Wednesday, September 3, 2003

AT&T Alascom fights on for rate change
FAIRBANKS - A federal regulatory official has rejected arguments by long-distance telephone provider AT&T Alascom to justify a rate formula change the company says would lower fees for rural customers. But the company plans to press its case to the Federal Communications Commission, said Kristi Catlin, AT&T Alascom's government relations director.

Greenpeace a victim
In Tuesday's paper, William Tonsgard Jr. accused Greenpeace of "terrorist activities." The rest of the letter is his usual routine, but I want to address his use of the word "terrorist."

Half right
Steve Hites got it half right in his commentary, "Cruise ship head tax proponents are missing the boat ..." But the reason is the Passenger Service Act of 1886. There is a $300 fine for each passenger who wants to cruise in Alaska waters, e.g. Juneau to Whittier.

Knowles: No rubberstamp for President Bush
Now is the time to start looking at how Alaska's voice, and Alaska's politics relate to the rest of the nation. Former Gov. Tony Knowles is running hard against Lisa Murkowski for the Senate seat. The great forces behind the race are Alaska's other senator, Ted Stevens, and President George W. Bush.

'My son is going to Iraq'
I talked to my son today, an army medic scheduled to be sent to Iraq sometime this week. He and his mother and I enjoyed a long conversation concluding with a lingering good-bye. No one wanted to be the first to hang up the phone. All day today this single thought keeps coming to mind: "My son is going to Iraq."

Paid professionals
I read a letter from Bobbie Haffner in Friday's paper in which he (or she) complained about the way we, as a nation, have changed for the worst and that Juneau is not better than the rest of the nation because of the way Greenpeace was treated here.

Greenpeace postings could help terrorists
The main point William Tonsgard Jr. was making in his My Turn article of Aug. 26 is the forest is growing faster and wilder than before it was logged, even in the Cat-logged areas.

This is Alaska?
A friend from England has been visiting me for the last 10 days, one of those independent travelers Juneau is seeking as an alternative to being overwhelmed by environmentally destructive cruise ships and their infrastructure-destroying human cargo, for which we taxpayers pick up the tab. She is of a certain age and profession, a member of the British traveling classes. Her last adventure was to walk the Milford Track in New Zealand.

Not equal
I am happy Juneau-Douglas High School has a $21 million renovation, including an atrium with many square feet of unusable classroom space!

Move somewhere else
Mr. Whelsley, you go right ahead and pray for us and when you do, please pray for the men and their families of all races that are trying to make ends meet by working in these fields. And in case you are wondering, I am not an Alaska Native, but I am a human being and I do believe that above everything else the human race takes priority.

Logging bill in disguise
The Senate will be asked soon to vote on the recently passed House of Representatives bill entitled the "Forestry and Community Assistance Act of 2003" (HR 1904). This is nothing more than a logging bill that seeks to waive environmental review, undermine meaningful public participation and interfere with our courts in order to favor timber interests over community protection from wildfire.

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

This Day in History
In 1969, Lathrop High School in Fairbanks closed an hour after opening on the first day of the school year when computerized class lists failed to arrive. Approximately 1,500 students had no idea what classes they were in.

Photo: Running against cancer
Michael Fleischhauer, who is currently being treated for precancerous squamous cell carcinoma, pins a paper heart to his shirt before the Eighth Annual Prostate Cancer Run/Walk on Saturday at Mendenhall River School. The heart is in memory of his brother, Peter, who died of lymphatic cancer 10 years ago.

National Democratic Party sends specialists to Juneau
ANCHORAGE - National Democratic campaign specialists are in Juneau to launch the groundwork for what is expected to be the state's hottest U.S. Senate battle in decades. They are researching the backgrounds of former Gov. Tony Knowles, who is running as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate seat in 2004, and incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

State's Douglas Bridge plan is back before the Assembly
A state plan to change the configuration of lanes on the Douglas Bridge to lessen traffic will be back before the Juneau Assembly on Wednesday. The panel will hold a work session to revisit the plan, which was voted down at a previous Assembly committee meeting and by the Juneau Planning Commission. State Department of Transportation officials have proposed changing the two-lane bridge to a three-lane route with a reversible center lane. Separate bike lanes would be eliminated, which has brought opposition from bicyclists.

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

Of tanks and scorpions
Spc. Will Rusaw doesn't know whether the 10 months he spent in Kuwait and Iraq were worth it. He doesn't insist the United States had to overthrow Saddam, but he doesn't say the intervention was unnecessary, either. All the 22-year-old Juneau-Douglas High School graduate knows is that duty called. "I was told to go, so I went. I didn't see Baghdad prior to the war, so I can't really make that call," Rusaw said last week in his parents' Mendenhall Valley home.

This Day in History
In 1905, the Fairbanks Sunday Times was established. It became the Fairbanks Daily Times in 1906.

Local couple finds new interest in writing books about science
Bobbi McCutcheon, who has written science fiction, now is writing science fact. Husband Scott McCutcheon, who built his own telescope when he was 14 but doesn't work as an astronomer, is helping write a book on space and astronomy pioneers. The McCutcheons' lives have taken new turns since they received a contract to write and illustrate books for Facts on File, a New York City publisher of reference books. They co-authored "Marine Science Handbook," which was published this summer.

Photos: Wild river adventure
Alaska Travel Adventures river guide Catie Browne, center with oars, navigates her raft Tuesday through the rain-swollen rapids on the Mendenhall River.

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

Juneau continues to look at Alyeska as a charter
The Juneau School Board agreed Tuesday that district staff should continue to work with parents and staff from Alyeska Central School in preparing a charter school application. "Go forth and talk," School Board Vice President Alan Schorr told Superintendent Peggy Cowan. On Friday, the Yukon-Koyukuk School District, comprising 314 students in nine village schools, accepted Alyeska's application to be a charter school.

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

Driver reports wolverine sighting near glacier
In the 12 years Duane Callahan has lived in Juneau, he'd never seen anything more wild than a bear. But the creature he saw Saturday near the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center may have been equally wild, more reclusive and much more rare. "It looked like a small bear, only longer, with a long tail and short legs," said Callahan, who was driving eight cruise ship passengers in a Last Frontier Tours bus when he spotted what he believes was a wolverine crossing Glacier Spur Road.

State's Douglas Bridge plan is back before the Assembly
A state plan to change the configuration of lanes on the Douglas Bridge to lessen traffic will be back before the Juneau Assembly on Wednesday. The panel will hold a work session to revisit the plan, which was voted down at a previous Assembly committee meeting and by the Juneau Planning Commission.

Fire department reorganization to establish 'clear lines of authority'
Capital City Fire and Rescue is reorganizing to improve communications, to provide better service and to establish clear lines of authority. Chief Mike Doyle doubts the public will notice much difference. "That's because they don't call 911 every day," he said. City Manager Rod Swope said the lines of communication that are critical in an agency that provides emergency services have been missing.

Meeting to present ideas for reducing tourism congestion
A South Franklin Street bypass and a wider sidewalk are among the ideas up for discussion Thursday during a meeting hosted by consultants studying ways to improve safety and lessen downtown congestion during the tourist season. Staff from Portland, Ore.-based Kittelson & Associates, a transportation and traffic planning firm, will present plans for reducing pedestrian and vehicle traffic and take comments for a final report at Thursday's meeting, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall. A brief presentation will be made about 5 p.m., followed by discussion and public comments in an open-house format.

Lumba, Palomo marry
May M. Lumba of Juneau and Jonathan Palomo of Manila, Philippines, were married in a ceremony on Aug. 23 at Glacier Gardens.

Friends of Eaglecrest's first blueberry festival proves successful, profitable
The Friends of Eaglecrest hosted their first Blueberry Festival at Eaglecrest on Aug. 16 and 17, where the community support for the event was more than we anticipated. We are happy to report that it was not only tasty and fun but also profitable.

Shea, Cook marry in Illinois
Cindy Shea of Algonquin, Ill., and Jacob Cook of Juneau were married in a ceremony on July 5 at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Algonquin.

Neighbors Briefs
Hockey registration; Automotive certification; String art - a recipe for early learning; AWANA registration; Arthritis self-help course; SEARHC free swim session;

Juneau garden fans turn out for cornucopia of flowers, vegetables
Juneau turned out on Aug. 23 to celebrate the annual Harvest Fair held at the Juneau Community Garden (JCG). Celebrants viewed vegetable and flower exhibits; dined on fresh corn, homemade chowder and garden salads; shopped at the farmer's market; and toured the community garden; while kids painted faces and flower pots and organized a pick-up soccer game - a great time for all.

Thank you
... from the newlyweds; ... for help with the visit;

Title

My Turn: Salmon need undisturbed streams
With the salmon derby come and gone, it's time those who depend on Southeast Alaska's wild salmon think about where those fish come from. How many anglers (or business owners) gave a thought to what it takes to produce a wild silver or king salmon? Kings and silvers (as well as steelhead, sockeye, cutthroat, and Dolly Varden) spend one to four years rearing in streams and lakes.

My Turn: Politicians lie; voters suspend disbelief
I remember a Schwarzenegger movie called "Commando" where he first told one of the bad guys he would not kill him but later, while holding the guy over a cliff, said, "I lied." He still does. He says he can handle all of California's problems with just cuts (no details, just press photo ops) and no new taxes (Warren Buffet suggested property taxes).

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

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. 31, total poll points and previous rank in the poll.

Bears slide to No. 5
The Juneau-Douglas High School football team slid three spots in the state's rankings released on Monday. The Crimson Bears (3-1 overall, 1-1 Cook Inlet Football Conference) suffered their first loss of the season on Friday, 28-27 to then-unranked Dimond. Juneau now is ranked fifth in the Anchorage Daily News/Alaska State Football Coaches Poll. The Crimson Bears were ranked second last week.

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

6-year-old boy dies after fall from Kodiak cliff
ANCHORAGE - A 6-year-old boy died after he fell from a cliff near Kodiak, Alaska State Troopers said Sunday.

Inflatable golf dome towers over Anchorage neighbors
ANCHORAGE - An inflatable dome as tall as a six-story building has sprung up in South Anchorage, much to the dismay of its neighbors. But the owner of the new indoor driving range said he hasn't finished decorating the black-and-white bubble. A city skyline etched on its side will look like trees, as originally promised.

Unalaska plays host to legislators
UNALASKA - Unalaska will host what could become the city's largest legislative fly-in ever. Lt. Gov. Loren Leman and 20 legislators are scheduled to arrive Wednesday, according to city natural resources analyst Frank Kelty. Only three people showed up for the last fly-in a few years ago, Kelty said.

Dischner, former state commissioner, racketeer dies
ANCHORAGE - Lewis M. "Lew" Dischner, who served as Alaska's first state commissioner of labor and was convicted of racketeering after leaving office, died Tuesday in Portland, Ore. He was 85. Dischner was at home with family when he died, said longtime friend Howard D'Spain of Mesa, Ariz. The cause of death was not immediately available.

Alaska Briefs
Halibut prices high; Man enters no contest plea to rape charge; Plant to continue pumping warm water into Chena River

Forest Service OKs Cholmondeley sale
Officials with the U.S. Forest Service have affirmed a timber sale affecting 1,225 acres of the Tongass National Forest on eastern Prince of Wales Island after denying five separate appeals. Appellants say they may take the issue to court. The Cholmondeley Sound Timber Sale, a 28.8-million-board-foot sale the Forest Service has said would create 145 jobs, has been nearly a decade in the making. The sale will entail the construction of about 21 miles of new road and two new log transfer sites. Now that the appeals process is over, the next step would be for the Forest Service to offer the sale to bidders.

Ex-lodge owner was 'reluctant pioneer'
PALMER - At 85, Cecile Betts doesn't mince words. "If I could have left Alaska the day I arrived, I would have," the author said during a book signing Aug. 11 at King Mountain Lodge. Betts recently published a memoir entitled "Reluctant Pioneer," chronicling the years she and her husband, Jack, owned and operated the landmark lodge, located alongside the Glenn Highway about 30 miles north of Palmer.

Inflatable golf dome towers over Anchorage neighbors
ANCHORAGE - An inflatable dome as tall as a six-story building has sprung up in South Anchorage, much to the dismay of its neighbors. But the owner of the new indoor driving range said he hasn't finished decorating the black-and-white bubble. A city skyline etched on its side will look like trees, as originally promised.

Alaska Briefs
Not-guilty plea entered in sexual assault case; Small business center to host seminar; Alaska Pacific Bank expands with new center; Official arrested on drunken driving charge; Feds approve plan to fix child protection services

Photo: Missing reindeer
Runaway reindeer: Tundra Joe, one of the reindeer in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Reindeer Research Program and shown in this Sept. 25, 2001, photo, was reported missing Sunday from his pen.

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