Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Alaska left out of Canada gas agreement
FAIRBANKS - Alaska has been left out of an agreement between Canada's natural gas producers, Native groups and a major pipeline company to tap gas reserves in Arctic Canada just east of the Alaska border. The line they hope to build is too small to take Alaska gas.

For a limit
Here's one person that is in favor of "reasonable" limits on frequency of letters to the editor.

Letters disgust, enlighten
Your letters policy as it stands now seems to be working just fine. I usually do not agree with many of the comments made in the letters to the editor, but I love to read them. I read them nearly every day.

Use it or lose it
Empire Publisher Don Smith's editorial in Sunday's paper introduced the paper's Citizens Advisory Board members by name. In one way or another we all know these folks and perhaps even how they might think.

Get informed
A cheerleader's job, so to speak, is to support the home team. They don't pick the coach, the team, the plays or opponents. Their only function is to shout "Hurray for our side."

Cuts have been fair
Blame Murkowski First. Is this the motto of the Downtown Liberals club? Every time I look in the Empire, there's another letter, comment or My Turn by someone whose only goal is blame Frank Murkowski for all of the state's problems.

Living with the outcome
Limiting the number of times any individual can have a letter to the editor published is a tough decision. On the one hand sits freedom of speech and balanced reporting; on the other sits abuse of both. The Empire should certainly continue to provide us all with a forum to express our views and opinions.

Pay now or later
My congratulations to Valerie Kelly for years of professional services in the mental health field and for her contribution to Tongass Community Counseling Center.

Cuts of shame
I am appalled and very saddened to read of the Legislature's decision to drastically reduce funding to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence for treatment assessment of alcohol-related offenders, prevention grants, and the Alcohol Safety Action Program in Juneau schools.

Rural schools look to online courses
Alaska educators hope new online courses will help students, especially in small rural schools, meet state standards and be prepared for college. The courses also will help schools obey new federal requirements to use highly qualified teachers. Alaska Online, a consortium of nine school districts, has been offering a pilot program of 21 courses for high school students for a year and will start officially this fall. The Juneau School District is not participating.

City changes election districts
The Juneau Assembly approved an ordinance Monday night redrawing two city election districts before the next time voters head to the polls. Outgoing City Attorney John Corso told the Assembly four months ago the city is required to make adjustments to the districts to reflect a change in Juneau's population distribution shown in the 2000 census. The population of Assembly District 1, which includes downtown Juneau and Douglas, is 13,484 people, according to state records.

Photo: Bustling downtown, 1919
This photograph was taken in 1919 and made into a postcard, showing what is now Franklin Street in downtown Juneau. During this time, speak-easies and cigar stores lined Lower Front Street, now South Franklin.

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

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

Downtown tourism business spotty this season
Lots of tourists step into Cha For the Finest on South Franklin Street to browse, but few are buying Cha's ivory, bone and glass creations. "The first part of the season was OK, and then (business) slacked off," Cha said. The Juneau artist attributed the slow sales to a run of bad tourism years pockmarked by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and general economic malaise.

Parking areas to be used as loading zones
The Juneau Assembly passed an ordinance Monday that will change certain parking areas into loading zones for part of the day. The measurer is an effort to relieve congestion downtown. The spaces on the water side of South Franklin and Front streets will be reserved for loading from 6 to 11 a.m., with the exception of two 15-minute parking spaces in front of the Heritage Building. After 11 a.m., the loading zones turn into parking for the general public.

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

This Day in History
In 1921, the Douglas Island News published its final issue, then moved to Juneau as Stroller's Weekly.

Photo: Going up
Frank Huley helps with a tent pole at Dimond Park on Tuesday as the big tent was set up for this weekend's 14th Annual Gold Rush Days.

Deckover project nears completion
The city's Marine Park deckover project is a little more than a week away from completion. A bus parking lot is being built over the water between the cruise ship dock and the area where the buses now load, giving cruise-ship passengers a straight path off their boats.

Photo: Along for the ride
Sonja Campos pulls a wagon with her daughter, Madison, 3, left, and Darian Perov, 6, alongGlacier Highway during an outing on Monday.

Photo: City bird
A raven calls out from the downtown library parking garage Monday.

This Day in History
In 1969, Sen. Frank E. Moss (D-Utah) told a conference that Alaska, with about 40 percent of the fresh water in the U.S., should evaluate the "possibility of massive water transfers within about five years."

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

Brodersen says his short term on board was worth it
A June high school graduate who is resigning one year into his three-year term on the Juneau School Board said it is still worthwhile for voters to elect students to the board. "It is definitely a concern," said Carl Brodersen, who will attend Whitman College in Washington state this fall. "What you have is people finally getting into the swing of it and leaving just as they learn to swing. But it is important to have multiple ages (on the board), and the number of high school students running is rare, so you don't have to be overly concerned about it."

Cloudy water not a health concern
Fizzy, milky-white water pouring from Juneau faucets over the last week may not be appetizing, but it's not a health concern, according to Grant Ritter, Juneau's water utility superintendent. "There's air in the water. It's just a visual effect that's not pleasing because everybody likes to see nice clear water," Ritter said. "We maintain our testing schedule and the water has always been bacterially sound." Ritter said several hundred people have called to report the cloudy water, which is the color of skim milk, and hisses in a glass. The water clears a few minutes after it is drawn from the tap.

Photo: Manilla Square dedication
Bonn R. Trinidad waves to the crowd after the unveiling of a bust of Philippines national hero Dr. Jose Rizal during Saturday's Manilla Square dedication ceremony. Trinidad was one of the proponents for naming the downtown square.

Neighbors Briefs
Lighthouse fund-raiser; Gold Rush Days needs participants, vendors; Marriage vow renewal; Council seeks artists, art for JAHC Gallery; July 4 birthday party features Mr. McFeely; Cranes as peace symbols; Girl Scouts resident camp; Southeast Youth Camp

Pets of the week
Misty is a playful, affectionate family dog who loves to cuddle, play ball and run on trails. She is a young adult German shepherd mix with lots of energy. Salia (rhymes with Maria) belonged to a woman who went to live at Fireweed Court. Now this quiet, sweet kitty needs a new home.

JDHS students fare well at debate tourney
The Juneau-Douglas High School debate and forensics team competed in the state tournament this spring at the University of Alaska Anchorage. In policy debate, seniors Lauren Brooks and Christa Fagnant won fourth-place medals. In Humorous Interpretation of Literature, Fagnant won the second-place silver medal. Christie Eriksen was a finalist in Original Oration and she was selected to give her speech at the final event, the Command Performance, at which exemplary pieces were performed in front of all contestants.

Teen cancer survivors share experience
Cancer strikes 11,000 American children a year. Andrea Sharp, 16, and Michelle Palmer, 18, both of Juneau, are sharing their experiences with cancer with more than 70 girls attending day camp this week, a camp sponsored by the Tongass Alaska Girl Scout Council.

Thank you
...for support of the 2003 Law Enforcement Torch Run; ...from the family of Richard G. Dalton Sr. for being with us; ...for helping the Glory Hole; ...for continued support;

Richard Penrod
Former Juneau resident Richard Jack Penrod, 74, of Anacortes, Wash., died June 19, 2003, at his home.

William Potter
Former Juneau resident William "Bill" Potter, 65, of Davidson, N.C., died June 16, 2003, at his home.

George Gullufsen
Former Juneau resident George "Gully" Gullufsen, 83, died June 11, 2003, in Temecula, Calif.

Juneau girls make history in Honolulu
Before they left for Hawaii to play in this week's U.S. Youth Soccer regional tourney, members of the Juneau Xtratuffs U-13 girls team joked about how they would explain their boot-inspired name to Outside opponents. On Tuesday, there were no boots required. The team simply played "xtra tuff" on the field and walked off with a 3-0 win over FC Marauders 89 of Washington - the first-ever victory for a Juneau team at the Far West Regional Championships. Margaret Sekona scored twice and Isabel Waldman knocked in one goal for the Juneau girls.

Soccer squads falter in Hawaii
On paper, the three Juneau Soccer Club teams playing at a tournament in Hawaii this week knew their opening opponents were powerful squads. Now they know it firsthand. All three Juneau teams were shut out on Monday as they opened play in the U.S. Youth Soccer Association Far West Regional Championships in Honolulu. The Juneau Jaguars U-14 boys team lost to Southern California United, 8-0; the Juneau Riptide U-13 boys squad fell to the Classic Cougars of New Mexico, 6-0; and the Juneau Xtratuffs U-13 girls team lost to Surf White of Southern California, 4-0.

Steadying force
The new coach of the Cavaliers looks you right in the eye. He listens to your questions. He is a huge man, at 6-foot-7 and at least 250 pounds, who doesn't seem very comfortable sitting behind a desk. He's a pure basketball coach. He is not about clothing contracts or radio shows. He's not interested in dressing for success. On this warm Tuesday afternoon, he wears an informal coaching shirt with a collar, a pair of shorts and sandals.

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

Local Sports Briefs
Rainball announces MVPs and all-tourney teams for 2003; 19th annual Only Fool's Run at Midnight raises $5,200 for SAIL; Yukon River Quest begins today

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

Only Fools Run at Midnight results
Results of the 19th annual Only Fools Run at Midnight, organized by Southeast Alaska Road Runners and held late Saturday night. There were two events - a 5-kilometer run and a 1-mile walk. Race officials reported that due to problems with the timing system, there may be some mistakes.

Heat sensors offer scientists new way to count walrus
ANCHORAGE - The hot bodies of Pacific walruses snoozing on sea ice may offer federal scientists the first reliable way to count the marine mammals throughout their vast Bering Sea range. For the second spring in a row, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and technicians have tested a heat-sensing scanner mounted in the belly of an airplane to find walrus groups scattered amid broken ice floes.

Alaska could lose 116 volunteers
The AmeriCorps programs announced cuts last week that could eliminate all 116 AmeriCorps volunteer positions in Alaska next year, leaving four nonprofit programs in the state that use volunteers searching for ways to continue their services. "It's just hugely disappointing that this is the way it's gone," said Joe Parrish, executive director of the Southeast Alaska Guidance Association (SAGA). The Juneau-based organization he runs could lose funding for 58 AmeriCorps volunteers - teenagers and young adults from Alaska or Outside who spend three, six or 12 months in Alaska serving the state's needy communities.

$25 million cleanup may end by winter
FAIRBANKS - A scrap yard identified nearly 15 years ago as a contaminated site and environmental hazard is nearly cleaned up, according to regulatory agencies. At the end of the project, the Department of Defense will have spent about $25 million cleaning up the Arctic Surplus scrap yard, a 24-acre site off the Richardson Highway about five miles southeast of Fairbanks.

Kotzebue threatens to shut down jail for region
ANCHORAGE - The city of Kotzebue says state budget cuts are forcing it to close the only jail in far northwest Alaska on July 1. Department of Corrections officials say Kotzebue is getting enough money to operate the facility. Caught in between are the Alaska State Troopers, who are scrambling to find a place to lock up prisoners temporarily and to find money for a transportation budget expected to double or triple as they fly more prisoners to Nome.

State Briefs
Injured eagle still in serious condition; USDA donates 130 tons of salmon to Cambodia; Dalton Highway reopens after fire moves; Quake rocks ocean south of Aleutians; Unidentified man found dead in Fairbanks; Troopers investigate fire at Palmer school

Legislators will hit the road
ANCHORAGE - A pair of legislative committees will travel across the state to talk to Alaskans about how to pay for state government and other fiscal matters. Members of the House Special Committee on Ways and Means, which authored the state sales tax plan that died in the House last session, plan to visit about 20 Alaska communities.

State Briefs
City chooses primrose as its official flower; Earthquake rocks ocean floor south of Aleutians; North Pole man charged with murder; Governor proclaims Wild Salmon Week; Wildfire spreading

Voters may get to decide taxes, cruise-ship fees
Alaska voters going to the polls in 2004 may get their say on taxes, bear baiting, cruise-ship fees, the draft and decriminalizing marijuana. But they won't get to vote on seceding from the United States. The lieutenant governor's office turned down that proposal last week. Lt. Gov. Loren Leman has certified two other proposals - one to ban bear baiting and one to set up a task force to study exempting Alaska from the draft - but has yet to decide on three other initiative applications filed this year.

Official says salmon plan 'on track'
WASHINGTON - Despite a judge's ruling striking down a salmon recovery plan, a top federal official said Tuesday that government efforts to recover threatened Pacific Northwest salmon are "largely on track." Robert Lohn, regional administrator of NOAA Fisheries, said a 10-year plan adopted in late 2000 is adequate to restore threatened salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest.

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