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Monday, August 25, 2008

Lots of rhetoric
As usual, the debate surrounding Predator Management in Alaska mixes a little fact with plenty of rhetoric and misinformation. This is especially true for those supporting passage of Measure 2 on the primary ballot. Sponsors of the Initiative to ban use of aircraft for predator control, once again attempting to dupe the public into believing this is a fair chase/hunting ethics/biological issue.

Vote no on Measure 1
Ballot Measure 1, regarding "The Gaming Commission" in the upcoming Aug. 26 primary, is intended to eliminate charitable gaming and replace it with for-profit gambling.

New pols needed
On the "Talk of Alaska" radio program the other day, U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens said he wanted to run for another term because there was so much left to do, leaving the impression that if given the chance, he could pretty much whip all the major issues in one more term. That would leave the rest of us with nothing to do but sweep the floor and keep the lights on for the foreseeable future.

Diane Benson's past shows her character
Character matters in politics. Courage and conviction matter. Diane Benson has both.

Stand for clean water
I think it is odd that big mining companies in Alaska or their supporters are always saying that mining can be done in an environmentally responsible manner and yet they are spending millions of dollars to fight Ballot Measure 4, the Clean Water Initiative.

Represent all of us
The Palin Administration, Alaska Outdoor Council, and the Board of Game form a cabala whose last interest is honoring the will of Alaskan voters. As it applies to airborne predator killing, that will was made clear in 1996 and 2000.

Let's get it right
Juneau residents face a very important election this fall and they will either get it right by electing a candidate that will get us back in step with the rest of Alaska or continue down the same path we are on now.

In Stevens' debt
U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens has been good for all Alaskans.

Not euthanasia
The recent My Turn by Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner Denby Lloyd explored some "misunderstandings" about recent predator control actions taken by the department, including the "euthanasia" of 14 wolf pups. Lloyd states that euthanasia was done according to standards set by the state's Animal Care and Use Committee and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Bring clean elections
Fifty years ago, I actively participated in Alaska's fight for statehood. Now I am one of three sponsors of Ballot Measure 3, for public funding of campaigns, designed to bring clean elections to our state.

Find impartial info
Was the theme of the Juneau 4th of July Parade in 2008 "No on 4"?

Primary features new polling places
Juneau voters will be faced with several new polling places Tuesday, when they vote in the statewide primary election.

Cable to extend Southeast network
Over land and under the sea, two long-distance communications networks are in progress this summer that will lighten the load on Southeast Alaska's maxed-out bandwidth.

Fundraising evenly matched in valley, lopsided downtown
Of Juneau's two contested House primary races, one has the candidates evenly matched financially, while in the other the incumbent holds a wide fundraising and spending lead over the challenger.

Photo: Off and running
Election signage lines a vacant lot as a runner passes by Sunday in the Vintage Business Park. Tuesday's primary elections will have voters selecting presidential, U.S. House and Senate, Alaska House candidates and four ballot measures.

Photo: Close encounter
Two tourists follow a young black bear Sunday as it crosses the road at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

Juneau delegates take roles in Democratic convention
DENVER - Barack Obama is paying attention to Alaska's boondocks, which for Cindy Spanyers means she finally won't be representing a political wasteland as Democrats finalize their presidential nominee, strategies for congressional elections and stance on national issues this week.

Around Town
Today

Some villages to get high-speed Internet connections, cafes
AT&T Alascom is making some small changes that could have big effects on a few Southeast villages, where the only Internet service has been low-speed dial-up.

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

Photo: Viewing platform
Olavi Siikki pulls in a chum salmon from the water as he stands on a step stool Saturday next to the Douglas Island Pink and Chum Hatchery. Along with his polarized sunglasses, Siikki said the stool gives him a better view of the fish.

Photo: Celebrating harvest
Kelly and Merrill Jensen take a closer look at a primrose Saturday while judging the flower division at the Juneau Community Garden's Harvest Fair.

Around Town
Today

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

Linda Kay Manns
Following a long battle with cancer, Linda Kay Manns died Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008. She was 43.

Toe Toon
Cartoon by local artist Toe.

Alaska editorial: Oppose establishment of gaming commission
This editorial appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:

My turn: Consider the Russian side of conflict
Russia is not being given fair treatment over the Georgian/Ossetian problems in the Caucuses. The press is not to blame. It goes deeper than that. There are very serious problems with the West.

Three out of four is not too bad
A citizen's initiative is perhaps one of the best and worst aspects of our Alaska government.

Outside editorial: The right age for drinking isn't 18
College officials who have signed on to the provocative proposition that the legal drinking age of 21 isn't working say that they just want to start a debate. Perhaps when they get done with that, they can move on to whether Earth really orbits the sun. Any suggestion that the current drinking age hasn't saved lives runs counter to the facts.

My turn: No on 4: Save Alaska jobs
The Empire's editorial supporting Ballot Measure 4 shows a surprising lack of knowledge and understanding of four things: the real impacts of Measure 4, existing stringent federal and state permitting requirements involving water quality, the value of public processes for promulgating laws and regulations, and the importance of attracting industry to Alaska.

My turn: Ballot measure 2 hurts subsistence
As many of us throughout rural Alaska are aware, since the 1996 and 2000 ballot initiatives limiting aerial predator management were passed, moose populations have declined 75-80 percent in many areas, largely due to inadequate predator management. This situation resulted in many subsistence hunts being severely restricted or closed entirely. More recently, reinstated predator management programs have helped rebuild our moose populations. However, these programs are again in danger of being shut down by Ballot Measure 2.

Regime change needed at school district
When folks talk about economic development in Juneau they rarely mention the quality of Juneau's schools. That's a mistake.

Waterfowl hunting season to start soon
Juneau waterfowl hunters should be lining up their ducks if they want to hunt on the Mendenhall Wetlands this year. Waterfowl season starts on Monday, Sept. 1, at 5:28 a.m.

Photo: Checking things out
David Wilcox, 10, checks out a World War II-era winch after attending the Fort Rousseau Causeway State Historical Park dedication ceremony on Aug. 16 in Sitka. The causeway was part of the Sitka Naval Air Station and the Army's Fort Ray during the war.

Kayak trip reveals Glacier Bay wildlife
Most of my excursions and explorations are on land, but lately many of these little trips have been very water-logged.

Out & About
Today: Public trap shoot, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Juneau Gun Club.

Forest Service will close 95 road miles
KETCHIKAN - The Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service will cut its maintenance costs by closing 95 miles of roads in remote areas.

APOC orders state to remove Web pages
JUNEAU - The Alaska Public Offices Commission on Thursday ordered the state to take down its Web pages explaining how Measure 4 would work.

Dairy plant receives $1.5 million bid
ANCHORAGE - The Matanuska Maid dairy in Anchorage will likely be turned into a heated self-storage facility now that the state has received a minimum bid for the plant.

Man faces trial for attempted murder
KENAI - A Kasilof man charged with trying to kill his wife is due to stand trial.

Stoned driver gets three years in death
ANCHORAGE - A driver who was under the influence of marijuana was sentenced to three years in prison for criminally negligent homicide in the death of a 53-year-old woman killed on the Seward Highway.

Community Schools office relocates
JUNEAU - Community Schools Central Office has relocated to Thunder Mountain High School.

Group to conduct regional health study
JUNEAU - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program will be conducting a special region-specific Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System study beginning in September.

Symphony Cruise offers food, music
JUNEAU - On Sept. 13, the Juneau Symphony will host "Set Sail for the Symphony," a benefit cruise for its 2008-09 season.

Police pull body from Anchorage creek
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police are investigating the death of a man whose body was found in Chester Creek.

Public comments shape roads decision
KETCHIKAN - Outdoor recreationists and subsistence users who drive high-clearance and off-highway vehicles in the Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District will maintain access to their preferred U.S. Forest Service roads, according to District Ranger Lynn Kolund.

Cab driver finds body in parking lot
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage cab driver found the body of a man in the parking lot of a midtown Anchorage apartment complex, and police are considering the death a homicide.

Juneau's winning streak ends at 13
Idaho won the battle of the defending state champions Saturday night at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park, knocking off the Crimson Bears 27-7 and ending Juneau's 13-game winning streak.

Photo: Hard knocks
Senior Alex Fagerstrom is tackled while running during Saturday's game between Juneau-Douglas High School and Blackfoot, Idaho, the defending 4A Idaho state champs. The Crimson Bears lost 27-7. Fagerstrom scored the Crimson Bears' onlytouchdown on a three-yard scamper in the fourth quarter. For the full game story read Monday's issue of the Juneau Empire.

Photo: Leader of the pack
About two dozen racers start up the Fish Creek Road for the five-mile-long Eaglecrest Road Race on Saturday. Henry Hiram, far right, won the race in 36 minutes, 17 seconds.

30 Juneau golfers compete in first Gustavus tourney
Juneau golf enthusiasts did their part for charity Saturday by participating in the Healing Hands Foundation Inaugural Golf Tournament at Mt. Fairweather Golf Course in Gustavus.

Bottom trawling restrictions start Monday
ANCHORAGE - Large portions of the Bering Sea off Alaska's coast will soon be off-limits to bottom trawling, in which fishing vessels drag huge, weighted nets across the ocean floor.

Alaska gambling ballot measure under dispute
Ballot Measure 1 hasn't garnered much attention.

New Frontier
BARROW - Rapidly melting ice on Alaska's Arctic is opening up a new navigable ocean in the extreme north, allowing oil tankers, fishing vessels and even cruise ships to venture into a realm once trolled mostly by indigenous hunters.

This Day in History
In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

Stevens indictment alters tone of Senate primary race
Don't look for an indictment to knock Ted Stevens out of the U.S. Senate race in Tuesday's primary, but look closely at the final numbers for clues about Stevens' chances in November.

Driver hits grizzly bear as it crosses Anchorage street
ANCHORAGE - One moment Howard Hawkins Jr. was driving to get an early morning cup of coffee, and the next he hit a large grizzly bear running at a full gallop across one of Anchorage's busiest streets.

Low temperatures, rain limit Alaska honey production
ANCHORAGE - In Josetta Cranston's Anchorage backyard, thousands of honeybees labored all summer building zillions of waxy hexagons inside their wooden hives. They nurtured young. They hunted nectar. They loaded their legs with pollen grains.

Village mulls buffalo cooperative
FAIRBANKS - An Interior village leader looking for ways to supplement fish and game harvests says buffalo may be an alternative.

Support for 'Clean elections' split along party lines
The specter of VECO Corp. is being invoked in the battle over publicly funded campaigns, the so-called "clean elections" ballot measure campaign, but it's not being done by who you'd think.

State Fair volunteer struggles after fall
ANCHORAGE - A Palmer man with a long history of volunteering at the Alaska State Fair is struggling to recover from an injury suffered while replacing poles used in the fair's lumberjack show.

This Day in History
In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

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