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2013-12-19 at 9:00 AM

Look back: February

By Leith Dunick,
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Former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci released a report on Feb. 26 outlining 17 recommendations to solve the province’s Aboriginal representation jury roll issue. Iacobucci called Ontario’s justice system a crisis for Aboriginals, who are overrepresented in prisons, but rarely take part in the jury process.

Despite supported rival leadership candidate Sandra Pupatello, MPP Michael Gravelle was once again invited to the cabinet table, this time under new Premier Kathleen Wynne. Gravelle took over the Northern Development and Mines portfolio, a job he’d previously held under then premier Dalton McGuinty.

A year after closing, the city’s Centennial Conservator finally re-opened. The facility was closed in 2012 after falling glass was deemed hazardous to public safety. The conservatory would face more glass-related issues later in the year, forcing a partial closure once again.

Lakehead’s soon-to-open law school faced an uproar from students upon learning the indigenous learning course was being removed from the program. About 35 students staged a sit-in at the university to protest the decision. Founding dean Lee Stuesser said the course would be changed to a half-credit focusing on legal aspects on Aboriginal law.

The Northwest Local Health Administration Network announced on Feb. 14 that it would spend nearly $1 million over two years to provide more detox beds in Thunder Bay. Police Chief J.P. Levesque applauded the move, saying his officers make 3,000 alcohol-related arrests each year.

Nicholas Webber was sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter for his role in the 2011 death of 54-year-old Robert Topping. Topping was killed after four males broke into a Minnesota Street home, after being called by a friend worried about shadowy figures she saw wandering about.

Data provided by Statistics Canada show Thunder Bay women face the highest level of violence in Canada. The report, released on Feb. 25, showed that women in the city were assaulted or attacked 1,905 times per 100,000 people. Men fared little better in the report, reporting 1,507 assaults per 100,000 people.

Twenty-two-year old Enzo Menei was killed in a Paquette Road snowmobile crash that also sent a 20-year-old woman to hospital with non life-threatening injuries. Police said Menei was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

Former bookkeeper Kerry Wirkkunen landed in jail for 15 months after defrauding a local contracting company of more than $200,000. She was found guilty of stealing the money between March 2008 and November 2009.

United Airlines landed in Thunder Bay on Valentine’s Day, linking the city to Chicago with a direct route. Tourism manager said the air corridor to O’Hare International Airport is an important connection to both business and tourism worlds.

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