Friday, April 19, 2013

Storm Cancels Buses In Atikokan

A winter storm, impact mostly areas to the east of Fort Frances, has led to Iron Range Bus Lines cancelling all of its buses for students in Atikokan today.

It's been snowing since yesterday with the bulk of the snow coming overnight.

Highways east of Fort Frances are also snow covered with icy sections with the blowing snow hindering visibility.

High School Teachers Accept Revised Contract

Public high school teachers and support staff have endorsed a revised contract with the province.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation says it's members voted 84 per cent in favour of the new pact.

Tory education critic Lisa MacLeod estimates the deal will cost taxpayers $114 million dollars, despite the Liberals and the union saying it was cost-neutral.

Proposed Debt Settlement Services Rules Welcomed

There's some praise being offered to the Ontario government for its plans to bring in new rules aimed at debt settlement services.

Frank Fabiano, a trustee in bankruptcy with Grant Thornton, says he's aware of individuals who used these services and paid out large sums of money intended to help cover their debts, only to be sued later by their creditors.

Fabiano says some the companies take the money and don't negotiate a deal with creditors for some time.

The proposed legislation includes companies having easy-to-understand contracts and doing away with upfront fees.

QR Walking Tour Planned

The Fort Frances Museum is in the midst of organizing a walking tour that will require a smart phone.

Curator Sherry George says they're hoping to display QR codes on various buildings that can be read with smart phone technology.

By reading the codes, people will be directed to websites that describe the location along with historical information.

George says they plan to begin with the downtown area in hopes of expanding elsewhere.

Dragon Boat Festival Preparations

Preparations are being made for this year Dragon Boat Festival in Fort Frances.

The event will be held during Canada Day along the Rainy River.

Organizer Jenny Greenhalgh says the success of last year inaugural event is attracting some interest this year.

NCDS is currently accepting groups or individuals wanting to participate.

Local History Promoted

The story of a woman from the Fort Frances area, who's a big part of Victoria, British Columbia's history, is being told.

Isabella Mainville lived here in the early 1800's before marrying Charles Ross, an employee with the Hudson Bay company and moving west.

Fern Perkins, a retired teacher, is in the area to talk about her great-great-great grandmother.

Perkins spoke at area schools and during a community event last night.

Festival Results From Thursday

Sturgeon Creek Alternative Program captured two first place finishes to bring the English drama competitions at the Rainy River District Festival of the Performing Arts to a conclusion.

Instrumental also took place with several multi winners.

Tianna Veldhuisen, among them, took two individual awards in the string category, then as a duet with Katelyn Bruyere and as part of violin group.

Today French Drama takes place this afternoon at the Townshend Theatre and later tonight at Knox United Church.

Here are all of the results from Thursday

FESTIVAL 2013 - Drama Results, Thursday, April 18
Choral Speaking, Grade 2
FIRST:  J. W. Walker School, Grades 1 and 2 (Director, Nicole Evans)

Choral Speaking, Grade 3
FIRST:  Sturgeon Creek Alternative Program, Grades 6 to 8 (Director, Yvonne Veldhuisen)

Elementary Skit, Grades 6 to 8
FIRST:  Sturgeon Creek Alternative Program, Grades 6 to 8 (Director, Yvonne Veldhuisen)

FESTIVAL 2013 - Instrumental Results, Thursday, April 18

Beginner Ensemble
FIRST:  Robert Moore School, Grade 4 Class (Director, Cynthia Donald)

Bands and Orchestras, Beginner Band
FIRST:  St. Thomas Grade 4 - 8 Beginner Band (Director, John Faith)
SECOND:  J. W. Walker School Grade 7 to 8 Band (Director, J. Bonner-Vickers)

Ensembles, Garage Band, Cover Material
FIRST:  Shawn Brady and Raymond Pols

Guitar Solo, Level 1
FIRST:  Calin Campbell
SECOND:  Reese Jolicoeur

Guitar Solo, Level 2
FIRST:  Scott Jolicoeur
SECOND:  Ryley Booth

String Solo, Popular Music, Junior
FIRST:  Scott Jolicoeur (Guitar)
SECOND:  Ryley Booth (Guitar)

Violin Solo, Examination Courses, Grade 1
FIRST:  Alexa Veldhuisen

Violin Solo, Examination Courses, Grade 4
FIRST:  Hannah Veldhuisen
SECOND:  Mika Kooistra

Violin Solo, Examination Courses, Grade 5
FIRST:  Tianna Veldhuisen
SECOND:  Katelyn Bruyere

Violin Solo, Method Courses, Level 4
FIRST:  Katelyn Bruyere

String Solo, Short Recital Piece, Junior
FIRST:  Mika Kooistra
SECOND:  Hannah Veldhuisen

String Solo, Short Recital Piece, Intermediate
FIRST:  Tianna Veldhuisen
SECOND:  Katelyn Bruyere

Junior Duets
FIRST:  Hanna Veldhuisen and Mika Kooistra

Intermediate Duets
FIRST: Tianna Veldhuisen and Katelyn Bruyere

Instrumental Solo, Popular Music, Adult Woodwind
FIRST:  John Jankiewicz

Instrumental Solo, Short Recital Piece, Adult Woodwind
FIRST:  John Jankiewicz

Violin Concert Group, Junior
FIRST:   Katelyn Bruyere, Mika Kooistra, Alexa Veldhuisen, Hannah Veldhuisen, Tianna Veldhuisen

Tourism Minister Defends Tourism Strategy

Ontario's Tourism Minister is disputing opposition claims that the tourism industry in northern Ontario isn't a big priority for him.

Michael Chan was challenged in Queen's Park this week by the NDP who cited the closure of tourism information centres as part of a failed strategy.

Chan says the province needs to look at technology to help market the region.

Chan adds that since 2010, the Liberals have also provided $18-million dollars towards a Regional Tourism Organization that helps market the entire north.

New Board In Place

A new International advisory board for the Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods watersheds is now in place.

It consolidates two existing boards and was a key recommendation of an task force that identified ways of improving water quality in the basin.

The new board is comprised of 20 members, representing interests and governments in both Canada and the U.S., and will report to governments on water quality objectives in the boundary waters.

Communities Told To Be Ready For Possible Evacuees

Communities across northwestern Ontario are being asked to be "host" ready.

The Chief of Emergency Management Ontario, Allison Stuart, stresses they need to be prepared at all time to host evacuees when in need.

Stuart admits they were caught off-guard two years ago when se
veral First Nations had to be evacuated due to the threat of forest fires.

EMO has now drafted a set of guideline that help determine suitable sites.

Fort Frances served as a host for the first time last summer when about one hundred people from Sand Lake First Nation had to be evacuated because of forest fires.

State Of Emergency Declared

A state of emergency has been declared on a remote First Nation in northwestern Ontario, where two people have died in the past two weeks.

There are fears suicide is spreading on the Neskantaga First Nation, where drug addiction is said to be a major problem.