Monday, July 1, 2002

Great dangers in mixing church, state
I cannot think of one good reason for state-sponsored expressions of piety. A religion that believes it needs the help of the state has lost its faith.

Any questions?
San Francisco judges forbidding our Pledge of Allegiance? They will take the phrase "under God" away from me when my cold, dead lips can no longer utter those words. God bless America.

Job well done
On behalf of the Sealaska Heritage Institute and Native people of Alaska, Canada, Hawaii, and Lower 48 who attended Celebration 2002 we want to extend our thanks and appreciation to you and all of your Empire staff for doing such a great job in promoting and supporting Celebration 2002.

Democracy needs you
This fall, with 91 percent of all major Alaska elective offices affected, chance has given us the most powerful election since statehood.

Personal responsibility
July Fourth is a good time to reflect and recommit to keeping ourselves and our families out of harm's way. "Most people think dramatically, not quantitatively," noted American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Renewable forest with trees in rows
In reference to Sunday's editorial, I applaud your willingness to stand up for what is right.

Let everyone decide
Regarding the recent imbroglio surrounding the Pledge of Allegiance, Sen. Christopher Bond (R-Mo.), as reported by the Juneau Empire, said: "Our Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves." This comment gives an undeserved sense of historical value to the Pledge, which none of our Founding Fathers ever heard.

Send bill to Sen. Taylor
A bill in full for the costs for the special legislative session just concluded should be sent directly to Sen. Robin Taylor.

Gold Rush Days start with a roar
On the field of his favorite sport, Kirk "Ziggy" Ziegenfuss smokes Dominican cigars and wears a uniform composed of a T-shirt, ball cap and snug, drill-oil-smeared Levis with a wallet rectangle bleached on the back pocket.His equipment is anything you can plug an air hose into, including a a 12B overshot mucker, or what looks like a miniature steam shovel attached to a miner's cart. Ziegenfuss, 45, of Juneau can load a ton of pea gravel in 52 seconds. That's fast, but not fast enough to place in Saturday's Gold Rush Days 12B overshot mucking competition.

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

Clarification
A news brief about the Davis Log Cabin in Friday's Juneau Empire warrants clarification.

Police and Fire
Reports from Juneau police, fire officials and state troopers.

Minister of Merriment
Mention the name Jeff Brown to almost anyone who has lived in Juneau and you'll probably hear a story about balloons, mazes, folk music, kids, radio, art or just plain wackiness.Since Brown moved to Juneau in 1975, he has left a mark on the town that can be felt so deeply it's almost impossible to not be captured by his influence at some point.

Hoonah fawn reprieved
After learning more about an offer from the Alaska Zoo, state wildlife officials have agreed to send it a fawn found in Hoonah last week.Officials at the state Division of Wildlife Conservation said Friday morning that they intended to euthanize the fawn, about 2 weeks old, because they didn't believe they could find a permanent home for it.

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

Performer dies in fall
Terry Selby, a logger clown from Oregon, fell to his death from atop a 90-foot-tall log during his midday performance Sunday at the Gold Rush Days Celebration at Dimond Park. Several hundred people, including Selby's 14-year-old son, were in the audience at the time of the fall.

Around Town
Listings of local nonprofit events.

Alaska Airlines looks to improve its Web services
Alaska Airlines was the first domestic carrier to book flights over the Internet and the first carrier in the world to offer home or office check-in, company officials said. But there are still improvements to be made, Steve Jarvis, vice president of e-commerce at Alaska Airlines, told the Juneau Chamber of Commerce on Friday.

My Turn: What is behind the sudden interest in local economics?
Here we go again. Another day, another lawsuit by environmental groups trying to stop timber harvests in the Tongass National Forest.

My Turn: Extraction industries threaten fish habitat
Regrettably, the United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) must have gotten tired too soon while swimming upstream in search of the perfect political spawning bed for important Alaska fishing issues this fall.

Toe cartoon

Empire Editorial: State leaders, SE communities stand firm on Tongass' future
On June 20, Sens. Murkowski and Stevens along with Rep. Don Young submitted a letter to the U.S. Forest Service urging that no action be taken to create new wilderness designations on the Tongass National Forest. Communities throughout Southeast Alaska are taking similar stands. Their comment on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) for the Tongass National Forest Plan Revision was published in Friday's Empire.

My Turn: Don't move noise problem to Thane
Until recently it seems to me that the debate over a new heliport was pretty civil and there was respect for those who are worried about the impacts of flightseeing noise in their neighborhood. But this seems to have changed, especially in relation to the Thane neighborhood.

My Turn: Alaska mining benefits from political stability
The future for Alaska minerals is excellent. Companies focus on states and countries having high geologic potential and a track record of tax and political stability. Alaska's state and Native lands fit these criteria and therefore continue as a focal point for the industry. Alaska has excellent geologic potential and is known both historically and currently for some of the best deposits in the world. Major mines operating today are show-case examples of modern mining.

Big Fish Photos

Amalga Trail leads to Eagle Glacier
The Amalga Trailhead is at mile 27.9 Glacier Highway.A new trailhead parking lot is just across the Eagle River Bridge on the right side of the highway. It is 5 1/2 hiking miles to the Eagle Glacier Cabin, where there is a beautiful view of Eagle Glacier just across the lake. Although the trail only gains 300 feet in elevation, it is a long walk, especially with children.

Fish Report
Juneau area marine boat anglers continue to enjoy some of the best king salmon fishing since the state began keeping records on sport harvests.

Paddling on the ocean
Greg Steele is one of a small group of people who prefer paddling in a canoe to kayaking in Southeast Alaska's ocean waters."I like being out there in a boat that's not really made for the ocean," he said. "I like the fact that it's a dangerous thing to do."

Out and About
In season: Black bear (until June 30), freshwater steelhead trout (peaks April-June), cutthroat trout (peaks May-June), freshwater smelt (peaks in May), salt and freshwater king salmon (peaks May-July).

Local runners opt for the scenic route
After completing a 14-mile trail featuring windfall trees, devil's club and river washouts -- oh, my -- John Bursell and Dave Pusich led a record field of 62 runners across the finish line in Saturday's 12th annual Montana Creek to Windfall Lake Cross-Country Trail Challenge.

Record number of mushers register for 2003 Iditarod
A first-day record of 65 mushers turned in their registration forms during Saturday's opening day for signing up for the 2003 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Club lets kids run for fun
Running isn't everything to John and Jamie Bursell and the kids they lead in the 4-H Spring Running Club.

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

2002 Rainball Invitational Softball Tournament
Friday's and Saturday's results from the 27th annual Rainball Invitational Softball Tournament, held at Dimond and Savikko Parks. Double-elimination round games begin today at 8 a.m. at Dimond Park and run through early afternoon.

2002 Rainball invitational softball tournament
First, second, and third-place teams from the 27th annual Rainball Invitational Softball Tournament, held Friday through Sunday at Dimond and Savikko Parks.

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

Scholes sprints to win Frangos Memorial
Terry Ward appeared to have Sunday's Nick Frangos Memorial Bike Race and Group Ride won when he pulled ahead of the lead pack as it crested a hill about 200 yards from the finish line near the Douglas Bridge.

Advancing glacier turns fjord into lake, threatens fishery
Russell Fiord near Yakutat is now a lake as the gap between the advancing Hubbard Glacier and land has narrowed to less than 50 feet.

Haines: Borough delays funds for Chilkat Center
The Haines Borough will withhold the Foundation for the Chilkat Center for the Arts' $35,000 budget pending renegotiation of the foundation's lease on the facility.

Feds: System to help children must change
The leader of a federal review team said Alaska must improve its system to protect children from abuse and do more to work with troubled families.

Sitka: Eagle electrocution causes power outage
An eagle crashed into power lines on Edgecumbe Drive late Wednesday, June 19, electrocuting itself and knocking out power to about a dozen homes, Utility Distribution Superintendent Tim Barnum said today. It appeared the eagle's extended wings touched the wires between 1104 and 1106 Edgecumbe Drive around 11:10 p.m., he said, resulting in a blown fuse on Kimsham Street.

New law lets cities charge for excessive police calls
Cities can charge property owners a fee for excessive police calls under a bill signed into law this morning by Gov. Tony Knowles.

Pipeline cleaning halted due to leak
Crews halted plans to clean an abandoned oil pipeline in Cook Inlet on Sunday because of a leak in the pipe, a BP project manager said. The pipeline had periodic oil leaks and produced a 1.5-mile-long sheen in Cook Inlet last year.

Cruise ship rules topic of meeting
Proposed regulations for cruise ship wastewater discharges will be discussed at a public meeting Tuesday.

Pearl Harbor relived
Ground-based pyrotechnics explode as a replica Japanese bomber flies overhead during a re-enactment of the attack on Pearl Harbor during the Arctic Thunder 2002 open house and air show Sunday at Elmendorf Air Force Base. The Japanese Zero fighters, Val dive bombers and Kate torpedo bombers are replicas built from the frames of World War II American-built AT-6 Texan and Valtee BT-13 aircraft. The planes were reconstructed for the movie "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and were used in the film "Pearl Harbor."

Wrangell: City to be mapped
Anyone who has tried to determine his property lines in Wrangell knows that a survey can unearth a wealth of inaccuracies. The City Council voted June 11 to map the city, a project that will cost about $115,000.

Sitka: $2 million grant for Sheldon Jackson
Sheldon Jackson College has received a $2 million grant from Congress to begin addressing the shortage of teachers in rural Alaska.

State Briefs
Postage rates go up today; Forest Service seeks comments on EIS; China delegation tastes Alaska seafood; Kodiak fishermen, processors agree;

Petersburg: Shop burglarized
Piston and Rudder, a shop owned by Mike and Barb Luhr, was burglarized early Tuesday. The burglar or burglars made off with just over $200 in cash. The theft comes less than a month after the break-ins at Hammer and Wikan's convenience store and Trading Union Hardware, in which police have made no arrests.

Stevens tucks half a million dollars into bill for wilderness huts in Alaska
Tucked into a $19 billion bill the Senate Appropriations Committee passed last week is a half-million dollars to build a network of wilderness huts in Alaska.

Murkowski: Get this state moving
U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski wants Alaskans to build roads, cut timber, catch fish, mine metals, drill for oil and export natural gas.As governor, he said he would reverse a trend that culminated in a recent year with Alaska ranking "dead last" in economic performance among the states. He would do that in part, he said, by building a variety of roads, including one out of Juneau, increasing development options and allowing for the faster transport of goods to market.

White House opposes tax credit for gas line
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said the Bush administration objects to a tax credit for the proposed Alaska natural gas line.

Gov. signs budget bill
Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles signed into law a $2.4 billion budget that funds state government next fiscal year, but deleted millions in GOP projects.Knowles capped a legislative session filled with partisan rancor by axing about $23 million in projects Republicans sought for their districts. The governor chided lawmakers for cutting essential state services in the same year as funding such projects.

Judge nixes motion to break up co-op
Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins denied a motion from commercial salmon fishermen to break up a vessel cooperative at Chignik.

Knowles signs draft, terrorism, alcohol bills
Gov. Tony Knowles has signed into law bills that target various crimes that captured much media attention earlier this year.The bills lengthen prison sentences for acts of terrorism - such as damaging the trans-Alaska oil pipeline - and increase the penalties for providing alcohol to minors.

French priest who served Western Alaska dies at 77
A French priest who spent much of his life in western Alaska serving Native villages has died.

McKinley claims first climber since 1998
A solo climber fell to his death early Sunday while descending Mount McKinley, the National Park Service said.

WorldCom problems lower GCI stock prices
Troubled WorldCom Inc. holds a 10 percent stake in Anchorage-based General Communications Inc. and provides 16 percent of the Alaska company's revenues.

Ketchikan: Man charged in killing released on bail
A man charged with killing another man on Christmas Eve was released on bail Wednesday.

Top BP official says North Slope gas not competitive
Conditions still aren't right for bringing North Slope natural gas reserves to market, according to BP chief executive Lord John Browne.

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