Is murder for murder really retribution?
Is murder for murder or other heinous crime really retribution? This is part of the question at the heart of Rep. Mike Chenault's introduction of a bill reinstating the euphemistic "death penalty."

Stem cells offer hope for diabetes battle
March 9, the day President Obama signed an executive order lifting the federal ban on embryonic stem cell research, was a day of hope for me, our families, the more than 66,800 children and adults diagnosed and living with diabetes in Alaska and the 23.6 million children and adults with diabetes nationwide. Obama's action provides many parents with hope that their children may not have to battle the complexity and complications of the numerous chronic illnesses that have the potential to be cured through this research advancement.

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.

Permanent Fund may not be permanent
The opinion piece by Gregg Erickson in Sunday's Empire entitled "Looting the Permanent Fund," criticized the fact that Alaskans will be paid their annual dividend this year. He'll probably be booed by just about everyone, especially politicians. They'll say so what if the Permanent Fund lost more than $10 billion in value past year, and is now more than $2 billion below the amount that we've put into the fund. Most people think we still deserve our dividend. That's the American way, after all.

Plutocratic injustice is unveiled in bailouts
The pursuit of a burgeoning plutocracy, covertly moored within a corrupted democracy kindled by the supply-side scam of Reaganomics, has nowhere been made more evident than with the taxpayer bailouts that enable contracted bonuses for failed executives: AIG, Bank of America, General Motors, and others.

Lunda well deserving of community award
On March 7, the community honored Angie Lunda as a Woman of Distinction at the annual banquet sponsored by AWARE. Members of the Juneau Education Association and the staff of Gastineau Elementary School are thrilled that Lunda has been recognized in this way.

Cruise lines must take responsibility
Cruise ships have nothing to do with local drinking water, land treatment plants or economic fear. Foreign cruise ships in Alaska now discharge dissolved copper and concentrated ammonia precisely into salmon migratory and whale feeding areas, along the exact routes to their next cruise ports. Pacific salmon are directly affected by dissolved copper, which distorts their olfactory senses as they migrate to natal streams after years feeding at sea.

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?

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

Plentiful profit
Southeast seiners can look forward to a bigger haul of pinks this year, if state fish biologists' annual forecast is on the mark.

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.

Governor delays Senate decision
Gov. Sarah Palin said Wednesday she'll interview applicants for appointment to the state Senate next week, extending the time during which Juneau will be without representation in the Senate.

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.

Annual boat show gears up for spring, celebrates 30th year
Juneau's annual boat show stemmed from humble beginnings. What started as a simple garage sale three decades ago grew into what people expect today: an annual boat and sports show boasting products, companies and services from all over the region.

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.

Glacier Valley Rotary club reveals humble beginnings
In 1979, the Glacier Valley Rotary needed a way to fund various community service programs. The group decided a garage sale with a boat theme would be a successful endeavor.

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.

Photo: Images from another time 'Lotta Love' for Juneau, 1983
1970s and '80s Pop star Nicolette Larson sings her signature song, "Lotta Love" during one of her two concerts at Centennial Hall. The 40,000-foot facility was dedicated June 11, 1983, with a ribbon cutting by former Juneau Mayor Bill Overstreet, then-Gov. Bill Sheffield and former Govs. Keith Miller, William Egan and Walter Hickel. After speeches by politicians and other luminaries, the night belonged to Larson and her band.

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

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.

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.

Around Town

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

Around Town

John S. Renton
Longtime Juneau resident John S. Renton died March 15, 2009, in Juneau. He was 56.

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

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.

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.

Outside editorial: The big bash
On Tuesday, we were more skeptical than most about the "populist" backlash against the $165 million in bonuses that went to some employees of government-owned AIG. The events of the past 24 hours have only confirmed our view. We don't love the fact that the men and women of this disgraced company are insisting upon the compensation they signed up for before the company collapsed into the arms of the taxpayers. But whether they are being greedy, or simply human, is hardly relevant to what is in the public interest now. AIG's demagogic critics in both parties should keep that in mind.

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!"

As more U.S. newspapers die, expect no mourning from crooks
On the day the last newspaper is published, I expect no sympathy card from Kwame Kilpatrick. Were it not for a newspaper - The Detroit Free Press - his use of public funds to cover up his affair with one of his aides would be unrevealed and he might still be mayor of Detroit.

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.

Empire reader poll
Voice your thoughts

Juneau Empire owner announces wage cuts
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Morris Communications, parent company of the Juneau Empire, told its employees Wednesday that it will reduce their wages between 5 and 10 percent, effective April 1. The reductions will affect both hourly and salaried employees; management as well as rank-and-file.

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.

Two plead guilty to waste of moose
SAINT MARY'S, Alaska - Two 19-year-old Nunam Iquq men have pleaded guilty to wanton waste of a big game animal and will serve seven days in jail.

Four injured in crash of television crew
FAIRBANKS - Two members of a History Channel crew working on a new season of "Ice Road Truckers" were seriously injured when their pickup crashed into a semi during a blizzard on a remote Alaska highway.

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.

Alert level lowered for Alaska volcano
ANCHORAGE - The alert level for Alaska's Mount Redoubt has again been lowered, but scientists expect the volcano to tremor and emit gasses for months.

Ketchikan funds arts center plan
KETCHIKAN - Ketchikan officials have approved a $500,000 appropriation for a proposed performing arts center.

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.

Man indicted on 'stolen valor' counts
ANCHORAGE - A Ketchikan man has been indicted on charges of lying about his military record.

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

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.

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.

Nude jumper sought by Anchorage police
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police are looking for a 47-year-old man who jumped nude out of a third-floor hotel March 4 and hasn't been seen since.

Robber holds up Fairbanks gas station
FAIRBANKS - A man with a gun held up clerks at a Fairbanks gas station.

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

Yakutat 3-peats as 2A girls champs
The Yakutat High School girls basketball team made quick work of a five-point half-time deficit Wednesday night, outscoring Skagway 25-9 in the third quarter to break open a defensive stalemate, and held off a late Panthers charge to win their third straight 2A state title game 53-38 in Anchorage.

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

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.

Natural gas pipeline battles resurface
With tens of billions of dollars in Alaska natural gas at stake, last year's battles over a natural gas pipeline show no signs of ending.

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

Mackey wins third consecutive Iditarod
NOME - When Lance Mackey's father won the 1978 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, he did it with one second to spare.

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