The front page of the Juneau Empire on May 17, 1984. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The front page of the Juneau Empire on May 17, 1984. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Empire Archives: Juneau’s history for the week ending May 18

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, the FBI has been contacted with tales of a possible cover-up in a recent state drug investigation, but received “no information of enough substance” to warrant federal involvement, a special agent said. A four-month investigation undertaken by the Alaska State Troopers ended Friday when 17 persons, including three state officials, were indicted by a Juneau grand jury on cocaine-related charges. Since that time the halls of Alaska’s Capitol have buzzed with rumors that somewhere in the course of the investigation other state officials may have been involved. Rumors are expected in”a political hotbed” such as the Capitol, said FBI Special Agent Larry Nelson. “We have heard the rumors…but I have no reason to believe there is hidden information or a cover-up,” Nelson said from Anchorage. “There inevitably will be rumors. There would have to be some specific, substantiative information from a credible source regarding this before would become involved.” A new angle to the investigation was revealed Wednesday on the Senate floor when Sen. Pappy Moss, D-Delta Junction, said he had complained to the state Department of Public Safety about drug use in the Capital City, accounting for the investigation’s inception.

Original Story: “FBI contacted in wake of cocaine indictments” by Debbie Reinwand Rose. 5/17/1984.

This week in 1994, lawmakers left the Capitol without passing Gov. Walter J. Hickel’s oil-tax bill, showing that Big Oil still has big clout in Alaska. The Legislature adjourned its special session Monday after the House rebuffed the governor for the second consecutive day. The oil bill was rejected on a 21-18 reconsideration vote after a tense morning of administration arm-twisting and closed-door caucuses among lawmakers. The final showdown delayed votes on other key legislation, including the budget bills and a potential settlement to the mental health lands trust dispute. But with Hickel’s bill finally dead, the Senate finished its work on other bills and adjourned at 4:36 p.m., followed by the House at 6:15 p.m. Hickel would not rule out calling a second special session for another crack at passing the bill he says would strengthen the state’s ability to pursue nearly $3 billion in back oil tax claims.

Original Story: “Legislators leave, but may be back,” by Ian Mader. 5/17/1994.

This week in 2004, the Juneau Assembly plans to support a second high school through a formal resolution, although one member says it could unduly influence the upcoming election. At the May 10 Assembly meeting, Stan Ridgeway asked the legal department to draw up a resolution that supports the school at Dimond Park in the Mendenhall Valley. The Assembly decided it will discuss and vote on the resolution at a special session next Monday to run in conjunction with the Committee of the Whole meeting. Assembly member Jeannie Johnson objected to the proposed resolution. “I just feel it’s inappropriate for us,” Johnson said. “I support the school, but I don’t think a resolution is appropriate.” Afterward, Johnson said the resolution could unduly influence the special election scheduled for May 25. The public will vote on a ballot initiative that effectively blocks construction of a second high school at Dimond Park.

Today what became Thunder Mountain High School is in its final days as the Juneau Board of Education approved a consolidation plan that will convert the facility to a middle school and place all students in grades 9-12 at Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé.

Original Story: “Assembly to vote on building school,” by Tara Sidor. 5/12/2004.

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

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