Thursday, February 19, 2009

Marine Highway needs more consideration
We need to talk about the Alaska Marine Highway System. Judge John Sedwick halted the Juneau road project and reminded me that I believe the Alaska Marine Highway System receives too little consideration in the transportation infrastructure plans for Alaska.

Taxpayers should demand a fair deal
I'm concerned about the billions that are being spent by our government to rescue the financial system. As a former economics major, I understand that the financial system is vital to the functioning of our economy. Yet it is clearly the banking industry itself that created this problem, with the assistance of complete trust in "free markets" by our government.

ExxonMobil should stop being a scrooge
ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil company, just posted record profits of $8.3 billion for the fourth quarter of 2008 and $45 billion for all of 2008. It has not participated in distributing discounted oil to Citizens Energy Corp.

Whose interests are Coeur really serving?
In talking about design changes the Kensington mine has undergone during the past 15 years, it's interesting that Rick Richins (My Turn, Feb. 1) gave Coeur credit for eliminating a proposed on-site cyanide recovery process. This positive change was a direct result of the environmental community successfully advocating for clean water and a healthy fishery.

Sealaska candidate speech is limited
In regards to the letter "Native leaders step up speak out" My question is how?

Juneau's aging water, sewer utilities in need of upgrade
Patches welded to the outer surface of the city's sewage incinerator keep 1,350-degree flames in check at the Juneau-Douglas Treatment Plant and offer one indication of the unit's impending retirement.

Mine construction suspended
Redfern Resources Ltd. has suspended construction on the Tulsequah Chief mine indefinitely, but says it will continue its permit process with state agencies to use a hoverbarge on the Taku River.

Schools brace for $2 million budget shortfall
The Juneau School District is anticipating a $2 million budget shortfall for the 2009-2010 school year and its volunteer review boards tasked with recommending cuts to make up for it reported Tuesday that there's little to trim aside from personnel.

No easy fixes available for cruise ship wastewater stream
Cruise lines sailing in Alaska have to meet the strictest wastewater discharge standards in the world by 2010, and they told state regulators this year they can't do it.

Scientist to speak on Arctic climate change in lecture
Although most people will never see the Arctic in their lifetimes, their daily actions still have an effect on the region, said Neil Hamilton, director of the World Wildlife Fund's International Arctic Program.

Photo: Youth of the year
Megan Gunyah, 17, a senior at Metlakatla High School in Metlakatla, smiles after giving a speech Wednesday at the Capitol. Gunyah was chosen as The Alaska Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Alaska. Seven finalists from around the state attended the ceremony. Gunyah maintains a 4.0 GPA and is an accomplished athlete. She plans to attend the University of Alaska Anchorage this fall.

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

Frustrated lawmakers want longer session
Two years have passed since Alaska voters decided the Legislature should complete its business in 90 days, and some lawmakers are saying it's time to go back to the old 120-day schedule mandated by the state Constitution.

Photo: Winter inspiration
Roland Lumbab stands Tuesday next to his snow sculpture of Jesus in front of his home on Oday Street. His other sculpture is of a sphinx, with a body of a lion and the head of a man. Lumbab, who works for the Alaska Marine Highway System, said he has been out of work but loves sculpting snow.

Around Town

Photo: Wax on, wax off
Student instructor Kathy Hocker, center, calls out punches and kicks to the youth class of the Juneau Shotokan Karate Do Club Tuesday night. The youth class, with ages up to thirteen, meets Tuesdays and Thursday with adult classes meeting dirctly after.

Corrections
Because of an editing error, an op-ed piece in Sunday's edition of the Juneau Empire incorrectly carried a byline from Juneau Empire Editor and Publisher Robert Hale. In fact, the piece was written by James C. Currow, executive vice president of the Morris Publishing Group within Morris Communications Co., parent company of the Juneau Empire and the Capital City Weekly. Morris Communications is based in Augusta, Ga. The Empire deeply regrets the error and are happy to set the record straight.

Photo: Staying on track
Sheila Zagars and her husband, Dick, venture out oncross-country skis Tuesday in tracks set near the Skaters Cabin and Mendenhall Lake. The street was full of parked cars and trucks with a steady stream of skiers coming and going as outdoor enthusiasts enjoyed a warm, sunny day.

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

Around Town
Today

Hailey Shea Greenbank
Juneau resident Hailey Shea Greenbank died Feb. 14, 2009, as a result of a tragic automobile accident in Juneau on Feb. 3, 2009. She was 5.

Walt Sheridan
Longtime Alaskan Walter Albert "Walt" Sheridan died Feb. 6, 2009, among friends and family in Florida. He was 63.

Betty L. Boddy
Juneau resident Betty L. Boddy died Feb. 17, 2009, in Juneau. She was 85.

Alaska Editorial: State can do more to nurture, keep excellent teachers
Alaska's state government should be doing a lot more to make sure new teachers are effective and keep good teachers on the job, according to a report from the National Council on Teacher Quality. Couple that report with the conclusions of billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, who has invested in education reform experiments such as creating smaller schools.

Alaska editorial: State should ensure good students can afford education
Hammered markets make this a rough time for endowments, but state Sen. Johnny Ellis has the right idea in trying to create one for hard-working Alaskans who want more education after high school.

My turn: Symphony musicians not only skilled - they're amazing
"Kudos" isn't really the word here. In fact, I'm searching for a word that might cut it, and while the colorful nouns and adverbs (I'm French, you know) normally issue forth from my mouth to the utter annoyance of all, today all I can say is - well, wow.

Clinton needs strategies, not slogans
Hillary Rodham Clinton prefaced her first trip abroad as secretary of State with a speech Friday sketching out various Obama administration views regarding her Asia itinerary. Her approach on the crucial issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons program embodies an overwhelming - and unfortunate - continuity with the Bush administration. This is not at all surprising, given the president's campaign rhetoric.

Let us see the high cost of war
Maybe now we'll see what we have not been allowed.

SEARHC hosts dental clinic in Angoon
ANGOON - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Jessie Norma Jim Health Center in Angoon plans to host a special Denali KidCare pediatric dental clinic on Feb. 23-27.

KTOO now broadcasts on digital TV channel 3
JUNEAU - KTOO-TV is now broadcasting on digital TV Channel 3, and has also added digital TV service for Lemon Creek. PBS and Alaska One programming is available on DTV Channel 3.1, while 360 North and Gavel to Gavel Alaska programming is on DTV Channel 3.2.

Plane damaged when it misses runway
SOLDOTNA - A small airplane suffered extensive damage when it crashed at the Soldotna Municipal Airport.

Accident kills Kenai woman and injures several others
ANCHORAGE - Alaska State Troopers said a Kenai woman was killed Monday afternoon when the driver of a Ford Windstar fell asleep and crashed into a one-ton truck at Mile 88 on Sterling Highway.

Sitka man named in Alaska Marketplace's 30 finalists
ANCHORAGE - Thirty finalists from across Alaska, including Robert Hoffman, of Bridging Culures with Crest Art in Sitka, were selected to advance to the next round of the fourth Alaska Marketplace competition, where they will vie for a portion of nearly $300,000 in award money for business project ideas. Last year's competition awarded more than $300,000 to 11 entrepreneurs with the best ideas for stimulating Alaska's rural economies.

Mushers deliver thousands of pounds of food for Iditarod
ANCHORAGE - Tens of thousands of pounds of dog food and supplies were being sorted Tuesday for delivery to race checkpoints as mushers and race officials prepare for the upcoming 2009 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Four pipe bombs found in car during routine traffic stop
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police said four pipe bombs were found inside a car during a routine traffic stop.

Begich conducts second veterans meeting Thursday
FAIRBANKS - U.S. Sen. Mark Begich will meet with veterans in Alaska during this week's congressional break.

Kleedehn arrives first in Dawson City
FAIRBANKS - Musher William Kleedehn was first to arrive in Dawson City in the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, but Jon Little was only two minutes behind.

Eight seek Superior Court judge post, one slot available
FAIRBANKS - Eight attorneys are vying for one slot available on the Superior Court bench in Fairbanks.

Students to attend engineering event
HELENA - Carroll College and Montana State University will co-host engineering students and faculty advisers from Alaska and four other states at a regional conference next month.

Begich says stimulus was bipartisan effort
FAIRBANKS - Alaska's freshman U.S. senator said despite last-minute disagreements, the $787 billion stimulus package was a bipartisan effort.

Winter festival to hold fur auction
ANCHORAGE - The Fur Rendezvous winter festival will hold the fur auction this year.

Police investigate double homicide
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police are investigating the shooting death of two men found inside a four-door Honda pick-up truck.

City emergency manager Mike Branum to resign Feb. 27
JUNEAU - Juneau's Emergency Management Director Mike Branum is leaving his city job for colder grounds.

Les Schwab feeds Subway a donut
Tami Watts and Kristina Weltzin broke a scoreless tie for Les Schwab with a goal apiece during a seven-minute span of the second period, and Subway fell in a 2-0 loss Sunday in Juneau Adult Hockey Association Women's Tier action at Treadwell Arena.

JV Bears take Delta's Dean S. Cummings title
The Juneau-Douglas High School girls junior varsity basketball team swept through three games of the Dean S. Cummings Sr. Tournament in Delta Junction over the weekend, topping the Point Hope Harpooners 57-45 in Saturday night's title game.

Southeast Middle School Wrestling Championships

INSIDE THE NUMBERS
13.5

Legislators begin pay hike debate
Alaska Legislators hoping for a pay raise may have to stand up and say so with a vote.

Falling oil prices may be a chink in Palin's armor
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sarah Palin's first two years in office have been called a time of milk and honey, when the resource-rich state was flush with wealth from record oil prices.

Ted Stevens' prosecutors replaced
ANCHORAGE - The Justice Department said Monday it has removed the legal team that prosecuted former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens from further post-trial proceedings that concern allegations of government misconduct.

Palin slashes spending by $445 million
Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday announced spending cuts of $445 million in next year's proposed budget to cope with reduced revenues from continued low oil prices.

Alaska says Palin owes back taxes on per diem expenses
Gov. Sarah Palin will have to pay back taxes on nearly $18,000 in expenses she charged the state for living in her home instead of the state capital, officials said Wednesday.

Bristol Palin wishes pregnancy came later
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sarah Palin's 18-year-old daughter, an unwed mother, said she believes teenagers should avoid having sex.

High court to hear Valdez tax case
ANCHORAGE - The city of Valdez and an oil tanker operator will face off before the U.S. Supreme Court over the city's right to assess property taxes on ships coming to Valdez to pick up cargo.

Security breach forces Alaska banks to replace thousands of credit cards
ANCHORAGE - A malicious security breach has forced several banks to issue thousands of new credit and debit cards throughout Alaska after data was stolen from a New Jersey company.

Investment advisor changes hands
Alaska's top investment consultant, which helps manage the Permanent Fund and more than $15 billion in retirement savings, has been bought out by one of its top competitors.

Airline holding group agrees to buy Era Aviation
ANCHORAGE - Aviation company HoTH Inc. will purchase Era Aviation Inc. for an undisclosed sum and operate the company under a single airline called Frontier Alaska.

Photo: Fueling the race
Cameron Alter, 13, stacks a bag of Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race supplies bound for Kaltag during the food drop Tuesday in Anchorage. Volunteers help mushers go through the process of ensuring that food drop bags are sorted, stacked and prepped for shipment to each checkpoint along the Iditarod Trail. About 70 mushers will begin the sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome on March 7.

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