Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Government-run health care a bad idea
It was some amusement that I read the letter in last Fridays paper from the gentleman in Soldotna who encouraged people to write to our Republican representatives and let them know that they should get on board with the President Obama's health care plan. As it happened, I had just sent an e-mail the other day to Sen. Mark Begich saying the last thing I wanted was the government to be involved in health care, at least where I'm concerned.

Assessor: Property values stable
Unlike some Lower 48 real estate markets in free-fall, Juneau's property values are stable, city Assessor Robin Potter said last week.

Superintendent wants to address achievement gap
In looking for a superintendent position to advance his career, Glenn Gelbrich wanted to find a district with a demonstrated achievement gap.

City to forgive half of fishermen's memorial debt
A 13-year-old debt to the city by an organization that built the Alaska Commercial Fishermen's Memorial should be partially forgiven, the Assembly Finance Committee said Wednesday.

Fishy research
Four Alaska Department Fish and Game workers are standing under a departmental garage in the rain, chopping the tops off fish heads. From the attached bar codes and tags, pink with black polka dots, we know they are sockeye salmon caught near Wrangell.

Juneau Road project moves into new realm
New cost estimates boosting the Juneau Access Project to half a billion dollars has moved the road into the realm of "mega-projects," a designation bringing with it new federal regulations.

Joyriders steal local skiff, return it the next day
Joyriders stole Gary Stambaugh's skiff during the Independence Day fireworks show - then returned it to the same spot the next morning.

Sealaska institute acquires photography collections
Sealaska Heritage Institute has acquired two photographs documenting Southeast Alaska Native cultures from circa 1883 to the 1990s.

Photo: Fields of fireweed
Beverly Agler rides her bike Monday along the airport dike trail with fireweed in full bloom.

Photo: Lazy Monday
Scott Arnett makes the most of Monday's sunny weather at Twin Lakes.

Photo: Bring on the bubbles
Whale watchers aboard the St. Gregory are treated to a close-up view of about 10 humpback whales bubble-net feeding in Stephens Passage Saturday evening.

Photo: Nitro-powered hobby
Ernie Carrillo uses a radio control to drive his nitromethane-powered, 1/10 scale monster truck in a dirt lot at Mendenhall Loop and Conifer Lane on Sunday. Carrillo said he was breaking in the engine after a rebuild. He picked up the hobby while serving in Kuwait and Iraq with the National Guard. Unlike Juneau, Carrillo said the desert climate in those countries offered lots of sand for racing during off-duty hours.

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

Around Town
Today, July 14

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

Around Town
Today, July 13

Patsy Dustin Jordan
Juneau resident Patsy Dustin Jordan died July 12, 2009, after a brief illness. She was 82.

Rebuilding something better
Nearly six months ago, my administration took office amid the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression. At the time, we were losing, on average, 700,000 jobs a month. And many feared that our financial system was on the verge of collapse.

Outside editorial: A fair shake for legal aid
For the past 13 years, the Legal Services Corp. has had its hands tied while trying to fulfill its mission of representing poor people in civil matters. Legal aid lawyers, for example, have been prohibited from using federal and even privately procured or state and local funds to initiate class actions; they have also been barred from seeking attorney's fees even when they prevail in court - a benefit available to other lawyers in many civil rights or consumer protection matters. What's worse, legal aid clinics have been grossly underfunded, a result of cutbacks after the 1994 Republican congressional victories.

Outside editorial: Where is our 'cyber-czar?'
Where is our cyber-czar? As recent attacks on government and private Web sites illustrate, cyber-security is a critical national issue. That's why President Obama was right when he moved to create a high-ranking "cyber-czar" to guide the development of cyber-defense. Now, months later, there is work to be done, and there is still no one in place to do it. Obama's initial notion of a dual-role coordinator reporting to the National Economic Council and the National Security Council may be the problem - its nebulous authority has scared off even top potential contenders. Attracting someone to this vital job may mean giving the czar clearer authority to monitor and coordinate security efforts that are spread across multiple agencies. But the need for someone to develop a coherent cyber-policy is pressing.

Elitist credit protection consumers don't need
Are consumers "protected" when they are denied the opportunity to buy products and services that are available to others? Is that what consumers want? Does it matter what they want?

Bull running always a good story
I ran with the bulls once. Just over 20 years ago. I was younger and faster back then. I was also drunk. Everyone was. What most people don't realize about that famous Spanish tradition - popularized by Ernest Hemmingway in "The Sun Also Rises"- is that it is part of the weeklong festival of St. Fermin, and another part of that festival is drinking all night. And I mean all night.

Strategies needed for school Internet access
Web site filters in schools have had tremendous success in keeping one group of people from freely searching online. Unfortunately, that group is teachers.

Here is what I'd ask from Detroit
Now that General Motors and Chrysler have emerged from bankruptcy and Ford stayed in business, let's hope the Big Three find their way back into our driveways.

Thousands expected at Palin's power hand-over on July 26
FAIRBANKS - Thousands are expected to attend the Alaska governor's annual Fairbanks picnic, where Gov. Palin will officially step down and transfer power to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell.

Hazardous waste collected on Sunday
JUNEAU - Residents can bring their hazardous household waste products to a recycling event this Sunday.

Weather prevents Palin's visit to Valdez
VALDEZ - Poor visibility caused Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to cancel a visit to Valdez.

Alaska universities partner with VA to improve GI Bill
WASHINGTON - Two Alaska universities, Alaska Pacific University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, have entered into Yellow Ribbon Program agreements with the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve financial aid for veterans participating in the Post-9/11 GI Bill program.

Coast Guard responds to grounded fishing vessel in Wrangell Harbor Saturday
JUNEAU - The Coast Guard responded to the 58-foot fishing vessel Siren, which grounded with 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board in Wrangell Harbor early Saturday morning.

Prosecutors want inmate's jailhouse marriage invalidated
ANCHORAGE - Federal prosecutors have asked a court to invalidate an accused killer's jailhouse marriage, contending it's a scheme to keep things said between the couple confidential.

Unalaska man in bike race dies after falling against guardrail
ANCHORAGE - A 64-year-old Unalaska man is dead after striking his head in a fall during a bicycle race near Glennallen.

Alaska lawmakers may be asked to drop fishing poles
FAIRBANKS - A group of lawmakers are hoping to override Gov. Sarah Palin's veto of energy-related stimulus dollars during a special session. But there may be some problems getting the Legislature together.

Plant evacuated after toxic leak
PORTLAND, Ore. - Seven people have been admitted to a hospital and another 14 have been treated following a carbon monoxide leak at a produce plant north of Salem, Ore.

DOT announces intermittent bridge closures in Haines
JUNEAU - Department of Transportation and Public Facilities bridge officials announced intermittent bridge closures for Haines Wednesday and Thursday.

PETA protests fish-throwing at Seattle convention
SEATTLE - A group of half-naked animal-rights activists dressed like fish say a veterinary convention is no place for fish-throwing.

Farmer to run for mayor
JUNEAU - Mark Farmer announced his intention Saturday to run for mayor.

Another man's body found outdoors in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police are investigating as suspicious the death of an eighth man whose body was found outdoors in the past two months.

Parnell moves ahead with Campbell appointment
Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell is designating Lt. Gen. Craig Campbell as a "temporary substitute" to replace himself as lieutenant governor.

Palin says she's not leaving politics
WASHINGTON - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said she's not only staying involved in national politics, but she plans to jump back into the national scrum when she leaves office at the end of the month.

State receives grant to combat underage drinking
Continued efforts to combat underage drinking in Alaska seem to be working, officials say.

Shooting event tests marksmen
FAIRBANKS - When you find yourself between a crazy-eyed, wild-handed Winchester man, his whole unruly outfit and the last bottle of that water-weak whiskey, you know what you have to do to survive.

First day of Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race sign-up lures 60 mushers
WASILLA - Sixty dog mushers, led by three-time defending champion Lance Mackey of Two Rivers, have signed up for the 38th running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Man charged with stealing from Alaska Marine Conservation Council disappears
ANCHORAGE - A man charged with stealing more than $108,000 from the nonprofit Alaska Marine Conservation Council has disappeared, but not before he first confessed to his crimes online, sought legal help and promised to return all the money, authorities said.

Palin to appear at Calif. gala after resignation
LOS ANGELES - Former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is slated to appear at a Republican gala in suburban Los Angeles next month as she moves to broaden her national influence after stepping down as Alaska governor.

Palin's PAC has raised more than $730,000, latest report shows
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's political action committee raised nearly $733,000 in its first five months, according to a report filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission.

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