Alaska Digest

Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Assembly to consider appeal of Breeze In plan

JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly will hold a meeting to hear attorneys who represent home- owners appealing the Douglas Breeze In's expansion project.

On Aug. 18, the Juneau Planning Commission approved the Douglas Breeze In's proposal to demolish its current building and construct a new 5,000-square-foot convenience store with fuel-pump islands.

Nearby homeowners - Kim and Keith Busch and Mike and Marilyn Miller - appealed the Planning Commission's decision to the Assembly, citing traffic and noise concerns. The Assembly unanimously accepted the appeal at its meeting Monday. It will have a meeting in a few weeks to hear the case.

City Attorney John Hartle said the Assembly won't accept public testimony at the meeting. He said if the appellants have an attorney, the Assembly will hear from the attorney and the deputy city attorney will represent the Planning Commission. Representatives from the Breeze In might join to defend the permit.

"The Assembly can reverse, modify or affirm the Planning Commission's decision," Hartle said. "After the Assembly decides, it can still go to court either way."

Initiative supporters move to block ballot

ANCHORAGE - Backers of an initiative to change the way U.S. Senate vacancies are filled in Alaska contend the state Division of Elections' summary of the measure is misleading and have asked the Anchorage Superior Court to halt printing and distribution of the Nov. 2 ballots.

The Trust the People Initiative Committee on Monday filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and an injunction, contending that unless the process is stopped immediately, there would not be enough time to change the ballot.

The case has been assigned to Judge Morgan Christen. The state has until the close of business today to respond. A hearing on the motion is set for Wednesday.

The measure would change how Alaska fills its U.S. Senate vacancies. Currently, the governor can appoint a replacement to a vacant seat. The initiative would abolish appointments entirely and require a special election be held in all cases except when the vacancy occurs within 60 days of a primary election.

The drive to get the measure on the ballot was started by three state Democratic lawmakers after Republican Frank Murkowski appointed his daughter Lisa to his Senate seat when he became governor in 2002.

Already, 4,000 ballots have been distributed for early voting and another 20,000 ballots are being prepared for the next wave of advance voting, said Lt. Gov. Loren Leman, head of the Division of Elections.

Documentary planned on Timothy Treadwell

SILVER SPRING, Md. - The Discovery Channel's theatrical documentary unit will produce a film based on the life and death of amateur bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell.

Treadwell, 46, and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, 37, were killed in October by a bear in Katmai National Park and Preserve.

Treadwell was an author and videographer who devoted himself to saving grizzlies after he said he had near-fatal experiences with illegal drugs. He said close encounters with bears inspired him to give up drugs, study bears and work for their protection. He regularly spent summers among Katmai bears, a practice other bear experts called dangerous.

Authorities believe Treadwell and Huguenard were killed by a 1,000-pound adult male grizzly. An audio recording of the attack was captured by Treadwell's video camera.

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