What a blessing
Warm sun on my back, the water's calm, not a breeze as I paddle in a T-shirt in late March; amazing. I'm out in Fritz Cove, only a mile from the North Douglas launch, when the silence is suddenly broken by a powerful vapored exhale, so close my heart nearly leaps out of my chest. A look over my shoulder confirms my immediate realization that there is a whale extremely close to me. So close that I could reach out with my paddle and pretty well tap her on the skull.

Tourism plan flawed
I have just read the tourism draft and I must say I was surprised and alarmed with it. It would appear Egret did not take the time to find out exactly what a CVB did or how it markets the community.

Hillside slide dangers
A frightening development has occurred in the Planning Commission deliberations regarding South Franklin Street. They are going to discuss it again this Tuesday night. There is something they do not understand which must be clarified.

Express outrage, not indifference
I want to thank Melinda Plenda and the Juneau Empire for following up on the story about the National Alliance. While it sounded as if there wasn't much we could do, I don't think there are many of us who want to accept that.

Frivolous lawsuit
Sounding like a young Bill Clinton, Joseph Frederick says he is fighting for free speech, but that his words are meaningless. Is this the "creative intelligence" one writer thought we should admire and reward? Perhaps some kind reader will donate a copy of "Hooked on Phonics" and a Webster's dictionary to young Mr. Frederick so that he might discover the meaning of the words he is fighting so valiantly to defend saying.

Dredging issues
Juneau is dredging 2,700 cubic yards of bottom sediment from the seaward side of the cruise ship dock. This removes more than 4,700 tons of mass from the slope below the pilings.

No policy shortage
After trouble on a Capital Transit bus, I was told something different about city bus policies. On Jan. 11, after dropping in my money and turning to sit down, the driver claimed I hadn't put in the money. The till still held the quarters but the driver wouldn't relent, so I paid again. It may seem trivial, but I felt humiliated and discriminated against.

With friends like this
I would like to applaud the residents of Juneau. To have Rep. Joe Green call us "among the most hospitable, helpful and friendly" people he has ever met is truly something to be proud of. He calls our city "a state capital to be envied."

Spreading hate
I am very disturbed to hear about this type of crap being distributed in Juneau. Thank you very much for your article.

Subsistence invites votes of emotion
Once again our conscientious, diligent governor is calling for a special session of our fractious and truly representative Legislature to address the subsistence issue. I would like to see some brave soul talk about just how this will affect the management of fish and game.

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

Banner case heading to court
Joseph Frederick, the Juneau-Douglas High School senior suspended in January for displaying a banner reading "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" during the Olympic Torch Relay, is taking his case to court with the support of the Alaska Civil Liberties Union.

Overturned kayaker recovering from hypothermia after rescue
A 25-year-old kayaker is home from the hospital and in good condition today after flipping out of her kayak into the frigid waters of Auke Bay on Saturday.

Airport grapples with new security order
The Juneau Airport is scrambling to respond to a federal order directing it to provide a law enforcement officer at its passenger screening checkpoint.The new federal Transportation Security Administration issued a directive last week mandating that airports nationwide with commercial air service provide sworn, deputized police officers at security checkpoints. The officers will replace the National Guard until federal law enforcement officers are hired, according to TSA spokesman Paul Turk.

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

Photo: A rainbow of sound
The Alaska Folk Festival, in its 28th year, is the state's biggest talent show. Musicians play 15-minute sets in a series of free concerts starting at 7 p.m. evenings through Sunday. Matinee concerts play from noon until 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, all at Centennial Hall.

KJUD workers leave jobs to protest cutbacks
Three of four staffers at local television station KJUD, Channel 8, are leaving to protest what they say is a waning interest in Juneau by the station's Anchorage-based parent company. The company, ABC SuperStation, says it remains committed to Juneau.

Third armed robbery suspect charged
A Petersburg man is in prison today on charges alleging he was one of three armed, mask-clad men who stormed a Juneau couple's home last year, demanding money. He also was charged in a second armed robbery.Cameron O'neil, 22, was indicted by a Juneau grand jury March 29 on two counts of first-degree felony robbery and two counts of first-degree felony burglary.

Spring flight
One of a "kettle" of about 10 eagles soars Sunday near the Douglas Bridge. The birds take advantage of thermals, rising currents of warm air and updrafts generated by valley edges or mountain slopes.

Assembly hears scorn and praise for waterfront project
The city should either propel plans to redesign the Steamship Wharf-Marine Park area or shelve the project, residents told Assembly members Monday night.Nearly 30 people testified about the drawbacks and benefits of a plan that will add 12 bus spaces, a convertible pedestrian plaza and green space to the area between the downtown library and Merchants Wharf. About 80 people packed Assembly chambers for the hearing.

Around Town
Listings of local nonprofit events.

Due to a reporter's error, a birth announcement in the FYI section of Friday's Empire misspelled one of the parents' names.

Group: Cut trees to save salmon
A citizens group and local foresters want to thin the woods near part of Duck Creek to create better conditions for spawning salmon. Reaction from nearby residents is mixed.

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


Henry C. Brown
A 40-day party, a traditional celebration held 40 days following a death, will be held for Henry C. "Chuck" Brown at 5 p.m. today, April 8, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Juneau.

Genoveva 'Eving' Subeldia
Juneau resident Genoveva "Eving" Subeldia, 73, died April 7, 2002, in Juneau.

SE economy offers opportunities
As we look ahead to the future of our region there is cause for concern, and a need to take action. Southeast Alaska is falling behind on the economic front. We are trailing the state and the nation in per capita income and total personal income growth.

More voices join in Wharf/Park project debate
The Assembly chambers were filled to overflowing last night with citizens primarily interested in the Alaska Steamship Wharf/Marine Park project. The dialogue was civil and productive with many good ideas surfacing throughout the discussion. Nearly 40 people testified with the yea sayers and naysayers in an even balance with a half-dozen testifiers taking a moderate to favorable position on the project depending upon whether their specific suggestions would be included in the final concept.

Selling Alaska land will help solve gap in state budget
The state of Alaska owns more land than the other 49 states combined, 104 million acres versus 92 million acres. It is the second largest landowner in the United States, second only to the federal government.

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

Fischer fourth in Howard Dean Memorial slalom
Sarah Fischer of Juneau took fourth place Sunday in the Howard Dean Memorial slalom race held at Sun Valley, Idaho.Sunday's race concluded a week-long series of races that were part of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association's Western Region/FIS Spring Series. Many of the skiers competing in the races are athletes in their late teens and early 20s competing at the level just below the World Cup.

Glacier 10K and one-mile results
Results from the Southeast Road Runners club's Glacier 10K and one-mile races, held near Mendenhall Glacier on Saturday.

Coed Volleyball
Standings from the Juneau Department of Parks and Recreation's 2002 coed volleyball league, through matches of April 5.

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

Study finds Alaska Air tops in passenger service
Airlines' efforts to bring back passengers after the Sept. 11 attacks are being helped by more on-time arrivals, less luggage lost and fewer travelers being bumped, said a study released Monday.

Bill seeks limit on cell phones
A bill that aims to cut down on traffic accidents by prohibiting drivers from talking on cell phones without the use of a hands-free device goes before the House Judiciary Committee today. Some say the measure is unnecessary.

Mini-golf brings in big donations
About $75,000 was raised Saturday in the Bettye Fahrenkamp Legislative Putting Tournament at the Capitol.

Partisan split on hiring freeze
Support for a state hiring freeze is growing in the Legislature, even while critics dismiss it as a gimmick that actually would cost the state in lost federal money and economic development.

Cook Inlet field shows more promise for oil
The fourth exploration well drilled by Forest Oil Corp. from its Cook Inlet platform indicates the Redoubt Shoal field holds 100 million barrels of recoverable oil, the company says.

Legislative briefs
Bill to limit cell phone use receives little support; Time-change plan advances in House; Abortion-reporting bill passes House; Kohring bill would use trail money for roads

Senate GOP may not risk losing ANWR vote
WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans are having trouble getting a majority to support drilling in an Arctic wildlife refuge, although the administration hopes Iraq's call for an oil embargo may rally lawmakers to the pro-drilling side.

Halford says avalanche funds not high priority
ANCHORAGE - A proposal to fund an avalanche safety program supported by Gov. Tony Knowles isn't likely to make it through the Legislature, according to Senate President Rick Halford. Eight people have died in avalanches in Alaska this winter. Four were in areas of Southcentral Alaska that would be monitored by a proposed avalanche warning program.

Correction: Jennifer Loesch
Due to incorrect information provided to the Empire, the name of University of Alaska Southeast student Jennifer Loesch was misspelled in an article in Friday's Empire.

Park Service buys mine inholding
The National Park Service has acquired the Chititu Mine, a 907-acre private parcel in the heart of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, the agency announced.

British adventurers abandon quest to cross Bering Strait
A pair of British adventurers have abandoned their attempt to drive an extensively modified snowcat across the Bering Strait this year, according to a producer for a cable television network who accompanied the expedition.

Leader of criminal prosecutors quits
ANCHORAGE - The deputy attorney general who supervises criminal prosecution in Alaska resigned Monday in the wake of two controversial cases and scathing criticism of her office by two judges.

Scientists report findings about ancient Alaska
From the Bering Sea to the rain forests of Southeast, archaeologists dug and sifted through thousands of years of Alaska history last year, uncovering a past more complex and varied than once thought.

Musher killed by runaway snowmobile
Veteran musher and outdoorsman Fred Jordan of Tanana was killed after he was struck by a runaway, driverless snowmachine early Sunday morning.

Trapper kills last wolf in Denali's Sanctuary pack
ANCHORAGE - A trapper killed the last known surviving wolf of the Sanctuary wolf pack that roamed Denali National Park. The incident has fanned an old dispute over whether the park needs a larger no-hunting and no-trapping buffer to protect wolves.

Kenai give pink slips to 32 teachers
Thirty-two Kenai Peninsula Borough School District teachers got pink slips last week.

Anchorage fish plant lays off half its workers
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Seafood International has laid off half its work force since January, but company officials say many of the cuts may be only temporary, pending several prospective sales orders. At the first of the year ASI was running three shifts and employed about 170 workers, production manager Dale Girvan said at the time.

Forest council seeks members
The nonprofit Alaska Community Forest Council is accepting applications for new members. The council works to improve the qualify of life in communities by caring for urban and community trees and forests. It also supports tree plantings and advises the state Division of Forestry.

Alaska tourism outlook brightens
ANCHORAGE - A new survey indicates the tourism season ahead may not be as bleak as was anticipated last fall. The Alaska Travel Industry Association released a late-March survey of its members Monday, showing an overall 13 percent drop in tourism bookings compared with a year ago.

Photo: Dance celebration
Natalia Smith, 88, performs with the Hooper Bay Traditional Dancers at the 13th annual Camai Dance Festival on Saturday in Bethel.

New tunnel not drawing expected visitors
The project to connect Whittier to Alaska's road system has failed to bring the large increase in visitors state transportation officials expected.

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