Enough already
Charles Rohrbacher's letter of April 16 about the destruction of the National Museum and National Library of Iraq milked it for all it's worth and plenty more that it's not worth. Enough already! Liberally assuming the responsibility for these tragedies lie with the U.S. military is a weak stretch even for your anti-America, anti-Bush crowd. A healthier perspective with more integrity would explain the reality of the responsibility for these tragedies to be the murderous, despotic cowards who are being funneled through Syria to France as we speak.

Cut corrections budget to fund other needs
The Alaska Constitution tasks Corrections with isolating and reforming inmates. Isolation and reformation do not have to happen in penal institutions. This is good because prisons are very expensive. Data show that not every lawbreaker needs to spend time in prison. Recognized research studies reveal offenders who are prosecuted for drug and alcohol offenses only should be placed in restrictive treatment (not penal) settings. Most inmates eventually leave prison and return to live among us. So, we need to incarcerate appropriately and effectively. During incarceration, inmates should have meaningful educational or vocational training, drug and alcohol treatment, or sex offender therapy.

No to gambling
Just say "No!" to gaming in Alaska. We've researched this issue for years and studied the costs and it isn't worth it. When gaming was approved in Colorado, it was one of the few reasons we moved our family out of there! Please, just say "No," Alaska!

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

Bilge fire in Auke Bay causes little damage
A barge at the Allen Marine dock in Auke Bay sustained only minor damage after a spark from a welder's torch ignited its bilge Wednesday morning.

Photo: Rallying for children
Mila Cosgrove kisses her daughter, Natalie, 2, during a Child Abuse Prevention Rally on Thursday in the Dimond Courthouse courtyard. A pile of children's shoes at the rally represents abused children in Alaska. April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month and Month of the Young Child.

House passes anti-stalking bill
The House approved a measure this week aimed at closing a loophole in Alaska's anti-stalking laws. Someone threatened by an acquaintance can get a domestic violence protective order. But when the threat comes from a stranger, the legal system doesn't afford the same protection.

Due to a reporter's error, an article in Wednesday's Empire incorrectly referred to James Onstott as having taken hostages when he fired a gun during a Juneau church service in 2001. Onstott was not charged with or convicted of taking hostages.

Officials plan for SARS and summer travelers
Health officials are preparing for Alaska's annual influx of summer visitors with a mindful watch on a mysterious and deadly respiratory illness that originated in Southeast Asia. No suspected cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, have been reported in Alaska. The new disease, which isn't completely understood by medical professionals, often includes a fever and respiratory symptoms. As of Thursday, the World Health Organization reported 3,339 suspected SARS cases and 165 deaths. No SARS deaths have been reported in the United States.

Photo: Learning about drugs
About 450 fifth graders from the Juneau School District celebrated their completion of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program offered through the district. Each student received recognition at a ceremony Thursday evening at Centennial Hall.

Teachers, district return to the negotiating table
The Juneau teachers' union and the school district will resume contract negotiations next week after resolving a dispute over how to choose bargaining teams. Negotiations broke off in late January, at the first session, when the Juneau Education Association objected to the district's effort to change its bargaining team without the union's consent.

Ferry, air transport boards named
Gov. Frank Murkowski appointed 19 members to newly created advisory boards for marine transportation and aviation Thursday. The two boards were created in January as part of Murkowski's reorganization of the Department of Transportation. The boards are tasked with providing input on marine highway and aviation transportation to DOT Commissioner Mike Barton.

Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Fire damages 10 apartments
A mass of charred books, broken furniture and other ruined possessions Thursday littered the living room of a downtown Juneau apartment that caught fire Wednesday night while the 79-year-old resident was away. "This was everything he had in his life, and now it's all gone," Mark Kelley, 49, said in reference to the furnishings that belonged to his father, Daniel Kelley.

$50 million in aid to boost fishing industry
About $50 million in federal funds will be pumped into marketing salmon nationally; assisting hard-up fishermen, businesses and communities; and fishing infrastructure in an attempt to revitalize the foundering industry, Gov. Frank Murkowski said Thursday. The money includes $35 million in recently appropriated fisheries disaster funds and $15 million that remains in the Southeast Sustainable Salmon Fund. The governor said state agencies are in the process of determining how much money goes to each project.

Sealaska distributes $3 per share
Sealaska, the Juneau-based corporation for Southeast Natives, will pay a total of $4.8 million in dividends to its shareholders today, company officials said. A dividend of $3 per share - $2.37 from the Sealaska permanent fund and 63 cents from Sealaska timber investments in 2002 - will be paid to urban and at-large shareholders, who make up 75 percent of the total number of shareholders. At-large shareholders are those who are not enrolled in either an urban or village corporation.

Happy Spring Juneau!
Spring has bloomed, the tourist season is just around the corner, and it is time to think about the flower baskets that help to beautify our city. I am writing on behalf of "Friends of the Flowers" to request your support in continuing to provide color to Juneau.

Eighty percent is good enough?
The students in my first gifted-talented class are turning 30 this year. During spring break I was invited to dinner with five of them in Seattle. After allowing myself some satisfaction about their achievements, I looked back at the routes they followed to become physical therapists, an engineer, an attorney, and a human resource specialist. Other former students came to mind, some who have accomplished much in various ways, and some who are living on the streets. It made me think of a dilemma regarding some of my current students.

Metlicka, Kikendall to marry
Holly Lynn Metlicka of Juneau and Jason Edward Kikendall of Twisp, Wash. will be married in a ceremony at 3 p.m., April 26, 2003 at Valley Chapel. A reception will follow at 4 p.m. at The Twisted Fish. Friends and relatives of the couple are invited to the wedding and reception.

Births; Marriage Licenses; Business Licenses; Courts; Divorces and Dissolutions; Judgments.

Thank you
...for the support.; ...for the kindness.

First impressions
From the time of the Alaska Purchase in 1867 to the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-98, there were few visitors to Alaska who were not dignitaries, government employees or tourists. Many of the dignitaries didn't venture far from boardwalks, steamer decks and tea parties in the best parlors. Despite their slight acquaintance, they might thereafter hold forth in the House or Senate in the District of Columbia as experts on the territory. Gov. Ernest Gruening deplored this kind of visitor, citing as one of the worst examples a senator who stopped in Sitka for a day and in Juneau only long enough to take a bath.

Beedle, Rice to wed
Katy Beedle of Juneau and Jeff Rice of Bothell, Wash. recently announced their engagement.

Sailing to Southeast Alaska with explorer George Vancouver
Where do we begin? From our mothers and fathers and their forebears, we come from the Philippine Islands, from Europe and Africa, from the other 49 States, and closer to home, from Angoon, Hoonah, Kake and Klukwan. How do we define the place we live? One of the famous explorers was George Vancouver, who spent six years in command of the Discovery and Chatham, surveying the Pacific coastline from California to Alaska. He gave names to many of the places we know. He described how Joseph Whidbey led a small group of sailors in exploring nearby bays and coves.

My Turn: Aerial spraying of pesticides is a bad idea
Pesticides widely sprayed in southeast Alaska? Possibly yes, if the state succeeds in its draft proposal that would allow pesticides to be aerially sprayed on federal, state and private land to kill unwanted plants like alder and salmon berry. These draft regulations, Alaska's first attempt to set the standard for pesticide use in forestry application, fail to protect our fish, game, and clean water that are so critical to the viability of our commercial fisheries and the health of Alaskans.

My Turn: Education should be funded fully
Every election season we hear it. "I'm pro-education." "We need to fully fund education." These are promises that come easily to the lips of candidates for state office, and an easy claim for governors and state legislators once they are elected. They are strong phrases, rich in rhetoric without clean distinction of meaning. On March 5, Gov. Frank Murkowski presented a budget that proposed cutting $26.7 million from education spending. This is a 3.4 percent cut in the total funds available to staff and operate Alaska's schools. Then he told us that Alaska education is fully funded. He wants us to believe, just as the legislature wanted us to believe last year, that he is pro-education. But he doesn't back up it up with educational funding support.

Juneau girls remain perfect with 7-0 victory
Nicole Lupro and Callan Janowiec each scored a pair of goals as the Juneau-Douglas High School girls soccer team defeated the Homer Mariners, 7-0, on Thursday night at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. The Crimson Bears improved to 5-0 this season. Homer was playing its first game of the season. The two teams meet again at 6:15 tonight and noon Saturday.

Sports in Juneau
TSports in Juneau is a service provided by the Juneau Empire to provide information on upcoming sports and outdoors events in Juneau.

The offensive wheels were turning for the Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer team Thursday night against the Homer Mariners. And at the center of it all, of course, was an Axel. Senior Axel Thibodeau scored four goals and added an assist as the Crimson Bears defeated the Mariners 8-1 at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. Senior Lee Sullivan added a spectacular bicycle-kick goal for Juneau, which improved to 4-3 overall this season.

New look for the Crimson Bears
There won't be much to recognize when the Juneau-Douglas High School softball team open its season in Sitka this weekend with one game tonight and two games Saturday against the Sitka Wolves. The Crimson Bears only have four players back from last year's state championship team, and only one senior and two juniors. With a new head coach - longtime Midnight Suns program director and JDHS assistant coach Dave Massey - Juneau softball fans definitely will need a program to learn who's on the team this year.

Man acquitted in Anchorage murder
An Anchorage man has been acquitted of murder in the death of a 33-year-old woman whose body was found in a dilapidated Spenard shed. The jury's decision came after 10 weeks of witness testimony and arguments and a week of deliberations. Joshua Wade, 23, was accused of brutally murdering Della Brown, 33, whose body was found in September 2000.

Bill drops teenage wages
Alaska businesses would be able to pay anyone under 20 less than minimum wage under a bill approved this week by a House committee. The bill also would loosen rules on flex time arrangements and do away with some state rules governing when employees can be put on salary, instead of being paid hourly. Federal rules would apply instead. "I truly believe this will expand job opportunities for youngsters in the state of Alaska," said Rep. Norman Rokeberg, an Anchorage Republican who introduced the bill.

Native casinos face long odds at getting approved in Alaska
Legalizing video gambling machines would bring Alaska a step closer to allowing tribal casinos. But large hurdles would remain because of the unique status of most Native lands in the state. Federal law limits tribal gambling to games that are legal in the state where the tribe is based. Alaska law allows only bingo, pull-tabs and raffles to benefit nonprofit groups.

Wal-Mart, Boston's Restaurant coming to Fairbanks
Fairbanks is getting two well-known businesses. Wal-Mart plans to open a 150,000-square-foot store on the north side of town and Boston Pizza Restaurants plans to build a Boston's Restaurant & Sports Bar.

Organic fish bill signed into law
Alaska wild-caught seafood finally can be labeled organic. President Bush has signed into law legislation that will allow Alaska salmon and other wild-caught seafood to be marketed as organic food. The provision was an amendment to the $78.5 billion emergency war appropriation he signed.

This day in history
In Alaska; In the nation; In the world.

Hitting a home run with 'Damn Yankees'
Attention extreme sports fans: Would you sell your soul to the devil if it would guarantee your team the perfect season? "Damn Yankees," the musical that opened this week at Juneau-Douglas High School, looks at what happens when Joe Boyd, an avid fan of the Washington Senators, does just that. "He sells his soul to the devil to win the pennant," said student director Elena Ruddy, 17. "Then he misses his wife and starts to regret it."

Tour guide training open to the public
The Juneau-Douglas City Museum will offer Juneau History and Culture Workshops to tour operators, guides and the general public. Local community experts will present workshops complete with fact sheets on Juneau, and resource information on specific topics discussed.

Tea and hempathy
Al Anders and I had been chatting for a few minutes when he pulled a box of coca leaf tea from his desk drawer like a businessman in a movie offering up a stashed flask of bourbon. "You should try some of this. It's perfectly legal. You can get it off the Internet," he said. "This is how cocaine would be consumed if it were legal."

America's love affair with GUNS
Bowling for Columbine," an Oscar-winning documentary about gun violence in America, will play at the Gold Town Nickelodeon in Juneau this weekend only. "I think this film will inspire some very significant and valuable discussions," said Sybil Davis, director of the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, sponsor of the showings.

What's up with that?
Q: Why does the new rubbery surface cover only part of the Adair-Kennedy track? Q: Off of Otter Way past the ferry terminal is National Park Service Road - commonly just called National Park Road. What is the reason for this name? I don't imagine a national park being created on Indian Point. No one I know seems to know the origin.

what's happening
Theater; Dance; Events; Exhibits; Nightlife.

movies where & when
Movie schedule

briefly: Bassett, Vance at Valdez theater conference
Oscar-nominee Angela Bassett and two-time Tony Award-nominee Courtney B. Vance will participate in this year's 11th Annual Last Frontier Theater Conference, June 19 to 29, at Prince William Sound Community College in Valdez.

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