State Briefs

Posted: Sunday, April 27, 2003

ASEA meets on contract

JUNEAU - Alaska State Employees Association/AFSCME Local 52 leaders will meet with members in Juneau on Monday to discuss the tentative contract agreement reached with the state.

The meeting is 5 to 7 p.m. at Centennial Hall and is open to all members of what's called the general government unit, which ASEA represents. Smaller meetings will be held at worksites to explain the changes, said union Business Manager Jim Duncan.

Members of ASEA's Contract Negotiating Committee, trustees from the Health Trust, and members of the Executive Board will attend.

A full meeting schedule is on the union's Web site,, under "Hot Topics."

Juneau is hot

JUNEAU - On Thursday, Friday and Saturday temperatures in Juneau reached record highs in the low to mid-70s.

Juneau was warmer than Los Angeles, as well as most of the Midwest.

Thursday set a record as the earliest 70-degree day in the year since the National Weather Service has been keeping records, according to Brian Tassia, of the National Weather Service.

Temperatures Thursday reached 74 degrees in some places in Juneau and on Friday rose to 76 degrees. The temperature at about 2 p.m. Saturday on Back Loop Road was 78 degrees.

Tassia warned that though daytime temperatures are high, nights are still cool, often hovering just above freezing. He said that Juneau could experience a nighttime freeze.

Tassia attributed the high temperatures to a weather system that is pushing dry easterly winds over the mountains. Tassia said the weather service is predicting clouds on Monday and Tuesday, with a chance of rain on Wednesday.

'Ring of Fire' meeting slated for Monday

JUNEAU - The federal Bureau of Land Management is preparing a resource management plan and environmental impact statement for its land in Southeast, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Kodiak and the Aleutian Island Chain.

An informational meeting and public hearing will be held 6 to 9 p.m. Monday at Centennial Hall. What's called a public scoping meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to express views and identify issues for the planning process to take on.

Other meetings will be held in Skagway on Tuesday and Haines on Wednesday.

The meetings include an informational open house from 6 to 7 p.m., with a brief presentation that provides an overview of the plan purpose, objectives and schedule. A question, answer, and comment session will last from about 7:20 to 9 p.m.

Clergy abuse reporting bill passes House

JUNEAU - The state House approved a bill Friday requiring clergy members to report child abuse or neglect, although some representatives expressed concern the bill erodes the wall between church and state.

The measure would add clergy to the list of people - including doctors and teachers - who are required to tell state authorities if they suspect abuse or neglect.

Rep. Bob Lynn, an Anchorage Republican, introduced the bill in response to media reports of churches failing to address sexual abuse by clergy.

Rep. John Coghill, a North Pole Republican, said he does not believe abuse should be tolerated, but he fears making clergy report any suspicions could put a barrier between them and their communities.

"If somebody thought I was coming in to help them and I was a mandatory reporter, they might not confide in me," Coghill said.

The bill passed the House 32-6. Opposing it were Republican Reps. Tom Anderson of Anchorage; Coghill; Jim Holm of Fairbanks; Pete Kott of Eagle River; Paul Seaton of Homer; and Bruce Weyhrauch of Juneau.

Under a procedural move, the bill could be brought up for a final vote on Monday. If approved again, it then goes to the Senate for consideration.

Chugach Alaska announces dividend

ANCHORAGE - The Chugach Alaska Corp. has announced a dividend of $16 per share for its shareholders. The dividend will be mailed out Thursday.

Chugach Alaska is the regional Native corporation for the Prince William Sound area. It has about 1,900 shareholders.

The corporation profited in recent years by winning contracts for maintaining military bases and other facilities. It has more than 4,900 employees in that arena and in other subsidiaries that include construction and environmental services.

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