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News Briefs: Monday, January 28, 2013

Enterprise to seek long-distance change

The Hamlet of Enterprise plans to approach NorthwesTel to have long-distance telephone charges end between that community and Hay River.

"We're going to be going to NorthwesTel directly and ask them to waive all long-distance charges from Enterprise to Hay River, because all our cell calls are local." said Mayor Michael St. Amour at a hamlet council meeting on Jan. 21.

St. Amour said he and Terry Testart, the hamlet's new senior administrative officer, will be lobbying NorthwesTel for the change.

Enterprise is 38 km from Hay River.

- Paul Bickford

Off to Ottawa

Premier Bob McLeod will lead a delegation to Ottawa for a series of meetings and events with federal ministers between Jan. 30 and Feb. 1.

McLeod will be accompanied by his entire cabinet, MLAs, aboriginal government leaders, deputy ministers and business leaders.

Meetings with federal officials will focus on governance, regulatory reform, environmental stewardship, the Mackenzie Valley highway, hydroelectric projects, the Mackenzie fibre link project and sustainable housing.

The delegation will hold private receptions for federal leaders, and host a public event at Winterlude, the Ottawa region's winter festival, to celebrate the NWT's culture and showcase economic opportunities.

- Paul Bickford

Interest from India

It seems like there is interest from all over the world to work in Enterprise.

At a Jan. 21 meeting, Terry Testart, the senior administrative officer with the Hamlet of Enterprise, updated councillors on the search for a new finance officer.

"I actually had an application from India," said Testart.

However, the international job searcher was unsuccessful.

Testart told council that four residents of Enterprise were to be interviewed for the position.

- Paul Bickford

Salt River First Nation byelection

Salt River First Nation of Fort Smith has set a by-election for April 2. The by-election is to fill a vacancy on band council which resulted from the death of Coun. Olga Mansbridge earlier this month.

Salt River held an election in September. At that time, a chief was acclaimed and six councillors were elected.

There will be a general election for Salt River First Nation every two years in the last week of September,

- Paul Bickford

Junior Rangers return

Ikaahuk/Sachs Harbour

The community's Junior Canadian Rangers are back in action after a year of inactivity and are meeting Tuesdays and Saturdays at the school gym.

Six Rangers, ages 12 to 18, have joined the co-ed group this year, said instructor Christina Esau.

"It's good that it's starting up again because it gets youth active. Our town is so small that it gives them more things to do than just going with what recreation holds," Esau said.

Junior Ranger Shelby Lucas won the team's air rifle shooting competition last week, securing a trip to Yellowknife for a territorial competition in March.

- Thandiwe Vela

Activities in complex

Ikaahuk/Sachs Harbour

The community is invited to a number of activities going on at the Ajgaliaq Complex throughout the week.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, people of all ages are invited to the Together Program, which features snacks, and arts and crafts, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

The fitness centre is also open to youth for sports and Friday is movie night.

- Thandiwe Vela

Bonspiel action continues

Tetlit'Zheh/Fort McPherson

The curling season is in full swing in the Fort McPherson, and a curling tournament was scheduled to kick off Jan. 25.

Recreation co-ordinator Jackie Pascal said there has been bonspiels going on since late November at the curling rink, and there will be many more through to the end of March.

"It's open to whoever's available," Pascal said, adding elders, adults and kids of all ages have been coming out to the events. "It's good we get the kids out too. That's a good


- Thandiwe Vela

Awarding good attendance in Tsiigehtchic

Tsiigehtchic/Arctic Red River

Two students were recognized at Chief Paul Niditchie School earlier this month for perfect attendance.

The good attendance assembly took place on Jan. 15. Grade 8 student Cheyanne Andre and Grade 4 student Thomas Norbert were named winners of the awards for their perfect attendance in December.

"We chose two this month to get recognition in front of their peers for very good attendance," said principal Darcy Douglas, who said good attendance can be attributed to parents and to the students enjoying school.

"They like school. They're having fun," Douglas said.

Students are also recognized at the school for improved attendance.

"Not everybody can have perfect attendance but everybody can improve their attendance," he said, boasting that generally, attendance at the school is strong. "Our attendance overall is good, and we like to keep it that way. So that's why we're encouraging everybody."

- Thandiwe Vela

Hockey home teams come up short


The second annual Aklavik Cup was a great success, although the host community came up short, according to an organizer.

The men's hockey tournament took place the weekend of Jan. 18 at the Sittichinli Recreational Complex, with teams participating from around the region, according to organizer Michael McLeod. Unfortunately for the home teams, the finals came down to a heated match between the Inuvik Ice Hogs and Inuvik Northwind, with the Hogs taking the Cup in a 4-3 win.

"There was a lot of close games," McLeod said. "But the home teams didn't make it."

The Aklavik Outlaws lost to the winning team in overtime 7-6 in a quarter-final game. Third place went to a team from Tuktoyaktuk. Community turnout was good at the event,.

"The arena was packed pretty well all weekend. We plan to hold it again next year," McLeod said

- Thandiwe Vela

Fort Smith Iron Chefs returning

Thebacha/Fort Smith

Fort Smith Iron Chefs will be back this year to support a community resident planning to participate in a two-day bike ride in Alberta to raise money for the fight against cancer.

On Feb. 23, the chefs will face off with their best meatballs, beginning at 6 p.m. at Roaring Rapids Hall.

Members of the community can enjoy the meal and then vote for the best meatballs.

Barbara Clark of Fort Smith will be participating in this year's Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer to benefit the Alberta Cancer Foundation. The two-day cycling event, which begins in Calgary, will take place on June 22 and 23.

The money raised will directly support patients and families at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary, the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton and 15 cancer centres throughout Alberta. The Alberta Cancer Foundation also provides funding for the research of doctors and scientists.

In April of last year, the first Fort Smith Iron Chefs saw seven community residents compete with their best ribs. Bruce Gudeit was voted the top Iron Chef.

This year, seven chefs will be participating, including five returning from last year.

In all, about $5,000 was raised last year to support the cause, including through a silent auction.

- Paul Bickford

Cape Dorset school locked down

Kinngait/Cape Dorset

A lockdown at the elementary school in Cape Dorset was lifted after police determined a threat against Sam Pudlat School and staff to be unsubstantiated.

The school had gone under lockdown at about 9:45 a.m. on Jan. 24 in response to a threat received against a staff member, stated RCMP in a news release. It adds police determined the situation was of a personal nature.

The lockdown was lifted shortly after police's arrival, adds the press release.

An adult female was arrested, charged with one count of uttering threats and released. She is scheduled to make a first court appearance on May 6 in Cape Dorset.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Pang guard charged with sexual assault


A 19-year-old male prison guard was charged last week after a female inmate in Pangnirtung RCMP detachment cells said she was sexually assaulted on Jan. 19.

Jamie Qaqasiq, who was a guard at the detachment for about six months, has been fired from his job as the investigation continues. The Ottawa Police Service will conduct an external review of the investigation. Qaqasiq was released on the condition to have no contact with the complainant.

"The highest priority in the RCMP's temporary holding cells is the safety of all individuals," said Supt. Lindsey Brine, commanding officer for Nunavut RCMP, in a release. "These people are in our care and we take this responsibility very seriously."

RCMP guards receive training on the care and handling of prisoners including first aid, CPR, and prisoner searching and monitoring.

"Despite the interviews, assessments and training, these measures aren't always 100 per cent foolproof in determining the integrity of a person," said Brine.

- Peter Worden

Drug bust in Cape Dorset

Kinngait/Cape Dorset

More than half a kilogram of marijuana and drug-associated paraphernalia was seized in Cape Dorset earlier this month, a drug sweep police said cleaned the streets of the community.

Cape Dorset RCMP executed three search warrants on three residences between Jan. 14 and 18, resulting in the drug and paraphernalia seizure, stated police in a news release. The street value of the drugs seized is $34,000, according to police.

"Drug dealers have only one objective - and it's not to the benefit of our communities and families," stated Supt. Lindsey Brine, commanding officer of Nunavut RCMP. "It is important to factor in that Cape Dorset's population is approximately 1,200 people. The amount of drugs seized this week can devastate a community this size."

Four people are facing charges of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking. Three of those people are also facing charges of possession of property obtained through crime, and two face charges for firearms-related offences.

All four have been released from custody and are scheduled to appear in court in Cape Dorset on May 6.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Changes to rent scales


The rent those living in public housing units pay will change as the territorial government changes the rent scale, effective next fall.

The GN will now assess rent on the income of the two primary leaseholders only, and will calculate rent on a step scale, similar to how income tax is calculated. Minimum rent will be indexed to the territory's minimum wage.

Other changes include elders paying rent only on the portion of their income over their community's Core Need Income Threshold, as opposed to their full income, which is currently the case.

"These changes make the calculation of rents fairer for tenants and (make) the administration of the Public Housing program more manageable for our local housing organizations," stated Peter Taptuna, minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corporation. "In the short term, these changes mean less revenue for the Government of Nunavut.

"However, allowing tenants to accumulate wealth and advance in their field of employment will create economic spinoffs to the community and a reduced social burden."

- Jeanne Gagnon

In-custody sudden death

Sanirajak/Hall Beach

The Ottawa Police Service is investigating the death of a male prisoner in Hall Beach, found deceased after being reported missing from police custody at 1 a.m. on Jan. 21, stated the RCMP in a news release.

Because the matter is under investigation, neither the RCMP nor the Ottawa Police Service would


The RCMP requests an independent, internal investigation whenever allegations against the RCMP are of a serious and sensitive nature, according to the release.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Winning poster


Iglulik's Jocelyn Arreak, a 13-year-old student at Ataguttaluk High School, was one of the six regional winners of the Embrace Life Council Through My Eyes Contest.

Her poster depicting how substance abuse can affect a couple's life earned her $200 and additional non-cash prizes.

The Embrace Life Council and the RCMP V Division launched the contest to understand how suicide, mental health and substance abuse affect the territories' children and youth.

Arreak stated she chose to depict substance abuse because she didn't know much about the other two subjects.

"I am very excited (I won)," she stated. "I was glad I won the money. I told my parents and my best friend."

- Jeanne Gagnon

Planning commission on Northern circuit

Ausuittuq/Grise Fiord

Hamlet staff, the hunters and trappers organization and concerned Ausuitturmiut will have an opportunity to speak with the Nunavut Planning Commission, which will be in Grise Fiord Jan. 31 to Feb. 1.

The commission is touring all Nunavut communities to hear residents' opinions on resource development.

"The bottom line is, how do you see the immediate surrounding areas of Grise Fiord being used?" said Marty Kuluguqtuq, the hamlet's assistant senior administrative officer, explaining this is how multiple hunting and development restrictions, exclusions and allowable areas are formed.

The commission will likely hear about gas, oil and diamond development and "everything under the sun," said Kuluguqtuq. "Do you want mining? Do you want exploration? What is your hunting area? It will be Grise Fiord's opportunity to express opinions and concerns."

- Peter Worden

Iglulik plans website


The Hamlet of Iglulik wants to provide more information to residents and visitors so it has put forward a request for proposals (RFP) to develop a new municipal website.

"As a municipality, it's our responsibility to get information out to the community members. Also, for basic information for tourists is what we're looking to do," said Lucie Idlout, the hamlet's economic development officer.

The new bilingual - English and Inuktitut - website would give information on services the hamlet provides with a message from the mayor, list the names and photos of the municipal councillors and host a staff directory, according to the RFP. It adds the website should also provide departmental updates, community notices, local business directory and employment opportunities.

The website would also give tourist information, such as community history, average temperatures per month, hotels, outfitters, alcohol regulations and festivals, states the RFP. Phone numbers for the RCMP, health centre, schools and airlines should also be mentioned.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Learning how to make sealskin boots

Uqsuqtuuq/Gjoa Haven

A number of Gjoa Haven students will learn how to make kamiik as Qiqirtaq Ilihakvik is set to start a new sewing club on Jan. 22.

Inuktitut teacher Emma Pauloosie and an elder will teach the students how to make the sealskin boots, a skill she said is important the students have.

"We're making kamiik just to teach the young students how to sew," she said. "They're not able to work on the actual skin so we're using fabric material to make kamiik."

After the students learn with fabric, they will work with seal skins, she added.

- Jeanne Gagnon

North to Arctic Bay

Ikpiarjuk/Arctic Bay

One Iqaluit family is set to begin a snowmobile journey of more than 1,200 kilometres. Goretti Kango, her parents and siblings will travel to Arctic Bay by Ski-Doo next month.

Arctic Bay economic development officer Clare Kines said the trip has been made successfully a few times before, such as one journey made by Lew Phillips two springs ago.

- Peter Worden

Daylight and 'hot spells'

Ausuittuq/Grise Fiord

Is it getting sunnier in Canada's Arctic or is just the people of Grise Fiord?

"I must say this has been the least dark of all the years I've been around," said Marty Kuluguqtuq, the hamlet's assistant senior administrative officer and a resident of Grise Fiord for 17 years. "The dark season is less and less dark each


The days are indeed getting lighter with the sun expected to break the horizon and end 24-hour darkness Feb. 11.

Kuluguqtuq said the southern horizon used to be pitch black and now has a hint of day light even during supposed 24-hour darkness.

"The daylight's slowly creeping in," he said, adding he and others have asked a glaciologist who makes annual visits to the hamlet during the summer. "A lot of people have noticed that as well. There is less and less dark each year."

"Their explanation was the lights from the south are reflecting through the sky," he said. "A lot of us don't buy that really. We're not scientists but we live up here all the time and changes are happening."

A federal scientist attributed the change in light to atmospheric warming.

"What I've heard is the sunrise comes back earlier than in the past and that's being attributed to upper atmospheric warming where you get a greater refraction of the sun," said Dr. David Burgess, a research scientist with Natural Resources Canada and frequent visitor to Grise Fiord working for the Geological Survey of Canada. "Even though the sun's not at the horizon, it's refracting higher."

In addition to sunnier, or at least not pitch-black, days, the region recently went through what Kuluguqtuq jokingly calls "hot spells" of -18 C and -20 C.

"Don't get me wrong, it's cold here with wind-chill factor, but I think we're in a warmer spot in Canada than a lot of the people down south, for example."

- Peter Worden

Off to Mount Allison from Arviat


Arviat's Curtis Konek and Jordan Konek were off to New Brunswick earlier this month to take part in some intense training and work projects at Mount Allison University with filmmakers ImagiNative.

The Arviat Film Society and Nanisiniq Arviat History Project (through the University of British Columbia) members will also be talking with university students about various Inuit and Northern issues.

Both Curtis and Jordan have shown themselves to be excellent youth ambassadors for Nunavut during the past two years, making numerous trips across Canada and abroad.

- Darrell Greer