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Sunday, March 16, 2003

Public library adds to its DVD collection
We're adding to our DVD shelves at each branch! From new releases, like "Minority Report," "Kissing Jessica Stein," and "The Vagina Monologues" to classics like "Casablanca," "Rear Window," "Look Back in Anger" and the Beatles' "Hard Day's Night," we've got something for just about every taste.

Get with it, governor
Ever since ex-President Clinton decided to play games with the English language, every two-bit politician wants to do the same. Now we have our governor trying to pretend that a user fee is not a tax. A tax under any other name is still a tax. I think most people in Alaska will go along with some raises in taxation if it can be shown it is fair and reasonable. So why try to hide it?

Nip the nonsense
Our "Education Governor" has proposed several bills designed to save money by cutting programs. The Alyeska School is the only accredited correspondence school in the state.

Pledge revised
The internal squabbling wrought by some who claim patriotism by wrapping themselves in the flag inspired my reflection and rewording of the pledge most of us recited every morning in grammar school into that which such symbolism truly implied.

Boldly going where his party seldom ventures
I have been vocally skeptical of our governor's administration until I read about his proposed user fees. I applaud Gov. Murkowski's courage in bucking his party's line on conservation of our natural resources by responding "You don't have to drive," to questions about his proposed new gasoline user fee.

Our legacy
The education of our children is subject to federal (e.g. the No Child Left Behind program), state and local regulations. This is proper since our children are our future.

New fee arrangement
Hurrah for user fees rather than taxes! I'd like to suggest a few more user fees that would help pull Alaska and America out of the hole. One new user fee would be to charge large companies and vested interests a user fee for using our legislators and congressman to make laws of which they are the primary benefactors.

Battle of the wits, continued
In reading Friday's "About drivel" letter, I was unimpressed by Mr. Warren's ability to properly research the size of Iraq v. California (the real numbers are 169,235 square miles to 163,707, with Iraq claiming the former of the two), and also his shortsighted view of business and oil in general.

Income tax is fair
Like many Alaskans, I'm ready and willing to pay state taxes. I decry Gov. Murkowski's proposed taxes and budget cuts, however, because they are unfair to the poor.

Let's move on
In response to Geoff Brandt's letter I have come up with an idea: tree farms and alternative building materials. This is the 21st century, and both are surely within the scope of this nation's (world's) elite engineers.

Freedom to disagree
Wait a minute. When was our right to free speech canceled? I thought our leaders who want to take us into war were saying that we are fighting to protect our freedom to disagree with the president. After all, people in Iraq would get their tongues cut out for criticizing the regime.

Immersed in success
An amazing, brilliant organization of people is making inroads past the dominant Western culture. They are first, second and third graders. I am talking about the Tlingit immersion students in the Harborview Elementary School.

A small income tax
I wish to weigh in on the governor's user fee proposal. Instead of nickel-diming the good citizens of Alaska, making Alaska unfriendly to our seniors and discouraging others from retiring in Alaska, why doesn't he just admit that Fran Ulmer's income tax proposal is the fairest way across the board of dealing with the state's deficit?

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

Sept. 11 victim's pacifist brother to speak in Juneau
Before Sept. 11, 2001, Andrew Rice considered himself a pacifist. But his pacifism reached a new depth when that day's terrorist attacks on the United States took his brother David's life. "In the Gulf War, although I was against war and I knew it was an awful thing, I think there's a rationalization we do about civilian casualties by saying they're for a good cause," Rice said.

Photo: The high art of quilting on display
Sue Judson admires a quilt titled "Rose Window" - by Gen Nestler - at The Capital City Quilters annual quilt show Saturday at Centennial Hall. Ninety quilts on display during the show, which runs through 5 p.m. today.

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

5,000 slides from photographer's collection missing
Michael Wilcox spent months sitting in silence among needling no-see-ums and thirsty mosquitos and under torrents of rain just to photograph the moment a flower becomes art. The slides he took on a two-month backpacking trip captured his passion and pride for posterity until one day a large chunk of his life's work disappeared. "I went a little mental that day," said Wilcox.

This Day in History
In 1901, the town of Treadwell was incorporated. It was disincorporated in 1912.

Photo: Disaffection at Twin Lakes
Juneau People for Peace march Saturday near Twin Lakes in opposition to possible war with Iraq.

Minister: U.S.-Philippines ties firm
Historically strong ties between the United States and the Philippines have grown stronger since Sept. 11, Philippines Consul General Jocelyn Batoon-Garcia said Saturday. Speaking at the Juneau World Affairs Forum at the University of Alaska Southeast, Batoon-Garcia said the Philippines government is taking a firm stance against terrorism. About 40 people attended the session at the Egan Library.

Empire editorial: Governor's bold budget proposal - a first step
Since Gov. Murkowski rolled out the components of his budget plan on March 5, lawmakers and constituents from all quarters have been engaged in a very public dialogue ranging from harsh recrimination to reluctant acceptance. Minority leaders have been especially vocal about their dissatisfaction with the approach the governor has chosen to achieve a balanced budget.

My Turn: We must ask ourselves: Is it good to despoil a national wildlife refuge?
All states, including Alaska, have a mandate to be fiscally solvent. But should Alaska look at oil revenues from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (vs. other sites in Alaska) to solve its fiscal problems?

What do you think?
Juneau seems to be suffering the brunt of the cuts to the budget. Teachers and support staff of the Alyeska Central School are in Juneau. In the case of the Alyeska School employees, most of those monies will not be a net savings, but disbursed to whatever entity absorbs the students.

My Turn: We should arm ourselves with the power which knowledge gives
This past holiday season, as my friends and relatives know, I sent out New Year's cards that said, "Pax Americana. Peace On Earth? Something's been lost in the translation." I was trying to convey my belief that the impending war against Iraq will not bring us peace or security, at least not for long. I suspect the Iraq war will be just the first of many wars that our country will initiate.

America can be only as great as it is good
At a very young age I began to feel America was a very special home. It was like when I found out what an American Indian was and that I was one. I was plumped with pride. And then when the Second World War was over, I really thought we were special even more because we had triumphed over great odds.

Toe Cartoon

Snow report
Eaglecrest Ski Area, Juneau: Platter, Ptarmigan and Hooter lifts operate about 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday through Monday, plus all of spring break. The tubing hill operates 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends and holidays, plus spring break.

It's all downhill from here
M ost of the middle school students enjoying last week's new snow agreed using Eaglecrest Ski Area as a classroom is pretty cool. But they hadn't formed a consensus on whether skiing or snowboarding is the superior sport. Katy Waid, 14, an eighth-grader at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School who normally skis, was trying snowboarding for the first time Thursday as part of the middle school ski program. "Snowboarding is harder, because in skiing you have control of both legs," she said. "... it's funner with skis."

Birds reveal signs of spring in Juneau area
Ah March, when day overtakes night for six glorious months. It all begins Thursday, at 4 p.m. But there are other signs that winter is yielding to spring. Leave it to the birds, those frequent messengers of change.

Out and About
March 16: Tubing hill open at Eaglecrest, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $6. Details: 790-2000. March 16: "Get Off Your Heels" adult telemark series, 1-4 p.m., Eaglecrest, $30 a session. Also March 23. Details: 790-2001.

Man's best friend deserves some close attention
My friend's Australian shepherd was bred to herd. Stymied by the shortage of sheep in Southeast, she sometimes chased birds instead, charging seagulls at Sandy Beach and crows on the wharf. She never caught a bird and I appreciated her predatory enthusiasm - until she went too far.

Vikings knock Braves from the pinnacle
KETCHIKAN - After the Petersburg Vikings beat Mount Edgecumbe in Friday's Region V-Class 3A girls title game to end the Braves' four-year run as region champs, there was someone Petersburg senior Brandy Cole had to call.

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

Juneau girls mellow out for victory
KETCHIKAN - While the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team has legions of devoted fans cheering it on at home games, there was little that could prepare the Crimson Bears for playing the Region V-Class 4A championship game in the deafening roar of Ketchikan's Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium on Friday night. The Crimson Bears were a little flustered by the noise and the magnitude of the game at first, but a soothing halftime talk helped settle them down and they pulled away from the hometown Ketchikan Kings for an easy 51-25 win that gives them a berth in the Class 4A state tournament later this week in Anchorage. It was Juneau's second straight region title.

Craig seniors, coach go out winners
KETCHIKAN - Craig High School boys basketball coach James Carle has led this year's Panther seniors since they were in the sixth grade. And thanks to a 71-54 win over Petersburg in Friday's Region V-Class 3A boys championship game that gave Craig its second straight region title, they're all going out on top.

Panthers upset the Crimson Bear boys for SE title
KETCHIKAN - It's a good thing for the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team that the Southeast Tournament's Region V-Class 3A/4A crossover games are played for pride and tradition, and not the future. The Crimson Bears, fresh off a thrilling victory over Ketchikan on Friday that earned them a Class 4A state tourney berth, were outplayed Saturday night by their Class 3A counterparts, as the surging Craig Panthers upset Juneau 70-55.

Baseball plans to decide on the Expos' future by All-Star break
NEW YORK - Major league baseball still hopes to decide the 2004 home of the Montreal Expos by the All-Star break. The committee on the Expos' future will hear presentations next week with government groups from Washington, Northern Virginia and Portland, Ore. Bob DuPuy, baseball's No. 2 official, said Thursday a timetable should emerge following those meetings.

Two UAF shooters earn NCAA titles
FAIRBANKS - Senior Matt Emmons of the University of Alaska Fairbanks has added another national title as he rounds out his college career. UAF freshman Jamie Beyerle also earned her first individual collegiate championship Friday.

Bears go on a Wild ride
KETCHIKAN - With less than five minutes to go in Friday's Region V-Class 4A boys basketball championship game between Juneau-Douglas and Ketchikan, it was looking like a bad case of deja vu for the Crimson Bears. The Kings were leading by three and it seemed like all their shots were falling - as they had on the same court when Ketchikan upset Juneau by a point on Jan. 31.

Legislative roundup
Permitting transfer: SSCR 1 and HSCR 1 would block Gov. Murkowski's executive order transferring permitting authority to the Department of Natural Resources.

State Briefs
City manager interviews slated for Monday; Fairbanks turns down junkyard money; Two shot in bar incident; Woman's body found near Ship Creek

Tourism groups pan tax
JUNEAU - Tourism groups spoke out against a proposal by Gov. Frank Murkowski to impose a $15 tax on out-of-state vacationers. A spokesman with the Alaska Travel Industry Association said the plan will cast Alaska in a negative light by targeting a tax on visitors.

Seniors award thumbs-down to longevity cuts
At 5 a.m., when most other Juneau residents are still tucked into their beds, 73-year-old Rosalee Walker is awake and preparing for her day. It might entail a morning meeting of one of the several boards she sits on and an afternoon of phone calls to local businesses to solicit donations to the Southeast Alaska Food Bank. Walker is always running around, to the point that she feels like she's getting "a little frayed at the edges." Her health is good, and if she ever does need longterm medical care, her insurance will cover it. Her insurance will cover it, that is, as long as she is able to pay the premiums.

Bill would let retiree head Department of Education
JUNEAU - The House passed a bill Friday that would let Gov. Frank Murkowski hire a retiree to head the Department of Education and Early Development without that person's having to repay benefits. Currently, those who participated in teachers' or public employees' retirement incentive programs must pay 110 percent of the extra benefit they received if they go back to work for the government.

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