Dawson City, Yukon Friday, January 18, 2002

Framed by the trees on Mary McLeod Road (or the Old Dome Road, or the ACC Trail) you can see through Dawson's north end to the Yukon River, still not completely frozen, but passable on a homemade ice bridge. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

Dawson Celebrates Its 100th Birthday
A Short Political History of Dawson City
School Concert is a Year's Highlight
Church Pageant Helps Bring on the Spirit of Christmas
Dawson Museum Hits the Financial Wall
Chamber Protests Lottery Changes
`No sinister motive' for Lotteries Change says Everitt
A Christmas Keno
Gold Show Revival Proposes Change of Emphasis
AED Arrives in Dawson
Mitchell Receives Bravery Award
Han Elder Receives Award
Davidsons Honoured as Volunteers

Welcome to the January 18, 2002 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 40 photographs and 26 articles which were in the 24-page January 15 hard copy edition. The hard copy also contains Doug Urquhart's famous "Paws" cartoon strip, our homegrown crossword puzzle, and obviously, all the other material you won't find here. See what you're missing by not subscribing?

Seriously, we do encourage viewers of this website to consider subscribing to the Sun (details on the home page). It would help us financially and you would get to see everything closer to when it's actually news. About 600 people read each issue of this paper online, and we'd love to be sending out that many more papers.

This is our first edition for 2002 (which is a palindrome, by the way). We took an issue off to give ourselves and our advertisers a short break. Nobody wanted to bring out a paper on January 1 anyway. There will still be two January issues. This issue actually contained more stories and pictures than the last one in December, even though it was eight pages smaller.

Dawson Celebrates Its 100th Birthday

by Dan Davidson


Mayor Glen Everitt and Corporal Larry Macdonald applaud as John Gould cuts the city's birthday cake. Photo by Dan Davidson

Just when you thought the word "centennial" had faded into the past, Dawson plans to spend one more year celebrating its history. For while gold may have been discovered in 1896, and the rush may have happened in 1898, Dawson didn't actually get a city charter until 1902, and this year marks its 100th birthday.

The party was held on the evening of January 9, with close to 100 people crowded into the council chambers, foyer and office space to hear some speeches, look at the latest in centennial banners and photographs, eat a fabulous cake, view some fireworks and take in the official installation of the City's Centennial Time Capsule.

Mayor Glen Everitt read congratulations from M.P. Larry Banal, Premier Pat Duncan, and C&TS Minister Pam Buckway, among others, and spoke briefly about the granting of the town charter.

Dawson had, of course, been surveyed and mapped several years earlier by Joe Ladue and William Ogilvie, the federal representative who had decided to name the place after his boss, George Mercer Dawson. The charter however, came along after the height of Gold Rush, when it began to appear that the place wasn't going to vanish as fast as some boom towns did.

"I know," Everitt said, "that just over a hundred years ago when people were getting together and talking about incorporation here, it was over social issues.

"Reading some of the ... first original bylaws passed in the City of Dawson, I find that water and sewer was one of them. Sewage was one of the big issues of the day, as well as dogs and poverty.

"It was in 1902 that the launch began to put a water and sewer system in the community, which was completed in 1904. Coincidentally, 2004 is when our new sewage plant gets turned on, so we'll have another centennial to celebrate then."

Downstairs in the lobby entrance, a memorial alcove has been created by local craftsman Jim Williams and filled with mementos to create a small display of centennials related materials, banners and objects collected and preserved by the Klondike Centennials Society. These are housed in a locked closet and can be seen though a large door window. Included among these items is Dawson's second time capsule (the first having been placed outside the Masonic Hall last spring) filled with material common to Dawson's centennial year.

Everitt and Corporal Larry Macdonald cut the ribbon before as many as could crowd into the space at the entrance and then retired up-stairs via the elevator while folks took turns looking things over.

Back in council chambers local historian John Gould was drafted to make the first cut on the beautiful birthday cake (complete with the town seal in icing) created for the occasion by the Tintina Bakery.

Shortly after this the Fire Department launched a display for fireworks from the hills above the town which was eagerly watched by young and old from the council chamber windows and from the yard below.

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A Short Political History of Dawson City

by John Gould


Dawson's very first town council is shown in this archival photo discovered by John Gould

By the spring of 1898 Dawson had a population of some 30,000. People from all walks of life and all parts of the world who had heard of the fabulous rich gold fields of the Klondike were here to make their own fortune and return home to a better life.

By 1898 the town of Dawson was established and managed by a town committee that J.M.Walsh, Commissioner of the Yukon District, formed on July 23,1898. The committee was made up of the officer commanding the North West Mounted Police, D. W. Davis, F. C. Wade, H. A. Bliss, Doctor Alfred Thompson and Dr. Richardson. Their duty was to see that the streets and river bank were kept clear of objects and obstructions in the shape of buildings, caches, tents, sale tables and steamer wood piles and all objects of any kind. The street lines were to be properly located, and the committee was to take all steps necessary to enforce cleanliness and to bring about and enforce suitable sanitary arrangements.

It wasn't long before the people and business of the town got fed up with the way the town was managed by the committee and the territorial government which took their orders from Ottawa and Regina. The action for incorporation started early in 1898.

On October 12 1898, a meeting was held in the Fairview Hotel to consider the form of an incorporation ordinance to be submitted to Mr. Ogilvie and the Yukon council. Then, on November 12,1898, the Klondike Nugget reported that the Yukon Council would bring up the incorporate ordinance at an early date.

Mr. Phil Sheridan, legal advisor to the council, had framed the ordinance on the Calgary ordinance, making changes only in the policing of the town, qualification of the voters and office holders .

On December 17,1898, a meeting of the town committee was held concerning incorporation. A communication was read from Mr., Ogilvie that the incorporation ordinance was now in the hands of the Yukon council, asking the town committee to appoint a sub committee to consider the ordinance. It wasn't until December 1899 that the Yukon council reported that the ordinance was partly completed Commissioner Ogilvie explained that he wasn't in a hurry as every one should have ample time to consider the ordinance; there was no objection from Ottawa.

On December 11,1899 standard time was adopted in Dawson. It was established as the 135th meridian, and was put into effect at 9 o'clock Monday morning December 11,1899. Prior to setting standard time on the official clock, just about every one in Dawson had their own time. There was Alaska Commercial time, Barracks time, Post Office time, Recording office time, court house time, steam boat time, school time, just about any kind of time imaginable .

In July of 1900 the Yukon council levied and collected taxes on the following rates on the dollar of the assessed value of the property and income set forth in the assessment roll for the unincorporated town of Dawson:

On real estate, exclusive of improvements, 60 mills; on improvements of the real estate 10 mills; on personal property 5 mills, on income 10 mills. All persons tendering the full amount before the first of October were allowed a rebate of 10 percent on the full amount, on or before the first of November be allowed 5 percent. An additional 10 percent was to be added to all taxes unpaid on the first of January 1901.

In early January of 1902 the incorporation ordinance was voted on by the people of Dawson. They might as well not have voted. The Yukon council stated that regardless of the outcome of the voting Dawson would become an incorporated city. The incorporating ordinance was a 33 page document

There were 963 on the voters list,( there was no vote for the women at this time). It was minus 52.3 degrees below zero Fahrenheit on January 9th. The result of the voting was 304 for a committee to run the city and 383 for an elected council and mayor. There were two political parties, the Citizens Party and the Peoples Party

The First City Council Election

On January 21 the Citizens Party nominated Henry C. Macaulay as mayoralty candidate. The Peoples Party nominated Charles F. MacDonald. Then in February MacDonald withdrew his name in favor of Dr. Alfred Thompson.

An all-candidates meeting was held in the Standard Theater the night before the election. At one point during the meeting, one man who had walked 30 miles to attend the meeting literally dropped in through the sky light, thereby getting the name the "Skylight Kid." Trouble was he had been too long in one of the local bars he was a little too boisterous and had to be removed from the meeting by the Constable and appeared in court the next morning. He was fined $25,00 and costs or 30 days on the wood pile.

The election was held on February 6,1902. There were seven polling booths in the old court house, four downstairs and three up.

Many bets were made on the outcome of the election. A total of $6,900 was in the pool.

Results

Henry C. Macaulay 370 votes (elected)
Dr. Alfred Thompson 354

Aldermen

Dr. Horatio C. Norquay 450 votes
James F. MacDonald 395
Thomas G. Adair 355
George Murphy 348
Peter Vachon 335
Thomas Godfrey Wilson 311

Losers

Jean E. Binet 227
George Brimston 281
Jeffery H. Davidson 226
Maxime Landerville 238
James A. McKinnon 299
F.M.Shepar 88
J. I. Seabrock 263
Charles Bossuyt 307

A few of the local citizens tried to find out who was the winner of the election. They turned in the fire alarm and asked the firemen on their arrival with the fire equipment all set to find the fire. At first the firemen saw no humor in the escapade but finally let it pass without charging any one for turning in a false alarm.

Elections were held every year. The 1903 council was Mayor Robert P. McLennan, owner of the Mc & Mc Hardware store. Aldermen were: Mr. F.N. Johnson, Mr. James F. MacDonald, Mr. .Arthur F. Edwards, Mr. Michael Ryan, Mr. George Murphy and Mr. Abraham LaLande .

It was in 1903 that Andrew Carnegie offered to finance the construction of a public Library. Instead of the usual $15,000.00 for a town the size of Dawson he offered $25,000.00 to Dawson.

The election on January 11, 1904, put the following in power: Mayor James Fraser MacDonald; Aldermen: Alexander John Gillis, William Moore Mckay, Thomas Duffern Pattullo, Abraham LaLande, John L. Timmins and Isaac Lusk.

The new council of 1904 reduced the salaries of all city employees except the fire department: City clerk $3,500.00, Assistant city clerk $2,500.00, City Attorney $1,800.00, Health officer $75.00 per month, Mayor $2,500.00, Aldermen $1,000.00.

In March 1904 the city council petitioned the Governor General for possession or control of the city water front. The reason for this request was that the fire department protected the buildings on the water front and got no tax revenue from the businesses on the said property.

Many Dawson people and businesses were getting fed up with the high taxes and the way the city council was running the city. In the early fall a bill looking for the revocation of the city charter was presented to the Yukon Council by the petitioners for a plebiscite asking the people to vote yes or no to revoke the charter and return to a town committee under the Yukon government to manage the city.

A meeting was held in the Arctic Brotherhood hall on September 7 so that the ratepayers would have an opportunity to fully discuss the revoking of the City Charter.

A vote was taken on the plebiscite on September 13,1904, the results of the voting was 289 in favor and 92 against. It was thought that the present city council would hold office until the end of their term which ended on December 31 but that was not to be. Once Commissioner Congdon issued the proclamation setting out the results of the voting, that moment was when the city council was finished.

The officials fired the city clerk on Tuesday and on Wednesday the city clerk acting on the advice of Mr. Congdon moved back into the city office and changed the combination of the safe and the lock on the door, He was to act a returning office for the vote on the plebiscite and to issue the voting certificates. It was rumored that certificates were issued to those who were sure to vote in favor of revoking the charter.

The city was now run under one of the Territorial departments with the Commissioner acting as ex-officio mayor. This carried on until 1950 when the city council was again established. A mayor was elected with three aldermen. Howard Firth, a Dawson born man, was elected as mayor.

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School Concert is a Year's Highlight

by Dan Davidson


The evil Grinch gets his dog ready to impersonate a reindeer.

If the impact of a cultural event were to be measured by attendance and the flashing of cameras, then the event of Dawson's year would usually have to be the annual Christmas Concert at the Robert Service School. This year was no exception, with the gymnasium packed to the sides and well to the back and people still standing.

This year it was the turn of the elementary grades (Kindergarten to Grade Six) to organize and present the extravaganza, and the various classes each seemed determined to see how much could be packed into about an hour.

The upper grades led off the evening. Mrs. Webster's Grade Fives actually managed to wrap up a presentation of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" in about 12 minutes, some students acting out the events while others read the narrative and took the voices.

Mrs. Castellarin's Grade Sixes enlisted the aid of Mr. Davidson on guitar (on sabbatical this year) to sing a Yukonized version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," including "a spruce beetle in spruce tree", "twelve huskies howling" and lots more in between.

The primary grades hit the stage all at once and took turns in the spotlight while each group, costumed appropriately from reindeer to angels, elves and Wise Men, held the lead in a presentation, each with a tableau.

Miss Kreitzer's Kindergarten told is that "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"; Miss Kwok's Grade Ones told us about "Santa's Helpers"; Mrs. Bell-Fraughton's Grade Twos presented a traditional arrangement of "Away in a Manger"; and Mrs. Dragoman's Grade Threes retold the tale of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer".

Once they were all back on the floor, Mr. Bett's Grade Fours assembled a rock and roll rendition of Christmas tidings, complete with screaming tires and the gyrations of "Elfis" and his backup singers." Mr. Betts handled the electric guitar accompaniment, while high school student Nathan Shultz helped out on drums.

Back on the gym floor all the classes joined in the trilingual singing of "Jingle Bells" in English, French and Hän and wrapped up the evening with "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".

Mayor Glen Everitt took the stage briefly to make two presentations. Dan and Betty Davidson were named volunteers of the year and given a handsome wall plaque. The RSS choir, which is led by Betty and accompanied this semester by Brenda Caley, received a $1,000 cheque for its contributions to the December meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Finally, a rather slender but very welcome Santa Claus arrived to hand out candy canes to all the kids and bring the evening to an end.

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Church Pageant Helps Bring on the Spirit of Christmas

by Dan Davidson

There's something about the Christmas season that defies even the most secular of societies and brings out the people to fill up church pews in normally unheard of numbers. That being the case, the largest sanctuary in the town is the one that has to be used for Dawson's annual ecumenical service.

This takes a long time to organize, for reasons which will become clear later on.

While the service begins at 7 p.m. the building begins to fill up at 6:30 and anyone expecting a decent seat after 6:50 will be sadly disappointed. By 7 the only places left are in the choir loft.

The choir has been getting ready for this night since just after Remembrance Day. Organizer Betty Davidson picked anthems along with some of the real keeners that early, and the rest started showing up for practices twice a week shortly after. This year a pleasant division of labour developed with Betty, Joyce Caley and Brenda Caley each taking one of the anthems to learn on piano, while Betty and Father Tim Coonen split the choir directing chores.

It must be noted that the Christmas Eve service itself is probably the only time the choir is ever all together at once, but it always seems to work out musically. Anthems this year included "Glory to the Lamb" a swing-gospel tune by Price and Besig; "I Was Touched and I Believe" by Lorenz and Purifoy; and "Rejoice, Rejoice, Rejoice" by Purifoy.

If music is one major draw at this service, the other is probably the pageant itself, a retelling of the Christmas story which has, over the last several years, taken the form of a slide show, organized by Andrea McGee and Father Tim Coonen. The pictures were shot on locations around Dawson, with youngsters and parents from all the churches involved, during a pleasant weekend in September and the script developed later on. This process takes all the strain out of the actual pageant night and leaves the fun and the message intact. Bonnie Nordling narrated the slide show, with pauses for congregational singing.

The message itself is essential to the evening. It was delivered this year in the form of prayers lead by Father John Tyrrell, Pastor Jim Cole and Pastor Ian Nyland. Scripture readings were by lay readers Jack Vogt and Shirley Pennell, and Deacon Carol Tyrrell's Christmas message was assisted by Baby Andrew Cole in the role of a visual aid.

A special offering was collected during the service to assist the work of the Dawson's Women Shelter. The congregation was assisted in getting into the spirit of giving by singing some gospel tunes led by Dan Davidson on guitar,

The service concluded with a joint benediction by the pastors of the four churches and a dismissal by Deacon Carol.

Taking into account the effect of the wood stove, the warm spirits and the mild Christmas Eve temperatures, this was probably one of the warmest services in several years.

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Dawson Museum Hits the Financial Wall

by Dan Davidson


The Old Territorial Administration Building is the home of the Dawson City Museum. Photo by Dan Davidson

January may seem like it would be a slow month at the Dawson City Museum. The tourist season is long over and the staff, usually beefed up in the summer by the addition of student workers, is down to a minimum. But while there aren't a lot of people going through the front door (which you have been able to do by appointment) the place is usually very busy. Because this is the season for planning and for filling out grant applications.

For director Paul Thistle, this has been the season when he assembles the ten or twelve project applications that will, he and the board hope, bear fruit in terms of five or six grants which will fund activities for the summer.

Thistle isn't doing that work just now, however. He was laid off by the board in the middle of December because the museum association could not afford to pay his wages. He's not angry with the board over this outcome. It was his suggestion, actually.

Fred Berger, the current chair of the museum society, says that the intent is to reactivate Thistle's position as soon as the board can afford it but, barring a sudden donation from a private source, this will probably not be until new money from the territorial government becomes available in late March or early April.

It's not the first financial crisis at the Museum, which has been through its share over the last year. According to Berger last summer was especially bad. From his point of view, the government changed the terms of the finding agreement with the museum without an consultation and the ensuing dispute meant that finds which are normally available in mid April didn't arrive until the end of July.

Aside from its fund raising efforts, gift shop sales and admissions, the museum has no means of raising short term finding quickly. If the government had been willing to sign a memorandum of understanding the board might have been able to get a temporary bank loan, but that wasn't possible.

At that point, Berger says, Paul Thistle took out a personal loan in order to be able to meet the payroll.

Berger reacted pretty strongly to the CBC radio story early in the week which suggested that the museum should be doing more to cover its costs, that it wasn't doing as well as the McBride Museum in Whitehorse, which raises 70% of its money.

"Actually," Berger said, "we do the same or better than that. We covered 72.3% of our costs through fund raising, the gift shop and admissions."

All of this goes to run an organization which has an annual operations and maintenance budget of around $200,000.

What hurt the most last summer was the total rejection by Project Yukon of a $40,000 grant application to finish work on the new Lind Gallery, which had been mostly funded by a private donation from the Lind family. Berger said that the museum had always had good luck with applications to the former Community Development Fund program and the board was shocked when the Project Yukon grant was turned down.

It meant that money had to be scraped together from other budgets to meet the deadline for the scheduled opening; all this at the same time as the board was in dispute with YTG over the terms of its annual $23,500 operating grant, $14,000 of which is earmarked for the director's salary.

The Museum has been fortunate in donations from private individuals and gold rush pioneer families such as the Linds over the last few years, but a lot of these donations have involved capital projects which now need to be managed, and Berger says its hard to do that with a normal winter staff of two.

This winter the staff still at work include the office manger and a person working on a curatorial project under a specific funding grant.

The Museum, which averages around 18,000 visitors a year, has a collection of 30,000 artifacts, including everything from arrowheads to locomotives. There are displays yet to be developed, a need for a plan to make use of the display possibilities in the new cold storage facility, plans to increase the use of the building which houses the train collection and other things which it is proving hard to get to.

These, Berger says, are some of the reasons why the board has been asking for an increase in its base funding so that it could hire more people to do this work.

In its most recent five year plan, the board identified the need for more permanent staff as one of its major concerns. It would like to be able to use staff to promote more community involvement, develop programs in conjunction with the Robert Service School (there have been several successful efforts over the last decade) and increase the access to its archival collection of books and old newspapers. There is a demand for all of this activity, but the museum doesn't have the finding to carry it through.

Thistle, Berger says, has to spend 95% of his time just creating and submitting grant applications for projects, which cuts down his effectiveness as a curator. At present, of course, he isn't even available to conduct small winter tours on demand so that feature is gone, too.

"You have a better chance of winning the 649," said Berger, "than of getting increased, stable funding with regular increases."

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Chamber Protests Lottery Changes

by Dan Davidson

The Dawson City Chamber of Commerce has joined the chorus of those objecting to the territorial government's proposed reorganization of the Yukon Lotteries Commission. The issue came up for a prolonged discussion at the January general meeting of the chamber and the decision to write a letter of protest was unanimous.

The discussion was sparked by a letter from Dominion Shell manager Michel Dupont, which stated that, "There is nothing wrong with the way that the Yukon Lottery Commission delivers services; as a matter of fact I can only praise the outstanding business ethics they've displayed in dealing with them."

Dupont dismissed the notion that placing the YLC under the umbrella of the Yukon Liquor Corporation could improve service in any way.

"To any Yukon Lottery retailer," he wrote, "it certainly means a drastic reduction of services, and to any Yukoner it means the slow disappearance of the much needed funding to community organizations in the field of sports and arts..."

Gary Parker, of the Dawson City Arts Society, who also sits as a member of the Lottery Commission, described how far the government's response is from the proposal that YLC had submitted to become a crown corporation and put itself at still further arm's length from politics.

"(The commission is)not non-political, but I would say that it is a-political in the sense that it operates with a mandate and a goal to take the monies derived from the direct sales of lottery tickets and deliver them with a minimum of bureaucracy back to the user groups."

Chamber president Boyd Gillis recalled that a former Yukon government had at one time tried to take over YLC and had been prevented by the existence of a legal agreement with Western Canada Lotteries. Was the present move, he wondered, just a way to make and end run around that legality?

There was general agreement around the table that government would be unable to run the process as efficiently as the three employees who currently handle it. Gillis noted that it seems to be run on the basis of providing a service quickly by whatever means will work best, and that it seemed unlikely to him that a government department would be as flexible or as helpful.

Parker expressed two general fears: that the arm's length element would be gone because of this change and that, eventually, the money would be redirected from its present use.

The discussion around the table could be summarized by saying that governments have not generally looked at this money as being available to them because it was handled outside of government. It wasn't available so it wasn't considered. If the process becomes part of the government then the bureaucracy will either want to get control of it for general use, or start to have some say over where it is distributed. Neither outcome would be seen as beneficial to the groups currently benefiting from Lotteries grants.

"Once it gets close to government," Parker said, "then politicians with their own agendas have easier access to it."

The chamber members were further disturbed by the manner in which this change was brought about, specifically by the lack of public consultation on the future of a body which has had a great deal of public impact over the years.

Parker conceded that the commission itself had been somewhat aware of a move in this direction and that was one reason it had put forth its crown corporation proposal.

"Rather than even respond in some kind of negotiated compromise to the commission's proposal, the government has 'consulted', in its fashion these days. Which means that they listened to the commission's concerns, received our correspondence and then went ahead and did something quite contrary to what the commission had really asked for."

No one at the table could see any reason for changing the way things run now. The phrase "if it ain't broke don't fix it" was reflected in many of the comments made.

"The voice of the people has to be heard here," Parker told the group, which agreed by instructing the chamber executive to draft a letter of protest to the government.

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`No sinister motive' for Lotteries Change says Everitt

Glen Everitt, speaking as the president of the association of Yukon Communities, is cautioning communities and community groups against "a premature reaction" to organizational changes for the Yukon Lotteries Commission.

"The organized lobbying effort that is occurring is based on speculation and supposition," Everitt, who is also Dawson's mayor, said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

The commission is currently staffed by Yukon government employees who are attached to the Department of Community and Transportation Services, which will cease to exist in April.

The move to the liquor corporation may simply be what it appears to be, Everitt said - a move to a branch of government that will continue to exist, to a branch with existing connections in all communities.

"Minister (Pam) Buckway has consulted with AYC and put her commitments to the communities in writing that the lotteries commission will remain an arm's-length body with up to 12 members appointed by the minister as is the current practice under the Lotteries Commission Act.

"I have the minister's written assurance that renewal will not change the management of the public lotteries money and that the money will not be merged with other revenue," said Everitt. The allocation of lottery revenue will continue to done by the lottery commission.

"I am persuaded that there is no sinister motive behind this move. It appears to have been done to preserve the lottery commission at an arm's-length in a post-renewal government structure."

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A Christmas Keno

by Lisa Hutton

With the gale force winds subsiding and the bounty of balmy temperatures here (at least for a while!), the time has come to reflect on the numerous wintry midnights on the Keno and the dear place this most beautiful vessel holds in our hearts. Creative piano wire festooning at finger and mindnumbing temperatures, security alarms and curious onlookers a thing of the past, the S. S. Keno has yet again inspired the hearts and minds of our town. On behalf of Louise Ranger and myself, I would like to thank the following organizations and individuals for making the S. S. Keno community calendar project a reality.

Mäshsi Cho to Angie Joseph-Rear of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Language department who provided us with the Han Translation of the New Years message. For a number of reasons the message "missed the boat". All the same, "Nänkäk Tsenähdän Hule (Peace on Earth), and good will towards everyone.

Thanks to Principal Gauthier and the teachers and talented students at Robert Service School for their overwhelming interest in and support of the project and Bonnie Barber for her art dealer co-ordination. Mr. Betts grade four class were studying Ted Harrison and created 16 works of art, including some of the finest interpretations of our winter community imaginable. The grade fours also provided all the numbers for the calendar. Grades 7 and 8 students of Miss O'Rourke provided 7 works of art including some beautiful group projects. Finally, no sternwheeler advent calendar would be complete without a wheelhouse and the outstanding artistic talents of the children enrolled in both child care centres. A huge thanks to Maggie Powter, Gary Hobbins and all the helping hands who inspired and supported our youngest artists!

The visual feast on the S. S. Keno mirrored the tantalizing contributions of local individuals and businesses. For providing some of the delectable goodies for our Christmas baking draw the always awesome businesses of Dawson, including Bonanza Market (and thanks for the wreath too!), Riverwest, Tintina Bakery, General Store, Raven's Nook and Maximizing. Community bakers were eager to add a few extra calories to the daily intake of unsuspecting winners. For their over the top gifting a huge thanks to Suzanne Gagne, Susan Russell (thanks for the samples!), Margaret Titus, Fran Morberg/Daniel Green, Louise Blanchard, Nicola Walch, Bev Mitchell, Gaby Sgaga, Penny Soderlund, Shelly Perry, Babe Titus, Christine MacDonald, Carmen Dubois, Carrie Haffey, Georgina Taylor and Dina Cayen all outstanding in the field of chocolate, sugar and decorative creativity.

Thanks to Riverwest, The CIBC and the Post Office for taking the draw boxes in November, when this project was barely under way! A huge and heartfelt thanks to Lambert, Monna, Robyn, Elaine, Dina and April at the Post Office, who in addition to their already hectic and cramped December work life gladly distributed the goodies to all the winners.

Thanks to our awesome employers and co-workers at Chief Isaac and Parks Canada, who supported this project (sometimes knowingly, sometimes not!!) allowing us time, resources and space to attend to the numerous little details that are often unforeseen but always critical.

Thanks to Gary McMillan and the crew at Parks Canada in Dawson for their love of youthful artwork and the free access given to this most precious and beautiful venue. Apologies to the staff at Parks who were pulled out of their cozy homes to respond to security alarms touched off by crazy winds and flapping artwork or was it the ravens?! And thanks to Byrun, Ben, Barry and Paul for lighting the boat, culminating in a celebration (not planned!) of the winter solstice on Dec. 21.

And a final special thanks to a few individuals who came through in the crunch: Kelly at the Centennial Society; Paula Hassard and Beverly Mitchell who took time out from their quality home time to assist in the stringing of lights; and last but never least Wendy Burns, who, well what can I say that hasn't already been said about Wendy may you "never miss the boat!" And if we have "missed the boat" on thanking anyone, apologies abound and a hundred special thanks to you! So many talented hands made light work.

Thanks Dawson, for making this Christmas a special one for us and for sharing in the joy and warmth of this special time of year in this most special place on earth.

Art work featured on the Keno submitted by:

Allison Anderson, Scott Anderson, Ayla Asplund, Kevin Beets, Katie Benoit, Thane Bergeron, Alicia Blanchard, Johnathan Blanchard, Charlie Brunner, Clayton Buhlar, Lindsay Cahoon, Angelica Campbell, Patrick Campbell, Angelica Campbell-Power, Charmaine Christiansen, Will Connellan, Nicole Cook, Alexander Derry, Jamie Favron, Greg Fischer, Mary Fraughton, Caitlin Gammie, Olin Hampl, Steven Heydorf, Bradley Keaton, Mackenzie Kerr, Kadin Kormendy, Steven Kormendy, Angus MacDonald, Derek Magee, Casey Maguire, Christina McIntyre, Mandy Nabess, Daniel Naef, Melissa Neaff, Tor Pilgrim, Nicholas Rear, Tyler Rear, Aaron Robinson, Donald Russell, Tanner Sydney, Alana Taylor, Clinton Taylor, Nancy Taylor, Nathan Taylor, Robyn Touchie, Daniel Titus, Ryan Titus, Dustyn Van Bibber, Joshua Van Bibber, Alex Whitlaw

Daily Christmas Baking Draw winners:

Shelley Rowe, Becky Davies, Al Peterson, John Flynn, Fred Berger, Hank Berendse, Shirley Lilley, Clara Collie, Gloria, John Lenart, Mikaila Blanchard, Charlie Taylor, Wendy Perry, Anna Hanulik, Gordon Hardy, Cary Powers, Brandi Moneypenny, Maureen Peterson, Henry Procyk, Donna Michon, Andrea Magee, Kyle Matuk, Mary Christiansen, Kristen Cook, Edward Roberts.

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Gold Show Revival Proposes Change of Emphasis

by Dan Davidson


This mastodon tusk in part of the permanent display at the Klondike Nugget and Ivory Shop on Front Street in Dawson. Photo by Dan Davidson

There will be a Gold Show in Dawson in 2002 if chamber of commerce president Boyd Gillis has anything at all to say about it. But Gillis warned chamber members at their January meeting that this can't be a one, two or four person effort. It's going to take some intense and fancy footwork for the business community to breathe life into the concept he has in mind, but it's in their own best interests to get involved.

That's the positive side of things. The other side is that the whole idea will probably just whither up and blow away if there aren't enough people at the next planning meeting to form some working groups.

Unfortunately, it appears that the committee, if and when it is formed, will not include the Klondike Placer Miners Association, which has informed the chamber that it just doesn't have the resources to participate in these tough times. The KPMA, along with the City of Dawson, the Klondike Visitors Association and the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce, came together to found the Gold Show in 1986. The KPMA would still hold its spring meeting here, but that would be the extent of their involvement as far as Gillis knows at this time.

Gillis originally felt that it the mining community wasn't involved in the effort there wasn't much point in staging the show, but a month after he expressed that opinion, he has changed his mind. Looking at it more closely, he says he has become convinced that the gold show weekend has enough of an economic impact on the businesses of Dawson early in the tourist season, that the chamber really can't afford not to do something to save it. For the small group that has been meeting, it became a question of finding a theme that related to mining, but didn't focus solely on it.

"What I'm proposing," he said, "is looking at the possibilities of basing the gold show on the paleontological finds that have resulted from the gold mining that's gone on in the Klondike over the years. We can have displays, talks, a gold display and gold jewelry display."

Mining activity has been a constant source of bone and ivory artifacts over the last several decades. Much of the knowledge of the fauna of the Beringian Corridor has been the result of finds at mines all over the Klondike region.

In addition the Dawson City Museum has been planning a celebration of the work of retired paleontologist Dick Harrington, and Gillis would like to tie into that.

He has discussed the concept with people at the government level and their initial reaction has been positive. A combination of displays related to paleontology, archeology, geology and history seems to hold some promise as a theme for the weekend.

"We think we can put an event together that we could market to different groups to bring them in. We would try to work in a trade show as well."

Gillis says the community just can't wait for the miners to get involved.

"The KPMA always has an excuse. They're too busy, they have other pressing things, not enough funding and so on. I'm not denying that they probably do have legitimate excuses, but we can't say, 'OK, that's a good enough excuse not to do anything.'

"I think we should call it a gold show because that's an established name. But the Museum people need help; so do the arts; we could tie it all in. I think we could build up an event that people would come to Dawson for."

The notion of celebrating the culture of gold mining and some of the spinoffs from the activity itself is a bit different from celebrating the business itself, but Gillis sees it as being true to the spirit of the area and a way to keep the early shoulder season event alive.

"I think we should call it a gold show because that's an established name. But the Museum people need help; so do the arts; we could tie it all in. I think we could build up an event that people would come to Dawson for."

To put a program together between now that the middle of May will mean a lot of work . The January 16th meeting will be critical to the success of this project.

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AED Arrives in Dawson

by Aedes Scheer


Father John Tyrrell, Aedes Scheer and their AED equipped friend. Photo by Anne Tyrrell

The Dawson Ambulance Service and Standard First Aid instructors are proud to announce the arrival of an addition to the community's medical technology. Thanks to several donations an Automatic External Defibrillator and training unit have been purchased and are available for emergency use.

In January 2001, all Standard First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (SFA/CPR) standards were changed to include the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AED). For some time there was no AED available for instructional purposes in the Yukon. A Trainer AED was borrowed from the Red Cross Office in Calgary, AB in order to train Yukon SFA/CPR instructors and not kept in the Yukon for use in subsequent courses. Finally a trainer AED was purchased for use in the Territory but all instructors across the Yukon had to share the one unit. It saw considerable travel up and down the highway as 38 classes of SFA/CPR were held in this community over the last year and that converts to a lot of people now familiar with the device. The local instructors with support from the Dawson Ambulance Service decided to seek funding to obtain a trainer for Dawson City and a real working AED for which the trainer is designed.

About two years ago an international symposium of health professionals, medical researchers, and representatives from the American Heart and Stroke Foundation as well as the various First Aid training organizations reviewed the research of the previous five years. Several recommendations from this gathering resulted in changes to the curriculum of SFA/CPR instruction, one of which was the introduction of AEDs. The mounting evidence that early defibrillation increases the survival rate of heart attack victims has prompted airlines, casinos, shopping malls, and other public areas to install these devices; they are a very commonly encountered device in the southern regions of this continent. AEDs are simple to use and the symposium decided that emergency personnel (firefighters, ambulance, police, ski hill, swimming pool staff, etc) and the public at large should receive AED training in courses containing a CPR component.

As testament to the ease of their use, paramedics and SFA/CPR instructors John Tyrrell and Aedes Scheer demonstrated the AED trainer at the Olde Tyme Christmas held at Gertie's December 15th, 2001. A young participant joined them at the front of the hall to give Resusci-Anne a mock shock. Following the voice prompts of the AED trainer, she easily pushed the correct buttons to analyze the heart rhythm and then deliver the shock. The voice prompts then instructed that airway, breathing and circulation be checked and CPR started if necessary.

The following groups were thanked for their donations towards the purchase of the equipment:

The Masons
The Royal Canadian Legion
Princess Tours
The Volunteers of the Yukon Ambulance Service, Dawson City
The Dawson City Campus Committee
The Klondike Training Trust Fund

Two more items are expected to arrive in April 2002. An AED of the same make as those on ambulances in Whitehorse is to become part of the ambulance equipment here. A training model for this machine is also expected. Since YTG Health officials have not established protocols for use of AEDs outside of Whitehorse where they have been used for many years, Whitehorse officials have instructed us to leave the AED off the local Dawson ambulance. If it is required in the event of an emergency, a Standard First Aider has agreed to arrive at any call where the unit may be required. Ideally there will be AEDs available at numerous venues around town but for now we have one and for that we are grateful. Many thanks to all who assisted with this project. May we never have to use it!

For more information on the AED and trainer or about Standard First Aid/CPR courses please call Aedes Scheer at Yukon College 993 5231.

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Mitchell Receives Bravery Award

Complied by Dan Davidson


John Mitchell, the reluctant MB winner. Photo by Dan Davidson

John Mitchell, the Canadian Ranger who fought off two Rottweilers to save a six-year-old boy was awarded a Medal of Bravery by the Governor General on December 6.

Back on April 10, 1998, Ranger John Mitchell looked out his office to see two Rottweilers attacking six-year-old Cory Taylor.

Alerted by the sounds of dogs fighting, Mr. Mitchell grabbed a camping stove and a metal pail from his truck and attempted to distract the dogs by making loud noises and yelling at them. Seeing that the enraged animals did not stop their attack, he began beating them off with the stove and pail.

As the dogs turned on him, he managed to get the severely-injured boy to his feet. Under the dogs' intensified attack, he was able to back away with the young victim, while repeatedly hitting the dogs, until he finally reached the safety of his truck. He then drove the child to a nursing station for treatment before being evacuated to Vancouver for extensive surgery. Thankfully, the boy survived the ordeal.

Governor General Adrienne Clarkson awarded the Medal of Bravery, a military honour, to Mitchell in Ottawa on Dec. 6, one of 32 bravery awards she handed out that day.

Canadian Ranger Captain Conrad Schubert in Yellowknife said this morning that Mitchell is one of the most decorated Rangers. A Ranger since 1991, Mitchell was the first Canadian Ranger to become a member of the Order of Military Merit(MMM) for his years of service. He's also got a commander's commendation for the Canadian Forces Northern Area, said Schubert.

The Medal of Bravery is awarded for acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances. Recipients of the Medal of Bravery may use the letters M.B. after their name.

Members of the Order of Military Merit are appointed for exceptional service or performance of duty. Members are entitled to wear their badge suspended from a point above the left breast pocket of service uniforms, and can use the initials M.M.M. after their name.

(The article includes material from a December 14 Whitehorse Star story by Sarah Elizabeth Brown and material from the official website of the Governor General of Canada.)

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Han Elder Receives Award

by Chuck Tobin
Whitehorse Star, December 17, 2001


Percy Henry at home with his conservation award. Photo by Dan Davidson

The first-ever Conservation Award presented by the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board has been given to Han elder Percy Henry of Dawson City.

"To me, we wanted to create an award for a lifetime of looking after the land," board chair Doug Urquhart said in his award presentation to Henry on Friday afternoon during the board's Christmas open house.

Urquhart pointed out the painting Henry was receiving depicts a father and son hunting high in the mountains.

It was just a few years ago high in the mountains around the Kusawa area that an old hunting tool was discovered on a melting glacial area, Urquhart pointed out. The atlatl - a type of throwing spear propelled by a type of hand-held launcher - turned out to be 8,000 years old - almost 7,000 years before the advent of the bow and arrow.

Urquhart said it was evidence of how long the aboriginal people of the Yukon have been living on and caring for a land they depend on for survival. In his lifetime in the Yukon, as the chief of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation from 1969 to 1984, Henry has experienced and learned much, Urquhart said. He said in the years he's known and worked with Henry, on occasion, they would fly through areas of the North and never would Henry fail the test of identifying where they were by the landmarks he knew and recognized.

Henry, he said, is a man who believed in cooperation, and working together, and who is always doing something, somewhere.

A fundamental of the Yukon land claims, it has been said time and time again, is the spirit of cooperation and a partnership between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people for joint stewardship for the Yukon, its people, its land and its resources.

"To me, he is the living embodiment of the land claim," said Urquhart.

In his brief acceptance address, Henry noted that importance of working together.

"Like Roddy Blackjack (a Northern Tutchone elder from Carmacks) always said, we are two cultures; work together, because in future, we are going to need each other, and I think this is the best thing that ever happened, is to get the two together."

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Davidsons Honoured as Volunteers


The startled Davidsons receive their award from Mayor Glen Everitt. Photo by Clair Dragoman

Mayor Glenn Everitt chose the School's Christmas Concert, arguably the most heavily attended event of the year as far as locals are concerned, to present the annual Volunteer of the Year award.

This year's plaque went to Dan and Betty Davidson, who arrived in Dawson in 1985, after having spent nine years in Beaver Creek and Faro. Both are teachers at the Robert Service School. Betty began organizing school choirs the next year and annual school musicals a few years later. In addition to her extra-curricular activities at school, she is the president of the Dawson Community Group Conferencing Society and was a founding board member of the Dawson City Arts Society.

Dan continued writing for the Whitehorse Star when he arrived here, and three years later became a founding director of the Literary Society of the Klondike, which began publishing the Klondike Sun in 1989, which he has been editing ever since.

Both are active members of Saint Paul's Anglican Church, where they are members of vestry and Betty shares piano playing duties with other members.

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