Friday, March 29, 2002

Save state parks
During the 25 years I lived in Alaska, I enjoyed and appreciated many programs created by giants - men and women whose vision and labor left grand legacies for us today and, with proper care, will also benefit those who follow us. These giants crafted a system of dreams, dreams that became reality, reality that includes schools, universities, roads, airports, museums, bike trails and more.

Painful observations
Recently, I was in Juneau visiting family. Among those I visited was my niece, who is a resident at Wildflower Court. On my first visit I was impressed with the very beautiful building. We had an enjoyable and fun visit.

Juneau's Care-A-Van system is a benefit
I'd like to reflect on an unheralded aspect of our infrastructure: Care-A-Van services. As you go about your daily business, you've noticed the fleet of white-lettered vans criss-crossing the community. Until my mother, now 90, moved from Phoenix to Juneau six years ago, I had little insight into the role those vans play in the lives of so many citizens.

Alcohol tax boost
When I observed the House Finance Committee hearings, I saw the alcohol excise tax tabled. For every $1 our state gets from alcohol tax, we spend $21 on alcohol-related crashes. This tax is clearly needed, for our state and for our communities.

Will of the people: Raise alcohol tax
I think it is absolutely hideous that our elected officials are held from doing the will of the people in respect to this alcohol tax.

Bus flap was foolish
Clearly what happened on that bus was a continuation of a pre-existing feud between the driver and the passenger. What angers me, however, is that taxpayer funds were completely wasted on this childish exercise.

Douglas wolves
I am a near-third generation Alaskan; my ancestors started in Dawson/Skagway in the late 1890s and then from 1925 to 1946 lived in the Juneau-Douglas area. We spent our summers at the family camp on Admiralty Island, which is now a preserve. I always keep an eye on my family's old home.

Voters who care
It appears that the Knowles/Ulmer Administration's half-fast Department of Transportation may receive half of the fast-track money requested from the Legislature (for increased Alaska Marine Highway System fuel) because the half-fast politically charged Redistricting Board may be required to go back to work after an unfavorable recent Supreme Court decision that already has cost the state $500,000 in legal fees.

Don't cut back on state parks
So tell me, moms and dads, when you get tight on money, do you close down the back yard and tell the kids they can't play on the swing? Your kids would think you went bonkers. How about you school administrators; if your budget gets tight, do you close down the playground, board up the play equipment, and cancel recess?

Not merely a waste of taxpayers' money
I concur with Lisa Zimmerman's opinion that the Capital Transit bus driver in the "candy bite incident" led to a complete waste of taxpayer funds and "dis-served" the public. However, I do not agree that it was "clearly ... a continuation of a pre-existing feud between the driver and the passenger."

Milking ... ourselves?
So we finally drove off all the cruise ships and the tourists. As we walk around downtown, the only businesses left open are maybe eight bars. The rest of the businesses closed down because they couldn't afford to operate on what the local people spent in them. Look's like we got our "old" downtown back.

Legislators need input from citizens
I was pleased that the House Finance Committee held hearings to solicit input and guidance from the citizens of Alaska. It was equally satisfying to witness the huge public response. The committee members are to be commended for their patience and stamina for persisting through the many hours required to conduct the hearings.

Outside accounting firm audits Sealaska
A letter from Jeannie T. Austin in the March 27 Empire suggested the need for an external audit of Sealaska Corp. Notwithstanding the fact that Ms. Austin is not a Sealaska shareholder, I am pleased to report that Sealaska's financial statements are audited every year by independent auditors who ensure that an accurate picture is presented to shareholders. This is an external audit.

For the record
Judges learn early in their career to listen to people who know the facts.

No bridge for Ketchikan; no capital for Juneau
This letter is in response to Steve Smeltzer's letter in Tuesday's Empire. He is correct about the ferry used to cross the narrows in Ketchikan, and personally I have taken that ferry on a daily basis for work and honestly it isn't that difficult to walk up and down the ramp. But the bridge is not simply about eliminating the airport ferry. It is about flat, useable land.

Port board spurns new panel
Juneau's Docks and Harbors Board on Thursday rejected a proposal to give the Juneau Assembly more power over the downtown waterfront. The board voted 6-1 to table indefinitely a memorandum of understanding with the Assembly to set up a joint Port Development Committee. The new committee - made up of the mayor, three Assembly members and three members appointed by the Docks and Harbors Board - would oversee waterfront planning and development.

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

High school design funding continues
The project team guiding the development of a new high school in the Mendenhall Valley voted Wednesday to continue funding design of the project, despite concerns from some members regarding the status of state funding and rising costs. On a 7-5 vote, the team - composed of school district and city representatives - also chose to pursue planning for a design that is slightly scaled-down from initial plans.

Bears emerging in time for new laws
Secure your gargabe cans - local bears are emerging from winter hibernation. A black bear cub was spotted taking a nap on a warm compost pile at Mile 17.5 Glacier Highway on Wednesday afternoon. Another bear was seen on the side of Mendenhall Loop Road at Nancy Street about 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

Local Briefs
Local fisherman dies; City wraps up tourism planning

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

Cards encourage Gold Medal fans to cheer in Tlingit style
Basketball fans attending Gold Medal Tournament games this week can urge their favorite teams to Gashat w kooch'it'aa get the rebound and play tough Yan yeen defense with the help of a pocket-sized listing of Tlingit yells.

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

Correction
The Easter services listings in Wednesday's Empire should have listed under Holy Trinity Church a Maundy Thursday service at 7 p.m.

Amy Crook: Battling pollution with science
Aquatic biologist Amy Crook of Douglas isn't used to media interviews longer than five minutes."I am usually the science nerd that is quoted about cruise ships," she said with a laugh.Crook spent many weeks observing discharges on cruise ships and contributing to drafts of environmental studies. She also spent a year and a half dealing with the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

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

Juneau family mourns drowned fisherman
Dustin Coby said all his father Jamie Coby ever wanted to do was sit with him on a boat with a line in the water. But Jamie, 38, was alone on his fishing boat early Thursday in Elfin Cove when he fell into the water and drowned."I just wish I had him back," said 10-year-old Dustin. "I just wish God would put him back on his boat and wouldn't have taken him off of it and into the water."

Phone workers accidentally shut off 911
Reprogramming public pay phones so people can't rig them to make free local calls caused what may have been a 12-hour outage of Juneau's 911 system Tuesday, officials at Alaska Communications Systems said Thursday.

FYI
Births

Airline resolves musicians' nightmares
Last week, Alaska Airlines made violinist Steve Tada trade his priceless violin's protective case for a cardboard box for a flight from Seattle to Juneau. Tada, the concertmaster for the Juneau Symphony, was not alone in his experience. Local groups such as the Juneau Symphony and the Alaska Folk Festival, and others on the national level, have been concerned about a storm of recent complaints from musicians regarding the treatment of their instruments aboard Alaska Airlines planes.

New charges for convicted arsonist
A convicted arsonist arrested in connection with a fire in a general aviation hangar at the Juneau Airport earlier this month pleaded innocent Wednesday in Juneau Superior Court to charges of felony arson, burglary and theft.

Thank You
... for all the help.

Military Recruits
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class, Blase H. Scranton, son of Mary Nieson-Peters of Juneau and Lucky D. Scranton of Clinton, Mont., is participating in Operation Enduring Freedom while assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu, home ported in San Diego.

Neighbors Briefs
Alaska Travel Industry group offers scholarships; Radio station hopes to replace transmitter, computer; Dancers look for donations

Staying Fit in Juneau
Exercising twice a week at 5 a.m. may sound like torture to the average couch potato, but it's the choice of dozens of Juneau residents who relish a challenge. The regimen is called Heart Zones Performance Training Camp, and it's offered by the Mendenhall Valley location of the Juneau Racquet Club. Camps are limited to 22 people, and there are two nine-week camps operating at a time, said instructor Jessica Menendez. Team A meets from 5 to 7 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday and from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday. Team B meets from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, and Sunday from 6:15 to 8:15 p.m.

Senior Menu
The following meals will be served next week. These meals and Care-a-Van transportation are available to all senior citizens (age 60 and older).

Carters earn ministry degrees
Jim and Dorothy Carter received bachelor of ministry degrees, cum laude, on March 15, from Whitehorse Christian Training Center of Juneau, chartered under Shalom Bible College and Seminary.

Helen Elizabeth Gibson
Former Juneau resident Helen Elizabeth Gibson, 82, died March 9, 2002, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

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.

My Turn: Where not to get money to bridge deficit gap
I have been reading Alaska's newspapers with great interest and amusement. Everyone has an opinion on how to solve our state's budget problem, including yours truly. Most people don't know exactly where to get the money to make up for the budget deficit, but everyone has an opinion about where not to get the money.

My Turn: Tenakee Springs mayor responds to VPSO article
The Juneau Empire's March 18, front-page article about the Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) program in Tenakee Springs implied an amazing consensus in the community, in printing that 90 out of 104 favored keeping the program in the community. These numbers are very misleading and give a false impression of the feelings of the town. The number 90 actually refers to a list of names (never officially presented to the city) of a mix of voters and property owners. Not all property owners are voters in the city.

My Turn: Reasons to question U.S. foreign policy
Letters and commentaries on the events of Sept. 11 and their aftermath have understandably fallen off the past couple of months. We want to return to normal. But the bombing and the buildup continues, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and we still haven't captured Osama bin Laden. Maybe it's time to start asking where we're heading.

My Turn: What we have to offer in Juneau belongs to everyone
The intangibles were far more stunning than the scenery! And the scenery was truly breathtaking. Staggering even. The flight was a simple orientation hop for new pilots to learn the major landmarks of the Juneau Icefield, but even for someone fairly well versed in things Alaskan the experience was incredibly moving. Cheechako or sourdough, pioneer or newly arrived, for someone who's never seen the icefield, words will never suffice. You just have to see it for yourself.

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

United conquers A champ Tenakee
United of Anchorage held off defending Gold Medal A Bracket champion Tenakee Tribe, 90-86, Wednesday night in a game that was up for grabs until the final seconds.

Huna Totem heads to title game
The trio of Louie White, Greg Garcia and John Martin Jr. combined for 70 points to lead the Huna Totem Oldtimers to a 94-87 win over the Klukwan Chilkats in the C Bracket winners' bracket semifinals Wednesday.

Metlakatla reaches title game of middle school bracket
Metlakatla jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 35-26 victory over Kake on Thursday in the middle school bracket of the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School. The victory puts Metlakatla into this morning's inaugural middle school championship game.

Ketchikan runs out of steam against Kake
For the first 10 minutes of Wednesday's only Gold Medal women's bracket game, Kake LAB Air and Ketchikan Indian Community seemed evenly matched. Then Kake found a way to squeeze Ketchikan out -- setting up an impenetrable defensive fortress around the key and forcing Ketchikan to shoot from the outside. When Ketchikan couldn't get its long shots to fall, Kake was able to pull away to a 90-58 win.

Gold Medal Boxscores
Thursday's winners and losers.

Gold Medal Boxscores
Wednesdays winners and losers

Klawock flattens Kake
The defending champion Klawock Old Totems took one more step toward a repeat in the C Bracket with a 78-64 win over Kake ANB in a loser's bracket game Thursday at the Juneau-Douglas High School gym.

Kake's balance helps overcome 49 points from Yakutat's Jensen
It was a case of many against one as the Kake Tlingit Heat used a balanced scoring attack to overcome the 49-point performance of Yakutat ANB's Jimmy Jensen to claim a 117-93 victory in Wednesday's only Gold Medal B Bracket game at Juneau-Douglas High School.

This time, Huna wins
The last time Huna ANB played the Haines Merchants, Huna came out on the short end of the score as Haines won its third straight B Bracket title in the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament last year. One year later, Huna and Haines met again and this time Huna won 116-97 Thursday afternoon at the Juneau-Douglas High School gym. Huna moves into Saturday's 8 p.m. championship game. Haines plays Klawock-Prince of Wales at 8 p.m. today in the losers' bracket final, with the winner of tonight's game moving on to Saturday's title game.

Juneau heads to the dance
Lynden Transport of Juneau earned a spot in Saturday's 2 p.m. women's bracket championship game of the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament, toppling three-time defending champion Klawock-Prince Of Wales 64-60 Thursday afternoon at Juneau-Douglas High School.

Arctic Lights reach title game with win over United
After Wednesday's lopsided 56-point victory over Sitka, the Marlintini's Arctic Lights were confident their game was good enough to take them all the way to Saturday's championship game of the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament's A Bracket.

HoopTime, Dzantik'i Heeni win to stay alive
Faifo Levale and Tres Saldivar each scored five points in the fourth quarter as HoopTime of Juneau rallied from seven points behind to eliminate Hoonah from the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament's middle school bracket with a 28-25 victory Wednesday at Juneau-Douglas High School.

Call takes fourth in Verbier Extreme
Ashley Call of Juneau finished fourth in the Red Bull Extreme Snowboarding Championships in Verbier, Switzerland, on Monday. Call, who tied for the victory two years ago, was in third place after Monday's preliminaries but dropped a spot in the finals. The top-five finishers in Monday's prelims advanced to the finals. Call finished 12th last year.

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

Anchorage businessman enters race for lt. governor
ANCHORAGE - Ernie Hall, an Anchorage businessman and activist who led a campaign against a statewide property tax cap, announced Wednesday that he is running for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. "It's a perfect job for an Ernie Hall," he said at a news conference about his first bid for statewide office. "I have the ability to bring people together and build consensus."

Ferries get half of fast-track request
The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday voted to give the Alaska Marine Highway System Fund $1,438,500 - about half of the $2.8 million it sought - to compensate for increases in fuel costs. It was part of a package of fast-track appropriations the committee approved for state agencies and other projects, but a party-line vote axed an amendment to provide quick money for the Redistricting Board. The package now will go to other committees for review.

House cans income tax
The House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected a proposed personal income tax, derailing a long-range fiscal plan. After nearly five hours of off-and-on debate, the Republican-led chamber voted 22-17 against the income tax, which would be 2.6 percent on federal taxable income. It had been offered as a substitute for a 3 percent sales tax.

State Briefs
2 plead guilty in Douglas theft; Many have yet to apply for PFD; Children name new fast ferries; University president hospitalized; Fuel spills into village well; Fire damages historic home

Eagle R. avalanche traps man for 30 minutes
ANCHORAGE - An avalanche in Eagle River buried a skier for about 30 minutes Thursday evening before his companion was able to dig him out. Two dogs with the pair died. The snow let loose about 5:15 p.m. east of Mile 6.6 Hiland Road, burying John Stroud in about 3 feet of snow. Skip Repetto, who was telemark skiing with Stroud near the 2,000-foot level, used an avalanche beacon and probe to find Stroud, and dug him out with a shovel, said Kip Melling, an avalanche instructor for the Alaska Mountain Safety Center.

Nabors Alaska Drilling threatens to strike
ANCHORAGE - Union workers at Nabors Alaska Drilling Inc. are threatening to strike over wages and benefits. Union workers say a strike could come as early as this weekend because the company is resisting negotiating with employees. The tension between the company and workers has been brewing for months, but has increased over the past two weeks with the circulation of a strike petition among Nabors Alaska's approximately 550 workers.

State Briefs
Steamship Wharf hearing scheduled; Chena River ice road closed; Armed man robs Fairbanks bank; First gray whales spotted near Seward

Salsa from Seattle
A serendipitous encounter in Cuba led the Alaska Folk Festival to the salsa band Cambalache. The Seattle-based dance band Cambalache will perform and teach at the upcoming Alaska Folk Festival, scheduled for April 8 through 14. For the first time, the festival is featuring a guest band for the weekend dances as well as a guest artist for main-stage performances.

Gleaning best of 20 years for CD
Paul and Melissa Zahasky have captured 20 years of musical collaboration with a new CD called "Master's Design." The Zahaskys will be joined by a group of musicians for a twohour concert Thursday, April 4, at Chapel by the Lake to highlight music from the new CD.

Hypnotist entertains with power of the mind
Entertainer Christopher Carter, a hypnotist and mentalist, returns to Juneau for a performance at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at the University of Alaska Student Activities Center.

Best Bets: Music, natural history and the supernatural
N atural history, the supernatural, a blues rock duo and Buddy Tabor offer entertainment and enlightenment this weekend. Buddy Tabor takes the stage at the Back Room at the Silverbow Inn for a concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 29. He'll be featuring his original music, with a few of his favorites by other writers. Tabor is easily one of Juneau's best songwriters, with four CDs to his credit and another in the works. He'll be joined by bassist Albert McDonnell and mandolinist John Hartle.

Movies Where & When
"The French Connection," (R) 8 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at the Back Room Cinema at the Silverbow Inn.

2002-03 history grant applications available
Students, teachers, organizations and others are encouraged to apply for up to $1,000 to help them complete a project that will document, preserve or improve access to the history of the Juneau area.

What's happening
Workshops

Perseverance opens auditions for 2002-03
Perseverance Theatre will hold auditions for its 2002-03 season on Saturday, April 6, and Sunday, April 7, at the Juneau-Douglas High School Dance Studio. Roles are available for men and women age 17 through 80. Actors should prepare a monologue or story no longer than three minutes. To audition for the musical, singers should prepare a short song and provide sheet music for the accompanist.

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