Tuesday, June 17, 2003

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

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.

Bristol Bay Native group endorses oil development
ANCHORAGE - In a dramatic turnabout, a powerful group of Bristol Bay Natives has endorsed the idea of oil development in the region, even offshore. "There is widespread to almost unanimous support for onshore, and mixed support for offshore drilling," Paul Roehl, vice president of land and development for Bristol Bay Native Corp., told Petroleum News.

'What's Wrong with This Picture?' Award
Why on earth would Gov. Murkowski give his Exporter of the Year award to Sealaska Timber Corp.? Sealaska Timber Corp.'s business is exporting round logs, which is basically exporting jobs, and it's not like we have too many jobs in southeast Alaska.

Southeast needs ferries
According to the very last paragraph of Mr. Barton's "Growth and Transport Investment" My Turn last week, Alaska's Marine Highway System (AMHS) is receiving increased attention. I would like to know exactly how it is receiving that attention.

Real life Grinch
Hear now the story of a Robin Hood in reverse, a mean-spirited old Grinch who takes from the old and the poor to give to the rich. Sadly, this tale is all too true.

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?

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.

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

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.

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

Assembly OKs less stringent mining limits
A mining ordinance passed Monday night in the Juneau Assembly could speed development of Coeur Alaska's Kensington Mine Project by six months, according to a company vice president. Coeur Alaska Vice President Rick Richens said construction could begin on the gold mine, which would be built about 45 miles north of downtown Juneau, in the fall of 2004.

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.

Small explosion, fire rock 30-foot tour boat at dock
A small explosion and fire hit a whale-watching boat after it fueled up at the Andrew's Marina dock in Auke Bay on Sunday afternoon. A captain and a deckhand were aboard at the time, but neither suffered serious injuries. Dock attendant Kyle Patten said a flaming panel blew onto the dock, where he extinguished it. "The hatches and everything blew up in the air," he said.

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.

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.

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.

This Day in History
In 1964, a dead whale was found near Sitka carrying a Russian-made radio-harpoon. A spokesman for the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries said there was no cause for alarm, as the device was undoubtedly a new type of gear used by the Russian whaling fleet.

Rainbow's big move: More space for sprouts
Most days, getting lunch at Rainbow Foods, Juneau's only grocery store devoted to natural foods, features customers competing for space in the food bar line. "It gets pretty crowded there right around lunch time," said the store's owner, David Ottoson. Starting in July, though, Rainbow Foods customers will have plenty of room to pile their lunch plates with spinach, tofu, grains and vegetables. They'll also have more room to eat the lunches, and they'll be able to buy the prepared food throughout the day.

Photo: Hatchery catch at Fish Creek
Bill Razpotnik shows off the king salmon he caught to fishing partner Gary Isturis Monday afternoon at the Fish Creek Pond. The returning salmon are part of DIPAC's hatchery project at the creek. michael penn / juneau empire

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

Joan Osborn Potolicchio
Former Juneau resident Joan Osborn Potolicchio, 70, died June 8, 2003, of cancer in Pasco, Wash.

Kohan, Boyce find a home on the water
When Ellie Boyce of Haines and Michael Kohan of Juneau went to college, neither young women had ever been in a rowing shell before. Earlier this month, both were rowing in the NCAA women's national championships in Indianapolis, and both women said rowing has become a major part of their college identities. Boyce, a senior geology major at Colby College of Waterville, Maine, was in the bow seat of her school's varsity eight boat as the Mules won the NCAA Division III national title on June 1, for her school's first national championship.

Photo: Juneau athlete
Jim Mercuhet of Juneau jumps during the standing broad jump event at the 2003 Special Olympics Alaska summer games Sunday in Anchorage.

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

Photos: Juneau Special Olympians

Janowiec, Neussl make college selections
Recent Juneau-Douglas High School graduate Callan Janowiec didn't have many scholarship offers in April when she won the Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year Award for leading the Crimson Bears volleyball team to an undefeated season and a state title this past fall. She was hoping to find a spot on a college team in the Northeast region of the country, but had no real scholarship offers.

Native leader Mallott recovering from surgery
Native leader Byron Mallott, who suffered a brain hemorrhage in January while traveling in New Zealand, is back to work and recovering well, he said. Mallott, 60, returned to his post at First Alaskans Institute earlier this month and said he expects to be fully recovered in about five months. "I'm feeling like I am on the road back to being normal," Mallott said. "I will be getting back to work slowly."

Educators ponder low math test scores: Is state test too hard?
ANCHORAGE - Low scores by eighth graders taking the statewide benchmark exam may mean the test is too hard, according to education officials. In the four years the test has been given, the drop of eighth-grade math scores does not fit with scores on other grade levels' exams, educators said. For instance, 65 percent of sixth-graders passed math, according to test results from March 2003 released last week. However, fewer than 40 percent of eighth-grade students passed.

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

Governor signs 20 bills into law, from campaign rules to rental car tax
JUNEAU - Gov. Frank Murkowski Monday signed 20 bills, ranging from a vehicle rental tax to campaign finance changes to parental reimbursement for vandalism by children.

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.

Alaskans propose permanent fund to help Iraqis
ANCHORAGE - Iraq could benefit from a savings account based on the Alaska Permanent Fund, according to a state financier whose idea is getting attention at the nation's highest levels. Longtime money manager Dave Rose suggested the idea of a permanent fund modeled after Alaska's, which contains $25 billion, to Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska. After asking Rose to develop the idea, Stevens pitched it to President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

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.

Taku returns to port for more repairs
The state ferry Taku is back in Auke Bay for repairs after a bearing in its drive mechanism overheated three hours out of port, interrupting the travel of 79 passengers. The ferry was in Chatham Strait, en route to Sitka, when the problem was spotted Monday, said Alaska Marine Highway Operations Manager Capt. Jack Meyers.

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.

State Briefs
Young's bill to expand Native health care; Interior firefighters corral three wildfires; Tribal leaders aim to increase Indian vote;

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