Dawson City, Yukon Friday, February 18, 2000

Young Oliver Twist (Ashley Graham) has been recaptured by Nancy (Allie Winton) and Bill (Nathan Dewell) and now faces interrogation by the menacing Fagin (Michael Davidson). Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

Oliver - Reviewing the Situation
Dawson Budget Offers Tax Reduction
At last! An Ice Bridge at Dawson
This Young Woman is Harnessed to a Dream
A Few Words from Berton House
Dawson Tries to Clean its Streets
What Has Dawson to Say about Mentorship?
Russia Seeks Help from the Yukon
Editorial: Making the World Go Around

Welcome to the February 18th on-line edition of the Klondike Sun. This is the abridged version of our Feb. 14th hard copy edition, which was 24 pages long, containing 25 photographs and 33 news stories, the cartoon strips "Paws", and "City Snickers", and our regular homemade Klondike Krossword puzzle. Getting a subscription (see the home page) is the only way you'll ever see it all.

Oliver - Reviewing the Situation

by Dan Davidson

"Please, sir, can I have some more?"

This line, one of the most famous in stage musical history, was greeted by ever larger audiences throughout the weekend as "Oliver" played out its three performance run at Diamond Tooth Gerties. The actors, ranging in age from 10 to 18, had been in rehearsal since November, allowing time off for Christmas.

The cast of over 45 students worked diligently to bring to life the story originally told by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist, and adapted for the stage by Lionel Bart.

For Betty Davidson's Acting 11/12 class, this was their final examination, held a few weeks late. For her extra-curricular choir, this was part of the reason that so many students get involved in it each year. For all of them, it meant many hours of rehearsals, both after school and in the evening, ranging from 29 to 85 hours of preparation, depending on how many scenes they were in.

The cast list filled two pages of the program, with many students playing more than one part and one, at least, playing four roles with distinct costume changes.

The support crew also filled two pages, and included parents, teachers, and many volunteers, a whole community full of people who were anxious to see this play come off well. Many others who were not actively involved donated clothes and prop items.

The Klondike Visitors Association made it possible to use Gerties for the production itself, as well as for the many weeks of preparation. LPV Productions donated the use of many items, but especially their body microphones, which made it possible for the major players to be heard clearly in the hall. Hanging stage mikes belonging to Lone Wolf Productions boosted the sound for the production numbers.

Everyone one is somewhat familiar with Dickens' tale of Oliver, the young workhouse boy who is sold into indenturement, escapes to the streets and is taken in by a shrewd criminal manager named Fagin who trains and controls a band of pickpockets and child thieves. Oliver is accidentally reunited with his real family, who never knew of him, and then captured again by the vicious Bill Sykes, who kills Nancy, the pretty streetwalker who tries to help Oliver, and comes to a bad end himself. Oliver is reunited with his grandfather and the story ends sort of happily, as the half-sympathetic Fagin wanders off with his one remaining follower, the Artful Dodger.

The major players in the production all carried off their roles quite well, with only a few slips along the way. Oliver was played by young Ashley Graham, cross-dressing to fill the role, as was Jenni Matchett when she played Dodger. As Mr. Bumble, the pretentious supervisor of the workhouse, Craig McCauley filled out his role with style and wit. Michael Davidson, playing Fagin, brought out the humour, pathos and menace that must be combined in this character, while Nathan Dewell was purely nasty as Sykes, and Allie Winton was wistfully unhappy and perky as Nancy.

Tyler Hunter and Skye Felker did a delightful comic turn as Mr. and Mrs. Sowerberry, as did Anna Vogt in the role of Widow Corney (soon to be Mrs. Bumble).

These were key roles in the play, but many up and coming younger actors also did fine work. Monica Nordling's Bet was a fine understudy to Nancy, while David Fraser managed the role of Oliver's grandfather, Mr. Brownlow, and JayJ Flynn played a dryly incompetent Dr. Grimwig.

The audience grew with each performance, until the Saturday night show was quite packed. They were also most appreciative, taking delight even in the antics of the stage crew, who had a lot of moving to do. When it all worked out smoothly, it was a stately ballet of props and backdrops, and when it didn't, well, it was still interesting to watch. Seldom do stage hands actually get spontaneous applause, but they did for this show.

At one point in the play, young Oliver is exhorted to "consider yourself part of the family". Perhaps with this in mind Wally Seipp, superintendent of education, noted that the production he was viewing seemed to be very much a family affair. Former Dawson teacher Grant Hartwick has been part of the team which selected "Oliver" for this year's play, but he then transferred to a post in Whitehorse. He was there for the final show, beaming at the stage from the second row, telling anyone who would listen that he "wouldn't have missed it."

"Oliver" is by far the largest and most elaborate production Betty Davidson has worked at staging in the last decade. There are always other people involved, but she is generally at the centre of the creative maze. The second anchor person for "Oliver" was Gwen Bell, who plays piano for the school choir, teaches half time at the Robert Service School and has just begun offering piano instruction at the fledgling Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture in the old Oddfellows Hall. Shelly Rowe, the school's senior music teacher, worked up some of the chorus numbers during her class time.

Last year, after "Tom Sawyer", this team already knew that "Oliver" was next. This year, they haven't yet decided, but it's certain there will be something. There always is.


Dawson Budget Offers Tax Reduction

by Dan Davidson

Two unusual things are happening with Dawson's proposed municipal budget for the year 2000. This first is that the budget has an anticipated surplus. The second is that it features a tax.

Even more unusual is that this is the second year that something like this has happened. Last year there was an operations and maintenance surplus of $200,000, and last year utility bills (sewer and water, plus waste management) came down by 10%.

This year the relief is on the tax side of the ledger, and will average about 5% for everyone by the time everything is taken into consideration.

In a Feb. 2 press release the day of his presentation to the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Glen Everitt said, "I am pleased to note that this year (rate payers) will reap a second benefit in seeing property taxes reduced by 5% for residential, commercial and industrial users. To some, this may not seem like a large number, but it is a step in the right direction."

This cut assumes that the values on individual properties have not gone up as part of the territory's assessment procedure. The town has no control over that, only over the mil rate on which that value is to be taxed.

In spite of this projected reduction in revenue, O&M surplus for the year 2000 is also projected to be $200,000.

City manager Jim Kincaid says that the operating cuts within the town's departments over the last two years have enabled these reductions to take place, but he adds that it's been done without any reduction in services.

"The managers have to be commended," he says, "for coming up with savings that have had no real impact on services."

In fact, says Kincaid, the pre-budget meetings have enabled staff to come to council with surpluses, leaving council the pleasant task of deciding what else it would like to do with the leftover funds, adding items instead of having to cut them.

Kincaid says this has made the process a whole lot more fun for everyone.

In spite of the fact that the town is running leaner than it used to, the overall budget has been increasing. On the operations and maintenance side Kincaid remembers starting out in his position with $3 million to account for, and now it's up to $3.5 million.

As part of this process, the community has been able to build up the contingency funds which enabled it to move on the relocation and rebuilding of the city hall / fire hall building.

On the capital side of the ledger, council is presiding over a budget which reaches nearly $5 million this year, a great deal of that earmarked for the new swimming pool and the improvements to the recreation centre. Much of this money is arriving in the form of grants from the territorial government, some of which are tied to winter works employment programs and other such things.

As Everitt put it, " Negotiations with the territorial government have allowed us to produce the largest capital budget not tied to water and sewer in the city's history."

One key addition this year is the town's economic development fund, which has set $150,000 to be "targeted for a convention coordinator, a convention marketing program, the Dawson Development Fund, and other economic activities ... designed to assist local businesses in marketing."

The town is also supporting the Yukon Convention Marketing Board by agreeing to pay 50% of the coast of any business's membership in that marketing bureau, up to a maximum of $1500.

Everitt said: We as a council have listened over the past few years to the ideas and needs of the business community. In the past we have taken baby steps, but now it's time to run.

"Through the vision and joint efforts of community groups, city council, city staff and senior levels of government, the community will reap significant rewards in the future."

The final direction for the budget will be set over the next few weeks and will be official by the middle of April. Since the budget depends heavily on block funding from the territorial government, which will not be finalized until the spring sitting of the legislature, this is a normal time frame.


At last! An Ice Bridge at Dawson

by Dan Davidson

Ice bridge traffic over the Yukon River. Photo by Dan Davidson

An official ice bridge is being constructed across the Yukon River at Dawson. It's taken a long time to get it under way, and highways superintendent Duff Felker says that it's even a long time by comparison with 5 years ago, the last time the river didn't really freeze up normally.

"We're two on three weeks behind that."

Since the river is still wide open from the ferry landing to halfway to Moosehide, C&TS is building the ice road south of that spot, starting at about where the George Black Ferry has been pulled out for the season.

By the end of last week ice on the bridge was more than 16 inches thick at its thinnest spot and could easily carry a weight of 5 tons travelling at about 10 kilometres an hour.

"It's about 1200 feet, or half a kilometre, long," Felker said, "and we're just opening it for half tons and trucks."

Building an ice bridge across a river turns out to be much like flooding a skating rink. Once the initial location has been measured and selected, and the snow shoved aside, a lot of the work is done with a truck, a big hose and a pump.

On February 5, the ice maker was creeping across the point in the Yukon River where Community and Transportation Services has chosen to place this year's ice bridge. It's not the usual location, but if you look downstream just a bit you can see that the area by the ferry landing looks much like it never will fill in this winter.

The lead there has narrowed more during the last month, but it's still more than a dozen metres wide, and that peculiar, smoky coloured steam is still rising from under its edges as if something down below is stoking a fire.

Traffic was proceeding across the new bridge on Feb. 5, moving carefully, splashing through the jelling layers of water the truck was laying down. Some people preferred not to cross the hose or soak their tires and continued to use the shoreline route which has been travelled since early January.

The new route, however, is probably safer at this point, growing in thickness by about an inch a day. It will still take a few weeks before the bridge will reach the uniform three foot thickness needed to allow the passage of the heavy trucks and equipment that C&TS needs to use to work on the road on the west side of the river.

People have been getting across the river to Sunnydale and West Dawson most of the winter, taking a 2.4 kilometre trip on an improvised ice road that residents pushed through by themselves, finding the places where the river was solid enough and following a winding route.

It began opposite the Yukon Energy Plant at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Front Street, where people drove down on to the lower dyke road and then out onto the ice at about the Commissioner's Residence. The makeshift flagged road wound south past the mouth of the Klondike River and then swung a turn to take it across the Yukon to the west bank. From here it followed the bank down to the summer ferry landing, vehicles creeping along under conditions that caused much concern in Felker's office.

"When you go on the far side there," Felker said, "there's a ledge that goes from basically no water to about 30 feet. If the water drops and the ice cracks. it could just break right off, so there's a concern whenever we have to go that way. Whenever we can find another route we'll certainly do that."

Community Group Conferencing Society Hosts Training

For the third time, the Dawson Community Group Conferencing Society was able to offer Conferencing Facilitator training to Yukoners. On the last weekend in January, the dedicated participants spent three hours on Friday night and all day both Saturday and Sunday in the training session.

Youth were able to take part in the training for the first time in the Territory. Three Dawson youth, two from Carcross, and one from Whitehorse were among the twenty-five trainees. Dawson youth Nathan Wolfe found the training "straightforward, fun and rewarding." Wolfe said of conferencing: "I see it as a process that will work in many situations. I'd like to pursue the training and utilize it."

Conferencing is an alternative to the traditional Justice system and the School disciplinary system. The RCMP or the School offer this alternative when the offender is willing to take responsibility for the harm they caused, and the victim agrees to meet face to face with the offender to discuss how they have been affected and how the harm can be repaired.

As part of the training session, participants enacted many role-plays of typical Conferences, taking turns playing the parts of the facilitator, the victims, offenders, or support persons. In one scenario, a Dawson youth being trained particularly enjoyed playing the School Principal while School Principal Denis Gauthier did a masterful job of portraying an offending youth.

"I got a lot out of it", stated training participant Sgt. Steve Gleboff, the commander of our local RCMP station. "It is a valuable program in the Community, and I can see there is a lot of enthusiasm for it. There are a lot of people who are willing to be involved."

"We are fortunate that funding was provided by a grant from the Professional Development Fund, which is administered by the Department of Health and Social Services," said Cheryl Laing, the programs coordinator. "We were able to bring Karen Marshall from Ft. St. John to do our training. Karen is one of the very few civilian trainers certified by the RCMP on a national level to deliver this training and she is kept very busy training volunteers across the country. She has facilitated hundreds of cases herself, so she brings a wealth of personal experience to her program."

Questions about the program or the training can be directed to Cheryl at 993-5060.


This Young Woman is Harnessed to a Dream

by Dan Davidson

Kyla Boivin gets her lead dogs ready to hit the trail. Photo by Dan Davidson

It's one o'clock on Saturday afternoon and Kyla Boivin is getting her dogs ready on the Dawson side of the new ice bridge. She and her team are about to make a training run to Sixtymile and she's way too busy getting set for that to do much more than smile for the camera between clipping on harnesses.

Her training schedule is very important to her, so much so that she's out on the Yukon River mere days after returning from being medivaced to Whitehorse with an infected kidney. She's been training all winter at Fort McPherson, and she has a deadline to meet.

Actually, that deadline is about a year away. Next year, when she's 18, Kyla wants to run the Yukon Quest. She's been working on that goal since she started her first team at the age of 13. Along the way she's run two Junior Iditarods and one Percy de Wolfe Race, and this year she plans to do both of those again.

The Sixty Mile run is to see if she and her team can do it in the same time as the winner of last year's Junior Iditarod took to do a similar distance, which her father, Rock Boivin, says is about 130 miles return. He figures she'll take 8 hours going out and 10 coming back; with a bit of a layover, that'll be about 20 hours.

The dogs have already done some running today but they're ready to go again, jerking at the harness as she and her helpers clip them in, leaping into the air for emphasis and begging for the touch of a hand, the reassurance that, yes, they are going to go soon.

Assisting her on the ice this day is Terry Clark from Fort McPherson. He is her dog handler this year.

"She works hard for this," Rock says, watching his daughter from the shelter of my car. "Man, she works hard. She's got 40 dogs. She fished all summer in Arctic Red this year, fishing for the dogs and working to pay for her dogs."

She has help. Her parents are supporting her to the tune of about $10,000 a year. Whitehorse Motors chipped in half the value of the pickup she uses as a motel on wheels for her team. Rick Neilson at Whitehorse Motors has known Kyla since she was an infant and proposed the deal to help her along.

"The town's people here have already been helping her. She's got a bunch of sponsorships from different people: from Arctic Inland Resources, Dawson Hardware, Beaver Lumber, Klondike Kate's, Gold Rush Campground, MacKenzie Petroleum, North 60? and others."

Many of her local sponsorships are for goods in kind: oil and gas for her skidoo, chains and clips for her dogs, things like that. It all adds up to about $6,000 in value.

In addition to all this mushing, Kyla is finishing her grade 12 by correspondence. The Boivins have lived mostly in the bush and she's acquired most of her formal education that way. The other side of growing up, Rock thinks, has really been accelerated by the dogs.

"It builds character, if anything does," he muses. "Feeding, taking care of that many animals, you've got to be on the ball. You can't be lazy. You can't just say you're going out to party for two days. You've got to be there to feed them.

"That's the deal I've got with her. I'll foot the bill as long as (she) really stays with it."

It's an expensive hobby, but Rock says, "as long as it's for the better growth of the kid, hot damn, it's good."

The one thing Kyla hasn't managed to master is putting down the dogs that don't work out. Rock's had to do that for her, and he finds it tough, too.

We talk for about 20 minutes and I spend perhaps another 10 shooting pictures of various activities. Then, Kyla's ready, and, like magic, several snow machines suddenly crest the wind row on the bridge to come and see her off. She gives the signal and the dogs lurch away. The look on her face is one of delight. This may be a lot of work, but for her it's also a lot of fun.


A Few Words from Berton House

by Darlene St. Pierre

It's hard to believe the time to leave is coming so quickly.

Here's a little poem I wrote at Joanne Vriend's the night she hosted the writer's group. It came off the top of my head, and is a little rough, but I've never written poetry.

It's a special place that welcomes strangers into the fold
A special place that feels so warm when it is very cold
Too many times we lose sight of the simple things in life
A smile, the laugh of a child, the full moon on a clear night
As we grow old, sometimes these thoughts are bolder
And it's about time
Gone should be the selfishness of youth
Concerns of what others think
We should do what feels right
Beauty in a town is the same as in anyone
It's in the soul, not in the face
And in Dawson, I've found such.

I would like to invite the citizens of Dawson City to come to an Open House at Berton House, on Sunday, February 20, between 2 p.m.-6 p.m., to say farewell and thank you all for making me so very welcome in your town. I feel like a much-loved daughter who has come home.


Dawson Tries to Clean its Streets

by Dan Davidson

Peter Gould showers snow on the side lawn at his parents' home. Photo by Dan Davidson

The snow in Dawson may not be as high was the corn in the musical, "Oklahoma" ("The corn is as high as an elephant's eye"), but it's high enough and deep enough to have caused the town some difficulty keeping its streets clean.

In many places street signs have been pretty well covered up by the advancing drifts from the ploughs. Half of the old Bank of Commerce building can be seen from the street while Front Street is narrower than normal by a couple of metres on the dyke side.

Elsewhere in town the situation is more further complicated by the numbers of vehicles which were parked at the sides of the streets during the coldest weather and haven't been moved since. Mind you, after the ploughs have been by and nosed around you a few times, you'd be hard pressed to move anything, even if you could get it to start.

Still, the town is trying to clear things up, and so has served notice in a general mailing at the Post Office that "if your vehicles are parked along the streets for more than 7 to 10 days, the City of Dawson will have to tow them away."

This might seen extreme until you note than some of the streets in the residential areas have narrowed from two lanes to one during the last two weeks. To widen the streets and get the snow cover down to where it won't erode them when the spring melt begins, the snow crews have to be on the go every week.

Meanwhile, the swing towards warmer weather has some of the people with flatter roof slopes taking action early to avoid refreezing and the possibility of leaks. At the Gould home on 7th Avenue, Peter Gould was shoveling off his parents' roof on the afternoon of Jan. 29.


What Has Dawson to Say about Mentorship?

by Barb Connellan

Dawson City Community Group Conferencing has been very busy. Cheryl Laing, the Society's Coordinator and her team: Shawn Ryan, Colm Cairns and Barb Connellan are conducting extensive worldwide research on mentorship programs.

A pressing need for mentorship has been identified through Cheryl's work with Group Conferencing. She found there was something missing in the reparation of harm that an offender agrees to make as part of the process. As Cheryl puts it:

"We found that many of our offenders sincerely wanted to repair the harm they had caused. They agree to do so in good faith. But when it comes time to carryout their responsibilities, they simply are not equipped to do so. For example, an agreement to work on a community project may fail simply because the offender hasn't been taught the skills needed to make arrangements, or mark a date and time on the calendar and have someone remind them where they have to be. These are skills that most of us take for granted, but we learned them from someone else or from someone else's example. A simple phone call reminder can make the difference between success and failure for some of the offenders. That in turn may impact them for the rest of their lives."

Mentorship is the term used for a one-on-one relationship, which offers support, guidance, and assistance in need. Mentoring isn't a new idea and it has been shown to work. Its use has grown dramatically in recent years. This popularity results, in part, from compelling testimonials by all parties involved.

The Society is locating in depth programs that have concretely demonstrated the strengthening of individuals in their community and improved safety/crime prevention. These are looked at in depth with a goal to designing and tailoring a local model or models, and that also reflects the ideas and input from the Dawson community.

You may have had a chat with, Colm Cairns, who has been conducting a needs assessment for this project. Gathering and collating the thoughts and comments of various local groups and individuals has kept Colm on the go this past month. The comments have been as diverse as the populace of Dawson.

Research to date shouts a unanimous YES to the idea of having a program here. When asked who would benefit the answers were numerous. At-risk youth and adults were mentioned most often. However, there were other areas: live alone seniors and/or seniors that have no living family, women starting over, new parents, single mothers or fathers, vocational trainees; people looking to make career changes, and even high achievers were a few of those who could benefit from a one-on-one mentoring.

So we have an idea of who the mentorees are but who are the mentors? These individuals come from every conceivable background: blue-collar workers, professionals from the community, students, and retired people to name a few. Their specific roles vary, but the ability to make a connection and use that connection to convey a positive message is the underlying basis of a good mentor. By this definition, could this be you?

Once a model program or programs has been identified, a community meeting will be held to present the findings. This will be an open forum to provide interested parties the opportunity to help finalize and improve a mentorship model(s) for Dawson.

It's not to late to have your comments incorporated into this project. You can reach a member of our research team at 993-5060. Keep a watch for the upcoming community meeting.


Russia Seeks Help from the Yukon

by Dan Davidson

Children from the Komi Republic show off their traditional aboriginal costumes for their Canadian visitors. Photo supplied by Glen Everitt

While you might not expect Russia to be looking to the Yukon for help in designing its political future, something like that is actually under way.

Last fall Glen Everitt went to Russia as part of a mission on behalf of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Canadian International Development Agency.

The area he visited was the Republic of Komi, a landlocked region in the eastern part of Russia, just over 1000 kilometres north of Moscow. Of the 1.2 million people in the republic, about one third are ethnic Komi, an indigenous people related to the Finns and Estonians.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, the former Soviet empire has been in various kinds of turmoil, from the fighting in the southern republics to confusion in many of the others. Used to being ruled by the central decision makers of the Politburo, few local politicians have a clear idea of what to do with their new responsibilities and few are trained in the practices of democracy.

Many of the leaders in the new Russia got their experience in government as members of the Communist Party, which stifled local initiative in favour of the party line for 75 years, and their time there did not teach them much about developing local governments in response to regional needs.

Everitt was along as a member of a five person delegation, which included the mayor of Inuvik, George Roach, to assist in helping the local leaders organize their thoughts on the subject of local and municipal government. The groundwork for the trip had been laid the previous spring, when the Canadian government approved funding for a three year phase of the Canada-Russia Parliamentary Program (CRPP).

The thirteen day trip was totally funded by the federal government, which also paid for a visit to the Yukon by a group of Russian women later on in the fall. Everitt actually stayed with the tour for 8 of the 13 days, feeling that he could safely leave once the business portion of the trip was over and skip the sight-seeing trip.

The delegation visited the regional capital, Syktyvkar, a city of a quarter of a million people, and Kortkeros, a town of about 5,000.

"Canada's municipal government (system) is recognized around the world as being honest and efficient and the best," Everitt said. As a result, Canadians are often asked for their expertise in areas which are new to the practice of local government.

"We were asked to look at the grass roots of the community's operations," Everitt said. The mandate was left purposefully vague so that the Canadians could draw their own conclusions.

"In 1993 they implemented what they call self-government, which is really municipal government there. Basically, it's a document which is very, very small and just says, 'you're a municipal government.' That's it.

"None of them knew what to do and they've been trying to operate under that."

At the present time they have nothing like the Yukon's Municipal Act, a framework of legislation with a clear division of powers, on which to base their attempts to govern.

Everitt says that he found the capital city an uncomfortable place to be. It seemed that the capitals had all the money and that the real work might be done elsewhere. In Kortkeros, he says he found more of what he had expected to see.

"It reminded me of a Yukon community, appearance-wise. (The geography and terrain) looked like here."

The people there were fascinated with the word Yukon, which is also a word in their language, one which means "land with a big river making a border."

Everitt explained to a group of about 140 people the basics of life in the Yukon: size, population, economy and functions of government, "the role of the mayor, council, city manager and on down..."

The local leaders had the impression that such things were probably easier to handle in Canada, where they felt there was lots of money, but Everitt had taken a look at their finances and had found that the value of their budget, taken in Canadian dollars, was about the same as ours.

He found common ground with them in talking about some of the territory's problems, from family violence to fetal alcohol syndrome and the struggle to allocate resources.

The Russians didn't seem to be at all familiar with the concept of volunteerism; Everitt's description of Dawson's volunteer fire department, with it's one full time paid chief was a revelation to the man who was trying - unsuccessfully - to do the same job in Kortkeros.

The region also suffers from a boom and bust resource-based economy and a taxation system which clearly discourage private enterprise from taking root there.

In addition, "Komi is one of the few republics that doesn't have control of its resources - similar to the Yukon. They're in the process of trying to negotiate devolution."

Everitt has many tales to tell of his visit in to Russia - how he got caught in a bus door; how he persuaded the locals to stop giving him vodka at meals; now impressed he was by the local cultural displays - but his task was to come up with a proposal for helping Komis to improve their ability to make local government work.

At the debriefing in Moscow, Everitt set out an outline of what he thought might be of some use to them.

He said he felt they needed laws and bylaws to follow.

"The governments of Canada and other places have pumped millions of dollars into the region, but have never shown them how to build a foundation for the money to sit on top of. So they don't have any concept of volunteers, of budgeting - they only have what they think is the right way to do it because for so many years they were told how to do it."

Everitt's proposal included bringing a group of Komis, probably from Kortkeros, to the Yukon, to Dawson in the late spring to sample the local environment and see how it works. Then they would go to Pelly and Whitehorse to see a self-governing native community and a regional centre in action.

A reciprocal trip would be made to Komi by a Yukon team made up of people from the education, government, business and volunteer sectors, to share their knowledge there.

"My idea was that if we could help the people of one town to learn, then they could help the other towns and cities, so that there's not a year after year commitment."

At this writing, it appears that the basic outline of Everitt's proposal has been accepted by the federal government and that a plan will be fleshed out along those lines, although funding has not yet been put in place.


Editorial: Making the World Go Around

by Dan Davidson

One school year back in the 1990's I had a student ask me how much time it took to put the Sun together and how much time I gave to it. It averages about 10 hours a week for me, which doesn't seem like a lot, especially when I get to recycle much of what I write here for another market.

The student look aghast and said, "That's worse than community hours." He'd had a few assigned by the court at that point, so he was in a position to judge. I suppose he concluded that I was even stranger than he had thought.

If you took the volunteers out of our social system, it would simply fall apart. Study after study has shown that the contribution of volunteers to the smooth functioning of our way of life is, virtually, a third level of economy. Some people have even gone so far as to suggest that volunteer time should be rewarded with some kind of a tax break.

This is volunteer time in Dawson. Winter is the time when people are not totally tied up with making a living and have the time to do things for others and for the community.

The school play, "Oliver", began with people who are paid to work with students, but their contributions in hours went way beyond what anyone could call a regular work day, On top of that, however, there were scads of people who chipped in because they had kids in the show, because they love the theatre, or simply because they thought it was a good thing to do.

They were all right. It was a good thing to do, and it wouldn't have happened without all of them.

Another example coming right up is the Yukon Quest. The groundwork for what needs to happen here has already been laid by a group of volunteers, and many of those same people will be putting in still more hours later on to make sure that the Percy DeWolfe Race gets away on time.

Aside from the volunteers at the Sun, I could talk about the Humane Society, the Women's Shelter, the Ambulance Service, the fire departments, Conservation Klondike, the Klondike Visitors Association, Klondyke Centennials Society, and all the people who help with the summer workers suppers at Saint Mary's each June, not to mention those who coach all the sports activities that keep our kids healthy and active all year around.

Volunteers - if you aren't one, what's stopping you?


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