News in Brief

July 21, 2017: BLUE-GREEN ALGAE FOUND IN MUSKRAT LAKE

The Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has advised the Renfrew County and District Health Unit that test results from water samples taken from Muskrat Lake have confirmed the presence of blue-green algae. The samples were taken from a small area of algae that was observed around the municipal boat launch in the Village of Cobden.

Blue-green algae blooms are a natural seasonal phenomenon that may appear in lakes, rivers and ponds. Some species have the potential to produce toxins which may be harmful to people and animals. Toxins are released into the water when the algae cells are damaged or begin to decay. Direct contact with the toxin can cause skin irritation and if ingested in higher concentrations, may result in vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

The health unit recommends that people using Muskrat Lake, or any waterbody for recreational or drinking water purposes, should become familiar with blue-green algae so they can make informed decisions about using the water. Although algae blooms degrade with time, the length of time potential toxins remain in the area is dependent upon local water movement characteristics.

The Renfrew County and District Health Unit advises people using Muskrat Lake to be on the lookout for algae blooms. If a bloom is present, please take the following precautions:

* Avoid direct contact with the bloom.

* Avoid using the water for drinking, bathing or showering and do not allow children, pets or livestock to drink or swim in the water (The Village of Cobden municipal water treatment system effectively removes the algae and potential toxins from the water).

* Boiling the water for drinking purposes should be avoided because boiling may release more toxins into the water.

* Toxins that may be released by blue-green algae are not removed by small scale residential treatment systems such as filtration, chlorination or ultraviolet light disinfection. Surface water is never a safe source of drinking water without effective treatment.

* Residents should not rely on water jug filtration systems as they do not protect against the toxins.

* Avoid cooking with the water because foods may absorb the toxin during the cooking process.

* Caution should be exercised with respect to eating fish caught in water where blue-green algae blooms have occurred. Avoid eating the liver, kidneys and other organs of fish caught in the water.

* On lakes and rivers where blue-green algae blooms are confirmed, people who use the surface water for their private drinking water supply should consider an alternate, protected source of water.

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and the Renfrew County and District Health Unit will continue to monitor the water conditions in Muskrat Lake.

For more information, please visit the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change website at http://www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/blue-green-algae or the Renfrew County and District Health Unit website at http://rcdhu.com/healthy-living/safe-water/


July 11, 2017: OPP WARN OF PHISHING EMAIL SCAM SURFACING IN AREA

(PEMBROKE, ON) - The Upper Ottawa Valley Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to warn residents of a phishing email scam that has recently surfaced in the area. Phishing is any e-mail falsely claiming to be from an established legitimate organization such as a financial institution, business or government agency. The e-mail may request or direct the recipient to visit a certain website or click on a link to update or provide personal and/or financial information and passwords. It is really a malicious attempt to collect personal information for the purpose of committing fraud. In some cases the victim is directed to make a payment for false reasons and when the victim submits their payment details, the criminals then steal and use the victim's personal information.

The phishing email that has surfaced locally is entitled "Your Speed Fine Notification".  It tells the recipient that they have been identified as a driver of a vehicle and they are alleged to have committed a driving offence. The recipient is provided with a link and told that they have a legal responsibility to complete a declaration notice within 24 days.   

To recognize and avoid phishing:
• Carefully check the email address of the sender against other authenticated sources. Look for any discrepancies.
• Never click links in emails that have unverified senders
• Look for misspelled words
• Do not reply to any email that requests your personal information
• Government or municipal agencies do not typically request money or payment via email. Should you get an email from someone claiming to represent one of these agencies, call them using a number found on their legitimate websites to verify the email.
• Don't fall for quick pressure tactics such as a short deadline for payment.
• Protect your computer with anti-virus software, spyware filters, email filters and firewall programs.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) received 7,731 'phishing' complaints in 2016 and identified 3,095 people as victims who lost more than $878,000.

If a scam artist contacts you or if you have been defrauded contact your local police service or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit their website at www.antifraudcentre.ca      


June 29, 2017: OPP REMIND MOTORISTS OF CONSTRUCTION ZONE SAFETY

Speeding fines doubled when workers are present

(PEMBROKE, ON) - With many road construction projects underway in the detachment area the Upper Ottawa Valley Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding motorists of the importance of construction zone safety and reducing speed when entering construction zones.

Drivers are advised to proceed with caution when approaching a construction zone and to obey all warning signs, people and/or devices that are directing traffic through the area. It is an offence under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) to disobey STOP or SLOW signs displayed by a traffic-control person.

Lower speeds are often posted in construction zones to increase worker safety and to reflect increased road hazards such as construction vehicles, uneven or gravel surfaces and narrowed lanes. Motorists are reminded that speeding fines are doubled in construction zones when workers are present.

Information on roads and construction projects in Ontario can be accessed through the Ministry of Transportation's Traveller Information Services, which provides road information for provincial highways in Ontario, by calling 5-1-1 or by visiting the MTO Ontario 511 website at www.ontario.ca/511


June 20, 2017: CRIME STOPPERS CRIME OF THE WEEK

Pembroke/Renfrew County Crime Stoppers and the Upper Ottawa Valley Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are asking for the publics' assistance in solving the theft of an off-road motorcycle.

On May 31, 2017 police responded to a complaint of a stolen off-road motorcycle. The green 2016 110cc Apollo dirt bike was stolen from an enclosed trailer at Cranked Up Motor Sports on Pembroke Street East in the City of Pembroke sometime between 7pm on May 30 and 8am on May 31, 2017. Tracks at the scene indicate the suspect(s) fled with the dirt bike through a field behind the business towards Alfred Street East.   

Crime Stoppers Pembroke/Renfrew County believes that someone may have information that could assist police in solving this crime. If you have information on any criminal offence that results in charges being laid, you qualify for an award of up to $2,000.00. Call Pembroke/Renfrew County Crime Stoppers at (613) 735-8477 or you can reach us at 1-800-222-8477. You could help solve a crime. All tips remain anonymous and you will not have to attend court. Crime Stoppers does not subscribe to call display. Our telephones are answered 24 hours a day.  Please visit us at our new website www.valleytips.ca.


June 1, 2017: OPP INVESTIGATE ACTS OF MISCHIEF AT PEMBROKE SCHOOL

(PEMBROKE, ON) - The Upper Ottawa Valley Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is currently investigating occurrences of mischief at Holy Name elementary school on First Avenue in the City of Pembroke. On May 23, 2017 school staff called police to report that several windows had been damaged. The damage to the windows is consistent with being struck by shots from a BB gun. The damage is believed to have occurred over the May long weekend between May 19 and May 23.

On the morning of May 31 it was discovered that sometime overnight a padlock on a gate to the school yard had been cut and that a portion of the school's chain link fence had been cut as well.

Anyone with information regarding these acts of mischief is asked to contact the Pembroke Detachment of the Upper Ottawa Valley OPP at 613-732-3332 or Pembroke/Renfrew County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).


May 25, 2017: ESSO Station Robbery Under Investigation By Upper Ottawa Valley OPP

(PEMBROKE, ON) - The Upper Ottawa Valley Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Crime Unit is investigating an early morning robbery that took place on May 23, 2017 at the Esso gas station on Pembroke Street West in the City of Pembroke. The lone male suspect, who wore a bandana to cover his face, entered the gas station store at approximately 2am on May 23, 2017. He brandished an edged weapon and demanded cash from the clerk. The suspect then fled eastbound on foot after obtaining an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect is described as:

• White male, approximately 6ft tall
• Wearing a grey hooded jacket with a plaid liner over a brown zip up jacket
• Wearing blue jeans, black boots and black gloves

Anyone with information regarding this robbery is asked to contact the Pembroke Detachment of the Upper Ottawa Valley OPP at 613-732-3332 or Pembroke/Renfrew County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).


May 25, 2017: Upper Ottawa Valley OPP Wraps Up Canada Road Safety Week

(PEMBROKE, ON) - The Upper Ottawa Valley Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) recently took part in the annual Canada Road Safety Week which ran from May 16 to May 22, 2017. The 7 day campaign was a collaborative effort by Canadian Police Services targeting high risk driving behaviours that puts road users at risk. OPP officers paid specific attention to the "The Big 4" which, in terms of personal injury collision causation are impaired driving, distracted driving, aggressive driving and lack of occupant restraint. Over the course of the 7 day campaign Upper Ottawa Valley OPP officers laid 184 speeding charges under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). In addition to the speeding charges 7 drivers were charged under the HTA racing legislation after being caught driving at speeds 50 km/h over the posted limit. Other charges laid under the HTA included 14 distracted driving charges and 11 charges for lack of seat belt use.


May 25, 2017: Helicopter Underslung Transportation to occur at Garrison Petawawa Training Ground on 26 May 2017

Garrison Petawawa, Ont. – The public should be advised that large loads slung under helicopters will be transported over select areas east and west of Highway 17 and over the intersection of Highway 17 and Paquette Road at the Garrison Petawawa Range and Training area from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on May 26, 2017.

The transport of helicopter underslung loads is being conducted jointly by 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron and 2 Combat Engineer Regiment and is necessary to transport large demolition targets to the training area for higher levels of training.  The public may see helicopters flying relatively low with large pieces of steel slung underneath them; in addition, these helicopters will fly over Highway 17.  There should be no cause for alarm as fully trained Load Masters who specialize in helicopter transport operations have inspected the loads and have verified as safe to fly.


May 18, 2017: LEAF & YARD WASTE SPRING COLLECTION

Residents of the Town of Petawawa, City of Pembroke and Township of Laurentian Valley can soon place leaf and yard waste out for pick-up during the upcoming Spring Leaf & Yard Waste Collections.   Leaf and yard waste will only be collected on your regular collection day during the designated weeks of May 23rd and June 5th for Petawawa and Laurentian Valley residents and weeks of May 23rd and June 12th for residents in the City of Pembroke.  Please note collection day changes in Pembroke and Laurentian Valley due to the May 22nd holiday. 

Residents are reminded that:

• Leaf and yard waste includes leaves, branches, garden plants and hedge trimmings.

• Leaf and yard waste must be placed at the curb in reusable containers (lids off), cardboard boxes or paper leaf and yard waste bags.

• Leaf and Yard Waste in plastic bags will not be collected.

• Individual branches must be no more than 2 inch (5 cm) in diameter or 4 feet (1.2 m) in length.

• Bundled branches must be no more than 2 feet (0.6 m) in diameter.

• Individual bag/bundle/container must not exceed 50 lbs (23kgs).

• Extra leaf and yard waste is collected separately from other materials.

• Green carts ONLY collected on green cart collection days.

• When placing small, loose branches in your green cart, the lid must be closed. Carts that contain branches that prevent the lid from closing will not be collected.

• Do not place bundled branches in your green cart as it causes processing issues at the Ottawa Valley Recovery Centre.

“The collection schedule shows the designated collection days and the requirements for placing leaf and yard waste out for collection,” said Mark Behm, Public Works Manager, Township of Laurentian Valley.  “Review the requirements closely to make sure you are setting out material correctly.  Unacceptable material will not be collected.”

Once leaf and yard waste is collected, it is brought to the Ottawa Valley Waste Recovery Centre for composting.  Leaf and yard waste is composted separately from regular green cart material.  It is important that only acceptable materials are set-out for leaf and yard waste collection.  This ensures a quality compost is produced.    Leaf and yard waste compost is currently available for purchase at the Waste Recovery Centre while supplies last.
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Acceptable leaf and yard waste can also be dropped off at the Waste Recovery Centre free of charge.  Tipping fees do apply for larger branches/brush.  Additional information on the Municipal Waste Management programs is available at www.ovwrc.com.