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Monday, November 30, 2009

Save Southeast for future generations
I have been fortunate enough to do lots of travelling and each trip served as a reminder that there is truly no place like my Southeast Alaska home. Our surroundings in rural Alaska define our communities and how we live our lives- economically, culturally and socially.

Local shopping experience a letdown
I took to heart the plea in Friday's Juneau Empire to support local businesses. I pulled out the sales ads for four local stores, marked what I wanted, and went shopping with a positive attitude. After two hours, I returned home empty-handed. Not a single item was in stock.

Athletes' drug tests all clean
Though implementation of the Juneau School District's new mandatory random drug testing program has faced hurdles, the 25 high school athletes tested so far have cleared the biggest one.

Visitor center target of stimulus funds
Jim Geraghty ages a spruce growing as thick as a man along the Trail of Time - not by counting its rings, but by reading the etching on a flat, round rock that sits beneath it.

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

Around Town
Today, Nov. 29

Officials: Oxy 'epidemic' appears to be tapering
Although there is no quantitative data available to pinpoint exactly how prevalent the OxyContin "epidemic" presently is in Juneau, from an anecdotal standpoint, the opiate-based drug appears to be less problematic now in the capital than it had been several months ago, according to local officials.

Oil revenues leave Alaska unfazed by large tax declines
Alaska had the biggest plunge in tax revenues of any state last quarter, according to a new report from the non-profit Rockefeller Institute.

Eaglecrest Ski Area opens early
A solid snowpack generated by November storms allowed Eaglecrest Ski Area to open a week early, despite warmer temperatures and rain throughout most of the city over the weekend.

Learning Lighting: 12 charter school students learn photography basics
Twelve sixth and seventh grade students from the Juneau Community Charter School's first exploratory class in photography now talk in terms of macro photography, perspective, lighting and lines.

Photos: Seasoned Shoppers

Photo: Braving the whiteout
Trever Held snowboards Sunday at Eaglecrest Ski Area. The heavy, wet snow and windy conditions did not keep away a few hundred snowboarders and skiers from the mountain. The ski area opened on a limited basis over the weekend.

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

Mines aim to keep workers happy, reduce turnover
Employee turnover has been a significant problem that has hurt productivity at Alaska's producing underground mines, companies operating the mines reported at the Alaska Miners Association convention Nov. 6.

Around Town
Today, Nov. 30

Images from another time South Franklin Street, 1984
An aerial view of South Franklin Street, the Juneau waterfront and the AJ mine ruins is seen in June 1984. Juneau Cold Storage, in the lower left, was destroyed by a fire in 1987. The large dock on the far right was the Alaska Marine Highway Terminal. The site of the Mount Roberts Tramway is on the right of the dock. The ruins of the AJ mine were demolished in the 1990s.

Photos: Native arts and crafts
Silver: Tlingit artist Brian Chilton engraves a silver bracelet Saturday at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Arts & Crafts fair.

Native American Heritage Month Darryl Brown
Age: 59.

Sharing the warmth
About 25 local high school football players teamed up last week to collect winter gear for homeless people in need.

Five Bartlett nurses receive Nurse of the Year awards
Five nurses from Bartlett Regional Hospital were recognized at the 2009 March of Dimes Nurse of the Year event on Nov. 20 at the Anchorage Sheraton Hotel in Anchorage.

Photos: PJs and pancakes
From left, Riverbend Elementary School literacy leader Karen Doxey, Principal Carmen Mastronardo Katasse and Beaver Ambassadors Franklin San Nicolas, Kara Sepel and Madelyne Johnson help serve pancakes and sausage for breakfast Monday as a schoolwide reward for demonstrating positive Beaver behavior.

Juneau Dance Unlimited to hold third annual Sugar Plum Fairy Party
JUNEAU - Juneau Dance Unlimited will sponsor the third annual Sugar Plum Fairy Party luncheon from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center.

Juneau encouraged to Paint the Town Red for World AIDS Day
JUNEAU - Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day, and the Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association (Four As) is encouraging the entire community to Paint the Town Red: Wear the Original Ribbon. Red Ribbons will be available at many locations throughout Juneau.

Thanks for supporting Douglas tree-lighting
Thank you to Chatham Electric for stringing the lights with their boom truck on to the tree at 1106 Third St. Thanks to the Alaska Department of Transportation and the city Police Department for the street closure permit of part of Third Street during our event.

Senior menu for week of Nov. 30-Dec. 4
Monday, Nov. 30

Thank you for helping students explore careers in recent job shadow
SERRC - Alaska's Educational Resource Center's Career Connections program is a week-long program that offers high school students the opportunity to job shadow, learn job-seeking skills, and participate in job exploration activities.

Hats for Homeless
At least Juneau's homeless will have warm heads this winter. Eleven sixth-grade Girl Scouts recently made more than 80 hats for the homeless as part of their annual community service project.

Thanks for making a donation to AWARE for the holidays
Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies Inc. (AWARE) offers our gratitude to Scott V. Spickler and Linda Egan, of Spickler/Egan Financial Services, for their generous and innovative holiday donation to AWARE.

Thanks for attending the Mendenhall Flying Lions Club barbecue
Would like to take this opportunity to graciously say thank you to everyone who participated in the 14th annual American Diabetes Association barbecue and auction on Nov. 7 at G.W. Teal's and making this our best year ever.

FYI
Births

Parsons, Schwan wed
Sara Elizabeth Morehouse Parsons, of Juneau, and Stephen See Schwan, of Kennewick, Wash., were married Oct. 30, 2008, at The Molokini Lookout at the Wailea Golf Resort in Wailea, Hawaii. A reception immediately followed at the Seawatch Restaurant at the Wailea Golf Resort.

Shumway, Parkin to wed
Crystal Yvette Shumway, of Utah, and James William Parkin V, of Angoon, will marry Dec. 4, 2009, at the Angoon Alaska Elementary School. Friends and family are invited to the ceremony and reception, which will immediately follow.

Sex, drugs and gangs: A look at school dress codes
"When (girls) have writing on the butt of their sweatpants, it makes me feel awkward," said Juneau-Douglas High School sophomore Zac Watt, referring to the school sweatpants. "It is like they are giving me permission to look at their butt."

Send in the clones: Firefox and the Overwhelmerati
There is a secret society called the Overwhelmerati, whose goal is to overwhelm us with cool, free software. You might think they do this in order to distract us, so they can do things like melt the polar ice caps and sell mortgage default swap guarantees when we aren't looking. But no. Their mission is to promote cloning.

We all owe the pilgrims
The modern celebration of Thanksgiving, apart from football games and reading the ads to plan your Black Friday shopping spree, is a family oriented day of remembrances and thankfulness.

London and celebrating Shakespeare's birthday
April 23 is Shakespeare's birthday. My husband, Don, and I celebrated the bard's birthday by visiting St. James Park, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and enjoying the musical "Billy Elliot."

Cynthia Marie Phillips
Juneau resident and former Sitka resident Cynthia Marie Phillips died Nov. 21, 2009, at home in Juneau. She was 19.

The Afghan decision
President Obama is expected to announce on Tuesday a substantial escalation of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan: more training for the Afghan army, more support for Afghan governance and tens of thousands more American troops.

Distractions, driving can be a deadly combination
By all accounts, Joe Teater was a youngster with tremendous promise: smart, popular, interested in making movies and videos. But the 12-year-old Michigan boy was killed in 2004 when a driver ran a red light and smashed into the car in which Joe and his mother were riding. The driver who hit Joe's car didn't see the red light because she was talking on her cellphone.

The FBI needs more access to gun-purchase records
The news from Fort Hood shocked the nation: American soldiers shot on American soil. Thirteen dead and 38 injured. It was almost too terrible to believe. Almost.

AIDS still among us
As we reflect on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, we will come to reaffirm that we have work yet to be done, whether we are people living with AIDS, clinicians, seniors, young people, politicians or anybody else. We are not through with this yet.

Dear Mr. President: Please don't forget to pardon humans, too
As his daughters and others watched on Wednesday, President Obama followed long-standing tradition and pardoned two turkeys in honor of Thanksgiving Day. The 40-pound Butterballs, Courage and Carolina, were flown to California and will live out their days at Disneyland.

Obama's uninvited guests
I can recall a Thanksgiving when this country was mourning the loss of its youthful, handsome president. And because of the memory of those horrible days following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, I am having a hard time being either amused or nonchalant - as some seemingly are - about the Virginia couple who crashed Tuesday's state dinner at the White House.

Toe Toon
This week's toe toon.

The right reform for the Federal Reserve
For many Americans, the financial crisis, and the recession it spawned, have been devastating - jobs, homes, savings lost. Understandably, many people are calling for change. Yet change needs to be about creating a system that works better, not just differently. As a nation, our challenge is to design a system of financial oversight that will embody the lessons of the past two years and provide a robust framework for preventing future crises and the economic damage they cause.

Two teens arrested on assault charges
JUNEAU - Two teenage boys were arrested Friday morning and charged with assault after a witness reported them shooting a BB gun from a car in the Lemon Creek area.

Parking made free at downtown garage
JUNEAU - Free parking is available in the city's Marine Parking Garage until Dec. 31.

Teen wounded after drive-by shooting
ANCHORAGE - Police say a teenage boy was wounded in the leg Thursday morning during a drive-by shooting.

Thieves hit forestry agency, take 3 ATVs
ANCHORAGE - Thieves have hit the Alaska state Division of Forestry's property in Palmer again, making off with three all-terrain vehicles.

Anchorage hotel tax receipts way down
ANCHORAGE - The recession is being blamed for a big drop in hotel-room tax receipts in Anchorage. The city says hotel-room tax receipts in the first nine months of the year are down 20 percent from last year.

Police searching for missing 19-year-old
KETCHIKAN - The Ketchikan Police Department is looking for a 19-year-old man who has been missing since Sunday.

Two plead guilty in '08 caribou killing case
ANCHORAGE - Two men accused of slaughtering caribou on the tundra near Point Hope last year pleaded guilty to failing to salvage the edible meat of an animal.

Fired Fla. manager dropped from job list
ANCHORAGE - A Florida town administrator who was fired because he married an adult film actress has been dropped as a finalist for a city manager job in Alaska.

Parnell orders flags lowered for Phillips
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell has ordered that state flags be lowered in honor of Brad Phillips, a tourism pioneer and former state senator.

2 men get beat up attempting robbery
FAIRBANKS - Police say two men who attempted to rob a Fairbanks home were instead beat up by their would-be victims.

Trooper involved in shooting identified
FAIRBANKS - Alaska State Troopers have released the name of the officer who fatally shot a naked man holding a knife.

Mother accidentally runs over toddler
ANCHORAGE - A young child was killed in St. Mary's when her mother accidentally ran her over with a truck.

Assembly opening has three applicants
FAIRBANKS - Three people have applied for a vacancy on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly as the Dec. 1 deadline approaches.

Touching the game Alaska style
Today marks the online release of a new documentary chronicling the storied history of the Alaska Baseball League from the first Midnight Sun Game in 1906, to the formation of the Fairbanks Goldpanners in 1960 up to the present.

Better with age
As the proverb goes, revenge is a dish best served cold, and the Geezers handed it to the Chicks 4-0 on the ice at Treadwell Arena on Saturday.

Chapman seeks fun on the ice and the slopes
Juneau-Douglas hockey player Zane Chapman is making the most out of his final season in a Crimson Bears' uniform as the team prepares to host North Pole this Friday and Saturday at Treadwell Arena.

Deafness doesn’t deter Brewer
Like any good cheerleader, UAA’s Michaela Brewer has a fine sense of rhythm, tempo and timing, dancing effortlessly to the beat of whatever hip-hop music bumps through the arena. But unlike her teammates, Brewer has never once heard a crucial element of her cheerleading performance.

Sports in Juneau
17th Annual Holiday Cup — The Holiday Cup Competitive Indoor Soccer Tournament will be held Dec. 19-31, with six coed divisions: Elementary grades 4-5 (minimum age 9); middle school grades 6-8; junior high grades 9 through age 16; Senior Division ages 17-20; Masters Division ages 21-39; Classic Division ages 40 and over. Coaches and managers interested in sponsoring a team must submit a roster by 5 p.m. on Dec. 4, dropped off at the Law Offices of Dillon & Findley at 350 N. Franklin St.

Anti-abortion proposal heads to Alaska court
ANCHORAGE - Opponents of a ballot initiative designed to outlaw abortion in Alaska by declaring fetuses "legal persons" are challenging it in court.

Seafood group pushes sustainable labeling
To boost Alaska seafood market prices and expand the Alaska brand in Europe, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is in discussions with a trade group that certifies and labels sustainable seafood.

Study: Alaska's obesity rate among worst in US
ANCHORAGE - Alaskans are losing the battle of the bulge.

Wasilla council listens to annexation concerns
WASILLA - The people who live just outside Wasilla want to keep it that way.

Seward Highway reopens after avalanche blocks traffic
The Seward Highway is open again, about 24 hours after an avalanche blocked traffic in both directions.

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