Forced health care a slippery slope
With health care reform looming ahead, a mandate requiring that everyone purchase health insurance and potential court challenges, I think it's very important to realize a few things.

Alaska's fish belongs to Alaskans
Alaska is the last frontier, where people value the pioneer spirit, independence and self-sufficiency. There is nothing more critical to this lifestyle than the ability of a family to feed itself. Subsistence and sport fishing deliver 100 percent of the benefits to Alaskans, whereas only a small percentage of commercial fishing goes to all Alaskans through taxes.

Cooperation versus fear in the new year
Happy New Year!

Numbers misleading in subsistence fishing
In a recent letter to the Empire, Greg Hayes stated that 96 percent of all fish in Alaska are taken by commercial interests. This is a very misleading statement. Actually, about 70 percent of Alaska fish harvested are pollock, which are taken by trawlers. Then we have pink and chum salmon, which comprise about 15 percent of Alaska fish and are not highly coveted by sport and subsistence users. There are plenty pinks and chums to go around and there are little if no restrictions on the take of these fish, nor on sport pollock fishing for that matter.

Local accepts an unexpected assignment
U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Jim Robertson never imagined he would be stationed in Iraq, but he was quick to jump at the opportunity when a wartime assignment presented itself.

Little Jack's World: Young boy, father work to rebuild lives at shelter
The sign on 2-year-old Jack Reed Adams III's bedroom door says "Staff Only. Enter Without Permission, 3-Day Suspension." Inside the converted Glory Hole storage room are a hodge-podge of items: an old computer, desk, boxes of nameless knick-knacks, plastic storage totes, bedding, stuff lost in an old elevator shaft and other assorted things that, like Jack and his father, Jack Reed Adams Jr., 55, don't have a place.

Plunging into the new year
With temperatures around 15 degrees on Friday, Miles Kiefer had a good reason to jump into the icy water of Auke Bay.

Around Town
Today, Jan. 3

Foodland center on market for $16 million
Foodland Shopping Center in downtown Juneau went on the market this month for $16 million.

Photo: Frozen playground
Four-year-old Annika Sellers enjoys an afternoon of exploring the frozen landscape at the Mendenhall Glacier on Sunday. According to the U.S. Forest Service, skaters, skiiers, snowshoers, and others should still heed ice conditions even in the middle of winter as icebergs can still calve and roll.]

Photo: Rabbit whisperer
Erik Hopkins relaxes Thursday with Bell the rabbit at the Gastineau Humane Society. Erik's family calls him the "Rabbit Whisperer" because they say rabbits calm down as soon as he is with them. The Hopkins family usually volunteers one day each week at the humane society.

Photo: Winter catch
Monika Bethers holds up the cutthroat trout she caught Sunday on Twin Lakes using cooked store-bought cocktail shrimp as bait. "He's pretty jealous," Bethers said, motioning to her boyfriend, Jesse Walker, in the background. "But he'll get to cook it."

Photo: Silhouetted skate
A skater takes a break on an iceberg Friday on frozen Mendenhall Lake, where several residents enjoyed their New Year's Day.

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

Around Town
Today, Jan. 4

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

Shelter update: Tails keep waggin'
Despite 2009's ragged economy, the animals at the Gastineau Humane Society are doing fine, thanks to the generosity of Juneau, said Executive Director Chava Lee.

Photo: Spreading holiday cheer
Auke Bay Coop Preschool children and teachers visited the Juneau Pioneers' Home on Dec. 18 to sing holiday carols and bring a vase of crafted pointsettias the kids made in preschool. From left are Mallory Welling, teacher Ann Ferlauto, Landon Farley, Samantha Mead, Michael Wittig, teacher Tanya Roust, Kelsey Barker, Aidan Pietan, Leif Torgerson and Weijie Smith. In front is Wesley Torgerson. For more information about Auke Bay Co-op, visit


Senior menu for the week of Jan. 4-8
Monday, Jan. 4

Thanks for suppporting to the Racheal MacLeod dinner program
On behalf of the Capital City Rotaract Club and the Racheal MacLeod Christmas Dinner Project, we would like to say thank you for your support and donation to this wonderful project.

Tribe Welcomes New Youth Education Manager Deena LaRue
JUNEAU - The Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska recently announced that Deena LaRue has joined the Community Services & Self-Governance Division as their new youth education manager. She will oversee the Dropout Prevention Program funded by U.S. Department of Education, and both the Johnson-O'Malley and Higher Education Programs which are funded through a Compact with the Office of Self-Governance, Department of Interior.

Sayers joins Alicia Roberts Medical Center medical staff
KLAWOCK - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock is pleased to announce the addition of Gregory H. Sayers to its medical staff.

Dr. Englebrake returns to Alicia Roberts Medical Center
KLAWOCK - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock is pleased to announce the return of Dr. Peggy J. Englebrake to its medical staff.

Widowed Persons hold monthly brunch at noon
JUNEAU - The Widowed Persons Program will hold its monthly brunch this at noon today at the Baranof Hotel.

Yakutat Senior Center offers hot lunches
YAKUTAT - All senior citizens, age 60 and older, are invited to enjoy a hot lunch at noon Monday through Friday at the Yakutat Senior Center located in the Sunrise Apartments on YTT Drive.

Thank you to city museum volunteers
All of us at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum would like to thank our tireless volunteers who helped out during 2009. Museum volunteers give thousands of hours every year as receptionists, collection assistants, committee members, and construction assistants, and we could not function without their generosity of time and commitment to the museum. We would especially like to recognize volunteers Alma Harris, Barbara Potter, Betty Miller and Elaine Long, who each reached 250 hours of volunteer time in 2009 and the incomparable Marie Darlin, who reached 1,000 hours.

Homeless Coalition supports 'Out of the Rain' photo campaign
JUNEAU - The Juneau Homeless Coalition invites you to sponsor a photo for "Out of the Rain: A Snapshot of Homelessness" - three gallery showings in Juneau - at KTOO in January, the Silverbow Back Room in February, and the Glory Hole in March.

School District seeks five members for its Budget Committee
JUNEAU - The Juneau School District is recruiting for five community members interested in serving on a Budget Committee to oversee the 2011 fiscal year budget process. The group will meet with the Board of Education approximately six times during January and February to learn about the district budget, hear proposals made by the superintendent and to gather testimony from the community.

Academy to offer free construction trades classes after school
JUNEAU - Juneau Construction Academy will offer free Construction Trades classes after school for all Juneau School District high school students. Classes held at JDHS, and transportation assistance is provided.

Juneau resident notes stray male cat out Thane
I was talking with my friend Katie Corbus who lives at 5810 Thane, and she mentioned that there has been a large, long haired, dark gray, male cat who has been a frequent visitor at their house ever since last spring. She and Bill wondered if someone on Thane was occasionally missing a cat of this description and wanted to let them know that they are completely fine with the visitor but thought the owner - if there is one - might be concerned by absences. He tends to be an outside cat but does come inside and snuggles and now will eat - although he didn't for a long time.

Sealaska Heritage Institute implements book series on language development
"A child who is language-delayed is going to fail. He or she does not have a chance to succeed in academics. They can succeed elsewhere, but not in academics. ... My heart goes out to anyone who is in high school and who is language delayed, because they face failure everyday. And we wonder why they drop out of school. ... This sense of failure due to language delay is incredibly powerful."

Sealaska accepting applications for college, voc-tech scholarships
JUNEAU - Sealaska Heritage Institute is accepting applications for the 2010-2011 school year. Sealaska shareholders and descendants enrolled in accredited college, university and voc-tech schools are eligible to apply.

Care-A-Van services offer door-to-door transportation
JUNEAU - Southeast Senior Services, a division of Catholic Community Services, offers the Care-A-Van Transportation Service for senior citizens, age 60 and older, and people of any age who are unable to use the Capital Transit bus due to a disability. Although the Care-A-Van is primarily funded through a contract with the city of Juneau, the service also receives financial support from Medicaid Waiver revenues, a grant from the Alaska Division of Senior and Disabilities Services, and passenger contributions.

Block Grant, Utility Waiver application period now open
JUNEAU - The Social Services Advisory Board is now accepting grant applications for the 2011-2012 fiscal year funding cycle. Applications and information on the Block Grant, Utility Waiver are available online at

AWARE announces 2010 Women of Distinction
JUNEAU - Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies Inc. is proud to announce the 2010 Women of Distinction. Chris Ashenbrenner, carolyn Brown, Bev Ingram and Helen Sarabia, have been chosen for this tribute based on their dedication and relentless service to peace, justice and the empowerment of women and children. Each of the honorees has enriched the lives of women and children with care and compassion.

Part I: 'Wud yu bee muh date?'
Restraining orders aside, I think I am pretty good boyfriend material. A few mends, a couple stitches, sew in a reinforced pouch and someone might make a good purse out of me. Add in the fact that I just duct-taped my one good shock to the undercarriage of my 280,000-plus mileage Chevy truck and, wow who could not find me irresistible?

Crafty resolutions for 2010
It's that time of year when resolutions come crawling out of their dark and dusty holes. Say hello to the "Lose 10 pounds" and give a grin to the "Eat better, drink less." These fine friends are here again to greet us, goad us, guilt us, and then slither back to wherever they came from to hibernate for another year.

Houseguest Nirvana
Respectful, self-aware and unarmed are some of the qualities I require of houseguests after being baptized by fire. I posed the question "What makes a good houseguest?" - out loud, to anyone, while writing this piece in a bustling downtown Heritage Coffee. Instantly people were at my table, pouring out houseguest and house-sitter stories; the good, bad, ugly and really funny.

Poll: 2010 New Year's resolutions
Jordon Cottingham

Castleton, Hull wed
Mary Castleton, of Irvine, Calif., and Eric Hull, of Juneau, were married on Dec. 19, 2009, at the Newport Beach Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Newport Beach, Calif. A reception followed on the yacht Eternity in Newport Harbor.

Cors, Reid wed
Vanessa Cors, of Buckley, Wash., and Steve Reid, of Juneau, were married on Nov. 10, 2009, at the Holualoa Inn in Holualoa, Hawaii. For more information, visit

America's Beck effect
It's official: Americans admire Glenn Beck more than they admire the pope.

Deciding health care reform: Why I voted no
Usually by this time of year, members of Congress stop hearing from their constituents because they've got other things on their minds Christmas cards and presents and family gatherings to celebrate the holidays. But not this year.

Keys to successful education system
Ten years ago, deep in the Rio Grande Valley, two 23-year-old Teach for America teachers opened an after-school tutoring program. Through sheer force of will, the program became a public charter school, housed on the second floor of a local church. Eventually, that school became a cluster of 12 schools, serving kids from Colonias - communities so impoverished that some lack potable water.

Deciding health care reform: Why I voted yes
I voted in favor of the Senate health insurance reform bill because I believe the status quo is unacceptable.

A battle best kept under wraps
As a journalist, I'm supposed to be in favor of maximum access to court documents. As a human being - and in particular as a mother - I have a hard time seeing why the custody fight between Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston ought to be on the public record for all to see. An Alaska judge has denied Palin's request to keep the dispute under seal. How can this possibly be in the best interests of the child - their son, Tripp?

Outside editorial: America the safer
As you have no doubt heard, the first 10 years of the 21st century were dreadful - a lost decade of terrorism, war and economic stagnation. There is some truth to that portrayal. But in one significant respect, the awful Aughties were practically a golden age. We refer to the continued progress the United States is making against homicide and other violent crime.

Toe toon
This week's toe toon.

Environmental groups have modest legislative agenda
SEATTLE - With the Washington Legislature facing a $2.6 billion budget deficit, environmentalists have a modest agenda for the upcoming session and hope to avoid further cutbacks they say have already devastated environmental protection in the state.

Pro fishing guides form association
KENAI - More than 50 professional Kenai River fishing guides have formed their own association.

Emissions program ends after 25 years
FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks' vehicle emissions program has ended after 25 years.

Oregon man arrested in stabbing of wife
ROCK CREEK, Ore. - Sheriff's deputies said a Rock Creek man is being held in the stabbing death of his wife.

Man arrested after standoff at airport
SEATTLE - Police at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport shuttled people away from the southernmost passenger screening area Friday night after a man claiming to have a gun barricaded himself inside a restroom.

Man injured in Shageluk stabbing
SHAGELUK - Alaska State Troopers say a Shageluk man was stabbed in the chest and flown out of the village for treatment.

Idaho killer seeks release from prison
GOODING, Idaho - Gooding County prosecutors are asking a judge to dismiss a request to be released from prison filed by a man who pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the 1993 killing of a south-central Idaho couple.

Man arrested after reporting shooting
NEWPORT, Ore. - Authorities in Newport say a 60-year-old man was taken into custody after he called 911 from the county jail's parking lot to report he had shot his wife.

Man's body found in Everett garage
EVERETT, Wash. - Everett police are investigating what appears to be a homicide at a parking garage near the Comcast Arena.

Coast Guard: Small fuel spill in Tatitlek
TATITLEK - The Coast Guard said a small amount of diesel fuel got into Prince William Sound at Tatitlek, but people at the village have contained it with a boom and absorbent material.

Goats munch on Christmas trees
ARLINGTON, Wash. - Dozens of Christmas trees in Arlington, Wash., not only were recycled, they became a meal for goats to munch on.

Man killed in Wash. snowmobile accident
COLVILLE, Wash. - The Stevens County sheriff's office said a 27-year-old man was killed in a snowmobile accident.

3-year old girl stabbed in Portland
PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland police said a 22-year-old woman is in custody after her boyfriend's 3-year-old daughter was stabbed.

Trooper arrests man after mile foot chase
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon state trooper chased a suspect for nearly a mile on foot before collaring him as he tried to hide in a muddy canal.

Parnell wants delay in greenhouse gas rule
JUNEAU - Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell wants the Environmental Protection Agency to halt its effort to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Drilling ban off Oregon coast expires
PORTLAND, Ore. - With the beginning of 2010, a three-year moratorium on oil and gas drilling in Oregon's territorial sea is expiring.

Portland's homicides down in 2009
PORTLAND, Ore. - There were 21 homicides in Portland in 2009, the lowest number in nearly 40 years, but the slayings included some horrific cases.

Washington plywood mill restarting
PORT ANGELES, Wash. - Peninsula Plywood Group has fired up the boiler at its Port Angeles mill, an important step as it prepares to start production later this month.

Dog with shotgun wounds improving
KENAI - The Twin Cities Veterinary Clinic in Kenai has been treating one tough dog.

Body of hunter found in Naknek River
ANCHORAGE - Alaska State Troopers said searchers have recovered the body of a 75-year-old Naknek man who apparently drowned in the Naknek River.

Air National Guard sees more recruits
FAIRBANKS - The Alaska Air National Guard saw an increase in recruits for 2009. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports they numbered 342, up 88 from the year before.

Montana legalizes assisted suicide
Bloomberg, Mont. - Physician-assisted suicide is legal in Montana, and doctors who help terminally ill patients die are shielded from prosecution, the state Supreme Court ruled.

Authorities recover body of ice fisherman
POCATELLO, Idaho - The body of an Idaho Falls man who authorities say drowned after breaking through ice at the Indian Creek area of Palisades Reservoir has been recovered.

TMHS boys go 1-2 in tourney
Thunder Mountain dropped its final game of the McKinley Bank Holiday Tournament at Monroe Catholic on Wednesday 81-65 to eventual champion South Anchorage after an up-and-down affair that saw the Falcons' two big rallies come up short.

Expect dim year for aurora
FAIRBANKS - Aurora watchers likely will be disappointed in 2010.

PFD applications book shrinking to save the state money
ANCHORAGE - The state will reduce the size of Alaska Permanent Fund dividend applications and change the schedule for distributing dividends.

Report: 66 percent of Alaska adults are overweight
ANCHORAGE - Alaska has a weight problem.

Legislators cost state thousands in travel
ANCHORAGE - Alaska legislators last year cost the state thousands of dollars in travel expenses with trips to South Africa, Saudi Arabia, England, China, Germany, Korea, France and Russia.

Less oil may spell more problems for Alaska pipeline
ANCHORAGE - The declining flow of oil from Alaska's North Slope is creating anxiety among executives who run the trans-Alaska pipeline.

Six dogs found starved to death in Dillingham animal shelter
ANCHORAGE - A veterinarian who examined six dogs found dead last month at the now-closed Dillingham dog shelter said the animals were starved and dehydrated.

Scientists: Redoubt volcano unchanged
ANCHORAGE - Redoubt volcano's exterior appears to be unchanged, despite a swarm of earthquakes at the peak earlier this week, scientists with the Alaska Volcano Observatory say.

Mummy Island returns to Eyak village
CORDOVA - The Native Village of Eyak has announced that property on Prince William Sound's Mummy Island was donated to the village on Dec. 7 by Ecotrust, a nonprofit group based in Portland, Ore., whose mission is to inspire fresh thinking that creates economic opportunity, social equity and environmental well-being.

Bethel residents head to polls for booze laws again
BETHEL - After three months of confusion and second-guessing over residents' decision to lift a decades-old ban on liquor sales, the city is preparing to hold another booze vote Jan. 19. Then yet another alcohol election is planned for later in the year.

Christmas bird count contains surprises
HOMER - This year's Christmas bird count revealed two distinguished visitors making rare appearances around Kachemak Bay. A mountain bluebird was found feasting on ash berries out East End Road, while an emperor goose hung out with crows along the Homer Spit.

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