Sydney Brown stretches out on her way to a second-place win in the Buckwheat Ski Classic on March 22. Kayla Henricksen, Shelby Surdyk and John Doland are ready to race too . - Dimitra Lavrakas

Magistrate leaves town for Haines
Says cases will offer more of a challenge

John Hutchins, Skagway District Court magistrate for two months shy of a year, has resigned to become the magistrate in Haines.
“They called me and offered me the position,” he said by phone from Haines. “It’s a full-time job. Here I made $800 every two weeks and my heating bill was $800 a month.”
The move means his wife, Sherry, can leave her job as an anesthesiologist in Bethel and move to Haines.
“They needed someone with court experience, but mainly I’m leaving for personal reasons,” he said. “I feel pretty honored, they came to me.”
He said Haines’s retiring magistrate Lana Anthony was “perfect.”
“I’m far short of perfect,” he said.
Having never closed on his house on Seventh Avenue, Hutchins said that left him free to leave, and so the offer came at a good time.
“I like Skagway,” Hutchins said. “Everybody welcomed me with open arms and made me feel welcome.”
He said until a new magistrate is hired that he will come back on occasion. –DL

Haines throws out tour tax
Hopes are cruise ships will return

Haines voters cast their ballots 423-371 to rescind the 4 percent tour tax that has been in effect since 2001. Haines also has a 5.5 percent sales tax.
“I didn’t think, when I first took this position, that it made a difference, but people said the tour tax caused this or that, but I said it was Haines’s image,” said Michelle Glass, Haines tourism director. “I had meetings with cruise line officials and they said it was the tour tax..
Since the tax’s implementation, Haines has lost four ships, from five ships to one – an 80 percent drop.
“Now, if the cruise ships come back as before, it remains to be seen,” Glass said.
With the tax’s repeal, the Haines borough government will lose $180,000 in revenue. The vote will be certified April 1, and would not go into effect until the end of the current fiscal year on July 1. –DL

Fern Davye begins a reading with dramatic flair. DL

‘Poetic mistress’ wows school crowd and instills love of poetry

An amazing poetry reader graced Skagway with her appearance during her bi-yearly Alaskan tour of Anchorage, Juneau and other parts of Southeast.
Fern Dayve is a Manhattan-based poetry reader who is “a lover of all arts” and expresses that love through her readings in a physical, almost in-your-face way.
She performed at the Skagway City School for the public on March 19th, and did two workshops the next day for the students of the school. She recited poetry from Pablo Neruda’s “100 Love Sonnets,” Sharon Olds, and an essay excerpt about poetry as a way of life, not as a career.
Many high school students went to her second workshop for an encore of her first presentation with them they were so impressed.
She deals with modern poetry, created within the last 50 years, because she found it so interesting.
Her workshops at the school were not so much lectures, as allowing the students to hear an actual poetry reading and to respond to the poems. The topics ranged from death, to being mugged, to the beauty of a woman, and about different aspects of life in general. She read in Spanish and French as well in order to give the students the flavor of other countries.
She said she loved Skagway and was very excited at the response she received after her poetry reading.
“I would definitely love to do this again on my next Alaskan tour, ” she said and smiled as she prepared for her next workshop.
She carries with her a bag full of over 500 poems, and she says the night before a performance is the hardest.
“I have all of my poems spread out on my hotel floor and I have to choose between all of them and whittle them down to a hundred. Then right before a performance it’s excruciating because then I have to narrow it down even more. It’s so hard to do. I just want to read them all!”


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