DOWN ON THE FLOOR

Sunnie Cotton and Becky Shank got down on the floor last Saturday night to cheer on Skagway wrestlers at the Don Hather Tournament. See more photos and results on the SHS Activities page below.

Photo by Jeff Brady

Nov. 7, 2006 General Election Results from the Skagway Precinct

Manager selection down to six

Committee conducts phone interviews before picking finalists to come here

By JEFF BRADY
The City Manager Selection Committee has narrowed its list of prospects to six, and was conducting phone interviews this week in an effort to select the three finalists for the position.
Thirteen applied for the positition and the committee came up with the short list of six at a meeting on Oct. 25.
Of the six, two have worked and lived in Skagway: Amy Guerra and Roseann Worley. The others are John W. Alder, Esker Coffey, Markus Gruber, and Harry Staven.
The six semi-finalists were to be interviewed by telephone in sessions Wednesday and Friday, after this issue’s deadline. Here is a brief summary of each of the six candidates’ experience, from a look at their applications and resumes:
• John William Alder, currently of Fairbanks, most recently served a one-year contract as the manager of the Bristol Bay Borough in 2003-04. He also was a town administrator in Palisades, Calif for about two years and city administrator of St. George, Alaska for about two years. His longest tenure was as a local government specialist for the Dept. of Community and Regional Affairs in Fairbanks for seven years. Before that he was a city manager in Emmonak and Scammon Bay, director of the Nome community center, a parks director in Bethel, and assistant recreation director in Nome. He has BS in Recreation Administration from Eastern Michigan Univ. in 1974 and is a former president of the Alaska Recreation and Park Association.
In his cover letter, Alder states: “I am looking for a position that will provide me with new challenges and a positive opportunity for continued professional growth. Additionally, I am interested in a community that will provide the opportunity for a long term commitment.”
• Esker W. Coffey, currently of Anchorage, is a former engineer for the City of Nome, where he created budgets and managed the public works and engineering departments. He is currently working as a heating contractor in sales, estimating, bidding and project management, and has previous experience with two other firms, and was a project engineer for the state in western Alaska. After graduating from Palmer High School in 1985, he served in the Navy, and then obtained a BS in chemical engineering from the University of South Florida and moved back to Alaska, attending classes at UAA in project management.
He says in his cover letter that his “practical experience will benefit the City Council and the citizens of Skagway.”
• Markus K. Gruber, is currently in Phoenix, Ariz., where he is a certified public accountant. His only Alaska experience was as administrator and chief financial officer for the municipality of Tanacross from April 2000 to June 2001, reporting to the local tribal council. Previous to his Alaska stint, he was director of finance for the Hopi Nation in Arizona for 15 months; in private CPA practice for five years; and chief auditor for the Arizona Dept. of Health Services for three years. His career began with Arthur Anderson & Co. in New York in 1968 after completing his BA in business finance from Bloomfield College.
In his cover letter, Gruber said his responsibilities in Tanacross match the Skagway job description. He cites his honesty and integrity by including a letter of objection from several members of the Hopi Tribe to his termination by the vice chairman. In his cover letter, he said that after leaving Tanacross (where he had a one year contract), “I felt the need to protect my future employers from questionable financial activity and business practices that might cause community asset loss or embarrassment. As such I became certified in fraud prevention to ensure the best possible protection for the employees, the city and the community.”
• Amy Wynne Guerra, currently of Portland, Oregon, is the supervisor of cruise and tour product development for AAA Oregon/Idaho, but she has lived and worked in Skagway. From 2000-2003 she was the operations and marketing manager for historical and highway tour products for the Skagway Street Car Co. Her other experience includes working as a marketing director for a software company in Texas; assistant promotions director for a New Orleans radio station; assistant cruise director for Royal Caribbean for five years; and an ad copy writer for a Dallas radio station. She has a BA in communications from Southern Methodist University and an MBA from the same school.
She is looking to move back to Skagway permanently. Guerra said in her cover letter, “With a background in tourism and communications, an MBA from a nationally and internationally ranked program, the managerial and legal experience of a business owner, and a true love for Skagway, I feel I could serve the council and the community very well.”
• Harry A. Staven, currently of Richland, Wash., has city manager or administrator experience in Corrales, New Mexico; Ashville, Ohio; Russell, Kansas; Wenatchee, Wash.; and Nyssa, Ore. as well as financial positions with three tribes in Washington.
He has three BS degrees in accounting, business administration and economics from Central Washington University and a masters in public administration from Seattle University.
He is currently manager of a coffee company in Richland that is for sale, and left his two previous positions with tribal governments due to internal political conflicts. In his cover letter, he cites his 20 years of private sector project management and eight years of public sector experience. “In addition to overseeing planning and community development, public works and utility operations, I am equally skilled in budget, fiscal and grants administration, human resources and intergovernment relations,” he wrote in his cover letter.
• Roseann Perotto Worley, currently of Molokai, Hawaii, is administrative support assistant for Kalaupapa National Historical Park. Prior to her current job, she held positions with Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Skagway from July 2000 to March 2006. She started as a budget analyst/computer specialist managing the park’s 3.5 million budget, and then served as the information technology specialist and the acting chief of administration. Prior to coming to Skagway, she was office manager for her family’s funeral home in Rochester, New York. She has a BA in international affairs and a minor in economics and German from George Washington University, and a masters in public administration from Syracuse University.
In her cover letter, Worley said she moved to Hawaii to allow her husband an opportunity for a promotion within the Park Service. While at Kalaupapa she has assumed more responsibility with the retirement of an administrator and has re-ignited a fiber installation project and through budget analysis found approximately $100,000 in savings. She also has worked on draft memorandums of agreements with the state of Hawaii. But she says she is excited about “the opportunity to return to Skagway and utilize my skills to their fullest potential.”
After Friday’s sessions, the committee will narrow the above candidates down to three finalists who will be brought to Skagway for interviews. The city is hoping to have the new manager hired and working by Jan. 1, 2007. City Manager Bob Ward will be available to assist during the transition until his retirement date at the end of February.

UPDATE: The three finalists will not be chosen until the committee meets again on Nov. 22.

AMHS adds Fairweather for winter; Nov. still bleak with ships down for repairs

The Alaska Marine Highway System finally released a completed winter schedule at the end of October. It includes the return of the fast ferry Fairweather next month, but until then there will be just one ship a week on Mondays.
For Skagway, this means a slight increase in service over what was earlier circulated by the state. The Fairweather had previously been slated for layup the entire winter, which would have left Skagway with one ferry a week for most of the winter. The fast ferry is currently in the Ketchikan shipyard for annual maintenance, including a repair in a crack in one of its engines.
In the new schedule, starting Dec. 8, Skagway will see the Fairweather on Fridays and Sundays, along with a mainline ferry from Bellingham on Monday.
“This modified schedule provides additional service to Haines, Skagway and Sitka and is built around the peak weekend traveling habits of customers on those runs,” according to an Oct. 31 press release from the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
However, Haines will be in much better shape than Skagway with two sailings of the LeConte on Tuesday and Wednesday, and an extra sailing of the Fairweather on Thursday.
For all of upper Lynn Canal, the schedule is bleak for the next three weeks. It has caused problems in Haines with two special events, the Bald Eagle Festival and the Paul Potter Jr. High Basketball Tourney. The latter is being canceled, and Skagway teams are going to Yakutat instead (see school digest).
The winter schedule was changed following unanticipated maintenance needs of the LeConte and Columbia as well as scheduled overhauls of the Taku and Matanuska, according to the release.
In other DOT news, the bid opening for the first section of the Juneau Access road has been delayed again due to the lack of a Corps of Engineers permit for the project. Bids are now scheduled to be opened Nov. 30. The bid opening date has changed four times since August.
If the permit is in hand by Nov. 30, the project could be awarded by Gov. Frank Murkowski before he leaves office Dec. 4, or by newly elected Sarah Palin, who has stated that she supports the project.

More ore could mean more jobs for Skagway

By ANDREW CREMATA
Skagway’s long dormant ore terminal may get a fresh breath of life in the near future. If expectations are met, the facility could be operational by June of 2007 and could provide a boost to the local economy as well as a handful of new jobs for year-round residents.
Sherwood Copper Corporation’s Minto, Yukon mine inked a major financial deal on October 17 with two international companies. The deal means the company can begin mining operations by next spring, assuming that potential hurdles to the process can be overcome. If the project proves viable it is likely that all of the gold and copper concentrate mined at the facility will make its way through Skagway’s ore terminal en route to its offshore destinations.
The ore terminal was built in 1968 for the purpose of shipping base metals to international markets. It was purchased by Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority from White Pass in 1990 and underwent renovations with hopes that they could market the facility to various potential users.
Large semi-trucks hauling lead and zinc from the Yukon to the terminal were a common sight until 1998 when soft zinc prices forced the Faro, Yukon mines to shut down. In 2003, corrosion in the concentrate storage building necessitated that it be demolished and AIDEA also removed residue concentrates from the entire ore terminal.
In 2005, Cash Minerals, based in Toronto, entertained the idea of using the ore terminal to export coal and began a feasibility study to determine if the facility could meet its needs, but the study was never completed.
Now that things seem to be in order for the Minto mine to begin operations, the ore terminal could be back on line as early as June, 2007.
John Wood, site manager for AIDEA, said via telephone from Anchorage that the facility would have to be rehabilitated before it could be used to ship gold and copper obtained from the Minto mine.
“We propose to rehab several areas,” said Wood.
Those areas would include a new concentrate storage building, conveyor and shipping area. The operation would be of a smaller scale than was needed for previous operations, or potential coal shipping operations, due to the fact that far less material is transported for mining of copper and gold.

The Skagway ship loader at the ore terminal would need to be fixed or replaced. AC

Mike Catsi, executive director of the Skagway Development Corporation, has been working with Wood throughout the process and is optimistic about the terminal’s success as well as the potential for more year-round economic viability in Skagway.
“(The ore terminal) will run seven days a week, 365 days a year,” said Catsi. “There will be eight or nine shipments a year.”
Even though a lease has not yet been signed by Sherwood Copper Corp. to use the AIDEA-owned facility, Catsi speculated that the operation would provide some jobs for local residents and would surely provide more work for local longshoremen, especially during the winter months.
AIDEA’s project fact sheet says the ore terminal could provide up to 10 new jobs when under full operation. In response to the query regarding the prospect of new jobs, Wood said, “Probably, yes.”
He added that because the operation would be scaled down there would probably only be about four or five jobs created.
Still, with other mining operations potentially coming on line in the Yukon within the next couple years, the possibility for growth is there. Catsi explained that as new mines begin operations, they could add to the existing structure at the ore terminal.
Potential candidates for ore terminal use include Ruby Ridge in Atlin, which mines molybdenum and is due to go on line in October 2008. Also, the Tulsequah Chief Mine south of Atlin could be active around the same time and could use the facility to ship gold, copper, silver, lead and zinc.
Wood explained that the life of the Minto mine is estimated at a minimum of six years, but recent discoveries could lengthen that time frame substantially.
“(Sherwood Copper) are in the initial stages of feasibility for extending the life of the project,” said Wood. He went on to explain that a second area, adjacent to the current mining site, has as much or more mineral available to mine.
The Minto mine has also locked in guaranteed metal prices for its investors, which should provide added sustainability to the project in the long term.
For now, though, AIDEA will be concentrating its efforts on building structures suited specifically for the needs of Sherwood Copper Corp. A request for proposal has not gone out yet, but Wood expects that it will soon.

Heartbeat Trail fund gets boost from WP&YR, ATA
The Heartbeat Trail fund for the Skagway Clinic received two major funding boosts last week, said Buckwheat Donahue, who completed his cross-continent walk-bike-paddle in August.
White Pass and Yukon Route gave $5,001, and that extra dollar put it slightly ahead of a couple major cruise line donors and the Bonnie Bernholz Foundation.
“The walk was a good thing and raising money for the clinic benefits everybody,” said WP&YR President Gary C. Danielson. “White Pass wanted to be a part of that.”
“It’s our largest corporate donation,” said Donahue.
In addition, Donahue reported a $1,000 donation from Alaska Travel Adventures, which operates the Liarsville Gold Camp, Jeep Tours and the Mountain View RV Park in Skagway.
The donations came in response to a second mailing sent to Skagway Chamber of Commerce members, Donahue said. And Mildred Meroney’s letter in the last paper about the need for more local donors also is helping.
“This is cool, man, a great development!” he said.
The donations are collected in an account set up by the Skagway Development Corp. As of Nov. 3, donations to the Hearbeat Trail were at $67,697.26, said Mike Catsi of the SDC.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

SHINING ON

The November afternoon sun shines on the fine work done by the Gordons at Skagway’s Pioneer Cemetery. Jeff Brady

• SHS ACTIVITIES: Taking them down in Skagway town - Don Hather Wrestling Tourney; DDF team scores big in Juneau; Elks Soccer Shoot winners

To read all the stories in the News, including complete city and school digests, letters and commentary, police and court reports, and view our many advertisers for Skagway products and services, you must subscribe to the real thing. Out of town subscriptions cost $35 per year for second class mail, $45 for first class mail. Send a check to Skagway News, Box 498, Skagway, AK 99840 or call us at 907-983-2354 with a credit card number.