Vermont town struggles with questions of race, religion, and conscience in 'Witness'
The 2001 children's novel "Witness" by Karen Hesse is carving out a place for itself beside the classic "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. Both are stories of prejudice. Both include young, impressionable, observant voices - Scout in "To Kill a Mockingbird," and Leanora Sutter, 12, and Esther Hirsch, 6, in "Witness."

In the Stacks: Library's non-fiction for art lovers includes books on Louis Armstrong, Charlie Chaplin and Mark Chagall
Non-fiction for art lovers of most stripes: a little acting, a little jazz, some handcrafts, and lots of paintings!

Can't pity selfish Alaskans
This is a much-delayed note on a "My Turn" commentary which appeared in the Jan. 4, 2004 edition of the Juneau Empire.

Cutting school 'extras' will harm students
There is an old Chinese proverb that says, "If you are planning for a year, sow rice, if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people."

Cape Fox swap would spoil Berners Bay
It seems that the smelly Cape Fox land swap (which to my knowledge still has not had a public hearing in Southeast Alaska) just won't go away. It would make a lovely sweetheart deal, along with Kensington's newest plan, to use Slate Lake in the middle of this land for a dump for their tailings, which would of course kill the resident Dolly Varden population and poison the salmon run in the outlet stream.

Kudos to motel employees quick thinking, actions
I have noticed in the articles in the paper about the cab driver stabbing the Super 8 was mentioned on many occasions. I thought this might be of interest.

Leave unorganized boroughs alone
There are 144 cities in Alaska. These are cities with state charters formed in accord with Alaska statute. In organized boroughs there are seven home rule cities, eight first class cities, and 34 second class cities for a total of 48 cities.

Smoking ban hurts business in New York
I've been following all the letters here about the smoking ban and thought I'd add a little to them. I am a bartender here in western New York, and we've had a smoking ban here since last July. I can say from personal experience that it will affect business, and not for the good.

Timber sale wouldn't harm fishing, hunting
I would like to comment on a few issues reported by Masha Herbst in her Feb. 15, 2004 Couverden timber sale article:

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

Signatures turned in
The group trying to block construction of a second Juneau high school submitted enough signatures Friday to get the measure on the ballot, pending certification by the city clerk.

A different kind of Quest
Deborah Bicknell paced nervously, her dog team in harness a few feet away but separated by an invisible wall. Minutes earlier, on a clear, crisp Yukon night last Wednesday, the team had arrived at this remote outpost on the North Klondike Highway - the last checkpoint in the 2004 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. There were Peaches and Raven in the lead, trailed by five other dogs that Bicknell, a veteran musher from Juneau, had raised from pups.

Due to a reporter's error, a story in Friday's edition about new downtown cruise ship dock fees reversed two classes of fees. Vessels less than 500 feet will pay $2 per foot per day and vessels more than 500 feet will pay $2.70 per foot per day.

Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

District looks to solve school racism
The Juneau School District is encouraging students to report racial incidents, and student leaders at Juneau-Douglas High School are speaking out against racism in the wake of recent anti-Native incidents at the school.

Photo: Big visitor
Military personnel attend a U.S. Air Force Galaxy C-5 at the Juneau Airport near the TEMSCO building Friday.

Patricia 'Pat' Helen Rutan
Former Juneau resident Patricia 'Pat' Helen Rutan, 73, died Feb. 19, 2004, in Kirkland, Wash.

Judy Gilmore
Former Juneau resident Judy Gilmore, 57, died Feb. 14, 2004, at her Sequim, Wash., home after a three-year battle with cancer.

Working on open-mindedness
Since the time I knew I'd be moving to Alaska, back in September, I've been working on exercises in creative thinking (open-mindedness, actually) with my mother, who last month turned 75. Much work lies ahead.

Bill not a substitute for good parenting
Here's a tip for moms and dads who are getting a little tired of all their parental duties: Get a legislator to sponsor a bill so someone else will pick up your responsibilities.

Thumbs up thumbs down
Thumbs up to the University of Alaska Board of Regents for continuing to expand the degree and certificate offerings at the University of Alaska Southeast. The regents approved bachelor of science degrees in mathematics and marine biology, an associate of applied science degree in health sciences and certificate programs in health information management, pre-nursing and community wellness advocacy.

A cartoon by Toe

Are we a democracy or a republic?
A couple of weeks ago I was flying home from Anchorage. I overheard an individual in the seat behind me explaining the difference between a democracy and a republic. Needless to say, I was very enlightened with his understanding of how government should function.

Winter Web links
Alaska and Pacific Northwest ski area Web sites and other winter sites.

Snow report
Eaglecrest Ski Area had 110 inches of snow at the top and 16 inches at the lodge Saturday. Operators said the snow was sugary smooth on the corduroy groomed runs. Off the groomed runs the snow was variable: granular, good turns in open glades, and hard-packed in places, yet softening when the temperatures warm by afternoon.

Alaska Fly Fishers club plans to leap into merchandising
Casting about for new fund-raising opportunities, the Alaska Fly Fishers club noted the lingering ripples of the fly-fishing boom, considered the marketability of Alaska and decided there might be a way to bring the two together to produce cold, hard cash.

A listing of outdoor activities.

A new diving Destination
The divers love it and the marine life seems to be enjoying it too. Since the October sinking of the 48-foot motorsailor Rikki Tikki off Auke Village Recreation Area, Alaska's first artificial reef has taken on a life of its own. "The Rikki Tikki has been providing some nice habitat for lots of new critters," said Channel Dive Shop co-owner John Lachelt, who helped spearhead the project. "It's providing a really neat habitat for marine life but it's also providing divers with something to see."

Crimson Bear girls earn top seed
The Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team reached one goal while realizing there's still work to be done. The Crimson Bears beat the Wolves 47-21 on Friday to clinch the Region V-Class 4A regular-season title and a first-round bye at next month's region tourney. But Juneau blew an early lead and struggled in the second half of Saturday's game before managing to emerge with a 39-30 win and a sweep of the series.

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.

Benson is fastest-ever Red Lantern Award winner in Yukon Quest
Tom Benson of Dubois, Wyo., crossed the finish line in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, at 4:09 p.m. Yukon time Saturday (3:09 p.m. Alaska time) to win the Red Lantern Award as the last finisher of the 2004 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

Crimson Bear boys earn top seed
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team had more than doubled the score of the Sitka Wolves in Friday's game, but the four Crimson Bear seniors were still battling nerves for Saturday's Senior Night rematch.

Income tax bill gets a hearing in House
An income tax bill debated Friday in the House Ways and Means Committee would put much of the burden on out-of-state residents who come to Alaska to work. It provides a credit for people who pay property taxes in Alaska.

Legislative roundup
Bills introduced and voted on last week

Permanent fund proposals last week
PFD proposals listings in the House and Senate.

Fund proposals flood legislative committees
The Alaska Permanent Fund took center stage last week in the Legislature with six different proposals working their way through various committees. Lawmakers are preparing for committee meetings in mid-March to discuss whether to use some of the permanent fund to help plug the state's fiscal gap.

Stories from around the state

Fairbanks woman charged in identity theft, fraud case
A 46-year-old Fairbanks woman is accused of devising as many as 21 aliases to defraud employers and money lenders, as well as the state and federal governments.

Governor hacks at state budget, adds to his own
Gov. Frank Murkowski's bare-bones budget for next fiscal year cuts state jobs and some social services across the state while increasing spending in his own office. Murkowski is seeking $1.5 million more in general fund spending for his office and its 76 employees in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

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