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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Obama speech much ado about nothing
I watched President Barack Obama's back-to-school speech for American school children, and after your recent front-page article in which he was compared to a Nazi and a cult leader, I half expected him to say something at least mildly controversial.

Where were you when the world stopped turning?
I don't think Sept. 11 will ever be the same for me or my family. It was such a tragic event in our history. I remember watching msn.com that morning, which, ironically, had a beautiful shot of the twin towers during the morning Web cast. Suddenly, a plane hit the first tower.

Health care reform will have a profound impact
What is the hysteria about a public option for health care? Think about your grandparents or their parents. Please try to remember the status of the elderly before Medicare was enacted. Many elders lived below the poverty line. Most elders, unless they had union coverage, had no health insurance. Many died of untreated diseases. Medicare was the single best program for our elders. It improved health and economic standards, and made retirement possible for many.

Locals remember, reflect on tragic day
It was at the base of burning rubble spanning 16 acres of Manhattan where Destiny Sargeant's faith in mankind was restored. Amidst smoldering piles of stone and steel, where the bodies of more than 2,600 people laid buried, it was the outpouring of compassion and goodwill she witnessed following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that has stuck with her since.

Hoonah-area doe season closes for third straight year
Consecutive harsh winters continue to decimate the deer population on Chichagof Island, causing the U.S. Forest Service and state Department of Fish and Game to close the doe hunting season this fall.

Photo: Honoring a helping hand
Larry Harris, left, chairman of the board of directors of United Way of Southeast Alaska, and Peter Harris, of Shattuck & Grummett, award Betty Kaplor the United Way of Southeast Alaska 2009 Volunteer of the Year Award during a ceremony Thursday at Centennial Hall. Kaplor is the founder of Helping Hands, a local organization that has been helping feed Juneau's needy families for over 20 years. The group distributes food to about 400 people a week, relying on donations from local grocery stores and individuals to stock its shelves. Visit home.onemain.com/~helpinghandsjuneau/ for more information.

Photo: Autumn reflections
An umbrella-carrying tourist walks past the fall leaves blown down by Thursday's high winds and rain.

Around Town
Today, Sept. 11

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

William Francis "Billy" Brady
Former Juneau resident William Francis "Billy" Brady died Aug. 18, 2009, at his home in Lake Forest Park, Wash.

Sandra Jean MacLean Jaenicke
Juneau resident Sandra Jean MacLean Jaenicke died Sept. 8, 2009, in Juneau. She was 73.

Margaret Mary Adams
Longtime Juneau resident Margaret Mary Adams died Sept. 4, 2009, in her home with her husband by her side. She was 77.

My turn: Together communities can prevent suicide
This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, held each year to raise awareness that suicide is preventable. For the past 35 years, this week has been observed to remember those lost to suicide, to support survivors of suicide and to reinforce the message that suicide can be prevented.

To be victorious in Afghanistan
Within weeks, the top American and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is expected ask President Barack Obama for a new infusion of troops. That already has his White House divided: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leans toward deploying more U.S. warriors; Vice President Joseph Biden leans against.

A conspiracy culture, here?
The way the debate over health care has played out in this country makes me wonder if the United States is coming to resemble the Middle East.

Pure granite
Brandon Howard approaches each boulder he encounters like a chess player pondering his next move. The solution may not be an obvious one and the moves it takes to conquer it not readily apparent, but that's what keeps him coming back - again and again. Because for this avid local climber it's all about the challenge, the surprises and the purity of the sport. Even if it is only a big hunk of granite.

Waterfowl season opens Sept. 16
JUNEAU - Fall is in the air, which means migratory birds will be making their way again to Southeast Alaska. This year's regulations, published by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, state that the 2009-2010 hunting season begins Wednesday, Sept. 16, for waterfowl and runs through Dec. 31.

Ungulate season opens for moose, deer
JUNEAU - The 2009 hunting season opens for a variety of ungulates, or hoofed mammals, this September.

Black bears looking to fatten for winter
JUNEAU - Local officials are reminding residents to be vigilant about locking up garbage and cleaning up fish scraps and other such tempting items for bears.

An outdoor playground that's hard to ignore
It's hard to live in Juneau and not be aware of the outdoors. Here we're surrounded by Mother Nature in ways that rival even the most pristine and remote locations.

Fog lifts for great rewards on Cairn Peak
"Just step up, place your hand here, now another step, you've got it." I was talking out loud to myself, a sure sign I was a little nervous. It's not that the rock cliff I was scrambling up was difficult, it's just that if I made a mistake I could slide several hundred feet down a steep rock slope to the valley below me. When I was younger I had easily negotiated the same section several times with an expedition pack, sled and skis strapped to my back after a long Juneau icefield traverse. On day hikes I would rush through sections like this without a care in the world. But now I was older, and I had a different perspective on risk. I also figured I had probably long ago used up my nine lives surviving various scares in the mountains.

Fall rains bring mysteries, surprises at Mendenhall
The fall rains had come with a vengeance. The foliage was dripping, the creeks were running high, and Mendenhall Lake had risen so far that it drowned the beginning of the new trail out to Nugget Falls. By sidling along the very edge of the flood, pushing aside the overhanging brush, I just barely made it to the raised part of the trail with dry feet in my rubber boots.

Discovering Eaglecrest all over again
Eaglecrest is inviting the community to a day on the mountain Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Organizers are calling it "Discover Eaglecrest" and promise a day of exploration and adventure on Juneau's local ski hill.

2009 Klondike Road Relay begins today in Skagway
SKAGWAY - Following the trail of the Gold Rush stampeders over the famous White Pass, through British Columbia, into the Yukon and finishing in Whitehorse, more than 100 teams are set to compete in the 27th Klondike Trail of '98 International Road Relay today in Skagway.

Out & About
Today, Sept. 11

Fishing report
Silver salmon are in local waters with a fury.

Juneau tides

Tundra

Coast Guard copter rescues man on Unalaska Island
DUTCH HARBOR - The Coast Guard says one of its helicopters fought 45 mph winds to rescue an injured man from a cliff on Unalaska Island, 22 miles southwest of Dutch Harbor.

California man dies of heart attack in Denali National Park
DENALI NATIONAL PARK - A 48-year-old California man has died of an apparent heart attack during a ranger-led hike in Denali National Park.

Alaska lawmakers thank Hawaii senator for his support
ANCHORAGE - Alaska lawmakers have honored a senator from Hawaii for his support of their state.

Kotzebue mine to pay $120,000 penalty to EPA
KOTZEBUE - The federal government has assessed a $120,000 penalty against Teck Alaska Inc., the owner and operator of Kotzebue's Red Dog lead and zinc mine.

3 Fort Rich-based soldiers killed in Iraq
FORT RICHARDSON - Military officials say three soldiers based at Fort Richardson, including two from Ohio and one from Nevada, were killed in Iraq when their vehicle was hit by an explosive device.

Anchorage woman loses arrest appeal
ANCHORAGE - A federal appeals court has upheld the ruling against an Anchorage woman who sued police for false arrest.

North Pole reduces Wendy's $9,000 June water bill
NORTH POLE - The Wendy's restaurant in North Pole got an early Christmas gift.

Police ID 2 Eagle River victims
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police have identified two women who died this week in an apparent murder-suicide in Eagle River.

Bears looking for big payback on the road, Falcons hosting Hoopa
After the 25-0 pounding Juneau-Douglas took at the hands of Railbelt Conference rival North Pole last year in Juneau, the Crimson Bears are looking for a little payback.

Sports in Juneau
CALENDAR OF EVENTS

H.S. Sports Brief
West Valley edged Juneau-Douglas 3-2 (25-18, 8-25, 26-24, 15-25, 15-11) on Thursday in the Crimson Bears' season opening volleyball match. Full statistics are not yet available.

Halcro says he will challenge Rep. Don Young in 2010 race
ANCHORAGE - Andrew Halcro, a former state lawmaker, blogger and talk show host announced Thursday he will challenge U.S. Rep. Don Young in the 2010 Republican primary.

Obama faces tough decisions in fighting terrorists
WASHINGTON - On Sept. 11, 2001, Barack Obama was driving to a state legislative hearing in Chicago when he heard the first sketchy reports of a plane hitting the World Trade Center on his car radio. The 40-year-old state senator spent the afternoon in his law office watching "nightmare images" of destruction and grief unfold on TV.

US Coast Guard to harness tide for power
PORTLAND, Maine - The Coast Guard signed off Thursday on its first tidal power project with plans for a small underwater turbine to augment electricity generated at its station in the nation's northeastern corner, which is home to some of largest tidal variations in North America.

Board denies appeal of Palin ethics complaint
ANCHORAGE - The state personnel board has rejected the appeals filed by a woman whose ethics complaints against former Gov. Sarah Palin have been dismissed.

State railroad seeks help in weed war
ANCHORAGE - Public outcry has helped keep herbicide off the tracks of Alaska's state-owned railroad for more than a quarter of a century. A persistent weed problem and threats from federal regulators to slow or halt trains has Alaska Railroad officials applying again for help with its weed war.

Prosecutor recommends prison for former state Rep. Masek
ANCHORAGE - A prosecutor has asked a federal judge to sentence a former Alaska lawmaker convicted of corruption charges to 18 to 24 months in prison followed by three years probation.

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