The annual Skagway Scramble Golf Tournament was held in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, on Saturday, Aug. 19. About a dozen local teams participated. PHOTO BY JEFF BRADY

Spring PEAK Assessment results

Results for the spring Performance Evaluation for Alaska’s Schools Assessment (PEAKS) are in. The spring 2017 test was the first time this assessment has been administered. It was taken by students grades 3-10, and is expected to provide information to parents and educators on how their school districts are performing.

In English language arts, the statewide percentage of students at proficient or advanced levels was 38.3 percent. In Skagway, the number for language arts was at 89.3 percent. For mathematics, the statewide percentage was at 31.7 percent; Skagway’s students scored at 73.2 percent in mathematics.

Lastly, in science, Superintendent Dr. Josh Coughran said there has not been a statewide proficiency percentage reported, but Skagway scored 100 percent of test-takers at proficient or advanced levels.

Civic Affairs talks parking in downtown Skagway

The Civic Affairs Committee is discussing a potential revamp of parking in and around the historic downtown district to alleviate perceived parking congestion.

At a meeting on Aug. 16, committee members Monica Carlson, Steve Burnham Jr. and Orion Hanson – as well as Chief of Police Ray Leggett – talked about issues and common complaints with parking along downtown Broadway.

Carlson said that in the past, the idea of permit parking for residences in the historic district had been discussed, so those residents could park in the downtown area overnight without penalty.

In response, Leggett said he doesn’t think overnight parking is the problem.

“From what it appears to me, daytime is our biggest Gordian Knot,” Leggett said. “We just can’t seem to get that untied.”

Burnham said he would be in favor for a permit system for business owners and residents.

“I don’t know about employees, maybe,” Burnham added.

Burnham also pointed to the parking lots on Spring Street near the Westmark Hotel as a downtown parking option, and added that employees can always walk or ride a bike as well.

“Which we provide bike racks, and we can provide more,” Burnham said.

Carlson said that the streets can get confusing with all the different signs around, and that she liked the idea of simply standardizing a 1-hour parking limit on side streets off Broadway.
The committee decided to have Borough Clerk Emily Deach draw up some wording to make side streets from State Street to Spring Street and First up to Sixth into one-hour parking from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Talks on the subject will resume at the committee’s next meeting.

Leggett said standardizing the parking times and restrictions would make it easy for drivers.

“Yeah, it’s pretty broken up as it is,” Hanson said.

Small candidate pool for Oct. 3 election

Filing for the Oct. 3 regular municipal election has closed.

Current Skagway Mayor Mark Schaefer has thrown his name forward again to run for the top office, with no write-in candidates appearing at press time.
For the two open Borough Assembly seats, former assembly member Dan Henry has decided to run again. Henry had tendered his resignation from the assembly in 2016; The Skagway News reported at the time that Henry had been sentenced to federal prison for 12 months and one day, for a failure to file his federal income taxes for his business.

Dewey McCracken was the only write-in candidate for the open assembly seats at press time.

Currently, the Skagway School Board race seems to be the more hotly contested, with four community members vying for the two open seats. Incumbent Cara Cosgrove, Chezare Doxey Leipold, Heather D. Rodig and Denise Sager are seeking the positions; school board seats are held for three-year terms.

Summer-spanning Cancer Connection fundraiser to conclude Aug. 31

Local cyclist Bruce Weber has logged over 1,000 miles this summer season for a fundraiser for Cancer Connection.

Cancer Connection, a nonprofit based out of Juneau, serves Southeast Alaska residents battling cancer with support and financial assistance programs. Weber began logging his miles for the fundraiser on June 1, and will continue to do so until Aug. 31.

He and fundraiser organizer Kathy Hosford stated at the beginning of the fundraiser that people can pledge by-the-mile at several locations around town: the Chilkoot Trail Outpost, Alaskan Fairytales, Fairway Market, Corrington’s Museum, Bites on Broadway, Chilkoot Gateway Insurance and Skagway Hardware.

Panhandling restrictions discussed

Panhandling may soon be added to the municipal code as a restricted activity. Skagway Police Chief Ray Leggett said the code doesn’t currently cover panhandling, but the Civic Affairs Committee is looking over a draft of some potential language to change that.

The addition would fit under a portion of the code regulating restricted businesses, a section that currently includes mobile food units, commercial solicitations and off-premise canvasing.

The draft defines panhandling as “any solicitation made in person upon any street, sidewalk, public place or park within the borough, in which a person requests an immediate donation of money or other gratuity from another person.”

Currently included in that definition is the act of making such a solicitation by singing or playing an instrument, however that may change as the committee moves forward on the subject.

During the discussion at its Aug. 16 meeting, the committee was making a distinction between panhandling and busking, the latter referring specifically to the act of playing music for voluntary donations. At that meeting, committee members discussed ways to potentially allow for buskers to perform, and ways to regulate said acts.

“It would make town pretty fun, I think, if we manage it correctly,” Committee Member Monica Carlson said.

Carlson referenced statutes from Savannah, Georgia, which include allowances for busking and street performances and contain several restrictions, such as a requirement to get a permit, no amplified music or percussion instruments and no acts involving swords or knives.

She recommended using Savannah as a guidebook for how to allow busking.

The suggestion would be to allow busking in Centennial Park or along Pullen Streamwalk, not in the downtown area.

“We’re pretty limited in terms of where we can allow it,” Carlson said. The committee discussed potentially making buskers get business permits, and designating a maximum number of performers that would be allowed at any given time.

Committee Member Steve Burnham Jr. recommended that panhandling and busking be addressed by separate pieces of legislation, so there wouldn’t be any confusion about the changes made.

The committee plans to discuss the matter further at its next meeting.