Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Define 'Gastineau bowl'
Sunday's publisher-torial on floatplane noise prompts a geography question. What is "the Gastineau bowl?"

Use bonds for vet homes
Seventy-thousand Alaska veterans, scattered over an area 1/5 the size of the nation, deserve to have new facilities in at least three locations at distances equal to three other states' locations - say Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Pond is annoying
Football season is upon us again with the first Crimson Bears game this Friday, Aug. 8. My husband and I went out to watch the guys practice last week, and we were reminded about the stagnant pond next to the bleachers at the Adair-Kennedy field because we were fiercely attacked by no-see-um's, just like every year.

Don't meddle with sanctity of love
Mr. Bush must ultimately comprehend that neither he, nor anyone in the government, holds the right to insinuate himself into the matrimonial bonds of two consenting adults. I do not know why the president believes that attempting to curtail the rights of gay citizens will win him the votes of heterosexual citizens.

Caution on Egan
It was encouraging to see a couple sane letters mentioning Egan Drive not being a freeway, people needing to get into the "fast" lane to turn left, and needing more traffic lights so we're not turning left across two lanes of rush-hour bumper-to-bumper 55 mph (those cars that go too SLOW) traffic.

This Day in History
In 1923, the Northbird, Alaska's first commercial airplane, crashed near Ketchikan.

Photo: A brace of yachts
The 354-foot luxury yacht Le Grand Bleu lies at anchor next to the tall ship Concordia on Sunday in Gastineau Channel. Though the crew were mum about the yacht's origins and ownership, the online publication Power and Motoryacht listed the vessel as owned until recently by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.

Juneau soldier receives Bronze Star for communications network in Iraq
Sgt. Joseph Mulready is matter-of-fact and modest when talking about the Bronze Star the U.S. Army recently awarded him for meritorious achievement during the last Gulf War."I didn't go storm an enemy bunker or anything like that. It's not for valor, but for meritorious achievement," Mulready, 30, said Monday from his home in Fort Bragg, N.C. He returned to the United States on Thursday. The Bronze Star was introduced during World War II by Gen. George C. Marshall, who argued that ground combat troops needed a medal, like the Air Medal introduced two years earlier to improve morale among airmen. The Bronze Star is awarded for valor or merit during combat or in other action against an enemy.

Photo: Spouting off at North Pass
A gam numbering about five individuals frolics near Lincoln Island in North Pass on Sunday.

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

Assembly considers doubling city tobacco tax
The Juneau Assembly directed city staff Monday night to draft an ordinance that would double the municipal tax on tobacco.With cuts at the state level and rising costs for city employees' health care and the public employee retirement system, officials have been brainstorming ways to generate revenue, including higher fees and taxes.

Kennel cough outbreak slowing down, but still not vanquished
Veterinarians in town report fewer cases of infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as kennel cough or canine cough, in recent weeks. But they said the disease still hasn't run its course here. "We were seeing five or six a day, and we're certainly not seeing that much now," said Lisa Kramer, a veterinarian with the Southeast Alaskan Veterinary Clinic. "... But it still hasn't dropped down like we thought it would."

Rural hospitals look to reduce mistakes in dispensing medication
Robert Albertson, the chief pharmacist for Alaska Pioneers' Homes, tells the story of a doctor who told a 90-year-old woman suffering from dementia to stop taking a certain drug she had been prescribed. The woman never mentioned it to the assisted-living home's staff and she continued to take the drug, which thins the blood. The staff noticed something was wrong only when she was bleeding. Lesson: Doctors should write down medication instructions and give a copy to the pharmacist.

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

This Day in History
In 1921, the road to the Mendenhall Glacier was completed, making it the most accessible glacier in Alaska.

Paragliders soar with the eagles
"This is what we call para-waiting," said Jack Kreinheder, clad in a black flight suit. Rainbow-colored Kevlar strings trailed, connecting him to a bright yellow wing made of ripstop nylon. He wore a backpack, attached to a harness, which held a foam pad to cushion him from any rough landings. Kreinheder faced Mount Juneau and stood up the trail from the cross near the top of the Mount Roberts tramway. He shifted glances between the alders 50 feet below him on the bowl-side of the ridge, and the wind sock on the Gastineau Channel-side of the ridge, 50 feet to his left.

Correction
Captions with photos of unusual fish in Sunday's Empire Outdoors section contained identification errors. The photo on page C-1 was of a decorated warbonnet. The photo on page C-3 was of a spiny lumpsucker.

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

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

State peddles ferry on ebay
What do you do when you need to get rid of a 1,500-ton state ferry? Sell it on eBay, of course. The state Department of Transportation is retiring the 34-year-old ferry Bartlett in September and using the online auction site eBay to sell it. The auction began late last week with a beginning bid price of $100,000. By 10:15 Monday night, there were three bids on the item, pushing the price up to $100,300.

My Turn: Lew Williams Jr. is right, almost ...
Lew Williams Jr., in his recent Empire commentary, is absolutely right; "There is economic hope for Southeast." But Lew is dead wrong when he basis that hope on the rebirth of the timber industry based on a vast net work of roads leading to new timber sales and roads to every community.

Alaska editorial: Votes on special session request should be public
Senate President Gene Therriault and House Speaker Pete Kott need to be reminded that the public has great interest in knowing the positions of its individual legislators. The two leaders have chosen to keep secret the votes of Senate and House members on a request by Democrats to hold a special session to consider overriding the governor's veto of the Longevity Bonus Program.

My Turn: Desperate gasps from a dying ideology
Mercy me. Sometimes I have to scratch my head and wonder about these ultra-liberal folks. In a way they're easy to understand, in a way not so easy. They sure can dish it out to beat the band, but the eensy-teensiest little reality check kinda throws 'em for a loop. They squeal like a bunch'a stuck hogs!

My Turn: Republican legislators are making a grab for rural funds
The state of Alaska has for years recognized the unique challenges faced by citizens who live in areas with low population. It was generally understood that schools, roads and public safety are still important to areas without economies of scale. The arrangement is even more compelling when one looks at a map showing Alaska's resource wealth - virtually all of our state resource revenues come from rural Alaska.

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

Juneau soccer teams tie for third place in Zane Cup
Two Juneau Soccer Club teams tied for third place in their respective divisions at the Zane Cup Soccer Tournament in Anchorage this past weekend. The tournament, which took place Friday through Sunday at the South Anchorage Sports Complex, featured 35 teams from around the state competing in the U11 and U12 age groups. The Zane Cup serves as the state championship for the younger age divisions, while the older youth age groups open play in the Alaska State Youth Soccer Association's State Cup tournament Wednesday in Palmer.

A costly loss of control
The pitchers took a walk on the wild side Sunday and the loss of control proved costly for Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League Senior All-Stars. The uncharacteristic walkfest helped Juneau lose for the first time in the Western Regional Senior (age 15-16) Little League Softball Tournament, as the GCLL All-Stars outhit the tournament host Butte All-Stars but still lost 8-5 on Sunday in Butte, Mont. Both teams have 1-1 records in the round-robin portion of the five-team tournament.

Larson leads Juneau Seniors over San Marino
Ashley Larson threw a complete game and homered in the seventh inning to lead Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League Senior All-Stars to a 4-2 victory over San Marino, Calif., during round-robin play Monday at the Western Regional Senior (age 15-16) Little League Softball Tournament in Butte, Mont. Larson pitched her second complete game of the tournament, allowing seven singles and no walks while striking out three batters. In the top of the seventh inning she hit a solo home run to deep center field to give Juneau an insurance run.

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

State Briefs
Beluga count low this summer in Cook Inlet; VA plans Alaska tour; Air Force bases, park get environmental kudos; Palmer balks at request for hospital land; BP, Doyon enter new drilling contract

Taylor ponders leaving Senate for Murkowski job
Republican Sen. Robin Taylor of Wrangell has not yet made a decision whether he will stay in the state Senate for the remainder of his term or take a job with the administration of Gov. Frank Murkowski. Taylor said Monday he is discussing such a job change with his wife, Kaye, but would not reveal what position the administration has offered him.

State Briefs
Recovery team digging up World War II site; Leftover cash could fund Alaska depository; Fuel cell powers UAF energy research; Rippie tax helps village utilities project; Man dies in skiff capsize

Duo celebrate 40th anniversary of woman's polar flight
ANCHORAGE - Forty years ago today, Ingrid Pedersen left Fairbanks on a flight that would forever etch her name into aviation history books. Landing a red and white Cessna 21 hours later at Nord Station, Greenland, Pedersen became the first woman to pilot a small airplane over the North Pole. She was joined by her husband, Einar, who navigated the flight and snapped photos from the plane window for his research on ice conditions.

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