|Our local R.C.M.P. detachment poses for a group picture. Photo by Paul Gowdie|
Welcome to the July 10 edition of the Klondike Sun. The hardcopy edition of the Sun contained about 25 stories, 24 photos, and various other tidbits that didn't make it to this site. We think we're worth subscribing to. Help keep us alive.
by Jocelyn Bell
There's going to be more of everything at the 20th annual Dawson City Music Festival. More events, more performers, more days, more tents, more tickets, more volunteers, and more merchandise.
More work for Jen Edwards, the festival's production manager, who had her hours expanded from part-time last year to full-time this year.
"It's an event for Yukoners. It'll often be the only chance people will have had to hear live music all year," she said. "We're always celebrating our history and that's great, but people have other interests and music is often tops on their list," Edwards said.
The festival kicks off July 10 in Whitehorse with a concert at the Arts Centre. Combining entertainment and history, 18 musicians will travel from Lake Laberge, up the Yukon River and eventually to Dawson, tracing the route that gold prospectors took during the 1898 rush.
"They'll be roughin' it with sleeping bags and tents," said Edwards. Stops will be made along the way for performances in Carmacks and Minto. They'll get to Dawson on the 16th and perform a free, open-air concert at the gazebo on Front St. on the 17th at 1 p.m. With visions of boat-ride jam sessions resulting in a co-operative musical effort, Edwards said, "We're sort of hoping that they'll have something that they've put together."
In Dawson, the festival begins on Tuesday, June 14 at the Palace Grand with Quartette. "It's four women with four incredible voices," said Edwards. "Their music is a mix of country, folk, and blues... They're known for their harmonies." Most notable among the four is Sylvia Tyson, half of the legendary 1960s Canadian folk duo, Ian and Sylvia. The rest of Quartette is Cindy Church, Gwen Swick (who was here last year) and Caitlin Hanford.
Wednesday night, Bourne and MacLeod play St. Paul's Church.
Bill Bourne and Alan MacLeod are reuniting for the first time in many years. The mix of MacLeod's bagpipes and Bourne's guitar and vocals is "sort of like celtic blues," Edwards said. Both of their albums were nomitated for Junos, and one of them got one.
Shows under the mainstage tent begin Thursday night and continue to Sunday, with about six performances a night. Performers will include Bruce Cockburn, The Skydiggers, Laura Love, Uncle Dirt and Jayne West
From Friday to Sunday, there are also concerts going on at St. Mary's or St. Paul's. Edwards said thes church venue lends itself better to attentif, listening audiences. Church performers will include John Steins and Scott Sheerin, Rawlins Cross and Lynn Miles.
How do Edwards and music festival board members go about choosing performers? They get tons of promo material, which is usually a photo, a write-up and a cassette tape. "We sit down once a week and listen to all this stuff and we argue, and then we come to a decision." They also find artists through word of mouth. "This year we came up with a sort of wish list... and narrowed it down." More than 100 musicians will be sharing their talents this year, and in all of the acts at least one of the musicians has performed at a Dawson music festival before.
The other thing the board has been arguing about for quite a while is its compilation CD: 20 years of the Dawson City Music Festival. This is a double CD of pre-recorded music. The 37 songs have all been sung at previous Dawson City Music Festivals.
And don't forget the workshops, which are happening at different venues around town over Music Fest weekend. Edwards said these will be "kind of like mini-concerts," and will feature an instrument or group of instruments, a theme, a genre or something like improv.
This is Edwards's last year working for the music festival, but she hopes to continue her career as an arts administrator in Ontario.
by Jocelyn Bell
The ongoing dispute between the Yukon Liquor Board and the Dawson City Music Festival is being taken to the Yukon Court of Appeal on July 13 -- just three days before the mainstage tent and its beer garden open in Dawson. The trial represents the end of months of battling between the two groups as well as the Music Festival board's last chance to have a liquor license condition removed before the festival begins.
Back in January, the liquor board re-examined its special occasions permits and saw that they were inconsistent.
"Sometimes there's minors, sometimes there's no minors, sometimes they're allowed to stay until a certain time, sometimes till another time," explained Ray Hayes, President and CEO of the Liquor Board.
He asked the board to come up with a uniform policy and it was decided that minors would not be allowed into a beer garden licensed under a special occasions permit.
Directly affected by the beer garden ruling is, of course, the Dawson City Music Festival. In past years, the beer garden opened onto the mainstage tent, concert-goers were allowed to bring their drinks into the audience area, and minors were allowed to be in licensed areas until 10 p.m. or midnight, depending on their age. This year, all of that will change.
On Tuesday, June 23, the Festival took the Liquor Board to the Yukon Supreme Court and lost. Next week, their case will be heard again by the Yukon Court of Appeal in Vancouver, B.C. Unless the Court of Appeal overturns the Yukon Supreme Court's ruling, minors won't be allowed into the licensed area.
The logistics haven't been worked out yet, but Music Festival Production Manager Jen Edwards said the Music Festival is looking into the possibility of running a barrier up the middle of the mainstage tent, creating two sides -- only one of which would be licensed and not accessible to minors.
While this is a solution of sorts, the Music Festival organizers think it's going to hurt the success of the event.
"More than anything, it's just the idea of separating kids and adults," said Edwards. "You have to have double fencing separating one group from another. That is just not a festival spirit."
According to MusicFest board member John Steins, 40 per cent of ticket holders have children, but he says there have never been any major problems having kids around alcohol at the festival.
"They're trying to fix something that isn't broken," Steins said. In his view, adults tend to temper their consumption of liquor when they're around children.
The case that was argued at the Yukon Supreme Court and which will be argued at Court of Appeal has escalated beyond whether minors should be allowed into the beer garden and onto whether the Yukon Liquor Board has the right to make the decision they made.
The Liquor Act gives the [liquor] board the authority to establish terms and conditions of special occasions permits. But Music Festival lawyer Ron Veale thinks the liquor board has overstepped establishing conditions and unlawfully gone on to creating new legislation, something only an elected, legislative assembly has the right to do.
"Of course they can put conditions, but those conditions cannot go beyond the general powers in the act," Veale said.
The liquor act states that minors are prohibited from being present in cocktail lounges and taverns. "That implies to me that they can be permitted in other places," Veale added.
The Liquor Board probably wouldn't disagree with this statement. But their argument is that the beer garden is, in fact, a cocktail lounge-like atmosphere and therefore, their ruling is right in line with the act.
When the Yukon Court of Appeal meets in Vancouver next Monday morning, three judges will take an hour to hear the two sides of the argument. In the meantime, Music Festival organizers, albeit grudgingly, are preparing for a negative decision.
If the Music Festival loses its case again, they can appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, but Veale is doubtful that this court would be interested in hearing the case.
"If it gets turned down, we may be at the end of the road," he said.
Editor's Note: The Yukon Appeal Court sided with the Music Festival on July 13. For details, see our next issue.
by Dan Davidson
Canada's 131st birthday just happened to coincide with the Klondike's 1998 Centennial this year and the organizing committee went all out to make sure there was a full day of activities for everyone. Early risers could have joined the formal flag-raising ceremony in Victory gardens at 8 a.m.
The energetic could work it off at the Triathlon two hours later at the pool.
The parade began winding through town from the Visitor Reception Centre to the Commissioner's Residence at 10:30, and arrived there in time to get ready for the special session of citizenship court at 11, even as Myk Kurth glided by in his Captain Canada paraglider's regalia.
For the young the Museum hosted another edition of its annual Teddy Bear Picnic at noon, while older types meandered over to Hospital Hill to register for the Yukon Gold Panning Championships, which began at 1:00 p.m.
Even as that was under way the Tr'ondek Hwech'in were hosting the official opening of their new cultural centre on Front Street with events held in the Tro Chu Tin Hall.
From 2:30 on the greensward along the dyke was home to a series of children's games and events centred on the gazebo, including face painting, the "Canada Klunker" bike race and the Women's Shelter walk-a-thon.
The Community Barbeque got under way at 5 p.m., and the Percy DeWolfe Race Committee was hard pressed to feed the crowd, some of which spent up to 45 minutes in the queue as the volunteers scrambled to come up with more salmon and other goodies to handle the press. They had planned to feed 175 people, and ended up doing quite a bit more.
Entertainment made the wait more palatable for the hungry guests. "Terry McDade and the McDades" filled the time with mellow Celtic jazz. The Stave Falls Scottish Dancers were the highlight of the hour for many people, working their way through a series of complex Celtic dances as well as a few novelty numbers. Then the McDades took over the stage again and performed a concert of their own original material before launching into the accompaniment for a community dance.
In spite of a bit of scattered cloud and a few sprinkles the day, organized jointly by representatives of Klondike National Historic Sites, the Klondike Visitors Association, the City of Dawson, the Dawson Museum, the Klondyke Centennials and Yukon Anniversaries Commissions, the day seems to have been an unqualified success.
by Jocelyn Bell
Twelve people from eight different countries became Canadian citizens at a citizenship court held on Canada Day outside the Commissioner's Residence.
The day also marked the first time a citizenship court has ever been held in Dawson City.
Hundreds of onlookers followed a Canada Day parade, originating from the Vistor Reception Centre on Front Street, to the Commissioner's Residence. RCMP officers dressed in their traditional red serges lined the front of the residence and Canadian flags and Canada Day hats were passed out to add colour to the ceremony.
Ingrid Hauck, Director, Policy, Education and Promotion Citizenship and Immigration welcomed the guests and soon-to-be citizens to the ceremony and explained the proceedings.
Introductory remarks were made by Florence Whyard, a Member of the Order of Canada, who presided over the ceremony:
"It will be a privilege to be the first to welcome you into the national family on behalf of so many Yukoners who blazed the trail 100 years ago... You have had to study the history of this country -- which may be far briefer than that of your homeland -- you have had to adapt to our culture, in its many varied forms, adjust to a new and harsh climate, and for some, learn a new language...
"I suspect some of you may be more enthusiastic about being a Canadian citizen than a few of your neighbours, who have not had to work hard to accomplish this achievement. You must be tolerant. We are a very young country, celebrating only our 131st birthday today. Most Canadians don't stop to think about their great good luck in being born here!"
Whyard continued, explaining the responsibilities of that come with the rights of citizenship.
"You have the right to vote in municipal, territorial and federal elections, and the right to stand as a candidate in such elections. You are responsible for learning about the issues in each election, making your decision and casting your vote...
With these rights and freedoms come responsibilities. Canadian citizens need to respect each other, understand one another, for we are responsible for Canada's future."
The 12 new citizens and 16 Canadians who reaffirmed their citizenship said the oath of citizenship in English and struggled through it in French:
"I affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen."
Following the oath, each of the new citizens and the citizens reaffirming were escorted by an RCMP officer to shake hands with Whyard and a line of dignitaries, to the background accompaniment of the Terry McDades and the McDades on harp and violin.
Weloming speeches followed from George Varnai, Regional Manager Citizenship and Immigration, Peter Jenkins, MLA Klondike, Dawson City Mayor Glen Everitt, Mac Swackhammer, representing Louise Hardy, M.P. Yukon, Tr'ondek Hwech'in Chief Steve Taylor and Rose Margeson of Parks Canada.
Mayor Everitt's speech stood out among the rest of the invited dignitaries as he took the opportunity to honour the bravery of two Dawson citizens. John Mitchell was given a bravery award for continued well-being and protection of the citizens of Dawson. Mitchell risked his own life saving Corey Taylor, 6, from two attacking Rottweilers in April.
Marshall Jonas, 7, was given the little hero's award in recognition of thoughtfulness and mature judgement in helping other children. In the spring of 1997, Marshall had the presence of mind to dig out two children who were buried in an avalanche and tell two others to run for help. Everitt became choked as he presented this award -- one of the children Marshall saved was Everitt's own son.
The national anthem followed the speeches, sung by Lorraine Butler, this year's Diamond Tooth Gertie, and an entourage of Gertie Girls decorated in red maple leaves.
The ceremony closed with a performance by the Stave Falls Scottish dancers, accompanied by piper Kevin Watsyk.
Reinald Nohal, Germany
Michael Joseph Mitchell, Ireland
Brenda Katherine Dedon, USA
Rachel Giovanoli, Switzerland
Bethany Anne Clark, St. Vincent
Roland Wuethrich, Switzerland
Lisa Janelle Cowan, New Zealand
Marlene Stempien, Costa Rica
Luka Dokic, Yugoslavia
Snjezana Dokic, Yugoslavia
Mladenka Dokic, Yugoslavia
Neda Dokic, Yugoslavia
by Dan Davidson
It was a contest of champions in the Yukon Open event at Canada Day's Yukon Gold Panning Championships. Each of the three men in the medals had been in the top three before, but one of them was less than a minute faster than his competition, and so Art Sailer recovered all 7 of the gold flakes in his bucket of paydirt and became the champion for the third year in a row with a winning time of 4 minutes 22.5 seconds.
Ralph Nordling was just 22 seconds later to take second place and James Archibald was about 10 seconds behind him.
Sailer's prize includes $2,000 towards the expenses of attending the World Gold Panning Championships, which will be held this September in Coloma, California.
Nordling won $1,000 towards the coast of entering the Klondike Days' panning competition.
Both men have a chance at winning a berth at the International Invitational Gold Panning Championship.
The 1998 version of this long running Klondike event took place at the venue which was established for the World Goldpanning Championships a few years ago on what it is becoming known as Hospital Hill. It was organized by a sub-committee of the Klondike Visitors Association, and might have been expected to be a bit of a let down after last summer's packed event. Instead, there were 117 entrants in a variety of categories and KVA special events coordinator Dominic Lloyd has pronounced himself "very pleased" with the afternoon.
There was indeed much to be pleased about. Local representation was high this year and most of the medals went to Klondike residents, who certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Yet the contest remained international in scope, with contestants from the Czech Republic, Germany, Scotland, England, and the United States, as well as from Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.
Gold Panning starts young, and the first group of panners this year were under 12 years of age. There were thirteen contestants and three winners. Matthew Klein found 3 of the 5 flakes in a time of 9:38 for first place, followed by Isaac Hoehn and Caroline Reebs.
Six young people essayed the 15 and under category and locals took all the medals. Andy Sigurdson found 4 of 4 flakes in 6:56, while Kyla Kobayashi and Jenny Matchett each missed a few.
The Klondike Open is an event for anyone 16 years or older who has a bit of experience. Claire Hewson of B.C. found 5 of the 6 flakes to take the gold position, while Pat Scoles and Herbert Zeman found 5 and 4 respectively.
In the Seniors' Open category thirteen contestants hunted for 7 flakes of gold. Peter Erikson found them all in the fastest time of 4:47. with Art Sailer just under a minute behind him. Noreen Sailer missed a flake for her third place finish.
The Cheechako Event was the largest this year, nearly double last year's contest with 32 entries. All the winners were from outside Canada. Gerhard Onderka of Germany recovered 4 of the 5 flakes in a time of 12:43. Boyd Duffee of England and Josef Jesek of the Czech Republic placed second and third.
The final event of the day was the Corporate Challenge, in which four teams competed. French Hill Mining recovered 15 of the 20 flakes in an aggregate time of 15:42. Stuart Placers and the Westminster Pit Panners came second and third.
Dominic Lloyd was especially happy that the crowd stayed right to the end of the contests. That was easier this year. Occasional gusts of wind and a few sprinkles broke up the otherwise hot and sunny afternoon, allowing for a little relief on the bleachers.
by Dan Davidson
Art Sailer is looking forward to this year's trip to the World Gold Panning Championships. Two years ago when he won the Yukon Open at the Yukon Gold Panning Championships he didn't get to travel very far. The world contest was held that year in Dawson. He was given the option to travel to another event instead, but the timing didn't work out for him, so he turned the $2,000 prize money back in.
This year the Sailers had already decided to go to Coloma, California, for the world event, and he and Noreen firmed up their tickets about six months ago. So winning the money to pay for the trip really was icing on the cake.
He doesn't want anyone to think he knew he was going to win on Canada Day. Just because he'd won the contest the last two times didn't mean he was taking anything for granted.
"I couldn't believe it," he said of his hat trick. "I was sure that the other guys would come out ahead of me."
This brings his total number of wins to four, but he's really at a loss to explain it. "I don't know why I win," the Klondike placer miner says. "I really don't practice that much for it. We usually do panning, but we don't pan for speed. We pan for testing the cut and one thing and another."
Panning in a contest is so different from panning at a mine that Sailer says you do have to hone yourself a little and make an effort to shift gears. Testing a pan for colours is not like searching for flakes, and it's certainly not like picking those flakes out of the pan and putting them in a little vial.
"That's where a lot of people fall behind," Sailer says.
His own technique is to remind himself that it's worth taking up to an extra 4 minutes and 59 seconds to make sure that he's got all the flakes. There's no point, he says, in being the first one finished if you've missed a flake, because that will cost you a five minute penalty. It's far smarter to keep going steadily and not rush so as to get one or two more flakes than your speedier opponent. It pays in the end.
But he was still surprised to win again. "There's some good panners out there. Pete Erickson and Jim Archibald and all of those guys. They're super."
In fact, Pete Erickson beat Sailer when they were both entered in the Seniors' Open event this year and Art's wife, Noreen, wasn't far behind him in the same contest, coming in third place.
Noreen, he says, actually does more of the panning at their Ace Placers claim than he does.
"Noreen's the panner in our family. She actually beat me in Sweden one year," he confesses. It was in a Veterans event, a classification which had more to do with the length of time contestants had been working miners than it did with ages.
Art says they booked early so they could get the trip on their accumulated air miles. They had decided to go after talking to some Californian panners last year.
Several other miners are planning to make this trip as well, so they will make up part of a Klondike group.
"We've met a whole bunch of Europeans one our other trips over to Europe, so it gets to be like old home week when we go to these competitions. You meet these friends from thousands of miles away and you make some good friendships, so it's really good."
by Dan Davidson
The Tr'ondek Hwech'in new cultural centre didn't actually open its doors on July 1, but it did open its spirit. The day before the centre suffered a small electrical fire which was easily dealt with, but damaged the electrical systems in the building. While power will be restored and the building open by Friday, it was decided not to postpone the opening.
Chief Steve Taylor proudly acted as MC to the event, introducing the Han Dancers and Singers, themselves one of the most visible symbols of the cultural resurgence which the Han and other Hwech'in peoples which make up the first nation have undergone over the last several years.
The singers, now numbering nearly two dozen youth and adults, have appeared at a number of high profile events lately, including the Commissioner's Tea and the Commissioner's Potlatch during the month of June. They presented several welcoming numbers to the large audience gathered before the Front Street building.
Taylor said the building represented the first nation's rediscovery of its roots through dancing and singing as well as "our desire to be part of the tourism industry."
When fully functional, the building will contain a small museum of first nation artifacts and art displays, an interpretive centre and a 90 seat theatre in which locally developed plays and other presentations may be staged or shown.
Mayor Glen Everitt agreed that the centre was "remarkable not just in cultural but also as a rebirth." Such strength, he said, could only benefit Dawson as a whole, helping to build a healthy community.
"Thanks for helping Dawson move forward."
Wendy Burns, the local representative of the Yukon Anniversaries Commission, felt that "The last ten years have been a real revival".
Dick Van Nostrand, chair of the Klondike Visitors Association and president of the Dawson Chamber of Commerce, also spoke of the benefits to the the entire town of such carefully planned and well executed facilities.
"They've done a hell of a job," he said in praise of Han Construction.
Young Allison Anderson assisted Taylor in the ribbon cutting ceremony, after which the celebrations adjourned to the Tro Chu Tin Hall just down the street, where there was food, and entertainment by Sundog, a popular first nations group of performers.
by Jocelyn Bell
The Klondike Visitors Association board has agreed in principal to turn over the Odd Fellows Hall to the two-month-old Dawson City Arts Society.
"It's a huge, huge privilege to have access to that facility," said John Steins, vice-president of the society.
The two bodies are hammering out the details of the turnover agreement and the building will soon be in the hands of the arts society.
"The vision for the whole thing is rather grandiose," admitted arts society president Greg Hakonson, adding that they're hoping to "develop an entire new economy in town based on the arts."
The big dream is of a campus-type school for the arts in Dawson, with the Odd Fellows Hall as only one of many buildings making up the setting. The 15 board members, who are all connected to the arts, envision artists and students of art coming to Dawson from all over the world to share and develop their skills and ideas.
It will be something like the arts centre at Banff, Alberta "without the snob appeal," said Steins. "We want to stay away from any pretence of being highbrow."
But there is a long, long way to go before this dream is realized. The society is still in the process of deciding what kind of arts they'll feature. Dance and theatre arts are obvious first choices because the second floor of the Odd Fellows Hall is a huge open room with 20-foot ceilings. It also has a sprung floor -- ideal for dancing on, and one of only three in Canada.
Other possibilities being debated are fine arts, crafts, film, photography, music and computer arts. Once these decisions are made, the society will have to debate the division of space in the building. How much space would be given for a gallery, for learning space, for a dark room? Their ideas will be passed onto an architect, who will draw up blue print. Then the society will have to fund raise - somewhere in the vicinity of $300,000 to $400,000 to pay a contractor to carry out the plan.
Hakonson hopes that maybe in two or three years the building will be operational.
The Odd Fellows Hall, which is structurally sound, was built in 1907 and has been vacant since the 1950s. The Odd Fellows were a men's charity organization originating in Baltimore, Maryland in 1819.
"Back in the 1800s in the States when they formed, it was odd for men to form a group and do charity work," Hakonson explained.
by Dan Davidson
In its efforts to do something to control vandalism and street violence as well as cut down on property crimes, the town of Dawson has been tossing out a number of ideas over the last two months. The discussion has been fairly wide-spread and seems to have revolved mainly around two issues: the use of the word "curfew" and the proposed clauses which dealt mainly with teenagers under the age of 18.
The end result of it all is a somewhat different concept, perhaps less discriminatory but probably more far reaching than the original proposal.
Bylaw #98-16, generally called the Loitering Bylaw, came into force at the end of June, and has one main rule, qualified by two following statements.
The core of the bylaw reads as follows:
"No person shall loiter in a public place or on any Street after the hour of 9: o'clock p.m. on any day or before the hour of 6:00 a.m. on the following day, without having obtained written permission from the Council of the Town of the City of Dawson."
Excluded from this bylaw are those times when people may be at organized public gatherings or simply travelling to and from work.
This means that the new bylaw extends throughout the entire municipality, not just the five blocks of the downtown core as in the original proposal, and that it includes everyone, not just a certain age group of teens.
This bylaw may be enforced by either the R.C.M.P. or the municipality's own bylaw officers and could result in a summary conviction leading to up to 200 hours of community service work or a fine of up to $500.
Council had gone so far as a first reading of the curfew bylaw before the members decided that they simply had to avoid the word "curfew". Mayor Glen Everitt says that no matter how carefully the original plan was explained people did not like that word and seemed prepared to ignore most of the facts of the proposal in order to worry at it.
"I asked council to defeat it before it even got its first reading and explained to them what I meant by a loitering bylaw. This got everybody. It didn't just separate young people but addressed the crowds that were causing the problems that they were watching. It was fully supported by council except for one member who was adamantly opposed and wanted a curfew put in where you were actually in your house."
This extreme was not something that council had ever discussed doing, though it seemed to come up in a lot of the opposition discussion.
"I believe," said Everitt, "that this bylaw is a lot better. It does the same thing, but maybe a little more, and it came out of listening to the public and what they had to say. It puts everybody in the same group. The public knew about it (the new bylaw) and we never got any protest on it."
by Jocelyn Bell
KHNS Radio, a public service station out of Alaska, says that by the end of July, at least 1.5 million people from Europe, the U.S., Japan and Antarctica will hear about Dawson City.
The station is planning to include Dawson as part of 12-show series called "Summer in Alaska II - The Golden Circle Tour."
Last summer, Sedge Thomson, the impresario and interviewer host of San Fransisco-based West Coast Live, produced four shows featuring Alaskan cities. The show was transmitted world-wide last June and July and rebroadcast in January 1998.
This year, with the help of KHNS Radio, West Coast Live is doing a longer series and including Dawson City.
Patrick Kelly, co-ordinating producer for KHNS, was in Dawson two weeks ago to set up the show, which he hopes to tape July 15. He said the show is designed to profile of Dawson City -- its native culture, the music festival, the Gold Rush, and pre-gold rush history.
It will include an interview and music of one of the main Dawson Music Festival guests, and interviews with local authors, and representatives of the Han first nation and Parks Canada. Kelly was also looking for local characters and getting swamped with suggestions.
Sedge Thomson "has a great knack for interviewing. He brings out the best in people," said Kelly.
Kelly needs an audience of about 80 to 100 people to watch the show being taped. But they won't be able to just sit back and listen. Thomson will be interacting with the audience, throwing bagels at them, asking them to write their own true stories, and maybe read them too.
"The show is a whole lot of fun. You never know what's going to happen," Kelly boasted.
They wanted to include Dawson in the itinerary because of the "opportunity to work with Canadian and Yukon musicians," and because it coincided with the centennial of the Klondike Gold Rush. He also wants to catch the flavour of the city. "There's so much creative talent here and interesting people."
The 2-hour show will likely be broadcast Saturday, July 18. But Canadian listeners will not be able to hear it because it is being broadcast over the American Armed Forces Radio Network, which has no affiliates in Canada.
by Jocelyn Bell
It's hard to say who's more excited -- Sabrina Frangetti or her mom, Michelline. But each one tries to calm the other one down, not to hope for too much.
Sabrina, 15, was diagnosed at age 3 with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, severe type III and is on her way to receive a new treatment that could change her quality of life dramatically.
Her condition, shortened to OI, is a disorder that makes Sabrina's bones fragile. Type III is the most severe form, characterized by multiple fractures, bone deformities, bone pain, stunted growth and decreased physical activity.
"People like me, they have light bones," Sabrina says, putting it into simpler terms. "Once I broke my arm scratching my nose."
Sabrina has a bedroom bed, a living room bed and a wheel chair that has the warning "Don't touch me" on it. She is currently nursing a fractured rib which she got in the middle of the night, probably from twisting too hard in her sleep.
Two years ago, the IODE bought Sabrina a computer, which was later upgraded by the Special Program of Education in Whitehorse.
It was a gift that brought Sabrina out of a deep depression when she was bedridden and put her in touch with other people who were also suffering from OI.
One of her e-mail pen pals told her about a new treatment called Pamidronate and gave her the e-mail address of Dr. Horatio Plotkin who does the treatment at the Shriners Hospital in Montreal.
So Sabrina sent him her medical profile and asked if she qualified for the treatment. Dr. Plotkin told her she was a candidate and to make arrangements to go to Montreal.
Pamidronate, is a medication not unlike medication used for osteoporosis and Paget disease of the bone. It decreases the rate of bone destruction, leading to an increase in bone density and is administered through intravenous, three hours at a time for four days in a row.
"It's still experimental so if you find out about it you're lucky," said Sabrina.
While Pamidronate is not a cure, reports from children who've undergone the treatment seem miraculous; a four-year-old who couldn't hold up her head or roll over suddenly scooting along the floor; a 13-year-old who had never walked playing soccer; a 15-year-old who could only stand up running with the aid of a walker.
Sabrina and Michelline have both read these accounts but keep their hopes in check since they've been let down by so many experimental treatments before.
"Mom, you're being too positive. I don't think I'll be able to sit up," Sabrina says. "My luck, I'll be allergic to it. I'm so unlucky.
"I don't know what will happen. I'm scared... The only reason that I'm going is the chance that I might be stronger." The most Sabrina dares to dream for is that the treatment will alleviate her arthritis-like chronic pain.
Sabrina and Michelline will travel to Montreal as soon as they can. But their travel plans are being complicated by Sabrina's condition. She needs to travel by stretcher -- driving to Whitehorse then flying to Montreal. Bumps on the road or turbulence in the air could cause her bones to fracture. Catching a cold virus on the plane could easily develop into life-threatening pneumonia for Sabrina.
On top of this, Sabrina's stretcher will take up six seats on the plane, adding expense to the health hazards of the travel. Thankfully, Sabrina and Michelline's trip will be funded by Shriners organizations in Vancouver, Montreal and Portland, Oregon.
The Frangettis hope to leave sometime between July 15 and July 30.
* * * * *
Sabrina Frangetti's story is best told in her own words taken from an e-mail letter she sent to the Dr. Horatio Plotkin in Montreal who will perform her treatment.
"I am 15 1/2, with my longest leg (my other leg is like 2 inches or so shorter) I am 3'10"... I have broken about, mmm let's see, 500 times. Mostly hairline fractures...
At 5, I started shrinking (compressive fractures of the spine). I don't think I am shrinking much any more, well no wonder, I can't sit up... My spine, well it's very messed up. It looks like a snake. My lungs are very squished, but that is not new... My lung capacity is really low, but always has been that I remember.
Now I have asthma because of allergies (they started popping out 3 years ago, I don't even know to what I am allergic to any more). Well just to say that I have several health problems other than OI.
Well now I live in the Yukon. At least it is not humid. I remember how much more painful it was in Quebec because of humidity...
I am currently partly bed ridden. I have a living room bed and a bed room bed. When I first got bed ridden 3 years ago, I could not move at all. Mom had to cut my shirts open in the back. I got on-line after a couple of months. That helped me a lot. I was in deep depression...
Sometimes I also break in my sleep. I tell you allergies are bad with OI. Also, I have gotten pneumonia many times. Almost died because of that several times too...
At the moment I can barely hold my head up. WAY TOO HEAVY for my little small neck. My spine is very weak. People just don't realize how heavy the head is...
I would like to know who qualifies for the Pamidronate trials? I am very interested in it. So is mom...
Reported by Dan Davidson
Tess Fragoulis, the new Berton House writer-in-residence, come to Dawson from Montreal, where she has been establishing her literary reputation over the last several years. her most recent collection of short fiction is Stories to Hide From Your Mother, which was published in December 1997 by Arsenal Pulp Press.
Introduced to the public at a Berton House after just a week in the Yukon, Fragoulis offered her impressions of how her stay began and how she hopes it will continue.
"The first thing that happened to me after my plane touched down in Whitehorse was that the man who sat next to me on the flight gave me a jar of his home made honey. And I thought, 'This is a good sign.'
"The second chap I ran into by the Yukon River spontaneously offered me a tour of of Whitehorse's finer drinking establishments, and I thought, 'Boy, people are really friendly here.'
"And this was just in my first two hours in the Yukon. What might I experience in the whole three months?
"Well, I've now been here a whole week, almost to the minute in fact. Most of it in Dawson. People ask me how I am settling in and all I can say is I feel like I've always been here, so you might say I'm settling in just fine.
"At the same time I continue to to collect experiences both minute and large. I find myself turned around, wanting to write at 10:30 p.m. when the sun is brightest through my window. This confusion, I think, can only be good for the creative juices.
"At the same time I have already developed the habit of walking my dog (who barked as if on cue from inside the house) up and down the river bank, which seems to me like a good way to bookend a day. And I even use old Robert Service as a clock, and wonder how long it will be before the murmur of his poetry works its way into the novel I am writing, but I guess that just goes with the territory."
(Tom Byrne presents the work of Robert Service in the middle of every morning and every afternoon, just about every day. His cabin is just across the street on Eighth Avenue.)
"The City of Dawson and the Greek island where my novel is set are not as far apart as one would think by looking at a map. They are both places of incredible natural beauty, mythology and sunshine, which attract travellers from all over the world in the summer.
"I feel truly honoured to have been chosen as writer in residence here at Berton House, and I feel that my time here will be productive. There is, after all, much to live up to. All I have to do is glance at the three shelves buckling under the weight of Pierre Berton's books, and my one book ceases to seem as impossible as it can on some days. Thank you for inviting me."
by John and Liz Plaxton
John and Lix Plaxton, co-authors of a travelogue entitled RVing in Mexico, Central America and Panama, are researching thier second illustrated book, RVing into Canada's Arctic. They left Kelowna, BC in April and are travelling by motorhome through norther British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories until late October.
The Plaxtons spent the last two weeks in Dawson City and then left for Inuvik last Thursday.
The following is a draft of what will likely be printed about Dawson in their book:
"Forget the Canada-Alaska Highway, Dawson City is where you want to go. Dawson offers a whole lot more attractions, if you have the time to enjoy them.
"We came to Dawson City for two or three days, to rest our road-weary bones. Thanks to the excellent facilities and tours provided by Parks Canada and the friendliness of Dawsonites (even summer Dawannabees), we've stayed 15 days and have yet to rest our sore feet and overloaded brains. Sleep occurs the moment our heads his soft pillows, which is usually jst before the sun sets, some time after midnight.
"These two weeks have been an extended version of night-before-exam cramming. I've learned more history than I can remember. Which is a shame, because it is so very interesting.
"Time. You need time to enjoy this unique community, to begin to understand why students come for a summer and stay a decade or why the streets will never be paved or to marvel at two victorian buildings that have withstood the relentless ravages of permafrost for almost a century. (It's too bad Dawson Sourdoughs hadn't been asked how to build roads and a highway in 1942.)
"I need time to write about: the view of worm-like tailings below Midnight Dome; what we saw and marvelled at during our excursion to King Solomon Dome; how a sunrise can be seen by looking north; about an unexpected ice cream treat made with two cones; the opulence of Yukon's Commissioner's residence; why a rusty gold pan costs more than a shiny new pan; our bial of gold dust and one small nugget; a toe "ice cube" in a little bit of Yukon Jack; where a watch battery can be found next to Wolly Mammoth ivory; a sad walk amongst three rotting hulls and rusted machinery of one majestic paddle-wheelers; the unexpected plasure of enjoying "Gertie's Girls" a second time; the discovery that Wednesday's 7:30 supper was being eaten outside at eleven o'clock at night; CBC Radio; how 3,00-ton floating dredges can move up a naorrw creek; why Gyro is pronounced Delicious Hero; where to buy new multi-lingual magazines, and used books; why Rvers enjoy an inexpensive campground across the river; where to get potable water and dump tanks for only a single loonie; how one company built a city, hydor-electric dams, water system and a plant to manufacture oxygen and acetylene without computers; where and when to get each of three informative newspapers; why part of one large hotel looks like four store fronts; when grocery shelves and produce were restocked; why there was beed fir a business named Klondyke Thawing Machine Co.; internet access; the unsuspected location of less expensive fuel; how a gambling casino can be non-profit; where we met Tom Byrne; our feelings while standing on the infamous ninth green at 1:30 a.m.; comparing stabilized Dredge #4 with the remains of #11; all dressed up in Red and White and proudly singing 'O Canada'; why...
"I don't have enough time. We've only got another two days here. We've got to get out there and participate, to talk to Yukon characters, to see more, to listen more, to ask ignorant questions, to buy a log cabin, to ...??? Ye gods, the first symptom of Sourdough-itis has appeared.
"Dang you Dawson City. Dang you Parks Canada. While enriching my soul you are stealing it.
"Please. Please. If you let me drive to Inuvik, I'll come back."
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