The front page of the Juneau Empire on April 21, 2004. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The front page of the Juneau Empire on April 21, 2004. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Empire Archives: Juneau’s history for the week ending April 27

Three decades of capital city coverage.

Empire Archives is a series printed every Saturday featuring a short compilation of headline stories in the Juneau Empire from archived editions in 1984, 1994 and 2004.

This week in 1984, Willow, once designated as the site as a new state capital, may be back in the running for that position again under a proposal by Senate President Jay Kerttula, D-Palmer. Kerttula said he will propose an amendment to a House Bill sponsored by Rep. Jerry Ward, R-Anchorage, which calls for construction of a legislative meeting hall in Anchorage. Kerttula’s planned amendment would delete all references in Ward’s bill to Anchorage, replacing them with the Matanuska-Susitna area where Willow is located. The Ward plan says voters must approve $100 million in bonds to finance the construction of the Anchorage capitol. That bill passed the House earlier this month by a narrow margin, with 21 representatives voting for it, and now faces a Senate vote. Should it pass the Senate with the Kerttula amendment the measure would return to the House for a vote on the proposed change. “If the capital move issue is going to be debated again this year, I think the Mat-Su ought to be considered along with Anchorage,” Kerttula said.

Today there is little serious discussion of moving the capital, although the “capital creep” moving of employees and agencies northward remains a persistent effort.

Original Story: “Kerttula proposes Willow capital,” by Debbie Reinwand Rose. 4/24/1984.

This week in 1994, nearly two months after reports of a mysterious discharge in Gold Creek and an unexpected fish kill, state attorneys are reviewing water test results that could provide answers to what happened and why. Test results have lagged because samples from the creek were put through minute analysis and testing, and closely watched for legal reasons, said Al Kegler of the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Additionally, Kegler said, the one person working on the water samples at DEC’s Juneau lab was out of town for part of the time, further pushing back results. After a milky discharge was reported in Gold Creek on March 3, nearly 300 dead Dolly Varden were found downstream over the next few days. DEC took water samples, and the state Department of Fish and Game collected the dead fish for further study. Cold Creek shares the same water supply as the city’s drinking water wells in Last Chance Basin, and city tests immediately after the fish kill determined there was no risk to the wells.

Original Story: “Legal review holds up water test results,” by Jeanine Pohl. 4/24/1994.

This week in 2004, the city’s two local phone companies, Alaska Communications Systems and General Communications Inc., agreed late Sunday night to end litigation that drained both companies’ resources for almost eight years. “The stars just aligned and everything seemed to come together,” said ACS spokeswoman Mary Ann Pease. “Everyone acknowledged that it was time to put some of the issues behind us and focus on the work that we’re supposed to be doing. We’re a telephone company, not a law firm.” ACS and GCI were scheduled for a hearing Monday before the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, a state agency that oversees the cost and quality of utility services. The hearing would have been the latest in a series of legal actions that began in 1996, when Congress mandated that whenever possible consumers should have a right to choose local phone service providers. Since the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 passed, GCI and ACS have been bickering over whether ACS is required to allow GCI to compete in Fairbanks and Juneau.

Original Story: “Pact lets GCI offer Juneau phone service,” by Christine Schmid. 4/21/2004.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at or (907) 957-2306.

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