No tourist attraction
It's spring again and time to freshen up a bit. When does the permit for the vehicle junkyard located halfway to the glacier on Loop Road run out?

Can cuts to veterans' benefits be criticized?
I am strongly dismayed by Rep. Bob Lynn's (R-Eagle River) claims that denouncing Bush is the same as denouncing the troops. ("Juneau rallies in support," March 30) Bush's choices have already directly led to the deaths of hundreds of innocent people, American and otherwise.

Medical contingency
In just over a month, the first of many cruise ship passengers and crew will arrive in Juneau on a floating petri dish. If you are one of the local residents who contracted the Norwalk virus last year, you probably have considered the potential threat posed to this community by the rapidly spreading severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus.

Proud of U.S. military
In Sunday's paper Mary Grose of New Zealand wrote a letter telling us how upset she was with Patrick McGonegal's March 26 letter. That was the one entitled "Supporting our troops like supporting LAPD." That letter upset me, too.

Not American values
One thing about Iraq should be pretty clear now. We are not just liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein and his cronies. The entire population of Iraq is not welcoming us with open arms. All the Iraqi troops are not just collapsing and surrendering.

Teens kick butts
More than 425,000 people in the United States will die this year from a tobacco-related disease. On April 2, "Kick Butts Day," kids from Juneau-Douglas High School are taking a stand to stop youth from getting hooked on deadly tobacco products. We know that 90 percent of smokers started using tobacco regularly at or before 19 years of age.

Body found in Tenakee
Search and rescue teams found a body in Tenakee Springs today, but town and law-enforcement officials will not say if the remains are of a Juneau woman who went missing last week. Teams of Tenakee residents have been searching since Friday for Margaret "Maggie" Wigen, 19, who last was seen walking with her dog on a trail leading into Tenakee around 3 p.m. Wednesday. The dog wandered into town Friday without Wigen.

Photo: Anti-smoking tattoos
Ruth Simpson, left, a drug and alcohol counselor, draws a temporary tattoo today on the arm of Juneau-Douglas High School student Katie Monagle. The event was sponsored by Teens Against Tobacco Use.

This Day in History
In 1935, Pacific Alaska Airway began their Juneau-Fairbanks service.

Due to a photographer's error, the name of a woman shown in Sunday's Empire holding a U.S. flag outside the Capitol was misspelled.

Capstone safety program takes flight in Southeast Alaska
L.A.B. Flying Service chief pilot Chuck Thompson and company operations director Lynn Bennett landed an aviation first when they flew a Seneca Piper II from Anchorage to Juneau on Friday. Two new computer screens in the cockpit and satellite-based technology helped guide the plane through Alaska's skies. The first-of-its-kind system, part of the Federal Aviation Administration's Capstone program, fared well in a typical tour of Southeast weather, Thompson said.

This Day in History
In 1914, A meeting of the Juneau Draper Club decided to establish a public library.

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

Juneau woman found in Tenakee grave
Though officials will not confirm the identity of a body found partially buried in the Tenakee Springs woods Tuesday, friends and family of a 19-year-old Juneau woman who disappeared March 26 say it is her body and she was murdered. After five days of searching, volunteer rescue teams found a body around 10 a.m. Tuesday, partially buried in a shallow grave in the woods behind the Tenakee Springs School. They believe it is Maggie Wigen, who split her time between Juneau and Tenakee, residents said. Tenakee is about 50 miles southwest of Juneau and has a population of around 100.

Oil spill cleanup may cost family thousands of dollars
Kevin Conrad was at home when the stand holding his 275-gallon heating-oil tank collapsed, spilling 220 gallons of fuel onto his lawn, his neighbor's lawn and the street in front of his Mendenhall Valley house. Conrad has been home for a month, receiving worker's compensation after injuring his back at his job operating a Bobcat utility machine for Waste Management. He has 10 mouths to feed, including his wife, Christy, who takes care of their six children and two foster children, ranging in age from 2 to 11 years old. His home is now being warmed by electric heat, which he uses as a backup. Conrad also has impending spill cleanup bills in the thousands of dollars and some enduring soreness at what he says was too little help from state and local authorities.

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

Community and youth forum set for Friday
Since the Juneau Mayor's Task Force on Youth began 10 years ago in the wake of a teen suicide, more services and opportunities for young people have become available. But the use of illegal drugs by Juneau youths remains above the national average, according to a report from the panel. The task force will hold a community meeting Friday afternoon and evening at the Marie Drake gym to create recommendations to direct the group in the next decade.

Child abuse awareness activities planned
On Thursday, parents in Juneau should take a walk with their kids and look at the clouds. The following Wednesday, they should tell a family story. On April 23, they should go to the public library together. Strengthening families is as simple as these and the 27 other activities listed in a family activity calendar published for the month of April by the Southeast Alaska Child Abuse Prevention Network.

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

Due to incorrect information provided to the Empire, an article on child abuse in Tuesday's paper gave the incorrect year for child abuse statistics in Alaska.

Stow your trash carefully: The bears are back in town
With the first bears of the season out and about in Juneau, state and local officials are stepping up trash education efforts. Neighbors reported a large bear in the Lemon Creek area last week and Juneau Police Department Community Service Officer Bob Dilley said he's seen signs of bruins getting into garbage in town. He's been writing trash tickets all winter.

Panel: Don't ban dogs on N. Douglas trail
Fido may get to stay on the Rainforest Trail. The city's Parks and Recreation Committee on Tuesday objected to plans to ban dogs on the North Douglas trail, suggesting the proposal be sent to the city's Trails Working Group for more study. The city's Parks and Recreation Department had planned to ban dogs on the Outer Point-area trail starting May 1 to protect wildlife and habitat.

SEACC argues against road up Lynn Canal
A road from Juneau to Skagway would be dangerous in the winter, harmful to habitat and too expensive, according to a conservation group that aims to prevent it from being built. The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council presented a slide show and guest panel Tuesday night at Centennial Hall to make the case for enhanced ferry service over road construction.

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

Rally from illness
Juneau-Douglas High School musicians rallied from a gut-wrenching illness to score well Saturday at a music festival in Florida. The 38 students who traveled as the Festival Band to the Heritage Music Festival in Orlando scored the highest of three bands that participated, said officials from WorldStrides, the company that ran the event.

Thanksgiving in March will help feed needy for one year
A $1,000 legislator-made apple pie and two $2,000 dinners with the Murkowskis at the governor's mansion were among the top money-makers at this year's "Thanksgiving in March" fund-raiser for the Southeast Alaska Food Bank, held March 29 at the Elk's Lodge. "The legislators have really just bent over backwards to help us raise money for this, and it's wonderful," said Thyes Shaub, finance chairwoman for the food bank's board of directors.

The first glimpses of spring 2003
There is nothing as exciting as another spring, bursting open the grave, returning life to the sere and frozen world, and the emergence of the early blooming perennials. Long before leaves on tree or shrub, before seed can sprout or even grass turn green, the earliest perennials are sending up their flowering stalks to take advantage of any opportunity to get a leg up on the competition.

Swineford's inventory
After the United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867, many politicians and citizens Outside criticized it as "the national refrigerator" - refusing to believe it had any value at all. It would take lecture tours by missionaries such as Sheldon Jackson and books by enthusiasts such as Alfred Swineford and Judge James Wickersham and others to convince the general populace that it was worth populating and developing.

Pets of the week
Joan is an 8-month-old black Lab mix, very mellow for a puppy. Although she has not had a lot of training, she is eager to learn and easy to train. Delilah is a beautiful, silky black cat with a white bib and whiskers. She has been declawed and spayed.

Thank you
The Alaska Youth Choir held its annual raffle drawing on March 1. Once again the citizens of Juneau stepped up to the plate and delivered-- by purchasing raffle tickets and donating prizes and services for our raffle and the raffle award dinner.

Forrest E. Shepard
Juneau resident Forrest E. Shepard, 38, died March 20, 2003, at his home in Juneau.

Jim E. Cashen
Lifelong Juneau resident Jim E. Cashen, 40, died March 23, 2003, while on business in Las Vegas, Nev.

My Turn: Trouble right here and it begins with 'G'
We have a government that we need to be afraid of. All in the name of war and security we citizens of this great country have been lied to and have had our democracy and freedom taken away. The U.S.. Patriot Act has done that and Congress is not willing to give us back our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights - afraid to go against George W., even though George W. and each member of Congress pledged to uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights when they took office. They have not done so.

My Turn: Several questions for Mr. McGonegal
OK, Pat, now its my turn. I congratulate you on at least making an attempt to do your research before you speak (The moral conundrums of attacking Iraq, Empire, March 30). On that note I ask you to do more. Here are the questions I would like you to take time to research.

My Turn: It's time we offered support for minimum-wage earners
Whatever our individual life circumstances may be and wherever we may find ourselves on the economic ladder, it's probably safe to assume most of us realize our income doesn't stretch as far as it used to. What may have been considered a decent wage and the beginnings of a prosperous annual family budget just a few short years ago may mean the bare necessities being met today.

My Turn: Still reason to speak up
In reference to Mr. Harben's letter to the editor of March 25, I would like to clarify a few things: Protesting this illegal war is called dissent and the last time I checked one could still do so, though I have my doubts about how long we will be able to continue to have this basic freedom so dear to us all. There is a long history of dissent in this country - much of it justified - the Mexican War, the Civil War on both sides, the Spanish-American War and Vietnam, to name a few.

Midnight Sun boys go 3-1-1 in Ariz.
The Juneau Midnight Suns baseball team closed out its preseason road trip to the Flying Dog Invitational in Peoria, Ariz., last week with a pair of come-from-behind victories over the Jesuit Crusaders of Portland, Ore., and the Fairview Knights of Boulder, Colo. The two victories gave the Midnight Suns a 3-1-1 record for the trip, with the only loss coming to the Heritage Eagles of Littleton, Colo., the top-ranked Class 5A team in Colorado in the preseason poll run by the Rocky Mountain News.

Slope stylin'
Last year, Chauncey Sorenson spent most of his winter in the Lower 48 competing in slopestyle snowboarding events. This winter, a lack of funds kept Sorenson home in Juneau working at a pizza parlor, so he jumped at the chance to compete when Eaglecrest Ski Area decided to host its 'Adios, El Niño' slopestyle ski and snowboard competition on Sunday. Sorenson was able to put his experience competing in the Lower 48 to use, dominating the inaugural slopestyle event at Eaglecrest.

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

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

Alaskans shut out of medals at Junior Olympics ski meet
Alaska Division skiers were shut out of the medals during two Western Region Junior Olympic ski meets that ended last week - for J-1/J-2 skiers at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., and for J-3 skiers at Big Sky Resort, Mont. The best performance of the week by an Alaskan came in a downhill training run at the J-1/J-2 meet, which Juneau Ski Club member Mark Harmon won on March 18. Harmon posted a time of 1 minute, 34.65 seconds to beat Danny Lear of the Far West Division (California) by more than a full second. Lear's time was 1:36.23. Richard Isett of Juneau took 12th place in the training run at 1:37.94.

Canada considers lifting ban on B.C. offshore drilling
ANCHORAGE - The Canadian government is planning to hold public hearings and conduct a scientific review that could reopen offshore oil and gas drilling along the British Columbia coast. The decision is good news to economic development boosters, particularly in the province's northern reaches near the border with Alaska.

Photo: Training accident
Sitka Police Chief Bob Gorder looks at an overturned Public Safety Academy patrol car from his inflatable boat Sunday on Japonski Island in Sitka. A state trooper instructor drove the car over the embankment while demonstrating a high-speed maneuver.

Sealaska seeks title to remaining ANCSA land
ANCHORAGE - Sealaska Corp. is seeking title to the remaining forest it's owed under the decades-old Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The Juneau-based regional corporation is working with the federal Bureau of Land Management to figure out exactly how much land it's entitled to.

Texas firm's exploratory wells yield mixed results
ANCHORAGE - The first round of exploratory drilling on the North Slope by a Dallas-based oil company has yielded mixed results. Pioneer Natural Resources Co. said Monday all three wells it drilled in shallow water northwest of the Kuparuk oil field struck sandstone filled with oil but the sands were "too thin to be considered commercial."

Bill would delay driver's licenses for teenagers
Alaska teenagers ready to hit the road with their first unrestricted driver's license would have to wait an extra year under a bill under consideration by the Legislature. The graduated driver's license bill by Juneau Republican Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch establishes a three-tiered system for when, where and with whom teens can drive.

Alaska Railroad reports 2002 as profitable year
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Railroad says 2002 was a profitable year despite a drop in revenue.

Alaska's export revenue increases in 2002
ANCHORAGE - Alaska's export revenue for 2002 increased by $100 million over the previous year, with the state's two largest exports - minerals and seafood - showing gains. Exports as a whole saw an increase of 4 percent over 2001, rising from $2.4 billion to $2.5 billion, said Mark Edwards, an economist with the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

Infant murder trial begins in Ketchikan
KETCHIKAN - A Ketchikan teenager is on trial for the death of his girlfriend's infant son last year. Opening statements were presented Tuesday in the case against 17-year-old Josh Rowden, charged as an adult with first- and second-degree murder and manslaughter in the April 2002 death of 7-week-old Adrian Fackrell.

State Briefs
Murkowski declares Southcentral disaster; Soldotna restaurants go smoke-free; Funeral planned for Anchorage brothers; Air France Cargo pulls out of Fairbanks, bypassing Alaska; Congressional delegation announces new grants to Alaska; Grant to provide greater access to museum collections

Sen. Stevens talks education
U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens said he'll push for establishing regional learning centers and a statewide education standards system to help put Alaska in compliance with federal education reform laws. In an address to the state Legislature on Monday, Stevens said the No Child Left Behind Act passed by Congress in 2001 poses problems for schools in rural Alaska that have few teachers and are in communities not connected by roads.

Begich leads Wuerch in race for Anchorage mayor; runoff is expected
ANCHORAGE - Former Assembly member Mark Begich was the top vote-getter in Tuesday's mayoral election in Anchorage, but whether he can avoid a runoff remains to be seen. Begich had a significant lead over incumbent Mayor George Wuerch and former Mayor Rick Mystrom in a field of 11 candidates.

Sponsor says lobbying law to undergo alteration
The sponsor of a bill to relax the state's lobbying law says he will consider the recommendations of the agency that oversees lobbying. Sen. Ralph Seekins, a Fairbanks Republican, said he plans to offer an amendment to the measure at a later hearing. Seekins is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which heard testimony on the bill Monday.

State Briefs
Southeast chinook salmon quota increased; Auke Bay traffic meeting Thursday; House passes PFD bill broadening eligibility; Senate OKs teacher housing bill; Back-to-back quakes jolt Interior; Three teens accused of setting fire at Palmer dairy complex; Woman charged with bringing alcohol to Anaktuvuk Pass

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