Monday, November 17, 2003

In The Stacks: Urban mysteries, period dramas abound at library
Here's a new batch of fiction titles that are now available at the Juneau Public Library.

Juneau residents want road and they deserve it
Apparently Mr. Adkins of Sparks, Nevada, and many other readers are bent on linking the ferry vs. road into a single issue. They are two distinctly unique issues that need to be addressed in isolation. It would appear from the letters you decide to publish that the two are linked and that a majority of the population is not now in favor of a road. I would like to address the road issue.

Surprised at Stevens
Last month I visited our nation's capital. While there I sat in the gallery of the United States Senate. The only senator on the floor was the senior senator from the fine state of Alaska - Ted Stevens.

Landowners angry
Last night my husband and I attended a meeting for the home owners vs. coalbed methane coming to Homer. We were petrified at what we heard. In my 30-some years in Alaska, I have never been pushed and shoved around so much by the "legal and governmental caretakers of our country," as I have been in Homer these last few years.

Thanks for symphony performance
Sunday afternoon (Nov. 9) I was invited to the Juneau Symphony. For many years I have appreciated great music in metropolitan areas, and at many colleges and universities.

Kudos for domestic partner policy
It is not very often that people praise government for their actions, but when it warrants it I think at least a letter is worth it: Hurray for CBJ! The city government has walked right into the 21st century and moved a few steps closer to equality and fair play by extending health benefits to domestic partners.

How about a regional tunnel system?
Has anyone entertained the idea of studying the feasibility of an inter-island tunnel system? San Franciso has had a three-and-a-half mile long tunnel running trains under the bay for over 30 years. Several European nations with limited land mass construct short roads under the bays instead of using up valuable land for traditional roadways.

Higher gas tax would solve many problems
Last year Governor Murkowski proposed raising the state gasoline tax from eight cents to 20 cents a gallon. Perhaps Frank came up with the idea after learning that the average state gas tax in the U.S. is slightly over 21 cents per gallon. Alaska's tax is the lowest, except for Georgia.

Domestic partner policy provides equality
As recommended by the city's Health Benefits Committee, the CBJ has a new policy to provide health insurance benefits for unmarried same- and opposite-sex domestic partners. The city has a set of qualification standards to which domestic partners that have been together for at least one year will be held. This policy finally provides equitable health coverage for all city employees who share their lives with a partner.

Opposition to domestic partners disappointing
I am deeply disappointed that some of my union brothers and sisters oppose provision of health care to domestic partners. Unions have always stood for the rights of the working person, whatever their race, religion, beliefs or situation. Until that day when we are able to achieve national health care, I fully support the city provision of health insurance to all its employees and their partners.

Seeking local trails for motorcycle enthusiasts
My family and I moved here from Washington. We brought our dirt bikes with us, only to find that there is absolutely no place to ride. They say the city won't open any trails for motorcycles to ride on.

Red Cross offers video e-mails to military families
Sometime soon, on a computer somewhere, Pfc. Raymond Bernhardt in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, will see and hear his Juneau family.

Birding brings bucks to Alaska
Brenda Wright has been birding for 30 years, slogging through the Mendenhall Wetlands, strolling down Eagle Beach or hiking up the Perseverance Trail in search of some of the hundreds of species of birds that call Juneau home. But her most exciting discovery was a barred owl, spotted last month in her own backyard.

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

Nat'l Weather Service setting up new, more specific zones
In a climate region where a few miles can mean a world of difference, the National Weather Service this week is implementing new forecast zones to provide more accurate weather predictions.

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.

Tibetan monk tells his story
During his 33 years as a prisoner of conscience in Chinese labors camps and prisons in Tibet, Tibetan lama Palden Gyatso was dangled over fire as if he was a human steak. He was routinely kicked and whipped while pulling a plow for more than nine hours a day. He had an electrical cattle prod shoved down his mouth, shocking and destroying all the roots of his teeth.

Rowcroft is guilty
Frank Brian Rowcroft showed no emotion Friday as 12 jurors took turns saying they found him guilty of last year's Easter morning $100,000 theft from the Kmart safe.

This Day in History
In Alaska: • In 1896, the post office of Tyoonok was established on Cook Inlet. In 1905, the name was changed to Tyonek. • In 1916, a 40-man detachment of U.S. infantry arrived at its Anchorage post.

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

Contractor builds homes and public's knowledge
Contractor Alan Wilson is so active in the Home Builders Association of Juneau that many of his fellow contractors wonder how he finds time to run his business.

Weather radio to narrow broadcast focus
New forecast zones will mean changes for weather radio broadcasts in Southeast Alaska. The increase in land and marine forecast zones will create more weather information for the region. To prevent an information overload on the air, the National Weather Service will focus weather radio broadcasts based on geography and immediacy.

Weather radio to narrow broadcast focus
JUNEAU EMPIRE

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

Toe cartoon
Local editorial cartoon

My Turn: Southeast Alaska is doing OK under Murkowski
Eight of Alaska's business leaders asked Gov. Frank Murkowski in a letter this week to take three steps to solve the state's fiscal problem of spending more than it takes in: control spending, tap the Permanent Fund and consider a broad-based tax.

Out & About
Upcoming outdoor events in Juneau.

Thanksgiving bird count adds to knowledge
Bird counts afford an opportunity to watch birds and to contribute to a growing base of knowledge.

Web links
Web sites of interest to local outdoors enthusiasts.

Soldotna taxidermist scrapes out a living
Stepping into the area where Kenny Jones spends close to 24 hours a day, it's immediately apparent that what he does for a living is nothing like most people's jobs. After stirring a large pot of water with two skulls boiling in it, Jones resumes his work on a third skull on the table. He is trying to make a small hole in the bottom of it with a reciprocating saw, expediting removal of the gelatinous brain inside.

All chopped up
For hunters, fishermen and meat-lovers at heart, walking into a meat-processing company means succumbing to a parade of heavenly scents. Rich smells from seasoned raw caribou and smoking venison saturate the air, and the sound of a buzzing meat grinder or the whack of a knife on the cutting board, just after slicing through a colossal moose hindquarter, may make mouths water. Cement floors and refrigerator walls augment the feeling that you are walking into an icebox.

Southeast Wild: Feed the birds and help the scientists
Now that signs of winter are undeniably creeping down the mountains, it's time to consider the welfare of our resident birds (as well as how to maximize our enjoyment in watching them). Long, cold winter days, and even more challenging nights, make the season a difficult one for the birds that call Alaska their year-round home. Feeding backyard birds is one way to help them make it through these next months.

Spirited Bears claim fifth place
Ice bags and ibuprofen were in demand for the Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball team Saturday after the Crimson Bears lost in five games to the taller Dimond Lynx in the third-fifth place game of the Class 4A state volleyball tournament.

Petersburg, Craig knocked out early in Class 3A tourney
This year's Class 3A state volleyball tournament showed the disadvantage many Southeast teams face when they make the trip to state.

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.

Hoonah Braves aim for fourth straight Class 2A region title
The Hoonah Braves will be seeking their fourth straight Region V-Class 2A volleyball title as the region tourney begins today in Skagway.

Sports in Juneau
NEW CALENDAR ITEMS • Juneau-Douglas High School wrestling - The Crimson Bears host their first home meet of the season on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21-22. Times and teams TBA.

Cavs edge 76ers in OT
Zydrunas Ilgauskas didn't care who was or wasn't wearing a 76ers' jersey. Four years between victories over Philadelphia was long enough. Ilgauskas scored 28 points and had a key putback, assist and block in overtime as the Cavaliers snapped a 16-game losing streak against the Sixers with a 91-88 win Saturday night.

Alaska Digest
Coast Guard seeks donations for families: JUNEAU - Throughout November, the crew aboard the Coast Guard cutter Liberty will conduct a food, winter clothing, blanket and toy drive to benefit Southeast families.

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

High-speed ferry christened
It took her two tries, but Alaska first lady Nancy Murkowski got the job done Saturday as she christened a high-speed ferry that will usher in a new era of marine travel for Southeast.

Alaska's top soldier says more will be asked of Army, Air Force, National Guard units
Alaska's military will be shouldering a bigger role in military actions around the world, according to the state's top military officer. Alaskan Command Lt. Gen. Howie Chandler said more will be asked of Air Force and Army forces based in Alaska, including National Guard units with citizen soldiers on leave from regular jobs.

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

FAA stats show falling rate of plane crashes in Alaska
ANCHORAGE - Air travel in Alaska is getting safer, according to the latest statistics released by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Governor considers buyback of coal-bed methane leases
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Frank Murkowski has suggested he is open to the possibility of the state buying back coal-bed methane leases before companies start exploring in earnest.

Teen is top cyber fan of presidential candidate
Cyber supporter: Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins,14, works at home last week in a closet his family turned into a computer room in Sitka. The teenager has made national news recently for being the top "DeanLinker" for presidential hopeful Howard Dean.

Choice Tchotchkes
Annie Hurlbut, left, an Alaska artist who specializes in handmade dolls and beachgrass baskets, shows one of her dolls to Neala Pierce during a craft fair Sunday at the Nugget Mall.

Photo: The rain falls mainly in Ketchikan
A mallard paddles by the newest of Ward Lake's three shelters in Ketchikan last week. The shelter, normally high, dry and a safe distance from the lakeshore, was swamped by heavy rains and wind earlier in the week.

Snow training
A team of 16 Alaska huskies, trained by Ed Stielstra and his wife, Tasha, get a taste of snow Sunday on a trail in Anchorage.

Photo: Alaska on cutting edge
U.S. Air Force 3rd Maintenance Group weapons loaders, from right, Staff Sgt. Calyn Coffee, Sr. Airman Curtis Stuart and Sr. Airman John Farley carry a Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile to the mounting pylon of a 19th Fighter Squadron F-15C at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage last week.

Court denies state's marijuana case appeal
The Alaska Court of Appeals has rejected a request by the state to reconsider a decision allowing adults to possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. In a ruling Friday, the court denied Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes' petition for a rehearing in the case of David Noy, a North Pole man who was arrested in 2001 after he was found with marijuana in his home.

Alaska students are showing up average in nationwide testing
Alaska students are testing average in a test being administered nationwide as part of federal education reform. Fourth- and eighth-graders were tested for their math and reading skills. Eighth-graders in Alaska averaged better at math than their typical classmates in the Lower 48. They scored slightly below average on reading, though.

Ruedrich's last effort on oil and gas commission was to try to kill it
Alaska GOP chairman Randy Ruedrich left his position on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission with a bang, proposing that the state eliminate the position of a regulator who called for his removal.

AK municipal league: Tap permanent fund
FAIRBANKS - Municipal leaders from 65 Alaska communities say management of the $26 billion Alaska Permanent Fund should be modified and money used for public services.

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