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Monday, September 22, 2003

Non-fiction selections roll onto library shelves
L ots of non-fiction is rolling onto the public libraries' shelves this week. Here's a sampling. "First Marathons," edited by Gail Waesche Kislevitz. Contemplating a marathon but need a little inspiration? Thirty-seven runners write about their first marathons, from what made them even consider the idea, to what got them to the finish line. Includes advice from top coaches, a list of favorite running songs, a bibliography for further reading and a list of great running Web sites.

Company hopes to reopen Valdez gold mine
A Canadian company is hoping to return large-scale gold mining to Valdez. Western Warrior Resources of Calgary plans exploratory drilling of Cliff Mine seven miles along the coast west of Valdez this fall. The firm is investing $350,000 in the effort to reopen the former gold mine.

Opposed to the Berners Bay land swap
I am representing Juneau Audubon Society in opposition to the Cape Fox Land Entitlement Adjustment Act of 2003, which would give approximately 12,000 acres of Tongass National Forest lands in Berners Bay to Native corporations in exchange for 3,000 acres of mostly clearcut private lands near Ketchikan. This land swap may affect one of nature's most incredible displays that is available for people to experience. This area has a unique value to wildlife and people. The incredible congregation of sea mammals and birds in the spring is unmatched in Southeast Alaska. Juneau Audubon has utilized this amazing wildlife extravaganza by offering cruises to the public to observe the sea lions, whales, seals and birds that come here each spring to feast on the eulachon run into the rivers. For many years we have provided a family-oriented trip to expose our local residents to this amazing wildlife display. As a member of Juneau Audubon, I am very concerned about any development that may inhibit use of wildlife in this unique ecosystem.

Finding a better use for school funds
Mr. Douglas Mertz's letter of Sept. 15 about the changes to the Douglas Bridge caught my eye. I'm with him!

My Turn: Trustees' proposal to protect permanent fund deserves a vote
The Alaska Permanent Fund Board of Trustees is urging the Legislature to propose to Alaska voters an amendment to Alaska's constitution that will pr

Botelho: Proven leader
Let me tell you just a few, among many, reasons I believe Bruce Botelho will be terrific mayor for Juneau (again.)

Read your bumper sticker
While driving down Egan on Wednesday I was made aware of the tragic irony that a bumper sticker suggesting that the reader's proctologist has located the reader's head was on a vehicle with the driver smoking with children in the car.

A welcome step
This weekend, delegates from Juneau's sister city of Whitehorse will visit our capital city. While here, they plan to visit the new ice arena, the new high school and many other wonderful amenities we have to share.

Town Meeting on Berners draws hundreds
Several hundred Juneau residents gathered Saturday morning at a town meeting on a federal bill that would facilitate a controversial land transfer involving Berners Bay. The land exchange is the subject of a federal bill sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski that would allow the U.S. Department of the Interior to trade an undetermined amount of federal land near Berners Bay to Sealaska Corp. and Cape Fox Native Corp. in exchange for about 3,000 acres of corporation land near Ketchikan. Sealaska is the Southeast Alaska regional Native corporation and Cape Fox is a village Native corporation in Saxman. Representatives from Cape Fox, Sealaska, the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council and Friends of Berners Bay presented testimony before the floor was opened to members of the audience, of whom more than 50 spoke.

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

Police & Fire
Reports by Juneau police, fire officials and state troopers.

Photo: Learning about nutrition
First-graders Megan Wright, left, David Caldwell, center, and Davon Lee hold bags of flour, whole-wheat and white bread during a nutrition assembly at Glacier Valley Elementary School on Friday. Kathleen Wayne of the Department of Education's Children's Nutritional Services was teaching the students about the value of eating whole foods versus processed foods.

Voters to decide if tobacco taxes rise
Tracy Balovich plans to quit smoking this winter, but not because the city may tack on 15 cents to each pack of Marlboro 100 cigarettes that she buys. Balovich is one of many tobacco users who would pay more under a proposed city ordinance to double the excise tax on cigarettes to 30 cents per pack and double the excise tax on other tobacco products from 6 percent to 12 percent. If passed, it would take effect Jan. 1, 2004. Balovich recently paid $43 for an 18-pack of nicotine inhalers, but found out her Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska coverage at the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce didn't cover the expense. This winter, when it's colder to smoke outside, she hopes to use her state dividend check for a smoking cessation program.

Dzantik'i Heeni's hands-on science teacher named finalist for state honor
As Paula Savikko leads her science students along a wooded path near Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School on a search for highbush cranberry, she stops at two stick-like trees. "Isn't that interesting how in both of those trees there's nothing happening except at the top?" she asked her charges on the Wednesday outing.

Operation Christmas Child under way
The presents that residents of Alaska collect for Russian children this fall in Operation Christmas Child may not reach their intended receivers until next summer. But when they get to the Russian province of Chukotka, just across the Bering Sea from Alaska, they will be appreciated, said Justine Emerson, Southeast coordinator of the 10-year-old gift drive. Emerson traveled to Chukotka in August to help distribute the more than 1,900 boxes of gifts Juneau residents donated to Operation Christmas Child last year.

Voters to decide on bonds for Juneau School District
Local voters will decide Oct. 7 whether to spruce up the eighth-grade wing and the exterior of Floyd Dryden Middle School and clean up some discolored water at Harborview Elementary School. The city and Juneau School Dist-rict are asking voters to approve $6.945 million in bonds for the school projects. They expect the state will reimburse 70 percent of the total costs - the principal and interest - of the bonds, leaving locals with nearly $2.7 million to pay off. Property taxpayers would pay about $10 per $100,000 of assessed value for 10 years, the city estimates.

Photo: Bikers bearing gifts
Members of the Southeast Panhandlers Motorcycle Club collect toys at their annual Sandy Beach barbecue Sunday.

One of Juneau's oldest dining establishments closed Thursday
Members of the Pusich family and friends and employees of Mike's Place in Douglas packed up more than 60 years of history this weekend after the restaurant closed for good Thursday night. "Definitely it was time," said Mary Kay Pusich, who took over operations of the restaurant from her parents, Rudy and Mary Pusich, in 1976. "All of the family talked, and the consensus was it's time to close this chapter." The Kasnick family, which owns the Driftwood and several apartments in town, plans to buy Mike's Place in a sale that will close this week, Rick Kasnick said.

Day of Caring is a day of learning too
Honey Smith, an instructor at the University of Alaska Southeast, and Adam Fleek, one of her students, pushed aside a heavy bunk bed at the Glory Hole homeless shelter, and Fleek began to sweep the floor. Soon they and students Brandon Wigfield and Ian Thrower were scrubbing the walls. They were among the volunteers who helped out Saturday at local nonprofit agencies as part of the United Way's Day of Caring. The number of helpers wasn't immediately available.

Ina Vaye Williamson
Former longtime Juneau resident Ina Vaye Williamson, 68, died Sept. 6, 2003, at her home in Kihei, Hawaii, surrounded by family and friends. She was born Feb. 15, 1935, in Beaverton, Ore., to Arta and Stephen Herrington. The Herrington family lived on a small farm near Beaverton where Williamson's brother, Kevin, continues to reside with his family.

Elizabeth 'Betty' L. (Hanifan) Kiefer
Longtime Juneau resident Elizabeth "Betty" L. (Hanifan) Kiefer, 74, died Sept. 12, 2003, in Wenatchee, Wash., after a short battle with cancer. She was born Aug. 5, 1929, in Mankato, Minn. She was the oldest of six children of William and Esther Wick. She was raised there and graduated from Minnesota State College in 1951. She came to Juneau in 1962 with her first husband, Robert Hanifan, and was an Alaska resident from that time on.

If you support the roadless rule, why not a new use for old Fort Rich?
Alaskans who advocate keeping the roadless rule in effect for the Tongass and Chugach national forests, don't understand. They believe misinformation put out by Greenpeace and like-minded organizations. They ignore the people who live in Tongass National Forest and have participated in its management for more than 100 years, making it the outstanding forest it is today. There is nothing wrong in the Tongass that warrants further restrictions. Supporting the roadless rule in the Tongass, telling Southeast residents that the forest belongs to all of the people, not just Southeast residents, irritates them as much as advocating moving the capital irritates Juneau residents, or closing Fort Richardson irritates Anchorage residents. The capital and Fort Rich belong to all of the people, too.

Poll comments
President Bush has asked for $87 billion more to fight terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Should Congress approve the funding? Comments: It's better to fight the terrorists over there, not in our backyard. How would the "no" voters like the war in Juneau or the USA? It would be another Israel-Palestine scenario.

Southeast Conference, a voice for the region
The community of Haines did an outstanding job of hosting the 46th annual meeting of Southeast Conference this past week and showcasing their magnificent town. Southeast Conference was formed in 1957 by a group of business and government leaders from throughout Southeast Alaska to address the need for a ferry transportation system. In his keynote address on the opening day of the three-day conference, Jim Clark, the governor's chief of staff, noted that Southeast Conference is unique in Alaska as a powerful consolidated voice of regional communities working to advance collective interests.

My Turn: Trustees' proposal to protect permanent fund deserves a vote
The Alaska Permanent Fund Board of Trustees is urging the Legislature to propose to Alaska voters an amendment to Alaska's constitution that will pr

Toe Cartoon

My Turn: DOT officials need to listen to the residents of Southeast
Anyone who has an opinion about the Juneau Access Project should be deeply disturbed by the lack of integrity of the process. This letter does not address which alternative is the best but addresses the overt bias shown by the DOT during the entire process. This has become evident during the past two DOT visits to Skagway.

CanadianWalkabout
He's made friends with moonshiners, worn out two pairs of boots and lost about 70 pounds. But the most important thing about former Juneau resident Kevyn Jacobs' journey is that he's still walking. Jacobs, 35, left his job as new media director at the Empire last spring to fulfill a lifelong ambition of walking across Canada. So far, he has covered more than 750 miles and is in the vicinity of the neighboring towns of Stewart, British Columbia, and Hyder, Alaska. "I'm having a blast; I wish I had thought to do this 10 years ago," Jacobs said Sept. 3 - the three-month anniversary of the start of his trek - near Bell II Lodge on the Cassiar Highway in British Columbia.

Interior angler surprised by last-minute catch
FAIRBANKS - It was one of those last-cast deals. Brad Webster had decided to do a little arctic grayling fishing in the Chena River on Fort Wainwright before picking up his 1-year-old daughter, Carmen, at the baby sitter early one evening last month. Webster had already caught and released two grayling when he flipped his line out for what he figured was his final cast. "It was one of those, 'I-gotta-go-so-this-is-my-last-cast' things," said Webster.

On the Hook
Three kids, five fish: From left, Martina and Leigh Miller and Maggie Schoenfeld, and Glenn Miller, rear, show off the five fish the girls caught while fishing with Glenn on Sept. 6 south of Douglas.Flatfish find: Jan Somerville poses with two halibut, one 73 pounds and the other 127 pounds, caught July 13 at Hana's Reef.

Taking a child big-game hunting means planning and lots of patience
KENAI - Almost all children are observant, inquisitive and love to have fun, and hunting can bring out these traits while providing a great opportunity for adults to bond with youngsters. "It's vitally important that we actively recruit and mentor our kids in our hunting heritage," said Larry Lewis, a wildlife technician with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the man responsible for the inception of "Take A Young Person Hunting Week" in Alaska, which ran through Sept. 13.

Out and About
Sept. 21: "Winged Migration," film about bird migration, 4 and 7 p.m. at Gold Town Nickelodeon. Details: 586-2875. Sept. 21: Juneau Disc Golf Association tournament. Advanced/intermediate players register at 9 a.m., play at 10 a.m. beginners register at 12:30 p.m., play at 1 p.m. Final event of the season. At the Dimond Park Disc Golf Course. Details: J.D. Brown, 463-3353.

Authors describe life of Alaska's first guide
KENAI - "Andrew used to go hunting all by himself at times. ... He'd tie a piece of bacon to a rope, and knot the other end of the rope around his leg. ... Pretty soon an old Brownie would come along sniffing around for something to eat. He'd find the bacon and take a bite. ... Andrew would pull the rope toward him, and the bear would follow the bacon. When the bear got up close, Andrew would shoot it. ... He got some mighty big bears that way!"

Fish report
Coho salmon fishing in the Juneau area continues to be above average. In the most recent creel survey it took anglers three hours to land a coho. Last year it took an average of four hours to land a silver. The five-year average is five hours. The hotspots for coho were Point Salisbury, the drag from Cordwood Creek to Point Retreat, and North Pass. King salmon fishing continues to decline in the Juneau area. Last survey, it took an average of 316 hours to land a keeper. The five-year average is 209 hours, while last year it took 125 hours to land a chinook. The few kings being caught are mostly coming from the back side of Douglas Island.

Ravens, crows, jays winter over
We birdwatchers feel as though we have been abandoned at this time of year. Most of our breeding birds have left the country or are busily stuffing themselves in preparation for the trip. We have been absorbed and entertained with the lives of our summer visitors and are beginning to feel desolation at the thought of all those days that must pass before we will see them again. So, who is left for us to observe once the last robin is flown? Corvids! Southeast Alaska has three members of the corvid family that are found in abundance - Steller's jays, Northwestern crows and common ravens. Three others are occasionally or rarely seen - black-billed magpies, American crows and gray jays. Their social behavior, as well as their vocal skills and sometime aggressive manner, ensures these birds make their presence known to even the least attentive among us.

Young Crimson Bears start to gel on road trip
The Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball team could have been depressed about its weekend road trip to Anchorage and Homer, a journey that saw the Crimson Bears lose their first matches since the 2001 season. Instead, the Crimson Bears were looking at the positives from their first trip north of the season.

Sports in Juneau
Sports in Juneau is a service provided by the Juneau Empire to provide information on upcoming sports and outdoors events in Juneau. It runs when space is available and event notices should arrive at least one week before they are scheduled to take place. To submit an item to Sports in Juneau, please fax the info to 1-907-586-3028 or e-mail it to sports@juneauempire.com.

Juneau Invitational Swimming and Diving Meet
Results from the Juneau Invitational swimming and diving meets held Friday and Saturday at Augustus G. Brown Swimming Pool in Juneau.

Juneau swimmers swamp opponents at Invitational
As the fans filed out of the building and volunteers packed up the gear used for this weekend's Juneau Invitational swim meets, a couple of the Juneau-Douglas High School swimmers stood around and wondered where the time had gone. The Crimson Bears boys and girls teams swept the titles in Friday's and Saturday's meets at the Augustus G. Brown Swimming Pool, Juneau's only home meets of the season and the last home meets of their careers for the Juneau seniors. This also was the first time the Juneau boys had been able to swim in front of their home fans since they tied Soldotna for a share of last year's state title.

Sports in Juneau
Sports in Juneau is a service provided by the Juneau Empire to provide information on upcoming sports and outdoors events in Juneau.

Going out on Top
As a freshman three years ago, Juneau-Douglas High School cross-country runner Greta Thibodeau felt a sting when she missed winning the Region V-Class 4A crown by just four seconds. The Southeast cross-country championships returned to Juneau's Treadwell Mine Trails on Saturday for the first time since that close finish, and Thibodeau - now a senior, and in her final region race - made sure she didn't let this title slip away. Thibodeau claimed her first region crown by winning the 5-kilometer Class 4A girls race in 19 minutes, 49 seconds, and the Crimson Bear girls won the team title to qualify for the state meet in Palmer next Saturday.

Crimson Bears finish second in Penninsula Challenge 2003
The Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball team took second place in the two-day Peninsula Challenge 2003 tournament in Homer this weekend, losing in four games to the Bartlett Golden Bears in Saturday's championship match. The Golden Bears beat the Crimson Bears 25-21, 25-19, 19-25, 25-21 for the title, which was a rematch of last year's Class 4A state championship match won by Juneau.

Title
final three spots will go to either Juneau, second-ranked Dimond, fourth-ranked East Anchorage or West after games this coming weekend. Juneau plays at Chugiak, Dimond hosts East and West takes on Bartlett at AFS.

Bears fail to clinch berth
ANCHORAGE - West Anchorage High junior linebacker Andrew Javar roared into the backfield and dropped the Cook Inlet Football Conference's leading rusher for a 4-yard loss on the final play of his team's clash with Juneau-Douglas on Saturday. The tackle hardly qualified as play-of-the-year material with the Eagles up by two touchdowns, but... "It was a good way to go home," Javar said. And having your playoff hopes kept alive isn't bad either. West's defense kept third-ranked Juneau-Douglas off the scoreboard in the second half and the Eagles found their running game at Anchorage Football Stadium to score a much-needed 21-7 win.

Board allows blind musher in Iditarod
ANCHORAGE - A blind musher will be allowed to compete in the 2004 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race after directors approved a compromise plan Friday that will accommodate her disability. Rachael Scdoris, 18, of Redmond, Ore., will be guided by a musher with another dog team, who will communicate trail conditions to the teenager with a two-way radio. "I was hoping for a snowmachine, but I'll take what I can get," Scdoris said. "I'm happy with it. This is the way I always wanted to do it anyway."

Italian, Kiwi win World Mountain Running
Marco De Gasperi won the senior men's race and led Italy to the men's team title in the 19th Annual World Mountain Running Trophy races held Saturday and Sunday at Girdwood's Mount Alyeska Resort. The meet brought together more than 400 runners from more than 30 countries. It was the first time the event has taken place in the United States and only the second time it's been held outside of Europe; the 1999 race was held in Malaysia. An early snow on Saturday made this year the first time the race has ever been held with snow covering most of the course.

Reindeer Campaign
A herd of reindeer roams a beach in Nome. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has created a voluntary reindeer slaughtering and processing inspection program in an effort to put more reindeer steaks and sausages on grocery store shelves and restaurant menus in and outside of Alaska.

Alaska digest
News from around the state.

Stevens sets conditions for enforcement money
Sen. Ted Stevens wants the state to maintain current funding levels for village law enforcement.

Murkowski announces grant awards
The state will distribute about $9.5 million to 36 recipients through its 2003 Fisheries Economic Development Program, Gov. Frank Murkowski said Friday. The grants, which include 14 Southeast recipients, are part of a $50 million salmon fishery revitalization plan Murkowski announced last month. They consist of one-time match-grant funding for new fisheries-related infrastructure projects or for the expansion or improvement of existing projects.

Stevens sets conditions for enforcement money
FAIRBANKS - Sen. Ted Stevens wants the state to maintain current funding levels for village law enforcement.

Celebrity cruise ship gives donation to Discovery Southeast
The cruise ship Infinity has won Celebrity Cruises' environmental ship of the year award, said Don Habeger, director of industry relations for Royal Caribbean Cruises, the parent company of Celebrity Cruises. This year was the first that Celebrity Cruises awarded the recognition for environmental responsibility. One of the company's nine ships, the Infinity, won because of its crew's adherence to the company's environmental compliance plan, company officials said.

DEC gives Alaska salmon clean bill of health
Alaska salmon has very low mercury levels and is safe to eat frequently, state health officials said Friday. According to a recently completed study by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska salmon's level of methyl mercury averages about 0.027 parts per million. The federal Food and Drug Administration allows fish containing up to 1 ppm of mercury. The FDA also has warned pregnant women against eating fish more than twice a week, to minimize mercury-associated risks of birth defects.

This Day in History
In Alaska; in the nation; in the world

Cruise line industry says goodbye to Valdez
The departure of the Celebrity cruise ship Summit with her 1,950 passengers ended more than the 2003 tourist season here - it ended all major cruise ship visits to this port for the foreseeable future. "It's pretty much going to wipe us out," said Dave Johnson, owner of Valdez Tours, which provided sightseeing buses for cruise ship passengers.

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