Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Notes differences between ferry, planes
My husband returns from Arizona and encounters mechanical problems and does not arrive in Sitka on schedule. He is given peanuts to snack on and a voucher to spend the night in Juneau at an exclusive hotel.

Don't limit opportunity for choices in education
I am appalled by Gov. Murkowski's proposal to shutdown Alyeska Central (correspondence) School. I am a student at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School and I take a geometry course using Alyeska's program because it is not offered at DZ.

Peddling influence
What makes an amateur into a professional? Standards are strict for athletes and hookers - accept money and you are a pro. So far Alaska is more lenient on lobbyists: A paid lobbyist can go to Juneau and lobby up to four hours per month before being declared a professional. As such, he must pay a $100 registration fee, and be subject to Lobbyist Regulations. A registered lobbyist can only contribute to his own district's legislators. Aye, there's the rub.

Respect land, people
A local woman writes a kind, non-confrontational letter in her local paper and gets blasted by an outsider shooting from the hip. Not in Juneau, right? Wrong.

Will financial downturn affect state flags too?
Gov. Murkowski's state fudge-it of the budget address left out a couple smaller items. Due to the financial shortfall, Alaska state flags will now be made out of blue plastic tarps, with yellow stickum stars.

A tax is a tax
Governor, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a gas tax. And, not everyone because of job requirements can ride a bus!

An abominable decision
The governor's proposal to terminate the longevity bonus for seniors reminds me of the comic strip Peanuts. Lucy promises Charlie Brown she will cooperate with him and allow him to kick the football while she holds it. Just as he runs close to the ball, Lucy yanks it away causing Charlie Brown to fall hard on his rear. Lucy's actions are deliberate and timely executed, yet Charlie Brown, who is a trusting soul, invariably falls for the trick. Most of us seniors, like Charlie Brown, want to trust our government because we feel that we are an integral part of it. Unfortunately, the governor's plan to eliminate the longevity bonus leaves us with a feeling that we have been betrayed.

A spoke in the wheel
In any military action against Iraq you will not see Bruce Willis, his ex-wife, nor any other star, manning the gun turrets in a race toward Baghdad upon orders from the commander-in-chief. The Black Sheep squadron of WWII will not control the skies, nor will John Wayne, Charlton Heston or Gene Hackman provide sea support. But I would wager their stand-ins in reality would do them proud, as will our military forces.

Liberal report card
In response to the letter, "This is conservatism?," (Empire, March 9) I have prepared my own liberal report card.

Threats to world peace
An anonymous source within the CIA, the mother of all intelligence-gathering agencies, revealed to CNN yesterday that in the wee, wee hours of a recent morning during a brief stop between safe houses, Saddam Hussein took a moment to urinate on an American flag and wipe his behind with hundred dollar bills.

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

Habitat Division layoffs made official
Layoff notices were sent to 22 employees at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Habitat Division on Friday. Seven jobs will be cut in Juneau, 10 in Anchorage, three in Sitka, and one each in Fairbanks and Ketchikan. An additional 12 vacant positions in Fish and Game will be eliminated. Seventeen of the jobs are classified permanent positions and five are nonpermanent positions.

Penny drive donation
Andy Macaulay, manger of the Nugget office of Alaska Pacific Bank, presents a check to Annie Eichorst during a ceremony at Resurrection Lutheran Church on Friday. Students from the Juneau-Douglas High School Choice program had a penny drive for St. Vincent de Paul Society to support job training for Eichorst. Eichorst, who has Williams syndrome, has been volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul for the past two years. Alaska Pacific Bank matched the donated funds, bringing the amount of the check to $644.54.

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

Heliport EIS to broaden its focus
A pending environmental study should provide more detail about where a new Juneau heliport might go and what it would look like, city officials said. A massive federal appropriations bill approved by Congress last month sends $350,000 to the U.S. Forest Service and $1 million to the Federal Highway Administration to study alternative heliports in Juneau. In addition, the city set aside another $500,000 in cruise ship passenger fees last spring for alternative heliports and quiet technology.

Weekend shooting caused by anti-drug argument
An argument about drugs resulted in one man suffering a gunshot wound to his shoulder, according to court records released today.

City, ANB Camp 2 working on pulltab tax payments
The new president of Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp 2 says his organization fully intends to pay more than $300,000 it owes the city in back taxes. "We're interested in taking care of everything that is owed," ANB Camp 2 President Andy Ebona told Juneau Assembly members last week.

Tourism fee plan opposed by industry
Some of Alaska's tour operators are crying foul at the governor's proposal to charge out-of-state tourists a $15 "wilderness conservation" fee, saying they would be more amenable to the plan if the money went to benefit the industry. Revenue from the pass, estimated at between $7 million and $8 million, would be deposited into the state's general fund, which is used for governmental operations. According to House Bill 163, some of that money could be used for fish and wildlife management, viewing and education programs.

Police & Fire
Reports by Juneau police, fire officials and state troopers.

Bandage preparation in 1918
This photograph was taken of the Douglas Treadwell Red Cross preparing bandages on March 29, 1918. After the United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917, by declaring war against Germany, the Red Cross saw one of its largest periods of growth in the organization's history.

Correction
The caption for Sunday's Page 1 Empire photo of the Hunt family incorrectly named Jake Hunt as the boys' father. The father's name is Lester Hunt. Also, due to a reporter's error, the origin of Lester Allen III's name was incorrect. He is named after his father, Lester Hunt, and the Hunt's oldest son, Lester Allen Hunt II.

Photo: Putting cold weather to good use
Charles Ramos, center, tries to defend against Paul Dzwonowski, left, and Marc Scholten during a lunchtime round of hockey at the northern end of Twin Lakes on Monday. Open water still exists on the lakes and city officials discourage skating.

Business financing workshop Wednesday
Financing Your Business, a seminar presented by the Juneau Small Business Development Center, will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Photos: Stuck in the mud
Mike Curry works to get a chain on his vehicle Monday afternoon before the tide comes in. Curry's daughter, Amanda, 18, left, drove the vehicle under the Douglas Bridge while birdwatching and got stuck in the mud.

Southeast signing on to Naltrexone research program
A Southeast study started to help alcoholics in Alaska Native communities curb their appetite for booze is attracting interest, according to researchers. One of the study's lead investigators, Dr. Robert Robin with the Yale University School of Medicine, said today that about 80 Alaska Natives throughout Southeast have applied to be part of a research study that couples the drugs Naltrexone, used to decrease alcohol cravings, and Zoloft, an anti-depressant, to combat alcohol abuse. The study is being conducted by Yale and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, a Native health-care provider.

Fund match OK'd for Herbert River land
City funding will help put 148 acres of rich coastal wetlands and wildlife habitat near the Herbert River into public hands. The Juneau Assembly on Monday unanimously agreed to provide the entire $254,000 local match required to buy the property from Channel Construction and William "Shorty" Tonsgard. The Southeast Alaska Land Trust and other local groups obtained a $553,000 federal grant for the purchase last year.

This Day in History
In 1969, The State Highway Department completed construction of the winter road to North Slope Oil fields.

AroundTown
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Hester E. Shutt
Former Juneau resident Hester E. Shutt, 83, died March 10, 2003, in Williston, N.C. after a long bout with cancer.

Arse V. Credo
Former Juneau resident Arse V. Credo, 87, died March 7, 2003, in Seattle.

Denise L. Fletcher
Juneau resident Denise L. Fletcher, 46, died Thursday, March 6, 2003, in Sitka.

Carl F. Nickel
Former Juneau resident Carl F. Nickel, 66, died Feb. 21, 2003, in Mesa, Ariz.

My Turn: The Silent Majority's secret
The American concept of "the silent majority" is quite familiar. Political spectators talk about it and its huge influence on our country all the time. But no one ever says how it got started. Or that government leaders never propose programs to remedy the problems it causes, including the embarrassment of portraying the U.S. as the world's best example of democracy while this condition exists?

Don't slash valuable school
Last month, as a student with Alyeska Central (correspondence) School (ACS), I participated in the Close Up program in Washington, D.C. It was a wonderful program for students to learn about how our government works. I have also attended the Academic Decathlon on the ACS team for my entire high school career. We placed fourth in the state three years in a row. Correspondence study is a type of schooling where all student-teacher interaction is through mail, telephone or Internet. I have been home-schooled through correspondence study with ACS for my entire life, and am now a senior.

My Turn: Former candidate defends APOC
In 1974, the people of Alaska, in response to non-responding politicians did form by initiative the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC). From that day forward politicians from the major political parties have sought to discredit, underfund and in any other manner do away with APOC. With their finances out in the open for the public to examine it proved more and more difficult for special interests to buy them without a hue and cry from the people. The smoke-filled back rooms got smaller and smaller.

What education priority?
Gov. Frank Murkowski said during last year's campaign that education is his top priority. After hearing his budget plans..., we can't wait to see how he treats his lower priorities. Here's what the governor said during the campaign:

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

Big game at Treadwell - 1903
Yesterday was a red letter day in the history of Treadwell, though a noticeable large number were affected with the 'blues.' The event was the game of basket ball between the office and store boys. The store and offices were draped with the colors of the opposing forces, and nearly every customer left the building wearing great streamers of ribbon of blue or crimson.

Sports in Juneau
Sports in Juneau is a service provided by the Juneau Empire to provide information on upcoming sports and outdoors events in Juneau.

Mushers cross ice and look to Nome
SHAKTOOLIK - Norway's Robert Sørlie had a lead of nearly three hours in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race early today as he left the village of Shaktoolik, and headed up the Bering Sea coast. Sørlie left Shaktoolik at 6:33 a.m. today. His closest competitor, Ramy Brooks of Healy, left at 9:22 a.m. They have a 48-mile run across the ice of Norton Bay to the next checkpoint at Koyuk.

Douglas Dynasty
Tucked up in a corner of the Juneau-Douglas High School gym is a wooden pennant that reads "DHS SE CHAMPS 53." Besides being one of the few reminders in the building of why there is a "D" in JDHS, the tiny triangle serves as reminder of a basketball feat from a time long past, accomplished by players from a school that no longer exists.

Sørlie, Brooks leading pack out of Kaltag
KALTAG - Norwegian musher Robert Sørlie was on the move and ahead of the pack again early today, leaving the Kaltag checkpoint at 4:41 a.m.

Student of the game
By day Tom Kitka is a drafting student at the University of Alaska Anchorage. At night, you could say Kitka is a student of the game of pool. Kitka, who grew up in Sitka and is a former Juneau resident, won the 9-Ball championship and teamed up with Juneau's Sonny Cortez to win the Scotch doubles title in Sunday's finals of the Juneau Billiard Association's Capital City Classic. Jim Scudero of Ketchikan won the 8-Ball crown.

Will LeBron save struggling Cavs?
It's so quiet inside 20,562-seat Gund Arena during Cavaliers' games that you can almost hear an NBA lottery pingpong ball drop. Not in Section 100, Row 12, though. There, "Ricky D's Renegades" are whooping it up while the NBA's worst team staggers toward another loss down below.

Arctic Man classic a go
While a lack of snow and warm weather around much of the state has forced the cancellation and relocation of many of Alaska's winter events, the Arctic Man Ski-N-Sno Go Classic Arctic will go on as scheduled. Organizer Howie Thies said there is more than enough snow to hold the annual event at Hoodoo Mountain 200 miles south of Fairbanks.

"3"-peat: Lucky years for local teams
A look at the past shows that more often than not, years that end in three have meant good basketball seasons for Juneau and Douglas. Boys' state championships in 1963 and 1973 and a girls state title in 1983 are three of the "3" highlights for Juneau-Douglas High School. And, of course, Douglas High School made it to the state title series in 1953.

B.C. claims tighter fish-farming regs; Alaskans skeptical
Salmon farms in British Columbia have been subjected to tighter rules and regulations since the province's administration changed hands a year and a half ago. But Juneau fishermen and some government officials concerned about farmed fish escaping and transmitting disease say they are skeptical of the changes. British Columbia officials say they've taken measures to prevent their fish from escaping and making their way into Alaska waters.

Defense opens in salmon collusion trial
ANCHORAGE - The president of Trident Seafoods testified Monday that no other processor or importer told him what price to pay harvesters in the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon. Chuck Bundrant was the first person to testify for the defense in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of some 4,500 fishermen.

ACS reports loss of $185 m in 2002
Alaska Communications Systems posted losses totaling $185 million last year. Most of the loss was from the non-cash expense of acknowledging the fallen market values of the local phone companies it bought in 1999.

Rep. Don Young reintroduces Native work preference bill
U.S. Rep. Don Young has reintroduced legislation to force Alaska's federal park and refuge managers to contract out construction, maintenance and research work to Alaska Native tribes. The legislation by Young, an Alaska Republican, calls for 12 separate contracts over the next two years.

Researcher takes a look at what mushers are eating
RUBY - Martin Buser dines on tenderloin steak and butter-drenched shrimp along lonely stretches of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Cali King enjoys turkey dinners with stuffing, gravy, corn and cranberry sauce. Randy Chappel eats beef burgundy, pasta carbonara and cheese tortellini. When it comes to musher fuel, there's no skimping on cravings or calories.

Low snow pack could mean early fire season
Alaska's minimal winter may lead to an early and more dangerous spring fire season. Sharon Alden, fire weather program manager at the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, said a large area of the state has less than 50 percent of normal snow pack. Less snow may increase the probability of human-caused wildfires in upcoming months.

Bill cuts state share of alcohol programs
The state would pick up a smaller share of the cost of drug and alcohol treatment and prevention programs under a bill that cleared a Senate committee Monday. The measure is one of more than 20 cost-saving or revenue-raising bills introduced last week at the request of Gov. Frank Murkowski.

Suing over salmon
David Harsila says he and other Bristol Bay fishermen should have known something was wrong when raw fish prices for sockeye salmon soared to $2 per pound in 1988. Fishermen happily cashed in. But the high prices drove some processors out of business, transforming a broad competitive market for salmon into one dominated by a handful of large processors. And three years later, prices swung the other way - bottoming out at 38 cents a pound, eventually increasing to 70 cents after fishermen sat out part of the season in protest.

Disrupting flight costs man $38,000
ANCHORAGE - A man from Texas must pay $38,000 to Northwest Airlines for disrupting a flight last November, prompting the crew to divert to Anchorage.

Free rabies shots
Michelle Seaman's kitten Butterbean finds a bit of comfort on Seaman's shoulder Saturday while waiting in line for a free rabies shot during a vaccination clinic at the Kenai Animal Shelter. Dogs far outnumbered the few nervous cats and one ferret in attendance.

'National Native News' moving to New Mexico
ANCHORAGE - A nationally syndicated Native American radio program is ending its 16-year history in Anchorage and moving to New Mexico. "National Native News," one of Koahnic Broadcasting Corp.'s three nationally syndicated Native American radio programs, will be moved to Albuquerque and consolidated with the national call-in program "Native America Calling."

Gunshots injure four in Anchorage
Four men survived gunshot wounds late Friday and early Saturday in three separate shootings. Anchorage police said two men, 23 and 20, were shot at 9:10 p.m. Friday as they sat in a Jeep near a strip club downtown. Several shots were fired from a small red car, police said, hitting one man in the head and the other in the back. Both were hospitalized.

Habitat permitting proposal panned, supported in hearing
More than 60 people testified in the Senate Resources Committee on Monday evening about an order by Gov. Frank Murkowski to move habitat permitting authority from the Department of Fish and Game to the Department of Natural Resources.

Fairbanks-Frankfurt flights resume
Summer passenger flight service between Frankfurt, Germany, and Fairbanks by Condor-Thomas Cook Airlines will resume this year without a request for Alaska money to buffer the financial risk.

State Briefs
JDHS musical postponed due to renovation delays; Assembly pulls construction noise ordinance; Man arrested on drug-trafficking charge; Hunters find body near Resurrection Trail; Wind storm flips plane, ignites blazes; Bethel man killed on Anchorage street

Coast Guard calls up 10 reservists for active duty
Ten members of the Coast Guard Reserve in Alaska have been called to active duty as reinforcements for homeland defense in the state. The Coast Guard, formerly under the U.S. Department of Transportation, is one of many agencies folded into the new federal Department of Homeland Security.

Board of Game postpones predator control discussion
The Alaska Board of Game has postponed a discussion on predator control in the McGrath area that was originally scheduled for today.

Rep.Young introduces ANWR drilling bill
FAIRBANKS - The U.S. House Resources Committee will consider Alaska Rep. Don Young's bill to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The committee's new chairman, Rep. Richard Pombo, a California Republican, issued a brief statement in advance of Wednesday's hearing, saying protecting "our environment and our energy security" are compatible goals.

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