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Cougar fever struck after reports came in that the illusive big cat was stalking the bushes in the city. Many believed the cat was in the area, but photographs emerged what showed an animal that more closely resembled a lynx. Later a photograph of what clearly was a fox began to be passed around with some speculating it was the alleged cougar being spotted around town, leading many to doubt the reports of the initial sightings.
Residents stuffed their faces with mouth-watering platters of meats at the city’s first ever Ribfest. The event drew thousands to the downtown area in Port Arthur over the three days where various ribbers set up shop to find out who had the tastiest ribs. With special guests such as Jack the Ribber, many waited in line for over an hour in order to his ribs. Waterfront BIA chair Suzan Cooper-Rochon said long lines were a good problem to have because it meant area restaurants were full all weekend. She promised that the event would make a repeat performance next year.
The mayor confirmed that the city will foot the $3 million bill for the Safe Homes Program. The May flooding affected thousands of residents when an unprecedented amount of rain fell. Many victims of the flood required assistance because they had no or inadequate insurance so the city established the Safe Homes Program that went in to clear out basements and make repairs to hot water tanks and other home essentials.
A low vacancy rate forced some students to take drastic measures in finding an affordable place to live in the city. Marie-Michelle Sullivan was one of those students. The Peterborough, Ont., native and now Lakehead University student offered her services as a full-time live in nanny just so she can live affordably during the school year. To make the deal even sweeter, Sullivan even offered to pay an additional $100, effectively making her a live-in nanny working for a wage that is less than free. Sullivan wasn’t alone. A quick search of the classified site shows that many soon-to-be local university or college students were struggling to find affordable living in the city.
A city councillor warned of a future where Thunder Bay faced rolling black outs if something wasn’t done to the generating station. The coal plant was scheduled to be converted to natural gas as part of the provinces long-term goal. At-Large Coun. Larry Hebert said a dispute over the purchasing agreement meant further delays on an already tight timeline and that delay could mean big problems for the city in the future.
City administration recommended the Centennial Botanical Conservatory be partially reopened to the public following some temporary repairs. The city closed the conservatory in February after reports came in of glass falling from the roof. Since then there has been a public outcry to have the conservatory reopened.
The May 28 flood and U.S. drought created a perfect storm that’s left the Regional Food Distribution Warehouse dangerously low in food supplies. Volker Kromm, executive director of the RFDA, said normally the amount of supplies is low during the summer but the amount this year was extraordinary. More than 16,000 people have used the 35 food banks the RFDA supplies and Kromm said that’s about an average 13 per cent increase per food bank compared to this time last year.
Nearly 18 months after first being announced, the Minister of Northern Development and Mines has finally released details on the much-anticipated Northern Policy Institute. Intended to act as an independent guide for development in the North, drafting polices and designs specifically to this region, the non-profit, non-partisan NPI was officially unveiled on Friday at a joint media conference in Thunder Bay and Sudbury.
By just a vote, Harvey Yesno became the new Nishnawbe Aski Nation grand chief. Yesno, the former director of Aboriginal Services and community relations in the Ring of Fire office, collected 22 votes over Terry Waboose's 21 in the third round of voting.
The Ring of Fire development in Northern Ontario is expected to bring an economic boom to the area. In an effort to be ready for that boom, the city has prepared a Mining Readiness Strategy. But the strategy is meaningless if it doesn’t have provincial support. Getting that provincial support was one of the city’s main goals as local delegates swarmed Ottawa this week for the Association of Municipalities Ontario conference. The city now has commitment from provincial ministers that should help move the strategy forward.
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