Let's put our money where our mouth is
I've heard these phrases thrown around when hearing news about health care reform: how it will not save money, and covering others will inevitably cost more than it's worth.

It's beyond Kookesh to threaten council
I read that Sen. Albert Kookesh, D-Angoon, may be under an ethics complaint for allegedly threatening the Craig City Council, because that local government entity may not support Sealaska Corp. on its proposed land legislation in Congress.

Don't drop ball on health care reform
I implore our legislators to not lose momentum in the battle for health care reform. It is time to put aside bipartisan posturing, put forward constructive ideas, participate in substantive dialogue and put the American public first: an American public that is long overdue for health care reform.

The is no consensus on climate change
The Empire article reporting on the Centennial Hall meeting with the makers of the film "Not Evil Just Wrong" states that a representative of the environmental group Oceana encourages an open debate on the issue of global warming. If that is true, it is certainly a change from the usual approach on the part of proponents of man-caused global warming who routinely make pre-emptive strikes against debate by claiming that the issue of global warming is settled science and, therefore, beyond debate.

Wal-Mart debunks rumors of closing
Wal-Mart denounced wide-circulating rumors Monday that it would be closing its Juneau store next month.

School district lays out $79M budget
"For the first time there's a positive feeling we can tell where the money is being spent, and begin to decide where allocations make sense," said Juneau School Board President Mark Choate. "That's a huge difference."

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

Murkowski accepting intern applications
JUNEAU - Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is accepting applications for the 2010 High School Intern Program.

Juneau may vie for Arctic Games
The 2014 Arctic Winter Games aren't yet officially being held in Alaska, but that isn't stopping more than one Alaska city from organizing a bid.

Training available for Alaska Career Ready
JUNEAU - The Alaska Career Ready assessments for grades 6, 8, and 11 will be required beginning with the 2010-2011 school year. All sixth- and eighth-grade students will be required to take three informal placement tests that are part of the WIN Career Readiness online courseware.

Dealer ready to handle Toyota recalls
The local Toyota dealership owner said the service center is ready to handle Juneau's portion of a massive manufacturer recall announced last week.

Scholarship offered for justice studies
JUNEAU - The National Center for Juvenile Justice has invited high school juniors and seniors to apply for the newly-launched Maurice B. Cohill, Jr., Young Investigator Award, a college scholarship opportunity for students interested in law and justice issues affecting juveniles.

Deadline for teen art contest is Feb. 19
JUNEAU - The Youth Alliance for Healthier Alaska is holding an art contest in video/radio and photography/graphic art to promote healthy teen relationships.

Computerized pilot assessment on track
JUNEAU - Alaska school districts can participate in a pilot computerized assessment this spring. The EED Assessment Unit, in coordination with Data Recognition Corporation, will conduct a pilot computerized Standards Based Assessment in the spring for grades 4 and 8.

Board to approve drug testing policy, legislative priorities
JUNEAU - The Juneau School Board will meet at 6:15 p.m. this evening in the Central Office Board Room, 1208 Glacier Avenue.

El Niño drives dry weather
Precipitation fell below normal this winter in Juneau as the effects of El Niño increased through the season.

Waste incinerator needs $3 million
The gray wall of the Juneau-Douglas Treatment Plant's incinerator is speckled with numbers. The wall reads ".198," ".159," ".082," ".096," ".203."

Marine Exchange earns public service award
For its support of U.S. Coast Guard maritime domain awareness and industry stewardship, the Marine Exchange of Alaska, based in Juneau, received one of the highest civilian awards offered by the Coast Guard - the Meritorious Public Service Award.

Photos: Sparking creativity

Samuels campaigns in Juneau
Ralph Samuels wants to be governor to boost the state's economy, including the oil and gas industries he championed in four terms in the Alaska Legislature, the cruise ship industry for which he now works, as well as the locally important mining and fishing industries.

Photos: Hot Salsa Cool Ballroom
Photos from the dance floor Saturday during Hot Salsa Cool Ballroom at Centennial Hall. The night included dinner, a silent auction, a dessert auction, live dance performances, dance lessons and live music by Salsa Borealis and Thunder Mountain Big Band.

Photo: Just another day at the office
Two bald eagles sit on uprooted tree saplings Sunday near the city landfill.

Photos: Singin' in the Rain
Jazzpianist Barney McClureperformed asaccompanist for more than 30 singers Saturday during the"Singin' in the Rain CabaretPerformance"presented by Juneau Jazz & Classics at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center.

Photo: Spellbound
Suzanne Nierra writes down the spelling of a word while another competitor agonizes over a missed spelling Saturday during the Juneau School District Spelling Bee at Glacier Valley Elementary School. Juneau Montessori School's Demaris Oxman, left, Glacier Valley Elementary's Speier McCormick and Suzanne Nierra, and Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School's Brayden Wrightson wait for the championship round.

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

Around Town
Today, Feb. 8

Where was missionaries' common sense?
First, to save my soul - and to save my e-mail in-box from an overload of screeds from God-fearing folks - I offer this preface to today's column:

Economy's appeal to more for less defies individuality
In the past few weeks, we've heard President Obama and Gov. Sean Parnell make new proposals that would assist students' pursuit of a college degree. Yet despite sounding like noble objectives for the sake of society and our children's future, they both subjugated education to the master we call the economy.

Southeast communities have much to lose from Sealaska's land bill
Recent events in Craig have made the Sealaska Corps. lands bill a front-page story, prompting Sen. Lisa Murkowski to announce she will hold, "a field hearing on Prince of Wales Island."

'Tea Party' an example of democracy at work
First, the independent Ross Perot contingent. Then, the liberal "netroots" mobilization. Now, the conservative "tea party" coalition.

Labeling 'Avatar' anti-(fill in the blank)
Success breeds contempt. No surprise, then, that when James Cameron's "Avatar" broke through the $1.8 billion box-office record set by his earlier "Titanic," public and critical adoration would be countered by naysayers.

Black men fight for ideals that exclude them
It is the enduring paradox of our centuries here. It is the paradox that stood its ground at Bunker Hill, paradox that made a doomed charge on Fort Wagner, paradox that stormed San Juan Hill, advanced through the Meuse-Argonne, landed on Iwo Jima, liberated Seoul and was taken prisoner in Hanoi.

Helicopter rescues Alaska snowmachiner
SEWARD - A snowmachiner who was injured when he rode off a cliff near Seward has been rescued after spending a night outdoors in blizzard-like conditions.

Crime decreasing at UA Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS - Crime has been declining at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the campus police chief says he doesn't know why. But maybe, Chief Sean McGee says, they are more good kids.

Kenai to withhold tourism grant
KENAI - Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dave Carey is withholding a grant to a tourism group until it comes into compliance with its contract.

UA gives ship builder $123 million contract
MARINETTE, Wis. - Ship builder Marinette Marine has signed a $123 million contract to build a research ship for the University of Alaska.

Mushers begin Yukon Quest sled dog race
FAIRBANKS - The 27th Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race is under way.

Restaurant reopens 11 months after fire
FAIRBANKS - A popular Fairbanks eatery closed by fire last year has reopened.

UAF study: Girls' plans more realistic
FAIRBANKS - A survey by a University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher has found that Alaska high school girls appear to be more realistic about their future than their male counterparts.

Samuels campaign questions Parnell ads
ANCHORAGE - The campaign manager for GOP gubernatorial hopeful Ralph Samuels says a nonprofit organization's advertisements featuring Gov. Sean Parnell are helping the incumbent's election campaign and should be stopped.

Stimulus funds speed up water projects
Juneau - Close teamwork between the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation's Municipal Grants and Loans program and local communities has pumped around $40 million of federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds into Alaska's economy.

Soldier surprised by football honor
FAIRBANKS - A Fort Wainwright Army captain was surprised to find out he'd been named one of the best college football players of the past decade from teams not affiliated with conferences.

First Lady to honor Alaska volunteers
Juneau - First Lady Sandy Parnell is asking state residents to recognize their fellow citizens who have performed extraordinary volunteer service by nominating them for the First Lady's Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Committee to hear initiative reform bill
JUNEAU - House Majority Leader Kyle Johansen is renewing his push to reform Alaska's initiative process.

Yellow Ribbon program headed to Wrangell
Camp Denali - The Alaska National Guard Yellow Ribbon Program will be visiting Wrangell Feb. 16 to provide information and assistance to veterans regarding their benefits and entitlements earned while in service.

Anchorage man gets 12 years for robbery
ANCHORAGE - A 34-year-old Anchorage man will serve 12 years in federal prison for robbing a credit union.

Should lawmakers get Facebook?
JUNEAU - Alaska legislators don't have access to the social networking Web site Facebook in their Capitol offices. And that may not change any time soon.

Parnell, Premier Fentie meet in Whitehorse
Gov. Sean Parnell, Fish and Game Commissioner Denby Lloyd and members of the governor's staff met with Yukon Premier Dennis Fentie and members of his Cabinet in Whitehorse on Friday. The governor and premier agreed to continue to work together on issues of common interest and prepare for future growth for both regions.

Mow first JDHS hockey player named to All-Conference team
The Crimson Bears' hockey season did not end the way the team had hoped, but there is a silver lining.

Houston mayor accused of misusing police car
ANCHORAGE - The mayor of a tiny Alaska city denied Monday that he drove recklessly in a city police vehicle and impersonated an officer on a highway to Fairbanks.

Fairbanks detective pursues new clues in 1983 cold case
FAIRBANKS - In the 26 years since two former Missouri residents were stabbed to death at an east Fairbanks apartment, no one has been charged for the crime. Fairbanks Police Detective Peyton Merideth hopes to change that.

Ketchikan man sentenced in elderly man's stabbing
KETCHIKAN - A Ketchikan judge rejected an initial plea agreement, then sentenced a man to nearly four years in prison for stabbing an 86-year-old World War II veteran during a theft.

Senators hope to restore Denali Commission earmark
ANCHORAGE - Sen. Mark Begich says he'll work with Sen. Lisa Murkowski to try to restore $10 million in federal funding for health care facility construction that President Barack Obama has proposed to cut from a Denali Commission program.

Parnell says state will see $2.2 billion budget surplus
Gov. Sean Parnell had a pleasant surprise for legislators in Juneau Feb. 2: A $2.2 billion state budget surplus.

Wasilla truck driver revs things up in the kitchen
WASILLA - Given the obsession with television cooking shows, it's only natural an episode of "Ice Road Truckers" would spawn a series of culinary classes focused on gourmet wild game.

Bill demands game department protect people
ANCHORAGE - A state lawmaker from Anchorage has proposed a bill that would force the Department of Fish and Game to make protecting people its top priority in the city.

Democrats dispute oil tax harming investment
The gloves are coming off in a looming legislative fight over changes to Alaska's oil and gas production taxes.

USDA urges state to scrap erosion project
FAIRBANKS - The U.S. Department of Agriculture says an erosion control project designed to improve spawning salmon habitat near Delta Junction has failed so badly that it should be undone - at a cost of up to $10 million.

Biologists try to ward off feeding of moose
HOMER - Despite what people may think when they enjoy the sights of Homer's city-dwelling moose population, hay is for horses - not moose.

Photo: Honoring scholarship foundation
Gov. Sean Parnell, center, and First Lady Sandy Parnell, front left, hosted a luncheon for representatives of the Taylor Foundation on Feb. 2 at the Governor's Mansion. Attending the luncheon were Rep. Wes Keller, Rep. Peggy Wilson, Sen. Joe Thomas, Rep. Paul Seaton, Rep. Beth Kerttula, Rep. Cathy Muñoz and Sen. John Coghill, as well as several commissioners and senior staff. The Taylor Foundation promotes merit scholarships across the United States.

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