|FLIPPED PHOTO...The cover of NorthwesTel's 1997 calendar features Dan Davidson's photo of the opening of the Commissioner's Residence in Dawson last summer... only with everyone and everything printed backwards. See story below.|
by Dan Davidson
"So, how many weeks has it been since exams?" I asked a colleague in jest as we hit the 3rd day of the new semester. I was joking, but the fact that she had to stop and think about it was telling.
We'd had examinations on that Monday and Tuesday and had jumped right into the second semester and planning for next year immediately. Suddenly the courses we had just finished teaching seemed a long way off.
Time is so relative. It hardly seems like 3 weeks since the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Surely it hasn't been more than a month since there was a Klondike Sun layout weekend?
Well, it has. We took our first extended break ever with the December 13th issue. All that meant was that we took what once would have been a long month between issues. Used to happen fairly often when were on our monthly schedule, but after a year as a biweekly if felt odd.
At the General Store we were told that people actually started demanding new papers a couple of weeks ago, wondering what was going on.
The answering machine was busy. We have about 2 dozen calls to get back to and should have most of them done by the time you read this.
The phone/fax was so busy it ran out of paper in the middle of last week and has already used quite bit of the next roll.
That's kind of nice. It means people rely on us and are used to us being there. As we move into the second half of our 8th year of publication, that's good to know.
by Dan Davidson
On some clear days, in all seasons, smoke can be seen wafting from the Dawson dump. Located part way up the Dome Road, just below the local downhill ski trail, the facility has been a bone of contention for some years now, but all that is about to end. The town's lease on the dump is coming to an end this year and, finally, after more than six years of saying that the dump had only two years of life left, the year has actually arrived.
Dawson council really doesn't have much choice about what to do with its garbage. The only proposal on the table presently is for it to take over the Quigley Dump from the territorial government. It isn't a solution that anyone really likes, but city manager Jim Kincaid says there's not much choice.
"Basically it's the consensus of council that we should go ahead with our negotiations with YTG. We don't have a lot of options in the short term. We can't get another site approved in the limited time that we have left to get off of the Dome.
"We've got some issues to negotiate with the YTG on Quigley, but that's where the landfill site's going to be for the next few years anyway."
Before that transfer takes place, council and cabinet have to resolve who's going to own the area and what the management plan will be. In addition council hopes to work with the Conservation Klondike Society on some of the issues related to recycling and dump use.
It's a major move for the municipality, and will no doubt cause a considerable increase in the cost of waste disposal. The current contractor hauls refuse to a site within the town limits, just a few kilometres from where most of it is collected. The Quigley pit is considerably further down the road, increasing costs for transportation.
Says Kincaid, "It's certainly going to be more expensive to operate a system with a different type of management control on it."
The biggest change in the controls will be the introduction of new regulations governing burning, which is currently used to reduce the volume of the garbage being buried at landfill sites.
One of the council's immediate concerns in the negotiating process is that it should never be held responsible for any problems that may arise from a contentious landfill site that it had nothing to do with establishing. Mayor Glenn Everitt proposed that the city would accept responsibility for any problems arising from its management of the site, but not beyond that. He also reported to council that the Tr'ondek Hwech'in have indicated their acceptance of Quigley as the new dump for the Klondike.
by Dan Davidson
While the holiday period has been a joyous and busy time in Dawson, there are always a few people who will tarnish the tinsel by helping themselves at the local stores.
At Front Street's Monte Carlo some free spirit helped him or herself to the festive display that had been set up outside the store.
"Took the whole thing," said Susan Hermann, who can recall losing light bulbs in the past, but never anything quite so thorough. "It's kind of sad." She's heard that some other retailers have decorated less this year than others because of similar behavior.
At the Raven's Nook on Second Avenue, Lenore Calnan has had the same problem.
"We used to decorate the front of this place up very nicely, but we kept having all the lightbulbs unscrewed and taken away. So now we just put the lights up higher where they can't be reached, but it also makes it less attractive."
The Raven's Nook, which bills itself as a sort of mini-department store, has also been having quite a bit of trouble with shoplifting, and Calnan says that other retailers are telling her the same story.
"T-shirts, caps, lingerie, the odd girlish top and God knows what else," she says when asked what items have gone walking. As a result she and her staff have to spend a lot more time watching customers and less time helping them. Even so things get away from them.
"Somebody was selling a stereo cheap and the police actually phoned me to see if I was missing one, and I wasn't. I have lost small equipment .... taken right out of the packages, and we've found the packages to be empty.
"They could have walked out before with a little walkman and stuff, but we've since put that under glass."
Some people are currently under suspicion at the Raven's Nook, and anyone caught in suspicious circumstances, or referred by the loose communication going on between the various retailers, may find themselves asked to leave their bulky winter clothing or knapsacks at the counter when they come in to shop.
"If I know someone who's bad I phone and I let the other stores know," Calnan says. "We're attempting to develop a better network system for that."
"Because of our scrutiny this year probably isn't as bad, but if we relaxed the least little bit I'm sure we would get taken again."
Calnan is especially depressed by the number of high school aged children that seem to be taking a five finger discount this year. She speculates that most of them actually do have the money they need to buy the things they want from her store and others, but that some of them would prefer to reserve their cash for more illicit purchases of drugs and alcohol, and do that by pilfering.
"If their parents have given them money for clothing than they have to come home with clothing, so they steal the clothing and then use the expendable cash. That's the story that I've heard. Kids I've thought that I wouldn't have to watch have been caught or strongly suspected by other people."
"I couldn't begin to tell you," Calnan says when asked to estimate her regular losses. Ten percent is the figure often used nationally, but no one really knows without taking an inventory. And of course, as much of this cost as possible is eventually passed on to the honest customers who aren't stealing.
by Dan Davidson
How often do you find a community asking the territorial government for less area and authority? Not often, but it's happening in Dawson and the town's manager says there are good reasons.
"It's an initiative of the mayor's to give back a portion of the city that's costing us way more than we can generate," says Jim Kincaid, as he explains the January 6 debate.
The proposal has undergone some modifications since Mayor Glenn Everitt raised it just before Christmas. Originally he suggested that all but the bridgehead, bench and campsite areas should be returned, but most of council wants to retain the the residential sub-division area part way up the highway.
Ownership of the campground remains important to the municipality as it gives it a means to exercise legal control over the influx of summer campers between May and September of each season. Council developed and policed the area last summer and will begin to collect fees at the beginning of the next season.
Council would like to hand Sunnydale back to the YTG, at least for the time being. First reading of the bylaw has been set forth in order to gain reaction from Dawson residents generally as to what the boundaries should be.
Kincaid says suggestions are expected and will be welcomed. "We'll be able to draft a map, get it through second reading and on to YTG for consideration."
The basic area involved was added by the Yukon's Municipal Board to the city's original request at the time of hearings several years ago and proclaimed during the first year of the Yukon Party's mandate, much to the surprise of the council of the day. The focus of the boundary expansion plan had been up the Klondike Valley, but the municipal board's judgement placed more emphasis on the west side of the Yukon River.
From the very beginning there were questions about how the area could be regulated and serviced without a year-round permanent link to the rest of the community. Indeed, the board's judgement lent weight to the concept of a bridge across the Yukon River at Dawson City, saying that once should be built. It appeared at the time that the Yukon Party was committed to such a venture, though it later vanished in the haze.
Kincaid says that the costs of administering the area are far in excess of any revenues that can currently be realized there. Legal liability, the cost of road maintenance and the general frustration experienced by council in its dealings with the Department of Community and Transportation Services over this area are all part of the reasoning behind the request.
As council debated the first reading it became clear that they see very little chance of development and, therefore, little in the way of balancing revenue, until such time as a bridge is built. When that day comes, they would like to take control of the area once again.
by Dan Davidson
Don Reddick, the author of Dawson City Seven, the novel based on the Dawson Nuggets' Stanley Cup Challenge, has signed on to make the commemorative trip east this March first with the Dawson City Old Timers club. The trek, by dogsled, train and ship, will take the Klondikers to a game with the Ottawa Senators, now slated to occur on that club's home ice.
Reddick, who stirred up quite a bit of interest in this idea when he was here on his book tour a few years ago, will be along as official correspondent for the Klondike Sun, at his own cost.
Pat Hogan, one of the organizers of the trip, says that Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun has also expressed an interest. If he goes then dispatches will be national, but Reddick will cover the trip for the home town crowd. "Then we'll have a local record," Hogan explained.
The contest has been shifted to the Senator's new home ice from the Civic Centre at that team's request.
"They're seeing it now as a much bigger event than they originally had thought and they want a bigger stake so they want it in their rink," Hogan said. The Senator's take of the exhibition game, 45%, will be donated to the charity of their choice, which happens to be the Heart Institute. The Dawson team will donate 25 ounces of gold, or the cash equivalent, to the Yukon Special Olympics. This might be up to 45% of the take. The remainder is designated for Yukon Minor Hockey.
Fundraising for the trip is being carried out here on the basis of subscriptions and sponsors. In addition 3,000 Chris Caldwell posters are selling for $10 apiece. They have just become collectors items, since they were printed up before the location of the game was changed and bear the name of the wrong rink.
"We're (also) going to produce a commemorative program for. like two bucks. Hopefully it will be totally subscribed through advertising. Business card sized ads from small businesses and others." Hogan has had word from a number of small business people who are willing to become involved at that level of sponsorship even thought they can't afford massive donations. The most conservative budget for the trip is $193,000, but that includes the $25,000 in gold that was raised for the Special Olympics, so that's not a true picture of the costs. Still, it will cost each member of the team close to $2600 just in transportation and accommodation, not to mention finding the time for the three week trip and eating along the way. The organizers hope to be able to reduce this cost a bit, though the middle aged men on this team certainly expect to be out of pocket for the experience.
"We've been really successful with Debra Balinski of DCB Productions. She's going to have great media conferences and exposure across Canada as well as the production of the game, so we can deliver to our sponsors the commitment that we made. We're giving good return for sponsorship dollars."
by Dan Davidson
When Chris Caldwell was approached last year to prepare an advertising poster for the Dawson City Oldtimers Hockey Teams trip to play the Ottawa Senators, she knew it would be a tough assignment.
"A lot of thinking went into that one because I don't usually do sports," she said just a few days after the poster hit the stores.
Getting the inspirational juices flowing was a difficult job. Immersion in the history of the event didn't really seem to do it for her.
"Then I thought of the reputation behind this challenging hockey team. It was so completely ridiculous. Plus the reputation that they gained down south of being these wild men from the North. I combined that with these preppy little early 1900s guys who were the best athletes in the land - snooty, snobby, always clean cut, got all the women, the good looking Adonis type of characters.
"I started taking these two extremes and put them together with these two guys facing off over the Stanley Cup. Then of course I had to add a little more brute to both of them because as far as I'm concerned, hockey players are brutes. I've watched enough of it to know. So I figured having these guys huffing and puffing and snorting like a couple of bull moose facing off would be the ideal scenario that would present the whole event in a simple statement."
Yukoners have to learn to make do. So the Dawson hockey player in the poster doesn't quite have the right equipment. He's got caribou antler skates tied on to mukluks, a homemade sweater, mitts that are designed to look like hockey gauntlets but turn out to be made with fringes and stitches and fur. And of course a fur hat. He's also got a yellowish wolf-eyed gleam to highlight the wildman aspect that people were expecting. The other guy is the clean-jawed and shaven type who seems to be saying to himself, "Ewww, we have to play them?"
The poster is on sale for $10 and is already a bit of collectors item since the venue printed on it has been changed from the Ottawa Civic Centre to the Senators' new home ice. Funds are going to help support the trip by the Dawson Oldtimers Hockey team, which will begin on March 1.
by Dan Davidson
Now that Flo Whyard's let the cat out of the bag, I may as well admit that I took the cover picture on NorthwesTel's Northern Gatherings 1997 calendar. Before anyone else phones me up to tell me the picture is backwards, I want to make it very clear that it wasn't when I took it.
I realize that I am garnering a reputation as a person who looks at things in a manner somewhat different from the rest of the world, but not even I can bend light waves and reverse the image on a strip of film. For that task we need a talented darkroom person and a sloppy project editor.
I can't really claim any credit for spotting the problem either. I didn't. They sent me a bunch of complimentary copies along with the payment and I was so pleased that all I did was admire it. By that time I knew I was in the calendar, but I didn't know I was on the cover until it arrived. In fact, I opened it and leafed through it before I realized that was my shot on the front.
The first I heard of the problem was when a chap from Calgary called me to complain. He'd already called the lady who bought the picture from me, so the conversation began something like this.
"Dan, this is _____. I imagine T___ has already told you I called. Did you know your picture was backwards?"
I guess it's a common thing for people to assume that a writer or photographer will automatically know what they are talking about when they mention any recent piece of work. When I ask which one they are talking about I always get that look that tells me I ought to know. Even after I patiently explain that it was one of four or five Uffish Thoughts, or one of perhaps a dozen or more articles during the month, they still seem to think I should have the wording right on the tip of my tongue. I don't. I turned out 286 items last year, all told, and I would be hard pressed to recall any specific item without a bit of prompting.
Anyway this aggressive caller went on to tell me that the image was reversed. He knew this because the Sam Browne belts the Mounties had on were backwards. What an eye for detail! I suppose Flo knew because she remembered where she was sitting. When I grabbed a copy of the calendar to check it out I knew because Pierre Berton's and Jean Chretien's hair was parted on the wrong side.
Not really. At first I didn't believe him, so I dug out my newspaper clipping of the same pose, shot in black and white for the Star, and sure enough, everything was backwards. I have to admit that I really didn't notice all those little details at the time. The pose in question was staged for the benefit of a photographer from Klondike National Historic Sites, who was using a special camera for group shots. I snuck in underneath his lens with my two little idiot-proof 35mm automatics and simply got lucky with both of them.
I'm quite sure that if someone else had not had the forethought to set this pose up, it would never have occurred to me. I'm essentially a writer who grabs the odd picture to enhance the story I'm working on, and just selling pictures isn't something I do very often.
All this was going through my mind while I sorted out what to say to my caller, who had caught me just coming in the door from church and not at my most organized.
"I just took the picture,' I said defensively. "I had nothing to do with printing it or laying out the calendar." I have been known to goof up that way laying out our local newspaper, but in this case I could happily claim total innocence.
I'm not sure he believed me. He was awfully insistent. But it's a true story. If you don't believe me, ask Flo. She was there, just like in the picture. Except on the other side of the steps, of course.
Les was born at Mara, BC. He came North to join his father and three brothers in 1938. He helped his Dad with the greenhouses on 5th Avenue, then went to work for YCGC on the dredges. He joined the army in 1944 and spent one year overseas. He returned to the Yukon and worked for YCGC until 1956. He moved to Dawson and worked for Will and Irene Crayford at Klondike Motors until 1962. He spent the next twelve years with White Pass as General Agent. In 1974 he was given the choice of moving to Whitehorse with White Pass or staying in Dawson. His choice was to stay in Dawson. He went to work for the KVA as maintenance man at Diamond Tooth Gertie's until he retired in 1990.
Les loved sports - in his younger days he played softball and hockey. He spent many hours with the Crayford boys working on the ice in the old skating rink so they could play hockey. He also loved to curl and was a Life Member of the Dawson Curling Club. Saturday nights found him listening to the hockey games on the radio and later watching the games on TV. Gretzky was his hero. He also loved to hunt and fish, and while living at Granville he had his own dog team and trapline and was an Honorary Game Guardian for the Yukon.
Les lost his battle with Asthma on December 17th, 1996. He leaves to mourn him, his wife of 36 years - Myrna, daughters Lorraine and Roberta MacManus (Scott) and two grandsons, Vince and Peter, and mother-in-law Marion Hadley. Also from a former marriage, daughters Dawn Hanson (Vern) of Craigmyle, AB; Karrin Hart (Dave) of Quesnel, BC and a son Stuart Isbister (Ann) of Coutenay, BC.
Les was predeceased by his Mom and Dad, George and Olive Butterworth, and brothers Jack, Roy and Cecil.
Thank you to everyone who sent cards and letters and called during our recent loss of Les Butterworth, husband, father, grandfather and wonderful friend. Thanks to the Ambulance Crew for their prompt action, to Bea Felker, Dr. Crocker and the staff at the Nursing Station, to Dr. Parsons for his years of care. Thanks also to Reverends Don and Lee Sax and to Ven. Ken Snider of Mayo, Peter Jenkins, the Eldorado Hotel, and Jim Allison, to the organizations, YOOP, Pioneer Women, IODE, Chuck Margeson and the Royal Canadian Legion, to Wendy Burns for coordinating the reception with her helpers, and to KVA, the Farmer's Market and those who donated goodies. A big thank you to Terry, Jannice and Chris for being there.
Myrna and Lorraine Butterworth and
Roberta and Scott MacManus and family
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