Alaska Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, October 07, 2003

City ponders taking over three harbors

KETCHIKAN - The state has offered the city of Ketchikan $3.9 million to take over five state-owned harbors, but the city is proposing that it take possession of only three for the same amount of money.

"I don't think it's a done deal by any means," City Manager Karl Amylon said Monday.

The City Council on Thursday gave its approval to taking ownership of Bar Harbor North, Thomas Basin and Ryus Float, all within the city limits.

But the Port and Harbors Advisory Council recommended against taking responsibility for Knudson Cove and Hole-in-the-Wall harbors, and the council agreed.

"Based on our review of the improvements necessary for the five harbors, the money we have received and could receive under the transaction doesn't come close to matching the capital improvements that are necessary as a result of deferred maintenance by the state," Amylon said.

The city has identified at least $38 million in improvements and upgrades that would be needed at the harbors.

The state Department of Transportation did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday.

Council member Lew Williams III said $3.9 million wouldn't be enough to complete all the city's planned harbor improvements, but it would help.

"Getting this much from the state I think is a good deal for us," Williams said at the meeting.

Additionally, the state is unable to transfer ownership to the city of the tidelands at Knudson Cove and Hole-in-the-Wall, which are outside the city limits.

Some Anchorage schools ridding halls of hats

ANCHORAGE - Some high schools in Anchorage have banned students from wearing hats indoors because of administrators' concerns that they send a message inappropriate for the classroom.

Mike Graham, principal of East High School, banned head wear after he saw the tension created by hats, hoods and similar fashion statements.

One day before spring break, Graham announced the new policy over the school's public address system.

"We can no longer afford the divisiveness, disruption and disrespect associated with what is on one's head," Graham said.

Three other high schools - Chugiak, West and Bartlett - followed suit in September, implementing the new rule as classes started.

Once seen as simply impolite, wearing hats indoors has taken on new meaning with more teens who embraced so-called "gangsta rap" and gang cultures.

With some symbols, and brims turned, a cap can denote gang affiliation. Some high school principals in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna School District say hats are just more trouble than they are worth.

Cyd Duffin, principal at Colony High School, said such a rule is the best way to rid hallways of a gang presence. Duffin, who has worked in all the Anchorage high schools except Dimond, said Colony has always banned the wearing of hats.

"That was a pretty significant way of communicating your affiliation, and we need to get that stuff out of the schools," Duffin said.

High school could become bigger charter school

FAIRBANKS - The North Pole Leadership Academy, a 40-student alternative high school, could reopen next year as a charter school with four times the number of students and twice as many grade levels.

Annie Keep-Barnes, one of two teachers at the academy now, said she hopes to have a draft charter turned in to the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District this month.

If the plan goes through, the academy would be the second charter school operating in the district.

"We are really excited about it, and we are really supportive of it," said Sandy McGill, assistant superintendent for secondary schools. "The charter school (philosophy) is one that is honored by our state and by the district as a very viable alternative for people."

The new school would include three "houses" - a 60-student middle school, a 40-student ninth grade and a 60-student high school for 10th- though 12th-graders, Keep-Barnes said.

Two teenage boys arrested at hotel

ANCHORAGE - Two teenage boys were arrested after a homemade explosive device was detonated outside a hotel early Monday, police said. No one was hurt.

City bomb squad technicians found two other unexploded devices in the parking lot outside the hotel after a witness called police and said he heard what he believed were shots fired, police said.

Two boys were seen running from the third floor of the Executive Suites Hotel just after 2 a.m.

Two boys, ages 15 and 16, whose names were not released, were arrested on charges of three counts of misconduct involving a weapon, three counts of reckless endangerment and three counts of terrorist threatening, police said. They were taken to McLaughlin Youth Center.

The explosive devices were aerosol cans stuffed with ball bearings that could be detonated, police said.

Dinosaur replica has big opening day

ANCHORAGE - More than 1,000 people flocked Saturday to the first day of the Alaska debut of Sue, the toothy, 65 million-year-old star of the dinosaur set.

Kicking off a four-month stay, the Anchorage Museum of History and Art opened its exhibit of "A T. Rex Named Sue," a replica of the most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever found.

A steady stream of museum visitors gawked at the 42-foot-long dinosaur, displayed in a menacing stance, mouth open to reveal 7-inch teeth.

"It's so exciting for it to be here," said Emily Woodhead, an Anchorage woman ogling Sue with her brother. "You don't think of far-flung Anchorage getting these things. This is a national event."

Most visitors seemed to consider the skeleton a "she" despite a sign noting the presence of a particular chevron-shaped bone at the top of the dinosaur's tail that researchers normally ascribe only to males.

Sue is named after Susan Hendrickson, who found the fossil in South Dakota in 1990. The Field Museum of Chicago, Sue's caretaker, supplies two replicas for traveling exhibits.

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