Monday, April 21, 2003

Alaska Folk Festival fans find favorites at Juneau libraries
Sad that the Alaska Folk Festival is over? Thanks to a generous donation from the Friends of the Library, the Juneau Public Library now has CDs from folk festival guest artists from past years. Enjoy!

Business Briefs
Storm water regulations workshop Thursday; Flyfishing store celebrates anniversary; Summer finance academy planned

Techwit: There's always a catch in technology
Catches come in multiples of 11. That's what protagonist William Tell learns in "Then What?" (www.thenwhat.com), a novel about how technology makes us nuts in an exciting kind of way. I've read "Then What?" several times, but that's because I wrote it and didn't have a choice - my editor made me. Described as Monty Python meets the Matrix meets Alvin Toffler on too much coffee, "Then What?" tackles some of the more important questions that face us, like, "Why is everything we like to eat bad for us?" And, "How come you never see the headline, 'Psychic Wins Lottery!'

Business profile: Dan Miller
Title and company: General Manager, Bicknell Inc. Services: Bicknell Inc. is the Juneau-based general contracting company that is developing land and building homes in the Montana Creek Subdivision. The company also builds roads and lays pavement. "Typically we have four to six houses going at any one time at various stages," Miller said. "Through the winter months we have a couple of construction projects, snow removal and street sanding. And then in the summer we may end up with a couple of hundred different paving jobs."

Tourism workers begin annual migration
As the whales make their way toward Southeast Alaska from Hawaii this month, so do glacier trekking guides, helicopter pilots and boat captains from around the world. "Pilots are kind of nomadic," said Tim McDonnell, vice president of tourism marketing with TEMSCO Helicopters. "They fly in Hawaii, then back in Alaska. They kind of move around with the business."

Shipboard sales loophole
Tourism spending this year in Juneau is estimated at $94 million. Multiply by the 5 percent sales tax equals $4.7 million in tax revenue. This would be awesome! However Juneau does not receive nearly this much from this tax source.

Mother Alaska's prayer
Oh, King of kings and Lord of lords, May this my prayer by You be heard;

Support troops, war, victory
In Matthew Grauman's letter of April 16, he states he is anti-war, yet supports the troops. This is a mantra that has been echoed by the 15 or so percent of Americans who oppose the war, but don't want to look like total Anti-Americans, so they throw in this thing about supporting the troops.

Waterpark or arts academy?
The success of the Treadwell Arena clearly shows that the families of Juneau are hungry for the possibility of more healthy and productive activities for kids and adults.

Role of teachers
I've just finished reading "It's time, the silence must end," by Mary Lou Gervais. At the letter's end it is stated that she is an advocate for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender youth. One statement in the letter says "Not all students come to school taught to respect one another and celebrate the differences they see in others."

The 30-second press
The peace that remains to be created in Iraq, or the lack thereof, will not fit nicely into a 30-second sound bite. Therefore, if hunger, disorder or discontent should become the story in Iraq, don't expect to see or read about the details in most of the press.

Dignity for seniors
Some of the legislators have justified ending the Longevity Bonus because it is "senior welfare." The governor's "safety net" was explained to a room full of seniors April 16 at Mountain View Apartments. The "safety net" is welfare, for sure - quoted straight out of the public assistance literature! There has to be a special place in the afterlife for such creative language.

Your patriotic duty
It's amusing that 90 percent of the people who write in saying we are in Iraq to protect free speech object to anyone who disagrees with them using their free speech.

This Day in History
In 1935, the steamer North Sea, Northland Transportation Co., arrived in Juneau on her first Alaska voyage.

Empire writing, photos, design honored in contest
Empire reporter Julia O'Malley's account of the travel difficulties encountered repeatedly by a Juneau man whose name arbitrarily was placed on an FBI "watch list" after Sept. 11, 2001, was judged best general news story in Alaska's big newspapers for 2002 in Alaska Press Club contest results announced Saturday night in Anchorage. O'Malley and former Empire reporter Riley Woodford also were awarded second place for their three-day series of articles about drugs in Juneau.

Photo: Meeting Woodsy Owl
Quinn White, 6, meets Woodsy Owl during the second Annual Earth Day celebration at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center on Saturday.

User-friendly Tsimshian-language curriculum is basis for courses
Debi White, a Tsimshian Indian in Ketchikan, said her mother remembered elders speaking their Native language when they didn't want the children to understand what they were saying. "So when I was growing up, a few words were spoken but not the language," said White, who runs a cultural program in the schools for the Ketchikan Indian Community. Now, as part of a resurgence of Native culture, parents want their children to understand the traditional languages. A "user-friendly" Tsimshian-language curriculum developed by a former Alaska couple will be the basis for courses this summer in Southeast.

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

This Day in History
In 1959, Russia's Literary Gazette reported that Soviet engineers were studying the idea of building a bridge from Siberia to Alaska. The bridge could carry railroad tracks and atomic pumps to divert warm ocean currents toward the Arctic Ocean to warm up the area's climate.

Military families track loved ones via Internet
Camille Beitia has received one letter from her son, 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Nicholas Beitia, since he left for the Persian Gulf. But she knows he's in Nasiriyah, Iraq, because he was quoted in an Associated Press article that ran in her former hometown newspaper, The Elko Daily Free Press, in Elko, Nev. "They put him on the front page. I couldn't believe it; it was so cool!" she said.

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

Alleged victim speaks to Catholic investigating panel
A man who accused a Juneau Catholic priest of sexually abusing him in the early 1980s said he was treated "fairly and with respect" during the two meetings he had last week with the Juneau Diocese lay committee investigating the allegations. Joel Post said he was asked by the diocese to testify before the 10-member committee Wednesday and again Saturday. The testimony was part of the committee's investigation into allegations against the Rev. Michael Nash, former pastor of the Cathedral of the Nativity.

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

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

Caring for the dead, caring for community
A little dab of pink for the cheeks, a quick flip of a small black wand to lift the lashes amid the lingering scent of embalming fluid, and a cadaver is ready for its "final picture." Some might say it's creepy, but Bill Wilkerson, funeral director for the Alaskan Memorial Park and Crematory, says at least he knows none of his customers can hurt him or complain. Wilkerson, 65, runs the only funeral home in Juneau. He cares for the bodies of souls recently departed throughout Southeast and considers it his contribution to the community.

Rink readies for summer
Juneau residents eager for one more skate at the Treadwell Arena should lace up now. The ice will disappear at the end of the month to make way for in-line skating, tennis and basketball, city Parks and Recreation Director Kim Kiefer said. "Sunday the 27th is the last day," she said. "It's a couple-of-week process to turn off the refrigeration, break the ice and take it out. At that point, we'll have a schedule for the summer that will go from May through August." The ice will be back by Sept. 15 for another season of skating, she said.

Mary Anderson Wilson
Hoonah resident Mary Anderson Wilson, 92, died April 13, 2003, in Hoonah.

Government for, of and by the Iraqis
Now that the war in Iraq is winding down and there is diverse discussion about post-war activities to bring civil government to these people, the United Nations thinks it can play a part in promoting democracy and self-government to the liberated people of Iraq. No one has admitted this will be an easy task and I'm not saying it will be a piece of cake either.

Empire editorial: Mining is essential to Juneau's economy
Juneau owes its very existence to the rich ore bodies discovered more than 100 years ago. In fact, a vast number of communities throughout the North American West were founded on the economies that grew out of mineral discoveries. Mining camps grew into towns as people from all over the world came to work the mines and seek opportunities spun off from mining activity.

Toe Cartoon

What do you think?
Frank Murkowski promises "no income taxes" then proposes a $100 tax on your paycheck. I'm disgusted with this kind of double-talk.

My Turn: Mining companies seek meaningless reviews
Two multinational mining corporations are asking the people of Juneau to exempt their facilities from the city's mining ordinance. We should reject their attempts to undermine the existing ordinance that examines mining operations fairly and applies careful scrutiny to offset potential negative impacts.

My Turn: Recall the words of President Eisenhower
Many of us increasingly are offended by recent letters telling anyone who is against the war to shut up and support the soldiers who are "fighting for their freedom." Yet this would dishonor the very freedom they are supposed to be fighting for. What soldier wants to be fighting for freedom for a country where everybody is supposed to have their mouths duct-taped shut?

Sitka radio station broadcasts whale sounds
SITKA - Sitka radio station KAQU is broadcasting what may initially sound like static. But listen closely and you will hear the underwater sounds of the ocean near Whale Park, and maybe even whales. Clay Culbert, former owner of Clay's dive shop, told KCAW radio in Sitka that he helped set up the new whale radio station. Culbert describes himself as a regular listener. He said the more you listen, the more you hear, including the grunts, snaps and pops of whales in the Eastern Channel. Sometimes they even sing.

Out and About
April 20: Easter at Eaglecrest. 12:30 p.m. Easter bonnet contest, above day lodge; 1 p.m. Easter egg hunt at base of Platter Pull lift; 1:30 p.m. bunny chase for beginners at base of Platter; 2 p.m. Hooter bunny chase, age 5 and under, at base of Hooter lift; 2:30 p.m. Hooter bunny chase, ages 6 and up, meet at base of Hooter. Details: 790-2000 or www.lskijuneau.com.

When, where and how to see the shorebirds
Mid-April through May is the best time to look for spring migrating shorebirds. If you don't see many on one day, don't give up. Shorebirds move through in waves and may spend only one or a few days at a refueling site. You might see hundreds or even thousands of shorebirds on one day, then virtually none the next.

Moratorium on new Kenai guides dropped
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is backing away from a planned freeze on the number of Kenai River fishing guides. The department said it was responding to businesses that filed suit against the proposed two-year moratorium on new permits.

Thunder Mountain traverse brings great views
As seven eager hikers assembled at the parking lot on an April morning and prepared for the Juneau Alpine Club's Thunder Mountain traverse, the question for the day was whether to bring skis or snowshoes. Don Larsen, the leader of the trip, was going to bring both. I elected to take snowshoes because I was expecting a wind-blown, crusty layer of snow on the summit and in the bowls from the weeks of cold, snowless, windy weather. I also didn't want to carry skis through the trees as well as have the extra weight of ski boots, climbing skins and poles for possibly marginal conditions. Tim Arness and Janet Valentour also decided to take snowshoes. Dave Duntley and Bill Scheding decided to go with skis while Joe Galluci carried his snowboard.

Snow report
• Eaglecrest Ski Area, Juneau: All lifts operate 9 a.m.-4 p.m. today, the final day of operations for the season. The tubing hill is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., depending on conditions.

Here come the shorebirds
The shorebirds are coming - thousands of them - and one of the best places to see them is on the Mendenhall Wetlands in Juneau's own backyard. Some 39 species in the plover and sandpiper families have been seen on the wetlands during the past 16 years. That includes Western sandpipers, which come in the greatest numbers by far, as well as pectoral and least sandpipers, golden plovers, dunlins, dowitchers, turnstones and surfbirds. Greater and lesser yellowlegs are easy to see, especially along the Airport Dike Trail. And you might even encounter a rare shorebird such as one of the godwits, or an Asiatic stray such as a sharp-tailed sandpiper, a ruff, or a long-toed stint.

Coed Volleyball
The final 2003 standings from the Juneau Department of Parks and Recreation's coed volleyball leagues through matches of April 15. Some teams received a bonus win for attending the preseason managers' meeting.

Juneau falls twice in softball openers
With their young roster, the defending state champion Juneau-Douglas High School softball team knew it might get off to a slow start this season. That came to pass as the Crimson Bears dropped a pair of one-run games this weekend to the older Sitka Wolves, a squad dominated by seniors.

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

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

Triple triumph
The future of the Juneau-Douglas High School girls soccer team took to the field Saturday for the finale of a three-game series against the Homer Mariners.

U.S. runners try to break through in Boston Marathon
BOSTON - The 107th edition of the nation's most famous footrace starts at 8 a.m. today (ADT) as prelude, one suspects, to another occasion of two recurring Boston Marathon themes. One is the dominance of runners from Kenya, which has produced 11 of the last 12 men's winners and the last three women's winners.

KTOO Fun Run Results
Results from Saturday's 5-kilometer KTOO Run, held downtown near the KTOO radio station on a loop course that went up Basin Road and down the Flume.

Teamwork leads Juneau boys over Homer
After each varsity game, Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer coach Gary Lehnhart hands out an award - the "lunchbox" - to the player who came most prepared to work on the field. After Friday night's 9-0 win over Homer at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park, Lehnhart found it impossible to single out the efforts of just one Crimson Bear - so he recognized everyone.

Bill Tugman Memorial Obstacle Ski Race Results
Results from the Bill Tugman Memorial Obstacle Ski Race held on April 12 at Eaglecrest Ski Area. Competitors had to ski over a steep snow spine, through colorful hoops bedecked with balloons and streamers, through a covered tunnel (like a long tent) and through the dreaded pole forest (lots of slalom ski race poles together).

Legislative roundup
Bills introduced last week:

High court upholds Legislature's use of tobacco settlement
The state Supreme Court upheld a decision by the Legislature to earmark $93 million in future tobacco settlement funds for rural construction projects. In a 3-2 ruling handed down Friday, the high court found against an anti-tobacco activist who wanted the Legislature to make more tobacco money available for health-related activities.

State Briefs
Officials plan for Juneau disaster; 'Other suspect' testifies in Mateu trial; Teen convicted of murdering brother; Processor defends farmed-salmon buy; Plan for mine road finished

Soldotna native's interest in wildlife turns into up-close-and-personal encounters with big cats
SOLDOTNA - Tasha Van Vleet greets one of the cats in her care with a "good morning" as she makes her morning rounds. The cat, Jambo, responds with a yawn. He then emits a purr, gives the back of her hand a few light kisses with his tongue and leans in to have his back scratched.

Science & tech foundation is nearly extinct
Hans Roeterink, executive director for the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation, has less than a week to convince lawmakers in the state Senate not to cut his program. ASTF provides venture capital to technology and science startup companies, helps fund technology research, and awards education grants to math and science teachers throughout the state.

Educators question new federal law
ANCHORAGE - Jonathan Ward knows more about caribou than most seventh graders. The Steller Secondary School student formulated a research question about how the animals react to people, interviewed experts, and read publications to find the answer. He typed up his results in a research paper, and to teach other students, he's completing a board game that will be part of a presentation to peers and parents. Science teacher Doug Teter figures Jonathan has demonstrated ably his learning, but in a couple of years, that won't be good enough.

Experiment fails: Alaska villages again go dry
ANCHORAGE - Two Native Alaska villages that voted last fall to relax their alcohol laws have voted for prohibition again after finding their communities couldn't handle booze. Pilot Station, on the lower Yukon River, and Atqasuk, on the North Slope, had been dry for years when they voted in October to allow alcohol. But alcohol brought too many problems, villagers said.

State Briefs
Girl dies in Anchorage apartment fire; Company offering rewards for information on bus vandalism; Alaska unemployment shows seasonal decrease

U.S. Forest Service reveals big plans for Tern Lake
ANCHORAGE - A lake along one of Alaska's most popular highways could be transformed into a "world class" viewing area under a U.S. Forest Service proposal. Tern Lake is about 80 miles south of Anchorage, south of the Y junction of the Seward and Sterling highways. It attracts a menagerie of birds, mammals and fish within easy viewing of thousands of people traveling between Anchorage and the Kenai River-Seward recreation corridor every summer.

Suspect in shooting of 5 reindeer surrenders
ANCHORAGE - A 20-year-old man suspected of killing five reindeer and wounding two more at a Butte farm in January turned himself in to authorities Friday. Caleb G. Bennett walked into the Judicial Services office at the Palmer Courthouse shortly after 10 a.m. and said there was a warrant out for his arrest, Alaska State Troopers said. Bennett was arrested soon after in connection with the shootings at the Williams Reindeer Farm.

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