Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Holitna Energy applies to state for shallow gas leases
ANCHORAGE - Holitna Energy Corp. has applied for four shallow gas leases in Southcentral Alaska within a 50-mile range of the Donlin Creek gold development project. James Hansen, lease sales manager for the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas, told Petroleum News that the 19,840 acres requested by Holitna Energy for leasing are in a seven-mile long, six-mile wide section located east of the Holitna River and southeast of Sleetmute.

Sakhalin gas development may serve Alaska interests
ANCHORAGE - Liquefied natural gas from the Russian Far East may be sold in southern California as soon as 2007. While many Alaskans think that market should be served by LNG shipped from Alaska, Alaska groups working on a gas pipeline from the North Slope and an LNG plant in southern Alaska believe that liquefied gas from Alaska can compete with LNG from Sakhalin and other sources in Asia and U.S. West Coast markets.

Native corporations see growth in 2001
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Native regional corporations saw large increases in revenues and net profits in 2001 compared to the previous year, according to recently released data. The report issued by the Association of ANSCA Regional Corporation Presidents/CEOs showed that 12 Native regional corporations in Alaska had gross revenues of $2.7 billion, up from $2.3 billion in 2000 and $2 billion in 1999, according to the Journal of Commerce.

Governor selects gas authority
Gov. Frank Murkowski has named seven people to the Alaska Natural Gas Authority that was created by a citizens' initiative last fall. The authority members will be John Kelsey of Valdez; Andy Warwick of Fairbanks; Bob Favretto of Kenai; and David Cuddy, Dan Sullivan, Scott Heyworth and Warren Christian of Anchorage.

'Radical' beliefs?
As usual, Richard Schmitz' letter regarding us "radical leftists" was heavy on slur and light on fact. I'd like to list my beliefs and invite Richard, or anyone else, to tell me what is radical about them:

Safe and grateful
As a 2003 JDHS graduate, I wanted to take a moment to shine light on all those involved (organizers, volunteers, donors, etc.) in putting on the Safe Graduation Party.

Teens Against Tobacco Use
On May 31, I had an opportunity to observe some outstanding Juneau young people as they participated in World No Tobacco Day.

Our troubled oceans
On the Empire's front page last Friday, Stevens, our senior senator, unfortunately showed his true partisan biases, and his incredibly outmoded understanding of our urgent environmental issues when he publicly attacked the credibility of a 144-page report called "America's Living Oceans: Charting a Course for Sea Change."

United or divided?
I live in Ketchikan and am a retired fisherman who holds a lifetime sport fish license. I feel somewhat awkward in holding a sport license because I don't know what is regarded as sport and don't understand who would make a sport out of harvesting a food source.

Photo: Putting up a parking lot
A heavy equipment operator loads a truck with the remains of Colonial Apartments behind the Juneau Alliance for Mental Health Inc. building at the corner of Second and Franklin streets Monday.

Photo: New crossing guard patrol
City crossing guard Sandra Viola, center, trains Drew Gruening, left, and Benicia Boyd on the finer points of being a downtown guard Monday. The city plans to have six crossing guards on duty every day through the tourist season.

City approves speedier mine-permit process
Work on the Greens Creek Mining Co.'s tailing expansion could begin in January, four to eight months ahead of schedule, because of a mining ordinance the Juneau Assembly passed Monday night. The ordinance allows summary approval of changes to existing permits for rural mines, and its passage coincided with the last day of the public comment period on Greens Creek's draft environmental impact statement.

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

Goldbelt hopes for upswing in SE's tourism industry
Goldbelt Inc., the urban Native corporation for Juneau, is doing as well as any other business in Southeast Alaska's tourism industry, company officials told shareholders at the corporation's annual meeting Saturday. "The shareholders seem to understand the economic condition we've been operating under for the last couple of years," said Randy Wanamaker, outgoing chairman of the corporation's board of directors.

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

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

City assembly denies Empire property tax exemption request
In a 5-4 vote Monday night, the Juneau Assembly denied a $1,200-a-year property tax exemption request from the Juneau Empire. Morris Communications Corp., the Empire's parent company, applied for the exemption under an ordinance that allows businesses to take a property tax exemption on equipment used for manufacturing. "I just don't think when the Assembly came up with the exemption, we meant for this," said Assembly member Marc Wheeler. "Maybe if they were making the paper."

This Day in History
In 1956, KINY-TV signed on the air as Juneau's first television station.

17-year-old seeks abuse charges against ex
A middle-aged Juneau man is facing 17 felony charges alleging he carried out a clandestine and illegal sexual relationship with a girl who was 14 when the affair started. The girl, now 17, told the Empire on Monday that she pursued charges against the man earlier this month because he ended their three-year relationship. Frederick L. Wigg, 48, a motor route carrier for the Juneau Empire, was arraigned Monday in Juneau Superior Court on three counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, seven counts of unlawful exploitation of a minor and seven counts of possession of child pornography, all felonies.

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

Small company represents best of Alaska
Northern Keta, a Juneau-based company co-owned by Elisabeth Babich, has been awarded the Governor's Exporter of the Year award for small businesses. "Companies like this I just think are the best of the seafood industry and the best of Alaska," said Margy Johnson, director of the state Division of International Trade and Market Development, which chose Northern Keta for the award. "I was just delighted that they got the award."

Bear kills family dog in Mendenhall Valley
A Mendenhall Valley black bear is being targeted for extermination after it dragged a dog out of its doghouse and left it with fatal wounds Monday morning. The attack happened at about 5 a.m. at the Montana Creek Road home of Tish and David Forrest. "I've already cried buckets about this," Tish Forrest, 42, said. "I've got a 6-year-old son and it's pretty scary."

Weather perfect for gardening
Though this week's warm, dry weather hasn't broken any records, it has contributed to what has been a generally agreeable growing season. "It's been the perfect spring," said Juneau Cooperative Extension Agent Jim Douglas, an active gardener and gardening expert. "I would say almost every gardener in town has been successful this year."

This Day in History
In 1979, some 60,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from a 5-inch crack in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline contaminating 30 miles of the Atigun River.

City OKs budget, despite $500K gap
The Juneau Assembly passed a $195 million budget Monday night, despite a $500,000 hole created by Gov. Murkowski's line-item veto pen Monday morning and unfilled requests from the school district and nonprofit organizations. "We've been a very reasonable community, and we're going to go back in and figure it out and balance our books," said Assembly member Jim Powell, who chairs the Finance Committee. "It's just too much and too late to calculate this before June 15."

Coming soon to a place near you: eco-terrorist plants, animals, bugs
Here in Alaska it is easy to take for granted our unspoiled natural surroundings. But there is a looming threat that many are becoming aware of that could affect our environment, a few of which are showing up in our communities. A recent report by the USDA Forest Service finds that one of the four most important threats to our natural areas is the spread of invasive species. These eco-terrorists can be animals, insects, or microorganisms that may be an important part of a balanced ecosystem in their ancestral homeland but become aggressive invaders when transplanted outside their range.

Pets of the week
Ebony isn't your basic black cat: She has the most amazing tail. It curls neatly into a circle like the elegant bun on a ballerina's head. Strawberry is a friendly guinea pig who is very good with children. He loves to be held and treated to fresh dandelion leaves.

Junior Achievement to put on recognition luncheon
A special luncheon of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce will highlight the Junior Achievement Program on Thursday, June 19, in Juneau. The luncheon will recognize teachers, business leaders and financial partners who make Junior Achievement Programs a success in our schools. The luncheon will take place onboard Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas, and is open for the public to attend.

McPhee, Koelsch to marry
Deborah McPhee of Thurso, Scotland, and Karter Koelsch of Juneau will be married in a ceremony at 3 p.m. June 21, at Resurrection Lutheran Church. A reception will follow at 6 p.m. at Glacier Gardens. Friends and relatives of the couple are invited to the wedding and reception.

Thank you
... for helping with graduation, awards ceremony; ...for the support; ... for help with Doctors Without Borders Benefit Family Dance; ... for helping Dipsticks show; ... for helping students; ... from the John family

Neighbors Briefs
Head Start taking applications; Cornell Tradition Fellow; Detjen graduates from St. Olaf College; Lifeguard training offered; Juneau awards program; Foodbank cruise; Homemade beer meet; Montana honor roll; Fagnant gets scholarship

Martin, Gentry wed
Claire Martin of Juneau and Michael Gentry of Othello, Wash., were married on Jan. 18 at the Columbia River Temple in Richland, Wash. All are invited to a wedding reception in their honor from 7 to 9 p.m. on June 14 at the Glacier Gardens, 7600 Glacier Highway.

Correction
The story about the sinking of the Princess Sophia which appeared in the Empire on June 8 contained an error of interpretation.

Glacier Valley Rotary Club honors students
Juneau's Glacier Valley Rotary Club has selected Juneau-Douglas High School junior Jeff Foster as its Student of the Month for May. Dale Staley, a vice principal at JDHS, recommended Foster for the honor at the suggestion of foreign language teacher Janna Lelchuk. Lelchuk reported that Foster, a second-year Russian student, has excelled in class and has participated in many cultural projects outside of class.

UAF student wins world shooting event
FAIRBANKS - Jamie Beyerle, who will be a sophomore at the University of Alaska Fairbanks this fall, won the gold medal in the women's 50-meter, three-position shoot at the International Shooting Sports Federation World Cup in Zagreb, Croatia, this past week.

Iditarod rejects Gerald Riley for 2004 race
ANCHORAGE - Board members of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Friday met in an executive session before rejecting a bid by former champion Gerald Riley to run in the 2004 race.

Co-workers go the distance to honor their retiring friend
ANCHORAGE - As her final day with the Anchorage School District neared, Mary Marsolais warned her colleagues not to plan any retirement luncheons or going-away parties. And though the 65-year-old woman weighs all of 98 pounds, Marsolais is not to be taken lightly. She says what she thinks, she means what she says, and even though she seems to punctuate every sentence with a joke, she is a no-nonsense woman.

Devils dance with Cup
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Never has the Stanley Cup felt more at home than in the New Jersey swamp. The Devils, riding the greatest home-ice advantage in NHL playoffs history and a goal from one of the unlikeliest Game 7 stars ever, ended the Anaheim Mighty Ducks' remarkable postseason run and won the Cup with a 3-0 victory Monday night.

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

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

Iditarod turns down bid from blind teen
ANCHORAGE - A legally blind Oregon teenager's bid to run the 2004 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was squelched Friday when board members failed to approve special accommodations for disabled competitors. The ITC board postponed indefinitely a decision on a proposal to accommodate disabled mushers on an individual basis ruled out any special consideration for 18-year-old Rachael Scdoris, of Redmond, Ore.

State Briefs
Committee reduces proposed UA budget; 2 men charged in death of Anchorage teen; Man dies in accident; Volunteers keep St. Michael fire from store; Anchorage man dies in bicycle accident; Suspect found dead; United Way fund-raising drive short of goal

State Briefs
Hunters bag two relocated bears; Boat crash kills young man from North Pole; Prince of Wales car crash leaves 5 injured; Police seek woman in string of burglaries; Man charged with firing shots into bar ceiling; Anchorage woman arrested for hit-and-run

Governor signs bills on drug programs, natural gas
Business-license fees are going up, the state's contribution to some drug and alcohol treatment programs is going down, and it should become easier to develop shallow natural gas resources. Those are among the effects of nearly a dozen bills Gov. Frank Murkowski signed into law late last week.

Deal may open up land to logging
About 300,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest formerly closed to timber harvest could be available for logging under a settlement between the U.S. Forest Service and the state of Alaska. Conservationists are decrying the move. Monday's out-of-court settlement resolves a 2001 state lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the parent agency of the U.S. Forest Service. The state sought to halt implementation of the roadless rule in the Tongass and Chugach national forests. The Clinton administration-era rule prohibits timber harvesting and road-building within about 58 million acres of the 192-million-acre national forest system. About 9.6 million acres of Southeast Alaska's 16.8-million-acre Tongass have been designated roadless.

Hatchery king harvest down 10 percent
Southeast commercial trollers have caught about 10 percent fewer hatchery kings this spring than at this time last year. But with three weeks left in the season, there still is time to rack up the numbers, according to the state Department of Fish and Game. "Over all Alaska the hatchery (catch) increased 10 percent in the last three to four weeks of the fishery last year," said Brian Lynch, the salmon troll fishery management biologist for Southeast.

Alaska Republicans oust party attorney who holds controversial positions
ANCHORAGE - The Republican Party of Alaska has replaced its longtime attorney, Ken Jacobus. While praising his 15 years of service, party co-chairman Randy Ruedrich said many of the issues that interest Jacobus these days "might be seen as being in conflict with our principles."

Murkowski slashes cash for cities
The Murkowski administration announced Monday it will save $37 million in the state budget this year by cutting funding to municipalities. Chief of Staff Jim Clark said Gov. Frank Murkowski will use his line-item veto to cut funding for the Municipal Revenue Sharing Program, Safe Communities programs and capital matching grants.

Sealaska Timber wins Exporter of the Year for large businesses
The Sealaska Timber Corp. spent much of 2002 developing new international trade markets in China. Because of the effort, the corporation was awarded the Governor's Exporter of the Year award in May. "They maintain an operation here in Southeast Alaska that is just second to none," said Margy Johnson, director of the state Division of International Trade and Market Development, which chose the winner of the award. "They're one of the largest landowners, and they've been exporting for some years now."

Bush administration to let states seek relief from roadless rule
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration said Monday it will propose a rule change allowing governors to seek exemptions from a policy blocking road-building in remote areas of national forests. The plan to amend the so-called roadless rule - adopted in the final days of the Clinton administration - comes just five days after a top official said the administration would let the rule stand.

Kootznoowoo Inc. sees small profit
Kootznoowoo Inc., the village Native corporation for Angoon, earned a profit of $10,297 in 2002 after several years of losing money, company officials announced at the corporation's annual meeting Saturday. The meeting was held in Angoon, 75 miles south of Juneau on Admiralty Island. The corporate office for Kootznoowoo is in Juneau.

Woman loses $50,000 in garage sale teddy bear
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage woman is hoping someone returns a teddy bear sold at a church garage sale that she says had $50,000 sewn inside - money she borrowed for her husband's cancer treatment. Wan Song and her husband came to Alaska 12 years ago from Korea. They have three boys, the oldest in college. Her husband, Inhong Song, worked as a restaurant cook until he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He had surgery in December.

U.S. approves state's No Child Left Behind plan
The federal Education Department has approved the state's plan for deciding whether its schools are making adequate progress in reaching the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act. But several concerns about how the federal law will work in Alaska, including the amount of coursework rural teachers must have in the subjects they teach, remain unresolved. Accountability plans for Alaska and 16 other states were approved Tuesday in a White House Rose Garden ceremony with President George W. Bush.

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