Thursday, February 20, 2003

IRS offers tax help, amnesty
The Internal Revenue Service is offering new services to facilitate filing income tax forms. The deadline to file is April 15.

Business profile: Brady Deal
Title and company: Co-owner, Heritage Glacier Cafe

On the Move
Alaska Pacific Bank has named John Robertson its senior vice president and chief lending officer. He will oversee the bank's commercial, mortgage and consumer lending.

Inspecting for the unexpected
A person may want to pinch pennies when considering spending $200,000 on a house in Juneau. But spending an extra $300 to $500 on a home inspection before buying a home could save a buyer thousands of dollars after the sale closes. "If you go in with your eyes wide open, you'll be much happier coming out of it, said PeggyAnn McConnochie, owner of ACH Consulting, a real estate consulting company. "It's a small price to pay to know what you're buying."

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.

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.

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."

Five reasons for working with the United Nations
The League of Women Voters urges President Bush to continue working with the United Nations to resolve the situation with Iraq. International cooperation is an essential element in guarding against terrorism and protecting all nations from attack, particularly those that may involve nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

Seize the initiative
In the Feb. 17 edition of the Empire, a Petersburg resident wrote to express his concern for Russian processors buying fish from Alaskan fishermen. He summed up one of the basic problems in our salmon industry very eloquently when he said: "Russian fish brokers need to contact an Alaska fish processor for our product."

Tanks of thanks
Those of us who buy gas for our cars thank Fred Meyer for the price of their gas, and having owned three gas stations over the years, I am some what familiar with the gas pricing system.

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.

The trouble with winners and losers
Unlike Empire Publisher Don Smith (Feb. 14 editorial), I am glad Sen. Elton voted against the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge resolution and I am proud of him for having the courage to be the one vote of dissent.

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.

Smoke in the Valley
Wood burning and trash burning in the Mendenhall Valley need to be stopped. Too many residents live in close proximity to allow everyone that wants to burn to burn. It is well documented the carcinogenic nature of smoke: cigarette and the incidence of cancer in firemen.

Flawed reasoning
A recent letter writer suggested Sen. Elton would have been better off having abstained from casting a vote on the resolution passed by the state Senate regarding ANWR. The reasoning was Sen. Elton has constituents who favor opening ANWR, and therefore his vote didn't accurately reflect their position.

Slick marketing ploy?
Wow, Don, you really got folks worked up! The letters to the editor seem to be running heavily against you at the moment. Still, I give you an attaboy for voicing the courage of your convictions, and printing so many of the negative responses your comments have generated. I just hope I'm not patting you on the back for a slick marketing ploy.

All ice, all the time
My skill as a tennis player will never remotely approach my enthusiasm for the game, its strategies, great players, history and traditions. However, I join those who are delighted at the rumor that the city may decide not to convert the new ice arena into tennis courts during the summer.

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.

It's a refuge
Ms. Hoffman needs to think again. In her letter (Empire, Feb. 19) she accused Mr. Elton of trying to turn all Alaska into a park. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is already a park, and that is what Sen. Elton was protecting in his dissenting vote.

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.

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."

Alcohol, drugs, tobacco, teens
Recently I sat in on an after-school court session doing research. Thirty-six youths were there for alcohol, drugs and tobacco-related crimes. I repeat, 36 youths. Now in 30 days that is 1,080 youths who pass though our courthouse doors and cost this city money.

Chamber bookkeeper accused of cashing dead woman's check
An Alaska State Chamber of Commerce bookkeeper faces felony charges after officials uncovered an alleged embezzlement scam that included cashing a dead woman's check and pocketing the money. The check was written to Karen Brand, 33, the woman who fatally shot retired Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Glenn Godfrey, critically wounded his wife and then killed herself last August. Godfrey and Brand had had an affair.

Early school budget: Fewer kids, more money, no loss of staff
The Juneau School District anticipates fewer students next school year but is calling for a slightly larger budget and more city funds. The district wouldn't cut teachers or change the pupil-teacher ratio in staffing schools, administrators said. On Wednesday, the School Board and district administrators presented five Juneau Assembly members and city officials with preliminary figures for a budget for fiscal year 2004, which starts July 1.

Photo: Mural controversy
Mike Brooks, left, and Chris Dowling of Dawson Construction install frames for new windows in the University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan's Robertson Building. The windows, which are being installed to let more light into the building, are part of a $4.5 million UAS Ketchikan renovation project.

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

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.

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 1941, the filling of West Willoughby Avenue with waste rock from the Alaska Juneau mine began.

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.

Photo: Otter at Twin Lakes
A land otter investigates the ice at Twin Lakes on Wednesday. Three otters were seen in the fresh water lake. Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

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

Police look into more thefts, riflings
Whoever is committing the recent rash of thefts and vehicle riflings is getting more audacious, with the latest batch happening in daylight and including a home burglary. At least seven incidents of rifling or theft were reported Wednesday, bringing the total to 40 since Saturday, according to police. Officials said at least four of the thefts occurred before 5 p.m. Wednesday and a woman reported her Northland Street home was broken into sometime before 4:30 p.m. About $150 in change and a pottery bowl were stolen in that incident.

Eaglecrest to reopen Saturday
Eaglecrest Ski Area will reopen Saturday. Snow is thin and some trails are closed to all but experts, but officials today decided there's enough white stuff on the slopes to let skiers and snowboarders give it a try.

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

Episcopal Church diocese investigates allegations of wrongdoing against pastor
The Episcopal Diocese of Alaska is investigating "clear and credible complaints" the Rev. Robert Bruschi of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity in Juneau has engaged in sexual exploitation of parishioners, according to Mark MacDonald, Episcopal bishop for the state. "By 'credible' we're not saying it's true, but it has enough substance to it" to warrant an investigation, MacDonald said Wednesday.

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

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."

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Alaska State Basketball Polls
Here are the Alaska Sportswriters High School Basketball Polls, as voted on by statewide sports reporters and compiled by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Bears prepare to host T-Birds
The basketball season is winding down, so the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team is thinking about positioning. The Crimson Bears host the East Anchorage Thunderbirds for two varsity games this weekend with game times at 8 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday at the JDHS main gym. As the last non-Region V games of the season, this is the last time this year where Juneau can improve its ranking in the Winning Percentage Index (WPI), the strength-of-schedule formula used to seed teams in the state tournament.

Juneau Masters Swim Team takes third at state meet
Rick Wery broke four state records in the men's age 50-54 division last weekend, leading the Juneau Masters Swim Team to a third-place finish at the Alaska Masters Short-Course Yards State Swimming Championships held Friday and Saturday at Anchorage's Bartlett High School Swim Pool.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Red-hot Gatt
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Hans Gatt won the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog race today, becoming the first musher ever to win the 1,000-mile race between Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and Fairbanks two years in a row. Gatt, of Atlin, British Columbia, reached the Fairbanks finish line at 7:12 a.m. behind a team of nine dogs. He completed the race in 10 days, 16 hours, 28 minutes.

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

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

Former champ ponders retirement
CIRCLE - Two-time champion John Schandelmeier is contemplating making this 20th edition of the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race his last. After 12 Yukon Quests, including wins in 1992 and 1996, Schandelmeier, 51, has seen an evolution of the sport from an adventure to a race, from self-sufficient sled dog to the sleeker, fleeter smaller dog.

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.

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.

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."

State Briefs
Gov. wants to continue regulatory panel; West Egan Drive meeting tonight; Passenger fee collections up; Ice rink grand opening Saturday; Sen. Murkowski will back Iraqi invasion; Anchorage youth shot accidentally by teen

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.

Group wants to revitalize logging
KENAI - A nonprofit group on the Kenai Peninsula wants to revitalize logging and milling. Kenai Peninsula Timber Inc. was formed following an economic forum in January. The group has chosen officers and established some goals, including plans to use beetle-killed spruce trees as a source for marketing wood products, such as railroad ties and wood siding.

Trooper investigated for shooting disabled man put on desk duty
ANCHORAGE - An Alaska State Trooper under investigation for a fatal shooting on the Kenai Peninsula was taken off patrol duty Wednesday and placed in an administrative job at trooper headquarters in Anchorage.

University seeks smaller budget hike
FAIRBANKS - The University of Alaska Board of Regents has submitted its annual budget request, asking for a $13.6 million increase in general state appropriations and $42.4 million more for capital projects.The $13.6 million represents a decrease from last year's $16.9 million requested increase and the previous year's $18.2 million requested increase.

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

Governor appoints G. Stevens to Senate vacancy
Kodiak Republican Rep. Gary Stevens is Gov. Frank Murkowski's pick to fill a state Senate seat vacated when Sen. Alan Austerman left his post to become the governor's fisheries advisor. Stevens, 61, will represent Kodiak Island and parts of the Kenai Peninsula in the Legislature. He will serve until a special election is held in 2004. The appointment creates a vacancy in the House Murkowski said he expects to fill within two weeks.

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.

An opera that chills
Henry James' serial "The Turn of the Screw" chills the spine like a proper Victorian ghost story with eerie candlelight in corridors, a specter in the garden and sleepwalking children who may or may not be possessed by evil sprits. Put to dark and spooky music, the opera by Benjamin Britten is enough to make a corset-wearing lady swoon. "Back before there was HBO, this is what people did. They sat around and made each other faint with fear, telling stories," said Joyce Parry Moore, artistic director of Opera To Go!, which will open a production of "The Turn of the Screw" this weekend.

Best Bets: It's February - time to go to the movies
Well, darlings, February does drag on, doesn't it? And, I know that after last weekend's entertainment blitz you are broke and eating SpaghettiOs until your paycheck comes. For this weekend, if you aren't watching yet another plastic surgery expose of Michael Jackson on TV, I suggest movies.

What's up with that?
Q: Who's the Switzer that Switzer Creek and Switzer Village are named after?

Diving into the past at Truk Lagoon
Near a pinprick Micronesian island, called Truk Lagoon, lie the submerged carcasses of more than 60 Japanese war vessels, sunk by U.S. bombers during World War II. Just this time last year, Channel Dive Center owner John Lachelt dove through an eerie Japanese ship's control room and stumbled upon human remains in a submerged warplane.

What's happening
"The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)," presented by Theatre in the Rough, at 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday through March 8 at McPhetres Hall. Tickets $14 in advance at Hearthside Books, or $16 at the door.

Movies Where and When
"Gods and Generals," (PG-13) starts Friday, Feb. 21, and plays at 6:50 nightly at Glacier Cinemas, with matinees at 2 Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

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