Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sometimes there's only one person to turn to
From health care to piano tuning, Juneau is a large enough city to support multiple professionals in most fields. Yet a few people still find themselves as the only ones offering particular services in town.

Apprenticeship and the new Alaska workforce
In trying to keep up with the times, the Palin administration has noted that in the coming years an aging Alaska work force will need to be replaced with a new generation of workers. The way we approach training in the state is outdated and in need of development, a spokesman for the department said.

HONORABLE MENTION: Going Outside to Work
During the winter months, I start my workday by going outside, clicking into my skis and hopping onto the chairlift at Eaglecrest. Within a few minutes, I am immersed in the natural world experiencing and observing something new each day. As fresh snow falls to deeply blanket the muskegs, berry bushes and rocky terrain, the mountain landscape is transformed into the winter playground so many of us have come to enjoy. Snow ghosts emerge as the trees become cocooned for the winter to eerily lurk about on misty, low visibility days. And on the brilliant bluebird days, everything glistens and the sweeping view fills your vision as you swoosh down the mountain.

HONORABLE MENTION: Day or Night, Juneau's Best Are Ready For Your Call
Each day is just the same old routine; fires, explosions, car wrecks, sick and injured persons; every kind of bad day that a person can experience. Who handles these problems every day of the year? The answer is the fine women and men of Capital City Fire & Rescue.

FIRST PLACE: An Adventure in Dog World
Muscles tensed, eyes forward.

HONORABLE MENTION: Dog World
Our work world goes by the name of "Dog World." I am an operations manager for Alaska Helimush Inc., a helicopter-supported dogsled tour company on the Norris Glacier here in Juneau.

HONORABLE MENTION: The World's Oldest Profession
The work I do as a surveyor is one of the most misunderstood professions in the world. Wars have been fought over boundry disputes and I promise that when you look at a globe or a map you must remember that someone had to walk every square inch of that ground.

FIRST PLACE: A Little Heaven on Earth
Every day when I go to work I take one more step into that very thin space between this earth and heaven. And even in the hardest of times I go to work, not alone on that journey but accompanied by eleven of the dearest, most caring, angelic and devilishly witty colleagues. Together we seem to thrive in the good days and survive the hard ones.

HONORABLE MENTION: A Student's Point of View
Being a student is my job. My workworld is filled with many different people. My "colleagues" (fellow students) are great, they help and support me, and they learn with or from me. My "bosses" (teachers and principles) help me understand new things. They teach me and let me know right from wrong. Not only is my workworld great, but so are the people in it.

HONORABLE MENTION: What Do Get When You Mix Water, Malted Barley, Hops & Yeast?
I am a brewer at the Alaskan Brewing Company. It is truly the most fascinating job (if you can call it that - I get paid to brew beer) that a person can have.

HONORABLE MENTION: My Great Workworld
Elsewhere, I have heard it said that some people 'live to work, while others, 'work to live.' I do both. I am happier, however, when I think that I am living to work care-giving for others who need my tender loving care. I have found this out with my present job.

HONORABLE MENTION: My Work is a Dream Come True
As far back as I can remember Alaska and the call of the wild beckoned me. I was six and in the first grade when Alaska was granted statehood. My teacher had given us a homework assignment which was to choose a state and present a report. I chose Alaska 'the last frontier.' The experience planted the seed of desire deep in my heart to see and be a part of this great land.

SECOND PLACE: Commercial Fishing in Southeast Alaska
As I wake up every morning abord our fishing vessle and look out the window, I'm reminded I have the best office in the world. My husband and I commercial fish Dungeness crab in Southeast Alaska and our home away from home is the beautiful world of the Inside Passage. During our morning commute we are drinking hot coffee watching the sunrise and are often surprised with an escort of Doll Porpoise. Each day is a new adventure and each pot as it's hauled on board is filled with suspense. You never know what you are going to catch. We spend our days running our gear in protected bays and inlets and are fortunate to fish close to home where we return many nights.

HONORABLE MENTION: Playing is Learning
I get to play all day at my job, literally. I work at Juneau's Imagination Station, the funnest store in town, and I love my job.

HONORABLE MENTION: When's My Next Court Date?
I am with the Alaska Court System in Juneau. Many people, for various reasons, have a negative view of the court and people who work in this area. I have been here for 10 years and there are days that make me think, "what the heck am I doing here?" but truly this has been the most enjoyable and enriching place I have ever worked at.

THIRD PLACE: Thank You, Sir
When I started working for Duck Creek Market about five years ago I thought I was just going to be pushing buttons on a computer and greeting customers with a smile that I thought was lost. I would go into work and start my day by getting my till ready and then onto my chores that needed to be done. When I started working there I pretty much wiped down the counters, stocked and faced the shelves and greeted customers with a smile. The longer I was there the more I started to learn about the business from my boss. I listened to every word that he said because I enjoy learning new things. I mean, I have taken business classes but to be able to have a hands-on experience while the person is teaching you is even better. That is exactly what Mr. Jack Manning did - he gave me the opportunity to have the experience of certain aspects of the business and is still teaching me.

Photos: Working in the city:
Clockwise from above: Tour operator Jim Carroll talks with a visitor in front of a tour bus near the Mount Roberts Tram; Brian Chilton works with his apprentice, Ty Grant, repainting a totem at the entrance of the Goldbelt Building; Brad Brian rakes in an asphalt tie on the Sunny Point interchange project; Juneau park maintenance employee Ericka Love hangs a banner on a downtown light post in preparation for the 2008 summer tourism season; Cecile Elliott works behind the counter at Alaska Airlines; Gary Isturis processes salmon at Taku Fisheries near the dock in downtown Juneau.

Let's get it right
Juneau residents face a very important election this fall and they will either get it right by electing a candidate that will get us back in step with the rest of Alaska or continue down the same path we are on now.

Not euthanasia
The recent My Turn by Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner Denby Lloyd explored some "misunderstandings" about recent predator control actions taken by the department, including the "euthanasia" of 14 wolf pups. Lloyd states that euthanasia was done according to standards set by the state's Animal Care and Use Committee and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Vote no on Measure 1
Ballot Measure 1, regarding "The Gaming Commission" in the upcoming Aug. 26 primary, is intended to eliminate charitable gaming and replace it with for-profit gambling.

Stand for clean water
I think it is odd that big mining companies in Alaska or their supporters are always saying that mining can be done in an environmentally responsible manner and yet they are spending millions of dollars to fight Ballot Measure 4, the Clean Water Initiative.

Represent all of us
The Palin Administration, Alaska Outdoor Council, and the Board of Game form a cabala whose last interest is honoring the will of Alaskan voters. As it applies to airborne predator killing, that will was made clear in 1996 and 2000.

New pols needed
On the "Talk of Alaska" radio program the other day, U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens said he wanted to run for another term because there was so much left to do, leaving the impression that if given the chance, he could pretty much whip all the major issues in one more term. That would leave the rest of us with nothing to do but sweep the floor and keep the lights on for the foreseeable future.

In Stevens' debt
U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens has been good for all Alaskans.

Diane Benson's past shows her character
Character matters in politics. Courage and conviction matter. Diane Benson has both.

Bring clean elections
Fifty years ago, I actively participated in Alaska's fight for statehood. Now I am one of three sponsors of Ballot Measure 3, for public funding of campaigns, designed to bring clean elections to our state.

Find impartial info
Was the theme of the Juneau 4th of July Parade in 2008 "No on 4"?

Lots of rhetoric
As usual, the debate surrounding Predator Management in Alaska mixes a little fact with plenty of rhetoric and misinformation. This is especially true for those supporting passage of Measure 2 on the primary ballot. Sponsors of the Initiative to ban use of aircraft for predator control, once again attempting to dupe the public into believing this is a fair chase/hunting ethics/biological issue.

Cable to extend Southeast network
Over land and under the sea, two long-distance communications networks are in progress this summer that will lighten the load on Southeast Alaska's maxed-out bandwidth.

Fundraising evenly matched in valley, lopsided downtown
Of Juneau's two contested House primary races, one has the candidates evenly matched financially, while in the other the incumbent holds a wide fundraising and spending lead over the challenger.

Juneau delegates take roles in Democratic convention
DENVER - Barack Obama is paying attention to Alaska's boondocks, which for Cindy Spanyers means she finally won't be representing a political wasteland as Democrats finalize their presidential nominee, strategies for congressional elections and stance on national issues this week.

Some villages to get high-speed Internet connections, cafes
AT&T Alascom is making some small changes that could have big effects on a few Southeast villages, where the only Internet service has been low-speed dial-up.

Photo: Viewing platform
Olavi Siikki pulls in a chum salmon from the water as he stands on a step stool Saturday next to the Douglas Island Pink and Chum Hatchery. Along with his polarized sunglasses, Siikki said the stool gives him a better view of the fish.

Photo: Celebrating harvest
Kelly and Merrill Jensen take a closer look at a primrose Saturday while judging the flower division at the Juneau Community Garden's Harvest Fair.

Around Town
Today

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials and state police reported:

Linda Kay Manns
Following a long battle with cancer, Linda Kay Manns died Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008. She was 43.

Toe Toon
Cartoon by local artist Toe.

Alaska editorial: Oppose establishment of gaming commission
This editorial appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:

Three out of four is not too bad
A citizen's initiative is perhaps one of the best and worst aspects of our Alaska government.

My turn: No on 4: Save Alaska jobs
The Empire's editorial supporting Ballot Measure 4 shows a surprising lack of knowledge and understanding of four things: the real impacts of Measure 4, existing stringent federal and state permitting requirements involving water quality, the value of public processes for promulgating laws and regulations, and the importance of attracting industry to Alaska.

My turn: Ballot measure 2 hurts subsistence
As many of us throughout rural Alaska are aware, since the 1996 and 2000 ballot initiatives limiting aerial predator management were passed, moose populations have declined 75-80 percent in many areas, largely due to inadequate predator management. This situation resulted in many subsistence hunts being severely restricted or closed entirely. More recently, reinstated predator management programs have helped rebuild our moose populations. However, these programs are again in danger of being shut down by Ballot Measure 2.

Waterfowl hunting season to start soon
Juneau waterfowl hunters should be lining up their ducks if they want to hunt on the Mendenhall Wetlands this year. Waterfowl season starts on Monday, Sept. 1, at 5:28 a.m.

Photo: Checking things out
David Wilcox, 10, checks out a World War II-era winch after attending the Fort Rousseau Causeway State Historical Park dedication ceremony on Aug. 16 in Sitka. The causeway was part of the Sitka Naval Air Station and the Army's Fort Ray during the war.

Kayak trip reveals Glacier Bay wildlife
Most of my excursions and explorations are on land, but lately many of these little trips have been very water-logged.

Out & About
Today: Public trap shoot, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Juneau Gun Club.

Stoned driver gets three years in death
ANCHORAGE - A driver who was under the influence of marijuana was sentenced to three years in prison for criminally negligent homicide in the death of a 53-year-old woman killed on the Seward Highway.

Public comments shape roads decision
KETCHIKAN - Outdoor recreationists and subsistence users who drive high-clearance and off-highway vehicles in the Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District will maintain access to their preferred U.S. Forest Service roads, according to District Ranger Lynn Kolund.

Group to conduct regional health study
JUNEAU - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program will be conducting a special region-specific Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System study beginning in September.

APOC orders state to remove Web pages
JUNEAU - The Alaska Public Offices Commission on Thursday ordered the state to take down its Web pages explaining how Measure 4 would work.

Symphony Cruise offers food, music
JUNEAU - On Sept. 13, the Juneau Symphony will host "Set Sail for the Symphony," a benefit cruise for its 2008-09 season.

Community Schools office relocates
JUNEAU - Community Schools Central Office has relocated to Thunder Mountain High School.

Photo: Hard knocks
Senior Alex Fagerstrom is tackled while running during Saturday's game between Juneau-Douglas High School and Blackfoot, Idaho, the defending 4A Idaho state champs. The Crimson Bears lost 27-7. Fagerstrom scored the Crimson Bears' onlytouchdown on a three-yard scamper in the fourth quarter. For the full game story read Monday's issue of the Juneau Empire.

Photo: Leader of the pack
About two dozen racers start up the Fish Creek Road for the five-mile-long Eaglecrest Road Race on Saturday. Henry Hiram, far right, won the race in 36 minutes, 17 seconds.

Bottom trawling restrictions start Monday
ANCHORAGE - Large portions of the Bering Sea off Alaska's coast will soon be off-limits to bottom trawling, in which fishing vessels drag huge, weighted nets across the ocean floor.

This Day in History
In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

Alaska gambling ballot measure under dispute
Ballot Measure 1 hasn't garnered much attention.

Stevens indictment alters tone of Senate primary race
Don't look for an indictment to knock Ted Stevens out of the U.S. Senate race in Tuesday's primary, but look closely at the final numbers for clues about Stevens' chances in November.

Driver hits grizzly bear as it crosses Anchorage street
ANCHORAGE - One moment Howard Hawkins Jr. was driving to get an early morning cup of coffee, and the next he hit a large grizzly bear running at a full gallop across one of Anchorage's busiest streets.

Support for 'Clean elections' split along party lines
The specter of VECO Corp. is being invoked in the battle over publicly funded campaigns, the so-called "clean elections" ballot measure campaign, but it's not being done by who you'd think.

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