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Good morning, Nickel City! Here are stories to start your day

Happy Wednesday!
160522_chris blomme osprey manitoulin
The image of this osprey was captured by Sudbury.com reader Chris Blomme. 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 Wednesday morning.

Vagnini faces penalties for ‘vulgar and disrespectful’ behaviour

For being “vulgar and disrespectful to his work associates,” city integrity commissioner Robert Swayze said that Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini should face a 40-day pay suspension. “It is important that this member of council be penalized in a meaningful way so that he changes his behaviour,” Swayze wrote in a report to city council, adding that a repeat of this conduct will result in a recommended maximum suspension of 90 days’ salary. City council will vote on Swayze’s recommendation during their June 28 meeting. “I think it’s very adequate, maybe not enough,” Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc said of the 40-day pay suspension, adding that he’s confident city council will uphold Swayze’s recommendation. Leduc filed two of the three complaints submitted against Vagnini, although one of these complaints – No. 2 – was dismissed. 

Read the full story here.

Ledo Hotel building up for sale after deal falls through

The downtown Ledo Hotel property is back on the market after a deal with a group of North Bay-based investors fell through. The property has remained listed at $1,180,000. It includes four other adjacent properties as part of the deal and a total area of half an acre, including offices, rooms and parking lot space. Property owner George Soule said that he might still proceed with an affordable housing plan in the event funding comes through, but that he hopes it sells. “If there’s some interest around, we’ll see,” he said. “I want to cover the mortgage.” Punctuated by a chuckle, he added, “Right now I’m losing money, so hopefully I can lose less.” It’s not clear why the North Bay-based investors backed out after considering their plan pretty much a done deal, Soule said, adding it remains a viable property in the city’s downtown core. Sudbury.com reached out to the investors but have yet to receive a response.

Read the full story here.

Crystal Shawanda has the blues and couldn't be happier

Crystal Shawanda is not only talented, not only dedicated to her craft, but also, really nice. Nice to talk with, nice to listen to, but also, just really nice. Nice enough to agree to speak to Sudbury.com despite being in the middle an all-day, multi-artist live concert, one that had been taking up her time since 5 a.m. that morning. Of course, it might be the hometown advantage. Shawanda is from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island. She visits every chance she gets, and spent a fair amount of time there during the pandemic. But now? “We’ve been really busy,” she told Sudbury.com. “But it’s been a good busy.” Busy includes being the first Indigenous person to win a Juno for Best Blues Album of the Year. So yes, good busy.

Read the full story here.

Northern export agency has money for small mining businesses

Northern Ontario mining supply and service companies need to get more active to take their products into the global market, and the provincial and federal governments have money to help them do that. That was one message that came out of the annual Prospectors and Developers convention held in Toronto last week. Jenni Myllynen of Sudbury, the program manager of the Northern Ontario Exports Program, was a speaker at the Northern Ontario Mining Showcase. The program is jointly funded by the provincial Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) and FedNor, the federal economic development agency. "There's a world outside of Northern Ontario, and we help them take that expertise elsewhere," Myllynen said. "We have grants that we provide to companies. But most importantly, what we do is we connect companies to expert advisors."

Read the full story here.

Freeland not ruling out gas tax break amid record inflation

As many Canadians continue to struggle with the high cost of living, the country’s deputy prime minister has hinted the federal government isn’t closing the door on the option of reducing gas taxes. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says if the government needs to do more to address the rising cost of inflation, it will. “We’re going to watch the affordability challenges that Canadian families are facing very, very carefully. And we are prepared to do more, if necessary,” she said Monday. However, her comments came after she said Canada is different than the United States, which is actively considering a gas tax holiday. “Consumers are really hurting from higher gas prices. It’s been a substantial burden on American households and I think, while not perfect, it is something that should be under consideration,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The U.S. decision on its gas tax measure is expected later this week.

Read the full story here.

U of S excited for chance to ‘reinvigorate’ the school

On the walls of Serge Miville’s office at the University of Sudbury, there hangs the history of the first, and for many years, the only higher learning institution in Northern Ontario. The classrooms at the University of Sudbury — not to mention at the two other federated universities on LU’s campus, Thorneloe University and Huntington University — remain empty for now as a result of Laurentian’s insolvency. But that means there is time to rebuild, and to build back better. “I think it's really exciting because I feel like we're on the cusp of an important shift within the university network, especially for the French language,” Serge Miville, University of Sudbury president, told Sudbury.com. “We're going to be able to position ourselves in a very interesting way. We get to sort of take stock of what's needed to do things properly.” Miville said it may mean a shift in timelines for the reopening of the university, and certainly a great deal of “homework” he said, “but afterwards, it's going to put us in a much better position, because then we'll be able to make decisions based on facts. And that's always better than shooting in the dark.” 

Read the full story here.

Another scorcher in the forecast

It’s another hot one today, folks. Expect a high of 30 today with a humidex of at least 33. The UV index today will be 10, or very high. The wind will be out of the west at 20 km/h, gusting to 40 in the morning. Tonight, the skies will be clear with a low of 14.