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Friday, June 13, 2003

Umiat fire wipes out lodge
ANCHORAGE (AP) A blaze fueled by high winds on the North Slope engulfed the few buildings in the tiny settlement of Umiat on Tuesday, the state fire marshal's office said.

Governor signs oil tax credit bill
JUNEAU (AP) Gov. Frank Murkowski has signed into a law an oil exploration tax credit he hopes eventually will bring more oil into production and more dollars to the state.

Many students fail March exit exam, benchmark tests
ANCHORAGE (AP) State academic test scores released Wednesday show hundreds of students failing the high school exit exam and making little or no progress on benchmark tests given in third, sixth and eighth grades.

Juneau Assembly approves DWI impoundment
JUNEAU (AP) Driving drunk in Juneau will mean losing a car or truck for three business days under an ordinance approved by the Juneau Assembly.

Palmer man appointed to District Court bench
WASILLA (AP) A man born and raised in Palmer has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the Palmer District Court bench.

Fire destroys public use cabin on Kenai Peninsula
ANCHORAGE (AP) Fire destroyed a federal public use cabin on the Kenai Peninsula and authorities are investigating whether arsonists are to blame.

Bill to ban bear baiting provokes angry exchange
WASHINGTON (AP) An Alaska congressman went on an angry tirade Thursday against a colleague for introducing a bill that would ban bear baiting on federal lands.

Juneau gets tough on blocked sidewalks
JUNEAU (AP) Blocking downtown sidewalks, even with an open car door, can lead to a $100 fine in Alaska's capital starting this week.

Alyeska gears up for spills with high-tech trailer
FAIRBANKS (AP) As trailers go, Alyeska's new mobile command post is all business. No beer cooler or grill, but enough communications equipment to put it in the running for Alaska's most wired single-wide.

Governor vetoes Afognak land purchase
ANCHORAGE (AP) Gov. Frank Murkowski vetoed a proposed land purchase on northern Afognak Island near Kodiak on Thursday, drawing ire from Native corporations, conservationists, tourism boosters and local politicians.

Kodiak teacher hopes electric fence will keep bears out
KODIAK (AP) Kodiak teacher Steve Steffensen is packing something new in with supplies destined for the family's setnet site in Egegik. A solar-powered electric fence.

Prize halibut loses weight on the scale
FAIRBANKS (AP) Just when it looked like Sam Fleury of Fairbanks had hauled in his first 200-pound halibut, the fish went on a crash diet.

Fire ignites at post range
FAIRBANKS (AP) A training exercise on the Fort Wainwright small arms range Wednesday was blamed for starting a wildfire that has consumed 50-60 acres.

Murkowski creates Knik Arm Bridge agency
ANCHORAGE (AP) Gov. Frank Murkowski on Thursday signed a bill creating the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority.

HEA drops support for intertie transmission line
ANCHORAGE (AP) The Homer Electric Association has dropped its support for a new intertie transmission line between Kenai and Anchorage in what could be a lethal blow to the $119 million project.

Weather conditions increase fire danger
ANCHORAGE (AP) Gusty winds and dry weather have brought dangerous fire conditions to Alaska and the National Weather Service issued a red flag wildfire warning.

'Friendly' highway grizzlies concern biologists
FAIRBANKS (AP) Reports of ''friendly'' grizzly bears that appear to have been fed by passing motorists on the Dalton Highway about 170 miles north of Fairbanks have prompted state and federal wildlife officials to intervene.

State ferry Taku out of service
JUNEAU (AP) The state ferry Taku is out of commission after its shaft clutch assembly failed when the ship tried to leave the Auke Bay terminal Thursday morning.

Seward man, father survive plunge under Koyukuk River ice
FAIRBANKS (AP) A Seward man and his father were retrieved from the North Fork of the Koyukuk River by a Fort Wainwright helicopter early Wednesday morning after surviving a a plunge under river ice and spending five days without food or supplies.

Three teens arrested in Anchorage high school vandalism
ANCHORAGE (AP) Three teenage girls were arrested in connection with an Anchorage high school vandalism spree two weeks ago that left interior walls spray painted and door locks filled with glue, police said.

Firefighters keep close watch on Tok wildfire
FAIRBANKS (AP) The Tok River wildfire has been declared under control but state firefighters are keeping a close watch on remaining hot spots due to continued dry weather.

Murkowski cuts $138 million from budget
JUNEAU (AP) Gov. Frank Murkowski, wielding his veto pen, slashed millions from next year's state budget and set adrift a popular program that paid monthly bonuses to some seniors.

Juneau roe exporter wins governor's award
JUNEAU (AP) A Juneau-based company has been awarded the Governor's Exporter of the Year award for small businesses.

Grand jury indicts Big Lake pastor
ANCHORAGE (AP) The Big Lake pastor who shot and killed two intruders at his church earlier this spring was indicted by a grand jury on manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges Thursday.

Murkowski signs concealed carry permit bill
JUNEAU (AP) Alaskans will no longer need a permit to carry a concealed weapon under a bill signed into law Wednesday.

Federal help available for Sitka Seafood workers
ANCHORAGE (AP) Federal help could be available for approximately 40 seafood processing workers in Yakutat, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Forklift rollover kills Homer man
ANCHORAGE (AP) The owner of a Homer air taxi business was killed Wednesday when a forklift he was driving slid off a soft shoulder and crushed him, Homer police said.

Ketchikan bridge project garners Young a Golden Fleece
JUNEAU (AP) A Washington, D.C., watchdog group has given U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, a Golden Fleece Award for pushing a Ketchikan bridge project the group calls a boondoggle.

Complaints lead to halibut overfishing enforcement
ANCHORAGE (AP) Two Anchorage men sportfishing for halibut near Homer were arrested and fined for exceeding their limit, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries enforcement office said Wednesday.

Kenai River Festival set for this weekend
KENAI (AP) The 13th annual Kenai River Festival kicks off again this weekend at Green Strip Park in Kenai.

CIRI shareholders seek dividend
ANCHORAGE (AP) Shareholders have told Cook Inlet Regional Inc. to hand out $63 million in special dividends.

Nobel Prize winner comes to UAA
ANCHORAGE (AP) Vernon Smith, co-winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics, has come to the University of Alaska Anchorage as a visiting scholar.

UAF names new women's basketball coach
FAIRBANKS (AP) The University of Alaska Fairbanks on Thursday hired a former assistant coach as its new head women's basketball coach.

Yankees bounce back with win over Astros
NEW YORK Joe Torre made it clear he expects his New York Yankees to play with more heart.

Record six Houston pitchers no-hit Yanks
NEW YORK It took a record six pitchers to no-hit the New York Yankees, and that wasn't the only bizarre thing about the Houston Astros' big night in the Bronx.

Sosa begins suspension
BALTIMORE (AP) Sammy Sosa thrilled the fans at Camden Yards on Wednesday with a wonderful display of power during batting practice.

New tax law will lower many workers' taxes, provide child 'rebates'
NEW YORK (AP) There's a little something for just about everyone in the new tax act.

Reno casinos look to river to deliver tourists
RENO, Nev. It was heresy not long ago for a Reno casino owner to encourage gamblers to pry themselves away from the slot machines and enjoy the great outdoors.

Juneau exporter earns biz accolades
JUNEAU (AP) A Juneau-based company has been awarded the Governor's Exporter of the Year award for small businesses.

Loving their jobs, many boomer women plan to work into their golden years
NEW YORK (AP) When Jane Williams was looking for work in the 1970s, employers were more interested in her typing skills than her economics degree. Now the chief executive of a California wealth management firm, she feels that she's just hitting her stride and is in no hurry to retire.

Russian LNG could sell in California
ANCHORAGE (AP) Liquefied natural gas from the Russian Far East may be sold in southern California as soon as 2007.

Watercooler
SINGLE SCENES: Where's the best place to live if you're single? Chances are, it will have several big universities.

Soldotna gets Street apparel
What could be better than buying in-style fashion that doesn't come from a nearby box store or an adult-friendly department store?

Greenspan speaks, Wall Street decides?
NEW YORK (AP) Sometimes it just takes a single word out of Alan Greenspan's mouth to convince Wall Street of the Federal Reserve's next move.

Walton opens second Soldotna Edward Jones
Indy Walton opened a second Edward Jones office in Soldotna across the Sterling Highway from Fred Meyer on Wednesday. For the past seven months, Walton has been working with Wes Roberts to serve investors throughout the Kenai Peninsula area.

King fishing extended
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has issued an emergency order extending king salmon fishing in the Ninilchik River.

Hot tips: Keep them a secret
"Don't put this in the newspaper," a fishing acquaintance told me at this time last year, "but they're going to extend the king opening on the Ninilchik River."

Nevada angler takes halibut derby lead
Mark Leseberg of Boulder City, Nev., moved into the top spot of the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby with a 241.6-pound catch landed Wednesday, displacing the former leader by 1.4 pounds.

Major study on moderate exercise called into question
WASHINGTON (AP) New research labels as an ''illusion'' a major study's conclusion that couch potatoes who take up at least moderate regular exercise can reduce their risk of dying early.

Health: A Commute on Two Wheels
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) As a college student nearly 25 years ago, Steve Richardson began commuting by bike to Sacramento State University as a concession to his limited budget.

Health: Kicking It
HOUSTON (AP) You're a smoker. You know they're closing in on you, with ever more restrictive laws and regulations, and there are fewer public places where you can light up. Those nannies!

Health: Help for Quitting
HOUSTON (AP) Your guilty feelings may keep you from confiding about your heavy smoking habit to your doctor or a friend, but you may find it easier to tell the truth to a computer.

Frank Sinatra tributes, memoirs, reprises abound
NEW YORK As improbable as it may sound, Frank Sinatra is the man of the moment.

Harrison Ford gets goofy in new movie
LOS ANGELES Oh, that wacky Harrison Ford, rigging his cell phone to announce calls with the tune of ''My Girl'' and chasing a bad guy on a child's pink bicycle.

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

Quilting on the Kenai
Though quilting developed as largely a wintertime activity, it's popularity has grown to the point where it isn't relegated to the cold dark months of winter anymore. Now this area's premier quilting activity of the year is held in the thick of the summer.

Singers bring back old tunes
NEW YORK The words are intimate, but delivered in public. The music is sung close up, perhaps even whispered across cocktail tables.

Book offers personal view of Alaska's changes
Many people come to Alaska pursuing dreams and adventures. Some find them. But few can tell their tales to others in a compelling way.

Art Briefs
Book sale starts todayFine arts institute slatedPoetry contests offers $1,000Writers' conference slatedPratt soliciting ornament designsMuseum solicits fiber artwork

Comparison of retractable roof, national security insensitive
I read Jeff Helminiak's "Retractable Roof in Kenai" piece on June 11, 2003.

Closing DMV offices betrays public trust
Gov. Frank Murkowski is betraying the public trust. His determination to close all but a few Department of Motor Vehicle offices throughout Alaska for the sake of saving money is nothing short of incompetence.

Oil spill sentences shows questionable logic
Last week, the man who shot a hole in the pipeline was sentenced to 16 years in prison. He spilled 265,000 gallons of oil.

Poem reminds children to remember dads
Father's have feelings

Flag Day celebrates symbol of freedom, sacrifice
The national flag of the United States is the emblem of the world's free people.

California will get date from Darlington
BROOKLYN, Mich. There's no mystery surrounding NASCAR's scheduled press conference Friday at Michigan International Speedway. Word the California Speedway will gain a second racing date the traditional Southern 500 weekend has been one of racing's worst-kept secrets.

Michael Waltrip
Michael Waltrip won the season-opening Daytona 500. Since all three of his career wins have come at Daytona International Speedway, it was hardly a surprise.

Money leaders
1. Jimmie Johnson $3,018,4202. Kurt Busch 2,706,9403. Michael Waltrip 2,648,455

Race schedule
February 16 to November 16, 2003

Points leaders
1. Matt Kenseth 2,1152. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1,9393. Jeff Gordon 1,882

This week's race: Sirius Satellite 400
Where and when

Matt Kenseth quietly expanding points lead
BROOKLYN, Mich. Matt Kenseth could skip this Sunday's Sirius Satellite 400 at Michigan International Speedway, and he still would be the leader of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series point standings.

Hospital provides new high-tech health care
The Kenai Peninsula has taken the lead in cutting-edge medical technology in Alaska with a new upgrade at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna.

Residents can view design choices
Soldotna residents will have an opportunity to comment on proposed design concepts for the new Sterling Highway bridge over the Kenai River before the city council's next business meeting June 25.

Yet oil industry jobs still declining
More Alaskans held jobs during the first quarter of 2003 than state labor analysts anticipated, according to the latest employment figures from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Devel-opment.

Oil, gas bills signed
Gov. Frank Murkowski signed into law four oil and gas bills at Wednesday's Kenai Chamber of Commerce luncheon and applauded the efforts of Kenai Peninsula state legislators Sen. Tom Wagoner, R-Kenai, and Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, who helped steer the natural resource development bills into being.

Friday the 13th myth makers
Watch out for black cats, avoid mirrors and ladders and, by all means, don't spill the salt.

Kenai River Festival set for this weekend
The city of Kenai will be busting at the seams this weekend as the 13th annual Kenai River Festival kicks off once again.

Governor vetoes $138 million; longevity bonus program discontinued
JUNEAU Gov. Frank Murkowski, wielding his veto pen, slashed millions from next year's state budget and set adrift a popular program that paid monthly bonuses to some seniors.

Betty Elizabeth Warren
A memorial service for former longtime Kenai resident Betty Elizabeth Warren will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 15, at the Kenai Senior Citizens Center. Friends and family are welcome to attend.

Beatrice pitchers shut out Oilers
The Peninsula Oilers dropped their home opener Thursday as the Beatrice, Neb., Bruins broke open a pitchers' duel with a pair or runs in the eighth inning en route to a 4-0 win at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

Road map to Middle East peace giving people chance at hope for future
On a path fraught with great difficulties and much controversy, the Mideast peace process is slowly but surely advancing, gaining new momentum that is breaking down the walls of distrust.

Sharon's 'peacemaker' image tainted by actions
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's recent admission, that it is impossible to keep the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip under occupation forever, has done little, if anything, to change the way he is perceived in the Arab world. His gory track record belies any bid on his part to cast himself as a peacemaker.

Targeting terrorists: Bush's stance not so clear in Mideast
WASHINGTON The words were uttered by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, but they could just as easily have come from President Bush: ''We will make no concessions to terror.''

Flag Day prompts reminder of proper etiquette, respect
Fly the flag. Saturday is Flag Day.

Willow identification, birding workshops planned
The Kenai Watershed forum will be sponsoring workshops on willow identification and back yard birding.

Cowboy fun shoot Saturday
The Snow Shoe Gun Club will host a Cowboy Single Action Shooting Fun Shoot Saturday at the pistol range. Setup is at 9 a.m., registration at 9:45 and gunsmoke at 10.

Burning season: Even midnight sun can damage skin
Ah, the land of the midnight sun! There are all kinds of outdoor activities to enjoy. And while more sun means having more fun, it also calls for preventing skin damage caused by the nice, warm rays.

New willow field guide helps identify plants significant to peninsula's ecology
Barclay willows are in bloom now along the roadsides. These favorite shrubs of browsing moose grow well in disturbed soils

Around the Peninsula
Summer clubhouse to hold open houseBarbecue to benefit Sterling seniorsFamily picnic planned for SundaySoccer coaches neededWillow identification workshop scheduledKenai Boys and Girls Club host golf tourneyCrafters-artisans sought for freedom festivalNRA to sponsor women's gun clinic

Around the Peninsula
Homer chamber mixer today Blood Bank of Alaska in critical need of donors Golf tourney to benefit firefighters association Kenai Watershed to host river festival Sterling seniors plan barbecue New swim session to begin Monday Deadline for subsistence comments looming Hospital to offer safe sitter courses

Kidnapped missionary: Keep working
LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) Gracia Burnham continues to preach the value of missionary work despite being kidnapped in the Philippines along with her husband, who died in a rescue effort a year ago.

Catholic bishops won't talk much about abuse in public, but crisis isn't over
America's Roman Catholic bishops will meet next week, and a glance at the agenda shows the prelates are in no mood to talk publicly about the problem still tormenting the church molesters in the priesthood.

A prayer business plan
The following is true. Who could be creative enough to make it up?

Decision clears way for work on Islamic burial ground
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) Plans for an Islamic cemetery in Gwinnett County are moving forward after county commissioners agreed to a disputed, preliminary design for a 5-acre cemetery.

Followers dwindle, but some still believe preacher was God, not fraud
GLADWYNE, Pa. (AP) They keep a place set for Father Divine in the grand dining room at Woodmont, the French Gothic manor where he once greeted thousands of followers who believed he was God.

Federal appeals court hears Nebraska school prayer case
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) A school prayer case went before a federal appeals court Monday the latest twist in a three-year dispute over recitation of ''The Lord's Prayer'' at a Nebraska graduation ceremony.

Religion Briefs
Native fellowship meets tonight Basketball camps scheduled Vacation Bible study planned Jews for Jesus programs slated Christian poetry sought Summer camp planned Sunday school, youth camp slated God and country rally set Artisans, crafters sought for fest Childrens Bible school planned Church offers camp for all ages Rainbow Poets to award $5,000 Church plans Bible school Churches host Oilers game

Christians, Muslims say Hindu nationalists persecuting them
AHMADABAD, India (AP) Christian and Muslim groups in the western Indian state of Gujarat have accused the Hindu nationalist government of terrorizing them, saying a commission established to protect their interests was failing in its duties.

Baptist convention ejects church with lesbian pastor
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Baptist Convention has severed ties with a Baptist church that appointed a lesbian pastor.

Southern Baptist International Mission Board to cut jobs
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) A shortfall in contributions has forced the Southern Baptist International Mission Board to cut 61 jobs, a week after the Richmond-based agency said it was limiting the number of new missionaries it will send overseas through next year.

Missionary who was kidnapped calls for continued missionary work
LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) Gracia Burnham continues to preach the value of missionary work despite being kidnapped in the Philippines along with her husband, who died in a rescue effort a year ago.

Mount Marathon race needs volunteers
The 2003 Seward Centennial Mount Marathon race is soliciting volunteers for all three races to be held July 4. Volunteers receive a complimentary race volunteer T-shirt. For further information on various volunteer positions call Rich Houghton at 224-5290

Birch Ridge Report: Quick pop quiz on golf
Pop quiz: What is a bumbershoot and do you need one to play golf? The answer is at the end ... be patient.

Tiger's slump qualifies as excellent for most
Superman had Kryptonite. Samson had Delilah. Tiger Woods has his weak moments, too. Or not.

Robbins rejoins Raiders
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Barret Robbins stood on the Oakland Raiders' practice field, hands on hips, quietly chatting with fellow center Adam Treu.

On Tap
Peninsula sports this weekend.

Virginia ups heat on ACC
HARTFORD, Conn. The attorney general of Virginia was added Thursday to the Big East lawsuit seeking to stop the Atlantic Coast Conference's expansion plans.

Sports Briefs
KPSC competes at Kristiansen tourneyBig sprint car event comes to KenaiVan Gundy introduced as coach of the RocketsPenguins' hiring enough to bring Olczyk to tears

Forsberg is MVP
TORONTO (AP) Peter Forsberg's stellar return to the NHL following an injury that forced him to miss an entire regular season culminated with him being chosen as the league's most valuable player on Thursday night.

Nets find a way
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. The New Jersey Nets shuffled off the court at the final buzzer, looking as though they had just pulled off a fast one.

Finals has rare 2-2 tie
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. Steve Kerr sat along the baseline Thursday, confessed to his occasional bouts with boredom during the NBA Finals and reminisced about the last time a championship series was tied 2-2.

Watson tied for top spot at U.S. Open with Quigley
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. Tom Watson felt like a kid again, leaping as high as his 53-year-old body allowed, charging up the leaderboard at the U.S. Open with magical shots that brought Olympia Fields to life.

Photo feature: Motherly love
A moose calf nuzzles its mother in a yard in Kenai recently.

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