Wednesday, November 19, 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.

Bears vs. trash cans: The arms race continues
Juneau's city-prowling black bears got peskier this year as some began to defeat reinforced trash cans and Dumpsters.

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.

City police investigate break-ins at schools
A police investigation is continuing into three burglaries at Juneau schools over the last weekend.

Juneau begins search for new city manager
The Juneau Assembly approved a plan from its human resources department Monday to find a new city manager, who is responsible for running the city's bureaucracy and answers to the elected officials of the Assembly.

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.

Photo: Light changing
Bill Fritz, with the city's building maintenance division, removes the top of a light housing while changing light bulbs Tuesday in the parking lot of Centennial Hall. Juneau will lose four minutes of daylight today, with sunrise at 7:57 a.m. and sunset at 3:30 p.m.

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.

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

Photo: Building an outdoor classroom
Scott Price, right, checks a bench with a level Tuesday while Jeff Beck, left, Hector San Miguel and Mark Johnson watch as they install an "outdoor classroom" in front of Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School. The school, with the help of former Juneau School Board member Mary Becker, applied for a $2,000 grant through KaBoom! and The Home Depot Foundation. Employees from Home Depot constructed and installed the semi-circle of benches.

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

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

Around Town

Around Town
Today

Correction
Juneau's Gordon Harrison was appointed to the State Officers Salary Commission. A story in Tuesday's Empire gave an incorrect first name for Harrison.

Why we shouldn't smoke
Elementary students from Auke Bay and Riverbend schools participated in a poster-making event sponsored by Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) for the Great American Smokeout, which is Thursday. The theme for the posters is "Why People Shouldn't Smoke," and the posters are on display at the Nugget Mall.

Local looks for quiche recipe made by using soup
The holidays are just around the corner! It's time for family and family favorites! Do you have a request for that lost or forgotten holiday recipe? Or would you like to share a holiday favorite? Let's ask Auntie Emo!

My son, the superhero
My 3-year-old boy came to me and asked why I looked sad. It was just after 5 p.m., and I was staring blankly at the television while a news program delivered yet another dismal offering in the long string of bad news we've all been watching lately.

Hospital to hold Great American Smokeout activities
Bartlett Regional Hospital and Teens Against Tobacco Use will combine efforts to present a Great American Smokeout activity Thursday at the hospital. Bartlett's tobacco treatment specialist, Lynda Koski, will be available at the center to answer questions from 1 to 2 p.m.

Sitka Employee Wellness Coalition to meet Thursday
SITKA - The Sitka Employee Wellness Coalition will host its monthly meeting from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

Juneau World Affairs Council to sponsor professor Mike Veseth
JUNEAU - The Juneau World Affairs Council will sponsor Mike Veseth, professor at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., to speak on "The Future of Globalization" at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, at KTOO Studio, on Whittier and Egan Drive, downtown.

Thanks for contributing to KTOO and its fall Pledge Drive
The Board of Directors for KTOO radio and television offer our heartfelt thanks for the generous financial support from individuals, families and businesses in and around Juneau. Because of you, our recently concluded fall Pledge Drive brought in $115,436. Wow! We welcome each of you to the wonderful community of public broadcasting.

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.

My turn: Get the most efficiency from your wood stove
Burning wood for heat in a rain forest is hard, there's no getting around that.

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.

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.

Outside editorial: Obamas talk sense about the transition
Virtually everything Barack Obama had to say in his first post-election television interview was highly sensible. As one would expect, there weren't many surprises in the "60 Minutes" interview with him and Michelle Obama that CBS broadcast Sunday night. And there weren't many tough questions or follow-ups (exactly how are you going to go about closing Guantanamo, Mr. President-elect?). But that's OK. It was reassuring enough to hear the new first couple speaking in modest yet confident terms about the momentous personal transition ahead for them and the political challenges facing the country.

A chapter that Detroit's big automakers should open
The Big Three U.S. automakers need more than an injection of $25 billion from the federal government. Because of their ongoing losses, they would burn through that money in less than a year and would soon be back for more.

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.

Will GOP change its 'Southern strategy'?
They'll be back. Don't think for a minute that they won't.

Statehood bonfire hits air quality snag
JUNEAU - A proposed bonfire in Juneau's Mendenhall Valley may become a non-fire.

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

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.

Berkowitz wishes Young well after win
ANCHORAGE - Democratic challenger Ethan Berkowitz has congratulated Rep. Don Young on his win in the U.S. House race.

Two Fort Wainwright soldiers die in Iraq
ANCHORAGE - The Department of Defense says two soldiers based at Fort Wainwright were killed in Iraq.

Man charged with kidnapping, assault
CHALKYITSIK - An Interior Alaska villager accused of menacing others with a rifle has been charged with kidnapping and assault.

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.

North Pole students test pollock lunches
FAIRBANKS - North Pole High School is part of a survey to see if hot lunches made with Alaska pollock will hook students.

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

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.

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.

Island Pub skates past Doc Waters 5-1 in JAHA
Island Pub picked up four goals from four different players in a wild first period Sunday, as they blew past Doc Waters 5-1 in Juneau Adult Hockey Association Tier-A action at Treadwell Arena.

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.

JDHS grad sets Pac-10 record at Oregon St.
Oregon State sophomore and 2007 JDHS graduate Talisa Rhea was named the Pacific 10 Conference's first player of the week this season after hitting a conference-record 10 three-pointers Sunday as the Beavers crushed Sacramento State 100-45 at home.

Begich ousts Stevens in Senate race
Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich defeated 40-year veteran U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens in final counting two weeks after Election Day.

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.

Stevens' loss echoes through Republican party
ANCHORAGE - Ted Stevens' loss Tuesday was another slap for Republicans in a year that has seen the party lose control of the White House, as well as seats in the House and Senate. It moves Democrats one step closer to the 60 votes needed to overcome filibusters in the Senate. Democrats now hold 58 seats, when two independents who align with Democrats are included, with undecided races in Minnesota and Georgia where two Republicans are trying to hang onto their seats.

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.

BLM plans to open Southwest Alaska land to development
ANCHORAGE - Environmental, fishing and Alaska Native groups are protesting federal plans to open about 1 million acres of land in Southwest Alaska to mineral exploration and petroleum leasing.

Bethel judge accused of misconduct
ANCHORAGE - A judge in Bethel finds himself on the witness stand at a hearing in Anchorage before the Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct.

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