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The Thompson Local News Archives for 2015-08

Elections Canada office the place to go with questions about voting

The federal election is over a month away but it’s a good idea to start thinking about voting.


Churchill Keewatinook-Aski Returning Officer Li Cripps says a good place to start is making sure you’re on the voters list:


"If you have a computer and internet access, you can go to Elections Canada website, www. If you don’t have that kind of access, you can come to our office and we will help you to find out".


If you find out you’re not on the voters list, Cripps says you can go to the elections office, located in Westwood Mall, with 2 pieces of ID and they will get you on the list.


Learn more during Thompson Today at 12:40 and 5:10.


Fall camping now possible at Paint Lake and Lakeview

Good news for camping enthusiasts: The province is opening more campgrounds for extended camping, including Paint Lake and Lakeview.


MLA Steve Ashton tells us more:


"It will be happening at the main campground, which will be extended until September 19 and the other service lodge, Lakeview, will be extended into October. The message for people was they wanted to see a longer season and we’re extending it, were making summer camping season, longer".


The extended fall camping is part of a pilot project to see how popular it will be, and will determine whether the province will continue to offer it moving forward.


Province announces funding for infrastructure projects in Northern communities

Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister, Eric Robinson, announced $30 million in funding for waste and water projects in the North.


18 northern communities stand to benefit, including Norway House, Berens River, Waterhen, Wabowden, and Gods Lake Narrows.


The funding includes $11.2 million for water treatment facilities, including new water and sewer lines, in a number of communities.


Reg Mead, President of the Northern Association of Community Councils said these resources are essential to the growth and suitability towards a healthy future.


City hosts first "Party in the Park" this weekend

The City of Thompson is trying out a new event this weekend.


Event Coordinator for the City, Darlene Dick, tells us about Party in the Park:


"It’s a family event that’s happening this Saturday from 7-8:45pm. It’s featuring the Richard Farrow Band. We’re just trying out an evening event on a weekend to see how popular it is and if it goes well, we’ll do it again next year".


The party will be happening at MacLean Park. If it’s raining they will move the event over to the Gordon Beard Arena.


Norplex Pool shuts down this weekend for annual maintenance

Today and tomorrow are your last days to get a swim in, before the Norplex pool closes for general maintenance.


Mayor Dennis Fenske says this is a shutdown that happens every year to perform maintenance to mechanical equipment, the pool deck, and pool basin. He says the washrooms will be fixed up as well in addition to some re-painting.


The pool will be shutdown starting this Sunday, until September 24th. The pool will re-open on September 25th.


Foster parents in demand across the province, including in Thompson

You’re interested in becoming a foster parent, but you’re not sure if you’ve got what it takes. 


Dana McCullough with the Manitoba Foster Family Network has news about how you can make that decision.


"We’ve just gotten funding from the government for information sessions. This involves the pre-licensing process, where potential foster parents have an opportunity to find out what it’s like to be a foster parent, what the roles of a foster parent are, what the expectations are, and they’re able to make an informed decision as to whether this is something for them or not".


Listen to Thompson Today this afternoon and tomorrow to hear more about the work of foster parents and the Manitoba Foster Family Network.


Snow Lake chosen as Manitobaville

Snow Lake has won a contest offering $25,000 towards a community’s local project.


Manitobaville had communities entering in videos that showcased their project.


Snow Lake Mayor Kim Stephen says the winnings will go towards beach enhancements:


"We’ll put in a couple more pieces of splash park equipment stuff there,  we need a new dock,  we need a new swing set, and we are in desperate need for a new beach house. Can’t do it all in one time, but if we start and work our way from the bottom, work our way up, then  every year we can just allocate money and put some money into it and we can make our beach. It is the heart of the town in the summertime, that’s where everybody hangs".   


Stephen thanked everyone from the North who voted for them.


A&W hosting 7th annual Cruisin' to End MS today

A&W’s all across Canada will be cruisin’ to end MS today.


Owner of the Thompson A&W Rick Oberdorfer explains:


"Basically 840 A&W restaurants across canada, we host this called Cruisin to End MS and we donate a dollar for every teen burger that is sold. A&W and its customers to date, for the past 6 years, we’ve raised over 6.5 million dollars".


Oberdorfor says Canada has the highest rates of Multiple Sclerosis in the world.


He says the fundraiser will help the MS society to with research and support for those living with MS.


Oxford House woman celebrates her 109th birthday

A surprise birthday party was held in Winnipeg for an Oxford House woman who turned 109.


Sarah Harper was surrounded by family, friends, and even Deputy Premier Kerri-Irvin Ross as she celebrated the occasion.


Harper, who’s spent all her life at the remote First Nation says her secret to a long life is kindness for others and respect for elders.


She says she used to care for a sick woman as a child, and the woman blessed her with a long life.


The "woof" got raised at animal rescue shelter fundraiser

Residents came out to the Juniper Centre on Saturday for Raise the Woof.


The stand-up comedy group tours North America, putting on fundraising shows for local animal rescue shelters.


Vicki McNevin with Northern Manitoba Paws in Need brought the group in, and hopes to make it an annual event.


She says money raised is still being added up, but predicts around $5500 was raised. She says the money will be going towards a rescue dog’s hip surgery, in addition to operating costs of the shelter.


Search for John Merasty continues in Leaf Rapids

Family and friends from Thompson and surrounding areas have been traveling to Leaf Rapids to help with the search for John Merasty.


Sherman Merasty says his 88-year-old grandfather hasn’t been since August 7th.


Family thought he was at a wedding in The Pas:


“We didn’t really think it was too serious otherwise we would’ve began the search way back then. We were waiting to for him to come back from The Pas and we finally spoke to some family from that wedding and they never seen John Merasty there”


A crowd funding page has been set up by the Merasty family, to help fund their search efforts.


RCMP say Merasty is aboriginal in appearance, about 5 foot 7 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds.


Anyone with information is asked to contact the Leaf Rapids RCMP at 204-473-2944 or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.


Two arrested after a stabbing last week

Two men have been arrested after a stabbing in a Wolf Street residence early last Thursday morning.


Arland Francois and Joshua McDonald were arrested by Thompson RCMP and charged with aggravated assault.


The stabbing victim, a 25-year-old man, was taken to the Thompson hospital and treated for his injuries.


Francois remains in custody. McDonald was released and is scheduled to appear in Thomson court on September 15th.


Thompson RCMP are asking anyone with information to call 677-6909.


Nelson House care home nurses waiting for decision from Manitoba Labor Board

Nelson House care home nurses have put their fate into the hands of the Manitoba Labor Board.


Sandi Mowat, President of the Manitoba Nurses Union says they’ve applied for a settlement through the labor board:


"They look at the last agreement, like what’s agreed to already and then where everybody’s last potions are and then they will actually impose an agreement. So what happens then, is when you apply for that, the strike basically ends, the nurses go back to work, and then you wait for the labor boards decision".


Mowat says they made the decision after no progress was being made since they started the strike back in May.


The main issue for the nurses is that they aren’t being paid the same amount as other nurses in the province.   


Search taking place in Leaf Rapids for missing 88 year-old grandfather

An 88 year-old Leaf Rapids man is missing, and his family is reaching out to the public for help finding him.


Johnny Merasty hasn’t been seen or heard from since August 7th at The Town Centre of Leaf Rapids.


He is known to go for longs walks by himself in the woods, but his family and friends are concerned as he left his wallet at home, and this is longest they’ve gone without hearing from him.


RCMP are helping with the case.


Family and friends spent yesterday searching for the man in the Leaf Rapids area, and have set up a crowd-funding page to help fund their search efforts.


Post-secondary education may be daunting, but schools help ease the transition

Students heading off to university for the first time can have a huge learning curve - and that’s before they’ve even started classes.  


Inga Johnson Mih-cashew from the University of Winnipeg’s Student Support services has this advice to share.


"We have orientations and at orientation we talk about what to expect in the first year, give people tours, and just to become more familiar and comfortable with campus so it’s a little bit easier to start school".


Johnson Mih-Cashew says there are orientation sessions for both students and parents.  


For more on how to prepare for the university year ahead, listen to Thompson Today at 12:40 and 5:10 today and tomorrow.


Federal government moves forward with its funding for City's Wastewater Treatment Plant

The Federal government has approved-in-principal, funding for the City’s new Wastewater Treatment Project.


During the last council meeting a letter from MP Denis Lebel was presented, which stated that federal funding of the project will be up to 33% of the total eligible project costs, to a maximum federal contribution of $12.1 million.


City Manager, Gary Ceppetelli said this is the next step in the approval process, and allows the City to incur costs. He said they hope to complete designs by the end of the year, and have tenures ready for January 2016.


Productive summer at the Boreal Discovery Centre as summer programming wraps up, and construction continues

It’s been a year since the Thompson Zoo announced they would be transforming into the Boreal Discovery Centre.


Chairperson Keith MacDonald says the Wolf Enclosure is 98% complete and this week, Zoo Design Inc is visiting to finalize the rest of the plans:


"They’re doing our conceptual drawings and our working drawings for the plan for the rest of the exhibits. They’re coming back and were going to start finalizing other attributes like the caribou, the lynx, our eagles and owls exhibit, and our aquarium that we plan on building. So we’re getting more to the point now where we can actually design drawings so we can get local contractors involved". 


Last Friday also marked the last day of summer programming for the centre. MacDonald says they saw about 25% more participation this year, compared to last year.


For the rest of the year, MacDonald says they will be focusing on fundraising for the $4 million project.


The centre is expected to be complete in 2018.


City looking for vendors for their annual Health and Leisure Mart

Businesses and groups that promote healthy living and leisure activities are encouraged to take part in the City's 23rd Annual Health and Leisure Mart.


Cory Sparkes with the Rec Department shares what they're looking for:

"We’re really looking for health and leisure oriented business groups and local organizations. You could be selling some natural health foods. you could be promoting maybe exercising class, things of that nature".


Registration deadline for those wanting to take part is next Friday, August 28th. If space is available registrations will be accepted later.


The Health and Leisure Mart is free to the public to attend. 


Rescue dog may get needed hip surgery, thanks to fundraising comedy group

A travelling stand-up comedy group that raises money for animal rescue groups is making a stop in Thompson.


Raise the Woof will be performing at the Juniper Centre tonight at 8.


Vicki McNevin says money from sales will be going to the Northern Manitoba Paws in Need:


"We have one particular guy, his name is Nico, he’s 3 years old this month actually. He needs hip surgery on both hips. He has severe hip dysplasia so he needs work done on both hips".


McNevin had been raising money for Nico over the past few months, but a break-in a few months ago set them back.


McNevin says the money will also help cover vet bills and general care of other animals.


This is the first time the fundraising comedy group is making a stop in Thompson.



Pictures taken by local residents of the Northern Lights to be on display tomorrow

The Thompson Aurora Borealis Enthusiasts will be showing off some of the pictures they’ve taken.


Patricia Burkman who’s a member of the club, says they’re hosting their 1st annual kick-off tomorrow:


"It gives us an opportunity to show the community how beautiful the skies are. Pub 55 is gonna allow us to show the aurora photographs, there will be about 50 different photographs displayed throughout the night between 6 and 8 pm, so that people locally who don’t want to get up at 2 o’clock in the morning at 40 below weather can see what the sky look like".


The club was formed in February and already have close to 200 members.


Investigation suggests Raymond Flett may be in the Winnipeg area

The search for Raymond Flett is winding down in Thompson, and expanding into Winnipeg.


Sergeant Bert Paquet says there have been sighting of the missing Split Lake man in Winnipeg.


He says they are not suspecting foul play: "Not at this point, we’re still calling this a missing person investigation. Obviously we’re consulting with major crimes unit as the case progress, but they have certainly not taken it over and we’re still treating this as a missing person with the hopes that we will find Mr. Flett alive and well".


Flett was last seen in Thompson on July 14, and was the subject of a  search led by Split Lake residents.


Anyone with information is asked to call Thompson RCMP at 677-6909.


MLA Steve Ashton says residents can expect to see some road improvements on Highway 280

The Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure assures residents in the North that work is being done on Highway 280.


Steve Ashton tells us the province’s investments:


"If you combine what we’ve invest in the last couple of years and are investing over the next year, we’re actually going to be investing $46 million on highway 280 and also increasing the maintenance both dust control, and the ongoing maintenance, and also we’re moving ahead on our commitment to surface the access road onto Split Lake".


Trust Manager of Split Lake, Michael Garson says they’ve seen work being done, but only about 20 km worth of road. He says they’re waiting to see if the province follows through with its promise.


Last year residents of Split Lake set up a barricade to bring attention to the unpaved road.


Council passes new Working Alone Policy

City council has passed a new policy that regulates city workers who work alone.


The Working Alone Policy outlines a number of procedures, prohibitions and precautions employees and employers of the City should follow when an employee is at a workplace alone. This includes employees reporting to Fire and Emergency Services if working alone for longer than 2 hours.


City Manager Gary Ceppetelli said the Workplace Health and Safety Committee has been working on a written work policy for the City for a number of years. He says now there is something consistent and concise all across the board in the city.


Hunters being reminded to review the Manitoba Hunting Guide

Hunting season is coming up. 


No matter how experienced a hunter is, Tim Cameron with Manitoba Conservation says step number one should be a review of the Manitoba Hunting Guide.  


Here he gives an example of a change that a hunter might not be aware of without the guide.


"Up here in the Thompson area, in the north right to Lynn Lake, Leaf Rapids area is game hunting area 9 where they’ve changed from one bull moose or a calf moose, to just one bull moose. The hunters that hunt in this area should be well aware that that has changed, so that’s things that change from time to time, so that’s good to know, and all those changes are in the hunting guide".


For more on hunting in Manitoba, listen to part one of our Thompson Today interview with Tim this afternoon.  Part two follows tomorrow.


Liberal candidate for Churchill Keewatinook-Aski, kicks off her campaign

Churchill Keewatinook-Aski Liberal candidate, Rebecca Chartrand officially kicked off her campaign earlier this week in Cross Lake.


In attendance was former Prime Minister Paul Martin. She tells us some issues she wants to focus on:


"When you look at the north as well, there’s 40 first nations communities, 23 of which are remote fly-in communities that still have connectivity issues with internet and cell phone service so that’s another area we’re going to look at and of course we’re going to make investments into infrastructure so that we connect communities to the rest of Manitoba".


Chartrand will be touring some towns this week, including a stop in Thompson to set up her campaign office.


Power outages at River Pump House rescheduled

Two power outages scheduled for this week have been rescheduled for this Saturday.


Vale is asking residents to conserve water on the day from 8am-4pm. This includes avoiding non essential activities like watering a lawn or washing vehicles.


Water during this time will be supplied from water reservoirs, and although there may be low water pressure, they are not expecting an interruption in water service.


Originally the power outage were supposed to happen on August 17 and 21.


String of VIA Rail delays caused by soft track infrastructure

A recent string of VIA Rail Delays between Winnipeg and Churchill has residents frustrated.


Michael Woelcke, General Manager of Regional Services says they’ve been caused by what’s called “slow orders”:


"At this time of year when the frost is completely come out of the ground, the track infrastructure, you know the base below the track, gets soft. So Hudson Bay railway and Omni Tracks, who own the rail, they have to go out and make repairs to the tracks, stabilize it, and until they do, they put what’s called a slow order. That means the train has to go very slow over a particular area from a safety point of view".


Woelcke says they don’t expect to see many more delays as the weather cools and repairs are done.


2,700 street lights being changed across the City, as part of Manitoba Hydro's Conversion Program

About 2,700 street lights are being changed in Thompson but it’s not because they’re all broken.


Manitoba Hydro has begun their LED Roadway Lighting Conversion Program.


Scott Powell, Communications Director tells us more:

"LED roadway lights offer a number of advantages over the traditional high pressure sodium thats been in place for the last 30 years. Obviously way more energy efficient, much longer life and really enhance brightness and visibility for driver. It’s a program we’re really moving forward with and have a number of conversion projects occurring over the summer months here in Manitoba".


Powell says Thompson was the pilot city of the conversion. Nine lights were installed in 2013, and are still in service.


There are currently 6,500 lights installed province wide, with 35,000 slated to be changed out by March 2016.


Crowd funding page set up for 6 year old Nelson House fire victim

A 6 year-old-girl who was in a shed fire at Nelson House, is still recovering at a Winnipeg hospital. Bryanna Linklater suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns in the June incident that injured 3 other young children.


Her father, Bryant Linklater has set up a crowd funding page to help support his family. He and his wife along with 4 other children have been in Winnipeg since the fire, to be with Bryanna.


He says he hasn’t worked in 2 months, and the money they’re raising will help them with utilities, food, and making Bryanna’s hospital stay as comfortable as possible.  


Bear sightings in Thompson normal at this time of year

Recent bear sightings have spurred debates on social media, about what conservation does with the bears they come across.


Natural Resources Officer Ryan Kopchuck sets the record straight: "We’re chasing them away, scaring them away from towns, most of the time that works. We do have live traps set, the culvert looking straps, and we have been catching a few and relocating them outside of town to give them a new home, away from people. Euthanizing the bears is the absolute last resort we use. If the opportunity arises, we will tranquilize them and relocate them".


Any bear sightings should be reported to 677-6640.


Kopchuk also reminds residents to keep attractants such as garbage, dirty BBQ’s and bird feeders away from their home.  


Steps to Success developing new program that will cater to Thompson's needs

Steps to Success will be offering a brand new program.


Essential Skills for Employment will allow employees to develop their computer, workplace, communication, and job search skills.


During yesterday’s Chamber of Commerce meeting, Cat Cogle with Steps to Success told members that the program is in the development stage right now, and could use their help. She’s asking employers to tell her about things they’ve noticed in the workplace so that it can be incorporated in the program.


Essential Skills for Employment will be offered in September.


New partnership between Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre and Vale being launched today

Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre has partnered up with Vale to address barriers aboriginal people face when trying to gain employment.


Executive Director of the Friendship Centre, Anita Campbell tells us more:


"The Employment First North Project is looking at a few things and it’s to look at increasing the economic participation of urban aboriginal people in Thompson. Secondly we’re trying to increase partnership that will build these bridges amongst Vale and other employers, lets say, in Thompson and the north".


Vale will be at the Friendship Centre today, providing information about employment opportunities, during the official launch of the project, at 1 and 6pm.


Canada Post will not be reducing hours at Lynn Lake after all

Residents at Lynn Lake don’t have to worry about Canada Post reducing their hours of operation.



Earlier in the month, Mayor James Lindsay received a letter from the crown corporation that said they were considering reducing the hours of operation.


This sparked concern from people in the community, including Churchill MP Niki Ashton who expressed her opposition to the potential plans.


John Caines, Communications for Canada Post says they regularly review their network on an annual basis, and since contacting Mayor Linday, they have made the decision to keep the hours as they are.


Log work at Heritage North Museum to be complete this week

The bottom logs at the Heritage North Museum are almost replaced.


Carpenter Len Friesen gives us some insight into what went into the project:  


"We did a lot more than just the log work, we’re also restraining the bottom 3 logs. We ground them right down and put wood preservative on. The building is too low to the ground that’s the real problem there, there’s too much moisture splashing  back onto the building so we’re putting this framing on it and re-flashing it so the log work has been maybe half the work".


Friesen expects the work to be complete this week, for a total of 4 weeks that it took to replace the logs. He says the project cost about $30,000.


3D art sculptures being made for Children's Adventure Park

Spirit Way’s Adventure Playground will be getting some new art.


Volker Beckman, with the non-profit organization, tells us about the new addition:


"They are 3-D art sculptures and they will be about 3 feet wide by 8 feet tall. There are 4 artists who’ve been chosen and each one is doing a design so it will be like a thin art panel inside, and there are four different themes: wolves, aviation, children and aboriginal".


The 4 artists are Jasyn Lucas, Jan Hall, Allan Chapman, and Theresa Burrows.


Beckman is hoping to have the sculptures up in September. The park is located by the Miles Hart Bridge.


Cross Lake First Nation crowned championship team at Manitoba First Nations fire fighter competition

10 teams travelled to Thompson to compete in Manitoba’s First Nations Fire Fighter Competition.


Hosted in Thompson for the 1st time in 24 years, the competition had the fire fighters complete tasks that simulate fighting a fire such as laying out a hose, hitting targets with water, and climbing through tunnels.


The winning fire fighters were Cross Lake First Nation. They are off to Ontario mid-August , to represent Manitoba in the National first nation firefighter competition. Last year, Manitoba came in 3rd.


Watermain renewal project to wrap up in next week

The City continues to carry out capital projects.


The water main renewal being done on Cree Road is expected to be complete in the next week. Mayor Dennis Fenske says rain did set the project back by a few days.


After the water main renewal is done, the City will move onto the road renewal projects.   


Residents can expect equipment, barricades, and open holes in the area for the rest of the month, until the road renewal is done.


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