Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Editorial

 


The Southeast Alaska State Fair, our town’s biggest celebration, certainly earns its ranking as one of the preeminent cultural events in the region.

Combining agriculture and art, music, local foods, education, livestock and festival-style fun, the fair each year delivers a slice of life in Alaska’s Panhandle. You can see what your neighbors crafted in their shops last winter, try your hand at a variety of competitions, bite into a new culinary creation, hobnob with regional and statewide politicians, perform, or learn subjects of a wide variety.

The fair is our valley’s picnic, open house and an open-air classroom, where we welcome guests, catch up with old friends and create new memories. Thanks to the fair workers, volunteers, employees, and businesses who worked to organize this 48th celebration of life in Southeast. See you at the fair!

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We wish Heath Scott best of luck rebuilding the Haines Borough Police Department. It’s likely to be a battle, given the history of turnover in the job.

The Lynn Canal News on Nov. 13, 1980 reported that the city was on its sixth chief in seven years. Including Scott, there have been at least 10 since then: Cliff Christensen, Zoran Yankovich, Bob Smart, Charlie Fannon, Don Yerrick, Lew Wood, Greg Goodman, Gary Lowe and Bill Musser.

Excluding Goodman’s nine-year tenure and Fannon’s five years, chiefs have averaged just two years on the job since 1973. That’s not long enough to build community support, institutional memory or other elements of a successful organization.

The department’s problems were laid out in a recent study commissioned by the borough. We expect Scott will start there. He might also chat up Goodman to learn his formula for department management.

But if Scott joins the ranks of short-timers, let’s promise ourselves to do something different with the department. Here’s an idea: Keep the dispatchers but shrink the number of officers to a few, well-paid ones. Invest the savings in a town recreation program.

Providing healthy activities for people on weekends and evenings would likely take a big bite out of the trouble folks get into around here.

- Tom Morphet

 
 

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