Assembly formalizes tax cut
JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly made the city's fiscal year 2002 general operating budget official at a short meeting on Wednesday.
The Assembly Finance Committee finished work on the $137 million budget in May. It includes funding for year-round, half-hour bus service, an ice rink in Douglas, three firefighter-medics and a transportation planner. On Wednesday, Assembly members adopted an ordinance appropriating the money out of the treasury.
The Assembly also formally set the property tax mill rate at 11.47, a half-mill decrease from last year. And it adopted the community's capital improvement project priorities for fiscal year 2002. The total capital package is worth about $48 million, of which about $16 million is from local sources. The city's fiscal year starts July 1.
Nature guide regulation input sought
JUNEAU - The U.S. Forest Service is sponsoring a meeting tonight to gather public input and share information about a proposal to regulate outfitters and guides along the shoreline of the northern half of the Tongass National Forest.
"We've developed potential alternatives as to how much use is occurring in different places and how much we would devote to commercial use," Juneau District Ranger Pete Griffin said.
The proposal applies to the Admiralty Island National Monument and the Hoonah, Juneau and Sitka Ranger Districts.
In the Juneau area, the proposal covers such places as Tracy Arm, Berners Bay and Taku Inlet, Griffin said. The plan could affect tour guides, hunting guides and small cruise ships, as well as people who hunt, beachcomb, pick berries or spend the night in a bay, he said.
A draft environmental impact statement should be released in late summer or fall and will be followed with another round of consultations and public meetings.
The meeting is from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.
New ship's predecessor still sailing
JUNEAU - The predecessor to the Star Princess, soon to be Princess Cruises' largest ship sailing Southeast Alaska waters, is still in operation but under a different owner using a new name.
The new Star Princess is under construction in Italy and is expected in Alaska for the 2002 season. A separate ship named the Star Princess was damaged when it hit Poundstone Rock in Favorite Channel near Juneau in 1995.
That ship was repaired and back in service by that fall, but later was sold to Peninsula & Oriental Lines and rechristened the Arcadia. It is in service in Europe, serving the British cruise market, said Julie Venson, public relations director of Princess Cruises' Los Angeles office.
She said Princess was not concerned about launching a new ship of the same name even if that name was associated with a collision. "Star Princess was and, we anticipate will be, a wonderful name for our new ship. She will be a star wherever she sails," Venson said.
Coast Guard honors three rescuers
JUNEAU - A local Coast Guardsman, who saved a woman's life in September near Soldotna, received a Coast Guard Silver Lifesaving Medal for his actions during a ceremony this morning.
Coast Guard Rear Adm. Tom Barrett presented the medal to Lt. John Humpage. While on a fishing trip, Humpage waded through 40-degree water in the Kenai River to rescue a woman who fell or jumped 30 feet from a nearby bridge Sept. 11.
Humpage, 26, struggled to reach the woman as she drifted toward rapids. Although hobbled by fishing waders filling with icy water, he managed to grab the woman's ankle and pull her ashore where a bystander assisted him.
Two fishing companions, Coast Guard Lts. Eric Kellogg and David Savatgy, also of Juneau, assisted Humpage. Savatgy, a Coast Guard architect, will receive a Commendation Medal. Kellogg will receive a Coast Guard Achievement Medal. Both Kellogg and Humpage work in the Coast Guard station's aids to navigation section.
The rescued woman survived.
Big Brothers Big Sisters receives award
JUNEAU - The Juneau affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters has been selected as a recipient of a 2001 Annie E. Casey Leadership Award.
The award, presented to just nine of the more than 500 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies around the country, recognizes the Juneau affiliate's exemplary performance in establishing relationships between youth and adult mentors. In particular, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America cited the Juneau agency for the growth and quality of its programs, the agency's contributions to local community and civic activities, and for its active participation in the national organization.
"This is a tremendous honor," said Bill Peters, president of the local group's board. "Everyone in our community - our volunteers, kids, parents, board members, staff, business sponsors and individual donors - deserves credit for this award."
The award is accompanied by a $10,000 check from the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, a private charitable organization. The Juneau group plans to use the money to increase the number of children served in Juneau and work with other Southeast Alaska communities to help them develop mentoring programs.
The award will be presented at a national conference June 19.