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Monday, May 6, 2002

Fiendish deeds, horrific details and blood on the snow
A wonderfully tacky map illustrated with a cherub, guns, a knife, a nude woman, skulls and handcuffs serves as a tacit introduction to Tom Brennan's non-fiction collection of 10 true crime stories from the Last Frontier. "Murder at 40 Below" is enjoyable reading for those who like Ann Rule's style of whodunit and don't mind the occasional gory detail. Stories are recreated from an omniscient viewpoint that tells the audience in no uncertain terms how the killer's childhood shaped him, how he got blood on his clothes and what he did with the blunt instrument.

In the Stacks
Oh, there are so many interesting non-fiction books coming out this week at the public libraries! Here are just a few...

Reasonable people may disagree about the law
Although reluctant to take issue with any editorial quoting me and a Chief Justice in the same breath, I am obliged to make a couple of points in response to Sunday's editorial about the Assembly meeting of April 29.

Get involved
America looks to Alaska as an example of wilderness and freedom. The unspoiled wild and scenic forests and rivers are a treasure in the minds of many Americans.

Free speech rules
I want to respond to the Word of Mouth submitted by Kathleen Schmitz, asking the ACLU to step back from the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case.

Remember in November
I think a state income tax is the best of evils we have before us. But it appears that our elected officials on the hill seem comfortable in only identifying the impacts of those of us that live here.

Black and white and red all over
Bill McAllister's Capitol Notebook of Sunday, May 5 is an embarrassment to him and to the Empire.

For the good of all
I've got to talk a little about what life is like up here on the hill. It's probably not necessary any more to say which hill. The minute I say "hill" to anyone, they know where I mean.

Pretty definite language
About 30 Thane residents attended the Assembly meeting on May 2, and many of them testified about a serious flaw in the draft tourism plan the Assembly is considering.

Limit tourism
Geldhof, the attorney, I thought, wrote a very explicit My Turn in Friday's Juneau Empire. His assumptions, predictions, named political alliances and other revealing assertions seemed right on the money.

Photo: Standing up for schools
Gov. Tony Knowles speaks during the "Stand Up for Schools" rally Saturday in front of the Capitol. Several hundred educators from around the state and their supporters attended the rally organized by the Juneau Education Association.

Photo: Blessing of the fleet
Greg Burger and Mary DeSmet perform during the Blessing of the Fleet and Dedication of Names at the Alaska Commercial Fisherman's Memorial on the Juneau waterfront Saturday. Pastor Tracee Hackel of Chapel by the Lake blessed the fleet.

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

Around Town
Listing of local nonprofit events.

UAS commencement: One ceremony, many different stories
When she started college at the University of Alaska Anchorage in January 2000, one of Gillian Smith's biggest challenges was a patch of ice.Having just concluded successful radiation treatments for a brain tumor, Smith was weak, unable to see normally and forced to walk with a cane. Going to college was a form of therapy, but to get there she had to traverse icy roads and ride a city bus.

Historian to talk about 20th Century Theater restoration
Arthur Hart, a historian and expert on the preservation of historic buildings, will be in Juneau this week to share his expertise and talk about the 20th Century Theater restoration project.Hart's visit is sponsored by the 20th Century Theater working group, a consortium of volunteers exploring the feasibility of restoring the 20th Century Theater on Front Street. Hart has been involved with the successful restoration of historic buildings in Idaho, where he lives. He'll inspect the 20th Century Theater and speak about its condition and design.

Paying to play
Studies show student activities play an important role in a complete education, helping raise grades and keeping kids in school.But in recent years, the important issue for many Alaska school districts hasn't been how you play the game, but how you pay for it.

Barrett hands off Southeast command
U.S. Coast Guard officers, state officials and other Alaskans filled Centennial Hall today to witness the change of command for the U.S. Coast Guard's chief Alaska officer.

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

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

Correction
Due to an editor's error, a headline on a Friday article on a long-range tourism plan mistakenly said: "Neighbors challenge heliport: Thane questions cost, setup." The headline should have read: "Neighbors challenge heliport: Assembly questions cost, setup."

Photo: Time to pay the piper
Mary Pegues, a fourth-grade teacher at Mendenhall River Community School, is duct-taped to a light pole Friday by kindergarten teacher Marilyn Moblo at the school playground. Pegues challenged her students four weeks before Christmas to read for 10,000 minutes before the holiday break.

Road warriors
Alaska's geography makes just getting to the game seem like the plot of the film "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" - with ferries, snowmachines and other modes of travel added in. With many of Alaska's 53 school districts off the road system, coaches can't call up the bus barn when they need to get to a game. So teams fly, ride the state ferry or find other ways to get around. Even those teams on the road system can drive thousands of miles over the course of a season - often in weather that makes travel difficult at best.

Correction
Photo cutlines in Sunday's Empire misidentified the group running the Chorebusters program. The

Chilly, dry spring sets local record
Joan Heidersdorf usually can start to plant some early vegetable crops and flowers in her Mendenhall Valley garden in early May.

Graduation moments
Above, Marcia Stier lines up for University of Alaska Southeast graduation ceremonies Sunday at Centennial Hall. Stier was awarded her certificate of

You could gain weight on this walk
The Alaska Travel Industry Association and the United Way of Southeast Alaska are sponsoring a 5-kilometer walk on Friday to raise funds for charity. The walk is neither a race nor a competition, according to the sponsoring organizations. Participants will stop to sample food at booths along the way. No one is timed

Drought in a rain forest can stress a wardrobe
Was I the only one in Southeast Alaska who heaved a moist sigh of relief when the rain came back to our rainforest for a day this week? Less than an inch of rain in the last two months! It felt good to be back in the cool damp, an environment not unlike the crisper drawer in the refrigerator. But it wasn't all about breathing and taking a break from squinting for me. I had wardrobe management issues.

Speak candidly - in open meetings
"People in an open society do not demand infallibility from their institutions, but it is difficult for them to accept what they are prohibited from observing." - Warren Burger, former chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1980 When members of the Juneau Assembly reject the advice of City Attorney John Corso and proceed in favor of holding unscrutinized discussions in possibly illegal executive sessions, they risk much, including the loss of public trust.

Word Of Mouth
Word of Mouth gives readers a forum to express opinions on a variety of issues by telephone. Calls must be limited to one minute. We reserve the right to edit calls for clarity, length and libel.

Capitol Notebook: Back to the future on fiscal gap
Dec. 15, 2006 - Gov. Lisa Murkowski today released a proposed state budget and tax package that carry through on her campaign pledge to increase state revenues and expenditures by $2.5 billion. Murkowski, who unseated her father, Frank, in the Republican primary, said her budget represents a complete philosophical reversal from the previous Murkowski administration.

My Turn: Pitting neighborhood against neighborhood
As a resident of Thane, I am dismayed that Egret Communications believes it has met the three criteria projected at the beginning of the tourism planning process.

My Turn: Alcohol users should pay up front
In response to Patrick McGonegal's letter (Empire, April 18), I agree individual drinkers of alcohol are responsible for their actions, but I would argue that all drinkers should pay for the costs incurred by the privilege of drinking.

Toe Cartoon

Fish report
Dolly Varden and sea-run cutthroat trout should start to make a showing, and steelhead are now appearing, but things seem most definitely behind schedule due to low and colder-than-normal streams.

Teeing off on a new sport
It's a warm summer day in Juneau, and you're on the front nine, trying to determine what driver will get you to the hole under par. After making a selection, you step up to the tee, draw your shoulders back - and let the disc fly. Disc golf has arrived in Juneau and the fact that it's played with what looks like a Frisbee doesn't make it any less challenging.

Hikes for Health promotes exercise in Juneau
Trail Mix, a local nonprofit organization, is sponsoring a series of hikes to promote exercise in celebration of the 10th anniversary of National Trails Day.Hikes for Health runs Saturdays from May 11 to June 1 on local trails, ending in a trail repair work day and a picnic.

Southeast Alaska wetlands part of international shorebird study
This spring U.S. Forest Service biologists in Juneau, Yakutat, Wrangell and Cordova plan to continue their participation in an international shorebird-tracking project for which they earned a national "Taking Wing" award last year.

Out and About
May 5: Southeast Road Runners Club Kids Rotary Park Run, 1 p.m., three distances (one, two or three laps around the Duck Pond). Rotary Park off Riverside Drive. For details call Shelly Saviers, 790-2566 or email saviers@gci.net.

Top Spring King Salmon Derby fish over 32 pounds
Sean McKeown knew he had a big king with an attitude on the line while fishing at Tee Harbor on Sunday.

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

Kohan destroys Kayhi as Juneau wins 3
Juneau's Zach Kohan beat the Ketchikan Kings with both his arm and his bat Friday night, throwing a seven-inning no-hitter while going 4-for-4 at the plate with three doubles as the Crimson Bears high school baseball team beat Kayhi 10-1 at Ketchikan's Norman Walker Field.

Spring King Salmon Derby Standings
Here are the standings in the Sixth Annual Spring King Salmon Derby, as of 3:24p.m. on May 3. The rankings include the angler's name, weight of the fish (in 10ths of a pound), date caught and what station the fish was turned into.

Spring King Salmon Derby Standings
Here are the standings in the Sixth Annual Spring King Salmon Derby, as of 3:24p.m. on May 3.

Juneau softball team ends trip by crushing West and Bartlett
The Juneau-Douglas High School softball team wrapped up its six-game road trip to Anchorage Friday night with a pair of lopsided victories, beating the West Anchorage Eagles 22-3 in a game called after four innings and then blanking the Bartlett Golden Bears 8-0 at the Delaney Park Strip fields downtown.

Mustangs knock Crimson Bears from unbeaten ranks
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer team dominated Friday night's game against the Chugiak Mustangs.

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

Juneau wins in 'Bears' Territory'
Federico Milanetti is new to Juneau-Douglas High School this year.But the exchange student from Bourgosesia, Italy, has already learned what's expected when the Crimson Bears host a track meet such as this weekend's Juneau Invitational, held Friday and Saturday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.

Juneau, Chugiak girls play to scoreless tie
The Juneau-Douglas High School girls soccer team remain unbeaten on the season, but just barely.The Crimson Bears played to a 0-0 tie against the Chugiak Mustangs on Friday night at Anchorage Football Stadium as Juneau freshman goalkeeper Erin Cottingham and Chugiak sophomore Keala Kini both earned shutouts.

Haines: Students to take part in history competition
Seventh-graders Bryanne Calkins and Erica Edmond each earned first-place honors in the state after qualifying through a local competition in the National History Day Competition.

Knowles wants gas-line payback
Gov. Tony Knowles came out strongly Saturday for adding a payback provision to a natural gas bill offering a $760 million tax break for pipeline developers.But the House Rules Committee, in a complete rebuke to Knowles, later passed the bill to the House floor in a 52-second meeting during which there was no discussion of the governor's new amendment.

Petersburg: Richards wins appeal
The Alaska Court of Appeals decided in April to reverse the September 2000 conviction of Don Richards, who had faced charges of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the fourth degree. In December 1999, police seized 29 marijuana plants and equipment used to facilitate their growth from Richards' home and from an adjoining building.

Kenai school funding falls
Next school year, Kenai Middle School's art program will be axed, along with reading and math tutoring. Kids will have a harder time getting into electives such as drama and home economics, and class sizes will grown.

House-OK'd bonds would help pay for projects in Juneau
The House passed three bills on Friday that approve building and maintenance projects across the state totaling $445.1 million.House Bills 524, 525 and 528 are part of a package of general obligation bonds -- the first bond measures seen in the Legislature in more than two decades. The bonds require voter approval in November.

Agencies may be fined if landowner concerns ignored
The state might have to pay a 10 percent fine on top of the sale price of private property it condemns if a court determines landowners were given short shrift in negotiations.

Man wounded in Wasilla shooting
A Chickaloon man was shot Sunday afternoon near the entrance to a McDonald's in Wasilla, but the victim was not saying much about how it happened, according to police.

State Briefs
Reception for Pioneers' royalty; Concealed-carry bill to become law; Man wanted in wife's death found in Ohio; Man accused of videotaping girls in his home

National Guard leaving security posts at airports around state
ANCHORAGE - Hundreds of Alaska National Guard soldiers and airmen are leaving security posts at Alaska's airports because the federal money has run out. Members of the guard who were deployed following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were dismissed from airports in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Ketchikan on April 29. The remainder will leave 16 other airports around the state by the end of the month.

Ice Classic inspires imaginative guesses
Some people trying for the jackpot in the Nenana Ice Classic need a calendar. This year, there were dozens of guesses for April 31 - a date that doesn't exist.

Governor calls for Senate action on state's fiscal gap
Gov. Tony Knowles said Saturday that he "could imagine" calling a special legislative session on the state's $1 billion fiscal gap, if the Senate doesn't act by the May 14 adjournment of the regular session."If it would be productive," he added. "If it would be necessary. If there was the support. You have to have legislative support for those kinds of actions."

Alaska tops list of per-capita federal spending
Even by Alaska standards, it was a big week. During seven days in mid-April, the federal government issued at least $625 million in grants, loans and contracts in the state.

Ketchikan: Video questioned in Mateu trial
A spent bullet casing found in Jose M. "Che" Mateu's bedroom was not evident in some video footage taken at the Mateu residence the day after his father, Jos R. Mateu, was shot to death in January 2000. But the casing was visible in footage shot about 20 minutes later. The video was shown in Ketchikan Superior Court on April 28, the fifth day of Che Mateu's murder trial.

Fairbanks area fire-free so far
The wettest April in Fairbanks in almost 100 years hasn't necessarily put a damper on the threat of wildfires in the Interior, according to the people paid to worry about fire.

Haines: Girls have advice for studio execs
A duo of Haines girls are in Los Angeles this weekend to tell Hollywood studio executives that they're not happy with the way women are portrayed in the movies.

Deadline set for restoring Anchorage landmark
City officials have granted another extension to a developer who wants to renovate the 14-story MacKay Tower in downtown Anchorage, but say it's probably the last.

Alaska could face economic downturn
Despite declining oil revenues, diversification has given Alaska's economy remarkable resilience in recent years, say state labor economists. But sluggishness in Alaska's manufacturing and resource-extraction industries could bring a Lower 48-style recession, one state economist suggests.

Photo: Ice floe ride
Lucas Hanson rides an ice floe down the Chena River on Friday in Fairbanks. Hanson said he had been playing on the ice along the shore with one of his friends when the piece broke loose.

Dread of Alaska mosquitoes leads to passion for birdhouses
When woodworker Jim Crum and his wife moved to a home with a swamp out back, they were attacked by one of Alaska's most bloodthirsty hunters - mosquitoes.

North Pole man dies after rollover
A North Pole man died early Saturday after rolling his pickup truck.

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