|RSS Students strike a pose with their new friends from Cole Harbour School. This week (April 14-23) RSS returns the visit. Photo by SEVEC Group|
Welcome to the April 14th on-line edition of the Klondike Sun. This is the abridged version of our April 11th hard copy edition. Getting a subscription (see the home page) is the only way you'll ever see it all.
While the election is Monday and all of this information would be useless to you in voting by the time you will read it, it does tell you a lot about the place. It's also what bloated this issue to 28 pages.
We don't usually print the RCMP Blotter here, but this one is needed in order to explain why this issue's Uffish Thought reads the way it does.
by Dan Davidson
The signs are sprouting all over the town and the highway, lining the dyke and the roads. In the rapidly melting Klondike riding, the Battle of the Snowbanks, as some have called it, is fully engaged one week after the final nomination meeting.
It's an easy mistake to make, but one does well to remember that the Klondike Riding is not exactly identical to Dawson City. While most of the 1200 voters in the riding can be found in the town, the riding itself stretches north past Moosehide, south down the Klondike Valley towards the Dempster Highway, out into the creek county where mining traditions are strong, and west across the still bridgeless Yukon River to West Dawson and Sunnydale.
While all of these areas are linked by tradition and history, they don't all want to be Dawson City, which some view with alarm as having metropolitan ambitions. Nevertheless, they share a member of the legislative assembly, and it's interesting to note how that sharing has bounced around during the years.
Prior to the official beginning of party politics in the Yukon, Dawson was represented by a series of Independent legislators, the last of which was Mike Stutter, a Conservative.
In 1974, the NDP ran a territorial slate of candidates (while everyone else continued to be "independent") and Fred Berger took one of the Dawson ridings. Eleanor Millard, whom Berger recalls as an independent liberal, held the northern riding, called Ogilvie, which ran all the way from Dawson to Old Crow.
In 1978 Meg McCall took the new single Klondike riding (with Old Crow now removed) for Chris Pearson's Progressive Conservatives and held it until 1982. She was succeeded by PC Clark Ashley, who triumphed over the NDP's Art Webster that year.
In 1985, however, Webster tried again and took the riding for Tony Penikett's NDP, holding it against even the challenge of popular mayor Peter Jenkins for two terms. Webster was brought down by the Yukon Party's political neophyte, David Millar, in the backlash election of 1992 which retired the Penikett government and put the Yukon Party-Independent Coalition in power.
Millar, a much happier miner than a politician, was succeeded as the Yukon Party's standard bearer by Peter Jenkins in 1996. Jenkins had lost the mayor's chair to Webster by that time and was thus able to offer himself as a candidate.
The riding has tended to cycle between the left and right of the political spectrum, and the races have tended to be two party affairs, even when there were three in the race.
That could change this time, and Peter Jenkins is the first to admit it. He won't say that he's worried, but he is clear about what he sees as a potential threat to his reelection.
"Every vote for the Liberals is a vote for the NDP," he says, agreeing that he and the Liberal candidate, Stuart Schmidt, will tend to draw votes from the same constituency.
Schmidt sees it the same way. As a Jenkins supporter during the last election, he brought a certain number of votes with him. He thinks they will tend to follow him to the Liberals. He hopes also to appeal to some of the more middle of the pack voters who might normally vote NDP.
For Aedes Scheer, the NDP candidate, this could mean that her hopes to fill the MLA's chair depend on how much damage the other candidates do to each other, which is about the only point on which she could be said to be in complete accord with Peter Jenkins.
There is actually a remarkable degree of similarity among the three parties in how they view the local situation.
Dawson's economy has not been as badly chewed up as that in the rest of the Yukon, and all three agree on that, though they maintain that things could get worse and need to be encouraged in order to get better.
Land Use certainty is an issue for all three, and none of them see the Tombstone situation as being emblematic of the problems in the territory. Schmidt and Scheer see this as a special case and are both quick to point out that the Land Claim here takes precedence over other concerns, but both recognize any existing mining claims. Jenkins wonders why the NDP didn't ratify the park's boundaries before they called the election and clear the air at least that much.
Health Care is high on all three agendas. They all want to clear up the doctor-on-call issue which has been hanging in the air for the last several years, get more doctors into Dawson, and extend the range of services here to include more care for the elderly.
All three speak of a need to put together a flexible health centre which can handle everything from emergencies to long term residency and palliative care with the same resources. That would require a clear restructuring of how things are now handled and the construction of a new joint facility.
Jenkins is the only candidate still vowing to get a bridge built, an issue which goes back to his 14 years in the mayor's office. Everyone else thinks a bridge would be a good idea, but they are not sure it is a local priority right now. Schmidt would poll people to find out what their priorities are and act accordingly. Scheer has said much the same in discussion on council.
None of them have any problem with the City of Dawson's position on secondary sewage treatment, which is that it will be done, but not immediately. Scheer is a convert to the lack of a need for the treatment plant, having been convinced by the sheer weight of the scientific studies she's looked at over the last three years. Jenkins has always been convinced that Dawson was being picked on by the federal agencies in Whitehorse, and Schmidt thinks the attitude of the regulators and some environmentalists is just ridiculous.
In the meantime, the Battle of the Snowbanks continues as signs pop up along the highway, sprout in yards and materialize on buildings.
by Dan Davidson
Difficult challenges are nothing new to Aedes Scheer. A teacher and veterinary technician by training, Scheer moved to Dawson from Whitehorse six years ago, having grown up in Alberta. her first job here was as a mosquito control specialist. She sees herself as a person who responds to needs when she sees them, and has so far proved effective in that role.
The Dawson Humane Society, pretty much an abstract concept when she arrived, took on form and substance under her leadership. She is now just another board member, but she got the ball rolling.
She also proved that a veterinarian was needed in the community, serving as a mobile vet tech for a year, raising the money to start her practice when the banks wouldn't look at it and marking enough of a loving to finance her own house in the bargain.
She has currently been working as a contract instructor in math, sciences and computer studies at the Dawson campus of Yukon College in the winter and an agent with Princess Tours in the summer. She has also completed nearly one full term on municipal council, an experience which she feels has prepared her for the larger challenges of the territorial stage.
In addition to that, she has been serving with the Dawson District Renewable Resource Council.
"I think that at the city council level I've made a real effort to be inclusive and to be constructive rather than confrontational. I think I can bring that inclusive perspective to the territorial level."
"I don't have a closed mind to things," she says, citing her experience with the sewer and water issues here. When she joined council she would have been seen as an environmentalist on this issue, but she says that as she read the studies and the science continued to roll in, she saw that it made less and less sense to worry about Dawson's so-called effluent problem.
"I like to dig into things and do research. I really think that the more we know the better the decision is."
She's been thinking about this move for a couple of years and people have also been encouraging her to give it a try.
"This time, I just couldn't pass it by."
For Scheer the main issues in the election are the economy and health care, and she's finding that people are very willing to talk about these things.
Her profile on town council is both good and bad for her. Those who like what the council has done tend to be favorable to her; those who don't explain that to her at length.
She believes that Dawson needs increased health care services at both ends of the spectrum: mid-wife and birthing assistance and hospice care for seniors. Both groups of patients presently face extended stays in Whitehorse to deal with their conditions, expensive trips that rob them of their support structures at home.
"Sometimes we get too caught up in what the patient ... medically needs and we don't think about what the people attached to this person need."
She likes the NDP plan of offering "micro-loans" to small entrepreneurs. Her own small business had to start of personal loans made by individuals in the community who were willing to take a risk on her. The banks and the government of the day wouldn't see that Dawson needed veterinary services.
She also supports the current program of Community Development Fund grants to organizations, and feels that Dawson has benefited greatly from that, pointing to the Humane Society and the Dawson City Arts Society as major beneficiaries.
Indeed, she feels that Dawson has benefited greatly from the NDP government in general over her three years on council, with over $10 million being committed to recreation and infrastructure programs here during the last 18 months.
She would be happy to see those trends continue.
"Healthy lifestyles will attract professionals to this community as well as new businesses and young families."
Having experienced the frustration of trying to get finding for post-secondary education herself, she is anxious to come up with a scheme to help students finance their training and bring it back to the Yukon.
Scheer concedes that she hasn't always been a New Democrat, and that it is, in large part, her experience as a town councillor dealing with the NDP government that has solidified her current philosophy.
In her youth she was, for a time, a member of the now defunct Western Canada Concept, and also had ties to its ideological offspring, the recently rechristened Reform Party. Her parents in Alberta are still having trouble with their daughter's current political choice, but she says that the need she felt to reach the everyday Joe and Jill and get effective representation for her region are very much a part of the NDP as it exists in the Yukon.
by Dan Davidson
Peter Jenkins may be counting on his long political experience in the Klondike to pull him through, but he's careful not to look like he's resting on his laurels.
The experience is a sure thing. Of the 27 years Jenkins has lived in Dawson City (before that there were years in Faro and in central Canada) he has spent 14 of them as the town's mayor and the last 3 as the region's MLA.
Of the issues that seem to be common to all parties in the riding - health care facilities and the economy - Jenkins has been working at them for years, trying to wear down the resistance.
Jenkins sees many of the problems in the economy as being caused by a climate of uncertainty, a climate which he maintains doesn't need to exist. On either side of the Yukon, in Alaska and in the NWT, mining exploration is booming, and he feels it could be here, too, without any significant sacrifice of the environment.
"In Alaska, environmental regulations are more strict than they are here in the Yukon. The wages are higher. The costs in US dollars are higher. Canadian companies (like Viceroy) are working there at a premium and when you ask why, it's because of the certainty surrounding the process of land tenure.
"We (the Yukon Party) believe that a balance can be struck between resource development and environmental protection."
Some of that, he says, come from Land Claims, which have to be settled soon in order to turn things around. Some of it is regulations with open-ended timelines.
Health care has long been an issue for Jenkins, and it was under his administration that Dawson began its practice of offering incentives to doctors to locate in the area. He hasn't budged on that. He supports the local doctors in their continuing debate over on-call fees, pointing to the cost of medivacs, which he says have been grossly underestimated by the government, to prove his point.
"The dollars," he says, "are being spent now, but not being spent effectively. We've lost ground. more and more often people are being stabilized and sent right out."
'We're just fortunate that we've had a downturn in population and mining activity is down. That leads to less industrial accidents."
Jenkins has long been an advocate of a new facility in the Klondike which would combine the functions of the nursing station and the MacDonald Lodge Seniors Residence.
"What is happening more often than not is the people, after a certain stage in their lives, are moved to Whitehorse. That's not fair to the family and to those individuals."
In addition, he points to social issues such as drugs and alcohol.
"We've got a real problem ... that has to be addressed. The money being spent is not accomplishing the task that is required."
That last comment comes up again and again in Jenkins' notes and presentations. It is a key element in his thinking that all the money needed already exists, and that it just isn't being spent effectively."
Jenkins remains adamant after many years of fighting the battle that "cost-benefit analysis would support the construction of a bridge" a move which he claims would benefit not only the Klondike but the entire territory. He even believes that the combined federal and territorial funding for the project already exists, but that the political will does not.
He also feels that a permanent link across the river would make it more difficult for the state of Alaska to tinker with notions like not clearing the Taylor Highway in time for the regular tourist season.
Jenkins says that he has had to spend a lot of time over the last two years dickering with Alaskan legislators over that issue. he believes it is his efforts that helped "tip the scales in support of the supplemental budget that is providing funding to open the highway."
The former mayor of Dawson remains indignant with the treatment the town has received over its sewage discharge. He supports council in its efforts to find ways to handle the issue in an affordable manner, but still can't understand how Dawson's minor outfall can be grouped in with places like Victoria and Halifax, where the sewage isn't even processed to the level that is done here now.
Jenkins detractors have accused him of being a kind of invisible man during his term of office. He admits that he hasn't held a single public constituency meeting in the last three years, but denies that he has been keeping a low profile.
"I've met with a lot of groups in the community over the last three years, and with a lot of individuals. I have not quite 200 files on issues and concerns and almost 100 are from the Dawson area.
"There's been a constant dialogue between the city and myself over issues, such as the Municipal Act, which impact on the city. In the mining community I've had numerous meetings with individuals having problems with federal officials."
He would rather not have seen a three party race in the Klondike since he feels the one here might tend to split the conservative vote.
"I need every vote I can get," he says, which is the closest he will come to admitting that he is concerned.
by Dan Davidson
One of the first things that Stuart Schmidt faced the day he announced his candidacy was the look of surprise on peoples' faces. Most people saw Schmidt as a more conservative person, and it was well known that he had supported both of the last two Yukon Party candidates to hold this riding.
"It's true," he says, "I was a Yukon Party supporter. but perhaps I have moderated a bit in my views."
Schmidt says he has tended to be a bit cynical about the political process, and it is his assessment that all parties seem to offer the same things to the electorate each time out, with just changes in style to differentiate them.
The lists are always similar, he says: education, health care, economic development, you name it.
Nevertheless, he also feels that the process has become more and more polarized with the passing years, and that it's time now to even things out. He looks at the party he used to support and feels it has drifted too far to the right wing now.
"The Yukon Party strongly represents one segment of the Yukon, but there's a large segment that they don't really represent, and I think the Liberal Party has an opportunity to represent those people."
In his mind this constituency is in the middle of the political spectrum.
"They want economic development, but they want to protect the environment. They want a balance. They want a good health system and a thoughtful justice system, and they're also pro-mining.
"I don't believe that there has to be a big conflict between mining and parks." The Tombstone situation, he says, is not representative of the situation in the Yukon, nor of the feelings of the local first nation, many of whose members work in mining.
Miners, he says, don't have to be right wing.
Schmidt should know. He spent some years as president of the extremely proactive Klondike Placer Miners Association and has been involved in the field all his life. He currently mines on the upper Indian River and Thistle Creek areas.
His wife Nancy, operates a tourism business at the Gold Claim in town, selling art, gold jewellery and wood carvings. He and his family live in the same building now, though for years he lived mainly on his claims. That leads naturally to the concern that he is not exactly a year round resident.
It's true, he says, that he has a house in Whitehorse, a possession which he picked up a couple of years back and which he expects will be very convenient for him if he is elected, but he grew up in and around Dawson and has lived a good part of the year in the Klondike region ever since he was a boy of four months. A lot of that time was spent on the creeks, which he says gives him a different sense of the town and the riding.
"I feel that this is my home. I don't have another home."
In the legislature, he would like to see more of a politics of cooperation. He was recently embarrassed by a Question Period during which a grade 11 class was there while he was also viewing the session.
"I thinks it's gotten so extreme in the legislature that members of the opposition are not always able to sit down with the government members and discuss ... issues calmly." He believes that less charged discussions might be more productive in finding solutions to problems.
"I've always noticed, working in committees, that it's much easier working with people than against them. I think government should set an example of how to work together and not how to squabble. Perhaps I'm naive."
His major objectives as an MLA would include doing what he could to strengthen the mining sector, which seems to be afflicted by either high costs or low prices much of the time these days. He also wants to encourage tourism, though he sees this as needing less help than mining.
He would like to see the establishment of an extended care facility in the riding.
"This is so that people who are really ill seriously ill, aren't sent away to Whitehorse, far from family and friends. It's very expensive...and inconvenient for everyone. There should be a facility here."
He also wants to find a solution to the problem of doctors-on-call.
Schmidt has a concern about social issues as well, and has launched his campaign during a fortnight which has seen the RCMP open over 30 new case files. There has been a rash of car thefts (8 in total), a number of break-ins, a suicide and a murder.
"This doesn't happen all the time in Dawson ... but it's put social issues on everyone's minds. The tragedies that followed have kind of shut us all up for a while. As a community there are things we need to address there."
He's not claiming to have answers to the problems, but he wants to look at them closely and spend the time and money needed to deal with them.
The Liberal Party itself doesn't have a position on Dawson's long-standing sewage treatment debates, but Schmidt is tired of having the community picked on by outside interests.
"I think it's a little ridiculous for the (Yukon) Conservation Society to keep hounding the City of Dawson about it when, a) they're going to do it and, b) there's no measurable impact downstream from the outfall."
by Dan Davidson
Health care and the economy were the main issues raised when the candidates met the electorate here last week.
The Public Forum sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce on Thursday night confirmed one thing about the impending election: people in the Klondike are interested in the process this time.
Between 150 and 170 people filled the chairs in the Robert Service School's gymnasium to hear what the three candidates running for the MLA's seat had to tell them, and no one can say how many more listened at home via the hastily improvised DCTV television link.
As is traditional here, this meeting was not a debate. The candidates got to make statements and respond to questions from the audience, but did not actually respond to each others' positions except in an oblique fashion. There are some that would prefer a debate and others that feel it would be too messy a process. The forums are a compromise which seems to work.
Chamber president Michel Dupont introduced the event and set the rotation of speakers, who each got to make an opening statement, give a timed answer to the various questions which arose, and deliver a closing statement.
As Liberal candidate Stuart Schmidt kept saying throughout the almost two hour session, "I wish we had more time." The restriction of the response time barely gave the candidates time to launch a preamble to an answer before they had to wrap it up, and they frequently had to cut themselves off in mid-sentence when the bell rang.
The other thing that might improve a session like this would be to limit the number of car carrying partisans who can prime the pump with a question their candidate can answer while hoping to embarrass the others. In a town the size of Dawson, no one is fooled by the supposedly spontaneous urge to rush to the microphone. There were very few questions asked by just plain folks and several which were either inappropriate or muck raking in nature.
The questions which were asked, however, seemed to bear some resemblance to those which were on peoples' minds.
In general the candidates were most comfortable with questions which addressed their party platforms, but it was also clear that there are parts of each party's record which leave their representatives uncomfortable.
The NDP's Aedes Scheer, for instance, is clearly in support of many of the local positions on health care, and agrees with the need to find a solution to Dawson's problems with doctor recruitment and on-call payment. As nothing has been resolved along those lines over the last three years, she could only conclude that "obviously there are some problems in the party. We all make mistakes."
This left the other candidates free to champion positions unencumbered by current party peccadilloes. Liberal candidate Stuart Schmidt, for instance, expanded the topic to include the shortage of professionals in the territory, specifically doctors, teachers and nurses. At least part of the solution, he said, was to be found in being sure that the salaries offered surpassed rates in the south.
The Yukon Party's Peter Jenkins felt that the issue was not one of money so much as it was of lifestyle. Doctors, he said, were obviously already prepared to accept less money than they might make elsewhere as a trade-off for a lifestyle they enjoyed, so the onus was on the government to make sure there were enough of them in the town so that each of them could actually have a life apart from the office.
Scheer and Schmidt pledged to work to increase the living allowance for non-native pregnant mothers who have to spend weeks in Whitehorse waiting for their children to be born. Schmidt also wants to increase the local options for those whose pregnancies don't require that trip, and Scheer would like to investigate midwifery as a practice. Jenkins felt that increasing the travel allowance to government rates would be the answer.
The candidates all want to work to improve the local economy, seeing support for mining and tourism as being key issues. Mining, there was general agreement, would prosper where there was land use certainty, when Land Claims were finished, and when the regulatory process was streamlined.
Schmidt noted that it was often not the regulations, so much as the way they were enforced, which was the problem miners faced.
In response to questions from Mayor Glen Everitt, the candidates said that a bridge across the Yukon River would be a major economic asset . Jenkins was for it unreservedly, saying the time has come and that the economic indicators show that it is feasible now. Schmidt was for it personally, but would want clear direction from the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in and municipal councils before pushing the project. Scheer saw it as desirable, but said that the community needed to determine where a bridge sits on its lost of priorities.
All three candidates supported the existence and main thrust of the Community Development Fund, which has poured many thousands of dollars into Dawson - the DCAS project being an obvious example - during the present government's term.
Tombstone Park made the list of issues, with candidates being asked whether they accepted the idea of mining there. All candidates reminded people that this land, unlike other potential resource areas in the territory, is part of a proposed park set aside under the Land Claims process. As such, it is not a normal area for staking. Existing claims must be honoured in some manner. It is even possible they could be worked, although the federal minister of DIAND, Robert Nault, seems set against this.
On a personal level, Jenkins and Schmidt tended to be more in favour of mining here, and Scheer not in favour, but all indicated that it was an issue that the territorial government would not have much influence over, being only one of the three parties to the Land Claim agreement.
Other issues included the need for a permanent home for Yukon College, the need for local consultation by whatever MLA is in office and the need to diversify the economy, and the need to provide public housing in such a way that people can afford to save to get out of it.
Jenkins, as the incumbent, faced some of the toughest questions of the evening, including some of the unfair ones relating to his private business practices. Scheer had the toughest time with the medical issues and got groans for her personal comment that "in a perfect world" there would be no mining in Tombstone. Schmidt probably wore the "Gee I wish I had more time" response a little thin as the evening wore on. All three candidates got lots of applause and even a few laughs as the evening progressed, however, and it was a positive event, though not one from which there emerged any clear victor.
For the period of March 8 - April 6, 2000
During this period the Dawson City RCMP Detachment have been extremely busy, responding to a variety of calls for service. Five calls for assistance to general public were received, one Mental Health Act apprehension, two minor thefts, seven motor vehicle accidents, three complaints of suspicious persons or vehicles, two reports of lost items and two false alarms. During this time period, there were 18 people lodged in detachment cells. Detachment personnel have also executed warrants for other detachments as well as served documents on behalf of the Sheriff's Office. One youth has also been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and two assault reports were investigated, one report of fraud is currently under investigation.
On March 11, 2000, a truck belonging to a local resident was stolen and recovered by local members in Dawson City. The truck suffered extensive damage as a result of this theft. Also during the same date, a truck belonging to Finning was parked at Northern Superior when an attempt was made to steal this truck from the compound. The attempt was unsuccessful but damage to the compound fence and the truck did occur. These matters are still under investigation.
On March 14, 2000, a local youth attended the Breakfast Program at the Robert Service School in an intoxicated state. One youth has been charged with breach of probation.
On March 16th, 2000, a local residence was broken into while the occupants were sleeping. A flashlight was shone into the eyes of an occupant, as she awoke, scaring off the culprits. Items were stolen from this residence and eventually recovered. Two youths have been charged with this break, enter and theft and are now in custody. Both have also been charged with breaching their probation.
Also on this date, the White Ram Manor Bed and Breakfast was broken into with several items being stolen. Most of the items have been recovered to date. Two youth have been charged with this break, enter and theft. Both have also been charged with breaching their probation.
On March 17, 2000, a local youth at the Robert Service School had a substantial amount of money stolen from her jacket, while she was writing exams. This matter is still under investigation.
On March 18, 2000 during the early morning hours, a total of five local trucks were stolen and were recovered by Detachment personnel. Some of the recovered vehicles had varying degrees of damage. Two youths have received several charges relating to these thefts of motor vehicles. During this theft spree, a truck belonging to Klondike Transport Ltd., was also extensively damaged in an attempt to steal the truck. Two youths have been charged concerning this damage and breaching their probation.
While detachment personnel were investigating the numerous vehicle thefts, a report was received from the Bonanza Esso advising of a break, enter and theft. As a result, Aaron Arthur MIDDLETON, age 22 of Dawson City, has been charged with mischief under $5000 to the service station and is to reappear in Dawson City Court on June 19th, 2000. Two youth have been charged with break, enter and theft into the service station. Some of the stolen items have since been recovered. One of the youth has also been charged with breach of probation.
Also on this date, snowmobilers were parked by the Downtown Hotel and had several items, stolen from them including tool kits, gloves and other personal items. This matter is still under investigation.
On March 19, 2000, members responded to a report of a female at a local residence requesting assistance. As a result, James Darren CLOSE, age 25 of Dawson City, has been charged with spousal assault and also charged with assaulting a police officer. He is to reappear in Dawson City court on June 19, 2000.
On March 23, 2000, a local residence contacted the Dawson City Detachment, in the early morning hours and advised that there were several suspicious youths searching through local vehicles and food freezers. As a result four youth have been charged with theft under $5000, while one of the youth has also been charged with breach of probation.
On March 24, 2000, Dawson City RCMP responded to a request for assistance at a local residence. As a result, Patricia Lynn CHUDY, age 30 of Dawson City has been charged with 2nd degree murder. She is currently in custody and appearing before the Territorial Court.
On March 28th, 2000, as a result of an investigation Lucas James HAWKES, age 24 of Henderson Corner has been charged with the cultivation of marijuana and is to appear in Dawson City Court on June 19th, 2000.
Dawson City Territorial Circuit Court was recently held from April 3, 2000 to April 6th, 2000. As a result:
If any one has any information on the above noted crimes or any other crimes, please contact your local RCMP Detachment or Crime Stoppers.
We would like to take this opportunity to welcome Cpl. Larry MACDONALD and his wife Rose to the Dawson City Detachment. Cpl. MACDONALD comes to us from Pelly Crossing and will be the new Operations N. C. O. for Dawson City Detachment. Cpl. MACDONALD has 21 years of service with the RCMP and originates from the Maritimes.
Remember that with the warmer weather and increased daylight, more children will be walking, crossing streets and riding bicycles. Speed zones throughout Dawson City are posted including school zones, and will be enforced. Please watch for our children as well as all pedestrians.
Please remember to remove all keys from your vehicles and ensure that vehicles are locked up. Also ensure that your homes are secured as well.
(P. L. BROWN) Cst.
Dawson City Detachment
(S. P. GLEBOFF) Sgt.
by Dan Davidson
It has not been an entirely pleasant fortnight in the Klondike Capital, and it was as a result of some of this unpleasantness that I found myself sitting in a small but effective church choir last Saturday afternoon, assisting a larger number of people than we usually see in Saint Paul's (except at Christmas Eve) in dealing with the grief they were feeling over not just one, but two, recent deaths.
Within days of each other, the week before, there had been first, a suicide, and then, a few days later, a murder.
These were not the first signs of unpleasantness, however, and I don't mean to make light of them by referring to them in this way.
My first clue of major problems was a truck parked outside the Post Office. Its windows were smashed out and its interior wrecked. Signs posted on it invoked the Crimestoppers program to help the owner find out more details about the identity of the youths who had stolen, trashed and abandoned it. In addition, he requested help in finding some of its contents, which had apparently been tossed out windows during the joyride.
This vehicle was one of eight that had been taken during a two week period, though I didn't know it at the time. One other, I subsequently learned, belonged to someone I knew, and a colleague of mine narrowly missed having hers added to the list.
Then there was a series of home break-ins.
What I learned, as the end of the week approached, was that the RCMP had been so busy, opening something like 30 new files in a two week period (this, after just having released a report showing that crime in the town was down in 1999) that they weren't going to have the time to produce the biweekly Police Blotter for our local paper.
So much had happened that I thought we really shouldn't miss mentioning some of it so I made some brief notes and ran them past the members on duty. It passed muster and I typed up a Blotter-style column while waiting for them to phone me back with a couple of details they wanted to add.
Time passed, I layed out pages on our office computer and finally the phone rang again. It was just a quick call to let me know that something serious had come up and they hadn't had time to do anything else. We could go with what we had discussed.
What had come up, of course, was the second of the two deaths, the drama of which would conclude a hour or two later at the Nursing Station.
This, you see, brings me back to the church, where two funerals, both packed to the aisles and doors, took place the next week.
My day job precludes any cutting of classes to go sing in choirs during school hours, but I'm told the scene on Thursday afternoon was just as affecting as the one on Saturday; people sitting stunned, contemplating mortality and trying to find comfort along with a few answers.
We need to contemplate mortality much more often. We need to come together in something other than grief. We need to seek solutions that don't come in bottles, needles, and quantities of illicit pharmaceuticals.
If there has been a tragedy of this nature in Dawson in the last 15 years which did not involve some use of chemicals, I am unaware of it. Such abuse may be only the symptom of a much deeper problem, but unless we take steps to curb it and to get to the root of that problem we can expect more of the same in the years to come.
As for the other problems I've mentioned, they hail from the same source and can no more be cured in a short span of time than can the deeper issues.
But we do have to try.
Meeting together regularly to contemplate mortality in the company of our neighbours might be a start. It surely couldn't hurt. This Sunday would be as good a time as any to begin.
by Dan Davidson
How long does it take to make yourself a part of a community? If you're Denny Kobayashi, not all that long. The hard working former manager of the Klondike Visitors Association burrowed very deeply into the heart of Dawson during his years here, and about 60 people turned out to a farewell party last week to show him how much he would be missed.
Denny, or "Koby", as he is often known, is moving on to a secondment within the YTG's Tourism Branch, from which post he has pledged to spread the word that what's good for tourism in the Klondike really is good for almost all the rest of the territory.
"Sayonara Kobayashi-San - Happy Trails" read the big banner behind the stage at Diamond Tooth Gerties as friends and friendly enemies took turns explaining to Denny what an idiot he was for leaving and that they wished him well.
Mayor Glen Everitt, who served with Kobayashi as a fellow town councillor, spoke of his love/hate relationship with the man and presented him with a parting gift from council, framed in the form of a bylaw, given reading in public and witnessed by this scribe.
The document enjoins Kobayashi to work hard on behalf of the Klondike in his new position and to make his spare room available to any Dawsonites arriving in Whitehorse who might need to use it.
Speaking for the KVA, Denny's most recent employer, Father Tim Coonen praised the man who he said had taken the association "out of the offices and back into the street". He also noted that Kobayashi had presided over the opening of the Berton House Writer's Retreat (the house is managed by the KVA), and the turning over of the Oddfellows Hall to the Dawson City Arts Society.
A Richard Hartmier photo, framed and mounted with a KVA plaque, will be sitting in Denny's new office.
Speaking on behalf of the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce, with which Denny was closely involved, CIBC manager Steve Touchie presented him with a one-way return ticket to Dawson, redeemable at any time.
Everitt read a letter of support from the softball association, which has been a cause of Denny's for years. Several students from Robert Service School took the podium to thank him for the years of coaching and annual clinics which he had held for them to help promote the sport of volleyball.
Jon Magnusson spoke on behalf of the Klondike Centennial Society, which was also a pet project of Denny's, whether he was managing the General Store, managing the Liquor Store, running a Video Store with his partners, or working for the KVA.
MLA Peter Jenkins traced the same career arc, noting that Kobayashi had made his mark "selling us overpriced groceries, then overpriced liquor, and then teaching us how to gamble in a manner we can't afford." Joking aside, he added that Dawson had "benefited tremendously" from the presence of this energetic and forward thinking member of the community.
In spite of any kidding which may have taken place during the evening, it was clear that those who had come to see him off continued to see him in just that way, and were well aware that Dawson's loss was really going to be the territory's gain.
Koby himself, never short for words, spent a few of them on each of the organizations with which he had been involved during his residency here, concluding that it is only the need to be closer to his family in Whitehorse which has induced him to leave Dawson, which, with its "can-do" attitude, has given him "The best job I've ever had in my life."
by Dan Davidson
The morning is chilly and the hour a bleary 6:45 as 20 or so students from Robert Service School and their exchange partners from Cole Harbour District High School prepare to make their farewells.
In two weeks from this morning 20 students, one teacher and a parent chaperone from Dawson will be winging their way to Nova Scotia to complete the second half of this SEVEC (the Society for Educational Visits and Exchanges in Canada) exchange trip, but for now it's good-bye as 10 very special days draw to a close.
There are long hugs and not a few tearful faces as the visitors pack their bags into the bus and get ready for the long trip back to the six communities which feed their consolidated school just west of Dartmouth.
The Cole Harbour group, 20 students, teacher Lynn Jensen and vice-principal Connie Glasgow, arrived in Dawson late on the evening of March 20 and immediately kicked off a week of activities intended to "promote a common sense of shared values and principles, (encourage) civic participation across linguistic, cultural and geographical borders" (from SEVEC's mandate).
In Dawson these activities included creating a kind of mini-tourist season in the community, with many parents and other volunteers assisting RSS staff organizer Helen McCullough in making the dream of an exchange trip come true.
RSS students took their visitors on their first walking tour of the town, but then Klondike National Historic Sites took over and led them to all the historic sites in town, including a tour of the Commissioner's Residence.
The Museum provided a cultural morning along with a visit to the recently christened Odd Gallery, and a traditional Dawson scavenger hunt encouraged the group to get around the town and learn some of its more obscure charms.
The trip had been planned to coincide with the Northern Polar Games, an annual gathering of the northern schools, which was held this year in Dawson. Visitors from Carmacks and Faro joined RSS high school students and their guests for two days of curling, broomball, volleyball, skiing and snowboarding at Moose Mountain, basketball, outdoor hockey, darts, board games and more at these non-competitive, fun games.
On the Saturday, the residents of Henderson's Corner took over the schedule with an afternoon of outdoor activities in the open spaces south of Dawson. After a free Sunday, the Cole Harbour kids boarded a bus on Monday for a tour of the Viceroy Mine and a trip to Tombstone Campground.
Tuesday was a more down to earth experience: a trappers workshop and craft workshops led by community volunteers.
A weekend tragedy (a murder) in the town did force the cancellation of some of the Wednesday activities, but most of the visitors were happy of a little downtime before the big windup banquet in the Oddfellows ballroom that evening.
During their visit in Dawson, the Cole Harbour students were billeted in the homes of those who will be their guests on the other side of the exchange.
They kept in daily contact with their home school near Dartmouth via the InterNet, filing digital photos and trip reports each morning so that the rest of the grade 10-12 classmates could share something of the experiences. Their website is "http://www.coleharbourhigh.ednet.ns.ca" if you want to read and see what they thought of the Yukon.
Dawson students will leave to join their new friends in Cole Harbour on April 14.
The Dawson City Snowmobile Clubs 4th Annual Spring Races were a big success this year. The races took place on March 11th and 12th. This year was the first time we had our races on a two day schedule, this was to better accommodate our Pee-Wee (age 2-8), Jr (age 7-11), and Youth (age 12-16) age groups. This year we had a record 66 entries with the Pee-wee and Men having the most entries and then the Jr's and Ladies. The Youth once again was the smallest age group. We would like some public input from parents and youth to let us know what we can do to entice our young snowmobile enthusiasts to come out to our great event. Some changes that are planned already for next year are a reduced entry fee rate. Porta potties on site. Better signage for sponsors and rules & regulations. As well a three weekend race circuit. We are open to all ideas. Please call one of our club members or come out to a meeting.
The results of this years races are as follows:
OVALS Ladies 0-380 Fan cooled 1st place Heather Favron, 2nd Julia Fellers
Ladies 381-500 Liquid 1st Julia Fellers, 2nd Donna Reynolds, 3rd Carlene Kerr. Ladies 501-600 1st Julia Fellers 2nd Wendy Fellers, 3rd Carlene Kerr. Ladies 600-Open 1st Heather Favron, 2nd Julia Fellers, 3rd Carlene Kerr. Ladies Open Traction 1st Wendy Fellers, 2nd Heather Favron, 3rd Julia Fellers. Mens 0-380 1st Mark Favron, 2nd Willy Fellers, 3rd JJ Fellers. Mens 381-500 1st Gordon Kerr, 2nd Willy Fellers. Mens 501-600 1st Mitchell Strid, 2nd Willy Fellers, 3rd Gordon Kerr. Mens 501-600 Traction 1st Willy Fellers, 2nd JJ Fellers, 3rd Dan Reynolds. Mens 600 Open Traction 1st Willy Fellers, 2nd JJ Fellers, 3rd Dan Reynolds. Jr 0-380 1st David Gammie, 2nd Caitlin Gammie, 3rd Victoria Macleod. Youth 0-380 1st Leah Adam, 2nd Alexander Derry, 3rd Katlyn Reynolds.
DRAGS Ladies 0-380 1st Julia Fellers, 2nd Heather Favron, 3rd Wendy Fellers.
Ladies 381-500 1st Carlene Kerr 2nd Julia Fellers, 3rd Donna Reynolds. Ladies 501-600 1st Donna Reynolds, 2nd Julia Fellers, 3rd Carlene Kerr. Ladies 600-Open 1st Heather Favron, 2nd Donna Reynolds, 3rd Julia Fellers. Mens 0-380 1st Willy Fellers, 2nd Mark Favron, 3rd JJ Fellers. Mens 381-500 1st Dan Reynolds, 2nd Willy Fellers, 3rd Gordon Kerr. Mens 501-600 1st Dan Reynolds, 2nd Willy Fellers, 3rd Guy Favron. Mens 600- Open 1st Dave Moline, 2nd Guy Favron, 3rd Peter Johnson. Jr 0-380 1st Kyle Dickson, 2nd JJ Vanbibber, 3rd Victoria Macleod. Youth 0-380 1st Katlyn Reynolds, 2nd Leah Adam, 3rd Alexander Derry.
SNOW X Ladies 381-500 1st Julia Fellers, 2nd Carlene Kerr, 3rd Heather Favron. Ladies 381-500 1st Heather Favron, 2nd Julia Fellers. Mens 0-380 1st Gordon Kerr, 2nd Mark Favron, 3rd Willy Fellers. Mens 381-500 1st Willy Fellers, 2nd Gordon Kerr. Mens 501-600 1st Willy Fellers, 2nd JJ Fellers, 3rd Mitchell Strid. Jr 0-380 1st Kyle Dickson, 2nd JJ Vanbibber, 3rd Victoria McLeod. Youth 0-380 1st Leah Adam, 2nd Alexander Derry, 3rd Kaitlin Reynolds. We also had Stakes and Poles for each age group if you would like the results please call Julia at -6933.
The High Point Standings for this year were as follows: Jr High point Sponsored by Favron Enterprises :Victoria McLeod, Reserve High Point Kyle Dickson. Youth High Point Sponsored by Favron Enterprises: Leah Adam, Reserve High Point Katlyn Reynolds & Alexander Derry. Ladies High Point Sponsored by Earl & Lynn MacKenzie: Julia Fellers, Reserve High Point Heather Favron. Mens High Point Sponsored by Earl & Lynn MacKenzie: Willy Fellers, Reserve High Point JJ Fellers. All Around Point Earner Sponsored by Favron Enterprises Willy Fellers with 54 points Reserve All Around Julia Fellers with 49 points
Each high point earner also received a gold nugget sponsored by Joe & Wendy Fellers as well as a gift certificate donated by the Nugget & Ivory. The All Around point earner received a gift certificate for return air fare to Whitehorse Sponsored by Gold City Travel. The medals and ribbons for the Jr and Youth classes was sponsored by Gammie Trucking and the medals and ribbons for the Pee Wee classes was sponsored by Klondike Transport. The 2 year old race was sponsored by Maximilian's and the smarties were from Bonanza Market.
The Club would like to thank our sponsors so please support the businesses and people that support us.
The first annual Snowmobile Rodeo, held during the Thaw-D-Graw weekend was a good success, we had some fun races for the whole family with the main goal being skill not just speed. We had a lot of fun and hope to do this again next year. We would like to thank the Klondike River Lodge as well as Van Every for providing us with inner tubes to use in our race.
The Club also had a Poker run in March and the winners of the pot were Carlene Kerr with a flush and second was Angie Senft with a lower flush. It was a great day and the Club would like to thank the Ski Hill for letting us end the run there.
The club just got in our trail markers so please call us and have some input as to which trails you would like to see marked and groomed for the 2000/2001 season.
Our club has a new look so watch for our new Sled Dawgs t-shirts, henleys, patches and stickers. We had a contest to design a logo and a new handle for the club and the winner of both was Grant Kennedy with his sledding huskey design and Dawson Sled- Dawgs name.
Once again our club would like to thank all our volunteers and sponsors and would like to remind you that when you shop locally you are not just supporting the businesses but are supporting our whole community and all the events that are enjoyed locally.
For information or input about the Dawson City Snowmobile Club you can drop us a note at Box 3000, Dawson City. Or contact president Bill Holmes or any of our other members. We look forward to hearing from you.
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