Alaska Digest

Posted: Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Downtown scopes give view of goats

JUNEAU - Tourists and residents don't need to hike to Mount Juneau to see mountain goats. The city recently installed two spotting binoculars in Marine Park with an interpretative sign about mountain goats on Mount Juneau.

"It is an ideal location," said Matt Kerchief of the Juneau Audubon Society. "Juneau is such a special place that people can see whales in the Gastineau and mountain goats on Mount Juneau on the same day on the same spot."

It was not always this way.

In the early 1980s, hard winters and hunting eliminated goats from this area. To speed their recovery, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, local businesses and the Juneau Audubon Society joined forces to raise funds to transplant 11 mountain goats from Tracy Arm to the base of Mount Juneau on Basin Road. From there, the three billy goats and eight nannies headed up to their mountaintop homes and soon dispersed throughout the area.

"The mountain goats we see today are descendants of the 11 mountain goats," Kirchhoff said.

The Juneau Audubon Society donated one scope and the sign. The city paid for one scope accessible to wheelchair users. People can use the binoculars for free.

School Board approves teacher contract

JUNEAU - The Juneau School Board on Tuesday approved a two-year contract with the Juneau Education Association, the union representing about 340 teachers, counselors, psychologists and other specialists.

The contract includes movement on the salary schedule for eligible employees and increases the rates on the schedule. It also adds to the amount that the school district pays for employee health insurance premiums.

Teachers ratified the contract Friday. Under the contract, teachers' pay will range from $34,606 to $67,313 this school year. In the first half of next year, pay will be $34,606 to $67,650. In the second half, it will vary from $35,644 to $68,664.

The district estimated the costs of new terms in the contract at $1.9 million for the two years.

Five School Board members voted for the contract. Outgoing member Alan Schorr was not present, and Bob Van Slyke excused himself from voting, saying he had a conflict of interest. Two family members are teachers. School Board members may vote under those circumstances, but Van Slyke chose not to.

But he did say, "Absent additional funding for the next school year, God help us because we will be in serious difficulties."

School Board member Andi Story said academic achievement is based on staff's commitment to the schools.

"I'm glad we can offer this (contract) to our teachers," she said.

Perseverance holds 2 budget performances

JUNEAU - There will be two Wednesday pay-as-you-can performance of "Metamoprhoses," the 2004-05 season opener at Perseverance Theatre.

Both showings, today and Wednesday, Sept. 15, are at 7 p.m.

Written by Mary Zimmerman, the play is an adaptation of the Roman poet Ovid's "Metamorphoses," thought to be written around 3 B.C. It runs through Sept. 26. For more information, visit www.perseverancetheatre.org or call 364-2421.

Hunters flock to 'antlerless' moose area

FAIRBANKS - State game managers closed three areas south of Fairbanks to the hunting of cow moose after hunters flocked in last week.

Six areas were opened to "antlerless" moose hunts aimed at culling 600 cows from a total population of about 16,000 moose

Game managers at midnight Monday closed seasons in the western Tanana Flats, the Ferry Trail and Healy-Lignite Management Areas, and the eastern Tanana Flats and Alaska Range foothills after less than a week.

The three areas had the smallest quotas and were the most accessible.

The hunt is designed to thin cows from a population biologists say is on the verge of collapse because it has grown too big.



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