Armchair adventures for winter reading
This week's column offers armchair adventures for the winter!

Seek balance with wildlife
Between Stevens and Murkowski, Sunday's paper carried sad news for folks who care about Alaska's wild environment and the myriad creatures living there.

Keep things balanced
Sen. Stevens attached a deeply buried Tongass rider to the federal spending bill which transcends environmental concerns. The rider states that the Forest Service's upcoming wilderness decision "shall not be reviewed under any Forest Service administrative appeal process, and its adequacy shall not be subject to judicial review by any court of the United States."

CBS affiliate shuffle
I would like to thank those of you who have called with questions and concerns regarding the KTNL-lp displacement of KIRO on GCI cable channel 14 effective Feb. 3. Having operated CBS stations in Ketchikan and Sitka for the past two years, let me assure you we are well aware of the needs and demands of the viewing preferences in Southeast Alaska.

Disappointment in Juneau
The attendance at the presentation by Professor Ross Klein on cruise ship tourism in the Assembly Chambers on Thursday, Jan. 16 was a genuine disappointment to me.

Unbalanced board
The governor's latest appointments to the Board of Game represent a calculated lack of diversity. As an avid big game hunter, I believe the best thing for wildlife populations, and my ability to continue to hunt them, is a diverse Board of Game that can make reasonable decisions and protect the long-term health of the populations of elk, deer, moose and caribou that I hunt.

Most of us never disgrace, kill others
Please, enough. Enough of the letters spouting understanding, sympathy and support for former coach Hamey, and now for Laura Stidolph. And yes, I do group them into the same category.

Build the Valley high school
The voters approved building a second high school: It is time to build it now. State funds are available to help, interest rates are low, we have an educationally and fiscally sound plan that will serve the community with the least amount of disruption for a good 20 years. I urge the Assembly to approve the School Board plan.

Consider the source
Ketchikan assemblyman Dick Coose bitterly attacked me personally in his "My Turn" column on Jan. 13. I dared to have a public opinion on the Roadless Rule on the Tongass, and of the irresponsibility of Ketchikan's leaders in throwing the taxpayers' money down a rat hole. That obviously struck a raw nerve.

Perfecting delivery
I am writing in response to Ellie Sica's letter of Wednesday. I am one of the adult motor route drivers about whom Ms. Sica refers. I have been driving for the Empire since August 2000, and have seen many changes. The replacement of youth carriers with adult motor route drivers was not made lightly. It is part of a bigger plan to improve the Juneau Empire for you, the customer. I'm sorry you have not experienced a smooth transition, but would like to ask you not to judge the whole based on the performance of a few.

Protect game, not predators
After reading the Empire article entitled "Governor ponders wolf control," I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, a voice of reason. Last fall the Game Board in Anchorage ruled that we must protect the wolves on Douglas Island, even though our local Advisory Board was overwhelmingly against it. I thought it was the Game Board's responsibility to "protect game," not protect predators. A proper house-cleaning was definitely in order. I would like to congratulate the six new board members and wish them God speed in repealing the decisions in regards to game management and predator control.

Watt lite
Destruction of 20 million acres of remaining American wetlands could follow Secretary Norton's new Interior policy-interpretation of a Supreme Court decision. One might expect such a policy from an apprentice of James Watt.

Go with board's design for Valley high school
It is important to be clear about the scope of the current high school construction debate. The community of Juneau has had extensive discussion about the best way to meet current and future high school education needs. Following lengthy debate, the majority of voters approved building a second high school in the Valley with the understanding that partial state funding would limit local taxpayers' share of the cost to no more than $25 million. Due to reduced interest rates and increased state funding, we actually will be able to build the Valley high school design now proposed by the school board, despite inflation, for less taxpayer cost than in 1999.

Vying for the games
Considering they'd been prevented by weather from flying into Juneau as scheduled, the members of the site selection committee for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games arrived a day late with one concern on their minds.

Stay tuned for games-panel visit
Fog on Saturday afternoon prevented the landing of a committee that is evaluating Juneau, Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula as sites for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games. But the members of the games' International Committee could arrive at 6:45 a.m. today after staying overnight in Sitka, local bid organizers said.

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

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 1979, a Fairbanks woman who was injured when her waterbed rolled, pinning her to the floor for 11 hours, received $150,000 from the manufacturer.

Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Close to home
They watched him grow - in skills and in height - from a middle school phenom to a high school star to a college force. And last Sunday, a large contingent of Juneau fans made the trip to Seattle to watch Carlos Boozer Jr. start for the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.

Norman Richard Bucy
Former Juneau resident Norman Richard Bucy died Jan. 15, 2003, at Providence Hospital in Anchorage from complications related to cancer.

My Turn: School Board version best for Valley high
A s a parent of three children in school, I have been going to the public meetings on the proposed Valley high school. Here is why I am for building the Valley high school as proposed by the Juneau School Board.

What do you think?

Toe Cartoon

Flying pigs need their rest
We get helpful little pamphlets and handouts at work sometimes to help us with our wellness. I really appreciate getting them because I forget to think about my well being. I forget to stop for lunch and forget to go home at quitting time, too, but that's a specific paying-attention problem, not the whole wellness picture. Today's handout - actually, could have been a few days ago, I forget to check my mailbox - is about how to deal with stress.

Empire editorial: This is the place
Welcome to the ideal site for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games! On Saturday, Mother Nature threw a monkey wrench into a well-planned welcome for the Arctic Winter Games International Committee. Six members of the 11-member committee were scheduled to land in Juneau on Saturday afternoon to assess Juneau's qualifications to host the 2006 games.

Leaving their mark
Bears do more than poop in the woods. They carve up the forest with their claws. In an area off Glacier Highway between a muskeg meadow and a salmon stream stands one of the biggest concentrations of bear-marked trees in Juneau. And it's getting bigger. "That wasn't here four years ago," said wildlife artist Ed Mills, pointing to inch-wide, 2-foot-long claw marks up the trunk of a tall alder tree. "That could be a brownie or a huge black bear."

Bicyclist-author to talk about travels
Adventure travel author Erika Warmbrunn will bring photos and stories from her 5,000-mile bicycle tour through Asia to Juneau next weekend. The New York City stagehand and translator wrote "Where The Pavement Ends: One Woman's Bicycle Trip Through Mongolia, China, and Vietnam," published last year by The Mountaineers Books. She will tell tales of her travels, show slides and sign copies of her book at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at the downtown library.

Winter Web links
Alaska and Pacific Northwest ski area Web sites.

The West Nile virus and Alaska
At a quarter-inch to a half-inch long, and weighing about one-third of a milligram, one of the earth's tiniest animals poses a threat to some of the largest.

Out and About
Jan. 19: 4-H Nordic Ski Club meeting. For location and activity, call the 4-H office, 465-8749. Jan. 21: Juneau Yacht Club meeting, 6:30 p.m., at the club near Aurora Basin.

Yukon Quest mushers create varied diet programs
It's not an exact science, but each musher has a special formula for what to pack for dogs and human in the 30-some bags sent to the 10 checkpoints along the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

Learning from the best
Visions of Olympic gold danced in the heads of Juneau's fledgling synchronized swimmers Friday evening. But it was no figment of the imagination - they were able to hold one of the prized medals in the palms of their hands.

Bears claw Lynx
A tough road at last month's Capital City Classic left the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team with a lot to work on over the past few weeks, and the Crimson Bears learned their lessons well. Juneau defeated the Dimond Lynx 67-54 on Friday and 51-40 on Saturday at the JDHS gym to improve its record to 5-3 on the season - and 5-1 against in-state opponents.

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.

Kake senior Danielle Knudsen averaged more than 42 points a game at the Don Hather basketball tournament in Skagway two weekends ago. The Thunderbirds' three opponents - the entire teams - averaged 28.

Swingley, citing race uncertainties, drops out of Yukon Quest
Four-time Iditarod champion Doug Swingley has dropped out of this year's Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. The Montana musher cited too many uncertainties with the race as a reason. He e-mailed Quest officials Thursday of his decision.

Jeff King wins third Kuskokwim 300
Musher Jeff King of Denali Park won the Kuskokwim 300 Sunday for the third straight year, and his daughter, Cali, brought up the rear today. Runner-up to King was fellow Iditarod winner Martin Buser, who was runner-up to King in last year's Kuskokwim 300 before winning the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Due to a reporting error, Sunday's Empire Inside article misstated when Carlos Boozer graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School. He graduated in 1999.

Jazz leave road-weary Cavs singing the blues
SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah Jazz seem to like the third quarter. For the second game in a row, the Jazz recovered from a slow first half with an explosive third quarter, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 95-78 Saturday night. "We pressured the ball in the third quarter and just played harder. More than anything else, the effort was the key," said Utah's Matt Harpring, who scored 22 points and sparked a key third-quarter run.

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

Cavs fire John Lucas
John Lucas was fired today as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have the NBA's worst record and have shown few signs of development this season.

State Briefs
Martin Luther King Jr. Day closures; High court upholds Wagoner victory; Juveniles charged with firing blanks at students; Sampson to head Alaska AFL-CIO; Alaska jobless rate up in December; Russians turned back from McKinley

Gov. ponders wolf control
In appointing six new members to the state Board of Game on Friday, Gov. Frank Murkowski said he will take a second look at predator control programs that have spared Alaska's wolves. The governor said the state needs to responsibly manage predators in Alaska based on scientific findings and not politics.

Speaking out against war
A bronze statue of Martin Luther King Jr., right, is seen on the Park Strip of Anchorage as peace demonstrators march Saturday.

Industry lauds new head of resources
Gov. Frank Murkowski's pick to head the department that regulates resource development is being praised by the industry and panned by environmentalists. Tom Irwin, a former executive with Fairbanks Gold Mining Inc., was named Natural Resources Department commissioner Friday. In that position, he will oversee development and regulation of Alaska's oil, gas, mining and timber resources.

Cost of rural education not as high as once thought
ANCHORAGE - A new study for the Legislature says the cost of education in many rural school districts is not as high as previously thought. If adopted by the Legislature, a new formula would reduce state funding to many rural districts while increasing funding for other regions.

House Republicans pick staunch conservative as majority leader
House Republicans chose Rep. John Coghill - a fiery conservative who once stormed out of the GOP camp over subsistence - as their majority leader on Sunday.

Tourism industry cautiously optimistic about 2003 bookings
A survey of businesses shows that the outlook for Alaska's tourism industry is slightly better this year than in 2002, with businesses remaining cautiously optimistic.

Lawmakers introduce legislation for Whittier private prison
Two Anchorage lawmakers are sponsoring a bill calling for a 1,200-bed private prison to be built in Whittier. Republican Reps. Norm Rokeberg and Mike Hawker filed the bill Friday that also would add 450 beds to existing prisons in Fairbanks, Seward, Bethel and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Large-animal vet finds home in AK
KENAI - With his red Alaska Farmers and Stock Growers hat, a worn-in rugby shirt and faded blue jeans, work boots and his coarse calloused hands, Jerry Nybakken may look to most people like more of rancher than a doctor of veterinary medicine.

ATV driver says he didn't see musher's team before collision that killed dog
Alaska State Troopers have forwarded charges to juvenile authorities against a 16-year-old boy who struck a sled dog team with his all-terrain vehicle in North Pole on Friday night and fled the scene. "He said he didn't see them," Trooper Ronnie Simmons told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Large freshman class joins Legislature
Freshman orientation in the Alaska Legislature - a biennial event aimed at quickly educating new lawmakers - was a little crowded this year. Seventeen of 60 legislators - or close to 30 percent - are new. That doesn't count former Rep. Max Gruenberg, an Anchorage Democrat, who returns after last serving in 1993, or three House members who moved to the Senate.

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

Blatchford appointed DCED commissioner
Gov. Frank Murkowski on Saturday announced appointments to the Department of Community and Economic Development, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. Edgar Blatchford, a journalism professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage, will serve as DCED commissioner. Blatchford, 52, served in Gov. Walter Hickel's administration from 1990 to 1994 as commissioner of Community and Regional Affairs.

Governor orders transportation department to reorganize
Gov. Frank Murkowski ordered a reorganization of the Department of Transportation last week, creating a division of the Marine Highway System and a separate office of aviation.

Photo: Anchorage festivities for the governor
Murkowski-Leman inaugural ball co-organizer Michelle Toohey, left, stands next to Gov. Frank Murkow-ski as the Anchorage Firefighters Honor Guard marches past Friday during the inaugural ball in Anchorage.

Fish Board looks at SE herring
A plan to open West Behm Canal near Ketchikan to commercial herring fishing is one of the issues before the Alaska Board of Fisheries in a meeting starting today in Sitka. Along with other Southeast Alaska herring issues, the board will consider proposals for changes in regional fisheries including groundfish and subsistence finfish, Dungeness crab, shrimp and other finfish.

Police hunt suspect for counterfeit state checks; Man found dead may be hit-and-run victim; Anchorage man pleads guilty to ecstasy charge; Anchorage inspectors hunt for fire hazards; Ketchikan Indian group holds annual election; Alaska wildlife manager may get regional post.

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