Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Damaged yacht back in service

JUNEAU - The Alaskan Song, the 96-foot charter yacht that struck a rock and began flooding May 24 near Angoon, is again serving visitors to Alaska.

All 11 people on board were rescued without injury. The three holes in the hull of the ship were repaired in under two weeks at the Alaska Ship and Dry Dock in Ketchikan.

The yacht is owned and operated by its captain, Geoff Wilson, and his wife Debbie Bennett, who cooks the meals. Headquartered on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, the Song makes six-day trips between Juneau and Sitka between May and September.

The yacht is back in service and fully booked except for two of the final three weeks of the 2001 season, according to its Web site.

State turns down marijuana initiative

JUNEAU - The state Department of Law has disapproved a ballot initiative that would have asked voters to decriminalize marijuana.

Sponsors said they intend to have a new version ready in time to get it on the general election ballot next year.

The petition as originally submitted in April would decriminalize marijuana and mandate a system to regulate it, including its production and distribution.

Assistant Attorney General Sarah Felix said parts of the initiative didn't pass constitutional muster.

Felix pointed to a provision of the proposed initiative allowing the Legislature to impose a tax on marijuana. If the Legislature failed to pass such a tax, the proposed initiative would give the taxing authority to local communities.

Felix said that's inconsistent with the state constitution, which says the power of taxation shall never be surrendered.

Al Anders of the organization Free Hemp said the sponsors will rewrite the initiative and try again. The initiative sponsors have the right to change their bill and reapply for a place on the ballot. A new version would also have to go through legal review.

Sponsors will have to gather more than 28,000 voter signatures by Jan. 14 to get the question on the 2002 election ballot.

Memorial fund accepting applications

The Wythe Dornan and Brian Douglas Memorial Fund will accept application for funding support until Aug. 9. The fund offers financial support to organizations and individuals who benefit and enhance the health, education and welfare of individuals in communities in Southeast Alaska.

Examples of possible financial support include, but are not limited to:

Charitable organizations, foundations or other nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organizations, schools or child care institutions in Southeast Alaska such as N.A.E.Y.C., foster parents programs and early childhood education programs.

Individuals, affiliated with organizations, who are pursuing special training/education in any field of professional endeavor for use in defraying costs for tuition, transportation or lodging expenses related to attendance at professional conferences, training or educational programs.

Events enhancing the overall quality of life such as amateur sports organizations encouraging participation through sponsorship of programs and events open to all individuals.

Application forms can be obtained by contacting Paul Douglas, 5050 Thane Road, Juneau, AK 99801, or by calling 463-3042. Completed applications must be postmarked no later than Aug. 9 and must be mailed to the Juneau address.

Environmental camp deadline extended

The deadline for the third annual Alaska Youth for Environmental Action summer get-together in Cordova has been extended until Sunday. The camp is from Aug. 6-12.

The event provides training for teens interested in learning more about the environment and projects to help their communities. Speakers, field trips and an overnight rafting trip are planned.

Registration is $200, with partial scholarships available. For more information call (907) 258-4825 or e-mail

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