Dawson City, Yukon Friday, May 15, 1998

The Yukon River flowed free at last after giving the town a small scare and hitting its sixth highest level ever. Our new summer reporter, Jocelyn Bell, wasn't a bit worried. Photo by Anne Saunders

Feature Stories

Unexpected Flood Dangers Arise from Jumble
Helicopter Evacuation Saves One Family from High Waters
The Ice Is Out and We Have a Winner
Uffish Thoughts: Looking for Adventure
Editorial: Looking Back on Nine Years
Review: Wind in the Willows
Dawson Council Briefs: From Housing to Sewage
Berton House Writer Inspired by Dawson
Soup Kitchen
YTG Firing 15 Teachers
Community Group Conferencing Receives Community Support

Unexpected Flood Dangers Arise from Jumble

by Jocelyn Bell & Dan Davidson

It wasn't dramatic or record-breaking, but the ice finally moved on the Yukon River on Monday, May 4 at 2:03 p.m. The real excitement didn't come until later in the week

The winner of the IODE (International Order of Daughters of the Empire) Ice Guessing Contest was informed of her winnings last week, but it the IODE doesn't announce an official winner until one week after the ice goes out, in case anyone else comes forward, claiming to be the winner. (Ed Note: Her name is in the IODE article in this issue, but we won't steal their thunder.)

The unofficial winner's reaction? "She was thrilled. She's never won anything before," said Joyce Caley, co-ordinator of the ice-guessing contest and vice-regent of the IODE. After the IODE deducts its contest expenses, the winner takes 60 per cent of the profits from ticket sales, and the IODE takes the remaining 40 per cent. 4,512 tickets were sold at $1 a piece.

"It's not as dramatic as in years past," said James Koyanagi, observing from the dyke.

"They brought us out here and nothing's happening," said Shelley Rowe, a music and English teacher at Robert Service School. The majority of students and teachers left the school to look at the ice.

Caley attributed the lack of drama to a mild winter and low water levels. "There hasn't been a really exciting break up in quite a few years," she said.

The IODE is a charitable organization. They donate money to Robert Service School for the bands, the choir, and for general use. They also donate money to upkeep of the Victory Garden and offer a $500 scholarship for a student graduating from grade 12.

It was later in the week, Wednesday in fact, that things began to get moving in a big way. The river cleared out and ice began really moving, but the water also began rising. Reports in the Whitehorse Star and on CBC radio, the river peaked at 3.5 metres above its normal spring levels at 2 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. covering the lower road on the dyke and prompting evacuations from Sister Island downstream.

Hydrologist Ric Janowicz, with the federal water resources branch, is quoted in the Star as explaining that the Zimmer family asked to be removed just in case things got worse.

The buildings on Pleasure Island have been flooded and even a few buildings at Moosehide were partially under water then.

Janowicz attributed the unexpected flooding (the water levels and snow levels haven't been high this year) to the ice conditions this year. Mushers in all the races complained about the jagged and jumbled ice on the Yukon River this winter, and the hydrologist speculates that this has impeded the smooth emptying of the river.

Yukon River Ice History:

Earliest: April 28, 1940 (1:54 p.m.)
Latest: May 28, 1964 (12:13 a.m.)

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Helicopter Evacuation Saves One Family from High Waters

Dawson City experienced the eighth highest level of run-off in the past 103 years, said a May 8 press release from the Mayor's office. (Later it was judged to be the 6th highest.)

One family was evacuated from Sister Island at approximately 9 p.m. last Thursday when water got within 100 metres of their house. Sister Island is located just downstream from the Dawson townsite.

As well, a number of small buildings located on the shore of the river at Dawson and the Tr'ondek Hwech'in village at Moosehide have been flooded. At least two small boats were lost and one vehicle was moved before it was flooded.

Several islands, including the tourist complex Pleasure Island, have been totally flooded.

The river is being constantly monitored by City officials, and by Federal and Territorial governments. The City's Emergency Measures Organization is on standby.

While the City of Dawson does not appear to be in immediate danger, a single large ice jam at a strategic location could change that situation in a very short time.

These high water levels are happening in a year when all of the general indicators led us to anticipate lower than normal run-off levels. Early warm weather combined with lower than average snow pack levels in the region, pointed to a relatively trouble free run-off.

This situation highlights the need for a continuing and strong presence of the senior governments, both Federal and Territorial, in providing good monitoring and forecasting of river conditions upstream and downstream of Dawson City.

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The Ice Is Out and We Have a Winner

Submitted by the IODE

The Yukon River ice officially went out at 2:03 p.m. May 04 after much speculation and anticipation. The Dawson City IODE held its annual Ice Pool with ticket sales topping last year's, at a total of $4537.00. The lucky winner of this year's pool is Beppie Van den Berghe of Dawson City. Her portion of the winnings totalled $2505.62. When informed of her windfall Beppie joyously exclaimed "I've never won anything before! I'm just thrilled!"

The IODE realized a profit for their chapter of $1670.41. These funds are used towards the many good works of the IODE in and around Dawson City as well as across Canada, improving the quality of life for children, youth and those in need.

This year's ice departure did not go quite a smoothly as in the past as the wind blew over the tripod on the ice disconnecting the cable that was attached to the official clock. Fortunately this happened the morning of May 4th and the ice went out in the afternoon. Joyce Caley, Pia Blattler and later Myrna Butterworth had personally taken up watch of the river after establishing the correct time with Environment Canada on the Internet, and with Northwestel. When the ice finally moved they stopped their hand-held watch. Beppie Van der Berghe's guess was the exact time and we're sure those who had close guesses had some anxious moments.

The IODE would like to thank the numerous and excellent ticket sellers in Dawson, Old Crow, Eagle Plains, Mayo, Carmacks, Braeburn and Whitehorse. Thank you as well to the YOOP tripod builders - Jack Fraser, Ian Fraser, Joe Braga, Dale Morgan and to cable installer Mike, to Lambert Curzon and the Post Office Staff for the use of the clock, and to Dave at Yukon Energy and Terry of Crain Electric for checking out the power switch. Thank you to Adam Morrison of Trans North Helicopters and Pat Cayen for verifying the ice had NOT moved in the morning causing the tripod to fall over, to Greg Kehoe at Klondike Nugget & Ivory for all his help and support, and to Pia Blattler for helping with the ice watch.

With the help and co-operation of so many we were able to continue the tradition of the Dawson Ice Guessing Contest, 102 years old this year.

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Uffish Thoughts: Looking for Adventure

by Dan Davidson

It's close to 8:15 in the morning and I'm looking to catch a few shots of the Yukon River before I head to the school for my day's work. This year's breakup certainly hasn't provided much in the way of drama for anyone who might have been looking for adventure.

Mind you, adventure is highly overrated when it comes to potential flood situations. Just ask anyone from near Winnipeg about that. Hearing poet Patrick Friesen read about the experience during the Young Author's Conference last week was enough to bring that home.

A flood comes on like gossip, he said. That stuck in my mind. How inevitable gossip is. How you want to avoid it. Yet, at the same time, how you want to know all about it. To carry the image further, gossip is often something we wish we hadn't heard once it gets to the point where we have.

So with a dramatic breakup. Long time Dawsonites have their tales to tell of rending and crunching, of ice shattering with reports like those of a rifle going off. I haven't seen anything like that in my nearly 13 years, but some of what I have seen still makes a good story.

I've seen the water rise half a metre in about a minute, and have scurried back from the shore where I was examining washed up ice pans that suddenly refloated and began to move again. It made me believe that the dyke could be crested in a matter of minutes if nature were so inclined. It would be impressive to see, but I have to hope I never do. I may have a home well above the traditional high water mark, but that should not make me arrogant or incautious.

I'd just begun an English 9 class when the siren went off on Monday. It would have been about 2:15, probably. It took a minute or two for the school to announce that we would honour tradition and go take a look at it. By the time we got there the banks were lined with folks who had magically converged on that spot.

Now, my students had a vested interest in finding this event interesting, in stretching out the moment to the breaking point so as to be able to miss the last period of the day. They just couldn't manage it. The ice had hardly rippled where we stood. The tripod had fallen, but it was a mere 50 or 60 metres from where it began. It just wasn't exciting. It was the first time in about four years that we'd actually missed any school time in order to do this and half an hour was about all we could make of it.

It wasn't any better when I returned twice later in the evening, at 9 and 11:30, to make sure the story I had written was still valid. The next morning there was some progress, but not what one would expect after 18 hours. The ice bridge was holding; the pressure ridge I had seen building the evening before had failed to do the trick, and the flat rotting ice was being nibbled away by increments too small to notice without time lapse exposure.

It continued that way all day, even late into the evening, so I really didn't expect to see anything new on Wednesday morning. But the bridge was gone, and there were free floating pans sailing north, leaving lots of sludge along the flats.

The main channel seemed to be on the east side of the river, and that was open. Nearer to the west bank there was still a mess of ice, all lumped up in the shallows, no longer smooth and flat as it had been.

I shot my pictures and drove back up the road for some more general views to finish the film. It was while I was doing this in the morning drizzle that I heard the ignition of the airboat. I'd seen it on the far side and knew that it had been transporting people across the frail surface since the bridge was declared unsafe. Up to now, though, it had had the remaining surface of the bridge, the flat ice and lots of open leads to travel. Today it would be different.

I drove back to the ferry landing and watched it cross. It seemed the pilot had to chart a very tentative course through the valleys of ice this time. I could see it bob and weave, hit the pan and glide, slide splashing back into the water and carry on. It must have been almost half-way before it broke out of the maze into the channel. The rest of the trip was finished in half the time of the first part.

Each break-up presents its unique features. For me, this year, watching the airboat trip was new. One of my students was on the boat, which she told me was, for her, a scary trip: loud, windy, cold, wet with water squeezing up between the rivets and seams where they had taken a pounding on the ice. It doesn't actually sound like trip I would want to take, but it was neat to watch.

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Editorial: Looking Back on Nine Years

by Dan Davidson

Welcome to the beginning of our tenth year of publication! It's been a long trip, and there aren't too many of us left out of those who were here at the beginning.

Board members are not the only ones who make the organization work, of course, and there are several people who have been volunteers for the entire nine year run.

I'm not going to make the mistake of trying to name everyone who has worked on the Sun since the first issue came out during Gold Show weekend in 1989. After all, I only have about 400 words to play with in this box.

We started this thing having very little idea what we were getting into. Even Sue, Kathy and I, who had worked on papers before, were amazed at how fast it took off, and how much more than just writing the stories and taking the pictures there was to be done.

That's the thing of course. We were basically a group of writers and photographers who thought that the public life of our community deserved a bigger platform on which to be displayed. We really didn't care about the business end of it as long as we didn't lose any money.

Sue Ward gave us the funds to hire Chere Mitchell for long enough to get our feet on the ground, and that was all the hiring we intended to do. We envisioned volunteers doing it all ... forever.

In retrospect, that seems hopelessly naive, but that's how we were. Eventually we discovered that the people who had the skills we needed were far too busy in their own lives to give up the necessary time to make this work.

We began hiring staff in the summer. We began issuing small contracts for some of the bigger issues during the year. We traded time and equipment use with people who were just getting started in their own publishing ventures so that they could begin and we could keep going.

Now we are here, sitting with one full time staff person and another reporter trainee on a summer challenge grant. We have to worry more about money than we did then, but the basic spirit that ignited the Klondike Sun back in 1989 is still alive and well here on Front Street.

See you next issue.

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Review: Wind in the Willows

by Dan Davidson


Hedgehogs and Mice practice for their roles in the play. Photo by Kevin Hastings

Months of rehearsals and preparation all came together on May 1st and 2nd when the Robert Service School's production of The Wind in the Willows finally hit the stage.

With over 40 students on stage at various times this play was one of the largest efforts mounted here so far. Easily another two dozen students and community members pitched in backstage and in making costumes to bring the whole effort to life.

The four directors, Betty Davidson (vocal), Grant Hartwick (acting), Dale Cooper (choreography), and Shelly Rowe (band) had a lot of coordinating to do in order to make the pieces fit.

Days after the play the streets were still full of chatter about the three performances, which played to solid houses each time, raising over $2,000 in admissions, money which will be needed to pay off the production's costs.

The play is, of course, based on the book by Kenneth Graeme, which was first adapted for the stage by A.A. Milne, and has gone on to fame in animation, claymation and live action versions, many with music built in. This version is a little different than all the best known ones, but retains many of their features.

In a two hour production full of good fun and so large a cast, it is hard to single out particular performances, but those given by the actors with the main speaking and singing parts need to be mentioned.

The main good guys in the play are Rat, Mole and Badger, played ably by Stephanie Cayen, Shauna Kormendy and Skye Felker. Cayen had the right touch of confidence, Kormendy was appropriately diffident and Felker was a splendid grouch. Harmony Hunter provided an exuberant Otter as a sidekick to the main trio.

Toad is, of course, the central fellow in the play (he wouldn't have it any other way) and Ben Rudis carried off this role with a comic aplomb which was a real crowd pleaser, showing himself to be a verbal as well as a physical comic and a fairly Monty Pythonesque way. His "Who will Weep for the Toad?" was a scream.

The main villain was the Chief Weasel, abetted by Chief Ferret (Katherine McIver)and Chief Stout (Allie Winton). Michael Davidson had the task of setting the tone for the bad guys and pulled it off, playing a character unlike any he has done in other productions. "No Tears (for the Toad)" was delivered in a harsh, clear voice that left no doubt the Toad was endangered.

Portraying the mysterious Piper who helps the animals find the lost otter child, Amberly Wolfe produced a haunting solo that quite captured the mood of this mystical scene.

Unlike any play to grace the school stage in the last decade, this one had a live band, made up mostly from among the school staff, Betty Davidson and Gwen Bell on piano, Clive Betts on drums & percussion, Shelly Rowe on flute and one student, Craig McCauley, adding a trombone. It was a larger band with more students to begin with, but rehearsals proved that the entire senior band was too loud for the vocalists to be heard over without better sound equipment than the school now has.

The production was video-taped and may eventually be shown on DCTV. Next year the rumour has it they plan to tackle "Oliver!".

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Dawson Council Briefs: From Housing to Sewage

by Dan Davidson

The Yukon Territorial Government is planning to create a rural residential sub-division out near the Callison Industrial sub-division. Details so far are sketchy, but there are potentially 53 lots there according to Mayor Everitt. The lots are being projected both with and without sewer and water services, just to see what that would do to the costs.

If a good corporate citizen is one which cooperates with local government in creating a positive public image, council feels that Klondike Nugget and Ivory, one of Dawson's oldest continuing businesses, has gone the extra mile.

During the recent visit to Germany by Mayor Everitt and City manager Jim Kincaid, the jewelry store made available a quantity of ten gold nugget tie pins free of charge. These were made to order for the Fulda organized junket and the City of Dawson had intended to pay for them, but Uta Reilly and Greg Kehoe donated them as a contribution to the success of the trip. The community's plans to celebrate the heroism of John Mitchell in saving the life of Corey Taylor during a dog attack on Easter weekend have been put on hold until the fall. The gathering will be combined with a ceremony to honour a boy who saved younger child from a snowfall last year and will, it was felt, be better timed if Corey Taylor and family could be in town for it.

Dawson is definitely looking harder at cable television. At the next regular planning meeting on May 11, council will have a fairly firm proposal to look at. Then it will be released to the community for public discussion.

Council is feeling buoyant after the results of its sewage toxicology study, which demonstrate, in a nutshell, that it is mainly lack of oxygen and not the content of the effluent which has been causing the town's sewage disposal system to fail its tests. While final word is not yet in from DIAND, Mayor Everitt reports that all the preliminary contacts sound good. The matter has been downgraded from a legal requirement to a regulatory matter, and it may yet be years before Dawson has to face the massive cost of full secondary treatment.

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Berton House Writer Inspired by Dawson

by Dan Davidson


Michael Kusugak is enjoying Dawson from Berton House. Photo by Dan Davidson

"Every morning, I look out this window and this is an inspiration to me," says Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak, gesturing towards Robert Service's Cabin, which is framed by the east window of the living room in Berton House. Kusugak's acquaintance with Service goes back to when he was in grade 7, in Yellowknife. That year he won an IODE award of honourable mention, a copy of the Collected Works of the Robert Service, the volume that holds most of the Klondike material.

He loved to read and searched out other Klondike stories on his own, reading the works of Jack London and being especially impressed with White Fang. London's cabin is, of course, the building which he can see out of the south window of the living room.

Until the end of May Kusugak is the latest writer to enjoy the hospitality of Berton House and of Dawson City. On April 16, Michael Kusugak had mixed feelings about going to Tennessee the next day. A year ago he made arrangements to spend a week in that state, visiting the schools in Johnson City. For one thing, he was making good progress on his book and would rather have stayed with it. For another, the news the night before was full of images of tornado damage in Nashville.

While he loves the travelling that has come with his move to writing as his full time career, he would really rather have stayed right here on the corner of Eighth Avenue and Firth Street.

His main project right now is a young adult book with the working title of Marble Island, what he calls a chapter book. The idea has been on his mind for a few years now, spurred by kids who have grown up with the books he's been producing since the late -1980s and would like to be able to continue reading his work.

"I write about the north because that's what people expect me to do. That's why my books sell." And they seem to sell all over the place. He's been a part of the International Reading Association circuit for the last 6 years and it's taken him all over North America and enabled him to travel widely. It's also taken him to Europe.

His regular artist is the Toronto-based illustrator, Vladyana Krykorka, who came to Canada from Prague, but who has done a great job of interpreting his tales, even visiting the north to get the right look and feeling. Last spring Czech television collaborated with the C.B.C. on a documentary about their work together, a project which took him to the Czech Republic and then ended up back in Rankin Inlet, where he lived until recently. This will eventually be aired next fall in Canada on "Man Alive".

These days the man who started life as an Inuit nomad in the Central Arctic is sort of a literary nomad, spending half his year travelling about doing readings and the other half working on new projects. He's hit every province except New Brunswick, some of them several times, and finds himself being called on to do a lot of readings in the United States. The man who began life with no last name (Kusugak, his father's name, means stalactite in his native tongue, and was chosen by the family during Project Surname in the 1960s) has made the name he now carries internationally famous.

It was storyteller Robert Munsch's visit to Rankin Inlet about 1986 that turned him to writing after a life spent as a pilot, firefighter and government bureaucrat. During most of that time he had not written anything beyond "those boring reports that we have to do", but he had been telling stories for his boys, mixing his own inventions with tales he had heard as a lad, living in winter in sod huts and igloos and in summer in tents around Repulse Bay.

Munsch stayed with the Kusugak family while he was in Rankin and heard some of the tales that Kusugak had made up. His reaction was immediate: "'Why don't you write them down?' But I was busy. I had this job with the government of the NWT."

It was later, when his own boys urged him to write down the tale of the creatures that live beneath the sea ice, that he finally set pen to paper. Munsch helped him get it into shape and Munsch's publisher, Annick Press, took it on. It appeared in 1988 as A Promise is a Promise.

Since that time, Kusugak's life has changed a great deal. Six years ago he decided that writing full time was the way he wanted to go. This has meant a lot of travel, readings in schools, presentations at teachers' conferences, storytelling, using a mixture of personal autobiography, Inuit legend and his own material. He also talks about Inuit life, as it is lived all across the top of North America, and even in Greenland and Siberia, showing the students some toys and string games.

He has mined his own life and culture extensively for his work. The book he is writing while he is writer-in -residence at Berton House draws on his own experiences as a boy in the Central Arctic, as a teenager in school in Saskatoon and as a young man training to fly airplanes and helicopters. Kusugak spent quite a few years away from the high Arctic after he won that volume of Service's poems. He skipped grade 8 and passed grade 9 in Yellowknife, also with honourable mention. Grade 10 was in Churchill, and then he finished high school in Saskatoon, living with a white family which had spent many summers in Rankin Inlet. He went to university, studied aircraft mechanics and eventually learned to fly both fixed wing craft and helicopters.

Baseball Bats for Christmas, his first solo effort, started out as a section in an autobiography which his publisher asked him to attempt after reading the three page author's note he had prepared for the back cover copy of the first book. Kusugak found he couldn't get a good grip on the idea of his life, as story which had, as yet, no end in sight, but the experience of working on the book dredged up quite a few childhood memories. The notion of a treeless community which has Christmas trees delivered each year and uses them instead for baseball bats was one of these. He pulled it from the manuscript and rewrote it as a children's story.

His latest children's book, Arctic Stories, which will be appearing later this year is a departure for him, a book which will be quite a bit thicker than his others and composed of three stories about the adventures of a young girl named Agatha: a tale about the day a dirigible flew over Repulse Bay, a tale about Arctic ravens and another about the better side of being at a residential school in Chesterfield Inlet.

Once he leaves Dawson in June his schedule will take him on a tour of parts of Saskatchewan and Ontario after which he plans to return to Rankin Inlet and spend the rest of the summer living on his boat, a converted Nova Scotia fishing boat. He plans to cruise over to Repulse Bay and perhaps even Marble Island, enjoying the sea and soaking up more fuel for his imagination.

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Soup Kitchen

by Anne Saunders

Opening night for the Soup Kitchen was April 28 and held at St. Mary's Catholic Church. There were at least 25 visitors and a half-dozen volunteers who dined in the newly renovated hall. So the turn out was better than expected, unlike, as Father Tim mentioned, the first night last year when nobody showed and the volunteers ended up by having a quick meal and then popping the leftovers in the freezer for the next week! A mere 15 minutes before opening, the oven got hooked up, but everything went very smoothly.

The guests who dropped in were all ages, including one 90 year old visitor from Germany. However, most were young workers, who were very polite and appreciative of the food. The menu consisted of turkey soup, hamburger soup, a vegetarian chili, 3 bean salad, 'slider' salad, (my friend Chere's name for macaroni salad), curried rice, rolls, baking powder biscuits, rice crispie squares and of course, the proverbial coffee.

As she was serving herself hot chili, one woman stated, "You know this is really nice-I've been eating noodles all week."

This was a good opportunity to meet some of the visitors and seasonal workers and in some cases to renew some old acquaintances. The atmosphere was cheerful and positive with many people just standing around afterward chatting. It was overall a very pleasant and relaxing evening.

Father Tim had been wondering how to 'christen' the newly renovated hall in the Church. Other events such as a dance had come to mind, but he felt that holding the Soup Kitchen there was a highly appropriate beginning. It will continue into June, every Tuesday night at 6 p.m.. Anyone wishing to help out by cooking a dish, please phone Tim Coonen at 9935361 or Nicole Gagné at 993-6728 (evenings).

After dinner, as I left the church and strolled out onto the boardwalk, I felt deeply peaceful and satisfied. I had volunteered to do the clean up after the dinner and was pleasantly surprised that there seemed to be very little to do, since the visitors had already done an admirable job of wiping tables, washing dishes etc. as they went along. Also too, I was touched by the very friendliness and the happiness that emanated from these so-called 'strangers'. I hadn't expected them to be so appreciative. Since attending this dinner, many of these young people have said hello and had a smile for me. Guess they're not really strangers after all...

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YTG Firing 15 Teachers

by Jocelyn Bell


Laurie Betts and her Kindergarten class meet the Mounties. Photo by Kevin Hastings

The Yukon Territory Government is planning to eliminate 15 teaching positions, and one of them will come from Dawson's own Robert Service School.

In an April 28 letter written to Yukon Teachers Association President Kerry Huff, Education Minister Lois Moorcroft wrote that the department anticipates "the adjustment in our staffing requirement will be met by a combination of transfers, retirements, and non-renewal of temporary contracts, and will result in approximately fifteen fewer teachers. We are not anticipating any layoffs."

Moorcroft also explained that staffing reductions are due to "projected reductions in enrollment in the territory, the mine closure in Faro, completion of the grade reorganization process, and training being provided to Reading Recovery specialists this year."

Robert Service School Principal John Reid will reduce the staff in the elementary portion of the school.

"This year, we enjoyed a very favourable teacher-student ratio at the elementary level... We're not going to be able to maintain that for next year," Reid said at last Thursday's school council meeting.

There are currently seven elementary teachers, and this number must be reduced to six.

At the council meeting, Reid said that two teachers have already applied to be transferred elsewhere. If just one of these two is hired, the situation will have resolved itself.

If neither transfer applicant is successful, it is possible that the kindergarten teacher, who is the only elementary teacher working on contract, would not have her contract renewed.

This possibility did not sit well with parents who attended the council meeting. The kindergarten teacher, they said, has done a tremendous job with the kindergartens and would be sorely missed.

This teacher's contract is only temporary because she is replacing a permanent teacher who is currently on leave. Under the collective agreement, a permanent position cannot be offered to her unless the teacher on leave decides she does not want to return.

"We are doing everything we can to help her," Reid assured parents worried that the kindergarten teacher's contract would not be renewed.

Although class sizes are going to increase next year, Reid said they will still be within the student-teacher ratio guidelines. "I don't see this as dramatically affecting the students," he added.

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Community Group Conferencing Receives Community Support

by Cheryl Laing

The final Community Group Conferencing Steering Committee Meeting and the first Annual meeting of the Dawson Community Group Conferencing Society will be held Thursday, May 21st at 7:30 PM.

The meeting will be at the new office of the Conferencing Society, over the CIBC Bank. Viceroy Resource Corporation has donated office and Conferencing space to the new Society until the end of October. This generous donation will enable the program to operate, although all funding is not yet in place.

Other organizations and individuals have stepped forward to support this community-based program, which has been in the process of development for the past six months. The local branch of the CIBC has provided office equipment and some furnishings, and St.. Mary's Church will lend chairs for conferences.

There have been over 1500 hours of documented volunteer time dedicated to the development of this program by interested and committed Dawson Citizens. Key organizations in the community, including the School, the RCMP, the City of Dawson City, Health and Social Services, Victim Services, local business operators, and many others have participated with local citizens to design this alternative justice process to meet the specific needs of this community and our school. Our Circuit Judge, Heino Lilles, our Crown Prosecutor, the Defense Attorneys, and the Department of Justice have made themselves available to consult with the local Steering Committee. The development of this program has truly been a model of cooperation between citizens and governmental agencies on the local and territorial level.

The Directors of the Dawson Community Group Conferencing society will be elected at the May 21st meeting. All interested community members are urged to attend to become members of the new Society and to participate in nominating Directors. A strong Board of Directors will keep this unique organization focused on Dawson, the School, and their needs.

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