Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, June 01, 2007

Meeting on ocean ranger program

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JUNEAU - The Department of Environmental Conservation will host a public meeting about the ocean ranger program from 5 to 8 p.m. on June 7 in Centennial Hall.

The purpose of the meeting is to inform the public about the development of the program as mandated by Ballot Measure 2, which was passed by voters in August 2006. It will be an informal forum and there will be opportunity for the public to ask questions.

Various presenters will discuss cruise ship oversight in Alaska. Agenda topics include a review and update of the department's response to the initiative, an overview of the ocean ranger program, a description of the "Large Passenger Vessel Wastewater Discharge General Permit," updates on advanced wastewater treatment systems and the department's monitoring and sampling program, among others.

For more information on the meeting, contact Sharmon Stambaugh at 269-7565 or, or visit the Division of Water's Web site at

Pedestrian signs to be installed downtown

JUNEAU - A city crew will begin installing pedestrian directional signs throughout downtown on Friday. The blue and gold signs will point people to destinations including the capitol, state office building, governor's mansion, and city and state museums.

Planning and graphic design for the signs began a few years ago when the city asked community members to work with a consultant on a comprehensive plan to help people find their way around town.

The committee chose from several designs offered by the consultant, selecting a theme that highlighted Juneau's natural and cultural heritage. The choice of color for the signs was the blue and gold of the state's flag.

The signs complement dock identifier signs and dockside informational gateway signs.

Fifth Street closure is scheduled Sunday

JUNEAU - Fifth Street is scheduled to be closed Sunday between Park and Nelson streets for a block party, the police department said in a press release.

The closure to vehicle traffic will be in effect from about 4 to 9 p.m.

Questions may be directed to Barbara Sheinberg at 586-1840.

Commission reclaims anti-whaling majority

ANCHORAGE - The International Whaling Commission passed a resolution Thursday affirming a 21-year moratorium on commercial whaling remains in place and is still relevant.

The move at the commission's final day of its annual meeting essentially snubbed a symbolic resolution passed by a one-vote majority last year that the ban was meant to be temporary and is no longer needed.

This year's resolution also noted there should be no change in restrictions prohibiting the international trade in meat and other parts of large whales regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Proponents of the United Kingdom measure said it was critical to send that message to the 171-member convention, which on Sunday begins a 12-day meeting in Amsterdam, Netherlands, to consider revising the list of thousands of plants and animals whose trade is regulated. The convention recognizes the 77-whaling commission as a global source of whale stocks.

With several new anti-whaling members attending the IWC meeting this year, pro-whaling factions fell short of last year's slim majority. But they lobbied hard against the resolution, saying it would fuel the already tense relations between pro- and anti-whaling nations demonstrated during the four-day gathering in Anchorage.

Sen. Stevens holds fundraiser in Fairbanks

FAIRBANKS - U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens does not have a high-profile opponent trying to unseat him, but expects there will be one.

At a fundraiser Wednesday, Stevens told supporters he may have to raise as much as $5 million for his campaign, depending on the aggressiveness of his opposition.

The Division of Elections lists Democrat Rocky C. Caldero, a Dutch Harbor teacher, in the running for the seat held by Stevens, the longest serving Republican in Senate history.

Stevens said his first campaign cost him $38,000 but that he expects he could have to raise as much as $5 million.

"We don't know who's going to run against me, but, very clearly, they've told me there will be someone running against me," Stevens said.

The fundraiser Wednesday brought together 250 people from across Fairbanks, including legislators, oil executives, miners, Alaska Native officials and soldiers.

Stevens announced his plan to run for a ninth term in November, a week after Democrats took control of the U.S. Senate and House.

According to Stevens' campaign treasurer Tim McKeever, Stevens has raised about $686,000 and has about $650,000 cash on hand.

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