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Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to start your day

Happy Thursday!
190422_lynne houle whitson river freshet
The freshet is in full effect on the Whitson River in this image by Sudbury.com reader Lynne Houle. Sudbury.com welcomes submissions of local photography for publication with our morning greeting. Send yours to editor@sudbury.com.

Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to start your day on this Thursday morning.

Four new COVID-19 deaths reported in Sudbury in April 20 report

Public Health Sudbury & Districts (PHSD) reported there were four more COVID-related deaths and 104 new COVID-19 cases in the local health jurisdiction on Wednesday. PHSD said there are now 135 total deaths that have occurred since the pandemic was declared in March of 2020. In the summary released Wednesday afternoon, the health unit said COVID-19 was the underlying cause in two of the cases and that COVID "contributed" to the deaths of the two others. It was also reported there are 43 COVID cases at Health Sciences North (HSN) with two of those patients in Intensive Care. PHSD also reported that 14,288 total accumulated cases have occurred in the Sudbury jurisdiction since the pandemic was declared in March of 2020. PHSD also reported that 13,286 of those cases have been resolved. This means there are currently 412 known active cases in the health unit area. All across Ontario today there are 203 active COVID-19 cases in Intensive Care Units.

Read the full story here.

Council offers condolences on the passing of Mayor Brian Bigger’s father

Tuesday’s finance and administration committee meeting began with a personal note, with meeting chair and Ward 7 Coun. Mike Jakubo offering Mayor Brian Bigger their condolences. Leo Josef Bigger, a long-time city employee who retired in 1993, who is also the mayor’s father, died at the age of 91 following a short stay at Maison McCulloch Hospice. “Our most heartfelt condolences to Mayor Bigger and his entire family at this difficult time,” Jakubo said. “We all understand the importance of taking the time necessary around these events that we all know we will have to experience at some point in time, but never makes it easier.” Leo was born in Vilters, Switzerland, and came to Canada in 1952, according to his obituary. He met Igne Mary Binz, married and made Sudbury their home where they raised three sons. He worked for Inco and Falconbridge and ran his own landscaping business before taking a full-time job with the City of Sudbury, which he ended as manager of special projects with the parks and recreation department in 1993. Mayor Bigger had been serving as primary caregiver to both of his parents in recent months, with both Leo and Inge relocating to Sudbury during the pandemic to be closer to him.

Read the full story here.

Brand-new Place des arts building to open its doors in downtown Sudbury April 29

After more than a decade of planning, fundraising and a little something called the pandemic, Place des arts is about to open its doors for the first time on April 29. The vision that has now come to fruition is that of the seven founding organizations, Carrefour francophone, Centre franco-ontarien de folklore, Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario, Éditions Prise de parole, Nuit sur l'étang, Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario and Salon du livre du Grand Sudbury. The co-founders came together to find a place that could prove the heart of the francophone arts community in Sudbury, as well as a place for collaboration with the Anglophone arts community. The project has faced plenty of challenges, from the construction delays, to the pandemic, to fundraising, and even the loss of Paulette Gagnon, the woman who many say saw the vision clearest. But now, an open house on April 29 and 30 will welcome everyone to the space for their “housewarming celebration.” An inauguration ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. on April 29, followed by an invitation-only reception and the unveiling of a permanent art installation by Lise Beaudry.

Read the full story here.

Haché denies AG report finding that Laurentian strategized to go insolvent

Laurentian University president Robert Haché is sticking to his guns, saying the university did what it could to advocate to government for financial support, and only turned to filing for creditor protection as a last resort. This in the wake of the release of a scathing preliminary report examining Laurentian’s financial crisis, which was released by Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk on April 13. Lysyk said she believes the data shows Laurentian University did not have to file for creditor protection under the Companies Creditors’ Arrangement Act (CCAA) and the action was “strategically planned” and Laurentian “chose to take steps to file for creditor protection in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on February 1, 2021,” said her report. Haché was sharply questioned about the auditor general’s report at the April 19 meeting of Laurentian’s senate. Many senators actually changed their background image during the Zoom call to the cover of Lysyk’s report. “I do want to stress in my president's report that at no time was the CCAA a preferred option for the university,” Haché said.

Read the full story here.

Average residential property owner to pay $112 more in taxes this year

This year’s average property tax increase will be $112 for residential property owners, the city’s finance and administration committee decided during tonight’s meeting. Composed of Greater Sudbury city council members, the committee voted unanimously to approve the city’s 2022 property tax policy, which paves the way for collecting this year’s taxes and includes the 3.1 per cent increase they approved in December. “There are no financial implications for this report because we’ve already made those decisions as part of the budget discussions,” meeting chair and Ward 7 Coun. Mike Jakubo clarified to council members tonight. While budget deliberations determine the total amount collected each year ($315 million for municipal operations, plus $49 million for school boards per provincial legislation), the city’s property tax policy determines how much each property owner pays. 

Read the full story here.

GoFundMe page set up for university student from Sudbury who has brain tumor

Ebony Thomas, a second-year student at Wilfrid Laurier University, was diagnosed with a tumor in her brain that pushes on her pituitary gland this past March. Fortunately, the tumor is not fatal, but there’s a long road ahead of Ebony in determining whether she needs surgery or not. The diagnosis comes after years of problematic symptoms. “We've been waiting for about 10 months to a year for the diagnosis,” said Jamie Thomas, Ebony’s mother. “It's ever since I can remember, ever since she was (about) 15. She would get these really bad headaches and she always had problems with her menstrual cycle. So it was always super irregular." “(I) kind of feel helpless as a mother. Like, there's nothing I could do to fix it.” The entire process has been a roller coaster, Jamie said. The young woman was born and raised in Sudbury, so being away from her family has been tough on her. “Especially for her, since she's so far away as well,” Jamie said.

Read the full story here.

High of 7 with snow and rain in the forecast

The forecast calls for snow or rain this morning, changing to rain near the noon hour. High of 7. The afternoon will be cloudy with a 40-per-cent chance of showers. The wind will be out of the south at 20 km/h, before becoming westerly at 30 km/h in the afternoon. The UV index today is two, or low. Tonight, the skies will stay cloudy with a 40-per-cent chance of showers early in the evening, before clearing later on. The wind will stay out of the west at 30 and the temperature will drop to -1.