Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fort Budget Finalized

The budget is now complete for the town of Fort Frances.

Council held a special meeting yesterday to finalize the numbers.

A tax increase of less than half a per cent for residential ratepayers remains.

Mayor Roy Avis says changes in the assessment of the now-closed Resolute Forest Products mill forced them to take a second look at the numbers and take money out of reserves to offset the impact.

Council will bring the budget to a public meeting next week.

Health Care Groups Want More Discussion About Health Care

Health-care leaders are calling on the political parties to make health and health care the number one issues this election.

They're hoping the leaders will take time in tonight's leaders' debate to focus on their plans for improving access.

Registered Nurses Association of Ontario's Doctor Doris Grinspun says the system is at a critical juncture with a growing and aging population and it's a perfect time to discuss how politicians will address the need for more services.

PC's Question Police Union Election Ads

Progressive Conservatives are questioning ads targeting their leader launched by the union representing officers with the Ontario Provincial Police.

The Tories says the action bring into question the impartiality of the provincial police which are currently conducting investigations into the Liberal government over the gas plant and ORNGE air ambulance scandals.

OPP say they don't support the campaign, but notes the Police Association is an independent organization that does not report nor is controlled by the OPP.

Weather Training Offered

Environment Canada wants a few more eyes to watch the weather in the Rainy River district.

It will hold training sessions next week in Atikokan and Emo for those interested in its CANWARN storm spotter program.

Meteorologist Geoff Coulson says participants help them watch for severe weather.

The Atikokan session takes place at the Atikokan Economic Development Corporation's training room on June 10.

Another takes place in Emo at the Emo-LaVallee Community Centre.

Both begin at 7 PM.

For more information or to register in advance for these free workshops contact Coulson by email at Geoff.Coulson@ec.gc.ca

Fire Hazard Drops

Rain has reduced the forest fire hazard to low in the Rainy River district.

There have been just five forest fires in our region this year.

The Ministry of Natural Resources says the fire hazard is still moderate to high along the Ontario/Manitoba border as well as in the Red lake and Sioux Lookout areas.

Cool, Wet May For I. Falls

It's been a cooler and wetter than normal month of May in International Falls.

The National Weather Services says average temperature for the month came in at just over 51 F or 10 C which is slightly cooler than normal.

The city also had about 4 inches of precipitation, about 1.2 inches more than usual.

Thunder Bay Dentist Heads ODA

A Thunder Bay dentist has been named to head the Ontario Dental Association.

Doctor Gerald Smith will serve as its president for the next two years.

The long-time resident of Thunder Bay is currently a staff dentist at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

Election Notebook

On the election campaign trail, Premier Kathleen Wynne is pledging to protect Ontario's public sector.

Surrounded, by a number of workers yesterday in Toronto, Wynne warned that Ontario will see a return to the cuts experienced under then-Premier Mike Harris in the 1990's if Tim Hudak wins the June 12 vote.

Wynne says the Tories plan to eliminate 100-thousand public sector jobs will send the province back towards a recession.

Meantime, Hudak is clarifying where some of the cuts will come from in his plan.

Hudak insists front line services won't be effected and will look at eliminating government waste within upper and middle management.

Hudak, is also standing by the numbers in his million jobs plan despite criticism from the Liberals and some economics experts who say the Tories used in-correct math in determining, its strategy.

The Liberals are also being accused of trying to hide a report on the ORNGE air ambulance service.

The PC's says the report contains 95 specific findings related to the service's operations.

The Liberals say, they agreed, to table the report, May 5th, had it not been for the opposition, forcing the election call, and putting a halt to business, at Queen's Park.

OPP Union Gets Active In Election

The union, representing Ontario's provincial police officers, is wading into the provincial election.

For the first time, the Ontario Provincial Police Association is launching ads aimed at the Progressive Conservatives.

Presidents Jim Christie says Tim Hudak's position on such things as arbitration, pensions and wages are concerning.

Christie says the ads are not meant to be an endorsement of the Liberals or the NDP.

Falls Still Looking For City Beach Volunteers

The city of International Falls is still looking for camps hosts for its City Beach.

It needs volunteers to oversee the popular recreational area during the months of July and August through to Labour Day.

Anyone living either in the Falls or Fort Frances interested is asked to contact the city.

Hike It and Bike It

The Northwestern Health Unit is challenging residents to keep the vehicle parked this month.

Health promoter Elaine Fischer says the Hike It and Bike It Challenge is now on and is aimed at getting people outside and moving for the next three weeks.

Participants are asked to keep track of the time and kilometres they traveled and report them to the Health Unit for a chance to win prizes. 

Local Sports For Tuesday June 3

Fort Frances Muskies soccer teams now know their schedules for this week's all-Ontario high school championships.

The boys team finds itself in the A-pool with top ranked L'Essor out of Tecumseh.

Play will begin Thursday in Leamington.

The girls, meantime, have been placed in the B-pool at their competition in Collingwood.

They're making their first appearance to OFSAA's since 2008.

Joe Basaraba is among the list of protected players the Cincinnati Cyclones of the East Coast Hockey League have submitted.

The Fort Frances native joined the club in March after finishing up with the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.

He had a goal and 4 assists in 10 games with the Cyclones during the regular season and has played 3 playoff games so far.

The 2010 draft pick of the Florida Panthers was out of the line-up last night as Cincinnati lost 2-0 to Alaska in the 3rd game of the Kelly Cup final.

Weather rained out play in the Rainy River District Women's Fastball League.

Games will be rescheduled to a later date.