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Monday, August 25, 2014

Cruise cancels stop in Ulukhaktok

The National Geographic Explorer cruise ship did not stop in Ulukhaktok on Aug. 18 as was originally planned.

The ship was unable to make it through heavy ice in the central Northwest Passage and it is not expected the passengers will make it to the Victoria Island community at all this summer, Patty Disken-Cahill, public relations with National Geographic Expeditions confirmed in an e-mail. As of last Wednesday, the change of course had the ship located near Resolute Bay.

- Laura Busch

Happy Daze needs volunteers

Behchoko's community government is trying to recruit volunteers for next weekend's Happy Daze celebration, which runs from Aug. 29 to Aug. 31. The organizers are hoping to run a variety of events over the course of the weekend, including a pancake breakfast, talent show, and a $20,000 bingo.

Anyone interested in lending a hand should contact the community government as soon as possible.

- Cody Punter

Be bear aware

In the wake of a black bear being shot at Reid Lake Territorial Park earlier this month, campers throughout the North Slave are being cautioned to keep a look out for the wild animals when using public parks.

In a media release, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment also reminded the public that firearms are not permitted in territorial parks. Bear sightings and encounters should be reported to park staff.

It is legal to shoot a bear in self-defence or when property is threatened. However, the kill must be reported to a wildlife officer.

Anyone with information on the black bear shot at Reid Lake, which is believed to have occurred on Aug. 10, is asked to contact ENR's North Slave office.

- Laura Busch

Youth camp in Behchoko

The Tlicho government is offering a series of boating and fishing camps to children between the ages of eight and 13 at a camp site near Behchoko from Aug. 29 to 31.

The three-day camps have been run throughout the summer as part of a pilot project intended to teach youth basic outdoor skills such as how to paddle a canoe, gather wood, make a fire, and catch and fillet fish.

According to Shauna Zoe, community director of Behchoko, children will also learn about the oral history behind each of the skills they are taught. The trips will leave from the Behchoko loading dock on Russel Lake on the evening that each camp starts, before embarking on a 45-minute boat ride to the camp site.

Zoe said last-minute applications are welcome.

- Cody Punter

Dark Sky Festival takes place

Thebacha/Fort Smith

Serious stargazers and amateur astronomers were in Fort Smith over weekend for the third annual Dark Sky Festival from Aug. 21 to 24.

The festivities started on Thursday with some planetarium shows at Wood Buffalo National Park.

Then on Friday afternoon Mission Park hosted a children's' science fair as well as the first Lego MindStorm Robot competition. Later that night there was a barbecue planned at the Northern Life Museum.

For Saturday and Sunday the festival moved to Pine Lake where registered participants took part in a series of fun events for all ages. A highlight was to be a fireside chat with Canada's first female astronaut, Roberta Bondar, on Saturday.

- Cody Punter

Athletic training camp comes to town

Thebacha/Fort Smith

Some promising young athletes from across the South Slave and the Deh Cho were in Fort Smith last week trying to hone their skills as part of a four-day camp athletics camp.

Aimed at youth aged eight to 16, Camp RJT (Run, Jump, Throw) was put on by the Fort Smith Track and Field Society with financial assistance from the territorial government and the Mackenzie Recreational Association.

The four-day camp aimed to get youth to focus on the fundamentals of athletics through a series of training exercises and activities such as soccer and swimming. They were coached by a combination of local young adults as well as Don White, a Yukon-based athlete who has led track and field athletes to the Canada Winter Games and Canada Summer Games.

- Cody Punter

Over-55s heading down south

South Slave

Some of Fort Smith, Enterprise and Hay River's most experienced senior athletes will be heading down to Strathcona County, Alta. this week for the Canada 55-Plus Games.

Making up part of the 68-member Team NWT, the competitors who range in age from 55 to 82 will be competing across a range of 24 different sports and games including hockey, swimming, golf, curling, Scrabble, tennis, bocce and whist.

The games start Aug. 27 and will wrap up with closing ceremonies on Aug. 30.

- Cody Punter

Dazed in canoes

Tsiigehtchic/Arctic Red River

Tsiigehtchic was scheduled to host its 23rd annual Canoe Daze last weekend, from Aug. 22 to 24.

Celebrations were set to kick off on the Friday with opening ceremonies and a feast in the gym, followed by games for all ages before a casino night, according to the hamlet's promotional material.

Saturday was to kick off with a pancake breakfast before events move down to the river.

Races were scheduled on the river on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons, with several categories including events for youth aged 15 and under, adult races, and events pairing an adult with one youth. The largest cash prize up for grabs was $1,000 for the first-place winner in the triathlon event on Saturday. Second and third place finishers in that race competed for $800 and $600, respectively.

Saturday was to wind down with an old time dance and jigging contest. A strong man competition was also scheduled for Sunday evening.

- Laura Busch

Summer camp winding down

Ikaahuk/Sachs Harbour

Aug. 21 was the last day for the youth summer camp in Sachs Harbour.

For the past six weeks, the hamlet had offered daytime activities for youth aged 12 or younger. Each week's activities were themed, with the theme for the final week being music camp.

Youth co-ordinator Kyle Donovan said this year's camp was a success, drawing roughly a half-dozen of the 10 youth who registered each day. The purpose of the camp is to give youth productive daytime activities while school is out, he said.

- Laura Busch

It's time for berries


It's not too late to participate in a group berry-picking excursion near Ulukhaktok, as the event - originally scheduled for Aug. 19 - has been postponed to this week.

"There's not much berries right now and we're going to wait for nicer weather," said Denise Taptuna-Okheena, who is co-ordinating the excursion, on Aug. 19.

Those interested in a free boat ride to and from either Asiakniakvik or Nanoalok, located about two miles east of the community, are asked to call the community corporation to sign up for the excursion, which is expected to take a few hours.

The last berry picking excursion was held two summers ago, said Taptuna-Okheena.

- Laura Busch

Garage going up in Paulatuk


Construction of the hamlet's new garage, which provides protected parking for 10 vehicles, is underway in Paulatuk.

Currently, two contractors are at the site, working with four locals who have been hired for the job, said hamlet supervisor Greg Morash. Once construction reaches its peak, the project is expected to employ between six and nine local people.

"We had inadequate parking," said Morash of why the $1.5-million new garage is needed. "The garage that we knocked down was 35 years old and only fit two vehicles ... we had to do something to protect our machines."

If the barges arrive in the hamlet on time, the garage is expected to be finished by Nov. 30.

- Laura Busch

Last chance for a swim


The hamlet pool in Tuktoyaktuk will be closing for the season on Aug. 30.

To mark the end of the summer swimming season, a free swim will be held all day for youth, said recreation co-ordinator Caroline Loreen.

Since opening for the summer in July, the pool has been seeing regular use, she said.

- Laura Busch