Important Announcements

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Respect Campaign Launched

By Heather Latter, Staff writer
(Fort Frances Times Ltd.)

Several members of local businesses and organizations were on hand at Boston Pizza here last Thursday morning as the Celebrating Diversity Committee launched its “Respect” campaign to the public.

The presentation, entitled “Six Steps to a More Respectful Community,” aimed to help initiate conversations about diversity amongst the participants.

“It’s all about raising people’s awareness of the issues around diversity and the importance of respecting difference,” explained committee chair Trudy McCormick.

“Creating a respectful community is everyone’s responsibility,” she stressed.

McCormick continued by offering the six steps developed so that people can be more respectful members of the community in which we live and work. She added respect matters because respect has a real impact.

“Respect makes people feel valued, and will bring customers and clients back again and again,” she reasoned.

“First impressions can make all the difference.”

McCormick said respect also enables open communication.

“Dealing with—and resolving—respect issues makes for a safer, healthier work environment,” she explained.

“And if you do it respectfully, it will make difficult discussion easier,” she added, noting how simply changing a word can change the impact.

For example, McCormick might say, “Boy, have I had a crazy day.” But the word “crazy” can be offensive to some people, so perhaps if she said, “Boy, have I had a chaotic day,” it might be more appropriate.

Respect also can have a legal impact since discrimination and bullying are explicitly included in Bill 168—The Workplace Violence and Harassment Law.

“Respect can help avoid potential lawsuits,” McCormick said.

Small group discussions also were held with participants last Thursday talking about times they felt respect and times they felt disrespected.

“And hopefully by having conversations about it, then when people are in a situation the next time, they’ll have some ideas of how to handle it better,” explained McCormick said, though acknowledging the definition of diversity is very broad as it includes gender, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, religion, people with disabilities, people with mental illness, race, age, etc.

The idea and basis for the “Respect” campaign came from a very successful project which Confederation College had started back in 2006.

“It started with the realization that something was needed to inform people, and educate people, about respect and everything that goes with it,” said Anne Renaud, manager of the local Confederation College campus, who also was on hand for Thursday’s public launch.

“A lot of people have done a lot work to get it to where it is and it’s nice to see it come to fruition,” she added.

“To see it expand beyond the doors of the college is just amazing.

“I really hope different businesses and organizations are going to take the opportunity to have the ‘Respect’ training and presentation done for their staff because I think it’s something everyone can use,” Renaud stressed.

“I thought the session could be useful to anyone with respect to both their personal and professional lives,” said Ashlee Grimard of the Gizhewaadiziwin Health Access Centre here, who also took in the “Respect” training.

“The six steps to respect outlined were very user-friendly and could be easily integrated into any organizations’ culture,” she noted.

“Overall, it was a great and a job well-done by the diversity committee.”

The one-hour presentation, offered up by volunteers, now is available at no cost to businesses and organizations across the district.  Those who take the workshop will be provided with visible identifiers, such as lanyards and door signs, so anyone going into these organizations immediately will know they can expect to be treated with respect.

For more information about having the “Respect” workshop presented at your business or organization, call McCormick at 274-5327.

Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce Business Awards

By Duane Hicks/Fort Frances Times Ltd.

Gillons’ Insurance was named Business of the Year (16+ employees) during the 16th-annual Bell Business Awards banquet last night at the Adventure Inn.  Also nominated for that award were Ainsworth, Fort Frances Times, and Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc.

Betty’s of Fort Frances, meanwhile, captured the Business of the Year award (1-15 employees).  Other nominees for that honour included:  Chown and Botsford Dentistry, Emo Feed Service, Lakeland Personnel, Simplicity Professional Hair and Body Care, and The UPS Store.

Jeff Savage of BDO Canada LP was named Employee of the Year.  The others nominees were Brenda Allan (CIBC), Anne-Marie Armstrong (Métis Nation of Ontario), Heather DeGagne (Shoppers Drug Mart), Duane Hicks (Fort Frances Times), Judy Kielczewski (Betty’s), Tana Mann (CIBC), and Linda Meadwell (93.1 The Border).  This year’s Business Woman of the Year Award went to Erin Wood of Simplicity Professional Hair and Body Care.

Also in the running were Shanda DeGagne-Begin (Leon DeGagne Ltd.), Lillian Gerley (The UPS Store), Lisa Jodoin (Scentsy), Kathy Judson (Re/Max Realty), and Cecile Lavigne (Squeek E Kleen).

Nick Beyak of Sunset Country Ford Sales Ltd. was named Entrepreneur of the Year.  The other nominees included Dean Bethune and Todd Bruyere (Saulteaux Consulting & Engineering), Travis Glowasky (Studio Gibbous), Dawn Gustafson (LifeTime Smiles Preventive Oral Health Care), Naicatchewenin Development Corp., and Erin Wood (Simplicity Professional Hair and Body Care).

Gaby Hanzuk (Special Olympics) was honoured with the Tony Beyak Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award.  Chad Canfield, Rochelle Mosbeck, and Joelle Paull were the other nominees.

The Customer Service Award (Individual) was presented to Laurie Webb-Brown of Tim Hortons.  Also nominated were: Andrea Avis (Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre), Nisa Blase (Dairy Queen), Krista Kellar (Citi Financial), Steve Lenart (Bell Alliant), Sandra McNay (Masquerade Rentals), and John Pierce (Fort Frances Times).

The Fort Frances Dental Centre, meanwhile, was honoured with the Customer Service Award (Business) over Boston Pizza, Sunset Country Ford Sales Ltd., and Webb’s Wholesale.

The Safety Award (Business or Individual) went to the Town of Fort Frances over Leon DeGagne Ltd. and Lakewood Tire.

The Town of Fort Frances Accessibility Award was granted to Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc. over the Rainy River District School Board.

The Small Business Trainer of the Year Award went to M.L. Caron Electric.  Other nominees in that category were ACO Electric, Ryan Mason Contracting, Rusty Myers Flying Service, and World of Water.

 SKS Unlimited (Steve Sinclair) took home the Home-Based Business Award, which was given out for the first time this year.  Also nominated for that award were: It’s All in the Details (Stephanie Logan), Inga Design (Inga Friesen), Kirtsy’s Intergalactic Daycare Service (Kirsty Sinclair), Scentsy (Connie Hendrickson), and Scentsy (Lisa Jodoin).

In addition, Tannis Drysdale was honoured with the James Paul Award was this year.  This is a rare award, which is given to individuals or businesses for their outstanding contribution and years of dedication to the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce.

More than 150 people attended the gala, which was emceed by Dr. Bruce Lidkea of Lidkea Optometry, the 2011 Business of the Year (1-15 employees).

Dave Ashworth, of Musik by Dave, provided musical entertainment, including a song about event sponsors sung to the tune of Dr. Hook’s “The Cover of the Rolling Stone.”

Simeon Nussbaumer, manager of field services for Bell Alliant, also shared a few words of support for the annual event.

Rainy River District 4-H Awards

The Rainy River District 4-H Awards will be held on Friday, March 2, 2012 at the Millennium Hall in Stratton.  Dinner will begin at 7:00 p.m..

Please call and confirm your attendance with Kim Dessere at 807-483-5412.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Innovative, informative and inspirational are only some of the adjectives used to describe Barbara Stegemann, CEO and founder of The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc.   She will be the keynote speaker at a brunch in Kenora (8:00 a.m. Best Western Lakeside Inn) and dinner in Fort Frances (5:30 p.m. Le Place Rendez Vous) on Thursday, March 8th, presented by the Northwest Business Centre to coincide with International Women’s Day.
From a humble beginning in rural Canada to entrepreneurial success internationally; Barb will share her business model that allowed her to transform her vision into reality without, in her words, losing herself in the process.
“I believe that we, as women, can achieve success in the business world and still have a rewarding personal and family life. Naturally we need to work hard, but more than that we need to work with conscience, without compromising our values and give something back, but we don’t need to do it alone”, says Barb. When we work together we share ideas, resources and energy, and ultimately we inspire each other to more than we may have thought possible.”
Barb’s entrepreneurial vision comes from the heart. She created The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc., a company that sources organic oils from Afghanistan, Haiti, and other countries experiencing turmoil, to encourage change and reverse issues of war and poverty. She is the first woman from Atlantic Canada to get a venture capital deal in the history of the Dragons’ Den, (February 2011) when she made the Dragons cry with her compelling pitch and message of the importance of doing trade with nations that are experiencing war or strife.

One cold call later her fragrances were in The Bay stores across the country, and they will be on hand and available to purchase on March 8th. Barb will also have copies of her book, The 7 Virtues of a Philospher Queen; a Woman’s Guide to Living and Leading in an Illogical World, available for purchase, or as a gift with purchase to those who purchase her fragrance.
A nominee for Chatelaine's Women of the Year 2011 entrepreneur award, Barbara recently received the "Women Innovators" Award from the US State Department. She also has the distinction of being the first woman to be made an Honourary Colonel in the Royal Canadian Air Force for 14 Wing Greenwood. And her days in the Dragons’ Den are not yet over; Barb will be featured on their “Where are they now?” show on Wednesday, February 29th at 8 p.m. EST
Primary funding for this initiative to mark International Women’s Day and celebrate the accomplishments of women entrepreneurs is provided by the Province of Ontario, Ministry of Economic Development & Innovation. The Northwest Business Centre is proud to also welcome the RBC Royal Bank as our commercial sponsor for Barbara’s visit to both communities.
Ticket price and locations are: 
Kenora Thursday, March 8, 2012 
8:00—11:00 a.m. Best Western Lakeside Inn 
$20 Includes HST/Brunch; 
Tickets available at: RBC Royal Bank and HoJoe Coffee & Books Inc. in Kenora 

Fort Frances Thursday, March 8, 2012 
5:30—9:30 p.m. Le Place Rendez Vous 
$30 Includes HST/Dinner 
Tickets available at: RBC Royal Bank and Northwoods Gallery & Gifts in Fort Frances
For more information contact: 
Diane Schwartz-Williams 
Northwest Business Centre 
Ph. 807-467-4643
Barb Stegemann 
The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc. 
Ph: 902-446-0400
Dragons Den Clip 

History TV show on the naming of Noble Rose of Afgahanistan 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Snow Sculptures

The creation of a number of snow sculptures in Fort Frances is a go.

But the Rainy River Arts Collective's Winter Sculpture Garden is no longer a contest.

Spokesperson Lindsay Hamilton says only a couple of groups actually registered.

So those groups and a couple of other artists will instead craft the 8 foot cubed snow piles over the next ten days as part of a demonstration project.

Hamilton is hoping it will lead to greater interest for next year.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Food Security Gathering

Increase access to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate foods for ALL!
THURS.  MARCH 8, 2012
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Lunch will be provided)
EMO INN--Emo, Ontario
Cost: FREE

Food is a basic human right.  Everyone has the right to access enough safe, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food in a way that promotes self-reliance and social justice.  This is known as food security.   Unfortunately, food insecurity is a problem in Northwestern Ontario.

What can you do to help?
Get in the know...about the root issues and what can be done.
Get involved in your security is not just a poverty issue; it is a much larger issue that involves the whole food system and affects every one of us.

Food Security: It's Everybody's Business

Join us for an interactive day to learn about food security and share ideas about how we can increase food security in the Rainy River District.

Who should attend?
Anyone interested in increasing access to food in the Rainy River District, health promoters, health educators, community health representatives, local food enthusiasts, producers and farmers.

Limited Space!
To register, please call Siobhan Booth at (807) 482-2211 by March 2, 2012.

Wild Food Workshop

Rainy River District Stewardship presents:

Saturday, March 3, 2012
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
at the Devlin Hall

Workshop is $25 per person.
Tickets available at the Devlin Municipal Office, Betty's in Fort Frances, Wood's Quality Bakery in Rainy River and Emo Feed Service or email

Wild food Lunch is free.

Heritage Luncheon

There will be a Heritage Luncheon on:

Friday, February 17th, 2012
11 am to 1 pm
Emo United Church
3 Roy Street
The $8.00 Menu includes:
Hot & Hearty Casserole
Dessert Coffee

There will be Bake Tables with homemade goodies.
Proceeds in support of the Pioneer Museum, Emo

Sponsored by:  Womens' Institutes of the Rainy River District

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Workshop aimed at entrepreneurs...

Monday, 6 February 2012 - 2:14pm
Staff, Fort Frances Times Ltd.
Attention all entrepreneurs!
The Northwest Business Centre is hosting a workshop, entitled “The ABCs of Entrepreneurship—Aboriginal Business Day,” at the Couchiching Bingo Hall on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Running from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., the event will provide the opportunity to learn about business support services, programs, and accessible funding through intergovernmental agencies and other partners, as well as developing a business plan, marketing, and research and innovation.

“This event is so tailor-made for someone who’s got an idea of a business they might like to start or they’re maybe in the early stages of starting it,” said Diane Schwartz-Williams, manager of the Northwest Business Centre.

“Or even for someone who’s been in it for a while and wants to grow and expand because the resources and information are going to be right there.

“There will be a personal connection, not via e-mail or Internet or phone,” she stressed.

“The folks are going to be right there, ready to answer questions one on one.

“It’s not going to be a day full of lots of speeches, where people are sitting and listening,” added Schwartz-Williams.

“The whole idea is to get people involved, thinking and doing, with a little bit of information coming at them from the presenters and speakers.”

Schwartz-Williams said quite a few representatives will be on hand from organizations including the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp., and FedNor.

The Rainy River Future Development Corp., the United Native Friendship Centre, Seven Generations, Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong, and Service Canada also are expected to attend.
Some of them will be speaking while others will man informational displays, fielding questions from attendees.

The workshop also will feature keynote speaker Jeremiah Windego, CEO of the Naicatchewenin Development Corp., who will share best practices and motivation for both entrepreneurs and First Nations’ communities “to move their vision to reality.”
“We’re going to have a lot of resources, people, and information in one room for that day,” Schwartz-Williams pledged.

The workshop is open to people of all ages, whether they’re students, adults, or seniors.
The event is free, and lunch will be provided.

Pre-registration is required, however, by visiting

Limited bus transportation also is available (please advise when registering).

Anyone with questions can contact Schwartz-Williams at 1-807-467-4643 or via e-mail at, or contact Stefanie at 1-807-223-1166 or via e-mail at

The Northwest Business Centre is holding the same event next Tuesday (Feb. 14) at Eagle Lake First FN.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Heart of the Arts

The Sunset Country Métis, the Rainy River Arts Collective, and the Fort Frances Museum and Cultural Centre invite you to enjoy ...

Local Talent.
Local Culture.
Local Pride.

‘Heart of the Arts’
Benefit Concert, Auction, Art Exhibition & Market
Feb. 16th at the Townshend Theatre in Fort Frances
Art Exhibit & Market, Busking, and Auction
begin at 6:00 p.m.
Main Stage Concert begins at 7:00 p.m.

You will have an opportunity to view artwork from artists such as Cher Pruys, Eric Keast and Connie Cuthbertson. You can scout out the talent of local musicians that you may want to bring in to entertain in your restaurant, lounge or around your campfire.  You can check out the jewellry, beadwork and metalwork of local artisans whose work you may want to display or sell.  Or simply sit back and enjoy a unique evening of incredible talent.

Tickets are on sale at Northwood's Gallery & Gifts in Fort Frances for $20 each.

So, Mark your calendar, get your tickets and join the fun.  We hope to see you there!

For more information, call Wanda Botsford at 807.274.6736.