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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

'Tropic Thunder' arrives in Ketchikan
The film "Tropic Thunder" has left Juneau and just arrived in Ketchikan, six weeks after its national premiere, and just in time for October as Disability Employment and Awareness Month. When the movie premiered in August, many disability advocates and parents of children with disabilities immediately organized protests and boycotts of the film and theaters due to the repeated use of the word "retard" as an insult. Gov. Sarah Palin reportedly participated in an Anchorage protest.

Incumbents retain Assembly seats
Two Assembly members challenged by newcomers to Juneau's political scene retained their seats in Tuesday's municipal election.

Palin receives kudos, questions about her stand on Darfur
Gov. Sarah Palin is being praised for her support of divestment from Sudan, but also being blamed for the failure of a divestment bill in the Alaska Legislature's last session. That's a bill she later switched to support and bragged about in her much-watched debate with Democratic rival, Sen. Joe Biden, last week.

Audit concludes AEL&P didn't overcharge Juneau ratepayers
Alaska Electric Light & Power Co. didn't profit from high rates in the electricity-cost crisis earlier this year, according to an independent auditor.

Voters OK covered playground at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School
Voters approved building a $1.7 million covered playground at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, the sole ballot measure in Tuesday's municipal election.

Flanagan and Saddler elected to School Board
Ed Flanagan and Sally Saddler were elected Tuesday to serve on the Juneau School Board.

Municipal election to be held today
Polls will open this morning at 7 for the city's municipal election.

Photo: A helping hand
Sherrie Jans relocates a small porcupine Saturday near the Mendenhall Glacier. The 6- to 8-month-old porcupine was seen hanging around the parking lot and in the road near the visitor center for the past week and was almost run over a number of times. Jans decided to help the young porcupine reach a safer area in the woods.

Rabbi speaks out on African genocide
Rabbi Lee Bycel wasn't born during the Holocaust, when the world stood by until it was too late. When the Rwandan genocide happened in 1994, he took no action.

Photo: Sunny reflection
Kathy Nava takes a moment to soak in some sun Monday at the State Office Building in downtown Juneau.

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

Around Town
Today

Photo: A contrast of seasons
With fresh snow on the peaks in the background, Chris Thomas runs Monday along the Airport Dike Trail. Thomas said she runs often on the trail. "It's beautiful," she said. "You watch the season change."

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

Correction
A brief on page A3 in Sunday's edition about a lawsuit claiming the U.S. Forest Service illegally retaliated against a whistleblower incorrectly stated that former Forest Service employee Glen Ith was fired. He was placed on administrative leave, and his position was eliminated.

Around Town
Today

Juneau artist to be featured on national television tonight
Alaska artist R.T. "Skip" Wallen was recently the subject of a national Public Broadcasting Service documentary, "Sanibel to Siberia," which will air statewide on 360 North (KTOO TV's Alaska content channel, 18) tonight at 9 p.m. The 30-minute program will air nationally this month.

Local submits hot tamale pie recipe
Calling all cooks. I have had requests to do another crock-pot recipe challenge, so here it is. Our October challenge is crock-pot or slow cooker recipes.

Fall: Balancing contradictions
Fall is a contradictory time for me. As a kid, I loved the colors of crisp leaves and pumpkin patches. Now, as an adult, I have a different love of fall.

Attractive invasive weeds to avoid
No doubt many of you have heard about invasive species and the havoc they can wreak on our local ecosystems. As for plants, Bohemian (aka Japanese) knotweed, orange hawkweed and oxeye daisy are among some of the most commonly known and found in Southeast Alaska.

L'Envoi or farewell for now
To my loyal readers and the staff of the Juneau Empire, thanks for the chance to write a weekly column for the spring and summer months.

Bleicher, Thibeault wed
Jennifer Sarah Bleicher and Jacques Roland Thibeault were married Aug. 30, 2008, at St. Albert's Church in West Stewardstown, N.H. The reception was held at Jackson's Lodge in Canaan, Vt., where they danced all night with friends and family.

Mary Jo Hobbs
Longtime Juneau resident Mary Jo Hobbs died peacefully Oct. 1, 2008, in her home. She was 90.

Marcia K. Converse
Longtime Juneau resident Marcia K. (Davis) Converse died Sept. 26, 2008, She was 79.

Outside Editorial: A choice for Latin America
With U.S. attention fixed elsewhere, a significant part of Latin America continues to march away from the "Washington consensus" of democracy and free-market capitalism that has governed the region for a generation. The latest step came last week in Ecuador, where voters approved a new constitution that concentrates power in the hands of President Rafael Correa.

My turn: We can see Russia from our house
Lost in the "I can see Russia from my house" jab that was levied at vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is a closer look at a claim to foreign policy credentials that one can make for being governor of Alaska.

Who gets to define a 'real' American?
As Sarah Palin "aw-shucks-ed" her way through Thursday's debate, she repeatedly played the one card that has become her stock in trade: She is a real American. Her rural roots, her lack of sophistication and worldliness, her bare bones education, her plain-spokenness, her moose hunting - all of these seemed to brand her as a typical American, one of us. She has even taken to calling herself Jane Sixpack.

Outside editorial: Campaigns enter dangerous territory
The tone is ominous, the shadings dark. "Who is Barack Obama?" asks the latest campaign advertisement from Sen. John McCain. "He says our troops in Afghanistan are 'just air-raiding villages and killing civilians' ... How dishonorable. ... How dangerous. ... Too risky for America."

Neither candidate has grasp on economics
The first three weeks of the financial crisis were no time for recriminations - so important was it to focus on passing a bailout plan to keep the credit markets from seizing up.

Danger on remote Pakistan border
The most urgent issue facing the next president (beyond the economy) will be how to deal with a remote area along the Afghan-Pakistan border, the new haven for al-Qaida and radical jihadis.

Baby Boomers are part of perpetual sequel
Baby boomers. It's always been about us. And why not?

SEACC offers to facilitate mine talks
JUNEAU - The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council offered this week to help Coeur Alaska Inc. jump back into the permit process for the Kensington gold mine by facilitating meetings between the mine and its permitting agency.

Houston fire chief admits flier handout
HOUSTON - Houston Fire Chief Tom Hood admits distributing a flier in the Meadow Lakes area against a proposition to combine the Big Lake and Meadow Lakes fire service areas.

USGS reports Alaska glaciers shrinking
ANCHORAGE - A book published by the U.S. Geological Survey reports that 99 percent of glaciers in Alaska are thinning or in retreat, especially at lower elevations.

Voter registration up before general election
JUNEAU - The number of registered voters in Alaska - always robust during a presidential election - is sharply higher this year.

Anchorage police ID pilot in fatal crash
ANCHORAGE - Police have released the name of the pilot of an experimental airplane who died in a crash.

Missing Gambell man tried to swim to boat
SAVOONGA - The search has been suspended for a man who attempted to swim to his boat as it was drifting away from shore about 25 miles south of Savoonga.

Blue Lake water rights acquired
SITKA - S2C Global Systems of Las Vegas says it has acquired rights to Sitka's Blue Lake water for bulk sales.

Icy Strait Point wins tour-industry award
JUNEAU - Huna Totem Corp., Hoonah's Alaska Native village corporation and the town's largest employer, announced this week that it won an industry award for sustaining indigenous culture.

UAS Ketchikan gets $131,500 grant
KETCHIKAN - The University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan was awarded an additional $131,500 to its existing Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Program grant to further develop and implement a comprehensive system of student support services for rural and Alaska Natives on Prince of Wales and Annette Islands. The initial grant was awarded in 2004.

Snow causes power outages in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - The season's first snow left some Anchorage area residents in the dark.

Man sentenced for smuggling walrus part
ANCHORAGE - A federal judge in Anchorage sentenced a Virginia man to a year's probation and fined him $5,000 for smuggling an illegal walrus bone into the U.S.

Wasilla man dies in one-car crash
WASILLA - Wasilla police are investigating the cause of a one-car crash that killed a local man along the Parks Highway.

Coenraad, Graves win singles titles
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.

Randolph gets season-high series in Sunday Bowling
Vanda Randolph set season new mark for women's high series in the Sunday Mixed Bowling League with a 577 total, including games of 224 and 193. Randolph's great night led Just For Fun to four wins to move into second place as the league approaches the end of the first quarter of bowling.

Sports in Juneau
UPCOMING EVENTS

Stevens jurors hear tape of plot to hide free work
WASHINGTON - Two close friends of Sen. Ted Stevens schemed to conceal the fact that one was paying for expensive remodeling and repairs done at the senator's cabin in Alaska, according to FBI audiotapes played Tuesday at Stevens' corruption trial.

On tape, Stevens professes innocence
WASHINGTON - In secretly recorded telephone conversations played in court Monday, an occasionally profane Sen. Ted Stevens denied wrongdoing and cursed at the federal agents who were raiding homes and offices in Alaska as part of a sweeping corruption probe.

Study to look at oil, gas infrastructure
ANCHORAGE - A study of risks posed by Alaska's aging oil and gas infrastructure will begin this fall.

Health officials investigate respiratory illnesses, death
ANCHORAGE - A respiratory illness that health officials say likely was caused by a virus circulating on Prince of Wales Island has killed one person and put another on a ventilator in an Anchorage hospital.

Students say sex ed should be mandatory
ANCHORAGE - Amber Sawyer remembers her classmates, young and giggly and still riding a euphoric teenage high, cutting class and sneaking off with boyfriends to the nearby running trails. In the winter, when the Alaska cold was too much to bear, the same couples, passing on algebra class, would rendezvous at a local theater.

State to review Palin per diem payments
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sarah Palin's practice of charging the state when she stays in her home must be reviewed to determine if she should pay taxes on the payments, state Finance Director Kim Garnero said Tuesday.

Photo: Ahead by a nose
The Hoochies, driven by fourth grader Stewart Conn, and Starfish, with third grader Zachary Christensen at the helm, check each other's position as they glide down a hill Sunday in the Humpy 500 Go-Cart Race in Petersburg. The race marks the end of the salmon canning season.

Governor chooses 7 for Pacific Salmon Commission
Gov. Sarah Palin this week announced her Pacific Salmon Commission panel picks.

This Day in History
In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

This Day in History
In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

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