Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Possible Williams buyer has tarnished environmental past
ANCHORAGE - A Kansas company that Gov. Frank Murkowski says is interested in buying the Williams Alaska Petroleum oil refinery in North Pole has a record of major environmental violations in the Lower 48. Officials with Koch Industries Inc. of Wichita say the company is now an industry leader in cutting pollution, making clean fuels and maintaining safe workplaces.

Perpetuating the pain
In response to William J. Ruddy's letter, "Should issue overshadow good," on Aug. 17, I can only shake my head in disbelief. You sir, and people like you, are the reason this problem that has affected so many families across the country has gone on so long, unnoticed and swept under the carpet.

Opinion poll feedback
I take issue with your decision to not publish the results of your poll regarding the proposed Berners Bay land swap on the grounds that the poll question was "...imprecise and misleading" simply because a Coeur Alaska representative indicated that the land swap was not necessary for Coeur to proceed with the development of the Kensington Mine.

More enforcement
I have had many close calls on the freeway in the last year. I follow the speed limit, slow down when it is raining, I won't drive in the winter because it is to dangerous and I know I don't do well in the snow, and unfortunately not many drivers are as cautious as I am.

Ketchikan pet project
Ward Cove, Alaska, near Ketchikan, is the site of the former Ketchikan Pulp Company. It is geographically one of the best deep water, naturally protected bodies of water on the west coast of North America.

Judge prevents woman accused of Angoon murder from rejoining kids
The woman charged with second-degree murder in the Angoon stabbing death of Richard "Buddy" George in July won't get out of jail to live with her children, a Juneau judge ruled Monday. Denni Starr, 22, is still held at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center on $50,000 bail. She is accused of fatally stabbing George, the father of her two children, on July 26 in their home. The youngest child, 17 months, was believed to be in his arms when he was stabbed.

This Day in History
In 1826, Sir John Franklin "discovered" Prudhoe Bay.

Photo: Natural hazard
Willette Janes, left, and Sylvia Gard make their way around a fallen tree and rock Monday morning near the Ben Blackgoat bench on Perseverance Trail. Trail Mix, a nonprofit trail-building and maintenance group, will move the fallen tree in the next few days.

Two Egan Drive accidents result in citation, DWI arrest
Two vehicle accidents on Egan Drive kept police busy Sunday night. Police reported that the first accident occurred at 6:04 p.m., in the outbound lane at Glacier Highway, south of Mendenhall Loop Road. Police determined that a vehicle driven by a 35-year-old man struck two vehicles stopped at the red light. The 35-year-old driver said he took his eyes off the road to look at his compact disc player, police said. When he looked up, it was too late to avoid the accident.

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

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

Powerful Paddlers
Like any group of kayakers that reaches a destination after two months of travel, nine paddlers from Great Britain who arrived in Juneau from Vancouver, B.C., Thursday night were happy to have some of life's comforts. But along with a home-cooked meal, a dry bed and a chance to talk with loved ones, two of the British paddlers had an unexpected longing. "I missed my wheelchair," said Karen Paul, a kayaker, monoskier, swimmer and handcycler who is paralyzed from the chest down.

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

Vandals damage or steal $10,000 in property at cruise ship dock
Vandals who struck the Princess Line's cruise ship dock Monday made a negative impression on some of those working to create a good impression for visitors to Juneau. About $10,000 in property was taken or damaged in the South Franklin Street area, Juneau Police reported during their investigation Monday. An officer on patrol in the downtown area first noticed some of the damage at 3:50 a.m. Monday, Sgt. Kevin Siska reported. Trash cans had been overturned and some windows had been broken.

Photo: Getting down in Ketchikan
Brian Bartow of Grants Pass, Ore., left, begins his descent in the quarterfinal speed pole climb over Cal Richert of Juneau last week in the Iron Jack and Iron Jill World Championships in Ketchikan. Bartow led the field of 10 contestants in the speed pole event after the first day of competition.

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

Four file for city seats
Juneau Assembly member Dale Anderson and Juneau School Board member Daniel Peterson filed paperwork with the city Monday to run for the Assembly's District 2 seat. The filing period for the Oct. 7 election began Monday and ends at 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 28. Dick Knapp, former commissioner for the state Department of Transportation, is the only candidate for mayor, so far. And Juneau School Board member Alan Schorr filed paperwork to maintain his seat on the school board.

A Weaver's tale
The intricacies of Kay Parker's weaving life are evident as one looks around her shoreside house, scattered with in-progress examples of ancient Native ravenstail robes, bibs and bags of her own handiwork. "I've always been interested in handwork," said Parker. "I've always knitted and sewed and spun and done those things." A ravenstail weaver for 13 years, Parker experiments with new weaving patterns and ideas, helps produce the quarterly newsletter "Raven's Tale," presides over the Ravenstail Weavers' Guild and teaches ravenstail courses at the University of Alaska Southeast.

This Day in History
In 1979, an escaped buffalo was found northeast of Seward by the crew from the Coast Guard cutter Cape Jellison, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and the Seward Fire Department.

Clarifications & Corrections
Due to a reporter's error, the "Golden Memories" story in Sunday's Outdoors section incorrectly identified the salmon derby winner whose car was totaled by Peggy Garrison. Due to incorrect information received by the Empire, Sunday's story on recycling inaccurately stated that the city has contracted with Capitol Disposal to recycle white office paper.

Photo: A break in the bluster
Sailboats glide through the glittering waters of Gastineau Channel on Sunday. The recent wet and blustery weather calmed and provided a pleasant afternoon for outdoor activities.

Mary Alice Noel
Juneau resident Mary Alice Noel, 80, died Aug. 10, 2003, in Juneau.

My Turn: Post office is not broke
I have a very different view of the problems facing the U.S. Postal Service than Mr. Gattuso in Sunday's commentary. I happen to believe that service is in the name for a reason. The Postal Service was never meant to be a business. I would like to encourage all Alaskans to read the Postal Commission's report and think for themselves how it might affect their service.

Alaska State Football Polls
Here are the Anchorage Daily News/Alaska State Coaches Football Polls, as voted on by high school coaches and compiled by the Anchorage Daily News. The poll lists each team with first-place votes in parentheses, records through games of Aug. 16, total poll points and previous rank in the poll.

Derek Gibb in Korea for World University Games
Derek Gibb moved one step closer to his ultimate dream this weekend when he arrived in Daegu, South Korea, for the World University Games. Gibb, a 1999 Petersburg High School graduate who will be a senior at NCAA champion Auburn University, eventually wants to swim in the 2004 Athens Olympics and hopes the World University Games experience will help him make the U.S. Olympic Team.

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

Local Sports Briefs
Simpson posts low rounds in disc golf tourneys; McConnochie finishes second in Tour of Anchorage

Crimson Bears second in season's first poll
The Juneau-Douglas High School football team received a shock Monday morning, when the Crimson Bears found out they were ranked second in the season's first Anchorage Daily News/Alaska State Football Coaches' Poll. The Crimson Bears, who didn't win any Cook Inlet Football Conference games last year en route to a 2-6 overall record, ended an eight-game losing streak against CIFC teams with a 42-18 victory over East Anchorage on Friday. But they didn't think that was enough to move them so high in the poll. "That Daily News one was a little surprise," Juneau coach Reilly Richey said Monday night. "One win doesn't deserve it."

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

Juneau's All-American
When Josh Dean decided to try out for the rugby team at the U.S. Air Force Academy four years ago, he had no idea the sport would take him all over the world. Dean, a former Juneau-Douglas High School football quarterback and infielder for the baseball team, was one of two tour captains for the USA Rugby Collegiate All-Americans team that played two games in New Zealand earlier this month.

Alaska Briefs
Alleged car thief arrested after accident; Earthquake rattles area southeast of Nikolski; Late summer light impedes Mars view; Murkowski ends tour of Kuskokwim region; Gas exploration triggers concerns at Sutton

Court says public has right to see municipality's internal papers
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that the Homer City Council erred when it refused to turn over internal documents to local residents who opposed the city's efforts to annex new territory. The ruling Friday affirms the public's right to see how municipal governments make some decisions.

Former North Pole supervisor charged with theft of services
FAIRBANKS - A former North Pole utilities supervisor is accused of allowing a city employee to help him build his new house on city time and failing to pay for six months worth of city water and sewer services. Randy Johnson, who was fired Tuesday, is facing criminal charges. Johnson, 48, was placed on paid administrative leave in June after being indicted on two felony counts of theft of services and four misdemeanor charges of official misconduct and tampering with public records.

Iceland president says whale hunt only for research
ANCHORAGE - The president of Iceland said Monday it would be wrong to ascribe any motive other than research to the country's first whale hunt in more than a decade. Iceland launched three ships on Sunday to begin hunting for 38 minke whales this month and next, despite the contention of several governments, including the United States, there is no scientific basis for the research. Animal welfare groups worry the hunt is a first step to determine international reaction to the possible resumption of commercial whaling by Iceland.

Alaska Briefs
Local man jailed after downtown attack; Clerk certifies consolidation petition; Acoustic basses needed; Cruise passengers report illness

State attorney general may put an end to state fair's tradition of betting on gerbils
ANCHORAGE - For decades, people attending the Alaska State Fair have gambled on "rat" races, a game of chance in which bettors try to guess which hole a gerbil will run down as he slowly spins on a wheel. But a new legal opinion under review in the attorney general's office could put an end to gambling on animals. The opinion by Dan Branch, a state assistant attorney general, came out in November. It was prompted by a periodic review of the regulations that cover the state's limited legal gambling.

Vietnamese refugee reflects on the new life he built in Alaska
KODIAK - Two years and six months ago, Tieu Tran received a phone call from his employer. It was the 25th anniversary of the day he started work at Alaska's Kodiak Island Borough School District. The district wanted to recognize his loyalty. Tran, now 62 and retired from his job as a school custodian, remembers exactly when the call came.

Fairbanks biologist takes on baiting ban
ANCHORAGE - A Fairbanks hunter has filed a complaint in Superior Court to halt an initiative drive by proponents of a bear-baiting ban. Retired state wildlife biologist Wayne Heimer said he resents the idea of managing the state's fish and game by voter initiative. Proponents of the ban say they've collected half the signatures needed to put their initiative on a statewide ballot next year.

Mat-Su voters may decide dock plan
ANCHORAGE - Matanuska-Susitna Borough residents likely will vote on an $11.5 million dock expansion at Point MacKenzie. The Borough Assembly had planned to make a decision on the issue, but then the state rejected the borough's approach to shouldering its share of the costs because it didn't involve a popular vote.

Euthanasia for pets - a new concept for the last frontier
EMMONAK - Soon after Peter Jones heard the shotgun blast outside his Emmonak home, he saw his year-old puppy, Floppy, stumbling toward the bank of a nearby stream. It would take a second shot to kill the husky-mix after it collapsed at the water's edge. Residents of the Western Alaska village had been warned that police would be shooting strays - a longtime practice in rural Alaska to control a sometimes burgeoning population. Jones, 52, said his family was devastated.

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