Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quiet Season So Far

It's definitely been a quiet forest fire season in northwestern Ontario.

The Ministry of Natural Resources says both the number of fires and area burned so far are half of last year's numbers.

There were no new fires reported on the weekend and the fire hazard remains low in most parts of the region.

National Geographic Marketing Initiative Getting More Support

Several area communities continue to support an marketing initiative involving National Geographic.

The group, Heart of the Continent, is close to signing a contract with the company.

Tourism Thunder Bay spokesperson John Cameron says it's good to work with Minnesota.

Thunder Bay, Duluth, International Falls and Atikokan have committed funding to the project.

Conference Planned

How We Will Sustain Ourselves.

That's the name of a Treaty 3 conference to be held in Kenora later this month.

Coordinator Mike Greaves says many different groups will be presenting.

Greaves says the meeting will also discuss best practices, opportunities, and challenges.

Conservatives Getting Ready

A new session of Parliament will begin in another month.

Federal Science and Technology Minister Greg Rickford says the Conservative caucus is working on the new agenda for the fall session.

MP's will be back in Ottawa October 16th.

Slow Going Over Causeway

It will slow going over the Noden Causeway, east of Fort Frances, later this week.

Toronto Zenith Construction will be doing some concrete work on the bridge that will require traffic to be controlled by both flaggers and a pilot vehicle.

Motorists will be slowed to about 10 kilometres an hour through the construction  zone.

The company says the work will likely begin tomorrow (Wednesday) and finish up by the end of the week.

Fundraiser Surpasses Goal

Huge success for Riverside Foundation for Health Care and its "Cowboys and Lace" fundraiser Saturday in Emo.

About $39-thousand was raised - $9-thousand more than hoped.

More than 280 people attended.

The money will go towards purchasing a new mechanical lift at the Emo Health Centre and an IV Pump at Rainy River Health Centre.

Fires Still Burning In Park

MNR file photo
Two forest fires burning within Quetico Provincial Park are among the few still active across northwestern Ontario.

The small lightning-caused blazes at the south end of the park have been burning since the end of August, but are posing no threats.

The Ministry of Natural Resources says it will continue to monitor them until they've burned themselves out.

New Campground Fees At Voyageurs

New campground fees and a reservation system will be implemented at Voyageurs National Park.

The fees will be phased in over a period of time, with certain interior and main lake campsites, houseboats sites, and rentals of boats on interior lakes, taking effect in 2014.

Spokesperson Tawnya Schoewe says a desire for a reservation system led to their consideration of fees.

Schoewe says the rates will range from 16 to 24 dollars per night, which are lower than the fees at many State campgrounds.

Falls Water Comes Close Second

International Falls has fallen short in a repeat bid to having the best drinking water in Minnesota.

The city's lost out to Duluth in this year's "best in glass" contest held by the Minnesota chapter of the American Water Works Association.

The Falls water, which won last year, did earn a people's choice award in a taste tasting event held during this year's Minnesota State Fair.

Drive-Thr Breakfast Approaching

The annual drive-through breakfast in support of the Voyageurs Lions Club is approaching.

It will take place at Tim Hortons in Fort Frances this Thursday.

Member Gaby Hanzuk says it's one of their major fundraising events.

This is the event's 10th year.

Credit Union Target Of Threat

The Northern Lights Credit Union has become a the target of threats.

The Fort Frances financial institution was closed last Thursday after a bag and a note asking staff to fill it with money was found at its back door.

OPP Constable Anne McCoy says it also made threats to other locations if the demand was not met.

As a result, all schools in Fort Frances were placed in a "hold and secure" position, requiring them to lock all doors and closely monitor those entering.

OPP confirm they're reviewing video tape from security cameras as part of their investigation.

Anyone with information can call the OPP or Crimestoppers.

Credit Union Staff Lauded

The president of Northern Lights Credit Union says staff at all of its branches are well prepared to deal with such an emergency.

Ernie Remillard says staff in Fort Frances executed emergency procedures as required.

Remillard says the situation was a traumatic for staff, but credits them for staying calm and that everyone was safe.

Human Rights Commission To Hold Training

The Ontario Human Rights Commission is holding two human rights training sessions in Thunder Bay.

The two day session is set for September 23 and 24.

Training will cover a variety of themes including anti-racism and anti-discrimenation for cities, housing and gender based harrassment.

One Snowmobile Permit Concept Promoted

An old idea to improve winter tourism opportunities in the northwest is being revived.

Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association president Dave Canfield says he's talked with officials in Manitoba, Ontario and Minnesota about having snowmobile permits recognized in each others jurisdiction instead of forcing sledders to purchase additional ones.

Canfield says any agreement will need to be signed off by the provincial and State governments.

Fort Frances Wants Help With Roads

The town of Fort Frances would like some help from the province in covering the costs of upgrading its major roads through town.

Mayor Roy Avis outlined the importance of those roads to the province during a recent meeting with Parliamentary Assistant to Transportation.

The town must now carry the full financial burden of upgrades after the province discontinued its connecting link funding program.

Falls Seeks Input On Propertu Use

The city of International Falls has started thinking about what can be done with 122 acres located along the Rainy River beside the Falls Country Club.

The city acquired the land in a deal with the Donahue family trust four years ago.

Director of Economic & Community Development Shawn Mason says they've now turned to the public for advise on possible uses.

The city's holding four public meeting to gather input before council reviews possible recommendations at the end of the year.

The next meeting takes place Spetember 25 at the AmericInn.

County Sets Levies

Little change in the amount of tax dollars Koochiching County expects to collect in 2014.

The County has set its proposed tax levy at just under $4-million, the same as it is this year.

The county has also approved tax levies for the taxing districts covering land ambulance services and fire protection

Increases are identified in the Littlefork Ambulance Service District and the Fire districts covering Loman and Littlefork.

Woman Dies In Accident

The Vermillion Bay woman whose vehicle collided with two horses on Highway 17 near Dryden has died.

The 38 year old was sent on last weekend to Thunder Bay hospital for treatment but OPP say she succumbed to her injuries on last Tuesday night.

Minister Says Province Protecting MNR

Ontario's Natural Resources Minister says the NDP has it all wrong.

David Orazietti is disputing claims by the opposition that an internal reorganization of the MNR will hurt northern Ontario.

Orazietti says all area offices are remaining open and the changes have led to 36 new positions being creating in northwestern Ontario.