Friday, August 1, 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.

Buy Alaska means additional revenue
KENAI - If Alaskans spent an additional 10 percent on Alaska-made products, it would mean an additional $700 million in additional revenues for Alaska businesses. Bridget McLeod, program director for the Buy Alaska program, told the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday that Alaskans now spend $7 billion on products from outside the state.

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.

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."

Egan autobahn?
I must respond to Heather Gardner's letter to the editor (July 29). Calling people "reprobates" for having the "audacity" to drive South Franklin when the tourist are in town?

Uncompromising governor
The problem with "Our Captain" is that he wants the people of lesser means to pick up as large, or larger share of the tax burden, as the wealthy.

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."

Trashing Alaska
After pedaling a bicycle around Alaska in '74, '77, '80, '83 and again this summer, I submit this notice to Alaskans: Many of your citizens turn pristine wilderness into automobile junk yards. Others create trash heaps along rivers and lakes.

Junker accountability
The added fee for garbage of $1.40 for the next year to help with the disposal of junk cars is a noble idea, but it does not address the situation. In the first place once the fee (tax) is in place, these things never seem to go away.

Still not a freeway
In fear of confusing poor Juneau drivers beyond their limits, I've put off writing this letter for years. Egan Drive is not a freeway. The signs saying "slower traffic keep right," need to be removed.

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.

Pink salmon 101
I just finished reading Allan Engstrom's letter in regards to the governor's "failure" in not allowing Russian processors to operate in Alaska waters. I've seen a couple other pieces in other publications of a similar nature recently. An independent in-depth look at the economics of pink salmon might make for an interesting and timely piece in your publication.

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.

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.

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

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

Angoon murder stirs reminders in Tenakee
Tuesday's arrest in the Angoon killing of Richard "Buddy" George Jr. reminded Tenakee Springs residents of the unsolved murder that occurred in their small Southeast Alaska community four months ago. "We don't talk about it much anymore," Mayor Shelly Wilson said Thursday of the unsolved slaying of 19-year-old Maggie Wigen. But the young woman who was found in a shallow grave April 1 has been the subject of some "coffeehouse chat" this week, Wilson said.

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

This Day in History
In 1968, several hundred reindeer stopped all airplane traffic at the Nome airport. Herders had to drive the caribou the full length of the runway to get them back in the tundra.

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.

FYI
Births

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.

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.

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.

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

Gardener's paradise
Judy and Jim Hauck have been toiling in their North Douglas garden among 10-foot delphiniums, candy red currants and winding tendrils of snap peas for nine years, but they've never seen a year like this. "It's probably the best gardening year ever," said Judy Hauck, kneeling in her yard Thursday afternoon. "Just about everything's done really well." Juneau has been warmer and drier than average this summer, according to Kimberly Vaughan of the National Weather Service's local office.

How would you spend one million dollars?
What would you do if you had to spend exactly a million dollars? Buy a vacation home? Travel around the world? That is the task assigned to some fifth graders in the school district's Extended Learning program. But there's a catch. The project they choose must benefit the community, not just family and friends.

Balovich and Mattern to wed
Nicholas Charles Balovich, son of Russ and Sue Bushnell of Juneau and the late Charles Balovich, is engaged to marry Jessica Marie Mattern, daughter of Ron and Julie Mattern of Bismarck, N.D.

Thank you for cheerleading clinic
Thank you to the girls that helped put on the cheerleading clinic Saturday at Glacier Valley School: Michelle Workman, Liz Clauder, Sarah Clauder, Niki Clauder, Andriea Workman, Lexi Olson and Michaela Hessie.

A revealing census
When the 12th U.S. Census was conducted in 1900, the largest cities in Alaska were Nome, Skagway and Juneau - all associated with economic booms from recent gold rushes. Gold had enticed thousands to Alaska, and some of them stayed. So many remained that the population of the state doubled between 1890 and 1900, with most of the increase occurring during the summers of 1898, 1899 and 1900.

Dohrn and Schultz marry
Karim Schultz of Las Vegas, Nev., and Dan Dohrn of Boise, Idaho, were married at a ceremony on July 4 in Las Vegas. Both the bride and groom are 1992 graduates of Juneau-Douglas High School.

Neighbors Briefs
Lieutenant governor awarded; Summer Reading Program winners

Chemicals keep farmed salmon in the pink
Not only does farm-raised salmon have no taste, recent studies reveal it is impregnated with chemicals. The producers use canthaxanthin and the more expensive astaxanthin to create the pink or red color in the flesh of the fish.

A group of 50 dedicates new addition to Amalga Meadows
About 50 people gathered Sunday afternoon to help the Southeast Alaska Land Trust and its partners dedicate the Herbert River Wetlands, a new addition to the Amalga Meadows Natural Area Park. Mayor Sally Smith cut the ribbon to open the area as SEALTrust Director Diane Mayer thanked the many people who played a role in the project's success.

Vernon S. Akin
Juneau resident Vernon S. Akin died July 10, 2003, in Juneau. He was in his 80s.

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.

Ellen Winkelmann Morrissett
Former Juneau resident Elizabeth Ellen Winkelmann Morrissett, 82, of Boulder, Colo., died Saturday, July 19 at her home.

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: President popular in spite of his policies
President Bush's spinmasters are right when they say the Democrats are making a mountain out of a molehill by criticizing Bush for his unfounded allegation that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger in order to make nuclear weapons. They are unintentionally right since many other things undermine Bush's credibility and here are a few.

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).

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

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

Local runners prepare for their marathon weekend
Runners from Juneau will be joined by guests from at least 13 states on Saturday morning as they compete in the 12th Annual Frank Maier Memorial Marathon and the Douglas Island Half-Marathon races. The Frank Maier Marathon is the only Juneau race held over the official 26.2-mile marathon distance. While small in comparison to big-city marathons that draw thousands of runners, the Frank Maier Marathon does attract athletes from other parts of the country.

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.

Disc golf tourney set for Sunday
The Juneau Disc Golf Association held its inaugural tournament last month - and the participants had such a good time that they're doing it all over again. The JDGA is holding its "Second of the First" Open tourney Sunday at the Dimond Park course in the Mendenhall Valley.

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.

Cavaliers give GM new deal, new title
CLEVELAND - Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Jim Paxson received a contract extension and a promotion on Thursday. As part of the new multi-year agreement announced Thursday by Cavaliers owner Gordon Gund, Paxson was promoted to team president.

Local Sports Briefs
McConnochie, Jeans second in Tour of Whitehorse; Coxe, Bradley lead Juneau Rifle & Pistol Club match

Capitol City Soccer League Standings
Through July 29

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.

State eliminates 88 jobs this year
Alan Love, one of 88 state workers who lost their jobs to budget cuts this year, spent Thursday closing up the state chemistry lab in Juneau. After working at the lab for 17 years, four as the lab's director, Love, 62, and other state employees' jobs ended June 30, the last day of the 2003 fiscal year. For the next few months, Love will hold a temporary position with the Department of Environmental Conservation until he finds work elsewhere or retires.

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.

Marketing funds hang on naming committee
About $8 million in federal funds is burning a hole in the pocket of a new Alaska seafood marketing board, but the money can't be distributed until board members are appointed, according to the nominee for the board's executive directorship. Bill Hines, an international coordinator at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, has been nominated to head the new Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board. His confirmation, and the appointment of nine other board members, awaits approval by the U.S. commerce secretary.

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;

Sen. Murkowski wins commitments to help education, social services in Bush
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said that three Cabinet secretaries have committed themselves to a new initiative to improve education and social services in the Bush. The program, called the Alaska Project, arose from a conversation she had with Education Secretary Rod Paige after he visited rural Alaska with her in May, the senator said.

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.

Delta Junction sues Army over high-tech training site
FAIRBANKS - The Interior city of Delta Junction has filed a lawsuit aimed at stopping the Army from building a high-tech training facility too close to neighborhoods. Fairbanks attorney James DeWitt asked for a permanent injunction in U.S. District Court in Fairbanks on Tuesday to halt plans for a Stryker Brigade training facility. Strykers are the Army's new armored vehicles. Their maneuverability and high-powered technology are expected to bridge the gap between heavy armor and light infantry.

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.

State Briefs
Man faces kidnapping, sexual assault charge; Car hits bicycling child; Coast Guard called after woman falls off ship; Veterans groups back Palmer home; High water sweeps away another cabin; Rehabilitated sea lion pup on her own again; Monegan gets two new deputy chiefs

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.

Anchorage economy better than forecasted
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage's economy is shaping up better than forecasters had thought it would this year, thanks in part to greater-than-anticipated strength in services industries such as health care, banking and business consulting. The Anchorage Economic Development Corp. raised its forecast for job growth, predicting 2,100 new jobs this year, up from a forecast in January of 1,750. About 1,800 will be services job, the AEDC predicted.

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.

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.

Movies where & when
"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," (PG-13) plays at 7:15 and 9:40 nightly at 20th Century Twin, with afternoon matinees at 2:15 daily and additional Saturday and Sunday matinees at 4:40.

Why I don't want to move to Hawaii
I started hating this town one day about a month ago when it was raining so hard my windshield wipers couldn't keep up. I was hungry, and I didn't want to go to one of the two restaurants I always go to. I wanted something exotic - a bowl of Vietnamese noodle soup, or risotto, or even a crispy salad that didn't somehow end up costing me, like, $25.

KBJZ-LPFM hosts dance party at top of Mount Roberts
JUNEAU - Sunshine Productions and KBJZ-LPFM disc jockey Genius will host Jam-A-Tram, a dance party, at the top of the Mount Roberts aerial tram from 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 9.

Applications sought for arts residencies
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska State Council on the Arts is accepting applications for its Artists in Schools residency program.

Funnyman David Levesque comes to town
JUNEAU - As a comic, David Levesque may be best known for playing classical stringed instruments with giant, foam rubber hands.

What's happening
Jam-A-Tram, dance party for KBJZ-LPFM, at the top of the Mount Roberts tram, 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 9. $25 in advance, $35 at door, $30 for VIP tickets. Details: 586-3941 or listen to 94.1 FM.

STAR takes journals to the stage
When you're 10 years old, it's difficult to convey the concept of war, much less the need for a spiritual anchor. The nine students in Perseverance Theatre's youth production of "Godspell" seem to have the subject matter under control, even though they've had only a little more than three weeks to prepare.

It's a clown's world; we just live in it
Before you run out and buy clown makeup and a fuzzy, rubber clown nose, it's a good idea to make sure clowning is for you. This week is a good time to find out. The Juneau Joeys, which has about a dozen members, will celebrate National Clown Week from Friday, Aug. 1, to Thursday, Aug. 7, with a series of events around town.

Ferry Fairweather needs artwork
JUNEAU - The Alaska State Council on the Arts is seeking two-dimensional artwork to decorate the Fairweather, a new fast ferry on the Alaska Marine Highway System.

First Friday
Sitka professional watercolor artist Sandra Greba can relax when she paints florals. Birds are a different story. "Flowers are more forgiving," said Greba, co-owner of Hannah's Bed and Breakfast in Sitka. "You get a petal slightly off, and it's just curled a little bit different. You get a birds' beak off, and it doesn't work."

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