Thursday, July 31, 2003

Alaska Air CEO pushes cost-cutting
SEATTLE - When Bill Ayer took over as chief executive of Alaska Air Group in May, he inherited a company that has logged three years of losses, faces a federal criminal investigation and sees little hope for a quick recovery overall for the troubled commercial aviation industry. But in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Ayer said he believes his plan for major cost cuts and wage reductions at Alaska Airlines, the company's flagship carrier, is the antidote to transform the airline, enhance its reputation and expand its reach to destinations far from its Seattle base.

Tighten whose belt?
There is a big family. Most of them live in a nice house in town, though some of them live in the woods. The richest members of the family say, "We have been spending more than we make; we need to tighten out budget."

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.

Shortsighted state policy hurting fishing families
Regarding the crisis in the Alaskan pink salmon fishery, during the spring, the administration had the opportunity to offer the fishermen a market-based solution in order to maximize resource development. Russian processors would have been willing buyers for the production of the seine fleet of Alaska.

Different rules for different vehicles?
I'm just wondering if there are different laws for the cruise ship shuttle drivers? These drivers are notorious for speeding, cutting in and out of traffic and tailgating. They are a danger to everyone out on the roads. The ones I've had to deal with have no respect or regard at all for any other drivers.

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!

On skateboarders' behalf
I was a skater for seven years. I was involved in a protest - stop the ban on skateboarders - in Riverside, CA back in 1999-2000.

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.

Corruption of Christianity
An income tax (at least a progressive income tax) takes more money from the more affluent. The argument that this is "not right" appears central to those opposing an income tax. They essentially claim an income tax penalizes "good people" to give to "bad people."

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

Photo: Catching the evening breeze
Brett Neyhart, right, Jerry Buckley, center, and Marcy Larson ride the evening air currents Wednesday with their parasails along Mount Roberts.

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.

Three school projects may go before voters
The city is moving toward placing two of three proposed school renovation project bonds on the Oct. 7 municipal ballot. But the Juneau Assembly's Public Works and Facilities Committee recommended Wednesday that one of the projects be funded in another way. The Juneau School District has asked the Assembly to pass an ordinance to put three projects, totaling $5.293 million, on the city ballot. The request includes $4.718 million for further renovations at Floyd Dryden Middle School, $422,000 to replace the water pipes at Gastineau Elementary and $153,000 to replace the 34-year-old gym floor at Auke Bay Elementary.

Correction
A Wednesday news brief about the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau listed the incorrect deadline for advertisements in the organization's annual travel planners. The deadline is Aug. 15.

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.

This Day in History
In 1969, the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, responding to complaints about the influx of "hippies" into Alaska, urged residents to be more tolerant of young people.

Photo: Mining near Sheep Creek, 1920
Nowell Gold Mining Co., near Sheep Creek, is shown here in 1920. Thomas Nowell, originally in the shoe business, became the first delegate from Alaska to the Republican National Convention of 1892 in Minneapolis.

Girlfriend charged with Angoon murder
The woman who shared an Angoon home with Richard "Buddy" George Jr. appeared in a Juneau courtroom Wednesday, accused of killing him while their daughter was in his arms. Denni Starr, 22, sobbed as Juneau Magistrate John W. Sivertsen Jr. told her the most serious charge against her could carry a sentence of up to 99 years in prison. George died Saturday night from a stab wound in the back. Angoon police arrested Starr late Tuesday on a second-degree murder charge after two Alaska Bureau of Investigation agents spent two days questioning people in the community. Police transported Starr to the Lemon Creek Correctional Center on Tuesday.

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.

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

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.

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.

John Gilbert Reed
Former Juneau resident John Gilbert Reed, 75, died July 18, 2003, at the Alaska Pioneers' Home in Palmer from complications of a stroke.

My Turn: A true test of faith
United Way funds to the Glory Hole were down by about $12,000. This has placed the already impoverished shelter for the poor and homeless on the edge of disaster - so much so the director has closed the Glory Hole on Sundays until 4 p.m., to save money for staff pay.

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.

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.

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

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

Two Midnight Suns teams win titles in Salem, Ore., tournament
Two teams from Juneau's Midnight Suns Fastpitch Softball Program claimed age group titles at the 110-team Alaskan Midnight Suns Classic Softball Tournament held June 24-29 in Salem, Ore. This annual event in Oregon was named for the Juneau program because of the continued success of the Midnight Suns teams at the tournament, which attracts teams from Oregon, Washington, Alaska and several other states. The Midnight Suns age 10-younger team took first place in the 10B division, winning all four of their games (scores were not available).

Seniors claim a hair-razing divisional title
The Juneau Senior Division (Age 15-16) Little League softball team won its first-ever Northwest Division title Wednesday. Then the players helped manager Dennis Powers lose his hair. With a Western Regional Tournament berth on the line and the promise of giving their manager a buzz cut spurring them on, the Juneau Seniors beat Baker City, Ore., 9-3 in an if-necessary game at the division tourney in Vancouver, Wash.

Iditarod sets special meeting to decide about blind musher
ANCHORAGE - Board members of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race will hold a special meeting in September to try to resolve the issue over a legally blind Oregon teenager seeking special accommodations to run the 2004 race. It is unclear yet whether 18-year-old Rachael Scdoris herself will attend the session, "but I think there will be some representation (for her)," said Rick Koch, Iditarod board chairman.

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.

State Briefs
Attorneys seek millions for Bristol Bay lawsuit; Missing buoys disrupt inlet science project; Speeding boat crashes into fishing vessel; Alaska group receives immunization award;

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;

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.

Murkowski pushes Palmer Pioneers' Home to house vets
ANCHORAGE - The Pioneers' and Veterans' Home in Palmer is the best choice to become Alaska's first real veterans home, Gov. Frank Murkowski said Tuesday. Murkowski said the state would face "very significant" costs if it were to build, operate and maintain a new, standalone veterans home. Instead, he said the state should work with the federal Department of Veterans Affairs to convert an existing pioneers home for the elderly into a veterans home. The change would require remodeling to meet all the federal veterans housing standards.

Fishermen question exclusion of Russians
With the season's pink salmon run exceeding the winter forecast and processors shutting down their pink-buying operations due to market limitations, some fishermen are calling into question the accuracy of information fish plants provided to the state about their processing capacity. Earlier this year, the state Department of Fish and Game's processing capacity survey found that processors were willing and able to handle the projected run of pink salmon. Gov. Frank Murkowski used that information to deny Russian processors' applications to come into state waters and buy pink salmon from Alaska fisherman.

Bill introduced to speed state, Native land transfer
FAIRBANKS - Legislation to speed up conveying federal land to the state and Native corporations was introduced this week in Congress by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski. The goal is to have the job done by 2009, 50 years after Alaska gained statehood, she said.

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."

Union boss Hood won't take on Murkowski for U.S. Senate seat
Alaska Teamsters official Jerry Hood will not challenge Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the 2004 GOP primary, he said Wednesday. Hood, the 56-year-old secretary treasurer for Alaska Teamsters Local 959, said he can better serve Alaska by staying put. "I think staying right where I am at and working on those issues from this position, I can do more for Alaskans, I can do more for the Teamsters than entertaining a race for the United States Senate," Hood said.

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.

Judge shuts down Interior Dept. computers
A federal judge's order this week to shut down certain computer systems at the U.S. Department of the Interior shouldn't affect the public, officials said. A similar court order in late 2001, intended to protect Indian trust data from hackers, shut down popular Web sites for agencies such as the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Private industry also used those Web sites to learn about government contracts. The order disconnected agency employees from e-mail, as well.

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.

Gasoline theft leads to Gambell fire
NOME - A cigarette lighter used by someone apparently trying to steal gasoline in Gambell last week lit a fire that burned a four-wheeler and threatened the community's fuel supply.

Park residents make recovery plans after floods
DENALI PARK - With one eye on the river and another on the sky, weary residents at Carlo Creek made plans Tuesday for recovering from damage caused by flooding. "Everyone is physically and emotionally drained," said Bruce Lee, a musher and local resident. He lost property and a road into his home, but managed to save a small cabin from high water.

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