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2013-12-20 at 10:45

Look back: March

By Leith Dunick,
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A First Nations teenager who told police in December 2012 that he’d been stranded outside the city by two officers, admitted he fabricated the story. The 19-year-old, a student at the time at Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School, ignited a firestorm of Aboriginal outcries when he laid the accusation. Police accepted his apology and decided not to press mischief charges.

A $510-million class-action lawsuit against the city was withdrawn by a Toronto law firm, but Thunder Bay isn’t out of the woods yet. The suit, a result of flooding and sewage back-up issues stemming from a May 28, 2012 rainstorm, was one of two being pursued in the courts. Claimants in the first suit were shuffled to the second.

News emerged that then federal interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae was in talks with Matawa to work with them on the Ring of Fire. At the time Rae said there was plenty of prosperity to be had by all, but things had to be done properly, noting the environmental hazards associated with mining.

McKellar Confectionary came under fire late in the month after customer Pat Rybar complained the restaurant refused service to his wheelchair-bound daughter Amy. Rybar had carried his daughter to the upper level, but was told by an employee wheelchairs weren’t allowed in that area of the restaurant. McKellar Confectionary staff later said it was a misunderstanding.

Independent MP Bruce Hyer gave the federal budget a D-. Hyer said the budget contained nothing to strengthen the Canada pension plan, employment insurance, adding he doubted billions in infrastructure funding committed by the Conservatives would make its way to Thunder Bay. NDP MP John Rafferty called the budget a shell game, while Mayor Keith Hobbs said there was a lot to like.
Despite rumours to the contrary, the Royal Canadian Legion Slovak Branch 129, an East End fixture, did not close. Legion officials said they’d been fielding calls daily that the facility was being sold or shut down, which was starting to hurt future business.

Former waterfront project manager Katherine Dugmore died, succumbing to a lengthy battle with cancer. Dugmore was the face of the controversial development, taking on the role in 2007. Dugmore wasn’t the only well-known figure to die in March. Bandleader Roy Coran, whose orchestra entertained music fans for decades, also passed away.

The city’s drug strategy unveiled a new plan aimed at changing drug distribution to curtail rampant abuse of prescription medication. Among the recommendations was a call for stricter controls on physicians doling out the dangerous drugs, which have plagued Northern communities for years.

The annual sunshine list showed a decrease of 94 municipal employees in 2012. Only 150 employees topped the $100,000 mark last year, the decrease stemming mainly from the Thunder Bay Fire Rescue, who in 2011 paid back-pay to firefighters when a new contract was signed.

After talking to the public and patients, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre officials decided to keep on display the jersey of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. The American cancer survivor, who was stripped of seven Tour de France wins after being found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs, is still a symbol of hope, hospital officials said.

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