Local News Archives for 2022-04

A Long Time Flin Flon City Councillor is Not Seeking Re-election.

Councillor Karen MacKinnon announced at the City Council meeting Tuesday night she will not seek re-election after serving 16 years on Council.  She explains it’s wasn’t an easy decision as being a representative for the City of Flin Flon has been an amazing journey but with the upcoming election she thought since she’s been on Council for such a long time others might want to consider now putting their name forward.  She says it’s an important decision and she thinks we need good people to step up to the plate and run and also having said that she also said at the Council meeting for anyone considering running she is open to questions like what you think the job of a City Councillor might be, what it is and the time commitment, etc.

             

Nominations open on May 1st for Mayor and on June 30th for Councillor and remain open until September 20th with the election being held on October 26th.  Forms can be found at City Hall.

 

Donations and Hiring were Part of the Creighton Council Meeting.

At their meeting earlier this week the Town Council of Creighton agreed to pass a motion to donate 750 dollars to the Flin Flon Fireworks Committee in support of this year’s Canada Day Celebrations.  Council also was in favor of passing a motion to donate 750 dollars to the Flin Flon Bombers which will allow kids to attend the next playoff series home game free of charge.  Council agreed to pass a motion to renew the lease agreement with Creighton Community School for the curling rink side of the Sportex with a rate increase of two percent starting May 1st 2022 and again for May 1st 2023 and 2024.

             

Council also agreed on the hiring of summer students Marcus Kennedy, Bree Paterson, Alyssa Patterson, Maryn McKee and Abbey Werbicki for Parks Maintenance and Tourism.  Lexus Altman, Alixandra Stevens and Evin Davis will tend the Spray Pool.

 

New Case Numbers are Up Again in Manitoba and in Far North East Saskatchewan.

Manitoba public health reported 1436 new cases of COVID-19 for the week of April 17th to 23rd up from 1190 reported the previous week.  The total reported cases in the province now stands at 140,931.  Hospital admissions during the week were 188 up four with 12 of them admissions to ICU down from 22 the previous week.  Of the new cases the highest number was 736 in Winnipeg with the lowest the Northern region at 111 up from 67 the previous week.            

 

Saskatchewan health reported 829 new cases down from 889 reported the previous week.  Of the new cases 31 were in Far North East up from seven the previous week.  As of April 27th 409 people were hospitalized down eight and 20 were intensive care admissions down five from the previous week. The Omicron BA-2 sub lineage accounted for 69.7 percent of the variants of concern reported up from the previous week.

 

A Program Supporting Home Buyers Is Starting in May.

At their meeting Tuesday night Flin Flon City Council agreed to establish the Flin Flon Home Buyers Assistance Program. Through a one-time grant of 421 thousand dollars from the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation the program will subsidize the down payment of mortgages by way of a forgivable loan to be obtained by eligible first time home buyers in Flin Flon. They note the City anticipates the program will encourage residents that are presently leasing for housing to consider shifting to ownership of housing which in effect is expected to free up housing inventory on the rental market while expanding the housing stock in Flin Flon.  The City proposes to subsidize home buyers meeting eligibility requirements up to eight percent of the down payment for a home purchase price not exceeding 200 thousand dollars. The City plans to launch the Program on Monday May 16th and it is scheduled to be concluded by Friday March 31st, 2023.

             

Mayor Cal Huntley also proclaimed 2022 the Year of the Garden and June 18th Garden Day celebrating the Centennial of Canada’s horticulture sector and the local horticulture organizations, professionals and businesses which contribute to garden culture and experiences in our municipality.

 

Plans for Outdoor Activities Were Outlined for the Flin Flon School Board.

The Flin Flon School Division Superintendent Tammy Ballantyne reported this past Tuesday that students and staff are looking forward to the start of their outdoor education programs.  She went on to thank the parents and guardians who have volunteered their time to chaperone students as well as assist in other duties for the planned trips to Camp Whitney.  The first canoe trip is scheduled for May 25th-26th if the ice has melted by then.  In all the Division has nine scheduled canoe and Camp Whitney trips for grades six through twelve.

             

The Division has received additional special needs funding in the amount of 37,107 dollars from the Manitoba government who announced earlier this year that seven million dollars was available to boost special needs funding across the Province’s School Divisions. The Board also passed a motion to approve the 2023-2024 to 2027-2028 capital plan and submit it to Manitoba Capital Planning and Agreement Management.  The capital plan will see various upgrades to the Division’s Schools.

Classical Music Returns to the Flin Flon Community Hall

The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra finally will make its way to the North. Their appearance was originally scheduled for 2019 but had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The performance will feature 22 nationally renowned musicians and managing director of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Vicki Young.

The performance takes place this Saturday at the Flin Flon Community Hall, 7:30. Tickets are available at the Uptown Emporium on Main St. or at flinflonartscouncil.ca or at the door. 

Per request from the Chamber Orchestra, they ask that masks be worn for this concert. 

Lobster Night Is Back

After a three year hiatus, the Flin Flon Rotary Club is bringing back their Lobsterfest. This will be taking place May the 7th at the FF Community Hall with a live performance from the Mix.

 

Glenn Smith from the Rotary Club says they have a great evening planned.

 " Well it's going to be a great party again, its the best party in Flin Flon. We want to let everyone know that all the servers will be wearing masks for Covid protection. The lobster supper is still $60.00 for one lobster and is still the same price as it was 5 years ago. You can come out and have a heck of a time with a great meal for only 60 bucks.

 

You can pick up tickets at Dembos Kick It, Kleen ALL or pick them up online on the Flin Flon Rotary Club facebook page. Deadline to pick up tickets is this Saturday. Proceeds from this years event will go towards the pool project and for the Ukraine.

A New Record Was Set Last Year at the Recycling Centre

The Flin Flon Environment Council held their annual general meeting Thursday night. Recycling Centre Administrator Deb Odegaard reported they recycled just over 564 tones last year, up from just over 538 the previous year. She noted office paper constituted the biggest increase at 20 tonnes as significant amounts of shredded paper came from Hudbay. She added cardboard as 55 percent of total tonnes collected and pointed out there is considerabel totaling 19.74 tonnes, 1104 kilograms of household batteries, 15 tub skids of paint, 138 boxes fluorescent bulbs and from the landfill, 20 tub skids, 33 barrels and 15 pails of hazardous waste.

Odegaard presented the Community Champion Award to Nadine Porter and Becky Hyska, the Employee Service Award to Kelly Potkonjak and the Board Member Award to Jan Modler. She added they are looking for people to serve on their Board and anyone interested can contact Deb at the Recycling Centre at 204 - 687 - 6169.

The Great White North Trail Walk is Underway Today

The Flin Flon ToastMasters are heading down the Great White North Trail Starting today. Member Harry Hobbs will be doing a virtual walk from Minnnesota while actually walking here in Flin Flon. 

Hobbs notes their progress will be tracked on facebook and Members of the community are encouraged to follow their journey and learn more about Toastmasters can help improve your listening, speaking and leadersip skills.

Nominations for the Annual Volunteer Awards Open Monday in Manitoba.

The Manager of Communications for Volunteer Manitoba Dawn Bourbonnais says all of their awards are open to everyone in Manitoba except the Winnipeg Award.  She notes changes in two of the awards explaining the Lieutenant Governor has eliminated the Vice-Regal Award but she’s still giving out Community Awards to three deserving individuals and Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries has also changed their award this year so after Monday you’ll see a new award for them.  She says they’re fairly excited about that one because it’s a Community Change Maker Award so any group of people in the community who have affected change, created a project, helped out their neighbor or done something that really benefited the entire community is eligible for that award.

              Some of the other awards include the Premier’s Volunteer Service Award, the Association of Manitoba Municipalities Community Leadership Award and the William Norrie Arts and Culture Volunteer Award.  Nominations close on May 30th.  To nominate a volunteer or for more information on all of the awards go to their website www.volunteermanitoba.ca/awards.

 

 

Climate Change is Affecting Northern Manitoba Communities.

The Green Resilience Project has launched its final report based on community forums it held across the country earlier this year pertaining to the affects of climate change and its links to income insecurity.

 

Thompson, Flin Flon, Churchill, and Wabowden were the four northern Manitoba communities that took part in the sessions.

 

Michelle Pruder with Community Futures North Central Development, one of the partners of the project, stated the north has been experiencing impacts climate change is having on economic security in communities citing the winter roads and Churchill’s tourism industry as an example. She says one of our communities is Churchill which is on Hudson Bay and they’ve been watching the effect on Polar bears and on the beluga whales and they rely almost completely on tourism and the effects of that have the potential to really impact them, there’s a lot of fear.

 

Pruder notes that solutions she heard during the sessions include government funding to support climate action efforts as well as local solutions such as improving recycling systems in communities that can’t afford a recycling program.

New Case Numbers Continue to Drop in Manitoba Including the North as Well as in Saskatchewan.

Manitoba public health reported 1190 new cases of COVID-19 for the week of April 10th to 16th bringing the total number of reported cases to 139,465.  This is down from 1694 new cases reported the previous week.  The largest number of new cases was in Winnipeg with 594 with the lowest number in the Northern health region with 67 down from 133 for the previous week.  During the week there were 206 hospital admissions in the province 22 of which were ICU admissions.

             

Saskatchewan health reported 890 cases were confirmed April 10th to 16th lower than the number for the previous week at 1050.  The Omicron BA-2 sub lineage accounted for 61.4 percent of the variety of concern cases higher than the previous week.  Far North East reported eight new cases down one from the previous week and the lowest in the province.  As of April 20th 417 people in the province were in hospital up 14 with 25 in intensive care the same as the previous week.

You Can Again Get a Rebate for Your Staycation.

The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce has announced the return of their successful Tourism Rebate Incentive Program known as TRIP.  President Chuck Davidson says it’s a simple program explaining all you basically need to do is have a hotel stay somewhere between May 6th and 16th, you go on the website they have created at www.tripmb.ca, you download your receipt to that portal and once you do that what you’re eligible for is a 100 dollar rebate and that will come in the form of either Paypal or you can have a cheque delivered directly to your house.   He says they tried to make it as simple as possible encouraging Manitobans to travel around the province, take advantage and at the same time support an industry that has really been hampered over the course of the pandemic and that is the hospitality industry in Manitoba.

             

Davidson notes last year almost 25 thousand Manitobans took advantage of the rebate. To access the TRIP terms of use go to www.tripmb.ca.  Eligible receipts must be uploaded no later than 11:59 pm on Monday May 23rd.

Financial Support is Available to Provide Summer Employment for Young People.

The Manitoba government is providing nine million dollars this year for the province’s Green Team Program that gives young Manitobans work in the summer months.

Green Team grants are awarded to non-profit organizations, education authorities, Northern Affairs Community Councils and municipal governments to hire youth between the ages of 15 and 29 to work on community projects between May and September.

This year approximately 700 projects across the province will receive funding for the program with more than 2,200 youth expected to receive work.

The program funds 100 per cent of wage costs for non-profit organizations, education authorities and Northern Affairs Community Councils and 50 per cent of wage costs for municipalities on a cost-shared basis.

For more information on the Urban and Hometown Green Team program, visit: https://gov.mb.ca/grants/.               

Flin Flon RCMP Have Seized Firearms, Drugs and Cash.

On April 15th Flin Flon RCMP were assisted in an ongoing investigation.  The assistance came from North District Crime Reduction Enforcement Support Team, Emergency Response Team, Police Dog Services and Creighton RCMP Detachment in executing search warrants at two residences in Flin Flon.

              Officers seized approximately 140 grams of cocaine, firearms, cash, various prescription pills and drug paraphernalia.  Five adults from Flin Flon were arrested.  One was charged with a drug related offence while four others were charged with weapons and firearms possession and drug related offences.

              The Flin Flon RCMP continue to investigate.

- The Manitoba government is taking a second shot at education reform and seems to have more support this time.

The Progressive Conservative government has backed down on one of its main reform measures announced last year -- the elimination of elected school boards.

Instead, the government will move forward with some of the other proposed changes.

Those include an expansion of remote learning to include an online high school.

There is also a plan for a regulatory body that could certify teachers.

The province also says it aims to develop new ways to assess students in early school years, and to change report cards to be more inclusive of students with special needs.

The Manitoba School Boards Association says details have to be worked out, but the province is now acting collaboratively.

The Manitoba Teachers Society says it likes some of the planned changes but would also like to see a universal school-meal program.

April 22nd is Recognized as Earth Day Under the Theme Invest in Our Planet.

The Flin Flon Environment Council is asking you to remember Earth Day Friday. Recycling Centre Administrator Deb Odegaard urges you to put some thought into change.  She explains Earth Day has been going on for more than 50 years so she thinks a lot of people are very aware that we need to make some changes and so she would like people to think positive as well as what needs to change this year, what are we doing already for the environment and what more can we do and she thinks that’s really important to think about on Friday.

             

If you have any questions on Earth Day or recycling you can contact Deb at the Recycling Centre at 204-687-6169 or visit their display at the Trade and Leisure Show at the Creighton Sportex April 28th to 30th.  You’re also invited to the Environment Council’s Annual General Meeting tomorrow night at 7 in City Hall Council Chambers.

The Manitoba Government is Moving Forward with Cleaning Up Abandoned Mine Sites.

Environment Minister Jeff Wharton reports the government is investing 50.7 million dollars over the next five years to further accelerate clean up of orphaned and abandoned mine sites across the province.  He says they have already made progress at mines 65 kilometers northeast of Flin Flon and 23 kilometers east of Leaf Rapids.  He explains they have completed the construction phase of the Sherridon Mine site pointing out the Sherridon site will now move to a long term care and maintenance status and while they undertake this work they will continue to work in collaboration with the surrounding communities.  He notes the Ruttan mine has also achieved a significant milestone this year with over 1.3 million cubic meters of clay placed and compacted on the tailings management area to prevent windblown tailings and to reduce the volume of acidic water generated at the site.

             

Wharton adds as they expedite this work the government will continue to work with northern communities to improve environmental impacts in the north. To date this program has completed remediation work at 39 high to moderate risk sites.

The Deadline to Register Your Younger Children for School is Approaching.

Parents are reminded to register your children for Kindergarten in Flin Flon School Division.  Administrative Assistant Kathryn Church outlines what is required to register. She explains children need to be born in or prior to 2017, they can register at the school in their catchment, students who are attending Kindervention are already considered registered so there’s no need to register again, a copy of the child’s birth certificate is required or a proof of age with a government issued document is mandatory if a birth certificate is not an option, you can call your child’s school if you have any questions – Ruth Betts Community School is 204-687-7538 and Ecole McIsaac School is 204-687-7578 and McIsaac also offers French Immersion and English so that’s also an option and they can call the principal if they have any questions regarding that.

             

Church adds the deadline to register is Friday April 29th.

A Mining Company in Manitoba Has Been Fined for Violating Federal Environmental Legislation.

On April 11 CaNickel Mining Limited was ordered to pay 200 thousand dollars after pleading guilty in the Provincial Court of Manitoba to two offences.  These were violations of the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations made pursuant to the Fisheries Act. 

 Following an investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers CaNickel Mining Limited was charged in December 2018 with one count of depositing or allowing the deposit of an effluent that contained a deleterious substance, in excess of authorized limits, in a place where the effluent may enter water frequented by fish namely Bucko Lake near the town of Wabowden. Sampling conducted by the mine showed that effluent released from the mine during the month of July 2017 contained higher-than-authorized levels of the radioactive element radium 226.

In addition the company was charged with one count relating to a failure to follow requirements to collect and test effluent samples on scheduled dates in 2017. Effluent sampling is a mandatory condition of an authorization to release mine effluent under the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations. Sample testing is used to verify that the effluent meets the standards set to protect fish and fish habitat.

The North Has The Lowest Number of New Cases in Manitoba While Cases Are Up Slightly in Saskatchewan.

Manitoba public health reports 1694 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed for the week of April 3rd to 9th bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 138,271.  This is up from 1359 new cases reported in the previous week. The largest number of new cases was in the Winnipeg region with 829 with the lowest number in the Northern region with 133.  During the week there were 177 hospital admissions with 19 people admitted to intensive care. Manitoba is now allowing a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 17 who have had their last shot six months ago.           

            

Saskatchewan health reported 1051 new cases for the week of April 3rd to 9th up slightly from the number of new cases in the previous week at 1032.  As of April 13th 403 are in hospital with 25 in intensive care up five.  Far North East reports nine new cases up from seven the previous week. Saskatchewan has expanded eligibility for a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine to residents 70 and older as well as those 50 and older who live in First Nations Communities as long as it has been four months since their third dose.

A Lot is Missing From the Manitoba Budget.

Flin Flon MLA Tom Lindsey says he doesn’t see much in the budget for the north. He says our health care in northern Manitoba not just Flin Flon but everywhere is a disaster and he really didn’t see them commit to doing anything to fix that.  He notes they talked about infrastructure money for highways but every highway they listed wasn’t anywhere close to us and certainly we know that number six and sixty all need attention.  He points out one thing that may be interesting is their Venture Capital Fund to see what that does, whether that translates into any mining companies becoming more interested noting certainly minerals are key to this electric future so we’ll see what that turns into if it turns into anything.

             

Lindsey adds the spending on health care doesn’t even keep up with the rate of inflation and they generally under spend what they say they’re going to spend.

The Flin Flon School Board Heard the Details of a New Project at their Meeting this Week.

Flin Flon School Division is pleased to have been one of the 33 Manitoba Divisions chosen to participate in the Elders and Knowledge Keepers pilot project.  This new program supports the inclusion of First Nations, Metis and Inuit histories, culture, traditional values, life styles and knowledge in the provincial curricula.  The Division received a small grant which was enough to spark interest and to move forward with this great opportunity.  The government is investing 275 thousand dollars in this pilot program which will be assessed for further implementation.  The Flin Flon School Division will be reporting back to the government later this month on the projects progress.  Local Elders will be participating in all of the Division’s schools.

A Day to Celebrate Movies is Coming up With a Free Film.

The Central Canada Film Group is taking part in National Film Day next Wednesday.  The group’s Tom Heine says this is a Canada wide event that focuses on Canadian films and they are showing I’ve Heard the Mermaid’s Singing. He explains it’s basically a quirky story about a bit of a socially challenged person, it’s an entertaining film not heavy duty but it was critically acclaimed back he thinks in the late 1980s.  He notes it’s a Canadian production and good family entertainment.

             

The film will be shown next Wednesday night April 20th at 7:30 in the Hapnot Collegiate Theatre. Admission is free.  It’s not compulsory but you are encouraged to wear a mask.

 

Follow the Directions Provided When Using Rapid Tests.

Covid-19 rapid antigen tests are being distributed free in a variety of locations across the province.

Doctor William Libich from the Northern Health Region has commented on the rapid antigen tests and how to use them properly. He reports the very best advice is to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on the test kit. He says there have been some media reports about other jurisdictions that are using the test kits in off label ways instead of swabbing the nose some people are swabbing the cheeks and the throat and perhaps then the nose.  He notes in order to do that, that technique has to be validated and it hasn’t been validated in Manitoba so our provincial laboratory officials are saying not to use off label techniques in order to diagnose Covid using rapid antigen tests.                                                 

For more information about Covid-19 rapid antigen tests and for tips on how to continue to stay safe from Covid-19 visit www.manitoba.ca/covid19/testing.

Local Area Artists are Reminded the Deadline is Approaching to Enter the Northern Juried Art Show.

The 46th Northern Juried Art Show is being hosted by the NorVa and Arts Council Committee in the Flin Flon Community Hall June 2nd to 4th.  The show is open to artists who permanently reside in Manitoba north of the 53rd parallel including Creighton and Denare Beach Saskatchewan with the entry deadline April 30th.  The Committee’s Crystal Kolt says they have nine categories to enter including painting which is acrylic, oil and mixed media; water color; drawing and printmaking which includes charcoal, chalk, printing; creative fibre art; three dimensional work with category one which is jewelry, stained glass, basketry, leather craft, beading and tufting and category two which is stone, wood, clay, metal and ceramic moulds; photography both color and black and white and then they have two youth categories one for ages 9 to 12 and the other ages 13 to 17.

             

For entry forms and information contact the NorVa Centre at 204-687-4237 or norvacentre@gmail.com, Elly Spencer at 204-687-7768 or spencer.elly@gmail.com or Crystal Kolt at 204-271-0315.

 

The Need for Donors is Being Emphasized During Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Month.

The  CEO of The David Foster Foundation Michael Ravenhill says there’s currently over 44 hundred patients waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in the country.

 

He adds that while 90 per cent of Canadians support organ donation only 32 per cent are registered.

 

Ravenhill highlights some of the hesitancies people may have when it comes to signing up to be an organ and tissue donor noting one would be misinformation or education.  He says the other is people are concerned if they are on the registration list and they’re ill in the hospital will the medical team let them die so they can get the organs stating it’s completely not true, it’s not how it works in the medical system, doctors and front line workers are there to save our lives.  He adds so many times he hears people say I may be too old, nobody wants any of my organs because I’ve done things in my life that would make my body not a perfect specimen but that’s not the case either because there’s so many organs and tissues in a body that can help save a life.

 

Ravenhill says one organ donor can save up to eight lives and benefit the quality of life for up to 75 people.

The Chamber Orchestra is Making Its Way to Flin Flon Later This Month.

The Flin Flon Arts Council is hosting the spring tour of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra at a concert later this month. The Arts Council’s Crystal Kolt encourages everyone to come out noting there’s going to be 23 musicians coming up and they’re going to be having just a beautiful repertoire of classical music.  She says they’ve been trying for two years to get them up but because of COVID they haven’t been able to manage it but finally they’re coming up so they’re thrilled and are hoping they’re going to have an opportunity to meet some kids at school as well and they just want to invite everybody back to the theatre to enjoy something fantastic like this show.

             

The concert takes place Saturday April 30th at 7:30 in the Flin Flon Community Hall with tickets available at the Uptown Emporium or on the Arts Council website www.flinflonartscouncil.ca.

 

 

A New Medal Will Be Presented in Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty has announced the creation of the Queen Elizabeth the Second Platinum Jubilee Medal.  The new commemorative medal is being created to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Her Majesty’s accession to the throne.

             

Mirasty explains the medal program will honour significant contributions and achievements throughout Saskatchewan during this unprecedented anniversary year noting between June 2022 and February 2023 seven thousand medals will be awarded.  He adds as we celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years of extraordinary services as Queen of Canada and Head of the Commonwealth this commemorative medal enables us to pay tribute to the Queen’s devotion of duty by recognizing Saskatchewan people who have also made service a priority pointing out he looks forward to celebrating the generous and impressive people of the province at medal ceremonies across Saskatchewan.

             

For more information about the Jubilee Medal visit www.saskatchewan.ca/honoursawards.

Your Children Can Help Name a Future RCMP Musical Ride Horse.

The RCMP are asking for help in naming twelve foals that are expected be born this spring at the RCMP Breeding Farm in Ontario. Up to twelve names will be selected from across Canada including one classroom entry.

             

To qualify an entrant must be 14 years of age or younger, the name must begin with the letter “V”, you can submit only one entry, you must live in Canada and the entry must be submitted no later than April 22nd.  If you are submitting on behalf of a class you must be at least 18 years of age and teach children 14 years of age or younger.

             

The children whose names are selected will receive a prize pack that includes a photo of the foal they named, a certificate signed by the RCMP Commissioner and an engraved horseshoe.

             

To submit your entry go online and search RCMP Name the Foal Contest 2022 and click on We’re Searching for “V” Names or visit https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/musical-ride/name-the-foal-contest.

 

 

A Program to Attract Snowmobilers to Northern Manitoba is Moving Forward.

Al McLaughlin with the Manitoba Tourism Education Council spoke to Arctic Radio about Sled M-B 53, a certification program for northern communities and businesses that promotes snowmobiling tourism.

 

McLaughlin states the idea for a certification program was brought up at a snowmobiling summit in Snow Lake around four years ago with Thompson being the first community receiving the certification a few weeks ago.

 

He adds the program’s aim is to reach snowmobilers and encourage them to visit businesses in certified communities especially those coming from outside the region. He notes snowmobiling really is a big economic driver, it adds 314 million dollars to the provincial economy every year and when you think about it somebody coming up from the south to go snowmobiling in the north they can’t bring their home with them, 99.9 people won’t bring a tent so they’re looking for accommodations, they’re looking for meals, they’re looking for fuel, places to park their trailers and the certification just talks to all that and brings that out in the forefront of the community’s mind.

 

While Thompson is currently the only community to be certified McLaughlin says the process to certify other communities including Flin Flon and The Pas is going well.

BA-2 Case Numbers Have Gone up in Saskatchewan.

In their weekly report Saskatchewan health reported 1032 new cases of COVID-19 for the week of March 27th to April 2nd 13.7 percent lower that the number of new cases reported the previous week at 1196.  The Omicron BA-2 sub lineage accounted for 21.4 percent of the variants of concern reported over the week an increase of 15.5 percent from the previous week.  As of April 6th 354 people were in hospital up 30 from the previous week with 20 in intensive care down one.  Far North East reported seven new cases down from 31 the previous week.  Among the population 18 years and older 51.4 percent have received at least one booster vaccination.

Vaccines Still Play a Major Role in Preventing the Spread of COVID-19.

Manitoba Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin reports the province is currently experiencing an increase in COVID-19 transmission largely the B-A-2 variant.  He explained B-A-2 is found to be more contagious than the original Omicron variant and we’re seeing that in many jurisdictions in Canada and throughout the world but they haven’t witnessed an increase in severity.  He notes as of their last run of sequencing B-A-2 represented about 60 percent of the transmission in Manitoba at this point.

             

Roussin adds vaccines are still the best way to protect ourselves and those around us noting about 80 percent of 12 to 17 year olds have two doses, 88 percent of adults have two doses and about 50 percent of residents have received their third dose.  He noted we’re seeing an increase in hospital admissions mostly related to those 80 plus and a decrease in more severe cases with ICU admissions but we seem to have reached a plateau in numbers.

Training is Available in Flin Flon for Licensed Practical Nurses.

Diploma Practical Nursing Program Coordinator Sheri McPhee says they are offering a two year diploma practical nursing program through University College of the North training students to be LPNs.  She explains they’re taking applications from just about anybody, the registration deadline is May 1st, they are looking for grade 12 grads ages undetermined, you may be in grade 12 right now, you may have been in grade 12 ten years ago so you want to head to their website ucn.ca to see a list of the qualification they need, and they do require some averages from your transcripts so 60 percent in Math, Science and English.

             

The application deadline is May 1st online at www.ucn.ca and the training will start just after Labor Day.  McPhee notes the program is new this year but they have received funding from the government so they will be doing a yearly intake.

 

The Rich Should Be Paying Their Share.

Northern Manitoba MP and NDP National Revenue Critic Niki Ashton called out the Liberal government this week for letting banks making record profits off the hook while Canadians struggle with the rising cost of living.  She noted while Canadians are struggling to keep up with the rising costs of groceries and housing the six largest Canadian banks recorded a profit of over five billion dollars in the last quarter yet the Liberals are doing nothing to force these corporations to pay their fair share adding CEOs are lining their pockets while people are struggling to pay rent.  Ashton said the Liberals must make a choice to stand with the majority of Canadians or their billionaire pals asking when will the Liberals make billionaires pay by implementing a three percent surtax on their excess profits.

             

Associate Minister of Finance Randy Boissonault noted the government is committed to asking those who prospered during the pandemic to help a little bit more for those who did not and their platform committed to increase taxes on the largest most profitable banks and insurance companies and introduce a temporary Canada Recovery Dividend because they recovered faster.

A Second Booster is Coming to Manitoba.

Based on recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization Manitoba will be offering a second booster of COVID-19 vaccine.  It will be available to residents of personal care homes and elderly persons housing congregate living sites such as supportive housing and assisted living with no age limit, individuals aged 70 and older who live in the community and First Nations, Inuit and Metis people aged 50 and older regardless of where they live.

             

They note the second booster should be Pfizer or Moderna and given at least six months after their last booster dose.  Based on the timing of previous vaccine campaigns for these groups the second booster will be offered as early as mid-April and remain available over the coming months.

 

Agreements Were a Large Part of the Flin Flon City Council Meeting.

At their meeting last night Council approved the Whitney Forum fee schedule for 2022 with a five percent increase in fees after being frozen from 2019 to 21. They agreed to a one year extension on the lease agreement with the detachment for the RCMP building at 98 Hapnot Street.  They agreed to donate the use of the Flin Flon Community Hall to the NorVa and Arts Council Committee for the Northern Juried Art Show. Council resolved that the City purchase the Flin Flon Weightlifting Club and equipment at a cost of 20 thousand dollars to ensure it continues to be available in the Community Hall. They approved the consulting firm BDO Canada to complete an assessment on productivity and efficiencies. They will look at each C+ity department to learn where they are doing well and where things can be done more efficiently.  Council agreed to move their next meeting from April 19th to 26th

             

Council also accepted the Fire Chief’s report for February indicating only one call during the month to a false alarm on Channing Drive.  Fire Fighters took part in heavy truck rescue and recovery training as well as hazardous waste awareness.

 

More Information is Needed on Your Financial Plans.

While many Canadians are saying they’re prioritizing their financial wellness this year they haven’t talked about discussing retirement planning with a professional.

 

That’s according to CIBC which states only five per cent of respondents plan to have such a conversation this year.

 

Their Vice President of Financial and Investment Advice Carissa Lucreziano shares why this may be the case.  She says one is Canadians feel planning for the future can be overwhelming, about 44 percent believe that aiming for retirement can be complicated.  She notes the second theme is many competing priorities, day to day responsibilities may get in the way from finding time to reflect on prioritizing and setting goals to connect with an advisor to start to create that plan and lastly many Canadians are focused on short term goals like paying off debt, maybe a home renovation or thinking about an overdue holiday as opposed to planning for the long term like retirement or setting up an education fund.

 

Lucreziano adds doubts about retirement were more common among women with more than a third of respondents not knowing how much saving they need before they retire and 32 per cent don’t know what age they’ll retire.

You Can Support the People Of Ukraine.

A community group is holding a Flin Flon Fundraiser for Ukraine Sunday afternoon.  The Arts Council’s Crystal Kolt says it’s a community event featuring food and raffles including baking, it’s going to have Ukrainian food for sale like cabbage rolls, perogies, borscht, paska and there’s going to be prizes. She adds there’s two raffles going on, one raffle around town is featuring Monique Rainville’s art work of the Ukrainian Church, Elaine Angelski’s pottery as well as a Baba’s Bulk Bin package and the second raffle is another art work by Karen Clark of the Ukrainian Church as well as art work by Laura Bryson and Lois Pedersen and a beautiful quilt by Phyllis Kozak along with a huge penny parade.

             

The Fundraiser takes place in the Flin Flon Community Hall from one to four Sunday afternoon. Kolt adds all proceeds will go to the Red Cross for the Ukraine Relief Fund.

You Can Satisfy Your Love of Poetry Friday Night.

The Flin Flon Writers Guild, Flin Flon Toastmasters Club and Flin Flon Public Library are hosting their 20th annual poetry reading Friday night.  The group’s Harry Hobbs invites you to join them on Zoom this year.  He explains they have 25 readers lined up, two are from the U.S., they have different community organizations like CFAR, the MLA, the City of Flin Flon, somebody representing NorVa and it’s going to be a great evening so anyone in the community is welcome to attend as they would like to have a good audience.

             

If you would like to attend the virtual poetry night Friday at 7 contact Harry at 204-687-6647 for the link.

 

A New Look For Locally Produced Comedy is Coming Up in Flin Flon.

An original comedy has been produced by Mike Spencer and written and directed by Mike Spencer and Raphael Saray.  Saray says in this quirky comedy titled Shrug a feuding couple find themselves on an epic journey through cyberspace. He explains Shrug is an innovative livestream production using a hybrid presentation method which combines live video, live cartoon puppets and pre-recorded video segments.  He notes this production will feature live actors who will voice and control the actions of the animated cartoon puppets adding if you are lucky enough to come to the live watch party you can meet the actual players who made the show come to life including Susan Gunn, Alain Lachappelle, Miranda Bowman and John Bettger.

             

Saray noted this production is made possible with support from the Manitoba Arts Council and the NorVa Centre.  You can view the live stream at home by e-transferring ten dollars and your email address to ShrugFlinFlon@gmail.com or attend the live watch party at Johnny’s Social Club Saturday night with tickets available at the Uptown Emporium.

Following the province's announcement on addressing surgical backlogs the union representing allied health staff asks about the north.

The president of the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals Bob Moroz says while the announcement of adding more physical therapists to the Spine Assessment Clinic Winnipeg is a step in the right direction he would have liked to have seen more investment in addressing backlogs beyond the perimeter. He explains they’ve been calling for investment across the province including in northern Manitoba talking about the ultrasound wait time of 52 weeks now in Thompson and 45 in The Pas.  He says this continues to be very alarming and disturbing, it’s an indication that again these announcements are very Winnipeg centered, they know that and they talk to members all the time from across the province including the northern region and it gets very demoralizing.

 

On the retention front Moroz says working conditions need to improve so that allied health staff aren’t getting burnt out and leaving those positions.

 

Your Help is Needed in Filling a Pantry.

The Kiddie Korner Day Care is a not for profit child care centre that serves many families in Flin Flon and the surrounding area with a full time child care program for ages two to eight..

             

The Centre’s Erin Janzen says rising costs make running the day care even more of a challenge with no increase in funding from the government for over eight years so they are asking community members to help fill their pantry.  She explains with their extra cleaning supplies and we all know the cost of food and everything has gone up and they do feed their kids so they definitely are feeling the pinch when it comes to finding funds for that.  She points out what they’re mostly looking for is a lot of their cleaning supplies, garbage bags, hand soap, paper towels, toilet paper and also the kitchen staples as they do all of their own baking as well so flour, sugar, salt, crackers.

             

Any community members interested in donating can drop items off at the centre located adjacent to Ruth Betts Community School between 7 am and 5:30 pm Monday through Friday and if you’re not sure what to donate a grocery gift card will also help out.

Saskatchewan Has Launched a Public Engagement on Virtual Care.

The Saskatchewan Government is looking for feedback from patients and health care providers on their experience with virtual care. Health Minister Paul Merriman says over the past two years Saskatchewan patients have had millions of virtual medical appointment to directly connect with their health care providers during the pandemic noting that can be a phone call, text, email or a virtual visit.  He says the information gathered will be used to develop a long term provincial strategy around virtual care with a member of your health care team.           

To participate visit www.virtualcare.saskatchewan.ca.  There are several ways to provide input such as voting in polls, completing the survey and sharing a story or idea.  Participation opportunities will be open until April 30th.

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