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News briefs: Monday, September 13, 2010

Walrus meat infected

Nunavut health officials are warning residents of Sanikiluaq not to eat raw meat from two recently-harvested walruses as the animals contain Trichinella worms.

Anyone who has eaten raw meat from the two walruses harvested near the community on Sept. 3 should seek medical attention, as treatment is available to prevent trichinosis from developing, stated the Kivalliq Region Environmental Health Officer in a press release.

"We know that if a walrus is infected, people could get really sick," said Dr. Isaac Sobol, Nunavut's chief medical officer.

"If they are not treated, they could theoretically die. So, it's really important for anybody who ate that meat to get to the health centre."

A person infected with Trichinella worms could develop symptoms within three to 21 days. Those symptoms include stomach and muscle pain, diarrhea, swollen eyelids, sweating and weakness, stated the press release.

It adds anyone who has eaten the meat should seek medical attention, even if they do not show symptoms.

Health officials recommend people destroy the meat or thoroughly cook it before eating it or feeding it to dogs.

-Jeanne Gagnon

Muskoxen deaths investigated

The death of nine muskoxen is being investigated by the Nunavut department of environment.

A sport hunter and local guide found the nine animal carcasses on Aug. 16 northwest of Cambridge Bay, on the west side of Wellington Bay.

The cause of death is believed to be natural, stated the department in a press release. It adds the department has sampled four of the nine carcasses for various diseases.

The investigation is ongoing but Sharina Dodsworth, the department's manager of communications, said she didn't know when the results would be released.

The Victoria Island muskox population is currently estimated at 40,000 individuals.

-Jeanne Gagnon

Iqaluit avoids power outage

The city managed to avoid a power outage during routine maintenance thanks to efforts from residents during the last couple weeks in August.

"We were just able to meet load demand," said Meghan McCrae, manager of corporate communications with Qulliq Energy Corporation.

McCrae said the corporation began scheduled maintenance of one of its generators on Aug. 18. While this was occurring, another generator broke down due to a part malfunctioning.

On Aug. 23 the corporation advised residents to conserve energy especially during peak demand times, around 12:15 p.m. on weekdays. To aid in this effort, the Government of Nunavut had rotating lunch hours.

Normally, the city operates with 10.3 megawatts of power. Peak demand was just being met with 7.3 megawatts.

"Both generators were brought back online the weekend of Aug. 28," McCrae said.

-Emily Ridlington

Last narwhal caught for the season

Kangiqtugaapik/Clyde River

Quluaq School principal Jukeepa Hainnu nabbed the community's last narwhal for the season the weekend of Sept. 4.

"It was a very good season, the tags ran out quite fast," said Steven Aipellee, the hamlet's

acting senior administrative officer, on Aug. 31

The community was given 50 tags at the beginning of the hunting season. Aipellee said names of individuals were being drawn every three days. If they came back unsuccessful a new name was drawn until a whale was caught.

- Emily Ridlington

Baker Lake woman earns scholarship

Qamanittuaq/Baker Lake

Dianne Iyago of Baker Lake has been awarded the Laura Ulluriaq Gauthier Scholarship by Qulliq Energy Corporation. Iyago, a graduate of Nunavut Sivuniksavut and current board member of the Northern Youth Abroad program, will soon enter her second year of nursing at the Nunatta Campus of Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit.

"The entire selection committee felt that Dianne's drive to succeed at her education, her future plans for giving back to her community and the volunteer work that she continues to do all combine to make her the ideal recipient of the Laura Ulluriaq Gauthier Scholarship," said Jamie Flaherty, vice-president of Qulliq Energy Corporation and a selection committee member, in a press release.

- Erika Sherk

New lagoon cell and fence around dump

Ikaluktutiak/Cambridge Bay

Cambridge Bay's sewage lagoon and dump are undergoing improvements.

The dump, located on the northeast side of the community, will be fenced and the existing metal waste will be buried.

"Our dump really did need these upgrades," said Stephen King, the hamlet's senior administrative officer. "Our metal dump was to the point where we could no longer had the capacity to deal with the requirements for the community and that's the same with our sewage lagoon. This is supposed to meet our capacity for the next 20 years. It was very important we get a fence around our dump to keep the garbage from blowing out on the land."

A new cell or pond is being built for the sewage lagoon and part of a road to access that new cell, said King. He added the berm around the whole lagoon will be upgraded, with the new cell getting a new berm, and the runoff from the lagoon will be diverted more properly.

Construction started last month and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2011, said King. He added the territory's community and government services department provided the approximately $5.4 million to do the project.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Out goes the carpet - in comes the vinyl

Kinngait/Cape Dorset

The carpet in the classrooms of Sam Pudlat School was removed last week. Principal David Webber said the change was done for health reasons.

"The carpet is dusty and it's not healthy," he said.

Students were off school while the carpet was ripped out and vinyl flooring put in, as Webber said "everything is upside down."

- Jeanne Gagnon

New garage and arena expansion

Kugaaruk/Pelly Bay

The sounds of hammers and saws can probably be heard throughout the community as construction on a new garage and arena extension has started.

"We're right in the midst of doing some construction, major projects in Kugaaruk," said Andre Larabie, the hamlet's senior administrative officer.

The new arena extension will eventually house a Zamboni, a piece of equipment the hamlet will order once the construction is done.

He added the hamlet is also building an approximately 300 square metre garage on airport land to house the snow blower, grader, bulldozer and dump truck. Larabie said those pieces of equipment are required to clean off the airport runway.Both projects are expected to be finished before the winter, he said.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Research support facility ready to go

Arviat

The Nunavut Research Institute's new research support facility in Arviat is now fully constructed, according to Jamie Bell, Arctic College public affairs spokesperson. The facility, which is the first of four research support centers to be built in Nunavut - the other three in Iglulik, Cambridge Bay and Rankin Inlet - was constructed by Tangmaarvik Inland Camp, which has pledged to use local employees to build the facilities in all four communities.

The facility, which was built through the federal Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund, will support visiting scientific research in and around Arviat.

- Erika Sherk

Year of the caribou

Panniqtuuq/Pangnirtung

Many of the activities at Alookie School this year will revolve around the theme of the caribou.

"It will soon be caribou hunting season and this ties in berry-picking season," said principal Lucy Duval-Evic.

School started on Aug. 29 and a school assembly was held. New teachers were introduced and parents attended. "The children are really happy to be here," she said.

The start of the school year also means the kick-off of the breakfast and exercise programs offered at the school through the Brighter Futures Program through the Government of Nunavut Department of Health and Social Services.

- Emily Ridlington

More cruises are welcome

Qikiqtarjuaq/Broughton Island

Three cruise ships have visited the community of Qikiqtarjuaq so far this year.

"We have a fourth one scheduled for Sept.11," said Morris Kuniliusie, the hamlet's economic development officer.

Kuniliusie said the community would have liked to have more boats visit.

- Emily Ridlington

Berries and gift certificates

Tikirarjuaq/Whale Cove

Inuglak School in Whale Cove is preparing to celebrate its best attendees. The school is holding an assembly to hand out $25 Co-op gift certificates for students with 100 per cent attendance. There are about 15 this month, according to vice-principal Eva Angoo.

The primary classes, kindergarten to Grade 6, had a chance to enjoy the last days of summer last week, berry-picking for blackberries near the Whale's Tail monument. "That was fun, the students enjoyed that," said Angoo. The high school students will get their chance to pick berries soon, though no date has been set.

- Erika Sherk

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