Consultant: Alaska is an expensive place for oil, gas business
ANCHORAGE - Alaska is an expensive place to do business but the high costs of working in the Arctic and moving the oil to market by pipeline and tanker are no surprise, says an international oil and gas consultant.

Beak deformities also seen in Hawaii
My husband and I have been wild bird rehabilitators for seven years. We thought we'd let you know that, while we lived and worked in Hawaii (island of Oahu), we spotted the deformities mentioned in the Juneau bird-beak article at least three times among house finches. However, the finches in question were healthy and spry, which made all attempts to catch them - to attempt to alter beak shape through judicious clipping in order to achieve a more natural feeding shape - useless.

Raising state's tobacco tax is unfair
Thank you, Mr. Shockley. Your letter on the tobacco tax hit some great points. Gov. Murkowski's choosing to tax one specific item is unfair and unjust. Going that route, one could choose any number of things to tax. For instance, high-fat or sugar foods, because obesity and diabetes are major problems in this state and nationwide. And we could go on from there.

Gay marriage editorial correct
Congratulations on an editorial that is clear, dispassionate and right on target. Churches may decide who gets a seat in their pews. But Rosa Parks showed that everyone has the same right to a seat on the bus.

Rosa Parks reference was misplaced
In reference to Ms. Madden stating that people think her struggle is comparable to Rosa Parks ("National groundswell spurs lesbian couple to wed, April 13,") I'd like to make a couple of comments. The last time I consulted my history books, I found that these were the facts

Thinking 'closely and clearly'
Your Empire Editorial of April 18, 2004 (Facing gay marriage issue on two fronts) said:

Fetal alcohol disorders affect all populations
I am excited about the free workshop being provided in Juneau on Wednesday, April 28 by Robin LaDue, Ph.D. at the Baranof. Dr. LaDue is a nationally known expert in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Keep some backcountry skiing for hikers
This is addressed to the folks in the Coastal helicopter that buzzed me multiple times while I was skiing out Hilda Creek beyond Eaglecrest on Sunday afternoon. I can't believe that you would waste your time and money flying to something that would only take you about an hour and a half to get to under your own power.

Work together to end racism at all levels
My name is Theresa Rodriguez and I am a student at Juneau-Douglas High School. I am Kaagwaantaan from the Eagle Wolf House. I am 25 percent Tlingit and 75 percent Filipino. I find it hard to understand why most students in our school behave in a negative way and make racial remarks toward other kids of different nationalities or cultures.

Drivers should learn the rules of the road
Most residents south of Douglas Bridge (SD) are courteous drivers.They stop and allow North Douglas (ND) drivers to merge in the morning commute to town (the zipper effect), while other Juneau Borough (JB) drivers commuting to Douglas do not yeild. Does this courtesy extend to the evening traffic? That's hard to say, as you will see ...

Tax oil, not people
In the limited 225-word, unsigned opinion piece (Published Anchorage Daily News, April 16, 2004) headed "Push begins for POMV," you write: "Alaskans are unlikely to enjoy a healthy political climate until they banish the idea that services come for free; they never do. And economic incentives will work against growth until some broad-based tax recaptures the public costs that come with it. But the Legislature is too lost in reaction and right-wing ideology even to discuss a rational progressive income tax."

High school planners preserve classrooms
Contractors building the proposed Dimond Park high school may have to skip the playing field, kitchen and paved parking, school planners said Tuesday.

Smoking ban may go before voters
The Juneau Assembly has moved toward asking voters whether to ban smoking in all public places, a direction that angered both bar owners and anti-smoking advocates Monday.

Around Town
Blood Bank of Alaska blood drive, 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Juneau-Douglas High School, Marie Drake Room 241. Details and appointment: 523-1626.

Showing solidarity against child abuse
Participants at the Child Abuse prevention rally at the Dimond Courthouse courtyard on Tuesday release balloons meant to symbolize hope for Alaska's children, said Marc Wheeler, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

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

Being great
A great blue heron perches on a piling Tuesday near the Douglas boat harbor.

Due to a reporter's error, an article on Sunday gave the wrong date for a wine tasting fund-raiser for the Juneau Raptor Center. The event is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 30, at the Silverbow, for ages 21 and older.

School Board approves policy that allows funds for advocacy
The Juneau School Board says it doesn't plan to spend public funds to influence elections, but on Tuesday it appropriated $750 just in case what it intends as impartial information is perceived as advocacy.

Softball Dog
Mindy Gross practices hitting while a dog she calls, "The Softball Dog" practices its fetching at Savikko Park on Monday. Ballplayers say the dog hangs out around the field all season.

Unions sue, want board appointee out
Alaska labor unions have gone to court seeking the removal of one of Gov. Frank Murkowski's recent additions to the state's labor relations board.

Restaurants receive an insurance windfall
Five Juneau businesses celebrated Christmas in March last month when they were presented refund checks from workers' compensation insurance premiums they paid in 2000.

Pact lets GCI offer Juneau phone service
Competitive local telephone service is in Juneau to stay. The city's two local phone companies, Alaska Communications Systems and General Communication Inc., agreed late Sunday night to end the litigation that drained both companies' resources for almost eight years.

Patience at False Outer Point
James Walker casts his herring while fishing from the rocks Monday at False Outer Point. About five fishermen on land and a few on boats were fishing at the popular North Douglas spot. Walker said the fishing was slow, but the Alaska Department of Fish and Game predicts a strong king salmon season for Southeast Alaska this year.

Alleged drunken driver damages Savikko ball fields
Two Savikko Park fields were off-limits to practicing softball teams Tuesday as city staffers cleaned up the mess left by someone seen driving through a fence and "spinning doughnuts" on the fields.

Around Town
Today: Valley Toastmasters meeting, 6:10 a.m. every Tuesday, Henry's Restaurant. Public invited. Details: Jim, 789-3074.

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

Board directs alternative school to remain in its rented quarters
The alternative high school will stay in its rented quarters, the Juneau School Board decided Tuesday.

Neighbors Digest
The Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp will hold the Southeast Alaska Native Women's Conference from Thursday through Saturday, April 29-May 1, in Juneau.

Preserving the Tlingit 'fringe about the body'
Jennie Thlunaut may be not a household name, but if she had lived in Japan she would probably have been declared a national treasure.

By the People Juneau Calendar of events
Thursday, April 22: Film/discussion: "Scenes from an Endless War"

A croissant is only a croissant - or maybe not
I would define my French as dreadful, except that defining something implies that it exists. As the parameter for my trip grew from weeks to months, I determined to learn something of the language and enrolled in French 101 at UAS last fall. Around Halloween I fell behind and dropped out, something a parent should never do. I can hear it now: "But, Mom, remember when you dropped out of that French class?"

Pets of the Week
Awww-inspiring Raiff does Snoopy thing, Captain's no schlemiel, in fact he's perfect

Charles W. Beasley
Former Juneau resident Charles W. Beasley, 72, died April 15, 2004, in Edmonds, Wash.

Sharon Martin
Juneau resident Sharon Martin, 61, died April 14, 2004, at Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Sunday service set for Mike Fenster
The community will have an opportunity to remember Mike Fenster Sunday. The city will hold a memorial service at 3 p.m. Sunday at Centennial Hall. A reception will follow at the Wings of Alaska hangar. The longtime firefighter and co-founder of Wings of Alaska died Thursday night at Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Vernice Eleanora Kirchhofer
Longtime Juneau resident Vernice Eleanora Kirchhofer, 81, died April 18, 2004 in Juneau.

Diane Ruth Fawcett
Juneau resident Diane Ruth Fawcett, 41, died April 10, 2004.

Alaska editorial: High oil prices hide the real issue
This editorial appeared in Saturday's Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Oil most often is associated with making things run smoother, but that might not be the case in Alaska right now. Oil's high price may end up behaving like sand in the gears of government instead.

Aging population means greater need for transit
For most of us, mobility is a necessity we take for granted. Among life's essential routines and responsibilities, we jump into cars to travel a few blocks or several miles at will. Yet, for millions of elderly Americans, individuals with disabilities and people who do not own private vehicles, there are few transportation options, not only in urban areas, but rural areas as well. The result is often a life of forced isolation.

Alaska MS Run/Walk Results
Results from the Alaska Multiple Sclerosis Spring Run/Walk, a 5-kilometer race held Saturday at Brotherhood Bridge in Juneau. There also was a 2-mile untimed walk course available.

Sports in Juneau
• Juneau Rowing Club general membership meeting - Meet from 7:30-9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28, at the Douglas Library meeting room to discuss the summer regatta and an open row (for members and non-members) scheduled to start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 1, at the Aurora Harbor float near the Juneau Yacht Club.

Sports in Juneau
New Calendar Items: Juneau Freewheelers bicycle time trial - The Juneau Freewheelers cycling group is holding a time trial race on Friday.

First City sweep
The undefeated Juneau-Douglas High School soccer program is well on its way to earning another pair of trips to the state tournament.

Montreal leaves Boston in ruins
BOSTON - Alex Kovalev and the Montreal Canadiens salvaged their season and brought a shocking end to Boston's.

Crimson Bears claim first games that matter
The undefeated Juneau-Douglas High School boys and girls soccer teams both have played several games this young season, but Monday's games in Ketchikan were the first that really mattered.

Hot time in Beantown
BOSTON - Weakened by the heat and a mile-long sprint to the finish, Catherine Ndereba had to receive her winner's medal and olive wreath in a wheelchair.

Diane Lee holds a photo of her late husband, James Lee Jr., at Victims For Justice's 18th annual Tree Ceremony at the start Monday of National Crime Victims' Rights Week in Anchorage. James Lee Jr. was Anchorage's first homicide victim of 2004.

This Day in History
In Alaska: In 1889, Lyman E. Knapp took office as the third governor of the district of Alaska, appointed by President Benjamin Harrison.

Ketchikan's Elkins to run for House
KETCHIKAN - Ketchikan businessman Jim Elkins - who appeared to have a Senate appointment in hand last year before the governor dropped him - has decided to run for the state House.

Alaska weathers downturn in jobs better than most states
FAIRBANKS - Alaska was tied for third place with Florida for job growth last year, according to national employment figures.

Panel rates Alaska fishery tops
ANCHORAGE - The nation's largest fishery off the coast of Alaska is being managed better than others in the United States with none of its stocks being overfished, according to a presidential commission.

Alaska Digest
JUNEAU - The Southeast Alaska Child Abuse Prevention Network, an organization of AWARE, will hold a child abuse prevention rally at noon today in the Dimond Courthouse courtyard, on Fourth Street across from the Alaska Capitol.

State, company sign gas line deal
TransCanada Corp. will file an application under the state's Stranded Gas Development Act for a North Slope natural gas pipeline to the Canadian border, Gov. Frank Murkowski said Monday.

House to vote on spending cap
Constitutional amendments to limit state spending and change the way Alaska Permanent Fund distributions are calculated will come up for a vote this week in the House.

Property owner grapples with dead-moose dilemma
ANCHORAGE - Eagle River resident Glenn Gibeault discovered a dead moose on his quarter-acre near Eagle River Road last month. As the snow started melting, an ear emerged.

Alaska Digest
Staff and Wire reports

FEC fines PAC linked to governor
A political action committee tied to Gov. Frank Murkowski and run by Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes has been fined for accepting $19,000 in illegal corporate contributions several years ago, when Murkowski was a U.S. senator and Renkes a Washington, D.C., lobbyist.

Icy plunge
Luke Thomas plunges into icy water Sunday during the 27th Annual Alyeska Spring Carnival and Slush Cup in Girdwood.

This Day in History
In Alaska: In 1925, Morris W. Griffith, U.S. Marshall at Nome, died suddenly.

Money, protection urged for oceans
WASHINGTON - The government should set up a trust fund with $4 billion annually from oil and gas royalties to protect and improve the health of the nation's oceans, Great Lakes and coastal areas, a presidential commission reported Tuesday.

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