Sunday, January 19, 2003

Juveniles charged with firing blanks at students, driver
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Three West High School students were charged with assault Thursday after someone in a sport utility vehicle fired blanks at elementary school children and another driver.

Whittier private prison bill introduced
JUNEAU (AP) -- Two Anchorage lawmakers are sponsoring a bill calling for a 1,200-bed private prison to be built in Whittier.

Supreme Court upholds Wagoner victory
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Kenai state Senator-elect Tom Wagoner can serve in the Legislature, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Murkowski picks Blatchford to head DCED
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Gov. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, has made his selection for commissioner of the Department of Community and Economic Development.

Juneau man sentenced for storage unit fire
JUNEAU (AP) -- A man convicted of starting a million-dollar fire that destroyed property belonging to more than 150 people was sentenced to four years in prison Friday.

Father-daughter team lead off Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race
BETHEL (AP) -- The Jeff King father-daughter team led off the 24th running of the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race.

Russian climbers turned back from McKinley climb
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Two Russian mountain climbers are back in Anchorage after their second attempt at Mount McKinley's summit in the dead of winter.

Anchorage mayor negotiating for change in trash pickup
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Mayor George Wuerch is negotiating with trash giant Waste Management Inc. about taking over garbage collection in downtown Anchorage and surrounding neighborhoods.

Study says rural education costs not as high as suspected
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A new study for the Legislature says the cost of education in many rural school districts is not as high as previously thought.

ATV driver swerves into team, kills dog
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The driver of an all-terrain vehicle intentionally swerved into a sled dog team on a trail in North Pole, injuring the musher and killing one dog, Alaska State Troopers said.

University says Ketchikan land sale is legal, complete
KETCHIKAN (AP) -- The University of Alaska on Tuesday signed a deed transferring 145 acres of land near Ketchikan to a local logging company.

BP expects to be fined for Prudhoe explosion
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. is expecting state safety regulators to fine the company for a well fire and explosion last August that critically injured an oil field worker.

Murkowski names six to board of game
JUNEAU (AP) -- In appointing six new members to the state Board of Game on Friday, Gov. Frank Murkowski said he will take a second look at predator control programs that have spared Alaska's wolves.

Tourism business cautiously optimistic about 2003
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A survey of businesses shows that the outlook for Alaska's tourism industry is slightly better this year than in 2002, with businesses remaining cautiously optimistic.

Murkowski appoints Irwin to DNR
JUNEAU (AP) -- Gov. Frank Murkowski picked a Fairbanks mining executive with a reputation for getting projects moving to head the state Department of Natural Resources on Friday.

Bush wants increase in spending on sanitation projects
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- In what could boost efforts to get rid of honey buckets in Alaska, President Bush will ask Congress to approve a 21 percent increase in federal spending on sanitation projects in Native American communities.

Large freshman class joins Legislature
JUNEAU (AP) -- Freshman orientation in the Alaska Legislature -- a biennial event aimed at quickly educating new lawmakers -- was a little crowded this year.

Tustumena 200 celebrates 20th anniversary
Organizers of the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race prepare for its 20th consecutive year, and although the race continues to grow in popularity, its organizational team is still a grassroots operation that has always had an epicenter of community-based teamwork, cooperation and support.

Kings pacing Kusko
BETHEL (AP) -- The King father-daughter team led off the 24th running of the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race.

Lack of snow cover postpones T-200 race
People keeping track can add the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race to the growing list of winter competitions being postponed or canceled as a result of this year's warm weather and below average snowfall amounts.

Long day of touring wears out coordinator
Jack Brown had a very long day. As coordinator for the Kenai Peninsula's bid to host the 2006 Arctic Winter Games, Brown was the man responsible for making sure everything went well during Friday's site visit by the international AWG Site Committee.

Supreme Court rules Wagoner stays senator
The Alaska Supreme Court issued an order Friday upholding a lower court decision dismissing a suit by two Nikiski residents who had sought to prevent Sen.-elect Thomas Wagoner from assuming office Tuesday.

Communities make good showing in bid for winter games
Several months of careful preparation boiled down to 10 frantic hours Friday, as the Kenai Peninsula played host to the international Arctic Winter Games Site Committee.

Suggested state cuts put center on edge
When Tera Lou Kuhns describes herself, "independent" and "adventurous" are two words that quickly come to mind.

Lawrence Fredrick Staats
North Kenai resident Lawrence Fredrick Staats died Saturday, Jan. 11, 2003, at his home. He was 48.

Norman Richard Bucy
Norman Richard Bucy died Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2003, at Providence Hospital in Anchorage from complications related to cancer. He was 81.

Pets help peg personalities
I'm not a great flyer. I realize I have stressed this in previous columns, but every time I get on a plane, that thought is reconfirmed.

Bush struggles with response
WASHINGTON -- Passing almost unnoticed in efforts to defuse the nuclear standoff with North Korea are America's vastly improved relations with China.

Bridging distance to Juneau as easy as sending e-mail
As the 23rd Alaska Legislature prepares to convene Tuesday, an admonition bears repeating: People's participation in government shouldn't end at the voting booth.

Gomez, Van Sky have Hawaiian wedding
Chrystal Rose Gomez of Kenai and Jeffrey Michael Van Sky of North Kenai were married Friday, Dec. 27, 2002, in Maui, Hawaii, on a low bluff overlooking a sandy beach, volcanic reef and blue Pacific water. The ceremony was officiated by Sunny Kamiya.

King offers lessons for all to learn from
Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. And in the words of photojournalist, Flip Schule, "Not only did he dream of a better world, his love has helped to make it one."

West Hollywood may adopt nation's first ban on cat declawing
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- In a city known for its progressive stands on social issues, officials are championing the rights of a different breed of residents -- cats.

Hearing held on use of sonar to track whales
SAN FRANCISCO -- Scientists testified Friday in federal court that they do not expect whale-finding sonar to affect the behavior of migrating gray whales or to harm them.

Nightingale, Tosch marry in Vegas
Erin Nightingale of Nikiski and Aaron Tosch of Anchorage were married Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2002, in Las Vegas.

Around the Peninsula
Alliance to meetBusiness center offers incorporation workshopFolk dancers plan first dance of yearBlood bank needs bloodCanine Good Citizen class offered

Handle with lots of TLC
What defines a good pet owner? What makes a pet owner responsible?

My best friend
Justin Meireis loves to kiss and cuddle with his pet bunny, Turbo. The photo was sent in by Roberta O'Brien, Justin's grandmother. Justin and Roberta live in Nikiski.

Service tops Kenai; Dimond pushes past SoHi
Kenai Central High School hockey coach Brian Gabriel Sr. may have summed it up best following his squad's 13-5 loss to Service and Soldotna's 4-1 defeat at the hands of Dimond Friday at the Soldotna Sports Center:

Buccaneers battle their own history in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA -- Jon Gruden doesn't want to hear about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' pathetic history in Philadelphia or their cold-weather failures.

Sports Briefs
Homer looks to fill coaching vacanciesSkyview tops WasillaSoldotna gets past DimondSkyview second at Dimond ClassicWeiss wins third U.S. title on ugly afternoonBaddeley leads Sony OpenEvents resume on Yale campusAlinghi advances to America's Cup final

Brown seeking last step
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Rarely hurt, always effective, Tim Brown is the consummate NFL professional.

Nikiski boys, Skyview girls take Tip-Off titles
A high school basketball game that features several lead changes and comes down the final shot? You gotta love that.

Harro-ing finish
Competition often finds scenarios where youth is pitted against experience. Arguments can be made for either side as to which side will be more victorious in athletics.

Handzus' late goal lifts Flyers past Tampa Bay
PHILADELPHIA -- Michal Handzus scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:23 left as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 Saturday.

Connecticut women set new NCAA record for most consecutive victories by defeating Georgetown
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland made its new arena feel more like home by knocking off No. 1 Duke, the last undefeated team in the country.

Kwan wins seventh national title
DALLAS (AP) -- With the way Michelle Kwan keeps piling up national championships, should the Olympics really matter?

Venus, Henin-Hardenne reach Aussie quarters
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Venus Williams had Nicole Pratt sprawling and sighing.

Wallace suspended for confronting ref
NEW YORK (AP) -- Trail Blazers forward Rasheed Wallace was suspended Saturday for seven games without pay for confronting and threatening a referee outside the Rose Garden in Portland.

Sixers' Iverson nets 26 to hold off Wizards' magic
WASHINGTON -- Allen Iverson scored 26 points and the Philadelphia 76ers held off a late rally led by Michael Jordan to beat the Washington Wizards 88-80 Saturday night.

Soldotna girls earn comeback victory over Service
The Soldotna High School girls basketball team rebounded from an early 10-point deficit to defeat Service 44-29 in a nonregion game Saturday in Anchorage.

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