Friday, December 27, 2002

The Pet Nanny to offer dog day-care
Pet Nanny's Place, a pet boarding facility at 5450 Bent Court near Costco, will provide dog day care beginning Jan. 6. The boarding facility has added a room that will be used as a play room for dogs staying during the day. It will provide an environment for dogs to interact with other dogs, along with ongoing housebreaking reinforcement.

Plan switch could cost older employees
With the Bush administration throwing support behind "cash-balance" pension plans, more companies may convert traditional pensions to this option, which can significantly reduce older workers' projected retirement benefits. This month, the Treasury Department proposed guidelines under which employers could change traditional pensions to cash-balance plans without fear of age-discrimination charges. The department is accepting public comment and plans a hearing in April. The rules could become final in the summer.

Business profile: Bill Wright
Title and company: Owner, Gourmet Alaska Services: Gourmet Alaska is a retail store in the Nugget Mall specializing in beer-brewing supplies, cookware, kitchen utensils and knives. Wright opened the store with his wife, Lisa, in 1997 and said he has focused on stocking inventory that can't be found at other stores in town.

New insulation product in Juneau
Juneau residents have a new option for insulating new or renovated buildings. Alaska Renovators Inc., a commercial and residential remodeling company owned by Alan Wilson and Chris Stahl, launched Alaska Insulators in November. The new company will sell and install spray-foam insulation supplied by Corbond Inc., a company based in Bozeman, Mont. The water-based urethane foam is a plastic that when sprayed into walls solidifies within 30 seconds, Wilson said.

Credit union plans new facility
The Alaska State Employees Federal Credit Union plans to build a new facility in Vintage Park next to the Mendenhall post office. "Our members have requested a Valley location for years," said Sharon Kelly, CEO of the ASEFCU.

Medicare not slow
The Associated Press story "Doctors opting out of Medicare after funding cutbacks," taken from the Alaska Journal of Commerce story by Regan Foster, which ran in the Dec. 18 Juneau Empire, contains some incorrect and misleading statements.

Would rather lock baggage
I am again amazed at the wit and wisdom of the Transportation Safety Administration. At the height of the gift-giving season, TSA is telling us not to lock our bags when checking them at the airport.

Nice work, if you can get it
I am loath to instruct someone on how to raise their children. However, I cannot help thinking that if Gov. Frank Murkowski had practiced the same tough love that my father did when I was a teenager, he might not find himself having to find employment for his adult children.

We can vote them out
Good thing we don't have a problem with nepotism in this country. Judging by Lisa Murkowski's track record in Anchorage, she should fit right in the U.S. Senate.

Don't exclude MacKinnon
I believe that excluding John MacKinnon from the opportunity to serve as city manager for the capital city of Alaska is not in our best interests. We will continue to spend more money to find an individual who perhaps does not know Juneau other than what is seen from a cruise ship or Web site.

Why the surprise over Sen. Lott?
The moral outrage over conservative Trent Lott's allusion to his past and likely present racism was a bit overblown. After all, the senator openly calls himself a conservative and we shouldn't fault a duck for walking and talking like a duck.

Nepotism objectionable
The news that Gov. Frank Murkowski appointed his daughter, Lisa Murkowski, to finish the last two years of his term as U.S. senator has a name. That name is "nepotism."

Concerned about Berners Bay
Opening up Berners Bay is not just the road, it's minerals deposits too, it's a development of traditional Native lands (stolen) which Native elders expressed should remain undeveloped.

Defines nepotism
Nepotism. From The Cambridge International Dictionary of English: A noun. From the Latin root of nepot- or nopos, meaning akin to, grandson or nephew.

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

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

Photo: Winter walk
Scott Spickler walks with his dog Shaq today along North Douglas Highway, saying they needed to "walk off all that Christmas food."

Shoppers line up for sales
Kelli Monts pushed two full shopping carts stacked with wrapping-paper rolls and boxes of Christmas lights through the slushy parking lot at Super Kmart Center on Thursday afternoon. "Christmas decorations, baking tins, Christmas sweaters." Monts ticked off her purchases as she loaded them in the back of her sport utility vehicle. "You name it, we bought it. We're on our way to Gottschalks to do clothes now," she said.

FYI
Births

Pan Am in Juneau, 1963
A Pan American DC-6 is parked on the tarmac at Juneau Airport in September 1963. Pan Am served Juneau from the late 1930s to 1965. The DC-6 ran between Seattle, Annette Island, Juneau, Whitehorse, Fairbanks and back, according to Fred "Bax" Baxter Sr., former mechanic and airport manager for Pan American in Juneau.

Fire destroys Gold Rush Days cookhouse at Dimond Park
A 20-by-40-foot frame structure used as the cookhouse for Gold Rush Days in Dimond Park burned to the ground early this morning. Firefighters received a call at 4:59 a.m., said Capt. Beth Weldon of Capital City Fire & Rescue. When firefighters arrived, the structure was fully engulfed by flames, which they extinguished from the outside. The cause of the fire is under investigation, Weldon said. No one was injured in the blaze.

Police: 4 rape reports, 1 prosecution
Juneau police say only one of four reports of rape that led to publicized investigations since October may be prosecuted. A women's advocate is worried about the message that sends victims. "It takes so much courage for a woman to come forward and say she was raped," said Saralyn Tabachnick, executive director of AWARE, Juneau's shelter for abused women and their children.

Capital city charities end holiday season in the black
Despite a slow beginning, charities in Juneau had a successful holiday season this year thanks to a last-minute surge in donations. "Our kettles were up just a little bit (compared to last year), and our mail appeal looks like it is going to be up a bit as well," said Salvation Army Maj. Larry Fankhauser. "In that last week people really started coming through.

This Day in History
In 1935, William Monroe, Klondike gold rusher and builder of a railroad from Nome to Anvil Creek, died at the age of 94. (He also was the founder of the city of Monrovia in California.)

Nordic skiers take advantage of fresh snow, newly set tracks
Cross-country skiers are enjoying this week's snowfall by trying out trails in the Mendenhall Valley, near Eagle Beach and on the slopes at Eaglecrest Ski Area. Marc Scholten, a forester with the Juneau Ranger District and an active member of the Juneau Nordic Ski Club, has set tracks for classic and skate skiing at the Dredge Lake area and the Mendenhall Campground.

This Day in History
In 1954, three Eskimos and 9 dogs were en route from Selawik to Nome with 800 reindeer to establish a new herd.

Master of defense and healing
Song Pak has studied pain from many sides - as a martial arts master, a holistic healer and the victim of blows that brought him close to death. "A personal experience with healing - that's real knowledge," he said. Pak, 40, is also a teacher, a video producer and the leader of Juneau's practitioners of Dzogchen, a form of Buddhism. Juneau has been his home since he left Russia in 1995, but he travels internationally to lead seminars and teach martial and healing arts.

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

Skiers await more snow
Wednesday's white Christmas didn't bring enough snow to open Eaglecrest. But managers of the city-owned ski area hope showers predicted for the next few days will bring enough of the white stuff to allow them to consider when to start running the lifts. "The snow is nice and it's exactly what we need," Mountain Manager Paul Swanson said this morning. "We just need more of it."

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

Thank you
...for the donations; ... for the loving care; ...for your help at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

William Stone weds Tia Landlord
Tia Landlord of Wasilla and William Stone of Waycross, Ga., were married in a ceremony July 27, 2002, at Wasilla Lake Church of the Nazarene.

It's not the change in the calendar that makes us new
I don't make New Year's resolutions. I forget them as soon as the next crisis or trend comes along. I also have trouble connecting newness with New Year's. Maybe it's just too cold or still too dark. Newness seems appropriate on your birthday, but then I don't make resolutions then, either.

Jason Bigelow to wed Jennifer Lohmann
Jennifer Elizabeth Lohmann of New Orleans, La., and Jason Michael Bigelow of Juneau will be married in a ceremony planned for Dec. 28, 2002, at 6 p.m., at Rayhne Memorial United Methodist Church, new Orleans, La.

Two Sitka boys looking for funds to help pay for kidney transplants
Until last summer, Sitka resident Zachary Swanson, 11, appeared to be a healthy, active, typical boy who enjoyed playing trombone, riding bikes, and playing video games. But while he was on a family vacation in Seattle, doctors discovered that Zachary, like his 3-year-old brother, Joseph, has chronic renal failure. Doctors recommended life-saving kidney transplants for both boys. The boys' family and other Sitka residents have responded with a campaign to help raise the estimated $150,000 necessary for medical expenses. It's called the Children's Organ Transplant Association for Zachary and Joseph.

Pet of the week
Britton is a young lab mix, black with a bit of white. Although she is naturally active, she has had good training and knows all the basic commands. Lovely little Lyla is playful, thrives on attention and gets along well with other cats.

My Turn: New governor, new road ahead? Talk to Haines, Skagway
As expected, new Gov. Frank Murkowski has decided to reopen the Juneau Access environmental impact statement process that was suspended by former Gov. Tony Knowles. Upper Lynn Canal residents should not be surprised by this news. If former Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer had won, she too would have reopened the EIS process - such are the politics of trying to win votes in Juneau and debunking yet another attempt at a capital move statewide.

My Turn: Thank you, Frank - Lisa Murkowski reminds this writer of Fran Ulmer
There has been a lot of news to feed on for political junkies this season, during a time when things are usually cool and quiet. Trent Lott stepped down as U.S. Senate majority leader. Mary Landrieux kept her Democratic seat in Louisiana. Al Gore decided to drop out of the '04 presidential race. And, closer home, Frank Murkowski selected his daughter, Lisa, to be his successor in the U.S. Senate.

Juneau boys pursue 10th straight Classic title as they open their season
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team has been an inhospitable host when it comes to its signature Princess Cruises-Alaska Airlines Capital City Classic. The Crimson Bears have won the last nine titles and failed to win the tournament just once in its 11 years.

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

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

Capital City Classic: Juneau girls get rematch with 2001 tourney champion Wasilla
It's not every season that one of the Juneau-Douglas High School basketball teams gets a chance at a rematch with the previous year's winner of Juneau's Princess Cruises-Alaska Airlines Capital City Classic. But the Crimson Bears' girls team will get that opportunity, since the defending champion Wasilla Warriors are coming back to this weekend's tournament, which opens on Friday afternoon. Wasilla beat Juneau 45-35 for last year's Capital City Classic title.

Kings are queens of their own tourney
The Ketchikan girls basketball team needed a fourth-quarter offensive explosion from Anne Elliott to win its own Lady Kings Invitational tournament last weekend at Ketchikan High School's Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium.

State Briefs
Fairbanks theater robbed again; Tanacross man charged with sexual assault; Activists want feds to investigate fish kills;

Viagra sales may increase endangered species' chance for survival
ANCHORAGE - Viagra appears to be cutting into the market for endangered animals harvested illegally and sold on the black market as cures for impotence, according to a study by a University of Alaska Anchorage professor. The drug is deflating sales of legal animal products such as Alaska reindeer antler and certain Canadian seals, said Frank von Hippel, who teaches conservation biology at UAA.

AP&T files for Chap. 11 bankruptcy
ANCHORAGE - When Alaska Power & Telephone Co. bought an interest in paving company Summit Alaska Inc. last year, the move was supposed to provide stability through diversification, but the strategy backfired. AP&T filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization last week, and the Port Townsend, Wash.-based utility fingered Summit as the dead weight that dragged it down.

Delta Junction looks at forming borough
DELTA JUNCTION - A state commission has some Delta Junction officials scurrying to head off what they think could be another attempt to force them into a borough. The report by the Local Boundary Commission says the proposed Upper Tanana Borough is one of eight unorganized regions in Alaska that "may have the financial capacity to operate borough governments."

New radar monitors iceberg hazards in sound
ANCHORAGE - A radar system that scans Prince William Sound oil tanker lanes for dangerous icebergs has begun transmitting images to shipping managers in Valdez. The experimental system began operations last week. When fully operational in a few years the system will include a marine radar system on Reef Island and a new signal processor to give the Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. and the U.S. Coast Guard full-time warning of floating ice.

Eight apply for Fairbanks court vacancy
FAIRBANKS - Eight people have applied to fill the state Superior Court seat in Fairbanks being vacated by Judge Mary Greene, who will take a job with the University of Alaska's Office of General Counsel.

State Briefs
Fairbanks man dies of hypothermia; Anchorage fire displaces six families; Anchorage man arrested in robbery; Utility grants available for rural communities; UAA debate coach honored by foundation; Troopers get $2 million to fight drugs; Quake shakes Interior

Wide-awake grizzly bear spotted in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS - When a Fairbanks-area trapper looked out his window on Christmas Eve, he saw a grizzly bear snacking on bait stored in buckets in the yard.

Minimum wage hike worries employers
ANCHORAGE - More than 14,000 Alaskans could see a raise beginning Jan. 1 when the state's new minimum wage law takes effect. While it's good news for low-income workers, businesses warn the cost will be borne by consumers. It also could cost jobs, they said.

Native artist unveils sculpture for Arctic Slope corporation
ANCHORAGE - Othniel Art Oomittuk screwed 500-pound bones into the frozen ground last week. In a dim late-afternoon light on Monday outside an Anchorage office building, the Inupiaq artist showed off his newest creation. Towering above him, a massive whale jaw bone made of bronze rose 15 feet into the air.

Best Bets: New Year's Eve offers dancing and dining
New Year's Eve festivities top the list of events this week, with dancing, dinner specials and parties at a number of local establishments. The first weeks of January offer a couple of excellent workshops, one for singers and another for dancers, providing opportunities for beginners and advanced folks to hone their skills.

What's up with that?
We won't keep you in suspense any longer. For those of you who read the last What's Up With That column, we promised to bring you a rough tally of how many lights grace the Governor's House each holiday season.

Juneau-Douglas City Museum closes for upgrade
Long awaited improvements will shut down the Juneau-Douglas City Museum for the month of January. "It will range from things no one will see to things that will really look good," said museum curator Mary Pat Wyatt. "There will be a lot of nice little things that will add up."

What's happening
New Year's Eve Barn Dance, 7:30-midnight Tuesday at the St. Ann's Parish Hall (Cathedral of the Nativity, Fifth and Gold streets). Odette Foster is dance caller and music with Juneau dance band Grateful Celtics. All dances taught, beginners welcome, no partners necessary. Bring clean, soft-soled shoes for dancing. Call 463-3214 for information, $7.

A Winter of Arts and Entertainment
Next year marks celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Juneau Symphony and the 20th anniversary of Centennial Hall. The new year also will bring new events and the return of successful programs. Guitarist Habib Koite, author Megan Whelan, soprano Cynthia Rhys and artist Don Weir are among those featured in upcoming events. The Winter Fireside Series sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service returns with presentations on salmon, a ski trip across the Juneau Icefield and a climb to the summit of Denali. The Geophysical Institute is again sponsoring a series of presentations on science in Alaska, featuring whales, the aurora and volcanoes.

Acrobatic comic to feminist clown
Michael Clark is trying to build a bridge between Whitehorse and Juneau with humor. "I think its crazy we have these two cities so close, that are so similar, and we don't have more cross-pollination," he said.

Movies where and when
Matinees will be shown during the holidays at the Glacier Cinema. Weekdays there will be one late afternoon matinee and one evening show at the Glacier through Jan. 3.

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