State OKs permits for Pogo gold mine
State regulators have issued all the permits needed for operators to begin work on the Pogo Mine near Delta Junction. Once federal permits are issued early next year, the consortium of companies proposing the $250 million mine would then decide whether to move forward.

Cartoon promotes irresponsible behavior
"The Wizard of ID" frequently features drunkenness. In a state with so many alcoholism problems you shouldn't promote humor about drinking. Dump the cartoon and move "Dilbert" to the comics page where it belongs.

Put marriage, scripture in proper context
If the Bible says homosexuality is an abomination, why is there no mention of lesbians? Are lesbians "the chosen few" or is the "abomination" verse addressing a specific activity unrelated to homosexuality as we understand it today?

Digital voting machines a bad idea
A quiet revolution is occurring in our voting system and it should alarm all citizens. Nationally, states are buying digital voting machines, mainly from Diebold, to meet the requirements of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Alaska has just purchased 55 of these machines and plans to purchase more before the November 2004 elections.

Canada can't be trusted on mine
If Governor Murkowski really expects the British Columbia government and mining company Redfern Resources to ensure that the Tulsequah Chief mine doesn't harm the clean water and healthy salmon runs that pump at least $12 million in direct revenues to the Juneau fishermen, then I expect a bearded, chubby guy in a red suit to come down my chimney in a couple of weeks and leave gifts all around my living room.

Quotes to ponder
Within the hallways of Juneau-Douglas High School and elsewhere many people will be hearing and seeing quotes brought to them by the CDC class (Conflict, Diversity and Communication). The class teaches the importance of understanding, analyzing and helping to solve problems through these methods.

Homosexuality not exclusive to humans
In response to Jackie Woolf's letter to the editor on Dec. 12 ("Gay lifestyle undermines fabric of society"), I feel the need to provide some accurate scientific information to Ms. Woolf and the public.

Logging threatens future generations
I am a 14-year-old student at Juneau-Douglas High School. I am writing to express my concerns about the current Tongass National Forest Management Plan.

Giving 'help' where none is requested
I don't disagree secondhand smoke can be harmful, but I'm wondering exactly why folks insist bars are the cause. Ms. Cahill (Juneau Clean Air Coalition) claims smoking in bars hurts her and others. So what's JCAC's actual goal? To protect smokers and non-smokers who decided to patronize or work at bars? Did these people ask you to save them Ms. Cahill? Notice I mentioned "made the decision."

Hunting policy makes beautiful state ugly
I do not understand your policy of "hunting" wolves from the air or anything else from the air. That is not hunting. It is killing, no ifs ands or buts about it.

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

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

Murkowski proposes relief for drug costs
Seniors waiting for new prescription drug benefits passed by Congress earlier this month might get some help from the state before the new federal program starts in 2006.

Photo: Assembling food baskets
Nikki Richert stacks 5-pound bags of potatoes Thursday at the Glacier Marine warehouse on Industrial Boulevard. REACH, a group that assists the disabled, decorated Christmas boxes and Home Builders Association collected funds to buy the food. The two groups and other volunteers prepared about 300 baskets to be delivered to the Salvation Army, Glory Hole and St. Vincent de Paul charities.

Births, judgments and other legal matters.

Corrections to previous stories.

A hockey league for learning
One month ago, Randi Jo Kubik, 12, stepped onto the ice at the Treadwell Arena for the first time in her life. After fumbling with the skates, pads and helmet provided to her by the organizers of the Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School Culture Club's ice hockey program, she spent an hour maneuvering her legs over the glossy surface.

Movies to be shown at glacier to help Glory Hole
The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center will show two short movies this weekend to raise money for the Glory Hole, the downtown homeless shelter. "Lassie's Litter Bit" and "How Alaska Was Discovered," both 16 mm films, will be shown at 3 and 4 p.m. Saturday at the visitor center. Entrance fees to the event are a $1 per-person or $3 per-family donation to the shelter, and a nonperishable food item.

Cruise ship industry wants to sink tax
The cruise ship industry is raising legal questions about a proposal by Gov. Frank Murkowski to impose a $5 tax on cruise ship passengers.

School Board ratifies raises
The Juneau School Board ratified this school year's contract for teachers on a 5-1 vote Thursday night, giving closure to nearly a year of contentious negotiations.

Around Town
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events

Consultants suggest creating tour area at Juneau Airport
Creating an area to arrange tours and redesigning the intersection off Shell Simmons Drive are part of a proposal to renovate the Juneau Airport, consultants told the Airport Board Wednesday.

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

Feds award city grant to protect cruise ships
The city is receiving a $94,000 federal grant to prevent terrorist attacks on cruise ships, Port Director John Stone said.

Kennel club to encourage responsible dog walkers
Capital Kennel Club of Juneau wants to teach dog walkers how to be good citizens. The "good dog walkers," as the club calls them, will focus on community service and education.

Teen lands 9 years for rape
Less than four months after turning 18, Scott Ellis was sentenced Thursday to nine years in prison for two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor.

... for helping out on Thanksgiving Day
On behalf of the 371 individuals who enjoyed a great Thanksgiving Day dinner, we of the Salvation Army Juneau would like to say thank you to the following families, groups and individuals who helped cook, carve turkeys, serve in the food line, cut and serve pie, set up and clean off tables, wash dishes, sweep floors and a myriad of other duties not mentioned.

Photos: Mothballed Ferry
Battered and forlorn, the hulk of the ferry-turned-fish processor-turned-potential museum Kalakala sits on the north shore of Lake Union in Seattle earlier this month.

Woodrow and Weedman to marry
Larissa Weedman and Clint Woodrow of Juneau will be married in a ceremony at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 21 at the Hangar Ballroom.

Neighbors Digest
Community news in brief

Student recognitions
News about local students.

... for contributing to fund-raiser
We would like to thank the following businesses for their contributions to our successful fund-raiser.

Lyn Dunbar
Haines resident Lyn Dunbar, 41, died Dec. 6, 2003, in British Columbia.

Richard A. Voss
Former Juneau resident Richard A. Voss, 40, died of natural causes Dec. 8, 2003, at his family home in Ellensburg, Wash.

My Turn: Democrats proud to support and fight for Longevity Bonus
"A promise made is a debt unpaid." Robert Service wrote it and honorable Alaskans respect the pledge of a handshake, the commitment of giving one's word. That's why abandoning the 1993 promise to recipients of the Longevity Bonus runs counter to values that we teach our children to hold dear.

My Turn: Modern system of long-term imprisonment costly to society
Four years ago the United States moved ahead of Russia as the nation most inclined to lock up her citizens. Our imprisonment rate is the highest on Earth, five times that of Canada, six times that of the United Kingdom and far higher that any of the so-called undeveloped countries of the world - all of which have much lower crime rates.

Juneau JV girls start the season with a win
Lexi Garvey scored 13 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, as the Juneau-Douglas High School girls junior varsity basketball team routed the Yakutat varsity 45-21 at the Mount St. Elias Classic in Yakutat.

Class 3A Barrow buries Bear boys
It was a tale of two halves for the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team on Thursday. But Juneau's good second half couldn't help the Crimson Bears overcome their 21-point deficit from a bad first half as Juneau lost its second game of the season, 64-60 to the Class 3A Barrow Whalers in the first round of the Service Cougar Tip-Off Classic at Anchorage's Service High School.

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.

Cyclists selected for national cyclocross team camp in Belgium
Two young cyclists who got their start in Juneau are heading to Belgium this weekend to attend the inaugural U.S. European Cyclocross Racing Camp. Tucker Thomas and David Fleischhauer, who both now live in Olympia, Wash., will depart Seattle on Friday for the camp and they will compete in their first race on Sunday. Both cyclists compete for the Rad Racing Northwest Junior Developmental Team of Washington.

Holiday Cup soccer tourney expands to include adult players
It's not just for kids anymore. A record 35 indoor soccer teams - including seven adult squads in a new masters division - will compete over the next two weeks in the 11th annual Holiday Cup tournament.

Rockets blast off on Cavs
Steve Francis was already sick and tired. He didn't even want to think abut how he would have felt if the Houston Rockets had lost again. Francis and Cuttino Mobley scored 18 points apiece and each made big 3-pointers down the stretch as Houston rallied for an 89-85 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

Tompkins 7th among monoskiers at the Hartford Ski Spectacular
Joe Tompkins of Juneau finished seventh among monoskiers and 37th overall during the men's giant slalom race at the Hartford Ski Spectacular on Friday at Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado.

Golden Bears run away from Crimson Bears
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team would like the license plate number of that Mack truck. The Crimson Bears were run over by the two-time defending Class 4A state champion Bartlett Golden Bears 89-41 in their season-opener Wednesday at Bartlett High School in a game that was only close in the first minute or two.

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.

Officials to crack down on dividend cheaters
The state is getting tougher on people who cheat to get an Alaska Permanent Fund dividend check. The Alaska Department of Revenue, among other things, is starting to enforce an old penalty: Cheat on your PFD and lose the next five annual checks.

This Day in History
In Alaska; in the nation; in the world.

Stevens' way
He wielded extraordinary power in Washington for more than three decades, eventually holding sway over nearly $800 billion a year in federal spending. But outside the halls of the U.S. Senate, which is a world of personal wealth so rarified some call it "the Millionaires' Club," Sen. Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican, had struggled financially. Then, in 1997, he got serious about making money. And in almost no time, he too was a millionaire - thanks to investments with businessmen who received government contracts or other benefits with his help.

New report suggests spill effects can last for decades
Toxic disasters such as the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska have a far greater and longer-lasting effect on the environment than isolated studies might suggest, according to a review of hundreds of research papers.

Photo: Snow fallen on cedar
A light layer of snow highlights the cedar Kadjuk bird on top of the 55-foot tall Chief Johnson totem pole near the Centennial Building parking lot in Ketchikan. The pole was carved by Tlingit carver Israel Shotridge in 1989.

Eight seniors sue for reinstatement of Longevity Bonus
Eight Alaskans are suing the state, contending it broke a promise to them by canceling the Longevity Bonus Program for elderly residents.

Conoco Phillips to increase spending in Alaska in 2004
Conoco Phillips plans to spend $600 million for oil and gas exploration and other capital projects in Alaska next year, an increase of 11 percent over this year.

This Day in History
In Alaska; in the nation; in the world.

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

Excavator stuck in soup of snow, mud at Soldotna lake
It started with an Alaska State Trooper pickup truck, driven to a Soldotna lake to check the licenses of a couple of ice fishermen. That truck got stuck in a bog leading to the lake. So did another truck that attempted to pull it out. So did a bulldozer, then a 22-ton excavator. All have been rescued, except the excavator, which remains in limbo beneath a soup of snow, mud and ice.

Miner finds gold nugget as large as a Palm Pilot
Nome miner Jan Kralik was getting a strong signal. Strong, as in lots of gold lying nearby. It was fall 2002 and Kralik was dowsing on a placer claim he holds along Gold Run Creek, some 50 miles northwest of Nome. He held a brass rod in each hand and walked around like a human metal detector until the rods moved sharply.

Middle Earth Smackdown: Point-Counterpoint 1
He's immortal, he's a crack shot with a bow and arrow, and he's beautiful. I could end my argument in favor of Legolas Greenleaf right there and have this thing all wrapped up in pretty Santa Claus paper, but I am sworn to fill 15 inches of newsprint, and, like Legolas, I do not take my responsibilities lightly.

Movies: Where & when
Local movie shows and times.

What's Happening
Upcoming local events.

Middle Earth Smackdown: Point-Counterpoint 2
Let's face it, people: we love them both. Legolas and Aragorn both are handsome, strong, clever and perceptive. They stand by their friends, they have a sense of doing things for the greater good and they're buddies with Gandalf. Who doesn't want to be buddies with Gandalf?

Grumpsicle has a brand new bag
Kayla Parker, 20, remembers one of the first times she acted in "The Grumpsicle" - way back when she was 4. "I could see the Grumpsicle from the side of the stage," Parker said. "The whole dance I was peeking at him. We were supposed to run off on the side of the stage where he was, and I ran off on the opposite side because he scared me so much."

Toe cartoon
Cartoon by local artist Toe.

Grass-roots movement helps 'Uncovered' reveal Bush's Iraq policy
Call it living room democracy. When filmmaker Robert Greenwald made "Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War," an "anti-administration documentary" as dubbed by the Los Angeles Times, he knew he'd have trouble getting it distributed through mainstream channels.

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