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Thursday, January 29, 2009

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.

City looks to spend extra funds
While city officials are anticipating a financially tough year ahead, they're also preparing to spend $2.8 million in unexpected sales tax revenue that's accrued from years past.

Correction
An A1 story on cruise line cuts in Wednesday's edition incorrectly calculated the proportion of Cruise West's 2008 itinerary represented by the three ships that won't be returning in 2009. The three ships accounted for 40 percent of the cruise line's 15,400-passenger capacity, according to calculations from public documents listing the ships' itineraries and capacities.

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.

Troopergate issue resurfaces in House hearing
Animosity, along with a not-entirely-dormant court case, linger from the fall Troopergate battle between the Alaska Legislature and Gov. Sarah Palin.

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.

Lawmakers target Alaska's brain drain
Like many Alaskans, Beth Kerttula left home to get her higher education. Unlike many Alaskans, she came back.

Juneau singers, musician to jazz up Friday night
The community will have a chance to see some of its finest amateur singers perform Friday night in the "Singin' in the Rain" concert presented by the Juneau Jazz and Classics.

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.

Police & Fire
Disturbance:

Memoir chronicles life of Native leader Hensley
William Hensley said that writing his memoir was like most things he's done in his life.

Around Town
Today

Photo: Snow removal equipment on the fritz
Zrinka Dzinich walks her granddaughters, Willow and Sayja Bradley, home from Mendenhall River Community School on Wednesday along Riverside Drive. The sidewalks were covered in snow, forcing them to walk in the street.

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.

Photos: Moving in
Manager Henry James, left, and McFarland move stock to the Salvation Army Thrift Store's new location. Employees and volunteers began transferring stock to the new building, which is next door to the oldlocation. The old store is now closed. The new store is slated to open its doors Feb. 23.

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials and state police reports were not available by press time.

Around Town
Today

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

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

Outside editorial: Savvy diplomacy
President Barack Obama is not going to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, crush the Taliban, end Iran's nuclear intransigence, get Syria to stop interfering in Lebanon or end the fighting in Iraq overnight - or next week, or possibly ever. Yet his interview Tuesday with the Al-Arabiya satellite channel laid a foundation for better U.S. relations with the Arab world than we've had in many years.

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.

Outside editorial: Confirmation outrage
A Republican senator is trying to muscle Attorney General-designate Eric H. Holder Jr. into promising not to conduct "witch hunts"- code language for criminal prosecutions - of intelligence operatives who engaged in torture during the Bush administration. It's an outrageous demand, and it would be unethical for Holder to accede to it.

ANWR development still needed for future of energy
I am dismayed that legislation has again been introduced in Congress to prohibit forever oil and gas development in the most promising unexplored petroleum province in North America - the coastal plain of ANWR, in Alaska.

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.

My turn: State should be ready to deal with deflation
Deflation is the issue. Whether you believe it or not, preparing for deflation should be the state's top priority in 2009. Learn from the mistakes of Japan, the $22 billion blunder of the Alaska Permanent Fund, and from Michigan and California. Deflation is here, the winners and losers will be the difference between states and countries that do or don't understand the rules of deflation.

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

Some couples blocked from adopting children desperately seeking stability
At age 11, after years of homelessness, abuse and instability, I was removed from my dysfunctional biological family and placed into foster care. The next six years, until I aged out of the system at 17, were a blur of foster homes, schools and group facilities.

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

Palin: Dinner offers audience with Obama
JUNEAU - Gov. Sarah Palin said she will attend an exclusive club dinner in Washington this weekend because it will offer her an audience with President Obama.

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.

Fish advisors to look at Taku king trolling
JUNEAU - The Alaska Trollers Association has proposed to allow trollers to fish for king salmon in Taku Inlet whenever the district's transboundary river fishery is open.

Murkowski joins Senate leadership
WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has joined the Senate Republican leadership team.

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.

NBC expands high-def service in Southeast
JUNEAU - KATH-TV, in collaboration with GCI, has expanded their high-definition service across Southeast, just in time for the Super Bowl on Sunday. The high-definition channel, launched in Juneau last summer, is available on GCI's basic cable channel 652 in Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Petersburg and Wrangell.

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.

Moose hunting season extended
JUNEAU - The village of Emmonak will receive an extension on moose hunting season.

University pushing for energy center
FAIRBANKS - The University of Alaska Fairbanks wants to fast-track plans for building a $30 million center that can be used for energy research.

Fire breaks out in Kalskag high school
ANCHORAGE - Students at the high school in Kalskag were evacuated after fire broke out in the building.

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.

Palin sets up PAC in sign she's thinking about 2012
WASHINGTON - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin opened a political action committee Tuesday, a move that may not outright confirm her intentions of running for president in 2012, but indicates she intends to remain a regular on the national political stage.

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.

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.

Army to provide retirement pay to unpaid militia
ANCHORAGE - The Secretary of the Army has authorized emergency funds to supplement a reduction in retirement pay for veterans of a largely Native militia formed to guard the territory of Alaska during World War II, Alaska's congressional delegation said Wednesday.

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.

Volcano rumblings have geologists on 24-hour alert
ANCHORAGE - Mount Redoubt continues to rumble and simmer, prompting geologists to say this Alaska volcano could erupt "within days."

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.

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