Thursday, May 1, 2003

Re: Sen. Cowdery's question
I guess the salary difference between Mark Hamilton and Colin Powell is sufficiently clear for me.

Miscounted the years
In my My Turn column, "A veteran's perspective on the war," which appeared in Wednesday's Empire, I wrote about having been drafted into the Army 55 years ago. I miscounted the years, the kind of thing I'm inclined to do these days.

Longevity Bonus provides dignity
I was excited to see that the Longevity Bonus was being reconsidered! So many seniors depend on that money for food and rent. My father died in 1987 and all my mom gets is his Social Security, which isn't much, and the Longevity Bonus. My mom depends on it for her Medicare premium and prescriptions that she needs to stay in good health.

High praise
The reporting on the USA Patriot Act resolution project was amazing for its clarity, accuracy and interest.

Worthy of praise
Congratulations to the CBJ, the Douglas Fourth of July Committee and to all of the private and public sector folks who helped get the Treadwell Arena online this winter.

Soldier coming home
Thank you so much for the wonderful article on the military families. I feel honored to have been featured in your newspaper, especially since we are fairly new here.

Perhaps UA president deserves a pay raise
Sen. John Cowdery asked an interesting question in Tuesday's Letters to the Editor. He compared UA President Mark Hamilton's salary to Secretary of State Colin Powell's salary, and then asked, "what's wrong with this picture?"

Wolf killing is bad for tourism
Should the state be promoting shooting wolves from air planes and helicopters? This is exactly what is proposed under House Bill 208 and Senate Bill 155. What image does state-sponsored wolf killing portray to visitors?

Group lobbies for school bonds
A group has formed to support passage of two school bond measures in Juneau. Voters will decide in a special election June 3 whether the city should issue $12.6 million in bonds to pay for part of the planned high school at Dimond Park in the Mendenhall Valley. And voters will decide whether to issue $12.5 million in bonds to help pay for continuing the renovation of Juneau-Douglas High School and possibly other schools.

Child-safety expert lectures on 'child lures'
For years, well-meaning parents have been telling their children not to talk to strangers, said Kenneth Wooden, a nationally recognized child-safety advocate. "Well, ask a kid to draw a picture of a stranger," Wooden said. "He'll draw an ugly monster. That's not what he needs to stay away from."

Corrections
Due to a reporter's error, an article in Tuesday's Empire about Monday's Juneau Assembly meeting misspelled Assembly member Marc Wheeler's first name.

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

VISTA means helping out - full time
When Heather Binkley graduated from college in Minnesota with a social work degree in the spring of 2002, she wasn't quite ready to take a regular job "I had done some volunteering in the past, as a live-in volunteer at a Catholic Working house in Minnesota ... and at a homeless clinic in Milwaukee, Wis..., and I really have enjoyed my experience with volunteering," she said. So instead of applying to graduate school, or looking for a paid, entry-level social worker position, she decided to look into volunteering options.

Volunteers an essential element of AWARE
When Kitty Gundy signed up to volunteer at the AWARE shelter in August, she didn't know her shopping skills would be her most valuable asset. "I went there and I talked to Cyd and told her I'd be willing to volunteer for whatever the shelter needed to have done," Gundy said, referring to Cydney Boyer, volunteer coordinator at Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies, or AWARE. "It turns out their shopper had just stopped volunteering, so that was what they needed."

Photo: Making like it's summer
Keith Callister fishes for flounder Tuesday morning off the floatplane dock downtown.

Photos: Geese on the green
Left, snow geese fly over the wetlands near the Mendenhall Golf Club Wednesday.

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

This Day in History
In 1934, legal liquor returned to Alaska and 10 liquor stores opened in Juneau.

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

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

Black cod, a flavorful, too-often-forgotten fish
L ast year, I visited Seville, Spain. There, amongst the Moorish architecture, flamenco and tapas, I learned to appreciate black cod. One evening I made my way to a tapas bar in the heart of the 1,000-year-old city and asked the waiter to bring me some of the bar's specialties, whatever they may be.

Traylor: Turning crutches into pillars
Jerry Traylor didn't come to Juneau on Wednesday just to give a talk, he said. He came to change lives. "I am free, I am thankful and I am blessed," said Traylor, leaning on the crutches that allow him to walk despite the cerebral palsy that has rendered his legs unusable since his birth. He spoke to an audience of 480 people as part of the Pillars of America Freedom Series of speeches sponsored by the Glacier Valley Rotary Club.

Photo: Rotary Awards
Juneau Downtown Rotary Club presented its 2003 Vocational Service Awards for outstanding vocational service and contribution to the community last week.

Thank you
... for the cruise; ...For a great event.

Program helps seniors develop new skills
Jim has worked most of his life as a carpenter and hopes to get into a new career that is less physical. Sue worked for years in an office, using typewriters and dial telephones; after raising a family, she now wants to go back to work. Fred depended on the timber industry for his livelihood, but knows he'll need training in a new line of work. Mary worked as a nurse's aide for 30 years and fears risking injury as she gets older. These are typical scenarios of trainees involved in the MASST program.

Hall Talk: There's junk food on the school menu
Pizza, jo-jos, nachos or corn dogs - come and get 'em while they're hot. Get your soda, Popsicles or cookies. You'd think that you were at a baseball game, but actually this is what is served at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School during lunchtime. When your child says that he or she can get lunch at school, these are some of the choices. Nutritious? I don't think so. Well balanced? I think not. Tasty? Oh yeah!

Neighbors Briefs
NCAA honors Auke Bay's Hilary Turner; Davies family benefit Thursday evening; Juneau Co-op Preschool registration deadline; Engineering scholarships

Art that rocks
Ancient peoples all over the world created messages in the durable medium of rock. They used two methods: painting and pecking.

Pets of the week
Remember Delilah, the silky black cat with a white bib and whiskers? Well, somebody goofed: she isn't a girl, but a guy! Sunkist is an affectionate, spayed lap cat needs a new person to love.

Richard H. Carle Jr.
Richard H. Carle Jr., 67, died April 2, 2003, at Seattle University Hospital.

Peter Wood Jr.
Former Juneau resident Peter Wood Jr., 61, died April 11, 2003, in Monroe, Wash.

Chuck Keen
Chuck Keen, 65, died April 4, 2003, at the Veterans Hospital in Seattle.

Doris T. DiCostanzo
Former Juneau resident Doris T. DiCostanzo, 78, died April 28, 2003, in Kent, Wash.

Soaking up the sun while it lasts
If I write about the wonderful weather, will it change for the worse? If it does, will you be mad? Yeah, I would be too if some other amateur practitioner of the obscure laws of physics made good weather disappear by writing about it. I wish I had a dollar for everyone who has said to me during the past week some version of, "This is our summer," or, "Enjoy it while it lasts," or, "Isn't this what happened last spring before everything turned to ....."

My Turn: A veteran's perspective on the war
Almost 55 years ago I was drafted into the Army right out of high school. I served in France and in the Ardennes Forest of Belgium during the bitter winter of 1944-45. It was not a happy experience, but I was absolutely convinced, as were all of us, that our cause was just, and that we were fighting against a powerful and evil enemy, who without provocation, had attacked his neighbors and actually was a threat to world security.

My Turn: Alaska cannot afford ASTF
The Alaska Science and Technology Foundation was founded in 1988 based on the assumption it would enable Alaska to be the world leader in Arctic research. ASTF was endowed with $106 million, which was to be used to issue "entrepreneurial and teaching grants". Obviously, these are noble purposes, which the Murkowski administration supports. The problem is the state now spends annually many more millions of dollars than it collects in revenue. The time has come to set priorities, which, incidentally, the Legislature requested of the last administration, to no avail.

My Turn: Pipeline poppycock
The Voice of the Times editorialized on April 14 that Gov. Murkowski was right to slash the funding of the gas line authority from $1.3 million to $150,000 and said he shouldn't give the project anything. The Voice of the Times is wrong again, but that's what you'd expect from an outfit totally beholden to the North Slope producers.

Juneau Jumpers ready to show their stuff
Juneau residents have one last chance to see the renowned Juneau Jumpers jump-rope squad in action this week before the team gears up for national competition. The Jumpers are holding a community show on Friday beginning at 7 p.m. at the Glacier Valley Elementary School gym. Tickets will be sold at the door and are $5 for adults, $3 for children and students or $10 for a family.

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

Local Sports Briefs
Spring salmon derby begins today; May Day Mud Run set for Saturday

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

Soccer squads head north for Anchorage test
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys and girls soccer teams know they will be playing a series of games in Southcentral Alaska this week. What they don't know is just where, when and how many games they'll get. Wet field conditions and tight schedules have wreaked havoc on the Crimson Bears' trips north this season. As of Tuesday afternoon, after a lot of legwork to set up matches, the Crimson Bear boys and girls each had two definite games and one "to be determined" game opening.

Juneau softball team opens trip with wins
The Juneau-Douglas High School softball team opened its road trip to Fairbanks with a pair of victories Wednesday night at the Interior Girls Softball Association fields.The Crimson Bears beat the winless Delta Junction Huskies 10-1, then beat the previously unbeaten Lathrop Malemutes 6-3 in the nightcap.

Tornadoes head to state
The Juneau Tornadoes wrestling club hopes to take the competition by storm this weekend, as a large contingent heads to Eagle River for the Alaska USA Wrestling Freestyle and Greco-Roman State Tournament. Thirty wrestlers from the club - by far the largest state contingent the Tornadoes club has ever had - will travel north today. Weigh-ins are this evening, with competition on Friday and Saturday at the McDonald Sports Center.

JDHS Softball
CRIMSON BEARS 10, HUSKIES 1

Big Zach attack
The Juneau-Douglas High School baseball team had a big Zach Attack in winning its season-opening game 16-9 over the Ketchikan Kings on Wednesday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. The Crimson Bears were led by the slugging of senior third baseman Zach Kohan and the relief pitching of sophomore Zach Mixson as they began their quest for a repeat state title. Kohan hit two home runs and a double off the fence to lead Juneau's offense, while Mixson shut down Ketchikan over the final three-plus innings to pick up the win on the mound.

Democrats blocking governor's appointment
Gov. Frank Murkowski will have to wait a little longer to appoint the state's next education commissioner. The state Board of Education picked two former Alaska educators as finalists for the post on Tuesday. A spokesman for the governor said Murkowski had hoped to make his pick soon, but will be delayed by a bill to preserve their retirement benefits. House Bill 140 would have allowed the two candidates to return to state service without paying a penalty in their retirement benefits.

Lawmakers propose creating a 3 percent state sales tax
State House leaders say a year-round 3 percent state sales tax plan introduced Wednesday could raise up to $330 million a year to shrink Alaska's fiscal gap. Gov. Frank Murkowski said he prefers a seasonal sales tax, but did not rule out supporting the proposal. The measure was sponsored by the House Ways and Means Committee, which scheduled its first hearing for 7 a.m. today. The committee was formed recently to craft revenue-generating and other budget-balancing measures.

Bears rampage through exclusive fishing resort
ANCHORAGE - At least five marauding brown bears rampaged through the Katmai Lodge, a luxury fishing resort on the Alagnak River, over the winter, demolishing freezers and food stores after busting through a total of 53 doors in search of food. Lodge employees last week were buying up replacement doors as fast as they could find them in Alaska's largest city.

Bill to allow gambling has slim chance of survival
A proposal to allow video gambling machines in bars and clubs to help balance the state budget appears dead or nearly so as the Legislature enters its final weeks. The once-hot idea is stalled in the House Special Committee on Ways and Means. Fairbanks Republican Rep. Jim Whitaker, the committee co-chairman handling the gambling bill, said he has no plans to bring it up again.

Senate approves operating budget
Senate Republicans signed off on a $2.3 billion operating budget Tuesday that restores some of the cuts in education proposed by Gov. Frank Murkowski. It sets the stage for GOP leaders in the House and Senate to begin negotiations on a final fiscal 2004 spending plan that passes muster with the Republican governor. But Democrats in the minority, who largely have been spurned during this budget process, vow to continue to push for funding in education and other areas.

Only needy may get sr. bonus
Senior citizens would have to prove financial need to continue getting monthly longevity bonuses under a measure being considered by the Senate Finance Committee. Dozens of older Alaskans testified against the idea Wednesday night. Senate Bill 117 would cut off the payments to single seniors making more than $16,824 a year, or couples making more than $22,716. A single adult could have assets, such as a savings account, of up to $4,000. A couple could have assets of $6,000.

State Briefs
Cab hits wolf in Valley; Juneau celebrates the law; Soldotna water-thrower faces criminal charges; Man accused of defrauding Veterans Administration; At least 19 winners in Nenana Ice Classic

State Briefs
Dog collector gets help with his 400 pooches; Murkowski makes fish board appointments; New state parks director named; Contract awarded for Southeast intertie; Student dies of injuries from Sitka bicycle crash; Athabascan leader dies in Fairbanks; Jury finds for state in Big Lake fire case

Political winds buffet exhibit on ANWR
WASHINGTON - The Smithsonian's decision to shift an exhibition of photos of wildlife in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to a less prominent location has prompted a senator and the photographer to question the museum's motives.

Dozens testify against aerial pesticide spraying in hearing sponsored by Dems
Several dozen people from all over the state protested the use of aerial pesticides in a Tuesday evening hearing sponsored by Democratic legislators. The session was called after the Department of Environmental Conservation refused to hold hearings on its new draft pesticide regulations codifying standards for aerial pesticide use, which has been legal for 30 years. The state requires permits for aerial pesticide use and for pesticide use over water or on state land. The new regulations put in writing existing permitting procedures and requirements, said Kristin Ryan, director of DEC's environmental health division.

Statewide cruise-ship tax measure resurrects
Cruise ship passengers would pay a $50 tax and the industry would be held to tighter environmental standards under a ballot initiative proposal submitted to the state on Tuesday. The revenue generated by the tax would be deposited into a "Commercial Vessel Passenger Tax Account" within the state General Fund.

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