Wednesday, July 30, 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.

Knowles for balance
I was quite pleased to see that Tony Knowles has decided to run for U.S. Senate. It will be wonderful to have a member of Congress from Alaska who supports something other than a blind adherence to those advocating resource extraction.

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.

Cartoon by George
Tuesday's Empire describing a pentagon-backed DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Program Agency)-created gambling scheme for "futures" trading on possible (possible!) terrorist events anywhere in the world (I guess that includes the U.S.), has got to be the most repugnant/despicable/ un-human policy to come out of this Bush(-whacking) administration yet!

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.

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.

Juneau driver blues
Many Juneau drivers cavort in between lanes on Egan Drive as sport But what's even worse, which causes many a curse, Is bad driving practices that injure and cut life short.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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."

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.

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

This Day in History
In 1959, Alaska's first automated car wash opened in Anchorage.

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.

Grade schools to get $900,000 in federal grant for counseling
The Juneau School District will receive about $296,580 in federal funds in each of the next three years to improve counseling in the elementary schools. When the district applied for the U.S. Department of Education grant several years ago, the six elementary schools had half-time counselors. Now four of the six have full-time counselors.

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.

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

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.

City loans could finance quiet floatplane engines
If the Juneau Assembly approves a city loan program, Wings Airways, a local floatplane operator, will partner with the city to replace some loud engines with quieter but more costly turbine engines. "We're trying to be good neighbors. We really are hoping these airplanes can provide some greater efficiencies for us," said Bob Jacobsen, a Wings Airways partner.

GPS collar will track bear's movements, help educate community
A black bear is getting a second chance at life while local Fish and Game Department officials hope it can educate the community. Instead of having to be killed as a nuisance, a female black bear caught at the Glacier View Trailer Park in the Mendenhall Valley on Sunday was returned Monday to the wild, wearing a collar that will track its movements for the next six weeks, wildlife education specialist Kristen Romanoff said.

Investigators still looking for answers in fatal stabbing
State investigators continued looking for answers Tuesday in the weekend stabbing death of Richard "Buddy" George Jr. in Angoon. A resident of the Admiralty Island community, George suffered a knife wound in his back Saturday night at his home. Alaska State Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said an autopsy Tuesday determined George died from a single stab wound to the back.

Student recognition
Arasmith graduates magna cum laude; Maria Melambianakis named to dean's list; Staci Ignell named intern for Sen. Stevens;

Perkins, Hall marry
Shannon Lea Perkins of Juneau and Jeffrey Robert Hall were married in a ceremony on July 18 in the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City. A reception will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 1, at the Latter-day Saints Chapel, 5100 Glacier Highway. Family and friends are invited to attend.

Lumba, Palomo to wed
May Lumba of Juneau and Jonathan Palomo of Manila, Philippines, will be married in a ceremony at 6 p.m. on Aug. 23, at Glacier Gardens. A reception will follow at 7:30 p.m. Friends and family are invited to the wedding and reception.

Neighbors Briefs
Three from Hoonah selected for anti-drug training; Shrine closure; Community forums slated; Two spiritual camps in August; Computer, English classes; Wells Fargo donations; National Clown Week; Native actors sought; Children win in weekly drawing

Donna, Bob Peel commemorate their 50th wedding anniversary
Robert "Bob" L. Peel and Donna L. (Phelon) Peel are commemorating their 50th wedding anniversary. They were married in McPherson, Kan., moved to Topeka and have lived in Juneau since 1965.

Anticipatory grief can be a help
Sixteen years ago my grandmother died after suffering through eight years with Alzheimer's disease. It was like losing her twice - once when we got the diagnosis, and then again when she finally died from the disease. When she died, I was in the bed with her and she took her last breath while lying in my arms.

Pets of the week
Casey playful, obedient; Cute furballs proliferate

Richard W. George Jr.
Richard W. "Buddy" George Jr., 27, a lifelong resident of Angoon, died July 26, 2003, in Angoon. He was born at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital on January 22, 1976.

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

My Turn: Budget cuts invite more crime
During his campaign, Gov. Murkowski promised to "get tough" on crime. Unfortunately, the Murkowski administration's actions do not back up the "get tough" rhetoric. Recently the governor wielded his veto pen to cut 15 village public safety officer positions from the budget.

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.

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

Juniors softball, Majors baseball all done
Two Gastineau Channel Little League teams wrapped up their postseason runs on Tuesday. At the state Major Division (Age 11-12) Little League Baseball tournament in Fairbanks, the GCLL All-Stars beat North Star Little League of Fairbanks 7-3 to reach the championship game, where they were shut out 6-0 by Dimond-West of Anchorage.

JDHS tennis squad hits the court for first season
This is the time of year when high school athletes playing fall sports hit the field, court, pool or trail to rebuild strength, endurance, skills and - perhaps most importantly - a sense of team camaraderie left dulled by time away. But for one group of Juneau-Douglas High School students, rebuilding their team isn't an option. The six members of the brand-new JDHS tennis squad are starting from scratch. After years of dreams and legwork, five tennis players began official team practices on Monday.

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;

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

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.

Alaska Airlines lowers luggage weight limit
Travelers flying on Alaska Airlines will pay more for heavy baggage. In October, the major air carrier in Southeast Alaska will begin charging an extra $25 each way for bags weighing more than 50 pounds. With two pieces of luggage allowed, round-trip travelers carrying overweight bags could see their tickets cost an extra $100. Executives of the Seattle-based airline said the purpose of the change is to inspire travelers to pack lighter, reducing baggage-handlers' workplace injuries.

Green Party fights to stay on ballot
The Green Party of Alaska filed a lawsuit in Anchorage Superior Court on Tuesday challenging the state law that decides which political parties are given access to statewide ballots. State election officials stripped the Green Party of its official status - which guarantees a place on the ballot in statewide elections - in February after its gubernatorial candidate failed to draw 3 percent of the vote in the 2002 election. Green Party officials have asked for an injunction to retain their ballot access status and alleged in court filings the state law violates their constitutional right of equal protection.

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."

Study: Farmed salmon show high PCB levels
WASHINGTON - A sharp rise in the consumption of farmed salmon may be posing a health threat to millions of Americans because of high levels of PCBs that have been found in limited samples of the popular fish, according to a study released Tuesday. Diet- and health-conscious Americans have turned to salmon in growing numbers in recent years, and about 23 million people now eat the fish more than once a month. But a study by the Environmental Working Group found that seven of 10 farmed salmon recently purchased at grocery stories in Washington D.C., San Francisco and Portland, Ore., contained concentrations of PCBs that were 16 times higher than those found in wild salmon fished from the ocean and roughly four times higher than those found in beef and other seafood.

Pink salmon run appears larger than forecast
This year's Southeast pink salmon run looks larger than the run forecast by the state Department of Fish and Game in February, state officials said Tuesday. Fish and Game predicted a statewide harvest of about 92 million pinks and about 35 to 55 million pinks in Southeast. "Right now our indications are that it's going to be larger than that," said Doug Mecum, director of the department's Commercial Fisheries Division. "We're guessing that it's going to be between 50 million and 70 million. We can't get it much narrower than that."

State Briefs
September trial set for alleged sexual assault; Warrant used to make minor drinking arrests; Convention bureau seeks members; Guide sentenced for dousing protesters;

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