Thursday, September 4, 2003

AT&T Alascom fights on for rate change
FAIRBANKS - A federal regulatory official has rejected arguments by long-distance telephone provider AT&T Alascom to justify a rate formula change the company says would lower fees for rural customers. But the company plans to press its case to the Federal Communications Commission, said Kristi Catlin, AT&T Alascom's government relations director.

An observation about creeks, industry, salmon
Mr. Piccolo states in his letter of Sept. 3 "wild salmon are not fully compatible with development, and that we simply can't have both," or something to that effect. I live 200 miles north of Anchorage, and was raised there in the late '50s and early '60s.

Greenpeace postings could help terrorists
The main point William Tonsgard Jr. was making in his My Turn article of Aug. 26 is the forest is growing faster and wilder than before it was logged, even in the Cat-logged areas.

Logging bill in disguise
The Senate will be asked soon to vote on the recently passed House of Representatives bill entitled the "Forestry and Community Assistance Act of 2003" (HR 1904). This is nothing more than a logging bill that seeks to waive environmental review, undermine meaningful public participation and interfere with our courts in order to favor timber interests over community protection from wildfire.

'My son is going to Iraq'
I talked to my son today, an army medic scheduled to be sent to Iraq sometime this week. He and his mother and I enjoyed a long conversation concluding with a lingering good-bye. No one wanted to be the first to hang up the phone. All day today this single thought keeps coming to mind: "My son is going to Iraq."

Knowles: No rubberstamp for President Bush
Now is the time to start looking at how Alaska's voice, and Alaska's politics relate to the rest of the nation. Former Gov. Tony Knowles is running hard against Lisa Murkowski for the Senate seat. The great forces behind the race are Alaska's other senator, Ted Stevens, and President George W. Bush.

Decision is victory for constitutional rights
The recent decision of the state appellate court to finally recognize the constitution of Alaska, instead of political pressure in the case of State v. Noy is admirable.

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

Humpback whales create their own tools for feeding
Humpback whales in Southeast Alaska may be unique among humpbacks in creating enduring social bonds, researchers say. The associations, which can last for decades, help members of the endangered species communally hunt herring during the summer in a technique called bubble net feeding. Bubble net feeding is a form of tool-using behavior, said Dr. Fred Sharpe, a whale researcher who will give a multi-media presentation on the topic at 7 p.m. Friday at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

Water, sewer fees may rise 32-37%
Juneau residents and business owners will see their highest water and sewer bills ever under a rate-increase plan recommended for approval during a Juneau Assembly work session Wednesday night. The plan would raise the monthly water and wastewater bill for about 7,750 unmetered residences from $58.50 to $77.52, a 32.5 percent jump. Several hundred apartments and businesses billed via water meters face increases of 34 percent. And the Alaskan Brewing Co., the community's largest water user and wastewater discharger, will see a hike of about 37 percent.

Meeting to present ideas for reducing tourism congestion
A South Franklin Street bypass and a wider sidewalk are among the ideas up for discussion Thursday during a meeting hosted by consultants studying ways to improve safety and lessen downtown congestion during the tourist season. Staff from Portland, Ore.-based Kittelson & Associates, a transportation and traffic planning firm, will present plans for reducing pedestrian and vehicle traffic and take comments for a final report at Thursday's meeting, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall. A brief presentation will be made about 5 p.m., followed by discussion and public comments in an open-house format.

Juneau continues to look at Alyeska as a charter
The Juneau School Board agreed Tuesday that district staff should continue to work with parents and staff from Alyeska Central School in preparing a charter school application. "Go forth and talk," School Board Vice President Alan Schorr told Superintendent Peggy Cowan. On Friday, the Yukon-Koyukuk School District, comprising 314 students in nine village schools, accepted Alyeska's application to be a charter school.

Driver reports wolverine sighting near glacier
In the 12 years Duane Callahan has lived in Juneau, he'd never seen anything more wild than a bear. But the creature he saw Saturday near the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center may have been equally wild, more reclusive and much more rare. "It looked like a small bear, only longer, with a long tail and short legs," said Callahan, who was driving eight cruise ship passengers in a Last Frontier Tours bus when he spotted what he believes was a wolverine crossing Glacier Spur Road.

Photos: Wild river adventure
Alaska Travel Adventures river guide Catie Browne, center with oars, navigates her raft Tuesday through the rain-swollen rapids on the Mendenhall River.

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

UAS enrollment coming close to last year's record
Enrollments so far this fall at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau are short of last year's record-high year, but approaching it, officials said. The fall semester began Tuesday, but students continue to register as particular courses start. Students can add or drop courses for two weeks. The number of full-time students enrolled at the Auke Lake campus on Tuesday was 607, down from 641 on the first day last fall, said Paul Kraft, dean of students and enrollment management. The number of part-time students Tuesday was 1,256, about the same as the 1,267 part-timers last year.

Life on the road
For the women of Harriet's Harriers, the Klondike Road Relay is life. The team is at once a social circle, motivating force, support group and temporary respite from the everyday grind. And over the past 12 years, for better or worse, the race has been an annual axis around which revolve the team members' ever-changing lives. "I've seen this group grow as a really supportive team, seeing each other through births and deaths and marriage and divorce," said Margie Thomson, who brought together a group of friends to form the team 12 years ago.

National Democratic Party sends specialists to Juneau
ANCHORAGE - National Democratic campaign specialists are in Juneau to launch the groundwork for what is expected to be the state's hottest U.S. Senate battle in decades. They are researching the backgrounds of former Gov. Tony Knowles, who is running as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate seat in 2004, and incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

This Day in History
In 1905, the Fairbanks Sunday Times was established. It became the Fairbanks Daily Times in 1906.

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

Correction
Due to an editor's error, a caption in Friday's Empire misidentified Chief Aanyalahaash, who is standing in the far right of the photo. Chief Kowee is sitting on the left. The man in the center is unidentified.

State's Douglas Bridge plan is back before the Assembly
A state plan to change the configuration of lanes on the Douglas Bridge to lessen traffic will be back before the Juneau Assembly on Wednesday. The panel will hold a work session to revisit the plan, which was voted down at a previous Assembly committee meeting and by the Juneau Planning Commission.

This Day in History
In 1971, in the worst single plane accident in the history of American aviation at that time, an Alaska Airlines 727 jet crashed 1,000 feet below the summit of a 3,500-foot mountain 21 miles west of Juneau.

Fire department reorganization to establish 'clear lines of authority'
Capital City Fire and Rescue is reorganizing to improve communications, to provide better service and to establish clear lines of authority. Chief Mike Doyle doubts the public will notice much difference. "That's because they don't call 911 every day," he said. City Manager Rod Swope said the lines of communication that are critical in an agency that provides emergency services have been missing.

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

Metcalfes stage annual relay run reunion
When you run for the Metcalfes + Friends Klondike Road Relay team, there's a special kind of motivation to finish your leg. A gaffe during your run, and you could end up in the eternal annals of family lore. Since 1990, Juneau's Metcalfe family has had a reunion of sorts every September on the road from Skagway to Whitehorse.

Lumba, Palomo marry
May M. Lumba of Juneau and Jonathan Palomo of Manila, Philippines, were married in a ceremony on Aug. 23 at Glacier Gardens.

Friends of Eaglecrest's first blueberry festival proves successful, profitable
The Friends of Eaglecrest hosted their first Blueberry Festival at Eaglecrest on Aug. 16 and 17, where the community support for the event was more than we anticipated. We are happy to report that it was not only tasty and fun but also profitable.

Shea, Cook marry in Illinois
Cindy Shea of Algonquin, Ill., and Jacob Cook of Juneau were married in a ceremony on July 5 at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Algonquin.

Neighbors Briefs
Hockey registration; Automotive certification; String art - a recipe for early learning; AWANA registration; Arthritis self-help course; SEARHC free swim session;

Juneau garden fans turn out for cornucopia of flowers, vegetables
Juneau turned out on Aug. 23 to celebrate the annual Harvest Fair held at the Juneau Community Garden (JCG). Celebrants viewed vegetable and flower exhibits; dined on fresh corn, homemade chowder and garden salads; shopped at the farmer's market; and toured the community garden; while kids painted faces and flower pots and organized a pick-up soccer game - a great time for all.

Thank you
... from the newlyweds; ... for help with the visit;

Eleanor Jean Durling
Juneau resident Eleanor "Peggy" Jean Durling, 66, died Aug. 23, 2003, in Juneau after a battle with cancer.

Donna Lee Tonsgard
Juneau resident Donna Lee Tonsgard, 54, died Aug. 29, 2003, in Juneau.

My Turn: Debate issues without insults and hypocrisy
As you read this letter, the USFS is beginning to tally the comments it has received from the public regarding the proposed changes to the Roadless Rule, exempting the Tongass and Chugach National Forests from the rule. It will be a daunting task, as they will undoubtedly have to sort through thousands of mindless form letters and e-mails the extremist puppet-masters always manage to generate.

My Turn: Salmon need undisturbed streams
With the salmon derby come and gone, it's time those who depend on Southeast Alaska's wild salmon think about where those fish come from. How many anglers (or business owners) gave a thought to what it takes to produce a wild silver or king salmon? Kings and silvers (as well as steelhead, sockeye, cutthroat, and Dolly Varden) spend one to four years rearing in streams and lakes.

My Turn: Yes, there is a forest holocaust
U nable to afford the $2,000-a-plate dinner at the Chiles Center last month in Portland, I missed my golden opportunity to thank President Bush for his comments about the state of forest health in Oregon and around the nation. The following day, after flying over the Deschutes National Forest, President Bush declared it a "holocaust." And I agree 100 percent with our nation's ecologically minded leader.

Defending the crown
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys swimming and diving team took some unexpected hits over the summer, but the goal remains the same for the defending state co-champion Crimson Bears. The Juneau boys, who tied with Soldotna for the team championship, still expect to contend for another state title, even if a family move and health problems took away the two swimmers who combined to win three individual events for the Crimson Bears last season. The Juneau girls tied for fifth at state last year (with Colony) and they're looking to move up in the standings.

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

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

Canisius replaces Houston in Great Alaska Shootout
ANCHORAGE - Canisius is replacing Houston in the men's field for the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout, Steve Cobb, athletic director at the University of Alaska Anchorage, said Wednesday.

Mother turns salvaged whale into soldier's care package
ANCHORAGE - Stuck in the dusty Iraqi desert, soldier Jared Wallace wrote to his mother about the suffocating 110-degree heat and asked for a care package. "He said, 'Mom, please send some of your homemade canned meat,"' said D.J. Blatchford of Nikiski. Blatchford will pickle meat from one of four beluga whales that died after 46 were stranded near Girdwood last week, pack the glass jars in bubble wrap and send them to her son, a team leader for the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.

Photo: Missing reindeer
Runaway reindeer: Tundra Joe, one of the reindeer in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Reindeer Research Program and shown in this Sept. 25, 2001, photo, was reported missing Sunday from his pen.

Dischner, former state commissioner, racketeer dies
ANCHORAGE - Lewis M. "Lew" Dischner, who served as Alaska's first state commissioner of labor and was convicted of racketeering after leaving office, died Tuesday in Portland, Ore. He was 85. Dischner was at home with family when he died, said longtime friend Howard D'Spain of Mesa, Ariz. The cause of death was not immediately available.

Alaska Briefs
Man hurt in gas line fire; Douglas Bridge plan consideration delayed; Few pay after Anchorage posts deadbeat list; Two injured after driving into wire; Oil exploration license offered in Bristol Bay; Three die in plane crash; 1 arrested, 1 sought in attempted drowning

Alaska Briefs
Not-guilty plea entered in sexual assault case; Small business center to host seminar; Alaska Pacific Bank expands with new center; Official arrested on drunken driving charge; Feds approve plan to fix child protection services

Alaska could lose more than 100 AmeriCorps jobs
ANCHORAGE - More than 100 full-time AmeriCorps-funded jobs in Alaska could be lost next year without a $100 million infusion from Congress, supporters of the program said. The loss has prompted some Alaska Americorps workers and former workers to head to Washington, D.C., as part of a national lobbying effort to rescue the national work service program. The loss of funding will cost 116 full-time jobs in Alaska. Local program directors say it will undercut matching private donations and grants and will interfere with efforts to recruit new members.

Forest Service OKs Cholmondeley sale
Officials with the U.S. Forest Service have affirmed a timber sale affecting 1,225 acres of the Tongass National Forest on eastern Prince of Wales Island after denying five separate appeals. Appellants say they may take the issue to court. The Cholmondeley Sound Timber Sale, a 28.8-million-board-foot sale the Forest Service has said would create 145 jobs, has been nearly a decade in the making. The sale will entail the construction of about 21 miles of new road and two new log transfer sites. Now that the appeals process is over, the next step would be for the Forest Service to offer the sale to bidders.

Inflatable golf dome towers over Anchorage neighbors
ANCHORAGE - An inflatable dome as tall as a six-story building has sprung up in South Anchorage, much to the dismay of its neighbors. But the owner of the new indoor driving range said he hasn't finished decorating the black-and-white bubble. A city skyline etched on its side will look like trees, as originally promised.

Gallery finale features 12-plus artists
For most of the past two years, downtown Juneau's Empire Gallery at 235 Second St. has been a haven for risk-taking artists. But now a pizzeria plans to lease the space from the Juneau Empire and is waiting approval of a liquor license. This month's Empire Gallery show, "Abstract & Mixed Media Exhibit," a combined exhibit with at least 12 Juneau artists, will open from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5. It's being billed as the space's "Season Finale" and could be the final Empire gallery show. The exhibit will run through September.

This week
Overview

'Whale Rider,' 'Winged Migration' play downtown
JUNEAU - "Whale Rider," the audience-award winner this year at the Toronto and Sundance film festivals, opens Friday, Sept. 5, at the 20th Century Theatre. The movie takes place in present-day New Zealand and stars Keisha Castle-Hughes, who plays Pai, a 12-year-old Maori girl who knows that her dead twin brother was the intended chief of her village. Pai is raised by her grandparents in accordance with traditional Maori culture, but she eavesdrops on classes her grandfather teaches to the boys in the village and learns the ways of men.

Movies where and when
"The Order," (R) plays at 7:15 p.m. starting Friday at 20th Century Twin, with evening shows at 9:30 Friday and Saturday, and afternoon matinees at 2 and 4:15 Saturday and Sunday.

What's happening
An evening with pianist Alexander Tutunov, 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium. $18 adults, $15 students and seniors, $10 children. Tickets at Hearthside Books or the door. For information call the Juneau Symphony, 586-4676. "Belly Fusion: An Evening of Middle Eastern Flavors, Rhythms and Motions," 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, at The Back Room at the Silverbow. Call 586-4146 for more information.

Music in brief
Badd Dog BluesSociety comes to Marlintini's Lounge; Silverbow gets ready for 'Belly Fusion'; Alaska Youth Choir holds Choral Festival

Seeking Perfect Balance
Belorussian pianist Alexander Tutunov's perfect program has a little bit of everything. He starts with Bach to set the mood. He moves through the romantic and contemporary period to challenge, but not demand too much. The perfect plan is like art itself, which is how Tutunov arrived at his efficient 60-minute lineup for his solo show, 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium. Tickets are available at Hearthside Books and at the door.

From the Fire of Morocco
As a 12-year-old in Morocco, Mostapha Beya was called Picasso because everyone thought he was crazy and no one understood his art. Beya was just happy to see his paintings hung on the wall of his school in Rabat, the nation's capital on the northwest tip of the African continent. Now 31, Beya has a 9-month-old son, he's joining the U.S. Army next month as an Arabic translator aide and he calls Alaska - 3,000 miles from his desert country - home. He still considers himself crazy, but people seem to understand his art.

First Friday: Nudes, driftwood and pearls
As a runner, skater, hiker and kayaker, Juneau artist Lea Vose, a lifelong athlete, has always been interested in muscle tone and strength. Her first solo Juneau show, "Color, Embodied," captures motion and musculature with an unpredictable acrylic palette ' sometimes representational, other times surreal. The show includes nudes, profiles and abstractions.

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