Family before profit
The two things I hate most - dealing with medical insurance companies and my annual prostate examination - both leave me with the same sensation afterward. My friend has a contact within a large insurance company. The friend stated, confidentially, that her company's strategy is to make it as hard as possible for Joe Policy-holder to claim the benefits he is entitled to.

Wasteful spending in Washington
There is a current issue in the U.S. Senate right now to fund a backup engine for the Joint Strike Fighter. This basically is pork barrel politics at its worst. It would cost billions and the current engine is working just fine, according to the experts, including President Obama, who stated on May 7 "We're going to save money by eliminating unnecessary defense programs that do nothing to keep us safe - but rather prevent us from spending money on what does keep us safe. One example is a $465 million program to build an alternate engine it has. The engine it has works."

50th anniversary tribute moving
Two interesting non-events took place in Juneau on July 4. One was the non-public display of the Declaration of Independence on cruise ships. Apparently it was supposed to be shown but for security reasons (that lovely catch-all term) it was not taken off the ship and the public could not come on board except by invitation.

Juneau Road costs keep climbing
The cost to build a road north out of Juneau has climbed to around half a billion dollars, according to new estimates the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities released Thursday.

Woman, 66, dies after jumping off State Office Building
A woman died in an apparent suicide after jumping from the eighth floor balcony of the State Office Building Thursday afternoon.

Out the road, a new research forest
Tongass National Forest managers recently declared 40 square miles at the end of the Juneau road the newest "experimental forest" of the U.S. Forest Service and given it a central research focus of climate change.

Hazy skies result of Interior fires
According to forecasters, the haze obscuring our otherwise clear skies is the result of forest fires burning in Interior Alaska.

Photo: Swinging good time
12-year-old DJ Toyomura swings across the monkey bars as his cousin Lauren Rabago, 12, watches Thursday at Project Playground at Twin Lakes. DJ, from Petersburg, is visiting his aunt in Juneau and is here for a boy scout camp.

Photo: Just loungin' around
Stellar sea lions lounge on a buoy Tuesday a few miles north of Statter Harbor in Auke Bay.

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

Around Town
Today, July 10

Alaska editorial: Taxed or not, gas price problem won't go away
Even though Alaska has suspended the state gasoline tax, we are still stuck paying some of the highest gasoline prices in the country. Last week, reported that Anchorage's price for unleaded was 30 cents higher than the national average.

My Turn: Clean Water Act now in Obama's hands
There's been a lot of talk and speculation around town about what the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) intends to do following the recent Kensington mine Supreme Court decision. So here's where we are:

The infamous kind of fame
The culture of celebrity giveth and the culture of celebrity taketh away. If you don't believe it, just look at Sarah Palin and Michael Jackson.

Lawyer: Campbell needs confirmation as lt. gov.
ANCHORAGE - The process for picking Alaska's lieutenant governor is under review.

Palin to sign gun rights bills
FAIRBANKS - Gun rights enthusiasts, including rock 'n roller turned avid hunter Ted Nugent, are expected to call in to a talk radio show in Fairbanks, where Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has scheduled an appearance.

Levi Johnston says Palin's resignation about money
ANCHORAGE - The former fiance of Gov. Sarah Palin's 18-year-old daughter says he thinks he knows why the Alaska governor is resigning - concerns over money.

Double shooting occurs in Unalaska
UNALASKA - Authorities say an Unalaska man died from a gunshot wound after apparently shooting another man in the head and chest.

Spending bill includes more for Fort Wainwright
FAIRBANKS - A military spending bill approved this week by the Senate Appropriations Committee could include as much as $125 million for new construction at Fort Wainwright.

Iowa GOP wants Alaska gov. for fundraiser
DES MOINES, Iowa - Officials of the Iowa Republican Party say they are trying to attract Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to the state GOP's premier annual fundraising event.

Alaska Lt. Gov. Parnell says he'll keep Palin's team
ANCHORAGE - Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell says he'll bring Gov. Sarah Palin's top advisers with him when he takes over as Alaska governor July 26.

Christie won't ask Palin to campaign in NJ
TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie has ended speculation that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will campaign for him.

Baranov Museum gets grant to preserve jackets
KODIAK - The Baranov Museum in downtown Kodiak has been awarded a $7,440 grant to help preserve four gut skin jackets.

Group will sue EPA over pesticides in polar bears
ANCHORAGE - An environmental group has given formal notice that it will sue the federal government to protect polar bears from pesticide pollution.

Hello, Juneau
Well, after weeks of planning, 3,700 miles and a six-hour ferry ride, I'm here.

Students, instructor earn new rankings
JUNEAU - Karate instructor Diana Stevens has earned the rank of Godan, or fifth degree black belt, reflecting a level of proficiency sought by many and obtained by an elite few in martial arts.

Palin admin releases breakdown of ethics expenses
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sarah Palin, in explaining her upcoming resignation, has repeatedly said attacks on her since she ran for vice president have cost state government millions.

A closer look at Palin's personal finances
ANCHORAGE - Since Sarah Palin abruptly resigned as governor, she has repeatedly cited the bombardment of ethics complaints against her while conceding the financial burden of defending herself had taken its toll.

Spending bill includes more for Ft. Wainwright
FAIRBANKS - A military spending bill approved this week by the Senate Appropriations Committee could include as much as $125 million for new construction at Fort Wainwright.

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