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Sunday, June 29, 2003

Library offers DVDs for all ages
N ew DVDs are in and flying off the shelves. To see all the other new titles that didn't fit in this column, go to the library home page at www.juneau.org/library, select "catalog" and look for the big "NEW" on the navigation bar. One can peruse the newest DVDs, videos, books, Alaskana, and large print titles.

OK to toss some letters
Letters to the editor are simply an opportunity for citizens to express their opinion in a public forum. Since it is the responsibility of the editor to determine what opinions are expressed in a private enterprise newspaper, I believe the editor should determine if what one person has to say is worthy of frequent publication, or dropped as simply an irrelevant cry in the wilderness.

Life is hard, do your job
This column-article-editorial from last week has been bothering me enough that I finally decided to write you about it. For your poll, if it's still running, let's not! Put it to a vote I mean. Your job is, as I understand it, to edit local letters commenting on various things. You are an editor, it's your job. Why are you asking us what we think should be edited on this page?

Reasonable limits
I, too, am in favor of putting reasonable limits on the frequency of authors writing to the editor. Both Chris' and Max's letters have already expressed much of my opinion on the issue, so I won't have to say too much.

Overwhelming support
The Glacier Valley Rotary Club would like to thank the community of Juneau for its overwhelming support of the 12th Annual Pillars of America Freedom Series. This year's series featured speakers Brian Udell, Jerry Traylor and Diana Nyad; all of them gave unforgettable stories of courage, inspiration and perseverance.

Valuable program
I am Airman First Class James Spreter of the currently deployed 4th (EASOG). We are aligned with the Fifth Corps out of Germany. Our job is to control air strikes on targets far ahead of our good guys before harm can be brought against our brothers in arms. We also delegate the aircraft to the correct agencies to make sure that our brothers, once again, are as far from harm as we can help keep them.

A humble thank you
As ardent students of Alaska and American culture, we enjoy penning occasional thoughts to help keep the discussion lively, balanced and above-the-table, to perhaps give those who agree with us hope and those who disagree something to think about, and to honor our civic duties and help keep the Empire in the black.

Blending Native lore, Western science
On a recent rainy morning, Kymberly Hoyle sands a miniature Tlingit paddle as Alisa St. Clair draws a traditional design of a beaver on tracing paper. Inside the Methodist camp lodge near Eagle River, other students in Camp W.A.T.E.R. carve Native designs in cedar shingles, weigh hemlock bark for an experiment, and brew Labrador tea leaves for a taste test, among other activities. The free camp, run with a $100,000 federal grant by the Juneau School District and the Tlingit-Haida Community Council with the help of other organizations, attracted 40 students who have completed the sixth, seventh or eighth grades.

Gold Rush Days draws Juneau out
"Go baby, go baby, go!" yelled an onlooker during the men's team drilling competition at the 14th Annual Gold Rush Days celebration Saturday at Dimond Park. Despite the chill in the air and morning drizzle, the crowd was gung-ho in its support of the competitors. Gold Rush Day attendees could fill up on corn, fry bread, Polish sausages or a turkey leg or two. They also could peruse the large tent for booths with information on minerals or for free spinal screenings. Playing checkers in the mud with slabs of painted black and red logs or panning for gold engaged the kids.

Gillnet season opens strong in Southeast, slow in Lynn Canal
Discouraged by the poor sockeye harvest in Lynn Canal during the last half of the month, some gillnet fishermen in northern Southeast are heading toward the southern tip of the panhandle, where the fishing has been better. "I expect a fair amount of effort to shift from northern areas down to Tree Point this week," said Scott Kelley, Southeast management coordinator for the Department of Fish and Game's commercial fisheries division. Kelley said 55 gillnetters harvested about 37,000 sockeye salmon in Tree Point during the four-day opening that began June 22.

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

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

Joseph William Murdy
Anchorage resident Joseph William Murdy, 67, died on June 25, 2003, at his home.

George C. McCurry
Juneau resident George C. McCurry, 61, died on June 23, 2003, at his residence.

Empire editorial: Celebrate a waterfront improvement on Thursday
Next Thursday the community will celebrate the completion of a long-awaited improvement to Juneau's waterfront. A "community celebration" hosted by the CBJ and its cruise industry partners is planned for the evening of July 3 to commemorate the completion of the Steamship Wharf/Marine Park improvement project in the area now known as Marine Park Plaza.

Toe Cartoon

What Do You Think?
The Opinion Page is an important avenue of free speech. Letters to the Editor should be unlimited. It is one of the best services the Empire provides. A dialogue between readers and the paper and between citizens in the community is informative and valuable in a democracy.

My Turn: Should taxpayers fund this?
On June 10, in Washington, D.C., National Public Radio's Bob Edwards introduced NPR reporter Elizabeth Arnold to report on the Bush administration's change in the national forest roadless rule as it pertains to Alaska. She questioned a statement issued by Mark Rey, who Arnold identified as agriculture secretary.

Out and About
June 29: High Power Rifle and Sporting Rifle Meet at the Hank Harmon Rifle Range, 8:30 a.m. registration, shoot at 9:30 a.m. July 2: Parks and Rec Wednesday hike. For age 18 and older, no dogs or firearms. Details: 586-0428.

Learning the ropes
As soon as Juneau Youth Sailing Foundation instructor Fritz Funk gave the OK for his class of sailors to suit up, the Yacht Club Graham Room was a jumble of loose shoes and black florescent dry suits. Arms of the rubbery suits flapped about as kids pulled the hermetic material over their ankles and heads. One boy on his knees proceeded to "burp" his suit by stretching the collar out and bowing. "This pushes the extra air out," Funk said.

Photo: On the hook
Double whammy: Annie Martin, 9, holds up an 18-pound and a 23-pound king salmon she caught June 10 in Fritz Cove.

Raptor center treats more than 200 birds every year
Every schoolchild in Juneau knows the story of Kira, the Juneau Raptor Center's peregrine falcon. In 1990, while making her first migration from Alaska's Interior to a sunny Latin American wintering location, Kira was hit by several cars on Egan Drive. Remarkably, the 112-pound Kira survived her clash with tons of steel, although with a lasting brain injury that destroyed her eye-foot coordination and hence her ability to catch prey.

Fish report
King salmon fishing for Juneau-area marine boat anglers slowed a little the week ending June 22. It took the average angler 26 hours to land a chinook. That is five more hours than it took the previous week.

Bear sealer knows bruins inside and out
FAIRBANKS - Tony Hollis can tell a lot about a bear just by looking at its hide, teeth, nose and ears. The big black bear that Roger Piek brought in on a recent morning, for example, had several scars on its nose, including a fresh one in the form of a small hole on the end of its snout.

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

Ben Blackgoat run
Dewey Peacock and Brandy Anderson claimed the men's and women's 7-mile titles at Saturday's seventh annual Ben Blackgoat Memorial Perseverance Trail Run. The race is held in memory of Blackgoat, who was a promising junior cross-country runner at Juneau-Douglas High School when he slipped and fell to his death during a Perseverance Trail training run in November 1996.

Fischers claim title at Freewheelers' first Jack and Jill Relay
Jack and Jill biked up some hills Friday evening, as the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club debuted a new coed relay race on North Douglas Highway. Scott and Betsy Fischer won the inaugural Jack and Jill Relay, overcoming some mechanical difficulties and using a borrowed helmet to finish the 24-mile race in 58 minutes, 3 seconds. Tara Jeans and Terry Ward finished second in 58:30, just edging third-place finishers Joann Quigg and Dave Bartlett, who covered the course in 58:33. A total of 17 teams - 36 riders - participated, with one tandem-bike team.

Guidelines revealed for new payments to low-income seniors
The state announced income guidelines last week for a new program to provide $120 monthly payments for low-income older Alaskans who will lose longevity bonuses in September. Senior advocates said the program will help some needy senior citizens, but they fear that others will fall through the cracks. "As my mother used to say, it's better than a sharp stick in the eye," said Pat Luby, legislative representative for AARP in Alaska. "It's still going to be a mess for many of our oldest citizens."

Photos: Yukon in June: light lingers late
When June arrives in the Yukon, daylight is never far away. In Dawson City, midway up the vast length of the territory, the time between sunset and sunrise shrinks from about four hours at the start of the month to just under three at the solstice. Late night and early morning hours are almost always quiet in the Yukon, but June's extended daylight hours bring a visible stillness.

Some libraries reconsider pornography filters
The Fairbanks North Star Borough is considering anti-pornography filters for Internet computers at its two libraries following the U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday allowing the federal government to withhold funding from public libraries that do not have them. The Juneau Public Libraries are not considering filters, said acting director Barbara Berg. The libraries - with sites downtown, Douglas and the Mendenhall Valley - do not accept the type of federal funding that requires installing filters.

State Briefs
Teen pleads guilty to attempted murder; Tongass supervisor heads for Montana; Settlement reached in four fishing cases; Man sentenced for assaulting infant; Couple killed in crash near Skagway identified;

Activist files suit against lobbying law
A lawsuit filed in Anchorage Superior Court on Thursday is seeking to overturn the Alaska Legislature's bid to relax lobbying laws. Anchorage activist Andree McLeod argues in court papers that the law approved by the Legislature "is akin to deregulation of lobbyists." The law, passed by the Legislature this session, was signed into law by Gov. Frank Murkowski on June 18 despite his own misgivings about the bill. It lengthens the period of time someone can attempt to influence government before he or she must register as a lobbyist.

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