Sunday, February 23, 2003

New childrens' book titles at Juneau libraries
New titles at the Juneau Public Libraries for the young and young at heart!

Photo book highlights 20 years of the Yukon Quest
Sled dog racing has been a popular topic for Alaska authors, but until recently readers were more likely to find books on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race than they were on the lesser-known Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. But over the past three or four years the Yukon Quest has started to develop a library that beginning to rival the Iditarod's in scope - with the Quest being the focus of a mystery novel, non-fiction books about the race itself and even a selection of children's books.

Let 'em boycott
Thank God the carpetbagger from Oklahoma is gone and we now have a governor who respects the traditional Alaska lifestyle. There is finally going to be game management-wolf control. I hope he gets rid of the anti-hunting greenie biologists, too.

The right move
I support Gov. Murkowski's decision to move the permitting section of the Habitat Division from the Department of Fish and Game to DNR.

Repulsive and sad
I'd like to ask Lew M. Williams Jr. to cite the occasion(s) and the journalists who have "criticized (Gov. Frank Murkowski) for not solving the state's fiscal problems yet" as he wrote in his typically compassionate column of Feb. 21 ("No need to exempt state workers from downsizing").

War is sticky business
Rumor has it in the nation's capital our Alaska delegation will introduce legislation in Congress to secure the economic well being and safety of the entire nation: The National Duct Tape bill.

Who's pulling the strings?
I notice many of the signs displayed by the so-called "peace marchers" here in Juneau are identical to the signs used in Seattle and other places so I find it difficult to believe these nationwide marches aren't well organized.

To reduce teen drinking, make everyone show I.D.
Like many others, I was disappointed to read in the Juneau Empire that over half of Juneau's liquor stores were willing to sell alcohol to 21-year-old buyers without ID. I assume many of the non-carding stores are serving teenagers unknowingly. However, this is not the only source of alcohol for teens.

This Day in History
In 1937, a major fire in Douglas destroyed the school, the post office, City Hall, and the fire hall.

Kmart delays closing date
Kmart still plans to close its store in Juneau, but not by March 14, the closing date the company announced in January, store manager Debbie Saddler said. "It's definitely not going to be mid-March," said Saddler. "It will be after that, but beyond that I can't say. When things are gone, we'll be gone."

Corrections
Due to a reporters' error, the Empire article Friday on new UAS degrees misstated the name of one degree. It is a bachelor of science in information systems.

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

Gym Floor Dance Corps
Redefined, revitalized and really cool to watch. The Juneau-Douglas High School Dance Team has been entertaining crowds at varsity basketball games since late December with old favorites and new routines that offer little evidence that the team is in a rebuilding mode. "We've had a really strong season, and a lot of improvement," said Holly Rhoden, who captains the team with fellow senior Rachel Scandling. "It's been a rebuilding year, but everybody's been awesome."

Wildflower prepares to add nursing beds
Wildflower Court in Juneau hopes to add five nursing beds this year based on new direction from the state Department of Health and Social Services. The private, nonprofit nursing home and assisted-living facility near Bartlett Regional Hospital has spent the last several months trying to balance demand for its 44 nursing beds and 11 assisted-living beds.

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

Hey, Juneau! The ice is nice
The Treadwell Arena, Juneau's gift to itself, held its grand opening Saturday with bagpipes, speeches and exhibitions of hockey and figure skating. The ice rink at Savikko Park in Douglas opened for public use Feb. 6, but Saturday's event was a chance to say thank you. "Treadwell Arena is certainly more than an ice rink," Mayor Sally Smith, preceded by the Stroller White Pipes and Drums, told the crowd of several hundred people. "It's a symbol of a community working together to realize a dream."

A message to our readers
Last July we announced to our readers that the Juneau Empire would be switching to morning delivery sometime after the first of the year. At the time we were struggling with delivery problems and then suffered through a six-week stretch without a circulation manager. Many of you suffered along with us. We could not commit to a firm date for the morning changeover until our delivery system and customer service improved.

What do you think?
The whole thing smacks of the Bush administration's riveted war agenda and trying to stampede the American public with this yellow, orange and red alert hype just to gain our support for justifying his war rather than exploring other peaceful options.

My Turn: We must respect integrity of the forest, system
Deceit and trickery is not something to be proud of, but that's exactly what Don Young has expressed on public radio. I was disappointed and disgusted to hear this politician's blatant unprofessionalism as he gloated on KTOO that Republican "riders" had tricked environmentalists, so that these Republicans (Ted Stevens and Don Young) could pass new bills that would eliminate the public's voice on our Tongass National Forest.

Pack light, but not lightly
Packing for a vacation to a warm and sunny place should be a breeze. What do you need - shorts, couple of T-shirts, one white billowy dress, sunglasses, a book or two. That's fine, but what if? What if you have to deal with a lack complimentary professional laundry service, contact with any of a list of really unpleasant insects or situations involving epoxy-class natural goo? I've run into a few of those what-ifs over the years and have learned to pack for them.

Relationships and responsibilities
Consider this a renewal of our vows. It's good, I think, to revisit the reader-newspaper relationship, to remind ourselves of our role and our roots. We are an independent newspaper. That's the only kind to be. And, it is not enough to proclaim our independence in the "meaningless repetition" referred to in the Bible. And it isn't enough to say it. We have to lace up our Nikes every day and just do it.

My Turn: The time has come to consider reconfiguring Eaglecrest
If you still think global warming is a myth, you haven't been outdoors recently. February began with the snowmachine trailheads closed, Twin Lakes unskateable and Eaglecrest closed after just five days of partial operation.

Empire editorial: War cometh
Soon enough, President Bush will give the order whereby the men and women of the U.S. armed forces and a few allies begin a war to overthrow a cruel tyrant and provide an opportunity for democracy to take root in an unlikely venue. Saddam Hussein's dictatorship poses a continuous threat to his own people and to regional neighbors such as Kuwait, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Toe Cartoon

Out and About
Feb. 23: 4-H Nordic Ski Club meeting, 1:30-3 p.m. For location and activity, call the 4-H office, 465-8749.

Snow report
• Eaglecrest Ski Area, Juneau: Platter, Ptarmigan and Hooter lifts operate about 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday through Monday. The tubing hill and terrain park are closed.

Alaska warmth puts balloonist's record-breaking hopes on hold
FAIRBANKS - Of all the places in the world, Steve Griffin figured he could count on Fairbanks for cold weather in February. But now Griffin could be left out in the cold because of one of the warmest winters on record in Fairbanks.

Woman designs Alaska-tough packrafts
ANCHORAGE - Being a loving mother, Sheri Tingey couldn't say no when her river-rafting son Thor made one little request. Could she make him a packraft tough enough to take into the Alaska wilderness? Two years later, Tingey - an athletic 57-year-old woman with the habit of throwing both hands in the air and letting out an exuberant laugh - demonstrates the evolution of her company, Alpacka Raft, by using a vacuum cleaner to blow up raft after raft in the basement of her Anchorage home.

Winter weather woes
Most winter sports enthusiasts have been left out in the cold this year, with too little snow to pursue their favorite pastimes. Up until this past week, most snow sports in Juneau have been reduced to little more than fantasies. "One of my friends phrased it as, 'This winter is the coldest summer we've had in a really long time,' " said telemark skier and snowboarder Ben Williams. "That's pretty fitting for it.

Outer Point area provides a variety of good trails
Most of us think of Outer Point Natural Area Park as it relates to either the old boardwalk loop trail or the new Rainforest Trail. These trails lead to only a portion of this really exciting area that has been designated as a natural area park. As you travel out North Douglas Highway, the park begins on the water side of the highway at the boat ramp and includes Picnic Cove and False Outer Point and continues along the beachfront to Outer Point and along the right side of the highway a short ways past the Outer Point Trailhead.

Iditarod officials change course
FAIRBANKS - The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is being rerouted yet again. Race officials made another alteration to the sled dog race Friday that eliminates checkpoints at Iditarod, Cripple and Ophir and adds a novel loop from Kaltag to Grayling on the Yukon River.

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

JRC/The Alaska Club Singles Tennis Circuit
Here are the current standings for the adult and junior singles tennis circuits as of Tuesday, Feb. 18. Competition takes place at the Mendenhall Valley location of JRC/The Alaska Club.

Photo: Girls rule
Members of the 8th grade girls HoopTime youth basketball team pose with their first-place medals from last weekend's Southeast Shootout. The team claimed first place while playing against all boys teams, and beat the 7th grade boys in the finals, 32-25.

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

Coppick stops Duckworth in barnyard brawl
The question of who would win a barnyard brawl between a goat and a duck can finally be put to rest. Matt "The Goat" Coppick of Sitka retained his middleweight title Friday night by defeating Gabe "Steele" Duckworth of Ketchikan during a highly anticipated and explosive night of Roughhouse Friday boxing at the ANB Hall. "I grew up on a farm," Coppick said after the fight. "I've never seen a duck kick a goat's butt before, and I proved that tonight."

Thrill, then agony
To paraphrase an old saying, the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team hesitated and lost. The Crimson Bears became a little tentative when moving the ball up the court to open the overtime period Saturday night against the East Anchorage Thunderbirds, and the T-Birds took advantage as they turned three steals into six points en route to an 85-84 victory at the JDHS main gym.

Gastineau Channel Bowling Association Men's City Tournament
Results from the 46th Annual Gastineau Channel Bowling Association Men's City Tournament, held Feb. 1-2 and Feb. 8-9 at Channel Bowl. The scoring format - handicap or scratch - is noted for each event.

Alyeska gets '04 championships
ANCHORAGE - After the U.S. Alpine Championships were moved from Alyeska Resort for lack of snow, national organizers said they'd come back next year. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association said Friday it will hold next year's national championship races at the Girdwood ski area. The championships were supposed to be there next month, but a low-snow winter forced the USSA to move them earlier this week.

99 years for hatchet killer
ANCHORAGE - A man who hacked another man to death with a hatchet and seriously wounded the man's girlfriend for no apparent reason has been sentenced to 99 years in prison.

Complaint filed against ex-administrative head
A complaint has been filed against Jim Duncan, the former commissioner of the Department of Administration, accusing him of violating a state ethics law by taking a job with the largest state employees' union. Duncan says he's done nothing wrong.

Veco gets millions in settlement of lawsuit
HOMER - Veco Corp. will receive an extra $4 million to settle a disagreement over the cost of moving an electric generator to the Agrium fertilizer plant in Nikiski.

PCB report on St. Lawrence Island stirs controversy among scientists, health officials
ANCHORAGE - An unusual public dispute has broken out among scientists and health officials over a study of cancer-causing PCBs in the blood of Yupik villagers on St. Lawrence Island. Last week the state Division of Public Health issued a bulletin rebutting the conclusion of an environmental group that low-level PCBs found in residents of the Bering Sea island appeared to come from an abandoned military site.

Photo: Standoff resolved
Anchorage police aim their weapons at an unidentified man holding a gun to his own head Friday in Anchorage. Negotiators attempted to persuade the man to give himself up. The man had pointed a gun at an off-duty police officer, who then called for backup.

Legislative roundup
Bills introduced last week.

State Briefs
Assembly to review school bond election; Man faces murder charge in shooting of Anchorage boy; Murkowski names new School Board; Ungrateful ungulate;

Corrections commissioner backs state - not private - prisons
The new commissioner of the Department of Corrections says a bill that includes a big state-run prison in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough would be cheaper for the state than a competing plan for a private prison in Whittier. "It's partially location, partially design, probably partially staffing," Marc Antrim said in an interview after his presentation to the Senate State Affairs Committee.

Legislators say fish-chilling bill needs some work
Salmon fishermen and processors, seafood marketers and industry analysts generally agree that something must be done to improve the quality of wild Alaska salmon as it is delivered to the market. The problem is figuring out how to do it. The House Fisheries Committee heard testimony Friday on a bill that would require fishermen to chill their fish between harvest and delivery, but it appears unlikely that bill will advance.

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