|The new arena got its first real workout the weekend of Feb. 15-16, with tournaments on both ice surfaces. By all accounts both the curling and the hockey were a real success. Photo by Dan Davidson|
Welcome to the February 28, 2003 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 25 photographs and 28 articles that were in the 24 page February 25 hard copy edition.
The hard copy also contains Doug Urquhart's famous "Paws" cartoon strip, our homegrown crossword puzzle, the Fraser's Edge and obviously, all the other material you won't find here.
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by Dan Davidson
The Dawson City Chamber of Commerce is getting into the fight between the federal Department of Fisheries and the Klondike Placer Miners Association, weighing in as heavily as it can on the side of the miners.
The chamber executive has proposed a dramatic Black Wednesday closure of local businesses for the purpose of demonstrating to Klondike residents what the future could be like if the Yukon Placer Authorization is not restored.
While the initial approach of the chamber was to be supportive and let the KPMA carry the fight, the executive has decided that the battle needs to be extended to fronts other than the merely scientific debate over the effect of mining on the fish population.
A week ago the chamber circulated a short survey form to members throughout the Klondike in an attempt to get a handle on the impact that the projected decimation of the placer mining industry might have on the local economy. With about 50 of the 200 surveys already in and more on the way, chamber manger Lindsay Jordan reported some of the results to a special meeting held on Wednesday, February 19 at the Downtown Hotel Conference Room.
Depending on their actual line of goods or services, businesses are predicting anything from a 20% to 100% drop in sales as the yet to be disclosed new regulations are phased in over the next four years. This is in line with the City of Dawson's projections of a 30% drop in population and services over that same time frame.
The chamber executive met earlier in the week and drafted a statement to release to the media. The purpose of the Wednesday meeting was to ratify that statement and set the direction for future activity.
The chamber's statement makes attempts to forecast what might happen here within the next seven years, concluding that two-thirds of the locally run placer operations will have to close, families will have to move to find work, the broader mining community will suffer as well, the business community will undergo closures and layoffs, property values will decline and the City of Dawson will have to pare back its activities to running essential services.
Chamber members have a vested interest in preserving the community. Even those involved in tourism rather than mining feel that their operations would suffer greatly if the Klondike were no longer an actual gold mining region.
The chamber members want to make the case that DFO Minister Thibault's decision to toss out the Yukon Placer Authorization "constitutes a physical threat to not only the business community but to anybody living in the Klondike."
The membership is not certain that everyone in the community understands just how serious the situation is and could become. To raise awareness, several concurrent campaigns are being studied.
The chamber is supporting the KPMA in a campaign to sell and distribute placards and signs indicating that businesses and families support the mining industry. The signs, according to miner Joel White, will be sold to businesses and households in an effort to raise the issue's profile and also raise money for the anti-DFO coalition being assembled under the umbrella of the KPMA.
The City of Dawson has already donated seed money of $3,000 to the Friends of the Placer Mining Community association which has been established to wage the battle with the Dept. of Fisheries.
The Black Wednesday proposal got a lot of discussion at the meeting. While the details of the day of protest have yet to be worked out, the chamber did establish an action committee to begin to work on this and other means of galvanizing the public and perhaps gaining some media attention beyond the local and territorial press.
Most of the 25 members at the meeting looked at last week's water board hearing on the placer mining property under development by Ralph Nordling and Al Rudis as a very negative foreshadowing of what individual miners may face in future case-by-case hearings.
Submitted by the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce
It is the position of the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce that the decision by The Minister of Fisheries and Ocean to end the Yukon Placer Authorization and replace it with national standards is likely to have an immense impact on the mining industry with a dramatic effect on the overall economy of not only Dawson City, but the entire territory.
The repercussions of this decision for our community over the next seven years will be as follows:
According to an internal study undertaken by the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, at least half the placer mining operations will have to shut down because they are physically incapable of fulfilling requirements under the new regime. As economic factors must also be taken into consideration we can expect that about two thirds of the placer mining operations in the Klondike area will close. Most of the operations that will be affected are relatively small family operations.
The direct long-term consequences we are faced with due to the suspension of the YPA are these:
The decision by Minister Thibault to suspend the YPA constitutes a physical threat not only to the miners themselves, but also to the business community, to anybody living in the Klondike and, ultimately, to the entire territory.
In a situation like this, if the chamber wants to live up to its mandate, it is our responsibility to allocate all the resources necessary to ensure that this likely scenario will not become reality. Therefore, we are determined that:
by Tara Christie, M.A.Sc.
President, Klondike Placer Miners' Association
Otto Langer from the Suzuki Foundation says Yukoners don't have the right to determine their own rules for placer mining; after all we only live here. Apparently, he feels that those rules should be made in Ottawa by lobbying and threatening the Minister of DFO with litigation from the Sierra Legal Defence Fund (definitely a more American style of law making).
However, most Yukoners probably think a multi-stakeholder process (that Canadians are famous for) such as the Yukon Placer Committee, might just be a little more transparent and democratic. Most Yukoners would agree that we have the where-with-all to decide our own future, in spite of advice to the contrary from Mr. Langer.
Mr. Langer claims he worked for DFO for over thirty years. Well Mr. Langer, the placer mining industry has made significant improvements in their operations over the past 15 years. Not only are settling ponds used to dramatically reduce sediment discharges, but miners must also comply with requirements for stream and land restoration under the Yukon Placer Authorization and the Mining Land Use Regulations. Maybe Mr. Langer's mind is still locked up in the 1970's.
Placer miners often have to mine "on the banks of the stream or directly in the stream" because that's where the gold has been concentrated by nature. However, we must construct stream diversions with habitat features before we can mine any fish-bearing streams. We can't mine anywhere near, nor discharge anything into salmon spawning streams. These are some minor details Mr. Langer must have forgotten in his interview.
Mr. Langer is also worried about the sediment we release to streams; so were we! That's why we developed the Yukon Placer Authorization and its dilution model. The discharge standards specified in the YPA ensure that after placer sediment mixes with natural stream waters and reaches important fish habitat, there is less than 25 mg/l of suspended sediment. Anyone would be hard pressed to see the difference between water with 25 mg/l of sediment and tap water.
Biologists rarely agree, but generally concede that toxic levels of suspended solids for grayling and Chinook salmon are about 20,000 to 50,000 mg/l, orders of magnitude higher than the YPA's less than 25 mg/l. In comparison, the Water Survey of Canada has recorded natural suspended sediment load in the Yukon River as high as 2,510 mg/l; and as high as 537 mg/l, 732 mg/l and 11,400 mg/l for the Pelly, Stewart and White Rivers respectively. According to Mr. Langer's logic those natural river sediment levels would also be "probably one of the biggest killers of salmon and grayling more so than fishing already killed". Give us a break, Mr. Langer!
Mr. Langer says that strict rules in Alaska haven't really affected the industry. However if you consult Alaska's mineral industry publications you will find out that the Alaskan placer industry actually fell dramatically from 164,000 ounces of gold in 1982, to 23,000 ounces of gold in 2001 (that's a loss of 86% of the gold production). Alaskan placer jobs also fell over the same period from 2,350 to 176 jobs (that's a loss of 2,174 jobs). The Yukon economy is already on the skids, due (at least in part) to our own and everybody else's overzealous environmentalists who are lobbying hard to effect the policy here; we can't afford to lose any more jobs.
The only reason there is any placer industry left in Alaska is because they changed how they calculate their discharge standards. Now they are based on a receiving water quality objective, just like the Yukon Placer Authorization. Similar mine closures occurred in central B.C. and in New Zealand when overly restrictive regulations were enforced. Don't try to kid us, Mr. Langer, the out-of-pipe discharge standard proposed by DFO is unattainable and will result in the closure of all Yukon placer mines if it is strictly enforced.
Mr. Langer appears to think the regulatory grass is greener in nearby Alaska and British Columbia. However there are 69 licensed placer mine discharges in Alaska with discharge limits of up to 1500 NTU (about 1500 to 3000 mg/l). There are also over 100 licensed facilities for large-scale suction dredges and over 1000 licensed facilities for small-scale dredges that dig up the stream channel right in the middle of flowing Alaskan streams. In contrast, in-stream dredging is strictly prohibited in the Yukon. Most mining streams in the Dease Lake and Atlin areas of northern British Columbia are "deregulated" and have no discharge standard whatsoever. There's a "quick example of the current regulations" for Mr. Langer.
We would suggest that Mr. Langer take his misinformation and arrogant advice somewhere else. We have already had enough "help" from the Suzuki Foundation and the Sierra Legal Defence Fund. We are confident that Yukoners aren't as gullible as Otto appears to think.
CIBC announces $1,000.00 donation to the Dawson City Curling Club. The curling club, has been in Dawson since 1900, provides a tremendous recreational and community service to the town.
CIBC has been in continuous operation in Dawson City since 1898 and since the Curling Club opened its doors, many of the Banks personnel have been members of the club and have been grateful for the fellowship provided through the club. CIBC recognizes the Dawson City Curling Club has made the long northern winters a little more exciting for many of those bank personnel who have transferred into the community from "outside".
CIBC branch manager, Steve Touchie, has been a director of the curling club for the past 3 years and Adele Gauthier, Customer Service/Personal Banking is an active member of the club and involved in many of the clubs community activities.
The Dawson City Curling Club will use the monies to purchase a new scoreboard for their new premises.
by Dan Davidson
The Myth and Medium exhibition at The Dänòja Zho Cultural Centre has drawn good crowds the week January 27-31.
Beginning on Sunday night with a Bingo and a Movie evening, the movie being Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), the week continued with showings of films by Zacharias Kunuk and a series of lectures on aspects of material culture.
Each evening from Wednesday through Friday began with a reception, followed by a lecture and a film. The lectures, by Ken Lister, Dave Neufeld and Kunuk himself, were on various aspects of Athapascan and Inuit culture and their connection to myth.
On Tuesday and Thursday there were daytime workshops on Athapascan Clothing as well as a workshop on the Hän language.
Aside from the displays in the Hammerstone Gallery, the central gathering room has been filled with displays borrowed from the Dawson City Museum and a special exhibit, part of the D.A. Cameron collection from the Royal Ontario Museum, where Lister works as head of the Department of Ethnology.
by Dan Davidson
Ken Lister loves his work. he especially loves it when it takes him near two of his favourite subjects, kayaks and snowshoes. Since Lister is the head of the Dept. of Anthropology at the Royal Ontario Museum, with curatorial responsibility for Subarctic and Arctic Ethnography, he gets to spend almost as much time as he would like with these artifacts.
Lister was in Dawson City during the week of January 27 to 31 as part of the Myth and Medium week of presentations at the Dänòja Zho Cultural Centre. The theme for the week was "exploring our memories through material creations".
Lister's lecture, on the subject of snowshoes, was called "Power from the Dreamworld, Reverence for the Hunted".
There were actually two frameworks to his talk. It began and ended with a story in which he attempted to show the everyday importance of the snowshoe in the life of a family. One winter night a young child watches as visitors come and go and his parents work as weaving the web of a pair of snowshoes for him.
The second strand of the talk was a mystery, one actually encountered at the ROM, where an outsized pair of snowshoes in the collection caused staff to wonder if they could ever have been used as anything by mantle decorations.
In and around these two strands, Lister wove another, full of incidental factual information about this footwear, which he calls the perfect marriage of technology, function, materials and culture.
Snowshoes, it appears, have been used all across the northern hemisphere, but are most prevalent in North America. European journal writers have referred to than as both a blessing (to the initiated) and a curse (to those unskilled in their use).
They are, said Lister, an excellent example of material culture, a concept which involves more than just the existence of artifacts. Items that fit this classification are a convenience in the cultures which use them, but they also reflect a world view and a way of joining humans with their environment.
Such objects are, he said, an alloy of material and values. Snowshoes then, are best understood within the context of the cultures which create them, even if they may be simply seen as "the greatest addition to arctic travel."
Snowshoes enable the wear to "float across the frozen land". Instead of struggling with the snow, they work with it.
While they come in many shapes and sizes, snowshoes tend to have a wooden frame with webbing stretched around it. There are solid wooden shoes that were used in emergencies when no babiche was available for webbing, but the historical record and oral tradition agree that these were a second class alternative.
The webbing, says Lister, was more than just a technical solution to the problem of support on snow. It occurs in many first nation artifacts, from fish nets to dream catchers, and it symbolizes both protection and sustenance. In the case of the snowshoe, it supports against the potentially deadly snow, and allows the wearer to move about and hunt, thus giving life.
Decorations on the snowshoes are often of symbolic value as well, allowing the wearer to partake of the powers of nature, perhaps through patterns in the webbing.
Tracking down where an artifact might have been used can be a chore, but it's obviously one that Lister enjoys. In the case of the "8 foot snowshoes" the form and web patterns suggested a particular culture, the Algonquian, but the odd size could only be tested by building a replica of the shoes and actually testing a pair in the fields and woods.
There were two other options, but one involved not registering the artifacts until after they had been tested, and the other was to steal them from the ROM and take them for a walk. The third option was best.
Reconstructing the shoes caused Lister and others to pay still more attention to the way they were put together, to the pattern of the thunderbird in the webbing and to the wool tufting around the rims.
The tufts were used to pay homage to the animals being hunted, while the thunderbird pattern acts to link the wearer to "upperworld power".
Lister illustrated these concepts with renditions of oral stories which have been recorded from this culture.
At the conclusion of his slideshow talk, Lister was presented with a beautiful set of leather mitts in thanks for his contribution to this week of cultural study.
by Dan Davidson
Saint Mary's Roman Catholic Church has become the first building in Dawson City to receive Parks Canada's new Peoples' Choice Heritage Building Award. The certificate notes that it is awarded "for excellence in restoration and contributing to the historic streetscape of Dawson City."
The People's Choice Award came into being during Park's annual Christmas open house, according to acting superintendent Paula Hassard. A group was brainstorming ways of honouring people and organizations which had made a contribution towards maintaining and enhancing the historic look of the community.
After all, Hassard said in a recent interview, the effort involved is pretty much voluntary once you get past the dictates of the town's planning board and outside of the core area. Still, she said, a lot of people have taken the time and effort to comply with the overall intent of making Dawson City fulfill the objectives in the Park's mandate, so it seemed good thing to create a way to give them public recognition.
"We'd like to do this on an annual basis."
Park's staff had nothing to do with choosing the award. They posted the criteria, made people aware of the honour and then waited to see what would happen. The choice was made by those who wrote in their nominations.
"It's really not about us, it's about other people. It's to recognize people who go the extra yard, who go out of their way to do authentic restoration.
"It enhances the streetscape for the whole town. I don't know if people realize that our historic site actually includes the entire town. It's primarily the (buildings) that are designated ... but outside of that it's just ordinary homeowners and commercial businesses."
Saint Mary's was the popular choice this year.
There has been a building of that name in Dawson since 1897, though the present structure is the third to bear the name, and was originally built as a school, not a place of worship, in 1904. It has served as the church since the 1920s, doing double duty for a number of decades before all the schools were consolidated in the Robert Service School.
Very little work had been done to maintain the building until the 1980s, when the first crack at a new foundation was taken. Less than ten years later it became apparent that the roof was in jeopardy, the support trusses were rotting and the walls were actually canting outward 15 centimetres from their original positions.
Several years of paid work, a lot of volunteer labour and much grant money went into the project that restored the church to safety, made it a functional year round building and also a faithful recreation of the place as it was when it was first converted for use as a church.
Father Tim Coonen was new to Dawson City in 1994 and didn't realize when he transferred here from Faro what he was going to be getting into. By 1996 the second floor of the building was ready to use and secure at a cost of about $125,000.
Coonen isn't sure, but he suspects that much again went into renovating the former classroom on the ground floor and turning it into one of the most used mid-sized meeting spaces in the community. Coonen is happy to rent the place out to those organizations that can afford to pay, but lots of non-profit activities and special events also take place there, and he says that's one of the best things about the way the project turned out.
From the way the voting went, it would appear that Dawsonites agreed with him.
by Dan Davidson
Holger Bergold is very happy with the third year of the Fulda Challenge Extreme Arctic Adventure when we meet in the Downtown Hotel's Sourdough Saloon.
While it's the fourth time that the Fulda Tire company has brought a crew of athletes up the Klondike and Dempster Highways, Bergold says it's really just the third real event.
"The first year was a dry run, so to speak, with our celebrities, so it's the actual third year ... and it's getting better all the time."
Bergold believes that the total impact of the events has been a little better each time, and that his consulting firm (Bergold Promotions) as well as Fulda have learned more about how to stage and manage the events.
The Fulda Extreme Northern Challenge is a managed event after all, an event that is out for as many photo opportunities, as much video footage, and as many good press bites as it can get.
Said Bergold, "An event that is good for the athletes isn't always good for the press. For the press an event is only as good as what they can see of it. In the beginning we had these gorgeous runs that went all the way up the Yukon River and we just met at the end. The press couldn't see the beauty of it."
Kerstin Voleck, the team leader for Marketing Services, is the program manager for Fulda, agrees with this assessment.
"The press just had the start and then three hours waiting for them to come back. They are not able to catch the best pictures."
Bergold opined that this lack of media exposure is one of the big problems faced by the Yukon Quest. He managed Fulda's involvement with that race in the 1990s. In his opinion the Quest board needs to find a way for the press to report on the portions of the race which are further out in the wilderness, in order to capitalize on the lure of the Yukon and Alaska landscape.
"We altered our events a bit,: he said. "Now the press are in the middle and the events take place around them." In Bergold's opinion a more involved press corps makes for a better batch of stories.
The press gets its landscape exposure while the convoy of Subs is travelling.
Out on the Dempster, where things are closer to nature, the climbing and snowshoe racing are set against spectacular scenery and Voleck feels this is a big draw for the media and for later viewers of the televised events.
While the eleven contests for the ten mixed teams on the week long trip are billed as a sports event, Fulda's ultimate aim is to sell tires, in particular a brand of winter tire called - what else? - the Yukon.
"That's why we do that," Voelck conceded.
Bergold, a former consultant with Yukon Tourism, jumps in quickly to remind me that that's not the end of the story.
"It doesn't actually only sell tires," he said. "It sells as well the Yukon."
Between the two of them they get to the heart of the matter: brand awareness. For Fulda it's great to have their tires so widely known in Europe that they are beginning to become synonymous with the whole concept of winter tires. Putting them on a fleet of SUVs and driving them through the territory's snow covered highways in the winter helps to cement the idea that these tires are tough, they will take you where you want to go.
Associating them with a group of athletes performing challenges which seem to be a bit edgy combines the allure of reality television with sports television and gives the average consumer driving along the Autobahn the notion that he or she can share vicariously in this sense of adventure.
According to Voelck it's working very well for Fulda.
According to Bergold it's working very well for the Yukon. The extreme sports spectaculars have been shown throughout the continent of Europe over the last several years. This year they had a clip ordered to run as a spot in the middle of a major skiing competition - and that was just for starters.
The exposure is free advertising for the territory in a number of ways. With two German teams, two Austrian teams, one each from Switzerland, England, Italy, and the Netherlands, as well as a host team from Canada, the race is set up to be of international interest. Having mixed teams is part of an effort to cross the gender barrier as well.
Bergold said the press corps is extremely hyped about this trip. No need to worry about any reports going home about the mild winter not getting down to the -50? C mentioned on the company's website. In his experience every time a journalist talks about this 2000 kilometre trip it will be 5 degrees colder than the last time.
He figures one in three of them will be back for a vacation, and every person on the trip will probably influence about 50 others to think about it. European tourism to the territory was up last summer, relatively unaffected by the post- September 11/01 timidity that cut into the bus tour crowd so heavily.
As for the future, the company is so happy with its results that the applications to try out for next year's challenge are already posted on the website. The trials will be held in the fall.
by Palma Berger
A happy crowd gathered at the Odd Gallery for the opening night of the works of the members of the Dawson City Arts Society. This was their chance to see friends" and Dawson folks" art work. There have been showings of work of artists from as far afield as from Montreal to Vancouver, but these many pieces were mainly Yukon based, although two members are now in Halifax furthering their art studies. The work of 25 artists was shown. The work was varied, original, traditional and innovative.
Some shared their love of the land here. The strong rhythm and colours that flowed through Maureen Abbot's paintings of Fall up the Dempster showed her deep feelings about this area. One of Cynthia Hunt's watercolours presented the majesty of the Dempster's mountains softened by the swirl of cloud, while the other showed a tranquil grove of birch trees. Anne Saunders' two photographs went from the wild to the delicate; as in one of wind sculptured snow and the other the delicate wildflower, the pyrola. Barb. Hanulik's painting was closer to home. It showed a view of Dawson from the deck of the old ferry, the "McQuesten". The Northern Lights captured Walter Kranzl; he in turn captured them perfectly with his camera, and enlarging them added to their splendour.
The abstract paintings of Josephine Beaudrap and Jackie Olsen were arresting. Beaudrap's "Reaching a Destination" was created through enjoying playing with the media and it show.. Olsen's startling midnight blue painting featured two white squares of home made paper with strips of gold, brown and dark blue borders halfway round. Her other piece shows her First Nations heritage. This last one had been last shown in Munich.
The two Dawsonites who sent their work from Halifax were Kendra Wallace and Kelly Byrne . Their prints reveal where their art education is taking them. Joanne Jackson Johnson had inkjet prints made from scanned objects. Objects that had been in the family for fifty years. All three used different techniques to produce their images.
New ideas in using photography were in the works of Janice Cliff, Jay Armitage, and Kyla MacArthur. Cliff took one of the emotions she showed in her previous show at the Odd Gallery, #259 "Weary" and expanded it. MacArthur, who has studied creative photography drew the eye into the photo by her use of the lines of buildings and figures. Armitage took photos of the most co-operative subjects, store mannequins from Victoria and Vancouver.
Two whose work had strong emotional appeal, were Paul Gowdie and Joanne Vriend. Gowdie's photography was an unhappy self-portrait plus a collage of the environment he lived in during the depth of a bad January when he hated the place.
Vriend's tiles were created on the tenth anniversary of the death of her mother. As Vriend said, she doesn't often get this personal. One set was titled "Jumping off the Earth", and the other set featured her mother's "Hand". Each tile told a little about her other's hand.
Animals were well represented. Audrey Legoffe surprised people with the feelings her polar bears evoked. Aedes Scheer showed her love of the canine species with two lovely pen and pencil drawings of two huskies. In Mary Dolman's two works, the orangy red fox lopes through a snowy scene with the sky above repeating the colour of the fox. The animal in Palma Berger's still life was an Australian green frog. The large pencil drawing of a female came out of the drawing classes at KIAC.
Using different media was Leslie Chapman who created a necklace of African trade beads, moosehide and gold from the family's gold mine. It was aptly titled, "Glenda Goes Dancing in the Global Village."
The glow of the wood and the lovely curves in John Firth's wood carvings from birch and basswood made the palms itch to trace them.
Next to him was Lara Melnik's quirky little "garden". Flowers made of polymer grew on soapstone and green "horns" erupted filled with wee colourful flowers.
Other flowers in the show were "Tulips" and "Poppies" These two colourful and beautiful pieces were created by fabric artist Shirley Pennell.
There had to be a "fun" piece. It was Hannah Jickling's "Electronic Eyelashes". Fake eyelashes attached by wires to a battery will flutter for you. Beauty with technology keeps the modern woman up to date.
There was moving art in the form of mannequins modeling Megan Waterman's fashion creations. The clothes were made of rayon polyester and trimmed with lynx fur. The hood on a jacket was trimmed with fur from the back of the animal, while the cocktail dress with its chiffon covered sleeves had the soft fur from the underbelly of the lynx tracing the round neckline. Any buttons were made from antler. The clothing will stay in the gallery on dressmaker forms.
It was an evening of surprises and delights. The show runs until March 17th.
by Dan Davidson
When it was decided, a few years ago, to try to revive the tradition of the annual Rabbie Burns Dinner in Dawson, the committee working on the event decided that the Scottish national poet just didn't have strong enough roots in the Klondike capital, so the members of the Dawson Community Library Board cast about for a way to make the event more relevant.
Someone noticed that the birthdays of two great Scots poets, Burns (January 25, 1759) and Robert Service (January 16, 1874), weren't that far apart in the first month of the year, even though they were separated by 15 years.
It seemed likely that Service, who grew up in Kilwinning, Scotland, even though he was born in Preston, England, would have been influenced by some of the rhythms of his predecessor. Indeed, one of the Service family legends (cited in Vagabond of Verse by James MacKay) is that an ancestor of Robert's was a second cousin to Rabbie.
So what better way to mark the month than to celebrate both poets in a single feast?
That was the origin of the Double Bob Bash, which has come to be an annual tradition held in the meeting hall of Saint Mary's Roman Catholic Church. This year's event was actually held on Burns' birthday, a convenient Saturday night, and drew in a couple dozen people for a potluck dinner, a wee bit of haggis, lots of poetry readings, a couple of games and a cross-cultural innovation.
Service tends to get more attention at these Dawson gatherings, though the evening did start out with the proper "Ode to the Haggis", rendered by Tim Gunther, and "The Selkirk Grace" delivered by Father John Tyrrell. After a fine meal, half a dozen volunteers read or recited verses to the assembly, including "The Spell of the Yukon", "The Ballad of Pious Pete" and a paean in praise of bank robbers.
Jack Fraser contributed his own Service pastiche, "The Eight Ender", a celebration of curling, while Carol Tyrrell read (with their permission) Andrea and David Spalding's mock Service rendition of "The Bishop Who Ate His Boots".
The Spaldings created this as a part of the children's book they are writing about the Klondike for their "Adventure?com" series of mysteries while they were writers in residence at Berton House last summer.
Burns was not ignored. Though his dialect material is hard to recite well, he was also a prolific poet in 18th century standard English, and several of his moodier verses, "The Lazy Mist" and "Had I a Cave", as well as the lively romantic poem, "My Peggy's Face", were read.
The evening closed with an innovation, the smashing of a haggis piñata,, which thankfully contained candy rather than ground lamb's meat.
A bonnie evening was had by young and old.
by James H. Archibald, President 2002
The elections for the executive of the Lodge were held at the first meeting in January of 2002 and they are as follows:
President - James Archibald
Vice - President - Rick Gillespie
Sec. Treasurer - Brain Close
Warden - Gary Gammie
Guard - John Evans
Chaplain - Wayne Rachel
Historian - John Gould
Trustees - Bruce Taylor, Jim Leary and Lambert Curzon
In January the Lodge had a break and enter and the culprits did over one thousand dollars damages. These yeggs after being run down by the R. C. M. P. came forward and made full restitutions to the Lodge.
In February and March the Lodge with Wayne Rachel in charge got the Gold Poke raffle started. It was decided that gold wafers would be the prizes instead of raw gold. At the annual Dawson Carnival the Lodge sponsored the Tea Boiling contest with Jack Fraser and Gordy Caley the judges. The Lodge also had the responsibility of putting the Tripod on the Yukon River for the ice break-up guessing contest. Joe Braga, John Evans and Jack Fraser did the work with Bill Bowie donating the lumber.
In April 6 members of the Dawson Lodge went to Whitehorse for the Grand Lodge meeting that was held at the Gold Rush Inn. After the meeting members and their wives were all treated to a very delicious supper with music supplied by three members of the Whitehorse Lodge. The executive for the 2002 - 2003 Grand Lodge is as follows:
President - Tony Hanulik
Vice President - James Archibald
Warden - Dennis Blakey
Guard - Wayne Rachel
Chaplain - Ken Snider
Historian - Laurent Cyr
During the summer Ed and Star Jones came up from New Mexico, cut the grass and cleared the saplings from the 8th Avenue cemetery. They put up a cemetery directory in the Frank Ahearn building next to the Y. O.O.P cemetery on the hill. Rick Gillespie moved the building closer to the entrance with help from Jack Fraser and Joe Braga.
The Pioneer Hall had some renovations done during the summer and fall with the furnace and storage rooms being jacked up so that they were level with the rest of the Hall. New linoleum was laid down in both rooms plus the bathrooms.
New sinks were installed in the bathrooms. One new boiler replaced the two old furnaces. Brother Dewy Groner did all this work, the Lodge thanks him for all his work and time. Dewy volunteered many hours of this time, which helped keep the cost down. Gary Gammie removed the protruding posts in the parking lot; he also spread fresh gravel around.
There was a pancake breakfast in September put on by the Lodge for the Dawson Museum with Wayne Rachel and Jim Archibald cooking the pancakes and sausage. The donation to the Museum was 250 dollars.
The Anniversary /Christmas supper was well attended with one hundred people to enjoy a well-prepared supper put on by Ruby's. After finishing the supper there was Bingo and Door prizes, the bingo games were called by Jack Fraser assisted by Brain Close. The Lodge would like to thank the business and all individuals for their donations to these door prizes.
Gordy Caley and Joe Braga have been cleaning the steps and sidewalk of snow. Gordy has been used his Quad to plough the snow out of the parking lot.
During the year the Lodge lost Ken Shore and Joe Castellarin. New members that joined the Lodge were Charles Sigurdson, Alfred Leatherbarrow, Jay Farr and Jimmy Simpson.
A satire by Dan Davidson
While initially devastated by the Department of Fisheries' apparent decision to close down the placer mining industry, the council in Dawson City has come to the realization that there is a silver lining in this mess, some gold amongst the dross, as it were.
It was while calculating the probable economic impacts of a placer industry shutdown on the community that council first saw the light at the end of this dark shaft. The town's treasurer made some rough calculations based on an estimate that everything in the town - population, stores, taxes, services - would probably decline by 30%.
That seemed pretty bad news on the face of it, but Mayor Glenn Everready, always one to seek the most positive side of a situation, suddenly realized that there was an upside to this downturn.
"If we have 30% fewer people in town," he told a recent council meeting, "that means we're going to have 30% less effluent. And if we have that much less on an average basis year round, we're always going to be able to pass our water quality tests."
Just now, Dawson only fails the tests during the height of the tourist season, when the transient population is high and the water levels in the river are at their lowest. As a result of these failures, the town is being forced to build a multi-million dollar secondary sewage treatment plant.
"It stands to reason," Everready said, "that if we continuously pass these tests, we won't need to build the treatment plant."
This would be a good thing in terms of annual utility bills for the remaining rate payers in the community, who have come to expect increases of 5 to 10 percent annually on rates that are already the highest in the territory.
It also renders moot one of the problems involved with the batch reactor treatment system which had been confirmed by senior levels of government as the best one to use for the community.
While this plant would have worked fine in the summer, there was some speculation that the effluent flows in the winter were actually too low for it to function properly. One of the proposed solutions had been to store excess effluent during the summer and treat it during the winter in order to keep the required levels of biomass in the reactors constant.
The big problem, of course, was where to store several tonnes of residential and recreational vehicle eduction material during the warm summer months without rendering the Klondike Valley uninhabitable.
One of the suggestions had been to hand it over to DIAND, the Department of Fisheries and the Yukon Conservation Society for storage and perhaps reprocessing, but council realized that any further burden on these already overloaded organizations would probably be more than they could handle.
As things stand, the placer industry will probably begin to collapse this coming season, and should be completely gone within a couple of years. This happens to be about the same amount of time that the town had expected to need to put the new plant in place.
"So I have to ask," Everready said, "what's the point in going on with this? By the time we can get it built, we won't need it.
"It's a shame to waste the hundreds of thousands of dollars we've already put into this project, but it would be fiscally irresponsible to go ahead now that these federal departments have sealed our fate."
Just to show that it is still concerned about environmental issues, council has decided to take a proactive stance in regard to the court case that will be held here in early February.
"Federal officials and interveners will be issued with honey buckets and thunder mugs when they arrive in the community," Everready announced.
"When environmentally conscious people visit any pristine wilderness area they should treat the environment with respect.
"We've been forced to accept a lot of crap from some of these people over the years, but we're not going to take it this time.
"They can pack out what they pack in."
(Note: While based on some factual discussions at a real meeting of Dawson's town council, the foregoing account is a satire. Most names have been changed to protect the innocent.)
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