Behind the headlines
Oooooh! Shocking news! "Unemployment rate unexpectedly surges" was the lead in an article in the Empire on Friday. What could cause that? Not American companies going overseas to employ third world laborers at less than subsistence wages.

A difficult question
There are many despotic governments and their citizens suffer from human rights abuses and deplorable and preventable economic conditions. The United States has chosen Iraq as the "most" evil. I wonder why Iraq is more evil than North Korea, China, Russia or any numbers of regimes in Africa and elsewhere.

Out Glacier Highway and on the trail
Someday when Juneau residents talk about going "out the road" it may be to go on the trail. A subcommittee of state and city park advisers, and other residents, talked Saturday at the University of Alaska Southeast about how to enhance recreation in the green area from about Peterson Creek to the Eagle and Herbert rivers.

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

This Day in History
In 1741, Vitus Bering, early Russian explorer, died on Bering Island after his ship was cast ashore following his second voyage to Alaska.

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

My Turn: Bringing 'sustainable' mining to Alaska
In Thursday's Empire an article entitled "Official pushes for sustainable mining" caught my eye. The official, Rebecca Watson of President Bush's Interior Department, made some very important points about the mining industry.

Funny how the comics get under our skin
Will Mr. Pi ever get home? We'll never know and I, for one, am relieved. He was cute and it was fun watching him try to get a grip on Monty's household, but, honestly, I don't believe that he was ever going home. Something painfully and incomprehensibly silly would come up at the last moment. That's why he was on the comics page.

Empire editorial: Juneau is the prime location for the '06 Winter Games
Officials of the International Committee of the Arctic Winter Games (AWG) will visit Juneau next month to make an assessment of Juneau's suitability to host the 2006 Arctic Winter Games. The games are held every two years and the 2004 event will be held at Wood Buffalo, Canada. Juneau is competing with Kenai and Fairbanks for the honor of playing host when it is Alaska's turn to welcome some 1,600 competitors to our state from other northern regions such as Greenland, Russia and Canada.

My Turn: Mr. Dooley was a bit of an optimist
Frank Murkowski was sworn in as governor of Alaska recently. Every time I hear, "Oh, how did this happen," I recall the sage Mr. Dooley's observation that, "Th' dimmycratic party ain't on speakin' terms with itself."

My Turn: Damaged reputations, shattered lives
I write this as a private citizen, faithful Catholic and survivor of sexual abuse by a member of the Catholic clergy. My purpose in writing is to ask for prayerful reflection on the part of our community, most especially the Cathedral parish and our Juneau Diocesan community of faith. The recent allegations against Father Michael Nash have left a raw wound on our souls.

Toe Cartoon

Auke Village Recreation Area trails
Trails in the Auke Village Recreation Area are some of the most accessible and enjoyable for hiking, ambling or even running, especially during the winter when other Juneau trails are snow-covered and icy. The U.S. Forest Service recreation area begins near Mile 14.6 just north of the Alaska Marine Highway terminal. To reach the trails and the beach, turn on the old Glacier Highway just after the terminal and stay on it for half a mile until you see the Forest Service sign.

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

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), wolf (Aug. 1-April 30), wolverine (Nov. 10-Feb. 15), ducks, geese, brants, snipe, crane (Sept. 1-Dec. 15), and red and blue king crab (Oct. 1-March 31).

Seattle man has high hopes for new sled
MUSKEGON, Mich. - David Levy loves the sensation of zipping down a snow-covered slope, the cold wind in his face, his body twisting and turning along the way.

Hardy Hikers
You've probably heard of "The Road Not Taken," Robert Frost's poem about finding a fork in a forest road and changing his life by taking "the one less traveled." Last week, on the Parks and Rec Wednesday Hike, the fork came in a forest trail. And there was no doubt those who took the route less traveled would face a change, although it was more likely to involve a hot, sweaty shirt than a direction in life.

Youth cross-country ski club holds sign-up meeting
The snow is still sparse around these parts, but hopes for the upcoming cross-country ski season are high as the 4-H Nordic Ski Club gets set to return for its fifth year. The club, which meets Sunday afternoons during the winter and offers Juneau youths and families the chance to learn to ski together, will hold its organizational meeting Saturday, Dec. 14.

Family says father of 'Bigfoot' was just kidding
SEATTLE - The man whose prank launched the "Bigfoot" legend in 1958 has died - and family members say they can now reveal the truth.

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

Juneau swimmers battling for state title in Ketchikan
Juneau's Glacier Swim Club is within striking range of winning the team title at the Alaska Swimming Age-Group Championships, but it will need to make a move during today's events at Ketchikan's Mike Smithers Pool to claim the crown. Glacier Swim Club was in second place in the combined team standings after Friday's and Saturday's events with 298 points, which trails only the 326 points posted by Alaska Pacific Swim Club of Anchorage. The meet features the state's top club swimmers age 14 and younger.

Holiday hoofing
It didn't look like winter outside Saturday morning, but about two dozen runners got in the holiday spirit and participated in the Jingle Jog in the Mendenhall Valley.

Juneau runners compete in West Regionals
During this fall's high school cross-country running season, the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears were led by sophomore Tristan Knutson-Lombardo and senior Molly Krehlik. Even though the high school season ended on Sept. 28, Knutson-Lombardo and Krehlik were still posting the top times for Juneau runners during the Foot Locker West Regional races held Saturday at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif.

Bulls 112, Cavaliers 104
CHICAGO - Jalen Rose scored 27 points and Donyell Marshall added 22 as the Bulls blew a 23-point lead but held on to beat the Cavaliers.

Wrestlers go .500 in Anchorage
The Juneau-Douglas High School wrestling team battled to a .500 team record in the Jerry Palmer Invitationals Team Tournament on Friday and Saturday at Anchorage's Bartlett High School. The Crimson Bears opened with a 50-28 win over Chugiak, then fell to eventual tourney champion Skyview, 40-13, in the second round late Friday.

What winter? The East shivers and Alaska basks in spring-like weather
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - All over Alaska, people are asking the same question: "Where's our winter?" On Dec. 1 a handful of folks were water-skiing on a lake just north of Anchorage. Trees are springing new buds. Farther north, some rivers are barely icing over, stranding villagers who rely on frozen waterways as roads.

State Briefs
Alaskans invited to gov.'s open house; Ground Zero flag at state museum; Hawker still the winner in Anchorage; Soldotna man joins federal fish board; Marshall students charged with fraud; Body spotted near Savoonga disappears; Subsistence board seeks comments; More study needed for port expansion

Report estimate: Census didn't find 15,000 Alaskans
ANCHORAGE - A U.S. Census Bureau estimate of the number of people missed in the 2000 census indicates 15,000 Alaskans weren't counted, the largest percentage undercount of any state. The estimate includes an apparent undercount of nearly 1,000 people in Juneau.

Crabbers tell of rescuing fishing crew
EVERETT, Wash. - In nearly three decades of fishing, Capt. Tim Vincent is most proud of the catch he and his crew hauled in on their last trip to the Bering Sea. The raw wind was blowing at 35 to 40 knots, and the ocean swells ran to 20 feet. Off the rocky north coast of Unalaska Island, near a place called Cape Cheerful, a 44-foot halibut boat drifted powerless.

Recommendations for new air-quality permit OK'd
ANCHORAGE - An environmental watchdog group on Friday approved recommendations for a streamlined air quality operating permit for the Valdez Marine Terminal.

Defense plan has National Guard manning missiles
FAIRBANKS - Alaska Army National Guard personnel would handle any emergency use of missile defense testing sites in the state under plans being considered by the Defense Department. Maj. Gen. Phil Oates, National Guard commander in Alaska, told the Washington bureau of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that officials have not formally decided to make the test system capable of defending against incoming enemy missiles.

Exxon's payout cut by a billion
ANCHORAGE - A federal judge has reduced the punitive damage award against Exxon Corp. for spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound 13 years ago - but only by 20 percent. U.S. District Judge Russel Holland in a ruling late Friday reduced the original $5 billion punitive damages award to $4 billion.

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