Disputing claims about free ferry rides
I agree with the title of Wallace Williams' letter to the editor, "Improve transportation and save money," but after that my agreement ends. His stated claim of ridership by Alaska Marine Highway System employees and the travel benefits received by working for AMHS are not accurate.

Girls should have played
I don't think they should have taken the girls out of Gold Medal. I mean, a lot of young female basketball players kind of look up to the female basketball players who play in Gold Medal.

Capitol move bills don't show representative government
There are peculiar defects in the capital/legislative session move bills now being considered by Alaska's Legislature.

Constitution forbids states to keep troops
In his report about Supreme Court deliberations concerning the Washington D.C. Second Amendment case (Empire, March 18), Associated Press reporter Mark Sherman repeats a misleading concept supporting a "collective right" interpretation of that amendment. He says, "The local Washington (D.C.) government ... reads the amendment as intended to allow states to have armed forces."

Moving the capital makes no sense
I received a 98 percent on my states and capitals test in the sixth grade. (I misspelled Honolulu). But I can't for the life of me understand the arguments that some put forth for moving the capital from Juneau to Anchorage.

Reps should back up accusations
Reps. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage, and Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, have been quoted several times recently accusing officials at the Legislative Information Office of inflating the estimate they provided for the cost of conducting legislative business outside Juneau.

Build the road, keep the capital
I read Pat Kemp's My Turn on Juneau road access versus the current and projected ferry system. I believe his figures and professional analysis to be right on the money.

Keep the FRANK Initiative alive
The FRANK Initiative was voted in by the people of Alaska, it should not be repealed. As an Alaskan, I resent that each time we vote on something - the Frank Initiative, the road out of Juneau - political officials can change that vote.

Some leaders are spiritually blind
In light of recent revelations concerning the sexual misconduct of high-ranking government officials, it is only fitting that New York now have a blind governor. Gov. David Paterson's physical inability to see symbolizes the moral blindness that has infected and corrupted our political leaders.

Stop the mines
I am writing in response to the article, "Dirty Old Mines," published on March 23. I feel that we should not open any more mines. Pebble Mine, Kensington Mine and others should all be closed.

Juneau School Board approves $68.4 million budget for 2009
The Juneau School Board approved a $68.4 million budget Tuesday to run the city's public schools next year and agreed to devote about $1 million to new funding requests, including an increase for high school sports and activities, and literacy teachers for elementary students.

Forest ranger recommends approval of plan for Kensington
The Juneau district ranger for the U.S. Forest Service is recommending approval of the latest Kensington gold mine plan without further study of its environmental impacts.

Jury indicts two in drug smuggling case
Police say they have busted a cocaine smuggling operation in Juneau with the indictments of two men by a grand jury.

Around Town

Photo: Silent reflection on grim milestone
Members of Veterans for Peace and Juneau People for Peace and Justice hold a silent vigil Monday at the Dimond Courthouse Square.

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

Allen Marine negotiating deal to buy Four Seasons tour boats
Sitka-based Allen Marine, a day-cruise tour company, is working on a deal to buy tour boats from its competitor, Four Seasons Marine Services Corp.

An Associated Press story about the state budget Tuesday gave an incorrect amount for the appropriation for state shooting ranges. The amount approved by the Senate on Monday was for $676,000.

Around Town

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

Boys & Girls clubs name Edwards Youth of the Year
JUNEAU - Monica Edwards and seven other finalists competed on March 12 in Juneau for three University of Alaska College Savings Plan college scholarships and an opportunity to attend Boys & Girls Clubs of America's Youth of the Year competition.

Gold Medal performance
Damon High performs with All Nation's Children dance group at the Lion's Club Gold Medal Tournament on March 20. For more photos from community events, visit spotted.juneauempire.com/.

Medicare for those turning 65
The Social Security Administration advises people to apply for Medicare benefits three months before the age of 65 to ensure that Medicare coverage starts as soon as one is eligible.

Chance encounter reminds volunteer of hospice care value
For the past three years I have served as a volunteer chaplain at Bartlett Regional Hospital. Last December I was asked to fill in for another chaplain several days before my schedule was to begin.

Have faith: This, too, shall pass
OK, I'll admit it. I know I'm not supposed to. I shouldn't even mention it, but I've been worrying lately.

Beth Ann O'Donnell
Former Juneau resident Beth Ann O'Donnell, of Cliff, N.M., died on March 15, 2008, after battling leukemia for 1½ years. She was 53.

David John Sperling
Former Juneau resident David John Sperling, of Pensacola, Fla., died March 17, 2008, in Pensacola. He was 78.

My turn: Time for systemic change in education
The decision by the University of Alaska Southeast that the Juneau School District offer its automotive elective courses outside of the UAS facilities is the result of an ongoing effort to align the use of the UAS Technical Education Center with national standards for professional accountability and workforce preparation. The Juneau School District did not achieve mutually agreed-upon goals and standards necessary for UAS to continue to share Technical Education Center laboratories and equipment with Juneau-Douglas High School.

My turn: Monstrous parking garage plan echoes past mistake
Shades of belle blue! Blue who? (Boo hoo! is what I say.) Echoes of the past. A monstrous construction project is being proposed for the waterfront gateway to Juneau's downtown, with questionable process and undue speed.

My turn: Alaskans don't want Frankenfish
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is making and stocking genetically altered fish in Interior Alaska lakes. It is also using the hormone testosterone to change female fish into males. The department justifies this program because it makes the fish sterile.

Outside editorial: Fix the CPSC, fast
This editorial appeared in the Chicago Tribune:

Outside editorial: Don't panic over economy
The following editorial first appeared in The Dallas Morning News:

Outside editorial: Housing and Urban Development secretary giving silent treatment
The following editorial first appeared in the Washington Post:

Bail set at $25,000 for alleged smuggler
JUNEAU - Bail for one of the alleged leaders of a drug-smuggling ring was set Tuesday in Juneau Superior Court at $25,000.

Soderlund wins Alaska Junior Miss
KETCHIKAN - Johanna Soderlund of Fairbanks was named Alaska Junior Miss.

Two arrested in 1978 killing of Tacoma man
TACOMA, Wash. - A brother and sister are being held in the disappearance and death of a man 30 years ago in the Tacoma area.

Ice Alaska could move into new area
FAIRBANKS - A tentative agreement has been reached that could move the annual World Ice Art Championships to a new location.

NANA announces special dividends
ANCHORAGE - The board of directors at NANA Regional Corp. says its giving out a special one-time dividend of $9 per share to commemorate its 35th anniversary.

Man hurt in rollover on Glenn Highway
ANCHORAGE - A 56-year-old Ninilchik man was injured when his pickup truck plowed through 80 feet of guardrail on the Glenn Highway and then rolled, Alaska State Troopers said.

Royal Dutch Shell, UA share Arctic research
ANCHORAGE - Representatives with Royal Dutch Shell met with officials at the University of Alaska to learn more about research the university is conducting.

Canadian gets two years on drug charge
ANCHORAGE - A man from Canada received a two-year sentence for bringing drugs into Alaska.

Anchorage robbery suspect found dead
ANCHORAGE - A man sought by police in connection with a spree of armed robberies and a carjacking was found dead Monday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Anchorage police.

UAF Chancellor to announce resignation
FAIRBANKS - The chancellor of the University of Alaska Fairbanks is planning to formally announce that he is leaving his post.

Guides not allowed to fish with clients
KENAI - Salt water sport fishing charter guides will soon have to sit back and watch their clients fish.

Commerce secretary to visit Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS - U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez will visit Fairbanks with U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.

City will hear public on parking garage
JUNEAU - A public meeting on the planned downtown parking garage and transit center is scheduled for tonight.

Planning Commission mulls land use maps
JUNEAU - The Juneau Planning Commission discussed proposed land use maps for Lemon Creek, Salmon Creek and downtown Tuesday night as part of work on the city comprehensive plan update.

Sled dog race owes back taxes to Bethel
ANCHORAGE - Race and state officials are investigating bookkeeping errors and practices by the former race manager for the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race.

Moritz and Moritz sweep youth ski race
Brother and sister Ryan and Naomi Moritz both took home first place honors in the Juneau Ski Club's third Youth Ski League race of the season Saturday.

Whitehorse dominates ski event
Guy Thibodeau took the highest marks for Juneau athletes this past weekend as he pushed Marcus Wattereus of Whitehorse to the limit in the annual Buckwheat Classic in Skagway.

Photos: Gross, Fenumiai make All-Star tournament teams
Juneau's Nicole Fenumiai, shown scoring over South Anchorage's Julie Stark (23) and Sylvia Bullock (34) on Saturday at the State 4A girls basketball tournament, was selected to the 4A Girls All-State Tournament team.

Browning to become Class A PGA professional
Former Juneau golfer Donovan Browning recently completed the Professional Golf Course Management degree program at Arizona State University.

JAHA standings
Tier A standings

Sports in Juneau

Lawmakers spur Real ID opposition
Alaska legislators are balking at joining the federal government's Real ID plan, and don't want to allow state dollars to be used to support the controversial identification requirements some see as an invasion of privacy.

4 killed, 1 injured in stabbings
Four people died Tuesday after being attacked by a knife-wielding assailant at a home in downtown Sitka, police said.

State sets new limits on cruise ship waste
Cruise ships have until 2010 to comply with strict new state limits on the wastewater they discharge, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Historic sweepstakes sled dog race revived
A century after the birth of long-distance sled dog racing, 16 mushers are set to retrace a historic run in western Alaska and compete for a $100,000 winner-take-all purse.

School bond plan looks to stay alive
The Alaska Legislature is getting ready to do something it's done every two years since 1976: renew the state's school bond reimbursement program.

Senate passes state operating budget
It would have been unthinkable two years ago: lawmakers arguing over whether to pad the state savings account with $1 billion or $3 billion on top of several billion already proposed.

Rescuers continue search for missing fisherman in sinking
The Coast Guard scanned the icy Bering Sea on Monday for a fisherman who may have been dropped from a rescue basket after the vessel he was on sank, killing four people and leaving survivors bobbing across a mile of ocean.

Critics: TransCanada seeks too-high profits
Critics of TransCanada Corp.'s natural gas pipeline proposal are lodging two big complaints against the company.

Interpreting Native speech requires more than words
BARROW - For years, Alaska Native language speakers have relied on family and friends to help them with bureaucratic red tape, medical appointments, voting and even just getting a driver's license.

Sides hold firm on partial-birth abortion bill
Critics of a bill banning partial-birth abortion say the real intent is to ban abortion altogether. It's a claim sponsors of the measure deny.

Coast Guard calls off search for crew member of sunken vessel
The Coast Guard said Tuesday that it suspended the search for the lone crew member still missing after a fishing vessel sank in frigid waters off Alaska's Aleutian Islands.

Sides line up on Anchorage taxi proposal
ANCHORAGE - Supporters and opponents are lining up on Proposition 8, a voter initiative that that would deregulate taxi cabs in Anchorage.

Photo: Junior Miss Alaska crowned
Johanna Soderlund of Fairbanks, holding bouquet of roses, is surrounded by fellow contestants Saturday shortly after being named Junior Miss Alaska at Ketchikan High School auditorium. The other pageant contestants, from left, are Stacey Chiu and Kezia Mandregan, both of Fairbanks, Katie Connor of Homer, Billie Rae Parrish of Nikiski, Mara Burley of North Pole, Melissa Rawson of Kenai and first runner-up Caitlyn Lewis of Ketchikan.

Legal shortfalls fixed in predator program
FAIRBANKS - The legal shortfalls identified recently by a judge in the state's aerial wolf control program have been fixed, an official said.

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