State Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, August 08, 2001

Fraternal groups plan picnic

JUNEAU - Five Juneau fraternal groups will hold their first annual "Fraternity Unity Picnic" from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday at Cope Park.

The picnic is the brainstorm of Susan Bushnell, the first woman to be elected exalted ruler of Juneau Elks Lodge No. 420. The picnic will include members of the Elks, Moose, Eagles, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

"I figured we were all kind of intertwined. My husband, Russell, belongs to Moose and VFW. So, instead of having 50 people at several picnics, why not have a big group at one?" Bushnell said.

Bushnell estimates there are 4,000 members of these five groups, including auxiliaries such as the Emblem Club of the Elks.

Each lodge will bring food. Hot dogs, hamburgers and salmon will be cooked at the site.

Bring the kids, Bushnell said. Games will include tug-of-war, an egg toss, horseshoes, a three-legged race and a gunny sack race, with prizes for the kids.

For details, call 586-2420 or 586-6047 or e-mail

Ketchikan eyes new port authority

KETCHIKAN - Voters here will decide whether to create a new port authority to control a dock and land that the borough expects to take control of as part of a bankruptcy settlement offered by a veneer producer.

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly voted Monday to place an initiative creating the Ketchikan Gateway Port Authority on the October ballot.

The port authority would oversee land and a dock at Ward Cove that is included in a reorganization plan filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court by Gateway Forest Products. That plan is pending a judge's approval.

Gateway Forest Products, founded by former managers of a defunct Ketchikan pulp mill, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February claiming $37 million in debt.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection weeks after it began producing veneer, citing cost overruns, construction delays and depressed lumber prices. The company continues to operate.

Ketchikan Borough has given Gateway Forest Products $14.5 million since 1999, including a $7 million start-up loan.

The money is from a $25 million economic disaster fund the city received from a 1996 federal appropriation to help offset job losses in the timber industry. Two large pulp mills and several saw mills closed in the Southeast in the mid- to late-1990s.

Patrols added at Denali park

DENALI NATIONAL PARK - Security is being increased following the attack on a woman inside Denali National Park.

Park rangers are adding extra patrols in populated areas of the park and are suggesting that people walk with flashlights at night and walk in groups.

The 32-year-old woman said she was attacked Monday by a man who struck her from behind and demanded money. When she tried to stand up, the man struck her in the face and knocked her unconscious.

The woman was treated at the McKinley Chalet Hotel clinic and later taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital where tests showed she had a concussion.

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