Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Senior Night is about more than just five basketball players
I read with interest the article in the Feb. 27 edition of the Empire about JDHS's Senior Night. While I understand that his article was focused on the basketball team and the importance of the games for the Feb. 27-28 weekend, but the titled the article "Senior Night Gut Check" failed to mention a single word about any other senior, or group, who will be honored during the game on Saturday.

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fisherman, I'm disappointed to hear the Department of Natural Resources' Division of Coastal and Ocean Management has withdrawn its designation of the entire Taku River as "important habitat."

Support Juneau's underpaid teachers
What would you say if your boss told you to work 30 minutes more every day? What would you say if your boss also asked you to work an extra three days every year? You might ask how much more he was going to pay you to work an extra 100-plus hours, right?

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.

Schools to consolidate language programs
Choosing to take Russian or Japanese language classes will become tantamount to choosing which high school to attend.

Sen. Kim Elton resigns for Interior post
Sen. Kim Elton, who has represented Juneau in the Senate, House and Assembly for nearly two decades, has accepted a position in the administration of President Barack Obama. The 60-year-old legislator will now be dealing with Alaska issues in the Department of Interior.

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.

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."

Behind the Douglas wall of skis
For Pat Harmon, bigger is better. His wall of skis on North Douglas highway is certainly no exception.

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

Police investigate armed robbery at Fred Meyer
The Juneau Police Department is searching for a man who allegedly robbed a Fred Meyer employee in the store's parking lot late Sunday evening.

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

Kerttula among Dems seeking Senate seat
Rep. Beth Kerttula heads a list of prominent Democrats in Juneau who are seeking appointment to the Alaska Senate seat vacated by Sen. Kim Elton, who has taken a job with the Obama administration.

Photos: Commemorating success
Juneau Police Officer Jason Van Sickle shakes hands with David Rago of Auke Bay Elementary as students collect their Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Program diplomas at Centennial Hall Monday evening. About 300 elementarystudents from area schools graduated from the nine-week course taught by Officers Van Sickle and Blain Hatch.

Around Town
Today, March 2

Photo: Vantage point
A mountain goat rests in the sun under a blooming willow tree Sunday as it watches over Mendenhall Lake.

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

Around Town
Today, March 3

John Albert Hinchman Sr.
Former Hoonah resident John Albert Hinchman Sr., died Feb. 25, 2009, at the Life Care Center of Skagit Valley in Sedro-Woolley, Wash. He was 79.

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.

Outside editorial: Move to protect nation's workers could instead cost more jobs
The economic stimulus package signed into law last week by President Obama contains a provision antithetical to innovation and domestic prosperity. That provision makes it even harder - some say impossible - for companies that receive government bailout money to hire foreign employees for specialized work.

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: Kill House Bill 9, not other humans
Besides political posturing, what would lead any legislator to sponsor a bill reinstating the death penalty in Alaska? Reps. Mike Chenault and Jay Ramras have put forward a bill to do just that.

United States must end the war it gave Mexico
Early in the last century, near the end of his 34 bloody years in power, the aging Mexican strongman Porfirio Diaz mused that his country's great misfortune was to be located "so far from God and so near the United States."

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.

Ellis lobbies for bill on YouTube
JUNEAU - Alaska's Senate Majority Leader is lobbying for a bill creating postsecondary scholarships on the Internet Web site YouTube.

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.

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.

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

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.

Troopers investigate Copper Center death
ANCHORAGE - Alaska State Troopers are investigating the death of a 65-year-old Copper Center woman who died when she was hit by a pickup driven by her husband.

Anchorage breaks ground for new library
ANCHORAGE - Construction of a new library in Anchorage's Mountain View neighborhood is under way.

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.

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

February extra snowy in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks just had the snowiest February since 1996.

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.

Organizers end Serum Run sled dog race
ANCHORAGE - Organizers of the Serum Run sled dog race are ending the contest early.

Brog to speak at 'A Night To Honor Israel'
JUNEAU - The Juneau Christian Center will host "A Night to Honor Israel," a tribute to the nation of Israel and the Jewish people of the world, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 3. The event's purpose is to promote esteem and understanding between Christians and Jews and emphasize the things each hold in common as believers in God. David Brog, an author from Washington, D.C., will be the featured speaker.

UAS program connects with Kensington Mine
Students who graduate from the University of Alaska Southeast's power technology diesel program with an emphasis in heavy-duty diesel will be at the top of the hiring list for the Kensington gold mine, according to a new agreement between the mine company and the university.

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.

Court split on convict's right to test DNA
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court's conservative and liberal justices appeared divided Monday about giving convicts a constitutional right to test DNA evidence, which for 232 people has meant exoneration years after they were found guilty.

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.

State operating budget before House Finance
JUNEAU - The House Finance Committee on Monday began consideration of a nearly $9.7 billion state operating budget with public hearings scheduled for today and Wednesday.

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.

Japanese tourists keep Talkeetna man flying
FAIRBANKS - Unlike Alaska snowbirds who flock south during the winter months, Eric Denkewalter heads north from Talkeetna to Fairbanks, piloting a Piper Chieftain for a long winter stay.

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.

Prison report warns about lax rehab funding
JUNEAU - Even as the state of Alaska prepares to break ground on a 1,500-bed, medium-security prison, a newly released national study says investments should be in rehabilitating prisoners instead of locking them up.

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.

Murkowski urges state to resolve gas pipeline issues or risk losing market
Alaska officals had better act to bring people together on a large natural gas pipeline or risk losing the U.S. gas markets to shale gas producers and liquefied natural gas importers, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski warned state lawmakers in her annual message to the Legislature in Juneau Feb. 19.

Mother implicated in infant's disappearance
ANCHORAGE - A woman who reported her baby missing is accused of orchestrating the disappearance, which triggered Alaska's first fully initiated Amber Alert.

Photo: Bones to pick
Red salmon carcasses pile up in the Kenai River behind an angler cleaning his catch several summers ago. Biologists are blaming the fish waste for conflicts between people and bears in the surrounding area. According to Bobbi Jo Skibo,Russian River interagency coordinator for the U.S. Forest Service in Moose Pass, state and federal agency managers who oversee the confluence area are considering asking anglers to clean their catch offsite starting this season.

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