Wednesday, February 11, 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.

Building Southeast intertie would create more jobs
Building out the Southeast electrical intertie (a power transmission line) would create jobs immediately in Southeast Alaska and across the United States and Canada. It would also make a huge stride toward achieving Gov. Sarah Palin's recently announced goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2025.

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.

Artist spawns new mural at UAS
With the exception of finger painting he made as a child, University of Alaska Southeast business management student Sterling Snyder said he has essentially no experience as a painter. But he was quick to pick up a brush when given the opportunity to help celebrated Ketchikan-based artist Ray Troll paint a new mural in the Egan Building at the Auke Bay campus this week.

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

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.

Mental health trust proposes $45M building
State office workers could have some new downtown digs by 2012 under a plan to build a $45 million office building near Coast Guard Station Juneau and the old subport building site.

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.

New road projects stir concerns in Southeast Alaska
Two road projects, one new and one old, have been highlighted by Gov. Sarah Palin in a speech to the Legislature. Both may be ahead of the Juneau Access Project, the controversial road up Lynn Canal for which Palin's support has been waning.

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.

House committee to consider early education bill today
The state House Education Committee will hold a hearing today on a bill intended to encourage parents to act as pre-school teachers to their children with help from state-funded resources and house calls from an expert.

Photos: Outdoor Classroom
Jim Fowler, a Juneau artist, teaches Harborview second-grade student Eli Whartohl how to draw a marmot Tuesday at the visitor center.

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

Around Town
Today

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

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.

Around Town
Today

Irene Inez Lenz
Irene Inez Lenz died Feb. 9, 2009, in the presence of family.

Curtis Michael Fleischhauer
Juneau resident Curtis Michael Fleischhauer died in the early morning of Feb. 9, 2009, after a 20-year battle with multiple sclerosis. He was at home with his family and friends by his side. He was 38.

George Sundborg
Former longtime Juneau resident George Sundborg died on Feb. 7, 2009, in Seattle. He was 95.

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.

Alaska Editorial: Utility wars or community coordination?
In her State of the State speech, Gov. Palin floated an idea that would improve the energy situation in the Railbelt. She'd like to see all Railbelt electric utilities join together in a single organization for planning new generators and transmission lines. It would supply power at a uniform wholesale rate throughout the region. Most energy experts agree Gov. Palin is right: Having six different utilities makes a fragmented and inefficient system. In the Lower 48, an area like the Railbelt would typically have a single, medium-size electric utility.

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.

'Dying City's' call to reality
Letters from a war zone can offer unique glimpses into the dynamics of a soldier's perception of the world. In the play "Dying City," which is being performed this month in Juneau by the Thunder Mountain Theatre Project, one such e-mail unravels much of the story's mystery about personal relationships in wartime. But if we probe deeper, we find the play offers a disturbing analogy about our country's military posture among the weaker nations of the world.

Bankrupt Iceland is getting steamed
In December, reports surfaced that then-Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson was nervous. Without a Wall Street bailout package, he reportedly warned members of Congress, civil unrest might become so widespread that martial law would have to be imposed.

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.

31 apply for open School Board seat
ANCHORAGE - One vacant job in Anchorage is attracting a lot of applications.

Pearson's Pond spa earns top AAA rating
JUNEAU -Pearson's Pond Luxury Inn and Adventure Spa was recently awarded the AAA Four Diamond Award for 2009. The award was presented Thursday at the Juneau Chamber of Commerce.

Lawmakers debate minimum wage hike
FAIRBANKS - Alaska lawmakers are considering a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $8.75 an hour.

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

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.

Man found dead in Fairbanks lot
FAIRBANKS - A man was found dead in a wooded lot in Fairbanks.

Native consortium gets federal grant
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium will use a $1 million grant to study Hepatitis B.

Kohring says he asked for pardon
ANCHORAGE - A convicted Alaska lawmaker sought but didn't receive either a pardon or reduction in his federal prison sentence from former President Bush.

Green doubles up Subway
Rissa Florendo shattered a tense period-long tie with 8:47 remaining in the game, and Green snagged a narrow 2-1 victory over Subway Sunday night in Juneau Adult Hockey Association Women's Tier action at Treadwell Arena.

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

Alaska's attorney general resigns
Attorney General Talis Colberg's resignation has brought out in the open what's been simmering since Gov. Sarah Palin returned from the presidential campaign trail - the lingering hard feelings in the Capitol.

Move under way to change name of Mount McKinley
FAIRBANKS - A move is under way to change the name of North America's tallest mountain from Mount McKinley to Denali.

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

Denali group awarded gas treatment plant contract
The Denali pipeline group on Feb. 10 announced the award of an engineering contract for a $2 billion gas treatment plant in Prudhoe Bay.

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.

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.

Alaska Air questions whether Virgin America has U.S. status
ATLANTA - Alaska Airlines is questioning Virgin America's ownership status, asking the government to determine whether the fledgling airline continues to meet the qualifications for being a U.S. air carrier.

Postal service plans new bypass mail hubs in rural Alaska
Postal officials, concerned about the high costs of providing bypass mail service to rural Alaska, have announced plans to go ahead with a measure to create hubs at remote locations.

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.

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.

Photos: Rock slide blocks road in Ketchikan
Front-end loader operators work to clear debris Tuesday after a rock slide blocked the road near mile five of North Tongass Highway in Ketchikan. According to Alaska State Troopers, the slide occurred at about 8 a.m. By 1 p.m., crews had opened one lane of traffic.The North Tongass Highway is the only connectionbetween downtown Ketchikan and the north end of the city, which includes an elementary school, the Alaska Marine Highway System, and several homes and small businesses. No injuries were reported.

Photo: Calling for peace
Mount Edgecumbe High School student Candice Schack, left, along with other high school students and members of the public, hold a candlelight vigil Monday on the Crescent Harbor dock in Sitka. The vigil was organized by Amnesty International student groups to promote peace, urge an end to violence and call for reconstruction in Gaza, on the eve of the parliamentary elections in Israel.

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