City rolls out relocation guide

Whether coming for a few days, months or on a more permanent basis, making the trek to Skagway for the first time can take a bit of planning. To help ease the way for newcomers, the Skagway Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has crafted a relocation guide, available at

“The reality is we get a lot of questions through email [and] phone calls about different things,” said Cody Jennings, tourism director.

The guide is an answer to some of those questions. According to Jennings, the intent was to provide people with some direction for where they could go for more information, as well as answering those questions the visitor’s bureau commonly receives. The guide lays out a few of the logistics involved in coming to Skagway, answers commonly received questions such as “is there a pharmacy” and points out there is only one bank in town. It includes a town map; routes to Skagway by air, sea and road; information on how to get around town and details on the different stores the municipality has.

“That was the main focus of our intent, just to make things a little easier for people transitioning in,” Jennings said.

Even people accustomed to small towns may find the guide useful in preparing themselves for Skagway. Jennings pointed out that, with many small towns, if a service cannot be found, one simply has to drive a short distance to the next town to find more services.

“We don’t have that luxury,” Jennings said. “I think it’s important to, if nothing else, manage expectations.”

Helping the town’s summertime influx of seasonal work with relocation is also beneficial for the city.

“Obviously the [summer tourists] are a huge driving force of our economy,” Jennings said. “With our population only at 1,000…we couldn’t accommodate our summer visitors if we didn’t have that influx of seasonal workers.”

The visitor’s bureau plans to maintain the guide as a living document, with the intent being to revise it once per year in the fall.  Jennings said the guide has been in the works for about eight months, though the idea for it was one discussed when she first joined the visitor’s bureau.

“The ultimate goal was just simply to be helpful,” Jennings said. “It’s not the end-all be-all guide to Skagway. It’s just us trying to consolidate information, make it easy to find.”

LECP looks to purchase water filtration system

The Northern Southeast Local Emergency Planning Committee is looking at purchasing a trailer pump filtration system, using leftover funds in its budget.

The device would essentially be something that could self-pump water from a water source, or hook up to someone’s well, filter it and store it in a tank for transportation to where people have gathered.

“I think we should have something mobile that we can take anywhere and we can use in any circumstance,” committee member Wayne Greenstreet said.

LECP member Katherine Nelson said the trailer could potentially be stored at the Skagway Recreation Center, depending on the unit’s size, since the rec center is an official gathering site in cases of emergencies.

Nelson made the successful motion to use the leftover LECP funds to invest in a water filtration system that would be within the budget. Member Elizabeth Lavoie was tasked with researching the different products available, and the committee agreed to discuss the issue – and Lavoie’s research – at its April meeting.

“During a disaster, we would have to have a source of water that we could guarantee was safe to drink,” Greenstreet said.

Assembly votes on animal control ordinance

A resolution that would establish a variety of civil fines associated to the treatment or maintenance of animals was delayed at the Feb. 16 Borough Assembly meeting, though a related ordinance was passed on second reading.

The ordinance makes changes to the municipal code regarding animal control. It was amended twice during the assembly’s discussion. The first amendment added the definition of “Running at Large” into the document, meaning an animal not under control of an owner and not on an owner’s premises.

During discussion of this amendment, Assembly Member Orion Hanson asked if the assembly was going too far with the ordinance.

“I am fearful that in trying to cover our bases here, we’re going to create a community of chains and fences,” Hanson said. “I understand the problem of dangerous animals, and I think we might be over-legislating this a little bit.”

The second amendment removed references to electric leashes – also known as shock collars – from a portion of the ordinance, requiring animals to be restrained by a “visible tether” such as a leash or chain.

During the assembly meeting, resident Carol Bourcy commented on part of the fine structure for the Injury to Animals section of the resolution. As currently written in the resolution, the penalty for maiming, mutilating, torturing, killing or abandoning an animal is $300.

“I don’t think that the fines are strict enough,” Bourcy said. “I think they should start at $1,000 dollars.”

The ordinance was approved on its second reading, but approval of the resolution was delayed due to a discussion on fines. The assembly discussed potentially changing the fines in certain sections of the legislation, but held off final approval of the resolution to seek clarity on what the maximum fine is that the municipality can issue.

Alaska statutes state the maximum penalty a municipality can prescribe by ordinance is $1,000, and up to 90 days imprisonment. The matter was continued to the assembly’s March 2 meeting.

Matthews Creek ordinance headed to P&Z Commission

An ordinance adding the Matthews Creek Conservation Plan to the borough’s code has passed first reading by the Borough Assembly.

Assembly Member Steve Burnham Jr. recommended that, after it passed first reading, the plan be sent to the borough’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

“Because they are the actual planning body of the borough, and I think there are some things in here that may or may not be fully in-sync with what some of our other code entails,” Burnham said. “I think it’s important that if we put something in the code, that it matches the different rules and regulations that we have.”

Burnham said he did not have any particular points in mind, just that it would be a second step of vetting the ordinance. A successful motion to send the ordinance to P&Z for review was passed by the assembly, prior to the first reading of the legislation.

The management plan contains a list of recommendations that encompass the beach area of the Matthews Creek Conservation Area. The idea is to preserve the area for public enjoyment and historically allowed uses, while maintaining the spirit of the land in honor of Bud Matthews, the former owner of the property.

Students to send care package to local soldier

Donovan Henson will be getting a surprise in the form of a care package. The Skagway graduate, now a member of the U.S. Army, has been deployed overseas, and his former schoolmates want to give him a taste of home. The care package contains candy, some Skagway shirts and a photo of Henson’s younger brother.

Student Council President Kiara Selmer said that the care package is  “just something we wanted to do nice for him.”