Tuesday, March 5, 2002

Remember 'Micawber's equation'
I testified to House State Affairs recently on why they should not attack the Permanent Fund nor PFD. Judging by a recent Empire editorial and "Capital Notebook" column, some of what I said bears repeating and expanding.

Room to do better
We, as Americans and Earthlings, need to vehemently and loudly protest our president's decision to ignore the rest of the world's commitment to our environment.

Greatness of this place
This letter's only intention is to write about the praises this town deserves to know about itself. One begins by the first thing he sees and feels in this place. Mountains that cover half the sky, water at each edge, rainy gray clouds that fall in between the mountains.

Free speech limps along
This letter is prompted by the unfortunate situation of Joseph Frederick.

Not Sheep Creek
Sheep Creek is not an appropriate place for a heliport. I've noticed that Sheep Creek is being "tagged on" to the approved Dupont location as a possible site. It is not appropriate because Thane Road is a residential area. There are also homes across the Channel at Lucky Me, Zella and north toward Douglas that will be made less livable because of the noise.

Leadership program at UAS aims to hold its students
A group of University of Alaska Southeast students are making breakfast for some local schoolchildren before the kids take state tests Wednesday.As part of a new leadership course offered this spring to selected students, freshmen Kecia Medina, Sahar Ghorbanpour, Justin Whittington and Micah Nelson are preparing breakfasts for students at Auke Bay Elementary School and Mendenhall River Community School.

University finds CAPP that fits: automated student info system
After three years as registrar at the University of Alaska Southeast, Lori Exferd is moving to a new campus position where she'll work to make her successor's job easier. Exferd is developing a new program called CAPP - Curriculum Advising and Program Planning - that will create automated access to students' program information, including how close they are to completing their degree and what required courses they still need to take.

Photo: Eagle outpost
A bald eagle pauses to look at the camera while grooming itself Sunday in a tree near Thane Road. An eagle has as many as 7,000 feathers to groom. The bald eagle's scientific name is Hallaeetus leucocephalus, which means "sea eagle with a white head."

Baby hospitalized with concussion; parents indicted
Parents of a 10-week-old baby await arraignment in Juneau Superior Court on felony assault charges after the infant allegedly was taken off an oxygen machine during a brawl between the parents at the Driftwood Lodge last month.

Attention on retention
This May, University of Alaska Southeast senior Travis Hawley will join an exclusive club - one whose ranks school officials are working hard to expand. Hawley is set to depart UAS with a bachelor's degree in sociology, one of between 75 and 100 students who will receive bachelor's degrees this year and one of a handful who have spent their entire college career at UAS.

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

Vice provost understands dropouts
When Vicki Orazem, the vice provost for student success at the University of Alaska Southeast, speaks about keeping students in school, she draws on personal experience.

Fisheries service looks for builder
Construction on a long-planned federal fisheries research center at Lena Point should start within months. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials met with contractors from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest last week about the fisheries center. Engineering director Ken Bircher said technical proposals are due March 14.

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

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

How to spend passenger fees?
An annual puzzle that involves open space, harbors, trails, flightseeing, rest rooms and crossing guards is before city officials. When completed, it will show how more than $3 million in cruise ship passenger fee revenues will be spent this year.

Man avoids jail in lewdness case
A man accused of exposing himself to several women in his West Juneau neighborhood will avoid jail if he continues to get counseling, Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks ruled on Monday.

Clarification
The front page story in Thursday's Empire on paramedics was unclear about the differences in training for paramedics and third-level emergency medical technicians, or EMT-3s.

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

My Turn: The education endowment and enacting a long-range fiscal plan
Addressing the fiscal gap by putting in place a long-range fiscal plan has emerged as the leading issue this legislative session.

My Turn: Weigh your words carefully
An incident occurred very recently that reflects the persistence, strength, beauty and complexity of Tlingit culture. It was a happy time heightened by our young children singing the songs of our ancestors. However, in the enthusiasm and joy of the moment, a cultural protocol was violated.

My Turn: State income tax offers tax fairness
I've followed with amused interest the attempts of the Legislature to put forward some new old ideas to cure our fiscal woes. It's good to see some talk about the situation. I hope unlike the last four years that this year we'll see some action.

My Turn: A bridge to Ketchikan's economic future
Oct. 13, 1935, was a bright, fall weekend day in Juneau. This writer and his father, Lew Sr., sat atop Mount Juneau and watched a crowd assemble on the Juneau end of the new Juneau-Douglas Bridge. They gathered for the bridge dedication.

Word Of Mouth
Word of Mouth gives readers a forum to express opinions on a variety of issues by telephone. Calls must be limited to one minute. We reserve the right to edit calls for clarity, length and libel.

Crookston bags another Crimson Bear
The University of Minnesota-Crookston has done some heavy fishing for Alaska football players, and the catch is getting quite large. This weekend the Golden Eagles nabbed their ninth Alaskan of this year's recruiting class, and second from Juneau-Douglas High School, when they signed senior Crimson Bear lineman Zac Campbell. On Feb. 18, the Golden Eagles signed Juneau tight end/defensive end Jake Miller.

And they're off! Iditarod teams set off for Nome
WASILLA -- Sixty-four mushers and more than a thousand dogs headed out under a cloudless blue sky Sunday for the 30th running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Last year's runner-up, Linwood Fiedler of Willow, took the early lead, coming into the Yentna checkpoint at 5:01 p.m. Sunday and leaving five minutes later. Fiedler runs summer dog tours on Norris Glacier near Juneau.

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

Fiedler first into Rohn
NIKOLAI -- Linwood Fiedler arrived in Rohn at 4:38 p.m. Monday, giving him the lead in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. But three-time winner Martin Buser wasn't far behind. Buser, who has a son named Rohn, arrived at this checkpoint 272 miles into the race less than three hours later, at 7:25 p.m.

Gruening sets more records, but Broncos lose title game
Santa Clara University senior guard Caroline Gruening of Juneau set two more West Coast Conference tournament records, but it wasn't enough to lead the Broncos to the tourney title Sunday in San Diego.

No. 3 Duke dunks North Carolina
DURHAM, N.C. -- Jason Williams and Juneau's Carlos Boozer lost their first two games as collegians -- and not many more since.

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

State Briefs
N.Y.C. police on hand for K-9 dedication; Canadian accused of pot smuggling; Accused pipeline shooter to appeal; Senate OKs law on concealed handguns; Knowles appoints state's first space and missile defense officer; Gas plant on target for April start

Funding fears lead to cuts in pipeline security
FAIRBANKS - State public safety officials have ceased 24-hour operation of the Dalton Highway security checkpoint, citing uncertainty over whether the Legislature will pay the bill.

Alaska investing seminar scheduled for March 12
A two-hour seminar titled "Angel Investing: A Realistic Model for Alaska," will be presented next week by Chris Huston, president of Jenrod & Associates of Seattle, Wash.

Knowles: More funds for children saves money in long run
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Tony Knowles on Monday defended his proposal for higher spending on children's programs, saying the moves will save money in the long run. "Let's cut the cost of Medicaid today by keeping kids from smoking and huffing," Knowles told a sympathetic audience at an early-education conference. "Let's cut the cost of corrections by stopping child abuse and neglect."

Web site offers updates on gas line project proposals
ANCHORAGE - Dave Harbour is a self-appointed news service, when it comes to the idea of an Alaska natural gas pipeline to the Lower 48. Harbour, 59, man spends up to eight hours a day reading, writing and posting information about the subject on his Web site. Working out of his Anchorage home, he supplies a bounty of information about the many proposals to tap the massive natural reserves of Alaska's North Slope and Canada's Mackenzie Delta.

Knowles silent on fiscal veto
There's speculation at the Capitol that Gov. Tony Knowles might veto a revenue-raising package that contains permanent fund earnings.

Daschle: Plan to drill ANWR all but dead
WASHINGTON - President Bush's plan to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska is all but dead for now, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said Sunday. Debate on the administration's energy plan is expected to begin in the Senate this week. The bill to be debated does not include ANWR development. Under a 1980 federal law, the coastal plain can neither be explored for oil nor declared permanently off-limits without an act of Congress.

Suspended ASEA union president back in office
The president of the largest union of state employees is back in his post after being suspended following allegations that he endangered the organization. But Alaska State Employees Association President Ernest Thomas still faces an internal judicial panel's investigation into allegations made against him by the union's executive board - and allegations he made against the labor group's governing panel.

University gets less funds than hoped for
FAIRBANKS - The state spending plan for the next budget year proposed by House Republicans includes a smaller increase for the University of Alaska than administrators requested. The newly released House Finance Committee targets, to be used as a starting point for budget discussions, call for a $4.6 million UA operations spending increase.

Dems, Natives urge anti-hate crimes bill
Democrats and Native leaders are stepping up pressure on the Republican-controlled Senate to move on hate crimes legislation. Gov. Tony Knowles and Sens. Georgianna Lincoln of Rampart and Bettye Davis of Anchorage say it's upsetting that Senate committees haven't even scheduled hearings on the bill introduced by Lincoln last year.

Ice farm manager gears up for ice art championships
FAIRBANKS - Andy O'Grady, who grew up on a small farm in Minnesota in the 1930s, has fond memories of the family ice house. "We used it to store ice for the ice chest buried in sawdust," he recalled. "My dad or mom would take a block and shave a little sliver off for me to chew on and then put it in the ice chest."

State Briefs
Man pleads guilty in sex assault; Bill would make adults liable for providing alcohol to kids; Snowmachiner dies Monday after striking moose; Bill would stop school staff from recommending drugs; Court to review wireless dispute

Nenana Ice Classic officially kicks off
FAIRBANKS - The 86th annual Nenana Ice Classic is officially under way, now that a familiar structure is in place on the frozen Nenana River. On Sunday, dozens of people helped erect a 26-foot-high tripod that will determine the winners when it shifts 100 feet downriver, tripping a clock on shore.

Budget to precede fiscal plan in House
Top House Republicans insisted this morning that they remain serious about moving forward on a revenue-raising package to help fill the state budget gap.

Alaska ferry system faces $5 million hit
The state ferry system is headed toward a $5 million cut in operations under the annual budget being developed by House committees. That cut would be equivalent to taking the Taku out of service, although that's not necessarily the action that would be taken, said Capt. George Capacci, operations manager for the Alaska Marine Highway System.

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