Monday, July 14, 2003

New picture books for little ones at Juneau Public Library
We've got several new books aimed at the wanna-be heavy equipment operators out there:

Questions candidates
Well, once again, the Sealaska elections are over, and once again, the Board of Directors did what it wanted and elected the person it wanted.

Thanks to community organizations
Just when you think community doesn't exist in Juneau something happens that warms your heart and rekindles your faith. I am talking about the newborn hearing project that was dedicated Sept. 9 at Bartlett Regional Hospital here in Juneau.

Parks and gardens on the waterfront
The Assembly's Quality of Life goals are education and recreation. Waterfront Parks and Gardens meet those goals.

Objects to rider
I understand that the Honorable Sen. Ted Stevens is attempting to preempt the public process provided by the National Environmental Policy Act, the Tongass Timber Reform Act, and the Tongass Land Management Plan for input and redress regarding timber sales on the Tongass National Forest in the form of a rider which could be attached to another unrelated bill.

This Day in History
In 1721, John Douglas, for whom Douglas Island near Juneau was named, was born in Scotland.

This Day in History
In 1948, nine members of an American Youth Hostel bicycle camping tour of Alaska left Anchorage for Palmer. They each carried 25-30 pounds of gear on lightweight "English-type" bikes.

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

Photo: Governor's Mansion, 1935
A photo of the Governor's Mansion appeared on a postcard in 1935. The mansion was built and furnished in 1912 at a cost of $44,000.

Seely Hall: Strictly an artist of Alaska
When Seely Hall first came to Alaska on vacation in 1949, he was working as a banker for the California National Bank in Palo Alto, Calif. "I came up here when it was like Alaska," said Hall. "So that did it." Since then, Hall has lived in Anchorage, Seward, Sitka and Juneau. He worked for First National Bank for 38 years before retiring in 1987.

Future of 4-H program in Southeast is cloudy
The 4-H program in Southeast Alaska has grown from 54 children in 1984 to about 700 children now, officials said. But it's not certain how strongly the region's program, funded by the federal government and the state university, will continue after its organizer retires next summer. Jim Douglas, 54, runs the 4-H program as part of his duties as a Cooperative Extension Service agent based in Juneau. He also runs the gardening program. But he's leaving next June 30 after 20 years in town and 30 years altogether as an agent.

Corrections
Due to a reporting error, a city budget article in Wednesday's Empire incorrectly reported the Assembly Finance Committee reallocated $110,000 from the Alaska Committee to the Juneau School District.

Mixing fun with challenges
Four boys lie prone in the dappled shade of a blue tarp strung between trees, air rifles in front of them, as the instructor keeps up a steady line of bantering patter. It's a rare sunny day and you can smell the big ferns baking in the sun, just like a place that has summer. As Douglas works with the marksmen, other kids are with counselors painting pots, making tie-dyed T-shirts, learning archery, tying flies for fishing, and horsing around in informal games such as forming human knots of linked arms.

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

Report paints less than rosy picture for Juneau
A "sluggish" local economy in 2002, defined by slow growth in wages and population, and a slumping retail sector, were among the findings of an economic report released Friday by the Juneau Economic Development Council. The report, prepared by the local consulting firm The McDowell Group, was produced by the JEDC in collaboration with the Juneau Chamber of Commerce and the city. "I think the important thing about the report is that the economic indicators look backwards," said JEDC Executive Director Lance Miller. "They're history. They are not telling us what will happen in the future, but they are a framework for what will happen in the future."

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

Group recommends tax reform
Does an iBook get old faster than a dump truck? How much longer does a dump truck take to get old? Should business people who use only computers pay less tax than business people who use dump trucks? For the last year, a committee of business people and city tax officials has been pondering such questions as it looks at ways to restructure Juneau's business personal property tax.

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

Photo: A-J Mill, 1920
The Alaska-Juneau Gold Mining Company Mill, seen here in a photograph circa 1920, was constructed in 1916. The mine prospered until World War II, when many workers left for war or related projects. The mine closed in 1944.

Vernon Akin
Juneau resident Vernon Akin, 83, died July 10, 2003, surrounded by his family after a long illness.

Jason Mark Skan
Jason Mark Skan, 26, died July 12, 2003, in Juneau. He is survived by a son, Reynolds J. Skan IV. A full obituary will be published soon.

Toe Cartoon

My Turn: Locals competitive with 'big box' stores
Several people have recently written the Empire to decry "high prices" in Juneau versus those on the internet or found down below in stores. One lady noted "outrageous prices" and her need to buy elsewhere because most of her earnings end up in the high real estate market.

Empire editorial: Greenpeace founder rejects group's doctrine
In yet another summer already bristling with catastrophic forest fires, philosophical points of friction also are heating up across the political spectrum. On a national level this month the U.S. Senate will test party allegiances as it debates the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003.

Boost the Alaska economy, not its taxes
Alaskans concede that the day might come for reinstating the individual income tax or tapping earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund. The state can't continue many more years taking money from the shrinking Constitutional Budget Reserve fund. Leaders in the state recognize this and have proposed actions that have strong support.

What do you think?
A big box store enhances Juneau's status as a retail center for outlying areas as far away as Whitehorse. Bringing income into Juneau and the jobs that come with it is desirable.

Intent is key to finding truth
Some time ago I came to an important conclusion: One does not have to be a lawyer to understand the U.S. Constitution if one is honestly exploring for truth. For every document, we need to understand what the intent was for its conception. One of the things I have tried to do in my study of the Constitution was to keep some of those fundamental principles the founders had pretty much the center of attention.

My Turn: Time to focus on the positive
The Legislature has been criticized in the media for not doing its job this year. The House minority leader has, in articles published across the state, called the session a "fiasco." I strongly disagree. I am proud of my House colleagues for our accomplishments and some truly historic acts. It was the most difficult and arduous session I have experienced. The Legislature, together with our new governor, Frank Murkowski, worked long and hard to make tough decisions in order to change our state's direction.

Working among Brown Bears
Lush, green and wild, Admiralty Island offers one million acres of wilderness just a few miles from Juneau. Among the island's many attractions is a modest creek flowing into Seymour Canal. What makes Pack Creek unique is the predictable presence of bears. "We're here to protect the bears from the people," Paul Converse said. "The way to do that is by managing people."

Subsistence fishing not just for Alaska Natives
Almost everyone has heard it in the harbor or on the water. "The poor, subsistence fisherman ...," or "Subsistence fishermen are taking all the fish," or even "I wish I could subsistence fish, but I'm not Native." All of these sayings make wrong assumptions about subsistence fishing, and it's surprising how many people have misconceptions. But even though the subsistence laws are long and complicated, some basic information can help any person get a better understanding of the practice.

Fish Report
Juneau area marine boat anglers enjoyed more good king salmon fishing, the most recent survey released July 7 showed.

Out and About
July 13: Public trap shooting at the Juneau Gun Club on Montana Creek Road, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Details: 789-9844. July 14-18 and 21-25: Level 2 continuing dinghy sailing course for ages 12-18, Juneau Youth Sailing Foundation, 8:15 a.m.-noon, $230. Details: 789-3546 or www.juneauyouthsailing.org/.

In search of Alaska's butterflies
ANCHORAGE - Collecting butterflies is a hobby that attracts more kids than adults, but a few adults continue their fascination with these fragile, winged creatures. Other adults, rarer still, never chased insects as kids but stumbled into butterfly collecting later in life. Many say they do it because of the insects' beauty, but also for the adventure and challenge, and the possibility of making a new scientific discovery.

Big Fish Photos

Correction
In Sunday's sports section, a story about the Junior Division (Age 13-14) contained some inaccuracies about Ketchikan's victory over Sitka. Kenny Pearson's homer was a solo shot, not a three-run homer (the runners on base scored before Pearson's hit, but how they scored wasn't clearly marked in the official scorebook).

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

Juneau Freewheelers Informal Time Trial
Results from Friday night's informal time trial sponsored by the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club. The course was 24.5 miles along the North Douglas Highway from the Kowee Creek bridge to the end of North Douglas Highway and back. Cyclists started out in 30-second intervals and raced against the clock.

Juniors no-hit Pilots
Some of Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars said they had the jitters as they opened play Saturday in the District 2 Junior Division (Age 13-14) Baseball Tournament at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. If the All-Stars had tournament-opener jitters, they didn't show it as three GCLL pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter against the Stikine Pilots, an all-star team from the towns of Petersburg and Wrangell. Joe Kohan threw three innings of perfect ball, then relievers Shane Rud and Chris Hinkley kept the no-hitter going as Juneau won 15-0 in a game called after five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule. The three pitchers allowed just two base-runners on a pair of full-count walks in the fourth inning.

GCLL All-Stars win again in Junior Division tourney
The first six hitters in the batting order scored two runs each as Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars beat the Prince of Wales All-Stars 15-2 on Sunday in the District 2 Junior Division (Age 13-14) Tournament at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. Gary Stephens, Nathaniel Jacobsen, Joe Kohan, Chris Hinkley, Clae Baker and Nico Saldivar each scored twice for the GCLL All-Stars, with Jacobsen and Hinkley adding two RBIs apiece.

Photo: Synch or swim
Juneau Aurora Knights Synchronized Swimming Team members Koko Urata, left, and Sarah Felix perform a routine during the Esynchro Age Group Championships national meet in Gainesville, Fla., last month.

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

Running in Tom's memory
Tom Casey wasn't a full-time resident of Juneau, but his death in a Connecticut kayak accident last fall left a big impression on the local running community. Casey, a graduate student at Yale who spent summers working in Juneau, was remembered Saturday during the inaugural Tom Casey Memorial Mount Juneau Ridge Run. The 15-mile adventure run covered parts of Perseverance Trail, a climb up Mount Juneau and a run along the mountain ridges until a descent down Granite Creek Basin.

Boozer shows not all Duke players are bad
Not Carlos Boozer! Not another guy from Duke! Most fans didn't just wince when he was picked by the Cleveland Cavaliers a year ago, they were ready to chant OVER-RATED! They invoked the names of Danny Ferry and Trajan Langdon - spitting them out, saying they were the typical Duke players with overblown college reputations and little NBA game. Incredibly, many NBA people who should know better fell into the same trap.

Murkowski announces oil accord with Bristol Bay Native Corp.
State officials have reached an accord with the Bristol Bay Native Corp. over the prospects of opening the first lease sale in the region in more than a decade. "We think the prospects are as bright here as anywhere in the state regarding oil and gas," said Gov. Frank Murkowski. The state Department of Natural Resources has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bristol Bay Native Corp., which owns 3.1 million acres in the region on behalf of more than 7,000 shareholders.

Fans gawk at souped-up amphibian
ANCHORAGE - It looks like nothing else in the northern sky: a slender amphibian with a bulbous engine jutting forward from its tail and four-blade prop spinning above the cabin. New-to-Alaska readers should know that around here, the first definition of "amphibian" is not a frog but an airplane capable of taking off or landing on land or water. Dean Rickerson, a vice president at the Anchorage office of Wedbush Morgan Securities, thinks his Super Seawind is the fastest amphibian in the world.

State Briefs
Cruise lines add three Alaska cruises a week; Pilot dead after crash near Kachemak Bay; Man's body found in South Anchorage lake; Herring catch spoiled after overheating

Scientists trace global warming in Interior
FAIRBANKS - A burst of hot air shot up at Dr. Glenn Juday as he looked down at the edge of a high bluff over the Tanana Flats. Blasted by the wind and sun, the bluff was covered with thin soil and sparse grass and ringed by stunted aspens. "You may be looking at the future, there," he said. "You're kind of getting an intimation of what the whole environment around here would be like if it all, generally, got hotter and drier." Behind Juday, a professor of forest ecology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, stood a small group of some of America's most distinguished scientific minds. They came to Alaska to see the effects of global warming.

Governor plans road from Chignik to King Salmon
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Frank Murkowski hopes to build a $285 million road along the remote Alaska Peninsula with money raised from selling state oil leases near Bristol Bay. Murkowski said the 182-mile gravel road would connect the deepwater port of Chignik to the town of King Salmon, 284 nearly roadless miles southwest of Anchorage. "We feel there is enough revenue potential from the sale of the (oil) leases to more than pay for the road," Murkowski said Thursday.

Rats decimate seabird colony
ANCHORAGE - Norway rats are decimating one of the Northern Hemisphere's most spectacular seabird colonies. The rats are eating auklets nesting at the base of a volcano on Kiska Island, near the tip of the Aleutian Chain. Scientists visiting the site during the past three summers say the devastation is extreme, leading to many empty bird-nesting crannies in the jumbled lava overlooking the Bering Sea.

Alaska dioceses take part in national audit
ANCHORAGE - The three Catholic dioceses in Alaska are taking part in two national sexual abuse projects to gauge the level of compliance to new church norms and to determine the extent of abuse over the past 50 years, state Catholic leaders said Friday. All 195 dioceses in the United States are being audited to see if their policies conform with national guidelines regarding sexual abuse of children that were adopted at a Roman Catholic bishops conference in Dallas last year. All dioceses also are participating in the past-abuse survey.

Land sale could end access to popular fishing stream
ANCHORAGE - A proposed land sale could end public access to the lower Anchor River and one of the Kenai Peninsula's most popular fishing streams. The land is being subdivided into five-acre parcels. The owners hope to win preliminary approval of their subdivision plan Monday night from the Kenai Peninsula Borough. The lots could be on the market later this summer.

Survivors recount motorcycle-car accident
ANCHORAGE - Riding first and second in a line of six middle-aged Ohio motorcyclists Wednesday, Dwayne Haavisto and Joe Halsey watched as a car moving at freeway speed drifted toward them over the center line. "At the last second, I swerved to my right," Halsey said Thursday. The third rider also got out of the way, with only inches to spare. The three others did not. In their mirrors, Halsey and Haavisto caught the scene behind them. "I saw the explosion," Haavisto said. "It was just an explosion of dust, people, pieces of motorcycle."

Anchorage-based company specializes in digital forensics
ANCHORAGE - Most computer users have experienced that sinking feeling when the file they are working on somehow disappears into cyberspace. If anyone can find those missing bits and bytes, it is Charles Preston. He can also track down evidence of hackers getting into your company's computer network or employees abusing computer access, and he can resurrect deleted e-mail messages.

State Briefs
Cruise ship undergoes repairs in Seward; Strong earthquake shakes Craig; Elmendorf to begin six-day exercise; $33 million proposed for Greely airfield;

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