|At the time this issue appeared, and still, as of this posting, the two rivers that meet here have not frozen. It's a little harder to get a good picture as we move closer to the shortest day of the year, but this is how the Yukon River looked on November 21 around noon. Photo by Dan Davidson|
Welcome to the November 26th on-line edition of the Klondike Sun. This is the abridged version of our Nov. 23rd hardcopy edition, which was 20 pages long, containing 33 photographs and 24 news stories, 1 poems, the cartoon strips "Paws", "Mukluk & Honisukle" and "City Snickers", and our regular homemade Klondike Krossword puzzle. Getting a subscription (see the home page) is the only way you'll ever see it all.
Submitted by Oddfellow Ball Volunteer Committee
To quell all hearsay, rumour, heated debate, and curiosity, we the humble volunteers at the Dawson City Arts Society would like to announce that YES!!! we are hosting the event of the millennium, a New Year's Eve gala the likes of which Dawson has never witnessed. Fellow Dawsonites, we invite you to celebrate the last hours of the year 1999, and to take your first dance steps of the new millennium with us at the Oddfellow's Hall on the eve of January 1, 2000.
We are frantically planning and preparing, but here is an outline of what you can expect on the night of December 31, 1999...
Upstairs in Dawson's most elegant ballroom, you will find a fully stocked bar, tended by some of Dawson's most illustrious barkeeps, to tend to your every whim. The night will be filled with music through the ages, from early classical works to, as the party winds up, the most dance-able of tunes from the blues, jazz and swing eras and accelerating into the past 50 years of rock'n roll, country, techno...a song for every musical taste. The DJ will gladly take your requests.
Downstairs, we will offer an extravagant, all-night buffet of gastronomic treats from the hands and minds of Dawson's best chefs and cooks. Fine finger foods from the world over to keep you fueled for dancing'. Also on floor one, you will find the martini lounge, a place to get away from the crowd and have a quiet beverage. It is the only room where there will be smoking allowed, perhaps the last one ever for those of you with a resolution to keep. It will also be a place to socialize and admire some of the artwork being painted specifically for our ball, by local artists of course (if anyone is interested in contributing, contact Mike Yuhasz @ 993-5046). Also in the lounge, we will be televising the dropping of the ball in Times Square at midnight. Keep your eyes peeled fro Dominic Lloyd, who plans to be in New York City for this momentous event.
In both the ballroom and the lounge we will have a countdown to midnight and raise a toast of complementary champagne to greet the new millennium.
What to wear??? Well, this is a costume affair, and we ask that you dress as any historical figure from the past 2000 years (or a costume representing a particular movement or era is acceptable). There will be costume prizes.
What to bring??? A noise-making contraption of your own design, something to make a whole lotta racket when the clock hits midnight. We will be offering a prize for the most unique noisemaker; all the better if it works into your costume.
The tickets are not yet on sale, but will be priced at $40 per person. There will only be 200 available, so watch for posters around town for into on ticket outlets. Doors will open at 8:00 p.m. If anyone needs further information, or is interested in volunteering, call Mindy @ 993-5260 and she will do her best to help you out.
by S.P. Gleboff, Sgt.
Commander, Dawson City Detachment
The following is a summary of policing activities handled by the members of Dawson City Detachment during the 3rd quarter of 1999. (Ed Note: It was presented to Dawson's municipal council on November 15. A statistical breakdown of the quarter's activity was included and those figures have been added to the original report where needed for clarification.)
The numbers of Criminal Code matters from the same period as last year are down nearly 100 files, from 405 to 318. The year to date has also dropped to 708 actual offences of all types from the previous year's 802. However, we do show an increase in injury motor vehicle accidents which were predominately on the Dempster Highway. This figure jumped up to 11 from 0 a year ago. It appears that our clearance rate has improved slightly over the same period as a year ago. It is now up to 50% from the previous 48% when all categories are considered.
The most notable occurrences that our members investigated or took part in, were the incidents of the young lady being mauled by the Black Bear, the arrest on the George Black Ferry of an individual driving a stolen truck, and the arrest of 3 individuals and seizure of a considerable amount of Drugs from a Quebec vehicle during Discovery Days weekend. Both Music Festival and Discovery Days weekends were found to be reasonably quiet.
We again were fortunate enough to be afforded additional resources from Whitehorse for the bigger weekends. We were also very fortunate to have 2 summer students employed in various programs with us, and Cpl. Kevin Brosseau, a regular member summer student, which augmented our regular establishment this summer.
Cpl. Tim Bain has been transferred to Whitehorse Detachment. After spending a little more than 2 years in Dawson, he and his wife, Jan, and their family were somewhat torn about leaving Dawson. They all enjoyed their time in Dawson City. It appears a replacement for Cpl. Bain will not be announced until sometime after the New Year and I am hoping to have the new member occupy this position sometime around April 15th.
Submitted by Sue Taylor
Near the end of September, Grades 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 were bussed by Gold City Tours, out to Quigley Dump to observe the goings on at the landfill site. Bev Mitchell, acting as a liaison between the Klondike Conservation Society and the City of Dawson, took up the challenge. She rounded up the troops and their teachers for a day of environmental education and enlightenment. Some of the main issues up for discussion were "What is really garbage?" and "Why is the dump set up like it is?"
The students learned that a very large percentage of their household waste was not garbage at all but can be recycled.
On inspection of random bags of Garbage, it was observed that most of what is in our garbage, isn't. Composting food matter (coffee grounds, peelings, eggshells, leftovers, etc.) can be collected in a bucket, bag or bowl under the sink and dumped into the yard compost collection or emptied at the community compost facility at Quigley. I only started doing this myself recently and am amazed at the reduction of my own household wastes, not to mention how great my garden will be next year!
Remember that ANYTHING GLASS OR TIN can be rinsed out and dropped off 24 hours a day at the deck of the Recycling Depot or at Quigley (Mon. to Fri. 2-6 and Sat 10-6).
Any clear plastic container (salad dressing, mustard, cooking oil, popcorn, shampoo, dish soap, etc.) can also be dropped off. Just check the bottoms of products when you buy them to ensure it has a "l" in the little triangle. Solid colour plastics are NOT recyclable so don't be fooled by symbols. Once the big yellow Mazola jug is purchased and used, we're stuck with it. Check the stores. Almost everything can be purchased in recyclable containers, that is, glass, tin, clear plastic or cardboard.
The other question Bev asked the students was "Why the Landfill is the way it is". They learned that by separating piles to keep vehicles, metals, household wastes, burnables and non-burnables apart we can get rid of most of it properly and profitably and maintain what we're left with safely. None of the kids wanted a new dump being built in their present or future backyards.
Gertie the Garbage Gremlin (Bev's alter ego) made her debut to the Kindergarten, Grades 1,2,3,4, and 6 during the same week. She brought with her a game/model of the dump with various items to be recycled, re-used or deposited accordingly. It was a real "hands-on" activity, taken into the classrooms and minds of the kids and much enjoyed. Gertie hopes they learned a little something too.
The students agreed that while they are young is the best time to get in the habit of being aware of what you buy, what kind of packaging it is in and what happens to it when you throw it away.
Out of sight, out of mind? NOT!
by Palma Berger
Again, the Art Gallery in the Bakery has assembled a showing of art done by or owned by people with Klondike Valley connections.
A warm welcoming atmosphere and snacks awaited all visitors on the opening night. Many of the items will be showing till Christmas. There's such a range of styles, ages, creations and surprises as more of the art by locals was shown. The painting styles ranged from traditional and obvious to more modern art. The work of young people as well as well known artists was shown. There was water colour, pencil, pen, acrylic and oils. There were many crafted, carved, welded and sewn pieces.
Downstairs were goblets decorated by Margaret Tai. Ms. Tai although living in Whitehorse, happens to be a friend of Wendy's. The bread boxes made by Margaret Van Dusen were designed and painted by Jayne Fraser. Other items by Margaret were decorated wood horseshoes made from the hundred year old wood from the renovated Bombay Peggy's. This old house of ill-repute, but lovely architecture, is being renovated. Margaret managed to get four pieces of wood before the rest was sent off to be someone's firewood.
Upstairs real horseshoes were used to create a cowboy with lariat, a piece full of action, and cleverly made. This and other creations made out of horse-shoe nails were by Gordon Kerr.
A piece of mastodon ivory was delicately carved with Celtic knots by Tom Harvey, into a piece of jewelry.
Sharon Edmunds also showed a piece of carved ivory. This was a silver encircled heart of ivory. The hearts were elegantly set in a white mat bordered by a black frame.
The paintings that were joyful splashes of colour were by Roc Le Blanc. These are his dump art creations, which is to say he got his material from the dump and recycled it into art pieces. The framing done by Joe Vigneau did them justice.
At the bottom of the stairs, Jackie Worrell's large piece, "Perplexity", drew one for a closer look. The main colour is green and objects that were part of Jackie's past swirled in the 'fish nets' that graced the painting. But the two large holes in the 'nets' could be Jackie now emerging into a new sense of self.
The two pieces by Joe Blanchard were of "Bear Transforming to Man" and "Raven and the Sun". The colours of mainly red and black were clean and sharp with black line drawings repeated in a pattern. These were art inspired by Joe's First Nation background. Well-known Yukon artist Lillian Loponen had four small water colour pieces. Two depicting her well known style, the mistiness of -40 ice fog, and others of rolling hills with more colour and in a different season.
Other water colour artists included Penny Spenser's painting of irises with their rhythmic repetition of stalks and leaves. Cynthia Hunt had four watercolours, with subjects ranging from a potted plant with flowers to landscape to beach and driftwood and fish in a fry pan.
Heidi Bliedung's water colour of "Third Ave. Perspective" was given a feeling of movement by the addition of black ink outlining some buildings. The young artists were more in evidence this showing. There was Jake Baptiste's still life in water colour in eye catching oranges and reds. Another teenage artist was Jason Johnson, who combined different media to paint his 3 eagles soaring over sky and mountain.
Dan Buckley's pencil drawing of a figure of a laughing clown juggling was full of fun.
Michel Dupont's drawings of a sleeping contented dog, done in charcoal and pastel, and of a tiger with his intense stare caught mood very well. In the fabrics section was a chiffon dress a la twenties style, created by Megan Waterman. This straight pink shift was decorated with lines of small shiny 'diamonds' hand stitched to the dress. So attractive in its simplicity.
The quilt sewn in perfect diamonds and of colours that seemed to gather together despite the flower patterns in all the fabric pieces was made by Sylvia Strutton.
Shelley Hakonson's hand-sewn startlingly black raven stitched in satin stood out of a background of different stitches, fabrics, beads and colour which really caught the eye.
In the oil paintings, a small piece done by Angela Rout was of a young female reclining on the floor and engaged in a conversation on the telephone. The figure was well done and the animation of movement was brought about by the bright colours used to highlight the darker clothing. Palma Berger's oil painting was a view from the back of St. Paul's church after a hoar frost, and was titled "The Magic of Winter".
The pair of paintings that stood out for texture were Mike Yuhacz's. These were done on rough board painted with black tar, oil and acrylic. On one the slash of white across the painting was a jet of water from a monitor shooting its water onto the hill, and the other showed a tower, also white against a dark background. These being done in white created such a contrast to their dark backgrounds.
Anyone wanting to see this show just check on the hours that Tintina Bakery at Henderson Corner is open and proprietor Jayne Fraser will show you the section of her shop that has now become an art gallery.
by Dan Davidson
Maxine Trottier is getting close to the end of a thirty year career in teaching, but that's hardly likely to slow her life down any. The busy teacher has also been a busy writer for many years now, with more than 15 children's picture books to her credit from several different publishers.
As she adds young adult fiction to her writing load, she will just get to spend more time at her world processor than she used to.
Trottier was in the Yukon last week as part of a tour for Children's Book Week. She and 22 other Canadian writers travelled the country on behalf of the Children's Book Centre and the Canada Council.
The Onyo:ta'aka First Nation. Trottier teaches a Grade 1/2 class, but she is also listed on the school's web site as its "writer in residence" and her students have been able to follow the progress of her trip by logging onto the site each day. She's carried the school's digital camera with her and filed a report with photographs from each stop on her tour.
It's a very small world, though and the site notes that one of her students, Patrick, "is really excited because his Uncle and Aunt live in Dawson."
Though she writes children's books, Trottier told her audiences on Wednesday and Thursday that hers are books that need to be read to children. She doesn't do the easy reader, low vocabulary sort of book, but specializes in those that tend to attract the artwork of very talented realists, and deal with such issues as native legends (Dreamstones), aging & death (Prairie Willow), prejudice (Flags) and family problems (A Safe Place). Even her counting book, One is Canada, is quite a bit different from the usual run of this type and has two complete pages of detailed footnotes in the back to explain the item in the deceptively simple cumulative poem which is the text.
Trottier presented her work to three audiences in Dawson in the joint Dawson Community Library, with the help of public librarian Kim Adams and teacher/librarian Betty Davidson. She used slides taken from her books to create an audio visual presentation, although the younger children seemed to prefer actually hugging the books at the evening lecture.
The older elementary group on Thursday got to see one of their number dressed in a costume that might have been worn by one of the characters in her YA historical novel A Circle of Silver, the first book in a projected trilogy.
When she first began to write, Trottier wanted to illustrate her own books (a sample of her work can be seen on her web site at http://www.execulink.com/~maxitrot/maxine.htm) but found that it was way too time consuming. She has placed her trust since in her editors, who seem to have found her some excellent matches, with work by Paul Morin, Rajke Kupesic, Stella East, Bill Slavin and the team of Laura Fernandez and Rick Jacobson. Her main stipulation with all artists is that they find some way to work one picture of a dragonfly into their interpretations of her stories. So far they've been able to do that.
Trottier left Dawson Thursday afternoon, after a whirlwind tour that had her clicking the camera all the way. She has a school year to finish and four projects which will appear in print between now and next spring. After that, she'll probably be even busier.
by Dan Davidson
If a lot of Carmine Starnino's poems are little narratives, he comes by the practice honestly.
"It's a lot to do with the kind of childhood I had," says the 29 year old second generation Italian Canadian poet. "Beside every plate was served a story ... about the old country.
"It can get kind of crowded at the dinner table at my house. Not just for the people who are sitting there, but for those who aren't."
He feels that part of the process of his becoming a poet was that the subject matter finally caught up with him. Those were the poems that made up his first book, The New World (1997), material that he now looks at with something he almost calls embarrassment. The poems are very personal: stories about his brother, his uncle and aunt, his father, his Italian background.
He characterizes the collection as being somewhat "sentimental".
On the other hand, the family poems, free translations, tales of death and longing that make up the 51 page book are, he feels, just the sort of thing he needed to write at the time he did them, and he finds he's not finished with it yet. Credo, the book which will appear in the fall of 2000, will cover different parts of the same emotional ground.
Starnino doesn't write only poetry. His essay on the poet Irving Layton was the lead item in the September 1999 issue of Books in Canada. A book of essays and reviews, A Lover's Quarrel, will also appear next spring.
Starnino has been characterized as a "handsome young poet" in our local librarian's regular column in the Klondike Sun, and it's true that he is, but when he's wearing his thin black rimmed glasses, his already dark eyebrows become startling, and his face takes on the studious intensity of the young boy who once wanted to be a priest.
Coming to the Berton House Writers' Retreat is a big step out of his milieu for a young man who is a self-proclaimed urbanophile. "Sky scrapers hearten me," he says as we sip tea and coffee in Berton's refurbished kitchen. It's a either a practiced phrase or one that sticks in his mind. I hear him use it at another gathering a week or so later.
Be that as it may, he finds Berton House a perfect place to experiment with ideas, take as much time as he wants on something, avoid the hustle of his regular life in Montreal and just concentrate on the work.
It's not work he ever expected to do when he was young.
"I used to hate poetry," he says, "I still do at times - another clever image, another felicitous line and I'll go crazy.
"When I was younger I had a grade 5 teacher who used to read from this anthology of Victorian poetry - awful stuff. I thought ... this is stupid, using language to impress people.
"It wasn't until I got to CJEP (junior college)that I decided to ... trust my life to it."
It was an introduction to poetry class taught by Michael Harris, Montreal poet, which introduced Starnino to the likes of Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and Irving Layton and turned his life around. Starnino likens his literary epiphany to suddenly discovering, after year of living in a dark room, that there were doors and windows that could be opened.
Determined to do something about what he was feeling, to impress Harris, Carmine started writing poetry. There was a competitive spirit at work, he says, and he sees that as a good thing. It took a few years, but Harris, who is the editor at Signal Editions, the publisher of A New World. Carmine plays down the book, calling it weak, but you can order it from Chapters on-line, where it is accompanied by enthusiastic reviews.
The book was runner up for an award or two, but by then Starnino was working part time in a big book store and found the combination of expectation and reality quite chastising.
"Publishing a book of poetry," he quotes from someone else, "is like throwing a feather into a waterfall and waiting for the sound."
Writing had better be its own reward, he thinks, because there are a lot of other ways in which it will take a long time for it to be anything else.
He's hardly touched the project he brought with him, but part of the challenge of coming here was to see what would happen. He's written a few things related to the landscape, which he says is a new experience for him. He's typed and read a lot of e-mail at the library (since his own modem broke down) and finds that using the net has a fugitive quality which is different from ink, paper and postage.
He's been walking the town watching what has been for him the swift change of the seasons.
"This entire venture, this project, this Berton House - it's great. I can't think of any other retreat that does what the Berton House does. Other retreats you go away for two weeks maybe, and you do enjoy a certain amount of solitude, but you are with other writers and you still feel a certain amount of competitiveness, sort of look over your shoulder, over everyone else's shoulder - thinking are you getting any work done?
"You're too busy. You're anxious about the need to produce, the need to get something done.
Better, he thinks, to really get away, to dawdle, to stare out of windows at totally different things, to recharge the batteries and make some necessary mistakes which may or may not turn out to be poems later on.
"A place like this is absolutely essential - a place where you can nourish the silence."
From here, Starnino will return to Montreal, to work on his Masters of Arts and be a teaching assistant at Concordia University. Credo will be his dissertation.
by Dan Davidson
Inuit children's author Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak is back in print with the first fruits of his stay at Berton House during his time as writer in residence almost two years ago. His most recent book is Who Wants Rocks?, a story which community librarian Kim Adams can recall him telling in embryonic form while he was living here.
Kusugak has been writing since 1988, and spent his term at Berton House just ten years after the publication of this first book, a collaboration with Robert Munsch called A Promise is a Promise.
"People talk about moving mountains," Kusugak writes in his brief introduction. "Yukon Territory, in Arctic Canada, is the only place on earth I know where they actually do it. This story came to me in Dawson City, Yukon."
Kusugak says he was vastly impressed by mankind's power to reshape the environment and he wanted to write a story which would talk about that and about the wise use of that power.
There are two main characters in the story. One is Little Mountain, who s just what her name would suggest. The other is Old Joe, a prospector whose curse is always to find gold and never to profit from it.
Little Mountain lives in isolation from people, inviting all the animals to come and share her space.
Old Joe comes looking for wealth, not the peace of the wilderness, but every time he finds a nugget he makes the mistake of shouting for joy, and he is soon surrounded by other stampeding miners, who stake and dig before he can get any. In the process, whole mountains are leveled and the landscape is severely damaged.
Little Mountain sees all this happen to her nearest neighbour, North Mountain, and when Old Joe advances on her with his pick and pan she is terrified.
Joe, discouraged by always being edged out of the wealth, decides to yell out "Rocks!" no matter what he finds. None of the miners are interested.
"Who wants rocks?" they shout back.
Because he isn't being chased away by another stampede, Joe actually has time to sit and look around him, and he finally realizes that there's a lot of beauty to be seen in this land. He learns to appreciates when is there instead of spending all his time searching for gold. Old Joe changes his lifestyle, mines just a little bit, loses his obsession and is a happier man.
Kusugak has crafted a clever little parable, and his regular illustrator, Vladyana Langer Krykorka, has roughened up her usual style and adopted a grittier palette of colours to go with it. The subject matter is quite a bit different from their usual stories of the High Arctic, but it is still clearly Northern.
One of the purposes of Berton House is to inspire authors to create works that reflect the area. In Kusugak's case, this seems to have worked out well. and this is only the beginning. My only complaint is that his publisher has failed to acknowledge the contribution made by the Berton House Writers' Retreat to the creation of this story. Our program is a good one and needs all the press it can get.
Who Wants Rocks? is $7.95 in paperback from Annick Press.
by Dan Davidson
For those with personal connections Remembrance Day this year featured reminders of past sacrifices. For those without, it was a reminder that such things as wars have rocked this century, and that people have died in causes they felt to be just.
Father John Tyrrell, the incumbent priest at Saint Paul's Anglican Church, has been a naval officer himself and comes from three generation of forebears who have taken up arms. When he announced the prayer it was with that background in mind.
R.C.M.P. Sergeant Steve Gleboff, on the other hand, comes from a background perhaps more familiar to those of the middle generation. In his address to the audience, Gleboff spoke of years spent attending services like his one as a youth, and having hardly a clue what it was all about. It was only with age, and with his own membership in the Legion as a Mountie that he began to appreciate the ordeal that many of the men and women he met had gone through.
The young members of the Robert Service Choir know nothing of war, really. The oldest can just recall the Gulf Conflict and all are aware of the Kosovo Conflict of last year, but it has no personal meaning for them, even if they have taken it up in history classes. When they sing for the event, as the choir has now for over a decade, the songs are of wishes for a better future, one where conflict will not be necessary. "Build me a World" was one of those songs.
The remainder of the service varies little from year to year, but each part, from the Act of Remembrance through the Prime Minister's message and the laying of the wreaths has a ceremonial significance which adds to the event once you understand it.
Apparently the Legion wasn't certain about the attendance this year. Vice principal Shirley Pennell and choir director Betty Davidson turned to as the hour approached and doubled the number of chairs which had been placed, pressing everything handy into service for the crowd which was quickly filling up the space at the back of the gymnasium.
Following the indoor ceremony, the wreaths were transported to the cenotaph in Victory Gardens, near the Museum building, and everyone adjourned to the Curling Club for a reception.
by Dan Davidson
I don't think the evening could be called much other than whimsical. What else can you call a performance where one musician makes up a tune to go with what's being broadcast on "As it Happens" and the other attempts a complicated guitar solo which wearing a mitten?
It was the mood the ladies were in, I suppose. Maybe it was the weather. Neither singer Meg Lunney nor guitarist Alex Houghton had quite recovered from the ride to Dawson when they took the stage in the basement of Saint Mary's Roman Catholic Church on the evening of November 2, and neither could quite forget the snow or the temperature.
Locals were smiling at the latter, of course, since it had barely touched 20 below the night before and had been a fine, day in the Klondike, especially when compared with the reports of high winds and power lines down that kept coming out of Whitehorse.
Still the Ottawa ladies were in fine form, Meg joking about wearing too little for the weather and Alex determined to shed as little as possible.
"The hat stays on," she said several times, noting that she'd never been on stage in a toque, so it was a new experience. She gave up on the mitten after a minute or two of "Pink Stuff" and did the song over with the full use of her left hand, which made it sound even better.
Alex has a fascinating style; lots of intricate left hand delicacies mixed in with the sometimes ferocious attack of her right hand.
Meg, accompanying herself on electric guitar and piano, provides a lot to ponder. Her songs contain echoes of her influences, while also remaining quite uniquely hers.
As the evening drew to an end the two of them got together and produced a set of material which basically involved putting works by famous poets to music. Clearly, they were having a great time, and the mood was contagious. So was the audience.
The evening was sponsored by the Dawson City Music Festival Association, and was the third event so far this fall, the second to take the coffee house format to the former schoolroom in the church's basement. Coffee, tea and goodies were on sale during the intermission. What nicer way to raise a bit of money and remain true to your purpose?
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