Tuesday, October 7, 2003

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.

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

Land swap a raw deal
In his Sept. 29 My Turn column, Jerry Reinwand admits to being perplexed by those who oppose the Berners Bay land swap. I would like to explain to him why so many Alaskans are against this exchange.

Hey - I said don't call
With all of the media hype about the national "do not call" list and talk of a similar state list, imagine my surprise when I got a phone call soliciting subscriptions from the Juneau Empire last night. The person on the other end of the line must have been getting bad reactions from people, because he was very apologetic for calling right off the bat.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

Guard cartoon misguided
If Doonesbury is to become the house organ of a national political party we can console ourselves that it is often funny, if increasingly shrill. Last Wednesday's slap at the National Guard, though, was somewhere between incoherent, and inconsiderate.

Right ideas for Iraq
Brilliant article by M.S. Belknap regarding Iraq reconstruction. As a veteran of Vietnam I saw first-hand the corruption that this kind of war brings in to play. The people of Iraq do not need $20 billion dollars as much as they need to have the reconstruction process turned over to the Iraqi people.

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.

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.

Land swap not a fair trade
There's been lots of talk lately about Senator Murkowski's bill #1354, commonly called the Cape Fox/Berners Bay land trade (or to be more accurate I would say land giveaway).

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.

The sign, not the beer, is objectionable
To my fellow Comrades Loni VanKirk and Bruce Hale: Obviously you did not comprehend what you read in my letter. The message of my letter was plain and simple; I asked the companies involved to CONSIDER the message of ONE particular sign. In no way did I state that advertising for alcohol products is bad. Furthermore, I wanted to make the boating community aware of the dangers of combining boating and alcohol.

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.

'The Mommy Dance': a personal perspective
I read Christine Schmid's review of the play, "The Mommy Dance," and felt the need to reply on a personal level. I have had the opportunity to observe Jill Bess (the actress and writer of this play) and my twin brother, Joe, raise their children. They are both loving parents that are devoted to their children, and yes, at times, life is chaotic in their home, but that is just a small glimpse into their world and into the world of majority of parents.

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 1870, Fort Tongass, near Alaska's southernmost boundary, was abandoned by the Army. • In 1925, the box factory of the Ketchikan Spruce Mills was destroyed by fire. • In 1971, the Juneau Municipal Airport put a DME (Distance Measuring Equipment) Navigation Aid into operation. It would let pilots know their exact distance from the runway, improving safety in poor weather.

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.

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."

Correction
An Oct. 6 Empire editorial incorrectly stated the amount of bonds to be voted on under Proposition No. 2 in today's city election. The correct amount for those bonds, to be used on Floyd Dryden Middle School and Harborview Elementary school repairs, is $6,945,000.

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.

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."

Voters head to the polls
Voters get to choose a new mayor, select Assembly members and pick from a dozen Juneau School Board candidates in today's general election. Voters also will decide whether to approve $6.9 million in bonds for school repairs and doubling the city's tobacco tax.

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

Naturalists search for area's disappearing toads
Bob Armstrong remembers the days when toads were common at the Dredge Lake area, between Back Loop Road and Mendenhall Lake.

Fisherman catches salmon that likely escaped from B.C. fish farm
A commercial gillnetter near Petersburg found a 10-pound Atlantic salmon state officials say probably escaped from a British Columbia salmon farm.

Police and Fire
• Police cited a 46-year-old man at 5:46 p.m. Sunday near Glacier Highway on a theft-of-services charge after he allegedly failed to pay his $25 cab fare:• Police cited a 15-year-old girl on a shoplifting charge at 6:51 p.m. Sunday at a Glacier Highway business. Police released the girl to her mother.

Around Town
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.

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.

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.

City ponders noise limits
People who want something done about noise in Juneau have a chance to be heard. Assembly member and Lands Committee Chairman Randy Wanamaker said he doesn't know whether there is a noise problem. But two Juneau residents who believe there is a problem have complained to the Lands Committee - one in person and one in writing.

Delay of Senate petition on succession is unacceptable
A number of events would occur if Congressman Don Young vacated his seat tomorrow. Gov. Murkowski would have 90 days in which to take action, but his time would not be spent making short lists and courting Alaska's best and brightest Republicans. Gov. Murkowski would be bound by law to hold a special election to fill the vacated Congressional seat. He would have to trust the people.

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?

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.

Swimmers at the Sitka Invitational

Sports in Juneau
Juneau Youth Football League - Junior Division Playoffs, consolation game: No. 3 seed vs. No. 4 seed, 7 p.m. at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park football field (Note: This game has been rescheduled from Oct. 7 due to the state high school football playoffs).

Can the Devils repeat?
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Scott Gomez was smiling last week as he untied his skates, pulled off his shin pads and talked about what might have been his best road trip with the New Jersey Devils. With sweat dripping off his brow, Gomez talked about visiting the White House, standing in the Rose Garden and getting a tour of the Oval Office from President Bush.

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.

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.

Biologists studying orca attacks on gray whales
ANCHORAGE - Biologists don't know whether attacks by killer whales on gray whales are becoming more frequent because of changes in the Bering Sea ecosystem.

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.

Report: Women in Alaska earning far less than men
ANCHORAGE - Men still earn far more than women working in Alaska, according to a new state study. The study looks at total earnings for all workers in the state, ranging in age from 16 to older than 75. This study found that on average, women earn 66.4 percent of what men do. State labor economist Alexander Kotlarov took earnings from unemployment insurance forms filed by all employers in the state, and age and gender from Permanent Fund dividend applications. The study comes more than a decade after state labor economists first examined the difference.

Alaska Briefs
City ponders taking over three harbors; Some Anchorage schools ridding halls of hats; High school could become bigger charter school; Two teenage boys arrested at hotel; Dinosaur replica has big opening day

Photo:No dogs allowed
A cat sits on the Thomas Basin promenade in Ketchikan on a foggy morning last week behind a sign prohibiting dogs.

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.

Elmendorf pilots try out innovative flight system
ELMENDORF AFB, Alaska - Members of the 12th and 19th fighter squadrons at Elmendorf Air Force base have been learning how to use a revolutionary new helmet-mounted navigation and targeting system.

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

State troopers seize booze, drugs bound for Bush communities
ANCHORAGE - Alaska State Troopers seized dozens of bottles of alcohol and thousands of grams of marijuana in September that were bound for western Alaska.

Coyotes killing pets in Anchorage neighborhoods
ANCHORAGE - Roaming coyotes apparently are targeting people's pets in an Anchorage neighborhood. Two coyotes killed a puppy running in the woods near its owners on a trail in the federal Campbell Tract within Far North Bicentennial Park. Just to the south, as many as a dozen cats and dogs have disappeared from the Zodiac Manor neighborhood. "My guess is a fair number of those are probably due to coyotes," said state biologist Rick Sinnott, who examined the remains of the puppy. "They're certainly active over there and have shown themselves willing and capable of killing a dog, at least a 20-pound dog."

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