Support public health insurance option
Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine released the results of a nationwide survey of doctors regarding the insurance coverage dilemma; 63 percent of our doctors favor the public insurance option and an additional 10 percent back a single-payer, Canadian-style system.

Election of Obama was only symbolic
In response to Eran Hood's letter to the editor on Sept. 11, she is absolutely right. Had any other president decided to address the same issue on national television, I can guarantee no child would have been pulled from school.

Juneau likely was pioneer in lake taps
The Sunday article on the Bart Lake part of the Lake Dorothy hydroelectric project implied that lake tap technology was pioneered in Norway.

Student flu cases now total five
Two additional cases of swine flu were confirmed Monday in the Juneau School District, bringing the number of students reported to have the H1N1 virus to five.

Juneau couple takes over restaurant
A bartender and a cook who met at a local restaurant and became engaged have leased it and are making a go of the business together.

Pelican Seafoods foreclosure auction delayed
Kake Tribal Corp. canceled its Pelican Seafoods plant foreclosure auction Tuesday, fearing risk from a release of the plant's ammonia coolant, and possible liability.

School Board president runs to improve graduation rates
After 10-year-old Skylar Lee Kim was killed in a traffic accident in 2003, Mark Choate was asked to put a dollar value on the Glacier Value Elementary School fifth grader's life.

Anchorage School Board's first Tlingit woman runs in Juneau
Juneau-born Mary Marks is looking to make her mark in Juneau's School Board this year representing the minority Native Alaskan population, a goal she had on the Anchorage School Board as its first elected Tlingit woman.

Photo: Safety first
Riverbend Elementary School crossing guard and office assistant Roy Barnett stops traffic so a youth can leave school and cross the street Tuesday afternoon. "And I am also a groundskeeper," Barnett joked of his many duties. "But primarily we really want to make sure traffic is slowing down here and our kids stay safe. This can be a heavy traffic area."

Idaho man dies aboard cruise ship
A 76-year-old Idaho man died Sunday night aboard a cruise ship on its way from Glacier Bay to Juneau.

Around Town
Wednesday, Sept. 16

Photo: Sewer project moving forward
Admiralty Construction employee Kevin Sledge, front directs Sean Lewis, operating an excavator while Kevin Millay and January Spencer look on Monday during completion of the North Douglas Sewer Expansion Project Phase II. "The system is functioning and online," Wastewater Collections Section Supervisor Tom Trego said. "People can, and have been, decommissioning their septic tanks and hooking up to the city system."

Photos: The open road
John Bursell, left, and Tracy Rivera ride bicycles Sunday morning on the Klondike Highway from Whitehorse to Skagway. The two had just completed the Klondike Trail of '98 International Road Relay (Bursell ran a 12.40-mile leg and Rivera ran 13.10 miles) for Juneau's Smokin' Ol Geezers team. So why are they biking the following day? "We need to get into shape," Rivera shouted as they flew by Emerald and Spirit Lakes.

Around Town
Today, Sept. 15

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

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

An A1 story in Monday's Juneau Empire about a drug-testing program for Juneau School District incorrectly implied that School Board member Andi Story does not support stricter punishments being considered for a first offense. Story said she has not made up her mind, and brought the issue forward to encourage more discussion before the board makes a final decision on any changes to the disciplinary grid.

Ronald Keith Sparks
Lifelong Chilkat Valley resident and former Haines and Sitka resident Ronald Keith Sparks died Sept. 11, 2009, at his home surrounded by his companion, Janet Ward, and family and friends. He was 72.

Charles 'Harry' Lupro
Juneau resident Charles Harrison "Harry" Lupro died Sept. 9, 2009, with family at his side. He was 82.

Mike See
Hoonah resident Mike See died Sept. 10, 2009, in Hoonah.

Billy Paul Jones
Juneau resident Billy Paul Jones died July 21, 2009, in Bothell, Wash. He was 83.

Carol Paddock Jorgensen
Former Juneau resident Carol Paddock Jorgensen died suddenly on Sept. 3, 2009, in Virginia. She was 63.

My turn: Creating a new vision for housing in Alaska
Nearly 4,000 homes in Alaska are "falling apart," according to Alaska Housing Finance Corporation's 2008 Housing Assessment. The report says 12,980 homes are needed to replace the overcrowded and substandard houses; 3,972 homes are unsafe, unsanitary and unrepairable.

State should ban outside campaign contributions
With all the current debate over health care, there seems to be a major issue that has been put on the backburner and ignored. That is, the whole question of campaign contributions for political candidates. The First Amendment to our Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or the press."

Canada's view on health care
Canadians love American health-care debates because it means you notice us. Much like Tennessee or North Dakota, we like just being mentioned. But your debates allow us to replay our own debates about health care and their relationship to national myths.

Heckling toward Obama a new low, but not the last
It was just two words. "You lie!" Two words. Not even curse words. But the where and the when made those two words significant.

Hopeful signs in Iraqi politics
For the first time, it appears that a political party in Iraq is coming together along ideological rather than sectarian lines. If the trend continues, it could mark a sharp break in the country's political evolution, which until now has been dominated by sectarian rivalries.

Culture war taken literally
I don't know who coined the term "culture war" to describe our political divisions, but I'm reasonably sure he or she intended it only as a figure of speech.

The ambiguous blessing of new oil
The following editorial first appeared in the Dallas Morning News:

Board mulls request for more teachers
ANCHORAGE - One of the items on the Anchorage school board agenda is a request from the district for 30 additional teachers because more students enrolled this year than expected.

Karleen Grummett to serve on Empire editorial board
JUNEAU - Karleen Grummett will serve on the Juneau Empire's editorial board as the newspaper decides candidate endorsements for the October municipal elections.

Alaskans protest Obama policies
ANCHORAGE - About 150 anti-Obama protesters gathered on the Anchorage park strip to express anger at the direction the nation is taking.

Woman charged with assault, leaving scene
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police say a 26-year-old woman has been charged with assault, leaving the scene of an accident, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

KUAC-TV plans equipment upgrades
FAIRBANKS - The public television station in Fairbanks will be off the air for almost two weeks for anyone without cable TV.

Alaska-based soldier dies in SC accident
FORT RICHARDSON - A soldier based at Fort Richardson has died in a fatal accident in his home state of South Carolina.

Fort Rich soldier dies a week after attack
FORT RICHARDSON - Army officials say a Fort Richardson-based soldier from Illinois died a week after being attacked in Afghanistan.

Anchorage School Board OKs $400K for police
ANCHORAGE - Losing school resource officers because of looming budget cuts is something the Anchorage School Board has decided not to accept.

Enstar projects natural gas rate drop
ANCHORAGE - Southcentral Alaska's largest natural gas utility said it will lower rates in January.

Contractors criticize military builder
FAIRBANKS - Contractors and union leaders say a company starting a 50-year contract to build private military housing at two Alaska bases is making it hard for local businesses to compete.

Mechanical problem delays Tustumena
HOMER - A mechanical problem has sidelined the state ferry Tustumena in Homer.

New rules on child car seat restraints in Alaska under way
ANCHORAGE - Some state rules for child restraints in cars have changed.

Meetings at UAF on presidential search
FAIRBANKS - Two public meetings are scheduled Wednesday in Fairbanks on the search for a new president of the University of Alaska.

Bears boys come up big
The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears continued their hot start this cross country season, with the boys placing second in Saturday's Palmer Cross Country Invitational, and the girls finishing seventh behind a course-record winning time from three-time defending state 5k champion Leah Francis.

Corruption law challenged as vague
CHICAGO - Among the corruption charges faced by former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is a statute of just 28 words with enough pop to send big names to prison for corruption, but it's under attack by those who consider it vague and unfair.

Fairbanks sales tax opponents organize
FAIRBANKS - A proposal to add a city sales tax to offset a reduction in property taxes has been met with resistance from some Fairbanks business owners and residents.

Obama administration wants more salmon protection
PORTLAND, Ore. - Calling it an "insurance policy" for Pacific Northwest salmon, the Obama administration on Tuesday offered up a tougher conservation plan for the fish that includes climate-change monitoring and the "last-resort" possibility of removing dams.

Rural Action Subcabinet plans public hearings
ANCHORAGE - Two questions have arisen in the year since then-Gov. Sarah Palin formed the Rural Action Subcabinet: What has it accomplished and what will it accomplish?

Teachers union settles harassment lawsuit for $170,000
ANCHORAGE - Alaska's main public school teachers union will pay $170,000 to settle a federal harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of four female employees.

Exxon Mobil has started first Point Thomson gas well
ANCHORAGE - Exxon Mobil has drilled the first section of its first production well at the Point Thomson field on Alaska's North Slope.

Fort Wainwright soldier returns in time for birth
FAIRBANKS - Despite some mild contractions, Rachael Walker wasn't going to miss greeting her Stryker Brigade husband Spc. Jason Walker returning home from Iraq.

Fairbanks man, 78, drowns in Yukon River
FAIRBANKS - A Yukon River drowning victim has been identified as 78-year-old Fairbanks resident Frank DeNardo.

10 Kenai beavers trapped, killed within days of special permit
KENAI - Trappers needed little time to remove 10 nuisance beavers in Kenai.

Ketchikan Gateway Borough considers salmon-themed buses
KETCHIKAN - The Ketchikan Gateway Borough is thinking of renaming its bus system to "The Salmon Run" in an effort to increase ridership.

Ketchikan hospital pulls out of involuntary commitment process
KETCHIKAN - Ketchikan General Hospital says it will no longer serve as an "evaluation and stabilization facility" under the state's involuntary commitment process.

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