Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Lisa Murkowski well-qualified
Alaska's new Sen. Murkowski, who is a member of our Alaska Federation of Republican Women, comes to the U.S. Senate with years of involvement in the Alaska State House and Republican organizations.

No additional taxes needed
Last Thursday, the Juneau Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors went on record unanimously supporting the Juneau-Douglas School District's schematic plans for the new Valley high school.

Thumbs better up
I'm left scratching my head over Don Smith's Thumbs Down to Marc Wheeler and Joe Geldhof in his Sunday Empire editorial. Smith claimed Geldhof and Wheeler "tarnished" the opening of the Treadwell ice arena for lacing up and taking a couple of turns on Christmas Eve.

Recreation vs. education
As a lifelong Juneau resident and graduate of JDHS, I have been aware of the need for a new high school for some time now. As a school bus driver, my awareness of the need is constantly reinforced. I am aware that funding is always the hitch in any project that the city decides on. It can delay the project indefinitely, which grieves me as I'm sure it does others.

P.O.P. clarification
I want to take a moment to thank Melanie Plenda and the Juneau Empire for the article about P.O.P. While as a whole we like and appreciate the article, there were a couple of points that we feel the need to clear up.

A christening - or not?
In the Sunday Empire, Publisher Don Smith gave me and another individual a "thumbs down" for "christening" the new Treadwell Arena. Publisher Smith may have a point, although it is difficult to ascertain precisely what is driving him in regards to his political commentary.

Biological and social reality
I found Mr. Heidersdorf's accusation (Empire, Jan. 12) that pro-choice groups and individuals are "living in a world of euphemisms and slogans" incongruous. In fact, it is the "right-to-life" groups that base their movement on a distortion of biological and social reality, and promote their cause by the most flagrant and incendiary sloganeering.

Wonderful Knight
Concerning the article in Tuesday's paper about coach Hamey's unfortunate actions, I felt the need to express some support for Ms. Knight. I remember her fondly, always joking and laughing. Her accounting class was great fun.

Agencies upgrade Gold Creek to give salmon a chance to spawn
In an effort to restore salmon spawning habitat, boulders and gravel have been added to Gold Creek between the end of its concrete-reinforced section to the point where the creek flows into Gastineau Channel.

SEARHC injects millions into city
The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium contributed more than $44 million in payroll, goods and services to Southeast Alaska's economy in 2001, according to a study released by the McDowell Group today. The organization's economic impact in Juneau totaled more than $12 million.

Alleged drunken driver enters innocent plea
A woman has pleaded innocent to charges she left the scene of an alleged December drunken-driving accident that injured three people. Authorities said Laura Stidolph, 21, got out of her vehicle and ran into oncoming traffic to avoid arrest. Stidolph pleaded innocent to all charges Monday in Juneau Superior Court. She is charged with three counts of third-degree assault and failing to render assistance following an accident, both felonies. She also was charged with misdemeanor counts of drunken driving, refusal to submit to a breath test, and disorderly conduct.

Used-car dealer pleads guilty to fraud
A former consignment car dealer and his top sales manager pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Juneau to charges they defrauded their customers, possibly of up to $200,000.

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

City asks for 'better approach' to runway safety zones
The Juneau Assembly, worried that some large planes might not land here if runway space is cut, wants the Federal Aviation Administration to be flexible as it considers new safety zones at Juneau Airport. The Assembly unanimously approved a resolution Monday that asks the FAA "to consider a better approach" to runway safety areas in Juneau. A safety area, essentially the surface surrounding the runway, lessens the chance of passenger injuries if a plane undershoots or overshoots the runway.

Residents fight to change sex offender laws
Stanley Brown was a parent to beautiful daughters, a janitor for the Juneau School District, a loving husband - and a rapist. He was convicted of victimizing one of his family members, and his crimes sent emotionally crippling ripples through what was, by all appearances, a "normal, happy" family, said his wife, Janet.

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

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

This Day in History
In 1959, applications opened for new state license plates.

AroundTown
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Mike Melvin Batcheller
Former Juneau resident Mike Melvin Batcheller, 55, of Okanogan, Wash., died Dec. 28, 2002, in Brewster, Wash.

Judith Poulard
Juneau resident Judith Poulard (formerly Levshakoff) died Jan. 8, 2003, at Bartlett Regional Hospital.

My Turn: National forests must be managed locally
Thanks for reprinting the Ketchikan Daily News editorial on the roadless conservation rule fiat. The rule is biologically, morally, and economically wrong for health of the forests and the nation.

My Turn: Here is the other side of Alaway
After many friends, colleagues, family members and acquaintances urged me to respond to the distorted facts reported in the Empire article, My Turn and Letters to the Editor submitted by Chris Erickson (Eagle's Edge resident) and Shawn Willie (self-appointed Eagle's Edge HOA President) in December, I have decided to set to record straight.

Steer wins Copper Basin 300
GLENNALLEN - Zack Steer of Palmer won the Copper Basin 300 Sled Dog Race on Monday. Steer and nine dogs crossed the finish line in Glennallen at 3:01 p.m., followed 11 minutes later by Lance Mackey of Kasilof and his nine dogs. William Kleedehn of Carcross, Yukon Territory, was third, coming in at 3:46 p.m. with 10 dogs.

Cavs break out of slump vs. Sonics
Rashard Lewis was nowhere to be found after the Seattle SuperSonics lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In December, after the Sonics topped the Cavaliers by 13 points, Lewis said that he "didn't want to get overly excited because it was only the Cleveland Cavaliers."

Blazers blitz Cavaliers
PORTLAND, Ore. - Ruben Patterson knows he's not going to get chances like this too often. Subbing for injured starter Bonzi Wells, Patterson took advantage of his playing time and scored 20 points as the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-94 Monday night.

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.

AK race courses in poor condition
One of the warmest, driest winters on record has organizers of Alaska's extreme races hoping for some extreme weather. The Tesoro Iron Dog Snowmachine Race, which was scheduled to start in Fairbanks on Feb. 9, has been postponed for a week because of poor trails conditions.

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

Juneau wrestlers sixth at West Valley Invite
Juneau-Douglas High School senior Robert Vicario studied hard before his big test at last weekend's West Valley Invitational wrestling tournament in Fairbanks, and he almost aced it. Vicario, wrestling at 189 pounds, ran into Wasilla's Jed Wade in Saturday's championship match. Wade, a high school All-American, is undefeated in the state this season and recently finished third at the prestigious Reno Tournament of Champions competition in Nevada.

Hulegaard ranked No. 1 in Minnesota
Former Juneau-Douglas High School wrestler Jestin Hulegaard is continuing his success on the mats in Minnesota.

Utilities want rural power subsidy to be run more tightly
A statewide group of utilities wants state regulators to take a hard look at an electric-power subsidy for rural Alaskans and the rural power producers that receive it. The group, which has members that benefit from the Power Cost Equalization program, has asked the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to demand lower administrative expenses and more electricity for every dollar spent by the program.

Steamship Wharf bonds on Assembly agenda
The Juneau Assembly tonight will consider the sale of up to $6.2 million in revenue bonds for the Steamship Wharf-Marine Park project downtown.

Bill would halt 'credit scoring'
A Republican and Democrat are teaming up in the Senate this legislative session on a law that would prohibit an insurance industry practice that sets rates based on credit history. Sen. Kim Elton, a Juneau Democrat, and John Cowdery, an Anchorage Republican, say the use of "credit scoring" - a method of determining home and automobile insurance payments based on one's credit - unfairly discriminates against seniors, minorities, seasonal workers and members of certain religious and ethnic groups.

Scientists present findings on sealife research
Scientists are gathered this week in Anchorage for an ambitious ocean research conference that will provide data on killer whales, sea lions, fisheries, salmon stocks, climate change and the oceanography of the Gulf of Alaska. More than 150 reports and workshops will be presented as part of the Marine Science in the Northeast Pacific symposium.

Kmart closing all of its Alaska stores
The Super Kmart in Juneau will close this winter, ending about 160 jobs, as part of a further reorganization of the bankrupt company. Kmart Corp. announced today it will close 326 stores and will shed 30,000 to 35,000 jobs. The closures include all of the company's Alaska stores, with an estimated combined 900 employees, including two Super Kmarts in Anchorage, one each in Fairbanks and Juneau, and a Big Kmart in Kenai.

Scientists: No quick answer to salmon crash
ANCHORAGE - As king salmon swarmed into Oregon's Columbia River last year, Alaska salmon harvests dropped to their lowest levels in more than a decade. The two regions are connected through a complex, seesaw relationship, oceanographer Hal Batchelder told a gathering Monday during the first day of a marine science conference in Anchorage.

Correction
Due to a reporter's error, Margaret Clabby's name was misspelled in a Sunday article about a University of Alaska land sale in Ketchikan.

One acquitted, one sentenced in child porn cases
KETCHIKAN - A Superior Court jury on Friday acquitted a Ketchikan man of child pornography charges. In a separate case, another Ketchikan man was sentenced to six months in prison and fined $1,000 for possession of child pornography. A jury of seven men and five women acquitted Patrick J. Durkin, 43, after deliberating for about three hours. Durkin was charged in February with possessing child pornography. His trial began Jan. 7.

Study looks at migratory secrets of Beluga whales
A summer study found that beluga whales from Point Lay roamed deep into the Arctic Ocean. Two satellite-tracked young whales swam hundreds of miles into almost solid pack ice. A female beluga traveled almost 700 miles before returning to waters near Point Barrow. A male cruised 500 miles northeast.

Photo: Moving in
Cory Simpson, right, lifts a completed chair out of the way as Mike Whiting, center, and John Randolph put together new office chairs at the Capitol on Monday. The three men work for Legislative Affairs. Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

Air Guard chief's Qatar assignment extended
What started out as a roughly three-month stint as the commander of about 2,000 active duty, reserve and National Guard troops in Qatar has turned into a six-month deployment for the newly appointed head of the Alaska Air National Guard.

Man convicted in death arrested again for DWI
A Fairbanks man convicted in the drunken-driving death of a 10-year-old boy has been arrested again on a drunken-driving charge.

State Briefs
Assembly OKs Steamship Wharf bonds; Assembly approves raise for MacKinnon; Homeless man's tent burns; Courthouse adopts security measures; Assembly accepts Douglas Bridge appeal; Park shelter bookings available soon; Two killed in vehicle accident in Petersburg; Illness closes Ketchikan school

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

Conservation group: Salmon farms need more study
VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Sea lice from farmed salmon pose a risk for the health of wild salmon, says a report released Monday by a British Columbia conservation group. But despite years of questions and accusations from those on both sides of the aquaculture debate, there is a lack of solid scientific research about the effects of salmon farms on wild stocks, said the report by the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council.

Fishermen rescued from raft off Kodiak
Five fishermen were rescued from a life raft Saturday night as their boat sank about 75 miles off Kodiak. A Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued two of the fishermen before a helicopter crewmember noticed the hoisting cable was frayed. The other fishermen, along with a rescue swimmer, were taken on board the Heritage, a vessel that responded to the Coast Guard's request for help.

Murkowski orders military department reorganization
Gov. Frank Murkowski ordered a reorganization within the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to merge new anti-terrorism duties with the state's disaster response efforts. The executive order was signed on Friday but made public on Monday. Under the plan, Alaska's anti-terrorism duties will be overseen by an assistant commissioner also responsible for the state's response to natural disasters.

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