Monday, March 2, 2009

Taku needs protection in entirely new way
As a second-generation Taku Inlet commercial fisherman, I'm disappointed to hear the Department of Natural Resources' Division of Coastal and Ocean Management has withdrawn its designation of the entire Taku River as "important habitat."

Attend Thursday's COPA meeting
The Alaska Regulatory Commission will meet in Juneau at 6 p.m. Thursday at Centennial Hall. Public comment will start at 6:30. This will be the time for all of us to express how we feel about the recent Energy Cost of Power Adjustment (COPA) and the way Alaska Electric Light & Power Co.'s tariff is written allowing them to gouge us, the consumer, for fuel that they use due to their own mismanagement. I urge all interested people of Juneau to attend this meeting and express their concerns.

Protect the unborn
I find it ironic that the state is debating the death penalty with understandable passion, while an abortion clinic recently opened in Juneau with little debate or controversy.

Insist on clean water
I was jogging the morning of Feb. 15 and witnessed a most spectacular sight along Egan Drive by DIPAC; a huge pod of killer whales. I estimated 25 or more cruising up Gastineau Channel towards the flats. They wheeled around on cue and headed back out the channel. I'm a lifelong commercial fisherman and I can only recall a couple of orca encounters that rivaled this one.

Muñoz bill supports office building on Juneau waterfront
Rep. Cathy Muñoz, R-Juneau, introduced legislation Friday supporting a plan to build a $50 million office building on the Juneau waterfront.

City manager search begins anew
Juneau's search for a new city manager has been underway since November and was supposed to culminate with a selection Monday. It won't.

Hoonah keeps controversial police chief
Bucking the recommendation of the mayor, a warning from the city attorney and the findings of a police auditor, the Hoonah City Council voted this week to keep its controversial police chief.

Photo: Hands-on education
Richard Carstensen, a trail guide with Discovery Southeast, compares the size of fresh tracks in the snow to the length of a pencil Saturday on a two-hour hike near Thunder Mountain High School. The hike was part of a gathering celebrating the 20th anniversary of the program, which provides hands-on nature education to children.

Palin pushes energy help for Southcentral
Gov. Sarah Palin has sent to the Legislature the first two bills in a series of legislation aimed at bringing new supplies of natural gas to Southcentral Alaska.

Photo: Working with worms
David Lendrum shows a few of the worms being used in a University of Alaska Southeast research project on solid waste management during the Eating Locally Fair on Sunday held at the Juneau Arts and Cultural Center. Along with booths and information about growing and harvesting food locally, Sitka filmmaker Ellen Frankenstein showed her film "Eating Alaska."

Photo: Show me an angel
Layla Hughes makes snow angels with her son, Luke Gnadt, 3, at Mendenhall Lake on Sunday.

Photos: Salvation dedication
Dancers: Members of the Juneau Tlingit Dancers perform Satuday during a dedication

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

Photo: Polar plunge
Participants in the annual Polar Dip sponsored by UAS jump into Auke Bay in Statter Harbor Saturday. About 50 people jumped into the frigid water 10 at a time. The polar dip was for students as well as anyone else who wanted to participate from the community. Volunteers from Capital City Fire and Rescue stood by on the ramp and in survival suits in the water as a safety precaution.

Around Town
Today, March 2

Photo: Home show comfort
George Cardenas tests out a recliner Saturday at the Southeast Furniture Warehouse display at the annual Home Show at Centennial Hall. Cardenas told friend Miriam Burke, left, that he did not want to get up from the chair. The show concludes today and is open from 10 a.m to 4 p.m.

Around Town
Today

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

Childhood friends to lead Gonzaga Law Review
For former Juneau residents Ben Muse and Tim Nault, being elected as editors of the Gonzaga Law Review is both an accomplishment and an unexpected turn of events.

Juneau resident describes London trip
On our second day in London, I woke up at 8:30 a.m. and spent time working on my travel journal. Our teacher friend, Alison, left for school at 7 a.m. My husband, Don, slept until noon.

Photo: Obama applaud
Davin Savikko's first-graders at Riverbend Elementary School pose in front of a wall covered with pages from the Juneau Empire's special edition of President Barack Obama's inauguration. The class wrote letters to Obama telling him how they are responsible.

Photo: Thunder Mountain robotics
The Thunder Mountain High School Robotics team pose at the For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology (FIRST) Tech Challenge State Robotics Championships held Feb. 21 in Fairbanks. From left are coach May, John Germain, Courtney Johnson, Jennifer Nelson, Karen Leder, Ben Tamone, Maggie Meiners and Grady Wright. Members not pictured are John Bishop, Slade Womack and Tyler Campbell. The rookie team left with third place out of the 15 teams. They moved from preliminaries to semi-finals to finals, where they were finally eliminated. They also received the THINK award, one of five special trophies given at the event. This award was based on their presentation and documentation of the engineering process.

Pets of the week
Special cat, Star Wars gerbils seek homes

Catholic Community Services offers Our Time Support Group
JUNEAU - Catholic Community Services, a social service agency, is offering an Our Time Support Group for parents with children who have individualized education plans (IEPs). The group provides resources and weekly meetings at the Family Resource Center to support and empower parents.

FYI
Births

Glacier Valley wins hospital's KidSafe participation contest
JUNEAU - Bartlett Regional Hospital recently awarded a check in the amount of $2,000 to Glacier Valley Elementary School for the highest percentage of students attending the KidSafe Saturday event held Feb. 7 at Centennial Hall.

Widowed Persons Program to hold monthly brunch today
JUNEAU - The Widowed Persons Program's monthly brunch will be at noon today in the Nugget Room of the Baranof Hotel.

Consortium hosts pediatric dental clinics
HAINES, YAKUTAT - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Haines Health Center will host special Denali KidCare pediatric dental clinics in Haines from March 2 to 6 and in Yakutat from March 9 to 13.

Sitka High School to host 20-year reunion
SITKA - Dates for the Sitka High School Class of '89 20-year reunion have been set for the weekend of July 2-5.

Jambalaya Jazz fundraiser to aid cancer patient
Juneau resident Donna Carroll Noel has struggled with cancer for about 10 years. To aid in the cost of bills, Noel's family and friends will hold a Jambalaya Jazz fundraiser Saturday in her honor.

Senior menu for the week of March 2-6
Monday, March 2

WISEFAMILIES opens office in Wrangell
WRANGELL - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium recently opened an office in Wrangell, and Tammi Meissner was hired to manage the new WISEFAMILIES Through Customary and Traditional Living program in the community.

Juneau resident shares taco soup recipe
Ask Auntie Emo is looking for your quick and easy entrees and your zesty pizza recipes.

Watching hungry goats
On one of those beautiful days in February, with lots of sun, comfortable winter temperatures and little wind, I wandered around up near the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. The good weather had brought out hordes of skiers, snowshoers and strollers, along with a good sampling of Juneau's varied canines (and their unsightly deposits).

George, Cloudy to marry
Susan George, of Juneau, and David Cloudy, of Ketchikan, will be married at 7 p.m. March 6, 2009, at the Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 10300 Glacier Highway, in Juneau. Family and friends are invited to join the couple. A dessert reception will follow immediately after at the same location. No gifts please.

Cashens celebrate 50 years
Lifelong Alaskans Heather and Tom Cashen will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in March. A reception is planned in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with a family cruise to follow later in the month.

Recognitions
The following individuals are serving as Senate pages for the 26th Alaska Legislature's first Senate session, from Jan. 20 to April 19:

Norma Perkins named consortium's director of professional services
SITKA - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium recently named Norma Perkins as its director of professional services at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital.

Alaska editorial: Stimulus money threatens our fiscal rationality
Something must be done and it must be done now! This, the constant refrain, emanating, not only from Washington, but also from cities and villages across our great land. Apparently we are convinced.

Alaska editorial: Governor should put politicking aside and use stimulus funding
Gov. Sarah Palin appears to be focusing on the negative in the just-passed federal stimulus law, and that could hurt Alaskans suffering from the effects of the national recession. Rather than embrace the economic benefits that the $787 billion package is expected to bring, Palin embraced wholesale the congressional Republicans' criticism of the law.

Bloggers can't fill gaps left by shrinking press corps
Packs of lobbyists fill two rooms outside the House and Senate chambers in Richmond, Va., every afternoon, watching the proceedings on big video screens, zapping legislators with e-mails the instant the lobbyists sense that one of their bills might be in trouble. The interest groups that hire lobbyists can rest easy; they've got the legislature covered.

My Turn: We need to use our resources wisely
Spend any time on the water at all, and you quickly realize that herring truly are the lifeblood of the entire ocean ecosystem. Not only do they exist in nearly incalculable numbers at times, they also show up around Alaska's shores at the perfect moment of spring to mean the difference between life and death for many different creatures that have starved their way through the long hard winters.

Digital TV killed my radio news
As I drove home from work a week ago, I changed my radio to the low end of the FM dial so I could pick up the evening news from the ABC-TV affiliate. All I heard, though, were the sounds of silence.

My Turn: Teachers deserve a living wage
Fifty years ago this spring, I made a commitment. I made it, I thought, with my eyes at least as wide open as a college senior could prop them. I committed my life to a career as an educator, confident that while teachers in 1959 were staring up at a financial ceiling above which my classmates - the doctors, the lawyers, the plumbers, the garbage truck drivers - would spend the rest of their comfortable lives.

Photo: Toe toon
This week's toe toon.

Ferry Lituya to resume service March 5
JUNEAU - The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Lituya is scheduled to resume service between the communities of Ketchikan and Metlakatla March 5, AMHS officials announced Friday.

Ketchikan man dies in truck rollover
KETCHIKAN - A 54-year-old Ketchikan man died when his pickup left a roadway and rolled.

Employee sues Matanuska Electric Association
Donte Kelly, a 19-year employee, claims in the lawsuit that co-workers routinely called him "nappy" and "boy" and white employees with less experience were promoted ahead of him.

Light Earthquake felt in Cook Inlet region
ANCHORAGE - A light earthquake struck Alaska's Cook Inlet region.

Kodiak utility buys hydroelectric facility
KODIAK - Officials from Kodiak Electric Association have signed off on the final agreement to purchase the Terror Lake hydroelectric facility.

Man awaiting trial sentenced on separate charge
FAIRBANKS - A man awaiting trial for the death of a downtown business owner received a sentence on an unrelated charge.

Last 2 Yukon Quest mushers finish race
FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks woman has claimed the red lantern as the last musher to cross the finish line in the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

Interim U.S. attorney to leave Alaska
ANCHORAGE - The interim U.S. Attorney in Alaska is departing.

Charges filed in Two Rivers horse shooting
FAIRBANKS - Prosecutors in Fairbanks have filed a formal charge against a Two Rivers woman accused of shooting and killing her neighbor's horse.

Palin names Schmidt as succession choice
ANCHORAGE - Alaska's Corrections Commissioner is second in line to head state government behind Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell under a revised succession plan announced by Gov. Sarah Palin.

Anchorage municipal bus strikes woman
ANCHORAGE - A woman was struck and injured by a municipal bus in northeast Anchorage.

Missing infant found
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police say an infant reported missing by his parents has been found safe.

Number of active oil rigs drops by 57
HOUSTON - The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States dropped by 57 this week to 1,243.

Bills designating state dog heads to House floor
JUNEAU - A bill naming the Alaskan Malamute as the Alaska State Dog is on its way to the House floor.

Palin to push for in-state gas plan
JUNEAU - Gov. Sarah Palin is proposing legislation aimed at jump starting construction of an in-state natural gas pipeline.

Senior Night sets it right
Give Alex Fagerstrom the ball and stand back ... or just dump it in to Eric Gross whenever you can.

JDHS defeats KayHi 75-49 Friday
A wild student section of painted chests and red mohawks gave the Bears a visible boost to start the year's final home series Friday at Juneau-Douglas High School. Four seniors combined for 41 points in JDHS' 75-49 win, and they matched the 11 three-pointers hung on them by their rivals in an earlier loss in Ketchikan.

High court looks at prisoners' right to DNA test
Osborne's attorneys will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday that DNA testing is not something states can choose to allow when they have doubts about a conviction, but a constitutional right.

Senior Obama adviser has Alaska roots
He once helped run state government in Juneau, played shortstop in a local softball league, and he still votes as an Alaska resident. But these days, Pete Rouse works in the White House, two doors from his close friend, President Barack Obama.

Alaska lawmakers unite against new aviation regs
The state's congressional delegation, the state Legislature and the Palin Administration have joined pilots and air carriers across the state in protesting the proposed regulations during the public comment period that ended Friday.

Congress urged to change old mining law
Contradicting a Barack Obama campaign position, a former transition team official said mining companies could pay federal royalties of up to 8 percent for gold, silver and other hard-rock mining on public lands.

Animal advocates fight neglect in Alaska's Bush communities
ANCHORAGE - Finding half-dead puppies lying on the floor of a shed at 40 below with no food, water or bedding did not go over well with Kathy Sweeney of Aniak. But when this Yup'ik grandmother picked one up to check it over and part of its frozen tail fell off, that was the last straw.

Legislative salmon report still incomplete
State legislators responded last year to complaints by sport anglers that commercial fisherman were intercepting too many salmon and too few fish were making it to the Susitna River drainage and other popular fishing streams in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Alternative energy gains fans
KENAI - Bill and Dorothy Fry, owners of Bear Creek Winery and Lodging in Homer, have always been mindful of the environment, encouraging customers to recycle and only using bags made from biodegradable and recyclable materials. Come this spring, the Frys are stepping up their green game to a whole new level: they're installing a wind turbine.

Films tells Inupiaq history
All filmmakers would likely agree that it is a good sign when their film has run out in stores, even if it's not always properly paid for. Rachel Naninaaq Edwardson, a Barrow, Alaska, filmmaker, took it as a compliment when her Inupiaq film "The Duck-In" was snatched off the shelves. But for Edwardson, the film's popularity is second to its importance.

Groundfish fisheries slow to avoid king salmon bycatch
ANCHORAGE - Factory trawlers and other large vessels on the hunt for pollock and Pacific cod in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands have slowed their harvests in the wake of initial high incidental catch of prohibited king salmon and halibut, a NOAA Fisheries manager said.

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