Governor signs meth, crime bills
JUNEAU - A bill increasing the penalties for manufacturing methamphetamines and three other crime bills were signed into law Monday by Gov. Tony Knowles.
Rep. Tom Brice, a Fairbanks Democrat, sponsored House Bill 3, tightening laws against possessing ingredients for methamphetamine, an addictive stimulant also known as meth or speed.
Brice said the new law will allow police to shut down dangerous, clandestine laboratories before they actually produce illegal drugs.
Knowles also signed Senate Bill 259, sponsored by Wrangell Republican Sen. Robin Taylor, tightening laws pertaining to theft of identity; SB 26, sponsored by Anchorage Republican Sen. Loren Leman, which makes it a misdemeanor for people under arrest to lie about their identity; and HB 288, sponsored by Anchorage Republican Rep. Pete Kott, which allows judges to hand down a more serious domestic violence sentence if the crime was committed in the presence of a child.
Coast Guard warns of boating hazard
JUNEAU - Juneau-area boaters should beware of a danger that exists at Gibby Rock Light near the west side of Spuhn Island.
The United States Coast Guard issued a warning Monday about this local marine hazard. The press release noted that a lighted buoy presently marks Gibby Rock because the previous aid, a lighted tower, toppled over in stormy weather in February. The remnants of the tower remain atop Gibby Rock and can be dangerous to boaters passing too close to the south side of the present buoy, the press release said.
Mariners transiting near the rock are advised that the current lighted buoy is located about 80 yards north of the position of the original aid.
A pleasure boat struck the remains of the tower on May 14, resulting in a rescue operation to bring the damaged boat into Auke Bay.
The tender Woodrush plans to replace the navigational aid this summer.
Downtown street closed for repairs
JUNEAU - Gastineau Avenue, which parallels Franklin Street downtown, will be closed for repairs from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday.
Water and sewer work is being done from 187 Gastineau Ave. to the southeast end of the street, said Darlene Stephens of Superior Builders. Some water service may also be cut off during part of the time, she said.
Babcock named head of Alaska GOP
JUNEAU - Tuckerman Babcock, the veteran Republican activist who ran much of John Lindauer's disastrous 1998 campaign for governor, ascended to the chairmanship of the Republican Party of Alaska at the party's convention.
Babcock, who had been vice chairman, became head of the party when Tom McKay resigned midway through his term last weekend. Babcock said a vote of confidence at the convention in Palmer confirmed the succession.
``The Republican Party's main objective is to help elect Republicans in the general election and that's what our focus is going to be,'' said Babcock, who is considered a leader of the party's conservative wing.
The party also elected Sen. Rick Halford of Chugiak and Debbie Joslin of Delta Junction, both conservatives, to serve on the Republican National Committee.