The Haines School District has been through a tumultuous year. The pandemic isolated students socially and the December storms left some without a home. And its beloved kindergarten teacher, Jenae Larson, was lost in a landslide.
Many Beach Road residents say they are frustrated by a lack of communication with officials charged with making crucial decisions about the future of their homes.
A working group to reboot the cruise industry in Alaska is in the works, says Alaska’s commissioner for health and social services. But those working most closely with the cruise industry say they’re not in the loop.
The first cruise line has canceled at least some of its sailings to Alaska in 2021. Princess normally sends its first cruise ships to Alaska in late April.
The Haines Borough says it is still unsafe for some residents return to their homes on Beach Road after a landslide swept through the area last month. But some homeowners say they need access so they can gather belongings and protect their homes from deteriorating while they’re unoccupied.
On Monday, the water was clear and rolling in a north wind. Snow covered the scar running down the side of Mount Riley. That eerie calm almost concealed the violence of the Dec. 2 storm that lashed rain and brought down trees and the side of a mountain.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy has expanded the disaster declaration for the severe December storm swept through Southeast Alaska to include relief for individuals whose homes were damaged or destroyed.
The unstable hillside above Beach Road led to the suspension of the search and rescue efforts and prevented many residents from returning to their homes.
Only three Haines residents have tested positive for the coronavirus since the Dec. 2 disaster, according to state data. But according to the Haines Emergency Operations Center, those people have Haines addresses. None are actually in town.
A “shop local” initiative — originally spearheaded by one of the disaster’s victims — is helping dozens of households displaced by the deadly landslide in Haines.