Thursday, April 2, 2009

Slow is the way to go
I just had the experience of being weathered out of Juneau thanks to a little too much volcanic ash from up north. Facing the possibility of overnighting in Ketchikan for a couple (or more) extra nights or taking a ride on the Alaska Marine Highway, I chose the latter. I am glad I did.

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?

Sealaska wants to set record straight
This is a response to a letter to the editor in Wednesday's Juneau Empire from a Sealaska shareholder who is running for a seat on the corporation's Board of Directors. We recognize that the Empire lacks the resources and ability to check the facts represented in every letter it publishes, so we take this opportunity to set the record straight.

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.

ABC ad promotes misinformation
In Monday's edition of the Juneau Empire, the Anchorage- based chapter of an Outside special interest contracting group, the Associated Builders and Contractors, ran an advertisement with a picture of a woman who was not likely a Juneau resident urging people to call Juneau Assembly members about their alleged wasting of money by utilizing Project Labor Agreements on local public construction projects.

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.

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.

Senate Democrats reject Grussendorf
Senate Democrats have rejected the appointment of Tim Grussendorf by Gov. Sarah Palin to Juneau's lone Senate seat.

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.

Have a Safe trip
In a small room in downtown Juneau's Centennial Hall, pilot Howard Shepherd flew over Misty Fjords.

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.

One building could hold multiple schools
The Juneau Montessori School, Yaakoosge Daakahidi Alternative High School and possibly the Juneau Community Charter School may all be housed in the Marie Drake building downtown after major renovations at Harborview Elementary School are completed this summer.

Photo: Catching sunrays
Roy Holm plays a ceramic drum after sanding it in the sunshine on the corner of Seward and Second streets downtown. Holm was making the drum at The Canvas Community Art Studio and Gallery but took advantage of the weather Wednesday to work outside.

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.

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

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.

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

Around Town
Today

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

Around Town
Today

Anna May Benson-Barnes
Former Ketchikan resident Anna May Benson-Barnes died March 28, 2009, while visiting her daughter in Colorado Springs. She was 77.

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.

Charles DeBoer
Longtime Juneau educator Charles DeBoer died March 29, 2009, at the Juneau Pioneers' Home. He was 90.

Alaska editorial: Activists take a radical stand against dog races
As this winter's sled dog racing nears an end, it once again is escorted to a close by howls of protest from animal rights activists such as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

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.

Stimulus spending departs from world views of the past
Lately, Alaskans have been actively debating our economic situation and how to improve things. At the state, national and global levels, we face tough challenges, and governments around the world are considering how to respond with the tools at their disposal. Specifically, Gov. Sarah Palin was sharply criticized upon announcing she was even considering not taking every cent available to Alaska under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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.

School lunch needs a stimulus bill
Tens of billions of dollars in public money to Bank of America and Citigroup.

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.

Gottschalks to begin liquidation sale today
FRESNO, Calif. - Department store chain Gottschalks Inc. announced that it will conduct a court-ordered bankruptcy liquidation sale beginning today.

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

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.

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.

Alaska exports down 11 percent in 2008
ANCHORAGE - Falling mineral prices underlie an 11 percent decline in the value of Alaska exports.

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.

House to debate parental consent
JUNEAU - The Alaska House will consider a bill requiring a teen younger than 17 to obtain her parents' consent to have an abortion.

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.

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.

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

Anchorage, Homer, Kodiak added to cruise
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage, Homer and Kodiak have been added as destinations for the Holland America cruise ship Amsterdam next year.

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

Government seeks to reverse Ted Stevens' conviction
WASHINGTON - In a stunning reversal, the Justice Department on Wednesday moved to drop all charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens, saying his jury conviction for lying on financial disclosure forms to conceal gifts and home renovations was so riddled with impropriety it should be dismissed "in the interest of justice."

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.

Legislators praise Stevens, denounce prosecutors
Alaska legislators on Wednesday cheered House Majority Leader Kyle Johansen, R-Ketchikan, when he denounced the federal government and the prosecution of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens after federal prosecutors moved to dismiss corruption charges against Stevens.

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.

Alaska Pacific Bank finishes tough year
Alaska Pacific Bank lost money last year, its first year losing money in recent history.

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.

Plea deal reached in Sitka killings
SITKA - A plea deal has been reached in the case of a 19-year-old Sitka man accused using a dagger to stab to death four people, including his grandparents.

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.

Senate passes state operating budget
JUNEAU - The Alaska Senate on Wednesday approved a $9.7 billion operating budget over warnings from minority members that the state's savings accounts could be depleted in a few years if spending is not reined in.

Photos: Welcoming new bishop
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Papal Nuncio to the U.S., holds a T-shirt designed by Ketchikan artist Ray Troll. Burns will be named bishop during installation services at 3 p.m. today at the church.

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