Editorial page

Wednesday, April 21, 1999

Crowded house

We hope a lesson has been learned with the recent two-week closure of the Gallery Neighbourhood Pub.

The popular downtown hangout was recently cited by the liquor licensing board for having 73 people more than it should have whooping it up during last year's Raven Mad Daze celebrations. Earl Johnson, legal counsel for the licensing board, noted at last week's board hearing that this was "a substantial exceeding of capacity," for a bar that has "had a history of problems with overcrowding."

While we agree that 73 more than the legal limit could in fact prove dangerous, should an emergency occur, we also sympathize with the defence offered by the Gallery's lawyer Jim Brydon.

Brydon pointed out at the time the head count was taken, an altercation had broken out and people poured though the door while the bouncers were tending to the safety of the patrons.

A second inspection on August 15, 1998 found the Gallery had 247 people on site when the limit is 202.

When Yellowknifer researched other jurisdictions, we were surprised by our findings. In Manitoba, for example, liquor inspections are conducted on average only once a month and always by a team of two inspectors. Each inspector conducts a separate head count. If the counts vary and often they do, the bar itself can do their own count which will be taken into consideration. Not the case here, though, as Yellowknifer reporters have witnessed three inspections, each time only involving one inspector doing the head count.

Manitoba also offers regular staff lectures for bar staff on how to implement liquor regulations -- something not yet seen in Yellowknife.

The Gallery's recent bid to get all the bars together to meet with liquor licensing officials and discuss flaws in the NWT system is worth pursuing.

Only after reaching a common ground and working together can the real goal -- patron safety and good business -- be achieved.

Office heroes

Secretaries, pre-computers, spent a lot of time taking dictation, typing letters and fetching coffee for "The Boss". Almost every middle manager in private business had a secretary to work with.

These days, secretaries are really a mix of public relation specialists, information coordinators, and crisis control experts, all of which calls for patience, versatility and a good sense of humour. Another significant difference is the likelihood of having many "Bosses" instead of one.

Secretaries Day is that time of the year the "Bosses" get to thank that special person or people in the office who keep everything going. A bouquet of flowers or a nice lunch along with a big THANK YOU! is a small price to pay for a year of dedicated service, often beyond the call of duty, and with a smile.

Help is on the way

Most of us have never been in the middle of a war zone. Most of us have no idea what it's like to have our towns, cities and villages turned into a battlefield.

We don't know what it's like to be turned out of our own homes by gun-toting soldiers, only to watch our homes be destroyed by bombs.

But this doesn't mean we turn a blind eye to those who are going through this nightmare -- people like the Albanian Kosovars. In fact, we go that extra mile to send food and supplies to these people.

Yellowknifers are no exception. People like Marlo Bullock and Carina Sanders didn't hesitate to start rounding up donations of food and money. And most of those asked didn't hesitate to say yes.

It warms the heart to see such warm hearts.

Honesty shines brightly in Repulse
Editorial Comment
Darrell Greer
Kivalliq News

There are many things I could write about my first trip to Repulse Bay, April 9-12, to take part in the annual Kivalliq Cup old-timers tournament.

I could write about the warmth and hospitality of the people, the competitiveness of the tournament, or how impressed I was with the number of Canadian flags flying proudly in the community.

While all these things would be worthy of special mention, something happened in Repulse which not only reaffirmed my belief in the basic good in people, but also created an impression within me which will last the rest of my life.

I met a young lad whose name I didn't learn until I talked with Repulse's recreation co-ordinator upon my return to Rankin Inlet -- a young lad I will never forget.

My tale begins on the Sunday evening Rankin won the Kivalliq Cup. During the post-game ceremonies, I learned players from the winning team often offer their hockey sticks to members of the crowd.

I don't mind admitting goaltenders get awfully attached to their equipment and, at about $50 a pop, I wasn't in too much of a hurry to part with either of my trusted wooden warriors.

I had escaped to the relative sanctum of our dressing room with both sticks still in my possession and was the last player still packing away gear when four young fellows entered.

One of the lads told me he was a goalie too and couldn't take his eyes off my blue Koho stick bearing the No. 29 of my favourite NHL goalie, Felix Potvin. Finally I thought, 'oh what the heck' and asked if he liked the stick. He said he sure did and asked if he could have it.

When I told him he could, his eyes became as large as dinner plates and he was practically beaming heading out the dressing room door, quickly, I remember thinking at the time, in case I changed my mind.

The next day I was one of a handful of Rankin players lucky enough to get an early flight home. We were milling about outside the "terminal," maybe 20 minutes from our scheduled departure, when I heard a voice calling my name.

There, coming toward me, was the kid I'd given my stick to and he was carrying a bright red goalie's trapper -- MY bright red goalie's trapper. Somehow my catching glove had been taken from my equipment bag at the airport and this kid found out about it, got it back and returned it to me safe and sound.

The young man's name, I found out, is Noah Siutinuar. A young man whose honesty I will never forget and who I will always consider my friend. I owe him thanks for the glove and, more importantly, I owe him thanks for reaffirming my beliefs.

Thank you, Noah!