Sunday, March 24, 2002

In the Stacks
I'm happy to announce that the two most prestigious and longest running awards in children's literature, the Caldecott and the Newbery, have unveiled the Medal and Honor books for 2001! The Newbery medal, established in 1922, is named for eighteenth-century English bookseller John Newbery and goes to the author of the best original creative work for children.

Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-De-Ay!: Picking and singing in the gold diggings
Jean Murray has laboriously and lovingly compiled a wonderful book that recreates the musical interludes of the Gold Rush era. It was not all dirt, ice on the water bucket, beans, biscuits, long underwear and scurvy. There were campy songs written for dance hall girls coyly shedding veils and feathers.

Disrespect, intolerance put others in bad light
Thanks to Publisher Don Smith for his heads up on the Marine Park issue. My rule of thumb is when the moneyed interests go apoplectic and start vilifying those who have different points of view it's a good sign there's mischief afoot and somebody stands to benefit royally at the public's expense.

All opinions aired
Wednesday I had the privilege of visiting the Alaska Brewing Company. I was truly impressed with their continued growth and positive, forward-looking attitude. The business is truly a bright spot in Juneau's economy.

Time had come to counter hyperbole
Many of us in the visitor industry have long endured the poison pens and inflammatory public rhetoric of Juneau's vocal anti-everything minority.

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

Weighing a theater's fate
In its heyday, the 20th Century Theater hosted blues legend B.B. King and presidential hopeful Richard Nixon. Since it opened in 1940, the theater on Front Street downtown has welcomed vaudeville shows and boxing matches, concerts and religious services - in addition to thousands of movies. Two street-level storefronts supported local businesses for 62 years. The 23 apartments and penthouse suite above the 600-seat auditorium provided downtown housing for four decades.

Kmart brings bumper Mat-Su crop to Juneau
Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer on Friday applauded the efforts of Super Kmart to bring Alaska-grown produce to all its stores statewide, saying she hoped to encourage other stores to follow suit. "Alaska farmers have produced a bumper crop," Ulmer said in a promotional event at the Juneau Super Kmart, "and it's important for us to develop markets."

Time is building's friend as well as foe
Plumbing 62 years old, lead paint, asbestos and strict modern safety codes would have to be addressed to make the 20th Century Building habitable. The historic nature of the Front Street building, however, may provide some avenues for funding a possible renovation.

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

Subsistence council recommends shortening Prince of Wales deer season
The five-month deer season on Prince of Wales Island may be one month shorter for Ketchikan hunters in the future. During a meeting earlier this month in Juneau, the Southeast Regional Subsistence Advisory Council unanimously recommended that deer hunting on federal lands on Prince of Wales Island be closed in August, except to federally-qualified subsistence users.

'Survivor' secrets revealed
Sarah Jones could eat a cockroach if she wanted to. It is that kind of raw moxie that landed the 24-year-old free-lance photographer, who grew up partly in Juneau and now lives in Newport Beach, Calif., on a South Pacific island competing for $1 million on CBS's reality television show "Survivor: Marqueses."

The suggestions monster is still hungry
Occasionally, I suffer the occupational hazard of over-extending my brain while trying to craft a clever message to fill this space. This is not one of those days or one of those columns. Editor, heal thyself. Today we fill this space with excerpts of responses to last week's solicitation of suggestions from readers about ways to improve the content of the Empire.

My Turn: Remembering the battle of Dry Straits
There is an old saying that those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it, or words to that effect. Ketchikan's battle over bridges to Gravina via Pennock Island reminds this writer of another part of history that some prefer to forget - the battle of Dry Straits. The outcome should be a lesson to Ketchikan residents. If we get too polarized we lose the whole thing and the entire community - those on all sides - are worse off for it.

The two faces of activism
Now, before our faithful readers jump to the conclusion that this editorial is an indictment against activism please take a deep breath and read on. Webster's defines activism as: The practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue.

Capitol Notebook: In sum, not-so-beautiful minds
Once there was the "new math." Then in the 2000 presidential election campaign, George W. coined "fuzzy math." Now in Alaska, the House Republican caucus is using what I'll call "dark math."

Friends' chain letters are still chain letters
"Send this message of friendship and love to 10 wonderful people right away and you will go blonde, grow a foot taller and lose 30 pounds." I don't know about you, but when people I know send e-mail messages like this to me, I don't feel particularly friendly or loved. The graphics of frolicking teddy bears, balloons and stars don't hide the fact that it's still a chain letter.

Toe Cartoon

Time to consider how man's best friend affects wildlife
In 1980 my best friend was a dog. At the time I lived with him I would probably not have agreed with what I'm about to write. If you have a dog, I can only hope you'll read this more objectively than I could have 22 years ago.

Reshaping a park
When Bill Garry looks out across the old dumping ground next to Eagle River, he sees more than the gravel piles, plastic sheeting and construction equipment filling the area. Garry, area superintendent for the state Division of Parks, sees accessible parking, interpretive displays, picnic and camping areas and a network of gravel and paved trails that will be used year-round.

Snow Report
The status of Alaska ski areas.

Out and About
In season: Wolf (Aug.-April), grouse (Aug.-May), ptarmigan (Aug.-May), coyote (Sept.-April) and hare (Sept.-April).

Bartlett knocks Juneau girls out of tournament
ANCHORAGE -- The Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team's season ended Friday morning as the Bartlett Golden Bears handed the Crimson Bears a 58-47 loss in the Class 4A consolation round of the Alaska State Basketball Championships.

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

Craig falls to Valdez in Class 3A title game
ANCHORAGE -- Craig's Cinderella story ended prematurely Saturday at Sullivan Arena with a 59-57 loss to the Valdez Buccaneers in the boys Class 3A state basketball championship game. For Valdez, the victory came in Dan Eide's last game as head coach of the Buccaneers and it was the team's second title (the other came in 1988). Eide capped off a 25-year career with over 500 wins and finished his swan song on the highest note possible.

Bartlett blitzes Juneau for title
ANCHORAGE -- Just like pesky garbage bears, the Juneau-Douglas boys basketball team do not go away -- they always come back. On Friday, Juneau overcame a seven-point fourth-quarter lead by the Wasilla Warriors to earn a spot in the state championship game. But Crimson Bears couldn't erase a 13-point deficit in the first quarter as the Bartlett Golden Bears rolled to a 77-64 win to claim the title at the Alaska State Basketball Championships at Sullivan Arena.

Craig: Injured swan gets help
An injured trumpeter swan found in Craig is being rehabilitated in Juneau. A state biologist, Mark Minnillo, found the swan along the Craig/Klawock highway just north of Craig's new high school March 15.

Ketchikan: Teachers union declares impasse
The Ketchikan Education Association declared an impasse in teacher-contract negotiations March 16 after Ketchikan School Board negotiators reiterated that they were not willing to move on any more nonmonetary issues under discussion.

Sitka: Cruise line donates to troupe
The Sheet'ka Kwaan Dancers have received a $1,200 check from the Holland America Lines-Westours Advisory Board.

Petersburg: Unexpected pheasant
Justin Patteson was visiting his grandmother in Petersburg when an unusual bird flew by her window. A Chinese ring-necked pheasant was being pursued down the street by a dog.

Haines: Subjects sought for study of alcohol drug therapy
HAINES Haines and Klukwan Natives who are active alcoholics are being asked to participate in a study to see if a new drug therapy reduces cravings for alcohol.

Natives: Players in Alaska economy
Alaska Native regional corporations and the larger village corporations paid out $350 million in wages within the state and $64.5 million in dividends to shareholders in 2000, according to a report released last week.

State Briefs
Air Force pilot kills self after porn search; Two indicted on murder-for-hire charge; Bill would have state handle crimes on ferries; Water main breaks in Douglas

Attempt to ax tax riles representative
Rep. John Harris, a Valdez Republican, doesn't say much in the House Finance Committee. Friday, he offered an amendment in a few soft sentences that would gut an increase in the state alcohol tax. Then he sat back as the turmoil broke loose.

Case builds for tapping permafund
As pieces of a long-range fiscal plan move through the Republican-led House of Representatives, the leading revenue-raising components involve tapping earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund. Taxes are in the mix, but substantial, often-partisan disagreement remains about whether the main broad-based tax should be on income or retail sales.

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