Dawson City, Yukon Friday, October 25, 2002

Kids at Robert Service School enjoy the first snowfall of the season. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

Editorial: That First, Perfect Snowfall
Election Signage Highlights People over Parties
Everitt Steps Down for Campaign
Grade Six Examines the New 3 Rs
Glen Everitt: In His Own Words
Lisa Hutton: In Her Own Words
Hey, Where's the Other Guy?
The Wonderful World of Fungi
Water Subsidy Stands for Dawson Homeowners
High Jinks and High Drama Down on the Farm

Welcome to the October 25, 2002 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 14 photographs and 25 articles that were in the 24 page October 22 hard copy edition.

The hard copy also contains Doug Urquhart's famous "Paws" cartoon strip, our homegrown crossword puzzle, Diane O'Brien's "Camp Life" cartoon, the Fraser's Edge and obviously, all the other material you won't find here. You are missing a lot if you're just reading the on-line edition.

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. About 600 people read each issue of this paper online (40,727 since July 2000 and about 25,000 on the original counter before that), and we'd love to be sending out that many more papers. See our home page for subscription information.

An Appeal to Our Readers

Our webmaster has been carrying the cost of this site since it began in March, 1996. That means our volunteer based non-profit paper has been able to appear on the world wide web for free. In the very near future we are going to have to start paying for the hosting service which allows us to exist. About 600 people read this paper every time it goes on line. If most of you could forward a few dollars to the address on the homepage (Bag 6040, Dawson City, YT, Y0B 1G0) we could afford to keep this online edition going without much of a strain.

Editorial: That First, Perfect Snowfall

by Dan Davidson

The world has gone frosty since last we chatted here. Just two weekends ago the only snow in sight was in the high country between us and Whitehorse and way up the Dempster. Now we're having close encounters of the flurry kind just about every day, sometimes mixed with rain, as it was last night (Friday, as this is being written on Saturday morning).

At school the elementary grades are excited. Teachers get a little uneasy when it snows, because the "no snowballs" rule is just one more thing to have to police during recesses. This particular snow happens to be great for snowballs. It's moist and fluffy instead of being dry and fluffy, which is the type we get here much of the winter.

Our normal powder just doesn't pack well. It may be great for other things, but not for that. Pick up a handful to make a snowball and it flies out from between the fingers of your gloves while you're trying to push it together. Throw it and it falls apart in the air. A few flakes may hit your target.

But this snow - this is great stuff. So naturally it could be a problem. Apprehensive eyes watched as the first arrivals bent over and scooped up great handfuls, shaped it just so ... put it back down and began to roll it.

On the first day there were giant snowballs all over the field and kids struggled, singly and in teams, to move great balls that were half their height and more. One teacher remarked that if they kept it up they'd soon have the field cleared.

But there was more snow falling.

By the second day there was a massive fortification under way in the middle of the field, a hill made of bits and pieces glued together with more snow. No Great Wall of China, perhaps, but as tall as the oldest students and large enough that seven of them could stand on top of it while they continued to pile on more snow.

This went on for several days - and then it rained. This morning there's still snow out there, but it's got a sheen of ice on top of it. There are ice beads glittering on my clothesline. That first, fine, careless rapture of new snow is gone for another year.

(See - I did an entire editorial without once mentioning the election. Whoops! Oh DRAT!)


Election Signage Highlights People over Parties

by Dan Davidson

Signs adorn the derelict Old Bank of Commerce Building on Front Street. Photo by Dan Davidson

If the election signs are any indication, the vote in the Klondike riding will be decided by personal, rather than party, preferences.

On the Yukon Party's light blue and white signs, Peter Jenkins' name dominates more than half of the space, situated above the party designation.

The Liberal's red and white sign reserves even more space for Glen Everitt's name, with the party affiliation once again beneath the candidate.

The NDP has an effective design for its sign. Lisa Hutton's first name is in smaller letters while her last name is very large. That dominates more than half of the sign from the lower left corner up, leading the eye on to the NDP logo in the upper right corner.

The two challengers, Everitt and Hutton, are both feeling chipper about their campaigns, and have been eager to discuss their hopes and ideas with the press. Interviews will follow next week.

If you read about Mr. Jenkins' plans, it will be under another byline, since he has declined to meet with this reporter.

Gary Parker, manager at the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, has agreed to moderate an all-candidates' forum sponsored by the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce. That is slated for the evening of October 29, time and place yet to be announced.


Everitt Steps Down for Campaign

by Dan Davidson

Mayor Glen Everitt chaired what he hopes will be his last city council meeting on October 7. As he empties his in-tray during the remainder of this week, he said he wanted the community to know what his plans were. He will no longer be occupying his office after this Friday.

Everitt will be on leave without pay during the term of the campaign, in which he is seeking the position of candidate for the Liberal party. He said he did not want to be paid from the public purse while campaigning.

Effective that very day, he has also taken leave from his positions as president of the Association of Yukon Communities, a member of the executive of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and as the chair of FCM's Northern Forum.

Everitt indicated he would be available, if requested, to participate in any city affairs where he would be useful, such as the court case over the federal Department of the Environment charges, which will take place in Dawson from October 16 to 18.

In the event that he loses the election, it is his intention to finish out his term as mayor. As of November 4, he would have a year left in that position. If he wins, he would resign and a by-election would be held to fill the mayor's position.

There is no local Liberal riding association in Dawson, or anywhere else for that matter, but local Liberals are holding a meeting Tuesday night to decide on their candidate.

Stuart Schmidt, the Klondike miner and gift shop owner who ran a very close second to sitting MLA Peter Jenkins during the last election, has indicated that he will not seek the nomination this time around.


Grade Six Examines the New 3 Rs

by Dan Davidson

Mayor Glen Everitt examines one item from a pile of suggestions he received from Grade 6 students on October 3. Photo by Dan Davidson

Grade 6 students at the Robert Service School met with the town's mayor and its waste collection contractor to discuss their ideas for making Dawson a cleaner place. Reducing, Recycling and Reusing were very much on their minds.

The occasion was a lunch at the Downtown Hotel, paid for by Wayne Rachel of Callison Waste Management as part of his support for recycling projects at the school.

Suggestions from the students included hefty fines for people caught littering or for people who own very messy properties. Students suggested video -cameras in some of the messier parts of the town so that it could be found out who's making all the mess, which tends to be blamed on young people.

Other suggestions included recycling bins, a blue box program, and more garbage cans around the town.

The students had prepared posters and position papers listing their individual suggestions for improving waste control in the town. They presented them Mayor Glen Everitt, who collected the information and will be having some of it posted on the city's rolling ads cable television channel. As well, the student presentations were audio taped, with the assistance of the local newspaper, and the results will be transcribed by city staff.


Glen Everitt: In His Own Words

Glen Everitt Photo by Dan Davidson

Dear Resident:

On November 4th Yukoners will elect a government, Klondike residents will elect an MLA to be THEIR voice in the government. I am asking you to elect me to this position.

We are at a cross road in the Yukon's future. It is NOW that we need representation that is fair and supportive.

The Klondike riding needs:

For 12 years I have had the honor of representing Dawson and the Klondike in different capacities. First elected to council 1990, then elected Mayor in 1996.

I have attended countless meetings with community organizations, the business and mining community and all levels of government. I have given 100% of my time and energy to ensuring that we come first, to ensuring that the issues and challenges facing this region are tackled head-on and not put on the back burner.

This election is about our future, and the future of our children. This election is about certainty. Certainty is the foundation that will ensure prosperity for a healthy society at the same time strengthening the economic picture of the Yukon.

With Devolution, this election is about Yukoners making their own decisions. Decisions about our natural resources. This will send a strong message that the Yukon is open for business.

This election is about you.

November 4th is a very important day for all of us, it is up to you as a voter of the Klondike to make sure you vote for the person who will best deliver your message, yet more importantly get results.

On November 4th make your vote count. Elect Glen Everitt.


Lisa Hutton: In Her Own Words

Lisa Hutton Photo by Dan Davidson

This election is about the whole community. I've lived here all my life - this is my home. I care about what happens to our community and the people who call it home. I've spent many years working and volunteering in Dawson. My experience has shown me what we can achieve when we work together for positive change.

We have more work to do. I've been visiting you at your doorstep and talking about issues that matter to you. More than ever, this election is about change. It's about finding solutions that work for the whole community.

Everyone in our community knows of an Elder or someone else in need who is struggling to stay at home, close to their loved ones. I will work for increased homecare support services. Families who have to go down to Whitehorse for healthcare or during a pregnancy need more support.

People tell me that we need affordable, quality childcare. And the people who work in our daycares need to be paid a living wage that recognizes how important their job is. That's important. We know that an investment in our children is an investment in our future.

People tell me that we have to diversify our economy. We've got to build on the strength of our traditional sectors. Mining and tourism will always be important. The NDP will continue to support projects in our community that are economically viable, environmentally sustainable, and driven by the people who live here.

We have to take advantage of our strong cultural economy and give it the support that it needs. KIAC has had such a positive impact in the community. Vibrant and dynamic initiatives like this need more support. I am committed to working with KIAC to get the resources it needs expand its world class programs.

It's important that we have open and respectful relationships between all levels of government. That's especially true in Dawson and the Klondike. We have a rich diversity of heritage and tradition. As we move toward devolution and continue land claims implementation, we need to change the way that we work together.

Many of you know me and you know what I stand for. I've been a lifelong volunteer and supporter for many community organizations. This election is about the whole community. But it's also about change. People who know me know that I get things done. And they know that I share their values. I would like the honour of your vote. Give us a call.


Hey, Where's the Other Guy?

by Dan Davidson

It is the practice of this paper during municipal and territorial elections to make space available to all the local candidates free of charge, in addition to whatever ads we hope they will also take out. Besides that, this writer has done interviews with all territorial candidates since we began operations.

In this online version of the Sun, we are just using the candidates' pieces, written by Glen Everitt and Lisa Hutton themselves. You'll note there are two of them, not three. We'd love to have Mr. Jenkins here too, but he declined the space and the interview this time around, though he's never complained about either before. He did take out a large ad, for which we are grateful.

At the public forum, which will be covered here next issue, Mr. Jenkins made it clear that he finds this writer unacceptable as an editor for this publication and will not submit anything to it until the post is filled by someone else. He's entitled to his opinion; we just wish he would print it here.

The only purpose for this piece then, is to explain our policy and to explain why there's nothing from him in this edition of the paper. Otherwise someone would say we left him out on purpose, further evidence of our bias.

Not so. The choice was and remains his.

(Note: The wording of this piece is not the same as that which appeared in the hard copy edition. There, the "other guy" did not need to be named, nor did anyone else, because of the presence of their ads made it all obvious. Here, I had to use names so you would know what it was all about.)


The Wonderful World of Fungi

Submitted by Aedes Scheer

Now for something completely different for those of you who are getting weary of the political natter.

Last September a group of fungiphiles assembled in the conference room of the library to learn and share their knowledge about mushrooms. The discussion was lead by Aedes Scheer who, as an amateur mycologist, has spent a number of years as an avid wild mushroom hunter and reader of fungal field guides. After a brief biology lesson and wild mushroom preserves tasting session, the group headed for the hills above Dawson to look for mushrooms growing in the cemeteries. We hit paydirt.

For those who were in this party perhaps you will remember that there were a few mushrooms that were left unidentified that evening. These mushrooms were:

Clitocybe deceptive - the common name for this mushroom is the "anise mushroom". This was the mushroom that smelled divinely like liquorice. Good news, it is edible but best used as a flavouring agent. The primary check on this mushroom is that it smells like anise, as there are others that look very similar to this one and grow in the same habitats but are horridly poisonous. The C. deceptive should have pale pinkish spore print, adnate to decurrent gills about the same colour of the cap, which should be pale brown or greyish with incurved margins. If the mushroom looks similar to this but has white spores and growing under conifers, then it is likely C. fragans.

Marasmius oreades - the common name for this mushroom is the Fairy Ring Mushroom. It is a mushroom that most of us should be familiar with as it is commonly found in rings or arcs on lawns or in cemeteries or grassy areas. It likes habitats that are frequented by humans so it is not seen outside of suburbia. It is edible (good sautéed in butter and served on hot toast) and hardly ever wormy but can be confused with the poisonous Clitocybe dealbata, which often grows with it in the rings. M. oreades has a white spore print, adnate, adnexed or even free gills usually white to pale tan in colour, a mid-sized bell-shaped cap but can later become umbonate as it ages. The cap is usually dry and reddish tan to light brown with faint striations.

Ramaria araiospora - this is the red coral mushroom. The specimens we found were hot pink in colour and likely a member of a subspecies, var. rubella. Coral mushrooms do not have caps but instead have a fruiting body of branched clusters. The colour of the branches depends on what dead wood and leaf litter it is growing upon. Spore prints can be ochre in colour but difficult to obtain. This fungus is supposedly edible but faded forms can be confused with R. formosa, which has a strong cathartic effect when eaten. In sampling Ramaria species in the past I have found that they take on a strong turpentine like flavour from their substrates.

As mentioned that evening, perhaps we would like to form a Mycological Society of Dawson City or some sort of title. During the summer and fall we could meet regularly to show off a recent find, delectable or otherwise, or sample an interesting preservation technique (the salted milkcaps with vodka is what I am looking forward to). In the off-season we could contribute to a newsletter or website. If anyone is interested in starting such a group, please contact Aedes Scheer at 993 6496 or at aedes@cityofdawson.ca.


Water Subsidy Stands for Dawson Homeowners

Adapted from a CBC radio story
Web Posted Oct 10 2002

According to a CBC radio story web-posted on October 10, the Yukon Housing Corporation has failed to persuade the Yukon Supreme Court to eliminate the homeowners subsidy/rebate which helps to reduce the highest sewer and water rates in the territory to a more manageable size

The story quotes the YHC's lawyer, Richard Buchan, as calling the subsidy "Offensive, discriminatory and unfair." He called it unfair to people who rent.

Yukon Housing, which owns a substantial number of individual and apartment units for both social and staff housing in the town, does not get that break. The corporation claims that discriminates against tenants, because rental properties are charged higher water rates.

Buchan said that means landlords offload the higher water rates onto their tenants, hurting the people who can least afford it, while wealthier homeowners are subsidized.

Individual homeowners in Dawson might be surprised to hear themselves characterized as "wealthier".

Deputy Supreme Court Justice Wally Oppal did not agree with Buchan's arguments. He said giving tax breaks to some people is not necessarily discrimination. He said governments do it all the time.

According to the posted story "Oppal said the legal test is in the motives and he can't find any fault with the motives of the Dawson City Council.

"He said helping citizens with high water bills and denying help to wealthier corporate or government clients isn't illegal. So the subsidies will stand. Dawson City residents who own their own homes will continue to get a break that can be worth thousands of dollars a year while landlords including Yukon Housing won't get a dime."

Ratepayers here will also be surprise to hear that their rebate is worth thousands of dollars per year. The correct figure would be in the hundreds of dollars per individual home.


High Jinks and High Drama Down on the Farm

by Dan Davidson

Angus (Rob Roy) looks on in near disbelief as Morgan (Ken Bolton) instructs Miles (Chris Bullough) on how to use a fork to sift cow manure for undigested corm kernals to be recycled as chicken feed. Photo by Dan Davidson

The Oddfellows Hall was packed on the evening of October 12 as the community turned out to see Nakai Theatre's presentation of The Drawer Boy.

The play was inspired by the creation of a piece called The Farm Show back in 1972. Then, a group of young Toronto actors headed out to farm country and lived with families in order to learn about the agricultural life. The show they created was a great success.

In 1999 the same theatre company, Theatre Passe Muraille decided to commemorate the original event with a new play inspired by interviews held with The Farm Show's actors and audiences. Michael Healy wrote the play, which Nakai Theatre has recently brought to Whitehorse and toured to several rural communities.

As might be expected, the play begins with the arrival of Miles, one of the young actors, at the farm run by Angus and Morgan.

Miles, as played by Chris Bullough, is a long way from home and from anything that seems at all familiar to him. Initially he is the butt of a great many jokes played on him by the hard bitten Morgan, whose description of crop rotation must be heard to be believed.

Morgan, an apparently irascible old codger, is quite literally the brains of the outfit. He works Miles hard and does all the thinking for Angus, who, right from the beginning, is seen to be a few straws short of a bale.

Morgan is played with absolute authority by Ken Bolton, who presents the old farmer with an understated deadpan delivery that we eventually realize is hiding a lot of emotion other than mere exasperation..

Angus, portrayed by Rob Roy, presents perhaps the toughest acting challenge of the three roles. He is usually mild mannered and absent minded, a legacy of a war wound, but as the play goes on he begins to recover some of his faculties, and to display a far wider range of emotions, typified by lighting shifts in mood and intellectual ability.

For much of the first half of the play it appears that we are in for a "Letters from Wingfield Farm" sort of farce, but then Miles overhears Morgan telling Angus "the story" one night. Desperate to make a contribution to the communal play now under rehearsal, he takes the story, pretty much verbatim, and incorporates it into the script, making a sketch that not only goes over well with the audience, but quickens Angus's mind, memory and emotions in ways that Morgan had long since given up hoping for.

This is a disruption to the simple life of the farm. Angus has been trained to fill a limited role in their life, and his new agitation gets in the way, at least, that's how we're encouraged to see it.

But Morgan isn't simply jealous of Angus's new relationship with Miles, nor is he actually intent on keeping Angus under his thumb. He has, in fact, been the custodian of more than Angus's health and welfare over the nearly 30 years they have lived together. He has also been the keeper of Angus's heart and has maintained his conscience in a state of absolution.

As Miles' presence continues to trigger changes in the Morgan's gentle companion, only the old man knows just how much there is to fear and how much pain could be let loose if all the truth were to come out.

Of course it does, and so the play changes rather dramatically (pardon the pun) from a farce to a very serious piece of work, with some intensely interesting twists and turns in the second act.

The Drawer Boy is performed on a spare farmhouse kitchen set. The travelling stage is marked out by a litter of papers and half completed drawings, which might perhaps be used to symbolize the mess in Angus's mind and the unrealized dreams of both the farmers.

The cast did an excellent job in fairly cramped quarters, presenting the play within a metre of the audience in the first row, and staging it in the round to spectators on three sides.

The Drawer Boy could not have come to Dawson without the cooperation the Dawson City Arts Society and the Canada Council.


Klondike Sun Home Page