The front page of the Juneau Empire on March 25, 1994. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The front page of the Juneau Empire on March 25, 1994. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Empire Archives: Juneau’s history for the week ending March 30

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, a local resident’s concern about the need for a left-turn signal in the southbound land of Egan Drive at Salmon Creek has been given the green light as the state Department of Transportation recently approved a new signal at that intersection. Gordon Epperly, a longtime school bus driver, had been concerned for some time over the lack of a left-turn signal at the Salmon Creek junction. Epperly started talking to residents and writing letters to officials — and it worked. A signal is going in this summer. “When the Department of Transportation first installed the lights at Salmon Creek, I went and complained,” Epperly said. “I told them they should put in left-turn signals. They told me they couldn’t because it would slow traffic.” But Epperly didn’t stop there. He took his concerns to the state attorney general’s office and the Juneau City-Borough Assembly, but also without success. “Then they had an accident right there at that intersection a couple of weeks ago, serious enough to call two ambulances,” Epperly said. “So I decided to go to the House Committee on Transportation.” DOT officials subsequently decided to install the signal.

Original Story: “Left-turn signal to be installed,” by Jeff Porteous. 3/28/1984.

This week in 1994, the state’s ability to go after criminal polluters would be severely weakened under proposed House cuts to the Department of Environmental Conservation budget. The Republican-led majority has eliminated the entire $249,600 for DEC’s environmental crimes unit — a joint effort between the department, state prosecutors and state troopers. The cut is part of $2.1 million pared from Gov. Walter J. Hickel’s proposed $20.7 million budget for the department. The House Finance subcommittee also cut the state’s pollution prevention program by about 30%. “We really focused (cuts) on those things that were not statutory requirements,” said Rep. Gene Therriault, a North Pole Republican. “It doesn’t mean necessarily that there will be absolutely no prosecution of environmental crimes.” But minority caucus member Rep. David Finkelstein, an Anchorage Democrat, argued that state environmental laws will be meaningless unless there is enforcement follow-up.

Original Story: “Cuts would wipe out pollution unit,” by Jeanine Pohl. 3/25/1994.

This week in 2004, Alaska can expect more cruise ship passengers this year, but that may not mean bigger profits for the industry, according to a Holland America executive. Holland America Vice President of Government and Community Relations John Shively told the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce earlier this month that 807,040 tourists, or about 31,000 more people than last year, are expected to visit the state on cruise ships this season. That projection is more than 51,000 than 2002 figures. “Our revenue doesn’t necessarily follow that trend,” Shively said. That discrepancy can be attributed to a steady increase in the size and number of ships offering trips to Alaska, which has resulted in highly competitive pricing between cruise ship companies, he said. “The industry as a whole has increased capacity in double digits for the last few years,” he said “Some of that capacity is coming up here.”

Today cruise ship traffic in Juneau has doubled from those figures, with more than 1.6 million passengers visiting in 2023 and about the same number projected this year.

Original Story: “Expect more cruise ship passengers,” by The Associated Press. 3/25/2004.

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