Posted: Thursday, March 08, 2001

February was a wet one

JUNEAU - Juneau experienced a February with near-normal temperatures but above-normal precipitation.

The average temperature was 28.2 degrees, 0.2 below normal. Although no records were set, the maximum for the month was 43 degrees, on Feb. 1, and the minimum was 11, on Feb. 11.

Total precipitation of 4.45 inches was 19 percent above normal. Snowfall totaled 15.9 inches, or 3.2 inches below normal.

For the season, only 29.1 inches of snow has fallen, 52 percent of normal.

Auction benefits education group

JUNEAU - Science and art activities for kids, a live auction and a pasta dinner will highlight the Discovery Southeast benefit 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday at the ANB Hall.

The family-oriented event is a fund raiser for Discovery Southeast, a nonprofit education organization that provides hands-on nature studies for third through fifth grade students at area schools.

Lady Jane Mulready will serve as auctioneer, and items donated by local businesses include art, Southeast Alaska custom excursion packages, specialty foods and a variety of services. A silent dessert auction will be held simultaneously. Activities for kids will be provided after dinner and before the auction begins. The theme is Investigate the F.B.I. - fungus, bacteria and invertebrates.

Tickets for the auction and dinner are available at Hearthside and Rainy Day Books, or at the door. Tickets are $15 for an adult, $5 for children, and $35 for families.

Cordova head tax vote too close to call

KETCHIKAN - The results of Tuesday's passenger head tax vote in Cordova are too close to call.

According to unofficial totals, 305 people voted in favor of an initiative that would charge cruise ship passengers $5 to visit the Prince William Sound community. Another 302 people voted no, KRBD radio reported. The fate of the measure depends on the 45 absentee ballots to be counted March 13.

Margy Johnson, Cordova's new mayor, said a tax sends a message that visitors aren't welcome. Johnson, who operates a hotel and restaurant, said Cordova's tourism industry is not established. She called the tax idea "extremely unwise."

Initiative sponsor Natasha Edwards said now is the right time to implement a head tax as the tourism industry grows. If approved, the fee would take effect Jan. 1, 2002.

Delta Junction fire official dies in crash

ANCHORAGE - The assistant chief of the Delta Junction Volunteer Fire Department died in a crash en route to a fire, Alaska State Troopers said Wednesday.

Christopher Kobierowski, 41, was driving a 1974 Ford pumper northbound on the Tanana Loop Extension about 3 p.m. Tuesday when he lost control of the vehicle on the icy road. The truck slid into a ditch, rolled to its side and hit a tree. Troopers said Kobierowski struck his head and was killed instantly. Another firefighter was injured slightly in the crash.

The truck is being checked for mechanical failure. Troopers, however, said they believe icy conditions were to blame.

Woman gets detention for embezzlement

FAIRBANKS - A Fort Wainwright woman will serve four months of home detention for embezzling about $18,500 from the bank where she worked.

Kristen Joyce Swarringin, 26, was sentenced Friday to the home detention, along with five years of probation. She was also ordered to pay restitution to the bank. Prosecutor Stephen Cooper said the sentence, by avoiding a prison term, will allow Swarringin to work to pay off the restitution and will also allow her to continue raising her two preschool-age children.

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