to get home care.

It was one of the NDP demands in order to support the Liberals' budget _ which will be tabled May 2nd.

Homlund Financial Completes Donation To Riverside

One of the many contributors to last year's Together We Can campaign for a Digital Mammography unit has made good on their pledge.

Susan Bodnarchuk of Homlund Financial has presented Riverside Foundation For Health Care with four thousand dollars.

Bodnarchuk says Manulife Financial matched donations received, allowing the Fort Frances firm to surpass its initial contribution by a thousand dollars.

Hunter Fined

An Atikokan man has been fined $1,500 for possessing and using a hunting licence that included fake information.

Evan Hughes was initially charged last fall after Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officers determined he had obtained a hunting license to shoot a deer by providing false information that he had lived in Ontario for at least six months the year prior.

Trails Closed

Here's a sign of hope for those tired of winter.

All snowmobile and ski trails in Voyageurs National Park are closed for the season because of warm weather.

Park officials say trails have deteriorated into poor condition.

Staff are in the process of removing snowmobile trail markers and thin ice signs.

New Results From Bayfield

New assay results from Bayfield Ventures.

The company says it continues to find areas of high grade gold and silver deposits within its Burns and "B" Block projects, adjacent to the Rainy River Resources gold project, north of Barwick.

The findings are the result of a dozen holes drilled earlier this year.