Tuesday, April 14, 2009

US should follow Law of the Sea
Since Dec. 10, 1982, the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea has established a legal framework for governing the world's oceans, seas and straits. Since that time, the United States and some other nations objected to some of the provisions of the law, but they were rectified in 1994 in the "Agreement Relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea." While the United States continues to debate whether to become a party to the treaty, 156 other countries, including all of the its traditional allies, have signed on, leaving the United States on its own.

Game Board actions unscientific, extreme
Ted Spraker's recent column on predator control proves that the Game Board's recent actions are unscientific and extreme (Predator management benefits all, Juneau Empire, April 7). Many people oppose the Board's unnecessary and drastic measures. They think the Board is out of touch with most Alaskans.

Time to bring back wildlife protection
Just before leaving office, the Bush administration issued rules eviscerating the central consultation process of the Endangered Species Act; exempting greenhouse gas-emitting projects from regulation under the Act; and specifically banning federal agencies from protecting the polar bear from greenhouse gas emissions, the primary threat to its continued existence. These rules gut our nation's most important wildlife protection law, which has been safeguarding species for more than 35 years, and fail to use this successful law to fight the greatest future threat to endangered species - global warming.

Competition breeds success, opportunity
I would like respond to recent comments from Mike Notar, president of the Juneau and Vicinity Building and Construction Trades Council, and his exceptions to the ads in the Juneau Empire dated March 30.

Youth detention center loses upgrade funds
A much-needed renovation of the Johnson Youth Center juvenile detention building may take longer than officials had hoped.

Juneau mayor suggests Egan to bridge gap
Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho is pushing for former Mayor Dennis Egan to be appointed to represent the capital city in the Alaska Senate, a move that has won quick - and bipartisan - support from some influential legislators.

Photo: Celebrating Passover
Norman Cohen, left, reads aloud from the Haggadah as he leads the Sukkat Shalom Jewish congregation's community Passover Seder as Sheron Schramm lights a candle. More than 100 members of the Juneau Jewish community and their guests attended the Seder, held Sunday at the Sukkat Shalom synagoguey.

Folk Fest Originals
There is no way to gauge how many truly new songs are debuted every year at the Alaska Folk Festival. Old compositions are often dusted off and reworked, and covers are reinterpreted in fresh ways.

Photo: Images from another time Juneau tries fast ferry, 1982
A Boeing jetfoil in Gastineau Channel in August 1982. The jetfoil, brought to Alaska as a fast-ferry demonstration project, sailed Southeast waters for tests, but no ships wereordered. The steel structure at the top of the photo is the center section for the oldDouglas Bridge in storage next to Thane Road.

Superintendent finalists to be announced
Juneau School District officials intend to announce superintendent finalists after the School Board chooses them in a closed session Wednesday afternoon.

Downtown building reopens
Employees at the Goldbelt building, including those with the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. and the Alaska Department of Education, are back in their offices after a small but troublesome fuel spill April 5.

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

Photo: Avalanche danger increases
A smallavalanche pours down Mount Juneau's Chop Gulch on Monday afternoon. The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities bombed the Mount Roberts slope above Thane Road but got very little snow to move on the mountainside. Warm temperaturesincreased avalanche probability Monday, according to the city's avalanche forecast, which rated the danger at high through 7 a.m. this morning.

Around Town
Today

Photo: A little lift
Norman Vandergriff practices with his parasail Monday off Yandukin Drive near the JuneauInternational Airport. Vandergriff is a member of the Juneau Eagles Paragliders Club and has been kiting since 1988.

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

Around Town
Today

Robert Vessey Berryhill
Longtime Juneau resident Robert Vessey Berryhill died March 31, 2009, at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau. He was 78.

Aaron David Lee
Former Juneau resident Aaron David Lee died April 9, 2009, in Valparaiso, Ind. He was 31.

Outside editorial: Yes, the Arctic really is melting
Make no mistake, Arctic Sea ice is melting. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the maximum extent of the winter sea ice cover for 2008-09 was the fifth-lowest on record. Underscoring their point, the agencies added, "The six lowest maximum events since satellite monitoring began in 1979 have all occurred in the past six years (2004-09)."

Outside editorial: Law left hanging
After hearing arguments in a long-running Oregon case involving the death of a cigarette smoker, the U.S. Supreme Court has essentially said "never mind," dismissing the case and leaving unresolved an important question: When can state courts ignore instructions from the nation's highest court to re-examine their rulings?

Outside editorial: Easy gun access kills
With the 10th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre approaching, communities across the nation have relived the horror of what happens when evil, paranoia and madness mix with the ready availability of guns.

Outside editorial: Big guns or ships may not solve piracy problem
After Somali pirates tried to commandeer a U.S.-operated container ship in the Indian Ocean last week and captured its American captain, the United States dispatched a Navy destroyer to the scene, launching a showdown between a massive warship and a tiny lifeboat on which the pirates held their hostage.

My turn: Initiative process not broken
It's difficult to get an initiative on the Alaska ballot. And, as the last election clearly shows, it's difficult to pass those initiatives. All four of the ballot initiatives failed.

My turn: Offshore policy offers insight into domestic energy plans
On Tuesday, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will come to Alaska to gather input on the Interior Department's plans to open federal waters for oil and gas exploration. He is holding a field hearing at Anchorage's Dena'ina Center.

My turn: April a good time to become informed about sexual assault
First a qualifier: this editorial is written from the perspective of one guy communicating to other guys, although everyone else is welcome to eavesdrop.

Carbon cap will create more jobs
Amid all the news reports about failed financial gadgets like credit-default swaps and mortgage-backed securities, you'll find an occasional story that reveals the human face of this recession.

Palin sister-in-law pleads not guilty
PALMER - Gov. Sarah Palin's sister-in-law has pleaded not guilty to charges accusing her of twice breaking into the same home in the governor's hometown.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to visit
ANCHORAGE - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will come to Alaska this week to discuss with residents whether or not offshore oil and gas development should be allowed in federal waters off Alaska's coast.

Aniak man dies in snowmachine crash
KALSKAG - A 32-year-old Aniak man died in a snowmachine crash that injured his passenger.

Rock slide closes Whittier tunnel
ANCHORAGE - A massive rock slide on Sunday closed the Whittier tunnel. The tunnel is expected to be closed for several days.

Alternative schools get many applicants
FAIRBANKS - Alternative schools in Fairbanks are getting plenty of applicants.

Regents OK indigenous studies program
FAIRBANKS - University of Alaska Regents have approved a new doctoral program for indigenous studies.

Stimulus money flows to volcano monitoring
WASHINGTON - Weeks after Mount Redoubt erupted in Alaska, the Interior Department is spending some of its first stimulus dollars to improve volcano monitoring.

Student named to Board of Regents
FAIRBANKS - A political science major is the newest student representative on the University of Alaska's Board of Regents.

Missing Chevak man found dead
CHEVAK - Searchers have found the body of a 24-year-old Chevak man who had been reported missing.

Mobile mammogram van to visit Angoon
ANGOON - A mobile mammogram van will visit Angoon starting at 8:30 a.m. Monday, with appointments available through 4 p.m. April 22. This year, the van has been updated with digital imaging on board.

Body of Homer man found by air patrol
ANCHORAGE - Searchers found the body of a Homer man who failed to arrive at a friend's cabin at Caribou Lake.

Mayor asks to cut staff position
FAIRBANKS - The mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough has come up with a way to save money in tough economic times.

Sponsor ready to compromise on abortion bill
Backers of a bill to require parental consent before a girl younger than 17 could get an abortion say they will compromise and settle for parental notification.

Lack of time cited in unraveling of case
The Justice Department team charged with prosecuting former Sen. Ted Stevens miscalculated by not seeking more time to prepare for the high-stakes corruption trial and fell victim to inexperience and thin staffing, which contributed to its alleged mishandling of witnesses and evidence, according to interviews with more than a dozen lawyers who followed the case.

Democrats blast Palin for speech
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Democrats on Monday accused Gov. Sarah Palin of abdicating her duties with her decision to travel outside the state this week as the state Legislature's session winds down.

Inmate says officials didn't protect John Carlin
An inmate has filed court papers that accuse prison officials of failing to protect John Carlin, the gunman in the Mechele Linehan murder case.

House bill would clean files of false criminal allegations
ANCHORAGE - Criminal records would be expunged in cases where defendants are found "beyond a reasonable doubt" to have been wrongly accused, under a recently introduced bill.

Grant aimed at saving old Kenai church
KENAI - The Russian Orthodox church in Old Town is likely the most photographed building in Kenai, especially in summertime when a steady stream of tourists visit.

Fish Board nominee draws critics
Gov. Sarah Palin's nominee for the state Board of Fisheries has run into opposition from sport fishing groups and critics who say his approval would leave the body without a voice from north of Big Lake.

Trains transport motorists after slide
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Railroad is operating its passenger trains to pick up stranded motorists after a rock slide has closed off vehicle traffic to Whittier.

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