Monday, March 24, 2003

Get out and garden!
March 20 was the first day of spring! Time to start thinking about your garden!

Dangerous interpretation
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said March 18, that "the government has room to scale back individual rights during wartime without violating the Constitution. The Constitution just sets minimums. Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires."

A biblical perspective
Peace is not the absence of war, because the human heart is evil. Jeremiah 17:9 says that the heart is evil. James 4:1 says that we fight and quarrel because of the evil desires that battle within us.

Single-member districts have democratic benefits
I am writing in support of Assembly member Randy Wanamaker's call for discussion of single-member districts. I appreciate his concern for minority participation in the electoral process.

Keep Alaska pristine
What an injustice it would have been to Alaskans and the nation if Gov. Murkowski had his way in opening ANWR for oil exploitation. Alaska is the Last Frontier. Who cares what Saddam Hussein thinks about Alaska oil?

Hospitality returned
In 1987 I received a phone call from a hockey player in Juneau. He had a motley crew of aging hockey buffs who needed a place to skate. His call fell on sympathetic ears as I too was accepting my call to "old-timers" hockey and the fact the Montreal Canadiens weren't likely to call requiring my services any time soon.

Here comes the bear
Hear ye! Hear ye! Two delayed casualties of this year's Iraq War and last year's Afghan War will be the Alaska Constitutional Budget Reserve, and the governor's hope of maintaining a balanced budget without taxes or "significant government income collection." Here's why.

Pro-tyrant protesters
Maybe I just don't have the right cable station, but I've seen people from almost every country protest this war, except for one - Iraq.

No more than needed
In a few months, our community will be deep in a divisive and needless debate over construction of a new high school. Unfortunately the debate will probably high-center on several emotional topics and fail to meaningfully address the legitimate educational requirements of the secondary students in Juneau.

Calling all skate kids, parents, grandparents
I could not agree more with the Learn-To-Skate instructors: Juneau is incredibly blessed to have the new Treadwell Ice Arena. However, we are equally blessed to have the JDIA instructors themselves as a wonderful resource.

Quick, dirty, brutal
Owen J. Graham's letter of March 18 attacking Jim Mackovjak is nothing more than lip service for Sealaska Corp. Like so many others that represent Sealaska, Mr. Owen doesn't understand the connection between rural Alaskans and the land.

Fans of taxes
It doesn't surprise me that Republican Gov. Murkowski is for taxes. You only have to look at his daughter's votes in the state House to realize they have a family approach to pinching your paycheck.

No to business fee hike
I oppose a drastic increase to the business license fee. A small or gradual increase is expected on occasion and probably due in this case but the drastic increase from $50 to $400 charged every two years is ridiculous. You don't stimulate economic growth by making it harder to start a business. If the state truly wants diverse economic growth they should be encouraging business startups and further investing in education.

Morally right
Good for Gary Bowen. He is expressing the views of now over 80 percent of U.S. citizens. What our country is doing is morally right - using our strength to help the oppressed and endangered. It makes me proud to be an American.

Last hurrah
I watched the debate in the Senate on the measure to prevent opening ANWR. The performance of our delegation requires comment. The junior senator performed with the aplomb of one born to the job.

Respect the track
I am writing to urge the operators of four-wheelers to respectfully avoid the groomed cross country ski track on Mendenhall Lake. The JNSC spend hours of volunteer effort to set track on the lake for the skiing community and it disheartens me to see it decimated by either thoughtlessness or ignorance.

Rumble in the jungle
Once there was a 800-pound gorilla. A little 20-pound monkey bully sneaked into Kuwait, misbehaved and stole his banana. The big gorilla got all mad and rounded up a lot of supporters and they swatted the monkey down and made him promise to behave and obey. The monkey hated this but had no choice. He kind of faded away, but the gorilla never forgot.

Costco copter pad
Regarding the proposed heliport site, a study could be made for a pad behind Costco. The environmental impact statement could be made to save as many trees as possible on the hillside.

Ultimate user fee
I've been inspired by Gov. Murkowski's new focus on "user fees" instead of taxes to raise revenue. This gives an obvious solution to a problem that had baffled me. A tremendous amount of state revenue is spent to support our businesses and economy, but creating new jobs actually costs the state money, and gives nothing back to support these services.

Clinging to old ways
In response to Bob Weinstein's column "One down and one to go" that ran in the March 9 edition of the Empire, I'm concerned about the Ketchikan mayor's perspective on how communities in the Tongass National Forest are going to "transition to a healthy new (my emphasis) economy" by clinging to the old economy.

Human rights demands
Irene Khan, secretary general of the human rights organization Amnesty International, sent a letter on Wednesday to President George Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and President Saddam Hussein demanding a public commitment that their governments will adhere to their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian laws in this war.

Fool me once ...
A letter to the Juneau Empire on March 9, under the signature of Jeff Pomeroy of Eagle River, started out, "After all the empty talk in Washington about fixing important entitlements programs, something refreshing happened this week: The President delivered a remarkably sensible blueprint for fixing Medicare and dramatically improving the quality of health care for all seniors."

Not really sanctioned by the White House
This is to let you know that the "presidential prayer team" refererence in Friday's My Turn ("A call to prayer in the time of war") was part of an Internet hoax.

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

This Day in History
In 1959, a Fish and Game agent reported finding a moose in a tree.

Cash offered to children for showing what they've learned
A local man is offering up to $50,000 in cash prizes to students who can demonstrate they've learned something in or out of school. John Jensen, a clinical psychologist, long has had an interest in education and in 1999 published "Education Guaranteed," a book that explains his philosophy of "mastery learning."

School bonding on Assembly agenda
The Juneau Assembly is considering putting $12.5 million in bonding for school renovations on a June election ballot. The bonds would qualify for 70 percent state reimbursement and be used for improvements at Juneau-Douglas High School and other local schools. The city is planning a separate bond funding item for a Mendenhall Valley high school at a June 3 special election.

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

Proposal would keep Glacier Bay ship numbers steady
The number of cruise ships allowed to visit Glacier Bay National Park each year would stay at current levels with a chance for future increases, if a draft National Park Service recommendation becomes policy. The park service would stick with 139 cruise ship visits into Glacier Bay from June to August of each year, with the possibility of increasing to 184 a year, according to a recommendation in a newly released study. The draft environmental impact statement offers five options for motorized vessel traffic in the 3.3 million-acre park north of Juneau.

Assembly to consider Patriot Act resolution
The Juneau Assembly is considering a resolution asking Congress to review and amend recent federal anti-terrorism laws. The laws in question are the USA Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act and related executive orders. The resolution, requested by Juneau Citizens for the Defense of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, asks Congress to ensure the laws are consistent with civil rights and liberties.

Police arrest man suspected of Wharf thefts
A man arrested Friday on suspicion of stealing a purse from a vehicle parked near the Brotherhood Bridge Trailhead also faces a felony charge in connection with a string of thefts from vehicles this winter at the Merchants Wharf parking lot downtown. Scott Stringer, 34, was arrested Friday and charged with theft and criminal trespass, both misdemeanors, in connection with the Brotherhood Bridge incident. He was charged Saturday with second-degree theft, a felony, for allegedly stealing more than $2,000 worth of climbing equipment from the vehicle of Juneau mountain rescuer Steve Handy, which was parked at the Wharf in January.

Photo: Supporting U.S. troops
Gary M. Bowen waves to passing cars Saturday on Main St. as he demonstrates in support of American troops at war in Iraq. Behind him is a group attending a peace vigil.

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

Photos: Serving in the desert
Former Juneau resident Lui Fenumia'i' goes to war.

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

Boy busted over BB gun
Police said a 16-year-old boy was arrested over the weekend for allegedly pointing a BB gun at a motorist and having a homemade bomb in his vehicle. The boy, whose name wasn't released, was charged with third-degree misconduct involving a weapon and fourth-degree assault, both misdemeanors.

AroundTown
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Richard Dalton Sr.
Hoonah resident Richard Dalton Sr., 84, died March 20, 2003, at the SEARHC Mount Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka.

Lela Susan Copenhagen
Juneau resident Lela Susan Copenhagen, 57, died March 21, 2003, at Bartlett Regional Hospital due to complications related to diabetes.

My Turn: An abuse of armed forces
I am disgusted and sickened by the actions of my president and government. The utterly inane culinary action of the GOP is a perfect distillation of our nation's narcissistic obsession with empty gestures and fiercely vague passions. It seems we are a country of gullible fools, believing every illusion of a cheap side-show magician in order to give ourselves definition, when in truth the emperor has no clothes. Why do we not demand more for ourselves and from those who aspire to leadership and fall so hideously short?

My Turn: What we do is not the road to peace
In response to Murray Walsh's My Turn (Empire, March 20) yes, Murray, I do say continuing the inspections would have been better than invading Iraq. You say it would be expensive to do because "keeping troops in place and patrolling the no-fly zones is expensive and does nothing to end the problem."

What do you think?
The honorable governor should have mentioned all these program cuts when he was campaigning. Too many people depend on the Longevity Bonus to remove it.

Empire editorial: Additional JDHS bond slated for special election
On Jan. 27, the Juneau Assembly passed a measure giving voters the chance to vote on a $60.8 million concept for the Mendenhall Valley high school. Voters already approved $48.2 million for the project in 1999. The special election scheduled for June 3 would ask for approval of an additional $12.6 million.

My Turn: Crushed by bid to close school
My name is Christi Scott and I am a junior enrolled in Alyeska Central School (ACS), a correspondence school run out of Juneau. This school has provided me, and continues to provide me, with an education, where my local school could not. The people of ACS have not only pushed me to excel but have given me the challenge I needed, and still need, to succeed.

My Turn: What hasn't worked and won't is appeasement, procrastination
I asked a Korean War and World War II veteran friend of mine, who is in his 80s, to give me a little history lesson. I am sharing this because it is a different look at the war.

Toe Cartoon

Student, mentor share an outdoor rite of passage
When Evan Fritz called me and asked if I would be his ROPES coach for wilderness survival, I was happy to accept. After all, I had some training with the Juneau Mountain Rescue team and thought I could show him a thing or two about how ropes are used in wilderness rescue.

Facility takes the weather out of shooting
Winter winds, spring showers and fall freezes will soon be problems of the past for Juneau's hunter and firearm education programs. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, with some help from the city of Juneau, is spending $1.72 million to build the Juneau Hunter Education Facility on Montana Creek Road, next to the Juneau Gun Club. The building, which North Pacific Erectors expects to complete by July 1, will provide seven target lanes for indoor shooting and an area to be used for firearms-safety and hunter-education classes.

Scientists forecast good year for migrating gray whales
PORTLAND, Ore. - After enduring several lean, difficult years, the gray whale population is rebounding, looking fat and happy as their annual northern migration past Oregon begins. Between 1998 and 2002, emaciated whales were common, and a significantly high 600 whales were reported stranded along West Coast beaches. Biologists theorized that the whales had reached their "carrying capacity," - too many whales competing for the shrimp-like amphipods they dine on along the ocean floor.

Out and About
March 23: "Get Off Your Heels" adult telemark series, 1-4 p.m., Eaglecrest, $30 a session. Details: 790-2001. March 24-27: Eaglecrest progressive four-day ski and snowboard camps for ages 4 to adult, 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. Details: 790-2001.

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.

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 rally to defeat the Nets
Something about traveling to Cleveland brings out the worst in the New Jersey Nets. Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 29 points to help the Cavaliers overcome an early 13-point deficit and defeated the Nets 93-88 Sunday night.

Gold Medal Basketball Tournament opens for its 57th time today
There was a bit of sweating by the Juneau Lions Club earlier this year as construction dragged on at Juneau-Douglas High School, but everything is ready for today's opening of the club's 57th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at the JDHS main gym. "Everything's in place and it's ready to go," tournament co-chair Leo Houston said earlier this week. "The only thing we're worried about is if we go to war and they shut down the planes so teams can't get here."

Crown Craig Class 3A state champions
ANCHORAGE - All season long, the Craig Panthers boys basketball squad was a team on a mission. Mission accomplished. In a rematch of last year's state high school boys Class 3A championship game, the Panthers toppled the undefeated and top-ranked Valdez Buccaneers, 70-53, on Saturday to claim the 2003 state crown in Anchorage's Sullivan Arena.

The Legendary C bracket: Edenshaw leads Klawock back to winning form
Sid Edenshaw was back in the Legendary C Bracket for the 57th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament - and it was a good thing for the Klawock Old Totems, as they outlasted Sitka ANB 70-64 for a first-round victory at Juneau-Douglas High School.

Chugiak girls, Bartlett boys claim 4A crowns
The Wasilla Warriors came into this year's Class 4A state tournament boasting the top-ranked and top-seeded boys and girls teams. The Warriors left Anchorage's Sullivan Arena on Saturday night carrying two runner-up trophies. The Chugiak girls knocked off Wasilla, 57-42, to claim the girls Class 4A crown, while in the final game of the tournament the Bartlett Golden Bear boys won their second straight state title with a 38-28 win over the Warriors.

SE 2A champs to face same foe
The Region V-Class 2A champion Hydaburg boys and Kake girls drew the same foes when brackets for the Class 2A state tournament were announced on Sunday. The Hydaburg boys and Kake girls both will face the Unalakleet-Degnan Wolfpack in Thursday's opening round at Anchorage's Service High School. Hydaburg plays the Unalakleet boys at 1 p.m. on Thursday, while Kake plays the Unalakleet girls at 9:40 a.m.

The Mighty B bracket: Yakutat attacks
It was a tale of first half and second half for Yakutat ANB during its 87-76 victory over the Klukwan Young Guns in Sunday's Mighty B Bracket opening round of the 57th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School.

Gold Medal Boxscores
Scores

Hopes crash down
ANCHORAGE - With 3 minutes, 52 seconds left to play in the third quarter of Friday night's Class 4A state tourney semifinal game against the Wasilla Warriors, the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball squad held a six-point lead and had dominated the state's top-ranked team. Then it all came crashing down. Juneau's Byron Wild - charged with keeping the Warriors' star 7-foot center Ray Schafer in check - hit the floorboards hard while battling for a rebound with Wasilla's Aaron Roth and had to be taken to the hospital with a nasty cut on the back of his head.

Sports: Correction
Due to incorrect caption information provided by the Associated Press, the Craig boys player pictured on Page B1 Sunday was misidentified. The player is Freddy Hamilton.

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

Four SE champs win on Roughhouse Friday
In a tuneup for next month's Southeast Showdown, four current and former Southeast Showdown champions won their bouts this weekend during Roughhouse Friday action at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall. Three-time heavyweight champion Russ "Dirt" Stevens of Juneau had the toughest bout, winning in a unanimous decision over three-time Alaska state champion "Crazy" Eddie Cavette of Anchorage that was widely disputed by the crowd. Cavette send Stevens to the canvas in the second round, but Stevens, who won the first round, responded in the third round with a flurry of punches that kept Cavette on his heels.

Hydaburg boys, Kake girls claim Region V-2A crowns
The Hydaburg Warriors defended their Region V-Class 2A basketball title by beating the Skagway Panthers 86-74 in a high-tempo and hot-shooting boys championship game Saturday night at the Juneau-Douglas High School main gym. "It feels great, two-time champs baby," said Vinny Edenshaw. "I'm looking forward to state, hopefully we're gonna win it."

Strong's 45 points lead Huna past Haines
Nate Strong dominated play as Huna ANB opened the defense of its Mighty B Bracket title with a 110-105 victory over the Haines Merchants, who won three straight championships from 1999-2001. The game didn't end until after midnight this morning.

Legislative roundup
Bills introduced last week.

Feds pay out Glacier Bay compensation
After more than four years of waiting, fishermen, processors and communities affected by commercial fishing closures in Glacier Bay are getting their money. Altogether, they're splitting $23 million, as authorized by Congress. Some recipients say it isn't enough. "I had a $35,000-a-year job that's now gone," said Mary McConnell, who worked for Pelican Seafoods for 11 years, until 1996.

Fish and Game takes step toward wolf control
ANCHORAGE - Employees of the Department of Fish and Game will conduct spotting flights near McGrath to provide trappers with information on where to find wolves, the agency said Friday, announcing a predator-control program for the Interior village. The flights are part of a plan to boost moose populations over a 520-square-mile experimental management area.

State wants old sex offender list online
The state is asking a federal judge to reverse a ruling that required authorities to take some sex offenders off a Web site. The request follows a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says the state can require all sex offenders, even those who have finished their sentences, to register with authorities, and can post the offenders' pictures on the Internet.

Two indicted on fraud charges
A federal grand jury has indicted two Alaska men on charges that they defrauded a Veterans Affairs program of $450,000. Ronald L. Phillips, who owns a bus transportation company in Anchorage, and Walter L. Gearring Jr., who owns Gear-Ring Bus Line and Transportation in Palmer, face one count of conspiracy to defraud, eight counts of wire fraud and seven counts of mail fraud, according to the indictment.

Photo: Rally for the troops
Tina Gerkman holds a poster with a photo of her son, who is serving in the Middle East, as she joins about 2,000 people at a rally in Anchorage in support of U.S. troops.

House members to governor: Take your case to the people
House Republicans - far from giving Gov. Frank Murkowski's $113 million in tax proposals a rubber stamp - are telling him to take his case to the people. House Majority Leader John Coghill, a North Pole Republican, said the largest part of the governor's tax package would require the Legislature to choose between a seasonal sales tax or a $100 head tax on workers. Lawmakers want the governor to weigh in on the choice as well, he said. "What he did was to pass the pain on to the Legislature," Coghill said. "We're asking for some cover, and I think we are going to get it."

Musher experiments with new dog harness design
A new harness design may help cut down on sled dog injuries, according to a former Iditarod champion. Jeff King of Denali Park credits the lack of injuries this year to the design that may put less pressure on a dog's hindquarters and a decision to abandon another traditional piece of dog team rigging, the neckline.

State's safety net may not help more seniors than currently
The state's safety nets for older Alaskans may not catch any more needy people than it does now if the longevity bonus program is eliminated. That's because the state has never counted the $100-$250 monthly bonuses in deciding whether someone is eligible for many programs that help low-income seniors.

Congress crafting natural gas line legislation once again
Congressional committees are crafting more legislation to promote building a natural gas line from Alaska's North Slope to the Lower 48, but providing financial incentives for the $20 billion line remains a sticking point in Washington.

State Briefs
State reaches tentative deal with unions; Police charge man in alleged theft;

Alaska could face $30m bill from fishing-fee suit
The state of Alaska could face a bill of nearly $30 million to pay refunds to commercial fishermen from other states who forked over triple the amount paid by Alaskans for the necessary licenses and permits.

Silos slated to be on time
FAIRBANKS - A clock in Boeing's offices counts the minutes - down to the nearest tenth of a second - until Sept. 30, 2004. That's the date Boeing is scheduled to finish its work on the silos at Fort Greely that will house America's new missile defense system.

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