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News Briefs: Monday, February 18, 2013

Break-ins in Fort Smith

During the night of Feb. 14, three windows of a police vehicle parked at the Fort Smith Hospital were broken and shortly after, police received information that three businesses in the community had been broken into and another vehicle had been damaged.

Two male suspects, ages 18 and 23, were arrested after at first fleeing from police on snowmobile. Both are charged with mischief under $5,000, break and enter to a business, theft under $5,000 and possessing a weapon while committing an offence. The thefts were from the businesses. Both men are scheduled to appear in Fort Smith Territorial Court on Feb. 18.

- Katherine Hudson

Preliminary inquiry for murder suspect

A Hay River man accused of two counts of murder is set to have a preliminary inquiry this week in territorial court in Yellowknife.

Benedict Corrigal is accused of murdering Hay River residents Garfield McPherson, 64, and Carol Buggins, 48, on June 27, 2012.

A preliminary inquiry is held to determine if there's enough evidence to warrant a trial.

- Katherine Hudson

Husky Energy halts

Husky Energy Inc. was forced to halt all operations in the NWT Feb. 12 after the National Energy Board found multiple safety violations at the camps, installations and other facilities at the Husky Little Bear N-09 and H-64 wells at their Slater River location, 40 km southeast of Norman Wells.

National Energy Board safety inspectors toured the site Jan. 31. During that inspection, they found conditions in the kitchen and living areas that could affect the health and safety of workers.

The chief safety officer of the National Energy Board ordered an entire shutdown of the operation until Husky submits a plan outlining what it will do to correct the issues and bring everything up to code. The plan needs to be submitted on or before Feb. 19.

- Danielle Sachs

Aboriginal Affairs minister steps down

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister John Duncan resigned from his position Feb. 15.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Duncan said he was resigning over a letter he wrote to the Tax Court of Canada on behalf of one of his constituents.

"I realize that it was not appropriate for me, as a minister of the Crown, to write to the Tax Court." he said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper named James Moore, minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, as acting minister.

- Danielle Sachs

Taiga camp calls


A spring adventure camp for girls is taking applications from around the NWT.

Taiga Adventure Camp, in partnership with the GNWT, is hosting a five-day camp from March 4 to 8.

Open to girls ages 12 through 17, the camp is on Bliss Lake, around 85 km north of Yellowknife. The focus is to introduce girls to traditional harvesting and winter survival skills. The camps also strengthen leadership skills and teamwork.

Registration is open until Feb. 20.

- Danielle Sachs

Heart health

Kahbamiue/Norman Wells

February is Heart and Stroke Month and in recognition of the month Norman Wells is hosting a variety of events.

"We have been busy with activities to promote heart health," said Caren Burke, regional co-ordinator of prevention and health promotion for the Sahtu Health and Social Services Authority.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, there is a walk scheduled across the Mackenzie River leaving at 10:50 a.m. from the Coast Guard dock.

On Sunday, Feb. 24, a tea is being held at the Royal Canadian Legion.

Heart and Stroke Month is the Heart and Stroke Foundation's way to reach out and tell Canadians about the risks of heart disease and stroke.

- Danielle Sachs

Truth through art


The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is looking for art submissions. Collecting art is one way to express the lasting impact of the residential school system.

The TRC is looking for art that relates to experiences at Indian residential schools and the impact on former students, communities, relationships and future generations. They are also looking for works that express apology, truth, oppression, genocide, resilience, spirituality, remembrance, reconciliation and aboriginal culture and pride.

All submissions are welcome, from traditional crafts to films and videos. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 31.

- Danielle Sachs

Hand over hand

Deline/Fort Franklin

The Deline Hand Game Tournament starts Feb. 21 and goes until Feb. 24. Hosted by Deline First Nation, the tournament has over 30 teams registered, including seven from Deline, competing for $60,000 in prizes.

The first place team takes home $20,000 and the sixth place team will leave with $3,000.

A temporary liquor prohibition is in effect until Feb. 25 for the hand games tournament. Competition starts Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. in the Deline Arena and continues through the entire weekend.

The tournament started in 2010 after six months of planning.

- Danielle Sachs

Rangers off to Calgary

Ikaahuk/Sachs Harbour

Sachs Harbour Junior Canadian Rangers were scheduled to be in Calgary this week for advanced training and fun.

Two Rangers from the community will be among some 60 participants from across the North taking on ice rescue and air rifle training, confidence and leadership courses, and a number of outdoor challenges, said Capt. Steve Watton.

"The advanced training will help Junior Rangers develop responsibilities and practical leadership that they would not normally receive in their communities," said Watton, who will be among the First Canadian Ranger Patrol Group crew escorting the teenagers.

Training will be taking place at the Tim Hortons Children's Ranch in Kananaskis, Alta.

The Rangers are also scheduled to take part in a cultural day in Banff, Alta., and see a Calgary Flames versus Minnesota Wild NHL game during the week-long trip.

- Thandiwe Vela

Quest for the Cup


Hockey-mania continues to reign in the community as youth from the community's minor hockey league ramp up efforts to make it to the 2013 Gwich'in Cup.

An NHL 13 video game tournament, movie night, dance, and Valentine's Day cake-decorating contest are among the fundraising efforts planned to help the community's minor hockey players make the trip to Inuvik for the tournament, taking place Feb. 28 to March 3, said recreation co-ordinator Lily-Ann Green.

They are also selling raffle tickets for a 40-inch LED TV, and a blu-ray DVD player.

"Right now, our biggest thing is fundraising for the Gwich'in Cup," Green said. "They are getting more excited to be


- Thandiwe Vela

Students begin exchange trip

Tetlit'Zheh/Fort McPherson

A group of Chief Julius School students have travelled to British Columbia to explore a different community as part of a national exchange program.

The 16 students from grades 8 to 12 left Fort McPherson to join students in Nelson, B.C., on Feb. 9, and returned Feb. 17.

The YMCA Youth Exchange Canada Program is designed to give the students an opportunity to learn about another community and culture while carrying out community service, said teacher Sonia Gregory. The students will also learn more about environmental stewardship, climate change and politics during the trip.

The exchange will be reversed in April, when a group of students from Nelson will visit Fort McPherson.

- Thandiwe Vela

Pancakes galore


Students, teachers and the community at large started the morning together on Feb. 7 over pancakes and sausages.

RCMP officers flipped pancakes for a big turnout of students and elders at the Helen Kalvak School event, said principal Jack Reid.

"It turned out very well, indeed. There was a major turnout of students and elders and people from throughout the community. It was a lovely day weather-wise and everybody just sort of started out the day together. All in all, it was a good morning."

The event is meant to reflect the goodwill between the school and the community, which is "very supportive," Reid said. "It's to let them know we appreciate them as well."

The event also featured giveaways, and kicked off a silent auction of a seven-foot wooden sled and box and a sealskin vest - items made by the students - which will be on display til the auction closes on Feb. 21.

- Thandiwe Vela

Taking kids trapping


The Take a Kid Trapping program has returned to Helen Kalvak School for the season.

Guided by community elder John Alikamik and two school staff members, a group of 10 Grade 5 and Grade 6 students ventured out on the land Feb. 12 to set traps for Arctic foxes.

The outing followed a classroom preparation session, when Alikamik and elder David Kuptana demonstrated how traps were set and shared stories about trapping experiences with the students.

"They're making these very strong connections with the adults," said principal Jack Reid about the trapping program. "It's a very valuable exercise for the students."

Weather permitting, students will check the traps for foxes at the end of the week, which will be followed by the skinning of the animals.

The program, which was also offered last year, will be going on through February and March.

- Thandiwe Vela

Government promotes job internships


The territory's largest employer aims to make its workforce more diverse and reflective of Nunavut's population with a new 16-month pilot project.

The Inuit Learning and Development Project has the ultimate goal of increasing the number of Nunavut land claim beneficiaries who are employed in government across the territory.

Article 23 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement states Inuit must be employed in government at a level representative of the Nunavut population. This equals out a minimum of 85 per cent of jobs to be held by Inuit.

The GN and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. are partnering together on the project to place 16 young Nunavummiut in various paid, full-time public sector positions over the term of the project. The 16 months are broken up into four four-month stints at offices in the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, Aboriginal and Northern Development Canada, Service Canada, the RCMP, Natural Resources Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Environment Canada, Parks Canada, Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada and with the GN and NTI.

"This on-the-job training may open the door to possible job opportunities in the public service or other growing sectors such as the mining industry," said Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, who was in Iqaluit to make the announcement. Under the pilot project participants will have the opportunity to work in a variety of departments in a mix of work assignments that match their career aspirations. Every four months they can choose a different stream of office work or field work and have a mentor to answer questions about the job.

Applicants must be high school or college graduates and Nunavut land claim beneficiaries.

- Peter Worden

Premier meets with prime minister


Devolution was a main topic in a meeting between Premier Eva Aariak and Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week, according to a statement from Aariak's office.

While in Ottawa, Aariak also met with federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister John Duncan, who stepped down from that position Friday, and with Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue.

The premier also talked about the importance of devolution and the next federal budget, according to the office of the premier.

"A renewed partnership with the Government of Canada is essential, especially in areas like housing and our outdated energy infrastructure, to put Nunavut firmly on the path of sustainability and self-reliance," stated Aariak in a press release. "I am working hard to ensure decision-makers in Ottawa understand Nunavut's needs and our promise for a bright future."

- Jeanne Gagnon

Complies with the rules: Patterson


Nunavut Sen. Dennis Patterson says when he's not working in Ottawa or on duty travel, he lives in his Iqaluit home.

Senators Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin are all under investigation for their residency claims and travel expenses.

In Patterson's opinion, he complies with the rules of the upper chamber, he told Nunavut News/North last week via e-mail.

He claimed $75,640.49 in travel expenses between April 2011 and March 2012.

"I respect that these expenditures are taxpayers' money and I am cautious with my expenses," he stated.

According to Patterson he has owned since 1987 a residence in the territorial capital, Building 275, and has an apartment, Building 5104A. He said he has a post office box in Nunavut and maintains a bank account in Iqaluit.

Patterson also stated he holds a Nunavut health card and voted in the most recent federal election in Nunavut. He further noted he surrendered his Nunavut driver's licence when he was appointed to the Senate, because he needed to obtain an Ontario driver's license in order to get insurance for the vehicle he has in Ottawa.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Government studies winter ice


Scientists will be studying winter ice conditions in the Arctic this month in the Kitikmeot.

From Feb. 14 to 28, several Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientists, along with the Canadian Rangers Ocean Watch program, will visit Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven, Taloyoak and Kugluktuk, said Diane Lake, a communications advisor with DFO, speaking from Vancouver. Lake said the Department of National Defence is also taking part in the research, now in its third consecutive year. The data will be used to establish baseline information so scientists can begin to observe trends, explained Lake. The Rangers will be trained to use science kits, she added.

"It's important to obtain data to monitor Arctic conditions to understand and protect the area: Canada's North," said Lake. "A good way to do that is through the establishment of sustainable environmental monitoring by local residents who have an unmatched knowledge of the area."

- Jeanne Gagnon

Cape Dorset plans its future

Kinngait/Cape Dorset

Residents got a look at what Cape Dorset might look like in the future when they were presented with a draft 20-year community plan earlier this month.

J.L. Richards and Associates Ltd., an Ottawa-based engineering and planning consultant firm, met with hamlet council on Feb. 5 and residents on Feb. 6 to get feedback on a community plan for 2013-2033.

Hamlet senior administrative officer Mike Hayward said Cape Dorset's previous community plan is coming to its end.

"Now they're coming in to plan for the future," he said. "If they wanted to build houses in a certain areas and the community does not want houses there, then the community advises these engineers."

Between 50 and 100 people attended the public meeting to learn what the consultants have envisioned for the community's future, he added. Hayward said the consultants put a map on a wall and put dots where they expect to see houses, new commercial lots and public spaces in the future.

"They were trying to stay within the community," he said. "Everybody is just waiting for them to come back with their draft and where there wasn't a road before, they're going to draw in a road and we'll see what the future map looks like."

He said the consultants will do a draft plan and bring it back to Cape Dorset in six weeks to see if the community agrees with it or wants more changes.

The 20-year plan will be reviewed every five to six years.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Modern storytelling in Arctic Bay

Ikpiarjuk/Arctic Bay

Ten Ikpiarjungmiut young and old got the chance to tell their stories in a modern multimedia way after a workshop at Arctic College last week.

With new gadgets in Nunavut communities but little IT training available, the E-Story Project brings technology tutorials to smaller communities with week-long workshops teaching multimedia skills. Participants put stories into video, then record and edit it, add background music, transitions, titles and credits so that they have a professional-grade video to show others.

"We don't care how old they are - they can be elders or little - as long they have a story to tell," said 20-year-old Arctic Bay resident Nick Muckpa, who travelled to Iqaluit last month to learn how to use video editing software. His story, My Hometown, was about life in the hamlet. Other stories ranged from one about Michael Jordan to a trip to Honduras, and from residential schools to global warming.

The free workshops, which utilize Mac laptops, iPads, iPods, photo scanners and projectors, are funded by the GN's Community Access Program.

"These stories are not being collected by a researcher. This is a community project. These stories are yours and can be small stories or big stories. They can be very personal and you don't have to share them with anybody or they can be award winners that you might want to post on YouTube and share widely," said Darlene Thomas, CAP administrator.

- Peter Worden

Out with old, in with new hamlet office

Qikiqtarjuaq/Broughton Island

The roof and walls of a new hamlet office being built in Qikiqtarjuaq are up and awaiting warmer temperatures before phase two - interior and exterior finishing - can begin again this spring.

The first phase of the $4-million hamlet office, which is 75 per cent funded by the federal government and 25 per cent by the GN, began in 2011. The second phase is expected to wrap up by the end of 2013. Northern architect Richard Carbonnier is the project manager overseeing the new building, which will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. Plans call for "an enviro-friendly" building and a "more productive workplace." The hamlet required a new office because the current office is dated and has been renovated several times over the years.

"It had to be replaced to fulfill the municipal function," said Hillary Casey, a spokesperson with Community and Government Services. "No project is planned for the demolition of the old building."

- Peter Worden

New arts and crafts studio

Taloyoak/Spence Bay

Carvers and seamstresses will have a warm place to work in Taloyoak when the renovations to the old hamlet office are complete.

Economic development officer Loy Lacson said the hamlet is undertaking the first phase of renovations to the old hamlet office this summer, constructing a museum gallery and sewing space in the empty building. The project's biggest phase, the carving studio, won't be done for another year or two.

"All we need to do is to modify it a little bit and convert it into an arts/museum gallery on the main floor and a working art/carving studio downstairs. There is a large portion downstairs that carvers, especially, could use that area for carving," said Lacson. "(On the second floor,) I am planning to put six or eight sewing machines for the community to use, for the seamstresses."

The new arts and crafts studio will cost $500,000 to $600,000 total, said Lacson, while this summer's portion is costing about $200,000.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Award winner

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik principal Jesse Payne has been named as one of the country's most outstanding principals.

The announcement was made earlier this month by The Learning Partnership.

Payne will join the prestigious group of 51 educators at an awards presentation and gala in Toronto later this month.

- Darrell Greer

Science fair in Gjoa Haven

Uqsuqtuuq/Gjoa Haven

Projects on wolverine, Arctic char, drums and others that Gjoa Haven students prepared were presented during a science fair earlier this month.

The fair featured about 50 projects presented by students in grades 5 to 12 on Feb. 6 in the gym of Quqshuun Ilihakvik. A number of teachers and residents judged the projects, said principal Paul Cipriano.

"They were quite good," said Cipriano about the projects. "It helps them out with developing their education a little further."

Three projects were chosen to represent the community at the regional fair, he added. A junior high project looking at whether thicker seal skins will keep a person warmer was one of the winners, as was a project debating why a drum used for drum dancing is shaped in a circle as opposed to a square, said Cipriano. He said the high school winner was a project studying light.

- Jeanne Gagnon

All spaced out


Grade 9 student Ethan Tassiuk, 14, of John Arnalukjuak High School in Arviat will be a part of an experiment conducted with the help of astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield aboard the International Space Station this month.

Tassiuk will join students from schools across Canada to participate in the RADIN2 And You Action Project.

The citizen science project will see youth measuring and comparing neutron radiation levels along with Hadfield aboard the space station.

The CurioCity program provided by Let's Talk Science developed the project in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency to engage Canadian classrooms with a handson opportunity to learn about science and space.

The pair partnered with Bubble Technology Industries, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, MDA and 3M to purchase and supply personal neutron radiation detectors to participating classrooms across Canada.

- Darrell Greer