Tuesday, May 20, 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.

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.

Illness reported among some 55 Norwegian Cruise Line passengers
SEATTLE - About 55 passengers and five crew members contracted a gastrointestinal illness during a seven-day Southeast Alaska cruise on the Norwegian Cruise Line vessel Norwegian Sky, the company said Monday. When the vessel docked in Seattle on Saturday, some people from a 376-member group traveling with Legendary Journeys tours were taken to the Marriott SeaTac south of the city near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, said the hotel's general manager, Sam Uchello.

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.

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

Unfair labels
Many people are genuinely concerned about rolling back some of our city's oversight of mines. That does not make them anti-mining. They may be very much in favor of mining, if carried out with proper safeguards.

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.

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.

Election questions
As a member of the Douglas Indian Association, I have some concerns. Why is the Bureau of Indian Affairs sponsoring another election? The tribe already hosted a fair and legal election on March 3 that abided by the tribe's constitution and by-laws. With the election of four new council members, a council of nine was seated and ready to do business.

For graduated driver's license
I believe the graduated driver's license is a good idea because I think there are too many inexperienced teenage drivers on the road. I like the idea that you would need some time on the road, like a year, then take a test to get your driver's license. At least you would have some kind of experience on the road.

Fast or fair?
According to publisher-editorialist Smith, "At last Monday's Assembly meeting, representatives from the Greens Creek Mining Co. and Coeur Alaska, Inc., the operator of the Kensington Gold Project, asked the Juneau Assembly to make an expedient decision on the proposed mining ordinance."

Not fair to teens
I think the graduated driver's license is a bad idea. It's not fair to teenagers in Juneau. Everybody blames teens for the majority of crashes. Old people crash too! I think it will only cause a lot of chaos in Juneau because nobody will want to abide by that law.

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

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."

Photo: A day to bike
Michael Hoskins, left, and Kevin Henderson arrive at the intersection of Main Street and Calhoun Avenue after a 42-minute bike ride Friday from the Mendenhall Valley to downtown. The pair was partaking in the annual National Bike to Work Day.

Assembly splits mining ordinance
The Juneau Assembly split the mining ordinance proposal into two parts Monday night and sent them back to the Planning Commission for review, allowing more time for the more controversial portion that would loosen city permitting requirements for rural mines. Ordinance 2003-UR would make rural mines that undergo state or federal environmental review allowable uses, and would bar the city from imposing permitting conditions that are covered by state or federal permits.

Photo: Brown-bags and strings
Annaliesa Place plays the violin, Inessa Zaretsky plays the piano and Andrew Kim plays the cello during their Chamber Ensemble brown-bag show Monday at the State Office Building. Free brown-bag concerts will be held every day at noon this week as part of the Juneau Jazz & Classics festival.

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

Blood Bank of Alaska seeks donations to meet summer demand
Summer is the hardest time of year to get people to donate blood, said Gregg Shomaker, director of marketing and community relations for the Blood Bank of Alaska. "When it gets nice, people get out and enjoy the state and all it has to offer," Shomaker said. "Our donations go down, but there's more accidents and more usage of blood."

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

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."

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, an ice jam caused the Yukon River to flood, marooning 182 people overnight on a small knoll near Fort Yukon.

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.

Absentee voting now underway
In-person absentee voting for Juneau's special school bond election opened Monday and will continue through June 2. Ballots are available between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at City Hall Room 224, or at the Mendenhall Mall near the Bullwinkle's Pizza Parlor entrance. Absentee ballots also will be available Saturday, May 31, at City Hall from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and at the Mendenhall Mall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 3 to 7 p.m.

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.

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

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

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: Mines need to pay their fair share
Mining in Alaska conjures up historical images of prospectors armed with pickaxes and gold pans, combing creeks and valleys in search of the next big lode. But today the picture of this industry is quite different. The lone prospector has been replaced largely by heavily subsidized, multinational corporations from Outside that use Alaska's natural resources for profit, then take the money and run when their mining operations close, leaving little in the way of compensation, jobs, or revenue to Alaska.

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.

My Turn: Targeted visitor taxes hurt Alaska businesses
Alaska's fiscal gap has moved to center stage and politicians and political activists across the state are rummaging to find new state revenue sources. One thing most of these efforts have in common is that they seek to make somebody else pay. Out-of-state visitors are favorite tax targets as legislators have pushed everything from new vehicle rental taxes to wildlife viewing fees, seasonal sales taxes and cruise ship passenger head taxes.

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.

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.

Correction
In the results from last weekend's Region V Track and Field Championships reported in Sunday's Empire, the boys 1,600 meters time for Gabe Hayden of Juneau was incorrectly listed.

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

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

Cougars will retire Brayton's uniform number
PULLMAN, Wash. - Chuck "Bobo" Brayton coached the Washington State baseball team through parts of four decades, to 21 league titles and into two College World Series. Now he is joining Mel Hein and Jack Thompson as the only Cougars to have their numbers retired.

Lena Loop Run
Results from the Southeast Road Runners club's Nugget Alaskan Outfitters Lena Loop Run and the Kids' Kilometer Fun Run, both held Saturday at Lena Beach. There was a 5-kilometer course for adult runners, and a 1-kilometer course for kids. The 1-kilometer race's times were not available.

Spring King Salmon Derby Standings
Here are the standings in the Seventh Annual Spring King Salmon Derby, as reported at 2:36 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.

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.

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."

Lawmakers wax philosophic on proposal to tax tire sales
A plan to raise $3.3 million by taxing tire sales passed the House of Representatives Monday, but not before a debate between Democrats and Republicans on their differing philosophies on taxation. The tax would institute a $2.50 fee on each tire sold in the state and an additional $5 on the sales of each studded tire. Jim Holm, a Fairbanks Republican, encouraged members to vote yes on the measure, noting the money would go toward $65 million needed this year to maintain the road system.

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.

House bill will allow phone wars to carry on
The House threw a lifeline to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska on Monday, giving the agency that oversees utilities a four-year extension. But it ordered the embattled agency to make significant changes in the way it does business. During hours of contentious debate, lawmakers approved legislation that extends the sunset date of the agency that was set to enter a yearlong phase-out beginning June 30.

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 OKS tax credits for oil companies
Gov. Frank Murkowski's proposal to provide tax credits for companies that explore for oil in Alaska passed the House on Monday. The bill has passed the Senate, but because the House made changes in it, the two sides will have to agree on a compromise.

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.

House approves increase in campaign contributions
JUNEAU - A bill to double the amount of money people can contribute to state political campaigns was approved 22-15 by the House on Monday. But it touched off bitter bipartisan complaints from members who argued it would derail campaign finance reforms imposed in 1996.

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

State Briefs
Woman fakes attack; Largest state workers' union ratifies contract; House OKs rental car tax; Bill would settle lawsuit in oil company's favor; Murkowski undergoes successful angioplasty; Jury selected in sex abuse case; Aniak man killed outside residence; Ketchikan aims to end winter 'ghost town' look; One killed, one injured in Anchorage shooting

Dozens of McGrath bears relocated
FAIRBANKS - Before they began catching and moving bears to protect moose calves near McGrath last week, state wildlife biologists started a pool to guess how many they would find. The crew of about 25 biologists, trappers and pilots each threw in $20 to guess the number of black and grizzly bears they would capture. The range of guesses for black bears was 34 to 85.

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