Monday, January 7, 2002

'The mail must be delivered' was the rallying cry of Yakobi
"In the Wake of an Alaskan Mailboat" is the story of Walt Sperl, seagoing mailman, his family, his 50-foot boat the Yakobi, deckhands such as Duke Short and unforgettable characters like trapper "Tiger" Olson.

Peggy Wilson finds her voice
R ep. Peggy Wilson was new to the Capitol last year and still learning to navigate the Alaska Legislature when she had her first run-in with a colleague.

Ben Stevens carries family's political legacy -- to the center
New state Sen. Ben Stevens didn't have to cast a single vote in committee or introduce any bills before gaining widespread attention. That's largely because of his father, Alaska's senior U.S. senator, is Ted Stevens.

Not in good taste
The theme of Julia Gorin's distinctively mean-spirited column in Sunday's paper was that the Clintons' dog Buddy was "little more than a pawn in [his] owners' continuing attempts to impersonate human beings."

Take a hike across a clear-cut forest
Oops! Don Smith has been talking with someone again! His editorial in Sunday's paper tells me so. Where do these one-dimensional thoughts on the Tongass forest originate? What is he possibly reading these nights anyway?

Need healthy fishing industry
I cannot believe that racism will always be with us as it is now. Alaska does get a disproportionate amount (racism) with the way our population comes and goes. Somewhere down the line we have to stabilize our population.

Still in denial
In Bill McAllister's article on Alaska's fiscal divide, Gov. Knowles was quoted questioning the planet referring to persons opposed to the Hudson et. al. plan. Very poor words for a man who has been governor for seven years and has never made any serious effort to get Alaska's fiscal house in order.

Thank the Democrats
I applaud Sen. Ted Stevens for his recognition of the threat to Alaska's villages posed by massive erosion. In an article in the Dec. 28 Empire, Sen. Stevens stated that "Alaska is harder hit by global climate change than anywhere in the world.

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

Downtown rest room considered
City officials are seeking reaction to a proposal to put public restrooms in the pocket park at South Franklin and Front streets downtown.

Man charged with felony assault
Juneau police arrested Michael Travis Miller, 22, for two counts of third-degree assault, a felony, on Friday. He was lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

Vehicle strikes house
No one was injured when a Chevy Suburban slid into a house on North Douglas Highway about noon Friday, police said.

Juneau on ice: Skaters think safety
Many of the city's most popular skating sites - particularly Twin Lakes and the Mendenhall Lake - can be weakened by a wide variety of factors, particularly moving water and fresh water inflow.

Photo: New Alaska Native officers
Recently elected Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 2 officers take their oath of office during installation ceremonies at the ANB Hall on Friday.

First baby of new year arrived Friday
The first baby born in Juneau in the new year, Natalie Faith Lamar, arrived at 9:04 a.m. Friday, Jan. 4, at Bartlett Regional Hospital. Natalie weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces at birth.

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

3 Alaska experts to star on bird cruise
World Explorer Cruises has put together a bird-themed cruise of Alaska for the line's 14-night Route of the Pioneers tour in June.

Juneau Dance Unlimited members try to oust board
The membership of Juneau Dance Unlimited has elected a new board of directors despite the fact the organization has an existing board of directors.

Local briefs
Minimum-wage initiative certified for ballot; Heritage Center commissions totem pole

Around Town
Listing of nonprofit events in the Juneau area.

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

Thomas N. Harris
Juneau resident Thomas N. Harris, 84, died Jan. 2, 2002, in Eugene, Ore., where he moved last year after suffering a stroke.

Tongass, the healthiest forest in North America
As federal judge, James Singleton ponders yet another injunction restricting logging in the Tongass; it's an appropriate time to put things into perspective. At issue this time around are 19 tracts of timber proposed by the U.S. Forest Service for harvest in remote areas of the Tongass.

Cartoon by TOE

Knowles must decide
Tony Knowles opens the new year, his last as governor, in an awkward place on the ship of state. He's the skipper of a ship that's going aground if it doesn't make a sharp turn, and soon. The owners and passengers aren't watching; they want to just stay the course. They'll challenge his command if he rocks the boat too hard by changing course too fast. But he knows they'll head for the lifeboats later if he doesn't.

Finding your tipping points can help you stay on course
Last year I read a book called "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference," by Malcolm Gladwell. Mr. Gladwell had an interesting point, which I got in the first few pages, but which he went on to describe again and again for a couple hundred more pages.

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

Florida State upsets No. 1 Duke
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State capped the weekend of beating the unbeatens with a shocker. The Seminoles defeated top-ranked Duke 77-76 Sunday night to snap the defending national champion's 22-game winning streak -- the longest in the nation -- and leave Division I without an unbeaten team.

Sixth Alaskan qualifies for Salt Lake City Olympics
Girdwood snowboarder Rosey Fletcher is headed for the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City for her second attempt to win a cherished Olympic medal.

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

Two Alaska skiers win U.S. Nordic sprint titles
Anchorage skiers Lars Flora and Kikkan Randall won the opening sprint races Saturday in the U.S. cross country championships in Bozeman, Mont.

Longtime Anchorage lawyer Edgar Boyko dies in Wash. hospital
Former Alaska Attorney General Edgar Paul Boyko a longtime Democrat who served under a Republican governor died last week in a Washington hospital, a family spokesman said. He was 83.

Ketchikan OKs sale of hydro facilities
The Ketchikan City Council voted to pursue a $73 million deal to allow communities that operate the Four Dam Pool to purchase state-owned hydroelectric facilities.

Man killed mother, hid body in trailer, police say
A 37-year-old Texas man visiting his mother strangled her in her Anchorage trailer, bound the corpse with duct tape, wrapped it in a blanket, then hid it in the breakfast bar, police said.

Claims dropped for ferry repairs
The state of Alaska and a Ketchikan shipyard have resolved their differences over delays in repairs to the ferry Columbia, with each side dropping its claims. The deal, months in the making, was announced this morning in Ketchikan at the Alaska Ship and Drydock facility.

Jan. 10 declared Tom Coyne Day in Ketchikan
Claiming he isn't quite sure what to say with so many people being nice to him, Ketchikan City Council member Tom Coyne kept his remarks brief.

Fishing co-op plan could change salmon industry
ANCHORAGE - Some fishermen in Alaska's embattled commercial salmon industry believe a proposal coming before the Alaska Board of Fisheries this week has potential to save livelihoods and salmon-dependent towns. But the idea is stirring a storm of controversy.

Photo: Changing of the guard
Gov. Tony Knowles and Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer share a laugh with new Chief of Staff David Ramseur and outgoing Chief of Staff Jim Ayers, during Tuesday's Cabinet meeting in Juneau.

Court: Gun permits can go to the mentally ill
ANCHORAGE - Judge Natalie Finn didn't hesitate to take away Timothy Wagner's permit to carry a concealed handgun after hearing he believes there's a computer chip implanted in his head and he's been injected with deadly chemicals. But a state appeals court ruled recently that Judge Finn erred. The court declared that under Alaska law, mental illness by itself cannot be considered in deciding fitness to carry a concealed weapon. And state officials say they are trying to figure out how they could turn Wagner down if he asks for his permit to be returned.

Campaign contributions exceed expectations
It's not official, but the campaigns of Alaska's two leading gubernatorial candidates say they raised roughly $350,000 in the closing months of 2001.

Cell phones, state song on Capitol radar
Hand-held cellular phones would be illegal for drivers, the sales tax would go up and the state song would get a new verse under bills filed at the Capitol. The measures are among roughly 40 bills submitted by lawmakers last week in anticipation of the legislative session, set to convene Jan. 14.

Sitka company gets $7 million order for more New York ferries
A Sitka shipbuilder has received a $7 million contract to build more ferries for New York, an unanticipated consequence of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Former state worker gets up to 6 months in jail for welfare theft
FAIRBANKS A former welfare worker accused of stealing public-assistance funds by using other people's welfare debit cards will serve up to six months in jail and pay restitution for her theft.

Three arrested in burglary attempt
An 18-year-old and two juveniles were caught at Service High School in Anchorage about 4 a.m. Saturday, according to police. All three have been charged with burglary. Two also were charged with underage possession of alcohol.

Attorney general, MADD protest move to reduce jail sentence
The state Department of Law and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are protesting the move toward a reduced prison sentence for Michael Glaser, the drunken driver who killed two Juneau men on the Seward Highway in April 2000.

Leeches help Alaska boy as they make medical comeback
Most patients count on drugs to get them well. But what if the cure depended instead on a living, bloodsucking animal that many people look at with disgust?

Rocket launching aimed at gaining insight into auroras
FAIRBANKS - Poker Flat Research Range scientists will launch four rockets later this month in hopes of shedding some light on the mysteries of the aurora borealis. The rockets will measure wind and turbulence and their effect on the chemical composition of the upper atmosphere.

Trial date set in 2000 Ketchikan murder
Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins has set a Sept. 30 court date for the third trial of Jose M. Mateu. The decision goes against the state's request for an earlier date and a defense request for a year-long delay.

Two youths held for vandalism
Two 16-year-old boys have been arrested in an expensive vandalism incident last weekend at an Anchorage high school, police say.

Bomb threat closes Ketchikan airport
The Ketchikan International Airport was shut down and evacuated for two hours on Dec. 28 after authorities received an anonymous bomb threat. A search of the building turned up nothing, and police are investigating the origin of the threat.

Sitka movie theater to close
Sitka's only movie theater, the Coliseum, will close on Jan. 20, leaving Sitka as the only major Southeast town without a theater.

State Briefs
Scant snow frustrates mushers; Snowmachiner dies in river; Slope rabies quarantine extended; Denali still closed to snowmobiles; New clinic opens in Soldotna; Borough debates zoning proposal

Body discovered on Kenai Peninsula
The body of a 61-year-old man was discovered in an airplane hangar at Mile 18 Kenai Spur Highway on Friday, and Alaska State Troopers suspect foul play.

Rural priority: It's back
Subsistence, which barely got a mention during the 2001 regular legislative session, could determine the tone of the dialogue between Gov. Tony Knowles and lawmakers in 2002.

Saxman Community Center going up fast
The roof of the new Saxman Community Center is "essentially complete," Saxman Project Manager Dave Jensen announced last week.

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