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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Americans reponsible for their health care
Our nation is in the grip of a raging debate over reforming a grossly misnamed "health care" system that threatens to bankrupt our economy. In 2008, U.S. medical costs reached $2.4 trillion, or 17 percent of our gross domestic product, growing at an astronomic annual rate of nearly 7 percent.

Transfer of public land disruptive
Living in harmony with nature is not compatible with clearcut logging. I learned this from Alaska Native elders from Klukwan and Hydaburg, with whim I had the honor of serving on the old Southeast Regional Council. They came to the council for help, because the logging practices of Sealaska Corp. were destroying local customary and traditional subsistence uses. Sealaska refused to listen, or to modify their methods.

Southeast legislators fail to save vetoed projects
ANCHORAGE - A surprise attempt to override former Gov. Sarah Palin's vetoes, with the exception of the much-debated federal stimulus money, failed in Monday's special session in Anchorage, possibly because of the lack of time for debate.

School Board urged to OK drug testing
High school cliques used to be made up of the "jocks" and the "druggies." The School Board heard Tuesday that in Juneau, the cliques are one in the same.

Teens plead not guilty to selling OxyContin
Two teens charged with distributing OxyContin in Juneau pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday.

King crab fishery opens for locals
A crab fishery that's been closed for two years opened recently with limited fishing grounds and reduced catch limits.

Man arrested for sexual assault
A 31-year-old Juneau man was arrested for an alleged sexual assault of a female acquaintance who had passed out at a party early Sunday morning.

Ranger arrested on sexual assault charges
A National Park Service law enforcement ranger working in Glacier Bay for the summer has been arrested on two counts of felony sexual assault.

Photo: Dog days of summer
Two living chum salmon, bottom, swim past carcasses of other spawned-out chums Monday in Cowee Creek on Douglas Island.

Photos: Improvisation meets composition
Juneau Dance Unlimited is holding a two week dance intensive with the Weber Dance Company of Boston, MA. Classes started Monday and continue through Aug. 21. Culminating the intensive is a performance of "Sprout" with the Weber Dance Company Friday, August 21 at 8 p.m. at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center.

Photo: Icing it up
Treadwell Arena manager Greg Smith drives their Olympia ice resurfacer Monday as he works to build up the ice thickness to an inch and a quarter for their season-opening day today. Smith painted a Bears emblem on the center line as something new for this season. The Rocky Mountain Hockey School will be in session until 2:45 p.m. through Saturday. Stick 'N' Puck, Pond Hockey and Open Skate start after 3 p.m. through 9 p.m.

Photo: Fenced in
Lenny Seifert installs aluminum slats in a fence Monday for the Salvation Army's Family Store on Willoughby Avenue. Seifert works for Dan Ulery Jr.

Around Town
Today, Aug. 11

Correction
A page one caption in Monday's Juneau Empire accompanying a photo of Carlos Boozer misidentified a basketball camper. The "Camper of the Day" high-fiving Boozer is 7-year-old Makenna Graham. The quote should also be attributed to Graham.

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

Around Town
Today, Aug. 12

Everett O. Bracken
Juneau resident Everett O. "Brack" Bracken died July 31, 2009, at his daughter's home in Auke Bay, surrounded by family and friends. He was 90.

A grain of salt
If there's anything good about putting warning notices on packages of frankfurters, it's that the labels could say: Beware of Dog.

America's angst: 'Them' versus 'us'
From the very beginning of our national history, Americans have been arguing about the proper role of government. Put succinctly, the dispute is between those who regard government as "them" and those who see it as "us."

Increasing food safety
The overall safety of the nation's food supply is strong. But a string of food-borne illnesses from some of the country's favorite foods understandably has shaken confidence. Passage last month of the Food Safety Enhancement Act by the House was a good first step in addressing deficiencies in anticipating, locating and removing harmful products on store shelves. Unfortunately, there is no timetable yet for consideration in the Senate.

A berry picker's lament
A lot of people don't know how lucky they are, but I do. I'm a stay-at-home dad (whose kid goes to daycare) and a self-employed writer (with a very lenient boss). At the same time, I also live in a rainforest where it hasn't rained for what seems like months.

History: Selective storytelling
This month marks the anniversary of the Klondike gold discovery. By most historical accounts, it was the single most important event responsible for stripping the word "folly" from Seward's purchase of Alaska. The truth, however, is that gold wasn't the first major source of revenue in the territory. From the day the American flag was first raised here in 1867, a private business and the U.S. Treasury began earning substantial profits for fur seals harvested by Aleut "slaves" in the Pribilof Islands.

The news Americans need
You don't have to care about media companies or reporters to care about the state of the news, because if it's in trouble - and it surely is - this country is in trouble. That's why, while speaking recently at the Aspen Institute, I called upon President Obama to form a commission to address the perilous state of America's news media.

At least we gave peace a chance
On Saturday, it will be 40 years since 400,000 hippies descended on Max Yasgur's dairy farm for a concert.

College grads returning to the nest
As more and more new college graduates fly back to the nurtured nests of their childhoods, it seems the homes we should have outgrown have adapted to fit our adult needs in a way our parents couldn't have predicted.

Eaglecrest to get new groomer
JUNEAU -- Funds were approved Monday for the purchase of a new snow grooming machine at Eaglecrest Ski Area.

Man rescued after fall on Douglas Island
JUNEAU - A man was rescued early Sunday morning after falling down a nearly 50-foot cliff on Douglas Island.

AIC wins Juneau airport project bid
JUNEAU - Alaska Interstate Construction won a bid Monday to complete one of the city's largest-ever earthworks projects.

Hiker recovers after tumbling off trail
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - For 20 years, Live Oak, Calif. resident James Nee was determined to hike the entire 2,650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail that stretches from Mexico to Canada through three western states.

Trail Mix hires new project coordinator
JUNEAU - Trail Mix has hired Garrett Goodman as their new project coordinator. Goodman will oversee the implementation of the 2009 Trail Use Survey and create an educational program for area youth focusing on the significance of outdoor recreation in Juneau.

Man who fell after saving cat dies
FAIRBANKS - A 73-year-old man who fell from a tree after rescuing a cat last month has died after his family had his breathing tube removed.

Hiker recovering after tumbling 200 feet off trail
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - For 20 years, Live Oak, Calif. resident James Nee was determined to hike the entire 2,650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail that stretches from Mexico to Canada through three western states.

Judge OKs more time for salmon plan
PORTLAND, Ore. - A federal judge has given the Obama administration another month before informing him of its plans for improving salmon restoration efforts in the Columbia Basin.

Man who fell while saving cat not expected to live
FAIRBANKS - The family of a 73-year-old Alaska man who fell from a tree after rescuing a cat last month decided to have his breathing tube removed.

Break in weather eases Alaska fire danger
FAIRBANKS - Fire managers said the break in the weather has helped them battle the 77 wildfires burning across Alaska, and allowed them to ease an open-burning ban imposed across much of the state.

Man gets eight years for killing dog
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage man will serve eight years in prison for killing his grandfather's dog as a punishment to his family.

HUD awards $4M to SE tribal groups
ANCHORAGE - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced Tuesday the award of 61 grants totaling $132 million to Native American and Native Alaskan communities across the country to improve housing and stimulate community development.

Watchdog questions airport projects
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration used economic stimulus money to pay for 50 airport projects that didn't meet the grant criteria and approved projects at four airports with a history of mismanaging federal grants, a government watchdog said Monday.

Anchorage police ID body found in woods
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police have identified the body found in a wooded area.

Pedestrian killed in Anchorage accident
ANCHORAGE - A 31-year-old Anchorage man has been killed while he walked across the Old Seward Highway.

Palin kin help Idaho hopeful for Congress
BOISE, Idaho - Former Gov. Sarah Palin's father and father-in-law will campaign in Idaho for Republican congressional candidate Vaughn Ward.

Open fires allowed in Denali back country
DENALI NATIONAL PARK - Open fires are now allowed in the back country of Denali National Park and Preserve.

Fast-food restaurant gets huge water bill
FAIRBANKS - The owner of the Wendy's restaurant in North Pole is trying to figure out why he has a whopper of a water bill.

Age just a number for Aukeman
JUNEAU - Sixty-six racers turned out Sunday to participate in Juneau's first-ever open-water triathlon during a customary, light Southeast Alaska rain. This sprint distance Aukeman Triathlon, with a 750-meter swim, a 19k bike ride and a 5k run, was the first of its kind in Juneau featuring an open-water swim in Auke Lake, wetsuits required.

Wind no-shows Commodore's
Low winds and high currents lead to the only race that was started being called off after an hour, and the boats being towed in.

Photo: Juniors bow out
The Gastineau Channel Little League Juneau State Champs Junior Baseball team finished the Western Region Junior baseball tournament, held in Aliso Viejo, Calif., with a 3-2 record. Twelve teams competed in the age 13-14 boys' Little League baseball division, which was divided into two separate pools.

Can Alaska afford its frontier?
TAKOTNA - In a flat, piney river valley deep in the Interior, the village of Takotna is marked by a dozen or so houses, a shop, a tiny post office and a school. Intrepid gold miners ventured here decades ago. A small tribe of Athabascan Indians has hunted and fished the woods and river banks for generations.

Legislature overrides Palin veto of energy funds
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Legislature narrowly voted to overturn former Gov. Sarah Palin's veto of $28.6 million in federal energy stimulus money, ensuring that Alaska will not become the only state in the nation to reject it.

Campbell answers concerns, wins strong approval
The Alaska Legislature on Monday confirmed Craig Campbell as the state's new lieutenant governor by a vote of 55-4.

Feds turn over trial materials to ex-lawmakers
ANCHORAGE - Federal prosecutors said they have complied with a court order handing over trial evidence to two former Alaska lawmakers convicted on corruption charges.

Alaska moving prisoners from AZ to CO
ANCHORAGE - With the Goose Creek Correctional Center still three years from completion, Alaska is shifting 800 of its overflow inmates from a private prison in Arizona to one in Colorado.

Mentally incapacitated man's case set for trial
ANCHORAGE - For Victor Oustigoff, the courtroom was not a bad place to be - away from the sneers and taunts in jail. His lawyer told him all he would have to do is answer questions. That was simple. He could handle that.

Anglers getting hooked along with salmon
KENAI - Salmon aren't alone in being snagged during this busy summer fishing season in Alaska. Anglers get the hook, too.

Anchorage softball team advances to World Series
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage's Nunaka Valley All-Stars, a softball team of 12- and 13-year-olds, has advanced to the Little League World Series by winning the Western Region Tournament in Vancouver, Wash., over the weekend.

Man says psychic led him to body at Alaska crash site
FAIRBANKS - A state Department of Transportation worker claims a California psychic led him to a crash site and possibly the body of a woman missing since Independence Day.

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