Skate park: 'cesspool' or 'endless potential'?
The Pipeline Skate Park was once a self-policed, family-friendly facility covered in murals with mountains and aurora borealis, but has fallen into disarray in recent years with offensive graffiti routinely spray painted on walls and floors littered with beer cans, cigarette butts and drug paraphernalia.

Assembly backs Juneau-Whitehorse direct flights
After a gap of seven years, it looks likely Air North will re-establish direct flights connecting Juneau and Whitehorse in Canada's Yukon Territory on a trial basis this winter.

Growing graffiti problem irks city officials
The Juneau Parks and Recreation department is seeing an increase of graffiti and vandalism at its facilities recently and is growing increasingly tired of spending thousands of taxpayers' dollars to clean up the messes.

Danner sworn into city Assembly
JUNEAU - Juneau Assembly members shuffled seats and nameplates as they elected a new deputy mayor and welcomed Ruth Danner to its membership in a special meeting Thursday.

Photo: Full of good cheer
Kaity Wyatt, 15, celebrates with Morgan Poole, 7, after they won a round of "Lovers Leap" Thursday during the Thunder Mountain High School football cheerleader Cheer Camp. Seventeen girls are participating in the two-day camp that will end with a show for the parents at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month; today's featured survivor: Cathy Bressette
Age: 54.

Around Town
Today, Oct. 16

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

Ben Bailey
Juneau resident Ben Bailey died Oct. 7, 2009, in Juneau.

Fred G. Baxter
Longtime Juneau resident Fred G. Baxter died Oct. 14, 2009, at his home. He was 89.

A fair head tax on cruise passengers
C ruise tourism has been in the news lately, including stories of a lawsuit advanced by the Alaska Cruise Association claiming that the 2006 voter-approved passenger excise tax is illegal. Some recent history will explain what is really going on.

STEM and the economy
I hope the hundreds of participants of the 2009 Alaska Math and Science Conference are enjoying their visit to Juneau. This event is a very valuable opportunity for teachers to augment their skills as well as network with peers from throughout the state. As much as this event is about math and science, it is also about economics. With more than 300 participants from outside of Juneau, the economic impact on our community is considerable. A conference of this size, which fills hotels and restaurants, brings several hundred thousand dollars of economic activity to our community. This is only a small part of the economics of education in math and science.

Forcing vaccines on Americans violates civil liberties
T he rush to approve the vaccine for the H1N1 flu - also known as swine or "novel flu" - was based on a combination of the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and uninformed decisions by the awkward alliance of public health and federal emergency management officials.

Need for cyber czar is real
I n May, President Barack Obama completed his long-awaited "cyberspace policy review," concluding that cyberspace is a strategic asset that must be safeguarded from attack as a national security priority. He recalled how hackers had gotten into his own campaign servers, and he worried that crucial infrastructure, public and private, was vulnerable to hackers, cyber terrorists and even other governments.

Locals weigh in on Eaglecrest's 'Extend the Season' pass option
Eaglecrest Ski Area is asking locals, "how long do you want your season to last?"

Trail Mix applies for trail funding
Trail Mix, Inc. has announced its intent to apply for grant funding under the Recreational Trails Program to help fund local trail improvements in the Juneau area in an effort to both protect the surrounding trail ecology and to improve the overall hiking experience for users, said George Schaaf, executive director with Trail Mix Inc.

Listening for clues brings rewards
I was on a mission to reach Gold Ridge before sunset on a rare sunny autumn afternoon in Juneau. I planned to keep my eyes open for birds, but before I even left the shadow of the upper tram buildings something changed my focus. Just as I passed the anchor tower for the tram, a low clucking stopped me in my tracks.

Woodpeckers boast unique adaptations
Woodpeckers are found around the world, except on some islands. There are said to be about 183 species, ranging in from sparrow-size to raven-size. The woodpecker lineage is old, dating back over 50 million years, and it is distantly related to the neotropical toucans and barbets and the Old World honey guides.

Out & About
Friday, Oct. 16

Juneau Ski Club to clean up Fish Creek Rd.
Members of the Juneau Ski Club will be doing their part to help keep Juneau litter free this Saturday, Oct. 17.

Small plane found in Denali National Park
ANCHORAGE - A plane that carried a pilot and a wolf biologist who went missing while searching for wolves in Denali National Park was found Thursday.

Fairbanks man gets 4 years for mail theft
FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks man involved in a mail theft ring has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Anchorage district: No permission slip, no shot
ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage School District says free swine flu vaccinations will only be available to students who have a signed permission slip from a parent or guardian.

Time suspended for Palmer man
PALMER - A 46-year-old man convicted of threatening Alaska State Troopers has been given seven months in jail, but his credit for time served means he's ready for release.

Bethel planning for reduced liquor restrictions
ANCHORAGE - Although voters in Bethel voted to lift the 32-year ban on liquor sales, many residents are trying to block anyone from opening bars or liquor stores.

Sports in Juneau

Frank Murkowski talks oil and gas
Former Gov. Frank Murkowski says Alaska needs to abandon its effort to build a natural gas pipeline and roll back its recent oil tax increase.

Volunteers pitch in to make Eagle ready for winter
EAGLE - Relief workers in the flood-damaged Yukon River town of Eagle say everyone will have a place to stay for winter.

Anchorage task force tackling homelessness
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan has a new team to tackle the problem of homeless alcoholics.

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