Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Who is government benefiting?
I'm searching for an answer to a problem. I've pondered and I can't figure it out. Perhaps someone can help.

Should AML get the Permanent Fund?
Was anyone surprised when the Alaska Municipal League (AML) passed a resolution at their annual meeting in favor of raiding the Permanent Fund? After all, the AML represents local government entities in Alaska. They are constantly lobbying the Legislature for more money.

Know the dangers and still smoke
I have been reading a lot of the letters about the smoking ban. First, let me say I have been around smokers my whole life and my grandma smoked for 30 years before she quit. She quit too late and had to have a tumor removed a few months ago. But that is not why I'm writing. I'm writing to say despite that fact, I still smoke and both sides make a good point.

Waiting for a road
I'm waiting for the Access Juneau Road Project!

Seeking real dog-walking solutions
In recent weeks the Gastineau Humane Society animal control officers have been haunting favorite dog-walking areas like they were Alabama speed traps, handing out $20 tickets for dogs off-leash. I appreciate the Empire's attempt to quantify public opinion on the issue in its weekly poll. Unfortunately, by boiling the debate down to four simple choices (ban on all trails, ban on some trails, permit on all trails but on leashes, and no restrictions) you have skewed the result in favor of the current leash law.

Pesticide spraying poses risks
As the owner of a sportfishing business in Juneau, I am very concerned about Alaska's new regulations allowing aerial pesticide spraying. Ernesta Ballard of the Department of Environmental Conservation, who is behind these rules, seems to have completely forgotten about the dangers pesticides pose to people, fish and Alaskan businesses. Because these new regulations do not require adequate public notice, most Alaskans will have no clue when or where toxic chemicals will be sprayed.

Air or ground, result is the same
I'm writing in response to the letter from Heather Napier of California. I'm not a hunter, never have hunted and probably never will, which would explain my apparent confusion with all this hunting business in the paper.

Majority is right this time
Christopher, it is true that the majority is not always right, but this time they are! The only good thing that I have learned about cigarettes is that the tobacco in them can be blended with water, further diluted and then it becomes a great bug spray to protect your plants from insects.

Opposed to smoking restrictions
I'm an industry employee and am strongly opposed to this ordinance on the grounds that going out for pleasure or entertainment is about choice as Americans and adults. We choose where and what we want to do; I don't go to establishments where there is Karaoke, country music or hip-hop music.

Gays the same as everyone else
You know what I don't understand? I don't understand why all the sudden everyone feels that we have to team up on people's sexuality. I think people should be loved no matter how they choose to live. I mean, really, we have all these people going against gay people when they are no different then any of us. They just choose to fall in love with someone of the same sex. I think people need to learn how to be more accepting and get over the fact that not everyone grew up the same. I mean, really, you don't see people talking all this stuff about people of different colors the way they talk about people who are gay.

How about a little holiday spirit?
Sunday through Friday, I avidly peruse the Juneau Empire. I only regret there is no Saturday newspaper. Around Thanksgiving, I imagined that Letters to the Editor would be of a grateful nature, considering the holiday. I ought not to have thought!

Threatened by aerial spraying
For the first time aerial pesticide/herbicide spraying is being endorsed by the state of Alaska. The state did not allow any public comment before making this decision.

Hold mine backers accountable
The currently closed Tulsequah Chief mine has been polluting the Tulsequah and Taku rivers with acid mine drainage since the 1950s with no cleanup efforts in place. With the proposal for Redfern Resources to reopen the mine, Alaska fishermen and state and federal fisheries officials have been concerned about the potential for even greater pollution by an active mining operation. Few of these concerns have been addressed by either the government of British Columbia or the mining company.

Juneau Color: Falcon breathes life into curmudgeonly puppet
Zach Falcon has appeared on stage in Juneau many times, but says he wouldn't want to tread the boards anywhere but here.

Photo: Festival of Lights
Members of the Juneau Jewish Community gather at the Salvation Army on Sunday evening to celebrate the third day of Hanukkah. The Jewish festival, known as the Festival of Lights, began this year on Dec. 19 and lasts eight days. Hannukah commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Hellenistic Syrians in a revolt that took place over 2000 years ago. From left are: Becca Freer, Carin Smolen, Alexander Dolitsky, Alana Paul who is held by her mother, Shari, Lia Neifetz and Aidan Sabety-Moss.

City disputes state permit at HS site
The city is contesting a state fish-habitat permit needed to fill a pond at the site of the planned high school at Dimond Park.

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

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

Big ticket Christmas: A look at this year's spendiest gifts
For those with big money to spend this Christmas, style and status are two of the driving forces behind choosing presents, some store owners say.

Glacier Valley still needs crossing guards
People around Glacier Valley Elementary School say slowing down the traffic on Mendenhall Loop Road is just one step toward making it safer for kids to walk to school.

Around Town
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events

Cities, school districts bear the burden of rising retirement costs
Cities and school districts hit last year with state funding cuts are preparing for more economic hardships this year from the rising cost of employee retirement benefits.

SEARHC to build new health clinic in Klukwan
Some residents joke that you can't be very sick if you can get up the stairs at the Klukwan Health Clinic.

Photo: Winter runner
Brad Cure runs onto the snow-covered Gold Creek flume during his Monday morning workout. The heavy rains left the creek swollen and Cure discovered the flume was too icy for running.

AroundTown
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Elizabeth Gharrett
Elizabeth Mary Campbell Gharrett, 87, died of natural causes in Seattle on Dec. 3, 2003.

Elizabeth Mary Campbell Gharrett
Elizabeth Mary Campbell Gharrett, 87, died of natural causes Dec. 3, 2003, in Seattle.

My Turn: Pipeline spill-plan proposal a threat to environment
The Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. says it needs government approval to amend its oil spill prevention and response plan for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) before the end of the year. But critics, including a veteran Alyeska field worker and spill-response expert, believe the proposal is premature.

Making hard, responsible choices about future of school district
Declining public comment, Juneau School Board member Alan Schorr instead recently wrote for the press that the board's new contract with Juneau's teachers is, "fiscally and programmatically irresponsible."

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.

Three Juneau wrestlers win titles at West Christmas Classic
Three Juneau-Douglas High School wrestlers claimed titles in their respective weight classes Saturday night to lead the Crimson Bears to a fourth-place finish in the West Christmas Classic at West Anchorage 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.

Juneau JV girls finish undefeated at Yakutat
The Juneau-Douglas High School girls junior varsity basketball squad finished undefeated at last weekend's Mount St. Elias Classic tournament in Yakutat.

State of Contradictions
Leigh Ann Bauer, who has lived in Alaska for 12 years, calls herself a "big-time animal lover." She also considers herself "pretty pro-oil development." To many people in Alaska, those two things are not mutually exclusive.

Ketchikan touted as new market for second homes
Ketchikan is one of the top 10 emerging markets for second homes, according to an Internet site that specializes in second homes, vacation rentals and timeshares.

Northwest Digest
News in brief from around the region.

Mat-Su school district facing fiscal pressures
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District is facing fiscal pressures, ranging from a multimillion-dollar payout into a state retirement system to contract negotiations with nearly all of its 1,700 employees.

Lawmaker wants to delay HS exit exams
State Sen. Gretchen Guess, an Anchorage Democrat, said she plans to sponsor legislation to eliminate the requirement for students to pass the state's high school exam in order to get a diploma. Students still would have to take the test, with the results still part of their record, but they could graduate without passing it.

Photo: Haven in a bird feeder
A cat watches the snow fall from the shelter of a bird feeder Monday in Anchorage. More than 10 inches of snow fell in the Anchorage area in 12 hours.

Alaska Digest
Stories from around the state.

Judge aims to ease jury duty burden on Bethel citizens
A resident of Bethel might spend three months out of the year serving as a juror in as many as six or seven trials in a row. But a Superior Court judge in Fairbanks has come up with a few ideas to ease the jury service burden on residents, while at the same time saving the state money.

Online marketing becomes ideal avenue for Alaska entrepreneurs
From merchandise made of moose droppings to half-moon-shape Ulu knives, Alaska-theme products are finding a worldwide market on the Web.

Vegetation map offers unified look at Arctic
University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Donald "Skip" Walker and colleagues gathered for a conference in Boulder, Colo., 11 years ago and realized they faced a common problem in studying the Arctic region and its array of vegetation.

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

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

B.C. government, First Nations discuss using Native place names
The British Columbia government wants to reintroduce native place names to parts of the province as a sign of an ongoing process of recognition and reconciliation with First Nations. The names wouldn't replace the existing ones, but would "stand beside them as a co-naming initiative," Attorney General Geoff Plant.

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