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High hopes for 2006

John King and Dorothy Westerman
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 30/05) - The sands of time are nearly empty from the hourglass for 2005, which prompts Yellowknifers to reflect on what important changes happened in this year that may affect what they'll do in 2006.

Here are some of their stories:

Newlyweds Troy and Sarah Marsh hope to spend some time together now that they're married.

"We've been together for five years, but haven't lived together for even a year because I've been going to school in Kamloops," said Troy.

The couple married in the summer and for their honeymoon bought a Subaru Forester and drove to Whitehorse.

"I'm just looking forward to Troy living with me," Sarah said.

Troy plans to pack up the Subaru after finishing school in Kamloops and zoom to Yellowknife to be with his new wife in the New Year.

A life with family is what Leah Russell looks forward to in 2006.

Russell is an economic development co-ordinator for the city and hopes for health and happiness in the coming year.

"I look forward to spending time with my daughter who's going to school in Red Deer," Russell said.

Artist Bill Reid is happy to spend his retirement in Yellowknife.

The graphic artist will divide his time amongst his two greatest passions - teaching art and making art.

Originally from Scotland, Reid is most excited about his new home.

"I qualified for a cottage at the seniors centre last year," Reid said.

"The Yellowknife Seniors Citizen Society looks after the place and they really do a fabulous job," Reid said.

For Major Glenda MacKenzie of the Salvation Army, the most significant event for her and her husband Bob was the move from South Africa to the northern climate of Yellowknife.

"But we think it is a marvellous place. And Yellowknife has wrapped itself around our hearts," MacKenzie said.

For 2006, seeing the growth of the work they are doing at the Salvation Army would be significant.

"We are here to expand the work of the Salvation Army throughout all of North of 60. We want to do more for the people of the North," she said.

Lloyd Lush, president of the Yellowknife branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, said the best thing to happen at the Legion in 2005 was being able to donate $341,000 to the community.

"And I hope to see in 2006 that we can double that. It means a lot to people - and to me as well - when you can give money out to people," Lush said.

Over at the Northern Frontier Regional Visitors Centre, executive director Denie Olmstead said the biggest event for him in 2005 was holding the Assembly of First Nations conference in Yellowknife.

"It certainly put us to the test. There were between 2,000-3,000 people there," Olmstead said.

Looking ahead to 2006, Olmstead said within tourism he is looking forward to helping develop a convention bureau for the NWT.

"I look forward to seeing where that goes because we are all trying to get it off the ground," he said.

At the Yellowknife airport, the ongoing, many-faceted, $11.2 million Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) expansion project is what rocks manager Michel LaFrance's world.

"Assuring a seamless continuity of operations" while construction proceeded around departures and arrivals was an important test, LaFrance said.

His wish list for 2006 is to get enough staff to offer a proper level of service.

"This is to protect the investment that's been put into the airport," he said.

Yellowknife's wayward pets have something special to look forward to next year.

The 2005 decision to build its own shelter was a highlight for NWT Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said president Janet Pacey.

"There's already a shelter, but wouldn't it be great to have more kennels available," Pacey said.

"In 2006, I'd love to see lots more people turn out for our dog jog," she said of the annual fundraiser. "And I'd like to see more people educated in spaying and neutering their pets."

For some Yellowknifers, the turning of the year means a significant stop to one part of life; with another adventure starting in the new year.

It's been 30 years since Rosalie Power started working at City Hall as the administrative assistant to the mayor.

She's seen mayors come and mayors go, and now it's her time to move on.

"I'm retiring," Power said. "It's been 30 years today (Dec. 23) and I will be leaving the North to where we bought a hobby farm this year on Vancouver Island. "Now I'll be able to spend months in the garden."