Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Administrator For Rainycrest

There will be a new administrator for Rainycrest Long-Term Care Home in Fort Frances.

Darryl Galusha will take over from Edith Bodnar July 15th.

He also becomes director responsible for Senior’s Services with Riverside Health Care Facilities.

Bodnar is retiring, but delayed her departure so Riverside could complete its hiring process.

Galusha is original from Fort Frances and is current an assistance administrator with the District of Kenora Home for the Aged.

Hydro Outages

A pair of power outages in the Rainy river district have been resolved.

One impacted about 446 Hydro One customers in the Mine Centre area.

Another 141 people in the Nestor Falls area were impacted in the second.

Power went out to both area earlier this morning.

MNR Watching Lightning Strikes

The Ministry of Natural Resources is watching closely storms passing through the Rainy River district.

The MNR says its lightning locator system recorded a high level of lightning strike activity with heavy concentrations around Atikokan.

The strikes are being monitored to see if they lead to any new forest fires.

There hasn't been a forest fire in the Rainy River district since early June.

Regional Partnership Recommendation For Agri-Food Sector

A new report recommendations a need for great regional partnerships in northern Ontario's agri-food sector.

The report by two Lakehead University researchers was done as part of a much larger review of farmers’ markets, co-ops and other sustainable food programs province wide.

Co-author of the northern Ontario report Mirella Stroink says greater collaboration would strengthen those groups who now struggle with issues around funding, marketing and administrative support.

The researchers also see a need for some policies that help improve access and marketing of foods found in the forest such blueberries and maple syrup.

Parade Welcoming More Entries

There's still time to get a float ready for this year's Canada Day parade in Fort Frances.

It's being organized by the Rainy River Future Development Corporation.

Student intern Nicole Mueller says they have about twenty entrants so far and will welcome more participants right up to Parade Day.

This year's theme "There's something in the Water" ties in with this year's Dragon Boat Festival.

Mall Days Today

A traffic note today in Fort Frances.

Sections of Scott Street will be shut down to accommodate the Fort Frances Downtown Business Improvement Association's Mall Days.

It happens along the 100, 200 and 300 blocks of Scott.

County Unemployment Rate Drops

The unemployment rate in Koochiching County has dropped.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development says May's rate fell to 9 per cent, more than a full percent from April.

It's also at its lowest level since last December as area employers made about 150 new hires.

Diapers Wanted

Koochiching County's Health Department is looking for diapers
The department provided diapers to people with young children in need, and needs help to restock its supplies.

Donations can be made at the Health Department's office located in the Forestland Annex.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Area Reps Meet with Regional Senior Judge

The fight for a full-time judge in the Ontario Court of Justice in the Rainy River district continues today.

CFOB-News has learned Regional Senior Judge Justice Marc Bode is scheduled to hold separate face-to-face meetings with the members of the Rainy River District Law Society and the Rainy River District Municipal Association in Fort Frances

Both groups have been advocating the  need for a full time judge located at the Fort Frances court house.

The last judge assigned to this area traveled from Dryden.

Judges now travel from the Kenora area.

Power Back On

Power is back on in several parts of the Rainy River district and Thunder Bay areas.

More than 77-hundred Hydro One customers lost power this morning shortly after midnight.

Hydro One blames the outage on equipment problems.

Electricity was restored at around four this morning.

Road Work Next Week

An infrastructure project in Fort Frances will begin next week.

The work along 2nd Street East between Central and Mowat Avenues and Mowat between 2nd and 3rd Streets will upgrade sewer and water lines.

Operations and Facilities Manager Doug Brown says it means some detours for the traveling public.

The traffic lights at Central and 2nd will also be shut off and truck traffic will use be required to Central Avenue and Church Street as a connecting route to the town's main truck route.

College Summer Programs Offered

Confederation College's campus in Fort Frances will be taken over by youth this summer.

Manager of the Rainy River district campus Anne Renaud
says four different programs will be offered to those aged 11 to 15.

They are culinary, cupcake decorating, art and one combining components of the College's  paramedic and protection security program.

Programs begin in early July and some space is still available.

Trillium Foundation To Be Promoted Next Week

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is giving groups in the Rainy River district a chance to learn more about its funding opportunities.

An information session will take place next Tuesday in Fort Frances.

Program manager Maureen Brophy says they'd like to get more groups applying.

Those interested in attending the session at the Fort France Public Library are asked to call Maureen at 807-623-3822

Cash Draw Tickets Selling Fast

Riverside Foundation for Health Care's Canada Day Cash Lottery is 80 per cent sold out.

The Foundation is giving away a top prize of $10-thousand on Canada Day.

Tickets are available at several locations including Riverside Health Care Facilities or by calling the Foundation office 274-4801

Resolute Restarting Paper Machine

Resolute Forest Product is looking to resume one of its paper machines at its Fort Frances mill.

The Communication Energy and Paperworkers union says its been informed machine number 7 will start up sometime next month for about eight weeks to deal with some available orders.

The machine has down for a couple of months.

Company spokesperson Pierre Choquette says local management is still working on the details of the restart, but expects about 35 employees would be called back.

Meantime, there's still no decision yet on the future of the Kraft mill.

The company has been investigating the type of grades that could be produced at the mill, idled back in November.

Combatants Talk Up Tug Of War

The smack talk is starting early in the Pulling For Peace Tug of War between Fort Frances and International Falls.

It takes place next Tuesday.

Fort Frances councillors, Andrew Hallikas and Rick Wiedenhoeft  along with with International Falls Councillor Cynthia Jaksa and Falls Chamber Manager Faye Whitbeck joined with Andy C Tuesday morning on 93.1 The Border to promote it.

Both sides are predicting victories, but both are looking for more people to participate.

Last year's event was declared a draw after weather forced its cancellation.

Town's Financial Picture Painted

The town of Fort Frances appears to be pretty strong financially.

A draft of the town's audit financial statements presented to town council Monday night shows the town holding down an accumulated surplus of $100,000 at the end of 2012.

Jeff Savage of BDO says much
of that is based on the value of the town's assets.

Money in reserves and investments is also counted towards that surplus.

The town's general operating budget showed a surplus of $8,100.

The town ended 2011 with a surplus of just over $17-thousand in 2011

Moffat Funding Issued

The cheques are in their hands.

Thirteens organizations were handed funding from the Moffat Foundation at Fort Frances town council Monday night.

At total of $37,500 were presented by Mayor Roy Avis.

The Salvation Army will use $5,900 to purchase shoes for students who can't afford them.

Fort Frances Community Garden is receiving $2,400 to increase the accessibility of its garden.

St. Mary's Youth Group is getting $2,900 to replace a sound system.

Most Bridges OK In County

A federal report finds most bridges in Koochiching County in good condition.

Just five of the County's 93 bridges are identified as deficient by the U.S. Department of Transportation

Work to repair one of the bridges, located on Trunk Highway 65, south of Littlefork, is already underway.

Repairs to another on Highway 11 east of International Falls was completed last year.

Donations For Flood Victims Welcome

An opportunity is available to local residents wanted to help those affected by the massive flooding in Alberta.

Manager of the Canadian Red Cross in Dryden Shana Hansson says donations can be made through their organization.

Donations can also be made through the Canada Severe Weather Fund.

Search For Missing Man Ends

A search for a missing man in a river near Thunder Bay has been halted.

Thunder Bay Police say OPP divers were unable to find any sign of 26-year-old Larry Larivee.

He disappeared into the McKenzie River after diving off a cliff.

Police say some areas of the river are just too dangerous to search and will be reassessed once water levels are lower.

More Pullers Needed

Fort Frances is feeling a little "man" power shortage.

The Pulling For Peace tug of war with International Falls takes place July 2.

Fort town councillor Rick Wiedenhoeft says ten strong men are still needed to fill out the Canadian side's roster in the main power pull event.

Call Jackie Lampi-Hughes at Energy Fitness if you are interested.

Local Teacher Talks To Resume

With acceptance of the provincial deal, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario is free to resume negotiations at the local level.

Chair of the Rainy River District School Board Mike Lewis expects those talks to take place in the very near future.

Lewis says discussions will focus solely on local issues as the provincial agreement can't be changed.

Last week, the board ratified an agreement with its high school teachers after their union accepted the province's deal in April.

Decision Held Over

An OPP officer in Kenora will find out next month whether he will have to stand trial on a charge of dangerous driving causing death.

A three day preliminary hearing wrapped up last week in Kenora for Constable Roy Bender.

He was charged by the Ontario Special Investigations Unit last fall in the death of 42 year old Gloria Assin.

The Grassy Narrows resident was riding in the back of an OPP cruiser when
it was involved in an accident with a transport.

The judge in the case to decide if the matter should go to trial July 12th. 

Area Aboriginal Leaders Named To Provincial Panel

A top northwestern Ontario aboriginal leader will co-chair a panel that will oversee tackling the crisis facing First Nations in Ontario's justice and jury system.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation deputy grand chief Alvin Fiddler hopes his first hand experience will be able to contribute significantly to the discussion.

Fiddler will head the committee along with Irwin Glasberg, an assistant deputy minister.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Relay Fort Frances Nets Over $82,000

A huge success for Relay for Life in Fort Frances.

Seventeen teams involved in the 12 hour event combined to raise $82,900 with more money yet to come in  support of the Canadian Cancer Society.

The Society's Maria Cabral says some of that money will stay with Riverside Health Care in a partnership with CCS.

Jon Glueheisen of Snow White and the Survivors, the top fundraising team, says it's the cause that drives them.

A Relay for Life event also took place in Rainy River, but so far no fundraising total has yet been passed to CFOB-News.

Teachers Accept New Deal

Members of Ontario's largest public school teachers union have ratified a new deal with the province following months of labour strife.

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario says 91 per cent of its members who voted accepted the deal.

The agreement freezes wages, but guarantees a two per cent raise starting next year.

Former Education Minister Steps Down

Former Ontario education minister Laurel Broten, who was at the centre of the bitter battle with teachers over a wage-freeze legislation, is leaving provincial politics.

Broten says she`s told Premier Kathleen Wynne she`ll be stepping July 2nd.

She currently holds the intergovernmental affairs portfolio.

Moffat Funding Presented Tonight

File photo
Several groups in Fort Frances are benefiting from funding from the Moffat Foundation.

A total of $37,500 will be handed out at tonight's meeting of council.

A large chunk, $9,800, will be given to the Sunny Cove Camp Advisory Committee to upgrade appliances and playground equipment at the town owned park.

New Strategic Plan In Place

The Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board has a new strategic plan in place.

It's a first for the board.

Chief Administrative Officer Dan McCormick says it will help the board of directors with its decision making.

The plan covers a five-year period that will be reviewed on an annual basis.

More Republican Candidates In Race For Governor

Former House Speaker Kurt Zellers is joining the race for governor in Minnesota.

Zellers kicked off his campaign yesterday, saying he would bring a middle-class family man's sensibility to the job.

Businessman Scott Honour and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson are also running with  State Senator Dave Thompson planning to file as a candidate today.

Sunset To Be Celebrated

An event to celebrate the sunset in the Borderland is being set up in Rainer.

Rainer-Rainy Lake Sunset will take place every weekend with the aim of drawing in vendors, entertainers and people to enjoy the sunset.

Organizer Mary Ann Kasich says she got the idea from similar gatherings in Key West, Florida.

The first event will take place this Friday and Saturday at Spruce Street Dock

Friday, June 21, 2013

OPP Ask Boaters To Wear Life Jackets

A pair of recent drownings in the Rainy River district have prompted OPP to issue an advisory about the importance of wearing a life jacket.

Constable Jim Davis says while the law only requires life jackets to be readily accessible to each person on aboard a vessel, they should take the step to wear it.

Davis says in the recent drownings, victims were either not wearing a life jacket or wearing it incorrectly.

The fine for not having a life jacket or a personal flotation device is $200.

Fort Business To Stop Selling Gas

There will be one less location to get gasoline in Fort Frances  in the near future.

Rainy Lake Sports intends to remove its pumps in early July.

Owner Mark Fontana says new costly rules pertaining mostly to underground gasoline tanks are to blame.

Fontana says he will look at installing above-ground tanks and resume selling gas once their contract with their existing supplier ends in January.

Hospital Negotiations Continue In International Falls

Rainy Lake Medical Center has given Essentia Health East a year's notice of its intent to terminate existing professional and management services agreements between the organizations.

Duluth-based Essentia is interested in taking over full control of the International Falls hospital.

Hospital officials says the notice is intended so negotiations can progress and does not impact operations or hospital care.

Essentia presented its proposal in April.

Rainy Lake has since presented a counter proposal.

Relays Set To Go

Relays for Life are set to go in Rainy River and Fort Frances tonight.

Twenty teams in Fort Frances will walk the track at Fort Frances High School for 12 hours in support of the Canadian Cancer Society.

Chair Jennifer Anderson says the public is invited to participate.

This year's theme is around the game Monopoly.

The event begins with cancer survivors gathering for a dinner at 4:30 p.m.

Opening ceremonies will take place at 6:30 p.m. before the open lap at 7 p.m.

Rainy River's Relay For Life is at Riverview School.

It begins with a survivors' dinner at 5 p.m. before the ten teams involved take to the track at 7 p.m..

Committee member Georgia Kreger says this theme is "Decades of Hope" with team dressing up to celebrate their favourite decade of time.

The fundraising goal has been set at $55-thousand.

Luminary ceremonies are planned at both events at around 10 p.m.

Atikokan High School Graduation

The final high school graduation in the Rainy River district takes place today in Atikokan.

Fifty graduating students will received their diplomas at a ceremony scheduled for Grayson Hall beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Kayla Goranson will make the valedictorian address.

Aboriginal Day Celebrated

This is National Aboriginal Day in Canada and First Nations across northwestern Ontario will be recognizing the day.

Couchiching First Nation stages its annual pow wow.

A princess and brave pageant is also scheduled.

University Pub To Offer Pregnancy Tests

A student pub at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay will be offering pregnancy tests in its bathroom dispensers.

Healthy Brains for Children Thunder Bay is behind the initiative.

Spokesperson Marilyn Leiterman says they hope the move will help prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

The tests will costs 3 dollars and be in place before this September.

Coventry Resumes Drilling

Conventry Resources has resumed drilling in the Nestor Falls area.

The mining company is focusing on its West Cedartree Gold project, an area of a much large exploration project near Cameron Lake.

The work will be to determine the extent of potential mineral deposits.

Science North Celebrates

Science North is celebrating its three year anniversary in northwestern Ontario.

Spokesperson Emily Kerton says it means a lot for them to be able to reach out to the small communities.

Science North will bring its annual science summer camps to Atikokan next week and to Fort Frances in early July.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

No Furniture Please

The Salvation Army in Fort Frances wants people to stop bringing it furniture.

It says it doesn't have the space for such donations.

Lieutenant Dennis Maybury says it's an ongoing problem and encourages the public to respect its request.

Maybury admits there's a need to handle such donations and would be willing to work with another group on how furniture donations could be collected.

MP Welcomes Early Break

Thunder Bay Rainy River MP John Rafferty is welcoming the summer break.

MPs adjourned Parliament Tuesday night.

Rafferty says it was good news for Conservative MPs who were dogged by spending scandals.

Rafferty say he'll use his summer break to go door to door and listen to his constituents concerns.

Air Gun Used At Dryden school

No one was injured after a student brought an air-soft gun to a Dryden elementary school and started shooting in the school yard.

A few students were hit by small plastic bb's.

School board officials say staff were not aware the student had the air gun and confiscated it immediately.

According to a RCMP fact sheet,the type of gun the student had is classified as a child's toy and isn't powerful enough to cause injuries.

Tuition Fee At Minnesota Universities And Colleges

The Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system has approved a budget that freezes tuition.

The freezes includes tuition paid by students attending Rainy River Community College in International Falls.

MnSCU is using a state funding boost to hold next year's tuition to this year's rate.

FFHS Graduation Tonight

Graduation ceremonies for students at Fort Frances High School takes place tonight.

Approximately 175 students will received their diplomas during a ceremony at the Memorial Sports Centre beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Mallory Duffy is this year's valedictorian.

Traffic Detour Tomorrow

A traffic detour for motorists traveling in the Littlefork area.

Beginning tomorrow, a section of Highway 65 near Littlefork will be closed until August 9 so work crews can replace four bridges with box-culverts.

Traffic will be rerouted to Koochiching County Road 8 during the closure.

Relays Getting Ready

Preparations are in the final stages for two fundraisers for the Canadian Cancer Society, running simultaneously this weekend.

Relays for Life go Friday in Rainy River and Fort Frances.

Committee member with the Fort Frances event Christine Denby says luminaries lit at night to honour those stricken with cancer and survivors can still be purchased.

The $5.00 bags are still on sale at Pharmasave, Fort Frances Clinic Dispensary, Gillon's Insurance, RBC, LaVerendrye Hospital tuck shop and on site the day of the Relay.

Luminaries are also being sold at the Post office in Rainy River for the event in Rainy River.

Meantime organizers of the Rainy River event will get a jump on set up today.

The event is taking place at Riverview School.

Committee member Georgia Kreger says volunteers will help get the track ready.

Ten teams have registered for this year's 12 hour event.

New Members to RRFDC

A new face to the Rainy River District Future Development Corporation Board.

Anne Renaud was elected to the board at the Corporation's annual meeting in Rainy River Tuesday.

She's the manager of Confederation College's Rainy River District campus in Fort Frances.

Two current board members, Martin Dufresne of Rainy River and Ken McKinnon of LaVallee township, had their appointments renewed.

The full board will meet in July.

Leiws Responds To Policing Costs Concerns

The Commissioner of the OPP is defending the cost of his police service.

Chris Lewis acknowledges the concerns of municipalities, but insists the OPP remain one of the lowest cost police services in Ontario.

Lewis adds an
8.5 per cent wage increase expected for officers next year comes after a two year wage freeze, something he says some other forces did not take.

Fort Frances council recently drafted a resolution calling on the province for help to small communities struggling to cover rising policing costs.

Marketing I. Falls Water Being Explored

International Falls wants to explore the potential of marketing its drinking water.

Councillor Gail Rogenrud says with good showings at recently taste-testing competitions, the city will seek out funding to determine how they might be able to capitalize on that success.

International Falls recently finished in a tie for second at a national event, after taking top honours in Minnesota earlier this year.