Thursday, March 18, 2004

Bristol Bay oil, gas leasing measure clears Legislature
Bills smoothing the way for the state to sell oil and gas leases in Bristol Bay next year have passed the Legislature.

Support telecom competition
Because I am so encouraged by the possibilities of the telecom marketplace, I am deeply troubled by what I am learning from the communications debate in Washington and in Juneau today. As it stands now, cable, wireless and satellite companies can freely invest and compete for my business. So why is it that the government insists on outdated rules that prevent local telecommunications companies from doing the same?

AMHS move is extortion
I read with disbelief recent articles about the move of the Alaska Marine Highway System's administrative offices to Ketchikan. While I can understand how excited the city of Ketchikan will be to have the added economic influx from 40 new jobs and the 80-120 new citizens, I am stunned that the Murkowski administration feels good about propping up one city's economy at the expense of another.

Nothing has changed since last school vote
I've been called stupid many times in my 70-some years, but this is the first time I've been asked to pay for the insult. I'm referring, of course, to the high school bond issue. I'm really not stupid.

Support mine alternative, fair taxes
I am in full support of Alternative B, as I'm sure any man who works for a living is. I have been a heavy equipment mechanic for about 40 years or so from Dahl Island to the Arctic circle, and I know that a job is a necessary thing to have.

Support Kucinich to renew Democratic party
There is one goal that unites Democrats and progressives today: driving George W. Bush and his corporate friends out of the White House and returning this government and this nation to the majority of the American people who work for a living.

Why I'm supporting Dennis Kucinich
Lately, Dennis Kucinich has been providing more fodder for late-night comics than the current bumper crop of celebrity criminals. And the pundits charged with offering intelligent political analysis are frequently even more caustic in their caricatures of the progressive contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Expose racism in schools
I am disappointed to learn that the degree of racism that I experienced when I attended school here twenty years ago has changed little.

Harry Potter retains his magic with younger set
For the third year in a row, Harry Potter and J. K. Rowling were the favorite book series and author among young readers in Juneau and Alaska, according to a survey across the state.

Fitness with the family
David Tracy, left, watches as his son, Ryan, sees how many push-ups he can do in 30 seconds Tuesday at the Gastineau Elementary School gym.

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

Actors work with students, telling stories
It was the last chance for the children to prepare for performances of the Tlingit story "The Origin of Mosquitoes." But first, the snacks. After that, the 11 students in the Gastineau Elementary library after school Tuesday made a circle and were ready to stretch. One child was worried the performance wouldn't sound like a story.

Board reduces bus routes, changes school-start times
The Juneau School Board on Tuesday approved a plan to reduce the number of school buses it uses so it won't have to spend instructional funds on transportation.

City to put fluoride back into the water
Juneau officials have decided to put fluoride back in public drinking water for now, but City Manager Rod Swope is calling for a public forum on the issue.

Photo: Preparing for Mt. Roberts
Brett Neyhart practices kiting his paraglide wing at Gateway Park on Wednesday. Neyhart is getting ready for paragliding off Mt. Roberts in April.

Around Town
Today: Day of Quilting, Sewing and Good Fellowship, 10 a.m. every Wednesday, Resurrection Lutheran Church. Quilts donated to Lutheran World Relief. Details: 586-2380.

Harbormaster resigns amid labor complaints
Juneau Harbormaster Chuck Wescott resigned Monday amid unfair labor practice complaints by Docks and Harbors Department employees, Port Director John Stone said Tuesday.

Flying into Cambodia
My first impression of Cambodia was definitely an eye-opener. As the plane was coming in for a landing at Siem Reap International Airport, I glanced out the window and saw two tanks sitting in the backyard of a house.

Correction
Due to incorrect information supplied to the Juneau Empire, a story in Tuesday's newspaper listed the wrong date for a hearing of a proposed Juneau Assembly ordinance regarding term limits. The correct date is March 22.

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

District passes budgets, but holds its breath for more funds
The Juneau School Board on Tuesday approved the district operating budgets for the next two school years. But members hope to amend them upward with more state funds.

Forest Service, SEACC hold Couverden meetings
The U.S. Forest Service and Southeast Alaska Conservation Council each held informational meetings about the proposed Couverden timber sale this week, bringing out some who say it's a reasonable offering to mills and others who call it unsustainable.

Engineer proposes purchase of marina
With DeHart's Marina up for sale, the city has a chance to tie the Auke Bay harbor to a planned commercial fishing loading facility to improve recreational boating, tourism and local business, port engineer Mike Krieber told city planning commissioners Tuesday night.

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

Photo: A mother and soldier reunion
U.S. Army Spc. Lester Hunt is greeted by his mother, Margaret Hunt, on Tuesday at the Juneau Airport. Spc. Hunt said he thought to himself, "Thank God I'm in the USA." when his flight arrived in Juneau.

A grand display
Juneau's quilting guild, Capital City Quilters, put on its annual show last weekend at Centennial Hall.

Weir, George marry in Juneau
Heather M. Weir and Russell C. George of Juneau were married in a ceremony on Jan. 10, 2004, at Northern Light United Church. A reception followed at the Moose Lodge.

Thank you
... for the volunteer help....Juneau Parks and Recreation utilizes many volunteers to coach the youth athletic programs. In recognition of this we thank all the volunteers who helped out with the 2004 youth indoor soccer program.

Noah, Bitz to wed
Brian and Judy Bitz of Hoonah announce the engagement of their son, Chris, to Sonya Noah of Mt. Airy, N.C. They will be married in a ceremony on March 20 in Mt. Airy.

Neighbors Digest
staff and Wire reports

Pekovich, DeMuth to marry
Andrea Pekovich and John DeMuth of Juneau will be married in a private ceremony planned for 1 p.m. March 20 at Chapel by the Lake. Friends of the couple are invited to the following reception at 2:30 p.m. at DIPAC.

Alaska welcome
Army Sgt. Lucas Goddard returns to Sitka on Saturday, March 13, after an 11-month deployment in Iraq. Goddard is the son of Nick and Kathi Goddard of Juneau. He was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic action while serving with the Army's 101 Airborne in Iraq.

Joe Graham
A memorial service for longtime Juneau resident Joe Graham will be held at noon on Wednesday, March 17, 2004, at the Fisherman's Memorial.

My Turn: Build school, fund education
I am the mother of three students currently enrolled in the Juneau School District and I volunteer at least three times per week at Mendenhall River Community School and Floyd Dryden Middle School.

Alaska Editorial: Don't let oil prices reduce fiscal caution
Back in June, this newspaper encouraged Alaskans to look beyond the summer's high price of oil and to act responsibly in supporting much-needed change in how the state government acquires revenue to pay for the services it provides.

Bring back fluoride in city water taps
The debate over fluoridated water in America long has brought emotional responses from those who don't like the government messing with them, or who don't trust the doctors and dentists who support the practice. It's the sort of mindset that, in its extreme, can make people hysterical.

My Turn: Choose quality education over architecture
Sometimes it is difficult to know what is right. Before the special election in May, voters will read plenty of emotional, pleading letters in hope of finding the information required for making a serious decision. From a reasoned perspective, the issues are complex and shouldn't be oversimplified. Voters need good information.

My Turn: 'Discussion paper' on moving AMHS lacks careful analysis
In its effort to find some justification for moving Alaska Marine Highway System headquarters to Ketchikan, the administration has made public an 11-page "discussion paper." Its author claims that it is inadequate as a basis for making a decision. I'll certainly take him at his word.

Alaska sportwriters' state prep 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.

Hoonah boys end season on high-powered note
Devin Moritz poured in 32 points - including six 3-pointers - as the Hoonah boys powered past visiting Thorne Bay 93-77 on Thursday in the first game of a Region V-Class 2A series.

A childhood dream come true
NOME - Mitch Seavey's childhood dream came true when he won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, finishing the 1,112-mile route across Alaska in 9 days, 12 hours, 20 minutes and 22 seconds.

Mushers continue to cross Nome finish line
Mitch Seavey of Seward was still savoring his surprising victory in the 2004 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Wednesday as 18 more teams crossed the finish line in Nome.

Bears spark a fire
The Juneau girls basketball team stuck to its strengths and walked away with two big victories at last weekend's Region V tourney. But there was something missing. The Crimson Bears played lethargically, lacking the fire, spirit and drive needed for success at the next level.

Former teammates are now SE coaching rivals
Josh Muehlenkamp still laughs when he remembers the first time he saw Archie Young. Muehlenkamp was a walk-on freshman guard strolling into the Patty Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1995, fresh off a stint in the United States Army and a prep basketball career in Washington.

Skagway girls shoot for region title
The Skagway girls basketball team was handed a postseason lemon last year. This year, the Panthers are hoping for a much sweeter season finish.

From the Sidelines: Iditarod is often a race of odd sights
Hundreds of miles into an Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race a quarter of a century ago, Bill Cotter was mushing his dogs on the frozen Yukon River when he began to see things. Cold and weary after long, sleepless nights along the trail, Cotter became convinced he was watching television. He saw pictures flickering in his mind and he didn't like what he saw.

Region V Standings
The Region V basketball standings through games of March 13. Standings are for all three Region V classifications and were reported to the Juneau Empire by school officials and basketball coaches.

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.

Cavs win seventh straight
CLEVELAND - LeBron James turned, fired and banked in a 3-pointer from 25 feet away that probably had no business going in the basket.

Surprise! UAA Seawolves make it to St. Paul to play in the WCHA's Final Five
While many of the players in this weekend's WCHA Final Five are prepping for the games by studying the opposition, University of Alaska Anchorage goaltender Chris King has other concerns.

Petersburg's 'Fab Five' ready for state
Call them the "Fab Five" of Little Norway. The Petersburg girls basketball squad - the state's top-ranked Class 3A girls team - will bring its talented starting lineup of five seniors to Anchorage's Sullivan Arena starting today for the state tournament.

Sports in Juneau
UPCOMING EVENTS: Eaglecrest Ski Area - UAS Winter Games: This event is open to the general public with pre-registration.

U.S. Senate hopefuls propose changes to fisheries program
ANCHORAGE - U.S. Senate candidates looking for votes from Alaska's commercial seafood community are pushing proposals to strengthen a federal fishing program that's already proved a multimillion-dollar boon to Western Alaska villages.

Leaders clash over AMHS move
State transportation officials defended the Alaska Marine Highway System's move to Ketchikan in a testy hearing with Juneau's state and local representatives Tuesday.

Juneau delegation foresees more money for schools
Alaska's schools will see an increase in funding of at least $84.5 million for next school year, predicts Sen. Kim Elton. But Senate Republicans are balking at the House-approved bill that would combine school funding with capital projects, he said.

Maad pleads guilty to making a false statement
Nezar Khaled "Mike" Maad has pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the U.S. Small Business Administration to obtain a $242,000 loan and will not be retried in Fairbanks, the U.S. attorney's office said.

This Day in History
In Alaska: In 1894, the old Russian governor's house, known as Baranof Castle, burned at Sitka.

Northwest Digest
News in brief from around the region.

State's new fast ferry stops in Acapulco for repairs
If you're going to break down, you might as well do it in one of the top vacation hot spots in Latin America.

Woman charged in deaths of 3 sons
An Anchorage woman was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of her three teenage sons. Cynthia J. Lord, 42, is accused of shooting each of her sons in the head at their south Anchorage apartment Tuesday, court documents said.

Arctic Eagles descend
With one helicopter on the ground, three other Alaska Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopters approach for a landing Saturday in Snowhawk Valley near Anchorage.

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

Alaska Digest
staff and Wire reports

Senate hashes taxes, permafund
The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday took up two competing measures to raise money for state coffers, each offering something for both sides to hate.

Disabled students sue over exit exam
ANCHORAGE - A California law firm specializing in disability cases filed a proposed class action lawsuit in federal court in Anchorage on Tuesday charging that Alaska's new graduation qualifying test puts disabled students at a disadvantage.

Salsa band mixes old and new
Seven years ago, Pancho Chavez moved from Lima, Peru, to Seattle to study toward a business administration degree at the University of Washington. Somewhere along the way, and without any previous musical experience, he ended up as the lead singer for a salsa band.

What's happening
Upcoming local arts and entertainment events.

Cartoon: In the Swamp
Cartoon by local artist Toe.

Movies: Where & when
Times and titles at local theaters.

Chilly Ridge Rounders to perform at the Friendly Planet
The Chilly Ridge Rounders, a three-piece bluegrass band from Haines, will play an acoustic set from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 20, at the Friendly Planet, near Second and Seward streets.

Diary of a traveling play
Sara Waisanen When we last left Perseverance's traveling tour company, the crew had survived a blown tire near the U.S.-Canadian border and was setting up at the Yukon Performing Arts Centre.

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