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Snow squalls hovering over Owen Sound and Northern Grey County, won’t shut down until the morning.
A line, stretching from the Scenic City, across Georgian Bay, and over to the Orillia area, will not likely be moving out tonight.
Environment Canada’s Severe Weather Specialist Rob Kuhn tells Dock News, the snow machine will continue at a steady pace.
Kuhn says driving conditions will remain hazardous throughout the evening, and will not improve until the squalls move out.
He says Environment Canada has had reports of more than 60 cm of snow, east of Georgian Bay, since Monday.
The good news is, that we could actually see a little sunshine by noon tomorrow.
Although the 35 personal support workers with the VON in Owen Sound, didn’t quite get wage parity with other PSWs across the province, when they settled their contract… 68 per cent of them agreed, it was deal worth taking.
Local OPSEU President, Diane Wark tells Dock News, one concession they got was a reduction of hours needed to qualify for a three per cent wage hike.Wark says workers can actually earn up to a nine per cent increase, by the time the contract ends in March of 2015…right now, they are sitting at $13.41.
Wark says workers could bring their wages up to $15.71, after completing the three steps.
She says there are other issues that need to be addressed.
A deal was reached between OPSEU and VON, with a mediator. Wark says the mediator suggested the two sides continue to work together.
Wark says workers are relieved a deal was reached and that they can continue to care for their clients.
A Woolwhich Township man is facing charges in the death of a teen.
Waterloo Region Police say they laid the charge after an investigation of a 17 year old from Wellesley, who died from a suspected drug overdose in April.
The teen was at a party in Elmira, when the medical emergency occurred.
The accused is charged with criminal negligence causing death, manslaughter, and various drug offenses.
No students were hurt when a school bus and an SUV collided in Owen Sound this morning.
City police say it happened around 8 o’clock on 2nd Ave West.
The two vehicles were traveling in opposite directions when they collided.
The driver of the SUV was taken to hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
The school bus driver and the students on board, were not hurt.
The SUV had to be towed from the scene, the bus received minor damage.
Meanwhile….an EMS that was responding to the scene, a short time later, collided with another vehicle,also on 2nd Ave. West.
The two drivers were not injured, but both vehicles sustained significant damage.
None of the drivers were charged in this morning’s collisions because of poor weather conditions.
Its a great Christmas present for the 40 full and part time staff who were to lose their jobs.
Kelsey’s in Owen Sound is no longer closing next week.
Cara Operations sent out a brief media release last night saying in light of the public outcry and support they’ve seen since they made the announcement last month… they’ve reevaluated their situation and have decided to stay open.
However the release also cautions that it will take continued support in order to stay at the Owen Sound location.
Cara told employees they’d be closing December 20th.
Their official statement to the media was that it was because of poor sales and had nothing to do with their lease with the owners of the Heritage Place Shopping Centre.
Cara is now in the process of offering everyone’s job back.
They’ve got a deal.
Thirty-five PSW’s with the Grey Bruce VON have ratified an agreement reached
Tuesday and will be on the job as usual today.
Local OPSEU President Diane Wark tells Dock News it wasn’t a strong vote..only 68 percent but she says they managed to get a 3 percent wage hike.
She says they pushed the employer for everything they had but it still doesn’t give them anywhere near parity with other Personal Support Workers across the province who are making at least 3 to 5 dollars an hour more than the one’s working for the Grey Bruce VON.
Wark says however, most importantly… everyone still has a job to go to and their clients will suffer no disruptions in service.
PSW’s typically take care of the elderly or disabled…allowing them to continue living in their own homes.
Meanwhile hundreds of striking PSW’s with the Red Cross … braved the cold temperatures to rally at Queens park yesterday.
They walked off the job yesterday morning fighting for increased wages and better compensation.
The 45 hundred workers… including 130 in the Owen Sound area… make about 15 dollars an hour….but have to pay their own travel expenses when going from client to client.
Taxi owners in Owen Sound agreed today, that customers will now pay a start rate of $3.85 when getting into a taxi.
The Owen Sound Police Services Board compared metred rates of surrounding communities and other smaller cities, and thought that was a fair starting price.
In addition, riders will pay $1.15 per km traveled, and 50 cents a minute, any time the taxi is stopped, during the trip.
Oliver Ryan, is with Redline Taxi.
He says the change from a flat rate to metres, will benefit taxi drivers.
Ryan says this new system is fair to the drivers and passengers.
He says if you go a short distance, you will pay less than the previous flat rate, but admits, longer rides will cost you more.
Board Chair Gary Levine explains what happens in the meantime.
The $460 cost of the metre is paid by taxi owners.
The board will work out details for a new by-law for the taxi companies that will include penalities they face, if they do not comply.
The changes will take effect on February 1.
Environment Canada is predicting another 30-45 cm of snow for parts of Grey Bruce over the next two days.
The Bruce Peninsula is expecting the higher amounts.
Roads in the region are snow covered, slippery and treacherous especially in those regions where the squalls have been heaviest…the Peninsula, along the Lake Huron Shorelines, southern Georgian Bay and down around the Dundalk Highlands as well as Kincardine, Walkerton and Hanover areas.
Surprisingly enough only a couple of school bus cancellations today on the Peninsula.
First it was the elimination of paid parking at Sauble Beach… now South Bruce Peninsula council has wiped out paid parking at its municipal boat launches as well.
The Sun Times reports at its budget session yesterday… council said the numbers prove it was actually a money-losing proposition to maintain ticket spitters at the boat launches in Wiarton and Sauble.
Meanwhile they also committed 300 thousand dollars over the next five years to help with the upgrade to the Grey Bruce Health Services cancer department.
More budget deliberations next Tuesday…with a final vote expected then.
It didn’t look good going into talks yesterday….but 35 PSW’s working for the Grey Bruce VON are on the job this morning after having reached a tentative deal just hours before their midnight strike deadline.
OPSEU local President Diane Wark says these are some of the lowest paid health care workers in the province earning between 12 and 14 dollars an hour.
A ratification vote is set for 7 tonight.
Meanwhile … 45 hundred PSW’s with the Red Cross are off the job today having given notice yesterday that they were going on strike.
There are 130 of them working for the local Red Cross in Owen Sound covered by the Service Employees International Union who says their workers make, on average, about 15 bucks an hour…from which they also have to pay for their own travel expenses between clients.
There are noon hour rallies planned across the province today.
Its estimated about 50 thousand patients …mostly the elderly…will be affected across Ontario.
No word on the contingency plan from Red Cross officials.
Calls to our local Red Cross spokesperson have so far gone unanswered.