Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Response to Tongass My Turn
I was disappointed to read the Wilderness Society’s My Turn editorial advocating a Tongass transition to a future economy based on thinning immature stands of timber and performing taxpayer-funded “restoration projects”.

You're for, or against
On the opinion page in Sunday’s Empire, the diocesan Bishop of Juneau and Southeast Alaska took an outrageous religious shot at homogeneous marriage by stating that marriage is between a woman and a man and then he followed by saying that this was, “...in no way meant to demean members of the gay and lesbian community — they are our brothers and sisters.” Well, great Reverend, but you can’t work it at both ends to the middle — for in the long haul you are either for or you are against same sex partners in or out of marriage. You just can’t have it both ways in the 21st century.

Standing on the side of love
I read the column about marriage written by Bishop Edward Burns (“Defending marriage” in Sunday’s Empire) and I appreciate the clarity and sincerity of his position. As a Unitarian Universalist minister, I just want to point out that not all communities of faith and religious leaders share his opinion. Many people of faith support the right of all loving and committed couples to marry. Unitarian Universalists have long advocated for the rights of gay and lesbian couples to be able to experience the covenant and sanctity of marriage just as their heterosexual friends and neighbors do. As it was so poetically stated by Rev. Bill Sinkford, the former president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, “We stand on the side of love.”

Ageless skier challenged by youthful foe
Each race the competitors seem to get younger, faster, and stronger for Dean Williams.

Photo: Prepping the field
Employees with the city’s parks and recreation department clear snow off of the softball field Friday at Melvin Park.

Big plans unveiled for downtown Willoughby Ave. area
The sprawling area that will hold the new State Library Archives and Museum facility and assorted civic improvements would turn into a mixed-use neighborhood with new streets and new housing under an ambitious plan unveiled last night before the City and Borough of Juneau’s Assembly Committee of the Whole.

Yerkes gets top job at Dzantik'i
It took a nationwide search before the Juneau School District hired a candidate from its own back yard. Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School has a permanent principal now with the hire of assistant principal Molly Yerkes, who has served as interim principal since August.

Boraas takes over as Trail Mix executive director
Erik Boraas has taken over as Executive Director for Trail Mix, Inc.

Photo: Spring song
Katie Bachman, 13, right, sings as her friend and classmate Abagail Buffington, 12, plays her flute downtown Monday. The pair attend the Juneau Community Charter School.

Correction
In a March 11 story about the AJ Mine review, Mike Satre was incorrectly identified as an Echo Bay employee. He works for Hecla Greens Creek Mining Company.

Police & Fire
This report contains information provided to the Empire from law enforcement agencies. This report includes arrest and citation information, not conviction information. Anyone listed in this report is presumed innocent.

Police & Fire
This report contains information provided to the Empire from law enforcement agencies. This report includes arrest and citation information, not conviction information. Anyone listed in this report is presumed innocent.

Barbara Tomlinson Greening
Barbara Tomlinson Greening died March 12, 2011 at her home in Juneau.

Sylvia Mina Carlsson
Sylvia Mina Carlsson, 76, of Anchorage died unexpectedly of an illness on Jan. 23, 2011, in Anchorage.

Sally Ann Lipson
Sally Ann Lipson died March 7, 2011, in Juneau.

Bridget Marie Petaja
Bridget Marie Petaja died March 7, 2011 at Bartlett Regional Hospital after a long fight with cancer. She was 49 years old.

Howard William Scaman
Howard William Scaman died March 7, 2011 at his home in Juneau.

The Pentagon's Achilles' heel
The Pentagon currently spends more than $50 billion — about 10 percent of its base budget — on health care, an almost 300 percent increase over the last decade. These costs are projected to jump to $65 billion by fiscal year 2015. To put this in perspective, the department will spend more on health care this fiscal year than on the war in Iraq and will probably spend more on health care in 2015 than on the conflict in Afghanistan.

Leave safe cell phone use up to drivers
The phrase “Hang up and drive” has been employed more than once on the roads of Alaska, but soon it may have the force of law. The leading cell phone regulation bill making its way through the Capitol would ban motorists from using all but hands-free devices.

My turn: Unimak wolf decision
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game is disappointed in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s No Action decision regarding wolf control on Unimak Island.

Escape from Libya
The last time we heard from my father was early in the morning of March 1, when he phoned my brother to tell him, “I’m about to be arrested.” My father, who called from my family’s house in Tripoli, urged my brother, who lives in Manchester, England, to look after the family and to continue fighting the Libyan regime, no matter what happened to him.

EPA's Bristol Bay study a good start
In August 2010, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson stood in the same gym where we grew up, winning and losing basketball tournaments, celebrating graduations, and gathering to discuss important issues in our communities. Jackson heard a unanimous message from our region that day: “Use your power under the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay, our fishery, our water, our people.”

Outside editorial: Using oil reserve now could hurt US later
The following editorial first appeared in the Kansas City Star:

Dimond Park aquatic board cancels meeting
The Dimond Park Aquatic Advisory Board Grand Opening Subcommittee meeting scheduled for Tuesday has been canceled. For more information, call Dora Joven at 586-0415.

Juneau aging commission to hold work session
The Juneau Commission on Aging will host a work session at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Fireweed Place, 215 Willoughby Ave. The meeting will focus on recommendations from a survey. For more information, call Lorilyn Swanson at 586-5000.

Begich, Hurley to be featured at Democrats' Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner
Juneau Democrats are planning their 2011 Jefferson Jackson Day dinner for March 22, which will feature keynote speaker U.S. Sen. Mark Begich.

Committee to hear bill to ban robocalls
JUNEAU — Robocalls, those automated phone calls often used in political campaigns, would be banned under a proposal being considered by an Alaska Senate committee this week.

Pipeline proposal may fall to wayside this session
JUNEAU — A proposal to ditch a state-sanctioned effort to build a natural gas pipeline in Alaska absent proof it’s economic could fall to the wayside this session as debates over spending and whether to cut oil production taxes take center stage.

No harmful levels of radioactivity expected in US
WASHINGTON — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says harmful levels of radioactivity are not expected in the United States due to damaged nuclear reactors in Japan.

Pilots lock down cockpit over praying passengers
LOS ANGELES — Pilots on an Alaska Airlines flight locked down the cockpit and alerted authorities after three passengers conducted an elaborate orthodox Jewish prayer ritual during their Los Angeles-bound flight.

Palin Noir: Slick design for new Palin biography
NEW YORK — Call it Palin Noir.

Parnell plan to suspend gas tax sputters
JUNEAU — With just weeks left in the legislative session, Gov. Sean Parnell is again asking lawmakers to suspend the state motor fuels tax for two years. It doesn’t look like it will happen.

No radiation from Japan expected in Alaska
ANCHORAGE — Alaska and federal officials expect no radiation from stricken Japanese nuclear plants to reach the state.

DCCED taps local experience for position
The state Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development added more home-grown expertise to its staff recently with the hiring of Glenn Haight, who was appointed development manager in the department’s Division of Economic Development.

Senate joins House in pat-down resolution
JUNEAU — The Alaska Senate has joined with the House in calling on the Transportation Security Administration to reconsider its use of full-body pat-down searches.

Henderson looks back on difficult senior year
This week’s local athlete spotlight features someone who hasn’t played a single game for the Crimson Bears all season.

Limited information required on tax credits
JUNEAU — Since 2006, Alaska has spent more than $3 billion on tax credits for oil companies. Yet lawmakers have very little idea how that money was applied — whether it went toward drilling and exploring for new oil, as lawmakers desired, or to basic upkeep of the fields, an important function but not quite what the Legislature had in mind.

Alaska has considered nuclear power options
A nuclear disaster in Japan may have some in Alaska rethinking the state’s own extremely tentative plans to bring the industry to Alaska.

Baker maintains lead
ANCHORAGE — Veteran musher John Baker was holding on to his lead Sunday in the 1,150-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, at least three hours ahead of his closest rivals.

More pedestrians passing coastal shooting range
ANCHORAGE — More walkers and skiers have been on the coastal flats behind the Rabbit Creek Shooting Park’s high-powered rifle range in Anchorage.

Legislator hopes to address Navy SEAL's PFD eligibility
Rep. Eric Feige, R-Chickaloon, wants to show our nation’s military members that Alaska cares as much about them as it does its politicians.

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