Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to get you started on this Thursday morning.
City councillor’s wife defends use of fake Facebook account, claims ‘abuse of power’
For allegedly overstepping his power to “publicly attack a private citizen,” City of Greater Sudbury integrity commissioner Robert Swayze is facing criticism from a report’s subject. In the report in question, prepared for city council’s Sept. 14 meeting, Swayze recommends that the city’s elected officials reprimand Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan for what has taken place on the Valley East public group Facebook page, which Kirwan administrates with his wife, Valerie. The page, Swayze reported, contains “political statements supporting him which he knew to be from his wife who disguised her identity as Jessie Timmons: (a fictitious person), giving the false impression that such statements were the opinion of the community.” Yesterday, Kirwan defended himself in an interview with Sudbury.com, saying it was his wife who posted under the Jessie Timmons name — a point Swayze said Kirwan also affirmed in an affidavit. Today, Valerie criticized Swayze in an open letter sent to city council and local media in which she also defends both her husband and herself. You can read the letter in its entirety here. “How dare you think you have some kind of power or control over me when I am not an employee of the City or have any say in how it’s run,” she wrote.
Arrest warrant issued for accused in Sept. 7 homicide on Lasalle
Greater Sudbury Police has issued an arrest for the man they believe is responsible for a violent incident on Lasalle Boulevard on Sept. 7 that left a person dead. An arrest warrant has been issued for 32-year-old Edgar ‘Kyle’ Smith. At around 2:30 a.m. Sept. 7, police received a call regarding a collision in the area of Lasalle Boulevard and Notre Dame Avenue. A 30-year-old pedestrian was transported to hospital by paramedics with critical injuries, but was pronounced deceased at the hospital. Police reported that investigation determined the driver of the vehicle and victim in this incident were involved in an altercation in the parking lot of the gas station at the corner of Lasalle Boulevard and Notre Dame Avenue prior to the collision. GSPS said the investigation indicates the victim sustained a stab wound prior to being intentionally run over with the vehicle. Smith faces charges of first-degree murder, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, failure to stop at the scene of a collision and failing to comply with a release order.
Area NDP candidates release Northern Ont. platform, promise ‘better future’ for region
Northern Ontario’s NDP candidates came together Wednesday to release their plan for the region, titled “A better future for Northern Ontario.” The plan’s launch took place at the Sudbury/Nickel Belt NDP campaign office on Lasalle Boulevard, where four candidates met with media in person and others attended virtually. Introducing the NDP as “the only party that’s consistently spoken to the issues that matter to Northern Ontario,” Timmins—James Bay candidate Charlie Angus offered a brief walkthrough of the plan, which localizes several national platform points alongside a few exclusively local plans. Although the Liberals have pledged $240 million over four years to protect post-secondary French-language education, Angus noted that when Laurentian University was in crisis, “the Sudbury and Nickel Belt Liberals were asleep at the switch.” A pledge to “ensure Laurentian University and all northern and francophone universities can serve families across Northern Ontario” and a commitment to “ensuring access to French-language services in Northern Ontario” are both included in their northern platform alongside paying special attention to French-speaking new Canadians.
Police providing security at some vaccine clinics in case of interference from anti-vaxxers
Greater Sudbury Police Service (GSPS) is providing security at some COVID-19 vaccination clinics being held by Public Health Sudbury and District (PHSD). Both organizations have confirmed that police have provided a presence at select venues to ensure the safety of the public. Police officers have been seen at recent PHSD pop-up clinics to ensure that members of the public seeking vaccines can do so without being approached or bothered by other individuals who are either opposed to the vaccine program, or opposed to the recent concept of vaccine mandates. In Sudbury, "paid duty" officers have been providing the service at the request of the health unit. Kaitlyn Dunn, corporate communications co-ordinator at GSPS, explained that a paid duty officer is an off-duty police officer hired on a contract basis to provide security and law enforcement at certain community events such as weddings, funerals, sporting events, concerts, traffic control and film shoots. "Throughout the pandemic, paid duty officers have provided police presence at a variety of functions including vaccination clinics to ensure public safety during these public clinics. There have been some anti-vax/anti-passport assemblies which have been addressed as needed in order to keep the peace and public order," said Dunn. The health unit said police officers and security firms are hired for the safety of the public as well as for staff members.
Registered Nurses Assoc. speaks out against anti-vax protests near hospitals and clinics
Ontario's Registered Nurses Association (RNAO) has strongly condemned the idea of people holding anti vaccine passport protests outside of health organizations. The protests have been held in several communities across Ontario, and in Sudbury, by individuals who are angry about vaccine passport requirements to visit places such as pubs, restaurants and cinemas. Some protesters believe the vaccine is bad for people. The RNAO said the protests in some Ontario cities have resulted in health professionals being subjected to name calling, harassment and threats. Access to health facilities has been disrupted, ambulances have been obstructed and patients' lives endangered, said a news release from RNAO. "Health workers in those facilities, patients in need of care services and the families accompanying them all have enough stress already,” said the RNAO statement. “They don't need hostile people calling to ignore health advice and scientific knowledge, shouting misinformation and yelling obscenities. This appalling behaviour has no place in our society at any time and especially not in the midst of a pandemic that has claimed the lives of 9,545 people in Ontario.”
No new fires in the northeast region
There were no new fires in the region as of Sept. 8, says Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services. Currently, there are six fires burning in the region. Five of these fires are being observed and one has been declared under control. The fire hazard for the northeast region ranges from low to moderate. For more information, click here for an interactive fire map of Ontario.
Firefighters hope for better Fill the Boot fundraising results after disappointing 2020
Although the global pandemic is hampering their effort for a second year, Greater Sudbury Fire Services is pushing forward with their annual Fill the Boot campaign. The fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy Canada was launched last week alongside a proclamation and flag raising by Mayor Brian Bigger. The mayor said he never turns down a chance to deliver a proclamation and thus help bring attention to a worthy cause such as this. Muscular dystrophy is a group of disorders that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass, and Bigger declared September to be Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month. Although the local effort usually consists of firefighters literally filing boots with donations, event chair and firefighter Lucas Andretta said the pandemic forced them to shift online last year. This online format will continue for the 2021 campaign, which runs until March 2022 and for which donations can be pledged by clicking here. In 2019, the last year of in-person fundraising, firefighters spent two days physically canvassing for donations, raising more than $46,000 for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
Public Health Sudbury reports eight new COVID-19 cases for Sept. 8, Ontario reports 554
Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) has reported eight new cases of COVID-19 in the local jurisdiction for Sept. 8. The health unit is also reporting there are now 32 active cases being monitored. Also, since the PHSD began tracking COVID-19 cases just over 18 months ago, there have been 2,315 total COVID-19 cases confirmed locally. PHSD also said 2,283 of those cases are now resolved. There are also 1,089 cases that are "confirmed or presumed to be" positive for variants of concern. This is an increase of five cases since the last testing was reported on Tuesday. The details were outlined on the PHSD website. As for the possible location of new cases, PHSD said six new cases are reported to have occurred in Greater Sudbury, and two cases in the rural Sudbury district. Public Health Ontario reported 554 new COVID cases today for Sept. 7. The latest updates noted 770 recoveries and 16 deaths, but five of the deaths occurred more than two months ago. The 16 deaths include one person between 40 and 59 years old, nine people between 60 and 79 years old, and six people over 79 years old.
You’re looking at a high of 18 today, Nickel City
Expect a high of 18 today, Greater Sudbury, under mostly cloudy skies. There is a 30-per-cent chance of showers this afternoon as well. The UV index today will be three, or moderate. Tonight, the skies will clear and the temperature will dip down to eight.