Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, October 19, 2003

UAS/Guard construction contract awarded

JUNEAU - The University of Alaska Southeast and the Alaska Army National Guard have awarded a $9.4 million contract to Dawson Construction of Bellingham, Wash., to build the joint UAS Student Recreation Center and Alaska Army National Guard Readiness Center near the Auke Lake campus.

Construction will begin this fall and should be complete by July 2005, the university said. Miller Construction of Juneau has completed the $1.6 million contract to prepare the five-acre site on which the 53,000-square-foot facility will be built.

The University of Alaska and the Alaska Army National Guard are funding the project jointly. A formal groundbreaking will be held at 2 p.m. on Nov. 8. Gov. Frank Murkowski, UA President Mark Hamilton and Brig. Gen. Craig E. Campbell will speak at the ceremony.

The planned facility, about the size of the Egan Library, will replace the Student Activities Center as a home for dances, physical education classes, movies and live performances. The National Guard gains storage space and a training center. Shared amenities will include locker rooms, exercise equipment, gymnasium and classroom space.

The projected cost of the project is $15.4 million. UAS is responsible for $5.47 million for the project, with the remainder to be funded by the Army National Guard.

KTOO transmitter fails

JUNEAU - Downtown Juneau and Lemon Creek viewers of KTOO-TV over the air on channel 3 won't be receiving the station for at least a week, the public broadcaster said.

KTOO reported Friday that a power transformer in the transmitter on top of the Federal Building failed and couldn't be repaired immediately.

The problem doesn't affect KTOO-TV's Mendenhall Valley transmitter, which operates on channel 6. Nor does it affect KTOO-TV on cable channel 10, which is how most of its viewers receive the station.

Escapees found in Valley

JUNEAU - Two teenagers who had left a juvenile jail work party near Mendenhall Loop Road last Sunday were found in a trailer Saturday morning, police said.

Police apprehended Akira Uehara, 18, of Juneau, and Brandon Galvin, 19, of Craig, in a trailer in the Mendenhall Valley at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Police said the trailer appeared to have been abandoned.

The youths were taken to the Johnson Youth Center, the state-run juvenile jail in Juneau. They face charges related to the escape.

Police investigate sexual assault report

JUNEAU - Police received a report of a sexual assault early Friday downtown.

A woman, 23, reported at 6:06 a.m. that an acquaintance had sexually assaulted her while she was downtown several hours earlier.

The complaint is under investigation, police said.

Teens allegedly caught rifling cars

JUNEAU - Police arrested five teen-age boys early Friday; alleging they had been breaking into cars near West 11th Street.

One of the boys was on probation and was taken to the Johnson Youth Center, according to Juneau Police Sgt. Kevin Siska. Three others were released to their parents. No information was available on the other boy.

Three of the boys were 15. One was 14, and one was 16, Siska said. After they were caught, the youths reportedly told police they had rifled three to five cars.

The original call came in to police at 12:08 a.m. One of those arrested was found with the removable faceplate from a car stereo. Siska said Friday that police were waiting to hear from someone missing the faceplate.

The faceplate is an anti-theft device that works when the owner removes it before leaving the car unattended.

Alaska jet makes emergency landing

ANCHORAGE - An apparent electrical problem forced an Alaska Airlines jet with 113 people on board to make an emergency landing at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Friday.

Flight 130 was en route to Chicago from Anchorage.

The pilots reported flap asymmetry, which means a flap did not extend properly as the plane prepared to land, said Jack Evans, a spokesman for the airline in Seattle.

"If the flaps aren't fully deployed, it lands faster than you normally would," he said.

The Boeing 737 landed without incident, he said.

Baby beluga rescued

ANCHORAGE - A baby beluga whale that became stranded behind a Ship Creek culvert was rescued and set free in Cook Inlet to find its mother.

The 5-foot-long whale probably split from its pod at Ship Creek and came through the culvert with the incoming tide, said Barbara Mahoney, a beluga management biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service. She estimated the animal's age at less than six months.

Enforcement Agent Mike Adams and biologists Brad Smith, Matt Eagleton and Mark Bolan slung a net around the beluga, towed it to shore, put it in a sling and lifted it out of the water, Mahoney said. The beluga weighed less than 100 pounds.

They loaded it on to a truck and drove it to the Port of Anchorage, where it was set free. Mahoney was optimistic that mother and baby beluga would be reunited.

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