HOOP CHUTE

SHS senior Jerod Moore leads the boys basketball team out of the chute formed by the girls team, cheerleaders and young fans during the Panthers' successful final homestand. See sports page for more coverage. - JB

Skagway River Flood control project nixed
West Creek project OK’d

By DIMITRA LAVRAKAS
Tuesday, the City of Skagway received word from the Division of Governmental Coordination that its flood control project for the Skagway River has been turned down because of inconsistencies with the Alaska Coastal Management Program . A hearing in Juneau last Friday brought all parties together before the agency made its final decision.
“The sticking place is the fill behind the west side dike,” said City Manager Bob Ward. “Their No. 1 stipulation is they want us to relocate the dike to the ordinary high water mark.”
The project would have constructed flood control dikes along the Skagway River to protect Skagway in the event of a 100-year flood, and to fill and reclaim land from the river flood plain on the west side for industrial use. There would also have been dike structures and revetments along both sides of the Skagway River from the Klondike Highway Bridge to about 5,300 feet upstream of the bridge. Dike construction, river excavation, a right-of-way across state and private property, and fish passage and habitat enhancements in Dairy Creek were also part of the project.
The city can appeal the decision within 30 days of Feb. 25 to the Secretary of Commerce to override the objection, and any appeal to the Superior Court must be made within 30 days of Tuesday’s determination.
The City Council will discuss its next move at its March 6 meeting, Ward said.
But the division also approved the remainder of the restoration work for West Creek in Dyea.
The project involves stabilization of up to 2,500 linear feet of the West Creek stream banks reconfigured by the catastrophic glacial flood in July 2002. The work, which has been mostly accomplished, includes up to 2,500 linear feet of bank stabilization, bridge abutment protection and/or a new dike system along the new bank configuration of West Creek in Dyea. The project affects approximately five acres of area.
The remainder of the work includes habitat restoration through placement of rock/tree clusters in the riverbed, and seeding of vegetation. The habitat restoration will be accomplished with natural materials from the site already stockpiled for that purpose, with direction from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. In-water work should occur before April 30.
Click here to read the complete consistency determinations for both projects.

Hope for Skagway borough
Three new Boundary Commission members appointed, borough report goes to Legislature

By DIMITRA LAVRAKAS
Gov. Frank Murkowski appointed three new members to the Local Boundary Commission. Whether this bodes well for Skagway’s bid for borough status remains to be seen.
“I don’t know if we should send them flowers, candy,” said Mayor Tim Bourcy at the City Council’s Feb. 20 meeting.
The five-member commission prepares studies of local government boundary problems, and acts on petitions for incorporation, dissolution, merger, and consolidation of cities and boroughs. Last year, three commission members denied Skagway’s bid for borough status – they’re the ones replaced.
On a state level, Rep. Carl Morgan, R-Aniak, and Sen. Georgianna Lincoln, D-Rampart, have said they would do everything to block Sen. Gary Wilken’s, R-Fairbanks, bill to create organized boroughs. Both Lincoln and Morgan favor governance on a local level.
“Once again, we face the threat of another mandatory borough bill,” said Lincoln in her newsletter. “I have always argued against mandatory boroughs and for local self-determination. Working together with other rural legislators we have defeated many attempts to force boroughs on rural Alaska. SB 48 and SB 323, introduced by Fairbanks Sen. Gary Wilken, died during the 22nd Alaska State Legislature. Fortunately, we have an ally in Gov. Murkowski who campaigned against mandatory boroughs. You have my word that, like the governor, I will continue to oppose mandatory boroughs.”
According to the new plan, Skagway would fall within the proposed Lynn Canal model borough that includes the Haines Borough and Klukwan.
Skagway’s state Rep. Albert Kookesh, D-Angoon, said he’s voted against it every time that Wilken has brought it to the floor since 1997.
“I don’t mind when places step up and ask to become boroughs,” said Kookesh by phone from Juneau. “Only the people who want it should have it.
“It’s interesting that Skagway stepped up and they were denied.”
The Skagway City Council hired lobbyist John Walsh to work on this issue at its Feb. 6 meeting. His contract is $16,500 for 2003.
A press release from the Governor’s Office outlined the new board members’ experience.
Wasilla resident Darroll Hargraves received his bachelor’s of Science from Oakland City University, and a master’s in Science Education from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Hargraves replaces Kevin Waring of Anchorage. He has served as the executive director of the Alaska Council of School Administrators and was superintendent of Schools for the Alaska Gateway School District, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District, and Nome Public School District.
Robert Hicks received a bachelor’s of Arts from Stanford University and a law degree from Harvard University. Replacing Anchorage’s Allen Tesche, Hicks lives in Seward. He currently works as the corporate affairs director for the Alaska Sea Life Center. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska, where he teaches in the Alaska Outdoor and Experiential Education program.
Anthony “Tony” Nakazawa lives in Fairbanks and received an economics degree from the University of Hawaii, a masters degree in economics from University of California and a doctorate. in agriculture and resource economics from the University of at Berkeley. Nakazawa currently serves as the director of the Alaska Cooperative Extension Service, which includes district offices in 10 communities throughout Alaska. Nakazawa has previously worked as the director of the Division of Community and Rural Development for the Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs under Governor Walter J. Hickel. He replaces Ardith Lynch. –DL

H&H burn pile violates state regs
What to do with industrial waste becomes the question

Hunz & Hunz Enterprises has been notified by the state Department of Environmental Conservation that the company’s open burn on approximately Dec. 17 violated state open burning regulations.
“Documentation of the alleged violation includes numerous complaints filed with the Department, including apparent health-related effects by local residents,” read the Jan. 27 letter from DEC.
Open burning of demolition debris is prohibited under Alaska statutes, according to the letter from Ann Lawton, environmental specialist with DEC Department of Air and Water Quality.
“Although open burning of clean wood is permissible in your area of Alaska, it must be conducted in a manner which does not create a nuisance. In addition, the burning wood must not be allowed to smolder, particularly overnight. Failure to follow the advice in this warning letter could result in the action being referred for formal enforcement. Penalties for violation of state statutes and regulations can be quite severe.”
At the Feb. 20 meeting of the Skagway City Council, City Manager Bob Ward told the council that DEC had closed down Hunz’s burn, but later conceded that was not the case. Ward expressed frustration over the city’s’ attempts to deal with its industrial waste.
“We tried burning it over by Seven Pastures, but we had to put that out because of smoke,” Ward said. “We’re at a loss of how to deal with it.”
“If I could take it to the city, I’d be glad to,” said Josh Magee, H&H general manager. “But I can’t take a tree stump to the city incinerator.”
Magee said that he and owner Dave Hunz decided not to do any more burns or accept any more material from other construction firms until they figure out what to do.
The challenge of finding an appropriate site out of town is that it becomes a fire hazard near the forest, whereas the pile is now next to the river with no vegetation close by, he said.
“We’ll see if the city can come up with something,” Magee said. – DL

Rapuzzi funds in recent Interior appropriation

The $500,000 for half the price of the Rapuzzi Collection is included in the recent appropriation of funds to the Interior Department. The National Park Service is under that federal department.
“We were expecting the president to sign it,” said Bruce Noble, superintendent of the Klondike Gold Rush NationalHistorical Park. “The last thing I knew we had it.”
The $500,000 is expected to be matched by the Rasmuson Foundation in order for the park and the city to acquire the Rapuzzi Collection of artifacts from the Klondike Gold Rush up to recent time. It would also cover the acquisition of the Rapuzzi home at Second and Main, the YMCA Building at Fifth and State, and Soapy Smith’s parlor near Second and Broadway. –DL

Watershed council gets go-ahead
The other Southeast towns that made overtures to the Southeast Conference for funding to develop watershed councils were unable to organize in time. That left Skagway out front with meetings attended by anywhere from 12 to 20 people representing various community interests. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park was represented, homeowners with streams or rivers running through their property, natural resource specialists, birders, city representatives – all supporting salmon sustainability in the area’s waterways.
On Tuesday, as meeting attendees gazed out at a serene scene of snow falling on Taiya Inlet from the TEMSCO Helicopters’ office and munched on cookies provided by the Skaqua Tribal Council, a teleconference with Samia Savell, watershed program coordinator for the U.S. Agriculture National Resources Conservation Services, dealt with what the watershed group has to present – A.S.A.P. A budget and a short list of projects for the next six months are key. If all goes well, the council could be up and running by April.
The four-year funding from USDA through the Southeast Conference totals $700,000 for four councils.
The council’s next meeting is March 5 at 10 a.m. at the new Skaqua Tribal Council offices in the American Legion building at Seventh and State . – DL

OTHER STORIES

• SPORTS - Panther teams cruise in final homestand, gain state rankings

• SCHOOL FEATURE - District not sure about No Child Left Behind Act

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