The front page of the Juneau Empire on Feb. 26, 2004. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The front page of the Juneau Empire on Feb. 26, 2004. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Empire Archives: Juneau’s history for the week of March 2

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, More people, more state and federal funds, and higher property assessments will result in lower mill rates, according to a $76.62 million fiscal year 1985 budget proposed by Juneau City-Borough Manager Pat Teague. “Due to our population increase, increased state funding and federal shared revenue funding, the revenue side of our budget is quite healthy,” he said. Teague was unable to say how much he will seek in spending increases since municipal departments are still reviewing their requests. In Teague’s proposed budget the amount of local support for the Juneau School District remains the same as last year, although it could change after the district presents its budget to the Assembly next month. In its proposed budget, the district is seeking a 22% increase in funding, from $5.2 million this year to $6.4 million next year. Although mill rates would decrease in all areas except Douglas, assessed valuations have increased 16.5% in the city-borough.

Today Juneau’s financial situation is drastically different with an ongoing drop in population and less state funding. Also, the school district is in the midst of a financial crisis and is asking the Juneau Assembly for millions of dollars in extra assistance over a long-term period.

Original Story: “Lower mill rate proposed in new municipal budget,” by Christopher Jarvis. 3/2/1984.

This week in 1994, It’s final: The new middle school in Switzer Creek will be called the Tlingit name for Juneau. The school board voted 5-2 in favor of naming the school TsUnti KeeHeen, spelled “Dzanti K’i heeni” by Sealaska Heritage Foundation linguists and authors Nora and Richard Dauenhauer. The board resolution had the spelling TsUnti KeeHeen. However, Marine Drake Middle School administrator Ronalda Cadiente said the spelling provided by the heritage foundation, based on a 1950s approach to writing Tlingit, would probably be used. “Dzanti K’i heeni” was the top choice of a group of parents, staff and students charged by the board this fall with garnering community suggestions and recommending names. Board members Alan Schorr and Dale Staley voted against the name. Ben Lyman, the student representative, also voted against the name, saying his advisory vote was influenced by students who said they didn’t like the literal translation of the name: “where the flounder gather.”

Today the school is known by the slightly different name of Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School. However, it is scheduled for closure beginning with the coming school year as part of a Juneau School District consolidation plan that will put students in grades 7-8 at what is now Thunder Mountain High School.

Original Story: “School gets Tlingit name,” by Susan S. Christianson. 3/2/1994.

This week in 2004, Juneau would be better off with a new capitol instead of trying to renovate the existing building, an expert told the Capitol Planning Committee. “If you build a state capitol it’s the state capitol forever,” historian and restorationist William Seale said. Renovating the current Capitol would leave Juneau with a fixed-up old building, Seale said, and may not solve the problems of space, efficiency and aesthetics that now plague it. Juneau’s Capitol is “temporary” in the public’s mind, he said, and will never be any more than that until a permanent structure is built. Alaska is the only state with a Capitol in a building not designed to be one. The building is the original territorial facility.

Today the Capitol remains in the same building, although additional office and meeting space exists in surrounding buildings.

Original Story: “Expert: Juneau better off with a new capitol,” by Tara Sidor. 2/26/2004.

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