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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Unfair law
A recent law enacted by Congress unfairly discriminates against retirement benefits for some current and all retired federal employees in Alaska. Federal employees throughout the nation are making an equal contribution to the health, well-being and security of our nation. All employees deserve equal treatment and should not be penalized in retirement for choosing to serve outside the Lower 48. The National Active and Retired Federal Employees association (NARFE) has begun a campaign to have this law amended to include everyone. I, for one, cannot understand why this imbalance has been allowed to continue.

Biodiversity? Doesn't look like it
The United Nations has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity. But Gov. Sean Parnell still can't get it right. His appointments to the Board of Game looks as though it is his personal "Year of No Diversity."

Juneauites remember Hickel as principled, tough, gracious
Juneauites who knew former Gov. Walter Hickel praised him this week for consistently putting his principles, and Alaska, first.

Photo: Bargin' the bus
A Juneau city bus makes its way through Gastineau Channel just north ofDIPAC to dry land Monday evening,arriving on a Northland Services barge.

Photo: Mobile classroom wows children
Shane Hertzog, an Alaska Department of Fish and Game technician, watches Justin Geary, 3, experience a hermit crab crawling along his hands at the Aquatic Education Classroom onTuesday. The mobile classroom is parked at the Wayside Park on Channel Drive through Friday and will be hosting fourth and fifth graders.

Photo: Hanging up decorations around town
Carrie Cummings, of the city's landscape division, hangs flowering pots at Franklin and Front Streets on Monday. The city puts out almost 200 of the pots each summer.

Photo: Fishing for salmon at False Outer Point
Low tide gives shore fishermen looking for king salmon an elevated view off the rocks at False Outer Point on Sunday.

Barto awarded appointment to US Naval Academy
JUNEAU - Juneau-Douglas High School senior Alexander Barto has been awarded an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. Barto will travel to Annapolis, Maryland for his induction ceremony July 1, 2010. He plans on majoring in engineering.

Peter Allen Tassell
Juneau resident Peter Allen Tassell died April 30, 2010 at Providence Hospital in Anchorage. He was 76.

Richard L. Stragier
Former Juneau resident Richard L. Stragier died on May 8, 2010 in Marysville, Wash. He was 62.

Star wars Obama's space plan
The following editorial firstappeared in the Orlando Sentinel:

An illegal substance sold legally
"He owned some drugstores, a lot of drugstores," Daisy Buchanan said. "He built them up himself."

Pet stores keep cruel animal trade alive
If you care about animals, you should never buy one from a pet store. That may seem counterintuitive, but PETA's undercover investigations have demonstrated time and again that pet shops and the companies that supply them treat animals like disposable objects. No thought is given to the fact that they are living beings.

The Red Pen Challenge
On the last day of the legislative session, the Alaska Legislature passed the capital budget. Its largess rivaled any other capital budget in the history of the State of Alaska. Some said lawmakers were being good stewards. Others likened the passage of the bill to irresponsible spending. What is clear is that in Alaska, where the Permanent Fund Dividend is sacred and a proposal to tax the people to pay for public services might be cause for a revolt, members of the Legislature are not rewarded for exercising fiscal restraint, especially in an election year. Did the system fail or did it produce the results it was designed to produce?

Gulf oil spill: same old arguments
Last month's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has reignited the on-again, off-again public angst about our nation's energy policy - or lack thereof. Environmentalists are using the accident as a political club against expanded drilling on public lands. Republicans are using it as yet another reason we need to do more to subsidize energy production. It is a dispiriting debate that illustrates the profound intellectual poverty animating our public conversation about energy policy.

Step up to the plate
The following editorial first appeared in the Los Angeles Times:

Man seriously injured when lift touches power line
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police say a 39-year-old man was seriously injured when the machinery he was operating touched a power line.

DOT schedules Brotherhood Bridge meeting
JUNEAU - The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities will host a public meeting May 24 for the proposed Brotherhood Bridge replacement and multi-use trail to UAS projects. The purpose of the meeting will be to provide information on project planning activities and to give the public the opportunity to ask questions.

Anchorage murder charge dismissed
ANCHORAGE - A judge has thrown out a murder charge against an Anchorage man who was accused of killing his wife.

Soldier killed in crash near Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS - The second victim in a fatal, head-on crash south of Fairbanks last week has been identified as a 21-year-old Fort Wainwright soldier.

Pot clinic objects to business restrictions
GRANTS PASS, Ore. - A medical marijuana clinic in the Southern Oregon city of Rogue River is complaining restrictions imposed by the city are making them invisible to the public.

Swine flu wanes, but officials expect a return
FAIRBANKS - Alaska's last confirmed case of swine flu was six weeks ago, but public health officials expect it to return later this year.

Scheduling conflicts delay matricide trial again
KETCHIKAN - There could be further delays in the second trial for a woman accused of conspiring to murder her mother.

EPA will limit pesticides near salmon streams
GRANTS PASS, Ore. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it will impose restrictions on spraying three agricultural pesticides to keep them out of salmon streams after manufacturers refused to adopt the limits voluntarily.

Test results show gains in reading, math, science
JUNEAU - Preliminary results from spring standardized testing of Alaska's school children are in with mixed results.

Public invited to meet TMHS principal candidates
JUNEAU - Capital city residents will have a chance to meet, greet and grill Thunder Mountain High School's three candidates for principal this week.

Illnesses reported after Rotary luncheon
ANCHORAGE - At least 20 people reported suffering stomach illnesses after the Anchorage Downtown Rotary Club luncheon.

Juneau to approve budget tonight
JUNEAU - The Assembly is scheduled to approve Juneau's 2011 fiscal year budget at its meeting tonight.

UAF president granted emeritus standing
FAIRBANKS - University of Alaska president Mark Hamilton has been given emeritus status by the UA Board of Regents.

Coast Guard copter from Kodiak flies to Shemya
KODIAK - Coast Guard crews from Kodiak flew to Shemya in the western Aleutians to medevac a crewman who fell ill on a bulk carrier.

4 percent of Anchorage students are homeless
ANCHORAGE - About 2,100 of the 48,000 students in Anchorage schools are homeless.

Dead man found hanging in I-5 rest area
COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. - Oregon State Police say a man was found hanging from a low tree branch Monday in the northbound Interstate 5 rest area north of Cottage Grove.

School District fills key positions
JUNEAU - The Juneau School District has filled two key positions, completing a realignment of the central office that began last month. The changes are intended to intensify the focus on world-class instruction and are revenue neutral.

Juneau Therapeutic Court to hold commencement ceremony
JUNEAU - In recognition of National Drug and Alcohol Court Month, the Juneau Therapeutic Court will hold a ceremonial commencement and open house at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday in Courtroom A of the Dimond Courthouse.

Softball dog days
There may have been some sore muscles following the One-Pitch Softball Tournament last weekend, but that didn't stop anybody from getting back out on the diamond.

JDHS jumps all over Region V
The Region V 4A Championship track meet at rain-swept Thunder Mountain High School lived up to expectations, as the Crimson Bears ran away with another dominant performance in Southeast Conference competition.

DeRocher goes deep for walkoff win
The clouds parted - somewhat - and the rain mercifully stopped its downpour just in time for Juneau-Douglas to celebrate senior night and 20 years of Crimson Bears baseball on Saturday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park, with Don Cary, the school's first coach, throwing out the first pitch to mark the occasion.

Photo: Region V Track & Field Championships

Juneau-Douglas soccer teams surge on
The Crimson Bears boys JV squad saw more action than usual at the varsity level this weekend against Sitka, and once again they didn't disappoint on the field.

Softball Bears bury Homer, Soldotna
The Juneau-Douglas softball team completed a successful four-game road swing, dominating Homer and Soldotna on Friday and Saturday, in upping the Crimson Bears' record to 11-0 on the year.

Track & Field
Region V 4A Championships

Clock ticking as Parnell reviews capital budget
JUNEAU - The clock began ticking Monday on Gov. Sean Parnell's review of a nearly $3.1 billion capital spending bill.

Shell outlines safety measures for Arctic drilling
ANCHORAGE - Shell Oil Co. will take additional steps to ensure the exploratory drilling it plans to do in the Arctic Ocean this summer will be done safely, company President Marvin Odum said recently in a letter to federal regulators.

UAF sees increase in number of Native graduates
FAIRBANKS - The number of Alaska Native students graduating from the University of Alaska Fairbanks has reached an all-time high.

Quaker envoy seeks arms reduction support
Hearings on a nuclear arms treaty ratification will begin in the United States Senate today, and an advocate of the New START treaty has already been in Alaska seeking support for it.

Ex-Assembly members mostly back gas-trucking plan
FAIRBANKS - The Alaska Gasline Port Authority's plan to truck natural gas to Fairbanks is supported by most of the Fairbanks North Star Borough assembly members who helped form the entity 11 years ago.

Before Gulf spill, Shell touted Arctic drilling safety
Shell Oil executives assured Alaska legislators earlier this year that they could drill safely offshore in the state's pristine Arctic waters. A representative for the oil giant also blasted federal environmental regulators for what he described as an overly cumbersome permitting process.

Interior secretary acknowledges lax oil regulation
WASHINGTON - Grilled by skeptical lawmakers, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Tuesday acknowledged his agency had been lax in overseeing offshore drilling activities and that contributed to the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Foster care backers hopeful about reforms, funding
JUNEAU - When Les Gara's dad became a fatal victim of a New York City break-in decades ago, Gara's legal guardian became the state. He was 6 years old and stayed in foster care until he was 18.

Tax breaks revive interest in Cook Inlet drilling
ANCHORAGE - New tax breaks are reviving interest in drilling in Cook Inlet for natural gas.

Funeral Mass held for former Alaska Gov. Walter Hickel
ANCHORAGE - Mourners paid tribute Monday to former Alaska governor and Nixon Cabinet member Walter J. Hickel nine days after he died of natural causes at age 90.

Photo: Unwanted visitors shot by police

Suspect arrested in 1996 attempted homicide
ANCHORAGE - An Alaska fugitive sought in a 1996 attempted murder case has been arrested in Pennsylvania.

French climber, 51, dies from fall on Mt. McKinley
JUNEAU - A 51-year-old French climber has died after falling more than 1,000 feet down Alaska's Mount McKinley into a crevasse, park officials said Monday.

Police release details of arrest in 1995 shooting
ANCHORAGE - A dispute over a girlfriend may have led to a near-fatal 1995 Anchorage shooting for which an arrest was made last week in Pennsylvania, according to case files.

Regulators denied more time to build LNG plant in Alaska
JUNEAU - Federal regulators have denied a request by Yukon Pacific Co. to again give the company more time to build a liquefied natural gas plant in south-central Alaska.

Alaska troopers mishandled prison death probe
ANCHORAGE - Alaska state troopers say they mishandled the investigation of a 2008 beating death at the Spring Creek Correctional Center.

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