Empire Archives is a series printed every Saturday featuring a short compilation of headline stories in the Juneau Empire from archived editions in 1985, 1995 and 2005.
This week in 1985, Approval of what bond measures would be on the local Oct. 1 ballot was given by the Juneau City-Borough Assembly, with the $22 million in bonds including $2.7 million for the new Mendenhall Valley community recreation complex including sports fields, tennis courts, restrooms, a concession building and parking. Other bond proposals included $9 billion for an expansion of what was then known as Bartlett Memorial Hospital, $7.8 million for a new downtown library, $1.75 million to expand Marine Park and $795,000 for school building repairs.
Original Story: “Park among bond issues approved for ballot” by Leslie Murray. 08/30/1985.
This week in 1995, supporters of a local ballot initiative to cap property taxes at 12 mills sent a fundraising letter to about 2,500 Juneau homes. The letter by Gary Jenkins, chairman of Citizens for Reasonable Property Taxes, stated contributions would help stop excess city spending. The initiative would set a cap of 12 mills, plus what was needed to pay off bond debts for public works projects. The existing rate at the time was 11.62 mills, compared to today’s 10.16 mill rate.
Original Story: “Letter pushes tax cap” by Mark Sabbatini. 08/30/1995.
This week in 2005, the Douglas Bridge roundabout was declared fully operational by officials and local drivers, although near-fender-benders during one morning weekday rush hour suggested some people were struggling to grasp the newest traffic design in Juneau. “I haven’t seen any improvement in terms of driving defensively,” said Leimomi Matunding, a Douglas resident who said she was leaving her home at 6:30 a.m. to beat the traffic to get to her state job. “From the Breeze-In to the roundabout, it can take 20 minutes, especially in heavy traffic,” she said. The problem, she said, is “we still have a lot of drivers that are very cautious and they go really slow. They don’t know how to do it correctly. Now that school’s in session, it’s going to get worse.”
State Department of Transportation engineering manager Pete Bednarowicz, who was in charge of the design of the roundabout from the first sketches to the final advertising, said he was pleased with the responses he had received. “I haven’t seen any problems at all with it,” he said.
Original Story: “Roundabout moves traffic — and opinions” by Korry Keeker. 08/29/2005.
• Questions or suggestions for the Empire Archives series? Contact reporter Clarise Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651)-528-1807.