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Monday, November 30, 2015

Murder rate rises

The NWT has the third highest homicide rate in Canada.

The numbers from Statistics Canada show that there were three homicides in the territory last year, which translates to a homicide rate of 6.9 for every 100,000 people.

That is up from 4.6 in 2013. Nunavut had the highest rate at 10.9 followed by Yukon at 8.2. The agency also revealed that 23 per cent of all homicide victims in Canada last year were aboriginal. That group makes up only five per cent of Canada's overall population.

- John McFadden

Sewage spill in Mackenzie River

On Nov. 19 and 20, partially treated sewage from Fort Simpson's wastewater treatment plant was released into the Mackenzie River.

A spill report to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, dated Nov. 20, describes resulting hazards as "pathogenic wastewater." Sewage was released for more than 12 hours between 8:32 p.m. on Nov. 19 and an undisclosed time on Nov. 20. Details on the amount of sewage released were not available at press time.

The release occurred after a local contractor struck a water line while doing a dig near the Environment and Natural Resources office.

The village has not heard from Environment Canada but village SAO Beth Jumbo said fines may be coming.

- April Hudson

Top trappers awarded

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has handed out the annual NWT Trappers Awards.

Recognition is given to trappers for highest sales, based on cash value of harvested furs, highest number of pelts sold and senior and youth trapper based on productivity. This year's youth winners are Mackenzie Mandeville of Hay River, Behchoko resident Isaac Mantla, Tia Gully from Colville Lake, Brandon Jumbo from Trout lake and Robert Cole from Inuvik.

- John McFadden

Avalon delists from NYSE

Avalon Rare Metals Inc. has announced it has started the process of removing its shares from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

A Nov. 27 news release from the company states it plans to submit a specific form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Dec. 7 and expects the delisting will take place approximately 10 days later.

In August, Avalon was deemed not in compliance with NYSE's listing standards due to the company's low share price.

Avalon will continue to be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol AVL.

- Karen K. Ho

Three vie for Enterprise mayoral seat


Three people are running to become mayor of the Hamlet of Enterprise.

The three - incumbent John Leskiw II, Craig McMaster and Amy Mercredi - submitted their names before nominations closed on Nov. 16. The election is set for Dec. 14.

Three seats on the six-member council will also be filled.

There are seven candidates for council - incumbents Chaal Cadieux and John Leskiw III, along with Dinah Carnogursky, John Leskiw II, Amy Mercredi, Gordon Riehl and Lisa Tsetso.

Under election rules, a candidate can run for both council and mayor but can give up the council seat if elected mayor.

Craig McMaster, who currently occupies the other available seat on council, is only running for the mayor's chair.

The terms for mayor and councillors are two years.

- Paul Bickford

Five run for mayor in Fort Resolution

Deninu Ku'e/Fort Resolution

Five people, including incumbent Garry Bailey, are seeking to be elected mayor in the hamlet elections in Fort Resolution on Dec. 14.

The challengers are Louis Balsillie, Sharon Lafferty, Angel McKay and Patrick Simon.

Bailey is the president of the Northwest Territory Metis Nation, while Balsillie is chief of Deninu Ku'e First Nation.

Eight people are running for three available seats on council, including incumbents Dawna Beaulieu, Angela McKay and Patrick Simon. The others are Sharon Lafferty, Dave Pierrot, Robert Sayine Sr., Wilfred Simon and Tom Unka.

As in Enterprise, a candidate can run for both council and mayor. The terms for mayor and councillors are two years.

- Paul Bickford

South Slave school board wins award

South Slave

The South Slave Divisional Education Council (SSDEC) is one of the winners of this year's Canadian Innovators in Education Awards.

The SSDEC won the third-place $5,000 prize for its Leadership for Literacy (L4L) initiative.

In 2006, standardized testing revealed fewer than 50 per cent of students were meeting Alberta standards. The SSDEC board issued a challenge to the superintendent and teachers - improve results and exceed the Canadian average in literacy.

In less than five years, student achievement rates rose to 79 per cent in reading at or above the Canadian average.

Based on those results, the same commitment was transferred to indigenous languages and cultural programming. Linguistic fluency has risen by 18 per cent.

The $25,000 first prize went to the Instructional Leadership Team of the Central Okanagan School District in Kelowna, B.C.

The second prize of $10,000 was awarded to the district-wide blended learning system of the Sun West School Division in Rosetown, Sask. A feature-length article on the three award winners will appear in the December issue of Reader's Digest.

The Canadian Innovators in Education Awards recognize teachers, principals andadministrators who develop new teaching and learning programs.

- Paul Bickford

Meeting on forming Smith potters' guild

Thebacha/Fort Smith

A meeting is being planned in Fort Smith to discuss the idea of forming a potters' guild in the community. The meeting is set for the Mary Kaeser Library on Nov. 30, beginning at 7 p.m.

- Paul Bickford

Skating and fishing on ice


Sticks and skates have already hit the ice but the recreation department was set to officially register hockey players last week, with the senior division scheduled to come out on Nov. 24, followed by the minor division on Nov. 25.

Age is the determinant for the divisions, with those 18 years and older in the seniors and 17 yeas of age and under in the minors, said recreation co-ordinator Dean McLeod.

The groups generally are to play three times a week, McLeod said, with teams formed each night depending on who comes out.

"Because we're a small community, everybody just comes out and gets put on teams," he said. "There's usually a good turnout, enough for a couple of teams all of the time. The minors are a little slower. We're trying to build it up a little more."

As well as hockey, the community's 24th Annual Hannah Stewart Memorial Loche Derby kicked off on Nov. 23.

"People go out fishing lots during the year. They like to eat the meat, liver and eggs - so there's little prizes for them, for the smallest, heaviest, longest, shortest and lightest," said McLeod.

The first place prize in each category is $100 as well as a trophy. The tournament is held in honour of the former recreation co-ordinator who died, said McLeod. The event is held in the same format today as it was when it was first organized.

Staff will be at the recreation complex every day to measure and weigh entries for the tournament up until the final day of Dec. 7.

- Elaine Anselmi

Christmas shoppers get ready


Ulukhaktok's annual Christmas Bazaar was scheduled to be held at the gym on Nov. 28, giving early shoppers a chance to knock a few items off their Christmas list.

The event, held by the recreation department, was to start at 2 p.m. and run until about 4 or 5 p.m. said co-ordinator Joanne Ogina.

Tables are rented out to anyone looking to sell crafts or baked goods, and Ogina said there is always lots of good food for sale.

"It's a big event," Ogina said. "We usually have 20 or more tables."

- Elaine Anselmi

Opportunities for youth


Two new seasonal workers have just started their part-time jobs at the arena in Paulatuk, said employment officer Gilbert Thrasher Jr.

The program allows two youth to gain skills and employment as arena maintainer trainees over the winter season.

"They just started their positions yesterday," Thrasher Jr. said on Nov. 24.

As well, postings will be going up this week for the annual fall camp. Thrasher Jr. hopes to have at least 10 youth sign up.

"They'll start camping by December 1," Thrasher Jr. said.

He said one instructor and one helper will lead the group, showing the youth how to track caribou and also pick the best one out of the herd to target.

"Also how to skin and cut up the caribou meat and preserve it for travel home," he said.

The camp usually runs for approximately five days, he said.

- Elaine Anselmi

Feast for all

Acho Dene Koe/Fort Liard

More than 200 community members attended a feast and drum dance Nov. 21 organized by Kathie McLeod. The event brought in drummers from Fort Providence.

- April Hudson

Christmas bazaar set

Deh Gah Got'ie Koe/Fort Providence

On Dec. 12, Deh Gah School will be hosting its annual Christmas bazaar at the school gymnasium.

Organizers have put out a call for vendors, including bakers, crafters and more.

On Nov. 24, the Library Club hosted an event for elders featuring tea and snacks.

- April Hudson

Drama meeting gauges interest

Liidlii Kue/Fort Simpson

Thomas Simpson Secondary School's new teacher Keinan Driedger is looking into starting a drama club. The club's first meeting took place Nov. 25.

- April Hudson