Monday, March 25, 2002

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.

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.

Healy coal mine says layoffs may be coming
Jeff Cornelius had told his wife, Linda, to quit her job as a bank accountant so the family could move from Fairbanks to Healy, where he works as a heavy equipment mechanic at Usibelli Coal Mine.

Statisticians boot 'tinned' salmon out of British shopping basket
The British government's Office for National Statistics has booted canned salmon from the "basket" of goods and services it tracks to compile a monthly Retail Prices Index, and Alaska marketers worry that the country's taste for the product is dying out.

Trouble right here in 'glacier city'
The paper does a great job of keeping local issues stirred up. The spicy contents of our community pot shouldn't be sticking in the craw of just one group.

Our economy needs to move forward
The Jacobsen family - the people, their businesses, and their employees - have for decades represented what many of us cherish about Juneau and Southeast Alaska. They are honest, hardworking individuals who make positive contributions to our community and the region.

Two questions
I have two questions. First, what is the difference between bus parking and bus "staging"? Second, a recent letter made reference to "the place formerly known as Marine Park." So what is it known as now? Let me make a suggestion: Private property.

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.

A state sales tax would hurt Juneau
The House Finance Committee is considering a 3 percent state sales tax. I agree that the Legislature needs to do something to solve our state's fiscal crisis, but this sales tax measure would only replace our current fiscal crisis with a fiscal crisis at the local level.

Persuasion please, minus labels
I know you, valley dweller! You sit there in your 1950s suburban utopia, still fuming over the navy homeport vote. Guided only by your wallet and your James Watt view of environmental stewardship, the world you care about ends at the paint on your walls, or at best the sturdy fence that marks out your personal territory.

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.

We got rid of them
Having been born and raised in Juneau and spending most of my life in the valley I can honestly tell you that we never had a bear problem until the "save the bear" mentality cropped up.

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.

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.

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.

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

El Niño may bring balmier weather
History indicates that this summer in Juneau may hold better weather than usual because of the development of El Niño conditions a hemisphere away.

'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."

Teen suspects nabbed in Lemon Creek burglaries
Police on Saturday arrested a boy, 17, in connection with an alleged burglary and theft Thursday in the Lemon Creek area.

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

Around Town
Listings of local nonprofit events.

New meteorologist watches for wild weather
Did you hear about the high wind warning issued for Juneau last Thursday? If so, then Chris Maier has done his job well.

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.

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

District selects finalists for Harborview principal
The field of candidates to replace Harborview Elementary School Principal Bob Dye has been narrowed to three finalists, who will participate in public interviews next week.

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."

Antoinette 'Honey' Seward
Former Juneau resident Antoinette "Honey" Seward, 88, died March 14, 2002, at Stevens Hospital in Edmonds, Wash.

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.

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.

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."

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.

The PFD party's over, let's move on
I recently spoke at legislative hearing about budget cuts, and closed with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek offer for them to take back my permanent fund, but stop with cutting essential infrastructure and programs we need. I knew the budget hearing wasn't necessarily the right setting, but I meant it. Alaskans are not entitled to that dividend; we are just used to it.

Toe Cartoon

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.

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

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.

Snow Report
The status of Alaska ski areas.

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.

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.

Klawock, Yakutat fall in opening C Bracket rounds
Opening day of C Bracket games at 56th Gold Medal basketball tournament saw both teams that made it to last year's title game fall -- and one of those teams will be knocked out the tournament tonight.

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.

Haines Merchants open defense of B Bracket title
It took a brief while to shake the rust off, but the Haines Merchants were able to successfully open the defense of their B Bracket title in Sunday's opening day of the 56th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School.

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.

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

Photo: Hare scare
Frightened by the Easter Bunny, Hunter Blair, 2, of Kodiak reaches out for his mother, Joyce,who stands on the sidelines during a portrait session Saturday in Kodiak

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.

State bill penalizes draft dodgers
Rep. Lisa Murkowski wants to provide young men with a potent reminder to register for the draft when they turn 18. She's sponsored a bill to take away their permanent fund dividend if they don't.

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.

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.

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.

High-tech sensors may solve mysteries of fish migration
Researchers hoping to unravel the mystery of salmon migrations in the northern Pacific want to build a high-tech fish-sensing network stretching thousands of miles from California to Alaska.

Two Sitka men saved when boat sinks
Two Sitka fishermen were rescued when their fishing boat sank west of the southern tip of Baranof Island, the Coast Guard said Sunday.

Priest dies in mountain plane crash
Crews were working today to recover the body of a 73-year-old Catholic priest killed in a weekend plane crash in Southwest Alaska.

Photo: Catch of the day
A winter king salmon rests on the scale as Homer Chamber of Commerce officials record its weight during the King Salmon Tournament on Saturday in Homer.

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.

Fish tracking may lead to watershed in sea research
For five months, the feisty 60-pound Pacific halibut with the nickname Lip roamed the Gulf of Alaska, its movements monitored by a tiny computer tag anchored below its dorsal fin.

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

Legislation to help former foster kids
Former foster children would get a little help making the transition to adulthood under a bill that passed the House on Friday.

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.

Diomede mail delivery remains an adventure
Years after man walked on the moon, walrus-skinned boats still delivered mail to Diomede.

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.

Kotzebue wind generators honored
Kotzebue Electric Association received national recognition for its windpower plant, which has reduced Kotzebue's dependence on

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