Wednesday, August 26, 2009

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.

After the fire, community steps up
Tuesday will mark the three-month anniversary of the arson that devastated the Pink House - the Basin Road home of Ryan Stanley, his wife, Laura Hosey, and their 3-year-old daughter, Meadow Stanley. Tuesday, the remnants finally came down.

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

When it rains, it pours: Pelican problems grow
The collapse of the city of Pelican's water flume last week is the latest in a flood of bad news to hit this beleaguered fishing port.

Scammers targeting classifieds customers
Avallon Gregg noticed a suspect $93 debit charge to PCS Inmate Calling Service on her fiancé's online bank statement Monday and knew something was amiss.

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.

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: 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.

Photo: Lucky break
Personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Kodiak assist the Kodiak-based fishing vessel Hail Mary after the vessel ran aground and took on water near their starboard bow in Women's Bay. The incident happened on the shore of the the Coast Guard base, allowing the Coast Guard to respond quickly.

Around Town
Tuesday, Aug. 25

Around Town
Today, Aug. 26

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

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials did not release a daily bulletin by press time Tuesday. Police and fire reports will be published in Thursday's Juneau Empire.

Correction
An A1 story in Tuesday's Juneau Empire about bed rest for homeless patients misstated who will be eligible for assistance under a proposed program. If approved by the city manager, it would help the homeless with a sickness that requires bed rest. The story also misstated who would provide volunteers to check on the sick. The agencies are St. Vincent de Paul and Home Health Nurses.

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

Frances Jean 'Jill' Jorgensen
Longtime Sitka resident Frances Jean "Jill" Jorgensen (Lunas) died Aug. 17, 2009, in Coos Bay, Ore., due to complications resulting from a car accident. She was 70.

Barbara L. Blevins
Former Juneau resident Barbara L. Blevins, of Wonder Lake, Ill., died Aug. 22, 2009. She was 85.

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

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.

Empire editorial: A temporary solution
Juneau’s homeless and sick won’t be left out in the cold, at least not this month.

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.

Empire editorial: Parnell off to a good start
The Juneau Empire's relationship with Gov. Sarah Palin's office during the past year was tenuous at best, nonexistent at worst. So was the case for other Alaska newspapers, many of which put their discord in editorial form. It's with great relief we see that Gov. Sean Parnell is trying a different approach to dealing with the media: He's talking to us.

A tale of two photo-ops
Everyone has a "What I'm Doing in Alaska" story: I followed a job; I followed a guy/girl; I watched too much Discovery Channel; I crossed a land-bridge from Asia sometime between 60,000 and 50,000 B.C. Me, I'm here for the free hot dogs.

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?

Celebrities in need of a Dr. No
You are one of the biggest stars there has ever been, a star so big the mere sight of you causes hysteria and stampedes, a star so big, other stars turn into gushing fanboys when they meet you.

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?

Outside editorial: Effective health care begins in the home
In the debate over health-care reform, one elephant in the waiting room isn't being discussed. We have been told repeatedly that our health-care system is not only the most expensive in the world but one of the least efficient in meeting the health-care needs of the nation. So how do we solve these two problems? From my perspective as a physician, I would say we need to start by taking a hard look at the diseases we are doing such a bad job of controlling and at the individuals who suffer from them.

Mark Begich hosting climate-change tour
ANCHORAGE - Sen. Mark Begich says he'll host four other senators on a "climate change" tour this weekend in Alaska.

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.

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.

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.

4 survive small plane crash near Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - Officials said four people have survived a small plane crash in a wooded area near Eklutna.

Noat runs aground on Coast Guard base
KODIAK - An Alaska fishing boat ran into trouble but found an opportune place to do so.

1st Stryker brigade returning to Alaska
FAIRBANKS - About 160 Fort Wainwright soldiers scheduled to return Tuesday are the advance party of the 1st Stryker brigade that has been in Iraq for nearly a year.

6 juvenile wolves found dead in Idaho
BOISE, Idaho - Idaho officials say six juvenile wolves were found decomposing on U.S. Forest Service land.

Off-duty cop arrests post office customer
ANCHORAGE - An off-duty Anchorage police officer arrested a woman accused of threatening to kill a postal worker because a package was late.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Gas pipeline projects to seek permits in '12
FAIRBANKS - Both the TransCanada and Denali natural gas pipeline projects expect to file for a federal permit in 2012.

No new oil stored near Mount Redoubt
KENAI - Kenai officials told residents at a town hall meeting that current plans call for no additional crude oil to be stored near Mount Redoubt.

3.8 quake reported in Yukon Territory
WHITEHORSE, Yukon Territory - An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 3.8 was reported in Canada's northern Yukon Territory.

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.

$478,000 to support program in Fairbanks
WASHINGTON - Attorney General Eric Holder announced that $478,869 in Recovery Act funds was awarded to an Alaska organization by the Office on Violence Against Women Recovery Act Transitional Housing Program. The funds are being awarded to the Interior Alaska Center for Non-Violence Living.

Hikers rescued after journey into the wild
ANCHORAGE - Two hikers have been rescued in the Alaska wilderness after visiting the bus made famous in the Sean Penn-directed movie "Into the Wild."

Crews to replace culvert in Petersburg
JUNEAU - Work crews began installing a replacement culvert in Petersburg Wednesday morning, the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced.

Setting the standard
JUNEAU - Thunder Mountain High School's inaugural volleyball season begins this weekend at the Ketchikan Jamboree, but don't expect them to act like a first-year team.

Ancient Native remains located near Kivalina
BARROW - Construction workers doing excavation for Kivalina's new wastewater treatment plant unearthed the skeletal remains of three people believed to be members of a tribal group that lived in Alaska more than 1,000 years ago.

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.

Helpers roll into bike repair co-op
ANCHORAGE - On a recent rainy evening, Wendy Baker hauled her antiquated bicycle up a half-flight of stairs at the old Mat Maid building on Northern Lights Boulevard and pushed it through a maze of used bike parts and do-it-yourself bicycle mechanics. It was Baker's first visit to the Off the Chain bicycle shop and she just happened to arrive on "Ladies Night," when the shop's team of grease monkeys was mostly women.

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.

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.

From beach rocks to stone art
KETCHIKAN - When people wander the shores of Southeast Alaska's many islands, most see a lot of rather plain rocks on the beach; Gary McWilliams sees art.

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.

Bear deaths down on Russian, Kenai rivers
ANCHORAGE - Fish and wildlife managers say no bears have been killed in defense of life or property near the confluence of the Russian and Kenai rivers this summer.

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.

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.

Photo: You lookin' at me?
A gull and a young brown bear eye each other Aug. 15 on the bank of the Kenai River near its confluence with the Russian River near Cooper Landing. Both were taking a break from scavenging along the waterline.

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.

Historic cabin moved for study, protection
KENAI - The Watchman's Cabin on the northern side of the Kasilof River's mouth has seen a lot of residents and visitors in the last 120 or so years, and sadly not all of them have been kind to the endangered historic structure.

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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