Monday, March 15, 2004

Photos document canine athletes on the trail
The most famous athletes in Alaska may be the hard-working canines of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The fastest of these doggies race across more than 1,000 miles of difficult terrain in just over a week in March.

In the Stacks: New non-fiction at the library
Lots of new books have hit the shelves this week. Here's a sampling of the non-fiction titles.

Juneau seafood restaurant gets fresh look with new ownership
The owners of Marlintini's Lounge bought the Fisherman's Wharf restaurant in Merchants Wharf in February, and plan to open the remodeled restaurant in April.

New resource in area
JUNEAU - The U.S. Small Business Administration has opened an office in Juneau.

Write government officials; change child support law
The Bradley Amendment or 42, U.S.C. 666(a)(9)(c) reads, "that once a child-support obligation has been established, it cannot be retroactively reduced or forgiven by a judge." This is causing a grave manifest injustice for many families across the country.

Open letter to Alaskans: Bring back income tax
This letter concerns all of the people of Alaska. It is time to reinstate the state income tax, despite opposition by the governor, the Republican Party, the majority in our state Legislature and others. The No. 1 reason for this is because all of the spending plans I have seen are to balance the state budget are based on using "our permanent fund." I disagree with these plans, because once they start spending our permanent fund, they won't stop until it is all gone.

Absurdity in game management
"We don't care how they do it Outside" is the oft-heard phrase among self-righteous Alaskans. Yet the Alaska Board of Game has authorized the killing of moose calves because, after all, they hunt deer fawns in the Lower 48.

Stand up for the future
Our legislators and the governor continue their push to grab more money, with no real cuts proposed to the bureaucracy. They've cut the longevity program and created new taxes, calling them user fees. They're proposing a new system of management for the permanent fund called POMV, percent of market value.

Operate openly
So, is the city of Juneau going to sue the state for not having an open public debate about moving the ferry system offices to Ketchikan? They say this move of the ferry system offices to Ketchikan will save money.

Clean up after dogs
If there were any justice in this world, it would be dog owners and members of their families who track doggy do-do into their own houses and cars.

Where's governor's sense of fairness?
Shame on Gov. Murkowski. Where is his sense of family values? He has made a decision to move 40 employees to another community without consulting any one of these employees about the effect on their families.

What has been good for the goosing ...
As of late, Ketchikan Alaska Marine Highway System shipboard personnel have been bounced from pillar to post. Bartlett was sold on EBay. How insulting was that? The Aurora is going to be transferred to Prince Williams Sound, disrupting many families here in Ketchikan. Now operations is going to lay up the Taku this summer for whatever reason.

Cut the budget before introducing new taxes
No one is ever in favor of an income-tax system. I am particularly incensed that some know-it-all business tycoons would propose an income-tax system. Salaries and wages are deductible business expenses.

Governor is an insensitive bully who wants his way
This move to Ketchikan by the insensitive Gov. Frank Murkowski was uncalled for. What more devastation will he bring forth to our Alaskan communities? How many people will he trodden down to get his way?

Paper trail needed to safeguard voting system
I thought with our Accu-Vote optical scanner voting system Alaskans were safe from the dangers of touch-screen voting machines, but I was wrong. In order to comply with the accessibility requirements of the Help America Vote Act, every polling location is to get at least one Accu-Vote TS - the very Diebold machine found to have security vulnerabilities that could endanger the integrity of our elections.

Get innovative with school problem
Yes, we have problems with our country's education system. Our path of travel has not led to significant change. Globally speaking, the United States continues to slip down the scaled of academic success. We need to move in the opposite direction. We need to be innovative in solving problems.

Not cynical, but realistic; monied votes count
I am a firm believer that the only way a vote counts is if you have money to back your vote.

How others view us
It's interesting to read how others see us, especially when they and their intended audience are far away. In this case, the author is Kathy Montgomery,

Payout dividend fine, but save for the kids
I am all for the payout but I think the state should hold all the kids' PFD's for the simple fact that most of the parents would spend their children's money.

Governor will continue to ship jobs out of town
I'm one of the 44 Juneau ferry workers whose jobs Gov. Frank Murkowski is gift wrapping to send to Ketchikan. It's been a week since we wrenched this news out of an administration that shuns public scrutiny. That week has afforded me some perspective.

Legislators shouldn't be exempt from the law
I read with interest the article in the Sunday, March 7, edition of the Juneau Empire about two of our state legislators involved in a domestic violence dispute after drinking too much.

Industry needs timber
In the Empire on March 9, a Hayden Kaden of Gustavus made some allegations concerning statements made by Alaska Forest Association Director Owen Graham. Since Mr. Graham is more than capable of defending himself when he has the time to do so, I will not dignify the allegation purporting Mr. Graham is a liar.

City: Fluoride was cut off to clean effluent
The Juneau Public Works Department acknowledges it stopped adding fluoride to public drinking water months ago without telling local doctors and dentists, some of whom want it back immediately.

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

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

Kansas-based loan service company buys Kmart building
Kansas-based Midland Loan Services has bought the former Kmart building from Verizon Capital Corp., Juneau City Manager Rod Swope said. The Kmart store closed in April 2003. The building's interior was damaged this winter when frozen water lines broke.

Around Town
Today:Low Impact Exercise, 10 a.m., Juneau Senior Center and Valley Senior Center. Details: 463-6175.

City says it won't allow after-hours pile driving
There won't be any after-hours pile driving for a new cruise-ship dock, but neither work crews nor their company will face charges for the incident that woke up many in the community after midnight Thursday.

Photo: Getting his goat
Tenzing Briggs, 5, shows his father, Bob, mountain goats on the side of Bullard Mountain, at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center on Sunday.

The nose knows
First, Lenka Craigova, a 10-year-old Juneau girl, crawled into the snow cave on East Bowl at Eaglecrest Ski Area. A crowd of skiers watched under calm, gray skies Saturday afternoon.

Local youth honored for his spirit
David Marshall, a Juneau-Douglas High School sophomore, likes bowling and basketball. Not a big deal, you might think. But volunteering at Channel Bowl before being given a job there and playing basketball with adults before school earned him a Spirit of Youth Award.

Big or small? Which works?
When Jim Akins' daughter was a sophomore at Juneau-Douglas High School a few years ago, she couldn't find a teacher who knew her well enough to give a recommendation for a foreign exchange program.

Correction
In an article in Thursday's Empire about a military study of rape allegations at Air Force bases, The Associated Press erroneously reported the number of cases in the past three years in Alaska.

It takes time to create a good, small school
Among the advantages of having two smaller high schools are developing a sense of community and the opportunity to get more kids involved in activities, Juneau School District Superintendent Peggy Cowan has said.

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

Breaking bread with Murkowski
Having taken Gov. Frank Murkowski to task more than once for what I thought was his mishandling of the move of the state's ferry system offices to Ketchikan, the opportunity presented itself for us to meet and break bread on Friday.

My Turn: Juneau gets nothing from Berners Bay land trade
Let's face it: No one lives in Juneau for the shopping. We don't stick around because Alaska's capital city boasts a world-class ballet or four-star restaurants or trendy nightclubs. We live here because we are mere steps away from Alaska's unsurpassed wilderness. In short, we live here because of places like Berners Bay.

Wolves on Douglas
The seven wolves that roamed Douglas Island more than two years ago may be gone, but the impressions they made are still with us. And some of those impressions are misleading.

Counting the herd
Alaska's largest caribou herd, the Western Arctic Caribou herd, has grown to at least 490,000 animals, according to a census completed this week by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Snow report
Conditions on local ski trails.

Marlin fishing is habit-forming
Every fisherman deserves to catch a marlin. King salmon are majestic fish and halibut will test both you and your tackle. But nothing can match a marlin screaming out line 50 miles per hour while it tail walks a hundred yards behind the boat. I'll bet there isn't a fisherman anywhere who hasn't dreamed of catching a marlin. Fortunately, it is easier to catch marlin today than ever before.

Winter Web links
Alaska and Pacific Northwest ski area Web sites.

Out & About
Upcoming local outdoor events

Bear girls earn state trip
The Crimson Bears stuck to the tried-and-true - led by the inside game of senior Tasha McKoy - to beat the Ketchikan Kings 49-39 and earn a return trip to the state tournament. After watching the Kings play in Thursday's play-in game against Sitka, the Crimson Bears were a little surprised to find openings inside.

Ketchikan claims first title in 15 years
The pro-Ketchikan crowd - delirious with joy - cheered for every score by the Kayhi boys, delighted in every Juneau misstep and stormed the court at the final buzzer. But the Ketchikan boys basketball team - while excited - was relatively cool and composed after a convincing 72-52 win over Juneau-Douglas in Friday night's Region V-Class 4A boys championship game at Mount Edgecumbe High School.

Metlakatla boys claim their first Region V-Class 3A title since 1988
After his Metlakatla boys team beat Mount Edgecumbe for the Region V-Class 3A title Friday, coach Josh Muehlenkamp had to teach the talented Braves one more skill - how to cut down the net.

Juneau claims SE crown
There was something about Mary for the Juneau girls in the first half of Saturday's 3A-4A Southeast championship game. Junior Mary Rehfeld scored 16 of the Crimson Bears' 18 first-half points, and a more balanced offense took control in the second half as Class 4A Juneau-Douglas beat Class 3A Petersburg 42-39 at Mount Edgecumbe High School.

Cavs edge Pacers for sixth consecutive win
CLEVELAND - LeBron James slipped on an orange No. 23 Cavaliers' throwback jersey - his own.

Viking girls push back from brink
The top-ranked Petersburg girls basketball team was pushed to the brink on Friday, but showed grace under pressure and used some timely steals to win their second straight region title. The Vikings rallied to beat the Mount Edgecumbe Braves 37-34 in the Region V-Class 3A girls title game at Mount Edgecumbe High School.

Five Juneau hoops players win All-Region honors at tourney
Five Juneau-Douglas High School basketball players were named to the All-Region V-Class 4A Teams on Saturday night at the region tourney in Sitka.

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.

Boulding zips into race lead
UNALAKLEET, Alaska - Charlie Boulding took the lead Sunday in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race by spending just four minutes in the checkpoint here before getting back on the trail.

Sports in Juneau
NEW CALENDAR ITEMS: • 2004 Herb Jaenicke Memorial Badminton Tournament - This tournament takes place Friday through Sunday, March 26-28, at the Mendenhall Valley location of JRC-The Racquet Club.

Backen holds lead
Norway's Kjetil Backen kept his lead Saturday in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race but a pack of seasoned mushers were not far behind going into the last quarter of the race.

State basketball tournament
The Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team will have to beat the defending champions if the Crimson Bears are going to win the Class 4A state tournament this weekend.

Legislative roundup
Action on bills during the past week at the Capitol.

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

Crunch time is next week for fiscal bills in Legislature
The Legislature will focus this week on legislation ranging from use of Alaska Permanent Fund earnings to an employment tax to help fix the state's long-term fiscal gap.

Northwest Digest
Wire reports

Dog on break with fans
Villagers gather around Mitch Seavey's dogs after the Seward musher arrived at the checkpoint in Unalakleet on Sunday during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Legislators eye limits on awards to injured patients
When Kathy Dale's 56-year-old husband, Gene, came out of shoulder surgery on May 18, 2000, she says, he was not the same man she'd taken in that morning.

Photo: On the Iditarod
Italian musher Fabrizio Lovati drives his dog team onto the Yukon River and out of the Ruby checkpoint Saturday during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Norwegian musher Kjetil Backen held the lead.

This Day in History
In Alaska: • In 1901, the Alaska Electric Light & Power Company at Juneau was incorporated.

This Day in History
In Alaska; in the nation; in the world.

Residents speak out against state use of dividend
FAIRBANKS - An organization opposed to using any portion of the Alaska Permanent Fund to close the state's chronic budget deficit held a town meeting here.

AFN eyes Fairbanks for convention
The board of the Alaska Federation of Natives is voting this week on whether to move its convention to Fairbanks in 2005. A subcommittee of the 37-member board recommended the organization move the state's largest convention from Anchorage.

Clockmaker makes them big - to the smallest detail
SOLDOTNA - To say George Callison is detail-oriented is an understatement. Callison is a wood carver and has created immense and elaborate wood clocks in the shapes of fanciful multilevel buildings several feet high, complete with soaring bell towers and spires, intricate miniature hand railings and working doors with tiny hinges and even smaller knobs.

Fairbanks borough's new liquor tax is judged legal
FAIRBANKS - A Superior Court judge has ruled the Fairbanks North Star Borough's new 5 percent alcohol tax is legal, quashing an effort to kill it.

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