Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Northwestern Ontario High School Rate Low By Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute is questioned area high school's performance in province-wide testing.

The Conservative think-tank says most schools in northwestern Ontario fall below the provincial average in terms of its review.

Author Peter Cowley wonders if schools in the region can improve.

Overall, schools in the Kenora and Rainy River districts averaged 4.2 out of 10 in the study, below the provincial average of 6.

Atikokan High School and Rainy River High Schools were among those that scored better than the average.

Explosion Cause Still Undetermined

Still no word yet on the reason for last week's explosion at Resolute Forest Products.

A company spokesperson tells CFOB-News that both the Ministry of Labour and the Fort Frances Fire and Rescue Service have conducted their probes at the biomass boiler.

The company's now looking at what corrective measures can be put in place, but is still trying to determine the exact cause of the accident.

Meantime, a worker who was serious burned remains in hospital.

His condition, though, is not being revealed.

Feds Aim To Change Rifle Ruling

A RCMP decision to reclassify a commonly used hunting rifle in northwestern Ontario has grabbed the attention of Kenora MP Greg Rickford.

Swiss Arm rifles are now deemed prohibited.

Rickford calls the decision unacceptable and says the government is working to ensure that impacted owners won't be punished.

Rickford adds a review of the decision is underway with the aim of a specific policy being drafted permitting the rifles.

Hydro Working On Billing Problem

The opposition at Queen's Park is taking the provincial government to task for billing errors at Hydro One.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says the utility is addressing the issue.

Wynne adds that Hydro One has hired extra staff to sort out some of the billing errors that have been plaguing its system for several months. 

New Human Resources Manager Named

The town of Fort Frances has a new human resources manager.

Aaron Petrin takes over from Christine Ruppenstein who left the municipality to take on a position with New Gold as a Human Resources Supervisor.

A Thousand Ways To Improve

Minnesota's Governor has a thousand ways to make his State's government work better.

Mark Dayton has unveiled his administration's legislative agenda for what he calls the "Unsession."

He's put for over one-thousand proposals aimed at improving state government services, eliminating outdated statues and simplifying the language of existing laws.

He's also proposing reforms making the tax system easier to understand

Economic Value Of Park Revealed

A new report is showing the value of Voyageurs National Park to the economy of International Falls and Koochiching County.

The National Park Service says over $16-million was spent in the area by the more than 214-thousand who visited the park in 2012, helping to support 225 local jobs.

39 per cent of the money was spent at area restaurants, grocery and convenience stores.

27 per cent was on accommodations.

FASD Highlighted In Fort Frances

An expert in the area of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder comes to Fort Frances later this week.

Jody Allen Crowe, the founder of Healthy Brains for Children, speaks to high school students and community members tomorrow before meeting with educators Friday.

Crowe sees prevention at the top in dealing with FASD.

The public session goes tomorrow at the Metis Hall beginning at 7 p-m.

Town Seeks Meeting With First Nations

An olive branch is being extended by the town of Fort Frances to area First Nations.

A court judge ruled recently that a stretch of shoreline along Rainy Lake known as the Two Chain road allowance is owned by the town.

Mayor Roy Avis says he'd like to sit down with First Nations involved.

First Nations involved in the case have suggested they may appeal the ruling.

Mayor Back From OGRA

The Mayor of Fort Frances says he's happy with how his meetings with provincial cabinet minister went last week.

Roy Avis met with the Ministers of Transportation, Natural Resources and Northern Development while in Toronto attending the Ontario Good Roads Conference.

Roy says that dialogue will continue this week when council sits down with Michael Gravelle.

Avis says winter road maintenance was raised, and while he hasn't been happy with road conditions this year, he is happy to hear that province is working to improve it.

Service Cuts Discussed At Budget Meeting

A frank discussion over the operation budget for the town of Fort Frances.

Town council is still looking at a shortfall of about 360-thousand dollars.

Chief Administrative Officer Mark McCaig says the biggest impact is costs they really have no control over.

Still, some councillors say they're willing to look for savings through service cuts.

No decisions were made, but council will take another look at the budget in two week's time.