Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2001

Tangled humpback whale rescued

ANCHORAGE - Three agencies and a private fisherman joined forces Wednesday to free a young humpback whale tangled in fishing gear in Seward's Resurrection Bay.

The whale was first spotted by a Kenai Fjords Tour crew on Tuesday. By Wednesday morning, the whale seemed to be slowing and staffers at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward began organizing a rescue effort, center officials said.

The U.S. Coast Guard offered an inflatable boat and crew. A fisherman donated the use of his 27-foot boat. A half-dozen center staff members and a National Marine Fisheries Service official completed the team.

Center staffers climbed into the inflatable and approached the tangled animal. They were able to free the humpback after about an hour.

Committee agrees to study running track

JUNEAU - A Juneau Assembly committee decided on Wednesday to research options to resurface the running track at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.

The Assembly Public Works and Finance Committee agreed to transfer $15,000 in leftover funds from the Gastineau Avenue improvement project to study track resurfacing.

According to City Engineering Director John Stone, the most simple and least expensive option is to resurface the existing track for an estimated cost of between $225,000 and $250,000. He said staff members also would like to explore drainage improvements and the possibility of adding two lanes to the six-lane track. The project would go out to competitive bid, he said.

The Assembly will consider an ordinance to formally transfer the funds. Public Works and Facilities Committee Chairman Ken Koelsch said the issue will come back to his committee when more information is available.

Juneau-Douglas High School head cross-country and assistant track coach Guy Thibodeau said he was encouraged by the city's interest in the project. Student athletes have complained of shin splints and other track-related injuries in recent years, he said. "It's a pretty ancient track. It doesn't have much give," he said.

JDHS head track and field coach Tracy Rivera said drainage doesn't seem to be a problem. "Ideally, we'd like to get a new surface on what we have now," he said.

Emergency beacon followed to store

JUNEAU - Coast Guard officials spent an hour trying to pinpoint the source of an emergency locator signal Tuesday before tracking it down to a store near Juneau's Harris Harbor.

A store employee had moved an emergency position indicating radio beacon, unwittingly activating the device, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Mike Love.

The worker had set the device upright. They're normally mounted upside down in brackets on boats so that if a vessel sinks it will float upright, activating the signal.

Historical projects receive funding

JUNEAU - The city plans to install interpretative signs to identify traditional Tlingit places in the Juneau area with a $19,500 state grant.

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources provided the funding at the request of the Juneau Historical Resources Advisory Council. The Juneau Assembly approved project funding earlier this month.

City Community Development Department Planner Gary Gillette said an effort to identify places important to Tlingit culture and to install the signs will take place over the next year.

The state also is providing $4,500 to help preserve the Jualpa Mine Camp in the Last Chance Basin. Gillette said Gastineau Channel Historical Society volunteers have been working on the restoration project over the last five years.

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