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Tuesday, October 26, 2004 5TH  EDITION
 

 

Tulsequah access road study uncovers "serious threats" to Taku fishery 
A new report by an independent Canadian fisheries biologist concludes the Taku River salmon fishery faces serious threats from the proposed Tulsequah Chief mine access road.

The planned reopening of the mine in British Columbia has been approved by the B-C government and is now under review by the Canadian federal government.

Chris Zimmer, the U. S. Field Coordinator for the Transboundary Watershed Alliance in Juneau, says the study by Adam Lewis of Ecofish Research found a number of serious flaws in the fieldwork by Redfern, the mine's developer, and the Canadian government.

Zimmer says the study's main conclusion was that the project and associated road can not be authorized because the analysis is insufficient and there are problems that have not yet been addressed.

Lewis says he found spawning salmon in areas where the mining company either said there were no salmon or where they had not conducted a survey for salmon.

He also discovered that there were many places where the 100 mile long road would come very close to important salmon spawning streams and even cut off some areas.

Lewis also concluded that the methodology used in the study drastically underestimated the impact on salmon.

A public forum scheduled for earlier this month on the project in Juneau had to be scrapped.

Zimmer says the Canadian government refused to participate clearly indicating to him that it was proceeding with the project despite Alaska's concerns.

Zimmer renewed his call for Governor Murkowski to intercede and bring pressure to bear on the Canadian federal government to ensure the project meets the concerns of Alaska and Juneau residents.

Nuisance bear shot by homeowner
A black bear was shot killed by a homeowner in the Point Stephens Road area early Saturday morning.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Management Biologist Neil Barten says the problem with the bear had been ongoing a few days before the shooting.

Barten says the bear and cub had entered a person's house so they had set up two traps,  but did not succeed in capturing the bears.

Two days later, apparently, the same bear had attempted to re-enter the house, so the homeowner shot it.

Barten says the cub is fat and ready to go into the den, so that's what they plan to do. It will be released at a remote site and allowed to den up on its own.

Barten says they're going to attach a transmitter to the cub to see what becomes of the young bear.

Long range plan adopted without Sub-port
A long range waterfront plan was adopted by the Assembly Monday night, although work remains on that portion of the plan dealing with the Subport area.

The land near the Coast Guard facility off of Egan Drive is owned mostly by the Alaska Mental Heath Land Trust.

At last night's meeting, Assembly member Randy Wanamaker attempted to amend the plan to include the draft Subport plan, but after consultation with staff, he withdrew his amendment.

The Planning Commission will examine and take public testimony on the draft sub-port plan before it returns it for final Assembly action.

Meanwhile, the long range plan includes a proposal that limits the number of large cruise ships visiting at any one time to five, and a moratorium on additional cruise ship berths.

It also calls for a study on where it would be appropriate, if it all, to have additional cruise ships docking within the borough.

Resolution opposing mixing zones proposal adopted by Assembly
The Assembly has approved a resolution expressing opposition to a proposed regulation change by the State Department of Environmental Conservation that would allow mixing zones in salmon and other fish-bearing streams.

During last night's discussion Assembly member Randy Wanamaker attempted to amend the resolution to substitute the word "opposition" to "concern regarding" the proposed change.

Wanamaker said the change would soften the language, remembering that the city has to work with the DEC in a variety of future situations and projects.

Merrill Sanford and David Stone joined Wanamaker in voting for the change, but  the amendment was defeated on a vote of 6 to 3.

The resolution then passed unanimously expressing the opinion that mixing zones in salmon-rearing streams would interfere with marketing of Alaska wild salmon.

Roundup wrangles 350 junks
The unofficial count of junked vehicles turned in to the City and Borough of Juneau last Friday and Saturday stands at 350.

That word from Janet Grange who's an administrative officer for the Public Works Department who thought the number would total between 250 to 300.

Over 900 were collected this year. She says there were 557 turned in during roundups in March and May.

The next one will be some next Spring, but Grange is not sure exactly when yet.

The junks are taken in for a reduced price of $75 in the effort to reduce the number that are simply abandoned. 

Cellmate charged in inmate's death
ANCHORAGE (AP) - A grand jury has indicted the cellmate of Gregory Beaudoin for Beaudoin's August death in Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward.

Carl Abuhl, a 32-year-old from Ketchikan, has been charged with first-degree murder and evidence tampering. His bail has been set at 100-thousand dollars, and he is to be arraigned by telephone tomorrow. (Wednesday).

According to Alaska State Troopers, Abuhl strangled Beaudoin with pieces of cloth he had torn from a bed sheet. Investigators say Abuhl then disposed of the cloth by flushing them down the toilet in his cell.

Beaudoin was found dead in his cell by correctional staff.

Beaudoin, a 26-year-old from Girdwood, was serving a 60-year sentence for the 1997 stabbing death of his mother, Karen Jensen. Beaudoin was 19 years old at the time of the killing.

Pipeline negotiations intensifying
ANCHORAGE (AP) - State officials plan to have a proposal ready for oil companies by Friday on terms to build a natural gas pipeline.

The proposal will include long-term tax rates and how much Alaska may invest in the line.

Consultant and lead negotiator Pedro van Meurs says negotiations are intensifying with oil companies this week.

Democratic lawmakers accused Governor Frank Murkowski of rushing into a contract to help his daughter, Lisa Murkowski, retain her seat in the U-S Senate in Tuesday's election.

Consultant and lead negotiator Pedro van Meurs said that was not the case, and that he was insulted that anyone would think he would rush a deal on a 20 (b) billion dollar pipeline.

State officials say a final contract proposal needs to be presented to the Legislature early in the next session, which begins January 10.

Canadian company says it can do pipeline faster
ANCHORAGE - A Canadian company says it can build the Alaska natural gas pipeline faster than North Slope competitors.

TransCanada Corporation is a major Canadian gas transmission company. It says it can have an Alaska natural gas pipeline completed and in operation by 2012. That's two years earlier than a completion date North Slope producers have said they can achieve.

Tony Palmer, TransCanada's vice president for its Alaska pipeline project, says TransCanada has regulatory approvals already in place in Canada for the project.

He says the approvals and a right-of-way date come from a previous effort to build a gas pipeline from Alaska through Canada.

Palmer says North Slope producers would have to start from scratch in getting federal and provincial permits in Canada.

TransCanada owns permits and rights-of-way issued to the Alaska Natural Gas Transmission System. That's the group that attempted to build a gas pipeline along the Alaska Highway in the 1980s.

Anchorage mayor proposes importing Canadian drugs
ANCHORAGE (AP) - Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich is proposing that the city's 28-hundred employees eligible for health benefits be allowed to buy less-expensive prescription drugs from Canada.

Federal law prohibits importing prescription medicine, but Begich would be joining other U-S mayors and state leaders who allow employees to buy the cheaper medicine.

City officials say the program could start at the beginning of the year. The savings could range from 500-thousand dollars to 1            million dollars annually, they say.

The U-S Food and Drug Administration has not taken any legal action against local governments who import the drugs, even though the agency has said the programs are illegal.

Paul Wiltse, who manages special cost-saving projects for the city, says Anchorage's program is still in development and that the city hasn't been contacted by the F-D-A.

Knowles, Murkowski debate Tuesday
ANCHORAGE (AP) - The first of two debates this week between the two leading U-S Senate candidates is scheduled for tonight at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Republican incumbent Lisa Murkowski and Democratic challenger Tony Knowles will also debate Thursday at the studio of Anchorage public television station K-A-K-M.

The candidates will participate in a Friday forum at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention at the Egan Center.

Tonight's debate is cosponsored by the Union of Students and K-T-U-U. It will be broadcast live on the Anchorage television station.

APOC fines LeDoux $300
KODIAK (AP) - The Alaska Public Offices Commission has fined state House candidate Gabrielle LeDoux 300 dollars for campaign expenditure reporting violations and mishandling campaign funds.

The commission rejected the more serious charge that LeDoux tried to buy votes by giving pizzas to Kodiak cannery workers after she won the August primary election.

The commission found LeDoux reported too late a 12-thousand-dollar expenditure for consulting work done by Suzanne Hancock for the campaign.

LeDoux has filed an amended report to include the debt. She says she believed the debt did not occur until the completion of her campaign.

The other charge the commission found with merit was that Hancock made expenditures on behalf of the campaign without being registered as a deputy treasurer.

Retired Alaska State Trooper Darlene Turner testified that LeDoux bought 33-hundred dollars worth of pizza and made 11 deliveries over 11 days.

LeDoux denied the charges, saying that she would have bought the pizzas before the primary if she thought it would influence votes, and that she viewed the cannery workers as some of her most ardent supporters. 

Panel seeks comment on child abuse
ANCHORAGE (AP) - The first in a series of town hall-style meetings on child abuse will be held tomorrow in Wasilla.

The Citizen Review Panel is seeking public comment on Alaska's system for protecting children from abuse or neglect.

The first meeting is being held in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, where Patrick and Sherry Kelley and her parents have been charged with multiple counts of abuse and neglect of their five adopted children.

Susan Heuer, the panel's chairwoman, says members hope to hear concerns about child protection and how it can be improved.

Other town hall meetings are planned from now till May in Juneau, Anchorage and Bethel.

Average Anchorage pay: $20.05 per hour
ANCHORAGE (AP) - The Labor Department says the average pay in the Anchorage metropolitan area last December was 20-dollars-five cents per hour.

The survey found that white-collar workers averaged 22-dollars-98 cents per hour and accounted for 59 percent of the workers in the area.

Blue-collar employees averaged 16-dollars-92 cents per hour and represented 19 percent of the work force.

The rest of the work force -- 22 percent -- was in service occupations and earned an average of 14-dollars-14 cents per hour.

The National Compensation Survey did NOT include farms, private households, the self-employed and the Federal government. The survey covered 150 firms with 51,300 workers in the Anchorage area.

Gomez signs with Aces
Anchorage's Scott Gomez, NHL all-star, former league rookie of the year and member of two Stanley Cup winning teams, signed a contract with the Anchorage Aces on Monday.

He will play with the Aces, who skate in the AA-level ECHL, until the NHL lockout ends,  if it ever does.

The NHL, the world's best hockey league, locked out its players last month and no new talks are scheduled.

In August, Gomez was awarded a $2.9 million salary for this season by an NHL arbitrator. But NHL players are not paid during the lockout.

Paying for the Aces, Gomez will make the standard salary for a contracted member of that team,  about 500 dollars a week and housing

Gomez, who played at East Anchorage High School was selected by the NHL's New Jersey Devils with the 27th overall pick in the 1998 draft.

He's played  all five of his NHL seasons with New Jersey. He won Stanley Cups in 2000 and 2003 and was the NHL Rookie of the Year in 2000.

The Anchorage Aces opened the season with a pair of losses last weekend in Idaho against the league-champion Steelheads.

Aces Coach Davis Payne says Gomez is expected to be in the lineup at the start home portion of Aces schedule Friday night at Sullivan Arena against the San Diego Gulls.
(Anchorage Daily News)

 

 

 

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