Friday, March 21, 2014

Some Students Let Out Early

Weather is forcing an early dismissal for students who travel on school buses only at most schools in the Rainy River district.

Effected students attending schools in Fort Frances and all those west to Rainy River and Nestor Falls were allowed to head home at 11:30 AM this morning.

Those schools, though, are still open for those who have alternative transportation.

Our Lady of the Way School in Stratton has closed for the day.

The early dismissal does not impact schools in Atikokan.

Careful Driving Today

OPP are advising using extreme caution while on the roads today.

Heavy snow and reduced visibility is being reported on all of the roads in our area.

Constable Anne McCoy says if you have to travel, do so according to the conditions, especially when around a snow plow.

Up to date road conditions can be obtained by calling 511 in both Ontario or Minnesota

Storm Update

Today's storm in the Rainy River district is the result of a Alberta clipper that's tracking across region.

The snow is expected to lighten up by early afternoon in the Fort Frances area and later this afternoon in the Quetico Park area.

The National Weather Service out of Duluth says snowfalls in International Falls are measuring in at about 10 inches or 25 centimetres as of noon.

Meteorologist Bill Laidlaw says cold weather will follow.

Laidlaw says seasonal temperatures will returned by the end of next week.

Health Meeting Planned

Local officials are calling it a NAFTA health meeting.

They're hoping to attract key political figures from Ontario and Minnesota as well as federal representatives to a meeting in Fort Frances this July to discuss how hospitals in Fort Frances and International Falls can share medical services.

Fort Frances Councillor Rick Wiedenhoeft says it's important to have their attention.

International Falls Councillor Cynthia Jacksa says renal dialysis, MRI and obstetrics are some of the services, now available at either hospital, that could be shared.

A list of individuals is currently being put together with formal invitations going out before the end of next month.

Storm Hits Borderland

Heavy snow is making travel on area roads this morning.

No roads are closed, but callers to CFOB-News says sections of the Highway 11 west of the community are heavily packed with snow with reduced visibility.

There is also a report of a pulp truck that has jack-knifed between Stratton and Rainy River, blocking traffic in at least one lane.

Environment Canada predicts as much as 15 centimetres of snow or more, but the National Weather Service out of Duluth says nearly 5 inches or nearly 13 centimetres had fallen in International Falls by 8 AM.

Because of the storm, Indus School delayed the start of its classes by two hours.

Some buses in the Rainy River district did not run.

Premier Warns Against Electing PCs Or NDP In Next Election

Premier Kathleen Wynne is warning against voting for the Progressive Conservatives or the NDP in the next provincial election.

Wynne spoke to party faithful at a meeting in Toronto last night.

Wynne says the province's economic recovery is still fragile and  Ontario needs "safe hands and a steady approach."

With a spring election spending, Wynne says it would also be a mistake to elect the Progressive Conservatives "risky radical approach" or the NDP, she says, is suspicious of business and untested in government.

MPP Wages Could Stay Frozen

A freeze on MPP salaries could go a little longer.

The provincial Liberals have introduced legislation that, if passed, would have the salaries of our elected representatives remain the same until 2017.

MPP's wages have not changed since 2009.

Falls Council To Discuss Donohue Property Next Month

International Falls council will discuss next month whether it will proceed any further with a parcel of land given to the city two years ago.

A consultant's report recommends the city taking certain actions on the Donohue property.

It came to council this past week, but Mayor Bob Anderson says he wasn't prepared to take those actions at this past week's meeting.

Recommendations include annexing the property, constructing a trail and building a monument.

Canada vs US Military Tussle Developing

It could be the biggest battle between Canada and the U.S since 1812.

Organizers of the annual Peace Pull tug of war between Fort Frances and International Falls are working to have a match pitting the Canadian military against the U.S. National Guard.

Fort Frances Councillor Rick Wiedenhoeft says there is interest from both sides to take part in the annual tug of war challenge, and has even caught the attention of officials in Washington and Ottawa.

The tussle would be one of three events to take place during the July 2nd event.

It would also commemorate the 150 anniversary of the War of 1812.

Two Projects Reach Tbaytel For Good Semi-finals

Two projects in the Rainy River district have advanced to the semi-final round of Tbaytel's For Good initiative.

The Border Skating Club and the Rainy River Recreation Board will receive two thousand dollar.

Anne Renaud submitted the skating club's bid for new entertainment equipment which topped the popular vote.

Tbaytel will announce the grand prize winner for $5,000 on March 27.

Rate Strike Vote To Be Taken

A rare strike vote to be taken by administrators and supervisory staff with the Ontario government.

Members of the Association of Management, Administration and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario have been negotiating on a new deal with the province since February.

But the union says the province is seeking cuts to health benefits and several other concessions, forcing the need for a first ever strike vote.

The vote for the 11-hundred members takes place next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Resolute Fights Back

Resolute Forest Products is responding after Greenpeace unfurled banners in Montreal earlier this week to denounce the company's forestry practices in the boreal forest.

In a release, the company says Greenpeace's actions are consistent with those it has taken since withdrawing from the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement a year ago.

Resolute also calls Greenpeace's allegations untrue, noting all of its woodlands are independently certified to one or more internationally-recognized standards.

It adds that only 0.2 per cent of the boreal forest is actually harvested with 40 per cent of the forest off limits to forest companies.

Volunteers To Be Honoured In May

The region's volunteers will be honoured at a ceremony planned for Fort Frances this May.

The Ontario Volunteer Service Awards will be handed out to volunteers for continuous service to an organization of between 5 and 60 years.

Youth will also be recognized for two or more years of volunteer service.

The Fort Frances event will take place May 28.

Promoting Fire Safety In First Nations Communities

The Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada and the Federal Government are launching a campaign to raise awareness around fire prevention.

Be Fire Safe will reach out to the public through social media and will focus on storage of chemicals, barbeque safety and the importance of working smoke detectors.