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Sister Cities Committee surprised by summit with Whitehorse

Juneau Assembly to meet with Whitehorse, Haines, Skagway Fri.

Posted: April 24, 2013 - 12:01am

Members of the Juneau Sister Cities Committee expressed surprise Tuesday at news of a summit this week that will see members of the Borough Assembly meet with elected officials from Whitehorse, Yukon, which shares a sister city relationship with Alaska’s capital city.

Committee member Maria Uchytil, calling in to the meeting in the downtown public library by telephone, told fellow members that she had heard about the event from a newspaper report over the weekend.

“Well, that was pretty poor,” Chloie Watson responded. “We can’t do anything, but at least we can find out why we weren’t informed.”

“I’m a little upset about this,” Uchytil said.

But the committee members’ consternation over not knowing about the Northern Lynn Canal Neighbors Summit, which will be held Friday in Skagway, soon gave way to enthusiasm.

“I’m encouraged,” said Uchytil. “This is great. At least they’re going to start doing that again.”

Meetings between the city governments of Juneau and Whitehorse have not been held regularly in recent years. Summits between the region’s major municipalities have been even less common.

“Because it’s Skagway, Haines and Whitehorse, it doesn’t sound like it’s an event that could be really touted as a sister city one, because we’re not a sister city with Skagway and Haines,” Watson said after the meeting. “So that’s why I think we’re probably not included in this one.”

Reached for comment after the meeting, Juneau Mayor Merrill Sanford said he believes the Sister Cities Committee was not informed about Whitehorse’s involvement sooner because it was not confirmed until last week that a delegation from Whitehorse would be attending the summit.

“It was kind of unexpected for us, too,” said Sanford. “We were trying to get them to come and wanted them to come all along, but we didn’t know if they would or could.”

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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