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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Photos: The year in pictures
Review the events and best shots of 2008 through the Empire photographers' work.

Where does all the snow go?
The last round of winter storms continues to keep city crews working 20 hours a day clearing streets and dumping snow into Gastineau Channel. It's mundane work, but because of pollution scooped up with the snow, state environmental policy discourages dumping it in marine waters except in emergencies or as a method of last resort.

Photo: Harbor patrol
An Alaska State Trooper takes a frigid walk Wednesday on the Don Statter Boat Harbor dock in Auke Bay.

Juneau looks to tap federal housing aid
Juneau has one of the lowest foreclosure rates in Alaska, which has the lowest rate in the nation. Nonetheless, the borough can still get a bit of the $3.92 billion pot that Congress is doling out to help communities recover from the housing crisis.

Photo: Letting fly
Rez Doung, an employee for Douglas Island Pink And Chum Inc., shovels snow from the roof of the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery roof on Wednesday.

Photo: Powder pup
Maren Brantner plays with her five-month-old black labrador, Wilco, in the snow Monday near Centennial Hall.

Photo: Snow fantasyland
Shane Scarbrough, center, surrounded by family and friends, show off their handy work Tuesday in front of snow structures that Scarbrough constructed on Sunday at his Forest Lane home. The structures include a full-sized igloo, harbor porpoise, dolphin and bears. With Scarbrough, from left, are: Austin Mayer, 7, Kurt Mallett, Lori Martinson, Darian Scarbrough, 12, Ben Bitzer, 11, Vanna Scarbrough, 9, and Ryan Mayer, 12.

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials and state police reported:

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials and state police reported:

Around Town
Today

Around Town
Today

Correction
A story in Monday's Empire incorrectly stated Eaglecrest Ski Area's operating days this week. The area will be open daily until Monday, when it will return to its normal weekly schedule of Thursdays through Mondays.

Timothy Swarens
Former Juneau resident Timothy Scott Swarens died Dec. 27, 2008, following a long battle with complications related to a bone marrow transplant. He was 22.

Alaska editorial: State lawmakers should receive salary, no per diem
The commission appointed to address pay rates for top state officials was on the right course last week when it called for a uniform salary among legislators.

Alaska editorial: Shell Oil's setback is unfortunate for the company, state
Shell Oil made a good-faith effort to obtain the permits necessary to begin exploration drilling on its new offshore leases in the Beaufort Sea next summer. But a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said last month that the federal agency in charge of the leasing and environmental review, the Minerals Management Service, hadn't properly considered the potential environmental impact.

My turn: As capital creeps away, where's the outrage?
Imagine Kodiak without its fishing fleet and harbors. Fairbanks without its university. Bethel without its regional airport. Palmer without the state fair. Anchorage without its high rise buildings and center of commerce.

Outside column: A chilling uncertainty
The United States has entered the era of the experiment. President-elect Barack Obama is putting forward an infrastructure program whose plans and price tag are unclear. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson whipped up the Troubled Asset Relief Program to buy up bad mortgage instruments, and President Bush wants to try extending TARP to autoworkers.

Outside column: War will not bring peace to Gazans or to Israelis in Negev
In the winter, the Negev becomes quite beautiful. Though it rains very little here, the rain we get turns everything green, and there is a cleanness in the air that we don't have during the dry summer months. But since Saturday, when a major Israeli offensive began in the Gaza Strip, less than 20 kilometers from my home and less than two kilometers from the college where I teach, all we have had is darkness, despair and fear.

Healing begins in Iraqi community
Christmas week is an appropriate time to write about a district here called Ameriyah.

Has Israel revived Hamas?
In its efforts to stop amateur rockets from nagging the residents of some of its southern cities, Israel appears to have given new life to the fledging Islamic movement in Palestine.

Outside column: Nation's to-do list for 2009 is dire
I've bought the Spanish turron, counted the grapes by bunches of 12 (one for each month of good luck in 2009) and bought the fizzy stuff.

Avalanche center: Ski patroller spurred slide
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center says a ski patroller triggered an avalanche that damaged a restaurant at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

AMHS cancels New Year's sailing
JUNEAU - Alaska Marine Highway System officials canceled the fast ferry Chenega's round-trip sailings today between Juneau and Sitka because of continued inclement weather at sea.

Online dividend applications begin New Year's Day
JUNEAU - Alaskans can usher in the New Year by applying for their Permanent Fund Dividend online.

LM signs plan to increase logging in Western Oregon
GRANTS PASS, Ore. - Five years after signing an agreement with the timber industry, the Bush administration has delivered its plan for nearly doubling the timber harvest on a patchwork of federal lands in Western Oregon.

Magazine denies Palin baby reports
ANCHORAGE - A People magazine executive denied media speculation Tuesday that Bristol Palin made at least $300,000 for giving the publication first shot at photos of her newborn son.

Juneau CPA firm hires new manager
JUNEAU - Elgee Rehfeld Mertz, a Juneau certified public accountancy firm, has hired Mindy Kissner as a manager.

Suspect sought in store robbery
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police are looking for a man who robbed a convenience store at gunpoint.

Sierra snowpack thicker than last year
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - State officials on Tuesday reported a deeper Sierra snowpack than last year but cautioned that California needs a much wetter winter to recharge its water supplies.

Teen connected to shooting surrenders
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police say a teenager wanted in connection with a weekend shooting has surrendered.

Ebona to lead RurAL CAP again in 2009
JUNEAU - The Rural Alaska Community Action Program Inc. board of directors this month re-elected Andrew Ebona of Juneau as president for 2009.

Palin slams Johnston dropout reports
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Wednesday that her future son-in-law is not a high-school dropout as the press is reporting.

Man swaps drugs for shotgun and mail
FAIRBANKS - A 29-year-old North Pole man is under arrest after telling authorities he swapped methamphetamine for a shotgun and mail not belonging to him.

Bears take Classic crown
The Juneau-Douglas boys basketball team treated the hometown fans to a fitting championship finish Tuesday night, closing out the Capital City Classic with a nail-biting 57-52 win over in-state rival Lathrop.

JDHS girls nipped by Alexander, Ohio
The Juneau-Douglas girls basketball team entered into a true championship game against Alexander, Ohio, in Tuesday's Capital City Classic girls finale, and both teams lived up to the billing.

Capital City Classic highlights
Monday, Dec. 29 - Boys tournament

2008 Capital City Classic awards
All-Tournament team, boys

Fire shuts down Valdez oil refinery
ANCHORAGE - The Petro Star refinery in Valdez remained closed Tuesday after a fire that caused extensive damage to a processing unit and associated pipelines.

State float featured in Rose Bowl parade
The Iditarod is coming to Southern California.

State questions Redfern on Taku barging project
State permitters on Wednesday evening released a packet of questions to the Tulsequah Chief Mine operator regarding its application to barge ore and supplies on the Taku River year-round.

Guard headed to Qatar
FAIRBANKS - Nearly 50 members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 168th Aerial Refueling Wing waited patiently Monday afternoon, watching "The Day After Tomorrow."

Pointed gun no match for man's martial arts
FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks man who allegedly pulled a gun on a man skilled in the martial arts got more than he bargained for.

Festival looks at building giant snowman
ANCHORAGE - The first thing he'll need is a name.

New Anchorage mayor to be sworn in Saturday
ANCHORAGE - With Mayor Mark Begich heading off to Washington, D.C., Anchorage is getting a new mayor.

This Day in History
In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

Calif. sues to block Bush endangered species rules
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California has filed suit against the Bush administration to block last-minute endangered species regulations that are intended to reduce input from federal scientists, Attorney General Jerry Brown announced Tuesday.

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