Another head tax vote fails
JUNEAU - Cordova voters have rejected $5 head tax on cruise ship passengers, according to a second recount.
Cordova voters went to the polls March 6 in a general election. Since then, the results of the vote have flipped back and forth. A second recount Wednesday night did not change the totals with 324 people voting against the passenger fee and 323 people voting for it. An earlier tally showed the tax passing by one vote.
The city's election board on Wednesday rejected an absentee ballot that was not counted before. City Clerk Dixie Lambert said the ballot was not valid because it was postmarked after the date of the election. Lambert said she doesn't anticipate any more recounts.
Ketchikan voters recently turned down a similar head tax plan.
Injured skier's condition improves
JUNEAU - Pavel "Pasha" Chernyakov, the Juneau skier who broke his back attempting a flip Saturday at the Eaglecrest Ski Area, is over the hump.
Chernyakov, 29, a Russian citizen, was in serious condition in intensive care at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle on Monday. However, "He is now in satisfactory condition," said Kristin Foley, Harborview's media representative, on Wednesday afternoon.
Chernyakov's roommate, Jeff Kasper, spoke to Chernyakov on Wednesday morning and learned the injured man is apparently out of danger of the paralysis he seemed to experience when first injured. However, he has several crushed vertebrae that need repair. He has been visited by his sister from Toronto, and hopes to recuperate in Juneau if he can get the kind of physical therapy he needs here.
Junk cars still can find a home
JUNEAU - Juneau's junk car roundup drew to a close last weekend, but that doesn't mean there isn't a place to take cars that belong in the trash heap.
Dan Garcia, who runs the city's Junk Buster program, said the city netted another 13 cars over the weekend after extending the five-week junk car roundup. While there was talk of another extension, Garcia said the numbers don't warrant the effort. The city gathered about 750 cars in the first five weekends, 300 on the last day of the original program, he said.
When it extended the roundup, the city raised the price from $50 to $150 a car. That might be one reason for the smaller numbers last weekend, Garcia said.
The roundup cost the city about $112,000, which is cheaper than getting rid of the same number of abandoned cars, Garcia said. It costs the city about $400 to dispose of a car dumped on public land, he said.
People who want to get rid of rundown vehicles still have options. Capitol Disposal, the local landfill, accepts junk cars weekdays for $150. Car owners need to remove all fluids, the gas tank and the battery, said customer service representative Jessie Erickson. The landfill is at 5600 Tonsgard Court in the Lemon Creek area.
Study highlights pollution at tank farm
HAINES - As much as 4,600 gallons of diesel fuel per year may be leaking from the old Haines Army Fuel Terminal into Lutak Inlet, according to a new pollution study.
The study, commissioned by the Chilkoot Indian Association and conducted by Anchorage consultant Simon Mawson, blasts Army cleanup efforts and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation for not doing enough to prevent gasoline and diesel fuel contamination from leaving the terminal site.
The Chilkoot association commissioned the study after the Tlingit-Haida Central Council found lead and other contaminates in mussels collected in l999 at a nearby point. Chilkoot tribal members have complained that the Army ignored their claims that fuel leaking from the tank farm has contaminated subsistence foods they gather at the point.
But Mawson's conclusions shouldn't be taken at face value before the assertions behind them are backed up, said DEC project manager Ann Marie Palmieri. Melody Marsh, who led the Army's eight-year tank farm cleanup , also said the report lacks documentation.