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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This Southeast 'local' supports SEACC
In Monday's article on Southeast Alaska Conservation Council's community outreach program, Sara Chambers is quoted as saying, "So are they local, are their friends? People should find that out."

SEACC ad story not worthy of front page
While I recognize that Monday might be a slow day, the Empire's Feb. 22 story about Southeast Alaska Conservation Council's ad campaign hardly seems like front-page fodder.

Don't let oil industry buy its way out of tax
Thank goodness for Ray Metcalf. His My Turn column, "Faces of ACES or Fleecing of Alaska," finally says it all. Many of us have seen the oil company ads and wished we knew how the oil companies do business elsewhere. Now we know.

Job loss has nothing to do with ACES
On the front page of Sunday's Juneau Empire I read the bold headline: "Oil industry: Cut taxes, boost jobs." In short, the article suggests that ACES is causing a loss of oil industry jobs in Alaska. They would say that, wouldn't they?

Public should be heard on Sealaska bill
In October 2009, I had the opportunity to testify in front of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests about Senate Bill 881, the Sealaska land transfer bill. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich were there, as were other members of the committee.

SEACC tax return paints different story
Monday's Juneau Empire featured an article questioning whether Southeast Alaska Conservation Council's recent ad campaign will help the organization overcome the "SEACC in the headlines in the paper."

Article doesn't show true face of Beck
The Sunday Empire included an article in USA Weekend magazine that paints Glenn Beck as a family man who is fun to hang out with. It acknowledges that Beck compares our president to Hitler. Yet, in its full three pages, it fails to state the obvious. Beck is making millions a year with talk such as calling Obama a racist who hates white people.

New rescue group takes shape
Some seasoned search-and- rescue volunteers have branched off from Juneau Mountain Rescue to form a new group to help people who become lost or injured in the wilderness around the capital.

Alaska Permanent Fund simplifies its investments
The Alaska Permanent Fund will contain fewer individual investment portfolios and more index funds, after its stock portfolio was restructured Tuesday to begin implementing a cutting-edge new investment strategy that was first adopted last summer.

Snow science expert visits Juneau
As another Juneau winter begins to fade, residents might wonder why it was so different from last winter.

Juneau youth net Tsunami Bowl win
Fairbanks -For the fourth year in a row, high school students from Juneau took first place in the 13th annual Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl, also known as the Tsunami Bowl. South Anchorage High School's Team Starfish won second place.

Lunch-time lecture features Tlingit art
JUNEAU - Tlingit carver Archie Cavanaugh Jr. will discuss the development of his art and comment on selected Northwest Coast Native objects from the collection of the Alaska State Museum during a free brown-bag lecture at noon Wednesday at the museum.

JDHS teacher opens the door to science
JUNEAU - For the next several weeks, Juneau-Douglas High School science teacher John Smith will focus on the Southeast Alaska Regional Science Fair, an annual rite of passage for many aspiring scientists.

Photo: Show of spirit

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

College students lobby Capitol for need-based aid
Students from University of Alaska Southeast and elsewhere in Alaska praised Gov. Sean Parnell's desire to see more Alaskans attend college, but said the way to do that was not with his Governor's Performance Scholarships but instead with help for needy students.

School District slates last budget meeting
JUNEAU - The Juneau School District Budget Committee of the Whole will have its final meeting before presenting a draft budget to the School Board today from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Juneau-Douglas High School library.

Correction
A secondary headline on A1 in Monday's edition about draft rules for cruise ship wastewater discharges was incorrect. Cruise lines, through comments made by Alaska Cruise Association consultant Mike Tibbles, said more than half of the ships operating in Alaska would not be able to meet ammonia limits in the 2010 draft rule. The state tests for a list of pollutants, not just ammonia, and Tibbles did not say the cruise lines could not meet stricter limits for all of them.

NAMI-Juneau offers course for families
JUNEAU - NAMI-Juneau is offering its Signature Family-to-Family class beginning in March. The free 12-week course is taught by trained NAMI members and offers education and support for families and friends of people with mental illness. The course teaches the knowledge and skills that people need to cope with mental illness.

Children meet Mr. Gross Teeth
It isn't every day that a Dalmatian and a snake-charmer examine teeth and give patients rides in dental chairs, but the circus - also known as the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Children's Dental Health Fair - came to town Tuesday to take the terror out of a dentist trip.

Assembly delays trash pickup decision
The Juneau Assembly voted Monday evening to postpone the adoption of an ordinance that would mandate Juneau residents, businesses and nonprofits within the city's roaded service area sign up for trash pickup or face a $50 fine. The delay is intended to allow for further public discussion and revision of the ordinance.

Alaska Airlines launches paperless boarding passes
SEATTLE - Tech-savvy travelers on Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air flights will have one less thing to carry: a printed boarding pass. The two airlines on Monday introduced electronic boarding passes in seven cities and also launched mobile.alaskaair.com.

Two people arrested in Mendenhall Valley melee
A 30-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman were arrested on assault charges Monday after police responded to a brawl in the Mendenhall Valley involving sticks, bats and ice scrapers.

City turns down zoning change
Citing worries about the appearance of gamesmanship, the Assembly voted unanimously against a zoning ordinance change along Glacier Avenue Monday night.

Alaska Chamber joins nonprofit health plan
Private business employers have another option to offer health care benefits to employees under a new agreement announced Tuesday.

Photo: Flipping out
A Juneau-Douglas High School cheerleader does a back flip before the start of Saturday's basketball game against Ketchikan.

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

Photo: Gregarious gulls
Cindy Anniskett scans the Douglas Island hillside Monday as Michelle Roberts, 14, feeds gulls at Marine Park.

Photo: Fog begins to clear
A fishing boat slips out of the harbor Monday as the fog breaks up over downtown Juneau.

Wings of Alaska promotes McKinney
JUNEAU - John Beardsley, CEO Wings of Alaska, announced the appointment of Rob McKinney to the title of President of Wings of Alaska.

Prebula to lead United Way in Southeast
JUNEAU - Michelle Prebula was elected chair of the United Way of Southeast Alaska. Prebula, who serves as cash manager for the State of Alaska Department of Revenue, has served on the board since 2007.

Esteban B. Capada
Longtime Juneau resident Esteban B. Capada, a World War II veteran, died Feb. 21, 2010, of a natural illness in the Philippines. He was 91.

Distractions muddle climate change debate
The trouble with the climate change debate is that we get distracted. Weather is one example. Some argue this winter in Juneau is evidence of global warming while others would counter with the cold and wet summer of 2008. Climate is the tendency of weather to follow certain patterns; weather is the variation around the pattern. We can all describe our climate, but predicting weather is trickier. In Alaska, we depend on the climate for our livelihoods and the food we eat. This is why the debate about climate is so important.

Outside editorial: Ensuring a balanced Internet
The following editorial appeared in the Kansas City Star:

From Tiger to Toyota: Rebuilding broken brands
Tiger Woods' strained - actually, rather bizarre - appearance before the television cameras Friday and next week's appearance by Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda have more in common than it might appear.

Environmentalists tried to compromise on timber sale
The claims by Sara Chambers that Southeast Alaska Conservation Council did not negotiate in good faith the Logjam timber sale is malicious and wrong. I was at the resolution meetings and I took notes, and I have the U.S. Forest Service's documents about the meeting. I have read the appeals and the appeal decisions and they are available for anyone who wants to know the facts. This is what happened at the appeal resolution meetings.

A bad history for a bad bill
If S. 881 passes out of committee next month, Southeast Alaska and the nation will be worse off. Here is an untold story.

Want real health reform? Let the states take the lead
The vast majority of Americans want health-care reform. They just don't want the monstrous telephone-book-size bills now before the House and Senate.

Wasilla man injured in snowmobile crash
ANCHORAGE - A snowmobile rider was severely injured in an accident near Big Lake. Alaska state troopers says 48-year-old Kevin Blume of Wasilla was turning onto a paved road Sunday when a ski caught on the edge of the asphalt. Blume was not wearing a helmet.

Bristol Palin to make acting debut on ABC Family TV show
NEW YORK - Bristol Palin, whose unplanned pregnancy became a national news story that engulfed her mother's vice presidential campaign in 2008, is bringing her experience as a teen mom to bear on the small screen. ABC Family announced Tuesday that Bristol, the oldest daughter of former Gov. Sarah Palin, will play herself on an episode of "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," a drama about a teenager who becomes pregnant.

Elemendorf plans spill response practice
ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE - Elemendorf Air Force Base is hosting a spill response practice taking place most of this week.

Lawmaker eyes rumble strips to reduce accidents
JUNEAU - An Anchorage Democrat says putting rumble strips on the center line of high-traffic roads could reduce driving accidents and fatalities.

Residents feel light Kodiak Island quake
OLD HARBOR - A light earthquake has been felt by some residents on Alaska's Kodiak Island.

Fairbanks man accused in 'horrific' assault
FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks man is accused of severely beating his wife after she stabbed him in what she says was self-defense.

Don Young wary of national monuments
FAIRBANKS - Congressman Don Young is raising concern that the Obama administration wants to designate national monuments to halt development.

Dike Trail to remain closed through March
JUNEAU - The Airport Dike Trail, also known as the Emergency Vehicle Access Road, is closed to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic all days except Sunday until March 27.

Senator proposes Alaska Railroad oversee pipeline
JUNEAU - An Alaska state senator said she wants an in-state natural gas pipeline but as quickly as possible and sees giving responsibility of it to the Alaska Railroad Corp. as the way to do that.

Crew to film Christmas movie in Seward
ANCHORAGE - A Hollywood production crew is set to film a movie in Seward called "Christmas with a Capital C" and starring Daniel Baldwin.

Todd Palin, partner scratch from Iron Dog snowmobile race
ANCHORAGE - Todd Palin, the husband of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and his partner have pulled out of what is dubbed the world's longest snowmobile race.

Body of man missing in avalanche found
ANCHORAGE- Searchers have recovered the body of a ConocoPhillips Alaska employee missing and presumed dead since a Feb. 13 avalanche on the Kenai Peninsula that killed the head of the company.

Alaska's tax collections fall dramatically
HELENA, Mont. - A new report indicated that states again saw big drops in tax collections in the last quarter of 2009 - the fifth straight quarterly decline.

Light earthquake reported off Adak
ADAK - A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has been reported along the Aleutian chain.

Census commissions totem pole in Sitka
SITKA - The Census Bureau paid $15,000 to commission a totem pole to represent the unique relationship between the Census Bureau and Alaska Natives.

Refinery apologizes for contamination
FAIRBANKS - The prospect of being a guinea pig is unsettling to Richard Tallant.

Airport project to cost $75 million planned for Akutan
KENAI - The state Transportation Department is planning a new airport for the city of Akutan by the fall of 2012.

Kodiak police investigate vandalism at two schools
KODIAK - School officials in Kodiak said vandals caused an estimated $75,000 in damage to two schools over the weekend.

Chris Budbill talks hockey, house-building
Ever since Treadwell Arena opened its doors more than five years ago, senior hockey player Chris Budbill has been playing there.

Ethics bill targets executive travel and legal fees
The Alaska Legislature should write the ethics rules that apply to the executive branch, not someone within the branch, an Anchorage lawmaker said Tuesday.

Assistant DA charged in DUI cases
FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks assistant district attorney has pleaded not guilty to charges of driving under the influence of drugs after being arrested twice within a week.

Group wants EPA to reduce pollution from soot
ANCHORAGE - An environmental group petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday to reduce soot, saying it accelerates melting of glaciers and sea ice.

Parnell's $100 million infrastructure target likely to be shot down
Gov. Sean Parnell's $100 million deferred maintenance proposal is unlikely to pass the Legislature by next week's target date, and his administration is partly to blame, a Republican state lawmaker said Monday.

Small business center opens in Ketchikan
KETCHIKAN - The Alaska Small Business Development Center announced the opening of its center in Ketchikan. Michele Zerbetz Scott, business advisor, will be providing counseling services.

Coeur finishes sale of senior unsecured notes
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -Coeur d'Alene Mines, owner of the Kensington mine northwest of Juneau, completed the sale of $100 million of senior unsecured notes and sold shares of its common stock valued at $3.75 million.

ACS officer to present award in Florida
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc. today announced that David Wilson, chief financial officer, will be presenting at the Raymond James 31st annual Institutional Investors Conference on Wednesday, March 10, 2010, at 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The conference takes place at the JW Marriot Grande Lakes in Orlando, Fla.

Ice carving competition under way
FAIRBANKS - Some 28 ice carvers from around the nation are in Fairbanks for the U.S. National Ice Carving Championship.

Photo: Skimming the water

Begich among Democrats who oppose global-warming rules
WASHINGTON - Eight Democratic senators from industrial states, including Alaska's Mark Begich, are challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate pollution blamed for global warming.

Panel analyzes role of oil, gas tax
A Senate committee is hearing conflicting accounts about how well Alaska's oil and gas production tax is working, with no promise that anything will be done about a nearly 2-year-old tax that has helped swell state coffers but drawn complaints from oil companies.

Airline passenger revenue up in January
WASHINGTON - Passenger revenue among a sampling of U.S. carriers rose 1.4 percent in January compared to the same month a year earlier, despite a slightly lower number of passengers flying, a trade group for the airlines said Tuesday.

State to participate in cruise trade show
ANCHORAGE - The state Office of Economic Development is partnering with businesses to promote Alaska as a top cruise destination at an industry trade show next month.

Rondy poker tournament called off
ANCHORAGE - The annual Alaska Hold'em Poker Tournament has been canceled by Fur Rendezvous organizers over concerns it could amount to illegal gambling.

Alaska to retry Linehan for '96 murder
ANCHORAGE - Alaska will retry a former stripper-turned-soccer mom whose conviction for murdering her former fiance was overturned earlier this month, state Attorney General Dan Sullivan said Monday.

Lawmakers may raise meal reporting limit
ANCHORAGE - Alaska legislators say it's almost impossible to get a decent meal in Juneau for under $15, so they are considering rolling back a requirement that lobbyists report when they buy lawmakers food or drink over that amount.

Company modernizing Skagway trains
TACOMA, Wash. - Without specific directions, it's difficult to find Global Locomotive. The nearest town, Western Junction, doesn't appear on many maps. And the last half-mile to the company headquarters southeast of Olympia follows a gravel road through the woods to a metal industrial building beside the old Chehalis Western Railroad tracks.

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