Dawson City, Yukon Friday, June 21, 2002

Seven western premiers and their entourage gathered in Dawson City for two days early in June. It was not the most important item in this issue, but it makes a great photograph. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

Western Premiers Meet in Dawson
The New Tourist Target
Lots of Smoke at Council as Bylaw Languishes
Grad 2002: The Very Best They Dare to Hope
Dawson Declared Capital
Fire and Ambulance Vehicle Extrication Course
Aboriginal HeadStart Graduation
Hostel Boasts Simple Rustic Luxury
Everitt Challenges Jenkins to Debate
Council Was Not Invited to Ambassador's Party
Swiss Film Maker Captures the Placer Miners' Lifestyle
Whimsical Artist in Town

Welcome to the June 21, 2002 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 35 photographs and 38 articles that were in the 28 page June 18 hard copy edition. This posting is late due to our webmaster being on vacation. He deserved one.

With this issue we welcome Heather Pauls as our summer intern. Heather comes to us from Chilliwack by way of the University of British Columbia.

The hard copy also contains Doug Urquhart's famous "Paws" cartoon strip, our homegrown crossword puzzle, and obviously, all the other material you won't find here. See what you're missing by not subscribing?

We do encourage viewers of this website to consider subscribing to the Sun. It would help us financially and you would get to see everything closer to when it's actually news. About 600 people read each issue of this paper online, and we'd love to be sending out that many more papers. See our home page for subscription information.

Western Premiers Meet in Dawson

by Dan Davidson

Western Premiers at the press conference table following two days of discussions. Photo by Dan Davidson

Decisions, decisions, decisions!. Here's the problem. The Western Premiers meeting was covered to a fair thee well by the national media, who pretty much made anything we might put here redundant. On the other hand, it was an EVENT, and our local paper can't ignore it as such.

We thought we'd use the communiqués from the press office, since they do provide a good summary of the issues, and leave this space to a photo spread on what they did while they were here. On paper, there were two pages, one labeled The Work and the other The Play. For the net, we'll have to settle for two photos and this summary.

From the Yukon's point of view there were only a few things that mattered. The table was split on the issue of which pipeline to build first, but Premier Pat Duncan and Minister Scott Kent seemed to make some progress and Alberta's Premier Klein agreed that both should be built.

The Yukon got support for the proposal that money for treatment of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome should be directed here are well as to the provinces.

There was approval for the notion that some kind of economic development money was needed in the north, whether as a separate find or as part of an enhanced Western Fund.

Climate change legislation remained contentious and it seems likely that it will studied to death until it's too late to do anything. Premier Doer and Mayor Everitt were joint champions of the Kyoto Accord, but to no avail.

Aside from that, discussions covered agriculture, disaster relief funding, the infrastructure program, trade, health, children and post secondary education. Motherhood statements were made on all subjects.

From Dawson's point of view it's important that they came here for the second time in a decade, and that we impressed them as a good place to be.

For a full set of press releases and reports on this conference check out this link: www.scics.gc.ca/new_e.html.


The New Tourist Target

by Heather Pauls

Isabelle Plouffe wanders the floor a Bombay Peggy's playing the hostess for the Franco Yukonaise group. Photo by Heather Pauls

On June 9th, the Association Franco-Yukonnaise hosted an open house at Bombay Peggy's to promote their involvement in expanding Yukon tourism to French-speaking peoples. The goal of Isabelle Plouffe, the Tourism Project Manager, is to encourage businesses within the Yukon to offer Francophone-accessible services and information, as well as to promote the Yukon Territory to French people from all over the globe. Plouffe's promotional travels include such places as Switzerland, Belgium, France, and Quebec, where she tries to increase the emerging French tourist market.

On the agenda for the evening was an introduction to the services that the association offers while attendees delighted in the bubbling champagne, chocolate-coated strawberries and salmon covered baguette. Barnacle Bob filled the venue with turn-of-the-century tunes on the piano as background music while those that can read and understand French perused the Guide des services touristiques en francais pamphlet distributed to guests upon arrival. Plouffe wandered the floor offering to answer any questions visitors might have about what the association provides.

A French tourist oriented association is necessary for many reasons as Plouffe finds when working around many obstacles in promoting tourism. One of the main problems, one common to any northern tourism industry, is that when people consider a vacation their first response is to plan to visit warmer southern areas. Her job is to encourage those with wanderlust to consider something a little less cliché and a little more adventurous. Another difficulty is that the Yukon has a predominantly English-speaking population; often French tourists find the language barrier discouraging. She is thankful, however, for Dawson City's efforts to hire bilingual workers for the busy summer months, although in a city where the tourists are mostly German she finds that the emphasis is placed on catering to this language, and hopes that soon there will be a greater demand for a francophone-friendly tourist industry in the Yukon.


Lots of Smoke at Council as Bylaw Languishes

by Dan Davidson

For a month or so there it looked as if Dawson council's proposed No Smoking bylaw would pass without public opposition or acrimony. That possibility came to an end at the June 10 council meeting during a debate which started out politely, became lively and ended up in a shouting match.

As proposed and advertised, the bylaw had four main rules:

The impetus for all of this was threefold, according to Mayor Glen Everitt.

First, there was a question of liability. Towns in the south are being sued because they have failed to regulate smoking in areas where employees claim to have contracted diseases from second-hand smoke.

The bylaw in its present form doesn't really address the question of protecting employees, but that was part of the inspiration.

Second, the Mayor and council have indicated they want to protect the young. The discussion has focussed on kids under 18 who have to accompany their families into places for meals. It does not address the number of underage smokers in the town.

Third, town officials have been hearing an increasing number of complaints about the lack of smoke-free eating places from southern visitors who are now used to restaurants where smoking is banned. Dawson, Everitt says, is behind the times on this issue and visitors are complaining.

From all of this, it can been seen that restaurants were the main target of the bylaw. For the most part this didn't seem to bother people very much, and council had heard little in the way of complaint prior to the Monday night meeting.

The sticking point on Monday seemed to be the issue of designated smoking areas, which Everitt said he had always assumed would be the outdoor decks. Every eatery in town has some sort of a deck, whether it's partially enclosed, roofed, tarped, or open to the air. The mayor's stated intention as far as smoking in these areas is concerned was, "It's fine with me."

That's about where the polite meeting began to bog down.

When is a deck a deck? Some are quite enclosed, some aren't. Some have roll-down vinyl windows. The possibilities seemed to be endless. According to a YTG definition, most of the decks in town wouldn't qualify.

When is there enough ventilation? One member of the gallery, which began to grow as the television audience at home listened to the debate, suggested that this had been the issue in British Columbia.

Would under eighteens be banned from the deck if it was a smoking area? Some said they should be; some felt it would be an infringement on their rights.

Would they actually be allowed to smoke out there themselves? Who would have to enforce it if they weren't?

Did the proposed bylaw actually give an unfair advantage to hotels with bars, which could a smoking room food service area? For this reason one restaurant owner was urging council to ban smoking totally - bars included - or leave the issue alone.

Who would police the bylaw? Was this to be up to the owners?

No, Everitt said, enforcement would be driven by the number of complaints received.

Should the bylaw be seasonal? This suggestion tosses out any concern over setting an example for local children.

Some members of the gallery, which grew and got noisier after the mayor called a 10 minute break and retired to his office to try to work out some new wording, were smokers, some were not. Some felt council had more important things to spend its time on.

Council itself is divided on the issue. Debbie Nagano (not present at this meeting) is known to be against the planned restrictions. Joanne Van Nostrand, co-owner of the Downtown Hotel, has declared herself in conflict of interest on the issue and will neither comment not vote.

Wayne Potoroka does not want a bylaw which actually allows a place where underage smokers will be able to indulge a habit for which they cannot legally buy the fixings.

Byrun Shandler is adamant, "I want something that will actually work. I have no love affair for passing bylaws and more rules unless they're effective." For him, it's a matter of banning smoking in restaurants, period, and leaving the bars alone.

The debate got heated as the meeting wore on. When ex-smoker Shandler quipped that smokers in general were like "al Quaida members, huddling in caves, waiting to napalmed into submission" some people thought he was referring to them personally and demanded an apology.

"It was supposed to be a joke," he said in a later interview, adding that he's got to learn not to do that when tempers are high.

Shandler also drew fire for maintaining that it was the council itself which would have to make the final decision, that the gallery might offer input, but it hadn't been elected to the job of municipal governance. That is technically correct, of course, but not the right thing to say.

As things stood at the end of the evening, Bylaw #02-11 was tabled for a rewrite. A new draft is supposed to ready for viewing at town offices on June 17 and it will be on the agenda at the June 24 public council meeting. As the tales of this meeting make the rounds, it would be fair to anticipate an increase in gallery attendance.


Grad 2002: The Very Best They Dare to Hope

by Dan Davidson

The class of 2002 gathered in the school gymnasium for their banquet. Photo by Dan Davidson

Class valedictorian Bonnie Vogt summed up her feelings about graduating in terms which were almost a challenge: "I guess ... what graduation means to me (is that ) it's the day we stop being "grade 12's" and start to find out who we really are and who we are going to become."

This tied very nicely into much of what had gone before, as various speakers, beginning with Principal Denis Gauthier, worked with variations on some words by the poet, Robert W. Service.

"The Very Best I Dare to Hope" is the school motto chosen for the Robert Service School some sixteen years ago, when the current school was still in the planning stages. The poet probably wrote it in his little cabin when he was approaching the age of 35, and it asks the rhetorical question, "what remains" of life at that age. His answer was: "the very best, I dare to hope."

For the eleven students in the schools Class of 2002, those sentiments were very much in evidence within the words of the guest speakers at this year's commencement exercises.

School council chair Jack Vogt spoke of life as being a bit like school, full of many doors, some of which you enter gladly and some which you enter with less enthusiasm.

"You will know you've made good use of your education, and your life," he said, "if, when you hit your last door, people will say of you 'that is someone who is not only living for themselves ... but has lived to share (life) with other people."

Speaking on behalf of the town council, Byrun Shandler had the room in stitches during much of his address, which dealt with such topics as "don't wear yellow" and "when you're travelling abroad, don't eat anything that isn't cooked or that you can't unseal".

Shandler had his serious moments, too, advising the grads that "You have to grow, you have to take risks, but we hope you take managed risks.

"Be involved where ever you go. When you find a place that you like, join it; join into its programs; be a volunteer, because then you'll make it better.

"Oh, and don't smoke. It's really lame," the recovering smoker admonished.

Chief Darren Taylor of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, also referred obliquely to managed risks, "This is a day to be remembered, so tonight at your graduation party, be responsible for your actions."

On a less cautious note, he said, " Each of you deserves the greatest of congratulations.

"Every day, every hour and every second that passes it what you make of it."

Chief Taylor presented gifts from the First Nations Grad Ceremonies to Shauna Kormendy, Kristen Cook, Daniel Mason and Adam Roberts.

MLA Peter Jenkins reminded the grads of what they had attained.

"You can take comfort in the fact that your teachers and your parents have done their best, through your education, to help you prepare to meet the challenges of the future.

"Three things cannot be taken away from you: heritage, culture and education. Use them to your advantage and be proud."

MP Larry Bagnell was on hand to suggest that this group of graduates faces a different world than did the Class of 2001. Bagnell believes the lasting impact of September 11th's terrorist attacks has yet to be seen.

"The perceptions of the world that you have are quite different from the those of the students who graduated last year," he said, but he added that their education has provided them with three tools that will see them through.

They had been taught, he explained, how to learn and how to solve problems; how to question situations and seek answers; how to know and appreciate their values and apply them to their lives. With these tools in hand, said the MP, they have "the most important allies in the problems you will face."

Carol McCauley, Superintendent of Education for Area III, was on hand to introduce the class valedictorian, and leave her own brief message with the students. For McCauley, who has a long history with this school where she was once the principal, graduation "is a day to celebrate the relationships you've had ... in school ...with your families ... and in the community.

"It's going to be your ability to form relationships and maintain them all ... that will make you succeed in life."

Class valedictorian Bonnie Vogt spoke to her peers about identity. For so many years, she said, members of this group had been bound together by labels like "the grade threes", "the grade elevens" and, finally, "the grade twelves." All that was over now, in a way that was both sad and exciting.

"It's sad (because) we now longer have an identity that binds us all together. It's exciting ... (because) from now on who we are and who we will be is entirely up to us."

Vogt was the big winner in the awards department this year, walking away with the $200 Mary Gartside Award, for highest marks; the $250 Masonic Bursary, the $500 Klondike Riding Bursary; the $100 Chamber of Commerce Award and the $250 Klondike Sun Award, as well as the $250 Department of Education Award as Valedictorian.

This year's class of 12 included Bonnie Vogt, Daniel Mason, Adam Roberts, Joel Peirson, Nathan Gauthier, Kristen Cook, Shauna Kormendy, Samantha Cayen, Leah Adam, Carla Mather.


Dawson Declared Capital

by Dan Davidson

Mayor Everitt receives the plaque from Premier Duncan. Photo by Dan Davidson

Premier Pat Duncan handed Mayor Glen Everitt a plaque declaring Dawson City to be the Honorary Capital of the Yukon from June 5 until the end of 2002. The Mayor noted it was a step in the right direction. Here's a thought: the plaque would have looked great attached to something big - like a bridge. This event took place during the Western Premiers' Conference.


Fire and Ambulance Vehicle Extrication Course

by Aedes Scheer

The ambulance crew handles a staged emergency. Photo by Aedes Scheer

"Make a BIG SPACE". This was the lasting message from Vehicle Extrication instructors Michael Swainson and Peter Moss from the Whitehorse Ambulance Service and Fire Department. And a big space is exactly what several members of the Klondike Fire Department, Dawson Ambulance Service and Dawson City Fire Department made on Front Street in a demonstration of the skills learned in a Vehicle Extrication Course, June 1st. While onlookers gathered in the periphery, a joint team of the Klondike and Dawson City Fire Departments assessed the scene, stabilized the tottery car lying on its side, then removed glass and metal from around the two occupants of the car permitting the medics to package and remove the casualties to waiting ambulances. The demonstration was not without its hitches; the instructors, in initially setting up the casualties, had jammed the steering column down into the legs of the mannequin in the driver's seat and then removed the steering wheel tilt lever. This resulted in a last minute additional challenge to the extrication teams who improvised and saved the day, not to mention "Randy" the mannequin's legs.

Prior to the demonstration on Front Street, the Fire and Ambulance teams were familiarized with the tools to be used and how to approach an incident requiring vehicle extrication from start to finish. The day was punctuated by great anecdotes told by the instructors which served to further illustrate the do's and don't of using the tools. The opportunity to yell "Breaking Glass!" and plunge a tool through a window or sledge hammer a door was not lost on the participants and much was learned about how these materials behave under such stresses.

An additional valuable outcome of this exercise was to learn what each crew requires and is capable of doing. This will facilitate smoother rescues and synchronization of call-outs. Each team has specialized training and must rely on the other teams to fully take control of a rescue; in situations outlined in this course it was perfectly clear that Fire and Ambulance are necessary partners in saving casualties of a motor vehicle accident.

The Vehicle Extrication course participants would like to thank the RCMP and the Nursing Station for their roles in the coordination of this exercise and value their day-to-day collaboration in the management of emergency situations.


Aboriginal HeadStart Graduation

Submitted by Trinké Zho staff

Teacher: Brenda Rear, Students: Scott Anderson, Nick Rear, Daniel Titus, Ryan Titus, Aaron Robinson, Kadin Kormendy, Nathan Taylor, Josh Van-Bibber, and Dustyn Van-Bibber. Photo submitted by Trinké Zho Staff

On May 31, 2002, an important ceremony was held for nine special boys who graduated from Aboriginal HeadStart Program. Aboriginal HeadStart Program projects typically provide half-day preschool experiences that prepare young Aboriginal children for their school years by meeting their spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical needs.

We would like to say congratulations to Nathan Taylor, Ryan Titus, Daniel Titus, Josh Van-Bibber, Dustyn Van-Bibber, Aaron Robinson, Kadin Kormendy, Nick Rear, and Scott Anderson. We are very proud of each one of you. Have a fun summer and best wishes in kindergarten.


Hostel Boasts Simple Rustic Luxury

by Heather Pauls

According to Dieter Reinmuth, the owner, manager and creator of the Dawson City River Hostel, when it comes to designing an economical and rustic accommodations it is best to keep it simple.

One of the first aspects you can see upon arriving at the hostel is the raw, unvarnished timber that composes the various structures that speckle the area. After a quick tour of the grounds, the bizarre sporadic layout inspires a few questions, such as "Why is the kitchen so far away from the dish pit?" The answer relates to Dieter's nature-loving mindset. The higher elevation of the sinks is crucial to his elaborate gray-water disposing system.

"I think that I'm the only one in Dawson that treats his own gray-water," Dieter remarked. This concern for self-sufficiency also carries over into his emphasis on recycling, as blue boxes are wedged under and lined up on the counters of the outdoor kitchen. Unfortunately, composting is not an option as it is sure to attract hungry post-hibernation bears.

The wood burned in any of the three stoves, one in the common room, another in the bathhouse and one of course in the kitchen, is actually salvaged building materials from the nearby garbage dump.

The effort of being nature-friendly adds to the generally mellow atmosphere of the hostel's cabins, dorm rooms, and camping spaces. While the furthest camping section is the refuge of transient workers looking for an affordable place to stay, it is the tourists from all over the globe that are most likely to make use of the cabins and dorms. For those seeking day trip adventures, the hostel offers bicycles and canoes for rent.

For the less adventurous or just plain tired, on sunny days you can sprawl out on what Dieter lovingly calls "the sundeck," which is essentially an expanse of level ground covered in white gravel and plastic patio furniture, boasting a fantastic panoramic view of Dawson City. For those not so sunny days, the cozy common room is readily available; a wooden stove and plenty of reading material will help you relax as you sink into the soft dusty couches. These are the best places for whiling away lazy afternoons in amusing, light-hearted conversations with the often-quirky fellow hostel mates.

Speaking of quirky characters, visitors will most likely become well acquainted with the hostel's unofficial mascots, Rascal and Roscoe. The former is the neighbor's friendly but perhaps disloyal dog, the latter is a pudgy squirrel that is forever absconding with your daily bread.

Another amusing aspect of the hostel is its incredible amount of signs. If you are ever in doubt concerning what is allowed

and what is against the rules, simply scan your immediate surroundings and you will soon locate a sign that will supply you with all the information you need and then some!

Dieter's current goal is to design and construct a new sauna, complete with stove and cedar benches. The funds for this endeavor will come out of the pockets of the visitors, as he has raised his rates slightly to build this rustic luxury. Hopefully it will be completed by late summer if it's a good season for tourists using his facilities. The sauna will be an enjoyable addition to the already established bathhouse, Dieter's pride and joy. The bathhouse evolved from a creek-side fire pit into an indoor washing room that heats a barrel of water for all your scrubbing needs. In keeping with Dieter's commitment to an electricity, sewer-system and running drinking water free atmosphere, the sauna will be fueled by what mother nature and the dump makes readily available: wood.

If you are looking for a laid-back place to stay, be sure to give the Dawson City River Hostel a try. Its distance from the bustling town of Dawson makes a quiet refuge from the hum of tourists, although you might experience the exciting new hum of carefree people looking for a good time. Your stay will be an enjoyable one, and you may meet some interesting travelers like yourself.


Everitt Challenges Jenkins to Debate

by Dan Davidson

Mayor Glen Everitt and Dawson's council are challenging the Klondike's MLA Peter Jenkins to put up in a public forum or shut up in the legislature.

Council is boiling mad over statements made by Jenkins in the legislature in late May specifically, but in general over the last year.

Everitt accused Jenkins of using the safety of the legislature, where he is not accountable for his words, to make constant complaints about the town's business, criticize the local government and urge the territorial government to intervene in City of Dawson affairs.

In recent statements Jenkins has tackled two major themes: the recreation centre problems and the planning for the sewage treatment plant. In addition, he has launched personal attacks on Everitt, whom he apparently sees as his rival in the next territorial election.

On May 23, in wrapping up his remarks on the recreation centre, Jenkins said, "I guess they have to maintain the profile of this individual who is spearheading the drive as he has purported and made the announcement that he is the next Liberal candidate coming out of Dawson and they don't want to derail any of his followings."

Everitt denies having claimed anything of the sort: "I have not decided to run in the next territorial election."

Byrun Shandler, who sits on the project management team for the recreation centre, insisted that Jenkins "has never talked to anyone on the PMT. I'm upset about this too."

Also on May 23, Jenkins indicated to the legislature that Dawson had already entered into a signed, sealed and delivered deal with EPCOR of Edmonton to plan, build and run the new plant: "...this initiative with the system-operating firm, EPCOR, is going to be the basis for a water licence application. What the minister is trying to suggest at this juncture is that they are only involved in the preliminary stages.

"Well, the preliminary stages and their pre-engineering, which this is, are going to be part of the water licence application. The second stage is implementing the water licence decision, which will require the implementation of the pre-engineered system, which is what the City of Dawson is going to hang their hat on. Once you are down the path that far, that path becomes a heavy ditch with big walls on both sides that you can't get away from or out of."

Councillor Wayne Potoroka, speaking from his work on the sewage plant PMT, said it's just not so.. While EPCOR was once considered a contender to run the whole show, that hasn't been the case for some months now, he said, and an examination of the latest version of the water licence application would show that.

Nor is the town totally committed to the installation of a sequencing batch reactor plant, as indicated by Mr. Jenkins in the house. Council members uniformly said they were surprised to hear the MLA attack this particular design, since the preliminary work that led to it being the front runner came from studies that were commissioned when Jenkins was the mayor here.

Nevertheless, they agreed with Community Services Minister Pam Buckway (Hansard, May 23, 2002) that several different possibilities were under study now and that a final decision had not been taken.

Potoroka indicated that the SBR type of plant is the one used in the water licence application, since something has to be there, but that it could be changed with an amendment if something else turned out to be cheaper and better.

Said Everitt, "There will be tenders going out at some point in the future to build something."

The final point was Jenkins' references to Everitt's travel budget, which he estimated to be about $50,000, or $3,000 more than his own.

"I don't have a $50,000 travel budget," the mayor said. "My travel, except for medical (Everitt has been to Vancouver on several medical trips in the last few years.), is paid by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and the Association of Yukon Communities."

This would include several trips to Ottawa, where he sits on the FCM executive and was reelected chair of the Northern Forum during a recent trip to Hamilton for a board meeting, and even a junket to Russia a few years ago, which was partially financed by the federal government.

Everitt would love to debate these and other issues with Jenkins, whom he chastises for not having held a public forum in his riding since he was first elected.

Would this actually be a prelude to an election contest yet to come? Who knows what the fall of 2002 may bring?


Council Was Not Invited to Ambassador's Party

by Dan Davidson

After hearing complaints from a number of people annoyed with him for not having made an appearance at the Ambassador's Barbecue last weekend, Mayor Glen Everitt decided to speak out on the matter at the June 10 council meeting.

"The reason why there was no council representation at the Ambassador's Barbecue," he told the viewing audience on channel 11, "is because nobody from council was invited."

Everitt said that he knew a month ago that this would likely be the case, and was tempted to "raise a stink" about it, but did not protest because he was afraid it would cause the Ambassadors' visit to Dawson, which he sees as a positive thing, to be cancelled.

He and the rest of council were critical of the way things turned out, however.

"The barbecue has, in my opinion, become a private business event," he said. "One hotel is guaranteed all the rooms; one hotel's restaurant is guaranteed the meals."

The hotel in question is the Eldorado, which is owned and operated by Klondike MLA Peter Jenkins.

Everitt said the conflict over this event (one of many conflicts between the last three councils and Jenkins) began when the council before this one wanted to host the event and tender the contract for the affair.

Everitt said that strings were pulled in the Protocol Office of the federal government by contacts who got to know Jenkins while he was Dawson's mayor, and were happy to have things work out his way. Apparently they were uncomfortable with the event as it developed the one year that it was held outside the fence which surrounds the Jenkins' side yard.

Everitt, stung by accusations that he had snubbed the ambassadors, has already started the wheels turning to change the event for next year. He said he had spoken with MP Larry Bagnell and with officials in the federal government.

"What will take place next year is that the City of Dawson will host the Ambassadors. It will be a community event. It will be tendered."

Everitt is certain that the community which has hosted the both the Federation of Canadian Municipalities board and the Western Premiers' Conference in the last six months is up to the job.

"For those residents who are upset that I did not make a presentation, I can't just go and barge into something where I wasn't invited."


Swiss Film Maker Captures the Placer Miners' Lifestyle

by Dan Davidson

In art, as in life, timing is sometimes everything.

If director Hans Ulrich Schlumpf has arrived in Dawson a couple of years after he did, he would never have seen the annual gathering of swallows on the Old Carnegie Library/Masonic Temple, and the central visual metaphor of his documentary on mining would never have occurred to him.

The very next year the building was moved out into Queen Street during nesting season so that foundation work could be done. Once restored to its location, the second floor eves were shrouded with fine netting to keep the birds away, and they are now found lining the eves of lesser buildings, no longer providing the visual displays of anxious and energetic flight that caught the director's eye and camera.

Without them "Swallows of the Goldrush" would never have become the film that it is.

Schlumpf also had the luck to have been through Dawson in 1998, to have spent some time in helicopters dashing about the goldfields and catching a lot of aerial footage.

When he returned in 1999 to do the core of his interviews and filming, helicopters were rare on the ground and clear air was at a premium. 1999 was an extreme fire summer in the Klondike. Choppers were in the air, and the air itself was hazy at best.

An 83 minute director's cut version of "Swallows of the Goldrush" premiered at the Dawson City Museum on June 6. The video has already shown on European television and is now available in the Yukon in both German and English editions. The videotape package is 23 minutes shorter than the version the museum has the rights to show.

Acquired in the same deal (with funding from several extinct YTG departments and a number of foundations) was all of the archival footage shot for the video and 42 hours of interviews with miners.

Working with the aid of local production assistant Cheryl Laing, Schlumpf was able to film just about every type of placer mining operation there is in the region, from a one man operation, through various levels of family mines up to one of the largest family mines in the district.

The video shows exploration work, including the uncovering of remains from old drifts and digs, the actual stripping, sluicing, clean-up and, at Norm Ross's outfit, the pouring of a gold brick from successful clean-up.

Even with Ross standing there with a $100,000 gold brick in his hand, the viewer is lefty with the feeling that, as Robert Service put it, it isn't the having of the gold which matters as much as the life style and the search.

Several miners who have been involved for generations are heard to speak of having felt deprived by the isolated lifestyle while they were growing up, only to discover later in life that the isolation was a bonus, that the life they craved was the life they had known as youths.

For Schlumpf they appeared to be like the swallows, returning each spring to work industriously at nest building, overcoming odds to raise their brood and live as they wish.

"Swallows" will be the last video to show all the dredges which were still in the region in 1999. Since then one has burned and another been moved to Skagway.

Schlumpf used a combination of current video and archival footage (both still and moving images) to tell the story of mining as he saw it. While it does sketch in the larger historical context of the industry, it is primarily a story about individuals and the lifestyle they have chosen to sustain themselves.

The broadcast version is on sale in Dawson and the museum will arrange later showings of the long version.


Whimsical Artist in Town

by Heather Pauls

"We live in a time where things do not seem to exist if they are not contained as an image."

-Peter Mettler qtd in Urquhart

Opening the evening with a slide show presentation, Richard E. Prince hosted his own art exhibit at the KIAC Centre which will be in the Odd Gallery from June 8th to July 29th. The first item on his agenda was dispelling the myth of the artist.

"Everyone expects artists to be exotic, but I actually come from a pretty dreary suburban family," says Prince with a grin, "I come from a normal world."

Prince started becoming serious about his artwork in 1970, while he was in his third year of attending the University of British Columbia, but never planned a career in professional artwork as he was achieving his Bachelors of Art History because he reasoned that artists are "European and dead".

When Prince began producing artwork, he became interested in landscape at the same time. Although he has been teaching drawing since 1978, he declares that his drawing and painting skills are awful, so that ruled out painting or sketching landscapes. He began to think of landscape in sculptural terms, a theme created apparently ahead of his time, which entails making sculptures about and of landscapes.

The subject of his works are ephemeral and energy systems which look vaguely scientific, but are meant to capture the poetic essence of his pieces' subject matter. Many of his pieces mimic the effects of nature that we cannot see or simply do not make mental note of. One quasi-scientific piece, not in the Dawson exhibit, recreates the effects of the ocean on a pebble through a serious of electronic devices.

Richard Prince is known for using many small lights and moving pieces in his artwork. One of the reasons for this is because they remind him of the twinkling lights of Christmas, not just the joy they represent but the melancholy as well. When asked how he knows so much about wiring electronics, Prince admits, "I know enough about electronics to hire an electronics technician when I need one." It is these lights that dot the antler tips used in his first piece about Aurora Borealis. As he has never seen the Northern Lights, one wonders where this interest began.

As a child Prince was often sick and so had plenty of time to learn to read and look through picture books. A book on stamp collections sparked his interest in the Northern Lights, as they were featured on one of the stamps. He demonstrated the extent to which he is interested in this phenomena in his pre-exhibit opening speech as he outlined the scientific reasons for and the anthropological response to the northern lights that have been discovered throughout the ages. Despite his fascination with them, he is avoiding personally witnessing the Northern Lights because he feels it will dispel the wonder and admiration he has for them, and might rob him of his inspiration.

There are only a few of his pieces presently at the KIAC Centre. One is a combination of many ideas, as it seeks to represent the northern lights and suggests the parade-like procession of the miracle plays of the Medieval period. During this time, every guild would chose a different story from the Bible and reenact it on moveable carts. The group would do their sketch and move on to the next town. To Prince, the Aurora Borealis is like this moving show, which explains why this piece is actually three segments on wheels. The exhibit also contains the small model version of this piece in a plexi-glass box mounted to the wall. The exhibit's much larger piece is a sound to light converter, and casts greens and purples onto the white gallery walls.

"The artist's job is not to portray what is real, but what is true," explains Prince, as his artwork expresses what nature truly does without it looking like a photocopy or a still life painting. Like many artists, Prince subscribes to the idea that artwork isn't what is hanging on the wall in the museum; it is what the piece means to the individual. The audience gives the object meaning. To find your own meaning in his pieces, visit the Odd Gallery at the KIAC Centre on the corner of 2nd and Princess, open seven days a week. Times are posted.


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