Monday, November 10, 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.

Business Digest
Isadore promoted to GM of Breakwater Inn, Morgan joins firm of Wostmann and Associates

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

Automobile safety is simple: Obey the law
Juneau's dreadful history with deadly automobile accidents has one common denominator: Inattentive drivers. Exclusive of the recent tragedy at Loop Road and Stephen Richards Drive, in my 23 years of driving the streets of Juneau I have witnessed some of the most insane driving anywhere. I have driven such infamously dangerous cities as Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles as well as other large metropolis, but nothing compares to here.

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.

Juneau's paintball community is responsible
After reading Mr. Curtis's letter, I sat back in wondering what brought on such an outburst. Then I wondered what exactly was he trying to say other than to personally slander Mr. Madsen and to offend many other citizens of Juneau?

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.

Say no to percent of market value proposal
Why do we need the POMV (percent of market value) scheme?

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.

Why aren't dead spruce trees harvested now?
I am a secretary for a small general contractor here in Anchorage. My boss just told me that all construction materials will be hard to find in the near future because California has bought it all up.

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.

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

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

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.

Photo: A taste of fall
Roger Healy watches as his son, Igor, 5, catches raindrops while strolling on the beach near the Mendenhall Glacier on Sunday.

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.

This Day in History
In Alaska • In 1897, the Skagway post office was established with William B. Sampson as postmaster. • In 1939, the seventh legal hanging in Alaska occurred in Juneau. Nelson Charles had been convicted of killing his mother-in-law in a drunken rage.

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.

Correction
A photo caption on the Neighbors page in Friday's Empire misspelled the name of Erich DeLand.

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.

Speaking of the spokesman
John Manly's job as Gov. Frank Murkowski's press secretary comes with a few perks, but expedited passport renewal apparently is not one of them.

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.

District school-bus changes loom
Next school year, the Juneau School District may have to cut some bus routes or change schools' starting times to balance its transportation budget, a consultant has suggested.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Out & About
Calendar of outdoor 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.

Sports in Juneau
NEW CALENDAR ITEMS:• Raincountry Flyfishers monthly meeting - The Raincountry Flyfishers will hold a regular monthly meeting on Thursday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Mendenhall River School Library. Jon Lyman will give a presentation on the Federation of Fly Fishers and its Alaska Council. He will also discuss the art of bamboo rod construction. New members and visitors are always welcome. Info: Tony Soltys, 789-9159, or Steve Martin, 790-2206.

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.

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.

Veterans Day 8K
The air was chilly and the course icy, but 19 runners braved the conditions to complete Saturday's Veteran's Day 8K race on the Kaxdigoowu Heen Trail along the Mendenhall River.2003

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.

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.

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.

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.

The process of passing laws through the back door
WASHINGTON - What do lawn mowers, smog standards and Alaska crabs have in common? Each is the subject of an effort in Congress to weaken environmental laws. Each provision is at the top of a wish list of a special interest group in a powerful lawmaker's home state or district. And each lawmaker is trying to win approval of his pet provision by attaching it to legislation that Congress has to pass as it rushes to finish its business for the year and go home for Thanksgiving.

Representation requested on federal panel for subsistence
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Frank Murkowski wants a state representative on the federal subsistence board, a request opposed by groups like the Alaska Federation of Natives.

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.

Drug, alcohol rehabilitation plan puts focus on diet
FAIRBANKS - Audrey Sunnyboy noticed a troubling trend when she entered the drug and alcohol treatment field in 1990.

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

Companies move into producing North Slope's heavy oil
ANCHORAGE - Jason Brink opened a small valve on well 1C-104 and caught globs of bubbly, dark, faintly ruddy gunk in a metal bucket. "Looks more like Play-Doh than oil," said Brink, an engineer for ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc.

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.

Grant to help Alaska tribe sell crafts online
PHILADELPHIA - When he attended a child's birthday party in a remote Alaska village one recent summer, researcher Steve Dinero was surprised to find the pinata, pizza and cake that mark children's parties in the Lower 48.

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.

Alaska's Green Party wins access to '04 ballot
ANCHORAGE - The Green Party of Alaska has won a temporary court order guaranteeing its candidates space on statewide ballots next year.

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.

Photo: Anxious for snow
Willy the dog is ready to go as musher Peter Bartlett hooks up his sled dogs to a four-wheeler near Willow last week to train his sled dogs for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Bartlett is hoping for a freeze and some snow to so he can begin training with a sled near his Willow home for his third trip up the Iditarod Trail.

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

Alaska Digest
Stevens crab quota bill faces challenge FAIRBANKS - A proposal to guarantee seafood processing companies a large share of Alaska's lucrative Bering Sea crab catch faces a challenge on the U.S. Senate floor 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.

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