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Friday, May 16, 2003

Alaska Pulp settles labor case
ANCHORAGE - Some 95 ex-pulp mill workers will split $11.5 million now that the Alaska Pulp Corp. and the National Labor Relations Board have settled an unfair labor practices case stemming from a 1987 strike at the defunct Sitka plant. After nearly 16 years of litigation, the two sides reached what the labor board calls one of the biggest settlements in its history.

No teen curfew, no driving restrictions
I strongly oppose the passing of House Bill 213, which is the proposed provisional driver's license bill. It seems outrageous that the government can parent every detail of American society.

The old shell game
The front page of Wednesday's Empire featured an article headlined "Funds cut for substance abuse program," wherein House Republicans saved $1.6 million by upping the matching cost for grants to substance abuse programs by 150 percent. The rationalization as to how this was good for the people in need was that it freed that money to fund smaller programs that didn't require a match for their grants.

Take notes, remember
President select Bush spends billions on preemptive invasion of Iraq to locate and destroy weapons of mass destruction. As of May 14, no evidence yet found in Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. U.S. tax money needed to continue occupation and reconstruction of Iraq undetermined.

No tax breaks for big oil
With an income tax pending and state coffers shrinking, why does the governor feel we should give $50 million per year in tax breaks to those who can most afford to pay? Last September, Steve Marshall with BP Amoco announced "we've added 900 million barrels to reserves in our existing fields. That's where we've been successful, and that's where we're going to focus our effort and spend."

Some legislators are penny-wise, pound-foolish
Rep. Mike Hawker, an Anchorage Republican, seems to be operating under a misapprehension about the purely economic value of treating substance abuse. ("Funds cut for substance abuse programs," May 14). It sounds like Hawker agrees, in principle, to alleviating the recognizable suffering of the horrors of substance abuse, but objects to funding these programs at too high a level because "the brutal political reality is every penny that we spend on these programs comes from some Alaskan's pocket."

Undermining our values
A CBJ mining ordinance designed to eliminate existing local control over developments at Greens Creek and Kensington Mines is on a fast track to passage Monday, May 19.

No bonds for new school
The approval of additional bonds for the construction of a new high school is an unwise idea for several reasons. The original approval (October 1999) included renovation of Juneau-Douglas High School. JDHS is crowded; however, there are no new classrooms added under the proposals.

Why give tax breaks to oil companies?
After months of asking all Alaskans to tighten their belts, "we'll save money by eliminate the Longevity Bonus Program," "cut funding for substance abuse programs." "sales tax," "no cost of living increase for employees," etc., it is obscene to see a multimillion-dollar giveaway to multi-national oil companies zipping through Senate. The oil companies are in the business of finding oil and they are going to find it or eventually go out of business regardless of whether the state gives the oil companies the millions of dollars they are trying to squeeze out of us.

Fairest tax of all
Most of Gov. Murkowski's initiatives to increase industry and investment in Alaska are sorely needed. Unfortunately, the effect of his proposed sales tax will be detrimental to the goal of developing a strong resident economy.

Ashamed and outraged
Fairbanks Republican Rep. Holmes is so wrong! In case you missed it he said: "We must respect people's right to fail," and, "... if the state is not responsible for the fact that somebody abuses a substance, it is not necessarily the place of the state to bail people out."

AroundTown
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Juneau flasher faces another charge after serving time
A Juneau man who just served a sentence for indecent exposure faces another charge of exposing himself. Bryon Gutschmidt, 42, was charged May 1 with open lewdness, a misdemeanor. Gut-schmidt, an accounting supervisor for the Department of Labor, defense attorney David Mallet and city prosecutor Jim Douglas declined comment.

This Day in History
In 1941, a contract was approved for construction of the $42,000 Juneau International Airport.

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

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

Photo: Eclipse
The moon is seen over Gastineau Channel Thursday, May 15, 2003 about 9 p.m.. The clouds over Juneau parted just in time for Juneau residents to see the tail end of the Lunar Eclipse.

Assault victim found bound and gagged
A Juneau woman was reported assaulted at 9:50 a.m. Thursday near the 9300 block of Glacier Highway, according to a police press release.

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

Tart-tasting rhubarb a good foil to berries and peaches
Watching the rhubarb grow around town these past few weeks, I have been struck by how much a rhubarb plant looks like it tastes: big, fast, almost wild. Rhubarb is as bitterly green as chard, as stalky as celery, and as pleasingly red as a strawberry.

Power goes out for 1 hour, 20 minutes
Alaska Electric Light and Power officials hope to determine today what caused the Snettisham Hydropower Project to shut down at 4 p.m. Thursday and knock out power throughout the Juneau area.

Photo: Double duty
Rod Moline takes his dogs, Soofie, left, and Jack for a run Wednesday along Mendenhall Lake.

Eagle-Raven wellness challenge begins
The opening ceremony for this year's Eagles vs. Ravens Wellness Challenge began Thursday with a ceremony at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in the Andrew Hope Building downtown.

Fight may bring felony charges against 2 men
Police are recommending felony assault charges be filed against two young Juneau men accused of seriously injuring another man during a fight downtown two weeks ago.

City, cruise lines grapple with fees
Members of the Juneau Assembly made recommendations at a Wednesday night Finance Committee meeting about how cruise ship passenger fees should be spent, but their suggestions raised a few eyebrows among industry representatives. "Some of (the recommendations) are questionable relative to the original ordinance," John Hansen, spokesman for the North West CruiseShip Association, said in a phone interview.

New fire hire made
JUNEAU - Capital City Fire and Rescue recently named Richard Etheridge as its new fire marshal. Chief Mike Doyle offered Etheridge the position earlier this week and announced his decision Wednesday.

Law enforcement runs for special cause
Juneau law enforcement officers will gather Saturday for a fun run as part of a 16-city simultaneous torch relay to raise money for the Special Olympics.

Recreational liability bill passes Senate
The Senate passed a bill Wednesday to help shield Alaska sports and recreational companies and operators from liability lawsuits.

Photo: Timely touch-up
Local volunteers recently helped touch up the Juneau Community Sundial near the Mount Roberts Tramway lower terminal on the downtown waterfront. The sundial uses people's shadows to tell the time.

Thank you
...for the help; ...for the food; ..for the skating support; ...for the event.

A model U.N. shows a world of possibilities
Sometimes as a teacher I feel as if I have no life of my own. I teach, I grade, I plan. I do make time for my Juneau friends and an occasional phone call to my family and friends outside of town, but it's usually not enough. So, in an attempt to "have a life," as my students would say, I vowed to adopt a new mantra this year: "I'm sorry, but no." When I became a teacher six years ago, I think I was secretly tattooed with the phrase "sucker." In order to foster as many great connections with kids as I possibly could, I did as many school-related activities as I could fit into my schedule. I said "yes" to every request.

An army of salvation
There is something nice about being in the Neighbors section. Here, everything is peaceful; we only have good things to say about one another. It is calm and relaxing. While recently reading an article by a New York writer, Judith Dunford, I saw a beautifully phrased sentence. She was telling of the joys of shopping at thrift shops, such as the Salvation Army, but it could apply to many things. She said, "I myself don't need anything, or not much, in the way of goods. What I do need is what leaks out of life, as one goes along, a sense of possibility and a sense of triumph."

NeighborsDigest
College graduations; Welcome home; Training for arthritis programs; Trail cleanup days; Young kids' hike; Pet first aid.

Franklin named Rotary's April student
Sereneti Franklin, a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School, was named Juneau Glacier Valley Rotary's "Student of the Month" for April. Assistant Principal Dale Staley said Franklin was brought to his attention by library staffers Carolyn Fox, Debbie Perkins and Linda Thibodeau.

FYI
Births; Marriage Licenses; Business Licenses; Courts; Divorces and dissolutions filed; Judgements.

My Turn: Good reason to support sales tax
A year-round sales tax is not part of the budget this administration proposed to the Legislature in March. Instead, we proposed either a seasonal sales tax, charged over the summer months, or re-instatement of the old school tax, a once-a-year contribution from everyone who works in the state.

My Turn: How will Juneau attract new teachers?
I feel compelled to write regarding Thursday's article about the Juneau School District, through Mr. Wilson, unilaterally declaring impasse with its teachers. Mr. Wilson is a retired Anchorage School District administrator hired to bargain with the Juneau School District employees. It is amazing that after beginning the negotiations by committing an unfair labor practice, the district has chosen to bypass negotiations and go directly to mediation. By the superintendent's own words the district did not even counter the teachers' proposal. I understand the district's team has not conducted serious bargaining at all.

Sports in Juneau
Sports in Juneau is a service provided by the Juneau Empire to provide information on upcoming sports and outdoors events in Juneau.

Spring King Salmon Derby Standings
Here are the standings in the Seventh Annual Spring King Salmon Derby, as reported at 4:59 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14. The rankings include the angler's name, weight of the fish (in 10ths of a pound), date turned in and what station the fish was turned into. Ties are broken by the earliest fish turned in.

Soccer quartet goes from floor to field
Letasha McKoy clears away an opponent's shot, and passes the ball up to Kendri Cesar. Cesar takes the ball and looks for options to pass - maybe up to Alida Bus on the right side, or up the middle to Nicole Lupro. Basketball or soccer? Soccer or basketball? With these four Juneau-Douglas High School juniors, it could be either.

JDHS SOFTBALL: Crimson Bears finally get some home cooking
A lot has happened since the last time the Juneau-Douglas High School softball team played a home game at Melvin Park. In the 53 weeks since Juneau's only home series ended last year (on May 11), the Crimson Bears won a state title, the Juneau softball team turned over 70 percent of its roster, Alaska elected a new governor and the United States started and ended a war in Iraq.

SPRING KING SALMON DERBY STANDINGS
Here are the standings in the Seventh Annual Spring King Salmon Derby, as reported at 1:17 p.m. on Thursday, May 15. The rankings include the angler's name, weight of the fish (in 10ths of a pound), date turned in and what station the fish was turned into. Ties are broken by the earliest fish turned in. The derby closes at 9 p.m. on Friday, May 31.

A different kind of handoff
Each fall, Juneau-Douglas High School football players run up and down the Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park field. This spring, five of them are running circles around it. Junior Brian Felix and seniors T.J. Mason, Ernest Monts, Toni Talamai and Leo Winn - all football players last season - will be helping lead the way in sprints for the Crimson Bear track team Friday and Saturday at the Region V Track and Field Championships on the Adair-Kennedy oval. A sixth gridder, senior Tevita Talamai, will join brother Toni throwing discus and shot put for Juneau.

TheBear-linWall
With bricks of height and heart, and mortar of time, four Juneau-Douglas High School senior boys have built a defensive wall on the soccer field this season. Defenders Kirk Mearig, Joe Stendahl and Kyle Thibodeau, along with goalkeeper Colin Conerton, have helped the Crimson Bears post five shutouts this year. Going into the last games of the regular season - a pair of home matches against Ketchikan this weekend - Juneau's defense has allowed just 10 goals in 13 games.

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

Mounties to increase scrutiny on the border
WHITEHORSE - While RVers, campers and outdoor enthusiasts pour across the Yukon-Alaska border this summer, a special unit of Royal Canadian Mounted Police will be searching among them for drug dealers, gun smugglers and border runners. In August, the Yukon was assigned an Integrated Border Enforcement Team, one of 19 created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. After the attacks, the Canadian federal government put more than a half-billion dollars into the RCMP to improve national security.

Oil tax credit zipping through Senate
Despite some senators' nervousness about a potential cost to the state of as much as $100 million a year, Gov. Frank Murkowski's proposed tax credit for oil exploration could come up for a vote in the Senate today - three days after it was introduced. The bill would provide a severance tax credit of 20 percent of the cost of exploration wells drilled more than three miles from an existing well. Explorers would get a 40 percent credit for wells drilled more than 25 miles from existing oil production facilities.

Photo: Long days, little time left
State Reps. Max Gruenberg Jr., left, and Les Gara, both Anchorage Democrats, show the strain of long hours during a meeting of the minority Wednesday at the Capitol. The Legislature is trying to wrap up its work in the eight days left in this year's session.

First official subsistence fishing for halibut starts
Alaska's long-awaited federal halibut subsistence fishing program opened Thursday with the ceremonial awarding of the first registration certificate to Harold Martin, former chairman of a Native group that worked to implement the program. Before Thursday, halibut could be harvested only under sport and commercial fishing regulations. No method was set up to keep track of how many halibut were being used for subsistence. The new regulations are an attempt to codify what many Alaskans were doing already - fishing halibut for personal use and in some cases exceeding the personal-use catch limit of two per day.

Senate OKs bill to curb credit rating effects
A bill passed Wednesday in the Senate would restrict insurance companies' use of a customer's credit rating in determining insurance rates or whether to insure the customer. Senate Bill 13 passed 19-0 and moves to the House. Companies that issue personal policies such as auto insurance and renter's insurance use a secret formula to evaluate a client's credit history. Known as "credit scoring," the practice is routine throughout the nation, said bill co-sponsor Sen. Kim Elton, a Juneau Democrat.

Stevens pushes for limit on TV station ownership
Sen. Ted Stevens is trying to prevent a change in federal rules on broadcasting that would allow major companies to control a larger piece of the national market. Stevens, a Republican, has introduced legislation that would prevent the Federal Communications Commission from abandoning a rule that says a single company can't control more than 35 percent of the national audience.

Kenai teenager survives mauling by brown bear
ANCHORAGE - A Kasilof teenager on his first bear hunt near Bear Creek ended up being hunted by a bear.

Soldotna man honored for 2000 rescue of woman trying to drown herself in river
A woman survived a jump off the Sterling Highway Bridge in Soldotna three years ago thanks to three off-duty Coast Guard officers and a lodge owner who came to her rescue.

GOP, Dems meet to try to end session on time
Legislative leaders took the first tentative step Wednesday toward ending the session as House GOP leaders met with minority Democrats to forge a compromise that would allow the Legislature to adjourn in a week - on time. House Majority Leader John Coghill, a North Pole Republican, said Democrats were invited to begin negotiations on what issues will need to be resolved to win minority support for a budget-balancing three-fourths vote.

Photo: Final days of the session
State Rep. Jim Whitaker, a Fairbanks Republican, left, talks with Rep. Bill Williams, a Saxman Republican, during a break in a House session Thursday at the Capitol.

Measure loosens lobbying limits
A bill that would allow lobbyists to spend 10 times as many hours with lawmakers before having to register with the Alaska Public Offices Commission is expected to be voted on today in the House of Representatives. Senate Bill 89 gives lobbyists 40 hours a month with lawmakers before having to register with APOC. Now lobbyists must register after spending more than four hours in a 30-day period.

Three mistrials enough in murder case
A man accused of killing his father won't face a fourth murder trial unless new evidence comes up, prosecutors have decided. After three mistrials in two years, the state dismissed first-degree murder charges against 20-year-old José M. "Che" Mateu.

This Day in History
In Alaska; In the nation; In the world.

House bill chills lawsuits against the state
Lawsuits filed by citizens against the state are a David-vs.-Goliath issue - and David just lost his slingshot, according to Democrats in the Legislature. Introduced at the request of Gov. Frank Murkowski, House Bill 145 would change a rule set by the Alaska Supreme Court in 1970 that exempts citizens who unsuccessfully sue the state as "public interest litigants" from having to pay part of the state's legal fees.

Hunters illegally take sows, leave orphaned cubs
KODIAK - In what authorities are calling an unprecedented number of illegal shootings, two Kodiak brown bear sows with cubs were killed this month and Alaska State Troopers are investigating a possible third. "In five years I haven't worked a bear-hunting season in which three sows with cubs have been shot," said state Wildlife Protection Officer Joanna Roop.

Ex-employee of state chamber admits theft
The former bookkeeper for the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing nearly $25,000 from the chamber's coffers more than 15 months ago. Dawn E. Wolf, 34, pleaded guilty to a felony count of second-degree theft at a change-of-plea hearing in Juneau Superior Court.

Photo: Early intro to the Legislature
Rep. Mary Kapsner, a Bethel Democrat, holds her newborn son, Matthew Van Kapsner, while attending a minority caucus Wednesday during her first day back at the Legislature since her son was born.

Bill would create waiting period for abortions
Doctors would have to tell women about the risks of abortion 24 hours before performing the procedure under a bill approved 12-8 Thursday by the state Senate. The bill would require the state Department of Health and Social Services to prepare a packet of information on abortion and childbirth. Doctors would have to give that to women, or at least let them know how to get it themselves, before an abortion.

State Briefs
Senate OKs permanent fund royalties bill; W. Valley rezoning eyed; New hotel wins approval; House passes teacher, nurse housing bill; Humane society sponsors trail cleanup; Fairbanks boy dies of injuries from bike crash

The hearty little primrose gets its day
Primrose fans still hope the Juneau Assembly will pass a resolution to name Juneau "Alaska's primrose capital" later this month.

Making her own kind of Wonder
Five-time Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon grew up with Stevie Wonder. She fell in and out of love for the first time to "My Cherie Amour." She gave birth to her first child a few months after "Hotter Than July" came out in 1980.

Perseverance season ends on an 'Up' note
Bridget Carpenter, the playwright of "Up," thought of basing a play on a man in a flying lawn chair. And the staff at Perseverance Theatre thought of dangling Ed Christian from the 20th Century Gross Alaska building downtown in a balloon-festooned lawn chair on April 28.

A quick look at some of this year's Jazz & Classics highlights
 

Turning jazz into motion
Seattle artist Christian Swenson is a singer, dancer and mime, all at once. He can be singing Van Morrison's "Moondance" one moment, and imitating a monkey the next. His one-man "Human Jazz" program has been called "a fusion of dancing, acting, storytelling and audience-suggested improvisations."

JDU's spring show: Ballet and Friends
Juneau-Douglas High School junior Casey Walsh showed up at Juneau Dance Unlimited's Fourth Street studio for a few days in January, just to watch his friends rehearse.

The Swamp
Cartoon by TOE

JDHS hosts annual spring concert
The Juneau-Douglas High School choirs and orchestras will hold their annual spring concert, "Spring To Music," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, in the JDHS auditorium.

What's Happening
Arts & Entertainment Calendar

Argyle socks and one old man's kingdom
T he last time I saw my grandfather we were at Providence Hospital in Anchorage in a dim room, which smelled like minestrone soup. Granddad was on dialysis, flipping TV channels. I lay next to him, listening to the machine purr and click.

Juneau Lyric Opera seeking registrations
The Juneau Lyric Opera is accepting registration for its June workshops.

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