Harbor policing ordinance clarified
The Haines Borough Assembly last week removed the words “peace officer” from an ordinance to clarify governance of port and harbor facilities.
The ordinance had designated harbormaster Ed Barrett as a peace officer and facility security officer for all port and harbor facilities. Police chief Gary Lowe in a Jan. 6 memo cautioned borough manager Mark Earnest that the term peace officer “is synonymous with police officer.”
“Anyone that is designated as a peace officer that fails to comply with the legal requirements of the position can open the borough to civil litigation,” Lowe wrote.
He noted one requirement for peace officers is they must meet Alaska Police Standards Council certification within a year.
The borough’s government affairs and services committee has directed Barrett, Earnest and Lowe to meet and iron out the enforcement language of the ordinance before its second public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 28.
“The harbormaster would like protections in case there is any physical retaliation or altercations,” said assemblyman Steve Vick. “If he has the ability to cite somebody, if they were to retaliate in any way, it would be similar to retaliating against a police officer, as opposed to just a citizen.”
He said updates to the ordinance should address “how this could be done so that those protections are there, with the citing ability, but without actually having to attend a law enforcement academy.”
Borough ups zoning tech salary
The Haines Borough is upping the salary for its planning and zoning technician position in an effort to improve enforcement of borough code.
“This has been a point of discussion that the clerk (Julie Cozzi) and I have had for quite some time,” said borough manager Mark Earnest. “We really think that this is going to address some of the expectations that we’ve been hearing from the community, that they would like to see more involvement in terms of enforcement.”
The Haines Borough Assembly approved the job description last month. Applications were due Feb. 8, and Earnest said they are under review. The selected candidate will replace former planning and zoning technician Steve Ritzinger.
The new planning and zoning technician III position offers a starting wage of $21.27 to $22.17 per hour. Jila Stuart, borough chief fiscal officer, said the opening would cost about $12,000 more annually than hiring an entry-level candidate.
Locals to headline arts council show
The Haines Arts Council is hosting the Northern Lights Showcase on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. in the Chilkat Center lobby. The annual event is comprised of local artists and musicians and this year consists of classical, swing, jazz, folk and spoken word acts.
“It’s always very popular and uplifting,” said council president Tom Heywood. “It’s fun to see what your neighbors have been up to all winter.”
Acts scheduled to perform include the HI-DE-HO’s, the Ringtones, Burl Sheldon, Nancy Nash, Debbie Kennedy, Mario Benassi Jr., Kid Burfl among others. Admission is $5.
DDF team repeats third place at state
The Haines High School Drama, Debate and Forensics team finished third among small schools at the Feb. 16-18 state competition in Anchorage, trailing Sitka and Whitestone.
“We didn’t have that many incredible individual performances, but the team as a whole was so strong across the board,” said coach Gershon Cohen. “That’s why we were able to amass enough points to come in third.”
Haines brought 13 team members to the event that drew more than 20 schools. State allows up to 15 students per team.
The pair of sophomore Eli White and junior Patrick Henderson was fourth in public forum debate, and Henderson ranked second overall in speaker points, for all enrollment classes. They debated whether birthright citizenship should be abolished in the United States.
Sophomore Polly Bryant placed fourth in dramatic interpretation. Cohen noted Bryant and Henderson are first-year participants in DDF.
Henderson said one of his arguments in support of birthright citizenship was “you can’t call a child guilty for the crimes of their parents.” The granting of citizenship, though, gives the family access to entitlement programs, “and our country is basically in such shape right now that we’re trying to save money by cutting things like teachers’ jobs and veterans’ benefits,” he said.
Henderson advises up-and-coming debaters to make strong eye contact with the judges and speak with enthusiasm.
“I see so many debaters who seem like they don’t have the confidence to make the arguments that they’re making on such weighty topics,” he said. “I think that if you look confident and you look like you’re connecting with the judge, you’re going to go a long ways.”
Cohen said Haines should be especially strong in debate next year, with juniors Royal Henderson and Brennon Whitermore also returning. That duo won the Haines tournament last month.
Cohen said Haines had six pieces that just missed the cut-off for finals at state.
“Once you’re in finals, it’s a totally new deal,” he said. “Anybody can win the event once you’re in the finals, because it basically just starts over for one more round in front of three judges, so we were, unfortunately, just not quite polished enough.”
The squad will lose Cassie Galasso, Elena Horner and Margarette Jones to graduation.