State Briefs

Posted: Thursday, April 03, 2003

Mining ordinance comment set Saturday

JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly's Lands Committee will listen to public testimony Saturday morning about proposed changes to the city's mining ordinance.

The meeting is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon at Assembly chambers in City Hall and will be dedicated to public comment, said Lands Committee Chairman Randy Wanamaker. The panel has been reviewing proposals to ease permitting for new and existing mines in rural areas.

The committee will meet at 5 p.m. Monday at City Hall to review Saturday's testimony. Members may decide to forward the proposals to the Juneau Planning Commission with or without changes, or hold them for more work, Wanamaker said.

The proposed changes and background information are available on the city's Web site at under "news items."

Third trial of man accused of killing father begins

JUNEAU - The trial of 20-year-old Jose M. "Che" Mateu got underway Tuesday with jury selection in the state capital after two juries in Ketchikan deadlocked on charges filed in the killing of his father.

Mateu is charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the January 2000 shooting death of Jose R. Mateu in Ketchikan.

Only eight of the 58 potential jurors questioned Tuesday in Juneau Superior Court said they had heard anything about the case. Mateu's first two trials in Ketchikan ended in hung juries. Prosecutors then asked that the trial be moved to Juneau.

March was wetter than usual

JUNEAU - More ran and snow fell on Juneau in March than usual.

Liquid precipitation totaled 3.56 inches, according to the National Weather Service Juneau office. That's above the average of 3.28 inches.

The high was 49 degrees on March 26. The low was 4 degrees on the 11th.

Snowfall totaled 17.7 inches, much of it falling March 13. Statistics are from the Juneau Airport; other parts of town may have had different temperatures or precipitation levels.

The Alaska Climate Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks reported the average temperature of 30.5 degrees in Juneau in March was about 3 degrees below normal.

Kohring wants to gives tax decision to voters

JUNEAU - Rep. Vic Kohring wants to take the power to tax away from the Legislature and give it to voters.

The Wasilla Republican introduced a constitutional amendment Wednesday that would prevent the Legislature from imposing an income or sales tax without a vote of the people.

Before the idea becomes law, though, it has a high hurdle to clear. Constitutional amendments must be approved by a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate.

If the Legislature approves the measure, it would go to voters in 2004.

House Joint Resolution 21 was referred to the Ways and Means, Judiciary and Finance committees.

JDHS Dance Team offers clinic, show

JUNEAU - The Juneau-Douglas High School Dance Team is hosting two community events in the next week.

On Saturday, the team will offer its annual dance clinic with several sessions for children from kindergarten through 12th grade.

A full-day session for second- through 12th-graders will begin at 8:30 a.m., with a show for parents at 2:30 p.m. The cost is $30.

For kindergartners and first-graders, two half-day options are available - starting at 8 a.m. with a show at 11 a.m., or starting at 11:30 a.m. with a show at 2:30 p.m. A half-day session costs $25.

Participants will learn a hip-hop routine and receive a T-shirt and certificate. Lunch is provided.

On Thursday, April 10, the team will present its annual community show at 7 p.m. in the JDHS main gym. Tickets are $8 in advance from Hearthside Books or the JDHS Activities Office, or $10 at the door. Advance purchase is recommended; team co-coach Leslie Dahl said a full house is expected.

For more information, contact Dahl at 790-5182 or 789-2286.

House creates committee to tackle fiscal issues

JUNEAU - A special House Ways and Means Committee will take on legislation to address the state's chronic budget shortfalls, House leaders said Wednesday.

House Speaker Pete Kott, an Eagle River Republican, said he hopes the nine-member committee will raise the debate about viable options meant to bridge the state's fiscal gap.

The committee will analyze savings, spending and revenue raising measures to control the state budget, House leaders said.

Reps Jim Whitaker, a Fairbanks Republican, and Mike Hawker, an Anchorage Republican, will co-chair the committee.

Other Republicans include Reps, Norm Rokeberg and Cheryll Heinze of Anchorage, Vic Kohring of Wasilla, Bruce Weyhrauch of Juneau and Peggy Wilson of Wrangell. Democrat Reps. Carl Moses of Unalaska and Max Gruenberg of Anchorage, also will serve. The committee will meet for the first time at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Kenai Peninsula teachers ratify contract

KENAI - Teachers and support staff in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District have ratified new contracts.

Members of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association and Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association accepted the agreements this week.

KPEA president Hans Bilben said 97 percent of the KPEA members voted in favor of the contract, and 94 percent of the KPESA votes were in favor. The contracts now go to the school board for approval.

The agreements provide a 2 percent salary increase each year for both associations and eliminate the bottom level of the salary schedules for each group in the second year, meaning beginning wages will increase.

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