Dawson City, Yukon Friday, January 19, 2001

A walk in the winter is not out of sight for Dawson families, even at 36 below. You just have to go out prepared. Mind you, this late December photo is about the only time it actually got that cold this winter. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

Dog Days in Dawson Again
Former Dawsonite Gets a Medal
New Writer at Berton House
Santa Visits the Library
Recreation Centre Still Under Way
Arrests Follow $100,000 Robbery
Auxiliary Policing Comes to Dawson
The Amazing Mr. Ross in Concert
The Burden of Winter

Welcome to the January 19th on-line edition of the Klondike Sun. This is the abridged version of our 24-page Jan. 16th hard copy edition, which contained 30 photographs and 30 news stories, a poems, our bi-weekly local crossword and PAWS, the north's longest running strip cartoon.

We are very late posting this. It is February 14, 2001 as I assemble this edition. In mid-January the InterNet provider we had been using collapsed and folded. While our paper was not on line with these people, both the editor and the Sun had their e-mail accounts that company, and it put a crimp in out production. There are two more hard copy editions out as I type these words and I will endeavor to get them both on-line before the next one appears.

Dog Days in Dawson Again

by Dan Davidson

The television camera was running and Mayor Glen Everitt took a bit of a scolding from three of the four other members on council at the January 8 meeting. At issue was the mayor's radio interview of January 5, during which he announced a new initiative to help clean up the problem of packing dogs, which he said had reached serious proportions.

Council's issue was not that his conclusion was wrong, or that his "round up the dogs" solution was bad, but that he hadn't consulted with them before making the statement.

Everitt admitted this was so, but maintained that there were certain serious issues that demanded action, and that the potential danger posed by packing dogs was one of these.

And, as he noted several days later in an interview, one week later there was a conspicuously lower number of free roaming pooches about the community. Apparently owners who have been letting their dogs run free got the message.

Everitt says the idea of his interview was not to run down the Humane Society or its dog catcher.

"I think they're doing a great job," he said. It's just that people have been taking advantage of the fact that the dog catcher is only out there for 25 hours a week. Everitt says people have adjusted to his schedule and have been using the system.

"Two packs of dogs - six or seven each - were witnessed, one in the south end and one in the north end. I got all kinds of calls. These dogs were grouping and were out before the kids were walking to school, which was what prompted people to phone in."

His plan was to put groups of volunteers out on the street at random hours and to pick up whatever they found running loose. He talked to the dog catcher before his announcement.

"Lots of dogs were picked up by the animal control officer, who is doing an excellent job," he says. In addition, some groups did go out looking for dogs, although they didn't get any. But more importantly, in his view, the potential inconvenience caused a lot of owners to keep their dogs tied up, which is the real cause of the problem.

"Dogs which are normally loose were tied up."

Everitt says he doesn't like punishing the dogs for their owner's bad behavior, but that there doesn't seem to be much alternative. He knows of some people who have had their dogs impounded, have left them at the Humane Society's shelter, and have gone out and obtained a new dog instead of accepting responsibility for their pet.

"Right now, there's not as many dogs running loose." Everitt did a quick sweep of the town mid-week and counted only three, whereas the week before one of the council members reported thirteen during a trip downtown.

"Any loose dog is a worry, but when they're packing it's more of a problem. Johnny's little pet can become Sara's nightmare."

Council is not the only group to note the problem. The most recent Police Blotter from the R.C.M.P. also notes that "quite a number of dog owners seem to be neglecting their responsibility to their friends, family and community by not properly securing their dogs."

The report notes that the detachment has been receiving complaint calls for several months now and warns of possible prosecution for continuing offenders.

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Former Dawsonite Gets a Medal

OTTAWA - Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, presided at an investiture ceremony of the Decorations for Bravery at Rideau Hall, Ottawa, on Friday, December 8, at 10:00 a.m.

The Governor General presented a total of 46 Decorations for Bravery: one Star of Courage and 45 Medals of Bravery.

The Decorations for Bravery - the Cross of Valour, the Star of Courage and the Medal of Bravery - were instituted in 1972.

The Cross of Valour is awarded "for acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril". The Star of Courage is awarded "for acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril". The Medal of Bravery is awarded "for acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances".

David Michael Calnan, M.B.
Fort St. John, B.C.
Medal of Bravery

On July 9, 1999, David Calnan rescued a young woman from a vicious bear attack at a Yukon River campground near Dawson City, Yukon. A landscape contractor, Mr. Calnan was working nearby when he heard a cry for help. He immediately rushed to the scene and began yelling at the animal and throwing sticks at it. Twice, the black bear thrust the woman aside and charged in his direction, each time returning to maul the victim and dragging her farther into the woods. Persisting in the face of so grave a threat, Mr. Calnan confronted the animal with a heavy log and beat it into releasing its grip once again, and retreating into the woods. With the bear circling in close proximity, he provided assistance to the severely injured woman until help arrived.

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New Writer at Berton House

by Suzanne Gagnon, Community Librarian

Our new writer-in-retreat has arrived. Maureen Hull hails from Nova Scotia and we look forward to introducing her to the community. She was born and raised in Cape Breton, NS. Maureen studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and at Dalhousie University. She worked in the costume department of the Neptune Theatre in Halifax during and after her schooling. She has been living on Pictou Island, with her husband and two daughters, since 1976. She writes fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and children's stories. Maureen is also a participant in the Nova Scotia Writers in the Schools Program. Welcome to Dawson, Maureen!

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Santa Visits the Library

by Suzanne Gagnon, Community Librarian

On December 18, 2000, the Library held its Christmas Open House. It was well attended by about 45 people, including several elves. Wonderful Christmas stories were read by some of the Library Board members. Bonnie Barber read a beautiful pop-up book about the Nativity. Joyce Caley related a story about the Grinch from Max the dogs perspective. "Carl's Christmas", a story with no words, came to life under Betty Davidson's care. I, myself, told a story about how the reindeer were chosen to pull Santa's sleigh.

The childrens' eyes lit up when Santa entered the library. They listened in rapt attention as the jolly elf recited "Twas the night before Christmas". The children then eagerly lined up to have a chance to sit on Santa's lap and whisper their Christmas wish list into his ear.

Old fashioned goody bags were given out as the children left the library. There was also a draw for all the children who attended.

Many thanks to the Board members who participated; Madeleine Gould for her delicious cookies and picture taking, Bonnie Barber for the gift bags, Joyce Caley and Betty Davidson for reading, Suzanne Saito and Kathy Webster for the assembly of the bags, and of course Ken Snider as the surprise guest. Thanks to everyone who came to the Open House on such a chilly night.

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Recreation Centre Still Under Way

Adapted from the Whitehorse Star


Work continued on the recreation centre, in spite of persistent rumours that it didn't. Photo by Dan Davidson

Though the rumour mill has been busy once again, Mayor Glen Everitt told the Star on January 2 that there was no truth to the story that the funding for the town's recreation centre rebuilding has dried up.

"I know there's no truth to it," he said.

He indicated that he had heard rumours flying around that the Yukon government had cut off the funding it had promised for the project.

"We've got our money," he added. We got a payment in November."

The total sum involved is $10.4 million spread out over five years, starting with the 1999-2000 fiscal year.

"And that money still flows," Everitt said.

There are restrictions on the funding, which were added by the current government. The recreation project gets $5.6 million, while the remaining $4.8 million has been earmarked for the secondary sewage treatment plant.

What has happened on the recreation front lately is that the territorial government turned down a request to expand the funding so that the project could return to its original size. The town was forced to trim it back last summer when the tenders all came in very much over the budget which the consultant had recommended.

"We were just told, 'No', "Everitt reported.

As has been previously reported, the government did maintain the total level of funding for the project, but forced the town to take some of the money in the form of a loan combined with a renegotiated debenture on earlier capital works projects dating back to the mid-1990s.

It has also been rumoured that construction on the project had ceased (this is generally the corollary to the financial rumour), but Everitt says this is also false. Work did stop over the holidays and was scheduled to resume on January 8. At that time, he said, only metal work would be done.

"It's not a shutdown," he said, with reference to the construction break.

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Arrests Follow $100,000 Robbery

by Michael Hale
Original appeared in the Whitehorse Star

The RCMP have arrested two teenagers in conjunction with the $100,000 break-in at Dawson City's Wild & Wooly boutique, one of the biggest robberies in Yukon history.

A statement from the RCMP released this morning says a 17-year-old youth and another 18-year-old male were arrested in conjunction with the Nov. 28 robbery.

Both men are Whitehorse residents.

Police arrested the duo on January 4, and they were scheduled to appear in court the next day.

Cpl. Scott Noseworthy, the spokesman for the Whitehorse RCMP, said the arrests were made after a joint investigation involving the Whitehorse and Dawson detachments.

"Unfortunately, just a small amount of clothing was found," Noseworthy said On January 5. So far, police have not been able to recover any of the jewelry lost in the heist.

Romy Jansen, owner of the store, spoke to the Sun in December about the robbery's devastation.

"They got all my gold. They took away anything that has a label - a brand name; Nike, Kat boots and runners, every item of FUBU wear, pants and T-shirts, sweatshirts, anything to do with Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfigger - shirts pants, underwear - anything with those names on it," she said.

"They took all the Oakley sunglasses, silver jewelry, silver watches, Swatches from Switzerland."

The burglary occurred sometime overnight between Monday, Nov. 28 and Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2000. Police concluded it was not an inside job, and had the forensics unit in the store within hours of the theft being reported.

Jansen discovered the robbery when she returned to the store near midday on the Tuesday.

The losses totalled about $100,000, Jansen said, and much of that cannot be recovered through insurance.

Because the store doesn't have bars on its windows or a metal floor like a jewelry store does, said Jansen, insurance companies won't insure her for more than 10 per cent of the goods' worth.

The burglars entered the store through the floor at night, after getting into the store's crawl space from outside.

Many Dawson buildings are built up from the ground on stilts.

After forcing their way up through the floor, the culprits broke into the store's safe and made off with much of the hard-to-trace gold jewelry.

Jansen said she was surprised no one heard the noise made during the break-in, and hoped someone would come forward with information.

She also said this was not the first break-in her store has endured, but it is the biggest she's ever had to absorb.

"It will take me two years of hard work to get back what I have lost. This is a big one."

Jansen has been running the store for 12 years, and has built up a devoted clientele of Yukoners who come to her store for high-end clothing and jewelry.

The store was up and running again that week, with the only sign of forced entry being the piece of plywood over the hole in the store's floor.

Jansen and her family were hit particularly hard by the robbery, as they were just about to embark on a family vacation to Europe.

But it was also family that pointed out the one bright spot in the whole mess.

Jansen's son, Nicolaas, a Grade 7 student, pointed out that many people have been harmed for much less than $100,000, and that the family was lucky none of them nor the store's employees were hurt in the theft.

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Auxiliary Policing Comes to Dawson

by Dan Davidson


Mark Favron receives his badge from Sgt. Steve Gleboff. Photo by Dan Davidson

The Dawson City detachment of the RCMP has its first Auxiliary Police Officer. Mark Favron, owner of a local water delivery business, husband, and father of three children, became that person in mid-December and finally received his badge on January 2, 2001.

According to Sgt. Steve Gleboff, the auxiliary program is intended to augment the local force and bring it more in touch with the community in which it works.

Auxiliaries are unpaid volunteers who are provided with the equipment and training necessary to make them useful additions to the detachment.

"They help with community events, they perform ride-along duties and they have some powers as a peace officer when they're with a full time officer.

"They work with the local force to build safer Yukon communities," Gleboff continued, reading briefly from a pamphlet on the program."

"They're required to put in 160 hours a year and take some training," he summarized.

Some might suggest that this is more strenuous than a community service sentence from the court, but Mark Favron has no qualms about it. He already serves time with the Klondike Valley Fire Department in the his home community.

"I was kind of interested in getting out and seeing what happens on the other side," he said. "(Some people) have a lot of disrespect for the RCMP, but they should try it on the other side and see what it's like to do."

Aside from personal interest, he thinks it may look good on his resume someday.

"The rest of Canada has had the program for years," Gleboff said. "My dad was an Auxiliary Police Officer 30 years ago in B.C. I think it's a fantastic program."

The program been in Whitehorse for more than a decade, but outside of the capital city the only members are in Old Crow, Watson Lake and, now, Dawson.

Gleboff says he'd like to see more positions filled here. Dawson could have four. There are another couple of fellows who have expressed an interest in the program and he would like to see at least one woman take it on as well. Now that Favron is an APO, perhaps it will start a trend.

Favron is a long time Klondike resident who spent most of his younger years as a miner before gong into contract delivery work with the City of Dawson.

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The Amazing Mr. Ross in Concert

by Dan Davidson


Don Ross in concert. Photo by Dan Davidson

Don Ross is amazing. Ask anyone who saw his performance at the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Cultural Centre in early December. The image of the heavy-set man with the bushy long hair intent on coaxing an incredible range of sounds out of his guitars will be with them for some time.

This is not to say that Don Ross is a "serious" musician in any negative way. His "fingerstyle" mix of classical, folk and jazz rhythms is so hard to classify that Don has already decided to help his critics along by giving it a name. He calls it "heavy wood", surely a sign that he's not taking himself too seriously.

It's a style that works equally well whether he's presenting his own tunes, offering up a Jerry Reid blues number or reinterpreting Sting's "Set Them Free". Don sings a bit, as on that last number and his own "Any Colour But Blue", but mostly the scene is just his flying fingers and him moving about in time to the music, quite joyfully into whatever tune he is playing at the moment.

Ross's live show benefits from his stage presence, which is very comfortable and light-hearted. There's a stand-up comic up there along with the musician, telling us where some of the songs came from and about some of the odd experiences he's had while travelling.

The lovely German word he picked for the first song title on his latest CD (he still refers to them as albums and records) turns out to mean "junk" in English, but the song is still "Klimbim". It could have been worse. He could have picked the terrific 33 letter word he saw on the back of the bus, which he later found out translated as "bus".

Ross is two time winner of the "prestigious U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship for the second time (he first won in 1988). The competition, held yearly in Winfield, Kansas, cannot be won only with immaculate technique, but the player's music must also display a high degree of emotion and intensity - hallmarks of Don's style."

The quotation comes from his website "http://www.gobyfish.com", where you can also learn that Ross is "son of a Scottish immigrant father and a Mikm'aq aboriginal mother". On stage he is looser about this and refers to himself as a "Mac-Mic-Mac"

Ross is also responsible for the tune now known as the theme to the "Dead Dog Cafe Comedy Hour", which is actually a piece called "Yo Yo Mama". It isn't typical of his output in that it has no discernible tune. Playing the entire thing that night, he describes it as a song with "no melody - just attitude."

The other side of his work includes songs with a lot of melody work, reminding me just a little of Bruce Cockburn's instrumental work. No surprise then, that he lists "Cockburn, Leo Kottke, John Renbourn and Pierre Bensusan" as being among his guitar influences. He's been playing since he was 7 years old, having started on "an old plastic reject" from a boarding school. He moved up to an ancient Harmony Sovereign when he was 12 and has been at it ever since. As a guitarist he is largely self-taught, though he took classes in composition while getting a music degree from York University.

Ross concluded his show with a selection of Christmas carols, heavily rearranged versions he arranged for an album called "Winterlude" in the late 1990s.

His latest album, "Passion Session" seems to derive its name from the Passionskirche (The Church of the Passion) in Berlin, where it was recorded. Much of the concert was drawn from this material.

Opening for Ross in the comfortable theatre atmosphere was a trio of local musicians who call themselves either "Johnny Drumstick and the Hashbrowns" or "Dom is a Swampdonkey". They are Sandy Silver, Saskia Robbins and Paul Marceau. As the names would indicate, they are having a lot of fun and are pleasant to hear, performing some of their own material and some covers as well.

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The Burden of Winter

by Dan Davidson


Trees must feel the burden of winter,
the crushing weight
of the moist snow,
the ice load that makes
them contortionists,
bent out of shape,
forced to touch crown to root
in some parody of aerobic stretches.

Do they wait for a errant wind
to shake things up,
dislodge the mass,
and restore their freedom?
Is the slow remedy of a sunny day
a relief or just a tantalisation?
When the raven lands, in search of a perch,
who, I wonder, gets the bigger surprise?

The temptation is to stop and shake one
just to see what would happen.
Would it lurch to alertness?
Or has it been down too long,
like some old blues singer?
Besides - how would you choose,
and if it worked,
how could you leave all the others?

January 7, 2001

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