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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sealaska Board needs term limits
Whatever happened to the original owners of Sealaska? When is someone going to stand up and say enough is enough to our directors? As an original shareholder, myself and many other shareholders, 40 and older, are being passed over. The children of directors are afforded opportunities that the regular shareholder is not.

Watching the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer
In the last eight disastrous years income inequality has increased and there has been no responsible government oversight of the stock market. This has allowed our economy to free-fall into an abyss of debt. The Republican solution is still more tax cuts for corporations and the rich. When did that work? Answer: The Gilded Age. Who did it work for? Answer: It made the rich richer and the poor poorer.

Nation must improve school lunch program
President Barack Obama's nomination of Iowa's Tom Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture is a winner. In an interview this week, Vilsack called for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to "champion everyone who eats." He may well be the first secretary to recognize that USDA's mission is to provide a healthful food supply for the American people, rather than welfare checks to agribusiness conglomerates.

Smokers to blame for cigarette litter
I find it a bit odd and misdirected that Merrill Sanford thinks the Assembly is partly to blame for the cigarette butt problem outside the bars downtown. The Assembly members aren't the ones violating the litter laws. All they have done is assume that people will follow the law and respect the rights of their fellow citizens. The solution is fairly simple. The person smoking the cigarette needs to take the few seconds to dispose of it in the proper place. End of problem.

Snow Woes
The continued pace of record-setting snowfall in Juneau is keeping police and road crews very busy this winter, officials said.

Clearing the way
State road crews were able to reopen Thane Road early Sunday evening, reconnecting about 30 households to the rest of Juneau following a massive slide that blocked the road for more than a day.

State hiring freeze will affect about 200 Juneau jobs
The state hiring freeze announced by Gov. Sarah Palin last month is likely to affect hundreds of jobs in Alaska's capital, totaling millions of dollars in payroll removed from the local economy, according to state officials.

Elton looks for job in Interior Department
Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, is under consideration for a top position in the U.S. Department of Interior dealing with Alaska issues in the new administration of President Obama.

Photo: Sweet string music
Franz Felkl, standing, the 2008 Youth Concerto Competition winner, plays Felix Mendelssohn's "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 64" with the Juneau Symphony at the Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium during Sunday's afternoon concert.

City decides to keep paper and cardboard recycling - for now
Paper and cardboard recycling will continue in Juneau with no extra fees - for now. The Juneau Assembly's Committee of the Whole decided Monday to keep the recycling program going as is for a year after City Manager Rod Swope and Waste Management District Manager Eric Vance briefed the Juneau Assembly's Committee of the Whole with updated revenue projections that point to a less dire financial situation than previously suggested.

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

Redundant grid keeps Juneau on hydropower
Persistent avalanche danger is keeping linemen from fixing the Thane-area power transmission line that was downed on Sunday.

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

Around Town
Today, Feb. 9

Around Town
Today

Correction
The Feb. 6 Empire gave an incorrect title for University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton. As president, Hamilton oversees chancellors who run the universities in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau.

Bailouts, stimulus are all bad ideas
As this is written, a reported 75 percent of Americans want the federal government to pass some kind of stimulus package, but only 38 percent approve of the existing package the Obama administration has presented.

Alaska editorial: Redirected cruise ship is no reason to gut initiative
Royal Caribbean Cruises' decision to pull one of its cruise ships, Serenade of the Seas, from the Alaska trade in 2010 is bad news for Alaska. Any ship that brings 42,000 tourists in a season to Southeast ports helps support a lot of business.

Committed leadership needed for Alaskans
Alaska would be in a world of hurt without competent and committed career state employees. It's a blasphemous thing to praise government workers, but it is something that needs to be said.

My turn: Party politics have no place in Alaska education system
When I read of the efforts by Rep. Fairclough, et al, to undermine our university system and attempt to subvert funds away from us because of the political views of our staff and students, I think it's safe to say I was furious.

America's new rescuer: Japan
Here's a disillusioning thought: Solving the financial crisis may be beyond the capacity of government finances. The likely $3 trillion price tag, give or take, of both saving the banks and stimulating the economy is causing interest rates to inch up. U.S. Treasury long-term rates have already risen from 2.1 percent just before Christmas to nearly 3 percent.

Ditch those golden parachutes before everyone crash lands
President Obama is now three weeks into his new job - annual salary $400,000 - and already he and his team are working overtime to make sure that no one at the helm of a bailed-out firm will pocket much more than he does. It's time, the president said last week, for "restraint," not millions in bonuses.

Health groups host Heart Month events
SITKA - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium WISEWOMAN program, Sitka Community Hospital and Sitka Tribe of Alaska are teaming up to host a series of noon lunch-and-learn events in Sitka in honor of American Heart Month in February.

Alaska's Mount Redoubt still restless
ANCHORAGE - Unrest continues at Alaska's Mount Redoubt.

Alaska company recalls 872 pounds of sausage
ANCHORAGE - The federal government saids an Anchorage company is recalling about 872 pounds of sausage products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Mount Redoubt emits rising plume
ANCHORAGE - Mount Redoubt is puffing a steam plume out several hundred feet above the volcano's crater, but still hasn't erupted.

Troopers in Wasilla shooting named
ANCHORAGE - Alaska State Troopers have released the names of two officers involved in the fatal shooting of a 38-year-old woman who was wielding a gun at a Wasilla clinic.

Wasilla man gets 8 years on stolen weapons charge
ANCHORAGE - A 36-year-old Wasilla man will serve eight years in a federal prison after being convicted of being in possession of a stolen firearm.

Anchorage man gets 57 months for firearms crime
ANCHORAGE - A 22-year-old Anchorage man received a 57-month sentence in federal court for his conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Palin names Tok woman to Board of Game
FAIRBANKS - The newest member of the Alaska Board of Game has strong ties to sport hunters.

Anchorage man faces 64 felony sex abuse charges
ANCHORAGE - A 46-year-old Anchorage man faces 64 felony counts of sexual abuse charges.

Man with Hells Angels ties gets 15 years
FAIRBANKS - A 43-year-old Chitina man with a 20-year criminal history and ties to the Hell's Angels received a 15-year prison sentence for the fatal stabbing for a North Pole man.

Scientists catalog Cook Inlet belugas
ANCHORAGE - Researchers are individually cataloguing Cook Inlet's endangered beluga whales through photographs that show the animals' distinctive marks.

Another Democrat in bid for governor's job
JUNEAU - Another Democrat has announced his plans to run for governor of Alaska in 2010.

Anchorage man gets 25 years for kidnapping
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in the kidnapping and assault of two women.

Young child loses fingers in escalator accident
ANCHORAGE - A young child lost three fingers in an escalator accident in Anchorage.

State tells families deceased Alaskans not eligible for PFD
When Kasilof resident Carole Okamoto contacted the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend division with questions concerning the PFD application process on behalf of her late husband, she was asked a series of questions one would expect:

As recession mounts, raffle fever hits state
Raffle madness is coming to Alaska. At least five major raffles could take place in the state in the coming year, with jackpots ranging from $50,000 to $500,000.

Church hosts Athabascan dancing instruction
FAIRBANKS - A church in Fairbanks is doing its part to help preserve Athabascan culture.

Alaska considers utility corporation in Railbelt
Gov. Sarah Palin plans to introduce a bill calling for creating a joint corporation of the six Railbelt electric utilities. Palin said such an entity could unite a "fragmented group of rival utilities" and could save rate payers $40 million annually.

Legislature honors Constitution delegate Sundborg, dead at 95
A man who helped craft the Alaska Constitution nearly 60 years ago has died. George Sundborg Sr. was 95.

Gas escape at Prudhoe Bay under investigation
ANCHORAGE - A massive release of Prudhoe Bay natural gas that filtered into a trans-Alaska pipeline pump station could have destroyed the building and caused an extended shutdown of Alaska's North Slope oil fields, pipeline operators and investigators said.

Scientists catalog individual beluga whales in Cook Inlet
ANCHORAGE - Researchers are individually cataloguing Cook Inlet's endangered beluga whales through photographs that show the animals' distinctive marks.

Racers compete in Iron Dog
BIG LAKE - Seventy drivers and 35 teams are competing in the 1,971-mile Iron Dog snowmachine race, including Todd Palin, husband of Gov. Sarah Palin who was last on the winning team in 2007.

Anchorage to see job losses in 2009
There will be minor jobs losses this year, but Anchorage's economy overall is on a steady footing compared to the rest of the nation. Local business leaders are cautiously optimistic, too.

Photos: Busting myths
Mythbusters' Jamie Hyneman, left and Adam Savage answer a question Monday from senior Emily Fitzgerald during an assembly at Ketchikan High School.

State officials expect to see labor increase through 2016
State labor officials, responding to industry and occupational employment forecasts, are projecting Alaska's job base will rise nearly 14 percent, or 44,000 jobs, for the decade ending in 2016.

This Day in History
In the nation

University museum unveils northern marine reptile fossil
FAIRBANKS - The University of Alaska Museum of the North has unveiled what officials call one of the largest, oldest and northernmost marine reptile fossils ever found.

Photo: Revving up
Gov. Sarah Palin,center, hugs her husband, Todd, while their daughter, Piper, left, watches as Todd and his partner, Scott Davis, get ready for the race. The snowmobile race across Alaska goes from Big Lake to Nome before finishing in Fairbanks on Saturday.

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