Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Plans For Kraft Mill Decided Soon

Resolute Forest Products appears to be getting close to determining what plans it has for the now idled kraft mill in Fort Frances.

President Richard Garneau says a decision could be made by the spring.

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

He says given its access to cheap electricity and an abundant wood supply, there's good reason to look at finding how the mill can be reopened.

Budget Talks Begin Today

Fort Frances council will sit down today for the first time to discuss potential capital spending in 2013.

Almost $12.5 million in projects have been identified a the draft document.

It includes $1.6 million to tear down the old Rainy Lake Hotel and turn the site into an open-air market square.

No Job Sharing For Now

Koochiching County is moving ahead with hiring its own engineer.

The County discussed the idea of sharing the job with Lake of the Woods County.

Commissioner Rob Eklund says there was interest, but it was felt that giving the time needed to make it happen, it wouldn't be in the best interest to proceed at this time.

Eklund says there was discussion of holding a joint board meeting in the future to discuss issues of common concern.

Atikokan Mayor Honoured

A significant honour for the Mayor of Atikokan.

Dennis Brown has been awarded the Economic Developers Council of Ontario Community Leadership Award.

Brown says its something he'll cherish.

The award recognizes a municipal official who demonstrates leadership toward economic development in their community.

Police Officer Suspended

A Treaty 3 Police officer has been suspended from duty after allegedly being found drunk in a police vehicle.

Constable Garland Kejick of Shoal Lake was charged with impaired driving Saturday after Treaty 3 Police were called about a cruiser parked on an ice road on Lake of the Woods, a couple of kilometers from Sabaskong First Nation.

The 49-year-old will now appear in a Kenora court room March 7.

Gravelle Happy To Be Back

Michael Gravelle can barely contain his excitement in being named to Premier Kathleen Wynne's cabinet.

Gravelle says to be back as Northern Development Minister is what he was hoping for.

Gravelle says one his priorities will be furthering the Ring of Fire mining development.

He's also pleased to have control of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund which also falls within his Ministry.

Liberals Keeping Tuition Fee Break In Place

The provincial Liberals are giving a failing grade to a P.C. proposal to scrap a 30 per cent break for post-secondary tuition.

The Tories says few students qualify and the money isn't going to those who need it most.

New Colleges and Universities Minister Brad Duguid says taking money away from any students would simply defeat the purpose of trying to make the system more accessible.

Missing Teens Found

Two Fort France teenagers reported missing have been found.

OPP says the two 13-year-olds were reported missing yesterday, but located Tuesday morning in the Fort Frances area.

Keep Snow Away From Gas Meters

Union Gas is reminding its customers to keep gas meters and external exhaust outlets for appliances free from ice and snow

Officials says it ensures both the meters and your gas appliances are working safely.

Tories Want Student Grant Scrapped

Ontario's Tories want to scrap the 30 per cent tuition grant the Liberals created for post-secondary students.

The Progressive Conservatives say the government's rules mean the money isn't going to those who really need or deserve it -- and two-thirds of students don't even qualify.

Education Minister Focusing On Extra-Curricular Activities

Ontario new education Minister want to work with public school teachers on a return of extracurricular activities.

Most teachers have withdrawn from those activities to protest imposed contracts.

Liz Sandals won't say if a resolve can be found by the end of the school year.

Teachers unions, meantime, say they welcomes Sandals as education minister and look forward to working with her.

Cabinet Reaction

The president of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association likes Michael Gravelle back as Northern Development Minister.

Ron Nelson says there's great continuity to work wit.

He says one of NOMA's main focuses with Gravelle will be to get the the Northern Ontario Growth  Plan moving again.

Nelson adds the new Liberal cabinet provides a nice blend of fresh faces and experience.

Meantime, Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell has mixed feelings towards the new Liberal cabinet team.

She too likes Gravelle back as Northern Development Minister, but isn't a huge fan of Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orazietti as the new Natural Resources Minister.

Campbell is happy, though, that Queen's Park will finally reopen for business after being prorogued since October.

Provincial Cabinet In Place

Ontario's newest Premier is willing to work with the NDP and Conservatives to keep her minority Liberal government alive.

Kathleen Wynne and her cabinet ministers were sworn into office yesterday.

Wynne wants them to co-operate with their opposition colleagues

The legislature is to resume sitting next Tuesday.

Here is the complete list of cabinet ministers

Deb Matthews, Minister of Health, Deputy Premier.
John Gerretsen, Attorney General.
John Milloy, Government House Leader.
Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance.
Liz Sandals, Minister of Education.
Bob Chiraelli, Minister of Energy.
David Orazietti, Minister of Natural Resources.
Michael Coteau, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
Brad Duguid, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.
Ted McMeekin, Minister of Community and Social Services.
Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Consumer Services.
Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Jeff Leal, Minister of Rural Affairs.
David Orazietti, Minister of Natural Resources.
David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.
Rezi Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation.
Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Labour.
Teresa Piruzza, Minister of Children and Youth Services.
Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for Seniors.
Laurel Broten, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Chair f Cabinet).
Eric Hoskins, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment.
Glen Murray, Minister of Infrastructure and Minister of Transportation.
Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines.
Jim Bradley, Minister of Environment.
Harinder Takhar, Minister of Government Services.
Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Go Local Rewards Program Pushed Back

The rewards program in the Go Local campaign has been delayed further.

Geoff Gillon of the Rainy River Future Development Corporation says the machines needed have arrived and the cards are coming soon.

He's now hoping to have the program rolled out in March.

When in place, cardholders will be able to acquire points from participating businesses towards gift cards to those stores.

Gillon says about 30 businesses are on board with others to be added in the future.

Busy Year For OPP

A busy year for the OPP in the Rainy River District.

Police responded to more than 7,800 calls in 2012.

Detachment Commander, Inspector Steve Shouldice says police were able to clear up many of those cases.

Shouldice says over 30-thousand hours of policing service were also provided to Fort Frances last year, which exceed a contract by about four-thousand hours.