Local Briefs

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2001

Affordable houses for sale

JUNEAU - The nonprofit Juneau Housing Trust is offering its first houses for sale, the group said.

To be eligible to buy a home, Juneau residents must be under certain income limits. They range from $36,500 for a one-person household to $60,500 for a six-person family.

A one-hour orientation session on the program and the houses will be held at noon Nov. 14 at the downtown library small conference room. Additional sessions are scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at Gruening Park and 5 p.m. Nov. 28 at the downtown library.

The three-bedroom, two-bath attached houses cost $152,000 with a $20,000 no-interest, forgivable down payment loan. They are currently under construction on Crow Hill Drive in Douglas, with an estimated completion date of spring 2002.

Tax proposal sessions scheduled

JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly has scheduled two special meetings this month to review a proposal that would decrease property taxes on aircraft and implement a new tax on commercial passenger boats.

The proposed ordinance will be introduced at 5 p.m. Nov. 13 with a public hearing scheduled at noon Nov. 23 in Assembly chambers.

The proposal would decrease taxes on aircraft by 60 percent, with helicopters and planes assessed by weight. The vessel tax would vary by boat length. Commercial fishing vessels such as seiners and gillnetters would be exempt, although the tax would apply to charter boats.

The Assembly needs to approve the ordinance by the end of the month if it is to take effect when new tax laws apply at the beginning of the year, City Manager Dave Palmer said. It takes 30 days for the ordinance to go into effect.

City plans more turnaround work

JUNEAU - Additional work at Juneau's downtown turnaround should reduce jaywalking and give trucks and buses more room, city staff members said last week.

The Assembly's Public Works and Finance Committee directed staff members to move forward with the second phase of the project. The turnaround was constructed earlier this year.

The next phase will modify curves near the Warner Building and by the library and change the transit pullout to give trucks and buses more room, according to Rorie Watt of the city Engineering Department. Landscaping and roped-off barrels should help discourage jaywalking, he said.

The city has enough funding left over from the first phase to cover the work, which should cost about $70,000, Watt said. The proposal will be reviewed by the state and the Juneau Planning Commission. Construction is scheduled for this spring, he said.

Assembly members asked the city to explore funding sources for other proposed improvements, such as historical information boards, public art and paving Admiral Way.

Auke rec road to go unplowed

JUNEAU - The U.S. Forest Service is advising motorists that it won't be plowing, sanding or de-icing the Auke Recreation Road this winter.

The primary route for motorists is now the recently built bypass highway, which will be plowed. But the Forest Service said drivers should use caution in traveling the recreation road, which runs past the Auke Rec area by the beach, in the winter.

Drunk driver gets 15 years

ANCHORAGE - A man with a 20-year record of drunken driving convictions who hit and killed a young woman while driving drunk last year was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison.

Russell Carlson, 40, was on Minnesota Drive the night of July 3, 2000, when he drove onto a sidewalk and hit honor student Jessie Withrow, 20, who was riding her bicycle.

Carlson had seven previous drunken driving convictions and a blood-alcohol content of 0.24, more than twice the legal limit. Withrow died the next day.

Carlson pleaded no contest in July to second-degree murder and drunken driving.

Withrow was a 1998 graduate of Stellar Secondary School and an active community volunteer. She had been home for summer break from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, where she helped start an organization of students against college drinking.

In a brief statement to the court, Carlson begged forgiveness of Withrow's mother, family and friends.

"I should never have been drinking and driving," he said. "I feel for them, because I know how it is to lose a family member. It hurts real bad."

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