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Monday, August 24, 2009

Health care debate raises questions
While I am delighted that the issue of health care is generating so much passion on both sides of the aisle, and pleased that so many people are letting legistlators know their feelings concerning something that affects all of us as Americans, I fear that the silent majority will remain silent and content to sit around the kitchen table at night and complain about what has happened to them. I think politicians are counting on that. If we all spoke out about these important issues, perhaps we would have some real representation in Washington, D.C.

Iraq, Vietnam wars share similarities
Many thinking Americans believe that comparisons between current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Vietnam conflict of 40 years ago are inappropriate and unnecessary. I disagree and would like to share several similarities I've discovered. Here are just a few:

Stores shouldn't appear abandoned
Soon our summer tourist season will end, and many merchants will close up their shops until next spring. Some of these merchants will hang shades, blinds or other treatments in their windows.

Cigarette tax not a long-term solution
Juneau voters may have to vote in October on a proposed tax increase on cigarettes, from 30 cents to $1 per pack. This Juneau Assembly proposal is bad for small businesses, bad for taxpayers and a poor source of revenue for the city.

Kookesh to fight fishing citation in court
Sen. Albert Kookesh, D-Angoon, will fight a subsistence fishing violation citation in court.

Pelican fears loss of fish plant
Pelican is a fishing town without a fish processor, and that means it is a town facing an uncertain future.

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

Greeting the governor
Cars were parked a mile away, the food line stretched toward the baseball field and Sandy Beach filled with people as more than a thousand Juneau residents showed up Friday to attend a picnic hosted by Gov. Sean Parnell.

Juneau partially buffered from US job crisis
The unemployment rate in Juneau fell from 6.2 percent in June to 5.5 percent in July as seasonal summer hiring ramped up, state economists announced Friday.

Association banks on tax credits for tourism marketing
An effort to nearly double the amount of money the state spends to market itself as a tourist destination is gaining momentum as the industry feels the pinch of a troubled summer season.

Photos: Potatoes with deep roots
First: Children do a final check for tubers during a sustainable harvest camp held Friday by 4-H and the state Department of Fish & Game at the Jensen-Olson Arboretum. Merrill Jensen, manager of the arboretum, put in 350 heirloom potato plants this year. The potatoes were grown hundreds of years ago by Native Alaskan communities. The potato plants came from seed potatoes from the personal garden of Richard and Nora Dauenhauer, who got their seeds from Maria Miller's garden in Haines. Miller was a Tlingit elder who died in 1995. Second: Children bring up a wheelbarrow full of potatoes during the camp. Third: Emily Watts, 7, shows off one of the smaller spuds she found.

Sitka man indicted on 19 charges of child sex abuse
A grand jury indicted a 42-year-old Sitka man Friday on 19 felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor for allegedly abusing four victims over an eight-year period.

Photo: Puddle jumpers
Megan Moskito, left, and Gabbie Saldivar, both 16, take a short break from their jobs at Del Sol on South Franklin Street to make light of Juneau's rainfall Tuesday.

Photo: Blue Mass
The Rev. Pat Travers, left, pastor of St. Paul's Catholic Church, serves communion Sunday to U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Brian Tesson. St. Paul's held a Blue Mass in honor of all men and women serving in uniform. Travers, an Air Force Reserve Chaplain, will be going to Afghanistan this Thursday for a six-month tour of duty as chaplain. He will return to Juneau after his tour.

Coeur picks Kensington contractors
Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp., the Idaho-based parent company of Coeur Alaska Inc., announced Friday that AIC and Kake Tribal Corp. will be its contractors to complete the final component of the companies' Juneau-area Kensington Gold Mine.

Around Town
Today, Aug. 24

Police & Fire
-Assaults:

News veteran named interim Empire publisher
Ronnie Hughes has been named interim publisher of the Juneau Empire. Hughes, a 42-year newspaper veteran, came out of retirement Thursday to replace former Publisher Robert O. Hale, who left the Empire Aug. 14 to begin work as a financial consultant for Edward Jones. Hughes will serve in the position until a permanent replacement is found.

Photo: Judges' table
Master Gardeners Bob Koenitzer and Judith Maier inspect a horseradish plant as they judge vegetables Saturday during the Juneau Community Garden Association's Harvest Fair at the Juneau Community Garden, located on Montana Creek Road.

Photo: Dock dedication
Juneau offocials, from left: Juneau Assembly member Jonathan Anderson; Greg Fisk, vice-chair of the Docks and Harbors Board; Port Director John Stone; Mayor Bruce Botelho; and state Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, cut the ribbon Saturday during the grand opening ceremony for the Auke Bay Loading Facility. About 50 people attended the grand opening of the facility, located on Glacier Highway just north of Alaska Glacier Seafoods and the Auke Bay ferry terminal.

Around Town
Today, Aug. 23

Stations of the Cross stolen from inside Shrine chapel
Longtime Shrine of St. Therese director Thomas Fitterer requests that the two Stations of the Cross taken from inside the chapel this summer be returned.

Local woman selected as Power Over Pain Action Network leader
Twenty-six-year-old Erica Thiel, of Juneau, who was diagnosed with a rare and painful congenital disorder - Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS I Scheie SX) - five years ago, was recently selected by the American Pain Foundation to serve as Wisconsin's Power Over Pain Action Network leader.

Recognitions
Haines resident Lea Harris, 59, above, was recently among 10 men and 10 women to be named as finalists in PETA's Sexiest Vegetarian Over 50 contest.

Photos: Blessing of the Animals
The Rev. Tari Stage-Harvey, right, blesses Kilohoku, the Rev. Judy Shook's dog, during a Blessing of the Animals service on Aug. 15 at the Mendenhall Glacier. Dogs, crabs, one brave cat, pet owners and pastors the Rev. Bob Stevens of Saint Brendan's Epsicopal Church, the Rev. Tari Stage-Harvey of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran, and the Rev. Judy Shook of Aldersgate United Methodist Church,gathered to give thanks for and bless pets and other animals.

Thanks for supporting the Alaska Youth Choir
This year, the Alaska Youth Choir celebrated its 15th anniversary as a nonprofit organization in Juneau. Since its inception in 1994, under the artistic direction of Bob Norman, the choir has continued to provide a program that promotes excellence in choral singing for Juneau youth in addition to supporting and supplementing the music programs offered in the Juneau School District.

Moonalice to perform Monday in Juneau
JUNEAU - All-star rock band Moonalice will perform at 9 p.m. Monday at the Hangar Ballroom. Admission is free.

Juneau Coordinated Transportation Coalition to meet
JUNEAU - The Juneau Coordinated Transportation Coalition will hold a public meeting from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28, at the REACH conference room, 213 Third St.

Wickersham's 152nd birthday observance to be held Monday
JUNEAU - Weather permitting, there will be a 152nd birthday observance for Judge James Wickersham from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday at the House of Wickersham, 213 Seventh St.

Sitka golf tourney supports cancer, diabetes groups
SITKA - The Sitka Cancer Survivors Society and Sitka Community Hospital's new diabetes program will benefit from the inaugural Sitka Women's Golf League Fundraiser.

Child passenger seat safety fitting to be held Aug. 29 in Sitka
SITKA - Parents wanting to ensure that their child passenger seats are properly fit for their car can attend a free public car seat check from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29, at the AC Lakeside Grocery parking lot, 705 Halibut Point Rd.

Ducks taking plunge in Rotary benefit
On Saturday, Aug. 29, Riverside Rotary Pond will be the site of a larger than normal migration of ducks for the third annual Juneau Duck Derby.

Mobile mammogram van to visit Skagway Sept. 14 to 17
SKAGWAY - The mobile mammogram van will visit Skagway from Sept. 14 to 17. The mobile mammogram program has been upgraded to digital imaging instead of film for 2009.

Consortium EMS to offer Wilderness First Responder course
SITKA - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Emergency Medical Services department is offering a Wilderness First Responder course that involves some preliminary online computer work before class sessions begin on Oct. 12-16 at the Southeast Region Emergency Medical Services Council Inc. classroom in Sitka, 100 Clothilde Bahovec Way, out near the ferry terminal.

Klawock hosts Living Well Alaska chronic disease classes
KLAWOCK - Do you or a loved one have a chronic disease, such as arthritis, diabetes or heart disease, and do you feel limited by it? Do you feel like you're spending too much time with the doctor or at the hospital? The Living Well Alaska workshops will teach you how to self-manage your disease so you start to feel better.

Thanks for contributing to libraries' Summer Reading Program
The Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries sponsor the Juneau Public Libraries' Summer Reading Program providing funding for programs, printing, crafts and reading incentives. Each year, the Friends receive support from local businesses that donated gift certificates and prizes for a weekly drawing. To participate in this drawing, children wrote reviews of books they read during the summer.

Thanks for supporting us during this difficult stretch of our journey
Tag Eckles passed away July 26, 2009. On his behalf and in my own name, I would like to express my gratitude to all who supported us during this difficult stretch of our journey: friends and family, healers and health care professionals, the Red Dog crew, my colleagues at the University of Alaska Southeast - everyone who donated time, services, prayers, goods, money, expertise, compassion and love.

Thanks to the folks who helped rock the house
The KXLL 40th Anniversary of Woodstock event this past weekend was a great success and we want to thank the folks who helped rock the house: Ball and Chain, Bridget Cross and George Kuhar from Maybe It's Reno, and Alex Nelson. We also want to thank the Juneau Arts and Culture Center for providing a great space, Rozwick Giles Music for doing a bang up job on the sound, and the Alaskan Brewing Co., for donating the beer and making the event a success. And of course, we thank all of the KXLL listeners and supporters for making public radio a great part of living in Juneau.

Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault appoints new executive director
Reflecting on her recent appointment as executive director for the Alaska Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Juneau's Sandy Samaniego says she is excited and honored.

Grieger, Lemke wed
Miriam Grieger, of Marburg, Germany, and Jeremy Lemke, of Juneau, were married on Aug. 22, 2009, at the Shrine of St. Therese. A reception was held at the Buoy Deck.

FYI
Births

No two summers are created equal
On Aug. 13, a cold autumn wind came rushing through Echo Ranch announcing that summer was officially over. It was the last day of camp and it ended just as quickly as the season began.

Photo: Market masters
Hope Merritt, left, and Judy Johnstone, right, of Gimbal Botanicals and Sprucecot Gardens, receive the Table of the Day Award from Ellen Frankenstein, center, during the third Sitka Farmers Market of the season on Aug. 15. The Sitka Local Foods Network selected the table - which featured a variety of fresh produce, beach asparagus, herbal teas and ornamental plants - to receive the $25 cash prize, an Alaska Farmers Market Association tote bag, an "Eating Alaska" DVD by Sitka filmmaker Ellen Frankenstein and a certificate of appreciation. A similar prize package will be awarded to a deserving vendor at each of the two remaining Sitka Farmers Markets.

Senior menu for the week of Aug. 24-28

Local law firm supports Whale Project
Dan Bruce, of Baxter, Bruce & Sullivan, hands a $5,000 check from the firm to Bill Overstreet, former mayor and visionary behind the Whale Project sculpture and fountain to be donated to Juneau in honor of the 50th anniversary of Alaska statehood. Attorneys Kevin Sullivan, center, and Z. Kent Sullivan, right, accompany Bruce.

Jaimie Lea Dennis
Juneau resident Jaimie Lea Dennis died Aug. 15, 2009, in Juneau. She was 22.

Alaska editorial: Fuel prices on rise: Good for the state, bad for residents
Recent oil price increases have brought some cheer to state government, but the rising income is again making Alaskans nervous about heating, electricity and transportation costs. Alaskans aren't seeing anything as high as last year's prices, but energy costs are rising again.

Wolf management isn't about sport
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., understands the essence of Alaska's wolf population control program perfectly. "Shooting wildlife from airplanes is not sport," Feinstein declared.

Alaska editorial: Practice boating safety
With the number of boating fatalities increasing and boating season still under way, the U.S. Coast Guard is underscoring the importance of on-the-water safety.

Keep those clunkers running smooth
Turning in old gas-guzzlers for cash sounded like a great idea to a lot of Americans; in fact, the federal Cash for Clunkers program was so popular that it quickly ran out of funds and Congress had to provide more.

There's more than miles that separate Americans
Our story so far: Last year, Barack Obama was elected president, the first American of African heritage ever to reach that office. If this was regarded as a new beginning by most Americans, it was regarded apocalyptically by others who promptly proceeded to lose both their minds and any pretense of enlightenment.

'The Moth' is a reminder that storytelling isn't dead
On a recent long drive to see friends in Delaware, my husband and I became initiated into "The Moth." It was my parents' discovery. They had been going for years to hear the Moth's program of live storytelling in Manhattan. They had also collected CDs of the most talented raconteurs who recounted their heartbreak, triumph, revelation and just plumb crazy doings, for the delight of strangers.

Predictions prove to be true: Obama is new Jimmy Carter
It's as simple as this: Just as semi-rural Georgia politics of the mid-1970s couldn't be imposed on the Washington establishment, Chicago-style, brute-force politics doesn't work, either. Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress started digging a hole when they decided to force-feed massive health care reform on the American people in the middle of an unprecedented financial crisis. And with every town hall meeting, press conference and leak of a new strategy, they just keep digging that hole deeper.

Outside column: Pistol-packing camera hogs
It is disturbing to see protesters show up with guns at President Obama's political events. Yet the practice is not illegal. It's also old enough to have whiskers on it.

Toe toon
This week's toe toon.

Volunteers finish cabin in Ketchikan
KETCHIKAN - Hikers outside Ketchikan have a new shelter in place thanks to volunteers and the U.S. Forest Service.

UAA, UAF deemed military-friendly
JUNEAU - The University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska Fairbanks were recently designated military-friendly schools by G.I. Jobs magazine.

Math and science conference set for October 14-17
JUNEAU - The Alaska Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Alaska Science Teachers Association will host the Alaska State Math and Science Conference Oct. 14-17 in Juneau.

Minor earthquake rattles central Alaska
ANCHORAGE - A small earthquake shook central Alaska on Friday evening.

Woman, 18, fatally shot while hunting
KALGIN ISLAND - Alaska State Troopers said an 18-year-old woman has died after being shot while hunting with two companions.

Anchorage jury convicts 50-year-old serial burglar
ANCHORAGE - A serial burglar first convicted of the crime in 1981 has been found guilty of committing nine burglaries in the spring of 2007.

Boy dies in dragging by cow at fair
ANCHORAGE - A 9-year-old boy died after he was dragged several hundred feet by his own cow at the Kenai Peninsula State Fair in Ninilchik.

Accused Anchorage cop gets public defender despite salary
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage police officer accused of sexually assaulting women while on duty will get a public defender despite his $100,000 annual salary.

Shipwreck artifacts displayed at museum
JUNEAU - Residents and visitors still have time to see the Alaska State Museum's special summer exhibitions.

Man indicted in picture-ID robbery
ANCHORAGE - A federal grand jury has indicted a man accused of robbing an Anchorage credit union after presenting his account number and picture ID.

Green planning to get stimulus boost
JUNEAU - Alaska communities have an opportunity to jump start their green infrastructure planning efforts to prevent water pollution and improve water quality because of a new grant program supported by economic recovery funds.

Possibility of charges against man in Juneau standoff still unknown
JUNEAU - No charges have been filed in connection with the 20-hour police standoff at the Channel View Apartments downtown earlier this week.

Cordova taking part in nylon net recycling program
CORDOVA - Cordova is one of five communities in Alaska participating in a program to recycle nylon gillnet and seine web.

Gene Therriault takes job in Parnell administration
NORTH POLE - A veteran lawmaker is giving up his seat in the state Senate for a new job in Gov. Sean Parnell's administration.

Crash kills one on Seward Highway
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police said a man died in a fatal wreck that closed the Seward Highway at Fireweed Lane for several hours late Thursday.

Capital Transit to take Labor Day off
JUNEAU - The city's Capital Transit and Care-A-Van bus and van services will not operate on Sept. 7 in recognition of Labor Day.

Man who pulled gun on officer gets 6 years
FAIRBANKS - The man who pulled a gun on a University of Alaska Fairbanks officer a year ago has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Man struck by hit-and-run driver
TRAPPER CREEK - Alaska State Troopers have arrested a 48-year-old pickup driver suspected of seriously injuring a pedestrian at the Trapper Creek Bluegrass Festival and then driving off.

Ex-Rep. Stepovich awaits verdict in Fairbanks drug case
FAIRBANKS - It's now up to a Fairbanks jury to decide whether former Alaska state Rep. Nick Stepovich had cocaine behind a local bar.

4 rescued from grounded fishing boat
ANCHORAGE - The Coast Guard said three adults and a 12-year-old were rescued from a 42-foot commercial fishing boat sinking in Prince William Sound.

Fairbanks to vote on wood stove air pollution
FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks Borough Assembly voted 5-4 to let voters have a say during the Oct. 6 election on how air pollution prevention programs should be run.

Nenana murder trial set to begin
FAIRBANKS - Jury selection begins today in a first-degree murder trial that was moved from Nenana to Fairbanks.

Crawl before you walk
JUNEAU - No one walks up off the street and becomes an instant force in competitive cross country. And that is the task for Thunder Mountain High School as the entire cross country team is, like the school itself, sparkling new.

Pine View rolls over Bears
ST. GEORGE, Utah - New Pine View starting quarterback Alec Mecham knew the expectations of him coming into the season. After the Panthers reached the 4A state semifinals in four of the last five years, success is expected.

JDHS fourth at Bartlett Relays
ANCHORAGE - The Juneau-Douglas High School cross country team finished fourth Saturday in the Bartlett Relays after three-time defending girls' state champion Leah Francis dominated the anchor leg of the race, picking up time and flying bycompetitors.

Bears knock off Falcons
KODIAK - Kodiak jumped up to a 21-0 lead after scoring on its first three possessions and went on to defeat Thunder Mountain High School 48-20 at Joe Floyd Track and Field in the Falcons' second game ever.

Summer of the bumblebee
It was a good summer for bumblebees, so hikers often saw them visiting alpine and trailside flowers. The frequent sightings stirred some conversation among hikers who also garden, and therefore want bees to visit their peas and beans.

Obama's ocean policy task force comes to Alaska
ANCHORAGE - Members of President Obama's Ocean Policy Task Force have a huge job before them: They must come up with a national policy for managing the country's oceans, coasts and Great Lakes.

Police arrest suspect in road rage shooting
ANCHORAGE - A college student involved in a early morning traffic mishap with another driver was shot in a parking lot and critically injured in what police labeled a road rage incident.

Beetles, wildfire pose double threat
HAINES JUNCTION, Yukon Territory - A veil of smoke settled over the forest in the shadow of the St. Elias Mountains, in a wilderness whose spruce trees stood tall and gray, a deathly gray even in the greenest heart of a Yukon summer.

UAF tries out grass runways
PALMER - Alaskan pilots accustomed to landing on a remote gravel runway and having their aircraft damaged by rocks may soon be able to make softer landings - on grass runways.

Coast Guard helps scientists study Arctic ice
JUNEAU - The U.S. Coast Guard 17th District deployed a buoy last week in the Arctic that will help scientists collect information about sea ice.

More than 700 attend Murkowski town hall
ANCHORAGE - More than 700 people attended Sen. Lisa Murkowski's town hall meeting on health care in Anchorage.

Family-owned fuel business flies supplies to Bush Alaska
ANCHORAGE - The east ramp at Fairbanks International Airport may look to some like a graveyard of 1940s and '50s aircraft, but in reality, the aging planes supply Bush Alaska with fuel for heat and transportation. Many of the aircraft are no longer used for commercial flights in the country. Brooks Fuel Inc. acquired the planes as the key to its business.

Separate Seward Highway wrecks kill siblings
ANCHORAGE - A man who died in a fatal wreck on Seward Highway Thursday was the brother of a woman killed in a car accident on the same highway last month.

FAA hopes to cut hunting, fishing fly-in accidents
ANCHORAGE - Fireweed blossoms are peaking, the silver salmon are running and hunting season is underway in Alaska, signs of autumn that has the Federal Aviation Administration offering a safety outreach to improve hunting and fishing fly-in accidents.

Rat Island rid of namesake pest
WASHINGTON - After two centuries of an epic infestation, Alaska's Rat Island finally may merit a name change. The island, part of a national wildlife refuge in the sprawling Aleutian chain, appears to be pest-free for the first time since rats overran it after a Japanese sailing ship wrecked there in the late 1700s.

Bag tax proposed to fight Fairbanks garbage
FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks officials are taking a carrot-and-stick approach to boost recycling in the city.

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