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News Briefs: Monday, September 30, 2013

Population decrease

There are less people in the NWT than there were a year ago, according to a Sept. 26 release from Statistics Canada.

The estimated population of the territory on July 1 of this year was 43,537, down 0.2 per cent from the same date the year before.

The NWT had the second highest decrease in Canada, behind only Nova Scotia. Overall, the estimated population of Canada was just short of 35.16 million, an increase of 1.2 per cent from the same date the year before.

- Graeme McNaughton

Live exercise set for Fort Smith airport

A live emergency exercise is scheduled to take place on Oct. 9 at the Fort Smith Airport.

A simulated emergency will test the preparedness of emergency responders. The exercise is scheduled between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Department of Transportation is seeking volunteers to participate in the exercise.

- Paul Bickford

Annual Firefighters' Ball in Fort Smith

The Fort Smith Volunteer Fire Department will hold its annual Firefighters' Ball on Oct. 19.

The elegant evening of dining and dancing, along with an awards ceremony, will be held at Roaring Rapids Hall. There will also be a silent auction and a live auction throughout the evening.

- Paul Bickford

Funding for soccer pitch

Fort Resolution's Sod for Soccer project was granted $7,000 by the 2013 Field Law Community Fund to obtain sod for a community soccer pitch.

Eight programs had been competing for $15,000 allocated by Field Law. The remaining funds went to three Yellowknife projects, including the Aurora Fiddle Society, the Gifted Creative Expression Art Shop, and the Yellowknife Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.

- Lyndsay Herman

New road information website launched

The Department of Transportation has launched a new website as a reference point for information about safe driving for both new and experienced drivers.

The website,, has information about safe driving with snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles as well as motor vehicles.

- Lyndsay Herman

Fort McPherson students go old school

Tetlit Zheh/Fort McPherson

Students at Chief Julius School in Fort McPherson are getting hands-on traditional knowledge experience with the help of community elders.

The school kicked off culture week on Sept. 23 for all grade levels.

Vice-principal Cliff Gregory said the kindergarten and Grade 1 students gathered in a tent erected near the school, where elders told stories, made bannock and talked about tradition medicine.

Grades 2 to 4 students travelled to a campground near the community and spent the day with elders learning to build a fire, setting snares, hiking and learning about traditional medicine.

More advanced skills were taught to the grades 5 to 9 students. Grades 5 and 6 students were schedule to head out to the campground on Sept. 25 to learn how to make snares and then were sent out set them. After the snares were placed, Gregory said the students had to build a traditional marker and then head back to camp to draw a map showing where the snares were placed.

The following day, the Grade 7, 8 and 9 students were to use the maps to try and locate the snares.

Six high school students also participated in the cultural events with a hunting trip. Gregory said he didn't think the students were able to bag any game.

By next spring, the school is planning to enhance its cultural programs with two cabins donated to the community. The cabins will be setup at a small lake south of the community along the Dempster Highway.

Gregory said the plan is to use the cabins for the school's cultural day camps.

- Chris Puglia

Enterprise may have fall fair


Enterprise may have a fall fair in its future.

The issue was brought up at a Sept. 13 meeting of hamlet council. Terry Testart, the hamlet's senior administrative officer, said there was no fall fair in the community this year, although it had held its first fall fair in 2012. Last year's event happened because the Hay River Fall Fair did not take place, although it returned this year.

Testart said hamlet staff believes it is a good idea to have a fall fair in Enterprise.

"But they recommend that we have a fall fair two weeks after the Jamboree date, which would be the third or fourth week in August," he said, referring to the Gateway Jamboree, an annual music festival.

Late August is believed to be a good time because people would be harvesting from the Enterprise Community Garden at that time.

- Paul Bickford

Walking and spiking

Tsiigehtchic/Arctic Red River

Tsiigehtchic recreation director, Bobbie Jean Van Loon, is hard at work putting together activities to keep residents busy this fall.

On Sept. 23, the Nordic walking group started up again, to be held every Monday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. Van Loon said turnout for the first walk was low with six people attending, but she expects more people to show up for future walks. She added she hopes to see 10 to 20 people walking, which would be on par with the popularity of the group last year.

The hamlet provides all the gear, and Van Loon said people just have to bring themselves to participate.

A coed volleyball league is also in the works. This is the first time a league has been organized, said Van Loon, although the sport is popular in the community. The league will follow a pickup format and is open to players aged 13 and older. Ten people had signed up to join as of Sept. 24, and Van Loon was hoping for at least 10 more to join by the Sept. 25 registration deadline.

- Chris Puglia

Anti-bullying tour coming to Fort Smith

Thebacha/Fort Smith

DerRic Starlight, a puppeteer from the Tsuu T'ina First Nation near Calgary, will be bringing his anti-bullying tour to Fort Smith for two shows on Oct. 1.

Starlight has developed 25 puppet characters for his all-ages performance.

His appearance in Fort Smith will include a 1 p.m. show at Paul William Kaeser High School and a 7 p.m. performance for the community at the rec centre.

Starlight's visit to Fort Smith is being sponsored by the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, and the South Slave Divisional Education Council.

- Paul Bickford

Test postponed


Angik School in Paulatuk postponed its Canadian Achievement Testing scheduled for last week out of respect for elder Edward Gruben, who died this month. The testing is scheduled for this week instead.

The testing is a new initiative by the Beaufort Delta Education Council, said school principal Russ Hancock, to test the math and English ability of students across all grade levels.

Hancock said the tests are similar to the Alberta Achievement tests, which he said are being phased out. The Canadian test is administered a little differently and is delivered to all grade levels.

Other schools in the region were expected to complete the testing last week.

- Chris Puglia

New teachers


Mangilaluk School in Tuktoyaktuk welcomed six new teachers to its staff of 18 educators this year. Such a high percentage of new staff presents challenges, said principal Agnes Cudmore, but the school is working hard to get the teachers accustomed to the community and vice versa.

Cudmore said new teachers undergo community initiation and cultural orientation. Teacher retention at the school varies, said Cudmore, adding some teachers stay only a couple of years while others have stayed for 30 years.

The school also planned to hold an anti-bullying assembly on Sept. 25. The WITS program, which stands for Walk away, Ignore, Talk it out, Seek help, introduces students to strategies to respond to bullying and to community resource people who can help with bullying, such as the RCMP and the community counsellor.

- Chris Puglia

Running for a good cause


Aklavik's Terry Fox Run was a resounding success this year. In an effort to increase participation, the hamlet decided to hold the event on Sept. 24 instead of over the weekend, said recreation director Dean McLeod.

Approximately 50 people attended the event, which McLeod said was better than last year and resulted in significantly more money being raised this year. Although he didn't have a figure from last year, McLeod said $1,233 was raised this year which was bolstered by more people pledging and a raffle that raised $200.

- Chris Puglia

Fiddle camp in Fort Smith

Thebacha/Fort Smith

A fiddle camp is set for Fort Smith this coming weekend.

The camp, which is planned for Oct. 5 and 6, will have a minimum age of eight for participants.

Guest instructors will be Gordon Stobbe from Nova Scotia and J.J. Guy from Saskatchewan. The camp will conclude with a community concert on the evening of Oct. 6.

- Paul Bickford

Teachers bet embarrassment for Terry Fox

Tetlit Zheh/Fort McPherson

Teachers and staff at Chief Julius School in Fort McPherson have given their students a great incentive to raise money for the Terry Fox campaign - they are giving students the chance to embarrass the adults.

Staff at the school have set up a three-tier prize system, with the top two tiers providing students the opportunity to see their teachers in a somewhat unorthodox manner.

The tamest prize - at $1,000 raised - is an afternoon of movies for the students, said vice-principal Cliff Gregory. Things get interesting at $2,000, because staff members have agreed to cross dress at that amount.

At $3,000, students will get to see the adults bust a move to Beyonce's tune Single Ladies in front of the school population.

Funds are being raised in a variety of ways. The Grade 6 class, for example, is holding a Jail and Bail event. With the help of the RCMP, a fake cell would be set up and on Sept. 27, people were supposed to be able to pay to have their favourite community member or teacher locked up.

There were 160 students who took part in the Terry Fox Run this year, alongside teachers and school and staff. The money was to be tallied at the end of the week. If enough money is raised, the teachers are expected to make a spectacle of themselves on Oct. 4.

- Chris Puglia

Energy discussion

Sambaa K'e/Trout Lake

Residents of Trout Lake attended community sessions earlier this month that included topics such as understanding utility and power bills, how to winterize your home and how to make your home more energy efficient.

Teresa Chilkowich of Arctic Energy Alliance offered the sessions about energy use and conservation from Sept. 9 to 13.

Chilkowich said she helped the elders understand their utility and power bill, phantom power or the way electricity is used even though some plugged in appliances are not turned on, energy efficiency of your home and winterizing your home.

At Charles Tetcho School one afternoon, Chilkowich offered activities for students and talked about energy, how it's produced, how you can save it and renewable ways to create it.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Woman charged with attempted murder


Iqaluit RCMP responded to two incidents of assault on Sept. 22. In the morning incident, an adult male was transported to the Qikiqtani General Hospital after suffering serious injuries. The investigation led to the arrest of an adult female, who was charged with attempted murder.

In the evening incident, the RCMP responded to the hospital where an adult female was being treated for serious injuries after being the victim of an assault. An adult male was subsequently arrested in relation to the incident and the investigation is ongoing.

- Myles Dolphin

Federal agency tours Nunavut


Gaetan Caron, chair and CEO of the National Energy Board of Canada, was recently in Nunavut along with board members to speak to representatives from various organizations to prepare for potential future oil and gas activities in the region.

Caron said the NEB's role is to listen to people's concerns and to make them aware of the board's existence.

"After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, I made a commitment to pursue dialogue and guard against those kinds of tragic outcomes," he told Nunavut News/North on Sept. 23.

"Since then, we've been to the North many times and our job is to represent the public interest of all Canadians, and to make them know we're the energy watchdogs of Canada. We're neutral and our job is to keep people safe, protect the environment and only allow oil and gas activities if these goals can be met."

The independent regulatory agency was in Pangnirtung on Sept. 19 to meet with residents and talk about the possibility of future activity in the area.

Caron said about 15 residents showed up and the meeting was "very successful."

- Myles Dolphin

Council awaits legal decision


The controversial issue of removing boulders and posts from Iqaluit streets resurfaced once again during the Sept. 24 council meeting.

Back in May, a motion made by the engineering and public works committee of the whole recommended council remove 40 per cent of the rocks and posts, contingent on legal opinion.

City councillor Romeyn Stevenson was steadfast in his opposition to the motion, saying the city should find a replacement before removing anything.

At the Sept. 24 meeting, John Mabberi-Mudonyi, acting director of public works, said the legal opinion was expected to come in the next week or so.

- Myles Dolphin

Population increase


There are more Nunavummiut in the territory than there were a year ago, according to a Sept. 26 release from Statistics Canada.

According to the release, the estimated population of the territory on July 1 of this year was 35,591, up 2.5 per cent from the same date the year before.

Nunavut had the second highest increase, behind only Alberta. Overall, the estimated population of Canada was just short of 35.16 million, an increase of 1.2 per cent from the same date the year before.

<p>- Graeme McNaughton

Ministers discuss development

Fort McMurray, Alta.

GNWT Minister of Industry, Tourism, and Investment David Ramsay, among other GNWT representatives, attended the Northern Development Ministers Forum in Fort McMurray during the week of Sept. 23.

The forum was attended by federal, provincial and territorial ministers and focused on housing in Northern regions, benefits of development for local communities, and demand for information and communications technology in the North, according to a news release on the forum issued Sept. 25.

The next forum is scheduled for next year in Whitehorse.

Swinging for dollars

Ikpiarjuk/Arctic Bay

Golfers raised money for the Terry Fox Foundation in one of the unlikeliest places on Sept. 22.

Twelve participants from Arctic Bay played nine holes of golf at a course roughly 10 minutes from the community, raising $120 in the process.

Jack Willie took home a trophy as overall winner while Konark Enoogoo finished last and received a honey bucket. Second-place winner Darcy Enoogoo went home with a 130-piece toolkit. All prizes were donated by the Taqqut Co-op.

- Myles Dolphin

Moms and tots night a hit

Sanirajak/Hall Beach

Hall Beach's mom and tots night is back by popular demand.

The hamlet ran the program last year and parents liked it so much, they asked for it to be brought back, said acting SAO and director of finance Tracy Laine.

The program runs Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m in the community hall and is sponsored by the Department of Education under its healthy children initiative.

Children aged six and under are invited to attend with their moms or guardians.

Everyone is treated to a snack and an evening of play.

- Miranda Scotland

Youth eye climate change conference in Poland


A Pangnirtung resident is raising money to attend an upcoming climate change conference in Poland.

Charlie Nakashuk, 21, is trying to raise at least $19,500 to cover the cost of flying to Poland with three other youth in order to attend the Warsaw Climate Change Conference in November.

"The conference starts on Nov. 11, ending on the 22nd but we are aiming for the 14th so the students don't miss too much school," he said.

So far, Nakashuk has sent letters requesting sponsorship to QIA and Canadian North.

He said he's just a regular person who was involved with the Students on Ice organization a few years back and wants to help Pangnirtung youth learn about the importance of climate change.

- Myles Dolphin

Fall fishing derby hampered by weather


Kugluktuk's last chance fishing derby wasn't its most successful but participants still managed to hook a few big ones, said recreation coordinator Jessica VanOverbeek.

George Kuptana caught a 7.4 kg char, winning him the first place prize of $1,000.

Meanwhile, in the other fish category Gustin Adjun won $150 for his 5.15 pound cod.

Ron Eglok won top fisherman and got his name on a trophy.

VanOverbeek is hoping to get more residents involved in the derby next year by holding events over the August long weekend and Labour day weekend.

This year's fall derby didn't draw many people because of the poor weather, late date and the barge coming in, added VanOverbeek.