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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Health care plan must address abortion
Like many Americans, I am concerned about the health insurance industry's practices, which too often put profits before people. I understand the sentiment for the administration's health insurance reform proposals, and believe they deserve reasoned debate in Congress. There is a more important issue at stake, however: the right to life.

Cabin vandalism at Taku Point
We have a cabin at Taku Point, across from Taku Glacier. Sometime between late May and late July, someone broke into the cabin. They kicked in the door jamb, drank the alcohol, littered the area with Pall Mall cigarette butts and apparently spent the night. They left the place open, and left the propane heater on until it consumed the fuel supply.

Clearing up errors in Cope Park article
I would like to make note of some inaccuracies in the story about Evergreen Bowl and Cope Park in the Neighbors section of Sunday's Empire. The money donated to the city for the purchase of Evergreen Bowl was from the Juneau Volunteer Fire Department, not Bill Cope.

Man, 76, dies after boat capsizes near Lena Point
A 22-foot Hewescraft boat with seven passengers capsized near Lena Point at about noon Monday, trapping one man underneath.

Drug 'crisis' pushes board to OK testing
The Juneau School Board received a standing ovation and extended applause Tuesday after voting unanimously to approve drug testing in Juneau's high schools.

Local elementary schools ready for first day of class
Teachers and staff at two elementary schools begin moving into new classrooms this week as remodeling projects near completion.

Around Town
Today, Aug. 18

Police & Fire
Due to a technical issue, Juneau Police will not be posting the daily bulletin until Wednesday. Reports will appear in a later edition of the Empire.

No beds for flu patients
When Ignacio Ramos caught the flu, he got the same advice doctors give other influenza sufferers: Bed rest and lots of fluids. But for Ramos and at least six other homeless patients in Juneau, bed rest isn't an option.

Rain soaks state archives
The 4-inch-thick vault door on the ground floor of the Alaska State Archives building will keep a lot of things out - but not water from the floor above, state workers learned Monday morning.

City still hazy about cigarette, tobacco tax revenue
Figuring out where revenue from a proposed citywide cigarette and tobacco tax increase would be spent is still a hazy issue after an Assembly work session on the issue Monday night.

Coeur CEO says Kensington mine still on schedule
Coeur Alaska Inc. was mum Friday after finally securing a key permit holding up its Juneau-area Kensington gold mine, but spoke up Monday about what that means for the construction schedule and hundreds of job seekers.

Troubled bank sees slim quarterly profit
Juneau's troubled Alaska Pacific Bank has squeaked out a slim profit in the quarter that ended June 30, despite falling loan revenue and some other difficulties.

Stephens pleads guilty to felony Oxy possession
A 28-year-old man pleaded guilty Monday to a lesser felony drug possession charge after facing up to 20 years in prison for allegedly helping his girlfriend distribute OxyContin in Juneau.

New state e-mail policy adopted
The state of Alaska has announced it will begin requiring state employees to use only state e-mail systems to conduct state business, just days after its attorneys went to court to defend former Gov. Sarah Palin's use of a Yahoo e-mail account to avoid public scrutiny of her actions as governor.

Candidates file for municipal election
Several candidates filed paperwork by Monday's deadline to run for office in the October municipal election.

Photo: New stripes
Lloyd Coogan, right, and Trenton English, both of Coogan Construction, paint crosswalk lines on Main Street. The existing crosswalk will be out of service for several weeks.

Photo: Puddle power
Vicki Torrella bikes through the remaining water covering Montana Creek Road near the West Glacier Trailhead on Tuesday. Heavy storm rains sent Mendenhall Lake over it's banks.

State seeking new archives building
State officials have long known the Alaska State Archives needed a new home, but had hoped to move out of the troubled building before the roof, well, fell in.

Photo: Specializing in conservation
Carmen Bria, Jr., left, and Camilla Van Vooren, both of the Western Center for the Conservation of Fine Art in Denver, work to remove candle wax buildup from brass work Tuesday during the Angel Project at the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. Conservators specializing in textiles, paper, brass and photography are in town this week for the Western Association for Art Conservation Annual Meeting & Conference.

Juneau teachers, staff receive cash awards
Two Juneau schools ranked high in the state's Performance Incentive Program, an effort to motivate teachers and schools by offering them cash rewards for strong student performance or improvement.

Around Town
Today

Photo: Rough river
Unidentified rafters splash through rapids Monday evening on the Mendenhall River shortly after a raft tour with eight passengers and a guide flipped in the high water. All nine people in the overturned boat were treated for hypothermia.

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

Cora Jean Shaw
Lifelong Juneau resident Cora Jean Shaw died Aug. 10, 2009, in Juneau. She was 65.

Mission of U.S. Postal Service remains vital
"The Postal Service needs to take a hard look at every major postal policy, from employee pay, to days of delivery, to the closing of postal facilities. Everything must be on the table. Because without major changes, the day is fast approaching when the USPS will be unable to meet its obligations."

My turn: Cultural values are the foundation of Sealaska
The Juneau Empire recently published a troubling Aug. 11 letter to the editor by Gretchen Goldstein that misinterprets and distorts Alaska Native core cultural values. Goldstein attempts to discredit Sealaska Corp. and land legislation that will allow for the finalization of Sealaska's land entitlements under ANCSA, by misrepresenting Alaska Native values and our elders' wisdom.

Cutting trees in Southeast will help save Native culture
This column is a response to an Aug. 11 letter to the editor by Gretchen Goldstein.

The other 'N' word roars back
I hope this column makes you sick. See, we'll be talking about Nazis, something many of us are doing lately. Indeed, just this week a fellow named Joseph e-mailed me about a caller he heard on a radio show. The man, vexed over health-care reform, likened President Obama to Adolf Hitler. Asked why, he said, "Hitler took over the car companies, then health care and then he killed the Jews."

What would Warhol blog?
The universe of notoriety is bigger than it was in 1968 when Andy Warhol proclaimed, "In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."

Outside editorial: Cap and rage
The rancorous debate over health reform has given voice to considerable uneasiness among Americans. Many are worried about how a new system will be paid for in an economy that has unraveled, and they are anxious about a kudzu-like expansion of an already unwieldy bureaucracy.

Skip the ads - you're still being sold
In the 1960s Madison Avenue era, painstakingly re-created in the cult hit television show "Mad Men," advertisers could buy a fixed block of airtime on television and be guaranteed a captive audience. That's what Winston cigarettes did for the inaugural season of "The Flintstones" in 1960: Cartoon-loving prospective smokers tuned in to see Fred and Barney gleefully puffing away, shilling the product.

Eight hospitalized after raft flips on Mendenhall River
JUNEAU -Emergency personnel transported eight rafters to Bartlett Regional Hospital on Monday night after their raft flipped on the Mendenhall River.

Civil Air Patrol graduates 30 youth
JUNEAU - A class of 30 youth cadets in the Civil Air Patrol in wrapped up its week-long 2009 Alaska Wing Summer Encampment with a graduation ceremony Tuesday at the Mendenhall Mall.

Woman sentenced in North Pole holdup
FAIRBANKS - A woman who held two bank employees at gunpoint this spring pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to six months in jail.

Palin discloses gifts in amended report
ANCHORAGE - A personalized gun case, a Bible bound in goat skin and a hand-painted plate featuring Sarah Palin's likeness were among gifts the former governor received this year.

State revives money for homeless programs
FAIRBANKS - Housing programs for the homeless received a $650,000 boost after it was discovered the money had been incorrectly deleted from former Gov. Sarah Palin's budget proposal.

Sitka commemorates its first roundabout
JUNEAU - Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Leo von Scheben will join other state and local community leaders Thursday afternoon during a ribbon cutting ceremony in Sitka to officially commemorate the opening of the city's first intersection roundabout.

Murkowski holding health care town halls
ANCHORAGE - Sen. Lisa Murkowski will hold a town hall meeting on health care Thursday evening in Anchorage at Dimond High School.

Homeless man found dead inside vehicle
ANCHORAGE - Friends of a man found dead in the back seat of a car in downtown Anchorage say he was a transient named Bart they knew from the Brother Francis Shelter.

Upgrades set for Kenai Peninsula parks
KENAI - Repair and construction work is expected to start Friday at a pair of Kenai Peninsula parks - one in Kasilof, the other in Nikiski.

Helicopter finds three missing near Ketchikan
KETCHIKAN - The Coast Guard says two adults and a child missing in a 16-foot skiff near Ketchikan have been found.

Firm sues to keep housing untaxed
FAIRBANKS - A firm that manages housing at Fort Wainwright has asked a judge to declare the housing exempt from property taxes.

Anchorage mayor vetoes gay rights law
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan has vetoed an ordinance that would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation for employment, finance, public accommodations and housing.

Applicants sought for cabinet post
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sean Parnell is putting out a "help wanted" inquiry to fill a cabinet position.

Stray BB hits school bus in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - A woman school bus attendant was treated for a minor injury after a BB pellet broke a bus window in Anchorage.

Court rules against disruptive defendant
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Supreme Court said a trial judge did not violate the rights of a defendant who was removed from a courtroom for cursing the judge and lawyers, spitting at jurors and refusing to shut up.

Thief swipes dredge bucket from museum
FAIRBANKS - University of Alaska Fairbanks police are looking for a thief with a strong back.

Cost of living falls in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - The cost of living has fallen in Anchorage, an indication that the local economy has softened.

Developer shelves plan for nuclear plant
FAIRBANKS - A developer is dropping plans for a nuclear power plant near Ester.

Possible discovery sparks new Klondike gold rush
EDMONTON, Alberta - Somewhere, the ghost of Robert W. Service is smiling.

Top federal NJ prosecutor faces ethical investigation
WASHINGTON - The top federal prosecutor in New Jersey is facing an internal ethics investigation over public comments that may have helped his ex-boss' campaign for governor, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Mushers from around world plan for Iditarod
ANCHORAGE - Dog drivers from Jamaica, Scotland, Italy, Canada and the United States will compete the 2010 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, a northern route that will take mushers and nearly 1,000 sled dogs over 1,112 miles of wilderness.

Reports: Coal project will cause 'irreversible' damage to streams
ANCHORAGE - Salmon-producing streams near a proposed coal mine will never fully recover if the mine is developed, according to three reports commissioned by a public interest law firm.

Former Alaska state Sen. Tim Kelly, 65, dies in sleep
ANCHORAGE - Former state Sen. Tim Kelly died Monday at his home in Anchorage, just two days after turning 65.

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