Thursday, June 12, 2003

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.

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.

Really radical ideas
I agree with Lisle Hebert that Richard Schmitz (Letter to the editor, June 5) has attempted the art of slur without demonstrating any logical pretext of an argument, but merely knee-jerk name calling. It's a sad indicator of the health of our democracy that demanding truth from a leader about the gravest decision a country can make (going to war) makes a concerned citizen "radical."

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."

A job well-finished
On behalf of the "Finish the Job; Yes for High Schools" Committee, we'd like to express our appreciation for what has to be viewed as an outstanding voter turnout during a rare municipal special election held on June 3. The official results show 5,647 local voters went to the polls to voice their opinion on high school facilities.

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.

Underage teens to test whether liquor stores are selling to minors
The Juneau Police Department along with Mothers Against Drunk Driving will target underage drinking this summer, according to representatives for both agencies. Police will use department overtime hours throughout the summer to conduct compliance checks at the 62 stores carrying a liquor license in Juneau in an effort to crack down on people younger than 21 buying alcohol, said Capt. Tom Porter. The checks will be done with the help of volunteer teens from Youth in Action, an offshoot of MADD, who will attempt to buy liquor from the stores. He said the efforts may include breaking up minor consuming parties occurring out the road.

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."

Possible SARS victim recovering at Bartlett
The woman admitted to Bartlett Regional Hospital last week as a possible SARS case is in good condition, hospital officials said. Although state health officials say it's very unlikely the woman has SARS, the case has raised concerns among tourists and locals. And while cruise ships are asking passengers whether they've recently been to countries hit by SARS, ferries and airlines coming here are not.

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

Second JAMHI building demolished for parking lot
Heavy equipment knocked down the former Juneau Alliance for Mental Health Inc. building at the corner of Second and Franklin streets Wednesday. Demolition of the building and the former Colonial Apartments next door is the first step in construction of a city parking lot on the site. North Pacific Erectors was hired for the job, expected to cost about $500,000 including asbestos removal, said Mike Krieber, city project engineer for the city. He said the lot should be completed by the end of July.

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

Photo: Fix for a broken water main
City employees start to dig up Fourth Street between Gold and Franklin streets after an 8-inch main water line broke Wednesday at Fourth and Gold. The break briefly interrupted water service for some Gold Street residents, city officials said.

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."

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 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.

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

Corrections
Due to a reporter's error, an article in Sunday's Empire Outdoors section incorrectly stated the ranking in size of the Juneau Icefield. The icefield is the fifth largest in North America.

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

Juneau Filipino group splinters
A new Filipino group, the Filipino-American Association, has splintered from the 75-year-old Filipino Community due in part to an internal disagreement over bylaws changes. "There's nothing really different. We kind of have the same focus," said Benny Cruz, newly elected president of the Filipino-American Association. "The only difference is the bylaws of the Filipino Community, there are some members (of the Filipino-American Association) that don't agree to their bylaws."

This Day in History
In 1969, five people were dumped in the water when their 18-foot outboard collided with a whale north of Juneau. The whale escaped unharmed.

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."

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

My Turn: Legislative session was a fiasco
The story of this session is more remarkable for what did not happen, than for what did. Gov. Murkowski and the Republican majorities rode to victory on the twin platforms of resource development and no new taxes - and the assurance that with the stars aligned, the fiscal gap would be solved.

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

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

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
Election results certified; Finance academy offered in Juneau; DIA chooses leaders; Bill removes need for concealed-gun permit; Alaska AG seeks Pledge review

This year's dividend could be $1,100
The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. said Wednesday that an upswing in the stock market has increased the chance that dividend checks will be paid this year. But they probably will be hundreds of dollars smaller than last year. The corporation, established in 1980 to manage the investments of the multibillion-dollar account, said at the end of March there was a 10 to 15 percent chance there would not be enough money in the fund's earnings account to pay dividends.

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.

Governor signs bill on tax breaks for oil companies
Gov. Frank Murkowski has signed into law an oil exploration tax credit he hopes eventually will bring more oil into production and more dollars to the state. In the short run, though, the bill is projected to cost the state $50 million a year, and it's possible that cost could run as high as $100 million a year, administration officials say.

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.

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.

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."

Angoon to get faster, cheaper Web service
For most Southeast residents, online shopping and news reading are a regular part of life. But in Angoon, which has no Internet service provider, Web browsing has been less convenient and more expensive, involving a long-distance access number. But that's going to change.

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