Chapleau Reels in 22nd Annual Pike Ice Fishing Derby

Chapleau's reeling in anglers this weekend, with the Rotary Club of Chapleau's 22nd annual Pike Ice Fishing Derby.

Sold out for more than a month, the annual event's been sold out for a month, and Derby Committee Chair Jocelynne Bernier notes touts several major prizes.

Bernier also highlights the entry prize of a 2019 Dodge RAM - everyone with a ticket's entered into that draw - and she notes the "tagged fish" is back, with anglers winning $5000 if they catch the fish during the derby, or - if it's caught after this year's derby and before the end of the year - a free entry into the derby.

That tagged fish also means that Chartrand Lake is not included this year's derby, though Bernier says she's sure there's "lots of room" on the Chapleau River and Mulligan's Bay.

Registration runs from noon to 10 today at the Community Centre, with fishing from 7 am to 4 pm Saturday, February 9th - JJAM FM will be broadcasting live from the derby from 11 am to 4 pm.

Wawa Council Hires New Municipal CAO-Treasurer

Wawa has a new top administrator.

In a special meeting held last night, Wawa Municipal Council unanimously approved the appointment of Maury O'Neill as the Municipality's new Chief Administrative Officer and Treasurer starting March 4th - Council did spend ten minutes in-camera before publicly voting, though the only comment made by Council was Mayor Ron Rody welcoming O'Neill to the role after the vote.

The CEO of the Wawa Economic Development Corporation for the last 15 years, O'Neill previously served as CAO and Director of Planning and Development for the Municipality - she also holds a Masters in Planning from Queen's University, a BA from Laurentian University, and several certificates relating to Municipal Management.

O'Neill says she's very excited to be the Municipality's new CAO.

Mayor Ron Rody says Council are "very pleased" to have O'Neill join their staff.

The role of CAO/Clerk-Treasurer was held by Chris Wray until January 23rd - a release issued on the 24th announced that Wray and the Municipality had "ended their employment relationship", giving no reason, though it did come after he was charged in July with sexual assault and criminal harassment stemming from an alleged assault in Greater Sudbury in November 2016 - the allegations have yet to be tried in court.

Mayor Rody says Council "will be dealing with" the role of Clerk "in the next couple weeks".

Wawa Emergency Services Hockey Game Returns

Members of Wawa's emergency services will be hitting the ice this weekend in a hockey game supporting an important local cause.

The annual event will see members of the local Ontario Provincial Police detachment, the Wawa Volunteer Fire Department, and Algoma District Paramedic Services face off, and Wawa's Assistant Director of Community Services and Tourism, Brian Lachine, notes this year will see a major change.

Lachine notes there will also be a "chuck-a-puck" style competition with a chance to win $1500, and reminds admission's simply "silver collection" - with all proceeds supporting Long-Term Care at the Lady Dunn Health Centre.

The Emergency Services Charity hockey game begins at 7:30 Saturday night, at the Michipicoten Memorial Community Centre.

MVFA Valentine's Day Draw Nears

A lucky supporter of Wawa's firefighters will soon be $1000 richer.

The Valentine's Day Draw for the annual Michipicoten Volunteer Firefighters' Association cash draw is approaching, with the association reminding tickets are still available.

Captain Craig Spooner reminds the cash draw supports a few causes.

Spooner says ticket sales are consistent with past years, with the firefighters anticipating - and hoping for - the draw to sell out once again.

This is the the second of five draws for $1000: Luke Lesperance of Grand Prairie, Alberta won the $1000 Early Bird Draw in December, while three more $1000 draws and the $10,000 grand prize draw will be made at the Wawa Ice Fishing Derby.

The Valentine's Day draw will be made live on JJAM FM, at 8:20 with DJ Huff in the Morning.

Red Pine Touts New High-Grade Structure at Wawa Gold Project

Red Pine Exploration's touting more positive drill results from its Wawa Gold Project.

The Toronto-based exploration company says it has identified a new high-grade structure, the Cooper Structure, one kilometre east of the northernmost extension of the Surluga Deposit and 2.8 kilometres northeast of the Minto Mine South Deposit.

While results from recent channel sampling returned 27 grams per tonne gold over 0.31 metres true width, Red Pine says drilling conducted in the 1980s intersected 10.9 grams per tonne over 4.39 metres down dip from the channel sample, indicating there could be "significant" gold mineralization.

Red Pine notes the historic Cooper Mine had milled over 4400 tonnes of ore at an average grade of 11.4 grams per tonne before it ended production in 1938.

Goose Nest Market Near Wawa Waterfront to Open Canada Day

Wawa's waterfront area should have a new attraction this summer: the "Goose Nest Market".

Community Services and Tourism Director Alex Patterson explains the "community market" is set to launch Canada Day, with a plan for it to be unveiled before March Break - though he notes that could be modified, calling the market "a big trial".

Underscoring that it is a community market, Patterson says staff will be listening to feedback from the community, applying it for future years and possibly even this summer.

Council approved support for a funding application which would support a summer project coordinator for the market - with the Municipality committing $5000 toward the total project cost of $85,000 - and Patterson explains this will be a project of the Wawa Economic Development Corporation, as the entire Waterfront project is a partnership between the Municipality and the EDC, who he notes have been vital in securing funding for the project.

While Patterson says work on the waterfront's set to resume around the Victoria Day long weekend - and enough should be complete for the Goose Nest Market to open Canada Day - he notes some work will still be done after that date, partly because of work not complete due to different factors last year, and partly because some work - such as signage - can't be completed until construction's done.

Patterson expects a "community consultation session" on the Waterfront Project either later this month or early next month, to be announced soon.

Superior East OPP Issue Correction on Chapleau Vehicle Driving By School Bus

Local police have issued a correction after receiving new information about a vehicle that failed to stop for a school bus on Highway 129 in Chapleau two weeks ago.

Superior East Ontario Provincial Police say the 30-year-old Chapleau man originally charged on January 29th with fail to stop for school bus - owner was wrongly named and has no connection to the January 24th incident, in which a pickup truck drove by a school bus that had its overhead red signal lights flashing and its "STOP" arm extended.

Instead - based on new information received on Friday - Superior East OPP have charged an 18-year-old Chapleau male with "fail to stop for school bus - meeting".

Police emphasize it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus that has its overhead red signal lights flashing - whether or not its "STOP" arm is extended - and your vehicle must remain stopped until the bus moves or the signal lights stop flashing.

Wawa Council Approves Provincial Funding Agreement to Support Drag Races

Wawa Municipal Council's approved a provincial funding agreement supporting the Northern Nationals Drag Race.

While the by-law passed by Council doesn't specify, Community Services and Tourism Director Alex Patterson explains the municipality had applied for funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation's Strategic Economic Infrastructure Program, hoping for support on two initiatives for the event.

Patterson says buying that equipment will save quite a bit in the future, as renting the equipment was quite expensive - some even coming from Toronto - and the equipment could also be used for other events, such as the Wawa Music Festival.

As for the second part of the application, Patterson's more coy - as it is intended to be a surprise for this year's drag races - saying only it's for a piece of equipment that is "a feature at a race that's very racing-oriented", and that he hopes people will be very excited to come see that feature.

More Details About Collision Near Wawa

More details are emerging about last week's collision near Wawa.

The collision happened the afternoon of Thursday, January 31st, on Highway 17 - just north of the Highway 101 or Wawa turnoff, along the "Goose Hill" - and involved a tractor-trailer and a car.

Superior East Ontario Provincial Police have confirmed the 22-year-old Windsor man who was driving the car has been charged with careless driving, but they are not elaborating.

While images of the car show severe damage to the front passenger side, only minor injuries were reported.

Deadline Nears For Input on Naming Wawa-Area Lakes

Time's almost up to give input as Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry considers naming a few local lakes after Canadian Armed Forces members who died in service.

At the centre of the discussion are seven lakes south of Negwazu Lake that the Ontario Geographic Names Board does not believe have names, with plans to name one lake after a Royal Canadian Infantry private who died during the First World War, another after a Royal Canadian Air Force navigator who died during the Second World War; two after Royal Canadian Navy seamen who died after a 1965 fire on the HMCS Nipigon; and three after Royal Canadian Navy seamen who died after a 1969 explosion on the HMCS Kootenay.

The deadline for a questionnaire posted on the MNRF website is tomorrow, Wednesday, February 6th.