State Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Poll shows move measure losing

JUNEAU - A new poll shows the ballot measure to move the Legislature north losing.

The Dittman Research survey showed 33 percent in favor of Ballot Measure 2, 62 percent against and 5 percent unsure. The question asked was: "On the general election ballot is an initiative that would move all sessions of the state Legislature to the Mat-Su Borough. Do you feel this initiative should or should not become law?"

The poll also showed support for a school construction and maintenance bond measure. Some 49 percent of those surveyed said they were strongly for the measure, 27 percent somewhat for, 8 percent somewhat against, 12 percent strongly against and 3 percent unsure. The wording was: "If the election were to be held today, would you vote for or against the statewide education bond?"

The poll was conducted that last week of September and 511 people were called. Results were listed in the Alaska Digest, an e-mail newsletter, and staff at Dittman Research confirmed the in-house poll results. They said the survey was not directly funded by any campaign.

The results are good news, but more work needs to be done to inform Alaskans about the move measure, said Alaska Committee Chairman Win Gruening. Of particular importance, he said, is reminding voters that Ballot Measure 2 would take away their right to know the cost of moving the Legislature and other state functions out of Juneau.

"We're not taking anything for granted," he said. "We should not let our guard down."

Barrow digs out from brutal weekend storm

BARROW - Barrow residents were recovering Monday from a brutal weekend storm while bracing for another, weaker, system expected to arrive today.

The storm brought 49-mile-an-hour winds to the coastal town Sunday and Saturday. It also brought 15-foot waves crashing to shore, cutting into coastal roads and eroding shorelines and gravel sea walls.

Some coastal roads were shut down, KBRW radio reported.

Work crews with the North Slope Borough Department of Municipal Services were out all weekend to rebuild sea walls and try to keep coastal roads open. But their efforts were thwarted by the huge waves, which struck sea walls down as soon as they went up.

Winds had greatly diminished by Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Waves had calmed to 5-foot swells.

A large expanse of open water is one of the factors behind the strong storm, the weather service said.

Knowles nominates Coffey to federal fish board

ANCHORAGE - Gov. Tony Knowles nominated a former state Board of Fisheries chairman to a federal panel overseeing North Pacific fisheries.

Knowles announced Monday he wants Dan Coffey to fill the seat vacated on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council by Soldotna developer Bob Penney.

Coffey, an Anchorage attorney, served two terms on the state fish board after being tapped by Knowles in 1996.

Penney submitted his resignation last week, saying he has pressing business out of state.

Knowles nominated Coffey to replace him and also submitted the names of former Sitka charter guide Bill Foster and sportfisherman Ben Ellis of Soldotna. U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans will make the final appointment.

Nome man found dead in apparent four-wheeler accident

NOME - A Nome man was found dead Saturday, the apparent victim of an all-terrain vehicle accident.

Alaska State Troopers in Nome said the body of John Ahmasuk, 46, was found near the mouth of the Penny River, which flows southwest into Norton Sound 10 miles west of Nome.

Two Nome residents found Ahmasuk at about 6:30 p.m.

Troopers said Ahmasuk apparently attempted to go up an embankment from the beach on his four-wheeler. The machine went off the side of the trail and rolled on top of Ahmasuk and he was trapped underneath.

Troopers transported Ahmasuk's body to Nome, where it was released to his next of kin.

Renovation work begins at Ketchikan airport

KETCHIKAN - Work crews began giving the Ketchikan International Airport a facelift Monday.

McGraw Construction of Sitka is working on the terminal renovation project.

Plans call for replacing terminal doors, adding a new elevator, replacing the baggage line and expanding the second floor. Work crews also will modernize bathrooms and relocate the airport lounge and snack bar.

Other, less visible changes also will be made, according to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Transportation Department.

Mushing with Jonrowe offered on new eBay site

ANCHORAGE - A two-day winter trip with Iditarod musher DeeDee Jonrowe is one of 40 experiences being auctioned off on a new eBay site.

Online bidding started at $500 for a trip with Jonrowe that claims to be "a hands-on primer on the art of sleddog racing from the sport's top female racer."

Among the other experiences to choose from on the eBay sports site are golf with Jack Nicklaus in West Palm Beach, Fla., a basketball shootaround with Earvin "Magic" Johnson in Chicago, and the chance to watch a minor league baseball game with Cal Ripken Jr. in Maryland.

All proceeds from the events will go to charity. Proceeds from the Jonrowe trip will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Jonrowe has been diagnosed with the disease.

As of this morning, the trip with Jonrowe had netted 13 bids, including a top bid of $2,025. Bidding closes Friday.

Help sought in Canadian wildlife slaughter

WHITEHORSE, Yukon Territory - Canadian authorities are investigating the slaughter of nine caribou along the Dempster Highway and are asking for the public's help in finding the killers.

Conservation officer Kris Gustafson called the killings an uncommon and disturbing event.

The animals were shot about 900 yards from the roadway about 12 miles south of the Yukon-Northwest Territories border.

"It doesn't fit into the 'respect wildlife, take only what you need' category, does it?" he said.

Gustafson said the caribou were discovered by a conservation officer within 550 yards of each other. There has been no attempt to field-dress nor salvage any part of the carcasses, he said.

Compiled from staff and Associated Press reports.

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