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Alaska and Yukon Headlines
Fur earmuffs, fur-lined jackets and furry, bearded Alaska men: It should come as no surprise that this year's trending accessory at the annual winter festival in Anchorage, the Fur Rondy, is animal fur.February 27, 2013
The judge in the John Nick Marvin, Jr. case has turned down a request for a new trial which could have led to a shortened sentence for the murder of two police officers.
Sitka Superior Court Judge David George on Thursday declined to set aside earlier findings that one of the Hoonah police officers was actually in performance of his official duties when he was shot over two years ago.
Judge George also denied a companion motion for a new trial to determine whether Sargent Anthony Wallace was actually performing those duties when he was chatting with a colleague’s children on Front Street in Hoonah.
Public defender Eric Hedland filed the motions following last November’s trial in which Marvin was convicted in the murder of Wallace and Officer Matthew Tokuoka. Both were killed during the August 28, 2010 shooting.
Marvin could be sentenced to anywhere from 20- to 99-years for Tokuoka’s murder, but a straight 99-years for Wallace’s murder because the sentence for a first degree murder of a peace officer is defined in statute.
Wallace, although in uniform, was socializing with the Tokuoka family at the time of the shooting. Hedland argued that was not part of his official duties.
Marvin’s sentencing is still scheduled for April 5th.
New Lynn Canal shuttle ferries will be 280 feet long, seat about 300 passengers and operate no more than 12 hours a day.
Part, but not all, of the car deck may be open. And the ships will have no staterooms or crew quarters.
That’s according to a draft design-concept report prepared for the Alaska Marine Highway System by Anchorage-based Coastwise Corporation.
Officials say it’s one of several steps in the design process for what’s being called the Day Boat-Alaska Class Ferry.The shuttle plan replaces an earlier Alaska Class design that called for a larger vessel that could sail longer routes.
Deputy Transportation Commissioner Reuben Yost says amenities will be limited, including food service.
“What we envision at this point of time is vending machines. So it would be similar to what we have on the fast ferries, in terms of amenities. So there won’t be a cafeteria, there won’t be cooked for but there will be food in machines and drinks in machines most likely,” Yost says.
Hulls and decks will be configured so vehicles can drive in one end and out the other, for quicker loading and unloading.
Yost says the ships could carry 53 large vehicles, but not all would be under cover.
“Essentially the vehicle space for the last 15 vehicles, if the car deck was full, would be in an area that we’re saying potentially could have an open roof,” he says.
Yost says high walls and other design elements will protect against ocean spray. He also says the vehicle deck is usually not full in winter months when wind and waves are at their worst.
Marine Highway General Manager John Falvey says the ships will be designed for Lynn Canal’s harsh conditions. For example, they’ll lack sponsons, which project from the side of the hull.
“It will not have the sponsons forward, which eliminates a lot of the slamming and potentially a very flared … bow which will deflect the spray. We feel that a vessel of these characteristics will have very good sea-keeping ability,” Falvey says.
They would be built to sail at an average speed of 15-and-a-half knots. That’s about the same as other ships in the fleet, except the fast ferries.
The design document estimates the final design could be completed by next November. And officials hope to keep costs within the $117 million put aside by the state.
Falvey says plans are to build two identical vessels.
“The shipyard is, in essence, lofted up and tooled up as far as their particular class of vessel that they’re building. You can throw a lessons learned and experience factor into the second vessel. There are actually many savings we will be able to see on the second vessel if we are able to sign a two-ship contract with the shipyard,” he says.
The draft plan will be presented to the Marine Transportation Advisory Board and the House and Senate Transportation Committees this week.
Opportunities for public comment will come later in the process.
Inspired by folk lore, fairytales, and societal roles we often willingly or unconsciously play, this humanistic work strips us of preconceived notions of “happily ever after.”
It begs a reassessment of both how we perceive ourselves and how we gauge fulfillment in this one all-too-short life. Special thanks to each dancer for their generous contributions.
After a decade of review, the Anchorage Assembly passed Title 21 Tuesday night.
Several versions of the Assembly have been revising Title 21, or Anchorage land-use law, for about 10 years. At their regular meeting Tuesday night the current assembly finally approved it, with more than 150 amendments. One major revision was the elimination of all commercial design standards, with an exception for big box stores. Assembly member Bill Starr spoke in support of the amendment.
“And if buildings become ugly, unsafe, unusable, too icy, to slippery, I think tenants won’t move into them. That’s the other motivation there, let the free market do it’s work. I’m gonna support the deletion of this small section and I think the industry can police itself,” Starr said.
The amendment was submitted by Assembly member Chris Birch. It passed 6-5. The design standards that were deleted called for windows that are visible from streets, clear entryways and easier pedestrian access. Municipal planners were in favor of them. Besides Trombley and Birch, Assembly members Bill Starr, Cheryl Frasca, Ernie Hall and Jennifer Johnston voted in favor of the amendment. The Title 21 process began back in the early 2000s and included a chance for the public could weight in on how they wanted the city to grow and develop. It was linked to the city’s recently adopted comprehensive plan, Anchorage 2020, which was meant to serve as a blueprint for 20 years. When Mayor Dan Sullivan came into office he began a review Title 21, using consultants. Critics say the process was directed away from the goals of 2020 and ended up being taken over by special interests.
Another major change was the decision to allow mother-in-law apartments on single family residential lots. Ossiander proposed the amendment. Gray-Jackson spoke out against it.
“This is a real big change and we really need more public discussion on this issue. And to go ahead and approve this amendment right now, I think, disenfranchises our community and I think it’s just simply not fair,” Gray-Jackson said.
The amendment passed 8-3.
Assembly member Patrick Flynn proposed amendments that would have limited invasive plants and trees, but they were shot down. He also proposed an amendment that would have made stream setbacks 50 feet versus 25. Ossiander was concerned that municipal stream-mapping was poor. She said she wanted to wait six months for a study to come out that would provide more information. That didn’t fly with Flynn.
“Jumpin’ Jimminy Cricket on a Pogo stick. We have been working on this for 10 years! Now we want six more months. Please, as much fun as this is, let’s just be done with it,” Flynn said.
There was a an exception for existing homes that were built closer to streams. The amendments was voted down 7-4 with Flynn, Traini, Honeman and Gray-Jackson voting in support of larger setbacks.
Another big issue was lighting. Assembly member Johnston proposed an amendment that allowed lower lighting on some streets in more rural areas. The assembly passed it. Then Mayor Sullivan vetoed it. Some assembly members said lower lighting was more appropriate in rural areas, despite the concerns of attorneys. The Assembly overrode the mayor 8-3, with Traini, Honeman and Gray-Jackson supporting the Mayor.
There was also a push by Trombley for to allow electronic signs to flash messages every two seconds instead of every 20 seconds, but it was voted down.
Former Assembly member and previous Planning Director, Dr. Sheila Selkregg, says the Title 21 passed Tuesday night has taken a U-turn away from the direction of Anchorage 2020. The deletion of commercials design standards, in particular, she says, will have dire consequences for the look and feel of the city.
“It means you can pretty much build any kind of design you want on a building. It can be as ugly and and as cheap as possible and you don’t have to meet any expectations.”
Selkregg says she’s disappointed that the Assembly didn’t listen to the public who turned out in numbers to recent public testimony to ask for a return to a provisionally adopted version of Title 21. She says the passage of the amended version can be attributed to one source.
“Big business owners, big property owners, BOMA, who don’t want to pay taxes, they don’t want to be told what to do — they really want to be able to do anything that they want in this town. They’re demonstrating that they’ve really put energy into political candidates and it’s paying off for them. And I think if the public wants something different, they need to get engaged and elect people that expresses their interests,” Selkregg said.
In the end the Assembly passed Title 21, 9 to 2, with Trombly and Flynn the only nay votes.
Listen to the full story
The March 11, 2011, earthquake in Japan was the world’s fourth-largest earthquake since record keeping began in 1900 and the worst ever to shake Japan. The seismic shock wave released more than 4,000 times the energy of the largest nuclear test ever conducted; it shifted the earth’s axis by six inches and shortened the day by a few millionths of a second. The tsunami slammed Japan’s coast with 30-feet-high waves that traveled six miles inland, obliterating entire towns in a matter of minutes. “Japan’s Killer Quake” combines authoritative on-the-spot reporting, personal stories of tragedy and survival, compelling eyewitness videos, explanatory graphics and exclusive helicopter footage for a unique look at the science behind the catastrophe.
- Wednesday 2/27 @ 9:00 p.m.