New fiction arrivals at the library
New fiction for February:

Ex-commissioners, biologists protected fish and game habitat
I am proud of the five former Alaska Department of Fish and Game commissioners who stood up for the department's Habitat Division in their My Turn column in the Feb. 2 Juneau Empire. I hope the ADF&G commissioner Gov. Murkowski appoints will be as strong as his or her predecessors have been in explaining the essential role of the department in protecting Alaska's fish and wildlife.

Experts at work
Gov. Murkowski recently announced his intention to gut fisheries protection by moving ADF&G's Habitat Division over to the Department of Natural Resources. Anyone with any experience knows that the hacks over DNR have zero credibility and will never lift a finger to protect a stream.

Protect your rights
Stand up for the U.S. Constitution and your civil rights. At 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 10, the Juneau Citizens for the Defense of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights will present a resolution to the CBJ Assembly.

Extreme negative view
We disagree with the past five ADF&G commissioners who oppose taking permitting power from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game's Habitat Division.

Thank you, governor
Gov. Murkowski's choice of moving the Habitat Division to the Department of Natural Resources is a bold move and I applaud him on it. Time will tell whether this is a progressive move or one that may require some additional changes. In the meantime, I am pleased our new governor is not timid about trying a new approach.

University's program educates students about state government
As the halls of the Capitol bustle with the energy of a new legislative session, university students from around the state learning about government firsthand through the Alaska Universities Legislative Internship Program. Seven students from the University of Alaska Southeast, Alaska Pacific University and other schools are participating in the program, which provides 12 hours of university credits, a stipend and the experience of working on a daily basis with an elected official.

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

Photo: Homecoming clamor
Juneau-Douglas High School students wearing the school colors of red and black, left to right, Mike Ward, Charlie Moline and Kyle Thibodeau, cheer on the girls basketball team Friday at the JDHS gym.

Photo: Scandinavian craft
Doug Quammen from Longview, Wash., demonstrates card weaving Saturday as Elfrida Nord looks on at the Juneau Yacht Club. The demonstration was part of the Sons of Norway Nordic Fest.

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

This Day in History
In 1901, a press dispatch dated November 6, 1900, wired from New York to Fort Egbert, and then mailed on Nov. 8, finally reached Nome, informing residents that William McKinley had been elected president.

Robert Giersdorf
Robert "Bob" Giersdorf, a travel and tourism leader and the youngest member of the first Alaska Legislature, died Feb. 5, 2003, in Seattle after a brief illness. He was 67.

Empire editorial: The plight of Silver Bay Logging: A saga of politics posing as law
As if Southeast Alaska hasn't weathered enough bad news on the economic front over the past few months with the closing of Wards Cove, trouble at Gateway Forest Products, and the depressed commercial fishing industry, one of the last remaining active logging companies in Southeast Alaska is in trouble.

My Turn: Habitat preserves wild salmon runs
I am extremely concerned about the governor's desire to disable the Habitat division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. To give habitat permitting to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) undermines the authority of Habitat, a division that is imperative to the health of our fish runs. I am confused as to how the governor thinks that this will "streamline the permitting process." If you look into it, you will find that the DNR is a backlogged department bogged down in permit applications dating back to the mid 1990s.

What do you think?
Habitat is the foundation of our economy. The governor's adolescent insistence to use the state to carry out his personal vendettas will erode our economy.

My Turn: Habitat concerns fishermen, governor
No issue is of greater importance to the United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) than the vitality and reproductive capacity of Alaska's habitat and environment. UFA has a long history at the national, state, and local government levels of pursuing legislation and policies to achieve a healthy environment for fish and wildlife.

Toe Cartoon

My Turn: Making Outside investments in Alaska's permanent fund work
Gov. Murkowski has taken, unfairly I think, a small amount of heat for his recent suggestion that companies which Alaskans partly own - through investment in the Permanent Fund - examine how they might benefit through greater involvement in this state and its people.

McNeil River bear-viewing applications available
Applications to view wild brown bears at the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary are available until March 1 through the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The sanctuary is 250 miles southwest of Anchorage and 100 air miles west of Homer and borders Katmai National Park. The roadless sanctuary protects about 200 square miles of wildlife habitat.

Winter Web links
Local Web sites of seasonal interest.

Juneau's park system has three classifications
On July 15, 1996, the Juneau Assembly adopted an ordinance establishing a Juneau Park System made up of natural area parks, recreation service parks, and conservation areas.

The Depths of Southeast
Every year during the dead of winter hundreds of Juneau residents do what most people would consider crazy. They submerge themselves in the frigid ocean waters around the area - for fun. Scuba diving has grown increasingly popular in Juneau and around Southeast Alaska recently, especially during the winter months. Numerous divers take to the water for recreation, subsistence, education and work.

Sixth annual Great Backyard Bird Count begins Friday
The sixth annual Great Backyard Bird Count is scheduled for Presidents Day Weekend, Feb. 14-17. A joint project of National Audubon Society and Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, it offers a winter snapshot of the status of birds across North America.

Out and About
Feb. 9: Eaglecrest Ski Area Platter Pull lift open 9 a.m.-4 p.m., tickets needed but no charge. $15 lessons at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Other lifts and trails closed due to shortage of snow. Details: 586-5330 or

No big changes to Quest
WHITEHORSE, Yukon - The Yukon Quest trail will mostly follow its traditional route on the Canadian side of the border. "We had looked at another route out of Whitehorse, but fortunately, God must be a musher there," said Sgt. John Mitchell of the Canadian Rangers in Dawson City.

Lack of sponsors blocking girls hoops broadcasts
A lack of sponsors has been blocking radio broadcasts of the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball games this season. KJNO-AM 630 has traditionally carried girls games, but station manager Steve Rhyner said the station has not had luck finding the sponsors it needs to bring the games to Juneau listeners this season.

Iditarod restart may be moved up to Fairbanks
ANCHORAGE - Iditarod race organizers met Saturday morning to explore the feasibility of holding the March 2 restart in Fairbanks because of dismal trail conditions to the south, mushers said. "It's sure looking like the weather calls for it," veteran musher DeeDee Jonrowe said. "I think it's a really good alternative. If it's between that and not having the race, this is great."

Wrestlers hit the state meet mats at Kayhi
KETCHIKAN - After a one-day delay due to fog, the focus of the Class 4A state wrestling tournament Saturday finally was where it belonged - on the wrestlers, not the weather. Teams had been scattered from Anchorage to Seattle, with small groups in Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell and Ketchikan on Thursday as fog kept several planes from landing in Ketchikan in time for Friday's scheduled start of the meet. The stranded teams were able to get into Ketchikan on Friday - with the last group arriving about 11:30 p.m. in a chartered plane carrying about 80 wrestlers, plus coaches and supporters, from the Anchorage School District.

Photo: Dance divas
Members of the Juneau-Douglas High School dance team entertain spectators at one of the weekend's high school basketball games. The team debuted a new hip-hop routine, featuring folding chairs as props, for the homecoming weekend.

Janowiec is state's top volleyball player
It didn't take Callan Janowiec long to make an impression on Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball co-coach Sandi Wagner. Janowiec was a freshman setter when she earned some playing time with the Crimson Bears varsity squad. She was playing for the Crimson Bears during a tournament at East Anchorage High School, when one of her teammates sent a bad pass her way.

Crimson Bear girls depose Kings
It was something old, something new on offense for the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team in its homecoming sweep of Ketchikan this weekend. On Friday night, Crimson Bear senior stalwarts Danielle Larson and Amy Neussl combined for 40 points as Juneau beat Kayhi, 57-34. When the Kings held Neussl in check on Saturday, Crimson Bear supporting players Alida Bus (10 points), Kendri Cesar (7 points) and Letasha McKoy (7 points) stepped up to help give Juneau a 50-37 victory.

ASAA Class 4A State Wrestling Tournament
Results from Saturday's opening day of the Alaska School Activities Association's Class 4A State Wrestling Championships at Ketchikan High School's Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium. Wrestling continues today, with the championship finals at 7:30 p.m. Results listed include all of the championship semifinal matches, plus the early round results for all Southeast wrestlers

Boozer gets head into game as rookies lose
ATLANTA - Jason Richardson's bounce pass off Carlos Boozer's forehead was the highlight of the afternoon. His final throw-down in the dunk contest was the perfect ending to the night. Richardson had the most dynamic day of any of the participants in All-Star Saturday - even if one of his opponents in the Rookie Challenge wasn't all that happy about it.

Bear boys cool down the Wolves
Quick starts and tenacious defense keyed two weekend homecoming wins for the Juneau-Douglas boy's varsity basketball team over the visiting Sitka Wolves.

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

Hung jury in trial on animal cruelty
SHELBY, Mont. - Faced with conflicting testimony on the treatment of nearly 200 dogs and cats, a jury here was unable to reach a verdict on whether their owners were guilty of animal cruelty. Six days of testimony and lawyers' arguments late last month persuaded only one of the six jurors that Athena Lethcoe-Harman and her husband, Johnathan Harman, were guilty. No date has been set for their retrial.

Guv to feds: Ban reviews of wilderness
Is there enough wilderness in Alaska? The governor thinks so, but environmental groups aren't so sure. Both are watching as the state awaits the U.S. Interior Department's response to a request to prohibit wilderness reviews in Alaska. Development generally is prohibited in wilderness areas.

State Briefs
Judge orders Mateu trial to Juneau; Third trial in double homicide concludes; House approves Greely rail extension; Palmer man flees police, shoots himself;

Chilkat Pass gets creamed
White stuff was everywhere north of Haines last month during the filming of a Twinkies commercial near Chilkat Pass. Oh, and there was plenty of snow, too.

Fishing groups split over Murkowski permitting plan
ANCHORAGE - Some members of the United Fishermen of Alaska are objecting to letter from the group's president that Gov. Frank Murkowski displayed as an endorsement of his plan to take permit power from the state's Habitat Division. The UFA leadership sent the letter before checking with all the member organizations.

Bishop says priest admitted abuse
ANCHORAGE - Former Anchorage Archbishop Francis Hurley said Friday he should have offered counseling to a teenager who was sexually abused by a priest more than 20 years ago. "Life went on and that's where I made a big mistake," Hurley told reporters during a news conference. "I failed to follow up with the victim."

Camp Collie: Town pulls together to take care of 170 Alaska dogs seized at border
The collie in Pen 71 carefully nudges her gleaming steel food bowl, just enough to tip some of the kibbles to the ground. She noses the nuggets into a small hole in the dirt floor and pushes wood chips over them. "A lot of the dogs bury their food as soon as we feed them," Barb Mercer shouts over the cacophony of 170 dogs from Alaska celebrating the arrival of breakfast in the cavernous 4-H building. "They hadn't been fed in so long, they want to save it."

State files appeal on oil-pipeline charges
ANCHORAGE - The state is appealing a regulatory decision that cut rates for oil shipped through the trans-Alaska oil pipeline to in-state customers. The state is vitally interested in pipeline tariffs because state royalties and severance taxes are based on the price of the oil after transport charges have been subtracted. Higher pipeline charges mean lower revenues for Alaska.

Yukon seeing increased film exposure
More so than ever, production companies are heading to the Great White North in search of the "reel" Yukon. A favorable Canadian exchange rate, a growing good reputation within the industry and, of course, stunningly beautiful scenery are leading to busy times for the Yukon Film Commission and those Yukoners who cater to the small-but-thriving film industry.

Gov. Murkowski still has large Senate war chest
FAIRBANKS - Gov. Frank Murkowski still has $230,000 in campaign money he collected to run for the U.S. Senate before entering and winning the 2002 race for governor of Alaska. Murkowski reported the total in an end-of-year statement filed with the secretary of the U.S. Senate this week.

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