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News Briefs: Monday, May 9, 2011

Corix Utilities to build five NWT water treatment plants

The Government of the Northwest Territories has awarded Corix Utilities a $13.8 million contract to build water treatment plants in five NWT communities. The company is installing modular treatment plants in Jean Marie River, Wrigley, Trout Lake, Fort Good Hope and Lutsel K'e. The plan is to have two facilities completed by the end of summer 2011, with the remaining three completed by the end of 2012.

Royal wedding in Sachs

Ikaahuk/Sachs Harbour

It was a royal event at Inualthuyak School in Sachs Harbour on April 29 when 13 students at the school got the chance to watch some of the television coverage of the royal nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

School principal Debbie Budgell said the students made crowns and had tea and English muffins while they watched early-morning television coverage of William and Middleton exchanging vows here in the territory. The two wed at approximately 4 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time.

"They had a marvellous time," she said, adding she enjoyed her herself, but wondered, lightheartedly, about one thing. "I still don't know why I didn't get an invitation."

Budgell said the students really enjoyed watching the wedding, which drew close to two billion viewers worldwide.

"It's something they will always remember," Budgell said.

-- Andrew Livingstone

Students to display artwork

Hay River

The Naaka Arts Festival an annual display of work by students at Hay River's Diamond Jenness Secondary School is set for May 13.

The festival will feature a varied mix of student art paintings, drawings, carvings, photography and more.

It will be held at the school from 7 to 10 p.m.

In all, about 80 to 100 students are expected to participate, according to Karen Gelderman, the art instructor at the school.

An accompanying coffee house will feature singers and musicians, including some Diamond Jenness alumni.

The art festival began in 1991 and has been held almost every year since.

- Paul Bickford

Budding bridge building

Two students at Chief Julius School could be on their way to successful careers in engineering after taking first place in a Popsicle stick bridge building competition.

Grade 3 students Mayson Reindeer and Kari Alexie built yhe bridge out of only Popsicle sticks and white glue. The structure was selected as the winner of the kindergarten to Grade 5 division of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (NAPEG) bridge building competition in February and the two budding engineers just got their awards.

"They had to sketch a bridge design in one class and then they had three one-hour classes to complete the construction," said the students' teacher Cliff Gregory, adding the two students faced some initial challenges. "They had a hard time working together at first but they came together once they got going."

The bridge had to be five to 14 cm wide, 60 to 65 cm long, no higher than four cm and have a maximum weight of 600 grams. The sole building materials allowed were Popsicle sticks and white glue.

Reindeer and Alexie were awarded a $250 cash prize for their big win along with certificates showing their top spot finish.

-- Andrew Livingstone

Playschool auction set

Hay River

The Hay River Playschool will hold its 18th annual talent auction on May 14.

The auction is set for the Hay River Legion.

The doors will open at 6 p.m. and the auction is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. A dance will follow the auction.

Lynnette Moore, the co-ordinator of the auction, said the playschool has not set a target for how much it hopes to raise this year.

"Whatever we get is really helpful," Moore said

Tickets at $10 each are available at Ring's Drugstore and will also be available at the door.

- Paul Bickford

Beware of bears

Beaufort Delta

With spring in full swing, the territorial government is reminding residents in the Delta region to be mindful of bears now that winter is over.

The Department of Environment of Natural Resources is asking residents to be respectful of bears and be sure to take precautions when travelling out on the land to hunt or camp. The department website reminds people not to run if they encounter a bear and to stay calm and still if the animal is close. If at a distance, travellers should alert the bear of their presence and quietly walk away while keeping an eye on the bear but avoiding direct eye contact, among other things.

For more information on bear safety, visit the Department of Environment and Natural Resources website.

-- Andrew Livingstone

Quilt artwork to be displayed

Hay River

The work of two quilters will be featured in this month's art show at NWT Centennial Library in Hay River.

The quilters are Janice Mercredi and Germaine Michel.

The art show will open on May 11 at 7 p.m., and will continue at the library throughout the month.

- Paul Bickford

Woman charged with careless use of firearm

RCMP responded to a report that a Pond Inlet woman fired a shot with a 22 rifle outside a house in the community when she was drunk on April 20. A 24-year-old woman was arrested at her residence in the early hours of the morning and charged with pointing a firearm, careless use of a firearm, carrying a weapon for the purpose of committing an offence, unlawful possession of a firearm and disturbing the peace, according to Sgt. Stephen Thorne.

She appeared at a show cause hearing held in Pond Inlet on April 22 and was remanded into custody.

When asked if the incident was related to an attempted shooting involving Jobie Kadloo two days earlier, Thorne said he could not comment.

--Emily Ridlington

Residents evacuated from apartment fire

Fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of an apartment blaze in Iqaluit on May 3.

The Iqaluit Fire Department responded to a call at #309C at 12:45 a.m.

"She travelled a good distance, was surprising and unnerving," said Chris Wilson, director of emergency and protective services, about the fire.

He said the fire started in a first floor apartment and moved into the hallway and units next door.

The fire burned through the drywall and then got to unprotected wood, Wilson said.

Residents living in the multiplex containing four bachelor apartments and two three-bedroom units were evacuated.

One person was transported to Qikiqtani General Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

--Emily Ridlington

Man faces firearms charges in Pond Inlet

RCMP got a call at 5:23 a.m. on April 18 saying a man had been seen waving a rifle outside a house in Pond Inlet, said Sgt. Stephen Thorne.

Police charged a 21-year-old man with resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, two counts of posessing a firearm and ammunition while prohibited, and two counts of breaching probation

He is to appear in front of the Nunavut Court of Justice in Pond Inlet on May 10.

--Emily Ridlington

Apex beach shooter gets five years in jail

An 18-year-old who shot at RCMP officers at the Apex beach in 2009 has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Levi Nowdlak was sentenced by Justice Sue Cooper at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit on May 2.

He previously pleaded guilty to an attempted murder charge and pointing a firearm.

On Oct. 2, 2009 Nowdlak threatened a relative with a rifle. Nowdlak, intoxicated, then fired a high powered rifle shot at an RCMP member, who was 100 metres away. RCMP fired back and missed Nowdlak.

In court, Nowdlak admitted to wanting to kill a police officer.

Cooper sentenced Nowdlak to five years in prison, but gave him double credit for time he has already spend in remand leaving him with two years less a day to serve.

He was ordered to provide a sample of his DNA and put under a firearms prohibition for 10 years.

The defence argued Nowdlak was suicidal at the time of the shooting and was angry at his stepfather.

A joint submission was filed asking that Nowdlak serve his remaining time at the Baffin Correctional Centre or at the North Slave Correctional Facility in Yellowknife.

Cooper suggested Nowdlak keep in contact with his mother as she would be a good support for him while he is in jail.

-- Emily Ridlington

Priest's preliminary inquiry set for June

The preliminary inquiry for a former Catholic priest facing over a dozen sex-related charges has been set for June 6.

Eric Dejaeger, 63, was arrested upon arriving in Canada Jan. 20 on a warrant issued in 2002 for three charges each of buggery and indecent assault for incidents alleged to have occurred between 1978 and 1982 in Iglulik.

Since his arrival in Canada, an additional 22 charges have been laid against him including 13 counts of indecent assault, two counts of sexual intercourse, one count of failure to appear in court, two counts of assault, and three counts of use of violence to prevent reporting of suspicious activity.

Dejaeger had been living in Belgium since 1995 but was expelled from that country in January for living there illegally.

He was convicted on eight counts of sexual assault and one count of indecent assault in Baker Lake in 1990 and was sentenced to five years in prison.

--Jeanne Gagnon

Police seize $55,000 at Iqaluit airport

A man is facing a charge of laundering the proceeds of crime after police seized $55,000 at the Iqaluit Airport.

RCMP received information a man travelling from Pangnirtung to Ottawa via Iqaluit was in possession of a large amount of money, stated Sgt. Jimmy Akavak in a press release. He added a 25-year-old man from Pangnirtung was arrested at the Iqaluit Airport for laundering the proceeds of crime.

"A search of his luggage revealed that he was transporting approximately $55,000," stated Akavak.

The money was seized and the investigation continues, he added.

The man, whose name was not released, is scheduled to appear in court on July 4. He is not in custody.

--Jeanne Gagnon

Pond Inlet goes to the dogs

Mittimatalik/Pond Inlet

Six dog teams raced from Pond Inlet to an iceberg for a dogsled race on April 27.

"It was just for fun and to celebrate Easter," said William Atagootak, acting recreation co-ordinator.

Teams raced to a point in the middle between the community and Bylot Island.

Cash prizes ranged in value from $250 to $50, depending on the order in which participants placed.

Atagootak said a lot of folks came out to watch.

--Emily Ridlington

Travelling to soccer event by land

Sanirajak/Hall Beach

On land and over frozen water by snowmobile, about 20 Arnaqjuaq School students traveled to Iglulik for a soccer tournament late last month.

Student support teacher Kenny Nemhara said three teams one team of Grades 6 and 7 students and a team each of high school students' girls and boys played soccer in Iglulik on April 29. The 21 students travelled the approximately 30 kilometres separating both communities on about eight snowmobiles, leaving Hall Beach at 9:30 a.m., arriving in Iglulik by 11:30 a.m. for a 1 p.m. game start, he added.

"It was great, actually, because most of the students here don't get to travel for sports. It's a good opportunity for them. I think we were all looking forward to it," he said. "The weather during the trip was excellent. It was pretty sunny not at all cold, not windy, as it is usually the case up here."

Students loved the trip, said Nemhara, a land trip only possible in April and May when the winter weather is not too cold.

"Students enjoyed it," he said. "Even some of the students from Iglulik were cheering out our teams. I really did enjoy the sportsmanship the students were showing. It was more having fun rather than a cut-throat competition."

--Jeanne Gagnon

Draw date changed

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

The Rankin Inlet Fire Department has changed the draw for its giant raffle to July 1 at the community hall. The draw had originally been scheduled for Nunavut Day.

The department also announced the prize of a pair of Canadian North round-trip tickets to either Edmonton or Ottawa will no longer include tickets to an NHL game.

Rankin Fire Chief Ambrose Karlik said he was notified there was too much time between the draw date and the start of the NHL season to offer the tickets.

The raffle is the only fundraiser of its kind in the Kivalliq and allows the department to upgrade equipment for its firefighting and ambulance services.

--Darrell Greer

Spring time camping

Ikpiarjuk/Arctic Bay

Spring time for students at Inuujaq School means it's time for their annual spring land trips.

"They get great experience going out on the land," said Piuyuq Enoogoo, vice-principal.

Starting on May 3, students in various grades will take turns each day going out via Ski-Doos about an hour's ride away from town.

Students in the younger grades will go out for day camps while those students in the upper years will be going out on a overnight trip. Enoogoo said they will go seal hunting as well.

The kindergarten to Grade 3 students will go out one day, Grade 4 to Grade 6 students the next followed by the Grade 7 to Grade 9 students.

She said the trips are a great opportunity for students in the community who might not get out with their families to do so.

"They get to learn something about Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and have fun."

--Emily Ridlington

Learning about health

Qausuittuq/Resolute

Nutrition, exercise and the dangers of smoking are just some of the topics Qarmartalik School students as they will become more aware of during a visit by two university students, said the principal.

Jennifer Borden said two students from Queen's University in Toronto will spend five weeks in the community starting this week, performing workshops and activities with the K to 12 students on topics such as nutrition, exercise, drugs and alcohol, smoking and diabetes. This is the fifth year in a row the students are coming, she added.

"It's a really good partnership," she said. "They enjoy coming up and learning about the community and the students and students enjoy having them come every year. It's young students and they get to learn something about that extends from the health topics they are learning in class."

--Jeanne Gagnon

Elders' breakfast

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

A large group of elders came out to enjoy a hearty breakfast served by the hamlet's mayor and council members in Rankin Inlet last month.

The special elder's breakfast was organized by hamlet council as part of the week's official Pakallak Tyme celebrations.

Coun. Jackson Lindell said it's extremely important to hold special events for the elders during community celebrations. He said there's times when some elders think the hamlet forgets them when planning activities, and that's a perception he wants to see come to an end.

Lindell said every councillor who was in town on the day of the breakfast helped out at the event.

"Many of the elders still have pretty good appetites, and they were very appreciative and thankful for the event being held," he said.

--Darrell Greer

Appreciating volunteers

Sanikiluaq

Plans are currently underway for a volunteer recognition event in the community.

Before the current recreation co-ordinator Eli Kavik took the job he said they held this type of event twice a year.

Kavik said this is his first time organizing the event.

While he is still preparing what is going to happen he said it is tentatively scheduled for May 27.

In years past, there were games and activities for the volunteers.

--Emily Ridlington

Fishing trip

Kugaaruk/Pelly Bay

Trying their luck catching trout and Arctic char, two classes per day were set to head out on the land last week for a day-long fishing trip, said the principal at Kugaaruk School.

Michael Bartley said the students Grades 1, 5 and 9, Grades 2 and 8, Grades 3 and 7, Grades 4 and 6 were to head out about 45 minutes out on the land for a day of fishing, sliding, eating and other activities. He added he went out at Dew Line Lake on May 2 with the Grades 1 and 9.

"It's just so fantastic out on the land like that. I had so much fun. It's one of those experience that just makes you smile just living life," he said.

--Jeanne Gagnon

Quebec students visit

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

Students from Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures near Quebec City were in Rankin Inlet last month for the second part of an exchange program with students from Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik (MUI).

The Rankin students travelled to Quebec this past February.

MUI teacher Lisa Kresky said the Rankin and Quebec students got along very well together, despite some language difficulties.

She said a number of friendships that began when the Rankin students were in Quebec grew even stronger here.

"A lot of the students found each other on Facebook and were chatting away even before we went to Quebec," said Kresky.

She said learning about each other's culture and traditional history was a major gain for every kid involved in the program.

"A lot of the parents who billeted the students while in Rankin said the kids were really sweet and fit right in with the family. It was the same in Quebec, where a number of parents said they wanted to adopt our kids because they're so lovely.

"The language barrier was a little bit of an issue, with their students mainly speaking French. But, that aside, everything was amazing and a really positive experience for both groups of kids."

--Darrell Greer