Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Legislators should OK stimulus funds
Alaska's legislators will be meeting in special session on Aug. 10 in Anchorage. I urge state legislators to overturn Gov. Sarah Palin's rejection of $28 million in federal stimulus funds for energy conservation and weatherization projects in Alaska. Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell has said that he will accept the decision of the legislators. Alaska can use these dollars to put people to work.

Attorney general story had error
In a story that appeared in the Juneau Empire on July 12, "AG: Palin can appoint an 'acting' lieutenant governor," there was a fundamental error regarding the attorney general's opinion on the line of succession to the governorship.

Taxing the rich is a good idea
I am writing in response to the article, "Bad time to be rich? Only if you don't like to pay taxes." In my opinion, the wealthy have not paid enough taxes since our country became independent in 1776. It is time for the rich to feel the oppression that the poor and the working class have felt for centuries.

Land privatization isn't a fair trade
If Sen. Albert Kookesh, D-Angoon, is concerned about the small Alaska communities he represents, he should look to his own backyard. Sealaska Corp. is trying to privatize North Prince of Wales Island, which could destroy the economies of Point Baker, Point Protection, Edna Bay, Naukati, Whale Pass and others. Once private, we lose public access to the land we rely on for subsistence, commercial sport and tourism resources. ANILCA Title VIII protections are lost. Fish stream protections are lost. A world class cave system is lost to science and the public. An extensive road system is lost.

Juneau teen dies hiking in Ariz.
A Juneau teen died Sunday after being stricken with heat exhaustion on a trail in Phoenix.-

Mercury levels impede Douglas dredging
Trace amounts of mercury in the mud below Douglas Harbor are complicating a project to dredge the harbor and replace three of its aging floats.

Infrared gadgets track Juneau hikers
The Airport Dike Trail may be a great place for spotting rare migratory birds or dog breeds, but it isn't the trail for getting away from people.

House leader shuns law in special session call
Legislative leaders pushing for a special session Aug. 10 ignored a state law in order to hold the session in Anchorage, instead of the capital.

Photo: Coast Guard blood drive
Kaleb Waite, left, watches technician Tony Crisostomo of the Tripler Army Medical Center of Hawaii prepare to take his blood as Ensign Brian Henderson of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hickory finishes up Monday during the Buoy Tender Roundup blood drive at Centennial Hall. The blood drive will continue through the week, from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., at Centennial Hall.

Purse snatcher, 19, pleads guilty
A convicted felon reversed course on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to an April strong-arm robbery while on probation.

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

Google car spotted
A tricked-out Google car has been spotted in town.

Photo: Marine Park blues
Russ Hobson, 56, entertains his friends, Chris Anderson, center, and Andrew Hope, right, at Marine Park on Tuesday. Born and raised in Juneau, Hobson said he has been playing harmonica for 40 years. Hobson said he got hooked on the instrument after an impromptu jam session in Portland, Ore., years ago.

Around Town
Today

Police & Fire
Juneau Police and fire reports will appear in Thursday's Empire.

Around Town
Today

Correction
A page two Associated Press brief in Tuesday's Juneau Empire about an Alaska teen who died hiking in Arizona misstated that he and his family had run out of water. The boy succumbed to heat exhaustion despite having water on hand.

Ean Lee Aycock
Juneau resident Ean Lee Aycock died July 17, 2009, in Juneau. He was 36.

Kevin J. Walkenford
Juneau resident Kevin J. Walkenford, born May 23, 1995, in Phoenix, died July 19, 2009, while on a family vacation in Arizona. He was 14.

Outside editorial: Health care: The reality of rationing
Opponents of the main Democratic proposals for health-care reform warn that consumers would be stopped from getting the care they need when they need it. President Obama's plan is "rationing," one political strategist blogged.

Outside editorial: Health care solution hurts small business
Lawmakers are racing to complete a bill that improves the nation's health-care system before the momentum for reform runs out. The need for this legislation is clear, as is the need to move quickly.

Palin was successful in her time as governor
I was as surprised as anyone on July 3 when I heard that Gov. Sarah Palin was going to announce her resignation. I was at Costco, getting supplies for the impending Independence Day festivities, when I got a call telling me a press conference was going to take place in Wasilla within the hour. And that prognostication was borne out very quickly; by the time I got home, footage of the governor was on multiple television stations.

Taxing health benefits would be a costly solution
Congressional discussions over how to pay for health-care reform are being hindered by several myths that obscure the value of the employer-sponsored health plans covering more than 160 million Americans. Persistent misconceptions about the "tax-favored treatment" of employer-sponsored coverage are that it (1) leads to overconsumption of health services and (2) favors the wealthy.

Knee deep (and getting deeper)
"How high's the water, mama? Two feet high and risin'..."

My turn: Health care: Who's afraid of the big bad government?
The health care reform debate has been a fascinating one. The vast majority of U.S. citizens know first-hand that the corporate system isn't working and want change, while a steady drumbeat of politicians, "think" tanks and lobbyists continue to insist that somehow the free market will suddenly reverse course and solve the problem of skyrocketing costs.

Much ado over non-coup
We have heard a lot about Honduras lately, but there is much more at issue than the nighttime removal of President Manuel Zelaya on June 28 and its aftermath. The far bigger story is the disgrace of the world's major international political and economic organizations.

Large Alaska wildfire continues to grow
ANCHORAGE - Firefighters on Monday were helping people living in cabins near Nenana clear trees and brush from around their homes in the event that a growing wildfire reaches dozens of cabins along the Teklanika River.

Alaska gets $17M for forests, trails
JUNEAU - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that Alaska will receive $17.2 million in stimulus money for 11 national forests and trail projects.

Homer Electric out on coal plant restart
FAIRBANKS - The state's industrial development authority will team with the Golden Valley Electric Association on the proposed restart of a coal plant in Healy.

Talkeetna man cited in bear shootings
TALKEETNA - Alaska wildlife troopers have cited a Talkeetna-area man who told authorities he shot a female brown bear and three cubs at his home near Clear Creek.

USDA approves Tongass sale
KETCHIKAN - A timber sale in the Tongass National Forest will proceed, the first approved by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack since the Obama administration ordered a one-year moratorium on most road-building and other development on about 50 million acres of remote national forests.

Critic files another Palin ethics complaint
ANCHORAGE - Another ethics complaint has been filed against Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, less than a week before her resignation.

Anchorage considers transient tent city
ANCHORAGE - Some civic leaders in Anchorage are talking about a "tent city" as a way to provide temporary housing and reduce problems at illegal homeless camps.

Dry, windy weather could fan wildfires
ANCHORAGE - A fire weather watch was issued Tuesday for parts of the Alaska Interior because of gusty winds and low humidity.

Sitka-to-villages ferry proposed
SITKA - A proposed one-year pilot project would re-establish direct passenger and freight ferry service between Sitka and the villages of Angoon, Kake, Tenakee Springs and Hoonah.

Wasilla man dies in Anchorage shooting
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police are investigating the shooting death of a Wasilla man.

Alaska teen collapses, dies in Arizona hike
PHOENIX - An Alaska teen has died after passing out during a hike at Phoenix's South Mountain Preserve.

Boy dies after car slides into river
ANCHORAGE - A boy was killed over the weekend when the car he was riding in slid into the Resurrection River on the Kenai Peninsula.

Orphaned grizzly cubs heading to Memphis
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Three grizzly bear cubs that were orphaned in Wyoming last weekend when a hiker fatally shot their mother with a handgun will be shipped to the Memphis Zoo in the next few days, a zoo official said Tuesday.

Four men rescued from Kenai River
KENAI - A host of responders came to the aid of four Anchorage men after their boat capsized while dip netting on the Kenai River.

Flu symptoms close Fairbanks school early
FAIRBANKS - Officials have closed a summer program at Joy Elementary school in Fairbanks after three students showed flu-like symptoms.

Four suspects sought in fire in Chugiak
ANCHORAGE - Authorities investigating the burning of a Girl Scout building in Chugiak are looking for four people seen in the area on the night of the blaze.

Photos: Rock Climbing revelery
Summer Climbing Festival and Competition

Champions crowned, Drunkateers finish undefeated at 14-0
Sunshine, glacier backdrops, eagles circling over centerfield...

JSA's President Gilmour gives season-ending thanks
As our season winds down and tournaments have come and gone, 2009 will go down in the books as one of the driest, and therefore, most enjoyable on record.

Juneau teams sweep
The Juneau Junior All-Stars rolled in two wins over Ketchikan and Sitka, 18-3 and 24-0, respectively.

Investigator rules against Palin in ethics probe
ANCHORAGE - An independent investigator has found evidence that Gov. Sarah Palin may have violated ethics laws by trading on her position as she sought money for lawyer fees, in the latest legal distraction for the former vice presidential candidate as she prepares to leave office this week.

Palin's rural advisor wins praise
Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell announced Monday he'll be retaining John Moller as the governor's rural advisor when he assumes the governorship following Gov. Sarah Palin's resignation July 26.

Campbell supports Palin's stimulus veto
ANCHORAGE - The man set to become Alaska's next lieutenant governor said he agrees with Gov. Sarah Palin's veto of federal stimulus money for energy-related projects.

Member of 'Eagle Nation' flies free
"Oh!" she exclaimed, tracking a young eagle to his perch in a tall spruce overlooking the Chena River.

Convicted sex offender returned to Alaska jail
KETCHIKAN - A convicted sex offender who failed to appear at his sentencing last year has been captured in Mexico and returned to an Alaska jail, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Town hopes for safe return of Alaska-based soldier
HAILEY, Idaho - To the rest of the world, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl is the frightened soldier who appeared in a Taliban propaganda video after he was captured in Afghanistan.

Doyon may still develop oil in Yukon Flats refuge
FAIRBANKS - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's rejection of a proposed land exchange at the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge did not upset the Native corporation that sought the swap.

Family to fly '46 Cessna from N. Dakota to Alaska
GRAFTON, N.D. - The Osowskis of Minto gathered at Grafton Municipal Airport for an impromptu family reunion with a special guest - a vintage silver-with-black-trim 1946 Cessna 140.

Photo: Sun setting on salmon fishery
The sun sets behind boats Wednesday in the Egegik district of the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery. The sockeye salmon fishery is winding down in all the bay districts but final numbers won't be tallied for weeks. The sockeye harvest run is more than 48 million so far, a number that came faster and earlier than fishermen and biologists expected.

Photos: Sock it to me
The crew on the Icy Bay work Wednesday to remove sockeye salmon from their net. The sockeye salmon fishery is winding down in all the bay districts, but final numbers won't be tallied for weeks. The sockeye harvest run is over 48 million so far, a number that came faster and earlier than fishermen and biologists expected.

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