Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to get you started on this Monday morning.
Gélinas: Ontario’s auditor general will conduct a value-for-money audit of Laurentian’s finances
Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk will conduct a value-for-money audit of Laurentian University’s finances from 2010 to 2020, Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas has said. Gélinas, the NDP’s health critic, is also vice-chair of the legislature’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts, which passed a motion last week to have Lysyk look into the university’s troubled financial situation. “People in Sudbury are angry and confused as to why the Ford government is letting Laurentian University fail,” Gélinas said in a news release. “While we continue our call to restore all programs and put a moratorium on this process, the auditor’s involvement means there will be non-biased answers.” The release stated Lysyk’s office will conduct an audit to look at the impact changes to Ontario’s post-secondary education funding had on Laurentian’s operations. It will also look for any wrongdoing. “Many people are suspicious of the CCAA, as decisions are made behind closed doors. Most financial documents are not available publicly,” Gélinas is quoted saying in the release. “Many people are asking for a forensic audit. I am told that KPMG has done a forensic audit for the court, but those documents are not made public. Yet, they form the basis of decisions that are devastating and hard to understand.” On Sunday, Gélinas told Sudbury.com Lysyk has accepted the work and is assigning an auditor to the job. The AG’s office will provide the committee with an update on May 5.
COVID-19 update: 14 new cases locally over the weekend, one new death
Public Health Sudbury & Districts reported 14 new cases in the region over the weekend, as well as the region's 28th COVID-19 related death. There were also 14 cases that resolved over the weekend, bringing the total active case count as of Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. to 80. Provincially, Public Health Ontario reported a total of 7,101 new cases of COVID-19 for Saturday and Sunday. The province reported 7,911 recoveries over the same period, as well as 52 deaths.37,200 active cases, which is down from 37,438 yesterday. As of Sunday afternoon, 1,961 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario, down from 2,152 reported Saturday. Of those, there are 895 patients in intensive care units because of COVID-19 (down from 900 Saturday) and 615 COVID patients on ventilators (down from 637 reported Saturday). The province reported 45,301 tests were processed yesterday. There were 76,685 doses of vaccines against COVID-19 administered on May 1, down from 107,700 administered on April 30. As of 8 p.m. on May 1, the province reported 5,324,369 doses of vaccine against COVID-19 have been administered. In total, 375,280 people have been fully vaccinated.
Union representing Ontario's Ornge paramedics in favour of strike if necessary
The union that represents Ontario's air ambulance paramedics says its members are prepared to go on strike if they can't land an exemption from a provincial law capping salaries for public employees. Unifor said Sunday that Ornge paramedics voted 94 per cent in favour of strike action, but described the move as an "absolute last consideration." Unifor National President Jerry Dias called the wage-cap law dubbed Bill 124 a "foolish piece of legislation" in a virtual press conference. The Bill came into effect in 2019 and caps public sector wage increases to one per cent a year, which Dias said is "well below even the rate of inflation." Paramedics who work for Ornge have been without a contract since July 31.
Read the full story on the Sudbury.com homepage.
Motorcycle set alight and left to burn in New Sudbury parking lot Sunday morning
Greater Sudbury Fire Services called police in to investigate after responding to an odd incident early Sunday morning: a motorcycle was set alight and left to burn in the parking lot of a shopping plaza in New Sudbury. Deputy Fire Chief Jesse Oshell told Sudbury.com firefighters were called out to the parking lot at 555 Barrydowne Road just after 6 a.m. “Upon arrival our firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and called in GSPS for investigation,” Oshell said. A person who came upon the burning motorcycle, which appears to be an off-road dirt bike, and arrived before firefighters told Sudbury.com he was walking along Barrydowne Road, headed toward the Tim Hortons, near The Kingsway when he spotted the fire. He asked to remain anonymous. “I thought it was pallets on fire in the parking lot and started video/camera, then I noticed it was a motorcycle,” he said. “I didn't call as I heard sirens coming and I left as not to be in the way. I didn't see anybody as I approached. I did look around, but didn't see anyone.”
Second-degree murder charge laid for 2020 death of Amanda Oake
The OPP have made an arrest in the death of Amanda Oake, whose body was found in a remote area near Tilton Lake Road on Dec. 8, 2020. Saturday morning, Sudbury OPP announced that a 32-year-old Sudbury man had been arrested and charged for her death. OPP said that Kevin Fraser, 32, of Sudbury, had been arrested and charged for her murder. Fraser faces one charge of second-degree murder and one charge of indignity to a dead body. Police said he remains in custody and is scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Sudbury on May 6. The Nipissing West OPP Crime Unit is continuing the investigation under the direction of the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB). Anyone with information is asked to contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or their nearest police authority.
The year 2020 was the deadliest in a decade for motorcycle riders, OPP says
Last year marked one of the worst motorcycle fatality seasons in more than 10 years, said provincial police this week. There were 42 motorcyclists killed in 2020 on OPP-patrolled roads. In comparison, there were 27 fatalities in 2019. The OPP has already responded to four fatal motorcycle collisions this year, and is urging riders and other motorists to avoid contributing to a repeat of last year’s statistics. OPP collision investigators pointed to excessive speed and failing to yield right-of-way as lead contributing factors in the deaths. Two of this season's motorcycle fatalities are also linked to excessive speed. In 2020, 37 of the 42 fatal motorcycle crashes investigated by the OPP involved no other vehicles. Almost half (20) of last year's 42 motorcycle fatalities involved riders aged 55-74 years.
Expect rainy morning and a cloudy day to start the week
Monday morning will dawn somewhat clear, but foggy in patches, with increasing cloudiness as the morning progresses. Periods of rain will begin in the morning. The fog patches will dissipate as the morning moves on. Today’s high is eight with a UV index of two, or low. Tonight, periods of rain will continue and foggy patches will return. Low of three.