Monday, July 7, 2003

Many chapter books and young-adult titles available
This week is for chapter book and young adult readers. Don't forget - chapter book readers who are going into grades 2,3,4, and 5 have until July 8 to sign up for the I Love to Read book clubs, which meet on Tuesdays from 7 to 8 p.m. at the downtown library. Call the Youth Services Department at 586-0435 for more information.

Nelson joins law firm
The Law Office of Baxter Bruce & Sullivan is pleased to announce that Richard L. Nelson has joined the firm as an associate attorney.

Environmentalists, not Wal-Mart, hurt Ketchikan
I think Bruce Abel (July 1) and Dave Fremming (July 2) both make excellent points concerning their views on the effect of large chain stores opening up in small communities. I try and shop locally as much as possible, but sometimes the savings of purchasing an item online or through a catalog is so great that I have to go that route.

Better customer service would earn loyalty
In response to Mr. Bruce Abel's My Turn of July 1, I can understand the Juneau retailers' concerns in regards to the box stores coming into town. However, I would be a lot more loyal to Juneau stores if they would learn to serve their customers.

Blind support baffles
The presidential campaign has begun in earnest, with the mega-millions being contributed to the Bush coffers by the rich. I'd like to lay out a few reasons why we desperately need a change.

Clearcuts would target the heart of the forest
In Lew Williams' op-ed calling for more Tongass clearcuts, he spins out a string of figures to support his claim that logging has not and never will deplete the resources of the Tongass. While he got some of the numbers right, Williams is playing a numbers shell game that hides the fact that the areas to be logged are among the most valuable places to hunt, fish, and spend a weekend.

The price is not right
I take affront to Mr. Abel's July 1 My Turn. It is not my duty to line his or any other retail establishment's pocket with excessive money from unbelievably inflated charges. If Wal-Mart, Fred Meyer and Safeway can operate in SE Alaska, it's only because they charge fair prices.

Legislature practiced cowardly politics
A few weeks before the governor put forth his now-infamous list of cuts, he asked the Legislature to pass a $400 million tax cut ($100 million/year for four years) for the oil companies. His hope, I believe, was to give the oil companies further reason to drill for more oil in Alaska.

Filtering reality
The fine people visiting our town from all over the world have every right to expect a watered down and safe Alaska. They pay thousands of dollars to have a thoroughly censored Alaska adventure, and who are these "skaters" but a bunch of Alaskans "ollie-ing," "grinding" and "kickflipping" over that "gnarly" experience.

Marshaling praise
Glad to know that Judge Stewart served as marshal for the Fourth of July parade. His family has contributed greatly to the city and to the state.

Mecum named interim principal at Dzantik'i Heeni
Barb Mecum has been named interim principal at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School following the resignation of Les Morse. Morse has taken the position of director of assessment and accountability at the state Department of Education and Early Development. He will begin this week. Mecum has served as assistant principal at Dzantik'i Heeni, a 700-student school, for the past three school years. Before that, she taught English at Juneau-Douglas High School for a year, and English and history at Floyd Dryden Middle School for three years.

Rain fails to drive people from park opening, festivities
Despite the delay in the fireworks, the Marine Park Plaza Grand Opening and Community Celebration went on as scheduled Thursday. Intermittent rain did not stop hundreds of people from gathering for the official opening of the expanded waterfront park and bus parking area. Several local groups performed in a program that was to run from 5 p.m. until the fireworks. Instead, the fireworks were put off from Thursday night to Friday night because of rain and wind.

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

Planned Parenthood opens Juneau office
Planned Parenthood of Alaska announced last week it is opening an office in Juneau to provide sexual health education to area schools, the University of Alaska Southeast, community centers and other health and educational agencies. Katherine Davey, the director of education and training for Planned Parenthood of Alaska who will head Juneau's office, said the organization eventually wants to open a clinic to provide abortion services, birth control, pregnancy testing, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, breast and cervical cancer screening and other services.

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

Along Times Trail
Visitors and locals who join the daily guided hikes on the Trail of Time at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center wouldn't place high in a race that measured miles walked per hour. But in a race for trivia learned per mile, the walkers would be right up at the top. "We take over an hour to go about one-half a mile," U.S. Forest Service interpreter Janice Miller Moss told the four visitors to Juneau who joined her on a recent Trail of Time tour. "There's no hurry."

Photo: Speedy delivery
Mr. McFeely, of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood fame, signs autographs and speaks to children during the dedication ceremony of the new Marine Park parking facility Thursday.

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

This Day in History
In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Bill into law.

Juneau shimmers with the spirit of the Fourth
Some spectators at the Juneau Fourth of July parade have their favorite floats. Friday afternoon, as a smiling John Waters stood along the parade route, he said he liked the floats of the U.S. Navy, the Canadian Mounties, and the Tlingit dancers. But a cheerful Walters appeared most eager to see the Alaska Native Veterans float, the one judged most patriotic by the Juneau Parade Committee.

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

Keepers of the greens
Before there were flags, greens and fairways at Mendenhall Golf course, there was the Pederson Dairy, where, among lupine and waving grasses, Koggie File was born 68 years ago in the middle of haying season. "My grandmother was not pleased with the timing," File said, laughing from a plastic lawn chair in the course's modest players' shack. In 1987, Koggie and her husband, Tom, a retired state accountant, decided to turn the dairy land Koggie's grandparents settled in 1907 into a scenic, if rough-edged, nine-hole golf course.

This Day in History
In 1949, Seattle's Elk Lodge No. 92 announced plans to adopt the territorial school at Ninilchik by providing the school with books, films, toys, games, and clothing.

Toe Cartoon

My Turn: State can help with natural gas
The United States is facing critical shortages in natural gas in the months and years to come - just ask Alan Greenspan and other government experts. This is due, in part, to government policies that increase demand for gas while restricting access to it by locking up some of the most gas-rich lands in America. Thankfully, Alaska can help avert this long-term crisis because decades' worth of natural gas is waiting to get to market with a nudge from Congress.

My Turn: Taku River resources feed families
As Alaska celebrates Wild Salmon Week and reflects on our productive, sustainable runs of wild salmon and the families, businesses and communities supported by this magnificent and tasty resource, we in Juneau have something to be especially thankful for - the Taku River.

What do you think?
Why do we all suddenly have to follow the Cleveland Cavaliers? It's great that Carlos Boozer has been successful in his chosen career, but there are dozens of other young people from this community who have done very well in their chosen fields and they get no recognition at all.

Fertile fires: Forest blazes make way for more wildlife
Tom Paragi wants to see 50,000 acres of Alaska forest burn this summer. "We've planned this fire since 1995 and we're sure hoping to have it happen," said Paragi, a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The fire slated for the Tanana Flats near Fairbanks is a prescribed burn, a carefully planned and executed operation to enhance wildlife habitat. Moose and grouse flourish in the fertile environment of regeneration that follows a fire. Snowshoe hares, voles and other small mammals also thrive, benefiting predators such as raptors and marten.

Big Fish Photos

The halibut that didn't want to get away
When conditions are right - little or no wind or current - I like to fish for halibut on a ridge about an hour's run from Tee Harbor that rises up out of 800 feet to about 400 feet.

Out and About
July 6: Public trap shooting at the Juneau Gun Club on Montana Creek Road, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Details: 789-9844. July 7-11, 14-18: Level 1 beginning dinghy sailing course for ages 12-18, Juneau Youth Sailing Foundation, 1-4:45 p.m. $230. Details: 789-3546 or www.juneauyouthsailing.org/.

Fat Tire comradery
Tonja and Hans Moser and their friends have a different version of socializing than most Juneau residents. Along with small talk, gossip and a fair amount of friendly jibes at one another, their get-togethers involve mud, sweat and rock-hopping. "We go mountain biking instead of going to the movies," Tonja Moser said. "That's our date - going mountain biking." Mountain biking for some Juneau residents is much more than hopping on a bike with fat tires and heading down a gravel road. It can be an intense, technically difficult sport that is rewarding for bikers who practice on a regular basis, the Mosers said.

State says king regs are paying off
KENAI - New regulations aimed at protecting large, early-run Kenai River king salmon appear to be working, said a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Fish Report
King salmon fishing in the Juneau area improved dramatically the last week of June.

Done deal: James signs with Cavs
CLEVELAND - LeBron James made another sizable deposit to his bank account. James signed his three-year, $12.96 million rookie contract Thursday with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who selected the 18-year-old Akron high school phenom No. 1 overall in the NBA draft.

Douglas Fourth of July Field Events
First and second-place finishers from the Douglas Fourth of July Field Events, held Friday at Savikko Park.

Four Jumpers garner national silver medals
Four Juneau Jumpers won silver medals in double-dutch pairs freestyle competition last month at the U.S. National Jump Rope Tournament in Orlando, Fla. Amber Johnson, Lesley Kalbrener, Nicole Lim and Tera Ross took second place in the 15-17 age division with their performance. Then the quartet moved on to take third place overall in Grand National finals at the tournament, held June 20-22. The Grand National events were taped by ESPN and will be televised on cable later this summer.

Special homecoming
Two local athletes received a warm welcome when they returned home last week from the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Dublin, Ireland. Michelle Boster and Nathan Walsh of Juneau arrived home on July 1 after being among 34 representatives (18 athletes) from Alaska at the week-long event that took place June 21-28. The 2003 World Summer Games featured more than 7,000 participants and 160 international teams. The event's opening ceremonies on June 21 featured performances by U2, Samantha Mamba and Riverdance, as well as "good luck" messages from Jon Bon Jovi, Arnold Schwarzenegger and actor Colin Ferrell, while former South African president Nelson Mandela gave the opening speech.

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

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

Scholes honors Frangos
Chris Scholes moved to Juneau too late to know Nick Frangos, who was the dominant cyclist in the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club just over a decade ago. Frangos, who was in the U.S. Coast Guard and twice won the National Armed Services cycling championship, died too young when he was killed in a 1992 boat accident while deer hunting on the back side of Douglas Island. The next year, the Juneau Freewheelers honored Frangos by creating an annual 24-mile out-and-back memorial race along the North Douglas Highway, one of the late cyclist's favorite training rides.

DOT considers employing fast ferry in Lynn Canal
Plans to run a new state-operated fast ferry between Juneau and Sitka ran aground this week when the state Department of Transportation announced it might use the ship to service Lynn Canal in the summer.The state also told Sitka residents on Tuesday it may decide to home port the new fast ferry Fairweather in Juneau instead of Sitka. The Sitka Sentinel reported that DOT Deputy Commissioner Tom Briggs told Sitkans at a Tuesday meeting that the state would discontinue mainline and nearby village ferry service if the fast ferry is home-ported in Sitka.

Fairbanks judge throws out marijuana conviction
FAIRBANKS - A Superior Court judge dismissed a man's marijuana conviction, ruling that the Alaska Constitution guarantees the right to possess marijuana for personal use in the home. Judge Richard Savell of Fairbanks dismissed Scott A. Thomas' conviction. Thomas was charged with three counts of felony fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance for allegedly growing pot plants in his home last summer.

State Briefs
Old tires burn; Brown bear sighted; Stanley Cup to visit Anchorage; BP pays fine in death; Senators do some power fishing on the Kenai

Homer radio operator battles against FCC to reach for his dream
HOMER - Homer radio operator Dave Becker has spent two decades building a private radio empire to span the empty spaces of Southcentral Alaska. Along the way, he's waged a long battle against the Federal Communications Commission to keep his radio business alive. Last month, Becker suffered another setback. An administrative law judge for the Federal Communications Commission ordered that licenses for two of his four commercial stations be revoked.

Five Coloradans die in plane crash near Sitka
The wreckage of a twin-engine airplane that crashed while attempting to land at the Sitka airport was found by a Coast Guard helicopter Friday. Five people aboard the plane, en route from Colorado Springs, Colo., to Anchorage for a vacation, were killed in the crash, the Coast Guard said. The victims are identified as Michael Baker, 56, and his wife, Kathleen, 52; Richard Lohman, 51, and his wife, Catherine, 46; and Richard Mohnssen, 53, all of the Colorado Springs area.

State Briefs
Fishing spotty in Bristol Bay; Increasing respiratory illness prompts efforts to settle silt; State wipes out money for monitoring programs;

Ester parade shows independent streak
ESTER - It's not your garden variety Fourth of July parade here in this small and outspoken hamlet. Indeed, social and political commentary is easier to find than an American flag. Hundreds gathered on Friday to watch the notoriously tongue-in-cheek Independence Day parade pass through the community of 1,850 people.

Critics of bear baiting aim at voters
Scorned by animal rights groups and reviled by some hunters, the practice of bear baiting is under the gun in Alaska from an odd mix of conservationists and professional hunters. The state Board of Game has dismissed repeated requests over the years to outlaw the practice of luring black bears with human food. So, foes this year are seeking a ballot initiative to let voters decide the issue. "The whole idea of using bait to attract bears, I don't think it's fair. Not really a civilized thing," said Lowell Thomas Jr., a former lieutenant governor and one of the backers of the initiative.

There's no end in sight for Ketchikan jewelry boom
KETCHIKAN - Jay Mahtani, owner of the Gold Rush jewelry store across from Ketchikan's downtown dock, courts cruise ship passengers with gold nugget jewelry, glittering diamonds and tanzanite. A veteran of the jewelry market on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, he plans to open another shop on Ketchikan's Main Street this summer. Where cruise ships go, jewelry follows, he says.

Alaska ranks 10th nationwide in teacher salaries
FAIRBANKS - Teacher salaries in Alaska ranked 10th in the nation according to a state-by-state survey of educators pay by the American Federation of Teachers. Alaska's starting pay for teachers topped the list. Starting teachers in Alaska made on average $36,035, which is less than a percentage point drop from the previous year. "It's a real positive for Alaska because of the shortage of teachers nationwide," said Ann Shortt, superintendent of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. "To know that we've got an attractive salary will help in recruiting."

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