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News Briefs: Monday, June 25, 2012
Wildfires near Deline

An out of control wildfire continues to spread north of the community of Deline, along with two smaller ones southeast.

The larger fire is estimated at 1000 to 1500 hectares about 19 km north. "It is continuing to grow to the north away from the community and is no direct threat to the community itself," said Richard Olsen, territorial duty officer with ENR. "We are concerned that the fire is out of control and will continue to burn. It is a wildfire, so we will be responding if there is any need or threat to the community."

Olsen said the two other "less active" fires southeast of Deline are further away than the northern one.

- Simon Whitehouse

'Superbug' in Whati

Public Health officials have confirmed cases in Whati of MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant skin pathogen that causes staph infections.

"We have had increased MRSA activity in the past little while," said Andre Corriveau, chief public health officer for the NWT.

Corriveaux said the only difference between MRSA and typical staph infections is the former's resistance to commonly used antibiotics.

The bacteria can only be contracted by direct skin contact and will only cause an infection if it's exposed to an open wound, he said. He said anyone with a cut that becomes increasingly swollen, red and sore should see a health care professional.

- Lyndsay Herman

Council seat vacant

Fort Smith town council has approved a bylaw to remove a councillor. The decision involved now former councillor Sheila Sauteur-Chadwick, who had not attended a council meeting or communicated with the town since late last year.

In a June 19 vote, council declared her seat vacant. Under the town's Council Procedures Bylaw, a councillor can be deemed to be resigned after missing three consecutive regular meetings without being excused.

Sauteur-Chadwick was not deemed resigned earlier because there was a period when she was absent for medical reasons.

- Paul Bickford

Pride committee founded

Public Service Alliance of Canada North has announced that it is establishing an NWT committee intended to build a strong network of members who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and advise the alliance on issues of concern within the workplace, union or community.

The alliance invites members who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender to attend the committee's founding meeting on July 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the PSAC boardroom.

- Lyndsay Herman

Pipeline office gets new responsibilities

Hay River

The mandate of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Office in Hay River has been expanded.

Increases in resource development activity, particularly in the Sahtu Region, have led the GNWT to expand responsibilities for the office and give it a new name to reflect the expanded mandate: the Mackenzie Valley Petroleum Planning Office.

"This is an opportune time to broaden the mandate of the office to allow the GNWT to contribute staff and resources to address other areas of resource development in the NWT," said Industry, Tourism and Investment Minister David Ramsay on June 19 at the 2012 Inuvik Petroleum Show. "It will also allow us to continue our efforts on the Mackenzie Gas Project as required and maintain our capacity to deal with the challenges and opportunities this project will bring."

The expanded mandate includes strategic planning, government co-ordination, support to aboriginal communities and businesses, and communications support.

- Paul Bickford

Deadline for Enterprise bursaries


A deadline of July 20 has been set to apply for bursaries being offered by the Hamlet of Enterprise to help community residents obtain post-secondary education.

As many as three annual bursaries of up to $1,000 each will be made available for full-time students in college or university.

To be considered for the bursary, a student must submit a letter detailing which educational institution he or she will be attending, the courses, the dates and other information, plus a 500-word essay on the topic "Why Education is Important to Me."

The hamlet council approved the bursary program in April.

- Paul Bickford

Biggest Loser round two


The Behchoko Biggest Loser Club has returned after a successful first round earlier this spring.

Sign up for the summer club took place on June 11 and the final weigh-in will be on Sept. 11, said Sherri Zoe, half of the two-person team organizing this summer's Biggest Loser Club. Zoe said more than 30 participants signed up and she has already seen competitors getting active around the community.

"We have a lot of people walking around town and on the highways," she said. "I think the school is also doing a yoga class and some participants are in the yoga class."

Zoe said a halfway weigh-in will happen 45 days into the competition, on July 30, and the participant who has lost the highest percentage of their body weight will win an iPad. Participants have another 45 days after the halfway weigh-in until the final weigh-in on Sept. 11 to win one of six cash prizes, starting at $250 and up to $2,500.

- Lyndsay Herman

Taiga summer camp returns

Tetlit'Zheh/Fort McPherson

Taiga Adventure Camp, a summer camp for girls aged 11 to 17, opened registration on June 18 for this summer in Fort McPherson from July 20 to July 25.

The 10 girls who sign up for the six-day summer fish camp will stay at a Fort McPherson elder's fish camp, located 15 minutes by boat from the community. They will learn how to catch, dry and smoke fish using traditional methods, and receive their canoe paddling certification through Paddle Canada. The girls may also have the opportunity to make traditional snowshoes with another elder from the community, said Kirsten Carthew, organizer for Taiga Camp.

Carthew said registration will remain open until all 10 spaces are filled and there is no registration fee.

Interested girls can find registration forms on the Taiga Adventure Camp website.

- Lyndsay Herman

Seniors' Week and Father's Day

Tsiigehtchic/Arctic Red River

Not a dull day went by in Tsiigehtchic last week as Senior's Week and Father's Day kept everyone busy.

"We had something happening every day of the week," said Shelly Andre, justice co-ordinator for the Charter Community of Tsiigehtchic.

Andre said the week started with a cookout for the elders and the community on June 18. On the following day, elders were invited to Chief Paul Niditchie School for bannock and tea. Activities on June 20 drew attention to the implications of drug and alcohol abuse through the Not Us Campaign. The rest of the week catered to community elders with a special lunch on Thursday and an elder abuse awareness workshop on Friday.

Fathers had their turn on June 17 with a Father's Day cookout and crib. Andre said she estimated about 20 people attended the cookout and 10 showed up for the crib games.

- Lyndsay Herman

Special guests at grad


The two graduates of Angik School had some special guests of honour in attendance at their graduation ceremony June 17.

"We went through the grad program and then we had a feast," said Bill Ruben, chair of the recreation committee. "It went really well. Good attendance and we had a few delegates from out of town who gave presentations."

Ruben said the presenters included Inuvialuit Regional Corporation chair and CEO Nellie Cournoyea, Beaufort Delta Education Council superintendent Roy Cole, Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson and former principal of Angik School Jessica Schmitt. Ruben said all the presenters had great things to say to the graduates, but Schmitt's presence had some extra special meaning.

"Everybody was glad to see her," said Ruben. "Prior to her leaving, she spent six years here with us (as principal). The kids were all glad to see her."

- Lyndsay Herman

Prizes in the bag


The Aklavik Community Cleanup wrapped up June 18 and this year's competition was just as successful as it's been every year for more than 20 years.

"It's an annual event and I've been working here for 19 years and it's still going," said Dean McLeod, recreation co-ordinator for the Hamlet of Aklavik. "When I was a kid, and I'm 40 years old, I was in this contest too."

Youth 15 years old and younger who participated in the contest filled garbage bags with litter they collected from around the community and then brought them to the hamlet office and receive $1 for every full bag they bring in. Participants were also competing for first, second or third place for each gender. The winners got a bike for first prize, an iPod Touch for second prize and a camera for third prize.

McLeod said the final bag count started on Tuesday morning and the winners were to be announced last week.

"It's an opportunity for the kids to clean our community and they also get the opportunity to make some money," McLeod said.

McLeod estimated the youth have collected about 1,600 bags of garbage since the competition opened on June 6 and some youth collected more than 200 bags themselves.

- Lyndsay Herman

Fishing derby in Fort Resolution

Deninu Ku'e/Fort Resolution

The annual Father's Day Fishing Derby has been held once again in Fort Resolution.

The three biggest fish in each category were caught by:

Youth category (12 years and under) for jackfish: Greg Villeneuve Jr., first; and Harlin Mandeville, second and third.

Youth category (12 years and under) for pickerel: Samara McKay, first; Bayleigh Chaplin, second; and Ethan McKay, third.

Open category (13 years and over) for jackfish: Clayton Currie, first; Greg Balsillie, second; and Tyler Peterson, third.

Open category (13 year and over) for pike: Collin Smith, first; Gus Pasowisty, second; and Henry Loewen, third.

- Paul Bickford

Man accused in Kimmirut shooting gets court date

Kimmirut/Lake Harbour

The man accused of firing a gun at the homes of two RCMP officers in Kimmirut will be sitting in jail for a while as he awaits his next court date, where he will find out when his preliminary hearing will be set.

David Lyta's lawyer Christian Lyons appeared on his behalf June 21. Unless he is given bail, Lyta will remain in the Baffin Correctional Centre until October 2, his next court date.

Lyta is charged with intentionally discharging a firearm at the homes of two RCMP officers on March 18. The Crown alleges he knew they were home at the time.

- Casey Lessard

Bravery awards for Cambridge Bay RCMP

Ikaluktutiak/Cambridge Bay

Two Cambridge Bay RCMP officers received bravery awards in recognition of their saving a child from drowning two years ago.

Ontario's Lt.-Gov. David Onley presented an honourary testimonial to Const. David Brown and a bronze medal to Const. Greg Redl during a ceremony in Toronto on June 5.

In the summer of 2010, both played a part in rescuing of a child from drowning in frigid waters outside Cambridge Bay.

Redl and Brown were at the Cambridge Bay detachment on July 9, 2010, when someone knocked on the door and told them a child had fallen into the water. When they arrived at the dock, "There was a group of children there crying and pointing to one side of the dock," Redl told Nunavut News/North at the time.

They saw the boy lying on the sea floor, about three metres beneath the surface. Redl immediately took off his duty belt, jumped in and brought the unconscious boy back ashore. Brown then performed CPR on the child, who eventually fully recovered from the ordeal.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Feds suing cruise ship company for costs


The Canadian Coast Guard is seeking close to $500,000 from the owner of the MV Clipper Adventurer to recoup monitoring costs and expenses associated with helping the grounded ship, according to a statement of claim filed earlier this month.

The Clipper Adventurer ran aground on a shoal in the Coronation Gulf in August 2010 while travelling to Kugluktuk from Port Epworth with 128 passengers and 69 crew on board.

The federal government is seeking $468,801 from the ship's owner, Adventurer Owner Ltd., for expenses and cost the coast guard incurred monitoring the salvage operation and potential pollution, according to the claim filed in Ottawa on June 15.

The coast guard was unable to recoup the monitoring costs and expenses from the ship's insurers as they declined liability, according to the claim. It adds the coast guard's costs and expenses "are the direct result of the grounding of the ship and the monitoring of the measures taken to prevent, repair, remedy or minimize marine pollution damage."

Adventurer Owner Ltd., the Bahamas-based owner of the ship, filed its own lawsuit against the federal government last summer in relation to the grounding. It is seeking $15 million US for repairs, salvage costs as well as other expenses related to the grounding. It alleges the federal government became aware in 2007 of a rocky shelf at or near the location of the cruise ship's grounding, states the claim. It adds the water depth there was about 3.3 metres while the chart stated a depth of 29 metres. That claim is still unresolved.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Union ratifies agreement with Qulliq


The approximately 150 unionized employees of the Qulliq Energy Corporation voted 91.8 per cent in favour of ratifying the tentative agreement reached earlier this spring.

The new three-year agreement provides a wage increases of 2.5 per cent retroactive to the year of 2011 and then two per cent retroactive to this past Jan. 1, with an additional two per cent increase slated for 2013. All employees on staff as of the ratification date will get a $1,100 signing bonus. The new collective agreement expires Dec. 31, 2013.

Doug Workman, president of the Nunavut Employees Union, said the new agreement also defines who the employer is, in this case the minister responsible for the Public Service Act, Iqaluit West MLA Monica Ell. She is also the human resources minister. He added the employer is not the minister responsible for the Qulliq Energy Corporation.

"There was enough financial improvements, their quality of life was going to be OK," said Workman. "It was a big issue because we never knew who the boss was. It's now crystal clear. Before we would hear chairman of the board, we would hear president, CEO. We didn't know (that) if there is any monkey business going on, we can appeal to the minister."

Other improvements include increases in shift premiums, clothing and boot allowances as well as improvements associated with training and various types of leave, according to information provided by the union.

Ell stated the new agreement is good news for all.

"The GN appreciates the hard work the bargaining teams did in order to come to an acceptable agreement for the employees, the employer and the union," she stated in a press release.

Ratification votes were held in May.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Canada Day in Cambridge Bay

Ikaluktutiak/Cambridge Bay

From barbecues to flag-raising ceremonies and golfing, Cambridge Bay residents will have lots of things to do on Canada Day.

Activities to mark this country's 145th birthday start with a flag-raising ceremony at the hamlet at 10 a.m., said hamlet recreation co-ordinator Fred Muise. He added this is followed by a fun run and brunch, where people walk, run or jog to Water Lake. Other activities include a treasure hunt, three-on-three basketball and softball in the afternoon, a community barbecue and a youth dance.

"The barbecue is always a big success," he said. "I enjoy Canada Day. As a little kid, I remember always going to Canada Day activities so to me it's just another day of fun."

- Jeanne Gagnon

Fundraising concert

Kinngait/Cape Dorset

The graduating class at Peter Pitseolak School will benefit from a fundraising concert held earlier this month.

The inaugural 90-minute concert on June 15 raised almost $1,000, money the graduating class will use for their celebrations, said Danick Clavel, food and music teacher at the high school in Cape Dorset.

Three bands - Blues on Ice, a school band made up of teachers and students, the Kinngait Men, and the Sikusilaaq Band - performed that day. Concert-goers were treated to soup made by the students, said Clavel.

"It was awesome," she said. "It was just packed. It was just an amazing concert, just amazing."

- Jeanne Gagnon

New Northern store

Taloyoak/Spence Bay

More space for produce, chilled and frozen foods and fresh daily coffee are some of the features of the new Northern store in Taloyoak.

The new store is a one-storey, 697-square-metre structure located beside the old store. The clothing store, one of the two buildings the community's Northern store operated out of, was demolished to build the new store, said Tim Ross, general manager at the North West Company. He added the old store, now used as storage space for sealift goods, will be connected to the new one.

"It's going to be a totally much better shopping experience for our customers, without a doubt," he said. "It is very spacious. We are going to be able to carry a better assortment."

He added the selling space is close to three times larger than the old one.

The materials for the new building arrived in Taloyoak late last summer, said Ross.

The post office is also located inside the store.

The new store is a "significant" improvement over the old building, which the community had outgrown in the past years, stated Connie Tamoto, manager of corporate communications at the company. She added the new store has more produce, frozen and chilled foods as well as fresh coffee and slushies.

Mayor Tommy Aiyout said the opening was "pretty exciting."

"It's nice. It seems a little bigger," he said. "The old one was in pretty rough shape, pretty bad shape so it's a nice, clean Northern store. There's more variety."

- Jeanne Gagnon

Caffeine funds girls' camp trip


Coffee drinkers are sending two Iqaluit girls to camp after they bought $5,900 worth in coffee, other hot drinks and hot dogs June 12.

Maria Nooshoota, 12, and Uviluq Ammaq, 11, will head to Quyon, Que., to take part in activities designed to build self-confidence, self-esteem and leadership skills, a North West Company press release stated. The nine-day camp runs in July. The Iqaluit Tim Hortons stores sold 1,500 cups of coffee, 140 hot drinks, and 380 hot dogs to fund the girls' trip.

Among the event's servers were Iqaluit deputy mayor Simon Nattaq, councillor Mary Ekho Wilman, and RCMP chefs Const. Dan Martin, Const. Garrett Moore, and Sgt. Kevin Lewis.

- Casey Lessard

Ice stops hunters cold


An ice blockade in the fjord is preventing hunters from leaving Pangnirtung, hunters and trappers organization chair Noah Mosesee said June 19.

"We can't go out right now," Mosesee said. "Only inside Pang Fjord. Yesterday there was no ice; today it's almost full. We had the ice breakup early, and now it won't go away."

The ice is coming from Davis Strait and blocking Cumberland Sound. Caribou hunting is out of the question, too, he said. Seal is the only option right now.

"We're hopeful that as soon as possible the ice will melt so we can go out on the land for hunting," he said. "When the ice is gone, for sure a lot of people will go out for eider duck hunting and walrus, and beluga season is coming."

This isn't the first year the ice has caused problems, Mosesee noted, "and it's not going to be the last time." He expects hunters will have to wait about a month to go out, "unless you bring in the icebreaker," he joked.

- Casey Lessard

Trade show date announced

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

The steering committee for the Kivalliq Trade Show in Rankin Inlet has announced the third annual event will be held in Rankin from Nov. 19 to 22.

The slogan for the 2012 event will be Celebrating Small Business.

Committee member Robert Connelly said in a press release the Kivalliq Trade Show is a great forum for networking with Kivalliqbased businesses.

He said the event supports the exchange of information between representatives from business, industry, government sectors, Inuit organizations, communities and exploration and mining companies.

"We are proud this event is made possible by the business community, at large, through its inkind and monetary sponsorships," said Connelly.

The show will again feature a student program with four high school students from each Kivalliq community being selected by their schools to participate in the event.

The 2012 show will also see the return of the popular Kivalliq Trade Show Art Market, which features regional artisans on site selling their fine art, arts and crafts, and garment creations.

- Darrell Greer