Thursday, August 29, 2013

More Professional Development Suggest For School Teachers

Ontario's education minister says more professional development is needed for elementary school teachers, after test results show their students are struggling with math skills.

The Education Quality and Accountability Office says almost one in five Grade 6 students do not meet the provincial math standard.

Liz Sandals says many elementary teachers come from an arts background and aren't as comfortable teaching math as they are teaching reading or writing.

Kiss and Ride Being More Accepted

More parents appear to be warming up to the new Kiss and Ride lanes set up at three elementary schools in Fort Frances for safer drop off and pick up of children.

Officials say parents, reluctant to use the lanes on the opening day of school, gave it a try yesterday and express confidence with the program.

Parents are reminded the lanes in the afternoon don't open until the end of school which is 3:10 p.m. at St. Francis School,  3:15 p.m. at J.W. Walker and 3:25 p.m. at Robert Moore.

Fort Officials Happy With Trip To AMO Meeting

Fort Frances town officials appear happy with the outcome of meetings held last week at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in Ottawa.

Chief Administrative Officer Mark McCaig says several issues were discussed with government ministers who were very receptive to the town's concerns.

Mayor Roy Avis says it was one of the best conferences he'd been to.

Premier Admits To "Trying" Pot

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she believes legalization and regulation of marijuana is an issue that needs to be debated.

But Wynne -- who yesterday joined the growing list of politicians who admit having tried pot -- isn't saying where she stands on the issue.

Road Projects Nearing Completion

A couple of road projects in Fort Frances are expected to be completed on time.

The town's Operations and Facilities Manager Doug Brown says final paving of a section of Second Street East and Mowat Avenue is expected next week, allowing the roads to reopen to traffic by September 7.

Brown says crews are in the final stages of road work at Williams Avenue and expect
to be finished by September 27

IceBox University Established

An International Falls radio drama group is setting up its own university of sorts.

Icebox University is the tag IceBox Radio Theater is using to promote a series of free workshops around the dramatic arts.

Artistic Director Jeff Adams says some will begin this fall.

The group will hold an open house 6 to 9 tonight at Backus Community Centre.

Premier Traveling To Northwestern Ontario

Ontario's Premier Kathleen Wynne is making a trip to northwestern Ontario.

She's making stops in Kenora Sunday and Thunder Bay for the next couple of days.

Details of her trip are still being finalized, but while in Thunder Bay she'll hold a round table discussion on jobs with local business leaders.

MNR Keeping Staff Longer Than Expected

MNR File photo
The Ministry of Natural Resources is keeping its seasonal fire fighting staff a little bit longer.

Contracts have been extended that will keep them in place until the middle of September.

Information officer Debbie McLean says the recent warm weather prompted the move.

There are currently 26-active fires in the northwest region.

Three of them are in the Rainy River district.

Two are locating at the south end of Quetico Provincial Park.

As they pose no real threat and can help the park's ecosystem, the Ministry is allowing them to burn themselves out.

A third fire, northeast of Fort Frances near Cornell Lake, is currently being held.

All three were lightning caused.

Drug Seizure In Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay Police are charging two Serbian men in connection to a huge seizure of Oxycodone.

Police seized almost 33-hundred pills, valued at about $660-thousand, from a city motel room.

Both men are in their 70's.

Home Day Care Unioning To Continue

File photo
A drive to unionize Minnesota home day care workers will be allowed to continue while opponents appeal.

A U.S. District Judge is refusing to grant opponents an injunction pending appeal.

A group of day care operators say being forced to associate with a union would violate their First
Amendment rights.

Moose Dies At Thunder Bay's Chippewa Park

City of Thunder Bay is investigating the unexpected death of a seven year old bull moose at its Chippewa Wildlife Exhibit.

The staff discovered the dead animal Tuesday morning.

Cause of death is still being explored.

Worldest Oldest Known Black Bear Dies

Minnesota wildlife officials say the world's oldest known wild black bear has died of old age at 39 and a half.

The decomposed body of the animal identified as Bear number 53 was found recently in a secluded wooded area in northern Minnesota.

The Department of Natural Resource believes it died of natural causes.

The bear was first captured and radio-collared in 1981.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Region Looking For Benefits From Mining

The region's leaders continue to look at how the Rainy River district can maximize the benefits from the flourishing mining industry.

Rainy River Future Development Corporation's Geoff Gillon says part of the job will be to educate the business community on to make that happen.

Gillon says they've also promoting Fort Frances as a mining district, noting the proximity of the town to projects both here and in northern Minnesota.

Good Results From Day One Of Kiss And Ride

So far, so good in the response to the Kiss and Ride initiative in Fort Frances.

Efforts to improve traffic flows and student safety at Robert Moore, J.W. Walker and St. Francis Schools went into effect yesterday.

OPP Constable Anne McCoy says overall, it went well and will look at tweaking the initiative in the days ahead.

McCoy says they will also continue to educate motorists about the new parking restrictions around the schools for a little longer before taking a harder line and issuing tickets.

New Education Director On The Job

It's not just the start of a new school year for students.

It's also one for Rick Boisvert,  the new Director of Education with the Northwest Catholic District School Board.

Boisvert says he plans on building on the school's existing values.

He doesn't officially start until next week, but has been spending the last couple of weeks getting to know staff and schools.

Minnesota Test Scores Released

Ahead of a new school year in Minnesota, the State says its students saw a slight setback in standardized test scores in math this year, made small gains on the science test and struggled with a new reading test.

The Department of Education attributes the declines to a more rigorous testing.

Library Going To Fall Hours Next Week

The Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre is reverting back to fall hours next week.

Effective Tuesday, the Centre will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays.

The Centre will also be open Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Power Going Out Next Week

There will be a lengthy power outage next week that will impact the town of Fort Frances.

Electricity will be lost from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday September 8.

The interruption is so Hydro One can perform equipment upgrades.

Sucessful Ride For Memories

Another successful Ride For Memories!

Alzheimer Society of Kenora-Rainy River's Rosanna Tomashowski says about 200 people took part in Saturday's event helping to raise over $46-thousand dollars.

Tomashowski says you can still make a donation to the Society help reach its 50-thousand-dollar goal by calling its office in Kenora.

Kiss And Ride In Place

It's the start of a new school year across the Rainy River district and the introduction of the Kiss and Ride initiative in Fort Frances.

OPP Constable Anne McCoy says designated lanes at Robert Moore and J.W. Walker Schools are now in place for parents, bring their children to school, to use.

Volunteers are at the schools to help children exit the vehicles safely without the need of their parents getting out of the car.

There are also new parking restrictions around the schools, but authorities say no tickets will be issued immediately so people can get adjusted to the new pick and drop off procedures.

Kiss and Ride is also in place at St. Francis School.

Principal Kim Anderson says also have volunteers on hand to assist parents.

Parents are also being asked to use 2nd Street West to get to the School and going down First to Holmes Avenue when leaving.

Education Director Looks Ahead To New School Year

The director of education for the Rainy River District School Board is excited about the new school year inside the classroom.

Heather Campbell says it includes the introduction of early learning programs in three more of its schools.

Campbell says while it will be few days before final numbers are in, there are reports enrollment at some schools will be up this year.

New SCAP Campus Open

The new Sturgeon Creek Alternative Program school is now open.

About 100 students are attending classes at the Emo school.

Some rooms are still off limits as crews continue to finish off construction.

DSSAB Concludes Public Consultations

The Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board has heard plenty on how to deal with the housing needs and homelessness in the district over next ten years.

The Board held sessions in Rainy River, Atikokan and Fort Frances to gather input.

Chief Executive Officer Dan McCormick is happy with what he heard.

A final report is expected before the board in late October.

Town Helps Out Curling Club

The town of Fort Frances is picking up the tab for $600 worth of water given out during Sunday's Kraft Celebration Tour.

The Fort Frances Curling Club purchased the water after existing supplies ran out.

Mayor Roy Avis says it was needed given the heat of the day and the fact that a number of people had already been treated for heat-related illness.

Chief Administrative Officer Mark McCaig, who was on site at the time, says the water was much appreciated.

Avis also applauds the efforts of the club and volunteers for making the event a huge success. 

Don't Feed The Geese

Public is being asked to refrain from feeding the geese along the LaVerendrye Parkway in Fort Frances.

Fort Frances town officials say the birds have been congregating in larger numbers that usual.

It's also meant more work for town crews who are having to take time to clean the walkway of the mess left behind by the birds.

Prisoner Still Missing

Still no signs of a prisoner who escaped police custody in Kenora.

53-year-old Harvey Smith from White Dog First Nation bolted while being transferred from the Kenora Court House last Tuesday.

OPP and Treaty 3 Police don't consider him dangerous.

Economic Benefits Of Kraft Celebration Tour

Local officials are looking at the economic benefits of the Kraft Celebration Tour to Fort Frances.

Rainy River Future Development Corporation's Geoff Gillon says TSN's broadcast was huge in terms of their ability to promote the town.

He says it afforded the town thousands of dollars in advertising.

Gillon also applauds the entire community for rallying around the event.

New Drivers' Fees Sunday

The cost to drive Ontario is going up.

A host of new fees take effect Sunday, including driver's licenses increasing to $80.

Registration of vehicles in northern Ontario will go from $41 to $45, $49 next September and $54 in September 2015.

The province says the increases are necessary to offset the rising cost of maintaining provincial roads, bridges and highways.

Insurances Rates Drop For Some

There is good news for some Ontario drivers.

The Co-operators says it plans to reduces its auto insurance rates October.

Actual dollar savings will vary between drivers.

The province announced last week it will mandate a 15 per cent drop in rates over the next two years

Cops Given Stun Guns

Ontario's frontline cops will be allowed to carry stun guns.

Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur says the decision comes after lengthy consultations with police and coroners across the province.

Ontario's police chiefs have been advocating for the expanded use of Tasers for years but only supervising and specialized officers have been allowed to carry them.

Wolf Attack In Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is looking into a rare apparent wolf attack on a teenager.

It happened Saturday morning at a campground at Lake Winnibigoshish in north-central Minnesota.

A 16-year-old boy is recovering.

The DNR says a serious injury or fatal attack on a human has never been documented in Minnesota before.

Question Of The Week

Was the Kraft Celebration Tour as you expected?

Let us know on our website

In last week's poll, 65 per cent of respondent support an increase in Ontario's minimum wage.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

RAin Helps Fire Situation

MNR file photo
Widespread rain Saturday night has helped put a damper on the forest fire situation in northwestern Ontario.

Ministry of Natural Resources Debbie McLean says it helped douse a number of fires they were monitoring last week.

Meantime, the Ministry is sending 109 fire rangers to Montana to help battle wild fires in that state. 

Wynne's Home Site Of Protest

She wasn't home, but that didn't stop protesters from northwestern Ontario to descend on the front doors of Premier Kathleen Wynne's Toronto home.

More than 100 people, including a marching band,  protested Sunday the level of mercury in the drinking water in Grassy Narrow First Nation.

Protesters claimed Wynne hasn't honoured a promise to address the issue, but her office says progress is being made on the file.

MP Not Pleased With Liberal Leader's Behaviour

A northwestern Ontario Conservative is questioning federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's behaviour.

Trudeau recently admitted to smoking marijuana since elected to Parliament.

Kenora MP Greg Rickford says he was also reported to have done a strip teased routine at a recent fundraiser.

Rickford says Trudeau's actions show he's not capable of leading one of Canada's largest parties.

New Chamber Members

There are some new members of the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce.

Participants in the Biz Kids program were made honourary members for a day.

Chamber vice-president Robin Payeur says it's great to see young people take an interest in business.

All seven involved received certificates from the Chamber.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Large Turnout For Kraft Celebration Tour

The Kraft Celebration Tour is over, but for Fort Frances it was a huge success.

Hundreds of people came out to the Sorting Gap Marina yesterday to take part in the activities and the free BBQ.

Many booths ran out of items given away.

Fort Frances Curling Club's Ron Silver says it was a great end to a lot of work by a lot of people.

The Club also received a $25-thousand cheque towards its geothermal energy project.

TSN Broadcast Live From Fort Frances.

It was a live broadcast of TSN Sportscentre that drew many to the Marina.

In an address to the crowd, co-anchor Darren Dutchyshyn expressed his amazement of the town's beauty.

During the show, co-anchor Jennifer Hedger remarked about the weather, admitting she made a series miscalculation in expecting much cooler weather.

The show included a feature on the 1952 Canadians Allan Cup winning team, a top ten centered around former resident and NHLer Duncan Keith, and a few notes about Fort Frances as a community.

International Falls was also mentioned for being the backdrop for "Frostbite Falls" in the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

Heat Problem During Tour Visit

Heat did prove to be a challenge at the Celebration Tour.

Temperatures soared to above 30 C and with the humidity it felt like 40 C.

Officials say a number of people were treated for heat-related illnesses, requiring a temporary treatment site to be set up at the Memorial Sports Centre.

A fire truck was also used to spray water to help cool the area.

Kraft Window Display Winner

The window display at Northwood's Gallery and Gifts was deemed the best by judges in a contest promoted by the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce around the Kraft tour.

                                                   The staff earned three large gift baskets of Kraft food items from Safeway, two of which were given to the United Native Friendship Centre and the Salvation Army for use in their food banks.

OPP Investigation Attempted Abduction Case

OPP are investigating reports of a man driving a min-van in the region who may be trying to lure young children.

Police were altered of the incident in Atikokan last Tuesday in which two young girls said they ran away after a man tried to offer them candy to get in his vehicle.

The van, described as being light brown or tan in colour, could not be located.

Facebook posts since say there was a similar incident in Thunder Bay, but OPP says police there have no reports to confirm.

Rainy River DSSAB Holds Third Public Session

The final stop today for the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board as it gathers comment on a new housing and homelessness plan for the next ten years.

A session goes from 9:30 a.m. until noon at the La Place Rendez Vous.

You can also provide input through the Board's website.

Rainy River College Starts Classes Today

Still another day off for students in the Rainy River district, but those attending Rainy River Community College in International Falls go back today.

Dean Elena Favela says they begin the year with several new programs in cooperative arrangements with others.

They include the new security studies program with Itasca Community College that's attracted some interest.

Favela doesn't anticipate much change in enrollment despite pending layoffs at Boise.

Enrolment at the college usually numbers about 300.

Biz Kids Hold Market

Some potential business owners might be in our midst.

Participants of the Biz Kids program took to the streets Friday to sell products created during the week long program.

Dave Lyle of the Northern Ontario Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative says it taught kid all aspects of business.

A total of 7 youngsters between the ages of 8 and 14 took part.

Former Rangers Seek Return Of Program

Pressure is being put on the province to bring back the Ontario Ranger program.

Hundreds of former participants rallied in Huntsville Saturday as part of lobby efforts.

Spokesperson Emily Kerton tells CFOB-News there is support for the program's return and are hoping for a meeting with government to talk about ways of bring Ranger camps and the program back.

The province eliminated the 68-year-old program last fall.

Forest Fires Near Fort Frances

MNR File Photo
Two lightning-caused fires in the Rainy River district last week among thirteen new forest fires recorded by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Both blazes, north of Fort Frances near Fish Hawk Lake and Priam Lake, were both small in size and now out.

New Routes For St. Francis School Parents

A catholic elementary school will be a part of the Kiss and Ride initiative to start next week at two public schools as well.

Principal of St. Francis School Kim Anderson says parents are asked to follow a designated route to the school.

Anderson says special times in the morning and in the afternoon have been designated for parents to avoid school buses.

Drug Conference Planned

Children who are exposed to the illicit drug trade will be the focus of a conference next month in Fort Frances.

The Drug Endangered Children Conference is being hosted by the Rainy River District Substance Abuse Prevention Team.

Chair Lori Maki says it's will help local agencies better understand the issue as a number of presenters from across North America will be in to talk about experiences elsewhere

Maki says the conference will also help improve communication and procedures between the agencies involved.