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News Briefs: Friday, January 27, 2012
Military at Sand Pits

The Yellowknife Sand Pits are now the temporary home of approximately 500 military and civilian personnel who are using the area as their main operating base during a military training exercise called Exercise ARCTIC RAM.

The exercise, which involves about 1,500 personnel, is being conducted between Jan. 23 and March 15. The public will still be able to access the Sand Pits during this time but are advised to exercise extra caution. The Yellowknife Shooting Club range will also remain open but military police will assist with traffic control when necessary. Military police will also direct traffic along Highway 3 and Deh Cho Boulevard when volume is high.

- Galit Rodan

Luncheon sold out

Mayor Gord Van Tighem's annual address at the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce luncheon is sold out after 80 people purchased seats for the event.

"It gives the mayor an opportunity to lay out what the city's plans are for the year, so we get a chance to see what are the important things that are going to come up and maybe review what happened in 2011," said chamber executive director Tim Doyle.

The luncheon will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 31, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Copper Room of the Yellowknife Inn.

- Kevin Allerston

Snowmobile training

A snowmobile safety training course is being offered on Monday, Jan. 29, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Arctic Response office located at 104-349 Old Airport Rd.

The safety course is a requirement for those aged 12 to 16 or for those without a driver's license in order to drive a snowmobile within city limits. Participants are asked to bring suitable outdoor clothing.

- Richard McIntosh

Celebrating literacy

Today is Family Literacy Day across Canada. Weledeh Catholic School is holding a PJ and Book Day today as students participate in a school-wide read beginning at 1:10 p.m.

During the period-long reading session, all students and staff members will be reading The Magic Pebble by William Steig, which fits the school district's theme of "just believe," said Weledeh principal Simone Gessler.

- Laura Busch


News Briefs: Thursday, January 26, 2012

Annual bonspiel in Fort Simpson

The Fort Simpson Curling Club is holding its annual Merchant's Mixed Bonspiel this weekend.

The bonspiel is the largest event in the club's season. Teams of four will start curling on Friday evening and finish Sunday.

Last year nine teams participated in the event. There will be lots of prizes for participants, said Colin Munro, one of the bonspiel's organizers.

Promoting literacy

To celebrate Family Literacy Day Bompas Elementary School and the Open Doors Society are working together to organize a Family Literacy Night.

The event will be held at the school in Fort Simpson on Jan. 26 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Activities will include games, reading and a used book giveaway. Later in the evening, there will also be door prizes, snacks and a new book for all participants.

Mackenzie walk

Two teams from the Deh Cho have entered the second annual Mackenzie River Nordic Walking Challenge.

One team in Jean Marie River and another in Nahanni Butte are among the 46 teams in the territory registered for the challenge. Each team is trying to collectively walk 1,658 km, the distance on the Mackenzie River between Fort Providence and Tuktoyaktuk.

Teams have between Jan. 1 and Feb. 29 to travel as many kilometres as possible. Participants who walk enough kilometres to reach Tuktoyaktuk will receive a commemorative T-shirt. People who want to join still have a chance. On Feb. 1, teams that are already registered can add new walkers and receive bonus kilometres.

Co-ed volleyball tournament

Competitive volleyball is returning to Fort Providence.

From Jan. 28 to 29, the Hamlet of Fort Providence's recreation department is hosting a co-ed volleyball tournament. Two teams from Fort Providence as well as teams from Whati and Fort Resolution have confirmed their participation.

The tournament will begin on Saturday morning in the gymnasium of Deh Gah School. Lawrence Nitsiza, the hamlet's recreation director, said he's hoping for at least two more teams to join.

Volleyball tournaments have been held in Fort Providence before but not in recent years, Nitsiza said.

"People are happy it's back on its feet," he said.

No funding for Children's First Centre

The winners of the Aviva Community fund were announced early Wednesday morning, but the Children's First Centre was not one of the projects on the receiving end of the $1 million the fund was giving away.

"I would be amiss to say I wasn't disappointed," said Paula Guy, a director on the board of the Children First Society. "But it's just pulled the community together in such an inspiring way ... even though we didn't get funding, I still feel like we're winners."

The Children First Society now has about $1.5 million left to reach its goal of $4.5 million there are commitments of $500,000, leaving about $1 million to fundraise.

Construction is expected to start next month and the society is planning to move into the new centre in January 2013.

New youth centre to open in March

The youth centre's new executive director, Samantha Stokell, said she is hoping to open the centre in early March. The new facility is located on Gwichin Road between Aurora College and the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex. Stokell said volunteers eager to help prepare the building can contact her.

The Town of Inuvik sold the former youth centre on Mackenzie Road to the Inuvik Community Corporation in May 2010 and helped renovate the youth centre's new home.

Calm after the storm

Inuvik has settled into some chilly days after a strong blizzard caused snow drifts to mountain outside of storefronts and the Mike Zubko Airport roof to sustain serious damage.

Yvonne Bilan-Wallace of Environment Canada said the storm lasted for 24 hours with no breaks.

She said the last record was set on Feb. 26, 2011, when a storm lasted 17 hours.

Roofing repairs to the airport are being looked after by the Department of Public Works and Services. Regional superintendent Richard Knight said the damaged material is stripped off and the preliminary repairs should be completed by the end of the month. Knight said a report will be available this week, including a price tag for the damages.

According to Gurdev Jagpal, regional superintendent with the Department of Transportation, the Tuktoyaktuk ice road between Tuktoyaktuk and Bar C halfway to Inuvik is open to vehicles up to 20,000 kilograms as of 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23.

The Tuktoyaktuk and Aklavik ice roads were scheduled to open by Wednesday after staying closed for a period of a week.

Year of the drum

The Great Northern Arts Festival is ramping up preparations for the 24th festival scheduled this summer.

Organizers are putting a call out to emerging and established artists for the festival. The theme this year is the drum. Application forms are available on the festival's website or at the office and are due on Feb. 1.

Festival organizers recently announced the return of Lynn Feasey of Points North Creative as artistic director. The dates for the festival are set for July 13 to 22.