Dawson City, Yukon Friday, May 1, 1998

Photographer Kevin Hastings caught this snowmobiler -- uh, waterskier? -- on the Yukon River just about the time the ice bridge was declared unsafe and closed.

Feature Stories

Taylor Family Appreciates Community Response
Mitchell to be Recognized for Bravery
No Charges in Dog Attack
Council Takes Hard Line on Underage Drinking
Police Blotter and Crimestoppers List
Community Group Councilling Graduates to Reality
Art Show: Crossings
Art Show: Breathing Space
Concert will Celebrate Gold Rush Era Music
In Remembrance of Yolanda Burkhard, 1930 to 1998
Robert Sedgewick Gould, 1921 to 1998
Writing is Quest Historian's First Love

Taylor Family Appreciates Community Response

submitted by the family

The media has been having trouble getting information as to how Corey Taylor is progressing because the parents and close family find it very difficult to talk about the occurrence.

The family is overwhelmed with the financial support being given to them by the community of Dawson and the Yukon and caring strangers in BC that they don't even know. No amount of "thank you's" can convey how the parents feel about the support being given. Several times a day a thank goodness for "Mitch" Mitchell and the doctors and nursing staff at the local nursing station and the teams of doctors and nurses at the Children's' Hospital is voiced.

It is so fortunate that the financial aid has been given allowing both Bruce and Kelly to be there for Corey. One parent tries to be with him at all times and there have been relatives there also to give them short breaks together. They appreciate the telephone calls, but it is very difficult for the nursing staff in ward 3C and the telephone is right beside Corey so try to get your information from the grandparents and they will pass your messages on to Corey, Kelly and Bruce.

Corey continues to have more surgery as his scalp was badly damaged. The bites on Corey's face are healing very nicely and will be barely noticeable. His right arm was damaged, but is healing and he was able to give his grandmother a hug when she left for Dawson. Corey remains very quiet, but observant to all the machines and how they operate to help his recovery. He wanted "chicken nuggets" the other day because he's getting rather tied of this being fed through a tube. Hopefully he will be home in two to three weeks, but it is a wait and see situation.

The estimate now is that he has three to four years of plastic surgery ahead of him so Bruce and Kelly are so thankful for the financial help being given to them by this very caring community and the Yukon and Canada.


Mitchell to be Recognized for Bravery

by Dan Davidson

Various organizations including the city council are planning to host an appreciation meeting at the Tro Chu Tin Hall on May 10 to honour John Mitchell, whose quick actions were instrumental in saving the life of young Corey Taylor when the boy was attacked and mauled by two rotweiler dogs on the Easter long weekend.

Mitchell spotted the boy and the dogs, grabbed what makeshift weapons he could lay his hands on quickly and beat the dogs away while shielding himself with a camp stove. He got Corey to safety, retrieved a piece of his scalp and took him immediately to the nursing station, from where he was subsequently medivaced to the Children's Hospital in Vancouver.

Mitchell, a former city councillor, manager of the the Tr'ondek Hwech'in's construction company and head of the local arm of the Canadian Rangers, has been widely praised throughout the town for his actions in this emergency.

Mayor Glenn Everitt announced at a recent meeting of council that Mitchell has been nominated for a Commissioner's Award.


No Charges in Dog Attack

The RCMP will not be pursuing charges under the Territorial Dog Act in this instance. Investigation showed the owner was not acting with any negligence or disregard in keeping the animals. The unfortunate incident is being treated as an accidental occurrence and the destruction of the animals immediately after the attack will be the end of the police action.

John Mitchell should again be commended for his swift action while putting his personal safety at risk.


Council Takes Hard Line on Underage Drinking

by Dan Davidson

The City of Dawson's position on the section of the Liquor Act which currently allows parents to give any kind of alcohol to their children, either at home or in such public places as restaurants has raised a good deal of positive comment from both the media and the community according to Mayor Glen Everitt.

Underage drinking is a perennial concern in Dawson, and council has determined that it would like to find mechanisms for cracking down on those who supply liquor to minors. Since this is so, one immediate step that could be taken is to get this section of the act rewritten to eliminate the possibility of some parents actually providing their children with booze, or, as in one case reported to council by the R.C.M.P., sheltering minors who are breaking the law.

"We've requested a very strong enforcement of no tolerance for alcohol being provided to youth in our community," Everitt said on April 20. "All parties involved are to be charged to the full extent of the law."

The R.C.M.P. are currently preparing an information package on the subject which will be released to the media and circulated in the school.

The city wishes to see anyone providing alcohol to minors charged with the offence.

"That's including thirty people at a party and any of the adults who happen to be there. We want to hit them at the source of supply."

This policy will include campgrounds as well as bush or house parties.

Everitt says the number of positive calls from people who had not known about the loophole in the act has been "overwhelming" and that as of April 20 he had only had one negative call, one person asking what right he had to dictate morality.

"Well...actually I was kind of rude (to that person) and I did say that he would have 2 and a half more years of me 'dictating'." Everitt likens the need he sees here to the need for seatbelt legislation. The belts were in the cars and everyone knew they were a good idea, but some people had to be forced to use them.

"If the city needs to take an active role in ensuring that people are not providing alcohol - and drugs, I might add - then the city is going to push the enforcement to the max."

Council does not oppose the use of wine by minors for ceremonial or cultural purposes, but cannot understand why this should be seen to include hard liquor.


Police Blotter and Crimestoppers List

compiled by Constable Tim Blain

On 6/4/98 police received a complaint that a male subject was threatened with a beer bottle by a female while at the Westminster Hotel. The investigation is continuing.

On 8/4/98 the Grubstake Restaurant was broken into. A small amount of cash was stolen. While the damage and theft was minor in nature, the inconvenience for the business owners is immense. Any information surrounding this event would be appreciated.

On 9/4/98, police responded to a cabin fire along with the Klondike Valley Fire Department on Hunker Creek Road. The building was occupied when the fire began. Everyone escaped uninjured, however the building and contents were lost.

On 15/4/98, Gold City Tours was broken into. A substantial amount of damage was done and cash stolen. As noted previously, any information would be appreciated.

On 20/4/98 it was reported that sometime during the winter, a cabin on Bench of Gold Hill was broken into. A large STIHL chainsaw was stolen. Members of the community are reminded to be ever vigilant when purchasing used property, as it may be stolen and we'd appreciate a call. The serial number in this case is available.

In addition to the above, police were involved in the investigation of thirteen separate disturbances or suspicious activities. RCMP have charged a male driver for impaired driving and investigated a motor vehicle accident. Two complaints of assault are under investigation and six tires on a trailer were recently slashed in the Yukon River campground.

Please remember your access to Crime Stoppers via the 1-800 number. Let's all work together to make our community a safe place to live and work.


Community Group Councilling Graduates to Reality

by Dan Davidson

The training for Community Group Counselling began with some role play. Photo by Dan Davidson

Up until now, it may have been a dream, but a local initiative to gain more control over a more effective style of community justice has just taken a big step toward what organizers are calling a new era. Dawson has received a grant of $20,000 to get its experiment in Community Group Conferencing up and running and hire a part-time coordinator for the project.

Whether you call it Family Group Conferencing, Community Accountability Conferencing or, as Dawson has dubbed it, Community Group Conferencing, the latest thing in community justice is something that has one foot in the past and the other in the future, neatly avoiding the mainstream justice system where matters of legality seem more and more to take precedence over what the community feels is right.

The process involves setting up situations were offenders are required to accept responsibility for their actions, face the people they have injured and make reasonable restitution for what they have done. The circle format hearkens back to an earlier day, when malefactors had to face the community they had wronged. It extends the offender's knowledge of the consequences of his or her actions, it is more immediate that the court system, it personalizes the problems, and it give victims a hearing for their side of the case.

In Dawson Community Group Conferencing got its start last summer, and has been building strength over the fall and winter, especially since a major community meeting last October.

Community training for facilitators took place over the weekend of April 17-19, with 19 people from a variety of backgrounds giving up more than two days of their time to become involved with a process they all hope will provide a better way of dealing with some of the problems that haunt this community as they do many other in the territory.

A public demonstration on Friday night showed people what a conferencing circle might look like. Jeannie Norbie, an experienced facilitator from the successful program in Watson Lake, acted the part of moderator for a simulated case of shoplifting. Two "teens" were faced with the consequences of their actions, as they affected the owners and clerk of the store, as well as their parents and one younger sibling.

The hour long session fairly flew by, with the crowd of 55 in the Downtown Hotel Conference Room really getting into the spirit of the effort and asking lots of questions in the debriefing after it was over.

For the nearly two dozen students of the process, that was the beginning of a long weekend of simulations discussions and theory designed to give them a solid grounding in using this alternative to the mainstream justice system. Business people, clergy, teachers and city councillors, as well as other interested volunteers shared their frustrations and hopes as the weekend continued.

The program was delivered by Norbie and R.C.M.P. Constable Al Tousignant, along with the help of Lareina Larkin from the territorial Department of Justice.

Sunday afternoon featured a "graduation" of sorts, presided over by Stuart Whitley, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Cheryl Laing, the local organizer who has been the driving force behind the project so far.

The graduates, including 7 individuals who had taken an earlier training session in Whitehorse, had their pictures taken after they received their diplomas. After the photos, Whitley presented the steering committee with the government's cheque.

In Dawson, it has been determined that Community Group Conferencing will start very soon, will be used in a variety of cases, and will be backed up by the clear message that any conference which does not resolve itself satisfactorily will be followed by proceedings in regular court.


Art Show: Crossings

by Anne Saunders

At the art show. Photo by Anne Saunders

Last Friday and Saturday, an art show was held at the Dawson City Museum featuring paintings by Leslie Piercy and Mike Yuhasz, both of Rock Creek.

Leslie shared 3 of her most recent abstract creations with the public in the foyer of the Museum and called her show, 'Making Marks', while Mike displayed 'Crossings' in the audio visual room.

Leslies's vivid work is acrylic on canvas, approximately 3' x 4' and displayed on stands of her own design and fabricated by welder, Alf Winton.

Leslie recorded some of her thoughts about her paintings as she created them, which the Klondike Sun has put on the same page as this article appears.

Joyce Caley who was visiting the show, summed up things quite nicely with such comments as, "Wonderful array of colour and design. Imaginative-so simple, yet says a lot. Neat, attractive-but not gaudy."

Of Mike's work she stated, "Creative! -with ordinary materials!"

Mike's work is indeed very striking with his use of Tremclad paint and aluminum sheeting on a large, 4' x 4' OSB board. Last winter he spent painting, dedicating much time to each piece, saying that time is needed in order to compose.

"A lot of thought goes into each piece. I work on the image in my head."

"The material is critical to my work and contributes to the image.

The material itself is inexpensive, lasts for years and has the industrial aspect he is looking for.

His series of 8 paintings represents a new approach to art for Mike. His Hunker paintings he composed the winter before the last, he describes as being very 'painterly' and emotion-laden. Crossings is more humourous, unemotional and stands in strong opposition to the romantic landscape.

"The pristine, untouched landscape is a myth."

"I feel I am more realistic about humanity's relationship with the land. We feel that mining and microwave towers are intrusive or destructive, yet the activities in our daily lives are the reasons why we have this technology/industry.

"Art should be untethered. I never think about what people will buy, I find it entirely pointless to produce images geared towards what people want to see or hear. I feel my painting is the one aspect of my interaction with society where I have total freedom of speech, the ability to say something and ask questions without censoring myself.

"I want my art to create a dialogue, not a blanket statement.

"I thrive on change and am constantly looking for new ideas, better ways to present images.

"Next year-there will be new questions and new ideas. I'd like to work with even larger material!"


Art Show: Breathing Space

by Lesley Piercy

Those same strokes, the same lines. The feeling repeating & resonating as colour meets canvas.

Charting a course that will always meet another as much as it will seek freedom & space.

"Reaching Back"

Fascination with colour how each one calls for the next. Like a line of actors at the end of the show. Each taking their bow.

Finding a story in colour and line that has a sense to me. Something that is close and personal. Each of us look and see what we see.


Swarming began like this: I decide to paint the morning sun the way it bursts through the trees. And I get out my paints and off I go. The blackness of the forest shattered by & shattering the brightness of the sun. Spewing light in a million pieces through the trees... But the darkness wouldn't come. So that while this is the darkest painting I've done so far I had to settle for blue... And shapes of dragonflies emerged. And began their buzzing & hanging out on reeds. Building networks, moving out, hovering near the centre.

These pieces represent my fascination with the process of putting paint on canvas. The feeling of the canvas pulled tight on its frame. The drum sound. The tension both in the fabric, and in me as I begin. The feeling of the paint gooping onto the brush. And THEN the feeling as the brush trails a line of colour. Breaking the whiteness, the beigeness of the rectangle in front of my eyes.

Once you allow the paint to have its' say, you are on a voyage of discovery. It's child play.


Concert will Celebrate Gold Rush Era Music

by Dan Davidson

The music of the Goldrush era will be paying a visit to Dawson City on May 9, when the Whitehorse Community Choir culminates its three community tour with a performance at the Palace Grand Theatre. The 80 member strong choir will be performing first in Skagway and Whitehorse in a concert designed to showcase the variety of music which would have been common to the turn of the century.

The music will be set within a narrative framework which retells the story of the Rush. The lives of some people whose names are not perhaps so widely known have been researched in order to present a fresh slant on the old familiar story.

Says choir director Rachel Grantham, "We've tried to connect these stories in some way to the music of the times. That music is not just the American popular music, but also some opera, sacred music, music of indigenous people. Basically we're trying to represent the diversity of the cultures even though it was predominantly an American invasion."

Other cultural groups will include the Maori people, who came all the way from New Zealand.

While the Rush was predominantly male, there were also women. One was Lucille Hunter, a black woman from the United States, who came to the Yukon even though she was pregnant at the time and ended up being a lifelong prospector in the Dawson-Mayo area, eventually moving to Whitehorse.

There will also be an instrumental solo or two.

"Our guest baritone is going to portray Johnny Dines, who was sort of 'Mr. Music' in Dawson for most of his life. He was a violinist, actor and singer who came to Dawson in his twenties and died (here) in his eighties."

Dines taught music, created bands and provided music for a lot of Dawson events during his long life here.

The second half of the program will concentrate on music which would have been known in the western world at the turn of the century.

One song, by George M. Cohan, the composer of "Give My Regards to Broadway", will be performed by the members of the Robert Service School Choir, who will be guests at this event. The song, penned in 1898, is called "I Guess I'll have to Telegraph My Baby."

In the other concerts, this piece will be sung by the Borealis Children's Choir, but Grantham decided to approach RSS choir director Betty Davidson about taking it on and adding some local talent to the show.


In Remembrance of Yolanda Burkhard, 1930 to 1998

presented by Peter Jenkins in the house, April 2, 1998
and broadcast by CBC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a long-time Yukoner and a friend of mine who passed away recently after a lengthy illness.

Yolanda Burkhard was born in 1930 in Switzerland. She was raised there and remained there until her father passed away. Her mother and she then traveled from Switzerland to Dawson City, Yukon, where her mother was to visit a school friend of hers, Mr. John Buss.

The family ended up settling in Dawson City and just over a year later, Yolanda married Frank Burkhard. Together they placer mined on various creeks in and around the Klondike. They eventually settled at Flat Creek, and in 1954 began to operate a sawmill there.

I first met and came to know Yolanda in the early 1970s when she was the city clerk for Dawson. After serving in the capacity for some eight years, there was a reorganization of the municipal office. Yolanda left her position and she ran as Mayor of Dawson. She was successful.

During Yolanda's time as mayor, the City of Dawson celebrated its 75th anniversary. Yolanda played an integral role representing the City of Dawson at home and abroad. As a goodwill ambassador for Dawson City, she traveled extensively to such places as Australia and Newfoundland, enhancing and promoting relations between Dawson City and her sister cities. It can easily be said that Yolanda held a special place in her heart for the Yukon and always carried the voice of the Klondike with her.

Yolanda moved to Whitehorse in 1978 and joined the mining recorder's office. After that, she traveled extensively to Yukon communities, filling in for mining recorders who were on vacation or on leave.

Yolanda was an outstanding individual and a woman who stood true to her word, a good person with a love of the Yukon and a heart of gold. Yolanda will be fondly remembered by Yukoners and missed by her children, Sylvia, Jenny, Debbie and Cathy, as well as their respective families, including nine grandchildren.

As a long-time Yukoner and a very special woman, it is appropriate, Mr. Speaker, that we pay tribute to Yolanda Burkhard today.


Robert Sedgewick Gould, 1921 to 1998

submitted by the family

Bob passed away in the Cancer Hospital on April 16, 1998, his family was with him at the time.

Bob Gould was the 2nd son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Gould, who mined on Nugget Hill, Hunker Creek. Bob was born in a small log cabin on Hunker Creek on February 13, 1921. He went to school in Dawson and in 1933 when the family moved to Burnaby, B.C., he continued his education there. He came back north in 1938 and worked for the dredging company for the next 3 summers. He joined the Canadian Army in 1942 and went overseas with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, seeing action in North Africa, Italy, Holland and Germany. After the war, he came back to theYukon to work for a couple of years on returning to Burnaby in 1948. He started working for Woodwards in 1950 where he worked for the next 31 years.

In April, he married his neighbourhood sweetheart Betty Diack, together they raised three children. Linda Mary, Robert Daniel (Dan), and Katherine Lenore. They made their home in Burnaby, then Surrey and finally in East Vancouver.

He had six grandchildren, Rob (15) and Gord (13) with Linda and Bob Swenson. Francis (18) and Joey (15) with Dan and Darcy Gould. Nolan (6) and Danya (3) with Katherine and Blair Gizikoff.

Robert Gould is survived by his wife Betty, nee Diack, three children, six grandchildren, his brother John (Madeleine), Allen, both living in Dawson City, Yukon, Sid, living in Burnaby, Bill, (Doreen) living in Comox, B.C. and his sister, Lenore Wicks (Jack) living Mission, B.C.

A memorial service was held in the Royal Canadian Legion at 4356 Hastings Street in Burnaby. Many of his friends attended the service.

Donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Vancouver General Hospital Foundation for Palliative Care unit.

Memories of his kind and gentle nature will warm our hearts.


Writing is Quest Historian's First Love

by Dan Davidson

"Writing has always been my first love," says John Firth, "my first choice in terms of something to do - but if you live in the North there are certain limitations to what you can do up here for my particular type of writing."

Still, Firth began his writing career almost immediately out of school, working for the Whitehorse Star right after he was laid off by the City of Whitehorse in the early 1970s.

"I didn't have anything to do, but I liked the sport of hockey, so I used to go to the hockey games and watch them. I noticed that there was no sports reporting in the newspaper, so I talked to Bob Erlam... and he said if you can write the stories and we like them, then we'll pay you."

The money, about $25 an article in those days wasn't bad money in those days. It kept Firth off the UIC rolls and evolved into an increasingly busy assignment. Soon he was writing sports every issue and taking on other types of stories as well. Then things took an unexpected turn.

"In 1972, Bob called me into his office and said, 'You're fired.' I said, 'What'd I do?'"

It wasn't that he'd done anything, it was simply that Erlam had decided that the young man needed to complete his education. He told Firth that he was doing fine, but that he could do even better.

"He said 'You're going to go to university and ... get a better education.' It was the first an only time I'd ever been fired from a job and I couldn't think of a better reason to (be fired).

"I was somewhat upset when I left the office, but since then I've come to appreciate what a great thing he did for me. I'm a lot smarter now than I was back then."

At university he pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, with a specialty in stage and screenplay writing. By 1977 he was back at the Star, holding down the sports desk and writing in a number of other areas as well.

Then he put in a stint at Whitehorse Copper and went travelling, returning to the Star in the early 1980's for several years.

In 1985 he made a big jump to the financial planning business, lured into the position by his current partner, Harold Roach, and he's been there ever since. While the attrition rate in his industry is high (he says only 15% of those who begin are still in the profession after five years), Firth has survived and prospered. And the work has left him time to get involved in a few other things as well.

Two of these interests came together in the publication of his first book, Yukon Challenge.

The idea for the book which is now called Yukon Quest first came to him in 1983. When John Firth is described as the first journalist to follow the Quest, he makes it clear that he's not just talking about the first race itself. Firth was interested in this race from the ground up, when it was just a glimmer in the organizers' eyes.

At that point he had already followed the Iditarod and read The Last Great Race, thinking that there would be a Quest book like it someday. Five years and many musher interviews (50 hours) later, there was. It came out in 1990 as Yukon Challenge and went out of print in 1993-94.

He'd been thinking about a reprint for a couple of years before he found a publisher. In the meantime Lost Moose Publishing was growing from a small press with one main product (The Lost Moose Catalogue series) to a small press with a big appetite for Yukon cultural history. In retrospect the linkage was obvious but it didn't happen until October 1997.

Suddenly Firth and the production partners of the Lost Moose group found themselves scrambling to bring out a retitled, updated book in time for the 1998 running of the Yukon Quest.

"They put a fair amount of demand on me," Firth recalls. "Wynne (Krangle) said I had to bring it up to date, clean up the old stuff - because there were a lot of errors." The majority of the facts were solid, but Yukon Challenge had not been very well edited, and there were some sections of the original book that had to be rewritten, as well as the addition of thirty pages and more photos at the end.

Copy editing is an arduous process. Firth recalls stopping in the middle of what was probably his fiftieth re-reading of one section of the book and thinking, "I'm bored." It becomes impossible to tell if the writing is still fresh at that point.

Just one of the original stories in the revised edition is the tale of Linda Forsberg, who led the 1994 race almost to the end and then faded in the final leg for reasons which, up to now, have never been revealed.

One of the advantages of the new edition is that it could easily be extended and brought up to date in a few years time. While the framework story is that of the 1988 race, the anecdotal structure of the original book allowed Firth to back up or peek ahead as he wishes. In the new sections he's handled the stories in a more rigid chronological order, but the tone is the same.

"I've tried to give this race a personality from end to end, rather than just a checkpoint personality."

Lost Moose in general is a good publisher to work with, Firth says, and he is full of praise for Wynne Krangle and Peter Long of K&L Services, who did most of the actual work with him. The team managed to get the book off to the printers by December 17.

The book was officially launched the evening of the Yukon Quest's mushers' meeting on February 5, and Firth got quite a laugh out of the packed room when he noted that, after working with Wynne and Peter for six weeks, he knew how the dogs felt at the end of the race.

Even then it was clear that the book was going to be a tremendous resource for reporters covering the race. The charts and tables from the back of the book had been extracted and mounted on posters all around the banquet room at the High Country Inn. That was just the beginning. All during the race, instantly dog-eared copies of this brand new book could be seen hanging out of reporters' pockets for quick reference, and even seasoned Quest followers like Pam Buckway found it an invaluable aid.

In its present form it would also be easy to bring out a new edition every few years, bringing it up to date with new sections and fresh statistics. But it remains to be seen how this one will sell during the rest of the year.


Klondike Sun Home Page