Tuesday, November 4, 2003

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.

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.

Forest rider denies Alaskans a voice
I am very disappointed with the changes that Sen. Ted Stevens is making to our laws regarding the management of the Tongass National Forest. The Tongass belongs to every single American, yet Senator Stevens seems to think that citizens shouldn't have a say in how it is used. His anti-judicial review rider will effectively cut Alaskans out of government decisions on the Tongass logging by giving us a mere 30 days to file legal challenges to bad timber sales.

Seeking more than an empty gesture
I was pleased that Senator Murkowski came to Juneau to hear what our community has to say about her bill to trade 12,000 acres of wonderful public land at Berners Bay for 3,000 acres of private land near Ketchikan - much of which is clearcut. But did she hear us? It seems to have been an empty - and expensive - gesture.

Get facts on teachers' qualifications first
I can't help but respond to Mary Grayson's recent letter. Maybe we should all slow down and really find out what the story meant respecting "qualified" or "highly qualified" teachers.

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.

A not-so-welcome sight
On Saturday, I saw the Kennicott coming back from its day trip to Tracy Arm. I'm sure the people on that trip felt lucky to live in a place as beautiful as Southeast Alaska. However, if that ferry would have continued south and come back to Juneau around Admiralty Island, those people would have seen something a lot less beautiful. They would have seen the clearcuts at Hobart Bay, on Kupreanof Island, up Chatham Straits at Catherine Island, down into Peril Straits, most of the east shore of Chichagof Island and about 15 miles of the west side of Admiralty Island.

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.

Shame on you
I am appalled that the Empire would print the inflammatory drivel of Mr. Cruz not once, but twice. His kind of attitude only does harm to all people involved.

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.

Driver was not in the wrong
Mr. Cruz: Your article in Sunday's paper (Nov. 3) I find appalling. You are pointing the finger. The driver was on the green. Skyler was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's a shame and devastating for Skyler's family and the driver. Both the driver and Skyler are the victims here.

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").

Change provides better health care
On Sept. 17, Governor Murkowski signed a document that allows Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in Alaska to provide anesthesia services for Medicare patients.CRNAs are permitted, under Alaska Statute, to practice independently of physician supervision. A provision in Medicare law, however, mandated physician supervision of CRNA services. This severely limited these health care professionals' ability to provide services needed by Medicare patients in rural areas. The governors of each state have the option to request exemption for their state from this Medicare regulation. By requesting this exemption, Governor Murkowski increased access to health care for Alaska Medicare patients.

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.

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.

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

Assembly approves new committee chairs
The Assembly approved new committee chairs Monday night, as the new administration reorganized for 2003-04.

Juneau women's travel stories to be broadcast
Five Juneau women will share their travel stories today in a 43-minute pre-recorded program during KTOO-FM's 3 p.m. "Juneau Afternoon" show. The program mixes stories with music and was co-produced by Jamie Foley and KTOO volunteer Shelly Owens. It will be rebroadcast on "Women's Prerogative" at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19.

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.

Forest Service approves Greens Creek tailings disposal expansion
Greens Creek Mining Co. can expand its tailings disposal area to accommodate two more decades of mining, as long as mine operators also add carbon to the tailings to prevent metals from leaching into the ground, according to a record of decision issued by the U.S. Forest Service.

This Day in History
In Alaska: #149; In 1884, Alaska's first U.S. District Court was formally organized in Sitka. • In 1928, a windstorm in Cordova did more than $30,000 worth of damage to the town. • In 1939, a second G-Man (FBI agent) was added to the Juneau office.

Photo: Sun finds Man on Top of the Sun
Ellen Carrlee, curator of collections for the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, helps steady the "Harnessing the Atom" totem pole Monday as it is lifted into place by a crane in front of the museum. A ray of light from the setting sun worked its way through a stand of trees and directly illuminated the totemic symbol of the Tlingit creation myth, "Man on Top of the Sun." The totem pole, carved by now-retired Juneau Tlingit artist Amos Wallace in 1967, was cleaned and refitted with a concrete base and a metal support.

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.

Rowcroft charged with threatening to kill witness
A woman who allegedly tried to leave Alaska to avoid testifying against the man charged in last year's $100,000 Juneau Kmart heist says the man threatened to kill her. The prosecution is scheduled this morning to begin its first-degree theft case against Frank Brian Rowcroft, a former security chief at the now-closed Juneau Kmart. Monday, Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins swore in 14 jurors, including two alternates to be randomly chosen at the end of the trial.

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:

Photo: The Birds
This early 1920s photograph shows an unidentified man being surrounded by seagulls on a snow-covered beach across from Douglas Island.

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.

Jeanne Alice 'Zelda' Davis
Juneau resident Jeanne Alice "Zelda" Davis, 82, died Oct. 31, 2003, at the Juneau Pioneers' Home.

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.

My Turn: Iraq shaping up to be another Vietnam
Older Americans are fond of saying if you live long enough and watch closely, history will repeat itself. For example, 35 years ago in Southeast Asia, an American warship was allegedly attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin. This murky incident served to bolster the rationale made by President Johnson of defending our national security. This event coupled the so-called domino theory, was effectively used to establish the moral authority for war. Thus the tragic, decade long debacle of Vietnam began.

Hoonah Braves volleyball team wins All-Comers Tournament
The Hoonah High School varsity volleyball team lost the first game but won the next three, as the Class 2A Braves beat Juneau 1 in the championship match of the All-Comers Tournament on Saturday night in Ketchikan.

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.

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.

LeBron's Whirlwind First Week
PORTLAND, Ore. - LeBron James' first week in the NBA covered more than 5,000 miles, three games, and an uncountable number of highlights, sound bites and articles. Millions saw what he did on the floor, but here's a little slice of what life was like off it:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Group sues on behalf of Pilgrim family
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A legal foundation has sued the National Park Service on behalf of a family that wants road access to its backcountry property within Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

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
Mendenhall Glacier trails closed after brown bear charges hikers: JUNEAU - The Juneau Ranger District has closed a section of trails near the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center because an aggressive brown bear sow with cub has charged several hikers in the area. The Ranger District closed a portion of the Trail of Time that crosses Steep Creek near the Visitor Center on Monday, an area where bears feed on salmon.

Board to decide on aerial wolf control
ANCHORAGE - About 25 wolf advocates protested Monday morning during the meeting of the Alaska Board of Game, which is expected to take up the issue of whether to allow wolves to be shot from airplanes.

Fairbanks doctor to begin charging retainer fees
FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks doctor has decided he must begin charging his patients a retaining fee to see him. Starting in January, Dr. Richard Burger's patients will be asked to pay a $100-$300 per year retainer fee just to be seen. The fee, which isn't covered by insurance, will help offset declining insurance company reimbursement and increased costs, Burger said.

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