Wednesday, July 15, 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.

Feds crack down on Alaska home care programs
The federal government is barring Alaska from accepting more of its frail and elderly residents into its home and personal care services programs until the state shows it can fix a series of problems that may be endangering seniors.

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.

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.

City to consider raising tobacco tax
A health advocacy organization wants the city to raise cigarette taxes in Juneau from 30 cents a pack to $1.

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.

Ketchikan mill is awarded Orion North timber
The U.S. Forest Service agreed Monday to sell timber to a Ketchikan mill in a roadless area of the Tongass National Forest after the Obama administration's approved the sale.

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

Photo: Time's tickin' til quittin'
Tourists view the doorway leading to the office of the Governor on the third floor of the Capitol building on Tuesday. The clock is still ticking for the Palin/Parnell administration.

Photo: Cool treat
Barbara Greening, second from right, of Juneau, enjoys frozen treats on South Franklin Street Tuesday with her visiting nieces from Washington state. From left are Mariah Wilson, Elan Tomlinson, her sister, Annelle, and Corianna Tomlinson.

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

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

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

Around Town
Today, July 14

Around Town
Today, July 15

Henrich R. Bean
Kake resident Henrich R. Bean died July 10, 2009, at home in Kake.

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

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.

The 'cap and tax' dead end
There is no shortage of threats to our economy. America's unemployment rate recently hit its highest mark in more than 25 years and is expected to continue climbing. Worries are widespread that even when the economy finally rebounds, the recovery won't bring jobs. Our nation's debt is unsustainable, and the federal government's reach into the private sector is unprecedented.

Palin dodged chances to talk with News-Miner
I had written a column that was just about ready for publication when Gov. Sarah Palin derailed it last week with news of her resignation. The column was about my frustrating and fruitless campaign of the past seven months to have the governor speak to the editorial board of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

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?

My Turn: Money and power: The aphrodisiacs of politics
The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council asserted last Friday in a Juneau Empire column that they are doing the "right thing" about Kensington. However, what they are doing is politics, plain and simple. SEACC is in the business of politics, and if one digs down, the motivation one finds is money and power.

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.

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.

Store owners appeal Ketchikan's 'Fiddler' monument decision
KETCHIKAN - The owners of a Ketchikan store hope a Superior Court judge will let them keep a wooden "Fiddler on the Roof" sculpture atop their business.

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

St. Paul, Minn., man drowns in Alaska river
FAIRBANKS - Authorities say a 22-year-old man from St. Paul, Minn., drowned when his raft overturned on a river in the foothills of the Brooks Range.

Morris Publishing given extension on interest payment
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Morris Publishing Group, LLC, parent company of the Juneau Empire, obtained an extension until July 31 to make a $9.7 million interest payment on its senior subordinated notes, the company announced Tuesday.

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

Plane crash kills 2 near Wasilla
ANCHORAGE - Authorities say a small plane crashed west of Wasilla killed both people on board.

Police: Man chased teen girl in failed kidnapping
FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks police say a shirtless man chased a 14-year-old girl in an attempted kidnapping while the teen was jogging on Saturday.

City reduces harbor dry storage fee
JUNEAU - The fee for dry storage at city harbors will be reduced by half.

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.

Trooper arrested in drunk driving probe
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Department of Public Safety says a 36-year-old Alaska state trooper has been arrested in Soldotna for investigation of drunken driving and weapons misconduct.

Hoonah Ferry terminal gets $3 million in stimulus money
ANCHORAGE - Alaska is getting $3 million in federal stimulus money to pay for improvements to the Hoonah Ferry Terminal.

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.

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.

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.

Russian Orthodox museum to close its doors for good
ANCHORAGE - A museum that chronicled the history of the Russian Orthodox church in Alaska with artifacts and artwork dating back as long as a century will close its doors in August.

Battles for first down to finales
Another gorgeous week in Juneau, and the softball season is steaming into its exciting finale this week.

Photos: Juneau Majors 11-12 Softball All-Stars
Back row left to right: Coach Scott Balovich, Coach John Schauwecker, Randi Held, Ashley Boucher, Kayla Balovich, Jodi Mesdag, Emma Good, Coach Chuck Gordon, Manager John Boucher

Interior secretary: Mining reform a top priority
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration will make overhauling the nation's 137-year-old hard-rock mining law a top priority despite a full plate of higher-profile issues, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday.

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.

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

Another ethics complaint filed against Palin
ANCHORAGE - Outgoing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is facing yet another ethics complaint - the 18th against her and the very thing that helped to prompt her resignation.

Moose Dropping Festival turns to mayhem
TALKEETNA - A 22-year-old man is presumed dead after leaping into a river and getting swept away at the annual Talkeetna Moose Dropping Festival.

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'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.

Terminal near Mt. Redoubt to resume moving oil
ANCHORAGE - An oil pipeline company plans to resume shipments from its terminal near the base of an Alaskan volcano that has sent hot boulders, huge ice chunks and mud flowing toward the terminal on several occasions since becoming active again in March.

Homer area mine played role in World War II
HOMER - An abandoned mine shaft staring out from a cliff near the McDonald Spit across Kachemak Bay contains its own story about chromite; a time when America needed it and Alaska happened to have it.

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