Friday, June 27, 2008

Angus wants Black to give up Order of Canada

Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus is once again calling on the Governor General to remove Conrad Black from the Order of Canada. Black lost an appeal of his fraud and obstruction of justice convictions Wednesday and will have to serve out his sentence in a Florida prison.
Angus says it’s time for Black to lose his honour. "He's not a citizen of Canada, and he's lost his appeal, so I think they should move quickly, and have this dealt with. I remain deeply concerned that Mr. Black continuing to hold our country's highest civilian honour undermines its integrity and greatness.”
In a letter to the Chancellery of Honours at Rideau Hall, Angus said he's concerned about the effect on Canada's highest honour of Black remaining a member of the order. “He was convicted on 3 counts of fraud and 1 of obstruction of justice. His appeal that he and other executives were entitled to so-called non-compete fees was rejected by the judicial panel. Enough is enough and it’s time for Canada to take another look at this honour.”
Angus made the request that Black be stripped last year following his convictions in the U-S.
The Chancellery of Honours has a policy that considers terminating appointments to the Order of Canada if that person "has been convicted of a criminal offence."

Future Shop job fair in July

Future Shop revealed today it is planning to hire dozens of new workers for its new store in Timmins. The company told The Timmins Times it will be holding a hiring fair on July 10th and July 11th, but applicants must first go online at the company website. The company says those interested in applying for a position and proceeding to the interview process should log onto, choose the Timmins location and complete an online interview in order to have the opportunity to be selected for a "live" interview on one of those dates in July.
The hiring fair will be held in Timmins on Thursday July 10th from 10am to 6pm and Friday July 11th from 8am to 3pm.

Timmins children rescued after moose-car crash

Timmins Firefighters used the jaws-of-life rescue tool to remove a full grown moose from the front seat, and a young girl and a young boy from the back seat of this wreck on Highway 101 west of Timmins, early Thursday morning. The crash occurred about 10 kilometres west of the Highway 144 turnoff. The collision forced the animal through the windshield and into the car.
The driver of the vehicle was the childrens’ father. Full details were not available at press time, but police say the injuries were serious but not life threatening. All three were transported to Timmins and District Hospital for treatment.
OPP are urging caution for summer travelers this weekend as moose on the highways are still a significant danger, especially at night.

Timmins miner's memorial dedication Tuesday

After nearly ten years of planning and fundraising, the new Porcupine Miners Memorial becomes a reality on Canada Day.
That’s when the local organizers will gather for a dedication of the monument, located at the McIntyre Schumacher Lions park on McIntyre Road, at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“The monument, I have been assured, will be up at that time and we hope to have a large group of people out to witness the dedication,” said memorial committee president Robert Calhoun on Thursday. “Because it is being held in the old McIntyre Mines Park, we encourage people to bring a lawn chair.”
He said the McIntyre Park location was chosen not only because the McIntyre Mine was one of the original major gold properties in Timmins but also because the park has become a popular gathering spot for the community.
“We congratulate the Lions Club on putting that park back together and letting us be part of the redevelopment,” said Calhoun.
“The reason it has taken so long is because we had to raise $250 thousand in cash. That falls short of what it really cost us to put it up. There are a number of construction contractors who came to our rescue, providing concrete, steel, gravel and personnel …and they dug the hole.”
Calhoun said the Trillium Foundation gave start up money for the project as part of a millennium project.
“That was eight years ago,” Calhoun recalled. “We have been working diligently since that time.” He said the overall cost is close to $400,000.
The monument is described as a memorial to those who died, a monument to the families that survived and a tribute to those who continue. One aspect of the memorial will be a plaque containing the names of the hundreds of hardrock miners who died in the workplace in Timmins.
“ I would hope that we never have to add another name, but if another name needs to be added, that will be done,” said Calhoun.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Timmins needs to improve water quality system

Timmins is taking action to ensure that what happened in Walkerton eight years ago is not likely to ever happen in this city.
The Walkerton Water Tragedy saw a failure of standards in the water treatment plant in that community, which led to an outbreak of e-coli that contaminated the local water system. Seven people died. Thousands got sick.
Timmins has until January 2010 to have an operational plan in place to make sure the process of taking water from the river, treating the water and then sending it out to every household in the city, meets the highest possible standards. The city’s water treatment plant is in the process of a multi-million dollar upgrade.
The quality management operation plan was outlined to city council this week by Michelle Albert of Genivar, a municipal engineering contracting firm.
There are 21 essential elements, or standards, that must be met. Albert says Timmins needs work on all 21 elements, but most are minimal.
She says the city needs significant improvements in three areas; documentation and records control, risk assessment outcomes and emergency management planning.
Albert told council the plan will take thousands of hours of training and staff preparation over the next 18 months.
She recommended that a quality control person be hired for the long term and that consultants be hired for the short term to ensure that all the water quality standards are met on time.
Councillor Gary Scripnick said he was confident with the water quality in Timmins, but said “the complaint I hear more often is that you know we are having higher and higher levels of chlorine. People can smell it.”
Scripnick suggested that because Timmins residents have to “endure” higher chlorine levels in their tap water, it might explain why it appears so many people are drinking bottled water.
Scripnick asked if it was possible, at some point in the future, that the chlorine smell in the drinking water would be gone.
Ken MacDonnell, the city’s project engineer assigned to water improvement, said “it is a bookwork exercise,” but the whole point of a quality management system is to ensure consistency in how things are done.
Without saying whether more or less chlorine would be evident, MacDonnell said the city would need to consistently follow whatever standards are required for water treatment.
Mayor Tom Laughren said quality control is a continuous process, not something that is done one or two days before the quality management audit.
“That could be one of the goals that we set,” the mayor suggested. “ You know at the end of this you don’t want to have that chlorine smell in the water.”

Canada Post defends changes in service in Timmins

Canada Post has responded to city council’s expression of concern about the decision to outsource some of its parcel pick-up service, but the idea still doesn’t sit well with all councillors.
It was at the April 28 meeting that council endorsed a letter from the Downtown Timmins BIA outlining concern that parcel pick-up service was being farmed out to private interests - - the Shopper’s Drug Mart stores on Algonquin West and Algonquin East.
“Convenient service is a key priority for Canada Post,” according to Canada Post CEO Moya Greene who responded to council’s letter. The letter defended the move, saying it is now more convenient since the Shopper’s Drug Mart locations are open seven days a week.
The letter did not respond to the concern of residents who do not have cars or access to transportation.
Greene’s letter also explained that parcel pick-up will remain for downtown businesses that have a post office box address at the Timmins Post Office. For others who have parcels that are oversized or require a signature, a card will be left directing them to a Shopper’s Drug Mart location.
Councillor Denis Saudino said he appreciated the response, but said he still believes there has been a drop in service. He mentioned that closing the downtown post office on Saturdays was another example. He hoped that Canada Post might someday reverse that decision because a lot of people do business downtown on Saturday mornings.
“I think a lot of people miss the Saturday service at the post office,” he said.

Timmins Rotary Ribfest Agenda

Activities at this year's Ribfest:
• Ribbers: Jack the Ribber, Fat Albert, The Outlaw Ribber
• 4 Large Inflatables for children of all ages - including a 60ft Obstacle course!
• Molson Beverage tent
• Concession tent with Hot dogs, Popcorn and softdrinks
• Car Show
• Body Tattoos by Adrienne Hart
• Service Canada centre for Youth
• MNR Bear Wise Program – Kids Activity Books
• FAF Design – Jewelry, paper tole, pictures
• CNIB – Ballons and Glow sticks for sale
• Climb n Fun – Rock Climbing
• Seizure and Brain Injury Centre – Fish Pond / Face Painting
• Snow Cones and Candy Floss – Iroquois Falls Access Transit
• Big Brothers and Big Sisters

Friday June 27th
4:00pm - Gates Open - - Molson Beverage Tent is OPEN
5:00pm-Country Classics
11:00pm-Recording Artists “The Joys”
12:30am-Music by DJ
1:00am-Gates Closed

Saturday June 28th
Noon-Gates Open
Vendors & Activities
Molson Beverage Tent is OPEN
1:00pm-Youth Band – “Subroza”
3:00pm-Opening Ceremonies
His Worship Tom Laughren, the Honouralbe Charlie Angus, the Honourable Gilles Bisson and NDP Leader Jack Layton
Root Beer – Musique Francophone Originale!
3:15pm-His Worship Tom Laughren, the Honouralbe Charlie Angus and the Honourable Gilles Bisson
3:30pm-Official Rib Tasting
5:0pm-River Road
7:00pm-Compass Rose
8:00pm-Vendors & Activities close (except Ribbers and Concession)
9:00pm-Rib Tasting Winner Announcement
9:00 pm -Soul Doubt
Fireworks - Presented by The City of Timmins and The Rotary Club of Timmins-Porcupine!
Should weather not permit the fireworks display on Saturday evening, the fireworks display will be postponed to Sunday, June 29th at 10:15pm.
11:00pm-Blind Dog Circus
12:30am -Music by DJ
1:00am-Gates Closed

Sunday June 29th
Noon-Gates Open - Vendors & Activities
Molson Beverage Tent is OPEN
12:00pm-Gabe Benoit
12:00-Car Show
1:00pm-Chantal Delorme
3:00pm-Matt Humphreys
4:30pm-Car show Winner Announcements
5:00pm-End of Car show with a Classic Car Cruise
5:00pm-Music by DJ
8:00pm-Gates Closed

Monday, June 23, 2008

Local charity ride held Saturday

Nearly one hundred local bikers took part in the toy drive charity ride sponsored by the Northeast Harley Owner’s Group (H.O.G.) and the Timmins Police on the weekend. The riders departed the Howard Johnson Inn and rode all through the city before returning to the Timmins Police building in the downtown. The toys and cash contributed will be used to help out needy youngsters at Christmas. There was even a rumour that the jolly guy in the red suit from the North Pole showed up for the ride.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dramatic arrest

Timmins Police were involved a quick and dramatic arrest in a residential area Wednesday in response to a call that a person had a handgun. It all began when police were told that a person was seen trying to sell a firearm to a student at Timmins High and Vocational School during the lunch hour. Police tracked down the location of a suspect’s car and responded quickly detaining a 20-year-old man in his front yard. It turned out the weapon was a paintball gun. Timmins Police says all such “gun calls” are regarded seriously until proven otherwise. The Timmins Police Service says it wants to assure the public that it is confident the local high schools are safe and no weapons or guns of any kind are being circulated.

Police recruiting

The Timmins Police Service is looking for new recruits. A Career Day is being held at the Timmins Police community facility all day today so that prospective recruits can drop by and find out about a career in law enforcement.

Celebrating Aboriginal Day

National Aboriginal Day is being celebrated this weekend in Timmins. Students at Schumacher Public School got a head start this morning with presentations of art and literary awards and recognition of the importance of First Nations history in Canada. Part of the day involved a presentation of an honour song by native drummers. Formal celebrations in Timmins take place at the Hollinger Park at Noon on Saturday June 21.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Native leaders want revenue sharing

At least two of the North’s influential Aboriginal leaders are calling on the industry and the Ontario government to start thinking more seriously about revenue-sharing with native communities. The comments were made at the Building Bridges Conference in Timmins to explore growth opportunities for Northern Ontario municipalities and First Nations.
Grand Chief Stan Louttit of the Mushkegowuk Council said some good things are happening such as the Impact Benefit Agreement with the De Beers Canada Victor diamond mine.
But he says there are too many other situations “happening in our territories” that Louttit says that are not as positive as the De Beers project.
Louttit says the province is “turning a blind eye” to supreme court decisions that direct that there must be “meaningful consultations” with First Nations before mining companies, can begin to work on the land.
“The Province of Ontario is to blame for that” said Louttit.
Louttit criticized Premier Dalton McGuinty who he said has promised a “new relationship” with the First Nations in this respect.
“But at the end of the day, this is not happening. There’s no new relationship,” he said.
Louttit said that some companies recognize only the boundaries of native reserves and not the full extent of native territories, which some companies regard as crown land.
To be fair, Louttit said many companies are progressive, fair and willing to consult, and willing to share.
He said the Mining Act, which is more than 100 years old, allows mining companies to carry out exploration and development on crown lands. Louttit said this is wrong and should be changed.
He commented on the recent case of several native activitists being sent to jail in Northwestern Ontario for trying to stop mining development on their land. Louttit says that comes from built up frustration when resource companies refuse to negotiate and refuse to communicate, “when it breaks down and we are left with no other option”
Looking around the room, Louttit pointed out several other native leaders and said “you might see us sitting in jail some day,” suggesting that it may be the only way to fight back for revenue sharing.
“Hopefully we can move forward in a different way,” he said.
He commented on the fact that if a mining company sets up in a municipality, then the municipality reaps benefits from taxation. He said it’s not the same for native reserves, but it should be.
“But I think the time is right where the government of Ontario has to recognize we are there, we’re not going away,” said Louttit. He said revenue sharing agreements are vital to First Nations communities.
“There is poverty in our communities,” he said.” We have to have a piece of the pie. All we are saying is we want a little bit so that we can live too and not live in poverty.
Louttit also expressed the hope that conferences may actually building bridges and he is not back before the same podium in two year’s time expressing the same concerns about the same problems.
The importance of revenue sharing was also stressed by Jason Batisse of the Matachewan First Nation, who is also an economic development advisor with the Wabun Tribal Council in Timmins.
Batisse said the recent Impact Benefit Agreement with Liberty Mines nickel project was an excellent example of what can be achieved when realistic negotiations are held between mining companies and First Nations. He said it took more than two years of “hard nosed negotiating”.
“There are revenues that are going to flow to our First Nations,” said Batisse. “ I am not ashamed to say that.”
He said his tribal council intends to carry on negotiations with “all” mining companies and exploration companies that “are on our territories.” He said those companies, whether in development or production, will be expected to share revenues with the First Nations.
“You either have heard from us, or you will be hearing from us,” said Batisse.
He added that Wabun is also negotiating an ownership role in several hydroelectric projects in Northeastern Ontario, since those projects are located in “traditional territories”. He cited a new development on the Kapuskasing River as a good example.
“These are extremely exciting opportunities for our communities,” said Batisse, emphazing that the First Nations will negotiate long-term agreements to eventually own the projects.
“We don’t want trinkets. We don’t want the shiny beads. We want to own these facilities,” said Batisse.
“Our communities aren’t going anywhere. We’ve been here for thousands of years. The First Nations will be here, as Kapuskasing will be, as Timmins will be. We need to finally realize some long-term revenue sharing and move forward. “

Murder Investigation Update

The Timmins Police Service is not revealing the specific cause of death in the case of an alleged murder, which was discovered in the city last week other than to say there was obvious trauma to the victim’s head and face.
“We are not releasing further information, pending the final pathology report and that could take some time,” said Timmins Police Sergeant Martin Wallingford Tuesday.
Timmins Police revealed Saturday that 31-year-old Ronald Timothy Demers Jr. of Timmins, is charged with the first degree murder of 43-year-old Marc George Veilleux, also of Timmins. Both men were known to each other and police say both men had been known to spend time with each other. Demers is being held in custody at the Monteith Correctional Centre. There is no word on a bail application.
Police say Veilleux’s body was discovered by police in the evening of Wednesday June 11 in a heavily wooded area in Deloro Township in the southern portion of the city, based on a tip off provided to police.
Police could not comment on how that information was received. Police also said the death was ”suspicious in nature.”
Sgt. Richard Blanchette, the major crimes case manager, told the Saturday morning news conference that “police believe that the deceased died in and around June 4, 2008 and his remains were actually found by the police on June 11.”
Blanchette said the discovery of the body led to the quick arrest of Demers. Police said they had been tipped off to Veilleux’s disappearance by concerned friends.Asked by The Timmins Times why the police regarded the death “suspicious in nature” lead investigator Const. Danny Charest said “the coroner attended the scene, and that was his call that it was suspicious. I can say there was obvious signs of trauma.”
Charest also revealed that the body was found in an area where it was not concealed, but the general area was significantly remote. Police also believe the actual killing occurred in the remote area where the body was found in Deloro Township.
“Investigation shows the murder would have occurred at the scene, at the location,” Charest told reporters.
Charest said he could not comment on exactly what might have prompted the killing, but he ruled out street crime.
“Investigation shows there is no link to any sort of drug activity or any sort of gang activity or anything of that nature,” Charest said.
In a statement released Tuesday, police said the post mortem examination of Veilleux was completed in Sudbury on Monday. “The examination revealed that Mr Veilleux suffered obvious trauma to the head and facial area.”
Charest also revealed that police retrieved what they believe is the weapon used in the killing.
“We do have an indication there was a weapon used. We had the dive team in there, the OPP dive team, to assist us in retrieving the weapon. We have retrieved the weapon at this point. Charest would not comment on what police believe the murder weapon was.
Police would not reveal how they came to regard Demers as a suspect but once they did, he was placed under surveillance.
Police says Demers was kept under surveillance until it was decided to make the arrest, which occurred on the Porcupine Lake Bridge at 11 minutes after midnight on Thursday morning. The Timmins Emergency Response Team carried out that arrest. Police would not reveal why the arrest was done in that manner, in that place.
Charest said the arrest went smoothly. “Everything went down without incident. Nobody was injured as a result,” he said.
Charest says the investigation is continuing and police still have search warrants to be executed in various locations, but he would not say when or where.

No action taken for bilingual Timmins

Timmins city council has shown no indication that it will act on a suggestion that the city become officially bilingual.
The suggestion was put to city council Monday by a group of students from Ecole Secondaire catholique Theriault. Their idea comes from a youth forum and mock parliament held for local high school students in April.
At Monday’s meeting the students argued that “embracing” the concept of bilingualism would lead to a drop in the problem of out-migration where too many young people leave the city. The students also argued that by declaring itself bilingual, Timmins would become a linguistic and economic hub in the North and eventually give itself an economic boost with increased tourism and government services.
At the end of the presentation, city councillor Jack Slattery commended the students for their presentation and for taking the time to argue their case so well.
Councillor Pat Bamford also thanked the students but told them he represents citizens who don’t share their views.
He said bilingualism is one of those issues where people have “strong feelings” on either side of the issue, so much so that many families choose not to discuss the issue “because no one ever wins.”
“You put a lot of thought into this,” he told the students,” and you deserve a thoughtful response.”
Bamford said that while he wasn’t condoning some of the views of some city residents, there is a strong feeling that bilingualism is not helpful. Bamford said a lot of the “hard feelings” stem from Canada’s Official Language’s Act.
“There are parts of Canada where there are very few Francophones, if any, and the Official Languages Act has been implemented like a sledgehammer in those areas,” said Bamford. “And there are people in those regions who have not been able to get work or who have been refused promotions,” he continued.
“When we or any group advertises a job as ‘bilingualism is an asset or essential’ rightly or wrongly the impression is it’s a good chance that a Francophone will get that job. I’m not saying that’s true. I’m talking about feelings now. There’s a certain amount of resentment that is there,” Bamford added.
“I think it will complicate the day-today internal operations of the city. It will adversely affect the careers and future job opportunities of unilingual Anglophones and I don’t believe it’s necessary to achieve what you’re trying to accomplish - - that is the advancement of French culture,” he said.
Bamford said he would prefer to go with the example of the province of Ontario, which is to not officially bilingual, but still strive to provide essential services in both official languages.
Mayor Tom Laughren thanked the students for their time and effort and for giving council “a lot of food for thought”.
There was no indication from any councillor to move a motion for any further discussion.

Monday, June 16, 2008

ATV crash kills Timmins man

Ontario provincial police say a Timmins man has died as the result of an accident involving an ATV all terrain vehicle on the weekend.
Police say they are in the midst of completing their investigation into a fatal ATV collision which occurred during the late evening hours of Saturday, June 14 2008, on a remote logging road located off of Dalton Road in the Flag Lake area (approx 25 kms soutwest of Timmins).
OPP Forensic Identification officers working alongside OPP Technical Traffic Collision Investigators are completing their investigation in an effort to determine the root cause of the collision, which claimed the life of 30-year-old Daniel (Danny) Brazeau of Timmins.
In a news release, the OPP have determined that Brazeau was operating a 1983 Honda three-wheeler when he somehow lost control and left the roadway.
Police says Brazeau’s ATV entered a ditch with approximately six feet of water with the ATV coming to rest on top of him. Next of kin have been notified by the OPP.
The OPP is awaiting the outcome of results of a post mortem to be conducted by the coroner’s office.
Initial investigative findings by the OPP are focused on the failure of the operator to wear a helmet.
Police say early indications also point to the consumption of alcohol as a contributing factor in the crash.

Timmins Relay For Life event held

The annual relay for life event was another successful event for the Timmins chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society with local teams collecting thousands of dollars in pledges for cancer research. The event also featured the annual "Survivor's Victory Lap" where cancer survivors, young and old, took to the track to show that cancer can be beaten.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Timmins murder charge details announced

Timmins Police revealed today that 31-year-old Ronald Timothy Demers Jr. of Timmins, is charged with the first degree murder of 43-year-old Marc George Veilleux, also of Timmins. Both men were known to each other and police say both men had been known to spend time with each other. Demers is being held in custody. Veilleux’s body is being shipped to Sudbury for a post mortem
The information was revealed at a police news conference this morning.
Police say Veillieux’s body was discovered by police in the evening on Wednesday June 11 in w heavily wooded area just south of the city, based on a tip off provided to police. Police said his death was considered "suspicious in nature".
Police could not comment on how that information was received.
Sgt. Richard Blanchette said today “police believe that the deceased died in and around June 4, 2008 and his remains were actually found by the police on June 11.”
Blanchette said the discovery of the body led to the quick arrest of Demers. Police said they had been tipped off to Veilleux’s disappearance by concerned friends.
Asked by The Times why the police regarded the death “suspicious in nature” lead investigator Const. Dan Charest(photo) said “the coroner attended the scene, and that was his call that it was suspicious. I can say there was obvious signs of trauma.” Charest also revealed that the body was found in an area where it was not concealed, but the general area was significantly remote. Police also believe the actually killing occurred in the remote area where the body was found.
Charest also revealed that police retrieved what they believe is the weapon used in the killing. “We do have an indication there was a weapon used. We had the dive team in there, the OPP dive team, to assist us in retrieving the weapon. We have retrieved the weapon at this point.
Charest says he cannot comment on what the weapon was because he wants the post mortem examination to determine whether the cause of death involved a specific weapon.
Charest also noted that police do not suspect drugs or any gang activity to be involved with the death.
Police say Demers will be held in custody until such time as his lawyer applies for a bail hearing and until such time as a judge grants bail.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Timmins Police charge man with murder

The Timmins Police Service announced today it has arrested a 31-year-old man and charged with him with first degree murder in connection with the discovery of human remains found in the city Wednesday. Police say the remains are those of a male person. The charged man is being held in custody. His identity and the identity of the dead person will not be released until relatives have been notified.
Police have scheduled a news conference for Saturday morning to release further details. The charged man will be kept in custody until a bail hearing is held, likely next week. Police also stated the discovery of the remains are not connected to any other incidents or missing person investigation in the city

College Boreal groundbreaking event

Construction has already begun, but the official groundbreaking ceremony for the new $15 million dollar campus of Collège Boréal in Timmins was held Thursday morning on Theriault Boulevard on a plot of land in front of Ecole catholique Secondaire Theriault.
One of the highlights of the event was an announcement by Xstrata Nickel of a pledge of $225,000 to kickoff the $1 million fundraising campaign to purchase new equipment. The announcement was made by Kristan Straub of Xstrata’s Montcalm Mine in Timmins. “This project is the result of multiple partnerships,” said Collège Boréal president Denis Hubert who praised all levels of government, local boards of education and the business community for helping to bring the project to reality.
Hubert said he was pleased to see that the project also had a significant involvement from the business and construction sectors in Timmins.
“Our objection is to make sure that most of the $15 million that will be invested goes back into the community and stays in the community,” said Hubert.
The project was also praised by Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren for creating a new opportunity for young people.
“The dealings we have had with Collège Boréal to this point have been fantastic,” said Laughren who commented he was pleased to see the project going ahead from the perspective that it would provide many skilled tradespeople in the region to contribute to the city’s further economic development.
The new campus is expected to be open in the fall of 2009 to accommodate up to 400 students in 15 programs.

Car fire at Cowboy Lake

Timmins Police Service is investigating a car fire which occurred Thursday afternoon in a sandpit near Cowboy Lake. Firefighters from Schumacher and Timmins responded to ensure the fire didn’t spread to nearby bush areas. Anyone having information on the incident may call Crime Stoppers at 268-8477,

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Human remains discovered in Timmins

Timmins Police are investigating the discovery of human remains in a heavily wooded area near Gold Lake, off of Pine Street South, about 12 kilometres south of the city center. The discovery was revealed to police Wednesday evening. The Timmins Police Service says it is “treating the found human remains as suspicious at this time.”
Police were on the scene Wednesday night and all day Thursday. It is expected that investigators will continue to be on the scene today as well, as they search the area where the remains were discovered.
At press time, police had not revealed the nature of the remains, whether they were male or female, or whether the remains were relatively new. Also involved the search are members of the Porcupine Area Search and Rescue, who could not comment on their role in the search.
Timmins police investigators are being assisted at the scene by Ontario Provincial Police detectives and forensics investigators.
There have been missing persons reported by police in the past year, but there have been no searches in the south end of the city.
There have been extensive searches in the past two years in the area of the Deloro landfill site, also on Pine Street south, not far from Gold Lake.
The searches in the landfill site were carried out by police acting on information on the disappearance of Pamela Jayne Holopainen. No body was ever found.
Holopainen was the subject of an extensive search by Timmins Police and OPP back in 2003. The 22-year-old Schumacher woman was last seen leaving a house party of December 15, 2003.
Upon investigation police decided to treat her disappearance as suspicious. The Ontario government has offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction for the persons responsible for disappearance or death of Holopainen.

Timmins police nab CNIB break-in suspects

Timmins Police Service says it has arrested and charged a couple of teenagers in connection with a break, enter and theft at the CNIB office in Timmins earlier this week.
Police say the youths are aged 16 and 17 and cannot be identified because of their age. They are being held in custody pending the outcome of a bail hearing.
Police also report they have recovered four laptop computers and a camera, that were identified as being objects stolen in the break-in.
The computer equipment will be returned to the CNIB as quickly as possible police say so that normal office operations can be resumed.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Timmins police announce arrests for robbery

Timmins Police Service says it has arrested and charged two city men in connection with a robbery this past week at the Mac’s Convenience Store at Algonquin and Mountjoy. The robbery was reported at 2:49 a.m. on Friday June 6.
Police say two 19-year-olds, Nicholas Legault and Calvin Damstead, are both charged with theft under $5,000.
In addition, police say Damsted is charged with possession of a dangerous weapon, wearing a disguise with intent to commit an offence and drug possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Police says Damstead is also charged with breaking in at the Mr. Sub store on May 18 and with breaking in at a Maple Street residence on May 23.

Timmins mayor forms new task force

Mayor Tom Laughren says a new “mayor’s task force” is being created to help local police cope with the problems of alcohol and drug addictions, and mental health problems that are seen as a driving force behind robberies and other violent crimes in the city.
The mayor made the revelation to city council Monday as Police Chief Richard Laperriere was commenting on the number of robberies and break-ins in Timmins.
Councillor Pat Bamford expressed concern at what appears to be an increase in such crimes.
“I think there must be something we should be looking at in the community whether it’s an ad hoc committee of responsible people, whether it’s the social services or mental health or a variety of people to look at as a community, to look, at this problem.
Personally I don’t think I’ve seen so many robberies,” Bamford told council.
He remarked there had been a similar situation in another Ontario city where all community agencies banded together to fight a growing drug problem.
That prompted the mayor to comment that a significant part of the problem is that the social agencies needed to cope with criminals with drug and alcohol addiction and mental health problems do not operate on a round the clock schedule as the police do.
“We have had meetings with local agencies as recently as two weeks ago,” the mayor told Bamford and the rest of council.
“A lot of our agencies are eight-hours a day, five-days a week so the problem gets left with the police department and in many cases they don’t have the expertise to be able to handle those issues,” said the mayor.
“We have also started what I’ll call a mayor’s task force made up of local people who are very concerned about some of the things happening in the community,” said Laughren.
“We are now in the phase where we are going to do the terms of reference as what this committee’s goal will be versus the police services board as an example,” added Laughren, who is also a member of the police services board.
The mayor says the city wants to do whatever it can so that social agencies will get more funding to operate in such a way as to provide effective help to the police.
“So we have some of those things started and I think from that we’ll be able to grow it into what you’re suggesting,” the mayor told Bamford.
Chief Laperriere told council that the police service cannot work in isolation. It needs help from the community.
Laperriere also commented that he is worried about the rash of robberies.
“Robberies are serious. It’s a real concern. Someone may get hurt. The potential is there and it really exists and we have to address it somehow.”
“And more than not, it’s related to some type of addiction, whether it be alcohol or drugs, or mental illness,” said the chief.
“And all I’m saying here today is that yes we have a job to do, we provide a service 24-7 but I think there are other agencies out there that have to come to the forefront, have to come to the plate and assist us. We can’t do it alone. So the message is we all have a role to play,” said the chief.

Friday, June 6, 2008

No room at TDH emergency

The Timmins and District Hospital (TDH) says it continues to be in a Crisis 1A Designation which has caused problems in the Emergency Room (ER) where there is virtually no capacity to treat new ER patients as admitted patients occupy our ER stretchers as they await hospital beds. With respect to the ER, the hospital says that during this current crisis, non-urgent cases will experience longer than average wait times. TDH is suggesting that people with non-urgent health issues seek services at local walk-in clinics and family health teams. In addition, due to congestion in the ER, we will only be able to accommodate one visitor for each patient within the unit.
The hospital is asking patients and their families/friends for their co-operation , patience and understanding during this stressful period.

More long-term care beds for Timmins

Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has brought welcome news to the city with the promise that there will be funding for 64 new long-term care beds to the tune of $2 million per year. The announcement was made by Mathilde Gravelle-Bazinet, chair of the North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), right. Her news was welcomed by local politicians and health care providers who have been concerned for several years that there were not enough local beds to care for elderly and chronically ill patients. It has meant that scores of patients have been assigned to acute-care beds at the Timmins and District Hospital, putting a huge strain on the hospital’s ability to accept medical and surgical patients.
Currently there are 296 long-term care beds in the city; 177 at Golden Manor and 119 at Extendicare Timmins.
While there is no indication yet where the new beds will be located, Mayor Tom Laughren said it would likely mean building an addition onto one or the other of the Manor or the Extendicare.
It’s expected the RFP (request for proposal) will likely go out by the end of the summer and the usual procedure is that contractors will respond early in the new year, with plans to begin building by spring of 2009.
Gravelle-Bazinet said it is hoped that construction will be completed by 2011.
While the gathered officials could not comment on the value of a new facility, it is understood that any new project encompassing 64 beds would be in the tens of millions of dollars.
“This is a substantial project,” said Timmins mayor Tom Laughren, who expressed to thanks to all the various individuals and community groups that worked together to get the message through to officials at Queen’s Park. “Now we’ll have to start working really hard on the capital side, and that work starts right after this meeting today.”
Laughren, who himself have made several presentations on the issue, said he knew the message would get through about how urgently a solution was needed.
“In all of those presentations I never once felt that people didn’t understand the need that we had in Timmins. This is something that’s been going on since 2004,” said Laughren.
Laughren also praised the efforts of Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson “for being passionate on this issue”.
Bisson, who was stranded at Pearson airport Thursday morning, could not attend the news conference.
“This is great news for the city of Timmins,” he told The Timmins Times afterwards. Bisson said it was the coordinated effort of dozens of caring citizens and health care providers who made the announcement possible.
“I want to publicly thank George Smitherman, the minister of health. I have been dealing with him on this particular file for some time now. But as of last fall, after the last provincial election, managed to get a commitment from him that he was going to look at this seriously and try to find a resolution,” said Bisson.
Gravelle-Bazinet also thanked Timmins businessman J.P. Aube who wrote several letters on behalf of the Network 13 lobby group urging Smitherman to take action.
“He made such a strong case that this really had an impression with our minister,” said Gravelle-Bazinet.
One of the happiest persons at the announcement event was hospital executive director Esko Vainio who thanked all the community leaders “who worked so tirelessly” on the project.
“It’s a red letter day for Timmins and District Hospital but particularly for our community,” said Vainio. He said long-term care beds are sorely needed and he welcomed the project even though it will take many months to come.
“As many of you made have heard, yesterday (Wednesday) was a record day in occupancy at the hospital. We were just overloaded with patients through emergency and all our floors and this is a bit of respite for us, recognizing it will take awhile to build these beds but I am glad we’re getting started right away,” Vainio added.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Arson charges laid in Timmins fire

Timmins Police Service announced today that two youths are charged in connection with the fire which gutted the old boarding house building, one week ago, at 103 Algonquin Boulevard East. Police says the two males, aged 13 and 14, cannot be named according to the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Both youths are charged with arson. They will make a court appearance in August.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mining company to be tree planter

With the decision by two of the largest forestry companies in the region not to do any tree planting in 2009, it may turn out that the large tree-planting company in Timmins is a mining company.
Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines has revealed it has plans to plant upwards of 20,000 new trees a year, for the next few years in Timmins are part of its land reclamation plans.
The plan was revealed at a recent meeting of the Porcupine Watchful Eye, which is a committee of stakeholders that works to oversee the various land reclamation and environmental efforts of Porcupine Gold Mines.
Committee member Mark Joron told the meeting the plan is contingent on budgeting by the company, but he expressed confidence that the plan would be approved.
“The initial plan is to begin planting new trees in the area of the old Pamour Mine, also in the area of Three Nations Lake and in the area surround the mine truck overpass that crosses over Highway 101 east,” Joron told the meeting.
It was earlier this year that two of the largest forestry companies in the Timmins region, Tembec and Abitibi-Bowater both revealed that no tree planting plans are in the works for the 2009 planting season. The companies are responsible for forest regeneration efforts in the Romeo Malette forest and the Nighthawk forest respectively.
Both companies have also severely scaled back their tree planting regeneration efforts for the summer of 2008.
The decision has raised concern among members of the Timmins LCC (Local Citizens’ Committee) whose job it is to oversee and comment on forest management plans.
The LCC has sent a letter of concern to the Ministry of Natural Resources.