Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Quality people, quality work
Please allow me to comment on the proposed transfer of habitat permitting responsibilities from the Department of Fish and Game to the Department of Natural Resources.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

School zone safety
This letter is being written on behalf of the Floyd Dryden Middle School crossing guards. We're sure we speak for all our district's crossing guards when we say, "Please slow down and drive safely!" We are out there everyday, no matter the weather, to ensure the children in our community are getting across the roadways safely.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Who's out of step?
In expressing his disappointment at Sen. Kim Elton's dissenting vote on a recent resolution to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling ("Elton's record of dissent," Juneau Empire, Feb. 14), Publisher Don Smith stated that opening the refuge to drilling "... is consistent with the best interests of the whole state."

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.

Job well done
Kudos on your editorial of Feb. 9. I also want to add the same for your editorial about Kim Elton in Friday's paper .

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.

Get over this and that
Regarding your editorial, "Elton's record of dissent", published Feb. 14, the Senate Journal shows that Sen. Elton asked for reconsideration of Senate Joint Resolution No. 4, by inserting an amendment resolving that the state Legislature urge Congress to debate exploration and development of ANWR in the "context of a national energy policy that includes measures to improve fuel efficiency and energy conservation."

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!

End notice not enough
I read Steve Zimmerman's glowing review of the new book, "A Birder's Guide to Alaska" (in Sunday's 'Outdoors' section) with some interest, and decided that it would be a good addition to my collection of books on Alaska's natural history.

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.

Eaglecrest works out refund plan
People who hold season passes at Juneau's Eaglecrest Ski Area can chose between a 40 percent and 75 percent refund, based on a plan approved by the ski area's board on Monday. The city-run ski area has faced a dearth of snow this year. The area opened briefly on Dec. 29, but closed Jan. 4 because of warm weather, wind and rain. The small beginners hill also opened for three weekends.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

AroundTown
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

This Day in History
In 1959, Kit MacInnes won the All-Alaska Womens' Dog Sled Race in Anchorage.

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

Alaska editorial: State's road construction plans are encouraging
We're beginning to get a feel for this new kind of talk coming out of Juneau, and we like it. People are talking about building things and the leaders of our state have not talked that way for some time.

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.

My Turn: What's right is not always popular
I would like to thank Don Smith for his editorials of Friday and Sunday, concerning Kim Elton and the non-binding Patriot Act resolution before the Assembly, respectively.

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.

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.

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.

Gatt builds big lead
CIRCLE CITY - Defending champion Hans Gatt of Atlin, British, Columbia, was holding onto a comfortable lead in the 20th Annual Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. Gatt continued his lonely journey up the trail today, about five hours ahead of his nearest competitor. He left the Circle City checkpoint at 12:08 a.m. The next musher out of Circle was Hugh Neff of Coldfoot, who left at 5:05 a.m.

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

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.

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.

Paraplegic musher aims for Iditarod
STOCKHOLM, N.Y. - Angelo Suriano ignores the penetrating cold as he sits on his plastic sled, using his arms to shuttle among his 18 dogs. He rubs their noses and ears and soothes their excitement with a calming voice, individually showing each animal his devotion. He knows their dedication to him must be as unfaltering if he is to achieve his ultimate ambition to become the first paraplegic musher to compete in "The Last Great Race on Earth" - the famed Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska.

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.

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

Local sports shots
Pro handball and HoopTime.

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

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.

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.' "

Trooper who shot man had history of conflicts
ANCHORAGE - Several incidents have turned up in Arthur Jesse Osborn's past in a review conducted after the Alaska State Trooper shot and killed an uncooperative disabled man on a highway turnout in January.

Yakutat torn by school dispute
Yakutat voters will decide April 1 whether to recall a School Board member who voted to award a superintendent's contract to his domestic partner. Community members say the recall stems from a dispute between the school principal and the superintendent, and it has divided this town of 725 about 225 miles northwest of Juneau.

Railroad Roadmaster
HEALY - Steve Love seems to know every rock slide, mud slide and sinkhole that has struck the roughly 125 miles of the Alaska Railroad from Gold Creek Station to Rex Crossing. Just take a ride with him in his orange Alaska Railroad three-quarter-ton Chevy suburban with hy-rail wheels, which allow him to cruise on the tracks. While you're taking in the stunning mountainside or the truculent Nenana River, Love is scouting the track and listening carefully for an interruption - a BANG! - in the wheels' clack-clack-clack-ing along the rails.

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.

Fishing for quality: Manufacturing group prepares for second year of salmon certification program
Though salmon farms take most of the rap for the plummeting value of wild Alaska salmon, many in the industry say low quality deserves equal blame. As the state, fishermen and processors search for solutions, the Alaska Manufacturers' Association, known as AKMA, is preparing for the second year of its Alaska salmon certification program.

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.

State Briefs
Police locate apparent stolen property; Man injured in hiking accident; Anchorage parents, police differ on causes of melee; Shipper offers vessel to transport military hardware;

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."

Snowmachiner rescued from avalanche
FAIRBANKS - While waiting for the rescue helicopter to arrive, Lucas VanBebber's friends worked to keep him warm and stable. Their friend was bruised and battered, his snowmachine totaled, after being caught in an avalanche Saturday outside of Fairbanks. For two hours they hoped for the best until the helicopter touched down to take VanBebber to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

Former archbishop says he failed abused parishioner
ANCHORAGE - A letter from retired Catholic Archbishop Francis Hurley, apologizing for his failure to help a teenage parishioner who reported sexual abuse by a priest two decades ago, was read Sunday in churches throughout the Archdiocese of Anchorage. The letter was a response to a recent account by Service High School Principal Pat Podvin. Podvin said in an interview with KTUU-TV earlier this month that he was abused by former Anchorage priest Francis Murphy in 1982, when Podvin was 18. Podvin said he reported the abuse at the time to Hurley but never heard back from the archbishop.

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