Author: Suzanne Ashe

Gov. Walker scraps road to Juneau, won’t have to repay federal funds

The Northern Lynn Canal corridor will not see a road to Juneau anytime soon, at least not under the Walker-Mallott administration. With the unveiling of the fiscal year 2018 budget, Gov. Bill Walker announced on Dec. 15, the administration announced it had picked the “no-build” alternative for the Juneau Access Improvement project. The project dates back to 1993 and over the years several different alternatives were considered. On Oct. 14, Walker visited Skagway for a town hall meeting to discuss the proposed 47.9-mile road that would have extended from Berners Bay to a yet-to-be- built ferry terminal at Katzehin. The estimated cost of the project was $574 million, with an additional $5 million in annual operating and maintenance costs. The bulk of the construction costs would have been covered by federal funds, but the state was still on the hook for about $57 million. Citizens of Skagway were quite vocal about their opposition of the project. Many folks showed up to the meeting with protest signs.  Still others showed support for the plan known as Alternative 2B, the “no build” option that the governor eventually chose. “I think the Governor has made the right decision given our current fiscal situation, especially because the increased operational costs would have been added to the Department of Transportation’s budget if one of the build options had been selected,” Rep. Sam Kito III...

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Robotics team back on top in Southeast

  One of Skagway School’s FIRST Lego League Robotics teams is on its way to compete in the state championships in Anchorage in January after claiming the champion’s trophy at the Juneau Jamboree. The Prickles, named after the porcupine, scored high enough during the 10th annual SE competition on Dec. 10, to qualify the team for the state challenge. Although the team was unable to travel to Juneau for the competition due to a canceled ferry, they were able to compete via Skype with a 6-pound robot called “Quilliam.” Ursusbots, another Skagway team, also competed virtually. “Both the Ursusbots...

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Port planning moves forward with kick-off meeting

Larger cruise ships are coming to Alaska in 2018, the waterfront lease held by White Pass & Yukon Route Railway is up in 2023, the sublease with Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) is also up then, and the sediment in the Ore Dock basin has legacy contamination. These and other topics were the focus of a three-hour long teleconference on Dec. 19 with port consultants from Moffatt & Nichol. The Port Steering Committee, Mayor Mark Scheafer, Assembly Members and Borough Manager Scott Hahn discussed plans to move forward on the first phase of the port improvements and remediation of the waterfront. With the dismal defeat of the White Pass lease renewal by voters in Oct. 2015, the assembly this fall hired Moffatt & Nichol for a comprehensive look at the relationship between the municipality and White Pass. The port consultants will also look at what the municipality should do to accommodate plus-sized cruise ships that are headed this way. Monday’s meeting comes just after the announcement that State of Alaska approved a one-year extension on a $6.5 million dock improvements grant. Assembly members unanimously passed a letter asking for an extension on the grant during the Thursday, Dec. 15 regular meeting. The extension came through the next afternoon. The grant extension has been approved through June 30, 2018. “We did get a one year extension on that...

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Borough Briefs: Dec. 15, 2016

Dock Improvements Grant gets an extension A State Dock Improvements Grant that was to expire in June 2017 has been extended by one year. The grant originally was for $10 million as part of the Gateway Project. There is $6.5 million left and will be used for waterfront improvements. This is the second time the grant has been extended due to the continuing delay in resolving the matter with White Pass over clean-up of the area and a possible lease extension. Rec Board and Pool Ad Hoc review updated design The Rec Center Board and the Pool As Hoc Committee met to review the Recreation Center Addition Concept Design Narrative prepared by Architects Alaska. The plans call for a remodel of the current center and additions including an aquatic center. The committees will get together after the first of the year to put together a presentation for the Assembly regarding how they arrived at the decisions for the expansion and the pool size. “A lot of that came together when we brought in experts who looked at what would fit for the community, what types of programs would work for the community. A lot of that is from the first Rec Center expansion and what we sort of nixed from that,” said Spencer Morgan. The Rec Center Board and the Pool As Hoc Committee plan to make a presentation...

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Letter to the editor: Dear Wonderful Skagway

Blessed by Skagway Style! As we reflect on this past year and losses that still bring a tear— We also think of you and smile For sharing comfort – Skagway style!   “Blessed are mourners,” Jesus said, “For they shall be comforted.” In oh, so many ways you shared— You called, you cooked, you cried, you cared!   You came with flowers, beds and food for the Twitchell-Madden-Dennis brood. With unexpected costs to pay Donations also came our way!   And so we thank you, friends so sweet for how you’ve been God’s hands and feet— You walked with us each mourning-mile, You loved and blessed us – Skagway style! The passing of Marion Dennis Madden in February, and Debbie Dennis Carltikoff in August, brought sorrow to our family this year.  In this season of Thanksgiving, Hope and Wonder, we pause to give our heartfelt gratitude for all the many touches of love, care and support you have given us.  So many individuals and groups walked with us through our sorrow: our pastor, Ryan, and church family at First Presbyterian Church; Sara Hischer, Gladys Moran, and members of Skagway Traditional Council; Jan & John At the Whitehouse (love you to the moon and back!); Skagway Elks Lodge and Emblem Club (you ladies rock!); Skagway Eagles and Auxiliary (y’all also rockin’ it!); Alaska Seaplanes; Dawn Nelson; Danielle Authier; Lance Caldwell...

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Klothes Rush