Gas line could help RR upgrade
The Alaska Railroad Corp. says it would need to upgrade its track and traffic capacity to handle the heavy load of a natural gas pipeline construction project. But a spokesman says the railroad could help pay for upgrades by charging a fee to project developers in exchange for use of the railroad corporation's tax-exempt bonding status to finance the pipeline.

The right to expression
I am troubled by Ms. Williams' letters which loudly proclaim human rights, but just as loudly deny those rights to those who do not share her beliefs. Apparently she is under the impression that no one else has "rights" but gays.

Making Pledge inclusive
I would like to add my public thank you to all those others going to and owed to Logan Spencer and Patrick McGonegal for reminding us by deed and words that freedom of religion includes freedom from religion.

Prose for times
I have just found the eloquent and sensible letter from Paul Gardinier of Juneau on March 28, 2003. He deplored the waste of military spending. Down here in cold Boston (minus 12 this morning in our suburb) there is also opposition to our current mentality.

Mother's roadside memorial destroyed
On Dec. 8, 2002, I lost my son, Gary Smith, when a drunk driver struck and killed him. Gary was walking along a Hoonah roadside when the tragedy occurred and ever since my life has not been the same. I have "moved on" as best I can, but there are times when the loss of my son makes me feel so sad. This past holiday marked the first anniversary of Gary's death. It was a difficult time for me, Gary's aunts, uncles, daughter, grandchildren, many relatives and friends who knew Gary.

Improvements at school worth a look
I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible to complete the construction project at Juneau-Douglas High School. It feels great to go to school in this wonderful building.

Smoking affects loved ones as well as smokers
On my first visit to the hospital to see my Aunt Rita after she was diagnosed with cancer, she said to my sister and me, "I smoked all my life. That's why I have cancer. I take the responsibility for it. Smoking was my choice."

Federal lawmakers should avoid education
Sen. Lisa Murkowski told Alaska education officials Thursday that she will support legislation to change the federal No Child Left Behind Act. As a matter of fact, when it comes to education, it's the federal government that should be left behind.

Election year resolution
I'm sure many of you have made New Year's resolutions. I think they are important and I hope you keep them. I, for one, have made myself a big resolution - I want to work to see that our court-appointed George W. Bush does not stay in the White House. We need a leader who is an asset to this nation and the world, not a liability. We need someone who can tell the truth.

Interpreting the Pledge of Allegiance
When I Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, I am not worshiping the flag. I am in support for what the flag represents.

Advancing the cause of legalized marijuana
Thanks to Alaska, 2004 may be a significant year for credible drug law reform. Not only will Alaska citizens be able to vote for an initiative to make marijuana legal ("Leman puts marijuana initiative on ballot," Jan. 7) statewide, but on election day voters may be able to vote for a president who supports re-legalizing cannabis nationwide.

Groomed Nordic trail etiquette
I set the groomed Nordic trails in the Mendenhall Campground and on Mendenhall Lake. I have been setting the tracks since 1993. I would like to take this opportunity to shed some light on groomed Nordic trails. The trails on the Mendenhall and other areas are set by the volunteer effort and they are set by the Juneau Nordic Ski Club. As a courtesy to the volunteer effort please consider the following guidelines so that everyone may enjoy the groomed trails.

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

Two corrections.

A bonnie taste of Scotland
The Stroller White Pipes and Drums and the Highland Dancers of Juneau presented a local audience Saturday night with a taste of Scotland, as finger-shaking girls danced jigs and the sound of bagpipes filled the hall.

Pickup driver causes 6-vehicle accident in A&P parking lot
A man was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital late Monday afternoon after he apparently lost control of a pickup truck and caused a six-vehicle accident in the Alaskan & Proud parking lot.

Giving to the community
In the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz," the Tinman is rewarded with a heart, the Scarecrow a brain and the Cowardly Lion finds a little courage.

Mine wins financing; building could start this spring
Developers of the Kensington mine have obtained the financing needed to begin construction of the proposed gold and silver mine next spring, according to company officials.

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

Tourism businesses ponder 2 percent assessment
Juneau tourism businesses generally support the mandatory 2 percent assessment proposed by the Alaska Travel Industry Association, said Ron Peck, president and chief operating officer of the organization.

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

Fence at governor's House toppled by man suspected of drunken driving
It wasn't the sort of excitement state officials expected Monday morning. While Gov. Frank Murkowski was at the Alaska Capitol for the first day of the 2004 legislative session, shortly after 11 a.m., a Chevrolet Blazer drove into the fence at his official residence.

Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Cruise ship initiative won't make it to '04 ballot
Sponsors of a ballot initiative to impose taxes and tighter environmental regulations on the cruise ship industry missed the Jan. 12 deadline for collecting enough signatures to put the proposal on the November ballot.

Citizens question 2nd high school
More than three years after voters approved a new $63 million high school in the Mendenhall Valley, some citizens are questioning whether the city can afford it and if students' choices will be compromised.

Due to incorrect information supplied to the Empire, the dates for the high school spring musical, "The Wizard of Oz," were misprinted in a Monday article. The play will be performed Feb. 13,14, 20 and 21.

Fiscal dilemmas hang over session
Even on a mostly perfunctory first day back to work for the Alaska Legislature on Monday, the issue of money loomed large. House Majority Republicans sparred with Democrats who wanted to override about $57.6 million in Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski's vetoes to senior citizen and local government programs from the budget passed last session.

Teen on probation for sex crime accused of abusing girl
A 19-year-old Juneau man placed on probation this summer after pleading guilty to third-degree sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl is accused of sexually abusing another girl in December.

My Turn: Sowing common ground
I have attended over a dozen forums plowing ground which might be thrown into the fiscal gap. Unfortunately, little but dust was stirred up. That recently changed.

Ketchikan Triple Dual Meets
Results from Friday's and Saturday's triple dual meets at Ketchikan High School's Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium featuring the wrestling teams from Juneau-Douglas, Sitka and Ketchikan.

Mad cow scare impacts Yukon Quest mushers
Alaska mushers entered in the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race are contending with restrictions on beef because of a case of mad cow disease found in a Washington herd.

ASBN state prep basketball poll
The Alaska Sports Broadcasting Network high school basketball poll for the week ending Jan. 5.

Olympian Flora wins 50k freestyle
Olympian Lars Flora won the 50-kilometer freestyle and Sarah Konrad took the women's 30K by 3.2 seconds Sunday in the final races of the U.S. Cross Country Championships.

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.

Lakers win game, but lose Bryant to injury
The injuries just keep on coming for the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant joined fellow superstars Shaquille O'Neal and Karl Malone on the sidelines Monday night, spraining his surgically repaired right shoulder in the Lakers' 89-79 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kleedehn wins Copper Basin 300
Canadian musher William Kleedehn crossed the finish line Monday to win the Copper Basin 300 Sled Dog Race.

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.

The governor after a year
Gov. Frank Murkowski, Alaska's tenth governor, served a tumultuous first year in office, cutting state government, reducing the state's fiscal gap and pushing for resource development.

Anchorage entrepreneur hopes Alaska humus will turn out to be humongous
Dick Strahl has dirt on his mind. He sees an international market eager for bargeloads of humus, the naturally composting material commonly found in shallow wetlands, otherwise known as peat.

Headlines from around the state.

Photo: Shrouded skyline
An Alaska Railroad brakeman rides a line of tank cars after throwing a switch at the Anchorage Yard on Monday in Anchorage. Fog rising from Ship Creek shrouds the city skyline.

Fairbanks group works to implement forced treatment for alcoholics
A Fairbanks group is turning to the courts to try to force alcoholics into treatment as part of an effort to reduce the city's population of chronic inebriates.

Northwest Digest
News in brief from around the region.

Citizen tracks prostitution, other crime in Spenard
On days off from her regular job as an oil company flight reservations agent, Alicia Knight could go to a movie or take a nap like a normal sedentary 47-year-old office worker. But no.

Photo: Market forces at work
A bulldozer builds a second mountain of wood chips last week at the Gates Contruction chip yard at the end of the Homer Spit in Homer.

More bills go into legislative hopper
Young strip dancers and the clubs they work in would face more restrictions under legislation being sponsored by lawmakers from both parties.

USFS to cancel 20 timber sales
The U.S. Forest Service has offered to cancel 20 completed timber sales after the agency determined they were uneconomical. The agency determined that if the companies cut the timber in the Tongass National Forest anytime soon they would lose too much money under current market conditions.

This Day in History
In Alaska; In the nation.

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

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