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News Briefs: Monday, August 8, 2011

Minister of State for Finance tours North, gives speech

Ted Menzies, Minister of State for Finance was scheduled to speak on the importance of an investment in scientific research for Northern communities on Friday.

Menzies kicked off his visit to the Northwest Territories and Nunavut in Yellowknife on Thursday at a luncheon hosted by the territory's business community.

Menzies was invited by the NWT Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Aboriginal Business Association, the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines and the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce.

Menzies addressed a roomful of industry stakeholders at The Explorer Hotel over

the lunch hour, with his speech focused on

the federal government's retirement savings initiatives and took questions on the economy.

Tuk highway assessment gets funding

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has given more than $50,000 to the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and the Inuvialuit Joint Secretariat to help fund their involvement in

the environmental assessment of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk highway.

The agency is in charge of the mandatory assessment process and will identify possible environmental effects of the development, as well as ways to make the project more sustainable.

The proposed 140-kilometre highway will be overseen by the hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, the Town of Inuvik and the GNWT.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

Bear scare in Fort Smith

A bear wandered into Fort Smith on the afternoon of July 30, prompting a search by the RCMP and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The bear was scared away from town with the use of bangers - a starter pistol fired with blank cartridges to make loud noises.

- Paul Bickford

Offshore oil spill response limited by season

If an offshore oil spill occurred in the Beaufort Sea between July and October, clean-up would be possible between 31 and 78 per cent of the time, according to a report commissioned by the National Energy Board.

If a spill occurred between

mid-October and June, responses would be delayed until after ice break-up.

The report, released July 18, examined 20 years of wave, wind, temperature and visibility data from the region.

The probability of a summer clean-up in the Davis Strait, east of Baffin Island, would be even less likely.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

Film showing at National Park

A film about Wood Buffalo National Park will have two showings this week in Fort Smith.

Arm-Smashed-Up Buffalo Walk: A Solo Hike Through Wood Buffalo National Park will be presented on Aug. 10 and 12 at 7 p.m. each evening.

The 40-minute film by Kevin Kennedy will be shown at the theatre at the park office.

Admission is free.

-Paul Bickford

'Mudway' music festival a success

Tetlit' Zheh/Fort McPherson

The Midway Lake Music Festival was, by all accounts, a huge success, despite living up to its nickname of the "Mudway" music festival.

The four-day event kicked off July 29 with dancing and games that lasted until early in the morning. On July 31 a church service was held at 11 a.m., followed by more musical performances and a jigging contest. Rain thinned the crowds later that afternoon, but by the evening people were back out with their gumboots for more dancing.

"We wanted to concentrate on Northern performers, and that's exactly what we did. We like to dance, eh?" said Richard Wilson, festival organizer.

"Everyone was saying it was the best festival they've seen. They must have enjoyed themselves."

He estimates at least 1,500 people, most from the NWT, attended the event.

Brian Dean Martin and Jennifer Greenland were named Midway King and Queen.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

New dates for carnival

Deninu Ku'e/Fort Resolution

New dates have been set for Deninoo Days, the annual summer carnival in Fort Resolution.

The carnival will now be held from Aug. 26-28. It had originally been set for Aug. 19-21. The change was made so that the community's slo-pitch organization could host a tournament, said Tausia Kait'u-Lal, the senior administrative officer with the Hamlet of Fort Resolution.

"This will help to revive Deninoo Days and bring some people into the community," she said.

Each year, the carnival features fun events for the whole family. Popular events include youth and adult talent shows; traditional games, such as wood-splitting, axe-throwing and nail-pounding; and a relay race featuring running, biking and canoeing.

- Paul Bickford

Visiting the lady of the falls

Lutsel K'e/Snowdrift

On Saturday, residents of Lutsel K'e were expected to depart on their annual pilgrimage to Fort Reliance, where the 22nd annual Desnethche spiritual gathering is being held at the Lockhart River campsite until Friday.

Opening fire ceremonies were planned for Sunday morning, followed by the re-telling of the legend of the lady of the falls.

A traditional handgames tournament is planned for Monday and Tuesday night, as well as drum dancing. On Tuesday, there are tentative plans for a caribou hunt, while youth can take part in berry picking.

On Wednesday, there is a day trip planned to Parry Falls and in the evening elders will share stories they have had passed down to them.

In addition, between noon and 5 p.m. every day, there are waterfront events planned for youth.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

Featured author at library

Hay River

Michelle Swallow will be the featured author in August at Hay River's NWT Centennial Library.

Swallow will host an evening beginning at 7 p.m. on Aug. 22 dedicated to her new book 'The Mackenzie River Guide: A Paddler's Guide to Canada's Longest River.'

- Paul Bickford

Sahtu leaders gather

Kahbamiue/Colville Lake

Last week, the Sahtu Secretariat held its annual general meeting in Colville Lake.

Residents from the five Sahtu communities - Colville Lake, Deline, Fort Good Hope, Norman Wells and Tulita - were in attendance, including representatives from the communities' band offices and land corporations.

The meetings ran from Aug. 2 to 5.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

Skate Jam in Hay River

Hay River

The recreation centre in Hay River will be hosting a Skate Jam on Aug. 12 and 13.

The two days of skateboarding fun will feature competitions, prizes, live music and more.

- Paul Bickford

Hip hop meets drum dancing


Ulukhaktok's Western Drummers and Dancers were scheduled to perform with rapper Aaron "Godson" Hernandez in Kamloops last week at the Western Canada Summer Games.

Their first performance was scheduled for Aug. 5 for Northwest Territories night, followed by a more traditional dance on Sunday for the closing ceremonies.

"He's awesome to work with," said Justin Memogana, 23, of the group's rehearsal sessions with Hernandez last month.

Memogana said they choreographed dance moves to go with hip-hop songs Hernandez selected from his new album, The Resurrection.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

Gwich'in chiefs and canoes gather

Tsiigehtchic/Arctic Red River

Tsiigehtchic is scheduled to host two big community events this week: the Gwich'in Annual General Assembly from Tuesday to Friday and the 20th annual Canoe Days from Friday to Sunday.

Delegates from the four Gwich'in communities - Fort McPherson, Inuvik, Tsiigehtchic and Aklavik - attended the assembly. In addition to voting on proposed changes to the Gwich'in election process, reports will be tabled by different tribal council departments and organizations.

Canoe Days will feature races down the Arctic Red River to the Mackenzie River, as well as talent shows, jigging contests, drum dancing and community feasts.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

Welcoming back the char


This weekend, Paulatuk will welcome back the Arctic char by celebrating its 25th annual Ikhalukpik Jamboree.

The event runs from Aug. 12 to 15 and is set to include canoe and long boat races, traditional foods, Good Man and Woman competitions, an old-time dance and the crowning of a jamboree king and queen.

Lily-Ann Green, recreation co-ordinator, said it will likely just be residents of the hamlet of 300 who attend. A complete schedule of events will be finalized later this week.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

'Hot, toasty and dry'


The scorching sun in the Kivalliq region set records on July 24.

"It's been hot, toasty and dry," said Yvonne Bilan-Wallace, a meteorologist for Environment Canada.

Baker Lake had the highest temperature, with 27.1 C, surpassing its previous record of 25 C set in 1962.

Chesterfield Inlet was 26.5 C, 3.5 C higher than its previous record set in 1998.

Next in line was Rankin Inlet with a high of 26.1 C, three degrees higher than its previous record, also set in 1998.

The last record breaker was Arviat, coming in at 23.9 C, a mere 0.4 C higher than its 1998 record of 23.5.

Although the temperatures were high, Bilan-Wallace said they haven't yet beat Rankin Inlet's all time high for July, set in 1999. That year, on July 31, it was 28.9 C.

- Nicole Veerman

Elders' gathering

Kinngait/Cape Dorset

Elders from across Nunavut and Nunavik will gather in Cape Dorset from Aug. 15 to 19 to share stories, celebrate and be together.

So far, 75 elders will be coming to the annual event, said Annie Manning-Lampron, a member of the elders' committee. A craft sale is planned, she added, and clam digging, depending on the tide, as well as fishing, depending on the phase of the moon.

The first gathering was held in Cape Dorset 17 years ago.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Youth learn about health care

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

Young people in Rankin Inlet will have the opportunity to discover first-hand what it means to work in a Northern health care environment during the Actua Health care career camp running from Aug. 8 to 12.

Youth taking part in the camp will have the opportunity to practice nursing skills, including basic diagnostics and wound treatment. They will also have the opportunity to visit health care facilities and meet with local health care professionals.

Local Inuit volunteers will help with the camp by linking cultural traditions with the overall theme of health care and healthy living.

The goal of the camp, which is taking place at the Community Learning Centre, is to expose youth to possible careers that they may not have considered previously.

- Nicole Veerman

Community clean-up

Taloyoak/Spence Bay

More than 1,000 bags worth of litter were picked up by the approximately 160 people who participated in the community clean up on July 20, said the hamlet's recreation co-ordinator.

Rosie Tucktoo said many people, including hamlet and Northern Store staff, and RCMP, helped pick up 1,424 bags worth of litter.

"Everybody worked well together. It was very good. The community is really clean now," she said. "All the community cleaned up on their own around their units, around their government buildings, housing. The community cleaned up where they take their walks or shortcuts."

- Jeanne Gagnon

Hamlet considers dump improvements


The hamlet of Pangnirtung is meeting with consultants on Aug. 16 to discuss ways to improve its disposal of garbage, said Ron Mongeau, senior administrative officer.

"We have been pushing for a long time to address the issues with municipal dumps and take advantage of technology," he said.

Some of the technological options that will be discussed include gasification and incineration techniques.

- Terrence McEachern

Korean delegation visits

Ikaluktutiak/Cambridge Bay

Four South Korean scientists visited Cambridge Bay late last month, to check out the feasibility of doing research at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station, said the mayor.

Mayor Syd Glawson said the delegation also toured the community on July 21.

"The Korean delegation was here to scope out areas for doing their arctic research in connection with CHARS when it opens up. They were an advance party and when they left, they told us they would be back next year to check things closer, better," he said.

"The weather was exceptional - it was closer to the South Korean temperatures than what it should be in the Arctic."

- Jeanne Gagnon

Hinterland Who's Who to film in Iqaluit


The Canadian Wildlife Federation will be in Iqaluit next week to film public service announcements focused on Arctic species and habitats for the popular Hinterland Who's Who series.

The emphasis of the Arctic instalments will be on narwhal and the ecology and biodiversity of the tundra, according to an Aug. 2 press release. Shooting will take place in the Iqaluit area from Aug. 8-12.

- Terrence McEachern

Small craft harbour project starts dredging


The $38-40 million small craft harbour construction project in Pangnirtung is expected to be entering another phase next week with increased dredging in the harbour area, said the hamlet's senior administrative officer

Ron Mongeau.

"This is the first small craft harbour - not only in Nunavut but anywhere in the North."

The project, funded mostly by the federal government, is in the second year of a three-year construction plan.

- Terrence McEachern

Picking up litter

Uqsuqtuuq/Gjoa Haven

Picking up litter around Gjoa Haven's landfill is how Gavin Nahalolik will spend part of his summer.

The 21-year-old said he, and four or five others, started picking up garbage around the landfill on July 25, an experience he said will help him "a lot" later in life.

They sometimes find unusual items, such as dead dogs disposed of at the landfill, but they don't touch those, he added.

"So far, it's doing good," he said.

- Jeanne Gagnon

CARS training

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

Nunavut Arctic College in Rankin Inlet is holding testing on Sept. 6 for the observer communicator (CARS) training course. The entrance exam will test math and English comprehension.

The observer communicator course runs for nine to 11 weeks. Graduates will receive the relevant skills to perform the duties of an observer communicator in Nunavut airports.

Training concentrates on radio simulations and communications, operating procedures, and weather observing and recording.

To take the exam, contact the college.

- Nicole Veerman