Business owners to meet with legislators
JUNEAU - Small-business owners from around Alaska are invited to a dinner on Feb. 20 to discuss their legislative agenda for the session with each other and with policymakers.

Elgee Rehfeld Mertz hires new employees
JUNEAU - Judy Cummins, recently from Wilmington, Del., was hired at the certified public accounting firm of Elgee Rehfeld Mertz in Juneau. Cummins previously worked in Wilmington for the firm Horty and Horty and has a degree in accounting. She passed all sections of the CPA exam.

Be grateful for the city's snow plowing
I let out a little chuckle after reading a recent article, "Citizens complain about snow berms" (Feb. 5 Juneau Empire).

Obama expanded health insurance
I was dismayed to see the article in the Feb. 2 Juneau Empire about the Clinton campaign's repeated attacks against Sen. Barack Obama and his commitment to universal health care coverage.

Kudos to the city for Cope Park response
The crews of the city street and water departments, and City Manager Rod Swope, deserve recognition for their quick response to the water main break in Cope Park on Thursday.

Taku transcends corporate wealth
I read Drew Green's My Turn in the Juneau Empire (Feb. 6) with keen interest and a considerable amount of concern.

Alaska mayors painted with the same brush
Gov. Sarah Palin recently addressed the Alaska Conference of Mayors, where she was criticized by the one of the mayors for being inaccessible. This is as far from the truth as you can get.

A different Tongass National Forest view
Regarding the latest Forest Service attempt at managing the Tongass, we read the joint statement issued by Gov. Sarah Palin and Forestry Chief Gail Kimbell on their "Shared Vision for the Tongass National Forest."

Bus should offer complete service
This winter has been noticeable in the lack of service from our city transit system.

'We stand to fall together' on energy
As a concerned citizen, I'm writing about the welfare of the state of Alaska and its present and future energy needs. I attended a meeting of SEAK Solutions on Jan. 30. The group concerns included renewable energy in Alaska, especially villages, and making biodiesel fuel in Juneau.

Planning commission approves city's first cottage housing permits
The Juneau Planning Commission approved use permits for the city's first cottage housing development last night, despite continuing objections from residents of the adjacent Back Loop Road neighborhood that the cottages will bring down their own property values - or are simply too many houses to have next door.

First permits for cottage housing trigger concern
Home and landowners in the All Seasons subdivision say the city's first cottage housing development threatens their property values and doesn't fit in with the Back Loop Road neighborhood people paid up to $500,000 to live in.

Eaglecrest Ski Area opens lifts to snowless Whitehorse skiers
The Eaglecrest Ski Area is reaching out to skiers in Whitehorse, Yukon, by offering to open its lifts to Mount Sima season pass holders for the rest of the ski season.

Crabbers set for slush, cold, low prices
As the sun set on a slushy gray Monday, the last crabbers still in town were scrambling to leave for this week's tanner crab opener in Southeast Alaska.

Huna Totem Corp. to pay out distribution
The Huna Totem Corp. board announced a distribution Tuesday of $10.80 per share, or $1,080 for a typical shareholder with 100 shares.

Two crab species are very different
Southeast tanner crab and golden king crab will both be harvested starting Thursday. But these two species live very different lifestyles.

City seeks to close loopholes with new smoking ordinance
The Juneau Assembly introduced an ordinance Monday closing gaps in the smoking ban that officials claim keep the city from fully enforcing the law.

Photo: Navigating puddles
A vehicle drives through a large puddle of rain water Tuesday on Ninth Street. Rain and melting snow caused lots of puddles throughout Juneau. The weather forecast calls for rain showers during the rest of the week.

Army Corps may not join mine appeal
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not decided whether to join Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. and the state of Alaska in a U.S. Supreme Court appeal of a decision affecting the Kensington Mine's permits.

Around Town

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

Photo: Chipping away
Erik Auger, a crewman aboard the fishing vessel Carlynn, uses a sledgehammer to break ice off the wheel house Monday at Aurora Basin boat harbor. Ice nearly two feet thick built up on the vessel as it fished for gray cod in Frederick Sound after a cold snap hit Southeast Alaska. Today's weather forecast calls for rain and a high temperature near 40.

Around Town

In a Tuesday story about cottage housing, the Juneau Empire incorrectly said Carol Austin lived in All Seasons subdivision. She lives in a different development.

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

'Fool's Gold' is all over the map
My freshman roommate in college had attention deficit disorder. All jokes aside, let's just say it was pretty obvious when he'd neglect to take his meds for any extended period of time.

Obama, McCain ride momentum to primary wins
WASHINGTON - Barack Obama powered past Hillary Rodham Clinton in the race for Democratic convention delegates Tuesday on a night of triumph sweetened with outsized primary victories in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Obama narrowly leads McCain in election matchup
WASHINGTON - If Democrats want their best shot at defeating John McCain this fall, a new poll suggests Barack Obama may be a better bet than Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Celebrating love as chocolate
Valentine's is a day for hearts, flowers, cards, love - and chocolate.

Chocolate by therapy
Chocolate has long been associated with romance, but it also can tell us something about ourselves, according to Dr. Sonja Koukel, Health Home and Family Development Program educator for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

Let's celebrate singles on Feb. 14
Feb. 14 is the most dreaded day by singles nationwide. Red, pink and flowerly it decends upon us. Valentine's Day. A day for holding hands, exchanging gifts, and giving out overpriced cards to all your friends.

Therapeutic Court graduates honored
JUNEAU - The Alaska Court System will hold a ceremonial commencement ceremony and open house to honor all Juneau Therapeutic Court graduates at 3:30 p.m. today in Courtroom A on the first floor of the Dimond Courthouse. Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg will be the keynote speaker, and a letter from Dana Fabe, chief justice of the Alaska Supreme Court, will be presented.

Sitka wellness coalition meets Thursday
SITKA - The Sitka Employee Wellness Coalition will host its monthly meeting from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

Hospice to start bereavement group
JUNEAU - Hospice and Home Care of Juneau will be starting the next eight-week bereavement support group on Monday, Feb. 18, running through April 7. This is a very supportive group of six to 12 people who come together each Monday evening to share their stories of life with a partner, parent, sibling, child, grandparent, grandchild or friend; of their loss experience; and the new life following the death of that person. It is a place to grieve with support, guidance, and creative activities to assist in forming a treasure chest of memories.

John A. Clark
Juneau resident John Anthony Clark died Feb. 3, 2008, in Juneau after a brief illness. He was 74.

Joseph Jerry Lopez
Longtime Juneau resident Joseph Jerry Lopez died Feb. 3, 2008, at Bartlett Memorial Hospital. He was 83.

Angle Rock Peterson Jr.
Lifelong Juneau resident Angle Rock Peterson Jr. died Feb. 10, 2008, in Juneau. He was 58.

Robert Abram Welsh Sr.
Former Juneau resident Robert "Bob" Abram Welsh Sr. died Feb. 8, 2008, at the Arbor Rose Home in Mesa, Ariz. He was 80.

My Turn: Health care shouldn't be a consumer good
While I applaud Gov. Sarah Palin's efforts to provide tools to Alaskans to access information on the quality and cost of health care, I take issue with one of her assumptions.

Local column: Library, archives and museum project should be a SLAM dunk
The motto of the National Endowment for the Arts is, "a great nation deserves great art."

Outside editorial: A raging debate: Is waterboarding illegal?
The following editorial first appeared in the Chicago Tribune:

Outside editorial: Getting a grip on the obesity debate
So are too many Americans too fat - or not? According to contrarian views of the obesity/overweight issue, the concern is overblown. A Johns Hopkins professor recently coauthored a book that challenges the link between health problems and obesity. Some naysayers suggest the antifat campaign is a concoction of the multibillion-dollar weight loss industry, designed to scare people into signing up. Or that it has become a moral crusade designed to marginalize groups (including the poor) that have higher rates of being overweight.

Can the world afford a middle class?
The middle class in poor countries is the fastest-growing segment of the world's population. While the planet's total population will increase by about a billion people in the next 12 years, the ranks of the middle class will swell by as many as 1.8 billion - 600 million just in China.

State schedules 16 meetings on AGIA
JUNEAU - State officials scheduled a series of 16 town hall meetings across Alaska to update residents on the efforts to get a natural gas pipeline under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act.

Mackey takes lead in Yukon Quest race
FAIRBANKS - The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race has a new leader with a familiar name.

Palin signs bill OKing compassionate gifts
JUNEAU - Gov. Sarah Palin has signed a bill lifting a $250 limit on compassionate gifts to lawmakers describing the effect of the monetary cap as nonsensical and surreal.

Avian flu researchers seek blood samples
ANCHORAGE - Officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are looking for 200 Anchorage-area sport hunters who have handled wild birds in the last two years.

Winfree takes oath as newest justice
FAIRBANKS - Alaska's newest Supreme Court justice took his oath of office this week in Fairbanks.

Environmentalists, Army dispute area
ANCHORAGE - The Army will explode munitions on the Eagle River Flats this week as it continues efforts to open the area to year-round training that includes firing artillery shells.

Grant applications due to city by Friday
JUNEAU - Social Services Advisory Board grant applications for fiscal year 2009-10 are due at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Troopers seek teen missing from facility
FAIRBANKS - Alaska State Troopers said they need help finding a 16-year-old boy who walked away from the Fairbanks Youth Facility last month.

Mackey takes lead in Yukon Quest
FAIRBANKS - The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race had a new leader with a familiar name as of Tuesday.

Balsiger named acting director for NMFS
ANCHORAGE - James Balsiger has been named the acting director of the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Palin seeks money for communities
FAIRBANKS - Gov. Sarah Palin is proposing to spend $1.1 million to help communities threatened by coastal erosion and other effects of climate change.

Rep. Gruenberg reports to Juneau
JUNEAU - Rep. Max Gruenberg, an Anchorage Democrat, was back in Juneau Monday after spending nearly two months battling complications from surgery.

Deployment may hurt emergency services
FAIRBANKS - The Army's plans to deploy a Fort Wainwright air ambulance unit overseas in July has Fairbanks area emergency officials worried.

Peters appointed to airport board
JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly appointed former Juneau School Board President Bill Peters to the Juneau International Airport Board on Monday.

Five rescued eagles released in Kodiak
KODIAK - Five of the 30 surviving eagles that were slimed in fish guts last month will be released back to the wild.

Three mushers scratch from Yukon Quest
FAIRBANKS - Three Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race mushers scratched Monday at Eagle Summit.

Palmer courtrooms reopen after flooding
ANCHORAGE - After flooding last week when a frozen pipe burst, all six courtrooms in the state courthouse in Palmer are back in service, officials said.

City reinstates human rights commission
JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly reestablished the Juneau Human Rights Commission by resolution Monday.

Bus driver cited in crash with car
FAIRBANKS - The driver of a school bus was issued a speeding citation after a traffic accident that demolished a car south of Fairbanks, Alaska State Troopers said.

Photo: Around the corner
Svensson's Boatworks' Tom Ainsworth flips the puck past Doc Water's Pub's Jeff Wyatt during a Juneau Adult Hockey Association Tier A game Monday at Treadwell Arena. Check out the results from last week's JAHA action on Page B3.


Ice Pirates, Island Pub skate to 3-3 Tier A tie
The Ice Pirates got their first point of the season after earning a 3-3 tie with the Island Pub in Juneau Adult Hockey Association Tier A action on Sunday at Treadwell Arena.


Mining group sells Greens Creek
Mining group Rio Tinto PLC announced Tuesday it will sell its stake in Juneau's Greens Creek Mine to its joint-venture partner, Hecla Mining Co., for $750 million.

Alaska opens checkbook to public
Alaskans who want to make sure their state government is spending their money wisely can now rummage through the state's checkbook, and see what they can find.

This Day in History
In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

Hospital fears injury from Palin plan
Gov. Sarah Palin's plan for improving health care in Alaska could cripple Juneau's only hospital, said Shawn Morrow, CEO of Bartlett Regional Hospital.

State lawmakers lift hurdle to kidney donation
When Alaska state Rep. Richard Foster was diagnosed with a genetic kidney disease, his friends at the state Capitol wanted to give more than flowers.

Exxon to sell North Slope Natural gas
Exxon Mobil Corp. says it plans to sell North Slope natural gas - about 10 billion cubic feet a year - and it won't need a highly debated multibillion dollar pipeline to do it.

Palin signs safe surrender bill
A controversial bill allowing a parent to safely surrender a newborn infant instead of possibly abandoning the child was signed into law Monday.

Jewelers refuse to sell gold from Pebble Mine
ANCHORAGE - Just in time for Valentine's Day, five of the nation's leading jewelers have sworn off gold that someday could come from the Pebble Mine, a huge deposit being scoped out near the world's most productive wild sockeye salmon stream in southwest Alaska.

New mapping data bolsters U.S. claims to Arctic region
ANCHORAGE - New mapping data would bolster any claims the U.S. might make in the Arctic as nations in the region compete for potentially rich reserves of oil, gas and minerals buried beneath the sea floor, federal scientists said Monday.

State Democrats seek more funding for early education
Giving young poor kids an early educational boost will keep them in school and out of jail or the unemployment line, according to some state Democratic lawmakers who are asking Gov. Sarah Palin to increase funding for early education.

Palin meets with ConocoPhillips
Gov. Sarah Palin met with executives from ConocoPhillips to discuss a prospective natural gas pipeline - one month after turning down the company's proposal.

Photo: Iron Dog racers pull into Nome
Todd Minnick, left, and Nick Olstad, the first team in the Tesoro Iron Dog snowmobile competition to arrive in Nome, cross the halfway point in the race Tuesday on their snowmobiles. The race, which covers 2,000 miles of Alaska wilderness, started Sunday in Big Lake and will end in Fairbanks.

Ex-Fairbanks mayor convicted of fraud
FAIRBANKS - Former Fairbanks Mayor Jim Hayes has been found guilty of 16 counts involving the misuse of more than $450,000 in government grants sent to a social services agency.

Officials press for all-Alaska pipeline
FAIRBANKS - Saying a natural gas pipeline could be built faster to Valdez than through Canada, Alaska Gasline Port Authority officials pressed lawmakers not to give up on an all-Alaska route.

Fire consumes home of man who lost sons in crash
ANCHORAGE - A man whose two sons died in a plane crash off Kodiak has suffered another loss.

Falling moose nearly takes out trooper in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - Motorists here have seen the highway signs that warn of falling rocks, and they've seen the ones that warn of moose crossing.

This Day in History
In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

Climatologist says Arctic sea ice likely to continue shrinking
ANCHORAGE - Arctic sea ice next summer may shrink below the record low last year, according to a University of Washington climatologist.

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