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Monday, October 27, 2003

In the stacks: Several science fiction titles now available at the library
A look at new fiction at the Juneau library.

Will to live triumphs in detailed Inupiaq tale
A review of the book "Winter Walk"

Critics attack Stevens' fish rider
ANCHORAGE - Legislation by U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens that could give exclusive pollock fishing rights to the Aleut Corp. along the Aleutian chain has come under attack by some commercial fishermen.

State Farm agents host meeting on insurance
JUNEAU - Local insurance agents Reuben Willis and Clif Beadle of State Farm will host an informational seminar on long-term care insurance at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, at the Baranof Hotel.

KATH-TV helped provide local game coverage
As president of the Juneau Youth Football League (JYFL) I would like to respond to Mr. Hope's letter regarding KATH-TV. I can only say one word about KATH-TV and its staff - exceptional.

Not speaking for the organization
Recently I was quoted in various newspapers as being critical of the cruise ship industry. The newspapers that quoted me, however, improperly attributed the statements I made in my capacity as an attorney for the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association; at no time was I speaking for, or on behalf, of the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association when I addressed cruise ship practices.

Time to protest wolf hunting in Alaska
Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski recently approved legislation to allow the resumption of aerial wolf hunting in Alaska.

Cell phones lead to near misses
The letter written by Barbara Thurston in Wednesday's paper was very interesting. I don't think driving while talking on a cell phone is very safe. On two different occasions I was almost struck by drivers on cell phones.

Seeking 'fair and balanced' coverage
A Miami Herald editorial and Washington Post news article concerning the Terri Shiavo situation appeared in the Friday, Oct. 24, Juneau Empire. I am somewhat amazed and hungry for "the rest of the story" that my fellow readers should be aware of. Important, basic information was absent amidst numerous paragraphs used to vilify Jeb Bush's recent actions on behalf of Terri Shiavo. There was also adequate page space for extreme opinion expressed by "angered abortion-rights activists."

How much does Juneau need to spend on budget?
Fairbanks has a budget of about $97 million for their 83,000 people (under $1,200 per person per year). Anchorage's budget is about $350 million for their 260,000 residents (under $1,400 per person per year). Juneau's budget is $189 million, or $6,150 per person per year.

State needs to learn fiscal responsibility
At statehood, a major portion of our private property mineral rights were negotiated away. We property owners were told that the state would manage our mineral rights for the benefit of all. We would receive a dividend, much like a stock dividend, to compensate us for loss of this significant right.

There needs to be a 'Please Slow Down' day
Everyone and everything seems to have a designated day now. I can think of one more which we may need to throw in the barrel. How about a first annual "Please Slow Down" day? Throwing a dart at my calendar, it looks like Thursday, Oct. 30, is up for designation. How appropriate, too. It always seems to snow or freeze on Hallow's Eve.

Don't use accident to push agenda
In her Oct. 23 letter, Ms. Thurston is asking that the Empire include in their accident reports whether cell phone usageis connected with an accident. It seems that after a tragedy we search for an answer, a reason for something that we can't understand.

A family's sincerest sympathy and prayers
From our family to Skyler's family, our sincerest sympathy and prayers. I have noticed a big difference in many drivers' attitudes lately and it is for the better. I walk a lot and take the city bus a lot, and have encountered so many close calls to being hit or run over by careless drivers. I am very cautious when I have to cross the highway or street and yet I still come close to being hit.

Cruise ship initiative unfair to lines
In your Oct. 15 edition you identified Joe Geldhof, a sponsor of the Cruise Ship Ballot Initiative, as a lawyer for the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association (MEBA). In so doing, the article suggested that Mr. Geldhof's sponsorship of the initiative is supported by and on behalf of the MEBA. This is not the case.

Artificial reef is first in Alaska
People usually don't cheer while watching a boat sink, but Juneau's scuba diving community had reason to celebrate Sunday as they watched the 48-foot motorsailor "Rikki Tikki" slip beneath the waters off Auke Village Recreation Area.

Addiction centers do the cuts, feel the pain
Drug- and alcohol-rehabilitation centers in Alaska are starting to feel the pain of state budget cuts, with most clinics facing increased caseloads and others discontinuing some services altogether. A looming fiscal gap prompted Gov. Frank Murkowski to slash about $130 million from the budget this year through line-item vetoes.

Remembering Skyler: Community shares thoughts on a young life
It's OK to laugh and OK to be sad, the Rev. Sam Dalin told about 500 people who gathered Saturday afternoon at Glacier Valley Elementary School to remember Skyler Lee Kim, the 10-year-old boy who died Monday in a traffic accident. "I cried. I wept," said Dalin, the Capital City Fire and Rescue chaplain. "I threw things on the floor - all the emotions you go through. I talked to the family in the middle of the night."

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. Toddler Play Group, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., REACH, 3272 Hospital Dr. A playtime for toddlers and class/support group for parents. Helping Children Through Divorce/Separation Workshop, noon-1 p.m., every Monday, Dimond Courthouse, Courtroom "A". Details: 463-4755.

Juneau Recovery Hospital to open methadone clinic
The Juneau Recovery Hospital, a substance-abuse treatment facility within Bartlett Regional Hospital, will open an inpatient methadone detoxification program for opiate addiction. Hospital officials said the detox program will serve patients who are addicted to opiate-based street drugs such as heroin and prescription drugs such as OxyContin.

Police & Fire
Juneau police, fire officials and state troopers reported: Driving while intoxicated: • Veronica Dunnam, 46, was arrested for drunken driving, refusal and reckless endangerment at 1:57 p.m. Saturday near Glacier Highway. He was lodged at Lemon Creek Correctional Center. • Randal Edenshaw, 22, was arrested for drunken driving at 7:24 a.m. Sunday near Douglas Highway. He was lodged at Lemon Creek Correctional Center and his car was impounded.

Photo: Protesting the occupation
Rick Bellagh waves a rainbow-colored "One World, One Family, Peace for All" flag as part of demonstration against the occupation of Iraq held Friday at the corner of 10 Street and Egan Drive.

Training provides support for family members of mentally ill
Trish McDonald's daughter has severe manic-depressive disorder, but the disease affects the family, too.

Glacier Valley ponders 'crossing assistants'
State officials don't recommend slowing down Mendenhall Loop Road traffic as children are going to and from nearby Glacier Valley Elementary School. But the school's principal believes students need help crossing the busy street. On Monday, fifth-grader Skyler Lee Kim died after he was hit by a pickup truck while crossing the street against the light, police said.

This day in History
In Alaska: • In 1778, the expedition of Captain James Cook left Unalaska for the Hawaiian Islands, where Cook was killed. • In 1936, the pipeline and bridges at the Sawmill Creek hydro-electric plant in Sitka were washed out. • In 1982, the Aurora I Telecommunications satellite was launched.

University diversity
Kaci Hamilton, student body president at the University of Alaska Southeast, can see some similarities between her hometown and Juneau - except there are no bears or glaciers in Jamaica.

Correction
The photo caption about the Princess Sophia in Friday's Empire omitted a word, which changed the sentence's meaning. It should have read that the company's Juneau office was not alarmed because the weather in Juneau was calm.

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

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

Robert 'Bob' James Austin
Former longtime Juneau resident Robert "Bob" J. Austin, 81, died Oct. 13, 2003, in Roseburg, Ore.

Thomas W. 'Tom' Freeman
Juneau resident Thomas W. Freeman, 79, died Oct. 19, 2003, at his home.

Sylvia Doris Montero
Sylvia Doris Montero, 59, died October 23, 2003, in Juneau. She was born July 31, 1944, in Juneau and spent a lifetime working and traveling throughout Alaska. She held a variety of positions in numerous professions in the fields of health, EMS, and public safety and volunteered her time to many organizations. After she was diagnosed with cancer, she devoted herself to being an advocate, patient educator and role model for Alaska Natives and Native Americans living with cancer.

My Turn: Merit pay for teachers isn't answer to problem
A recent "My Turn" by Scott Granse argued for the use of merit pay(Monday, Oct. 20).While generally supporting education and teachers, Mr. Granse makes the assertion that perhaps one, or two or one-fourth of the teaching staff may currently think that "...there is no getting to them (the kids) anymore".The suggestion appears to be that Mr. Granse believes that a large number of teachers don't deserve pay increases. But to his credit, Mr. Granse also acknowledges the need for higher pay for teachers because ofthe "...seemingly widening gap between (teachers) and the school district" over pay.

Title
A local cartoonist's perspective.

My Turn: Loop Road is a daily recipe for disaster
A delightful, bright 10-year-old child and a respected, responsible driver were the victims of a tragic accident last Monday. Unfortunately, the recipe for disaster will continue to exist each and every school morning along Mendenhall Loop Road, as it has for several years.

My Turn: Treatment in family court is not equal
For the last five years my wife and I have been grandparents impacted by a divorce in the family. Few things are more personally draining than custody issues. For most every matrimonial vow summarily dismissed by the courts, there are extended families holding the fabrics together. Divorce touches many more lives than the total accumulation of lawyers, court officials or social workers, and for a much longer time than any one career. Which generation have you turned to in times of crisis? Government has decreed that grandparents are not assured any constitutional legal standing in custody issues, yet in ever greater numbers we are the bridges supporting those single parents.

Sitka sets seventh annual WhaleFest
Sitka will host its seventh annual WhaleFest on Nov. 7-9. It's a weekend of art, music, science and fun, organizers said. Ten marine scientists - including Mike Castellini of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, federal researcher Steve Amstrup, and Jan Straley of Sitka - will present seminars on bowhead whales, polar bears and humpback whales.

Yukon Expedition
Michael Crotteau of Juneau has been canoeing since he was a kid growing up in Minnesota. But it wasn't until he took a canoe down a portion of the Yukon River two summers ago that he discovered that floating down rivers was his passion. "Being in the wild like that, you're really able to take a step back ... and experience the pureness and goodness of what I think God created," said Crotteau.

Wildlife Corner: Alaska's peregrine falcons: stay or leave?
Silhouetted against an overcast autumn sky, the shifting V-shape of southbound geese embodies migration. Many of Alaska's hawks and falcons also migrate, but traveling singly or as small family groups, they don't advertise their departure from the north as dramatically. Alaska's peregrine falcons are among the world's greatest long-distance migrants, flying deep into South America. Peregrines from northern Alaska have been documented wintering as far south as Chile and Argentina. After a few months in the grasslands and pampas of South America, they return to the north, a round-trip journey of more than 17,000 miles.

Out & About
Upcoming outdoor events in Juneau

Extra effort pays off
It was a smack that smacked of a championship game, or a state tourney berth on the line. Juneau junior Amber Johnson hit the hardwood floor hard during Friday night's home volleyball match on a successful dive to keep an out-of-bounds ball in play. That Johnson's extra effort came midway through a regular-season match against Sitka - with no postseason implications - speaks volumes about this year's team, Crimson Bear coach Sandi Wagner said.

Sports in Juneau
NEW CALENDAR ITEMS • Learn to skate and figure skating lessons - Registration for these classes takes place from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1, at the Nugget Mall. The sessions run for five weeks at Treadwell Arena, for one hour per week. The classes start Nov. 13. Info: Treadwell Arena, 586-0410, or Ken Collison, by e-mail at kcolliso@yahoo.com.

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.

'Phantom' tribal group defends its existence
The tribal president of a so-called phantom village said he objects to U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens' suggestion that tribes like his shouldn't get federal money. Kanatak is a village on the Alaska Peninsula that no longer exists, but Terrence Shanigan said his tribe counts 130 members and has a budget of about $145,000. "To me a phantom is like some shadow-walker lurking in the bushes. That's not us," Shanigan said Thursday. "We are displaced, landless tribes, landless communities. We are not phantoms."

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

Photo: Young drummers at the convention
Delwyn Akpik, right, sits next to David Elavgak, as they keep the beat with the adult drummers for the Barrow Dancers on Friday during the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention in Anchorage. The annual three-day convention draws Alaska Natives from around the state to discuss issues, pass resolutions and to get reacquainted with old friends.

Tlingit in Southcentral connects with heritage through art
NINILCHIK - In a small workshop at the back of the Ninilchik Village Cache, the smell of cedar hangs thickly in the air. The ground is strewn with wood chips. Only the sound of rhythmic scraping breaks the silence.

Businessmen want to turn Wards Cove into resort
KENAI - In its heyday, Wards Cove operated like a community, bustling with hundreds of people who worked, ate and lived at the cannery on the Kenai River. It closed in 1999, its 35 buildings abandoned like others along the once economically vibrant stretch of riverfront in Kenai. But all that could change this summer.

Nome police officer charged with murder of 19-year-old woman
ANCHORAGE - A Nome police officer has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the August slaying of a 19-year-old woman.

Jurors deliberate in manslaughter trial of intruders' killer
Jurors deliberated Friday in the manslaughter trial of the Rev. Phillip Mielke, who is accused of shooting two intruders at his Big Lake Community Church last spring. Mielke, 44, is charged in the deaths of Chris Palmer, 31, and Francis Jones, 23. The case is being heard in Palmer Superior Court.

Educators: Deficit of qualified teachers misleading
ANCHORAGE - A recent national ranking that placed Alaska dead last for the number of highly qualified teachers in its schools is misleading and unfair, according to educators and union officials.

This Day in History
This day in Alaska; in the nation; in the world.

Alaska Digest
Mayor signs $10 million contract for 911 system ANCHORAGE - The mayor of Anchorage signed a $10 million emergency call system contract that city officials say should prevent police from going to wrong addresses.

AFN resolves to look at government relations
Alaska Federation of Natives delegates approved a resolution Saturday to create a commission to improve government relations and delivery of services to Alaska Natives. Resolution No. 1 requires that the commission submit a preliminary report to Congress by June 30, 2004, and a final report three months later.

Senator Stevens take umbrage, says he is not a racist
An accusation of racism for a comment he made about tribal sovereignty "is a stain on my soul," U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens said Friday. In a videotaped speech to the Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention here, Stevens said "to be called 'racist' after more than 50 years of dedicated service to Alaskans, particularly Alaska Natives, is something I will not forget."

DA to review Solie plea agreement
The District Attorney of Fairbanks will review a plea agreement prosecutors reached with outgoing Fairbanks North Star Borough Assemblyman Rick Solie. Fairbanks District Attorney Jeff O'Bryant said Friday that he will review Solie's recent driving under the influence plea agreement and sentence after learning that Solie had a previous drunken driving conviction in Vermont.

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