Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Global warming another scare tactic
David Skorton, the President of Cornell University, wrote (Juneau Empire, May 7) that the "steps we must take to combat global warming" can be of great benefit in terms of boosting the economy and saving the environment.

'Stop everything that I don't like!'
A friend of mine recently told me that he participated in protests during the Vietnam War. When the war ended, he and his peers were milling around their college campus asking each other, "What are we going to do now?" They eventually settled on an issue and found something else to protest.

Cruise re-routings due to economic downturn, not tax
Why does cruise reporting so often miss the boat? I was disappointed to see yet another article in the Empire (Monday, May 11 edition) citing cruise lobbyist insinuations (without refutation) regarding the impact of the Alaska head tax on visitor numbers. There is no verifiable data to support this claim. The only independent assessment of this question was conducted by the McDowell Group after the 2007 season, which found the number of ships, the number of passengers, and the spending per passenger did not decline as a result of the initiative.

Drugs are a problem in Juneau schools
I want to commend teacher and coach Bill Chalmers for telling the School Board he may resign as coach of the football team if they don't start drug testing athletes in the high school.

Swine flu case quietly slips in - and out - of Juneau
Last Friday, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services assured Alaska residents there was "no probable or confirmed cases" of the H1N1 swine flu virus in the state in its daily public update of the virus's spread.

Cruise ships depart; did Alaskans sink a profitable tourism industry?
The recent decisions by cruise companies to redeploy ships from Alaska voyages in 2010 will have broad ripple effects in the state's economy, particularly in Southcentral-Interior Alaska regions.

Photo: Palin for lemonade
From right, Piper Palin, 8, the daughter of Gov. Sarah Palin, and Natalie Cosgrove, 8, sell lemonade to Andrea Watts and her mother, Pam, in front of the Governor's Mansion on Sunday. Other items for sale included diet ice tea and banana bread. Small boxes of raisins were free.

Juneau recognizes Bike to Work week
In a region where the rains seem to reign supreme, biking enthusiasts may seem few and far between. But this week the Juneau Freewheelers, a local cycling group, is making an effort through the annual "Bike to Work Week" and "Bike to Work and School Day" to raise awareness and enthusiasm for alternative means of transportation.

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

City needs rights to trash before it can incinerate
City officials shouldn't be making decisions about expanded recycling programs, Juneau's privately owned landfill or major investments in incinerators and waste-to-energy plants until the city lawfully controls the trash stream, the city's public works director said Monday.

Around Town
Monday, May 11

Juneau police to honor fallen officers
The Juneau Police Department will honor four officers killed in the line of duty over the course of the department's history during a ceremony today.

Photo: Hazards of spring
Alaska Wildlife Trooper Nicholas Massey collects a dead female deer Monday along the North Douglas Highway after a driver called in to report hitting the animal. Trooper Massey said new grass along roadways is attracting animals. The deer was donated to Gastineau Human Services.

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

Around Town
Today, May 12

Correction
A May 4 story in the Empire gave incorrect totals for the number of University of Alaska Southeast degrees conferred this year.

Hilda See
Hoonah resident Hilda See died Dec. 8, 2008, in Juneau. She was 89.

Outside editorial: Obama leaves the hard budget choices for the next one
"We can no longer afford to leave the hard choices for the next budget, the next administration or the next generation," declared President Barack Obama last week as he unveiled his budget. Well, yes, but that is exactly what he does. We just hope that it is only until the next budget rather than the next administration.

Outside editorial: Ethics bid should slow revolving door
Railing against the Republicans' "culture of corruption," Democrats took control of Congress in the 2006 elections. In their first year in charge, they made some overdue improvements to congressional-ethics rules. But in the House, members balked at extending the time they must wait after leaving their seats to lobby their ex-colleagues.

The Republic is crumbling
"They have sown the wind; they shall reap the whirlwind..." -Hosea 8:7

Republicans feeling lost? Follow Britain's lead
LONDON - A shrinking base, a high-profile defection skillfully managed by the other side, an idiotic delight at how the party is becoming "purer" - that's the GOP today. And to British ears, it all sounds very familiar. It is distinctly reminiscent of the Conservative Party in Britain during the Tony Blair years.

Sudanese president defies indictment
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - From his travel schedule, you'd never know that an arrest warrant has been issued for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Even as the violence in Darfur continues, he continues to be welcome in nations across Africa and the Middle East.

Al Gore's N Korean Mission?
WASHINGTON - It sounds like a movie script: Two California women traverse a foreign country looking to write about oppressed and abused women. The well-intentioned souls disappear without a trace, snatched by government security forces and forced into a world of barren prison cells and mock trials for "espionage."

19-year-old erratic highway driver arrested Saturday
ANCHORAGE - A 19-year-old man is under arrest after leading Alaska State Troopers on a highway chase in a car with no tires.

Fast ferry to be out of service longer than expected
JUNEAU - The Alaska Marine Highway System says it will take longer than expected for the fast ferry Fairweather to be put back in service.

Supreme Court sides with Anchorage in utility rate hike
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Supreme Court has sided with Anchorage in a battle with the state over water and sewer rates.

Japan Airlines resumes seasonal flights to Alaska
ANCHORAGE - Japan Airlines has scheduled 17 charter flights to Alaska this summer.

DOT deals with flooding at rural airports in Interior
JUNEAU - Department of Transportation and Public Facilities crews are dealing with flooding at some of Alaska's rural airports in the Interior.

Coast Guard aids fishing vessel
JUNEAU - The Coast Guard has delivered two dewatering pumps to a fishing vessel taking on water.

Gravel mining makes way for industrial park
BIRCHWOOD - Eklutna Inc., the Anchorage Native corporation, is laying the groundwork for a 162-acre industrial park in Birchwood.

Frontier begins seasonal flights to Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - Frontier Airlines says it has started its seasonal flights between Anchorage and Denver.

Anchorage man drives car into post office Saturday
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police say a man drove his car into an East Anchorage post office, barely missing people standing inside.

Fairbanks man dies in motorcycle crash
FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks police say a 28-year-old motorcyclist has died after crashing during an apparent high-speed race.

Volunteers clear litter from Anchorage waterways Saturday
ANCHORAGE - The annual Creek Cleanup in Anchorage may have produced less trash this year, but strange items were still fished out of waterways.

Anchorage high school graduations streamed live
ANCHORAGE - The graduation ceremonies of eight Anchorage high schools will be available for viewing on the Internet.

Ketchikan library fire extinguisher malfunctions
KETCHIKAN - A malfunctioning fire extinguisher has created a huge mess at the Ketchikan Public Library.

Chena Flood Control Project to receive stimulus funds
FAIRBANKS - Federal stimulus funds will enable the Chena Flood Control Project to replace faulty drainage pipes and remodel its office.

Swine flu suspected in crew member on cruise ship
A crew member aboard a cruise ship in Alaska waters is recovering from what health officials suspect is swine flu.

New bill would resolve Sealaska land issue
It's widely acknowledged that Sealaska Corp. is owed some land. "It's time that we resolve the entitlement issue to Sealaska," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who introduced the Senate version of a new bill that settles its four-decade-long land entitlement.

President won't fight global warming with polar bear rules
The Obama administration, which promised a sharp break from the Bush White House on global warming, declared Friday it would stick with a Bush-era policy against expanding protection for climate-threatened polar bears and ruled out a broad new attack on greenhouse gases.

State sending supplies to flooded communities
ANCHORAGE - Ice jams from spring breakup continue to slowly move down the Yukon River, inundating small villages along the way.

Urban bear policy too lax?
ANCHORAGE - Spring is here and bears are emerging from their dens for the short stroll to Alaska's largest city. Some residents are putting out the NO VACANCY sign.

Yukon River flood leaves Eagle in ruins
EAGLE VILLAGE - A blue and white vacuum hung 20 feet from the ground in a spruce as the trail turned to caked mud. A fine, gray silt deposited by raging river water coated plants and rocks.

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