Wednesday, January 15, 2014

By-Elections Called

Voters in two southern Ontario communities will be going to the polls in provincial by-elections next month.

The by-elections take place February 13 in Niagara Falls and Thornhill to fill vacancies left vacant by the retirements of Progressive Conservative Peter Shurman and Liberal Kim Craitor.

Last Operating Paper Machine Going Down

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The last operating paper machine at Resolute Forest Products mill in Fort Frances will go silent at the end of the month.

The company says paper machine number 5, which produces specialty printing papers, will be stopped January 31 because of deteriorating market conditions.

Spokesperson Xavier Van Chau says it's not certain when machine will run again.

About 150 employees will be impacted, leaving a workforce of about 60.

Fort Frances Mayor Roy Avis says he was shocked when he was informed of Resolute's decision.

Avis says news of the shutdown was passed onto him through a conference call with Resolute's top brass Monday night.

Avis says he's concerned with the number of people impacted, but find some solace in the fact that some employees are being retained and the company's looking at how it can reposition operations.

In a joint statement, Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti, and Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle say they're taking action to provide the necessary support to assist those affected.

They add they're actively engaged in developing a full assessment of the impact and examining what options are available.

The Ministers go on to say they'll continue to work with the forestry sector to restore competitiveness and seek new economic opportunities.

Snow In Forecast

Snow is in the forecast for the Borderland.

Environment Canada has issued a weather statement that says the Rainy River district could see as much as 10 centimetres by the time a low pressure system over the northern Prairie provinces passes through the area.

A similar hazardous outlook has been issued for Koochiching County by the National Weather Service.

More Concerns About Hwy 502

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More pressure is being put on government regarding the winter road maintenance of Highway 502.

Dryden city councillor Mary Trist says its time local municipalities speak up about the state of the highway linking Fort Frances with Dryden.

She also wants Ontario's Transportation Minister Glen Murray to drive the highway.

The topic is likely to come up this weekend in Atikokan when municipal leaders in the Rainy River district gather for their annual meeting.

Ministry of Transportation officials are expected to attend.

Abductor Arrested In Dryden

A Toronto man who kidnapped his 3-year-old and 4-year-old sons from Alberta has been arrested in Dryden.

29-year-old Iihami Butin was arrested yesterday after OPP were altered by Edmonton Police Service the man's vehicle had been spotted in the northwestern Ontario city.

The two boys were taken into police custody unharmed.

Dill Talks About Upcoming Session

Some 300 bills will greet Minnesota legislators when they return to the State capital next month.

House rep. for Koochiching County David Dill says it's possible some may not get much attention.

Dill adds he wants see a projected surplus put back into critical programs and reserves, and a repeal of some of the taxes put in place last year.

Dill is also hopeful funding for a sewer project in the area of Voyageurs National Park and the International Falls airport will get approval this session.

ALAG Gets Council Support

Fort Frances council has given its support in principle to the Assisted Living Action Group's efforts to develop an assisted living facility in the area.

Council gave that commitment after ALAG made a request for their support Monday night.

ALAG spokesperson June Caul says it's important to have council on side.

No funding was requested but Caul says the group is in the process of a membership drive to help fund a future feasibility study.

New Deal For Dial-A-Ride Service

A reduction in hours this summer for the Dial-a-Ride program in Fort Frances.

The transportation service on Mondays and Tuesdays during July and August will now be available from noon to 5 p.m., instead of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The town's community service manager Jason Kabel says North Air Service asked for the change as part of a new three-year agreement, noting few riders on those days and a difficulty in staffing.

Hours of operation on other days remain unchanged.

The town is also increasing the subsidy it provide to North Air by 50 cents per ride to $3.00.

The cost to the user stays the same.

No Opposition To Zoning By-Law

No opposition to a new zoning by-law for the town of Fort Frances.

The by-law, which regulates and control how properties used, was revealed during a public meeting Monday night.

It was updated to reflect current standards, reduce the number of zones and make changes to properties to reflect proper use.

The document will come back to council at its next meeting for final approval.