The Juneau Daily News
Latest Edition

Alaska News|News Center|Poll|Weather|Editorial Cartoons|Comics|Strange|News Now|Home

Tuesday, November 25, 2003 UPDATE
greenbar.gif (834 bytes)

Aircraft on final approach to Juneau airport clips tree
A freight plane ran into some trouble as it approached Juneau's Airport to land Monday morning.

National Transportation Safety Board Investigator Larry Lewis says it was an Alaska Central Express aircraft hauling cargo from Yakutat to Juneau.

He says while they were in the process of shooting a visual approach to runway eight, the plane clipped a tree. The plane was able to land without further incident.

There was no injury to the two people on board, according to NTSB official

The mishap occurred shortly after six Monday morning.

Lewis is conducting the investigation. He says a preliminary report may be available later this week.

Icy conditions spell trouble for Juneau motorists
Road conditions in the Juneau area have proved challenging for motorists today.

Sergeant Dave Wrightson is the shift supervisor at the Juneau Police Department today.

He says roadways were icy since the temperatures dropped late last night and this morning.

Egan Drive between Fred Meyer and Sunny Point was particularly icy, he says. Five or six vehicles slid off the road in that area this morning. He says he drivers were traveling below the speed limit at the time.

Police have also received lots of calls about icy conditions on side streets and roads.

The sergeant advises watching for shady areas of the roadway that could prove hazardous.

Assembly to consider moratorium on downtown waterfront development
Mayor Bruce Botelho says the proposed ordinance would impose the moratorium, to buy time pending completion of the Downtown Waterfront Plan.

Botelho says without the moratorium the city would have two choices, to forgo the vision of the waterfront plan or to require the taxpayers to later pay for buyback of a property after it's been developed.

The moratorium could potentially effect the construction of a 12 bedroom suite hotel on Ninth Street near the bridge.

The Planning Commission recently approved a conditional use permit for the Juneau Hotel Proprieties project. If the moratorium is approved, a building permit could not be issued for the hotel project.

Botelho says the moratorium is not directed at any specific project, although the hotel project did spur the discussion of a moratorium.

There are two other small hotels there now. One is currently under construction.

The waterfront area that would be effected under the proposed moratorium would stretch from the Rock Dump to the Douglas Bridge.

The moratorium is scheduled for public hearing at the Assembly's December 22nd meeting.

Junk vehicle levy okayed by Assembly
The Juneau Assembly has approved a motor vehicle registration tax.

The levy will fund the city's junk and abandoned vehicle program.

Under the ordinance, most vehicle owners will pay 22 dollars every two years when they register their motor vehicle.

The state Division of Motor Vehicles will collect the tax. The state will take 8 percent of the revenue to pay for administrative costs then deposit the rest in a CBJ account.

Assembly member Jeannie Johnson spoke in favor of the tax saying it's a fairer way to pay for the program, but she noted the city is putting in place a tax collection mechanism through the State of Alaska.

She said the city should be careful that the tax be used for what's it's intended and should not be increased without justification.

Vehicles that are currently the personal property of businesses, and therefore already taxed, won't have to pay the levy.

The tax will go into effect January 1st, 2005.

The tax revenue will also pay for legitimate disposal of vehicles by their owners.

The monthly $1.40 hazardous waste fee that's used to pay for the junk vehicle program right now, is set to sunset in September 2004.

It costs the city $250,000 a year to dispose of the 700 junk and abandoned vehicles every year.

Fire department reorganization wins Assembly approval
The Juneau Assembly last night approved a plan to reorganize Capital City Fire and Rescue.

The reorganization will add two operational divisional chiefs.

One  will oversee the career firefighters. The second will oversee the volunteer fire district. It will be a volunteer position.

Attempt to scuttle bridge plan fails on tie vote
An attempt to reconsider the Department of Transportation's plan for the Douglas Bridge was defeated on a tie vote at last night's Assembly meeting.

Two months ago, the previous Assembly approved the project on a 5 to 4 vote and gave the go ahead to DOT to begin work.

But with the election of three new Assembly members, critics are hoping to stop the project.

Mayor Bruce Botelho proposed that a resolution, opposing the plan, be drafted for consideration at an upcoming Committee of the Whole meeting.

Last night's vote was 4 to 4. Assembly member Jim Powell was absent.

After last nights' meeting, Botelho said there might be another attempt to bring the bridge project up for another Assembly vote.

DOT's plan consists of narrowing the traffic lanes and adding a reversible third center lane and the pedestrian walkway would be widened a foot and half, to seven and a half feet.

CBJ capital project process to be revamped
The Assembly approved a motion last night to evaluate the City's Capital Project process.

The motion directs the city manager to evaluate the CBJ engineering department in terms of how bidding, designing and contracting out major projects are conducted.

Assembly member David Stone successfully amended the motion to expand the panel that will study the city's engineering department.  The ad hoc committee will consist of a representative of the Docks and Harbors Board, Bartlett Regional Hospital, Juneau International Airport, Eaglecrest Ski Area, Juneau School District, and two members of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce.

The committee will report it's findings and recommendations to the Assembly.

Once the city completes it's review, the second part of the evaluation will most likely be conducted by an independent consultant.

Assembly supports benefits for domestic partners
The Assembly voted last night to support City Manager Rod Swope's policy to provide health insurance benefits to domestic partners of city employees.

Although the city charter grants Swope the authority to make health benefit policy decisions because the city is self-insured, Assembly member Marc Wheeler offered the motion stating that the Assembly will not veto Swope's decision.

The vote was 6-2. Assembly members Merrill Sanford and Randy Wanamaker voted no. Jim Powell was absent.

Swope says he does not expect domestic partners to cost the city more money because only a small number are expected to enroll.

He says it's an equity issue. He said that all city and borough employees are entitled to the same benefits.

Resolutions okayed by Assembly
The Assembly approved two resolutions last night that seek federal grants for National Register nominations.
One is for the Veterans Memorial Building, which was originally named the Juneau Memorial Library. An official statehood ceremony was held on the steps of the building  on July 4th, 1959.

The other resolution is for Perseverance Trail. The proposed project would be the first step in providing improvements to the trail.

Woman killed in one of three shootings in Anchorage 
Police in Anchorage are investigating three shooting incidents early Tuesday morning. In one case a woman was killed. A man was injured in another case.

Police say the woman, who is stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, was shot and killed while sitting inside a car near Lake Otis Parkway and Dowling Road.

Police say the shots were fired at 3-20 a-m. Other people in the car drove her to Providence Alaska Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Police are withholding the woman's name pending notification of kin.

In the other case, the man survived after being shot in the leg. Police say 26 year old Darrell Moss was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

He was sitting in a vehicle that was stuck in a snow bank at about 2:40 this morning. Several other people were pushing the vehicle when a car drove by fire shots.

Moss was hit while he sat in the car.

No one was hit in the third incident. Police say at least 19 bullets were fire at several men standing near the Fireweed Theater.

Police found an abandoned vehicle near the Sullivan Arena that was hit by at least six bullets.

The shooting occurred shortly after midnight.

All three cases remain under investigation by Anchorage Police.

House fire claims man's life in Mat Su Borough
A 49-year-old man was found dead in a house that burned early Monday morning in Big Lake. Alaska State Troopers say the body of David Glenn McKinney was found about 5 a-m inside the burned house. They say no foul play is suspected.

Bookings open for Marine Highway summer sailings
The Alaska Marine Highway System opened its summer sailings for bookings last week, far later than usual. The summer schedule usually is posted by early to mid-October. But this year the schedule remained unfinished while a decision was made on where to homeport the new fast ferry, Fairweather.

Public market starts Friday
The 21st Annual Alaska Juneau Public Market is this weekend at Centennial Hall.

It opens at Noon Friday, according to organizer Peter Metcalfe who was a guest on KINY's Capital Chat this morning.

He says admission is good for all three days. Tickets are five dollars for adults. Children under 12 are free if accompanied by adults, and two dollars otherwise.

The public market is open until 8 Friday and from 10 to 5 Saturday and Sunday.

The market attracts about 120 vendors each year. Metcalfe says thee are 25 new vendors this year.

Bethel boys charged in crime spree
Alaska State Troopers say charges have been forwarded to the Bethel Juvenile Intake office concerning the activities of two boys.

Troopers say on Sunday they responded to a report in Saint Mary's of a burglary and theft at the Pitka's Point Safe Water Plant.

The boys allegedly stole the Pitka's Point water truck and struck a honey bucket Dumpster with it. Troopers say the boys then burglarized the Yukon Traders store.

Troopers recovered more than three-hundred dollars in stolen property.

The boys were released into the custody of their parents.

They face a variety of charges, including burglary, vehicle theft and criminal mischief.

Push on to hire troubled youth
Leaders at Covenant House Alaska are encouraging businesses to hire troubled young people and turn them into good employees. About 20 employers, including G-C-I and Wal-Mart, gathered last week at Covenant House's Community Services Center in Anchorage to learn more about the program.


                                              (Copyright 2003 Alaska Juneau Communications - KINY Radio News)