Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Canada wildfires send thick haze to Juneau
Lifelong Juneau resident Dean Williams, 91, can't recall a hazier time in town than Monday.

Gino Kuang pleads down to misdemeanor drug charge
Despite audio and video evidence from a drug sting of Ri Dong "Gino" Kuang haggling with a police informant for hundreds of OxyContin pills worth tens of thousands of dollars, the state's attorney and Kuang agreed last week to a misdemeanor plea deal that will put him in prison for no more than a year.

Capturing the big picture
If modern photography is like the New York Marathon, with professional shooters gripping their $50,000 digital Nikons and blasting toward a finish line, then Juneau photographer Ron Klein is not only dead last in the race - he's not even looking ahead.

Woman's body recovered on west side of Douglas Island
A 45-year-old passenger on Holland America's Zaandam went missing Monday morning, and authorities think they located her body on the shore of the west side of Douglas Island that afternoon.

Permanent fund ends year of depletion, turmoil
The Alaska Permanent Fund ended the 2009 fiscal year with its biggest decline in value ever. It's the first time in the Fund's history that it has had a loss in statutory net income, the accounting measure by which dividends are calculated.

Swine flu circulating in Southeast Alaska
The swine flu scare has slowed, but the disease itself certainly hasn't.

Photo: Lift off
A bald eagle takes to flight Sunday from a beach at Auke Bay. More than 20,000 bald eagles make southeast Alaska part of their home nest.

Cruise line calls missing passenger death a suicide
ANCHORAGE - Alaska authorities conducted interviews and reviewed security camera footage Tuesday aboard a cruise ship after the body of a passenger turned up in the icy waters off an island near the capital.

Senators send letters in support of Kensington
U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich on Monday sent two letters to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urging the agency to quickly complete permitting of the Kensington gold mine in Southeast Alaska.

Photo: Salesman spirit
Zachary Boone, 6, shows a little entrepreneural spirit as he tries to sell a rock on Monday outside his grandmother's shop, Nana's Attic run by Suzanne Hudson, on Seward Street.

Two more OxyContin indictments handed down
A Juneau grand jury has indicted two more suspected OxyContin dealers in the continued war against illegal use of the powerful prescription painkiller in Southeast Alaska.

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

Photo: Day on the beach
Sam Stewart, 5, hesitates before joining his sisters, Linnea, 8, and Soren 11, into the deeper water Tuesday at Sandy Beach. The family is visiting their grandmother from Wisconsin.

Around Town
Today, Aug. 4

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

Around Town
Today

Patrick Barrett
Longtime Juneau resident Patrick Thomas Barrett died Aug. 3, 2009, at Bartlett Regional Hospital. He was 84.

E.O. "Brack" Bracken
Longtime Juneau resident E.O. "Brack" Bracken died July 31, 2009, at his daughter's home in Auke Bay.

Michael McClellen Sr.
Yakutat resident Michael R. McClellen Sr. died in July 2009 in Yakutat. He was 42.

Outside editorial: A darker shadow descends over Iran
The Iranian government has displayed brutality and disdain for its own people in numerous ways since the disputed June 12 election that prompted mass demonstrations. The latest was a show trial this past weekend of at least 100 prominent reformist politicians, journalists and foot soldiers, with some high-profile "confessions" that family members and Iran-observers say were coerced. This is dangerous political theater meant to counter claims of vote fraud during the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and to present the Iranian public with an alternative view that blames the West for the country's unrest.

Outside editorial: Don't write off network television
On the surface, it doesn't matter much to those of us in flyover country that Ben Silverman, the co-chairman of NBC Universal Entertainment, left the company this week after two years of abysmal last-place ratings.

Outside editorial: New appraisal rules hurt buyers and sellers
For homeowners already battered by the foreclosure crisis, recent changes in appraisal rules are just another slap in the face.

Outside editorial: Getting reform right
Sometimes it's a good sign when key stakeholders and opposing political factions are grumbling about a sweeping reform moving through Congress.

Chamber speakers show compassion
I attended the Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday at the Moose Lodge, which I always try to do when my schedule permits. We'd known for a week that former Alaska Rep. Ralph Samuels, now a government relations executive with Holland America, was speaking. Having known Ralph since he served in the state House, I've always found him to be a great guy and a great public speaker.

My Turn: DEC developments show Palin did not walk her talk
"I promised that we would protect this beautiful environment while safely and ethically developing resources, and we did. We built a petroleum oversight office and a subcabinet to study climate conditions," former Gov. Sarah Palin proclaimed at her farewell address in Fairbanks July 26.

Cracking down on Internet parasites
Remember the little Red Hen? She's the one in the folk tale who asks the other barnyard animals if they will help her cut the wheat, grind it into flour and bake the bread. They refuse. But when the warm bread emerges from the oven, they are eager to help the hen eat it.

My Turn: Juneau's tourist trap monoculture
Before decrying the poor state of development on South Franklin Street, let me first say that the area looks a heckuva lot better than it did in 1981 when I moved to Juneau (due entirely to tourism-related investment). Let me also say that I'm not against tourism in general, or against cruise ship tourism in particular. I like the fact that we get more than a million visitors each year. I think it's amazing, really, and there is no doubt that the visitor industry contributes substantially to our economy. However, left entirely to its own it has produced a very uninteresting retail strip that offers little of interest to visitors - and is of virtually no use to residents.

Soldiers overseas deserve a beer
Recent reports reveal that the Army is concerned about rising rates of alcohol abuse, said to have nearly doubled in the past few years. In a June story in USA Today, Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff, was quoted bluntly telling senior officers, "We're seeing a lot of alcohol consumption."

Biology students to present research
JUNEAU - Nine students from around the nation will present their findings today after a 10-week long research project on various issues of marine biology and coastal ecology of Southeast Alaska.

Palin speaks at gun collectors' function
ANCHORAGE - Sarah Palin made a weekend public appearance after keeping a low profile since she resigned as Alaska governor July 26.

150 Strykers return to Fort Wainwright
FAIRBANKS - The first group of Strykers have returned to Fort Wainwright.

Anchorage police chief to retire soon
ANCHORAGE - The police chief of Alaska's largest city is retiring.

Fire danger prompts wood cutting ban
FAIRBANKS - Officials have suspended wood cutting in the Fairbanks area because of the high fire danger.

Wasilla woman now missing for a month
FAIRBANKS - Carolyn Tyrrell told a friend on Independence Day that she was headed to Fairbanks. The 68-year-old Wasilla woman hasn't been spotted since.

Senate denies bid to ax rural energy grants
WASHINGTON - The Senate broke with Barack Obama on Monday as it voted to keep alive a grant program to help people in rural areas receive reasonably priced electricity despite the president's demand to kill it.

Memorial planned for congressman's wife
ANCHORAGE - A memorial has been planned in Virginia for the wife of Alaska's lone congressman, Don Young.

Anchorage launches 'money-saving' site
ANCHORAGE - Have an idea how the municipality of Anchorage can save some money, but didn't know where to pitch it?

Flood-damaged Eagle needs volunteers
EAGLE - Volunteers are sought to help residents of flood-damaged Eagle rebuild before winter.

Oregon man arrested in triple slaying
ELGIN, Ore. - An Oregon house painter wanted for the murders of three acquaintances, including a woman whose severed hand was found by a child catching goldfish, has been captured in Washington state.

Environmentalists try to enter lynx suit
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Six environmental groups announced Monday they have filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed by snowmobilers challenging the federal government's designation of land in six states as critical habitat for Canada lynx.

Free workplace health assessments offered
JUNEAU - Alaska Workplace Solutions is inviting businesses to participate in a worksite wellness research project. The organization is offering a free workplace wellness assessment, wellness solution options and technical support through project staff consultation.

Help wanted
JUNEAU - The Juneau-Douglas High School tennis team has enjoyed continued growth under coach Amy Skilbred over the years, and now the program is looking for more kids from the community and Thunder Mountain High School to join the fun.

Begich introduces package of Arctic bills
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Sen. Mark Begich used his "maiden" speech Monday to call for addressing changes in the Arctic brought on by global warming.

Palin's use of private e-mail subject of hearing
ANCHORAGE - A plaintiff in a lawsuit against former Gov. Sarah Palin wants a judge to order the governor's office to use only government e-mail accounts to conduct state business - not private e-mails as the Palin administration sometimes did.

Wal-Mart Alaska's second-largest private employer
ANCHORAGE - Wal-Mart moved up two spots and is now No. 2 on the list of the 100 largest private employers in Alaska, according to the state Labor Department.

Loaner life jacket program debuts on Kenai River
KENAI - The state is stocking popular boat ramps on the Kenai River with adult life jackets to try to save the lives of men who typically eschew the safety measure.

Flags to be at half-staff today for Lu Young
JUNEAU - Gov. Sean Parnell has ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff today in memory of Lu Young, the wife of Rep. Don Young.

How Alaskans fight the bite of summer
WASILLA - Nobody likes barbecue-crashers, especially those who make nuisances of themselves and don't know when to leave.

Anchorage center to commit alcoholics for detox
ANCHORAGE - A new specialized treatment unit will open later this month in Anchorage to accept alcoholics involuntarily committed to a detoxification program.

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