State Briefs

Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2003

UAS/National Guard center is issued permit

JUNEAU - A joint venture between the University of Alaska Southeast and the Alaska Army National Guard took a step closer to completion Friday when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted a wetlands permit for the combined Recreation and Readiness Center at the UAS Auke Bay Campus.

The planned 53,000-square-foot structure will replace the Student Activities Center as a home for dances, aerobics and physical education classes, movies and live performances, the college said.

The shared amenities include locker rooms, exercise equipment, gymnasium and classroom space. The National Guard gains storage space and a training center.

"One of the benefits of the project is that both UAS and the National Guard get a larger facility than either of us could afford on its own," said Lt. Col. Craig Schreiber of the Alaska Army National Guard in a prepared statement.

Brig. Gen. Craig Christensen will be in Juneau on Thursday to sign the project's memorandum of agreement with UAS Chancellor John Pugh, which will move the project into phase one of construction.

The ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. at UAS in the Lake Room.

The $1.6 million phase-one construction contract was awarded to Miller Construction of Juneau, and work will begin this summer. The project's total projected cost is $15.4 million. The completion date is planned to coincide with the beginning of the 2005 fall semester.

Assembly committee recommends mining ordinance revisions

JUNEAU - In a Committee of the Whole meeting on Friday, Juneau Assembly members voted to recommend that a portion of the proposed mining ordinance be sent back to the Planning Commission for evaluation.

The proposed ordinance would create a rural mine designation and make rural mines an allowable use, a designation that carries fewer conditions than the current conditional-use status. As a result, gaining permits for development or expansion would be easier for mine owners.

With the new ordinance, for example, Greens Creek wouldn't have to apply for a new permit for its tailings facility expansion, and Kensington could skip a permitting step in plans to open the mine.

The Committee of the Whole proposal would split out the "allowable use" portion of the ordinance that distinguishes between rural and urban mines, and would send it back for revision.

The Assembly is expected vote on the remaining portion of the ordinance, called the "summary of approval," at Monday's meeting.

That portion describes the conditions a mine must meet to be approved by the city. At Friday's committee meeting, Assembly members voted to recommend that the section be changed to require mines that have completed a federal environmental impact statement to provide a draft of it to the city before being considered for approval.

Drunken driver slapped with $50K lawsuit

JUNEAU - Laura Stidolph, who was convicted this month of causing a multi-vehicle drunken-driving accident, has been sued by people injured in the crash. The victims are seeking more than $50,000 as compensation for medical bills, court costs and pain and suffering.

Stidolph, 22, was convicted of causing a December accident that injured five people, including two toddlers; of leaving the scene of the accident; and of attempting to elude the police. She was sentenced for drunken driving, a misdemeanor, and failing to render assistance after an accident, a felony.

In a brief filed Monday, the victims said Stidolph is liable for their injuries as well as the mental and physical anguish they incurred as a result of the accident.

Mother moose attacks, breaks woman's wrist

ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage woman riding a bicycle startled a cow moose with two young calves and was stomped Friday.

Kathleen Laughlin, 42, suffered a broken left wrist.

"I thought when I was out there I was going to die," she said.

About 1 p.m., she said, she was riding in Hillside Park. She has a bell tied to her handlebars to warn moose away.

"I was coming around a corner, going real slow, because of the fact that moose are out there, and I saw a mother and two very, very young babies."

They were in the trail, maybe two car lengths ahead, as she was coming down a small hill, Laughlin said. "It startled me, and I started to turn, and I fell."

She tried to go back up hill but turned too sharply. The moose began moving toward her, so Laughlin ran from her bike into the woods. Again, she tripped and fell.

"It was just like in those bad horror movies," she said.

She was lying on her back when the moose reared up on its hind legs. Laughlin crossed her chest with her left arm, and the moose struck it with one of its hooves.

When the moose turned back toward the calves, Laughlin ran through the woods to the trailhead and met three women, who called 911. An ambulance took her to the emergency room at Providence Alaska Medical Center.

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