Thursday, January 9, 2014

NDP To Select Candidate In Thunder Bay-Atikokan

New Democrats in Thunder Bay-Atikokan will select their candidate for the next provincial election next month.

The riding Association has set voting meetings February 8 at the Pioneer Centre in Atikokan and the next day in Thunder Bay.

Former Schreiber mayor Madge Richardson  and Mary Kozorys, who works in MP John Rafferty’s Thunder Bay constituency office, are vying for the position.

Kozorys won the nomination over Richardson in 2011.

Pre-Budget Hearing Deadline Today

Today's the last day to request an audience with a provincial legislative committee gathering input on the next budget.

The committee is in Thunder Bay January 21.

Requests to make an oral presentation are made through the clerk of the committee.

Written submissions will be accepted until January 23.

Be Safe On The Sleds

A word of warning from the Ontario Provincial Police.

They're asking snowmobilers to exercise caution while on the trails and roadways.

It comes in the wake of five fatal accidents that have occurred across the province this winter.

All five mishaps happened on roadways.

Emergency Officials Looking To Improve Communications

The heads of the Ontario Associations of Police, Fire, and Paramedics are talking about how they communicate with each other.

President of the Paramedic's Association Norm Gale says they want to improve the way they spread information.

The provincial associations met in Thunder Bay yesterday

More Details On Resort Fire

More information is being released about Monday's fire at a northwestern Ontario resort between Vermilion Bay and Kenora.

The blaze destroyed all 15-rooms of the motel at Willard Lake Resort.

The owner pegs damage at roughly $200-thousand and believes the fire may have started in a wood furnace.

He's hoping to rebuild a handful of units by the summer.

Drug Companies Team On Generitc Drug Production

Baudette-based ANI Pharmaceuticals says its entered into an agreement with another company to produce and market a generic drug product.

ANI says the unnamed product will be developed by Illinois-based Sterling Pharmaceutical Services, later manufactured and marketed out of it's Baudette facility.

The company says the estimated value of the market for the drug is about 60-million dollars.

Use Of Nuclear Energy Increasing

Ontario's reliance on nuclear energy is increasing.

A report from the Independent Electricity System Operator shows nuclear accounted for almost 60 per cent of the province's energy needs in 2013.

That's up about 3 per cent from 2012.

Gas generation dropped more than 3 per cent while coal generation accounted for just 2 per cent of Ontario energy generation as the province continues to phase it out.

MTO Says Maintenance Of Highways Unchanged

The Ministry of Transportation denies service levels on Highways 502 or 622 this winter have been downgraded.

It's makes that claim in a letter to the Rainy River District School Board in response to one sent by chair Mike Lewis over Iron Range Bus Lines' decision not to travel Hwy 502 this winter and concerns that a similar decision could be made over the use of Hwy 622 near Atikokan.

Lewis says without the link from Atikokan to Highway 17, Atikokan High School teams would likely cease because of the extra travel costs incurred by taking alternative routes to places like Red Lake and Sioux Lookout.

Education Director Heather Campbell says Iron Range's decision not to use Hwy 502 also means increases cost for Fort Frances High teams and more time away from schools because of the extra time taken by traveling Highway 71 instead.

The Ministry does state it's spoken with Transfield Services, the contractor responsible for winter road maintenance in this region, who has deployed a grader to reduce snow pack on Highway 502.

Campbell says Iron Range is monitoring the condition of the highway on a day-to-day basis.

Residents Want Proposed Power Line Route Moved

A proposed transmission line through Koochiching County to connect with Manitoba is drawing concerns from some residents

Charity Oveson says one of Minnesota Power's possible routes through the Big Falls River area is a little too close for them and would like it moved further south.

The residents concerns prompted the County's Board of Commissioners to request a meeting with Minnesota Power.

Board Warned of Student and Financial Loss With School Closure

A warning of a drop in enrollment and financial loss if the Rainy River District School Board merges three schools in the west end of the district.

Andrew McCormack, a parent of two children at Barwick's Sturgeon Creek School, says they conducted a second survey after the board questioned the validity of an earlier one.

McCormack says most parents indicate they would move their children to the Catholic system if the school was closed, accounting for a financial loss to the Board of up to $850-thousand.

McCormack, who's also a children's mental health therapist says maintaining small schools helps a child build strong attachment relationships.

Trustees are to gather next Wednesday to discuss the possible merger of Sturgeon Creek with Emo's Donald Young School and Crossroads School in Devlin before they make their final decision.

New Chair Elected For Koochiching County

A new year and a new chair for Koochiching County's Board of Commissioners.

Rob Elkund takes over the position from Kevin Adee.

Wade Pavleck takes on the duties of vice-chair.

Sick? Docs Say Stay Home

If you're sick, please stay home.

That message from Ontario's doctors as the flu season is in full swing.

President of the Ontario Medical Association Doctor Scott Wooder says staying home to rest will help you to manage your illness and prevent others from getting infected.

The OMA says employers should also encourage their workers to stay home when sick and refrain from asking for sick notes when they are away.

Math Help Provided

The provincial government is taking steps to help improve students math skills by giving teachers more tools and resources.

They're creating more opportunities for teachers to gain additional qualifications in math through new professional learning workshops and summer learning programs.

McPherson Funeral Announced

Funeral services have now been set for Couchiching First Nation Chief Chuck McPherson who died Sunday

They will be held this Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Couchiching First Nation Arena.

Resolute Tax Appeal In Thunder Bay Continues

Fort Frances isn't alone in its fight against recent mill re-assessments.

A hearing into a tax appeal by Resolute Forest Products for its Thunder Bay operations continues later this month.

Resolute wants the assessed value of its mill between 2009 and 2012, decreased 60 per cent.

A similar appeal for its Fort Frances mill led to the company and the town reaching a deal on a 25 per cent decrease and a tax rebate of $1.8 million.

Keith Named To Canada's Olympic Hockey Team

Former Fort Frances native Duncan Keith is heading back to the Olympics.

The Chicago Blackhawk defenceman was among 25 selected to Canada's men's hockey team for the upcoming Sochi Olympics.

Keith, who played minor hockey in Fort Frances, was a member of the gold medal team in 2010.

Death Not Considered Suspicious

OPP have ruled out a new year's eve death in Atikokan as being suspicious.

The body of man was located in the 100 block of River Road around 9 a.m. on December 31.

Police has also identified him as being 32-year-old Ryan Keeash of Atikokan.

Hiring Process Continues

The city of International Falls is closer to selecting a new administrator.

Council Paul Eklund says six potential candidates were interviewed Monday with the list paired down to three by the end of the week and a final candidate selected in the near future.

Administrative duties have been handled by Deputy administrator Betty Bergstrom since the departure of Rod Otterness last April.