Dawson City, Yukon Friday, October 24, 2003

RSS's elementary school students gathered at Amica's before beginning their walk to the school to celebrate International Walk to School Day. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

RSS Walks to School
Dawson Incumbents Fight Off the Challenge to Their Record
Election Forum Makes the Contest Personal
City Council Projecting Another Budget Surplus
MP Opens Klondike Office
Branch #1 Finds a Home at Last
Peggy-Anne Berton's Beat Super 8 Soliloquies
Dawson Humane Society Faces Funding Crisis
Birthday and Anniversary

Welcome to the October 24, 2003 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the photographs and articles from the October 21 hard copy edition.

The hard copy also contains Doug Urquhart's famous "Paws" cartoon strip, our homegrown crossword puzzle, and obviously, all the other material you won't find here.

We encourage viewers of this website to consider subscribing to the Sun. It would help us financially and you would get to see everything closer to when it's actually news. The only thing you would not get is the colour photo at the beginning of the on-line issues. We can't afford to print in colour.

Since we went online in March 1996 our counter has crashed a number of times. The first counter logged about 25,000 visitors. The second one, which crashed in late March 2003, logged about 51,000. The current counter went online in April 2003 and was sitting at 14,485 on November 7, 2003.

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The Sun would like to thank the following readers for their donations: Jane M. Lund, Erik Knoph, Wayne Rachel (Callison Waste Management), Laura Massey (and to Laura for her encouraging words... "Hang in there - you remain some of the best journalism around.") Note to Torfinn D: We don't have your land address. We'd love to send you a tax receipt for your contribution, but we can't do that without it.

RSS Walks to School

by Dan Davidson

There wasn't anyone singing Raffi's "Walk, Walk, Walk to School" this morning (October 8) but the spirit was there as students from grades K to 6 gathered at Amica's Ristorante at the corner of Craig Street and Fifth Avenue for the 10 minute walk from there to the Robert Service School. The school buses from the Dome and the Klondike Valley pulled up in front of the restaurant at about 8:20, and the kids gathered with their teachers and some parents on the steps of Amica's for a photo before they hit the road.

High school students were not part of the event this year as their day was altered. Due to the Three Way Conferences which were to begin at 1 o'clock and run until 7 that evening, the high school students and staff were not at school in the morning.

As for walking to school, most of the kids were far too eager to actually walk and the adults had to stride pretty quickly to keep up on the slippery boardwalks.


Dawson Incumbents Fight Off the Challenge to Their Record

by Dan Davidson

Pleased but chastened, Glen Everitt heads into a fourth term as mayor and will continue as president of the Association of Yukon Communities. He first became mayor in a 1996 by-election, and was reconfirmed in the position in both 1997 and 2000. Photo by Dan Davidson

Glen Everitt approached his victory in Dawson City on Thursday night with mixed feelings. On the one hand, he said, it was good to have fought off a very personal challenge by outsider candidate Guy Chan. On the other, there was a message in his reduced margin of victory.

There were 494 ballots cast in Dawson this time around, 39 less than in the last election. Everitt took 250 of the 470 votes that were cast for the mayor's position. That's 53.1%, a number which rises to 55.8% if you discount the 22 rejected mayoralty ballots that were in the boxes.

Three years ago his margin of victory was an unassailable 74.4%, so something has gone wrong in the meantime.

"My margin's way down," he said after the counting. "I dropped 147 votes, which is a clear message from the public that something needs to change a little bit. I need to communicate better.

"I think the fact that I've been secretive about arbitration and some other things may have frustrated some people. I did hear that at the door. I'm just following the law and we'll see what happens, and we'll try to figure out another way to communicate more with the public."

In fact, all of the incumbent councillors were returned to office with healthy numbers. No one was embarrassed. Guy Chan took 198 votes (44.2%) and even the low man on the council count, Frank Narozny, increased his tally to 190, up some 50 votes from his last attempt.

New guy Bill Holmes took the largest number of council votes at 374.

"I'm a little nervous," he said at Everitt's victory party at the Downtown Hotel, "but I'm also excited about working with this council and mayor.

Byrun Shandler admitted to having been uncertain that he would be reelected. At 299 votes it was a pretty certain thing.

"I'm never sure about anything," he said. "I wish that this outrageous, constant negative criticism will end now. We've done a good job in the past three years. This council's worked very hard together. We've supported one another and dealt with very difficult issues. But I'm tired of the crap."

He hoped that seeing four out of five councillors returned to office would send a message to some people in the community and others at the level of the territorial government. But if it doesn't, he had a message for the nay-sayers.

"We're gonna fight back."

Wayne Potoroka was the only incumbent to sit through the ballot counting process this time. He and Shandler sit on a lot of the same committees and are also often heard needling each other in mock battle at the council table. In the counting, their names were often sounded together.

"You can't have Abbot without Costello," Potoroka joked.

"I'm happy with the results ... happy that the incumbents were returned - all four of them. I think Bill's going to make a great addition to the team. I'm looking forward to getting back to work, resolving some outstanding issues and moving forward."

As for spending two hours hunched over ballot tally sheets, Potoroka felt he'd learned something from it, watching his 358 votes mount up.

"I can't imagine not doing it. It's an opportunity to ‘hear' what the electorate is saying. They say it by how they vote and who they vote for. For the first five or ten ballots you're nervous, and then you just get down to work."

Joanne Van Nostrand will be starting her third term with 287 voters behind her. She says she's not crazy.

"I care," she said.

She felt she may have been hurt by not being in town for the election forum on October 8, but Thanksgiving is a special family holiday for her, and she was in British Columbia seeing a new grandchild as well as other family members.

"I want to finish off the projects that we have, to try and rectify some solutions with the water and sewer, and allow the citizens to carry on with a stronger economy."

She did lay to rest a persistent rumour. The Downtown Hotel which she owns and manages with her husband, Dick, is not for sale. They are trying to sell half of a parking lot across Queen Street from the building, but that's all.

Everitt addressed the room later in the evening.

"I know that the last three years have been very difficult. There's been a lot of things that we haven't been able to publicly talk about. The good news is that in a few months, when we can start talking about things to the public that they want to hear, they're going to get a whole new perspective."

The three of you earned it," he said, addressing Shandler, Potoroka and Van Nostrand. "You've earned the opportunity to be part of that, and I'm looking forward to that day."


Election Forum Makes the Contest Personal

by Dan Davidson

Diamond Tooth Gerties was the scene of the Dawson Election forum. Photo by Dan Davidson

(Note: The election is over, but the forum is part of the historical record, so here it the coverage.)

While the general tone of municipal election forum in Dawson City on October 8 could be described as even tempered and well mannered, one candidate did mix it up a bit with most of the rest.

Mayoralty contender Guy Chan, the owner of the Rio Grill, led off the evening with a full assault on his opponent, incumbent mayor Glen Everitt, and all three of the councillors running for re-election.

Everitt had, he said, squandered the opportunity to do great things that had been handed to him in his victory three years ago. He had instead, become a "freelance politician" who was, by implication, more concerned with the doings of the Association of Yukon Communities and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), than he was with managing the affairs of Dawson.

The town was, he said, in trouble, almost in a state of "civil unrest", and the incumbent council had deliberately adopted a policy of "information blackout" to keep from having to answer questions about its spending policies.

"The territorial government did not dig the hole that we're in," Chan concluded, "our own municipal government did it."

In his concluding remarks later, Chan went further, indicating that he would call into being an advisory group outside of the elected members to help give him direction. He felt that the town had been "sold out by the present council."

Naturally, incumbent councillors Byrun Shandler and Wayne Potoroka did not take kindly to these stern words. Potoroka went so far as to lash out at Chan verbally when he was attributed as the source for a Chan comment about the town's handling of a $4.8 million grant for infrastructure projects.

"I did not tell Guy that," he exploded, going on to make it clear in his own opening presentation that he felt the departing council had presided over three years of careful spending, balanced books, and small but clear surpluses. He indicated that projects like the recreation centre and the sewage treatment plant were outstanding issues, but that things were under way on all of these fronts.

Shandler likewise spoke about being tired of negative criticisms, gave his own endorsement to all of his fellow incumbents and was very firm in his evaluation of the last three years: "We have done well."

The third incumbent councillor, Joanne Van Nostrand, was not able to attend the meeting, though her statement was read by the moderator, Jorn Meier of the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce.

Bill Holmes, who works at Diamond Tooth Gerties for the Klondike Visitors Association, said he was running because it was time to get involved, "time to step up rather than complain."

Frank Narozny, making his second attempt at getting elected to council, questioned the wisdom of some of the decisions that had been made over the current term, felt that the town was involved in too many conflicts. and said he "would like to bring some common sense to the decisions we will have to make in the next three years."

Glen Everitt said that he was happy to have his own record to run on this time around so that he could talk about positive things rather than harp on others' shortcomings.

"I can't tell you that last three years have been easy, because if I did I'd be lying. What I can tell you is that my commitment to Dawson has never swayed and that I continue to give 100% of my efforts to represent this community as best as I can.

"The network that has been established for this community stretches well beyond the confines of the municipal act. We have a presence in the Yukon ... in YTG ... in Ottawa ... and within the municipalities across this country. This network has taken a lot of hard work and time to build, and the dividends are now starting to unfold."

With this, Everitt reminded the crowd of his own part in attaining the $55 million in infrastructure funding which has recently been announced by federal minister Alan Rock as being available to the territory.

Everitt pointed to infrastructure projects in the town, to the partnerships between the City and other agencies and to good relations between the town and the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in.

"These partnerships are what make this community unique. These partnerships are what I stand for."

By the end of the evening, Everitt, piqued by Chan's comments throughout the forum, tossed aside his closing speech and challenged his opponent to a more rough and tumble debate, outside the polite confines of the forum structure.

Lots of issues came from the floor as well. It was surprising what did not come up as well as what did.

The Yukon River Bridge issue was raised by Brent MacDonald, a ferry worker and musher. All candidates except Shandler (as last time) were in favour of the bridge, although Everitt refused to trade it off over improved medical facilities, if it came to that.

"Politics has stopped it from happening so far," he said.

Shandler said he thought it probably was going to happen under the current territorial government, also for reasons of politics.

Vanessa Webber (Everitt's step-daughter) took exception to Chan's emphasis on home owners as the backbone of Dawson. She, along with probably about 50% of Dawsonites, does not live in her own home, but rents. Some rent from the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, some from Yukon Housing; some are in staff housing provided by businesses. While Chan felt that such people were not directly affected by utility and tax increases, Everitt felt that most landlords pass such things on.

A surprise issue for the evening was that of business owners who work in town but cannot vote because they live outside the town boundaries. This is a territorial rule governed by the Municipal Act. Chan felt it should be changed. Everitt was in favour of change only if a way could be found from keeping absentee owners from having a say in local politics.

Former councillors Shirley Pennell and Aedes Scheer raised two important questions early in the evening. Pennell wanted to know what experience any of the new candidates had in municipal government. Not much, as it turned out. Scheer asked if they had any ideas on how to improve communication between the town and the council. This generated the intelligence that the town already posts its meeting agendas, runs information on the back page of each issue of the Klondike Sun, posts messages on the rolling ads on DCTV, and televises all of its public council meetings as well as all other special municipal meetings.

Wayne Potoroka suggested that, other than that, all a councillor could really do was to listen and attend other peoples' meetings as well to find out what was being discussed.

A second surprise issue was that of daycare, raised by Karen Larsen, who sought reassurance that the town was not trying to close one of its daycares. Not so, Everitt said, backed by all the incumbents. Potoroka added that it was a territorial issue, and if there were problems she ought to contact Klondike's MLA, Peter Jenkins, also the minister of the Department of Health and Social Services, which has the authority over daycares.

It was not so surprising when municipal support for issues related to climate change was raised by Carol McBride of Conservation Klondike. The town actually supported the Kyoto Accord Resolution at FCM, but no one felt it would be possible to do much about people idling their vehicles for too long a time in the winter. Bill Holmes got a chuckle when he noted his mother's response after he told her he was running for office.

She told him not to worry, that no one would ask him to control the weather.

All candidates supported both mining and tourism. All felt that the relationship, both financial and organizational, between the town and the KVA was important. Most agreed that people ought to be discouraged from tying their dogs in front of businesses while they did their shopping, but many felt that citizens had to speak up on this when they saw it happening, and not just leave it to the bylaw officers and business owners.

The issue of housing for transients (summer workers) caused several candidates to reminisce about their first days in Dawson, but it must be admitted that the current summer Tent City is on Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in land and will be closed after next summer. Discussions towards setting up a new site are under way, the incumbents agreed.

The final big issue of the evening was the announcement, earlier in the week, that Dawson had received a new municipal supervisor after the firing of Ken Hodgins, with whom the council had enjoyed a cordial relationship. Andre Carrel, a former Dawson town manager, had been appointed as a part-time consultant by YTG. So far, his terms of reference have not been made public, indeed, he has stated that he does not know them yet, so it was hard for council to comment one way or the other.

Everitt said the original job given to Hodgins was to assist the city in devising a seven year financial plan. That was done some time ago, and Hodgins had twice attempted to sign off on his task, but had been prevented by both Liberal and Yukon Party governments. What was left to do, Everitt didn't know.

Shandler was more blunt.

"It's just Peter (Jenkins) beating the crap out of us ... reminding us that he's the boss."


City Council Projecting Another Budget Surplus

by Dan Davidson

Whatever new slate of councillors is elected to serve Dawson City on October 14, the outgoing council is certain that there will be more than enough money on hand to meet the budget commitments it has made.

'Well," said Mayor Glen Everitt, looking at the September 30 budget variance report, "she looks pretty darn good to me, I'm sure it would look really good to an auditor- but not to some people."

The figures showed that the town was actually ahead of projected revenues in some areas, with final quarter utility bills yet to be collected along with four months of cable internet and television fees.

The town had budgeted revenues of $3,699,600. As of this report it was $157,493 shy of that target and still had over $300,000 in billings to collect.

"If all things go without a natural disaster taking place, the city is headed for ANOTHER nice surplus," Everitt said, with emphasis on that word.

"Did I say that loud enough?" he asked in an innocent tone of voice, reflecting the continuing frustration that he and his fellow councillors have felt over accusations that the town is running in the red.

"We will have more revenues that we budgeted, which is the point that we've been trying to make," said councillor Byrun Shandler.

The one major unexpected expense during the last year was the need to replace a pump in one of the town's wells, an unforeseen $10,000 expense that still did not put the budget for that department at risk.

"That came from what we call a 'contingency reserve'," said Everitt cattily, in clear reference to his opponent, Guy Chan's, suggestion that the town needed a "rainy day" fund to deal with emergencies.

Chan, who was campaigning door to door, was not at this final public meeting of the current council, though councillor candidate Bill Holmes was in attendance.

A new council will have a number of potential projects on its plate. One of the early issues will be to give third reading to minor amendments in the town's smoking bylaw, which has been returned to the table without much comment from the community.

There are some loopholes that have been closed in the matter of bars operating as restaurants. In addition, the building which houses Diamond Tooth Gerties, which is a city building, has been specifically exempted from the smoking regulations unless the event taking place there is a family event.

All other city owned buildings are smoke-free.

In the main, said Everitt, most people seemed content to leave it as it was, banning smoking in any area which might cater to young people under the age of 18.

A new council will have to deal with plans to assist city residents in the Klondike Valley to tap into the electrical grid, as well as develop a plan to tap into the new federal infrastructure funds to do work on the second floor of the new recreation centre.

It was also preside over the completion of the plans for the secondary sewage treatment facility, which are 95% complete now. The plant, Shandler reminded the home television audience, will never be built unless the senior levels of government come up with their share of the $17 million needed to do the job.

Councillor Wayne Potoroka reminded everyone that something like $4.2 million of Dawson money has been spent on this project since the town began to address it seriously ten years ago.

In all, it was an evening for winding things down. The phrase, "we'll have to leave that for the new council to decide" was heard more than once as the meeting wore on.

Councillors wrapped up the evening by wishing each other well and expressing their appreciation for all the hard work and support that they have given each other during the last three years.


MP Opens Klondike Office

by Dan Davidson

MP Larry Bagnell (in the tux) poses with a number of his Klondike constituents at the opening of his new rural office. Photo by Dan Davidson

Larry Bagnell (M.P.- Liberal) may not be able to restore the legislative glory that was Dawson, something he's been heard to muse about from time to time, but he's decided that he can honour the Klondike, and make an affirmative nod to the rest of rural Yukon, by opening an office there.

About a dozen Klondike constituents turned out for the official opening of Bagnell's branch office on September 27. For a relatively nominal fee Dick and Joann Van Nostrand have rented Bagnell the office space in the Downtown Hotel Annex used by Princess Tours during the summer season.

Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in elder Deacon Percy Henry opened the ceremony with a brief prayer.

Bagnell joked about his frequent trips to Dawson, noting that a number of people have asked him why he didn't move his office here. While that was not practical in terms of the entire territory, he had come to feel that it did make sense in terms of offering better service to the central and northern Yukon.

"About 99% of the Yukon is rural," he said, "and sometimes the people in rural Yukon feel that they're not getting the attention they should, that they're left out and forgotten.

"So that's the general purpose behind this. I've always appreciated and tried to represent rural Yukon well. On my first campaign I drove five hours to the grand city of Elsa to meet two people, and ever since I've been trying to get all over the Yukon."

The immediate inspiration for the office came from a meeting set up during his last campaign. Bagnell credits local businessman Wayne Rachel and Dawson's mayor, Glen Everitt, with prodding him to find a way to do this.

"I said that if I got elected and got my budget sorted out, I'd see if I could do it technically; if we could find a place, we could give it a trial period."

Akio Saito, who retired from the YTG's Tourism Department last year, will be Bagnell's local agent, opening the office each Tuesday for a half day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The office will be open for a year and then Bagnell will decide if it has proved itself. Of course, there will probably be a federal election before that time is up.

There were representatives from a number of community agencies and groups at the opening and each welcomed this innovation.

Town Councillor Wayne Potoroka spoke of the close relationship between the MP and the Dawson council. He appreciated Bagnell's philosophy of "unfettered access to politicians" and the fact that he returns his calls and e-mails right away.

"Welcome back to the community in a more permanent fashion," Potoroka said.

Klondike Visitors Association president Father Tim Coonen echoed Bagnell's comments about the Klondike being the heart of the territory, at least as far as tourism was concerned.

"I'd like to welcome you back home here to the center of things."

Klondike Placer Miner's executive member Al Rudis praised Bagnell for his support of both Dawson and the placer mining community over his term in office.

"We're confident that your initiative in opening this office will carry through and help with your efforts in Ottawa."

Speaking on behalf of the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce, outgoing president Jorn Meier praised Bagnell's attempt to do something new in the way of rural representation.

Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Deputy Chief Clara Van Bibber as also on hand to welcome the opening of the office.

"On behalf of the elders, citizens and government of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, we are really pleased and honoured that you have come home and we welcome you and your new office here in Dawson City."

With the cutting of the ribbon the celebration was soon over, leaving people to finish off the goodies prepared for the event by Suzanne Saito.


Branch #1 Finds a Home at Last

by Dan Davidson

Dawson Branch No. 1 of the Royal Canadian Legion has its first hall since 1924. Photo by Dan Davidson

According to local historian and Legion member John Gould, Dawson Branch No.1 of the Royal Canadian Legion may be one of the oldest branches in the country, with roots dating back to the Great War Veterans' Association which was formed after World War I.

Be that as it may, the branch now has what must be one of the newest legion halls in the country. The new Third Avenue headquarters was formerly opened and dedicated on October 13, as the Legion finally completed the process of transforming the former Klondyke Centennials Society Building into its new home.

Legion president Chuck Margeson was in charge of the celebration that evening, beginning with the singing of the national anthem, led by school choir director Betty Davidson.

Margeson noted that there had been a lot of volunteer labour involved in getting the building ready for its new life. In addition he thanked the City of Dawson, which had made the decision to transfer the building to the Legion when the KCS lease expired after its "decade of centennials". The Community Development Fund also assisted in the project, as did the Klondike Visitors Association and Parks Canada, and a list of other community businesses.

Mayor Glen Everitt spoke briefly, giving what he joked might be "my last official address as mayor."

"This building, as many are aware, served a very important purpose during the Gold Rush Centennials. In my opinion and that of council, this is the perfect way for this building to be handed over to an organization.

"We have, before the rumour mill gets spilling out, worked out an arrangement for the purchase of this building and the council has made it very clear ... that the transition of the building's ownership over to the Legion is to be as easy as possible."

He said he hoped that future councils would be able to help the new Legion Hall to exist for another hundred years.

Actually, according to John Gould, the Legion hasn't had a home of its own since 1924, when it lost the Kenworth Hotel, which it had used for just five years. Gould hasn't pieced together all the history of the Legion yet. He recalls that it was not a very active organization here when he was a boy in the 1920's and early 30's. Nowadays, members march in all the parades and take a leading role in celebrating Remembrance Day, including going into the school to speak to students about their experiences and sponsoring an essay contest.

When Gould returned to Dawson to live full time after his stint in the Canadian Forces in World War II the Legion used to meet in what is now the Parks Canada headquarters on Fifth Avenue, the one-time RCMP residence which is across the street from the Dawson City Museum.

There were meetings only in the summer because they couldn't afford to heat the building. Later, that became a residence for Parks staff before it was converted to office use.

Marianne Davis reported that the CDF money was used for the flag poles, furniture and minor repairs that were needed to alter the inside of the building. She called for a special round of applause for Chuck Margeson, who spearheaded the project.

After a blessing by branch chaplain Father John Tyrrell, Mayor Everitt and John Gould cut the ribbon to officially open the building.


Peggy-Anne Berton's Beat Super 8 Soliloquies

by Dan Davidson

Peggy-Anne Berton performs at Bombay Peggy's. Photo by Dan Davidson

Peggy-Anne Berton at Bombay Peggy's. What more perfect place could there be for a evening of smoky, grainy images strung together with extemporised narrative? The 21st century meets the 1950s in a settling which has already played host to a couple of "Beat Nights".

For the last five years Peggy-Anne Berton has been entertaining audiences with her own version of beat storytelling. Her chosen instruments are old technology: a Super 8 movie camera and matching projector. Her performances are in smoky, darkened rooms where the clickety-clack of the projector marks time to the rhythm of her voice, spinning stories that may or may not have a direct connection with the images being spun from the little reels of film.

On this evening in early September there are six reels, each maybe ten minutes long, each rewound before the next is mounted. About half of them project images of a local couple working at their fish nets on the Yukon River. One follows a dog around town; another focuses on a face; one apparently takes a trip up the Dempster Highway.

Peggy-Anne muses while the reels spin and a pair of musicians improvise on percussion and saxophone. The music is moody and meandering, reflective of the images and the voice.

"I like the edges of things," she intones - long pauses between phrases. "The edge of day ... the edge of summer, The thing about the edge is that all the really good stuff is at the edge.

"It kinda tells us ... what we have ...and also how fast things are flowing ..."

"The sunset tells us how fast we're moving in this world ... tells us about all the great colours that we have..."

Not all of her musings are that poetic. The trip up the Dempster seems to be about suffering without beer and the risks you take when you don't plan ahead. The roll starring the dog reverses that as she talks about spontaneity and how things come along when you need them.

Peggy-Anne comes to Dawson, as she has a number of times now, to catch the light. She doesn't talk much about what she does outside of actually doing it, but a little over a year ago she was captured for the late night CBC cultural program, Zed, just as she was coming to the end of a stay in Toronto.

"I'm at the end of my stories here," she told her interviewer. "I've shot over 400 (reels). I'm hittin' the road - gonna get more stories.

"I'm gonna head up to the Land of the Midnight Sun (you can hear the capital letters in her voice) and catch that light. It's beautiful light there and you can shoot all night long."

There's more to it than that. Ambushed (her word for it) by an another reporter in Dawson that same summer after a bit too much celebrating she confessed to a Berton-like affinity for the place where she recalls taking her first steps on one of her father's immortal river trips.

She's not at all comfortable with conversations about her famous father. Being Pierre's forty-something daughter is not what being a counter-culture videographer is all about. Their relationship, she says, during one of several telephone conversations about missing appointments for interviews to do this story, is private - their business.

Still, Dawson is sometimes a muse for her, as it has been for him, in spite of siblings who can't understand the fascination she feels. At the unveiling of a World War One plaque on July 1 she speaks movingly into my tape recorder of Frank Berton, her grandfather, who was first drawn to Dawson by gold and drawn back by a job, but was always fascinated by the place.

She wishes she had had the opportunity to get to know him and talk about that feeling, that same feeling that has caused her father to devote a substantial portion of his output to the Klondike, even to planting references in a recent book about Canada's military history.

"I'm sorry," she says when I pick up the telephone the last time. "I've been wasting your time. I can't do this."

But we talk a bit anyway. I don't learn why she started using the Super 8, which I would have liked to know. I already knew that Peggy-Anne's Super 8mm Beat Soliloquies began as home movies and matured into a continuing art project in the way that some beat notions do.

Peggy-Anne's unedited rolls of film are less messy than some "artistic interventions". Look her up on the internet and you find fewer than a dozen references, but they contain phrases like "messy but charming" to describe her shows, which have been regular events in some venues, and they describe her as a "much-loved underground icon."

Her soliloquies are "full of half-truths and sly fictions", created on the spot (living on the edge?) and accompanied by DJ Richard Vermuelen who spins platters and generates a sonic accompaniment, improvising a soundtrack to her improvised narratives.

Is it art? The Ontario Art Council thought so in 1999, to the tune of $5,000, and the Canada Council chipped in $15,000 in 2002.

"I've put five years of my life into this," she says when we talk. The quest brings her back to a dilapidated cabin in Dawson's North End; down river to cook at a tourist camp, or out on the river to play her camera on a fishing operation in the half-light of a Dawson summer night.

The effort of getting ready to perform - her projector a substitute for a musical instrument - leaves her too nervy to talk about the process. The performance leaves her exhausted.

We talk for some 20 minutes on that last call, dealing with this and other matters, a private conversation suddenly rendered public by her closing words, "I think you know enough now."

Perhaps I do. It's a little messy, a little oblique, but those words seem to be my permission to explore what I have. It takes a month to sort it out.


Dawson Humane Society Faces Funding Crisis

To: Concerned Citizens of the Klondike Region:

Greetings from the Humane Society Dawson! We are approaching you at this time for support in achieving our current fundraising goal. In the past year, HSD has suffered major financial setbacks due to the Yukon Territorial Government's refusal to provide ongoing funding. As a result, we are dangerously close to terminating valued services provided to the public and facing the possibility of closing our doors altogether. Our goal is to raise $10 000.00, through personal and corporate donations, to be raised by January 1, 2004. This will allow us to continue operating while we secure long-term funding.

Since 1995, our services have come to be relied on by many and hundreds of unwanted, abused and neglected pets have gained homes, health and happiness through our actions. Since our inception we have and continue to effectively provide many necessary services to residents of the Dawson area, human and animal alike. Services provided by HSD include:

Humane Society Dawson is a non-profit society and a registered charity. Through your support, you are improving the quality of life of our community as a whole. We urge you to donate any amount you can, as every bit helps. For your donation (of $10 and over), we are able to provide you with a Charitable Donation Tax Receipt so that you may claim it on your taxes. You may drop off donations in person at our shelter in Callison Industrial or post them to HSD at Box 1143. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the shelter at 993-6900. We urgently need your help. Please support our fundraising campaign so that we may continue to serve our community and responsibly ensure care for all animals domesticated by humans.

Board of Directors,
Humane Society Dawson


Birthday and Anniversary

Left: Annie and family celebrate 99th birthday; Right: Clara & JJ holding hands at 60th anniversary. Left photo by Carole Tyrrell; right photo submitted

Annie Henry Celebrates 99th Birthday

Members of the Henry family were present to celebrate Annie's 99th birthday in October. The ceremony was held at the MacDonald Lodge.

60th Anniversary Celebrated

Members of the Van Bibber family gathered at the Trondek Hwechin Community Hall to celebrate Clara and JJ's 60th anniversary.


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