Wednesday, February 19, 2003

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.

Courageous tradition
Sen. Kim Elton's lone vote against development of ANWR brings to mind another Alaska leader who was not afraid to vote his conscience. In March of 1964, U.S. Sen. Ernest Gruening was the first member of Congress to voice opposition to U.S. policy in Vietnam.

Be respectful, Mr. Smith
Your editorial criticism of Sen. Kim Elton ("Elton's record of dissent," Feb. 14) implied his views on opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration makes him irrelevant in the state Senate. Since my district includes ANWR, I don't happen to agree with him on this particular issue.

Consent laws protect teens
Barbara McDaniel writes (Empire, Feb. 11) that parental consent laws for Alaska minors wanting abortions are inept because they don't target the problem of teen pregnancy. Ms. McDaniel needs to read some studies that have been done showing consent laws have in fact decreased teen pregnancy rates.

Cost of cooperation
I read Mr. MacKinnon's My Turn response to my letter. For the record, I have never objected to the NOAA facility being built at Lena Point and I don't know where Mr. MacKinnon got that impression. The fact is, the LENA neighborhood association and myself have always conditionally endorsed moving the project to Lena Point assuming that traffic and other impacts to the neighborhood were appropriately mitigated.

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.

The importance of dissent
In Don Smith's editorial in last Friday's paper he derides Sen. Kim Elton for being the one vote of dissent in last week's Senate vote to open the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Mr. Smith argues that because Sen. Elton is not afraid to be a consistent voice of dissent, he is therefore "meek" in his influence in the Senate. He further claims Sen. Elton's "vote of protest diminishes Juneau's relevance to the rest of the state."

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."

Alaska National Park
Instead of dissenting on the vote of whether or not to open ANWR, Sen. Elton should have abstained from voting at all. He was elected by only a portion of his constituents and they are very divided when it comes to this subject.

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 .

Revise the Patriot Act
I could well put myself into the position of a stunned U.S. senator or congressman the day after Sept. 11, 2001. I might have voted, "yes," for a well-intentioned, though hasty, stop-gap Patriot Act.

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.

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."

Voice of reason is Elton's not Smith's
I am writing in response to Don Smith's Friday editorial attacking Sen. Elton's voting record. Don Smith appears especially disappointed in Sen. Elton's dissenting vote on the ANWR resolution. Mr. Smith states that, "Sen. Elton had the opportunity to make the ANWR resolution vote unanimous thereby demonstrating that Juneau's support is consistent with the best interests of the whole state."

Proposed school calendar shapes up much like this year's
Next year's school calendar will look pretty much like this year's if the Juneau School Board approves a draft presented at Tuesday night's meeting. The 2003-04 school year would start Aug. 27 for students grades one to 12 and Sept. 2 for kindergartners. The school year would end June 2.

BaCar's back in business
When something works, restaurateurs Barry and Carlene Shaw see no reason to change it. The Shaws are back in town and on Monday reopened BaCar's, the restaurant they first opened in 1993. "There are no changes to the menu, the same crew, same prices," said Barry Shaw. "It's just a much, much prettier and nicer restaurant."

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

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

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

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.

This Day in History
In 1985, Unidentified amber lights appeared in the western sky above Anchorage at about 9 p.m. Spectators and officials could not explain the source of the lights.

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

Assembly to revisit Patriot Act resolution
A Juneau Assembly committee has decided to spend more time working on a resolution opposing elements of new federal anti-terrorism legislation. A group called Juneau Citizens for the Defense of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights asked the Assembly earlier this month to object to elements of the USA Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act and other federal anti-terrorism executive orders. In general, the group is concerned the federal laws infringe on constitutional rights and civil liberties.

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

Pets of the week
Doug is a great, big armful of friendly family cat who loves people of all ages, dogs and other cats. Tailer is a medium-large, boxer black Lab mix.

Academic honors
Kiersten Smith, a 1998 graduate of Juneau-Douglas High School, received her bachelor of science degree in physical education from Pacific Lutheran University.

Thank you
...for the hard work; ...for the kindness.

Accounting group to hold luncheon
The Alaska Capital Chapter of the Association of Government Accountants will hold its monthly luncheon at 12 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at T.K. Maguire's in the Prospector Hotel. Andy Kline, Webmaster for the State of Alaska, will conduct a presentation on My Alaska, a new online service to Alaska.

Living with Arthritis
When Diane Caldwell was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis in 1998, she frequently found herself in too much pain to walk. Now, five years later, she sometimes surprises herself and runs with her grandson. "It's been a lot of trial and error, and a lot of (realizing that) you need to learn to live with it," she said.

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.

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.

Boozer scores 23; Bulls get by Cavs
CLEVELAND - Jalen Rose took a halftime break to chat with LeBron James, then let the high school phenom bear witness to a rarity - a road victory by the Bulls. Rose scored 28 points to help Chicago gain just its third road victory of the season, 107-101 over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

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.

Hydaburg boys beat Ketchikan in tourney final
It may not rate with any of the Hydaburg High School boys basketball team's three Class 1A state championships, but last weekend's victory over the host Ketchikan Kings will rank as one of the Warriors' top highlights. Hydaburg - which won the 1986, 1989 and 1992 Class 1A state titles and is now a Class 2A team - upset the Class 4A Kings 73-70 in Saturday's championship game of Ketchikan's First City Prep Shootout.

Region V Standngs
The Region V basketball standings through games of Feb. 16. Standings are for all three Region V classifications and were reported to the Juneau Empire by school officials and basketball coaches.

Repeat Quest win almost certain for Atlin musher Gatt
MILE 101 - Defending champion Hans Gatt appeared headed for almost certain victory in the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. Gatt mushed his 10-dog team over Eagle Summit - well-known for its high winds - under a moonlit sky early today to reach the Mile 101 dog drop at 2:16 a.m., while the other top teams were resting in Central, 33 miles behind him. Gatt departed the dog drop at 7:36 a.m. this morning.

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

Alyeska loses U.S. Alpine Championships
ANCHORAGE - The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has decided to relocate next month's Alpine Championships from Girdwood to the Lower 48, due to poor snow conditions in Alaska. The change, announced Tuesday, is one more in a long list of outdoor sporting events that have been canceled or significantly altered due to Alaska's unusually warm, snowless winter.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

Gov. seeks millions for gaps
Gov. Frank Murkowski is proposing a $63.3 million supplemental spending plan to make up for shortfalls and unanticipated expenses for the fiscal year ending June 30. The plan, which is separate from the operating budget for the next fiscal year, includes $31 million in costs associated with natural disasters that struck the state last year - including $19 million in fire suppression, according to the governor's office.

Governor names Republicans Ruedrich, Palin to state posts overseeing oil and gas industry
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Frank Murkowski on Tuesday appointed Alaska Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich and Republican lieutenant governor runner-up Sarah Palin to state jobs overseeing the oil and gas industry. Murkowski chose Ruedrich and Palin to fill two of the three seats on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, a regulatory agency. The seats are full-time jobs that pay about $118,000 a year.

MacKinnon to leave city for DOT post
Interim City Manager John MacKinnon will leave City Hall soon to become the state Department of Transportation's deputy commissioner for highways and public facilities. Gov. Frank Murkowski named MacKinnon to the post Tuesday as he appointed Mike Barton to be the department's commissioner. Barton, a former regional forester for the U.S. Forest Service, has been acting commissioner since December.

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.

Huna Totem Corp. invests in asset management firm
Huna Totem Corp., the Juneau-based for-profit village Native corporation for Hoonah, has acquired a portion of Denali Advisors, an investment management firm based in San Diego. "It is a sizable investment for our company," said Huna Totem CEO Sam Furuness. He would not say what percentage of Denali Advisors the corporation bought, or how much it paid.

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;

State officials, economists appear at public forum on bridging fiscal gap
Lawmakers, economists and officials from the Murkowski administration will gather Thursday night at Centennial Hall to discuss Alaska's fiscal future. Cliff Groh, a former special assistant to the commissioner of revenue, organized the forum in an effort to get Alaskans to focus on the significance and risks of what he calls "a downturn in the Prudhoe curve."

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.

State Briefs
Douglas bar burglarized; Black Awareness Association hosts pastor; Permanent fund recoups some losses; TV station adds Alaska news; Measure would revoke licenses in fatal accidents; Strong earthquake felt in Dutch Harbor

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.

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