State Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Murkowski, Ulmer to debate in October

ANCHORAGE - Debates between the two leading candidates for governor will likely be limited to the two weeks in late October and that window could shrink if the Senate fails to adjourn by mid-October.

Republican U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski has accepted invitations to appear at seven debates between Oct. 15 and Oct. 28, his campaign said Monday. A spokesman for Democratic Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer said she is committed to the seven, plus five others.

Murkowski spokesman Dan Saddler said if the Senate adjourns before mid-October, he might consider adding some joint appearances.

The events with Murkowski and Ulmer include a Soldotna Chamber of Commerce forum Oct. 15, a Commonwealth North forum in Anchorage on Oct. 16, a debate sponsored by KUAC-FM and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on Oct. 17, a Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce forum Oct. 22, a debate held by KTUU-TV on Oct. 23, a youth forum in Anchorage on Oct. 25 and KAKM-TV's debate Oct. 28.

Assembly awards Steamship Wharf redesign contract

JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly on Monday awarded a $4.8 million Steamship Wharf redesign project to Trucano Construction of Juneau.

The project will add 21,000 square feet of new deck and green space to the Steamship Wharf-Marine Park area. The result will be a convertible plaza that can be used for bus staging and community activities, according to the city.

The project is about $700,000 over budget. Interim City Manager John MacKinnon said he would present the Assembly with five options to make up the funding later this month and involve the cruise ship industry in discussions. The project is funded with a port development fee paid by cruise ships and with revenues from the city's $5 cruise ship passenger fee. The total project cost, including design, project contingencies and inspection, is $6.4 million, MacKinnon said.

Work is scheduled to start this fall with completion scheduled by the start of July next year. At the request of Assembly members, MacKinnon said he would talk to the contractor about noise and work hours, but cautioned the project had a tight schedule and is affected by tides.

Assembly accepts John MacKinnon's manager application

JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly will review a city manager application from former Assembly member and Interim City Manager John MacKinnon.

After an executive session Monday, the Assembly decided to consider MacKinnnon's application to be city manager "in the mix with everyone else," Mayor Sally Smith said.

The application period to be Juneau's city manager closed at the end of August and the city has received about 70 applications, Smith said. A city consultant hired to assist with the selection process will be in town later this month to work with the Assembly, she said.

Under the city's charter, MacKinnon only can serve as interim city manager for one year and cannot serve as city manager until two years after leaving the Assembly. He was not able to run for re-election last year because of term limits and stepped down in October 2001.

"So if I would serve out my full year as interim city manager, I could not be city manager for 113 days," he said. "There was no reason not to apply. I'm enjoying it. ... It's very challenging."

The Assembly hopes to hire a new city manager by Christmas, Smith said. MacKinnon took over from former City Manager Dave Palmer at the end of June.

Couple to be sentenced for sex abuse in Sitka

JUNEAU - Sentencing for a Sitka couple convicted of sexually molesting three young girls has been scheduled for Nov. 15 in Sitka.

Cynthia Sky, 40, and Dick Blue Sky, 48, were convicted by a Juneau jury in May on 32 counts of felony first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and two counts of felony child exploitation. Dick Blue Sky was found guilty on seven separate counts of felony sexual abuse of a minor.

The couple was to be sentenced in Juneau this week, but the hearing was moved to Sitka Superior Court so it would be held in the community affected by the crime.

Coast Guard sends 2 boats back to port

JUNEAU - Two fishing boats had their voyages ended near Elfin Cove over the weekend after a team from the Coast Guard cutter Maple found unserviceable safety equipment.

Officials said the J-Jireh had a life raft that expired in 1996. They said the fishing vessel Ellie IV had expired distress signals, an expired life raft and no buoyant apparatus. The Maple escorted both boats to Elfin Cove.

Compiled from staff and wire service reports.



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