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Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Alaska Department of Labor study: Bank tellers' jobs, others will decline
FAIRBANKS - The number of bank tellers in the state will decline, according to predictions of a state labor study, but bank officials don't agree. With bank customers able to pay bills online, receive paychecks through direct deposits and withdraw cash without leaving their car, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development expects a falling demand for traditional bank tellers.

Less is more
I salute the selfless, generous administrators and educators who put their students ahead of their paychecks. Having the pleasure to work with some in the past 33 years, I take issue with Mr. Rich Kronberg's attitude displayed in his My Turn titled "Declining teacher pay hurts student achievement."

Our captain
Gov. Frank Murkowski inherited a huge fiscal gap from his predecessors and many Alaskans are forgetting that our economy was already shaky and gloomy before he took command. A responsible leader does not continue to spend, spend, spend when faced with financial instability.

Return the bike
You know who you are. You took my son's white DK Cincinnati BMX bicycle from our carport at the Parkshore Condos on Saturday.

Still my hero
In regards to the July 15 story about the Juneau Children's Home "reunion," I feel that I must correct the impression created in the story.

Cue the violins
It was wonderful to see the Alaska Municipal League's and the Alaska Conference of Mayor's recent expression of support for a state income tax. I hope they will lobby hard and successfully for this fiscally responsible and fair proposal.

Enforce traffic laws
I read that the Juneau Assembly recently raised the traffic fines levied upon speeders, jaywalkers and reprobates who have the audacity to drive down South Franklin Street while cruise line customers are using it as a pedestrian mall. If our elected officials are that interested in revenue enhancement, there's a gold mine awaiting them right out on Egan Drive.

Inadequate coverage
Shame on you, Juneau Empire, for the skimpy coverage you gave the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life held July 19-20 at Dimond Park.

No income tax
The recent announcements by the Alaska Municipal League and the Alaska Conference of Mayors of their "overwhelming support for a state income tax" come as no surprise to many of us. These are the same bureaucrats and elected officials who refuse to make the tough and challenging decisions to cut the cost of government.

Divide and conquer
A powerful letter by Mr. Howard (on elders/pigeons) painting a very sad picture. But the segue was missing; there should have been a bit more to the story.

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

Local sets up outlet for used outdoor gear
In a back room in the Emporium Mall downtown, tucked about halfway between Heritage Coffee on the Franklin Street end of the mall and the Kodiak Coat Co. on the other end, Nick Foster has set up shop. Late last week, two tents were set up on the floor of the room. Two bikes were hung from the ceiling, and another was on the floor. Polypropylene, Goretex and hemp outdoor wear draped off of hangers attached to a wood platform in the middle of the room. The latest copies of a new outdoor magazine sat next to the cash box, where Foster had set up a chair to wait for customers.

On the Lindy, a breakdown is more a pleasant interlude
When the engine on Bill Shattenberg's 75-foot, wooden, ketch-rigged motor sailer exploded earlier this summer, he, his wife and their seven-person crew were 400 miles off the Mexican coast with calm, sunny weather, a three-month supply of food and plenty of cheap Panamanian beer. "We did not have a problem, except for the fact that the wind was not going to blow us to Acapulco anytime in the near future," Shattenberg, 47, said last week in the kitchen of the Lindy, docked at the Juneau Yacht Club.

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

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

Construction bidding change tabled
Juneau Assembly members voted Monday night to table a measure that would put a charter change on the ballot. The change, if passed by voters, would allow the city to authorize alternative processes for awarding construction bids. "In the interest of the hospital and their desire to get a project underway, I think we've gotten in a time crunch, and I feel we haven't had enough time to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision," City Manager Rod Swope told the Assembly.

Angoon man stabbed, dies
An Angoon man was stabbed to death at his home Saturday night, relatives said.Richard (Buddy) George Jr., 27, died shortly before 7 p.m. at Angoon Health Clinic, said his grandmother, Judy George of Douglas. His body was flown to Juneau Sunday afternoon for autopsy.

Liquor stores pass weekend compliance test
Police representatives said Monday they were pleased that no store sold alcohol to underage customers during the month's second round of compliance checks Saturday. But Capt. Tom Porter questioned whether the success rate was achieved honestly. He said the agents running the checks observed some "highly coincidental phone calls" during the operation. "It may or may not be that businesses are warning each other that we are out," Porter said. "Hopefully, that is not the case."

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

Tour company to offer scooters as new way to travel
Alaskans and visitors to the state may be able to rent or take tours on a Segway Human Transporter - the motorized personal transportation device touted as revolutionizing the way people move - as soon as next summer. But while the electrical transport device requires very little power, getting permission to use it in cities around the state may require quite a bit of energy from Alaska Travel Adventures, the tour company planning to import Segways.

This Day in History
In 1977, at 11:02 p.m., the first oil from the Prudhoe Bay oil fields reached Valdez, after traveling the 798 miles of the trans-Alaska pipeline.

Assembly raises garbage fees to pay for junk-car removal
The Juneau Assembly approved a measure Monday night increasing monthly utility bills by $1.40 for one year to help cover the cost of picking up and disposing of junk cars. Starting September 1, homeowners will pay a hazardous waste management fee of $5.40 per month, instead of $4. The city deals with about 700 junk cars a year. The price tag for disposal is about $340 per vehicle, including towing and disposal of hazardous materials, City Manager Rod Swope said.

No man an island in contra dancing
When a contra dance is going just right, the dance flows, each movement seeming inevitable and each person seamlessly flowing through the pattern. Another giveaway is the spontaneous yips. The 67 participants at Camp Damp, held Friday through Sunday at the Methodist camp near Eagle River, had plenty of chances to yip.

Auk Totem refurbished for its new home
More than 20 years after the 40-foot Auk Tribe totem that used to stand outside Centennial Hall was carved, it is being refurbished in preparation for its installation in the new atrium at Juneau-Douglas High School. Tlingit master carver Nathan Jackson and his wife, Dorica, are in town this week from Ketchikan to repaint the pole they carved out of Western red cedar in 1981, and to replace some pieces of the wood that had rotted. They were at work Monday morning amid power tools and building supplies in the atrium, which has not been completed.

Photo: Raising money for medical help
Participants in the Raymond E. Paddock Jr. Major Medical and Elder's Emergency Assistance fund-raiser walk along the bike trail Saturday next to Twin Lakes.

This Day in History
In 1900, the last rail for the White Pass and Yukon Railroad was laid, connecting Skagway and Whitehorse.

Troopers continue investigation into Angoon stabbing
No arrests in the stabbing death of Angoon resident Richard "Buddy" George Jr. were reported Monday. Two state investigators were in the Admiralty Island community looking into the case. George, a 27-year-old Angoon man, died Saturday night as a result of a stab wound to his back, Alaska State Trooper spokesman Tim DeSpain said Monday. "Foul play is suspected," he said. But he added that no one was being held in the death.

Joe L. Chase
Former Juneau resident Joe L. Chase died July 25, 2003, at his home after a long illness.

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

Local Sports Briefs
Richey invited to Pro Football Hall of Fame; Dean heads to New Zealand with Collegiate All-Americans;

Juneau Seniors cruise past Washington champs
Juneau's Senior Division (Age 15-16) Little League softball players cleaned up their defense, then cleaned up at the plate Sunday to advance to the finals of the Northwest Division tournament in Vancouver, Wash. The Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars racked up 18 hits and only two errors as they rolled past Washington 13-6. Just down the road in Clackamas, Ore., the Juneau Junior Division (age 13-14) softball team had a tougher road as several late errors contributed to a 6-5 loss to Sequim, Wash.

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

Juneau Juniors advance to title game
Madison Massey and Andi Doerflinger combined to throw a two-hitter as Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars claimed a 1-0 victory over Parkrose, Ore., at the Northwest Division Junior (Age 13-14) Little League Softball Tournament on Monday in Portland, Ore. Massey allowed one hit, struck out two and walked one in her three innings of work. Doerflinger threw the final four innings and allowed one hit with four strikeouts, as the GCLL All-Stars beat the Oregon state champions.

Schools offer high-tech skill - for a price
ANCHORAGE - The job market in Alaska is hungry for workers with high-tech skills, and business is brisk at vocational training centers and other educational institutions. "We are all looking at shortages projected, serious shortages in the work force," said Sally Suddock, executive director of the Alaska High-Tech Business Council. Suddock helps organize a group called the Industry Skills Coalition, which brings together members from the manufacturing, tourism, construction, petroleum and health-care sectors of the economy.

State Briefs
Hoonah man says Agent Orange buried in Tok; Wainwright soldiers charged with assault; Campers missing for days found safe; Ships may have to be equipped with anti-collision device; High school drug policy spurs lawsuit

State employees' pension fund almost $2.5 billion short
FAIRBANKS - The fund in which the state holds its employees' pension money, as well as communities and groups that subscribe to its pension plan, is almost $2.5 billion short, according to recent figures.The shortfall is being blamed on skyrocketing health-care costs combined with a lackluster market in the last few years. The state's teacher retirement fund is also about $1.7 billion short of the money it needs to fund retirement benefits.

Hickel floats plan to cover budget gap
Faced with millions of dollars in cuts to municipal programs by the state, Alaska cities are looking for solutions to budget shortfalls. Former Gov. Walter J. Hickel says he's got one: using money from the Permanent Fund dividend. Hickel, founder of Institute of the North, an Anchorage-based organization that explores Alaska public policy, said the community dividend would take half the money used to pay the dividend and distribute it to cities. "It came out of the whole idea of my objection to the dividend going out with no benefit to the state," Hickel said, noting that Alaskans have traded in their "pioneering spirit" for a "gimme mentality."

State investigators unravel mysteries of old bones
FAIRBANKS - When his son's pit bull brought home a human skull July 11, Roger Shields turned it over to Alaska State Troopers to determine where it came from and how the person died.The skull made its way to homicide investigator Lantz Dahlke, who has seen his share of bones, both human and animal, brought in by people suspicious that old secrets are buried in their backyards. As with the skull Shields' dog found, the bones often have been in the ground for more than 50 years because bones in Alaska soil decompose slower than they do Outside.

State Briefs
Woman charged with DWI after accident; Agencies lay out course on Kensington; Missile officials wait for extra money; Northwest doing brisk business in Anchorage

Clinton's 'Roadless' rule hits a difficult stretch
WASHINGTON - The roadless rule may be at a dead end. The Clinton-era policy, which blocks development on nearly a third of national forests, was struck down this month by a federal judge, who said officials had improperly designated wilderness areas. The decision in a Wyoming case - which is subject to appeal - prevents the rule from being applied in any of the 38 states that have designated roadless areas. The rule had blocked road-building and other development in 58.5 million acres of remote forests, mostly in the West.

Scientists have discovered Russian shipwreck said to be oldest in Alaska
KODIAK - Scientists say they have found what they believe to be the wreckage of the Russian sailing vessel Kadiak, which sank in 1860 in shallow waters near Spruce Island. If the scientists are correct that their discovery is the remains of the Kadiak, then that makes it the first shipwreck found from the Russian American colonial period, which also makes it the oldest shipwreck found in Alaska.

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