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Monday, September 1, 2014

Leaders discuss caribou decline

Environment and Natural Resources Minister Michael Miltenberger convened with wildlife management authorities and leaders from aboriginal governments in Yellowknife last week to discuss the continued and "alarming decline" of the Bluenose-East and Bathurst barren ground caribou herds.

"The trends from these surveys suggest that both herds are declining at an alarming rate," stated Miltenberger, who called the meeting.

This year's survey of the Bathurst calving grounds suggest that the herd has started to decline again after stabilizing at about 35,000 between 2009 and 2012. The Bluenose-East herd declined by about 30 per cent since the 2013 population survey indicated that there were about 68,000 of the herd remaining.

- Cody Punter

Premier mum on deputy minister's firing

Despite requests from several MLAs, Premier Bob McLeod is steadfastly refusing to discuss the firing of Sheila Bassi-Kellett as deputy minister of human resources.

The long-serving bureaucrat was dismissed Aug 1.

When asked Friday by News/North if he felt the public was owed an explanation as to why Bassi-Kellett was fired, McLeod kept his comments very short.

"It's a personnel issue," he said.

- John McFadden

Women go on the land in Wekweeti

The community of Wekweeti is scheduled to hold a three day on-the-land program exclusively for women beginning on Sept. 2.

"It's just to rejuvenate ourselves, to be out on the land and refresh our minds," said Kimberly Football, one of the trip's organizers.

A group of about a dozen women will be departing by boat from Wekweeti and heading to a campsite at Winter Lake where elders will be teaching younger women about storytelling, dry fish making, bannock making, and how to make dry meat.

- Cody Punter

Deline builds hunting cabins

Community members in Deline are pitching in to build two cabins at a popular hunting site outside of town.

Paulina Roche, Deline First Nation mangers said last week 10 boats left for Deer Pass Bay, three hours outside of Deline to start work on the cabins.

The cabins will be available to be used by band members through the year when they are finished.

"This will be a big asset the to community," said Roche.

- Cody Punter

NACC tickets go on sale

Thebacha/Fort Smith

Tickets for the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre's 2014/2015 program went on sale last Friday. Fort Smith's season will kick off with the return of the ever-popular lute festival on Sept. 25. This year's performance will be headlined by Benjamin Narvey, who will be showcasing some of the most cherished pieces from the French Baroque period. On January 12, the community will get the chance to watch transgender performance artist Sunny Drake perform his one-man show. Drake's performance combines stop motion animation with a live performance, which takes the audience on a whimsical and honest look at addiction, with an LGBTQ slant.

Then, on March 24, Canadian theatre legend Rebecca Caine will be joined by Robert Kortgaard as they play out scenes featuring some of the most famous female roles in musical theatre history.

Both seasons passes and tickets for individual events are available on NACC's website.

- Cody Punter

Enterprise holds community barbecue


The hamlet of Enterprise held a barbecue to mark the end of summer last weekend.

The barbecue was scheduled to take place at the Enterprise Community Centre on Aug. 30.

The recreation committee provided food for the barbecue and there were games for people of all ages.

- Cody Punter

Rhoni Beaulieu laid to rest

Deninu Ku'e/Fort Resolution

The wake for the late Rhoni Beaulieau, the 16-year-old girl who died in a tragic house fire in Fort Resolution on Aug. 15, was held on Sunday afternoon at the Antoine Beaulieu Memorial Hall in Fort Resolution.

The funeral service was scheduled to take place on Monday at Fort Resolution Catholic Church at 2 p.m.

The community came together to help raise money for Beaulieu's family who lost their home and all their possessions in the wake of the tragedy.

As of last Thursday almost $13,000 had been raised.

- Cody Punter

New teachers getting acclimatized


Staff at Moose Kerr School are busy getting ready for the students' return on Sept. 2.

The first day back for teachers was Wednesday, Aug. 27. This year, four new teachers are joining the school, said administrative assistant Bobbie Greenland-Morgan.

On Friday, Aug. 29, all teachers participated in the district education authority's annual culture day in preparation for the new school year.

"The objective is to give (teachers) an introduction into the culture of their community," said Greenland-Morgan.

"We're excited for a new year and excited for our students who are already making accomplishments."

- Laura Busch

Drop-in recreation programs underway


After-school recreation programs are now underway in Ulukhaktok.

Gym and youth centre programs began Aug. 18 and are scheduled to run through the school year.

The gym program will run Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6:30 to 11 p.m. in the Helen Kalvak Elihakvik School gym, according to recreation co-ordinator Joanne Ogina.

The after-school Youth Centre program is scheduled to run from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, while the evening youth program runs Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 7 to 11 p.m.

- Laura Busch

Safety in the streets


Paulatuk RCMP, the hamlet, the community corporation and the Department of Economic Development are partnering up to provide a helmet program for people driving four-wheelers.

"What we're trying to do is promote a little bit of safety," said hamlet supervisor Greg Morash, adding the program came about as a result of an ATV accident earlier this summer.

"Unfortunately, some people can't afford helmets and don't really want to buy them, so we're going to force the issue."

So far, 54 helmets have been purchased by the hamlet and community corporation, and the plan is to have RCMP give a workshop on safe four-wheeling practices.

Also, Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson will be visiting the hamlet along with Health Minister Glen Abernethy on Aug. 28, when they will likely discuss the proposed health board amalgamation.

- Laura Busch

Aklavik celebrates Dizzy Daze


The hamlet's recreation department organized one last summer hurrah for Aklavik residents this past weekend.

Dizzy Daze events was held at the Sittichinli Recreation Complex Aug. 29 through Aug. 31, according to posters circulating about the event. Kiddie carnival games are scheduled to be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday evening, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Casino events are scheduled from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday night, from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday and from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday. Casino participants must be 19 years of age or older.

- Laura Busch

Paving the way to employment


A joint effort from Paulatuk's community corporation, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the hamlet and the GNWT is being made to train residents to be heavy equipment operators in advance of a road construction project to improve the hamlet's roads. Greg Morash, hamlet supervisor, hopes to have six to eight residents enrolled in a certified training program within the next three months, with a plan to offer more training programs in the future. Engineering work is currently being done for the road-improvement program. If all goes well, work should begin hauling gravel over the winter and the construction could last two or three years.

"That will keep some of our guys employed," said Morash, adding residents who get certified as heavy equipment operators in Paulatuk could take jobs on the Inuvik-to-Tuktoyaktuk highway.

- Laura Busch

Gwich'in finances good


The Gwich'in Tribal Council has received an clean bill of health following an audit of its 2013 finances. The tribal council generated approximately $10 million in revenue last year against slightly more than $13 million in expenses. The council uses cash from accumulated interest on its settlement fund.

Peregrine Diamonds announces terms rights offering


Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. (TSX:PGD) announced that it has filed and received regulatory approval for a final prospectus for an offering of rights to holders of common shares of the company to raise approximately $15.1 million in gross proceeds. Although the company intends to use the net proceeds of the offering to advance its Baffin Island Chidliak program, the company also holds diamond interests in the NWT.

At its 8,493 hectare Lac de Gras project in the Northwest Territories, located approximately 23 kilometres from the Diavik diamond mine, the nine hectare 72.1 per cent-owned DO-27 kimberlite hosts a NI 43-101 compliant indicated mineral resource of 18.2 million carats of diamonds in 19.5 million tonnes of kimberlite at a grade of 0.94 carats per tonne, open at depth. A key Peregrine asset is a proprietary database acquired from BHP Billiton that contains data from approximately 38,000 kimberlite indicator mineral samples covering approximately three million square kilometres of Canada. A final payment of $2.5 million will be payed to BHP Billiton upon the successful completion of the offering. The offer will be listed and posted for trading on the TSE on Sept. 5.