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Monday, April 25, 2005

Who's the big spender?
If the governor does not veto the huge $345 million raid on the Alaska Permanent Fund, which we have been told is "for the schools," (I guess the phrase "for the children" is passé), I suggest we each send him a telegram. Suggested text: liar, liar, pants on fire.

Agency sells sex
At the Health Fair on April 9 at Centennial Hall, I watched as a young 16-year-old girl approached the Planned Parenthood table. Later that day I contacted this young teenager to ask what kind of reception she received from PP. This is an example of what you can expect from PP.

Legislature invents emergency
Once a year the Legislature wrestles over a large list of bills that in many cases are just "make work." Instead of working on real serious problems facing the people of this state, they make up emergencies and squander days and weeks with political infighting in order to get their name in the news. A recent example was the bills concerning the State Employees Retirement System.

Poker, pot, profit
In response to Sen. Cowdery in the April 20 Empire article regarding legalizing poker rooms: Just a thought, but since so many people these days are also gathering "underground" to smoke marijuana and manufacture methamphetamines, maybe the state of Alaska can figure out a way to profit from these operations as well. It would appear that there is big money to be had. Just a thought.

Contractor licensing statutes unfair
The Alaska State Homebuilders Association proudly admits that the changes they initiated in the contractor licensing statutes are to reduce competition in the industry and to require the consumer to use one of their members to build or remodel a home.

Empire should feature Sen. Stevens' service
I was very surprised to read the Empire's April 7 edition and see the published letter from a person in Madison, Wis., in response to a Fairbanks Daily News-Miner editorial, who writes a very disparaging, blatantly false and personal attack against U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.

House Bill 220 protects patient rights
On the March 31, Committee Substitute for House Bill 220 was passed out of the Health, Education and Social Services Committee.

Focus on outdoor safety precautions
The community of Juneau was shocked and saddened by the tragedy of Peter Barrett, who died after his kayak overturned last month.

City taxes out of line
Is there anybody out there who feels that their property taxes are clearly out of hand?

No more money for Juneau rat hole
Before we spend $300 million dollars to build a controversial road-dock-shuttle ferry complex connecting Juneau with Haines, let's look at some disturbing facts.

Disingenuous to oppose governor's jet
Frequent news reports containing names of elected officials scoffing at the idea of the state of Alaska owning jet-powered aircraft for use for official travel could be valuable to those wishing to seek elected office in the future.

Lands bill hurts communities
As a small mill owner in Tenakee Springs, I was disturbed to find that the land I am planning to lease through the Department of Natural Resources is part of the acreage the Murkowski administration wants to transfer to the University of Alaska.

Don't criminalize marijuana
Should marijuana users really be given the same punishments as a rapist or pedophiles? If you are going to try and criminalize marijuana again, don't lack the research on the medicinal herb.

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

Juneau Raptor Center frees eagles
Spectators watch the release of Popsicle, an adult bald eagle, by the Juneau Raptor Center on Thursday at the Brotherhood Bridge parking lot.

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

AroundTown
Around town is a listing of nonprofit local events

Sun sweeps SE records away
With the unseasonably warm temperatures of the past three days, it's a good time to get outside. And the National Weather Service is predicting the nice weather will stick around through the end of this week.

Photo: Refurbishing a cross
Members of the Knights of Columbus of the Cathedral of the Nativity work Saturday to refurbish the steel cross at Evergreen Cemetery.

'Empty bowls' raises funds
The line of people waiting for soup Saturday snaked out of the Centennial Hall dining room and through much of the building. But people didn't complain.

A standing testament to Juneau aviation history
Perhaps nobody knows the story of Merchants Wharf better than Juneau aviation historian Jim Ruotsala.

AroundTown
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

City seeks Merchants Wharf deal
It could be just a matter of time until Juneau's oldest waterfront landmark sinks into history itself.

Witness testifies Maggie Wigen was raped before she was killed
Maggie Wigen was sexually assaulted before she was killed two years ago, jurors heard Friday, a day after a witness alleged the man standing trial in her death had previously tried to rape her.

Vodka blamed for shooting incident
A fight over a bottle of vodka led to a shot being fired Thursday night in the Marineview Apartments downtown, one witness told police.

Assembly makes right call on school, capitol plans
Thumbs up to the Juneau Assembly, which last week funded the city school district to the state's cap with its approval of a $20 million budget for fiscal year 2006.

My Turn: Don't delay, fix PERS-TRS now
April 12 was a good-news day for state, borough and local government employees who are dedicated to public service and schoolteachers who are committed to nurturing educational opportunities for Alaska families.

Worldwide PIPS scam hits Alaska
The state of Texas has issued a cease and desist order. The attorney general of the state of Hawaii is investigating, as are Alaska officials. And the Australian Securities and Investment Commission gives it the 2005 "Pie in the Sky" award.

Empire editorial: Give businesses a break, but do it with caution
While many other Alaska cities are announcing they're on the brink of financial disaster, Juneau is in the enviable position of expecting a $6 million surplus next fiscal year.

In Search of Goats
Juneau outdoorsman Joel Bennett described mountain goats as "gymnasts of the rocks." He said he saw a dozen or so recently while walking along Mendenhall Lake. "To watch how they negotiate those steep cliffs - they're such agile creatures."

Out&About
Out & About is a listing of recreational activities.

25 years later, conservation act drives boom
Twenty-five years ago, Alaska stood on the verge of the biggest land lockup in the history of the world. Prodded by the administration of then-President Jimmy Carter, the U.S. Congress was considering the creation of more than 100 million acres of new national parks, refuges and other protected areas in the 49th state.

Outdoors Digest
Outdoors in brief

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.

The Spring MS 5K Walk/Run
April 23, held at Brotherhood Bridge

Sports Briefs
Headlines

Welcome to Juneau's new sports section
I hope this is the start of a new era in how sports are presented in Juneau.

Midnight Suns earn second split
The Midnight Suns' 14 & under softball team played stout defense in the later stages of the second game to earn a Sunday doubleheader split with Schoenbar in Ketchikan.

JDHS boys second, girls third at Skyview
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys and girls track teams performed exceptionally well Friday and Saturday in what Crimson Bears coach Scott May labeled as the premier invitational in Alaska.

Photos: On the move for a good cause
Photos of the Spring MS Run/Walk

Resolution opposes United Nations 'Beringia' designation
State Rep. Jim Elkins, R-Ketchikan, says the United Nations has gone too far in considering designating the Bering Sea and other parts of Alaska a World Heritage site.

Alaska Digest
Headlines from around the state

Legislative roundup
Bills introduced and voted on last week

Work of fighting fires is 'arduous'
When it comes to physical fitness for wildland firefighters, the state Division of Forestry doesn't mess around with words like "athletic" or "strong."

Loan proposed to save Interior power plant
Years ago, the federal government spent $117 million on an experimental "clean coal" power plant in Alaska designed to generate electricity with a minimum of air pollution - but the project never got up and running.

Milk producers don't want to pay advertising fee
Because Alaska milk producers pay extra for heated barns and feed shipped from the Lower 48, companies say they cannot afford a fee that pays for national advertising.

Bill would allow cities to compete for capitol
The 74-year-old capitol in Juneau is inadequate, unfriendly and unsafe, according to a state lawmaker who has sponsored a bill to allow communities to compete to build a new one.

This Day in History
In Alaska, the nation, and the world

This Day in History
In Alaska, the nation and world

Northwest Digest
Staff reports from around the state/the Northwest

Lawmakers' ethics bills aim at state employees
Two more bills aimed at ethics regulations for state employees surfaced Friday, hinting that the Alaska Legislature may set guidelines before the session runs out in May.

Scholarship program is keeping Alaska students in state
When Mark Hamilton headed north in 1998 to be University of Alaska president he found that most college-bound Alaskans were heading south.

Fishermen in snit over take by hatcheries
Some Alaska fishermen are irritated that hatcheries catch thousands and in some cases millions of their own salmon to fund their operations.

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