Tuesday, August 25, 2009

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:

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.

Improve on planned airport improvements
First and foremost, the Juneau International Airport should have an outside building for inbound passengers to wait at the bus stop. That way, passengers would not have to cart their luggage outside and then wait for taxi service, unprotected from the weather.

Juneau supports hotel beds for sick, homeless
Social service agencies received support Monday from the city to help homeless people who need a place to recover from the flu.

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

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.

Tobacco tax makes ballot
Voters will be asked to decide in October whether or not to raise taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products.

Photo: Helpful Chauffeur
Jeff Wright, left, of Juneau Limousine Services, gives a tourist directions Monday as he waits on customers at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

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.

Photo: Reality TV
A man who only identified himself as Mace watches over downtown Juneau from the library parking lot Monday. "This is my television," he said of the view.

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.

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: Birthday bash
From left, Rep. Beth Kerttula, John Venables, Rep. Cathy Muñoz and others sing happy birthday Monday in observance of Judge James Wickersham's 152nd birthday at the House of Wickersham.

Around Town
Today, Aug. 24

Police & Fire
-Assaults:

Around Town
Tuesday, Aug. 25

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

Betty Jean Williams
Former Juneau resident Betty Jean (Smith) Williams died June 5, 2009. She was 82.

Elizabeth "Lib" Berry Maloch
Juneau resident Elizabeth "Lib" Berry Maloch died Aug. 13, 2009, at the Juneau Pioneers' Home. She was 94.

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.

Doing nothing? Not an option
If costs keep growing at their current rate, health care will consume 20 percent of all spending in the U.S. by 2018. Nevertheless, critics of "Obama-care" argue that the country can't afford the reform bills moving through Congress. They claim the added costs imposed by the reform would lead inexorably to painful cuts in existing federal health programs, particularly Medicare.

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.

Cigarette tax should be used to fight lung cancer
Two bills making their way through the Legislature have the support of many Californians as a legitimate way to help ease the state's budget crisis while also discouraging smoking. One would raise the tobacco tax by $1.50 a pack, and the other would increase it by $2.10.

Committing national suicide
Remember when the deficit was so bad that Democrats said we (or more accurately the Republicans) were placing a terrible burden on our grandchildren?

'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.

When gas hits $20 per gallon
When gas prices reached $4 a gallon in the summer of 2008, panicky American commuters changed their vacation plans and dumped their SUVs. So imagine if prices hit $6 or $8. We'd see riots, right? And at $10 or $15, might we have a second Great Depression - for real this time? And if a gallon of gas cost $18 or $20, would the nation descend into a sort of post-motorized Lord of the Flies?

Empire warns about bogus advertising calls
JUNEAU - It recently came to the attention of the Juneau Empire that someone who erroneously claims to be with the Empire has been making bogus calls regarding advertising.

Memorial to kidnapped, slain soldier unveiled
MADRAS, Ore. - Residents in central Oregon have unveiled a memorial to Army Pfc. Thomas Tucker, the hometown soldier kidnapped in a checkpoint ambush in Iraq and killed three years ago.

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

Marine Parking Garage elevator out of service
JUNEAU - The non-express elevator in the downtown Marine Parking Garage is out of service. To access the parking levels, use the stairs or walk through the garage. Be cautious of traffic.

Man critically injured in ATV crash Saturday
TALKEETNA - A 23-year-old passenger on an all-terrain vehicle was critically injured when it crashed into a tree.

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.

Swine flu reported in Fairbanks school
FAIRBANKS - A week into the school year, a school in Fairbanks has reported its first case of swine flu.

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

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.

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.

Roadway in front of airport closes
JUNEAU - The roadway directly in front of Juneau International Airport terminal closed Monday and will reopen Sept. 5 for installation of an ice-melt system.

Minto airport renamed in honor of pioneer
MINTO - The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities officially renamed the improved airport the Minto Al Wright Airport to honor Alaska aviation pioneer Al Wright.

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

Fort Greely furniture heads to flooded villages
FAIRBANKS - Volunteers are working to move couches, beds, washers, dryers and tables donated at Fort Greeley to villages along the Yukon River that were damaged by flooding from spring ice jams.

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.

Murkowski slates two town halls this week
SOLDOTNA - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has a pair of town hall meetings on health care scheduled for this week.

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.

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.

Kenai college sees big attendance spike
KENAI - Enrollment at Kenai Peninsula College is in a "whole new stratosphere," buoyed by online classes, a recruiting effort and the tough economic times.

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

Former state legislator convicted on 2 counts
FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks jury has convicted former state Rep. Nick Stepovich of cocaine possession and attempted tampering with evidence. The verdict was returned Monday.

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.

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.

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.

Feds ease up on Medicaid waiver freeze
The federal government has given permission in emergency cases for the state to enroll new Medicaid waiver clients, despite a federal moratorium imposed after finding problems with the state's management of the program.

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.

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.

Roll your own? Some smokers start growing their tobacco
RICHMOND, Va. - Something unusual is cropping up alongside the tomatoes, eggplant and okra in Scott Byars' vegetable garden - the elephantine leaves of 30 tobacco plants.

Kookesh speaks against alleged fishing violation
ANCHORAGE - An Alaska state senator will challenge a fishing citation he received and seek a court opinion on whether a state wildlife officer has jurisdiction over subsistence fishermen on federal land.

Research finds higher acidity in Alaska waters
ANCHORAGE - Erosion threatens to topple coastal Alaska villages. Melting ice threatens polar bears. Now, a marine scientist says the state's marine waters are turning acidic from absorbing greenhouse gases faster than tropical waters, potentially endangering Alaska's $4.6 billion fishing industry.

Parnell revamps his communications team
New Gov. Sean Parnell is restructuring his communications team, putting legislative director Jerry Gallagher in charge of overall strategy and promoting Sharon Leighow to press secretary.

Judge rules prosecutors can withhold witness names
ANCHORAGE - Attorneys for an Anchorage man accused of torturing and killing a nurse practitioner may have to wait until a few days before his trial to get the names of certain witnesses set to testify against him.

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.

Stranded belugas swim free
ANCHORAGE - About 20 beluga whales that became stranded in mud during a low tide over the weekend have apparently freed themselves, bringing relief to biologists who have been closely monitoring their plight.

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.

Final defendant sentenced in Alaska mortgage fraud
ANCHORAGE - The man who federal prosecutors say was behind Alaska's largest mortgage fraud has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison.

Interior experiences slump in tourism
FAIRBANKS - It hasn't been a good tourist season for Interior Alaska.

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