Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, March 05, 2004

Candidate Kucinich to visit Alaska

JUNEAU - Presidential candidate and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich will visit Alaska next week, according to Carol Anderson of the Juneau campaign.

Anderson said Kucinich will be in Alaska March 9-12, and will likely be in Juneau March 11.

"Our state coordinator has been talking to the national campaign, and the national campaign decided he wanted to visit every state, so he's coming up here right before our primaries," she said.

The Juneau campaign consists of about a dozen people who attend meetings, and another two dozen or so on the e-mail list.

Kucinich will speak at the Egan Democratic Forum at the Baranof that day. Other events haven't been nailed down yet, but Anderson said there will be a reception in which the public will have an opportunity to meet him.

Some of Kucinich's key issues are repealing the Patriot Act and U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA and the World Trade Organization. His campaign Web site is www.kucinich.us.

House passes drivers' license bill

JUNEAU - The state House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that restricts driving for teenagers.

House Bill 213, sponsored by Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch, R-Juneau, would require teens to drive with a learner's permit for six months and then get a provisional driver's license after turning 16. The provisional license would prohibit teens from driving between 1 and 5 a.m. Passengers in the car would have to be 21 or older.

The provisional license would last six months. A teenager could apply for an unrestricted license after six months as long as he or she had not received a traffic conviction.

The bill passed the house 31-3, with two legislators excused and four absent. Wehyrauch and Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, voted in favor of it. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Juneau woman is Idita-rider again

JUNEAU - Nancy Woizeschke is having a once-in-a-lifetime experience - again.

On Saturday, the Juneau woman will be riding a few miles in the sled of Iditarod musher Todd Capistrant for the second straight year as part of the Idita-rider program.

"It was the most exciting experience of my life, sitting down at the starting line with all the crowds," she said of last year's ride.

The Idita-rider program raises money for the race by auctioning the rights to ride in mushers' sleds for about a dozen miles from the ceremonial race start in Anchorage. Last year, Woizeschke got the added experience of helping handle Capistrant's team at the race restart in Fairbanks, and she plans on lending a hand at this year's restart Sunday in Willow.

This year, the $1,300-bid required to secure Woizeschke's spot in a sled was a gift for her upcoming 40th birthday from her husband, Brian Prellwitz. The 2004 auction raised more than $138,000, with bids ranging from $850 to $7,500 for fan favorite Dee Dee Jonrowe.

Since last year's race, Capistrant and his family moved from Minnesota to Healy - near Denali National Park - to devote more time to mushing. Woizeschke has kept in touch with the Capistrants, and looks forward to seeing last year's team run its second Iditarod.

As she heads down the trail this year, Woizeschke said she will spend less time taking pictures and more time savoring the atmosphere.

"It's nice to have one year under my belt and know what to expect," she said. "This year it's going to be (about) taking it all in, instead of trying to capture it."

For information on the Iditarod and the Idita-rider program, look on the Web at www.iditarod.com.

Knowles: Leave behind No Child Left Behind

JUNEAU - Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Tony Knowles said he will fight for dramatic changes in the federal No Child Left Behind Act to return more local control of schools.

Alaska schools are underfunded by about $159 million to comply with the law that is too intrusive, Knowles said.

"While we are teaching the '3 Rs,' we need to teach Washington, D.C., and Congress another set of 3 Rs: Reform, responsibility and resources," Knowles said during a campaign event in Anchorage.

Knowles said he wants to change the law to allow states to write their own school accountability plan that fits each state's individual needs.

"It changes the relationship from one of federal micromanagement of every aspect of schools back to local control," Knowles said.

He would also seek full funding for federal requirements under No Child Left Behind and other programs such as Title I for schools with low-income families.

Biologist works to legalize moose calf hunts

FAIRBANKS - The Alaska Board of Game has lifted the prohibition on calf hunts in areas with stable moose populations.

State wildlife biologist Don Young lobbied for legalized moose calf hunts, calling them a game management tool as well as a hunting opportunity.

Young made his pitch to the Alaska Board of Game Wednesday, the seventh day of a 14-day meeting in Fairbanks to consider changes to state hunting and trapping regulations.

Board member Cliff Judkins of Wasilla said he supported "the necessity" of calf hunts in some areas.

"If you can put it in the freezer instead of let it starve to death we might as well put in the freezer," Judkins said.

The board adopted a prohibition on calf hunts two years ago, but gave the Alaska Department of Fish and Game the latitude to institute calf hunts in certain areas or include calves in antlerless hunts around the state. But the prohibition sends the wrong message to hunters and the public, Young told the board.

Calf hunts emulate nature more than bull and cow hunts, he said. About half of the moose calves born on the Tanana Flats die in the first year, many of them during the winter.

"If you have three moose, a bull, a cow and a calf, which one are you going to shoot?" he said. "You're going to shoot the calf because if you shoot the bull you don't have a breeder for the cow and if you shoot the cow you're going to have to wait three or four years before the calf is big enough to breed."



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