People preferred
The June 30 Empire article, "Alaska Airlines looks to Improve Web Services," made me shudder. Recently, after being put on hold for three days by this airline's partner desk, with an average wait of 61 minutes per attempt, it's scary to think that our primary air carrier is now deliberately moving away from a people-based service system to one dependent on electronics.

Grateful in New York
My name is Michele Knox, I live in Long Beach, New York. My brother Joseph Sardo and his wife Mary will be honored as Douglas Grand Marshals at your 4th of July Celebration and Parade.

Avoid heliport presumptions
The Assembly is considering adoption of the Juneau Draft Tourism Management Plan. I object to statements in the draft plan that a heliport will be built in the Thane area. On page 65, the plan states that "The first phase will involve development of a new heliport south of Juneau, probably in the vicinity of Dupont or Sheep Creek."

Flags fly high
Despite the rain, people flocked to Fourth of July events in Juneau and Douglas to celebrate independence in a year that folks said has brought a greater appreciation for freedom. "It's a great year for freedom," said former Juneau resident Joseph Stubbins, who traveled from Anchorage to be with friends for the holiday. "There seems to be a greater display of patriotism this year."

Auditions set for Tuesday for 'Palm Court High Tea'
Juneau Lyric Opera will audition singers next week for a Palm Court High Tea to be held this fall."The format of the performance is going to probably be piano and vocals, in a cabaret style," said Lena Simmons of Juneau Lyric Opera. "We envision people sipping tea and sherry, feasting on finger foods and listening to music written from about 1890 to 1914. Sort of like a pre-World War I afternoon musicale. We will provide the costumes."

Free Tlingit language class offered every week
Hans Chester, a language student and assistant instructor of Tlingit at the University of Alaska Southeast, is offering a Tlingit language class from 2:30 to 4 p.m. every Saturday in the Naa Kaani Room at the Goldbelt Hotel.The class is free and open to anyone interested in the language.

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

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

Leading the parade from the sidelines
It should come as no surprise that Bev Dorsher's fingernails are polished stripes of red, white and blue this time of year. With sparkles."For the fireworks," she explains. Bev and her husband, Gerald, have spent the past 20 years helping run the Juneau Fourth of July Parade. As co-chairpersons of the parade committee, they help pick a theme, organize the entries, select the grand marshals and raise funds. All this with a 15-person committee and a $5,000 budget.

Due to a reporter's error, an article in Tuesday's Empire on psychological reactions to Terry Selby's death misidentified Elaine Schroeder as a psychologist.

Collins to seek seat on city Assembly
Chuck Collins, owner of Copy Works, Copy Express and a Sign Pro franchise, said today he plans to run for either the District 1 or areawide seat on the Juneau Assembly. Collins, who ran unsuccessfully for Jim Powell's areawide seat last fall, said he'd like to improve Juneau's relationship with other Southeast Alaska communities and the Assembly's relationship with other city boards.

Plaras, Metcalfe marry
Mirasol Plaras of Ormoc City, Leyte, Phillipines and John Metcalfe of Juneau were married June 10 in Ormoc City.

Academic Honors
Juneau resident Thomas B. Pollard graduated May 19 from Pomona College with a bachelor of arts degree, magna cum laude, in mathematics.

Germains celebrate anniversary
Win and Margaret Germain celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary June 28 with a gathering of their family for the weekend at the Shrine of St. Therese.

Relay for Life helps community grieve and celebrate
At midnight July 28, names of those who have died, survived and are still struggling with cancer will grace luminarias as they cast light on the track at Juneau's Relay for Life event.

Parker, Palmer wed
Lauren Parker of Jenks, Okla. and Brian Palmer of Juneau were married in a ceremony on June 21, at St. James Church in Jenks, Okla.

R. Scott Withers
Former Juneau resident R. Scott Withers, 78, died July 1, 2002, in Port Salerno, Fla.

My Turn: New Douglas Harbor parking excessive
Several features of the Douglas Harbor Expansion have great benefits for the harbor user. The new double boat-launch is perfect for all the trailer-sailors who want to get south of town and the old launch is now a good spot for kayak launching. However, it is clear that the plan has not taken the pedestrian into consideration - even though Douglas is arguably the harbor most used by the walking public.

Taking time out for racing
Brandy Weston was a busy woman on Thursday.Weston, a 2001 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate who runs for Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., was working at her summer job at the Douglas Island Pink And Chum hatchery (DIPAC) when she noticed the time. Time for a little fun run.Weston quickly drove over to the start line of the Douglas Two-Miler, and entered the race. Once on the course, she didn't waste time finishing.

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

Eleven sign up for 20th Yukon Quest
FAIRBANKS - Eleven mushers signed up Tuesday to run the 2003 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

State briefs
Frederick trial set for August; Knowles signs alcohol tax hike, effective October; Marine educators to meet; Bettles sees first July snowfall; Neighbors appeal expansion of the True North mine; Man sentenced to 3 years for smuggling cocaine; Senate bill includes millions for Alaska bases; State gets $1.3 million for victim assistance;

Poor salmon runs and low prices keep Bristol Bay fishermen home
ANCHORAGE - The Bristol Bay commercial salmon fishery usually peaks around the Fourth of July, but weak salmon returns and low prices are keeping fisherman at home in droves.Only 1,133 of the bay's 1,883 boat permit holders have registered to fish this week, according to the state Department of Fish and Game.

Sen. Stevens says U.S. dependent on foreign steel
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens is the first to admit he doesn't like the idea of using foreign steel to construct major projects in Alaska, including the $230 million expansion at his namesake airport in Anchorage.But Alaska's senior senator, who has brought billions of dollars in construction projects to Alaska with his political muscle, says the ailing U.S. steel industry can no longer provide much of the material needed for those projects.

Delta Junction unsure how to fill $1 million hole
DELTA JUNCTION - Gov. Tony Knowles' veto of a $1 million interest-free loan to the city of Delta Junction caught city officials off guard.The loan would have allowed the city to finish paying its $1.1 million breach-of-contract settlement with Allvest Inc. and Delta Corrections Corp. stemming from a failed effort to build a private prison at Fort Greely. The money was due July 1.

Former UAF basketball player pleads no contest in assault
FAIRBANKS - A former University of Alaska Fairbanks basketball player charged with kidnapping, raping and assaulting his former girlfriend could serve five years in prison, after reaching a plea agreement.Cameron Watts, 19, was set to go to trial Monday. He reached an agreement with prosecutors Wednesday in state Superior Court in Fairbanks.

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