Monday, November 24, 2003

Igloos and accuracy
Whenever I visit my hometown on the East Coast, people ask me about life in Alaska. Once in awhile someone will say, "Do you live in an igloo?? I've always thought I was setting people straight with my responses until last summer, when my husband said, "You should have told them that igloos were never built in Alaska."

Juneau writer Brown is showcased in latest volume of nature writing
"American Nature Writing 2003" is the 10th anniversary publication of a series compiled by Denver author John A. Murray, a former Fairbanks resident, fan of Denali National Park and anthologizer of "Out Among the Wolves" among other books. This is the first collection in the series devoted entirely to women writers.

In the Stacks: Books on reptiles, Buddhists top this week's library selections
There's so much great new non-fiction this week that I had a hard time picking what to write about! Here's what really caught my eye.

Change in Ownership
For the Walters, business is a family affair. As of last month, the family affair encompasses both of America's youngest states.

Pedestrian areas would solve downtown congestion
Two articles in the Nov. 20 Empire described the efforts the city is making to improve downtown streets for both vehicles and pedestrians. At least one of these, the widening of South Franklin Street, is clearly necessary. Unfortunately, this necessity is at least partially due to poor planning and should be recognized as such.

Aerial shooting of wolves inhumane
The proposed aerial gunning of wolves will be the first such program of legal aerial wolf kills in Alaska in more than a decade and calls for eliminating as many wolves as possible from an experimental management area, plus a larger area surrounding it - a total of some 1,700 square miles.

Shop stewards are not biased
I just opened the paper on Sunday and, whoa, is the other side out to fry me or what? I find it rather interesting that even union members sound like a bunch of socialists. These guys just don't seem to get it. It was even suggested that I spend my time arguing this issue with the state of Alaska.

Murkowski bill cuts public discussion
If you think coal bed methane exploration in the Matanuska Valley is a problem, just wait until you see Sen. Murkowski's new Alaska Land Transfer Acceleration Act.

Some domestic partner policy 'solutions'
Here are some solutions to the domestic policy and the city health insurance policy: Everyone covered under this policy needs to go out and find more than one domestic partner. Let's see the city try to determine who qualifies as a domestic partner.

More kudos for Trail Mix improvement projects
An article this fall discussed many of the public trail improvement projects attributable to Trail Mix. One project accomplished this spring not mentioned in the article was the widening of the walking surface on the flume that parallels Gold Creek.

District budget process must be convincing
I don't have any in-depth knowledge about the Juneau School District/Juneau Education Association (JEA) salary negotiations.

Debate the road, not silly notions
I know that Ms. Renshaw is just worried about her children, but her notions that a road would be the downfall of safety in Juneau is just silly. I don't have any figures of what the crime rate is in Whitehorse, but you would think that we would have heard a thing or two about the wickedness of our neighbors to the north.

Domestic partner benefits are fair
Recently our city decided to extend health benefits to "domestic partners." This move created quite a stir. Many have claimed this is immoral, while others claim it is a waste of their "taxpayers" money. Truth be told, it is neither. These individuals have a right to their opinion, but that is all it is, their opinion.

Morality and insurance just don't mix
Yes, we all need to be able to have affordable insurance (Canada, for instance). But immoral has nothing to do with insurance.

Libertarians are a legitimate party
Thank you for your front-page coverage of Alaska's political third parties on Nov. 10.

Letter to the editor
Perhaps I missed something concerning this predator control issue.

Perseverance makes the most of funds
I wish to clarify remarks made by Sam Guthrie in his letter to the editor on Tues., Nov. 18. He is correct that the CBJ Assembly allocated $50,000 to Perseverance Theatre last summer.

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.

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

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

Court volunteer views her job as important as ever
Ignoring Diana Kreick won't make her go away. Anyone who thought she would stop working with the defendants in Juneau District Court Judge Peter B. Froehlich's Wellness Court when she stopped getting her a paycheck was mistaken.

Worst-case scenario
Eight more Southeast residents began training Saturday in Juneau to respond to major emergencies such as earthquakes.

A quilt for a lighthouse
The quilt the Juneau Lighthouse Association is raffling this winter can't give an adequate picture of the wildlife, landscape and history that surround the Five Fingers Island Lighthouse 65 miles south of Juneau.

Some years, the birds didn't show
Sitting around and watching football on television after the Thanksgiving feast wasn't an option in Southeast Alaska 60 years ago, but the holiday then and the holiday now have plenty in common.

Police & Fire
Juneau police, fire officials and state troopers reported: Christel Silva, 26, was arrested for drunken driving, and driving with a revoked license, at 10:12 p.m. Saturday near Douglas Highway. She was lodged at Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

Teachers, district reach tentative 1-year agreement
Negotiators for the Juneau School District and the teachers' union have reached a tentative agreement for a one-year contract that gives teachers the raises they asked for.

This Day in History
In Alaska: • In 1929, the steamer Princess Norah, later a favorite of Juneau travelers, arrived in Juneau on her maiden voyage. • In 1941, much of the business district of Seward was destroyed by fire.

Charles L. Hermens
Former Skagway mayor and postmaster Charles L. Hermens, 82, died Nov. 5, 2003, in Everett, Wash.

James Wilbur Walton
Tlingit elder James Wilbur Walton (Khaalaaxh), 80, died Nov. 18, 2003, in Juneau of natural causes.

LeOra Pearson
Former Juneau resident LeOra Pearson, 63, died Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2003, at her home in Reno, Nev.

My Turn: Peacemaking sessions humanize the conflict
I t always makes it easier to fight a war if you demonize people so that you're not killing human beings, you're killing the devil,"

Toe cartoon
Local cartoon by Toe.

Wildlife Notebook: Center cultivates gentler moose so scientists can get close enough for studies
On a crisp morning this fall, biologist Stacy Jenkins tucked two oversized baby bottles under her arms and rallied her reinforcements. Her three babies were just a few months old, but they were pushy, hungry and well over 100 pounds each.

Researchers try to find out how much food a moose needs to reproduce
Moose eat hearty in the flush days of summer, and depend on their stores of fat and protein to get them through Alaska's lean winters. Because nutrition is such an important part of moose biology, much of the work at Alaska's Kenai Moose Research Center looks at metabolism and diet.

Outdoor Web sites
Web sites of interest to local outdoors enthusiasts.

Out & About
Upcoming local outdoor activities.

Living on Yukon time
Get up and go" describes too many road trips. Instead we planned this one to be more "stop, look and touch." Gail Findley and I chose a nearly local road trip between the fall and winter transition. The six-day trip in October included 169 water miles and 370 road miles, and took us on a circle route from Juneau to Skagway, Whitehorse, Haines Junction, Haines and back to Juneau.

JCS boys, Haines girls tops at Worley tourney
The Juneau Christian School boys and Haines girls went undefeated to win their respective titles at the Boyd Worley middle school basketball tourney in Skagway on Nov. 15-16.

UAF falls at Top of the World
Marcus Moore scored 20 points and played stifling second-half defense and Washington State defeated Alaska Fairbanks 57-51 on Saturday in the semifinals of the BP Top of the World Classic.

Kayhi KOs Pilot field
After a lackluster performance on the first day of the Brandon Pilot Invitational, the older Juneau-Douglas High School wrestlers and their coaches decided it was time for a team meeting.

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.

Back at the Top of the World
FAIRBANKS - Seven-foot center Nick Billings was a big draw in Kodiak when he led the Bears to the 2001 Class 4A state high school basketball championship. This weekend, he drew most of Kodiak to Fairbanks.

Taurasi leads UConn as it opens title defense
STORRS, Conn. - Diana Taurasi had 26 points and eight rebounds Sunday, helping No. 1 Connecticut begin its national title defense with a 95-46 rout of Western Michigan.

Juneau Parks and Rec youth basketball
Standings through Nov. 18 for Juneau Parks & Recreation's Youth Basketball League.

Sports in Juneau
NEW CALENDAR ITEM: • Youth wrestling day camp - Juneau-Douglas High School wrestling coach Kris Mercer is holding a wrestling day camp for youths age 5-18 on Friday, Nov. 28, at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School.

Environmentalists weigh in on NPR-A
A Bush administration plan to open almost 9 million acres to oil and gas development in Alaska is ill-conceived and misleading, threatening sensitive havens for wildlife and migratory birds, environmentalists said Friday.

Gov. Murkowski backs off target of $250 million in budget reductions
Gov. Frank Murkowski is backing off talk of cutting $250 million from next year's budget.

This Day in History
In Alaska; in the nation.

Alaska Islands center opens next month
HOMER - After 15 years of planning, designing and construction, the $18 million, 37,000-square-foot Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center is now complete.

State receiving applications for salmon-promotion grants
Pink salmon burger promotions and a plan to send Native-style smoked salmon to China for consumption by schoolchildren are among the proposals the state has received for its Alaska Salmon Marketing Grant Program.

Solar flares produce extraordinary auroras
ANCHORAGE - A solar flare erupting from an enormous sunspot hit Earth last week with the second-biggest geomagnetic storm ever measured, said scientists at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Murkowski: State can't afford intertie
Gov. Frank Murkowski told a group working to establish a Southeast Alaska electrical intertie not to count on state funding. Murkowski informed Ketchikan city Mayor Bob Weinstein that he would not support a $20 million debt repayment request if one leg of the project were to move forward.

Alaska Digest
State vulnerable to drop in federal funds ANCHORAGE - The amount of federal money pouring into Alaska's economy has soared over the past 20 years, reaching $7.6 billion in 2002, ranking the state first in the nation for per-capita federal spending.

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

Job for ex-Sen. Taylor raises constitutional questions
Gov. Frank Murkowski might have violated the Alaska Constitution with his creation of a state transportation job for then-Wrangell state Sen. Robin Taylor. Documents obtained by the Anchorage Daily News last week show the Murkowski administration created the job for Taylor while the Wrangell Republican was still in the Legislature.

Stedman sworn in as senator
Bert Stedman of Sitka was sworn in last week as District A state senator. He replaces Robin Taylor of Wrangell, who resigned in September to serve with the state Department of Transportation as special assistant to Southeast director Gary Paxton.

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