Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Water Now Flowing Freely

Fort Frances residents can stop trickling their water.

The directive was issued after an outbreak of frozen water lines this past winter.

Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown says the last problem area was resolved just last week.

Effected users on water meters won't be taxed with higher water bills for keeping the water running.

Brown says their bills will be based on their water usage last year.  

Meantime, town crews are still working to repair broken water and sewer pipes with with three of over 40 this year yet to fix.

Laid Off Workers Recognized In New Contract

While the mill itself is no longer operating, laid off workers at Resolute Forest Products in Fort Frances are being recognized in a new contract with Unifor.

Unifor's Mike Lambert says the new four-year deal secures preferential hiring for the workers at the new sawmill in Atikokan.

That sawmill is to open next spring.

Lambert says workers in Fort Frances were included in the contract because talks had started well before the closure announcement.

Lambert says the contract would also in place if there were efforts by someone else to restart the now shuttered Fort Frances mill.

Resolute said it explored a potential sale before making the closure decision, but has not said if anyone is now interested in the mill.

Tax Break For Some Big Falls Area Residents

Koochiching County's board of commissioners is agreeing to provide tax relief to property owners who now fall under two hospital taxing districts.

The duplication, effecting some owners in the Big Falls area, came when a new district was created to help Littlefork Medical Center repay a million dollar County loan for capital improvements.

The County will now provide a yearly grant to the city of Big Falls equal to the amount of tax assessed on effect properties.

Do One Thing Underway

Northwestern Health Unit has officially opened its Do One Thing Conference in Kenora.

Chief Executive Officer  Mark Perrault says health is not accomplished by one single entity.

Perrault says the goal is to get ideas won which direction they can take to improve the health of area communities.

More than 300 people from across the region are attending.

New Name For Pither's Point Park

A new name for Pither's Point Park is being explored.

It comes out of meetings recently held between the town of Fort Frances and First Nations leaders with the band's who've laid title to the park.

The town's Chief Administrative Officer Mark McCaig says it will now be referred for now as the Point while the two sides come up with a new name.

McCaig say the two sides have also agreed to ongoing dialogue with the aim of solving some, if not all, the issues that have been, in the past, before the courts.

Input Sought On Bicycle Plan

Minnesota continues to seek public comment on its statewide bicycle plan.

The Department of Transportation has set up an interactive map and survey on its website to gather input on how to address the needs of bicycle riders across the State.

They will stay in place until June 1 with the Department expected to complete its plan by the end of this year.

Minnesota Warns Of Tick Problems

The snowy and cold winter is apparently not hurting ticks in Minnesota.

Fields studies in southwestern parts of the State are finding large numbers of adult deer ticks.

The Department's David Neitzel says ticks were likely insulated from the cold by deep snow, meaning the risk of tick-transmitted disease to be high again this year.

Last year, the department reported a record 14-hundred Lyme disease cases around the State.

Northern Ontario Debate

Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath are fresh off the Northern Ontario debate in Thunder Bay Monday.

The two went head to head on a variety of issues including revamping the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.

Horwath says she would tackle the problem immediately.

Wynne focused more on the current economic programs her party offers.

The two leaders also indicated a willingness to consider taking back OPP policing costs from municipalities under 5,000 population.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak didn't attend because of scheduling conflicts.

NOMA Remembering What Leaders Said

The proof is in the pudding.

That reaction from the president of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association following Monday's debate between Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP leader Andrea Horwath in Thunder Bay.

In an interview with NetNewsledger Dave Canfield says he'll be holding the leaders to their word after the election.

Canfield says he did hear from both that they were willing to work with northern Ontario leaders.