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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Time to move forward in Alaska politics
I am very disappointed that Republicans are now asking for Sen. Mark Begich to resign. If we had a new election every time circumstances changed, we would have a very strange system of government.

Sealaska bill could run into opposition
Sen. Lisa Murkowski has proposed legislation, which Sen. Mark Begich also might sponsor, that springs from a legitimate cause: The finalization of Sealaska's land entitlements under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. But the bill contains elements that could counter a long history of negotiations between the U.S. Forest Service and the conservation community of Southeast Alaska.

Legislature not bound by open meetings act
In 1963, after Elton Engstrom Sr.'s death, the four remaining Senate Republicans recorded their votes on Gov. William Egan's various nominees five times on the Senate floor. Even though that precedent's generally been ignored since that time, the Senate Democrats would still be prudent to honor it here.

Palin confusing her will with democracy
Gov. Sarah Palin again seems to be confusing her will with that of democracy. While she was running for vice president, she had state Attorney General Talis Colberg inform her staff members that they didn't need to answer subpoenas from the Legislature in regard to an investigation into the firing of the former head of the state troopers. Her staff then failed to honor the subpoenas from our elected representatives.

Give Kerttula the seat
I have followed the process of filling Kim Elton's senate seat from the beginning. It is clear that the process is supposed to be the Juneau Democrats coming up with the people they want and the Senate Democrats having the final say in who it is.

Begich was clearly the better candidate
I am writing in support of Sen. Mark Begich. I am encouraged by the job that the former Anchorage mayor is doing and believe he was and is clearly the better candidate to represent our state.

Alaskan White released today
After years of perfecting the recipe through its rough draft program, the Alaskan Brewing Co. will release its first Belgian-style wheat beer to the market today.

Palin tries second pick for Juneau Senate seat
Gov. Sarah Palin has appointed Joe Nelson, an administrator at the University of Alaska Southeast, to Juneau's open Senate seat.

School district to require bus documentation
The Juneau School District plans to resume requiring written reports of school bus-related complaints and route logs from its bus contractor, First Student, after an Empire inquiry revealed contractual obligations weren't being followed.

Photos: Palm Sunday processional
Bishop Edward Burns gives a sermon about the meaning of Palm Sunday during mass at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Sunday.

Photo: Images from another time Optimistic signs
Former Democratic Alaska Governor Bill Sheffield, left, and Jon Conway, a member of his legal defense team, show signs of optimism as they're photographed on Seward Street on July 29, 1985. The Alaska Senate held hearings in the summer of 1985 to decide if a grand jury was right when it recommended that lawmakers consider impeaching Sheffield for his role in negotiating a state office lease in Fairbanks. The Senate found no clear convincing evidence and did not forward an impeachment resolution to the state House.

Officer tells parents to be vigilant of drug use
While drugs and alcohol aren't currently a big problem in Juneau's middle schools, officer Blain Hatch said parents should be aware of the dangers and pressures students may be exposed to in coming years.

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

Juneau Assembly: Clean water bill opposed in 5-4 vote
In a 5-4 vote, the Juneau Assembly approved a resolution Monday that frames federal legislation attempting to curb the practice of mountaintop removal for coal mining as an unwanted detriment to the viability of Coeur Alaska Inc.'s Kensington gold mine, located 45 miles northwest of Juneau.

Fuel spill closes Goldbelt Building
More than 200 employees were unable to go to work Monday after a weekend fuel spill at the Goldbelt Building.

Around Town
Today

Photo: Meeting over art
Patty Fiorella works on a border Monday for a Ravenstail pattern weave during the Ravenstail Weavers' Open Weave at the Douglas Library. The group meets on most first Mondays of the month from 5 to 9 p.m. to work on various art projects. All are welcome.

Photo: Monkey skier
Jaden White, 5, post-runs the Eaglecrest Challenge Cup slalom ski race in a plush monkey costume. The Juneau Ski Club hosted the annual dress-up slalom Sunday at Eaglecrest Ski Area. The event drew 39 participants despite wet and windy conditions.

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

Around Town
Today

Outside editorial: In Ted Stevens' case, prosecutors forgot about justice
Faced with clear signs of government misconduct, Attorney General Eric Holder made the right call by moving to dismiss the Justice Department's case against former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. This is a disappointing end to the Stevens saga, but prosecutors botched this case so badly that the attorney general had no choice but to bring it to a merciful close.

Outside editorial: New words for war
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently confirmed that the Obama administration has dropped the phrase "global war on terror." She didn't say why. "I think that speaks for itself. Obviously," was her elaboration. That raised a few obvious questions: Does the new administration believe the fight against al-Qaida and other extreme Islamist groups doesn't amount to war? Is the threat to the U.S. homeland less, in President Obama's estimation, than that perceived by President George W. Bush? And does the United States still expect its NATO military allies to join in this newly unnamed, speaks-for-itself endeavor?

My turn: Shale gas could be a bridge to a gas pipeline in Alaska
A number of Alaska legislators recently attended energy council meetings in Washington, D.C., and came away with the mistaken impression that the emergence of shale gas would damage (if not end) Alaska's chances of building a gas pipeline to the Lower 48.

My turn: Region on track for a greener, cleaner future
The recent sunshine is just one thing for Southeast Alaskans to smile about. In the past few weeks, both the Alaska Legislature and U.S. Congress have taken bipartisan actions that will boost the Southeast Alaska economy and steer our region toward a greener, cleaner and more sustainable future.

My turn: Predator management benefits all
Whether you are a hunter, photographer, sightseer or ardent preservationist, healthy wildlife populations are a benefit to you. Depletion of game populations due to weather, over-hunting or predation not only reduces the health and number of predators and prey; it also reduces the opportunity for viewing and consumptive use. Managing for moderately high game populations is comparable to having a good paying job and money in the bank.

The boys of spring turn to summer
It may be sport's greatest anomaly. Is there anything we await as anxiously, celebrate more poetically, than the arrival of Major League Baseball spring training? Is there anything we are happier to see come to an end?

Improving efficiency in Fed jobs
Imagine Jim, a 49-year-old federal worker in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Jim does the best he can, working long hours to process disability compensation claims for veterans, but the backlog is growing. He needs training on new software, a travel budget to learn about smart pilot programs outside Washington and authority to work with nonprofit groups so that he can learn new techniques and identify potential hires.

Toe Toon
Cartoon by local artist Toe

JAHC scheduling summer concerts
JUNEAU - The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council is now scheduling its summertime Concerts in the Park and Concerts on Campus series, and is looking for performers, emcees and volunteers interested in taking part.

Sen. Begich again refuses call to resign
ANCHORAGE - U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is again refusing calls to step down now that the Justice Department is asking that the conviction against Ted Stevens be dropped.

Judge dismisses ticket issued by Houston mayor
WASILLA - A man pulled over by the mayor of Houston north of Wasilla will not get the chance to confront the elected official in court.

Art submissions deadline is April 15
JUNEAU - The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council will host a judged art exhibition of Southeast Alaska artists in June.

Searchers recover body of missing man
ANCHORAGE - The body of a 35-year-old Anchorage man missing in an avalanche at Johnson Pass has been recovered.

Beaver Creek makes endangered river list
ANCHORAGE - An interior Alaska waterway has made a conservation group's annual list of America's top 10 most endangered rivers.

Airman set for second trial
FAIRBANKS - The second trial of a 32-year-old airman accused of trying to kill his wife is set to begin Tuesday in Fairbanks.

Small plane crashes in Boulder Creek
ANCHORAGE - A 47-year-old Anchorage pilot is safe after his small plane crashed at Boulder Creek near the Matanuska Glacier.

6 of 13 moose in state study die
ANCHORAGE - The state game department said six moose have died, likely from problems with a drug used to reverse tranquilizers.

House to consider forming energy dept.
JUNEAU - A special House committee on energy is proposing legislation that would consolidate the state's energy programs under one department.

State Senators condemn North Korea rocket launch
ANCHORAGE - Alaska's U.S. senators say North Korea's testing of a long-range rocket underscores the need for American missile defense systems.

Lawmakers begin last 2 weeks
The Alaska Legislature has completed work on just a handful of bills and resolutions, and with less than two weeks left in the 2009 session, minority senators are scoffing at what they say is a dearth of meaningful accomplishments.

Stevens dismissal will erase verdict but not the facts
WASHINGTON - If, as expected today, a federal judge agrees to dismiss corruption charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens, it will wipe away the Alaska Republican's conviction and complete an embarrassing unraveling of the Justice Department's case.

Mount Redoubt's ash, uncertainty irritates residents
Mount Redoubt is getting under the skin of Alaska, and it's not just the irritation caused by volcanic ash.

Abusive MySpace page draws principal's lawsuit
WASILLA - Colony High School principal Cyd Duffin doesn't do MySpace.

House approves bill to name state dog
About 50 students at the Polaris K-12 School in Anchorage were in their principal's office Monday morning listening via speaker phone to the debate in the Alaska House on naming the Alaskan Malamute the state dog.

Compromise abortion bill introduced in Senate
Legislation seeking a compromise over the issue of parental consent for a teen's abortion was introduced Friday in the Alaska Senate.

NPFMC takes up salmon bycatch issue
ANCHORAGE - The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is taking up the contentious issue of salmon bycatch in a fish fight that pits the interests of pollock fishermen against salmon fishermen in western Alaska villages.

Cook Inlet production stopped
ANCHORAGE - Chevron has halted its oil production in Cook Inlet because of continuing threats from Mount Redoubt eruptions at the Drift River terminal, where the company stores its oil.

Bailout rules could dampen business travel
Proposed federal legislation placing restrictions on companies that have received bailout money could diminish business and convention travel to Alaska.

Man charged in fatal warehouse shooting
ANCHORAGE - Shots fired through the door of a warehouse killed a high school student attending a party, according to Anchorage police, who have arrested a suspected gunman.

Anglo chairman talks about mining
Anglo American PLC, one of the world's largest minerals companies, isn't counting on any significant improvements in base metals prices for at least the next two years, Chairman Sir Mark Moody-Stuart said in an interview March 29.

Man indicted on manslaughter charge
HOMER - A Kenai grand jury has indicted a Homer man on a manslaughter charge connected to the death of a man who died of a heroin overdose.

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