Sunday, July 19, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead Friday, July 17, 2009

The Elders gather in Terrace, Rappin the gospels and rocks through a window, some of the items of note in the Friday edition of the Daily News.

ANNUAL ELDERS GATHERING A GREAT SUCCESS-- The 33rd annual gathering of Elders took place in Terrace this week and the Daily provides some of the highlights of the event which attracted over 3500 participants. The review of events provided for the front page headline story of the Friday edition (see story below)

Elsewhere in the Daily was a preview of a visit by Fresh IE, a Winnipeg based Christian rapper who performed at the Salvation Army Friday night, marking his fourth visit to the city.

Vandalism continues to cause problems in the downtown core, with Galaxy Gardens the latest victim of ill intent. Friday's paper outlines a recent smash and grab at the restaurant, as a front window was broken and a number of items from the restaurant bar taken before Police could respond to the alarm.

The incident, the latest in a string of broken windows through the downtown area in the last year has given the owners cause for thought, that with a 1,000 dollar replacement cost in store for them, if perhaps they should not follow the lead of Subway on Second Avenue. Last year added steel security windows to their aesthetics, that in response to a number of broken windows to their restaurant. Like many other victims in recent times, the owners are seeking the assistance of city hall in finding a way to reduce the number of incidents that seem to be plaguing the downtown area.

The Daily also outlines the latest in cost cutting measures across the province as local health authorities seek ways to meet Minister Kevin Falcon's strict adherence to budgetary constraint. As we outlined on our blog earlier this week, the recent edict from Minister Falcon has seen many Health Authorities take a variety of actions to meet their budgets as per the Minister's orders. While Northern health has not announced how they will approach the Ministers request, it is something of concern to local residents who already are finding that health care struggles continue on the North coast (see blog item here)

The Sports page featured details of an August basketball camp at the Civic Centre as well as some background of the August Quickclimb of Mount Hays.

Total pages in the Friday edition (18)

Front page, headline story:

By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Friday, July 17, 2009
Page one

The former king had nothing but praise for the way the new king ran his show.

"If I could sum it up in one word: excellent," said last year's Elders Gathering King, Leonard Alexcee.

Alexcee felt that this year's King, Melvin Robinson and his wife Rosie got it just right.

In fact, that was the general reaction for those in attendance at the 33rd Annual Elders Gathering, which was held in Terrace earlier this week. The positive showing by the Nisga'a from the Nass Valley made for a wonderful three days that was helped by delicious food from the culinary arts students enrolled at the Northwest Community College, an eclectic mix of singers and dancers from opening day on and the volunteers - all 400 of them. ,

"Put it this way," said Alexcee. "All bases were covered."

And they needed to be. There were 3,500 people ill attendance at this year's gathering, with 2,700 being elders and the rest being support people and chaperones.

The Nisga'a were actually the ones hosting the event but the venues they had in the Nass Valley villages weren't big enough. So they went to Terrace, which is Kitsumkalum territory, and asked for permission to get the show going.

Right from the opening ceremony it was evident to Alexcee that the four communities hosting the event, Nisga' a villages from the Nass Valley - Gingolx, Laxgalts'ap, Gitwinksihlkw and New Aiyansh, with the support the Tsimshian community, Kitsumkalum, knew what they were doing.

The theme was "Sayt K'ilim Goot", which means one heart, one path, and one nation.

While the dancing and feasting were reminiscent of last year, the amount of volunteering was the biggest difference from 2008 in Prince Rupert. The Friendship House hosted the annual gathering then and while it was considered a successful event, many of the organizers felt exhausted by the amount of work needed to properly put it on.

"It's pretty hard to do it, but that being said all the outlying villages really helped out last year with food and financial support," said Alexcee.

Friendship House program director, Rudy Kelly, was also on hand to check out this year's offerings and was suitably impressed by the work of the organizers.

"The volunteering was really well organized, with volunteers wearing the same t -shirts so that an elder could easily find them if they needed help," said Kelly.

Kelly echoed Alexcee's sentiments by saying the major difference this year from last year was the level of organization.

"I spoke to this year's King and Queen and they said they have learned some things from here. Everything just seemed to happen much quicker there and kept tighter. Hats off, definitely to the Nisga' a," said Kelly.

This year's event was held earlier this week in Terrace and because it was no more than a two hour drive down Highway 16, a decent-sized delegation from Prince Rupert was off to see the annual spectacle that honours the senior members of the province's First Nations.

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