Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Chenault should leave death penalty alone
House Speaker Mike Chenault's decision to push for reinstitution of the death penalty in Alaska is bewildering. He offers no rationale for his idea. He tells us he is convinced the death penalty has no value as a deterrent. So what benefit, may I ask, does he have in mind?

Spring a great time to kick meat habit
The past two months have brought us depressing news about the collapsing global economy, the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, and the devastating effects of climate change.

Teacher's recognition is well-earned
The Juneau Education Association wants to congratulate Ann Boochever on her recognition as one of Juneau's Women of Distinction. As the music teacher and librarian at Auke Bay School, Ann has worked hard to provide quality music and library education programs to all students. Students enjoy music and library classes very much at Auke Bay School.

Most people like to think for themselves
I just read Edwin Johnson's letter glorifying the attributes of Gov. Sarah Palin as well as his disdain for former Sen. Kim Elton's recent promotion to Washington, D.C., in the Obama administration. It might surprise Johnson that "most" Alaskans probably do not believe that Palin has conducted herself with honor and dignity.

Bush was anything but conservative
I resented Ross McKenzie's March 13 column in the Empire. I realize it was reverse psychology, but calling former President Bush and his cohorts conservative is beyond ridiculous.

Bagpipers bring passion to Saint Paddy's Day
A bagpiper sometimes must rise to the defense of her instrument, which is not for everyone.

Bill encourages safe bicycling
If only the Legislature could do something about the weather.

Clarification
Sara Hannan, a Juneau school teacher being considered for Rep. Beth Kerttula's seat, is a former environmental lobbyist. A story in the Empire suggested she currently held the position.

Swope decides to stick around
Juneau has found its next city manger, who also happens to be its current one.

Acquisition means company state is suing becomes new investment advisor
A top investment advisor for the state is raising doubts among some lawmakers.

Local Democrats seek Kerttula replacement
While Juneau Democrats are awaiting Gov. Sarah Palin's appointment of replacement for former Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, they're preparing to replace Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, if she wins the appointment from Palin.

Subport building wins committee approval
A bill clearing the way for a new state office building in Juneau has passed out of the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee, despite some tough skepticism from some legislators from up north.

Conference works on regional trash authority
The Southeast Conference is working toward the creation of a regional solid waste facility and a governing body to oversee it.

Four dogs attack doe on wetlands
A young doe was taken down and badly injured by four dogs Sunday on the Mendenhall Valley wetlands off Sunny Point, animal control officials said Monday.

Pupil-to-teacher ratio to increase next school year
The Juneau School Board reluctantly voted to increase the pupil-to-teacher ratio in most grades next year after a long process of revising the 2010 budget to make room for shortfalls.

Assembly changes subport zoning for development plans
The Juneau Assembly unanimously approved an ordinance at its regular meeting Monday night to change the zoning classification of the lot where the former subport building was located on the Juneau waterfront.

Photos: Poetry Out Loud
Tyee Dunlap of Thunder Mountain High School recites "Like Rousseau" by Amiri Baraka during the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest on Monday at the Juneau Arts and Cultural Center. Dunlap, a sophomore, was one of seven state-wide contestants competing in the event. David Dunker provides translation into sign language in the background.

Around Town
Today

Photo: Rare sighting
A Boreal Owl perches Monday next to Peter and Mona Bibb's Thane home. Boreal owls find prey by using super-sensitive hearing. The can even find mice under vegetation or snow. The owls are an uncommon sight in the Juneau area.

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

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

Around Town
Today

Barbara Hedden Bird
Former Sitka resident Barbara "Bobby" Hedden Bird, of Dallas, died March 15, 2009. She was 82.

Wilma Baines-Chahim
Former Juneau resident Wilma Jean Baines-Chahim died in her home on March 15, 2009, in Metlakatla after a 15-year battle with breast cancer.

Karyn Boggan Price
Lifelong Juneau resident and educator Karyn Boggan Price died March 3, 2009, in Seattle. She was 69.

Wendy Sue Matheny
Former Juneau resident Wendy Sue Matheny, of Coos Bay, Ore., died March 8, 2009. She was 58.

Vivian McGonegal
Former Juneau resident Vivian Doris Malcolm McGonegal died Feb. 21, 2009, in Portland, Ore. She was 95.

An independent panel must ferret out torture facts
The allegations are familiar, yet some of the details are sickeningly new. Senior al-Qaida prisoners held in secret CIA prisons were made to stand for days in painful positions and deprived of solid food for just as long. Interrogators wrapped suspects in plastic, doused them with cold water and slammed them headlong into walls. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was allegedly shackled with his arms above his head for days at a time, leaving lasting scars.

My turn: Juneau Access supporters should consider a railroad
When describing the Alaska railroad system to Juneau's Chamber of Commerce, an official explained that a railway costs about a tenth as much to build as a road. I asked if a railroad had ever been considered as an option for Juneau. Apparently not.

We can break the chains of government control
"Live Free or Die"

My turn: Of course we can build a road, but should we?
"Give me enough dynamite and snoose, and I'll build a road to hell!"

Outside column: Hard times are payback for skewed priorities
I heard the day I wrote this that a local firm I'd done business with for years had been hit with a massive layoff. I began touching base with friends who worked there to see how they fared. All I reached had survived this round but had to take pay cuts. They were devastated, talked about "survivor's guilt," bemoaned the loss and harried futures of friends, co-workers, families.

Outside editorial: Shut out at the polls
The following editorial first appeared in the Washington Post:

Empire reader poll
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Outside editorial: EPA on a mission
Two years ago, Congress told the Environmental Protection Agency to require major U.S. industries to measure the amount of carbon dioxide they emit each year as a step in the process of creating legislation to reduce gases that cause climate change.

Elmendorf airman killed in Afghanistan
ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE - A 24-year-old Arizona airman based at Elmendorf Air Force Base has died in Afghanistan.

Sitka fighter appears on Spike program
SITKA - A Sitka man has landed a spot in the Spike network show "The Ultimate Fighter."

Electricity back to pre-avalanche rates
JUNEAU - All Juneau electric users are now back on cheaper electricity.

Agreement reached on rural bulk mail rates
JUNEAU - The U.S. Postal Service has agreed to lower its proposed rate increase on bulk mail delivery to rural Alaska.

SEARHC touts Native HIV/AIDS awareness
SITKA - The third National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day takes place on Friday, and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium will honor those Alaska Natives, American Indians and Native Hawaiians who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. On March 20, an information table about the impact of HIV/AIDS on Alaska Natives will be set up near the Litehouse Cafeteria at the SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka.

Electricity back to pre-avalanche rates
JUNEAU - All Juneau electric users are now back on cheaper electricity.

Palin to headline GOP dinner in Washington
WASHINGTON - Gov. Sarah Palin will deliver the keynote address at a dinner sponsored by the House and Senate Republican campaign committees. Palin, the party's 2008 nominee for vice president, will address the annual Senate-House Dinner on June 8 at the Washington Convention Center.

Grant extends Tlingit language project
JUNEAU - The University of Alaska Southeast is in line for a second National Science Foundation grant to help preserve Alaska Native Languages. The $450,000 grant continues a five-year project that began with a $360,000 grant in 2007. The NSF "Documenting Endangered Languages" initiative includes the recording and documentation of spontaneous Tlingit conversation, bilingual annotation of the recordings and the archiving of hundreds of audio tapes of Tlingit oratory, narratives, and celebrations.

Suspect faces more charges in Scout theft
JUNEAU - The 17-year-old suspect arrested for allegedly robbing nearly $800 from Girl Scouts at Fred Meyer earlier this month has been charged with two additional felonies.

Suspect faces more charges in Scout theft
JUNEAU - The 17-year-old suspect arrested for allegedly robbing nearly $800 from Girl Scouts at Fred Meyer earlier this month has been charged with two additional felonies.

Grant extends Tlingit language project
JUNEAU - The University of Alaska Southeast is in line for a second National Science Foundation grant to help preserve Alaska Native Languages. The $450,000 grant continues a five-year project that began with a $360,000 grant in 2007. The NSF "Documenting Endangered Languages" initiative includes the recording and documentation of spontaneous Tlingit conversation, bilingual annotation of the recordings and the archiving of hundreds of audio tapes of Tlingit oratory, narratives, and celebrations.

Familiar pair in all-Bear affair
Ketchikan, January, 71-54; it's all Yoo-Hoo.

4A boys State Championship Bracket
4A Boys State Championship Bracket - Anchorage

Yakutat girls playing for 3-peat
The Yakutat High School girls basketball team caught fire and hung at least 18 points on Northway in every quarter Tuesday, burning to an 80-48 semifinal victory at the 2A State Championship Tournament in Anchorage.

Sports Briefs
JDHS grad named to All-Pac-10 hoops team

The birth of a true Crimson Bears fan
My first memory of attending a Juneau-Douglas High School basketball game was sitting in the balcony and watching the starting five for the Crimson Bears introduced. All the lights were turned off and the players ran to center court and into the spotlight as the fans cheered wildly. I joined in the cheering as loud as I could and kicked the bleachers to make more noise as the announcer introduced the players.

Mackey leads Iditarod as teams turn for Nome
WHITE MOUNTAIN - Lance Mackey remained in the lead Tuesday in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race as his team turned in the direction of Nome - and the end of the 1,100-mile trail - but it was Mother Nature that controlled the race.

Sports in Juneau
UPCOMING EVENTS

Salazar defends higher oil royalties
WASHINGTON - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Monday he would consider tapping oil from Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge if it can be done from outside the refuge's boundaries, leaving animals and other wildlife undisturbed.

State begins shooting wolves from helicopters
FAIRBANKS - The state has started shooting wolves from helicopters in Alaska's eastern interior hoping to turn around an unsuccessful aerial predator control program there.

8 people charged in caribou slaughter
ANCHORAGE - Charges were filed Monday against eight people in last summer's slaughter of caribou near Point Hope.

Hearst hopes Web-only Seattle P-I will turn profit
SEATTLE - When the Seattle Post-Intelligencer transforms into an Internet-only operation Wednesday, it will try to do something it failed to accomplish for years as a traditional newspaper: make money.

Mount Redoubt rumbles again
ANCHORAGE - Alaska's Mount Redoubt rumbled again Sunday and geologists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory increased the official alert level to orange, the stage just before eruption.

Senate moves forward on wilderness bill again
WASHINGTON - The Senate is again moving forward on a stalled bill to set aside more than 2 million acres in nine states as protected wilderness.

Mackey keeps Iditarod lead
KOYUK - Lance Mackey remained in the driver's seat Monday in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, arriving first in the village of Koyuk while teams behind him headed their dog teams across the frozen sea ice and into brutally cold winds.

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