Monday, December 31, 2007

Robbery suspect arrested

Timmins Police Service says it has arrested a suspect in connection with the robbery that occurred at a jewelry store in Timmins on Friday. Police say a man walked into Flondra Jewellers on Third Avenue, asked to see some of the items in a display case, and then ran from the store.
Store employees were able to provide a solid description of the thief along with images from a surveillance video.
Then on Saturday, while police were responding to a domestic disturbance in another part of the city, an alert police officer noticed a man who fit the description.
As a result, police say Raymond Bizier of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Robbery. Bizier has been remanded into custody, scheduled for a bail hearing. Members of the Timmins Criminal Investigations Section will be following up with the incident. The Timmins Police Service would like to thank the public for their continued assistance in solving these types of criminal offences. The Timmins Police Service encourages the public to call the Timmins Police Service at 264-1201 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-268-8477 if they have any information in relation to other recent robberies committed within the City of Timmins.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Armed robberies in Timmins

Timmins Police Service is asking for help from the public in solving two separate armed robberies in the city on Boxing Day.
Both crimes occurred at Mac’s Milk stores. The first was at the store at Mountjoy and Commercial at about 5:30 in the late afternoon. The second was at the Mac’s at Mountjoy and Algonquin at about 9:40 in the evening.
In both cases, a male person threatened the clerk with a knife and demanded cash. In both cases, the robber collected the money and ran from the store heading north on Mountjoy Street.
Police say the descriptions of the robber are similar in that they’re looking for a man of medium height, 5’ 5” to 5’ 10” tall with a slim to medium build.
Police tried following the suspect with a tracking dog, but without success.
The Timmins Police Service is requesting the assistance of the public in this matter. Anyone with information pertaining to this crime is asked to call the Timmins Police Service at 264-1201 or Crime Stoppers at 268-8477.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Crash on airport road claims a life.

The Timmins Police Service is investigating a motor vehicle collision involving a mini van and mid size car that claimed the life of an 18-year-old Timmins man. The accident occurred on Friday Dec. 14, 2007 at approximately 11:00 p.m. on Airport Road near Timmins High and Vocational School.
The minivan was traveling west on Airport Road when struck by the eastbound car that had lost control. As a result of the collision the 18-year-old driver of the car was killed and another man was ejected from the car. The man thrown from the car has suffered serious injuries and is being treated at the Timmins and District Hospital for his injuries. A third occupant in the car was transported to the hospital and is being examined by the medical staff with non-life threatening injuries.
The driver of the minivan was transported to Timmins and District Hospital and treated for her injuries. A passenger in the minivan was also transported to the hospital with serious injuries and is being treated by the medical staff.
The Timmins Police Service Traffic Unit, Criminal Investigation Unit, Uniform Patrol Officers are all involved in the investigation. Police have concluded their investigation at the scene of the accident but have not yet determined the cause. The car involved is being stored at the Timmins Police Service building pending examination in the next few days. Police have not ruled out alcohol as being the cause of the accident.
The coroner has ordered a post mortem on the young man however the date and time has not been scheduled yet.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Taxi Owner upset with city councillor comments

Tim Thompson, the owner of Beal Taxi in Timmins, says he is not happy that a city councillor is picking on the taxi business without first consulting with those in the business.
Thompon was reacting to a story in The Timmins Times on Wednesday (see other blog story below) about comments made by Ward Two Councillor John Curley at the city council meeting this week.
Curley told council he had received complaints from several east end residents who called for a cab only to be told “they might have to wait for an hour.”
Thompson has responded with a prepared statement and letter to the editor where he challenges Curley’s statements.
Thompson said he was also upset that Curley was speaking out without also contacting the Timmins Police Services Board which regulates taxi licenses in Timmins.
“I strongly view the comments made by Coun. Curley in The Timmins Times, directed against my company as slanderous and unsubstantiated by hard facts. It is most unfortunate that Mr. Curley did not make any attempts to contact myself or the Timmins Police Service before accusing us publicly of not providing proper service in the east end.
In Wednesday’s report in The Times, Curley never mentions any specific taxi company by name.
Curley told council this week that many of his constituents feel that wait times for a taxi are too long, and that not enough taxis are dedicated to Porcupine or South Porcupine to meet the need.
Thompson says that is an unfair assumption. He says delays happen for any number of reasons, which are often beyond the control of the dispatcher or the drivers.
“I strongly object to the assumptions being made by Coun. Curley that we are purposefully negligent in our responsibility to provide taxi service for the east end,” Thompson wrote.
“Our dispatch sheets show that simply is not the case and they can be viewed by Coun. Curley to satisfy his curiosity. Mr. Curley also needs to take note of the time of year and the increased volumes they bring. Any delay in providing service in South End could not be attributed to negligence but would be the result of circumstances beyond our or anyone’s control. He should also note that during the wintry holiday season, Timmins can experience similar wait times.”
“The people of the east end need to understand that Beal Taxi takes extreme pride in providing services to you and we always try to get to you fast and get you where you need to go safely. The efficient handling of calls is beneficial, not just for you, but for us also,” Thompson continued.
Curley told council that maybe more taxi licenses and more competition could solve the concern over delays in service.
At the council meeting, Police chief Richard Laperriere explained that delays can happen, especially during the holiday season. With respect to the need for more taxi licenses, the chief also said he was told that in most instances, at other times of the year, there are more cars available than there are calls for service.
Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren told Curley that he would have the issue placed on the agenda for the next regular meeting of the Police Services Board for discussion.

Search for missing snowmobiler halted

The Iroquois Falls OPP has suspended its ground, water and aerial search aspects of its investigation into a missing 20 year old snowmobiler, who was reported missing on Monday December 10th, 2007. Matthieu Laflamme, 20, of Val Gagne, failed to return home from a snowmobiling excursion in the Iroquois Falls area on Dec. 10 , 2007.
A massive ground, marine and air search was undertaken by the South Porcupine OPP, OPP Emergency Response Team members and an OPP dive team. Despite the comprehensive and exhaustive search efforts, Laflamme has not been located. As well, no significant findings were made to warrant the continuation of the search at this time..
The search has been effectively suspended pending any new developments in the investigation.
Ontario Provincial Police say all reasonable efforts and resources have been deployed and exhausted by the OPP in a comprehensive effort to locate and recover the missing man. This missing person investigation remains open and renewed search efforts may be undertaken in the spring.
Police say the family of Mr. Laflamme has been notified of these recent developments.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Taxi service concerns

An east end city councillor says the city may need a new taxi company if the existing cabbies can’t provide good service in Porcupine and South Porcupine.
Ward Two Coun. John Curley told city council this week he believes that taxi service in his area could be improved and if necessary he will push for more cab licenses and more competition.
Curley said he has taken complaints from citizens who call for a taxi only to be told that the car assigned to the east end is on a run elsehwere, and the wait could be up to an hour.
Curley used the example of a person calling from the Porcupine Mall who might want to go to Connaught Hill.
“They get told they might have to wait for an hour,” Curley told council.
“I don’t believe people should have to put up with that,” he added.
“There could be 20 cabs waiting in Timmins, but you can’t send a car to South Porcupine?,” Curley asked in frustration.
“If these cab companies are not going to service the east end of the city, then maybe we should allow for another cab company that will provide the service.”
Taxi licensing is done by the Timmins Police services board. Curley suggested to Timmins Police Chief Richard Laperriere that the issue should be discussed by the police board.
“Unless there is a change, and I hope to see a change real soon, I will be asking to put more cabs in there and then they’ll have some competition,” Curley said.
Chief Laperriere told council there are delays “more so at this time of year than at any other time of year,” but added there are not enough licenses to meet the demand at peak periods.
“That being said,” added the chief, “from what I hear on a regular basis is there are not enough calls for service for the amount of licenses we have during a regular working day. So that’s a challenge we face.”
Mayor Tom Laughren, a member of the police services board, told Curley he will have the taxi issue added to the agenda for the next board meeting.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wreath on the Mac

You know Christmas is on the way when the wreath is lit on the Mcintyre headframe, part of the northern skyline in Timmins.

Monday, December 10, 2007

ONR Buses back on the road Tuesday

Ontario Northland has announced that motor coach operations will resume in part on Tuesday, December 11, 2007, with full services available on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 following the ratification of the Company's collective agreement with its 50 motor coach operators over the weekend.
"We are very excited to welcome back our customers, in time to meet their needs over the holidays," said Beverly Martin, Chief Communications Officer with Ontario Northland.
"We will begin to offer partial service on Tuesday, with our full schedule available as of Wednesday. In addition, our shuttle services to connect to our Northlander and Polar Bear Express passenger trains will also resume on Wednesday."
Ontario Northland provides passenger motor coach and bus parcel express services on routes between Hearst and Toronto, along both the Highway 11 corridor through North Bay and the Highway 144/69 corridor through Sudbury.
The following services only will be available on Tuesday, December 11,2007:
Departing from Timmins
- 8:15 a.m. --- Arriving in Sudbury 12:55 p.m.
- 8:15 p.m. --- Arriving in North Bay 1:50 a.m.
- Full services will resume.
- Northlander and Polar Bear Express shuttle services will resume.
Passengers are encouraged to contact Ontario Northland's Passenger Services Department at 1.800.461.8558 for more information and to confirm travel times.

Water emergency resolved

Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren says water consumption in the city can now return to normal.
The city says it has repaired the mechanical malfunction at the water treatment plant and the water plant is now in the process of refilling its reservoirs.
The mayor offered thanks to residents and businesses for their patience and cooperation in reducing water usage during the critical period that began Friday.
The mayor has also offered thanks to its thanks to city staff, to Pro Pipe Construction and Graham Construction for their efforts in helping to resolve the emergency.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Emergency news

Timmins and District Hospital is experiencing what it calls “exceptionally long wait times” in its Emergency Department, because of higher than normal emergency visits and admissions.
The hospital is advising the public and requesting cooperation and understanding.

Conserve Water!

The City of Timmins is asking residents this morning to conserve water and take all necessary steps to ensure that water is not being wasted in any way. There has been a significant equipment breakdown at the city's water filtration plant. It means the city's current water capacity is very low. The mayor's office says the machinery problem is being worked on and it's hoped to be resolved within a few days.

Bus strike settlement

It appears the strike involving Ontario Northland highway coach drivers could be over soon.
Ontario Northland and the Teamsters Canada Rail union have announced a tentative settlement of their dispute.
The drivers went on strike on September 29, effectively shutting down all highway bus service in Northeastern Ontario.
The new deal could be considered welcome news by students and hundreds of others who rely on highway buses as their main means of transportation, especially with the Christmas holiday approaching.
"We are very pleased to have reached a tentative settlement with Teamsters," said Beverly Martin, Chief Communications Officer with Ontario Northland. "We are anxious to resume full motor coach operations as soon as possible and apologize once again to all of our customers, who have been inconvenienced by this recent labour disruption."
"The motor coach operators are dedicated professionals who came to the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference to provide the representation necessary to make a variety of improvements within their collective agreement. While this strike has been difficult for the people of this region, we believe this settlement is fair to the union members and we are proud to represent such professionals in the transportation industry," said Douglas Finnson, Vice President, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference.
If the new deal is accepted by the drivers, Martin says she expects bus service will resume early next week.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Baby Amber case sounded alarm bell.

The Smith Inquiry has been told that a judge’s comments at a court case in Timmins should have sounded the alarm bell about the faulty findings of Ontario’s former chief pathologist Dr. Charles Smith.
The Timmins case was heard in 1991, 13 years before Smith was discredited and dumped from his senior job at the Ontario Coroner’s Office in 2004.
The Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology is looking into the numerous cases where the former pathologist came up with causes of death that resulted in criminal charges and court cases against innocent people. One of them was a 12-year old babysitter in Timmins accused by Smith of causing the death of 16-month-old Amber Lynn S------, during the summer of 1988.
In more than three weeks of testimony, the case of Baby Amber of Timmins has been cited several times at the Toronto inquiry.
The babysitter said the child fell down some stairs. Smith alleged the baby had been severely shaken. Based on Smith’s evidence, Timmins Police charged the 12-year old with causing Baby Amber’s death.
The 12-year-old, S.M., who cannot be fully named because of a court order, was acquitted of the charges after Mr. Justice Patrick Dunn of the Ontario Superior Court tore apart Smith’s testimony as being inaccurate, poorly researched and self-serving.
Defence experts at the Timmins trial also argued that Smith was wrong in his findings.
Justice Dunn’s criticisms were among the key reasons 12-year-old S.M. was found not guilty.
Ontario’s former chief coroner Dr. James Young, who was Smith’s boss at the time, has told the inquiry that Smith shrugged off Justice Dunn’s ruling and gave him the indication the judge had little knowledge of medical reality.
Young admitted that Smith’s attitude caused him to assume that Smith was right and that the others were wrong.
Young told the inquiry he regretted that he never considered the arguments of the other doctors at the Timmins trial. “None of them stuck with me,” he testified.
“I regret it deeply but I can't go back and change history.”
Young also admitted to the inquiry that he had not read Justice Dunn’s ruling from Timmins until he was shown the document by a member of the inquiry this year.
Young admitted that when he finally read the document, he was “dumbfounded”. He admitted that Justice Dunn’s conclusions were accurate.
Several police officers and lawyers in Timmins remember the Baby Amber case, which was heard at the courthouse on Spruce Street.
They do not however remember the case with enough detail to be able to offer comments. Also, because the babysitter was only 12 years old at the time of the alleged offence, all the records of the case, and her identity, have been kept secret by a ban on publication.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Chamber upset at city hall

The City of Timmins needs to follow its own purchasing bylaw when its come to tendering, and it needs to do more to buy locally.
That was part of the advice offered by the Timmins Chamber of Commerce which addressed Timmins city council at a budget planning session this week.
Chamber president Marilyn Wood suggested not enough city purchases are being bought through the tender process and more local businesses should have the opportunity to bid.
“We have had an ongoing concern about the estimated ten million dollars of city purchasing from out of town vendors,” Wood told council.
She suggested that fewer businesses and entrepreneurs would be willing to set up shop in Timmins if it’s regarded as not supporting local business.
“Our request is not for local preference but rather for local opportunity,” she explained.
“Enforcement of the (purchasing) bylaw is extremely important. If items are not being tendered, how does council know if they’re getting the best deal?,” she added.
Wood says the chamber’s concern is that the city will occasionally deal with a direct supplier, and just assume it is getting the best available price, without giving local suppliers a chance to bid on the goods or services needed. This means the lawful bidding process is ignored. She added that many local businesses don’t find out about a tender until it’s too late. Wood says sometimes only a handful of local businesses, and even out of town companies, are contacted by the city and asked for a quote. She says not all businesses aware of tenders posted on the city’s website or published in the city’s municipal page.
“And when there is local competition, the question we have is why are invitations being issued to out of town businesses?”, Wood added.
Coun. Gary Scripnick said he did not fully agree with the notion of not inviting out-of-town businesses to bid on city projects.
“I believe we must support all our communities in Northeastern Ontario, such as Kapuskasing and Iroquois Falls,” he argued.
“That’s a sensitive issue to me because if we start putting up walls and say you have to only buy in Timmins then our other communities in the area, it could hurt them.
I think its important to have strong communities around us.”
“We are like the grandfather and we’ve got to take care of our children, those smaller communities out there. So this ‘buying local’ I have a hard time with it,” Scripnick said.
Coun. Mike Doody admitted there is always room for improvement in the bidding process, but said council is obligated to get the best price and sometimes that means going out of town.
“I have been there to open the tenders. Sometimes it’s the out-of-town tender that is lower than the local tender. In some cases, they’re not sharpening their pencils. It’s a competitive business. We have an obligation. If we can get it cheaper, we’re going to get it cheaper. And I would hope that the taxpayer would see that view”, said Doody.
Wood admitted that some local prices could indeed be higher. Wood said she wasn’t pushing for a strict ‘buy local’ policy but instead to merely bring changes so that more local businesses have the opportunity to place a bid, when city hall needs goods and services.