Heather Haugland of the Juneau band “Salsa Borealis” leads about 100 Skagwayans of all ages in a salsa dance at the annual Yuletide Ball Dec. 10. See more photos from the annual Yuletide holiday event. Photo by Jeff Brady

State/NPS still after Chilkoot land swap

Final Dyea land plat submitted to State DNR for city disposal

A land swap involving state land in Dyea and along the Chilkoot Trail for federal land at Glacier Bay National Park appears to be moving forward to allow Gustavus to have access for hydropower at nearby Falls Creek.
Public hearings will be held in Gustavus and Skagway on Jan. 17-18, and written testimony will be taken by the Department of Natural Resources until Feb. 2.
According to the proposal, the Falls Creek parcel totals 1,034 acres and is equal in value to 1,040 acres of target lands in the Dyea-Chilkoot unit of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. These include the campground and Chilkoot trailhead/bridge area in Dyea, and these locations on the trail: Finnegan’s Point, Canyon City, Pleasant Camp, and Sheep Camp.
The city has opposed the swap in the past, especially using land on the lower part of the trail.
The proposed land swap involving Chilkoot and Dyea lands comes as the state is in the process of approving a final plat of 900 acres to be deeded to the city in the Dyea area. The city plans to subdivide the land and dispose of most of the property for housing.
A more detailed look at these issues will appear in the Jan. 13 edition. – JB

Hathers brighten community, win Helen B. Clark Award

Don and Betty Hather, who light up Skagway year-round with their volunteer spirit and big hearts, were presented the 2005 Helen B. Clark Award for Skagway Community Service at the annual Yuletide Dance on Dec. 10.
The Hathers, who have been in Skagway about eight years, “have devoted more time and energy to this community than many have in their lifetime,” said their nominating statement. The 19th annual award is named for long-time volunteer Helen Clark, who received the first award in 1988 before passing away from cancer. It is sponsored by The Skagway News, which takes nominations from the public. Past winners of the award choose the Clark award recipient from a list of nominees over the past five years. Also recognized with certificates of special achievement were these new nominees: • Billi Clem- for her work on the Breast Cancer Walk, Eagles Auxiliary, and helping out at the Skagway Rec. Center. • Colette Hisman – for her behind the scenes work on many school and community projects and her years of service in local government.
• Katherine Mosely - for her hard work starting up the Paws and Claws Animal Shelter.


But it was the Hathers who rose to the top this year. The Hathers moved to Skagway after retiring from careers in education. Don joined the Elks Club, serving on the board and scholarship committee. And during the school year, he can be found working the grill at the club to help various school groups raise funds from their “Friday Night Dinners,” which he helped spearhead. In 2004, those dinners raised a record $17,000. Don also has been an integral part of the Elks Hoop and Soccer shoots. Don, a former school board member, and Betty volunteer for many school events, including the Don Hather Basketball Tourney. A former wrestling coach, Don shares his expertise at the annual wrestling camp for kids of all ages, “teaching them the value of sportsmanship, hard work and a properly executed double leg takedown,” according to his nominating statement written by Cindy O’Daniel. He also volunteers time taping ankles and helping mend minor sports injuries for local athletes of all ages.
“The biggest contribution the Hathers have made to Skagway since they arrived here, however, has less to do with activities they help organize, or time they spend at the school, than it is their hearts and their home. Whether you need a helping hand or a place with good food and good company to watch the Super Bowl, the Hathers’ hearts and homes are always open,” O’Daniel wrote.
“The best Christmas lights display in town is the Hathers,” she continued. “And if you ask them why they do it, they’ll tell you, ‘Because everyone enjoys it so much.’”
“Our little community is very lucky to have this team with such a big heart,” the statement concluded. “Like their Christmas lights display, they help to light up all of Skagway. Don is definitely the front man of their operation, but those who know the Hathers know that without Betty’s support the Hather team would not function nearly as efficiently. They are more than deserving of this community award.”
In accepting the award, Don thanked the community for welcoming them.

$1 million more for seawalk; Hamilton low bidder
Mayor Tim Bourcy announced at the Dec. 15 Skagway City Council meeting that the city was successful in receiving another $1 million in federal money for the seawalk project – this time as an earmark in the Federal Transportation Administration budget for a “Skagway Intermodal Facility.”
Part of the seawalk project is a bus loading zone and waiting area. The item passed the House-Senate conference committee, according to a report from city lobbyist John Walsh.
The money can be used to make up for elements of the seawalk project that were cut last winter, said City Manager Bob Ward.
The news arrived after bids for a scaled down project were opened, and the low bidder was Hamilton Construction of Skagway with a base bid of $1,633,512.50 and alternates of $601,815. The alternates include rest rooms, paving and a harbor entrance sign.
Hamilton’s total bid of $2,235,128 compared with $3.27 million from South East Earthmovers and $5.02 million from Central Environmental. Hamilton’s bid surprised everyone, including cost estimators from engineer Tryck Nyman Hayes, said Ward, but a review found no errors. The engineer’s estimate was $2.494 million.
City Council voted 5-0 (Dan Henry was absent) to issue a notice of intent to award to Hamilton. The project is slated to begin this spring, with work going on up until first cruise ship arrives, and remaining elements to be finished up in September. Scheduling details will be worked out in a contract. Hamilton already has men and equipment here for the flood control project.
As for the $1 million, it will have to be used in a separate project, Ward said. If there is extra money after the seawalk improvements are done, then the city could use it for widening the Congress Way sidewalk north of where it meets the seawalk, or expanding the harbormaster’s office.

Clinic $ in state budget
The city also received word at the meeting that $500,000 was in the governor’s budget (announced Dec. 15) for the new clinic.
A clinic funding request of $1 million tops the city’s wish list to the state. The council is urging that Dyea Road improvements, especially after the recent fall rains, and the Gateway project (ferry terminal road sidewalks) be put back in the State Transportation Improvements Priorities) list.
After a discussion, Council also added these projects to a list that will go to the legislature: $500,000 toward a harbor wave barrier, $300,000 for harbor electrical, $150,000 for a new rifle range, $200,000 for Pullen Creek restoration, and $50,000 for trail improvements.
Ward said it is beneficial to have a wide range of funding levels, and the Council had no objection to retaining Walsh as its lobbyist for another session.
The city also is seeking more Denali Commission funds for the clinic, and Council passed first reading of an ordinance rezoning the lots for the clinic into a single lot which will be zoned business general. The six lots on 14th between Broadway and State were donated by Wells Fargo Bank Alaska.


AMBASSADORS OF FUN – Referee Tasha “P” Payne whistles Krataura “KB” Buckner for trying to grab Charlie Frizzell’s shorts before he shoots a free throw during a game between the Skagway All Stars and the Harlem Ambassadors on Dec. 14. The Ambassadors prevailed, even after spotting the All Stars 20 points to start the second half. See story and photos in features below. Jeff Brady

SPORTS & REC. ROUNDUP: Two girls starting on Panthers boys team, no match for Kake; Volleyball team drops pair to end season at State

• AMBASSADORS OF FUN: A view from the stands of the Harlem Ambassadors game versus the "Skagway All Stars"

HOLIDAY SPECIAL: Skagway in December 1905


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