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Water repairs continue “around the clock” »

As of Wedenesday afternoon, there are 30 frozen water services in the Town of Fort Erie — 185 since Feb. 15.

The Town is asking water customers to be patient as crews work tirelessly to catch up while coping with frigid cold.

Staff and contractors have been “working around the clock” using rock breakers and excavators to dig through frozen ground to effect repairs, a press release states.

Water depots have been set up at the Leisureplex and Crystal Ridge arena for residents without water. They can bring containers and attendants will show them where to fill up.

Water services manager Grant Boutin said workers have spent more time on the job than off over the past three weeks.

He said repairs are completed in priority order as calls come in and resources can be appropriately deployed.

“Words cannot express the required recognition of this commendable effort in maintaining and restoring service to our customers,” he said.

If someone finds that water is frozen, they are advised to check all their cold water faucets. If any of them are working, the cause is in the home and a plumber — not the Town — should be called.

Call the Town at 905-871-1600 to report a frozen water service.

While temperatures are mild the next couple of days, Wednesday night will see a drop to -14C and -15C Thursday night and increasing temperatures as the weekend approaches and into next week.

Man charged in theft of bronze war memorial »

Plaque-on-skid-960

UPDATE (March 3) — Shortly after it had been stolen, the the First World War memorial from Ridgeway Public School showed up at a local recycling operation.

The 120-pound bronze plaque had been taken from the “Memorial Rock” at the front of the school on the Family Day weekend, sawn into three pieces and taken to Attar Metals in Fort Erie who refused to purchase it and notified the Town.

“They said they had found it on the Friendship Trail,” said Milton Braun of the two males — one of whom had been a customer before. “I said, well it’s obvious it doesn’t belong to you.”

The plaque was left at the recycler.

James Fidler, 37, of Fort Erie was charged March 3 with possession of property obtained by crime under $5000. He was released on a promise to appear order with a future court date.

Principal Sherry Storrey-Perchaluk said the discovery was made first thing Tuesday morning when the caretaker made his rounds.

She doesn’t know yet what will happen next. Braun has offered to repair the three-foot wide plaque, she said, but it will still show damage.

Braun said the value of the metal, primarily copper mixed with some tin, is around $2 per pound.

Storrey-Perchaluk said the NRP officer investigating the matter was expected to update her this week.

The plaque reads:

Honour and grateful tribute to our boys who gave their lives in The Great War 1914-18

Alfred W. Tidmarsh, Ernest Baker, John B. Halavin, Melvin B. McKay, Harry Shisler, Leonard Porter, Herbert D. Whalen, John Bright, Oscar A. Noyes, Lloyd Elsey, Joseph Harry Near, Walter H. Derrick

To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep though poppies blow in Flanders fields.

By the citizens of the Township of Bertie and their friends from the United States.

Town commits $500K for school theatre »

UPDATE — Town council approved a $500,000 commitment toward a theatre proposed to be built as part of the new high school.

A late addition to tonight’s town council agenda proposes the Town contribute $500,000 toward a theatre at the new high school and to decline the offer to build a shared library.

Under the proposal, the District School Board of Niagara also would contribute $500,000 toward the $3 million dollar theatre project.

Fundraising is proposed to make up the $2 million gap through community donations or government grants. If there is a shortfall in fundraising, both parties would make up the difference up to the $3 million construction cost, but if it’s over that amount, the DSBN pays the balance.

The theatre would be owned by the school board which would assume all operation and maintenance costs and retain revenue from rentals. The Town would be able to use it for free for special events and local community groups would get preferred rates.

The Town would hand over the money after it is built with the proposed construction starting in conjunction with the school in 2017. The proposal recommends the Town set aside $250,000 immediately and the balance in the two years to follow.

More measles locations identified in Niagara »

Two more exposure locations have been identified by Niagara Public Health in the measles outbreak in which five cases have been confirmed in the Region.

Boys and Girls Club of Niagara, Niagara Falls Centre on Feb. 9 from 6 to 10 p.m., and Lighthouse Church of God, 8652 Sodom Road, Chippawa on Feb. 8 between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Two schools in Niagara Falls had previously been identified as locations where cases had been confirmed, St. Michael High School on Feb. 6-10 and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, on Feb. 9 to 10.

People born before 1970 who have not had measles and those born later who have not been immunized are vulnerable to catch and spread the disease.

If they have not been immunized, they should isolate themselves by staying at home and contact the public health unit. They can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000/TTY: 1-866-797-0007. They should not attend any public gatherings and should not attend school, work, daycare, or any post-secondary institutions until they are cleared of measles risk.

Symptoms of measles include at least one of: fever, cough, runny nose, inflammation of the eyes or rash.

For more info, visit the Niagara Public Health measles website.

Measles spreading, four new cases confirmed »

More cases expected

Five cases of measles have been confirmed in Niagara Region and all students who have not been vaccinated and who may have been exposed are required to stay out of school.

Two schools in Niagara Falls are affected as of Monday, St. Michael High School and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Two cases from those schools were confirmed by Niagara Region Public Health Department Saturday.

Public Health confirmed Monday afternoon that the three newest cases are linked to the first case reported early this month.

Full information is available from the Public Health Department website.

“Measles is in Niagara and we expect to see more cases”, states Dr. Valerie Jaeger, Medical Officer of Health in a news release Monday afternoon.

“Therefore, what is now important isn’t really the details of each case but rather that residents take the necessary precautions of having their measles vaccination up to date”.

Measles is highly contagious and people can be exposed to it anywhere, the release states. Niagara Public Health strongly recommends people be vaccinated through their doctors, walk-in clinics and Public Health offices.

Niagara Public Health will continue to monitor the outbreak and trace contacts of infected people.

CAO search begins again, again, again »

The Town of Fort Erie will start advertising to fill the position of chief administrative officer.

The decision was made Monday night after the second closed session meeting to discuss the vacancy. continued . . .

Police issue alert for missing girl, 13 »

UPDATE — She has been located at a family home around 2 p.m. Friday in St. Catharines. Police are investigating the reason for her absence.

Police are requesting assistance to find a missing 13-year-old from Wainfleet.

Veronica Bivand is not dressed for the cold weather and is believed to be headed to St. Catharines.

She is 5’2″ tall and approximately 110 lbs. Last seen wearing a green hoodie and black leggings.

Anyone with information as to Veronica’s whereabouts and well being is requested to call police at (905) 688-4111.

Two, four, six, eight . . . what’s the new taxing rate? »

The tax picture in Fort Erie is still very fuzzy and it won’t come into focus until March when the operations budget is struck, but a sizable increase is inevitable.

Before any new spending is tallied, Treasurer Jonathan Janzen reported in December that the Town would need 2.75 per cent more to maintain services at the 2014 level. This is what the Town calls “base budget”. continued . . .

Builders to pay more fees up front »

Builders will be required to pay more Town fees in advance to develop subdivisions and prepare site plans.

Town council endorsed recommendations as part of budget deliberations Wednesday to charge deposits up to $12,000 to review engineering plans. continued . . .

Water bills climb $25 per year on average »

The relentless drip, drip, drip of price increases continues as water and sewer rates go up across the board, resulting in an annual increase of slightly more than $2 per month for the average household in Fort Erie.

Town council endorsed the water budget Wednesday night recommending an average increase of 2.06 per cent. continued . . .