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.

Responsible development
I was interested in Mr. Richard Schmitz's comments (Empire, Dec. 5). I can't speak to the film he viewed, not having seen it. But his comments regarding resource development are of interest.

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.

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.

Tree hugger
Juneau-Douglas High School swim team member Natalie Hale carries a Christmas tree for customer Chet Durand, right, Sunday. The JDHS swimming and diving teams are holding their annual Christmas tree sale fund-raiser at the Fred Meyer parking lot. The trees will be on sale 5 to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

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

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

2-hour truck chase ends in $24,000 crash
In a little more than two hours early Sunday, a 16-year-old boy allegedly stole two vehicles, led police on a high-speed chase and crashed into a concrete wall, injuring himself and a friend, police said.

Due to an error in information supplied to the Empire, an article in Friday's paper misidentified the name of the shooting range where Floyd Dryden students participated in a outdoor skills program. The program took place at the Juneau Gun Club.

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.

Images from another time: Jualin mine
Looking northwest, the long-closed Jualin gold mine, about 44 miles northwest of dowtown Juneau, is shown with Lion's Head Mountain in the background. The Jualin was discovered by Frank Cook in 1895 and was first operated by the Jualin Mining Co. of Boonville, Ind.

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

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

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.

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.

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."

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.

Toe Cartoon

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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

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.

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.

Glacier Swim Club finishes second overall in state age-group meet
Juneau's Glacier Swim Club couldn't put in a last-day rally to win the Alaska Swimming Age-Group Championships, instead falling short of victory as Alaska Pacific Swim Club of Anchorage won the title Sunday in the three-day meet held at Ketchikan's Mike Smithers Pool.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Police say burglar beat sleeping man; Assembly considers appointments; Doyon declares $3.45 per share dividend; Attacks helped break airport's growth streak

Logging violations expand against Afognak corporation
Logging violations performed by workers for the Afognak Native Corp. are worse than anticipated, state officials say. The area on Afognak Island where the infractions occurred is more than twice as big as originally reported. The timber company involved also removed the logs despite being told to leave them on the ground.

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.

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.

This day in History
In 1948, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Storis arrived in Juneau to take up permanent station.

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

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.

Union contracts on the table
Contracts with the following unions will expire next year:

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.

Man's death ruled negligent homicide
Hoonah resident Sarah Lampe often listens to reports of fires, false alarms and accidents on her police scanner. What she heard Sunday sent her to the scene of a serious motor-vehicle accident less than a block from her home where her nephew was lying on the ground, unconscious and dying.

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.

State to launch smallpox action plan
The state of Alaska was finishing work today on a plan to deliver the first round of smallpox vaccinations here, according to Karen Pearson, director of the state Division of Public Health. Smallpox is caused by the variola virus and results in a high fever and rash. It is contagious and sometimes fatal. While the disease was eradicated worldwide in 1980, the federal government has been focusing on smallpox response plans in the event of a possible terrorist attack.

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.

Repatriation conference helps clans learn about bringing their past home
Thousands of objects made by Tlingit and Haida people - artwork, tools and sacred religious items - were taken from Southeast Alaska during the past 200 years. Some of these artifacts will remain in private collections and public museums. Others may be returning to Alaska, thanks to a federal law that allows Native Americans to reclaim cultural objects and even human remains. Last week, Sealaska Heritage Institute sponsored a three-day conference in Juneau to help Southeast clans from Ketchikan to Yakutat learn about repatriating cultural objects.

Murkowski names 5 new commissioners
Gov. Frank Murkowski today appointed commissioners to the state departments of revenue, environmental conservation, health and social services, corrections, and labor and workforce development. Juneau resident Bill Corbus will head the Department of Revenue and Greg O'Claray, also of Juneau, will head the Department of Labor.

Study: Risk of contracting cancer in Amchitka low
A risk analysis by a U.S. Department of Energy contractor finds that the odds of a person contracting cancer caused by a nuclear leak at Amchitka Island are "infinitely low." The study, however, hasn't convinced a number of scientists, state officials and Aleutian residents who worry about residue from three underground atomic tests on Amchitka more than 30 years ago.

Unions get set for negotiations
The incoming administration of Gov. Frank Murkowski faces negotiations with all 12 state employee unions on labor contracts that expire in 2003. Contracts for 10 of the state's 12 collective bargaining units expire June 30. Contracts for the other two - the Inlandboatmen's Union and the bargaining unit representing state troopers - expire within the first three months of next year.

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