Monday, June 16, 2003

Eight new large-print titles available at public library
Don't want to wear your reading glasses on the treadmill? Finding the fine print a bit too fine? Don't despair, new Large Print titles are here.

Governor signs pipeline bill
FAIRBANKS - A bill to help finance a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope was signed last week by Gov. Frank Murkowski. House Bill 267, sponsored by House Oil And Gas Committee chairman Vic Kohring, a Wasilla Republican, authorizes the Alaska Railroad Corp. to issue up to $17 billion in tax-exempt bonds for private owners of the project. Murkowski signed the legislation on Wednesday.

Raney joins Juneau firm as accountant
Diane Raney has joined the Juneau firm of Elgee, Rehfeld, Mertz and Barrett as a staff accountant.

Business profile : Kerry Kirkpatrick
Title and company: Owner, Alaska Boat and Kayak

Mixed-up governor
Gov. Murkowski is betraying the public trust. His determination to close all but a few Department of Motor Vehicle offices throughout Alaska for the sake of saving money is nothing short of incompetent.

Stop whole-log exports
When the Forest Service decided to exempt the Tongass from the roadless policy, Undersecretary Mark Rey said it was to support Southeast Alaska mills like Gateway Forest Products. I worked at the pulp mill and Gateway for 13 years, and Mr. Rey needs to know that Gateway Forest Products hasn't been in operation since November 2001.

Flawed forest policy
Given its history, the Forest Service's willingness to pander to the needs of the timber industry should come as no surprise.

The president in waiting
In the upcoming 12 months, the name of Howard Dean will come to the forefront of our national political theater. Howard Dean is a Democrat running for president and is the former six-term governor of Vermont. Now why should you care about some no-namer from some small New England state?

Change, politics, crusades
Cotter's My Turn, "Pew oceans report is not gospel," in Friday's paper, written in response to my recent letter on the Pew Charitable Trust's oceans' condition report, expends a reasonable amount of energy in recounting his involvement in Alaska's industrial fisheries management, and in lauding the rightness of U.S. Sen. Stevens and Murkowski.

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

Research is mixed on the spreading phenomenon of full-day kindergarten
The research is mixed on the benefits of full-day kindergarten, and it's not necessarily applicable to Juneau, teachers and school district officials say. Researchers nationwide have compared half-day kindergarten programs to full-day programs. Juneau already offers more than a half-day of kindergarten, and it's not clear whether researchers would classify Juneau's 4 1/2-hour class time, plus a half-hour lunch, as a full day.

Skull not best company for stranded duo
Cold, wet and waiting to be rescued from a tiny deserted island in Southeast Alaska, Kathleen Hargraves showed her husband, Jerry Fields, a moss-covered human skull lying half-exposed on the muddy ground near the couple's tent. Fields looked at the banana slug making its way back home by way of an empty eye socket and thought to himself, "This doesn't look good."

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

A feel for where the fish are
Toni Wisner's boat is full of equipment to help her find fish for her charter boat customers: a global positioning system, radar, a video depth-sounder, two VHF radios and a CB radio. But sometimes, she said, the surest way for her to find fish is to use her female intuition. "When I first came up here, in Glacier Bay, I hit some incredible spots that nobody had experimented with," Wisner said, standing on the boat she has captained in Alaska and Washington since 1996. "Sometimes you just have feelings about certain places.

Workshops will focus on community reaction
Miami-based consultant Scott Lagueux will return to Juneau on Wednesday with the latest draft of a 20-year plan for Juneau's waterfront. "This is a very community-driven plan, and the results we've gotten reflect the central direction the community wants to go," said Lagueux of the consulting firm Bermello, Ajamil & Partners. "What I want is for the community to react."

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

A tearful welcome home for a Marine
The Marine stepped off the plane in delicate suede high-heeled mules and a gray-blue linen dress that was only slightly rumpled. Just a month ago, Lt. Col. Valerie Thomas, 44, had been eating beans out of a pouch, fighting off malaria-ridden mosquitos, and wriggling along the ground through blinding sandstorms to find her tent. But on Friday afternoon at Juneau Airport, she was wrapped tightly in the arms of her husband, Steve, and surrounded by a dozen friends and colleagues who had come to the airport bearing signs and flags.

This Day in History
In 1979, the trans-Alaska pipeline sprung a leak 65 miles north of the Valdez Terminal. About 300 barrels of oil sprayed from a 3-inch hairline crack.

Photo: Father's Day putt
Morgan Brimstein, 9, attempts a putt as her father watches Saturday at the Nugget Mall, the site of the annual Father's Day indoor golf tournament.

Photo: Goodbye to the Alaska Clipper
Joan Osborn waves to passengers aboard the Alaska Clipper - a Sikorsky S-42 - at the dock in Auke Bay in 1939.

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

Couple opens a bigger Hot Bite
Lynette Anderson and her longtime partner, Mitch Falk, were content to let The Hot Bite, the Auke Bay hamburger stand they bought last July, run as it had for the rest of the summer. This year, though, they're opening a year-round restaurant in a new location with the old Hot Bite favorites and some additions. The couple hoped to open the restaurant Sunday. "We'll have fresh, local deep-fried halibut and french fries," Anderson said.

Bus system gets national award
Innovation, safety and accessibility helped Juneau's Capital Transit win a national award as the 2003 Community Transportation System of the Year. The Community Transportation Association of America recognized Capital Transit at its meeting in Philadelphia last month as the best small transportation program in the nation. It's the teamwork of managers, drivers and maintenance staff that makes the system work, said trainer/lead driver Marlene Love.

Full-day kindergarten alarms some parents
When kindergartner Ryan Benson came home after school, he was too tired to stay awake, says his mom, Kymm Benson. Benson, other parents and many elementary teachers are concerned about a Juneau School District proposal to offer a longer kindergarten day next year. Critics say a full-day program will tire out the children. And teachers won't offer the popular mixed classes of kindergartners and first-graders if they have kindergartners all day, parents fear.

Cuts take half a million from Juneau
Maintenance and repairs to city buildings will be reduced as a result of Gov. Frank Murkowski's budget cuts, which eliminated more than $500,000 that had been earmarked for Juneau. Murkowski cut $138 million from the budget, including $22 million in municipal revenue sharing and Safe Communities, a program that provides money for emergency departments, and $15 million in community matching grants for public-works projects. The municipal funding cuts were announced early last week and details were included in budget documents released when all the vetoes were announced Thursday.

Julia Xia
Juneau resident Julia Xia (Feng Zhu), 51, died unexpectedly June 12, 2003, at her home.

Sarah Grace Kack-Swanker
Juneau resident Sarah Grace Kack-Swanker, 96, died June 10, 2003, in her sleep.

Scared to death
The noise was indistinct. I awakened in response - to what? Nothing as recognizable as a clap of thunder, a ringing phone or a crying child. It was 3 or 4 a.m. on a Sunday in 1976, if memory serves. What is certain is within seconds, I experienced fright unparalleled to that point in my 28 years.

Empire editorial: 'State of Denial'
The Sacramento Bee has published another brilliant report authored by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Tom Knudson. Knudson spent a year traveling thousands of miles researching background for "State of Denial." The report explores the global environmental impact of California as a consumer state.

What do you think?
I believe Sammy when he says it was only his practice bat and a mistake.

Toe Cartoon

Ten cents on the dollar
"How much do I owe you, John, for this fine haircut?" the young soldier asked. "Ten cents for the haircut and 90 cents tax," was my dad's reply. Little did people of that time realize what a prophetic statement was made by my father's amusing reply.

Big Fish Photos

Park in the making
The city of Juneau and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are teaming up with Trail Mix to build a small park and trail system in the Lemon Creek wetlands. The park, known as the JPD Wetlands Enhancement Project, is being built behind the Juneau Police Department headquarters and will be used as an educational area for schoolchildren, a recreation area for the neighborhood and a place to relax for police officers.

Fish report
Juneau-area anglers experienced average king salmon fishing in the most recent survey period, with a majority of the kings harvested from the Auke Bay and Fritz Cove area and around Point Bishop. King salmon were also taken from the Breadline and Lizardhead.

Snipe: quiet and secretive except when courting
Yes, Virginia, there really is such a bird. In addition to the time-honored initiation rite of sending an unsuspecting innocent out into the night with a gunny sack to catch snipe, there is a migratory game bird known as the Wilson's snipe, Gallinago delicata. It is a short-legged, stocky bird with an extremely long, straight bill, conspicuous striping on the head and back, in variegated tones ranging from buff and dark brown to rust on the tail. It is about 9 to 10 inches in body length.

Catching the giants of the sea bottom
Just about this time each year Pacific halibut start to arrive in our near-shore waters. An ominous bottom dweller known to exceed 400 pounds in weight, Pacific halibut are the largest flatfish in the world. Female halibut grow much larger than males, and the world's record on sport gear stands at 459 pounds for an 8 1/2-foot lady barn-door landed near Unalaska in 1996.

Out and About
June 15: Juneau Alpine Club Mendenhall Glacier Walk. Bring ice ax, crampons and harness. Details: Tim Arness, 209-2589. June 18: Parks and Rec Wednesday hike. For age 18 and older, no dogs or firearms. Details: 586-0428.

Photos: Juneau Special Olympians

Corrected Hershey's Track and Field Results
Here are corrected age 11-12 boys softball throw results from the Hershey's Track and Field Meet, held on Sunday, May 18, at the Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park track.

Loose laces and devil's club
As they meandered their way through the Windfall Lake Trail Challenge Run on Saturday, local runners had to contend with a half-dozen piles of bear scat, slick side-by-side "corduroy" logs, river washouts and huge stands of devil's club. But in the end, the 14-mile race through the woods was decided by an untied shoelace.

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

Senator seeks aid for Bush teachers
FAIRBANKS - Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski wants millions of dollars in federal money to encourage teachers to take jobs in Alaska's Bush communities. Murkowski says that half the teachers offered village jobs in Alaska turn down the positions because good housing isn't available. She introduced legislation last week that would authorize spending up to $50 million a year to build or renovate teacher homes in Native American communities in seven states.

State Briefs
Gas station to open soon; Fishermen rescued by cruise ship; Man fined for bear hunting violations; Governor signs crime bills;

Governor signs bills limiting environmental, other lawsuits
Gov. Frank Murkowski signed a bill Friday intended to end a lawsuit over oil drilling in Cook Inlet and prevent such lawsuits in the future. He also signed legislation that could make it more expensive for citizens to challenge the government in cases ranging from public records requests to enforcement of zoning rules.

Seward physician recounts ordeal on the Koyukuk
ANCHORAGE - Rounding a bend on the river, Blake Stanfield saw a solid sheet of ice ahead. There was no way to turn the cataraft around in the rushing current that thrust the Seward doctor and his father toward the 2-foot-high white wall. The right pontoon slammed against the ice, flipping the raft upside down and under the slab.

Girl dies from dose of bad drug
ANCHORAGE - A 16-year-old Eagle River girl died after taking an illegal drug that wasn't made properly, according to Anchorage police.

State Briefs
Pastor pleads innocent in fatal shootings; Anchorage Assembly to consider stricter signs; Skagway railroad sets passenger record; Group warns against tribes doing work in national parks, refuges

Fond childhood memories of boats inspires woodworker to build one
KETCHIKAN - Bagpipes, blessings and a small crowd of local folks came out to Ward Lake recently for the launching of the new rowboat "Shooting Star." Handcrafted by local woodworker Beth Antonsen, the blue and gold flat-bottom rowing skiff was carried ceremoniously to the water's edge accompanied by the bagpiping of Ken McRae. After a blessing by the Rev. Stan Berntson, the craft was launched and spent the afternoon cruising about the wind-riffled lake.

Alaska troops deploy in war against terror
ANCHORAGE - Crews from the 210th Rescue Squadron and support teams from the Air National Guard's 176th Wing are leaving Alaska to serve in the war against terrorism. About 100 members of the wing specializing in combat search-and-rescue missions to recover downed pilots started deploying Sunday to an undisclosed location. The deployment will occur in waves, culminating Tuesday.

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