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Panel OKs more funds for youth services
JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly Finance Committee on Wednesday recommended moving $48,000 from the city's rainy day account to Juneau Youth Services to serve severely emotionally disturbed youth.
JYS has been working with the city and the state to address projected funding shortfalls. If approved by the Assembly, the funding will increase the city's contribution to JYS from $22,000 to $70,000.
The funding is earmarked for outpatient psychiatric and related services. JYS Executive Director Chuck Bennett told Assembly members that the organization's Family Mental Health Clinic has been serving more patients than expected.
"We can meet the needs and can provide services but not with our current funding," he said. "We didn't have a handle on the loss until the end of the third quarter."
The additional support from the city, combined with pending grant requests to the state, will allow the clinic to stay open, Bennett said. JYS and the state are planning a public meeting the second month of July to answer questions and provide more information. JYS also provides emergency services, residential care, education and chemical dependency programs.
City discontinues Tonsgard negotiations
JUNEAU - Juneau's Assembly has decided not to purchase property near the Herbert River owned by William "Shorty" Tonsgard.
Assembly member Marc Wheeler said the Lands Committee recommended against the purchase because of the bottom-line $3.5 million pricetag for about 141 acres of land near Eagle Beach. Assembly members agreed on Monday not to continue negotiations.
In a letter to the city, Tonsgard said he was ruling out a land trade with the city because of unfair press and other opposition. He would consider gravel, rock or timber from the city as possible partial payment, according to the letter.
Tonsgard has filed paperwork with the state to harvest timber on the property. He could not be reached for comment this week.
State ferries juggle their schedules
JUNEAU - Continuing renovations and repairs to the state ferry Columbia have caused officials to adjust the ferry system's July schedule to meet peak traffic demands, officials said.
The ferry Malaspina will continue on the weekly Bellingham to Skagway schedule, and the schedules for the Taku, LeConte and Aurora will be modified, officials said.
Changing the Taku's schedule to provide North Lynn Canal service will cause the cancellation of one of two weekly round trips through Port Rupert. The Aurora will make the other weekly trip, causing the cancellation of a round trip to Hollis.
The LeConte will provide Lynn Canal service on July 12 to accommodate people attending the Dust Bowl softball tournament and the Sister Cities Golf Tournament in Whitehorse. As a result, a trip on July 12-13 to and from Petersburg will be canceled.
Alaska Ship and Drydock holds the $10 million contract to repair and renovate the Columbia, which was damaged in a fire June 6, 2000.
For more information, see the ferry system's Web site at www.state.ak.us/ferry, or call 1-800-642-0066 or 907-465-3941.
Angler lands 72-pound king on Kenai
SOLDOTNA - Joe Paul always knew there was a good fishing hole along his property, downstream from Soldotna's Swiftwater Park. He has taken to relaxing in the evening by jabbing a cigar in his mouth and letting a weighted line and unbaited Spin-N-Glo bounce downstream.
On Friday evening, a 72-pound king salmon was holding in that water, near the bottom.
The red-flanked boar struck, swam out to the middle of the Kenai River, stopped, then turned back to within 20 feet of the shore, Paul said.
Then the fish turned downstream, leading Paul on a 40-minute fight. The angler hopped up on the bank and tracked the fish for a quarter mile, from one end of his seven-acre spread to the other.
Then he got lucky. Instead of making a line-snapping run upstream, this Kenai king camped in an eddy, making several runs out but always coming back.
"I've been guiding for, shoot, 12 years, and it takes a lot to get my heart pumping on a fish," Paul said. "And my heart was pounding on that one. I was pretty nervous."
Eventually, he dropped his rod and jumped into about 2 feet of water to grab the fish's fat torso and wrestle it to the bank.
The record Kenai king salmon - 97 pounds, 4 ounces - was caught in 1985.