Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

Pumpkin Tradition Healy

It's a longtime tradition in Healy. High schoolers snatch the pumpkins and then put them on display somewhere in the community. Kris Capps/News-Miner

Final results of Tuesday’s election in the Denali Borough won’t be known until next week, but early reports show two tax proposals passing with a wide margin.

There are still more than 242 mail-in ballots to be counted. Hundreds of those ballots have been returned to the borough, at least 242 from Healy and Denali. The number of mail-in ballots dropped in ballot boxes in Cantwell and Anderson is not known yet. Those all need to be certified as registered voters and then counted at a special canvas meeting Nov. 13.

Mayor Clay Walker was pleased with the results so far.

“While final results won’t be known until all the votes are counted, it is clear that today’s voters want their borough to be ready to meet the fiscal challenges ahead,” said the mayor. “I look forward to congratulating and working with our new assembly members. Elections reshape our world, and I am pleased that we appear well-positioned to lead into the future.”

Here are preliminary results:

The two tax proposals on the ballot — a 5% tax on marijuana and alcohol and a .5% increase to the accommodations tax, for a total of 7.5%, both passed at the polls.

On the alcohol/marijuana tax, Healy voted 140 “yes” and 63 “no” votes. Denali voted 34 “yes,” 14 “no.” Cantwell voted 25 “yes,” 20 “no.” Anderson voted 16 “yes,” 14 “no.”

On the .5% increase to the accommodation tax, Healy voted 152 “yes,” 50 “no.” Denali voted 42 “yes,” 4 “no.” Cantwell voted 32 “yes,” 13 “no.” Anderson had a tie vote of 15 “yes,” 15 “no.”

The only contested race was for assembly Seat D. With all four precincts reporting, Lisa Miner was ahead 203 to Jordan Heckley’s 73 votes.

There were also incumbents retaining seats on the Denali Borough Assembly and Denali Borough School Board. All appeared to keep those seats.

Election Day is always a fun day in the Denali Borough.

At each polling place, an election worker stands outside and shouts into the wind, “Hear ye, hear ye. The polls are now open.” This is required by Denali Borough Code.

I’m told that the election worker in the city of Anderson bought a new top hat for the occasion this week.

There always seem to be sweet treats available for voters and something the whole community looks forward to — the hoagie sandwich fundraiser by Healy Coal Queens.

Pumpkin tradition

Every Halloween, Healy residents spread the word to newcomers. If you don’t want your pumpkin stolen, bring it inside.

It’s tradition in this rural community that high schoolers grab pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns from porches and driveways and then put them on display, all together, somewhere in the area. This year, the pumpkins were lined up outside the Fireweed Station on the Parks Highway.

In years past, the pumpkins have appeared the day after Halloween on playground equipment outside Tri-Valley School, at a roadside memorial, lining the Healy intersection, and in front of the new Three Bears Grocery Store just before it opened.

This past week, there always seemed to be a car stopping by with children who wanted to make sure their stolen pumpkin was included in the display.

The pumpkin-snatching wasn’t always so popular. When it began long go, those students took the stolen pumpkins to Moody Bridge, the tall bridge over the Nenana River. They threw them over the side after determining who had stolen the most pumpkins — boys or girls. This tradition did not go over well with the community.

Luckily, students changed and the tradition changed.

Now the community fully embraces this tradition.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.