Sunday, November 9, 2003

In the stacks: This week at the library - juvenile illustrated fiction
This week I've got new juvenile illustrated fiction for readers of all ages. These books feature plenty of pictures and a more sophisticated story line than picture books.

Bidding for Alyeska not in district's best interest
I read with trepidation Wednesday about the Juneau School District voting to bid to operate Alyeska Central School. This is a major undertaking which requires careful planning and budgeting.

Stop the war on wolves, call Gov. Murkowski
Those involved prepare for combat. The planes are fueled and navigation routes are planned. Firearms and ammunition are readied. The battlefield waits. Innocents will be either killed or significantly wounded, but all is fair in war. Or is it?

Eaglecrest ski area not requesting sales tax
This letter is in response to the Sunday (Nov. 2) Juneau Empire article about the public meeting held to gather input on the Eaglecrest strategic plan. We would like to thank all the participants for their creative ideas and supportive comments. As a community owned ski area, we greatly value all the ideas brought to our attention by the public and look forward to continued input as we develop the ski area into a year-round recreation facility.

Support teachers' union during negotiations
While negotiations between the University of Alaska and the Alaska Community Colleges' Federation of Teachers have dragged on for over a year, one is reminded of the story of David and Goliath. The university, with its bloated $35 million administrative budget, professional public relations and negotiations staff, and a president who happens to be the highest paid state employee, appears to be attempting to bully the union into submission.

Canadian drugs not necessarily cheaper
Mark Sherman's story about how Canadian drugs are cheaper than drugs in the U.S. ("AP Survey: Drug Prices Cheaper in Canada," Nov. 6) referred to a report commissioned by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich that allegedly found that "Illinois would save about $91 million a year by buying prescription drugs from Canada." While this estimate has been widely reported, it is incorrect.

Thanking DOT for Valley school zone designation
Thank you to the state Department of Transportation for recognizing and listening to the residents of Juneau.

A surprise money request from Sen. Murkowski
Imagine my surprise when I received a letter from Sen. Lisa Murkowski asking me to help her get elected to the U.S. Senate seat her father bestowed on her last year.

Rejection of wolf darts leads to shooting
This spring I gave testimony to the Board of Game on behalf of the Denali Advisory Committee. I recommended using helicopters (because of their efficacy) to dart wolves in the McGrath predator control area, then landing and euthanizing the wolves.

There was a more affordable option
Mel Adkins from Nevada comments (Nov. 7) on the money he spent coming to Alaska in 2002 as somehow justifying a road north. Actually, his comments simply bear out my contention that a road north can be justified by neither dollars nor convenience.

Wolf control a sickening return to barbarism
Gov. Murkowski's reinstatement of antiquated land-and-shoot laws and the imminent wolf slaughter in Alaska is a sickening return to the senseless, barbaric practices begun even prior to statehood and continued thereafter with the state-sanctioned killing of wolves - more than 7,000 between 1996 and 2001 alone, and possibly twice that number, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's harvest summary.

Nonprofit network helps promote organ donation
Regarding the story "Weyhrauch bill would clarify end-of-life wishes" (Nov. 7): Rep. Weyhrauch's bill will help save lives by getting people to think about organ donation. Unfortunately, most Americans that do think about it don't do anything about it. As a result, their organs get buried when they die and over 6,000 of their neighbors die needlessly every year waiting for a transplant operation.

Photo: A happy 6th and 95th
Walter Soboleff, who turns 95 on Nov. 14, and his wife, Stella, are greeted Friday by their great-grandson Kyle Morley, who turned 6 years old on Friday.

Saga of the Phoenix poodle may end with homecoming
JoJo, the 8-month-old scruffy poodle mix, lives and will go home, apparently. A Juneau woman adopted her from an animal shelter while visiting Phoenix, Ariz., recently. Her former owners, the Shedd family, in an article in Thursday's Empire, pleaded for her return.

Shutdown of Kmart was a mixed blessing for Footwear for Families
For the seventh and what may be the last year, volunteers with Footwear for Families gathered at the Wings of Alaska hangar on Saturday to prepare to send shoes and boots to needy people in Southeast.

Chamber to head Blue Star project
The Juneau Chamber of Commerce will lead chambers around the state in implementing a new program to encourage business compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Ex-fiancee says she's no longer alibi for Rowcroft
Frank Brian Rowcroft's former fiancee testified Friday she lied when she initially told police she was sure he was in bed next to her when the lights went out at Kmart on Easter morning last year.

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

Photo: Groundbreaker
"Are there any clams down here?" asks Gov. Murkowski while breaking ground with Brig. Gen. Craig N. Christensen, left, and University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton during a ceremony Saturday at the site of the future Alaska Army National Guard Readiness Center and the UAS Student Recreation Center near the Auke Lake campus.

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

Martin Alan Borleck III
Martin Alan Borleck III, 51, died Oct. 14, 2003, in Washington state. He was born Oct. 16, 1951, in Juneau.

Toe cartoon
Local editoral cartoon by Toe.

Web links
Web sites of interest to local outdoors enthusiasts include:

Out & About
Calendar of outdoor events in Juneau.

At home on the rifle range
It's cold, and a metal rifle is colder. The air is crisp, Mount McGinnis looms in the distance. A row of men and women lie prone on a cement slab, cushioned by inch-thick mats, one knee cocked to the side.

Desperate skiers make do with smattering of early white stuff
They are called "rock skis" and if you're a cross-country skier living in Fairbanks, chances are you own a pair. George Salmon had his thrown over his shoulder late last month at Birch Hill Recreation Area. There was barely enough snow to cover the ground, much less ski on, but that didn't stop a determined Salmon, who was covered with sweat after getting in a quick 5-kilometer ski on his lunch hour.

Wildlife Corner: Animal skeletons in a box
Six new Alaska biology teachers are skeletons, thanks to students at Burchell High School. During the past year, road-killed and donated moose, bears and wolves have been de-boned at the Wasilla alternative high school. Science teacher Tim Lundt's anatomy students transformed the carcasses into six polished, re-usable skeleton kits. Three kits - one of each animal - will stay with Lundt's anatomy class, while the other three will be at the Palmer office of the Department of Fish and Game for teachers to check out.

Bear girls set school record in relay event
When the Juneau-Douglas High School girls swimming and diving team arrived at the Bartlett High School Swimming Pool for this weekend's state meet, the Crimson Bears' goals were fairly modest - set a school record in the 200-yard freestyle relay, and try to match or better last year's fifth-place tie finish.

Alaska state swimming and diving championships
Results from the 2003 Alaska School Activities Association's state swimming and diving championships. Results are from Saturday's final heats, plus they include the finishes from Friday's preliminary heats of any Southeast swimmers that didn't make finals.

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.

Ritter, Saceda win wrestling titles in Sitka
Juneau-Douglas High School junior wrestlers Jake Ritter and Jordan Saceda won individual titles Saturday at a meet in Sitka.

Strong finish, bright future
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys swimming and diving team did what it could, but the Crimson Bears fell short in their bid to repeat as state champions. Caught in a rebuilding year, the Crimson Bears still nearly matched the point total of last year's co-state champion team. But the Lathrop Malemutes were just too strong, scoring 116 points to win the meet held Friday and Saturday at Bartlett High School. The Service Cougars scored 97 points for second place.

Cavs beat Wizards for first victory of the season
LeBron James had already proven he could play in the NBA. Now he has proof he can win. Cleveland's rookie star got his first win as a pro Saturday night and the Cavaliers snapped a five-game losing streak to open the season with a 111-98 win over the Washington Wizards.

Bears secure return to state
The Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball team wasn't running on all cylinders at Friday's and Saturday's Region V-Class 4A Tournament in Petersburg, but the Crimson Bears still motored through the competition to repeat as region champs and earn a trip to the state tourney in Anchorage later this week.

Faculty union reaches tentative settlement with UA
A University of Alaska faculty union reached a tentative contract agreement Friday, two days after leaders said they were close to calling a strike. Members of the Alaska Community Colleges' Federation of Teachers still must ratify the proposed three-year contract. The pact also must be approved by the university Board of Regents.

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

Congressional delegation discusses gas condemnation option
Alaska's congressional delegation is discussing an option of having the government condemn North Slope natural gas owned by oil companies as a fallback method of getting the gas to market. The condemnation proposal became public last week after it became apparent that a proposed tax credit on income from sale of Alaska North Slope gas probably wouldn't be included in a national energy bill.

Sitkan tabbed to replace Taylor
Gov. Frank Murkowski said Saturday that Sitka businessman Bert Stedman is his new choice to fill the state Senate vacancy created by the resignation of Wrangell Republican Robin Taylor.

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

One dead, one injured in shooting
A woman was killed and a man severly injured in a shooting in Nome Saturday morning, police said. Officers responded to the home of Ike Larsen Sr. at about 6 a.m., finding Leah Larsen dead from a gunshot wound, police said. Officers found Ike Larsen suffering from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

Ruedrich quits oil and gas commission
Amid mounting pressure, Republican Party of Alaska chairman Randy Ruedrich resigned from his job as a state oil and gas regulator Saturday evening after meeting with Gov. Frank Murkowski.

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