Governor's Mansion has been closed
In response to the recent letter, "Palins can take a lesson from Obamas," I would like to remind readers that the Governor's Mansion has been closed for substantial periods of time for a massive plumbing project.

Businesses: Black Friday brisk, but not overwhelming
There's no way around conspicuous consumption when it involves carting a 42-inch flat screen television across the Wal-Mart parking lot.

State gas tax holiday has no clear winners
Alaskans are no longer paying a state gas tax, but whether that means they're paying less for their gas is unclear.

Remembering a champion
Being dubbed a hero is no modest accomplishment, and for the late Emma G. Widmark, of Juneau, the adjective seems quite fitting.

Supporters of state gas reserves tax try again
Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell has certified an initiative petition seeking to establish a natural gas reserves tax for Alaska.

Robber asks store clerks for change, grabs money
Juneau Police said a man robbed two local businesses by asking a clerk for change and then stealing money from their hands.

Photo: Unique gifts at Public Market
Krystle DeCourcey works on a metal piece Saturday at her booth at the 25th annual Public Market at Centennial Hall. DeCourcey's booth, Bifrost Blacksmiting, specializes in blacksmith articles made in a traditional way. The Public Market, located at Centennial Hall and the Juneau Arts & Culture Center, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

Around Town

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

Leslie Bruce Chilton
Longtime Juneau resident Leslie Bruce Chilton died Nov. 23, 2008, in Juneau. He was 58.

My turn: Public records in real time
Alaska has a long and proud tradition of open government and citizen access to the state's public records. "Unless specifically provided otherwise, the public records of all public agencies are open to inspection by the public under reasonable rules during regular office hours." Since this law was first enacted in 1962, every governor and administration has fulfilled its requirements, usually without any publicity or hint of controversy.

Outside editorial: Environmental rules erased at midnight hour
This editorial appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Editorial: Gratitude and the good life
As children, our habits of giving thanks likely were cultivated by an attentive parent or by a Sunday school teacher. We were given some crayons and asked to show our gratitude in picture form. We proved it by drawing awkwardly shaped pets, stick-figure families and unappetizing Thanksgiving dishes. Still, Mom recognized the value in our elementary expressions of thanks, and the crinkled paper ended up on the fridge.

Toe Toon
This week's Toe Toon.

Finding tracks on the shores of Mendenhall
Our nonexistent summer season is past, finally. There was enough snow and frost on the ground near the Mendenhall Glacier to make good conditions for finding animal tracks. A recent walk along the shores of Mendenhall Lake was entertaining in that way.

Oil price may be leading to poor air quality
FAIRBANKS - Established by people like gold miners who had other things on their minds, many Alaska cities, towns, and villages are in places with hidden issues.

Skiers plan to slalom around new fees
When Bill Getty helped organize a ski trip for fellow MBA students at Northwestern University, he told them to leave one thing behind - their skis.

Photo: Winter catch
John Fossum, right, pulls out a Kokanee salmon while fishing buddy, Matt Brahm, looks on as the men were ice fishing Nov. 25 on the Snake River Inlet of Dillon Reservoir near Dillon, Colo. The ice was approximately six inches thick where the men were sitting, just a few feet from the shoreline.

Idaho: Wolves hitting Lolo cow elk hard
Idaho Fish and Game biologists have established that wolves are now the primary cause of death of radio-collared cow elk in the Lolo hunting zone, where cow elk numbers are projected to be shrinking by 13 percent per year.

Ketchikan hires new economic manager
KETCHIKAN - A Montana woman has been hired as the economic development manager for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.

Halibut limits could be lowest in 25 years
KETCHIKAN - Southeast Alaska's commercial fishing fleets face what could be the lowest catch limit for halibut in a quarter-century.

Petroleum facility resumes operations
ANCHORAGE - A Whittier facility has resumed fuel transfer operations after being ordered to temporarily shut down.

Alaska Pacific Bank promotes Jones
JUNEAU - Alaska Pacific Bancshares Inc. President and CEO Craig E. Dahl announced that Megan Jones has been promoted from mortgage loan processor and closer to mortgage loan officer.

Minor earthquake felt in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS - A minor earthquake was felt in Fairbanks just after 1 p.m. Friday.

Planning Commission and Hospital Board get appointments
JUNEAU - At a special meeting Tuesday, the Juneau Assembly accepted the committee recommendations for eight appointments to the hospital and planning boards.

Coast Guard helps sponsor Santa visits
KODIAK - Santa Claus will be making appearances in Native villages on Kodiak Island next week, courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Soldotna post office gets national listing
SOLDOTNA - The original Soldotna Post Office has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Aztecs take '08 Shootout crown
ANCHORAGE - D.J. Gay shot San Diego State to the title of the Great Alaska Shootout.

Trap set near home snares, kills dog
ANCHORAGE - One minute a family dog named Grizzly was playing in front of the house, the next he was shrieking and thrashing wildly, a trap locked in a death grip around his head, his face distorted by the pressure and pain.

Shell mulls appealing federal court ruling
FAIRBANKS - The head of Shell Alaska says the company may appeal a recent federal court ruling that has delayed its plans to drill exploratory wells in the Beaufort Sea next year.

Fort Yukon youth coach sentenced in teen sex case
FAIRBANKS - A youth basketball coach in Fort Yukon was sentenced to three years in prison for having sex with one of his 13-year-old players.

Officers who fired weapons in Soldotna shooting named
ANCHORAGE - Alaska authorities have released the names of three state troopers involved in the fatal shooting of a fired hospital worker who returned to the facility with two weapons and killed an ex-supervisor.

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