A road means freedom
In response to Rayda Renshaw's concerns, I have never heard of any child being abducted and taken up to Canada from the towns of Haines or Skagway where there is road access to Canada. A loaf of bread in Anchorage costing three times the amount of a loaf of bread here? I hardly think so.

A crumbling pillar
How sad that on the day marking the 40th anniversary of the death of a champion of civil rights, social equality and selfless pursuit ("Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"), the U.S. House position on Medicare will begin unraveling a pillar of our "Great Society."

New policy unfairly gives special rights
A few letters to the editor state that everyone deserves insurance. The CBJ health policy doesn't cover relatives, as I will show in examples below, but they will provide coverage to non-relatives to be "politically correct."

A sacred trust broken
It finally hit me this morning as I watched CSPAN2, when once again the much-talked about support of the membership of AARP was touted by a senator praising the Medicare turkey. There on a poster was a list of the AARP membership as proof. Once again I saw red.

Praise for straight talk
Kudos to Trevor League for telling it like it is. Does anyone find it ironic that those who ask for tolerance would appear to be most intolerant of those who disagree with their whacky ideology?

Express bus service to be accessible
As of Monday, people who use wheelchairs and mobility aids will be able to take Capital Transit's express bus.

Young students Fast ForWord
Sean O'Brien said he was skeptical when educators recommended sitting his kindergartner son at a computer to address concerns that the boy had difficulty following directions.

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

Petition groups hit the malls, Internet
As the holiday shopping season kicked into full swing Friday, signature gatherers for ballot initiatives were taking advantage of the crowds.

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

Juneau gets serious about shopping
At 6:30 a.m. Friday, Fred Meyer had been open for 1 1/2 hours. People who arrived at the store at 4:30 a.m. to get a jump-start on the after-Thanksgiving sales were hustling through the snow, pushing loaded carts to their cars.

Due to incorrect information provided to the Empire, a Friday article about Christmas trees in Juneau misidentified the group selling Christmas trees outside Fred Meyer. The Juneau-Douglas High School Swim Club is selling the trees, which went on sale Saturday. Due to a reporter's error, the Empire misspelled the name of the local manager of Fred Meyer. His name is Fred Sayre.

Photo: 'tis the season
Ann Robinson, left, and Candy Wierzelewski joined the ranks of shoppers looking for gifts and holiday decorations at the Nugget Mall on Friday.

Photo: Getting into the spirit
Jeff White holds his son, Jack, 5, as they watch the Douglas Community Tree Lighting festivities Friday evening between Waterwheel Plaza and the Douglas Community United Methodist Church.

Program is seen as being worth the cost
When grant money runs out to pay for the Fast ForWord program, the Juneau School District will begin picking up the bill. Superintendent Peggy Cowen said there won't be a lab set up at every school, but the program has proven itself, locally and nationally, to be worth the cost.

Wesley E. Merrill
Former Juneau resident Wesley E. Merrill, 72, died Nov. 24, 2003, in Vancouver, Wash., from complications of diabetes.

Toe cartoon
Editorial cartoon by local artist Toe.

Up to the Legislature
Gov. Frank Murkowski presents his budget and a plan for funding it on Dec. 15. It will be interesting, but it is up to the Legislature to craft the real budget for the state. The governor has some control in that he can introduce a budget and legislation, and can veto actions of the Legislature. He also doesn't have to spend all of the money appropriated. But it's the lawmakers who approve a final budget and pass any laws affecting dividends and taxes.

The spectrum of the Constitutional Eagle
You know one cannot really tell what a Democrat or a Republican stands for these days. For decades many people have been losing faith in the two major political parties. We hear the terms "liberal" and "conservative" as unscrupulous individuals, and they become the subjects of condemnation with whichever party is in control.

Out and About
Upcoming outdoor activities in Juneau.

Out for a carriage ride
Michael Muir and Cindy Goff, both of Lexington, Ky., and Allison Tyas of Norfolk, England, are taking a 1,000-mile road trip from Louisville, Ky., to Cedar Key, Fla., by horse-drawn carriage.

Snow report
Snow report from Eaglecrest.

Safety on the slopes
Ideally, skiers and snowboarders at Eaglecrest Ski Area this season have spent the summer and fall hiking, biking, in-line skating and strength training to get in shape for the season. But in case they haven't, Juneau physical therapists, who often see downhill winter sports enthusiasts after the athletes blow out their knees, have some tips to stay out of the emergency room this season.

Web links
Web sites of interest to local outdoors enthusiasts.

Vikings look for region repeat
The Petersburg Vikings will be the team to beat at the Region V-Class 2A/3A wrestling meet Friday and Saturday in Wrangell.

Purdue upsets No. 2 Duke to claim Great Alaska Shootout title
Purdue has the reputation of a big-bodied, hard-banging team that scores most of its points inside, but it was the Boilermakers' outside-shooting guards who were the key to upsetting No. 2 Duke on Saturday.

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.

A team of two
When Fred Phillips and Gunnar Combs decided to go out for a sport at Pelican School, there was no question what it would be. At Pelican - high school enrollment four - wrestling is the only game in town.

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

Federal funding slated for sexual assault investigations
Anchorage police would receive $2 million for sexual assault investigations under the appropriations bill pending in Congress.

Thanksgiving in Alaska is best of both worlds
They celebrated Thanksgiving twice Thursday in the Nunivak Island village of Mekoryuk, but the turkey and mashed potatoes had to wait until later. At noon, people had their first feast: reindeer, dried fish and that old favorite, Eskimo ice cream, known locally as akutaq. It's just the opposite in Allakaket, up the Koyukuk River. The turkey dinner was Thursday, but on Friday, the community gathers for moosehead soup, beaver tail and bear. And of course, akutaq.

Park Service maintains cruise ship status quo at Glacier Bay
The National Park Service has decided to maintain the status quo on how many cruise ships will be allowed to enter the whale-filled waters of Glacier Bay National Park. The decision means that 139 ships will be allowed into Glacier Bay during the summer season, officials said, or one or two ships a day from May to September.

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