Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Damaging spectacle
Once again, Don Etheridge joined Koelsch & Company in steamrolling over public opinion and avoiding the possibility of public input. On Monday night he voted to promote the road into Juneau, in spite of the citizen vote preferring improved ferry service. Furthermore, he would not even delay the discussion and the vote one week so that there would be an opportunity for a public hearing on the matter.

Process ignored
After listening to the City and Borough Assembly of Monday, I feel deeply disturbed. Not only was the public process ignored, but also the majority opinion expressed by the public in a vote on the Juneau preferred alternative (marine access) was completely disregarded.

No time for talk
There was no "public process" when the governor unceremoniously confiscated the EIS road funds for other purposes. Why is it that some Assembly members find that it is now necessary to have a public debate?

Remembering 09-11-01
When I awoke a few days after Sept. 11 to the sound of a jet taking off from the Juneau Airport, it was as if everything was the way it should be. Later at work, when I saw and heard my first floatplane and helicopter in over a week of silence, it validated what I had felt earlier. I had long ago associated the sound of helicopters and planes with freedom.

Freedomless places
The Assembly voted on a proposal to support completion of Juneau road access environmental impact study. They did this without any public comment or input. I was unable to exercise my right to voice my support or concerns. The public should know those that would undermine a public process. This serious offense leads us down a dangerous path.

Quid pro quo?
Is our government a business? It seems so, with Assembly member Koelsch and four others using the handy quid-pro-quo mechanism in the last major Assembly vote regarding road access. We'll scratch Anchorage's back, voting on a road, while they scratch ours, keeping the Capital-move dog on a leash.

The best of intentions
I acknowledge that Ken Koelsch and his press gang rammed a midnight road resolution through the Assembly with the best of intentions. The issue was too important for the niceties of public process and the respect for the public they signify. After all, even though Juneau voted against the road, it was close, and we're all damn sick of it so they just had to bring it up again (no wait, that makes no sense).

Schedules were tight
The major party politicos are out and about, strategizing, building their war chests and other familial support groups. On infrequent occasion, I get to go to one of these rally functions. The food is great, and there are folks I can visit with, plus I may even get to ask a question, though it may run small risk of ruffling or heaven forbid, even fray at some of those in attendance. Take for instance, a question I asked about drilling for oil in ANWR.

Juneau plans Sept. 11 remembrances
Juneau residents will observe the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with prayer, moments of silence, memorial services and other public gatherings on Wednesday.

Correction
Due to a reporter's error, the last name of Juneau clinical psychologist Destiny Sargeant was misspelled in Tuesday's Empire.

Getting through the day
Images of jets crashing into buildings and bodies falling limply from the smoke and flames show on the TV screen and in our heads. We experience heart palpitations and the fear and hurt that our nation is violated and we, its people, are vulnerable.These physical, mental and emotional manifestations plagued many on Sept. 11, 2001. Juneau clinical psychologist Destiny Sargeant said people should expect to experience something similar on the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

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

University of Alaska considers tuition hike
FAIRBANKS - Tuition at the University of Alaska would increase by up to $38 a credit hour under a proposal from university administrators.The plan, to be introduced to the university Board of Regents at its meeting this week, proposes increasing undergraduate and graduate tuition 10 percent during the 2003-2004 school year and another 10 percent the following year.

Ex-guardsman on FBI watch list
Larry Musarra's trouble with the FBI began in late June, when the retired Coast Guard lieutenant commander, his wife Linné and their 12-year-old son Tim, who is developmentally disabled, checked in at the Juneau Airport. They were on their way to Portland, Ore., where Tim would attend a special school. At the Alaska Airlines electronic check-in kiosk, Musarra typed in his confirmation code and the machine displayed a message asking him to see an attendant.

In split decision, Juneau Assembly backs road north
The Juneau Assembly on Monday voted 5-4 in favor of completing a Juneau access study and its preferred alternative - a road into Juneau.Deputy Mayor Ken Koelsch said he presented the motion at the end of Monday's meeting because of a pending legislative session-move vote and concerns about Juneau's isolation in the days leading up to the anniversary of Sept. 11.

Juneau recalls events 1 year later
At the Village Barbershop, crew cuts never go out of style and a walk-in customer, waiting for his $14 trim, may peruse a copy of Easy Rider Magazine with a leggy blonde sitting astride a muscled Harley on the cover. There, over the buzz of a vintage pair of clippers, cowboy-booted barber Joe Shepherd reflected on the eve of Sept. 11. "I was in bed when I heard about it (last year), and at first I thought it was a small plane, so I didn't get up." "No need to sober up for that," quipped the barber next to him, his client chuckling in the chair.

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

Wildflower Court aims to switch to nursing beds
Wildflower Court, a nursing home and assisted-living facility in Juneau, has asked the state for permission to convert all of its beds to serve people who need nursing care.The state will hold a public hearing on the application from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Juneau Public Library downtown.

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

Capital city encounters a year of security changes, challenges
Passengers at the Juneau Airport navigate remodeled screening checkpoints and parking lots. State ferry travelers show photo identification. And people walking along the dock downtown encounter occasional detours.One year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, security in Juneau is tighter. And along the city's docks and at the airport, new procedures are visible.

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

Nurse, Ochs marry
Adam D. Ochs and Cleo P. Nurse were married in a private ceremony on March 29 in San Diego, Calif.

Dore, Israelson wed
On Aug. 24, Tyler Israelson married Kristina Dore. The groom is the son of Ted and Sunny Israelson. The bride is the daughter of Jack and Terri Gregson.

Corn: Late summer delight
Corn enjoys an almost mythical status in the history of civilization in the Americas. Grown by the native Americans of Mexico up to 7,000 years ago, the cultivation of corn had spread long before Columbus arrived and found it growing in Hispaniola.There are five major varieties of corn grown. Among them are: dent corn, which is used mainly as fodder for livestock; flour corn, which, as its name suggests, is ground into flour and meal; and the glorious snack popcorn.

Why grow fickle bulbs in Southeast Alaska?
What is there about hiding these little eggs in the garden that appeals to us all so much? Why would we dig up our flowerbeds, lift the carefully grown perennials and bury these fleshy little buds in the soil we have so lovingly prepared? Who, in their right mind would continue to perform an act that pays off so irregularly?

SEARHC Foundation gives first grant
The SEARHC Foundation, a nonprofit corporation founded in 2001 to help cover the growing cost of health care in Southeast Alaska, gave its first grant on Monday to the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium."This is a big step for SEARHC," said Ken Brewer, president of SEARHC and member of the SEARHC Foundation board of directors. "We're fulfilling a wish that we made three years ago when we realized that we weren't fulfilling the health care needs of Native Southeast Alaskans."

Staying in contact with the FSS is important in an emergency
Every year at this time it seems that I write about weather and the related problems that are associated with weather. It goes without saying that weather this year has been less than great. There seemed to be an inordinate amount of rain this summer, which continues to fall as I write. Though this is an important subject for pilots another equally important issue is raising it's ugly head. What does the pilot who is caught away from their home airport do in the event of a national emergency?

Thank you
...for everyone's help

Pets of the week
Suzie is a lovely short hair female tabby who is a former stray from the Lemon Creek area. Maria is a medium hair, black, spayed female who is a former stray from the Amalga Harbor area.

Armonte Lamb
Juneau resident Armonte Lamb died Sept. 9, 2002, at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Wash., due to complications following knee surgery Aug. 15, 2002.

MaryAnn Wentz
Life-long Alaska resident MaryAnn Wentz died Sept. 6, 2002, at her home.

Empire editorial: Anniversary offers opportunities
A year and a day ago, it might have been hard for many Americans to understand President Franklin D. Roosevelt's expression of concern in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor. "Overconfidence and complacency are among our deadliest of all enemies," he said.

Good takes root in the ashes
Today, as we revisit the horrible and indelible images of a year ago, the pain of the loss is as real now as it was then. Our nation has changed in many ways over the past year. Looking past the deep and abiding wound our country suffered on that day, we should also reflect on the positive things that have taken root in the ashes of ruin.

Juneau man 270th in USA Triathlon nationals
Heath Jabs of Juneau finished 270th overall in the USA Triathlon National Age Group Championship held Aug. 31, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.Jabs, 29, covered the 1.5-kilometer swim, 40K bike, 10K run course in 2 hours, 23 minutes, 17 seconds - a time that included a two-minute penalty in the bike leg for drafting - and finished 49th in the men's age 25-29 division. Without the two-minute penalty, Jabs would have finished in a tie for 239th place overall.

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

Haines Invitational
Results from the Haines Invitational cross-country running meet held Friday at Haines High School. The 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race featured the varsity teams from Haines and Skagway, plus the junior varsity team from Juneau-Douglas High School.

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.

Alaskans remember attacks a year later
ANCHORAGE - Alaskans marked the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with ceremonies, processions, prayers and flowers.Communities around the state observed a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. today to mark ceremonially the time the first of two commercial jets struck the World Trade Center in New York last year. American Airlines Flight 11 struck the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, at 8:46 a.m. EST, four hours ahead of Alaska time.

Knowles creates anti-terrorism task force
Gov. Tony Knowles created a 25-member state Task Force on Homeland Security on Monday that includes mayors of several cities and members of key industries.The governor also proclaimed Sept. 11 as Patriot Day and asked Alaskans to observe a moment of silence on Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. Knowles joined with President Bush in ordering state and national flags to be flown at half-staff and the governor asked for a moment of silence and prayer at 8:46 a.m. Alaska Time to commemorate the first attack on New York City.

State Briefs
State warns of PSP danger from Excursion Inlet mussels; Princess to unveil smaller cruise ship; State looks to recoup firefighting costs; Minto man stabbed at camp;

State Briefs
Murkowski, Ulmer to debate in October; Assembly awards Steamship Wharf redesign contract; Assembly accepts John MacKinnon's manager application; Couple to be sentenced for sex abuse in Sitka; Coast Guard sends 2 boats back to port

Feds face huge Pribilof cleanup
ANCHORAGE - More than 100 years of government occupation has left Alaska's Pribilof Islands an environmental mess.The federal government now is facing an estimated $100 million cleanup bill for two of the five tiny islands in the Bering Sea, 800 miles west-southwest of Anchorage.

Couple settles bingo suit for $400K
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage couple running one of Alaska's biggest bingo operations has paid the state $400,000 to settle civil fraud charges accusing them of bilking charities out of profits.Mark and Sue Griffin were accused by the state in 1998 of squeezing excessive rents and management fees from nonprofit groups, which by law are supposed to benefit from bingo and pull-tab games. A trial was scheduled to begin next month.

Photo: Education bond
Arliss Sturgulewski, right, talks about the education bond, Proposition C, during a news conference in Anchorage, as Education First co-chairs Carol Comeau, center, and Mark Hamilton listen. Proposition C, which will be on the November 2002 general election ballot, asks voter to approve a general obligation bond of $236.8 million for education.

BP reactivates Prudhoe Bay oil wells
ANCHORAGE - BP has begun putting dozens of Prudhoe Bay oil wells back into production after testing to see whether they presented a danger to workers.The company had shut down 137 wells after an explosion and fire on Aug. 16 that seriously injured oil field worker Don Shugak.

Sea patrols watch Alaska waters since Sept. 11
ANCHORAGE - Elite squads of anti-terrorist maritime police embarked on a new mission in Alaska last September.The officers, called sea marshals, load their guns and don bulletproof vests and orange float coats marked U.S. Coast Guard in bold white letters.

BP Exploration's GTL plant misses startup
KENAI - BP Exploration Alaska Inc.'s gas-to-liquid plant in Nikiski failed to meet its startup goal, but officials aren't worried.BP had wanted the $86 million plant to produce its first barrel of synthetic fuel by April. But the plant fell prey to the normal pitfalls any new startup might encounter.

Group of Canadians recreates Gold Rush journey
WHITEHORSE, Yukon Territory - Five Canadians have concluded a three-month trek to recreate the Gold Rush of 1898 from Dyea, near Skagway, to Dawson City.The five then spent time looking for gold around Dawson before the trip's official end Sept. 2.

Murkowski, Ulmer favor road study
With the support of the Juneau Assembly and gubernatorial candidates Fran Ulmer and Frank Murkowski, completion of the environmental impact statement for a road connecting Juneau with the rest of Alaska's highway system could be in the works.The Juneau Assembly on Tuesday voted 5-4 in favor of a motion urging the state to complete an environmental impact statement and its preferred alternative of a road connecting Juneau and Skagway.

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