Dawson City, Yukon Friday, November 15, 1996


Kindergarten kids wait their turn to lay a wreath at a Remembrance Day service in Dawson.

Feature Stories

Everitt Wins Mayor's Job Easily
Waste Disposal Dominates Municipal Forum
Spooky Times at RSS
Students Celebrate Remembrance Day
Uffish Thoughts: Chris Caldwell's Wonderful World of Moose
E-mail to the Editor

Everitt Wins Mayor's Job Easily

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

After six years on city council and an unsuccessful run at the MLA's seat, Glen Everitt can now look forward to being called "your worship" during the more formal portions of the council debates. Everitt won the mayor's job easily in Dawson City last night, outdistancing his opponent, contractor Darryl Williams, by 245 votes. He took 303 of the votes cast for mayor, as opposed to William's 58.

Running a fairly close third was a joker called "spoiled ballot". There were 25 spoiled mayoralty ballots, and a couple of them even came from the advance poll.

Of the four candidates for councillor, taking the seat Everitt had vacated to run for mayor, political newcomer Eleanor Van Bibber out polled the others, capturing 160 votes. Renée Mayes took 104, Lee Woodley 73 and John Cramp, bettering his showing in the territorial election, scored 39.

There were 10 spoiled ballots in the voting for councillor.

In all, 386 people voted, nowhere near the number that could have. The counting after the polls closed took just over an hour. Both winners piled up impressive leads early in the counting and not only held but increased them as the tally sheets mounted.

The mayor-elect was present during the counting, checking off the results on a duplicate tally sheet, and looking increasingly pleased as his lead mounted.

"I was unsure," he confessed later. "I was just really hoping to win, but not expecting a large margin."

His priorities for the rebuilt council include most of the things that he was working on when he stepped down a month ago.

"First I have to meet with council, then continue where I left off." That he will, except about one chair to the right, as seen from the gallery or by the viewing audience.

Dawson faces a number of issues in the immediate future, said the new mayor, citing sewer and water struggles, the battle for a bridge, the sewer loading charge amendment bylaw, and the setting of the new operating budget.

Reduced to a rump of three members, the current council has been struggling to keep on top of issues during the territorial election and the municipal contest which followed it.

Everitt sees Dawson eventually having to move to secondary sewage treatment and speculates personally that a treatment plant may have to be the answer to its problems He's not opposed to a lagoon, but feels that the complexity of land control and geotechnical suitability may be against it once all the studies are in.

He opposed the fee structure in the water and sewer bylaw which council is presently seeking to amend when it was proposed during the Jenkins' years in the early 1990s. He says there were reasons for it which made sense at the time, but that times and situations have changed, so the bylaw and its rates may have to change as well.

If he could carve out a legacy for himself in the next eleven months, it would contain a number of things.

He would like to see an increased cooperation between the city and Tr'ondek Hwech'in councils, the establishment of a committee to investigate and promote winter tourism, assurances from the territorial government that Dawson was going to get in on the spending it has been missing out on for the last four years, and the laying of a foundation for the long proposed new recreation center, which may now be in the final planning stages.

It's an ambitious list.

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Waste Disposal Dominates Municipal Forum

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

Heavy snowfall in Dawson City kept the attendance down to a dozen voters, but the number of telephone questions asked during the municipal election forum on October 30 indicated that lots of people were tuned in to DCTV at home.

The meeting, hosted by the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce and chaired by Alanah Fuhre, was a forum rather than a debate, with timed opening and closing statements by the six candidates and timed responses to questions from the audiences in city council chambers and at home.

The two candidates for mayor are Glen Everitt and Darryl Williams.

Everitt ran a distant third in the recent territorial election as the Liberal candidate, but has served parts of three terms on city council, and has never lost a by-election here. He stepped down from the present council to run as mayor, that post having been vacated by Art Webster after he lost his bid to become the NDP's candidate here.

Everitt has been a strong and consistent advocate of a Yukon River Bridge at Dawson City, improved recreational facilities, communication with the community, and other Dawson staples. New to his pitch this time out is the notion that the senior levels of government must be prepared to pick up the capital costs of secondary sewage treatment in Dawson and also kick in some kind of rate relief for taxpayers who already face the highest charges in the territory.

Everitt pledged to be in the mayor's office every working day if elected.

Darryl Williams served on city council in the past and cited a variety of advisory boards he has worked with here and in Alberta. Williams has not been visible during the campaign and did not contribute to the local newspaper's printed election forum. He said Dawson is an excellent place to raise children but that there is room for improvement. As a former Justice of the Peace, Williams led the controversial community circle on youth problems here last winter.

He has twice in the last six months been accused of assault. This came up in one of the phone-in questions which asked him how he could be a role model. He replied simply that there are two sides to every story, and that if his side were more widely known the questions would not be asked.

Four candidates are seeking the council seat Everitt vacated to run for mayor. They are Eleanor Van Bibber, a former employee of Loki Gold and the Dawson First Nation; Reneé Mayes, a bookkeeper; Lee Woodley; and John Cramp, Dawson's perennial independent minded candidate.

All candidates were in favour of working with MLA Peter Jenkins to lobby for the bridge. All desired to find permanent solutions to Dawson's dump problems. Open government was a priority item, as were the development of new recreational facilities, a new recreational vehicle campground in the city limits, a new North End Park to replace the one destroyed by the street realignment project, better controls over the transient summer work force camping situation in West Dawson, and the encouragement of improved banking services in Dawson.

All felt that the present council has done a good job of reaching out to the community and trying to get people and organizations involved, but all were open to moves to increase this.

Secondary sewage treatment was a high priority item with all candidates, but they wanted to see it accomplished without additional charges to the rate payers. All felt that the senior levels of government had a big responsibility in this regard.

The current council's bid to change the loading charges in the sewer and water bylaw was conditionally supported by all the candidates except John Cramp. Renaming the Dempster Highway to the Joe Henry Highway received support ranging from enthusiastic (Van Bibber) to cautious (Woodley). Reneé Mayes suggested honouring Henry with some new project instead - like perhaps the proposed bridge.

The meeting was good natured, and the candidates gave every appearance that they would be able to work with each other and with the three original council members. Indeed, the meeting was so congenial that sitting councillor Denny Kobayashi presented each candidate with the following poster, which was prepared by this writer for the current council when it came to power three years ago and now sits framed in the mayor's office where former mayor Art Webster said it gave him encouragement to read it from time to time.

Congratulations.
You have just made the decision to embark on what must be one of the most frustrating of all occupations, that of a politician. You will seldom be paid any attention by your electorate once they have put you in place. They will ignore your regularly posted meetings in favour of angry letters and telephone calls. They will show little understanding of what you are trying to do or the hours you put into doing it. You will always be wrong, either because they believe you really are, or because they will believe you have failed to keep them informed of what you are doing.
Good Luck! You are going to need it.

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Spooky Times at RSS

by Rosalind Vijendren
Student Council Staff Advisor


Dawson Students prepare to play (and hopefully to win) in their annual Invitational Volleyball Tournament, held here Nov. 14-16.

The High School Students of Robert Service School kicked up their heels and launched into a fun-packed hour of activities on Hallowe'en. The lab skeleton became a popular item in the Hallowe'en scavenger hunt, as well as such things as cat posters and elementary students dressed in specific costumes.

Apple dunking challenges were made where faces were submerged in the attempt to grasp crunchy apples between the teeth; even Mrs McCauley, our superintendent, took the plunge!

Meanwhile in another activity, weird items were being devoured. "Snake venom" and other hideous concoctions that had a ketchup and mustard colour were being slurped by the brave.

Other students were engaged in a search for "the body" which was reported to have been hidden upstairs. And some students were volunteering to have their faces painted by their peers.

Each group that participated was awarded a gift certificate for the best costume. The winners were Kyle Sprokreeff, Leanne Mason,Josh Paton, Joey Fraser and (one missing).

If laughing and giggling are measures of a successful event, then the Student Council's first organized activity of the year was definitely that!

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Students Celebrate Remembrance Day

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

The Robert Service School commemorated Remembrance Day with two ceremonies, run concurrently on the last school day before the long weekend.

Students up to grade 6 met in the Ancillary Room for one program, while the high school gathered in the the main gymnasium for a separate event.

The elementary ceremony opened with two grade 5 students presenting the Canada and Yukon flags and the singing of "O Canada". Grade 6 gave a series of readings from a book called Dear World.. Principal John Reid talked briefly about the meaning of Remembrance Day, and the elementary classes laid wreaths.

In the gym, students listened quietly to presentations by Vice-principal Shirley Pennell and Legion member Wanda Schmidt. Pennell spoke of her years teaching in Europe and how she used part of that time to seek out the grave of the uncle she had never known. Edward Pennell died in service on the last day of World War One. Pennell used slides to show the extent of the graveyards in Europe and the differences between the Canadian and other Allied graves.

Wanda Schmidt sent part of her summer on a Legion sponsored trip that took here to 25 of the thousands of gravesites in Europe. She reported to the students how incredibly overwhelming it was to see the hectares of crosses and gravestones on sites dwarfing the entire downtown area of Dawson City.

Pastor Robert Thompson asked a blessing on the service and the day.

The school's band and choir were both part of the service, the band leading in "O Canada" and another selection, while the choir repeated its special anthem for the older group.

Following the half-hour services the students returned to their classes for the final class of the morning.

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Uffish Thoughts: Chris Caldwell's Wonderful World of Moose

by Dan Davidson


Another recent project of Chris Caldwell's involved a moose. This is from the Hypercard talking book Tao Goes Hunting, with Han language text and voice by Edward Roberts of Dawson.

Those folks who sit back and chuckle at the antics of the animals in Chris Caldwell's paintings may not be aware that a lot of them have a basis in reality.

Chris told me the stories behind several of her works when I interviewed her a few weeks ago during her farewell art show. There wasn't room to work all of them into the page I had to work with for that story, so the notes have been sitting in my computer ever since, mewling quietly every time I scrolled by them on the way to another file.

This issue I thought I would pull a few of them from their nest and build a column around them.

There was no living moose in the stories behind the Discovery of Gold poster that Chris did last year. According to one story, Carmack, Skookum Jim and Dawson Charlie had just shot and butchered a moose, but Chris was leery about putting a hanging carcass in a family picture. So she backed up a step, put her own spin on the event and used the moose's antlers as a clothesline for the panners' laundry.

"Stop Motion", on the other hand, is closely based on a true story. It shows a small boatload of fanatical photographers getting way too close to a pair of amorous moose.

"The first story of the Yukon I ever had related to me" said Chris. "It's based on an old story about a National Geographic tour that came up here sometime in the 1960s or 50s. They wanted to get some close up visuals of moose mating habits. So the outfitter took 'em out in the boat, and they kept wanting him to get 'em closer and closer. And he's going - 'uh... this is not a good idea...'

"But no. they had to get closer - and closer. The eventuality was that the outfitter who was driving the boat ended up diving over the side. The cameramen, who were busy peering through the viewfinders, were not watching how close the moose really got when he flipped the boat and they lost all their film."

The painting shows the moment before the flip, but you can see it coming in the set of the male's antlers and the gleam in his eyes.

"It was an interesting story about what to do when you get to the Yukon and you see a moose - avoid it."

"Post Moose Stress" shows a Yukon Quest musher brandishing an axe in the wake of a stampeding moose which has totally disrupted his team and ruined his night's sleep. There was once a Quest musher who had to fight off a moose that was bothering his team on the trail, and that's where this picture started.

"I ended up calling it PMS. It's a pun. See, men can have it too."

Chris said she had had the experience of trying to catch horses and mend fences at -50, so she felt a kinship with the poor fellow in his longjohns and untied feltpacks, racing after the moose, waving his useless axe in the air. It's not a Kodak moment, but it's typical Caldwell.

"Tag...You're it!" is based on the story of a moose tagging trip that went wrong. The crew was brought in by helicopter to tranquilize and tag a bull moose. But the moose would not lie sedately awaiting his fate.

Chris' addition to the story is a detailed look at the discarded field kit in the foreground ("They kept telling me to remember that it was a RED pencil."), along with the young moose beside it.

The background shows an enraged adult moose chasing a group of field biologists around and around a helicopter, which has been upended by the moose. The pilot is sitting up on the side of his machine, looking eternally grateful that the moose isn't paying any attention to him.

Here I am again. There are still several items that are worth recording, but way too many for this spot. Some time in the future then: Lost Mushers and Other Tales of the Bush.

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E-mail to the Editor

Dear Editor:

I taught school in Whitehorse in 1966-67. In the spring of '67 we took a weekend trip up to Dawson. It was the year they closed the mortuary. I explored Dawson City while my friends explored Moosehide. It was a wonderful time back then.

The mortuary was closed but unlocked and I explored the whole place. I found some pictures of a mother dog nursing some bear cubs. I still have the pictures and the negatives. If you wish I could send them to you. I also remember the sternwheeler drydocked on the river. A much more nubile me and a boyfriend, a bush pilot, hoisted ourselves to the 2nd level and pretended we were "cruising" down the river late one night. I like your cyber-paper, keep up the good work.

Beverley Gutenberg
guteb@sk.sympatico.ca

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