Dawson City, Yukon Friday, February 20, 1998

André Nadeau, #35, was the first Yukon Quest musher to arrive in Dawson. Photo by Kevin Hastings

Feature Stories

Editorial: The Whole World is Watching
Ranger Wins Order
Humane Society Seeks New Lease on Life
Community Group Conferencing Update
A Meeting of Minds on the Modulars
These Young Women are Exploring Their Options
Three More Writers for Berton House
Dawson Youth Only Canadian Entered in 1998 Junior Iditarod
Yukon Quest Launched Ahead of the Race
Uffish Thoughts: Paper Chase
Dawson City in Nebraska?

Editorial: The Whole World is Watching

by Dan Davidson
Sun Editor

In the halflight of morning I can see tiny bright dot bouncing along the dyke. It's a musher's headlight, casting a feeble glow over the dogs hauling the sled. Soundless, they slip towards the checkpoint like an assembly of ghosts, noticed only by those who happen to be there to see them.

I suppose it's like a metaphor for the entire Yukon Quest - up until now at least. For all its length and drama it was a local event with little profile outside the Yukon and Alaska. Sure our local territorial papers assigned reporters to cover the race and hit all the checkpoints and each day's news was dominated by a canine flavor that tended to push aside even political news, but that's just us, right?

Not this year. As you enter the Visitor Reception Centre on Front Street this weekend you meet a sign that welcomes you to use the door but cautions you not to stand in the way of the microwave device positioned on a small table.

It isn't that they're cooking lunch inside either. They're sending relay signals to the great beyond, just like the satellite dish parked across the street from the Dawson Hardware Store. We're all over the world this year. Not that we don't deserve it. We're a wonderful place after all, but, aside from 65,000 annual visitors (a drop in the bucket on the international scale) and Pierre Berton, who knew? This year millions may discover what we insiders already know.

Given the plunge in gold prices this year that's probably a good thing. And there's not much question but that we have Fulda Reifen to thank for it. Because of this German company's interest and sponsorship there's a potential for millions to hear about the Klondike, to see the scenery, catch a glimpse of the Yukon spirit and start making vacation plans. Hundreds of Fulda dealers and journalists will go home to tell tales of northern wonder.

But - since bad news makes for drama - some will tell how the sponsor's vehicle got its tires slashed in Dawson - for the second year in a row. That's the problem, you see. When people start to pay attention to you, they pay attention to everything, and the memorable things are not always the nicest. I can testify personally that the violation you feel after your tires are slashed lingers on for a long time. This won't be much different. As usual, vandalism hurts more than just the victim. What diminishes one of us, diminishes all of us.


Ranger Wins Order

by Chuck Tobin
Courtesy of the Whitehorse Star

John Mitchell, ranger leader and award winner.

As near as anyone can tell, the Order of Military Merit being awarded to Dawson's John Mitchell is the first for a Canadian Ranger, says Major Ron Jarrett of Whitehorse.

"He is probably the most dedicated and professional Ranger I have every met," Jarrett says of Mitchell, who coordinates the annual preparation of the Yukon Quest trail as part of his efforts. "He does far more than we ask of him.

"He runs the best, most active patrol in the Yukon, perhaps the North, and that is why he is being recognized."

The merit award is equivalent to the Order of Canada. It's presented only by the Governor-General of Canada, Jarrett said in a brief interview. He spoke before he, Mitchell and three other Rangers left to check the trail ahead of the mushers.

Jarrett said it's expected Mitchell will be flown to Ottawa in April for the ceremony.

Of the 1,000 or so candidates who are reviewed for the award annually, about 50 or 60 military personnel are bestowed the Order, Jarrett said.

"And to the best that we can determine, Mitch (his common nickname) is the first Ranger ever to get it."

Mitchell said work on the Quest trail comprises about 10 per cent of what the Rangers do in a given year.

The Dawson patrol, said Mitchell, is particularly active. That's because of its proximity to the Alaska border, and the propensity for visiting dignitaries to stop at the Klondike Gold Rush capital. Finally, there's its involvement in search and rescue work with the RCMP.

"We have done a lot of search and rescue with them," Mitchell said during a break from sweeping the Whitehorse-to-Dawson trail ahead of the Quest mushers.

"For the Governor General, we did the guard of honor for him," he recalled of last June's visit by Roméo LeBlanc. "We greeted his outfit when it was in town."

Mitchell said his 25 active Rangers also commonly provide survival expertise and support for visiting military personnel who frequently carry out training exercises in the North.

A British military team, for instance, is scheduled to conduct an exercise this winter, and the Dawson patrol is assigning three Rangers to assist, said Mitchell.

The relationship between the Quest and the Ranger patrols in Whitehorse, Carmacks, Pelly Crossing and Dawson is symbiotic: the Rangers get to use the time preparing the trail as a winter training exercise, and the Quest organization gets its trail put in.

The financial contribution of the Ranger program - which is recognized by the Quest as a major sponsor of the race - ranges somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 annually, he explained.

This year, aside from the cost of equipment and supplies, the program approved the expenditure to cover the cost of 40 Ranger days.

"If we get paid for 40, we probably put in 70," said Mitchell of the Rangers' willingness, on a volunteer basis, to do whatever is required over and above the allotted days.

And this year, the Yellowknife headquarters for the Rangers in the North have approved additional money to finance the journey for three trail sweepers right through to Fairbanks, he notes.


Humane Society Seeks New Lease on Life

by Dan Davidson
Sun Writer

If people don't take a renewed interest pretty darn quick the Dawson Humane Society will be shutting down operations. That's the message that local veterinary technician Aedes Scheer has for anyone wondering about the health of the organization.

And if anyone thinks that this wouldn't matter in the least to the community, they should consider the possibility of canine control returning to the era masked hunters in the night, picking off problem pooches from dark lanes and the backs of vans, because the Humane Society is the difference between that and humane dog disposal.

It's been just a year ago last October that the society acquired and relocated the building in the Callison Industrial sub-division which is now its headquarters.

"That was a big triumph - to get that done," says Scheer. "That was really energizing. But it's almost like that took up almost all the energy of everybody involved with it at that time."

After that it seemed that half the time she was the only person in attendance at regularly called meetings. Scheer, who had been the driving force behind getting the society started, figured it was time to cash in, get out of the way and see if the town really wanted the service, or whether she was just burning out on her own dream.

"Effectively I've resigned, but the meeting I chose to do that at happened to be one where there was a whole lot of people out and they all said 'No, no, no - just stay on until someone else comes forward.'"

Well, in spite of good fund raising ventures over last summer, no one has. An attempt to apply for grants to help finance the operation fizzled badly, though a second application to the Community Development Fund is looking a bit more hopeful, thanks to help from the mayor and the city manager.

The money might help to hire a part time employee and make some other improvements. The place just can't run without someone there regularly, and Scheer, who was doing this as a volunteer, just can't. She is currently carrying on her business as a veterinary paramedic, sitting in on city council affairs several nights a week, and working as a half-time math teacher at the Robert Service School. There aren't enough hours in a day to do much more.

If the society survives, it may become the City of Dawson's official agent in looking after dog problems, something which would bring in money and also regularize the situation, but there has to be a stable organization to do that, and right now the DCHS doesn't even have a board of directors.

So that's the first order of business for a meeting to be held on February 18, a crucial meeting that needs a decent turnout, or it's just no go. Even after a record year of putting down dogs (close to 120 by lethal injection rather than bullets) last year, Scheer says the situation seems poised to get worse.

"People aren't getting the message," she said sadly. "You've got to keep your dogs tied up. You've got to get them spayed or neutered. In the last few weeks there's been more litters of pups that I've heard about than ever before."

The public just does not, she says, realize the drain that disposing of that many animals puts on the people who have volunteered to help her do it. After the dog is dead, Scheer has to take it to the Quigley Dump and torch it, because the sheer concentration of chemicals used to do this work would be lethal if the corpse were dug up and consumed by wildlife.

"It's a very small group of people that are having to deal with this weight." She says she will happily stay on the board, contribute time, and deal with euthanasia services, but she feels a new board will need a more businesslike orientation and needs people with fresh ideas and energy.

It's a dilemma which faces a lot of volunteer organizations as they develop, but this is a group which Dawson really does need, even if too many people don't seem to realize it.

It's after dark. Do you know where your dogs are?


Community Group Conferencing Update

Submitted by Cheryl Laing
Community Coordinator

The Steering Committee of local citizens working to develop a Family Group Conferencing program here in Dawson chose a new name for the process at a recent meeting.

Following a lively debate on the name issue, the Committee selected the name "Community Group Conferencing".

At the same meeting, Robert (Bob) Cole Director of Community Development and Policing, Department of Justice, Whitehorse. told the Committee that the Department will fund training for local citizens as facilitators, and was optimistic about funding for program startup in April of this year.

The RCMP will provide transportation for the first four Dawson facilitator trainees to attend three days of training in Whitehorse at the end of February. Training for up to twenty Dawson residents interested in facilitation training for the Community Group Conferencing program is planned for Dawson City in midApril.

Judge Heino Lilles, who hears cases in Dawson City, Tracey McPhee. Crown Prosecutor, Peter Chisolm and Nils Clarke, Circuit Defence Counsel, and Sue Davies, Adult Probation Officer, attended the most recent Steering Committee meeting to answer questions about the kinds of cases that might be appropriate for this process, once it is available.

Judge Lilles complimented Dawson citizens on the degree of community support for the process, and on the progress made toward program development by the Steering Committee.

Questions and comments can be directed to Cheryl Laing, Community Coordinator, at PO Box 887, or at 993-6208.


A Meeting of Minds on the Modulars

by Dan Davidson
Sun Writer

There was some confusion over the reason for the community meeting on February 12 to discuss the future of the Robert Service School. Perhaps the confusion contributed to the low numbers at the meeting: three city councillors, four members of school council, the principal and one reporter. As is typical at such events, many people were wearing more than one hat, and two of the city councillors - Shirley Pennell and Ades Scheer - stepped down from council to sit as school staff.

Mayor Glen Everitt moved quickly to clear up the confusion. His only reason for calling the meeting was to get a sense of what stand he ought to be taking on the modular classroom which houses two of the classes at the school. It's legal right to sit on that lot expired on January 18, and the city council feels that it has to do more than simply sign a new lease to look after the interests of the community.

The history of the portables was recapped by a number of people at the meeting, including the mayor and school council chair Helen Winton, both of whom recalled that a fixed term lease with penalty clauses built into it was signed when the classrooms were first proposed as a temporary measure to address overcrowded condition at the Roberts Service School, which went into service in 1989.

School council member Sue Dragoman confirmed having seen architect's drawings which spelled out that the school was designed originally to hold 250 students. Others noted that only by pressing into service areas never intended as classrooms did the school last as long as it did without an expansion.

Greg Hakonson recalled how the plan had been to add two additional classrooms as needed over the existing shop area, and how that plan was scrubbed when engineers said the first floor had not been built to take that strain.

Then, just four years ago, with the population bumping past 300 students for part of each year, talk of additions was changed to plans for a new school suddenly in the middle of the Yukon Party government's term.

Millions were spent to relocate the C&TS highway yard from Fifth Avenue to make that lot available for a new elementary school, and a building committee was struck which finalized the design. Then that project was shelved, though school councillors indicate that the local Area Superintendent of Education, Carol McCauley, has never referred to this as anything but a postponement.

Everitt says he started trying to work on the lease problem over a year ago, and couldn't raise a flicker of interest out of YTG until the month it actually expired. Since city council is pursuing several other lease violators in town with considerable vigour, he feels it is impossible simply to ignore this one, just because it is the school.

What annoys him, and appears to annoy the school council as well, is what he calls the "game playing" that he feels has emanated from the officer of the Minister of Education, Lois Moorcroft. As one example he offered Moorcroft's speech in the legislature where she told members that Everitt had already signed a lease. That statement had to be retracted in short order.

In January of this year, at a meeting with the minister and her officials, he was told that the present school was big enough for 300 students and that the portables made it adequate for 350. While this number has been reduced to 300 in a letter from the minister to the school council since then, the council doesn't accept even that as realistic.

On top of that, Everitt says that the actions of the department of education have jeopardised a carefully laid plan to acquire the land currently occupied by Beaver Lumber in a complex three way land swap and pave the way for the closure of Fourth Avenue and an enlarged school playground area.

Moorcroft's recent letter indicates that the school council does not favour this plan, an opinion which startled the councillors present at the meeting.

"I'm totally confused," said Helen Winton. "I'd like to take her (Moorcroft) to task for that."

Sue Dragoman reiterated a theme the school council has been pushing for some time, which is that the school needs more recreational space and that the building supply company needs to be relocated. She was discouraged by any maneuvering that would prevent this from happening.

School council was further surprised to learn that YTG had offered the former highway compound lot to the city as a sight for its own maintenance yard, when that land opposite the museum has been earmarked for school construction for several years now and the blueprints that exist for the proposed elementary school were developed to fit that lot.

Everitt explained again that he is willing to sign a lease with Yukon Education provided that it contains an action plan for the future of education in Dawson. he's been told that there's nothing in any construction budget for the next three years, but is looking for a commitment beyond that.

A somewhat bitter Helen Winton, looking back over the successive promises of the Penikett and Ostashek governments, asked, "What good is a promise when it can be broken again?"

She also offered her opinion that "YTG probably feels they have you over a barrel" since the only strong action the town could take would have such a negative impact on the school and affect so many people so badly.

The meeting didn't provide city council with a blueprint for solving the portables problem, but it did open lines of communication between the two councils, who plan to send each other copies of all their related modular correspondence from now on.

In the meantime, Everitt indicated that he will propose to city council that it offer the government a 3 1/2 month lease to finish out this school year, and give the sides in the issue time to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement before school opens again in August.


These Young Women are Exploring Their Options

by Dan Davidson
Sun Writer

As the days ticked down to February 13 it was easy to sense a mounting excitement in the 11 members of the Young Women Exploring Careers group at the Robert Service School. Friday, of course was the day they would hop on their reduced airfare Air North flight to Whitehorse. There they were to check out the facilities offered by Yukon College, one of the options open to all high school graduates.

After a free night at the High Country Inn they continued on with a reduced fare Canadian Airlines flight to Vancouver, to begin an eight day exploration into the world that awaits them after graduation.

The brainchild of RSS science teacher Liz Woods, this trip began as a simple idea back in June, just after the end of the 1996/97 school year, and quickly developed into a $12,000 fund raising odyssey, no mean feat in six months.

Once in Vancouver the 11 students and 2 chaperones were to settle in at the YWCA and take four days to explore the options available in that city. Here they split up into groups to visit Kwantlen College, the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Community College, the BM Chan School, Langara College, Simon Fraser University, University College of Fraser Valley, the British Columbia Institute of Technology and Capilano College.

Some of their visits were planned as tours, some were set up to allow them to audit classes that day. Carie Rudis, who is interested in fashion design, was to spend a day at Kwantlen College doing just that.

"It's an opportunity for me to see if I really want to go to Kwantlen," she said the week before the trip.

Melissa Flynn, interested in physiotherapy, agreed: "It gives us a chance to visit universities we're thinking about going to - not being totally lost later."

"We'll get some insight into our preferences," said Sara Winton. Harmony Hunter thought the trip would give her a chance to "explore my independence and experience what university life is about."

Teacher Woods sees it partly as a way of cushioning the culture shock which rural students experience when they move away from home for the first time.

There's more to life than study of course. The YWEC group of grade 11 and 12 girls will sample just about every mode of transportation available in Vancouver and Victoria, from buses to rental cars, B.C. Transit and the ferries.

Then there's the cultural side including a Grizzlie's basketball game, Stanley Park, the Pacific Space Centre, the CN IMAX Theatre, an evening of music at "Riverdance", and a live production of "Hamlet", which the grade 12 group studied this year in English.

There's more of the same awaiting in Victoria, where Camosun College, the Paul de Costa Institute and the University of Victoria are on the visiting list and the accommodations are at the more posh Empress Hotel.

The community of Dawson has been behind this trip from the beginning, starting with the school, which found $2,000, and the Area Superintendent of Education, who found another $600. YWEC benefited from the use of Diamond Tooth Gerties for a talent night fund raiser ($899.22), the Women's Directorate of the YTG ($1,000), the Rotary Club ($1,000) and the Brewery Creek Mine ($1,000) which hired them to do an inventory for a day. These were the big contributions, but others came from the IODE, the Youth Initiative Fund, the Dawson City First Nation, the Yukon Diocese , the Dawson City Museum and the Girl Guides.


Three More Writers for Berton House

Three writers have been selected for residencies at Berton House Writer's Retreat here in Dawson City for 1998.

The Berton House Committee of the Yukon Arts Council made the announcement recently. The successful writers were among 17 who applied for time at Berton House to pursue writing projects in 1998. They are:

The program is in its third year. It began in 1996 after many years partnership with the Klondike Visitors Association saw completion of the reconstruction of Pierre Berton's childhood home. Additional landscaping work will be done this year. The program has been supported strongly by community fundraising, corporate donations and government contributions. To date, three national and one local writer have spent time at Berton House pursuing their craft.

Background Information
1998 Writers, Berton House Writer's Retreat

Michael Kusugak

From Rankin Inlet, Michael is a storyteller and author of children's picture books published by Annick Press. Among his titles are:

His forthcoming novel will tell the stories of a young pilot and his uncle. The pilot has lived away from his home in the central Arctic most of his life, going to school and learning to fly airplanes and helicopters. The uncle has never left. The two meet and learn about two cultures that are worlds apart.

Tess Fragoulis

From Montreal, Tess is author of Stories to Hide from Your Mother, a collection of short fiction, which was published in December by Arsenal Pulp Press.

She has had many other works of short fiction published, as well as non-fiction and television scripts, including:

Tess will be in residence at Berton House to continue work on her first novel, Painting Circles. It tells the story of Ariadne, a Greek-Canadian who returns to the land of her ancestors to meet her fate, which is inextricable linked to that of her mythological namesake.

Julie Lawson

From Sooke, B.C., Julie has published a long list of juvenile fiction and children's picture books, including:

Julie plans to complete a first draft of a children's novel set in Dawson during the Klondike, write a picture book based on Yukon life and complete a sequel to the award-winning Whatever You Do, Don't Go Near That Canoe!


Dawson Youth Only Canadian Entered in 1998 Junior Iditarod

By Suzanne Crocker
Sun Writer

Kyla Boivin at home.

Like most fifteen year olds, Kyla Boivin spends the average weekday at school. But, when 3 o'clock comes around, Kyla's extracurricular activities are not so typical. At the end of the school day, Kyla heads for the dog yard, harnesses up her huskies and races out along the Stewart River with her dog team. She and her team spend anywhere from two to five hours after school mushing, alone, not returning home until after dark. On weekends Kyla and her dogs often mush sixty miles and camp out overnight, solo.

Kyla is training for the Junior Iditarod, a mid-distance dog mushing race which follows the first section of the Iditarod trail in Alaska. To be held on February 28 and 29, 1998, it is a 160 mile, two-day race. The mushers, all 14 to 17 years old, camp out overnight with their dogs before retracing the 80 miles back to the start/finish line. Kyla is the only Canadian entered in this year's race. And, rumour has it, the only Canadian to ever run the Junior Iditarod.

It is Kyla's first distance race. (She has competed in sprint races at the Arctic Winter Games in 1994 and 1996.) It is a race which Kyla considers the first step to her ultimate goal-the Yukon Quest. (Mushers must be 18 years old to enter the Yukon Quest and Kyla plans to be there at age 18!) Although Kyla has grown up with dogs and dog teams (she first stood on the back of a sled hitched up to one dog at age three), her family has always raised and run freighting dogs. Kyla is the first in her family to be bitten by the racing bug. She was inspired to race at age eleven after experiencing the exhilaration of racing a dog team, borrowed from Mark Pierson, in the 1994 Arctic Winter Games.

For her thirteenth birthday Kyla was given a gift of ten puppies, purchased from Cor Guimond, and shortly thereafter on additional three puppies. From those thirteen she has raised and trained eleven for her dog team, now all two years old.

Transforming a litter of rambunctious and curious puppies into a racing dog team was no easy task. Unlike most mushers, Kyla had no experienced lead dog to help her train them. When they ere six months old, she hitched the puppies to a sled and taught them to chase a snowmobile through the bush trails. She then tried to coax them to run along the same trails without a snowmobile to chase. It took many weeks of tangle ups, tears and frustration but eventually, through patience and persistence, the dogs figured it out. Kyla easily recalls the first day the dogs ran like a team, "It was AWESOME!"

It took two winters of shifting dogs into different positions for a leader to emerge from the litter-a dog who understood the commands, could keep the lines tight and would stay focussed on the trail.

This past winter, Kyla has been building up her team's strength, speed and endurance.

She and her team have run over 1,000 miles this season.

Through consultation with books, a little advice from veteran Yukon mushers and a lot of trial and error, Kyla has been training herself and her dogs for distance racing. "It's we, not me, mushing" says Kyla as she explains that the dogs have become and extension of herself.

Training and caring for a dog team is not all glory and exhilaration. Vaccinations, breeding, nutrition, foot care and sponsorship are all part of Kyla's responsibilities as a dog musher. Besides running her dogs, Kyla spends many additional hours each day watering, feeding, cleaning the dog yard, checking feet and also just playing with her dogs "to keep up their morale".

Kyla's enthusiasm for dog mushing is readily apparent when you talk with her about her dogs or when you witness her mushing along the trails, at a speed terrifying to most of us, hooting and hollering with joy. For Kyla, dog mushing is not just a bobby, it's a passion.

Best of luck, Kyla, on February 28 in the Junior Iditarod. We look forward to seeing your name on the roster for the Yukon Quest in 2001!


Yukon Quest Launched Ahead of the Race

by Dan Davidson
Sun Writer

Something called the Yukon Quest actually managed to hit the streets on February 5, several days before the dogs and mushers will be ready to do the same. Lost Moose, the Yukon Publishers, launched their edition of John Firth's Quest opus during the Meet the Mushers meeting at the High Country Inn on Thursday night.

Peter Long admits to one bad moment when he opened up the cover of Firth's new book (an updated version of his 1990 Yukon Challenge). There was supposed to be a route map on the cover flap and it wasn't there. As quickly as possible he and Wynne Krangle, the busy owners of K & L Services, got busy and produced enough copies of the map to paste into the covers so the book could go on sale.

The first ones were glued in. Later a printer delivered some self-adhesive peel-and-stick pages; but it was still thousands of books to alter, along with slapping "Created in the Yukon" stickers over Richard Hartmier's cover photo.

On this night, however, things are going well. Lots of books have been unloaded for the launching which is tied in with the Quest activities at the High Country Inn. The author, himself a prominent member of the Quest's history, is in place ready to autograph copies, and lots of people seem ready to buy.

For Lost Moose publishers it's been a rushed business. Krangle tells the room that this is "the fastest book that Lost Moose has ever done." They met with Firth on October 31 and had the book ready for the printer on December 17, thanks to hard work, the cooperation of the Whitehorse Star (which supplied most of the photos) and the magic of computer driven desktop publishing.

"John approached us with his 1900 book, Yukon Challenge," Krangle said, "and asked us if we'd like to publish that. We said okay, but we wanted it to be updated. We wanted it to include material from 1990 on."

Firth then wrote an additional 54 pages of year by year anecdotes and summaries, while the editorial team compiled charts and graphs showing the results of all the Quests, including all the awards and the official 1998 rules for the 15th running of the race.

Lost Moose sees its mandate as the publication of books about the north that add to the knowledge of northern people, culture and history, and Krangle feels that this book fits right it.

She thanked a number of people and organizations who did yeoman's work on the book. Patricia Halliday did the design. Cathy Archibald at the Star printed up the photos that were needed. Richard Hartmier provided striking cover material. Arctic Star Printing helped with the production error problems and Photovision assisted with the scanning of the photos needed for the text. Lee Balsam set up the organization for the book launch.

John Firth beamed as he came to the microphone: "I think I know what the mushers must go through now, having been driven by Wynne for the last few months Actually, I know how the dogs feel. I'm not going to say very much. This is a night for the mushers. We're signing the book and it's for sale over here. There's a lot of good stories in there. There were a lot of good people working on this thing and they've produced a top quality product. Wynne and Peter did an excellent job of whipping everybody into shape.


Uffish Thoughts: Paper Chase

by Dan Davidson
Sun Writer

The logistics of putting out a bi-weekly paper with one paid staff member and a number of volunteers can sometimes get to be extremely complex, but it often seems that the most serious problems come from an area over which we have no control: our transportation.

On our current schedule we wrap up the paper about midnight on Saturday and drop it off by one the next afternoon at Gold City Tours to catch the plane to Whitehorse. There it is printed up, turned around and headed back here for distribution on Tuesday morning. It's an elegant little system - when it works.

We take turns delivering the paper to the travel office, and the last two times I've had the job it's been a trifle perilous. On the first weekend I hopped in the car and headed downtown at five to one - lots of time - only to find the company van turning south on Fifth even as I hit the intersection.

Must be something else, I thought, maybe a small tour They can't be leaving already. No such luck. The office was locked and dark and I had to beat it out to the airport and catch the driver out there. A 5 minute job turned into nearly 40 instead, but things worked out fine in the end. What had happened was that the place was ahead of schedule, something that it's hard to predict in advance. It wasn't really tight, but it was tighter than I would like.

For our most recent issue, though, I didn't have even that much luck. Checking with the agent around noon, I learned that the plane wasn't landing. There were no passengers leaving from here and the atmospheric ceiling was questionable, so they'd decided to move on. From Air North's point of view it was a sensible decision From mine it was simply awful. There I was with a neatly completed set of newspaper pages and no way that I could see to get them where they needed to go.

At one point it looked like I would have to hope that someone got sick enough to get evacuated by plane so that I could slip the box in with them. The notion made me feel like a ghoul, but it was a suggestion that was made to me by a person who could have arranged it.

Kluane Freightlines came to our rescue at the last moment. Someone at church suggested we check with Earl MacKenzie and see if he had a truck going. He did, and Robbie Caley was quite willing to carry the box for us, but he couldn't deliver it. For him the trip involved a quick west turn at the Northwest Transport yard and on to Beaver Creek with his tanker, leaving the trailer part of his rig behind. That's where we put the paper. Then it was telephone lines to the rescue, with me giving directions to our printer. It felt a little crazy.

There's this van, you see, and it's this colour and has this license plate number. It's parked at the yard near the Kopper King and it's unlocked. The box with the flats is in the back. Go get it.

At this point we have to count on the kindness of our printer, the Yukon News, to go the extra mile for us, and he does, checking for the rig himself and sending his press person up the next day to do it again when it isn't there the first time.

So there you have it. Who says there's no adventure in the publishing business? To all those who helped us bring you the February 3rd edition of the Klondike Sun, many thanks!


Dawson City in Nebraska?

A classroom in Nebraska has been transformed into Dawson City this winter.

Dear Editor:

Our classroom at St. John Lutheran School in Battle Creek, Nebraska has been transformed into the "Yukon" and especially Dawson City. Our computers and learning centres are behind the store fronts. We are also celebrating the Gold Rush Centennial. The Yukon and White Pass Train takes up one entire wall. The 3rd graders say, "We really like your town and think it's neat!"

We are anxious for the Yukon Quest to run through Dawson City. All the Mackeys are friends of ours. We want Rick to win again!

Special thanks to the Klondike Sun, Klondike Nugget & Ivory Shop, Klondike Visitors Association and Mac's Fireweed Books for all the help in making our year in "Dawson City" fun. We look forward to our subscription to your paper.


Marcheta Long and 3rd Grade Class
Battle Creek, Nebraska


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