State Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Ellis, Elton to lead Senate Dems

JUNEAU - Sen. Johnny Ellis was chosen minority leader by state Senate Democrats on Monday.

Ellis, a Democrat from Anchorage, has served two previous two-year terms as minority leader and has been in the Legislature since 1986. Democrats chose Sen. Kim Elton, a Juneau Democrat, as minority whip and recommended Sens. Lyman Hoffman, a Bethel Democrat, and Donny Olson, a Nome Democrat, to serve on the Senate Finance Committee.

Democrats will forward their committee recommendations to the Senate Republicans, who hold a 12-8 advantage, and the GOP leadership will make the assignments.

Senate Republicans earlier chose Sen. Gene Therriault, a North Pole Republican, as Senate president and Sen. Ben Stevens, an Anchorage Republican, as majority leader.

The 23rd Legislature convenes on Jan. 21.

Man charged with manslaughter, DWI

HOONAH - A man accused of striking and killing a pedestrian with his truck Sunday night faces new charges after his arraignment Monday in Hoonah District Court.

Gerard K. White, Sr., 43, was arraigned on charges of felony manslaughter, as well as reckless endangerment and drunken driving, both misdemeanors.

Hoonah police originally recommended a charge of criminally negligent homicide. Assistant District Attorney Doug Gardener said the current charges more appropriately fit the facts.

Manslaughter is a more serious felony than criminally negligent homicide, according to state statutes.

White is accused of driving a truck that struck Gary P. Smith, 39, of Hoonah, around 6 p.m. Sunday night on Garteeni Highway in Hoonah. Smith later died from his injuries.

Man seeks permit to house up to 60 dogs

JUNEAU - Robert Kling, who runs a tourist operation on the Juneau Icefield in the summer, is asking the Juneau Planning Commission for a conditional-use permit for a dog lot in the 24000 block of Glacier Highway, city officials said.

Kling now keeps his 26 dogs in kennels near Industrial Boulevard, said Community Development Director Dale Pernula. Kling wants to build several small doghouse-style structures on the Glacier Highway lot. He also is asking the commission to allow a variance for up to 60 dogs in order to board dogs from visiting dog teams.

The Planning Commission meets at 7 tonight in the Assembly chambers at City Hall.

Douglas Bridge update

JUNEAU - The Juneau Planning Commission will get an update from the state on the status of the 10th Street and Egan Drive intersection project at its regularly scheduled meeting tonight.

Improvements, proposed by the state Department of Transportation earlier this year, include widening the intersection, adding a third lane, and constructing a circular roadway on the Douglas side of the bridge.

The improvements are intended to ease congestion on and near the Douglas Bridge.

The meeting, in the Assembly chambers at City Hall, begins at 7 p.m.

Construction company appeals order

JUNEAU - A construction company is appealing the Juneau Planning Commission's compliance order prohibiting it from processing and storing materials at its Glacier Highway lot.

The commission issued its order for Duran Construction to cease storing equipment on the 6225 Glacier Highway lot until it receives a conditional-use permit, said Dale Pernula, community development director.

Pernula said storage of heavy equipment is not allowed in areas zoned general-commercial, such as the Duran site, and processing is prohibited.

The commission will take up the issue at an appeal hearing at 7 tonight in the Assembly chambers at City Hall.

Alaska Airlines: print boarding passes at home

JUNEAU - Alaska Airlines said that starting Dec. 17 only ticketed passengers with a valid boarding passes will be allowed through security checkpoints at all airports.

The airline had allowed passengers with itineraries, receipts and confirmation letters to pass through security.

The easiest way to avoid lines, the airline said, is to check-in on the Alaska Airlines Web site,, within 24 hours of departure and print a boarding pass.

In another change, secondary searches, which used to occur at the gate, will be moved just beyond the security checkpoint to ease congestion.

Homer plans for jump in cruise ship visits

HOMER - The Homer Chamber of Commerce said nearly 15 cruise ship bookings have been secured for 2003.

The 330-foot, 115-passenger Spirit of Oceanus, operated by Alaska Sightseeing Cruise West, will dock at least a dozen times on the Spit.

ResidenSea's 650-foot ship The World, which contains condominium suites, is to dock on July 10, carrying 650 to 700 passengers.

A 1,400-square-foot apartment on The World costs $2.7 million. The luxurious ship caters to entrepreneurs who sail the world, with an "endless navigation."

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