Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Protesters, loggers face off over Homer clear-cut
HOMER - Police were forced to separate demonstrators and loggers after a Native corporation went ahead with clear-cutting on 14 acres in the heart of Homer. The disturbance occurred Sunday as Cook Inlet Region Inc. of Anchorage began cutting trees off the land in response to city officials considering a new rule regulating land clearing.

Supreme Court decision could affect Exxon Valdez judgment
FAIRBANKS - A U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting the size of jury awards in civil cases could affect the $5 billion judgment still pending in the Exxon Valdez oil spill case. Dave Oesting is an Anchorage attorney representing more than 30,000 commercial fishermen, Natives and other people hoping someday to collect the Exxon award. He said the ruling was worrisome but ultimately might not factor very heavily.

From the front
I'm writing from the sands of southern Iraq. Just wanted to take a minute to tell your readers about some special people back home in Juneau who have been supporting this Marine Lt. Col. throughout her tour of duty with Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Among our ancestors
As I was walking home today, I caught something in the corner of my eye shining in the morning sun. I was passed Lawson Creek and almost to Crow Hill, and although I walk this route regularly, I had never noticed this before. I cut into the trees above Gastineau Channel and realized I had stumbled upon an old Russian graveyard.

No contradiction
There is no contradiction between being anti-war and supporting the troops. The U.S. military fights to protect our freedom. An anti-war protest does not contradict the primary goal of troops (to protect our freedom), only the means by which it is accomplished (violence). Our troops actually fight for protesters'' right to protest.

On to Damascus
To all those whiners and complainers who've been wringing their hands about the destruction over the weekend of the National Museum and National Library of Iraq - hey, there's a war on, and bad stuff happens during a war. Sure, it was a war that didn't have to happen, but we won, so quit bellyaching.

7,000 years of antiquities
The New York Times on Saturday quoted Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld as saying: "It's untidy. And freedom's untidy. And free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things."

Happy camper
To tell you the truth, I don't care when I get my Empire. I like it either way. It is nice to wake up in the mornings and have coffee and read the paper as it makes my day.

Correction
Due to a reporter's error, the day given for the Capital City Business Symposium in an article in Monday's Empire business section was incorrect.

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

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

Panel OKs Patriot Act resolution
The Juneau Assembly's Human Resources Committee on Monday approved a resolution that asks Congress to review the USA Patriot Act and related counterterrorism legislation for consistency with fundamental civil liberties. The resolution, requested by Juneau Citizens for the Defense of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, will go to the full Assembly on April 28.

Photo: Spring fishing
Buz Melin casts a flyline off the rocks at False Outer Point on Monday morning as fishermen troll nearby. The spring weather is drawing fishermen out, but Melin and fishing friend Dom Walsh reported seeing no fish Monday.

Planning Commission imposes 50-plus conditions on golf course
More than 50 conditions the Juneau Planning Commission imposed on the golf course slated for West Douglas aim to answer residents' and environmental agencies' concerns. The conditions were laid out in a staff report issued by the city Community Development Department and approved April 8 at the commission's regular meeting. They cover the preconstruction, construction, operation and maintenance of the project. They also cover the wildlife, habitat and pest management; parking and lighting; hillside development; and bonding. The conditions also contain two advisory sections addressed to the Juneau Assembly.

Photos: Skim boarding at Sandy Beach
Kevin Almlie skim boards along the waterline Monday afternoon at Sandy Beach. Almlie and his sister, Traci, discovered skim boarding on a trip to Mexico and are now making boards for their friends to enjoy the sport.

Photo: 1968 crash
A crashed Grumman Goose airplane is loaded on a barge in front of the Alaska Coastal Airlines hanger in 1968.

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

Next step for golf course?
The Juneau Planning Commission's approval last week of a West Douglas golf course signaled the start of yet more land negotiations. The commission last week unanimously approved a conditional-use permit for an 18-hole, 200-acre golf course at the end of North Douglas Highway. Nonprofit developer Totem Creek Inc. has wrangled with some government agencies and members of the public for several years about the project's design and environmental impacts.

Van's politics draw unwelcome attention
A corporate spokesman for Fred Meyer says ex-Marine Kenn Magowan is welcome to bring his van - with its political and anti-war slogans painted on the side - to the Juneau store's parking lot and to shop inside the store anytime. Magowan says that's not the impression he got the last time he parked the van in the lot and went inside with a friend to shop.

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

Officials will rethink new high school timeline
City and school officials planning the Mendenhall Valley high school said Tuesday they will decide by mid-February whether construction would start in summer 2004, aiming toward an August 2006 opening. A recent professional review of the project described the design and construction schedule as tight but doable. But City Engineer Roger Healy said city staff felt it was "overly optimistic" to finish the school by summer 2006.

Hostage-taker gets month in jail, counseling
A man who held a church full of people hostage two years ago and recently threatened to leave a trail of "death and destruction from Juneau to Missouri" will spend one month in prison and up to one year in counseling. James Onstott, 63, was found guilty last week of violating the conditions of his probation, a misdemeanor. A second probation violation charge and a misdemeanor harassment charge were dismissed.

Pet of the week
Portabella is a bit portly because of her laid-back lifestyle. This friendly, spayed female cat is a couch potato who loves to lounge about with aperson or two.

School program helps fend off bullying
When young children at Gastineau Elementary are by themselves on the playground, they're likely to see a friendly face with an offer to play tag. School counselor Victoria Porter, who created the Pals program in October, said it's children who are alone who get bullied. Under Pals, students in grades three, four and five offer to play with children from kindergarten to grade two. They also help young children in the lunchroom.

A guide to home heating-oil fuel tanks
Fuel oil leaks can be messy, smelly, and hard on the environment and on the wallet. Every year the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation responds to dozens of home heating-oil fuel tank spills. In the past five years over 11,000 gallons of home heating oil have been released into the environment, maybe more.

MS walk this weekend
Juneau residents will walk or run this weekend to help raise money to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis.

Interim pastor Jedele and wife to leave Juneau
Faith Lutheran Church interim pastor Charles Jedele and his wife Ann are set to return to their home in Colorado on Monday. The Rev. Jedele has been a Lutheran school principal for 40 years, and his wife an elementary school teacher. They have served as teachers in China and in Bethlehem, in the West Bank. This fall they will travel to Brazil to work in an orphanage, a school and a home for seniors.

Duane Vincent Buell
Juneau resident Duane Vincent Buell, 59, died April 7, 2003, at his home in Juneau.

Eleanor Leslie Kaye
Juneau resident Eleanor Leslie Kaye, 42, died April 11, 2003, in Juneau.

Jonathan Scott Reyes
Juneau resident Jonathan Scott Reyes, 18 months, died April 11, 2003, in Juneau.

Elwood Kenneth Larsen
Former Juneau resident Elwood "Ken" Kenneth Larsen, 78, died April 6, 2003, at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

My Turn: Here are some reasons to love this town
We had just left the Juneau-Douglas dance team show last Thursday, and had gone less than a block before we looked at each other and said, "This is a great town!" It is so obvious at events like that one - an evening dedicated to the dance team that drew a completely full house. We were squeezed in among a bunch of high school kids, but right behind us were full families, and up a little higher were some older folks who never miss a high school event no matter what. Cheek to jowl, everybody excitedly awaiting the evening's performance.

My Turn: Reasons to chase little white ball
I would like to thank Mr. Munro for stereotyping me perfectly and goading me into entering his honorable zone of entertainment, the "letter to the editor" zone.

My Turn: Tourists and the worldwide threat of SARS
By now everyone has heard something about SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. This disease has created worldwide travel alerts and has caused deaths mainly in China and Canada. More cases and related deaths are being reported every day. In the U.S., 116 cases have been reported from Seattle to Florida. SARS is an airborne virus thought to be related to the common cold, has no cure, and is considered a global contagious threat.

My Turn: The cruise industry values health, safety of passengers
While Mr. Mitchell's concerns regarding SARS in the April 15 edition of the Juneau Empire are valid, he is not aware of the many steps the cruise industry is taking to protect the health and safety of its passengers. As an industry that is carrying a great percentage of Alaska tourists, we want to tangibly demonstrate that we are a partner with you and your community. The cruise industry's highest priority is the health and safety of our passengers and crew.

Juneau wrestlers prepare for state at local tourney
Several dozen young wrestlers from Juneau and Sitka faced off last Saturday in a tournament hosted by the Juneau Tornadoes wrestling club. "The tournament ran well," said Tornadoes coach Bob Mahon. "We had a lot of people watching. ... And the big thing is that the kids had a lot of fun."

Juneau swimmers sixth at Jr. Olympics
Juneau's Glacier Swim Club finished in sixth place at the 2003 Speedo-Alaska Swimming Junior Olympics held April 10-13 at Anchorage's Bartlett High School swimming pool. Anchorage's Alaska Pacific Swim Club won the team title with 2,917 points, followed by Northern Lights Swim Club of Anchorage with 2,901.5. Aurora Swim Team of Anchorage took third place with 2,157 points, followed by Midnight Sun Swim Team of Fairbanks at 1,885 points.

Alaska Swimming Junior Olympics
Results from the 2003 Speedo-Alaska Swimming Junior Olympics, held April 10-13 at Anchorage's Bartlett High School swimming pool. The team scores and individual point scores are listed.

Pistons clinch East's top seed by beating Cavs
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Rick Carlisle couldn't watch as his Detroit Pistons won the Eastern Conference. Detroit clinched the No. 1 seed in the East on Monday night, escaping with an 89-88 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers when Smush Parker missed a dunk at the final buzzer.

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

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

Gasoline tax may be limited to road use
A proposal by Gov. Frank Murkowski to raise the gas tax from eight cents to 20 cents a gallon is getting a makeover as it works its way through the state House of Representatives. The proposal, which is expected to raise an additional $41 million annually, already has been amended in the House Transportation Committee by Willow Republican Rep. Bev Masek.

Interior secretary: Limit wilderness areas in Alaska
WASHINGTON - Interior Department Secretary Gale Norton has told the federal Bureau of Land Management to limit its consideration of new wilderness designations for public land in Alaska. "I instruct BLM to consider specific wilderness study proposals in Alaska, as part of any new or revised resource management planning effort, if the proposals have broad support among the state and federal elected officials representing Alaska," Norton said. "Absent this broad support, wilderness should not be considered in these resource management plans."

Begich avoids mayoral runoff in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - A count of 4,505 absentee and questioned ballots from the April 1 mayoral election Monday resulted in former Assemblyman Mark Begich having 18 votes more than the minimum required to avoid a runoff.

U.S. Congress backs organic wild fish label; Stevens adds rider to war spending bill
ANCHORAGE - Congress has approved a provision to allow wild seafood to be labeled as organic. Sen. Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican, added the rider to the $79 billion war spending bill approved last week. It directs the agriculture secretary to allow wild seafood to be certified and labeled as organic.

Senator asks Congress for funds to kick-start intertie
Developers working on the Southeast Intertie Project want to begin planning the power transmission lines from Petersburg to Kake and continue construction of the line that will stretch from Juneau to Hoonah, but they need more money. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski requested $15.5 million in federal funds for those projects last week, but it's unlikely the full appropriation will be granted, said Murkowski spokesman Chuck Kleeschulte. "This is a difficult year," Kleeschulte said Monday.

Habitat order takes effect; opponents rally
Gov. Frank Murkowski's executive order shifting the Department of Fish and Game's Habitat Division to the Department of Natural Resources took effect Tuesday. Conservationists marked the date with a protest rally outside the Capitol, and Habitat workers quietly prepared for the shift, which will occur May 1. About three dozen people attended the rally, two in fish costumes and many others holding signs that read: "Fish Don't Vote, But I Do," and "DNR doesn't know fish." Former Fish and Game Commissioners Frank Rue and Carl Rosier, who have vocally opposed the shift, spoke to the crowd, as did Sen. Kim Elton, a Juneau Democrat, and Rep. Les Gara, an Anchorage Democrat.

State Briefs
City approves JAMHI demolition bid; Bill would allow for kids-only fisheries; Union files grievance over Habitat changes; Wildlife viewing fee bill debated in House; Woman injured in crash with three bison; Wasilla man dies in snowmachine crash

APOC overhaul
The government entity that oversees lobbyists and campaign contributions might not be killed by Gov. Frank Murkowski this session, but it could end up keeping watch over larger contributions and looser regulation of lobbyists. The Senate State Affairs Committee on Tuesday passed Senate Bill 119, proposed by Murkowski, that would overhaul regulations imposed by the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

House approves Permanent Fund royalty change
A bill to redirect millions in oil revenues from the permanent fund to state spending passed the House on Tuesday. The measure rolls back a decision made two decades ago by the Legislature to put more oil revenues into the principal of the permanent fund. It would generate millions for the state's general fund budget and have minimal impact on dividend checks, said its sponsor, Rep. Norman Rokeberg, an Anchorage Republican.

State Briefs
Waterfront plan meetings start next week; JDHS musical opens tonight; Permafund trustees push for change; House bill pushes gambling as budget savior; House approves closed meeting provision; Sen. Murkowski gets ethanol exemption for Alaska

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