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Monday, August 18, 2014

PM's Northern travel plans not confirmed

It is expected that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's annual Northern tour will take place later this month.

However, as of last week, the Prime Minister's Office said details were in the process of being finalized, and are expected to be confirmed early this week.

There has been widespread speculation in Fort Smith that the hamlet will be one of the stops.

– Paul Bickford

RCMP investigate fatal house fire

RCMP is investigating the death of Ronnie Beaulieu, 15, who was found dead in a burned Fort Resolution house on Friday. Beaulieu, who lived in the home with her parents Cecile and Ron Beaulieu, succumbed to smoke inhalation according to local Fire Chief Arthur Sanderson.

Ronnie was home alone while her parents were away, said Sanderson. The Fort Resolution RCMP responded to the fire at about 1:20 p.m.

"As far as we know, we figure it was an accident that happened," said Sanderson, adding the incident was a big shock to the community.

"There was a bit of damage, but the house is probably still livable if they gutted it out and fixed the insides. There is still quite a bit of damage."

Sanderson couldn't say what the cause of the fire was, however the RCMP is assisting the Office of the Chief Coroner and the Fire Marshall in an ongoing investigation. –Simon Whitehouse

Fire crews break due to thunderstorm

After a severe thunderstorm and showers hit the North Slave over the weekend, fire crews battling the large fire 27 km outside of Yellowknife were called to stand down Saturday. The fire, known as Fire 85, is about 200 square kilometres in size and seven km off Highway 3. A spokesperson for the GNWT department of Environment and Natural Resources, said fire crews resumed duties Sunday and most of efforts over the weekend consisted of fighting the fire's western flank.

"Most of the activity of the fires was on the west side of the Northwest Territories (Saturday) with those gusty high winds," said the spokesperson.

The GNWT Department of Transportation announced that Highway 3 was open to traffic again Sunday morning after being closed Saturday.

-Simon Whitehouse

Committee looking for young men for a deck cleanup


The Aklavik Hunters and Trappers Committee is looking for two young, healthy men to help clean the deck of a massive SSDC ship located at Hershel Island, according to co-ordinator Michelle Gruben. The cleanup is scheduled for Aug. 17, weather permitting and HTC is looking to send the men for tasks that will require heavy lifting and moving heavy items. Those interested must contact the office.

– Simon Whitehouse

Fourth whale caught

Ikaahuk/Sachs Harbour

The fourth beluga of the season was caught in Sachs Harbour Aug. 9 by Jeff Kuptana. Kuptana said he only started fishing for whales this season but admitted it was a very unusual season because of the number of whales caught. His whale was 12 feet long, which is a medium-sized whale, he said. The whale was cut up and shared with the community, said Kuptana.

"It was a little bit hard to get it," Kuptana said. "On and off we have been spotting them and there are getting to be more, it seems like."

– Simon Whitehouse

Enterprise barbecue for end of the summer


The Hamlet of Enterprise is planning an event to mark the approaching end of summer.

The hamlet's recreation department will hold an end-of-summer barbecue Aug. 30.

The barbecue is set to begin at 4 p.m. at the Enterprise Community Centre.

The event will also feature the final bunnock bones game of the year in Enterprise.

– Paul Bickford

Astronaut to appear at Dark Sky Festival

Thebacha/Fort Smith

Roberta Bondar – Canada's first female astronaut – will be a guest presenter at this month's third annual Thebacha & Wood Buffalo Dark Sky Festival.

Bondar spent eight days in space in 1992 aboard the space shuttle Discovery.

The Dark Sky Festival is being presented from Aug. 21 to 24 by Wood Buffalo National Park and the Thebacha and Wood Buffalo Astronomical Society.

The festival will take place both in Fort Smith and at Pine Lake, about 60 km to the south in the Alberta section of the national park.

– Paul Bickford

Photography display at Fort Smith museum

Thebacha/Fort Smith

An exhibit of photographs by Fort Smith's Brandy Wilson has begun at Northern Life Museum in the community.

The exhibit – called Breath of the Land – is a botanical journal of Bathurst Inlet.

It opened Aug. 1 and will run to Sept. 30.

Wilson, who was born and raised in Inuvik, uses digital photography to capture the intense colour and fine detail of plants.

– Paul Bickford

Jamboree wraps up


The community of Paulatuk wrapped up its 28th annual Iqalukpik Jamboree. Recreation co-ordinator Aaron Ruben, whose department hosted the event at the school gym and the fairgrounds, said the event went for five days this year as opposed to the traditional four because all events scheduled could not be completed without the extra day. A crowning of the king and queen of the festival took place and was awarded to King Ray Lennie Jr., and Queen Mabel Thrasher. A number of other competitions were yet to be announced at press time including the Good Man and Good Woman competitions which involved tea boiling, nail driving, bannock making and fish fillet cooking.

Results were also expected for the Strong Man Competition which involved a 45-gallon tank roll and lift, a bucket run and a bike pull

Boat races also took places for Lund boats and canoes, but Ruben couldn't reveal who won by press time.

The regular 100 yard Dash for Cash was held Aug. 11 and winners included Codey Felix and Keasha Green. A long dash run was also held and included female winner Maddison Ruben, who won one kilomete with a time of 4:49 and male winner Shawn Thrasher,who ran two kilometres in 6:27.

– Simon Whitehouse

Pumping iron

Deh Gah Got'ie Koe/Fort Providence

The Fort Providence fitness centre opened on Aug. 5. A regular schedule for the centre is expected to be implemented by Aug. 18.

The pool schedule has been changed so that students in kindergarten to Grade 9 at Deh Gah School can take swimming lessons four days a week. The lessons will take up most of the pool time, but there will be public swims in the evening. The pool will close on Aug. 29.

The recreation department is organizing a day trip for youth to Hay River on Aug. 16. The trip will include swimming and a movie.

This is hamlet recreation co-ordinator Nicholas Richard's last week of work. He is returning to school.

– Roxanna Thomson

Off to summer camp

Ka'a'gee Tu/Kakisa

Some youth from the community ages 8 to 16 will be travelling to Fort Smith next week to participate in the Run, Jump and Throw Camp from Aug. 19 to 21. The camp will include soccer, swimming and other games.

– Roxanna Thomson

Operation Nanook starts this week


Hunters and boaters will notice a lot more activity around York Sound starting this week as Operation Nanook will be underway from Aug. 20 to 29.

The annual military exercise will simulate a cruise ship running aground at the mouth of Frobisher Bay and will also involve a search-and-rescue mission for a fishing boat in Davis Strait.

Most of the activity in the sound will happen from Aug. 23 to 28.

"Operation Nanook 2014 provides our emergency responders with real-time practice in responding to a disaster or emergency," Community and Government Services Minister Tom Sammurtok stated in a release.

"Ensuring we can act quickly in times of crisis is key to keeping Nunavummiut safe and secure."

The exercise brings together any government bodies that would be involved if such an incident happened in real life. This year, that includes Nunavut Emergency Management, Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian Coast Guard, Canada Border Services Agency, and many others. In all, more than 800 people will be involved.

Iqalungmiut will notice more air traffic as fighter jets, Hercules transport planes, and Twin Otters hit the skies. Coast Guard and Navy ships will be visible in Frobisher Bay.

People may also notice military and civilian role-players walking around the capital with life-like injuries that are actually simulated.

The public is invited to a community day Aug. 23 at Nakasuk School, with displays, equipment demonstrations, and ship tours.

– Casey Lessard

Landmark felled

Ikaluktutiak/Cambridge Bay

Built more than 50 years ago, the LORAN tower in Cambridge Bay was taken down Aug. 4.

The tower was obsolete in terms of its original purpose as a long-range radio navigation system, although it continued to be of practical use to Iqaluktuuttiaqmiut by guiding them home off the land.

"You could see it for miles," said Mayor Jeannie Ehaloak. "You could see the light beacon and people would use it for direction."

The tower guided hunters back to the community for years, she said.

After rumours that Nav Canada would be taking it down began circulating, the corporation confirmed that structural damage made it impossible to preserve the 189-metre (620-foot) structure, despite pleas from the community. It will be replaced with a 49-metre (160-foot) tower.

Ehaloak was in Kugluktuk when the tower came down.

"I was falling asleep one night and my cousin texted me, and she says 'Check out my video,' " said Ehaloak. "I got up, went on Facebook and saw a video of the tower falling. A lot of community members were out on the shore, watching."

Ehaloak said it was emotional for the community because the tower was built at a time when Cambridge Bay started growing and it was a part of everyone's lives.

– Michele LeTourneau

Search called off, communities mourn


The official search for the body of Darryl Auksaq, 16, was called off last week after his body could not be located.

On Aug. 5, RCMP responded to a call about a boat that was going in circles with no one on board in the water near Iglulik. Eyewitness accounts verified Auksaq was last seen starting the boat in the early hours of Aug. 5.

The search included more than 100 people and a CC-130 Hercules. The community held a service for Auksaq on Aug. 14. The community of Hall Beach also held a ceremony for the young man.

– Michele LeTourneau

Mural highlights new hall


The just-completed community centre in Iglulik sports a stunning exterior wall, thanks to Jonathan Cruz of Nuschool Design Agency, based in Iqaluit.

Community members helped with the design via a mural wall set up on Nunavut Day, where people could draw or write their ideas.

The mural was completed over six days by Cruz and two other artists, one from Montreal and one from Los Angeles. There is also a smaller mural inside the new community centre.

With the building completed, plans are being made for an official opening.

– Michele LeTourneau

Clyde goes digital

Kangiqtugaapik/Clyde River

Clyde River is preparing to launch its new hamlet website,, by the end of the month.

"We've been trying to get our website going for the past two years," said economic development officer Billy Palluq. "If anybody wants to know about Clyde River, we want to put in as much information as we can."

That will include bylaws, hamlet and community contacts, and local photos. The site will target local residents and organizations, as well as tourists. The eventual goal is to have a space on the site to sell local art, such as carvings, Palluq said.

Illisaqsivik Society is managing the site with funding from the Department of Economic Development and Transportation.

– Casey Lessard

Grizzly sightings

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

Two officially unconfirmed reports out of Rankin Inlet claim at least two grizzly bear sightings took place near the community earlier this month.

One bear was reportedly seen in the vicinity of Tent City, while the other was spotted in the Diane River area.

– Darrell Greer

Super moon rises tide

Ausuittuq/Grise Fiord

The tide was high during last week's super moon, which raised the high tide to 3.5 metres in Grise Fiord at a time when the tide is not normally so high. The annual high tide, which usually happens in January, is 3.6 metres, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

"The full moon tides are usually pretty high here," said resident Jimmy Qaapik. "I think the high tide line was passed each night."

In front of Qaapik's house, a pad of gravel that was washed away by high water a couple of years ago was being eroded by the waves, he said.

"It took about a foot off," he said.

– Casey Lessard

Shaman helps heal


Angaangaq, a Greenlandic shaman, visited Kugluktuk beginning Aug. 8 for several days of healing with Kugluktukmiut.

The shaman, also called "Uncle," is the carrier of the Qilaut, a wind drum, and is known internationally for his ceremonial healing work.

He was brought to the community by the Society for a Healthier Kugluktuk which provides emotional and cultural support to former residential school students and their families.

"Uncle's visit is going well," said Mike Webster Aug. 9. "We're managing an incredible number of private one-on-ones in addition to a full agenda of activities – the raven wing healing circle was incredible with a little over 90 people."

Events culminated in a full moon and fire ceremony the evening of Aug. 10, when more than 200 people attended.

"One of the elders that still meditates in the Copper Inuit style came forward and helped Uncle lead the ceremony," said Webster, who is with the society.

– Michele LeTourneau

Meliadine gold mine meeting

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

The Nunavut Impact Review Board held a pair of public meetings in Rankin Inlet on Aug. 11 and 12 to provide information to the community on the board's review of Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.'s Meliadine gold mine project and the board's final hearing on the proposed project.

The review board's week-long final hearing on its review of the Meliadine project will also be held in Rankin Inlet from Aug. 21 to 27 at the community hall.

– Darrell Greer

Cruise ship passes by Ausuittuq/Grise Fiord

A cruise ship passed by Grise Fiord Aug. 10 but didn't stop.

"If they were coming from Greenland, they couldn't go on land here because we don't have Customs here," said resident Jimmy Qaapik, who saw the ship pass.

MS Bremen, a German cruise ship with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, did stop in Pond Inlet, as well as on Devon Island at Dundas Harbour.

The ship went into the fiord as part of a planned round trip from and to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.

– Casey Lessard

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