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Tuesday, May 7, 2002

Blame Daschle and the caribou
When you get a chance, please send a letter thanking Sen. Daschle for saving the caribou in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR.) Essentially his pro-environmentalist stance has signed the death warrants of an untold number of our service people who will sacrifice their lives hoping to stabilize a region vital to our national interests.

Moving the problem doesn't solve it
The Juneau Assembly's effort to put a heliport in the Thane neighborhood is very unfair and divisive. We realize the Assembly has received a great deal of pressure from our community to do something about excessive noise generated by tourist-related aircraft activity. We also realize that politically this is not an easy thing for them to do. Moving the noise from one neighborhood to another is neither fair nor effective.

Astonishing actions
Angry letters to the editor have correctly noted that Bill McAllister's coverage of the Legislature is not traditional reporting. In fairness to McAllister, it's not possible to adequately convey the astonishing actions of that feckless body by mere description. Were I to attempt to report the actions of the Legislature, I might resort to a column composed entirely of passages from Kafka, Orwell, Shelly, Dickens and Machiavelli.

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.

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.

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.

Happy ending
Thanks to the crew of the Ginny III. When our mast snapped off at Point Hilda on Saturday, a spectacular day of sailing came crashing down on us.

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.

Help the cause
Outraged over the Legislature's endless efforts to tax you, cut your services and raid the Permanent Fund? Fed up with legislators who won't demand oil companies pay what our oil is really worth? Thinking about running for office?

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.

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.

Textbook for the future
Imagine a world where humankind is considered part of the environment and our elected leaders consider the needs of the commons when making decisions. Imagine a world where neither unbridled communism or capitalism reign. This is the world described in Wally Hickel's new book, "Crisis in the Commons: The Alaska Solution."

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.

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

Around Town
Listing of local nonprofit events.

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

Sealaska loses $21 million
Sealaska Corp. is reporting a $21 million loss for 2001, marking the second multimillion-dollar loss for the regional Native corporation in two years.In 2000, the corporation, which was formed in 1971 under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, reported a loss of $122 million. In 2001, it lost $21 million on revenues of $146 million, cut 12 staffers at its Juneau headquarters, discontinued several business ventures and saw the resignation of President Robert Loescher.

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

City OKs new cruise ship fee
The Juneau Assembly on Monday decided to charge cruise lines $1.73 per passenger for port projects, but the issue of financing future port development isn't settled completely.The Assembly has been in discussions with the cruise industry for months about how to pay for port improvements. Until Jan. 1, cruise ships paid a tonnage fee. As a replacement, some Assembly members preferred to negotiate with the cruise lines on a project-by-project basis.

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

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.

Harry A. Bremner
Juneau resident Harry A. "Skinka" Bremner died May 2, 2002, in Juneau.

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: Natural-gas line incentive bill must be fair
Most Alaskans would agree to give industry a tax incentive if they could be assured it translated into Alaska jobs, a growing economy and sharing the benefits when assuming some of the risks.

Word Of Mouth
Word of Mouth gives readers a forum to express opinions on a variety of issues by telephone. Call 586-4636 and press 8255 to leave a message. Be sure to leave your name and telephone number.

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.

Spring King Salmon Derby Standings
Here are the standings in the Sixth Annual Spring King Salmon Derby, as reported on the derby's Web site as of 9:43 a.m. on May 7. 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.

Humbler Crimson Bears set for series
The Juneau-Douglas High School baseball team learned a valuable lesson during its season-opening weekend in Ketchikan.Brimming with overconfidence, the Crimson Bears entered last weekend thinking they could go undefeated and that none of the other Southeast teams were able to compete with them. So, in the season's first game, Juneau committed four errors and lost to Ketchikan 12-7 to end the dreams of an unbeaten season.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Alaska to probe insurance practice of 'credit scoring'
State officials will investigate the insurance industry's practice of determining insurance payments based on personal credit history.The practice, known as "credit scoring," uses a combination of a person's driving record, claim history and credit history to produce a score. The score is used to tell how likely someone is to file a claim and sets the cost of an insurance policy.

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.

State won't appeal judge's ruling in English-only case
ANCHORAGE - The Knowles administration won't ask the Alaska Supreme Court to keep the state's English-only law on the books. But Alaskans for a Common Language, the group that put the issue on the ballot, will. Dillingham Superior Court Judge Fred Torrisi ruled in March that the law unduly restricts opportunities for free expression and violates the rights of citizens to receive information and ideas.

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.

Senate approves measure tightening rules on abortion
The GOP-controlled Senate is poised to pass a bill that tightens rules for abortions. Senate Bill 364 was expected to go to the floor for a vote today after Democrats were able to stall a vote Monday.

State Briefs
Juneau man wins public service award; Southeast lingcod limits imposed; Senate approves pool insurance for small air carriers; Ogan returns to legislative duties

Ice Classic tripod may move soon
FAIRBANKS - Residents of Nenana awoke Monday to find open water above and below the Nenana Ice Classic's wooden tripod, the first evidence surface ice is weakening after a cold, snowy spring.

House action delayed on gasoline tax break bill
The House delayed action Monday on a bill that would give tax breaks to builders of a proposed North Slope natural gas pipeline.The bill was returned to the House Rules Committee, a move that generally means there are not enough votes for a bill to pass.

Alaska history bill failing
Legislation requiring school districts to make Alaska history part of their high school curriculum appears to be dead.A House-Senate conference committee on a bill addressing both the history requirement and compulsory attendance ended in deadlock this morning.

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