Thursday, August 14, 2003

Feds rule out criminal charges in Alaska Airlines crash probe
SEATTLE - Alaska Airlines will not face criminal charges over the crash of Flight 261 in 2000, federal investigators have decided. The decision was revealed Monday in a quarterly filing by corporate parent Alaska Air Group Inc. with the Securities and Exchange Commission and was confirmed by a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco.

Hammer vs. Avon lady
Is Skin-So-Soft now the excuse we have for not protecting our children from the elements? Let's oil their little bodies down and send them to school. For the parents with children at Floyd Dryden with an Avon lady this is a no-brainer.

Underage drinking
We applaud the Juneau Police Department for all of the effort they have put into reducing underage drinking this spring and summer. Anyone who reads the police blotter will have noticed that beginning right before the JDHS prom, police have been actively breaking up underage drinking parties and issuing minor consuming violations.

Avon calling
How very sad that Connie Tonsgard ("Pond is annoying," Empire, Aug. 5) thinks the only remedy to bugs at the football field is to fill in an innocent little pond.

This sounds familiar
I am glad to see the Empire report on the misguided plans of a businessman to place "problem bears" in the concrete wastewater tanks at the defunct Sitka Pulp Mill site (Tanks may house bears, Aug. 11). However, the story misleads the public to believe no choice exists for "problem bears" - they must be killed or imprisoned in the tanks for life.

Now it's smokers
Every time the Legislature discusses a statewide tax, many people write saying they'll support a tax that they won't have to pay (Just tax the rich, just tax the tourists, just tax the out-of-state workers!).

Correction
An obituary for Norma Nicholas published in Wednesday's Empire included an incorrect address for Cornerstone Home Health. Memorial contributions may be sent to Cornerstone Home Health, 3200 Hospital Dr., Suite 100, Juneau AK 99801.

Photo: Cruising to the event
Five U.S. Coast Guard cutters cruise south of Juneau on Sunday to take part in the annual Coast Guard buoy tender roundup. Coast Guard buoy tenders and their crews from various Alaska ports are participating in the weeklong event that started Monday.

Learning by doing
Students in Donna May Roberts' class in Shim-al-gyack, the language of the Tsimshian Indians, point to the ground in unison, walk in place, rub their stomachs, make kissy sounds and generally do whatever she says. It looks like an aerobics class, but that's the way Roberts teaches language, and it's becoming an important element in the Native language courses at Sealaska Heritage Institute's Kusteeyi program.

Registration for kindergarten, child care program begins Friday
Because of incorrect information provided by the Juneau School District, an article in Monday's Empire on school registration was wrong in a number of details pertaining to Juneau-Douglas High School. The following information is the corrected version.

Photo: Federal and Territorial Building, 1940
This postcard shows the Federal and Territorial Building in 1940, before it became the property of the State of Alaska under provisions of the Alaska Statehood Act (approved on July 7, 1958). The Alaska State Capitol Building was completed on Feb. 2, 1931, and formally dedicated on Feb. 14, 1931.

GPS collar lays bare the life of a relocated garbage bear
A bear lurking in the Mendenhall Valley woods holds secrets that Neil Barten is anxious to unlock. The area wildlife biologist for the Alaska Fish and Game Department moved the female black bear at the end of July to the "end of the road" near Echo Cove, after it was captured during one of its Glacier View Trailer Park trash raids.

This Day in History
In 1959, a fire gutted the Alaska Plywood Corp. plant in Juneau.

This Day in History
In 1965, Albert Rothfus of the Alaska National Guard saved three-year-old Emily Guthrie from drowning in Ketchikan Creek. He was later awarded the first Alaska Medal of heroism.

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

Commission endorses harbor improvements
The city planning commission moved Amalga Harbor a step closer Tuesday night to becoming what the city and borough harbor director said will be the best place to launch boats in northern Juneau. "At low tides, it goes dry," explained harbor director John Stone, a few hours before the planning commission endorsed improvements that would include seven feet of dredging. Stone said he hopes tides won't be an issue at Amalga Harbor when the salmon start running next year.

A berry good season
H ugh Watts, 8, plunged through the head-high bushes beside the road to Eaglecrest Ski Area on Saturday and emerged with yet another blueberry. For Hugh, berry-picking is practiced with exuberance and maybe a bit of competitiveness. "Waaa, that's big!" he cried out as he scraped one prize off a branch with the tines of a red, metal berry-picker.

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

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

Eaglecrest backers to host berry festival
Friends of Eaglecrest, a newly formed nonprofit organization in Juneau, is hoping for at least two comebacks at the Eaglecrest Ski Area this year. The first, of course, is snow. The second, and one that falls more within range of the group's powers, is the "blue cakes" that used to be served at the Channel Bowl Cafe. "Sunday is our festival day, and the Channel Bowl Cafe is going to come out of retirement for one day to make blue cakes for us," said Debbie Hart, one of the founders of Friends of Eaglecrest.

Ships converge for Buoy Tender Olympics
Capt. Scott Bauby's ship took home the trophy in last year's Coast Guard Buoy Tender Olympics, and Wednesday afternoon he took a sledge hammer to a red-hot metal shackle in an attempt to repeat the triumph. Bauby was one of about 250 Coast Guard officers and crew who steamed into Juneau this week to participate in the annual Buoy Tender Round-Up, a week-long event that includes training and some friendly competition. "We attend lots of courses here for training, but the main thing is camaraderie," said Bauby, who commands the buoy tender SPAR, based in Kodiak. SPAR stands for "Semper Paratus, Always Ready," which is the Coast Guard's motto.

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

Padgett, Waldron to marry
Laisné Padgett and Brad Waldron of Juneau will be married in a private ceremony at 2 p.m. on August 16 at Aldersheim Lodge. A reception will follow at 6 p.m. at Centennial Hall.

August is national immunization awareness month
The National Partnership for Immunization (NPI) sponsors National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) to raise awareness of the importance of immunizations to avoid infectious disease and its devastating consequences.

Neighbors Briefs
Council offers workshop; 'Hump' pilots reunion; ABDC renews contract; Free lecture demo; Emma Marks' 90th; KidCare Photo ID; AWARE training; Marines train Reese; Fishing industry safety; Senior nutrition; Historic mine tour; Scout troop wins award

Pets of the week
Nine-month-old Jake is handsome, full of energy; Princess has trim, toned body

Photo: Sitka setting
The Indian River Falls are found at the end of a 5.5-mile trail near Sitka. The trail is a fairly level walk for most of the way, skirting muskeg and meandering along the banks of the Indian River.

John R. 'Jack' Jewell
Juneau resident John R. "Jack" Jewell, 78, died Aug. 6, 2003, in Seattle, Wash.

Norma Nicholas
Juneau resident Norma Nicholas, 80, died Aug. 5, 2003, at her home.

Roads to prosperity
C ongressman Don Young, R- Alaska, told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce earlier this summer, "For every $1 billion invested in federal highway and transit spending that is matched by the state, 47,500 jobs are created or sustained."

My Turn: Misconceptions about the Roadless Rule
As the comment period draws to a close, misconceptions of the Roadless Rule's effect on our regional economy abound. Empire Publisher Don Smith's recent Roadless Rule editorial is inaccurate and markedly misleading about the effects of the rule on the region's forest uses.

Correction
An Empire editorial published on Sunday, Aug. 10, incorrectly identified the court that ruled earlier this summer on the state of Wyoming's challenge to the "roadless rule."

My Turn: Reconciliation - not alienation
It was hard for me as a Christian to read Linda Orr's opinion piece in the Aug. 3 Empire and not feel sadness, first for the hurt she has suffered, and second that one could go through life holding on to such bitterness. She expressed not only anger at Christians, but also doubts as to the Bible's integrity. It made me wonder how many others are similarly alienated from the church.

Photo: Super softball squad returns home
The 2003 Western Region runner-up Juneau Senior Division (age 15-16) Little League softball squad gathers for a team photo at the Juneau airport just past midnight on Aug. 8 after arriving home from the tournament in Butte, Mont.

Szymanski wins 100m backstroke at Western Zones meet
Genny Szymanski of the Haines Dolphins Swim Team won the girls age 13-14 100-meter backstroke event on Saturday, the final day of the five-day Western Zones Championship Long-Course Swim Meet at the Mona Plummer Aquatics Complex on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, Ariz.

Photo: First-time state champs
The Juneau Reign U-13 boys soccer team gathers for a group photo after winning their division at the State Cup in Palmer on Sunday. The Reign were one of three Juneau teams to win state titles and earn berths at next June's Far West Regional Championships in Spokane, Wash.

Empire Cup Standings
The Empire Cup standings through races of Aug. 8 (the Toilsome Twosome Traverse). The Empire Cup is a season point series cosponsored by the Southeast Road Runners Club and the Juneau Empire.

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

In full stride
With just six weeks from the first starting gun to the final finish line, the Alaska high school cross-country running season seems to fly by faster than a pack of runners at the state meet in Palmer.

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

Conference looks at pros, cons of faith-based initiative
ANCHORAGE - Social service providers and religious groups attended a conference Tuesday to discuss President Bush's faith-based initiative and how it might work in Alaska. While conference participants spoke enthusiastically about the initiative, concerns were raised by the Alaska Civil Liberties Union and others that it will lead to the crumbling of the separation between church and state. "Keep the church out of government affairs and keep the government out of church affairs," said Al Sundquist, president of the Alaska chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Computer infection snarls world networks
An Internet-borne infection incapacitated tens of thousands of computers on Tuesday, snarling company networks and frustrating home users as it spread across the globe. Security officials said the virus-like worm, dubbed "LovSan," was part of a coordinated electronic attack that exploited one of the most serious flaws yet discovered in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating systems.

Appeals court affirms state's money limits on political parties
ANCHORAGE - Alaska can limit donations to political parties by individuals and corporations, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. Judges overturned a 2001 decision that rejected limits on "soft money" donated to parties by both individuals and corporations, as long as it was used for "party building" and not to help specific candidates.

Alaska Briefs
Judge disqualifies self in sexual assault case; Engine problem delays state ferry Matanuska; State to seek offshore test wells near ANWR; St. Michael voters go to polls for alcohol status; Fairbanks pays less for gas than Anchorage; More inlet sockeye qualify for brand name

Alaska Briefs
Seattle hiker fell victim to Juneau heat; Sex offender found with abducted child; Poll shows lawmakers' stance on special session; Dillingham voters to decide smoking ban

Timber supply key to veneer plant reopening
A shuttered veneer plant in Ketchikan could reopen soon if the U.S. Forest Service, Sealaska Corp. and the state can provide enough wood to keep the operation running. Representatives of the three parties, the state development agency and Oregon-based Timber Products Co. met in Juneau last week to discuss the possibility of reopening the plant, which closed in February 2001, one month after it opened.

Murkowski signs controversial bill making timber primary forest use
FAIRBANKS - Gov. Frank Murkowski has signed into law a bill that will change the primary use of all state forests from "multi-use" to "timber." The bill, sponsored by Sen. Robin Taylor, a Wrangell Republican, also makes other changes to state timber management. "This bill is a step in the right direction toward promoting resource development and creation of jobs and new revenues for the state," Murkowski said in a press release. He signed the measure Friday in Ketchikan.

Angoon guardsman honored for saving life
Randall J. Gamble said he didn't think twice about doing what was needed to save a friend's life eight years ago. Others never stopped thinking about it. "I just reacted," he said from his Angoon home Wednesday, a week after Brig. Gen. Craig Campbell awarded him the Army's Soldier's Medal during a ceremony attended by most of Angoon's residents. The Soldier's Medal was authorized to recognize heroic, life-saving actions by soldiers that involve the voluntary risk of life other than armed conflict with an enemy.

Cuts, insurance costs put cities in jeopardy
State cuts to municipalities combined with the rising cost of municipal insurance have Southeast communities scrambling to fill gaps in their budgets. Some are facing the threat of dissolving city government altogether. Rising insurance costs and declining revenues also are causing some larger communities to rework their already tight budgets. Kevin Smith, executive director of the Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association, said the cost of municipal insurance skyrocketed in the mid-1980s. This prompted communities in 1988 to create a joint insurance pool that is administered by the Municipal League.

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