It's not who you are, but where
During the holidays, most peoples' thoughts turn to yuletide logs, mistletoe and other props from a Disney movie. Not me. My mind turns to gadgets, the shinier the better. Even people who claim to hate gadgets love to get them for Christmas. And there's no better gadget to give than a location device.

Wolf policy makes headlines far away
A heads-up to the Alaskan tourism industry from considerably south of the border: Glancing at the Buenos Aires Herald newspaper this morning, we spied one piece of news from Alaska.

Clarifying the business tax increase
While I agree with the spirit of Lisa Weimer's and Diane Powell's distress at the recent hike in business license rates, they are pointing their fingers in the wrong direction. The increase was not the product of the City and Borough of Juneau. This was a special gift to us from the same guy who took away the Senior Longevity Bonus. This was reported by the Juneau Empire on March 6, 2003.

Road is a poor solution
There are few places on Earth better suited to marine transportation than Southeast Alaska. In this chain of island communities wedged between mountain and sea, where winter weather buries the roads and blinds the airways, it's no wonder that our Alaska Marine Highway System has become an integral part of our community and economy.

Smoking ordinance a necessary protection
I am writing in response to Friday's Juneau Chamber of Commerce panel discussion regarding an initiative to strengthen Juneau's clean indoor air ordinance. I support this initiative because the current ordinance with its numerous exemptions fails to protect the citizens of Juneau from the harmful effects of indoor second-hand cigarette smoke.

Needs guidance about taking Bible literally
The recent letter by Ione Ackerman discussing homosexuality as an abomination reminded me of an e-mail that was sent around several years ago when Dr. Laura Schlessinger was making similar comments. Here is a version of that e-mail:

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

Palestinian journalist: Making one state will solve Middle East crisis
Ramzy Baroud never contemplated throwing a stone at anyone before that day in 1987. He was 14 years old, an age when most American kids are worried about acne and pop quizzes. But Baroud was worried about the safety of young girls in the dusty Gaza Strip refugee camp where he grew up.

This Day in History
In Alaska • In 1948, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Storis arrived in Juneau to take up permanent station. • In 1964, 1 million acres of North Slope land were leased for oil and gas development for $5.6 million. Gov. William Egan expressed his disappointment over the amount paid for the leases. Anchorage police began rounding up loose dogs. This unprecedented action followed a flurry of dog bite incidents and reports of dogs roaming the city in packs.

City seeks wetlands permit for school site
The city has applied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to fill some wetlands at the site of the planned high school at Dimond Park next to the Mendenhall River.

Photo: Slippery driving
A 19-year-old Juneau woman was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital for minor injuries Sunday night after rolling her black Chevrolet Blazer at approximately 6:15 p.m. in a one-car accident on outbound Egan Drive, about one-third of a mile northwest of the Glacier Avenue turnoff.

Around Town
Today:Valley Toastmasters meeting, 6:10 a.m. every Tuesday, Henry's. Details: Jim, 789-3074. Sewing Circle, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Valley Senior Center. Details: Betty, 789-7236. Life Ring, a support group for women, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, Cathedral of the Nativity basement, Fifth and Gold streets. Lunch is provided, all are welcome. Details: Cathedral of the Nativity, 586-1513.

Assembly split over smoking ban
The Juneau Assembly is divided over anti-smoking advocates' lobbying efforts to make all bars and restaurant bars smoke-free in Juneau, members said Monday.

Flu strikes 90 people in Southeast, state says
About 90 cases of influenza have been reported in Southeast Alaska during the last month, marking an early start to what staff at the Centers for Disease Conrol say may be one of the worst flu seasons since the 1970s.

City considers halt to waterfront construction
The Juneau Assembly proposed Monday night to allow no waterfront construction until the city's development plan is finalized.

Bottom of the hill or bust
Darion Carlson, 8, makes his way down the sledding hill behind Floyd Dryden Middle School after Wesley Hill, 8, bailed out behind him Sunday morning.

This Day in History
In Alaska:• In 1741, Vitus Bering, early Russian explorer, died on Bering Island after his ship was cast ashore following his second voyage to Alaska. • In 1900, the steamer City of Topeka was wrecked on Sullivan Island near Haines but was later salvaged.

House, Senate reorganize committees
The Republican Majority in the state House of Representatives made new committee assignments and talked strategy last week in Anchorage in preparation for the upcoming legislative session, which begins Jan. 12.

Holiday baskets - fruit of a rich spirit
When Racheal MacLeod was growing up in Victoria, British Columbia, her family was poor, but rich in spirit.

Holiday glow
Lahna Deering walks by a streetlight decorated with Christmas lights Monday on Marine Way. Downtown lampposts have been decked out in holiday lights.

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

Sledding in Treadwell, 1912
From left to right, Irving Anderson, George Benson, Frank Anderson, Eleanor Murphy, Mark Smith and Charlotte Price take a break from sledding in Treadwell in 1912.

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. Toddler Play Group, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., REACH, 3272 Hospital Dr. A playtime for toddlers and class/support group for parents.

Put the blame on Cheney for U.S. mess in Iraq
This isn't how Papa Bush and the handlers thought it would work out. Not when they put solid Dick Cheney in charge of the kid's government.

When law goes out on a limb
Kay Leibrand, a 61-year old grandmother, breast-cancer survivor and former software engineer, was arrested and nearly went to jail in Palo Alto, Calif., because her hedge of xylosma bushes was more than 2 feet tall.

Democrats using Longevity Bonus to score political points
In 1970, while debating creation of the Longevity Bonus, opponents charged the new program was financially dangerous because no one knew its future costs. Supporters pointed to the windfalls headed Alaska's way due to the discovery of Prudhoe Bay and stated that limiting the bonus recipients to true pioneers who lived in Alaska prior to statehood would control the expense.

Another century, another crusade
For 14 centuries, Christians and Muslims have waged a series of conquests and crusades. And while we know who started the fighting, we don't know who will end it. The one safe bet is that America's current crusade in the Middle East will not be the last.

Juneau wrestlers go 1-2 at Bartlett team tourney
The Juneau-Douglas High School Crimson Bears posted a 1-2 record during the Jerry Palmer Invitational team tournament Friday and Saturday at Anchorage's Bartlett High School.

Sports in Juneau
NEW CALENDAR ITEM • Juneau-Douglas Ice Association youth hockey registration - Sign-up for the JDIA's second season takes place from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Nugget Mall.

Blind musher decides not to enter Iditarod this year
ANCHORAGE - A 19-year-old legally blind musher from Oregon will not compete in next year's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Sharing a lot of glove
Super heavyweights Justin Rose, left, and Tevita Talamai swap blows during their Fight Night Boxing bout Saturday night at Centennial Hall. Talamai won a split decision in the battle between former Juneau-Douglas High School football players.

Sports in Juneau
NEW CALENDAR ITEMS • Juneau-Douglas Ice Association youth hockey registration - Sign-up for the JDIA's second season takes place from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Nugget Mall. The JDIA program is for hockey players ages 5-18.

Governor eyes $230 million in cuts, new funds
The Murkowski administration is considering about $230 million in cuts and new revenues in next year's budget to extend the life of the state budget reserve, Republicans said.

Photo: A position of truss
Colorfully dressed construction worker Shayne Brown uses a nail gun to attach a brace to a roof joist on a new building in Ketchikan Wednesday. The relatively balmy weather made raingear unnecessary.

Science Emporium gives teens look at what college offers
FAIRBANKS - A pair of forks with wires extending from their ends was the centerpiece of the "electrifying glowing pickle" display at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Skiers rescue downed pilot
ANCHORAGE - A massive search for the pilot of a small plane that crashed at Eklutna Lake ended when the man stumbled upon a group of cross-country skiers as he was attempting to walk to help.

Fees rise next year in state's 121 parks, recreation areas
ANCHORAGE - Beginning next year, fees to use Alaska's state parks and recreation areas will be going up again.

Putnam execs apologize to trustees for 'ethical lapses'
ANCHORAGE - Putnam Investments' top executives traveled to Alaska to apologize to Alaska Permanent Fund trustees for what they called "ethical lapses" that have embroiled the firm in a trading scandal now sweeping the nation's mutual-fund industry.

Alaska Digest
staff and Wire reports

Garage inventor builds amphibious vehicle that works
KETCHIKAN - Stan Hewitt might be the new king of garage inventors. His amphibious vehicle - imagine a cross between a work skiff and a 1950s sci-fi movie Mars rover - looks cool and actually works.

Alaska Digest
staff and Wire reports

Agrium threatens plant closure if sufficient gas can't be found
KENAI - Agrium's fertilizer manufacturing complex at Nikiski may close at the end of 2005 unless a sufficient supply of natural gas can be secured, according to corporate officials.

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