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Sunday, December 15, 2002

All talk, no action
We've had so many ideas about tourism in Juneau. In the spring, the Assembly received the Tourism Management Plan report and talked and met to discuss it. In October, a consultant met with the Assembly and others to discuss tourism concerns. Now, I see that another survey report will be presented next week.

Gov. Murkowski is putting common sense to work
I would like to thank Gov. Murkowski for his quick decision to restore road maintenance in Alaska to last year's levels. In addition to restoring lost jobs and improving public safety, it gives us pawns one less thing to worry about. When winter does set in, we will be able to get home.

Problems on Alaway Ave.
Concerning the noise issue on Alaway Avenue, After Mr. and Mrs. Duran presented their arguments to the Planning Commission, I asked Mr. Dybdahl if the commission would allow further public testimony. Mr. Dybdahl stated the commission would accept more public testimony at the next meeting, to which Duran's attorney loudly protested "this isn't part of the deal we agreed upon."

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

MacKinnon taken off interview list for city manager
The Juneau Assembly will restart its search for a new city manager, this time without former Assembly member and Interim City Manager John MacKinnon in the mix. The Assembly spent more than two hours Friday night debating how to approach the search and whether to interview MacKinnon for the permanent job. Part of the meeting was closed to the public.

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

Photo: Shades of '34th Street'
Santa Claus (not further identified) waves to passing cars Saturday on Old Dairy Road. Just ten more days to Christmas. Brian wallace / juneau empire

Bird count adds to N. American effort
Under a pearly, windless sky Saturday morning in the Mendenhall Wetlands, gliding mew gulls drew lines on an otherwise unruffled sheet of water, a trumpeter swan floated in a waterway behind a frosted, tawny field, and a kingfisher watched an otter claim a sculpin. They didn't go unnoticed by Bob Armstrong, Dave Fremming and Sharon Fremming, who were tallying birds for the Audubon Society's 103rd annual Christmas Bird Count.

Juneau charities lag behind holiday goals
With a shorter charity-drive season between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, local groups are scrambling for holiday donations of items from toys to turkeys. So far, many charities are far behind their goals. At the Glory Hole, for example, there is a turkey dearth for Christmas boxes for needy families. So far the shelter has collected about 45 turkeys, but 183 families are in need of boxes, according to Director Lance Young.

Rena E. Johnson
Douglas resident Rena Elizabeth Johnson, 83, died Dec. 12, 2002 at the Juneau Pioneers' Home.

Elizabeth Arvold Haas
Juneau resident Elizabeth Arvold Haas died Dec. 10, 2002, in Juneau.

My Turn: Voters say 'build those roads'
During the fall election campaign, a minority of Alaskans (judging by voting results), criticized Gov. Frank Murkowski's plan to build roads and other infrastructure in Alaska. They questioned whether it could be afforded. The question is can we afford not to expand the highway system?

Empire editorial: Short airport runway puts the future of Juneau at risk
Mother Nature has taught us a hard lesson about the rippling effect of reduced air access to Juneau during the course of our fog-bound fall. The experience has heightened the general awareness of how much Juneau citizens and visitors depend upon air service. When flights are canceled, the economic ramifications are compounded and frustration levels rise.

Everything I know I learned from catalogs
Recently, in casual conversation, I overheard myself discussing things normally learned in a lecture hall or through world travel. Pretty sure I hadn't been to school or taken a trip lately, I wracked my brain for a moment and came up with the only possible answer - holiday catalogs.

What do you think?
Last week's question: Alaska's new governor says he supports a road out of Juneau. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Toe Cartoon

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

The nature of SE fog
Fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on. That was Carl Sandburg's impression in his famous poem "Fog." To lots of Juneauites this fall, though, the fog came in more like an unwelcome relative that refused to leave as unusually persistent fog disrupted many travel plans. So what exactly causes fog and why has it seemed such a problem this fall?

Out and About
Dec. 17: Juneau Yacht Club monthly meeting and dinner, 6:30 p.m., yacht club near Aurora Basin. Dec. 19: Trail Mix monthly meeting, 7-9 p.m. at the Dzantiki Heeni Middle School library. Share ideas and concerns for Juneau trails. Details: James King, 790-6406. Dec. 21: Turkey Shoot at the Juneau Gun Club on Montana Creek Road, 9 a.m. Details: 789-9844.

Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area: Juneau's magnificent playground
On May 14, 1947, Regional Forester Frank Heintzleman designated 5,815 acres of the Mendenhall Glacier foreland as a recreation area, closing it to all occupancy and use other than recreational activities. Thanks to his inspired vision, this area is enjoyed every day by wildlife, wildlife watchers, hikers, skiers, runners, bikers, fishermen, horseback riders, school groups and leisurely strollers like me.

No-Snow Hunting
Neil Barten headed up the hills near Eaglecrest Ski Area last weekend in search of deer. An avid hunter who works as a state game biologist, he had a good idea of where they'd be. But with no snow on the ground, even at high altitudes, there were too many places to look.

Alaska waterfowl warm to odd weather
KENAI - The recent trend of warm weather may be bad for outdoors enthusiasts who enjoy winter sports such as skiing and snowshoeing, but many nature lovers aren't crying the blues. The unseasonable temperatures mean increased viewing potential for many species of native wildlife, particularly swans, geese and ducks.

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

Ordway Basketball League Standings
Standings from the Juneau Department of Parks and Recreation's Ordway Basketball League, through games of Monday, Dec. 9.

Ladies and old guys salvage event
It was Ladies' Night at the Roughhouse Friday boxing event - and old guys were welcome, too. When the main event had to be scrapped due to some Friday the 13th fog, it was the ladies and the almost-senior citizens who made sure Juneau's roughhouse boxing fans got their money's worth at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.

Boozer's three-point play saves Cavaliers
CLEVELAND - Cleveland Cavaliers coach John Lucas jumped in the air, pounded the scorer's table with his left hand and screamed loudly. Then, for effect, he did it again. Lucas' outburst in the closing minutes didn't hurt the Cavs. They were doing enough damage all by themselves.

Editor's Note
Dear readers, Sometime between the hours of 7 and 10 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12, my car was broken into and a large forest green REI daypack was stolen. This happened in the parking lot by the Hangar on the Wharf and my car is a brown and tan 1987 Ford Bronco II.

A total team effort
Jordan Saceda was feeling down after coming out on the short end of a 7-4 decision in a Friday night wrestling match. The Juneau-Douglas High School sophomore, in his first season of wrestling, was easily handled by Sitka's Matt Way during the schools' dual meet in the Juneau-Douglas High School gym. In another meet earlier in the evening, Saceda had been pinned by Ketchikan's Dan Cook.

State Briefs
Assembly to look at code enforcement; Man sentenced for filing false returns; Clinic to offer Interior's only abortions; Nenana schools seek payment help;

Biologists: Chronic wasting disease unlikely here
FAIRBANKS - Wildlife biologists and veterinarians are not worried about chronic wasting disease spreading to deer, moose and caribou in Alaska, but they aren't taking any chances with the deadly disorder threatening deer and elk populations in the Lower 48.

Warm weather plays havoc with Interior trapping
FAIRBANKS - Veteran Fairbanks trapper Ron Long summed up this year's trapping season so far in two words. "Absolutely horrible," Long said. Long and his partner usually have traps set along a good portion of their 150-mile trapline on the Tanana Flats south of Fairbanks by now. This year, with one of the warmest, driest winters on record thus far, Long doesn't have a single lynx or wolf trap set.

Economics Nobelist accepts UAA position
ANCHORAGE - A winner of this year's Nobel Prize for economics will teach at the University of Alaska Anchorage next year, the university announced Friday. Professor Vernon L. Smith, 75, has accepted the economics chair endowed with $5 million from the estate of the late Anchorage banker Elmer Rasmuson. University officials were clearly proud to have snared such a high-profile professor for the first person to hold the chair.

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