The front page of the Juneau Empire on Jan. 10, 1994. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The front page of the Juneau Empire on Jan. 10, 1994. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Empire Archives: Juneau’s history for the week of Jan. 14

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, there may be more than 400 “exceptional” children in Juneau who are not receiving the education they deserve. To help find them, this week the Juneau School District’s Social Services Program is starting a Child Find campaign — a communitywide search for “exceptional” children, said Sam Rust, the campaign’s coordinator. The search will include informational posters, radio announcements and brochures. Exceptional can be gifted or talented, or they can be mentally retarded, handicapped, emotionally disturbed or have a learning disability. As of October, the district was serving 722 exceptional children up to 21 years old, said Peggy Poor, special services spokesperson. The Juneau area has another 1,151 children up to 20 years old who are potentially “exceptional,” according to estimates made from census figures. This is the first time the district has conducted such a widespread program, said Dave Thomas, special services director. Until now the district has relied on word-of-mouth referrals, with some coming from doctors and the community.

Original Story: “In search of special kids,” by Kyoko Ikenoue. 1/10/1984.

This week in 1994, FRANK initiative supporters are basking in the aftermath of their harried but successful drive to collect enough signatures to force a statewide vote on the cost of moving the capital. Work has not yet started on the coming campaign to convince voters to approve the measure in November’s election, though a meeting may be held this week, committee member and former Juneau resident Fran Rose said from Anchorage. The Fiscally Responsible Alaskans Needing Knowledge committee submitted 37,220 signatures to the state Division of Elections on Jan. 9. The committee far exceeded the 26,143 signatures needed from registered voters in 27 of the state’s 40 House districts. Another initiative already on the ballot would move the capital to Wasilla as of January 1997.

Today there are occasional efforts to move the capital, but none have taken serious root. However, an ongoing “capital creep” continues to diminish the number of state employees in Juneau.

Original Story: “What’s next? Planning for FRANK vote to begin soon,” by Tim Huber. 1/10/1994.

This week in 2004, The Home Depot, a major retailer of building supplies, along with home and garden products, is negotiating for a site in Juneau, according to the company and local property owners. John Williams of Juneau Real Estate said The Home Depot plans to build a 100,000-square-foot building in the Lemon Creek area on property currently owned by Juneau Ready Mix. It could take two to three months before the real estate transaction can be completed, he said. John Simley, a spokesperson for The Home Depot, confirmed the company is actively searching for a location in Juneau, but has not found one and he declined to comment on the Juneau Ready Mix site. The Home Depot did consider the building formerly occupied by Kmart, but considered it unacceptable, Simley said. Dennis Watson, manager of the Alaska Industrial Hardware store in Juneau said “I think it’s good for the community. It will give customers more choice. It’s a real vote of confidence in the community if Home Depot decides to move here.” Watson said AIH competes “very successfully” with The Home Depot and other large building supply stores in a number of communities.

Today both The Home Depot and Alaska Industrial Hardware continue to operate in Juneau. The Kmart building, which subsequently became a Walmart until the megaretailer closed it in 2016, was purchased in late 2022 by U-Haul.

Original Story: “The Home Depot eyes Lemon Creek site,” by Juneau Empire staff. 1/9/2004.

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