Dawson City, Yukon Friday, September 28, 2001

The elementary wing of the school were enthusiastic participants in the Terry Fox run. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

RSS Honours Terry Fox
Dawson Remembered the World Trade Centre
Klondike Valley Fire Department: Summer's Over
Going Beyond the Ridiculous
Firefighters Save Kitty
A Heart Of Gold
Nagano Acclaimed to Town Council
The Bear Creek Potato Festival
Vibrant Colours
Dawson's New Town Manager

Welcome to the Sept. 28, 2001 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 32 photographs and 41 articles which were in the 28 page Sept. 25 hard copy edition. The hard copy also contains Doug Urquhart's famous "Paws" cartoon strip, our homegrown crossword puzzle, several poems and obviously, all the other material you won't find here. See what you're missing by not subscribing?

Seriously, we do encourage viewers of this website to consider subscribing to the Sun (details on the home page). 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, and we'd love to be sending out that many more papers.

This issue marked the departure of Kerry Barber, our office and advertising manager since May. Taking on the job in her place, please welcome Anne Tyrrell.

RSS Honours Terry Fox

by Dan Davidson

In what has become an annual tradition here, the students of the Robert Service School turned out to honour the memory Terry Fox and raise money for cancer research on the afternoon of September 14.

The traditional course has the students run or walk the dyke from the old CIBC Building on Front Street south to the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers and back again.

To avoid having the younger kids run over by the older ones (or is it the other way around?) the run is done in two shifts. Grades Kindergarten to 6 were on the dyke shortly after 1 o'clock wearing themselves out in a brisk trot up and back.

At 2:40 the grade 7 to 12 crowd arrived and traversed the route.

Each student was asked to contribute at least a loonie in order to be able to participate in the event, but many brought more than that. The amount raised has not been tabulated at this writing.


Dawson Remembered the World Trade Centre

by Dan Davidson

The mixed congregation joined in the singing of "Amazing Grace." Photo by Dan Davidson

About 75 Dawsonites gathered for an interdenominational memorial service to mark September 14th's National Day of Mourning. The Dawson Christian Fellowship played host to members of St. Paul's Anglican Parish, St. Mary's Catholic Church and the Dawson Community Chapel in a service led jointly by the two priests and two ministers.

Hymns for the service included such standards as "O God, Our Help in Ages Past," "Abide with Me" and "Amazing Grace," music often heard at funerals and memorial services. The congregation was led by Betty Davidson on piano.

Scriptures included a reading from the disaster ridden book of Job and reassuring words from St. Paul's first letter to Timothy. The congregation joined in reciting the Lord's Prayer and the 23rd Psalm.

Father Tim Coonen o.m.i. presented a homily in which he discussed the nature of the tragedy and rejected the notion that events at the World Trade Centre were in any way part of a message God was trying to send the world. Coonen said the attacks in the U.S. simply confirmed the existence of evil in the world, however one might choose to symbolize it, and emphasized the need for people to look to the Divine for strength in times of crisis.

The centrepiece of the service was an extensive list of prayers led by Coonen, Father John Tyrrell, the Rev. Ian Nyland and the Rev. Jim Coles. The congregation was encouraged to join in prayer for victims and families, for emergency workers, for leaders of state, for the perpetrators of this violence, for our society and for the Church universal.

Several individuals shared thoughts about the events in New York. Dawson Fire Chief Chris Mayes spoke words of praise for the rescue personnel who had placed their own lives on the line to help others. Vi Campbell spoke of the positive sense of community that can from crisis and tragedy. An American summer resident who had been out of touch at a mine when the news first broke asked for prayer for any possible survivors who might still be under the rubble.

It was a brief service, but those in attendance felt that t had been a great idea and real boost at the end of a long, hard week.


Klondike Valley Fire Department: Summer's Over

by Pat Campbell, President, Klondike Valley Firefighter's Association

Fire Safety Week: October 7-13, 2001

Many people have asked me: "What did you volunteers do all summer?" My response was usually, "Nothing, really, been quiet." So I posed the same question last fire practice, when all our members were around the training room. Frankly, I was surprised at the response. Collectively, our memory was superb. Individually, however, well.... not too good. I would like to share the extent of our activity with you readers because I feel it is significant. Excuse my grammar, and in no particular order.

Motor vehicle accident requiring extrication of injured motorists (mutual aid with Dawson City Fire Dept.,) propane tank rollover - Dempster corner, propane leak - Rock Creek, river rescue - stranded tourists, fuel truck rollover - Goring Creek, and a response to a controlled bush fire. These are the extent of emergency call outs we received, but we also participated in many other, although less life-threatening, activities such as:

The highway cleanup, two firefighter's barbecues, three false alarms (gets the adrenaline going nonetheless), two members sent to the annual Fire chief's Convention, First Aid re-certification two mutual aid practices with Dawson City Fire Department, and being the demoralized victims of two break ins, resulting in substantial property damage and the theft of the money, our VCR and TV for training, and a bass guitar kept in storage. As well, we continue our monthly airport fire alarm checks, and are now responsible for weekly water quality testing for the community well, which many valley residents depend on for their source of water.

It is with the previous list of activities that the association felt thrilled to fund the fire department in the purchase of station uniforms, so all of the firefighters can proudly display their solidarity; and they deserve it. Remember, it has been a quiet summer in the valley, and the preceding list of action is in addition to our regular, rigorous training schedule.

I'm going to take this opportunity to announce that our association's AGM will be held on Friday, October 12/01, at the Rock Creek Fire Hall. It is a potluck community affair; bring your favourite culinary creation (Mmmm...food). Door open at 5:00 PM, the meeting is at 6:30 PM, followed by a firefighter tactical demonstration. All valley residents are encouraged to attend; folks, this is an excellent community get together for old friends to meet; for new residents to meet their neighbours, and for kids to have fun. And the food's great. Membership is $15.00/year per household; much of these funds are to help the association host community events, the rest to help fund the fire department's continued vigilance in the valley. Be proud to support our association; our volunteers are proud to serve.

Be Fire Safe!


Going Beyond the Ridiculous

by Kathryn Cameron Boivin

"Weather! Once can't live long in the Yukon without complaining about the weather at least once and a while. It's only when the sublime turns to the ridiculous that criticisms about the weather become gross understatments. One fall day my two children and I went beyond ridiculous.

We are a self-employed family living off the beaten track. We trap for fur in the winter and operate a family based log building business during the other three seasons. Going home involves a 75 mile drive by road and then another 20 miles of travel by boat (when the river is open) or by skidoo (when the river is frozen). My children, aged 18 & 14 are very sturdy individuals, having endured almost every weather situation imaginable on our trips back home. To their credit though they rarely complain. Maybe it's because they know that grumbling and growling do little to help an already bad situation. Or, maybe it's because they know that they can usually count on me to do the lion's share of complaining when the going gets rough. In any case, they usually grin and bear it.

My daughter, Kyla raised and races dogs in her spare time so we had gone to the nearest town of Mayo to pick up four dogs to try in her team. On our boat trip out we had hit the bottom of the river with the 40 horse power prop and rendered it almost useless. This meant that our return trip had to be delayed until after 6:30 pm the following day when we were to receive a replacement prop on the bus from Whitehorse. After that we had a time frame of about 2 1/2 hours to get from Steward Crossing to our home. To the untrained observer this might have SEEMED like a reasonable amount of time, considering we only had 35 truck miles and then 20 more boat miles to travel. However this window of time for travel was to become further fragmented by our old friend the weather.

We drove amicably along the road content that we had accomplished all that we had set out to do while in town. The dogs were in the dog box, the groceries were bought, the new prop was secured and we had a brief but satisfying encounter with friends while in town. The patronizing silence in the truck was a comfortable one.

Then, out of the blue we say dark gray clouds moving across the sky as we drove toward our destination. They descended like wolves upon a kill as if having a fiendishly, preordained flight plan to show up on our 20 mile stretch of river just as we prepared to travel there. We arrived at our boat, docked along the Stewart River, just as the first big drops began to fall. These drops never stopped falling until deep into the night

Undeterred, we stretched the stake out chain around the boat, hauled down our supplies, changed the prop and loaded the dogs. Having expected colder fall weather, instead of rain, we had all worn insulated coveralls and wool hats instead of the full rubber rain gear which would have been more appropriate. However, one does what one can do and that's all so with thick, moisture laden clouds lingering low in the river valley and spewing icy rain, we took off.

Almost as soon as we left the river bank the rain increased it's intensity driving down at a 45 degree angle into our faces. The displaced air from our forward motion was compounded by a menacing head wind that seemed to ravage our exposed skin mercilessly. The stabbing rain was like a thousand pin pricks on our faces and mini windshield wipers on our glasses certainly would have improved the matter some. Visibility was diminished by the downpour so we had to slow our progress in order to discern the submerged gravel bars from the navigable water and though all was relatively well in every other aspect of our trip, the water factor was a hard one to ignore.

Now don't get me wrong! I love water just as much as the next person does and I am not, as a general rule, a sniveling type of person. I've rolled with the blows and gritted my teeth into a smile on many an adverse occasion and this time was no exception. I small talked with my kids about every conceivable topic, in an effort to keep our spirits up, but when I noticed the dog food bags and grocery boxes starting to disintegrate into soggy, useless masses I too began to sag a little. Looking at our four canine companions didn't help much either, they had all started the trip with perky, excited attitudes and now two were standing with their bowed down in a dispirited manner while the other two were huddled miserably in the bottom of the boat shivering. Occasionally one or more of them would shake violently (as dogs will do when their coats are saturated with water) thus adding to the onslaught of droplets that pelted us at the back of our 20 foot Lund boat. Craftily, I had sat with my back to the rain (when my daughter took over the steering job) in an effort to keep the water off my face. Now my sopping wet overalls conducted water through my skin from my neck to my knees with equal generosity. My stalwart daughter, with her hand glued to the throttle by an oozing, icy glove had a face the color of a cooked lobster and an optimism that defied logic.

"We'll be there before it's pitch black anyhow, mom," she chirped, as she cut the engine in order to drift through a particularly shallow part of the river. The decrease in wind chill was a blessing I readily embraced but the knowledge that our estimated time of arrival would be delayed because of it counterbalanced my joy. At this point I closed my eyes and suddenly envisioned that we, on this chilled and soggy, wind blown trip, had entered into the only part of HELL not dominated by blessed light, heat and fire. In fact, my delusional mind could actually find no fault with these characteristics of HELL as I sat in the growing dark with chattering teeth and saturated clothing. Then I quickly opened my eyes and shook such foolishness from my thoughts. We were simply enroute home through the Yukon wilderness with a little adversity for a travelling companion.

Arriving home a little while later we were greeted by the symphony of nearly two dozen hungry dogs. As we slipped and sloshed up the mud slimed bank hauling dogs, supplies and gear I no longer felt such a sense of urgency to get out of the rain. Apart from jumping into the river we could actually get no wetter and our big, black cabin looming against the horizon offered the promise of much needed rest and shelter. We charged out of our wet clothes then reveled in the heat of a puffing barrel stove. After the perils of the day the sanctity and simplicity of our bush home seemed magnified in comparison. The light, the heat, the company and the unbelievable wonderful dryness seemed to spell out contentment of even euphoric to us weary travellers. All we needed was a purring cat to exemplify the scene. "Kitty, kitty...come here kitty"


Firefighters Save Kitty

Coming down the ladder with Kitty. Photo by Kristen Cook

On August 14, 2001 Kelsea Cook (8 years old) phoned the city office. She said a cat had been stuck in a tree outside her house for about a day and a half. Then she asked if the Fire Department could come and help the cat. Kelsea did not know who's cat it was. Fire Chief Chris Mayes and firefighter Henry Procyk got the cat out of the tree. The Humane Society took the cat and it was adopted out.


A Heart Of Gold

by Mag Mawhinney

Vancouver Island

Winner, Adult Poetry
Heart of the Klondike contest

I feel bustle from the golden days
In the warping of the floors;
And in walls still holding secrets
Of those who came before.

I can read it in the stories
Of some Robert Service rhymes;
Or on the old-time faces
Who live there all the time.

I sense wonder in the mountains
And the river rushing by,
And know that there were hardships,
Of this, one can't deny.

I hear echoes on the boardwalk
Like the footsteps from the past;
Or in the haunting voices
Of a nighttime Follies cast.

I see reflections of the people
In Gerties friendly smile,
And contentment and serenity
Of a laid-back country style.

For those who have not found it yet,
It really is a pity
Since the true heart of the Klondike
Is here in Dawson City.

Ed Note: Mag's poem was the adult poetry winner in the Discovery weekend Heart of the Klondike writing contest.


Nagano Acclaimed to Town Council

Long-time Dawson City resident Debbie Nagano has been acclaimed to sit on our municipal council.

Nagano, who was sworn in on September 17, replaces Aedes Scheer, who resigned during the summer.

Mayor Glen Everitt said he was pleased with the by-election call that resulted in the acclamation.

"I am confident that Debbie will bring new ideas to the council table," Everitt said in a statement on the afternoon of September 13, the day nominations closed.

"Her teamwork approach will be of benefit and will help lead this community to its success."


The Bear Creek Potato Festival

by Palma Berger

The Bear Creek gang at play. Photo by Kim Biernaskie

Fall was on its way, and folk were comfortable in the knowledge that the world had slowed down , and there were no more summer deadlines to meet. One could now relax to the laziness of winter.

But no, there is a group at Bear Creek, who with friends, descended on every household in Bear Creek. There was no forewarning, only the sounds of much laughter, and loud chatting heralded their arrival. They were not going to let the summer die easily. They had to judge the Bear Creek potatoes.

This was a surprise, for which some were not prepared. But the group would accept no excuses. They were adamant. Everyone must allow their potatoes to be looked at, pried at and generally put under a microscope.

The fact that they were such a cheerful group intent on using this potato excuse to visit everyone in Bear Creek, almost took away from the seriousness of the competition. It was a competition? The promise of a wiener roast at the end of next year's arduous judging made it more acceptable.

They left everyone feeling good, even if the results of the judging were not to everyone's liking. The household pets even loved their company.

The results of their scientific judging are:

Biggest Potato: Jake and Megan
Loveliest Potato: Ken & Susan
Most Potatoes under one plant: Pat & Dianne
Honourable Mention: Fred & Palma


I quite understand that in this competition at Bear Creek, it was allowed that the judges can be bribed. But I do wonder about the competitors. I am not really a poor loser, but one does wonder. We did not plant potatoes this year, but mid-season I threw some old ones on the compost heap. The plants grew gloriously. There had to be something underneath. So when the group came around I was confident. Sure, Jake's was the biggest. But... Then I dug up one of my plants. Unbelievable. The little white things at the end of the potato roots were so small. They were jelly bean shape and size. Maybe they were jelly beans. Now who would put jelly beans at the end of my potato's roots? Just read back and see who had the most to lose. As I said, I am not a poor loser, but...P.B.


Vibrant Colours

by Palma Berger

Barbara Smitth at the ODD Gallery. Photo by John Steins

The colours and shapes bounce off the wall at the showing of the work of Barbara Smith from Whitehorse at the Odd Gallery.

The landscapes are done in an impressionist style with the feelings generated by the land expressed in vibrant colours. The "Blue Gray on Snow" has the stark white mountains of snow umbrellaed by the dark cloud that brings the snow, while in the foreground the darker hills are teal green to green to a touch of mauve. Most arresting. In "Fall" the foreground occupies only one-third of the painting with colours of orange, raspberry red and suggestions of trees in yellow, blue, but it is the sky that catches one's attention. The swirl of yellow coming out of a darker colour on the side gives the impression of much movement.

"Interior of a Mountain" suggests the planes of the shapes that thrust upward to forge this mountain. Each of these pointed shapes is painted with its own arresting colour to draw attention to the action that must have forged them.

The title "Sun Shadow" has no shadow, but rather colours seen when one is looking up into a stream of sunlight. In her artist's statement she says, " The Arctic sun's refraction of light on the mountain vistas, create a broad spectrum of unusual colour intensity, making the Yukon a unique area for artistic endeavor." This she has captured in all her work.

So many different effects are created by juxtaposing unexpected colours together. In "Treescape", a pink is next to an orange, lime green next to lemon on the tree trunks. These work, but one does not expect them to be there.

"Blue Road" has a ribbon of blue with a touch of mauve meandering diagonally across the painting, with a ribbon like twist in the middle. It is surrounded by the contours of hills brought out by the use of different colours.

"South Canol Road" is in colour while on the opposite wall is the same drawn in charcoal.

There are two large and four smaller drawings in charcoal only. The large "Approaching Morning" has a threatening dark sky, and the sensuous curve of treeless hills in the foreground, with splashes of white adding to the dramatic effect. Obviously done from the Top of the World Highway.

The "Interior of the Storm" again shows her use of white lines marking off areas of grey and black, while overhead the streaks of white and dark are overlapped by storm cloud. There is motion everywhere , with the black making it foreboding. These are the only two matted in white.

No other of her creations are matted in white. They have mattes of colours that bring out the colour in each painting. Ms. Smith does her own matting which she finds part of her creating process.

Ms Smith did art training at the Victorian College of Art, and as she married and started a family soon after, her art work was put on hold. The family moved to Whitehorse in 1996, and in 1998, she found the time to pick up her painting again. She had done watercolour before, but one doesn't have the time when one has a family to give the watercolour the attention it demands, so she turned to pastels. Here she found an ease and range of colour and techniques that she has stuck with since. "I just love colour", she says. That is obvious from the show.

The opening of the show had a background of music from an electric guitar played by Lawrence Graf, which added to the lovely ambiance of the evening.

It was difficult to choose which one liked the best. "I just love the drama and sweep of the black and white," said one. Another said ,"The way the colours just jump out at me thrills me., and the pastels have such a texture to them." You will just have to decide yourself when you visit the Odd Gallery.


Dawson's New Town Manager

by Dan Davidson

Dawson's new city manager. Photo by Dan Davidson

Scott Coulson is approaching his new job with a lot of enthusiasm and interest, though he admits that aspects of it are new to him.

"I don't have a lot of background in municipal government," Dawson's new town manager said, "but I have a lot of experience dealing with governments."

Coulson is a management accountant who comes to the Yukon fresh from a job as controller at Skeena Cellulose in Prince Rupert.

Prior to that he was Program Administrator for two programs run by the government of British Columbia to assist in the retraining of workers. In that capacity he oversaw programs for 11,000 clients run out of nine provincial offices over a five year period.

The job at Skeena was also complex, dealing with a lot of issues, something Coulson says he enjoys.

"It was a lot like a city, You've got everything that a city has in a pulp mill from your fire department to first aid, ambulance service, and maintenance. We had 700 employees on site, which translated into a about 10,000 jobs up and down the pipeline. There are a lot of the same issues.

"I enjoy dealing with multi-issues."

Coulson has had a number of careers in his time. He stood a six year hitch in the Canadian Navy just after graduating from high school in Ottawa. That was what brought him to the west coast, and when the time he was spending away from his family made him decide not to reenlist, British Columbia was where he took his training in management accountancy and spent some time in private business before taking his government job.

Coulson brings a young family to Dawson along with his wife, Susan. Their eldest daughter, Tanya, is at university in Victoria, but three year old Scotty is at home and five year old Christopher started Kindergarten this semester at Robert Service School.

Coulson has been very pleased with the town so far, and especially pleased with the family atmosphere used this year to start off Kindergarten at RSS.

"I think of Dawson as home already," he said. "Of all the places I've lived in B.C. since I left Ottawa, I never felt like I was home, but I do now. My wife agreed, which surprised me, because she's from Victoria and our daughter is there."

During his first month in office, the new town manager has been bringing himself up to date with many of the issues. He's not afraid to speak his mind and Mayor Everitt has already snapped at him once at a council meeting for reporting something that Everitt didn't want to hear.

The remainder of the meeting passed without incident.

Major issues facing the council now include the completion of the recreation centre, which keeps running into site problems; the planning and construction of a secondary sewage treatment plant; negotiations with senior levels of government for O&M funding to cover costs on that.

Already he's had to face a by-election and the introduction of high speed InterNet services over the town's fibre optic lines. It's a good thing that Scott Coulson likes to deal with multiple issues, because he's likely to see a few of them over the next few months.


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