Sunday, January 5, 2003

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Toe Cartoon

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

Snow report
The status of Alaska and nearby ski areas.

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.

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.

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.

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;

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.

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.

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