Alaska construction to reach $5.3 billion
Governments and private industries should spend $5.3 billion on construction in Alaska this year, a forecast by University of Alaska Anchorage economists says.

Keep sex offender out
I do not know why the Lions Club would let a convicted sex offender work the doors at the Gold Medal tournament this year and have contact with all the children who walked through the doors. Maybe they just didn't know about him.

Ad shows newspaper's bias
While reading Monday's paper, I saw an ad by the Juneau Clean Air Alliance stating that 71 percent of bar patrons prefer smoke-free establishments and 77 percent of Juneau residents don't smoke. This ad would lead one to believe that a survey was taken of local bar patrons to establish the veracity of this ad. I personally called all the bar owners that I know, and talked to as many people as I could, to ask if they knew of such a survey. Gee, what a surprise: Absolutely no one had heard of such a survey.

Using existing ferries
The delivery and acceptance of two new vessels for the Alaska Marine Highway System is cause for much celebration. When the M/V Lituya and M/V Fairweather start revenue service in a few weeks, residents of Southeast Alaska will benefit from long-needed transportation improvements. Next year, the delivery and deployment of a second high-speed ferry will enhance transportation in Prince William Sound.

Be fair to dogs
A number of leash-requirement areas are being proposed by the Dog Task Force, including Gastineau Peak above the tram and areas within the Mendenhall State Game Refuge. The area above the tram was proposed by the Wildlife Subcommittee as a wildlife viewing area.

A 60-year-old lie
Cigarettes, fluoride, discrimination, What's next? Let's add another dollar per pack tax on cigarettes. It will benefit out of state economies and decrease our city sales tax and state tax revenues.

Lane doesn't merge
M.C. Birkner's April 21 letter regarding driving was mostly spot on regarding the seemingly increasing behavior of inattentive or confusing driving, mostly the result of simply not knowing the rules of the road.

Gen. Apathy and the Confederacy of Dunces
Your front page article on Alaska Republican Party chairman/government appointee Randy Ruedrich reads like something out of the "Confederacy of Dunces." In addition to Mr. Ruedrich's alleged blunderings, I find it disconcerting; might I say, even embarrassing, to read that the chief of staff of the governor of Alaska "does not know how to use a computer and does not send his own e-mail."

Learn rules of bridge
In response to portions of M.C. Birkner's letter on Wednesday, April 21; the writer seems to indicate that drivers coming off the Douglas Bridge should stop and back up traffic onto the bridge (which creates a traffic hazard) so that drivers from North Douglas can enter into the traffic pattern. That's as ridiculous as it is unsafe. Instead, be grateful the South Douglas drivers stop to let you in, which they should only do when the oncoming lane is clear. It's a courtesy, not a requirement.

A stuck Tar Baby
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officers Michael Aurella, left, and Kevin Smith check out the fishing vessel Tar Baby after the boat grounded Tuesday off Battleship Island, near Auke Bay. The boat's skipper escaped the vessel uninjured.

Musicians gather at JDHS for music fest
The song was "Anything Goes," the goal anything but. Fine-tuning footwork, coordinating cutoffs, members of the Juneau-Douglas High School Jazz Choir sometimes treaded a thin line between polish and spontaneity as they prepared Wednesday for one of their biggest performances of the year.

REACH reaches 25 years
Thanks to REACH, Lee Sandor and her husband John leave for a vacation today. Though a five-day getaway to British Columbia would be pretty routine for most Juneau families, the Sandors, who have a daughter with a developmental disability, require the help of REACH service providers.

In an April 21 Empire article about Tlingit weaver Jennie Thlunaut, some clarifications are needed. Her daughter, Agnes Bellinger, accepted a national award in Washington, D.C., in September 1986, in honor of her mother. The award included a $5,000 grant. The urine used to create dyes for Chilkat blankets, according to Bellinger, is collected from new infants.

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

Tlingit-Haida resolutions address economics, racism, ferries
Tlingit-Haida Central Council President Ed Thomas said last week's general meeting was a success, but he would like to get his message out to a broader forum.

Highlighting Filipino culture
It starts with two crabs from the Philippines delivering pizza in Juneau and ends with a much-berated stepdaughter marrying a prince and manufacturing specialty jams for movie stars. And no one mumbles! You know it's not the usual school play.

Births, judgments and other local legal matters.

Palmer files APOC complaint against the School Board
Former City Manager Dave Palmer said the Juneau School Board broke state law Tuesday by appropriating funds to influence elections.

City OKs maximum funding for schools
The Juneau Assembly has agreed to provide Juneau schools with the most operating funds that the state allows, commonly called the cap.

Corrections to local stories.

Man lands 1 year for boat sinking
A former charter boat operator was sentenced to one year in jail Thursday, agreeing he was responsible for putting a woman in a coma last September.

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

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

Police & Fire
Reprots from Juneau police, fire officials and state troopers.

United Way names Jodi Kilcup new executive director
The United Way of Southeast Alaska fell short of its 2003 fund-raising goal by $200,000. Agency officials are hoping their new executive director, Jodi Kilcup, will prevent that from happening this year.

Doggie Dos: How to decipher canine body language
Dogs do speak - with their bodies. Close observation can tell volumes about their mood. No single cue is sufficient. Look instead for a combination of non-verbal signals. A wagging tail is not necessarily a sign of a friendly dog.

Garlock and Rice to wed
Tina Garlock and Chad Rice of Juneau will be married at 2 p.m. May 8, 2004, at Eagle Beach. A private reception will follow.

Nolder, Herbert marry
Donna Herbert of Juneau and Dennis Nolder of Des Moines, Wash., were married March 13, 2004, at Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona, Ariz. Family members and close friends were in attendance.

A little nautical history
There was an expression in the days of sailing that it was a time of iron men and wooden ships. But for a few brief decades, from about 1840 to 1880, the hulls of powered and sailing ships were made of iron. This was only a blink of time, in consideration of the centuries men have made wooden ships and since about 1880 large ships made of steel.

Moore and Gray to marry
Tammy Rennee Moore of Prince Frederick, Md., and Jack Brian Gray of Juneau will be married in a ceremony planned for May 15, 2004, in Prince Frederick Md. A reception will follow at First Baptist Church of Calvert County.

Pageant recognizes Native leadership
Rose Natkong of Pelican won the 2004 Miss Tlingit Haida Youth Leadership Pageant that was held April 16 at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Juneau.

Thank you letters
Letters of thanks for local assistance.

Neighbors Digest
Community news in brief.

Michael Fenster
Longtime Juneau resident Michael Joseph Fenster, 57, died April 15, 2004, in Juneau.

Bonita McEwen
Longtime Juneau resident Bonita "Bonnie" Gail McEwen, 61, died April 19, 2004, in Juneau.

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

James 'Pat' Orme
Lifetime Juneau resident James "Pat" Orme, 58, died April 18, 2004, at Wildflower Court in Juneau.

David W. Spirtes
Former Southeast Alaska resident David W. Spirtes, 55, died from complications related to kidney and lung cancer on April 15, 2004, in New York.

My Turn: Approve fiscal plan now or watch state suffer
Does the Legislature really need to act on a fiscal plan this year? The Alaska Conference of Mayors and Alaska Municipal League firmly believe the answer is, yes for effective public safety and well maintained transportation systems, yes for strong communities with reasonable local taxes, yes for good schools and university, and yes for a stable investment climate to keep jobs and attract new ones.

Reed this: Music fest is cool
Popular culture tells us that high school band members are socially awkward, regaling us with tales of "this one time, at band camp ... ." It's a pervasive joke in a country that values individual and athletic achievement so highly. I've even called myself a band geek in this column.

Service-Juneau soccer rivalry makes return
For the first time in five years, Juneau fans will get to see one of the state's top soccer rivalries on the home turf. The Service boys will play Juneau-Douglas at 8 p.m. tonight and 2 p.m. Saturday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. The Crimson Bears beat the Cougars 1-0 in last year's state title game, and Juneau also knocked Service out of the state tourney in 2002.

Photo: Last meet of the season
Iris Neary, center, of Dzantiki'i Heeni Middle School races toward the tape during the 100-meter dash for sixth-grade girls during the middle school track meet Thursday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. Aleecia Moss of Floyd Dryden Middle School is right and Cassie Orbistondo of Juneau Christian School is left.

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

Expos, Bentz suffer loss to Mets
Mike Piazza's move to first base paid off for the New York Mets. With a day game after a night game, Thursday almost certainly would have been a day off for Piazza last season.

Sports Briefs
Local sports news in brief

Randolph wins Most Improved
Portland Trail Blazers forward Zach Randolph was disappointed when he didn't make the All-Star team. Winning the NBA's Most Improved Player award Thursday took some of that sting away.

Speedo/Alaska Junior Olympics
Results from the 2004 Speedo/Alaska Swimming Junior Olympics held Friday through Sunday at Anchorage's Bartlett High School swimming pool.

Leading by example
You can tell a lot about Alex Newton by what's missing. Namely, an armband - a badge of honor few soccer team captains would ever forget to wear in a game, let alone choose to forego.

O'Brien wins top swimmer honors
Kyle O'Brien of Juneau's Glacier Swim Club needed an extra bag to pack all his awards home from the 2004 Speedo/Alaska Swimming Junior Olympics, held Friday through Sunday at Anchorage's Bartlett High School swimming pool.

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

Alaska's top prep track and field times
The 2004 Alaska high school track and field season bests as compiled by Eric Smith of the Anchorage Daily News. Results are through meets of April 17. First names are not available for all leaders.

Photo: Show of skill
Mount Edgecumbe's Aaron Dull stretches to kick a seal-skin ball 88 inches from the ground to win the Alaskan High Kick event in the Native Youth Olympics on Thursday in Anchorage. About 400 youths from across Alaska are in Anchorage to compete in three days of traditional Native games. The events are based on games that past generations of Alaska Natives played to test their hunting and survival skills.

Deal in works on changing permafund
House Democrats and Republicans are trying to negotiate a deal on a constitutional amendment that could lead to Alaska Permanent Fund earnings being spent on government.

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

Feds approve program to reduce costs of drugs in Alaska and 4 other states
The government Thursday approved a joint drug-buying program among five states - including Alaska - that has saved millions of dollars in prescription costs, a decision that could lead other states to form similar agreements.

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

House approves spending cap, debates altering permanent fund
The state House agreed Thursday to a constitutional spending limit and debated a constitutional amendment that could lead to spending Alaska Permanent Fund income on state government.

Senate OKs Murkowski's 2005 budget
Senate Republicans endorsed a $2.3 billion general fund operating budget on Thursday, granting Gov. Frank Murkowski much of the spending plan he had proposed for fiscal 2005.

Senate takes Murkowski's budget over House version
State Senate Republicans have allied with Gov. Frank Murkowski in his fiscal 2005 spending plan, dismissing millions in proposed changes by House GOP lawmakers.

Do you know what happened in the world today?
A stay-at-home mother believes George Bush is conspiring with Osama Bin Laden for political gains. An oil petroleum distributor hopes the United States can finance the reconstruction of Iraq solely with oil revenue. A Filipino postal worker cares more about the price of gasoline for his delivery truck than the price of war in the Middle East. How do they get their news? Do they know what happened in the world today? And what do they think the world thinks about the United States?

Local arts and entertainment news in brief.

Cartoon: In the Swamp
Cartoon by local artist Toe.

Concert to celebrate the values, origins and beliefs of three faiths
Last November, longtime Juneau resident Dixie Belcher visited Islamic and Christian leaders in Lebanon and Syria. "Syria might be the friendliest country I'd ever been in," Belcher said. "People would stop us on the street and ask where we were from. If you weren't careful, you'd end up in their house for coffee."

What's happening
Upcoming local arts and entertainment events.

Learning about the transitory nature of coolness
So, we were all sitting there at the end of yoga class in the lotus position with our hands in prayer when our instructor, this girl with a 2-foot long braid I'll call "yoga-babe," said, "I'd like to share a song with you."

As sharp as Homeric tradition
Growing up, Canadian poet, historian and typographer Robert Bringhurst's education was the same as most North American youth.

Movies: Where & when
Local movie showings and times.

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