Monday, January 5, 2009

Where did all of the letters go?
I've been wondering what the difference is between letters to the editor and the online responses, and what kind of impact they have on our community.

Boycott distributors to lower gas prices
In response to Friday's article about gas prices, I offer the following:

State grills Redfern on barging plan
Taku River users expressed relief this week at the state's detailed questioning of mine operator Redfern Resources Ltd. about its proposed year-round Taku River barging.

Photos: Days of '59
Several hundred people attended the ball to celebrate Alaska's statehood on Jan. 3, 1959. Some dressed up in 1950s-era clothing and danced to classic songs performed by legendary 1950s doo-wop group The Diamonds.

Business seeks to bring $500,000 lottery to Juneau
The $500,000 lottery that a pull-tab business in Anchorage is running may be coming to Juneau before the Jan. 9 drawing.

Photo: Statehood fireworks light up night
Fireworks explode Saturday night above Dimond Park as hundreds of Juneau residents braved the cold to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alaska's statehood. The fireworks display was the first ever in the Mendenhall Valley, organizers said.

Photo: Guiding on gliding
Pam Green, left, a coach for the Juneau Skating Club, instructs Kayla Bishop on some "moves in the field" on Sunday at the Treadwell Ice Arena ahead of an upcoming figure skating test. This week, an official judge from the United States Figure Skating Association will fly in from Anchorage to judge 22 tests performed by the members of the Juneau Skating Club.

Photo: 'Our Auntie's Totem'
Tim Ackerman steadies the new totem pole called "Our Auntie's Totem," carved by Haines Tlingit master carver Wayne Price, as an AEL&P boom truck lifts it Saturday from a converted boat trailer being used to deliver the totem from Haines to Thunder Mountain High School.

Photo: Leading the parade
Juneau-Douglas High School student Amy Bartholemew leads a parade of 200 delegates toward the 50th anniversary statehood cauldron lighting ceremony Saturday in Anchorage. Bartholemew is the student body president of JDHS, and represented Juneau in the statehood parade.

Photo: Winter flock
A flock of pigeons swarm Saturday while looking for food next to the Alaskan & Proud store.

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

Around Town
Today

Around Town
Monday, Jan. 5

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

Correction
A photo in the Friday edition of the Empire misidentified Patty Gehring, a swimmer who took part in the 16th annual Polar Bear Dip on Thursday. Brenda Krauss did not swim in the event.

Washington authorities brace for Inauguration Day traffic
WASHINGTON - On a typical weekday, hundreds of thousands of people commute to the nation's capital, snarling roads and packing subway trains and buses during peak hours.

Coast Guard association donates stockings for disadvantaged children
The Juneau Coast Guard Military and Family Association recently completed their annual "Christmas Stockings for Disadvantaged Children" project. More than 150 stockings were donated to Juneau charities that work closely with families in need. This year's recipients included the A.W.A.R.E. Shelter's annual Holiday Party and St. Vincent DePaul's daycare, shelter and "Adopt a Family" program. The stockings were assemble by JCGMFA volunteers and filled with donations from local businesses and personal contributors. Stockings were made for children in the age range of newborn to teenager.

Promising youth Philanthropy Program
With its budding Juneau youth philanthropy program - called the Youth Action Committee - the Juneau Community Foundation has taken great steps to support local youth programs.

Women of Distinction 2009
Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies Inc. (AWARE) is proud to announce the 2009 Women of Distinction, from left, Angela Lunda, Marla Berg, Marsha Buck and Ann Boochever. These women were chosen for their dedication and relentless service to peace, justice and the empowerment of women. Each honoree has enriched the lives of women and children and have made a legacy of compassion out of their own lives. Their accomplishments will be honored by AWARE on March 7 at Centennial Hall, with a catered dinner, silent auction and speeches by each of the women about what inspires them. Proceeds will benefit AWARE's domestic violence and sexual assault prevention and intervention services. For more information about the Women of Distinction event, call AWARE at 586-6623.

Senior menu for the week of Jan. 5-9
Monday, Jan. 5

Starting the conversation
Check out this quote: "I'd say that the people at Christian Coalition events are nicer than the people at the Democratic Convention, by and large," by Al Franken.

FYI
Births

Widowed Persons Program hold potluck
JUNEAU - The Widowed Persons Program will hold its first potluck of 2009 at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, in the dining room at Fireweed Place.

Vinson, Mantia to wed
Rayme Christopher Vinson, of Juneau, and Sarah Elizabeth Mantia, of Orlando, Fla., will marry in December 2009 in Orlando.

Recognitions
Juneau residents Lindsey M. Heumann, a senior studying exercise and sport science; Aubrey J. Hulse, a freshman studying general science; and Jennifer A. Olarra, studying for a credential in zoology, were named to Oregon State University's Scholastic Honor Roll for having 3.5 grade-point averages or better during the fall term.

George Cornell Schwaderer
Former Juneau resident George Cornell Schwaderer, of Wasilla, died peacefully Dec. 21, 2008, at home surrounded by his family. He was 85.

Morissa Lou Williams
Former Juneau resident Morissa Lou (Jampa) Williams died Dec. 23, 2008, in West Hartford, Conn. She was 50.

Jon Robert Leigh-Kendall
Former Juneau resident Jon Robert Leigh-Kendall died Jan. 1, 2009, in Seattle. He was 62.

Frederick Kohls
Longtime Alaska resident Frederick "Fred" Fay Kohls died Jan. 1, 2009, at the Juneau Pioneers Home after an extended illness. He was 85.

Outside editorial: More protection for U.S. smokers
Even Barack Obama - he of the compulsive exercise regimen and workout- video-worthy physique - hasn't been able to escape the clutches of nicotine. The president-elect, whose struggle to give up cigarettes is well documented, still sneaks an occasional smoke.

Alaska editorial: State, Exxon should resolve Point Thomson differences
Exxon and state officials tell very different tales in defense of their positions in the dispute over the Point Thomson natural gas field. The right and wrong of it is difficult to discern in the thicket of details and counter-arguments, but it's encouraging to hear that the two entities still are talking about how to resolve the dispute in a manner that allows natural gas production sooner than later.

My Turn: In 2009, we have a lot to reconsider
As we move into 2009, we step ahead looking for what might be, as humans have done for thousands of years. In past generations, others have tried to foresee what might happen by relying on what they knew from the past. That's not a bad idea, but it is not the only way to consider what may or may not be in store for the future.

Waiting for things to get worse
Could it be that things will get even worse? As the weekend drew near, we heard frantic talk that Israeli troops could soon arrive once again at our doorstep. What then? Already we have experienced so much terror and want.

Just send the next bailout check to me
In recent weeks, my family and I have carefully observed the bailouts that have been provided to, or requested by, various companies since the financial crisis began. After much deliberation with our accountants and financial advisers, we have concluded that, in order to prevent a deeper recession and turn around the U.S. economy, the federal government needs to give the next bailout package directly to us.

The terrible responsibility of being an Israeli citizen
JERUSALEM - "I just heard on the news that Gavriel's base has been shelled," my wife, Sarah, said to me last Tuesday, referring to our 19-year-old son, a member of an Israeli army tank unit waiting on the Gaza border for the order to enter. And, she added in a deliberately calm tone, "A soldier was killed." We texted Gavriel, and within five minutes he called, safe. How, Sarah asked, did families survive war before cellphones?

Toe Toon
Cartoon by local artist Toe.

Missing hiker found in Whitehorse, Canada
FAIRBANKS - A missing Japanese hiker was found in Whitehorse, Canada, after he suspended a 770-mile walk from Canada to Prudhoe Bay in Alaska.

Firefighters respond to Juneau's first house fire of 2009
JUNEAU - Capital City Fire and Rescue responded to the first structure fire of 2009 at about 7 a.m. Saturday at 1700 Angus Way.

Firefighters to receive $150,000 grant
JUNEAU - Officials in Anchorage with the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced another grant award Friday to Capital City Fire and Rescue worth $150,000.

Inmate accused of jail violence
KENAI - A 23-year-old inmate at the Wildwood Pretrial Correctional Facility in Kenai is accused of threatening two jail officers with shards of glass.

Fertilizer price spikes concern crop growers
FAIRBANKS - A team of University of Alaska Fairbanks agriculture experts are concerned about spiking fertilizer prices.

Sitka teen wins plane painting competition
ANCHORAGE - A Sitka teen will have her artwork cover an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-400.

Moderate earthquake felt in Kodiak
FAIRBANKS - A moderate earthquake has occurred near Kodiak Island.

Fairbanks man facing more charges
FAIRBANKS - A North Pole man accused of pointing a gun at a police officer and evading authorities is facing more charges.

Seward couple has first baby of 2009
SEWARD - A Seward couple welcomed the New Year with a new baby.

Anchorage homicide rate down from 2007
ANCHORAGE - The state's largest city watched its homicide rate drop by more than half in 2008.

Free skiiers go extreme
Free skier Jarret Thomas is part of the younger generation of Juneau's extreme athletes who are perform maneuvers that their parents never dreamed of trying.

Trooper, union say politics stalled Johnston drug case
ANCHORAGE - An Alaska drug investigator and the union representing Alaska State Troopers are alleging political meddling in the Sherry Johnston drug case, including a delay in serving the search warrant until after the November election.

New ignition lock laws aim to foil drunk drivers
CHICAGO - Motorists convicted of driving drunk will have to install breath-monitoring gadgets in their cars under new laws taking effect this week in six states including Alaska.

Populations of lynx on the rise in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage is experiencing growing populations of lynx, as well as fox, throughout the city.

2009 season opens for harvest of tons of Alaska groundfish
In the icy, stormy waters of the Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska, massive factory trawlers and other vessels are on the hunt again for millions of pounds of pollock, Pacific cod and more than a dozen other groundfish species.

Valkenburg named deputy commissioner
FAIRBANKS - Retirement was not a good fit for former Fairbanks state wildlife biologist Pat Valkenburg.

Southcentral Alaska homeowners work on initiative to lower taxes
ANCHORAGE - A group of homeowners is working to lower the amount of taxes that can be levied on their properties.

Many Alaskans ring in new year by filing for their PFD
ANCHORAGE - Hundreds of Alaskans chose to welcome the New Year with fingers poised over a computer keyboard, eager to apply for the 2009 Permanent Fund dividend.

Mat-Su produce makes its way to Alaska restaurants' tables
ANCHORAGE - A growing number of Anchorage restaurants are making it a priority to use Alaska foods, including produce from the Mat-Su Valley.

Cold snap continues and worsens
FAIRBANKS - Alaska's cold snap continues.

Large explosion in sky over Tok mystifies residents
FAIRBANKS - Was it a meteor falling from space?

Photo: Sculpture celebrates statehood
A caribou ice sculpture by Wade Peterson stands in front of the Town Center Square in Anchorage in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Alaska statehood.

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