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Monday, January 20, 2003

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.

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.

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.

Mayor opens legislative office in Kenai borough building
KENAI (AP) -- Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dale Bagley has established a legislative teleconference office at the borough building in Soldotna.

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.

Fred Meyer eyes Ketchikan lot
KETCHIKAN (AP) -- Fred Meyer is considering purchasing about nine acres for a large grocery store near 4 Mile North Tongass Highway.

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.

Anchorage fire inspectors hunts for hazards
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Anchorage Fire Department has been stepping up apartment building inspections, and inspectors say they're finding ample evidence that it's a good idea.

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.

Kings win first place, Red Lantern in Kuskokwim 300
BETHEL (AP) -- The Kings of Denali Park opened and closed the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race.

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

Stevens gets fancy office suite as Appropriations chair
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Ted Stevens controls not only the nation's spending, but also one of the most stunning office suites in the capitol.

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.

Police hunt suspect for cashing counterfeit state checks
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Anchorage police are looking for a man suspected of cashing $29,000 worth of counterfeit state treasury checks.

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.

ATV driver says he didn't see dog team before collision
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Alaska State Troopers have forwarded charges to juvenile authorities against a 16-year-old boy who struck a sled dog team with his all-terrain vehicle in North Pole Friday night and fled the scene.

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.

Man found dead in Fort Yukon may be hit-and-run victim
FORT YUKON (AP) -- A 49-year-old man was found dead in Fort Yukon early Saturday morning, apparently knocked down by a vehicle and left on the ground by the driver, according to Alaska State Troopers.

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.

Bills offer veto authority on Anchorage trail route
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Two legislators have filed bills that would give the Legislature veto power over any attempt to extend Anchorage's coastal trail through a state wildlife refuge.

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.

King wins Kuskokwim 300 again
BETHEL (AP) -- Musher Jeff King of Denali Park won the Kuskokwim 300 Sunday for the third straight year, as his daughter was bringing up the rear.

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.

Alaska wildlife manager may get Pacific regional post
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The current Alaska director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been nominated to lead the entire Pacific region, with headquarters in Portland, Ore.

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.

Anchorage man pleads guilty to ecstasy charge
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Anchorage man has pleaded guilty to possessing 500 tablets of the drug ecstasy with the intent to distribute it, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

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.

Ketchikan Indian Community holds election
KETCHIKAN (AP) -- The Ketchikan Indian Community is holding its annual election Monday.

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.

Fish Board looks at Southeast herring fishery
KETCHIKAN (AP) -- Whether to open West Behm Canal in Souheast Alaska to commercial fishing for herring is one of the issues being considered by the Alaska Board of Fisheries starting Monday in Sitka.

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.

Swingley drops out of Quest
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Four-time Iditarod champion Doug Swingley has dropped out of this year's Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

Quest mushers have varied diet programs
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- It's not an exact science, but each musher has a special formula for what to pack for dogs and human in the 30-some bags sent to the 10 checkpoints along the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

House Republicans pick Coghill as majority leader
JUNEAU (AP) -- House Republicans chose Rep. John Coghill -- a fiery conservative who once stormed out of the GOP camp over subsistence -- as their majority leader on Sunday.

Swingley drops out of Quest
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Four-time Iditarod champion Doug Swingley has dropped out of this year's Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

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.

Quest mushers have varied diet programs
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- It's not an exact science, but each musher has a special formula for what to pack for dogs and human in the 30-some bags sent to the 10 checkpoints along the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

Kings win first place, Red Lantern in Kuskokwim 300
BETHEL (AP) -- The Kings of Denali Park opened and closed the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race.

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

King wins Kuskokwim 300 again
BETHEL (AP) -- Musher Jeff King of Denali Park won the Kuskokwim 300 Sunday for the third straight year, as his daughter was bringing up the rear.

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.

NOW PLAYING: Chicago
News Flash: Chicago, the hip new musical that is taking Hollywood by storm, is not showing on the peninsula this week. What is showing is such a pallid assortment of trash, drivel, and already-seens, that I was compelled to make the trip to Anchorage for a little culture. I had to see what all the fuss was about. I think I get it.

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.

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.

KRSMA board members not pleased with changes made by acting commissioner
The acting commissioner of Alaska State Parks has modified a proposal by the Kenai River Special Management Area Advisory Board to place a moratorium on new Kenai River sport fishing guide permits.

Spending more on school could help in long run
Spending another $50,000 for additional architectural services on the proposed Seward Middle School project could save the Kenai Peninsula Borough as much as $1.4 million in the long run, according to borough finance officials who are urging passage of an ordinance appropriating the funds.

Office designated as LIO for borough officials
Saying it would save time and money, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dale Bagley has established a legislative teleconference office at the Borough Building in Soldotna. Borough and school district officials will use it to testify before state legislative committees during the upcoming session of the 23rd Alaska Legislature.

Kenai woman takes active role at 'Camp Collie'
The seized collies that have lived with their urine-soaked, feces-encrusted coats at the Marias Valley Fairgrounds in Shelby, Mont., for the past several weeks are finally getting groomed.

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.

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

Kenai Peninsula Online - Alaska NewspaperTax tips: IRS offers amnesty to certain tax evaders 01/20/03

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.

Dr. King's dream still offers vision for U.S.
Editor's Note: Today the United States observes Martin Luther King Day. In honor of the occasion, excerpts of Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech follow. The speech was delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C

New Board of Game appointments represent limited view of wildlife
Survey after survey has told us that when it comes to the management of our wildlife Alaskans want a Board of Game comprised of people representing a broad range of values to be in charge.

Dr. King's life still serves as model to follow
President Bush's proclamation on today's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday:

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.

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.

Births
Sadie and Steve Fisher of Homer

Community Schools
The following is a list of Soldotna Community Schools classes and activities beginning this week. It is printed as a reminder to registered participants.

Teens express visions of unity in mural contest
Unity is simple: It's about people and communities coming together.

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.

Peninsula People
Area students make the gradePeninsula residents join ArmyElks table tennis tournament results announced

Around the Peninsula
Take-A-Break to host women's brunchKPC director to speak at chamberThe Alliance to meet TuesdayTotem Tracers offer genealogy classChamber to discuss inlet lease salesSenior board plans meetingChurch offers dinner, dramaCES seeks volunteersSteering committee to meet Thursday

Community News
Literacy carnival heading to SoldotnaApplications available for talent showUSS Canberra seeks crew members for reunion

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.

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."

Photo: Delayed reaction
On behalf of the Auk-Kwan, Juneau's original settlers, Alaska native Rosa Miller, center, greets members of the Arctic Winter Games International Committee with grandson Lee Miller Jr. standing behind her at Juneau's new Treadwell Arena on Sunday in Juneau.

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

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.

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

Photo feature: Coming in for a landing
Katelyn Lessard takes the skis out of skate-style skiing on the ice rink at Skyview High School on Saturday afternoon. She was clowning with friends while waiting to compete in the Besh Cup. .

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

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.

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.

Tampa wins NFC title game in frigid Philly
PHILADELPHIA -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don't have to worry about cold weather any more.

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.

Al's act is back in silver and black
Bellbottoms are back. So, too, is Al Davis. Appar-ently without bothering to change his clothes.

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?

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.

Sports Briefs
Skyview takes second at Dimond ClassicBoonstra, Hulen win Besh Cup Freestyle 5KStars fall to ServiceSkyview loses two in roadtrip

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

Swashbuckling on gridiron
SAN DIEGO -- A Super Bowl of the high seas: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. the Oakland Raiders.

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.

Raiders head to San Diego behind veteran play
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Tinged with a touch of gray, the Silver and Black are back in the Super Bowl.

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

Isles ground Thrashers
ATLANTA -- Alexei Yashin scored in consecutive games for the first time since mid-October and added a third-period assist Sunday, helping the New York Islanders beat Atlanta 4-1 and end the Thrashers' three-game winning streak.

Razorbacks stymie No. 2 Lady Tigers
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Between Shameka Christon's shooting at one end and Arkansas' sticky zone defense at the other, the Razorbacks frustrated Louisiana State at every turn.

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:

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.

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.

Blake misses quarters; Shaughnessy advances to quarterfinals; Blake loses
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Meghann Shaughnessy saved five break points in the final game and advanced to the Australian Open quarterfinals with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Elena Bovina on Monday.

Tax tips: IRS offers amnesty to certain tax evaders
WASHINGTON -- People using offshore credit cards to hide income and evade U.S. taxes can avoid criminal charges if they come forward by April 15, the Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday.

Your IRS Advocate
WASHINGTON (AP) -- If trying to resolve a tax problem with IRS has brought you nothing but high blood pressure, there's a place that will help: IRS.

Calculating Education Benefits
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Taxpayers will find a new deduction for 2002 college expenses and tax law changes that make it easier to save for education and to manage state tuition savings plans known as 529s.

Watch Out for These Scams
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Don't give money to anyone who promises to get you a tax refund or credit for slavery reparations, Social Security taxes, disabled access to pay telephones or any of the other scams that flourish during the tax-filing season.

Tax Relief for October%2FNovember Storm Victims
WASHINGTON -- SEATTLE - The Internal Revenue Service today announced special tax relief for Alaska residents in the Presidential Disaster Area damaged by winter storms and flooding during the period October 23 through November 12, 2002.

Tracking Refunds
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Already spent that refund? Wondering when you'll see the money? All you need is a computer or telephone to find out.

E-Filing Gets Easier
WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's easier this year to file your taxes electronically -- and probably for free.

Qualifying for an Earned Income Credit
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lower-income workers may find it easier this year to qualify for a special tax credit designed to supplement wages and offset the payroll taxes they pay.

What's New
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The big news for taxpayers preparing their 2002 tax returns this spring is a bevy of new incentives -- to save for college and retirement, to file returns electronically and to plan for a more secure financial future.

Taxes: Tips
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Last-minute headaches, missed deductions, possible tax penalties -- all are potential hazards at tax time. Here are some tips from the Internal Revenue Service on how to avoid those problems:

Kenai Peninsula Online - Alaska Newspaper Your IRS Advocate 01/20/03
WASHINGTON (AP) -- If trying to resolve a tax problem with IRS has brought you nothing but high blood pressure, there's a place that will help: IRS.

Taxes: Error Check
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Before filing your tax return, make this final error check:

Tax Relief for Victims of Spring Breakup Flooding
SEATTLE – The Internal Revenue Service today announced tax relief for Alaska residents in the Presidential Disaster Area affected by the spring breakup flooding that began April 27 and ended May 30, 2002. 

Ins and Outs of Mortgage Deduction
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Riding record-low interest rates, the white-hot mortgage industry lured many Americans into refinancing or buying homes in 2002, but taxpayers must be careful when they figure deductions for mortgage costs.

Revving Up Retirement Savings
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Taxpayers 50 and older who are worried they haven't been saving enough for retirement can start to remedy that problem immediately.

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