Wednesday, March 5, 2003

Not quite virgin timber
Ms. Ferry waxed semi-poetic (Empire, March 3) about old growth forests, kinda suggesting in condescending and pretentious fashion that Chicken Little was right and the trees were all going to fall/be cut down.

Worldwide sympathy has been squandered
One and a half years ago, thousands of people were killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center towers. This was arguably one of the most heinous acts ever committed by human beings, and countries all over the world felt incredible sympathy for the United States. Yet in 18 months, the current administration has managed to erase any sympathy most other countries have felt.

Starving for salmon
I'm in full agreement with Mr. Engstrom that fisherman deserve a market. The processors say they can buy all the pinks and we all know they have rarely been able to handle a big pink return.

Somewhat disappointed
Forgive my delay, but I wanted to respond to a comment by Juneau peace activist Judith Maier (Empire, Feb. 14) who suggested she was ignored by her congressional delegation and felt that she did not have a means to voice to elected officials her opposition to the potential conflict with Iraq.

Tax slack, please
The city should question its tax policy. The high property taxes lead to really high rent for low-income workers, who tend to be young and movers of the economy. The sales tax, at 50 cents per 10 bucks, rocks the low-income people for groceries and essential living items.

Adolescent whining
I read, with some amusement, Richard Cormack's "Happiness Is..." letter to the editor (March 2). Mr. Cormack indicated that Mr. Smith shouldn't be expressing his views. Now, last time I checked, freedom of speech applied to everyone - even if he or she does not agree with your viewpoint.

Patriot for peace
In response to the Outside Editorial of Feb. 27, I went to the International ANSWER Web site and found nothing communist that I could recognize. It was an interesting site. In general, I doubt that the people who are presently involved with ANSWER are communists. They seem to be citizens looking for a way to speak to our government through an organized voice, hoping to be heard.

Save lungs, lives
So here we sit trapped in our homes, all windows and doors closed tight, with an air filter running (costing me more in electricity) because of a few inconsiderate folks who think they live in the wilds of Alaska right here at the head of the Mendenhall Valley.

Worst mistake?
House Speaker Pete Kott's comment that the "permanent fund dividend was one of the worst things we got ourselves into" (Empire, March 4) is obviously a very shortsighted and not terribly well thought out statement. It is however, very revealing, not only of how Mr. Kott views the permanent fund but how many of our elected politicos currently perceive the fund.

War is not a game
It is with anger and alarm that I read and listen to news reports, preparing this nation for war as if it were a game in which someone wins. I have lived through four major wars in which my country has taken part.

Lobbyist bill is special interest legislation!
Our state Legislature recently introduced special interest legislation of the worst kind. HB-106 and SB-89 clearly favor lobbyists over Alaskans, and will enable politicians to accept campaign contributions from most of them, which is currently prohibited. This promotes special interest legislation for the highest bidder. Once again the majority of voters in Alaska will get a bad deal!

Photo: Drilling in 1935
Val Poor operates a drill at the Alaska-Juneau gold mine in 1935. The mine, near downtown Juneau, grew out of panning and sluicing operations in the 1880s and grew into a vast network of buildings and tunnels.

Agency for disturbed children closes
A nonprofit agency in Juneau that served severely emotionally disturbed children closed suddenly this week, leaving parents, schools and state and private agencies scrambling to find replacement services. Robin Brenner's 13-year-old son, Christopher, is developmentally disabled and autistic and has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, she said.

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

This Day in History
In 1959, 15 Vehicles and 50-plus families leave Detroit, Michigan towards Alaska to homestead on the Kenai Peninsula, travelling as the "Detroit '59'ers."

JDHS students win oceanography contest
Juneau-Douglas High School students took first and second place at the Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl by studying two much-discussed local transportation issues. Fourteen teams from around the state each submitted a research project, gave an oral presentation and competed in a "Jeopardy"-style quiz match, said JDHS oceanography teacher Clay Good.

Douglas Indian Association election in question
The Douglas Indian Association held tribal council elections for four of its nine seats Monday in a vote that could cause current tribal leadership to lose recognition from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, said Niles Cesar, BIA regional director for Alaska. "If they in fact elected four of a nine-member board, in violation of their constitution, it's likely that the legitimacy of the tribal government would be in question by the bureau," said Cesar.

This Day in History
In 1939, The Territorial Senate killed a bill appropriating $14,000 to subsidize radio stations in the Territory of Alaska to "disseminate facts and information."

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

School Board sets next year's calendar
The Juneau School Board on Tuesday unanimously approved next school year's calendar. The school year will start Wednesday, Aug. 27, for students in grades one through 12, and Tuesday, Sept. 2, for kindergartners. The school year will end Wednesday, June 2, two days after Memorial Day.

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

Police nab another alleged prowler
Based on a resident's tip, police arrested a man suspected of burglarizing at least 24 vehicles between Cope Park and the Federal Building late Tuesday and early today. Wayne Walter Williams, 22, was arrested and charged with one count of criminal trespass, a misdemeanor, according to a police press release.

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

Neighbors Briefs
City offers free emergency training; CGWA to hold Millionaire's Night

Art students win at ocean science contest
A Juneau-Douglas High School student took top artistic honors at the sixth annual Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl. The competition to see who knows the most about Alaska's marine environment was held Feb. 21-23 in Seward. The three-day event featured a juried art show. Heather Harris of Juneau won Best of Show with her textile/mixed media wearable art piece titled "Fishing for the Perfect Man." Harris' entry was a handmade dress laden with fishing lures and beer bottle caps.

Pets of the week
Sassie is a great family cat. She is very friendly and playful. She gets along well with children, dogs and other cats and does not scratch furniture. Romeo loves children and adults. This yellow lab is very bright and getting straight As from his trainers.

Meals On Wheels program provides food, contact
A man we'll call Joe recently called the senior center requesting information about the Meals On Wheels program. Joe is the primary caregiver for his 91-year-old mother and he works full time. His mother has difficulty seeing well enough to cook and fears starting a fire by leaving the stove on. What can he do? He can't quit his job or come home at lunchtime to prepare a meal for his mom.

What to do when Juneau's spring temperatures drop?
Jeff Barnard called Margaret this last week and asked if we were watching the Weather Channel or looking at weather Web sites. He said there is an arctic weather front coming down that will drop the temperatures down to single digits and we should watch out. This season is playing out much like last spring with a warm February and then a drop in temperature in March. Let's hope the whole play will not be repeated. Last year, we had a February that hovered around 45 degrees and all the shrubs and perennials were bursting out into new growth as March opened.

Ida Hopkins Kadashan
Juneau resident Ida Hopkins Kadashan, 95, died March 3, 2002, at Bartlett Regional Hospital.

My Turn: Making a peaceful difference
The occasion of Peace Corps Day got me thinking. About war, first of all, and the men and women who have been deeply involved in wars. About the tragedy of the Vietnam war, and the many lives that were needlessly lost because of our misdirected efforts. And of the imminent war with Iraq. But also about peace and the many of us who were deeply committed to the peace movement of the 1960s, 1970s and beyond.

My Turn: People of faith do good works
Why the attack on government support of faith-based community initiatives in last Tuesday's paper? As I read his comments, I desired for Brian Lieb (Letter to the Editor) a better understanding and appreciation of the part that religion plays in countless benefits we enjoy today.

Petersburg girls sweep two from Mt. Edgecumbe
The Petersburg High School girls basketball team had come close over the years, but the Vikings just couldn't beat the Mount Edgecumbe Braves. Until last weekend, when the Vikings swept a pair of games from the Braves at Mount Edgecumbe to hand the Braves their first Region V-Class 3A losses since the 1999-2000 season. Petersburg won 57-50 on Friday night and 47-37 on Saturday.

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

Coed Volleyball
The standings from the Juneau Department of Parks and Recreation's coed volleyball leagues through matches of March 2.

Norse force
TANANA - Norwegian Robert Sørlie was the first musher to leave the Tanana checkpoint, maintaining his lead in the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Norwegian leads mushers out of Manley
MANLEY - Musher Robert Sørlie of Hurdal, Norway, jumped into the lead early Tuesday in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Sørlie left the Interior town of Manley at 4:30 a.m., following a rest of 4 hours, 9 minutes. Sørlie dropped one dog in Manley, leaving him with 15 for the rest of the race.

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

Region V Standings
The Region V basketball standings through games of March 2. Standings are for all three Region V classifications and were reported to the Juneau Empire by school officials and basketball coaches.

Musher ends chemo just in time for race
ANCHORAGE - Three days after doctors removed a third of Charlie Boulding's cancerous colon last summer, the 60-year-old dog driver was back on his feet. Four days after that, he was back at work, setting up a fish wheel along the Yukon River not far from his home near Manley.

Valdez processor faces new charges
ANCHORAGE - A Valdez seafood processor with a history of pollution and permit violations is in trouble with the government again. Both the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with a list of new complaints, are seeking penalties from Thomas Waterer, owner of Nautilus Foods of Valdez.

State Briefs
Charges pending in Monday crash; Meet the candidates for school principal; City sidewalk ordinance moves forward; Assembly reviews emergency plan; House approves warnings for explicit e-mail;

Murkowski proposes curbs to environmental lawsuits
Environmental groups that unsuccessfully sue the state could be forced to pay legal fees under a measure proposed by Gov. Frank Murkowski. Two bills proposing changes in the state's public interest litigant rules were introduced in the Legislature on Monday by request of the governor.

Governor reorganizes sr. program management
The Murkowski administration plans to change the way it manages pioneers' homes and other state services for Alaska's senior citizens. The change, which would move senior services from the Department of Administration to the Department of Health and Social Services, brought promises of a fight from a major senior-citizens group.

Measure would tighten initiative requirements
A plan by a Southeast lawmaker could make it more difficult to get initiatives on the ballot, but the proposal could help stave off future capital-move efforts. Rep. Bill Williams, a Saxman Republican, has argued for several sessions that it is too easy for people in large population centers such as Anchorage or the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to collect the signatures needed to get an initiative petition certified.

Murkowski likely to propose $200 million in state budget cuts
Gov. Frank Murkowski is expected to propose about $200 million in cuts to state programs during a speech to the Legislature tonight, his budget chief said Tuesday. "The budget cuts touch just about every program," said Cheryl Frasca, head of the Office of Management and Budget, which is preparing the governor's proposal.

Kott calls PFD one of Alaska's worst mistakes
House Speaker Pete Kott says creating the permanent fund dividend program was one of the worst mistakes Alaska ever made. The Eagle River Republican said he does not propose eliminating the dividend because it has become an important part of the economy. But he said the Alaska Permanent Fund, the state's oil-wealth savings account, needs to shift from being a "sacred cow" to become a "cash cow for the state."

Scientists find mounting effects from oil drilling in Alaska
WASHINGTON - Oil drilling on Alaska's North Slope over 35 years has disturbed some endangered species and made whaling harder, but it has not caused significant oil spills or a large decline in caribou, a panel said Tuesday. Oil from the North Slope, primarily around Prudhoe Bay, still accounts for 15 percent of the nation's total production despite reduced output in recent years.

Nenana Ice Classic tripod raised
NENANA - The Nenana Ice Classic tripod is back on the ice again. Several hundred people gathered Sunday near the Tanana River to watch the annual raising of the tripod, the ceremonial beginning of the annual guessing game of when the ice on the Tanana River will break up, marking the end of winter in the Interior.

State Briefs
Feds to help Wards Cove workers; Coast Guard finds ship suspected in collision; Second man pleads guilty in check scam; Judge orders second dog cruelty trial; Kenai teachers, district reach agreement;

Anchorage author sues to release Bob Atwood book
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage author says Alaska publishing legend Bob Atwood is in danger of being forgotten by the state he helped create because the book he wrote is languishing in a warehouse. "Journalism classes are graduating without knowing who Bob Atwood is," said John Strohmeyer, a writer in residence at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

GOP party chairman confirmed to head oil and gas commission
The appointment of Alaska Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission drew fierce debate from Democrats on Tuesday who said serving on both bodies poses a conflict of interest. The joint meeting of the House and Senate confirmed Ruedrich on a party-line vote of 36-18.

UA president praises faculty, students in budget request
University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton delivered an upbeat message to lawmakers Tuesday, looking back on five years of accomplishments in an effort to persuade the Legislature to give more money for next year. The presentation before the House and Senate Finance Committees sounded much the same as last year. Hamilton highlighted gains made in student enrollment and retention and attributed those gains to the university's improved reputation. UA enrollment is up 9.6 percent this year.

Education Department wants to close Alyeska correspondence school
The state Education Department proposes closing its Juneau-based statewide correspondence school, Alyeska Central School, in late June in an effort to save $1.2 million in spending.

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