Prefers woods without roads
The recent restoration of the roadless rule by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Dec. 12 is a major victory for America's wild public lands.

Downtown ready for customers
'Tis the Saturday before Christmas - and I counted 48 locally owned stores downtown selling a wide variety of holiday gift items.

Governor should resign
Gov. Frank Murkowski said it would be a difficult decision and yet most of us knew it was coming. His decision to appoint a family member to his own vacated Senate seat is a decision that disrespects the democratic process and redefines political nepotism. If state Rep. Lisa Murkowski wanted to be our Alaska senator, she should have tried the old-fashioned way.

MacKinnon best for city
It was very discouraging to hear that on a 5-4 Juneau Assembly vote John MacKinnon was eliminated from consideration for permanent city manager.

Thanks for saving Fireweed Place
The AARP Mount Juneau Chapter 865 would like to congratulate and thank the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. and the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority on their collaborative efforts that have resulted in a viable solution to the problems of Fireweed Place.

Outlaw beavers' days may be numbered
The U.S. Forest Service says it will kill a colony of beavers in the Dredge Lakes area this winter to preserve fish runs and reduce flooding on trails. But some Juneau residents wish the agency either would leave the beavers alone, or at least trap them alive and move them. "It's fun to watch some of the work they're doing even if it's going to flood the trail you're walking on," neighborhood resident Betty Seguin said.

Photo: Morning becomes Juneau
A full moon watches over the Federal Building on Saturday morning.

Christmas church services
Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church 10300 Glacier Highway, 790-4267 The Rev. Tom Liesener Christmas Eve Candlelight Service 7 p.m. Christmas Day Service 10 a.m.

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

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

New screening procedure starts at Juneau Airport
Security screeners at Juneau Airport began to examine some checked luggage for bombs last week in preparation for a New Year's Eve deadline. David Mitchell, the federal security director for Southeast Alaska, said the Transportation Security Administration will screen all checked luggage for explosives here by Dec. 31.

This Day in History
In 1919, the trading store of the Sons of Norway in Petersburg was destroyed by fire.

10,000 points of light
Last year Kieran O'Farrell and her husband, Fred Kaiser, decked their house at 3153 Pioneer Ave. on Blueberry Hill with so many Christmas lights it blew their circuits. This year they didn't cut back. They just rewired. Their house twinkles in the frosty night like a Vegas casino.

Santa's spirit lives in Juneau
Though he drives a truck instead of a sleigh, lives in Juneau rather than the North Pole, and probably won't be sliding down any chimneys early in the morning of Dec. 25, Jack Marshall takes his role as Santa Claus seriously. With his long, white beard, tall stature and friendly smile, he's convinced many children, and even some adults, that Santa is more than a Christmas legend. "It doesn't take but once to have a young child put her arms around your neck and say, 'I love you, Santa Claus,' and they mean it," Marshall said. "It makes you realize what a wonderful thing it all is."

My Turn: Coeur contributes to 'sustainable mining'
I must respond to Shoren Brown's Dec. 8 "My Turn" column about sustainable mining, Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. and the Kensington Mine project located 45 miles north of Juneau.

Techwit: Big Brother in a red suit
Every once in a while you read about the 14-year-old computer geek who hacked into his high school's mainframe and changed his geometry grade from an F to an A. Well, it's gotten worse. The security of Santa Claus' database was recently breached by a cyber intruder called "Bad Boy Toy," who did some serious tampering with Santa's information. Now no one really knows for sure who's naughty or nice.


What do you think?
"Many rural areas of our nation are dependent upon the access to and resources of our national forests. The roadless policy prevents both! We need a thoughtful balance of preserved land (wilderness) and managed land where grazing, timber harvest mining and other extractive activities can take place."

Empire editorials: This community owes MacKinnon a debt of gratitude
Last spring when City Manager Dave Palmer and his deputy, Donna Pierce, resigned their positions the city was left with a gaping hole in its executive office. The burden on the city manager's office had grown over the years. The pressure and complexity of managing the city and borough's operations and dealing with increasingly contentious and difficult issues in the Assembly no doubt exacted a toll on Palmer and Pierce.

Christmas at Eaglecrest
"Weather" or not we have a white Christmas in Juneau remains to be seen. But despite what Mother Nature has in store for us this holiday season, the annual Christmas Eve celebration will continue at the Eaglecrest Ski Area this year.

Kayaking, hiking Berners Bay in November
Unusually warm weather for late fall prompted me to extend the kayak season and an overnight camping trip to a quiet beach cabin seemed like an ideal way to spend a weekend. Berners Bay, a likely choice for this time of year, and the availability of the cabin at the end of the bay, launched the Juneau Alpine Club kayak camping trip. Carol Race, Tim Arness, Ric Iannolino, and I started out from Echo Cove early on this overcast early November Saturday morning. Greg Bledsoe and Don Larsen left Friday.

Eaglecrest preps for the ski season, whenever it comes
Paul Swanson tromped across the snow, punching through the crusted surface on his way to check a snow-gauge pole planted near the top of the Ptarmigan chair lift. "Looks like 19 inches," said Swanson, mountain manager for Eaglecrest Ski Area. Pointing higher up the mountaintop marker, he looked into what he hoped would be the near future: "It'll probably be here when it's open. That's 52 inches."

Out and About
Dec. 24: Christmas Eve at Eaglecrest, starting with kids' ornament decorating at 3:30 p.m. Torchlight parades at 5:30 and 6 p.m. Santa arrives at 6:15 p.m. Details: 586-5284 or 790-2000. Dec. 25-Jan. 1: Juneau Alpine Club Camp 17 trip. Details: Tim Arness 209-2589.

Winter Web links
Alaska and Pacific Northwest ski area Web sites.

Cavaliers suffer a meltdown
CLEVELAND - Paul Pierce put some fight into the Boston Celtics, and Antoine Walker finished off the Cleveland Cavaliers. Walker scored 23 points to help the Celtics overcome the ejection of Pierce and a 19-point deficit in an 89-82 victory Saturday night. "When Paul went out, coach called a lot of plays for me," Walker said. "We came alive and played defense the way we're supposed to."

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

Juneau girls go 3-0 in Fairbanks
A stout defense kept the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team in a lot of games last year. But an inconsistent offense kept the Crimson Bears from doing much more than qualify for the Class 4A state tournament before losing in the playoffs. This year, the Crimson Bears still have that strong defense. However, it appears Juneau may have an offense to go along with it this season.

A holiday tradition
The 10th edition of the Holiday Cup Indoor Soccer Tournament kicked off on Saturday with coed play in four age groups.

Bomb found on Ketchikan school grounds
ANCHORAGE - An explosive device was found on the playground of a Ketchikan elementary school, police said. The device - a propane bottle with a clock attached - was "definitely capable of causing harm," Ketchikan chief of police Grant Sirevog said Friday after the instrument was deactivated by bomb disposal experts from Fort Richardson.

Fairbanks man indicted on federal fraud charges
FAIRBANKS - A federal grand jury has indicted a Fairbanks man on 45 counts, including fraud and money laundering, for allegedly receiving Veterans Administration checks intended for his mother after she had died.

State Briefs
One man killed, another injured in plane crash; Noisy parishioner drowns out piano, is arrested; Fish plant faces fine for alleged illegal dumping; Fears of forced cleanup put sports complex on hold; Homer volunteer charged with sex abuse

Study: Alaska leads nation in rate of firearms stolen
FAIRBANKS - Alaska leads the nation in the number of firearms stolen per thousand homes, according to a report released Wednesday by a Washington, D.C.-based gun-safety group. That ranking may result from the state's small population - about 634,000 residents - and the high number of households that own guns, said a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

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