Thursday, March 6, 2003

These stores have locals in mind
Rita Dienst may sell most of the candles in her downtown store to cruise ship passengers, but tourists are not the reason she opened her store 10 years ago. "We're not tourist-oriented, we're locals-oriented," said Dienst, who owns the Northern Lights Candle Co. "We're here for the locals." Despite the huge decrease in sales that ensues when the last cruise ship leaves Juneau in the fall, Dienst and several other proprietors of stores on or near South Franklin Street downtown choose to stay open year-round. It's a decision that is based more on ideology than economics, some of them said.

Business profile: Frank Balogh
Title and company: Owner, Alaska Auto Repair and Sales Inc.

Techwit: Consider these three ideas about Alaska's technology future
There's a fine line between being a visionary and a village idiot. Here are three ideas about Alaska's future that will test your ability to distinguish between leadership and lunacy.

War equals failure
I am very disappointed in Sen. Lisa Murkowski's "Somewhat disappointed" letter in Wednesday's paper. The senator completely misses the point when she paints peace activists with not wanting Saddam Hussein to disarm.

On landing in fog at Juneau
Cloud seeding using dry ice would help out in cases where the temperature is 34 or less with little or no wind. In cases where the temp is higher than 34 with more wind, cloud seeding would not help much.

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.

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.

Don't send Southeast timber and jobs to Asian markets
As Southeast Alaska's largest private landowner, it is hard not to notice, and be dismayed by what the Sealaska Native Corporation has done to the lands it gained under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).

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.

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.

Respectful discourse
Thank you for your column, "Grace under pressure," (Empire, March 2). There are a few of us out here who join you in your effort to rise above the incredible pettiness of our politics - here and nationally.

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!

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.

Democrats playing games
It may be catchy to hear the media-hyped slogan "no blood for oil," but that whole idea is a complete joke. Who has a vested interest in Iraqi oil?

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."

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.

Alyeska school shutdown would cost jobs in Juneau
The Murkowski administration has proposed closing a state-run correspondence school to save money and eliminate duplicate services. But supporters of Alyeska Central School say its program isn't matched elsewhere and the state is just shifting costs. "The question is why," said Juneau's Jack Cadigan, who taught at Alyeska from 1986 to 1998. "You don't save any money. You throw (about) 40 people out of work. You relegate students, certainly in some instances, to lesser-quality education."

This Day in History
In 1903, Homer Bird was hanged at Sitka for a murder committed on the Yukon.

Early city budget shows $2 million shortfall in funds
Juneau Assembly members are starting work on next year's budget $2 million in the red. In-depth budget discussions aren't expected to start at City Hall until next month, but an early picture given to Assembly members Wednesday showed a $2 million shortfall tied to revenue reductions and funding requests. The city budget is about $175 million.

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

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.

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.

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.

Zales closure surprises merchants, customers
Nugget Mall merchants and customers were surprised to discover Zales, a jewelry store in the mall since 1975, closed its doors for good Tuesday night. "The lease expired in that mall, and as with any of our stores it was evaluated on cash flow and opportunities in other locations, and we chose not to renew," said David Sternblitz, senior director of investor and public relations for the Texas-based Zales Corp.

New hotel under way
The building under construction next to the Douglas Bridge will be a 12-unit hotel when completed. Developer Don Madsen, owner of Juneau Hotel Properties and several local apartment complexes, is building the 5,165-square-foot hotel on Ninth Street near Egan Drive, about 10 feet from the Douglas Bridge, according to a Community Development Department staff report.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

Alice Joyce Hanlon
Juneau resident Alice Joyce Hanlon, 50, died March 2, 2003 in Seattle, Wash.

Martin Norman Fall
Juneau resident Martin Norman Fall, 44, died Feb. 8, 2003, in Juneau.

My Turn: For real answers, visit Web sites
Jane Roodenburg needs a new Web browser, I'm afraid. Ms. Roodenburg, in her letter to the editor of March 4, states: "I went to the International ANSWER Web site and found nothing Communist that I could recognize" and "I doubt that the people ... involved ... are Communists. They seem to be citizens looking for a way to speak to our government through an organized voice, hoping to be heard."

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.

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.

Alaska State Basketball Polls
Here are the Alaska Sportswriters High School Basketball Polls, as voted on by statewide sports reporters and compiled by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

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.

Norwegian musher first to leave Galena
GALENA - Top teams in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race passed through the Galena checkpoint early today, with Norway's Robert Sørlie maintaining his lead. Sølie arrived in Galena just after midnight and left about 25 minutes later. Defending champion Martin Buser of Big Lake, a four-time champ, was about 3 1/2 hours behind him, leaving Galena just before 4 a.m. Third-place musher John Baker of Kotzebue checked out of Galena just before 5 a.m.

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

Juneau girls making their final adjustments
The Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team has already clinched the top spot at the Region V-Class 4A tourney later this month. But the Crimson Bears still have a lot to play for this weekend as they travel to Sitka to face the Wolves in the last two games of the regular season. The Juneau girls play Sitka in a pair of region games at 8 p.m. on Friday and 6 p.m. on Saturday.

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.

Cavs lose 50th game of season
CLEVELAND - Carlos Boozer lost 12 games in four years of high school in Alaska, and just 13 in three years at Duke. He's already lost 50 as an NBA rookie. Playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers certainly has its drawbacks.

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

Silence is golden for Crimson Bears
After clinching the regular-season Region V-Class 4A title last weekend, the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team has nothing to play for this weekend in Sitka except pride - and silence. The Crimson Bears, ranked fifth in this week's state Class 4A poll, don't want to hear the bell the Sitka High School Wolves ring after every homecourt victory.

Alaska athletes place high in NCAA ski championships
HANOVER, N.H. - Cross-country skiers from Germany, Norway and Slovakia put Alaska on the map Wednesday at the NCAA Ski Championships. Mandy Kaempf of the University of Alaska Anchorage claimed second place in the women's 5-kilometer freestyle race, UAA's Tobias Schwoerer and Sigrid Aas of UA Fairbanks each placed third and Michal Malak of UAF grabbed fifth place on the opening day of the championships.

Criminal probe into Alaska Airlines reportedly reopened
SEATTLE - Government lawyers in San Francisco have reopened a criminal investigation into the crash of Alaska Flight 261, The Seattle Times reported Wednesday. Quoting unnamed sources, the newspaper reported Alaska Air Group Inc. would confirm the development in an annual report to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week.

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.

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.

State courts offering mediation alternatives
The Alaska Court System is trying to keep more people out of court - or at least out of traditional, adversarial court proceedings. The courts have established several small mediation programs that often keep people out of the traditional proceedings, Supreme Court Chief Justice Dana Fabe said in her annual speech to the Legislature on Wednesday.

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;

Spending plan reaction splits along party lines
Reaction to the budget cuts Gov. Frank Murkowski proposed Wednesday night was predictably split along party lines. Republicans praised the governor while promising not to "rubber stamp" his proposal, and Democrats complained he broke multiple campaign promises and vowed to present alternative measures. "At first blush, we're not impressed," said House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz, an Anchorage Democrat. "This is just a litany of taxes, and I think that's the wrong way to go."

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.

Murkowski budget cuts programs
A budget proposal introduced Wednesday night by Gov. Frank Murkowski would cut state programs, implement taxes and consolidate government in an effort to reduce state spending. In his State of the Budget address, Murkowski said his budget would total about $2.169 billion. It would increase revenues by about $110 million and drop general fund spending by about $55 million. The budget also would result in cuts to 21 state programs and the loss of about 200 state jobs, some of which are unfilled. The budget also would tax tourists and increase the gas tax by 12 cents, in addition to raising fees on gaming revenues and business licenses.

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.

Sen. Lieberman introduces ANWR wilderness bill
FAIRBANKS - U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman has introduced legislation to designate the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's coastal plain as official federal wilderness, but he acknowledged it has little chance of passage. "I'm not kidding myself. With the composition of the Senate today, that would take quite a lot of change in position," the Connecticut Democrat said Wednesday.

Kenai to host Arctic Winter Games
The Kenai Peninsula Borough, not Juneau, will host the 2006 Arctic Winter Games, the game's International Committee announced today. The international winter sports competition and cultural event is held every two years, bringing together about 1,600 young athletes from Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Siberian Russia and northern Scandinavia. Under a rotating schedule, Alaska is scheduled to host the games in 2006. Juneau, Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula submitted bids.

Alaska Board of Fisheries approves chinook plan
KETCHIKAN - The Alaska Board of Fisheries has adopted a new chinook salmon management plan for Southeast Alaska while leaving unchanged a key allocation split between the commercial troll fleet and sport fishermen. Chinook - or king salmon - issues were scrutinized closely during the board's meeting, which ended last week in Ketchikan.

State Briefs
Senate approves breast and cervical cancer bill; Bill would let voters pick issues-only ballot; Tanker traffic shut down for ice; Ketchikan ponders city, borough consolidation

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.

Taking 'Manna from Heaven' to American moviegoers
Director Maria Burton's voice may sound tired, but out of the seven family members who make up Five Sisters Productions, she is the lucky one. "I'm the only one getting any sleep right now. I feel kind of bad," Burton said this week in a phone interview from Los Angeles. "You never sleep when you are opening a film - I have to provide long-distance emotional support."

Librarians host writer's tea, Whalen Turner
JUNEAU - The Alaska Library Association is hosting a dessert reception with Juneau writers and librarians from across the state at 7 p.m. Friday, March 7, at the Egan Library at the University of Alaska Southeast as part of an association meeting.

Movies where and when
"Tears of the Sun," (R) starts Friday, March 7, and plays at 7 nightly at Glacier Cinemas, with second shows at 9:25 Friday and Saturday nights, and matinees at 1:30 and 4 Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

'Battle of the Bands' at ANB Hall
JUNEAU - "Rock the Capital Battle of the Bands" will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 7, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall. "This is something I have dreamt about doing since I was a teenager - finally I have enough know-how and the connections in the industry to do it," said organizer Ethan Simons, who is 25.

First Friday: Masks, maps & skin baskets
This weekend's First Friday Art Walk, on March 7, features beaded baskets, collage landscapes, children's paintings, children's book illustrations, maps, masks and many other multimedia masterpieces. The Alaska State Museum of History and Art will open an exhibition of craft pieces from around the state, "Earth Fire and Fibre XXIV," and the Friends of the Alaska State Museum will host a reception and offer free admission from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The show will feature the winners of a biennial contest that takes submissions from new artists. This year, 140 artists submitted pieces from 25 Alaska communities. Judges selected 62 works by 51 artists, in media ranging from fish gut to fabric.

'Benny's Flag': A true tale of an ordinary boy
My favorite children's books are those that stimulate the imagination in surprising ways, books like "Eloise" by Kay Thompson or "Dory Story" by Jerry Pallotta, stuff I love to read to my kids because the magic works on me too. Children's books that are nonfiction often lack this aspect and I miss it when I read them, so I often avoid them altogether. However, after reading the true story "Benny's Flag" to my children, I realized that my preference for this kind of kids' book is somewhat limiting to my children and that nonfiction certainly can stimulate their minds in ways that fanciful fiction cannot.

What's up with that?
Q: What's up with spotty cellular service around Juneau? At some places - Eaglecrest is one of them - phones with one prefix will work, while phones with other prefixes will not.

Best Bets: 'Manna from Heaven,' skating and Kissinger
A couple of events this week are total no-brainers: go to First Friday - it's free and there will be plenty of Costco brie (hey, that rhymes) - and try to see "Manna From Heaven," which will be playing downtown all next week.

Singers needed for Horst memorial
JUNEAU - The Juneau Lyric Opera invites Juneau singers who know the Horst family to sing in an open chorus at the memorial service for musician Ford Horst at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 9, at Chapel by the Lake.

What's happening
"The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)," presented by Theatre in the Rough, at 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday through March 8 at McPhetres Hall. Tickets $14 in advance at Hearthside Books, or $16 at the door.

Bad Girls of the North want artwork
JUNEAU - Bad Girls of the North, a cooperative of Anchorage artisans, is seeking artists, artisans and crafters who would like to sell their work at the 2003 holiday "unique boutique" art and craft fair. There will be "unique boutique" fairs in Anchorage, Fairbanks and the Mat-Su Borough.

Fairbanks play festival taking submissions
JUNEAU - The Fairbanks Drama Association and The Looking Glass Group Theatre are seeking submissions from Alaska playwrights for the "8-by-10 Festival." Eight 10-minute plays will be selected for rehearsed staged readings on May 2 and 3 at the drama association's Riverfront Theatre in Fairbanks.

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