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Friday, January 20, 2017
Sudden death investigated

The NWT Coroner Service and the RCMP are investigating what police are calling a "sudden death" in Yellowknife. According to chief coroner Cathy Menard, a 41-year-old man was taken by ambulance from a residence to Stanton Territorial Hospital early Wednesday morning where he was pronounced dead. His body has been taken to Edmonton for an autopsy. No foul play is suspected, according to police. His name has not been released.

- John McFadden

Library hosting fentanyl talk

A doctor and RCMP drug investigator will host a discussion and answer questions about fentanyl at the Yellowknife Public Library on Tuesday evening.

RCMP Sgt. Dean Riou and Dr. Jennifer Harris of the Department of Health and Social Services will be at the library's meeting room from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The opioid has been linked to hundreds of deaths in Canada and a series of non-fatal overdoses in Yellowknife last fall.

- Shane Magee

City plans to name roads, trail

The city is holding a public hearing at city hall on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. over a plan to name two roadways and a trail. A bylaw proposes naming the new road through the Grace Lake South subdivision as Braden Boulevard after the Braden family and a road through the recently developed Hordal Bagon area as Spence Road after the Spence family. It also proposes renaming the trail along Deh Cho Boulevard to Deh Cho Trail.

- Shane Magee

Arctic Cat snowmobiles recalled

Transport Canada has ordered the recall of 11,500 Arctic Cat snowmobiles that could develop cracks in the fuel tank possibly leading to a fire. The recall covers the 2007, 2008 and 2009 model years including the Bearcat, Jaguar, F, M and T series. Transport Canada states those medal owners should contact their dealer for repairs before driving the machines. Arctic Cat snowmobiles are sold by Yellowknife Chrysler. Spokesperson Ryan Wourms said he has not heard of any fires caused by cracked fuel tanks locally but encourages owners of those models to bring their sleds in for repairs.

- John McFadden

Thursday, January 19, 2017

MLA on constituency tour

Nahendeh MLA Shane Thompson will be doing a constituency tour from Jan. 23 to 27.

Stops include Fort Liard on Jan. 23, followed by Nahanni Butte on Jan. 24, Sambaa K'e on Jan. 25, Wrigley on Jan. 26 and Jean Marie River on Jan. 27. The tour will be followed by travel to Yellowknife, where Thompson will spend a few days before the legislative assembly resumes sitting on Jan. 31.

Piece of Deh Cho heads North

People from the Deh Cho who stop in at the Great Hall of the legislative assembly in Yellowknife may find some familiar faces and places hanging on the walls.

From Jan. 16 to 30, the hall will hold On The Land, an exhibit by Yellowknife photojournalist Pat Kane, showcasing traditional life near Kakisa, Lutsel K'e, Jean Marie River and elsewhere in the Deh Cho.

The exhibit highlights cultural and environmental conservation, according to a poster for the exhibit.

Tourism season tops the scoreboard

The number of campers visiting parks in the Northwest Territories rose in 2016 to its highest since 2003.

A news release from the GNWT's department of Industry, Tourism and Investment puts the number of overnight visitors at 29,158, a 2.73 per cent increase from 2015.

The number fell just shy of 2003's record high of 29,602 visitors.

Blackstone Territorial Park saw the largest surge in numbers, with visitors increasing by nearly 50 per cent. The park also extended its camping season in 2016 to Oct. 15, a full month later than most parks, as a pilot project to gauge interest in the park.

The Fort Simpson Territorial Park had roughly the same amount of visitors as in 2015, while Sambaa Deh Territorial Park saw a decrease from 793 visitors in 2015 to 731 in 2016. The Fort Providence Territorial Park saw a 19 per cent decrease in visitors, from 2,106 in 2015 to 1,700, while Lady Evelyn Falls saw 231 visitors in 2016, recording 1,634 up from 1,403 visitors in 2015.

Soccer season hits

Soccer players in the Deh Cho are already looking forward to February as they prep for two popular tournaments held in Fort Simpson.

From Feb. 10 to 12, the annual Paul Stipdonk Memorial Soccer Tournament will take place for players aged 12 and under. The deadline for registration is Feb. 6.

The following weekend, the Connie Loutit Memorial Soccer Tournament runs from Feb. 17 to 19 for players aged 12 and up. The deadline for that tournament is Feb. 13.

Feds boost Northern health care

The Northwest Territories will be receiving $7.4 million to support better home care and $6.1 million for mental health initiatives over a 10-year period, after the federal government announced new health funding for the country's three territories.

In total, $36.1 million in new health funding will make its way to Canada's North, with $13.5 million of that coming to the Northwest Territories, $11.2 million going to Nunavut and $11.4 million going to the Yukon.

According to Health Canada, which announced the funding on Jan. 16, the money is earmarked for specific initiatives.

For instance, the home care funding will help to address “critical home care infrastructure requirements,” the department stated in a news release, adding Health Canada expects to see the number of patients in hospital who could instead be supported and cared for at home to be reduced. Likewise, the mental health funding comes with the expectation that access to mental health services for children and youth will be improved.

“In the coming weeks, governments will develop performance indicators and mechanisms for annual reporting to citizens, as well as a detailed plan on how these funds will be spent, over and above existing programs,” the department stated in its news release. “The (governments) will work out the details of accountability and reporting.”

A statement from Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod, included in the news release, notes the funding will help the territory address its “unique” health care challenges.

The funding arrangement was proposed at the Finance and Health Ministers' Meeting on Dec. 19. Funding will begin in the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Skills competition and career expo nears

The 9th annual North Regional Skills Competition and Career Expo will be held in Inuvik March 16.

The regional competition is a qualifying event for the territorial skills competition that challenges youth from the Beaufort Delta and Sahtu regions in a competitive environment.

In conjunction with the skills competition will be a career expo, that showcases businesses and organizations and gives them a chance to interact with students and the public.

Public presentation on Sedna expedition

A public presentation on the Sedna Epic Expedition: Exploring the Northwest Passage will take place at the Aurora Research Institute at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20.

The Sedna project is an all-women team researching climate change in Canada's Arctic. In the summers of 2018 and 2019, the team will be snorkeling all 3,000km of the Northwest Passage and touching base in communities along the way.

Wise Women Awards up for nomination

If you know any great women, now's the time to nominate them for a Wise Women Award.

Since 1992, the Status of Women Council has been hosting the awards, which recognize women for their time, commitment and work in improving the lives of women and families in their communities.

The awards are meant to honour women who are role models in their community.

The deadline to nominate is Feb. 13.

Territories reach new health care agreement with Canada

Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories reached an agreement with the federal government to increase federal health care funding for the North.

Under the agreement, the three territories will receive an estimated $36.1 million in new funding over the next 10 years.

The agreement is in addition to the annual increase to the Canada Health Transfer payments of three per cent annually or the rate of national GDP growth, whichever is higher.

"Health care in the North faces unique challenges and additional funding from Canada for seniors and mental health will help provide better care to some of our most vulnerable residents, stated Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod in a news release.

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