Alaska Digest

Posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Father, son lose drug-testing lawsuit

FAIRBANKS - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a North Pole High School student and his father that alleged the boy's constitutional right to privacy was violated when school officials ordered him to take a urine test for drugs.

Judge Ralph Beistline ruled in favor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District in the case filed by student Anthony Frey and his father, Martin Frey. The Freys' lawsuit had sought a financial award from the school district as well as a court order requiring the district to change its student drug and alcohol policy.

Beistline ruled last week that the school district's policy complied with a mandate for trying to eliminate substance abuse in schools while not invading students' privacy.

The judge threw out the lawsuit, ordered Anthony Frey to serve the five-day suspension that was stayed while the case was pending, and required each side to pay its own attorney fees and legal costs.

Anthony Frey was suspended on May 22, 2003, the last day of the school year. A school safety monitor noticed Frey was walking in the halls with red eyes, according to Beistline's ruling.

The 15-year-old freshman contended that his bloodshot eyes were caused by staying up late the night before studying for finals, not because of any drug or alcohol use.

Assistant Principal Ted Scoles sent him to the nurse's office to take a rapid eye exam, which is designed to detect substance abuse. Anthony failed three parts of the eye exam, prompting Scoles to order that he take a urinalysis, according to Beistline's ruling.

Assembly increases fines for littering

JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly passed an ordinance Monday that increases the fines for littering.

The fine for the first conviction was raised from $100 to $200. The fine for a second conviction within two years was increased from $200 to $300.

The Assembly also reduced the fine for unauthorized parking in a loading zone from $100 to $50.

The Assembly appropriated $18,000 for the Community Emergency Response Team program, which prepares volunteers to augment the city's response to emergencies.

The Assembly appropriated $225,000 to upgrade the water utility's meter reading system with new portable meter readers, upgrade meter-reading software, and provide more meters and meter-reading radio transmitters. The money is from the water fund reserve earnings account.

Auditions to be held for Shakespeare program

JUNEAU - Perseverance Theatre is holding auditions for the spring 2004 semester of its Young Shakespeare Training Program.

The Young Shakespeare Training Company offers middle and high school students professional acting training four hours a week. Beginning Jan. 29, the spring semester will focus on Shakespeare's comedy, "Love's Labor's Lost," and will culminate in public performances of the play in late April 2004.

Classes are Thursday afternoons after school and Saturday mornings at Perseverance Theatre and are taught by Anita Maynard-Losh.

Acceptance is by audition only and class size is limited. The cost is $325 for the semester with some financial assistance available based on need.

For more information or to set up an audition time, call Anita Maynard-Losh at 364-2421, extension 23.

State ferry helps tug that lost its steering

SITKA - A state ferry on Monday helped a tug that lost its steering as it towed a 300-foot barge in Sitka Sound.

The ferry Aurora was arriving in Sitka when it was contacted by the tug Corbin Foss. The tug had lost steering as it neared the Samson Tug and Barge dock at Old Sitka in the last stage of a trip from Seattle towing a barge fully loaded with about 200 container vans.

The Aurora held the Corbin Foss in place with a tow line while an engineer on the tug worked to fix the steering problem, said Don McElroy, vice president of marine operations for Seattle-based Foss Maritime Co.

"Basically, he got moisture in a line and that caused icing, and he temporarily lost steerage," McElroy said.

The accident occurred near Big Gavanski Island during subfreezing weather and gusty winds.

After the Western Mariner, a tug of Seattle-based Western Towboat Co., took over from the Aurora, the ferry completed its voyage to the ferry terminal dock.

Ketchikan cold storage gets financial boost

KETCHIKAN - Ketchikan's proposed regional cold storage project for seafood is in line for a $1.4 million state grant.

The Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development notified the Ketchikan Gateway Borough of the preliminary funding decision, which depends on the project attracting other money.

Borough officials and a local fisheries committee developed the proposal for a 10-million pound capacity cold storage at Ward Cove.

Borough officials hope the building will help the fishing industry by storing frozen products within the region. That could save the cost of shipping overflow volume south and then shipping it back for processing.

The facility could let fishermen market their own catch, and even allow grocery stores and the school lunch program to store frozen food, according to backers.

The estimated cost is $8 million.

The borough has donated land as the local match for the state grant money.

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