|This "assault vehicle" was assembled during the day to provide the evening's entertainment at the Attache's BBQ. The air gun fired apples. Photo by Dan Davidson|
Welcome to the July 5, 2002 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 47 photographs and 40 articles that were in the 32-page July 2 hard copy edition. This posting is late due to our editor being very, very busy.
This issue Heather Pauls continues as our summer intern. Heather is doing a great job, as you can see here.
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?
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by Dan Davidson
This year's Commissioner's Tea was a celebration of anniversaries once again, but some of them were real milestones rather than just more steps along the way.
Sure, it was the territory's 104th birthday, as Commissioner Jack Cable noted in his address. The actual date was July 13, but Cable was happy to claim the nearest Saturday.
In addition, it was a continuation of the year long celebration of Dawson City's centennial of incorporation, which has already been recognized in a number of ways, most recently by the town being declared the Honorary Capital of the Yukon for the rest of this year.
It was also a day to honour the 50th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, a signal year for an organization originally known as the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, the lead organization in setting up this event. The IODE may have eliminated all the colonial sounding words in its name and just gone for the acronym in 1979, but its 102 year tradition still stands to attention for royalty.
Of course, everyone on the organizing committee heaved a sigh of relief when the day dawned sunny and bright. The rain and wind that held sway on the evening of the Western Premiers' community dinner was still fresh in most minds, and there's no awning large enough to cover that big front lawn.
The tea is a joint production of the IODE and Parks Canada, as well as staff from the Dawson City Museum and other sites around town. The ample plates of goodies, pots of tea and coffee, pitchers of lemonade and iced tea, were provided by the people of Dawson and served by interpretive staff as well as younger volunteers.
Hosts Carrie Haffie and Jay Armitage introduced the entertainment, which included a piano duet by Gwen Bell (piano teacher at the Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture) and one of her adult students, Father Tim Coonen.
Commissioner Cable's remarks made it clear just how much of a Commissioner's Day June 15 was. Three former office holders, Jim Smith, Ken McKinnon and Judy Gingell were among the guests that afternoon.
The second musical offering of the afternoon was a set of pieces by the Elegy Trio, a group from Irkutsk (a city of about 400,000 in south central Russia, just north of Mongolia), shepherded about and translated for by Al Fedoriak on behalf of the Rotary Club. Their piano, bass violin and soprano offerings raised a large applause from the crowd.
They were followed by Suzanne Morley, the pianist and lead vocalist with the dance band, Susie Q (which was scheduled to play at the barbecue later that evening). Morley demonstrated her versatility by serving up some ragtime style tunes.
The musical and formal portion of the afternoon concluded with a salute to royalty, the singing of "God Save the Queen", lead by Michael Davidson, tour guide at Saint Paul's Anglican Church, which is celebrating its own centennial this year. The toast was proposed by the Legion's Chuck Margeson.
The afternoon concluded with several tours of the Residence itself.
by Dan Davidson
The Commissioner's Ball may have died two years ago, a victim of Dawson's expanded social season (two other balls) and unrealistic precedents set during the peak centennial years, but the town and the Commissioner's office have refused to let the idea of a community event die.
After all, the Commissioner and his or her entourage still have to make the trek to the Klondike for the successful afternoon tea at the palatial Front Street Residence, so why not come up with something else to fill in the evening.
Last year it was an open air picnic on the Fort Herchmer grounds just behind the Residence. This year, mindful of the wind and rain from the Western Premier's Conference BBQ early in the month, organizers went for a covered event, using just the red and white striped portions of the big Music Festival tent to create a dining room on the same lawn.
Billed as "The Party of the Summer" the evening will featured a family games carnival out on the lawn from 6 o'clock to 8, with the cocktail hour overlapping in the big tent at 7.
While kids were outside admired the RCMP rider and Blackjack, as well as throwing darts and water balloons and shooting paint balls at a target, the folks dressed in evening finery were getting ready to enjoy one of the Dawson Fire Department's famous barbecues, and the music of Suzie Q, a cover band from Canmore, Alberta.
This band was very excited about coming to Dawson, so much so that the members covered some of their own travel costs. Their manager and spokesman even assisted the Klondike Visitors Association by arranging for a door prize of two nights at Alberta hotels (the Radisson in Canmore, and Chateau lake Louise) which are part of Suzie Q's regular circuit during the band's eight year history. That went nicely with the other door prize, which was an Air North flight to anywhere on Joe Sparling's new service to Alberta and British Columbia.
Judy McKinnon, wife of former Commissioner Ken, won the package.
McKinnon wasn't the only former commissioner at the event. Incumbent Jack Cable was flanked by Judy Gingell, James Smith and Frank Fingland.
Acting Mayor Joanne Van Nostrand gave greetings on behalf of Mayor Glen Everitt, who she said was off at another meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities board in Ottawa, lobbying for more money for the territory.
"I really hope that we all have a great time and a wonderful dance."
MLA Peter Jenkins was the next to address the dinner crowd which filled the tent.
"I'm so pleased to see so many returned commissioners join us for this event."
He noted that it was Dawson's centennial as well as the 104th anniversary of the territory being celebrated by this event, and "tonight we celebrate all of you who have chosen to join us on this wonderful occasion."
Speaking on behalf of the KVA, Father Tim Coonen welcomed all the guests. He reminisced briefly about the grand balls at the Palace Grand, but concluded, "Perhaps that all things have their time, and as KVA ... we're moving from the 19th century into the 20th just to keep up slightly.
"Perhaps this (setting) is more appropriate to the economic times we're facing and perhaps it's more inclusive to our visitors and all the residents here in Dawson.
"We're here to celebrate the 100 years that Dawson has already seen and the future that lies before us."
Commissioner Jack Cable introduced all of his predecessors as well as Senator Pat Carney, and Commissioner Glenna Hansen from the NWT and recalled his trip with her to Ottawa, which had put them both in the nation's capital on September 11, 2001, the day of the Attack on America.
Sitting in a bus in the middle of a convoy of vehicles, surrounded by police, he had leaned over to her and said, "Glenna, they're not after us. We're really small potatoes."
"'Yeah,' she replied, 'but we're still potatoes.'
"What she was saying was that we're all not superstars, but we're all important."
Cable recalled once of his first trips to Dawson, over 30 years ago when he, an Ontario boy had been ambushed by the midnight sun at 2 in the morning.
"It's a city that is really interesting. You folks who live here in Dawson, you have an enchanted city. Take it from me. That was my first impression of Dawson and it remains my impression.
"This city sort of pops out with history: the boardwalks, the stern wheeler, the first nations people and their artifacts and all the other old buildings that have been restored. It's something most Yukoners have to see and all Canadians should see."
As for the evening itself, he thanked the KVA and all the volunteers for keeping the event going in some form.
Sally Derry, head organizer for this year's party, reported later that Mr. Cable was there until they rolled up the tent early the next morning.
The KVA's Wendy Burns joined emcee Justine McKellar in presenting both the Commissioner and Derry with this year's new panoramic photo posters of the town.
The fire department put on a great barbecue spread; the 4H Club and the ladies of Dawson provided a sinful array of desserts; the band kept the tent jumping after the meal had settled;; the conversation and smiles continued throughout the evening and a good time was had by all.
by Dan Davidson
The North End Gold Panning Venue was the site for this year's gathering of Canada's Foreign Service Attaches. Dawson's Rangers and the City of Dawson played host to the visitors from close to two dozen countries as part of the annual Foreign Service Attaches' Northern Tour.
Capt. J.R.L. (Luc) Boucher, the director of protocol and foreign liaison, said that this tour is one of several put on for members of this group, but the northern tour is held annually, unlike some of the others, and it is one of the most popular. He himself was returning for his third trip, and has already purchased the SUV which he will use to make a vacation trip here when he retires in a few years.
His wife (who was able to accompany him along with four other wives) was nodding as he said this, so it must be true.
Dawson put on some hot weather for the tour this year, which was a relief, he said, after the previous day's cold further north.
The foreign service attaches are accredited to Canada, but they don't all live here. From this group,, some were resident in Ottawa and some in Washington. The nations represented included Uganda, Finland, France, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Switzerland, Turkey, Zambia, Israel, Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, the Peoples's Republic of China, Chile, India, Greece, Austria, Norway, Mexico and the United States.
The evening had several highlights for the group, beginning with the arrival of Diamond Tooth Gertie and her dancers. There was a rush to be first to get a picture taken with this group, who had to dash off after a short time to make the early show.
The wild game barbecue served up by the Rangers and their helpers was a mixture of fish, meat,, bannock, all the trimmings and a selection of tempting desserts.
Towards the end of the meal local paraglider Steve Kurth swooped past over head, trailing the Ranger's flag in his wake, and landed nearby.
Then, when things seemed to be about done, there was a sudden muffled report and the sound of something whizzing through the air, followed by the rumble of an engine and the appearance of the most bizarre military assault vehicle one could imagine.
A large compressed airgun had been mounted on the back of an old jeep chassis fitted out with tracker tires and a rack of moose antlers. It was set to fire what Ranger Sergeant John Mitchell called "type A ammunition", in other words, some very cheap Apples that had been found on sale at the local grocery stores.
Primed and aimed, the gun fired its charges well up the hill below the Dome, past the trees, to splatter on the rocks far above. Many of the visitors took their turn at the firing control before the evening ended. It would be safe to say they all had a blast.
by Dan Davidson
The Dänòja Zho Cultural Centre on Front Street was buzzing with activity on the evening of June 22 as the First Canadian Ranger Patrol Group gathered with locals, visiting Rangers from around the territory and the Foreign Service Attaches tour group to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Rangers in Dawson.
By sheer coincidence it appears that the cultural centre was constructed on the dyke above the area where the Rangers' signal shack would have been located during the Second World War, a fact noted by the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in's Acting Chief, Clara Van Bibber.
Her grandfather, Alec, was one of those first Rangers - then called the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers - back in 1942 when the organization began.
Larry Bagnell, Yukon's member of Parliament, said that research indicates that the Dawson group may in fact have been the first Ranger patrol in Canada, a patrol largely made up of first nation citizens.
Their purpose was "to provide a military presence in remote and isolated areas of Canada that could not otherwise be covered by the regular elements of the Canadian Forces" and "to be 'the eyes and ears of the north' for the Canadian Forces in support of Canadian sovereignty." (source: http://www.rangers.dnd.ca/rangers/)
The name Canadian Rangers was first used in 1947, but the organization declined after the war, military attention having been shifted to such multi-million dollar projects as the now defunct DEW and Pine Tree early warning radar lines.
The Rangers were rejuvenated in the 1970s though it took another 20 years for the Dawson Patrol to be reactivated under the leadership of Sergeant John Mitchell, who proudly introduced his group to the audience as "the best patrol in Canada."
Dawson boasts a very healthy patrol now, and the tradition will be continued for the adults are nurturing the Junior Rangers as part of their activities. In addition to military duties, the Rangers are active in emergency measures preparedness, search and rescue operations and other situations as needed.
Larry Bagnell, speaking in his capacity as chair of the National Defence Caucus, brought congratulations from the Prime Minister and the latest Minister of Defence.
MLA Peter Jenkins brought greetings from the territorial government
Mayor Glen Everitt presented a brief history of the Canadian Rangers and used the occasion to remind our MP of the CAN RAN 2000 report, which reviewed the Canadian Rangers and Junior Canadian Rangers organizations and assessed their effectiveness in 2000, recommending that there should be "a significant expansion in terms of financial support and increased personnel."
"The motto of the Rangers in the Latin word 'Vigilans' which means 'watcher', but I can tell you," Everitt said, "that in this community it means pride. We are very proud of the Ranger patrol in Dawson."
At the front of the cultural centre a carved wooden plaque was unveiled by Alec Van Bibber, who used a traditional Ranger tool, a double bladed axe, to chop the cord anchoring the Ranger flag in front of the plaque. The counter-weight raised the banner revealing the plaque behind it.
Six rounds of blanks, one for each decade of service, were fired over the Yukon River by the honour guard,, which was made up of Rangers from around the territory.
Captain Rick Regan from Yellowknife took advantage of the situation to present Mitchell with a special photo plaque commemorating his participation in the Magnetic North Pole patrol in the late spring. The photo shows Mitchell talking to the Prime Minister, while the caption reads. "Mitch explains to the Prime Minister why his taxes are late."
Inside the cultural centre the Rangers had prepared a display board of Ranger memorabilia and photographs, showing many of the members and the range of activities in which they were involved. Also open was the new Hammerstone Exhibit in the cultural centre.
After everyone had had time to sample the goodies and see the displays there was a final treat. Julian Tomlinson, the official photographer of the Magnetic North Pole patrol, had come from Inuvik to present a captioned slide show of that event. It was an exciting look at a unique trip.
Three more presentations closed off the evening.
Captain Dwayne Phillips, the Acting Dean of the Attache Corps, presented Mayor Glen Everitt with a service plaque honouring the City of Dawson for once again providing the tour with "the highlight of our trip."
"You open your arms every time we come and we're welcomed. We appreciate that."
To Sgt Mitchell, he presented plaque for the Dawson Patrol.
"For most of the attaches, our countries do not have a program such as the Rangers. I don't know why - they're so successful. I know (the attaches) are all impressed with what you do and with how you do it."
The third plaque was for Alex Van Bibber, "the most impressive individual I've met in a long, long time. He's been there, he's done that, he MADE the t-shirt. This man can tell a story. Everything that I see in the Rangers today, I know where it came from; it came from right here."
by Dan Davidson
The new owner of an award winning placer mining operation on Hunker Creek near Dawson City was happy to show his mine to Energy and Mines Minister Scott Kent, Yukon government officials, and other guests during the recent Western Premiers' Conference held here from June 4 to 6.
Dave Marsters bought out Doug Busat, who had moved from oil field construction work in the Fort Nelson area to working in the placer fields of the Klondike in 1997.
Busat won the Robert E. Leckie Award for Outstanding Placer Mining Reclamation Practices in 2001 for the work he had done since that time.
Most of the strip mine is located on previously worked ground.. The evidence of work by the dredges can be see all around the site. What Busat began, and Marsters continues, is a closed circuit operation that uses mostly ground water for sluicing and settling pond operation.
As the overburden is removed from an area, the topsoil, mud and gravels are stockpiled and used to reclaim the area after the pay dirt has been washed through the plant and the placer gold extracted. The overburden has been placed over old dredge piles and other previously mined areas.
Old mine cuts and settling ponds have been backfilled coarse tailings, and topped off with finer-grained material in order to encourage natural revegetation.
At one time such areas were reseeded, but Marsters explained that concerns over the possible importation of foreign species of vegetation has changed this practice. Now, it is common to let the seeds previously trapped in the soil to combine with natural reseeding from adjacent areas to do the job. The result is a mixture of wetlands and grasslands, which studies shave shown to provide a better habitat for wildlife than the dredge piles and frozen muck which were there before.
The tour group was impressed by the size of the operation at the Marsters' mine, the volume of earth that is being moved by a crew of less than ten people and amount of planning that has to take place at all stages of the operation to make a profit and still spend something like 20% of the operation's time and resources on restoration.
Of course, few could resist the chance to clamber up onto the mammoth machinery of the separating plant and stand above the grates and riffles which capture the gold.
Each operation is a little different, depending on the location of the gold and the richness of the ground. Marsters processes only a few metres (they measure in cubic yards) of the material above the bedrock, but Leslie Chapman, who runs a mine near Fortymile, explained to the group that she and her husband find it best to process all the ore at their site.
by Dan Davidson
While it might seem that discussions surrounding the creation of Tombstone Park might have progressed beyond this stage by now, public meetings usually seem to come back to about three questions.
Why is the park so large?
How much is actually known about the area?
How will any regulations that are developed be enforced?
These questions refused to go away during the meeting held in the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Community Hall on June 20. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the draft versions of the two management plans - one for the park and one for the highway corridor that runs through it - which have been developed by the management committee and staff over the last 16 months.
The park itself, as has been stated many times, is an outgrowth of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Land Claim Final Agreement. The tripartite document provided for a process which would take 18 months to determine the boundaries of the park and another 18 to draft a management plan.
The Tombstone Corridor follows the route of the Dempster Highway through the northeast third of the park and is an attempt to harmonize the management regime of the existing highway corridor (approximately 500 metres on either side of the road) with that of the surrounding park.
Both documents were introduced to the two dozen or so people at the meeting by means of presentations and a computer slide show. There were few comments during this portion of the evening.
The question period immediately following broke little in the way of new ground and showed that many of the arguments used over the last five years have still not been dismissed from many minds.
It is quite certain that some people in the area continue to feel that the park is way too large. It is now twice the size it was once proposed to be and, in the opinion of Shawn Ryan, head of Canadian United Minerals, which holds grandfathered gold claims inside the park and is exploring claims just outside the boundaries, "it's just a big land grab."
Ryan says the park's designated size has created a serious problem for people wanting to explore west of Dawson. It blocks access unless a prospector or developer is willing to go over 100 kilometres north of Dawson just to reach the area west of the town.
Ryan also maintained, along with town councillor Byrun Shandler, and over the objections of committee member Julie Frisch, that the committee had not been given the resources to do proper surveys of the fauna in the region. He pointed to the Angelcomb Peak area, which is identified as a potential recreational site, in spite of the study identifying it as a sheep winter range.
Father John Tyrrell pinpointed a significant weakness in the whole plan when he asked what financial resources had been identified for the management of the area. Patrolling such a wilderness area would require a number of people and access to the equipment, such as ATVs and skidoos, with which to do the job.
Steering committee member Dick Van Nostrand conceded that he has seen no sign of a financial commitment from the territorial government in his time with the group, although the Land Claim specifies that YTG will have to bear the cost of running the park.
According to the document (p. 17) "Adequate financial resources to meet park objectives will be the responsibility of the Yukon government, in co-operation with the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in."
Speaking from a Yukon College perspective, Marcia Jordan wanted to know what sort of training programs might be needed locally to help deal with the park. Tim Gerberding suggested that the park would need wardens, interpreters and maintenance personnel.
Helicopter pilot Karl Sholz was concerned that the number of landing spots for choppers seemed to have been cut in half since the last public meeting. Better, he said, to have a variety of places that helicopters might land, so that they were not landing in the same places all the time, thus stressing the environment and reducing the value of the wilderness experience for adventure tourists.
This led into a general discussion of aircraft noise in the park, which, it was generally agreed, was on the increase since airlines and the military have started using more over the top routes. Byrun Shandler was of the opinion that endless noisy circling by helicopters was actually worse than having them land.
A Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in citizen in the audience expressed the concern that members of the first nation (not in abundance at this meeting) did not understand the steering committee's work and had not understood the land claims process itself during the 1990s.
There seemed to be a general lack of belief that the word 'DRAFT' on the plan actually meant that these documents would not simply become the final reports. Committee members were asked to clarify that, and did so. Comments on this material will be accepted until September 13, after which the final report writing stage will begin, ending in November.
The committee has recommended that this first take on the situation be reviewed after five years, with reviews every ten years thereafter.
by Heather Pauls
Balloons, streamers, and banners set an inviting stage for the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in's celebration of the annual National Aboriginal Day. The festivities, which took place Friday, June 21st, doubled as the seasonal grand opening of the Dänoja Zho Cultural Centre. Full of prizes, games, exhibits, refreshments, and activities for children, the open house event was catered to every age. Adults and kids alike had their faces painted, ate scrumptious cakes and bannock, and struggled to construct the perfect dome tent.
A highlight for many spectators was the performance dance, choreographed and presented by Kin Tuson and Michelle Olson. Their symbolic enactment of the painful history and hopeful future of the First Nation was a ten minute sneak preview of the thirty to forty minute piece they are working on for a later performance. Although it was a small example of what is to come, spectators found the dance to touching and evocative.
"It was so moving I started to cry," admits Debbie Dorion, one of the visitors that had the opportunity to see the women dance. The dance captured the lives of the First Nation as they moved from their semi-nomadic lifestyle, to oppression under the sudden gold mining industry and cultural change, to their hopeful future of the rejuvenation of their heritage and oral history.
The Hammerstone Gallery, within the circular section of the Dänoja Zho Cultural Centre, follows this same cultural movement as one circles the floor. Starting with a display of the First Nation's way of life before white settlers came, the exhibit moves from then until now. The finale outlines what is in store for the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in archaeological dig on the Tr'ochëk heritage site.
"Raven, you must fly away with our songs, dances, stories, and drums and store them where they can be protected until there comes a time when we can share them with pride and honesty...a time when we have found our power."
-quoted from the play, "Beat of the Drum"
Thanks to the Dänoja Zho Cultural Centre, for the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, the Raven is returning.
by Heather Pauls
Tickets are selling fast for the first ever Regimental Ball open to the RCMP and community alike. A $50 ticket will entitle a complimentary BBQ dinner on Friday, as well as a drink ticket provided by the KVA on for the same night, and most importantly, the formal Regimental Ball on Saturday. Taking place from September 13th until September 15th, this weekend event is organized with the intention of bringing the police, politicians, commissioners and any members of the community who wish to attend, together for a few relaxed, enjoyable days of recreation, dancing and dining.
The festivities do not fall short of a couple of nights of eating. Events range from golfing to marching to memorial services, all in the name of showing locals and visitors alike the commitment the RCMP has to making Dawson and the rest of the Yukon a safe and enjoyable place. The golf tournament, to be held for the most part of Friday and Saturday, offers prizes for the winners, which will be presented at the Ball's evening ceremony. Awards for the contestants as well as the door prizes are yet to be announced and remain a secret until further notice--or perhaps even until the moment of their granting.
On a more serious note, the RCMP will take the opportunity to honor RCMP officers who have passed away. In a mid-afternoon memorial service on Saturday at the RCMP cemetery, spectators will congregate by the graves to view uniformed officers in full red serge march to the cemetery for the service of remembrance.
Afterwards, weather permitting, the RCMP plans to stage another march to the sound of a piper and drummer down Front Street towards the Ball. The idea behind this is to reenact a photographed march from 1901.
Once the procession arrives at the Ball, held at Diamond Tooth Gerties Casino, there will be a receiving line of various dignitaries greeting officers and guests at the door. This is another way that the community can meet the various important persons.
Guests include such people as the High Commissioner of the UK, Lord Henry Burns, and his wife, Lady Sarah Burns, the MP for the Yukon, Larry Bagnell, Grand Chief of the Yukon First Nations, Ed Schultz, Head Alaska State Trooper, Mr. Crawford, the Commissioner of the Yukon, Jack Cable, and tentatively, Commissioner of the RCMP, Giuliano Zachardelli.
The casino, which will be closed to the general public for the evening, will still run the slot machines for the ball-goers who wish to gamble. The Agents, a well-known Yukon band, will provide the live music for the evening and will be playing various tunes to get the dancing shoes tapping. Guests are urged to wear either ceremonial dress, period costume, or formal wear.
The itinerary for Sunday is still in the process of organization, and will most likely be less structured so that visitors to Dawson can take their pick of what sights and experiences they would like to partake in before leaving the town. The RCMP is tentatively organizing a gold panning adventure with Gold Bottom Mining Tours on a reservation basis. There is a minimum number of participants required to schedule the event, so if interested, contact the RCMP for booking and information.
Tickets are available at the RCMP office. You can reserve tickets by calling 993-2677. Any check payments must be made out to Tim Ashmore.
Hope to see you there!
by Johnny "Tiger" Caribou
My approach was straight and true. I had trained constantly since the Top of the World Golf Course had opened in May. And now, the TOTW Summer Solstice Midnight Sun Tournament was going to be mine. I was Tiger, the rest were a field of dreamers.
After mentally preparing for my first ever tournament with a hearty meal of 20 Minutes Brownies cooked in 10, I decided I would talk to Julia Fellers to find out the skinny on the skins. After all - as an organizer - if there was information to be gleaned for an edge to my game - for the chance of me to haul in that silver ware - Julia Fellers would be the one that tied the loop at both ends.
"It's our 9th annual summer solstice tournament," she said to me after deftly handling a gaggle of entrants registering for the tournament as easily as Bud Docken handles a golf cart. "We have two separate tournaments (this year) because of demand but they're both the Midnight Sun Golf Tournament."
I realized that Fellers was incorruptible. That on this Friday night, I would have to look elsewhere for my advantage.
A group of people I did not recognize and whom I secretly suspected of being ringers stared at me as though I was a Village Everitt reciting a Ph.D.. thesis about 'When is a deck not a deck?'. However, before I could over hear any billowy smoke from them, I realized that it was me who was staring at them. I had to think fast; do something to make them see I was not on a mission.
"I flew and drove today in order to play tonight," said Gary Knopp, a visitor from Alaska. "I put a lot of things on hold to play and left my wife at home to take care of things."
Was he just a guy who had come all the way over from Alaska to have a good time and play golf at 12 am on the longest day of the year or was he really another Irwin-Gaw-golfing-shark-in-disguise, whose lurking in bunkers with loaded wedges is legendary? I couldn't tell for he seemed like a good Guinness.
"We noticed there was nothing in the rules about the highest score," said Morely Campbell, choking back an easy laugh to his wife, Sharon. The Campbells who had driven all the way from Winnipeg just to play in the tournament, sat at Knopp's table and looked like they were hatching a plan. "Actually, we came all the way out of retirement just to play to night," said Morely Campbell, his face taking on an aura like Father Tim's.
As a militant agnostic, I realized I was in trouble, that things were not necessarily what they always appeared to be. And from my covert training from KVA board meetings, I knew I was going to have to have my 'A' game ready.
And then as 12 a.m. approached, 11 groups of golfers ventured into the almost setting sun, towards their designated starting hole. And then, at midnight precisely, two loud gun shots - which didn't even sound like a Coleman Johnson tee shot - fired off into the light night.
I quickly adjusted my game to playing the best ball format that the tournament used. Off the 9th tee, my approach was straight and true: I watched it soar, watched my tee shot rip up to the heavens and kiss the sky. It was a thing of beauty.
After I picked my ball up off the road, luckily my team of the Takasaki family and Roger Stewart, had hit the ball actually onto the fairway. We were out in four.
But then, on the First tee, things went horribly wrong. How was I supposed to know that the 'A' in my game stood for 'Arabic'. Roger quickly versed us all by taking 10 swings before making contact with his ball. Our sides hurt from so much laughter.
"Hey I'm using my soil sampler to night," said Stewart defending himself, and who parleyed a curious habit of carrying his clubs mostly on - rather than over - his shoulders.
And onwards my - our - game went: a bunker here, an out of bounds there: a lucky shot off a golf cart a head of us gave me a fortunate second shot off hole number 4. But I never once heard the sound of a Huskcavarna.
By the time we were on the 6th hole, it was 2: 20 am and my legs were feeling like they had be listening to a 12 hour debate between a nickering mayor and a wagging politician on the mating habits of West Dawson mosquitoes.
But I realized my plan was dead. My game looked like the Avalanche's during the 7th game in Detroit during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The sound of Eye of the Tiger in my head which had been playing before I stepped onto the golf course, had been replaced by the Beatles' Fool on the Hill.
And then at 3:45 a.m. it was all over. I slogged into the club house, tired but fortunate for having played a round of golf during the middle of the night in a tournament that was great fun for all involved. After shuffling off towards my truck, I thought, who knows, next year, I might play with something different than just my putter.
by Dan Davidson
Come July 1 travellers to Dawson can expect to find smoke free restaurants. The amended version of the no-smoking bylaw passed third reading at the June 24 meeting after some 45 minutes of relatively gentle discussion and no yelling, before an audience of five, including two journalists.
Bylaw 02-11's passage was far from unanimous. Indeed, only a provision of the rules which interprets an abstention as a vote in favour in the event of a tie saw the bill past its final reading.
As expected, Mayor Glen Everitt voted in favour of the bill, calling it the most progressive legislation of its type anywhere.
Wayne Potoroka voted for what he called a first step, a bylaw that had the support of local businesses and was realistic given Dawson's long history of leading the nation in puffers per population.
Byrun Shandler voted against a bill which he felt was not strong enough. He felt it missed the youth and employee liability issues which had been part of the formative discussion, and held out for a simple ban on cigarettes in all restaurants, period.
Debbie Nagano cast a negative vote, saying that the bylaw was too strict and would impose too much the will of a council which may not be around in two year's time.
That left Joanne Van Nostrand, who has remained silent during much of this public process. As a hotel owner (the Downtown) she declared herself in conflict of interest early in the debate. Nevertheless, it was actually her abstention which passed the bylaw.
This version of the bylaw was closer to the one published before the June 10th meeting, which had bogged down on the issue of decks and patios. After some research Everitt determined that it was perfectly okay for the town to come up with its own definition of a deck for the purposes of the bylaw. By this definition, a deck/patio "means an outdoor area without solid wall cladding and has open air ventilation."
This covers the decks being used by most of the eateries in the town,, and it is expected that the decks will become the smoking areas for their respective restaurants. Beyond that there are four basic rules, slightly amended from the last version.
This one used to have a ten foot perimeter attached to it, but that's gone.
Gone too is the provision in the definitions that might have banned smoking in commercial garage bays and industrial shops, though the stores attendant to these should become smoke free.
In addition, a new section defines what should be considered when designating a smoking zone in a business, including the proviso that any indoor smoking areas are off limits to those under 18, that smoking areas should have separate entrances or not be part of the route a customer much take to transact other businesses in the place.
And finally, "outdoor smoking is permitted on a patio / deck provided the patio / deck meets the definition in the bylaw."
Other than that, the air in bars and lounges will remain as hazy as ever if you like smoke with your french fries.
The penalties are quite hefty, and apply to both the person or the business which contravenes the bylaw. Persons begin with a $150 fine and progress to $500 for the fifth and subsequent offences.
Businesses face the same fines, plus a 14 day business licence suspension on the second offence, followed by a 30 day suspension for the third and subsequent offences.
The mayor reiterated once again that bylaw enforcement officials are not going to be proactive in their enforcement of the bylaw, but will react to complaints from customers and the public. The bylaw will come into force on Canada Day.
by Dan Davidson
As the Yukon Placer Authorization review continues, so the debate persists over the effects of current levels of sedimentary discharge into placer mining streams.
The YPA is a 1993 measure that allows for the continued existence of placer mining operations by regulating the level of sedimentary discharge that may be released into water bodies used by the miners. It was up for review this year, and the process has often been stormy.
At the heart of the controversy between the Department of Fisheries and the Klondike Placer Miners' Association is a disagreement over just what harm sedimentary discharge might possibly be doing to the creeks and rivers. Are the activities of the miners actually hurting fish habitat?
DOF tends to agree with its partner, the Yukon Conservation Society, in pushing for lower levels of discharge and challenging the miners to prove themselves innocent of any serious wrongdoing.
The KPMA takes the opposite view, citing the naturally murky condition of most rivers and steams in the mining areas and claiming that their discharge is actually below the naturally occurring sediment levels.
That this was not always the case is conceded in a study done for the KPMA by New Era Engineering Corporation, which Randy Clarkson presented at the Dawson City Gold Show a month ago.
Clarkson compared fish statistics with known sedimentary discharge rates over the last century and concluded that the relationship he could discover really didn't make any sense in terms of regulations.
In his survey Clarkson pointed out that the peak historical period for high discharge was from 1906-1966, the era of bucket line dredges and hydraulic mining in the territory. The largest companies dredged 349 million cubic yards (a standard miners' measurement) and removed 155 million cubic yards of black muck during these years.
Clarkson quotes a miner from the period as saying, "The creeks were so thick with mud you could almost walk on them."
Bulldozers began to alter that pattern in the 1940s, but the real changes came after the end of the corporate mining era when the dredges were gone and the use of water for stripping was pretty much phased out.
The first treatment regime for sluicebox effluent was put in place in 1973. Water licenses came along in 1984, mandating the use of settling ponds for most operations. By 1988 it was all operations, and in 1993 the Yukon Placer Authorization "reduced the discharge standards further for many placer-mined creeks."
Finally, in 1999, the placer mining land use regulations required the reclamation of placer mined areas.
Clarkson's study says that the impact of all this regulation on discharge has been tremendous, dropping it from 6 million cubic yards annually during the dredge era to 63,000 cubic yards per season in 2001.
This discharge is, Clarkson said, insignificant compared to that caused by natural sources such as the discharge of the extremely muddy White River into the Yukon River just south of Dawson City. He rates the placer discharge as being equal to 0.3% of the natural load and "insignificant by comparison."
The other part of the study looked at the fish populations in the Yukon River over the same period. Fish populations appear to have been higher during periods of peak discharge, which leads to the ridiculous conclusion that "Salmon returns are decreasing due to decreasing placer sediment releases." Clarkson includes this conclusion as a bit of a joke, to demonstrate what can happen if too few variables are considered.
The other variable, of course, is the size of the Alaskan harvest before the salmon ever get to the Yukon River. Not surprisingly, the more fish that are caught in the Pacific Ocean, the fewer manage to return to their spawning grounds.
Clarkson writes, "The recent drop in escapement is most probably due to over fishing and other factors such as disease and changes in water temperatures
"Placer mine sediment does not appear to be related to decreasing salmon returns."
by Heather Pauls
Enthusiasm shone in the eyes of Monica Fras as she described the bizarre turn of events that have recently effected her life. After she searched through the internet to see if there was a Miss Teen Canada in existence, she soon discovered that not only was there such an event, but that she also qualified. After much paperwork and emailing, Monica was on her way to participating as a contestant. As one of thirty delegates for Miss Teen Canada International, fifteen-year-old Fras is busily organizing and sponsor-recruiting as she plans to journey to Toronto on August 12th for the competition while staying with family.
Scheduled to take ten days, the event runs from August 15th to 25th as the group will tour throughout Toronto, although it is only the final on-stage performance that will be televised. Fras hopes to convince DCTV (Dawson City Television) to air the event at that time.
In order for Fras to make the deadline, the council cut down the application form, which usually takes a week, to one day. Her written requirements were pared down to writing half an essay, half a biography, and half of everything they initially required. She sent it over the internet and it was reviewed by the council. They called her the next morning to say that she had been accepted, the participation in which she couldn't confirm right away as she hadn't discussed it with her mother yet. The financial barrier also posed a problem.
After a brief conference with her mother, Maria Fras of The Hair Cabaret, Fras had permission but not the funds. To acquire the $3,024 registration fee, Fras is doing all her own footwork to convince sponsors to support this endeavor.
"I'm doing everything locally. All the money is coming from local businesses, " states Fras, "we've arranged some fund-raisers that are going to be happening from now until December 31st."
Contrary to popular belief, the event is not a beauty contest. Judges are looking for many traits in the contestants: sincerity, honesty, and ethics to name a few.
"It isn't a beauty pageant, because if it was, they wouldn't have accepted me before they saw me...they accepted me before they even saw a picture. They just talked to me on the phone and I sent in my forms," Fras explains, as it is predominantly the talent and stamina of the contestants that the judges are looking for.
Additionally, she is required to write an essay and take a scholastic IQ test. As a sample of her talent, she plans to perform a combination of three songs that her and her voice coach will splice together. Mixing parts of "I Enjoy Being a Girl," "I Can't Say No," and possibly "Que Sera Sera," Fras plans to wow the crowd with her music and dancing abilities. Finding no passion in sports, Fras has looked to song and dance for recreation and enjoyment since the age of four.
Besides her time and energy, the biggest investment Fras has to provide is her pre-gala gown, which is supposed to reflect who she is and where she comes from. Corroborating her ideas with Megan Waterman's sewing talents, an asset of Fashion Nugget, her gown will have a large bell-shaped bottom and a corseted top. To portray the area she comes from, the dress will be black with gold overlay to mimic our history of miners searching for gold dust in black sand. Using lace and perhaps a few decorative finishings, Waterman and Fras intend to design a dress reminiscent of the Klondike Gold Rush by researching dresses from the 1800s.
"We're going to try to make it as historic looking without me looking stupid," said Fras.
Most of the contestants come from pageants in the big cities of Canada, but due to the Klondike's lack of a teen pageant, Fras had to self-declare her Miss Teen Dawson status. She walked into the City of Dawson office and asked to be crowned Miss Teen Klondike, and after some discussion over whether or not this included Whitehorse, Fras got what she was looking for.
As Dawson lacks a teen pageant, Fras intends to fill this niche with the help of her sponsors by creating a small contest for next year and the years to come. She hopes that each June will see another Yukon representative at the Miss Teen Canada International Contest. This girl will also have many volunteering responsibilities. It may be fun but Fras assures that it is still quite a lot of work.
"I'm planning a homecoming, but it's not for me, it's for my sponsors," Fras announces, with the aim of ceremoniously thanking the local businesses for all their support.
by Heather Pauls
Holly, an East German, met Clyde, a Belgium horse, in Haines, Alaska, and since then they have been getting down to business with their company, Slow Rush Tours. Actually, Clyde isn't quite registered as an employee of the outfit. It's Holgar "Holly" Haustein, a resident of the area for five years, who has recently started up his own tour business. The simple edition of a this service adds plenty of character to the already historic anomaly of a town. The sight of a horse-drawn carriage is a sudden surprise after scanning your eyes over dirty trucks and cars during your daily walks through Dawson.
Holly, fond of his new career, compares his profession to that of an operator.
"It's like a telephone line. Drivers are the only ones who can connect two brains with one rope," Holly remarks.
For thirty dollars, Holly will escort you for an hour in his handmade, homemade wagon, or for twenty five dollars he'll do the same for forty minutes. It's not just the gallivant around the town you're paying for; Holly will amuse you with his wit and knowledge of the history of Dawson. Stopping in front of many landmarks, such as the S.S.Keno, the Jack London Cabin, and the scenic view of the Yukon River, Holly has a comment for almost everything. One minute he's shooting off facts about the buildings, the next he is telling the tale of when the ghost of O'Brian stole his shovel. He may be full of information, but in the words of Holly, "Sometimes tourists can just entertain themselves."
In terms of his schedule, Holly's hours are rather sporadic. He can usually be flagged down on the street to pick an agreed time, or found loitering in front of the Visitor Reception Centre. You'll be able to tell it's him because he'll be wearing an old black hat, and might be perched on the only wagon in town that is rigged with four Volkswagen disc brakes. This vehicle can fit twelve people, but is most comfortable when there are eight to ten patrons a ride.
Modelled after the wagon from the old O'Brian's brewery and inspired by the painting of a wagon hanging next to the piano in The Pit, he constructed his own carriage from spruce and white ash after countless hours of research in the local museum. Before he made the plans for the carriage he came to know plenty about carriages from the 1800s.
For this mode of transportation, road signs and traffic laws are sometimes difficult to contend with. Because Clyde can't make it up some hills if he has to halt at certain stop signs, he has already been chastised for coming to a roll-stop by local police. When concerned over Clyde's slow pace, Holly says, pointing to Clyde, "He's slow." Pointing to himself, he quips, "I'm rush."
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