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News Briefs: Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Devolution deal is 'days' away: premier

Premier Bob McLeod said the NWT is "days" away from having a devolution deal Tuesday in response to a question in the legislative assembly. McLeod said he has written to three First Nation governments who have not yet signed the agreement-in-principle - the Dehcho, Akaitcho and Tlicho - to resolve outstanding issues.

Weledeh MLA Bob Bromley said he's heard this before. "I can probably mention four or five dates (the premier has) predicted and every date he's been wrong ... But I am optimistic or at least expect that it can't be too far away," he said, adding that this would be the first draft of the agreement and consultation will follow.

- Katherine Hudson

Watch out on bay

The finishing touches are underway for the second annual Long John Jamboree and people travelling on the ice of Yellowknife Bay are advised to be cautious because of clearing efforts, which may result in new snow berms and ridges.

Work is also continuing in the area of the Snow Castle for the upcoming Snowking Festival. Watch for signs and barriers.

- Katherine Hudson

March against bullies

Union members and school children are banding together to take a stand against bullying with a march from city hall to the post office at about 12:15 p.m. today. The group then plans to walk to the legislative assembly.

The union is calling on the GNWT to upgrade its safety act, among other regulations.

"It's time for specific, targeted action to ensure that workers and the public are protected," said Julie Docherty, PSAC North regional executive vice-president.

- Miranda Scotland

City workers voting

Labour negotiations between the Union of Northern Workers and the City of Yellowknife have stopped after the city walked away from the bargaining process, according to one media source.

A local radio station reported that the city is seeking "a third-party mediator." Union members were expected to vote on an agreement Tuesday, according to one source.

Calls to UNW president Todd Parsons were unanswered. City communications director Nalini Naidoo and deputy mayor Cory Vanthuyne would not comment.

- Simon Whitehouse

Game on in Rankin Inlet

Rankin Inlet

The Kivalliq's biggest senior men's hockey championship gets underway on Feb. 27 when the puck is dropped in Rankin Inlet.

Defending champion Repulse Bay leads a nineteam field at this year's Avataq, with three teams from Rankin, as well as Arviat, Coral Harbour, Baker Lake, Whale Cove and Chesterfield Inlet all vying for the coveted trophy.

Elders honoured

Chesterfield Inlet

Chesterfield Inlet elders Eli Kimaliaqjuk and George Tanuyak were honoured with Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medals during a special ceremony in Chester earlier this month.

The prestigious awards were presented to the elders by Coral HarbourChesterfield Inlet MLA Johnny Ningeongan.

Business award winner

Baker Lake

Baker Lake Contracting was named as the winner of the 2013 Northern Entrepreneur Award during the Up Here Business's Frozen Globe awards in Yellowknife this past week.

Deadline looms


Kivalliq students are reminded the deadline for applying to the Students on Ice Foundation's 2013 Arctic Scholarship program, which includes scholarships specifically for Northern youth, is March 1.

The awards are available to high school students between the ages of 14 to 18 to participate in the foundation's 13th annual Arctic Youth expedition to Nunavut and Greenland from July 14 to 28.

The expedition represents an opportunity for youth to expand their knowledge of the circumpolar world, and to gain a global perspective on the Arctic, its wonders, and its present and future challenges.

Faster online surfing


Kivalliq Internet lovers may want to look into higher speed plans announced by the Qiniq provider earlier this month.

Qiniq has announced it has introduced Atii Plus and Atii Pro, which it claims offers 25 per cent more speed and 50 per cent higher usage caps over the regular Atiigiallak plan.

The Atii Plus plan is available in all 25 Nunavut communities, not just the territory's three largest centres.