Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Inappropriate assumptions
I applaud the language in the draft tourism plan that says "Juneau has no alternative but to address flightseeing noise in a significant way. Both float plane and helicopter flightseeing impacts need to be addressed." Unfortunately this noble goal is simply not carried out.

Valuable school, cherished memory
There are many good schools in our state, but there are few outstanding schools. I'm proud to say that Alyeska Central School (ACS), State Correspondence School based in Juneau, is one of those few.

Shameful and shameless
The obstructionists in Alaska's Legislature are disgraceful. You all know who you are - and so do most Alaskans. You serve special interests while the real business of running the state of Alaska is ignored.

Continuing struggle
This is in response to Eric Fry's article, "Tlingit student plans to carry on culture," featured May 17 in the Juneau Empire.My thanks to Mr. Fry for a story well written. Undoubtedly Hans Chester deserves the recognition and the admiration inspired by the article.

A blight no more
Chas Dense, in his letter published May 15, begins with a misperception and ends with a great idea. The misperception is how the "low-income housing" (it was a slum) along Calhoun Avenue was torn down and the land given to Fireweed Place. We didn't want that strip of land.

Not Arafat, Sharon or the UN
Mary Noble scoffs at Ariel Sharon being called a "man of peace" by George W. Bush. I agree: Sharon is a career soldier whose past actions have, among other things, helped save Israel from "peaceful" Arab armies. I don't agree with his present policies, but Ms. Noble leaves some important things out of her vivid description.

What's next?
This is in response to the article, "Elton's lone vote against flag resolution," written by Bill McAllister (I like his Capitol Notebook columns, by the way) in the Empire on April 30.

Shocked but not surprised
This is in response to the letter headlined "What's Next?" from Ward Lamb in the May 21 Empire. Has Mr. Ward Lamb ever served in active duty or reserve military of the armed forces of United States or even in the Boy Scouts of America? He would know the value, integrity and honor the U.S. flag holds to a majority of veterans and their families.

Alternate juror believed alleged victims' tales of abuse
As the jury deliberates the fate of a Sitka couple accused of molesting three young girls, an alternate juror said she would have voted for a conviction.The jury began its deliberations about 3 p.m. Monday and had not reached a verdict in the 41-count case by mid-day today.

Assembly OKs JDHS renovation
The Juneau Assembly on Monday awarded a bid to renovate Juneau-Douglas High School over the wishes of some members of a joint school district-city planning team that favored building a new Mendenhall Valley high school first.

McRae remembered as involved, supportive
David McRae, who died Saturday in a motorcycle accident, will be remembered as an active member of the community, helping friends and family and devoting his time to volunteering in the schools.

Record highs hit Juneau, state
Juneau broke a weather record Monday, hitting 75 degrees for the first time on a May 20 since officials started keeping tabs on temperatures.In other parts of the state, it got even hotter.

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

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

City plans additional work on port fee
The Juneau Assembly decided not to revisit a new cruise ship passenger fee for port projects on Monday, but will schedule discussions to re-examine the charge.The Assembly approved a new $1.73-per-passenger port development fee two weeks ago after months of discussions with the cruise industry about funding port projects. The revenue is to be used for the Steamship Wharf-Marine Park redesign, a long-term waterfront development plan and preliminary design for a dock extension. The fee took effect May 15.

Photo: Auke Bay sunset
A boat cruises into the sunset toward Auke Bay on Monday night. A record high of 75 degrees was recorded Monday. Temperatures have been abnormally high in Alaska. brian wallace / the juneau empire

Schedule for Valley high school still undecided
Work on a new high school in the Mendenhall Valley could begin next summer, or it could be put off while voters consider updated cost estimates, according to various people planning the project.The state Legislature passed a bill Sunday, linked to a statewide general obligation bond vote in November, that would reimburse 60 percent of the new school's debt.

Correction
Due to an editor's error, an article in Tuesday's Empire listed the incorrect year a memorandum of understanding between the Juneau School District and the city was signed. It was in February 2000.

Photo: Float your boat
Juneau-Douglas High School students Jaret Reid, left, and Jason Brooks attempt to row their cardboard boat at the Augustus Brown Swimming Pool today. The pair was participating in a geometry project with 150 other students who designed and built boats out of cardboard.

Body found in Gold Creek
The body of a young woman is being sent to Anchorage for an autopsy today after being swept into Gastineau Channel from Cope Park by the swift waters of Gold Creek on Tuesday afternoon. The woman, who was not identified, is the second possible drowning victim discovered in the past week. The first was Dana Lee White, 45, who was found dead in the channel near Marine Park on Saturday morning. Police do not suspect foul play and said the incidents don't appear to be related.

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

Assembly narrows interim manager search
Juneau Assembly members will interview three candidates for interim city manager at the end of the month.A five-person Assembly selection committee decided Tuesday to interview Donald Moore of Wasilla, who was interim city manager in Palmer and Kotzebue and served as Matunuska-Susitna Borough manager for 10 years; Juneau business and municipal consultant and Southeast Alaska Cellular One market manager Jim Kohler; and Juneau developer and former deputy mayor John MacKinnon. Five people applied.

School district pulls out of planning team with city
The Juneau School Board on Tuesday withdrew in frustration from a joint city-schools team that was planning a new high school in the Mendenhall Valley and the renovation of Juneau-Douglas High School."The spirit is it hasn't been collaborative, so we'll just go our own way," schools Superintendent Gary Bader said today.

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

Jury convicts Sitka couple on 41 counts of sex abuse
A Juneau jury returned guilty verdicts on 41 counts of sexual abuse Tuesday in the trial of a Sitka couple accused of molesting three girls aged 3 to 13 for several years. Cynthia Sky, 40, and Dick Blue Sky, 48, were found guilty on 32 counts of felony first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and two counts of felony child exploitation. Dick Blue Sky was found guilty on seven separate counts of felony sexual abuse of a minor.

Tips help passengers make their flights safe
Last month I spoke of the pre-planning that a pilot does before each flight that is crucial to aviation safety. Each flight, as we are aware, has the potential to have a safe, as well as an unsafe outcome. Once a year I write an article on passenger safety. Most passengers go along for the ride and expect the flight to be uneventful. The majority of the time that is a safe supposition.

Local groups create Marine Park sundial
The sundial on the sidewalk at Marine Park uses a person's shadow to tell the time. Local school classes and volunteer organizations painted each of the numbers on the sundial. More than 36 local groups painted the numbers and produced a community work of art which also tells the time.

Softball tournament to aid transplant recipient
Having a big heart runs in Ray Bradley Jr.'s family, and it's not necessarily a good thing. At least, they think it does. Eight years ago, Bradley, 31, was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart enlarges, stretching the muscle so it is weak and thin, unable to pump blood efficiently through the body.

Neighbors Briefs
Graduation party seeking support from the community; Alaska students and educator to be sent to Watershed Summit; Naval reunion set; Skateboarding contest set at park; Tlingit and Haida council holds officer elections

Thank You
...for all the support; ...for all the help; ...for the support; ...for all the donations; ...for all the help;

Protect rhododendrons carefully during mixed weather conditions
The last I wrote about rhododendrons, I got inquiries about what to do about damages done by spring's dry, bright days and bitterly cold nights. Effects ranged from dehydration causing leaf scorch to total desiccation leaving no greenery at all. People tell of beloved specimens 15 or 20 years old, the focus of their landscape and treasure of their property, being withered and looking dead.

Academic Honors
Elizabeth "Libby" Watanabe recently graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a bachelor of science degree in food science and human nutrition.

Pets Of The Week
Bagheera and Akela are brothers and would like to stay together. Both are declawed on their front paws. Boscoe is a handsome black and white domestic short-haired neutered male. He gets along with other cats and enjoys attention.

DECA gets down to business at conference
DECA students from Juneau-Douglas High School took care of business at a state conference held in last month in Anchorage.DECA, the Distributive Education Clubs of America is an organization that works to improve educational and career opportunities in marketing, management and entrepreneurship for high school and college students. It has 180,000 members in the United States and Canada.

Madeliene Burnett
Former Juneau resident Madeliene "Woolf" Burnett died May 15, 2002, in Anchorage, due to complications from pneumonia.

Juan Manuel Cutino MacFarlane
Juneau resident Juan Manuel Cutino MacFarlane died May 19, 2002, in Juneau.

Andrew James Johnnie Sr.
Juneau resident Andrew James Johnnie Sr. died May 20, 2002, in Juneau.

David Kent McRae
Longtime local resident David K. McRae, 37, died May 18, 2002, in a motorcycle accident in Juneau.

My Turn: Valley high school would benefit many
As a parent and coach in Sitka, I would like to voice my support for the joint school district-city planning teams recommendation to place building a new Valley high school above the JDHS renovation project. One educational research report after another has left little doubt that "super-size" high schools provide a far lower quality educational experience than their smaller counterparts, and the educational benefits that will be felt by youth in Juneau will certainly be greater than the costs involved.

My Turn: Alaska now drowning in government excesses
Michael Kron's recent column was critical of my 10-point spending reduction plan. As we cut, a certain number of workers would no longer be on the payroll. I wish to explain its effect on the economy in terms of cash spent and restraints on entrepreneurial activity.

Aces file for bankruptcy
ANCHORAGE - Alaska's only professional sports franchise has filed for protection from creditors in federal Bankruptcy Court The Anchorage Aces are almost $2 million in debt, according to papers filed Monday with the court.

Juneau boys open defense of state soccer title
When the Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer team went to the state tournament last year, the Crimson Bears were a team trying to earn a little respect.When the Crimson Bears arrive here to defend their state championship this weekend, Juneau will be the team the other schools are watching. Not only will Juneau be the defending state champion, but the Crimson Bears have earned national rankings in two different polls this season.

Spring King Salmon Derby Standings
Here are the standings in the Sixth Annual Spring King Salmon Derby, as reported at 8:27 a.m. on Wednesday, May 22. 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 girls carry confidence into state
After struggling during its previous five games, last weekend's sweep of Ketchikan may have been just what the doctor ordered for the Juneau-Douglas High School girls soccer team as it heads into this weekend's state tournament.The Crimson Bears, who beat Ketchikan 9-0 on Friday and 10-0 on Saturday, ended a three-game losing streak, a five-game winless streak and a four-game scoreless streak with the sweep last weekend.

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

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 9:04 a.m. on Tuesday, May 21. 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 baseball can clinch with a win
All it takes is one. The Juneau-Douglas High School baseball team needs one victory this weekend at Sitka's Moller Field to clinch a spot in the state tournament.

Legislature finally adjourns
The Legislature dragged into the fifth day of a special session today because of Senate inaction on a bill extending the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.Several representatives made it clear that they'd like to reach out and touch Sen. Robin Taylor, a Wrangell Republican. Taylor has added fuel to the "phone wars" waged periodically at the Capitol between Alaska Communications Systems and General Communications Inc.

'Phone wars' delay Senate adjournment
The Legislature dragged into the fifth day of a special session today because of Senate inaction on a bill extending the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.Several representatives made it clear that they'd like to reach out and touch Sen. Robin Taylor, a Wrangell Republican. Taylor has added fuel to the "phone wars" waged periodically at the Capitol between Alaska Communications Systems and General Communications Inc.

State briefs
Man sentenced in abuse case; Halcro decides not to run again; Anchorage man stabbed after stopping assault; Anchorage woman mauled by dog; Federal grants buy bulletproof vests for law enforcement; Man changes plea in methamphetamine case; Fire damages buses in ship

State briefs
Ferry study preliminary findings released; Fire danger worsens around state; Copper River salmon prices drop in second opener

Lawmakers finally call halt to special session
Gov. Tony Knowles said today that the Legislature concluded a five-day special session Tuesday with an "embarrassment" - its failure to find compromise on a bill extending the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. The Democratic governor also had a harsh assessment of the overall outcome of the 22nd two-year legislative session, saying Republicans failed to act on the two biggest issues, the $1 billion fiscal gap and subsistence, while indulging in budget trickery.

Audit says BP hired Alaskans for Northstar
ANCHORAGE - Most of the $400 million BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. spent to develop its Northstar oil field went to Alaska-based contractors and vendors, according to a new legislative audit.

Outlook for road-system tourism unclear
Alaska-bound cruise ships are now bringing their streams of visitors north, but that doesn't mean tourist businesses on the road system are humming. Whether this will be a down season or a decent one for Alaska's land tourism isn't yet clear.

Photos: Session's end
Rep. Joe Hayes, a Fairbanks Democrat, and Beverly Masek, a Wasilla Republican, say good-bye to each other after the House of Representatives adjourned the special session on Tuesday. A special session was called starting on June 24 to address extending the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.

Police arrest Anchorage men on rape charges
ANCHORAGE - Two Anchorage men were arrested over the weekend in separate incidents on suspicion of raping women they met at downtown bars.

Special session to cost state up to $25,000 a day
The expense of the extended and special session will not be known for another week or so, but Legislative Affairs Executive Director Pamela Varni said a special session can cost the state as much as $25,000 a day.

Tests determine remains are Chandra Levy's
The expense of the extended and special session will not be known for another week or so, but Legislative Affairs Executive Director Pamela Varni said a special session can cost the state as much as $25,000 a day.

Session hits 'Gavel to Gavel' budget
The Legislature's adjournment Tuesday evening came not too soon for the people working the cameras for "Gavel to Gavel," the public television program that provides live coverage of committee and floor action. The past week of extended and special sessions has been left to the call of the presiding officer, creating additional lag time for camera crews waiting to cover the events.

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