Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Say no to murder, yes to responsibility
House Bill 9, introduced in the Alaska House of Representatives at the start of this legislative session, would allow the State of Alaska to execute people convicted for specific acts of murder.

School District needs a good manager
The Juneau School District is one of Juneau's largest employers, but it has at times not been a well-managed business. Juneau now has an opportunity to hire a new district superintendent. I encourage the Juneau School Board to place a priority on good management skills.

Turbine technology generates waves
A New York state-based company says Gastineau Channel might be a good place to test out - and show off - the power of tidal energy.

Budget change slashes Marine Exchange funds
The cruise ship Empress of the North struck a rock west of Juneau in 2007, sending public and private vessels racing to help. But few ships could carry its 281 passengers and crew.

6-year-old, father save elderly man in harbor
Keen eyesight and quick thinking by a six-year-old girl helped save an 83-year-old man from drowning Sunday in icy waters near downtown Juneau.

District proposes cutting 18 teachers
Juneau School District administrators presented a list of proposed cuts Tuesday that included 18 classroom jobs to help make up for a $2 million operating budget deficit anticipated in the 2009-2010 budget year.

Photos: Highwire act
A team effort: Joe Puliafico, maintenance and operations manager for the Mt. Roberts Tramway, below, gathers a small cable Tuesday from George Roberts, left, and Franz Spichtig, both of Leitner-POMA of America, as they prepare for the installation of a new haul rope. The haul rope, 8,000 feet long and weighing 28,000 pounds, is the main cable that pulls the two tramway cars up and down the mountain. A traffic control plan is in effect in front of the tramway during the remaining two weeks of work.

Assembly agrees to hear WiMax tower appeal
The Juneau Assembly agreed Monday to hear an appeal by a group of residents aimed at stalling or stopping the construction of a 150-foot communications tower on Mendenhall Loop Road.

Juneau delegation opposes Alaska death penalty bill
House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, wants to bring the death penalty back to Alaska, but he'll have to do it over the objections of Juneau's representatives.

Photo: Mountain of Snow
A bulldozer operator pushes snow up a large pile Monday at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center's bus parking lot. The snow pile, already a couple dozen feet high, continues to grow as city and contractor dump trucks clear snow from Mendenhall Valley neighborhoods.

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

Photos: Preparing for fry season
Officials at Douglas Island Pink and Chum Inc. prepare for the chum fry-rearing season Monday by floating mini-barges down Gastineau Channel on Monday. DIPAC raises chum salmon in five Juneau-area sites. The barges sit next to net pens, housing fish feed and providing a place to work.

Around Town
Wednesday, Feb. 25

Photo: Bird Crossing
A bald eagle stops Friday on Channel Drive, unwilling to move for traffic.

Correction
A story in Tuesday's Empire incorrectly identified the company considering a tidal project due to an editing error that appeared in the story's subhead. Natural Currents Energy Group is the company considering a tidal project near Juneau.

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

Around Town
Today, Feb. 24

Correction
A story in Sunday's Juneau Empire about city manager candidates misstated Larry Persily's title when he worked in Alaska's office in Washington D.C. Persily was associate director of the office.

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

Vivian Corrinne Stoddard Laurie
Former Juneau resident Vivian Stoddard Laurie died Feb. 14, 2009, at Providence Hospital in Anchorage. She was 93.

Evelyn Jean Jim
Angoon resident Evelyn Jean Jim died Feb. 20, 2009, at SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. She was 44.

John Philip Wacker
Longtime Juneau resident John Philip Wacker died Feb. 20, 2009, in Juneau, due to heart and lung complications. He was 79.

Outside Editorial: A different kind of secretary of state for a different time
In her first official trip overseas, Hillary Rodham Clinton showed herself to be a different kind of secretary of state for a different time. She broke with almost half a century of tradition in choosing Asia rather than Europe or the Middle East for her initial voyage, going to countries not only where American prestige is largely intact, but whose help with the global economic crisis is, as she put it, "indispensable." Throughout her tour of Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China, it might be said that Clinton aggressively projected a nonconfrontational foreign policy - and rightly so.

Outside Editorial: The right call
Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Ill. added his name Friday to the growing list of people who have joined our call for Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill. to resign. But he went a step further. If Mr. Burris does give up the Senate seat, Mr. Quinn would fill it with a temporary appointment until the state legislature passed a special elections law. That's the right call.

Where is the outrage for Indian mission school abuse?
The most anxious reactions by the Indian victims of sexual abuse at Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian mission boarding schools are: "Where is the outrage?"

Outside Editorial: Facebook uprising
Thousands of Facebook users threatened to un-friend the entire website last week to protest what one consumer guardian called "a digital rights grab."

My Turn: What's missing with Alaska Fish & Game's abundance-based game management?
An article titled "Abundance-based fish, game management can benefit all" by Corey Rossi of the Alaska Department of Fish & Game provides an articulate explanation of ADF&G's current approach to conservation, and the emphasis of abundant big game harvests. But if conservation means looking at both sides of the equation (utilization vs. preservation), then some factors may be missing with respect to wildlife.

America: A nation that strives for mediocrity
"Always pay the bank" was my father's economic advice. In good times and in bad, whether I had low, moderate or high income, I always paid the bank. The bank now offers "me" loans.

Help the rich feel good about consuming again
It's no fun being rich when everyone else is poor. Who, for example, would be willing to show up to a dinner party in a brand-new lime-green Lamborghini, in the almost certain knowledge that some of the other guests would be among the growing ranks of the recently unemployed? Sorry about the medical insurance, Katy. Terrible news on the foreclosure, Bob. Too bad on the 401(k), Fred. Hey, check out my titanium wheel nuts!

Canoe capsizes with two people, Coast Guard responds
JUNEAU - The Coast Guard received a report Monday of a person missing from a capsized canoe less than a half mile southwest of Kake.

14 veterans comprise Legislative group
JUNEAU - Lawmakers with military backgrounds have formed a nonpartisan group and are calling it the Joint Alaska State Legislature Veterans' Caucus.

Tongass roundtable invites public to evening meeting
JUNEAU - The Tongass Futures Roundtable isn't usually open to the public, but tonight it will be.

Scientists get closer looks at Redoubt
ANCHORAGE - As good as they were 20 years ago, scientists say they are even better prepared to alert the public about the prospects of an eruption at Mount Redoubt.

Suspect of attempted robbery found
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police say a man tried to rob a pizza delivery man.

House committee to consider workforce
JUNEAU - A House committee is seeking ideas for ways to stimulate an Alaska economy driven largely by the oil industry.

North Korea says it's preparing launch
SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea said Tuesday it is in full-fledged preparations to shoot a satellite into orbit, its clearest reference yet to an impending launch, which neighbors and the U.S. believe will be an illicit test of a long-range missile capable of hitting Alaska.

North Pole getting its first hotel
NORTH POLE - The first hotel in North Pole is coming to this Alaska town.

Anchorage man gets 69 years for rape and kidnapping
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage man received a 69-year jail sentence for his kidnapping and rape conviction last summer.

Man dies after fall from balcony
ANCHORAGE - A 58-year-old Wasilla man is dead after falling from a balcony.

Canoe capsizes, man drowns off Kake
KAKE - A 23-year-old man died Monday off the southeast Alaska community of Kake when his canoe capsized near Point White.

Three Alaska-based soldiers killed in Iraq
FORT WAINWRIGHT - The Department of Defense says three Alaska-based soldiers from New York, Utah and Indiana have died in Iraq.

Schnuelle's Quest complete
It was a dramatic conclusion to a race that Schnuelle approached as a camping trip until three mushers with a seemingly insurmountable lead faltered on Eagle Summit early Monday morning.

Alaskan Special Olympics athlete wins medals
The celebration in her honor was going on out front. But Pearl needed to punch the clock for her shift. She hates being late.

Randall claims silver medal at Nordic worlds
LIBEREC, Czech Republic - Kikkan Randall sprinted frenetically through the snowfall, stretching her ski across the finish line and breaking new ground for U.S. skiing.

Sports in Juneau

State seeks $461 million from stimulus
Gov. Sarah Palin submitted a spending bill to lawmakers on Tuesday asking that they authorize $461 million from the federal stimulus package for infrastructure projects in Alaska.

House debates death penalty
Alaska lawmakers began hearings Wednesday on a proposal that would reinstate the death penalty, a practice abolished by the territory of Alaska more than half a century ago.

Palin to pay state for family travel
JUNEAU - Gov. Sarah Palin will reimburse the state nearly $7,000 for costs associated with nine trips taken by her children, her attorney said Tuesday.

Palin staff defends per diem payments
Staffers for Gov. Sarah Palin lashed out at critics Monday, defending the governor's collection of expense money from the state.

Northern lights dimming
FAIRBANKS - Ester photographer LeRoy Zimmerman made the switch to digital cameras this year to better capture the phenomenon known as the aurora borealis.

New Palmer simulator aims to reduce aviation accidents
Pilots wishing to practice flying from the Palmer airport now have a new three-screen flight simulator to use at no cost to local aviators.

Ex-Fairbanks mayor wants new trial
FAIRBANKS - Former Fairbanks Mayor Jim Hayes has asked for a new trial - again.

Big game transporter fined for helping hunters
ANCHORAGE - A Ketchikan big game transporter who helped two hunters leave carcasses of black bears to rot on a beach a day before it was legal to do so has been fined $10,000.

Soldotna prepares to debate smoking ban law Wednesday
Soldotna already has seen some back-and-forth discussions about banning cigarette smoking in all public places, but on Wednesday, people will get a first look at the actual proposed law.

Murder trial starts in Palmer for man found with body in car
PALMER - A Palmer jury heard opening arguments in the murder trial of a man found with the body of his girlfriend in the back of his car.

Photo: Fresh ice
Hockey players test out the ice on the first day of public access to the Chena River Ice Skating Park on Feb. 21 in downtown Fairbanks by the Cushman Street bridge.

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