http://racerealty.com/

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Target the problem
Our Juneau conservatives' exorbitant outlay of public time and money for their crusade to gradually criminalize abortion is misguided. Their current costly device, the parental consent law, is inept because it doesn't target the real problem.

Felling the giants
Not so long ago, I earned my living as a big time timber cutter throughout Southeast Alaska's island-studded Tongass National Forest. We were paid by the 1,000 board feet or as it's known in the industry, by the "bushel." I worked hard and made nothing but money and muscle for myself.

Play to win
Barbara Kelly's recent letter moved me to also write and express my convictions about the increasingly likely attack on Iraq. Ms. Kelly is right. We must not remain silent and complacent. There are too many lives at stake.

Crying wolf and tax breaks
It is difficult for me to believe President Bush and Colin Powell's reports on Iraq for the following reasons: President Bush and his team have painted the war on terrorism in such simplistic terms - Good vs. Evil - an argument that mirrors that of the Muslim fanatics and makes me doubt their intelligence and their sincerity.

Too much democracy?
Town meeting was jam-packed Monday evening in support of a resolution that wholeheartedly supports the numerous human rights protected by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights and decries the restrictions that are imposed by the recent USA Patriot Act and others.

I didn't speak up because ...
I would like to have confidence in the president of my country. The fact is, I don't trust George W. as far as I could throw him. This Homeland Security Act is not making me feel secure at all. If you voted for W then let him take your rights away, but I would like to keep mine.

Don't be silent
I was horrified to read recently what the Pentagon has planned, should the U.S. go to war with Iraq - violence on an horrendous scale for the first 48 hours of the initial attack. A recent e-mail I received stated: "The Pentagon has disclosed its plan to maintain peace by carrying out an opening blitzkrieg on Iraq of more than 3,000 bombs and missiles in the first 48 hours.

Bringing sugar down
Rep. Kapsner just introduced a bill that would ban the sale of drinks that have more than 42 grams of sugar on school grounds. Thanks! The bill is very intelligent, understanding that good education includes a healthy body, and it's currently hard for today's over-busied schoolers to run on the fumes of sugar and caffeine.

Why the name-calling?
As President Bush prepares his nonconstitutional first strike against Iraq, Empire readers have seen several letters dismissing people in the antiwar movement as communist dupes at best and traitors to the homeland at worst. In any event, people who question the war automatically hate the United States, Israel and free enterprise.

First-class status earned
"If a race has no history, if it has no evidence of tradition, it stands in danger of being exterminated." This is a quotation from Dr. Carter G. Woodson when he explained his reasons for starting Negro History Week in 1926. Negro History Week has been expanded to Negro History Month or Black History Month, depending upon which area of the United States one might live.

Rx for prosperity
There has been a lot of controversy over Gov. Murkowski's decision to move the permitting functions of the Habitat Division of Fish and Game to the Department of Natural Resources. Much of the controversy revolves around speculation the administration will either permit or pursue actions that will devastate our fish and game resources.

Scary developments
It scares me when I think of the future of Alaska. What with our Gov. Frank Murkowski ripping apart the Habitat Division of ADF&G, permit streamlining, and appointing the new hunter and predator control-biased Board of Game. If that's not enough to keep one up at night there's more.

Victim: Flag vandals are 'un-American'
Rudy Ripley stared at the sick and tattered remnants of his patriotic pride hanging limply Sunday morning from the roof of his Park Place home. He was one of about 10 people whose flags were thrown "like javelins" into dirty, late-winter snow, cavalierly ripped from roofs or stolen. "Whoever did this is a real slime bag and, in this case I'd say, un-American," said Ripley, 68 and a retired printer. "I'm not the kind of person that goes around beating his chest with patriotism, but I have every right in the world to fly my flag. I just want to know what lowlife would do something like this."

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

City eyes sidewalk obstacles downtown
Juneau Assembly members, in an effort to reduce downtown congestion, are considering a ban on some vending machines, giant stuffed animals and other objects that block the movement of pedestrians on sidewalks. They also are trying to make the city's crossing guard program more effective. The Assembly's Planning and Policy Committee reviewed a draft ordinance Tuesday that would ban obstructions on public sidewalks that have the potential for impeding traffic. The changes will get more discussion at a work session March 3, Deputy Mayor Ken Koelsch said.

City may increase stream setbacks
The Juneau Assembly paved the way for changes to the city's stream and shoreline setback rules Monday. The Assembly unanimously adopted changes to the comprehensive plan that deal with streamside corridors, lake shorelines, the urban service boundary and stormwater management. The comprehensive plan, last updated in 1996, provides general policy for how the city manages land in Juneau.

Assembly committee to review anti-terrorism laws
Juneau's views on the USA Patriot Act and other federal anti-terrorism legislation will get an airing before a Juneau Assembly committee later this month. The Assembly on Monday referred a draft resolution objecting to elements of the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act and recent executive orders to its Human Resources Committee for more discussion. The resolution was drafted by a group called Juneau Citizens for the Defense of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Many of the group's members filled Assembly chambers Monday night.

Union aims to take in last of nonunionized university staff
A union is seeking to represent the last nonunionized workers at the University of Alaska. Organizers for the University of Alaska Staff United have been collecting employees' signatures since November to petition for an election on whether the union should represent them in collective bargaining.

This Day in History
In 1939, A "Bone-Dry" bill was introduced in the Alaska Territorial House, prohibiting the manufacture or sale of intoxicating liquor in Alaska.

Family's possessions arrive in shambles
When a moving company left Paul and Pascale Hawkins without their belongings for nearly two months, they almost landed a guest appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." The company eventually delivered the shipment, although it included damaged furniture, ruined electronics and a soaked mattress. Despite thousands of dollars of damage, the late arrival was enough to take the new-to-Juneau family off the guest list for an "Oprah" moving-scam episode.

Correction
Due to a reporter's error, an article in Tuesday's Empire incorrectly referred to airline service to Pelican. Alaska Airlines does not serve Pelican.

This Day in History
In 1979, Seventy mph winds and near zero temperatures ravaged Anchorage.

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

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

Juneau Assembly approves high school design funds
The Juneau Assembly approved $837,000 in design funding for a Mendenhall Valley high school Monday, despite concerns about an alternate concept that might be used if voters reject more funding for the project. The Assembly last month decided to forward a $60.8 million design for a new Mendenhall Valley school to voters, after turning down a city proposal for a smaller, $50 million school. Under current plans, voters would be asked to issue $12.6 million in general obligation bonds for the new high school at a special election June 3.

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

Photo: Firefighters in 1900
Members of the Juneau Volunteer Fire Department pose in 1900, approximately one year after it was organized by a group of local citizens.

Aaron Bruce earns Eagle Scout rank
Aaron Bruce, 15, was presented the Boy Scout's highest rank of Eagle Scout on Jan. 4, 2003. His National Court of Honor ceremony was held at the Eagle River United Methodist Camp, which is also the site of his Eagle project. Bruce replaced an old footbridge across Saturday Creek near where Juneau's youth use a rope to swing across the stream. Bruce obtained the materials and financing needed to build the new 20-foot bridge by requesting donations from local businesses and individuals.

Juneau's pruning should improve after class by Cass
The pruning class, given by Cass Turnbull of Plant Amnesty sponsored by the division of Community Forestry and several other agencies, was the most well attended gardening type class I have seen in Juneau. The speaker set the tone for the evening by revealing that the longer she gardened, the less she pruned. She empowered the audience to join her in moving more shrubs than she pruned and killing more than she moved.

Personal stories give 'Voice to Sorrow'
One Saturday morning last summer while driving to the airport, I listened to a story broadcast on NPR called "I Know How I Want to Die." It was about a little girl, Liza Lister, who died of leukemia 12 days after her 6th birthday. Liza's mother, Elena, was the narrator. The story was achingly sad, but at the same time, it was also beautiful and awe-inspiring.

Pets of the week
Josephine is a medium-size, spayed female husky mix. She has a long and smooth black coat and a nicely masked husky face. Princess is truly a beauty with her long, sable-colored coat and emerald eyes. She is an experienced lap cat and is quiet and undemanding.

Thank you
Back in November, while passing the conjunction of McKinnes and Duck Creek stream, I noticed that several ducks on the shore were watching something in the little pond. I joined them and saw three to six salmon swimming in the little pond.

Photo: Sunday morning, catching some rays
What appears at first glance to be a scantily clad and dedicated - not to say fanatical - Juneau sun worshipper working at an early-season tan on the NOAA dock downtown, is actually only Oscar, the dummy that local Coast Guard crews employ in their search-and-rescue training exercises.

My Turn: Salmon supplies and processors
As the salmon conference convenes at the ANB Hall, a major question is what is to become of the Southeast seine fleet. With the loss of Ward's Cove, an estimated 70 seiners are facing the prospect of not having a buyer for their fish. As the summer progresses, the economic loss will snowball and be felt in small communities throughout Southeast that have counted these seiners as some of their best customers, in terms of fuel and other supplies.

My Turn: Golf course - another final review
The golf course project proposed by Totem Creek has been mentioned frequently of late in relation to controversies surrounding the state permitting process. We have had our share of difficulties, but rather than revisit the issues now behind us, we wish to update the community on the progress made with our project, and to describe where we are in our efforts to receive the required permits.

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

Region V Standings
The Region V basketball standings through games of Feb. 9. Standings are for all three Region V classifications and were reported to the Juneau Empire by school officials and basketball coaches.

Sitka girls go 0-3 in Anchorage
The Sitka High School girls basketball team came close, but couldn't pull off a victory in last weekend's Lady Lynx Prep Shootout at Anchorage's Dimond High School.

Iditarod restart heads north to Fairbanks
ANCHORAGE - Officials unanimously approved a plan Tuesday to move the restart of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to Fairbanks rather than cancel the entire event because of a lack of snow south of the Alaska Range. "It's the correct decision in light of the present circumstances," Iditarod president Rick Koch said of the unprecedented detour from the historic restart site in Wasilla. "It will provide a safe race trail for dog and human competitors."

ASAA state events could use a little more travel
Once it finally got going, the Alaska School Activities Association's Class 4A state wrestling championship moved smoothly this past weekend at Ketchikan High School's Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium. Sure, there were a few things that could have been improved - such as cutting down on some of the lengthy pre-match introductions that made it so the championship finals didn't end until well after 11 p.m. But most of the tournament's real problems had to do with uncontrollable events, namely Thursday's fog and the out-of-order navigational aid at Ketchikan's airport that delayed the tournament a day.

Juneau's Bicknell scratches from the Yukon Quest
Juneau musher Deborah Bicknell scratched from the Yukon Quest in Pelly Crossing on Tuesday after hearing reports of continued rough trail conditions beyond the checkpoint. Bicknell was the third musher to drop out of the field of 23, which at last report was led by Hans Gatt of Atlin, British Columbia.

Massicotte leads mushers out of Pelly Crossing
A relatively unknown musher from Quebec was the first musher to lead his team out of the Pelly Crossing, Yukon Territory, checkpoint today during the 20th annual Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

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

Pacers 107, Cavaliers 96
At Indianapolis, Jermaine O'Neal scored 28 points and Brad Miller had 25 as the Pacers opened the second half of the season with Ron Artest back in the lineup and coach Isiah Thomas on the sidelines.

Juneau Gun Club Trap League Standings
Standings after the fourth week of shooting in the 12-week Juneau Gun Club Trap League.

Congressional riders would expand logging
Alaska's congressional delegation is battling to keep riders in a massive national spending bill that would allow more logging in the Tongass National Forest and move toward oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. A rider from Republican Sen. Ted Stevens would prohibit appeals of a pending Forest Service decision on whether to set aside new wilderness areas in the 16.8 million-acre Tongass forest.

Fishermen: Processors kept them guessing
ANCHORAGE - A permit holder in the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery said Monday that processors often kept fishermen guessing about what price their catch would net until well after the end of the season. "You never know what the price is going to be until the season is over, and sometimes before the next season is about to start," said Jerry Hatton, the first of dozens of witnesses expected to testify in Superior Court in a $1 billion class-action lawsuit.

Legislators look again at incentives for gas line
Alaska Lawmakers have started work on legislation to provide the "fiscal certainty" major oil and gas companies operating in Alaska say they need to pursue a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope. Rep. Hugh Fate, Republican of North Pole, is pushing a bill that would revive, with changes, the so-called Stranded Gas Act the Legislature passed in 1998.

Delegates defend Tongass measures
ANCHORAGE - U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and U.S. Rep. Don Young are defending measures they have put into a massive 2003 federal spending bill that could make more of the Tongass National Forest available to logging. Stevens said environmentalists are distorting the effect of the measures.

State Briefs
Senator falls ill during committee hearing; Man pleads guilty to molesting two teens; Mat-Su wants ferry to sail until Knik Bridge is built; Hundreds gather in Barrow for celebration; Volunteers continue search for kayaker

Legislator proposes constitution change to cap state spending
A freshman Republican wants to change the Alaska Constitution to place a tight cap on state spending. Rep. Bill Stoltze, an Eagle River Republican, said his suggested constitutional amendment would limit state spending to no more than the amount spent two years earlier. It would take a three-quarters vote of the Legislature to exceed the spending limit, and then lawmakers could exceed it by only 2 percent.

ASEA will try to block habitat permitting shift
ANCHORAGE - Officials with a union that represents state workers said Gov. Frank Murkowski will have a fight on his hands if he follows through with plans to streamline habitat permitting. Meanwhile, a former fisheries official is trying to work out a compromise to the conflict. Mike Robbins, business agent for Alaska State Employees Association AFSCME Local 52, said union officials met with staffers from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Habitat Division on Friday to discuss the governor's plan to transfer project permitting authority to the Department of Natural Resources. The plan could include to lay off up to 50 biologists and other workers.

High-tech buoys help track killer drift nets on high seas
ANCHORAGE - Wasilla pilot and high-tech entrepreneur Tim Veenstra was eating lunch at a marine science conference in Anchorage a few weeks ago when a buoy rang his cell phone from the middle of the Pacific Ocean. "I was the guy jumping up and yelling," Veenstra said. "My first buoy had talked to me."

Measure would hold Alaska clergy responsible for abuse
Priests, ministers, rabbis and other religious leaders would be held accountable for failing to report incidents of abuse or neglect of a minor under a bill filed Monday by an Anchorage lawmaker. Mandatory reporting laws already exist for school teachers and staff, doctors, child-care providers and police officers. But Republican Rep. Bob Lynn said the law should extend to clergy to protect children as well as religious institutions.

State Briefs
MADD tests local liquor stores; Ill senator returns to work; Homer says 'no' to big box stores;

New state fisheries adviser Austerman faces challenges
An oversupply of inexpensive farmed salmon and a shortage of processors are among the challenges facing Gov. Frank Murkowski's new fisheries adviser. Former state Sen. Alan Austerman cited Wards Cove Packing Co.'s plan to close processing plants and the availability of processors around the state could affect whether foreign-flagged fish processing vessels are allowed in Alaska waters.

Poll shows shift in Alaskans' attitudes about smoking
ANCHORAGE - A new poll suggests anti-tobacco advertisements are meeting with success in changing Alaskans' attitudes about smoking and tobacco.

Board may reverse wolf protection
The state Board of Game decided Tuesday to put lethal wolf control on the forefront of its agenda next month, a move that could turn around eight years of protections for the predators. Board members will take up the issue during a special meeting March 6 in Anchorage where they will consider ways to help moose populations rebound near McGrath, a 400-population Kuskokwin River town 220 miles northwest of Anchorage.

Fishermen, SE leaders meet to discuss salmon industry woes
Angoon used to have 27 seiners, but today has just one. In Pelican, a community with an entirely fish-based economy, the population has shrunk by one-third in the last few years. The biggest employer in Hoonah, which used to boast a robust fishing and logging economy, is the school. These woes are a result of the problems plaguing Southeast's salmon economy, said area mayors who spoke Monday on the first day of a three-day salmon conference being held in Juneau. The mayors said Southeast fishing communities need better transportation and new, innovative products and production techniques if they are to continue making a living.

CONTACT US

  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-523-2295
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-3028
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2270
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING