Saturday, January 1, 2011

Promises, Promises
In the Senior Voice dated January 2011, there is an interesting article written by Senator Mark Begich regarding the fiscal health of Medicare and Social Security. He tells seniors "they are in no danger of losing benefits because right now the Social Security Trust has a 2.6 trillion surplus". Whew, am I relieved. All this time I thought the trust fund was full of I.O.U.s. Now I find that although the actual money is not sitting in a special account in Washington, this debt to seniors is secured by U.S. Treasury Bonds. But wait, who secures U.S. Treasury Bonds? Oh yes, the government. So the government, who is broke, issues treasury bonds to itself. Really?

Water treatment, disposal topics at Chamber of Commerce lunch
Everyone's getting ready for the new year, and that includes the City and Borough of Juneau. The future looks busy for the Public Works Administration, as Public Works Director Joe Buck outlined some of the highest priorities to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce.

Airport program to welcome Alaskans
Friendly local faces have been helping guide summer visitors to the sights of Juneau for a few years, but now business professionals, politicians and other travelers will be greeted by locals in winter as well.

Photo: Dancing with light
Members of the Juneau-Douglas High School Dance Team perform their Light March during halftime at the 20th Annual Princess Capital City Classic Basketball Tournament Wednesday.

Photo: Some serious snow shoveling
Ash Craspo, an employee of the state's general services division, shovels snow out of the entrance to the State Office Building on Thursday.

Police & Fire
This report contains information provided to the Empire from law enforcement agencies. This report includes arrest and citation information, not conviction information. Anyone listed in this report is presumed innocent.

Empire editorial: Time to go, Joe
The time has come - and long since passed - for the candidate who has no chance of becoming our next U.S. Senator to give up his legal ploys and stop holding the people of Alaska hostage.

Reforms are a good first step
Many observers contend November's midterm election was about the need to rein in our national deficit and to get the economy on the right track. However, when the 112th session of Congress convenes, the new Republican leadership will support a bill that will: increase the deficit by almost $150 billion, increase the number of people at risk of bankruptcy, repeal a $110 billion middle class tax credit and weaken Medicare's solvency.

Dismantle it, piece by piece
The American people have consistently said they fear government control over their health-care choices. And the more they learn about the health-care reform legislation approved earlier this year, the more they realize their fears are justified.

Rendell in the White House
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell's romp through the media following the cancellation of the Philadelphia Eagles-Minnesota Vikings football game shows why he is often mentioned as just the person to bring the rarefied West Wing of the White House down to Earth.

Taking a day to adapt
Lindsay Hallvik's most vivid memory in her job as an adaptive ski and snowboard instructor arrived about a year ago as she helped one local woman into her gear. The middle-aged woman was a skier when she was in her prime, but hadn't been on the slopes in nearly 40 years. She had experienced an amputation and diabetes - which, in turn, resulted in a handful of other health-related complications. Hallvik said the woman never expected to access the mountain again.

ORCA offering Nordic program
For the first time, the local non-profit ORCA is offering adaptive cross country ski lessons beginning in January for disabled individuals in the community.

Auke Nu trail in the deep freeze
As we drove to the trailhead, a full moon still hung in the sky. The temperature was a balmy 23 degrees or so, just one day after minus six registered during the night at my house.

Officials report surge in North Coast fall chinook salmon run
POTTER VALLEY, Calif. - State wildlife officials say a threatened species of salmon has completed its fall run to a Mendocino County dam in record numbers.

Gray wolf from NM sent to Mexico breeding program
CARLSBAD, N.M. - A southern New Mexico zoo has sent a Mexican gray wolf to Mexico for a breeding program.

Unit 4 mountain goat season now closed
JUNEAU - The registration hunt (RG150) for mountain goats on Baranof Island closed today.

2011 Aquatic Farm Application period now open
JUNEAU - Joint-agency aquatic farmsite applications are now available and will be accepted by the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mining, Land and Water, from Saturday, Jan. 1 through Monday, May 2.

Unit 4 big game season closures
JUNEAU - Unit 4 will close for the hunting of Sitka black-tailed deer and brown bear (registration hunt RB077) under the state season today. This includes all of Admiralty, Baranof and Chichagof islands, as well as smaller islands within the unit.

Snow & Grooming report
Conditions as of Dec. 30

Tides
Today, Dec. 31

A year of Wild Shots
All year, residents and visitors have generously shared images and stories capturing Mother Nature’s fleeting moments. In this issue, the last of 2010, I have chosen to share those that have yet to go to print.

Alaska executive featured in Biztech magazine
Michael Garrett, chief operating officer of telecommunications operations for Alaska Power & Telephone Co., graces the latest cover of Biztech magazine. The accompanying article profiles the growth of wireless networks nationwide and includes AP&T's Southeast Alaska Microwave Network as an example of how various companies are meeting the challenges of customer demand for both bandwidth and access. The article can be accessed and read online at: http://www.biztechmagazine.com/article.asp?item_id=876.

Thane Road temporary closure planned today
The Department of Transportation's Southeast Region Maintenance & Operations staff will conduct Avalanche Control operations on Thane Road on Friday, Dec. 31. Thane Road will be closed to traffic beginning at 10 a.m. Howitzer firing will begin at 10:30 a.m. DOT anticipates completion of operations and reopening of the road at noon.

Attorney: Miller working to meet borough request
JUNEAU - An attorney says Joe Miller is working to comply with a request to turn over all records the he either produced or received during his tenure with the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Carpeneti reappoints 4 presiding judges
ANCHORAGE - Alaska's four presiding Superior Court judges will retain their positions for 2011.

Wolfpack grounds Falcons
West Valley took care of business at the free throw line during a 15-4 fourth-quarter run to put Thunder Mountain away Thursday, and the Wolfpack went on to top the Falcons 56-33 as snow blanketed Juneau outside.

Tanoa Bowl features five Crimson Bears
The prep basketball season is in full swing with the completion of this year’s Capital City Classic on Wednesday, but three of the Crimson Bears were notably absent from the boys’ roster of the annual hoops tournament.

Parnell certifies Murkowski as Alaska's U.S. Senator
S-E-A-N, P-A-R-N-E-L-L. The intent was clear Thursday morning on the third floor of the State Capital Building as Gov. Sean Parnell signed U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski's certification papers declaring her the winner of the 2010 Alaska Senatorial Race nearly two months after the election.

Handful of new laws to take effect in Alaska
JUNEAU - Starting in the new year, foster youth will have the option of state support for an extra year, limits will be placed on forced overtime for nurses and heirs of residents who die after June 29 will be able to make claims on their Alaska Permanent Fund dividends.

State plans internal review of election handling
JUNEAU - Alaska's new lieutenant governor plans an internal review of the state's handling of the contentious U.S. Senate race.

Fairbanks mayor takes bite out of air quality plan
FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks mayor Luke Hopkins and the city's Air Pollution Control Commission reluctantly amended and approved a version of an air-quality improvement plan that sets goals to reduce pollution, but gives the city no power to enforce it.

Man missing, 10 days after leaving cabin
NOME - Searchers set out for a second day Thursday in hopes of finding a man who disappeared this month on a 50-mile walk to Nome from his family's cabin.

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