Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Fertilizer plant starts layoffs
ANCHORAGE - The Agrium fertilizer plant in Nikiski will lay off 65 employees over the next few months, the company has announced. The job losses amount to 22 percent of the work force, said general manager Mike Nugent. The downsizing comes despite a state lawmaker's attempt to help the plant.

Hardware superstore opens its doors today
Four months after Family Grocer vacated its retail space in the Airport Shopping Center, Alaska Industrial Hardware is opening its doors there today. "We officially took control of the building Feb. 1, and in 90 days we have completely remodeled the inside," said Dennis Watson, the Juneau store manager for Alaska Industrial Hardware, a company based in Anchorage.

Business profile: Ted Quinn
Title and company: Owner, Capital Office Supply "As owner, I'm the president of Capital Office Supply and co-owner of all of them," Ted Quinn said. Capital Office Supply offers a full line of "consumable" office supplies - such as paper, pens, envelopes, etc. - to businesses through its catalog and Web site, www.capital-office.com, Quinn said. The company used to have two retail stores in Juneau, one downtown and one in the Nugget Mall, but closed them four years ago.

New TOTE cargo ship makes first port of call
ANCHORAGE - The Midnight Sun, one of two newly built Totem Ocean Trailer Express cargo ships, made its first port call Saturday to Anchorage. TOTE, one of two major shipping companies that move goods by sea to Alaska from the Lower 48, spent $310 million for the Midnight Sun and her sister ship, the MV North Star, which is to begin service in August.

UA president's pay
Some quick research on the Internet revealed the following information: University of Alaska President and retired general Mark Hamilton receives annual compensation of $284,000, plus free use of a house.

Good Samaritan
Last Friday I had my first flat tire in 30 years and with a bad back I knew I was in trouble. I tried flagging down passing vehicles and a fine gentleman by the name of Bruce Massey stopped and I told him my problem. He said no problem and took the time to change my tire and it wasn't an easy job.

Wolves need help
Wolves are being targeted in spotting scopes of aerial land-and-shoot hunters and urgently need your help. The state Legislature is advocating a measure that would permit the Board of Game to authorize same-day, airborne, predator-control programs without the backing of the governor or ADF&G.

More than the weather
I have an anthology of summer Sunday morning comments in order of their relative importance.

Even rural mines have city impacts
The Assembly should reject the proposed changes to the city mining ordinance.

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

Teenager ponders a close encounter of a deadly kind
Tara Greenwood, 18, stood at the side of Glacier Highway near Eagle Beach after her car accident last week. On one side of the road was a 60-foot drop to the beach. On the other side was her 1992 Honda Civic: upside down, its windshield impaled on boulders. Greenwood did the only thing she could do. "I vomited - too much adrenaline, I think," she said. "I was trying really hard not to pass out. I knew that would just upset everyone more. I wasn't crying.

Leading a plugged-in existence
Touch anything, just walk past anything in Dick and Peggie Garrison's Highland Avenue home, and it's likely to move if it isn't in motion already. Dick Garrison, a musician and former businessman and movie sound man, is fascinated by electronics and mechanics. "He was born that way and will probably die that way," said Peggie, who still retains a lilt in her voice from her native Ireland. "We have push-button drapes and a push-button fireplace."

City asks for U.S. review of Patriot Act
In a packed meeting room Monday night, the Juneau Assembly approved a resolution that outlines the city's approach to investigations under federal anti-terrorism legislation and sends a message to Congress asking the Patriot and Homeland Security acts be reexamined. "This is a very balanced resolution, and it's a positive approach. It states our support for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and respectfully asks Congress to revisit the Patriot Act," said Assembly member Mark Wheeler. "I believe that Congress didn't take its usual deliberative approach. I do think this reflects the majority of the citizens of the city and borough of Juneau."

A forum for Native voices
Ernestine Hayes, who was raised by her grandmother in Juneau while her mother was hospitalized, said she never doubted her mother missed her. When she gave an oration recently, she linked her story with that of people who have been separated from the land, "and the land still misses them." An Alaska Native oratory society founded last year is providing an audience for a new generation of speakers, say local educators and students.

Photo: No time like the sunny present
McLean Steadman helps paint a house for a friend Sunday on Glacier Avenue. Steadman took advantage of record-breaking sunny weather to paint through the weekend.

This Day in History
In 1949, Dr. James Ryan, the territorial commissioner of education, told a Senate committee that Alaska children were of superior intelligence because of the "high-grade" of the territorial pioneers.

Photo: Lunch in the sun
Rainbow Foods employees Shirin Cruise, left, Linda Cohen, center, and Roz Cruise enjoy the view, their lunch and the sun at a curb on Seward and Second streets Monday.

Volunteering for Friends of the Library
When Woolsey Lent shows up for his 2 1/2-hour shift volunteering at the Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries' Amazing Book Store every Friday afternoon, it's a little like embarking on a treasure hunt, he said. "There's a lot to be said for handling books. If you handle books, you tend to read them," said Lent, who has been volunteering at the store for 10 years. "When I first saw the bookstore I said to myself, 'I want to sit behind that desk,'" Lent said, "because I'm not a fast reader, but I value reading very much."

The art of volunteering
The Juneau Arts and Humanities Council is a large part of why the film, fine arts and music community in Juneau is as active as it is. But the arts council can do only what it does with the help of its nearly 200 volunteers, members said. "Our executive director is already working 50 hours a week, and then we have all of these events going on. We need the volunteers to make it possible," said Steve Hamilton, a volunteer and member of the council's board of trustees.

Photo: Northern lights over Douglas Harbor
The aurora borealis dances above Douglas Harbor early Monday. The northern lights have been visible most nights during the past week in Juneau.

Theater looking 'Up'
F rom 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, state employee Ed Christian, 49, told anyone who asked that he was happy to be "hanging in there." He sat in a paraglider's harness - taped into a lawn chair and hooked by a climbing rope into a concrete pillar on the fifth-floor of the Gross Alaska building - and dangled 40 feet above Front Street. He did what anyone would do at lunchtime. He ate a hamburger.

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

Correction
Due to a copy editor's error, a headline on the Opinion page of Thursday's Empire was incorrect. It should have read: Politicians dodging issues.

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

Photo: Easter celebration
Parishoners of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church walk in procession around the church during Orthodox Easter services early Sunday morning.

This Day in History
In 1930, the cornerstone of what is now the Alaska State Capitol was laid in Juneau.

Fire rips through Hoonah's center
Public safety officials are investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed three structures near the center of Hoonah on Saturday. Though no one was injured seriously, the fire caused at least $50,000 in damage and destroyed a historic home, officials said Monday. Hoonah, population about 1,000, is a village 40 miles west of Juneau on Chicagof Island.

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

Floyd Melvin Barton
Juneau resident Floyd Melvin Barton, 69, died April 12, 2003, at the Eagle River Methodist Camp in Juneau.

Carole A. Sims
Former Juneau resident Carole A. Sims, 64, died April 26, 2003, at her home in Michigan.

Harold 'Hal' L. Sewill
Longtime Juneau resident Harold "Hal" L. Sewill, 77, died April 18, 2003, in Juneau.

Nadine V. Price
Former Juneau resident Nadine V. Price, 77, died April 24, 2003, at her home in Anchorage, following a 10-year struggle with ovarian cancer.

My Turn: Alyeska provides - by far - best home-school education
As Alyeska home-school parents, we are writing in reply to Mr. Clark's letter (Empire, April 23) regarding Alyeska Central School. As Mr. Clark said, education has changed in Alaska. The tightening budget has caused many school districts to look for money in other places and forming their own correspondence programs is one of the best scams going.

Alaska editorial: Alaskans' taxes lightest in the U.S.
As policy-makers at every level of government consider new ways to raise revenue, cut services and, in general, make ends meet, Alaskans should consider the following from the Tax Foundation:

Letter: An answer to the boxing controversy
Everyone should say they are sorry and forget about it. It's not like child abuse where someone needs to be prosecuted. The Duckworths should go back to Juneau and fight. Give the guy who cut his arm a chance to heal and everyone train. Give the Duckworths input on who the judges will be and find judges that both parties can agree upon.

Juneau softball team heads north for Fairbanks games
The Juneau-Douglas High School softball team is heading north to see its future. The Crimson Bears will make their first trip to Fairbanks to play a series of six games Wednesday through Friday against the six teams in the Fairbanks-based Mid-Alaska Conference. If Juneau does well on this trip, it could help the Crimson Bears book a return trip to the state tournament June 5-6 in Fairbanks.

Crimson Bears seek repeat
After two years of coming oh-so-close, the Juneau-Douglas High School baseball team realized its goal last June when it won the state championship. Now comes the hard part - repeating. The Crimson Bears open their season at 6 p.m. on Wednesday when they host the Ketchikan Kings in a Region V game at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. The junior varsity teams play at 2 p.m.

Correction
Due to incorrect information provided to the Empire, some details surrounding the origin of Melvin Park mentioned in Sunday's Gastineau Channel Little League opening day article were erroneous.

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

Fosket wins local table tennis tourney
Juneau-Douglas High School senior Matt Fosket claimed the title in the 2003 Open Table Tennis Tournament, beating Wei Sheng of Juneau 10-21, 21-18, 21-18 in Saturday's championship match at the Terry Miller gymnasium.

Lions pick Alaskan in 7th round
University of Colorado fullback Brandon Drumm became the seventh Alaskan ever to be picked in the NFL Draft when the Detroit Lions selected him Sunday in the seventh round. Drumm, a 1998 Service High School graduate from Anchorage, was the 236th pick overall in this year's draft. He had been projected as a mid-round pick before the two-day draft, with some experts predicting a selection about the fourth or fifth round.

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

What a kick!
ANCHORAGE - A teenager from Barrow tied a world record in the one-foot high kick at the Native Youth Olympics. John Miller kicked his way into the record books Saturday with 9 feet, 6 inches at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

State Briefs
Military veterans form peace group; President signs disaster declaration; Firefighters train for upcoming fire season; Alaska SeaLife Center completes winter renovations; Missing hiker found; UAF eliminates graduation invocation

Seattle papers close to legal action
SEATTLE - The Hearst Corp. has remained mum over exactly what legal tactics it plans to use to keep The Seattle Times from shutting down its cross-town rival, but any court battle will likely focus on the Times' finances for the past three years.

Troopers say avalanche probably claimed two climbers on Devil's Thumb
Alaska State Troopers ended a search last week for two Canadian climbers missing near Petersburg since mid-April. Authorities believe the two may have perished in an avalanche. Troopers led a three-day search for Guy Edwards, 30, and John Millar, 24, of British Columbia.

Groups worry that gaming bills will cut funding to charities
ANCHORAGE - In the tiny Aleutian Islands village of Nikolski, residents rely on pull-tab gambling money from games played 900 miles away for basics such as the satellite phone that links them to the outside world in bad weather. Around the state, people newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis get detailed information about the disease through mailings paid for with pull-tab profits. And when Alaska families lose their homes to fire, the American Red Cross uses pull-tab proceeds to put them up temporarily.

State Briefs
Ice Classic officials say breakup is near; Alaska Bush author Proenneke dies at 86; Anchorage airport fighting industry slump; Murkowski names two Interior judges; Anchorage bookstore owners honored

Senate adds to university funds
The state Senate gave preliminary approval on Monday to a $2.3 billion operating budget that adds $9.5 million for university funding and restores $44.8 million for the Alaska Longevity Bonus Program. The budget also cuts $4.2 million for student transportation and $167,000 for adult basic education but restores funding for Alyeska Central School in Juneau - less $1.2 million for ACS's summer school program.

House OKs boost in car registration fees
The House passed a bill Monday that would boost registration fees for most vehicles by $10 to $15 a year. The measure still must pass the Senate. House Bill 170 would boost annual car and truck license fees to $50. Currently car registration costs $34 a year, and pickup fees are $39. Fees for motorcycles, taxis and other vehicles also would rise under the measure.

House eyes sales tax to increase revenue
ANCHORAGE - House Speaker Pete Kott predicts a statewide sales tax proposal will emerge sometime this week in the state Legislature. Kott, an Eagle River Republican, said such as plan has "a good possibility" of success as lawmakers seek new revenues to reduce the state's budget deficit.

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