Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Advocacy group 'not worthy' of support
I read with interest the article in the May 15 Empire about the nonprofit group formed to dispel regional development myths - until I got the report that the group was formed because of environmental propaganda paid for by non-Alaskans and distortions by outside groups.

Just the facts
In reading the May 19 letter "Advocacy group 'not worthy' of support" in the May 19 Juneau Empire, I think the letter's author is missing the point. If "the whole truth and nothing but the truth" is important, then an organization who's mission statement is to dispel myths is worthy of support.

Community cleanup a big success
Thanks to all who participated in the community-wide clean up at the beginning of May. Seeing the bags of collected trash and recyclables is a bittersweet sign of success. We have willing citizens who lend a hand, but every year there's stuff to clean up.

In midst of swine flu, recklessness continues
The stark contrast between our frenzied reaction to unfamiliar hazards and our reckless tolerance of familiar ones never ceases to amaze me.

A suggestion for decreasing tour traffic
I began working for the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau in 1988, and in the six years that I was with the bureau, tourism "grew." Tourists became more and more of a nuisance to the locals. And especially in the downtown neighborhoods. Given the fact that the governor's house is in the neighborhood and the streets are totally unsuitable for the large motor coaches, Chip's point is valid. However, Alaska has not ever had in its 50 years of statehood a more compelling, smart and attractive governor. With that comes the lookie lous. And possibly history!

Alaska's newest senator settles in
Juneau's new senator is learning just how much work is involved in being a legislator, even when the Legislature is not meeting.

Assembly approves $309 million 2010 budget
The Juneau Assembly approved its $309.3 million operating budget for fiscal year 2010 in an 8-1 vote Monday night.

Man charged with 13 counts of sexual abuse
A 24-year-old man had his bail set at $40,000 on Monday at Dimond Courthouse in Juneau on 13 felony sexual abuse counts.

Bail set at $51,000 for alleged Oxy dealer
A 31-year-old man was in court Tuesday on charges he sold OxyContin to an undercover informant.

Palin dedicates legislative building
Alaska's top political and judicial leaders met in front of the Alaska Capitol and Dimond Courthouse Monday to name a new legislative office building after Judge Thomas Stewart, who died Dec. 12, 2007.

Police identify 'person of interest' in string of recent burglaries
A 22-year-old Juneau man was arrested Monday on a felony warrant for a parole violation, but authorities are now considering him a person of interest relating to a string of recent burglaries.

Photos: Underwater robotics
Thunder Mountain High School freshman Nathalie Aguirre, 15, center, receives a hug from her friend Teresa Rose, 15, as her teammate Trevor Ham, 15, pulls their remotely controlled vehicle out of the water at the Augustus Brown Pool on Sunday. Sea Perch is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research as part of the National Naval Responsibility for Naval Engineering in order to encourage students to pursue careers in science and engineering in general, and naval architecture, marine engineering, naval engineering and advanced marine design. The program is funded locally through the Juneau Economic Development Council.

Out of smell, out of mind
Lemon Creek may finally be rid of the sulfurous smell of rotten eggs that has intermittently drifted away from the city's landfill.

Photo: Firefighter recognition
Capital City Fire and Rescue Chief Eric Mohrmann hands Firefighter/Paramedic Sandi Kelly her Emergency Medical Service Instructor of the Year Award for the Southeast Region at the beginning of the Juneau Assembly meeting on Monday. Also receiving recognition was Captain Scott Fergusson, left, as the new volunteer captain of the Auke Bay District, Captain John Krebsbach, center, who coordinated and taught Firefighter I classes, and Lieutenant Sean Huntly, right, who is retiring after 12 years of service as a volunteer firefighter.

Goldbelt CEO: investigation could hurt corporation
A Congressional investigation into Alaska Native Corporations' use of federal contracting preferences could wind up harming Juneau's Goldbelt, Inc., said CEO Gary Droubay.

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

Photos: Hot wheels
A firefighter signals for water as he and other members of Capital City Fire and Rescue respond to a car fire about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Fifth and Harris streets. The woman driving the pickup said it stalled while crossing the intersection and a passer-by called for her to get out because the vehicle was smoking. The driver escaped unharmed shortly before the truck burst into flames.

Around Town
Today, May 19

Photo: REACHing for new technology
Dr. Ken Brown, Medical Director for the emergency room at Bartlett Regional Hospital, Justine Muench, on bed, Staff Development Coordinator, and Nurse Maria Polyviou demonstrate Tuesday the new Remote Evaluation of Acute ischemic Stroke (REACH) technology that allows stroke physicians to remotely diagnose, evaluate and recommend treatment for stroke patients via a webcam, laptop and Internet connection. The new service is a partnership with Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. The telemedicine technology was developed by REACH Call Inc. of Augusta, Ga. and more than 80 hospitals across the country are using the service that offers access to a neurologist.

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

Around Town
Today, May 20

Mary Pearce Hartley Fleek
Former Douglas resident Mary I. Pearce Hartley Fleek died peacefully on April 27, 2009, in her home of 55 years in Ferndale, Calif. She was 91.

Vitan Mitev Ganev
Longtime Juneau resident Vitan Mitev Ganev died with his family at his side at 10:24 a.m. Feb. 12, 2009, at Wild Flower Court, due to complications from multiple strokes. He was 68.

Complex appropriately bears Stewart's name
Last Monday, I had a chance to see a little history being made in downtown Juneau. Gov. Sarah Palin signed into law Senate Bill 29, designating the former Scottish Rite Temple as the Thomas B. Stewart Legislative Office Building. This made me happy for a number of reasons and I am fortunate to have been there.

Look to Brady decision for fair trial standards
When dismissing the charges against former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens recently, the trial judge noted that the prosecutorial failures to turn over exculpatory evidence in that case were symptomatic of a larger problem within the Justice Department. Indeed, such failures are happening across our criminal justice system.

My turn: Alaskans aren't gullible
A recent column by Gary Droubay in the Juneau Empire took issue with various aspects of the cruise ship initiative enacted in 2006. As a primary author of the initiative - which is now state law - I believe it is appropriate to respond. Mr. Droubay claims the state initiative has reduced revenue to the City and Borough of Juneau, has caused cruise lines to re-deploy cruise vessels to other ports of call and generally wrecked economic havoc on the industry.

Alaska needs to consider all its energy options
Ensuring that Alaskans have affordable energy for decades to come is one of the most important jobs on my desk right now. To succeed, the state needs to look at every possible option and make sure Alaskans have all the information to make the right decisions.

Outside editorial: Obama deftly calms culture war passions
When Notre Dame, the nation's best-known Catholic university, asked resolutely pro-choice President Barack Obama to receive an honorary degree and deliver the commencement address this year, it caused intense controversy in Catholic circles. About 50 U.S. bishops publicly opposed the president's planned appearance, which violated their 2004 directive that Catholic universities "should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles."

Outside editorial: Let Congress address issue of climate change
I nterior Secretary Ken Salazar ruffled more than a few feathers this month when he let stand a Bush administration decision to prohibit the use of the Endangered Species Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. It was the right call when it was made in 2008, and it is the right call now. Tackling climate change - and all the implications that has for the economy - should be dealt with by the people's representatives in Congress, not through a 36-year-old law not designed for such a complex task. Just how complex will be on full display Monday when the House begins its scheduled debate on the American Clean Energy and Security Act.

Ketchikan gets interim mayor
KETCHIKAN - Lew Williams III, a longtime City Council member and co-publisher of the Ketchikan Daily News, has been appointed the city's interim mayor.

Seat belt campaign kicks off in Alaska
JUNEAU - The state Department of Transportation and other agencies are kicking off a seat belt enforcement campaign.

Man arrested for OxyContin - again
JUNEAU - A 32-year-old Juneau man was arrested on Monday afternoon for selling OxyContin to an undercover informant.

Man dies in one-car Anchorage crash
ANCHORAGE - A driver in his late 20s died and another man was critically injured in a one-car crash on Anchorage's east side.

Flood threat subsides along Yukon River
FAIRBANKS - National Weather Service officials say threats of flooding have fallen along most of the Yukon River.

Police release name of man found dead in park
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police have released the name of the fourth man in 10 days to be found dead outdoors.

Flooding victims seek donations to fill needs
FAIRBANKS - People in communities along the Yukon River devastated by flooding are asking people who want to donate to tailor items to their needs.

Former Hughes tribal chief dies
FAIRBANKS - Joe Beetus, a former tribal chief from the Interior Alaska village of Hughes, has died at age 93.

Driver who fled police taken into custody
KENAI - Alaska State Troopers say a police pursuit that ended in a crash in Kenai involved a 30-year-old Anchorage man who had a child passenger in his car at the time.

3 apply to replace Ketchikan mayor
KETCHIKAN - Three people have applied to complete the term of Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein, who resigned to take a job with U.S. Sen. Mark Begich.

Fairbanks group celebrates Arbor Day
FAIRBANKS - An Arbor Day committee in Fairbanks planned to celebrate the event by planting 50 trees in honor of 50 years of Alaska Statehood.

Home sweet home ... finally
After a long, late spring practicing inside and 10 straight road games around the state, the Crimson Bears are finally coming home to play - all weekend long.

JDHS bats get silly in Wasilla
The Juneau-Douglas High School softball team ended their six-game roadtrip Monday by making quick work of their hosts from Wasilla, forcing the umpires to evoke the mercy rule before either game of their doubleheader reached the sixth inning.

JV hitters go 3-1 in Sitka series
In a weekend series in Sitka against Ketchikan and Sitka, the Juneau-Douglas High School junior varsity baseball team won three of four games.

Photos: Little League, big effort
Junior League Padre Stephan Jones slides safely into third base past the tag of Oriole Marteen Conchas Saturday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. The Orioles won the game 14-13, but had to weather a wild comeback. The Padres had trailed by as much as 14-4 in the fourth inning.

Juneau Sport Fishing Report
According to the third week of our creel survey, king salmon are being harvested in the traditional fishing spots. Last week, the hot spots were the Marmion-South Douglas area, followed by the Taku Inlet-Pt. Bishop area and west Pt. Retreat-Cordwood area. Last week, it took the average Juneau area marine boat angler 132 rod hours to harvest a king, a little longer than the prior week's 120-rod hours. Last year it took 51 rod-hours and the five-year average was 48-rod hours per fish. King salmon fishing will improve in the coming weeks, and should peak around Memorial Day. Remember, anglers must have in possession a 2009 fishing license and a king salmon stamp.

Dog days of summer are back
It was almost balmy last week!! Perfect softball weather, and if you weren't playing, you should be re-thinking that decision.

Sports in Juneau
UPCOMING EVENTS

FEC dismisses complaint over Palin clothing
WASHINGTON - The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint over the $150,000-plus designer wardrobe the Republican Party bought to outfit vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

'Landless' Natives try for redress
In 1971, Congress settled the aboriginal claims of all Alaska Natives: It gave them 44 million acres, $1 billion and mandated the creation of 13 regional and more than 200 Alaska Native corporations. But for unknown reasons, it left out Natives from five Southeast communities.

Blue whales return to Alaska
Blue whales are returning to Alaska in search of food and could be re-establishing an old migration route several decades after they were nearly wiped out by commercial whalers, scientists say.

AK Native corporation contracts get a close look
ANCHORAGE - A senator from Missouri is launching a new investigation into the billions of contracting dollars awarded to Alaska Native corporations by the federal government in recent years.

Tlingit weaver wins NEA fellowship
ANCHORAGE - A Sitka artist renowned for her Tlingit weaving and basketry is among the 11 Americans honored with a National Heritage Fellowship, which comes with a $25,000 prize.

'Bear Haven' man charged with feeding animals
ANCHORAGE - An Alaska man featured in a six-part Animal Planet series on living with bears has been charged with illegally feeding the animals.

Councilman gives up long-distance seat
KETCHIKAN - A Ketchikan city councilman has given up his quest to keep his seat despite working out of town. Way, way, out of town.

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