Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Hypocritical ideas
This is in response to Michael Hekkers' recent My Turn, in which he decries Israel's political and military stances. His My Turn recitation of repression, land grabbing, military violence and economic devastation of the Palestinian people evoked from me parallel thoughts of what Caucasians have done (and still do) to the indigenous peoples of Alaska.

Who comes up with this stuff?
I am of the same opinion as Rob Bosworth in regards to the closure of Glacier Bay. The state has absolute rights to any navigable water within its borders. To force out a handful of fishermen, whose impact on the environment is minimal, to make way for ever more cruise ships, whose impact is obvious, borders on the unbelievable.

Most unfortunate
The recent spate of anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian letters in the Empire is most unfortunate. What these writers fail to appreciate is that the Arafat-led, Iranian-backed suicide bombers are targeting young Jews, at prayer, and at play for indiscriminate slaughter. Israel, in self-defense (like the U.S. in Afghanistan), seeks to eliminate terrorists and their infrastructure. Israelis are not indiscriminately slaughtering innocent Palestinians in mosques.

Strength in diversity
Marc Moran's Sunday letter at least acknowledges that his group, the National Alliance, is a hate group. We can all agree on that point. However, the rest of his logic fails. He clearly demonstrates that he is the bigot, the hater and the demonizer.

Political muscle vs. a public process
Port fees and public process are undergoing some behind-the-scenes slight of hand. Ever since the $0.20 tonnage fee expired Jan. 1, there has been much discussion about how and how much to collect from the cruise ships using Juneau's harbor. There have been at least four CBJ public meetings this past week regarding the issue of port fees vs. project-based funding. This includes the Port Dues Subcommittee, Docks and Harbor Committee, Policy and Planning Committee and, Monday night, the Assembly.

A different problem
In Molly Kemp's dissertation in the April 10 Empire article about the Tenakee Village public safety officer, she asked the wrong question.

T-shirts and trinkets
Sunday I saw my first tourist. She was an attractive middle-aged woman walking near the Governor's Mansion. How did I know what she was? Easy, she was dressed to the teeth, heavily tanned, Southern California-style and wearing a Gortex mountaineer's jacket, gloves with a gossamer hair-scarf blowing in the persistent wind.

Capital creep sources
In a recent My Turn, Anchorage Rep. Joe Green offered Juneau residents a message about access to the Capital City. Rep. Green has always been forthright about his support to move the Legislature. His views reflect those of his Anchorage constituents. I am one of his constituents.

Feds to buy possibly worthless fishing permits
The National Park Service will spend about $700,000 to retire 10 limited-entry permits in the crowded Southeast tanner crab pot fishery. Critics say the permits are worthless and many will be revoked soon by the state anyway.

Buddhist scholar Rita Gross to speak
Feminism and Buddhism will the focus of two presentations this week by visiting scholar Rita Gross.

Downtown blaze destroys clan house
The third fire in nine months to sweep through an abandoned downtown clan house and homeless haven did not injure the three people trying to keep warm inside Sunday night, police said today.

USPS works overtime to postmark taxes
The U.S. Postal Service will offer extended services for last-minute taxpayers tonight, the deadline to get income taxes postmarked.

UAS trying to make taxes less taxing
Juneau residents having difficulties preparing their federal tax forms can turn to the 14 local tax preparers listed in the phone book. But for those living in Kaltag, Hughes or Chignik Lagoon, the options are much more limited.

City holds transit center workshop
The city is sponsoring a public workshop about a new downtown transit center Tuesday.

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

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

A third of Glacier Bay fishermen denied claims
The National Park Service has turned down more than a third of the people who wanted compensation for commercial fishing closures in Glacier Bay. But the agency expects some successful appeals and says it will pay out the entire $23 million in the compensation fund.

City-cruise line funding compacts on track
The Juneau Assembly will pursue an agreement with the cruise industry to fund the Marine Park-Steamship Wharf project, but is keeping its options open.The Assembly on Monday decided to ask the city manager's office to negotiate a funding agreement with the North West CruiseShip Association for the wharf-park project and report back in a week. A resolution imposing a fee of 20 cents per net ton on cruise ships was tabled until April 29 on a 6-3 vote.

Around Town
Listing of local nonprofit events

Lack of rain spurs electricity shutdown
Alaska Electric Light and Power Co. today began shutting off surplus electricity to some of its customers because of low water levels in the lakes that feed a major hydroelectric plant.The power company made the decision late Monday to interrupt power to 131 residences and 15 commercial and government buildings, including three schools, beginning at 10 a.m. today, said AEL&P spokesman David Stone.

Downtown waterfront project gets go-ahead
The Juneau Assembly on Monday unanimously approved plans to add bus staging, a pedestrian plaza and green space to the Marine Park-Steamship Wharf area downtown.The vote follows weeks of community debate about how the project would affect downtown congestion, businesses, open space, recreation and cultural opportunities.

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

Assembly: Keep strong manager
Juneau Assembly members have decided not to change from a strong manager to a strong mayor form of city government as they continue the search for someone to replace outgoing City Manager Dave Palmer.

Hazel Pearl Virdell Nordenson
Longtime Juneau resident Hazel Nordenson, 84, died April 10, 2002, in Juneau.

Evelyn Jenkins Kurt
Juneau resident Evelyn Jenkins Kurt died April 12, 2002, in Colorado.

Word Of Mouth
Word of Mouth gives readers a forum to express opinions on a variety of issues by telephone. Calls must be limited to one minute. We reserve the right to edit calls for clarity, length and libel.

A nice town with tourism problems
Juneau is a nice town, full of pleasant people. It also has problems. On the scale of livable cities and tourism, it is at a 4, the highest possible negative rating.

In support of the Steamship Wharf/Marine Park project
The following comments were made Monday night by Juneau Assembly member Randy Wanamaker during discussion of the Steamship Wharf/Marine Park project.I speak in favor of the motion (to move forward with the Alaska Steamship Wharf/Marine Park project). First, I want to thank everyone who contacted me to express support, ideas and concerns regarding the project.

Juneau easily matches the uniqueness of Last Frontier
I'm always amazed when someone groans when they tell me they have to go to Juneau as if they were being punished and sent to Siberia.

My Turn: Cut state spending by $1 billion
While enduring the chaotic atmosphere in Juneau, I was compelled to think of where we could further cut spending in government. Liberal newspapers have convinced many that we've cut to the bone and need taxes. This is an example of the Big Lie. We've cut in some areas, but added back a lot more in others. Reducing the rate at which the state expands its tentacles isn't a true cut.

Bears hold on for win
As the final minutes ticked off the clock of Monday afternoon's girls soccer game between the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears and the Colony Knights, things weren't going well for the Crimson Bears.Juneau was down to 10 players after losing one to a red card and the Crimson Bears had lost the momentum with a late goal by the visiting Knights. But Juneau had two things going in its favor -- the Crimson Bears owned the lead and time was ticking off the clock.

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

Hinkley wins twice in state 12-under championships
Christopher Hinkley of Juneau Ski Club won the Super G and giant slalom races in the J-4 age group at the Alaska State 12-Under Ski Championships held March 29-31 at Eaglecrest Ski Area.

Hughes, O'Brien, Jones lead Glacier Swim Club
Paul Hughes of Juneau's Glacier Swim Club was voted Alaska Swimming's Male Swimmer of the Year, while teammates Kyle O'Brien and Kristin Jones combined to set four of the five state records broken during the 2002 Speedo Alaska Swimming State Junior Olympic Championships held Friday through Sunday at Bartlett High School in Anchorage. The trio led Glacier Swim Club to a fourth-place finish in the final team standings.

Juneau Jumpers seventh at world meet
The Juneau Jumpers, competing as one of three Team USA squads, took seventh place in the senior all-girl division at the World Jump Rope Championships held April 4-9 in Ghent, Belgium.

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

Federal biologists study sea otter decline
ANCHORAGE - Federal scientists will be counting the number of Aleutian sea otters over the coming months to determine if they should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Fairbanks borough Assembly passes ethics ordinance
FAIRBANKS - People who work for the Fairbanks North Star Borough will now have to watch their behavior. The borough Assembly passed an ordinance last week that makes the mayor and the 350 borough employees subject to a code of ethics.

House tightens measure on carrying concealed weapon
The state House on Monday closed a potential loophole in a measure to let people from other states carry concealed weapons in Alaska.Members decided Alaskans who don't qualify for a concealed-carry permit here shouldn't be allowed to go to another state, get a permit, then use it to carry concealed firearms in Alaska.

Redistricting board draws up election map
A legislative redistricting plan approved over the weekend makes no new changes to the legislative map for Southeast Alaska.

Measures seek to block link between credit, insurance
Lawmakers aiming to ban what they call unfair discrimination in the insurance industry are facing staunch opposition from lobbyists.And Rep. Harry Crawford, an Anchorage Democrat, says time is running out as the end of the session approaches.

Material in drums still a mystery
The greenish material found in two dozen 55-gallon drums at Fort Greely remains a mystery, but there's no indication they were filled with chemical weapons or hazardous waste.

Concealed weapon bill passes House
Anyone with a permit to carry a concealed weapon in another state could also carry a gun in Alaska under a bill that narrowly passed the House on Friday.

Oil prices chip at budget gap
Higher-than-expected oil prices have trimmed the state's recurring budget deficit but not enough to avert a fiscal meltdown in 2004, according to the spring revenue forecast.

State Briefs
St. Vincent's shelter needs help after sprinkler mishap; House approves jump in driver's license fees; Man hospitalized after parachute fails

Man accused of five rapes after DNA matching
ANCHORAGE - After matching three DNA samples, police have accused a former Anchorage resident of raping five women since 1996. Authorities are now looking at several other cases to see if John Hunter was involved. The five alleged victims are from Anchorage.

Strip club closes
A controversial strip club in Unalaska abruptly closed its doors after only three months of operation.

Natural gas line bill threatens initiative
The chief sponsor of an initiative on an all-Alaska natural gas pipeline says he will file a lawsuit if it's taken off the November election ballot.Scott Heyworth of Anchorage, who's also a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, takes sharp exception to a legal opinion calling the initiative "substantially the same" as a pending bill by Republican state Rep. Jim Whitaker of Fairbanks. Whitaker's bill for state pipeline ownership doesn't restrict the route to Alaska.

One snowmobiler dies, two rescued
Two snowmobilers survived falling about 70 feet into a crevasse south of Portage on Sunday with minor injuries. The men were trapped a few miles from where an Eagle River man died on Saturday when his machine plunged into a deep, mile-long crevasse.

Hiring freeze on the move in the House
Although concerned about the efficacy and even legality of a legislatively imposed hiring freeze, the House State Affairs Committee this morning advanced a proposed state constitutional amendment that would alter the separation of powers between government branches."I do worry that we will bump up against the federal constitution," said Rep. Hugh Fate, a Fairbanks Republican. "Whether it's the right tool, we'll find out."

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