Monday, October 6, 2003

Alaska Funding Exchange hires Caldwell
JUNEAU - Eric Caldwell has joined Alaska Funding Exchange, a grant writing and research firm headquartered in Juneau.

Rogers to work for Steigers Corp.
JUNEAU - David Rogers, former deputy director of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation's Division of Air and Water Quality, has joined Steigers Corp., an environmental consulting company based in Colorado.

Bothelo, Peterson will listen to the people
I encourage you tovote for Bruce Bothelo for mayor and Dan Peterson for the Assembly. Both are intelligent, pragmatic and willing to listen.

How will tobacco tax money be used?
In her letter to the editor, dated Oct. 3, Ms. Robbins implies the proposed additional tobacco tax will translate into tobacco prevention and education programs in the schools. But before residents vote for or against the proposed ordinance, the Juneau Assembly should clearly indicate to voters if any of the funds will indeed go into local tobacco prevention and education programs. Moreover, the real question is: what percentage of that money would go into tobacco prevention and education programs?

Serious choices for serious times
As I now have reached "elder-hood," perhaps my "political passions" have mellowed. Nonetheless, I have always wondered why municipal elections across the land, and indeed here in Juneau, have always aroused LESS interest than statewide or national elections. Many may be watching California next Tuesday more than our own races. Indeed, local elections certainly have a far greater effect on the local taxes, economy, education and community economic development than any other elections at any level or in any state.

Mixed feelings on school board candidate Guthrie
I am a student at JDHS. On Wednesday, Sept. 24, I got a chance to meet some of the candidates running for the School Board. One of the candidates got my attention with what he was saying. That candidate was Sam Guthrie.

Botelho has record of helping youths
Juneau is very lucky to have two good candidates running for mayor. When it comes to education and community service, however, one candidate is head and shoulders above the other. Bruce Botelho has been an active advocate for young Alaskans (Boy Scouts, Teen Club, Alaska Children's Trust) and public education for at least the last two-plus decades that I have called Juneau my home.

The right candidates for tough times
Now is the time! This year's election for the five school board positions is pivotal. We are fortunate to have excellent candidates and we need to pay close attention for whom we vote this Oct. 7. Our state's financial woes mean difficult times are here. Teacher morale is very low. A teachers' strike is very possible by early November. I know from personal experience that a strike has a long-lasting negative effect on a community and leaves scars that sometimes never completely heal. Teachers have always been well-regarded and supported in this community as highly competent and dedicated professionals. The community needs to continue that support in order to provide the best possible learning environment for our children.

Story understands School Board issues
Andi Story has my vote for School Board on Tuesday. I've had the privilege of serving with her through the years on site councils at Auke Bay, DZ and the high school: She works hard, cares deeply about our kids, about teachers, about education, and particularly wants all our children to succeed in a school system that welcomes, encourages and brings out the best in each of them.

Passing tobacco tax would help teens
I am currently a student at JDHS and I am writing in about the tobacco tax, which is to be on the Oct. 7 ballot. I strongly feel that this ballot issue should be passed, not only for the health of Juneau's adults, but the future of Juneau itself and by that, I mean the teens. I, along with numerous friends and family, are for the tax in hopes that it will not only lower teen smoking, but also drop the amount of cigarettes and tobacco bought in Juneau. My history class has been learning about the ballot issues and this one in particular caught my attention not only because there are many people who have died but because there are many people who have died of cancer in my family, but because a number of them still continue to smoke anyway.

Knapp gave straight answers to students
I think that Dick Knapp deserves the position of mayor. He visited my school and I was able to hear his opinions and views on Juneau. When students asked questions, he seemed to listen and share a thought-out answer.

Tobacco tax will reduce smoking, raise money
My name is Janelle Quimpo, and I am a student at JDHS. I have studied the tobacco tax and have found that increasing tobacco taxes would be beneficial to most people. There are many pros to raising tobacco taxes, such as increasing local government revenues by $300,000. Also, according to a Web site I found, on average, a 10 percent increase in cigarette prices reduces smoking by 4 percent in developed countries and 8 percent in poorer countries.

It's not right to increase taxes on a bad habit
My name is Kayla Hunt and I'm a student in the CHOICE program at JDHS. On Sept. 24 some of the municipal candidates came to the commons of JDHS. After listening to the tobacco tax information, I'm opposed to the taxing of tobacco, because I don't think it will stop people from smoking.

Taxing alcohol would solve more problems
I am a JDHS student and I think that it's not necessary to tax tobacco again after the state imposed a buck-a-pack last year. I spoke with the classmates about this when we did a mock assembly on the tax increase recently. More than half of my classmates opposed the increase. In my opinion what should be taxed more is alcohol.

Botelho has long record of community service
Bruce Botelho is among those rare individuals who believes that civic service is the highest calling. Bruce offers Juneau a quality altogether to often missing from public servants; a genuine desire to serve the public. He could easily have parleyed his time as attorney general into lucrative law practice or some other form of personal gain.

Story has good history, gets things done
There are several excellent runners for School Board. I worked with Andi Story on the JDHS Site Council as she served as chair. Andi is excellent in getting things done and getting people organized and motivated.

Knapp has a history of community service
Dick Knapp won't boast about his history of community service, but I will. Like many military families, we have lived in several communities around the country. No matter where we have lived, Dick has been involved in community affairs.

Questioning spending on new school projects
With the October elections just around the corner, it's a perfect time to reflect on several capital projects approved last year. The proposed new high school at Diamond Park comes to mind. The estimated cost has already increased by $1.6 million. Yet, not a shovel of dirt has been turned! If this project is built, the final cost will be closer to $100 million than the current $60 million estimate. The elected officials pushing this new facility will soon be asking you for more tax dollars to finish the job. Their collective attitude seems to be guided by the notion that if we throw enough money at a complex problem, we can create the illusion of solving it.

Recent study boosts tobacco tax argument
I was saddened to learn that Alaska ranked 37 among states and received a failing grade in a report released this week by the National Women's Law Center and Oregon Health and Science University that evaluates states' progress in meeting key national goals to reduce smoking among women and girls. Alaska must focus attention on this silent, but preventable, killer that takes over 178,000 women's lives each year.

Reporter missed the mark
Your reporter pointed out in one article in Sunday's paper that I am supporting Dale Anderson for Assembly. This is true. In another article by the same reporter, however, the reporter missed the mark.

Where education priorities should be
My thanks to Dave Palmer for addressing issues of educational programming, issues I've brought up at each meeting I've attended about a new high school and renovation of JDHS. Each time, my hand was patted (metaphorically) and I was told not to worry, this would be taken care of.

Reader shares his thoughts on issues
For whatever it's worth, I'd like to voice my opinion on a few issues that Juneau and Alaska is dealing with. First, the marijuana proposition: isn't it illegal to possess this according to federal law? If so, we can pass whatever we want on a state level; it doesn't do anything except show our dysfunction as a country.

Botelho listens, builds consensus on issues
Bruce Botelho has my vote for mayor not only because of his years of incredible experience at the city and state level, but also because of his ability to build community consensus on potentially divisive issues. As a city reporter I covered Mayor Bruce Botelho as he navigated Juneau through the rough seas of revising the CBJ mining ordinance, passing a cruise ship tonnage fee and a bond issue to improve the waterfront dock.

Taking a closer look at fiscal priorities
It's that time of year. Juneau teachers are working without a contract as the school district puts a spin on its financial woes. Even the district's "independent auditor," Max Mertz, expressed his opinion of JSD's fiscal problems in last week's Empire. (It should be noted that Mr. Mertz's company has already received over $22,000 in compensation this school year.)

Tax won't reduce teen smoking
There is a new sign popping up all over town. I've seen it in on buildings, on lawns, even in car windows. It reads, "Vote 'Yes' on the Tobacco Tax, Help Prevent Teenage Smoking!" What a wonderful slogan! - completely devoid of common sense, but wonderful nonetheless. No, I am not crazy. No, I don't think teens should smoke. I am, however, a realist. I know a couple of facts that illustrate the naiveté of these signs.

Giving Botelho credit where it isn't due
I give Mr. Botelho credit for his community service, but I'm sure he wouldn't want to take credit for things he has not done. A letter in your paper lauds him for "successfully fighting the capital move and ushering in the mining industry." The Alaska Committee was reactivated in 1992 under former mayor Jamie Parsons to battle the capital move on the 1994 ballot. That committee remained active to fight the 2002 legislative move initiative. Mr. Botelho never attended Alaska Committee meetings and did not take a role in either the 1994 or 2002 campaigns to defeat those initiatives.

Student in favor of Dryden renovation
I am a JDHS student and I support the Floyd Dryden renovation. I do not want the taxes to go up on property or houses because we just bought a house, but the state will pay us back 70 percent of the cost of the school renovations. Someday I would like my children to go to a nice school.

Befort had best answers of all the candidates
My name is Christine Wallace and I went to the candidates forum at JDHS on Sept. 24. I listened to all of the candidates who attended and I think that Rhonda Befort should be elected to the School Board. She was the only one who made a good point regarding the new high school; that we should have built it before doing any repairs to JDHS.

JDHS student: Knapp knows what he's doing
I'm a student in CHOICE at JDHS. Some of the municipal candidates came to the commons to talk about what they will do if they are elected. I agree with a lot of what Dick Knapp had to say.

Local yoga instructor teaches to be taught
Rhonda Gardinier has been studying yoga under various yogis, or teachers, for 20 years. But the person who has taught her the most can't yet pronounce the names of most of the poses. "This is the best yoga teacher I've had," said Gardinier, her hand on the shoulder of her 2 1/2-year-old son Reed. "I've learned unattachment - not to be attached to getting places on time, ever, not attached to clean clothes ..."

This Day in History
In Alaska • In 1869, the Fort Wrangell Post Office was established. • In 1904, the first telegraph message was sent between Sitka and Valdez via the new submarine cable. • In 1959, 100,000 pounds of reindeer meat from Nunivak Island was in transit to markets in New York City, Washington D.C. and Hawaii. • In 1959, George Byer was elected mayor of Anchorage. • In 1979, the Dena'ina people of Kenai celebrated their first potlatch in 70 years. More than 300 people came. Potlatches were stopped by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1907.

Around Town
Today: Low Impact Exercise, 10 a.m., Juneau Senior Center and Valley Senior Center. Details: 463-6175. Toddler Time, 10 a.m., downtown library. Toddler Time at the Mendenhall Valley library starts at 11 a.m. Details: 586-5303. Juneau Jewish Community Yom Kippur services, 10 a.m. morning service, 4 p.m. afternoon and yizkor services, Northern Light United Church.

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

Photo: What's mine is mine
A mature bald eagle surrounded by acquisitive crows calls out as it feeds on a salmon carcass Sunday at Sheep Creek.

Day of Atonement services begin
Jews in Juneau who celebrated the Jewish new year last weekend, in Rosh Hashanah, will fast and attend services this weekend for Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Services will start at 7:30 tonight with the Kol Nidre service. Sundown will mark the beginning of a 25-hour fast for Jews.

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

Juneau's bond debt increasing
Juneau's bond debt soon will be at its highest level ever, which could increase property taxes and reduce the city's ability to borrow money for future projects. Bonds already sold, plus those approved by voters in recent elections, total about $116 million, according to the city. Proposition 1 on Tuesday's ballot, funding close to $7 million in repairs at Floyd Dryden and Harborview schools, would increase the amount to about $123 million, almost three times the previous high.

Mothers found support group for parents of children with cancer
When Glenda Palmer's daughter was sent to Seattle in 1996 to see a doctor at the Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, she thought she and her daughter would be back in Juneau within a few days. "We went down there not knowing it was cancer, thinking we were just getting a check-up because my daughter wasn't doing well," Palmer said. "We never got to come home for seven-and-a-half months."

What bonds are paying for
Juneau's bond debt for school construction and other public-works projects is approaching $123 million. Not all the debt will accumulate at the same time, and about half the total is scheduled to be reimbursed by the state. Some of the amounts listed below are different from the amounts listed on the ballot because some bonds have been split, with some sales made and others pending.

Raising awareness of mental illness
Diana Runde, director of the Polaris House in Juneau, is a productive member of the Juneau community. But if she goes without proper treatment for her bipolar disorder, her world falls apart. "I've gone for months without being able to leave the house, sometimes unable to get out of bed," Runde said. "That's very common, and people don't understand that it's based on a disease."

Assembly members have their favorites, too
The political lines have been drawn in the races for mayor and the Juneau Assembly as several Assembly members have aligned themselves with Dan Peterson and Bruce Botelho or with Dale Anderson and Dick Knapp, according to an analysis of campaign financial-disclosure forms. The election is Tuesday. Botelho and Knapp are squaring off for the mayor's job, and Peterson is challenging incumbent Anderson for an Assembly District 2 seat. More Assembly members favor Peterson over Anderson, forms filed recently with the Alaska Public Offices Commission show.

Police & Fire
Juneau police, fire officials and state troopers reported: Driving while intoxicated, Theft, Assault, Vandalism,Domestic violence, Liquor violation, Warrant arrest, Minor consuming

Episcopalians choose not to condemn confirmation of gay bishop
The Episcopal Diocese of Alaska on Saturday chose not to pass a resolution denouncing the confirmation of a gay bishop from New Hampshire earlier this year, a decision that could lead some Alaska congregations to split from the church. Passage of an alternate resolution came during the Alaska diocese's 29th annual convention held this week in Juneau.

APOC: Peterson backer violated campaign law
A supporter of Juneau Assembly candidate Daniel Peterson violated state campaign law, said Brooke Miles, executive director of the Alaska Public Offices Commission, on Friday. Peterson supporter Tom Dahl placed an ad in the Sept. 28 Juneau Empire that said Senior Citizens Support Services Inc. paid for the ad, but he funded it himself, Miles said. A corporation cannot give ads or money to a candidate, she said.

Fishing industry planning trade show for January
A group of Juneau businesses and fishermen plan to put on a seafood industry trade show in January to coincide with the International Pacific Halibut Commission's annual meeting, which is being held in Juneau this year. The Southeast Seafood Industry Trade Show, scheduled for Jan. 20-21, will include booths run by businesses that support the Southeast fishing industry and lectures and workshops on a variety of topics, said committee chairman Tom Gemmell.

Robert Lester Carte II
Former Juneau resident Robert Lester Carte II, 41, died Aug. 18, 2003, in Ketchikan.

George A. Jefferson Jr.
Juneau resident George A. Jefferson Jr., 72, died Oct. 1, 2003, at his home.

Empire editorial: Knapp for mayor
Juneau is guaranteed to have a strong leader sitting in the mayor's seat regardless of who is chosen Tuesday. Dick Knapp and Bruce Botelho are well matched in terms of drive, experience, integrity and ties to the community. Both have had long, distinguished careers.

Fooling with the soul of America
And so now these atheists want to take the Ten Commandments from our rotundas. Our nation is steering its course toward a shameful crumple. There was a time when America was great because it was good; now, as Alexis de Toqueville warned, we will cease to be great because decency is definitely fading from our lives. Someone is precariously fooling with the soul of America.

Don Smith Editorial
Tuesday's election ballot will include a city ordinance that will increase the excise tax on tobacco products from six percent to 30 cents per pack of cigarettes and to 12 percent on all other tobacco products. The tobacco tax would generate about $300,000.

The Russians are coming! Or are they?
U S. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat, said this week that there is no way he will abandon his opposition to drilling for oil on the coastal plain of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, not even "to advance the energy bill's ethanol provision," sought by his state's corn farmers. By opposing ANWR production, Daschle transfers our nation's security from the Middle East to Russia.

My Turn: Invest in teachers, not buildings
School. Education. Learning. We all know what those words mean. They draw on memories and create pictures for us. Are those pictures of buildings? Is that what you remember of your school days? Or do you see your best friend, the game that you won and made you cry for joy, that time you performed on stage and applause filled your ears, the teacher who helped you understand geometry or let you build that incredible volcano?

Trail Mix wraps up this season's work
The young trail above Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School was easy to find just past the school. Trail Mix foreman Colby Shibler, with his three crewmen, was tackling the Dzantik'i Heeni project with an excavator. Trail Mix is a nonprofit organization that helps maintain trails in Juneau. The Dzantik'i Heeni trail will be used by students and teachers, mainly for educational purposes, Shibler said. Besides brushing the beach accesses and some of the state park trails, Trail Mix has worked on Montana Creek Trail, Perseverance Trail, the Boy Scout Trail, Mount Roberts Trail, and a trail off of Lena Loop this year.

Photo: Autumn scene
Sunlight shines through devil's club leaves, which are showing off their fall colors, at Cope Park on Wednesday. Devil's club is in the ginsing plant family and is used by Alaska Native cultures for a multitude of uses.

Out & About
Outdoor events happing in the Juneau area.

Angler's Angle: Halibut are almost gone, but shellfish still remain
It's that time of year again. The salmon and halibut are almost gone and most fishermen, if they haven't done so already, are cleaning up their boats and gear to wait out the long Alaska winter. Fishing season is over for the majority of Juneau anglers, but there are still fishing opportunities out there. Although most of the salmon and halibut migrate to the open ocean, shellfish stay put, leaving a variety of prawns, shrimp and crab for ambitious fishermen to harvest.

Fish report
Coho salmon fishing in the Juneau area continued to be above average at the end of September. Recently, it took Juneau-area anglers four hours to land a coho. Last year it took an average of six hours to land a silver salmon, and the five-year average is nine hours. Coho salmon are abundant in area waters, but the hotspots were around Cordwood Creek and Outer Point.

Southeast Wild: Juneau checklist of birds is work in progress
There are three elementary tools that are truly indispensable for anyone who wants to study and learn about the birds in their area: a decent pair of binoculars, one or more field guides and a checklist to help narrow the possibilities and focus on the birds that are known to occur in the area. Ten years ago, individual birders kept records of their own observations, but there was no published, comprehensive listing of all the species of birds observed to date in the immediate Juneau area.

Capital punishment
Distractions? No problem. Junior running back Brian Felix ran for 308 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Crimson Bears to a 44-14 victory over Dimond Saturday, sending the Crimson Bears to the state semifinals for just the second time in their history.

Juneau finishes second at JIVE
It's never really over until it's finally over. Down 2-0 in a best of five championship match, the Colony Knights battled back against the Juneau-Douglas High School Crimson Bears, winning the 13th Annual Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza with a 15-11 victory in the decisive game five.

Sports in Juneau
• Juneau Youth Football League - Junior Division Playoffs, championship game: No. 1 seed vs. No. 2 seed, 6 p.m. at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park football field.

Alaska state football playoffs
Results from the state's high school football playoffs.

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.

Juneau swimmers take third at Sitka
Competing with a partial squad, the Juneau-Douglas High School swimming and diving teams didn't finish at the top of the standings for the first time this season. The Crimson Bear boys and girls both finished third each day at the Sitka Invitational swim meets Friday and Saturday at Sitka's Blatchley Pool. Juneau only took 18 athletes to the meet, so it didn't have its normal depth.

Alaska Digest
Stevens, Murkowski threaten 'no' vote; Troopers crack down on Fairbanks rollerskiers; Ex-governor in hospital with acute nosebleed; Stevens gets millions for Native grants

Photo: Curious Gulliver
The ever-curious Gulliver, a male musk ox calf, sniffs a visitor last week at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wash.

Initiative group tells Renkes to speed up process
A group backing an initiative to change the way Alaska fills vacancies to the U.S. Senate is pressuring the state attorney general to speed up his legal review so a petition drive can begin. The sponsors - all minority Democrats in the Alaska Legislature - have hired an attorney who has given Attorney General Gregg Renkes until Monday to decide whether it can go forward.

Light therapy can brighten lives of SAD sufferers
FAIRBANKS - Coping with the dark days of winter may only be a matter of seeing the light. Like bears, many humans also sink into hibernation mode during the dark months of winter. But unlike other mammals, humans can't crawl into warm, cozy caves.

Fourth-graders act to save sand dollar on Sitka's Sandy Beach
SITKA - Sitka fourth-graders Maggie Dunlap and Esther Bower braved the wind and rain at Sandy Beach on a recent afternoon to take turns pounding a new sign into the ground. "Please don't take the live sand dollars," the sign says.

One injured, one missing in Anchorage fire
ANCHORAGE - A man is missing and another is in critical condition after an early morning fire gutted an abandoned Spenard building that once housed an escort service and massage parlor.

Alaska Digest
News from around the state

Board approves proposal to rebuild blue king crab fishery
The Alaska Board of Fisheries unanimously approved a plan Saturday to rebuild the Pribilof Island blue king crab fishery. The plan halts fishing until a sustainable annual harvest can be assured. The board ruled that stocks of mature male and female blue king crab must reach 13.2 million pounds for two consecutive years before harvests can resume.

Baggage-weight restriction takes off with a grimace
Maryann Watson had five large cardboard boxes, two pieces of luggage and a bad mood as she wheeled her load up to an Alaska Airlines check-in line. It was the first day of the airline's new baggage weight limits, and the Bethel resident was feeling the pinch. "It's a hassle," she said.

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