Dawson City, Yukon Friday, March 3, 2000

Gould Named Honorary Mayor - Madeleine Gould looks on as John returns to their table, laden with the oversized key to the city and the mayor's chain of office. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

Eighth Annual Centennial Ball Sets Millennium in Motion
Campbell Sparked the Northern Section of Trans Canada Trail
Arts in Dawson: Puppets and Plays
Encouraging Change is NDP's Business, says McDonald
Governor General to Open Gallery and "New Beginnings" Art Show
Horse Testing Bylaw Proposed by Owners
Naughty in the North
New Berton House Writer
Educator/Journalist Recommends Core Curriculum with Emphasis on Reading
February 13th Was Founder's Day and 100th Anniversary for IODE
RCMP Report for Final Quarter of 1999 Finds it a Quieter Year
Once Again Down Memory Lane
Uffish Thoughts: Eau de Dawson - a New Klondike Mark of Distinction
An Outsider's View of the Quest: Bring in the Bunnies!

Welcome to the March 3rd on-line edition of the Klondike Sun. This is the abridged version of our Feb. 29th hard copy edition, which was 24 pages long, containing 29 photographs and 32 news stories, the cartoon strips "Paws", and "City Snickers", our regular homemade Klondike Krossword puzzle and "Albert's World". Getting a subscription (see the home page) is the only way you'll ever see it all.

Eighth Annual Centennial Ball Sets Millennium in Motion

by Darlene St. Pierre

Dawson City - With an elegant array of heritage attire, posh gowns, black ties and red serge in attendance, the 8th annual Klondyke Centennial Ball rocked Dawson City Saturday, February 12, showering awards of appreciation and presenting the gold key to the city to prominent movers and shakers in this town.

"The city's past was honoured at the same time showing appreciation for efforts made by modern day citizens to our present community," says Klondyke Centennial Society's Kelly Miller. "Now it's onward and upward into a new millennium. And we're ready for it."

The Klondyke Centennial Society has set in motion such projects as the Tr'ondek Hwech'in Cultural Centre, several city waterfront improvements such as the gazebo, flood gates, new dock and landing, the welcome sign on the Klondike and Top of the World highways, the Ridge Road Trail, Centennial Building and Ton of Gold Reenactment display (that travelled into Alaska and as far south as Seattle, Washington), and is currently working on a number of projects like the Banner Program (to promote centennial awareness), Discovery Days Festival (in August), the Sinking of the Canadian Pacific Steamer Sophia (memorial) and Klondyke Millennium Trail (in partnership with Run Dawson).

Awards of Appreciation went KCS president Jon Magnusson and Tourism Advisor to KCS Board Akio Saito, both gentlemen serving as 10-year committed volunteers and hosts to The Decade of Centennial (1992-2002) project, while long-time Dawson City resident John Gould took home the gold key to the city for his outstanding community efforts and recording of local history.

Master of Ceremonies Wendy Burns kept things rolling as an eclectic combo of costumes paraded around the grand old gambling hall, fitting attire for an evening of elegance with fun had by all.

There were many Men in Red, our RCMP in their historic uniforms out in full force, handsome French Canadian voyagers in vibrant- coloured sassy sashes, First Nations princesses, both young and elder, local hoteliers in black tie and top hats, a librarian in daring Victorian lace, several be-feathered and colourful Klondike Kates and dance hall girls, one in particular with no shame in a saucy aqua-coloured outfit showing off black stockings with its very revealing shortness.

Vancouver-band The Shoes got the hard wood dance floor jumping with their funky tunes, but not before awards acknowledged Dawson City mover and shakers with speeches from Magnusson, Mayor Glen Everitt and MLA Peter Jenkins.

Artist Halin de Repentigny's Tribute to the Miner monument design was unveiled in a display with the artist himself in attendance. The 10 foot bronze statue will be in place on the dyke opposite Front Street for Discover Days 2000.

A standing ovation with roaring applause went to John Gould when he was announced Honourary Mayor and presented with the chain of office and a huge gold-painted key to the city for his long-standing faithfulness to the town and recording of its history, a place he's called home for the past eighty years.

Cocktails at 6:00 p.m. started the evening with an assortment of tasty appetizers, with grace served by Ken Snider followed by much champagne and a very hearty buffet with all the trimmings. All food prepared by local chefs Jayne Fraser and Guy Chan quickly disappeared and bartenders Steve and Vic were kept hopping all evening.

The old Arctic Brotherhood Hall was as vividly decorated as the ornate women, in Yukon blue and shinny silver, balloons and streamers. Table tops were set with imaginative centre arrangements that included mining maps and bits of amazingly real-looking gold nuggets holding candles. The stage was lined in little black gum boots with gambling cards poking out.

Up on the balcony, photographer Josh Wilton snapped a steady stream of couples, creative threesomes and individuals for photos with a Klondike setting, an offering gratis with the evening's ticket. A silent auction also procured guests with everything from tool boxes to framed historic Klondike photos, donated by local businesses.

But the big prizes were saved to near the end of the evening, when close to midnight KCS president Jon Magnusson called upon Berton House writer in residence yours truly to pull door prize ticket stubs from a decorated box.

The room was suddenly quiet. One could almost hear the champagne bubbling. For many this is a big lure to the festivity. The seasonal party is known for its generosity in this giveaway department.

The first pick, a half-hour helicopter ride courtesy of Fireweed Helicopters, went to pastor Ken Snider's lovely wife Aldeen Snider.

Things moved swiftly as guests picked up dinners for two at the Downtown and Eldorado Hotels, Robert Service Medallions courtesy of CIBC, collector coins from Canada Post, Pierre Berton's Klondike Quest from Maximilians Books, air fare to Whitehorse from Air North/Gold City, video rentals from Jimmy's Place, ten cappuccinos from Riverwest, one night Jacuzzi suite at the High Country Inn, and many more gift baskets, certificates, T-shirts and souvenirs all donated by local enterprise.

All this led up to the Grand Prize of a Trip for Two onboard Holland America Cruise Lies for an Alaska Trip for two.

Lucky winner? One of Yukon's finest, RCMP Sgt. Steve Gleboff jumped to attention when his number was chosen.

All in all, it was fabulous evening, fitting for the historic 1901 building which began its life as Arctic Brotherhood's Camp No. 4's social and meeting hall and still retains a magnificent hard wood dance floor, well put to use this Saturday, February 12, 2000 as Dawson City once again lets tradition live on.

(Ed. Note: This item was offered to the Yukon News, but was rejected there as being "too Dawsonite". We suppose they think the Centennials are over. Hah!)


Campbell Sparked the Northern Section of Trans Canada Trail

by Dan Davidson

Vi Campbell and Glen Everitt display the water containers from the Arctic. Photo by Dan Davidson

By now it's pretty well known that the Trans Canada Trail Relay 2000 involves carrying water from each of the three oceans of Canada to a central fountain in Ottawa over the trail system which one of the spin-offs from the Canada 125 celebrations of a few years ago.

It is perhaps not so well known that Dawson's Vi Campbell is the big reason why this trail and the relay have northern branches. This fact was acknowledged on February 24, when the water containers arrived in Dawson after having started out from Tuktoyaktuk on February 19.

Mayor Glen Everitt addressed the question of national unity at the Visitor Reception Centre on Thursday evening. All of the other "trans-Canada" efforts, he noted, including the railway and highway systems, were touted as going from sea to sea, from east to west. Without Campbell's input to the Canada 125 committee, the Trans Canada Trail might have done the same thing.

"In 1992, when the Trans Canada Trail concept came into play, that trail only went from the Pacific to the Atlantic. It was Vi, speaking for the Yukon very loud, telling these people that there's a third ocean, the Arctic Ocean ... that prompted then to change it is 1994 to a 16,000 mile trail system that actually tied all three oceans together. So we have the largest trail system in the world now.

"One hundred years ago Dawson was in the light of every paper around the world with out gold rush. Because of you, Vi, Dawson's there again, turning a chapter in the history books, coming to out community."

Everitt also read a citation from the Trail committee, honouring Campbell as one of "the north's true patriots", who was instrumental in creating the current design of the trail. A Trans Canada Trail jacket went along with the praise.

Campbell was brief in her response.

"I did what I had to do, which was make the rest of Canada realize that Yukon is here. We're people. I asked them, 'How can I go back to the Yukon and say, no, we're not connected to this trail?' I thin that everybody realized then that they had to have the trial go all the way up to the Arctic."

Campbell herself got to carry the water for a short distance, from the Front Street Gazebo to the VRC as part of the ceremonies on Thursday night. Wendy Burns, the one woman cheering section who can bring energy to any public event, presented each of the local carriers with Trail caps and sweaters.

Water carriers during the Klondike portion of the relay included: Steve Gleboff, Richard Nagano, Mark Wierda, Lincoln Seeley, Trisha Peterson, Victoria McLeod, Kevin Anderson, Mark Favron, Shelly Walker, Myste Anderson, Georgette McLeod, Marg Hicks, Lee Holiday, Miranda Adam, Vi Campbell, Linda Thompson, Skye Felker, Brent McDonald, Barry Fargey, Michelle Elliot, Christine McDonald and Sebastian Jones.

After a round of speeches and presentations in the reception centre, the crowd of about 100 people filed out to the dyke to watch a display of fireworks. The relay began again the next morning, heading off to Whitehorse.


Arts in Dawson: Puppets and Plays

by Palma Berger

At first it seemed there were heads everywhere. Pieces of cloth were strewn over the tables. Cans of paint with appropriate colour coded stirrers were grouped at one end of the table. Papier mache heads were in the making and the class was totally absorbed.

"Should I put more red in the colour for the skin?" "How do I get the hair to stick?"

Seven year old Twigg is making an angel. She saw one in a book and it looked nice. Wire helps shape the wings.

"That is not ordinary wire," explains Twigg. "That is chicken wire. See that stuff over there?"

"How do you draw eyes?" is asked of instructor Joanne Dyck.

"Well look around you. See how peoples' eyes are placed in their heads."

Myste explains that her strong Indian character, now clothed in leather, started out to be an old woman, but she liked the idea of what it turned into better.

"Oh," says Marie, "the ears are too big. Now I will have to paint hair over them."

Melinda is gluing long strands of black and brown wool onto her puppet.

Megan's has a see-through fabric over the gold skirt.

The angel now has clothing and scarf dotted with stars.

The puppets are nearly complete, but they are secondary in the scheme of things. They are to be part of a play created by the individuals in the class. How to write a play has been discussed earlier with Joanne and recorded on the sheets of paper on the wall. Now the class is making the puppets which are to be the characters in the play.

As their puppets take form their makers begin to assign them their characters. Joanne tells the class to keep thinking of their character and then to add a description of the character to the list on the wall. Amy's lovely oriental lady is really quite evil. Sally's old man is named Abe, and sort of sits on the verandah and watches the world go by, but misses nothing. Marie's is a bit selfish and too busy with her job.

So the list builds up. They will need a theatre. The cardboard box is straightened, shaped and cut to form one. What colour will it be?

"Well", says twelve year old Megan, "I am a black person myself."

A compromise is reached, and the theatre will be blue with two black pillars on either side of the stage. In no time Amy and Melinda have it painted. Gold curtains adorn either side.

The eight characters include a lovely lady, a long haired lady, a young ,dark haired man, an angel, an Indian man, an oriental lady, and an old man.

Although the individuals in the class are of all ages, from a seven year old through teenagers to university graduates to a lady with grey hair, there is no generation gap here. This is shown when they have to write the play to include all the characters. Everyone has ideas. Everyone is inspired by the others' suggestions.

All these characters are to meet. But how? Perhaps on a train? Journeying where? Perhaps from the girl's dream? Perhaps......?

But the play is yet to be completed. The place and time of the performance is yet to be announced. For now as they exit the Oddfellows Hall, they are unaware of the sounds of piano playing coming from the floor above. Perhaps when this registers these musicians will be seconded to provide the music. The show is growing. There are so many possibilities to be explored - and this is just the place to do it!


Encouraging Change is NDP's Business, says McDonald

by Dan Davidson

Eleven days before the reopening of the legislature and the unveiling of the new territorial budget, Government Leader Piers McDonald and his cabinet were in Dawson City, holding a caucus planning session, meeting with local governing councils and, incidentally, doing some on the ground recruiting for potential election candidates.

One part of the day was an informal get together in the school room at Saint Mary's Roman Catholic Church.

The skeptical might call it a pre-election swing to the Klondike capital, but McDonald was quick to dismiss that.

"We've done this semi-annually in one community or another in the Yukon," he said. The goal has been to familiarize the caucus and staff with something other than the Whitehorse routine.

"We need to understand the passions and needs of communities right around the territory," he continued, stressing that personal contact makes government more of a personal affair. It's easier to think of serving people you have met, and harder to dismiss them without a hearing.

The flip side, of course, is to generate the same feelings in the other direction.

"Anything we do now will be pre-election," he said, "and if people like it they'll say that we are doing it for political purposes...getting support.

"Politicians do," he said with a chuckle. "I think we are trying to do that... acquire support and demonstrate that we do care. People would be right to be cynical if we only did this ... at election time.

"The reality is, that every year we've been in government, we've been in the communities ... and at the same time, we've presented budgets that people have (liked).

"The Liberals called the last budget an election budget. That's a compliment ... means people like it. Good budgets don't come by accident but by careful listening and careful targeting or resources."

The political meetings in Dawson were joint affairs. Caucus meet with mayor and council and chief and council at the same time, an acknowledgment, McDonald felt, that all levels of government are in the same game and have to communicate with each other.

"We often don't disagree. We're just not working on the same things at the same time. So the challenge for us now is for us to set up systems and a way of functioning which insures that we develop priority lists that are common.

"There's a higher expectation that we will actually get some things done."

McDonald sounded as if he were almost too busy to think about calling an election. He said he fought elections in all the seasons Yukon has to offer - and won them - so he's not fussy about the timing. There are proposals he like to make first, initiatives to wrap up - things to do and people to see.

"We have until November to finally decide. We'll be very busy."

Assuming, for the moment, that the NDP might win another term, McDonald has to face the task of not stagnating during that term, of not acquiring the reputation for arrogance that helped to bring down the Tony Penikett government.

"I was a significant part of that government. I think we have struck a new way of operating now which is more in tune with sensibilities and our sense of respect for each other. I don't see the opportunity to fall into the so-called trap of being seen as aloof."

It may be a problem that plagues most second term governments, but McDonald said, "We're gonna buck the trend. I think we've started ding that by establishing processes like this. We've delegated more. The system listens better."

Aside from that, he noted the impact of Land Claims on the way things work.

"It has changed the power structure in the territory, fundamentally and forever. Territorial governments don't and can't act unilaterally on many fronts. The new Municipal Act insures that municipal governments have a similar range of responsibilities and freedom of action that no one would have contemplated ten years ago."

He pointed to the development of tourism strategies are an example of the broader range of options and the encouragement of local decision making that was now possible. In the past, he said, the decisions were made in Whitehorse and then the communities either got with the program or didn't get any money to operate that side of things.

"There's an encouragement now foe people to be innovative and try new things. There are programs like the Tourism Marketing Strategy which are there to encourage people to respond to things other than the grand design.

"We're trying to encourage more people making decision for themselves and making change."

Of course, that's not to say that one of the decisions he would like people to make is to give him and his team another term to play with. Losing an election is a change he could do without.


Governor General to Open Gallery and "New Beginnings" Art Show

The Dawson City Arts Society (DCAS) is pleased to announce that Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson will attend the official opening and naming of the art gallery in its brand new arts education facility - 7 March 2000 from 8:00 p.m.

DCAS has an ambitious mandate to create an international institute for the visual, performing and literary arts, based on Dawson City's unique heritage and wilderness location. In the words of John Steins, Gallery Committee Chair, "It is our hope that this gallery space will be used to showcase the work of local and visiting artists, thereby contributing to a stimulating environment for the exchange of creative ideas."

The inaugural show, with its timely theme "New Beginnings", will feature a range of selected works from over 30 members artists throughout the Yukon Territory.

The public is invited. A wine and cheese reception, to be held in the century styled ballroom, with the Governor General in attendance will follow.


Horse Testing Bylaw Proposed by Owners

by Shelly Rowe
Vice-president, Klondike Horseman's Association

The horse owners of Dawson, would like to see a bylaw in place requiring all new horses coming into the Klondike Valley to be tested for the mosquito spread disease Equine Infectious Anemia.

Two years ago the Klondike Horseman's Association called all horse owners of Dawson to a meeting to discuss the growing concern surrounding the Equine Infectious Anemia virus. We invited John Overell, veterinarian, to attend and explain to us what the disease was and how we could control it.

We learned that there is no cure and that it is spread through by mosquitoes who carry the blood of one horse to another. It can also be spread through breeding. A test called a Coggins test can be done to detect which horses carry the virus.

All horse owners in the Klondike Valley tested their horses. Of the 48 horses tested, four horses tested positive. As was previously agreed upon by the horses owners, the Klondike Horseman's Association, and mandated by the Federal Veterinarian/ Canadian Food Inspection Agency, three of the horses were destroyed and one was relocated.

We would like to have any horses coming into the area tested as a way to protect all the horses currently living here. The test is done by having a local veterinarian take a blood sample. The blood is then sent to a Federal Veterinarian in British Columbia to be tested for the virus. The cost was approximately $25.00/ horse. The Federal Government will pay $500.00 to the owner of a positive horse that is destroyed.

We would like to have this bylaw in place and retroactive to January 1, 2000. Any horse coming into Dawson will need to have a current negative Coggins test result (good for six months). Horses which permanently reside in the Dawson area and which do not leave the area would not need to be tested again unless exposed to untested horses. Anyone running a horse related business within city limits would need to carry a current negative Coggins Certificate for all horses relating to the business, including those stabled with or within 200 yards of the horses in question.

The Federal veterinarian advises that in order for a negative test to remain valid, untested horses or horses testing positive cannot be ranged within any proximity of virus free horses. Doing so would jeopardize the health and test results of the virus free horses. The Federal Veterinarian also advises that any horses that test positive must be quarantined and retested; any and all horses in contact with a positive horse must also be tested or retested.

Passing such a bylaw would not only ensure the safety of the animals in Dawson, but it would also ensure the continued growth of our local yearly horse show. All animals attending the Klondike Classic Horse show must show proof of a negative and current Coggins test before they are permitted to enter the show grounds. We fear that by having our animals exposed to untested horses, virus free contestants form Whitehorse, Alaska and other areas will be reluctant to bring their animals to Dawson, thereby limiting the potential growth of our horse show in the Klondike Valley.

We would also like to note that by passing such a bylaw, the city of Dawson would, in fact, be setting a standard for other communities. To the best of our knowledge, Dawson would be the first community in Canada to have such a bylaw. This would not only aid other communities, such as Whitehorse, which are trying to establish a similar bylaw, but it would create national recognition of the City of Dawson.


Naughty in the North

by Kim Adams

I am basking in the afterglow of another successful Library/Berton House collaboration. Sunday, February 13, the eve of St. Valentine's eager adult revelers crowded into the warmth of Bombay Peggy's to relish a night of Northern naughtiness. More than 50 people came and went throughout the evening which began about 7:00 p.m. and continued for some into the wee hours.

Talk about atmosphere! John Steins? unframed erotic prints hung next to exotic intimate apparel made from fur, feathers, sequins, satin and silk on a cupid-laden clothesline. Small framed nudes by Neil Graham cuddled near large nudes, unframed and freshly painted, by Halin de Repentigny. A combination of Kitsch and class set a mood of anticipation in the former Brothel. The insatiable crowd devoured Jayne Fraser's savory Oyster Rockefeller and Shelley Hakonson's decadent deserts (including an amazing heart-shaped "Eros Falls in Love" cake complete with cupid, a nude, and edible lace).

Let the games begin. A series of increasingly naughty readings were the focus of the evening's entertainment. Darlene St. Pierre initiated the action with an engaging selection about a Northern wedding. Peter Maxwell followed with a rousing rendering of "Kristoffer's Arrangement" from Lisa Kroniuk's Masquerade: 15 Variations On A Theme Of Sexual Fantasy. (Kroniuk was especially appropriate as she is in fact a pseudonym of Pierre Berton).

Then, after a prolonged pause to allow participants to replenish themselves and their glasses, Wendy Cairns, and I shared some seductive poems with the ready crowd. The evening climaxed when Dawsonites were favoured with a steamy section from the uncut version of Darlene's novel Powerful Forces, and we all joined her in a song.

Between readings conversation flowed freely, lubricated with libidinous libations -- like the Bloomer Remover and Mojo in a Glass -- and congenial bar service provided by Greg Karais and madams Wendy Cairns and Kim Bouzane.

Such an event could never come to pass without ample assistance. Canada Council for the Arts pays for the cost of transporting Berton House writers to and from Dawson, making the program and such readings possible.

The evening's success was in large measure due to the excellent efforts of Wendy Cairns and Kim Bouzane, Bombay Peggy's owner-operators. They did much to organize, publicize, decorate, and cater to the whims of the enthusiastic crowd. I extend my thanks and congratulations to Berton House writer Darlene St. Pierre, Peter Maxwell, Wendy Cairns, Kim Bouzane, John Steins, Halin de Repentigny, Neil Graham, Bonnie Nordling, Jayne Fraser, Star Jones and everyone else who contributed to the fulfillment of our fantasies, be it with fabulous food, erotic art, licentious lingerie or risqué readings. 'Twas a Library reading and night not soon forgotten.


New Berton House Writer

by Kim Adams

Kelley Aitken the newest writer to retreat to Berton House, is scheduled to be in Dawson from March through May working on a novel. Her collection of short fiction, Love in a Warm Climate, was published by Porcupine Press in 1998. In addition to the novel and short story, Kelley's work in the literary arts includes creative non-fiction, essays, and poetry. She is also a visual artist. Kelley lives in Toronto and plans to make her way to Dawson on the taxi the first week in March. Cross your fingers my borrowed vehicle stays unstuck and unscathed as I go out to meet her when she comes. Keep your eyes open for announcements posted around town and in this column as to Kelley's upcoming reading.


Educator/Journalist Recommends Core Curriculum with Emphasis on Reading

by Dan Davidson

Andrew Nikiforuk addresses his audience at the Robert Service School. Photo by Dan Davidson

Andrew Nikiforuk came to Dawson City to stimulate some discussion on three topics: school councils, reading programs, and the uses of technology in schools.

Underlying all three subjects, however, was the assertion, repeated many times, that schools generally suffer from a lack of core curriculum.

Nikiforuk subscribes to a theory of education which runs counter to the business driven ethos of the day. Schools are not, in his opinion, training grounds for the compliant consumers and employees of the future. Schools, he says, are for building an educated and informed citizenship.

Fifty percent of what goes on in them should be concerned with putting forward a core curriculum with a sound basis in history, geography, English, music and the arts, as well as the maths and sciences.

"Content matters," he told the small group of teachers, parents and school council members at the Robert Service School. Core studies should be considered a fundamental right of each and every student.

He's not denying the need for or utility of local input to the curriculum, but he does stress the primacy of certain subjects, and it's not a "back to basics" kind of list either. It's heavy on cultural content.

It's grounded in reading, which he sees as the master key to opening all educational doors. Reading, however, is not a natural human activity, unlike speech. It has to be taught, and there will always be some people who have trouble with it. It may be the biggest reason why schools are necessary.

Nikiforuk spoke at length about reading programs, recommending several that get high marks from the American Teachers Federation. For him the bottom line is that early reading programs must have a strong phonics component while also being based in real, classic literature.

Whatever is chosen to be used in the early grades should be chosen as a result of experience and research. While educational research is generally of a low quality in his opinion, there are some programs which have been tested fairly stringently over long periods of time. The programs he recommended were not new. All had their origins in the 1960s, and have been upgraded from time to time. He suggested checking out the ATF website to sample the research on the topic.

This is were school councils could play a role. They could assist the school in developing an action plan that included dealing with problems in early reading, focusing on improvement of student learning and making sure that the school stays on track.

What generally happens with school councils is something else altogether. Nikiforuk is skeptical of the legislation which enables them, saying that all across the country it tends to foster the illusion of involvement while actually giving them no power.

In Alberta, he says that school councils generally have become involved in fund raising to make up for cuts in education budgets. Others have fallen into a variety of traps, becoming "busybodies" that try to micromanage, "bandwagon" groups that jerk the school from fad to fad, "I'm gonna scream now" groups that simply provide a forum for venting, and "no brainers" which have no plan of action.

When a school council gets involved in a positive way, and Nikiforuk believes that the Yukon's legislation might just allow for this, it could help develop a plan that has these features:

Nikiforuk does not see that any of the answers to the problems of education in our society will be answered by computers. He sets the machines within the context of the history of machines in education, and concludes that "the history of machines and teachers in schools is not a good one."

From the beginning of the century a plethora of machines have been adapted for educational use. From radio to film to video to computers, Nikiforuk says that the research he's seen shows that the net effect on learning has been zero.

Computers, he says, will help you to be a more productive writer - if you have already mastered the skill of writing without them. He believes this to be true for any other subject, as well.

"They are just delivery tools," he said, "and the only ones that really matter are the instructional design and the teacher."

Nikiforuk was a special education teacher in Toronto and Edmonton for four years before he moved on to journalism, writing a controversial education column for the Globe and Mail. Out of that came two books, School's Out: The Catastrophe in Public Education & What We Can Do about It. He followed that with If Learning is so Natural, Why Am I Going to School: a Parent's Guide. He has also written an engaging study of plagues throughout history called The Fourth Horseman and is currently writing on environmental issues.

His trip to the Yukon was sponsored by the Department of Education as part of the Educhat series leading up to the review of the Education Act. He said he was surprised to be invited, since he believes himself to be considered far too controversial in most educational circles.


February 13th Was Founder's Day and 100th Anniversary for IODE

Prime Minster Wilfrid Laurier has been proven right in his prediction that the 20th century would belong to Canada. This spectacular landmass that is home to 30 million people ended the 20th century identified officially as the best country in the world to live. This recognition results substantially from the role played by women and men devoted to the public good. Whether though paid or volunteer service, Canadians have worked together to create and strengthen a great nation.

A special group of Canadian women has worked together for Canada for a full century, thousands and thousand of women and girls who joined IODE during the past 100 years. The first members heeded an appeal from Margaret Polson Murray to demonstrate their patriotism and loyalty by offering support to Canadians fighting the Boar War.

Mrs. Murray, a dreamer like Sir Wilfrid Laurier, must have been blessed with an optimistic nature. Surely though this gentlewomen would be amazed by the enormous variety of good works undertaken during 100 years of peace and war, booms and recessions. IODE activity has encompassed proving aircraft as well as clothing, scholarships as well as boxed food, medical research as well as horse riding therapy. The organization's diversity has been its strength.

Children needing protection will be the beneficiaries of the IODE 100th Anniversary Program to alleviate child abuse and neglect. Through this ongoing program grants will be available to professionals in child protection. IODE will continue provide relief for those in distress, one of the original objects of the Corporation. Although children and youth were the focus of attention in recent years and child protection has been chosen as our principal cause for the first decade of the organization's second century, other projects that benefit adults remain close to the hearts of IODE members.

In the beginning, the IODE aim was patriotism. Women volunteers were called to show love and loyalty. A century later IODE members are women volunteers who through love and loyalty demonstrate their to Canadian society. The apple has not fallen far from the tree.

If she were alive today Mrs. Murray would be proud of what she began so long ago. The impact on this country of IODE gifts and services is beyond tally. More important, however, are the gifts of love to children and those in need. Our hands and arms must remain outstretched to offer friendship, comfort and support.


RCMP Report for Final Quarter of 1999 Finds it a Quieter Year

by S.P. Gleboff
Detachment Commander

The year has come to an end, and we have found it to have been a little quieter than the previous year. Statistically, approximately 150 less reported incidents than 1998. Our clearance rates have remained within an acceptable range.

The last quarter of the year was also found to be relatively quiet, with nothing of any notoriety to report.

Cpl. Larry McDonald currently the detachment commander at Pelly Crossing has been named to fill our Operations NCO position. Larry has approximately 21 years of service with the Force, and has been in the Yukon for about 2 years. He and his wife Rose have no family with them, as they are all on their own. They plan on making their move to Dawson at the end of March or early April.

Cst. Sandra Mark is currently away to Ottawa, taking part in the Equitation Course. It is our hope that upon completion of her course, she can take on the Horse and Rider Program for the up coming summer.

Cst. Dan Parlee has been transferred to Whitehorse Commercial Crime Section. He has been promoted to Corporal and will be in charge of the section in the Yukon. Dan spent about 4 years in Dawson City, has done a great job for this detachment and I'm sure he will be a credit to the unit in Whitehorse. His replacement, Cst. Jeffrey KALLES, who grew up in Watson Lake, has already arrived at end of December. Jeffrey has returned to the Yukon after spending a number of years in Newfoundland. He and his finance, Krista have settled in and are looking forward to their stay in Dawson.

(Ed. Note: This report is extracted from the Report to Mayor and Council, dated Jan. 25, 2000. It was only tabled at the Feb. 21 meeting of council.)


Once Again Down Memory Lane

by Dan Davidson

Who knows all the facts of the lane debate between council and the MLA? Perhaps the Shadow knows... Photo by Dan Davidson

What is the statute of limitations on municipal council resolutions that never quite manage to be enacted as bylaws? According to Klondike MLA and hotelier Peter Jenkins the answer would be something longer than 15 years.

At the February 14 meeting of Dawson's municipal council it was unanimously agreed that the present city government was under no obligation to agree with him.

Jenkins appeared before Dawson's council in delegations on January 31, once again to take up the cudgels over the lane behind his hotel, the Eldorado, which he would like closed to traffic. During the fall he had gone so far as to put a gate across the alley and then to block it with a skid shack, but had been forced to move both after some altercations with Mayor Glen Everitt and council.

On January 31 Jenkins was on hand to try a new tactic. The lane, he told council, actually had been closed by resolution of council when he was mayor himself fifteen years ago in 1985. A resolution had been duly passed, though not unanimously, it seems, and somehow or other the administrative work which would have sealed the lane was never quite finished.

Still, he said, a previous council had expressed its will on this matter, and his solicitors had told him that the present one ought to be willing to bring it to fruition.

There was considerable discussion during the next 40 minutes, with Everitt indicating that he had checked Jenkins' claim with YTG and that the government had no record of it. As far as the territorial government was concerned, the mayor told the frustrated MLA, it owned all the laneways in Dawson, and that included the one behind the Eldorado.

Everitt said that the government had floated a scheme to turn them all over to the City of Dawson when this matter first came up last October (1999) but that council had rejected the plan. Everitt said he wouldn't want to have to deal with them at all until they had been properly surveyed, a process which, it is widely agreed, would turn up all manner of encroachments and discrepancies.

Jenkins indicated at that meeting that he was ready to proceed with a legal case against the City of Dawson, even though several councillors pointed out that the local government could not actually close an alley it did not own. There was a process to be followed and Jenkins was invited to initiate it once again.

Despite making all of his statements in an open public meeting, Jenkins was quick to say that he didn't wanted the media involved in the story at all. He was nowhere near as forthcoming when asked to explain why this matter had suddenly become urgent 15 years after the original resolution.

He did indicate that his building had been hit a few times by vehicles going through the lane, including, he said, a town operated plough. Everitt denied this last assertion.

The lane is narrow. The Eldorado comes up to the property line on one side, and the extension of the Robert Service School's playing field is fenced right up to the line on the other. In addition, some of the power poles in the alley have angled support beams crossing the lane which considerably reduce the use of the passage. Anything up to a van can get through, but a vehicle much larger would be blocked.

At the February 14 meeting, Mayor Everitt informed council that the town's administration had now undertaken a search for documents to support Jenkins' claims and had held talks with former council members and city employees to see what could be determined.

It was his conclusion that Jenkins had not had the backing of the other property owners along the lane 15 years ago, and that no one had been willing to actually buy the property in the lane as part of a closure procedure. That was why the matter had never been concluded by the administration of the day.

Jenkins was, council concluded, welcome to apply again, though the general feeling was that council would like to know more about the town's lanes by means of a survey before it does anything else with them.


Uffish Thoughts: Eau de Dawson - a New Klondike Mark of Distinction

by Dan Davidson

Now that Dawson City is finally in violation of its water use license for the first time ever, it's time to give some serious thought to how we can finance the operation of a secondary sewage treatment plant should it come to that.

It seems there might be some inspiration to be taken here from the tourism industry (which our MLA has announced will be supplanting mining for the next while as Dawson's economic mainstay).

Our tourist operators have long combined the sale of curios with a mining theme by selling small bottled vials of water with flakes of gold, usually panned by the tourists themselves, in the water.

Thanks to the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, Dawson has some other nationally famous water now and, in a recent freewheeling discussion held at Berton House, a number of citizens began to speculate how we might make use of this distinction (or "dis-stink-tion", if you will) to help raise the money needed to operate a secondary sewage plant on a year round basis when you have a ratepayer base of under 500.

The idea came up that we might market presentation samples of our effluent discharge, to be called Eau de Dawson, suitably corked in small vials (hermetically sealed to minimize the chance of an accidental effluent discharge, of course).

There is, of course, no chance that buyers will be able to dip for the water themselves. It will have to be collected in advance. And since studies have shown that the dilution factor in the river is quite rapid, someone will have to anchor a small boat within a few metres of the discharge pipe in order to collect anything remotely toxic.

Even then, there is a chance that the vial will contain nothing but silty Yukon River water, but if DIAND and Dept. of Fisheries inspectors haven't been able to tell the difference for years, its certain that tourists will never figure it out.

Each sample will be authenticated by a document, stamped by a DIAND official, indicating that this water has failed an LC50 test. Since DIAND officials believe this about all water north of the discharge pipe, it will be a true statement of faith.

To make Eau de Dawson really special, the vials can be sold in fur lined display caskets made of fire-killed black spruce, slightly tinged with orange fire retardant stain. This will lend real Klondike authenticity to the samples.

There seems to be only one serious drawback to getting this scheme under way before the summer. Since it will be a commercial endeavor making use of pretty much infinitely renewable resources, the raw materials should not be a problem, but whatever non-profit association the city council sets up to market this product will have to get a valid water license. Since Dawson seems to have a lot trouble with those things, it might take a little bit more than a few months to get the plan in motion.

This could be even bigger than the Quaker Klondike Square Inch promotion of the mid-twentieth century. With 60 or 70 thousand visitors each summer, Eau de Dawson, at perhaps $10 for the complete kit or $5 for a simple vial, should raise enough money to help us clean up our act.


An Outsider's View of the Quest: Bring in the Bunnies!

by Josh Wilton

David Dalton had to scratch not long after leaving Dawson, but can be seen here heading out an hour or so before he realized his dogs needed to quit. Photo by Dan Davidson

I walked down to Front Street, camera haversack slung around my shoulders, tripod nearly tripping me with its awkward imbalance. But it was all to be well worth it after I captured the steam lifting off the sled dogs, and the igloos of ice forming on the mustachios of the spirited mushers.

This was only the beginning of my misconceptions, though in many ways I was not sure of what was to come. I had heard only that there were about two dozen dog sled teams hustling from Fairbanks to Whitehorse in a mad race for bragging rights. "It's like the Iditarod - only better!" said one clearly unbiased Dawsonite a month earlier.

Another local told me that it would be an excellent opportunity to volunteer, as they are always looking for help. She dazzled me with stories about the irresistible and somewhat angelic spirit of the mushers with their dogs. She said something like "they shoot beams of pure energy from their soul!" I thought this: I could definitely use some fresh beams of pure energy!

So I went about (slowly) finding a Quest contact in the next few weeks. Eventually I contacted a very pleasant Miss and showed my enthusiasm for wanting to volunteer. Being new and naïve, I supposed I might be able to help out by taking some photographs. Of course now I understand that the organizers hire professional photographers with cameras and accessories numerous and varied enough to give me a colossal bit of lens-envy.

Delicately, the Miss on the other end of the phone petitioned my services for the Midnight to 8 a.m. shift at the check point. Politely I told her I would consider it and phone her back later.

Timidly, though assuredly, I never called her back. Midnight to 8 a.m.? Not exactly the most favorable period of the day for picture-snapping, nor for anything else than uninterrupted sleep.

Without regard to my person, time passed relentlessly and late one night I heard a story about a close race. "What race?" I thought to myself, feeling a little sheepish for having not kept up on current events. "It's going to be a close race this year, eh? Them doggies are loving the warm weather, pulling 'em sleds like they were macaroni!"

Right...the Quest is in town. And because of my agoraphobia I had hid in my house and forgot to check the calendar of events in my local newspaper. By then it was too late (for me) to go traipsing about town in search for a dog team and their collective frosty whiskers. Instead, I slept, soundly and without interruption, probably to the dismay of the Yukon Quest Miss I had spoken to over the telephone. For all I know she was covering the very shift I was peacefully dozing through.

I managed to sleep through morning and woke up at Noon. I had expected a sort of electricity about the whole Quest to run through the streets of Dawson, to transitively pass on to me, and to act as a sort of internal alarm clock. Instead, I was frumpish and frowzy, for I had overslept. However, a bowl of Wheat Hearts and a shower later, I was out the door and headed down to Front Street, where this article begins.

You cannot begin to imagine my confusion when I arrived at Front Street. There were a few barricades to prevent vehicle traffic, a Yukon Quest sign, some stragglers, and young black lab chasing a stick recklessly. It was then that one of my preconceptions had been unveiled: this was not going to be like the Daytona 500.

I walked towards the ice bridge where four people were congregating around a green bench. They were berating the Canadian Prime Minister, comparing snow jackets, and oh yes, "did you hear about the dog who died this morning just outside of Dawson? The team got so excited seeing the lights and hearing the loud noise that they quickened their pace and a little one just up and keeled over. Just tragic. An untimely death for a wonderful child."

I wasn't sure exactly what noise she was referring to. Perhaps the sound of a distant skidoo? Or the yapping of dogs who arrived before? The general buzz of street traffic? Certainly not the fanatic cheering and rooting I had witnessed at hockey games or even a close curling match.

Then I noticed a dog sled team in the distance, approaching the open section of the Yukon. Apparently the crowd (do four people constitute a 'crowd?') noticed the dog team but continued expressing their right to berate the Prime Minister. There was such a lack of energy that I actually shrugged my shoulders, crossed the street, and entered the Tr'ondek Hwech'in building. How was I to know the sled in the distance was part of the race? I came outside again only after being enlisted to stuff envelopes.

I met with the arriving dog team as I exited the building. There was only the faint trickle of applause, though I noted a few 'congratulations!' and more than one pat on the shoulder by the dozen-and-a-half bystanders at the checkpoint. Why was I expecting someone to hold up signs, or to come out topless with mushers' names painted on their chest? Not even a John 3:16 sign? What a strange sport.

I approached the dogs and was shocked again. Down in Skagway a local businesswoman owns a 170-pound Malamute. For some reason I thought these were the Herculean creatures pulling the sleighs, not a dozen skinny and excitable little huskies. It makes sense now, none of you need to explain it to me, but imagine seeing a Shetland pony when you were expecting to see a Clydesdale!

Anyway, despite my surprise, I pulled the trigger on my camera a few times and caught some Husky portraits on film. It was to be nearly 45 minutes until the next musher neared the checkpoint. "Hey look! There's a dog team!" I shouted frenetically near the green bench after spotting a blip down the valley. "Yep, shor 'nuff," responded one dryly.

I walked towards an adequate picture spot, one which I had scouted out since the last team. I set up my tripod, attached the camera, looked around. Ten minutes later someone says, "Lookie there! Here comes one now!"

Five minutes later: "I see 'em now!"

Three minutes later: "Just about here!"

Two minutes later: "He's coming in fast, ain't he?!" Just as my muscles were about to cramp from holding my camera pose, as my fingers were suffering from the initial symptoms of frost-bite from inactivity, I see the giddy smile of ten frolicking pooches pulling a sled and a man in a large red parka.

I don't know how to end this article, as I didn't ever really feel a sense of climax. I hear the race was a close one, at the front of the pack especially. I would like to have been down at the finish line to (perhaps) see a more lively crowd. I don't mean to imply that people were not excited about the dog teams coming in, only that it was a different sort of excitement than one sees at a CFL or NHL game. Ken Snyder (I'm sure I am twisting his words) offered a suggestion for the lack of outward titillation: "They should put mechanical bunnies at pivotal sections of the trail so the dogs run faster - it would make the race more interesting, eh?"


Here is this outsider's final evaluation of the Yukon Quest. It seems that appreciating the race requires an appreciation for the training, endurance, and rigors of the competitor. As I was talking with Ken about the Quest I became more interested in the race; this particular Anglican had stories about meets past and present rich with thrilling finishes and tragic scratches. Also, he took me to a map of the course and pointed out some of the more treacherous and momentous sections of the race. Ken Snyder, in essence, was the Quest cheerleader I had been looking for all along, but who ran counter to my expectations. He was not a loud, vocal fan of the sport, shouting and yipping as a team approached, but he valued the contest and its intricacies. He saw the drama and the tension in a race that my Cheechako eyes were untrained to see at first glance, and even (to a large extent) lay unknown to me now.

Still, race co-ordinators might consider implementing Ken's off-hand idea about the mechanical bunnies. Or perhaps robotic moose. Or Grizzlies. Or moose fighting Grizzlies while the dog team tries to avoid the melee.

(Author's note: Ken Snyder may or may not have made any statements about mechanical bunnies. There was talk about dogs running faster when snowshoe hare were around, but there is a strong possibility that I fabricated the idea of mechanical bunnies for artistic purposes. Please send any disgruntled letters to my Mother - she has been creating a scrapbook of such mail for years now. - JW)


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