TREKKING BY THE TAIYA

Rain and wind last Saturday did not stop these hearty souls from walking the Dyea Road for the 11th annual Fran Delisle Cancer Awareness Walk-a-Thon. See story and more photos in features below.
Ardyce Czuchna-Curl

Woman dies in rollover on highway
RCMP withhold name until kin notified in Singapore

A 21-year-old woman who worked in Skagway this summer was killed Sunday, June 4 in a single vehilcle accident at kilometer 54 of the Klondike Highway, a stretch of road that passes Tutshi Lake in British Columbia.
Carcross, Yukon RCMP investigated the accident and filed its initial report with the Atlin detachment, which is handling all questions.
The name of the woman, who is from Singapore, could not been released at press time because RCMP was working through the Canadian Consulate to notify her relatives overseas, said Constable William McDougall of Atlin.
He said the initial report indicated that the vehicle was traveling northbound and went off the right side of the road and turned over. The call came in about 5 p.m. The victim was ejected - she was not wearing a seat belt. Two others in the vehicle were not injured.
More details will be available in the next edition. – JB

UPDATE from June 23 issue:

Fatal car crash offers sobering reminder of seat belt’s importance
The name of the victim in the June 4 accident on the Klondike Highway has been released by the RCMP, along with more details about the tragedy.
The victim was Hai-Ling Lena Cheo, 21, of Singapore. She was employed at the Westmark Inn in Skagway, as was the driver, Derlyn Meling Chaw. They were in a white Cadillac Escalade with another occupant, Albert Effergan, of Skagway, who used the vehicle in the summer. It was owned by Carl Hoover.
They were heading northbound on the highway along Tutshi Lake when the accident occurred, according to the RCMP.
The Escalade contained three passengers when it overturned on the highway. The driver had moved over to the side of the road to allow a southbound traveling vehicle room on the road through a construction zone. After veering right, the driver overcompensated, causing the SUV to fishtail and fall on its side into a ditch.
Cheo was in the back seat, but not wearing her seat belt, and she was thrown from the vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Westmark manager Jim Sager said he hired Cheo last winter in Singapore.
“She was a fantastic employee, a nice, sweet young lady,” he said. “Her best friend was driving ... It was a tragedy.”
The matter is still under investigation, however alcohol was not a factor in the accident.
The RCMP would like to remind everyone to always wear their seat belts.

School budget pared down
Fish hatchery program on chopping block

By JEFF BRADY
After meeting in a joint work session with the Skagway City Council, the School Board last week took another look at its budget and voted to cut $55,541. That represents about a $2,500 difference from the $58,000 they were asked to cut by Mayor Tim Bourcy.
Of that total, $13,541 is additional revenue from the state foundation formula bill that recently passed the Alaska Legislature and was signed by the governor. Another $30,000 which had been slated for new exit doors was taken out, though the board hopes City Council will add the needed doors to its capital project list.
Then there’s $12,000 for the fish hatchery program, an annual match to the city to provide an instructor. For the past few years, the instructor has been Ryan Ackerman, who is also paid by the city to manage the Jerry Myers Hatchery.
Dickens said interest in the program from students has been waning, and board member Darren Belisle said there are growing problems with the 20-year-old building. A rock slide came down this spring and broke an intake water line. It had not been repaired as of this week.
When told of the board’s decision about the hatchery at the June 1 City Council meeting, Bourcy said the city did not direct the board how to make their cuts, but understood that in the short term the fisheries program may be gone for the coming year.
School Board members said their meeting with the city cleared up a lot of misconceptions about their budget, noting that some Council members didn’t want any cuts to education.
“I think they saw we made a valiant effort,” said Chris Maggio.
As for the hatchery, it can always be brought back for students. Flip Pryor with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said the Myers Hatchery originally operated under a Scientific Education permit and was later changed to a Fish Resource permit.
“FRPs are a year-to-year permit granted by ADF&G, and are relatively easy to get,” Pryor stated in an e-mail last week. “If they were to drop this program, they could re-apply for that permit any time. FRPs are not like a Private Non-Profit Hatchery (PNP) permit, where the application is a long process (i.e. public meetings, multi-agency review, etc.). There should not be any concern as far as “if we lose this permit now, we may not be able to get it back.’”

THE BOTTLENECK – Walkers and bikers scoot through the one lane caused by the seawalk construction (right) and tour bus parking (left). JB

CITY: Seawalk congestion tolerated for now
The seawalk construction project has left a one lane bottleneck on Congress Way in front of the M&M tour shack, but an “interim sidewalk” is being poured to try to alleviate the congestion until the building is moved and the project is completed in the fall.
At the June 1 City Council meeting, City Manager Bob Ward said that “what is down there is what the tourism industry asked for” but that it will appear “somewhat discombobulated” this summer until the project wraps up and buildings are moved in the fall.
Beth Cline, director of passenger sales and service for the White Pass and Yukon Route, said part of the congestion is due to the Level 2 security on the docks, which requires that all IDs be checked. The railroad also instituted a stricter permit system this year. “We are trying to weed out the people who don’t need to be down there,” she said, adding that once the project is finished that they may be able to loosen it up some.
She urged that the city get together will all operators again to address issues such as how to deal with large groups walking down from the dock to get to their tours.
In the meantime, she’s content on being the “parking Nazi,” she said.
“When people get hot with me, I just urge patience ... and working together,” she said. “I think it’s going to look great (when the project’s done).”

SCHOOL: Gary Trozzo resigns position
Veteran technology teacher Gary Trozzo surprised the school district by turning in his resignation on the last day of school.
After 13 years with the district, Trozzo said he plans to apply for early retirement. He had been given a contract to sign in the spring and turned it in, but struggled with it and changed his mind after discussing the situation with his wife Jo, a fellow teacher, during the last week of school.
“I’m just tired,” he said. “It seemed like more than 13 years because I’ve been involved in so many things, so it was time for me to go. The excitement wasn’t there for me any more.”
Trozzo added that he thought he could have held on for one more year, but the “thrill of teaching was waning” and “I didn’t think I could give the kids my best.”
He said he feels “so good” about his decision, though he knows many kids are disappointed. “I’ve told the kids they will be just fine and to give the new person a chance.”
“I hope whoever they get in will do a great job,” he added. “I’m not indispensable.”
Trozzo said he’ll remain involved with the school if he’s needed. A week after his resignation, he was called on a technology question.
The technology program has come a long ways since he started with Apple 2e machines in the old mail room. Now there’s a full computer lab with Mac and PC machines, a computer in every classroom, and loaner laptops for students to do assignments at home.
Trozzo also was yearbook advisor and coached cross-country running.
At the May 30 school board meeting, Superintendent Michael Dickens said other resignations had come in from: shop teacher Ron Ackerman, “who really wants to retire this time”; pre-school teacher Dakota Hankin, who accepted a job with Taiya Inlet Watershed Council; Mark Jennings as boys basketball coach; and Meredith Marchionni as band club. Jennings announced his resignation at the recent Awards Banquet and Marchionni is returning to college to finish her doctorate, Dickens said.
Dickens said he will likely fill Ackerman’s position with Ron’s son, Ryan Ackerman, the current fisheries teacher who has shop experience. The district removed the fish hatchery program from its budget in response to a request from the city to cut its budget (see separate story).
The board voted to post the other positions (see job listings in classifieds) and will hold interviews next week and attempt to have them filled at their June 14 meeting.

SPECIAL: On the Heartbeat Trail

First of a two-part series: Walking with Buckwheat

Buckwheat Donahue and Gary Hanson enjoy walking along the Alaska Highway near Watson Lake, Yukonin late May.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

GO T-BALL!

The Skagway T-Ball and Little League season has started. Above, players conclude the evening with a “Go T-ball” cheer. See more in Sports and Rec. Jeff Brady

FRAN DELISLE CANCER AWARENESS WALK: 11rth annual walk raises $18,000.

• NEW YORK MOMENT: Skagway chef cooks the Big Apple big time

• SPORTS & REC.: T-Ball Photos, Fish Derby Tickets on sale, bag limits 'liberalized'

• HEARD ON THE WIND: Concrete boardwalk and big knowledge...

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