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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Time for Alaska Native leaders to step up, speak out
An Alaska Native leader knows the rules and protocols of the people. An example is the whaling captain who knows how to work with his team, how to divide the whale according to what each person's share is. A leader's character is subtle and benevolent, not boastful.

Companies cut Alaska cruises this summer
The Spirit of Alaska is among cruise ships that won't be sailing in Alaska starting this summer and next.

Grant to cover 12 firefighter scholarships
Up to 12 University of Alaska Southeast students will be eligible in the near future for four years of tuition reimbursement through a Capital City Fire and Rescue program being planned to recruit volunteer firefighters.

AEL&P: Just three work days left
Alaska Electric Light & Power Co. General Manager Tim McLeod told the Juneau Assembly on Monday that its crews needed only three more days - weather permitting - to finish repairs to the Snettisham transmission lines downed by an avalanche Jan. 12.

Panel: Arts a 'goldmine' to Juneau's economy
The arts can be a beacon of hope in a time of regional, national and global economic uncertainty, Juneau Arts and Humanities Council executive director Nancy DeCherney said Tuesday night during a public forum on the role culture plays in the economic health of Southeast Alaska.

Photos: Taking Plunge
Twenty-four U.S. Coast Guard men and women are participating in a weeklong cold weather survival class taught by the Educational Training Company of Sitka. Along with Tuesday's swim in survival suits, they have had indoor class training and will be spending two nights in the forest.

Home Depot job cuts won't include Alaska
Home Depot announced Monday that it was cutting 7,000 jobs, but Alaska employees and stores won't be cut at all, according to a company spokeswoman.

Photo: Icy launch
Mike Tobin and his wife, Jenny Pursell, walk Monday along a boat launch ramp surrounded by ice at the Don Statter Boat Harbor in Auke Bay. Today's forecast calls for 1 to 2 inches of snow and highs around 32.

Photo: Honoring Mertz
Sen. Kim Elton, flanked by Rep. Cathy Muñoz, left, and Beth Kerttula, reads a certificate honoring Doug Mertz on Tuesday at the Capitol for his six years of pro bono work as the main attorney for Joseph Frederick in a case involving free speech issues in school. The "Bong HIts 4 Jesus" case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Photo: Snow run
Nancy Davis takes a lunch-time run Monday along Glacier Highway as snow falls on Juneau.

Police & Fire
Disturbance:

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

Around Town
Today

Around Town
Today

Corrections
A brief in Tuesday's Empire omitted one of the four finalist candidates for Juneau city manager. The missing candidate is David Johnston, former village administrator of Rantoul, Ill.

Larry Dummer
Longtime Juneau resident Larry Dummer died Jan. 19, 2009, at his home. He was 87.

Sheila Nordale
Former Juneau resident Sheila Maureen "Berry" Nordale died suddenly on Jan. 23, 2009, in Seattle. She was 74.

Harold Frank Sr.
Juneau and former Angoon and Sitka resident Harold Frank Sr. died due to health complications on Jan. 13, 2009, at Helping Hands Assisted Living Facility in Anchorage. He was 74.

Outside editorial: Facing real estate reality
As lawmakers look for a way out of the recession, it's worth remembering how we got into this mess in the first place. The collapse of the housing market sucked trillions of dollars worth of real estate wealth out of the economy, starting a vicious cycle of cutbacks by consumers, lenders and businesses. But the collapse wasn't a one-time event. It's an ongoing process that could take a larger human and economic toll this year than it did in 2008, when the number of troubled homeowners nearly doubled from the year before. According to RealtyTrac, lenders made foreclosure filings on 2.3 million properties last year (more than half a million in California alone), including nearly 2 percent of all housing units. New laws here and in several other states reduced the pace of foreclosure filings, but they haven't helped homeowners pay their bills. As a consequence, the FDIC projects another near-doubling of housing misery, with 4.4 million mortgages falling 60 to 90 days past due by the end of 2009.

Alaska Editorial: It's time to buckle down, work together
Money.

My Turn: DOT's Lynn Canal road estimates on the money
The recent opinion piece about cost estimates for the Lynn Canal Highway suggested a clandestine plot by Department of Transportation & Public Facilities engineers to lowball the costs of the road. Its publication was undoubtedly timed for the arrival of Gov. Sarah Palin and the Alaska Legislature to raise objections to the project that best improves our marine highway system. More drivel from SEACC and its clone, "Alaska Transportation Priorities Project," will undoubtedly be presented to the Empire as the legislative session progresses.

My Turn: Rough seas ahead for Alaska tourism
Batten down the hatches; it's going to be rough seas for Alaska tourism this year. As recent months have made clear, the global economic crisis is presenting Alaska with the potential for a devastating loss of visitors this summer.

Are Southeast halibut and salmon populations heading for a crash?
There are serious issues with Southeast Alaska's marine ecosystem that have been steadily getting worse. For instance, the 2007-2008 winter king troll fishery just closed after harvesting only 45 percent of the 45,000 fish quota. Furthermore, both the halibut and summer chinook commercial quotas have been dramatically reduced by 48 percent. Sport and guided sport fishing have been severely restricted as well.

Back then, I was allergic to a teacher, not peanuts
The latest food recalls involve peanuts products that are contaminated with salmonella bacteria. Most food scares don't bother me, but this one caught my attention.

Open up Medicare to everyone
My parents can get Medicare, so why not me?

Man with local ties included with city manager finalists
JUNEAU - Larry Persily is now one of four finalists the Juneau Assembly will consider for the city manager position Rod Swope is leaving at the end of April, Assemblyman and search committee member Jeff Bush said.

Golden North Derby is a go this year
JUNEAU - Volunteers have rescued the 2009 Golden North Salmon Derby.

Earthquake felt in Aleutian Islands
FAIRBANKS - An earthquake with a 5.6 magnitude was felt in the middle of Alaska's Aleutian Islands chain.

Mountain named after former state top cop
KODIAK - The Afognak Native Corporation says a mountain on Afognak Island will bear the name of the first Alaska Native to serve as Commissioner of Department of Public Safety.

Legislators seek to restore guard benefits
JUNEAU - State lawmakers will consider asking the U.S. Department of Defense to restore retirement pay for members of a World War II Alaska militia.

Complaints filed against Palin aides
ANCHORAGE - An outspoken critic of Gov. Sarah Palin has filed ethics complaints against two of the governor's top aides, saying they misused their official positions for Palin's personal and political gain.

Man arrested for rifling through car
JUNEAU - A Juneau Police Department officer arrested a 41-year-old man after observing him rifling through a vehicle in the Lemon Creek area early Monday morning.

Alaska to reinstate 2 Point Thomson leases
JUNEAU - The state of Alaska will allow oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. to move forward with preparations for drilling two wells in a disputed North Slope oil and gas field.

Trauma response receives review
ANCHORAGE - The state is posting a report from the American College of Surgeons who recommended 70 ways for Alaska to improve its trauma response.

Palin's Wasilla church to reopen Sunday
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sarah Palin's home church is set to reopen this weekend after a fire caused considerable damage.

Kensington blanches Tier A Green
Albert Svensson's pair of goals led a balanced offensive attack for Kensington, as six different players found the net in a rout of Green in Juneau Adult Hockey Association's men's Tier A action at Treadwell Arena Sunday.

Young women abandon Alaska villages
ANCHORAGE - Stepheni Hawk smokes at the bus stop before dawn, standing along 36th Avenue where the Holiday gas station glows day and night. The bus rolls in. The doors sigh. She steps on for the quiet ride down to the University of Alaska Anchorage to start her shift at a register in the cafeteria.

Legislators still wary of state hiring freeze
Legislators continue to question Gov. Sarah Palin's call for a state employee hiring freeze this week, doubting the usefulness and need for the freeze.

Palin, other state leaders at odds over stimulus funds
With hundreds of billions of dollars in economic stimulus money potentially at stake, leaders in local government and the state legislature seem to be finding themselves at odds with Gov. Sarah Palin.

Governor hires ex-oil lobbyist as new director
Gov. Sarah Palin has hired a new legislative director, her fourth in three years.

Mushers must be prepared for worst while on the trail
For some people, the extent of coping with winter weather is what they endure while walking from their car to their home or work a couple of times a day. But to Tustumena 200 mushers and other winter outdoor enthusiasts, being prepared for the cold requires a bit more planning and preparation.

Lawmakers differ on Alaska's 90-day session
FAIRBANKS - A more efficient government, or reduced legislative power?

State's wind farms key to cutting energy costs
ANCHORAGE - Cold wintertime winds in Alaska's villages typically mean higher energy costs to stay warm.

Mushing season starts after month of weather delays
FAIRBANKS - First it was too cold. Then it was too warm. Well, now the weather is just right for dog mushers to begin racing in Fairbanks.

Geologists wary of possible eruption at Mount Redoubt
ANCHORAGE - It's been nearly 20 years since Alaska's Mount Redoubt erupted, but that time of tranquility might end.

Company: Alaska pipeline advancing despite economy
Lawmakers worried about sinking prices for natural gas were told to take the long view when considering the economics of a pipeline tapping North Slope gas reserves.

Photo: Basking in the sun
A Steller sea lion rears Sunday up on a haulout in St. Herman Harbor in Kodiak. Kodiak enjoyed sun and mild temperatures all weekend.

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