Sunday, August 10, 2003

Books about Greek kings, circus folk arrive at library
Here are the latest fiction releases available at the Juneau Public Library.

Don't pick on smokers, appreciate them
Once again, Juneau smokers find themselves singled out to bear the burden of yet more new taxes. If only the Assembly would just once pick on some other group - maybe lefthanders or adulterers - we could spread the tax burden around a bit more fairly.

Front Street zone signed inadequately
On Aug. 4, while attending to a matter at City Hall, I found myself to have been ticketed $100 in one of the new loading-parking zones.

Berners Bay adds to our quality of life
I would like to take a moment to thank a couple guys who towed four kayaks in from Sawmill Creek a few weeks ago. As the weather turned bad, their skiff and generosity were heaven sent!

AARP safety program educates senior drivers
Recent national coverage of collisions and deaths caused by senior drivers has raised questions about the adequacy of the licensing of senior drivers, and the voluntary or involuntary surrender of the licenses of senior drivers whose physical or mental limitations make them unsafe on any road or street.

City begins environment review for 2nd crossing
Construction of a much-talked-about second crossing from Juneau to Douglas is at least seven years away, but residents will have an opportunity this fall to weigh in on exactly where the bridge should be located. The city and state Department of Transportation are preparing the environmental impact statement for the bridge, the construction of which is estimated to cost roughly $60 million, said Sam Kito, transportation development manager for the city.

Accused Juneau man faces additional assault charges
A Juneau man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a former girlfriend on July 15 faces additional charges of sexually assaulting her almost a week earlier. A grand jury on Friday returned a nine-count indictment against Harold L. Wheaton Jr., alleging crimes against the same alleged victim on July 9, as well as the allegations that led to his July 30 arrest.

Local priests ask support for national decision to elect gay bishop
Priests at the two Episcopal churches in Juneau are asking their congregations to support the Episcopal Church U.S.A.'s decision to elect the Rev. Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire. "We need each other, and if people decide to separate themselves, all they're going to hurt ultimately ... they're going to hurt themselves," said the Rev. Ralph F. Wagner, interim priest at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Juneau.

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

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

Photo: Wheel patrol
Juneau police officer Dominic Branson trains on a Segway Human Transporter on Friday near Juneau Police Department headquarters. Officers will hit the streets with the new vehicles next Friday.

This Day in History
In 1959, 40 high-schoolers from Cordova to Bethel began the first summer science seminar ever held in Alaska. The three-week seminar was designed to increase interest in science by contact between high school students and working scientists.

Bringing math and Tlingit art together
"Spruce roots to split!" says Native weaver Teri Rofkar as she hands out what look like packages of string cheese to students in the Math in Tlingit Art course Thursday at the University of Alaska Southeast. Actually, they are packages of string cheese. The students, who are classroom teachers, will practice splitting the firm tubes of cheese lengthwise, learning that the rounded outer portions match the part of the roots that would go on the outside of a basket, the "weft," and the straight-edged inner slices would serve as the upright "warp."

Smith not certain about election plans
Mayor Sally Smith says she has not decided whether to seek re-election, even though she filed paperwork with the Alaska Public Offices Commission indicating her intent to do so. "I filed the paperwork as a contingency," she said on Friday. "I am meeting with Bruce Botelho."

Grace Weinberg
Juneau resident Grace Weinberg, 92, died on Aug. 5, 2003, in Juneau.

Empire editorial: Roadless rule unravels
In 1999, the Clinton administration released a plan to review all roadless areas of more than 5,000 acres on federal lands for possible permanent protection. At that time Sen. Ted Stevens received a call from the White House assuring him that the Tongass would be excluded from the roadless areas review.

What do you think?
The federal government should stay out of this issue.

My Turn: Sounds like old hype
I received my "Long Range Waterfront Plan Community Polling Effort" flyer in the mail urging me to take part in "planning my waterfront." Over the years I've taken part in hearings and workshops for all sorts of projects, hoping that my input and that of my neighbors would carry some weight when measured against the interests of big business. The results haven't been too heartening, so I have pretty much given up.

Toe Cartoon

Watching the salmon life cycle at Switzer
T he circle of life is always an interesting topic and few species' circle is better documented than the salmon. Juneau is blessed with an abundance of natural habitat for spawning salmon and one of the best areas to view this is Switzer Creek. Near Lemon Creek, the diminutive Switzer Creek only flows about 1 mile before it empties into Gastineau Channel. It was named after Charley Switzer, who ran a dairy in the area in the 1920s and 1930s.

The myth of suicidal lemmings
Lemmings do not commit mass suicide. It's a myth, but it's remarkable how many people believe it. Ask a few. "It's a complete urban legend," said state wildlife biologist Thomas McDonough. "I think it blew out of proportion based on a Disney documentary in the '50s, and that brought it to the mainstream."

Fish report
Juneau-area marine boat anglers enjoyed another good week of halibut fishing. In the most recent survey, it took the average angler six hours to land a halibut. The five-year average is nine hours and last year it took eight hours to land the flatfish. The hot spots for halibut were around Vanderbilt Reef, Poundstone Rock, Lynn Sisters and Hawk Inlet. Halibut will continue to be abundant in the area until the latter part of August.

Out and About
Aug. 10: Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club Tour of Juneau, Stage 3, Auke Rec Long Course Road Race. 9 a.m. assembly at Auke Rec. parking lot, 10 a.m. race start. Details: Lou Edwards, 789-3345.

Day-tripping in a kayak
Although Juneau has a limited highway system, it has almost limitless kayaking opportunities that begin on the road. Drive south to Sheep Creek, west to North Douglas, north to Mendenhall Lake or out Glacier Highway, and wherever the road leads to beach access, there's another kayaking opportunity. "Juneau is a place where you can kayak and within a few minutes feel like you're in the wilderness," said Barb Kelly, sales manager for Alaska Discovery. "There aren't too many places in the world that can offer that."

Bald eagle population grows in Lower 48
BOISE, Idaho - Bald eagle populations surged in the northeastern United States and remained steady in other areas during the past 15 years, according to an analysis released by the U.S. Geological Survey. Across most of the lower 48 states, bald eagles increased nearly 2 percent annually from 1986-2000. The analysis was based on more than 10,000 eagle sightings during mid-winter surveys in 42 states.

Big Fish Photos

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

McCann takes lead into the final stage
Mike McCann, a 50-something rider from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, takes a 1-minute lead into today's third and final stage of the Tour of Juneau cycling stage race. McCann, one of two Whitehorse riders in this year's Tour, finished sixth in Friday night's opening 5-mile Eaglecrest Hill Climb stage. But he made up for it in Saturday's 25-mile North Douglas Time Trial, winning the stage by 1 minute, 18 seconds (including a 20-second time bonus).

Battle of unequals
The Juneau-Douglas High School football team made the best of Plan B for its season-opener, as the Crimson Bears claimed a 64-0 victory over the undermanned Ketchikan Kings Friday night at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. Juneau originally was scheduled to open against the Wasilla Warriors on Friday, but the Cook Inlet Football Conference rewrote the schedule so East Anchorage could try - unsuccessfully - to bring a team from Hawaii to Alaska for a game.

Three Juneau teams reach finals at State Cup soccer tourney
Three Juneau Soccer Club teams will play in their age group's championship games today at the State Cup tourney in Palmer. The Juneau Reign U-13 boys, the Juneau Xtratuffs U-14 girls and the Juneau Jaguars U-15 boys all qualified for the finals with semifinal wins on Saturday. It's the first finals appearance for the Reign, while the Xtratuffs are looking for their second straight title and the Jaguars are aiming for their third in a row.

Treadwell Twosome Traverse
Results of the Southeast Road Runners' Treadwell Twosome Traverse race, held Saturday on a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) course on the Treadwell Mine trails in Douglas. The race paired runners into two-person teams, with each team member running the course in the opposite direction.

3 die in Skagway small-plane crash
SKAGWAY - Three people died Friday after a small plane crashed off Mile 9 Dyea Road. Skagway police alerted Alaska State Troopers to the crash at 5:14 p.m. They said a single-engine aircraft had crashed and burned in a wooded area. The fire was confined to the airplane.

Alaska Briefs
Athabascan leader Peter John dies; Ship's passengers, crew suffer stomach illness; Unalaska seafood landings top record; Rescuers find overdue hiker near Homer

State Sen. Taylor to take transportation post
State Sen. Robin Taylor will leave the Legislature in September after 19 years to take a post with the Murkowski administration. Taylor, 60, a Republican from Wrangell, will become a special assistant within the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

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