Rogue rodent causes outage

hen the lights went out in the Guild Hall Wednesday night, the audience fell silent. The theatre fell into darkness during the opening number of Act…

hen the lights went out in the Guild Hall Wednesday night, the audience fell silent.

The theatre fell into darkness during the opening number of Act 2 of Urinetown, an energetic song-and-dance routine called What is Urinetown?

Nevertheless the show must go on … and it did 30 minutes later when power was restored.

But the reason for the outage is worthy of a musical tribute.

A squirrel tangled itself in the breaker at Yukon Electrical Company Ltd.’s substation in Riverdale.

The animal blew itself, and the breaker, up at around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, said customer service manager James Grattan.

“It was Cajun-blackened squirrel,” he said.

“(The breaker) stopped the flow of electricity, but it hurt itself at the same time — with the help of the squirrel.”

A breaker senses when there is a problem on a power line and automatically stops the flow of power.

The broken breaker knocked out power in communities through much of southeast Yukon.

With backup diesel generators in Teslin, Carmacks and Ross River, TV screens were glowing with hockey play-offs within three minutes.

Other residents regained power between 9:45 and 10:45 p.m., said Grattan.

Logan and Arkell were the last neighbourhoods to return to the grid.

Crews fixed the breaker yesterday, added Grattan.

And the power failure made it to the territorial legislature this week.

Porter Creek South MLA, Pat Duncan asked that Energy, Mines and Resources minister Archie Lang to take more precautions to prevent rodents from ruining hockey games.

“This House urges the minister responsible for the Yukon Energy Corporation, in order to ensure peace during this spring when many eyes are on television screens throughout regulation play and double overtimes, to take all reasonable precautions to ensure that random squirrels do not cause any further power outages during the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs,” she said Thursday. (CO)

n EDUVATION

College hires

interim president

There’s a new face at the helm Yukon College, for the time being.

This week the college board of directors announced that Terry Weninger has been hired as interim president.

He starts May 29 and the position will last one year.

Weninger has a long history in education and leadership.

“We are fortunate to have an individual of Dr. Weninger’s calibre to lead the college through the upcoming year,” said board chair Suzanne Henry in a recent release.

Weninger’s career roots stretch back to the early 1960s in the Prairies.

Starting off as a teacher in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, he moved up to the position of director of education within less than a decade.

In 1975, he moved to the North.

Here in the Yukon, Weninger held a variety of senior administrative positions with the territorial government until 1984.

With another decade coming to a close, Weninger headed south again.

This time he went for a job as vice president of Medicine Hat College in Alberta.

He sat in that chair for three years, and then moved to British Columbia in 1990.

Hired as president of the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, Weninger retired from that seat in 2004.

A high point in Weninger’s career was working on early plans for Yukon College.

“I count as a career highlight my participation as superintendent of education with the team that developed the report Toward a Yukon College in 1979,” he stated in the release.

“I look forward to working on the continued development of the college in co-operation with the board, staff, students and community.”

Anyone wishing to meet the new president is invited to attend graduation ceremonies at the college on June 3. (CO)