Monday, November 3, 2003

In the Stacks: Nonfiction titles to tide you over
Whether you're already longing for spring or waxing up your skis in anticipation of winter, there are new nonfiction titles just for you.

Alaska Communications Systems posts $75.6 million third-quarter loss
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Communications Systems Inc. recorded a huge loss of $75.6 million in the third quarter, compared to a $7 million loss the same quarter of last year.

Evergreen says test methane wells a bust
ANCHORAGE - The only active coal bed methane wells in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough probably are not capable of commercial production, according to developer Evergreen Resources Inc.

Valley intersection most dangerous spot in Juneau
On Tuesday I and several hundred motorists watched yet another person leave the intersection in an ambulance in view of the little boy's flowers.

Many workers have long hours, lousy pay
I know any number of overworked, underpaid, unappreciated public employees working for employers other than the school district. In fact, most public employees are being asked to do much more with fewer resources.

Soldiers need support when they return home
What are the warning signs that a person is suffering from depression, post traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts or something like Gulf War Syndrome?

Juneau's rules of the road need changing
Regarding Jason Soza's letter, in which he states "trying to beat a light is not always a mistake" - I see a big difference in having to make a judgment call to beat a yellow light and trying to beat a red light.

Driver was the other victim in accident
The incident which claimed the life of Skyler Kim will be with us for a long time. The sympathy, love and support Juneau offered the family was most touching.

Don't blame the driver for tragic accident
I was apalled when I read Reggie Cruz's letter this evening. Your message is valid, but your facts seem inaccurate. That man who was driving the truck that struck Skyler was not at fault from the eyewitness reports at the scene ("the pickup truck had a green light").

Stevens' effort is anti-democratic
Senator Stevens has shown once again that he has little respect for our courts of law. This week he pushed through a law that will severely limit the ability of federal courts to rule on timber sales on the Tongass National Forest.

Reflective clothing a good safety measure
Could you possibly add something in the Juneau Empire bringing some safety suggestions to the attention of parents with children walking/riding along Mendenhall Loop Road?

Visitor believes no road limits tourists' options
As a two-time visitor to Juneau and from a tourist's point of view, you people really need a road to the outside world. The ferry's a pain in the butt and, let's face it, if you're not fishing or hiking there's not really much to do here for tourists. So I can see why there's only 30,000 people here.

Better traffic law enforcement needed
Never in my life have I written to the editor to ask for a letter to be printed. The tragedy with young Skyler Kim prompts me to do so now. To the parents and relatives of Skyler, I give you my heartfelt sympathy. To the driver of the vehicle, I can only imagine how you feel and I also give you my sympathy. To the rest of Juneau it is time to wake up. Even though this seems to be a genuine accident, there is the potential for more to come.

Appalled at Stevens' rider
I am appalled at Senator Stevens' recent anti-public, anti-Tongass actions in Congress. The senator is pushing through a rider on this fall's Interior Appropriations bill that will prevent individuals and communities from filing legal challenges to Tongass logging sales more than a month after the Forest Service's final administrative decision on a sale.

Road can't be justified by money or convenience
The good people of Juneau have voted it down, but the road debate goes on and on and on.

Sympathy lies with victim
I'm replying to Michelle Johnson's outburst about my letter. I am not pointing fingers at the driver. People are blaming the boy for crossing the street and that's unfair. If you read the article the day after the accident, the boy's grandmother says it's a dangerous intersection.

Students for strike vote
As full- and part-time students at the University of Alaska Southeast, we are writing in support of the ACCFT teachers throughout the state in their decision which authorized a strike.

Alaskans should be able to choose own Senator
I'm a law-abiding, voting Alaskan of many years. Having moved here in 1965, I consider Alaska my home. If someone asks me where I'm from, I say I'm from Alaska and wouldn't trade it for any place on Earth. So I'm getting tired of being among many Alaskans who are starting to identify with some of the noncombatants who have lost their rights.

Eaglecrest eyes sales tax for more revenue
Supporters of Eaglecrest Ski Area may ask for a special nine-month 1 percent sales tax to raise revenue for the struggling facility.

DOT to base fast ferry in Juneau
Alaska's new fast ferry Fairweather will be based in Juneau instead of Sitka as earlier planned, according to the state Department of Transportation. The 235-foot ferry, set to begin operating in May 2004, originally was to be housed in Sitka and make daily trips back and forth to Juneau.

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

This Day in History
In Alaska: • In 1905, the post office of Gakona was established. • In 1942, road crews met at the "breakthrough" at Beaver Creek on the Alaska Highway, where the roads met. • In 1970, William A. Egan was elected fourth Governor of the State of Alaska. Egan also served as the State's first Governor.

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

Caregivers provide love and service
The hours are long and irregular, the demands are psychologically and physically tiring, and the pay is nonexistent. But most people who hold this job don't even acknowledge the fact that they're working.

Taking on a new school: Who would pay for it?
As the Juneau School District approaches a deadline to apply to take on a statewide correspondence school with hundreds of students, Juneau Assembly members have raised concerns about the financial impacts.

Students raise money and awareness for the homeless
About 18 Juneau-Douglas High School students got a taste of homelessness Saturday night as they slept outside in 25- to 30-degree temperatures to raise funds for the Glory Hole, the downtown homeless shelter and dining hall.

Photo: A time for giving
Emilyanne Lohrey, 9, stacks wrapped shoeboxes full of gifts at Chapel By The Lake on Saturday as part of Operation Christmas Child. Juneau will ship an estimated 1,500 to 1,700 boxes of gifts aimed at boys and girls ages 2 to 14 who live along Russia's eastern coast. This is the sixth year Juneau area churches and residents have participated in the event.

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

Realtor doesn't let MS stop her from giving
When PeggyAnn McConnochie was 15 years old, she answered the plea of a Spokane, Wash., disc jockey, who wanted youth to spend time with folks homebound by multiple sclerosis.

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.

Complaints inaccurate about state teaching requirements
Mr. Tom Ryan of Lakebay, Wash., recently wrote a letter to the editor about education in rural Alaska. He accused the Alaska State Legislature of trying to force "cultural change" in rural Alaska by enacting the requirement for "highly qualified teachers" in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). He stated that this requirement is impossible to meet because rural teachers would have to have college degrees in seven to 10 different subjects, which would force local rural schools to close in favor of regional boarding schools.

Toe Cartoon
Local cartoon by Toe.

My Turn: Stevens has long history of trouble with Natives
To read what Ted Stevens said in a recent Anchorage Daily News front-page article, I wonder if he believes what he's saying. He makes himself sound like Mister Goodbar bestowing many gifts onto Alaska Natives, when in fact he has over a 30-year legacy of systematically taking away our rights and natural resources through the very same legislation that he brags about passing on the Natives' behalf.

Web links
Web sites of interest to local outdoors enthusiasts.

A Saturday hike: Frogs, umbrellas and psychotherapy
The Grandmother Tree stands tall and wide beside the Dan Moller Trail. The tree's size and location make it a logical rest stop for hikers on their way to the Dan Moller Cabin or the ridges beyond on the backbone of Douglas Island. Geraldine Straty has lost count of the number of times she has hiked the Dan Moller Trail in the past 25 years. However, hiking new trails isn't the reason Straty and eight others left the comforts of home on a rainy day recently to lace up books, load up packs and join up with the Juneau Parks and Recreation Saturday hike.

Polo with a paddle: Kayak polo popular in Alaska
Kayak polo is just what it sounds like: water polo played in kayaks. Teams of five-on-five zip around a pool chasing a water polo ball while trying not to flip in a tippy whitewater kayak. The sport is popular in Fairbanks and many places around the world, but organized games had not gotten established in Anchorage until recently. The games in Anchorage are run by the Alaska Kayak Academy. Eight people showed up each of the last two game days.

Out & About
Upcoming outdoor events in Juneau.

Southeast Wild: Eagles gathering early this year
Bald eagles of the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve stand perched once again to play center stage in one of nature's extraordinary exhibitions. This year eagles are gathering even earlier and in greater numbers, thanks to an abundant salmon run. At the peak, up to 3,500 birds will congregate along a small stretch of the Chilkat River known as the Council Grounds. The gathering of bald eagles is the focal point of the annual Alaska Bald Eagle Festival, scheduled this year Nov. 12-16 in Haines.

Bentz inches closer to big-league dream
Juneau's Chad Bentz received an early Halloween treat on Thursday - a treat that moved him a step closer to fulfilling his major league dream.

Region V swimming and diving championship results
Results from the Region V Swimming and Diving Championships held Friday and Saturday at Mike Smithers Memorial Pool in Ketchikan.

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.

Crimson Bears swamp Region V competitionAs the Region V Swimming and Diving
As the Region V Swimming and Diving Championships neared the midpoint of Saturday's finals at Ketchikan, Juneau-Douglas High School coach John Wray gathered the members of his girls team together. At the time, the Crimson Bears were still being challenged by the Ketchikan and Petersburg girls. But as the diving board was being rigged for the next event at Mike Smithers Memorial Pool, Wray gave a pep talk - and his team responded.

Correction
In the season preview for the Juneau-Douglas High School wrestling team that ran in Thursday's Empire, the class year was wrong for 215-pound wrestler Tim Katasse due to incorrect information given to the reporter. Katasse is a junior.

Crimson Bears swamp Region V competition
As the Region V Swimming and Diving Championships neared the midpoint of Saturday's finals at Ketchikan, Juneau-Douglas High School coach John Wray gathered the members of his girls team together. At the time, the Crimson Bears were still being challenged by the Ketchikan and Petersburg girls. But as the diving board was being rigged for the next event at Mike Smithers Memorial Pool, Wray gave a pep talk - and his team responded.

Bentz inches closer to big-league dream
Juneau's Chad Bentz received an early Halloween treat on Thursday - a treat that moved him a step closer to fulfilling his major league dream. The Montreal Expos added Bentz and two other minor league players to their 40-man roster on Thursday. Most teams added players to their 40-man rosters late in the regular season, when rosters expand from 25 to 40 players in September. But the Expos were the only team not to bring up any minor league players, citing cost.

Sports in Juneau
NEW CALENDAR ITEMS • Juneau-Douglas High School tennis team fund-raiser - Meet from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Mendenhall Valley location of JRC-The Alaska Club. Bring a potluck dish and $10 per adult for this event, with proceeds to benefit the new JDHS tennis team. Info: Kathleen Adam, 586-8835, or by e-mail at kadam@fs.fed.us.

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

Domestic politics: Fairbanks Assembly tries meeting at home
Four members of the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly are accused of violating local law after meeting in private at a new member's house. "There's a real public trust issue here," said Assembly member Cynthia Henry, who brought the matter up Thursday before the Assembly.

Alaska quake may give insight into next big Calif. temblor
FAIRBANKS - On Nov. 3, 2002, the largest strike-slip earthquake in North America in 150 years ripped through central Alaska, tearing up 209 miles of the Earth's surface like a box cutter on carpet - all in about 100 seconds.

Prince of Wales Island piques interest of paleontologists worldwide
KETCHIKAN - The sun has barely risen over Prince of Wales Island, and Tongass National Forest geologist Jim Baichtel has solved one small scientific riddle.

Diving partner recounts accident
A Ketchikan diver who drowned early this week while commercial fishing was using new gear. Michael R. Anderson, 33, and dive partner Lawrence Carson III, 32, were in 35 feet of water in Clarence Strait when Anderson removed his diving mask for some reason, losing his air supply.

Alaska Digest
Glacier deemed hazardous to visitors VALDEZ - The Worthington Glacier has become such a hazard to visitors that the manager of its recreational site will not return next summer.

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

Photo: Alaska Competes
David Traver, right, of Anchorage, stands among contestants Saturday in the World Beard and Moustache Championships on the steps of the Nevada Capitol in Carson City, Nev.

Court reinstates Nenana woman's lawsuit
A federal appeals court reinstated the lawsuit of a Native woman who says she was unfairly passed over for a classroom-aide position when the job was given to a non-Native. Susan Holz's lawsuit against the Nenana City Public School District had been dismissed by a lower court judge, who found that the district was immune from lawsuits under the 11th Amendment because it is an official "arm of the state."

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