Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Easy-to-care-for pets never track mud on the carpet
A tropical fish tank is like a tiny private universe full of active stars. Consider neon tetras in particular, which zoom about like water-borne comets, apparently totally aimless in their journeys. In a fast-paced world, it's easy to fall in love with the languid flutter of fins and the slow bubble of a filter.

On The Move
Jamie Parsons, executive director of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce, has announced the hiring of Christine Wyatt as executive assistant to replace Janet Rusanowski, who moved on to the investment firm of Edward Jones.

They're catering to Juneau
Whether wedding bells are ringing or a community leader is being honored, the food served at an important event is crucial. An appetizing menu helps to make an event memorable, said Jill Ramiel, co-owner of Silverbow Catering.

Business Profile: Melissa McCormick
Firm and Title: Melissa McCormick is the sole proprietor of Creativation, an event-planning firm. "I started out doing window painting seven years ago when I moved to Juneau from Arizona, but went into event planning in 2001," McCormick said.

Business briefs
Alaska seafood draws hoop coaches; Construction Machinery sold; RV group honors Alaskan; Alaska Airlines offers lower fares to warmer climes; B & B conference scheduled; Human resource seminar scheduled; Wedding boutique wins national award; Tourism association elects board; New seafood labeling in Europe

Budget cuts and mental health services
I want to thank the Empire for the March 22 article regarding the effect of proposed budget cuts by the Legislature on mental health services in Juneau. However, some of the information was inadvertently inaccurate and I feel I need to provide corrected information in the interest of not frightening people any more than they already are.

Teen alcohol actions have consequences
On Monday, a dozen owners and managers of various liquor establishments met at the Hanger on the Wharf Ballroom to become trained in dealing with a new law which had passed last legislative session. The law, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Meyers, allows liquor establishments to pursue a $1,000 fine against minors who attempt to enter.

Our cash cow
What's this? Has Lew changed his mind on the Ketchikan bridge? At least another old-timer sees things my way. Ketchikan has the airport ferries, and they are paid for. So they had to raise the fees to cross to the airport. With 9/11, you can't park in front of the terminal anyway, so why take your car? Seems someone should suggest a baggage cart, like that used on the state ferry system, be implemented for all that luggage and fish boxes we have to carry over to the airport on our way to visit friends and relatives in Seattle.

Work constructively
This is an open invitation to Don Smith, Kirby Day, Bob Jacobsen, Dave Fremming and others who have recently used this column to crow and call names.

Energy efficiency beats oil wells, pipelines, wars
Suppose we drove small, efficient, nonpolluting cars to and from the nearest source of public transit. And suppose our government subsidized trains and bus service rather than the twisted maze of freeways that foul our cities.

Better solutions than downtown parking
As a life-long resident of Juneau and former resident of Thane Road, it interests me very much to see how the cruise industry is milking the city of Juneau for everything it's got. Did you know that Juneau is the second-most visited cruise destination, behind Miami? The $5 passenger tax is just pennies to the industry compared with the money that it rakes in each summer, with over 600,000 people coming to the capital on package tours.

The low price of alcohol
In a recent letter to the editor, Patrick McGonegal suggested we tax milk instead of alcohol. He may not know that beer is now cheaper than milk in Alaska. One reason for this disparity is that alcohol has not been taxed but once since statehood, and that was 18 years ago (1983).

Training in progress
Princess Tours is in the process of training its 85 local driver-guides in preparation for the 2002 tour season. These local residents are your friends, neighbors, firefighters, your children's teachers, and others from our community - many of whom have worked for Princess for several years.

Sealaska needs an audit
Shareholders of Sealaska have 122 million reasons for demanding an external independent audit of Sealaska Corp. The $122 million loss in FY 2000 justifies an external audit. The financial report for 2001 will show the same declining pattern of financial losses. The history of Sealaska's financial failures include SEACAL, Triquest Puget Plastics, Ocean Beauty, Fairbanks Sand & Gravel, just to name a few.

Upgrading Marine Park
According to Joanna Markell's Jan. 15 article, the "open water between the shore and Steamship Wharf" will be covered. According to Mr. Smith's editorial on March 20, there is no plan to "pave over Marine Park."

Bus rider due apology
I am totally appalled by the whole incident that occurred on the bus with Jamila Glauber. I could not believe that the bus driver would kick her off for something so petty as eating a "bite-sized" Snickers. I don't doubt for a second that race was an issue here. I have known Jamila for over 20 years. She is a very nice, friendly person. I consider her as family.

Road to good eating
Sleepless in Seattle now becomes Roadless in Juneau. If only Juneau had a road to bring in our outstanding Mat-Su Valley products. Air freight is so very expensive. A road could give Juneau delivery of fresh vegetables one day after picking - just like in the real world.

Juneau needs airline competition
I am not totally against additional taxation or even relinquishing part of my PFD to bail out the states fiscal mess. However, any additional taxation must be spread across Alaska equitably, not just on the sin items. All who use our resources should bear the cost.

Some taxes are more regressive than others
I'll take a stab at categorizing the effect of the various budget-balancing options on the poorest Alaskans. I'll call those options that have a proportionately larger effect on these Alaskans "regressive," as that is the conventional terminology.

Cheers for citizen activists
The recent flurry of angry letters demonstrates the tension caused by the stress of unrestrained industrial tourism. Invective unleashed and resentment boiling over don't help when reasoned argument is the goal, but in this case it has at least served to clearly define the battle lines, should there have been any doubt.

Good advice then and now
From the Juneau Empire editorial of Oct. 7, 2001: "The topic of the community divide was discussed at this week's Citizens Editorial Advisory Board meeting. The discussion arrived at the consensus that the Empire should encourage letter writers to elevate the quality of the exchange in the newspaper."

Addressing trail safety
Regarding Richard Carstensen Outdoors' article of March 24, trails are created so people can enjoy walking on city, state and federal lands, which they own and pay taxes for and keep in public use and reserve. I understand there needs to be some land kept in a natural state, but not the entire borough. However any designated trail when traveled drives creatures away from the path and perhaps should.

Waterfront planning panel may be formed
Waterfront planning in downtown Juneau would be the responsibility of a new committee if a proposal under review at City Hall is approved. Under a draft memorandum of understanding, a new seven-member Port Development Committee would oversee downtown waterfront projects and planning. The mayor, three Assembly members and three members nominated by the Docks and Harbors Board would serve on the panel.

Juneau cops calm candy-bar confrontation on bus
A city bus driver, described as a "by-the-book kind of guy," called police last week after he spotted a woman eating a candy bar on board and she refused his orders to get off the bus. Jamila Glauber, who described her ethnicity as Middle Eastern, said she felt the incident involved the color of her skin more than her eating-on-board offense.

Photo: Waterfront dredging
Secon Inc. dredges in front of the Steamship Wharf on Monday to make it deeper and easier for ships to dock. The project will remove 2,700 cubic yards of soil that will be used to fill in the Douglas Harbor Savikko Road project.

Harry Potter tops list of favorites in book survey
Harry Potter continues to cast a spell over Alaska readers, according to the results of a recent online survey of the state's literary preferences. Over the course of its "Alaska Reads" Web poll conducted during February, the Alaska State Literacy Association collected 935 responses, mostly from young readers, of what books they were reading.

City ponders dropping cruise ship port dues
Juneau's port dues could be replaced with project-based funding agreements with the cruise industry in an approach favored by some Juneau Assembly members. Cruise ships paid 23 cents a ton to dock in Juneau last year. Those port dues - sometimes called tonnage taxes - have been used to pay for dock and wharf improvements downtown for more than a decade. The fee generated $1.7 million in revenue last year, but expired Jan. 1, city Port Director Joe Graham said.

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

Forest Service extends copter permits
The U.S. Forest Service, unable so far to complete a new environmental impact statement, will renew the Juneau Icefield permits used by four helicopter tour companies at last year's landing totals.

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

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

Photo: Gold Medal fans
Taylor Larson, 9, yells out a cheer and Chatham Miller, 7, holds a sign as they root for the Lynden Transport of Juneau women's team during a game with Ketchikan Indian Community on Tuesday night at the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament.

City Manager Dave Palmer to resign
After seven years as Juneau city manager, Dave Palmer said today he's ready for a break and will resign effective the end of June. Palmer told city staff and Juneau Assembly members about his decision this morning. He has worked in local government for nearly 31 years, 20 in Alaska.

Woman accused of having sex with girls
A Juneau woman, 19, has been charged with having sex with three underage girls and giving two of them alcohol. Jennifer Dunlap recently was indicted by a Juneau grand jury on six counts of felony second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and three counts of misdemeanor furnishing alcohol to a minor, stemming from incidents that allegedly occurred between December 2000 and February 2001.

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

Infant day care difficult to find
A shortage of child care slots for the offspring of working mothers has the National Association for the Education of Young Children Southeast Alaska concerned.

Neighbors briefs
Easter celebration at Eaglecrest; Memorial seeks names; No bologna about it; Easter brunch benefit set; Four guinea pigs available; Suiting up Shakespeare

Photo: Check donation
David Stone, left, and George Davidson give a $22,000 check on Thursday to Laraine Derr for the Unversity of Alaska Foundation. Derr is chair of the College of Fellows.

Pet Of the Week
Meet Kevin. He is a black, short-haired domestic who is very affectionate and gets along well with cats, dogs, children and adults. Kevin is unique, good-natured and friendly to most people. He has been an indoor-only cat, and is litter-box-trained. He likes to see what is going on around the building.

Fine crop of buds emerge from winter weather
Going out into the yard is like opening a closet shut last fall. The pile of projects almost finished or barely begun gives little jerks to my memory. It is amazing how just a few months can make an everyday companion into something almost forgotten.

Easter Services
The following are some of the Easter weekend services offered by local congregations:

Thank you
... for the support; ... for all the help.;.. for the lessons; ... for the help; ...for the opportunities; ..for the support; .. for United Way support.; Thank you to members of the Filipino Community

Donald Robert Strang
Former Juneau resident Donald Robert Strang, 69, died March 14, 2002, of lung cancer.

Norman Clayton Johnson
Former Juneau resident Norman Clayton Johnson, 58, died March 21, 2002.

My Turn: Did the Marquesas survive 'Survivor'?
How would you feel if you sailed into Taku Harbor to find bulldozers on the beach removing all the old cabins and cannery ruins? Men in white suits, boots, and masks with tanks on their backs and nozzles in their hands spraying insecticide on the beach to suppress the no-see-ums?

My Turn: To tax or not to tax, that is the question
Yes, an Alaska state income tax would provide revenue for the state budget, but what would such a tax cost? Well let's see, the state would have to create a whole new division within the Department of Revenue. This would mean more personnel, more office space, more office furniture, more computers, more telephones, more official cars, more travel, more forms, more office supplies, more utilities, more parking needs, and enforcement to force those who failed to file a state income tax return, to file and pay. But how much would it cost?

My Turn: Pumping iron can increase bone density
While Ann Chandonnet's article "Women work out for comfort, not competition" (Empire, March 20) addresses some of the motivating factors women use for exercising, the benefits of lifting free weights verses using machine weights were skimmed over and when mentioned, misleading.

My Turn: Juneau's economy must diversify
There has been much "back and forth" over several issues (the wharf project most notably) in the past few days. Each side says the other is at fault for all of the shortcomings of our community. There are many who want to control how Juneau grows and how its commerce is developed in both camps. Both sides have valid concerns.

My Turn: Mental health field needs scientific objectivity
I differ from the opinion expressed in the March 21 My Turn, "Alternatives needed for cases like Yates." While I commend the author for bringing mental health to public attention as a source for social troubles, I suggest his data is much too partisan. The Yates woman, in being given life imprisonment, was obviously given more humane justice for her murders of five human beings - in a state that uses the death penalty all too often.

Word Of Mouth
Word of Mouth gives readers a forum to express opinions on a variety of issues by telephone. Call 586-4636 and press 8255 to leave a message. Be sure to leave your name and telephone number.

Old Totems lean on Yakutat
After the Klawock Old Totems' win against Yakutat ANB on Monday night, one would wonder if the Old Totems have Yakutat's number.

Hydaburg boys, Yakutat girls claim Region V-Class 2A titles
Darren Edenshaw scored 23 points and Vinny Edenshaw added 20 as the Hydaburg High School boys basketball team claimed the Region V-Class 2A championship with a 75-57 victory over Klawock on Saturday at Ketchikan High School's Clarke Cochrane Gym.

Kake, Metlakatla move on to semifinals
Kake Middle School and Metlakatla Middle School advanced to Thursday's winners' bracket semifinal of the inaugural middle school Gold Medal basketball tournament bracket with victories Tuesday afternoon at the Juneau-Douglas High School gym.

Klawock-Prince of Wales smothers Angoon Kwaan
Three-time defending Gold Medal champion Klawock-Prince of Wales came out strong, defeating Angoon Kwaan, 92-40, Monday in the first day of the women's bracket action at the Juneau-Douglas High School gym.

Yakutat stays alive, despite foul problems
The Yakutat ANB players felt they were better conditioned than their opponents from Angoon ANB in Tuesday night's B Bracket losers' bracket game, but the big question was whether or not the Yakutat players would still be in the game long enough to use the conditioning advantage. Plagued by foul trouble for most of the game, Yakutat managed to keep enough players from fouling out to earn a 99-89 victory, eliminating Angoon from the Gold Medal basketball tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School.

Martin Jr. sparks Huna
John Martin Jr. wasn't about to watch his Huna Totem Oldtimers get knocked out of the C Bracket early in this year's 56th Gold Medal Tournament. After playing in the A Bracket last year for Tenakee Tribe, Martin returned to the Huna with the Totem Oldtimers and led them to a 78-71 win over Sitka ANB on Tuesday. The Oldtimers will face the Klukwan Chilkats, who defeated Sitka ANB 78-62 Tuesday, in tonight's 6 p.m. winners' bracket semifinal game.

Gold Medal Boxscores
Winners and losers from Tueday's games.

Lynden Transport muscles Ketchikan
Juneau's Lynden Transport used its fierce defense to win a decisive 64-34 victory over the Ketchikan Indian Community in the women's bracket of the Gold Medal Tournament Tuesday night at Juneau-Douglas High School. From the start, Lynden aggressively defended against an unsure Ketchikan offense, making it difficult for them to sink any shots. In addition, Lynden was able to penetrate Ketchikan's shaky defense and dominate the scoring.

Tompkins takes fifth in monoski at U.S. nationals
Joe Tompkins of Juneau took fifth place among monoskiers and 10th overall in Tuesday's downhill race at the U.S. Disabled Alpine Ski Championships at Big Sky Resort in Montana. Skiing in his first race since the 2002 Winter Paralympics earlier this month in Salt Lake City, Utah, Tompkins said he was happy with his performance Tuesday.

Youngsters make Gold Medal debut
It took 55 years before the middle schools were awarded a bracket in the Gold Medal Tournament. Juneau HoopTime coach Edd Webb hopes the new division will get more than one year to prove itself.

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

Gold Medal Boxscores
Monday's winners and losers.

Huna, Haines reach semifinal
When Huna ANB plays Kake Tlingit Heat in the B Bracket of the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament, the fans usually get their money's worth.

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

Thibodeau leads local skiers in Buckwheat
Under partly sunny skies and on the deep snow of White Pass, nearly 200 cross-country skiers and snowshoers of all ages completed the 16th annual Buckwheat Ski Classic on Saturday just north of Skagway.

Alaska dominates in Arctic Winter Games
Dylan Ashe of Juneau tied for the goal-scoring lead in the juvenile male division as he and Jamaal Bailey of Douglas helped Team Alaska claim the gold ulu in indoor soccer during the Arctic Winter Games, which took place last week in Nuuk, Greenland, and in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada (on Baffin Island).

House rejects income tax
A rare atmosphere of uncertainty faced members of the House of Representatives this morning as they prepared for floor votes on three potentially groundbreaking revenue measures. "I'm part of the Mushroom Caucus," joked Rep. Con Bunde, an Anchorage Republican, as the House took a break for party caucuses. "They keep me in the dark and feed me B.S."

State Briefs
Marine Park-Steamship Wharf meetings scheduled; Hazardous-waste date changed; Federal subsistence permits available at ranger offices; Fairbanks woman dies in fall down glacier crevasse; Dillingham snowmachiner dies in Monday accident; Homer angler wins $12,000 for record catch in tournament; Alaska bank changes name

Senate cool to most revenue bills
A 3 percent state sales tax passed by the House Finance Committee on Monday does not have support within the Republican majority in the Senate, Senate leaders said this morning. Nor does a bill to tap permanent fund earnings for $300 million in the next fiscal year, said Senate President Rick Halford of Chugiak and Finance Co-Chairman Dave Donley of Anchorage.

Judge rules state's '98 English-only law violates free speech
ANCHORAGE - A law requiring government workers to speak only English when conducting public business violates constitutional guarantees of free speech and serves no compelling public interest, a Superior Court judge has ruled.

State may give tourism marketing $2 million
Alaska's tourism industry could receive some emergency funding from the Legislature after all. The Senate Finance Committee today approved $2 million for the Alaska Travel Industry Association to pay for an ad campaign to attract vacationers to the state.

State briefs
Athabaskan elder dead at age 99; Teachers bill passes House on Tuesday; Fairbanks man gets 19 years for rape; Ogan's condition improving

Two accused in murder-for-hire plot plead innocent
ANCHORAGE - Two Anchorage residents charged by a grand jury with plotting to kill two federal employees and two other people, including a witness, pleaded innocent Monday in U.S. District Court.

3 dead in suicide, homicides in Chefornak
ANCHORAGE - Three people were found dead in an apparent double murder and suicide Tuesday morning in the Western Alaska village of Chefornak, Alaska State Troopers said.

Bill would raise fines for serious crimes, but will felons pay?
The maximum fines for certain criminal offenses would increase greatly under a bill given preliminary approval by the Senate on Monday. But the bill will be reconsidered in the Senate at the request of Sen. Kim Elton, a Juneau Democrat, who wanted the fiscal impacts on the state clarified.

Bill aims to let processors subtract housing from wages
Seafood processors in remote areas of Alaska want to be able to deduct the cost of room and board from the minimum wage they're required to pay workers. The House Labor and Commerce Committee is considering a bill this week that would allow the change.

Tax debate opens on House floor
A rare atmosphere of uncertainty faced members of the House of Representatives this morning as they prepared for floor votes on three potentially groundbreaking revenue measures. "I'm part of the Mushroom Caucus," joked Rep. Con Bunde, an Anchorage Republican, as the House took a break for party caucuses. "They keep me in the dark and feed me B.S."

Kenai residents wary of proposed large pig farm
KENAI - Kenai residents are concerned about the environmental impact of bringing a proposed large-scale pig farm to the peninsula. Project president Dick Metteer is proposing to use state money to fund a $400,000 feasibility study on a farm that would produce 600,000 pigs annually. The Legislature has not taken up the issue.

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