Monday, February 25, 2013

Second Man Arrested In Gun-Smuggling Case

There's been another arrest related to a gun-smuggling incident that led to a Fort Frances man being arrested in North Dakota earlier this month.

RCMP say 22-year Thomas Peter Atkinson, also from Fort Frances, faces 27 different firearms-related charges.

His arrest came the same day 29-year-old Shawn James Hartnell was placed in custody by American authorities.

Atkinson has since been released and will appear in a Winnipeg court room March 5th.

Hartnell is facing charges both in North Dakota and Manitoba.

Mill Employees Being Recalled

It appears some of the workers laid off due to the idling of the kraft mill and a paper machine at the Resolute Forest Products mill in Fort Frances may be returning to work.

About a dozen members of the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union and some represented by other unions have also been asked to report back to work in early March.

The company has yet to explain why, but it's believe the recalls are to fill vacancies among the employees still working.

Mayor And Councillors In Toronto

The town of Fort Frances is seeking some financial help from the province to offset the tax rebate to Resolute Forest Products.

Mayor Roy Avis, along with Councillor Rick Wiedenhoef and John Albanese intend to broach the idea with Municipal Affairs Minister Linda Jeffery while they're at the joint meeting of Ontario Good Road Association and the Rural Ontario Municipalities Association meetings in Toronto this week.

The trio also has meeting with Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli regarding a proposal to amalgamate local electricity distribution companies.

They're also meeting with the Natural Resources parliamentary assistant regarding the area's wood rights.

Osisko Feasibility Study Nears Completion

Osisko Mining is preparing to complete a key document on its gold project near Atikokan.

President Sean Roosen says they're about 85 per cent complete on a feasibility study

Roosen says that document could be complete within the next six month.

Meantime, the company is budgeting about $10-million for remaining work at its Hammond Reef Gold project.

It spent almost $59-million in 2012.

Funding Request Deadline Today

Today's the deadline for groups and individuals seeking funding to participate in the federal environmental assessment of Rainy Resources gold project.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is making over $122-thousand available.

Community Forest Policy Network Planned

There's a move in Ontario to get First Nations and Municipalities involved in managing and using area forests.

Lakehead University's Dr. Peggy Smith says delegates to a recent conference agreed to developing a national policy network to look at community forestry programs.

Smith says they'll continue to work towards creating the network in the coming months.

Teachers Asked To Resume Extracurriculars

The union representing Ontario's public high school teachers is recommending its members go back to supervising extracurricular activities.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation intends to explain why later this morning.

Premier Kathleen Wynne predicts most teachers will return to voluntarily looking after the clubs and sports.

Wynne says her government didn't make any concessions to get extracurriculars back, other than to promise to work on a new collective bargaining process.

OPP Seeking Public's Help in Solving Theft

OPP are looking for the public's help in solving a theft in Fort Frances.

Police says a 2010 Polaris Assault 800 was taken from an enclosed trailer at a Christie Avenue home sometime last week.

Election Talks Heats Up

Talk of an early election in Ontario is heating up.

The Conservatives are already saying they'll vote against the budget, yet to be announced, while the NDP are looking for certain demands.

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell says those requests come directly from people they've talked with.

They include ending corporate tax loopholes, and changes to auto insurance.

Petitions Delivered To Queen's Park

Two petitions at Queen's Park on two separate issues from Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell.

One called for a reopening of northern Ontario parks closed to overnight camping by the province last year.

The other seeks an expansion of power to the Ontario Ombudsman to oversee such things as hospitals, police and school boards

Thunder Bay Firm Wins Contract

A Thunder Bay firm has been award a road and sewer and water improvement project in Fort Frances.

The project includes upgrades on Second Street East between Mowat and Central Avenues and Mowat between Second and Third Streets.

Total cost of the contract to Makkinga Contractors is just over $1.2 million.

The town is hoping for provincial funding help cover a third of the project.

Snow Sculptors Wanted

Calling all artists.

Snow sculpturing is returning to Fort Frances.

Participants are being asked to carve their creation out of piles of snow in the area of the former Huffman School property.

Organizer Samantha Manty says they intend to make the event a community family affair.

Sculpting will begin on March 5 with judging and other activities happening on March 9.

Prospective sculptors are asked to contact the Fort France Museum if your interested.

STOP Program Returns To Fort Frances

An opportunity for area smokers trying to break the habit.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, through the Northwestern Health Unit, is bringing back its Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients, or STOP, back to the Fort Frances area next week.

Coordinator  of the Northwest Tobacco Control Area Network, Jennifer McFarlane says its free eligible participants and provides five weeks of nicotine patches.

Your asked to register with the Health Unit for Wednesday's event.

Town Responding To Transport Canada

The town of Fort Frances isn't pleased with how Transport Canada is responding to a new proposed landfill site in Couchiching First Nations.

The federal agency says it has no authority to restrict the site, but recommends it be operated bird-free.

Councillor Rick Wiedenhoeft doesn't know how that's going to happen.

The town plans to draft a response back to Transport Canada.

DSSAB Budget Delayed

It will be another month before area municipalities know exactly how much they'll be contributing to the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board.

CAO Dan McCormick says they still need the final paperwork from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation on the agreed reduction of Resolute Forest Products mill that will impact the final budget.

The board is also monitoring the doctor situation in Rainy River to determine if a contingency fund for additional patient transfers will be kept in place.

Question Of The Week

Fort Frances council is in the midst of dealing with this year's budget.

The operating budget is currently looking at a $2.2 million dollar shortfall.

How concerned are you with town's financial situation?

Let's us know on our website or comment on our Facebook page.

Province Asked To Help Save Experimental Lakes

The provincial government is being asked to help save the Experimental Lakes Area near Kenora.

Kenora-Rainy River M.P.P. Sarah Campbell says the province can intervene if it chooses.

"This lack of action is appalling," says Campbell, "given that the province has the power to prevent the closure by enforcing a bilateral agreement that was signed with the federal government, which requires all 58 lakes to be fully rehabilitated if the site is to be closed."

The facility is set to close at the end of March.

Jury Report Released Tomorrow

A long awaited report on the jury roll system in Ontario will be released tomorrow.

Former Ontario Superior Court judge, Frank Iaccabucci was asked to look at how to better get aboriginal representation on jury rolls.

His report will be released in Thunder Bay.

Hudak Says Election Needed

The Progressive Conservatives say Ontario needs an election as soon as possible, and warn they won't vote for the Liberals' budget, which won't be made public for weeks.

PC Leader Tim Hudak says Premier Kathleen Wynne used this week's throne speech to signal she would entrench the Dalton McGuinty legacy instead of cutting the size and cost of government.

The Conservative opposition, alone, won't force an election, but if the NDP doesn't like what in the budget, leader Andrea Horwath says she'll withdraw her support for the Throne Speech.

"Save ELA" Voiced At New Orleans Conference

Efforts to save the Experimental Lakes area near Kenora have spread across the border.

A number of delegates attending a science conference in New Orleans wore t-shirts in support of the northwestern Ontario research site.

Conference president Dr. James Elser says almost every session will use pieces of science derived or inspired by research at the site.

The federal government announced an end to funding to the area last year.

Institute Appoints First Chair

An organization set up to monitor the implementation of the Northern Ontario Growth plan now has a chair and vice-chair.

Martin Bayer, who works for a law firm in Sudbury, will serve as the Northern Policy Institute's first chair.

Dr. George Macey, a dentist in Marathon, will act as the vice-chair.

The Institute is to provide recommendations to government on policies and programs to strengthen the north's economy.

Area Schools Given Poor Grades

A right-wing think tank isn't giving good grades to elementary schools in northwestern Ontario on student achievement.

Peter Cowley of the Fraser Institute says their review of area schools finds them well below the provincial average of 6 out of 10.

The Institute bases its scores on how well schools and their students performed on the latest provincial literacy and math tests.

The Institute also bases its analysis for the Fort Frances area on just two elementary schools.