Dawson City, Yukon Friday, April 29, 2000

Father Tim Coonen (centre) flanked by the owners of Bombay Peggy's, Wendy Cairns and Kim Bouzane. See story below. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

Mayor Calls for Voters List Review and Revote
Jenkins Prepares to Go it Alone - for a While
Bombay Peggy's Gets a Fresh Start
Sleep in Palma!!!!!!
Visit from Art Bank Director
A Night at the Pre-Festival Concert
RSS Students Do Well at the Festival

Welcome to the April 29th on-line edition of the Klondike Sun. This is the abridged version of our April 11th hard copy edition. Getting a subscription (see our home page) is the only way you'll ever see it all.

Mayor Calls for Voters List Review and Revote

by Dan Davidson

Mayor Everitt questions the voters' list. Photo by Dan Davidson

Mayor Glen Everitt is calling for a close examination of the recent election results, calling the voters' list into question and stating that he feels a revote would be the best thing for the riding if there is a problem with the list.

The Mayor of Dawson and the MLA for the Klondike are not getting along well these days. It comes as no surprise to anyone living here. The two men did not get along when Everitt was a councillor while Jenkins was mayor and they've been hardly more than civil to each other since.

However, it is unusual for a mayor, with the backing of a council, to make such a statement.

Dawson's council had determined originally that it would say nothing about the election until it was all over, but its members became more and more disturbed about some of Jenkins' campaign claims during late March and finally ended up instructing the mayor to draft a letter of protest, which they all signed, even the council member who was an avowed Jenkins' supporter.

Councillor Aedes Scheer, who came third in the race, had stepped down from council by the time the decision was taken to write the letter.

The letter essentially claimed that the MLA was attempting to take more than his fair share of credit over such issues as territorial funding for projects in Dawson, the opening of the Taylor Highway and a variety of other initiatives which the council feels were team efforts largely spurred from here.

Now, in the wake of Jenkins slender victory in the riding, the mayor is strongly suggesting that the voters' list be scrutinized and that, if sufficient names prove to be ineligible, there should be a revote in the riding.

Mayor Everitt said that he has himself counted some 20 names that he felt could be challenged on just the poll at which he voted.

"I hope there's a revote," he said. "I don't care who put the voters on the list, but I saw names and I wondered why in hell these people are voting here. It's a typical thing in Dawson, but this is the first time that there's been a race that's been that close that could upset the race."

Results from the Klondike Riding were tabulated in under an hour on Monday night, and they put Jenkins back in his seat as the only surviving member of the Yukon Party. Returning officer Bonnie Barber reported that Jenkins had defeated a strong challenge from the Liberal's Stuart Schmidt, beating him by 27 votes.

There were 1223 voters in the Klondike and 1079, or 88%, exercised their franchise, up 4% from the turnout in 1996.

Jenkins took 424 of the votes, 39%, while Schmidt captured 397, or 36%. The NDP's Aedes Scheer was a more distant third, polling 249 votes, 23% of the total.

If you had been going by the advance poll, you might have predicted a Schmidt win. Most of the voters in West Dawson were advised to vote early, in case the ice bridge across the Yukon River should be closed by voting day. There were 165 votes cast then.

The Eagle Plains area cast 7 votes, and was split between Scheer and Schmidt.

Poll 1, with 200 voters, was taken by Scheer.

Poll 2, with 215 voters, was taken by Jenkins, as well as Poll 3, where there are 241 voters.

Poll 4, south of town and out on the creeks, was Schmidt territory. There are 251 votes in that area.

People in the Klondike were close mouthed about how they would vote this year. During the last two elections the parties have been able to gauge their support as a result of the door-to-door canvassing, but the story this time is that people were not committing in advance.

It was widely predicted that as little as 30-50 votes would settle the issue here, and Barber was fearing that it might fall below 10, forcing an arduous second count, so she was relieved that the gap was as high as 27.

This does not, however, mean that nothing of the sort will happen. Even before the election took place the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in were expressing public doubts about the validity of the voter's list, indicating that they felt there were far more than 27 voters who should not be there.

It is the narrow margin of victory which makes this a question at this time. This is something that was generally missed in the initial newspaper analysis of the situation because the Yukon elections office made a mistake in their numbers and had Jenkins winning by 93 votes.

In 1996, for example, Jenkins won the seat with a 228 seat lead over his nearest opponent, Tim Gerberding, and also took 55.2% of the riding's votes. That's a very convincing margin of victory and no one was likely to feel that examining the voters' list would make a change in the outcome.

When you drop that lead by 201 votes, the story could be different. When you look at a win that takes only 39.63% of the electors, meaning that 60.37% voted for someone else, those someone else might be tempted to scrutinize the list more closely.

So far the Assistant Chief Electoral Officer, Jo-Ann Waugh, says no one has filed a complaint about the results. No one has heard anything official from the Liberal Party, which might very much like to have a second shot at a rural seat, or their candidate, Stewart Schmidt, who came so close on his first outing.

They have 30 days to decide what they want to do.


Jenkins Prepares to Go it Alone - for a While

by Dan Davidson

Klondike MLA Peter Jenkins, as he appeared at the pre-election forum. Photo by Dan Davidson

Peter Jenkins says he is pleased to have won his seat in the legislature back and feels he has enough support to move on in his political life. He is optimistic about the chances of rebuilding the shattered Yukon Party and is almost certain to toss his hat in the ring for the leadership when that time comes.

He is concerned that some of the press reports since the election have taken some of his thoughts out of context a bit.

Of his own diminished lead in the Klondike riding (his plurality dropped by 201 votes, from 228 to 27) he offered no particular explanation.

"The polls that I used to be the strongest at - the numbers in those ridings are down and my take of them was down too.

"It was an aggressive campaign," he said, but he stressed that he did actually win it.

"I have been elected. I know what I have to do. I know what's on my plate to be done, and we'll move forward."

As for his plans to take the helm of the Yukon Party, he pooh-poohed the notion that it would be like taking over the captaincy of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg.

"It's no longer the Titanic," he said, adding that he would transform the party into "a smooth sailing ship with backup power and all the bells and whistles, if you want to look at it in that context.

He stressed that the Titanic metaphor was the reporter's choice, not his.

"We had a lot of potential. Our party was the only party that had a very firm and definite platform. There was no wishy-washiness about it."

Asked to reflect on the overall territorial picture, he was philosophical.

"What can I say? We still have 25% of the popular vote. We still have one seat. If you look back just a few years ago, then the Liberals had a lesser percentage of the popular vote and just one seat. That's reality.?"

Jenkins also played down the reported rift between himself and John Ostashek, the former leader of the Yukon Party who reigned on election night after losing his seat to Liberal Don Roberts.

"(The morning after) the election I spoke to John Ostashek," Jenkins said, "I've spoken to most of the candidates that ran, but none of this is coming through. I've spoken to Ostashek a couple of times now. I was told that he and I are feuding and I can assure you that that certainly isn't the case.

"We lost the confidence of the voters and we lost our seats," Jenkins said last Thursday evening, but he maintained that he does not lay this defeat at the feet of Ostashek personally.

Jenkins has his work cut out for him, being the Yukon Party critic for everything. He has, he thinks, about $60,000 to run "office, staff and everything, the whole nine yards." He will need, he said, a lot of pro bono assistance from people who believe in the party in order to make his job work, but he is also confident that this help will materialize.

"People are out there. They're ready to come on board. They're ready to help. We're back to rebuilding the party and there's nowhere to go but up. so that's where we're going."

As for his own work load, he is grateful that he has already served a term in the legislature. If he hadn't, "there would have been a horrible learning curve."

But, he said, preparing for the legislature isn't as tough as some people have claimed and that he found most of his time over the last four years was taken up with constituency work.


Bombay Peggy's Gets a Fresh Start

by Dan Davidson

The "New" Peggy's. Photo by Dan Davidson

"This is a first for me. I consulted my book of blessings---no brothels, bordellos, whorehouses, dens of iniquity, houses of ill repute. They've got the Blessing of the Fleet, of snowmobiles, etc...Somehow I didn't think that "The Blessing of a Recreational Centre" would fit...."

So saying, Father Tim Coonen, o.m.i., embarked on his latest ecclesiastical challenge: the reopening and blessing of Bombay Peggy's Victorian Inn and Lounge.

He wasn't alone. Both Father John Tyrrell and Deacon Carol Tyrrell of Saint Paul's Anglican Church were on hand to contribute to the occasion, but the lead role was Coonen's, and the advice he'd received from his General Council in Rome was that this one time when he would need to be well prepared.

The Rev. Ron Rolheiser, omi, Casa Generalizia O.M.I. wrote to wish him the best of luck, but cautioned, "Make sure you prepare well for this enterprise. You wouldn't want to be caught with your pants down!"

The original Peggy's was part of Dawson's celebrated Red Light history and the relocated, refurbished and expanded building will no doubt trade on its past while making its future.

Who says the Roman Catholic Church has no sense of humour?

On the other hand, while the afternoon ceremony abounded with zingers like the reference to the "apocryphal St. Viagra", whose special hymn might be "Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise!", the actual business of the blessing was fully in the spirit of the Christian faith.

"Why," Father Tim asked, "do we bless a person, or an object, or in this case a place and a business?

"A blessing is a form of prayer. We occasionally pray together in public, or in churches, and at times we pray to our God, as we understand God, in the privacy of our hearts.

"But this act of blessing is in itself a prayer--our gathering is a prayer. Through it we say:

"God, welcome here.

"We want you to be a part of this place, this building, this business.

"We express our faith in the loving Creator's hand at work in our world."

So the blessing began and so it continued. Deacon Carol presented the Gospel story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11) and Father John read a parable of the Last Judgement (Matthew 25:31-40). The point of each being that Jesus accepts sinners and invites them to do better in the future.

To the business of the new Bombay Peggy's, Coonen offered the following thoughts:

"Today we celebrate a new beginning and a new future. The past is a part of Bombay Peggy's story, but we come today to celebrate the hopes and dreams, the promise and the future of this enterprise."

To the owners, Kim Bouzane and Wendy Cairns, he delivered a second blessing, noting, "That's a fairly ominous beginning, Jesus' account of The Last Judgment! And you thought the biggest thing you would have to face was the Bank!

"You will welcome many thousands of people through these doors. Some will be, or will become, your friends, while others will try your patience to the end. You are entering into a difficult business, and I wish to ask a special blessing for you"

Following the blessing, the three clergy made a procession through the three floors of the building, blessing with prayers and incense each of the well appointed and unique rooms.

Meanwhile, in the lounge, the many guests participated in an afternoon of good cheer and anticipated the many pleasant gatherings yet to come.


Sleep in Palma!!!!!!

by Louise Ranger

Palma Berger (the Sun's president) was taken by surprise at the retirement party that followed her departure from the Dawson City Housing Association. Photo by Dan Davidson

The ambiance was magical. Picture the Odd Fellows Hall done up in the colours of spring - tasteful pinks, purples and yellows abound; lightheaded bundles of white balloons dot the room; the summer sun drifting in past potted tulips on window sills; "Waltzing Matilda " playing on the stereo. Dawsonites from all walks of life gathered together to pay tribute to our own Palma Berger and her untiring years of public service to this community.

April 8 marked the "Palma Berger Y2A" celebration. The concept was the brain child of Dawsonite Pat Russell, who with the help of a highly covert and sneaky group of locals managed to pull off the surprise Palma appreciation night. And true to Dawson form, the best wasn't good enough. With the help of 57 donors (mostly individual, some local organizations, Whitehorse friends too!), over $1300.00 was put down in the form of a Gold City Travel gift certificate (Yukon to Australia "2000 and some" return airfare that is!).

Phillipe and his glorious limo picked up the unsuspecting Palma, Fred playing the straight guy on the take - thanks for all the deception Fred! The limo pulled up to the hall around 8:00 p.m. and Palma emerged completely unaware of what was lurking just over head (you'd think the backpacks and dijerido [spelling unavailable at this time!] in the limo would have given it away!). Upon entering the grand hall, Palma was greeted by a well appointed crowd raising glasses in her honour. And yes, there were tears! The evening commenced with casual talk and storytelling, with several Dawsonites rising to the microphone to give their Palma stories. At times humorous and touching, I found particularly interesting the story told by Aldine Snider about how a group of women including Palma brought kindergarten to Dawson. Not to be outdone (could she ever be?) Palma herself reminisced on her early days as a bar maid...bourbon you say?

Folks were invited to sign a card and contribute any stories they wanted to share. Food, music and laughter filled the room - not to mention the sounds of that almost impossible instrument to spell - the digereedoo (try, try again!). A flight path between Bear Creek and Australia traced the fund raising progress (sure we stranded her somewhere in the Ocean, but heck we had a sailboat in the waiting). Unable to think of anything profound or touching that would sum up the Chilkootian list of things Palma has given to this community, the icing on Alpine Bakery's cake wittily wished "Sleep in Palma!"

The list of names of those who contributed their money, talents and time to this event is too long to fit in this newspaper, but some of the key players deserve special recognition. Thanks to the undaunted "how the heck do we keep it a secret" organizers Pat Russell, Lisa Hutton (a kindergarten survivor!), Penny Soderlund, Kathy Donnelly, Joyce Caley, Nicola Walch and Fred for all his insider information and cooperation; to the one and only bartender extraordinaire Steve Kurth and his many selfless pours; the Dawson City Arts Society and Karen and Gary for the complimentary use of our most recent precious discovery - what ever did we do before the Odd Fellows Hall?; the Humane Society Dawson who put their reputation and volunteers on the line for the liquor license; the Klondike Visitors Association for the complementary seating and tables; Marvin, Charlie and Robbie who schlepped the tables and chairs up those steps; Bonanza Market for their cutlery contribution; all the folks who contributed in their own unique ways to honouring this most unique Dawsonite, and lastly to Palma Berger herself, for simply being her!!


Visit from Art Bank Director

by Palma Berger

The arts represent the culture of a country. But artists do not get paid well for their stupendous efforts. So it was in 1957 the Canada Council was formed to help fund artists so they could create their works. The Canada Council Art Bank was started in 1972. It is home to the largest collection of contemporary Canadian art. The 18000 paintings, prints, photographs, and sculptures by over 25000 artists can be rented by corporations, institutions, government departments and agencies. This gives the art work exposure to the public resulting in more understanding, education and appreciation by the public.

This month Victoria Henry, Director of the Art Bank included Dawson in her visit to the Yukon. She was here to see what art is being produced in the Yukon. She says Yukon art is known within Yukon but not outside. She met with many artists and discussed their work individually. So important was this that Lillian Loponen came over from Keno.

The Art Bank already has pieces by current Dawson resident, Halin DeRepentigny and writer-in-residence Kelly Aitken.

The Art Bank fell on hard times when, in 1994, the government as part of its cutbacks ordered that the inventory of the Art Bank be sold off. This would have flooded the market suddenly and reduced the value of the art, plus Canada would have lost its collection of Canadian art in which the government had invested $18m. Some artists, as in Jack Shadbolt bought their pieces back. So now there is none of their work in the Bank.

Attempts were made to save the Art Bank. The staff was reduced from 23 to 10, and the storage facilities were moved to a warehouse between a car dealership and "Rent a Wreck". 'Rental Row' as Ms. Henry called it.

Now the main aim of the Art Bank is to develop its marketing. It must generate its own revenue if it is to make any new purchases. This will be done through renting out what they have. For this purpose Victoria Henry was hired. Her previous commercial art interest was in the gallery she ran for 16 years..

There will be no conflict with any commercial art rental businesses as 85% of their business is with government departments.

The new Governor-General has repainted Rideaux Hall and has had installed all art pieces from the Art Bank for when the Hall is officially opened to the public.

After we viewed a great slide show of some of the art work in the Art Bank a general discussion followed, and touched on many topics.

One was applications to the Canada Council. Ms. Henry advised us that the money that Canada Council gets is not enough to fund all creative people; so when one puts in an application the presentation must really stand out. The competition is stiff.

As to Art education, everyone agreed it is lacking in Canada. In Europe construction workers go to Art Galleries, not just a supposed

elite. In Canada one's wealth is judged by the car one drives while in Europe it is by the sculpture in one's home.

In Austria there is a three hour programme on the visual arts put on by Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, while in Canada the one-hour long Sunday Morning Arts Programme has been cut.

The mandate of the Art Bank is to promote and exhibit contemporary art to as wide an audience as possible. They have top find a new system to get new art from across Canada - through dealers? committees?

The discussion was lively. But for further information on Canada Council try their web page www.canadacouncil.ca

In the meantime the visit of Ms. Henry was informative as well as encouraging.


A Night at the Pre-Festival Concert

by Dan Davidson

The Choir performs "Think of Me", conducted by Betty Davidson. Photo by Dan Davidson

From mid-February until this week the members of the Robert Service School Bands and Choir have been hard at work preparing for the Rotary Music Festival. Miss Rowe and Mrs. Davidson have been getting them ready since even before the end of "Oliver!"

The music program at the school is partly curricular and partly extracurricular, and this is the fourteenth year that parents and interested Dawsonites have been treated to a pre-festival display of the works the students and their teachers are taking to the festival.

There were 19 pieces performed in the Ancillary Room on the evening of April 7, demonstrating the students' proficiency in a wide range of styles and flavours of music.

The choir opened and closed the evening, performing Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Think of Me" and Lionel Bart's ""I'd Do Anything."

The Grade 8/9 Band came in the middle with renditions of "Raider's March" (from the film Raiders of the Lost Ark), "Promised Land" (a spiritual) and "Land of 1,000 Dances" from the late 1960s.

In between came a series of solos and duets.

Michael Davidson, now in his final year with the choir, has been working with Mrs. Davidson, as well as Father Tim Coonen and choir pianist Gwen Bell. He performed Handel's "Where'er You Walk", Kingsford's 'Down Harley Street", Schubert's "Wohin?" and Lerner and Lowe's "There But for You Go I".

Natasha Burian and Monica Nordling have been working with Mrs. Davidson and Ms. Bell. Together they performed Horner's "My Heart Will Go On" and "All Through the Night". Natasha performed Henley's "The Wind Beneath My Wings", while Monica sang Dryman's "The Fate of Gilbert Gim" and Williams and Ascher's "The Rainbow Connection".

Skye Felker soloed on Chopin's "The Wish", Hughes "I Know Where I'm Goin'" and Schonberg's "I Dreamed a Dream".

Ashley Graham, recovering from a cold, gathered up her courage and essayed Helyner's "Ferryman", and found her full voice later on with Sherman's "The Wonderful Thing about Tiggers".

Just before the choir closed off the evening, the senior Ensemble 9-12 band group appeared as a quintet, performing Sousa's "Semper Fidelis" and Lennon and McCartney's "With a Little Help from My Friends."

The concert was followed by an offering of goodies, juice and coffee, intended to refresh as well as give the musicians one last chance to help cover the costs of their stay in Whitehorse for the Festival.


RSS Students Do Well at the Festival

by Dan Davidson

The Band Ensemble had to master the task of starting themselves, keeping their own time, and stopping when they were done. They did well. Photo by Dan Davidson

The Robert Service Choir and a group of vocal soloists came back from the 32nd Annual Rotary Music Festival with glowing reports and lots of awards.

The choir, led by Betty Davidson and accompanied by Gwen Bell, had good adjudications for its efforts and was selected to sing in both of the evening concerts which closed off the week long festival.

In the junior concert, the choir formed the festival choir, performing work that they had learned only that day under the tutelage of festival adjudicator Marliyn Kerley. There were supposed to be a number of Whitehorse choirs also participating in this event, but very few singers turned up.

Monica Nordling also sang a solo piece at this concert.

At the senior concert, the RSS Choir opened the program. Michael Davidson would have been on the program, but he had had to leave for the school's SEVEC trip the day before.

In their individual categories the soloists also did well.

Ashley Graham won gold and silver standing in her two performances.

Natasha Burian and Monica Nordling sang a silver duet.

Natasha took gold and silver in her solos, while Monica captured three gold standings.

Skye Felker received two gold and a silver.

Michael Davidson took four golds in his categories, and was awarded a Yukon Arts Medallion as well as the Best Vocal Performer trophy for his performance at the festival. The trophy is sponsored by Super A Foods and includes a $300 scholarship, sponsored by one of a number of Whitehorse banks and businesses.

On the instrumental side of things, the Band Ensemble, taught by Shelly Rowe, was well received by the adjudicators, who indicated that the quintet had done a good job working with a set of instruments not generally assembled in this fashion. The mixture of woodwinds and brass (it's normally one or the other - not both) included Alex Hakonson and Kristen Cook on clarinet, Craig McCauley on trombone, Jennifer Touchie on flute and Michael Davidson on trumpet.


Klondike Sun Home Page