letter to the editor338

Birdathon a success The annual Yukon Birdathon began at 5 p.m. last Friday and finished at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Birdathon a success

The annual Yukon Birdathon began at 5 p.m. last Friday and finished at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

As many will remember, Saturday was a blustery cool day that ended in wind and rain.

That didn’t dampen the spirits of almost 20 dedicated birders who blitzed the bushes for our common and not-so-common bird species.

At the wind-up potluck barbecue held at Wolf Creek the traditional listing of species observed was completed. The total tally was 128 species. In addition to familiar species like the American robin, unusual sightings such as the ring-billed gull, grey-cheeked thrush and stilt sandpiper occurred.

Many thanks to all who participated in this year’s Birdathon, particularly Rene Carlson, our feature birder.

Some participants biked to their observation points, some drove.

There was much walking. The youngest participant was three years old. We won’t mention the oldest, but we appreciate her efforts.

Hundreds of dollars are raised every year through this event. The Bird Club appreciates donations made to the Birdathon participants, which allows us to continue to promote awareness, appreciation and conservation of Yukon birds and their habitats.

It’s not too late to make a donation to the Birdathon. This can be done by sending a donation to us at Box 31054. Any donation over $10 will receive a charitable donation receipt, and the thanks of Yukon birds.

Mary Whitley, Yukon Bird Club president

Whitehorse

Table tennis warmly received in Whitehorse

Thanks to a gracious invitation from Dave Stockdale, six Alaskan table tennis players were fortunate to be able to compete in the recent Western Canada Open Table Tennis Championships held May 19, 20, and 21, 2006.

Based on my experience, as a competitor, at the 2005 US National Senior Olympics, Pittsburgh, PA; the 2005 US National Table Tennis Championships, Las Vegas, NV; the 2005 World Huntsman Games, St. George, Utah; and the 2006 North American Teams Tournament, Reno, NV, this recent tournament, in Whitehorse, was absolutely the best!

The Canada Games Centre far exceeded our expectations. Most residents of the United States do not consider table tennis a “sport.”

It is still considered a recreational activity. However, each morning, arriving at the Canada Games Centre, while walking to our table tennis venue, past the beautiful hockey rinks and the Olympic swimming pool anyone would be hard pressed to believe table tennis was not considered a sport in Canada.

The hospitality of everyone in Whitehorse, that we came in contact with, was truly outstanding.

For example, before departing for Whitehorse my wife, Susanne (a Danish citizen) told me to visit a store, called The Deli, to purchase certain Danish food not available in Anchorage.

I became so involved with the competition I didn’t ask about the location of The Deli until Sunday.

I was told most stores are closed on Sunday, and Monday was Victoria Day.

However, I was also told I had just played a match with the owner of The Deli, Ralph Wohlfarth.

To make a long story short, Ralph drove me in his vehicle, opened his store, and let me shop until I had everything on my list. 

This is just one example of the hospitality we all experienced in Whitehorse.

Thanks to the sponsors of the Western Canada Open Table Tennis Tournament — the Community Development Fund; Lotteries Yukon; Whitehorse; the Canada Games Host Society, the Canadian Table Tennis Association and, of course, Table Tennis Yukon.

Several Alaskans have expressed an interest in volunteering for the up coming Canada Games, held in March 2007.

Based on our wonderful experience at the Western Canada Table Tennis Open you will have a very successful Canada Games 2007.

Andy Hutzel, Secretary of the Eagle River Alaska Table Tennis Club

Alaska

Inaction from the

ombudsman’s office

Open letter to Hank Moorlag, office of the ombudsman

I read last Friday’s editorial in the News and the article in the Star, regarding your latest report from the ombudsman’s office.

My question as a result of this is: Is the ombudsman’s office part of the solution or part of the problem?

The reason I am asking this question is because in 1998 the Utilities Consumers’ Group filed a complaint to your office regarding the access to information and the public utilities board.

We wanted the board to be accountable to the public it serves!

It took forever to get action from your office and, when it finally came, there were, apparently, recommendations made by your office to the government of the day, then the New Democrats.

We were not allowed to see a copy of these recommendations and nothing ever transpired.

Since then, we have had a Liberal Party and now the Yukon Party in power and no headway has been gained on this issue.

We are no further ahead than we were in 1998; these various acts do not give the public access to information on the public utilities board or the hospital board or the compensation board or, in all likelihood, any of the numerous boards in the Yukon.

The administrators of most of these boards do not have to appear before the legislature to justify their existence nor their costs.

They supposedly file a review each year to their respective government, for which the public has no access.

It follows that these appointed boards, at the least, appear to have absolutely no accountability to the public they serve.

These boards continue to be appointed by the government of the day rather than an all-party committee tasked with making the selections. The above information would indicate that once a political party gets elected into office, they no longer wish to give up these appointments, which suggest they are most likely to be patronage.

There is something severely wrong with this picture, and your office is supposedly empowered to rectify such democratic “black holes.”

Therefore, it would appear your office is absolutely impotent or it is not doing its job!

An expedited response is requested.

Roger Rondeau, Yukon Consumers’ Group president

Whitehorse

Thankless

Whitehorse citizens

Re Teens trading sex for cab rides:

As a cab driver, I see people at their worst.

I work nights and risk life, limb and reputation to protect Whitehorse citizens.

I now salute you all with the middle finger.

I put up with one of the most horrendous duties — driving and protecting many of you as you have all used and abused us.

You make us listen to your ‘poor me’ stories day to day.

Then I go to work and read about bad cabbies in the newspaper. It makes me furious.

My boss, Mr. Jackson, has put up with countless things daily, and the abuse as well, and now a community that slanders him.

I know personally that this boss of mine eats hundreds of dollars a day when the Whitehorse citizens rip him off — they run off and don’t pay or are too drunk and ignorant that they just waste time.

I drive for this man because he has integrity and honesty and a willingness to give anyone the benefit of the doubt.

He is not easily angered, and keeps a tight rein over his drivers to protect the customers.

But now, because someone leaves the company and an isolated incident gets blown out of proportion, you, the community, thank him like this.

It seems a nonprofit group is looking for federal funds, so they outright target an industry and try to victimize a person and his workers for the benefit of its new program.

I hope you can, for one minute, look into the mirror and see how wrong this is.

I disagree with reinventing the wheel and creating alternative measures that directly compete against, or create an unfair market advantage by funding a nonprofit program.

What I propose is that existing infrastructure, and the present industry, gets improved and the buses and taxis receive secure dollars to protect their drivers and their customers first.

I am sick and tired of the police making us out to be bad guys and making unfair assumptions about the whole profession because of the one donkey in every crowd.

What is needed is a security solution that protects us all.

A huge lump-sum investment into existing infrastructure and improvements to the present taxi systems are needed. So, everyone who wants to implement a safe-ride program must put their money where their mouth is.

Kick in dollars to improve and institute a safe-ride pilot program, and fund it well enough to allow for the upgrading of operating cabs and buses before reinventing the wheel in such a small market.

As a youth worker and outreach worker myself, I know of many incidents where workers victimize the children.

Some programs exploit youth, creating a so-called sweatshop, and mask them as training programs.

I believe that even youth workers victimize innocent children as they line their pockets  to buy new homes and new vehicles, and then say they are helping youth.

But the huge salaries and the borderline extortion taking place, even in our own community, makes me sick.

There needs to be some accountability and transparency in the community-based initiatives. If not, you would see 70 to 90 per cent of monies contributed to programs and services line the pockets of the administrators and, in reality, a few pennies go to truly servicing the initiatives.

The little people are suffering — they’re being exploited and victimized.

Youth workers should take a good look at their own actions and be careful in generalizing and attacking other industries.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, the community, and take my hat of to you all.

This article has justified my new hard-nose approach and justified my new stance. I am no longer a nice guy.

I will be on red alert from now on.

And I propose a safe and secure cab pilot project utilizing existing technologies and protection for cabbies.

 In effect, this proposal will protect the user of my services as well.

It’s a win-win solution.

I will oppose any unfair market advantage and only feel it’s right to improve existing services before any unfair new programs are proposed.

As a cabbie, I have no pity on you people. You all know who you are — the ones that ask for favours, or try to treat me as a rolling ATM.

I’ve heard all of your lines.

I encourage other cabbies to refuse to take the crap anymore from the ungrateful citizens that now make us all look bad and attack us.

When I pull up, I deserve respect. If you’re too drunk, then you belong in the cherry-topped cab.

I will not do favours as you slander cabbies after we help you out.

I will not put up with abuse, and my co- workers and dispatchers deserve more respect.

Someday you will realize you can get a lot further if you are polite.

And all we ask is that you pay the fare.

Do not blame me if I speed away with locked doors if you’re too drunk and have no money.

J.A. Labion

Whitehorse