Business needs time to steep
Erika Merklin's business, Alaska SuperNatural Teas, doesn't quite exist yet - except in her head. But she's still full steam ahead. Merklin has been working hard for nearly two years to bring her dreams to fruition in Haines. For example, she has put together a roster of personal success coaches, one of whom is fellow Haines resident Bill Finlay of SeaOtter Woodworks. She regularly sits down with Finlay to discuss marketing plans.

Business Briefs
Alaskan Brewing releases Summer Ale; Gov. seeks nominations for exporter awards; Boat show May 20-21 at mall; Free yoga classes available; Food, merchandise permits; Put a photo on your cake; Beginning drawing scheduled; Salon offers permanent makeup; Celebrating American Home Week; McDonald's boating safety program honored; Alaska Visitor Industry plans charity walk; Ratcheting up kids' cruises

Business Profile: Kara Altman
Title and company: Kara Altman is sole proprietor of Kara's Cruise and Travel. "I love working at home," Altman said. "It's so much more relaxing than in an office." Kara's Cruise and Travel was founded a year ago, but she has been a travel agent since 1988.

What to look at when you're looking at a boat
Mileage, age and plans for use are all factors to consider when buying a boat, according to local sales and repair businesses.This is a good time of year to think about purchase options, as "for sale" signs are appearing on boats around town and Nugget Mall's used boat sale is set for April 20 and 21. "The number one thing to be sure about (when purchasing a boat) is safety," said Darin Sepel, the son in Sepel & Son Marine Surveying Inc. "That always comes first."

Stamp ceremony
April 4 was a special treat for stamp collectors. Juneau was one of 50 state capitals chosen for the first day sale of the "Greetings from America" stamps. A special program with a postmarked copy of the "Greetings from Alaska" stamp was given to those people in attendance at Centennial Hall. Similar ceremonies were held in the other 49 capitals and in New York City in conjunction with a stamp show.

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.

Corrosion of evil
Last Sunday most of us were disturbed to read of the wide distribution of hate literature here in Juneau. But why are we so surprised?A banner displayed at the high school held Christians to ridicule and contempt. Now the banner's creator has become a cause celebre for the ACLU.

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."

No room for hate
In regards to the National Alliance and their fellow hate groups, please go away! Maybe you could use all your energy to do a little good in the world. Help some kids, pick up some trash, something positive. Alaskans have enough on their plates making a living and feeding a family.

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

Trust in yourselves
We as a community must stand against groups such as the National Alliance that we find among us and elsewhere. You are not wanted here to preach your hate and violence.

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.

Bon voyage
Mayor Smith should travel to Vancouver with her "fact-finding" appointees and stay there, hence the necessity of such frivolity to proceed at the expence of taxpayers could conceivably bear some merit.

Support tolerance, truth
Kudos to the Juneau Empire and Melanie Plenda for the informative article in the April 7 paper about the recent distribution of hate mail in Juneau and other Alaska communities by the National Alliance. I also appreciate the swift reaction by Juneau residents to make it clear that this community will not tolerate this kind of ugly, hateful, racist, neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic propaganda. It is sickening to think of hate groups like this targeting Alaska for recruitment of new members.

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.

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

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.

Local Briefs
School board reschedules meeting; UAS Sitka director resigning

Photo: Trail brush-up
Deanna MacPhail of the Juneau Audubon Society clears brush from the airport dike trail Tuesday. Trail Mix and volunteers are assisting the Juneau Airport with the work, which is intended to provide room for emergency vehicles that use the road, according to airport manager Allan Heese.

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.

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

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

Commission OKs new tourist mall in slide zone
The Juneau Planning Commission said Tuesday night that plans to build a new tourist mall in a severe landslide hazard zone on South Franklin Street are safe enough to give developers the go-ahead. But some nearby residents argued safe enough isn't good enough and said they will try to halt construction. In a 6-1 vote, the Planning Commission approved a request for a hillside endorsement and an allowable-use permit from developers Steve Landvik and Trucano Construction, also known as Trucano/Landvik.

Boats at 'Boneyard beach' burned
Juneau Harbor Department workers did some spring cleaning at the "boneyard beach" below the Thane Road campground on Monday, torching a pile of abandoned boats that littered the area for decades."Why now? Well, it's been an eyesore," said Harbormaster Chuck Wescott, who supervised the burn. "I've lived here since '78 and some boats have been there that long."

Man gets 2 years for 2 sex crimes
A Juneau man who last year sexually assaulted an unconscious woman and sexually abused a 15-year-old girl will spend slightly more than two years in prison for his crimes.

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.

Juneau's Penske Auto Center shuts down
CHICAGO - Kmart reached an agreement with business partner Penske Tuesday on how best to shut down the company's auto service centers at more than 550 Kmart locations. Penske closed its auto centers over the weekend despite efforts by Kmart, including a temporary restraining order issued Saturday by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan Pierson Sonderby that attorneys said came too late.

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

U.S. social workers captured by Taliban to speak in Pillars series
An astronaut, an Olympic gold medal winner, imprisoned relief workers and one of the youngest top gun pilots in American history will share their experiences with Juneau residents this spring.The Juneau Glacier Valley Rotary Club's annual Pillars of American Freedom speaker series starts April 17 with Capt. Eugene Cernan, commander of the final Apollo mission. He spoke in Juneau in 1992, the first year of the lecture series, according to Lorene Kappler, who helped organize this year's event.

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

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.

Pet Of the Week
Meet Booboo. She is spayed and declawed. Booboo is a beautiful short hair black cat who has a distinctive kinky tail. She likes to play with adults rather than children.

Military News
Walsh completes naval training program; Hall graduates from air traffic controller school; Reynolds graduates from Army basic training

Pre-planning flights essential to safety
Is it spring yet? I feel sure that most pilots are champing at the bit to begin flying. The only place that experiences good flying weather in winter is the southwestern portion of the United States. But then again the summer months there can be a bit warm for comfort, especially in a small airplane.

Master Gardeners schedule conference
The Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners Association is gearing up for its statewide gardening conference, May 2 to 4."We hold this conference once every two years, with cooperation from the Alaska Cooperative Extension Service," said Elizabeth Cuadra, vice president of the Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners. "Our experience has been that people come from all over Alaska, nearby parts of Canada and some from the Pacific Northwest.

Thank You
...for all the help; ..for the support

Playing with the plants provides hours of fun and wonder
Warm days, retreating snow levels, and returning birds have us all buzzing with excitement. There are crocus blooming in protected areas, and many people say they have tulips up in their beds already. This fever to get going has us raking, cleaning, and trimming up winter damaged branches. I have even seen some ambitious soul rototilling up his snowbanks in an effort to make them go away faster.

Randy Eichholtz
Juneau resident Randy Eichholtz, 53, died March 28, 2002, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

My Turn: Man of many hats likes Marine Park expansion
Expand Marine Park. Tough decision? Not really. Let's examine this from the personal perspective of a fella who wears a bunch of hats. Lest anyone be offended, please bear in mind that I'm just expressing my personal opinion and not the opinion of any of these fine organizations I belong to.

My Turn: VPSO program is complicated
As a longtime resident of Tenakee Springs and a city council member, I am disappointed and puzzled by the Empire's recent articles regarding Tenakee Springs and the Village Public Safety Officer program. How could the "Voice of Alaska's Capital City" show so much interest in the administration of a town with 104 people without addressing the one aspect of the issue with statewide implications?

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.

Fairchild heading to Eastern Oregon
When most football players earn their state's top high school awards, they start to dream of playing for one of the large football factory colleges.But Juneau-Douglas High School senior quarterback Brett Fairchild, who earned Alaska's offensive player of the year award last fall, has chosen a different route.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Bill expands power to punish crimes on ferries
The alleged sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl on a state ferry last year that was thrown out of court on a technicality has led to swift action by lawmakers in the Capitol.The attack allegedly occurred on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry Matanuska traveling from Bellingham, Wash., to Ketchikan, while the vessel was in Canadian waters.

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

State briefs
National team to investigate Anchorage hotel fire; 'Fiscal realities' reduce penalties in DWI bill; Senate fast-track bill gives Redistricting Board $50,000

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.

Legislators consider staffer immunity
A bill aimed at ensuring civil immunity for legislative staff got sidetracked today when Democrats in the House questioned whether it might go too far in protecting both lawmakers and employees from the consequences of their actions.

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.

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.

Bill halts PFDs for ex-cons
Criminals would temporarily and in some cases permanently lose their eligibility for permanent fund dividend checks under a bill approved by the Senate on Tuesday. The measure now goes to the House.PFD checks would instead be used to compensate victims of violent crime.

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.

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