Sunday, January 4, 2004

Don't fear the unfamiliar
I have been following the public's comments on the issue of religion, homosexuality and marriage. After reading some of the letters on this subject, I am saddened by the ill treatment our fellow human beings are receiving.

Errors of omission concerning new school
As city officials move relentlessly forward with the design and construction of the new high school at Dimond Park, some Juneau residents are questioning this project. They are wondering how the city proposes to operate and maintain an additional high school while at the same time proposing teacher layoffs and substantial budget cuts.

Religion and civil rights
Ms. Williams commented in her editorial that the quoting of religious passages has no place in the public debate concerning the entitlement of the marriage contract in this nation.

A progressive stance on Pledge of Allegiance
Round of applause for Logan Spencer. I was raised in a very strict American-based Christian religion, and I mindlessly repeated the "under God" Pledge of Allegiance in my predominantly white, rich and Republican Barbie and Ken Californian town through my entire high school years. It took me until the age of 25 to reach the same ideas that you have come to and, knowing the way Christians usually behave themselves to such letters to the editor, I wanted you to receive a round of applause from at least one person.

An alternative pledge
Like Logan Spencer, I used to have a problem pledging allegiance to a flag which seemed to represent a viewpoint about America which wasn't mine.

Private businesses have rights, too
In response to Joey Tillson's Letter to the Editor in Monday's paper, she states that she's in support of the smoking ban in bars. She mentions two main reasons for this: one being that she feels alienated from a hobby (dancing) and the other because she's a recovering ex-smoker. Ms. Tillson claims that "we all have the right to be in these public establishments..." and this is simply incorrect.

Gays just trying to live a regular life
In regards to gay marriages and the comment regarding pedophiles, the only relationship to those two issues is that of attitude.

Finding help for Alaska's veterans
Alaska's problem is that Congress increased Veterans Administration (VA) funds, but veterans and veterans needing VA help increased even more. So VA cut veterans' benefits in war time, no longer even letting some veterans sign up for VA benefits!

Consider the rights of smokers, other dangers
Where will the line be drawn concerning our "freedoms?" Each day there are new laws telling us what we can or cannot do!

It's important to remember choice
I've read many of the letters, pro and con, about smoking. They reminded me of a keynote address made at one of our ANB Grand Camp conventions by one of our executive committeemen. It was the 1977 convention. I will quote parts of the address.

Take satire in context
I would like to apologize to Mr. Collard and anyone else who have trouble distinguishing political and/or social satire from ham-fisted tirades. From Dostoevsky to Doonesbury, satirical expressio

Don't like Pledge, but still respectful
I am one of many people, including Logan Spencer, who does not agree with many decisions this country has made. I am also a person who, because of these contradictory beliefs and other reasons, does not say the Pledge of Allegiance. I, like Logan Spencer, want people to respect my beliefs and I appreciate it when they do.

The realities about marijuana law
I understand that this vote will reinforce what already is the case, but it is clear that under Ravin, as restated this year, personal marijuana possession and cultivation is already legal in Alaska. That would be possession of four ounces and cultivation of up to 25 plants.

For some revelers, nature springs for the fireworks
Fireworks helped many revelers around the country ring in 2004 early Thursday morning. But for some Juneau residents, the sky lit up in a much quieter way.

Alaska's corals: A deep treasure
As vibrant and colorful as the coral in the Caribbean and the waters off Australia, Alaska's newly discovered abundance of deep-sea cold water coral is another example of the rich natural wonders the Last Frontier has to offer.

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

Panel prepares response plan for avalanches in city
The city has created a draft plan to respond to avalanches in populated parts of Juneau, which has one of the largest urban avalanche hazard areas in the country. The Juneau Assembly's Emergency Planning Committee met with city staff and area emergency officials Wednesday to discuss the plan.

State seeks workers for new fast ferry
The state is hiring 20 full-time workers and a relief crew of three for the Fairweather, the first fast ferry in Alaska. Meanwhile, the Alaska Labor Relations Agency has set hearings for January to determine what unions can represent the employees on fast ferries.

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

Cold water coral war
A new war is being waged in the fisheries of Alaska, and the line in the sand is being drawn by the fishing nets of deep-sea trawlers.

Correction
Due to incorrect information provided to the Juneau Empire, Wednesday's paper listed the wrong time for the Compaz Andino concert at Centennial Hall. The concert will be at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 8.

My Turn: SE Conference supports entire Southeast economy
As the executive director of Southeast Conference, the regional economic development organization for Southeast Alaska, I read with interest a recent "My Turn" that criticized our interest in revitalizing the timber economy of the region. A better understanding of our organization will provide a fuller picture of why we need to take on the responsibilities we do.

Toe cartoon
Editorial cartoon by local artist Toe.

Snow report
Snow conditions for Eaglecrest and other local trails.

Out & About
Upcoming local outdoor events.

Web sites
Web sites of interest to local outdoors enthusiasts.

Dealing in downhill
When the Juneau outdoor equipment shop Adventure Sports closed in 2000, local downhill skiers were left with few options for buying new gear in Juneau. But many new models of skis make their way onto Eaglecrest Ski Area's slopes every year, despite the lack of a local store. That's thanks in part to people who are official dealers for certain brands of equipment.

Southeast Wild: On dogs, trails and wildlife: Can we all just get along?
As a disclaimer, I should tell you first that I love dogs, especially our little dachshund Benjamin. We're also proud to have Guinness, a chocolate Labrador retriever in our family. His owner has invested countless hours over the past few years and now is a trained and certified SEADOG handler. We're very proud of her and Guinness. Having said that, let's talk about our local trails, beaches and the groups of fine folks that use them.

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.

Southeast Hoops Roundup: Metlakatla Chiefs claim Clark Cochrane Classic crown
Roundup of games from Southeast Alaska.

Alaskans medal at U.S. X-C ski championships
Two-time Olympian Carl Swenson, returning to the course where he skied as a youngster, won his ninth U.S. cross-country title Saturday at Black Mountain. Three Alaska skiers finished in the medals.

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

Coast Guard quits search for Kake teen
The Coast Guard suspended its search Saturday for a Kake teenager who disappeared during a hunting trip with his father and another man last week.

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

Fairbanks Iraq veteran copes with loss of limb
When doctors told Allan Doyle he might lose his lower leg and foot after it was crushed in an accident in Iraq last spring, the Army corporal and Fairbanks native told them to do it and get it over with.

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