Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Franco-Ontarian Day

Today is Franco-Ontarian Day across the province.

There will be flag raising ceremonies at the town halls of Atikokan and Fort Frances this morning to celebrate the history of francophones in our region and across Ontario.

Council Asked To Bring Down Hotel

Fort Frances Downtown Business Improvement Association wants town council to get moving on removing the former Rainy Lake Hotel.

It's asking that money be set aside for demolition in the 2014 budget..

Chair Doug Anderson says it's one building that gets a lot of negative comments from visitors.

A proposal put forward for an open air market had estimated demolition costs at nearly one-million dollars.

Trees Need Attention

The condition of some trees in Fort Frances has a local resident asking council to take action.

Resident Merv Ahrens says there are several areas around the community where the trees are in such poor condition they pose a safety hazard.

Ahrens says the most problem areas are in Legion Park, Pither's Point Park and along Kings Highway west of McIrvine Road.

Salvation Army to Celebrate

The Salvation Army will celebrate 100 years in the Fort Frances area next year.

As part of the festivities, it's bringing in a band from Bermuda to put on a concert in April.

Lieutenant Dennis Maybury says the concert will be free.

Former Rangers Hold Lobby day

Alumni with the former Ontario Rangers program are bringing their fight to restore the program directly to Queen's Park today.

They held a lobby day in hopes to convincing MPP's to support their cause.

Spokesperson Martin Dubec says they want them to hear directly from those who've benefited.

The program and camps, including one at Quetico Provincial Park, were axed last fall

Interim Police Chief Elected

Treaty 3 Police Service has selected an interim Police Chief to take over from Conrad Delorande who announced his retirement last month.

Dan Davidson, an OPP detective inspector, is being seconded to take over October 7.

Davidson, who grew up in the Morson area, has been with the OPP since 1991.

CN Seeks Conciliation

Canadian National is seeking conciliation in its negotiations with the union representing its train conductors, trainmen, yardmen and traffic coordinators.

Members of Teamsters Canada Rail Conference have been without a contract since July 22.

Health and safety issues are at the forefront

The union claims CN is seeking concessions that would see employees work longer hours.

New Road Has Name

The new road being constructed as part of the housing subdivision on the former Huffman School property now has a name.

It's to be called Huffman Court, in honour of Fletcher Hasby Huffman who's name donned the public school.

The town's planning and development committee felt that given Huffman's significance to the community it was important the town continue to recognize the long time educator.

Mayor Please With Interest In Budget Process

Several groups and individuals are making pitches to Fort Frances council for funding in the 2014 budget.

They presented their requests Monday night.

Organizers of the Dragon Boat Festival, the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce, the Fort Frances Traffic Safety Committee, Meals on Wheels and the Mill Quarter Century Club among those seeking funds for projects under the 2014 budget.

Mayor Roy Avis was impressed by the interest.

The information will be discussed at the committee level before brought back for council to mull over when a preliminary budget is presented early in the new year.

Open House For Out-going Police Chief

Treaty Three Police Services Board is planning an open house in Kenora to say farewell to their out-going chief of police.

Conrad Delaronde will be retire October 18.

The police services board says it will hold the open house on October 10.

No Fires Burning

For the first time since the start of the forest fire season, there are no fires burning anywhere in northwestern Ontario.

No new blazes were reported over the weekend and the Ministry of Natural Resources expects the situation to stay the same the rest of the week.

The official close to the fire season isn't until October 31.

Government To Recover Scammed Money

The Ontario's Attorney General's office has obtained a court order to recover $17-million for victims of an international investment fraud.

It's believed to be the largest recovery under Ontario's civil forfeiture law.

The money was linked to an international Ponzi scheme operated over the past decade by the Stanford group of companies in the United States, South America and the Caribbean.

Employment Fund Now Accepting Applicants

Young people can now apply to Ontario's new Youth Employment Fund.

The Liberal government set up the $265-million fund to help get more young people into the workforce.

The program provides up to $6,800 to employers to offset wages and training costs, and up to a $1,000 to young workers to offset job-related costs such as tools and transportation.

Human Rights Commission Wraps Up Session

The Ontario Human Rights Commission is wrapping up a two day training session in Thunder Bay.

Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall says several issues were heard, mostly around disability rights.

Over 100 people are taking part in the training that's also examining aboriginal issues as well as housing rights.

Falls Company Fined By MPCA

An International Falls chemical processing plant has ran afoul of Minnesota's air quality permit limits.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says Specialty Minerals has agreed to pay a 24-thousand dollar civil penalty after it was found to have exceeded its air emissions permit limit between September 2011 and 2012.

SMI uses carbon dioxide and other byproducts from the Boise mill to create a wide variety of products.

The company also agreed to submit a plant to ensure its operation hours aren't exceeded in the future and to submit a permit application that would change its current permitted emissions limit.

Both of the required actions have already been completed.

Power Project To Be Discussed

Residents of Koochiching County will get an update this week on a proposed new transmission line through Minnesota that will connect to Manitoba.

Minnesota Power in the planning stages of a 500 kiloVolt line with potential routes identified through the County.

Power officials will talk about the project Thursday during a luncheon hosted by the International Falls Chamber of Commerce.

You must register with the Chamber of Commerce is you want to attend.

Tory Candidate Ready

Still lots of chatter of a possible fall election campaign in Ontario.

The Conservatives held their policy convention during the weekend in London.

Kenora-Rainy River candidate Randy Nickle says they've been on alert for a while now.

The NDP and Liberals also have their candidates in place with MPP Sarah Campbell looking for a second term while Emo councillor Anthony Leek is ready to run again for the Grits.

New Trade Strategy

Ontario wants to expand its exports in the global market.

It's revealed a new trade initiative called the Going Global Trade Strategy.

It has particular focus on small and medium size businesses.

Part of the strategy includes working with the federal government on new trade deals with the European Union, India, Japan and South Korea.

Smile Cookies Now Available

File photo
Here's your chance to put a smile on a local child's face!

Tim Hortons is holding its annual 'Smile Cookie' campaign this week.

OPP Constable Anne McCoy says proceeds from all sales from the Fort Frances store will go toward the Respect Technology program.

It's the third year Tim Hortons has backed the program through its campaign.

College Still Reviewing Float Plane Program Options

Confederation College is hoping to decide where to locate its float plane training classes in the next couple of months.

The College agreed to move the course from its current location on Eva Lake near Atikokan following numerous complaints from cottagers.

President, Jim Madder says they've received a lot of interest from communities interested in hosting the program.

Committee Co-chair Ready To Get To Work

A long time coming.

That's how Alvin Fiddler feels about a new provincial committee set up to ensure stronger first nations representation to juries.

The Deputy Grand Chief of the Nishinawbe-Aski Nation has been appointed co-chair.

The 11-member committee will implement the recommendations of a report submitted earlier this year by Justice Frank Iacobucci.

NOMA President Supports Pipeline Project

The President of the Northwestern Ontario Association is throwing his support behind the proposed Energy East pipeline.

Dave Canfield says the pipeline to move oil from Alberta to the east coast has multiple benefits.

Canfield any proposed line shouldn't interfere with local watersheds.

Provincial Clarifies Minister's Comments

The Energy Minister's office is clarifying Bob Chiarelli's recent comments about the Thunder Bay Generating Station.

Last Thursday, he indicated the plant would run six HOURS a year, instead of saying six TIMES a year.

Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle says he was trying to stress that the provincial government will provide a stable and cost effective supply of electricity for the Northwest.

Gravelle says no decision has yet been made about the  power plant.

Proponents says a conversion of the coal-fired plant is needed to meet the region's future energy demands.

Torys Election Ready

Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives have some new ideas and their party's next campaign platform following a weekend meeting in London.

Hundreds of delegates from across the province had their say on a list of about two dozen policy ideas, from cutting income taxes to selling beer and wine in corner stores.

Ghost Tour

The ghosts of Voyageurs National Park are being summoned.

The park is setting up a ghost tour as a means of teaching people the history of the park and surrounding area.

The Park's Chris Amidon says a number "ghosts" will greet people who participate in the walk.

The event goes later this week, but you have to call the Park office to reserve a spot.