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Court News and Legal Links

Newsbriefs: Monday, July 24, 2017

Keenan McNeely appeals conviction, sentence

Somba K'e/Yellowknife

A Fort Good Hope man, found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2014 death of Charlotte Lafferty in Fort Good Hope, is appealing his conviction and sentence, confirmed Crown attorney Annie Piche.

Keenan McNeely, 21, is reportedly claiming mistakes were made during the trial by Supreme Court Justice Louise Charbonneau regarding testimony from an RCMP officer.

McNeely, currently incarcerated at North Slave Correctional Complex in Yellowknife, also contends he should not have been sentenced as an adult. McNeely, who was 17 at the time of the murder, was given a life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 years.

No date has been set for the appeal.

- John McFadden

Guns, liquor, cash seized in Fort Good Hope

Radilih Koe'/Fort Good Hope

Charges are pending against three men and a woman - while a second woman is being investigated - after Fort Good Hope RCMP made four liquor seizures in one week in the community.

According to a news release from the Mounties, 68 mickey bottles were intercepted at the Fort Good Hope airport on July 13.

On July 17, police raided a home in the community and seized seven bottles of liquor, two, loaded firearms and a sum of cash. On July 19, RCMP seized what they said appears to be home-brewed alcohol from a residence. The next day, after a tip from Norman Wells RCMP, a woman was searched at the Fort Good Hope airport by police and eight bottles of liquor were seized.

- John McFadden

Bears close landfill to pickers


There have been numerous grizzly bear sightings at the Inuvik landfill in recent weeks, stated a news update from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The department recommends extreme caution when unloading garbage at the landfill. The town has closed the landfill to scavenging and picking until further notice.

- Stewart Burnett

Snap up Snap Lake

Somba K'e/Yellowknife

Some $30 million worth of equipment from Snap Lake Mine will go up for auction, De Beers announced on Monday. The live auction will take place in Yellowknife on August 1 and 2. De Beers ceased production at the diamond mine, about 220 kilometres outside of Yellowknife, in 2015.

- Jessica Davey-Quantick

Fort Good Hope fire no longer a threat

Radilih Koe'/

Fort Good Hope

A fire that came dangerously close to Fort Good Hope is no longer a threat, fire operations manager Richard Olsen said in a briefing July 17.

Crews have begun fire smarting activities including thinning and pruning, extending fire guards, assessing buildings and have held one fire smart workshop in the community. The fire is burning on 158.9 sq.-kms of land 27 kilometres east of Fort Good Hope.

Since July 17, 20 new fires have been reported across the NWT, bringing the total to 126 fires affecting 1219.5 sq. kms. Of those, 57 have been declared out, 57 are being monitored, one is under control and 11 are out of control or being fought.

- Emelie Peacock

Dominion Diamond bought out

Somba K'e/Yellowknife

Dominion Diamond Corporation is being sold for US$1.2 billion.

The company announced July 17 its board of directors had unanimously recommended shareholders vote in favour of an acquisition by Montana conglomerate The Washington Companies.

The Washington Companies is a privately held variety of companies operating under one umbrella. Assets include railroads, marine transport and a copper and molybdenum mine in Butte, Mont.

A subsidiary of The Washington Companies will purchase Dominion's shares for US$14.25 a share under the deal, taking a controlling interest in Ekati Mine and 40 per cent ownership in Diavik Mine.

Washington stated in a news release it plans to operate Dominion as a standalone business, honouring the existing commitments to Indigenous communities, including training, recruitment and scholarship programs within communities.

- Jessica Davey-Quantick

Strategic priorities chart approved


The Town of Inuvik approved its strategic priorities chart, which will be included in all future council packages, and is intended to keep the council's eye on the ball with regard to the town's needs.

Council priorities in the present are energy supply options, Jim Koe Park redevelopment, economic development and tourism strategy, addressing homelessness and town practices with regards to environmental stewardship.

- Stewart Burnett

Chip seal starts on starts on Hwy. 5

South Slave

Wood Buffalo National Park is advising motorists that major work is underway on Highway 5 to Fort Smith.

That work - including road widening and culvert installation - is on the 64-kilometre section of the highway that runs through the park to ready the route for chip sealing between now and September.

Some chip sealing has already begun, and the whole 64 kilometres should be chip sealed by mid-September.

Parks Canada is investing $30 million in Highway 5 through Wood Buffalo National Park over a two-year period beginning in 2016 to chip seal the remaining gravel section.

- Paul Bickford

New event at Norman Wells Farmers' Market

Lli Goline/Norman Wells

Norman Wells residents are being encouraged to use old materials to create something new in time for the upcoming farmers' market, said organizer and economic development officer Nicky Richards.

The Farmers' Market and Arts and Crafts Fair is scheduled to take place on Aug. 26 and Richards is asking residents to use recycled materials to create unique works of art.

Participants with the most creative piece will win a prize.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what people come up with," said Richards. "We have lots of stuff in our local dump here that people throw away so you can really just use your imagination."

This year's market is scheduled to run from 1 to about 5 p.m. and is expected to include a squash-judging contest in addition to sale items.

Anyone looking to participate in the market can register up until Aug. 23. Anyone who has registered but isn't able to participate is asked to contact Richards before the day of the market.

- Kassina Ryder

Literacy society sets date for AGM

Hay River

The Hay River Literacy Society has set the date for its annual general meeting.

It will be held on Aug. 10, beginning at 7 p.m. at NWT Centennial Library.

Any interested member of the public can attend the AGM.

- Paul Bickford

Paddlers head to Tlicho Gathering

Wekweeti/Lac La Martre

More than 75 travellers from Tlicho communities were scheduled to leave Wekweeti by canoe on July 20 and head to Behchoko for the annual Tlicho Gathering, said Robert Moretti, senior administrative officer.

The paddlers were expected to begin their travels on Lac La Martre and spend about 12 days making their way to Behchoko.

The group met in Wekweeti the week of July 17 and held barbecues, but the main events will begin when they land in Behchoko.

"The big celebration will take place when they arrive in Behchoko," said Moretti.

This year marks the 13th year of the Tlicho Gathering, which is scheduled to take place Aug. 1, 2 and 3. Events are expected to take place at the Ko Gocho Centre.

- Kassina Ryder

Sachs greenhouse busy in summer season

Ikaahuk/Sachs Harbour

The growing season in Sachs Harbour takes a little longer to get going than in some southern locations, but the Sachs Harbour Community Greenhouse is going full steam ahead now.

"Regardless of the length of the growing season, we make the most of it," said Melissa Davis, greenhouse co-ordinator.

"Our greenhouse is beginning to look lush and green, which is a wonderful sight for us up above the treeline."

The greenhouse had seven plots, but should have moved up to eight by now. Those in addition to handful of hanging baskets and a communal potato plot.

Each plot is planted and tended to by an individual or family. There are about 10 greenhouse members currently gardening in the facility, but that number doesn't include children.

"My children spend a great part of their summer in the greenhouse and they so enjoy watching their food grow," said Davis.

Doreen Carpenter, recreation co-ordinator for the community, gets a lot of Sachs youth involved as well by bringing them in to get their hands dirty and learn about gardening during summer day camps.

The greenhouse is growing beets, radishes, peas, kale, pak choy, berries, collard greens, lettuce, potatoes, herbs and flowers.

Last year, greenhouse member Yvonne Elias managed to prove that potatoes can grow beautifully so high up in the Arctic, said Davis. She's hoping the communal plot works out well this summer.

"Our ultimate goal is to provide ourselves with some food security," said Davis. "I'd like to see our greenhouse produce enough potatoes to be able to deliver some to each of our community's elders."

- Stewart Burnett

Youth Ambassadors wanted


Youth across the Northwest Territories are eligible to apply for the Aboriginal Youth Ambassador (AYA) program through the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre in Whistler, B.C., information from the centre said.

Participants are paid to take part in the 12-week workshop, which begins on Sept. 6 and includes business and cultural training.

The program is an "immersive" training opportunity where participants learn about business in a First Nations museum setting.

It is open to youth between the ages of 16 and 30 who are not receiving employment insurance and have a clean criminal records check.

Participants are expected to enter the workforce or an education program after the workshop is completed.

- Kassina Ryder

Camp for children at Fort Smith library

Thebacha/Fort Smith

A camp to teach children science, technology, engineering, arts and math was held in Fort Smith

The camp, called STEAM Camp after an acronym of theto be taught, was scheduled for Mary Kaeser Library, from July 17 to 21.

It had a two-hour session each day for ages seven to 10 years and another two-hour session for ages 11 to 14 years.

- Paul Bickford

Museum to teach kids about bison

Thebacha/Fort Smith

Children in Fort Smith can learn more about bison on July 25.

Northern Life Museum & Cultural Centre is offering fun and educational activities to teach youngsters about the animals.

The two-hour afternoon event is suitable for children aged eight years and older.

Among other things, they will learn more about the animals that inhabit Wood Buffalo National Park, and the difference between a bison and a buffalo.

The program will be limited to 15 children.

- Paul Bickford

Local short films screening this weekend


The Inuvialuit Communications Society hopes to raise its profile in the community and encourage people to get into filmmaking

"We really want to bring attention to ICS," said Dez Loreen manager of organization.

He's looking to hold workshops and engage with the community to help people get into the industry.

"We want to make this the creative hub of the town," he said.

ICS is hoping to hold regular screenings and is currently setting one up for Aug. 19 in conjunction with Yellowknife's Dead North Film Festival.

Though ICS is an Inuvialuit organization and is hoping to train beneficiaries in all manner of filmmaking and related pursuits, Loreen emphasized that the organization is here to serve all people in the community.

"We don't want to just be inclusive only to Inuvialuit and say sorry to everybody else," said Loreen, adding that the organization will still be promoting Inuvialuit history and values.

"We are the Inuvialuit Communications Society, but it's 2017 and we want grow within the community as well."

The ICS office is at the edge of town by the Nova Inn and Loreen encourages anyone interested in filmmaking or communications pursuits to come by, talk shop, find out what the ICS does, rent equipment or anything else.

"We're trying to build capacity right now," said Loreen, adding that the more people in the community get engaged with filmmaking, the more funding opportunities will likely open up.

His hope is to work with the school to get a film program going, similar to what Yellowknife has.

"If there's anybody in town (who's interested in learning more or engaging with ICS), I'm urging you to come forward," said Loreen.

"There's no ceiling from here. I want to push this place as far as I can. We have great staff, great support, but we're looking for more of it."

- Stewart Burnett

Elders travelling to religious pilgrimage

K'atlodeeche/Hay River Reserve

Elders from Hay River Reserve will travel to Lac St. Anne to participate in the annual pilgrimage, said recreation director Sharon Pekok.

The event runs from July 22 to 26 and is expected to draw participants from throughout Canada.

"They come from all over the place," Pekok said. "A lot of the northern communities go there." This year's pilgrimage is scheduled to include a Dene mass on July 24 and 25.

- Kassina Ryder

Behchoko youth head to summer games

Behchoko/Rae Edzo

Youth in Behchoko are gearing up to participate in this year's Mackenzie Youth Summer Games in Fort Providence from July 24 to 28, said recreation co-ordinator Jesse Bierman.

Approximately 15 youth will travel to Fort Providence to participate. Bierman said last year's event was a big hit.

"Last year was a really good time," he said. "We had about 50 kids from different communities."

The games rotate through communities in the territory each year and typically include sports such as canoeing, swimming, soccer, basketball and dance, as well as traditional games.

- Kassina Ryder

Saturday market is back


The first Saturday Arctic Market of the summer was to have been held July 22 from 2 to 4 p.m. in Jim Koe Park.

Jackie Challis led an effort, supported by many community members, to reinstate the Saturday markets.

The Inuvik Community Greenhouse began holding Tuesday markets from 6 to 8 p.m. in the absence of the town's usual Saturday markets.

The greenhouse will continue holding its markets, so there will be two Arctic Markets each week throughout the summer.

- Stewart Burnett

Two Beaufort Delta schools awarded for Drop the Pop campaign

Aklavik and Ulukhaktok

Moose Kerr School in Aklavik and Helen Kalvak Elihakvik School in Ulukhaktok were among 14 schools across the territory announced as winners in the territorial government's "Drop the Pop" campaign, which encourages youth to limit their soda intake.

The entire student population at Moose Kerr School made a pledge to drop pop. They worked with teachers going class to class to talk about reasons not to drink pop. They also created posters in support of drinking healthier beverages, such as water. Those who submitted posters earned $10 in Northern Store gift prizes.

In Ulukhaktok, students spent four weeks during the school year focusing on education around eating and drinking healthier snacks and beverages. Students also exercised and engaged in stretching, yoga, cardio, aerobic, snowshoeing and Nordic walking in the afternoons.

- Stewart Burnett