Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO - Juneau
Rosemarie Alexander is a reporter at KTOO in Juneau.
Monday was Labor Day, set aside in both the U.S. and Canada to recognize workers. In Alaska, it was a day to collect signatures on two initiatives to protect workers. One is statewide – to increase the state’s minimum wage. The other asks Anchorage voters to overturn a municipal law that limits the rights of city employees.
The Alaska Marine Highway System Manager says the first of two day boats will be sailing Lynn Canal even before the summer of 2016. Captain John Falvey and other state transportation officials are holding meetings on the new ferry design this week.
The number of ships through the Bering Strait grew 118 percent between 2008 and 2012, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. As nations attempt to stake claims for rich Arctic resources, the U.S. currently has little presence there. The Coast Guard has two ice breakers capable of operating in the region. That’s four short of the six required to fulfill the agency’s mission in both the Arctic and Antarctic.
The Arctic ice cap reached a new low a year ago. In just six months, 4.5 million square miles of Arctic Ocean ice melted, according to a 2012 report by the United Nations.While that may be hard to imagine, the commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star says Arctic ice was the lowest he’s ever seen in all his ice breaking trips to the region.
The U.S. Coast Guard is 223 years old. The maritime service was created on Aug. 4, 1790 as the Revenue Cutter Service under the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Alaska Administration Commissioner Becky Hultberg is sending a decision on a multi-million-dollar furniture contract back to the judge.
Singing the Alaska Flag Song, supporters of a referendum to repeal the state’s new oil tax turned in more than 51,000 signatures on Saturday to the Division of Elections Anchorage office.
Government subsidized senior public housing will go totally smoke-free in August. The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation will implement no-smoking rules in residents’ apartments, forcing smokers outside to common areas. But some folks at Juneau’s Mountain View Apartments are fighting back.
More than 25,000 Filipinos live in Alaska, and now they’ll have an easier time accessing their government. The Filipino Ambassador and Consul General to San Francisco have been in Juneau to celebrate the appointment of the first Honorary Consul of the Republic of the Philippines to Alaska.
Alaska continues to add jobs to its seasonal economy. The preliminary statewide unemployment rate for April is 6 percent, the lowest since mid-2007. It dropped a full percentage point from April 2012.
Salt Lake City Police Assistant Bureau Commander Bryce Johnson has been selected to head the Juneau Police Department.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 31st in King County Superior Court for a Seattle-area man convicted of the 2012 murder of 22-year-old Ashton Reyes of Juneau. A King County jury earlier this month found Jacob Andrew Mommer guilty of first degree murder and second degree assault, while armed with a deadly weapon.
A new turboprop aircraft will make it easier for a medical transport service to land in some Southeast Alaska communities. Airlift Northwest will operate a Turbo Commander as well as the Learjet between Juneau and rural communities.
The so-called Coastal Caucus has given some Alaska senators a louder voice in the lopsided Republican majority that favors the state’s urban centers.
Former Juneau Mayor Bill Overstreet is being remembered as a persuasive and successful spokesman for Alaska’s capital city during the capital move fights of the 1970s and 80s. Overstreet died last week in Sun City West, Arizona, where he and his wife Jean have spent their winters in recent years. He was 86-years-old.
Friday will be the first Vietnam Veterans Day in Alaska. Gov. Sean Parnell has signed legislation designating March 29 of each year as a day to honor those who served in Vietnam. The law takes effect immediately.