Juneau Digest

Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Miners Mercantile issued temporary permit to stay open

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JUNEAU - A downtown mall that was threatened with closure just days before the start of cruise ship season has been issued a temporary occupancy permit by the city.

The permit allows tenants of Miners Mercantile on Front Street to stay open while work is finished to bring the building up to city code.

"I've dealt with the larger life safety issues. We are getting everything done," building manager Steve Foster said "I am at the mercy of other contractors."

City officials, in a press release, said the few remaining code violations were being corrected. They acknowledged that delays in receiving equipment and acquiring licensed sprinkler system contractors were out of Foster's control.

Foster had been issued several notices of violation and was cited in April for "unlawful continuance of a fire hazard," according to the press release from Fire Marshal Rich Etheridge.

On April 17, notices were posted in the building threatening closure unless repairs were completed, striking concern among business tenants.

"During the last several weeks the building management has made significant improvements to the building," the release said. Before the building is in the clear, however, it must be granted a final certificate of occupancy before the temporary permit expires in mid-June.

Lawmakers inching toward adjournment

JUNEAU - Gov. Sarah Palin's gas line bill got one step closer to having it land on her desk for a signature as legislators prepared to adjourn Wednesday.

The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed an amended version of what the House passed last week, basically signing off on minor tweaks.

The Senate and House each passed the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, but the House acted first, so the Senate Finance Committee worked with minor differences between the two bills.

Under AGIA, producers and independent pipeline companies can vie for rights to build the pipeline that lawmakers hope will ship trillions of cubic feet of North Slope natural gas to market.

Should the new version get the House's approval, all that remains is for Palin to sign the bill.

Once that's done, the administration can begin working on drafting applications for companies wishing to build the pipeline.

The Legislature, however, is far from being done as a test of wills remained under way Tuesday evening. The major sticking point involved funding education.

Palin announces new transportation board

JUNEAU - Gov. Sarah Palin on Monday appointed new membership for the Marine Transportation Advisory Board, with strong representation for Juneau and Southeast business interests.

The board includes several members of the Southeast Conference, including Murray Walsh of Juneau, its executive director.

New board members include: Cathie Roemmich of Juneau, chairwoman; Capt. William Hopkins of Ketchikan; Robert Venables of Haines; John Conley of Ketchikan; Maxine Thompson of Angoon; Clay Koplin of Cordova; Shirley Marquardt of Unalaska; Walsh of Juneau; and Mike Korsmo of Skagway.

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