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Hub 2021 year in review: January

Paul Delorey passes
Hay River Home Hardware donated about 125 practice jerseys to all minor hockey players in the community. Displaying and modelling the jerseys are, left to right, Kirsten Fischer, the director of the peewee division; players Ethan Fischer, Liam Steinwand, Delaney Buckley and Ryder Korotash; and Wayne Korotash, the co-owner of Hay River Home Hardware. NNSL file photo

Paul Delorey passes

A former MLA, speaker of the House and tireless volunteer, Paul Delorey passed Jan. 1, 2021, aged 71.

Oh, and he liked to curl, too.

Delorey came to Hay River in 1968. He worked as a train conductor as MLA for Hay River North for three terms starting in 1999. He was elected Speaker by his fellow MLAs in 2004. He left politics in 2011. He almost never left the curling rink.

“Paul was a cornerstone of our club,” Keith Dohey, president of the Hay River Curling Club said. “His contributions and dedication to our organization are legendary. He served on our executive in varying capacities for over 40 years, helping to ensure the success of the club and growing the sport of curling in our community and the North.”

Paul Delorey, who passed away on Jan. 1, 2020, was well-known for his love of curling, even setting up an outdoor curling sheet on the Hay River in February of 2017 for Winter Celebration. NNSL file photo
Paul Delorey, who passed away on Jan. 1, 2020, was well-known for his love of curling, even setting up an outdoor curling sheet on the Hay River in February of 2017 for Winter Celebration. NNSL file photo

Covid-19 vaccine arrives in Hay River

Residents and staff at Woodland Manor received their first doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine Jan. 7.

How many people got the jab wasn’t shared. At the time, vaccination was not mandatory for employees of the facility.

The Hay River Regional Wellness Council said at the time vaccines would be rolled out for adults in Enterprise, Kakisa and Kátł’odeeche First Nation starting Jan. 11.

“This is very good news for our neighbours and ahead of schedule,” Brian Willows, chair of the council, said.

Fort Liard Covid-19 case isolated in Hay River

Chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola said Jan. 17 a Covid-19 signal in Hay River’s wastewater recorded earlier in the month was probably linked to the outbreak in Fort Liard.

She said a person infected as part of that outbreak had isolated in Hay River. There were Covid-19 signals in the water from Jan. 1 to 6. A federal agency reported a persistent Covid-19 signal in samples collected in the 48 hours leading up to Jan. 11.

“We do need more data about wastewater in Hay River to pursue this theory further,” Kandola said. By Jan. 22, the Covid-19 signals had disappeared.

Great Slave winter fishery opens

For the first time in 15 years, the fish plant in Hay River would be used for the winter season. The fishery opened Jan. 11 with the GNWT expecting seven commercial fishing businesses to participate.

The packing plant graded fish then shipped it to the federal Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation Winnipeg for processing and sale.

The GNWT also partnered with Indigenous governments to help train community members and build capacity.

Industry Minister Caroline Wawzonek said the plan is to create year-round jobs in fish processing, packaging, selling and transportation.

Polar Pond Hockey cancelled again.

Concerns related to Covid-19 led to the cancellation of the popular Polar Pond Hockey tournament for a second consecutive year.

“I know the vaccine is out, but there are still tons of restrictions on right now and we’d have to be applying for a number of exemptions, including liquor licences,” organizer Terry Rowe said.

There wasn’t enough interest among organizers to run an event similar to the 2020 tournament, which saw the social aspects stripped away.

Town focused on dangerous driving

Hay River’s enforcement boss, Ross Potter, told town councillors Jan. 11 he was focused on speeding in school zones.

That very day a bylaw officer ticketed someone for travelling at 68 kilometres per hour in such a 30 km/h zone.

He said it was “totally ridiculous,” adding that distracted driving was also a problem in the town. And, surprise, most people caught with a mobile device in their hand while driving were in their 40s, 50s and 60s.