Dawson City, Yukon Friday, May 29, 1998

A first look at the stage show at this year's Diamond Tooth Gerties. Photo by Kevin Hastings

Feature Stories

Downtown Curfew Proposed
Post Office Becomes Pilot Project
In Mining "until I drop dead" States Alex Seely, Sr.
Thirteen was No Jinx for the Gold Show
Head Start Program
Summer Workers Come to Town
"Voices of the Klondike" Plays the Palace
Young Fry Return to Nature
Netmail: From Germany with Fond Wishes

Welcome to the May 29th edition of the Klondike Sun Online. In the hardcopy version of this issue there were 14 photographs and 30 articles, plus our Krossword and Kids Pages. Online we can put only a fraction of this material. To subscribe, please see our home page. If only a few of 300 plus people who hit this site every issue were to subscribe, we'd be ecstatic ... and quite a bit healthier in financial terms.

Downtown Curfew Proposed

by Dan Davidson
Sun Scribe

Town council is discussing the "C" word again, and this time it sounds like the members are quite serious about it. A curfew is proposed for certain parts of the community to begin in early June.

The immediate impetus for this new proposal from Mayor Glen Everitt is a series of teen related burglaries, shop-lifting incidents, break-ins and vandalism which have occurred here over the last fortnight.

Everitt read to council a letter from an RV park owner which described how the motorhome of an American couple parked in the downtown core area was vandalized by having diesel fuel poured into its drinking water holding tank.

He then proposed an 8 p.m. curfew in the downtown core area for all minors under the age of 18, to begin as soon as the bylaw can be drawn up and passed.

With full council present there was no opposition to the general concept. Comments ranged from Eleanor Van Bibber's "Right on!" to more cautious agreement from Shirley Pennell, Joanne Van Nostrand and Ades Scheer. The only item of concern was the timing, which most councillors felt would be better set at 9 p.m. rather than 8.

The mayor said he had already consulted with the local RCMP on the matter and their opinion was that a limited bylaw would help them in dealing with teens loitering around the bar entrances or packing on certain corners.

Teens will still be able to hang out along the greensward at the dyke, and visit such places as the Dawson City Video Store, but aside from that, they will be expected to stay away from the hotels and bar entrances in the five block downtown area, from Front Street to Fifth Avenue and from Harper Street to York Street.

Everitt says the main draws in that area seem to be those who want to watch the bar action at certain places, waiting to see when there will be a fight; those who are arranging with legal age persons to make booze runs for them from the off-sales outlets; or those who are hanging out "because they're planning to do a B&E that night".

While there are those teens who hang out in the downtown area and aren't doing anything wrong, enough problems are being caused by others that council feels it needs to take this step. Under age teens will be asked by the police to move along, or picked up and taken home. Eventually repeat offenders will be subject to a system of fines which haven't been worked out but will be based on work assignments.

Teens going to and from jobs will not be affected by this proposal, but those simply hanging out can be expected to be asked to explain themselves.

Since the usual television broadcast to the community was not working on May 19, it remains to be seen how the community at large will react to the proposal. Anyone with problems really should plan to be at the first public council meeting of next month on June 1st.


Post Office Becomes Pilot Project

by Jocelyn Bell
Sun Reporter

Lori Sprokkreeff and Postmaster Lambert Curzon stand by "ROSS" (Retail Operating Support System), recently introduced into the Dawson City postal outlet. Photo by Jocelyn Bell

As a reward for being one of the top 500 revenue-generating post office in Canada, the Dawson City postal outlet just got a brand new, state-of-the-art computer system called ROSS (Retail Operating Support System). Fully operational since last Thursday, the big selling point of ROSS is that it will cut down much of the manual labour post office clerks have to do. This includes daily accounting and looking up price options for customers in books and on charts.

"It's just a different way to do business," said Brian Page, area manager for the Yukon. "Because of the quickness and workability of the machine," the line-ups and the long waits will probably be shorter.

"We're moving Canada Post into the 21st century," said Liliane Forget, the ROSS project manager who came from Ottawa. "No more wooden drawers."

That's the sales pitch, but Postmaster Lambert Curzon isn't buying in whole-heartedly. "I'm very apprehensive," he said.

Line-ups are the key issue. Currently, the post office has two cash registers which get used by two clerks each. But because Canada Post installed one ROSS at the post office, the front desk staff dropped from four people on cash registers down to one. Unlike the cash registers, which can be used simultaneously by two people who can log on and off in a matter of seconds, ROSS can only be used by one person because it takes about three minutes to log on.

"It's hard to process down to one line and not expect a wait," Curzon said. "I told the area manager that I'd take him out for dinner if it works. By that I mean that we can move the people through faster." The new system will have to be at least four times faster than the old cash register for the line-ups to decrease. "They're assuring us 100 per cent that we're going to be able to move a larger mass of people faster," Curzon added.

Aggravating the long line-ups issue is the tourism season, which will make long waits even longer. "We're heading into one of the busiest seasons on record," said Curzon, wondering why Canada Post picked this time of year to train the staff on a new system. "I don't want to have visitors leaving and not spending as much money in the post office because they get tired of waiting... I just don't think we're going to be prepared."

Alison Ludditt, a ROSS trainer from Vancouver who has been contracted to help the Dawson outlet's employees learn the new system said that overall, she's found the employees receptive to the new system.

"They have a lot of questions about how it's going to change their daily routine," she said. "Their most prominent concern is customer service and whether they'll be able to serve their customers with the same efficiency."

As for customer Ludditt said, "patience is going to be the first and only thing we're going to ask of them." Since they're all learning, it will take a little while to work out the kinks.

Since fewer people will be serving customers at the front desk, the concern has been raised that employees will be let go. When asked whether he'd have a surplus of employees, Curzon responded, "It's hard to say how it's going to work."

But Grant Pearson, retail representative for Canada Post said, "No one is losing their job... We're not displacing employees."

The final issue -- and it's a big one -- is what happens if the system crashes.

Of the 500 sites where ROSS is being set up, Dawson is the most isolated. "If the ROSS system is down, the ROSS system is down...We do not have a back up system," said Curzon.

There is an IBM1-800 help line for advice. Hopefully, the person on the other end can help.

"If the help line can't get us back on board, we'd have to get a CD [ROM from Ottawa] and help line would help us reboot." It could take three days to get the CD ROM from Ottawa. In the meantime, the post office would do their financial transactions and price look-ups the old fashioned way.

Curzon did have one good thing to say about the system, "As far as the accounting goes... I think it's far superior to what we have right now."


In Mining "until I drop dead" States Alex Seely, Sr.

by Jocelyn Bell
Sun Reporter

The organizers of last weekend's International Gold Show in Dawson City, Yukon brought in a speaker who might be more at home in front of high school students. Before the group of gold miners stood a motivational speaker.

But Klondike miners are keenly aware that the price of gold is hovering around $300/oz. U.S., just a hair more than what it costs to bring gold out of the earth on the very tightest operating budget. A motivational speaker could be just what the doctor ordered.

With incredibly low or nonexistent profit margins, the smart business move would be to find a different industry. But with the exception of a few, placer miners are determinedly returning to their claims and carrying on.

Likening the placer mine to the "the family farm of the north," Mike McDougall, president of the Klondike Placer Miners Association said, "It's like agriculture. When times are tough, you don't leave, you just tighten your belt."

McDougall has been placer mining since 1983, and he and his wife, Kim, have had their own operation since 1988. This year's gold prices are the lowest McDougall has seen in 18 years. "Some years I have paid for the privilege of being a placer miner," he remarked. "It's an amazing strength of character that keeps us at this game."

McDougall is lowering his operating cost in the same way that most miners are: he's hiring fewer workers to help him. Whereas in most summers he would hire four people to work five months each, this year he'll only hire two to work for the same amount of time.

Fewer workers means less machinery is operated, and fuel and repair costs go down. It also means a smaller output of gold.

If the law of supply and demand were dictating the price of gold, a year of low production coupled with a steady demand would drive the price of gold upward. But the price of gold "hasn't been supply-and-demand driven for years now," said Al Brodie, the Western Regional Manager for Englehard Canada Ltd. In fact, demand has exceeded supply for quite some time.

What drives the gold prices are the central banks.

"All it takes is a large bank like Switzerland to say they're thinking about [selling some of the gold from their reserve] to make the prices drop $50," Brodie said, noting that the Bank of Switzerland never did sell.

There are stock market techniques, designed to protect buyers and sellers alike from drastic fluctuations. The Viceroy Resource Corporation, which owns and operates the Brewery Creek mine outside of Dawson and Castle Mountain mine in Southern California, is on a hedging program. Hedging allows a corporation to pre-sell its commodity at a fixed price, guaranteeing them a certain return. "It's a way of protecting yourself against the drastic decreases in the gold prices," explained Linda Thorstad, vice-president corporate relations for Viceroy. Viceroy pre-sold two-years' worth of gold at about $400 U.S. It costs Viceroy approximately $200 U.S. to extract gold from the Brewery Creek mine.

Despite the protection afforded through hedging, Viceroy is still having difficulties attracting investors. With decreasing gold prices, "people shy away from investing in gold," Thorstad said. Registered with the Toronto Stock Exchange, Viceroy's shares were valued at about $6 mid-year last year and are down to around $2.30 this year.

For Dawson gold merchants, the law of supply and demand is very real.

Uta Reilly, part owner the Klondike Nugget and Ivory Shop Ltd., buys gold directly from independent miners and manufactures it into bracelets, necklaces and earrings, right in the store.

"The availability is getting a lot scarcer... But I wouldn't panic on it yet," she said. "You have to stockpile a little bit."

Reilly is worried that she'll lose her suppliers, particularly in light of the fact that it costs miners more to retrieve jewelry-quality gold, because it is much deeper beneath the surface of the earth. "I'm really hoping that we keep our small, independent miners."

There are a few shining nuggets to keep the miners optimistic.

The soon-to-be inaugurated European Central Bank has yet to announce what percentage of the new Euro will be backed by gold. Estimates are that it could be anywhere from 15 to 25 per cent. The greater the backing, the greater amount of gold that gets put in the bank's reserve. For the miner, this means less gold is on the market, supply decreases and the price of gold goes up.

It's also wedding season in India and gold is the traditional wedding gift. This is the first year that the Indian government has loosened up its tight import regulations and miners are hoping that will mean an increase in the physical demand.

Lastly, the ever-decreasing value of the Canadian dollar is good for Canadian miners. Since gold is sold on American markets, they profit from the exchange rate. [A quick lesson in economics for those who need it: If $1 U.S. = $1.41 Cdn, then gold valued at $300/oz. U.S. brings in $423 Cn for the miner. But, if the Canadian dollar drops in value $0.01, then $1 U.S. = $1.42 Cdn. Gold valued at $300/oz. U.S. brings in $426 Cdn for the miner.]

Where optimism fails, a fierce loyalty to gold kicks in. Alex Seely Sr., 72, was born in Dawson and has spent a lifetime dealing with gold on various levels of the industry. His grandfather came to Dawson from Poland during the gold rush and is buried in the pioneers' cemetery just outside of town. "The gold trend, as far as I'm concerned, is on a downswing... It's getting less and less," Seely Sr. said.

So why stay in the gold business?

"I'll stay in gold until I drop dead," he declared, abruptly halting the line of questioning.


Thirteen was No Jinx for the Gold Show

by Dan Davidson
Sun Scribe

A display at the Gold Show thanks miners for supporting the Klondyke Centennials Society. Photo by Kevin Hastings

Kim Matthews isn't sure why the number 13 seemed to pop up so much in discussions of the Gold Show this year, but she admits that some people in the media seemed inclined to hang it like an albatross around the neck of her event.

The Tuesday after the show she was "recovered, awake and putting things away" as her job moves into its final phase for this year. While she officially began work on January 1 and her contract will be over in a couple of weeks, the Event Coordinator for Dawson's annual celebration of placer mining says she never really leaves it behind. After three years in the position she finds herself thinking "gold show" even in the off-season.

"I have my files. I'm tearing stuff out of the newspapers, looking for exhibitors, being a little ambassador to the Gold Show."

It makes the actual job easier if she keeps it in mind year round, because it seems to keep growing on her. "It's funny. You'd think it would get easier, but it gets harder because you know more."

This year she found that people outside the organizing committee were expecting the show not to work.

"I've heard so many things from community members - not from mining people, but others. (They're saying) it just wasn't as big, it's going downhill, we didn't have as many exhibitors or people."

Mind, she's heard that just about every year and other coordinators have heard it before her, so it's not a new observation. It appears that everyone was expecting the poor showing of gold prices this spring to have a major impact on the Dawson International Gold Show.

Matthews says that from where she sits, that just didn't happen. Thirteen was simply not the show's unlucky number.

There were five fewer exhibitors than last year, at forty-three, and the number of delegates was the same as in 1997, about 185. They came from as far away as Alberta, but for next year there are already inquiries from Greenland and France, as well as New York and places in South America.

"Out attendance was down slightly, but only slightly, and it did not hurt our industry exhibitors...who had a really good year. They were very surprised. They weren't expecting that this year would be a year that they would make a lot of sales, and they did do that."

Matthews said that types of exhibits this year were smaller, so the Bonanza Centre Arena didn't look as crowded.

Some of the pessimism surrounding gold prices has led, she thinks, to unwarranted speculation about the end of mining in the Klondike. She admits she's no gold expert, but she doesn't see it.

"Placer mining's been here for over a hundred years. It's not going anywhere. That's just the reality of the thing."

She quoted the comments she heard Rob McIntyre of Access Mining make to federal DIAND minister Jane Stewart, who had asked him what placer mining was like.

"He told her that placer miners were like the farming community of the North. It's dad and mom, dad's daughter and the husband. Times get tough so you tighten your belts and come together as a family owned mine. You lay off the extras and hire them back on when you can."

As for the Gold Show, she thinks it's pretty tough too. having weathered the so-called thirteen year jinx, she sees it lasting a long time.

"It's the event that opens up the town in the spring now. People mark their year from gold show to gold show it seems. People say 'it's gold show week already' and get on with summer."

On top of the list of things that happened this year she places the visit of the Honourable Jane Stewart, the Minister whose department is in charge of mining.

"She walked in. I thanked her for coming. She thanked me and gave me a half-hug and was just really personable and friendly and went all through the crowd. It was the first time since she's had the portfolio that she was able to speak with the miners, so it was nice."

Motivational speaker Steve Donahue was most enthused about the Klondike, though he'd probably never had such a venue as the school gymnasium, with cots from a visiting cadet troop piled up against the back wall as he spoke. His Saturday morning seminar was, said Matthews, a bit of a gamble, since nothing like it had been done before at this event, but it worked and did raise the spirits of the one hundred and fifty or so who attended.

The new heating system in the arena was partly paid for by surplus seed funds from the Gold Show, and everyone appreciated it. In previous years the arena has been cold and clammy if the weather didn't cooperate. This year Matthews said every exhibitor noticed the difference.

"It (was) all the talk of the town during the show. If I am never involved with this show again, I'm glad I was involved when the heat went in."


Head Start Program

by Anne Saunders
Sun Staff

This is part of an interview that took place between myself and Leanne Godwin, Director of Tr'inke Zho Daycare Centre the end of April.

"I couldn't be more proud of this program.", stated Leanne Godwin, director of Tr'inke Zho Daycare Centre about the Head Start program.

Head Start originated about 20 years ago in the United States for black and Hispanic children who were at risk of dropping out of school.

Klondike Sun: So could you state the mandate of the program for me?

Leanne Godwin: The mandate from Health Canada, (which is providing the funding for the 3 year program at Tr'inke Zho), is to foster a strong sense of self esteem and pride in culture and to encourage lifelong learning for children ages 0 to 6 years old. After attending the Aboriginal Head Start Program, it should be a smoother transition to a structured classroom setting for the child.

K.S: Could you explain the main goal of the program?

L.G: The very primary purpose of this program is to teach respect for yourself at a very early age. If you look at children's learning you will discover that they learn 60 percent of their total knowledge by the time they are 4 years old. Their personality is developed almost 80 percent by the time they are 6 years old. (These are figures given to me by Allen Murray, instructor, Early Childhood Development Program for Yukon College) So these are critical years, years that count. Self esteem issues are a lot harder to correct when you are a teenager, an adult or an elder. If you don't have a strong sense of self esteem, then you may not have the skills to survive and be healthy. We want these children leaving the program feeling good and confident about themselves so when they enter the school system they are going to succeed.

K.S: What do the children do in the classroom?

L.G: The program is based on a weekly theme that is of cultural relevance. For example we began our program with "All about me", offering an opportunity to get to know each other . We then moved into "Families" to involve all the important people in the children's lives. During the week, we provide a variety of activities to do around these themes; dramatic play, puzzles, Han language, art activities, songs and field trips or have visitors. This meets all the developmental needs of the children (social, emotional, physical and cognitive) while using cultural themes to develop the necessary skills.

K.S: Who is the teacher?

L.G: Up until April it was me. Recently we hired Eldria Christiansen as the teacher. Eldria has worked as an Educational Assistant in Ross River, as a volunteer at the Tillicum Friendship Center Daycare and also has children of her own. In the past few weeks Eldria and I have been working together to help build her confidence. It's going very well. The children, parents and elders are very comfortable with her. I think she's really blossoming in this program. I'm very proud of her.

K.S. How where the attending children chosen?

L.G: The Parent Advisory Committee obtained a list from Land Claims of First Nation children, status or non-status, between 4 and 5 years old who were going into kindergarten. I contacted a couple of parents and they talked to others. Really, the program sold itself. Parents don't need much encouragement because the idea sounded so good.

The daycare also has children in this target group that attend Head Start in the afternoon. Eventually we'd like to have all Daycare children attending but funding is limited.

So this program is 4 days a week from 12 to 3 pm with 7 children.

K.S: You had three years' worth of funding, could you explain what has happened during each of these years?

L.G: The first year all the funding went into building the addition onto the daycare. The second year a bit of a setback occurred. The proposal that was initially given wasn't on target with the mandate of the program. Unfortunately, 1/2 a year was missed because the program was being reworked. In January the children began attending and will continue until the end of May . This session will have been 5 months long. We will closed for June and July, but start up again in August and will go until next May which will be the official end of funding.

K.S: So this program ends May of '99?

L. G. Yes, but I'm confident that the funding will keep coming because these programs are successful. It's not going to fail.


Summer Workers Come to Town

by Jocelyn Bell
Sun Reporter

With the tourism season barely begun, a couple hundred people have already come to Dawson to work for the season. For some, work was pre-arranged or guaranteed for those returning to the same job they had last year. For others, the hunt has only just begun.

Outreach worker Penny Soderlund said that she registered 143 people in the first two weeks of May, up 42 from 101 last year. Soderlund said the first wave of hiring ended in the first week of May. At that time, there were so many job postings that they went right off her bulletin board.

The second wave will come when the tourists start pouring in to town, Soderlund said. At that time, employers will either find that they don't have enough staff or workers who are juggling two or three part-time jobs will have to drop one when their hours increase and they can't co-ordinate their schedules any more.

Soderlund has been working at the Outreach office for seven years and said every year, the summer workers "have a different flavour." In past years, they've been people who follow the tourism season around wherever it goes like nomads. This year, it's predominantly university students, she said. Also every year there's a different name that everyone seems to have. "Four years ago it was Jen," she said. "This year we have a million Jasons -- well, not a million."

As for what employers are looking for, Soderlund says it's the same as in the south. They want people with experience who are also clean, presentable and pleasant. And you have to be here to get a job. "Essentially it's a leap of faith for most people," she said.

Two who took the leap this summer are Matt Skinner, 22, and Jeremy Plotkin, 22. Although neither of them had found jobs when they spoke to the Sun a week ago, they said they couldn't complain because they hadn't actually started looking.

"We're just cruising the scene," Plotkin said.

"We're enjoying Dawson and having a good time," Skinner agreed, adding that he just wishes there were more public showers. Skinner's not convinced that the best way to job hunt is to flood the town with resumes. "Maybe it's better to carouse the bars and try to make contacts," he said.

Soderlund has high hopes for this season because of reports that hotel bookings are up. Usually anyone who really looks for a job during the tourism season finds one, she said.

According to Soderlund, the most sought-after work places in Dawson are at Diamond Tooth Gertie's and Klondike Kate's, which are renowned for being fun places to work and for having a good work atmosphere. "You rarely find a position open there because people come back year after year," she said.


"Voices of the Klondike" Plays the Palace

by Dan Davidson
Sun Scribe

"This has been a thrill," said director Rachel Grantham at the Palace Grand Theatre just before the members of the Whitehorse Community Choir presented the encore to their evening's entertainment in the historic building.

Dawson was the final stop on a three community tour during which the 85 member choir retraced the route of the Klondike Gold Rush from Skagway, through Whitehorse and finally, to the Klondike itself. Klondike National Historic Sites made the Palace Grand available for the evening free of charge.

The Palace Grand, of course, is normally the home to the Gaslight Follies production, a light hearted tourist oriented show which included elements and melodrama and vaudeville. That was always part of its fare, but it did, historically, cater to the more serious side of music and theatre as well.

Not all of the music the choir brought to town was strange to the ear. Both "Label your Luggage for the Klondike" and "He is sleeping in a Klondike Vale Tonight" are gold rush period pieces that have been staple fare at the Follies for years, but seldom have they been heard with such force and harmony as they were on May 9, when the room rang to the rafters.

The idea, as Grantham explained it earlier, was to showcase the variety of music which would have been common to the turn of the century, including music hall, opera hall, church and folk tunes.

The music was set within a narrative framework which retold the story of the gold rush. The lives of some people whose names are not perhaps so widely known were researched in order to present a fresh slant on the old familiar story.

Rachel Grantham said, "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."

So the story, narrated by Ron MacFadyen, told the tale of several groups who left for the Yukon. The miners headed out from Skagway; the Salvation Army gathered in Toronto. They all knew popular songs that would have been written between 1850 and the event. Religious and classical music might have stretched back farther, and some research did reveal what songs were popular as the century turned.

There was even a group of Maori people from New Zealand, and they might have sung "Pokarekare Ana" on homesick nights just as surely as the Americans warbled "Beautiful Dreamer".

George M. Cohan probably didn't have Soapy Smith's crooked telegraph scam in mind when he wrote "I Guess I'll Have to telegraph My Baby" in 1898 in New York, but it proved an interesting framework for that story and was carried off nicely by the local talent, being the Robert Service School Choir, under the direction of Betty Davidson.

Other groups with an interest in the rush included the coastal Tagish and Tlingit people, whose songs were presented by Jared and Andrameda Lutchman. There was also a group of Jewish stampeders, for whom the rousing "Haida" might have been an anthem, while black gold seekers might have found inspiration in the spiritual "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around." French Canadians might have sung "En Roulant Ma Boule."

One of the characters of the Rush was Jonny Dines, portrayed by guest baritone and violinist David Stewart.

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

There was a lot more classical and religious music in the second half of the show, with soprano Sonja Andersson and David Stewart sharing the limelight for many of these numbers. There was also a bit of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Another local performer, eight year old Chelsea Hartwick, proved the sweetheart of the evening with her rendition of "Aura Lee" in the role of Little Marjie, a youngster who was the delight of many a homesick miner in those early days.

Again, all the material would have been current in 1898, everything but the finale number, "Along the Yukon Trail", which was not written by Clarke and Jerome until 1914. The fine performances had the audience on its feet at the end of the show, and chatting with the singers for some time after the evening was over.

The choir was up bright and early the next morning to half-fill Saint Paul's Anglican Church for a special Morning Prayer service featuring the religious numbers from the night before and quite a few others.


Young Fry Return to Nature

by Jocelyn Bell
Sun Reporter

Kyley Henderson and Kylene Perry watch young salmon swim out of yogurt containers and into the creek. Photo by Jocelyn Bell

While the Yukon's miners are busy taking gold out of the creeks, the grade 3/4 class at Robert Service School put something back in to the creek: salmon.

The class has been part of the "salmon in the classroom" project, run by the federal government's fisheries and oceans for about five years.

Last November, the class was given 75 salmon eggs, which they kept in a tank at the side of the classroom. "We had to check the temperature every day and when they were fry we had to feed them," said Charlie Brunner, 9, who is in grade 3. A young salmon gets the name 'fry' when all the food is absorbed from its yolk sac, a membranous sac still attached to the newly-hatched fish.

Two weekends ago, the students, their teacher Gwen Bell, and some parents drove to Tatchun Creek to return the fry to the wild. Of the original 75 eggs, 68 survived to become fry -- a ratio that beats nature by a long shot. In nature, nine out of 10 salmon will die before they become fry.

The salmon were returned to Tatchun Creek just before imprinting, a process whereby a young salmon will memorize what creek it's from, predominantly from the smell of that creek. Then they'll make the journey out to the ocean to spawn and return to Tatchun Creek to lay their eggs.

But the journey is a long and difficult one for the salmon. They have to avoid predators like pike, king fishers, bears, fishermen and disease. In fact, only about one in 500 fry will survive long enough to return to the creek.

But Charlie Brunner is confident that some of the salmon his class raised will make it. "Some of them will probably come back," he said. "But I wouldn't expect all of them to come back without one single one dying."


Netmail: From Germany with Fond Wishes

Dear Editor:

Only two or three weeks ago I discovered the "Klondike Sun" in the Internet, when I was looking for information about the break-up in Dawson. I had heard about this event briefly, and so I was very pleased to find your interesting explanations and descriptions!

Sitting here in my office in Berlin, Germany (where temperatures went up to 28/30 degrees C during the last weeks), reading your latest issues, and thereby taking a look at the real Dawson and its people was a very interesting experience.

For the upcoming summer-season I wish everybody - the staff of the "Sun" as well as the whole people of Dawson - the very best! Be sure, that I will stay in contact by visiting your online-paper. I am very eager to find out how things are going in "the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder".

I think you all are doing a wonderful job with the "Klondike Sun"!

With kindly regards from

Kirsten Vogel


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