State Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Snowmachine and cross-country trails ready for use

JUNEAU - Two trail systems designed for winter motorized use are open to snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles.

The Lake Creek Trail near Back Loop Road and the Blueberry Access Trail to parts of the Treadwell Ditch and Dan Moller Trails in West Juneau have been opened by the U.S. Forest Service.

Enough snow has fallen to open the trails, but conditions are marginal, said Doug Blanc of the Juneau Ranger District. The trails were open for about a week earlier in the winter but were closed when the snow melted. The length of this opening also depends on the weather.

Snowmachines must be registered with the state for use on Forest Service trails, and fees go toward trail construction and maintenance, he said.

A map of areas open to snowmachine use is available at the ranger office at 8465 Old Dairy Road. Call 586-8800 or 790-7422 for updated information on trail conditions.

Cross-country skiers also are enjoying the snowfall. Tracks were set Monday on most of the trails in the Mendenhall Campground-Mendenhall Lake-Dredge Lakes area. More information is available at the Juneau Nordic Ski Club Web site at

Not enough snow has fallen to open the Eaglecrest Ski Area, although conditions improved over the weekend. Staff reported about 15 inches of snow at the base and about 50 inches at the top of the mountain this morning. For updates, call 586-5330.

Panel to vote on Thane docks

JUNEAU - The Juneau Planning Commission is slated to vote on a conditional-use permit allowing the construction of a cruise-ship berth and bus-staging area near the northwest corner of the rock dump near Jacobsen Drive.

It also may vote to grant a conditional-use permit to build a lightering, day charter, private yacht and small cruise vessel dock near Thane Road.

The dock at the rock dump would accommodate 950-foot cruise ships. The Jacobsen Trust and Southeast Stevedoring are partners in the proposal, which would allow cruise ships anchoring in Gastineau Channel to tie up in town instead.

The privately owned Franklin Dock would be a 400-foot floating dock serving vessels that shuttle, or lighter, cruise passengers from ships that anchor in the channel into town. It also would serve small cruise ships, catamarans and yachts.

The commission will meet at 7 p.m. today in the Assembly chambers at City Hall.

Wayward puck leaves legislator in stitches

FAIRBANKS - New state Sen. Ralph Seekins looks a little roughed up right now, but not because of anything that happened to him during his first week in the Legislature.

Seekins, a hockey fan, flew home for the weekend and took in a University of Alaska Fairbanks hockey game Friday night. He was talking to a friend when a stray puck slammed into his head, opening two cuts that were closed with more than 50 stitches.

Seekins went to a side room at the Carlson Center and a doctor applied 50 to 60 stitches on the two cuts the puck made on Seekins' forehead and near a corner of an eye.

Murkowski reorganizes corrections

JUNEAU - Gov. Frank Murkowski issued an executive order Monday that would merge the Anchorage Jail with the Cook Inlet Pre-Trial Facility and reduce the number of assistant superintendents at some prisons.

Prisons with fewer than 300 inmates would no longer have an assistant superintendent, under the executive order. Also, the inmate health care unit would be moved to the Division of Administrative Services.

The reorganization would allow the department to reduce costs and "refocus its limited resources on its public safety mission," Murkowski said in a statement.

Labor Department creates grants division

JUNEAU - The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development is creating a division to deal with worker-training grants.

Commissioner Greg O'Claray said Monday the Division of Business Partnerships will work with employers to determine what jobs Alaska needs to train workers for. It will arrange for federal grants the department receives to flow to programs that provide that training.

Some employees will be shifted to the new division from the Employment Security Division, which handles unemployment claims and job placement. Employees will not be taken from worker-safety or wage-and-hour-enforcement programs for the new division, he said.

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