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Oyuka Bernabe performs a traditional Mongolian dance at the Chinese New Year celebration in the Legislative Assembly building on Jan. 26. NNSL file photo

Yellowknifers welcomed the Year of the Rat with music, dance, food and martial arts at the fifth annual public celebration of the Chinese, or Lunar, New Year on Jan. 26 in the Legislative Assembly building. Other activities at the celebration included a demonstration of tai chi from practitioners with the NWT Yellowknife Branch of the Canadian Tai Chi Academy, live karate exercises from students of the Yellowknife Wado Karate Club and a Tinikling Dance from members of the Filipino community.

Volunteers, RCMP step up search for Sladjana

Police in Yellowknife were engaged in an “around the clock” search for 60-year-old Sladjana Petrovic, who was last seen on Dec. 26, 2019.

Residents and businesses were asked for assistance, while Yellowknife Ground Search and Rescue (YKGSAR) and a helicopter were deployed to the Tin Can Hill area after police received an unsuccessful tip about a piece of clothing found on Dec. 27.

In a press conference held on Jan. 3, friends of Petrovic, joined by Yellowknife Centre MLA Julie Green, appealed to the public in the hopes of finding the Serbian-born woman who had lived in Yellowknife for about 20 years.

RCMP recovered her body late night May 1 located in a wooded area just off of the Pat McMahon Frame Lake Trail. She was remembered as a music lover and a lifelong learner.

Foster parents vent at ‘crisis’

One of five foster care parents and adoption caregivers who detailed shocking shortfalls – past and present – in the territory’s child care system, told the Yellowknifer their voices aren’t being heard.

Their accounts stand in stark contrast to the picture being painted by the Department of Health and Social Services (HSS).

In December of 2019, HSS offered an update on the child and family services’ Quality Improvement Plan, a three-year strategy tabled in August of that year. Citing the completion of 23 out of 70 “action items,” the department touted progress on a number of fronts, from revamped minimum contact standards to bolstered resource analytics.

But for many of the foster care providers Yellowknifer sat down with, the report means next to nothing – families aren’t seeing any trickle-down benefits from structural changes at the top.

Giant Mine remediation faces public hearings    

A week of public hearings kicked off at the Nova Hotel in Yellowknife to weigh the federal government’s $1 billion plan to clean up Giant Mine.

The plan up for discussion is the culmination of over a decade’s worth of work and aims to secure a 20-year water licence, and a five-year land-use permit for clean-up.

Some of the plan’s goals for the site include building a water treatment plan, cleaning contaminated soil and sediments, capping four tailing ponds and freezing about 237,000 tonnes of arsenic dust underground.

The Yellowknives Dene First Nation stated the remediation process has “not accommodated our Treaty and Aboriginal rights.” Calling for a community benefits agreement and community monitoring of the site, the Yellowknives also argued the arsenic freeze-in-plan was not a permanent solution.

The Yellowknives called for compensation and an apology for the damage caused by the mine, and that call was renewed Dec. 2.

‘Low’ risk coronavirus will reach NWT: GNWT    

While risk of coronavirus in NWT is low, Chief Public Health Officer Kami Kandola advised residents to take precautions.

When asked if the health department was concerned due to the high number of tourists arriving in the territory from China at this time of year, Kandola said the likelihood of the coronavirus spreading to the NWT is low because travellers are screened before entering Canada.

“Right now the direct threat to Canada appears low,” Kandola said. “We have to realize that China has over a billion people and (of) the number of cases right now, the majority are in Wuhan,” she added

By the end of January Covid-19 had been confirmed in roughly 800 patients worldwide, the vast majority in the Wuhan area. There had been 41 deaths linked to the disease, with the World Health Organization stating it was too soon to declare a global health emergency.

Teen sentenced to four years in death of Ahmed Mahamud Ali

A Yellowknife teen who beat an on-duty taxi driver to death November 2018  in a “brutal” and “senseless” act of “uncontrolled rage” received a four-year sentence, two years shorter than what prosecutors were calling for.

Elias Schiller, 19, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Ahmed Mahamud Ali, 73, a longtime City Cab driver described by devastated friends and family as a pillar in Yellowknife’s Somalian community.

His father James – who later pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to aggravated assault – decided to take Ali to the hospital. Both men mistakenly believed Ali was still alive at the time James drove him to the hospital, the court heard.

Justice Andrew Mahar sentenced the 51-year-old to a six-month jail sentence. With pre-trial custody credit, that amounts to time served, meaning James had no time left to serve.

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Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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