Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fast ferry scheme may qualify as gross mismanagement
About a week or so ago, the Empire ran a front-page story that stated that the State of Alaska is suing the manufacturer of the fast ferries for propulsion problems associated with the fast ferries. The same article acknowledged that the fast ferries have had other numerous operational problems. Since this story came out, I have talked to lots of people in Juneau, and we all seem to have the same question, and that has to do with the direction the state's attorneys are headed. From what we recall, the Knowles administration decided on the fast ferry scheme as their alternative to the Juneau access issue, which was contrary to the determination the Alaska Department of Transportation had made for access to Juneau.

Coast Guard Chief of Staff Capt. Michael Neussl retires
Looking out his office window from the "sixth deck" of the Federal Building, United States Coast Guard 17th District Chief of Staff Captain Michael Neussl watched a Jayhawk helicopter fly along Gastineau Channel.

Empty Bowls encourages community involvement
The Glory Hole is facing serious budget issues and homelessness remains an intractable problem here in Juneau, but the local shelter's annual fundraising event, Empty Bowls, held this Sunday at Centennial Hall, is not without celebratory elements.

Photo: Seawalk work
Gus Degner, right, Eric Plummer, center, and Matt Domin of North Pacific Erectors, work on the seawalk next to the Alaska Commercial Fishermen's Memorial Wednesday.Renovations at the downtown wharf are likely to include larger docks to accommodate Panamax cruise ships. City officials say recent decisions by the state Legislature bode well for the project.

Photos: Plastic bags make a statement on Earth Day
Plastics bags line Seward Street businesses Thursday morning for an Earth Day project by local group Turning the Tides which is trying to end the use of plastic bags. Turning the Tides strives to raise awareness about ocean issues and to promote ocean-friendly practices, clean-up efforts, waste reduction and sustainability through various projects and events.

Photo: Bags still carry weight
The new baggage claimturnstile is in at the Juneau Airport but 4-year-old Kean Buss discovers Tuesday night that the bags still weigh the same as he tries to move luggage after disembarking from Alaska Airlines flight 71 from Anchorage.

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

Linda Stevenson-Millard
Juneau resident Linda Stevenson-Millard died April 12, 2010, at her home. She was 58.

Alaska editorial: The more disclosure,the better
In the waning hours of the legislative session, lawmakers made sure all the most powerful players in the upcoming elections will have to be on the scorecard. There was little doubt that Senate Bill 284 would pass both houses. The bill was a response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in January that gave corporations, unions and other groups the same free speech rights as individuals in elections - and the right to spend freely in expressing them.

Alaska editorial: PFD for deceased goes too far
The House has passed Sen. Kevin Meyer's bill to grant Permanent Fund Dividends to the estates of those who die in the previous year, provided the deceased would have qualified had they been living. All right, everyone make your own joke here. "We used to say you just have be a breathing Alaska resident to receive the dividend. Now you don't even have to be breathing."

Fowl play
When it comes to real-world drama, migrating birds have a story line similar to the Discovery Channel's "Survivor Man" or "Man vs. Wild." Mid-journey they face off against all that Mother Nature and mankind have to offer.

State boating safety advisory council to meet
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Office of Boating Safety, will hold a meeting of the Alaska Boating Safety Advisory Council (ABSAC) at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 26, at the Atwood Building, 550 West 7th Ave., in Anchorage.

Outdoor class puts women in the know
Before participating in a women's outdoor workshop in Haines, Juneau resident Jill Matheson had never wielded a chainsaw.

Juneau Youth Sailing offers summer classes
JUNEAU - Juneau Youth Sailing has begun online registration for the groups summer 2010 classes.

"Alaska's Hidden Gems" photography contest kicks off
FAIRBANKS - The Alaska Wilderness League kicks off a national photography contest to showcase extraordinary public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Spring King Derby ticket pre-sale happening today
JUNEAU - Tickets for this year's Spring King salmon derby go on sale today at locations around Juneau. And from 3-6 p.m. today at Western Auto & Marine, participants can purchase early, discounted tickets for $30.

Food, merchandise vending permits now accepted
JUNEAU - The Parks and Recreation Department is currently accepting applications for commercial and nonprofit vendor permits for food and merchandise sales in designated park locations for the 2010 season.

American Red Cross hosts annual Luau
JUNEAU - The Southeast District of the American Red Cross of Alaska will raise funds with the Fourth Annual Capital City Luau tonight, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall.

Life in the fast lane for hawks
On a blustery Sunday along the Glenn Highway at mile post 119, a crowd of cars, lawn chairs and barbecue grills clutter the pullout. Two hours from Anchorage, these wildlife spies wait for a show.

Sights and sounds of April
• In Sheep Creek valley, a female hairy woodpecker prospected for a nest site. She was visiting one dead, bark-less cottonwood snag after another, occasionally drumming lightly. On each site she visited, she'd tap once or twice and then move on to the next one.

On the hook
Show us your big fish

Wild shots
Submit yourwild shots

Murkowski urges passage of volcano warning bill
ANCHORAGE - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says volcano eruptions in Iceland demonstrate that Congress needs to pass her bill to set up a volcano early warning and monitoring system.

American Red Cross serves up fourth annual luau tonight
Juneau - The Southeast District of the American Red Cross of Alaska will hold the Fourth Annual Capital City Luau tonight, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall. Returning chef Steve Iha will prepare the meal in authentic Hawaiian luau style.

Elderly filling Alaska Psychiatric Institute
ANCHORAGE- Officials say one of the reasons Alaska's state mental hospital is nearly always full with up to 80 patients is the number of elderly.

Fairbanks man pleads guilty in death of toddler
FAIRBANKS- A Fairbanks man accused of killing his girlfriend's 19-month-old son pleaded guilty to negligent homicide.

Communities set for emergency drill
ANCHORAGE - A drill testing the state's ability to respond to a disaster is set to begin Monday.

USCG conducts check flights after report of sheen
Juneau - The U.S. Coast Guard will conduct fly-over checks of the waters in Lynn Canal after a report last weekend of oil sheen being seen near Mud Bay.

Charges filed in meth seizure
FAIRBANKS- Alaska State Troopers investigating a report of a dead moose in Fairbanks discovered a stockpile of methamphetamine.

Dog commended for leading officer to fire near Willow
ANCHORAGE - Alaska State Troopers are presenting a special award to Buddy, a German Shepherd that led authorities to a fire at his owners' property near Willow.

Senate subport foe offers explanation
Sitka Sen. Bert Stedman is finally explaining why he blocked Juneau legislators' efforts to build a new state office building on the waterfront subport property, but his explanation raises all new questions.

Parnell to decide by May 1 on gas tax bill
JUNEAU - Gov. Sean Parnell plans to decide by May 1 whether to sign a bill the Legislature passed in its final hours to change Alaska's system of taxing oil and gas production together.

Alaska Air sees black in Q1, while rivals see red
ATLANTA - The parent of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air did what several of its larger rivals couldn't in the first three months of the year: turn a profit.

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