Treaty 3 families visit Six Nations to talk about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Families from Treaty 3 territory in southern Ontario this week. They're participating in a gathering at Six Nations, which will also include commissioners from the inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

While commissioners were hoping to start their hearings next month, no dates have been announced yet for hearings in northwestern Ontario. While witnesses don't need to apply, groups hoping to make a presentation should make a formal application.

Witnesses can also choose between a series of options, in terms of making their testimony, including a private hearing.

The mandate of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is to look at the web of services and programs meant to create healthy, protective and livable communities across Canada. The National Inquiry will look at how these services and programs affect Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and queer  people as well as the families that are missing loved ones.

For more information:

Native Women's Association of Canada - How to participate

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls - Frequently asked questions

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls - Notice of application for standing

Government of Canada - Commissioners named


Highway 105 by Ear Falls reopens

The highway leading to Ear Falls is once again open.

Highway 105 from the Highway 17 junction to Ear Falls was closed this morning following a collision near Cliff Lake, before Perrault Falls.

Ministry of Transportation Ontario announced it had reopended a little past 2:40 p.m.

The southbound land by Perrault Falls remains closed.

For more information:

Collision closes Hwy. 105 to Red Lake

Power outages in Ignace

Some Hydro One customers in Ignace should expect power outages today.

Hydro One is advising that power will be down for some customers from 2:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

It's unclear what exact areas will be affected.

The reason for interruption is still unknown at this time, but crews are investigating.

For more information:

Hydro One Storm Center

Changes being made to Kenora's transit system

The City of Kenora is making changes to its transit system.

Each of the eighty bus stops are now marked with a numbered stop sign listing the exact times riders can expect the bus to stop there. The majority of the stops exist on the current schedule, but some new stops have been added. They include Seven Generations, Safeway, Kenora Forest Products and the Kenora Rec Centre.

Bus service will continue to Keewatin Place, Norman Park, Walmart, Pinecrest, senior apartment blocks, Beaver Brae, and Catholic school board campus.

Kerri Holder, communications officer with the City of Kenora, explains why the changes are taking place starting on Saturday.

“Basically, we're just changing it to make it easier for the ridership and increase ridership as well,” Holder says.

The main transit stop is still in the heart of downtown at Market Square, connecting to three main routes – Keewatin, Pinecrest, and Lakeside. The existing routes have been reshaped in an attempt to provide more frequent stops and reliable timing.

City transit runs Monday to Friday regularly with the first bus leaving Market Square at 7:01 a.m. and the last bus arriving at Market Square at 6:08 p.m.

Extended hours have been added to the Friday schedule, with the last bus arriving at Market Square at 8:23 p.m.

The bus continues to run on Saturday from 11:01 a.m. until 6:05 p.m.

All of the changes can be found in a new Transit System booklet that will be available at city hall, the public library, Rec Centre, New Horizons Seniors Centre, and through the city's website. Bus drivers will also have them handy.

Collision closes Hwy. 105 to Red Lake

Police are working with tow trucks to clear away a collision on Hwy. 105 this morning. The scene is near Cliff Lake, before Perrault Falls.

MTO staff are closing Hwy. 105 from the Hwy. 17 junction to Ear Falls, in order to stop the flow of traffic.

Officers aren't sure how long the highway will be closed.

They will pass along new information, as it becomes available.

Overnight, Hwy. 17 was closed following a collision near Finmark.

For more information:

Trans-Canada open again, after collision

Trans-Canada open again, after collision

Traffic along the Trans-Canada was delayed overnight east of Shabaqua near Finmark.

The initial collision involving a tractor trailer and an SUV took place shortly before 11 p.m., and both lanes were closed.

Police worked with crews to clean up the highway, and both lanes were open again shortly after 6 o'clock this morning.

For more information:

Google maps - Finmark



Eager gardeners should balance light, temperature

The warm weather's good news for Debbie Schatkowski. She runs Debbie's Greenhouse on the Reddit Road.

"When the sprouts start growing, they go really fast, because the houses are really warm," she said.

Schatkowski says gardeners trying to get an early start need to balance indoor light with ambient temperature. While a bright spot next to a window may work well during the day, it might cool off at night.

Ideally, the room temperature should be consistent at 65 F, Schatkowski noted. Planting outdoors isn't likely for at least another month, when overnight lows sneak above the freezing point.

For more information:

It's not quite time to start planting your summer garden

Debbie's Greenhouse - Landscape advice

A Journey for Heroes and Homes

It was quite the wild ride for Patrick Whiddon.

The Winnipeg native biked from Chilliwack, B.C., to Halifax living on just $11 a day plus the kindness of strangers during his Journey Towards Heroes and Homes campaign.

Whiddon set out on March 22, 2016 to raise awareness about homelessness, and money to fund his goal of building a therapeutic community for the homeless.

He discusses some of the valuable lessons he learned along the way about helping those in need.

“When I talk about those most in need, compassionate listening, spending time, or even a banana or a piece of food,” Whiddon says. “Sometimes you can be surprised by how little you perceive that you have and are giving, and yet it seems to be such a big thing on the other side.”

The former pediatric nurse at Alberta Children's Hospital recalls one particular memory that stood out for him early in his journey. A woman overheard him talking to someone else about his initiative. She thought it was great, and offered the one thing he had to give away – half of her cheese and relish sandwich.

“It's great that she just wanted to contribute in any way that she could and that's all she had at the time,” Whiddon notes, adding he's now a fan of the unconventional teaming of relish and cheese.

He couldn't make the trip back across the country after his mother fell ill in October, ending his goal of cycling for a year. He raised $1,700 towards his initiative.

Now he is considering making the journey again to raise even more money for a therapeutic community for the homeless.

For more information:

Cross-country journey for the homeless

Journey Towards Heroes and Homes Facebook page

GoFundMe page

SMB students get busy beading to help with math and language skills

SMB students have been learning math in a unique way over the course of a four-day project.

Chantel Skead, of Woodlands Gifts and Treasures, described what she was there to help the students with.

“They're learning about the tradition of native and indigenous Metis beading. It goes back to before the fur trade,” Skead explained. “So they're learning about what tools were used back in the day and what tools we use now to keep the craft alive.”

Grade 4 and 5 students selected somethign they wanted to bead  from a handful of options, whether it be a flower, a fox, etc.

The traditional beadwork intends to enhance math skills through design patterns and estimation. The project was completed using the french language and traditional Metis teachings

“There's actually a lot that doesn't come to mind at first. There's a lot of math behind this. They're learning lines of symmetry, they're learning patterns,” Skead said. “They're also learning team building, social skills, cooperation, and a lot of problem solving and thinking outside the box, using traditional and non-traditional materials to solve the problems.”

Grade 4 Ryan O'Flaherty decided to challenge himself for his project.

“I'm doing a bear which is like the hardest thing you can do because it's so big. You need like 500 beads,” he said.

The Ways of Knowing Project uses a collaborative inquiry model, and has already taken place at Pope John Paul II and St. John's Schools. It will also be coming to St. Louis School.

For more information:

Outdoor learning for students at PJP

First ever mountain lion remains found in Ontario

Mandi Weist is beside herself. The natural resources student at Lakehead was target shooting on the weekend near her home in Thunder Bay, when she came across a cougar.

"My boyfriend, my two friends -- Casey Nykyforchyn and Istvan Balogh -- and I, had gone out shooting Saturday afternoon at a gravel pit on the Boreal Road. On the way back, at about 2 p.m., we noticed this van parked on the side of the road at about kilometre 13 on the road," she recalled.

"Making sure they were not in any trouble, we had asked them if they were okay. They had told us they were, and that they were just stopped to check out the dead mountain lion on the bank. Being shocked, we had to check it out as well," Weist added.

"We approached the animal and we realized that it was 100 per cent a mountain lion by the colour, the giant teeth, paws, and of course the long tail. It was lying dead on a patch of snow partially frozen," she noted.

The Ministry of Natural Resources would later confirm it as the first ever carcass of a mountain lion, or cougar, found in the province of Ontario. While there has been reports of sightings, footprints and photos in the area, nobody had found one deceased before.

"Being as it was such a rare find, and had been solid proof that these elusive cats actually do prowl the forests of northwestern Ontario, we couldn't leave it behind!" Weist continued. "It would be such an amazing animal to have preserved!"

It didn't take long for Weist to make a decision.

"We loaded the cat onto the roof of my Jeep and took off to find cell service to call Boreal Tales Taxidermy and find out what exactly can be done with the animal, keeping in mind that we would also have to notify the MNR," Weist noted.

The taxidermists had been almost in denial that we indeed had possession of the great elusive mountain lion. Weist was asked to fill out forms online to report the cat, which she says she did right away.

The taxidermist noted the animal had nothing in its stomach, and its muscles had started to atrophy, which meant the mountain lion had likely died of natural causes. While porcupine quills were found on its shoulder and cheek, none were in its mouth. So, in an effort to find food, the cougar had tangled with a porcupine, but it must've been a futile attempt.

The next day just after noon, Weist received a phone call from a conservation officer, who wanted to see exactly where the animal was found. Upon meeting him, he told Weist mountain lions are an endangered species in Ontario. So, being in possession of one was illegal.

As a result, the ministry confiscated the cat, but they're still continuing the preservation process. The cougar is still being stuffed, and it's going to be on display for educational purposes.

"In the end, I was bummed that I could not keep the beautiful animal, but it still is nice that the cat will be preserved and put on display where many people can see and learn about it. It was an amazing experience and I am glad I was able to be a part of it, as it is a big point in history for Ontario wildlife," Weist said.

For more information:

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