Superior East OPP Charge 3 Drivers With Improper Storage of Cannabis and More

Local police have charged three drivers for improperly stored cannabis in three separate incidents.

Superior East Ontario Provincial Police say the first incident was on Friday, April 19th, with officers at a R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Drivers Everywhere) check on Highway 101 near Wawa observing open containers of liquor in a vehicle - the driver tested a "0" on a roadside test, but a subsequent search of the vehicle revealed an unspecified "quantity of cannabis" that was readily available.

The 19-year-old Mississauga man was charged with driving vehicle or boat with cannabis readily available and driving motor vehicle with liquor readily available.

On Saturday, April 20th, officers pulled over a vehicle for speeding on Highway 17 in Alanen Township - near White River - with the officers detecting the odour of raw cannabis while speaking with the driver.

A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed a small quantity of cannabis within reach of the driver, leading the 22-year-old Sault Ste. Marie man to be charged with driving vehicle or boat with cannabis readily available and speeding - less than 50 kilometres over posted limit.

On Sunday, April 21st, another vehicle was stopped for a R.I.D.E. check on Highway 17 in Alanen Township near White River, with officers again detecting the odour of raw cannabis from the vehicle - a search revealed an unsealed bottle of liquor in the driver's reach, along with an unspecified quantity of cannabis.

The 21-year-old Thunder Bay man's been charged with driving vehicle or boat with cannabis readily available and driving motor vehicle with liquor readily available.

Superior East OPP remind that - while cannabis is legal to possess and consume - while in a vehicle it must remain in its unopened original packaging or must be packed in baggage that is fastened closed or not otherwise readily available to any person in the vehicle or boat.

Algoma Public Health Hit By Ransomware Attack

Algoma Public Health's cancelled today's appointments amid a ransomware attack.

The local health unit says it was hit with the attack on Friday morning - it blocked access to APH servers, though a statement from APH Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Marlene Spruyt, says the "IT department was able to quickly disconnect the servers from the internet on Friday" and "it appears no personal information or client information was taken".

APH says all appointments at all offices have been cancelled for today as it works to get services back online, though offices - including Wawa's - remain open, with staff able to assist.

The email system isn't working, however, so the health unit recommends calling - the Wawa office's number is 705-856-7208.

It's the latest ransomware attack to have an effect locally, after an attack on the Municipality of Wawa's network in December, and a "zero day virus" at Health Sciences North that impacted services at Wawa and Chapleau's hospitals in January.

Wawa's For The Health of It Challenge To "Kickoff"

Wawa residents are being challenged - for the health of it.

Wawa Family Health Team dietician Jenelle McAuley explains that the annual Community Walking Challenge has been revamped for its sixth year, becoming the "For the Health of It Challenge", which will broaden to other aspects of healthy living, as well.

McAuley adds the challenge is no longer team-based, though participants are welcome to form teams and challenge each other, if they wish.

While the challenge doesn’t start until next week, a kickoff event will be held tonight, intended to provide more details and help people register, though McAuley notes there will also be a special demonstration, too.

The kickoff event starts at 6:30 pm, at the Michipicoten Memorial Community Centre.

Chapleau Man Charged With Mischief After Domestic Dispute

A Chapleau man's facing a mischief charge after a domestic dispute.

Superior East Ontario Provincial Police say they responded to a domestic dispute around noon last Thursday, with investigation leading to the arrest of a 41-year-old Chapleau man on a charge of mischief under $5000.

He's been released with a court date in June.

OPP are not releasing the accused man's name, in order to protect the victim's identity.

Superior East OPP also emphasize victims in abusive relationships are not alone and there are local resources to help, referring to Wawa and Area Victim Services and CHADWIC Home for more information.

Local Police To Hold Easter Seatbelt Campaign

Local police will be watching for proper seatbelt use over the coming long weekend.

Superior East Ontario Provincial Police Constable Trevor Tremblay explains the local detachment is participating in the Easter Long Weekend Seatbelt Campaign Friday through Monday, checking to ensure all occupants of vehicles are wearing seatbelts - and Tremblay emphasizes seatbelts are very important for safety.

Constable Tremblay also reminds someone who isn't wearing a seatbelt is also a danger to others in the vehicle, as they could function as a loose projectile in the vehicle.

He further warns violating seatbelt rules can mean two demerit points for a driver, as well as a minimum fine of $240.

Wawa Looking Into Beautification of Main Streets

Wawa municipal staff is looking into purchasing some items to help with beautification of the town's "main streets".

Community Services and Tourism Director Alex Patterson explains the review stems from "fairly open-ended" funding provided by Main Street Ontario.

Patterson says - because the funding is so flexible - the municipality's still working on determining exact details - such as how many flower boxes, design of the items, and more - but plans are to consult with organizations involved in Wawa's beautification, such as the Beautification Committee, the BIA, and the Community Development Committee before bringing a full proposal to Council, though he expects that process to be fairly quick - about two weeks - so the plan could be implemented in time for this summer.

4th Annual Wawa Seniors Expo Arrives

Wawa seniors and others are being encouraged to learn more about services in the community, as the 4th annual "Seniors Exposition and Active Living Fair" arrives.

Wawa Family Health Team Geriatric Program Coordinator Jolene Binda explains the free event is something of a "come-and-go" trade show - to learn about local programming and services - though there will also be some short presentations on "relevant seniors topics".

Binda reminds there will also be a lunch - starting shortly after noon - and music from the Goodtimers.

Open to anyone - particularly seniors - the Seniors Expo runs from 10 am to 3 pm at the Michipicoten Memorial Community Centre.

Algoma-Manitoulin NDP MPP Raises Northern Concerns About Provincial Budget

Ontario's New Democrats are continuing to lambast the provincial budget unveiled by the Progressive Conservative government last week.

Speaking in Question Period on Monday, Algoma-Manitoulin's NDP MPP, Michael Mantha, criticized the budget as "bad news for the North, to say the least".

Premier Doug Ford only responded that he had prayed for NDP Leader Andrea Horwath at that morning's prayer breakfast - with Mantha retorting "with this premier, we need a miracle" before pressing on passenger rail in the North - like the Northlander and the former Algoma Central Railway between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst - though Northern Development and Mines Minister Greg Rickford accused Mantha of misleading and misguiding - a claim he was forced to withdraw, as per rules of the legislature.

Rickford further noted a minister from Northern Ontario prepared the budget - Finance Minister Vic Fedeli represents Nipissing - and highlighted the new Northern Ontario Internship Program, new transit opportunities for the North, and new incentives for the forestry and mining industries.

Winning Bid Chosen For Successful Lift For The Legion Silent Auction

Wawa's Royal Canadian Legion Branch 429 is congratulating a local resident after wrapping up a silent auction supporting accessibility efforts at the Legion.

Craig Spooner's bid has roped him a major piece of Toronto Maple Leafs memorabilia: a signed Johnny Bower jersey, which he claimed on Sunday - organizers of the auction aren't disclosing the size of the bid.

The funds will go toward the "Lift For the Legion" Fund, and Mary Ann Pearson says support of the campaign to build a wheelchair-accessible lift at the Legion Hall has been great.

The Legion reached its fundraising goal for the project with an anonymous donation for $100,000 last month, though Pearson says donations are still being accepted, emphasizing there's always some work that could be done on the building to make it more accessible, and any additional funds raised will go into the Building Fund.

No exact timeline has been set for the installation of the lift, though a $100,000 federal grant for the project will expire in February 2020, so Pearson hopes to be done far before then.