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Thursday, February 28, 2002

State seeks federal funding for Amchitka Island monitoring
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Alaska's environmental officials are again seeking federal help in finding out if Amchitka Island is leaking radioactive substances into the Bering Sea.

Fiscal Policy Caucus begins to sharpen pencil to a finer point
JUNEAU (AP) -- A bi-partisan caucus wrestling with the state's budget deficit wants to raise $1 billion from new taxes, spending cuts and possible changes in the Permanent Fund this session.

Six people hurt after pickup runs red light in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Six people were injured when a pickup truck ran a red light in Anchorage and crashed into another pickup truck, police said.

Man accused in theater robbery agrees to no contest plea
FAIRBANKS -- A 19-year-old man is pleading no contest to a charge involving a robbery at a Fairbanks multiplex theater where two workers were tied up with cords.

Administration says hiring freeze unnecessary
JUNEAU (AP) -- A hiring freeze for some state jobs would not close a growing state deficit but instead ''nickel and dime'' important services to Alaskans, a Knowles administration spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Former Archbishop Francis Hurley has surgery in California
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The former archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Anchorage has undergone heart-related surgery in California.

Amended minimum wage bill seeks to remove union initiative
JUNEAU (AP) -- The House Finance Committee approved a Republican plan to raise the state's minimum wage and duplicate a labor union's initiative set to go on the November ballot.

Safety threats close Kivalina school
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Kivalina school was closed indefinitely Wednesday because of threatening behavior toward staff members, the chief executive officer of the Northwest Arctic Borough School District said.

Delta Junction wants state to pay prison lawsuit debt
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Delta Junction wants the state to help pay a $1 million debt for the city's settlement of a private prison lawsuit.

Moderate earthquake hits near Cold Bay
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A moderate earthquake struck the Alaska Peninsula area early Thursday morning.

Measure would put railroad, ferries under joint authority
JUNEAU (AP) -- State Sen. Jerry Ward proposes to help solve the state ferry system's budget problems by coupling it with the Alaska Railroad and giving the new system 500,000 acres of state land.

Second Fairbanks infant hospitalized with suspicious injuries
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- For the second time in a week, a Fairbanks infant has been hospitalized with suspicious injuries.

Alaska air carriers being squeezed by insurance premiums
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Alaska air carriers are being squeezed by skyrocketing insurance premiums and a dwindling number of companies willing to write policies.

Anchorage liquor lobbyist begins sentence for fifth DWI conviction
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The former president of the Anchorage group that lobbies on behalf of bars, liquor stores and restaurants has begun serving 240 days under electronic monitoring following his fifth conviction for driving while intoxicated.

Senate approves out-of-state concealed weapons law
JUNEAU (AP) -- A proposed law requiring Alaska law enforcement to honor concealed handgun permits from all 49 states was approved in the Senate on Wednesday.

Report praised response to pipeline spill
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A government report on the response to the October shooting of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline praises the spill cleanup but notes areas for improvement.

Friday deadline looms for state lottery for bear-watching permits
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- People have until Friday to sign up for a chance at getting a bear-watching permit for the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary.

Native group wants stop to funding for conservation group
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Kaktovik Inupiat Corp. is urging foundations to stop funding a nonprofit conservation group that opposes oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Initiative to move sessions to Valley gains enough signatures for ballot
ANCHORAGE -- Supporters of an initiative to move legislative sessions to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough have collected more than the required signatures to get it on the November ballot, according to election officials.

Taxpayers have until April 15 to apply for 1998 refunds
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Alaska taxpayers who did not file a tax return in 1998 have until April 15 to apply for their unclaimed funds.

Wasilla teen-ager arrested in Canada
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Wasilla teen-ager wanted for violating conditions of his release was taken into custody Tuesday after running out of gas near the Canadian border, Alaska State Troopers said.

President of First National Bank of Alaska named Alaskan of the Year
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Dan Cuddy, chairman and president of First National Bank of Alaska, has been the 2002 Alaskan of the Year.

Suspect in fatal crash enters innocent pleas
PALMER (AP) -- A man accused of causing a head-on collision on the Parks Highway in which a young boy was killed has pleaded innocent to charges of murder, drunken driving and assault.

Bill would let more retired teachers return to classroom
JUNEAU (AP) -- Legislators are considering letting teachers who retired early come back to work in Alaska schools. The measure is an attempt to help ease teacher shortages some districts are facing.

Ketchikan men charged with child pornography
KETCHIKAN (AP) -- Two Ketchikan utility workers are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on child pornography charges.

Knowles: Daschle supports natural gas line incentive
JUNEAU (AP) -- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has agreed to support financial incentives to spur development of an Alaska natural gas pipeline, Gov. Tony Knowles said Wednesday.

New fish oil-diesel blend could benefit rural villages
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Alaska's groundfish harvest may energize more than the coastal economy if a unique demonstration of Bering Sea fish power works out.

Senate approves bill to allow voting equipment for visually impaired
JUNEAU (AP) -- Visually impaired voters could one day vote in private under a bill that passed the state Senate on Wednesday.

Mother sentenced for recklessly injuring her child
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A Fairbanks woman has been sentenced to two years in prison for recklessly injuring her infant daughter last summer when she drove her car into the Chena River.

Fiscal Policy Caucus crafts deficit-reducing plan
JUNEAU (AP) -- A group of lawmakers began crafting a specific plan to use an income tax, Permanent Fund revenues and an increased alcohol tax to close the state's billion dollar deficit.

Spruce bark beetles expected again this spring
KENAI (AP) -- The spruce bark beetle has been so successful in devastating the southern Kenai Peninsula forest it will be hard for the forest to regenerate, a scientist said.

Red Sox sold to Henry group, ending Yawkey era
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Former Florida Marlins owner John Henry and his partners completed their record $660 million purchase of the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, ending seven decades of ownership by the Yawkey family and its trust.

Twins open spring training competition with drubbing of Reds
The Minnesota Twins could not be more excited to play a spring training game in February.

Era Aviation could see competition
Commuters in search of choices in the air market to Anchorage may soon have another alternative.

Sept. 11 insurance premiums have airline carriers seeing red
Insurance premiums are skyrocketing for air carriers, and the number of companies willing to write policies in Alaska has dropped to just a handful in the past few years.

Business Briefs
GCI increases involvement along Iditarod trailGrand opening of new Soldotna hotel setProComm Alaska offers radio frequency (RF) classes

Carrier applies for Sept. 11 loan
Frontier Flying Service Inc. is asking for a $10 million federal loan to help it recover from the effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Seward musher has simple race goal: to win
Seward musher Mitch Seavey always has claimed that trying to predict the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is a sure way to be wrong.

Mackey hopes to follow brother, father into winner's circle of Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
For Kasilof musher Lance Mackey, competing in the Iditarod isn't just about coming in first or collecting prize money, it's the realization of a lifelong dream to make it to Nome.

Boys and Girls Club encourages kids to 'Read Across America'
Children and parents can get their fill of "Green Eggs and Ham," as well as the more traditional pizza and juice at Read Across America, an event celebrating literacy on the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

Retailers, fans wonder why industry killing off the single
NEW YORK -- The first time you entered a music store, chances are it was because there was one song you had to have.

'John Q' could use less heart, a brain transplant
It's hard to knock Denzel Washington's earnestness in ''John Q,'' the story of a desperate man who takes over an emergency room at gunpoint to force doctors to give his dying son a heart transplant.

Dancers prepare to step into New York spotlight
After proving their dancing prowess in Alaska, the Aurora Dance Company from Vergine's Dance Studio in Soldotna is setting its sights quite a bit higher this summer -- all the way to New York.

What's Happening
Best BetsEvents and ExhibitsEntertainmentUpcoming EventsFilmsDown the RoadAnchorage Events

Wage hike bill revised
JUNEAU -- The House Finance Committee approved a Republican plan to raise the state's minimum wage and duplicate a labor union's initiative set to go on the November ballot.

Fiscal Policy Caucus begins to sharpen pencil to a finer point
JUNEAU (AP) -- A bi-partisan caucus wrestling with the state's budget deficit wants to raise $1 billion from new taxes, spending cuts and possible changes in the Permanent Fund this session.

Fish Board makeup disputed
If Alaska's ailing fisheries are to be winners on the world market, decisions on how those fisheries are run should be made by experts in the field, not political appointees who may have little real-life fishing experience, says Rep. Drew Scalzi, R-Homer, sponsor of a bill to change the way members of the Alaska Board of Fisheries are appointed.

Initiative to move sessions to Valley gains enough signatures for ballot
ANCHORAGE -- Supporters of an initiative to move legislative sessions to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough have collected more than the required signatures to get it on the November ballot, according to election officials.

Race Schedule
February 17 - November 17

Baby Steps Park begins comeback from injury
HAMPTON, Ga. -- At 178.264 mph, Steve Park was more than 10 mph behind the slowest qualifying speed for last year's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Busch calls Las Vegas home
ATLANTA -- You can ask Kurt Busch about his surprising third-place position in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series point standings.

This Week's Race: UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400
The where and when

Money Leaders
1. Ward Burton $1,486,8272. Elliott Sadler 1,032,0013. Geoffrey Bodine 688,641

Point Standings
1. Sterling Marlin 3272. Ward Burton 3093. Kurt Busch 292

In the spotlight: Geoffrey Bodine
A short bio on your favorite NASCAR racers.

Beetle-killed spruce clearing expected to be OK'd
Forestry experts say it's the most devastating infestation ever recorded and predict still more Kenai Peninsula spruce trees will suffer attack this summer when spring warmth again puts millions of bark beetles to flight.

Latest beetle infestation deadliest ever
Devastation in the forest of the southern Kenai Peninsula due to the spruce bark beetle has been so complete that most of the seed-bearing mature trees are dead, which will make it hard for the forest to regenerate, said a scientist with the Kenai Peninsula Borough Spruce Bark Beetle Mitigation Program.

Fire chief retires
Nikiski Fire Chief Bill Harris is retiring today. Harris, who has been with the Nikiski Fire Department since Dec. 1, 1979, has a total of 43 years of firefighting experience. Prior to joining the department, he worked as a firefighter in the U.S. Army.

Swanson River drilling fuels debate over ANWR
To drill or not to drill in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the thorniest issues being debated in Congress.

Teens making most of limited incomes
Parents may think their kids don't know the value of a dollar, but a sampling of students who earn and spend their cash on the Kenai Peninsula may prove them wrong.

Wayne Albert Harris
Nikiski resident Wayne A. Harris died Feb. 21, 2002, at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna. He was 85.

Muehlegg's B sample also turns up positive
MADRID, Spain -- Johann Muehlegg, the cross-country skier stripped of a gold medal for doping, learned Tuesday that the ''B'' sample of his urine test had also proved positive.

Decision minimizes importance of fish as food for Alaskans
It was during his successful campaign for governor in 1994 when Tony Knowles first made popular the statement: "The most important fish is the one on Alaska's dinner table." A variation of that theme has been used countless times since.

Letters to the Editor
New fishing regs don't address current lack of enforcementCatch-and-release fishing nothing more than playing with one's foodBoard of Fish actions take away harvest opportunities for residentsNew fish board policy's effect will be to deplete Kenai kingsNorth peninsula community center can wait; bike trails more important

Applause
Mrs. Banks taught students how we treat one another is importantMrs. Banks was incredible teacherReporter's work garners praise

'Super Poll' to be unveiled next week
You've heard of the Super Bowl in sports and Super Tuesday in voting. Now comes the "Super Poll."

Peace initiatives up in smoke
WASHINGTON-- Most armed conflicts, whether internal or international, have what diplomats commonly call a ''peace process.'' Some are more successful than others.

Americans begin to relax even as things continue to change from Sept. 11
Security in airports from Fairbanks to New York City and all points in between underwent a major change this (month). ... But to the average traveler, it probably seemed like not much happened.

Around the Peninsula
English to address chamberAlaska Anvil hosting blood driveReading celebration plannedMeeting to focus on homelessLandscaping workshop offered for businessesTalent show on SaturdayAARP holding driver safety programSt. Patrick's Day festivities planned

Photo feature: Snow Rondi parade
A color guard leads the Anchor Point Snow Rondi parade Saturday. Events continued through the weekend.

Around the Peninsula
DEC representative to speak at Kenai chamberTourism, Internet marketing workshop todayCommunity council to meet FridayCoalition to discuss fishery managementSkyview reunion plannedRestoration video to airForum to discuss grant fundingSkinning clinic planned

Teen-driving law not enforced
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) -- A state law designed to keep new teen drivers from carting around their friends seems to be little enforced, even in Clark County, where a Vancouver boy's 1999 death partly inspired the law.

Students send strong message to legislators
There was a "road show" on its way to Juneau to spread the message that full funding of the University of Alaska is an investment that will pay dividends for years to come. That was the message that 14 University of Alaska students traveled 2,275 miles to deliver.

School Menus
What's on the menu for our area public school students

BP honors 5 Kenai Peninsula teachers for excellence
BP Exploration Alaska has announced its BP Teachers of Excellence award winners for the first semester from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

District School News
Required exams begin next weekSchool board to meet Monday in HomerPeninsula students take top honors in VFW contestSMS retains Battle of Books titleKBEA offers scholarships

Around the District
News from schools around the district

Honor Rolls
The following students were named to the first-semester honor rolls at Kenai Central High School and Homer Middle School.

But can it play ball?
Soldotna High School teacher Bill Carlson, left, and junior Seth Chavka work to put the finishing touches on a robot designed by students while parents and students look on.

Guest instructor links practical and pure art
Viewing fine arts as electives outside the education mainstream is an obsolete idea in the 21st century, according to Mark Anderson.

Top-ranked Jayhawks rout Kansas State
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kirk Hinrich had 24 points as No. 1 Kansas scored its most points ever against Kansas State on Wednesday night and beat the Wildcats for the 24th consecutive time, 103-68.

Madden in talks to join MNF crew
NEW YORK -- John Madden is in talks with ABC Sports to join ''Monday Night Football,'' two TV industry sources told The Associated Press.

Cap capsizes Ravens' ship
The Baltimore Ravens are paying the price for trying to win a second straight Super Bowl last season.

Jordan placed on injured list
WASHINGTON -- Hobbled throughout his comeback by a painful right knee injury, Michael Jordan is taking a break to have arthroscopic surgery.

Allison, Deadmarsh, Palffy click
PITTSBURGH -- Jason Allison had a goal and two assists on Los Angeles' newly formed top line and the Kings remained successful on the road, winning 5-4 Wednesday night to run Pittsburgh's winless streak to eight games.

NBC Sports, Williams part ways
TRENTON, N.J. -- Jayson Williams is out for now as an NBA analyst for NBC Sports. The former NBA All-Star has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of a limousine driver. Williams surrendered to authorities Monday and is free on $250,000 bail.

Giambi returns from injury, White hurt in Yankees camp
The New York Yankees welcomed back one expensive free agent on Tuesday and almost immediately lost another.

Devils whir by New York 4-3
NEW YORK -- Scott Gomez scored twice, and Canada's gold medal-winning goalie Martin Brodeur made 21 saves as the New Jersey Devils beat the New York Rangers 4-3 on Tuesday night.

Jordan has surgery, could return this season
WASHINGTON -- Michael Jordan will probably be able to play again this season. Whether he can make it back in time to save the Washington Wizards' drive for the playoffs is another matter.

Pats play coy with Bledsoe
BOSTON (AP) -- The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots have been too busy trying to prepare for Friday's start of free agency to worry about trading quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

Aikman enjoying life after football
WACO, Texas -- Troy Aikman still believes he can play in the NFL. A year after he was cut by the Dallas Cowboys, though, he doesn't miss it as much as he thought he would.

East Carolina shocks No. 9 Golden Eagles
GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Travis Holcomb-Faye scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half and East Carolina pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the college basketball season Tuesday night, holding No. 9 Marquette to six points over the final 12 1/2 minutes to stun the Golden Eagles 51-46.

Jordan-less Wizards play well in loss to Blazers
WASHINGTON -- Rasheed Wallace had 22 points and 14 rebounds Wednesday night, and the Portland Trail Blazers pulled away with a 12-2 run to open the fourth quarter in a 105-101 victory over the Wizards.

Sports Briefs
Nikolaevsk boys top RamsLemieux says season-long pain isn't getting betterBlues lose Tkachuk for weekRichardson lashes out at criticsEnron asks bankruptcy judge for more timeClosing set for Wednesday, changes to follow

Sports Briefs
Prep basketball player attacked by rival studentsDavis gets new deal; Romanowski a Raider

Lakers complete season sweep of Bucks
MILWAUKEE -- Shaquille O'Neal scored 28 points and Kobe Bryant added 27 as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 99-89 Tuesday, completing a two-game season sweep.

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