Dawson City, Yukon Friday, April 17, 1998

At this year's Thaw-Di-Gras, kids looking for needles in a haystack were guaranteed $1 by the CIBC for each needle they found. See story below. Photo by Kevin Hastings

Feature Stories

City Council Opposes Muncipal Board Recommendations
Thaw-Di-Gras 1998: A Roaring Success!
Food Bank for Temporary Needs
KVFFA Gets New Truck
Police Blotter: Dawson City RCMP
Child Attacked by Dogs
New Faces Dominate Dawson's Summer Entertainment
Dyea to Dawson Race Set
Trek Over the Top Continues to Grow
Protecting Your Home from Wildfire
I.O.D.E. Ice Pool
Fiction: The Tourist Mosquito
Letter: We Must Not Tolerate this Violence

City Council Opposes Muncipal Board Recommendations

by Dan Davidson

The Yukon Municipal Board has spoken on the matter of Dawson City's boundaries, and their decision will not please all of the principals involved, least of all the City of Dawson itself and the residents of West Dawson.

The Board has recommended to the Yukon government that the town receive two-thirds of the boundary reduction it was seeking. Sunnydale will be returned to the control of the territorial government, along with the highland portions of the Klondike Valley and the Dome Road above the town's rural residential subdivisions.

While it accepted city council's rationale the some for returning some of the expansion zone from the 1993 boundary settlement, the board seemed to acceopt most of the arguments made by former councillor Denny Kobayashi, who was the only person at the hearing in December to speak against any part of the boundary reduction.

The six submissions from West Dawson residents apparently mitigated against their desire to be free of city regulations. To quote the Board's February 17, 1998 decision:

"(Their) primary concerns were in regard to the tax mill rate and the potentiality for restrictive bylaws on the current rural living style of the residents. There were no complaints about limited services, based on reduced tax rates. The board felt the Municipality could and should approach the Government of (the) Yukon for contract services for the West Dawson area road maintenance. Further, the Board felt that since the residentss were satisified with minimal services, the tax mill rate could be kept in line with the services provided."

What about lifestyle concerns? "The Board felt that zoning issues were not appropriate submissions for rationale either for or against a boundary reduction."

On the other hand, the Board accepted Kobayashi's argument that an objection to the exclusion based on concerns about a "short term vision" for the community's expansion and needs was a valid point and cited this in its decision.

The Board also cited economic factors in making its decision. City manager Jim Kincaid had testified that recovery of expenses in West Dawson was in the black while those in Sunnydale were not.

At its April 6 meeting, council indicated its great displeasure with the outcome of the Board's deliberations.

Acting Mayor Shirley Pennell noted that it was very obvious what both the City of Dawson and the residents of the west banj of the Yukon River wanted to see happen.

"I personally feel...that we were directed by the citizens of West Dawson that they did not want to belong to the City of Dawson," said Pennell. She proposed that council sed the government a letter indicated its disagreement with the Board's recommendations, in the hopes that the political part fo the process may yet have the desired outcome. Councillors Aedes Scheer, Joann Van Nostrand and Eleanor Van Bibber agreed with this proposal,. Mayor Glenn Everitt, absent at meeting in Ottawa, had agreed previously by telephone.

Van Nostrand made the point that the situation and the city's position could change in the future if it looked like a bridge was to be built across the river. At that time it would make more sense to have Dawson extend its control into that area.


Thaw-Di-Gras 1998: A Roaring Success!

by Dominic Lloyd

Peggy Kormendy and Allen Anderson won the tea boiling contest. Photo by Kevin Hastings

Dawson City's annual Thaw-Di-Gras spring carnival took place last weekend, and the town came out in force to participate in over 30 events. The festivities took place in various locations around town and the sun was shining all weekend! A Thaw in the truest sense of the word!

The Scavenger Hunt for kids and the ever-popular Dawson City Music Festival Lip Sync kicked off the weekend. So while the younger ones were racking their brains trying to figure out who graduated form RSS in 1985, the adults were hooting and hollering as Chad, Jeremy, and Todd were revealing almost everything!

On Saturday morning the Family Hockey Tournament was drawing fans into the arena, while the pancakes served up by the Curling Club were making it difficult to leave. The games wrapped up just in time for people to head to Gerties for the Dawson Humane Society's Dog Show. MC Chris Beacom entertained the crowd as the Humane Society volunteers kept the show moving.

The Tea Boiling was also well-attended, and it was a close contest (although a certain KVA Special Events Coordinator could be hear to say "Tea Boiling? I thought it was an Ice Tea Contest!"). After tea it was time for the kids to mess up the beautiful haystack looking for needles. The ones they found were traded for loonies from the CIBC, with Mark and Elaine from the bank on hand to give out the gold. Also thanks to Marcia Jordan and the Yukon Quest for the straw.

The snowshoe baseball was a hit again this year, even though the snow might not have been cooperative. Some years it gets too cold, some years it gets warm. No one was heard to utter a complaint.

The kids showed the adults a thing or two at the Youth Lip Sync on Saturday, with about thirty acts altogether. The Hair Cabaret and City Rec department did a great job putting it together, and the show ran beautifully thanks to the talents of MC Kim Favreau and DJ Michael "Spinner" Davidson.

There was a packed house at the Eldorado for the Arm Wrestling again this year, and even those who were still recovering from the canoe race managed to get into the spirit. The bars were jumping on Saturday night, and the kids rocked away at Gerties to the sounds of Undertow, who came up from Whitehorse courtesy of the Music Festival and City Rec.

The hockey finals took place on Sunday morning and when the smoke cleared, the Fraser-Lamb clan had defeated the Nagano '98 team. Pretty good, considering they didn't win a single game all through the round robin! The only casualty of the weekend in terms of the weather was the ski hill. The Moose Mountain crew had done a great job in preparing for the day, but Mother Nature was not on-side, and by the time the weekend rolled around there was not enough snow. Thanks to Marty, Wanda, Melissa and the gang for all the work they did.

There were about 150 people out on Sunday to watch the events on 4th Avenue. The One Dog Pull was a bit of a surprise as some of the usual favourites could not seem to get themselves in gear. Spike won the little dog class for Jake Duncan and Janice Cliff, while perennial favourite Kody was the strongest of the big dogs. These were the only two mutts to pull 400 lbs, and neither one of them could do any more. The mild winter we've had must have made all the dogs in town go soft.

The axe throw was a great crowd pleaser again this year, and Donny & Lois Flynn did a wonderful job of keeping everything in order and running smoothly. Thanks to Arctic Inland Resources for their help with this event.

The outdoor events ended with a tug-o-war and it turned out to be the battle of the sexes. The kids lined up and the girls kicked some serious butt! So a bunch of men came to the aid of the boys, but the women were not about to stand idly by. Two teams of about 50 people each lined up, each with something to prove. To nobody's surprise (except the men), the women took two in a row! You go girls!

The weekend wrapped up with the Fireworks extravaganza at the Yukon River, and a few hundred people turned up to get the best view of the show. Fire Chief Pat Cayen and his crew put on a great show - the finale was really something to behold. Thanks also must go to the Eldorado Hotel, Viceroy Minerals Corporation, NorthwesTel, North 60 Petro, the Yukon Energy Corporation, and Kluane Freightlines for their generous support of the show.

As the last event of the season before we kick into summer things, Thaw-Di-Gras 1998 was a roaring success. In my first year as the Coordinator, I had a great time. I would like to thank everyone in the community who volunteered their time, those who came out and participated in the various events, and to all of the businesses who supported the Carnival.


Food Bank for Temporary Needs

by Father Tim Coonen

These transients enjoyed our community's hospitality at last summer's Food Bank.

Along with the muddy streets, spring brings a wave of young people to Dawson looking for employment. Dawson needs a number of seasonal workers to staff our restaurants, hotels, and shops, to nanny our kids, landscape our yards, paint our buildings, fight our forest fires--it's a rare employer who doesn't hire someone from the summer influx.

But, perhaps because of the youth unemployment situation "outside" the number of "kids" seems to increase each year, and they seem to arrive earlier, far before the jobs begin. One returnee is proud to have pitched the first tent in Tent City '98--on March 28th, with 18 inches of snow still on the ground. He is prepared and enthusiastic, and he has a job prearranged. But he's the exception.

Newcomers quickly discover that things can be tough: there's little housing, nights in a tent are cold, and the cost of living is high. So every spring, there are some who run into financial trouble.

One evening last spring an Adult Discussion group at St. Mary's was talking about how we could better live our call to be Christians. The situation of some of the new arrivals in town came up, and within an hour the idea of a seasonal food bank was born. Shortly after that, a weekly hot meal was proposed.

Two things amazed me: First, the quantity of groceries we collected in a very short time was amazing. But secondly, this project was controversial! We discovered in going door to door that many in town have little use for these "transients." People came back with stories to tell. One group of locals had named our project "Feed the Slugs." Another referred to the arrivals as "the Pierced Ones" (well, there were a lot of pierced ears, noses, eyebrows, tongues...) A few doors were slammed in faces.

But the two projects went ahead anyway. Over last summer the food bank only had perhaps 35 visitors looking for temporary help. But several times strangers stopped to thank me on the street. When I'd confess to not recognising them, they'd reply " Oh, a bunch of us are camping together and pooling our stuff. The food you gave so-and-so fed five of us."

We had few rules. People could visit the food bank once a month. And while we were looking at newly-arrived seasonal workers when we started out, we helped all comers, including referrals from the Women's Shelter.

The workers at Social Services noted a marked decrease in the number of seasonal people who applied for assistance; a few bags of groceries from the Food Bank were generally all they needed to tide them over. As a result, taxpayers were saved not only the cost of assistance, but also the expense of the many hours spent processing a new applicant. And at season's end the Food Bank emptied its shelves by making a substantial donation to the Women's Shelter.

It took a few weeks for word of the soup kitchen to spread, but at its peak, around 120 folks showed up for supper. Some came out of need, but many also took advantage of the social aspect of the evenings. Most brought their own cup and bowl, the rest used cottage cheese cartons. The cooks came from several of Dawson's churches, happy to work together. And there were always volunteers to do dishes and floors. Local agencies took advantage of the gatherings to communicate information about things like bear control, and local health, sanitation and recreation facilities. The soup kitchen was scheduled to close in early June; by that date we figured that people should either be working or leaving. But it extended a few extra weeks, solely because the cooks were enjoying the evenings so much!

We would like to run both projects again this year, under the same rules. Both the soup kitchen and the food bank are seasonal events, designed to meet the needs of those first few weeks of the summer. By mid-June we were encouraging those unable to find work to look elsewhere.

The most frequent question or criticism heard regarding the seasonal Food Bank was this: Shouldn't we be running something like this for Dawson residents? These are my thoughts: After conferring with Social Services and the Women's Shelter, it seems the need is sporadic. The beauty of a short-term program like ours is that it answers a specific need, without encouraging dependency or burning out volunteers. And finally, if a year-round food bank is desired, a heated year round facility and a crew of volunteers will have to be found. My workshop just won't do...

In a week or so we'll again be leaving grocery bags on doorsteps with a note, asking for a generous response. And again, any groceries collected and not used will be given to the Women's Shelter.

Any individuals who would like to prepare and donate a pot of hearty soup, or buns, desserts, salad or drinks (for one week or for several) can call Fr. Tim @ 993-5361 or Nicole Gagné @ 993- 6728 (evenings).


KVFFA Gets New Truck

by Anne Saunders

The Klondike Valley Volunteer Fire Department has a brand new fire truck. Photo by Kevin Hastings

Klondike Valley Fire Department's Fire Chief, Jeff Stephenson, had the keys to a brand new fire truck handed over to him by Jack Holesworth (of the Yukon Fire Marshall's office) last Tuesday at the fire hall located at Rock Creek.

Volunteers will be training hard with the new equipment in order to realize the benefits of the latest in fire fighting technology. This splendid new truck has been described as, "a new state-of-the-art fire fighting apparatus."

Features that the other truck didn't have before include Class A foam injection and Jump Seat Breathing Apparatus. These two features alone enabling fire fighters to attack a fire sooner in those first few critical minutes.

Deputy Fire Chief Ron Ryant explained that the first five minutes of a fire are quite critical -either you make it or break it-so every minute saved is a big plus.

The new truck is also much nicer with more room. The other truck only could fit two people, now 5 people can be accommodated. Another issue with the old truck- the coldest job was operating the pump - the person was stationary, outside and usually wet. With new truck , the pump operator has an enclosed pump house with improved visibility and communications. The water capacity is the same as the other truck -1,000 gallons, however the pumping capacity is slightly more than twice greater!

"Everybody is really excited."

Our photographer, Kevin Hastings was very impressed by the demonstration given that evening at the fire hall. "A pretty impressive piece of machinery and if I was going to buy a fire truck this would be the one for me!"

The KVFFA was established in 1990 and has about 14 or 15 volunteer firefighters.


Police Blotter: Dawson City RCMP

Compiled by Anne Saunders

On April 5 the Detachment received a compliant regarding kids hanging around bars.

An assault occurred recently. Detachment members were called April 6 to a local drinking establishment to investigate an altercation between 2 adults, the matter is still under investigation.

A complaint was received regarding a "Peeping Tom" looking through a person's window one evening recently.

Numerous complaints have been made in the last week about under age drinking parties in town. Parents are advised to be more aware of what their children are up to.

Spring has sprung and once again it seems to be the season for children to be playing on the roofs of businesses. This practice is very dangerous as rooves are slippery and it quite easy to fall. Individuals caught doing this will be dealt with by either Alternative Justice or the court system.

An unfortunate situation regarding a family canine has occurred in the last week. Dog owners are advised to keep their pets tied up. Dogs running in packs can be very dangerous, especially to small children.

In the past week, a dog was found running around the Robert Service School playground where it should not have been, with the kids during reccess. Luckily this was a friendly dog, but again, dog owners are advised to keep their pets tied up in order to prevent tragedy to either animal or humans.


Child Attacked by Dogs

On Friday, April 10, 1998, in Dawson City at approximately 11 am, 6 year old Corey Taylor was viciously attacked by two Rottweilers while he was walking home.

John Mitchell, who was close by, fought the dogs off the child and then rushed the child to the Dawson City Nursing Station for medical treatment. While at the Nursing Station he contacted the local detachment of the RCMP. He attended with the RCMP and identified the animals and the members took steps to destroy them.

Owners of the animals were notified of the incident. The animals remains are being sent out for testing.

The victim is currently recovering at the Vancouver Children's Hospital.


New Faces Dominate Dawson's Summer Entertainment

by Dan Davidson

There will be a lots of new faces on the stages at Diamond Tooth Gerties and the Palace Grand Theatre this summer. The cast and crew of Lone Wolf Entertainment will be here in just a few weeks to get things under way. In early April Lorraine Butler is putting the finishing touches on her plans for the Klondike Visitors Association's summer entertainment package. Since winning the contract last fall she and partners Joey and Dolina Hollingsworth have been busy planning and rounding out their cast, which consists of some returning members and quite a few new cast.

Butler says that this year's show at the Palace will have more of a story line than in the past few years, making it what she calls a "book show". The book is written, the cast all have their parts and she's still working out the final touches on the music.

Veteran dancer Joey Hollingsworth will be heading up the cast at the Palace, playing the dual roles of Diamond Drill and Montana Pete in the production. Jeff Bowen will play Mountie Dan Doolittle.

"There has to be a Mountie in this show because of my Scarlet Fever, " Butler says, in a jesting reference to her preference for Men in Red Serge. Jason Campbell will bring Arizona Charlie Meadows back to the stage and also portray a miner named Jimmy "3 inch" White.

"He's a real character from the Klondike," says Butler. "Look up your history. Of course the name leads to all sorts of possibilities."

Sara-Jeanne Hosie, the talented daughter of Palace Grand alumnus Bill Hosie, will continue the family tradition in Dawson, playing both Rosemarie Raspberry and a reporter, Lovatt Tolate.

Also in the cast are Nicole Fitzgerald, Krista Conkin (as the madame, Sweet Tooth Fannie) and Norman Long on piano.

At Gerties Butler herself will lead the bill as she did in 1990, while Lloyd Nicholson and Eric Knight will be back on the music stand. The new dance troupe will consist of Shawna Parry, Bonnie Mathers, Colleen Booth and Kirstie Paterson. Tracy Horbachuk will be the choreographer and Gertie understudy. Robert Billings will handle the sound.

Ian Pratt has already designed the production while his wife, Jane ("Crickitt") Price has created the new sets.

The cast should be in place and ready to begin working on May 2, and after less than two weeks of rehearsal time they will be on stage on May 14th (Gerties) and May 16th (the Palace Grand).


Dyea to Dawson Race Set

The field for the 1998 Dyea to Dawson Centennial Race to the Klondike is set. Fifty-five teams with participants from 11 different countries have entered the race, billed as the "International Rush for Gold".

First prize is $5,000 U.S. in Klondike gold. Members of four of the five top teams from the 1997 Alaska-Yukon version of this centennial race will return to face stiff challenges from teams around the world in '98. Jim Lokken of Fairbanks will defend his '97 crown with a new partner, Audun Endestad. Lokken and Art Ward won the 600-mile race in an elapsed time of just under four days, nine hours.

This year's race begins June 13, 1998 in historic Skagway, Alaska. The 55 two-person teams will have a mass start this year on the Dyea flats, where thousands of gold seekers landed in 1897-98. Each team will carry a minimum 50 pounds of gear each, including ten items from a list that was required of stampeders to cross into Canada during the 1898 rush: gold pan, frying pan, hatchet, shovel, hammer, nails, beans, flour, dried fruit, coffee, and sugar. They will hike 35 miles of the Chilkoot Trail (an International Historic Park) in which they will re-enact the most famous photo of the Klondike Gold Rush as they climb in a line up the "Golden Stairs."

Upon reaching Lake Bennett, British Columbia, they will load up their canoes for a 565-mile journey on the Yukon River system to wondrous Dawson City, Yukon, heart of the Klondike Gold Rush. Aside from mandatory rest stops on the river in the Yukon communities of Whitehorse (12 hrs.), Carmacks (3 hrs.) and Fort Selkirk (8 hrs.), teams will paddle round-the-clock under the midnight sun to reach their goal. When they reach Dawson, they must pan for gold and "find color" before their time is recorded and their claim is staked.

"The race was created for the Klondike centennial years of 1997-98 to honor the 'world's greatest gold rush' of 100 years ago," said Jeff Brady, who is co-race organizer with Buckwheat Donahue. "Last year's race was a tremendous success, and this year we welcome an international field."

The Skagway pair organized the race under the auspices of the City of Skagway Centennial Committee and Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau. The race is an official event of the Klondike Gold Rush Centennial, as endorsed by the Yukon Anniversaries Commission and centennial societies from Carcross to Dawson. Corporate sponsors are National Bank of Alaska, Holland America Westours, Alaska Power and Telephone, White Pass and Yukon Route, and Temsco Helicopters.

The 1998 race can be followed on Outside magazine's website, which is sponsoring a team in the race. Race results and articles filed by the team will appear at <outside.starwave.com> starting about June 12.

Ed. Note: We intend no disrespect to those entering the race, but we just don't have the space to get that whole page of fine print into this issue. It is impressive that so many people, from so many places, have got caught up in Dyea to Dawson fever. The organizers have provided a breakdown of the entrants as follows.


Women's Teams: 2; Mixed Teams: 8; Men's Teams: 45.

All-Alaska Teams: 11; All-Yukon Teams: 10; Other All-U.S.: 13; Other All-Canadian: 8; US/Canada: 3; Yukon/Australia: 1; Yukon/Austria: 1; Yukon/England: 1; Yukon/Ireland: 1; Germany: 1; German/Switz.: 1; Czech Rep.: 1; Slovakia: 1; Netherlands: 1; England: 1.

And, of course, there are a few brave souls from Dawson as well, though not so many as last year. This time we have:

Team #22. Reinhald Nohal (Dawson City/Aust.) Hanne Raab (Vienna, Austria), Open Men's category.

Team #50. Troy Suzuki (Dawson City, YT) Steve Craig (Dawson City, YT) Open Men's category.


Trek Over the Top Continues to Grow

by Dan Davidson

Five years ago the Trek Over the Top began as something of a lark, a winter trip from Tok to Dawson by snowmachine. There were about 30 people involved and it was a pretty quick affair. Most figured it would be a one-shot. Dawson fire chief Pat Cayen and R.C.M.P. officer Eric Zalitas did the organizing on the Dawson side, just for fun.

This year there were two weekends of actual Trek activity, involving some 400 enthusiasts. They arrived on Thursday afternoon and were kept moderately busy until they headed home again on Sunday. The 620 km round trip is co-sponsored by the Alaska Trailblazers Snowmobile Club from Tok and by Trek Over the Top, which is now a registered adventure tour small business run by the Cayen and Zalitas families.

If you want a small trip now, you can join in on the third weekend of the event, a one-way trip launched out of Dawson and called "Destination Tok", now in its third year. Eric Zalitas says the main interest in this run in 1998 came from Outside, from Alberta, NWT and B.C.. Twenty-one hardy souls went on this trip, which is marketed as a guided run to Tok over "untouched snow", on the weekend of February 19. In effect, it broke the trail for the Alaskan travellers who followed on the next two weekends.

"We want to build that run up to bring more people into Dawson," says Zalitas, who is now stationed in Faro, but takes part of his vacation each year to help run the Trek.

This year there were a few complications.

On the first weekend a trekker died of a prior medical condition.

"The second weekend," Zalitas recalls, "we had a couple of people get lost." The riders are all listed when they leave Tok and checked off in Dawson when the Trek organizers meet them down on the Yukon River ice bridge. On the second run two doctors from Anchorage went missing.

"We ended up going out in the early hours of the morning and we found them up on the road. They took a wrong turn near the old Clinton Creek Road." Sometime in the afternoon they turned west when they should have turned east. Organizers finally found them about 2 o'clock in the morning. "They were well prepared...had a tent and stuff, but they were scared. Their biggest concern was wolves."

There isn't a lot of wildlife on the trips. Some signs, of course, but animals are scarce on the Canadian side of the border. There's not much cover on the highest part of the route. On the Destination Tok trip this year they saw a caribou.

The two weekends in Dawson shape up the same, with a schedule of events that allows some time for sightseeing and shopping.

On Friday there's a tour of Midnight Dome and Fire Dome, lunch at the Eldorado Hotel, curling, darts ad conversation at the dawson City Curling Club, a Museum tour, and an evening barbecue at Gerties put on by the volunteer fire department.

Saturday begins later, with lunch at the Northern Superior station, followed by the City of Dawson Gold Run out into the gold fields organized by the local snowmobile association. The city donates 3. 5 oz. of gold for prizes. The evening casino at Gerties is also run by the Snowmobile Club and they reap the benefits. The events in Dawson closed this year with a banquet featuring entertainment by the Rendezvous Can-can dancers, Grant Hartwick and Dale Cooper.

On Sunday the satisfied riders headed home. If the mail that comes back is any indication, they all had a great time. Zalitas says he's already getting enquiries about next year's trip, one from Quebec City and another for Niagara Falls. In addition the Trek has been nominated as one of the top 20 tours in Canada by the Canadian Tourism Commission as part of their winter marketing contest. It has just been highlighted in the Alaska Snowmachine Directory, a new magazine, with a two page spread. "That's nice. Free advertising again."

The Trek's organizers aren't sure if people realize just how many economic spinoffs come from this junket.

"I think that the Trek, over the last five years, has brought its share of money into the town," Zalitas says. "We're guess-timating that it's about 1/2 million a year."

The bank at Gerties exchanged US$9,000 during one night of the two Trek weekends. Zalitas has heard that many of the visitors drop thousands of dollars while they are here. The trekkers fill both available hotels while they're here and spill over into at least one bed and breakfast.

The other aspect is that there seem to be quite a few return visitors coming back in the summer season. Many of the goodies given away while they are here are incentives to come back and cash them in, and quite a few do that.

The future of the Trek looks positive.

"We would have had three weekends this year but they didn't have enough fuel in Chicken (Alaska)," said Zalitas. "They haul fuel in for the snowmachines and there wasn't enough. Next year we do plan a third weekend."


Protecting Your Home from Wildfire

by Ronald Ryant

Last spring we had a fire in the community of Henderson Corner. The spring of the previous year we had a similar fire in the community of Bear Creek. In those two cases we were fortunate in several respects. We had the resources that we needed, quickly available to us along with a skilled, hard working, dedicated crew of fire fighters from the Klondike Valley, Dawson City and Forestry, as well as help from volunteers from all walks of life.

We also had a great deal of luck on our side. Although we did lose a few out buildings we were fortunate not to have lost any homes or lives.

With the onset of spring and with the fire season fast approaching I have been looking around in the communities and came to the realization that there are areas where we would have no choice but to sacrifice some homes in order to attempt to make the best use of our available resources in places that had the potential to be saved. You, the home owner have the ability to make your home one of the ones we could attempt to save!!!

The Safety Zone

The goal of firesafe landscaping is simple: Reduce the amount of fuel immediately surrounding your home. This does not mean your grounds have to be barren and unattractive. Some plants are more fire resistant than others. One of the most important steps any wildland homeowner can take is to create a safety zone, or firebreak, around the house using such plants. All flammable vegetation should be cleared within at least a 30 foot radius of your house. Sloped areas should be cleared more- up to 100 feet or more in some cases.

The fewer trees and shrubs inside your safety zone The better. But clearing a safety zone does not necessarily mean removing all trees. Trees nearest your home (within 100 ft.), however, must be maintained for fire safety. Trees with low branches that are close to the ground should be removed, or the lower branches should he pruned.

Taller trees are, by nature, less of a fire hazard. The primary, danger lies in what are called "ladder fuels" - low branches and small trees growing near the trunks of larger trees. Ladder fuels are easily ignited by a grass fire and can carry flame up into the branches of trees.

Prune off the lower branches, and all dead branches, of tall trees and remove seedlings and scrub growth at the bases of tree trunks.

Keep your grass short and discourage underbrush from growing along the edges of your safety zone. Clean up all leaves, fallen needles, and other dead vegetation regularly. Remove all tree limbs around your chimney as well as any dead branches that hang over your roof.

Beyond 100 feet from your house, dead wood and older trees should be removed or thinned. Check for any limbs that come in contact with power lines. Contact the power company and alert them to the hazard.

Clean Gutters, Eaves, and Roofs

Your routine maintenance should include sweeping gutters, eaves, and roof areas - especially during hot, dry, weather. Old leaves and pine needles are good tinder.

Stack Firewood Away from Buildings

It is dangerous to store any combustible fuel too close to a house, out-building, or even a wooden fence. Though it may be convenient to stack wood on a porch or deck or against a house wall under an overhang, these are unsafe practices.

Outdoor Incinerators

Outdoor incinerators or burning-barrels for household trash are illegal in many areas because they generate wind-borne sparks. In areas where outdoor incinerators are tolerated, it is often necessary to get a permit to use them. I realize that with the dump now having open and closed hours it is not as convenient to get rid of garbage and some people will be using burning as a means of reducing dump runs. However make yourself aware of the potential for fire and burn only when safe to do so, don't burn when it is too dry or windy. Also, make sure that you use a screen as a spark arrester.

Note: Volunteer Fire department personnel take time to reach the fire hall, get geared up and then get to the scene. Fires, on the other hand get out of control very quickly. In order to be effective, the fire department must be called early in a potential emergency situation. Please keep the number posted by the phone and don't be afraid or embarrassed to call.



I.O.D.E. Ice Pool

Submitted by Sandra Taylor

For as long as there has been a Yukon River the river has frozen in the fall and thawed in the spring. For over 100 years, record has been kept of the actual time the ice has "gone out" each spring. In 1997, May 4 was a beautiful sunny Sunday and locals were out enjoying the lovely day or puttering around their yards clearing away the last of the lunch dishes when my husband yelled through the back door "THE ICE IS OUT!" The town fire siren had just shrieked and the tripod had been tripped by the flow of moving ice. For those of you new to Dawson as we were, the tripod houses a wire that is connected to a clock in the old Bank of Commerce building.

When the wire is tripped, the clock immediately stops. The fire siren is activated by anyone who happens to be passing by and notices the tripod wire and/or moving ice and calls in the alarm. This of course, causes 3/4 of the townspeople to drop whatever they are doing and go hurrying down to the river to watch the ice move (very slowly I might add) and to speculate on who may have guessed the lucky guess and won the pool. Among the people rushing to the river was Joyce Caley, IODE Ice Pool Co-Ordinator and official keeper of the clock key. She made to the Old Bank in record time on her trusty bike (Joyce doesn't drive) and along with many witnesses, verified the time. John and I now feel we are Dawson Sourdoughs since this was our first break-up even though we have been Yukon Sourdoughs for many years.

For a number of years the IODE has sponsored the Annual Ice Pool and it is a major fund-raiser for the organization. 40% of the profits go to the IODE while 60% goes to the lucky winner. With grateful appreciation from the IODE, the Yukon Order of Pioneers assemble the tripod and rigging each year that enables this pool to take place.

The IODE is a benevolent organization that has chapters across Canada. The Dawson chapter provides goodies at Christmas to all local seniors, academic scholarships and musical funding to the school, funding to the local Air Cadets, monetary aid to the Women's Shelter, aid to fire victims and funds to numerous national charities and disaster relief funds.

Ice Pool tickets are on sale for $1 a guess practically everywhere in town and just about every stop along the highway to Whitehorse. The more you guess, the bigger the prize and everyone wins in the long run. Hopefully the river will pick another lovely sunny day this year so once again, all the community can enjoy the excitement on the dike. Now let's see, I think it will go out on...


Fiction: The Tourist Mosquito

by Doreen Woodall

Late September, 18--, Dawson City, Yukon. Joel McBole log cabin, hunched under the rounded peak of The Dome. Joel McBole himself, his back as close to the wood stove as he can get it without scorching it, was crunching mightily at a mess of half-cooked beans straight from the pot. A droning, distant, persistent, insinuated itself on the air. It grew. It grew closer. The drone became a screech. The screech cut across the valley and swooped over the cabin with the loudness density of what Joel would have identified as a four-engine jet airliner if a four-engine jet airliner had been invented at the time. Then it stopped. For a moment, all Joel could hear was the crunching of the beans as his teeth kept mechanically chewing.

The, a sharp, scraping noise from the wall. Joel froze. The scraping noise became a long, tube-like thing, pushing its way through the north east corner of the house. The tube was followed by a broad, flat head, like that of a baby moose, full of eyes.

Joel retreated behind a stove. The head kept coming. He could see its enormous mouth, its upper lip, its double jaws. The head pushed forward again and made room for six long spindly legs. And it turned out to have wings, transparent, flimsy, but enormous.

The head pointed its longest tube once again toward Joel. He finally recognized it for what it was. A giant mosquito. Ready to eat him.

But then, just as its huge proboscis reached across the room, so close that Joel could actually make out six drinking straws inside, hypodermic needles ready to pierce his chest, it stopped. As sudden mass of cold air fell from The Dome. The mosquito quick-froze in mid attack. Its fifth leg was still rising on the gap in the logs by which it had entered. Its sixth was still outside. Later Joel reasoned that the one leg still outside the wall had acted like a siphon carrying ice through the paper-like structure of the mosquito. At any rate, there the mosquito stayed, filling the corner of the room like some bizarre hunting trophy.

At first Joel McBole was disturbed by this uninvited, frozen presence. It was rather crowded now, in the cabin. Joel thought perhaps he should move out.

But where would he go? There were not many empty rooms in the Yukon that winter. And the mosquito?

"She'll be safe enough 'til spring," Joel told himself. For thought the central stove gave a small area of heat in the middle of the room, enough to warm Joel McBole and the beans; the perimeter of the cabin was frigid. Whenever anyone breathed in the cabin, which was quite often, the moisture from that breath drifted to the corners of the ceiling and frosted itself together. These "glaciers" grew larger and larger through the winter. Eventually, the extremities if the mosquito were covered in frost.

"The damn thing is some kind of tourist," he told his cronies. "Comes from South America."

"How d'ya know?" they were skeptical.

So he showed the small tag he had found stuck to the third frozen leg.

"Laid in Brazil," it said.

It became a kind of pet. Joel gave it a name.

"Rosita, the Mosquito," he called it.

He began to confide in Rosita. He told her stories of his boyhood in Nova Scotia, where the mosquitoes are small, but vicious.

He told her of the Gold Fever that shook him and shook his friends and all those who had fought their way into the gold fields. He thought he saw Rosita nod.

"That mosquito has gold fever," he told his friends.

"That's some mosquito you got there, Joel,"they said.

When they gathered in Joel Mcbole's cabin for evenings of boasting , lying and card playing, if it was warm enough, they took their hats off and hung them on Rosita's antennae, and on her proboscis, and on her two front legs which were bent into hooks by the sudden freeze. If it was not warm enough, they kept their hats on and took turns spitting at her.

But as the winter wore on, Joel felt closer and closer to Rosita. He stopped them from spitting at this pet. He made them keep their hats on their heads. People said he was getting cabin fever. They said it would be a good thing when winter was over and Rosita thawed out and flew away. But it didn't quite turn out like that. Winter did end, and Rosita did thaw out. But she didn't fly away. Not at all.

She unfroze and when she unfroze, the thought that had been frozen in her brain also unfroze and turned into action.

Rosita dug her warmed up proboscis into Joel McBole's left cheek.

"After all we've been to each other," Joel mourned.

He brought the latest post of beans high, smashed it down on Rosita's head, and when Rosita tilted sideways, stunned, he shoved the pot up her nose and drowned his pet in half-baked beans.

That was not the end of the story.

When his friends arrived for their weekly session of bullshitting, they discovered the gigantic corpse of Rosita stretched across the cabin floor, and Joel McBole feverish and asleep in the north east corner.

The bite from Rosita's thawed out proboscis had infected Joel with Sleeping Sickness. He spent the whole of the summer of 1898, while his friends got rich in the gold fields, sleeping in Father Judge's hospital in Dawson City.

When he finally woke in September, the gold fields were all staked, his friends were bulging with gold pokes and Rosita's body was still recumbent in his living room.

Joel chopped the body into kindling and burnt it in his stove. He fumed. He was furious that he had wasted the summer in sleep. Remembering the long, dark days of winter, he thought how much better it would have been if Rosita had bitten him that first night and he had slept all the winter away. And how much better for all his friends. And for all the other miners and cheechakos in the Yukon. To sleep all winter.

So Joel packed his few belongings, and caught the last steamer of the year down the Yukon to Alaska, and then down the coast to South America. In South America he interviewed mosquito experts and sleeping sickness experts. He found other giant mosquitoes like Rosita and interviewed them.

Out of this research he developed his world famous formula. Joel McBole's Rosita Serum. Guaranteed to keep you asleep for the winter. Specially equipped with its own hypodermic needle, modelled on that of a mosquito. Only by using this needle can the full effects of the serum be obtained. It is, after all, a mosquito-born disease.

Now this long term sleeping pill became so popular that Joel McBole retired, a millionaire, at thirty. And all the gold gathered by his friends over that long summer while he was sleeping, turned to dust.

And it is the continuing popularity of the Rosita Serum that accounts for the somnabulance of many of the residents of Dawson City through the long, days of winter.


Letter: We Must Not Tolerate this Violence

Dear Editor:

The other afternoon, I had the misfortune to collect the body of a friend's dog from a yard down the road.

The dog had been fatally shot. This is not the first time I have had to deal with the aftermath of a dog's encounter with the owner of that yard. Usually, I can distance myself emotionally from the incident.

This time, however, I will let myself be judgmental.

In today's case, the spayed, vaccinated and licensed dog, "Lou", was found with fairly incriminating evidence around her: three dead rabbits, the first (and last) she had ever seen in her life.

Although the rabbits were not partially eaten or bruised or punctured in any way (just dead) it could be said that she was guilty.

Does this warrant Lou's death by high powered rifle at close range?

Does she deserve to die simply because her canine nose drew her to a yard reeking with assorted, ubiquitous dung and other refuse, than reacting to a situation as her dog genes dictate?

Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail were dead; how difficult would it have been to shut the door on the hutch and go retrieve someone to identify Lou, as our Mr.MacGregor* did AFTER he shot her?

I know Lou's companion would have gladly refunded the cost or replace the rabbits. The rabbits were intended to be eaten; Lou was a family member. As I have said before, I am only a student of human behavior, but it seems to me that someone who feels the need to exercise such violence and ultimate control over something as defenseless as a dog caught in a five by ten foot box must feel terribly powerless and ineffective in their own life.

Ever hear of "shooting fish in a barrel"? What a coward.

I moved to this community because of the freedoms one is able to enjoy here. It seems to be a dynamic, open-minded, potential-laden little town. I'd hate to think I'm wrong but obviously there are some individuals who wish to extend what they see as personal freedoms and consequently obliterate freedoms of those around them.

The violence shown is not merely towards a dog. It is directed at the entire family of which the dog was a part.

For the betterment of the community, do not condone or tolerate this violence. For my part, I will tell what happened to whoever wants to listen and I will choose not to do business or associate with those who continue such barbaric behavior.

Aedes Scheer
Dawson City

(Ed. note: *Mr. MacGregor is not the person's real name.)


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