Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to get you started on this Thursday morning.
Union, company praise miners, rescuers as last of the stranded 39 reach the surface
Gord Gilipin, head of Vale’s Ontario mining operations, along with Steelworkers Local 6500 president Nick Larochelle, fielded questions from both local and national reporters at a press conference at Totten Mine Wednesday morning. “I’m happy to confirm that through the massive efforts of a great team, we hit the mark. Although we never want to find ourselves in a situation like we’ve gone through and we continue to sort through, I can say I’ve never been more proud of our Vale employees, many of whom are volunteers for our mine rescue organization.” Now that all of the miners are safely out of the mine, Vale and Local 6500 will conduct a joint investigation into the incident. “There are a lot of questions to be answered,” said Larochelle, who also praised the mine rescue team, and stressed that the miners were never “trapped,” as they were able to use the secondary egress ladders. Gilpin said Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development officers have also been on site since the incident occurred, and have requested some information from Vale. The mine cage lift was put out of commission after a scoop bucket being slung into the mine became lodged in the shaft at the 650 foot level, causing damage to about a 100-foot section of the shaft. Gilpin said no underground activities will be occurring at Totten Mine for now, and he’s not sure how long it will be out of commission.
Sudbury police officer kicked doors, screamed ‘nazis’ after her arrest at a children’s hockey game
A Greater Sudbury Police officer is facing charges after an altercation at the Espanola Recreation Centre on Sept. 26, over COVID-19 protocols, Sudbury.com has learned. In a news release, the Manitoulin OPP stated Melisa Rancourt was arrested and charged with resisting a peace officer, and entering a premises when entry has been prohibited, contrary to the Trespass to Property Act (TPA). Her partner, Dana Rancourt, was also charged with trespassing in regards to the same incidents. When told by the officer they would have to leave, the eyewitness said Melisa Rancourt became irate and began kicking one of the locker room doors. The eyewitness said after the Rancourt began to act out physically by kicking the doors, the OPP officer put both Dana and Melisa Rancourt in handcuffs, neither of whom resisted, and walked them off the premises. What shocked the witness was Melisa Rancourt’s demeanor as she was being led out of the arena. In full view of parents and children, the Greater Sudbury Police constable began calling everyone within earshot “nazis.” GSPS said that in accordance with the Police Services Act of Ontario, Rancourt has been assigned to administrative duties. The incident has also been forwarded to the Professional Standards Bureau for further investigation. An investigation has been initiated for breaches against the Police Services Act.
City council greenlights KED site preparation work to commence by Nov. 29
Reaffirming their marginal support for the Kingsway Entertainment District, Greater Sudbury city council voted 7-6 in favour of proceeding with the project during tonight’s meeting. More specifically, the vote was to approve staff negotiations to commence site preparation work for the long-talked-about municipal hockey arena and entertainment centre project, which is now cleared to break ground by Nov. 29. Those to vote against the associated motion included Ward 10 Coun. Fern Cormier, Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti, Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini, Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier and Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland. Although Ward 9 Coun. Deb McIntosh opted to abstain from voting, the decision was more symbolic than anything as it counted toward the nays. Site preparation work is expected to be undertaken by Oakville-headquartered Bot Engineering & Construction Ltd., which is prepared to mobilize on the site in November and issued the lowest bid in 2018 at $8.5 million. The plan is still to have the KED celebrate its grand opening in 2024.
Both missing hunters in the Onaping area have been found, says provincial police
Provincial police said the 63-year-old woman missing from the Onaping Lake Lodge area has been found safe. The woman had been missing along with a 57-year-old man, who had previously been located. The two people left the Onaping Lake Lodge on Sept. 27 to go hunting and didn’t return. Ontario Provincial Police say the two left the lodge in an UTV (Utility Vehicle, more commonly known as a side-by-side) around 1 p.m. They did not return to the lodge that evening. With the assistance of members from the Nipissing West OPP Emergency Response Team, Snowmobile-ATV-Vessel-Enforcement (S.A.V.E.) unit, OPP helicopter and Ministry of Natural Recourse, the man was located with the UTV about 26 hours later, with no injuries. Joint Rescue Coo-rdination Centre (JRCC) assisted with the search.
Tyler Sels on trial for stabbing, killing Charles St. Jean in September 2018
The murder trial for the man who admitted to stabbing and killing Charles St. Jean in the early morning hours of Sept. 15, 2018, is underway at Sudbury Courthouse. Tyler Sels has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon, but assistant Crown attorney Terry Waltenbury told the 14-member jury in his opening statement Sels has admitted to stabbing St. Jean, which ultimately led to his death. St. Jean was 27. The stabbing happened during a celebration of life outside a home on Levesque Street, off The Kingsway. St. Jean was among a group of friends and family who were celebrating the life of a friend who had taken his own life. The celebration began Sept. 14, but carried into the early morning hours of Sept. 15, and that’s when St. Jean was stabbed and killed. The trial is expected to take at least three weeks with 40 witnesses being called by the Crown, although that number may fluctuate as the trial unfolds, said Waltenbury.
Public Health Sudbury reports five new COVID-19 cases for Sept. 29, Ontario reports 495
Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) has reported five new cases of COVID-19 in the local jurisdiction for September 29. The health unit is also reporting there are now 47 active cases being monitored. Also, since the PHSD began tracking COVID-19 cases just over 18 months ago, there have been 2435 total COVID-19 cases confirmed locally. PHSD also said 2388 of those cases are now resolved. There are also 1180 cases that are "confirmed or presumed to be" positive for variants of concern -- no increase in the past 24 hours. The details were outlined on the PHSD website. Public Health Ontario reported 495 new COVID cases today. The latest updates noted 760 recoveries and eight deaths that have occurred in the last month.
Not too warm for Thursday, high of 14 today
It’s going to be a mostly cloudy day in the Nickel City today. Expect fog patches to dissipate in the morning. Today’s high is 14, with a UV index of four, or moderate. The skies will clear slightly this evening, and fog patches will roll in around midnight. The overnight low is 4.