Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Alaska exports increase in third quarter
An increase in the value of the state's seafood and precious metals exports has boosted Alaska's exports in the first nine months of 2003. Through September, exports were up $106 million to $2.2 billion, an increase of 5 percent from the same time last year, according to the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development.

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.

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!

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.

Thankful for the basics
I find it interesting that a recent letter submitted to the Empire consisted of a plea for holiday spirit which included none of the writer's own. Rather, she chose to write a letter which criticized others who haven't recognized abundance, appreciation and overall goodwill towards men. Well, throw yourself into the mix, sister.

Wolves are dangerous
A comment about "Wolf hunting making Alaska ugly," written by Heather Napier, a Californian. Well, Heather, Alaska is not California, the state that banned lion hunting and is now overrun with lions eating up all the deer and an occasional jogger.

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.

Harassed by park officials
There has been enough press on the Pilgrims' situation that it is disappointing to see the state Capitol's newspaper just pick up a story from the Washington Post, rather than doing some investigation and reporting of their own. I wish I had been able to participate in the relief efforts this past weekend, which I hope you will be able to cover. I can't speak to the Pilgrims' situation exactly, but I can about some National Park Service actions.

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.

Predator control the intelligent option
The greenies, most of whom have never seen a wolf track, let alone a wolf, don't like aerial wolf control. Maybe they need to see seven wolf packs at the 40-mile caribou calving grounds eating babies as soon as they are born and killing the mothers for fun. Maybe they need to see a cow moose dragging her entrails that include her unborn calf with 20 or more wolves closing in on her.

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.

Survey may not tell accurate story
A survey gives us percentages, numbers. The interpretation gives us a "spin." Jack Cadigans' letter in Sunday's Empire pointed this out.

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.

Glitter Girls use voices instead of bells to raise funds
Six preteen girls have been adding something this Christmas season to the tinkling sound around the Salvation Army's red kettles. The Alaska Glitter Girls - ranging from 6 to 10 years old - spent Tuesday night at an entrance of Fred Meyer lifting their voices to help the Salvation Army's annual Yuletide fund-raiser.

Around Town
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events

Bar, restaurant workers sign petition to stop smoking ban
About 200 bar and restaurant workers have signed a petition opposing a movement to ban smoking in all bars and restaurants in Juneau.

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.

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

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

Photo: Last-minute shopping
Anne Gruening, left, listens to fashion advice from Annie Kaill's employee Dorian Smith while Gruening did some Christmas shopping downtown on Tuesday.

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.

300,000 acres in Tongass to open to logging
Reversing a Clinton-era policy, the Bush administration on Tuesday opened 300,000 more acres of Southeast Alaska's Tongass National Forest, the nation's largest, to possible logging or other development.

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.

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

Commission OKs Douglas condominiums with conditions
The Northpoint Condominiums could be part of the Lawson Creek neighborhood by the end of next summer. The Juneau Planning Commission conditionally approved an allowable-use permit for the 12-condominium project Tuesday night.

Shaw, Woodbury to marry
Bethany Shaw of Friday Harbor, Wash., and Raymond Woodbury of Juneau will be married in a ceremony at 1 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2004, in Friday Harbor, Wash. A reception will follow at Roche Harbor Resort.

Larsens celebrate 50th anniversary
The families of Kris Ritter, Doug Larsen and Beth Hixson joyfully congratulate their parents Finn and Willie Larsen on their 50th wedding anniversary. The Larsens were married on Dec. 24, 1953, in the Northern Light Presbyterian Church on Fourth Street in Juneau.

Ritters celebrate 25th anniversary
The family of Kris and Rick Ritter would like to congratulate them on their 25th wedding anniversary. The Ritters were married on Dec. 24, 1978.

... for senior care
As we approach the season of peace and joy, I am struck by a group of people I see daily quietly going about perpetuating those very things.

... for Smith's service
Thank you to Linda Smith for her 17 years of dedicated service to our community. Linda has closed her assisted living home here in Juneau and moved to Wasilla.

... for help with winter festival
At Gastineau School's Winter Festival on Dec. 5., there was a great turnout, and everyone had a fabulous time. The children took part in a cakewalk and games such as an ice fishing pond, snowball toss and ice bowling.

29th Christmas dinner for seniors
Two-hundred-eighty-one senior citizens and their caregivers enjoyed a traditional Christmas dinner on Dec. 14, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Juneau.

... for Nov. 8 rescue
... for Smith's service Thanks to everyone who helped make the rescue of the five middle-school students on Nov. 8 at the Methodist Camp a success. Trooper Glenn Knapp lead the team that found the kids.

Neighbors Digest
Community news in brief.

... for breakfast program help
Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for assisting us with our breakfast program. Every Wednesday, we provide students with a free, nutritious breakfast before class. In addition, we offer tutoring and a warm, safe place for the students to play board games and run around.

... for helping out swim team
Speaking on behalf of the Juneau-Dpouglas High School Swimmers and Divers and their parents, we would like to thanks all the Juneau residents who purchased a Christmas tree from us, thereby assisting the team with its prime fund-raising effort for the year.

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

William Johnson Jr.
William "Chief" Johnson Jr., Yeilxaak', 69, died Dec. 14, 2003, at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital.

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."

My Turn: Another option for high school exam
Diploma denied. Hundreds of high school seniors could hear these words from Alaska's schools this spring. This is the first year the High School Qualifying Exam (HSQE) is scheduled to determine a student's eligibility to graduate. By state law, if a student has not passed all three sections of the exam (reading, writing and mathematics) they will not receive a high school diploma - regardless of whether they have passed their district requirements.

Mt. Edgecumbe boys win Sitka holiday tournament
Roundup of games from Southeast Alaska.

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.

Cavaliers rally to claim third win in a row
The Cleveland Cavaliers are off on another streak, and this is finally one they're not ashamed of. Rookie LeBron James scored 22 points and Eric Williams scored 13 of his 16 in the fourth quarter Tuesday night as the Cavaliers rallied for their third straight win, 97-86 over the New Orleans Hornets.

Photos: Sister sister
Juneau-Douglas High School junior Mary Rehfeld, left, battles for a rebound with her sister Hilary, a 2002 JDHS graduate, on Tuesday during the annual alumni basketball game at the JDHS main gym. Hilary Rehfeld plays college basketball at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

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.

Photo: Statehood Day parade, July 4, 1959
This photograph features Mary Joyce and her sled dog team at the Statehood Day parade on July 4, 1959, when Alaska became the 49th state.

Northwest Digest
News in brief from around the region.

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.

Valdez takes possible terrorist threat seriously
Isolated and sparsely populated Alaska seemed far removed from terrorist threats until Tuesday, when U.S. officials said al-Qaida operatives could target remote sites such as oil facilities in 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.

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.

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.

This Day in History
In Alaska; in the nation.

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.

State promotes Alaska hire through $808,195 in grants to train workers
Nine grants totaling $808,195 have been approved by the state Department of Labor to launch job-training programs for about 300 Alaskans.

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.

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

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

Reindeer smackdown reported at North Pole
A reporter for the NBC television station KTUU in Anchorage found her way into the national spotlight while taping a scene with a young reindeer named Blitzen at the Santa Claus House in North Pole.

Toe cartoon: In the Swamp
Cartoon by local artist Toe.

Movies: Where & when
Movies and show times at local theaters.

What's Happening
Upcoming local arts and entertainment events.

Creative Casting
Paint, Styrofoam, plastic piping, papier mache and PVC pipe. Sounds like the beginning of a supply list for creating the set of a theater production, not the cast. But Katie Jensen and Aaron Elmore used these supplies and more to create the puppets that star in their production of "A Christmas Carol."

The private life of puppets
Uncle Scrooge has changed his ways, the curtain has fallen and the audience has gone home to dream of sugarplum ferries. The puppet stars of Theatre in the Rough's production of "A Christmas Carol" should be back in their boxes, awaiting their next stint under the lights.

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