KID SKIERS HEAT IT UP

Anna Korsmo, Miss Buckwheat 1995, herringbones up the trail to come in ninth in the Girls 10 and Under 5K race at the annual Buckwheat Ski Classic on March 23 at Log Cabin, B.C. Her dad, Mike Korsmo, behind her , was trail captain for the race. Click here for full story, results and more photos. Photo by Dimitra Lavrakas

Cases settled in stabbing
Pair plead guilty to lesser charges

By DIMITRA LAVRAKAS
The pair involved in a stabbing at a local saloon last September have both plead guilty to lesser charges, say their attorneys.
In the early hours of Sept. 1, police were called to the Red Onion Saloon after David Lehmann was stabbed twice in the stomach with a knife. He was medevaced to Whitehorse General Hospital and eventually recovered.
Initially, Franswa Fernandez, a South African, was charged with first-degree assault, and a trial date set for this week – March 26 in Juneau Superior Court. But on March 12, he entered a plea of guilty to second-degree assault, a Class B felony. It carries a maximum fine of $50,000, a $100 court surcharge, and up to 10 years in jail.
Fernandez will be sentenced on May 10 in Juneau, said his attorney Louis Menendez. Fernandez, who has no prior criminal record, said Menendez, has been in the Lemon Creek jail since the incident.
Bridget Cross, who was with Fernandez the night of the stabbing, also pleaded to a lesser charge of hindering prosecution in the second degree, a class B misdemeanor that carries a maximum fine of $1,000, a $50 court surcharge and 90 days in jail.
Initially, she was charged with hindering prosecution in the first degree and driving while intoxicated, when she allegedly attempted to drive Fernandez into Canada, but was turned back and apprehended by the Skagway Police Department.
Last week, her case was resolved, said her attorney David George.
The imposition of her sentence – credit for time served and no criminal activity – was suspended for a one-year probationary period, George said.
“I think it worked out for the best for everyone,” said George. “I think Bridget found herself in a bizarre situation, and I don’t know what anyone of us would do in her situation.”
George said Cross had no criminal record, not even a speeding ticket, and the judge recognized that. Cross also has a solid history of public service work, he said.

Chamber told season appears to look bright
Princess director ‘cautiously optimistic’

By DIMITRA LAVRAKAS
It may be that people just wanted someone to say, “It’s going to be all right.” And Kirby Day, director of operations for Princess Tours, somewhat did that at the Skagway Chamber of Commerce general membership meeting on March 19.
“When September happened, everyone wondered what would happen,” said Day.
He said he was “cautiously optimistic” and that the industry had “turned a corner,” but at the same time he said he wanted to reserve what he said until it comes to fruition.
“We think the ships will be pretty full,” he said, but that it was still too early to tell with people booking cruises closer to the season. “I can’t say it will be a banner season, but I think it‘ll be a successful summer.”
Day said while there was nothing positive to say about what happened in September after the terrorist attacks on the East Coast, but if it had happened in July it would have been “devastating” for the industry.
The cruise ship industry has spent $40-$50 million since then to advertise their product, Day said.
This summer, Princess adds a new ship to its fleet, the Star Princess. Day passed around a promotion card with the ship superimposed onto a photograph of the Rose Bowl – it dwarfs that stadium.
In 2003, the company will add three, brand-new ships to the Alaska market.
He said the demographics of the people taking cruises have changed to younger people with families and people with disabilities.
Passengers rated their experience in Skagway as good overall, he said. No complaints were received last year about shuttles, he said, due to the city’s S.M.A.R.T. transit system. Most tours were rated 89 percent in satisfaction and above, he said.
“They (passengers) recognize their ownership of public lands, and they want to come up and see it,” Day said.
Security will be tighter, he said, with the cruise line screening 100 percent. There will be wands that sniff out explosives. Despite security measures, Day said there would still be functions on board for Skagway residents.
Economics gave way to warm-fuzzies and Day was presented with a birthday cake as everyone sang.

Steidel wins NPS peer award
Reaction is ‘Awh schucks’

Tim Steidel, park ranger for the Klondike National Historical Park, has been named the NPS Alaska Region Harry Yount Award for 2002, according to a press release from the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.
With this award, Steidel has been recognized by his peers as an outstanding role model for park rangers though his leadership and exemplary performance in traditional ranger duties and skills.
When informed of his selection, Steidel expressed his usual humility by only saying, “Aw shucks.”
Steidel is recognized as a “well-rounded, resource-based educator and protector who still ranges in the park,” said Rob Arnberger, NPS Alaska Regional director.
“Tim exemplifies the ranger profession and has provided leadership in a number of areas, including his latest assignment as team leader for Alaska Park Rangers providing security at the Olympics,” said Arnberger.
“..This is probably the highest award offered to NPS law enforcement rangers, so it’s quite an honor for Tim to be selected.”
Steidel has been a park ranger since 1987, serving in Virginia, Maryland and Seward before coming to Skagway in 1994. He now serves as Protection Program supervisor for up to six seasonal staff. His other responsibilities include leading or participating in law enforcement, search and rescue efforts, and agency “Special Events Teams,” serving as a defensive tactics instructor, and Skagway School D.A.R.E. program officer, and providing first aid, CPR, and other emergency services training for staff. He has also provided support to other park and agency staffs, and has contributed to many community educational efforts and presentations.
The annual award, sponsored by the National Parks Foundation, is given for an overall record of excellence in traditional rangering duties. Named in honor of Harry Yount, NPS’s first ranger, Yount became something of a legendary figure when he provided the only protection to Yellowstone Park when it was first established over a century ago.
He is now one of seven regional nominees for the national Harry Yount Award, which will be presented in Washington, D.C. in April.

OTHER STORIES

• Buckwheat Ski Classic coverage

• Skagway Health Fair coming April 6

• Sports: Region Tourney report

• Senior Season: Final column by Stan Bush

• Sternwheeler coming in 2003

• Obituary: Colleen Murphy

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