A fair tobacco tax
The Juneau assembly will meet Monday, Aug. 25, to hear public comment on increasing tobacco tax. If passed, Juneau tobacco tax would be raised to the same level that Anchorage residents are paying. The money is expected to help meet the shortfall in funds for community health programs.

Sad transition
I will never understand why people think they have to destroy other people's property, especially in Juneau. I was born and raised here and Juneau used to be a pretty safe community.

Downtown drunkenness
I read the Juneau Empire article regarding the recent crime spree in the downtown area, and what surprises me the most is how surprised the police, Kirby Day and this town seem to be in response to this sort of behavior.

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.

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.

Also 'homeland security'
As we watch the funding for many social service programs decrease, or in some cases, totally disappear, the needful ones, those that have come to rely upon those programs, neither decrease nor disappear.

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

Marauders' memories
Roy Matsumoto and Grant Hirobayashi came to Juneau to fish with Matsumoto's daughter Fumi and her family. But the old friends, both World War II veterans of the 5307th Composite Unit, known as Merrill's Marauders, can't help but let the conversation stray from fishing when they get together. "It was a considerable hardship, and I know what he went through and he knows what I went through," said Hirobayashi of the men's U.S. Army experience in India and Burma in 1943 and 1944.

What the test scores mean
Some Alaska schools that did not meet targets for progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act are nonetheless "high-proficiency," Education Commissioner Roger Sampson said in an interview last week. This afternoon in Anchorage the state was scheduled to release the list of schools that didn't meet proficiency targets in English and math. "We're asking parents to find out why the schools are on or not on the list," Sampson said last week.

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.

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.

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.

Eight local schools don't meet state proficiency targets
Eight of 12 Juneau schools are on a state list of schools that did not meet proficiency targets in English and math - or just didn't have enough students taking the tests - in the school year 2002-03. Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, schools must show progress toward meeting the goal that all students be proficient in English and math by 2014. This is the first year for the lists. Schools were judged to be making adequate progress if at least 64 percent of their students, as a whole and in various subgroups, were proficient in English and 55 percent in math.

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.

Task force discusses skateboard guidelines
The city Skateboard Task Force on Tuesday discussed establishing certain areas of Marine Park for skateboarding and setting up safety guidelines for those using the area. The task force was established in July, when the Juneau Assembly tabled an ordinance that would have made the park off limits to skateboarders during the summer. Marine Park is the last legal place to skateboard downtown.

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.

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

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.

This Day in History
In 1938, the first scheduled Pan American air express flight from Seattle to Juneau landed at Auke Bay.

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.

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.

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

Photo: The Capitol about 50 years ago
A caption that accompanied this photo in the Aug. 13 edition of the Empire mistakenly dated the historical postcard of the Federal and Territorial Building to 1940. Museum sources said the photograph was taken in the mid-1950s and produced as a postcard in the late 1950s.

The time to think about the Pioneers Home is right now
Every senior citizen who is 65 or older and who has been an Alaska resident for at least one year is advised to submit an application to the Pioneers Home - even if they do not plan on moving there in the next ten or 20 years. "Don't wait until a crisis hits, such as falling and breaking your hip," said Virginia Smiley, Alaska Longevity Programs Manager. "Sometimes there is a lengthy waiting list and it's good to be on the Inactive List just in case the need arises."

Pets of the week
Big guy is really a teddy bear inside; Buck gets along with everybody, everything

Photo: Big Sister, Little Sister
Big Sister Cathy Jeans and Little Sister Ally wait to board their raft for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Mendenhall River rafting trip.

Neighbors Briefs
Cellular One incentive; Vaccinate Juneau Kids; Bunnetts head tour group; Christian Youth Exchange; Girl Scouts in song; Computer classes for beginners; Shrine sponsors retreat; Waterfowl hunting regs; Adopt-A-Classroom

Thank you ... for the donation
The Juneau Boys and Girls Club (BGC) would like to extend great appreciation to the Fred Meyer Foundation/Juneau Advisory Committee for their donation of $300 to sponsor the Club's Summer Open Gym. With the contributed funds, the club was able to purchase sports equipment, program supplies such as Gatorade and water, as well as attendance incentives such as granola bars and fruit snacks.

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.

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.

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

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

Photo: Twice as nice
The Juneau Xtratuffs U-14 girls soccer team won its second straight State Cup title on Aug. 10 in Palmer. The double-overtime, shootout victory earned the team a berth at the Far West Regional Championships in Spokane, Wash., next June.

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."

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.

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

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.

Fairbanks mayor salvages sister-city relationship by agreeing to visit Italy
FAIRBANKS - Mayor Steve Thompson apparently has avoided a minor international incident by agreeing to visit a sister city in Italy next month. A proposed September goodwill trip by a contingent of Fairbanks residents to its sister city of Fanano, Italy, fell apart earlier this year, leading to an impassioned response from the mayor of the town. Fanano is the hometown of Fairbanks' founding father Felix Pedro. Thompson declared it a sister city of Fairbanks, and 32 people from the town arrived in July last year to take part in Golden Days, the annual celebration of Fairbanks' mining history.

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

Jail murderer doesn't contest charge
ANCHORAGE - A jail prisoner who choked another inmate to death nearly three years ago has pleaded no contest to second-degree murder. Terry Ray Stromme, 24, was originally charged with first-degree murder in the death of Elijah Sage. Stromme pleaded to the reduced charge Monday after reaching an agreement with prosecutors that includes a 20-year prison sentence and 10 years of probation upon release.

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
Soldier returns home; Murkowski files written Roadless comments; Leman turns down cruise ship initiative; Ketchikan borough rejects cruise ship tax

Report: Alaska fails to meet standards for child protection
Alaska does a poor job of finding permanent placement of children in foster care and there is not enough face-to-face contact between case workers and families, according to a federal review of the state's child protection services. Alaska was among 14 states that failed in every category under new and more rigorous tests that measure not only the bureaucratic process but how children and families are actually being served. In many instances, Alaska fell short, the review showed.

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