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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

This Day in History
In Alaska

Time for new approach to state ferry system
I was flipping channels, waiting for the Duke North Carolina game to start last Saturday, and on Channel 7 (Gavel to Gavel) was (Alaska Marine Highway System head) Robin Taylor.

Abstinence works, not mixed messages
In her March 5 letter, Dee Longenbaugh says that abstinence doesn't work. Abstinence is the only approach to sexual activity that works flawlessly every time it is tried - no pregnancy, no sexually transmitted disease or any of the other problems associated with promiscuous sex. What doesn't work is mixing abstinence and contraceptive programs together. The mixed message that results undermines the abstinence message. Imagine a drug prevention program that tells kids to say "no" to drugs and then offers them drugs.

State not interested in fixing retirement
Claiming that the fiscal "sky was falling" on the state retirement trust fund, last session the Murkowski administration and Republican Legislature demanded an immediate solution despite that the $6 billion shortfall in the fund was really caused by administration management. Rather than take time to study the problem and possible solutions, a hastily written and ill-conceived Senate Bill 141 was rammed through the Legislature. The hastily fashioned legislation contains a number of serious problems. For example, the 401(k) Tier IV retirement plan developed with bill 141 does not meet Internal Revenue Service requirements.

More than 'convenient'
I read, with some dismay, the Sunday Empire editorial concerning Gastineau Channel dredging. Most of us outside the newspaper industry are unsure who exactly is writing this column.

More than force
Historically, continuously fighting war bankrupts and collapses a nation, except when fighting wars of conquest, where war booty and tribute can fund war with randy soldiers gradually repopulating places and armies with legitimate and bastard progeny.

Some suggestions for the city
The city should consider replacing the current sales tax exemption for seniors with a sales tax exemption for lower-income people of all ages.

City should cover cost to relocate
You asked for alternative programs or policies for seniors if the sales tax exemption is eliminated. My suggestion is to grant each senior $1,000 to assist in relocation costs outside of Juneau, upon submission of moving cost and/or airfare with proof of purchase or rental in the new location.

Road will change city for the worse
I hate to envision how much Juneau will change for the worse if and when the road-to-nowhere project comes to pass. I was born and raised in Juneau, and I lived my life there until developments in my own backyard stirred me to leave.

Two Juneau men sought in valley shooting
Juneau police are seeking two "persons of interest" who may have been involved in Sunday's shooting outside a Jennifer Drive home in the Mendenhall Valley, they reported Monday.

City paves way for Lena subdivision
Soon 44 high-priced lots within Juneau's Lena Point subdivision will go to the highest bidder, a result of a Juneau Assembly decision Monday night amid concern over affordable housing.

Who says it's almost spring?
Today would be a particularly good day to bundle up, even if the calendar says spring is just a week away.

Boat launch fees double by 2006
Heavier launch fees may not have grounded boaters, but are one more burden weighing them down, a longtime Juneau fisherman said.

Around Town
Around town is a listing of nonprofit local events

School budget up in the air
Although the Juneau School District is likely facing painful budget cuts next school year, only one member of the public attended Tuesday's meeting for public comments.

Photo: An autographed copy
Cindy Dyson, of Glacier Park Mont., left, signs a copy of her new book "And She Was" for Paula Recchia during a reception Tuesday at the downtown Hearthside Books.

Ten people lose jobs when diner closes unexpectedly
Downtown Juneau eatery BaCar's closed its doors suddenly and indefinitely Sunday afternoon, after serving customers on Seward Street since 2003.

Church seeks aid, ways to help others after fire
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church leaders said Monday that they are working to keep their own disaster from hurting others in Juneau.

Photo: How low will it go?
Nick Hetz walks under a thermometer on Marine Way that reads 8 degrees Tuesday while on his way to catch the bus in downtown Juneau.

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

Photo: Looking through the Glass
From left, Peter John Jr. of Juneau, Bernadine Shodda and Situk Harry of Yakutat, take a break from walking in the icy cold weather and look out over Juneau from the downtown library's stained glass window.

Photo: Tuning up the pipes
Jessa Ramirez and Olivia Pitesa sing "The Little Beggarman" during a Juneau-Douglas HIgh School Woman's Choir rehearsal Monday in preparation for the spring concert at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the school auditorium.

Around Town
Around town is a listing of nonprofit local events

City ponders schools' request to deal with funding limit
Dwindling enrollment numbers have forced the city to find creative ways to funnel money to schools, resulting in an ordinance first heard by the Juneau Assembly on Monday.

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

Town hole: Prime lot sits idle since 2004 fire
Some Juneau residents who want downtown shopping, eating and parking to grow wonder why the vacant lot where the Skinner Building burned to the ground remains fallow nearly 19 months later.

Woman seeks help after husband's search called off
While frantically calling state and federal officials for help in resuming a search for her missing husband, Jennifer Nebert said she received a call from the Coast Guard Monday to tell her the search would remain suspended.

Love yourself as you love your neighbor
In my tradition of faith, I memorized these verses as a child from the Gospel of Matthew 22: 37-39.

Photo: Brownies give to a baby in need
Members of Juneau Brownie Troop 13 pose with a quilt and nurses from Bartlett Regional Hospital on Thursday at Sandy Beach.

Photo: Gift of giving
Wells Fargo community leaders Kathleen Vilandre and Joseph Everhart give a $7,433 check to United Way of Southeast Alaska President Jodi Kilcup, center.

Neighbors Digest
Staff reports from around the community

Neighbors mailbox
You've got thanks, neighbor

My turn: Who will pay for access?
I am in favor of improved access and transportation. I am, however, not convinced the proposed road to Katzehin River Delta and a ferry shuttle is the answer.

My turn: Don't change AK Constitution to same-sex discrimination
Some members of the state Legislature want to put our Constitutional rights at risk through Senate Joint Resolution 20 and House Joint Resolution 32.

My turn: Five senators worked to improve Patriot Act
A tenuous balance exists between efforts to safeguard our nation from would-be terrorists and protecting the civil liberties Americans have come to expect.

Juneau Billiards Association Standings
...week 20 Standings

JDHS boys and girls draw unfamiliar foes
In addition to uniforms and sneakers, the Juneau-Douglas High School boys and girls basketball teams should bring their alarms clocks to Anchorage next week.

King closes in on the finish line
The sled dogs of Iditarod musher Jeff King took a last long rest on beds of straw in the sunlit village of White Mountain on Tuesday before most of them trotted off to the finish line in Nome.

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.

Juneau Parks and Recreation Co-Ed Volleyball Standings
...as of March 12

Climber survives 100-foot fall
A Petersburg climber was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard from Devils Thumb on Tuesday after falling down a 100-foot crevasse, where he spent the night, according to Juneau friend J.J. Vollenweider.

Committee to stray from governor's oil tax plan
An outline of a committee substitute bill released Tuesday by the House Resources Committee showed that members plan to make significant changes to the oil tax bill, amounting to several hundred million dollars more than the governor's plan.

This Day in History
In Alaska

'Sliding scale' to be introduced to bill that revamps state oil taxes
An amended version of the governor's proposal for a new oil tax regime may include a so-called "sliding scale" that would collect more tax on oil producers' profits when prices are high, says House Resources Committee Co-Chairman Ralph Samuels, R-Anchorage.

Crews continue to mop up Slope's largest oil spill
Heavily bundled crews braved merciless cold Monday to continue cleaning up the largest crude oil spill ever on Alaska's North Slope.

This Day in History
In Alaska, the nation, and the world

Northwest Digest
Staff reports from around the state

AlaskaDigest
Blind trust provision back in ethics bill

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