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News Briefs: Monday, May 27, 2013
Hay River man charged with aggravated assault

RCMP are investigating an incident in which a 26-year-old Hay River resident was stabbed with a knife in the early morning hours of Saturday, May 18, while walking on a trail near the Rooster Gas Bar.

Ryan Christopher Heron, 35, of Hay River has been charged with aggravated assault and appeared in court May 21.

He was released on a promise to appear in territorial court in Yellowknife June 4.

Staff Sgt. Brad Kaeding said the victim was sent to Edmonton for treatment, but as of May 22 was in stable condition.

- Sarah Ladik

Fort Smith chamber gets new office space

The Thebacha Chamber of Commerce in Fort Smith will hold its first After-Hours Business Session to celebrate its new office space.

The chamber is now operating out of the Thebacha Business Development Services building.

The After-Hours Business Session will be held from 7-9 p.m. on May 28.

- Paul Bickford

Behchoko priest returns to India

There were no community complaints leading up to Behchoko's Roman Catholic Priest deciding to leave the community, says the archbishop of the Mackenzie-Fort Smith diocese.

In a letter, Archbishop Murray Chatlain stated he and Father Clement Rockey had been discussing some concerns for a few months,

which went unresolved. Chatlain said the decision to leave the community and return to India was Rockey's.

"The issues we talked about did not get any better; in fact they became worse. It came to the point that I gave (Father) Clement the choice of addressing these issues with a professional or returning to India. He chose to return to India," Chatlain wrote.

In a follow-up interview with News/North, Chatlain said none of the issues were "major," but he had asked Rockey to attend counselling.

The letter stated that Father Bernie Black will remain in Behchoko.

- Kassina Ryder

Smith committee to seek ice options

Fort Smith town council voted unanimously on May 21 to form a committee to address the closure of Fort Smith Centennial Arena for the 2013/2014 ice season as a result of a May 13 fire.

Council will form a 12-member committee to investigate options for user groups and make recommendations to council.

- Paul Bickford

Celebrating the arts at Fort Smith's museum

Thebacha/Fort Smith

An exhibit of artwork by students at Paul William Kaeser High School will be launched on June 4 at Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre.

The launch of Celebrate the Arts with PWK will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the downstairs galleries of the museum.

Community residents are invited to help celebrate the high school students' achievements in visual arts, industrial arts, music, aboriginal arts, culinary arts and more.

The exhibit will run throughout June.

- Paul Bickford

Fundraising for Paris trip

Tetlit'Zeh/Fort McPherson

Fort McPherson's Chief Julius School is currently undertaking a fundraising campaign to pay for a group of 20 students to go to Europe next summer.

The students, ranging from grades 8 to 12 will be travelling to Paris, Venice and Vienna.

Erica Thompson, who teaches at the school, is heading the program. She said the students have been hosting bingo events and raffle draws so they can pay for the trip.

The goal of the trip, according to Thompson, is to "give them an opportunity to see a different culture."

So far the students have raised almost $20,000. It is estimated the trip will cost $100,000, or $5,000 per student.

If anyone has ideas for future fundraising opportunities, they can get in touch with Thompson at the school.

- Cody Punter

Spring fever at Fort Smith church

Thebacha/Fort Smith

St. John's Anglican Church in Fort Smith is planning a Spring Fever event.

The craft and yard sale is set for June 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the church hall.

- Paul Bickford

Hats off to youth


A group of youth spent the past few weeks making traditional hats at the youth centre in Tuktoyaktuk.

Around 10 youths, from the ages of eight to 12, took part in the workshop.

Each participant was supplied with their own muskrat pelts, but they were responsible for the entire process from blocking them up, stretching them and then stitching them. Instructors Marlene Kagyut and Flora Cockney oversaw the workshop.

The participants may have been young but they had patient instructors, according to Darlene Gruben with the community corporation.

In past years, the youth centre has focused mostly on making mitts and mukluks.

The workshop was funded through the federal Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth.

- Cody Punter

Students get plucking

Tsiigehtchic/Arctic Red River

Students at Paul Niditchie School reaped the benefits of the spring hunt on May 21.

Darius Andre, 12, who is in Grade 7, shot the goose while hunting with family over the weekend and decided to donate it to the school.

Native language instructor Renie Koe and principal Darcy Douglas oversaw the operation. All the grade levels came out to help, to take turns at the plucking. By the end of the day the goose had been plucked, singed and prepared to be cooked.

"I was learning more than the kids," said Douglas.

The senior students at the school planned to cook the goose and serve it to elders on May 24.

- Cody Punter

Bigger is better


After three days of competition, Ulukhaktuk's fishing derby came to a close last weekend.

Prizes were announced at the hamlet office, with winners in a variety of categories going home with prizes.

In the youth category, Nadine Klengenberg had a sweep, winning all categories she was eligible, including three heaviest fish (total of 14.1 kg), longest fish (87 cm), and smallest fish (26.5 cm). As a result, she will be taking home all three prizes, totaling $640.

Louise Nigiyok won two out of the three categories in the adult division, with her three heaviest fish weighing in at a combined 19.8 kg, and her longest fish measuring 94.5 cm. Arny Klengenberg won for the smallest fish with a catch of 21.5 cm.

The winners in the adult category all won between 117 and 176 litres of gas for their efforts.

- Cody Punter

Youth and elder build sled


Tuktoyaktuk elder Freddy Gruben is almost finished building a wooden sled from scratch. He has spent last month working on the sled with the help of kids from the youth centre.

Gruben began building the sled in early April and hopes to finish it by the end of the month.

Once the sled is completed, it will be raffled off with proceeds going to the youth centre.

When they are not helping Gruben build the sled, the youth are busy selling raffle tickets in the community.

The draw for the winner will be announced on local television once the sled is completed.

- Cody Punter

Yellowknife author to talk about new book

Thebacha/Fort Smith

Yellowknife author Jamie Bastedo was scheduled to talk about his new book Nighthawk on May 27 in Fort Smith. Bastedo was to be at the Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre from 7 to 8 p.m.

The next day, Bastedo will present Tales from a Trading Post, which takes people back to the days of the early fur trade.

The free event will take place from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on May 28 at Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre.

Bastedo is a professional ecologist, outdoor educator, nature tour guide, radio broadcaster, video script writer, actor and children's entertainer.

- Paul Bickford

Documentary maker wraps up shooting

Kangiqtugaapik/Clyde River

David Lickley, a scientist-turned-filmmaker with more than 40 productions under his belt, recently wrapped up shooting for his next project, tentatively called Polar Quest.

Lickley was in Clyde River at the beginning of May for a 10-day stretch and spoke to a scientist to gain insight on her research and personal life.

The 3-D IMAX film is about the traditional and modern approaches to weather predictions. Lickley and his crew spoke to a scientist from Colorado, who lives in Clyde River, and her Inuit collaborators.

"We had perfect weather the entire time. It was great," he said about his time in the hamlet.

Lickley's film is five years in the making. He has also shot footage in Arctic Bay, Pangnirtung, Qikiqtarjuaq, Pond Inlet and other Eastern Arctic communities.

A film crew is still shooting underwater footage in Arctic Bay.

For the next six months, Lickley will be looking at the footage and beginning the editing process.

The film is due to be released in early 2014.

- Myles Dolphin

Election preparations


In preparation for the fourth Nunavut general election, Elections Nunavut is currently looking to fill a total of 53 positions, including 22 returning officers and 31 assistant returning officers. On Oct. 28, Nunavummiut head to the polls and, for the first time, 22 MLAs will be elected, three more than the current 19 MLAs.

Applications are available on the Elections Nunavut website and are open until May 31.

- Danielle Sachs

Relay ready


The Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life is asking people to lace up for the first Iqaluit event on July 20.

- Danielle Sachs

New facility for mental health


The Akausisarvik Mental Health Treatment Centre opened its doors on May 17. The new facility was celebrated with a sealskin-cutting ceremony attended by Health Minister Keith Peterson.

"The relocation of Akausisarvik is one step in the Health department's plan to address and expand mental health programs and services," he said at the ceremony.

"The Government of Nunavut has committed an additional $860,000 to expand the mental health program at Akausisarvik this year."

The $2.4-million facility will provide 24-hour care to 15 in-patients and up to 40 outpatient mental health clients.

Staff will include a psychiatric nurse manager, two psychiatric nurses, three wellness counsellors, 10 life skills workers, a clerk-interpreter, a kitchen manager and a caseworker, according to a Department of Health news release.

- Myles Dolphin

Session resumes in September


The third session of the third Legislative Assembly of Nunavut will reconvene at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 5, it was announced in Iqaluit last week.

- Danielle Sachs

Arson caused Creekside fire


The arsonist responsible for lighting a

February 2012 fire at the Creekside Village Complex died in the blaze, according to the RCMP.

Two people died when the 22-unit housing complex burned to the ground on Feb. 26. The fire also left roughly 85 people homeless.

The RCMP and the Office of the Fire Marshall finished their investigation in May and found that one of the individuals who died in the fire was responsible for starting it.

- Danielle Sachs

Daycare coming to school

Kinngait/Cape Dorset

Starting in August, Peter Pitseolak High School will have a new addition to the already bustling school.

The school is adding a daycare facility, aimed at serving the teenage moms in the area.

"This is an initiative that has been long in coming," said principal Mike Soares.

While the daycare is run independently of the high school, the actual space for it was added to the school during renovations in 2010.

"It's taken us from then until now to get all the pieces together to get this thing going," said Soares.

There is another daycare in Cape Dorset, the Kinngait Daycare. The two facilities will share a fenced playground designed to keep toddlers safe.

There's a parent information night scheduled for June. The priority spaces are reserved for children of student moms, then children of staff at the school and at the daycare before opening up to the general public.

"Our current daycare will be getting some spaces freed up and we'll be able to add to our curriculum," said Soares.

- Danielle Sachs

Community celebrates


The last weeks of school are busy ones at Jimmy Hikok Ilihakvik, said vice-principal Catherine Keeling.

There's a big science fair on May 31 that the community is invited to check out and the following week the kindergarten students have their graduation ceremony. The school-wide award ceremony is on June 6, and this year four bicycles are being given to the students who had the highest attendance and the most improved attendance, said Keeling.

This is the fourth year that they'll be parading the graduating Grade 6 class through a tunnel of community members and classmates over to the high school.

"The schools were so close it's a neat way to help them transition," said Keeling.

"It shows that they're welcomed and they don't have to be scared."

The Grade 6 graduation kicks off June 7, with the

convocation ceremony and prom in the morning. At noon, the students march over to the high school, where they will be greeted by the high school principal and high school


The graduation is then followed by a community barbecue and cultural games.

"Every year it gets bigger and bigger," said Keeling.

"Now we're having the Aboriginal Headstart program marching over to the elementary school."

- Danielle Sachs

Winding down


The next couple of weeks at Ataguttaaluk High School are going to be devoted to academics, said vice-principal Patricia Tidd.

Soon, students will have a chance to pick up some credits while exploring some fun options like taekwondo during smaller course offerings which require 25 hours of class time, significantly shorter than regular classes.

- Danielle Sachs

Camp postponed


Bad weather and the lack of staff availability caused two schools in Pangnirtung to cancel their annual spring camp.

Students and staff from Attagoyuk Ilisavik and Alookie School were unable to go on the trip, which is normally held at the end of the fjord in Pangnirtung.

The students, from kindergarten to Grade 12, were meant to sleep overnight in cabins and participate in a wide range of activities.

Teacher Nicole Davies said the next camp would take place in September, and the schools are hoping to resume their spring camp next year. Activities would include berry picking, clam digging and learning about star navigation.

- Myles Dolphin

Sober walk in Qikiqtarjuaq draws crowd

Qikiqtarjuaq/Broughton Island

A weekend sober walk was held in Qikiqtarjuaq on May 24-25, with 21 participants walking 90 km.

The event began in a location known as Igunivik on May 24, and the walkers made their way back to Qikiqtarjuaq on May 25, making two stops in between.

- Myles Dophin

Pond students live off the land

Mittimatalik/Pond Inlet

Grade 11 and 12 students from Ulaajuk School in Pond Inlet have a five-day trip on the land scheduled from May 27 to 31.

Thirty students and four members of staff plan to travel by snowmobile to Tugaat, approximately six hours from Pond Inlet, to take part in seal hunting, ice fishing and iglu building with five guides.

Earlier in May, the school's Grade 7 to 10 students took part in day trips closer to Pond Inlet, where they went seal hunting as part of the school's land-trip program.

- Myles Dolphin