Hangars, recycling plant OK'd
JUNEAU - Juneau's Planning Commission on Tuesday approved permits for new airplane hangars at the airport and a soil recycling center on Anka Street.
The commission approved a permit for four airplane hangars with a total of 9,600 square feet at the Juneau Airport. They will be attached to existing hangars, according to the city Community Development Department.
The commission also approved a two-year permit for continued use of a soil-recycling facility on Anka Street, adding conditions to limit dust and noise. And it upheld a decision allowing two detached single-family dwellings on one lot in Douglas. Neighbors had appealed the original decision.
Police looking for source of handguns
JUNEAU - The Juneau Police Department continues its investigation of the shots fired Saturday afternoon in the Lemon Creek area near the Gruening Park housing complex.
The two boys, 13, who allegedly fired the shots, were arrested and lodged at the Johnson Youth Center on charges of third-degree assault, misconduct involving weapons, reckless endangerment and second-degree theft.
"One of the guns was a .22-caliber," said Capt. Tom Porter. "We don't know for a fact that they were stolen. That has not been confirmed."
Police are still checking buildings in the area to see if they were damaged by the gunfire.
Coast Guard renews watch on cruise industry
JUNEAU - The Coast Guard has resumed its monitoring of cruise ships in Alaska waters and will be checking for compliance with safety and environmental rules in a program called Operation Cruise Watch 2001.
"We'll accomplish this by using inspectors, cutters, and aircraft to monitor cruise ship operations to prevent pollution and hold noncompliant vessels accountable for any violations," said Rear Adm. Tom Barrett, commander of the Coast Guard in Alaska.
Samples will be drawn from treated sewage and "gray water" discharges to check for pollutants, and marine safety officers will conduct safety boardings and environmental inspections. The agency also will keep an eye on the ships while they're underway to look for illegal discharges.
Glacier center on summer hours
JUNEAU - Summer hours at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center started Sunday. The center is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Thursday and Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. the rest of the week. Summer hours continue through Sept. 27.
Visitor Center fees also started Sunday. The cost is $3 a person with children under 11 admitted free. An annual pass is $10 a person, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Nature hikes start May 20 with hour-and-a-half hikes starting at 10 a.m. and 45-minute hikes starting at 2 p.m. One-hour Kids Day programs start at 11 a.m. May 19. Children under 6 should be accompanied by an adult.
Ferry upgrade alters schedule
KETCHIKAN - Work on a $5.5 million upgrade to the state ferry Aurora is taking longer than expected, and Southeast Alaska ferry schedules have been adjusted.
The Aurora is undergoing an upgrade at a Portland, Ore., shipyard and will not be completed in time to meet its schedule between May 29 and June 4, according to Alaska Marine Highway System General Manager George Capacci.
The state ferry LeConte will pick up some of the planned service of the Aurora through June 4, canceling some of the LeConte's planned trips between Juneau and Petersburg and Juneau and Pelican.
Ketchikan man charged in homicide
KETCHIKAN - A Ketchikan man was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder after confessing to the beating death of his friend and former roommate, Ketchikan police said.
Acting Ketchikan Police Chief Grant Sirevog said Carl Wayne Abuhl, 29, confessed Monday night that he beat Steve Bowen, 49, to death with a baseball bat at Bowen's home. "Its a pretty horrific crime scene," Sirevog said.
Police learned of Bowen's death from members of his family, who went to his home after not hearing from him for several days. They found Bowen's body at about 1:30 p.m. Monday. Sirevog said Bowen likely had been dead several days.
At the time of the murder, Bowen lived alone, said Sirevog. Abuhl was contacted after police learned he recently had been Bowen's roommate.
Abuhl's confession, which came after several hours of talking with police, included specific details that no one but the murderer could know, Sirevog said. Investigators from the State Crime Lab were brought in to help process the scene and to corroborate the suspects statements.
Abuhl has a criminal record that includes felony drug charges, Sirevog said. The acting chief declined to comment on whether the murder was related to drugs.
Cruise line donates $200,000 to universities
JUNEAU - Holland America Line-Westours is donating $200,000 in educational grants to universities in Alaska.
Company spokesman Al Parrish made the announcement as the company's cruise ship Zaandam made its inaugural visit to Juneau.
Parrish said the money is intended to be used for programs related to tourism.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks Museum will get $100,000; $55,000 will go to the University of Alaska Anchorage to fund a writer-in-residence program; $25,000 will go to tourism-related study programs at Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka; and $20,000 will go to Alaska Pacific University's Tourism Industry Management Program.