Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Buses Cancelled In Atikokan

Some bus cancellations to report this morning for the Atikokan area.

All Iron Range buses are not running.

Buses elsewhere in the Rainy River district are operating as scheduled

Airport Closure Could Increase Ambulance Costs

The Rainy River District Social Services Administrative Board says it could cost a million dollars in extra ambulance costs if it didn't have access to the Fort Frances airport.

No closure decision has been made, but town council has been concerned with rising costs and has been looking for regional help.

The DSSAB's Dan McCormick says without the airport, they would need to hire at least four more paramedics to transport patients by road to hospitals elsewhere.

McCormick says an average of 550 patients have been flown out of the area in the past three years.

Pre-Budget Hearing In Thunder Bay

About a dozen group  will speak to a provincial legislative committee today on what they would like to see in the upcoming budget.

They're making presentations to the committee as it makes a stop in Thunder Bay.

The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association and the Northwesten Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce among those to speak.

Chamber Sets Day For Awards Gala

The Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce will honour the region's best in March.

It has set March 6 as the date for its annual business awards gala.

Spokesperson Samantha Manty says they have secured former Fort Frances resident, comedian Ryan McMahon as the night's entertainment.

Nomination forms for the nine awards to be given out will be out in the near future.

New Manager Named

There will be a new face for the Northwest Business Center.

Allison Kelly will begin her new duties as manager on January 28.

She takes over from Diane Schwartz-Williams who worked her last day Monday to pursue other opportunities.

Summer Company Returns

Summer Company is coming back to northwestern Ontario.

Offered through the Northwest Business Centre, Summer Company provides up to $3,000 dollars to students to develop their business ideas.

Funding will be available to six students in the Kenora and Rainy River districts.

Ontario Accused Of Giving Power Away

The NDP says Ontario residents are helping subsidize power to neighbouring jurisdictions to the tune of one billion dollars.

Critic Peter Tabuns says that power is going to Michigan, New York, Minnesota, Manitoba and Quebec.

Tabuns says while Ontario generated power at a cost 8.55 cents per kilowatt hour, it was sold at an average price of 2.6 cents.

During the blackouts at Christmas in southern Ontario, Tabuns says excess power was actually given away at no charge.

Help For People With Disabilities

More help for people with disabilities to live independently in their homes.

The province is expanding a funding program which enables people living with disabilities to manage their care based on their individual needs.

The expanded program will provide direct funding to approximately one-thousand people with physical disabilities by 2016.

New Westjet Service Coming

WestJet is bringing a new service to Thunder Bay.

The company says it will offer Encore routes between Toronto and Thunder Bay and between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg.

WestJet didn’t say when the flights would begin.

Snowmobile Safety Week

Both sides of the border are advocating snowmobile safety this week.

This is Snowmobile Safety Week both in Ontario and Minnesota

OPP says speed has been a factor in this year's five snowmobile fatal accidents in Ontario.

In Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton, the Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association are encouraging snowmobile enthusiasts to take a safety course to learn how to avoid accidents.

MTO Reviewing Highway 502

File photo
The Ministry of Transportation is considering reclassifying Highway 502 as a way of improving winter road maintenance on the link between Fort Frances between Dryden.

Speaking to Rainy River district municipal leaders gathered in Atikokan on the weekend, Regional Manager Ian Smith says the highway has always been identified as a Class 5 highway, but could be bumped up to Class 4.

Smith says it would cost the province about half-a-million dollars to make the change.

Smith says the contractor responsible for snow plowing on the road has been hit with fines for not properly maintaining the road, but believes plowing done by the previous firm was done at a greater level than was  expected.

Emo Councillor New Municipal Association President

Emo councillor Anthony Leek has been elected president of the Rainy River District Municipal Association.

Leek beat out Fort Frances Councillor Ken Perry.

LaVallee township Reeve Ross Donaldson stays on as vice-president.