We mustn't take freedom for granted
Regarding "Protesting the Pledge" by Logan Spencer: Reading this young man's letter, I could only wonder, and feel shame and sympathy, to someone that is ignorant in how this country was formed and what our flag stands for.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Religious influences beyond the Pledge
Logan Spencer's letter to the editor condemns the Pledge of Allegience for being offensive and religiously intolerent. He claims that whenever anyone thinks of God in America, it must be the Christian God. It's refreshing to know that someone in Juneau is capable of reading minds.

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.

We shouldn't mix religion and law
I suppose I got what I had coming. I should have known from the title of Patrick Brayton's My Turn article (Dec. 27) what was in store for me ("God's rules don't change when society does"). Alas, my mind is open almost to a fault and I went ahead and read it. Wow, does the arrogance of the Bible beaters in this state know no bounds?

The future of logging really looks bleak
With the addition of 300,000 acres back into the timber base for the Tongass, I question how it can equate to more logging. Look around - the infrastructure for logging has disappeared.

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.

Stop judging others
I am so tired of hearing people talk about what God says. Like "God says this, God says that." This is the basic fact of it, people: God does not come in a religious form.

It's best to compare apples to apples
I keep hearing the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry service compared to other ferry services around the country. One comparison was that other ferry systems operate at a 30 percent subsidy rate while the AMHS operates at a 50 percent subsidy. This does sound like the AMHS is doing something wrong. If other operations can operate at such a lower rate maybe we should emulate their systems.

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.

Photo: A stitch in time
Betty Cole works on a Christmas tablecloth quilt she started 13 years ago. She plans to have it completed in time for the Capital City Quilters annual show next spring.

Corrections to local stories.

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

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

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
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Photo: Sledding to celebrate
Asia Goodwin celebrates her 10th birthday Tuesday, sledding at Savikko Park. The weather is expected to become a lot cooler in the next few days, with temperatures falling into the teens.

An incorrect Web site address was printed in a Monday article about the Alaska Community Database. The correct Web address is www.dced.state.ak.us/cbd/commdb/CF_COMDB.htm.

Juneau man may be retried for murder
The man sentenced to 85 years in prison for the 2000 Juneau beating death of Kenneth Ike Thomas could get a second trial much like the one that led jurors to find him guilty three years ago, according to a state prosecutor.

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.

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

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.

2003 brings war, a new mayor
Who would have foreseen on Sept. 11, 2001, that terrorist attacks on the United States would result two years later in Juneau residents helping fight an American and British war with Iraq, local marches for peace and the Juneau Assembly passing a resolution urging caution in the federal investigation of possible terrorists?

Doogan, Kair to marry
Charlotte E. Doogan of Juneau and Michael N. Kair of Aurora, Colo., will be married in a ceremony at 1 p.m. Jan. 3 at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A reception will follow at 2 p.m. in the Cathedral parish hall.

Coronell, James marry
Dorothy Coronell of Juneau and Gilbert James, originally of Kake, were married on Dec. 26, 2003, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Juneau.

Senior News: Home health rehabilitation services assist the community
Donna, at 85 years and physically active, made the difficult decision to have her hip replaced. After her surgery, hospitalization and prior to release from the rehab unit, the hospital social worker arranged for Hospice and Home Care of Juneau, a local nonprofit home health agency, to bring in a therapist and home health aide during the recovery period.

Neighbors Digest
Community news in brief.

Ponchene, Laramie wed
Stephanie Ponchene of Ellensburg, Wash., and Gabe Laramie of Juneau were married in a ceremony on Nov. 22 at the First Lutheran Church in Ellensburg.

Pet: Norwegian or downeaster, Rufus rules
Rufus looks like he could be a Norwegian forest cat, a longer-haired breed with an all-weather coat like a Maine coon cat. This big, neutered male is a wonderful cat, friendly and very responsive to human attention. He knows the difference between furniture and his scratching post.

Southeast Sagas: The Treadwell
Juneau is the buckle on a "gold belt" of mineral-bearing ore boasting the remains of dozens of hard-rock gold mines. One of the most famous is the Treadwell on Douglas Island. Although most of the area is today obscured by overgrowth, its story is an important chapter in mining history.

Pet: Huge-hearted Rottweiler is smart
Shadow is a purebred Rottweiler, a sociable, older spayed female who loves children and other dogs. Her best friend, a boy, grew up (as boys do), and now she needs a new family to fill the empty space in her huge heart. She is smart, housebroken and walks well on a leash.

Dorothy Garolis
Juneau resident Dorothy "Dottie" A. Garolis, 79, died Dec. 25, 2003, at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

My Turn: Religion has no place in debate about civil rights
In a recent editorial, a minister supported his views condemning marriage rights for gays by citing selected biblical passages. The column contained what can only be described as a virulent bigotry, and I was offended by this and by the premise of the editorial. I do not believe that the quoting of religious passages has any place in the public debate concerning the entitlement of the marriage contract in this nation.

Tongass roads lead to nowhere
U .S. taxpayers can howl as loudly as environmentalists over Bush administration plans to expand logging in Alaska's Tongass National Forest.

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.

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.

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.

Classic images
Scenes from the 2003 Capital City Classic

Bears sweep Cap City titles
The best things come to those who wait. After a back-and-forth first quarter Tuesday, the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team hit on all cylinders the rest of the way to rout Newport Beach 58-29 and win its first Princess Cruises-Capital City Classic title since 1999.

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.

Cap City Classic champions
A listing of past tournament winners.

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.

Pacers crash James' party
Ron Artest got in LeBron James' face and inside his jersey. Happy birthday, rookie. Artest pushed around Cleveland's star guard in the second half and Jermaine O'Neal scored 21 points as the Indiana Pacers wrecked James' 19th birthday Tuesday night with a 92-89 win over the Cavaliers.

Juneau boys win 11th consecutive CCC title
To have seen how the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team struggled during its road trip to Anchorage a week ago, the thought of returning home and winning an 11th straight title in the Princess Cruises-Capital City Classic was unimaginable.

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.

Northwest Digest
News in brief from around the region.

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.

War spurs Stevens, Byrd spat
Between them, Democrat Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Republican Ted Stevens of Alaska have spent 80 years in the Senate, long ago forging a deferential bond that survived the Vietnam War, Watergate, an impeachment and record budget deficits.

Salmon task force gears up for '04 session
Changes to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute's funding and board of directors are among the issues the Joint Legislative Salmon Industry Task Force is considering as it prepares for the upcoming session.

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.

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

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.

State offers new aquatic farm sites
Dozens of undeveloped sites along Alaska's southcentral and southeast coast are available for lease from the state to private entrepreneurs for aquatic farms. The 158 sites are on a new list of coves, bights and beaches that could be used for raising such salable species as oysters and littleneck clams.

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

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

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.

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.

Compaz Andino scores Juneau layover
Musicians Luis Fernando Davila and Diego Coy will begin their journey back to their homes in Colombia on Jan. 9. But because of a Juneau couple's last-minute hustling, the pair will perform in Haines on Wednesday, Jan. 7, and here on Thursday, Jan. 8.

Entertainment news in brief

Toast end of 2003 with plenty of nightlife
Schedule of local New Year's events.

Cartoon: In the Swamp
Cartoon by local artist Toe.

What's happening
Upcoming local arts and entertainment events.

First Friday
Growing up in Kenai, Juneau oil painter Charity Green quickly developed an admiration for commercial fishermen, from afar. "They're a lot tougher than I am," Green said. "I'm not a tough person, and I respect people that do things that I can't do."

Movies: Where & when
Local movies and showtimes.

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