Government health care system works
While there are a lot of Congress members complaining about the proposed health care system coming up for a vote, no one is complaining about the government health care system they have. That's because the government health care system for lawmakers is a really good one, while the one being proposed in Congress has many flaws.

Parnell should make Taku River a priority
Thanks for the Juneau Empire article last week discussing the Taku River and its contribution to Juneau's sport fishing. Taku River salmon account for about 90 percent of our spring king catch, 25 percent of sport-caught kings during the rest of the season and one third of the local coho harvest. The Taku is the most productive river in Southeast. Its wild salmon support hundreds of jobs and provide millions of dollars in revenue to Southeast Alaska.

We are losing our way because of politics
As a parent who has a child in the Juneau School District, I'm disappointed in what I'm seeing. All other school districts started class earlier than ours.

Sealaska shouldn't desert its friends
I am writing about the Sealaska land transfer bill, which is legislation to transfer public Tongass National Forest lands, currently managed for multiple use, to the Sealaska Corp. The bill would allow Sealaska to take the lands into private management. These lands are currently subsistence and personal use areas, contain internationally recognized karst and cave features, and are used by local small businesses in the ecotourism and sport fishing industries.

Sealaska should focus on the long-term
I think that Sealaska and other Native corporations, including the landless, should receive the land that is rightfully theirs. After all, the land in Southeast Alaska has been Tlingit and Haida land for eons and it is important that at least a portion of it be returned to its rightful owners.

Legislators can work to show they care
A growing number of members of the Alaska Legislature are unhappy with shortened 90-day sessions, as reported in a recent Juneau Empire article (Legislators document their unhappiness with 90-day sessions). This showcases a good first step in listening to internal and constituent concerns and developing a plan to potentially reverse that decision.

Summer of chum
It was a good summer for Douglas Island Pink and Chum, and also for Southeast fisherman. More than 1.6 million chum salmon were caught by sports and commercial fishermen and DIPAC, a hatchery official said.

Photos: Students return to big changes
Juneau School District began the school year Monday by opening classes with new start times for all grades and welcoming kids at two elementary schools that were completely remodeled.

Police & Fire

A page 9 letter to the editor in Sunday's Juneau Empire about sick and homeless patients began with an incomplete sentence due to an editing error.

Juneau enrollment shifts to new school
This school year, all four grades will be represented for the first time at Thunder Mountain High School. A full sports program also is offered for the first time at the school, which opened with only three grades and intramural sports last fall.

UAS enrollment up 30 percent from last fall
Enrollment at the University of Alaska Southeast for the fall semester is up from last year, particularly with new undergraduate students.

Parr pleads guilty to selling OxyContin, faces 5½ years
A 31-year-old man pleaded guilty to a felony drug charge Monday for selling three OxyContin tablets and will likely spend 5½ years in prison. He initially faced up to 40 years.

District introduces new start times
The Juneau School District's new start times continue to receive mixed reviews from students.

Photo: Fresh start to the school year
Nick Ashton of McGraw Construction power-washes a walkway Sunday next to Harborview Elementary School in preparation for the first day of school today. The school has undergone a $16.5 million renovation.

Hundreds still missing vaccines
The Juneau School District expected to collect immunization paperwork on the first day from hundreds of students who had not provided it to the schools as of Friday.

Around Town
Today, Aug. 31

Police & Fire
Attempt to serve:

Lock-up facilities bracing for flu outbreak
A resident of the Gastineau Human Services halfway house has a confirmed case of swine flu, officials said Monday.

Photo: Good day for gliding
A paraglider taking advantage of Monday's clear weather flies down Mount Roberts and by the Mt. Roberts Tramway's upper station.

Photo: Moving in
Chelsey Welch, 18, moves her things into Banfield Hall at the University of Alaska Southeast on Monday, the first day students can move in to the residential units. The university starts classes Thursday.

Around Town
Tuesday, Sept. 1

My Turn: Congress should seek more balance in Alaska land bills
Sen. Lisa Murkowski recently visited Prince of Wales Island and Ketchikan and discussed Senate Bill 881 and House Resolution 2099, legislation that she, Sen. Mark Begich, and Rep. Don Young introduced in April.

Obama's toughest patient: Partial reform isn't easy
The Obama administration and other advocates of comprehensive health reform knew that August was going to be a perilous month. It's turned out to be disastrous. As lawmakers return to work and President Obama ends his vacation, the health reform enterprise is in rough shape. So what is the proper course of treatment?

Confirmation game: Nasty and brutish
With last week's reappointment of Ben S. Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve, one of President Obama's biggest staffing headaches is all but over. Now on to the hundreds more that still require attention.

How did girl's kidnapper receive a second chance?
What shocked you most about Jaycee Lee Dugard's story? Was it the fact that she was abducted in plain sight, walking to a bus stop when she was 11 years old? Or the fact that she was still alive when discovered last week, 18 years later?

How to lose in Afghanistan
The United States cannot win the war in Afghanistan in the next three months - any form of even limited victory will take years of further effort. It can, however, easily lose the war. I did not see any simple paths to victory while serving on the assessment group that advised the new U.S. commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, on strategy, but I did see all too clearly why the war is being lost.

Book helps teachers reach students
How do you respond to a student who blurts out that she's pregnant and afraid to tell her mother?

Juneau Police find pot-growing operation
JUNEAU - Police found a marijuana growing operation after responding to a domestic disturbance Saturday in the Fritz Cove area.

School administrators watching Juneau's drug testing program
JUNEAU - Fairbanks North Star Borough high school athletic directors are interested to see the effects of Juneau School District's decision to begin randomly drug-testing athletes this fall, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported last week.

Appliance refunds likely months away
ANCHORAGE - Alaskans will be able to get a rebate on the purchase of energy efficient appliances, but the program won't be available for several months.

Fairbanks man dies in motorcycle crash
FOX - A motorcyclist is dead after losing control and crashing into a guard rail on a bend on State Route 2, the Elliott Highway.

Judge to decide trials for ex-lawmakers
ANCHORAGE - Federal prosecutors have decided against dismissing charges against two former Alaska lawmakers who claim their corruption convictions in a bribery case resulted from prosecutorial misconduct.

Truck hits a street sweeper, killing driver
ANCHORAGE - The driver of a pickup truck that rear-ended a street sweeper was killed in the collision on the Glenn Highway.

Guardsmen return from Mongolia
ANCHORAGE - About 40 Alaska National Guardsmen have returned home after participating in a multinational training exercise in Mongolia.

Fairbanks detox center to reopen
FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks Native Association hopes to reopen its detox center by Oct. 1.

Michigan boy visits doctor in Alaska
KENAI - Kevin Hertz took a long trip to see his favorite doctor.

Woman pleads not guilty in crash deaths
ANCHORAGE - A woman blamed for a head-on collision that killed two people on the Seward Highway pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and reckless driving charges.

Judge charged with drunk driving
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage Superior Court Judge Patrick McKay has been charged with drunk driving.

Wolf hunts to open, judge eyes injunction
MISSOULA, Mont. - Gray wolf hunting was set to begin in the Northern Rockies, even as a federal judge eyed a request to stop the killing of the predators just four months after they were removed from the endangered species list.

Fuel pumped from boat that sank in Cook Inlet
NIKISKI - The U.S. Coast Guard said divers have finished removing all recoverable fuel from an offshore supply vessel that sank last winter after colliding with the Granite Point oil platform in Cook Inlet.

Woman arrested after theft of trailer
ANCHORAGE - An arrest has been made in the theft of a trailer taken in June.

200 rally against climate, energy bill
ANCHORAGE - About 200 people rallied in opposition to climate and energy legislation passed by the U.S. House.

Public library system begins new hours
JUNEAU - Juneau Public Libraries will begin new hours next week.

N.Y. Times spotlights 36 hours in Juneau
JUNEAU - If you had only 36 hours to spend in Juneau, what would you do?

State creates new rural education job
The state is hiring a new rural education director, hoping to boost performance at some of the state's struggling rural schools.

Governor calls for continued gas tax suspension
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sean Parnell pumped $65.23 worth of gas into his Ford-150 truck on Monday while calling for an extension in the suspension of an 8-cent-per gallon tax increase.

Where salmon run, people wade
KENAI - There are those who think of fishing as a contemplative sport. A chance to plant hip waders in a sparkling stream, stash a cold drink in the belt pocket and dream of man's mystic connections to the water and the dark shapes lurking below.

Cooperative grocery planned in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS - Despite humble beginnings, a locally owned and operated cooperative grocery is becoming a reality in Fairbanks.

Solar water heating in place at Denali Education Center
MCKINLEY VILLAGE - The sun is helping heat the water at the Denali Education Center.

Alaska Air tests fuel-saving landing procedure
SEATAC, Wash. - Long after dark one night last week when few planes were in the air, an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 descended toward Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, its engines at idle power. Aboard were Alaska pilots and technicians and officials from the Federal Aviation Administration's Washington, D.C., headquarters.

Palin's father says daughter busy writing book
CALDWELL, Idaho - The father of Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and vice presidential nominee, says his daughter has been steering clear of the media spotlight in recent weeks to focus on writing her memoirs.

Climate trouble may be bubbling up in far north
MACKENZIE RIVER DELTA, Northwest Territories - Only a squawk from a sandhill crane broke the Arctic silence - and a low gurgle of bubbles, a watery whisper of trouble repeated in countless spots around the polar world.

Group says Alaskans charged too much for TV
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage-based consumer group contends Alaskans are paying too much for basic cable.

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