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Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Techwit: This just in: Seein' ain't believin'
Remember when seeing was believing? When in doubt we'd say, "show me." Almost always, a picture was proof enough. But these days there's so much high-tech trickery going on it's hard to know what you're looking at. Pictures have never been completely honest. Just by using the right camera angle you could make Danny DeVito look tall and svelte. And before computers came along there were people who could use razors and air brushing to create a realistic picture of a pregnant, two-headed Elvis talking to aliens. This took real talent. But these days anyone can do this stuff. Even me, who couldn't create a recognizable stick figure before computers.

Missing a friend
I discovered this morning from an aviation acquaintance that my good friend Richard Ross and his wife were the occupants of his Cessna 172 that crashed (in the White Pass; Empire, June 26).

Overreacting to NPR story
I am the manager of the community radio station in Petersburg. We receive federal, state, and municipal funding along with contributions from listeners and businesses throughout the Petersburg area.

Capital needs road
I have a question for all the NIMBY (not in my backyard) activists and non-activists in Juneau. Where do you think the capital will be in 10 years if Juneau does not have a road linking it with the rest of the state? I can give you the answer and I don't need Ms. Cleo to back me up. Not in Juneau.

There's no 'winning' in back-and-forth letters
The recent letters survey has been interesting and enlightening. If nothing else we should be reassured the First Amendment's alive and well in Juneau.

The law vs. pandering
Mary Noble's recent letter regarding the Pledge of Allegiance shared some interesting information about its author and how it came to be adopted in American life. In response, Guy Crockroft's letter countered with invective and mostly irrelevant information.

Photo: Mascot Bar, 1910
Clientele of the Mascot Bar on Douglas Island pose for a photo in 1910. The town of Douglas originated to service mining activities in 1881. In 1910, more people lived on Douglas Island than in Juneau because of the Treadwell mines on Douglas.

Gold Rush Days puts cap on logging, mining competition
The cold morning air at Sunday's Gold Rush Days smelled of sausage and fresh sawdust. Coffee in hand, contestants gathered in the logging arena at Dimond Park, creating a sea of rugged flannel and the occasional pair of suspenders. Shelly Kincaid launched the day's events by singing a thundering national anthem, and the games commenced soon after. The show began with women's single hand bucking. Emcee Lonnie Schroder was ready to begin. "We are in like a bare-footed burglar," he said.

Photos: Remembering Rabinowitz
Drum major Bea Findlay leads the Juneau Volunteer Marching Band up Main Street on Monday toward the Dimond Courthouse for a garden memorial in honor of Supreme Court Justice Jay Rabinowitz.

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

Skateboarders stand to lose last legal skate spot downtown
For Jason Bardenheuer, 18, nothing could be more sublime than the moment of weightlessness he feels during a perfect "ollie," or speeding leap on his skateboard, over eight concrete stairs near Marine Park. "Skating street, it's like art, it's like your own personal expression," Bardenheuer said. "Skateboarding changes you for sure. You think in a whole different mentality, like, if you are driving through a city, you don't see a city, you see a whole bunch of ramps and jumps - a huge skate park." Unfortunately for Bardenheuer, the Juneau Assembly is positioned to ban skateboarding in Marine Park, the last legal skateboarding spot in downtown Juneau. The Assembly likely will take up the issue at its July 7 meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.

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

Sealaska to enter plasma business
Sealaska, the regional Native corporation for Southeast Alaska, has invested $3.75 million in International Bio Resources, a Louisiana-based company specializing in the collection and sale of blood plasma. The board of directors announced the investment, which was finalized June 19, at Sealaska's 30th annual shareholder meeting held in Anchorage on Saturday. The newly formed Sealaska Life Sciences LLC will manage the investment, which amounted to 10 percent ownership of International Bio Resources, as well as look for other investments in the health-care field, company officials said.

Jeopardy! crew clues in Juneau
Sitting in the waiting room at Temsco Helicopters Sunday afternoon, Jeopardy! Clue Crew personality Jimmy McGuire remembered an answer from an episode of the game show that aired last year. • The answer: These are the two United States capitols that end with the letter u. • The correct question: What are Honolulu and Juneau? "I've used that question a lot this year," McGuire said. "And here I am in Juneau, and I was also in Honolulu."

It's never too late, grads say
The cameras were flashing, the audience was standing, and "Pomp and Circumstance" was playing on the tape deck when Angie Woolfolk and Fredrick Flood graduated from Alyeska Central School on Friday. They even threw their caps in the air afterward. Just what they always wanted to do but never had. Juneau residents Woolfolk, 33, and Flood, 35, took courses this year through Alyeska, the state correspondence school, to complete their interrupted high school education and earn a diploma.

This Day in History
In 1973, the first Alaska Airlines jet landed at the new Ketchikan International Airport.

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

Ferry skipper suspended for grounding
The Alaska Marine Highway System captain in charge of the state ferry Kennicott when it hit a rock in Wrangell Narrows last month will have his license suspended for a month, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday. The Coast Guard determined lack of sufficient rest may have contributed to the problem, but noted Capt. Gary Anderson, 53, had an unblemished record in his 11 years with the ferry system until the June 3 incident. Capt. George Capacci, general manager of the ferry system, said Anderson's workload was not unusual for a ferry captain. The ferry system requires that captains get at least 10 hours off per 24-hour period, and at least 70 hours off per week, but there are no requirements for sleep.

This Day in History
In 1969, Bristol Bay's striking fishermen blockaded the mouth of the Naknek River to keep non-striking boats from moving out to fishing grounds.

Correction
Due to a reporter's error, the date of the Juneau Assembly's meeting to consider skateboarding in Marine Park was incorrect in an article on Page A1 of Monday's Empire.

Juneau, Montana groups join to push development
The Juneau Economic Development Council has combined forces with TechLink, a nonprofit organization based in Bozeman, Mont., to help small businesses in Alaska develop and use new technology. The Northern Technology Partnership will help Alaska businesses access government funding for developing and marketing new technology. Though the partnership was formalized this month, JEDC and TechLink have been developing a relationship for years, said Lance Miller, executive director of the JEDC. Triverus, a design and development engineering company based in Anchorage, already has taken advantage of TechLink's services. The company won a $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop a system for cleaning the decks of aircraft carriers.

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

Lois May Spicer
Juneau resident Lois May Spicer, 83, died on June 27, 2003, in Juneau.

Christian F. Wyller
Juneau resident Christian Frederik "Fred" Wyller, 70, died on June 30, 2003, at Wildflower Court after a lengthy battle with ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease.

My Turn: Economic impacts of budget cuts
Recently, there has been speculation about how state budget reductions might impact the number of jobs in the state. Such speculation may mislead Alaskans and disguise some basic economic facts: • Alaska's economy appears to have bottomed-out. Key plans are in place for a resurgence of our fishing and timber industries and increased exploration in the oil and gas industry. • Economic indicators that point to job growth in other sectors.

My Turn: We must find alternatives to imprisonment
It is time for Alaska (and our American society) to reassess our criminal justice system, not from a moral perspective, but from an economic and practical one. Two things stand out: First, our society imprisons more people per capita than any other industrialized country. Second, we no longer can afford the extraordinary costs associated with imprisoning so many people. We are running out of discretionary money.

My Turn: Big box stores can hurt small towns
Home Depot has announced it is not coming to Juneau any time soon. While this is good news for Don Abel Building Supply and Valley Lumber, what may not be so obvious is the importance to other Juneau retailers and the community at large.

Local duo competing at new synchro swim age level
In synchronized swimming as in life, growing older is a two-way street. Juneau teens Sarah Felix and Koko Urata, both 13, are in Gainesville, Fla., this week to compete in the Esynchro Age Group Championships national meet, which draws nearly 1,100 competitors. It's the second straight trip to nationals for Felix and Urata, who swim for the Juneau Aurora Knights team. Now that they're a year older, the duo is able to have more artistic freedom in their routines, and they now are allowed to do lifts in competition.

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

Xtratuffs get taste of big-time soccer
After making a bit of Juneau soccer history last week, the Juneau Xtratuffs U-13 girls soccer team got the chance to become television stars. The Xtratuffs and two other Juneau teams were in Hawaii to play at the U.S. Youth Soccer Association Far West Regional Championships. The Xtratuffs were eliminated in the first round of competition, though they became the first Juneau team to ever win a game at that tourney.

Canadian couple is first into Dawson
Mike and Fiona Vincent of Regina, Saskatchewan, won the fifth annual Yukon River Quest canoe and kayak race, reaching Dawson City, Yukon Territory, on Friday evening. The Vincents completed the 460-mile Whitehorse-to-Dawson course in 55 hours, two minutes - one hour and 52 minutes ahead of second-place finishers Ken Stanick and Dave Ross of North Vancouver, British Columbia.

Record number signs up for 2004 Iditarod
FAIRBANKS - A record-number 76 mushers have signed up for the 2004 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race as registration opened Saturday for the 1,100-mile race from Anchorage to Nome.

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

Law expands dividend eligibility for military
Alaskans who serve in the military will be allowed more time away from the state before losing their eligibility for the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend under a new state law. The dividend is paid out of Alaska's oil-wealth savings account to every eligible man, woman and child in the state. Dividends last year were worth $1,540, and this year are expected to be approximately $1,100. Senate Bill 148 by Anchorage Republican Sen. John Cowdery was signed June 12 by Gov. Frank Murkowski.

Fisherman returns to the water after 10-year hiatus
KENAI - Soldotna fisherman Charles Schmelzenbach couldn't stay away. He embarked Thursday as the captain of a commercial sockeye salmon driftnetting boat for the first time in 10 years. Schmelzenbach rejoined a fishing industry that many feel has fallen upon hard economic times, in the shadow of lower prices per pound, smaller fish returns and less of a share of the harvest from earlier years. But money wasn't what motivated his comeback.

Judge sides with family in hunting case
ANCHORAGE - A state judge has issued a reprimand for state troopers' handling of a case in which members of a Russian Old Believer family were tried and acquitted of illegally shooting a bull moose. A state Fish and Wildlife Protection officer bullied the family when searching their home and then lied about his evidence when swearing out his criminal complaint, District Judge M. Francis Neville of Homer said after a three-day trial ended June 16.

Army plan for training complex irks Delta residents
FAIRBANKS - The Army went against the wishes of Delta Junction residents when it chose a site to build a new military training complex, officials have acknowledged. The 22,000-acre Eddy Drop Zone was selected over two sites that are farther from town, said Maj. Ben Danner. The chosen site is 2.2 miles away from the closest home, 4.1 miles from a school on Fort Greely and 7.6 miles from the Delta Junction school, according to Danner. He said the decision was based on environmental and operational factors, construction considerations and community concerns about the area.

Mat-Su schools must move vending machines or lose funds
ANCHORAGE - High school students in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough will have to make it through lunchtime next year without access to vending machines for pop, candy and snacks. A state audit last spring faulted the district for putting the machines too close to cafeterias where students eat federally funded free and reduced-cost meals. A U.S. Department of Agriculture rule bars schools from offering competitive foods, especially those with little nutritional value, at the same times that student meals are served.

More businesses going smoke-free
FAIRBANKS - Local health advocates and business owners are promoting a voluntary ban on smoking in most enclosed public places in Fairbanks, hoping to get it done one restaurant at a time. In May, a group dedicated to reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, released a list of nearly 80 smoke-free restaurants in the city. The number released by Fair Air reflected an increase of about 10 establishments over the previous year.

$325 million approved for military in Alaska
FAIRBANKS - The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a military construction bill last week that would spend $325 million in Alaska during the coming federal fiscal year. That's $29 million more than the Bush administration requested. Much of the Alaska money would go to the two military outposts in the Fairbanks region, Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base.

Citing habitat, Fish and Game wants two timber sales canceled
ANCHORAGE - In what could be a test case for how the Department of Natural Resources handles difficult issues, the state Department of Fish and Game wants state foresters to cancel two logging sales on the Kenai Peninsula that biologists say could hurt brown bear and moose populations. At issue are two large swaths of beetle-killed timber, about 4,100 acres in all, a few miles east of Ninilchik.

Bear shot in Haines after piglets killed
HAINES - A Haines man shot and killed a brown bear after it killed two piglets kept in a pigpen behind his home. Greg Stigen said he shot the bear in the neck Monday after he found it trying to bury one of the dead piglets in a mound of dirt.

State Briefs
Valdez city officials hold natural-gas summit; Kodiak to keep its VPSOs for now; Board decision could increase crab yield; City-owned shop draws fire from businesses; Trawler workers arrested in altercation; Record numbers enroll in summer school; Funding restored to Denali Commission

State Briefs
Man arrested for car theft, drunken driving; Women in Martial Arts plan retreat; Safety panel chairman plans ATV hearing; Noisy driver protests RV parking lot camping;

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