Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Voting booth awaits
This November, the Alaska Constitution orders that we be asked if we want a constitutional convention. Alaskans should think about why asking this every 10 years is a distinct part of the Constitution. Far from being mere lip service to the supreme sovereignty of the people, it can be a very basic tool to protect that sovereignty.

Stevens' pay well deserved
As the former area director of Juneau's Special Olympics Alaska program, I would like to comment on Barbara Williams' letter regarding the salary paid to Ben Stevens, director of Special Olympics World Winter Games, which were held in Alaska during the winter of 2001.

Partisan paternalism
With his veto of geographical differential pay considerations for state employees in rural Alaska not represented by unions, Gov. Tony Knowles has once again demonstrated the strategy of dichotomy this administration has promoted so forcefully - management-controlled unions against workers, urban dwellers against rural, privileged against poor, Democrats against Republicans.

Defer the decision
The Assembly has decided to defer a decision on the tourism management plan and to request additional comments on parts of it. The committee may report back to the Assembly as late as October 2002.

Best 30,000 anywhere
I had the delightful opportunity to spend a little time with Michael Orelove of the Juneau Planetarium recently, as he worked on the planetarium's project to paint information about our solar system at Twin Lakes.

Let the process work
As a Douglas resident I have followed the issue of siting a new heliport carefully since my neighborhood will be effected by its location. Douglas residents already are exposed to a lot of aircraft noise, thus I am sympathetic to Thane residents' concerns about the location of the new heliport in their neighborhood.

NTSB: '01 crash pilot was using restricted drug
Pilot overconfidence caused by a prescription drug may have doomed six people aboard a tour plane that slammed into a rock wall in the Davidson Glacier pass near Haines last year, according to a report released today by the National Transportation Safety Board.The report is a summary of facts found during the NTSB's year-long investigation into the July 30, 2001, crash of the Piper Cherokee Six plane, operated by L.A.B. Flying Service of Haines, that killed one Canadian and four German tourists as well as the pilot.

Father pleads guilty to one assault charge
A father accused of destroying his infant son's breathing monitor pleaded guilty Tuesday in Juneau Superior Court to a felony assault charge and may serve about a year in prison.Brian Bevelhymer, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree assault.

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

Local dog to meet the nation in new line of greeting cards
As a puppy, Briz was rescued by construction workers from the woods near Angoon. As an adult dog, Briz is repaying the life-saving favor by serving in search-and-rescue missions.This unusual life story landed Briz, a female mixture of herding breeds, a slot as one of 12 animals featured on a new line of greeting cards called "Rescue Stories."

Men in skiff free whale
When Pat Volmer saw a humpback whale in trouble, he acted.Volmer, caretaker at the Taku Glacier Lodge, was rounding Point Salisbury on his way up the Taku River on Saturday when he saw a whale spout in the distance. Drawing closer, he saw that the animal was tangled in the ropes from two crab pots, which were dragging behind it.

Ridgeway to seek Juneau Assembly seat
Juneau School Board member Stan Ridgeway will run this fall for a Mendenhall Valley seat on the Juneau Assembly.Ridgeway, who is serving his second term on the Juneau School Board, filed a notice of intent this week with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, allowing him to raise money and campaign for the open District 2 seat.

City may halt dock project
Juneau Assembly member Randy Wanamaker asked the city on Monday to finish a comprehensive waterfront plan before approving permits for new dock construction downtown.Wanamaker asked City Attorney John Corso to prepare an ordinance or resolution imposing a temporary moratorium on new dock construction. The ordinance or resolution will come back to the Assembly for more discussion.

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

Photo: The price is right
Fisherman Greg O'Claray, left, helps Rik Pruett bag a few coho salmon at Aurora Harbor on Monday afternoon. O'Claray made his first fishing trip with a recently bought power troller, named Shedoni II, around Yakobi Island.

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

Corrections
In an article in Tuesday's Empire about the removal of the Rev. Timothy Crowley from the ministry, The Associated Press, relying on information from the Archdiocese of Anchorage, erroneously reported the age of the boy abused by the priest in Michigan. The boy was 11, not 15, the diocese said.

City trims bus fares to spur kids to use Capital Transit
Young people in Juneau will pay less to ride a city bus starting next month.Under a plan unanimously approved by the Juneau Assembly on Monday, the price of a one-way trip on the bus for kids will drop from $1.25 to $1. The cost of a one-month youth pass will be $10, down from $18 for what was called a student pass.

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

Photo: Dance competitors
Janice D. Holst dancers, June Tonsgard and Aszli Skrzynski, keep warm by can-can dancing during the July 4 parade as prospector Jack Marshall enjoys the scenery from the deck of a cabin produced by Icy Straits Lumber of Hoonah.

Remembering the forgotten mourners
There is a group of people that is often overlooked when we talk about the bereaved - those who have been grieving for many years. I would like to honor four of these people by sharing their stories with you.

Academic Honors
University of Idaho officials have announced the names of 1,946 students who made the dean's list for the spring semester. The following Juneau undergraduates earned a GPA of 3.3 or better on 14 or more graded credits:

Dryden, Peterson to marry
Sarah Elizabeth Dryden of Toronto, Canada, and Scott Lee Peterson of Juneau will be married at 6 p.m. on July 20, 2002, at the conservatory of Casa Loma in Toronto. A reception will immediately follow in the library of Casa Loma.

July is peak time for soil amending
This is what the Irish have called a "fine soft day," and a better climate for transplanting I have never seen. This calm saturation without flooding is just what the plant doctor orders, and the soil temperatures are perfect. All the conifers have flushed, candles are opening and the soft tips on the beautiful hemlocks glow like the newly frosted tips of my 10-year-old son's hair. Irises flowering, bog orchids in bloom, and the whole town glowing with color and aroma - it is a delight to survey the landscape.

Thank you
...for your caring.

Pets Of The Week
Smurf is an ideal family cat. He is a gray shorthair, neutered male with a very friendly, easygoing and affectionate personality. He will eagerly jump on one's lap and gently nudge one's chin. He gets along with dogs as well as cats.

Smathers, Nizich to wed
Ginger Vicki Smathers and Anthony "Tony" Francis Nizich will be married on July 20, 2002, at the Chapel by the Lake. The bride is the daughter of Judy and Brad Smathers and the groom is the son of Rosalie and Mike Nizich.

Ronald J. Kutz
Former Juneau resident Ronald J. Kutz, 74, died July 9, 2002, in Seattle, Wash., from severe complications related to an accident on June 12, 2002.

Ronald J. Kutz
Former Juneau resident Ronald J. Kutz, 74, died July 9, 2002, in Seattle, Wash., from severe complications related to an accident on June 12, 2002.

Ronald J. Kutz
Former Juneau resident Ronald J. Kutz, 74, died July 9, 2002, in Seattle, Wash., from severe complications related to an accident on June 12, 2002.

Ronald J. Kutz
Former Juneau resident Ronald J. Kutz, 74, died July 9, 2002, in Seattle, Wash., from severe complications related to an accident on June 12, 2002.

My Turn: Murkowski land swap is dirty deal for Alaskans
As a longtime Juneau community member I am appalled by the proposed Cape Fox Land Exchange, the latest backroom maneuver by Sen. Murkowski to help Kensington mine cut corners and costs at the public's expense. Coeur Alaska, owner of the Kensington gold mine, has an approved operating plan but they want to cut corners to maximize their profits.

Seniors one win from state
Juneau moved within one win of the state Senior (ages 15-16) Little League Baseball tourney on Tuesday with a 7-3 victory over Ketchikan in the first game of their best-of-three District II championship series in Petersburg.

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

Juneau Freewheelers' End Of The Road race
Results from the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club's End of the Road Race held Saturday from the Shrine of St. Therese to Echo Cove and back along the Glacier Highway. The race was held in steady rain to light showers, and the course measured 32.5 miles.

Seniors in title showdown
Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars may have lost the in-game home run derby to the Stikine Pilots, but Juneau won where it counted as the GCLL All-Stars claimed an 18-6 victory Monday in the District II Senior (age 15-16) Little League Baseball Championships in Petersburg. Stikine, which is a combined team from Petersburg and Wrangell, hit four homers in the game to Juneau's three as both teams took advantage of the short, 270-foot temporary fence at Mort Fryer Field.

Letter: My hero
Wes Coyner was my hero - the ultimate athlete, the ultimate person, the guy I want to be. (Yes, even 54-year-old men can have their heroes.)My guy begins running in his mid-60s, after being ranked nationally in racquetball into his early 60s. He places second in his age group in the Boston and Seattle marathons before turning to duathlon competition, where he promptly becomes the national champion, ranked in the top five internationally, and voted an All American for his age group.

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

State briefs
Former Juneau, Douglas residents to meet in Seattle; Sitka writer to lecture at Bread Loaf event; Alaska fire crews head south; State requires waterfowl guides to register;

GOP recruiting to settle races
Republican Party of Alaska officials want you - provided, of course, that you are like them.The state Republican Party has begun targeted mailings to registered Libertarians, Republican Moderates and members of the Alaskan Independence Party encouraging them to switch their party affiliation.

Primary rules irk AK voters
Alaska's new primary election system has created a dilemma for Ronnie Rosenberg.Rosenberg counts herself among the majority of Alaska voters who don't belong to any of the state's six recognized political parties. But on Aug. 27 she'll have to ask for one of their ballots in order to weigh in on a nonpartisan citizen's initiative also before voters.

Haines government transition begins
Haines residents are one election away from having one local government.In an election certified last week, voters supported consolidating the Haines city and the Haines borough into a new, home-rule borough. The next step is for residents to elect a new mayor, borough assembly and school board on Oct. 1.

State briefs
Body found in Port of Anchorage; Alaska to receive funds to help offenders; New airport plan spares park; UAA receives $110,000 from Commerce Department

Grasshoppers scouring fields in Matanuska Valley
ANCHORAGE - Gardeners and farmers along the Matanuska River in Palmer say the biggest plague of grasshoppers in more than half a century is scouring their fields."There's places where you look at the ground and they just completely cover it," said Ted Pyrah of Pyrah's Pioneer Peak Farm. "When you drive across or walk across, the whole ground is alive."

Man found beaten to death in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS - A 33-year-old man found dead underneath the Steese Highway Bridge early Sunday morning was beaten to death, Fairbanks police said.Robert Frank Jr., a transient with family in Venetie, was killed by multiple blunt force trauma to the head, according to the state medical examiner's office.

Oil execs warn against industry tax hikes
ANCHORAGE - Alaska oil industry executives are urging Alaska politicians to look elsewhere for solutions to the state's fiscal gap.A parade of oil industry executives spoke Monday to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, saying the next governor and Legislature should erase the looming threat of higher taxes or royalties on oil and gas produced in the state.

Body found near missing girl's home
ANCHORAGE - The body of a young girl was found in South Anchorage on Monday, just blocks from the home of missing teen-ager Delaney Zutz, Anchorage police said.

Alaska priest is stripped of his duties
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage priest who once abused a 15-year-old boy in Michigan has been stripped of his authority to be a minister.Bishop Carl Mengeling of Lansing, Mich., announced Monday he was "withdrawing the faculties," the official permission to exercise ministry, from the Rev. Timothy Crowley.

State salary adjustment bill vetoed
Salary adjustments that compensate state employees for the higher costs of working in rural areas will remain at their current levels for non-union employees for at least another year.A bill vetoed last week by Gov. Tony Knowles would have brought geographic pay differentials for non-union employees in line with those represented by unions.

Ketchikan borough buys mill to end auction
KETCHIKAN - Ketchikan Gateway Borough officials sealed a last-minute deal to buy a defunct veneer mill, bringing an abrupt end to an auction in progress.

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