Slow sales sap SE syrup
Slow sales last year have put a damper this spring's production of Birch Boy birch syrup products near Haines, according to the operation's owners.Daniel and Susan Humphrey, who run Birch Boy Products about 20 miles north of Haines, are not going into full syrup production this year because of a large back stock and the high cost of completing a season.

Technology kicks once-ubiquitous caboose into retirement
ANCHORAGE - The end is near for the lowly caboose. That little boxcar linked to the back of a freight train, used primarily as an observation platform for railroaders, has been all but replaced by modern technology in the Lower 48.

Birch Boy unique in Southeast
For more than a decade, Daniel and Susan Humphrey have been working to harvest the potential of the flora near Haines - as well as open the minds of locals and tourists. "In Alaska people have a few products in mind, but syrup is not one of them," said Daniel Humphrey, who with his wife runs Birch Boy Products.

Business Briefs
UAS students host sale; Political consultant elected to national board; Poem included with GCI bills; Martha's Flowers celebrates Secretaries Week; MADD Board of Directors elected; Regents approve adjuncts' contract; McKenzie is Pharmacy Tech of the Year; Edward Jones hosts investing program; International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302 meets

Business Profile: Cal Richert
Title and Business: Callen E. "Cal" Richert is the sole proprietor of Last Frontier Forestry & Tree Service.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Fiction is not fact
The U.S. Constitution has wording to the effect that "all men are created equal." However, it doesn't say anything about all opinions being equal. The current hot topic in Juneau concerns development of the waterfront dock area. Discussions about this subject are necessary but participants need to be reminded that all opinions are not equal, and that they must separate fact from fiction.

Health fair benefits
Last year I attended the health fair in Juneau held at Centennial Hall. As an adult male, I am skeptical of doctors, dentists, or any medical facilities. Therefore, I was not eager to attend, but because I wasn't feeling myself, and also being prompted by my new girlfriend at the time, I went.

Paying for improvements
Now that we are going to design and construct the Marine Park/Steamship Wharf improvements, we need to determine how we're going to pay for them.

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

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

Photo: Painting season
Eric Leegard puts out the sailboat Mariah's anchor on Tuesday afternoon at Sandy Beach. Leegard, a retired boat-building instructor for the University of Alaska Southeast, deliberately beached the boat to repaint the bottom.

Police block Thane Road
Dumpsters in seven newly declared "bear problems areas" will need metal lids or secure enclosures by Thursday under a new city law.City Manager Dave Palmer identified seven bear problem areas in Juneau over the weekend. They include parts of Auke Bay, the east Mendenhall Valley area, Lemon Creek, Coogan Drive, West Juneau and parts of Douglas, the downtown hillside and the area around Bartlett Regional Hospital.

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

Students stage rally against tobacco
A group of Juneau-Douglas High School students gathered at the state Capitol this morning to urge state legislators to maintain tobacco prevention funding.Nine members of Teens Against Tobacco Use rallied on the Capitol steps with signs, an anti-smoking skit and cardboard cutouts of human figures representing tobacco-related deaths. The cutouts were then delivered to selected senators.

Bus center may use downtown parking lots
A new downtown transit center could sit behind Centennial Hall or in the parking lot across from Merchants Wharf, according to preliminary designs.City planners met with about 20 Juneau residents Tuesday to get input on where to put the Capital Transit bus center, what it might look like and whether route changes might be needed. The top two sites are the parking lot behind Centennial Hall and the lot at the corner of Main Street and Egan Drive, across the street from Merchants Wharf, city consultant Dennis Haskell said.

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.

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.

City staff pinpoint 7 bear hot spots
Dumpsters in seven newly declared "bear problems areas" will need metal lids or secure enclosures by Thursday under a new city law.City Manager Dave Palmer identified seven bear problem areas in Juneau over the weekend. They include parts of Auke Bay, the east Mendenhall Valley area, Lemon Creek, Coogan Drive, West Juneau and parts of Douglas, the downtown hillside and the area around Bartlett Regional Hospital.

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.

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

Pet Of The Week
Koko is a handsome, sweet and loving mature gray and white mix domestic medium-hair cat. He enjoys being brushed and is very sweet when he gets to know people.

Neighbors Briefs
Health fair set for April 19-20; Multiple sclerosis group presents program; Fireman's Ball to be held in Tenakee Springs; Pesticide classes to be held next week

Thank you
... for all the help; ...for your support

'Dads on Duty' raffle scheduled for April 26
The Auke Bay Cooperative Preschool will be holding its annual "Dads on Duty" raffle on April 26. First prize is six men for six hours doing yard work, small repairs and projects around the home, plus a $100 gift certificate for supplies. Last year's winner, Delores Graver, had the dads paint her house and do lawn and yard work. Projects from other years include building a retaining wall, cleaning out a garage, building shelves and interior painting.

Like salmon, maples and roses also have spring run
The whole Willamette Valley groans with the spring run of nursery stock, caravans of refrigerated semi trucks flow south, east, and north. The few hundred headed for the Asian markets are loaded onto container ships in Seattle, and among those will be the infinitesimally small shipment going to Juneau.

Knit one, purl two
One blue block the size of a salad plate may be inconsequential. However, stitch it to 23 other knitted or crocheted blocks, and you have a lap afghan.That's the crafty philosophy behind Warm Up Southeast, a group founded by LaVena Sargent. Sargent is the hostess of the KATH television program, "Around Our House," in which she takes everyday materials like clothes pins and glitter and creates interior decorating masterpieces.

Glen Stuart Shepard
Former Juneau resident Glen Stuart Shepard, 52, died April 19, 2002, at home in McMinnville, Ore., of an aneurysm.

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.

My Turn: Legislative cooperation is needed for homeland security
At a time when national leaders say the threat of a significant terrorist attack on our homeland is greater than ever, Alaska is becoming less prepared to prevent or respond than we were on Sept. 11, 2001.

My Turn: Old forest is a worthy investment
Floyd Peterson raised interesting questions about clear-cut logging in his April 12 letter. The decision to liquidate old-growth timber holdings appears to make sense to corporate thinking. After all, wood volume in the ancient forest is not increasing, like a bank account that bears no interest.

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.

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.

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

Five Southeast runners finish Boston Marathon
Colleen Jones of Auke Bay was the top finisher from Southeast Alaska in Monday's Boston Marathon.Jones, 39, was one of five Southeast residents and 35 Alaskans to complete the 26.2-mile race, which is the oldest, continuously held footrace in the United States. There were 38 Alaskans entered in the race, but results weren't available for all of them.

Bears complete sweep
It wasn't a perfect game, but the Juneau-Douglas High School girls soccer team remained perfect on the season with a 3-2 victory over the Colony Knights on Tuesday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.The Crimson Bears improved to 4-0 on the season with the victory, which completed a two-game sweep of the Knights, who fell to 0-2 after dropping both games by identical 3-2 scores. Colony took fourth place at last year's state tournament and Juneau finished fifth, and both teams returned nearly their entire rosters this season.

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.

Staveland, Bentz move up in minor leagues
Two of Juneau's three minor leaguers have been promoted. Not only are they playing for new teams this season, but they're in new roles with those teams.Left-handed pitcher Chad Bentz was promoted to the Brevard County Manatees in the Florida State League, the top Class A team in the Montreal Expos system. Last year Bentz was a starting pitcher for the Vermont Expos, a short-season Class A team in the New York-Penn League.

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.

Season for scaling continent's highest peak gets under way
ANCHORAGE - The climbing season has begun on North America's highest peak. The National Park Service began setting up its base camps on Mount McKinley this week and a few climbers are already making their way to the summit, said Ranger Daryl Miller."There's a team of Japanese climbers. We've had several soloists and we have another going up today," Miller said Tuesday.

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."

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.

Alaska missile defense contract announced
ANCHORAGE - A $250 million contract to built test bed facilities for a national missile defense system was awarded Tuesday to Fluor Alaska, the Army Corps of Engineers announced. The contractor will build test silos plus support facilities at Fort Greely, 100 miles southeast of Fairbanks, and upgrade radar at Eareckson Air Force Station on Shemya Island near the tip of the Aleutian chain.

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.

Bipartisan backers step up push for alcohol tax
Supporters of an alcohol tax increase hope they're on the verge of a breakthrough in the Legislature."If there's one thing people can do, it's focus on my guys - the Senate majority," Senate Finance Co-Chairman Dave Donley, an Anchorage Republican, told Juneau clergy Tuesday. "I think we're very, very close."

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.

PFDs may curb welfare checks
Low-income Alaskans temporarily could lose access to financial assistance from the state under a bill passed by the Senate on Tuesday.Senate Bill 340 would direct state agencies to consider permanent fund dividends a source of income when determining eligibility for financial assistance.b

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.

Dems push for vote on ANWR
WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats are maneuvering for a quick vote on oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, confident they can turn back one of the Bush administration's top energy priorities. A proposal that could lead to allowing oil companies to develop the 1.5 million-acre ANWR coastal plain in northern Alaska was introduced Tuesday by Alaska's two senators.

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.

Report: Exxon spill victims recovering
ANCHORAGE - A new report says killer whales, pink salmon, common murres and four other species damaged by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill have rebounded and should be considered recovered.

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

State Briefs
Whittier prison bill now includes beds in Bethel; Trial begins for woman charged in son's death; Bonham of World Plus pleads no contest in securities case

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.

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