Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Securing our future
Rep. Bill Hudson has served Juneau and Alaska with distinction and while it will be hard to replace all of his knowledge and experience, there is a candidate running for office who can fill his shoes - Tim Grussendorf. Mr. Grussendorf's service with the state and local governments brings a valuable knowledge, so he knows where those shoes should be walking and what steps they need to take to get there.

Constitutional convention is dangerous and unnecessary
The League of Women Voters of Alaska urges Alaskans to vote "No" on Ballot Measure No. 1: "Shall there be a Constitutional Convention?"

Every vote counts
I've been wearing a "Fran Ulmer for Governor" button since early spring, and I've heard many different and interesting responses. One thing I hear often is, "Oh, it would be great if she won, but it will never happen. Frank Murkowski has too much support."

Independent thinker
I recently attended a chamber luncheon featuring a debate of the House candidates running for office in Juneau. Many have described Tim Grussendorf as a moderate Democrat or "Egan Democrat," a staffer representing the working-class or fishermen of the state. I see Grussendorf as highly experienced having worked in the Legislature for 10 years and gained insight and knowledge of the legislative process. Granted many know Tim because of his father, Ben Grussendorf.

Valuable representative
I am proud to call Cathy Muñoz my friend and professional peer. Long before she decided to campaign for the Senate, and long before I decided to campaign to become the mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, we were discussing statewide issues, opportunities and solutions.

Fully responsible
I absolutely agree with Mr. Prussing when he writes (Empire, Oct. 16) about a lawsuit-happy society. My family has personally been the target of lawsuit-happy neighbors. But how does Mr. Prussing make the jump from Ms. Johnnie, "doing nothing criminally wrong" to, as he put it "not being at fault." In the state of Alaska, and in Washington state as well, when you get a driver's license, and you drive on public roads, you assume some responsibility for your actions. If you happen to run down a pedestrian in a crosswalk you are at fault. And you better pray you have insurance!

Consider the source
It seems Al Johnson has worn out his welcome in our sister city, Ketchikan. Now Mr. Johnson wants to peddle to a Juneau audience his personal, and need I say distorted, interpretation of statistics about student reading scores and what they represent. (Empire, Oct. 18,).

Blocked then blamed
Republicans who are dinging Juneau Sen. Kim Elton for not taking a seat on the Senate Finance Committee seem to forget that it was the Republican Senate leadership who, contrary to their own rules, denied him a minority finance seat, bestowing it instead on an inexperienced freshman.

Fran communicates
The next governor has to be a really professional communicator to handle many urgent issues. Fran Ulmer stands out in this endeavor. In contrast, her opponent, Frank Murkowski, has proven to be weak in this respect.

Character, integrity
I wish to take this opportunity to voice my strong support for Cathy Muñoz. I have known Cathy for many years and have always found her to be a lady of high moral character and integrity with Juneau's welfare and interests at heart.

Cathy helped bilingual education
Cathy Muñoz understands the importance of bilingual education. As a fluent Spanish speaker and co-founder of the Juneau Charter School, Cathy pushed hard for the creation of a Spanish language curriculum. The Juneau Charter School is one of the only primary schools in Southeast that offers foreign language instruction. Cathy brought the idea to fruition.

Muñoz most-qualified
I support Cathy Muñoz because she is the most qualified person to represent our community. She brings fresh ideas and a sense of accomplishment that Juneau desperately needs. Cathy cares greatly about Juneau and its future as the state capital and as an economic hub in our region. She is an established and successful business owner who was born and raised in Juneau.

Supporting resource development
Alaskans have been blessed by the strength of our federal delegation. For years, our leaders in Washington have battled to preserve our rights and our ability to support ourselves through resource development.

Extreme partisans
Candidates for elected office often claim they are non-partisan. Cathy Muñoz has clearly adopted this strategy while quietly implicating Sen. Kim Elton as a divisive, partisan legislator. Both tactics are misleading.

Out of touch
Sen. Murkowski's comments about the urban-rural divide are both outrageous and out of touch! His views that "the Knowles-Ulmer administration has created a track record of broken promises, finger-pointing and perpetuating urban-rural conflicts for political gain" is absolutely incredulous!

Standing with us
I must voice support for my Sen. Kim Elton. He and I have much in common. We graduated from JDHS in 1966, friends then and now; we are both Vietnam veterans; we both play golf (what else is left for aging athletes?); I'm an actor, he's a politician - both on stage, but his the far more difficult job. I get to bow and go home. He has to be available to us all day every day and is.

Alaska needs Murkowski
Have you decided how you will vote for governor? If so, are you firm in that decision? If you're not sure, then please give what I have to say some thought.

A strong voice
Bruce Weyhrauch will be a most credible representative for the Juneau in the State House. Bill Hudson is a hard act to follow. For years, Bill represented Juneau's interests, including those of state employees, with dedication, vigor and statesmanship.

Can vs. can't
Improving Alaska's transportation infrastructure is critically important to our economic future. Most candidates agree. A rail connection with North America is one project that has captured the imagination of many Alaskans. In the Legislature, Rep. Jeannette James took the lead by passing legislation to set aside corridors.

Progressive attitude
I have no use for anyone in the Alaska Legislature who represents Juneau and votes no on road access in and out of Juneau, and votes no on opening ANWR for drilling. We need Cathy Muñoz in the Alaska State Senate now.

Upright and honest
In 1984 I was in my second term in the Legislature representing the rural communities of Southeast when Fran Ulmer was elected to the House. I watched her very closely from her first day in office. She sat next to me.

'Take a hike'
The contractor's claim of "unexpected soil conditions" encountered while dredging the Douglas boat harbor is ludicrous! Anyone at all experienced in soil excavation that has observed the boat harbor at low tide would recognize that the area to be excavated would be tough or hard material.

Count on Cathy
Please vote for Cathy Muñoz for the state Senate in the general election on Nov. 5. I worked with Cathy in the state Legislature and I know that she knows her way around the capital.

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

Skiers be warned: Winter may be wet one
Early climate predictions for the upcoming winter season indicate Juneau and the rest of Southeast Alaska may be in for weather that is warmer and wetter than normal, with below-average snowfall a possibility.

Douglas dredging bill doubles
In spring 2001, the city accepted a Bellingham, Wash., company's low bid of $2.39 million to dredge 66,500 cubic yards of material from Douglas Harbor and build a two-lane launch ramp for boaters.

Juneau Assembly funds campaigns against session move and for school bonds
The Juneau Assembly spent $375,000 Monday to encourage people to keep legislative sessions in Juneau and to vote for a statewide school bond measure.Both issues are on the Nov. 5 ballot. Most of the money appropriated Monday - $350,000 - will go to the Juneau-based Alaska Committee's efforts to campaign against Ballot Measure 2. The measure would move legislative sessions to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough or Anchorage. The city has contributed more than $1 million to the effort in the past year.

Auke Bay parents worry about pedestrian safety
When school lets out each day at Auke Bay Elementary, a few children stand at the edge of busy Glacier Highway waiting to cross. Occasionally, a child will dart out just before a vehicle speeds by."I bet they (Auke Bay children) have close calls. I cringe to think about it," said Nancy Lehnhart, a parent of two Auke Bay students.

Game Board agenda: White bear to wolves
Many different kinds of people answer the call of the wild. The state Board of Game, when it convenes in Juneau next month, will decide among the conflicting interests of people who shoot or trap wildlife and those who just want to look at animals.

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

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

Photo: Training as a team
Students, left to right, Brandon Johnson of Yakutat and Danielle Williams and Barbara Williams of Kake work on a team project while attending the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority Youth Training Program 2002 on Friday. The event, held at the housing authority offices, was sponsored by Unity, a Native leadership training effort based in Oklahoma City.

Photo: Swearing in
Juneau City Attorney John Corso, left, shakes hands with Stan Ridgeway, Merrill Sanford and Mark Wheeler after swearing them in as Juneau Assembly members Monday evening. michael penn / the juneau empire

Students hear from candidates at JDHS forum
Juneau-Douglas High School students got a first-hand civics lesson Monday morning at a question-and-answer forum with local legislative candidates.Scattered throughout the high school library, separate venues for each race - House District 3, House District 4 and Senate District B, plus the governor's race - provided an intimate setting for students to get to know the candidates and their positions.

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

Arlene Jeanette Johnson
Juneau resident Arlene Jeanette Johnson died Oct. 10, 2002, at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, Wash.

Lloyd Marshall Dedrick
Juneau resident Lloyd Marshall Dedrick died Oct. 16, 2002, in Juneau.

Public health, women's issues, and Nov. 5
Alaskans who value access to affordable and confidential health care should think carefully before casting their vote for governor on Nov. 5. One of the most striking differences between the leading gubernatorial candidates is their attitudes toward public health and reproductive rights.

My Turn: State fiscal planning should be realistic
A superficial review of Frank Murkowski's plan to balance the state budget by "jettisoning ineffective state programs and avoiding imposing a tax on hardworking Alaskans" seems reasonable enough, but only if we fail to look at the true meaning and subsequent consequences.

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

Potomac to Pacific
Like a lot of people, Christopher Wolpert longed to travel across the United States, to see what he calls the "guts" of America.Unlike most, he achieved his dream using pedal power. Wolpert, 29, a 1991 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate, spent much of the past summer seeing diverse regions of the country - Appalachia, the Ozarks, the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains - from the seat of his mountain bike.

Glacier Swim Club sends coach off on winning note
Juneau's Glacier Swim Club opened its 30th season of competition by posting its top best-times mark during head coach Gary Crowe's tenure, helping to send him off in style.

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.

State Football
All-State Football Team, Champions, and Playoffs.

Correction
A headline on the front page of Sunday's Empire mistakenly referred to incorrect ballots having been sent to some voters around the state. As the text of the article explained, the Division of Elections' mailing error involved election information pamphlets.

Nome hospital gets trauma designation
Norton Sound Regional Hospital in Nome has become Alaska's first Level IV trauma center, according to the state health department. The department set the criteria for Level IV centers.

Another fisherman lost in search for Galaxy survivors
ANCHORAGE - The search for two men missing from a commercial fishing vessel that exploded and burned in the Bering Sea continued today as Coast Guard officials prepared to launch a formal investigation into the cause of the blast. The Coast Guard today said another man is missing in the area, a commercial fisherman swept overboard this morning from a vessel aiding in search. The man was a crew member of the Clipper Express, a 138-foot Seattle-based vessel that on Sunday had rescued two people swimming in survival suits after they abandoned the burning ship.

Fish Board backs drafting of marine reserve policy
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Board of Fisheries has voted unanimously in support of drafting a policy on the protection of marine areas.Such marine reserves can include broad swaths of ocean, often closed to commercial fishing, dredging and oil production. The goal is to foster biodiversity or, in some cases, to help particular species recover from overfishing, pollution or other threats.

Manokotak woman found dead
Alaska State Troopers were investigating the death of a Manokotak woman.

Candidates address hiring inequities
Legislative hopefuls posed possible solutions to inequities in state hiring of Alaska Natives at a candidate forum held Monday night at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.A panel of Native leaders said about 6,200 Alaska Natives live in the city of Juneau, but fewer than 4 percent of state employees are Native.

180-foot fishing boat explodes, burns in Bering Sea
A 180-foot fishing vessel from Seattle exploded and caught fire in the Bering Sea Sunday, leaving at least one crew member dead, two people missing and five with serious injuries, a Coast Guard spokesman said today.

Winter kings not part of annual limit
ANCHORAGE - The state Board of Fisheries has reversed a controversial decision and will allow anglers to continue catching king salmon in winter without deducting them from a five-king annual limit.

Steller sea lion numbers on the rise?
A new survey suggests the Steller sea lion population in Alaska is increasing for the first time in decades.

State Briefs
Hospital changes night entrance; Federal grant aids telemedicine efforts; Quakes strike near False Pass and Alaska-Canada border; EPA seeks input on Point Thomson project;

Juneau resident named to IRS panel
Bruce Twomley, chairman of the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, has been chosen as one of Alaska's two representatives to the new Taxpayer Advocacy Panel of the Internal Revenue Service.

ATIA wants state funds to lure more visitors
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Travel Industry Association wants $14 million in state funding to help attract more tourists to the 49th state.The association plans to ask the Legislature for the money following a lukewarm tourist season. While more cruise ship tourists visited Southeast Alaska last season, they spent less money. And tourism up north was below the previous year's levels.

Man drowns in Chilkoot River
A man from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, was found dead over the weekend in the Chilkoot River near Haines.

Export permit difficulties endanger Yukon Game Farm
After operating the Yukon Game Farm for more than 30 years, owners Danny and Uli Nowlan don't know how they will make it through the winter.

Eviction of church group nixed
A Superior Court judge has stopped the eviction of one church group by another, saying just who owns a Fairbanks church and parsonage is still in dispute.

New wildlife plan includes viewing
A new strategic plan for the state Department of Fish and Game calls for increased emphasis on wildlife viewing, education and management of animals not sought as game.

Absentee voting starts today
Absentee and early voting for the Nov. 5 state's general election started today. In Juneau, people can vote absentee at the state Division of Elections office on the sixth floor of the Court Plaza Building downtown and at the Nugget Mall.

Board delays action on trout
The Alaska Board of Fisheries has decided to delay until next year consideration of a new policy aimed at conserving wild trout populations throughout the state.

Tribal status at top of AFN agenda as annual convention begins
The future of tribal status is likely to be a main focus this week as about 5,000 Alaskans gather at the Egan Center in downtown Anchorage for the annual convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives.

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