Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Plan In Place To Deal With Economic Challenges

The Rainy River Future Development Corporation is ready to tackle the economic challenges facing Fort Frances and the Rainy River district.

It's been working on a three-year plan aimed at transiting the local economy.

Consultant Tannis Drysdale says it includes growing the mining supply and services industry.

Drydsale says they're also exploring other opportunities in such areas as health care, agriculture and tourism.

Telephone Problems At Riverside

Some telephone problems for Riverside Health Care facilities.

Hospital officials says it's preventing anyone from calling any of their facilities.

Efforts to fix the problem are under way, but there is no word as to when the system will be repaired.

Pre-Budget Hearing

Plenty of ideas for the province to consider in the next provincial budget.

A pre-budget hearing in Thunder Bay drew about a dozen groups out with their wish lists.

Among them the Ontario Nurses Association executive Colleen Morrow who's seeking more nurses.

The committee also heard a call to increase the minimum wage to $14.00  an hour.

Osisko Rejects Takeover Bid

Osisko Mining has formally rejected Goldcorp's hostile takeover bid.

Osisko Mining says the $2.6 billion offer announced last week  "significantly undervalues" the company's assets, including its flagship Canadian Malartic gold mine in Quebec.

Osisko also has the Hammond Reef gold project near Atikokan in its portfolio.

Manitoba Men Rescued

Two Manitoba men are recovering after being rescued from a northwestern Ontario lake.

OPP says the two become stranded Monday night in the area of Reynard Lake, just inside the Ontario at the border with Manitoba when their snowmachines got stuck in deep slush.

One of the men was able to contact Police and helped guide a Hercules aircraft out of CFB Winnipeg to their location.

They were later picked up by family members by snow machine.

Both were cold and exhausted.

One was suffering from frostbite.

More Women In Politics Promoted

A group of Northwestern Ontario women politicians have come together to get more women in politics.

They're holding a forum in Thunder Bay today.

Long-time city councillor Rebecca Johnson says it's aimed at helping women understand what it takes to run for office.

Johnson says they're also hoping to set up a mentorship program to help support women who want to run.

I. Falls Area To Market In Deep South

International Falls is eying some new markets for visitors.

The area's Convention and Visitors Bureau is planning to market in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Director Pete Schultz says while they have seen visitors in the past, it's the first time they've paid any type of attention to those areas.

Schultz says they expected to judge the success of the campaign through requests for information and hits to its website.

ABC Promotes Ice Box Days

ABC News photo
Some national exposure for International Falls.

The city and its recent Ice Box Days were featured in a segment on last night's ABC Nightline.

It highlighted such events as turkey bowling, smoosh racing and the Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run.

Here's the segment courtesy ABC News


Stolen Vehicle Burned

A vehicle reported stolen in the Atikokan area on the weekend has been found torched.

OPP says the burned out 2006 Ford pick-up was located Sunday night on a private camp road.

The vehicle had been taken from a home on Highway 11 near Atikokan two nights earlier.

Police continue to investigate.

No Charges In Bus Accident

No charges are being laid in connection with an accident in Fort Frances involving a school bus.

It happened around 3 p.m. Monday at the intersection of Second Street East and Portage Avenue.

OPP says a small car slide into the back of empty bus stopped for the traffic lights on Second.

Police says road conditions contributed to the accident.

Thunder Bay Mayor Declares

Thunder Bay's mayor is making his mind up early.

Keith Hobbs is among the first northwestern Ontario leader to declare his intentions to seek another term in this fall's municipal election.

Hobbs says he's taking nothing for granted from voters.

Province Expanding Paramedicine Program

The Provincial Government is using $6-million to expand community paramedicine programs.

The move will improve access to home care and community support services for seniors and other patients with chronic conditions.

Paramedics can now upgrade their training so they can conduct home visits for seniors and educate their patients about chronic disease management.

Service Cuts Possible

Service cuts not out of the realm of possibility in Fort Frances.

Town council began its budget discussions last night.

Councillor Paul Ryan, who like to see a minimal tax increase, says given the financial challenges facing the town,  services may have to be reviewed.

The budget shortfall is currently at about $360-thousand.

 Meantime, Fort Frances councillors did remove nearly $1.8 million worth of projects off the capital list.

A sand shelter, some heavy equipment and a dog park among items removed in the first go around.

The list is going back to department heads to identify their priorities before it comes back to council for another review.

Thumbs Down To Sidewalk Request

Fort Frances council is saying "no" to a request for a sidewalk along Keating Avenue in Fort Frances.

The town's traffic safety committee made the request to improve the safety of children who walk to school.

Councillor Andrew Hallikas says given the town helped with the Kiss and Ride program, the school boards should help pay the cost of the sidewalk.

Estimated cost is about $65-thousand dollars.

Parents with J.W. Walker School says the absense of the sidewalk has forced students who walk to school to take to the snow banks this winter, creating a different safety concern of children sliding down, potentially in the path of traffic.

Budget Requests Reviewed

Fort Frances council has reviewed a number of public requests for this year's budget.

While a final vote is yet to come, council did indicate a willingness to give the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce $7,500 for tourism and marketing initiatives, $2,000 for the Peace Pull with International Falls and $1,000 for the Dragon Boat festival.

No immediate decisions were made on funding requests for the 100th anniversary celebrations of the mill or the Salvation Army's hosting of a orchestra from Bermuda.

No Demolition This Year

The former Rainy Lake Hotel will stay put for at least another year.

Fort Frances council says there is simply no money to consider a demolition of the shuttered hotel at this time.

The Fort Frances Downtown Business Improvement Association had asked council to at least consider setting some money aside this year for the estimated  $950-thousand cost.

Fednor Offers Support To Town

Fednor is offering some assistance to the town of Fort Frances.

Rainy River Future Development Corporation Geoff Gillon says in light of recent announcements by Resolute Forest Products, the director of the regional economic development funding program is suggesting the town come up with projects needing $50-thousand dollars or less that could get his direct approval.

The town is now looking at potential projects.