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Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Retail boom in Fairbanks changes landscape
ANCHORAGE - Wal-Mart's decision to build a 150,000-square-foot store on 26.5 acres in north Fairbanks has generated a storm of business activity in the neighborhood, a local landowner said. Jerry Sadler, owner of Airport Equipment Rental Inc., said about a year and a half ago he bought 17.5 acres from the Bentley Family Trust, a major landowner in the area.

Tax the fat, ugly
Our scarcely represented Juneau Assembly has initiated process for rolling out yet another tax on sinners. Let's double tobacco penalties.

A penny for your ...
The Juneau Assembly wants to double the tax on cigarettes to raise money for the shrinking budget. This is taxing the minority of the residents in the borough for the common good of the community.

Parking blues
Imagine yourself on your way to work Monday morning and stopping downtown for a latte to go and seeing the parking spaces on the whole left side of the street unoccupied. Awestruck at such a dream-like scenario, you pull over and start into Heritage to grab a cup of joe. A good Samaritan informs you that they are handing out "full-flavored tickets" for parking in this parking space.

A little help, please
The City and Borough of Juneau is once again helping (or hurting) the downtown merchants by establishing new temporary loading zones. To me, just another reason not to go downtown. Parking was already bad enough!

Unlikeable left
Jody Liliedahl hit a home run on his assessment of the left. It is indeed a dying ideology, for which I am grateful.

Content resonates
It was heartening to read the front-page article in Monday's Empire on the success of the Tlingit-emphasis classrooms at Harborview School. It resonates well with the other reason I was going to write you.

There is none
I read Linda Orr's comment on gay discrimination. I agree. It seems to me most strange that a man and a woman can meet in Reno, get married almost immediately, and soon afterward, often have access to much of the accumulated benefits of their partner.

Truth about transferring ownership of a vehicle
I am responding to Bud Womack's letter about the fees charged for junker cars. As a former employee of the Department of Motor Vehicles, I can tell you it isn't feasible to place fault with the registered owner.

Man gets more than 10 years in prison a year after knife incident
A man accused of slashing a man, injuring a police officer and smashing a police car window on South Franklin Street in August 2002 has been sentenced to serve more than 10 years in jail. Adrian Paige, 31, was found guilty earlier this year of third-degree criminal mischief, fourth-degree criminal assault, resisting arrest and fifth-degree misconduct involving weapons. In a separate jury trial, he also was found guilty of second-degree robbery and second-degree theft committed about five weeks after his August 2002 arrest.

Photo: Summer denizen on the prowl
A dragonfly skims the surface of Auke Lake on Thursday in search of a mosquito to snack on. Dragonflies are voracious consumers of mosquitoes and, therefore, are to be treated with a certain deference.

Photo: Summer sojourn
Kayakers enjoy the warm weather and placid water of Fritz Cove on Sunday.

Tlingit classrooms - a good report card
Students in Tlingit-oriented classrooms at Harborview Elementary generally perform as well as other students in the school district, and do better than Native students on average, a recent study shows. "This whole emphasis on literacy is paying off," Annie Calkins, a former school district administrator who has studied the program, told the Juneau School Board last week.

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

Assembly introduces tax hike for tobacco
The Juneau Assembly introduced a proposed ordinance Monday that would allow the city to double the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products. The proposal would implement a flat excise tax of 30 cents a pack on cigarettes. The ordinance also would double the excise tax on other tobacco products from 6 percent to 12 percent. The city estimates the existing 6 percent tax will raise about $300,000 in 2004. The 12 percent tax would bring in an additional $250,000 to $290,000, according to the city.

Registration of children for kindergarten on Aug. 15
Parents who haven't registered their children in kindergarten in the Juneau public schools may do so Friday, Aug. 15. Registration will be held from 1 to 7 p.m. at the elementary schools. To enter kindergarten, a child must be age 5 by Aug. 15. Parents should bring a record of immunization shots and the child's birth certificate to the school the child will be entering.

School Board incumbent Schorr says he'll run again
It's still premature for candidates for the Juneau School Board to file applications with the city, but one incumbent has said he will run for re-election. Alan Schorr, a member since 1991, said in an interview he will run again. School Board President Chuck Cohen, on the board since 1999, couldn't be reached immediately for comment on whether he'll run.

This Day in History
In 1979, Anchorage police raided a Mountain View home, seizing 200 marijuana plants.

Visiting capitals with a cause
When Garrett Burgess emerged from the Juneau Airport on Monday afternoon, the 10-year-old boy immediately noticed one difference between the Alaska capital and his home state of Massachusetts. "It's nice and cool here," Burgess said, while his father, Benton Burgess, pushed his wheelchair through the parking lot. The Burgesses left their home in Chelmsford, Mass., on July 27 with the goal of visiting 49 U.S. capital cities and Washington, D.C., in their small plane, a Piper Saratoga. Benton, a pilot since 1988, flew the plane.

Ferrying the cruise ships' crews
Cruise ship crew members come to Juneau from all parts of the world. So do the owners of the shuttle vans that ferry the crew between downtown and retail centers around town. "Most of the owners, we come from different countries," said Pedro Romero, whose wife, Ligia Romero, has owned Crew Shuttle Express since the summer of 2001.

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

Running, for this 65-year-old pediatrician, is a way of life
Juneau pediatrician Dr. George W. Brown tells his young patients that people were meant to move around. And he speaks from experience. "We are not meant to sit," he said, between seeing patients on what he called a good day to run. Brown watched runners in Juneau's recent Frank Maier Memorial Marathon run past his Douglas home. It wasn't the rain that kept him off the 26.2-mile course. He said that at age 65, he doesn't run more than one marathon a year. And since 1976, he hasn't missed a start in the Honolulu Marathon.

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

Kate Troll looks at environment versus the economy in new book
The idea for Douglas author Kate Troll's book took seed in 1979, when a logger in Haines asked her, "What good is an eagle if you can't eat it?" The query took her aback. "It was a question that my education never prepared me for," said Troll, who holds a master's degree in natural resource management from Yale University.

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

This Day in History
In 1898, Hawaii was formally annexed to the United States.

Richard E. Gildersleeve
Former Douglas resident Richard "Dick" E. Gildersleeve, 68, died July 31, 2003, in Waldport, Ore., surrounded by family.

Grace Weinberg
The obituary of Grace Weinberg that appeared in Sunday's Empire omitted her place of burial. She was buried alongside her husband, Harry, at Beth El Cemetery in Phoenix.

My Turn: Great change in Southeast
KJ Metcalf couldn't be more wrong in his Aug. 4 My Turn. The forest products industry is a vital component of Southeast's economy, along with fishing, mining, tourism and if you live in Juneau, government.

My Turn: Why Democrats fight for the Longevity Bonus
Eighteen-thousand Alaskans over the age of 71 receive the Longevity Bonus, a way Alaska honors and repays contributions seniors made building today's state, and one that traces its origins to 1915. This summer, citing budgetary need, Gov. Murkowski vetoed funding for the program.

My Turn: Worth the admission bite
In a letter to the editor last week, a high school football fan complained of no-see-ums (i.e. biting flies) at the Adair Kennedy Field and correctly implicated an iron-stained, "stagnant" pond behind the bleachers as the source of those flies. I'd like to describe the importance of this pond and provide some information about why it definitely should not be filled, as the writer suggested.

Tour of Juneau Final Times
The final overall standings and the results of Sunday's third stage of the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club's Tour of Juneau cycling stage race. Some of the overall times include time bonuses from various stages.

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

A special pairing
In the recently revived story of Seabiscuit, a Depression-era horse, owner, trainer and jockey - each with a tale of woe - find themselves brought together on a magical journey into the annals of horseracing. Juneau teenager Tracy Ralston and an Arabian mare named Khasmir Blue may not have the excess baggage of those figures from the past, but theirs is nonetheless a fortuitous pairing with a shot at advancing to a national stage.

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

The grand tour
Things came together perfectly for John McConnochie in Sunday's final stage of the three-day Tour of Juneau cycling race as he became the first Juneau rider in three years to win the overall title. McConnochie trailed Mike McCann of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, by one minute in the overall standings entering the stage. But McConnochie caught the slipstream of an inadvertent breakaway just past the turnaround of Sunday's 52.5-mile Auke Rec Long Course Road Race - and at the same time, McCann had some mechanical difficulty.

Juneau soccer teams win three State Cup titles
The Juneau Soccer Club had a threefer and a three-peat in Sunday's championship games at the State Cup tourney in Palmer. All three JSC teams in the finals - the Reign U-13 boys, Xtratuffs U-14 girls and Jaguars U-15 boys - won close, hard-fought games to earn berths at next June's Far West Regional Championships in Spokane, Wash. For the Jaguars, Sunday's 1-0 victory over the Kenai Peninsula Raptors gave them their third straight State Cup title.

Groups wants pulp mill relics turned into bear refuge
ANCHORAGE - A Sitka group has an unusual idea for a couple of former wastewater treatment tanks at the former Sitka pulp mill: turn them into a tourist attraction featuring problem bears. Les Kinnear, heading the Kootznahoo, Fortress of the Bear Project, envisions the tanks as a refuge for wild Southeast Alaska bears that have become used to humans and their garbage. The group aims to charge tourists to take a look.

Friends and family remember Athabascan leader John
FAIRBANKS - He never made it past elementary school, but he was described as a brilliant man and eloquent speaker. He held a job for wages only once in his life, but he worked harder than most people will ever know. In 102 years, he never stepped foot out of Alaska, yet he had a view of the world that few could ever appreciate.

Tax group jumps gun on Palin candidacy
WASILLA - Former Wasilla mayor Sarah Palin said she hasn't decided to run for U.S. Senate, despite a national tax reform group's description of her as a candidate. "My to-do list for the day didn't include filing for U.S. Senate," Palin told the Anchorage Daily News. "It was out of the blue and I was real surprised. I am continuing to think about (running) but that's where I am."

Hooper Bay police clash with village officials over whether to carry guns
HOOPER BAY - When Hooper Bay's seven police officers go on patrol, they tend to deal with small-town peacekeeping duties, not the violent crime of their big-city cousins. And that's fortunate, for Hooper Bay is the only known municipality in the United States whose police officers are forbidden from carrying firearms. The desire of officers to carry arms and the refusal of village leaders to permit them has caused a rift. Town leaders say they fear firearms - even in the hands of cops - will make the village more dangerous. Police say town leaders are being unreasonable.

Alaska Briefs
Girls hospitalized after car rolls over; Californians on board plane that crashed; Alaska ferry sold online to highest bidder; Nikiski woman lands $50,000 silver salmon; Liquor industry group sues over ballot question; State basks in more sizzling temperatures

First undersea volcano discovered in Aleutians
ANCHORAGE - Scientists have discovered and mapped the first confirmed undersea volcano in the Aleutian Islands. The volcano rises more than 1,900 feet from the floor of Amchitka Pass and may be the next Aleutian island. The black lava rock reaches within 380 feet of the surface and supports a profusion of coral, invertebrates, fish and other life, say scientists working on the project.

Metlakatla bottled-water plant launched
KETCHIKAN - The Metlakatla Indian Community has started a water-bottling plant that managers hope eventually will employ two shifts of eight to 10 people.

Mat-Su contemplates resort
ANCHORAGE - Matanuska-Susitna Borough officials say the time is finally right for a four-season Hatcher Pass resort, and they're taking their message nationwide. A prime recreation area 55 miles north of Anchorage in the Talkeetna Mountains, Hatcher already draws borough and Anchorage residents to ski, hike and snowmachine under craggy peaks.

Alaska Briefs
Teams rescue hiker; Angoon woman indicted on murder charges; Alaska's Amber Alert system almost ready; More roe stripping OK'd in Prince William Sound

Ferries get new scrutiny from government as possible terror targets
NEW YORK - Jacqueline Irizarry never imagined that the massive ferry she rides every weekday from Staten Island to lower Manhattan would entice terrorists. Then a few weeks ago she saw eight cops roaming the boat with rifles and police dogs and reconsidered. "Terrorists want to kill thousands of people," Irizarry, 19, said riding the breeze-filled ferry home to Staten Island on Thursday, "so this is the place to do it."

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