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Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Legislature is in need of more Democrats
I'm not one who speaks out much on politics. Frankly, I don't get over-concerned about which party controls the Governor's House, the Senate or the House. I have, in the past, voted for members of both parties.

Park place
As I recall, when Fireweed Place was first proposed, the proponents convinced the Assembly to tear down low-income housing and give them all the surrounding land up to Calhoun Avenue and Eighth Street. Now that they're back requesting free money, I suggest the Assembly take back the bench along Calhoun and make it a city park.

Flawed process
The Sheep Creek beach and the Dupont beach, both in Thane, are integral parts of the Thane neighborhood and are recreation areas used by folks from all over Juneau. The wider Juneau community enjoys the hiking, jogging, dog walking, bird watching, picnicking and fishing in both places.

Hudson due thanks
So sorry to hear that Rep. Bill Hudson has decided to retire. I can understand his decision after such a trying year. We all owe Bill a vote of thanks and much more for all the hard work he contributed to solve the budget gap.

Empire's ANWR report honored among Pacific Northwest dailies
Articles about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge written by Bill McAllister and published as "Refuge of Riches," an eight-page special report in the Juneau Empire last July 22, have been awarded first place for comprehensive coverage (single edition) in a contest sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists.

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

Celebrating the Peli-can
People in Pelican now have another place to go.The 163-person community on Lisianski Inlet 70 miles west of Juneau recently installed its first public toilet. Although it's already in use, the new facility will get its official grand opening Friday.

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.

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: 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.

New road to fisheries center wins approval
The Juneau Planning Commission on Tuesday approved a new road on the Point Lena Peninsula, to the chagrin of some area residents concerned it will lead to further development.

Self-propelled commuters take to roads Friday
Some Juneau commuters will be trading their cars for bikes Friday for Bike to Work Day."It's a great way to get exercise and keep your weight down. It keeps you fit and most of all you're not polluting," said Dennis Harris of the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club, which organizes the annual event. "It's just a way to get people started biking to work for the year, just a way to nudge them."

Photo: Principal's promise
Harborview Elementary School Principal Bob Dye lifts kindergartner Sarah Quigley from the back of a flatbed truck he and teacher Dave Haas planned to sleep in overnight on Tuesday in the school's playground.

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
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

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

Local Briefs
Guard replaced with private airport security; Alcohol tax hike passes;

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: Hands around the Capitol
Teachers, school employees, parents, legislators and community members circled the Capitol at noon on Saturday, May 4, joining hands in support of adequate education funding.

Spring rains bring dormant perennials back to life
Spring comes slowly, looking around corners to be sure that there is no danger of the cold death. Dormant perennials feel their way to the surface, reaching up into the warmth for the rejuvenating light.The earliest indicators of the returning species give impressions unique to this stage of growth. It is much like a kindergarten class filled with emerging personalities.

Academic Honors
Juneau resident Shawn Rider qualified for the 2002 winter quarter dean's honor list at Southern Oregon

Thank You
... for the contributions; ...for all the help;

Echo Ranch featured in Christian Camping International publication
Echo Ranch, located on Berners Bay just north of Juneau, received national attention recently as it was featured in the major publication of Christian Camping International/USA.

Pets Of The Week
Smudge has such a delightful personality that people come in to the shelter just to see him. Smurf's heart-shaped face is the first clue to this very affectionate and sweet adult male cat. While he came to the shelter as a thin and cold stray, he is now well-fed and smallish to medium in size.

Neighbors Briefs
Eagles vs. Ravens Walk Contest set; Migratory Bird Day event scheduled; Church to host peace vigil on Thursday

Meals on Wheels volunteers make a real difference
Meals on Wheels is the term affectionately used to describe the delivery of hot meals to homebound senior citizens. In Juneau it is offered by Southeast Senior Services. The service is a critical piece of the agency's mission to promote the health, independence and quality of life of seniors living in our region.

Man wins award, $10,000 for community achievements
Jim Douglas, UAF Cooperative Extension Service agent, recently received the 2002 Emil Usibelli Distinguished Public Service Award and an accompanying check for $10,000.

Photo: VFW presentation
Jim Ruotsala, left, Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Taku Post 5559 in Juneau, presents a certificate of appreciation to Rear Adm. Thomas J. Barret, outgoing Commander of the 17th Coast Guard District for the outstanding assistance he rendered to veterans organizations in the Juneau area. Tim Armstrong, right, former post commander also officiated.

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

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.

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.

Juneau and Alaska lose a great statesman
The surprise retirement announcement made by longtime Juneau Rep. Bill Hudson late yesterday leaves the Alaska House with a great deficit in terms of experience and character.

Spring King Salmon Derby Standings
Here are the standings in the Sixth Annual Spring King Salmon Derby, as reported at 8:53 a.m. on May 15. 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

Schoenberger to join Kenai Oilers this summer
Garrett Schoenberger was thinking about playing in the Northwoods League in Wisconsin this summer when the call came.The Kenai Peninsula Oilers of the Alaska League were offering a spot to Schoenberger, a 2000 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate who is playing college baseball for Arizona State University. Schoenberger, a catcher, jumped at the chance to join the Oilers.

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.

Bentz, Staveland throwing heat in minors; Conway still waiting for his season to start
Chad Bentz threw an inning of scoreless relief on Monday as the Brevard County (Fla.) Manatees dropped a 6-5 decision to the Daytona Cubs in the Florida State League.

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.

Juneau softball team heads to Sitka
Now that the Juneau-Douglas High School softball team has clinched a berth in the state tournament, one would think that the pressure would be off this weekend as the Crimson Bears head to Sitka this weekend to wrap up the regular season.

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.

State Briefs
Flags lowered to honor fallen law enforcement officers; Kake Injury Prevention team honored for water safetyAlaska Airlines offers free tickets to 70-year-olds;

House passes bill on drilling permits, firing ranges
The House passed a bill Tuesday that would undo a unanimous Alaska Supreme Court decision on permitting requirements for oil drilling wastes in Cook Inlet. The bill also would exempt firing ranges from state waste disposal permitting requirements.The measure, sponsored by Sen. Gene Therriault, a North Pole Republican, was a response to two lawsuits filed by environmental groups. It passed the House by a 34-3 vote.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Legislature limits Medicaid-funded abortions
The Legislature has approved a bill restricting Medicaid-funded abortions by redefining "medical necessity."The House voted for the bill 23-17 on Tuesday, with five Republicans joining all 12 minority Democrats in voting no.

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.

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.

Senate rejects income tax
The House passed a bill Tuesday that would undo a unanimous Alaska Supreme Court decision on permitting requirements for oil drilling wastes in Cook Inlet. The bill also would exempt firing ranges from state waste disposal permitting requirements.The measure, sponsored by Sen. Gene Therriault, a North Pole Republican, was a response to two lawsuits filed by environmental groups. It passed the House by a 34-3 vote.

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

Lawmakers extend session
After Rep. Gretchen Guess' fiance was introduced during a House floor session Tuesday, Speaker Brian Porter quipped: "Well, something significant is going to happen today, anyway."Many hours later, with significant work undone, the Legislature took the apparently unprecedented step of voting by a two-thirds margin to extend the regular session two days.

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.

Rep. Guess makes big decision on House floor
In the middle of a House vote on a bill dealing with constitutional conventions Tuesday, Rep. Gretchen Guess faced the most important question of her life.And it had nothing to do with the bill in front of her.

Senate President Rick Halford says he will not seek reelection
Senate President Rick Halford announced Tuesday night he will not seek another term. "I will not be filing for reelection, Halford said. Ive done my time.

Hudson: It's time to retire
Rep. Bill Hudson, the Juneau Republican who founded the bipartisan Fiscal Policy Caucus, announced on the House floor Tuesday that he will not seek re-election to an eighth term.

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