Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Voices finally heard
After three years of attending rallies, writing letters, and flying anti-PebbleCreek flags, I was beginning to believe that nobody was listening to the hordes of people who are opposed to the development of Pebble Creek Mine at the headwaters to Bristol Bay. I am overjoyed to be wrong about this.

Think hard about a gas tax increase
In response to a recent post about not only holding on to the current gas tax rate, but increasing it, a few things need to be kept in mind. A rosy picture was painted about how a double-digit gas tax increase would have nothing but wonderful outcomes. Pro-environmentalists have been playing this scenario for some time. It will drive people out of their cars, it will reduce pollution, it will spur mass transportation, the pipe dreams goes on. The intentions are good and it is something we need to pursue, but the short-term ills are really something to consider. Gasoline for our cars is something that is not optional, it’s like food for our tables. Raise the price and something has to give. I’m formerly from Washington state, which has one of the highest gas taxes in the nation. We all remember the summer when gas topped $4 per gallon. When this hit, the impact was profound as consumers stopped spending. Businesses failed, delinquency rates on credit escalated, layoffs came. And yes, fuel consumption dropped. It was always wondered by economists, what price level would push Americans out of their cars? Four dollars per gallon seemed to be it. It truly kicked off our recession. The state of Washington committed itself to some major mass transit and road construction projects to be funded by, the gas tax! What happened? Gas tax revenues dropped substantially, literally millions gone overnight. Projects were dropped, ones too far committed to had to be funded by alternate means. Washington’s budget was written with these higher levels of revenue and it was left scrambling. Demand for public transit spiked but there were no funds available for increased bus runs or fuel, forget about any major transit projects.

Alaska's long-term active military deserve PFDs
My name is Tiko Crofoot. My parents, my sister, and I have been Alaska residents for many years now. I am active duty military, currently stationed in Virginia, and am getting ready for my fifth deployment to CENTCOM as a U.S. Navy SEAL. For the past two years, I was denied my Permanent Fund Dividend because of a clause stating that an absence from the state of 10 years, even if due to military requirements and even if you have maintained residency the entire time, negates eligibility. I have gone back to Alaska every year since being in the military, and have spent the requisite amount of time there to qualify for the PFD and to retain my residency. I have an Alaska driver’s license, vote in all Alaska elections, have it listed as my home of record for the military and plan to retire there once my military service is complete.

Lawmakers fighting to keep EAS alive
Alaska’s delegation in both the U.S. House and the Senate say Essential Air Service (EAS) is needed here and is making strides toward keeping it in light of Sen. John McCain’s recent proposal to eliminate the program nationwide.

Eaglecrest addresses lift safety concerns
A young boy fell off the Hooter chairlift at Eaglecrest Ski Area on Sunday. While reports indicate he did not sustain harsh injuries as a result, Eaglecrest states child safety on the lifts is a priority.

Photo: Fresh powder brings twice as much fun
Karen Pallenberg has her hands full as she prepares to sled at Twin Lakes on Monday with her 20-month-old twins, Sam, left, and Ben. Just over nine inches of snow fell between Sunday and Monday. The forecast for today and Wednesday calls for clear and colder weather with winds gusting to 55 mph downtown.

Photo: A Valentine's Day public display of affection
A public Valentine decorates Twin Lakes on Tuesday.

Photos: On their way to UAA
Thunder Mountain High School students Cydney Norberg, Royes Lumba, and Sydney Sabin are preparing a three-course meal for the upcoming Pro Start Invitational Culinary Competition in Anchorage to be held this weekend at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Their meal consists of scallop ceviche with cucumber avocado sauce, poached salmon on a bed of arugula, polenta and asparagus, and a mango parfait on hand formed chocolate. The students have been receiving guidance from Culinary Foods Instructor Kathleen Wiest and Chef David Moorhead of the Baranof Hotel.

Marvin gets fall trial in Hoonah murder case
A judge Monday cleared room for a three-week trial for the man accused of shooting two Hoonah police officers to death last August.

Hoonah landowner settles EPA lawsuit
Hoonah landowner Clifford C. Walker has agreed to pay $36,267.50 as part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency over alleged Clean Water Act violations.

AG Burns speaks before Judiciary committees
Attorney General-designee John Burns spoke to the 27th Alaska Legislature on Monday, addressing the Senate and House Judiciary committees in a two-hour joint hearing concerning the mission of the Alaska Department of Law and past, present, and impending issues.

Assembly COW clarifies, approves 2011 goals
The Borough Assembly’s 2010-2011 goals are almost solidified, and some are already nearing completion.

Trial for cocaine, oxy distribution continues
“One girl or two girl” are the terms alleged cocaine and oxycodone dealer John White, 39, used for identifying sales of 1 and 2 grams of cocaine, according to a state of Alaska confidential informant testifying Tuesday in Juneau Superior Court. White is on trial for allegedly selling cocaine and oxycodone to the informant and an undercover police officer last year.

Trial date set for man accused of beating 2-year-old girl
A trial date of March 7 was set in Juneau Superior Court Tuesday by Judge Philip Pallenberg for a man who faces two charges of first-degree assault in connection with the beating of a 2-year-old girl.

Aspen Hotel to open in Juneau
The Aspen Hotel is returning to Juneau. The hotel is currently under construction near the airport with plans to open sometime in the spring. A new website for the hotel is also being created.

Photo: A snowy perch
Mature bald eagles roost on freshly snow-lined limbs Monday in the Lemon Creek area.

Police & Fire
This report contains information provided to the Empire from law enforcement agencies. This report includes arrest and citation information, not conviction information. Anyone listed in this report is presumed innocent.

Correction
A story on page A3 of Sunday’s Empire incorrectly attributed a statement. Deputy Commissioner of Revenue Jerry Burnett told the board he’d presented legislators with comparative information about investment returns of the board and the Alaska Permanent Fund.

SEARHC clinics to recognize Elizabeth Peratrovich Day
The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium will close Wednesday in honor of Elizabeth Peratrovich Day.

Police & Fire
This report contains information provided to the Empire from law enforcement agencies. This report includes arrest and citation information, not conviction information. Anyone listed in this report is presumed innocent.

Elizabeth Peratrovich Day events
Graveside memorial service: 12:30 p.m., Evergreen Cemetery

Stan H. Dillon
Stan H. Dillon died Jan. 29, 2011. He was born Oct. 17, 1956.

Betty Russell Larsen
Betty Russell Larsen died peacefully Dec. 9, 2010 in Sitka surrounded by family and friends.

Empire editorial: Stevens' longer Legislature measure deserves consideration
Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, has pitched a proposal to extend the legislative session to 120 days every other year. We are encouraged by the desire captured in Senate Bill 18 to find a middle ground between those who say the Legislature is constrained in its efforts by a 90-day session and others who believe 90 days is adequate to perform the people’s business, and we are hopeful both cabinets and the governor will give Stevens’ plan serious consideration.

Gas pipeline plans must look to 2020 and beyond
A natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to serve Alaskans and Lower 48 markets is possible, but to turn that into probable will take the right market conditions, investors willing to risk tens of billions of dollars and state involvement.

My Turn: New Tongass management can help Southeast economy
The U.S. Forest Service has announced a new, more sustainable management vision for the Tongass National Forest, and that has some people in Southeast Alaska worried. Will this change harm the region’s economy, which is already struggling? The Wilderness Society’s Alaska office decided to look at this question, and the answer we found is reassuring. There is a way forward that helps the economy while better protecting the region’s irreplaceable old-growth forests.

Outside editorial: House GOP veers off track on abortion
The following editorial first appeared in the Sacramento Bee:

Free Pollard? Never
In January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking for the early release of Jonathan Jay Pollard, who was convicted of spying for Israel and sentenced to life in prison in 1987. The United States has steadfastly refused requests for Pollard’s release; it has every reason to continue that policy.

Dodd-Frank: A costly way to 'help'
“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Ronald Reagan called those “the nine most terrifying words in the English language” — and with good reason.

Anchorage to vote on liquor store ID checks
ANCHORAGE — Anchorage voters will have their say in April on whether liquor stores must check the identification of all buyers, regardless of age.

NOAA public comment period for seal listings expanded
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expanding its public comment period for a proposal to list four subspecies of ringed seals and two distinct population segments of bearded seals as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The comments period will continue until March 25.

F'real foods recalling fruit smoothies
F’real foods is recalling a specific group of its strawberry banana smoothies because they may contain peanuts, an undeclared allergen. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed the recalled product has been distributed in Alaska.

Jury to begin sixth day of deliberations
ANCHORAGE — The jury in the trial of a young woman accused of conspiring to kill her mother when she was 16 years old is entering a sixth day of deliberations.

Alaska recovers $30 million in consumer cases
JUNEAU — Alaska has recovered $30 million over the last five years from consumer fraud litigation.

Alaska Senate passes bill on write-in votes
JUNEAU — The Alaska Senate has unanimously passed a bill clarifying the procedure for counting write-in votes following the hotly contested race in which Sen. Lisa Murkowski ran as a write-in candidate.

61 gallons of crude oil spill at Oliktok Point
ANCHORAGE — About 61 gallons of crude oil sprayed out of a vent at the Eni production facility at Oliktok Point on Alaska’s north coast.

Accused fire truck arsonist arraigned
The man accused of attempting to set one of the Capital City Fire and Rescue trucks on fire was arraigned before Judge Patricia Collins on Monday.

Trial date set for alleged Western Auto burglar
The man who was arrested for allegedly attempting to burglarize GCI and Western Auto — the latter incident requiring the Juneau Swat Team’s activation — pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree burglary and second-degree theft through public defender Kevin Higgins on Monday in Juneau Superior Court.

Suspect shot by troopers is charged
PALMER — A 53-year-old Palmer man who shot at Alaska State Troopers and was wounded by return fire has been charged.

House GOP lays out legislative principles
JUNEAU — Alaska’s Republican House majority outlined its guiding principles for this Legislature, including working toward greater fiscal responsibility.

Araujo joins Baxter Bruce & Sullivan
Todd J. Araujo has joined the law office of Baxter Bruce & Sullivan as an associate attorney, where he is working actively in all areas of the firm’s practice.

Jury continues to deliberate in Waterman trial
ANCHORAGE — The jury is deliberating a fourth day in the trial of a young woman accused of conspiring to murder her mother when she was a teenager.

Yulista Holding adds Monica James as Senior V.P. of business strategy
Yulista Holding LLC of Anchorage welcomes Monica James as senior vice president of business strategy. James will be responsible for developing a growth strategy for the Yulista Holding companies to increase revenues and broaden revenue sources.

Musher suffers frostbite in Alaska river plunge
FAIRBANKS — The latest race is over for four-time Yukon Quest champion Hans Gatt.

Subsistence board may add 2 rural Alaska members
ANCHORAGE — The Federal Subsistence Board is asking the public whether it should expand to include two members of the public representing rural Alaska.

Taser fails to slow roaming moose in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS — A Taser may not be enough to stop a moose.

Certain trapping seasons end today
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Wildlife Conservation, reminds trappers the season for marten, mink and river otter in Game Management Unit 4 closes today. Beaver season remains open until May 15. Pelts of marten, river otter, and beaver must be sealed by a department representative within 30 days after the close of the season.

State refuges see record visitors in 2010
ANCHORAGE — Wildlife officials say record numbers of people visited Alaska’s state refuges in 2010.

Sass loses wheel dog in Alaska Yukon Quest
FAIRBANKS — Yukon Quest musher Brent Sass says he plans to finish the race despite losing one of his dogs.

Researchers fail to detect signal from rare whale
ANCHORAGE — Marine researchers in Oregon say they may have received the last transmission from a satellite tag on a rare whale that spends summers in Russia.

Regional ecosystem data workshop and forum at UAS starts today
Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center is hosting its Regional Data Integration Workshop today and Thursday at the University of Alaska Southeast’s Lake Campus in the Glacier View Room, Egan 221.

Ice Alaska artists prepare for 2011 contest
FAIRBANKS — It’s still a week until the opening of the 2011 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, but there’s plenty of activity at Ice Alaska.

Bill would expand age for school attendance
JUNEAU — Alaska children would have to attend school between the ages of 6 and 18 under a proposal being considered by the Senate Education Committee.

Police: Woman nearly severs intruder's hand
FAIRBANKS — Fairbanks police say a woman nearly cut off the hand of a man who was trying to break into her bedroom.

Photos: Senior night send-off
The Crimson Bears boys’ basketball team celebrated senior night with a 56-46 win over rival Ketchikan on Saturday. Juneau-Douglas plays Thunder Mountain at 6:30 p.m. today at JDHS.

Bears up win streak
Juneau-Douglas upped its win streak to eight games while improving to 6-0 in Southeast Conference play Tuesday with a 55-35 win over cold-shooting Thunder Mountain at JDHS.

Juneau to take part in nationwide hockey event
Juneau Douglas Ice Association is giving local kids a chance to participate in a nation-wide event aimed at promoting hockey in cities and towns across the country.

Longer sessions bill gains traction in House
A state House committee has joined in what has previously been a Senate-led effort to lengthen Alaska’s legislative sessions.

Federal pipeline coordinator slams in-state gasline
The federal natural gas pipeline coordinator said Monday only a large pipeline to ship Alaskan natural gas out of state will serve the state’s needs, not the in-state line some have been advocating.

Retirement board action boosts pension liability number
Alaska’s future retirement liabilities suddenly increased by nearly $1 billion when the Alaska Retirement Management Board adopted what it thinks is a more realistic — and lower — estimate of what it expects to make on its investments.

Should Alaska go to zero-based budgeting?
Some top Alaska legislators say they’re going to take a tough new look at the state’s budget, including forcing each department to defend its very existence with a move to “zero-based” budgeting.

Gov: Businesses can play role in fighting violence
JUNEAU — Employers need to start thinking of domestic violence and sexual assault as a personnel matter, not merely as a personal problem, Gov. Sean Parnell said Monday in calling on Alaska businesses to join his fight to end the scourge over the next decade.

Ex-Anchorage officer's sex trial goes to jury
ANCHORAGE — The fate of a former Anchorage police officer accused of sexual assaults is now up to a jury.

$3B road to Nome debated at public hearings
ANCHORAGE — A proposed 500-mile road to Nome would keep the cost of food and services in villages from rising higher, supporters say, but opponents say there are better ways to spend $2.7 billion.

House committee hears factors behind plant closure
JUNEAU — The pending closure of the Kenai Peninsula liquefied natural gas plant has focused renewed attention on the energy problems facing Southcentral Alaska — and for lawmakers and the oil and gas industry, there are no easy or quick answers.

CONTACT US

  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-3028
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING