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News Briefs: Friday, March 15, 2013

Devolution vote a no-go

Members of the legislative assembly shot down a motion to put the devolution deal to a public vote Thursday.

Weledeh MLA Bob Bromley made the motion, seconded by Frame Lake MLA Wendy Bisaro, to suggest a plebiscite, or referendum, which they argued would increase public engagement on the devolution of lands and resources.

Other members disagreed. The final vote count was two in favour and fourteen against. The two Hay River MLAs were not present for the vote.

According to a recent poll by Alternatives North, 68 per cent of those surveyed want a public vote, while 20 per cent were opposed and 12 per cent were uncertain. The poll used a sample of 400 adults with a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

- Laura Busch

Day shelter out to tender

The Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority is issuing a request for proposals to run the Dene Ko Day Shelter this spring, despite earlier assurances that it would not.

The John Howard Society is still currently responsible for providing services at the shelter and will continue to do so until the request for proposals process is complete and a contract is awarded.

- Danielle Sachs

Talking about languages

A symposium to discuss the health and survival of aboriginal languages in the territory is scheduled for next week.

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment is organizing an aboriginal languages symposium on March 20 and 21, in the St. Patrick High School gym. Keynote speakers are scheduled at 11 a.m. on Wednesday and 11:45 a.m. on Thursday. The event is expected to attract more than 150 language experts from across the territory but is not open to the public, according to Benjamin Scott, associate director of the official languages division.

- Laura Busch

Hockey for a good cause

The Yellowknife Fire Division and the RCMP go head-to-head in the seventh annual Memorial Hockey Challenge on Saturday. The puck drops at 5 p.m. at the Multiplex.

Entry fee is by donation. Proceeds will go to the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation's chemotherapy unit fundraising campaign.

- NNSL staff

News Briefs: Thursday, March 14, 2013

Jamboree time in Fort Providence

The Deh Cho Bison Jamboree will be taking place in Fort Providence between March 20 and 26.

The jamboree will start with an adult coed volleyball tournament on March 20. The coed adult traditional events will take place on March 22 at noon followed by a family barbecue, a mini carnival and a poker rally.

Events throughout the weekend will include a family talent show, a fun run and snow drag races. Activities for youth will be held on March 25 and 26.

Deh Cho teams complete walking challenge

Three teams from the Deh Cho completed the 2013 Mackenzie River Walking Challenge.

The successful teams include Elexeh K'eots'ehtheh of Fort Providence with 2,570 km, the Bompas Walking Beauties with 2,515 km and the Deh Cho Darlings with 1,716 km, both from Fort Simpson. For the challenge, teams had from Jan. 7 to March 4 to walk 1,658 km, the equivalent of the distance between Fort Providence and Tuktoyaktuk along the Mackenzie River.

On average, each participant accumulated more than 200 minutes of weekly exercise, 25 per cent more exercise than is recommended in the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, according to the NWT Recreation and Parks Association, which organized the event.

Heritage on display

Students at Bompas Elementary School will be displaying their projects on historical and cultural topics on March 20.

The Fort Simpson school's Heritage Fair open house will take place between 7 and 8 p.m. in the school's gymnasium. Students in kindergarten to Grade 3 have done group projects while students in the older grades completed individual projects.

Students in grades 4 to 6 are eligible to be judged to attend the regional fair and potentially go on to the territorial fair in Fort Smith in May.

Holocaust survivor to speak in Fort Simpson

Ben Lesser, a Holocaust survivor, will be speaking in Fort Simpson next week.

Lesser will be giving a talk to school students and the public on March 20 at 1 p.m. in the recreation centre. Lesser spent time in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and the Durnhau labour camp between 1944 and 1945.

Lesser's visit is being organized by the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, the Village of Fort Simpson and Thomas Simpson School.

Highway construction cost increases

The GNWT will be spending an additional $65 million on the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk road as part of a new funding arrangement, it announced earlier this week.

When originally approved by the territorial government, the highway's estimated cost was roughly $200 million. That cost was to be 75 per cent paid by the federal government and 25 per cent paid by the GNWT. The project is now estimated to cost $299 million. The federal government committed an additional $50 million to its existing $150-million commitment, bringing its total promised contributions to roughly two thirds of the total cost.

Under the new deal, the GNWT will pay about $111 million, once the $12 million spent to date on "pre-work" is taken into account.

NNSL staff

Negotiations complete

A consensus has been reached between all devolution negotiating partners and the draft deal has been released to the public.

The federal government, the GNWT and all five aboriginal governments who signed the consensus agreement will now consult with the public for up to 60 days, although this is a "take it or leave it" deal, Premier Bob McLeod said in the legislature March 10.

The draft devolution agreement is available on the GNWT's devolution website.

Laura Busch

Hercules training over the weekend

The Civil Air Search and Rescue Association will be offering training sessions, in partnership with the Canadian Forces, on March 15 and April 7 at Aurora College.

Association spokesperson Alana Mero said the training will cover working from a military Hercules aircraft.

"Anyone interested in participating will need to participate in a pre-training session on the evening of March 15 and then be available for the morning of April 7," she said.

Northern Games summit this week

A friendly competition of Inuvialuit and Dene games is being held at East Three School from March 13 to 16.

The Northern Games/Dene Games Summit is supported by the Beaufort Delta Sahtu Recreation Association and the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs.

The focus of the games will be friendly competition and learning traditional skills from elders. The games will include a community feast, various indoor and outdoor events, awards for athletes, and a visit from the Inuvik Regional Hospital Elders Day program.