There's no excuse for lack of bus records
I am writing in response to the article "School district fails to keep busing records," published in the Empire on April 5.

Board of Game needs better management
During the recent meeting in Anchorage, the Board of Game demonstrated that it needs to be managed with intensive restraint. The degree of this restraint should equal the degree to which the board is authorizing predator control management in Alaska.

Palin doesn't seem to care about Juneau
I am writing this letter in disbelief of the most recent proposal for the Juneau Senate seat.

Calls for Begich to resign are partisan
Gov. Sarah Palin and Randy Ruedrich, head of the Alaska Republican Party, have called for Sen. Mark Begich to step down and for Alaska to hold a special election to fill the Senate seat he currently holds. Their statements are transparently partisan and not constructive for Alaska's future.

Maybe election should be held for governor
I would like to voice my strong support for our newly elected Sen. Mark Begich. Begich is doing a fine job. There is no need for a new election. The idea is simply ludicrous. Begich was elected fair and square.

Americans need choice in health care
I have been in the insurance business for 32 years, and I have seen the need for national health care, because one in six Americans are uninsured and millions more are under insured for the coverage they need.

Education goals mischaracterized
I am writing in response to the article "One building could hold multiple schools," published April 2 in the Empire. It was disappointing to see the statement, "though the Montessori approach tends to attract parents trying to get their kids a leg up." This is a subjective opinion with which I disagree.

Charter school is a public school
We appreciate the Empire covering local education issues, but we'd like to make an important correction to how our school was described in Thursday's article about our proposed move to Marie Drake.

Joe Nelson vies for Senate confirmation
Seeking to represent Juneau in the Alaska Senate, Joe Nelson is now in the middle of what's become a battle of wills between Gov. Sarah Palin and Democrats in Juneau and the Senate.

Nonprofits struggle as donations decline
United Way of Juneau's executive director Brenda Lee Hewitt pored over her budget numbers.

School Board prods Palin to accept education stimulus money
The Juneau School Board unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday urging Gov. Sarah Palin and the state Legislature to accept federal stimulus funding for education, money that could offset job cuts and bring an extra $1.6 million to the district over 30 months.

Corporations cut gifts to local charities
At United Way, the regret-to-inform notes are starting to pile up. Hewitt reads one that's sitting on her desk: "Right now, we don't have money for Southeast projects ..."

Get cash, or give it away
Wells Fargo customers can now give away money as they get it.

Juneau Native groups oppose confirmation of attorney general
Alaska Native groups in Juneau voiced opposition to the nomination of Attorney General Anthony Wayne Ross and called on other Native groups to speak out against Gov. Sarah Palin's selection to head the Department of Law.

Pool bid comes in at 21% under estimate
The winning bid for the construction of the Dimond Park Aquatic Center came in $3.6 million, or 21.5 percent below the city's estimate.

Photo: Snack time
Kellen Dumaup throws pieces of bread out the window to some ravens with his mother, Latecia, Tuesday in the Alaskan and Proud parking lot. Dumaup said they had a bunch of bread at home and didn't know what to do with it so they went to look for some ducks. Finding no ducks, they picked a group of ravens. "Ravens have to eat too," he said.

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

Subport building wins House approval
The House of Representatives Wednesday gave a big thumbs up to a new office building for state employees in Juneau.

Nelson seeks Democratic support in Senate
Juneau Senate appointee Joe Nelson worked the halls in the Capitol Wednesday, seeking to win confirmation to Juneau's sole seat in the Alaska Senate.

Around Town

A Tuesday story incorrectly reported when former Senate appointee Tim Grussendorf sent a letter to Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, asking her to withdraw from consideration for Juneau's empty Senate seat. That letter was not sent Friday, as was reported, but was actually sent and delivered Saturday.

Photo: Avalanche alert
Alma Harris talks Wednesday about an avalanche that covered a portion of the flume, a popular hiking trial next to Basin Road. Harris heard and saw several avalanches during her hike on Basin Road. Hikers should take caution and be aware of the avalanche danger with the warming weather.

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

Around Town
Thursday, April 9

Lydia Mary George
Longtime Angoon resident Lydia Mary (James) George died March 19, 2009, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She was 86.

Outside editorial: Weapon wars
The Obama administration was already being accused of overloading Congress with ambitious and politically taxing initiatives when Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates unveiled his sweeping reform of military spending on Monday.

Outside editorial: Missile was a crisis that failed to launch
Regardless of how the missile technology performed, or did not, North Korea's long-range test launch failed to ignite the international crisis that Pyongyang apparently sought.

Outside editorial: Obama's missile crisis
Hours after North Korea dared to launch a long-range rocket in defiance of world pressure, President Obama issued a warning. "Rules must be binding," he said, a reference to the North's violation of a 2006 U.N. resolution that imposed sanctions on Pyongyang. "Violations must be punished. Words must mean something."

America needs courageous leaders, not missile defense
Alaska's congressional delegation reacted to the North Korean missile launch with bipartisan fervor to protect our citizens. Rep. Don Young warned that Alaska "would be on the front lines should North Korea send anything our way." But is it fear of a North Korean attack or the loss of federal money that they're really worried about?

My Turn: State looks out for rural villages
It's been a challenging winter for rural Alaska villages. High fuel prices, reduced income from fishing and a particularly cold winter have left many residents struggling to heat their homes and feed their families. But the state has taken action and work continues.

My turn: Every Alaskan should focus on taking care of what matters most
I have lived in Juneau for 16 years this June. I consider myself to be a liberal who stands on the moderate or conservative edge of that liberalism. I am a registered Democrat. I am a Christian and evangelical. I own my own business, and work hard in keeping it open to serve the population. I pay my taxes - property, sales, income and business tax where appropriate. I volunteer in my community and give as charitably as possible. I pick up litter and scoop my dog's poop.

DOT reminds drivers to remove studded tires
JUNEAU - Studded tire season is about to end, and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is reminding Juneau motorists to remove the studded tires on their vehicles by April 15.

Stevens files candidacy statement for 2014
ANCHORAGE - Former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska has filed a statement of candidacy for the 2014 election, but an aide cautions against reading too much into the move.

Lawmakers call for minimum wage hike
JUNEAU - A group of Democratic legislators on Tuesday called for a hike in Alaska's minimum wage before the end of session.

Senate approves hike in minimum wage
JUNEAU - Alaska's minimum wage would get a boost under a bill that has passed the state Senate.

Bill calls for Alaska Department of Energy
JUNEAU - The Senate Energy Committee introduced legislation Wednesday to establish an Alaska Department of Energy.

Ohio sets execution dates for killers
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday set execution dates for two condemned killers as the state accelerates its death penalty cases.

Tok man sentenced in assault case
FAIRBANKS - A 26-year-old Tok man was sentenced to two years in prison for an alcohol-fueled beating of another man.

Forum on school start times slated
JUNEAU - The Juneau School District will hold a public forum at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the library of Thunder Mountain High School to discuss the possibility of flipping elementary and high school start times.

Protection sought for leatherback turtles
Portland, Ore. - The leatherback turtle - at 1,200 pounds the world's heaviest reptile - is in such severe decline that it could become extinct in the Pacific Ocean within a few decades, according to Oceana, a global environmental group seeking emergency protection for it and the other five species of sea turtles.

Man pleads guilty in VA fraud case
SPOKANE, Wash. - A former Idaho sheriff's deputy who falsely claimed he was paraplegic has pleaded guilty in a $1.5 million disability fraud case that a U.S. attorney said is the largest in Veterans Affairs Department history.

Police arrest teen posting as FBI agent
ANCHORAGE - A 19-year-old man is accused of breaking into an Anchorage high school and then trying to pass himself off as an FBI agent when police arrived.

Turnout good at final superintendent forum
JUNEAU - Juneau School District officials reported its best turnout for the superintendent search forum it held March 31, the fourth of four it held last month to solicit community input in the process.

Medicaid rate review bill passes Senate
JUNEAU - The Alaska Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed Senate Bill 32, an act that creates an equitable and consistent process for rate review for the providers of home- and community-based Medicaid services. The bull aims to place these providers on a level playing field with the providers of institutional care. The bill was introduced by Sen. Johnny Ellis, D-Anchorage, and co-sponsored by nine other senators.

Parking lot closing for tourist season
JUNEAU - The public parking lot at the Steamship Wharf downtown on Marine Way will close for the tourist season beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday, the Juneau Parks and Recreation department announced Tuesday.

Shallow earthquake rattles Alaska
ANCHORAGE - A shallow earthquake strongly shook a large swath of Alaska.

Rachelle Waterman trial set for September
KETCHIKAN - A murder trial for a Craig woman accused a second time of plotting with two former boyfriends to kill her mother has been set for September in Ketchikan.

Interior secretary plans Dillingham visit
DILLINGHAM - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will conduct a town hall meeting in Dillingham.

Troopers charge three in Bethel drug bust
BETHEL - Three people have been charged with drug counts connected to the sale of oxycodone in Bethel and Alaska State Troopers said charges are pending against three others.

Kindergarten info sessions slated
JUNEAU - The Juneau School District, the Association for the Education of Young Children and Tlingit & Haida Head Start will host three informational sessions, "Get Ready for Kindergarten and Learn About School Choices," for parents curious about kindergarten or who have children entering kindergarten this fall.

Mayoral front-runners heading for runoff
ANCHORAGE - A run-off election will be needed to fill the mayor's post in Anchorage.

Generator failure causes power outage
JUNEAU - Parts of downtown, Douglas and the Valley lost power at about 7 p.m. Wednesday after a generator at the Snettisham hydroelectric site tripped off line, Alaska Electric Light and Power Co. reported.

Locals top 'dress-up slalom'
Despite deep snow and high winds, 24 racers turned out for the Eaglecrest Challenge alpine ski races Saturday and Sunday at Eaglecrest Ski Area. The series, hosted by the Juneau Ski Club, marked the end of the competitive alpine ski season for local racers. As always, participation in this year's race came with one unique stipulation: racers donned not only Lycra racing suits, but also costumes.

Green flattens Les Schwab
Elise Auguston lifted Green to a 3-0 lead with a pair of second-period goals Monday and helped her team hang on for a 4-0 opening win over Les Schwab in the Juneau Adult Hockey Association's double-elimination Women's Tier playoffs.

Sitka track and field meet cancelled
The upcoming April 10-11 track and field meet hosted by Sitka High School was cancelled due to wet and overall poor track conditions this week.

Eaglecrest Challenge
April 4

Sports in Juneau

Ross runs into resistance
Confirmation hearings for Gov. Sarah Palin's choice for attorney general got off to a spirited start Wednesday as a Senate committee grilled Wayne Anthony Ross on his views regarding everything from family law to subsistence.

Begich defends stimulus spending
All told, as much as $1.5 billion could come to Alaska from the federal economic stimulus package, including money directed at the state, military bases, federal agencies, communities, tribes and non-profits, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich told reporters on Tuesday.

Judge demands criminal probe of Stevens prosecutors
A seething federal judge dismissed the corruption conviction of former Sen. Ted Stevens on Tuesday and took the rare and serious step of ordering a criminal investigation into prosecutors who poisoned the case.

Palin to raise money for Murkowski's re-election
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin plans to raise money for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski's re-election campaign in a move that Palin's camp says should end speculation the governor is eyeing the senator's seat.

Young: Embrace federal education money
KETCHIKAN - U.S. Rep. Don Young voted against the federal economic stimulus package and vowed not to comment when Gov. Sarah Palin announced she would not accept all of the money available to Alaska.

Texas man creates rogue Palin legal defense fund
ANCHORAGE - A Texas man has established a Web site soliciting donations for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to pay legal fees, but Palin can't accept the money, her spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Fishery panel votes for salmon bycatch limit
ANCHORAGE - The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has voted to place an unprecedented limit on the number of king salmon accidentally killed each year during the commercial Bering Sea pollock catch.

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