Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Thursday, May 19, 2005

Board approves Yaakoos expansion

JUNEAU - The Juneau School Board on Tuesday approved new quarters for Yaakoosge Daakahidi, the alternative high school.

This summer, the roughly 100-student school will move across 12th Street to the school district building that now houses central office administrators and support staff.

The central office staff will move into the school's space, which is rented from a private landlord, and into the basement of nearby Harborview Elementary.

The move will double Yaakoos' space, allowing the school to enroll more students and hire another teacher.

The move will cost an estimated $67,000.

Red Cross hires new director, opens house

JUNEAU - With a new executive director for the region, the American Red Cross will hold an open house from 4:30 to 6 p.m. today at its Juneau office at 3200 Hospital Drive.

The open house will offer an opportunity to learn more about life-saving programs and ways to be involved with the organization. Light refreshments will be served. Meanwhile, Kelly Hurd, community relations manager for the American Red Cross of Alaska, has announced that George Briggs is the new district director for the Southeast region. He replaces Elayne Boyce, who continues to volunteer for the organization.

Briggs is new to Juneau, most recently having lived in Dillingham, where he was director of the chamber of commerce. He also serves as an adjunct professor with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, specializing in business, tourism and customer service.

Man found adrift in disabled skiff

KETCHIKAN - Crew aboard a fishing boat found a man adrift in a skiff south of Gravina Island.

The skiff was being towed by a larger boat when a rogue wave hit and caused the boats to become separated, the Coast Guard said.

Clark Falkner Jr., 30, was found adrift south of Bostwick Point. He was aboard a 16-foot skiff being towed by a larger recreational boat from Ketchikan to Dall Bay late Monday night when the wave hit.

The towing boat, the ZZ, then apparently lost sight of the skiff. The skiff's outboard motor was inoperable. The boat also did not have lights or VHF radio, said Coast Guard Station Ketchikan Chief Chuck Lindsey.

Scott Isaacs, Falkner's brother, was aboard the ZZ and broadcast a call for help. At 11:46 p.m. Monday, Coast Guard Station Ketchikan received a report of a possible person in the water off Bostwick or Blank Inlet, and launched its 47-foot motor lifeboat and 25-foot response boat.

Air Station Sitka launched a helicopter to join the search at 12:05 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Coast Guard.

The fishing boat Eclipse was in the area and its crew spotted a red hand-held flare illuminated by Falkner aboard the skiff at about 12:30 a.m., Lindsey said.

Coast Guard aboard the lifeboat determined that Falkner was not harmed. The Eclipse then towed the skiff to Dall Bay.

High water washes out road to airport

ANCHORAGE - Flood water overflowing the banks of the Yukon River has gouged the only road between the Yukon Delta community of Emmonak and its airport, making it impassable.

The flood put several feet of water into a city public works building, said Mayor Andrew Kelly, and briefly affected the water and sewer system. But the road damage is the biggest concern, Kelly said.

"It's going to cripple the community," he said. "The stores are saying they're not going to be able to get the freight in from the airport."

Villagers in nearby villages, including Alakanuk and Kotlik, depend on health care at the Emmonak's clinic, the Pearl E. Johnson Sub-Regional Clinic, Kelly said.

Emmonak, a Yup'ik Eskimo village, is at the mouth of the Yukon River, 10 miles from the Bering Sea. The community of about 760 is 120 miles northwest of Bethel and 490 miles from Anchorage.

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