Friday, June 13, 2003

CIRI shareholders seek dividend
Shareholders have told Cook Inlet Regional Inc. to hand out $63 million in special dividends. By a more than 2-to-1 margin and over the objections of CIRI's leadership, the company's owners voted in a corporate election Saturday for $10,000 each for the average shareholder. The vote was advisory but sent a strong message that the board of the Anchorage-based Native corporation is likely to heed. "We'll try to accommodate them as best we can," said William Prosser, chairman emeritus and head of the board's finance and investment committee. Roy Huhndorf, a dissident board member and former CIRI president, predicted that Alaska's most profitable Native corporation will reluctantly hand over the money.

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."

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.

Improved ferry system is what's needed now
It's bad enough that the Murkowski administration is pushing the Juneau Access road project forward despite massive state funding shortfalls, the majority vote against it in Juneau, and resolutions of protest from the Haines and Skagway local governments. Now, the Alaska Department of Transportation plans to waste even more money on the project by including a west side alternative in its study (Juneau Empire, "Road Study," June 4). Last time DOT excluded this route from the study because it saved neither time nor money.

Manufacturing indeed
Kudos for printing the story about the Empire's request for a property tax exemption. Shame on Morris Communications for it becoming a story in the first place. Kudos to those Assembly members and the mayor who carried denial of the claim. Shame on the Assembly members who don't seem to have a clue where to draw the line.

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 & Fire
Reports by Juneau police, fire officials and state troopers.

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.

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.

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."

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.

DIPAC floats to the rescue of July Fourth fireworks show
The Douglas Island Pink and Chum hatchery long has provided one of the staples of a Juneau summer: salmon. This summer, it will provide another fixture: a barge from which to launch the annual July 4 fireworks show above Gastineau Channel.

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.

New penalties: drunk drivers will lose their cars
Under a new city ordinance, driving drunk means losing your car or truck for three business days. "Before a driver even gets in the car, this serves as a deterrent," said Cindy Cashen, executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Drunken driving carries numerous penalties, including car impoundment and jail time, depending on a driver's prior violations. Before this ordinance was passed, Juneau police could release a vehicle to a responsible party on the day of the offense.

AroundTown
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Juneau students' pass rate on state exam holds steady
Most Juneau students passed the state exams they took in the spring, and at about the same rate as local students did the previous year, school district officials said. Students first take the high school exit exam, composed of tests in reading, writing and math, in their sophomore year. This year's sophomores at Juneau-Douglas High School passed the exam at rates of 74 percent for reading, 89 percent for writing, and 71 percent for math, the school district said.

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

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.

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

Cool creek on a warm day
Brian Adamson, 19, and Monica Puustinen, 21, enjoy a cool swim in Montana Creek on Thursday afternoon.

Juneau residents to celebrate flag
Before Juneau celebrates America's birthday July 4, it will recognize the birthday of the U.S. flag Saturday. "We're going to honor the flag, and celebrate the anniversary of its birth," said Jim Davis, past exalted ruler of the Juneau Elks Lodge.

City enforces sidewalk obstruction ordinance
Blocking downtown sidewalks, even with an open car door, can lead to a $100 fine starting this week. "You can't block the sidewalk to the point folks (passing by) are going to have step out into the street. We will cite for those kinds of things," said Capt. Tom Porter of the Juneau Police Department.

FYI
Births; Business Licenses; Courts; Divorces and dissolutions filed; Judgments.

JuneauDigest
Shotgunning clinic scheduled today, Sunday; Waterfront plan meetings to be held next week; Local groups invited to help with tide gauge; Boys & Girls Club to hold fund-raiser.

Parlez-vous franais, japonais, espagnol ou russe?
When Cheri Carson, a Juneau-Douglas High School Japanese teacher, sees her students in the community, they stop and bow correctly - showing the proper respect to a teacher - saying enthusiastically, "Sensei! Konnichiwa!" Often they are big slouchy dudes in baggy jeans and chains, but they straighten up, and use the appropriate formal language for a social superior, as required in Japanese culture.

Riehle, Miller to wed
Joy Lynn Riehle of Newburgh, Ind. and Liam Anthony Miller of Juneau will be married in a ceremony to be held July 19, 2003, in Newburgh, Ind. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony at the American Legion Hall in Newburgh.

Barrick, Shaw to marry
Ivana Barrick of Juneau and Michael Shaw of Friday Harbor, Wash., will be married in a ceremony at 6 p.m. on June 20 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 5 mile Glacier Highway. A reception will immediately follow. Friends and family of the couple are invited to attend.

Chief Kowee Shaman, chief and guide
Chief Kowee, or Cowee of the Auk Tlingits, was the best-known Juneau Tlingit chiefs during the time Juneau was founded. Juneau photographers Winter & Pond took a photo of his house about 1887. Nailed to the clapboard above the door is a 5-foot plaque, painted with his name, spelled Kow-ee. Auks tried more than once to get prospectors interested in this area. In 1879, for example, Auks gave specimens of gold-bearing quartz to officers of the USS Jamestown.

Graduation
Lucy Baumgarnter Looper of Juneau graduated at the 54th Annual Sheridan College Commencement Ceremony on May 17. Looper received an associate of science in general studies with high honors, which required a minimum accumulative grade point average of 3.75.

Around the world in ... port
My friend, Phileas Fogg, asked me to go around the world with him. In 1872, he wagered with a group of friends at the Reform Club in London that he could complete the trip within 80 days. I didn't take him up on his offer, although I did check his book out at the library. I thought I could duplicate his adventures by going down to the Juneau docks, and walking aboard one of the great ships in the harbor, to talk with the crew. Then I would be able to travel around the world as I listened to their stories.

Focus on real transportation issues
Last Sunday, the ever self-possessed John MacKinnon authored a column panning trails and touting highway safety. MacKinnon, the current deputy commissioner of the state Department of Transportation, concluded his little diatribe with comments calculated to be cutting and aimed at trail users. One wonders why Mr. MacKinnon was compelled to author a column reiterating the obvious and needlessly blasting trail use and enjoyment.

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.

Pew oceans report is not gospel
I read with concern Mr. Munro's June 11 letter regarding the Pew Commission's report on the status of America's oceans. Mr. Munro used his perspective to indict both Sen. Stevens and Sen. Murkowski. In addition, Mr. Munro appears to accept the findings of the report as the gospel. The Pew Commission cannot be viewed as an impartial entity. With few exceptions, the Pew Commission has rarely found a fishery it likes. Pew is well established as the primary funding entity for organizations opposed to the commercial fishing industry. Notwithstanding that, the report does identify serious problems in our nation's fisheries, although not in Alaska.

Sports in Juneau
Sports in Juneau is a service provided by the Juneau Empire to provide information on upcoming sports and outdoors events in Juneau.

Photo: Exclusive club
Jake Hakari uses an iron to putt on the eighth hole of the Mendenhall Golf Course during last June's Juneau Junior Golf Club One-Club tourney. This year's event, which raises money for the club, is scheduled for Sunday; participants are allowed to use only one club for all of their shots - from drives to putts. For more information, see Sports in Juneau on page B2.

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

UAF hires Andrew as women's hoops coach
The University of Alaska Fairbanks on Thursday announced the hiring of Lynne Andrew as its new head women's basketball coach. Andrew was one of two finalists for the position, which drew more than 60 applications following the resignation of nine-year coach Jenny Benson in March. She is expected to start her new position on July 7.

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.

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.

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.

This Day in History
In Alaska; In the nation; In the world.

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

Efforts to save salmon must account for human nature
Efforts to save wild salmon have ignored fundamental factors that stand in the way of success, including the rapidly growing population of the Northwest, increasing water demand and the inability of people to limit their consumption, scientists said Thursday. "It is arguable that no solution is possible until we recognize these root problems," said William E. Rees, a professor of ecological economics at the University of British Columbia. "If we don't confront our nature, we will be destined to repeat our history and potentially the next societal collapse will be on a global scale."

Hundreds of high-schoolers fail state exit exam
State academic test scores show hundreds of students failing the high school exit exam and making little or no progress on benchmark tests given in third, sixth and eighth grades. The results of March testing, from the state Department of Education and Early Development, show more than 60 percent of eighth-graders failed the math test. Third-graders' scores hardly moved from spring 2002 exams. Sixth-graders' scores in reading and writing stayed exactly the same, according to statewide summaries released Wednesday.

Another breakdown sidelines state ferry
The state ferry Taku is out of service until further notice after its shaft clutch assembly failed when the ship tried to leave the Auke Bay terminal at 7 a.m. Thursday. No one was hurt and Alaska Marine Highway System engineers are investigating what went wrong, system Capt. Jack Meyers said.

AlaskaDigest
Bridge project garners Young a Golden Fleece; Nobel Prize winner comes to UAA; Grand jury indicts Big Lake pastor; Homer pulls out of intertie plan; Murkowski signs bill for salmon processors.

Murkowski cuts millions
As of September, 18,000 Alaska senior citizens no longer will be able to count on monthly longevity bonus payments from the state. The move will save the state an estimated $45 million and accounts for one-third of the governor's budget cuts. "This program does not achieve, in my opinion, its original purpose of rewarding our pre-statehood pioneers," Gov. Frank Murkowski said Thursday in Anchorage.

At Large: Self-help for those with housework anxiety
Want to know what used to keep me awake Sunday nights? Socks. I'd lie there, breathing, thinking about how the next day when I wanted to put my clogs on and go to work, there would be no clean, matching socks. Feet-sweating, gritty-toe days make me feel out of control, like I'm in one of those dreams where you are driving a bus full of schoolchildren down a winding, mountain highway in South America, and then the steering wheel comes off in your hands.

KTOO and CrossSound hold Juneau's (and perhaps the world's) very first Piano Slam
KTOO-FM Program Director Jeff Brown and CrossSound Artistic Co-Director Stefan Hakenberg have one mandate for the first annual CS/K2 Piano Slam! Anything goes, as long as it doesn't damage Northern Light United Church's grand piano. The Piano Slam, co-sponsored by KTOO and CrossSound, will be held 7 p.m. July 13 at the downtown church. Brown and Hakenberg are looking for musical pieces, performance art, spoken word, magic shows - anything that involves a grand piano.

Movies where and when
"2 Fast 2 Furious," (PG-13) plays at 7 and 9:30 nightly at 20th Century Twin, with afternoon matinees at 2:10 daily.

What's Happening
Friday Concerts in Marine Park with Stroller White Pipes and Drums, Juneau Tlingit Dancers, Jeff Brown's Feets of Prestidigation and emcee Michael Orelove, 7-8:30 p.m. Friday, June 13.

Entertainment Briefs
Chomsky documentary at Nickelodeon; Stroller White, Tlingit Dancers play Concert in the Park; JUMP deadline set for July 1

Attack of the horns
But as soon as Paulick heard symphony Music Director Kyle Wiley Pickett wanted to play five of Williams' scores from the original "Star Wars," he knew he had to do something to strengthen the orchestra's horn section. Paulick, the brass section leader and a symphony member since 1974, went so far as to double the section.

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