COLA stays in place for federal workers
ANCHORAGE -- Federal workers in Alaska will see their 25 percent tax-free cost-of-living allowance for at least another four years, according to Sen. Ted Stevens.
Stevens said the COLA will be in place until at least 2004 under an agreement this week among several governmental agencies in Washington, D.C.
Alaska is not alone in the program. Tax-free allowances also go to federal employees in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands and foreign locations.
The settlement includes a three-year review of the cost of living in non-foreign COLA areas, Stevens said in a written statement. Alaska's review is scheduled for 2002. A report is due to be completed by 2004 or 2005.
Based on that report, Stevens said, COLAs may be adjusted, but only by a maximum of 1 percent per year.
Reid Inlet closed to camping
JUNEAU -- Campers headed for Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve have been told to steer clear of the east side of Reid Inlet due to bear activity.
Dave Nerneth, acting Park Service deputy superintendent, announced Thursday that a temporary closure to camping there was going into effect immediately.
The closure is the result of an adult brown bear's coming within 8 yards of a group of kayakers on June 20. The bear nosed through the kayakers' gear and was not deterred by their shaking tarps and yelling.
For further details, call the Visitor Information Station at 697-2627.
Collectibles to be appraised at mall
JUNEAU - Local residents can bring their Civil War swords, carnival glass vases and other collectibles to Mendenhall Center, formerly the Mendenhall Mall, from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for appraisals.
Four appraisers will be present: Lady Jane Mulready and Leah Strauss of Juneau; and Randeen Cummings and William ``Randy'' Nelson of Eugene, Ore.
Mulready has appraised everything from automobiles to property being divided in a divorce, she said. Cummings specializes in 19th-century furniture and accessories, American cut glass, Russian metalware and contemporary scrimshaw. Nelson, a former bartender, specializes in teddy bears, comic books, sports memorabilia and ``brewerania,'' collectibles related to the brewing industry.
Fees are $10 for the first item, and $5 for each additional item, with proceeds being used to reimburse travel expenses for the Oregon appraisers, said Lisa Peterson, marketing and promotions manager for the center.
One dead, one hurt in plane crash
ANCHORAGE -- The pilot of a single-engine commuter plane was killed and a passenger was critically injured after crashing Thursday evening on takeoff from Tuntutuliak, southwest of Bethel.
Timothy Rader, 38, died of head injuries and his plane was torn in half by the impact, the Alaska State Troopers said. His hometown was not immediately known.
Eli Smith, 21, of Anchorage, was flown to an Anchorage hospital where he was listed in critical but stable condition, troopers said.