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Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Commissioner background
I think the Empire owes it to readers who did not vote for Mr. Murkowski to do a little more reporting on the new governor's cabinet choices. I had to read the Anchorage paper to learn our new Department of Environmental Conservation leader spent much of her recent career as a timber industry lobbyist.

Conflict of values
The president and the Congress are accountable to the people of America. We the people don't have to ask them to be accountable. They were elected by us. They represent Americans. Accountable equates with responsibilities, and those responsibilities include defending the principles and values up on which this country is founded. It is in the Constitution.

Unwelcome herbicide
In reference to an article in the Anchorage Daily News on Nov. 29, Trees vs. Food, I find it inconceivable that the Department of Environmental Conservation is entertaining the idea of mass spraying of herbicide as a "forestry management tool."

Greeney fan
I don't know who Phil Greeney is or where he came from, but I'd like to read more of his excellent writing in the Empire. The My Turn in Sunday's paper was first-class.

Vaccination history
I must comment on Dec. 9's report of the state's smallpox vaccination planning under the federal Patriot Act. I am extremely happy to hear that public smallpox vaccination will be voluntary. Based on the information provided to the Juneau Empire about the plan (limited due to "security considerations" - ha! ha! ha!), I worry that the public education phase will be full of pseudo-science.

Format and delivery
My hat is off to you and your staff. I think you all have done a wonderful job with the newspaper's format and new delivery system.

Kids and guns
Kids receive enough mixed messages as it is without being handed guns in a school-sponsored program. I am responding to the article in the Juneau Empire on Dec. 6 about the so-called outdoor survival program for sixth graders at Floyd Dryden.

Other people's money
Again, Ted Stevens ignored his oath to the U.S. Constitution. This time he embezzled $28 million from U.S. taxpayers to fund a railroad spur to serve a handful of tourists. "It's years ahead of its time," he stated. That's like saying the Delta Barley Project was years ahead of its time.

Historic photos
That was so cool to see that old picture of when the bridge (Empire, Dec. 10) opened up in 1935. My Grandpa, Wilbur Converse, held a one-of-a-kind job during the building of that bridge. He sat in a skiff rowing around under the bridge to be ready to pull anyone out of the water that may have had the misfortune of falling off.

A Saturday market
The deck-over at Marine Park is progressing along at a good clip so I figured it's time to start thinking about its summertime use. It was sold to us as a multi-use facility, sometimes a bus parking lot, sometimes a place for people. Most of the time it will be for bus use, there's no getting around that.

This Day in History
In 1826, John H. Kinkead, the first governor of the Alaska territory, was born in Pennsylvania.

Planning Commission OKs bridge redesign
The Juneau Planning Commission on Tuesday approved the state's conceptual design for changes on the Douglas Bridge and the intersection of 10th Street and Egan Drive, although cyclists said the plan puts their safety at risk. The vote was 4-3.

Assembly fills Planning Commission slots
The Juneau Assembly filled five slots on the Juneau Planning Commission on Monday, including a vacancy created by the resignation of Commissioner Jody Vick. Vick resigned Monday, citing "prior commitments" in a letter to the Assembly. He could not be reached for comment by the Empire's midday deadline.

Haines borough manager dies, 58
Haines Borough Manager Marco Pignalberi died of a massive heart attack early today, city officials said. Pignalberi, 58, was taken to the SEARHC Clinic in Haines late Monday night after suffering a mild heart attack, said Haines Borough Mayor Mike Case. Pignalberi suffered a second, more serious heart attack around 9 a.m. today that killed him, said Case.

Photo: The Douglas Bridge opening in 1935
The original Douglas Bridge opened on Oct. 13, 1935, ending the dependency on ferries for transporting people and goods between Douglas and Juneau. After decades of lobbying for a bridge to connect the two communities, on Dec. 28, 1933, the Alaska Road Commission received $250,000 from the Public Works Administration to begin construction.

Meeting the new governor
While the governor's annual open house is as much a tradition for some Juneau residents as a stuffed turkey or the Yule log, Tuesday night's reception also offered visitors a chance to shake the hand of the man who moved into the executive residence barely one week earlier. Although most of the decorations were in place by the time the new first family moved in, Gov. Frank Murkowski said he and first lady Nancy Murkowski found a nativity scene in the attic of the Governor's House. They gave it prominent display on a piano in the ballroom.

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

Taku Smokeries/Fisheries changes ownership
Sandro Lane has sold his stake in Taku Smokeries and Taku Fisheries, the Juneau companies he started at his home in 1983. The Gallizio family, which has owned 50 percent of the shares of the parent company since 1992, will take over the operation of the business at the end of this month.

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

District to present Valley HS plans
The Juneau Assembly Public Works and Facilities Committee on Wednesday will hear the school district's plan for a Mendenhall Valley High School. The plan, which was approved by the Juneau School Board last month, must be approved by the Public Works and Facilities Committee and the full Assembly before the school can be built.

Treadwell ice rink to open by February
If you get ice skates for Christmas, you'll have to wait about a month before you can use them at the Treadwell Arena. The grand opening for Juneau's first indoor ice rink has been delayed. In September, plans called for a December opening. The city now hopes to have the arena open by February, Parks and Recreation Director Kim Kiefer said.

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

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

This Day in History
In 1902, the Kotzebue Post Office was established with Dana H. Thomas as postmaster.

Thank you
...for your participation; ...for your kindness; ...for your support.

Photo: Mask makers
Laine White, left, and Hannah Marx, first-graders at Auke Bay Elementary School demonstrate how they lay on the floor while the plaster for their masks dried.

Plan ahead to lessen depression during the holidays
The pain of losses sustained during the past seems to be heightened at this time of year. Widowed persons, in particular, often feel depressed during the holiday season and facing the holidays can be a daunting challenge. Holidays are thought of as family times, so memories may be stronger and the absence of a loved one felt even more than usual.

Light gardeners make a difference
Everything changes. The ground shifts, seasons move on, our pets age faster than we do, winter is wet rather than cold and nothing is at all like it was. Our responses are various, some fade, some wait and some move on with the times. Following the conditions we find keeps us in synch with the world. We plant when we can, dig when the ground is willing, and hunker down when the weather turns foul.

Pet of the week
Thor is a great Alaskan dog, a black Lab-husky mix. He is a neutered male just 1 year old. Thor is looking for an active, outdoorsy person who'd like his company on runs and hikes.

Richard Manly Wellman
Juneau resident Richard Manly Wellman died Dec. 4, 2002, in Juneau.

Herbert W. Jaenicke
Herbert William Jaenicke died Dec. 9, 2002, in Anchorage after a brief illness.

Doris Ham
Former Juneau educator Doris Marie Ham, 83, died Sept. 28, 2002, in Humble, Texas.

My Turn: Soccer is not ice hockey
Disappointed, outraged, inexperienced, old boy/girl network, sham, hidden agenda! These are all words I could incorporate into my diatribe. No, I'm not talking about the local Assembly elections! I'm talking about the recent rink manager appointment! What happened to the requisite experience requirements that were indicated in the job description for the rink manager? The person that was hired has absolutely zero experience with rinks or rink management, what she has is connections in Parks and Rec. In fact, she is employed there!

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

Braves claim title in Region V-2A volleyball
Hoonah continued its dominance of Southeast small-schools volleyball last weekend by winning the title at the Region V-Class 2A championship in Kake. The Braves beat the Klawock Chieftains 17-15, 15-5, 15-0 to win the region title for the third straight year. They did not lose a match in the entire tournament.

Alaska State Volleyball Champions
The Alaska state high school girls volleyball champions since 1976-77. The high school season has been in the fall and the mid-winter at various times over the years, so school years are listed. There was only one size classification until 1984-85, with multiple size classifications introduced the next year and Class 4A being the largest school classification.

Washington receiver Hooks booked into jail after traffic accident
SEATTLE - Washington wide receiver Wilbur Hooks Jr. was booked into jail for investigation of hit-and-run and reckless driving after his car crashed into another vehicle.

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

Vikings dominates region wrestling
Buoyed by strong performances from upperclassmen and by freshman who stepped up in the spotlight, Petersburg won the Region V-Class 2A-3A wrestling meet last Friday and Saturday in Craig. The Vikings qualified 14 wrestlers for this weekend's Class 1A-2A-3A state tournament and finished with 235.5 points, well ahead of second-place Mount Edgecumbe (151.5 points) and third-place Klawock (115 points).

Perseverance pays off for Kake wrestler
Kake senior wrestler Aaron Billy earned a trip to state by finishing third at last weekend's Region V-Class 2A-3A meet. But in Billy's case, the story is not just in the accomplishment. It's also in the journey he took to get there.

Cavs rally from 21 down, but Bucks win in 2nd OT
CLEVELAND - Sam Cassell scored 39 points to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a double-overtime victory - but was not pleased. "We just escaped," Cassell said after a wild 140-133 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night. "We're up by 20 and let up. We can't have these games."

Alaska Natives say education system fails them
ANCHORAGE - Educators, parents and former students who gathered at an Alaska Native education conference say the western education system has largely failed them. But some also pointed out that efforts to restructure schools' culture and course work have begun.

Several airlines vie for Adak-Anchorage subsidy
ANCHORAGE - A decision on jet service between Anchorage and Adak is expected by year's end, and Alaska Airlines is leading the competition in endorsements.

State Briefs
Ellis, Elton to lead Senate Dems; Man charged with manslaughter, DWI; Man seeks permit to house up to 60 dogs; Douglas Bridge update; Construction company appeals order; Alaska Airlines: print boarding passes at home; Homer plans for jump in cruise ship visits

Yakutat beach gains national acclaim as a prime destination for surfers
Last August, California sportswriter Tim Dowell did what he's done every summer he can remember: he surfed. Only this time, he wasn't paddling out with dozens of tan-backed youths to catch warm California waves. Dowell was in Yakutat, Alaska, population 800, where "town" consists of a post office and a single store, and bears roam freely along the few gravel roads.

Regulators call on phone competitors to cooperate
ANCHORAGE - State regulators are calling on the two top phone companies in Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks to stop their feuding. The Regulatory Commission of Alaska on Monday ordered General Communication Inc. and Alaska Communications Systems to cooperate better, saying consumers have been victims in a dispute between the two companies.

Red Dog Mine posts loss
ANCHORAGE - The Red Dog mine near Kotzebue posted an operating loss of $10 million in the third quarter despite higher zinc production, according to Teck Cominco, the mine operator. Mine operations lost $6 million during the same quarter last year.

Mum's the word for new commissioners
Gov. Frank Murkowski named five commissioners to various departments in state government on Monday, but appointees are mum - at least for now - on speaking with the press, at the request of the administration. John Manly, a Murkowski spokesman, said the administration would prefer that all media questions be run through the administration.

Murkowski vows to 'clean out' Department of Labor
Gov. Frank Murkowski vowed this week that his new labor commissioner would "clean out" a state department that has deteriorated and become highly politicized. Exactly what problems there are with the department is a question for which Ed Flanagan would like an answer.

BP drops Alaska-residency requirement
FAIRBANKS - BP has changed its hiring policy for Alaska workers. The British company used to require hires to live in Alaska if they worked in Alaska, but no longer. The company changed that policy Nov. 20, and now allows employees to live Outside while collecting a paycheck for work in Alaska fields.

Report: New cruise ship rules working
ANCHORAGE - A new state report says tougher regulations designed to protect Alaska's waters from cruise-ship pollution effectively protect the environment. The report, released Tuesday by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, found that newly installed waste treatment systems on ships filter out much of the bacteria and other pollutants generated on board. The wake of the ships effectively dilutes what is released, the study said.

Tribal groups seek efficiency to avoid forced consolidation
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Native groups are working to find ways to streamline and economize the delivery of federal services to the state's 229 federally recognized tribes.

State Briefs
Troopers prevent suicide in Fairbanks; Eielson airmen detained in drug raid; Commission denies permit for dog lot; Crewman dies, two injured south of Adak; Flags lowered for Pignalberi

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