Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Budget Requests Get Blessing

File photo
Fort Frances council is giving tentative approval to some budget requests.

The Meals on Wheels program will get a $500 increase to its operating budget.

Council is also willing to give the Salvation Army $500 to assist with an upcoming event.

The Boundary Waters Dragon Boat Festival had asked for $2,500, but council was more willing to give $1,000 - the same as it gave last year.

No decision was made on Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce's request of $10-thousand for tourism marketing until more information was received.

More Nurse Practitioners To Be Hired

Ontario intends to increase the number of nurse practitioners working in the province's long term care homes.

Health Minister Deb Matthews says the province will provide $14-million over the next three years for the hiring of  75 new nurse practitioners.

Half a million dollars will be spent this year, but the bulk of the funds, $9.5 million, won't come until 2016.

Electricity Rebate Considered

In Minnesota, lawmakers could soon vote on another measure aimed at guaranteeing energy assistance to the State's low-income residents.

The House Energy Policy Committee has given approval to a bill that would establish an annual 8 million dollar commitment to an electric rate discount program operated by Xcel Energy.

The program is currently funded through fees paid by Xcel's customers.

The bill now goes to the full House for its vote.

No Issues For Police In January

No major issues for the provincial police in Fort Frances.

OPP handled over 300 calls for service in January, clearing almost 89 per cent all incidents.

A total of 58 charges were laid - the same amount as in January of last year.

OPP also report twenty-nine motor vehicle accidents that month - up from 18 in December.

Concert Headliners Announced

There will be a little "Reminiscing" in International Falls this summer.

The Little River Band will headline this year's Riverfest Concert at the Irvin N. Anderson Amphitheatre.

The Australian rock band had hits with such songs as "Lonesome Loser" and "Reminiscing."

They'll be joined on stage July 5 by the Lamont Cranston Band and southern Ontario's the Mike Ure band.

Ticket details are still to be announced.

Osisko Drop Court Case Against Goldcorp

An out-of court settlement has been reached in a dispute between Osisko Mining and Goldcorp.

A Quebec Court was to hear a complaint Monday from Osisko that alleged Goldcorp misused confidential information in making a hostile bid for the company in January.

As part of the agreement, Goldcorp is extending its offer until April 15.

In return, Osisko will provide Goldcorp access to "due diligence" materials on April 1st or earlier if Osisko enters into an agreement with another company.

Fraser Institue Ranks Area High Schools

Just one high school in the Rainy River district is showing some improvement in the provincial test scores, according to the Fraser Institute.

The Conservative think-tank scores Rainy River High 6.3 out of 10, based on the results of the 2013 tests, up from 4.1 in 2012.

It's ranking for Atikokan is 6.7, but that's down a bit from its 2012 score of 6.9.

The Institute rates Fort Frances High at 4.6.

New Gold To Purchase Mine Equipment

New Gold plans to start making some purchases towards its planned gold mine north of Barwick.

The company is still in the environmental assessment process.

But the company executive chair Randall Oliphant says they're getting prepared in light of approval being granted later this year.

New Gold is scheduled to begin construction in 2015 and start mining operations by the end of 2016.

Deer Struggling Through Winter

There could be fewer deer making it through the winter.

Wildlife officials says deep snow, hard crusts and frigid temperatures are playing a factor.

Senior wildlife biologist with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Mark Ryckman says high mortality is expected.

Still, Ryckman says there's no need for any human intervention as required the last time deer struggled during severe weather conditions.

NDP Want Help With Propane Costs

The NDP are calling on the Federal Government to cut the cost of propane.

The request comes during one of the coldest winters in recent memory.

MP Claude Gravelle raised the issue in the House of Commons recently.

The NDP want an oil and gas ombudsman to ensure fairness for consumers being squeezed by high prices.

High School Students Raise Money For World Hunger

A 30 hour fast by some students at Fort Frances High School has helped net $1,500 to help end world hunger.

It was raised by about 70 students who participated in World Vision's 30 hour famine on the weekend.

The money will go to World Vision.

Gillion's Teams With Chill

The Thunder Bay Chill soccer club and Gillon's Insurance are announcing a partnership that will see both brands grow through the northwest.

Gillons Chief executive officer Duane Cridland says they're making a 3-year $45-thousand commitment to the team to help it bring its youth training camps to the region.

Chill training camps will be offered in Fort Frances, Dryden and Kenora later this year.

Falls Man Wins Truck

An International Falls man is driving around in a new truck today.

Richard Holmestad was a grand prize winner in chain-store Menard's vehicle sweepstakes for January.

Holmestad says he though it was a joke when he was notified.

The win comes as Menard's completes the finishing touches to its International Falls store, making it one of the largest in its chain.