Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Seek balance with wildlife
Between Stevens and Murkowski, Sunday's paper carried sad news for folks who care about Alaska's wild environment and the myriad creatures living there.

CBS affiliate shuffle
I would like to thank those of you who have called with questions and concerns regarding the KTNL-lp displacement of KIRO on GCI cable channel 14 effective Feb. 3. Having operated CBS stations in Ketchikan and Sitka for the past two years, let me assure you we are well aware of the needs and demands of the viewing preferences in Southeast Alaska.

Protect game, not predators
After reading the Empire article entitled "Governor ponders wolf control," I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, a voice of reason. Last fall the Game Board in Anchorage ruled that we must protect the wolves on Douglas Island, even though our local Advisory Board was overwhelmingly against it. I thought it was the Game Board's responsibility to "protect game," not protect predators. A proper house-cleaning was definitely in order. I would like to congratulate the six new board members and wish them God speed in repealing the decisions in regards to game management and predator control.

Powers of the people
After reading the Sunday Empire's "What do you think" about U.S. military force ousting Saddam, it suddenly occurred to me that we Alaskans might get some David and Goliath action done regarding the federal government. Current events have given us possibly the greatest opportunity in 200 years to increase states rights and citizen authority at the expense of improper federal power.

Build the Valley high school
The voters approved building a second high school: It is time to build it now. State funds are available to help, interest rates are low, we have an educationally and fiscally sound plan that will serve the community with the least amount of disruption for a good 20 years. I urge the Assembly to approve the School Board plan.

Real value of kings
A read with interest Eric Fry's article in the Sunday Jan. 12 Empire, "King Plan Hacks at Sport Harvest." I am a sportfisherman, own a charter boat and hold a commercial fishing permit. I do not dispute the article's statement that 10,000 additional king salmon could mean $300,000 to commercial fisherman. Unfortunately the article implies by omission that commercial fisherman are residents of Alaska.

Unbalanced board
The governor's latest appointments to the Board of Game represent a calculated lack of diversity. As an avid big game hunter, I believe the best thing for wildlife populations, and my ability to continue to hunt them, is a diverse Board of Game that can make reasonable decisions and protect the long-term health of the populations of elk, deer, moose and caribou that I hunt.

A youthful mistake
I have read the Empire for many years and know there are always two sides to each story. I have been quite saddened by the events that were caused as a result of Laura Stidolph's drinking and driving. I am very grateful that no one was seriously hurt.

Go with board's design for Valley high school
It is important to be clear about the scope of the current high school construction debate. The community of Juneau has had extensive discussion about the best way to meet current and future high school education needs. Following lengthy debate, the majority of voters approved building a second high school in the Valley with the understanding that partial state funding would limit local taxpayers' share of the cost to no more than $25 million. Due to reduced interest rates and increased state funding, we actually will be able to build the Valley high school design now proposed by the school board, despite inflation, for less taxpayer cost than in 1999.

Perfecting delivery
I am writing in response to Ellie Sica's letter of Wednesday. I am one of the adult motor route drivers about whom Ms. Sica refers. I have been driving for the Empire since August 2000, and have seen many changes. The replacement of youth carriers with adult motor route drivers was not made lightly. It is part of a bigger plan to improve the Juneau Empire for you, the customer. I'm sorry you have not experienced a smooth transition, but would like to ask you not to judge the whole based on the performance of a few.

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

Vying for the games
Considering they'd been prevented by weather from flying into Juneau as scheduled, the members of the site selection committee for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games arrived a day late with one concern on their minds.

Photo: House fire
A fire broke out around 10 a.m. today in the attic of a house at 578 Alder Street downtown. Smoke billowed from the eaves as Capital City Fire & Rescue workers broke into the house's roof and shattered several windows to locate the source of the fire.

AroundTown
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

BEARS retools sanctuary plans
Members of a fledgling Juneau nonprofit group are reworking plans for a bear sanctuary after the state ruled against their proposal to rehabilitate problem bears. The state Department of Fish and Game told BEARS Inc. in November that it has a long-standing policy against releasing wild animals held in captivity. BEARS, which stands for Bear Education and Rehabilitation Sanctuary, wanted to condition wayward bears at a center in Juneau.

2003 : Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
About 300 people attended a ceremony Monday at Centennial Hall to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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

This Day in History
In 1911, Mount Wrangell erupted and Central Alaska was shaken by an earthquake.

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

Rescuer loses gear to thief
Sitting at a sporting goods shop where he had purchased most of his climbing gear over the years, Steve Handy eyed the cost to replace the items he used with Juneau Mountain Rescue. All of Handy's climbing and rescue gear was stolen Jan. 8 from his 1992 GMC van parked at Merchants Wharf.

Empire editorial: Welcome governor, legislators, commissioners and staff
Today marks a new beginning for Alaska. The start of the 23rd legislative session since territorial days ended in 1959 will see many new faces in Juneau and new tenants in the Governor's House for the first time in eight years. Alaska's capital city extends a warm welcome to Frank and Nancy Murkowski, and to the new and returning members of the House and Senate, the incoming commissioners, deputy commissioners, department heads and to all the department and chamber staff members who will make Juneau home for the next four months or the next four years.

My Turn: School stewardship neither arrogant nor greedy
Coaches Hamey and Knight - The law has acted, justice dispensed. Let the coaches and program move on and the healing begin. Skaters Geldhof and Wheeler - There hasn't been so much ado about skating since the Canadian duo in the Olympics. Geldhof and Wheeler's time for icing is acknowledged, let's move on to the positive community opportunities of the ice arena.

My Turn: Murkowski family's roots in Alaska run deep
Once upon a time (about 1950) in the little town of Ketchikan, Alaska ( pop. 4,000) there were only two banks. First National Bank of Ketchikan was located on the northwest corner of Dock and Main streets. The other, Miners' and Merchants' Bank, was located across the street on the northeast corner of Dock and Main. President of First National was Frank Murkowski. He and Mrs. Murkowski had a son, Frank. A director and major stockholder in M&M was attorney Lester Gore. He and Mrs. Gore had a daughter, Nancy, born in Nome when the family lived there. The youngsters were sweethearts in Ketchikan High School.

Notre Dame can't break UConn's 56-game winning streak
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Connecticut never gave Notre Dame a chance to add to its collection of streak-ending upsets. Barbara Turner scored a season-high 25 points in her first start, leading UConn to its 56th straight win Monday, a 72-53 victory over Notre Dame - the last team to beat the Huskies.

Cavs make Smart move after firing Lucas
CLEVELAND - Looking for some advice, Keith Smart sat down with his college coach a few years ago and asked for some tips on how to be successful. "He told me, 'Make sure you are prepared and make sure you are organized'," Smart recalled.

Correction
Due to a reporting error, Sunday's Empire Inside article misstated when Carlos Boozer graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School. He graduated in 1999.

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.

Jeff King wins third Kuskokwim 300
Musher Jeff King of Denali Park won the Kuskokwim 300 Sunday for the third straight year, and his daughter, Cali, brought up the rear today. Runner-up to King was fellow Iditarod winner Martin Buser, who was runner-up to King in last year's Kuskokwim 300 before winning the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Swingley, citing race uncertainties, drops out of Yukon Quest
Four-time Iditarod champion Doug Swingley has dropped out of this year's Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. The Montana musher cited too many uncertainties with the race as a reason. He e-mailed Quest officials Thursday of his decision.

Cavs fire John Lucas
John Lucas was fired today as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have the NBA's worst record and have shown few signs of development this season.

Yukon Quest mushers create varied diet programs
It's not an exact science, but each musher has a special formula for what to pack for dogs and human in the 30-some bags sent to the 10 checkpoints along the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

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

Unstoppable
Kake senior Danielle Knudsen averaged more than 42 points a game at the Don Hather basketball tournament in Skagway two weekends ago. The Thunderbirds' three opponents - the entire teams - averaged 28.

House Republicans pick staunch conservative as majority leader
House Republicans chose Rep. John Coghill - a fiery conservative who once stormed out of the GOP camp over subsistence - as their majority leader on Sunday.

Governor orders transportation department to reorganize
Gov. Frank Murkowski ordered a reorganization of the Department of Transportation last week, creating a division of the Marine Highway System and a separate office of aviation.

ATV driver says he didn't see musher's team before collision that killed dog
Alaska State Troopers have forwarded charges to juvenile authorities against a 16-year-old boy who struck a sled dog team with his all-terrain vehicle in North Pole on Friday night and fled the scene. "He said he didn't see them," Trooper Ronnie Simmons told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Anchorage police investigate third death at trailer
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police are investigating the death of a woman found Monday in an east Anchorage trailer. Police say the cause of death is not yet known, but it is being investigated as suspicious. The name and age of the woman have not been released.

AlaskaDigest
Police hunt suspect for counterfeit state checks; Man found dead may be hit-and-run victim; Anchorage man pleads guilty to ecstasy charge; Anchorage inspectors hunt for fire hazards; Ketchikan Indian group holds annual election; Alaska wildlife manager may get regional post.

Foundation promises $2 million for Yukon Kuskokwim career center
ANCHORAGE - The Rasmuson Foundation will donate $2 million to a Yukon Kuskokwim career learning center in Bethel, the center announced Monday. The foundation will make the donation to Yuut Elitnaurviat, which is Yup'ik Eskimo for "People's Learning Center." The center is a multi-agency collaboration set up to provide career education and training for the region's industries.

Lawmakers introduce legislation for Whittier private prison
Two Anchorage lawmakers are sponsoring a bill calling for a 1,200-bed private prison to be built in Whittier. Republican Reps. Norm Rokeberg and Mike Hawker filed the bill Friday that also would add 450 beds to existing prisons in Fairbanks, Seward, Bethel and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Victims' families offended by DWI video
ANCHORAGE - Alaska State Troopers have distributed about 400 copies of a free video, aimed at reducing the number of drunken-driving deaths around the state. The video, "DWI: Alaska's Deadly Plague," is a compilation of photos from 30 fatal alcohol-related crashes in 2000. But some family members of the 38 people who died in the crashes say they are disturbed that the victims' family members weren't consulted before the video was produced.

This Day in History
In Alaska; In the nation; In the world.

State Briefs
Wind, cold to continue; City bond sale Saturday; Panel to discuss Herbert River land; SERRC closed for three days; Kenai borough teleconference office opens; Fred Meyer eyes Ketchikan lot

Fish Board looks at SE herring
A plan to open West Behm Canal near Ketchikan to commercial herring fishing is one of the issues before the Alaska Board of Fisheries in a meeting starting today in Sitka. Along with other Southeast Alaska herring issues, the board will consider proposals for changes in regional fisheries including groundfish and subsistence finfish, Dungeness crab, shrimp and other finfish.

Tourism industry cautiously optimistic about 2003 bookings
A survey of businesses shows that the outlook for Alaska's tourism industry is slightly better this year than in 2002, with businesses remaining cautiously optimistic.

Speaking out against war
A bronze statue of Martin Luther King Jr., right, is seen on the Park Strip of Anchorage as peace demonstrators march Saturday.

Industry lauds new head of resources
Gov. Frank Murkowski's pick to head the department that regulates resource development is being praised by the industry and panned by environmentalists. Tom Irwin, a former executive with Fairbanks Gold Mining Inc., was named Natural Resources Department commissioner Friday. In that position, he will oversee development and regulation of Alaska's oil, gas, mining and timber resources.

Game on: Lawmakers sworn in for 23rd legislative session
Lawmakers kicked off the 23rd session of the Alaska Legislature this morning with the swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol. Fresh faces abounded in the House and Senate, with freshmen constituting close to two-thirds of the lawmakers this session.

Canadian panel seeks research funding shift to protect wild salmon
VICTORIA, British Columbia - Aquaculture research funds should be redirected to protect wild Pacific salmon by reducing risks from fish farming, a Canadian government council has concluded. The Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council is also trying to find a way to end the "festering public debate" over salmon farming in British Columbia, chairman John Fraser said.

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