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Newsbriefs: Monday, September 18, 2017
Two people beaten in Fort Good Hope

Radilih Koe'/Fort Good Hope

Fort Good Hope RCMP responded to an alleged assault Sept. 7 at 9 p.m.

A male and a female were at the scene with injuries serious enough to have them medevaced to Yellowknife for treatment, police stated in a news release. With information about the suspect, RCMP located a suspect a few hours later and arrested him without incident.

Thadeus McNeely, 18, faces two counts of aggravated asssault and one count of uttering threats. His first court appearance was scheduled to be Sept. 12 in Yellowknife.

- James O'Connor

College gets review

Somba K'e/Yellowknife

The contract for the Aurora College's foundational review has been awarded.

MNP LLP, an accounting firm based in Calgary, will take on the project, originally scheduled to be completed this fall. The review will evaluate how the college is governed and assess how the college is meeting the needs of students and aligning with future job trends. Announced in March by Education, Culture and Employment Minister Alfred Moses, the review follows a backlash to cancellation of the college's bachelor of education and social work programs.

- Jessica Davey-Quantick

GNWT consumers guide

NWT

The GNWT has issued a consumer protection guide entitled Hey! That's Not Fair!

The purpose of the guide is to help clarify general consumer rights and responsibilities, explain how to pursue a complaint about a product or service, and provide information about consumer services available from the GNWT.

Consumer Affairs will also continue issuing consumer information bulletins based on issues brought forward by consumers, and make available product safety information.

- Kirsten Fenn

Alberta, NWT discuss shared priorities

Edmonton

NWT Premier Bob McLeod and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley signed a Memorandum of Understanding Sept. 14 reinforcing their promise to develop Northern communities and work collaboratively on trans-boundary issues relating to trade, the environment, health and education.

Notley said the document will guide the two jurisdictions as they develop new school curricula, digitize health records and share best practices in oil and gas regulation and water management.

- Sidney Cohen

Prairie Creek mine road passes environmental assessment

Tthenaago/Nahanni Butte

An all-season road which will pass through Nahanni National Park Reserve has passed its environmental assessment last week - after a three-year-long wait and a 13.5-month review,

The Mackenzie Valley Review board recommended the project for conditional approval by the minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, on Sept. 12.

The project will create a 180-kilometre road for all seasons, half of which will be constructed in the Nahanni National Park Reserve and is proposed to be built over three years.

Sixteen measures have been proposed by the Review Board to prevent impacts on the environment.

The all-season road has an expected life expectancy of 17 years after which it will be closed and reclaimed.

- Michele Taylor

New lease on life in Fort Simpson

Liidlii Kue/Fort Simpson

Construction of a two-storey, $9-million building in Fort Simpson will be led by the Liidlii Kue First Nation.

Residents of Fort Simpson voted 231 to 43 or 84 per cent in favour of entering into a 20-year lease once the building is complete, to combine the village office, Parks Canada and Liidlii Kue First Nation band office under one roof.

The village required 60 per cent voter approval and will now work to get ministerial approval. The bylaw to approve the lease is expected to go to its third reading at council Sept. 18 and is expected to be voted through.

The lease, which will cost the village approximately $177,000 per year for maintenance, utilities and rent would mean a commitment over that period of $3.5 million.

- Michele Taylor

Submissions in for major transportation projects

NWT

Expressions of interest to the Government of Canada which were due on Sept. 5 have been submitted by the GNWT.

Funding is being sought for two major transportation infrastructure projects: the Slave Geological Province Access Corridor (SGPAC); and the Mackenzie Valley Highway (MVH) project.

The MVH is an all-weather highway which will connect the Mackenzie Valley to the Arctic Coast, extending Highway 1 from Wrigley to Inuvik and connect with Tuktoyaktuk. The SGPAC will provide all-weather access from the end of Highway 4 in the NWT to the Nunavut border.

The Department of Finance also announced in a news release Sept. 13, that three proponents have qualified for the Tlicho All-Season Road project which brings the road even closer to becoming a reality:

  • Aurora Access Partners;
  • NAE Transportation Partners; and
  • North Star Infrastructure.

The companies will all participate in the request for proposal stage which will happen once an environmental assessment reaches completion.

- Michele Taylor

Liquor seized in Fort McPherson

Tetlit'Zheh/Fort McPherson

Fort McPherson RCMP found and seized alcohol and marijuana while performing a traffic check on Sept. 8.

Approximately 28 grams of marijuana, 48 mikeys of vodka and a 40 ounce bottle of rum were confiscated from two residents of Inuvik who are currently working in Fort McPherson.

Fort McPherson is a restricted community and the quantity of liquor a person may possess is strictly limited by the Northwest Territories Liquor Act.

The RCMP stated there have been no charges laid at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

- Michele Taylor

Food bank challenge

Deh Gah Got'ie Koe/Fort Providence

Snowshoe Inn staff members are officially challenging other community members to donate to the Zhahti Koe Friendship Centre food bank in Fort Providence.

"The food bank seldom has food on their shelves and we thought to make it a challenge to other businesses and their staff to do the same," Snowshoe Inn manager Linda Croft told News/North.

The challenge involves a business or individual sharing pictures of a food bank donation on Facebook, then specifically targeting others to do the same. Snowshoe Inn is now challenging Digaa Enterprises Ltd. and the hamlet, mayor and staff.

The inn collected food in part by asking karaoke-goers for a donation instead of paying admission, by using money collected at the door to buy food items, and by Croft and her staff contributing personally.

"Also, the first Friday of every month we will do a food donation at the door instead of admission for our weekly karaoke show," said Croft.

"We want to keep the shelves full."

- Erin Steele

CIBC run raises thousands for cancer

Inuvik

Runners and walkers raised $8,318.65 during this year's CIBC Run for Our Lives.

Twelve people came out to the event on Sept. 10, said volunteer Sheena Reid.

Members of the Inuvik Junior A girls' curling team earned the title of top fundraiser this year, she said.

They raised $1,222.40 for the cause and won a round-trip flight between Inuvik and Edmonton, which was donated by Canadian North.

"I'm pretty happy with the outcome," said Reid of

this year's event.

All money raised from CIBC Run for Our Lives in Inuvik stays in the territory.

It goes to Stanton Territorial Hospital to help pay for cancer-related equipment and software, said Reid.

- Kirsten Fenn

Getting up to grade level at

Louie Norwegian School

Thek'ehdeli/Jean Marie River

Because of Jean Marie River's slim population of around 75, its little schoolhouse currently has just four students this year, but that doesn't mean it's sleepy.

"I'm really busy," Kurt Donald, principal and sole teacher at Louie Norwegian School, told News/North. Donald has been working weekends to ensure of the students have individualized yearly plans for each subject.

"We want to take them wherever they are right now and push them forward," said Donald. This means that despite the school having a junior kindergarten, kindergarten, Grade 4 and Grade 9 student, they're not necessarily working at those grade levels in all subjects.

But, with the help of Donald's "awesome, awesome, awesome" assistant Connie Villeneuve, he has goals to get each student up to grade level, at least in the core subjects, as soon as possible.

"(It's) not that far out of reach to see that happen," said Donald.

- Erin Steele

Eat the Arctic at fall fair

Inuvik

The Inuvik Community Greenhouse is hosting its 2017 Fall Fair on Sept. 23, with this year's theme being Eat the Arctic.

A variety of activities will take place at staggered times between

1 and 5 p.m., including workshops, crafts, prizes and a market.

There will also be a youth contest for the funkiest gum boots, the best garden rock, and more.

- Kirsten Fenn

Program looks for leaders

Inuvik

Young people interested in gaining leadership skills and meeting other youth have an opportunity to do so through the 2017-18 Youth Ambassador Program, which is still open for applications.

Anyone between the age of 16-and 24-years old can apply.

The program offers youth a chance to travel, volunteer at events such as the Arctic Winter Games, Canada Games and North American Indigenous Games, according to the GNWT's application package.

It is also designed to build leadership and connect youth from across the NWT and Canada.

Applications for the program close Sept. 22.

- Kirsten Fenn

Student on Ice youth return to shore

Beaufort Delta

Two NWT youth recently returned home full of new ideas and enthusiasm after taking part in a Students on Ice trip that took them from Resolute Bay, Nunavut to Greenland this summer.

Jasmine Keogak of Sachs Harbour and Topsy Banksland of Ulukhaktok started their journey in Ottawa for pre-program activities before jetting back to the North to board a ship in early August.

They were among more than 100 youth from around the world who participated in the 16-day program that focused on climate change, among other things, according to the Students on Ice website.

"We went to a bird sanctuary and we went to Beechey Island," said 17-year-old Keogak. "We went to Pond Inlet, visited a few fjords and then we crossed the Davis Strait into Greenland."

They also saw lots of wildlife, including two polar bears, said Banksland, 19.

"I saw my first polar bear - like a live one," she said. "And there was a lot of whales. It was really cool. I've only ever felt the fur and eaten a bear, but I've never seen one alive."

Not only were they impressed by the sights, but the girls learned about politics, climate change, arts and culture, and language from scientists, researchers and elders.

They took part in several workshops, including one where Banksland learned traditional throat singing - something she said she had been trying to learn more about at home before her trip.

"It was an amazing experience," said Keogak, adding there were more than 40 students from the North who participated this year. "I would recommend it for a lot of people, from anywhere."

- Kirsten Fenn

Arctic Market to continue through winter

Inuvik

The Town of Inuvik will continue hosting the Arctic Market throughout the winter this year, following the success of the summer season.

"There is a need for it and I think that it'll draw lots of people," said Heather Moses, economic development and tourism assistant for the town. "Especially in the winter time, because people want to get out and want food and they want baked goods and want crafts."

Ideas for when and how to host the markets were discussed during an Arctic Market community meeting at the Midnight Sun Complex on Sept. 7.

The idea is to host the winter markets twice a month inside the Midnight Sun Complex, with the majority of them likely taking place on Saturdays, said Moses.

One vendor mentioned that the opening of the Inuvik-Tuk highway could draw more people from Tuktoyaktuk into town for the markets as well.

"Just having opportunities for people to sell, (it) seems to be that people want to buy," said Ray Solotki, executive director at the Inuvik Community Greenhouse. "They want everyone's goods. They want to go out and have something to do."

She added the greenhouse's average sales from the markets more than doubled from last year.

Although Sept. 2 was originally supposed to be the final Saturday Arctic Market of the year, the greenhouse stepped up to hold a few more on Sept. 9, 16 and 23 - which is also the fall fair.

While a final schedule for the winter markets has yet to be released, Moses confirmed the first one will take place on Oct. 7.

- Kirsten Fenn

Education on the land

Kahbamiue/Colville Lake

Students in Colville Lake are getting a different sort of education this September as they join the community on its annual caribou hunt.

On Sept. 9, the men were the first to leave for the community's annual barrenlands trip to Horton Lake, followed by the women, children and elders, according to Kathy Pelletier, program support teacher with Colville Lake School.

"They follow the caribou migration and go hunting," said Pelletier.

Most of the students at the junior-kindergarten to Grade 12 Colville Lake School joined in.

"You can't get more experiential learning," said Pelletier.

Because the destination is on a lake, community members will also fish and dry fish. Other than that, the men will hunt, and the women will cut up and clean caribou hides, she said.

- Erin Steele

Orange shirts and cultural roots

Acho Dene Koe/Fort Liard

Echo Dene School students are leaving their desks and classrooms to learn from elders and the land at fall culture camp.

At the week-long camp, which begins Sept. 25, elders will teach students to dry meat and fish, skin moose hide and make soups and stews. On the last day of culture camp, Sept. 29, the school will recognize Orange Shirt Day. The day honours the healing journey of survivors of residential school and their families, according to principal Brad Carrier, who purchased shirts for the school's 120 students. Prior to that, elders who attended residential school will speak with the students about their experiences.

Carrier says the school is marking the day to both honour the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - which gave voice to residential school survivors nationally - and demonstrate that the school is there to educate and be culturally sensitive to the wider community.

"(Also to) highlight that the students are welcome to share their traditions and wear what they want, within a reasonable dress code," he said.

Orange Shirt Day got its name from Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, whose brand-new, beloved orange shirt was stripped from her at residential school in British Columbia in the 1970s and never returned.

- Erin Steele

Young woman elected rep on national board

Hay River

A young woman from Hay River has been elected the national representative for youth on the Native Women's Association of Canada.

Jaylene Delorme-Buggins was elected to the position at the organization's annual general assembly in Edmonton on July 15.

"I am the first person in the North to be the national youth rep," she said.

The 24-year-old was acclaimed the Northern youth representative for the NWT and Yukon at the national conference, before winning election as national representative against a young person from Quebec.

It was an emotional moment for Delorme-Buggins.

"I was so excited," she said. "I called my dad and I called my mom, and I told them right away. And then I took a minute and I kind of cried, but moreso because of my sister that I lost. I kind of felt a little guilty. I wish she was here to see this."

Delorme-Buggins is quite open in discussing her own battles with mental-health issues, addiction, and that she lost a sister to a drug overdose.

"She'd be so proud of me, but at the same time I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't lose my sister," she said.

"I don't think I would have been pushed to really change my life and really do something for myself and push myself to go farther because my sister was always the one who was like, 'You could do it. You deserve the best. You're smart.

"There's no reason you should be held back and living a life of addictions.'"

Her sister, who was a resident of Yellowknife, died while in Edmonton.

Delorme-Buggins said it was "a struggle and a half" to get herself out of addictions, and deal with mental health issues.

Delorme-Buggins, who is a member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, said she always wanted to be a voice for youth and it is amazing to be in a position to bring awareness to issues affecting those 30 years of age and under.

Delorme-Buggins plans to focus on a number of issues - addictions, mental health, impacts of residential schools, and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

She also wants to create more awareness for the LGBTQ community.

"I personally don't identify as part of the community, but I'm in full support," she noted. "I have a lot of friends and family members that are part of the community."

In Hay River, Delorme-Buggins volunteers as the youth co-ordinator at Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre, specifically to spearhead the creation of a youth council.

She had been attending college for upgrading with a plan to eventually earn a bachelor's degree in child and youth care.

- Paul Bickford

School pizzeria and bagel shop gains popularity

Radilih Koe'/Fort Good Hope

Residents of Fort Good Hope are benefitting in the most delicious way from programming at Chief T'Selehye School.

The Eagles Nest Bagel Shop and Pizzeria opened last year at the school, as an aspect of junior high and high school culinary programs, involving Grade 5 through Grade 12 students. Now, students are delivering pizzas to the community on Saturdays, and heading toward daily takeout sales, Principal Vincent Dikaitis told News/North.

"It meets our curriculum outcomes, plus it's a great fundraiser for the school," he said, adding the money raised will mostly go toward post-secondary education tours.

The students make their own sauce, dough, and know how to run all the equipment.

Plus, the program's entrepreneurial edge teaches real-world skills.

"(Such as) where are your profits going if you eat one of your pizzas?" said Dikaitis with a laugh.

One of the teachers at the school was a "bagel master" at an Ontario shop, so with his expertise, the bagels have grown wildly popular, said Dikaitis.

"Just the other day somebody bought 24 bagels."

The shop fulfills the goal of the school becoming a hub of the community, said Dikaitis.

"This is what we want," he said.

- Erin Steele