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Wednesday, November 5, 2003

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.

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.

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.

Glad to see brown bears are back
Two years have passed since writing to you about the Mendenhall Glacier bears. I now hear that a sow with cub has returned. Good! You may remember I wrote a letter to you back on November 2001 about removing the brown bear sow and cub. After writing that letter, my better half of 18 years was attacked and mauled by a sow with cub while out deer hunting on Admiralty Island on Dec. 4, 2001.

Stevens acting in interest of true Alaskans
I would have to say that I am immeasurably pleased with Senator Stevens for once again representing the interests of Alaskans over outside influences.

Caught off-guard by higher business license fee
Please take time to remind all folks the new cost of business licenses has jumped from $50 to $200 for two years. Isn't that wonderful news? Now I do understand this is rather old news to a lot of you out there, that this is last year's legislation. But I do not think the news of this has reached everyone at every level.

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.

School zone not enough to ensure safety
I am writing in response to the city trying to find a way to make the Stephen Richards and Loop Road intersection safer. The city is talking about putting up a school zone (blinking yellow light - 20 mph zone) there, which is good idea, but it doesn't work in-between the school hours. There was another fatal accident in that same area over the summer that wasn't during school hours and a few others that were fender benders. My wife, kids and I live near the area and go through that intersection all the time. I have seen a few of those accidents this year and most of them seem to be people confused about turning because they are not using their turn signal and, even when they do, they don't understand the people who are not using the signal go straight first because they have the right of way.

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.

Logging damages caves, fossils
As Sunday's article on the worldwide interest of paleontologists in Prince of Wales Island points out, the geological resources of the island make it an internationally valuable resource. Southeast Alaska's unique, outstanding karst - and their accompanying fossils, caves and archaeological remains - have great cultural, paleontological and biological significance. Areas rich in these minerals are becoming increasingly important to our understanding of such critical questions as climate change, as well as human and animal migration into North America. They also have the potential to become the foundation of a healthy geological tourism industry in Southeast.

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.

Everyone has the right to voice an opinion
This is in response to Ms. Hoffman's comments about the Empire printing Mr. Cruz's "inflammatory drivel" not once, but twice. While we don't agree with Mr. Cruz's comments regarding the accident, we must remember that even someone as clueless or heartless as he appears to be by his words has a right to voice his opinion. The Empire is being fair by printing both sides, so let's not shoot the messenger.

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.

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.

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

Pushing through the snow
This 1925 photograph shows a group of local thoroughbred Siberian sled dogs pulling their driver. Dog sleds have a distinct history in Alaska. A 674-mile relay race from Nenana to Nome in 1925 took 20 drivers 127 1/2 hours to deliver 300,000 units of antitoxin serum to battle a diphtheria outbreak in Nome.

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

Wind quintet tries to stretch classical limits
Imani Winds, an African-American and Latin wind quintet that combines European and African musical traditions, formed in 1996 knowing there was a narrow repertoire for wind quintet.

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.

Around Town
Today: 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.

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

School district will bid for Alyeska
The Juneau School Board, on a 6-0 vote Tuesday, directed the school district to bid to take over the state correspondence school.

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.

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.

Native firm to contract with Interior
A Native technology company in Juneau could earn up to $50 million doing information technology work for the U.S. Department of the Interior.

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.

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

Cities pitch projects at funding summit
Representatives from 17 panhandle cities and villages converged on Juneau Tuesday in search of grants and other funding sources for community infrastructure projects.

Prosecutor promises jury intricate story behind Kmart theft
The prosecutor trying the man accused of stealing nearly $100,000 last year from Juneau's Kmart opened his case Tuesday by comparing the crime to the movie "Ocean's 11."

Pets of the week
Karl and Jessica!

Thank You
Thank you ... for help in sinking Juneau scuba divers sank a boat in the waters off Auke Rec. on Oct. 26, 2003. The boat, named Rikki Tikki, is Alaska's first artificial reef. Volunteers spent hundreds of hours in the past 14 months preparing the boat and going through a lengthy permitting process that involved...

A long fraternity: Southeast's Red Men
In an area that has been Tlingit country for ten thousand years, it seems presumptuous that the Improved Order of Red Men would set up its tents. But indeed they did.

Neighbors Digest
Dr. Soboleff's birthday The Soboleff and Burke families are hosting a community party to celebrate Dr. Walter Soboleff's 95th birthday, from 4-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, 2003, in the lobby of Sealaska Plaza. Dr. Soboleff turns 95 on Nov. 14. All friends are cordially invited to attend the celebration and to remember Memorial Presbyterian Church. Birthday cake and refreshments will be served. For more information contact Janet Burke at 463-3871 or Ross Soboleff at 209-7181.

Wesley D. Hansen
Former Juneau resident Wesley D. Hansen, 84, died Oct. 22, 2003, at his home in Warden, Wash.

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

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.

Realities of keeping salmon fresh and ready for market
I found the article "Fisheries group researches impoundment" from the Juneau Empire to be most intriguing. Since 1995, we have been keeping our net-caught wild salmon alive. Since we were making short-duration sets to ensure all fish came aboard alive in the event we caught a fish we had to release, keeping salmon alive seemed like a pretty "cool" concept.

Sports in Juneau
NEW CALENDAR ITEM: • Juneau Department of Parks and Recreation youth indoor soccer registration - Sign-up begins on Saturday, Nov. 8, with a special registration period at the Nugget Mall from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration continues at the Parks and Rec main office at City Hall or the Zach Gordon Youth Center from Monday, Nov. 10, through Monday, Nov. 24. Space is limited, so early registration is encouraged. Forms are available online at http://www.juneau.org/parkrec/youth/youthsports.php, or they can be picked up at the Parks and Rec office or Zach Gordon. Volunteer coaches and paid referees are needed. Info: Myiia Whistler, 586-5226, or by e-mail at Myiia_Whistler@ci.juneau.ak.us.

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.

Crimson Bear wrestlers open season in Hoonah
It was only a low-key meet, but it was enough to help indoctrinate a handful of young Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears to the world of high school wrestling. No team scores were kept for the weekend of wrestling at Hoonah High School, which featured athletes from Juneau, Hoonah, Skagway and Mount Edgecumbe. Since there were several weight classes with one or two competitors, the coaches mixed and matched the wrestlers to try and find the best matchups. There were three rounds of matches on Friday, followed by five rounds on Saturday.

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:

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.

Fund-raiser raises eyebrows
Questions about a conflict of interest are being asked again about Randy Ruedrich, the Republican Party of Alaska leader who sits on a commission that regulates oil and gas development in the state.

Stevens alters use of anti-alcohol funds
ANCHORAGE - Sen. Ted Stevens inserted $17 million to combat Alaska's alcohol problems in a funding measure approved by the U.S. Senate, but made some changes in how the money will be administered.

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.

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.

Alaska Digest
Mutual fund scandals haven't affected PFD ANCHORAGE - A scandal-wracked mutual fund company, Putnam Investments, is managing more than $500 million in stocks for the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., but managers are confident the state's money is safe.

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
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.

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