Alaska Digest

Posted: Thursday, February 12, 2004

Planning commissioners question term-limit plan

JUNEAU - No company would arbitrarily fire its most experienced employees, and the Juneau Assembly shouldn't replace technically versed planning commissioners just because they're approaching a decade of service, planning commissioners said Tuesday.

After discussing a proposed city ordinance introduced earlier this month to limit members of boards and commissions to three three-year terms, Commissioner Marshal Kendziorek motioned for a resolution opposing it. The vote was unanimous.

"I think this is one of the most hare-brained ideas to come out of the Assembly," Commissioner Dan Bruce said.

If the Assembly is looking for more turnover on the commission, term limits aren't necessary, he added. He listed a half-dozen commissioners who had left since he came on board in December 1998.

Commission Chairman Johan Dybdahl said the ordinance would allow him to write "a very good letter of resignation." He has been on the commission 13 or 14 years. The records of his appointment are not available, he said.

When he was appointed, "I could tell it was going to be a while on the commission before I was going to be an effective voice," he said.

Commissioners said they work with technical matters. Dybdahl said he has always liked the fact that the commission has been above politics, and has shared his concerns with Assembly members about introducing politics into discussion of appointments.

Assembly approves purchase of Armory site

JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly passed a resolution Monday that authorizes the city to enter into a 2-year memorandum of agreement with the state's Trust Land Office to acquire the site of the National Guard Armory, expand Centennial Hall and possibly provide a location for a new performing arts center in Juneau.

In exchange for the Armory site, the state would acquire unspecified city land with income generating potential. That exchange is expected to be completed by Dec. 30.

Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority owns the site, and it is managed by the land office.

A joint meeting between the Assembly and Trust's Board of Trustees was held on Feb. 4. The board endorsed the agreement at its own meeting that day.

In related news, the city transferred $22,588 from two closed accounts to a fund that would help pay for a feasibility study for a performing arts center. The study is necessary to help secure investors for the project.

Assembly awards reconstruction projects

JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly awarded a construction project Monday to Arete Construction Corp. of Juneau to demolish and rebuild the Savikko Park log shelter for $216,500.

The project also includes providing a design approved by an engineer and architect licensed in the state. It also covers the costs of removing and disposing of hazardous waste materials, providing a second electric circuit, a water line, and spigot to the shelter. Arete was the lowest of seven bidders for the project.

Also Monday, the Assembly awarded a project to Glacier State Contractors of Juneau for $355,428 to reconstruct Decoy Boulevard from Julep Street to Wood Duck Avenue.

The work consists of installation of an underground storm drainage system throughout the project area, replacement of the roadway embankment to a four-foot depth, asphalt pavement, a new paved sidewalk with curbs and gutters along the northerly side of the street, minor sanitary sewer and water system improvements and miscellaneous related work.

City manager fires half of Yukon police force

FAIRBANKS - The city manager of Fort Yukon reduced the town's police department by half when she fired the police chief and investigator.

City Manager Fannie Carroll would not tell the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner why she fired Chief Reggie Flemming and Investigator Christopher De Leon on Monday.

"We did have some concerns in this community, just people not happy with what we had, however, my termination of them is all in-house," Carroll said. "It's internal problems here."

Because of the contract agreement with Flemming, Carroll said she did not have to give cause for the firing. De Leon was told the reason for his termination, she said.

"The city manager of Fort Yukon, under the state statute ... gives me the authority to appoint, suspend and remove municipal employees," Carroll said.

Flemming had been police chief for the past three years in the remote town of about 900 people, located about 100 miles north of Fairbanks on the Yukon River.

Winds bring warmth to Anchorage, Fairbanks

ANCHORAGE - Chinook winds that brought unseasonably high temperatures to Alaska died down early Wednesday, cooling conditions dramatically in Fairbanks and slightly in Anchorage.

Gusts stronger than 100 mph raked Anchorage's Hillside area Tuesday. The warm air tied a 1926 Anchorage record of 45 degrees. In Fairbanks, strong winds pushed temperatures to 42 degrees, breaking the old mark of 39 degrees set in 1929.

Slick conditions were reported in both areas.

An unofficial wind gauge at the Chugach foothills home of Doug Fesler and Jill Fredston registed one noontime gust at 122 mph.

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