State Briefs

Posted: Sunday, December 08, 2002

Alaskans invited to gov.'s open house

JUNEAU - Gov. Frank H. Murkowski and first lady Nancy Murkowski will host the annual holiday open house at the Governor's Mansion from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

"My husband and I are looking forward to greeting Alaskans for the first time at the executive residence during the governor's open house," Nancy Murkowski said in a statement.

The open house, a tradition for all but two years since 1913, attracts several thousand visitors.

Residence staff and Department of Administration grounds crew decorated the governor's residence for the holidays. Staff members have prepared 16,055 cookies, 1,500 slices of assorted breads, 12,350 pieces of homemade candy, and 2,390 tartlets, officials said.

Gingerbread houses created by students at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School will be on display in the dining room.

Entertainers will perform inside and outside. Jeff Brown will perform magic and Capital City Republican women will serve cookies and warm apple cider to those waiting in line outside.

Holiday music will be performed inside and outside the house. Entertainers include: the Victorian Carolers; Alaska Youth Choir, directed by Missouri Smyth; Celebration Ringers, directed by Lucy Merrill; Glacier Valley Baptist Messengers, directed by Lorraine Marshall; Juneau-Douglas High School Brass Ensemble and JDHS Instrumental Ensemble, directed by Ken Guiher; JDHS Choral Ensemble, directed by Barbara Wilmot; Juneau Christian School Carolers, directed by Freddy Cummins; Juneau Jubilee, directed by Jane Mulready; Top Gun Air Force Band of the Pacific; Ursa Major, directed by Guo Hua Xia; Floyd Dryden Middle School Jazz Band, directed by Scott Black; and Literacy Links Preschool.

Volunteers are from the Capital City Republican Women; members of the Order of Eastern Star Juneau Chapter No. 7; Rainbow Girls Juneau Assembly No. 3; Valley Chapel Elves, supervised by Ann Mattson; and the governor's office staff and family.

Guests with special accessibility needs should call Karen Newton at 465-3500.

Ground Zero flag at state museum

JUNEAU - The Alaska State Museum is displaying an Alaska flag that flew over the work site of an Alaska medical team that responded to the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.

The Alaska-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team spent 12 days staffing three aid stations near the wreckage of the trade center, the state said. The team was composed of physicians, nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, pharmacists, respiratory therapists and support staff.

Hawker still the winner in Anchorage

JUNEAU - Republican Mike Hawker was declared the winner of an Anchorage House seat following a recount Friday by the state Division of Elections.

Hawker beat nonpartisan opponent Pat Abney by 36 votes in the second tally. Abney had asked for a recount after trailing Hawker by 37 votes after the Nov. 5 election.

Abney is a retired teacher and former Anchorage Assembly member. Hawker is an accountant. His House District 32 includes the Anchorage Hillside area.

During the recount, seven ballots were discovered to have gone unread by the state's automated vote-counting machines, said division spokeswoman Virginia Breeze.

Division Director Laura Glaiser inspected the ballots and was able to determine the voters' intent, Breeze said. Abney picked up four votes and Hawker received three votes that way, Breeze said.

Soldotna man joins federal fish board

ANCHORAGE - Ben Ellis of Soldotna has been picked to serve on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the top advisory board for Bering Sea and other major commercial fisheries in federal waters off Alaska's coast.

Ellis was appointed Friday by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Don Evans. He replaces Soldotna developer Bob Penney.

Ellis has been active on advisory panels and boards related to fish matters on the state and federal level. He's also a former manager of a seafood processing plant.

Ellis was one of three nominees submitted by former Gov. Tony Knowles in October. Knowles indicated at the time that his preferred choice was former state Board of Fisheries member Dan Coffey, but Coffey was passed over by the commerce secretary. The other nominee submitted by Knowles was former Sitka charter guide Bill Foster.

Ellis will serve until the next August, the end of Penney's original term.

The North Pacific council makes recommendations on a wide range of fish issues for the deep waters of the North Pacific.

The governor of Alaska nominates five of the 11 voting members. The top fish manager of the state also is a voting member. The governor of Washington state nominates two members, and top fishery managers of Washington and Oregon also serve and vote. The council also has four non-voting members.

The chairman of the council is Dave Benton, a former top assistant in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Marshall students charged with fraud

ANCHORAGE - Three students from Marshall have been charged with fraud crimes after apparently using a teacher's credit card to order drug paraphernalia.

Alaska State Troopers said the three students, all age 16 or 17, obtained the teacher's credit card number and used a school computer to order $110 in paraphernalia over the Internet.

The students were charged with fraudulent use of an access device and obtaining an access device by fraudulent means. The students were referred to juvenile authorities.

The school has suspended the students.

Marshall is a village of about 350 people on the Yukon River about 75 miles north of Bethel.

Body spotted near Savoonga disappears

JUNEAU - Efforts to recover a body that washed up last month on St. Lawrence Island about 20 miles east of Savoonga have failed.

Alaska State Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson told KINY-radio that there was a break in the weather, but the body could not be located again.

The body was spotted Nov. 10 floating in the water at the base of a cliff and was described as substantially decomposed.

Troopers and village volunteers had difficulty reaching the body because of its location and weather conditions.

Wilkinson says its possible the body might have been from a Russian barge that disappeared in the area.

Subsistence board seeks comments

JUNEAU - The Federal Subsistence Board is accepting comments on proposed changes to the 2003-04 subsistence management rules for the harvest of wildlife on federal public lands and waters in Alaska.

For copies of the proposals, call (800) 478-1456 or (907) 786-3888, or see the Internet site at

The changes affect seasons, harvest limits, methods and means to take wildlife, and determinations of customary and traditional use.

Comments received by Jan. 6 will be provided to the board for its meetings in February and March. Changes approved by the board in May will be effective from July 1, 2003, to June 30, 2004.

More study needed for port expansion

ANCHORAGE - A new study says extensive sampling of the ocean floor of Cook Inlet is needed before a proposal to expand the Port of Anchorage can go forward.

The report, completed in August but not made public, says the underwater soils in Knik Arm may not be strong enough to support the planned expansion.

The plan calls for expansion 400 feet seaward of the existing dock, incorporating some 9 million tons of fill to create a nearly mile-long dock. Some 85 acres would be created and added to the port's 100 acres.

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