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Beaver Lake Winter Carnival opens with dedication to local councillor

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It was an emotional night as organizers opened the annual Beaver Lake Winter Carnival this time without their local councillor.

Tears were shed and there was a moment of silence for Michael Vagnini following a spaghetti dinner that opened the annual Beaver Lake Winter Carnival. The carnival's fireworks display was also dedicated to the late city councillor. (File Photo)Tears were shed and there was a moment of silence for Michael Vagnini who was discovered earlier this week, on a seasonal property on Atikameksheng.

“Michael Vagnini was a huge supporter of us,” said organizer Leslee Salo.

“He’d be here all weekend, the last time I talked to him, he told me to call him Friday to remind him to come and be here.”

The group spent added they spent extra money on fireworks this year so they could dedicate them to Vagnini.

No other Greater Sudbury city councillors were in attendance. Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas accepted the group’s invitation and offered to open the carnival in the popular politician’s absence.

“I have worked with Michael Vagnini for close to 10 years. Him and I have been in this building many, many times. It didn’t matter what was happening, if I picked up the phone and called Michael, he answered my call,” said Gélinas.

“Anything that happened in the riding, whether it was the road not well maintained, issues hearing guns and hunting, issues with the fire hall, it didn’t matter what it was… if it had to do with the municipality and this riding, he showed up.”

Gélinas said Vagnini was also a fun guy, noting what he was wearing and how he served pancakes last year and how he was “generous” with the maple syrup.

Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas speaking about deceased Sudbury city councillor Michael Vagnini at the opening of the annual Beaver Lake Winter Carnival on Feb. 16/24. (Ian Campbell/CTV News Northern Ontario)“The last few weeks were tough on everyone,” she said, breaking with emotion.

“He’s not here tonight, he’s not here. We know that he passed away… we will have some beautiful fireworks for him tonight.”

Those in the room were invited to sign a book of condolence which is being presented to Vagnini’s family.

Events have been scheduled in the community right up until Sunday afternoon.

For more details on the event, visit the Beaver Lake Sports & Cultural Club Inc.’s Facebook page.

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