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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ellis advocates for Key Campaign
Recently I saw Sen. Johnny Ellis, D-Anchorage, speak at a rally in Juneau. He joined the Key Campaign in the group's 22nd annual advocacy demonstration on the Capitol steps.

Stimulus rejection a quality-of-life issue
Treatments for a patient who is terminally ill is a quality-of-life issue. Some treatments to extend their lives by months or years can result in significant and uncomfortable side effects. Many chose quality of life, for however much longer that may be, over the treatments.

Old sailing ships a lesson for today
Two hundred years ago, ships sailed around the world. There were no navigational sytstems. They relied upon pilots with a basic knowledge of celestial navigation. On the main masts, lookouts watched for reefs, rocks and possible dangers. In command were individuals who had weathered storms at sea and had survived dangerous situations. Some of the old sailing ships ended up as shipwrecks or disappeared at sea. Others made voyages around the world and returned home successfully. They were acclaimed and honored.

Exxon continues to set a bad example
It's the 20-year anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill (March 24, 1989). Even after 20 years, the $507 million award, a fraction of the original federal jury judgement of $5 billion, has yet to be paid. A portion has been distributed but a significant amount is still mired in the court system with no end in sight.

AIG should exercise ingenuity of insurers
In a recent letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Edward Liddy, the new head of the AIG, defended the company's paying out extraordinary bonuses in the amount of more than $200 million because of prior contractual arrangements with those who received these windfalls. Liddy wrote, "Honoring contractual commitments is at the heart of what we do in the insurance business."

Governor to begin interviews for Senate
The list of candidates to replace former Sen. Kim Elton has dwindled by at least one, with Gov. Sarah Palin expected to begin interviewing applicants this week.

Juneau's carbon footprint measured
Juneau has taken a first step in creating a program for reducing its carbon footprint - measuring it.

Alaska Natives to gather in Juneau for clan conference
For the first time ever, the biennial Tlingit clan conference, "Sharing our Knowledge: A Conference of Tlingit Tribes and Clans," will be held in Juneau. Starting Tuesday, Alaska Native leaders, scholars, elders and students from across Alaska will gather to learn about Tlingit people and culture.

The show must go on, Circus resumes today
Alaska Airlines on Monday canceled passenger flights in and out of Fairbanks, Bethell, Prudhoe Bay, Nome, Kotzebue and Barrow due to continued volcanic ash caused by Monday's eruption of Mount Redoubt.

Teachers' union negotiates pay hike
Negotiators with the Juneau School District and the union representing nearly 400 teachers have hammered out a contract agreement that could raise teachers' pay by thousands of dollars, the district announced Friday.

Four dogs suspected in doe attack found, owners cited
All four dogs who allegedly attacked a young doe on March 15 on the Mendenhall Valley wetlands were recently found and their owners were issued citations, Gastineau Humane Society Executive Director Chava Lee said Monday.

Photo: Marking two decades
Guo Hua Xia directs the Aurora Strings as they play music Saturday during a 20thanniversary celebration of the downtown library building. City and library officials past and present spoke during the event about the history and future of the library.

District studies later high school start times
Juneau School District officials are looking into the possibility of flipping elementary and high school start times, giving high schoolers an extra hour and 15 minutes before classes begin in the morning.

Photo: Catching up on practice
Malyssa Roche throws a softball to her friend, Jack Clark, on Tuesday in the parking lot at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. Roche signed up for a recreational team and said she was getting some preseason practice in.

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

Around Town
Today

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

Around Town
Today

Minnie Stevens
Minnie Ellen (Brown) Stevens died March 19, 2009, in Ketchikan. She was 92.

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

Patricia 'PJ' Gingras
The remains of Patricia "PJ" Gingras, 54, who died Feb. 24, 2007, at Anchorage Regional Hospital after a brief struggle with cancer, will be interred at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 4, in the Columbarium at the Shrine of St. Therese.

Ruth Ann Ramsey
Longtime Juneau resident Ruth Ramsey died Feb. 22, 2009, at Providence Hospital in Anchorage, following a prolonged illness. She was 62.

My turn: Are special interests killing Alaska's wildlife?
Alaska is a dream whose grandeur is in the grip of special interests who increasingly favor exploitation over preservation. The regions of Alaska under state control are irreplaceable links in America's last great intact ecosystems. We entrust the health of this world treasure to a cabal of state agencies, including Gov. Sarah Palin, the Legislature, Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Board of Game.

Outside editorial: Red ink alert
The new estimates by the Congressional Budget Office showing a federal deficit of 13.1 percent of gross domestic product for the current budget year, which began Oct. 1, are neither surprising nor particularly alarming, though it's larger than the 12.3 percent foreseen by the White House.

My turn: Let's accept our share
Gov. Sarah Palin's stated rejection of millions of dollars in federal stimulus money - specifically the portion slated for programs such as education, job training and social services - reminded me of a well-worn parable and a past Juneau work experience. The parable tells of a child who is busy throwing starfish back into the sea from a beach where many thousands lay stranded. An elderly man passing by scoffs, "Child, how can you hope to make a difference? There are so many." The child, heaving one more into the surf replies, "It made a difference to that one!"

My turn: Democrats clear up misconceptions
I would like to correct some misconceptions about actions recently taken by the Greater Juneau Democratic District regarding the vacancy created in the Alaska Senate when Sen. Kim Elton resigned his seat to take a job with the Department of the Interior. Some of these misconceptions were perpetuated by Ben Brown in a recent Alaska Observer column.

My turn: The meaning of per diem
The phrase "per diem" is derived from French and means "per day." It has two common uses. One is defined as base pay rate for temporary or contract workers. A common application of this definition is used in the nursing industry. When nurses work "per diem," they work for a daily rate, meaning they receive a certain number of dollars per day.

Outside editorial: More fairness for troops in combat
The Defense Department isn't known for its family-friendly policies, though the "modern" Army understands better today that families play an important role in a soldier's overall performance. One of the Pentagon's most unpopular policies implemented after 9/11 has had a devastating effect on military families. It's called stop-loss.

Outside editorial; At some point, auto business has to start growing again
It would make no sense to lend billions to companies that build cars and trucks while letting the companies that make the parts they put together go under.

Juneau man dies after crash in Hawaii
HONOLULU - A 67-year-old Juneau man who was visiting the Big Island in Hawaii died Friday after being involved in a two-vehicle collision on Akoni Pule Highway, the Honolulu Advertiser reported.

Ads call on Palin to oppose hike in minimum wage
JUNEAU - A Washington, D.C.-based group is calling on Gov. Sarah Palin to oppose legislation to raise Alaska's minimum wage.

Palin's ex-attorney general runs for mayor in Wasilla
WASILLA - Former Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg, who raised state lawmakers' ire for his actions during their investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin, is making a bid to return to public service.

Memorial planned for NY soldier
FORT RICHARDSON - Officials at Fort Richardson are planning a memorial service for a New York soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Denali Park road could open early
FAIRBANKS - Workers at Denali National Park have begun clearing the park road and could have it open to Mile 15 earlier than usual.

Man gets 15 months on drug charge
FAIRBANKS - A 49-year-old Barrow man has been sentenced to serve 15 years in a federal prison for attempting to possess and distribute marijuana.

Fairbanks police arrest suspect in robbery
FAIRBANKS - A 19-year-old Fairbanks man has been charged with the armed robbery of a Fairbanks gas station.

11 mushers still on Iditarod trail
NOME - There are still 11 mushers struggling for the Iditarod finish line in Nome.

3 people charged in Anchorage stabbing
ANCHORAGE - Three men have been charged with assault in the stabbing of a man outside a downtown Anchorage club.

Preowned home sales climb in February
SEATTLE - Sales of previously occupied homes in the western United States climbed in February, as low mortgage rates and cheap foreclosed properties drew in many first-time buyers and investors, according to two reports released Monday.

Man climbs tree to avoid black bear
ANCHORAGE - Alaska State Troopers said an Anchorage man was forced to climb a tree to dodge a black bear.

Man stabbed at Anchorage club
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police said a man is hospitalized in critical condition after being stabbed multiple times at a downtown club.

Coast Guard rescues two fishermen
JUNEAU - Two fishermen are safe after being rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Geologists spot steam plume over Redoubt
ANCHORAGE - Mount Redoubt is again drawing attention because of its potential for an explosive volcano.

Officials ID body found by firefighters
FAIRBANKS - Authorities in North Pole have released the identity of the man whose body was found by firefighters responding to a blaze at his trailer home.

Huna outlasts Kake in OT
Sunday evening's 2009 Gold Medal Mighty B-bracket matchup between Kake and Huna ANB packed the Juneau-Douglas High School gymnasium for an opening day overtime barn burner with Huna outlasting Kake 94-85.

Green Team nets victory in physical battle
The Juneau Green Team chalked up a 90-70 victory against the Yakutat Old Timers by playing hard physical basketball and taking advantage of stamina reaped from a long season of local leagues.

No opening-day jitters for Kake Oldtimers
There were no early tournament jitters for the two-time defending champion Kake Oldtimers as they pounded Angoon ANS 105-59 on opening day during the 63rd Gold Medal Basketball Tournament.

Kake rolls into C Bracket semifinals
Before Monday's C Bracket semifinal game, Juneau Filipino Community's player-coach Mike Lim said he wanted to control the tempo of the game by utilizing the team's size advantage. But the Kake Oldtimers had different plans and cruised into the semifinals with a 100-67 win Monday at the 63rd Gold Medal Basketball Tournament.

Huna tips Sitka 69-65 in seesaw game
Huna prevailed over Sitka 69-65 in Monday morning's C-Bracket matchup in a classic Gold Medal seesaw battle.

Eruption disrupts life across state
The overnight eruption of Mount Redoubt spewed ash up to 60,000 feet in the air, snarling air travel Monday and stranding small groups of people in remote, sparsely populated parts of the state.

Lawmakers poised for salary hike
Alaska's legislators are on the verge of a big salary increase, and it will come without two things many had hoped to avoid: a public vote and tougher conflict of interest rules.

Governor backs off stance on stimulus
Gov. Sarah Palin appears to be backing off her aggressive stance against accepting some of the federal stimulus money for Alaska, and some lawmakers are disputing whether she "rejected" any money at all.

Indiana teacher brings world to Iditarod trail
WILLOW - Andrea Aufder Heyde of Indiana set out 10 years ago to prove that having a teacher on board for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race would be a lightning rod to attract students to learn.

Defense stimulus spending could approach $200M
FAIRBANKS - The Department of Defense plans to spend at least $197.4 million in federal stimulus funds on projects in Alaska, according to an analysis by Sen. Lisa Murkowski and her staff.

Alaskans wonder: Can Exxon Valdez happen again?
ANCHORAGE - It was 20 years ago Tuesday, just after midnight in the calm waters of Prince William Sound, an oil tanker plowed over charted rocks known as Bligh Reef.

Lawmakers urged to go for all federal stimulus funds
ANCHORAGE - Residents told Anchorage area lawmakers in no uncertain terms they want the state to apply for all federal funds for which Alaska is eligible under the federal stimulus plan.

PETA asks for investigation into dog deaths
ANCHORAGE - An animal rights group wants Alaska State Troopers to open a criminal investigation into the deaths this year of five Iditarod dogs, including two on the team of a musher who says they froze to death.

Grounded vessel likely to remain in Cook Inlet
KENAI - The 166-foot supply vessel Monarch is likely to remain in Cook Inlet after its sinking near Nikiski.

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