Former Alaska First Lady Ermalee Hickel is the honorary statewide chair of the capital city’s whale sculpture fundraising campaign.
The citizen’s committee has raised nearly $350,000 toward the $2.3 million project, a life-size bronze breaching humpback whale to be sculpted by Skip Wallen in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Alaska statehood. Committee chairwoman Kathy Ruddy says Hickel, who lives in Anchorage, will give the project some statewide reach.
“Having people upstate learn what we’re trying to do. A capital awareness campaign,” Ruddy says.
The whale has been donated to the City and Borough, which has agreed to locate and maintain it on city property.
The Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole this week approved the final sculpture location. Once planned for busy Marine Park, the 27-foot whale will be part of the proposed maritime park near the Douglas Bridge.
Ruddy calls it an optimal location.
“As you’re coming up the channel you’ll be able to see it,” she says. “You won’t be able to see it from Egan Drive, but Skip Wallen was always concerned about road noise in the first place, because he wants this to be an extraordinary experience where you see this whale and fountain, and in your mind you see a live whale breaching out of the water, which many of us have seen, but not everyone, so we’re eager to create that experience.”
The project is still about a year from completion. The committee is holding a fundraising dinner and auction Friday evening at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center.
The ten 6-foot resin whales’ tails that have been seen around Juneau this summer will be auctioned and the proceeds will go to the project.
- The City and Borough of Juneau Lands Committee will discuss a proposal to give Indian Point, also known as Auke Cape, back to the Auk'w Kwaan at its Oct. 23 meeting.
- Jeremie Shaun Tinney, 39, was sentenced to 220 days in prison and fined $3,000 for failing to stop for a peace officer, driving while intoxicated, and assault during the Dec. 3, 2016, incident.
- A lawsuit filed in federal court this week seeks to remove the residency requirement for people gathering signatures for state ballot initiatives.
- For the second time in two years, a Skagway political figure has been ordered to pay a fine for incomplete financial disclosures. Assembly hopeful Dan Henry failed to disclose substantial debt on his candidate paperwork. He will still be able to run for office in the upcoming election.