Thursday, February 13, 2014

Crime Stats Drop In Rainy River District

A drop in calls for service for the OPP in the Rainy River district.

OPP responded to almost 68-hundred calls last year, compared with the 78-hundred in 2012.

Rainy River district detachment commander, Inspector Steve Shouldice says there was a similar trend in Fort Frances where police handling about 33-hundred calls.

Shouldice says police also cleared 33 per cent of all property crimes and 93 per cent of all violent crimes, both significantly higher than the provincial and national averages.

Tim Hortons Brings Smiles To Policing Committee

It's all smiles for the OPP's Community Policing Committee.

Tim Hortons in Fort Frances has donated nearly $4,300 raised from last fall's sale of Smile Cookies.

Constable Anne McCoy says the money will be used in a variety of ways this year.

The Committee is also working on a website to be launched next month.

Drive To Conditions

All highways in the Rainy River district and Koochiching County are open but being listed as snow covered with the snow falling in the region.

Drivers are advised to take precautions while on the roads.

There was a brief closure of Highway 71 near Sioux Narrows yesterday, following a two vehicle collision.

No one was injured.

Propane Prices Questioned

While Minnesota continues to deal a propane shortage and higher prices, there's word of similar problems facing homeowners in northwestern Ontario.

Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP John Rafferty says it was brought to his attention by a homeowner in Atikokan that the cost of propane had risen 80 per cent in the past year.

Rafferty says while the Canadian Propane Association insists there is no shortage in Canada, he wonders if it's a case of price gouging.

Rafferty is asking the Minister of Finance to investigate.

Campbell Gathering Input On Budget

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell is gathering feedback on the upcoming provincial budget.

Campbell says affordability is the resounding complaint she's heard throughout the riding.

Campbell says the NDP will be making demands in the budget, but it's too early to say if the party will support the Liberal government like it did last year.

MPPs return to Queen's Park Tuesday.

NCDS Ready To Help Workers

NCDS is stepping forward to help laid off workers at Resolute Forest Products.

The Fort Frances based agency provides a number of employment services programs.

Marketing Coordinator Sarah Marasyk says they have a number of workshops including ones to help workers with their resume.

Marasyk says they're also planning to create a "Coffee Club" allowing workers to gather and offer support, feedback and job hunting advice to each other.

Firms Fined For Building Mining Camp

Two companies working in the Ring of Fire mining development have been fined $27-thousand for illegally building a mining camp.

Vancouver based Fancamp Explorations and Thunder Bay's Webequie Logistics were found guilty of carrying out construction work without proper permits.

The companies were charged back in 2010 after repeated warnings from the Ministry of Natural Resources.

The camp has since been removed.

Province Not Happy With Feds

Plenty of negative post-budget reaction coming from the provincial government.

The governing Liberals says the federal government is cutting $641-million in transfers to the province.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says that's over the 110 actions the federal government has taken since 2006 that have impacted Ontarians in a negative manner.

Wynne says the feds are making cuts without consulting the province and forcing Ontario to pick up the tab.

Good Budget For Northern Ontario

The Minister responsible for FedNor says the budget is about is all about fiscal responsibility and balancing the books for 2015.

Kenora MP Greg Rickford says while not mentioning northern Ontario specifically, there's are some goodies for the region.

Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP John Rafferty pans the budget for its lack of support for such things as the region's forest sector and no new funding for FedNor

Obestrical Department Recognized

Some recognition for Riverside Health Care.

It's core team of six obstetrical physicians and nursing staff have received a recognition award for completing the first phase of a comprehensive three-year program that sets obstetrical patient safety a top priority.

The program, known as MOREOB, was launched at LaVerendrye Hospital in Fort Frances last April.

Fight Against Drug Abuse Continues

The federal government is stepping forward in the fight against prescription drug abuse.

It plans to spend nearly $45-million over the next five years to on an awareness campaign, increased monitoring of pharmacies and enhanced services in First Nation communities.

Officials says Canadian consumption of prescribed opioids has risen by over 200 per cent since 2000, while abuse has more than doubled in the past two years.

Made In Canada Campaign Considered

Canadian producers will be getting some promotional support from the federal government.

The recent budget includes plans to create a steering committee to help in a "Made-in Canada" awareness campaign.

Details are to be revealed in the near future.

The quality of Canadian products is recognized worldwide, but no widely recognized Canadian brand exists.

Tourism Marketing Initiative On-line

A tourism partnership between northwestern Ontario, northern Minnesota and the National Geographic Society is now official.

Together they will create an online regional geo-tourism initiative highlighting the region.

The partnership means a new in-depth website and smartphone app that will be linked with existing National Geographic sites.

Atikokan, International Falls and Koochiching County were among those contributing funding to the initiative.

Proposal For Rainy Lake Hotel Made

There's been another proposal put forward for the former Rainy Lake hotel.

No details were revealed, but Fort Frances Mayor Roy Avis council did talk with the proponent at a closed door meeting Monday night.

Avis says council still favours proceeding with efforts to acquire government funding to knock down the shuttered hotel, and help in the develop of an open-air market square.

Rafferty Pans Budget

Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP John Rafferty is panning the new federal budget.

He calls it a do nothing document with hardly any substantial support, especially for northern Ontario.

While the budget mentions protecting forestry jobs in eastern Canada, Rafferty says there's nothing about helping to recover those lost in Ontario, nor any mention of any new funding for FedNor.

Mining Likes Budget

The mining industry is welcoming certain components of the federal budget.

The Mining Association of Canada says an extension of a Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for another year will be of huge benefit to the junior exploration sector.

It says renewal comes at a critical time given the tough economic challenges faced in recent months by Canada's smaller exploration companies.