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.