Posted: Friday, July 25, 2003

Cloudy water returns

JUNEAU - The water coming out of faucets in downtown Juneau and Douglas may be milky white in color, but it is safe to drink, city officials said Thursday.

"It's because of some work we're doing in Last Chance Basin," said Grant Ritter, water utilities superintendent.

The cloudiness in the water results from screens in the wells becoming calcified and not allowing water to pass through smoothly, Ritter said. As the water pools up in front of the screen, it starts to swirl like a whirlpool and becomes infused with air.

The air does not jeopardize the bacterial safety of the water, Ritter said. The city experienced a similar effervescence to water coming from Last Chance Basin, near Basin Road in downtown Juneau, in late June, but the city solved the initial problem.

The return of the milky water first was reported to the city Tuesday, Ritter said. The city is working to clean a screen in one of the wells, and anticipates the problem to be solved shortly.

"Hopefully by this time next week the well should be in and there should be less air in the water," Ritter said.

Coast Guard gives up search for Yakutat man

YAKUTAT - The Coast Guard suspended its search Tuesday for a man who was lost the previous evening at the mouth of the Akwe River.

Patrick Donahue Jr. of Yakutat was in a skiff at the mouth of the river when the boat flipped over at about 9:40 p.m. Monday. Donahue was seen going under the surf by the master of a fishing vessel, the Coast Guard was called, and a search began immediately, according to Coast Guard spokesman Russ Tippets.

The search from air and sea was hampered by poor conditions, rain and low visibility, Tippets said.

It was interrupted when darkness fell Monday night, but searchers picked it up again at first light Tuesday, he said.

With no signs of Donahue, the search was suspended.

Legislature lacks votes for special session

JUNEAU - There is not enough support among Republicans in the Legislature to return to a special session to preserve the state's senior citizen Longevity Bonus program, which is slated to end in August.

House Speaker Pete Kott, an Eagle River Republican, said 21 House Republicans have said they do not want a special session to override a Gov. Frank Murkowski veto of the program.

With more than half of the House opposed, a two-thirds vote to force a special session becomes a mathematical impossibility.

Legislative leaders are still waiting to hear from lawmakers who could not be contacted by Thursday. But Kott said the outcome is clear.

"It's not an official vote, but it's official in my mind there's not going to be a special session," Kott said.

Murkowski vetoed $44 million in funding for the program that provides monthly checks to about 18,000 eligible seniors.

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