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Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Important clarification
I thought Eric Fry's Sunday, May 12 article, "Juneau's Catholics respond to the scandal," was well written and balanced. He provided area residents an opportunity to learn about the impact of the scandal on local Catholics.

Case of disrespect
On the front page of the May 8 paper was a story about a developer (Mr. Richard Harris) who had cut down several large trees and quite a few smaller ones within 25 feet of Duck Creek. Mr. Harris said he wasn't aware he was breaking any rules and that he was opening up some visibility.

Home-schooling is always an option
I applaud the actions of JDHS Principal Deb Morse and the school board regarding the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner issue.

Wisdom and folly
I've spoken up several times in this paper against certain government conduct. To be fair, let me also give credit where credit is due. Over several decades, the people have pressured their government and elected officials to provide jobs and work for Alaskans. However, this function is actually not specified for government in any constitution.

Bader's statements require a response
I haven't written to the Empire before about what happened that led to my suspension from school for carrying a banner. But the My Turn column by Superintendent Gary Bader in Thursday's paper compels me to correct his factual errors. I will leave his statements about the law to the courts.

Fireweed Place funding pulled from capital budget
An appropriation of $338,000 in emergency funding for senior housing at Fireweed Place in Juneau was stripped out of the capital budget Sunday night in the House Finance Committee.The apartment complex, which houses about 50 seniors, faces foreclosure without a temporary bailout by the state or city.

Dispatch changes aim to boost emergency response
Police and fire officials say merging emergency dispatch departments, which took place earlier today, should get help to Juneau residents faster in emergencies.

Cathy Muñoz files for state Senate
Cathy Muñoz said she's filing today as a Republican candidate for the state Senate in Juneau.

Photo: Whale escort
A humpback whale dives as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Midgett leaves the dock in downtown Juneau this morning. Humpbacks have been sighted repeatedly in Gastineau Channel downtown in the last two weeks.

Photo: Star Princess
The newest ship in the Princess line, the Star Princess, pulls up to the South Franklin cruise ship dock this morning on its first voyage to Alaska. The $450 million ship began service in March. It is 951 feet long, has 18 decks and can accommodate 2,600 passengers and a crew of 1,200.

Photo: Guitar cake
JDHS freshman Sean Ottoson-McKeen, third from left in front, and classmates display his chef class final exam called Neapolitan Guitar, a chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cake. Teacher Cynthia Shaw says she gives her students the option of planning and cooking for family or friends instead of taking a written test.

Photo: Flume construction
Ed Vandor, left, owner of EVC Construction, works with Brad Johnson, right, and Shawn Hartsock, front, on Alaska Electric Light and Power's Gold Creek flume Monday. The company is replacing a 60-foot section of the structure because it had been damaged by water flowing under it, according to David Stone, AEL&P director of consumer affairs.

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

Juneau man arrested for Kmart heist
A security supervisor for the Juneau Super Kmart is in jail, awaiting grand jury proceedings after allegedly staging a black-out at the store to steal nearly $100,000 in late March.

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

Princess schedules shoreside testing
Princess Cruise Lines plans to test the Star Princess' shoreside power system Tuesday.

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

Sitka sex abuse trial begins in Juneau
Opening arguments were expected to begin today in the trial of a Sitka couple accused of luring young girls to a remote island and sexually abusing them repeatedly.Jury selection began Monday and continued this morning in Juneau Superior Court.

Around Town
Listings of local nonprofit events.

Obituary: Brenda Willis-Bruce
A reception in memory of Brenda Willis-Bruce will follow her memorial service, which is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, 2002, at Northern Light United Church.

George Mehigan Masek
Juneau resident George Mehigan Masek, 42, died unexpectedly May 4, 2002, of a heart attack.

Alaska's do-nothing Senate
Legislators and others who wonder why the public isn't more involved with the political process and who debate the reasons for public apathy need only look as far as legislative actions this past week.

My Turn: What will our children and grandchildren have to say?
Health and Social Services Commissioner Jay Livey has said for every $1 cut from current public health and social services state funds, Alaska will lose $3 of matching federal funds. Professionals in prevention have calculated the ratio of dollars saved for dollars spent for human services, both in public and private sectors.

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.

My Turn: Time for peacekeeping force in Middle East
As Israel is preparing to retaliate for the latest suicide bombing with a large-scale military response in the Gaza Strip, a U.N. peacekeeping force is needed to save innocent lives and homes, administer the creation of the state of Palestine and stabilize the region.

Fireweed Place options avoid displacement of seniors
An Associated Press report in Sunday's Empire gave the impression that 60 senior residents of Fireweed Place would be "displaced" if emergency funding wasn't found to help the facility meet its loan payment obligations. Seniors shouldn't pack their bags just yet. There's more to this story.

Magnificent Mendenhall Mud Puddle Meet
Results from the Southeast Road Runners club's 25th Magnificent Mendenhall Mud Puddle Meet, held Saturday near the University of Alaska Southeast campus on Auke Lake. There was a nine-mile course and a one-mile race.

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

Track teams win in Haines
The Krehlik sisters -- senior sprinter Emily and junior distance runner Molly -- combined to win five individual events and helped three relay teams claim victory as the Juneau-Douglas High School girls and boys track and field teams swept to the titles in the Haines Invitational meet Friday and Saturday at Haines High School.

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 reported at 8:28 a.m. on May 14. 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 reported at 10:21 a.m. on May 13.

Anti-tobacco forces protest lack of spending
Legislators are refusing to spend as much as they promised on a major state campaign against tobacco use, according to advocates with the American Cancer Society.

Photo: Moose crossing
After stopping to consider its options, a moose heads across the Sterling Highway in Soldotna last week. The animals are a common site on the Kenai Peninsula.

Legislative Briefs
JDHS funds ousted from bond bill; Budget includes funds for winter games bids; House approves 'issue ad' measure

State Briefs
Flooding hits Red Devil, Aniak; water recedes in Salcha; Co. recalls some cantaloupes; Flare gun sets trailer on fire

Tanana River floods Salcha
Dozens of Salcha homes were turned into waterfront property over the weekend when a half-mile-wide ice jam caused the Tanana River to overflow its banks.

House energizes debate over utility commission
The state House is trying a traditional session-end tactic to extend the life of the state agency that regulates utilities and telephone companies.

Photo: Final days of the session
Reps. Drew Scalzi, a Homer Republican, left, talks with Mary Kapsner, a Bethel Democrat, seated at right, and Beth Kerttula, a Juneau Democrat, far right, as they and other representatives gather during an at-ease in the House to change the wording to an amendment Sunday.

Plans call for cutting tunnel fees
The state plans to reduce the cost of driving through the Whittier Tunnel after residents complained the toll was discouraging visitors and unfair to the town.

Prison bill moving in Senate
The Senate Finance Committee on Sunday night approved a bill for a private prison in Whittier.

Legislature again refuses to vote on appointees
The Legislature on Monday refused to confirm any of Gov. Tony Knowles' appointments to the boards of fisheries and game, the University of Alaska board of regents and the state Board of Education.

Icebreaker responds to concerns
An icebreaking ship used for Arctic research will change its sailing schedule after Eskimo whalers said the ship's original intended route might disrupt the spring hunt of bowhead whales.

Senate passes veterans bills
Three bills proposed by Gov. Tony Knowles to aid veterans passed the Senate unanimously Saturday.

2 fixes for budget gap in trouble
A plan to significantly increase Alaska's alcohol tax may be on the rocks. And the same may be true for a proposal to cap state spending.

Rural school funding change likely to be approved by state
Some rural school districts that had been gradually losing money under a 1998 school funding formula probably will get a break next year.

Police investigate Fairbanks stabbing
State medical examiners were to perform an autopsy today on a Fairbanks woman found stabbed early Saturday morning.

Ferry money suddenly a possibility
Like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, legislators have found $20 million to re-establish the Marine Highway Fund.Not only that, but the Legislature might reverse an action of the Senate last week and restore $20.1 million in additional funding for a fast vehicle ferry to serve Prince William Sound.

Director of Juvenile Justice Division to retire
ANCHORAGE - The director of the state Division of Juvenile Justice is retiring next month. George Buhite will step down June 24, 34 years to the day that his state career began.

The Legislature approves alcohol tax
A bill to increase the state's alcohol tax by about 7 cents per drink was approved in the Senate on Monday.

Subsistence board matches state on bear hides
ANCHORAGE - The Federal Subsistence Board has rejected a proposal to allow bear parts to be sold by subsistence users, but the members voted to allow black bear fur to be used in handicraft items. That change aligns the federal law with a state rule adopted in 1998.

House, Senate poised to negotiate rural funding bill
The House today upheld its plan to prevent 22 rural school districts from losing state supplemental funding until a new study on education costs is completed. The move sets the stage for negotiations between House and Senate Republicans over the measure.

Rep. Hudson announces retirement
The House was poised today to approve a bill restricting Medicaid-funded abortions by redefining "medical necessity."Representatives on Monday narrowly defeated an amendment that would have eliminated the new definitions, which state the physical or psychological criteria for declaring an abortion medically necessary.

Abortion bill passed
The House was poised today to approve a bill restricting Medicaid-funded abortions by redefining "medical necessity."Representatives on Monday narrowly defeated an amendment that would have eliminated the new definitions, which state the physical or psychological criteria for declaring an abortion medically necessary.

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