Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dropout count needs to be standardized
We keep hearing of the statistics reporting the abhorrent dropout rate in Alaska. While I agree that any student not obtaining a basic high school education is a failure for the entire community, I must question if as many students statistically reported as "dropouts" truly are not graduating.

Alaska needs a committed governor
Gov. Sarah Palin presents an interesting paradox. She is the governor of the state of Alaska and seems to want to be anything but. In her ambitious quest for national office, she had no qualms in disowning the southeastern portion of the state, ignoring her campaign rhetoric of support for our bridge. She has also embarked on a not-so-subtle dismantling of the capitol of Juneau, something she had promised not to do.

Vandals break into, ransack three schools
It was a bad weekend for Juneau schools, and three separate school buildings faced break-ins, with one school receiving substantial damage while thousands of dollars worth of electronics were stolen from another.

Photo: Clear view
Carie Simons holds on to to her son, Jake Haas, 1, on Sunday as they look out the window at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. Skies were clear across Juneau for most of the day. Today's forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies with a chance of rain and snow in the afternoon.

Residents fear Coeur case could affect Bristol Bay
A win for Kensington mine operator Coeur Alaska Inc. in the U.S. Supreme Court could allow Pebble Mine tailings to harm Bristol Bay, according to attorneys for a group of Bristol Bay Alaska Natives, fishermen and other residents.

Photo: Icy hazard
Randy Ford of Randy's Towing straightens the steering wheel on a Ford Ranger pickup that he pulled out of a ditch Sunday near Point Lena Loop Road. One of the three people in the vehicle was transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital. The driver was cited for driving too fast for the conditions. Icy roads kept Juneau Police and tow truck drivers busy throughout the day.

Juneau Assembly prepares funds for airport project
In two years, excessive congestion and 45-minute waits at the baggage claim at Juneau International Airport should be a memory after its next phase of renovation and expansion is complete.

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

Delta, Alaska Air alliance to support international service
ATLANTA - An expanded marketing alliance Delta Air Lines Inc. has reached with Alaska Air Group Inc. will help supply passengers to support new international routes Delta plans to launch next year, the carriers said Monday. Delta's chief, meanwhile, said the two carriers have not had any discussions about a combination.

Around Town
Today

Photo: Father-son outing
Juan Munoz and his son, Matthew, 2, feed ravens popcorn Monday on Willoughby Avenue.

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

Around Town
Today

Alberta C. Duncan
Sitka resident Alberta Christine Duncan died Nov. 11, 2008, in Sitka. She was 55.

Linda Sue Morris
Longtime Juneau resident Linda Sue Morris (London) died Nov. 14, 2008, in Juneau. She was 59.

Outside editorial: Obama, Congress need to put food safety on agenda
There's a full plate of urgent issues awaiting President-elect Barack Obama and the next Congress. The Government Accountability Office, Congress' nonpartisan watchdog, listed 13 of them recently. Along with some obvious choices, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and oversight of the financial industry, the GAO included food safety.

My turn: Stevens and Palin should resign
Both Sen. Ted Stevens and Gov. Sarah Palin have been accused of breaking the law, and I think they are guilty of unforgivable actions as public leaders.

Outside editorial: Still ticking
Can the market for derivatives - or "financial weapons of mass destruction," as Warren Buffett memorably described them - be tamed?

Time for perspective on election's numbers
Political myths take hold as quickly as urban legends, and often with even less supporting evidence. Someone stands in a particularly long line on Election Day and decides that it signals a once-in-a-generation eruption of civic engagement.

Team 'Chimerica' will be a key partnership in global economy
Future historians, I suspect, will look back on Saturday's anticlimactic G-20 gathering in Washington less as Bretton Woods 2.0 and more as a rerun of the London Economic Conference of 1933. Back then, representatives of 66 nations completely failed to agree on a concerted international response to the Great Depression. The fault lay mainly with the newly elected U.S. president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who vetoed European proposals for currency stabilization.

GOP seeks silver linings amid a strengthening blamestorm
When a politician plays the Adolf Hitler card, you know he's lost the argument.

Supporters protest gay marriage ban
ANCHORAGE - Between 50 and 100 people gathered in Anchorage to protest a ban on gay marriage.

Salary board gets appointments
JUNEAU - Juneau's Mike Harrison has been appointed to the State Officers Compensation Commission.

UAF to bring digital planetarium to North
FAIRBANKS - Scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Alaska Museum of the North are joining forces to bring rural Alaska its first digital planetarium.

Mechanic sentenced in Barrow thefts
FAIRBANKS - A 41-year-old Arizona man who worked in Barrow has been sentenced to five and a half months in federal prison for stealing airplane parts and selling them on e-Bay.

Deadline nears to file sex abuse claims
FAIRBANKS - The deadline is approaching for Alaska sex abuse victims to file claims against the Fairbanks Catholic Diocese.

Man sentenced to 7 years for selling drugs
ANCHORAGE - An Anchor Point man has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison for selling drugs.

Change made in black bear hunts
KETCHIKAN - The Alaska Board of Game passed a rule forbidding hunters from using land vehicles while hunting black bears on Prince of Wales Island.

Man shot in shoulder as he leaves bar
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police say a man was shot in the shoulder after he left a downtown bar.

Palin appoints 3 to mental health board
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sarah Palin has made three new appointments to the Alaska Mental Health Board.

'The Beast' was unleashed at Roughhouse Friday
Eight tough bouts were fought at Marlintini's Lounge at Roughhouse Friday, with plenty of upsets and knock outs.

Correction
Juneau's Leah Francis finished her Nike Team Northwest Regionals race in 18:17.2 last Saturday to place fifth in the open division at Boise, Idaho. An article in Sunday's Juneau Empire incorrectly stated that her time was 21:09. That mark, in fact, belonged to her JDHS teammate Karissa Jackson.

Women lag in Alaska's Legislature
Nationwide, women are being elected to state legislatures more and more frequently, but in this month's election their numbers declined.

Corps of Engineers projects quietly fuel Alaska economy
ANCHORAGE - It's kind of like a big, invisible hand in Alaska's economy.

Municipal group urges expansion of power subsidies
FAIRBANKS - The nonprofit association representing Alaska cities, villages and boroughs is urging the state to expand state subsidies that lower the high cost of electricity in rural areas.

Palin keeps tight grip on records
In January 2007, a newly elected Gov. Sarah Palin wrote a letter to her commissioners telling them they were free to speak their minds with her, each other and the public.

Denali files federal right of way application
A joint pipeline venture featuring oil giants BP PLC and Conoco Phillips turned in a federal right of way application for a 2,000-mile proposed gas line project.

Alaska's dropout rate is double U.S. average
ANCHORAGE - Failure can start early.
Some educators say they can see which kids aren't going to make it on the first day of kindergarten. Some children show up knowing how to read, while others come not even knowing what the colors are.

Sen. Stevens's testimony damaged his case, jurors say
WASHINGTON - The jurors had spent the better part of two days battling one of their own, Juror No. 9, who had refused to participate in deliberations. Several feared that they were headed for a hung jury, an ignominious end to the month-long corruption trial of Sen. Ted Stevens, one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress.

Fiddlers festival shows no sign of slowing down
FAIRBANKS - No one has to coax dancers onto the dance floor at the Athabascan Fiddlers Festival.

Missile work funds state economy
FAIRBANKS - The Boeing Co.'s work on the Ground-based Midcourse Defense missile program is helping fuel the state's economy.

State investigating man who lives among wild bears
ANCHORAGE - Just beyond the freezing waters of the Susitna River 40 miles north of Anchorage, Bear Haven is already cloaked in the white silence of the long Alaska winter.

Photo: Governors gather
Former Alaska governors Bill Sheffield, left, Walter J. Hickel, Frank Murkowski, Tony Knowles, Steve Cowper, and Keith Miller, right, with Gov. Sarah Palin, front left, and territorial Gov. Mike Stepovich, front right, talk Friday as they wait for a ceremony to honor governors as part of the state's 50th anniversary in Anchorage.

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