Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Begich a good choice for veterans
I am writing my fellow Empire readers to encourage them to vote for Mark Begich for Senate. We need a senator who will work to end the occupation of Iraq while supporting service members and their families. Mark Begich will do both.

State's children are a sound investment
While it often seems easier to see "problems" rather than "opportunities," the local democracy we call Alaska is full of unmeasured and undiscovered resources. Granted, there are many national rankings, such as family violence, child abuse and birth defects in which we score at higher numbers than we would like.

Trust in Redcorp tilts after tug accident
Redcorp Ventures' attempts to downplay an accident during conventional barging operations on the Taku River in early July demonstrates that this company cannot be trusted to operate safely on Southeast Alaska's most important salmon river.

Tracked tow vehicles dangerous on Taku
Barging of ore concentrates from the Tulsequah Chief Mine down the Taku River to Juneau seems reasonable if the barge or tow vehicles do not seriously disturb salmonid habitat.

Ballot initiative needed for Juneau power purchase
"Shall the City and Borough of Juneau investigate the feasibility and desirability of transferring control (over) all or part of Juneau's infrastructure to a public utility and include financial impacts, electrical reliability, and report the findings to the people of Juneau?" Yes or no?

Government spending won't reduce inflation
The article, "Economic woes spur talk of new stimulus plan" (Empire, July 17), seemed to suggest that increased governmental spending (economic stimulus) was a standard response to inflation. On the contrary, in classic economic theory the reverse is true.

Despite tax increase, oil profits rise
Alaska oil companies have seen their profits rise since Alaska imposed a big, and controversial, tax increase last year.

Lake Dorothy to go online in fall 2009
The first phase of the Lake Dorothy hydroelectric project should be up and running by October of next year, according to Alaska Electric Light & Power Co.

Around Town
Today

Photo: Wet 'n' wild
Rocky Holmes, left, grimaces as he pulls closer to Ron Flint on Sunday during the 1,300-meter Gastineau Challenge, sponsored by the Juneau Rowing Club. Holmes won the event in a time of 14:09:11. Flint took second, and Wayne Carnes was third.

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

Photo: Buffet line
Two immature bald eagles watch the approach of an adult eagle Saturday on a tree along Channel Drive. Many bald eagles are feeding in the area as chum salmon return to the Douglas Island Pink and Chum hatchery.

Photo: Walking to fight cancer
Zack, left, and Mary Ziegenfuss, right, walk with their children, Ezra, 11, second from right, and Ezekiel, 4, and their puppy, Gunner, during the final laps of the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life fundraiser Sunday at Dimond Park. Organizers said 225 people competing on 22 teams brought in $40,395 during the event.

Around Town
Today

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

Alaska editorial: No sense in cutting fed weatherization program right now
How silly is this? Fuel prices are rising stratospherically and have been doing so for a long time now. Yet Congress is considering an Energy Department spending bill that would cut back - that's right, reduce - a federal program that helps low-income families make their homes energy efficient.

Outside editorial: Obama proposal for faith-based initiatives is carefully tailored
Barack Obama gave a speech promoting faith-based initiatives recently that managed to upset both sides of the debate over whether and how to blend government funding and religious institutions. The strict separation of church and state types expressed dismay that Mr. Obama promised a continuation of what they see as undue entanglement. Some religious groups were unhappy about Mr. Obama's caveat: "(I)f you get a federal grant you can't use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can't discriminate against them - or against the people you hire - on the basis of their religion."

Throwing honesty away
Until just recently, policy-makers were doing well in the financial crisis. Congress passed a timely and well-crafted stimulus. Bear Stearns was rescued, averting market chaos. The Fed cut interest rates aggressively, reasonably fearing a collapse of the economy more than a collapse of the dollar.

Alaska editorial: Exxon should pay now what it owes
"Unfortunate" is the kindest description we can muster for the U.S. Supreme Court's June ruling slashing the damages Exxon must pay for the nation's largest oil spill. A $5 billion punitive-damages judgment to plaintiffs - a number arrived at nearly 20 years ago - was worth a lot more money when it was first calculated than it would be now.

Ravenous deer are spared by peace talks
You spend time, energy and money on landscaping and flowers, on making your home a respite, a retreat. Then the deer come along and eat it all up. This happens again and again, and finally you go to the state and get yourself a wildlife damage-control permit, which means you can call up the man with the bow and arrow and have him come sit in a tree and take out the offending pests.

We know what works, so let's do it
This will be the last What Works column. I reserve the right to report occasionally on any program I run across that shows results in saving the lives and futures of African-American kids. But this is the last in the series I started 19 months ago to spotlight such programs.

Okmok Volcano gets grumpy again
ANCHORAGE - The Okmok Volcano in the Aleutian Islands quieted some on Sunday, one day after a red-alert was issued and the volcano spit water, debris and gas 25,000 feet into the air.

Nikiski toddler drowns in lake
NIKISKI - Alaska State Troopers say a 1-year-old girl was found drowned in a Kenai Peninsula Lake.

First wolf pack is confirmed in Oregon
GRANTS PASS, Ore. - Oregon has its first wolf pack since the predator was wiped out by bounty hunting a century ago.

Woman wins triathlon and bike race in day
ANCHORAGE - All-around sportswoman Shannon Donley took home prizes in two local races in Anchorage this weekend.

Two charged with thefts from vehicles
FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks grand jury has indicted a man and woman suspected of breaking into dozens of parked vehicles.

Firefighters put out fire at mobile home
JUNEAU - Firefighters doused a small fire in a mobile home Friday as they left the scene of a medical call.

Barrow man convicted for meth, firearms
FAIRBANKS - A federal jury has convicted a Barrow man on drug possession and firearms charges.

Program gives blind people access to Web
SEATTLE - The computer technology gap between those who see and those who can't just got a little smaller.

NTSB considers grounding report
JUNEAU - The National Transportation Safety Board says it will meet next week to consider a report on the grounding last year of a cruise ship near Juneau.

State could take over wastewater permits
ANCHORAGE - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking at a request that would give Alaska's own environmental regulators the power to write wastewater discharge permits for local business and industry.

Cleveland Volcano erupts in Aleutians
ANCHORAGE - There are now two active volcanos in Alaska's Aleutians Islands.

Red salmon number surge on Kenai River
ANCHORAGE - The reds are in.

Anchorage beats Juneau 8-3
The Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars lost 8-3 to Anchorage in game one of the Girls Little League State Softball Championship (for girls ages 11-12). The winner of this week's best-of-three series in Juneau will travel to Vancouver, Wash., on July 25 to represent Alaska in the western regional championships. The Juneau girls face a huge challenge from a powerful Anchorage all-star squad that went undefeated in the District 1 championship tournament in Anchorage.

Good start doesn't end in win for girls
The Little League Juneau All-Stars Girls came out on a mission to beat the Anchorage All-Stars on Monday night at Melvin Park, but lost the game 14-7.

Prince of Wales prevails 8-7 over Petersburg
Prince of Wales' Lincoln Isaacs went 3-for-3 and Paul Fredrickson went 4-for-5 in their 8-7 victory over Petersburg on Sunday in the Major Baseball tournament in Juneau.

Mini basketball camp to take place Wednesday, Thursday
JUNEAU - There will be a mini basketball camp from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday at Juneau-Douglas High School.

Juneau's Junior Baseball named Southeast champs
A young and inexperienced Juneau Junior Little League team battled to the last inning, the last out and the last game of the District 1 Southeast championship tournament on Sunday in Ketchikan. They overcome a powerful and experienced Sitka team 9-8 and will move on to the state championship in Anchorage this week.

Jambaars seated first for Nike Crossfire Challenge tournament
The Juneau Jambaars Soccer Club U-16 boys team recently finished a round-robin tournament at the Nike Crossfire Challenge in Redmond, Wash., and are seated first place for today finals.

McDowell Group Governor's Cup
5K, July 19

Sitka beats POW 10-0 in Major Baseball tourney
Sitka starting pitcher Joey Inman went 3⅔ innings in their 10-0 victory over Prince of Wales on Monday in the Major Baseball tournament in Juneau.

Fish report
Fish and Game Division of Sport Fish - Douglas

LITTLE LEAGUE TOURNAMENT STANDINGS, SCHEDULES
Major Baseball in Juneau

Officials in Ketchikan want longer cruise visits
KETCHIKAN - City officials are hoping to convince the various cruise lines to stay a bit longer in their Southeast Alaska community.

House rebuffs TransCanada opponents
The state House of Representatives will take a vote today on a natural gas pipeline bill, after more than 40 days of hearings and debate.

Lawmakers expect probe into firing
State Sen. Hollis French said Monday he expects lawmakers will seek help from an independent investigator into the firing of former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.

Native villagers can't kick soda habit
ANCHORAGE - Years ago Alaska Native health officials declared war on sugary soda pop in rural towns and villages.

Glacier history study may provide glimpse into future
ANCHORAGE - For the first time in decades, federal officials allowed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge this summer.

Palin unveils new public safety plan
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sarah Palin on Saturday identified her "new direction" for the Department of Public Safety.

Getting a lease for oil drilling just the start
HOUSTON - The national debate over opening more offshore areas to oil and gas exploration has begged the question: Just what are the companies doing with the tens of millions of acres they're already leasing from the federal government?

Rural Alaska villages resist oil development at Yukon Flats
ANCHORAGE - The new generators in this remote Yukon Flats village shut down every night at 10:30, after the televised evening news, as a way to save fuel. The electric blackout ends in the morning, before caribou meat and other frozen goods begin to thaw.

Fish and Game deputy joins pro-mining group
ANCHORAGE - A partnership pushing development of a huge copper and gold mine near some of the world's best wild salmon and trout streams has hired away a top state official.

Guide has court date over monster king
KENAI - A fishing guide has admitted he lied about where his client caught a monster king.

Kodiak brewers honor Russian landmark
KODIAK - The Kodiak Island Brewing Co. is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the oldest Russian-built structure still standing in Alaska.

This Day in History
In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

Photo: Keeping aquarium doors open
Sitka diver and aquarium volunteer Henry Larsen, right, talks to tourists Wednesday about a sun starfish he recently collected for the 800-gallon tank at the Sheldon Jackson College Aquarium in Sitka. Since the closure of the college in 2007, volunteers have not only been adding to the collection of sea creatures at the aquarium, but have also been leading tours and keeping the doors open for hundreds of tourists. SJC graduate Lynn Wilbur has been coordinating school-age volunteers at the aquarium, who are doing everything from cleaning restrooms to scuba diving for specimens.

This Day in History
In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

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