Dawson City, Yukon Friday, December 22, 2000

Sing-along at the Dawson City Museum with the Robert Service School Choir. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

Voices Raised in Song
Open House Season Begins
Making Yuletide Gay
McDonald Lodge Annual Christmas Dinner
Community Group Conferencing Society Hosts Festive Evening
North's Festive Season
Dawson District Renewable Resources Council (DDRRC) Report
Council Should Support Bridge Effort, says Van Nostrand
Survey to Determine Priorities for Dawson
Sick as Dogs and Fighting for Gold
A Christmas Tableau

Welcome to the December 22nd on-line edition of the Klondike Sun. This is the abridged version of our 32 page Dec. 19th hard copy edition which contained 23 photographs and 28 news stories, 2 poems, our bi-weekly local crossword and PAWS, the north's longest running strip cartoon. We were extra long due to the need to include an extra two weeks of our television guide. This is because we traditionally take the first issue in January off, as we are this year. We will be in print again on January 16, 2001 and here again sometime after January 19.

Wish we could share everything, but getting a subscription (see our home page for details) is the only way you'll ever see it all. Approximately 386 people viewed the Sub between December 13 and December 23, 2000, which is the date of this posting.

Voices Raised In Song

by Dan Davidson

See upon the stairway, voices raised in song;
choristers are serenading friends who've come along;
joining in a carol, bringing Christmas cheer,
celebrating once again that time we hold so dear.

Hear the songs they're chanting, hear them raised anew,
secular and sacred in a fine December brew;
warming up our spirits, setting thoughts aglow,
making us forget - outside it's 29 below.

Keep the carols coming, sing them clear and loud.
Let them bring this season's cheer to all within the crowd.
Angels sang that message on the night of Jesus' birth,
proclaiming that the Son of God at last had come to earth.

(December 4, 2000)


Open House Season Begins

by Dan Davidson

An evening's good cheer at the Dawson City Museum marked the unofficial beginning of the Open House season in Dawson On December 1st. In our lead photo, the Robert Service School Choir makes its second visit of the evening, rounding out the museum's evening with a round of carols and Christmas anthems after having serenaded elders at MacDonald Lodge earlier in the evening.

There was more singing and good cheer at the newly renovated Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in community Hall on Sunday afternoon, followed by a community dinner.

And that's just the beginning. The challenge in Dawson at this time of the year is figuring out which events you can manage to squeeze into your calendar.


Making Yuletide Gay

by Dan Davidson

Santa plays the sax. Some members of the bands were dressed for the season. Photo by Dan Davidson

The Robert Service School Bands and Choir played Christmas hosts to a packed Ancillary Room on the evening of December 14 with nine musical numbers to celebrate the season and showcase their work.

The Band 7 class showed their improvement with renditions of "Jingle Bells", "Anasazi" and "Up on the Housetop", while Band 8/9 presented "Holly, Jolly Christmas", "Modal Song and Dance" and "Jingle Bell Rock". All these pieces demonstrated that the bands had mastered new levels of difficulty.

The choir (and extracurricular activity featuring students from grades 4 to 9) sand "One Little Candle", "Skateboarding Santa" and new tune called "Holiday Lights" which featured some clever work with coloured flashlights."

The music was followed by a fund raising bake sale.


McDonald Lodge Annual Christmas Dinner

If you entered McDonald Lodge on the sixth of December you would have been greeted by the feeling for Christmas. The fire was blazing in the fireplace and the stockings were hung on the mantle, awaiting Christmas Eve. The tables were decorated in festive red with fresh evergreen boughs covered with poinsettias and pine cones. The punch bowls were filled to the brim awaiting the first guests to arrive. The smells of Christmas permeated the air: fresh pine, turkey roasting, spices of the dressing and the sweet smell of baking. Soft Christmas music played in the background.

The guests arrived. They were greeted by the staff and settled into place. Rev. Ken Snider gave the blessing and the dinner was dished up by the staff and served by the local R.C.M.P. officers

The conversation never stopped. Many guests had not seen one another since last year's dinner.

Another wonderful Dawson City Christmas tradition continues!

Thank you to all that came and shared our Annual Christmas Dinner at Alexander McDonald Lodge. The best of the season to all!


Community Group Conferencing Society Hosts Festive Evening

On December 7th, members and supporters of the Dawson Community Group Conferencing Society shared a festive holiday supper honouring Society volunteers. The Society recognized the important role of the volunteer Board of Directors. Board Members have been meeting regularly since the Society was formed. Receiving commendations for their work, as Board Members were Betty Davidson, Joyce Caley, Fr. John Tyrrell, Al Rudis, Helen Kincaid, Denis Gauthier, Sgt. Steve Gleboff, Cst. Paul Brown, Shirley Pennell, Angie Senft, Vanessa Joseph, and Bill Bowie. All members of the local RCMP detachment were recognized for their continuing support of the program. In particular, Officers Dave Wallace and Sandra Mark were recognized for their direct participation in the program. During the annual General meeting which followed the supper, Lambert Curzon, City Finance Officer Dale Courtice, and the staff of the City of Dawson were identified as individuals whose support of the Society has been most valuable and appreciated.

During the fiscal year July 1st., 1999 to June 30th, 2000, the Society held nine Conferences, all but one of which resulted in completion of the agreement reached between the victim and the offender. Offenders were both youth and adults, and the harm addressed included cases of assault, theft, and mischief. The Society also did a major research project on the value of mentorship in building a healthy, safe community. It has developed a model program, which it anticipates implementing during the current fiscal year. Other ongoing projects include research and community consultation on various issues relating to Restorative Justice, including the use of various types of Restorative processes in cases of family violence, and the formation of a community based justice committee. Anyone interested in more information on the work of the Society may contact the Coordinator, Cheryl Laing at 993-5060.


North's Festive Season

by Jack Fraser

It was the eve before eve, of that Holiest day,
when Goodwill, and tinsel, and presents hold sway.

The shopping just finished with love and precision,
with panic a partner, in every decision.

So the pickup is parked 'neath the street-light's pale glimmer,
while deep in the Tavern the eggnog's a'simmer.

But from the edge of the roof, and the top of the pole,
bright eyes are watching, from faces of coal.

Banking and wheeling, the dark forms descend,
one after the other, a parade without end.

Dog food and oatmeal were yesterday's treasure,
now gaily passed by for much finer measure.

Cookies and crackers are the easiest prey,
all strewn about in a wondrous array.

Take a good hold, then with a quick flip,
a whole dozen eggs are sent on a trip.

Some stuck to the bumper, some glued to the hood,
one streaked on a window and frozen like wood.

A Husky comes by to check out the view,
his silence soon bought with a pork chop, or two.

A candy cane stuck in Barbie's blond hair,
while out on the road, a wayward Date-square.

These birds work like pros, not a thing do they miss,
those holes in the cheese weren't made by the Swiss!

All parties must end; this one's no exception;
it's time to cut short this feathered transgression.

Out through the main door our revelers appear,
smiling and laughing, radiating good cheer.

With a wave to good friends, clamber into the truck,
still quite unaware of their current ill luck.

But tossed in with the mail at a moment's good sign,
a single slim ticket, a 6/49.

All of this carnage has impaired their slumber,
while out on the dash waits their big winning number.


Dawson District Renewable Resources Council (DDRRC) Report

Gwen Shuttleworth, Executive Director

Your local Renewable Resource Council has been very, very busy in the past month! We hosted the Fifth Annual RRC Meeting in Dawson City and have been told that it was an unqualified success! This three-day meeting, focusing on community based Renewable Resource Management, took place in the Odd Hall and was well attended by many local people. Areas of discussion included, the Development Assessment Process, Oil and Gas Development, the Central Yukon Sustainable Communities Initiative, Wildlife Act Revisions, the Fortymile Caribou Herd, Moose Harvest Management, Trapline Allocation Criteria, Outfitter Quota Negotiations, Trappers Compensation, First Nation Harvest Reporting and the list goes on - there was something for everyone interested in Renewable Resources.

Many thanks must be extended to those folks from YTG, the Yukon Conservation Society, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the Porcupine Caribou Management Board and the Yukon Salmon Committee and Habitat Stewards for travelling to our town to support the Annual RRC Meeting.

The week kicked off with a Registration Evening at the Pioneer Hall where camaraderie was heartily shared. DDRRC would like to thank Jim Leary and the Yukon Pioneers for making the hall available for our use. The many photos were a great source of conversation and memories for folks arriving from outside of Dawson.

The daily meetings took place in the beautifully renovated Odd Fellows Hall and all delegates where pleased and impressed with both the facility and the super staff that provided a great deal of support to the meetings. Thanks, Gary, Karen and Chera for your unending patience and help.

Wednesday Evening saw delegates and invited guests enjoying a delicious moose lasagna dinner at the St. Mary's Church Hall - catered by the wonder cooks of Tintina Bakery - that means you Jane and Sylvia!! The painstakingly renovated Church Hall was beautiful and comfortable - Thanks Father Tim!

On Thursday evening, I hosted a dinner meeting in my home for all the RRC Executive Directors and Executive Secretariats. Between a Greek dinner of steak, salad and spanokapita, RRC support personnel were able to share ideas that will assist all RRCs in functioning in a much more effective and efficient manner.

I would like to thank the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board (Pearl, Des, Lawrence, Heidi and Kelly) and all my fellow Executive Directors and Executive Secretariats for their constant advice and support during the planning and execution of the Annual Meeting and Scholarship Feast and Casino.

As the topper for the Annual Meeting, a fundraiser for the DDRRC Renewable Resources Scholarship took place at Diamond Tooth Gerties on Friday, November 24. The DDRRC RENEWABLE RESOURCE SCHOLARSHIP FEAST AND SOCIAL was a super evening featuring a Wild Meat Feast (sheep, caribou and moose), Diamond Tooth Gerties Famous Casino (CL#2000-426), all night dancing to the sounds of Cabin Fever, a Silent Auction and lots of other Door Prizes, Spot Prizes, and fun.

200 hundred local and outside community people sat down to the Wild Meat dinner catered by Tintina Bakery and it was immensely enjoyed! Reynold's Outfitting, Hunt Yukon and Blackstone Outfitters donated all the wild meat for this feast. DDRRC would like to thank the City of Dawson and the Klondike Visitors Association for making Diamond Tooth Gerties available for this worthy fundraising cause.

The Silent Auction was a great success due to the support of the following local businesses:

The Gold Poke, Klondyke Centennial Society, Paradise North Restaurant, Tintina Bakery, Fashion Nugget, Aurora Office, Grubstake Pizza, Raven's Nook, Bonanza Gold Motel, Fifth Avenue B&B, Bombay Peggy's, Peabody's Photo Parlour, Rinaldino, Anne Tyrell Original Works, Eldorado Hotel, Ray of Sunshine, Dawson City General Store, Arctic Inland Resources, Jerry Bride, Shirley Bellmore, Eva Billy, Dawson Hardware, Klondike Visitors Association, Jimmy's Place, Trading Post, Maximilians Gold Emporium, Dawson City Museum, River West Food and Health, Westminster Hotel, Downtown Hotel and Sharon and Pete Jensen of Hunt Yukon

The Dawson District Renewable Resources Council established the DDRRC Renewable Resources Scholarship Fund in the Spring of 2000. The goal of the scholarship is to assist Dawson District students - including mature - in the pursuit of post-secondary education in a Renewable Resource related discipline. The numbers are still rolling is but we will deposit at least $5000 into the Scholarship Fund.

The Annual Meeting and the Scholarship Feast and Social could not have been the success they were without the help of many special people and business. Bombay Peggy's was pleased to hang a NO VACANCY sign up at the end of November in Dawson City. The Downtown Hotel, particularly Trish on the front desk, housekeeping staff and Joanne and Dick Van Nostrum were highly praised by delegates staying with them. Anne Wichman, the Coordinator's Assistant was a key organizer in these events and DDRRC is very grateful for her kind, calm and enthusiastic work! Other valuable volunteers included: Sandra Hall, Karen McWilliam, Lou Maxwell, Irene Davis, Tricia Lynch, Michael Dupont and Sylvain Rapatel. Thank you for all your cheerful, enthusiastic help! DTG staff - all I can say is: your folks ROCK! You were wonderful hosts to the large number of people who streamed into the Casino.

Special Thanks must be extended to Chief Darren Taylor, Deputy Chief Clara VanBibber, Stan Njootli and Mayor Glen Everitt for their support from the opening ceremonies to the final prayers.

DDRRC would like to applaud John Reid of Mayo for the superlative job he did Facilitating the Annual Meeting, Robert Billings for the provision of the sound system on such short notice and Aurora Office for the excellent Recording services rendered.

Above all the Citizens of the Dawson Community must be thanked for their support of this Annual Meeting and the Scholarship Feast and Social. It is a wonderful reflection on our community that this valuable shoulder season event was such a grand success and provides good impetus to further develop shoulder season events!

I hope that I haven't missed thanking anyone - if I have, please forgive me!

DDRRC would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Safe and Happy Holiday Season. Please note that the DDRRC office will be closed on Dec. 20/00 and re-open Jan.15/01.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Dawson!!

Post Office Box 1380
Dawson City, Yukon
Y0B 1G0

Phone: 867-993-6976
Fax: 867-993-6093
E-Mail: dawsonrrc@yknet.yk.ca


Council Should Support Bridge Effort, says Van Nostrand

by Dan Davidson

The Yukon River still shows no serious signs of closing in front of Dawson. The steam in the photo is rising from the open water on a crisp, sunny day in early December. As of this posting the river is still wide open here, though people are able to cross by skidoo further downstream. Photo by Dan Davidson

Hotel owner Dick Van Nostrand was mad as a hatter at the December 6 meeting of city council, and even the fact that he was addressing the council by speaker-phone from out of town did little to soften his tones as he lit into two of the three councillors present for having failed to pass a resolution in favour of bridge construction two weeks earlier.

The two on the receiving end were Wayne Potoroka and Aedes Scheer. The other councillor present was Joanne Van Nostrand, who was less fiery that her husband, but no less firm, when council discussed the matter after delegations.

Dick Van Nostrand berated council for having failed on two occasions to pass a positive resolution on securing a permanent access across the Yukon River, and perhaps a bit of his ire was unwarranted, since the issue has only arisen in that form once since the new council took office.

That was the November 6 meeting, when council declined to pass Mayor Everitt's resolution in support of the Bridge Committee's report about an hour after Van Nostrand had delivered it and departed to a second meeting.

On December 6, Van Nostrand did say that he could understand the reluctance of new councillors to vote on such an issue quite so soon, but he also indicated that anyone running for office in Dawson City ought to have been "up to speed" on this issue pretty quickly.

The Downtown Hotel owner said he felt that the issue had been pretty thoroughly discussed in the community and recalled a meeting a few years ago where 108 people voted for a bridge and 2 voted against it in a quick show of hands.

Van Nostrand zeroed in on Potoroka and Scheer for failing to uphold what he understood to be their election positions on the bridge issue.

In rebuttal Scheer noted that she had not specifically championed a bridge in her campaign literature or speeches, while Potoroka indicated that he was still in favour, but did not see what the rush was over a letter which would be slipped into a file with many others he had recently read (one from 1994) on the same subject. Being a little later with a resolution would not, he felt, seriously damage the cause.

"The Gold Rush is over," Van Nostrand told council, "and not everyone has guaranteed jobs for ever." He stressed the need to diversify and expand the alternative economy here, which he said is tourism, in order to "maintain a vibrant community."

Said Van Nostrand, "I think that the citizens of Dawson have made their position fairly clear in the past and I doubt that that position would change."

He went so far as to suggest that any council member who refused to support the initiative at this time should either quit or be forced to quit by means of a referendum of some sort.

Acting Mayor Scheer informed him that there is no provision for such a move in the Municipal Act. (In truth, the only councillor to have been removed from council in the last 15 years has been a person whose attendance violated the terms of council policy.)

Van Nostrand also denied vehemently that the Bridge Committee had been disbanded, a rumour which he had heard when he was in town the week before.

"The formation of the Bridge Committee wasn't something which was driven by city council. It's been brought forward over the last couple of years by some very concerned citizens ... and the Bridge Committee will not be disbanded no matter what anyone's wishes are on city council.

"I have no intention of not carrying on with this project and I'm very much a part of it."

Scheer said she felt that it wasn't possible for candidates to be informed on all issues, that they would probably research most closely those issues they thought were most vital, and would not necessarily come up with the same lists.

As for the committee, it was her understanding that the Mayor's Bridge Committee, of which Everitt was the chair, had concluded its work, which was to produce the report which Van Nostrand had delivered to council and to the territorial government in early November.

Everitt himself had indicated this on November 20, but had also said that the committee was made up of private citizens who might choose to continue the lobby effort.

Potoroka felt that more than a simple resolution was needed, and really wanted to develop a more comprehensive document before taking it to council, something that would reflect a planning and consultative process.

"I'm on the record as saying that the bridge is an idea whose time has come ... but to take it that step further, we need proper planning ... and I don't see it happening right now."

Potoroka read from a draft resolution he had been working on to the effect that "council devise a plan, to address year round access across the river, that includes community consultation, definition of community consultation, clear direction from the community and assessment of things like heritage, environmental and social impact, with the intent of encouraging the YTG to act on recommendations from council based on said plan."

During internal discussions after delegations, Joanne Van Nostrand stressed her view that a letter or some sort of pro-permanent access statement needed to come from council before the end of December so that the project could become a part of the territorial government's long range planning. She felt that putting off the resolution, for which she had voted via telephone, had been a bad move, but that it was not too late to put it right.

She did not negate the need to address Potoroka's concerns, but felt his proposal was a separate step, one that could come later on.


Survey to Determine Priorities for Dawson

by Dan Davidson

In a move which has annoyed some people and won the respect of others, Dawson's council has side-stepped the issue of taking an immediate position on the construction of a bridge across the Yukon River and opted for a brief but comprehensive community consultation on this and a number of other issues.

The survey will begin in the new year and will be ready for council to consider by the time the Yukon Quest comes to town. Mayor Glen Everitt told a crowd of some 45 people packed into council chambers on the evening of December 13 that it will take a response rate of better than 50% before council will consider the sampling to have been valid.

The last time the town sampled the community was over its recreation plans and it obtained a 70% response rate then, hiring a professional firm to do the job.

Everitt told the crowd that this survey was not, however, to be considered some kind of a referendum on whether or not to build a bridge. Nor would this crowded meeting.

The City of Dawson, he noted, will never be building a bridge anyway. Bridges simply don't fall under the control of towns under the Municipal Act. Bridges, medical improvements and airports fall under that category of things for which a council may lobby, even though the council has no jurisdiction or fiscal responsibility for them.

Recreation, local improvements, sewer and water and animal control are, on the other hand, things for which the town is responsible.

So the question is, what would the citizens of the Klondike region - and council intends to survey everyone lives nearby and does anything in Dawson - like the council to lobby for?

There were some strong reactions at the meeting. Hotelier Dick Van Nostrand had circulated two pages of pro-bridge notes based on his involvement with the now defunct bridge committee, and these were the focus of a lot of the presentations.

Giovanni Castellarin, owner of the Triple J Hotel, felt that more than enough consultation had been done over the years to establish the need and desire for a bridge here. He doubted that the survey could be completed as planned and labelled it an attempt to delay the process. As for consulting beyond the town boundaries, he didn't see the need.

"If you want a community to grow," he said, "you cannot be at the end of the road."

Brent McDonald, himself a dog breeder and seasonal ferry worker, said he was neutral on the idea of a bridge but hated to have it supported by a foundation of misinformation. Fuel prices would not go down, he said, they never do. The dirt used to make the ferry landings was mostly dredged back out again each season, so it had less impact than had been claimed. There is no commitment from Alaska to keep the Taylor Highway open, not is there one from YTG to keep open the Top of the World.

The tourist traffic, said the ferry first mate, just doesn't exist at either end of the season, and the cost of keeping a highway open would probably equal the cost of the ferry, so where would the government ever find its savings.

"I'm not for or against the bridge," he said, "but if we're going to do it, let's do it right."

Ludger Borste, an adventure tour operator, attacked the concept of a bridge as something that would destroy the possibility for the region to cash in on wilderness tourism, which he says is the fastest growing segment of the market.

"A bridge takes all sense of adventure away," he said.

Ian Skinner, a West Dawson resident, was more interested in the method of the survey. How would it be fair?

Everitt replied that council's intent is to hire someone to put it together in a neutral way, simply to find out what people think the key issues are here, not just of the bridge but on other issues such as health and the airport. There would be no attempt to fix the outcome. A draft would be ready for consideration on January 11, 2001. The survey would be administered over a two week period and the report complete by February 19, 2001.

Van Nostrand urged that if this was the route council had selected, then it should pay out the money to get it done right.

At the end of the meeting, a number of West Dawson residents had spoken out against the bridge as a concept, but many felt comfortable with the way it was being handled. Jeremy Roht, who had expressed his concerns several times, said, "I'm impressed by the process and the balance."


Sick as Dogs and Fighting for Gold

by the Grade 10 CAPP class

On November 30, 2000, fifty-six RSS Knights and seven coaches went to Whitehorse to compete in the 2000 Yukon Volleyball Championships. There we met up with fierce competition from various communities such as Faro, Mayo, Whitehorse, Dease Lake, Watson Lake, Carmacks and Teslin.

Although we were plagued by injury and illness, three of our teams managed to make it to the final round.

The Grade 7 boys and Grade 8 girls came back with gold medals and coach Kathy Webster, also the president of Volleyball Yukon, had the opportunity to proudly present her Grade 7 boys with silver medals.

Our eight hour trip back to Dawson returned us to a town experiencing the coldest temperatures of the winter. It was a very eventful trip, with three movies, freezing windshields and the rescue of a family whose van had spun into the ditch on their way home from Whitehorse.

The success of the younger teams seems to put the future of Dawson volleyball in good hands - provided that no one gets sick next year.


A Christmas Tableau

Dawson tries as hard as anywhere to light up for Christmas, an impulse helped along by the coincidence that brings us to the year's greatest darkness at the same time. This is true anywhere, but when the sun brings light (without actually getting over the hills) at 10:30 and departs again by 4, the urgency is apparent.

One of the advantages this website enjoys over the actual newspaper is that we can show you things in colour. In this spread you can see our recently relocated City Hall / Fire Hall building, the Tron'dek Hwech'in first nation's Administration Building, and the Commissioner's Residence and the Gazebo, all on Front Street. The solitary Dawson House is typical of many in town, while the final picture shows you the first of the church related seasonal events, a young peoples' concert at the Community Gospel Chapel.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at the Sun. Photos by Dan Davidson


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