Monday, October 6, 2008

Please vote
Although Juneau demands that it remain the seat of the state's capital, most of its citizenry does not participate in the most basic obligation of government: the simple and free act of voting.

Why did Coeur pull out of tailings plan?
Kate Golden's Sept. 24 story in the Empire about Coeur Alaska's decision to back out of the negotiated plan with conservation groups to store dehydrated tailings on the ground, rather than in Lower Slate Lake, poses a mystery.

Churches and taxes
Let me see if I have got this right. We face the greatest threat to our financial system since the Great Depression, our energy woes are highlighted like never before, the fabled Northwest Passage is now open, deforestation continues unabated, storms and strange weather dominate the news, we are fighting two wars, and confidence in our direction is at its lowest in decades.

The financial bailout ... will it work?
Not from where I stand. I don't know how they even got that number, or why that was the only option offered. Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson remind me of the guy whose only skill was the use of a hammer. He viewed the world in terms of nails.

Keep watch on mine
This week's revelation of acid mine drainage problems at the Kensington Mine is a sad example of the unforeseen problems that inevitably crop up when industrial mining meets pristine watersheds.

Kensington work force to be cut in half
Alaska Native leaders who bargained with Coeur Alaska Inc. for local and Native hire at the Kensington Mine are now scrambling to help laid-off workers find jobs.

Photo: New place to play
Sasha Pico, 7, watches her friend, Ethan Jaenicke, 5, go down the slide Sunday on new playground equipment at Savikko Park. The ADA accessible playground was recently installed and work on the project is nearly complete. The project is part of the master plan for Savikko Park, Sandy Beach and the Treadwell Mine Historic Trail Complex. The plan also includes a formal park entry, a music pavilion, a Gold Rush Pioneer Plaza, athletic fields, viewing platform, a second sheet of ice and improved walks with seating and other amenities.

Shutting Down
Some well-known businesses in Merchants Wharf will be closing their doors at the end of the month after not having their rental agreements renewed.

Photo: Discussing Darfur
Rabbi Lee Bycel will serve as a guest speaker for the Juneau World Affairs Council on the subject of Darfur and Chad at 7 p.m. today at the synagogue of Congregation Sukkat Shalom in West Juneau. Rabbi Bycel is the executive director of the Western Region of American Jewish World Service, an organization dedicated to alleviating world poverty, hunger and disease. He has been a frequent visitor to Chad and Darfur and lectures regularly about the situation in that region.

Photo: Out of season
Lupine, which usually blooms during the spring, makes a rare autumn appearance Sunday near the Juneau Family Health and Birth Center.

Photo: Balancing on the edge
Brianne Webber eyes her next move Saturday while climbing up a wall at the Rock Dump Climbing Gym during the Rocktoberfest climbing competition.

Photo: Shred it
Todd Wright, an employee of REACH Shredding, shreds some paper Saturday for Shredding Day at the Wells Fargo Glacier Valley branch. More than 40 people disposed of confidential materials during the free event. REACH offers regular shedding services at its location downtown.

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

Around Town
Today

Around Town
Today

Police & Fire
Friday's and Saturday's police and fire report will be published in Monday's Empire.

My turn: Time for Palin to fill in the blanks
It's hard to imagine there is anything missing from the national news coverage of Gov. Sarah Palin's vice presidential candidacy on the Republican ticket. We've heard about dead moose, mooseburgers, moose hunting tickets, snowmachines, Iron Dogs, hairstyles, stylish shoes and stylish eyeglasses, speaking style, management style, personnel mismanagement, personal religious beliefs and personal choices.

Empire editorial: Municipal election endorsements
Areawide Assembly: Bryson vs. Doll

Empire editorial: Vote yes on playground
It's completely understandable if voters may decide against the $1.7 million bond measure that would pay for a covered playground at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School. The community has been asked repeatedly through the years to approve bonds for big-ticket items such as a new high school and a pool for the Mendenhall Valley. Property owners may very well decide they've had enough.

Outside editorial: The White House roadblock crew
Buried in a lengthy report about the firing of nine U.S. attorneys is the disturbing explanation of how the White House blocked Justice Department investigators from obtaining pertinent documents.

Everything you might not know about the bailout
Everybody seems to have a boatload of questions about the past week's dizzying series of events surrounding the proposed "bailout" of American financial institutions. To cut through the muddle, let's check off on a short list of vital questions I asked myself, and the answers I discovered, about the Big Mess.

My turn: EPA rules permit process
If ever there was a case of no good deed going unpunished it would be the Kensington Mine. And if ever there was a more disingenuous letter to the editor about the mine, it would be hard to find one that tops that of local Sierra Club leader, Mark Rorick, which appeared in the Wednesday Empire. For the first time, and well after the fact, Rorick expressed support for the paste tailings option - until that letter all he has supported is the study of the option.

Toe Toon
Cartoon by local artist Toe.

A fisherman's Elegy
Taking off from Juneau International Airport you can see many Juneau-area fishing spots if it is clear or the clouds are high enough.

Sunshine brightens Mount Troy hike
Perhaps there are miracles, after all! On hike day, the sky was a cloudless blue, something that had seldom happened since May. Wisps of mist drifted through the valleys, the air was crisp and cool, and Juneau was beautiful.

Fish and Game offers Bow hunter education course on Oct. 11
JUNEAU - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game would like to remind hunters wanting to participate in archery-only hunts that they must first successfully complete a department approved bow hunter education course (International Bowhunter Education Program or equivalent).

Out & About
Today: Steel plate handgun shoot, 9 a.m. registration, Hank Harmon Rifle Range.

Noorvik man faces 20 years for abuse
KOTZEBUE - A 35-year-old Noorvik man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexual abuse of a minor.

Bryson leads spending in Assembly race
JUNEAU - City Assembly candidate Wade Bryson has raised and spent the most money in this year's municipal election, according to the most recent filing with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

Comments sought on Ketchikan tram plan
KETCHIKAN - The U.S. Forest Service is collecting public comment on a proposed aerial tram in Ketchikan.

Kenai Peninsula mulls seasonal groceries tax
KENAI - Kenai Peninsula Borough voters will go to the polls to decide whether a borough sales tax on non-prepared food should be dropped when most tourists go home.

Harvest for sea cucumbers begins
KETCHIKAN - Divers are getting ready for the beginning of the commercial sea cucumber season in Southeast Alaska with the lowest quota in several years.

Man injured, home destroyed in Grayling
McGRATH - The home of a Grayling man was destroyed in a fire and the man was seriously burned.

One person killed in airplane crash
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police said the pilot of a small airplane died in a crash.

BP gas line blows at Prudhoe Bay
ANCHORAGE - State and BP PLC officials are looking into mishaps this week at Prudhoe Bay, including the rupture of a natural gas pipeline.

Dumping ground cleanup completed
KODIAK - A cleanup of a site on Kodiak Island used as a dumping ground during World War II has been completed.

Aggressive bear shot in Old Harbor
OLD HARBOR - An aggressive bear was shot and killed in Old Harbor on Kodiak Island.

Bears trample Moose in playoff opener
PALMER - Palmer head coach Rod Christiansen had a hunch his Palmer Moose were catching a peaking Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears football squad.

Coenraad, Graves win JHSTC
Merijke Coenraad and Nathan Graves came away with individual singles titles Sunday after a weekend of tough matches and friendly rivalries in the Juneau High School Tennis Championships at the Juneau Racket Club.

Francis takes her third 4A state title
Juneau-Douglas cross country runner Leah Francis has been perfect in state competition since she took to the 4A high school trails three years ago. That is, unless you ask her.

Lady Bears raid Ketchikan for two conference wins
The Juneau-Douglas High School varsity volleyball team stormed through Ketchikan over the weekend, picking up a pair of Division V wins and leaving thoughts of a season sweep in its wake.

Alaska Schools Activities Association, First National Bank state cross country championship results
4A Girls

Sports in Juneau
UPCOMING EVENTS

Troopergate expands into workers comp
Gov. Sarah Palin's controversial decision to fire her public safety commissioner may not present the same risks for her vice-presidential campaign as does a possible attempt to interfere in the state workers compensation system.

Palin sued over private e-mails
Gov. Sarah Palin, who rose to political prominence with a mantra of "open and transparent government," is being accused of obstructing state public records laws, and her administration is charging the public up to $960 to search a single state e-mail account.

Palin says Obama pals with terrorists
CARSON, Calif. - Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday accused Democrat Barack Obama of "palling around with terrorists" because of an association with a former '60s radical, stepping up an effort to portray Obama as unacceptable to American voters.

Regulators approve halibut catch split
ANCHORAGE - Federal regulators have approved a plan to apportion available halibut in Southeast Alaska among commercial and charter fleets.

Seven Palin aides to testify in probe
ANCHORAGE - Seven aides to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin have reversed course and agreed to testify in an investigation into whether the Republican vice presidential nominee abused her powers by firing a commissioner who refused to dismiss her former brother-in-law.

GOP lawmakers file appeal to halt Troopergate inquiry
ANCHORAGE - Six Alaska lawmakers filed an emergency appeal Friday asking the state's Supreme Court to halt an investigation into abuse-of-power allegations against Gov. Sarah Palin before the findings are released this week.

Palin defends terrorist comment against Obama
BURLINGAME, Calif. - Gov. Sarah Palin defended her claim that Barack Obama "pals around with terrorists," saying the Democratic presidential nominee's association with a 1960s radical is an issue that is "fair to talk about."

Todd Palin plans interview in probe
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sarah Palin's husband is planning to speak to an investigator looking into abuse-of-power allegations against the governor, Todd Palin's lawyer said Saturday. He previously refused to testify under subpoena in a separate probe.

Anchorage police use 'bait car' to find thieves
ANCHORAGE - Somewhere on an Anchorage street, a vehicle is waiting for a thief to jack it.

Biologist's widow sues for release of records
The widow of a federal biologist who sued the U.S. Forest Service and won now wants to look at his personnel records.

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