Author: Hannah Fleace

Family survives crash into rock on Big Salmon River

BY HANNAH FLEACE She heard the crunch, saw her father and stepmother’s blue canoe smash into the rock and saw her father’s life jacket float down river. Annie Brady froze. “We’re going to run into them,” she repeated to herself. “We’re going to run into them.” Annie, 25, was at the stern of another canoe, guiding her younger brother Danny, 15, and cousin Denver, 16, through the Big Salmon River. They were behind her father Jeff, 58, and stepmother Dorothy, 57. Annie’s mind was blank except for that phrase, a chant in her mind. “What do we do?” Danny...

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Until we meet again, Skagway

BY HANNAH FLEACE For several days now, I’ve been looking for a word. I need a word to describe the summer or explain what I’ve learned, to make it final, a period to the end of this summer. As a writer, this is entirely frustrating. As a human, I want to get it right. In school they tell us, if you don’t know, start at the beginning. When I found out I was moving to Alaska for three months my mother was fairly certain I was bear food. My father could just picture me tumbling down a mountain. My...

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Public Safety plans reach 65 percent design stage

BY HANNAH FLEACE Plans for the new Public Safety facility are at the 65 percent stage. The Public Safety Committee met with general construction company Dawson Construction, Inc. to go over a schedule and plans for the facility. This project will use General Contractor/Construction Manager to oversee the work. Jim Quick of Dawson Construction, Inc. will supervise the building. Quick will check back with the committee and the assembly throughout the project with updates and items for approval. “The GC/CM process is going to be a really good one for us to try on this project,” Assemblyman Gary Hanson said. “It’s like we’re working with an open book.” HMS, Inc and Dawson Construction both prepared preliminary estimates on the project. “When we compared the two estimates, we were pleased to find out that they were within two or three percent of each other,” Hanson said. “That means Jim’s getting the right figures down as far as the quantities and prices.” The bottom line on the project at this stage is 12.6 million in construction costs. “That’s a conservative figure and we’re hoping it will go lower than that,” Hanson said. The next step, Quick, said is to get bids from mechanical and electrical subcontractors. The 100 percent design should be finished in mid...

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Designs presented for Rec Center expansion and pool

BY HANNAH FLEACE Four Skagway Recreation Center expansion and pool designs were presented for public comment August 3. Gerald Gotschall of North Wind Architects and Ryan Nachreiner of Water Technology Inc. presented four preliminary concepts including three building expansions with a pool and one without. The first concept has a six-lane lap pool, a whirlpool and a combined therapy and children’s pool. The second concept does not include the three pools in the initial building stages, but makes room for them as future additions. The third drawing includes a four-lane lap pool, small whirlpool and shared therapy and children’s pool. The final drawing is the Rec Center expansion that includes a larger weight and cardio room, a community kitchen, babysitting services and locker rooms. “These four options will be what we send to the cost estimator in a few weeks,” Gotschall said. “We’ll make some revisions, so basically this is the concept...

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Discussion over utility rate study sees increases in revenue/rates

BY HANNAH FLEACE The completed Water, Wastewater, Solid Waste and Harbor Rate study found that in order for utilities to be self-supporting, the municipality would need to increase revenue and rates. The utilities are subsidized by sales tax and excise tax. The report provided two approaches to make utilities self-supporting. Water would have to see an increase of 49 percent to be self-supporting, sewer up 435 percent, solid waste up 160 percent and harbor up 60 percent. Assemblyman Dan Henry said the finance committee discussed the findings and said the increase would be marginal. “The reality is, very simply, in this community it is largely subsidized,” Henry said. “It’s really going to be incidental to the total picture, believe me I know every individual and business will not be embracing the rate increase, but nobody’s happy about any increase.” Borough Manager Scott Hahn said the system in place is accepted and liked and switching to a new system would be difficult. “There should be some attempt to keep up instead of adding more subsidy,” Mayor Mark Schaefer said. “We haven’t been keeping up and then we just continue to subsidize and that’s not healthy.” “The study had good recommendations,” Hahn later said. “But they were based on the assumption it has to be 100 percent user paid, and that’s not the case in Skagway.” No formal decision was made....

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