Thanks to nice snowmachiners
I often hike and snowshoe on Juneau's trails and I have to admit that I've had reservations about sharing the trails with snowmachines. A couple of weeks ago some nice fellows changed my mind. I have been meaning to say thank you ever since.

Don't believe wild claims
Wolves are indeed successful predators in Alaska, but I feel that Mr. Adkins has listened to one too many Grimm's fairy tales as a child. His wild claims of wolves eating up the caribou calves, household pets and even people are more the stuff of fantasies, urban myths and outright misinformation rather than anything based upon science or historical facts.

A Christmas blessing
Among the favored Christmas carols throughout our local churches, perhaps the song "Away in the Manger" still holds first place in the hearts of many believers, as it did in mine this year.

Protesting the Pledge
Every weekday morning, at the beginning of the school day, my fellow classmates and I are supposed to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. To most kids it's pretty much ingrained into them, but each time I stand and face the flag I don't say the pledge. I haven't for a long time and I doubt I ever will again; making children recite the pledge is a violation of our freedoms.

A hype campaign
It's very clear that "Friends" of Animals are bordering on desperation to stop management actions in McGrath. Why? They know it will work! Then the controversy will start dissipating. No controversy, no money!

No right to dictate others' behavior
Mr. Brayton's letter is irritating, not because he has such a lamentably narrow understanding of a particular collection of stories or a philosophy, nor because his ignorance of human behavior leads him to regard as acceptable only that with which he thinks he is familiar.

Glad to bring holiday greetings
In response to Lynda Olsen's letter to the editor: I agree with you and thanks for voicing your opinion. The cheer that you have attempted to spread is that of the friend I remember and cherished so deeply. A bright light during times of what ironically has become for most people a rather dismal time of year. I too have noticed that a majority of letters written to the editor seem to be just one more opportunity to criticize each other.

Don't ruin a good thing
The Triangle Club is a wonderful place - in fact the only place downtown - to grab a beer and a dog for lunch. The bartenders are friendly and the conversation is good, perhaps because the patrons are free to smoke or not, as they see fit. I would hate to see the efforts of the Juneau Clean Air Coalition end such an interesting and convivial atmosphere.

Ex-smoker wants ban
Normally, I try really hard to support a person's livelihood. However, since we are all voicing opinions about the proposed smoking ban in all restaurants and bars in Juneau, I thought I would put my "two cents" in.

We need more intelligent letters
Let me get this straight: Mr. Edwards in his column on Christmas Eve told anyone who doesn't agree with the Bible to leave Juneau. Mr. Edwards told anyone who doesn't agree with homosexuality to leave Juneau. Mr. Edwards told anyone who does agree with a game management policy that protects subsistence rights for Native Alaskans to leave Juneau.

Act on ferry system before we lose it
Grief, shock and loss. These feelings are natural to losing a loved one. Then anger will set in; you will be mad at yourself for not being there in a time of need. Your current ferry system is not dead yet, but unless the good citizens of Southeastern Alaska wake up and show they care about the only highway they have, it will be gone forever.

We deserve a say on bill
Sen. Lisa Murkowski has introduced S. 1466, a complicated bill that is supposed to accelerate land transfers to Native corporations, the state, the University of Alaska and others. In general, finalizing land ownership is a good idea; however, this bill tries to do too much too fast.

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

Photo: Out to launch
Steve Hemenway launches a battery-powered remote controlled plane as his son, Matt, stands ready at the controls. The plane was lent to them by a neighbor and they spent Sunday afternoon on Mendenhall Lake putting it through its paces.

Photo: Mayor's duty, 1947
Juneau Mayor Waino Hendrickson crowns Cecelia Thibodeau queen of the July 4 parade in 1947. In 1946, Hendrickson was encouraged to run for mayor, and he served in the post until 1953.

Juneau Color: To some, local history can be personal as well as a passion
Willette Janes has an energy and fight in her that you might not expect in someone 75 years old. And when she starts talking about local history, the fight comes out.

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

Photo: Heightened security
Staff Sgt. Bartlett, right, and Spc. Lumba patrol Monday outside the Alaska Capitol. The soldiers, with Company A, 3rd Battalion (Scout) 297th Infantry of the Alaska Army National Guard, were activated, along with other National Guard members, by Gov. Frank Murkowski in response to a heightened security alert, according to Guard spokesman Maj. Mike Haller.

Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Restaurants rev up for New Year's rush
New Year's Eve is one of the busiest nights of the year for Juneau restaurants. And though many establishments are happy to let their regular menus draw customers, some chefs are using the special evening as a way to show off their culinary skills.

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

An incorrect Web site address was printed in a Monday article about the Alaska Community Database. The correct Web address is

An Alaska outrage
When last we reported on the legislative machinations of Ted Stevens, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Alaska Republican was pushing a series of obnoxious appropriations riders related to fisheries in Alaska's waters. Since then, Mr. Stevens has backed off the worst of the riders: a provision that would have blocked federal money for the identification and protection of cold water coral beds and other sensitive marine habitats.

My Turn: Change needed to stabilize Permanent Fund, dividends
Citizens of this state owe Rep. Mike Hawker, an Anchorage Republican, a debt of gratitude for his tireless efforts this year, directing the House Special Ways and Means Committee. Taking on the task of crafting our way out of the state's financial impasse is a thankless job; few have the skill, fortitude and tolerance for presenting to a skeptical public the frank information it needs to become informed, but is often unwilling to accept. Unfortunately, options for dealing with the state's fiscal gap have narrowed appreciably, and no universally popular one exists. Everything in the public forum has a bad taste for some element of our statewide community.

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.

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.

Balanced Bear girls on verge of Classic title
The Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball stumbled a bit on defense Monday night. But the Crimson Bears' balanced offense lifted the team back up and delivered a 53-36 victory over the North Pole Patriots in the Princess Cruises-Capital City Classic, leaving the Crimson Bears on the verge of winning their home tournament for the first time since 1999.

James blazes trail for Cavs victory
LeBron James took complete command at precisely the right time. Cleveland's rookie scored 32 points, including 12 in a 14-2 spurt that closed the Cavaliers' 86-74 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.

2003 in review: Titles, near-misses and weather woes
It's been said the only thing harder than winning a championship is repeating. The Juneau-Douglas High School baseball team did that in 2003, as the Crimson Bears claimed their second straight state championship to highlight a year that saw three Juneau teams win state titles and two others finish second.

Lewin manages a big win
The team manager strikes again. On Sunday, for the second time in four years, a Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball manager showed up the field at the Princess Cruises-Capital City Classic free-throw shooting competition.

Bear boys get win of Olympic proportions
The slow start seems like a distant memory for the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team. The Crimson Bears used a suffocating defense and tenacious rebounding to win their second straight game, beating the Olympic Trojans of Silverdale, Wash., 55-40 Monday at the JDHS main gym to even their season record and earn a chance to play for their 11th straight championship in the Princess Cruises-Capital City Classic.

30 pounds of beef recalled in Alaska in mad cow case
Thirty pounds of beef have been recalled in Alaska, part of federal efforts to trace and retrieve products that could contain meat from a Washington cow infected with mad cow disease, the state veterinarian said Monday.

Mad cow's meat in state
Meat from a Holstein sick with mad cow disease has now reached retail markets in eight states - including Alaska - and one territory, but still poses no health risk, Agriculture Department officials said Sunday.

New statute ties in fund dividend to draft registry
To qualify for a Permanent Fund dividend check, Alaska men between 18 and 25 will have to sign up with the federal draft registry, under a new state law effective Jan. 1.

Governor's first year tops news statewide
Wolves, salmon and bears competed for Alaska headlines but the state's top 10 stories in 2003, as determined by The Associated Press, start with a politician named Murkowski.

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

Complaints spur tightening of correspondence school rules
State school officials are moving to stiffen correspondence rules amid complaints that some districts are funding questionable expenses with state money. Critics contend two districts are taking advantage of a loophole that allows students enrolled full-time in private school to qualify for state funding at correspondence schools.

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

Sleetmute? Yakutat? Eek? Ask this Alaska database
Want to know the latitude of Eek? The history of Sleetmute? The economy of Yakutat? How to pronounce Atmautluak?

Natural gas, oil exploration top administration agenda
Creating a friendly environment for oil exploration by independent companies, continuing the push for a natural gas pipeline to the Lower 48 and speeding up exploration on the Alaska Peninsula are among Gov. Frank Murkowski's plans for making good on his campaign promises in 2004.

Backers of election initiative say they have the signatures
Backers of an initiative requiring special elections to fill U.S. Senate vacancies said Monday they have more than 12,000 more signatures than they need to get the petition certified and put on the 2004 election ballot.

Alaska Digest
Headlines from around the state.

First guests check into novel hotel built of ice
David Lerman curled up on a caribou hide-covered ice bed on Christmas Eve, reading "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" by battery-powered candles. Lerman, 44, who works for the Internal Revenue Service in Fairbanks, was one of the first two guests at the newly constructed Aurora Ice Hotel at Chena Hot Springs Resort.

Northwest Digest
News in brief from around the region.

Alaskans to vote on pot legalization in '04 election
Registered voters will get a chance to decide next year whether to legalize private use of marijuana for Alaskans 21 and older. Lt. Gov. Loren Leman notified initiative sponsors in late November that the petition has the 28,782 signatures necessary to get the question on the 2004 ballot.

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