Thursday, May 1, 2014

New Cell Tower Planned

A new cell tower is being proposed in downtown Fort Frances.

Tbaytel wants the 20 metre tower to improve service

Spokesperson Katie Crowe says they hope to have it in place by the fall.

The new tower is to be located behind the Royal Canadian Legion on Church Street.

Budget Day

It's budget day in Ontario.

The provincial Liberals have already released many key components, including new funding for roads, schools and developmental services.

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell isn't expecting anything new to be announced, but says the big concern is where the money for the investments will come.

PC critic Norm Miller says it's a similar concern for him and doesn't like that the provincial credit card is being maxed out again to bring a rise to the deficit.

The Liberals will need at least one of the opposition parties to support the budget to avoid an election.

NDP Leader Undecided Yet On Budget

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is playing the waiting game.

Horwath isn't making a commitment yet if her party will support the budget and avoid an election.

She says that decision will likely come from Ontarians she talks too and what they think of the Liberal government.

Horwath notes. though, that the Liberals have been plagued by waste and scandals and have "feathered the nest of their friends."

Corner Store Owners Opposing Tobacco Tax

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association is voicing its concern over a suggested tax hike on tobacco products.

It's expected to be including in today's provincial budget.

The organization worries it will only lead to an increase in contraband tobacco sales.

Dayton Happy With Past

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is impressed how far his state has come.

In his annual State-of-the-State address, Dayton says Minnesota is in a better position than it was four years ago when he first came to power, but notes more can be done.

Dayton adds the need to invest more in area such as as jobs, education, health care and the environment.

Driver Dies Hitting Wash-Out

One person is dead after a vehicle drove into a washed out section of Highway 527 to Armstrong.

OPP says the vehicle burst into flamed after it drove into the hole about 70 kilometres south of the northwestern Ontario community.

The unnamed driver died at the scene.

New Electricity Rates In Place

New time-of-use electricity rates kick in today.

Both the off-peak and mid-peak rates increase by 0.3 cents per kilowatt hour.

That puts the lowest rate for electricity at 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

The highest rate, or on-peak, increases 0.6 cents to 13.5

New Rules In Place Over Tanning Beds

New rules pertaining to tanning beds in Ontario kick in today.

Youth under 18 are no longer be allowed to use tanning beds.

Tanning bed operators must also post signs about this restriction and warn of the dangers associated with the beds use.

Operators will be also required to ask for proof of age identification and will not be allowed to promote tanning services to youth under 18.

Riverside Dealing With Budget Shortfall

Riverside Health Care Facilities is projecting a budget shortfall for the coming year.

President Allan Katz says it's forced them to take some steps to offset the 662-thousand dollar deficit.

It includes deferring some travel and other discretionary spending.

Some non-urgent capital expenditures and the filling of some vacant positions will be held off as well.

Katz says given the current economic climate, they're not expecting to see additional dollars from the province.

Town Hands Over Housing Data

The town of Fort Frances is providing a consulting firm working with New Gold with some important community information.

The company is working on a housing strategy for New Gold in advance of the company opening its mine north of Barwick.

Mayor Roy Avis says the data contains available properties, housing lots and the infrastructure connecting to those areas.

Avis says the town's waving the nearly $5-thousand fee for the information as a good will jester, hoping there will be benefits as a result.

New Gold Hires Engineering Firm

A contract has been awarded for the managing of the engineering, procurement and construction of New Gold's planned mine.

AMEC is an international engineering firm that has worked with New Gold on other projects.

Under the new deal, AMEC will manage all detailed design and implementation activities through to pre-commissioning.

Construction is expected to begin next year with production beginning in late 2016.

Ontario Pension Plan To Be Annonced

It appears today's provincial budget will contain details of Ontario's planned retirement pension program.

Premier Kathleen Wynne suggests more needs to be done to help Ontario residents to save for their retirement.

P.C. leader Tim Hudak calls the pension proposal a payroll tax which could kill as many as 150 thousand jobs.

Extended Family Leave

Protection is now in place for employees requiring extended time off work to care for loved ones at home.

Provincial legislation that passed at Queen's Park Wednesday allows for up to eight week unpaid leave to persons who must care for a family member with a serious medical condition and up to 37 weeks to deal with a critically ill child.

Parents of a missing child can get up to 52 weeks and up to two years if a child if killed in a crime-related incident.

Headliner For Fort Frances Festival Announced

An iconic Canadian musician will be among performers at the Harmony of Nations Music Festival in Fort Frances.

Buffy Sainte-Marie will be the headliner for Saturday July 19.

She will also participate in public discussion in advance about a recently released bio-documentary of her life.

Meantime, a Minnesota bluegrass band is announcing it will be part Saturday's show as well.

The Woodpicks also promote on their website they will do a workshop as well.

Spring Bear Hunt Proceeds

The modified spring bear hunt will continue in Ontario.

A provincial court judge has dismissed requests from two animal rights groups to have a judicial review of the hunt, being brought back in some parts of Ontario.

The return of hunting of black bear starts today.

The provincial set up a pilot project in selected wildlife management units following municipal complaints about an increasing in incidents.

Search For Missing Teen

A 16-year-old girl from Manitoba is the subject of a search by RCMP and OPP.

Toni Rose Linklater was last seen April 14.

RCMP believe the girl may be in the Dryden area and hitch-hiking east.

Linklater is described as being 5'10", with long brown hair and a piercing on her right eye.

She was last seen wearing a black jacket and black tights.

Minnesota Looking At Bicycle Strategy

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is looking at improving areas for cycling across the State.

It now gathering public comment on a statewide bicycle system plan.

MNDot's Tim Mitchell says Minnesota is often recognized as one of the top bicycle-friendly states in the country, and the best way to continue improving is to learn from those use the system.

New First Training

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is launching a new training program to teach Canadians how to respond quickly to accidents and injuries, in addition to the life-saving skills of CPR and AED use.

The 16-hour standard first aid course offers a wide ranges of medical responses as well as managing an emergency scene.

The Foundation is currently training its instructor network to deliver the program.

More Time To File Taxes

If you haven't filed their taxes yet, don't sweat it.

You still have a few more day.

The last day in April is usually the deadline, but with a recent virus that impacted Canada Revenue Agency's online services, the deadline was moved to May 5.

Fort High Selected For Pilot Project

Fort Frances High School will be on of several schools to be involved in a new pilot program that helps Aboriginal students develop business and entrepreneurial skills.

The program is to start this fall and is aimed at grade 11 and 12 students.

Students will be mentored by established Aboriginal business owners.

Eligible students will also receive funding to start their businesses.

Feds Involved In Ring Of Fire

The Minister responsible for the Ring of Fire says the federal government remains committed to the massive mining project.

Both Premier Kathleen Wynne and Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle are challenging the feds to get more involved in the project.

Greg Rickford says they have always been at the table.

The province wants the feds to match a billion dollar commitment its providing for infrastructure to the massive mining area.

Property Handover Complete

A deal to takeover an Australian company's mining interests in the Nestor Falls and Rainy River areas is complete.

Conventry Resources is handing over control of four separate projects to Chalice Gold Mines.

The two Australian firms announced the deal last fall.

The four areas are at various stages of exploration.

Teen Pregnancies On Decrease In Minnesota

Some good news from a just-released report from Teenwise Minnesota.

It shows teen pregnancies and birth rates in the state have fallen to historic lows.

Director Jill Farris says the rates have been dropping steadily since the 1990's.

Farris attributes the declines to more young people using effective contraception and using it regularly and more teens waiting longer to become sexually active.

Calls Renewed For Gas Price Watchdog

Federal NDP are renewing their calls for a gas price watchdog.

It comes after a spike in gasoline prices in some part of the country just before Easter and again last week in some northwestern Ontario communities.

Consumer Affairs critic Glenn Thibeault says the watchdog would ensure fairness.