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Thursday, June 19, 2003

Early-to-school practice is anti-family, anti-child
Research the studies done by child psychologists, neurophysiologists and the myriad of replicated evidence from Stanford, John Hopkins University, U of M, Columbia University, etc. Early "schooling" introduces many, many documented disturbances in young children being pushed into school settings before they're ready.

Streamlining the public out of the process
I remember the meetings on establishing the Juneau Large Mine Ordinance. It was contentious, argumentative, and long process. The meetings involved many members of the community who spent considerable time on public testimony and discussions. It was also the beginnings of what I see as intolerance of controversial subjects that divide our community.

Forced to choose
Without extended kindergarten, parents who can't afford to pick their children up from school will be forced to pay for RALLY until the regular school buses leave. So we are taking the poorest parents and subjecting them to additional expenses.

Best bus system
Amen to your article about Capital Transit receiving its much-deserved award. A world traveler, in my opinion these drivers are the best. Dennis drives mornings on the Douglas route, Ben and Robert on evenings.

Gas pipeline: To be or not to be?
We have a commission with absolutely no funding. Big deal. We have approved $17 billion in bonding for a gas pipeline. Costs of an all-Alaska pipeline is $12-15 billion, with more than enough left over to build a liquefaction plant or plants and also the big fish (petro-chemical plants for value added industry).

What's wrong with 'under God'?
If Attorney General Gregg Renkes (Empire, June 12) thinks the Ninth Circuit Court's decision was about the whole of the Pledge of Allegiance, as implied by your article, he is wrong.

Mr. Fox in charge
Due to my misreading of the paper and otherwise pure bumbling of the meeting times for what and which parts of the mining ordinance were to be discussed and voted on Monday evening in the CBJ chambers, I managed to miss all but the last 10 seconds of it. But it passed handily anyway with just two no votes.

AmeriCorps in crisis
The AmeriCorps national service program is in crisis. AmeriCorps is the program in which people dedicate a year or more of service in exchange for a modest living stipend and education award. Alaska has more than 250 AmeriCorps members serving in schools, agencies and organizations in rural and urban Alaska communities addressing community needs in the areas of public safety, education, human needs and the environment.

Easy come, easy go
I need to apologize for voting for Carl Brodersen for the Juneau School Board.

The trap not set
We have a bear problem on Montana Creek. A bear killed our dog last week. Hauled her out of the doghouse in an unprovoked attack.

School Board cuts some early buses
Juneau kindergartners will continue to leave school early, but they won't have an early bus to take them home, the School Board decided Tuesday night. Eliminating the early afternoon buses, which about half of the 360 kindergartners take, will save the school district about $143,000, officials estimated. The cut was part of $1.2 million in deductions the School Board passed unanimously but reluctantly to fill a gap in next year's $40.46 million operating budget.

Correction
Due to a reporter's error, Tuesday's Empire article about a city mining ordinance incorrectly described its effect. The ordinance would make rural mines allowable uses.

This Day in History
In 1959, Ernest Williams, a Kake village leader, was the first person arrested in the state's attempt to enforce its new anti-fishtrap law.

Dead whale spotted near Douglas
In the next few days, cruise ship tourists gazing from binoculars might encounter an unusual sight: a 30- to 40-foot gray whale carcass, bloated with gases, floating in the ocean just south of Douglas Island. "I'm sure the Coast Guard is expecting a lot of calls," said Tom Payne of the National Marine Fisheries Service. "It's really smack dab in the traffic lane. It's floating as high as a small boat." The whale is unusual not just because it is dead, but because it is a gray whale, which is very uncommon in inland waters, Payne said.

Photo: Monster art
Ryan Benson, 6, and Alexandra Eason, 7, show off the monster faces they made to Janlaine Dalin during the Fine Arts Camp being held at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School through July 5.

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

July's issue will be the last for Alaskan Southeaster
The July issue of the Alaskan Southeaster magazine will be the publication's last, the Huna Totem Corp. announced Tuesday. The final issue has gone to press and been sent to the airplanes, cruise ships and retail outlets that carry it, as well as to 6,000 home and business subscribers. "It's really a question of economics," said Sam Furuness, acting CEO of Huna Totem, the parent company of Juneau-based McPhee Publications, which publishes Alaskan Southeaster. "We have operated the magazine since April 1998 and it never did achieve a break-even point for the company."

Centennial Hall turns 20
In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William Seward bought Alaska from Russia for $7 million. More than a century later, the city of Juneau spent about the same amount to build Centennial Hall - a conference and civic center that has played a central role in the lives of Juneau residents for the past 20 years. "We paid a little bit more for Centennial Hall" than the United States did for Alaska, said Bill Overstreet, mayor of Juneau at the time of the hall's construction. "I always laughed about that." Centennial Hall celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and hosts special events this weekend, beginning with a community service awards dinner Friday night and ending with the Only Fools Run at Midnight race at 11:59 p.m. Saturday.

Photo: A moment for reflection
A couple watches and listens to the roar of Nugget Falls as it flows into Mendenhall Lake on Tuesday.

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

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

Photo: Committed to the totem
Juneau Rotary Club members pose with the 40-foot Auk Tribe Pole at Centennial Hall on Tuesday. The club has committed $10,000 along with a $5,000 contribution from Dave Haas and Mary Ellen Arvoldt to restore and move the totem to the new high school atrium.

School board's youngest member expected to resign
Juneau School Board member Carl Brodersen, who just graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School, will not remain on the board, district officials said.Brodersen, who was elected in October to a three-year term, will attend Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., said schools Superintendent Peggy Cowan.

Assembly considers changes to election district boundaries
At its Monday night meeting, the Juneau Assembly will consider an ordinance that changes the boundaries of local election districts to balance their populations. City Attorney John Corso told the Assembly four months ago the city is required to make the adjustments. The city also must change how it defines the districts in code, according to City Clerk Laurie Sica. New state and federal standards allow a 10 percent difference between the district populations. Juneau's current election district code allows a 15 percent disparity.

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

This Day in History
In 1914, two battery-powered electric locomotives, weighing 4 1/2 tons each, arrived in Juneau by boat. They were scheduled to be used at the Treadwell and the Alaska-Juneau Mines.

Pets of the week
Kermit is a handsome fellow with bright blue eyes and a fluffy coat in shades of brown and cream. For people who love big dogs but haven't room for them, here's Coco, a compact-size chocolate Lab mix.

Thank you
...for help with the food drive; ...for donations to Scouts; ...for help with Suzanne's visit; ...for help with the plant sale; ...for supporting our children; ...for boys' soccer help; ...for passing bonds

Student Recognition
Vermont law graduates; Tanna Peters honored; Anderson graduates; Badgley on dean's list; Jacoby graduates CalPoly; Unzicker to Monteux; Hickey makes dean's list

Master gardeners sponsor tours
The Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners are sponsoring garden tours on Saturday, June 21, and Sunday, June 22, at more than a dozen locations around Juneau. Tours will be conducted 1-4 p.m. each day. Gardeners will be available at each location to talk to those on the tour. Tickets for the two-day tour will cost $10. The money raised from the tours will be used to sponsor an annual scholarship given to one or more graduating seniors from Southeast high schools who are interested in studies in horticulture, botany or related fields. This year, two scholarships were awarded: one for $1,000 and one for $500.

Neighbors Briefs
Garlic mustard weed pull volunteers needed; Manilla Square dedication; Flag Day results

Simple acts of individuals restore peace
Peace starts with outward compassion. Man may not be at peace with himself, but through helping others around him he will eventually gain the peace that he craves. We, as human beings often overlook the whole of the world and focus in on our own inner need for peace, but what we must realize is that through the act of helping and expressing humanity to others even the most damaged of souls can find relief.

Home care provides a variety of services
Roger and Mary Hurlock were married for 63 years before his death on May 27, 2001. "We renewed our marriage vows five times!" Mary told me. "Have you ever heard of such a thing?" Having spent a little time with Roger's petite and charming bride, it was easy to imagine why Roger would have wanted to keep that knot tied extra-tight. "Even though he's been gone two years, I still find myself thinking, 'Oh! I've got to get home and start Roger's dinner!' I took care of him for so many years..."

Dale S. Thomas
Juneau resident Dale S. Thomas, 74, died June 7, 2003, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Stewart James Wilder
Juneau resident Stewart James Wilder, 63, died on June 16, 2003, at home following a short battle with cancer.

Stewart J. 'Jim' Wilder
Juneau resident Stewart James "Jim" Wilder, 62, died on June 16, 2003, at his home, surrounded by his family following a short battle with cancer.

Mendenhall Golf hosts U.S.-Britain tournament
Mendenhall Golf Course will host the 13th annual U.S.-Great Britain Friendship Handicap Golf Tournament this Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The tournament commemorates the June 19, 1990, visit of former U.S. President Gerald Ford and former British Prime Minister Leonard James Callaghan. The two men made a public appearance at the golf course while on vacation in Juneau.

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

Soccer and surfing
Soccer and surfing may seem like an odd mix, but several dozen Juneau youths will be looking to get their fill of both over the next week. Three Juneau Soccer Club teams are in Hawaii to compete at the U.S. Youth Soccer Far West Regional Championships in Honolulu. It's a trip they earned last August when they won their respective divisions at the State Cup tournament in Fairbanks.

UAF hosts PSU, Morgan State and Army this fall
FAIRBANKS - The University of Alaska Fairbanks Department of Athletics has announced teams to play in the 2003 Mt. McKinley North Star Invitational Basketball Tournament field.

Juneau's Only Fools Run makes a return to the midnight hour
After a move to daylight hours last summer, organizers of the annual Only Fools Run have shifted this year's race back to a time when, well, only fools run. The 19th annual race, back to being called Only Fools Run at Midnight, will begin at Centennial Hall at 11:59 p.m. Saturday. There will be two events - a 5-kilometer run and a 1-mile walk - as well as some awards for those who show up in costume.

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

Alaska Supreme Court hears English-only arguments
ANCHORAGE - Alaska's so-called English-only law is not meant to be a "linguistic straitjacket," but a tool so government will not have to provide services in dozens of languages, Alaska's Supreme Court was told Tuesday. An opposing attorney argued that Ballot Measure 6, passed by voters, would create a straitjacket on speech. Voters passed the ballot initiative in 1998, but it was challenged before it could become law. A Superior Court judge ruled last year that it violates the rights of citizens to receive information and the free speech rights of government employees.

Pushing Alaska salmon as a brand
Beef may be what's for dinner, and eggs may be incredibly edible, but Alaska salmon is wild, sustainable and chock full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. That's the message the state wants to send to consumers as it makes plans for a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign aimed at moving out the glut of canned salmon and building the Alaska salmon brand name. The campaign is part of the $50 million salmon industry revitalization strategy Gov. Frank Murkowski announced in April. It's still unclear how much of the money will go toward advertising, but Margy Johnson, director of international trade and market development at the state Department of Community and Economic Development, said it could be about $18 million.

New law could let hunters shoot wolves from airplanes
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Frank Murkowski signed a bill Wednesday that could let private hunters shoot wolves from airplanes. Senate Bill 155 allows private citizens to participate in aerial and so-called land-and-shoot hunting in approved state predator-control programs. It also makes it easier for the Alaska Board of Game to implement such efforts. Murkowski earlier had objected out of concerns the bill cuts the administration out of predator control decisions. But he changed his mind.

Murkowski signs lobbying bill despite 'reservations'
A bill relaxing the state's lobbying laws by lengthening the amount of time some people could spend attempting to influence government before they must register as lobbyists was signed into law Wednesday. Gov. Frank Murkowski signed Senate Bill 89 despite reservations and said he would ask the Legislature to change the measure next year. The bill changes the rule requiring people to register as lobbyists if they spend more than four hours in a 30-day period attempting to influence government. The new law would lengthen that time to 40 hours in a 30-day period and could exempt nearly a third of the state's registered lobbyists.

Villages upset over Murkowski's veto
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Frank Murkowski's veto of money for village public safety officers in more than a dozen villages will leave them with higher crime rates, some residents said. Rural residents in Southeast, Kodiak and Southcentral Alaska are affected by the veto, which will save the state nearly $1 million a year. Murkowski said Alaska State Troopers will provide the first response in 15 targeted villages.

Petition drive challenges new campaign finance law
A petition drive is being organized to reverse legislative action increasing the amount of money individual donors can give to political campaigns. Gov. Frank Murkowski this week signed into law Senate Bill 119, which doubles the amount of money candidates and campaigns can raise from individual donors. The law also makes several changes to the Alaska Public Offices Commission, the state agency that oversees campaign contributions, including encouraging electronic filing of campaign reports.

State Briefs
Woman with SARS-like symptoms released; Governor directs DMV to leave offices open; Protected caribou cows, calves released to herd; Finances for Stevens, Young change little

Taku will be out of service for weekend
The state ferry Taku won't sail again until Monday, as maintenance workers repair recently discovered damage from a mechanical problem that occurred this week. The Taku was in Chatham Strait en route to Sitka on Monday carrying 79 passengers and 10 vehicles when the crew found that a bearing in its drive mechanism had overheated. The drive mechanism transmits the diesel engine's power to the propeller.

Law signed legalizing roadside memorials
The first time Barbara Dowdy was able to drive the road where her 17-year-old daughter was killed by a drunken driver was the day the family put up a cross there in her memory. "Every year on her birthday and on the date of the accident, we always make sure we stop by and visit and we always see some of Heather's friends there," Dowdy said. Heather Dowdy died Sept. 30, 2000, on the Old Steese Highway north of Fairbanks. The family was dismayed to learn a year later that the state Department of Transportation might make them take down the cross because it violated a state law.

State Briefs
Man, 89, assaulted by robber with pellet gun; Kenai's former Kmart goes Home Depot; Flags at half-staff for former Rep. Borer; Homer trail accidentally vetoed by governor; Leman names faith-based services panel

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