Monday, May 19, 2003

Techwit: Spam, I am
Today was a seven-Viagra day. Not the pill, the spam mail. By noon I'd received seven mail messages about Viagra, five about how to lose weight, four about why now was the best time to refinance my house, three for psychic readings that promised to unlock my potential, two from mail order bride services from foreign lands with hard-to-pronounce names, and one from an office supply warehouse offering an incredible deal on bulk purchases of multi-colored file folders.

Business profile: Lynn Strauss
Title and company: Owner, Deja Vu Antiques.

Salmon's celebrity, taste may not overcome penny pinching
SEATTLE - Salmon evade predators, cut through stiff ocean currents and stare down their own mortality in an annual charge up Alaska's turbulent Copper River to spawn in their home waters. But the celebrity Copper River chinook and sockeye salmon - prized by gourmets for their taste and deep ruby color - were facing a tougher challenge as the first fish of the season hit grocery stores Thursday: an economy of penny-pinchers.

Lawsuit accuses Royal Caribbean & Celebrity cruise lines of fraud
MIAMI - A lawsuit claims Royal Caribbean Cruises and subsidiary Celebrity Cruise Lines overcharged passengers by charging them for at least $150 million in fraudulent taxes.The Miami-based cruise lines have engaged in deceptive trade practices since the spring of 2001 by collecting the hidden taxes to offset rising costs without notifying customers beforehand, according to the suit filed Friday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.

Extraordinary talent
As I bask in this new relationship we seem to have with the sun, I'm also appreciating another source of warmth and light in our town, Julia O'Malley's column (This Week section).

No relief in sight
I am in complete accord with the recent proposal put forth by Marie Darlin of AARP.

Aesthetics up front
The Empire's Alaska Digest columns had a piece about a new hotel I thought was interesting and sinfully amusing at the same time, since it has to do with aesthetics, value judgments, and Juneau's overall waterfront appearances.

Finding the courage
Thank you for running the story about Desa Jacobsson. I think there are a lot more people concerned with these issues than media and law enforcement realize, and it's only through stories such as these that people will raise their voices.

Robin Hood reversal
The numbers are not exact, but the proposed sales tax is purported to raise about $100 million to help balance the state budget. So far our governor has proposed cutting services to save a million here, a million there - all at the expense of the citizens of Alaska.

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

Photo: Lights up
Juneau Electronics workers Robert Stamm, left, and Chris Harmon hoist a streetlight Friday on Seward Street. Seventy of the downtown streetlights are being taken down for refurbishing.

Photo: Festival appearance
Pianist Jeffrey Siegel plays at the Northern Light United Church on Sunday. Siegel's concert, part of the 17th annual Juneau Jazz & Classics festival, was titled "Keyboard Conversations" and featured pieces by Beethoven and Chopin. The festival runs through Saturday, May 24.

This Day in History
In 1949, the American President Lines and the Alaska Road Commission met to discuss a proposed ferry system linking Prince Rupert, British Columbia, with Southeast Alaska.

Corrections
An article about cruise ship passenger fees in Friday's paper misstated the amount of extra sewage generated during the tourist season.

Photo: Festival appearance
Pianist Jeffrey Siegel plays at the Northern Light United Church on Sunday. Siegel's concert, part of the 17th annual Juneau Jazz & Classics festival, was titled "Keyboard Conversations" and featured pieces by Beethoven and Chopin. The festival runs through Saturday, May 24.

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

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

Torch relay for Special Olympics
Law enforcement personnel cover some ground Saturday during the 5-kilometer Special Olympics Torch Relay at Kaxdegoowu Heen Dei trail in Juneau.

Natural-birth advocate to speak in Juneau
For Suzanne Arms, believing how a person is born doesn't matter is a serious mistake. "When you're talking about the birth, you're talking about the first journey the baby must make to completion," Arms said. "Its first task is to come out of the womb and ... it has great implications for the mother and the baby."

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

Public ideas for waterfront range from green space to 'sea walk' to multiple-use
A diverse group of 65 citizens filled a conference room at Centennial Hall Thursday night to hash out and sketch their ideas for Juneau's waterfront over the next 20 years. "I've always been interested in the future of Juneau's waterfront," said Jamie Parsons, the Juneau Chamber of Commerce executive director. "We've got a bud in the jewel here."

Native-style art to grace museum
Native-style carvings that Juneau residents once shopped under will be displayed in Hoonah for people from around the world. Erwin Enterprises of Juneau has given the Huna Heritage Foundation a group of large cedar carvings in the style of Northwest Coast Native art. The carvings were commissioned by Juneau grocers Marshall and Vivian Erwin in about 1970 to decorate their Glacier Village IGA store at the Airport Shopping Center. The art remained on display at the store, which had been under different ownership since the mid-1970s, until recently, when the store closed.

Extreme gardening
The fact that bears got into Joe Orsi's garden last year and ate some of his fruits wouldn't shock most Juneau residents. What would shock some, or at least those who have tried their hand at gardening here, are the fruits the bears ate. "They ate all of my currants," Orsi said. "... They climbed my apple trees and pulled the apples off of them."

This Day in History
In 1949, the first radio beam air navigation system was put into operation in Ketchikan.

Peter M. Schneider
Longtime Douglas resident Peter M. Schneider died May 15, 2003, after a long illness.

Ida Hopkins Kadashan
A graveside service for Ida Hopkins Kadashan will be held at the Alaskan Memorial Park at noon Wednesday, May 21, 2003.

What do you think?
A state income tax, like the one we had when Alaska became the 49th state, is the only fair way for citizens to pay for the government services we desire. So-called "flat," "sales" and "head" taxes require Alaskans living near the poverty line to pay the same amount as millionaires.

Toe Cartoon

Absolute power to tax should be a state right
Some time ago I said to myself, "Oh, oh," when I learned some states weren't generating an adequate amount of revenue because the federal government was eliminating funding to states, affecting the states' ability to provide essential services they had become accustomed to from the federal coffers. And in the news lately there are concerns that these cuts will prompt states to increase taxes in order to meet their budget obligations.

My Turn: More than junk food on the school menu
An energetic and enthusiastic student, Taelyn Coffee of Dzantik' Heeni Middle School, wrote a letter to the editor regarding meal options at her school. It is refreshing to see a student who cares about nutrition in her school. This student must be within the 88 percent of Juneau students who do not utilize The Lunch Connection Program for a nutritional school lunch.

Empire editorial: Juneau's foundation built on the socio-economic benefits of mining
Back in early March, the Assembly's Lands Committee proposed changes to the CBJ Large Mine Permit (LMP) ordinance that would insert a rural mine classification in the ordinance, remove redundancies with state and federal processes and eliminate city certification of state and federal standards. The existing mining ordinance was created in the late 1980s to regulate "urban" mining, specifically in regard to the proposed re-opening of the AJ mine in downtown Juneau.

Alaska editorial: Country in danger if people fear speaking out
French philosopher Voltaire often is attributed with having said: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Some say the quotation is actually a paraphrase of Voltaire's words: "Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too."

My Turn: Threats to United States come mainly from within
Recently-laid-off American Airlines employees may not feel very confident in the future of America. Twenty-three-hundred pink-slipped flight attendants take a pretty good bite out of a seniority system and includes folks who have paid their dues, especially in an industry gearing up for summer. Things ain't like they used to be.

Fast women, fleet feet
When Nancy Thomas meets with her group of protégés every Tuesday afternoon, the scene resembles a high school track practice. "How low should my heart rate go during the cool-downs?" one runner asks. "Do you really expect me to run that fast during a 5-kilometer race?" another inquires.

Harlequins specialize in turbulent water
One of the most interesting sea ducks to watch in winter and early spring in Southeast is the harlequin duck. Harlequins are rough-water specialists. They seem to relish bouncing around in turbulent seas or perching on rocky points and reefs while the water crashes over their feet. You'll recognize the males because of their colorful markings. Like no other duck in Southeast Alaska, they have white spots and stripes on slate-blue bodies, and chestnut-colored flanks - a wildly variegated costume like those worn by medieval court jesters, or the stock character of Italian comedies after which harlequins are named.

Feds update Denali backcountry plan
FAIRBANKS - The National Park Service is putting the finishing touches on a new backcountry management plan for Denali National Park and Preserve. Park Service officials say Denali's current backcountry management plan was written in 1986 and is outdated.

Photo: A little early
Earl Lear caught this 3112-pound king at 9 p.m. April 30, just three hours before the start of the Spring King Salmon Derby. Had he landed it at 12:01 a.m. May 1, he'd have the top fish as of Friday afternoon.

Fish Report
The hotspots for king salmon fishing in the most recent survey period were the Breadline and Tee Harbor. False Outer Point and Auke Bay also provided good fishing. King salmon also were caught around Point Salisbury.

Rych Clime's fish tale: The little hook that could
The one thing fishermen everywhere don't lack is fish stories. Behind every fish that is caught, got away or is imagined, there's a story to go along with it. Rych Clime, the end-of-the-week leader of the 7th Annual Spring King Salmon Derby, is no exception. His 35.6-pound gutted and gilled salmon has held the top spot since May 10, when he bumped Phillip Sellick's 30-pounder, which held the lead for a mere three days.

Out and About
May 18: Juneau Yacht Club Spring Harbor Races, Round 3, Juneau Harbor Turning Basin, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Details: www.juneauyachtclub.org/. May 18: Public trap shooting at the Juneau Gun Club on Montana Creek Road, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Details: 789-9844.

Juneau rains shots on Ketchikan girls
It wasn't water that was falling from the sky at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park this weekend - it was a torrent of torrid shots from the Juneau-Douglas High School girls soccer team. The Crimson Bear offense was hitting on all cylinders as Juneau defeated region rival Ketchikan 11-0 on Friday and 9-0 on Saturday.

All-out, start to finish
The only halfway effort at this year's Region V Track and Field Championships was the track itself. Competing for the second - and likely last - time on the partially-resurfaced Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park oval Friday and Saturday, the Juneau-Douglas High School Crimson Bears rode a wave of personal records to easily take the boys and girls team titles.

A total team transformation
The faces may be the same, but the Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer squad is a completely different team than the one that started the season. After splitting a two-game set in Ketchikan last month to open the season, the surging Crimson Bears rolled over the Kings in a pair of games this weekend at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. Juneau won 6-0 on Friday and 7-0 on Saturday, and in doing so the Crimson Bears clinched a berth in the state tournament held later this week in Wasilla.

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

Crimson Bears finally play at home
The Juneau-Douglas High School softball team finally got some home-cooking this weekend, sweeping Craig-Prince of Wales in Juneau's first home games at Melvin Park in 53 weeks. The defending state champion Crimson Bears didn't play their best game as they beat Craig-Prince of Wales 8-1 on Friday, but by Saturday's rematch the Bears were firing on all cylinders as they won 15-0 in a mercy-rule game called in the bottom of the third inning.

Spring King Salmon Derby Standings
Here are the standings in the Seventh Annual Spring King Salmon Derby, as reported at 1:52 p.m. on Sunday, May 18. 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.

Spring King Salmon Derby Standings
Here are the standings in the Seventh Annual Spring King Salmon Derby, as reported at 4:52 p.m. on Saturday, May 17. 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.

Alaska woman hopes to wrestle in 2004 Olympics
ANCHORAGE - When the Olympics roll out the welcome mat for women wrestlers next summer, Tela O'Donnell hopes to be among the first to walk across it. The Alaskan established herself as a contender May 10 when she captured a U.S. Open national wrestling championship in Las Vegas.

From an old runway to the track
In 1940, United States Air Force General Henry "Hap" Arnold addressed the growing need for United States military airbases on American soil with a quick solution: Put one on one of the first pieces of flat land north of Seattle, a spot just six miles south of Metlakatla. With tensions in the Pacific theater escalating in August of that year, 500 troops in the United States Army Corps of Engineers 28th Engineer Aviation Regiment began work on a 12,000-acre air base. Complete with runways, hangars, storage tanks and troop housing, the base ran smoothly until it was quickly vacated at the conclusion of World War II, and turned over to the U.S. Coast Guard in 1956.

Region V Track and Field Championships
The results of the Region V Track and Field Championships held Friday and Saturday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park in Juneau.

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

Legislative roundup
Bills voted on last week:

State Briefs
UAS/National Guard center is issued permit; Assembly committee recommends mining ordinance revisions; Drunken driver slapped with $50K lawsuit; Mother moose attacks, breaks woman's wrist;

Murkowski to undergo 2nd heart procedure
Doctors in Seattle will perform another angioplasty surgery on Gov. Frank Murkowski on Monday to clear a blocked artery, his office said. Murkowski, 70, has been in Seattle since Wednesday undergoing tests at Virginia Mason Medical Center. He was sent there after doctors here found an anomaly during a physical therapy session.

Teen has high hopes for palms in Ketchikan yard
KETCHIKAN - Daniel Potts, 13, somewhat new to the world of gardening, turned an academic eye to a small Majesty palm tree growing outside his family's house near Refuge Cove. "I've got to get some fertilizer for it," he said. "I didn't acclimate it or anything and the leaves are starting to turn yellowish."

Statewide sales tax hits the wall
The fate of a proposed statewide sales tax was uncertain Saturday night after an open caucus meeting between Republicans, Democrats and the Murkowski administration. The unprecedented meeting held by the administration included a short presentation by Budget Director Cheryl Frasca. The 15-minute slideshow showed an alternate plan by the administration to cut $188 million from the budget in order to reach Gov. Frank Murkowski's budget goal of drawing no more than $400 million this year from the state's Constitutional Budget Reserve.

State high court rejects Native hiring preference ordinance
ANCHORAGE - A North Slope Borough law giving Native Americans preference for borough jobs violates the Alaska Constitution, the state Supreme Court said in an opinion released Friday. Justices wrote their opinion in response to a question posed by a three-judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is considering the legality of the ordinance.

Murkowski rejects longevity phase-out
JUNEAU - Gov. Frank Murkowski has rejected senior citizen groups' offer of a five-year phase-out of the longevity bonus program. The administration has proposed instead a shorter phase-out that calls for seniors to receive the checks just one more year. And those checks would be only half as much as they received this year.

Sales tax extinguished
After almost three weeks of hurried debate and last-minute arm twisting by the Murkowski administration, the state House of Representatives decided behind closed doors Saturday night to reject a statewide sales tax. "The sales tax for all practical purposes is dead for at least the regular session," said Speaker of the House Pete Kott, an Eagle River Republican. Kott said he does not expect Murkowski to call a special session on the issue.

Business licenses to cost more
The state House approved a boost in business license fees Friday that could raise $4.2 million, but delayed action on a car rental tax. House Bill 162 raises the fee for getting a business license from $25 a year to $100 a year. Sole proprietors age 65 or older would pay $50 a year. The increase is less than what Gov. Frank Murkowski had sought when he introduced the bill. He wanted to raise the fee to $200 a year for all businesses. That would have raised about $7.1 million more a year.

State Briefs
State shuffles SE Alaska prosecutors; Unemployment rate decreases in April; Gas industry bills pass the state Senate; House approves bill on free medical services

Suspected SARS case reported in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - A man who showed symptoms that might be SARS is being kept in isolation in an Anchorage hospital, according to health officials. The patient, who hasn't been identified, arrived about 10:45 a.m. Friday as part of the four-person crew on a cargo flight from Shanghai, according to Dr. Thomas Hennessy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

House reverses annual minimum-wage hike
A law passed by the Legislature last year to increase the minimum wage annually to adjust for inflation was reversed Friday by the state House of Representatives. House Bill 199 was passed on a 24-14 vote, with Reps. Bruce Weyhrauch of Juneau, John Harris of Valdez, Paul Seaton of Homer and Bev Masek of Willow breaking ranks with the Republican majority and voting against the measure.

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