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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 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.

... 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.

... 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.

Neighbors Digest
Community news in brief.

... 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.

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.

... 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

This Day in History
In Alaska; in the nation.

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.

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

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.

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.

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.

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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