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News Briefs: Monday, May 6, 2013

Second-degree murder trial greenlighted

Steven Sayine, 39, of Fort Resolution is to stand trial for second-degree murder, a territorial court judge decided April 29 in Yellowknife.

Sayine was originally charged with manslaughter in relation to the death of a 48-year-old woman on June 19 in an Edmonton hospital as the result of an incident three days earlier in Fort Resolution.

After a preliminary inquiry that took place in Hay River, Judge Bernadette Schmaltz ruled there is enough evidence to send the case to trial. No date has been set for the trial.

- Laura Busch

Educators discuss curriculum changes

Teachers from across the territory gathered in Yellowknife last week for Education Renewal and Innovation Roundtable Discussion meetings, which took place from April 30 to May 1.

The meetings aimed to bring various government departments together to discuss the future of education in the territory, said John Stewart, the department's director of education, renewal and innovation.

Representatives from Health and Social Services, the NWT Housing Corporation, the Department of Justice, the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs and elders attended the discussions.

- Kassina Ryder

Planning session set

The Thebacha Chamber of Commerce in Fort Smith will hold a strategic planning session on May 6, beginning at 7 p.m. at Pelican Rapids Inn.

The planning session is designed to give the business community an opportunity to establish a vision and long-range plan for the chamber.

- Paul Bickford

Two charged in Behchoko assault

Behchoko RCMP have charged two teenagers in connection with an assault on a delivery person last month.

Lawrence Junior Drygeese, 19, and a 16-year-old male, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, both face one count of assault causing bodily harm.

The victim was delivering parcels to the Northern store in Behchoko at about 5 a.m. on April 20 when he was attacked and severely beaten by three males in a completely unprovoked assault, according to a press release from police.

Both accused have been released and are expected to appear back in court on July 9. RCMP could not be reached by press deadline for information about the alleged third attacker.

- Miranda Scotland

Enterprise seniors meet


Amy Mercredi was returned as president of the Enterprise Senior Society at its annual general meeting on April 29.

The new vice-president is Alan Flamand, while Rhonda Flamand is back as secretary-treasurer.

The two directors are Jim Dives and newcomer Florence Thomas.

All the members of the executive were acclaimed to their positions by the 10 people attending the AGM.

At the meeting, Mercredi also got the backing of the society to ask the Hamlet of Enterprise for the old visitor information centre as a site to display historical information about the community. A year-long project to collect the information was recently wrapped up by the society.

The idea to move to the old visitor information centre, which currently houses a tots program, will be presented to the May 6 meeting of hamlet council.

- Paul Bickford

Guidelines lifted on Fort Smith subdivision

Thebacha/Fort Smith

In April, Fort Smith town council rescinded guidelines on development in its Westgrove III subdivision.

The now-abandoned guidelines for potential homebuilders contained the type of building material that could be used and also placed timelines on construction completion after a lot was purchased.

They had been in place for about a year, since the 21 lots in the town-developed subdivision were put up for sale.

No lots have been sold in that time.

Coun. Ron Holtorf said it is believed the guidelines had been a "detriment" to sales.

Holtorf noted the guidelines were established to encourage FireSmart principles to reduce the danger from wildfires.

However, the guidelines were inconsistent with the zoning bylaw and had no legal force.

Holtorf noted there have been some inquiries about the lots since the guidelines were lifted.

As for the promotion of FireSmart principles in the new subdivision, the councillor said it will now be up to individual homeowners to take action on their own to reduce the threat from wildfire.

- Paul Bickford

Kids carnival coming


The Baby Beluga Carnival is coming up this week, May 10 to 12, in the hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk.

It follows on the heels of the Beluga Jamboree, which ran from April 19 to 22.

Caroline Loreen, acting recreation co-ordinator for the hamlet, said the jamboree had a great turnout and plans are looking equally good for the Baby Beluga Carnival, which is oriented more around children.

The carnival will include games for ages 16 and under as well as a raffle for a 120-cc snowmobile.

- Lyndsay Herman

Hunters and trappers committee elections


Five positions in the Paulatuk Hunters and Trappers Committee are up for election this year.

Directors whose terms end this year include current president Tony Green, as well as Michael Green, Lawrence Ruben, Nelson Ruben, and Marlene Wolki.

Two other directors, Ray Ruben Sr. and Fred Thrasher, are serving terms that expire in 2014.

Those wishing to submit a nomination can pick up a form at the committee office.

Nominations are open until May 22 and elections will take place at the committee's annual general meeting on June 6.

- Lyndsay Herman

Breakfast served by students

Ikaahuk/Sachs Harbour

Inualthuyak School principal Terry Davidson, along with some of his students, were planning to host a pancake breakfast on May 5 for the White Fox Jamboree.

The annual event was scheduled to run from May 3 to 5 and events for kids aged six to 15 started at 1 p.m. on Friday.

Race games were planned such as egg-on-spoon, pillow sack, three-legged, mom-and-dad toboggan pull, and others.

Davidson has been teaching students interested in learning to make pancakes during weekly pancake breakfasts at the school on Friday mornings. Students with a more athletic inclination have been taking part in gymnastics club at the school. Students ranged in ages, with the youngest in Grade 1. The program will run until the end of May.

- Lyndsay Herman

Mother's Day Tea in Enterprise


A Mother's Day Tea will be held in Enterprise on May 12. The event will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Enterprise Community Centre. There will be card games, board games, and lots of desserts.

All the mothers will also be presented with flowers. The free event is for residents of Enterprise.

- Paul Bickford

Games for all ages

Tsiigehtchic/Arctic Red River

The weekend-long Mackenzie Jamboree wrapped up on April 28 in Tsiigehtchic.

Hamlet recreation co-ordinator Bobbie Jean Van Loon said the event was very well-attended and there were lots of volunteers available to help out. The weekend events started on April 26 with snowmobile races, followed by the opening ceremonies where the jamboree king, queen, prince and princess were crowned.

That night, the brave and the talented took to the stage for a talent show.

After a free breakfast on April 27, both kids and adults took part in two days of games, races and bingo.

- Lyndsay Herman

Inspiring stories of strength


Ehdiitat Gwich'in Council was to provide lunch on May 3 at a showing of the film Breast Cancer: Northern Women Share Their Journey at the Susie Husky Health Centre.

The film shares the story of four breast cancer survivors from the North, the experience of accessing medical care far from home, and their interactions with their family.

The showing is part of a territory-wide screenings organized by the NWT Breast Health/Breast Cancer Action Group.

Participating communities in the territory were all to show the same film at the same time.

- Lyndsay Herman

Kugaaruk man guilty of manslaughter

Kugaaruk/Pelly Bay

A 37-year-old man from Kugaaruk appeared in Nunavut Court of Justice on April 29 charged with the second-degree murder of his common law spouse five years ago.

Bruce Kayaitok has been in custody since his arrest on June 13, 2008. His case has been delayed because of multiple changes in his defense.

On June 13, Kayaitok was at home when after an argument with Brenda Tootiak, he stabbed her twice in the stomach with a broken mop handle and she bled to death.

The trial was scheduled to run over five days in Iqaluit but wrapped up after one hour with Kayaitok saying he was not guilty of murder but admitting to the assault and pleading guilty to manslaughter.

The prosecutor and defense must now submit their final written arguments by June 14. Justice Earl Johnson is expected to announce the verdict on Aug. 23.

- Danielle Sachs

Snowmobile trail warnings



Nunavut Parks is advising residents and visitors to Katannilik Territorial Park not to travel between Kimmirut and Iqaluit.

"Snowmobile trail conditions along the Itijjagiaq Trail, between Mount Joy and Kimmirut, have deteriorated," stated the release.

Snowmobilers should avoid travelling along the Soper River valley near Kimmirut.

With the unseasonably warm, damp weather, several trails have become unusable between Kimmirut and Iqaluit and on the Pang Trail to Pangnirtung. Trail users are asked to contact the parks office for updated information and carry proper emergency gear on the land.

- Peter Worden

Legislative assembly reconvenes


The third session of the third legislative assembly of Nunavut convenes May 7 at 1:30 p.m.

This is the second to last session of the assembly before this fall's territorial election, and also one of the finals session in which there will be 19 MLAs.

Nunavummiut will head to the polls on Oct. 28 to elect 22 members for the fourth legislative assembly under the revised electoral map, which was passed by the current legislative assembly in 2011.

- Danielle Sachs

Order of Nunavut deadline


The deadline for nominations for the 2013 Order of Nunavut is coming up. Nunavummiut have until May 17 to nominate someone for the Order of Nunavut.

First established in 2010, the Order of Nunavut is given to individuals that have made outstanding contributions to the cultural, social or economic well-being of Nunavut.

- Danielle Sachs

Feast for the soul


Ataguttaaluk High School has been buzzing with activity over the past few weeks. The students have been participating in a variety of on the land programs, said vice-principal Patricia Tidd.

While one of the trips was postponed earlier in the week because of potential severe weather, Tidd said there were plans to go out later in the week.

On May 3, the school planned a mini-community feast.

"I call it mini because we have another larger one in two weeks," said Tidd.

"We were able to get some shrimp from Greenland, caribou, seal, bannock, tea and of course char."

- Danielle Sachs

Capital performance


Throat-boxer Nelson Tagoona of Baker Lake was one of the stars to perform during the opening of the Northern Scene festival at the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa late last month.

The 10day festival is the largest gathering ever of artists from the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut ever held outside the region.

Northern Scene is the sixth in a series of biennial national festivals produced by the NAC to showcase the work of artists from a specific region of Canada. Among the many dignitaries to attend the welcome ceremony were Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo, Metis National Council president Clement Chartier and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president Terry Audla.

- Darrell Greer

Water worries

Mittimatalik/Pond Inlet

Before Baffinland's major Mary River iron ore mine gets the go-ahead, Mittimatalingmiut are being asked to share their environmental concerns.

Last week the hamlet held a three-day water hearing with large groups including representatives from Qikiqtani Inuit Association, Economic Development and Transportation, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the hamlet, the hunters and trappers organization (HTO) and a new local Baffinland Committee, which has formed as a go-between for the community and the company.

One recommendation raised regarded the dust from the road out to the mine site.

"It would be preferable if it could be paved," said HTO chairperson Joshua Arreak, who attended the first day of the hearings. "It could get into the lakes, both the dust from the road and the iron ore, and could affect the lakes and the fish."

"All that area is full of lakes and there are rivers going west to east," said Arreak, adding he felt their concerns were being heard. "That's the message we're getting, that they're listening to the concerns of the organization."

- Peter Worden

Twenty days of learning

Kinngait/Cape Dorset

For the second year in a row, Peter Pitseolak High School in Cape Dorset will be offering a sort of mini-curriculum for the last 20 school days of the year. Principal Mike Soares said the courses offered are worth one credit each and range from basic woodworking to driver education.

"Some students who may not have regularly through the year can look at the last 20 days as a chance to get some of their 100 credits needed to graduate from high school," said Soares.

According to Soares, attendance normally drops during the remaining weeks of the school year but when the programs were offered last year attendance actually went up so they decided to try it out again.

The school also offers a substitute teaching program aimed at graduating students who will be staying in the community.

"In many communities it's difficult to find substitute teachers," said Soares. "This is a little self-serving because it helps us but further down the road those students might look into formal teacher's training."

- Danielle Sachs

Cleaning up and clearing out

Uqsuqtuuq/Gjoa Haven

The last day of classes for students at Quqshuun Ilihakvik in Gjoa Haven is less than a month away but the teachers and staff are already cleaning up classrooms and getting ready to close the school until next year.

"We've been very busy cleaning up and getting ready for the (last day of classes on the) 22nd of May," said vice-principal Bern O'Brien. "We're moving some classrooms around but we do that after hours without interfering with class time."

- Danielle Sachs

Smoke in the air

Ikpiarjuk/Arctic Bay

With trash being burned on a regular basis at Arctic Bay's dump, Hami Shappa, a cargo handler at the airport, says smoke permeates the aircraft and its cargo.

"It goes right into the plane," said Shappa. "I nearly caught a cold that day. Thank goodness it's over."

Planes land every day at the newly-constructed airport and the dump burns garbage as often as once as a week.

"Garbage does get burned out there and the airport may be in the line of fire, so to speak," said Clare Kines, the hamlet's economic development officer.

Last week a Senate committee released a report on the state of national air traffic, stating it was unfeasible in many Northern communities to follow regulations that dictate airports must be located a minimum of four kilometres from the city dump.

While there is no official policy on dump fires, Shappa recommends the hamlet burn garbage only on certain days when the problem of smoke can be mitigated.

"I'm going to go try when (hamlet council) is having a meeting and see what can be done," he said.

Sam Willie, who works for the hamlet and takes care of dump, could not be reached for comment by deadline.

- Peter Worden

Goodbye to longtime principal

Kangiqtugaapik/Clyde River

When the school year wraps up June 7, children in Clyde River will bid farewell to principal Graham Field, who has decided to retire. Students and staff at Quluaq, a kindergarten to Grade 12 school, will miss their principal of 13 years.

- Peter Worden

Race winner

Qamanittuaq/Baker Lake

Harry Towtongie of Rankin Inlet proved himself to be on his way to becoming the best racer in the region when he captured the Qamanittuaq Dog Team Race in Baker Lake late last month.

- Darrell Greer