Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Activists should stand up for all life
I've noticed recently that there has been picketing of Planned Parenthood. I believe that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but I feel that I must put in my 2 cents at this time.

Empire should bring back Web comments
Count me among those who disagree with the decision to remove the comments section from the Web site. Why discontinue allowing people to give their thoughts and insights to a story? To prevent offending someone who disagrees with them?

More government is not the answer
It has become increasingly apparent that this president and his left-wing cronies are intent on pursuing policies that will increase the size and power of government in ways that will negatively effect the lives of every American for generations. The powers that be have been quick to declare a health care crisis, a banking crisis, a housing crisis and a crisis at the big three automakers. Their answer is for the government to come to the rescue, at the expense of taxpayers. We are rapidly relinquishing any power we have to politicians because they apparently have the answers to each crisis that arises.

Why bring up a death penalty bill?
Why is the Legislature looking at the death penalty bill once again?

Palin's jacket is her own business
I am dismayed at what I read and hear in the news concerning Gov. Sarah Palin's private life. The latest about her wearing an Arctic Cat jacket at the opening of the Iron Dog snowmachine race is the last straw.

Some children are in need of protection
In reading the statement in a letter in Monday's Empire, "I love my daughter and cannot imagine being deprived of helping her through such a critical moment in her life," I couldn't help but think that if a parent is that involved in the well-being of a child, surely the child would on her own initiative come to the parent for advice. In such a case, the ruling would not be needed.

Grussendorf jockeys for support in Senate
State Democratic leaders on Monday called on Gov. Sarah Palin to respect Juneau Democrats' wishes with the appointment of a senator to replace former Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, who resigned March 1.

Juneau to lose Gottschalks
On Tuesday, Gottschalks in the Mendenhall Mall betrayed no signs of its impending liquidation and closure - nary an 'Everything must go' ad - and many shoppers hadn't heard the news.

Tim Grussendorf on the issues
Tim Grussendorf is known among longtime Juneau residents for his unsuccessful campaign for the state House of Representatives in 2002 and as the son of former Rep. Ben Grussendorf, D-Sitka, a former House speaker.

March snow pounds Juneau
Juneau's snowier-than-average March helped push the total snowfall into the top five snowiest winters on record in the city.

Dems may mull Senate choice in secret
Juneau residents may not find out who, besides Gov. Sarah Palin, is responsible for who represents the city in the Alaska Senate.

Cruise industry blames head tax for Alaska cuts
Holland America Line and Princess Cruises plan to cut Alaska sailings in 2010 by 10 percent, saying they blame the state's head tax and they're willing to sue to get rid of it.

Cruise news may prompt more budget revisions
The latest news of cruise line cutbacks in Alaska may create ripple effects in city finances.

Juneau prods shops to pick up litter
City Manager Rod Swope tried to nudge shop owners into cleaning up their sidewalks last week with letters warning of increased enforcement of a related litter code.

Southeast chinook quota is up again
After years of decline, there's some better news for Southeast's chinook salmon fishery: Stocks are up, and so is this year's quota.

Juneau Empire wins Press Club awards
The Juneau Empire garnered 13 awards from the Alaska Press Club in a wide range of categories including reporting, photography, design, cartoons, online reporting and video. The awards were presented Saturday at a banquet in Anchorage.

Photo: Boat chat
Tucker Campbell and Nicola Trainor brave the blustery weather Monday to sit and chat on the deck of his boat at the DonStatter Boat Harbor in Auke Bay.

Photo: Waiting for spring
Tayla Jackson stands surrounded by snow while waiting Tuesday for the bus at a Twin Lakes bus stop.

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

Photo: Bird feed
Common redpolls compete for bird seed on a North Douglas banister Sunday.

Around Town
Today

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

Around Town
Today

Delores Johanna (Albert) Jack
Angoon and Juneau resident Delores Johanna (Albert) Jack died March 27, 2009, in Juneau, soon after being diagnosed with cancer. She was surrounded by her family.

Paul C. Scriber
Tenakee Springs resident Paul C. Scriber died March 22, 2009, after a 14-month battle with melanoma cancer, in Anacortes, Wash. He was 52.

Outside editorial: Tough but fair
President Obama this week delivered a believable, sharp and necessary ultimatum to U.S. automakers. "We cannot make the survival of our auto industry dependent on an unending flow of taxpayer dollars," he declared. It wasn't exactly rhetoric worthy of Dirty Harry, but we hope it will cause General Motors and Chrysler to undertake the financial and structural reforms they have been avoiding.

Outside editorial: Russia's reset
With a first presidential meeting set for this week between Barack Obama and Russia's Dmitry Medvedev, it appears that the two sides may have different ideas of what to expect from the "reset" in relations that the Obama administration has promised.

Outside editorial: Bias in religious hiring
On the campaign trail, candidate Barack Obama pledged to keep government funds from faith-based groups that hire only those who share the same beliefs. President Obama has now set up the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a continuation of President George W. Bush's initiative, and has kept in place Bush-era provisions that allow faith-based groups to discriminate in hiring. The White House has said that hiring decisions will be reviewed case by case; in the meantime, Obama has created a commission to study and report back on how the faith-based initiative should be structured over the long term.

My turn: Requirement of parental consent is good public policy
On March 6, the Empire reprinted an Anchorage Daily News editorial opposing a bill in the Legislature that would require parental consent and notification for a minor's abortion.

America should at least begin talking about legalizing drugs
Maybe we should legalize drugs. I come neither eagerly nor easily to that maybe.

Stimulus funds: Shovel ready or digging a hole?
Some question my decision to accept job-ready stimulus funds while leaving on the table for discussion other funds that grow government. Washington dollars are tempting, but we must consider whether they create sustainability, help develop our resources, reduce dependency on Washington, and all without mortgaging our children's futures.

Is this Obama's war, or ours?
One frequently reads and hears that Afghanistan has become "Obama's war." The implication by many who use that phrase is that if things go badly in Afghanistan, President Obama will be blamed and it will cause him political damage. But if things go well, who will get the credit? It won't be George W. Bush, of that you can be sure.

Sealaska announces spring distribution
JUNEAU - Sealaska will distribute a dividend to tribal member shareholders April 10.

US Sen. Begich to address Legislature
JUNEAU - Mark Begich is scheduled to give his first address to the Alaska Legislature as a U.S. senator.

Palin out as headliner for Republican dinner
WASHINGTON - Gov. Sarah Palin is out, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is in as keynote speaker at a Republican dinner this spring.

Budget projections in line with cruise news
JUNEAU - City Finance Director Craig Duncan said Tuesday that the latest cruise news of additional operators reducing their presence in the Alaska market is consistent with his earlier budget projections.

Foreclosure rates climb in Alaska
ANCHORAGE - Alaska foreclosure rates are at their highest in 15 years.

Fairweather's layup prompts rescheduling
JUNEAU - The Alaska Marine Highway System plans to make revisions to Southeast Alaska's sailing schedules while the fast ferry Fairweather undergoes engine part replacement repairs.

Snowmobiler feared dead after avalanche
ANCHORAGE - A 35-year-old snowmobiler is missing and presumed dead after he was buried in an avalanche in the Kenai Peninsula's Johnson Pass.

Moderate quake shakes waters off Kodiak
OLD HARBOR - A moderate earthquake struck in the waters of southern Alaska's Kodiak Island region, but there were no immediate reports of any damage or injuries.

Guard to advise veterans in Nome
ANCHORAGE - An Alaska National Guard team will be in Nome on Thursday to advise veterans on their benefits and entitlements that they earned in service.

Today is the deadline for PFD application
JUNEAU - The deadline is quickly approaching to apply for this year's Permanent Fund dividend.

Alaska Air CEO earns $1.6 million in 2008
ATLANTA - The chairman and chief executive officer of Alaska Air Group Inc., William S. Ayer, received total compensation valued at $1.6 million in 2008, according to a regulatory filing Monday.

Elmendorf hosts field training exercises
ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE - About 1,400 participants from the United States and foreign countries will soon start arriving in Alaska for military training exercises.

Legislature slates Ross confirmation
JUNEAU - The Alaska Legislature has scheduled a confirmation vote for Gov. Sarah Palin's pick for attorney general.

HoopTime boys take B bracket title
The HoopTime 7 boys basketball team's 43-38 overtime rematch victory over Sitka for the B bracket title last week highlighted a whirlwind 2009 HoopTime Southeast Shootout Basketball Tournament.

Jitloff takes giant slalom win at US championships
GIRDWOOD - The podium for the giant slalom at the 2009 U.S. Alpine Championships looked a lot like it did last year.

UAA women finish 3rd in final D-II polls
Having just completed its second consecutive run to the NCAA Division II Final Four, the University of Alaska-Anchorage women's basketball team was tabbed No. 3 in the final USA Today/ESPN D-II Top 25 poll, released Tuesday.

2009 Yukon River Quest deadline nears
The 2009 Yukon River Quest had 78 teams registered as of this past weekend, and the push is on to fill all 100 available team slots before the April 15 registration deadline.

Juneau Parks & Recreation Adult Volleyball
DIVISION 1 W L

Sports in Juneau
UPCOMING EVENTS

Federal government sues BP over spills
ANCHORAGE - The U.S. government has filed a civil lawsuit against BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., alleging violations of federal clean air and water laws for two major spills on the North Slope in 2006.

Bill aims to counteract Wash. fuel tax
A bill imposing a nearly $16-a-barrel surcharge on North Slope crude destined for Washington state was introduced in the Alaska House on Monday.

Alaska 'Loser' contestant still fighting weight gain
ANCHORAGE - Kai Zwierstra's house smells like brownies, and she's on edge.

Sen. Murkowski pushes for volcano observatory funds
WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Monday she'll introduce legislation this week to establish regular funding for the Alaska Volcano Observatory, just one month after fellow Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal criticized the stimulus bill pushed by President Barack Obama for containing spending for volcano monitoring.

Redoubt pattern becoming more steady
ANCHORAGE - Mount Redoubt has shifted into a different pattern, emitting a more steady ash plume rather than the violent explosions of the past week, scientists said Monday.

Obama signs wilderness bill
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama signed legislation Monday setting aside more than 2 million acres as protected wilderness.

Lawmakers move forward with stimulus funds
JUNEAU - After hours of public hearings and testimony from state officials, Alaska legislators said they are not finding the strings that Gov. Sarah Palin said were attached to the federal stimulus funds that could come to Alaska.

Photo: Unrest continues
U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman PA1 Sara Francis points to an image Monday of the Drift River Terminal site at a news conference concerning Mount Redoubt in Anchorage. Redoubt sent up a cloud with a small amount of ash 27,000 feet Monday morning as the volcano shifted into a different pattern, emitting a more steady ash plume rather than the violent explosions of the past week, scientists said. Meanwhile, the Coast Guard, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and private company Cook Inlet Pipeline Co., established unified command over concerns with the oil terminal, 23 miles from the volcano.

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