Letters to the Editor


December 7, 2017

Finished with Mud Bay 'spring'

Regarding the test results for the Mud Bay “spring.” I applaud the assembly for ordering further testing of the “spring” and commend the city manager for directing a sign to be posted describing the water quality and, apparently, the fact that it is not a spring at all but groundwater runoff. No doubt, residents will continue to use the water – hopefully without unpleasant consequence. However, a positive fecal coliform test is a highly generalized, blunt “indicator” of a whole host of unsavory gram-negative bacteria that may mask the presence of other common dangerous strains, such as Pseudomonas and Azotobacter. Additionally Giardia, Cryptosporidum, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and various Eukarya, along with several viruses may lurk undetected. All of these can make you ill. 

I do not wish to be alarmist since this “spring” has been used forever without evident resulting sickness. But over time conditions evolve, individuals react differently to pathogen levels, and residents should be aware of what is potentially in the water they choose to drink. Ideally a more comprehensive water analysis would narrow any risks, but that is expensive, would have to be periodically repeated and is not likely to happen. My wife and I just had our rainwater tested and it came out clean. We are finished with the “spring.”

Drew Degen

Quit taxing or quit Haines

Nobody hates smoking more than I. I grew up smelling like an ashtray. (I have never smoked.) Even though both my parents worked we (five of us) lived in a 10-by-5-foot trailer home in Juneau basically poor, and I think that was because both my parents smoked. Often our home was blue with smoke. I think if our family lived in Haines we would have been $2,000 poorer so the elites could balance the budget on the smokers’ backs. I know you are opposed to smoking, but maybe smokers are opposed to having to pay for the pool for you.

If I have this figured right this will raise about $700 per smoker, a total of $280,000 if Haines follows the state average of 20 percent smokers. A family with two smokers each smoking a pack a day would pay $1,400 a year more than the rest of us.

Tom Morphet said show us where we can cut. How about a vote: Shall we keep the pool open or should we close the pool and repeal the cigarette tax?

I think a town that would balance its budget with such an unfair tax on 20 percent of its citizens is a town I cannot live in. Come spring I will be putting up a “For Sale” sign if this does not get changed.

Think about it.

Leonard Dubber

Auction assistance appreciated

Once again, we are ever so blessed to live in a community that generously reaches out to help each other in time of need. To the bakers, businesses and individuals who donated; to the friends and family who helped set up; to those who bid and purchased those auction items and those who shared their desserts with their table neighbors; to those who served dinner, and those who swept and mopped floors — we are ever so grateful to you. Thank you, Denise Sherman, for your expertise in the kitchen, and also to our two awesome dishwashers. Thank you to Tammie Rush for organizing and collecting all the auction items, and thanks to Dave Routh and Sam McPhetres who bravely auctioned all the donations. Thank you to the Uglys for their help with the auction and clean-up!  

Susan Weerasinghe and Shannon McPhetres,

Haines Presbyterian Church

Management relies on good science

In the CVN, 11/30/2017 SEABA owner Scott Sundberg and AMG owner Sean Gafney cite a need for specific data of mountain goat locations within the Haines Borough heli-skiing area. In fact, Alaska Department of Fish & Game maps of goat habitat are based on over 190,000 radio collared goat locations. More importantly, the model was validated (checking to see that goats actually occurred in predicted areas) to around 90% accuracy, an extremely high rate. The predictive model used by ADF&G has been cited more than 1,000 times in peer reviewed scientific literature.

The article refers to a Northern Wild Sheep and Goat Council “study” on negative effects of helicopter noise disturbance to goats. NWSGC did not do a study; they are an association of professional wild ungulate biologists whose recommendations are based on over 40 long-term peer-reviewed studies. These recommendations, such as a 1,500 meter buffer around critical goat habitat, are utilized to maintain both viable goat populations and a thriving heli-ski industry in British Columbia, the Yukon, and by state and federal agencies in Alaska.

Keep in mind that the big issue is stress during difficult times of the year. Stress is not always visible from a distance, but for mountain goats, bears, wolverines and other wildlife stress is more than a headache. If it causes den or habitat abandonment, the result is declining populations.

Eric Holle

Faces shine at tree lighting

The “Haines Community Tree Lighting” last Friday was so much fun. Watching the faces of the children who came to visit with Santa, gobble up cotton candy and drink hot chocolate with all the fixings was a hoot. While the tree was made possible by a private donation; it was intended as a gift to the community of Haines from the Haines Borough employees. I would also like to thank those who partnered with us to help make the evening so wonderful: Alex Stock for donating your time and cotton candy; Lutak Lumber and Haines Home Building for helping with lights; the Haines Women’s Choir for your beautiful voices; Santa Claus; and Haines Brewing Company for allowing us to plug the trees into your outlet. This event was also made possible by the partnership of the Haines Chamber of Commerce Director Tracy Harmon, who not only helped plan the event but also graciously provided hot chocolate for the kids. Just another example of what makes Haines so special! 

Carolann Wooton

Director of Tourism

Tricksters deliver good times

Thanks to the Merry Tricksters who put together and performed the Lion in Winter recently at the Chilkat Center. It was immensely entertaining and had us laughing out loud plenty. A simple set supported the family of actors and actresses who delivered witty and sophisticated lines with ease. Special thanks to Pam and Amanda Randles and Mark Zeiger for their work in making this all possible. I appreciate the time it takes to put something like this together and the poor financial returns from such endeavors. So this is for the love of the artistic challenge, the literary work itself and the priceless value to the community. I look forward to more Prankster Productions. If you missed it, don’t miss the next one. Cheers!  

Heidi Robichaud

Donors make quality news possible

Thank you to everyone who showed support for the KHNS news department by donating during our one-day news fund drive last week. With your generosity, we exceeded our goal of $15,000! These contributions help us keep two full-time reporters on staff to provide the Upper Lynn Canal with quality news. They are also very important for showing local support, which helps us to secure our federal and state funding.

I would also like to let everyone know that during our November 2017 meeting, the board of directors for Lynn Canal Broadcasting changed the time limit for public commentaries back from two minutes to three. We re-visited this item in response to concerns voiced by the corporation’s members. We welcome public commentaries and are proud to provide a venue for civil discussion in Haines, Skagway and Klukwan.

And one more thing – KHNS will be live-streaming the borough assembly meetings through our website at http://www.KHNS.org. Check it out. Thanks again for your support!

Russ Lyman, President, Lynn Canal Broadcasting Corp.

'Free sale' raises generous funds

We would like to say a special thank you to Debi Knight Kennedy for her amazing generosity! Through her recent “free sale” at the Chilkat Center, she took in $1072.50 and donated it to Becky’s Place!  We are both blessed and honored by her kindness and support. We thank you and those who donated.  Your giving touches many lives.

Jackie and Stan Mazeikas


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