State Briefs

Posted: Friday, October 04, 2002

Assembly meeting canceled

JUNEAU - A regularly scheduled Juneau Assembly meeting and several committee meetings Monday have been canceled because a quorum isn't available.

The Assembly instead held a short special meeting Thursday to approve resolutions supporting a statewide bond proposition on the November ballot, Juneau's bid for the Arctic Winter Games and Perseverance Theatre's efforts to obtain grant funding.

Assembly member Randy Wanamaker expressed concern Thursday that committee meetings this week were canceled even though all nine Assembly members were in town.

Assembly member Marc Wheeler said he wasn't able to attend an Assembly Finance Committee meeting Monday night because he was encouraging people to vote in Tuesday's election. He suggested the Assembly cut back on committee meetings during campaign season in the future.

Mayor Sally Smith suggested that meeting schedules and respect among Assembly members be discussed at an upcoming retreat.

Whaler dies when boat capsizes

ANCHORAGE - A whaler died Thursday when his boat overturned off the coast of Barrow, North Slope Borough police said.

Ralph Ahkivgak, 69, was one of six men who fell into the frigid water when their boat capsized. The 20-foot vessel was part of a string of boats towing a whale to shore, said police, who were notified of the mishap at 10:45 a.m.

The other five men were rescued by whalers in the other boats, but Ahkivgak was submerged in the water. He was not breathing when he was pulled out a short time later.

Resuscitation efforts were started on Ahkivgak as he was taken to shore on one of the boats before being transferred to Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital in Barrow, police said. The other men on the overturned boat also were taken to the hospital and treated for hypothermia.

Hospital efforts to revive Ahkivgak failed and he was pronounced dead at 2:30 p.m.

Last respects paid to priest

FAIRBANKS - The Rev. John Starr Jr., an Athabascan elder and Episcopal priest, has died at age 76.

Mourners in Fairbanks paid their last respects to Starr, who was ordained late in life. Starr had spent less than three years shepherding a small flock in the Yukon River village of Tanana, his lifelong home.

He died in Seattle on Tuesday after being taken off life-support systems.

"He was a peace-giver and a peacekeeper for our people in the Interior," said Starr's nephew Vernon Joseph. "The way he lived reflected that. His ideas, his values, his principles revolved around that."

Episcopal Bishop Mark MacDonald said Starr was always a priest with a "kind and outstanding presence in the community."

Starr is survived by his wife, Lois Sanders Starr. Funeral services are pending in Fairbanks and Tanana.

Compiled from wire service reports.

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