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Newsbriefs: Monday, May 22, 2017
Smuggler sentenced

Somba K'e/Yellowknife

A 34-year-old who tried to smuggle cocaine into Tulita was sentenced to just under two years in jail for that and two other crimes.

Lyle Emile was sentenced to 29 months in jail, minus five and a half months already served awaiting sentencing, for two counts of assault causing bodily harm and one count of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

Emile pleaded guilty to one assault causing bodily harm and possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking on May 1 in NWT Supreme Court.

The drug charge stems from an attempt to smuggle 20 grams of cocaine on a North-Wright Airways flight to Tulita on Dec. 28, 2016.

An employee grew suspicious and opened a box containing a pair of boots with the cocaine stuffed inside after Emile insisted the box be tightly taped.

- Kirsten Fenn

Chamber announces new board


The NWT Chamber of Commerce is under new management following its annual general meeting last month.

Trevor Wever of Air Tindi steps in as president, with Bill Kellett as first vice-president, Jenni Bruce as second vice-president and Yanik D'Aigle as secretary/treasurer. Outgoing president Richard Morland will continue as a director and member of the executive, joining newly elected directors Pam Coulter, Newton Grey, Derek McHugh, Caroline Wawzonek and Colleen Wellborn. The chamber announced the results of the elections of new officers of the board and directors on Tuesday.

- Jessica Davey-Quantick

Cruise ship plan on horizon

Inuvialuit communities

The Inuvialuit Community Economic Development Organization, in partnership with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, is hosting a number of community consultations regarding the development of a cruise ship management strategy for the region.

Consultation sessions will be open to all community members. The intent of the strategy is to mitigate potential negative impacts to the environment and communities, but also to ensure economic, social and cultural benefits for Inuvialuit and northern communities are maximized.

The meeting dates remaining after stops in Ulukhaktok, Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik are: Sachs Harbour:May 22 to 23; Aklavik:May 29; and Paulatuk:May 30

- Stewart Burnett

Jail for burning woman

A 48-year-old man who burned a woman's face with a hot knife has been sentenced to 10 months in jail and three years of probation for his crimes.

Michael Black, who is originally from Behchoko but now lives in Yellowknife, was handed the sentence by judge Bernadette Schmaltz in territorial court May 15.

The man's convictions arise from incidents that happened between April and July last year. RCMP were called to a housing unit last July, court was told.

The woman had multiple marks on her body, including a burn on her lips. She told police Black assaulted her while he was drunk, bit her and burned her on the face with a hot knife. Black also threatened to kill her and then beat her everywhere but her stomach after she'd had surgery there, the statement said.

- by Kirsten Fenn

Minister grilled by GNWT employee on open government

The minister responsible for transparency within the territorial government was grilled in Yellowknife May 17 during a meeting to gather input on developing an open government policy.

Louis Sebert appeared uncomfortable at the start of the meeting when asked why GNWT employees aren't getting more information about matters, such as changes to government departments.

"No information goes to the public or employees," said Lorna Skinner, a GNWT employee who added there's work done behind the scenes and rumours circulate but little gets officially passed on.

"I think the government is already pretty open," Sebert said, adding several times that the seven members of cabinet are a minority compared to the 11 non-cabinet MLAs, so if regular MLAs are unhappy with the performance of ministers, they can unseat them.

"Well thank God for that," Skinner said.

She pressed the minister on comments by MLAs that they often find out information about government decisions through the media.

"You have to read the newspaper to find out," she said, referring to situations, such as the bailout of Northwest Territories Power Corporation during low-water years.

Sebert said there's "a lot of information" shared with regular MLAs.

"So what you're saying is that they're lying?" Skinner said.

"No," Sebert said.

Skinner was the first to open the discussion at a meeting about developing an open government policy.

Issues around transparency and openness raised by some of the 10 people attending the event included making simplified information available for people without a high reading level, making more contract and bidding information easier to find and finding a way to make more information available about lobbying of the government.

- by Shane Magee Students are busy

Lli Goline/Norman Wells

Mackenzie Mountain School students are busy preparing for the school's annual public speaking contest on May 25, said principal Michael Duclos.

The contest is scheduled to begin at about 9 a.m. and will showcase students' public speaking skills.

The competition is open to students from Kindergarten to Grade 9, but older students are also encouraged to participate.

The top two public speakers from each class will be chosen to speak in front of the school.

"We talk to the kids at the beginning abut the purpose of their speech," Duclos said.

\"We talk to them about why it's important to be able to speak in front of others and the importance of being a persuasive speaker."

Students can choose almost any topic for their speech, but the parameters of the contest are designed to be broad, Duclos added.

"Some will be humorous, some will be meant to entertain," he said.

Judges from the community will evaluate each speech and the winners will be presented with medals.

- Kassina Ryder

Free life jacket rentals in Fort Providence

Deh Gah Got'ie/Fort Providence

A life jacket loan program is now in effect at the Fort Providence health centre, said Brandon Thom, community health representative.

"We loan life jackets to anybody who wants them," he said.

Thom gave a water presentation to the community at the Zhahti Koe Friendship Centre on May 17 outlining the risks that contribute to drownings and injuries on the water.

One of the biggest risks is drinking.

"Alcohol is a huge factor in a lot of water injury incidents, such as drowning," Them said. Failing to wear a proper life jacket is another big risk.

"Life jackets don't work unless you wear them," he said.

Thom also cautioned parents and caregivers to always supervise children when they play near water.

Anyone looking to rent a life jacket can sign them out at the health centre free of charge, as long as they agree to return the jacket when they've finished with it.

- Kassina Ryder

Family Fun Night in Fort Good Hope

Radilih Koe'/Fort Good Hope

Fort Good Hope residents are invited to a Family Fun Night at the community hall on May 23, said recreation co-ordinator Freda Kelly.

The event is part of Traditional Health Week taking place in the community, which is running from May 23 to 27.

The Goba Group, a community cancer support group, is organizing Traditional Health Week.

The evening is being organized to ensure the community's elders can participate and activities are expected to include balloon toss games and other low-intensity events, Kelly said.

The evening is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

- Kassina Ryder

Sewing skills for Gameti students

Gameti/Rae Lakes

Jean Wetrade Gameti School students are learning sewing skills every Wednesday at the community's Aurora College Community Learning Centre, said principal Brendan Mulcahy.

Students in Grade 3 to 12 are learning how to sew pillowcases and other items.

"It's been great for the kids, a good experience," Mulcahy said.

Participants learn how to read and use patterns, as well as learn how to use sewing machines.

Local instructor Lynn Turcotte runs Gameti's sewing program and Jean Wetrade Gameti students have been participating for about two years, Mulcahy said.

"It's been a really good program," he said.

- Kassina Ryder

Chief Jimmy Bruneau School prepares for grad


Graduates are getting ready for their upcoming graduation ceremony at Chief Jimmy Bruneau School in Behchoko on May 25, said principal Patti Turner.

There are 29 graduates this year.

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. and will be followed by a small reception with snacks and cake.

Later that evening, a dance is scheduled to run from 8 p.m. until midnight.

This year's theme is "vintage masquerade," Turner said.

Everyone in the community is invited to the graduation ceremony and reception.

"We usually have a very large turnout," Turner said. "We're excited."

A bus is expected to travel throughout the community beginning at about 1:30 p.m. to pick up anyone who needs transportation to the school.

- Kassina Ryder

Outstanding Volunteers recognized


This year's Outstanding Volunteer Award winners were announced on May 12, information from the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs said.

Sheila O'Kane from Inuvik received the Outstanding Elder Award, Nigel Koplomik from Ulukhaktok won the Outstanding Youth Award, Yellowknife's Sudhir Jha received the Outstanding Individual Award and Yellowknife Food Rescue received the Outstanding Group Award.

The awards are presented annually to individuals and groups that meet the award criteria, including the number of hours spent volunteering and the impact of their work. Winners each receive $500 that they can donate to any volunteer organization.

- Kassina Ryder

Annual jamboree a hit

Sachs Harbour

Recreation co-ordinator Doreen Carpenter is recovering from a busy jamboree in Sachs Harbour.

"It went really well," she said.

The community held the kiddie carnival a week before the jamboree.

"I don't think I'll do that again, because it was two weekends in a row of busy busy. It was sort of crazy," said Carpenter.

Thankfully, plenty of volunteers and sponsors helped make the jamboree run smoothly.

"There were a lot of volunteers who helped out in getting everything ready and groups that took care of things," said Carpenter. "It made everything much easier."

People enjoyed the outdoor events, especially with the beautiful weather, said Carpenter.

She thanked everyone who helped set up the event, sponsored, and helped out during it.

"Without them, I don't think it would have been as successful as it was," she said.

- Stewart Burnett

Town checks for missing road signs

Hay River

At the May 8 meeting of town council, Coun. Steve Anderson relayed a concern he had heard from a resident about the number of speed limit signs in the community.

In particular, Anderson noted the resident said he was seeing only one posted speed limit of 40 kilometres per hour, which is the speed limit in the community unless otherwise posted.

Ross Potter, the town's director of public services, responded there may be speed limit signs missing.

"But to the best of my knowledge all of our signs are still in place," he said. "I'll just do a double check on that."

Potter said he will refer to the registry of signs and check the town this week.

The director noted all school zones and the downtown area have properly posted speed limits of 30 kilometres per hour.

- Paul Bickford

Intergenerational Day set for June 1

Hay River

The Town of Hay River has proclaimed June 1 as Intergenerational Day Canada.

The day is meant to raise awareness about the power of making intergenerational connections to eliminate isolation and loneliness, and move toward healthy, all-age-friendly communities.

Mayor Brad Mapes read the proclamation at the council meeting on May 8. Intergenerational Day Canada began in 2010.

- Paul Bickford

Spring Fair ready


A Spring Fair is being planned in Enterprise for June 3.

The event at the Enterprise Community Hall will feature the sale of baked goods, crafts and small business items. Outside of the hall, there will be a yard sale.

The Spring Fair will also feature outdoor games, including log toss, axe throw, an archery contest, tea boiling, egg toss and a spoon-and-egg race.

- Paul Bickford

Youth wins outstanding volunteer award


Ulukhaktok youth Nigel Koplomik won an outstanding volunteer award from the Northwest Territories Association of Communities last week.

"I feel good and excited about it," said Koplomik moments after receiving the prize during a ceremony in Inuvik.

"I had a good year helping out my uncle Joshua."

Koplomik said he doesn't need to get anything out of volunteering to enjoy it.

"I can just help and spend time with my buddy here," he said.

Caroline Cochrane, minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, said volunteers play a critical role in Northwest Territories communities.

"Their efforts make our communities better places to live," she stated in a news release.

"I would like to recognize and thank the Outstanding Volunteer Awards recipients for their dedication and hard work."

- Stewart Burnett

Shop-local campaign begins in Fort Smith

Thebacha/Fort Smith

A spring shop-local campaign has been launched in Fort Smith.

The campaign - which began on May 8 and will run until June 16 - is an initiative of the Thebacha Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Fort Smith.

It is particularly designed to encourage town residents to shop locally for all their spring cleaning supplies.

Shoppers can enter the contest by writing their names on receipts and dropping them into boxes at participating retailers.

There will be weekly prizes and a grand prize at the conclusion of the campaign.

- Paul Bickford

Blacksmithing course in Smith

Thebacha/Fort Smith

A three-day workshop on blacksmithing will be held in Fort Smith from May 26 to 28.

The introductory workshop is being hosted by Midnight Ironworks.

The instructor will be Shawn Cunningham of Front Step Forge in Edmonton.

Cunningham describes himself as a metal artist blacksmith.

The workshop is being supported by the NWT Arts Council.

- Paul Bickford