State Briefs

Posted: Friday, March 21, 2003

Design for new HS under review

JUNEAU - The public is invited to a three-day review of the schematic design for the new Mendenhall Valley high school.

Sessions will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, March 26, 27 and 28, in the Juneau-Douglas High School library.

Public comment will be taken from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday.

On Wednesday, district staff and design consultants will present the project, including a visit to the school site at Dimond Park from 10 to 11:45 a.m.

On Thursday and Friday, the review team will hold a work session. The results will be summarized from 4 to 5 p.m. Friday.

Safety Fair offered Saturday

JUNEAU - You can learn about the proper use of bear spray and pick up the latest airline travel tips at the Air, Land and Sea Safety Fair on Saturday.

About 17 speakers and 40 booths will be a part of the safety fair at Centennial Hall. The free event runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with speakers starting at 10 a.m.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration, the Juneau Police Department, the Southeast Alaska Avalanche Center, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Red Cross and Juneau Safe Kids are among the groups that will have displays.

Airline passengers and small-craft pilots will find plenty of information, organizers said. Presenters will discuss the Capstone program, which is a joint Federal Aviation Administration-industry program that equips aircraft with state-of-the-art navigation equipment, and AirLifeLine, which provides free trips to needy people with the help of volunteer pilots.

The safety fair is sponsored by the FAA Flight Standards District Office, the Federal Highway Administration and the Coast Guard.

No dramatic security measures in Alaska

ANCHORAGE - The outbreak of war in Iraq has not brought on dramatic new security measures in Alaska. Such measures already were in place, according to spokesmen for military and other security agencies.

"Maintaining the safety and security or our people and assets are our top priority," said Master Sgt. Jon Scudder of the Elmendorf (Air Force Base) Third Wing Public Affairs office.

Civilians seeking to get on base can expect long lines, identification checks and searches.

At the Coast Guard office, "We've been keeping an eye on everything that we can," said public affairs spokesman Darrell Wilson.

The Port of Anchorage is under a security zone order placed by the Coast Guard captain of the port. The port is required to identify and track all incoming traffic, beef up security, restrict access, conduct searches and demand identification from all who enter. The Coast Guard augments the port's own security patrols.

In Juneau, Coast Guard spokesman Roger Wetherell noted measures already in place. A cutter is patrolling near Valdez, helicopters are flying homeland security patrols out of Kodiak, and the sea marshal program, in which armed officers board vessels of high interest, is continuing.

CG plans helicopter pad in Ketchikan

KETCHIKAN - The U.S. Coast Guard and the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities plan to build a helicopter landing pad in Ketchikan.

The pad at Wolff Point would bring medical patients and rescued mariners closer to the local hospital.

Medical evacuations performed by the Coast Guard have increased in numbers and severity over the last five years, the agency said.

But helicopters bringing patients to the Ketchikan hospital must land at the airport on Gravina Island and be transported across the narrows to the hospital, delaying medical attention by an hour or two.

The new facility could be ready in about a year. The Coast Guard is seeking public comment on the plan.

UAA building becomes Wells Fargo Sports Center

ANCHORAGE - The University of Alaska Anchorage and Wells Fargo Bank Alaska on Thursday signed a sponsorship deal worth $425,000.

The UAA athletics building will be renamed the Wells Fargo Sports Center.

The sponsorship covers five years. The money is earmarked for student athlete scholarships and better food and lodging when teams travel, said the university's board of regents.

Sponsorship funds also will help cover startup costs for a women's track and field program in 2004 to fulfill NCAA requirements.

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