Sockeyes strong in Cook Inlet
KENAI - Commercial fishermen in the upper Cook Inlet are seeing a strong return of sockeye salmon, prompting the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to grant some increases in fishing time. Jeff Fox, a commercial fisheries biologist with the agency, says the season is shaping up to be a good one in terms of the numbers of fish caught by commercial fishermen.

Support local merchants
Kudos to Empire Publisher Don Smith for reminding us of the benefits of buying locally. Sometimes it's hard to control your buying habits, with the influence of catalogs and the Internet making it all too easy to shop out of town.

Masquerading as truth
Here's comment on the current controversy over "faulty" intelligence being used and promoted by the executive branch. "Thou shall not bear false witness," one of the Ten Commandments, is a citizen tool for measuring the worth of national public officials today. It's not that officials sometimes lie - we all do that. It's not that officials sometimes allow their biased guesses to masquerade as truth - we all do that, too.

Conservation concerns
I think it's a red herring for Lew Williams and Tom Abbott to aggressively criticize Elizabeth Arnold for the technical errors in her report on the Tongass. Her interview reveals a substantially more sophisticated understanding of the issues on the Tongass then either Lew or Tom presented.

Freedom or confusion?
We have had several "My Turn" columns addressing God and freedom and their place in our government and country. I am not going to argue history with a historian or law with a lawyer. I just want to provide a Christian perspective from a Christian in hope that it will help somebody out there sort things.

Discoveries with docents
A visitor to the Alaska State Museum could spend days peering through the glass panes of museum displays to examine cedar root, birch bark and eel grass baskets crafted by Natives from all over the state. But under the guidance of a docent, who leads visitors through the museum with arms full of artifacts and art, visitors can gain a much better understanding of the baskets - how they smell and feel, how much they weigh and the density of their weave. "It takes a lot of finesse to make one of these," said docent Shauna McMahon, passing a birch bark box around to members of her tour Monday morning.

Photo: Relay for Life
Tuula Marquardt, right, and Pat Yearty hold a banner and lead cancer survivors in the first lap at Dimond Park on Saturday as part of the Second Annual Relay For Life. The fund-raising event for the American Cancer Society started Saturday afternoon and continued through 6 a.m. Sunday.

Alaskan Brewing honored in competition
The North American Brewers Association awarded the Alaskan Brewing Co. two gold medals and one silver medal during a brew competition held in June in Idaho.

Beer-swigging snails and rose-hungry porcupines
Six years ago, Tom and Nelda Stewart built their house on the side of a muddy slope north of Auke Bay. After years of care and hard work, they've transformed the soggy hillside into a home for fruit trees, herbs, shrubs and perennials. While working to shape the land at their home at 13930 Glacier Ave., the couple has competed with soil erosion, horsetail weeds, dandelions, banana slugs and a porcupine with an appetite for roses.

Due to a reporter's error, an article in Monday's Empire incorrectly stated gardener Nelda Stewart's occupation. Stewart works for a lobbyist during the legislative session.

Police buckle down on alcohol sales to minors
Juneau police will continue this summer to check to see that businesses aren't selling alcohol to minors, department spokes-man Capt. Tom Porter said Monday. "We hope we will have a positive effect on reducing the availability of alcohol to young people," Porter said. One person working as a clerk was cited Saturday, and police are investigating whether to cite a second person after a round of compliance checks, he said.

This Day in History
In 1902, Felix Pedro discovered gold on Cleary Creek, touching off a stampede that resulted in the founding of Fairbanks.

This Day in History
In 1969, Gov. Keith Miller declared "Lunar Landing Day in Alaska" and gave state workers the day off in celebration of Apollo 11's successful landing on the moon.

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

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

Clinic message: Be of good cheer
When they're young, say, 11 years old, would-be cheerleaders find it hard to say why they want to do it. But an experienced cheerleader, such as Sara Clauder, speaks of learning responsibility and how to manage her time and spend it wisely. She cheered for the Juneau-Douglas High School basketball and football teams for four years. "Just being in any kind of sport makes you concentrate so much more," she said Saturday at a cheerleading clinic in the Glacier Valley Elementary School gym for 16 youngsters.

Panel recommends Douglas Bridge changes
A Juneau Assembly committee wants the full panel to approve a controversial project aimed at easing traffic congestion on and around the Douglas Bridge. The project, proposed by the state Department of Transportation, would remove bicycle lanes on the bridge to make room for a reversible center lane for vehicles. The lane would run one way from Douglas to Juneau during the morning rush hour and in the opposite direction for the rest of the day. The project also would widen the intersection of 10th Street and Egan Drive and add a traffic circle to route vehicles on the Douglas side of the bridge.

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

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

Darrell Larsen
Longtime Juneau resident Darrell Larsen, 41, died July 15, 2003, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Wash.

Victor Mitchell Johnson
Hoonah resident Victor Mitchell Johnson, 50, died July 20, 2003, in Hoonah.

Alaska Editorial: It's time to look for oil in Bristol Bay
Many years ago, when statehood was young and people were looking at ways to expand the economy, strong suggestions were made that oil and gas exploration should be conducted in Bristol Bay. Heavens no, said the salmon fishing industry - with solid nods of approval from the environmental lobbies.

Juneau Majors reach finals of district tourney
For one inning Monday, it looked like Juneau and Wrangell were headed to another double-barreled slugfest in the District 2 Major Division (Age 11-12) Little League Baseball Tournament in Ketchikan. But from the second inning on, Juneau kept firing as Wrangell's bats fell silent, and the Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars ran away with a 13-2 win in four innings to reach today's championship game.

Juneau Seniors shut out Kenai in state opener
A pair of overpowering pitchers and experience in previous state tournaments helped Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars get off to a big start in the opening game of the Alaska State Senior Division (Age 15-16) Little League Softball Tournament. Ashley Larson struck out eight hitters and allowed one hit through the first four innings, then reliever Alicia Maryott struck out five hitters and allowed two hits over the last three frames as Juneau claimed an 8-0 victory over Kenai on Sunday at Melvin Park.

Sports Briefs
Cavaliers finish 2-4 in summer league; JDHS swimmers earn national honors; Coxe wins Alaska prone rifle title

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

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

Juneau Seniors repeat as state softball champs
Hannah Barril admitted to being nervous at the start of Monday's second game of the best-of-three championship series in the Alaska State Senior Division (Age 15-16) Little League Softball Tournament at Melvin Park. Even though she'd pitched in big games before - helping Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars claim last year's state Junior Division (Age 13-14) title and as a freshman with the state runner-up Juneau-Douglas High School team - Barril said she had the jitters.

Knik in state title game
When North Pole jumped out to a three-run, first-inning lead, the Knik All-Stars didn't panic. Knik scratched out a run here, a couple of runs there, and rallied to beat North Pole 6-4 Sunday in the Alaska State Junior Division (Age 13-14) Little League Baseball Tournament at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. "We knew there was a lot of game left," said Zack Morse, who drove in the game-winning run with a double in the top of the seventh inning, the game's only extra-base hit.

Ketchikan edges North Pole to advance to the state Junior title game
With the way both teams kept scoring every inning, it was a good thing Ketchikan won the pre-game coin flip and won the home team's last at-bats against North Pole in Monday's losers' bracket game in the Alaska State Junior Division (Age 13-14) Little League Baseball Tournament at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. Ryan Simpson singled home John Thompson from third base with the game-winning run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, giving Ketchikan a 9-8 victory in an elimination game.

Denali Commission shift could cause some villages to die
ANCHORAGE - A federal agency that funnels hundreds of millions of dollars into rural Alaska construction projects is considering a subtle policy shift that could determine which villages survive and which don't. The proposed policy spells out benchmarks the Denali Commission will use to determine whether a village qualifies for new facilities and at what level.

Reds have Kenai businesses seeing a lot of green
KENAI - When the reds come in, businesses that cater to anglers see green. July generally brings a hearty group of Alaskans to the Kenai and Kasilof rivers' personal-use fisheries to pull in their limit of sockeye salmon. The result is a gold mine for area businesses selling merchandise for dipnetting.

Protection axed for Northern Goshawk
SAN FRANCISCO - Thwarting environmentalists, a federal appeals court here Monday upheld a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision that the Northern Goshawk doesn't need federal protection throughout the West. The 3-0 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel came after 13 years of litigation, in which environmentalists wanted the government to list the large raptor, usually found in the western United States, as endangered or threatened. The Queen Charlotte Goshawk, a subspecies found in Southeast Alaska, has been the subject of a separate petition to declare it endangered.

Slaying suspect evades troopers
ANCHORAGE - A Seward man has been the subject of a manhunt since Saturday night but so far has eluded Alaska State Troopers and other law enforcement officers. Bill Conger, 31, is suspected of killing friend and co-worker John Tulin, 43. Tulin was found late Saturday shot dead in his driveway, Alaska State Troopers said.

Ferry system offers one-day getaway as part of anniversary
The Alaska Marine Highway System is planning three more National Scenic Byway Designation ceremonies, the unveiling of a commemorative work of art and a one-day getaway as part of its National Scenic Byway Sailabration and 40th Anniversary Celebration. On Sunday, July 27, the ferry Kennicott will depart from Auke Bay on its regularly scheduled trip south. Once the vessel is under way, ferry system manager Capt. George Capacci will officially designate the newest member of the fleet as part of the Alaska Marine Highway Scenic Byway.

Challenger Learning Center struggles to find operating money
KENAI - The Challenger Learning Center has been highly successful at finding grants to build its facilities dedicated to space education. But finding the money to keep the doors open is proving to be more difficult. The learning center opened three years ago and organizers won applause for leveraging federal grants and corporate donations into a facility at no cost to local taxpayers. The $7 million facility has just finished doubling in size, adding new multipurpose classroom space and dormitories for out-of-town students. Finding money for keeping the doors open has been harder.

State Briefs
Bill would create national heritage area; Court of Appeals considering pot case; Predator control in McGrath may be working; Thieves take the cake; French trio to go on horseback from Valdez to Fairbanks; Girl dies weeks after auto accident

émigré greets governor years after receiving help
FAIRBANKS - A young woman at the Governor's Picnic reminded Frank Murkowski of what he called the highlight of his 22-year U.S. Senate career. In 1986, Murkowski, then a U.S. senator, led a congressional delegation to Hanoi, calling on the Vietnamese to resolve cases of American soldiers missing in action. He also had a second goal - to answer the request of a Fairbanks woman who fled Vietnam years earlier, to bring her children to join her in the United States.

Atlantic salmon found teeming in creek near Olympia, Wash.
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Several hundred juvenile Atlantic salmon have been spotted in a Thurston County creek near a commercial hatchery that breeds the nonnative species for fish farms, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife says. Concerns about Atlantic salmon colonizing Pacific Northwest streams at the expense of native fish have worried biologists and fishing interests as the salmon-farming industry has grown explosively in recent years.

Attorney general visits Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft defended the USA Patriot Act during a visit to Anchorage Monday, while dozens of demonstrators outside waved signs criticizing the anti-terrorism law and Ashcroft. The Patriot Act has been "misconstrued," said Ashcroft, a former Republican senator and governor from Missouri who became attorney general in 2001. The act consolidates other laws long on the books that deal with drug dealers and other suspects of serious crimes, he said. The law, passed by Congress shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks, broadens government powers of surveillance and investigative methods.

State Briefs
Man indicted on sex abuse charges; Murkowski signs minimum wage bill; Buffer zone likely won't affect Alaska; Federal government seeks airport screeners; Park service looking for seed collectors

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