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.

No need for ad; we already know SEACC
Those Southeast Alaska Conservation Council "get to know us" advertisements in the Juneau Empire are making me ill. News Flash: SEACC, we know you.

Placing responsibility where it belongs
Every day I see advertisements or promotions that say, "Obama wants you to ..." or "Obama says ..." when in fact it is Congress or the U.S. Supreme Court that makes such decisions. On a local level, people write that the "governor says ..." when, in fact, it is, again, others such as legislators who say and make those decisions.

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.

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.

Halibut charter fleet limited
Management agencies took another step to control halibut fishing in parts of Alaska by limiting the number of charter boats in the fleet.

Around Town
Today, Jan. 5

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

Kookesh attorney says state outside its jurisdiction
State Sen. Albert Kookesh and the three codefendants charged with illegal subsistence fishing near Angoon in July filed a court motion last week to have the case dismissed on grounds that the State of Alaska acted outside its jurisdiction.

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.]

City offers Christmas tree recycling
Out with the old, in with the renewed.

Photo: Elevated view
The new elevated walkway between the Capitol and the Thomas B. Stewart Legislative Office Building offers a view of Seward Street on Monday.

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."

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

Around Town
Today, Jan. 4

Photo: New blades
Gretchen Pence has the Rotary Park pond to herself as she skates for the first time in about 20 years. Pence said she received a new set of skates from her husband for Christmas.

Outside editorial: Mean kids online
The following editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times:

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

Looking to the future innovators of Juneau
There are people around the nation helping the U.S. economy to dig itself out of a deep hole. This column will not focus on those dedicated business leaders, economists, regulators and elected officials working on today's troubles. A lot has already been written about them.

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.

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?

Body scan isn't only way to find a bomb
Sixteen days before an al-Qaida trained Nigerian with explosives in his underwear boarded a Detroit-bound plane, the director of terrorist screening crowed about the "true information success" of U.S. watch- listing.

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.

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.

Iditarod musher donates to race
WASILLA - Four-time champion Jeff King has made a large donation to increase the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race purse.

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.

Owner of disabled tug releases spill estimate
ANCHORAGE - A tugboat operator says as much as 6,410 gallons of diesel fuel spilled in Alaska's Prince William Sound when a tugboat ran aground on the same reef as the Exxon Valdez 20 years ago.

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.

Wash. apartments evacuated as bomb squad works
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Law enforcement officers in Spokane Valley, Wash., evacuated nearby apartments Monday night as they worked to remove about a half pound of homemade explosive material from the apartment of a man reportedly upset about his divorce case.

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.

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.

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.

BLM issues sage grouse guidelines
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is directing its Wyoming offices to consider certain restrictions for oil and gas drilling, new wind turbines and other types of development in sage grouse habitat.

DNA links inmate to child's death
SALT LAKE CITY - Salt Lake County prosecutors filed a capital murder charge Monday against an Idaho prison inmate, saying DNA evidence has linked him to the 1998 stabbing death of a 10-year-old Utah girl.

Bill would test welfare recipients for drugs
WASILLA - A Wasilla legislator is proposing legislation that would allow the Department of Health and Social Services to test recipients of public assistance for drug use.

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.

Young man sentenced in sexual assault
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage man convicted of raping his mother's elderly friend has been sentenced to 32 years in prison.

Coast Guard rescues Juneau family after boat sinks in Auke Bay
JUNEAU - A Coast Guard crew responding by helicopter rescued a Juneau man and his two sons Monday after their boat sank about 4 p.m. off of Goghlan Island near Auke Bay

Joshua Wade murder trial postponed
ANCHORAGE - A ruling by a federal judge has postponed the capital murder trial against Joshua Wade until summer.

Randall wins women's 10K freestyle in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - Kikkan Randall won the 10-kilometer freestyle race Monday, her second title at the 2010 U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships

Bob Swenson prefers the 'eye of the storm'
FAIRBANKS - Bob Swenson can see the storm coming, and he's getting ready to ride it out.

Alaska State Parks chief ranger has hunger for outdoors
FAIRBANKS - It was 10:30 a.m. and Matt McClurg already had lunch on his mind, a thought he expressed to Doug Avara, who was riding shotgun in the Alaska State Parks pickup McClurg was steering down the Richardson Highway to Quartz Lake.

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

State having trouble with sex offender law
ANCHORAGE - Like all but one other state, Alaska has not yet complied with a 3-year-old federal sex offender registration law. The extended deadline is July.

Elementary school receives state's first LEED certification
A new $13 million elementary school in Wasilla, named for renown Alaska painter Fred Machetanz and his wife, Sara, has become the first school in the state to be LEED certified.

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.

Anchorage motel may house chronic alcoholics
ANCHORAGE - A motel could become a home for about 50 chronic street alcoholics.

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.

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.

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.

Tainted well water spurs property owner to action
FAIRBANKS - A North Pole property owner hopes to create a "citizen action committee" in response to the discovery of tainted water in city wells.

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