Dawson City, Yukon Friday, December 26, 1997

The Commissioner's Residence in its full Christmas glory... The Yukon Electrical Company provided the power and Klondike National Historic Sites provided the building. Photo by Anne Saunders

Feature Stories

Dawson Pleased by Water Board Decision
Giving It All Away
Commentary: Where Will the Lines Be Drawn this Time?
A First Peek at the Cultural Centre
Trek Over The Top 1998: Keeps Growing and Growing
Season Fare Highlights Fine Arts Evening
Carols Warm the Air at 30 Below
4-H Awards Mark Members' Achievements
La Chronique Grand Nord
Ink in my Veins
Northern Lights
Crystal Memories

Dawson Pleased by Water Board Decision

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

There are several ways that one might choose to look at the Water Board's decision to amend the City of Dawson's water licence application, and you might choose to judge it differently depending on your point of view. Said Mayor Everitt, "One could read it and say that we got what we asked for and one could read between the lines and say that there's still some hope."

Because it achieved some of what it set out to do, the city is viewing its application as a success. Primarily, the board has allowed the city to put off a report that was due on October 31, 1997 until April 30, 1998. This was a key feature of the city's proposal to amend the application. Council was also happy that this amendment was granted without the need to do through another public hearing quite so soon after the last one. The board's decision stated that "the amendment, if approved, would not result in an alteration to the quantity, quality or rate of flow of a water course and that a public hearing was not necessary."

"I was really excited that they gave us the extension to April 30th without a public hearing," said the mayor, "because that really shocked me after reading the interventions that we had."

Everitt did note that the report promises interveners they will get another chance to complain officially at a hearing to be held next August. The board has also stuck by its earlier ruling that secondary sewage treatment should be in place and running by the year 2000, though it perceives that the city's application for amendment means that the community is saying that this may not be possible.

The board also anticipates that it is "...possible that additional information will be included in the April report that may cause the City to seek another amendment (for example, to accommodate a construction schedule)."

The city's current proposal contains the notice that it will probably put forward a new date for project completion, depending on the outcome of the various studies it has commissioned. These reports include a toxicology study and a survey of what rules are applied to other communities, both in the Yukon and in the Northwest Territories.

Everitt and city manager Jim Kincaid both commented on the fact that the board's study now indicates there are times when the city does meet its water quality standards, whereas before the board simply indicated that it did not do so.

"What's not good," Everitt told council, "is that they still want us to spend the money and design it (the facility) before then. That's not good because it's a waste of money."

One of the points that continues to annoy council is the insistence by the board and various interveners that Dawson is the only community that isn't following the rules for sewage disposal.

Everitt referred to another town which has a secondary treatment facility and still not meeting the standard. He said it had been told to add a diffuser to its system similar to the one Dawson is proposing. Yet another community has a lagoon that never has to be pumped, indicating that it is far from secure as regards ground water. These are Yukon communities that Everitt declined to name, but he indicated that he wasn't going to decline much longer. He's tired of Dawson's being the only dirty water to be aired in the territory.

One of the town's studies is of the differing standards which it maintains are applied by the same federal department in the Yukon and NWT.

"There's a considerable difference in standards," said Jim Kincaid, "and think we can point that out as a justification for a different time frame. The Northwest Territories appears to apply the philosophy of receiving waters and mixing waters in a way that the Yukon doesn't." Kincaid feels this is a fundamental difference that needs to be addressed.

On the other hand, neither the city manager nor the council expects to avoid the issue of treating its sewage more effectively. They simply want to examine the arguments in terms of how much needs to be done and at what cost.

The toxicologist's report will, it is hoped, provide the city with the information it needs to say that its effluent is far less dangerous that many sources have claimed it to be. Council hopes that the study will confirm its belief that current discharge rates pose no immediate danger to anyone and won't for more than a generation to come.

But council is also aware that the study may find just the opposite, and have decided to take the chance just because, in the words of councillor Aedes Scheer, there simply hasn't been good science behind any of the negative claims made so far. Scheer, who has done a fair bit of field biology herself, says no one has done this work to this date.

"The other issue is," Everitt admits, " that if the report says 'you're killing these fish,' or 'in another ten years you're going to have fish with two heads and three eyes going down the Yukon River' then we do need to address the issue."


Giving It All Away

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

Dawson City wants to give it all back, all of West Dawson and Sunnydale, that is. This was the subject of the Municipal Board Hearing here on December 11, and there was only really one serious opponent to the plan. For nearly everyone else among the 2 dozen or so in attendance, the meeting was simply an opportunity to speak in favour of the city's proposal.

Mayor Glen Everitt summed up the problem from the city's point of view and presented the three maps which outlined the two proposals that had been developed.

Essentially, Dawson wants rid of the addition on the west bank of the Yukon because it can't afford to maintain it. The cost of bringing the unimproved roads up to code and handling just basic highway services ate up about the entire tax revenue from the expanded area last year and looks likely to take half of it this year.

That's not including the fire protection which the city cannot provide to the far side of the river. Or the garbage collection services. Or the water delivery and sewage eduction.

That's not even including the fact that the two sides of the river are isolated from each other twice each year for up to several weeks at a stretch between the time when the seasonal switch from ferry to ice-bridge occurs.

What the city has made an effort to do is maintain the roads, but that's been hard. Everitt says the original discussion with the Penikett government allowed for negotiation on the costs, but the Ostashek government adopted a "you own it, you pay for it" attitude and left even the repairs to the poorly constructed and chip-sealed Dome Road up to Dawson.

That, says Everitt, was the last straw, especially after the city of Whitehorse received millions of dollars for the total reconstruction of Two Mile Hill and the South Access Road.

Municipal Board chair Craig Tuton wondered if this apparent disparity wasn't one of the deciding factors for the former Dawson council, noting that he thought this was a fair comment on the situation.

Everitt shot back, "The money spent there would have built the bridge (across the Yukon River) and started (land) development in West Dawson." The city's favoured amendment to the boundary, arrived at after financial analysis of the situation and a survey of West Dawson/Sunnydale residents to find out what they wanted to do, was as follows:

Craig Tuton had some pointed questions about possible dangers to the valley water table and potential pollution, based on information filed in the city's original submissions in the early 1990's. He was also concerned that Dawson not box itself in as far as building lots are concerned.

Everitt informed him that the realignment of the north end of the community has created quite a number of lots that were not available back then, but even so, it appears that the most vigorous expansion over the last several years has been south up the valley. This council appears to agree with the group two councils back which sees the valley as the future expansion zone for Dawson.

The mayor reported that YTG is looking seriously at at least one rural subdivision within the present city limits, but in that southward direction, near the present Callison Industrial sub-division. Indeed, the city's move to push its water and sewer lines in that direction over the last two years has assumed that is the direction that some types of development will take.

There were a number of comments from residents at the meeting, but most were in support of the basic plan advocated by the city. West Dawson residents or land owners speaking in favour of the reduction included Elizabeth Connellan, Gary Parker, John Firth, Lou Stephenson and Steve Cash.

One Klondike Valley resident, John Cramp, would also like to get out from under city control, but that was not part of any proposal being put forward.

Former city councillor Denny Kobayashi was the only member to vote against the proposal, which was passed at the very last meeting of the last council. Ironically, Kobayashi had been among the first to advocate giving part of the expansion area back to YTG, but he feels the current proposal goes too far, and argues that this move will see Dawson back at the table looking for expansion within a decade. He spoke to this argument at the meeting on December 11, but didn't seem to have a major impact on those at the meeting.

Tuton was full of praise for Dawson's citizens and council for their handling of this issue. He indicated that his board's recommendations were unlikely to be made before the new year, but that they would move as quickly as possible. It might be that their consideration of the issues would require more input.

The board does not have to recommend either of the options selected by the city. It could put forward option A or B, but it might modify either of those proposals, recommend no change at all or come up with something different. In any case, the board's report is just a recommendation and the final decision will be in the hands of the territorial government.


Commentary: Where Will the Lines Be Drawn this Time?

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

For anyone who had been part of the original municipal board hearings on the expansion of Dawson City's boundaries some five years ago, the meeting on December 11 had to be a mixture of deja vu and total reversal.

The earlier issue had been to expand the boundaries of the municipality south up the Klondike Valley to Flat Creek and to take in just a little bit of the area on the west side of the Yukon River. In the first case the request was to open up room for residential expansion and to gain control over the security of the Klondike watershed. In the second, there were concerns about moves to start up mining along the west bank of the river, a option that was generally considered to be negative, both for residents and tourism.

There was a great deal of acrimony connected with those meetings. The council of the day had a lot of public relations problems, and rural residents who stood to be included within the expanded municipality were not happy.

During the final meeting in March, 1992, territorial and municipal governments were totally split on the issue, with Mayor Peter Jenkins arguing at length for the expansion and MLA Art Webster arguing against it.

One hundred and twenty people attended that meeting, and more than 40 spoke to the issue at hand, nearly all of them in the negative. The mayor and council of the day were accused of making a land grab for the sake of increased taxes. Lots of people actually thought the city was going to get rich out of this deal. Others simply represented the view that "we moved out of the city to escape the bylaws," or "we're independent...why can't you leave us alone?"

Many simply didn't trust the city and, in particular, the mayor. While he was continually elected by large majorities, Mr. Jenkins inspired comments like the following from more than one valley dweller:

"A group of people are being jerked around by one person and subjected to his dreams."

All of this distrust simmered away while the municipal board deliberated though the summer and into the fall. Then there was a referendum, followed by an election, and the whole situation went into limbo for a year.

Why the Ostashek government waited until Christmas Eve 1993 to ratify the Municipal Board's decision is something no one has ever explained. The cabinet order was timed to come into effect on January 1, 1994. Most people had thought it would be held up until after the Dawson First Nation's Land Claim was completed (that was recommendation number 7 in the Board's decision) but it wasn't. That being the case, we really were dreaming to hope that one of the Board's other strong recommendations, the construction of the bridge, would be heeded. Of course it wasn't.

There were many puzzles connected with the Board's decision in 1992. Everyone connected claimed that the vast increase in the area on the west side of the river was a complete surprise, though former councillor Denny Kobayashi told the December 11 meeting that he has seen a copy of the bylaw which bears the signatures of that year's mayor and the city manager and was voted on by council. What now seems odd is that the map affixed to it is not the one that currently active municipal councillors recall voting on. Apparently there were two maps floating around in those days and some people never saw the one that describes what actually happened.

By contrast to the previous lynch mob this meeting was a love-in. Nearly everyone was nodding in agreement and full of positive feelings about what the city was trying to do. There are several maps out in the open this time too but they seem to be quite clear as to what they mean, and the oral descriptions match the maps.

Of course, the Municipal Board, a quasi-judicial body with power to make recommendations, is not bound by any of the presentations made so far. The chair's pointed comments about the desirability of including the airport lands within a municipal boundary make me wonder if there won't be some comment to that effect in the board's final report. It will be interesting to see what they do come out with this time, and I sure that everyone will take the time to investigate the fine print.


A First Peek at the Cultural Centre

by Todd Keller
Sun Staff

The Tr'ondek Hwech'in's new cultural centre was opened for a community preview on December 18. Photo by Todd Keller

The Tr'on-dek Hwech'in Cultural Centre's pre-completion open house was December 17, 1997. For many this was a first peek at what Dawson City's newest facility has to offer.

Debbie Nagano is the Cultural Programmes Director for the new facility. She explained that this venture is intended to act as a catalyst for enhancing and promoting First Nations culture with its ideas, values and traditions. She also explained that it will be a Cultural Forum hosting seminars, workshops, and public gatherings.

Errol Carr offered a tour of the new building and was able to show off the major elements of this latest waterfront development. This consists of The Central Gathering Room which is accessible from the main entrance as is the 90 seat Theatre that will offer locally produced stage performances and projection movies.

Moving past the Central Gathering Room and through a dramatic glass corridor is the Rotunda. This feature room is round in shape and it will play venue to displays and exhibits with a decidedly First Nations theme. The centre also includes office space, a kitchen, and public washrooms. Pat Thompson, Foreman for HAN Construction, explained some of the details of the construction, describing it as intricate and complex due to the nature of the design. He also illustrated verbally the style and scope of the Giftshop and thought it important to note that this modern building is 100% handicap accessible including, four of the 90 seats in the theatre. The Tr'on-dek Hwech'in Cultural Centre is scheduled to open to the public tentative July 1, 1998. This compelling design is offered by the Whitehorse firm of Florian Maurer Architect Ltd.


Trek Over The Top 1998: Keeps Growing and Growing

by Eric Zalitis
Trek Organizer

A lot has been happening with the upcoming Trek Over The Top. The interest in Alaska has been unbelievably high this year. Both weekends are sold out, with a waiting list of more than two hundred.

We are now presently planning for a third trip from Alaska. If we are successful, the Trek will host a trip between the two weekends. For 1998 this will bring in a total of 600 snowmobilers.

In 1999 we will be hosting three full trips of more than 700 snowmobilers over nine days.

Destination Tok will be departing Dawson City on February 19, 1998. This run will be limited to 50 snowmobilers who will be arriving in Dawson the day before. So far we have snowmobilers from Alberta, British Columbia and Alaska confirmed for the trip.

This trip is growing in interest and last year Don Lumley, the President of the Canadian Congress of Snowmobile Organizations, based out of Ontario, ranked Destination Tok as one of the top rides in North America.

In November of this year, Peterson Productions of Vancouver B.C. has just released "Extreme Sledding Snowmotion IV." This is the fourth in a series of snowmobile videos available internationally. The Trek, in partnership with the Klondike Visitors Association, was successful in having Dawson City included in this video. The quality is excellent and it will be used to promote Dawson throughout the snowmobile industry. Snowmobiling is a growing industry. Last year it is estimated that 16 million dollars was spent in the Yukon in snowmobiling. In North America last year six billion dollars was spent on snowmobiling, with more than two billion being spent in Canada.

In Ontario snowmobilers contributed 550 million dollars to the economy; in Alberta over more than 162 million dollars. Each year shows an increase in the economic benefit of snowmobiling.

In Dawson alone the Trek generates more than 500,000 dollars to the local economy over a short three week period.

The Dawson City Snowmobile Club was formed last year and has been supported by the local businesses. It has proven to be a benefit to the community. The Snowmobile Club last year did an excellent job in promoting snowmobiling in Dawson. They assisted the Trek in the many events that were put on for our visitors. They are also working on having a trails system that will ensure the viability of snowmobiling in Dawson.

With the continued support of the community of Dawson City we will continue to lead the Yukon in Winter Tourism, and be the Snowmobile Capital of the Yukon.


Season Fare Highlights Fine Arts Evening

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

Seasonal themes dominated the presentations during the Fine Arts Night '97 program held at the school on December 16. A combination of dance and music groups from the school and the community proved that Dawson is full of young talent and that it is being developed.

The school has two kindergarten groups under the instruction of Mrs. Betts. Both groups presented Christmas action songs to the standing room only audience in the Ancillary Room.

Dale Cooper has been training a variety of young dancers from 4 years to adult. The Kinderdance group presented "Northern Dance", while the 6-8 Ballet group performed "Celtic Wedding Song" and the 8-12 class danced "Celebration".

Mr. Hartwick's grade six group staged a performance of Weird Al Yankovick's tale of the night Santa Claus went crazy.

Then the Band 7 class under the direction of Ms. Rowe performed a set of numbers, including "Ode to Joy", "My Bonnie", "Auld Land Syne" and "Jolly Old St. Nick".

The first half of the evening closed with four numbers by Mrs. Davidson's R.S.S. Choir: "Bring a Torch", "My Christmas Tree", "Marshmallow World", and "Roller Skating Reindeer".

After a short intermission, the second half opened up with a vocal duet and flute accompaniment by Dale Cooper, Harmony Hunter and Shelly Rowe on "Silent Night".

Then Cooper's 8-12 Jazz Tap class danced up a storm with "Shine on Your Shoes" and the adult/teen group performed "Hot Run Toddy".

The Band 8/9 class held the floor then with the theme from "Jurassic Park" and a collage of Christmas carols.

Dale Cooper and student Katherine MacIver performed "The Dating Game", after which the Fine Arts 11/12 class closed off the evening with a dance presentation of "Run, Run Rudolph".


Carols Warm the Air at 30 Below

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

Youngsters live it up during the school's outdoor caroling party on December 18. Photo by Dan Davidson

Season's Greetings rang out from the front steps of the Robert Service School on the evening of December 18th, when most of the students and all of the teachers gathered to serenade the community in an outdoor carol sing.

The evening festivities began with a march around the block, flashlight waving staff and students led by a flashing fire engine and tailed by another, long with an RCMP cruiser. Then the group assembled on the spacious steps to belt out the 7 or 8 songs which had been selected after a week of short morning practices in the gymnasium.

In spite of temperatures in the -30's the air was still and folks were able to unwrap their faces long enough to sing with good cheer. An audience of more than 100 gathered in the street to hear and to cheer them on.

Primary students were encouraged in their singing by their "buddies" from the high school, who had been responsible for collecting them during the morning sing-a-longs and helping them to learn how to participate. In the school, of course, they had been used to singing along to a staff "band" of guitarists, piano and flautist, but instruments don't travel well outdoors in this weather, so the final singing, as rehearsed, was a capella.

Back inside the school after the first half hour, the school staff presented their rendition of "Must Be Santa" for the entire assembly, while volunteers served hot chocolate and passed out candy canes. This was followed by the city council and manager, singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" in a variety of keys.

This was noteworthy as it is probably the first time council has been all in the same place since just after the election, though meetings are generally a bit more harmonious that this would indicate.

Combined with the Fine Arts evening earlier in the week, this meant that the school had celebrated the season in fine style, just in time for the holiday break.


4-H Awards Mark Members' Achievements

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

The 4-H Club held award ceremonies just before the holiday. Photo by Dan Davidson

While the Bits 'n' Bridles 4-H Club may not be one of the largest organizations in the Klondike, there were certainly signs at its recent awards banquet that it is one of the busiest. Held at the Dawson City Curling Club, the banquet was a chance for the families involved to get together and celebrate the work they have done over the last three years. After the forty or so in attendance had enjoyed a fine buffet dinner, the club's founder and leader, Carlene Kerr, got down to the business of the evening.

Junior Showmanship badges were awarded to Miranda Adam, Caitlin Reynolds and Leah Adam, while the senior awards went to Georgia Fraser and Brendan Hogan.

Display badges were given to Skye Felker, Miranda Adam, Caitlin Reynolds and Leah Adam.

Orator badges went to juniors Miranda Adam, Caitlin Reynolds, Leah Adam and Dini Smoler as well as seniors Skye Felker, Brendan Hogan and Georgia Fraser.

The Public Speaking Awards went to juniors Sara Paton (1st) and Dini Smoler (2nd), and seniors Georgia Fraser (1st) and Skye Felker (2nd).

Caitlin and Leak tied for the Attendance Award.

Brendan Hogan's horse, Patches, was selected as the Most Improved Horse, while Caitlin Reynolds was the Most Improved Rider, and Miranda Adam received the Personal Achievement Award. Leah Adam was the Best All Around Member.

4-H also welcomes children who aren't yet old enough to be official members, so Gemma Gould and Victoria McLeod were cited for a number of Pre-clubber Awards.

No club for children can run without volunteers. Sylvia Burkhardt was honoured with the Parent Volunteer Award while Daryl Buckley and John Adam were recognized with the Horse Show Parent Award.

Kerr presented awards to her fellow leaders, Barb Hogan and Julia Fellers, and was in turn presented with an award by Leah Adam.

A special award for the "Horse With the Most Heart", to be known as the Milton Memorial Award, was established and awarded to Shadow. Milton, a sturdy little pony who was the first mount of the many of the clubbers, died last year after a long life. He will be remembered in this award for years to come.


La Chronique Grand Nord

by Diane Marengere
Sun Staff

J'ai vu le loup, le renard, le lievre
J'ai vu le loup, le renard passe.....

On les a vus un peu partout en ville, a la recherche de nourriture. Le renard roux est un mammifere carnivore dont la fourrure est tres appreciee.

Il peut etre atteint de maladies ou infeste de parasites et, dans certain cas, peuvent etres transmis aux humains.

Les piegeurs (les trappeurs) sont families avec les signes de ces maladies infectueuses et infestations parasitaires, plus precisement la rage, la tularemie et l'infestation par les hydatides.

Les renards roux qu'on a vu passes sont malheureusement des petits charonniards (scavenger); sans etre trop alarmiste, cependant, il faut faire preuve de prudence. D'apres le guide du piegeage, Il est illegal d'harceler ou de provoquer les animaux sauvages, comme de permettre a un chien de poursuivre ou de molester un animal de gros gibier ou un animal a fourrure. Il est egalement illegal d'essayer d'empecher un animal de traverser une route,un chemain ou un cours d'eau et d'utiliser un vehicule ou une embarcation pour suivre un animal sauvage.

Au Yukon, les trappeurs jouent un role important dans la gestion des animaux. Ils fournissent des renseignements et des donnees a la direction de la faune, qui permettent de mieux comprendre les tendances dans les populations d'animaux sauvages.

La "Yukon Trappers Association" offre des ateliers de formation. L'atelier de base est de cinq jours et il semble qu'a compter de la saison 2000-2001, seuls ceux qui auront suivi avec succes un atelier du genre pourront obtenir un permis. Pour plus d'info, s'adresser a un agent de la protection de la faune a un des bureaux du ministere des Richesses renouvelables.

Resolution '98

Y avez vous pensez ? Pour certains, c'est d 'arreter de fumer et pour d'autres, etres plus sportif, d 'enterrer les vieilles rancunes, de raccommoder ses vieilles chaussettes.

La Resolution des plus gourmands: "A la diete" des le 2 jan., le lendemain du Jour de l 'an, apres avoir bouffe tout ces gateaux.

La moderation a toujours sa place. Quand on pense a tout ces gens intolerable a la vie, entrainant l'estime de ses gestes, d'une reticence qui n'exite point dans leurs realitees, la nostalgie d'un pays qui se craquelle.

Jour apres jour, la veille dame assise sur le fauteuil de heure du temps destine a la faire valser, complaisante soit t'elle, l 'heroine de ses memoires.

Que la paix et la joie de Noel regnent en vos coeurs toute l 'annee !

Joyeux Noel et Bonne Heureuse Annee !!

La Chronique Grand Nord
courriel : grandnord@hotmail.com
ou ecrivez au Klondike Sun, boite 6040, Dawson ,Y.T. YOB1GO


Ink in my Veins

by Anne Saunders
Sun Staff

Guess I've still got ink in my veins.

I was due for a radical change when hired this fall at the Klondike Sun... well, maybe not that radical.

After all, my first serious job was with a newspaper, The Community Communicator, in Ontario. There I performed a multitude of tasks such as proofreading, editing classified ads, display ad paste up, phoning on overdue accounts (thankless), and sweeping the floor (even less thankless).

This paper, owned by David and June Pryor, was a weekly serving the Mount Albert area. It was there I had my first introduction to the newspaper world.

David, the editor, taught me many things that 20 years later are still valid. For example he'd study my art work on a page, then announce, "This looks like the dog's breakfast," with his English accent and go on smiling to describe the value of White Space in page layout or get me to standardize the headlines.

The Communicator office was in an ancient, very dusty mill, a significant, detrimental fact.

In this office, located in Mount Albert, two monstrous Compugraphic typesetters were housed, each the size of an electric stove.

One model, the Headliner 7200, for display ads, printed type in a continuous line and had the type styles (known as fonts) changed manually. By manually, I mean, stop the machine, open the lid, and clip in the font sheet to have a choice of only 2 different styles at time, not 200 like nowadays. This machine didn't even have a monitor screen, so the typist couldn't see the work or mistakes, but she could feel them.

The other model Compugraphic was used for the main article typesetting. Its display screen allowed viewing one line at a time and when a mistake was noticed, it was usually too late. But hey, that was an improvement over no screen at all. Spell Check? Forget it. No such thing on that beast, too old. We were grateful just to have it working properly.

Both machines used light sensitive paper housed in small containers attached to their sides. So in order to bring out the type, these were taken to the darkroom and put through an automatic processor. On many occasions poor Patty would come out of the darkroom in tears, because the damn Compugraphic had produced reams of gibberish, a collection of thousands of jumbled up letters, utterly useless. The culprit was simply the dust in the building. All it took was one tiny speck to throw it off kilter. This was a very common problem which struck at random, although you were asking for trouble if you typed for hours without developing the work or were in a hurry to meet a printing deadline. These two machines at the Communicator were old and out of date even 20 years ago.

When the copy did come out all right, it had to be hung like laundry to dry taking about 20 minutes, depending on how hot the building was. When dry, it was removed from the 'clothes line,' trimmed with a pair of scissors and then run through a machine that waxed the back of it. It could be then arranged on the 'flats' with the ads and headlines to make up the newspaper as the public would eventually see it.

Now things are so different since each page is produced entirely in the computer, with a program called Pagemaker. There are no little pieces to fall off the original art work to embarrass you. Headlines and corrections used to pop off the flats when you least expected it.

It wasn't an easy job, but it was one I loved and enjoyed sharing with the people there. People like Lee Lester, our reporter, who loved puns and could not speak three sentences without finding one, and laughing about it. My God, what a sense of humour he had. Lee eventually went on to write articles for Playboy magazine. Barbara Brooke was another great person to work with and whose typesetting accuracy was outstanding. All of us enjoyed the hustle of a production night and worked well together, even if we did have a tendency to run into each other.

I'll never forget one memorable typographic error we allowed through on the front page of the Communicator. The local radio station thought so too and broadcasted it. Dad happened to be listening at the unfortunate moment and told me later that his face flushed with embarrassment for us, even though he was alone at the time; mercifully I missed this. What happened was a local, conservative politician was handed not a nice plaque for his accomplishments, but a plague. Such fond memories I have of the Communicator.

However, the hard times came and I remember the look on my acquaintance face, an old newspaper man, when I told him I was laid off at the Communicator . He fixed me with a stare and spoke with some passion, "Think of the glory" he said, waving his arms around. "Newspaper work gets into your blood, it gets into your veins."

I didn't believe him at the time, but I do now. Especially when I find myself forgetting about lunch until 2.30 pm in the afternoon; when the hours just slip by in front of the computer and the Saturday night Sun production reminds me of running around the Communicator's office.

One of my jobs at the Sun is to be on the constant lookout for volunteers to proofread, typeset, develop film or write articles. This could be a good opportunity for someone to learn darkroom skills or for a journalism student or perhaps for someone who would like to simply brush up on their typing skills. If you are interested in giving us a hand, call the Sun office at 993-6318 and who knows, you too might discover what it means to have ink in your veins.


Northern Lights

by Veronika-Jane Paukner
English 11, R.S.S.

If you think the brilliance of sparkling, glittering stars and the bold, full moon are the most glorious images if the sky, then you have not yet seen the mysterious beauty of the Northern Lights. I'm not referring to some man-made invention or childhood fantasy, I'm talking about the actual Northern Lights that dance across the Yukon sky on a crisp, cool night.

I remember the first time I saw this phenomenon. I was walking across a narrow, snow covered trail, with my dad's six-foot-two tall silhouette slightly illuminated by the moon's eerie light in front of me. The sky was very dark - cloudless - as we headed home through deep, dry snow. Our ski-doo had broken down and we'd decided to get it the next morning.

Unlike me, my dad does not talk a lot. he helped me through the snow and made sure I was warm enough, but otherwise said little. I felt safe in his presence under the star-scattered sky. I was gazing up at the constellations, looking for Orion as I hummed, "Orion is dead and O'Reilly don't know it..."

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I saw a blue shimmery light in the distance. I thought I must be imagining it. I turned my head back up the trail and looked back a few seconds later. My heartbeat quickened; the almost fluorescent light had grown bigger, more prominent.

"Papa," I whispered. "Look! Look at the light." He stopped and turned his head up towards the sky.

"Don't point, Veronika. Those are the Northern Lights. Haven't you ever seen them before?"

"No. I've heard of them but I never knew they were like this."

There we stood in the open fields, our heads tilted up at the sky, our mouths gaping, and watched the dance of the Northern Lights. They really do dance. It is like a dance of waves rolling irregularly back and forth across the sky.

"What ... well, what are they?" I asked.

My dad told me that scientists who have studied them thought that they were some kind of electrical current. He told me that they often did tests to try to discover the true magic of these lights.

The truth is that no one really knows what they are. I wondered why some people could not just let these lights be. For me, the whole magnificence of these lights is that they are a mystery. They can be whatever you want them to be: a gift from God; a party of spirits; a dance of guardian angels; an exquisite expression of mother nature.

They whistled across "our" piece of sky, their colours varying from baby blues to emerald greens and mystic greys. They seemed to carry individual star-like images in every dancing stream.

My dad and I continued on, content to be a part of these visions of an unknown source. I thought to myself, "I hope the Northern Lights always remain a secret to us on earth. Maybe, when I die, I will discover who or what they are."


Crystal Memories

by Katherine MacIver
English 11. R.S.S.

Even with the passing of the season I cannot forget -

I remember the kids rolling endless balls of snow across the field, each crossing each other's path, intertwined.

I remember the lop-sided snowmen scattered throughout the field, each possessing its own character.

I remember the cool arena and the long classical figure skating lessons after school.

I remember the early darkness and the shine of the street lights reflecting off the snow.

I remember tiny, crystallized flakes landing gently on my mitten but melting from my warmth.

I remember swaying my arms back and forth in attempts to make a perfect snow angel.

I remember the snow covered branches of pines gaping over me like giants.

I remember the taste of the snow after being attacked during a recess snow fight.

I remember skiing down the long, white slopes, carving new, individual tracks in the powder.

I remember the crunch of the snow beneath my boots and the pattern of the wind blown terrain.

I remember the calmness, serenity and purity of untouched snow -- I cannot forget the snow.


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