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2013-12-23 at NOON

Look back: September

By Jodi Lundmark,
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Longtime Canadian Lakehead Exhibition board member Linda Gambee resigned as chair of the Christmas Cheer campaign after six years at the helm on Sept. 6. Gambee stepped down after she was ousted from the board Sept. 4 because of the ensuing controversy. Gambee said she was voted off the board because she alleged board members had been drinking and driving while leaving the CLE grounds after regular board meetings.

A release issued by the CLE board indicated Gambee was removed because she threatened a lawsuit, which is considered a conflict of interest. According to the board, Gambee threatened to sue various board members numerous times. However, Gambee refuted those claims. The next week, Coun. Ken Boshcoff and Coun. Joe Viridramo, the city's representatives for the CLE board, said no alcohol has ever been served during board meetings.

City police officer Const. Toni Grann and her family launched a lawsuit against the Thunder Bay Police Service and the police services board for $29 million on Sept. 17.  A statement of claim filed on behalf of Grann, her husband and children states the police conducted a negligent investigation and malicious prosecution against Grann. Grann was charged in November 2010 with 11 counts of breach of trust when she was the Sex Offender Registry administrator. The Crown alleged she had falsified information, didn’t require offenders to come to the Balmoral Street station for verification and used the phone to verify details, which was against procedure. Grann was found not guilty of all charges in March 2012 and the judge said the charges weren't a criminal matter.

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre asked the city to include its grounds within Thunder Bay's smoking bylaw, which council backed 10-3 on Sept. 30. Although the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre property had been smoke-free since it opened in 2004, the ban could only be enforced through provincial legislation if someone smoked within nine metres of the building’s entrances. Along with a tobacco enforcement officer from the health unit, security guards at the hospital will be deputized in order to fine people caught smoking on the property. Hospital administration stressed fines would only be used as a last resort.

On Sept. 10 Ontario's Mining and Lands Commissioner ruled against Cliffs Natural Resource's proposed road for the Ring of Fire and in favour of KWG Resources' staked rail line. Cliffs’ environmental director Jason Aagenes said at the time that the company was disappointed, but it was a roadblock they could overcome. Cliff appealed the decision in October but in November made the decision to indefinitely halt their involvement in the Ring of Fire.

Leif Hobson was sentenced to life in prison on Sept. 24 after he pleaded guilty to the 2009 death of 66-year-old Edgar Marion in April. The court heard how an argument sparked between the two friends in July 2009, which led to Hobson beating Marion with his fists and a wooden butcher's block. He then drove Marion's body to the Shuniah Mines area and lit the car on fire with Marion's body inside. He also set Marion's apartment on fire after the murder in order to hide evidence. In custody since 2009, Hobson will be eligible for parole in 2024.

The pending $375 million class-action lawsuit against the city moved forward when counsel for both the plaintiffs and defendants agreed to consent certification of the class during a hearing at the Superior Court on Sept. 23. The suit was filed due to the failure of the sewage treatment plant during the May 2012 flood disaster. Sandy Zaitzeff, counsel for the plaintiffs, said the consent certification from the city will likely take at least one to two years off of the timeline for the process and save significant expenses for both sides.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced on Sept. 2 in Kenora that the province will commit up to $2 million a year to keep the Experimental Lakes Area open.  The research facility had been threatened with closure after the federal government decided to withdraw funding earlier in the year. The province agreed in April to keep the world-renowned facility open in April but an agreement needed to be reached between Ontario, Canada and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, which will operate the facility.

Lakehead University's law school, the province’s first new law school in 44 years, opened on Sept. 4. University officials, First Nations leaders and the premier of Ontario welcomed the school’s charter class at its new home in the former Port Arthur Collegiate Institute. Founding dean Lee Stuesser promised the facility would strive to be a school in the North, for the North.

Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs brought up the possibility of a Costco coming to the city in early September. In June, Costco announced it will expand its Canadian stores by 25. While no locations were announced, InterStraticsConsultants identified Thunder Bay as one of the potential sites. Hobbs said he was in talks with city administration every other week to make sure that potential becomes a reality and he wasn't going to give up until the city gets a Costco.

The Canada Steamship Lines' vessel MV Thunder Bay was docked at Keefer Terminal in the city Sept. 27 during its maiden voyage. The ship was one of the company's four new ships. Thunder Bay Port Authority board chair Greg Arason said the recognition of the port with the naming of the ship is great, but the real value of MV Thunder Bay is the investment and the confidence it displays in the Great Lakes system.

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