Dawson City, Yukon Friday, December 12, 1997

Murder Mystery... Museum director Joanne Vanderveere (Harmony Hunter) and Dr. Elena Newman (Carie Rudis) minister to the fainted Jane Trice (Angela Haftner) during "Murder in the House of Horrors". See story.

Feature Stories

Taylor Returns as Dawson Chief
The Baby Boom Continues
Quigley Dump Planning Continues
Uffish Thoughts: A Modest Proposal for Solving Dawson's Sewer Problems
Who's Who at City Offices
History Carved in Stone
Report from Moose Mountain: "We're Back"
It's a Mystery! Oh, the Horror!
Showcasing Dawson's Quilters
Dog Sled Races Return to Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous
History of Odd Fellows Hall, Dawson City, Yukon
Letter: Rural Seniors Need Help
Letter: Looking for Jan Weltzel

Taylor Returns as Dawson Chief

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

Council elections held by the Dawson First nation on November 27 have returned Chief Steve Taylor to the leadership of the Tr'on-dek Hwech'in without any serious challenge against his leadership. Taylor took 143 votes while his opponent, Clara Van Bibber, gathered only 32.

Also elected to council were Duane Taylor (135 votes), Art Christiansen (126), Fred Taylor ( 111) and Robert Rear (92).

Voting took place in both Dawson City and Whitehorse, and returning officer Bonnie Barber reports that only 176 of the possible 597 voters actually cast their ballots.

It appears that with many tasks still to undertake as the first nations moves towards implementation of its land claim, the members have decided to stay with the leadership which has been in charge for most of the negotiation period.

Taylor no doubt also benefited from the honour of being chosen acting Grand Chief of the CYFN last spring while Shirley Adamson was running as the federal liberal candidate.

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The Baby Boom Continues

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

Dawson's baby boom of 1997 continued to be celebrated on November 29 at the second special gathering for new babies and parents. The Trondik Indian Heritage Centre wasn't actually crowded, but it was bustling with most of the twenty babies which have been born since May, when the first meeting was held.

According to Rosemary Graham, community health nurse, the projections made last May are still holding firm. She's expecting there will be 42 births from this community by the end of December.

The biggest purpose behind the celebration was to allow all the new moms, dads and kiddies to meet each other, though, as Graham noted, "most of the members of my pre-natal class are here" so many of them knew each other already.

The slightly older kids at the event were kept busy by clowns Dale Cooper and Leah Adams (from the 4H Club), who did tricks, tied balloons and generally kept them amused.

At the other end of the room Graham and her associates distributed presents provided by a number of organizations and businesses to each of the babies. Contributors and sponsors of the event included Maximilian's, St. Paul's Anglican Church, the Nursing Station's Pre-natal Program, and the Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation.

Leona Cormier presented an overview of the services provided by the Child Development Centre and Peggy Kormendy brought greetings from the Tr'ondek Hwech'in.

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Quigley Dump Planning Continues

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

Changes will continue to be made at the Quigley Dump over the next several months as the city and YTG move closer to finishing the project. In terms of division of responsibility, YTG is responsible for capital upgrades at the dump, which will bring it up to standard over the next two years. Dawson City manager Jim Kincaid says the project is not complete due to YTG budget restraints. There's a considerable amount of capital still to be invested in the site.

The arson in October points out the need for increased security at the site. Kincaid says the current gate and fencing just gives control at the entrance and is easy to circumvent. The arsonists simply walked around it the night they set the tires on fire.

"Additional fencing, both security fencing and electrical for animals, will be completed next year," Kincaid says. "We're just going to have to live with some of the shortcomings for now."

An electric generator has been provided for the temporary building that the dump operator is residing in. The building itself is temporary and on loan. Next year a permanent structure will be going in there. In addition, a better storage place for recyclables will be established.

One of the problems that became obvious the night of the fire has also been corrected: "We've made provisions for the installation of a mobile telephone so that he'll have communications should he need it."

Kincaid says the new dump regime does need the public's cooperation: "We're still going to have to rely on the good wishes of the people to support this project. It's an expensive project from an operating point of view, but we think that in terms of benefits to the environment and to the community that it'll be money well spent."

Some people dumping their garbage outside the gate have been upset by the notion that the operator might open their bags in order to identify them. Councillor Ades Scheer raised this issue at a recent meeting of council and was told by Kincaid that, while it might be early days for that sort of thing to happen yet, it was certainly one way of identifying people who didn't use the dump properly at a later date.

The dump's hours of operation are reviewed regularly and posted on the community's rolling ad channel. Users are advised to check the channel from time to time.

The question of whether the dump is safe or properly located remains open. John Cramp, a miner and farmer who lives near the site, maintains that the dump is too close to Bear Creek and too dangerous to the area in general. At several meetings he has asked when that dump will be closed and a better facility be built in a more suitable place.

The problem, he has been told by councillors and administration, is that there doesn't seem to be a better place that is accessible. The Quigley site was chosen after much territorial government investigation spread out over about 5 years. Quigley, originally a poorly controlled general dumping area established in a former gravel pit, has been converted into what government engineers say is a much better facility over the last year.

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Uffish Thoughts: A Modest Proposal for Solving Dawson's Sewer Problems

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

It's not often that I find myself taking exception to someone else's editorial stance in this space. The anti-Dawson editorial in last week's Yukon News, however, was a bit more than I could, in good conscience, ignore.

Let's be very honest, please. No one is saying that we don't have to come up with a solution to our sewage problem. We know we have to do more than strain it. We're working on it. But it is going to take longer than anyone seems to be willing to give us.

We didn't choose the system we have. It was installed by the senior levels of government. It was one of the first of its kind in the north and it was designed to run with high water flow levels. As a result, we pass nearly all of our water quality tests from autumn to spring, when we run our bleeders to keep the pipes from freezing up. If we did that all year, we'd probably still pass, though it would be wasteful.

We have NOT been stalling for ten years. If the editor at the News could manage to hold onto a Dawson correspondent he might actually be up to speed on events here instead of taking all his information from the more hysterical of the interveners who seem to have made it their cause to bankrupt my community and send both residential and business utility bills beyond the range of just about anyone's reasonable outlay.

I've been here 12 years now. During nearly all of that time we have been spending vast quantities of money (millions of our own and even more of YTG's) on our poorly built system just to bring it up to its original design specifications. We haven't had any money to spend on much of anything else. It's only been about two years since we got past that stage of our problems.

We've been stuck at the primary treatment level because we hadn't got it working yet. To move along to level two treatment before we got that far would have been premature, what with sewer pipes collapsing all over the community and streets torn up in what seemed to be an annual ritual of excavation and replacement.

Yes, we would like to spend some of our tax dollars on something besides excavating excrement. We have an aging swimming pool which gets condemned on a regular basis. We have some of the most decrepit recreational facilities in the Yukon. We hope to be able to use the time it will take to plan properly for secondary treatment to do a few of these things before we plunge back into the sewers.

For the life of me, I can't think what is so immoral about that.

What we have done already is to determine that the preferred solution - a lagoon - won't work here. As I've recorded elsewhere, the valley is a wee bit too small and too sensitive to allow for it.

It could be done on the west side of the Yukon River, which is just one of the reasons we think a bridge would be a great idea, but I shouldn't mention something that is obviously so self-seving as that, now should I?

The mechanical option is the one that's left. That's the option that the government leader recently described as having the potential to create "an event" on the government's budget line. The minimum impact on our annual utility bill has been estimated at 200% in such a case.

It may come as a shock to those who don't live here, but none of us is altruistic enough to accept that without investigating as many lower cost alternatives as we can find. A number of agencies and individuals have contacted city offices here about alternatives to the traditional means of treatment. While some of the ideas seem a bit like grasping at - uh....straws - it's hard to dismiss them without doing some investigation.

Investigation takes both money and ... time.

As far as I can tell the territorial government is willing to allow that time. The recently leaked memo from higher ups in the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs seems to indicate that Ottawa is willing to allow that. They're not willing to have us stop examining the problem, but they are willing to allow to us to make haste a bit more slowly.

If that's not fast enough for the purists out there, I have a modest proposal for them. It will allow that to feel like they are helping to solve the problem and perhaps give them a sense of its magnitude: send money.

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Who's Who at City Offices

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

A number of recent staff changes at city offices seem to have generated a little bit of confusion in some quarters as to who is who and what they do. Administrative Assistant Elizabeth Connellan was kind enough to help us clear this up for you.

On any given day you may find the following individuals around the office. Downstairs, of course, is fire chief Pat Cayen. After 7 years on the job people have stopped asking him when he might be planning to move.

Norm Carlson is the city's superintendent of public works and can generally be found doing just that, though he can be reached through the office. Upstairs, Mayor Glen Everitt is fairly regular in his office hours and can often be found trying to scare up someone who isn't too busy to type up a letter for him.

Across the main office is Jim Kincaid, the city's chief administrative officer or CAO, usually referred to as the city manager. Jim is in his second year here and is still able to smile.

Dale Courtice is the city's treasurer and financial wizard, ably assisted by accounting clerk Heather Favron.

Janice Kormendy is a part-time receptionist and secretary, and the person usually saddled with the mayor's correspondence these days. Kris Larson is the Planning Board's secretary and also handles some also a receptionist duties.

Elizabeth Connellan fills a similar position in terms of the needs of city council as a whole, attending those meetings and keeping the minutes. Elizabeth filled the position vacated when Barb Lemare moved away from town.

The departure of by-law enforcement officer Keith McMaster has opened up a need for a new employee. Mark Favron has been hired on a term position to take up the task of animal control officer.

Peter Menzies can still be seen about the office on occasion, and is probably no harder to get hold of than he ever was, but he has resigned to seek a new job in Whitehorse where he will rejoin his family. He's just wrapping things up here at the present time.

Jason Barber has moved into the position of Acting Recreation Director until such time as the competition closes.

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History Carved in Stone

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff


Dr. Alejandra Duc-Rodkin walks her audience through the new display at the museum.

If you've ever wondered why the Yukon River flows north, the Dawson City Museum has the answers for you in a new exhibit which opened here on November 21. The unveiling was a major part of the Museum's annual Christmas Open House.

The photo and map exhibition is called "A New Look at Landscapes: the glacial history of the Dawson Region." It provides a look at over 8 million years of regional history, based on current research by Dr. Alejandra Duk-Rodkin, a geologist with the Canadian Geological Survey.

The answer to that opening question lies in the activities of the glaciers which closed in on the Yukon from the east and the west during the last major ice age period. Their influence, both singly and in concert, altered the face of the Yukon's geography and the flow of its rivers on a number of occasions during that period.

They also created the distinctive "U" shaped valleys which are a feature of the Dempster Highway region.

Dr. Duk-Rodkin was on hand to introduce the exhibit to an interested crowd of Christmas visitors. The exhibit was sponsored in part by Lotteries Yukon, Yukon/Canada Economic Development Agreement for Mining, DIAND and YTG Heritage Branch. It is part one of a more general story entitled "How Gold Got to the Klondike."

Glaciated areas have a number of distinctive features; one which Dr. Duk-Rodkin was able to show her audience was the profusion of all sizes of triangular shaped rocks worn down by the action of the winds along the tops of the glaciers.

The open house also included lots of goodies, and musical performances by the Robert Service School Choir and Dan Davidson.

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Report from Moose Mountain: "We're Back"

by Wanda Stretch
Moose Mountain Correspondent

Greetings from Moose Mountain! In the last 2 weeks, interested individuals have gathered to talk about the 1997/98 ski season. Some issues in particular were discussed, such as future plans, sponsorship, the amount of work that has been done and work that is still to be done.

Mary Knutson, who has been wheeling and dealing all over town, has been instrumental in getting sponsorship. Due to the generosity and dedication of certain individuals, companies, corporations and the City of Dawson, the hill namely, the lift will be, by January in top running condition. Thanks to unseasonably warm weather and bountiful amounts of snow, skiing at Moose Mountain could very well be the best season yet. Watch for further announcements concerning dates and times on meetings and our AGM.

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It's a Mystery! Oh, the Horror!

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

Weeks of preparation and days of final rehearsals came to an end on November 28 and 19 when the Robert Service Fine Arts program combined the talents of students in grades 8, 9, 11 and 12 to present "Murder in the House of Horrors", an interactive murder mystery by Billy Saint John. The setting is the Hamilton Museum, which is enjoying lots of public attention from its spicy new exhibit, "Monsters, Murderers and Madmen". Inside the hall of horrors is the final, crowning touch, the mummy case of an infamous Egyptian pharaoh.

This treasure is the find of the archeological team of Professor Dirk Carleton (Darren Bullen) and his partner, Doctor Elena Newman (Carie Rudis). For them and for the museum's director, Joanne Vanderveer (Harmony Hunter), it was triumph. For Lurenda Westbrook (Beverly Fairful), prominent patron of the Museum, it was an embarrassment. For Francis (Kyle Van Every), estranged wife of the professor, it's just another reason to be angry. For Gahiji (Jeff McLeod) and Isis (Meredith Couture) Amun, members of the Egyptian consular staff, it is blasphemy. For lawyer Elvira Gray (Stephanie Cayen), it's another reason to threaten everyone with a lawsuit. For someone, it is an opportunity for murder.

The slide projector lights go out during Carleton's lecture, and when Jane Trice (Angela Haftner) manages to get them on again, he lies dead on the floor, his pencil deeply embedded in his ear.

Whodunit? That's the question that Lt. Danielle Morrow (Sarah Winton)must answer, with the assistance of the reporter Russ Palmer (Melissa Flynn), photographer Betty Lange (Laine Bowers), Officer Val Holloway (Paula Farr) and Tony the museum guard (Chris Johnson). Even the audience is invited to question the suspects after she does, to offer comments to the museum guards and police during the intermission and, finally, to make some accusations near the end of the play.

The main cast were the members of the Fine Arts 11/12 class, led by teacher Mr. Grant Hartwick. They were joined by a few members of Mrs. Betty Davidson's Music Theatre 8/9 class, who provided some of the bit players in the main play. The MT 8/9 class also researched and created the House of Horrors in the corridor outside the school gymnasium, where guests were led through a tour that took them to twelve exhibits including everything from Al Capone to Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.

Over the two nights of performances, the cast entertained about 220 playgoers, young and old, all of whom seemed to have a good time and had lots of nice things to say about the show.

The intermission, billed as "Death by Dessert" came midway through the show, and allowed audience members to feast on sweets while comparing notes on the murder. The Young Women Exploring Careers group provided the goodies as part of the fund raising for their February trip to the south.

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Showcasing Dawson's Quilters

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff


The quilt window at Maximilian's.

Wandering past the shops these days one can tend to get a little overwhelmed by the Christmas season - endless collections of tinsel, Santa and things to buy. Oh, it's all advertising and that's what store window spaces are for, but it does begin to wear after a few weeks. One window that 's just a little different can be found at Maximilian's, where manager Susan McDade and her staff have decided to devote a window to quilts.

Quilting is a major underrated hobby in Dawson, where quilts are given for babies, departures and other special events. About ten years ago the Museum published a book full of Dawson quilts and held a major summer display, but things have been quiet since then.

The Maximilian's store window is changed about every other week. McDade says some of the material has been by brand new quilters and others of vintage skills. It's colourful and seasonal without necessarily screaming "buy me!" at passersby. Not that McDade hasn't used the quilts as a backdrop for books on the subject, but a lot of people seeing this display will be curious about the hobby, so that seems fair enough.

McDade is an admirer of quilts, but hasn't actually taken up the hobby herself yet. She admits to having stocked up enough material to do several of them, but hasn't found the time.

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Dog Sled Races Return to Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous

Whitehorse -- The Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Society has announced that the traditional Dog Sled Races will return to the 1998 festival line up. Hougen Centre and White Pass Yukon Route have partnered together to ensure the $10,000 needed to operate the race is covered.

The race will consist of 23 kilometers starting at the White Pass Building at First Avenue and Main Street, heading up Miles Canyon Road, turning at the Beringia Centre and returning to the White Pass Building via South Access and Miles Canyon. The total purse of $8,500 will be provided and a Mushers Banquet and Accommodations are currently being looked at.

The entry fee will be $100 per team, per entry, which will include one ticket to the planned Musher's Banquet on Feb. 22\98. The sprint races will consist of teams of 8-10 dogs per team, with a minimum of 7. The freight races will consist of teams of 6-8 dogs.

Wendel Carey, President of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association, will be acting as race marshall and will ensure that the route is well groomed and maintained.

Local hoteliers have been asked to provide a"Northerner's Rate" for mushers and others attending the festival. Local facilities have been asked for prices with regards to the Musher's Banquet on Feb. 22, 1998.

The total distances of the races are: Sprint 23 kilometers and Freight: 40 kilometers.

For more information, please contact Wendel Carey at (867) 667-2125 or Derek Charlton at (867) 667-2148.

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History of Odd Fellows Hall, Dawson City, Yukon

by Ken Spotswood
Freelance journalist

The history of the International Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) is older than the Klondike Gold Rush itself.

The fraternal organization was founded in North America in the state of Maryland in 1819. Its name dates back to 18th Century England where it was considered 'odd' to find a benevolent society of men whose chief objective was providing help to people less fortunate than themselves. The emblem of the IOOF is three links of an interlocking chain, which represent friendship, love and truth.

Many foreigners were lured to the Klondike with the stampede of gold seekers in 1898. They brought with them their memberships and social skills from a variety of lodges, fraternal organizations and charitable societies around the world. Some of these men regrouped in the North under informal chapters. Their meetings were sporadic, and were chiefly for companionship and social activities.

Many of these Odd Fellows were either single men--or men who had left their families in southern Canada and the United States--but they had one thing in common. They had exhausted themselves and their resources in getting to the Klondike.

The Odd Fellows Hall in Dawson is the huge, vacant building that sits at the corner of Second Avenue and Princess Street. Real estate was a hot commodity in the early years of the gold rush, and the property had a variety of owners long before the Odd Fellows made it their own.

City records show the first registered owner of the lot was James A. Campbell who purchased it in January, 1901. Title was transferred to James A. Greene in June of the same year.

It was also the year that seven members established the Fraternal Order of Odd Fellows #1 in Dawson.

Greene was an undertaker who occupied the property until 1907 when the IOOF bought it that year for $2,250. The lot had a small, one-storey building on it that was slowly expanded to accommodate their needs. Meetings were held there twice a month.

The Odd Fellows were military-strict about their rules and regulations. Its officers wore long, colourful robes and its ceremonies were full of pomp and ritual. The IOOF Constitution of 1909 states:

"Drill frequently, memorize charges thoroughly, deliver them slowly, deliberately and dramatically...The music should be suitable for marching, and for this, the great requisite is correct and regular time. If possible, the organ should at all times be used during the conferring of the degrees. Any instrument, however, is better than none..."

Officers were advised to do everything possible to impress prospective members with the grandeur and lofty principles of the order.

Its constitution also took a dim view of practical jokes: "Never attempt a joke of any kind upon a candidate; it will probably lower the Order in his estimation, and will do more than anything else to impair, if not destroy, his value as a member."

This attitude was just the opposite of the Arctic Brotherhood, another fraternal order whose membership initiations were often rowdy affairs with amusing rituals.

The IOOF, however, was the picture of sobriety itself. It had official positions such as Chief Patriarch, Grand Sire and Noble Grand Master. All positions were deemed "honourable and necessary; none are unimportant."

In 1910 the Odd Fellows tore down the old building and replaced it with the present structure. Its membership had grown to 146 members and the IOOF christened their new home with a Grand Ball that attracted 500 people. Its title was transferred in May of 1911 to Daniel Curtis Upp, a trustee of Dawson Lodge No. l of the IOOF. Title reverted to the IOOF in May of 1917. That year the lodge's membership dropped to 101 men. It had a bank balance of $465.

An addition was added to the building on an adjacent lot in the summer of 1922. During its heyday the hall was the centre of many of Dawson's social activities which included banquets, dances and card parties. Its dance floor had a reputation as being the 'springiest' dance floor in town.

The late Art Fry, a Dawson City miner, was a member of the lodge from 1930 to 1970. At one time he held the title of Noble Grand District Deputy Grand Master. This was an appointed position by the Sovereign Grand Master in Maryland, the lodge's North American headquarters. Fry's wife Margaret was a long-standing member of the women's auxiliary, the Rebecca Lodge.

The Dawson chapter looked after many of the old-timers in the Klondike. But as the population of Dawson City dwindled in the decades following the gold rush, so did membership in the IOOF. The local lodge surrendered its charter in 1964 due to a lack of membership.

Interviewed by the Yukon News in 1989, Fry related some of its accomplishments: "There were dances and card parties and in 1960...we sent a kid to the United Nations on an exchange--Harvey Burian, it was. The object of the Order was to create a brotherhood of man and to be a good samaritan. The Odd Fellows have a home for the aged in every province, and it also operates an eye bank. We were an active group and we helped people," Fry said.

The building has since sat vacant and quiet. It was purchased in August of 1969 by local miner Paul Finlay, and later by the Klondike Visitors Association (KVA).

For a short time in 1988 the hall became a traffic hazard. It was moved onto Princess Street while a new foundation and gravel pad were laid by the KVA. It also put a new exterior on the building.

The KVA still has plans to renovate the interior of the hall, to provide office space for its own needs, and for other community organizations. These plans, however, have been temporarily postponed. The hall is currently being used as a storage warehouse.

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Letter: Rural Seniors Need Help

Mr. David Sloan
Minister of Health & Social Services,
Yukon Government,
Box 2703
Whitehorse, YT
Y1A 2C6

Dear Sir:

It is past time that more consideration should be given to the Yukon's Senior citizens.

I am writing you as a Dawson City senior, although I believe that what I write here holds true for seniors in other Yukon Communities.

It is the practice of the health department to move the seniors from their community to an extended care unit in Whitehorse, when they reach that stage of life when they can no longer look after themselves. That is a hardship for the senior and also for the members of the family left in the home community. They have worked hard all their lives making a home in Dawson City for themselves and family, and should be allowed to spend the last few years of their life close to family and friends.

Now that the Yukon Government has taken over the operation of the Hospitals and health care system, maybe once again our old timers can stay in the home town.

We haven't had that type of care in Dawson since the Sisters of St. Anne left here in 1970, We should never have allowed them to leave.

Sincerely,

John A. Gould
A concerned Dawson City Senior

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Letter: Looking for Jan Weltzel

Dear sir/madame:

I have been looking for info on Jan Welzl I understand he lived in Dawson till he passed away around 1950??

If you can refer me to some I would much appreciate that. I got kind of interested in the matter after reading a saga translated to Icelandic from his native language, but book's name is "Tricet Let na Zlatem Serveru" and what it means I do not know. Don't go in to some big deal.

Coming through there some years back when I lived in Fairbanks AK I think I saw old historical site with this name? Anyway, thank you.

Valdimar samuelsson
iceeasy@isholf.is
Reykjavík, Iceland

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