Monday, January 6, 2003

The charter and the manager
While I'm glad to see that Donna Pierce has decided to resume her employment with the city, her rehiring cannot and does not change the charter provisions that prevent Mr. MacKinnon from being considered for the manager's job, and it's time that the Empire stopped spreading such misinformation in its editorials.

One-sided reporting
Tim Bradner's piece, "Timber industry hopes it's on the way up," (Empire, Jan. 3) is a shameful example of one-sided reporting. A balanced article would have mentioned that the peak period, when Mr. Woodbury claims there were 3,000 jobs in the timber industry, was not sustainable. Those jobs were provided at the expense of future generations of loggers. During the heyday of logging by Alaska's Native corporations, virtually all the timber on Southeast Alaska village corporation lands was cut in less than 20 years with very little left for fish and wildlife values. The cost: No more jobs and greatly reduced opportunities for traditional uses of those lands.

One more time
I would like to respond to the two gentlemen who took issue with my letter of Dec. 29 about our national forests belonging to all Americans.

Balance war coverage
War is the ultimate failure of human beings to act with compassion, intelligence and foresight. Bush's proposed war against Iraq exposes U.S. greed, impatience and arrogance. I can't understand why President Bush is so eager for war and why he is supposedly so popular. He is pandering to people's darkest sides, playing on their fears, planting seeds of intolerance, and trying to generate unexamined patriotism.

Surprising theory
I was complimented by the kind remarks in Don Smith's recent editorial about my return to City Hall, but surprised at his theory of how this would affect the selection of the next city manager, as he has not discussed the subject with me. Even so, I'm sure he would agree that the recruitment and selection of the interim and permanent city manager are entirely the province of the Assembly. My job is to work effectively with whomever the Assembly may choose.

Filtering the spam
In response to Ann Pennington's letter in Friday's Empire, if regulations against computer spam were enforceable it would be a great idea, although I suspect it would require more extreme monitoring of people's private communications, which does not sit well with me.

Around Town
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Wet winter weather breaks record
Juneau went from Christmas wonderland to slushy, icy wind tunnel over the weekend. As some of the last vestiges of snow and ice melted from lower elevations this morning, the National Weather Service issued another high wind advisory. The highest wind gusts at the Juneau Airport peaked at 52 mph on Sunday, mirroring conditions Saturday.

AroundTown
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Small fire forces evacuation of JDHS construction workers
A small fire midday Friday at Juneau-Douglas High School during its renovation sent two construction workers to the hospital, but didn't cause serious structural damage, officials said. Students, on winter break, were not in school during the fire. About 60 workers from Coogan Construction were evacuated for an hour.

They're all stars at Cub Scout day camp
The film director plunged her hand into a plastic bag and pulled out a mask with feathers erupting from it like flames, but the young actor wasn't sure he wanted it. Ditto the big, furry bearclaw slippers. "I'm just saying it's kind of weird and neat," director Rebecca Mass said Saturday morning as she tried to interest her Cub Scout charges in the costumes. "Cow? Cow, I have this turtleneck that has cowlike spots on it. Are you interested? I'm just giving you options," she said to a boy shrinking from her.

Police and Fire
Juneau police, fire officials and state troopers reported:

Family Birth Center plans to raise funds for new building, program
The Juneau Family Birth Center, a nonprofit organization that opened in 1998 to provide midwife-assisted births in Juneau, plans a fund-raising drive for a new building in town. "We're at that point as a nonprofit where it's prudent to own a building rather than lease one," said Kaye Kanne, one of the center's full-time midwives and its director.

Police & Fire
Reports by Juneau police, fire officials and state troopers.

Forest Service fights trailhead trash
Holidays and weekends often mean extra work for U.S. Forest Service staffers. People who pull off the road to party along back roads and trailheads tend to leave their trash. And it's often up to Forest Service staff to clean up what's left behind. One of the worst spots is the Windfall Lake Trail parking lot, at the end of a short road that leads from Glacier Highway near Herbert River, said Forest Service law enforcement officer Dave Zuniga.

This Day in History
In Alaska, In the Nation.

Images from another time
Writer James A. Michener, left, talks with Michael Anderson of Portland, Ore., July 3, 1988, after autographing a copy of Michener's most recent book at the time, "Alaska."

SEARHC, Yale offer alcoholics option
Alcoholics looking for help with their disease have a new option in Southeast. Yale University's School of Medicine and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, a Native health care provider, have teamed in a study that tests whether certain prescription drugs can curb the desire to drink.

Wayne E. Bender
Wayne E. Bender, 67, died in Juneau on Dec. 31, 2002, after a short illness.

Dorothy June Vavalis-Enbusk
Lifetime Juneau resident Dorothy "Lulu" June Vavalis-Enbusk, 56, died Jan. 2, 2003, at her home in Juneau.

James L. Stansbury
Former Juneau resident James L. Stansbury, 79, died Dec. 30, 2002, in Spokane, Wash.

Techwit: E-piphanies on the computer
E-piphany. It's defined as a moment of revelation experienced in cyberspace. Like when I figured out that all that junk e-mail we get about home refinancing and Viagra is part of a plot by conservative pro-family forces to keep us at home making babies. I think their real agenda is to expand the consumer base. Anything for the economy.

Toe Cartoon

Empire editorial: Pierce's return gives pause to reconsider MacKinnon
Former Deputy City Manager Donna Pierce starts back to work Monday. This is good news for Juneau, as the office she vacated at the end of June along with City Manager Dave Palmer will once again be restored with her deep experience and institutional knowledge of the interworkings of city government.

My Turn: Good reading about good Alaskans
Happy New Year. Many received gift certificates for books for Christmas. On rainy, gloomy winter days, reading is great educational entertainment. It also lifts the spirits. Two Alaska books were high on our list of uplifting books this holiday season. One was out last summer, "9 Lives of An Alaska Bush Pilot," by Ketchikan's Ken Eichner. The other was out in October, "Alaska's Heroes," by Juneau's Nancy Warren Ferrell.

My Turn: Governing is more than conservative slogans
I love to hear former Gov. Walter Hickel tell why he made the controversial appointment of Ted Stevens to the U.S. Senate 34 years ago. "A fighter, a survivor" is how he describes one of the most important decisions ever made by a governor in Alaska's brief history.

My Turn: Lisa Murkowski has wide support
For those individuals unhappy over the appointment of Lisa Murkowski to the U.S. Senate, I think it is time to move on to the real issues facing our state and nation: that is, homeland security, national security, reforming social security, and so on. Lisa has to face the voters in 2004 and will be judged on her record.

What do you think?
Yes, Juneau needed a new high school a number of years ago.

Go for four out of five resolutions
The clock is ticking on the new year and you're still agonizing over New Year's resolutions. First you tell yourself you won't make any, who needs them, they're for losers. Then you tell yourself you're sick of being a loser and maybe just one or two resolutions would help you evolve into the person you know you can be. You know you want to make resolutions, so let's get it over with.

Ginkgo biloba may help skiers, climbers avoid altitude sickness
SALT LAKE CITY - This spring, 100 test subjects are scheduled to be driven up the slopes of Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano to try to pin down whether an inexpensive herbal extract can protect climbers, skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts from the debilitating effects of high altitude.

Keeping track of Southeast birds on the Internet
How many years have you jotted down the arrival date of the first hummingbird at your feeder? The first call of the varied thrush? The first swans headed south in the fall? Now, come 2003, suppose you were curious about how this year's dates compared with sightings in years past. How much time and how many calendars and scraps of paper would it take you to compose a picture over time?

Snow report
The status of Alaska and nearby ski areas.

Crossing the Icefield
How to keep cool on a massive block of ice. That was the unlikely problem confronting the 14 members of the Juneau Alpine Club as we skied across the Juneau Icefield last spring. For most of the trip, the weather was extraordinary warm and sunny. Frequent application of sunscreen and use of wide-brimmed hats and deep-tinted sunglasses with nose shields were essential. And despite those precautions, our nostrils and tongues were still sunburned from reflected light.

Out and About
Jan. 6: Juneau Rifle and Pistol Club annual membership meeting, 6 p.m., Juneau Gun Club, 1/2 mile Montana Creek Rd. Details: 789-9844. Jan. 7: Free geology and minerals class for children ages 9-11, 6:30-8:15 p.m., Juneau Mineral Information Center, Mayflower Island, Douglas. Classes also will be offered Jan. 21, Feb. 4 and 18, March 4 and 18 and April 1 and 15. Details, registration: Jane Albrecht, 364-1553.

Sports in Juneau
Information on upcoming sports and outdoors events in Juneau.

Ping pong paradise
Thirty-eight table tennis enthusiasts filled Marie Drake gym with the sounds of pinging and ponging Saturday at the Close Up Holiday Table Tennis Tournament. Nine tables were spread across the gym floor, and the first-time event - one of few table tennis competitions in Juneau - drew many "secret" players who usually only play at home.

Top Quest musher puts dog team up for sale
Despite the fact that training is going well and his dogs look good, top Yukon Quest musher Peter Butteri of Tok is putting his team up for sale. Six weeks before the start of the race Butteri says he no longer has much enthusiasm for mushing. "I'd prefer to be on a beach in Mexico," Butteri told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Sports in Juneau
Sports in Juneau is a service provided by the Juneau Empire to provide information on upcoming sports and outdoors events in Juneau.

Bulls 85, Cavaliers 79
CHICAGO - Jalen Rose scored 19 points and Tyson Chandler hit two go-ahead baskets in the fourth quarter as Chicago blew a 20-point lead before beating Cleveland.

Suit aims to block rule on donations
A new state rule requiring Alaska's political parties to disclose their sources and uses of so-called soft campaign money is being challenged in court.

Man sentenced in Ketchikan beating
A Ketchikan man has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for the beating death of his former friend. Carl W. Abuhl, 30, was sentenced Friday on his October conviction of second-degree murder for the May 2001 death of Steve Bowen.

Nikiski man dies in traffic accident
A 48-year-old man died over the weekend in a traffic accident on an icy road in Nikiski. Thomas Harrick of Nikiski died at the scene of the single-vehicle accident, which occurred early Saturday afternoon on Holt-Lamplight Road.

State Briefs
Inaugural celebrations planned; Sex offender faces charges for playing Santa; Norquest interested in Ketchikan plant; Tacoma man charged with trying to kill second person; Banks warned to watch out for phony state checks;

Flooding leaves Salcha residents stranded
The state Department of Transportation said access to Salcha remained cut off by flood waters on the Old Richardson Highway today and it could be Wednesday before the waters freeze sufficiently to allow construction of an ice road.

Intertie costs questioned
ANCHORAGE - Railbelt utilities have decided to take another look at the cost of building a second Anchorage-Kenai power intertie. Utilities also voted Thursday to seek more state funds for the project before making a final decision in July on whether to go ahead.

Rural affairs adviser aims to bridge divide
Gov. Frank Murkowski's new adviser on rural affairs has been a North Slope oil lobbyist, labor negotiator, Native beauty queen and college rugby player. Tara Sweeney's varied background should help her handle the wide range of issues she will face, said Murkowski's spokesman John Manly.

Founder of riverboat business, former state legislator dies at 82
The founder of a popular Fairbanks riverboat attraction has died at the age of 82. Jim Binkley died Friday as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Alaska State Troopers said. Binkley had been in great pain in recent years because of a degenerative nerve disease, said his son, Riverboat Discovery President and former lawmaker Johne Binkley.

Merger expected to double Kinross Gold Corp. size
A pending merger between Kinross Gold Corp. and two Canadian companies would make Kinross the seventh-largest gold producer in the world.

Another aftershock shakes Interior
A light earthquake rattled the Interior early today. The Alaska Earthquake Information Center in Fairbanks said the magnitude 4.6 quake was another aftershock from the massive 7.9 quake that shook much of the state Nov. 3.

Heli-skiing industry hits turbulence in Alaska
Helicopter skiing and snowboarding are a growing industry in many snowy climes, but in Alaska they're having a hard time lifting off. A Girdwood company has scaled back expansion plans after opposition arose to potential new landing sites. Outside Haines, the state has proposed new restrictions on heli-recreation operations at the urging of local residents.

Woman killed, 3 injured in auto accident
A woman was killed and several other people injured late Friday when the car she was driving collided with a truck on Minnesota Drive, police said.

SE towns consider boroughs
Some Southeast Alaska communities will be watching carefully as the state weighs the fate of unorganized regions over the next few months. At the behest of the Legislature, the state's Local Boundary Commission last month identified eight areas that might have the financial capacity to form a regional government - a borough. Four are in Southeast, where the subject has been controversial.

Surfer rescued
The Coast Guard rescued a Ketchikan man from swift currents off Rotary Beach, about a mile from Ketchikan, on Sunday afternoon.

Trident agrees to $1 million penalty for pollution
ANCHORAGE - Trident Seafoods Corp. has agreed to pay $1 million for air pollution violations at the company's huge Akutan processing plant in the Aleutian Islands.

Alaskans can expect $1,200 permanent fund dividend - if market holds
ANCHORAGE - If Wall Street doesn't take a downturn in the next six months, eligible Alaskans will get a permanent fund dividend of roughly $1,200 this coming fall. Last year's dividend was $1,540.76. But the margin in the nearly $23 billion permanent fund right now is razor-thin - just $35 million, or less than less than two-tenths of 1 percent. And stock market fluctuations can change the value of the fund by $200 million in a day.

Troopers look into shooting by officer
Alaska State Troopers continue to investigate an officer's fatal shooting of a man Saturday morning near Soldotna as the man drove his car toward another trooper after refusing to get out of his vehicle.

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