Thursday, September 11, 2003

Allstate again writes policies in AK
ANCHORAGE - Insurance giant Allstate has started writing new Alaska homeowner policies again, a month after the company stopped. The company is seeking to cap the amount it could be asked to pay for mold damage. It halted sales after a year and a half of paper shuttling with the state's Insurance Division had not produced an agreement

Regulators propose changes to state's food safety program
JUNEAU - State regulators who say their food safety program doesn't work as it was intended are considering a plan to require restaurant managers to inspect their own businesses. "Our goal is to develop a program that we can deliver and that protects, and we clearly needed to take a different tack," said Ernesta Ballard, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. "We were not performing," Ballard said.

Alaska export values jump
ANCHORAGE - The value of Alaska's exports rose roughly 13 percent during the first half of this year, signaling a sharp turnaround from the same period in 2002, according to the state Division of Trade and Development. From January to June, the state's major industries exported roughly $1.15 billion worth of seafood, timber, fertilizer and other natural resources, the division reported. That compares with about $1.02 billion during the first half of 2002, when the value of exports showed a moderate decrease, the division said.

If it ain't broke, fix it anyway
Here we go again. Is it not evident, to any reasonable person, that the bulk of the proposed changes to the Douglas Bridge is little more than a half-baked plan by state DOT bureaucrats trying to justify their existence by fixing something that is so obviously not broken?

Surprised to hear about Erickson's new plans
In the Sept. 6, 2003, Empire article on Erickson's Alaska Glacier processing plant planned for AukeNu Cove, I was surprised to read of Mr. Erickson's new plans. I have reviewed the minutes of the CBJ Wetlands Review Board and am aware of Mr. Erickson's original description of the AukeNu project.

Inappropriate to take away Longevity Bonus
When you give someone a reward, it is inappropriate to take it away. Many "old timers" were proud of the reward given for their pioneer spirit. In the early days of Alaska, there were many hardships to endure.

Knapp is a leader
Bruce Scandling belittles the mayoral election by calling it a "no-brainer." He suggests that people vote for his candidate without giving any thought to the consequences. Juneau cannot afford another election decided by brainless party loyalty.

Bikers take rush out of traffic
Bicyclists hit the road Tuesday and expected to head to court today to protest city support for a controversial state plan to reconfigure the Douglas Bridge. About 30 bicycling enthusiasts and members of the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club road crossed the bridge during Tuesday afternoon's rush hour to demonstrate what could happen if the state goes ahead with plans to remove the roadway's bike lanes.

Program providing peer support for cancer patients
Dealing with cancer is tough enough without having to deal with cancer while alone. Ruth Johnson of the Southeast Alaska Cancer and Wellness Foundation said her organization is working to provide support with people to talk to, reliable information and even some money to offset a part of the cost of out-of-town treatment. The foundation "tries to be a safety net for people diagnosed with cancer," she said.

White-paper recycling now free for businesses, agencies
Less than a month after it began accepting white paper for recycling, Capitol Disposal has decided to provide the service free of charge to businesses and government agencies. "Businesses still have to pay for aluminum, steel cans, newspaper and cardboard, but white paper recycling is free to them," said Janet Grange, an administrative officer for the city Public Works Department. Waste Management - the parent company for Capitol Disposal - began recycling white paper Oct. 20, about four months after Gastineau Human Services, a nonprofit group, ended its recycling program.

Chief Doyle explains reorganization to firefighters
One volunteer firefighter said Tuesday night the wear and holes in his aging, faded Capital City Fire and Rescue shirt remind him of his status with the department. "It kind of sums up what's happening to our volunteers," Steve Byers, a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician from the Juneau Station said during a meeting at the Glacier Station about departmental reorganization plans. Some in the crowd of about 40 laughed when Chief Mike Doyle told Byers he would be on the uniform committee. But Doyle said Byers' point about volunteer retention was valid.

Ancient fish trap discovered
HAINES - While walking along the lower Chilkoot River just over a year ago, a Lutak resident noticed a pattern in some wooden stakes embedded on the bank. Some two dozen partially eroded posts of similar width and height were spaced almost strategically. The resident contacted local archaeologist Tom Prang, now working on contract for the Chilkoot River Corridor Working Group, who determined the stakes were likely left over from a Native village that once thrived at the Chilkoot.

Two stories, two years later
David Hawes knew something was wrong, but he didn't know what, though he was only a few miles from the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Thousands of miles away in Juneau, police officer Paul Comolli watched the planes careen into the towers on television and felt helpless. Exactly two years after terrorists toppled the towers and shook the nation, two Juneau residents remember what it was like.

Rotary Remembrance
Capital City Fire and Rescue Firefighters Noah Jenkins, left to right, Kelly Leamer, Capt. Jerry Godkin, Deputy Fire Chief Mike Fenster, Fire Chief Mike Doyle, Capt. Paul Smith and Capt. Lynn Ridle pause for a moment of silence at the memorial honoring fallen police officers and firefighters at Rotary Park Friday morning.

City, airport sued over an alleged 2001 assault
A Wasilla man who claims he was assaulted and handcuffed by security staff at the Juneau Airport two years ago is seeking "in excess of $80,000" in a lawsuit filed in Juneau Superior Court this week. John Priestly names the city of Juneau, the airport and Knightwatch Security in the suit, claiming all contributed to the "pain, suffering, embarrassment, humiliation and loss of liberty" he experienced Sept. 9, 2001. Juneau City Manager Rod Swope and Airport Manager Allan Heese said they could not comment because they had not seen the suit. Both also said they were unaware of the incident the suit alleges.

Slated visitor center to offer more space
A new visitors' center planned for downtown Juneau will provide more space for the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as office space for the city port director and U.S. Customs. Juneau Port Director John Stone said a conceptual design for the center should be completed within two months. The city recently received a federal grant of $150,000 that Stone said would go toward the detailed design of the building. Plans call for the demolition of the current visitors' center, a metal building by the Mount Roberts Tram terminal, and the construction of a deck to fill the gap between the bus parking lot and the cruise ship dock. The new center could then be set back further from the street, Stone said.

Police, firefighters mark 9/11 attacks
JUNEAU - An observance marking the second anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is being hosted today by Capital City Fire and Rescue volunteers. A procession with two police vehicles and two fire engines is scheduled to leave the Mendenhall Mall parking lot at 7 a.m., running lights, but no sirens, said Sam Dalin, the fire department's chaplain.

Chief Doyle explains reorganization to firefighters
One volunteer firefighter said Tuesday night the wear and holes in his aging, faded Capital City Fire and Rescue shirt remind him of his status with the department. "It kind of sums up what's happening to our volunteers," Steve Byers, a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician from the Juneau Station said during a meeting at the Glacier Station about departmental reorganization plans. Some in the crowd of about 40 laughed when Chief Mike Doyle told Byers he would be on the uniform committee. But Doyle said Byers' point about volunteer retention was valid.

Photo: Raised boat
Workers aboard the Poundstone barge tie lines onto the Reel Time charter boat Wednesday at the Auke Bay harbor. The boat smashed into a concrete floating breakwater at the entrance of the harbor Friday night and sank next to the dock in about 120 feet of water.

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

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

Photo: Flipping out over early Greeks
Nathaniel Buck, 12, left, and Mircea Brown, 12, race each other in the flipper race Tuesday at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School. Social studies classes at the school's Alder House started the academic year by studying ancient Greece.

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

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

This Day in History
In 2001, in the worst single act of terrorism committed on U.S. soil, two hijacked jetliners crashed into New York's World Trade Center, causing the twin towers to fall and killing more than 2,800 people; a commandeered jetliner smashed into the Pentagon, claiming 189 lives; and a fourth plane with 44 people aboard crashed in western Pennsylvania as the passengers apparently fought with the hijackers.

This Day in History
In 1949, the director of the Boston Museum proposed installing a cosmic ray laboratory at 18,000-foot Denali Pass on Mount McKinley

Neighbors Briefs
English as second language; Wilderness first-aid course; Hope of the World conference; Juneau Public Library party; Community Schools court rentals; Annual salmon bake dinner, auction; Lifeguard training courses

Thank you
... for helping KTOO

Cantillors celebrate 60th
Steve and Kerry would like to wish George and Betty Cantillor a happy 60th wedding anniversary. They were married in 1943.

Cassiar snafu
A double-wide manufactured home being transported by McLeese Lake Acres Mobile Home Sales of McLeese Lake, British Columbia, Canada, holds up Cassiar Highway traffic last week at the Todagin Creek bridge south of Iskut, British Columbia.

Hospice and Home Care bereavement support group to get started in October
As I left my apartment one morning last week, I was greeted at the door by the unmistakable smell of fall. I took a good look around and saw the drooping stalks of foxgloves and my car covered with cottonwood leaves.

Filipino scholarships
For the 2002-03 school year, 63 students qualified for the Filipino Community, Inc., Scholarship Program. The students accepted their awards during the Awards and Family Night potluck dinner on Sept. 5 at the Filipino Hall.

Pets of the Week
Bart is a lovable neutered male, a Lab And German shepherd mix. Although just a year old, he is not hyperactive like so many pups that age. Shamoo used to sleep with a 5-year-old boy who named her for a trained orca called Shamu.

Charles F. Herbert
Former Juneau resident Charles F. Herbert, 93, died Sept. 3, 2003, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Demand for gas pipeline is growing
Congress must pass a comprehensive energy bill this fall. It is imperative to include in the legislation support for the natural gas pipeline from Alaska. The natural gas line is important to market gas from Alaska's North Slope. Natural gas is in short supply and the price is going up. That is not because we are running out of gas. It is because development of new sources lags increasing use.

My Turn: Bush's unwelcome facts
I am writing in response to Jamie McDermott's letter in Sunday's Empire. I am a veteran of the U.S. Army, and I have nothing but the most respect and honor for those of our fighting forces overseas; their bravery in the face of determined daily lethal opposition is an inspiration to us all.

Klondike night runners tread a 'surreal' course
The sky is dark, the air crisp. All you can see is what the starlight reveals - if there are any stars visible through the clouds in the mountains above Skagway. All you can hear is your shoes hitting pavement, your run-quickened respiration, the wind through the scrub trees and water tumbling down rocky brooks. Then a pair of headlights approaches, getting closer and closer until the car tops a rise and blinds you with a blast of halogen rays. But you don't mind, because the stillness, loneliness and tedium are broken by the encouraging cheers of your teammates that emanate from the passing vehicle.

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

Juneau Youth Football League
Last weekend's scores from the Juneau Youth Football League. Games took place Friday and Saturday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park, unless noted.

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

Home Stretch
Sue McCarthy of San Diego, Calif., running for the Juneau-based Lady GUDivas team, heads down Miles Canyon Road in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, on the final leg of the Klondike Trail of '98 International Road Relay last weekend.

Council: More courts for Southeast?
The Tlingit-Haida Central Council is considering how to develop more tribal courts in Southeast even as Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens seeks to move federal funds for such courts to state venues. Tribal courts typically hear cases ranging from child protection and custody to alcohol offenses and domestic violence. They have the authority to enforce written and unwritten laws over tribal members and, arguably in some instances, nontribal members. Ed Thomas, president of the Central Council, which has a government-to-government relationship with the United States, said Stevens' action was "hard to swallow."

State projects in Senate spending bill
WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and his band of appropriators completed the final three federal money bills of the season last week, again proposing to send multimillions to Alaska. Stevens on Monday released summaries of the Alaska projects that found favor with the Senate Appropriations Committee as it prepared bills for a vote on the Senate floor. Stevens is the committee's chairman through the end of next year

State Briefs
Business center to host business plan seminar; Wilson vying for state Senate seat; Fairbanks Council asks for recount of tax measure; Girl hit by car on Douglas Highway

Groups challenge new law aimed at curbing public-interest lawsuits
JUNEAU - An Alaska Native village joined with environmentalists and organizers of the Republican Moderate Party to dispute a new law aimed at curbing some public interest litigant lawsuits. They filed a lawsuit in Juneau Superior Court on Wednesday alleging future disputes over major public policy issues will be affected. The lawsuit was filed one day before House Bill 145, passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Frank Murkowski, is to take effect.

Armed men break into home, menace children
ANCHORAGE - Two young men apparently looking for a marijuana grow broke into a Wasilla-area home and held three children at gunpoint before being chased off by the children's father, Alaska State Troopers said. The family, which is renting the home, was shaken up but unharmed during the Saturday morning break-in, said Trooper Dave Herrell. The home contained no marijuana plants, but the father, Johnnie Wallace, said the landlord told him a previous tenant was kicked out for growing dope.

Stevens tries to kill tribal courts
ANCHORAGE - U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, with a few sentences tucked into a spending bill, is moving to end federal funding for Alaska tribal courts and tribal police officers. Instead, several million dollars in Department of Justice grants would be diverted to the state to pay for state court magistrates and Alaska's Village Public Safety Officer program. Stevens, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, explained the shift as a matter of efficiency. There is not enough money for each of Alaska's 227 federally recognized tribes to have its own court system and police force, says a committee report explaining the provision in the spending bill the panel passed last week.

Alaska Briefs
Three charged in Anchorage murder; Road improvement OK'd; Juneau cancer patients can call, click for support; BP agrees to pay Valdez tanker tax; School boards say state should decide on waivers

BP to allow Argentines through to Slope
ANCHORAGE - After a 40,000-mile drive from Argentina to Alaska, a couple's dream to reach the Arctic Ocean in their antique car stalled Tuesday at a pay phone just north of the Arctic Circle. But it appears Herman Zapp and his wife, Candelaria, will be allowed to continue the 230 miles to Prudhoe Bay after getting the OK from the BP oil company. The Zapps left Buenos Aires on Jan. 25, 2000, in a dark blue 1928 Graham-Paige automobile with "Driving from Argentina to Alaska" painted on its side.

The Alaska celebrates 90th birthday
The Alaskan Hotel and Bar is celebrating its 90th birthday Friday, Sept. 12, with a bottle of Dom Perignon. But instead of popping the cork and sharing the expensive champagne with the clientele, the downtown bar is going to auction off the bottle and give the proceeds to the Make-A-Wish foundation. The celebration and fund-raiser is the brainchild of the hotel's doorman, Richard Van Trump II, who goes by the nickname "Tiny."

Dancing the Mommy Dance
Halfway through "The Mommy Dance," a one-woman musical comedy about motherhood, writer and star Jill Bess finally has to pause. "I woke up one day and realized that a piece of me was missing," Bess says in a soliloquy while sitting on an oversized couch. "I woke up one day and there was too little of me left." Her breakdown - a desperate grab at clarity and rest - is one of the rare moments of calm in Bess' 85-minute production, the opening show for Perseverance Theatre's 2003-04 season opener. "The Mommy Dance" premieres Friday, Sept. 12, and closes Sunday, Oct. 5.

Who needs Xanax when there's Target?
So far, my days as one of Portland's unemployed roll out like a German waltz from the speakers of an old record player. Mostly, I keep finding myself floating through the aisles of my neighborhood Target, dreamily filling my cart with home improvement items. It's not because I particularly need them, but because buying them with the intent to screw them into my wall gives me a sense of purpose.

This Week briefly
ANB escapes to Pacific Islands; Valentine's hosts 'Middle Eastern Cafe Night'; JAHC accepting grant applicants

Movies where & when
"The Order," (R) plays at 7:15 p.m. at 20th Century Twin, with evening shows at 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and matinees at 2 and 4:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

What's happening
Middle Eastern Cafe Night, 7-10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, at Valentine's Coffee House & Bakery. Call 463-5144 for more information.

The twin tones of the Harp
Diana Stork plays harp with her nails, and Cheryl Ann Fulton strums with fingerpads. When they play together, you can hear the difference. "It's subtle," Stork said. "The harp isn't like one of those brazen instruments. It has a nice, quiet tone." Stork and Fulton, best friends, have been playing together as Twin Harps since 1988.

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