Alaska Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Assembly to decide utility rates Oct. 6

JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly set a public hearing for Oct. 6 to raise sewer and water rates for residential and business customers. The combined impact of rate increases would be 32.5 to 34 percent for residential customers and a 32.5 to 36.9 percent increase to commercial customers. If approved, the new rates would take effect Dec. 1.

Assembly member Dale Anderson suggested a study be done that explains the effect of a rate increase on customers. Anderson suggested a rate increase phase-in over a two- or three-year period.

Assembly member Marc Wheeler made the original request for a study and rate increase phase-in. Deputy City Manager Donna Pierce said the city has already been working with a consultant on a study.

The City and Borough of Juneau has contracted with an independent financial consulting firm, Financial Consulting Solutions Group, Inc., to conduct a comprehensive review of the utility's rate revenue requirements and to develop rate design alternatives.

The rate study process involved defining major infrastructure repairs expected over a 10-year study window, and the forecasting of operating costs to develop the annual rate revenue requirement for each utility. The Assembly Public Works and Facility Committee approved the study and proposed rates on May 28.

Utility rates have not been raised since 1991. A June 2002 financial capacity report by the Environmental Finance Center at Boise State University indicated that the city has historically collected insufficient service revenues to meet the expenses of the water and wastewater utilities.

Generator problem caused outage

JUNEAU - Sunday morning's brief power outage was caused by a problem with the Crater Lake generator at the Snettisham Hydropower Project south of Juneau.

The generator, one of three at the facility, went off-line, triggering a system that shuts down electrical power to some parts of town, said Alaska Electric Light and Power Office Manager Gayle Wood.

"The scheme is set up so that pockets of customers throughout the area go without power," she said Monday. "It keeps us from having an areawide outage."

The power went off at 8:44 a.m. and was fully restored within 15 minutes, Wood said. It caused no long-term damage to any of the generation and transmission equipment, she said.

GOP committees suggest four to replace Taylor

KETCHIKAN - Republicans in Senate District A have forwarded the names of four people to replace Sen. Robin Taylor, a Wrangell Republican, who resigned Sept. 15 to take a job with the Murkowski administration.

The four are Rep. Peggy Wilson, a Wrangell Republican, Ketchikan resident Jim Elkins and Rollo Pool and Bert Stedman of Sitka.

Elkins is a former assemblyman and former lobbyist for the borough. Pool is manager of municipal grants for the state Department of Environmental Conservation and has worked as a lobbyist and spokesman for the Alaska Pulp Company. Stedman is a former Sitka Assembly member who sits on the Sitka Planning Commission.

Gov. Frank Murkowski has 30 days to appoint a successor following Taylor's resignation.

Craig residents see influx of bears

KETCHIKAN - Trash-loving bears are becoming a common sight in the Southeast Alaska community of Craig.

The bears are being lured to town since the Klawock landfill began barging garbage south in April, said Craig Police Sgt. Mark Habib. Two of the wayward bears were killed this summer.

Police have received 95 complaints about bears since mid-July. Normally police respond to no more than 10 bear calls a year, usually on the edge of town, Habib said.

Man sought in shooting turns himself in

ANCHORAGE - A man sought in an Anchorage shooting death has turned himself in to police.

Derrick Eugene Wren, 30, had been sought for more than 10 days in the shooting death of Adam Calderon, 33.

Calderon was gunned down inside a friend's apartment Sept. 10 shortly after midnight.

Medics found him on the floor bleeding with gunshot wounds to his torso, leg and arm. He was rushed to a hospital but did not survive. Police said after the shooting that Wren was at the scene of the shooting and that detectives wanted to hear his side of the story. He was the subject of a Crimestoppers bulletin with his photo and description made public in Anchorage media.

Man faces federal drug, gun possession charges

ANCHORAGE - A man charged earlier this month with possessing crack cocaine and a loaded handgun on school grounds has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Nikos Delano Dorsey, 19, is charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm while trafficking in drugs.

Under federal law, he faces double penalties for possession on school property - a maximum of 40 years on the drug charge and a mandatory minimum of five years on the gun charge, U.S. Attorney Tim Burgess said Monday.

The case was moved out of state court to the tougher federal jurisdiction.

Dorsey was arrested by officers assigned to Bartlett High School with help from a federal Department of Justice grant that added 13 officers to Anchorage schools.

Police Officer Clinton Peck said he and Officer Jason Schmidt spotted Dorsey on Sept. 2 in the hallway of Bartlett High. He was wearing a red head-covering and a red hat turned sideways.

Hats are prohibited at four of the six Anchorage high schools, and the officers assumed Dorsey was a student.

Officers later that day spotted Dorsey on school property driving a white Cadillac Escalade.

A day later, they saw him again driving on school grounds and arrested him on a trespassing charge. A search of the car turned up a Glock Model 17 9mm handgun and what Burgess called a small amount of crack cocaine, packaged for distribution.

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