Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Gambling on precipitation
Alfred Cook says the snow removal business is "so hot and cold that if you rely on it as a sole source of income, then you're a gambling man." Cook, of Cook Snow Removal & Sanding, has been in the business for more than 20 years and employs one driver in addition to himself. His clients are a mix of businesses, private residences and multi-residential complexes.

Maintenance, they say, keeps the plumber away
When a homeowner phones for help after coming home to a cold house on a cold day, "It's a panic shot," said Pete Zecevich, service manager/dispatcher for The Plumbing & Heating Co. "Heating is something everybody takes for granted, and the furnace is something foreign to them," Zecevich said. "So it's a real scream for help (when it's not working). If the house smells like car exhaust, they're worried about health, too. We have to assure them we will get there as soon as possible."

Business Briefs
Extended stay savings offered; Small engine special fired up; Gumdrop House spring hours; Sign Pro sold to local man; Reducing business tax burdens explored; Course considers extending credit; Real estate pre-licensing class scheduled; Conference for professional women set; Free listings offered for summer hires; Author lectures on ship; Japanese tourists fly to Alaska via Hawaii

Business Profile: Mary Szczepanski
Name and title: Juneau resident Mary Szczepanski is sole proprietor of Healing Touch Alaska, a private practice. She is a certified Healing Touch practitioner and instructor and a certified holistic nurse with a total of 14 years experience in these fields. She also teaches self-help classes.

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.

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.

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.

Photo: Auke Bay ice
Fresh ice coats the harbor at Auke Bay on Wednesday morning as clear skies have brought colder weather to the area this week.

Insurance hike may sting workers
Custodians, teacher aides and administrative assistants at Juneau's public schools are asking the school district for help in covering a big hike in their insurance rates. Employees told the School Board on Tuesday that the increases would drive some of them from their jobs and make it hard to hire replacements.

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.

Post office to stay in Auke Bay
A contract securing the continued operation of the Auke Bay Post Office for the next five years will be signed this week, the property owner who rents space to the U.S. Postal Service confirms. Myron Klein and the postal service made a "verbal contract" Tuesday morning for a five-year lease with a slight rent increase, Klein said.

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.

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.

Local Briefs
Fire destroys Juneau hangar office; Board grants teacher leave

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.

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

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.

Police and Fire
The Juneau Police Department and the Alaska State Troopers reported that they did not make any arrests in Juneau on Tuesday, nor did the police report any traffic accidents or other incidents that the Empire includes in this section.

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.

Disc golf course takes off
Juneau model airplane enthusiasts won't get a runway at Amalga Meadows, but will receive help from the city to find a place to fly. The city's Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee on Tuesday unanimously turned down a proposal from the Gastineau Aeromodelers Society to install a 70-by-400-foot grass runway at Amalga Meadows for model planes. Instead, the panel directed Parks and Recreation Director Kim Kiefer to work with the group and other landowners to find a permanent place to fly.

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

Thank you
... for all the help

Design of a Playhouse
A playhouse built by a high school construction class is now delighting members of a Lemon Creek family that won it in a raffle at the 25th annual Juneau Home Show, held Feb. 22-24 at Mendenhall Center. The yellow playhouse with brown trim was delivered to the yard of the Weimer family by members of the construction class on the evening the Home Show closed, Feb. 24. Craig Mapes, the instructor for the Juneau-Douglas High School construction class, tagged along to see the reactions of the family.

Pet Of The Week
Boscoe is a quiet, easygoing neutered male tuxedo kitty who is a former stray from the Douglas area. Boscoe is very affectionate and friendly and gets along with other cats.

Neighbors Briefs
Tolerance in the aftermath of Sept. 11; Alaska Masonic leader visits Southeast lodges; Listeners, talkers needed to deal with subsistence

AWARE to honor four Juneau women for community contributions
On March 9, AWARE (Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies) will hold its sixth annual Women of Distinction Dinner and Silent Auction at Centennial Hall. The event will honor four distinguished local women who have made significant contributions to improving the lives of Juneau's women and children. Community members submitted nominations, and the honorees were selected by AWARE's board of directors.

Photo: Deejay in training
Laughton Elliott-DeAngelis learns to operate KTOO's sound board. Laughton is a member of Floyd Dryden Middle School's radio production club, an activity funded by a 21st Century Grant.

Dony Mallare Corpuz Sr.
Longtime Juneau resident Dony Mallare Corpuz Sr., 96, died peacefully March 4, 2002.

Joyce L. (Weymouth) Peterson
Former Juneau resident Joyce L. (Weymouth) Peterson, 80, died Feb. 15, 2002, at her home in Wenatchee, Wash.

My Turn: How will students learn constitutional values?
Your Feb. 28 story and My Turn column on the suspension of JDHS student Joseph Frederick for displaying the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner during the Olympic Torch Relay raise a few questions I think are worth asking.

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.

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.

My Turn: Accommodating traffic
As a former member of the Juneau Planning Commission I was privileged to see the initial efforts of the combined planning for the Juneau waterfront between Gold Creek and Merchants Wharf. The idea is great and the program involving citizen participation is well planned.

My Turn: Californians as crows and Alaskans as eagles
L.A. Times columnist John Balzar takes a poke at Alaskan "rugged individualism" by stringing pearls of words together (Empire, Feb. 22). His prose and wit serves his profession well. It better. Columnists are a major natural resource in his state, next to politicians.

My Turn: False, hurtful and misleading statements
I am writing to correct statements made in the "My Turn" column of Feb. 28. Mr. Michael Balonek, a VISTA volunteer who has been in Juneau for four months, wrote that it is unfair to test low-income students with the Alaska Benchmark Exams. I commend Mr. Balonek for his commitment to society and his volunteer efforts. However, I take issue with his statements and conclusions. Beyond being false, they are hurtful and misleading.

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.

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

Beedle fourth overall in Telemark nationals
Despite wearing a cast on his left hand to protect a broken thumb, Juneau's Matt Beedle finished in fourth place overall during a series of four U.S. Telemark Ski Association races last weekend in Crested Butte, Colo.

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.

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.

Swingley: I'm retiring
RAINY PASS -- Lagging far behind the top competitors, Montana champion dog musher Doug Swingley said Tuesday he's retiring from the competition in this year's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. "This is my victory lap," the four-time Iditarod winner said shortly after arriving at the Rainy Pass checkpoint Tuesday morning. "I'm retiring from competitive racing. You won't see me up front anymore.

Fielder first out of Ophir as leapfrogging continues
OPHIR -- The leapfrogging among mushers continued Wednesday in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Linwood Fiedler of Willow breezed through Ophir at 7:35 a.m., beating first-arrival Martin Buser of Big Lake out of the checkpoint one minute after arriving.

Local Basketball Standings
Scores from basketball games played this past weekend

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."

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.

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.

Lawmakers pore over competing plans for prisons
A House committee on Tuesday looked at a plan to build one large private prison in Whittier, while a Senate committee took up a bill to expand state-run prisons around the state. Frank Prewitt, a consultant for Cornell Companies, said that firm's proposal for a 1,200-bed private prison in Whittier would cost $44 a day less than a Knowles' administration plan to expand existing prisons and jails. The Knowles proposal does not include Juneau's Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

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.

Alaska fishermen support labeling
The United Salmon Association last week voiced support for federal legislation that would require the labeling of farmed salmon products. The bill also would require that the country of origin be on labels for all retail fisheries products.

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."

Next fast ferry in jeopardy
The entire Southeast Alaska Transportation Plan could unravel if the Senate doesn't approve a debt-financing package that includes a fast vehicle ferry for the southern Panhandle, according to state officials. Senate President Rick Halford said today that the so-called GARVEE bonds for state road and ferry projects aren't likely to win approval this year, although they were approved by the House last year with only one dissenting vote.

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

State Briefs
State wants Demers to pay up; Panel to review naming policy; Leask named to permafund board; Bill targets spill ruling

Senate support waning for funds to push tourism
A bill to provide emergency marketing aid to the state's tourism industry lacks support among majority Republicans in the Senate, said Senate President Rick Halford. Cruise ship bookings continue to recover as travel fears following the September terrorist attacks ebb. The emergency need to spend $6 million for a marketing campaign is becoming less apparent among members of the Senate, Halford said.

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.

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