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Monday, November 18, 2002

Reading fundamental
On Oct. 23, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige released a letter that he sent to state school officials, including Alaska. It is good that parents in Juneau and other communities are made aware of the content and his concerns.

Origins of 'born again'
We certainly do encounter a variety of usages for the term "born again" do we not? The term has been popularized and redefined to the extent that it has, for many, lost its original meaning.

Best practices success
On behalf of our visitor industry's Best Management Practices Committee, I would like to thank each of the 50 local cruise/tour operators and their 877 employees who signed onto and participated in the Best Management Practices program in 2002. The program, put in place by the tour operators and the CBJ in 1997, enjoyed its most successful summer to date.

To the victors go the spoils
Lew Williams Jr., newspaper publisher and former UA regent, informs us in Sunday's paper how incredibly powerful the Republican Party is. Especially so, after the total bath Democrats took in the mid-term elections. To the victor go the spoils and of course, the gloat. That's a politico's nature and is right on par for the most circuitous of industrial greens.

Limited support
The Nov. 12 headline, "Cordova-area oil project gets support," is misleading. The proposal to drill at Katalla, on the east edge of the Copper River Delta, may have the support of some corporations and their political friends over in Kenai, but it most certainly has not won support here in Cordova.

Keep our system strong
During the last year I have traveled over 75,000 miles in Alaska campaigning for governor. But it's not the miles that I will remember. It's the people. Those who've cared enough about Alaska to get involved in politics for the first time.

Glacier view fee
Mr. Williams stated (Empire, Nov. 17) that Juneau, Haines and Yakutat pay a small shore-based head tax. Even though Yakutat has a head tax ordinance, the cruise industry has refused to honor it because the ships do not come into Yakutat's docks.

Pros, cons of the high cost of living
While the cost of living in Juneau may be higher than average, many people consider the quality of life here to be priceless."I can look out my window and see the glacier, or be in the car for five minutes to get to trails," said Maureen Riley, who owns a house in the Mendenhall Valley with her husband Pete Hettinger and two children. With their two cars, two young kids and two careers - Maureen sells real estate for Century 21 and Pete is a captain at Capital City Fire & Rescue - Riley and Hettinger consider themselves middle class.

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

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

Footwear charity steps up donations
For the Juneau-based Footwear for Families project, it's been another bumper year for donated boots and shoes, helping the charity project expand throughout the state. "These last two years are exponentially larger than earlier years," said Max Mertz, president of Glacier Valley Rotary, one of the project's sponsors. "It has grown from nothing in 1997 to 700 (boots and shoes given away in Southeast) today."

Sitka 'sex camp' couple receive heavy prison sentences
SITKA - A Sitka man convicted of sexually abusing three young girls in a makeshift "sex camp" was sentenced Friday to the equivalent of life in prison. Dick Blue Sky, 49, was sentenced to 75 years in prison with 20 years suspended and 10 years of probation. His wife, Cynthia Sky, 41, was sentenced to 36 years in prison with 10 years suspended and 10 years of probation.

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

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

Police shoot sickly Lemon Creek bear
Police officers shot and killed a black bear in the Lemon Creek area Saturday night after trying to coax the sickly animal away from homes for more than an hour. Police first responded to calls about a bear lying in an alley near the Northwood Condos at 5:42 p.m. They decided to leave the animal alone, hoping it would go away, but continued to get calls. The bear wasn't acting normally and appeared to be sick, Police Capt. Tom Porter said.

Darlin, Gruening are honored by chamber
The Juneau Chamber of Commerce gave longtime volunteer Marie Darlin its lifetime achievement award Saturday night. Alaska Committee Chairman Win Gruening was named citizen of the year. The awards were presented Saturday night at the business organization's banquet.

Accused arsonist enters guilty plea
A man accused of setting fire to a Juneau storage facility in June, causing more than $1 million in damage and destroying the property of nearly 200 people, pleaded guilty to lesser charges today in Juneau Superior Court. Although the culprit will pay for his crimes with jail time, the victims of the fire may never see a penny in restitution.

At what price Juneau?
Visit www.google.com and do a search for "U.S. expensive cities." The first Web site listed claims that Fairbanks is the eighth most expensive U.S. city, Anchorage is the fourth and Juneau is the third. The site, www.soyouwanna.com, identifies the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association as its source. A Google search may not be the most scientific method for determining just how much Juneau residents pay for the privilege of living here, but it shows that Alaska's pricey image is upheld by popular American culture.

Emitt LeRoy Soldin
Former Juneau resident Emitt LeRoy Soldin, 78, died Nov. 11, 2002, at the Providence Extended Care Facility in Anchorage.

Harold Richard Hogberg
Longtime Juneau resident Harold Richard Hogberg died Nov. 12, 2002, at his home in Juneau.

Robert Drew Fleek
Robert Drew Fleek, known to friends and family as Bob and Poppy Bob, died Nov. 8, 2002, in Arizona.

The 'move' fails
To the surprise of absolutely nobody who follows the breezes that blow through Alaska's political tree, a proposal to move legislative sessions out of Juneau failed at the polls Nov. 5.

Toe Cartoon

My Turn: Reactionary wildlife management
The recent Board of Game meeting provided an education that was almost worth a couple of days not spent in the woods. Public testimony from all perspectives was excellent, but public deliberation was sorely lacking on Proposal 3 to close Douglas Island to wolf trapping and hunting.

Empire editorial: Thumbs: Mostly up, a few down
Thumbs up - and thumbs are not nearly recognition enough - to the Alaska Committee for another successful round of Whack-a-Mole against the would-be capital movers. The movers should retreat deep into their burrows while the next Legislature considers a more geographically equitable set of rules for initiating ballot referenda.

My Turn: ANWR: Quick partial solution to fiscal gap
It wasn't hard to predict a landslide for Republicans in Alaska's Nov. 5 election. From June until mid-October, Republican registration was 4-1 greater than Democrat. The strong pro-development message of Republican candidates from Gov.-elect Frank Murkowski on down helped.

Out and About
In season: Black bear (Sept. 1-June 30), brown bear (Sept. 15-Dec. 31, March 15-May 31), deer (Sept. 15-Dec. 31), mountain goat (Sept. 1 or Oct. 1, depending on area,-Nov. 31), wolf (Aug. 1-April 30), wolveri

Repairing Their Trail
Members of the Juneau Snowmobile Club are firm believers in the adage that if you want something done, you've got to do it yourself. This is the third weekend this month they've donated their time and equipment for upkeep of the Lake Creek Trail leading to Spaulding Meadows. When the snow comes, they will be ready.

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

The swans have returned to Southeast Alaska
Of the many indicators that herald the coming winter in the Petersburg area, one of the most exciting to avid birders is receiving a phone call from a friend announcing, "The swans are back." The Blind Slough/Blind River drainage is about 20 minutes south of Petersburg along Mitkof Highway. This is a major stopover area for trumpeter swans during spring and fall migrations and, according to Forest Service reports, the most important wintering habitat for swans in the entire Stikine area.

Fisherman lands the big one and then avoids the big fuss
MEDFORD, Ore. - A Grants Pass man made fly-fishing history last month when he hooked and landed a fall chinook salmon that officially weighed 71 1/2 pounds.

Billfishing with JABA
I had been looking forward to this trip since early March when I met Mal Linthwaite at the Rotary Club Boat Show. I was sitting at my Taku Reel Repair booth when Mal asked if I worked on Penn International reels. I said I didn't see too many because they were typically used for billfish - marlin and sailfish. We got to talking and Mal told me about JABA, the Juneau Alaska Billfish Association. It didn't take much convincing before I joined the association and signed up for the JABA tournament to be held in early October.

Sports in Juneau
Information on upcoming sports and outdoors events in Juneau.

Juneau reaches championship match
ANCHORAGE - The Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball team moved one step closer to its goal of the school's first state championship Friday as the Crimson Bears swept the Palmer Moose, 15-9, 15-13, 15-13, to advance to Saturday night's title match at West Anchorage High School. "Two down, one to go," Juneau senior middle blocker Amy Neussl said of Friday's victory, which was Juneau's second sweep of the state tournament. Juneau swept Chugiak in Thursday's opening-round match.

Boozer scores 10 points in Cavaliers loss
CLEVELAND - Here's a new twist: The San Antonio Spurs carried Tim Duncan. Bruce Bowen scored 14 points, Tony Parker had 13 and the Spurs barely needed Duncan in a 90-77 win Saturday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who dropped their sixth straight.

Mount Edgecumbe, Petersburg eliminated
ANCHORAGE - Even though both teams played better than they did in Thursday's opening round, the Mount Edgecumbe Braves and the Petersburg Vikings each saw their seasons end on a losing note Friday morning as they lost matches in the consolation bracket of the Class 3A state volleyball tournament at West Anchorage High School.

Juneau spikers cap undefeated season with first state title
ANCHORAGE - The dream came true for the Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball team Saturday night at West Anchorage High School. The Crimson Bears claimed the first Class 4A state championship in school history and completed an undefeated season as they beat the Bartlett Golden Bears, 15-7, 15-9, 12-15, 15-10, in Saturday's title match. Bartlett was also bidding for its first state championship.

Alaska State Volleyball Champions
The Alaska state high school girls volleyball champions since 1976-77. The high school season has been in the fall and the mid-winter at various times over the years, so school years are listed.

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.

'The Razor' nearly clips 'The Goat' in Roughhouse opener
At the end of 11 hard-hitting amateur boxing matches, the crowd at ANB Hall was restless in anticipation as the season's first Roughhouse Friday came down to a disputed decision in the main event between Matthew "The Goat" Coppick of Sitka and Neil "The Razor" Rodriguez of Anchorage. Coppick, the reigning Southeast Showdown middleweight champ, emerged victorious in a decision that drew a mixed reaction from fans and Rodriguez.

Another earthquake aftershock reported
Another aftershock was reported early Sunday from the big earthquake that shook Alaska earlier this month. The Alaska Earthquake Information Center said the temblor, with a magnitude of 4.2, occurred at 12:22 a.m. It was centered 20 miles northeast of Paxson.

Laser lights tested for collision prevention
ANCHORAGE - Laser lights are being tested at an Anchorage airport to help prevent pilots from making the sometimes fatal error of crossing in the path of other aircraft. The high-intensity lights are one of seven projects being tested nationwide to decrease the incidents of runway incursions, said Roger Motzko, runway safety programs manager for the Federal Aviation Administration's Alaska region.

BP pays $675,000 for spill of crude, methanol at Prudhoe
ANCHORAGE - BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. has agreed to pay $675,000 to the state to settle claims and cleanup monitoring costs from a pipeline leak on the North Slope last year that spilled crude oil and methanol.

Municipal League drops call for tax
The Alaska Municipal League has dropped its call for the state to consider an income tax as a way to solve its fiscal problems. Instead, the group is calling for development of additional sources of revenue. "It's the beginning of a new administration," said Kevin Ritchie, the league's executive director. "Let's let them set the tone for a discussion."

State Briefs
Police arrest boy after car chase; Assembly considers endorsing grant proposal; Alaska programs are semifinalists for award; More aftershocks rattle Interior

Men arrested at Fairbanks airport
Two Anchorage men have been arrested in Fairbanks on drug charges, FBI officials said. Edgar Contreras, 29, and Ricardo Cruzagosto, 33, were taken into custody early Saturday at the Fairbanks International Airport.

Cleanup of grounded boat tops $250,000
The cost of cleaning up the wreck of the 150-foot Genei Maru is at $250,000 and rising. A Japanese company owns the vessel that suddenly appeared on the rocks at Afognak Island earlier this month after catching fire in May and disappearing in the North Pacific for months. But the cleanup money right now is coming out of the National Pollution Funds Center, part of the federal Superfund agency, said Marsha Delaney, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Coast Guard in Kodiak.

GOP victories chalked up to cash, party leadership
It was 7 p.m. on election night. The polls wouldn't close for another hour. But in a littered back-room office at Frank Murkowski's campaign headquarters, state Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich could smell victory. In the hall outside, upbeat Murkowski supporters were eating shrimp and uncorking red wine. But Ruedrich was focused on the legislative races, where victory would mean continued Republican dominance of the Legislature.

Outcry sparked by proposed changes to Medicaid
Parents, foster parents and private agency workers spoke out last week against changes proposed for a Medicaid program that serves Alaska children and adults.

Companies feud over Cook Inlet gas reserves
Two companies are in a tug of war over Cook Inlet's natural gas reserves because of cutbacks in gas supplies. The battle is between Agrium, which runs a big Nikiski chemical plant, and Unocal, the dominant oil and gas producer in the region.

Schooner crew investigates climate for documentary
The 168-foot, 394-ton, three-masted steel schooner Sedna IV tasted Little Norway hospitality this past weekend as it stopped in Petersburg for fuel, a local "ladies night," and a day of nosing up to the face of LeConte Glacier.

Fort Wainwright soldiers introduced to Native culture
Even though the building was warm, Morgan Solomon donned his heavy-duty ceremonial parka before addressing the audience. The black velvet coat trimmed with wolverine fur denotes Solomon is head of his household, a good provider for his family and that he is worthy of respect.

Judge says Wal-Mart violated worker's rights
A National Labor Relations Board judge has ruled an employee fired from the Wasilla Wal-Mart store should be reinstated and given back pay, saying the company had "eviscerated" the worker's rights.

Smaller ferries set for Haines
The state ferry Malaspina will be replaced by mostly smaller ships next summer as the day boat running between Juneau, Haines and Skagway, according to Capt. George Capacci, general manager of the Alaska Marine Highway System.

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