letter to the editor356

Inspired teaching Open letter to Dave Sloan of the department of Education, We want you to know how much we appreciate the tremendous effort of…

Inspired teaching

Open letter to Dave Sloan of the department of Education,

We want you to know how much we appreciate the tremendous effort of Monique Levesque, a Grade 1 teacher at Ecole Whitehorse Elementary to incorporate outdoor physical activity in her students’ regular school days.

Before the snow fell, they were running like “boules de feu” around the school yard. and later they were cross-country skiing, despite, sometimes, poor conditions and cold weather.

All the while, they enthusiastically kept track of their daily distances; they have almost made it across Canada with all the kilometres they have done!

She also enrolled them in the Ski S’Cool program, which supplied equipment and instruction.

A huge thanks is also due to Mary Waddell, program co-ordinator and instructor, who was so encouraging to all the children, some who were skiing hills for their first time.

Thanks also to the sponsors of the program: Cross Country Yukon, Cross Country Canada/CSA, Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club, Yukon Lotteries and Tim Hortons.

A bonus of this program for these young children was the opportunity to ski with members of Canada’s national team, while they were here for the Western Canadian championships.

Levesque has done all this without compromising the academic aspect of her teaching.

In fact, Levesque believes that her students perform better academically when they are able to participate in outdoor activity.

We agree with her that the importance of an active lifestyle is an integral part of our children’s education. We encourage more teachers to ensure their students get outside and move whenever possible.

Susan Carr, Amanda Deuling, M.J. Warshawski, Caroline Sparks and Sabine Schweiger, Whitehorse

Let it snow

In early December, All-Terrane Mineral Exploration Services promised to donate to a local charitable or community-based organization $5 for every centimetre of snow recorded at the Whitehorse airport from December 12 to March 31.

A total of 38.1 centimetres (excluding “trace amounts”) fell during that period, valued” at $190.50. Needless to say, 11.6 centimetres fell during the final week.

All-Terrane will add an additional $100 as pledged because the cross-country ski trails at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre were open for skiing on Christmas Day.

All-Terrane will top up this total to an even $300 to account for the numerous snowfalls resulting in “trace” measurements.

This donation has been made to the Whitehorse chapter of the Salvation Army, as All-Terrane feels that it provides for local citizens in greatest need of assistance.

Hopefully more snow than this will fall next winter.

Carl Schulze, All-Terrane Mineral Exploration Services, Whitehorse

Clean green

Open letter to mayor and council, Whitehorse,

I have recently voiced some concerns that I deem important to Whitehorse’s environmental co-ordinator.

I would like to make these concerns known to you and, at the same time, suggest positive and innovative action by the city in these regards.

The immediate concerns mentioned include:

Use of pesticides and herbicides on public and private lawns, gardens, and other landscaped areas, including the golf course;

Excessive use of salt in the city in the winter, including use by businesses and individuals (salt is a scientifically recognized environmental toxin, a fact that has gone largely unnoticed by the general

public), and use of environmentally harmful and toxic cleaning agents (yes, those same ones that are used in normal households and businesses) for cleaning purposes in Whitehorse premises

Whitehorse, through its facilities, services, bylaws and population base is an important center with a large sphere of influence regarding its effects and footprints on the environment.

However, many of the more detrimental effects resulting from the city and its surroundings (pesticide/herbicide runoff, groundwater contamination, salt runoff, toxic cleaning agent runoff, etc.) are virtually — and conveniently — being swept away by the Yukon River and its tributaries, and, accordingly, are not building up rapidly in the immediate Whitehorse area, while they are in fact polluting and damaging a much wider ecosystem through distribution by the rivers.

A comprehensive study released in March 2006 by the US Geological Survey has found that all rivers, streams and creeks across the USA, and a large percentage of shallow wells are polluted by pesticides and herbicides, when the vast majority of pesticides currently in use weren’t even tested for. http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/2005/1291/

Do we want to go that route in the Yukon?

In light of the above, I urgently suggest the following measures which will go a long way towards keeping the Yukon clean and healthy:

The introduction of a ban on cosmetic pesticide and herbicide usage by the city, individuals and businesses (Such bans have already been adopted by a number of municipalities across the country);

A major reduction in the use of salt in the city, including a ban on salt use by individuals and businesses and the introduction of mandatory use of environmentally friendly and biodegradable cleaning products for cleaning purposes in all Whitehorse premises.

Please visit the following URL for an executive order by the governor of New Jersey requiring state agencies to use environmentally-friendly cleaning products, of Jan 12:


All of those measures are simple, straightforward, commonsense approaches and would even save the city money, with alternatives to the above-mentioned agents available.

Their adoption, however, requires a genuine dedication to preserving our still fairly pristine Yukon environment.

I believe that it is high time to implement such measures without further delay, and would hope that the mayor and council see the need to proceed in a proactive, responsible and innovative manner, rather than, in the future, re-acting to environmental damage that could have been prevented — at a fraction of the cost usually necessary to repair damage already done.

The big question is, of course: Can we expect wisdom, foresight and a caring attitude towards our shared and only environment, on behalf of our own and later generations and wildlife, from our politicians?

I believe we are quite definitely entitled to such expectations.

Sabine Allofs


Volunteers are

good for our hearts

The quest to fight heart disease and stroke requires support from all walks of life and all ages.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is a grassroots, volunteer-based organization.

We need volunteers so that we can keep our operating costs down, in order to allocate more funding for life-saving research.

Here in the Yukon there is an individual who has faithfully gone door to door every February for the past 23 years gathering donations for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC and Yukon.

Randy Shewan has canvassed in Porter Creek for more than two decades and we really appreciate his work and dedication.

Qualita Cleaners has had an annual fundraiser for the past 26 years. Over many years this community-minded, Whitehorse business has raised thousands of dollars for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Each year, on Valentine’s Day, Qualita has donated the cost of dry cleaning red clothing items to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

This year, because of problems with their boiler, Qualita (Linda West and Linda Derbyshire) could not put on this fundraiser but you had better believe that next year — for the 27th year — Qualita will rise to the challenge again.

Thank you to Randy Shewan and Qualita Cleaners from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC and Yukon. Together, we are, finding answers for life!


Sue Edelman, Whitehorse, and Suzanne Anderson, Prince George