Local Briefs

Posted: Thursday, November 07, 2002

Hundreds of local children voted Tuesday

JUNEAU - About 1,600 children voted in the Juneau Kids Voting project, in which kids go to mock polls with their parents on Election Day.

Democrat Fran Ulmer garnered 53 percent of the kids' vote to Republican Frank Murkowski's 35 percent. U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens won the kids' vote but with just 44 percent. U.S. Rep. Don Young won with 50 percent.

In local state legislative seats , children gave Democratic state Sen. Kim Elton a slender victory over Republican Cathy Muñoz, and Democratic state Rep. Beth Kerttula a big win over Republican Mike Race. They gave Republican Bruce Weyhrauch a win over Democrat Tim Grussendorf with 55 percent of the vote for a House seat.

Children turned down bonds for residential mortgages for veterans, but supported transportation and school bonds; rejected a constitutional convention; turned down a legislative move by a 7-1 margin; and said yes to a gas pipeline authority.

Kids Voting booths were set up in each of Juneau's 16 precincts and at the high school. Students also worked with local media outlets and reported on Kids Voting activities and election results. More information is available at the Kids Voting section of juneauempire.com.

Fog, wind cause overflights

JUNEAU - Fog and high-altitude wind prevented at least two Alaska Airlines flights from making their scheduled stops in Juneau today.

Airline spokesman Jack Walsh said a morning flight scheduled to arrive at 6:45 a.m. delayed its departure from Sitka for two hours in hopes the fog would lift. "We flew over to Juneau, flew around a few times and then headed up for Anchorage," he said.

A later southbound flight also skipped Juneau. And as the fog cleared about 11 a.m., winds near Mount Roberts caused concerns about landing another flight, Walsh said.

About 20 Sitka High School students planned to fly to Juneau this morning to attend the Juneau-Douglas High School College Fair, but were unable to travel, said Jane Seesz of the Sitka school's counseling office. No other Sitka-Juneau flight was scheduled until this evening.

Numerous flights were delayed or canceled last month due to long stretches of foggy weather. The airline has installed equipment that has increased landings in cloudy weather, but still needs a mile of visibility to touch down, Walsh said.

City secures wharf bonds with $5 fee

JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly's Finance Committee decided Wednesday to use the city's $5-per-person cruise ship passenger fee as collateral for revenue bonds that will pay for upgrades at Steamship Wharf and Marine Park downtown.

The city has two passenger fees for cruise ships that use city facilities. One is a $2.18 fee for port development projects. Another is an older, $5 fee for mitigating cruise-ship related impacts.

The Steamship Wharf-Marine Park revenue bonds will be paid with the $2.18 fee, but the city needed a backup funding source, Interim City Manager John MacKinnon said. A new private dock or terrorist attack might reduce city revenue, he said. If used for the wharf project, funding from the $5 passenger fee would be repaid to that account, he added.

"It's a loan," MacKinnon said. "It can't be from a pot of money, because a pot of money can disappear with an appropriation. It has to be a stream of revenue."

The cruise ship industry is paying for 75 percent of the Steamship Wharf project, with the city picking up the rest.

The $2.18 fee also will be used to pay for a waterfront plan and studies to extend the city dock downtown. Work at Steamship Wharf started last month and should be finished next summer.

Compiled from staff reports.



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