Posted: Friday, July 11, 2003

Alaska Youth Choir holds free concert

JUNEAU - The Alaska Youth Choir will hold its free Aloha Concert, a thank you concert for the community, at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 12, at Northern Light United Church.

The Tongan Community Dancers will also perform.

The show kicks off the choir's tour to Honolulu, Hawaii, to participate in the 2003 Pacific Rim Children's Chorus Festival.

The festival will include children's choirs from the United States, Australia, South Korea, Canada, Chile, Peru, Mexico, China, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Fiji, New Zealand, Papau New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei. The Youth Choir includes approximately 40 children, ages 8 to 16.

For more information about the choir, visit For more about the festival, check out

Car crosses center line, kills two from Ohio

ANCHORAGE - A car crossed a double yellow line and crashed into three motorcyclists from Ohio, killing two and injuring one, authorities said.

Alaska State Troopers said the three were part of a group of six motorcycles traveling about 100 miles of Anchorage when a car driven by Ben Shimbo, 73, of Kirkland, Wash., crossed the centerline on Wednesday.

The car hit the first motorcycle head-on and either sideswiped or T-boned the next two, troopers said.

Troopers said Shimbo may have fallen asleep.

Tim Boyce, 56, of Ashtabula, died at the scene. Greg Keyes, 56, of Mentor, was flown to an Anchorage hospital and declared dead on arrival.

Biagio "Ben" Tamaro, 61, of Willoughby Hills, was taken to Valley Hospital in Palmer, where he was treated and released.

Shimbo and his wife, Etsu, 64, were taken to Valley Hospital. Their injuries were not life-threatening, troopers said.

State rep seeks borough mayor's job

FAIRBANKS - State Rep. Jim Whitaker will seek the job of Fairbanks North Star Borough mayor, he announced Wednesday.

Whitaker, 53, a Republican, is in his fifth year as a legislator. He will face incumbent Rhonda Boyles in the municipal election Oct. 7.

"What I have to offer is a great deal of optimism, specific goals related to economic growth and earnestness to achieve those goals," Whitaker said.

He is the first to announce a serious challenge to Boyles, who announced her bid for re-election late last year and thought she had Whitaker's support. Boyles also is a Republican, although municipal races are nonpartisan.

Whitaker declined to criticize Boyles' administration.

Naming ceremony set for Fairweather

JUNEAU - A traditional naming ceremony for the Alaska Marine Highway's first fast ferry has been scheduled for Alaska Day, Oct. 18.

Ferry system general manager, Captain George Capacci said major welding on the hull of the vessel, to be named the Fairweather, is nearing completion at a Bridgeport, Conn. shipyard. Derecktor Shipyards also is completing the internal outfitting.

Alaska First Lady Nancy Murkowski will attend the naming ceremony to act as the vessel's sponsor.

The Fairweather was originally designated for the run between Juneau and Sitka. Murkowski administration officials are considering using it in Lynn Canal between Juneau, Haines and Skagway.

The Fairweather is to be put into service early next year.

Unusual visitor thrills Kenai birders

KENAI - A shorebird known as a ruff, or more properly the Philomachus pugnax, is thrilling Kenai birders.

Area birders have been flocking to the flats area of the Kenai City Dock to get a glimpse of the infrequent visitor.

"It's a neat experience," said David Wartinbee, a biology professor at Kenai Peninsula College and an avid birder. "I didn't even know what it was at first. I had to go and look it up because I had never seen one before. I had never even heard of it."

It's no surprise that Wartinbee wasn't familiar with the species, since it's close to unheard of on the Kenai Peninsula.

The Stokes Field Guide to Birds lists the ruff as a "rare migrant" along the coasts of continental North America, and casual through the rest of the contiguous 48 states.

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