Criticism of university views 'appalling'
I was appalled at the criticism leveled by some legislators of university faculty and students for being "anti-development." More shameful is the response by Chancellor Mark Hamilton calling them "conservative" and just needing to "mature over time."

Last on AEL&P's customer billing list
Concerned about the size of my electricity bill, I consulted the Alaska Electric Light & Power Co. Web site to discover that my high billing period begins on Feb. 11 and won't end until March 12. I'm last on their list. I phoned AEL&P on Tuesday to try to have this changed because, as I explained the following to the several people I spoke with:

Smoking ban benefits everyone in Juneau
Juneau Assemblyman Merrill Sanford's concerns about downtown litter and nuisances sounds punitive rather then a challenge for change.

Avalanche cuts off Thane Road
A massive avalanche cut off Thane Road and dozens of homes just before 1 p.m. on Saturday. A state transportation official said the road could be reopened by 6 p.m. today.

Around Town
Today, Feb. 8

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

In regards to the story "Ferry union approves state constract" published in Friday's Empire, a tentative state contract with the InlandBoatmens Union of the Pacific calls for a 5 percent pay increase beginning at the start of the next fiscal year on July 1, and then a 4 percent increase the year after that. The contract has been ratified by IBU and is awaiting legislative approval.

Thane neighbors hunker down after snow slide
An avalanche Saturday afternoon cut off Thane from the rest of Juneau mere hours after Larri Spengler had e-mailed the Department of Transportation again to ask about blasting in the area.

Senate finds Todd Palin, staffers in contempt
The Alaska Senate confronted Gov. Sarah Palin on Friday over her resistance to Legislative subpoenas in the Troopergate investigation with a mild rebuke for her husband and some of her staff. The resolution was drafted behind the scenes, catching many lawmakers and Palin supporters off guard.

Government buys share in Alaska Pacific Bank
Alaska Pacific Bank completed a deal with the federal government's Troubled Asset Relief Program Friday in which $4.8 million was invested in the bank.

Local projects vie for funding
Alaska's Congressional delegation staked out positions for and against President Barack Obama's economic stimulus bill, while state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities staff tried to position dozens of state projects for funding.

State offers hep B shots for high-risk adults
The Juneau Public Health Center expects it will soon offer free hepatitis B shots to high-risk adults.

Residents appeal WiMAX tower site
A group of Mendenhall Valley residents filed an appeal Tuesday seeking to overturn a Juneau Planning Commission decision to permit a 150-foot communication tower on Mendenhall Loop Road.

Photo: Underwater robotics
Missy and Chip McMillan help their daughter, Adelie, 6, operate an underwater robot Saturday in the Extended Stay Hotel. Chip built the robot, called a SeaPerch, during a workshop Thursday and Friday. SeaPerch, a marine engineering education program, teaches students how to build an underwater robot and propulsion system, how to develop a controller and how to investigate weight and buoyancy.

Downtown Juneau record store plays its final song
Rob Cohen expected his record store, Capital City Records, to die a little sooner than it did. But his going-out-of-business sale instead extended his shop's life expectancy, though for just a few more weeks.

Fiesta de Colores
To support youth literacy in Juneau, the Juneau Community Charter School recently teamed up with The Learning Connection to host their first family fun night, a mini-Fiesta de Colores, held Jan. 28 at TLC's Gruening Park location.

New nonfiction awaits at the library
There's plenty of new nonfiction for readers to choose from at the Juneau Public Libraries. Here's just a small sample.

Echo Ranch sports camps
Echo Ranch has sports camps. We offer both soccer and basketball camps designed for a variety of age groups and experience. Whether a player is just starting the game or is looking to take their game to the next level, Echo Ranch is a great place to learn the basics and optimize potential. Players will learn the importance of teamwork and sportsman-like conduct with an emphasis on having fun and enjoying the game.

Thanks for help in fighting pertussis
Due to the unusually high number of whooping cough cases diagnosed in the Juneau area since July, Juneau Public Health Nursing, the state of Alaska Section of Epidemiology and the Juneau School District combined their efforts and on Dec. 16 and 17 offered free Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) immunizations at Floyd Dryden and Dzantil'i Heeni middle schools. More than 800 immunizations were given over those two days.

Let Ashe's passing be a call for kindness
I learned with great sadness of the death of Don Ashe. I played softball against Donnie two decades ago and since that time have run into him two or three times a year. Each of these brief encounters left me better off. He'd greet me in his gravelly, friendly voice, "Hey, Timmy, how are you doing? Are you and the family well?" and we'd chat for a few minutes before moving on.

Holland America Line now acception grant applications
Applications are now being accepted by the Holland America Line Inc. Community Advisory Board for grants to local service and nonprofit groups in Juneau.

Discovery Days at Eaglecrest are back
Join Discovery Southeast at Eaglecrest Ski Area from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 16 for the Discovery Days and get to know the mountain environment from a whole new perspective.

Basic info on TLC and the charter school

Free citizenship preparation class at The Learning Connection
The Learning Connection is offering a free citizenship preparation class, designed to help people prepare to take the U.S. citizenship test, every Monday from Feb. 9 to March 16 at the Learning Connection at Gruening Park, 1800 Northwood Drive, room G49.

Harris to chair United Way Board of Directors
University of Alaska Southeast Dean Larry Harris took over as chairman of United Way of Southeast Alaska Board on Feb. 1.

Floyd Dryden Middle School recently announced it Honor Roll students for the second quarter.

Marriage licenses

Senior menu for the week of Feb. 9-13
Monday, Feb. 9

Play It Again Sports achieves gold standard
Play It Again Sports of Juneau has gone gold. The local sporting goods provider of new and quality used sports and fitness equipment was recognized for achieving a Gold Standard measurement.

Douglas Fourth of July raffle changed
The Douglas Fourth of July Committee would like to inform all raffle-ticket holders that the raffle drawing date has been changed from Feb. 14 to April 11.

KTOO brown bag travel show series planned for Februrary
Because their January brown bag travel slideshow series was so popular, KTOO has decided to extend the event into the month of February. On Wednesdays in February, local residents will share their images of their travels near and far.

World Affairs Council to host talk on "The United States and Iran"
The Juneau World Affairs Council will host Dr. Nosratollah Rassekh to speak on "The United States and Iran" at 5:30 p.m. Monday at KTOO, on Whittier and Egan.

SEARHC offers WISE At Every Size classes
SITKA - Are you tired of weight-loss diets that don't work? Are you a woman who wants to learn about a fun, effective way to improve your health and wellness, without being a slave to the scale? Then the WISE At Every Size program may be for you.

Supercharged Science Workshop
This week, Aurora Lipper and her Supercharged Science team will bring more than 400 pounds of rockets, robots and lasers to Fairbanks, Wasilla, Soldotna, Anchorage and Juneau for kids, ages 7-18, to experiment with during Alaska's first-ever Supercharged Science Workshop.

SEARHC to offer wilderness first responder course
SITKA - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Emergency Medical Services department is offering a Wilderness First Responder course on Wednesday nights and all day Saturdays, with occasional Monday nights, from Feb. 11 to March 21 at the SEARHC Community Health Services building in Sitka.

Living at the foot of a mountain
I am not a mountain climber, but I am a mountain observer and participant. The need to look up to experience awe and insight has impacted my life journey.

Nusbaums celebrate 50 years
Marty and Sandy Nusbaum were married Feb. 14, 1959. Their children, Jeff Nusbaum and Christie Nusbaum Young, want to wish their parents a Happy Valentine's Day and 50th anniversary.

Fredenberg, Martin to wed
Elsa Fredenberg, of Juneau, and Conrad Martin, of Cheney, Wash., are engaged to be married in a mid-May ceremony in Cheney.

Pets of the week: Dusty and Louise
Dusty is the gentle kitty king of the cats at the Gastineau Humane Society. He is a 6-year-old orange tiger with an audacious demeanor who primarily wants to play and hunt. He entertains the kittens during playtime, keeps the peace between the older cats and makes every room he enters his own. Dusty needs a home where he will receive an abundance of attention and love.

Winter damage can be minimized by prompt action
Winter weather in our home area can be rough. It is hard on us, our homes, our cars, our pets and our tempers, and it is also hard on our landscapes. Last winter killed off hundreds of small trees and shrubs; the combination of the abrupt warming in January and the sudden return to the sub-freezing temperatures of February brought many otherwise hardy plants out of dormancy and then shocked them into fatal temperature traumas. Japanese maples, flowering cherries and crabapples, even early flowering Japanese quinces that had been planted in yards 40 years before were killed all over town.

Cats, like dogs, need identification
A heartbreaking percentage of cats accidentally separated from their people don't make it back home.

MaryGrace Needham
Juneau resident MaryGrace Tupaz Needham died Jan. 31, 2009, in Juneau. She was 31.

Earl Wischmeier
Former longtime Juneau resident Earl Wischmeier died Jan. 26, 2009. He was 88 years old.

Kenneth Peterson
Lifelong Juneau resident Kenneth Paul Peterson died Jan. 26, 2009, in Juneau. He was 56.

My turn: When is an earmark not really an earmark?
From time to time a word gets overused and loses its real meaning. Some words even become meaningless because they have so many meanings. I'm afraid that "earmark" has become one such word.

Alaska editorial: Panning for fuel subsidy ideas for rural Alaskans
Bethel Sen. Lyman Hoffman thinks the state should open its checkbook so Alaskans don't have to pay more than $3 a gallon for heating fuel during the heart of winter. This is a spectacularly bad idea.

Universities should not be viewed as 'hired guns'
The comments of Rep.'s Anna Fairclough, Mike Hawker and Mike Kelly, of the House Finance Committee, to University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton, reported in the Feb. 5 story, "University faces hostile Legislators," would seem to suggest that university faculty, staff and students should, without question, support oil and mining industry development because revenues from these industries are a key source of revenue for the state and the university.

Toe Toon
This week's Toe Toon.

JDHS hockey falls to top-seeded Lathrop
The Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team's impressive first season in the 4A Mid-Alaska Conference came to a grinding halt Friday night, as top-seeded Lathrop knocked the fourth-seeded Crimson Bears from the MAC Championships Tournament with a 7-0 shutout at North Pole.

Bears give Wolves the broom-broom
It took all of three seconds for the Crimson Bears to flip their planned David and Goliath series on it's head this weekend.

Juneau-Douglas girls split tail end of road trip
The Crimson Bears pushed the defending state champs to the very end, but Colony dropped their visitors' road trip record to 3-1 on the week.

Photo: Sailing high "C"s
Members of the Juneau-Douglas High School Dance Team do "C" jumps in a jazz routine during Juneau's game versus Eagle River on Friday at the JDHS gym.

Photo: Dangerous dodgeball
A player prepares for a tag attempt during a dodgeball tournament on Friday at JRC The Alaska Club.

Troopergate lawsuit funds tallied in disclosures
Six Republican legislators who tried to quash an abuse of power investigation into Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin received $185,000 in gifts of legal services in support of their lawsuit.

Former Alaska grappler makes wrestling history
KENAI - Talk about perfect timing.

Two names offered for high court vacancy
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Judicial council has put forth the names of two Southcentral Alaska judges to fill a state Supreme Court vacancy.

Steam plume again visible on volcano
ANCHORAGE - Geologists flew to Mount Redoubt to collect gas samples and look for signs of an eruption.

Anchorage stadium shooter gets 15 years
ANCHORAGE - One of the shooters at the Anchorage Football Stadium will serve 15 years in prison.

Ketchikan man charged in stabbing
KETCHIKAN - A 47-year-old Ketchikan man accused of stabbing a woman is being held for violating his probation. Police say other charges are pending.

Rasmuson Foundation cuts major grants in '09
ANCHORAGE - The shaky economy has slashed the assets of a philanthropic Alaska foundation and that will mean fewer dollars going to nonprofit organizations.

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