KAYAKS and KABOOMS

In the glow of a massive burst of color, a pod of sea kayaks drifts in Skagway Bay the night of July 3rd to watch the spectacular fireworks show that kicked off the annual Fourth of July celebration. See more pictures on our Skagway Independence Day 2005 photo page and all photos and results in the print version of The Skagway News. For a postpaid copy send $2.50 to Skagway News, Box 498, Skagway, AK 99840, or please subscribe. Jeff Brady

Architects begin shaping new clinic

By JENNIFER COLLINS
Architects surveyed a tentative site for a new medical clinic June 29 in preparation for a conceptual plan for the building, which proponents hope to see constructed in the next few years.
Livingston Slone Architects visited Skagway to work with Dahl Memorial Clinic staff, board members and city staff to discuss plans for an 11,000 square foot building, Clinic Board Vice Chairman John Warder said.
With more exam rooms, more space in the waiting room, more space for offices for a local counselor, a visiting dentist and a home care specialist, he said he expected the building to cost in the neighborhood of $4.4 million.
“The more services we are able to provide out of their building, the more likely you are to be able to apply for huge grants,” Warder said.
In a few months, the architectural firm will come back with a clearer conceptual plan for the building, Warder said.
The consultation, which costs about $48,000, is almost all covered by a grant from the Denali Commission, Warder said. As soon as the remaining funding, about $3,000, is approved, the architects will go ahead with conceptual plans, Warder said.
Aiza Paulson, Livingston Slone’s project designer, said she hopes conceptual designs will be completed by the end of this summer.
“We were happy to hear that they had a site,” she said.
The city and clinic board have been working on the project for several years and previously they did not have a firm site possibility, she said.
The lot, located on 14th Ave. between State Street and Broadway, was donated to the city by Wells Fargo Bank Alaska in April. It is valued at $302,500 and was donated with the expressed purpose that it be used for a clinic.
The lot is divided partially by a stream, which puts some space constraints on the building, Paulson said.

New Clinic Administrator Glennette Christian

“We’re going to do whatever we can to make it fit,” she said.
Livingston Slone has helped design clinics in Talkeetna, Aniak, Craig, Bethel, and Hoonah, Warder said. The firm’s principal, Tom Livingston, was also in Skagway for the day of meetings last month.
The architects initially expressed some concern that the land would not accommodate the more than 40 parking spaces required by city building requirements, Warder said.
But City Manager Bob Ward said that the clinic could apply for a variance on the parking needs.
“I’m also confident a variance will be granted for the parking requirements,” Ward said.
Architects and clinic board members said part of the land could be used for additional parking or for housing for clinic staff.
Clinic Administrator Glennette Christian said that the housing is a priority.
“We really need housing more than we need parking,” she said, adding that parking available along 11th Avenue is sufficient for the current clinic.
She said her staff met with architects for nearly two hours to discuss their needs in the building.
“Everyone is concerned about space because space is so limited here,” she said, referring to the existing building, which was constructed in the late 1960s.
The current project plans include for about nine exam rooms instead of the three rooms in the current building, along with a conference room, offices for Lynn Canal Counseling Services and space for visiting specialists that the clinic staff hopes to attract-optometrists, obstetricians and cardiologists, among others.
“Maybe bringing in a new clinic will also give us access to new medical equipment which we desperately need,” Christian said. “It’ll make things better for everybody all the way around.”
The next Clinic Board meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday at the library.

When RVs become homes
City committee writes proposed zoning changes

By CASEY GROVE
The Civic Affairs committee discussed the use of RVs as summer housing during their meeting Thursday June 30.
“What we’re trying to do is still allow RVs to be used as housing,” said Councilmember Mike Catsi. “We also don’t want this town to become an RV park.”
City Manager Bob Ward brought up the issue of RVs parked outside of campgrounds during his report at the June 16 City Council meeting. Ward said he recognized the need for seasonal housing in Skagway, but he said that these vehicles were still violating city code by parking outside the campgrounds.
“Just turning our backs on it isn’t the best approach,” Ward said.
Civic Affairs recommends that RVs not be allowed in residential zones, but Catsi said that any decision made this year would not go into effect until next year.
“We’re not going to kick anybody off land this year,” he said.
The recommendations of Civic Affairs are that lots zoned as business general, industrial light and industrial general with 5,000 square feet of usable space be allowed to have up to four RVs parked on them. The areas would be allowed temporarily, for five years Catsi said, to give the city time to secure more land for residential development.
The Civic Affairs committee will write up a draft ordinance that will go to the Planning and Zoning Commission, and any changes to zoning laws must be approved by City Council.
“It may die in zoning, we don’t know,” Catsi said.

New Shredder In Action

The new multi-material shredder purchased by the city demonstrated its capabilities June 27 at the H&H burn pile, WP&YR railroad tie pile, and at the Seventh Pasture brush pile. The shredder can process around seven
tons per hour and makes easy work of refrigerators, tire rims, railroad ties, and most construction and demolition debris. It can be operated by one person remotely from the cab of the hoe.
Submitted by Mike Catsi

Woman survives 50-foot fall

By JENNIFER COLLINS
A 23-year-old employee of Alaska Mountain Guides fell about 50 feet during a morning rock climbing excursion on June 23, fire and AMG staff said.
The woman was flown by TEMSCO helicopter to Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau about one hour after fire and rescue personnel were called at 10:40 a.m., Fire Chief Mark Kirko said.
“She is making a full recovery in the Seattle area,” Kirko said, adding the woman was flown to a hospital in Seattle following an assessment in Juneau.
Kirko said he did not know which hospital that was, and he would not identify the woman to protect her privacy.
When she fell, the woman was with a tour group climbing up the highway at the site regularly used for rock climbing by Alaska Mountain Guides, Kirko said. No other people were injured in the fall.
A paramedic who was in the tour group assisted along with AMG staff, Kirko said.
“The AMG personnel on scene did an excellent job of taking care of the patient,” Kirko said. “When we got on scene, she was already packaged and on a backboard.”
Although she was too sore to walk, Kirko said the woman had no other apparent wounds or broken bones. However, she was taken to the local clinic and then flown to Juneau to check for a serious spine injury.
“Because, basically, when you have a fall like that, that’s what you really have to watch out for,” Kirko said.
Dahl Memorial Clinic staff could not comment on the incident, and Bartlett Regional Hospital staff also could not comment on the incident or the condition of the victim when she was flown out for privacy reasons.
AMG Climbing School Director Sean Gaffney said he hoped the woman would be able to come back and work for AMG after she recovers this summer.
“The guide is doing well and and is expected to make a good recovery,” he said.
He would not name her or give any personal details to protect her identity.
He said AMG had practiced as a precaution for such incidents with Skagway emergency personnel.
“(The) incident was handled quickly and efficiently,” he said in an e-mail statement.
Regarding changes made to AMG’s operation, Gaffney said, in a telephone interview, that “no additional decision will be made pending the continuation of an internal review process.”

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

BENNETT BIKER HAUL – Frantic Follies floozies pose with the crew of Engine No. 73 at Bennett during the special charter from Carcross June 24 for the "Ride Yukon" motorcycle convention. Photo by Dimitra Lavrakas

OTHER ONLINE FEATURES

• Yukon River Quest: Memoir of a 15-year-old river racer

SPORTS & REC. ROUNDUP - Skagway cycling team claims relay title again; Trappers take 4th of July softball tourney

• OBITUARIES: Jureen A. Denison

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