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Monday, February 17, 2003

New books at Juneau public libraries
You probably aren't surprised to hear that one out of five Italians owns a cell phone, but did you know that in Botswana, it is one out of eight?

Safer, richer
Joyce Levine, in her Feb. 13 commentary, expresses her concern for the safety of everyone using Douglas Bridge, particularly bicyclists and pedestrians. The bicycle-pedestrian path is six inches narrower than she deems adequate.

No reason to fear
The 1997 Tongass Land Management Plan (TLMP) provides enormous protections for fish, wildlife, recreation, tourism and subsistence. Implementation of that plan will allow harvest of up to 4 percent of the Tongass over the next 100 years. The plan also maintains all 6 million acres of wilderness (35 percent of the Tongass) and maintains another seven million acres of roadless areas (43 percent of the Tongass).

High cost, uncertain benefit
In the Feb. 6 Empire, Lew Williams again claims roads are the solution to our economic troubles. In the fashion typical of road building promoters he provides no specific information about the costs versus the benefits nor does he recognize some basic reasons why the Bradfield Road proposal has gone nowhere for 20 years.

Sign of the times
I have a charter boat out of Ketchikan. It's just the wife and myself and we run multiple day scenic, kayak mother ship and some fishing trips. The fishing trips are low key with the emphasis on eating the catch rather than volume.

Stand for what's right
"United We Stand" read the signs all across the U.S. It used to be that we stood for "liberty, equality and justice for all." Now, President Bush wants us to stand for aggression, no matter what the cost to the people of Iraq or the long-term costs to the U.S.

No to Bush's war
Saddam Hussein should go, but George Bush's war is unacceptable. Nearly all world leaders agree Saddam is a brutal dictator and a menace to his neighbors. Iraq needs a new government that is more just and less dangerous.

Honor dissent
From U.S. government 101: Dissent in a free society is not disloyal, it is requisite. Unanimity is only required by demagogues. When I taught U.S. government classes I tried to explain to my students that our government was deliberately set up with checks and balances, which sometimes result in slow progress precisely because the founding fathers were terrified of tyranny.

Acknowledging six
As the Empire reported on Wednesday, more than half of our local liquor stores were willing to sell to young people without ID in a recent survey conducted by Youth In Action, a group sponsored by MADD.

Not the whole state
Thank you, Kim Elton, for your lone vote against reopening ANWR.

Motives and actions
Forget about the fact Jim Duncan would now be on the management side of the negotiations table trying to reduce GGU workers salaries and benefits if Fran Ulmer had been elected governor last November.

Elton speaks for many
I was stunned by the comments of Don Smith (Empire, Feb. 14) regarding Sen. Elton's vote in opposition to opening development in ANWR. While I personally strongly oppose ANWR development, the editorial disturbed me on a much deeper level than Mr. Smith's opposing views on this particular issue. None of us, as individuals or groups, unequivocally "know" what's best regarding any policy issue. We often have vastly different and equally strongly held views that are the product of our individual backgrounds, experiences and values. As a democracy, we have the right and privilege to elect the leaders who we feel will best represent us. Majority rules in a democracy, and while my political views may be in the minority on any given issue, democracy allows even my minority views to be expressed and represented.

Show more respect
As a faithful Juneau Empire reader, I am disappointed reading Friday's paper and finding an article on our civil rights leader Elizabeth Peratrovich to be on page 3 rather than on the front page. Our ancestors before us have fought for our civil rights. I find it important as an Alaska Native-Tlingit to have such celebration of one wonderful brave outspoken lady to speak on behalf of the Alaska Natives to be celebrated statewide. It is important of the messages we send and our actions we make as individuals, for we have future generations we need to look out for. In this time we are still fighting similar battles that our parents and grandparents have stood/fought for.

More than symbolism
In his Sunday editorial, Publisher Don Smith examined the question of whether the Assembly is the place to debate the community's stance on such issues as the PATRIOT Act and other issues of national relevance. Mr. Smith's piece was on the whole a thoughtful contribution to an ongoing dialogue, but portions of it struck me as begging for a response.

A state of laws - or not
Gov. Murkowski was elected by a majority of Alaskans and should be given reasonable latitude to implement his policy goals. However, there are limits - such as those imposed by law - on the governor's power.

Patronizing civil libertarians
Among the many distortions saturating your Feb. 16 editorial ("Is the Assembly the place to decide the community's conscience on patriotism?"), one claim in particular appears to be willfully misinformed. Although the Empire claims that "the ideals of liberty and freedom rest in the eyes of the beholder" - an awfully relativist position, I might add, for such an intellectually conservative editorial board to endorse - the fact is that such "ideals" are contested, interpreted, enforced, or nullified within an overlapping system of material institutions that include the press, the courts, and legislative entities such as the CBJ Assembly.

Job well done
From everything we observed, the new Treadwell Ice Skating Arena is a success. Thanks to the Douglas 4th of July Committee and everyone who pitched in to make it a reality.

Trading freedom for security
It was interesting to read the editorial by Don Smith in Sunday's paper where he spent 80 percent creating the appearance of being evenhanded and then ended with a grand slam that approaching our leaders and legislators is not an appropriate place to bring grievances with government. I always thought it was exactly our local, borough and state leaders to whom we were supposed to bring issues to.

Consider habitat, not pizza
I was dismayed to see Gov. Murkowski's rejection of the plea from the five past Fish and Game commissioners to leave the Habitat Division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game intact and with permitting authority.

Dissent and censorship
On the subject of public dissent and censorship, two items in the paper quickly caught my eye. One was publisher Don Smith's editorial that questions our right to openly demonstrate in a town meeting. He tells us such action has no place at local Assembly meetings and instead should rightly be taken to Washington for an airing. He says: "There are plenty of avenues for free speech, peaceful protest and effective activism for groups...." "But not here in my backyard" is his clear reference. Well, that's not the way it works, Don.

Funding rural schools
Per Con Bunde's statement that the Republican Party isn't out to hurt Alaska Native students, I again state that the revised funding formula for rural, predominantly Alaska Native students is at 65 percent of the former 100 percent funding, while at the same time urban, predominantly white schools are at 100 percent of the former 100 percent funding.

U.S. processors preferred
I have to disagree with Mr. Engstrom's opinion on Russian processors processing pinks in Alaska waters. I have worked in salmon processing in Petersburg for 23 years, mostly pink salmon in cans, which have been sent all over the world. I am sure there is a domestic market for frozen and canned pink salmon in Russia. Russian fish brokers need to contact an Alaska fish processor for our product.

Of concern to everyone
Monday's Empire was a study in irony. The right side of the front page carried a story about several American flags having been stolen and ruined. I could not help wondering what sort of idiot thinks it is acceptable to come in the night, when he thinks no one is watching, to appropriate something that belongs to other people and destroy it. Mr. Ripley and his neighbors have my empathy for suffering such a mindless violation.

Prevention responsibilities
As someone who works with youth, I was frustrated to read that a local survey determined that 57 percent of Juneau's liquor stores were willing to sell to young buyers without seeing ID. In my work with Juneau's middle school and high school kids, I see the problems that go hand-in-hand with underage drinking like poor grades, vandalism, premature sexual activity, violence and exploration of other drugs. I try to help kids to make healthy choices for themselves, but it would be a lot easier for these kids to make wise decisions regarding alcohol if adults didn't make it so readily available to them. Any alcohol a teen consumes came to him or her by way of an adult. Maybe a clerk sold it to him. Maybe an adult gave it to her. Maybe a parent has a liquor cabinet that he stole it from.

Meet the challenge
It appears our state subsistence law vs. the Native way of life issue is up for another round of public scrutiny and debate. It's a difficult but sensitive issue that continues to appear in the Juneau Empire without too much interest and attention.

War and peace protests
War! Huh! What is it good for? How about to gain freedom, as in the Revolutionary War? Or to stop Hitler from global domination and free Jews from concentration camps, as in World War II? And what does marching in the streets for "peace" do to help innocent Iraqis in Saddam's torture chambers? Absolutely nothing! To free thousands of Iraqi families currently terrorized by Saddam? Absolutely nothing! To deter other would-be dictators and mass murderers? Absolutely nothing!

Democracy is also local
I read Don Smith's editorial in Sunday's Empire about the Patriot Act. I detect he was trying to give voice to those satisfied with government action to increase domestic surveillance and federal law enforcement power. Thank you, Don, for this service. But I must challenge you on four things.

Reversal in order
The governor's decision to move the Habitat Division from the Department of Fish and Game to Department of Natural Resources is not in the best interest of the people of Alaska who use the resources.

AroundTown
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Man charged with threatening to set woman on fire
A man awaits arraignment today on a felony assault charge alleging he beat his girlfriend, doused her with lighter fluid and threatened to set her on fire. Timothy Nelson, 23, was arrested early Sunday in the Salmon Creek area on charges of third-degree domestic violence assault, a felony, and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor.

Low gas prices fuel debate
Fuel prices at Fred Meyer last week were so low that Brian Olson, a manager for fuel wholesaler Delta Western, bought gas there to sell to other stations. "I could not purchase a block of product at current rates in Washington, transport it to Alaska, meet Fred Meyer's price, and realize a return on my investment," said Olson, who sells gas to Mendenhall Valley Tesoro and several other local stations.

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 1961, the Hood Bay salmon cannery, owned by the community of Angoon, was destroyed by fire.

Folk festival embezzlement inspires restitution bill
A Juneau lawmaker went before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday to change a law he says prevented the Alaska Folk Festival from collecting full restitution from an accountant who embezzled thousands of dollars from the organization in the 1990s. Republican Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch authored House Bill 23, which would allow nonprofit groups to collect restitution for time and resources spent to uncover criminal activity within an organization.

Globetrotters plug salmon - 1950
The Harlem Globetrotters are shown at an exhibition game in the Juneau High School gym in 1950. According to www.harlemglobetrotters.com, the Globetrotters were the first professional basketball team to tour the Territory of Alaska.

Healing touch
Sue Behnert, left, gives a Healing Touch treatment to Linda Millard last week at Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Remaking the mystery
For more than a decade, Sitka author John Straley has taken murder mystery fans on a tour of a place "where the salmon flash like slices of silver." His Cecil Younger detective novels have shown tens of thousands of readers an only-in-Southeast-Alaska world where rain "falls in percolated drops, breaking the tension of the (ocean's) shiny black surface." They've followed the alcoholic, lost-at-love, financially challenged anti-hero through streets where he can't turn a corner without running into a raven "hunched on an abandoned truck waiting for the garbage cans to blow over."

School union talks on hold
Contract negotiations between Juneau teachers and the school district have stalled at the start. The Juneau Education Association, representing about 350 teachers, last Thursday asked the state Labor Relations Agency to enforce an agreement on the ground rules for bargaining this year. The complaint was rejected on technical grounds but will be refiled under a different provision of the law.

Wearable wonders
Seasonal Affective Disorder had no chance of rearing its ugly head Friday night during the Wild Mind third annual Wearable Art Extravaganza benefit for the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. Artist Joanie Waller made sure of that. "A girl can't just rely on the weather, no, no, she has to emanate from within," said emcee Collette Costa as Waller modeled her "Anti-SAD Dress" in the first act of the show.

AlaskaDigest
No decision yet on priest's fate; Court sides with city on Keen tram fees; Peace demonstrations held around state.

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

Debra Lynne Marbach
Juneau resident Debra Lynne Marbach, 52, died Feb. 14, 2003, in Juneau.

My Turn: A chilly reception for rights resolution
The FBI has a program called Carnivore. It's function is to allow a computer to attach itself to an Internet service provider, filtering through all the traffic to find target information to which it is legally entitled. Problem is, no one is allowed to look at the computer code that grabs information except the FBI itself. Zero oversight.

Empire editorial: Is the Assembly the place to decide the community's conscience on patriotism?
At last Monday's CBJ Assembly meeting a group called Juneau Citizens for the Defense of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights presented a draft of a resolution objecting to aspects of the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act and recent executive orders. A large group of boosters filled the Assembly chambers and time was allowed for a few to speak in support of their resolution.

Life in a small community
In my previous column I wrote about how there was overwhelming support for a popular Yakutat principal, and just as much lack of support for the superintendent. At a School Board meeting on Jan. 20, the board offered the superintendent a two-year contract and a $3,000 raise. Prior to this hiring, the board listened to comments from teachers and members of the public who said in their experiences with the superintendent, she wasn't satisfactorily performing her job.

Toe Cartoon

What do you think?
The Permanent Fund should be managed to yield the greatest annual percentage return on the investment. This is our money and not the governor's to pursue his political agenda at a potential cost to us as shareholders.

My Turn: Addressing editorial's disturbing points
I am responding to your Sunday editorial regarding the proposed CBJ resolution that would put Juneau on record defending the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights from some aspects of the so-called USA Patriot Act.

My Turn: We've got low snow but high stakes at Eaglecrest
Eaglecrest Ski Area has provided 27 years of winter recreation to Juneau citizens. The ski area is owned and operated by the City and Borough of Juneau as a special revenue fund, which requires the ski area generate revenues and remain as fiscally self-sufficient as possible. A board of directors, appointed by the CBJ Assembly, provides ski area oversight. Over the years, we have had great support from the community of winter sport enthusiasts and we plan to continue to provide winter recreation opportunities for Juneau citizens well into the future.

My Turn: City's Lena Point course is prudent
Lars Gregovich's Feb. 10 letter distorts the record and confuses the actions of two decision-making bodies. If he is frustrated by the progress of the NOAA facility, I share that sentiment. The inaction of NOAA is beyond the control of the CBJ.

My Turn: The only risk is not taking one
There seems to be a growing belief within the media, and a concurrent sense of alarm by the public, that Gov. Murkowski's recommendations on the future of the Permanent Fund in his State of the State address will put the fund at risk. Rather than listen to the spin created by the media, maybe we should revisit what the governor actually said.

Winter Web links
Local Web sites of seasonal interest.

Weasels in the woods
Q: A little white weasel with a black-tipped tail jumped in front of me when I was hiking up Perseverance Trail recently. What is this?

High-altitude hobby
Most guys get together to watch football, play poker, go fishing or hunt - activities that keep them relatively close to the ground. Such terrestrial hobbies just don't appeal to other guys, though. They get together to fly. "I used to have three boats, and now I enjoy looking where the boats used to be," said Ron Swanson, who now owns three planes. He's one of a number of local pilots who enjoy flying small planes around Southeast Alaska.

A new book for Alaska bird watchers
Alaska has become a prime destination for birders. From the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean to the far-flung islands of the Bering Sea, from Attu Island at the westernmost end of the Aleutian Islands to Hyder, the most easterly town in Southeast, birders can be found scouring the state looking for new birds to add to their lists.

Scientists look for clues to rise in bird deformities
KENAI - Avid bird watchers in Southcentral Alaska may be familiar with black-capped chickadees with deformed bills, and those that aren't soon may be because the number of birds affected appears to be on the rise. "The deformed birds were first observed in 1991, but since then more than 1,300 affected chickadees have been reported in Alaska, representing more than 1,000 individual birds," said Colleen Handel, a research wildlife biologist with the USGS Alaska Science Center in Anchorage.

Out and About
Feb. 16: 20th Annual Sweethearts' Relay Race, 1 p.m., Douglas Fire Hall. Southeast Roadrunners Club event. Details: John and Jamie Bursell, 789-5997. Feb. 16-17: "We Love Snow Weekend," 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 www.skijuneau.com.

Gatt first musher to reach Alaska
EAGLE - Defending champion Hans Gatt led mushers into Eagle on Saturday, reaching the first Alaska checkpoint in the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog race at 5:54 p.m. AST. Gatt, of Atlin, British Columbia, was holding a lead of more than two hours Saturday as the mushers left the Fortymile River stop. Gatt covered 50 miles of smooth trail from Dawson City to Fortymile River, then left at 12:57 a.m. with 10 dogs.

Juneau swimmers set records at SE Championships
JUNEAU - Several members of Juneau's Glacier Swim Club set meet records at the Mike Smithers Southeast Regional Championships, held Feb. 7-9 at Sitka's Blatchley Pool.

Crimson Bear boys hold off Mustangs, fall to Warriors
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team stayed with the top-ranked Wasilla Warriors for the first half of their game Saturday night in Wasilla. But in the second half, the Crimson Bears could find no way to contain the hot shooting of Buddy Bailey, who made four of his eight 3-pointers in the third quarter as the Warriors ran away with a 66-41 victory.

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.

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

Banking on mushing
Randy Chappel hadn't planned on leaving a career as an investment manager in Arlington, Texas, to run a team of sled dogs in Alaska's most famous race. Blame it on a tourist attraction.

Iditarod champ Swingley wins U.P. 200 Sled Dog Championship
Four-time Iditarod champion Doug Swingley won the U.P. 200 Sled Dog Championship, a race that began Friday and was hampered by snow.

Local sports shots
Pro handball and HoopTime.

Letter: Thanks for your kids
I am writing to say thank you for sharing your kids with us. Ketchikan hosted the State Wrestling Championship and after a foggy beginning, kids started showing up on Friday (Feb. 7).

Quest leadershead to Circle
Defending champion Hans Gatt was building his lead in the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race early today. Gatt arrived at the Slaven's Cabin dog drop at 10:20 p.m. Sunday, more than five hours ahead of his closest competitor.

Juneau girls sweep Sitka
Everything wound up the way it was meant to be Saturday for the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team. On a night dedicated to seniors Danielle Larson and Amy Neussl, with a large, raucous crowd cheering them on for their last home game, the duo led the way on offense as the Crimson Bears beat the Sitka Wolves, 49-26, to complete a weekend sweep.

Pistons send Cavs to 43rd loss this season
Darius Miles draped a towel over his head, dropped to the floor and tried to disappear. As the Cleveland Cavaliers stumbled toward their 43rd loss, Miles wanted to be anywhere but Gund Arena. "I got a lot of love for these guys, but it got to the point where I didn't even want to play anymore," Miles said. Richard Hamilton scored 23 points and Chauncey Billups added 15 Sunday night, leading the Detroit Pistons to a 90-75 win over the miserable Cavaliers.

Oil industry wants into NPR-A
ANCHORAGE - Oil industry officials are calling for full access to a giant new chunk of North Slope land the federal government might offer for oil and gas development. Environmental activists and others, however, said the land has valuable animal and fish habitat that should be protected.

Photo: Hides for sale
Black-bear and brown-bear rugs from a bankruptcy sit on a table as auctioneer Ron Alleva, with hand raised, calls off the bids for one of the hides being sold at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game horn and hide auction Sunday in Anchorage.

Study: ANWR crude may be high quality
While debate continues over whether to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to petroleum drilling, government geologists say the oil underneath may be the sweet, low-sulfur crude in high demand by refiners. "The oil we've studied in ANWR is higher gravity and lower sulfur oil than oil in Prudhoe Bay," U.S. Geological Survey research geologist Ken Bird told Petroleum News Alaska. "Prudhoe Bay-type oil contains 1 to 2 percent sulfur, while samples from ANWR measure between zero and 1 percent sulfur."

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

Shippers aim to hire Alaska fishermen
The shipping industry and the Seafarers International Union are hoping some Alaska fishermen jump ship for the merchant marine when a steady paycheck and benefits start looking better than crew wages. The union has a partnership with the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development and SEA Link, a work force recruiter, to find more mariners.

Legislators want $3.1 million for ANWR lobbying effort
The state's ongoing campaign to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling would get a $3.1 million boost under a bill introduced Friday. The powerful House Finance Committee is sponsoring the bill, which means it is likely to pass easily. Similar measures have passed the Legislature quickly in past years.

Anti-war marchers shake up U.S., Brits
UNITED NATIONS - Rattled by an outpouring of anti-war sentiment, the United States and Britain began reworking a draft resolution Saturday to authorize force against Saddam Hussein. Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the final product may be a softer text that does not explicitly call for war.

State Briefs
Prisoner dies in apparent suicide; Police boost anti-terror patrols; Trial begins in killing of CG officer;

Construction industry launches recruitment effort
Construction industry officials say the image of construction workers needs some rebuilding and they've chosen Fairbanks to launch a marketing effort. The $70,000 campaign, including radio and television ads, is aimed at encouraging potential workers to seek trade-industry careers as electricians, architects and builders, among other jobs.

State weighs Russian fish processor's application
An application by a Seattle company to allow Russian fish processors into state waters is pending as the state wildlife agency surveys Alaska processors to determine how many pink salmon they will process this season. Global Seafoods North America has submitted an application to buy up to 250 million pounds of pink salmon for processing by Russian vessels and distribution in Russia and Europe. The governor has the power to grant a permit, but first the state must determine whether the salmon run can be handled by Alaska processors.

Learning the Senate ropes
No manual can tell Lisa Murkowski what she needs to know. There's no helpful handbook that begins, "So, you've been appointed to high political office." "There is so much that is done here in the Senate that is just based on tradition," she said. "It's based on 'This is the way it has always been, and we do it this way because this is the Senate.' "

Prison expansion plan leaves out Southeast
A plan to allow construction of a 1,200-bed public prison in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and expand existing facilities in Bethel, Anchorage and Fairbanks has been introduced by Sen. Lyda Green, a Wasilla Republican. Senate Bill 65 would provide up to 1,600 new beds, easing overcrowding in Alaska prisons and providing space for 626 Alaska prisoners being held in a private prison in Arizona.

Habitat-employees union protests change
The union representing workers in the state's Habitat Division says Gov. Frank Murkowski's plan to eliminate jobs there could be a contract violation. The union may file a grievance if Murkowski goes ahead with plans to move permitting responsibilities from the Habitat Division of the Department of Fish and Game, according to officials of the Alaska State Employees Association AFSCME Local 52.

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