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Wednesday, October 22, 2003

OK, listen up: The subscription forget
WASHINGTON - An e-mail offered a wonderful opportunity for the Interior Department's 70,000 employees. "The Secretary's Alaska Field Office and the Alaska offices of MMS (Minerals Management Service) and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) have purchased a bulk subscription to the electronic version of Petroleum News for all Interior employees," said the note Friday from Camden Toohey, a special assistant to Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton, based in Anchorage.

UA spews P.R.
The University of Alaska Statewide administration's lavishly funded P.R. machine has spewed much biased information about 14-month-old contract negotiations between UA and the 300-member Alaska Community Colleges' Federation of Teachers, but after Jim Johnsen (one of UA President Mark Hamilton's many highly paid vice presidents) misled a student journalist recently, we had to correct the record.

Tobacco taxes aren't discrimination
To those who liken the tobacco tax to discrimination: If you think that a tobacco tax truly amounts to discrimination, you'll never get around it. We get taxed on everything, like it or not. And we'll pay it somehow, like it or not. Should I feel discriminated against because every time I purchase something locally I have to pay a 5 percent sales tax? Should I feel discriminated against because if I buy a house I have to pay property tax? Or that I have to pay an 8-cent tax on every gallon of gasoline I have to buy to drive around? Or what about the alcohol tax?

Help restore campaign finance reform law
Last year our Legislature overturned a campaign finance reform law. The reforms were passed in 1996 by the Legislature to avoid facing a popular citizens' initiative on the ballot. Now the Legislature has overturned this reform, which was demanded by Alaskan citizens. Through the initiative process, we can restore the campaign finance reform law.

Forest Service should not ignore public
A recent Juneau Empire headline reads "25,000 public comments pour in on roadless rule." I have several responses to this article. First, while the Forest Service has not yet finished counting the public comments it received this summer on the proposed exemption of the Tongass from the roadless rule, its tally at the time the article was printed was 125,000, not 25,000. This error, whether it resulted from a typo or a miscommunication with the Forest Service, is the kind that the paper should correct prominently, so I was glad that the Juneau Empire noted the correction a few days after the story's publication.

Health problems not a 'burden' or 'stigma'
In response to Alan R. Munro's remarks: I am not "burdened" by illness, I carry no "stigma," nor do I assign either term to anyone. To do so is unconscionable.

Support domestic violence awareness
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. When AWARE (Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies) was founded 25 years ago there was very little public discussion of the extent of violence against women in Alaska or in this country. Shelters like AWARE now exist all over the country and provide a safe haven for abused women and their children, counseling, advocacy, and community education (the phone number is (907) 586-1090; e-mail aware@alaska.com).

Tobacco tax recovers costs to society
Attention smokers who complain about Juneau's new cigarette tax (see Shockley's letter to the editor on Oct. 20): You're in denial. That's understandable, because denial is a classic symptom of addiction. There are few drugs (and certainly none of them legal) more addictive than nicotine. Nevertheless, we need to confront you yet again with reality.

Ballots should be recounted by hand
From the Oct. 16 Juneau Empire, attributed to the Juneau city clerk: "...she will recount the ballots by running them through the Accu-Vote machines again..."

Forest bill benefits only timber industry
Hey Alaska: Congress back in D.C. is trying to blow smoke through our eyes as they cut a deal with timber industry allies and the Bush administration. This bad bill is called the "Healthy Forests Initiative" and all it's going to do is leave the Chugach, Tongass and other public lands up in smoke, our communities at risk and cost taxpayers more money.

Correction
Due to incorrect information provided to the Empire, the caption to a photograph of bears near the Mendenhall Glacier in Sunday's Outdoors page incorrectly identified the photographer. The photo was taken by Nicole Crewe.

Photo: Glacier view
Outdoor enthusiasts walked the trails and enjoyed the sunshine Monday at the Mendenhall Glacier.

Power spike in Gustavus causes costly damage
A power spike at the Gustavus Electric Company last week caused thousands of dollars in damage to electrical equipment for some residents of the small town near Glacier Bay National Park, prompting some to complain about the company's service and prices. Dick Levitt, the company's owner, said the spike is the first of its kind during his 20 years of ownership.

DOT: Ferry system move under preliminary review
The Alaska Marine Highway System is reviewing a proposal to move its administrative operations from Juneau to Ketchikan, but state Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner Tom Briggs said the analysis is "very preliminary."

This Day in History
In Alaska:• In 1954, the Federal Communications Commission granted permission to AT&T to build twin underwater communications cables between Port Angeles, Washington and Ketchikan at a cost of about $13 million. • In 1973, Angoon residents approved the acceptance of $90,000 in U.S. reparations for the bombardment of the Southeast Alaskan village by the U.S. Revenue Cutter Corwin in October of 1882.

Around Town
Today:Parks & Rec. Wednesday Hike, 9:30 a.m., 27.6 mile Glacier Hwy. No dogs or firearms please. Day of Quilting, Sewing and Good Fellowship, 10 a.m. every Wednesday, Resurrection Lutheran Church. Quilts donated to Lutheran World Relief. Details: 586-2380. Low-Impact Exercise, 10 a.m., Juneau Senior Center and Valley Senior Center. Details: 463-6175.

Workshop teaches women how to use wits, unusual weapons in self-defense
Participants in a self-defense workshop at the AWARE shelter last weekend learned anything can be a tool in protecting yourself. Even a bag of ripe plums.

School Board carries on work on Alyeska bid
The Juneau School Board, meeting Tuesday for the first time with its four new members, unanimously directed the administration to continue to prepare a bid to run the statewide correspondence school.

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

Fund set up to help Kim's family with expenses
Facing unexpected expenses surrounding the loss of a child, the family of Skyler Lee Kim has set up a fund to accept donations at First National Bank.

Web site works to promote Native artists
Tommy Jimmie Sr. put away his wood-carving tools more than 15 years ago, but he is coming out of retirement thanks to a new Web site that markets Native art. "I just want to get back to carving," said Jimmie, 75. "I figure I'm just as good an artist as those other guys out there."

Photo:Eagles on the lookout
A pair of bald eagles survey Tuesday's blustery weather at Wayside Park.

Boy dies in bike accident
A 10-year-old boy killed while crossing a street on his way to school Monday morning left his Mendenhall Valley campus in "sadness and shock," the principal said. Skyler Lee Kim was a popular and friendly fifth-grader, said Glacier Valley Elementary School Principal Ted Wilson. "He was friends with anyone and everyone."

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

Planners list optional items for new school
The planned high school at Dimond Park may not include artificial surfaces for the playing field or the running track, 150 additional parking spaces, 350 more bleacher seats in the gym or the longest-lasting surfaces on some floors and walls.

This Day in History
In Alaska: In 1949, A gold rush started as reports arrived of pea-sized nuggets found on the Yukon River, 160 miles north of Fairbanks. It was known as the Fishwheel Strike.

Juneau hunter competes on ESPN reality show
Alaskans are renowned for their outdoor prowess, so when ESPN went searching for contestants to star in its outdoor reality show "The Wild Rules," Juneau hunter Chuck Orsborn was a perfect match.

Around Town
Today: Valley Toastmasters meeting, 6:10 a.m. every Tuesday, Henry's. Details: Jim, 789-3074. 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.

Neighbors Digest
Soroptimist International of Juneau announces its 2003-04 Women's Opportunity Awards program. The awards are cash grants for women seeking to improve their employment status by seeking additional education or training. The program is designed to assist women who are the primary source of financial support for their families. The women may use the awards to offset any costs associated with gaining higher education, including books, child care or transportation.

Pets of the week
KEGAN Year-old is energetic, plays well with others LITTLE BUDDY Cat has spunk, will make great buddy

Thanks
... to Rube Crosset... to Arts Council

A story of Gonakadet and mother-in-law trouble
On p. 70 of Keithahn's Monuments in Cedar, there is a photograph of a petroglyph of Gonakadet carrying a whale. Keithahn believes this to be the earliest representation of the monster.

Totem is one of oldest originals standing in Southeast
Unlike towns like Sitka and Ketchikan, which have totem parks, Juneau's more than 20 totem poles are spread out around the community - some indoors and some outdoors. Guide books usually give them scant mention and rarely place them on walking-tour maps.

Edward J. Fox
Lifelong Juneau resident Edward J. Fox, 69, died Oct. 18, 2003, in Juneau. He was born Jan. 19, 1934, to Daisy Fox Hansen and Roy Williams. He worked as a commercial fisherman with his grandfather as a young man, then worked at the Juneau Sawmill and with the federal government.

My Turn:Road to Skagway will benefit Juneau residents the most
T his is in response to Erik Lie-Nielsen's letter on Oct. 15 about a road to Skagway. I have to say Erik isn't informed about all the impacts a road would have on Juneau. Yes there are people who choose to fly for convenience's sake, but there are others that would choose to drive for the sake of saving money and there are many other benefits a road would provide.

Swim Results
PETERSBURG INVITATIONAL: Results from the Petersburg Invitational high school swimming and diving meets held Friday and Saturday at the Petersburg Swim Pool.

State championship scenes
Juneau wide receiver Mike Winters, left, is tackled by East Anchorage linebacker Joe Lyman, center, and defensive back Ryan Bailey, partially hidden at right, after making a catch during last Saturday's state championship game at Anchorage Football Stadium. East won the game 33-15. It was Juneau's first-ever state title game appearance.

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.

Boozer's comfort, efficiency levels up
CLEVELAND - On the outside, Carlos Boozer was contrite and humble every night during his rookie season. His smooth, workmanlike style of play and his easygoing approach in the locker room made it appear as if he was taking it all in stride. But in reality, his insides were churning. Sometimes he felt like beating his chest and screaming, reminding everyone who was right and who was wrong.

Lifetime achievement
Dean Williams' remarkable athletic exploits are well-known and well-recognized around Juneau. This weekend, the 85-year-old avid tennis player will be the toast of the entire region as he is inducted into the United States Tennis Association/Pacific Northwest Section Hall of Fame.

Sports in Juneau
UPCOMING EVENTS: Friday-Saturday, Oct. 24-25 • Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball - The Crimson Bears host the Sitka Wolves for a pair of Region V-Class 4A matches, with C team, JV and varsity match times TBA at the JDHS main gym.

Building a program
KETCHIKAN - This fall, U.S. Coast Guard medic Kevin Vandelac took the helm of the state's lone independent and most geographically isolated football program - a team that hasn't won a game in its five years of existence. "This has to be the hardest job in the state," Vandelac said. "With everything - the number of players, this field, the lack of support, no one else has it like this."

State rejects Senate vacancy initiative
Lt. Gov. Loren Leman on Tuesday denied certification of a ballot initiative that would require a statewide election to fill vacancies in the U.S. Senate.

Three Generations on the Dance Floor
Rep. Reggie Joule, a Kotzebue Democrat, right, dances with his son Reggie Joule, who is holding his 7-month-old son Sakkaaluk Eduardo, during an invitational dance by the Northern Lights Dancers from Kotzebue on Monday, the first day of the Alaska Federation of Natives Elders and Youth Conference in Anchorage. The three-day youth conference precedes the annual Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, which draws Natives from around the state.

Alaska Digest
North Pole recipient of homeland security grant FAIRBANKS - North Pole might not appear to be a likely terrorist target, but the Interior town is considered vulnerable enough to warrant a $557,400 grant from the Alaska Division of Homeland Security. Factors such as the nearby Williams Oil Refinery, the city's location between Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base and heavy train traffic bring many vulnerabilities to the community, said Tod Chambers, training officer with the North Pole Fire Department.

Leman: State won't appeal pot initiative
ANCHORAGE - An initiative to decriminalize marijuana in Alaska may end up on the 2004 ballot after all. The state will not appeal a court order to reconsider nearly 200 petition booklets that were invalidated by state elections officials, Lt. Gov. Loren Leman said Monday. The state's decision was influenced by weighing the cost of appealing the court order against the risk of losing.

Pioneer in national conservation movement dies at 101
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Conservationist Margaret "Mardy" Murie, considered by many the mother of the modern conservation movement, has died. She was 101. Murie, who was instrumental in enacting the Wilderness Act and creating the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, died Sunday at her ranch in Grand Teton National Park. She was to be laid to rest during a private family ceremony, with a public memorial planned at The Murie Center on her ranch later this year. No dates were immediately announced.

State to appeal abortion decision
The battle over parental consent for teenagers seeking abortions continues with the state's announcement that it will appeal a Superior Court judge's ruling that declared the law unconstitutional.

Report: Alaska's teachers fall behind others
WASHINGTON - Alaska reported only 16 percent of its teachers as being "highly qualified" under standards laid out by the federal No Child Left Behind act. But the state has until the 2005-06 school year to meet the standards, and most teachers in the state have not yet had the opportunity to take the tests that establish mastery in the subjects they teach, administrators in Alaska said.

Alaska Digest
Juneau School Board names officers; Valdez man charged in mother's death; Man dies after falling off Seattle crab boat; Kasilof woman indicted for boyfriend's murder; Ex-employee settles lawsuit with utility

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