Legendary musher Susan Butcher loses battle with leukemia

Four-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher died Saturday at the University of Washington Medical Centre in Seattle after an eight-month battle with…

Four-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher died Saturday at the University of Washington Medical Centre in Seattle after an eight-month battle with leukemia.

She was 51 years old.

Butcher became an Alaskan celebrity after an incredible string of Iditarod wins in 1986, ‘87, ‘88 and ‘90. She was the second woman to win the race, and she finished in the top five a dozen times in her 17 years competing.

“Today is a very sad day for the The Iditarod Trial Sled Dog Race, for all Alaskans, and for every person who has been touched by Susan Butcher,” the Iditarod said in a release posted on its website, www.iditarod.com. “She will be greatly missed.”

“She lived life — rode it for all it was worth,” said Whitehorse musher Frank Turner, a friend of Butcher’s. “She never gave up, never stopped until the end.”

Turner described Butcher as a tremendous competitor, with a great enthusiasm for training and raising dogs.

“She should be admired for being a wonderful human being,” added Turner. “Even though she attained the highest levels of achievement, her family was most important to her.”

Butcher retired from the Iditarod in 1994, to raise a family with her husband and fellow musher Dave Monson in Fairbanks. They had two daughters; Tekla, 10, and Chisana, 5.

“She was a legend in our sport, it’s a big blow to the sled dog community,” said Stephen Reynolds, manager of the Yukon Quest International. “Our condolences go out to her family.” (IS)


Sharp-nosed Mounties make marijuana bust

Police have charged three Carcross residents following a seizure of marijuana last week, said RCMP Cpl. Paul Zechel on Monday.

On July 31 at about 6:15 p.m., two police officers were conducting a routine traffic check stop on the South Klondike Highway.

They stopped a ‘98 Ford pickup and got a strong whiff of fresh marijuana from the driver’s window.

“If you’re an experienced policeman and have dealt with it before you can tell the smell of fresh marijuana and it’s got a unique odour,” said Zechel from Carcross.

The officers saw one of the passenger pick up a large ziplock bag.

“The marijuana was initially on the floor, then one of the individuals in the vehicle picked it up and attempted to hide it in their possession,” said Zechel.

The bag contained 230 grams of marijuana, enough for approximately 322 to 483 joints, according to an RCMP release.

This number is based on an average joint containing between 0.7 and one gram.

The driver and two passengers were arrested.

Albert John Beattie, 61, and Lisa Marie Carville, 34, were both charged Friday with possession of a controlled substance.

They were released on promise to appear in court in Carcross on September 5, 2006.

They face a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Albert William Beattie, 30, of Carcross was charged earlier with possession of a controlled substance as well as a breach of recognizance.

Beattie will remain in jail until an appearance in the territorial court in Whitehorse, yet to be scheduled.

There was no indication the individuals charged were drug dealers, said Zechel.

“A half a pound of marijuana could well be for personal use,” he said, adding he wasn’t sure of its origin.

“It’s not something where you can look at the marijuana and say, ‘Oh that looks like Columbian or Jamaican or BC bud,’” he said.

“I mean, it’s just not that simple any more, given the sophistication of grow operations. It really could come from anywhere.”

Very little marijuana is grown in the Yukon, he added.

Cannabis use in the Yukon is higher than any Canadian province, according to preliminary figures released from the territorial government’s 2005 Yukon Addictions Survey.

According to the survey, 21 per cent of Yukoners over the age of 15 reported using cannabis in the past 12 months, compared to 14 per cent of Canadians overall.

In 1990, 16 per cent of Yukoners reported using cannabis in the past 12 months. (RJM)