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Monday, July 20, 2015
Police probe Inuvik woman's death

A police investigation is underway into the cause of an Inuvik woman's death.

According to an RCMP news release, police were called to a Boot Lake Road home in that community at noon July 15 where a woman was found dead. Her identity has not been released. The cause of death has not yet been determined, police state. The investigation with the NWT coroner's office is continuing.

- Shane Magee

'Catastrophic lake drainage' advisory issued

The Northwest Territories Geological Survey recently posted an advisory to its website warning that permafrost thaw is expected to cause a "catastrophic lake drainage and potential debris flow" this year near Husky Lake west of Fort McPherson.

A lake along the plateau could breach and flow down a valley about five km to the north end of Husky Lake. The area is isolated, though there's a traveller's cabin along the lake. The advisory warns to avoid camping or travelling in the area as a flash flood could happen at any time this summer or fall.

- Shane Magee

Inuvialuit sign self-government agreement

The Inuvialuit self-government agreement in principle is scheduled to be signed tomorrow.

The agreement outlines the future Inuvialuit government's roles and responsibilities, the structure of council and relationship with federal and territorial governments.

- Meagan Leonard

Erasmus calls for upgraded pipelines

Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus has called on the Alberta government to do more to upgrade existing pipelines to make them safer in the aftermath of one of the biggest pipeline spills in that province's history last week.

Approximately 31,500 barrels worth of emulsion - a mix of bitumen, water and sand - spilled from a Nexen Energy pipeline about 40 km southwest of Fort McMurray, Alta.

- Shane Magee

Enterprise sticks with older emergency plan


The Hamlet of Enterprise has decided to use its emergency measures plan from 2008, and drop an updated plan completed in 2012.

The 2012 plan had never been officially adopted by council. At its meeting on July 6, council passed a resolution to retain the 2008 plan. Hermann Minderlein, the hamlet's senior administrative officer at the time of the meeting, said the newer plan is very cumbersome to use and doesn't spell out things to do in case of an emergency.

- Paul Bickford

Acting for the camera workshop in Ft Smith

Thebacha/Fort Smith

A workshop on acting will be presented in Fort Smith next month by Western Arctic Moving Pictures (WAMP).

The acting for the camera workshop will be instructed by Larry Reese, head of the Motion Picture Arts Program at Red Deer College in Alberta.

The one-week intensive workshop will take place from Aug. 8 to 16 at Aurora College.

It is open to 12 participants from across the NWT.

- Paul Bickford

GNWT consults on proposed new park

South Slave

Stakeholder and public sessions to discuss the proposed Thaidene Nene territorial park and wildlife conservation areas on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake are coming to the South Slave.

The sessions will include consideration of boundaries, discussion of Northern laws and policies to address key interests, and exploration of initiatives for a diverse regional economy. There will be public sessions in Fort Smith July 27, Hay River July 28 and Fort Resolution July 29.

The area includes over 12,000 square kilometres for proposed territorial conservation designations. The land is currently protected by territorial land withdrawals.

Since devolution from the federal government of responsibility for land, water and resource management in 2014, the GNWT has worked with Parks Canada and aboriginal governments on establishing the Thaidene Nene conservation areas.

The collaborative approach ensures that most land within the area remains under territorial management.

- Paul Bickford

Yard sale success

Tthenaago/Nahanni Butte

A community yard sale in Nahanni Butte on July 11 went very well. The yard sale ran from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The community also held a fundraising breakfast in the morning.

Between the breakfast, table fees for the yard sale and the bake sale, the community raised $240 to send some of its youth to the Dreamcatcher Conference in Edmonton. The conference targets youth between 13 and 18 and occurs in October.

- April Hudson

Community discusses conservation

Jean Marie River

On July 14, Jean Marie River held a working group meeting in the gymnasium to further discuss making Lue Tue Sulai a

cultural conservation area.

As of July 9, the community had 32 people signed up for a First Aid and CPR training course scheduled to take place from Aug. 13 to 16.

- April Hudson

Whaling season gets underway


It's about the time of year when folks head to the coast for the domestic beluga hunt in the Mackenzie Estuary.

Gailann Raddi, Steve Cockney Jr. and their friends are one group from the Delta who have spent the

last few months down at the East Whitefish Station whaling camp on Kugmallit Bay and have so far

caught eight white whales - the biggest around four-and-a-half metres.

The group has brought whales back to Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik to be shared with elders.

Raddi said she and her friends have been whaling for four years at this location and this year tried boiled whale brain for the first time - "it tasted just like caribou brain," she said.

- Meagan Leonard

Cooking around the community


Residents here have been busy cooking together as part of a number of community activities this week according to the hamlet's events Facebook page.

The cuisine got creative during a pizza-making class at the band office July 10.

Participants were able to make their own masterpiece and take it home afterward. The tasty trials continued July 13 during a prenatal class which was held for mothers with children under 12 months at the band office.

Moms and babies received some social time and the chance to prepare some delicious shepherd's pie.

A cooking circle was also held during the evening at the curling club, giving every chef something to try their hand at this week.

- Meagan Leonard

Polar bear prints cause for concern


Polar bear sightings are rare in Iqaluit, so two in one week caused a social media frenzy as residents scrambled to either stay safe or get a glimpse of the bears.

The first bear was spotted near the Telesat building, south of the landfill, on July 13. Wildlife officers tracked the bear into the evening hours.

The following morning, it was seen on the ice heading across Koojesse Inlet to the city.

That was too close for comfort for the local Hunters' and Trappers' Organization and Department of Environment wildlife staff, who killed the animal as it headed along the beach toward Apex at about 6 a.m. July 14.

City councillor Noah Papatsie reported at a city council meeting that tents belonging to him and his sister were destroyed by the bear, and expressed thanks to those who killed the animal.

South Baffin wildlife division regional manager Jason Aliqatuqtuq said the bear was a young male, very healthy and fat. In his four years in the city, it was his third polar bear occurrence but the closest to being a threat to the public.

Two days later, another bear was even bolder, blazing a visible trail from the Plateau residential neighbourhood, where it left paw prints in a playground, down behind city hall and across to the RCMP building before apparently heading to the inlet.

- Casey Lessard

Fog and wind stalls groceries


Iqalungmiut saw days of dwindling supplies at grocery stores due to foggy conditions that stopped flights from landing in Iqaluit mid-month. But the break in the supply chain affected other communities on Baffin Island, too.

"Most places are still good for milk and canned goods," Pangnirtung senior administrative officer Shawn Trepanier said. "When I was at the Northern today, they were very low on produce. That affects people. They have to go to canned goods or frozen foods, and that's going to affect people in the short term."

Trepanier said the Northern store had to resort to charter flights to bring in supplies.

"Hopefully that will get us caught up," he said, but windy conditions may block their arrival. "We have to play everything by ear and it's up to the pilot whether it's safe enough to land."

- Casey Lessard

Scramble for signing authority


Summer vacations almost caused Iqaluit city operations to come to a standstill when the mayor, deputy mayor and alternate deputy mayor were all set to be away over the next few weeks.

Without a signing authority, paperwork was at risk of facing critical delays.

"They can't be held up in our offices," city clerk Tracey Cooke told city council July 14, asking one of councillors Joanasie Akumalik, Terry Dobbin or Noah Papatsie to step in during the interim. Alternate deputy mayor Simon Nattaq nominated Akumalik.

"Does that mean I have to get up at four in the morning?" he asked.

"Possibly," said deputy mayor Romeyn Stevenson. "And wear really nice clothes."

Akumalik agreed to be the alternate to the alternate to the deputy, who acts as mayor in the absence of Mayor Mary Wilman.

- Casey Lessard

Muskox spotted near airstrip

Ausuittuq/Grise Fiord

A muskox was seen spending time near the Grise Fiord airstrip July 15, Mayor Meeka Kiguktak said.

"Just before lunchtime, I heard there's one near the sewage lagoon in front of the dump site, toward the ocean," Kiguktak said.

The location is on the west end of the hamlet, whereas muskoxen are normally seen east of town, near Broome Point.

Two more were spotted earlier in the week in the valley outside of town, she said, but she hadn't heard of any being hunted.

"They're smart animals," she said. "They usually don't want to be around where there are people."

- Casey Lessard

Committee focuses on beautification

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

A group of people in Rankin Inlet have formed a committee with a goal to make the community more beautiful.

Rankin Inlet Solutions for the Environment (RISE) is looking for others to join the committee and help out with planned upcoming events, for which it received funding.

A community clean-up contest, and building garbage boxes and painting them with local artistic scenes, are two of the events planned.

Committee members include Renta Mares, Delsie Palvialok, Cecilia Ayaruaq, Theresie Tungilik and Pallulaaq Friesen.

- Michele LeTourneau

Extreme conditions hit hamlet


Residents of Pangnirtung were warned to brace themselves for strong winds July 14 and 15, senior administrative officer Shawn Trepanier said.

"Just to make sure that things are tied down properly and not to do any unnecessary travel," Trepanier said, noting the winds were expected to exceed 100 km/h.

Winds were high the previous week as well.

Meanwhile, ice chunks were clogging the fiord, which hasn't happened in some time..

"It's too dangerous to go boating," he said, noting the ice covers about 25 to 30 per cent of the fiord. "According to some of the elders, this happens every five to 10 years, so I think this is more of a cyclical type event."

- Casey Lessard

Busy summer in Resolute


Resolute is celebrating a warmer summer than the South Baffin is experiencing.

The ice is gone already and the community is in full swing with science camps, fishing trip charters, store renovations and water line improvements.

The only thing missing so far is holidays. Neither Nunavut Day nor Aboriginal Day were celebrated this year.

- Stewart Burnett

Prospecting course being offered

Qamanittuaq/Baker Lake

A government of Nunavut program titled Introduction to Prospecting is being offered in Baker Lake next month.

The course is open to Nunavummiut interested in learning the basic skills used in exploring for minerals. After taking the course, prospective prospectors can apply for program funding and receive up to $8,000 per year to help pay for wages, materials, and supplies when looking for minerals.

The free course will be in Baker Lake Aug. 17 to 22. It is offered through the Department of Economic Development and Transportation

- Michele LeTourneau

Healing retreats on the land

Ikaluktutiak/Cambridge Bay

Healing retreats on the land will mark some fun, community-building experiences for residents in Cambridge Bay this summer.

The Community Wellness Centre acquired a cabin earlier this year. It will be used to host healing trips on the land, which will include learning skills such as fish filleting and pitching a tent.

"Healing on the land allows people to get back into their cultural side," said Talia Maksagak, youth outreach worker at the wellness centre. "We live in a very urban community, so it's good for people to go back out on the land and reconnect on the land."

She's proud of the new cabin and the healing and programming opportunities it presents.

"I can't thank everyone enough for their support, because it's a team effort and it brings the community together," said Maksagak.

For more information on the healing retreats, contact the Community Wellness Centre.

- Stewart Burnett

Tootoo awarded Polar Medal

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

Second Lt. Dorothy Tootoo received a newly created national honour, the Polar Medal, July 8 in Whitehorse.

"The recipients who will be honoured with the Polar Medal have helped us to better connect with Canada's North and have inspired us through their diverse contributions and efforts," stated Gov. Gen. David Johnston in a news release in advance of the ceremony. "They have made this integral part of our country stronger and have reinforced the resilience of its communities."

Tootoo was one of 10 recipients.

Tootoo is the officer responsible for sustaining the cadet program in Rankin Inlet.

She received the award because in "demonstrating unwavering commitment to the program, she has enlisted the support of elders within the community to establish a mentoring program. In addition, as the residence manager at Arctic College, she seeks out every opportunity to help students persist in their studies and achieve their goals."

- Michele LeTourneau

Polar Bear Dip approaches

Ikaluktutiak/Cambridge Bay

Community members are encouraged to brave the cold and come out for Cambridge Bay's fourth annual Polar Bear Dip on July 31.

The event acts as a fundraiser for recreational activities in Cambridge Bay. Last year 19 people jumped in the water and organizers hope that number stays high again this year.

"Last year, the event raised over $3,000," said pool supervisor Emily Pope.

She hopes this year sees another big round of support for recreational programs.

A community barbecue will accompany the swim, which takes place down by the dock.

- Stewart Burnett

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