ACS pursues rate changes for Juneau and Fairbanks
ANCHORAGE - In an attempt to lure back business customers, Alaska Communications Systems is planning to overhaul local phone rates in Juneau and Fairbanks. The rate changes are part of a plan to win back customers from rival General Communication Inc. ACS plans to lower rates for most businesses in both areas. At the same time, it is proposing rate hikes for residential customers in Juneau and at Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base. The proposed rate changes are part of an increasingly fierce battle between the two Anchorage-based telecom companies.

Opposed to 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.

Re-start the bonus
Now that our governor has axed the $92-100 million contract with Alaska Communications Systems Group, by extension the Senior Citizens' Longevity Bonus should be retroactively reinstated to the date of termination. The $92-100 million contract with ACS was started during Tony Knowles' tenure as governor. This cost was in his as well as the present governor's budget. By comparison the seniors' bonus is a mere fraction of the terminated ACS contract. Cell phones for state employees by the nature of the technology are a potential for a cesspool of abuse protracting the costs. Anyone that has a cell phone knows how they can be abused with long distance, wireless, data and video conferencing capabilities, not to mention the typical free weekend minutes for strictly state employee personal business.

Teachers earn 'perks'
Theresea Ullmeyer's letter (Sept. 19, 2003) is addressed to the teachers of Juneau and contains a list of "perks" that parents who home-school "already have": year-round school, a.m. and p.m. class schedules, private lessons available throughout the day in various non-curricular subjects, "privatization of many teaching positions," cafeterias with "real" hot lunches. Clearly, she would like these "perks" to be part of a newly negotiated teaching contract. The union, she declares, is negotiating for its workers, not for the children of Juneau.

Thanks to Stevens
I'd like to publicly thank Senator Stevens for his vote for the Harkin amendment protecting overtime pay for the working class of America and Alaska. I'm sure the senator took into account the thousands of people who called and wrote to him regarding this very important subject. I, for one, know that I submitted comments and phone calls long before the vote was to take place. After all, we have a government that does not function in a vacuum.

Blaming signs misguided
In Sunday's letter to the editor, Richard Reichenbach suggested that beer signs are wrong to display, singling out Coors and DeHarts in Auke Bay. As DeHarts has continually used this form of advertising over the history of their establishment, I wonder why it is only now noticed by Mr. Reichenbach? And why is it only DeHarts that is targeted in Mr. Reichenbach's message - are there no other liquor stores in town with a sign suggesting the purchase of alcoholic drinks? Mr. Reichenbach's socialist message proposed that store owners and beer distributors are responsible for boating accidents. Are all of Mr. Reichenbach's acquaintances unable to enjoy a beer without drinking to excess? There seems no need to wait for America's justice system, any evidence or court convictions, Mr. Reichenbach seems to have established the cause of the recent boating accident.

Needing more than 'nice' for mayor
Both mayoral candidates are "nice guys." In fact, it could be argued that either candidate for the Juneau mayor's race this October could qualify for the Juneau Chamber of Commerce's "Outstanding Community Citizen Award." But before we judge our candidates solely on their curb appeal, it is worth examining what is really at stake in this election.

Accepting responsibility
Hear, hear, Ms. Loni VanKirk - your letter was such a joy to read. You are SO right that individuals need to accept responsibility for their actions. I raised my daughters with this concept but feel they are the minority in today's society.

The damage of environmentalists
I thought Tuesday's My Turn article ("Whose Forest Interests are Narrow?") by Steve Wolf sounded familiar. It was published in the Empire Aug. 30. I am just wondering why there was a repeat? However, it does give me an opportunity to counter, once again, that Mr. Tonsgard did a five-site cleanup of canneries, not logging sites, and to also add that the good old Forest Service paid for the cleanup.

Republic, not democracy
Michael Catsi is not the only person that has recently shown an understanding of governmental systems in the United States. The Constitution of the United States, as well as the Constitution of the State of Alaska, establishes a republican form of government; that is, a form of government where the populace is governed by reresentatives. We chose to refer to it as a democratic republic as the populace elects our representatives. This republican form of government was chosen by our Founding Fathers for a number of reasons, at least one of which is still valid. In the decision-making process for much of our governmental operations, the public is not privy to ALL of the information. In addition, decision-makers must take into account the long-term consequences for all of the people.

Around Town
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events. To be included, notices should be dropped off at 3100 Channel Drive. They can also be faxed to 586-3028 or e-mailed to the newsroom clerk at Deadline is noon two days prior to the event.

Juneau School Board: Burk concerned about financial waste, school overcrowding
Bill Burk, who has worked as a substitute teacher and special education aide in the Juneau public schools, says he would bring a knowledge of the inner workings of the district to the Juneau School Board. "The school district wastes a lot of money," Burk said. "Juneau has some very talented educators in the system and they are not allowing those educators to keep their expertise in the system. With salaries and benefits, they are losing a lot of very talented people. This goes for teachers as well as paraeducators." Paraeducators refers to instructional and special-education aides. "I feel that the money they put into renovating the high school could have been better put into building another high school in the (Mendenhall) Valley," he said.

Around Town
Today Valley Toastmasters meeting, 6:10 a.m. every Tuesday, Henry's. Details: Jim, 789-3074. TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), 8 a.m., Juneau Senior Center, 895 W. 12th Street. TOPS is a nonprofit weight-loss support group. Details: Betty, 364-2937. Sewing Circle, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Valley Senior Center. Details: Betty, 789-7236. Life Ring, a support group for women, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, Cathedral of the Nativity basement, Fifth and Gold streets. Lunch is provided, all are welcome. Details: Cathedral of the Nativity, 586-1513.

Glacier Valley part of nat'l study
Glacier Valley Elementary School is one of 20 schools nationwide where parents and students will be surveyed about walking and biking to school. Researchers at the University of North Carolina are conducting the study for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 15 percent of children in the United States are overweight, and American kids are less active than they used to be, said Lisa Sutherland, a UNC researcher who is visiting Glacier Valley this week as part of the study.

The Juneau-Douglas City Museum thanks the many generous people, businesses and organizations that donated money and time to safely relocate and conserve the Auk Tribe totem pole in the newly remodeled Juneau High School atrium. The City Museum also thanks the Juneau School District for offering this beautiful location and for sponsoring the dedication ceremony.

City consultants present waterfront plan
A consulting firm that has been studying waterfront development issues since February is recommending that Juneau adopt a waterfront master plan now and talk about development of cruise ship docks later. About 50 people attended a meeting Monday night at Centennial Hall for a presentation by the Florida-based consulting firm Bermello, Ajamil and Partners. Scott Lagueux of Bermello, Ajamil and Partners recommended that the city postpone city dock expansion for six months to a year to better analyze some of the impacts of cruise ship expansion.

This Day in History
In Alaska • In 1969, Dr. Richard Warner, a Canadian professor of Environmental Biology, warned that an oil spill in the Arctic could produce disastrous pollution which could persist for decades, perhaps centuries. In the nation • In 1642, Harvard College in Cambridge, Mass., held its first commencement. • In 1780, British spy John Andre was captured along with papers revealing Benedict Arnold's plot to surrender West Point to the British. • In 1806, the Lewis and Clark expedition returned to St. Louis from the Pacific Northwest.

Cohen cites his experience and promises continuity
Juneau School Board President Chuck Cohen, one of two incumbents running for re-election this year, says he brings sound judgment and a broad range of life experiences to the board. "Now I've served for four years, what I bring to it is a continuity of knowledge as an incumbent," he said. With five of seven School Board seats open this election, and 12 candidates seeking those seats, Cohen said he's running partly to maintain the school district's program through continuity of management and policy-making. "It just takes too long to learn to do this job well for the public," he said.

Photo: Douglas Dock, Early 1900's
This early 20th century photograph shows Juneau and Thane in the background behind a Douglas Island dock on a winter day.

Due to a reporter's error, election coverage in Tuesday's Empire incorrectly reported Juneau School Board candidate Rhonda Befort holds a Ph.D. She has completed all the work for a Ph.D. except the dissertation.

Police and Fire
Police cited a 49-year-old man on a charge of failing to maintain safe distance after an accident at 4:33 p.m. Monday at Glacier Highway and Alaway Avenue. The man, driving a 1993 Ford Explorer, struck a 2001 Dodge truck from behind. No damage estimates were available.

Agents bust five, seize cocaine
Two search warrants served Tuesday at a Franklin Street apartment complex turned up cocaine, suspected drug money, a handgun and forged documents. The Southeast Alaska Narcotics Enforcement Team arrested five men on felony charges and lodged them at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center. It was SEANET's second felony bust involving cocaine in Juneau in about five weeks.

Judge rejects request to move Kmart theft trial
Despite the publicity the case has received in Juneau, Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins will look to seat a Juneau jury when a former Kmart employee stands trial for the theft of nearly $100,000 in cash, checks and receipts from the local store in 2002. Collins denied a motion to move Frank Brian Rowcroft's trial, now scheduled to begin Nov. 3. Rowcroft's attorney, Louis Menendez, sought to change the site, arguing that Juneau residents would be prejudiced by a front-page article in the Aug. 26 Juneau Empire, which he said was not totally accurate.

Photo: Tearing it up
City Parks and Recreation Division employee Tim Scott tills the flower beds in the median of Egan Drive on Tuesday. A sign of fall is when the 24 flower beds are tilled in preparation for winter.

Shipping Ice
Larry Musarra, director of the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, hauls a chunk of ice from Mendenhall Lake on Sunday. Musarra sent the ice from Mendenhall Glacier by FedEx to Chase High School in Forest City, N.C., for a science project. Shipping was donated by the Alaska Natural History Association.

Police & Fire
• Capital City Fire and Rescue reported it took three people to Bartlett Regional Hospital after an accident at 7:39 p.m. Sunday at outbound Egan and Hospital drives. Police cited an 18-year-old man on a charge of reckless driving. They reported the 1991 Mazda he was driving struck a 1999 Mazda in the rear. Both vehicles were towed from the scene, with damage estimated at $5,000. No condition was available on the people taken to the hospital

Juneau School Board: Befort brings teaching, special needs experience
Rhonda Befort says she would bring to the Juneau School Board experience as a teacher and as a professional who has worked with special-needs children. Befort has taught in private schools and directed preschools and child-care centers in Kansas. She has coordinated care for special-needs children, and assesses people with developmental disabilities to see if they're qualified to receive certain Medicaid services. "I'm able to take a population that's not very often heard from and provide a voice for them,"

This day in History
• In 1794, eight monks from the Russian Orthodox Church reached Kodiak, founding their faith in North America. • In 1917, the Katmai National Monument, in Southwestern Alaska, was established with a proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson. • In 1924, a fire destroyed a large part of the business district of Tanana.

Ferry's home may be Juneau
The state's new fast ferry will be home-ported in Juneau and make regular trips to Sitka, Haines and Skagway if the state Department of Transportation agrees with a recommendation from a DOT advisory board. The ferry Fairweather, set to begin running in May, originally was to be based in Sitka and make daily runs to and from Juneau. But in July, DOT Deputy Commissioner Tom Briggs told Sitkans that to save money the state would discontinue mainline and village ferry service to Sitka if the fast ferry was home-ported there. The summer ferry schedule recommended by the Marine Transportation Advisory Board sends the Fairweather from Juneau to Sitka on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Juneau homecoming
Like many teenagers, Spc. Michael Moniak couldn't wait to bust out of his hometown after graduating from high school. Juneau was small and stifling, and he wanted to see the world. He saw it: The U.S. Army took him across two continents, from Alaska to Kentucky, and from South Korea to Afghanistan to Iraq. Through it all, Moniak has kept the thought of home close to his heart. "I left this place, and I've regretted it ever since. I was young and stupid. When you're that young, you think you know everything, and you come to realize you really had no clue," he said.

Juneau School Board: Carlson's strengths come from parenting, school service
Phyllis Carlson, who administers a federal Native education program that places staff in the public schools and who has participated on several school district panels, says her highest credential for the Juneau School Board is her experience as a parent. "I'm committed to education. It's a family value," she said. Carlson has served on school site councils, booster clubs and school district committees that set strategies for the school year. She's a member of the Juneau Effective Prevention Program - an anti-alcohol, -tobacco and -drug program - in the schools and the community.

Mature Alaskans offers new skills
August "Chuck" Johnnie earned his living as a car mechanic for many years in Juneau. When he retired from that profession, he worked at Kmart and then Costco, where he enjoyed working with customers and being part of a retail sales team. But after two surgeries in the past two years, Johnnie's doctor told him the standing required for his Costco job was no longer an option. So Johnnie had to get a new job, one that would require a minimum amount of physical exertion.

Accused rapist settles case with plea bargin
A 28-year-old man from Mexico has been allowed to plead no contest to a misdemeanor to resolve a case in which he originally faced three felony counts of first-degree sexual assault. Guillermo Orozco, of Merida, Mexico, had been scheduled to stand trial Monday on charges that he forced sexual relations on a woman July 16 in his cruise ship stateroom. Both Orozco and the woman were passengers on Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas as it sailed through Icy Strait. Juneau District Attorney Patrick Gullufsen told Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks the driving force behind the charge reduction was the trauma it would have caused the victim to travel to Juneau.

Kadinger says schools need upgraded computers
Lee Kadinger says he will be committed to the Juneau School Board if he is elected. He's one of 12 candidates competing for five open seats on the seven-person board. Kadinger cited these tasks: "Doing what it takes to get the funding we need for schools, new technology upgrades for every school in Juneau, better (pay) packages for teachers and getting the new (high) school built so it doesn't have to come to a vote in another two years with another $30 million tacked on."

Guthrie says board needs to listen more to families
Sam Guthrie says he offers the Juneau School Board his ability to unite people. "I think there is a gap that stands between the School Board and the teachers, for example," said Guthrie, one of 12 candidates competing for five open seats on the seven-person board in the Oct. 7 city election. "I don't have any burning issues why I'm running. I think we have a good school system, and we can improve it." Guthrie, who has two children in the Juneau public schools, said he has high expectations for them. "I'd like to believe that I have every child's view at heart," he said.

Court recommends amending Wildflower Court's lease
With no discussion Tuesday night, the Juneau Planning Commission recommended to the Assembly that the Lands Department amend its lease to Wildflower Court, a long-term care facility next to Bartlett Regional Hospital. The center, at 2000 Salmon Creek Lane, is seeking an 1,800-square-foot addition to the eastern corner of the building to house six additional long-term care beds. The current no-cost 35-year lease, the maximum allowed by city code, dates back to 1999. The Lands Department originally leased the 2.52-acre site to St. Ann's Care Center Inc., as it was then known, for a 55-bed, long-term care facility.

Southeast sagas: Chief Johnson remembered
One of the lesser-known Tlingit leaders who resided in Juneau during its early years was George Johnson. This leader is also known as Skookum Johnson, Chief Johnson, and Gut Wain or Geet Wain. Johnson had links to Tongass, Metlakatla and Ketchikan as well as Juneau.

Foursome represents rural SE Girl Scouts at national summit
As you read this, four Girl Scouts from Southeast Alaska are representing the interests of local youth as they participate in the Rural Youth Advisory Committee summit being held just outside Washington, D.C. The four are Valerie Jensen of Yakutat; Kimberly Moore of Kake; and Cassie Lutz and Megan Tack of Juneau. They flew out of Juneau Airport early on Friday, Sept. 19, and will return Sept. 25.

Taylor, Tromble wed in Idaho
Nicole Josephine Taylor of Wuerzburg, Germany, and Roy Wesley Tromble of Juneau were married on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2003, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Giraud, Tromble to marry
Tanya Tromble of Juneau and Sylvain Giraud of Roquevaire, France, will be married at 4 p.m. on April 23, 2004, in Roquevaire. A reception will follow the wedding at Mas de Ventarelle, Mimet, France.

La Rue, White to be married
Vanessa La Rue and Ryan White of Juneau will be married at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, at the United Pentecostal Church of Juneau. A reception will follow at Frontier Suites.

.. for supporting the City Museum ...for helping with tire during rainstorm

Catherine "Cathy" M. Lloyd
Catherine "Cathy" M. Lloyd Longtime Alaska and Juneau resident Catherine "Cathy" M. Lloyd, 76, died Sept. 18, 2003, at Bartlett Regional Hospital. She was born in Pennsylvania in 1927. She graduated summa cum laude from Ursinus College with degrees in history and political science. She then obtained her doctorate in law from Dickinson Law School. For several years she served as a schoolteacher and hearing examiner for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She came to Alaska in the 1960s and held several senior positions in state government, including Deputy Commissioner of Health and Social Services under multiple administrations. She was commended by the Legislature upon her retirement from state service. She moved to Arizona, later returning to Juneau in 1998 to live with her family.

William Keene Wilson
Former Juneau resident William Keene Wilson, 61, died Sept. 19, 2003, at IHS Hospital in Fort Yates, N.D. He was born March 2, 1942, in Hoonah, to John and Olga (Keene) Wilson. He was raised and educated in Juneau and graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in 1962. He attended the Cleveland Engineering Institute and Cleveland State University and received his degree in civil engineering. He was a civil engineer for 38 years. On March 27, 1965, he married Rosa Ramsey at St. James Episcopal Church, Cannon Ball, N.D.

My Turn: The wheels are about to come off the school bus
I happened to see the teachers picketing the school board the other night. They were out in force to make their point and to right what they perceive is an injustice. More power to them. I believe that Juneau is fortunate to have a lot of caring teachers and, incidentally, administrators and support staff, who work hard to give our kids a quality education. But there is a problem coming that teachers' desire for more money seems to be at odds with.

My Turn: Whose forest interests are narrow?
I enjoyed reading William Tonsgard Jr.'s recent My Turn of Aug. 26, "The nature of the forest." The historical perspective of the various Southeast Alaska bays that Mr. Tonsgard recalls makes for very interesting and enjoyable reading. His point appears to be that despite the logging, or perhaps because of it, areas that were logged many years ago are still thriving with wildlife; fish, deer, bears, berries and second-growth forests. I appreciate that long-term perspective. His observations seem to dispute the concerns of Greenpeace about the effects of logging in Southeast.

Twenty-nine Southeast senior cross-country runners received All-Academic Awards at the ceremony following Saturday's Region V Championships, hosted by Juneau. The awards went to seniors who have maintained grade point averages of 3.0 or higher. This year's recipients were, by school:

Sports in Juneau
Friday, Sept. 26 • Juneau Youth Football League - Pee-Wee Division: Titans vs. Cowboys, 6 p.m. Junior Division: Chiefs vs. Broncos, 8 p.m. Both games at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park football field. Saturday, Sept. 27 • Juneau Youth Football League - Pee-Wee Division: Rams vs. Seahawks, 11 a.m. Junior Division: Steelers vs. Vikings, 1 p.m. Both games at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park football field.

Sports in Juneau
Friday, Sept. 26 • Juneau Youth Football League - Pee-Wee Division: Titans vs. Cowboys, 6 p.m. Junior Division: Chiefs vs. Broncos, 8 p.m. Both games at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park football field. Saturday, Sept. 27 • Juneau Youth Football League - Pee-Wee Division: Rams vs. Seahawks, 11 a.m. Junior Division: Steelers vs. Vikings, 1 p.m. Senior Division: 49ers vs. Ketchikan, 4:30 p.m. All games at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park football field, except 49ers-Ketchikan game which is at Norman Walker Field in Ketchikan

Crimson Bears slip to 5th spot
The Juneau-Douglas High School football team could be concerned about its slide to fifth in this week's Anchorage Daily News/Alaska State Coaches Football Polls. The Crimson Bears have something more important on their minds - like trying to secure a spot in the state playoffs. As the football season winds down to its final weekend, Juneau has one simple task. Win and the Crimson Bears are in the playoffs. Lose and they'll need a lot of help to not spend the winter wondering what happened.

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 Sept. 20, total poll points and previous rank in the poll. Points are awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis. Large schools coaches vote only in the large schools poll, while small schools coaches vote for small schools.

Bridging Midddle East Tensions
Katib Muhamad, an Arab Israeli who is Muslim, left, hugs his Team Israel teammate, Yizhak Cohen, who is Jewish, after they finished the senior men'

Alaska Digest
Nonprofit says DEC is charging exorbitant fees ANCHORAGE - The head of a water-quality watchdog organization says the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is charging exorbitant copying fees to deter the group from gaining public records. Bob Shavelson, executive director of Cook Inlet Keeper, said the agency's goal is to keep his group from showing the state isn't doing its job under the Clean Water Act. "I received a response that said this is going to be thousands and thousands of pages and it'll cost you between $5,000 and $12,000," Shavelson said. "This is an incredibly high hurdle to jump to gain access to public documents."

Dividend amount to be announced
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Frank Murkowski will announce the 2003 permanent fund dividend tonight at the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.'s annual meeting in Anchorage. Until that time the exact size of the check won't be known. What is known, however, is that the 2003 amount will be substantially lower than recent years. In July, the permanent fund corporation transferred $691 million to the state Department of Revenue to pay for the dividend program, according to fund spokeswoman Laura Achee.

Alaska Briefs
Assembly to decide utility rates Oct. 6 JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly set a public hearing for Oct. 6 to raise sewer and water rates for residential and business customers. The combined impact of rate increases would be 32.5 to 34 percent for residential customers and a 32.5 to 36.9 percent increase to commercial customers. If approved, the new rates would take effect Dec. 1. Assembly member Dale Anderson suggested a study be done that explains the effect of a rate increase on customers. Anderson suggested a rate increase phase-in over a two- or three-year period.

Thieves benefit from vehicle registration laws
ANCHORAGE - Some thieves in Anchorage have found that Alaska's vehicle registration laws make it fairly easy to fraudulently title cars and trucks, which can then be sold to unsuspecting buyers. "At least that's what the criminals have told us," said Anchorage police Detective Steve Lyons. In one case, retired truck driver George Dismukes spotted a 2001 Mitsubishi Montero at a park-and-sell lot. The selling price was much lower than the SUV was worth, Dismukes said, so he contacted the owner, Gregory P. Ruiz.

Coalition to study salmon declines
ANCHORAGE - A $15 million research project will seek to solve some of the mysteries surrounding salmon declines from the Kuskokwim River to the Arctic. The study, which begins this week, will involve a coalition of state, federal and tribal agencies hoping to make future runs predictable. The rivers of the Arctic, Yukon and Kuskokwim region, known collectively as the AYK, have been among the least studied in Alaska, said Gene Sandone of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Though the rivers are big, the salmon runs pale in comparison with the returns of Southeast Alaska, Prince William Sound and Bristol Bay.

Oil, gas employment hits low
ANCHORAGE - Employment in Alaska's oil and gas industry is at its lowest point in more than a decade, according to a report by the state labor department. Employment in those industries have fallen from a 1991 peak of 10,700 workers to 8,800 in 2002, according to a report by state Department of Labor and Workforce Development economists Neal Fried and Brigitta Windisch-Cole. These jobs include oil and gas extraction, drilling, and support activities for operators. It does not include support jobs such as catering and security.

Firm gains gas rights to 230,000 acres
ANCHORAGE - Evergreen Resources Inc., has obtained subsurface lease rights to 230,000 acres in the Matanuska Susitna Borough area, the company said. The Denver-based company is exploring for shallow natural gas in the Mat-Su and already had 75,000 acres under lease. With its latest announcement, the company said it now has a production-size block that could generate commercial quantities of methane. "To make a coal bed methane play work, you need, in our opinion, a couple hundred thousand acres, and it needs to be contiguous," said Evergreen spokesman John Kelso.

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