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Devin Kelly

A proposal to outlaw metal palisade fences, singled out by biologists for goring moose, squeaked by the Anchorage Assembly Tuesday night.

The Assembly voted 6-5 to ban metal palisade fences shorter than 7 feet, unless the pales are capped or removed. The measure was sponsored by South Anchorage's Jennifer Johnston, who brought it forward on the request of constituents who were alarmed by reports and photos of moose gored on sharp pales.

According to area biologists, the fences are responsible for the goring of two to four moose a year.

Several Assembly members who voted against the proposal complained about government overreach...

Devin Kelly

Two Anchorage Assembly members unveiled a sweeping set of changes to city towing laws this week, the culmination of a long-awaited crackdown on predatory practices in the local towing industry.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Assemblymen Dick Traini and Paul Honeman introduced an ordinance to toughen regulations, curb fees and penalties, and increase protection for consumers. Traini and Honeman last fall revived long-running efforts to take aim at what has been described as predatory towing practices and price-gouging by certain Anchorage companies...

Devin Kelly

The Anchorage Assembly approved an external audit of the troubled SAP software project Tuesday night while raising pointed questions about the project’s future.

The audit proposal, co-sponsored by Assembly members Amy Demboski and Elvi Gray-Jackson, passed in a 7-4 vote. The proposal requested $200,000 for an independent review of the implementation of SAP, which has so far been marked by cost overruns, missed deadlines and staffing problems. The software is designed to automate many functions of city government...

Devin Kelly

GIRDWOOD -- In her will, Catherine McDermott’s wishes are clear.

She and her husband want to be cremated, and their ashes placed in the future Girdwood cemetery.

The key word is “future.” As of now, there is no cemetery in Girdwood. But a dedicated band of community members is fighting to build one, a final resting place for the roughly 2,000 full-time residents of the unincorporated community within the municipality of Anchorage...

Devin Kelly

A scheduled debate Friday night on Anchorage’s labor law has been converted into an “educational dialogue” after representatives of unions opposing the law refused to participate.

The event is being organized by United for Liberty, a coalition of right-leaning groups that has also hosted debates between U.S. Senate candidates in recent months. The labor law, which makes changes to collective bargaining for municipal employees, is appearing as a referendum on the Nov. 4 ballot and has prompted an outpouring of opposition from unions.

On the yes side, two current Assembly members, Ernie Hall and Bill Evans, had agreed to argue in support of the law. But union representatives with the “No on 1 -- Repeal AO37” campaign said no when asked to participate in the debate...

Devin Kelly

The lone gas station in Government Hill stopped selling gasoline over the weekend, a decision that a company spokesman said was tied to uncertainty over the future of the proposed Knik Arm bridge project.

The Tesoro gas station on Hollywood Drive took out all six of its gas pumps on Monday, a development first reported by KTUU-TV .

In an interview, Matt Gill, senior manager of external affairs for Tesoro, said the company is in the midst of a company-wide shift to replace single-walled underground tanks with double-walled tanks. He said the Government Hill station was scheduled to make the change this fall, one of the last of the company's stations to do so...

Devin Kelly

A preferred design has been selected for the planned major overhaul of the intersection at 36th Avenue and Seward Highway in Midtown Anchorage, one that includes an overpass and interior on- and off-ramps.

After several months of public input, engineers with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced the top design choice for the project last week. The DOT has spent the last 15 months evaluating alternatives, and in June the department put out a list of three options for public input...

Devin Kelly

An Anchorage police cruiser struck a pedestrian on Muldoon Road late Friday night, according to a police spokesperson.

The incident, described by police as an "officer-involved vehicle vs. pedestrian collision," occurred about 10:48 p.m. near East Sixth Avenue and Muldoon Road. Anchorage police spokesperson Dani Myren said the officer, Calvin Chinnis, was traveling southbound on Muldoon Road on his way to work.

The pedestrian, a 64-year-old man, was walking on the sidewalk when he stepped into the roadway and was struck by the patrol car, Myren wrote. He was taken to a hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries...

Devin Kelly

The two sides of Anchorage’s labor law referendum campaign are trading barbs over the design and placement of campaign signs.

Last week, the “Yes on 1” campaign, which is working to uphold the law that made changes to collective bargaining for municipal employees, rolled out signs with the slogans “Lower Taxes, Fair Wages, Safer City,” as well as the phrase “Keep AO-37.”

The red, black and yellow signs may look familiar, and here’s why: In terms of design, the “yes” signs look virtually identical to those produced by the “No on 1” campaign, which have been a ubiquitous sight around Anchorage for weeks -- a similarity representatives were quick to point out...

Devin Kelly

The state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is preparing to harness federal tax dollars to target Muldoon Road’s high crash rate.

A raised median and mid-block pedestrian safety areas are among the recommendations for the Northeast Anchorage corridor. DOT engineers hope the measures will help lower a crash rate they say is in some places three to four times higher than the state average for similar roads.

The project is estimated to cost $4 million, funded by federal Highway Safety Improvement Program. DOT officials said the department plans to advertise construction bids in the spring and has scheduled an open house for later this month...

Devin Kelly