Letter to the Editor

Worthy article requires clarification Re Mental health services fails troubled youth (The News, November 2): I thought this was an important…

Worthy article requires clarification

Re Mental health services fails troubled youth (The News, November 2):

I thought this was an important article. It’s great that “Jane” was able to get some media attention for this issue.

However, I’m very concerned that the paper printed my name and place of work after “Jane” was told that names would not be used. Because only a portion of my letter was printed, it could give a number of false impressions.

First, that my letter of advocacy was written on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club. It was not.

Second, that the behaviours I listed are a regular occurrence at the Boys and Girls Club, which they are not, because this kind of behaviour is policed and the youth are supervised.

These behaviours do get dealt with, and the youth from the article has been asked to leave a few times. We won’t ban any youth if we can avoid it, because not providing them a safe, monitored area to hang out would only result in them finding other outlets for their behaviour, landing them in further legal problems.

Third, the third-quoted paragraph from my letter could easily be taken out of context, and in fact already has been by more than one individual whom I’ve spoken to on the subject, as a youth worker trying to play expert and “diagnose” the kids they’re working with.

Now, I wasn’t doing that at all, merely saying that after my great number of years working with youth of all ages and cognitive abilities and my youth work-related, post-secondary education, I thought him seeing someone was probably a good idea.

I really don’t think this letter should have been reprinted without at least some notification to me, and I have no idea why it was deemed necessary to print my name and place of work as opposed to “a youth worker who knows Jane’s son” or “a youth worker at a local hangout that Jane’s son frequents.”

Other parents reading that article should not be led to believe that the Boys and Girls Club is anything but a safe place to send their children, or that we do not call the RCMP when serious assaults occur against our patrons.

Having said all that, I would like to see this letter printed, but I feel it should be clear I am writing it on my own time and not on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club.

It was a great article, but I don’t think you realized how it could be potentially damaging.

Chris Vainio


In support of our youth

Let’s see now, some of you still live in facilities containing asbestos.

There still is no emergency youth shelter to help many of you in need.

Ottawa holds back payments due to some of your family members because of residential school experiences.

And money promised for First Nations education is still not available.

This is some way to treat many of our future leaders! You have many barriers including the awful possibility of being called before your time.

Well, it gets dark sometimes, but the morning comes. You are still a traveller on this blessed and besieged earth. You are a witness.

I urge you to tell your story, sing your song, make your mark.

Tell your story in the coffee shops, tell it in the churches, the community centres, on the streets.

Sing your song in front of government buildings, sing it to honour your parents, elders and ancestors.

Remind the rest of us, including the wonderful youth workers who support you, that you are here now in this place and that you deserve better.

Drugs and alcohol may be a part of your life, this is at most a diversion — not what you were meant to be.

What’s the job for the rest of us?

We can help get you out of unhealthy places which only serve to harm the body and spirit.

We can fight for suitable accommodation even if it is sometimes temporary. We can support programs to stabilize and strengthen families.

We can encourage appropriate education and training for you to get qualified, so you can take the early bus. We can create Youth Wisdom Councils so you can tell your story through art and photo journals.

These councils could allow you to make recommendations to public officials about how to improve your lives.

And, we can love you till it hurts.

Bill Thomas


The vendor’s side

of the story

Re Trade show open to more food vendors (The News, November 9):

Reporter Matthew Grant has apparently lost his notes on our original conversation in May in which I had said that, had the city not made the decision for the concessions in the Centre based on our lease agreement, I would not oppose a community-benefiting fundraising event of food sales at the trade show.

Honestly, if I thought someone selling hot dogs or cotton candy for one day was going to affect my 10-year plan, I’d better get out of business right now.

The decision was taken out of our hands, and it is repeatedly omitted that this issue only came up less than one week prior to the event.

The Lions Club simply forgot to check, expecting everything would be as usual, which is quite abnormal considering they’d switched venues.

To throw around the word boycott is irresponsible reporting. We saw no drop in sales that day or since, even with patrons supporting the vendors that chose to disregard the city’s regulations for that venue.

Should they have put a bylaw officer there to give out tickets?

Of course not.

One vendor even called me personally and said they would respect the decision, understanding what it takes to run a business.

We all simply made the best of a bad situation that the media manipulated into an overblown news story.

I am glad that the Lions Club is doing its diligent negotiations earlier this year, and that there will be no cause for animosity among businesses.

And the next time one side of an issue is overblown by sensationalized reporting, perhaps people will pause to question why two businesses known for years of generous support of numerous community events would suddenly act so out of character.

Could it be that not all the facts were presented?

Or was that maybe for tomorrow’s edition?

Zola Dore, owner, Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters, Whitehorse

This bakery composts

Re Composting is everybody’s business (The News, November 9):

Alpine Bakery has been composting on a commercial scale since its inception 24 years ago.

Not a single kilogram of leftover food went into the garbage during this period.

As with cardboard recycling, we do this with our own vehicles to the landfill composting site as well as with friends such as Michael Bellon, who regularly takes the compostables to his farm.

His chickens efficiently till our organic material to feed themselves and speed the composting process.

There is a designated compost organizer at the back of the bakery.

We do all that, without expecting assistance from a city program, and for environmental reasons — not for recognition.

However, I was a little disappointed to read in your article that “there are no restaurants or businesses that do any kind of composting other than the Yukon College, the federal building, the French association and some schools.”

Suat Tuzlak