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Sunday, December 1, 2002

In Stacks
In honor of Velma Wallis' upcoming program, "Writing Your Own Story," this week's column is devoted to new biographies and autobiographies!

Whisper campaigns
The last local politician to charge that a "whisper campaign" was being waged against their credibility was assembly candidate Don Etheridge. Back in September Mr. Etheridge leveled this charge against Greg O'Claray, of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, for allegedly harming his reputation during his campaign for reelection to the Juneau Assembly - implying that something untrue was being said by numerous local wags.

Unabating war
Originally declared by Richard Nixon on June 17, 1971, the War on Drugs has been an astonishing success. It pumps $600 per second into the economy from the federal government, creating jobs for DEA agents, informants and lawyers. It results in the construction of new prisons, and contributes to the development of new surveillance technologies.

Enough already
The real reason certain drugs are illegal is not because some are more harmful than others. If that were true, then alcohol and tobacco would be illegal. Alcohol kills more people in a year than all illicit drugs combined kill in a decade. And tobacco kills four times as many as alcohol.

Share the bridge
Back where I grew up we learned to share. If we had something somebody else needed we lent it or gave it to them. T. Kelly Corrigan (Empire, Nov. 26) needs to learn one of the basic lessons of childhood and needs to share.

The Art of Hiking
Greg Bledsoe, 34, lives in Juneau with his dog, Marshall. Bledsoe works as a database administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service, but his passion is hiking and kayaking. Bledsoe enjoys hiking with just Marshall, but last year, he joined the Juneau Alpine Club and discovered a new world of outdoor experiences. Through the club, he has met many wonderful people, developed new skills, and explored beautiful places, he said.

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

Citizens offer mix of ideas at new governor's town meetings
If recent town meetings in Juneau are an indication, it won't be easy for incoming Gov. Frank Murkowski to please everyone. He'd have to shrink the budget gap yet spend more money. Friday night at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, at the second of two meetings in Juneau to gather recommendations for the Murkowski administration, some of the 100-plus attendees wanted to streamline government, and others saw new and old problems that needed more funding.

Photo: 'Tis the season
Mayor Sally Smith lights the Douglas community tree during a ceremony Friday. About 100 people attended the event and heard Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts sing carols. The tree is next to the Douglas Community United Methodist Church in Douglas.

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

Investment with Alaskan Brewing pays off
Since starting at Alaskan Brewing Co. in 1991, Curtis Holmes has worked on the bottle line, in the brewery lab and in sales and marketing. Last year - along with about half the brew crew - he assumed the moniker of investor. "I think that most people wanted to invest because of the brewery itself," Holmes said. "Investing on the Internet you never know if the people are trustworthy."

Holiday of freedom, dedication celebrated by Jewish Community
Despite their relatively small population here, Juneau Jews are celebrating Hanukkah this week as most American Jews are: with eight evening candle-lighting ceremonies, potato pancakes, or latkas, the game of dreidl and the exchange of gifts. "Lighting the menorah at sunset is actually kind of tricky in Juneau," said Ken Alper, who will celebrate the holiday with his wife, Jill Ramiel. "Generally it's after work as opposed to sundown."

Empire editorial: More realistic revenue forecast draws a better budget picture
The last revenue forecast of the Knowles-Ulmer administration issued last week portends a brighter picture for the state's financial future. According to outgoing Revenue Commissioner Wilson Condon, Alaska North Slope (ANS) crude is anticipated to carry a higher per barrel price over the next several years than previously predicted, thus easing the pressure on the state's budget.

My Turn: The luckiest man on the Last Frontier
Several years ago I had a premonition I'd reach the end of the trail in 2002, my 80th year. Subsequent signs and portents seem to underscore that likelihood. For example, what I call "my old gaffer" parking permit expires in 2002. Moreover, shortly after leaving office I dreamed I'd be granted 20 years at our Lake Clark homestead to do penance for whatever signs of omission or commission I may have inflicted. That 20 years is up Dec. 2, 2002.

Techwit: Chad-free voting
Now that the 2002 elections have passed without serious mechanical failure, it's time to return to worrying about the technological meltdown of the 2000 presidential race. You may recall that the leader of the free world was determined by faulty technology, poorly designed ballots and little bits of paper called chad.

Toe Cartoon

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), wolverine (Nov. 10-Feb. 150, ducks, geese, brants, snipe, crane (Sept. 1-Dec. 15), red and blue king crab (Oct. 1-March 31).

Take part in the 103rd annual Christmas Bird Count
This year, set the baking and wrapping aside long enough to start a new holiday tradition. Whether the recent sighting of a spotted towhee is a highlight of your year, or you don't know a towhee from a tattler, you're invited to join birders across the Western Hemisphere in a century-old winter tradition, the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Web links
Web sites of interest to local outdoors enthusiasts.

Local skiers and snowboarders head south to find white ground
Lacey Wilson, a Juneau-Douglas High School junior, doesn't wait around for Eaglecrest Ski Area to open before she begins her snowboarding season. If there's no snow in Juneau, she gets on a plane and heads south. "When it's raining in Juneau it makes everything seem dull and boring and depressing," Wilson said. "Snow calms me down. When I'm snowboarding I feel relaxed and good about myself."

The badminton club
Thwip! Thwap! Bright yellow shuttlecocks explode off rackets, sail through the air and drop like wounded ducks on the other side of the net. Players in this doubles match careen across the court, coordinating their moves to cover their side of the net and fend off a fast-paced flurry of shots.

Juneau Youth Basketball Standings
Final standings from the Juneau Department of Parks and Recreation age 12-13 boys basketball league.

Heat too hot for Cavs, who lose 14th straight
MIAMI - A pair of rookies, Caron Butler and Dajuan Wagner, stepped up in the crucial moments Saturday night. The victor in their first encounter was Butler. Butler scored six of his team-high 16 points in the final two minutes as the Miami Heat held on to hand the Cleveland Cavaliers their 14th consecutive loss, 85-79.

Cougars claim title in Shootout
ANCHORAGE - A.J. Harris' only basket - a tiebreaking shot with 11 seconds remaining - gave the College of Charleston the Great Alaska Shootout title with a 71-69 victory over Villanova on Saturday night. Harris, a point guard, allowed the shot clock to wind down, then drove the lane and scooped in the winning shot. After a timeout, Villanova's Derrick Snowden and Gary Buchanan were short on 3-point attempts, and time expired.

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

Badminton's up-and-down popularity
WASHINGTON - Modern badminton started as a sport for military gentlemen in mid-19th-century England. The Duke of Beaufort, on a visit to India, picked up a version of the game called poona and brought it back to Badminton House, his residence in Gloucestershire. It then spread to every country where Britain maintained a military post: that is to say, almost everywhere.

State Briefs
Juneau Assembly set to consider wastewater funding; BLM recommends renewing trans-Alaska oil pipeline lease; Governor's fund donates money for cleanup of crashed plane; State OKs plans for Kenai gas line spur; No bids for state-run slaughterhouse;

Haines: Duo hopes to open 40-acre wildlife park
A maverick tour operator and a local filmmaker have formed a partnership that aims at opening a 40-acre wildlife park next spring in the upper valley outside Haines.

Governor-elect's inauguration set for Monday at Centennial
Frank Murkowski will be sworn in as Alaska's governor Monday at Centennial Hall. No tickets are required for the ceremony, which begins at 11:30 a.m. and should last about an hour. The doors open at 11. The ceremony will be broadcast on APRN and "Gavel-to-Gavel" on cable television.

Intertie panel votes to proceed with study
The Southeast Conference Intertie Committee voted unanimously this week to go ahead with engineering and feasibility studies, a move that prompted USDA Rural Development State Director Bill Allen - present at the meeting along with Denali Commission Chief of Staff Al Ewing - to promise up to $100,000 to help fund the work.

State employee indicted on theft, fraud, forgery charges
A Juneau grand jury on Friday indicted state Department of Education and Early Development employee Gary Martin with stealing more than $150,000 from the state, the district attorney's office announced late Friday.

Study: Users of medical marijuana older, male
WASHINGTON - The typical medicinal marijuana user is likely to resemble someone from the Baby Boom generation - or older - rather than a 20-something poster child, according to a congressional study. Data collected in Hawaii and Oregon - two of the eight states allowing marijuana use for medical treatment - show the majority of users are males, 40 years old or older, who take the drug for severe pain or persistent muscle spasms, said the report.

Commercial fishermen and crew to get Exxon Valdez checks totaling $21.4 million
ANCHORAGE - About 2,000 commercial fishermen and crew will be getting checks for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. The fishermen and crew will receive a combined total of $21.4 million, according to Joseph Malatesta Sr., investigator for Soldotna attorney Arthur "Chuck" Robinson, who represents the fishermen.

Ketchikan: 'Historic Ketchikan' says warehouse can be saved
A historic warehouse next to Ketchikan Creek could be restored to serve as retail space in conjunction with a proposed new tourist walkway along the creek.

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